When I was 17 I was diagnosed as a “Manic Depressive“. I self harmed and was put on at “at risk of suicide” register with my local Mental Health Team.
My upbringing was OK. I wouldn’t say it was great. My mother wasn’t very nurturing. I don’t remember being told “I love you” by either of my parents. I don’t remember being told that I was pretty either, and for a little girl growing up, that’s kinda a big deal!
My dad spent a lot of our childhood away working. Sometimes me and one of my sisters (J) would take it in turns to go with him. She was “Daddy’s Girl”. Our youngest sister was “Mummy’s Girl” and me….well I felt like a spare part, the odd one out, the black sheep.
I was closer to my Auntie than I was my mum. I used to wish that my Auntie WAS my mum. I remember saying to my Auntie one day “Please tell me that you’re my real mummy”. I just wanted to be loved and I felt that with my Auntie.
I was bullied a lot. I was bullied at school by children in my class. Children who were meant to be my friends. I was bullied every school year from the age of 9 until 14 years old. I was told I was ugly. I was called stupid. I believed them.
One day my youngest sister, C, had a photo shoot. She was going to be a model mum said. We all went along to the shoot and watched whilst our youngest sister had pretty photo’s taken. “Can we have our done mummy, can we be models too?”. This is what me and my sister J asked. The response we received from Mother was “The photographer says you’re not pretty enough to be models”. I was all of 10/11 at the time, and J would have been 8/9. To do this day, Mother doesn’t remember saying this…but it is something that has stuck in my mind.
When I was 13, part of my world collapsed. One day after school we went home with my mums friend. We had been going home with her every day that week and wondering why. Mum and Dad had looked smart every morning, but never told us where they were going. Then we were told. My Dad had been sent to Prison. I’m not going to go in to why, as that’s all in the past now. He served his time and learnt his lesson.
What hurt more than him going away, was the fact that our parents felt the need to lie to us. If they had just been honest with us!
Things went downhill from here. Word got round school. People whispering, calling us names behind our backs. We took years of stick from people. J went off the rails a bit. I wasn’t so bad, but I bottle things up and then I blow.
I screwed up my schooling because of this, and the nasty rumours my first boyfriend spread around the school about me. I quit school for 6 months and returned only to do my GCSE’s. I passed, but not great marks.
At 17, I was put on anti-depressants…and then I was diagnosed with Manic Depression and being at risk of suicide. I didn’t want to live. What was the point. I had just started driving and often though…If I get up enough speed I can go straight in to a post and it’ll all be over forever. But I could never bring myself to do it.
Things started to change at 18. I met P. I got different counselling and came off the medication. Things were looking up. At 20, I discovered I was pregnant and our son was born on my 21st Birthday. I didn’t bond well with him at the beginning. I had a good labour, but suffered a bad tear and had to go to theatre for an hour. I had trouble breastfeeding and spend most of my time crying in hospital because I was sore and my baby was crying. 4 months after giving birth I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. I was put back on to my medication and sent for yet more counselling.
Then I discovered I was pregnant again. I was told it was safe to carry on with my medication throughout my pregnancy, but I wasn’t to breastfeed my baby. I continued with the counselling, and even tried Psychotherapy…until one day I mentioned to the therapist that “I wish I’d never had children”. I didn’t mean it in a nasty way or that I was going to harm them way. I simply meant that I wish I had waited. Perhaps not have had them so young. My therapist told me that what I had said was “disturbing”. I came out feeling even worse, and never returned.
I continued with my medication right up until our daughter was 18 months old. Then I decided enough was enough. I don’t want to do this anymore. Depression sucks. It gets hold of you and it sucks you in. You try and stay afloat, you try to hold your head above water, but it pulls you down like the tyrant it is. Its so overwhelming and you’re weak from fighting for so long, and then it engulfs you. I don’t like feeling like that and I don’t want to go there again. I have my down days, but who doesn’t?
I have had a few times when I could have taken that route again. Could have sunk in to the dark pit, but I have refused to let it capture me.
In 2009, I had 2 miscarriages within the space of 5 months. Then 6 months after my second miscarriage we discovered we were preganant again. A scan revealed that the pregnancy could be ectopic, so we prepared to lose another baby. Thankfully all was ok and the pregnancy went well…until we reached 27 weeks. After 5 weeks of being in and out of hospital, at 32 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with Placenta Praevia and Placenta Accreta and admitted until delivery. At 33 weeks, I went in to labour. I was prepped for delivery, then everything stopped so they decided to hold off and wait and see how long they can keep baby growing for. We went another 4 weeks and she was delivered safely at 37 weeks.
During my 5 week admission, I had my low times, but I refused to let it get to me. I spent my time thinking about my husband and my children at home, and the baby growing inside of me. I don’t want to do anything to jeopardise any of them or make them unhappy in any way. So I told myself that I was NOT going to let the depression win. I was NOT going to go down the route of more medication and counselling. I have been there, done that and it didn’t really help me.
So, here I am…. 11 months on. I have my bad days. I get frustrated, I get angry, I get sad, I cry…BUT I have not let Depression win. I have not been on medication for over 3 years now.
Depression is one friend that I do NOT want!!!
*picture used from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sadness#ai:MP900444486|mt:2|