Thursday, 13 March 2008

Feel the fear and take the anti-depressants anyway

There is this girl I like. I've never met her. I stumbled upon her one drunken evening when I was digging around (actually her husband's website led me to her - I like his band - having been to 2 of their gigs, including one when I was 7 months pregnant). Since then, I've popped my head round her blog door quite often - she writes the way I think. She's a kindred spirit even if she doesn't know me. The other day she mentioned that she had started taking medication for depression/anxiety. It's a brave move to announce on a blog, no matter how open one is. So I thought I'd show Monica - for that's her name, some moral support and admit that I too have been along a similar path.

Last November I ran home to Ireland. Escaping myself and my grey London existence. My lack of work, the drudgery of motherhood household tasks and long dark days when the husband would go to work and come home at 3am had conspired to rob me of any optimism, any joy. Everything my Mother did made me want to tear out my hair. The poor woman couldn't even make me a cup of tea without me raging at her. She had just split up with her husband and instead of comforting her - all I could think was - another man you have brought into my life as a father figure only to snatch out again. Anyway, one morning I dashed out - storming away from my toddler son, determined to relaim ME - and walked to the sea across from my Mother's house. It was the coldest greyest day (even by Northern Ireland standards) with huge storm clouds brewing over restless water. I sat on a rock and wept. I had no idea how to dig myself out of the hole I was in. Every which way I turned it seemed impossible to break into Tv drama for work. The presenting work had dried up and well... I was washed up. Husband worked such crazy hours that I ate most meals alone; TV and books my only companions. Friends were well meaning, but busy. People have their own lives to lead. Some days the only people I spoke to were the women at the gym creche or a supermarket checkout girl in Sainsburies. Loneliness is cruel. It creeps up on you. What had once been a choc full diary of a single girl hot-footing it around London, lay empty. Other mothers terrified me - they were confident, over powering and seemed to love the happy clappy groups that I loathed. I felt like I didn't fit in anywhere. Husband tried to be sympathetic, but he wasn't around long enough daily to really be there for me. I hated him and his ability to walk out the door and have a life, while I was left holding the (beautiful) baby. Adjusting to motherhood had taken it's toll. I loved my son with all my heart, but I mourned my life and what it had been - the freedom I had had.

When I realised I wanted to curl into a ball and not wake up (the irony being I was a Samaritan this whole time, every other week helping suicidal and unhappy people and yet I was unable to help myself) I knew I had to do something. Going home seemed to be the only answer. My poor Mother, plagued with worry, watched me stumble through days and collapse into bed, tired and weepy; she dragged me to the Dr and made me get help. The Dr calmly offered me tablets - I could hardly see her I was weeping so much. I cried to my friend Nikki on the phone, worried that this was just further evidence of my failings. She told me she was surprised I hadn't crumbled earlier. Other friends echoed these sentiments. I succumbed and took the tablets - Citalopram. But by god, they worked. I've still had the odd weep. I've still worried about work - and how the hell I will pay the mortgage when we move in 6 weeks or so. But by the third day of taking them I didn't feel rage pulsate through every nerve threatening to engulf me. I didn't feel so low I dreamt of climbing out of skin and becoming someone else - anyone, just to not be me. I stopped hating the one man who loves me above all. I stopped despairing and started believing in myself again. It's still a rocky road. I'm not there yet. Maybe I will never be 'there.' But I know I did the right thing. I know my Mum was right to try and help me - because my glass was so damn empty it was dry. Citalopram made me breathe again. The blackness faded and life became bearable and brighter. I coped with Motherhood rather than feeling trapped and caged. It didn't solve my problems but it made me able to deal with them, to be rational, to cope. (And yes, I can still have a drink,in fact on occasion more than a few!)

So good luck Monica - you took the right step. Whatever works for you can never be wrong. I no longer feel like I failed. I defy anyone to go through the year I had and not turn to something to get them through. I'm glad I had - or my Mother had - the serenity to know the things she couldn't change, the courage to change the things she could for me and the wisdom to know the difference.


Anonymous said...

Today i think I understand the loneliness as I have stumbled upon it myself. Husband frightened me last night with is temper for the first time ever, but today, who do I turn to? Don' think I've one single friend who will not be biased towards my side and want to protect me and seriously feel very, very alone. x p.s. I'm not hurt or injured, just scared and feel it has changed the love i felt.

Crummymummywhodrinks said...

Sorry to hear you are in such a lonely place. You can always call the Samaritans - they are there 24/7 to support and be-friend you through difficulties. I volunteer myself - and each Samaritan is highly trained and it is totally confidential. National UK no is 08457 909090 or email Never feel you are alone. Relationships are often difficult. Just make sure you are taking care of you.