I have survived many traumas in my life both emotionally and physically. I have been knocked down more times than I care to mention, but I am proud of getting back up every time.
Until March 2014. I didn't want to get up. I didn't want to go through the motions of my life anymore and the confines of my bed, my bedroom seemed the only true safe place to be.
It started slowly, this seperation from reality and life. Not that I noticed, for me the little changes I was making seemed to be logical, time management and self preservation for a mother of three, grandmother and full time employed.
I had no time to socialise, my friends would understand, they know I work and am busy. I started avoiding the children's sports functions, after all I only had the weekend to catch up on all that house work. I wouldn't answer the phone because they should understand I'm in the middle of dinner and not to call. The excuses went on and on.
They were great reasons why I couldnt - except - I was ringing in sick for work, my housework never got done and cooking - what was that? I wasn't busy, I wasn't in the middle of spending time with family, I wasn't doing anything that important I couldnt be there. I was in bed, in my room, sleeping.
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I was suffering depression. I just couldn't be there in the capacity I had to be. The person I knew, the mother my children knew and the person everyone thought I was had somehow got lost in the tears and trauma of the last couple of years. I barely recognised myself in the mirror, I had dark circles under my eyes, I wasnt bathing and the thought of going outside filled me with such fear, I avoided it as much as I could.
At work I was sabataging my career, conducting myself unprofessionally, letting the months of confussion and anger build up to the point I spent most of my time hiding or screaming. At home, my children would visit my room, ask permission to do stuff and just live as best as they could. I forgot about living, I forgot how to care for myself and most of all I forgot how to love myself.
I decided I wanted to die.
My daughter decided she wanted to die more.
In my own messed up emotional world I had not seen what my daughter was going through, I missed the cues, I missed the signs. I as a mother missed her cries for help.
I almost lost her. Thank God he didn't take her. But here I was, a mess myself and responsible for a baby until she could get herself well again.
I had two choices, Give up or know that I am not ok, but it was ok not to be ok. I couldn't do this on my own. It was time to ask for help. I was not coping,
I went straight to the doctor for a full health assessment, support and advice on how to climb out of the pit I had fallen into.
It's 2015. I have been on a high dose of antidepressents for almost a year now, the anxiety medication I used to cope with social situations has stopped as I am now able to socialise without the fear I felt. I go to councilling, I have my health reviewed regularly and I take my medications religiously.
In the last 12 month I have climbed back from my hole to once again be a functional adult in society, I go to work, I am a mother to my children and I do not run from a social gathering. My house is still untidy, but instead of unfinished chores, it is full of toys, kids visiting and fun and laughter. My daughter has followed my footsteps and sort help to. We are surviving, we are a family again.
I do not hide my depression. I openly tell anyone who is interested about it, how I got through it and how close I came to saying goodbye to the world. I have bad days still, days I still retreat to my bed for a cry.
But I get up again - because I know it is ok not to be ok and there is not shame in suffering a mental illness, the shame is losing sight of life in the meantime.