I love being a mother but I don’t love being alone.
I love blogging but I don’t love that it’s about readership no matter how much you convince yourself it’s not (it does sting a bit when you put effort in to writing and taking pictures and nobody reads it).
I love taking photographs but I don’t love that I know my semi-decent attempt at photography is rubbish compared to the next blogs’ who inevitably has a better camera, and better things than I do.
I love sharing things online but I don’t love that fight it or not, you waste time scrolling through things that harm your mental health so slowly you barely notice until the little things (like someone posting a viral text post about what friendship should be) makes you want to launch yourself into outer space.
I love being inspired by lifestyle photo posts but I don’t love that I somehow forget about what’s behind the camera and the editing that made that person’s life look so perfect – just because what? They’ve got a better bedroom than I have? (Seriously, why does my brain think “better bedroom/clothes/baby announcement = better life”??? Can it not?)
But mainly I love being a mother.
And I love that if I believed in myself, I could do amazing things and be happy (probably) but instead, I am afraid.
Life has made me question whether or not I’m a good person, and furthermore, it has made me question whether I deserve the good things in life; love, family, materialistic things that I crave. I hate to be all ‘woe is me’ but you know, I really have been through a lot and it’s left me with a bit of a complex if truth be told, and not only have I become incredibly insecure about myself but I have become very defensive about protecting who I’m trying to become in my healing process. I want to maintain the person I said I was when I was feeling better than I am.
Every mother is afraid, to some degree, of speaking out about her mental health. I’m sure it’s the same for fathers, and in fact, worse because of the heightened stigma with men and speaking up about how they’re feeling (thus the higher suicide rate in men compared with women – see here). I think I’m pretty good about speaking about how I feel but I’m definitely scared of telling a professional about how I’m feeling, for the fear that they will equate my mental health with my ability to parent. And when people mention Post Natal Depression, I’m just like “hey it’s not that, it’s the depression, ptsd and anxiety that didn’t disappear when Reu was born as much as I wish the joy could have cured me”. And there’s no shame in have PND/PPD either, I think it’s the fact I think people dismiss that struggle that has always been going on.
There’s a part of my brain which is constantly telling me I‘m not good enough, still ugly, still fat, that I get on everyone’s nerves, and that nobody cares (when I post stuff online), and although I know it’s a vicious bi-product of what I’ve been through and it’s wrong, it is so loud when I am struggling. Knowing it’s wrong and irrational doesn’t silence it, only the support of others does. And I can practice self care and battle through the tears as much as I want, but along with every coping mechanism I learnt in therapy, they are merely weapons in battle. Sometimes it barely feels like a battle at all, sometimes I feel like I’m fighting for my life; that’s mental health illness, and grief for you.
I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very long winded way, is that my mental health is not good lately:
I love being a mother but I don’t love being alone. Sometimes keeping yourself strong for so long, without feeling you have anyone to lean on, becomes mentally exhausting to the point you feel like you can’t anymore.
Reuben is saving my life over and over again.
I don’t feel like I can keep fighting sometimes. I am feeling so broken lately. So exhausted. I feel as though I’ve been screaming out for someone to notice how much I need someone to really be there for me and unsurprisingly, telepathy and hints hasn’t worked.
Today, I burst into tears and had a panic attack in front of my Dad and his partner. Struggling to catch my breath, pain strangling my chest, I told them I am struggling, that I am not coping, that I am suicidal. I was so scared of how they’d react as I did but I was there, feeling like I was dying already. I haven’t had a panic attack in years. I hope I made it clear, as I want to make it clear to you, I wouldn’t leave my son behind… but that doesn’t mean feeling this way isn’t incredibly painful and scary. I am hurting inexplicably. And I am terrified that if I tell the doctor they will want to take my son away from me.
But somehow, I have been managing to parent with love and patience DESPITE feeling this way the moment he is asleep or is at his Dad’s. And somehow, despite being teary eyed and losing my appetite, I’ve still managed to do everything I am supposed to do (and often that little bit more) to take care of my son.
But I’m still afraid I will have the ‘inadequate mother’ stamp upon my review as a parent, and that the implications will be too much for me. And despite people saying that no doctor and no social services worker will take my child away for that reason, that’s why I haven’t gone to the doctors yet.
But tomorrow, I am going to get an appointment and no matter how scared I am, I’m going to tell them how I’ve been feeling.
I’m doing my best but I don’t feel okay. And I could literally write for hours about what’s wrong but that’s where I draw the line – you don’t need to know and this post is already 84 years long. So if you made it this far, congratulations, you’re officially amazing!
Please take care of yourself & thank you for reading this post!
With love, Rebecca ♡