Thursday, 12 September 2013

I thought it was time I let you know that I am coping. Sort of.

Let's put it this way.

I am going to be okay.

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At the start of this week I really thought that was it. I could feel depression crawling all over me. Those tell-tale signs that only someone who has personally suffered it recognises. The fear in the pit of your stomach. The emptiness. The black clouds. The dread that you will be left alone with your thoughts and then the reality of when you are in the shower cubicle, sobbing, as the shower head washes away your tears.

I had a really tough day at work on Monday for many reasons and by lunchtime I felt full of a cold. My nose was so blocked that my sinuses stung and felt heavy. I was exhausted and aching all over. I was desperately holding back tears. Ollie had screamed so loudly that morning when I left him at nursery that I had had to sit on a bench outside the building and calm myself down before I allowed myself to get into the car. As I sat there I had continued to hear his cries and my heart had broken a little bit more with every one.

I went home on Monday night and I felt about as bad as I have ever felt. I knew it had gone beyond just sadness now. Just guilt. Just unhappiness. That I was going to be very ill again unless I fought with everything I have to stop it.

Even as I write this I cringe that someone might think of me as being weak. Might think that depression is a weakness, when someone allows it all to get too much and falls apart when others can cope. So many of you have messaged me to send support and words of kindness which has been amazing, but even when you tell me your stories of returning to work and how hard it was, I still think, they must think I'm so weak then, even though I know you are sharing in sympathy and comradery.

I think its just that I, myself, think I am weak, or failing somehow, that I am struggling so very much so very suddenly. So I have to remind myself of that phrase, "depression is a curse of the strong", and that I am not weak, and this is not my fault, and I am going to fight it. I am not just struggling with going back to work. There are a lot of things I am struggling with, the biggest of which being an illness which has reared its ugly head before and which I am doing everything to battle with again.

On Tuesday, my day off, I spent the day with Oliver, and with friends. We went to baby song  and everyone asked me about how work was and told me I looked really tired and I just wanted to cry. I actually had to walk out of the centre at one point and take deep breaths. It seems so dramatic. And then I did what I always do, I sunk back into myself. I decided that I needed to distance myself from my friends because I was this boring, weak, horrible person, who couldn't cope, who wasn't coping, and I was useless. I berated myself and became furious at my own unhappiness. And then my friend Viv came outside and gave me a good talking to. And told me that I was going to spoil the days off I had with Oliver if I didn't appreciate them and valued every single second with him. And told me how wonderfully lucky we are to be part time and not full time and there are so many things which could be so much worse. And whilst the whole work thing is really not the full problem, it is part of the problem, it is perhaps the trigger to this unhappiness, and so I decided to listen to her and take it on board. And we walked with our prams and we talked about all the good things and how our beautiful babies are almost one. And we walked to a lovely big park and planned first birthday parties and a night out for the mums. And I talked a bit about work and about nursery but I talked a lot about friendship and babies and Oliver and how much I love him. And I went home with a smile on my face.

And then on Wednesday I had a really really good day at work. Everything just fell into place. And I had moments when I thought, "This is why I am doing this. This is why I am here and not with Oliver. And he is okay". He barely cried when I left him in the morning. And when I collected him he held onto me so tightly and smiled so much that I knew I was forgiven. I had no work to do on Wednesday night so I watched tv and drank Archers and lemonade which I know is a ridiculous girly drink but it always makes me think of holidays and summer fun. And then I woke up today and I felt brilliant, again.

Sometimes it just takes a friend to really tell you straight. Sometimes it takes more than that. Years of therapy, or pills, or life under a black cloud. But sometimes you can fight it. And you can make yourself happy again.

I am not saying it is going to be easy, but I am coping. And I will cope. And I know I can do this working mummy business. And I can deal with all the things I don't like about my job. Because I am a mummy now. And my little boy is going to be one whole year old very soon and I know I have done a damn good job at making his first year a very happy one. So I shall be happy about that. And happy and grateful that I have him. And that I have the privilege of looking after him myself twice during the week and not having to work every hour God gave to put a roof over our heads.

On that note, we are moving house, but that's a whole other story :)

It's good to be back.

I have about five posts drafted, none of which are me being a misery guts, just in case you were wondering.

Thank you for reading x


  1. You're doing so well and it is so important for people to hear honest experiences like yours. Take care of yourself from your firstname twin!!!

  2. You are doing brilliantly, Joanna!


  3. You're doing so well Joanna! Sometimes a friend giving you an honest head wobble really is the best medicine. x

  4. Oh Joanna. You are brilliant and you are doing amazing. Your honesty is so admirable. I always want to send you hugs. You are beyond brave. x

  5. Oh pickle. You are doing amazingly. I've been there, it feels like a long time ago now, but I remember that feeling very well. For me, it was the all-consuming guilt. For such a long time I felt guilty and it isn't weakness, it's a strength because it's the power of how much we love our sons. It does get better. I've been back at work for over a year now and it's I have bad days, but I promise you, I'm really happy. xxx

    1. Thank you Charlotte. Its good to hear other people's stories which have turned out well. I think I'm doing okay. Emotionally I'm a lot better than I was and I'm getting used to the routine. Just need to find a new job really which will solve a lot of problems! If only there was more out there! xx

  6. We are not just reading for cheery posts, we are reading to hear how you are doing, and to see the real life of a real person who struggles with things. So don't worry about writing sad posts or depressed posts, they are all part of it! I am so sorry to hear you struggle with depression. I have no advice (you probably need advice like a hole in the head anyway) but just want you to know you have all my sympathy and I am cheering you on from across the internetz. Ollie is such a lovely adorable little man, who wouldn't struggle to have to leave him? Lots of virtual hugs. xx


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