WHY DON’T I JUST DRIVE INTO A BRICK WALL?
It was around 4 years ago, just before my little boy turned 1, that I finally admitted I needed help.
Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Every single day for me at this time was a struggle.
The above thought, that had gone through my head that day, made me think *maybe* the way I was feeling, was not normal.
I had a long drive to work that day, as I was visiting a store in West Wales for my day job, and for the whole hour and a half my head was filled with dark, dreadful thoughts. I went over and over why I felt empty, why it felt like I didn’t love my husband, my kids and my life and why I couldn’t feel anything at all any more, happiness, joy or excitement.
Quite simply, I didn’t really see the point or purpose of living.
I had lost myself and didn’t know where to find me.
When I finally got to my destination I sat in the car rooted to the spot, crying and wondering how the hell I was going to make it through a whole day’s work. The very thought of having to get out of the car terrified me and I DID NOT WANT TO DO IT...
But then I wiped my eyes, plastered on a smile and walked into the shop with the usual energy and passion that is always expected of me.
No one knew any different.
Keep calm and carry on.
That’s what we’re told isn’t it?
That night, in secret (my husband was at the gym) I sat down and googled postnatal depression.
I watched a video that was something along the lines of ‘12 signs of PND’, however even still at this point, I was convinced I wouldn’t have any, maybe one or two at a push.
By the time the video had ended, I was in floods of tears again, and I had ticked off every single sign- with vigour.
When Rob came home I asked him, as casually as I could muster, (the tears now hidden away and supportive, loving wife mode back in play) if he thought I might have PND.
Without a moment’s doubt, he replied yes.
We had a long talk that night and unbeknownst to me, he had already discussed this with his counsellor (he was receiving treatment for PTSD at the time) and was already more aware of what I had, than even I was.
It felt SO NICE to talk about the feelings that had been swirling around and around in my brain non-stop for the past 10 months to someone, weighing down on me like a tonne of bricks.
Talk to your loved ones - even if they don’t know what to say. Just listening helps.
Later that evening I started journalling, as recommended on the PND website, as a way to document my feelings to try to understand a bit more and express what I was going through.
I wrote down how I felt I had come to that point and what I thought I could do to help.
I made a plan of attack and promised myself I would do things I needed to do, to get myself better, even though I knew they would be out of my comfort zone.
Like meeting up with friends... and exercising!
I loved writing so much as therapy, that I set up my Mummy blog page to document my journey of finding myself and the many fitness-related things I trialled to try to get fit, lose weight and gain confidence...
I joined a netball team a year later to force myself out of the dark space I had hidden in for 18 months and to make a commitment to exercise... joining the gym is one thing, but unless you know what you’re doing, you really do feel like a lost puppy amongst all those machines and women walking around in crop tops with 6 packs...
The way fitness picked me up, made me feel strong and improved my mood and mind so drastically was the biggest wake up call for the way I lived my life.
Making a commitment to fitness was easy when I knew just how essential it was in making me feel like ME again and exercise went from a want to a NEED.
That need, eventually led to a brand new career for me, one that involved helping mums work on themselves and here I am today... something that would never have happened had I acted on my thoughts on that darkest day.
Mamau Ffit is my new baby… and I get to help Mums just like me, every day.
I have never felt as low as I felt that day, and I have certainly never wanted to not be here, since then.
It’s still a work in progress and I do have low days from time to time but the big grey cloud that constantly consumed me is gone.
Hopefully, for good.
Sometimes just recognising the issue and accepting it, is the most important step, as that it where your road to recovery, no matter how bumpy, begins.
There is SO much help out there for anyone who is having suicidal thoughts, feelings that they are overwhelmed, anxiety, depression or anything at all that is affecting your mental health.
The charity MIND are amazing (link below) - I did a mental health first aid course with them and they are just wonderful.
Your GP speaks to far more people about these things than you imagine- they’ve also got access to further help for you with expert knowledge of local charities, support groups, more medical help if needed through the fantastic perinatal mental health team and more.
Please, please ask for help if you need it- and keep an eye on those around you as not everyone is ready to speak out.
I am more than happy to privately talk to anyone who thinks they may be going through this.
Stay strong, mamas, it won’t always feel like this, I promise.
You do NOT only have one way out.
You have a way FORWARD.