Tonight I slipped back into the darkness.
It was, in fact, more of a fall than a slip. I was like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland: falling, falling, falling, wondering if I would ever stop and what the world would look if I did. My toddler is ill and my five year old forgot how to use his quiet voice and his listening ears in bed this evening. The older one woke up the younger one; I moved them in to share a room at the beginning of the week, just another fuck up to hang from my ever expanding mummy mistakes belt. The five year old settled but the toddler was having none of it. He screamed, fidgeted and fought sleep with every ounce of his being. So I rocked him in my arms like a newborn, all 11kilos of baby chub and gorgeousness. He’s an Oscar winning actor in the making, he looked peaceful so I lay him in his cot, the second he was gently placed on the mattress he started screaming and was wide awake again. I picked him up, rocked and shushed him some more.
Will he ever sleep? Will I ever sleep? Will any of us ever sleep again?
He woke at 4am this morning, my head had been in a fog all day and now my precious evening was slipping through my fingers like fast running water. I need my evenings, I need that child free time between their bedtime and mine to unwind, spend time with my husband, just recalibrate and be me.
Rocking, shushing, screaming, on and on it went until my tears started to mix with his. ‘This is your fault’, piped up that quiet voice in my head that I’ve worked so hard to keep quiet. As soon as I heard it, it tossed another painful comment my way, ‘Leo’s going to go to sleep thinking you don’t love him because you shouted at him instead of kissing him goodnight’. Another appeared just as quickly – ‘Leo could die in his sleep and the last thing you did was tell him off’ – and another – ‘Alex might die in his sleep and it will be your fault for not just rocking him to sleep and holding him all night’ – and another – ‘Would everything be better if I was dead?’.
Once the chest full of anxious thoughts, guilt and low self confidence burst open, it was impossible to close the lid down tight again. The negative thoughts spilled all over the inside of my head, drowning my brain in fear and sadness and self loathing. More crying from me, more from my son, more rocking and shushing and no closer to either of us going to sleep. I got the husband to come help, eventually both kids were settled and asleep, but not before we were all pushed to the brink of sanity.
Tonight I fell back into the cave, I had a moment trapped in the dark place and I let myself believe I’d never be able to climb back out. I did climb back out though. The husband and I are both fighting our own battles but we are the lights that guides each other out of the hard times, the flickering match that draws you in and will never let you leave.
Tonight I just had a moment. It all got too much and I let, for a second, my brain convince me it was all too hard to keep going. It was just a moment, I looked at my boys and my husband and I let it pass. The tough situation ended, just as any logistical brain knew it would. The negative thoughts, however, they lingered. I still hear them now, the last lock on the chest in my mind still needs to be secured. I won’t let myself live under the weight of depression anymore though, I will always be battling but I will never let it win. Those thoughts, those really really dark ones of saying goodbye to this life, I will never give in to them and, please, if you feel them too, don’t you give in to them either.
Everyone has their moment in the dark at some point, don’t for one second ever think it’s just you.
When I slip from happiness into despair, I look for my lights at the end of the tunnel, my shining stars leading me home to happiness, their names are Oli, Leo and Alex. My boys. my world, my pillars of joy and my happy place, I love them and, without even trying, they always help me get back to where I want to be.
Writing and sharing for World Mental Health Day 2018
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call The Samaritans on 116 123 for support.
If you feel like you may be suffering with post natal depression here is a list of resources and charities that can help and support you.
For my honest experience of post natal depression and articles all about maternal mental health, please visit the mental health section of my blog.