I was diagnosed with clinical depression over ten years ago, and have been medicated ever since. Most of the time, the medication works, and the Black Dog remains dormant. Every so often, out of the blue, he will come sniffing around again, and once more I fall in a hole, and have to fight my way back out again.
Prior to meeting my now husband, and having our daughter, the low periods were not as noticeable. Not because I didn’t have them, but because my life was in such chaos, and emotional turmoil, that every day was a roller coaster.
It has only been since settling down, and having stability in my life that the difference in my moods has been more pronounced. I actually feel it now, as opposed to before, when I was just in constant pain, and used alcohol and self harm to numb myself from everything.
Now I am aware. Not only aware of how I am feeling, but aware of how it affects the people I love.
My husband, who can’t can’t understand what I’m feeling, but supports me through it anyway, doing everything he can to help.
My daughter, though too young to be aware of what’s happening, must sense the distance. I find her hardest to deal with. When all I want to do is curl up in bed, and hide from the world until it passes, she is always there. Demanding, so needy, suffocating me. I just want her to go away. And I hate myself even more for having these thoughts, because she is not even two. She is behaving exactly as she should, and I am her mother. I am her world, it’s not her fault I can’t cope.
What about when she is older, and is more aware? When she notices the change in my mood, when I become flat, so tired and teary? Daddy will explain that Mummy is a bit sick at the moment, and needs to rest. She will learn the signs, and learn when to stay away. I don’t want to be that person.
I want to be her mother, always, who is strong and dependable, who is her rock. I don’t want mental illness in our home. I don’t want to be weak and fragile, with people tip-toeing around me, waiting for it to ‘pass’. I don’t want it at all.
I have come such a long way from the person I used to be. From all the dysfunction and drama. I was saved by my husband and my daughter, and am a better person, because of them. That Black Dog has no place in my life anymore, and I must out run him. For them.