I think my depression really took hold when I started having miscarriages, a stillborn child and then pumped full of hormones during a couple of failed IVF rounds. Somewhere in there I had a beautiful baby girl but found it almost impossible to bond, probably from fear of losing her. I should have been over the moon but felt like I was at the edge of sanity. I was exhausted and sad but battled on anyway. My baby girl suffered from colic and cried almost every waking moment, she slept only a few hours at a time and was a fussy babe. I tried to be the best mum I could be but what I should have done was allow someone to come in and help me. My husband was, and is, clueless. He offers what he thinks is great advice, it really isn't, but I don't like to hurt his feelings about his rudimentary advice or get into a fight over what I'm feeling; so we avoid the subject.
It seems depression is genetic in my family. My mother, grandmother and two aunties suffer(ed) from depression - one of whom was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, she eventually got out once they got her on the right medication and she stopped ranting and clawing at people. Meanwhile, she lost her kids and one even changed his surname when he got older. My own mother has been on anti-depressants for as long as I can remember - at least 40 years. It was in later years that I started to realise the effects of those anti-depressants on us, her family. My mother became distant and less empathetic especially with her kids. It was as if she felt neither sad nor happy. She often became nervous, anxious and then a full-blown agoraphobic. My siblings and I suffer from the 'loss' of our mother who seems to live on another planet and only orbit ours.
When my daughter was a year old I took her to the UK for three weeks to visit her grandma (my mother) but during our time there we saw grandma once, even though she lived 10 minutes away. I tried to arrange meetings, visits, lunch, etc. At one stage for four days in a row she didn't answer the telephone and the rest of the time made up excuses that she was busy, tired or sick. And it is a sickness, it's just so very hard to deal with. I know she loves us but she just can't be 'there' for us. I believe the medications have taken her. I can not blame, I just feel bereavement.
Many years ago I remember feeling incredibly sad and calling my mum to chat and discuss how down and depressed I felt and she almost seemed pleased, smug and relieved. She said, "yes, well you would it runs in the family." It was at that point I decided that I would not be going on any medication because it really didn't seem to help my mother or her relationships with her loved ones. I decided to ride the highs and the lows. The highs are great, the lows are painful and lonely. I say lonely because it is very hard to talk to anyone about my bouts of depression. I'm thought of as being very together, witty, smart, capable, fun; so how could I admit to anyone of having moments of such choking darkness that at times it is hard to breathe or think. I should tell everyone because I really do feel it's more common than we imagine it's just the social stigma attached to depression and mental illness that is so ignorant and unrelenting. I refuse to pretend any longer. I'm not going to drown my friends with my woes but I will let them know that I suffer and if by being more open it helps others to feel less isolated; then that's great.
I have come to terms with my mother's illness and admire her strength and courage to battle on. Having lived it I understand it.
Many ladies have asked about LWDLIK group meetings but I was loathed to start a ladies group where women are lording their first class travel and handbags over each other. But the thought of starting a help group for women going through depression and seeking help really appeals to me and I know if I can help others it will help me through my own dark spells.
So here goes I've started with a Facebook page: Depression - Down but not out
Feel free to pop by and share.