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A mothers Loneliness

I am lying in bed wondering when the next feed will be.  It is usually around this time so it feels almost pointless to go to sleep before he wakes.  It's in these moments I dare to let my thoughts loose.  The ones I have been too busy all day with my baby to listen to.  It's in these moments I hold back the tears and try to push the welling grief down.  I am led right next to my husband, he is sleeping, and although I could just put my hand out and touch him - he feels further away than ever.I am lying here knowing I am lonelier than ever. My baby is asleep in the adjoining room, he has a cold and I can hear his nose whistling as he sleeps soundly.  In that room is my whole heart, my reason for going on, my reason for living.I have never had many friends, I came from a military family so we moved so many times friendships were fleeting and even in my adult life I have also remained nomadic! Maybe it's a learnt behaviour, not holding onto friendships because I always leave…

Motherhood and Depression: The fight of my Life

Today I woke up and for a moment I lay still staring at the ceiling and forced myself to listen to my breath.  I lay there and felt my chest rise and fall as I breathed.  It took all my will power to keep my focus on my breath, a mindfulness technique I have been taught.  I did this for maybe 30 seconds maybe a minute as my husband got up to the baby.  I was lying there trying to keep my focus off the one thing that has dominated my thoughts recently.  The dark, dismal feelings that have clawed their way into my life that bring with them the thoughts that I just can’t go on anymore.  These thoughts bring with them tears and heartbreak and they make living a normal life more and more difficult.

My bipolar disorder has made me prone to depression.  It is a life long battle, but as my husband carries my beautiful son into our room that battle has to be put on hold; a momentary truce.  He is my world, the reason my heart beats and despite my turmoil he is not going to see me cry.  I take a deep breath and I put my mask on for the day; as so many people do who suffer with mental health illness.  Its not hard to smile when my little boy is around. To the outside world it would be hard to know that my life is blackened with depression - and that is how it must be!

But the problem is that truces are temporary and each momentary stand off is just building for a bigger battle! I can keep this battle going for a while, but not forever, ultimately there will be a ppint where all my defences will fail and I will face that demon again, the one who brings me to my knees and gives me a choice to live and fight or to give in to those thoughts and make them actions.

So many people read stories like this and will never understand.. They may think pull yourself together, or how selfish to feel so low when you have so much.  It’s not materialistic, depression! It doesn’t just go away by shrugging it off. It’s an illness, almost the same as the flu, annoying, lingering, debilitating and unwelcome!  This blog isn’t for those people who can scoff at others struggles - those lucky few who have not encountered my long standing nemesis do not even need to read this. This blog is for me to share with others the struggles of dealing with depression as a mother!

Depression has never been easy, but it somehow felt easier when there wasn’t a little human who needed me so completely! Before motherhood I could keep the mask on while I worked, sob on the way home in the car and have a hot bath and curl up on the sofa or retreat to the bed if need be!  Even when things got so bad I could no longer work there were no problems with me taking to my bed for days at a time to cry, sleep and repair! But not anymore!

Having a baby was the single most wonderful thing I have ever done, he is my world,  my entire world, I adore him and he brings me more joy and happiness than I ever thought possible! But that joy does not protect me from depression! What it does mean is I have a huge reason to keep living, to keep fighting and that is a beacon of light in the darkness!  I have always found hope to be the best weapon to fight depression and my son gives me all the hope I could ever need!  But it doesn’t make it easy when depression comes knocking and that is sometimes the cruelest thing about depression.  It doesn't care whether your life is full of love and joy it still comes, to darken your days.

For me having a baby has made my self care even harder!  Not only do I have to keep going for him, I have to keep that mask on for a whole lot longer and the need to rest and recover is slipping down the list of priorities! For me not getting enough sleep has always been a trigger, and one thing all new mums will agree with is that getting sleep becomes like hunting for the holy grail!  My baby is 14 months old and still wakes most nights and this prolonged sleep deprivation is certainly making me feel more and more exhausted and less and less able to cope!  It also makes my other coping methods a lot less appealing; walking and running require energy which is something I just don’t have at the moment!  I also like to read but my books have become dust magnets as I turn my time into playing, singing and entertaining my little boy!  My evenings have become about catching up on chores or staring blankly at the TV, a bath is a rare luxury which I squeeze in when I can.  It also is a lot harder to hold myself together once that little ray of light has finally gone to sleep for the night.  Thats often when I quietly sob to myself, I feel at my weakest and the battle against depression seems at its most futile. Its in these moments when the facade slips and those emotions I supressed so well all day flood to the surface.  Its then the battle rages where my rational brain tries to find logic in my sadness, battled to restore order to my emotionally ravaged heart.  I fall apart briefly.  That is the way wars go. Victories and losses. Somedays progress is made other days it looks hopeless. Nobody knows who has won until its over.  Somedays I don't think it will ever be over.

It doesn't matter whether I am winning or losing its the fact I am still fighting that really matters. My little boy comes first, that is why I get up every day. And by continuing to fight there is hope.  I may never defeat depression but I will find a way to keep it in its place. Beneath me, in the dirt where it belongs. From there I will stop surviving and start living.  That is the hope; maybe that is all I need.


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