This has been started and restarted too many times to count tonight. Always trying to find the right words, always trying to make sense, trying to direct it at a certain person or in a certain way. I shouldn’t try so hard. All I really need is to get it out of my head in a more harmless way…who cares how it reads. So here it is. Bare-faced honesty. Tonight I am not OK. Tonight I have cried, I have realised that no matter how broken I am there are still fractions, pockets, shards of me that can break further. I thought I was stronger now, I thought I was through the storm. I thought maybe I could leave depression and all its nastiness behind me like a bad dream and awaken stronger and more alive than ever. But tonight I was dragged under again by the relentless pounding of unwanted words, left floundering out of my depth in feelings I thought were long gone.
I have been fearful this week; concerned I may be losing my already tentative footing and slipping back into the murky reality of depression. Invitations to socialise have gone unanswered as I have slowly disengaged myself from those around me in favour of early nights and silent lonely tears. Raising a child alone is hard; raising one whilst wrestling with the inner demons that come with post-natal depression is a never-ending battle of wills. I don’t want to regress to the place I was eighteen months ago, I barely made it back the first time. And yet even as I realise the dangers of where I am headed, still I maintain my façade to the world, using my smile as a smokescreen and my words as a barrier to perception. Tomorrow the childminder will hear “I’m fine” as I silently curse myself for leaving my baby all day. Tomorrow my colleagues will hear “I’m fine” as I inwardly berate myself for being shit at my job and letting my team down. Tomorrow my family will hear “I’m fine” as I wonder for the millionth time if they would be happier without me here. My ex won’t hear my silent “I love you”, my sister won’t hear my silent “help me”, my friends won’t be privy to my silent “please don’t leave me alone tonight”. They will all hear that I am fine. I will back it up with a reassuring smile. And I will leave them to battle my demons alone once more.
Perhaps this is the time to swallow my pride and ask for help. I appreciate that it is for my daughter as much as it is for me. It’s not fair to expect a one year old to be my saviour every day. It’s not fair on her for me to entertain the thought – even if it is just a fleeting thought – that she would be better off with another mother, no matter how saint-like that other mother may be in comparison to me. It’s not fair for those who do still love me to watch me self-destruct again while they are powerless to intervene.
Why does it have to be so damn hard. I am grateful, every single day, for what I have. For the daughter I wanted so much, for the love she has for me, for the love I have for her. For the future memories we are going to make, for the laughter we are going to share. I am grateful. I cherish every minute, even the shitty tantrums that almost make my ears bleed, and the poo explosions that make my eyes water and the endless requests for Wheels On The Bus. I am thankful for it all. Why can’t that be enough? Why can’t I let go of what was to make room for what will be? Why can’t I shake this constant barrage of negativity in my head?
I’ve rambled enough tonight. Time to sleep. Those demons aren’t going to fight themselves tomorrow….