I suffer from a few mental health problems that I have tackled well over the years. Once I was a very sick young woman but now I’m much more stable, much happier. Much better.
But not perfect.
No one ever is going to be 100% mentally or physically healthy and I am very aware of that when it comes to my own health as I battle the long term effects of my fractured ankle. However, the change in me and my life has been quite something if you knew me eight years ago. Hell, five years ago. Bethend often remarks on it, because she’s been through a lot of the change with me.
I have been diagnosed with a few things; depression, social phobia and anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve been non-compliant with my medication, self-harmed, overdosed, tried to commit suicide. I’ve been in therapy, under the care of the crisis team, had an OT, been in group therapy (that last one really stuck).
I haven’t self-harmed in over two years. And only once or twice in the past five years. I can’t remember the last time I overdosed to tried to kill myself. I’ve faithfully taken my meds every day for years now – only forgetting on occasion.
The person I am now is the person I want to be. The person I am now is the person I know can be a good mum. A stable mum.
But I still have my problems. Mostly the anxiety. This is going to be my biggest challenge when we Snappy is born and when he gets older. Some days I’m okay, nothing bothers me. Some days I wake up shaking and am a little off all day. My panic attacks are few and far between but there is one thing that never really changes.
I don’t want to go anywhere.
A lot of the time it’s not wanting to socialise – not wanting to go to parties or to have dinner with people, meet up with friends or family. Sometimes I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t want to go to the shop and I don’t even want to sit in the garden in the sun. It’s not that I want to be a hermit, it’s just that sometimes I really want to be a hermit. With broadband. And crisps.
I’d make a crap hermit.
The thing is, I can’t handle being inside for too long nowadays, I start losing focus and get a little cabin fever. I need to go out as much as I want to stay in. It’s not good for my mental health.
There is another consideration now too.
I’m going to be a mum soon.
Very soon and I can’t just hide myself away from the world because I don’t like being around people – that’s not fair to Snappy and it’s not fair to my wife. I will want to take the baby places but more importantly, he will want to go places and see people and it’s healthy for him to want to socialise. Hopefully, he will not have any of the anxiety problems that I or his other mum suffer with. That’s another post, though.
I do not want to be an anxious mum but I am, I will be. I can be a good mum though regardless.
The difference is that these bouts of anxiety do pass. Eventually. I do fight it with more success than before, I do go places even when I don’t want to. Even when everything down to the core of me shakes and I want to scream with how much I don’t want to go out.
I spent most of yesterday not wanting to go out. I didn’t want to go to a party and I was still going to the party. By the time it came around I actually felt better. I think it helped that my wife felt better too (neither of us had a great morning), and I found her swimwear (it had been lost in the house for a week). I went out and mostly enjoyed myself (strangers, poor phone signal and period pain make it hard to completely enjoy myself. More importantly, though I know my wife enjoyed herself a lot (our friend’s mum has a hot tub and it was good for her back). That’s all I really care about, who I really care about. She wanted to go, and she had fun.
This is how I hope to live my life with my son. If I have to force myself out into the world, if I have to be uncomfortable then so be.
I just hope I can do it.