I am a wife to an amazingly patient man and a mum to two wonderful children. When my son, Sam, was about 3 months old, I realised that the contstant black hole that I was in was not just “baby blues” but instead was the onset of Post-Natal Depression. I was not coping well at all. I would take my daughter to preschool, return home with Sam and stay shut in the house most of the day. Going out and about was a stress and made me extremely anxious. If I had to leave the house, indecisiveness was my worst enemy. I couldn’t even decide what groceries to buy at the supermarket or which side of town I needed to be in. I shouted, I had no patience and I was in an extremely negative head space. And worst of all, I told no one. I pretended that everything was ok. I smiled when I was supposed to smile and laughed when I was supposed to laugh. Well, at least in public. At home I would find myself just staring. Staring at nothing. I felt an almost physical weight on my shoulders and I knew that I needed to do something about it.
Times were a bit rough. I finally summoned up the courage to tell my husband that I thought I had post-natal depression. Of course, deep down he knew that something was very wrong. His wife had disappeared. He was extremely supportive of the steps I felt I needed to take. I made an appointment at my local surgery and rolled up on a Saturday morning to speak to the GP. I told him that I thought I was suffering from PND. He asked me what my symptoms were and I listed them off. Finally, dissolving into tears, I said, “I just want to be the Mummy I am supposed to be!” He immediately confirmed my self-diagnosis, asked me to reach out to our local midwives/health visitors and prescribed anti-depressants. I gladly accepted it all. I knew I had to take the right steps to getting back to me.
I started on the anti-depressants, began weekly home visits with one of the health visitors and started taking all of the expert’s advice. I got out and about more, took a bit of time for myself, admitted that I wasn’t OK and started to see small changes. This all occurred in early 2012. I remained on anti-depressants for about a year and tapered myself off of them soon after returning from a Royal Caribbean press trip cruise in March of 2013. This was exactly the path I needed to be on. Happiness was not a destination. Happiness, for me, is a journey. It is not crystal clear and sunshiney every day of the week. I have my days that are grey and filled with question but I now know that there is a stronger me there; one that can talk sense and turn the sunshine up a bit to force the grey away.
The path to happiness is curved and hilly. I also believe it is infinite. You will always be walking on the path. There will be bumps in the road, hills to climb but ultimately, the more you look on the bright side of things, the happier that path will be. The road blocks will be easy to work around and overall, the journey will be far more smooth. Practising my #3goodthings exercise every day and picking myself up when I am flagging and finding the sunshine helps to keep me on track. Often, just stepping back and taking a breath makes everything that little bit better. How do you blow away the clouds? What keeps you on the right path? Share your inspiration with me!