I think I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. I don’t remember anyone actually using the term but I got anti-depressants and sort-of counselling. Maybe I was never given the PND label, maybe it was depression, because I’d started being referred before I even got pregnant, but I gave up on seeing who I was supposed to see because I was pregnant, and 18 months passed before I was back on the GP route.
That wasn’t when I started being depressed though. I was 30 when I first talked about it with a doctor; I was 17 when I first self-harmed. I cut myself in secret, I never wanted other people to know, but I needed something to relieve the pressure in my head.
I wrote on Sunday how I knew I’d be overwhelmed after five days of socialising, but the reality was still far worse than I was expecting. In retrospect (hindsight is a wonderful thing), the signs of the start of a deeper depression were there weeks ago. I’ve barely read in about five weeks, I’ve not been reading to the children, I’ve been struggling with blog posts. In short, I’ve not been enjoying the things I usually enjoy.
On Monday, I spent much of the day having thoughts like:
If I smashed the bones in my arm with a hammer, I’d get to stay in hospital, wouldn’t I? Smashed bones probably need more work but the fact I hit myself with a hammer would mean that I would get a break for a while wouldn’t it?
Is a kitchen knife or pair of scissors sharper? Which one would cut best? Glass would probably be smoother, but I might get hurt breaking something glass. What if I got too close to an artery and couldn’t phone an ambulance in time? I don’t think the girls know what to call.
I could just slam a door into my head a few times. But I’ve done that too much, and I worry I have a brain clot waiting to happen and I’ll just die suddenly…
Fortunately, I’m used to these thoughts. That sounds terrible but I have coping mechanisms in place that mean I can think the thoughts without acting on them, but I do need to shut myself away from people or the pressure builds up too much.
There is no point in me going to a doctor about depression any more. That may be the depression talking but here is why I think this:
I will be put back on antidepressants. Even on antidepressants I have days where I still feel like I’ve described above. Except I’m then drugged on all the other days and don’t know what my real thoughts are at any time. There was a period that I needed to be on antidepressants, but I now have mechanisms that work most days and I would rather not take them.
I might be offered CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) again. This does not work for me because I do not think in words most of the time so I cannot retrain my thoughts in words. This is also only offered with phone based support which also doesn’t work for me.
Face-to-face counselling with the right counsellor was very helpful, but the GP counsellor is not the right counsellor and I can’t afford £40 per week for the right one (not to mention £5 bus fare and 2 hours childcare…)
I have been trying to understand myself and now have more confidence to make statements like “Please don’t speak to me now because I need to be alone.” To me, that should be enough. That is the cue to not say any more until I’m ready. People don’t seem to understand this. They don’t accept the statement but continue to talk. Continue to ask questions, to push for answers. But my brain is at overload point. I can’t take on any more input. I’m too overwhelmed to process any more. I crash.
Monday’s thoughts were exceptional. I’m mainly merely unmotivated, feeling ineffectual, and prone to crying over anything and everything at present. I want to write about so many things, but none of the words have been working for me. So I wrote the only thing I know how to write about. This.