So late yesterday afternoon I found myself in the shower, standing under the hot, steaming water, willing the darkness away… begging it to go away. It had engulfed me from the moment I had awoken and its ugly weight had been bearing down on me all day. I was tired, but mostly I was angry. So incredibly angry. Little things were driving me unnecessarily crazy. What the hell was going on? By the time my HF arrived home from work, I was ready to lose it… really lose it. So in my mind, the only option I had was to escape. “I’m having a shower,” I grumbled as I pushed passed him on my way to our ensuite. “Sure, babe. Whatever you have to do,” came his reply. Even his understanding made me angry!
When I’m feeling this far under the cloud of my postnatal depression, the only option I have is to place myself in “timeout”. I can’t be around people, I can no longer pretend to be okay with the world when I am so clearly not. And most of all, I can’t stand myself when I’m feeling and acting this way. I can’t look at myself in the mirror without feeling disgusted by what I see, who I’ve turned into. I can’t budge the ever-present guilt of the damage such moods cause my family. So, with all that being said, I’ve had to find a sanctuary within our home I can escape to during such times of need. And that sanctuary for me is the shower. It is the one place I can truly be on my own, in my own space, alone with my own thoughts… uninterrupted. A place I feel safe.
Today I came across a post by Jenny from Tranquilamama, entitled “Split personality” (appearing as a guest blogger at PPD to Joy). I was obviously meant to come across this post for a reason. The rage described in Jenny’s post is exactly the rage I find brewing within myself during these dark times. Her physical symptoms leading up to these moments, whilst different to mine in many ways, are also very similar. That feeling, that innate NEED, to simply run away from wherever you are to ANYWHERE else is the one symptom I find I absolutely share with Jenny. It is one of the definite triggers I have to warn me of upcoming and pending disaster if I don’t act NOW (a whole other blog post in itself). It is sometimes very difficult to get a handle on what’s happening in time to avoid my meltdowns, but I’m finding my ability to do this is getting better as time goes on (and, just quietly, I think my HF is better at identifying them too). Hence, my need for a sanctuary, somewhere I can run to avoid turning into the dreaded Ms Hyde Jenny describes so well.
Fortunately for me, a well-timed shower late yesterday afternoon provided the tension relief I desperately needed and I was able to get through our evening without further problems. I was still tired, but the anger had subsided to a lesser degree of agitation and my HF was extremely considerate in not encroaching too much on the space I still craved. It’s an awful and upsetting situation to find yourself in… Standing under the shower, water beating down on you, begging for the heat and steam to ease the anger and tension you feel within yourself. All of this, just so you can walk out and face your family again – without the fear of losing control, or worse, having a complete emotional meltdown.
The hardest thing to admit about yesterday’s cloud though, is that yesterday was probably a better day in many ways than other days have been. I went shopping with the LM, we bought some great winter clothes specials and did the grocery shop. I enjoyed a latte and scones at a nice cafe while he ate his morning tea, we laughed and had (it seemed) a great time. To anyone else looking at us we would have been the perfect picture of a wonderful “mother-son outing”. Yet I felt the full force of my PND symptoms the whole time. My mask was firmly in place all day yesterday, and by the time I returned home it was suffocating me beyond belief. How truly horrifying is that… I can only hope my LM’s recollection of such times with me are not tainted in the same way. Please, let this be the case.
Thanks so much as always for sharing your time with me. This was one post I definitely needed to get off my chest, and very much thank Jenny for helping me do that.
Until next time, take care.