2015, it’s been a funny old year so far. The highs have been high, the lows have been truly fucking terrifying. Nearly three months ago, I walked out of my job. Well not quite. I suffered a huge panic attack and rather than experience a public meltdown of epic proportions, I chose to walk out of the door and into my car. Then I realised it wasn’t really the done thing to walk out of a secure permanent job in the middle of a mortgage application. So I turned back, made it to a friend’s desk and then had the epic public meltdown before she put me in a room and called my supervisor over.
There has been stress,so much of it. Stress pouring out my ears,as if I was a cartoon character and guilt that I’m not there enough for my children, for Mini in particular.That she is not progressing as she should be because I’m out of the house for hours at a time.Then there’s the job that I am wholly unsuited to yet persist with under the strain of the old adage that any job is better than no job. And underneath it all that voice, that horrible inner voice that tells me how shit I am-no career, no prospects,no future. It all kept piling on and smothering me until I reached breaking point.Hence the walk out. So I finally took the advice of a very good friend and I called my doctor. I knew what she was going to diagnose. I’ve known things weren’t right for quite some time. It’s so hard to admit you have a problem.I don’t quite believe that ignorance is bliss but a head in the sand feels alright a lot of the time. I’ve read a lot of courageous blog posts from incredibly brave men and women who have spoken about their mental health issues. It’s taken me some time to find the strength to write about my own battle. It was terrifying when the doctor spoke those words that I had been too scared to even voice aloud. Depression. That black cloud, that lead ball that has settled in the pit of my stomach, dragging me down. That voice getting louder and louder as the days pass,telling me I’m a terrible mother,a useless human being,an absolute fucking waste of space, shit at everything.
I’m still off work. I’m not sure if/when I’ll be back. Most of the time I’m fine. Then that voice returns,harsh and angry and full of disdain for my efforts in this life.After it’s the nauseous wave of anxiety that hits with such a force it makes me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and never unfurl.
I heard a counsellor on the radio the other day using the oxygen mask analogy. In this life,you need to tend to your own oxygen mask first.Only when you are in a healthy state mentally,can you then look after others. So I’ve been taking time for myself to figure stuff out,to tackle depression head on and mostly to breathe. Yoga,acupuncture,counselling sessions,running,coffee mornings with mates, incredible support from my partner-all these have helped enormously. I have an appointment with my doctor to talk medication when we get back from our holiday in France. I was resistant to the notion for so long but it’s something I need to try. Much like Iarnrod Eireann,I’m not there yet but I’m getting there. I can see that warm,inviting light but there’s still a way to go in this particular tunnel.
Last Saturday was my first ever 5k. I ran the shit out of it in just under 29 minutes. Fucking delighted with myself so I was. The things that you can do when your mind is in a much stronger state. Saturday was also the day of the first ever Irish Parenting Bloggers Awards.What started out as a regular run of the mill night out away from the kids blossomed into a slick professional operation that incorporated awards,3 course dinner,canapes,fantastic sponsors, awesome goody bags and a heavy dose of craic. The night ran so smoothly it was a wonder. Big kudos to Lisa from Mama.ie,Sylda from Mind the Baby, Fi from Dolly Dowsie,Suzy from the Airing Cupboard,Helen from the Busy Mamas,Laura from Raising Elves and Deb from The Clothesline. Those ladies put on a show we ‘ll all be talking about for years to come.
Interspersed with all this bubbles,nibbles and merriment,there was the matter of who would go home with the awards,which in true,unique Irish Parenting Bloggers style were beautifully designed teapots from the mega talented Colorines Wonderful.
So while I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend time again amongst these amazing women again-women who I’ve learned from them, been in awe of, laughed with, cried with and formed relationships with, at the back of my mind there was the fact that I had made the final list in four categories.And that horrible voice came again from within.
You don’t deserve to be here.You’re a phony,a fake,a loser.
But then something amazing happened. The award for Most Inspirational Blog went to…Minis and Mum.To be recognised by your peers is something exceptional. And I was. Twice!!I also went home with the award for Best Blog Post for this. My speeches were absolutely rubbish but were mercifully quick. I really didnt expect to take home anything as the quality of the competition was of such a high standard.
So while the voice still hasn’t been silenced,she’s getting quieter and quieter. I don’t know what lies ahead but I feel as if I’ve turned the corner and for the first time in a long while I feel excited about the future. Since I’ve been off work,Mini has become more and more vocal.I dont know if its a coincidence but I feel as if shes doing better with me at home. Myself and the Frenchman have been doing the dreaded sums and we think its feasible to live off a single income for a while. As women,we try to have it all but in doing so there is always the risk that we end up with nothing.I sacrificed my mental health for too long now.The past few months have been all about getting back on track. It’s been desperately needed and I never want to experience this low again. For now Im taking it one day at a time and if I’m lucky,a few more days like last Saturday will see me right.