Please attend to your own masks first

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,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.


The dreaded speech.Our MC, the lovely Sylda from Mind The Baby looks amused!
The dreaded speech.Our MC, the lovely Sylda from Mind The Baby looks amused!
Obligatory pouring alcoholic beverqge fro, teapot at 3am because obviously.
Obligatory pouring of alcoholic beverage from teapot at 3am because obviously.

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.

My lovely awards in all their technicolour glory.

16 thoughts on “Please attend to your own masks first

  1. So sorry you’ve been going through this. It’s not easy but it sounds like you’re on the right track now. Give yourself time, lots and lots of time, it’s not a race. It took me two full years to recover from post natal depression – despite most of the experts saying that between six to nine months is the norm. So take it at your own pace. Your awards were richly richly deserved. xxxx

  2. I’m so glad you went to your doctor and that you are getting the help you need, you are so right about the oxygen masks, you really need to look after yourself first of you want to be able to look after everyone else, you are amazing and you are going to be ok, sending you love and hugs and positive vibes, you are on the right track, keep going and you will be fine xx

  3. Oh ladybird I’m so sorry to hear things have been so tough. I always think the act of asking for help marks a turning point where things change for the better.
    Ultimately when we try and do everything, something gives. Put things back together, starting with your good self and take it from there. As for the awards, they went to the best of the best.
    Hugs xxx

  4. Aedín I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been going through and I’m so glad to hear you’re getting help. I hope you get to stay home for as long as you need to, it sounds like it’s helping. You totally deserved to win your awards, and now knowing what was going on in your mind that night, I’m so, so delighted that you were the winner on the night.

  5. Aedin, just sending you tons and tons of love, light and energy. I’ve been there, it’s beyond horrible and even more so, frightening. Another wonderful deserving-of-a prize-winning post 🙂

  6. Such an amazing post, one I’m sure that wasn’t easy write. Last Saturday night certainly lifted lots of spirits and you truly deserved your two awards. Wishing you a speedy recovery hun x

  7. So sorry to hear you are going through this. Sounds like you are on the road to recovery, space and time will do you a he’ll of a lot of good. Never any doubt in my mind you wild win an award, you are inspiring!

  8. Oh such a huge well done for how far you’ve come already. See? You are truly inspirational. I have no doubt that you will come through happier and stronger in the end but wish you all the love and support getting there. x

  9. I think we as women are our own worst enemies – trying to do it all and putting everyone else first. No wonder we crash. You have to take care of yourself because no one else will! I am so happy that you went to the doctor and things are improving. One thing I’ve learned in my struggles is that you have to make time for you – even if its just 15 minutes of reading, watching TV or journal-ling Try to plan some time for you each day – I know it is hard and it is easy to forget when you are busy, but it does help!.

  10. So sorry to hear that that arsehole depression has moved into your house, he’s not a very nice tenant but I’m glad you’re doing lots of things that are making you feel a bit better. It does take time – I was diagnosed five years ago and have had a relapse since, but you do get there. All the best wishes, the fact that you’re talking about it is a positive thing. Well done on the awards, they were so well deserved 🙂

  11. Aedin, I have taken so long to comment on this post, but let me tell you: I have been thinking of you constantly. I want you to know a few things, if you will indulge me. You are BRAVE. You are STRONG. You are TALENTED by a million. I have met you in real life, and boy, are you impressive. I am so sorry that you are going through this, but by anyone’s standards you have carried it alone for way too long. I want you to know that there are so many of us mothers here in the online ethers who are ready and able to lift you up whenever you need it. Don’t ever forget that, my sweet, because you are one special lady. All the love you you and your beautiful family. xxx

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