I have wondered for a few days whether or not to post this, but in the end I decided to publish and be damned. I had had this in my mind as a post-title for some time, independently of the photo competition, and it felt like fate. Maybe I’ll regret it, but I hope not.
This is my medication.
I’ve had postnatal depression for the last fifteen and a half months, with an extra helping of anxiety on the side. It’s a long time to have been ill, and sometimes it feels as if it’s never going to end. It has manifested in several ways: panic, sleeplessness, sickness. No mother wants to be physically sick when they hold their baby: surely that’s not the way it’s supposed to be? The really vicious symptoms seem to be diminishing, but I’m left facing a long, dull expanse of time in which, though nothing’s particularly bad, I feel that I’m never really going to feel happy ever again. It’s horrible, and I want it to stop.
There’s a prevailing feeling in society that people with mental health problems shouldn’t talk about them, a bit like the way previous generations used to refer to cancer euphemistically as “a long illness”. This seems like an awful idea: this is nothing to be ashamed of. It isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s nothing I’ve done to myself by being stupid or irresponsible: I simply had a baby, and my body and my mind didn’t cope too well with the process. Eoin is, as I’m sure you can tell, a happy, healthy little chap, for which I’m very grateful. I hope I’ll get well soon. For the moment, though, I do wish I didn’t always feel so blue.