Weekly photo challenge: Blue

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.

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18 thoughts on “Weekly photo challenge: Blue

  1. Hi,
    Life is a full color wheel! Very nice image and post. I hope and pray that you get well soon. Good luck and good health to Eoin. The wheel is turning 🙂

  2. I’m actually pleased post-natal depression is being recognised. For a long time it wasn’t acknowledged. Wishing you well soonest.

    Your simile with cancer is spot-on. Perhaps mental illness is the new cancer? The one we don’t talk about because it is ‘our fault’? Cancer is no longer dirty or infectious or whatever the problem was, but mental illness? Self inflicted and we should be – better?

    A very strong post, incidentally.

    • Thanks. I have been wondering for ages whether I should write something about this, and, when the topic came up, I thought it was time. I think it would be worse of me if I didn’t talk about it: bottling things up is really not the answer, and, when I was doing that, I was on my way to being *really* ill. Fortunately, my doctor worked out what was wrong very quickly.

      I think, with PND, guilt is a huge factor. It’s so easy to compare yourself negatively to other mothers, and to assume that everyone else is doing fine and that it’s only you that’s struggling and having these feelings. I’m still working on that side of things…

      • I do think it is great that you have written this post. When I worked in the NHS we were only just starting to set up PND services. It was like it didn’t exist. It does, and everyone needs to accept that, and help people with PND. Simple really. I wish!

        But don’t you think any mental illness is about guilt factor? Imposed externally? I’m getting off topic but I guess you can see the point.

      • I can’t really speak for other people, but it (the guilt) has certainly been my experience. I also have a degree of “Why can’t you just pull yourself together? Other people have *real* problems. You have nothing to complain about…” which I suppose is pretty common. I guess being good at beating yourself up is a pretty big part of the whole situation. This post really nails it, I think.

      • How can something have 4000+ comments?!!

        But it does initially confuse sadness and mental depression which aren’t the same. It’s unfortunate that the clinical use of the term is not the normal linguistic one.

        I think the apathy and the inability to do anything was an excellent point. Just why? And it is so incomprehensible if you haven’t been there.

      • I’m certainly never going to have 4000 comments any time soon!

        It’s the middle section which encapsulates it for me: the part of yourself that tells you there’s really nothing wrong, so why are you moping? Other people would love to be in your situation! Do you know how many couples have fertility problems, IVF, miscarriages, stillbirth… And you’ve got a perfectly healthy baby and you haven’t even got the good grace to be happy about it? What’s wrong with you? Call yourself a mother? And so on…

        Maybe I need to rent a few horror films and eat a big bag of Skittles? 😉

  3. A zillion hugs to you… but you already knew that 😀

    Love the photo, and what you said; no illness should be taboo, particularly ones that don’t show up on the surface.

    p.s. I totally never knew that whole ‘long illness’ thing: Things Suddenly Make More Sense Now.

    • I know: all sorts of 1950s book and film references suddenly fall into place, don’t they?

      Many hugs back, and a special love from Eoin: he’s looking forward to showing off his new ambulatory skills for you!

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