It’s been creeping around for days now. Peering its ugly head around the corners of your mind and daring to approach to see if, like last time your attention is elsewhere and you’ve forgotten to lock the front door. However, this time you were waiting by the gate for it. This time you were aware of its existence and were determined not to be caught off guard, un-warned and unarmed.
It worked for a while; however, you had underestimated its level of perseverance and dogged determination. In its mind you were his all along and it is now back to reclaim what is rightfully his. It has done this before. It has taken you over and robbed you of months of your life, casting you under its dark and forboding spell. Therefore, you both know, that its confidence in being able to dominate you once more, is well founded.
Post Natal Depression is a sneaky and determined mother f%&^£$! As despite you being a fully-fledged graduate from the school of PND and well versed in the warning signs, something has managed to take hold and commence a second attack. Somehow it has managed to grasp hold of the periphery of your being and is determined that if it can hold on for long enough the reserves and walls of support and defence you had managed to rebuild following its last visit will come crashing down and the all too familiar feelings of despair and darkness will wash over you taking you to depths deeper than you have ever experienced or imagined.
You were not the only one anticipating its return. It was also prepared for this second attack. As you became stronger during the first battle, recognising and then avoiding certain triggers, facing certain anxieties head on and beginning to smile with meaning again, so PND has also learnt. It is aware of the strength overcoming Post Natal Depression rewards its victims with. It is aware of the mind games us survivors are able to play to manoeuvre agilely around emotional obstacles that would have once left us dumbfounded and without a safe passage home. Like you , it has also become stronger and its profound knowledge of the depths of our character, the truest of our loves and the deepest of our fears mean we have to be stronger and smarter than ever before to out manoeuvre and outwit the bastard that is PND.
You didn’t think anything could match the shame and despair you felt when diagnosed with PND for the first time. It’s only now facing the prospect that it has returned, that you realise the one thing worse than that first diagnosis is facing up to the realisation that despite your best efforts it has somehow managed to creep back into your life for a second time. Leaving you terrified of the prospect of having to re face what you had set your heart against never having to put yourself or your family through again. You were rid of “that” person and the old you, the true and happy you was finally home and ready to start living and enjoying.
The re-match with Post Partum Depression catches you the moment you think it has been banished for good. It traps you in limbo between the murky darkness and fog that has plagued you for what feels like forever and your new, bright and shiny existence where you don’t cringe at the sharpness in your voice. A place where your first thought is not “Please God make this a good day”. A safe and contented life where your husband does not walk on egg shells desperate to support you whilst shielding himself from the cross fire from the imposter that has taken the place of his once loving and happy go lucky wife.
Teetering between these two potential existences is terrifying and exhausting. One wrong thought, action or memory could send you over the precipice into the darkness of what you were considering as the battle you had managed to overcome.
This, my fellow comrades, is what you need to remember and hold onto when your resistance is at its lowest. You are a survivor of PND. You are no longer solely a victim of it with no idea of how to get through to the other side. You have fought this battle before. You have been taken to the darkest corners of your soul and survived. This means you now have an arsenal behind you and all the tools of the trade to face this head on and keep facing it head on until the message gets through that you will not be beaten. It’s now time for PND to “F off” once and for all. That if it dares return, no matter how strong it comes at you, thanks to PND and what it has taught you about yourself and the strength and determination you are able to muster (even when at your lowest) you will be ready. You are ready to face this motherf$%£*% down as this is your new bright and shiny life and no-one, not least PND is going to remove you from it or be allowed to take away the joy and happiness that is so rightfully yours.
If you currently have an unwelcome house visitor, whether it is the first, second or third time it dare darken your door, you need to grab it by the balls and in no uncertain terms tell your illness:
“You are NOT going to beat me. You are NOT allowed to take me over. This is MY life. MY mind. MY body. You need to be on your way.”
I am asking for your help and the help of Every Mum out there to spread the message that Every Mum Deserves the Right to Enjoy Motherhood and that Every Mum needs to b Mentally Buff! Therefore, I would LOVE you to come and join The Enjoy Mum Movement here and show your support by following the movement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Love Liv xx
(Founder of The Every Mum Movement)