It’s truly ironic that I blog about depression and advocate on social media to break mental health stigma and yet when it comes to accepting my own battle with PND and anxiety I still have a long way to go.
Most people find diagnosis to be a helpful turning point, and it was for me too in a lot of ways because it was the beginning of treatment and recovery. But it also stuck a huge, icy shard of terror, and if I’m being really honest, shame into my heart.
After a long struggle I began to make peace with PND. I told myself it was just this one isolated problem and I was getting treatment and it would be over soon, and I could forget all about depression and get on with my life.
And I did. Life was pretty good for 18 months. I came off my medication, I bid farewell to my therapist. I told myself that I would happily turn back to both options should I need to but in my heart I desperately prayed I wouldn’t. This was “just” PND, just because I had a baby, and sure it may come back if I have another baby but otherwise it was over.
What a bloody fool I was. Anxiety reared it’s ugly head again and I think the reason I have struggled to claw my way out this time is because I’m so damn angry and bitter that apparently it wasn’t actually over, and there’s a chance I may have to deal with depression and anxiety for the rest of my life. I know this isn’t definite and I’m working hard to manage my thoughts and symptoms but it’s tough, and it’s made tougher when I battle against the fact that I have a mental health issue.
But I’m getting there, I’m making slow progress on dealing with this fact and accepting that yes, I struggle with depression and anxiety, and given that my son is 2 years old maybe it is regular “garden” variety rather than PND. This is a hard fact to get my head around but I know from experience that the more I resist, the more I struggle, the worse I feel. So I’m trying to move towards full acceptance.
In the meantime, I’m separating the illness from my core being and my life. It’s something I have to treat and deal with but it’s not me. I can still live my life alongside it. I can still count my incredible blessings. I can still enjoy my son.
The best thing to come from the last couple of months is the glimmer of hope that when (when not if, when not if) I recover again I will feel much more comfortable in my own skin than I did before.
Does anyone else struggle with acceptance?