Thursday, 12 November 2015

Feeling a bit blue

I've been quiet. You could say silent. Why?

Well the honest answer is I've been feeling blue, or more honestly pretty down in the dumps. Yet oddly this is due to something wonderful. I'm a weird one.



I'm pregnant. I have wanted a baby with my husband for a long time and couldn't be more pleased to be having a baby. The baby bit anyway. The having bit, the pregnancy, I hate it. Isn't that an awful thing to say. It's a time when you are supposed to glow and relax and wonder at the marvel of new life. For lots of people this is true, but for me (and 10% of all pregnant ladies out there) it's simply not true. There is no reason for it in my case, but I fit most of the symptoms of antenatal (or prenatal or pregnant) depression.

It has taken some time to realise this. I'm writing this at 16 weeks pregnant. At first I felt shocked and then excited. Then the nausea kicked in and the tiredness and I spent most of my time either at work or laid in bed. I stepped out of family life almost entirely and cancelled most of my social life. I kept thinking it was just the nausea that was holding me back but then I started to feel like I was loosing control of who I am.

Time slowed down. I started crying a lot, and when people asked me why, I told the truth saying I don't know why. I started laying in bed awake at night and feeling even more exhausted in the day. I was sleeping all day and all night at weekends. I would get angry and not be able to calm down. I smashed a plate in the kitchen one night in frustration at what was happening to me. I couldn't concentrate on books, or reading for more than 20 minutes at a time and reading a book (for hours) has always been my escape.

I started waking up feeling horrified that there was another day to get through. I stopped smiling, although I'm not sure at which point.

I felt ill.

If someone had offered me the chance to be put to sleep and wake up when the baby was born I would have jumped at it. I didn't want the next 6 or 7 months of daily life.

I just wasn't myself. I don't know if feeling blue is the right way to describe it, but it sounds right to me.

Everyone has good days and bad. I know this and I have my own set of coping strategies for when I feel bad. Messing around in my journal, writing a gratitide list, ticking off a diy project, making something from scratch or best of all a few glasses of wine with good friends. Sadly the last one is on hold for quite a while and a cup of herbal tea with friends isn't the same. But I lost even the smallest amount of motivation to do any of the other things. I don't know why but I just felt too tired, too lacklustre, too apathetic.



I don't think I hit rock bottom but I realised I couldn't fix this on my own. So I asked for help. And got it. Almost three weeks ago I started taking anti- depressants. They have worked wonderfully.

I still wish I was smilling more but I'm on the right track. I feel like bit by bit I am regaining myself. It's not easy as there is little to grab hold of. This isn't a tangible thing.

I'm scared that these feelings will remain for the whole 24 weeks of pregnancy I have left. It's hard to think about feeling like this for a few more days let alone months. But, I realise I am lucky. I am feeling ill for a lovely reason and I know there is an end in sight. Many don't have even those small comforts. I try and focus on things like this, but honestly, they don't make me feel any better at all.



My recent experience has shocked me. I've always been happy to describe myself as a control freak, and then I lost control of who I am, my own thoughts were beyond my reach. It was frightening and confusing.

I've heard people talk about depression before and thought I had some idea of what they meant but I was wrong. I'd been thinking about feeling down and it's very different. I can understand why it seems to be a brain issue or chemistry as it is not related to your own thinking or what is happening in your life. I'm not sure I am explaining this properly but it's really tough to put into words.

I found reading about other people who felt the same helped me a lot. That's why I decided to write this post. Partly as I thought it might be cathartic to me, and partly because it might comfort someone.

One of my favourite quotes is from Alan Bennett in The History Boys:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

So if you are struggling with anything I have mentioned here for whatever reason: Imagine this is my way of holding your hand. Which also means you are holding mine.

None of us have to do this alone anymore. That's the wonder of the internet.