When my lovely friend asked me to write my story I was initially terrified at having to relive it all again, but then I decided that if the truth of what I have to say helps somebody else then hey it will have been worth it.
To be honest it hit me like a ton of bricks the day my third child drove himself to school on his muck up day to mark the end of his school career. I suddenly found myself jobless after 25 years of total devotion to my children, with an ending as abrupt as a gate shutting in my face. I remember falling to the ground and sobbing until I knew my heart had broken into a thousand pieces. My last baby no longer needed me. To admit to you that my life then spiralled out of control so fast, is no word of a lie. Within days with the total support of 2 incredible friends who knew something was amiss, I was persuaded to see a counsellor, where my whole world seemed to tumble out. I saw 4 different therapists before I found the perfect fit for me. To begin with my friend came with me, as it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, she held my hand and gently persuaded me to walk up the endless flight of stairs to what I thought was the room of doom, but I soon realised was a place of safety, where I could cry, think and just ‘be’ in the moment. I found it so hard to accept that I was in chronic depression.
I was quickly put on anti depressants by my consultant, but this took several go’s before I found one that suited me. Even now a few years on, my meds change as my mood improves or falls behind. Unfortunately I was in such a bad place, I still couldn’t admit to what was really going on, until 18 months on, it was suggested that I see a trauma therapist as well. My illness was quickly diagnosed as PTSD and almost immediately I felt such relief that in the privacy of this room I could tell my pretty horrific story, and for someone to really understand what I had been through.
I have learnt with depression that the whole world seems like a gloomy place. My friends told me that I never used to be like that, and with help I could get back to my ‘happy’ place. It seemed that no sooner had I got over one hurdle then the next one would appear to provide me with fear, anxiety, sickness and social ineptness. The thought of seeing anyone, talking on the phone, enjoying life was way beyond my capabilities, and when I was put in a social situation I was reassured that my meds would look after me. Only they didn’t as most of the time I ended up like a jibbering wreck, in tears, shaking & truly feeling as if I was somewhere on the outside looking in. I was trying to run in quicksand, but I simply sunk deeper and deeper, unable to move…’stuck’ in my own body.
I don’t blame you if by now you want to read a more cheerful story, but let’s face it by the time you hit the menopause shit happens! Everyone has lived, loved, struggled in some shape or form, but my message here is that with the help of some beautiful friends, a mixture of therapies and meds, I think I am beginning to turn my life around. I know this illness will be with me forever and that some days will be better than others, but I am understanding at the age of 57 how important it is to be in the present, to observe my life around me, and to appreciate the love of my family and friends. I have finally learnt that there is no way out by struggling in silence!