I don’t know how many times I have been told this.
When I’ve been exhausted from another night from hell to be greeted with a day of terror, “It will get better!”, they said.
When the simple task of feeding my child, turned out to be the hardest task of my life; “It will get better!”, they said.
When I felt like I was going to drown in the darkness of my mind; “It will get better!”, they said.
I hated hearing “It will get better” because when you are living in the forever hell that can be the first few months of a new baby, nothing seems to feel like it will ever get better. I didn’t want to wait for anything to get better, I wanted the better there and then, because to be honest I didn’t think I could cope one more day waiting for it.
Which is why it kills me even more to tell you now that… it does get better!
I know, I know, you want to throw your phone at me, but hold with me for one minute and give me a chance to explain myself.
Just over a year ago I was at my lowest of lows. At a time when everyone says you should be the happiest you have ever been I was quietly wishing I would die. That I could stop existing just so I didn’t have to feel the emotional and physical pain I was suffering from anymore.
I had Postnatal Depression (PND) for the second time and 4 weeks after the birth of my second baby I felt I couldn’t keep up the fight anymore.
Yet that wasn’t to be the end of my story as one year on here I am; Alive and recovering.
I haven’t taken a panic attack in over 5 months, my anxiety very rarely pops up, I’m back at work and amazingly I enjoy being with my children and am so thankful for my life.
The difference between both these pictures has been so gradual that I have hardly recognized it happening. But it happened because I talked and I sought help.
You see PND is a serious illness. It’s not a pity party or someone just having a moan, it’s the leading pregnancy complication and cause of death in the first year after birth. That’s why it is so important if you do feel low that you should talk.
PND may be making you think hundreds of things right now, and I bet one of those is that everyone would be better off without you. I’m here to tell you that PND is a liar and this is how I know…
A year ago I felt the same way, I thought everyone would be happier if I disappeared. I thought I would be happier if I disappeared. I couldn’t imagine a day in the future when I wouldn’t be surrounded by darkness. I was at my end. I was on my third panic attack of the morning, I was exhausted, and I didn’t think I could continue on one more minute never mind a day. I sat in my living room anxiously watching my new born baby sleep when my mum text me “how are you today”. I couldn’t even hide my feelings when I just typed back “I don’t think I can do this any longer”. I didn’t realise with these words I was casting out the net I needed for help.
My phone began to call only a few seconds after I sent the message. It was my mum and as I answered I was expecting her usual soothing tone which is why it shocked me so much that she was hysterically crying. She was so unbearably frightened of me ending my life that she screamed down the phone at me. She cried over and over to me that I needed to stop this thinking, that I needed to realise how much I was loved, and how everyone was here to help me get better. I can still hear her crackling voice now, “Gemma just stop saying this, please just stop!”
It scared me hearing my mums reaction, in the only way seeing your mum cry or shout at you can. It felt as if her words shocked PND out of my head long enough for the real me to come to surface to recognise and understand what she had said.
I wasn’t alone.
It made me realise how much my illness taking me away was hurting everyone. How much more it would hurt them all if I let PND take me away completely and how much I needed to get better.
And I did. When I never thought I would.
When I look back now I’m so glad I never give up the fight. When I think of all the things I would have missed out on, the beautiful smiles my son gives me, how proud he makes me when we walk along the street and he shouts “hiya” to everyone. I would have missed my little girls first day at school, seeing her excited little face and her pre-teen chatter with her best friend as they walked into their class hand in hand.
The fight was hard to get here, some days it still is, but the fight is worth it when most days I get to live. Your life is worth so much more than this dark period. And if you search for help this is all this will be, a period. Because you will fight it like I did and have so many more brighter days ahead of you without even noticing they have begun.
All it takes is for you to talk and I promise you, IT WILL GET BETTER!