*Trigger warning: this post contains reference to suicidal thoughts.*
From the outside it may have looked like I’d fallen into life’s jigsaw perfectly. I’d emigrated from the UK to Australia, had a long-term partner and we’d just got married. I was working in a decent job in the advertising industry. I was a diligent employee and spent many hours working overtime to get the job done. However, the reality was that I was a duck on water – giving the impression I was gliding along without a trouble in the world but underneath I was frantically paddling to keep myself afloat. I was depressed and anxious on a daily basis. I felt desperately sad because something inside of me knew I was missing a few peices of my puzzle. I had the potential to do something better, something more meaningful. But somehow I’d become a sheep and found it easier to trudge along with everyone else than try and push myself. I’ve always had an overwhelming fear of messing up, which was paralyzing.
I then fell pregnant, we were having a baby – I knew this was bound to shake up my life a little.
I knew that there was a possibility of getting Postnatal Depression (PND) after the birth of my son but I thought to myself – I know what it’s like to be depressed, how hard could it be?
How wrong I was – Postnatal Depression took me to a whole new space of darkness. Somewhere I’d never been before. I did not know that is was possible to get so low so quickly – during a period that was supposed to be the happiest time in my life.
I got to a point of not being able to cope with everyday life, I was constantly crying and didn’t feel I had the strength to carry on. I started to question why I was here, what was the point. I could only see evil in the world and I felt awful that I’d brought a little baby into this. I started to loose connection with reality. It felt like I was living in a dream world. I could not understand what everyone was doing on this earth, why did anyone want to live? I became suspicious of everyone. It was an extremely scary place to be. Luckily I had a supportive husband, who assisted me in seeking the help I needed. Slowly with the help of therapy and medication I was able to work through things and make progress back towards feeling in touch with reality.
Looking back now I am surprised I got to that place. I never imagined that I’d get to a point where I’d be talking to a therapist about ending my life. I especially never thought it would happen when I had a baby – something that you would think makes life worth living. But that’s the scary thing about PND, it can hit anyone and there are serious consequences. It’s so important to seek help as early as possible if you suspect that you may be getting depressed during the perinatal period. (For more info check out my post for Support Services in Australia).
As I started healing, I began to feel more grounded back to reality. Coming back from such a dark and scary place changes you. You can’t help but be different – it changes the way you see the world and makes you look at what you really value.
Although this has certainly been the hardest journey that I’ve ever been on, I’m thankful for enormous personal growth I’ve had. I could put this down to just getting depression but to be honest I’ve worked really hard to get back from it. That may sound a bit overconfident but I’m learning to be kind to myself and recognise my achievements. For the first time in my adult life I’m starting to feel ok with myself.
There is something about getting to your lowest point that makes you realise that anything is possible. I never thought suicide would ever cross my mind – this became proof to me that you have no idea what’s going to happen in life. So, if that could happen to me then there’s no reason why something amazing can’t happen. I can do anything. I’m using this to motivate myself to follow my dreams and make positive changes in my life.