Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Bubble

Post natal illness is a little like being trapped in a spectral bubble. You know it's there. But you can't see it or touch it. Yet it claims you, holds you prisoner, within its numbing veil. Some days, when the membrane is thin, I can touch, connect, with the outside world; with friends, family, with inviting smells, mouth watering tastes, with outstretched leaves, vivid petals, and with the grassy, sunkissed air. But on other days the membrane is a thick treacly wall; I'm unable to see anything, anyone or myself - my thoughts, my feelings, my passions - clearly.


Some times the bubble begins to roll, gathering speed, and I have no way of stopping the momentum. I am tumbling, lost, curled in on myself. I drag myself through washing, making beds, emptying potties, lunch, dinner, saving the scraps of myself that remain intact for Little A. She holds the monopoly on my smiles, enthusiasm, animation. When Younger Dad returns, I am muted, whining, hostile. I am everything I never was, or wanted to be.

And this has been the emotional landscape of my week so far.

How did this happen? Why has the bubble with the treacle layer claimed me AGAIN?

In the thick of it, about a year after Little A's birth, I just couldn't see how much I'd changed, the extent of the illness. I was so focused on Little A that the anxiety, the aggression, the intrusive thoughts all felt a part of normality, the everyday. My perspective was stuffed down the sofa along with the biscuit crumbs and two pence pieces. Like a fractured ice sheet, I'd lost the link with the much healthier, balanced version of myself before I fell pregnant. And I did fall, first with severe depression during the first trimester, an acute reaction to raised hormones, and then, after a traumatic birth, I fell foul to post traumatic stress and depression - that's why I call it post natal illness, as it was neither one or the other.

Gradually, as the months passed, and Little A grew from a crawling, babbling baby into a walking, chattering toddler, I began to unwrap my limbs and lift myself from the choking swamp. I had therapy, first on the telephone, then face to face, and then last Autumn EMDR had a profoundly healing effect on the birth trauma.

Through the lens of my ever increasing health I could view how unstable I'd been.

Earlier this year, February to be exact, I stopped breast feeding, and, again, this had a very palpable effect on my well being, one that was energising and life affirming.

A couple of months ago I started taking St Johns Wort, I wasn't feeling that bad, it was more of a pick-me-up, and it worked, I felt calmer, happier, but it did nothing to assuage my ongoing battles with PMS. A week ago, I finished the course, and within a few days, I felt much worse than I had before I'd taken the tablets. With this reaction - the tears, the anger, the lethargy, the ruminating thoughts - I've had to concede that I'm still not fully myself, that I've been running on an albeit now low-grade depression for over two years. I can't remember the last time I actually felt hungry, I can't remember the last time I really laughed. I've been on autopilot for so long I'd failed to notice the subtlety of the symptoms.

Anyway today I'm taking a stand. I'm so over feeling this way. I'm going to try a short course of acupuncture to help reset myself, and I've made an appointment for my first treatment this afternoon. Depending on the outcome, I'm now giving serious consideration to a course of low dose anti-depressant.

I'm looking forward to bursting the bubble, and rejoining the living ... re-discovering my appetites, enthusing, smiling, indulging in feelings other than soul sapping sadness and irritation ...

29 comments:

  1. Oh love, I am sorry that you have been feeling like this. Is it terribly inappropriate to say that you write it so well. I sincerely hope that the acupuncture works for you and that you burst your bubble.

    Keep writing.

    BM xxx

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    1. Thank you, that was a very kind thing to say. This week has been difficult, BUT, the accupuncture I had yesterday has really helped - feeling quite different today - going to have some more next weekend!

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  2. You write so beautifully about such a personal and painful topic. I once had a bubble; it was during my final year of university. It was tough. I related to everything you described (apart from the appetite - mine works the other way - but,yeah,I get it. Thanks for sharing, thanks for being so honest, thanks for writing so beautifully x x x

    p.s. hope the acupuncture kicks its ass!

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    1. Thank you, I was stuck with things to write about last week, so I decided to write about what was affecting me the most, and amazingly, the words came. The acupuncture did indeed kick ass, I am pleased to say.

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  3. Big big hugs hon! I know how this feels...I've been there and I'm sure I will be there again. Sometimes when I'm Down I feel like there is no way I can come up again...but it happens. Sometimes it's my hubby or my daughter and sometimes is the mummy blogging community. And one that is always there for me it's you. Don't forget I'm here fir you too. Lots of hugs and love!!!
    PS:
    I've been thinking about acupuncture too. Do you know what works? Tapping too. I had mine one by a life couch. You could google it as there is lots of nformation on the web.xxxx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely supportive comment, I really appreciated it, and I can honestly say that even after one treatment, acupuncture has really been helpful! I am going for another session next weekend - I can highly recommend it!

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    2. I am happy to hear that all went well. Does it hurt at all? I wonder if i can do it now whilst i am pregnant. Big hugs xxx

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    3. No it doesn't hurt, and you can have it when pregnant, but find a practitioner experienced in pregnancy.

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  4. I too want to say how wonderfully written that was, I felt like I was taken on a journey with you. I hope the acupuncture works for you, it does for me, had it lots including during pregnancy. I have not suffered with it myself but send many healing vibes to you. I am always hungry :)) xx

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. It - acupuncture - has definitely done something, I wish to be hungry and feel those pangs again soon!

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  5. So sorry to hear you have been feeling this way, but so glad too that you have found the strength to take a stand. I'm a big believer in acupuncture - I hope it works for you, but if it doesn't, there is no shame in taking a course of anti-depressants. The main thing is for you to feel better. (And definitely to get that appetite back!)

    I have always struggled to try and understand what having PND or post natal illness must be like but, after reading this, now I feel I know. Beautifully articulated. (As always.)

    Big hugs x

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    1. Hey MP! Thank you for your warm support - as ever. Yeah, its a bummer, acupuncture was helpful but also need to start taking the meds, to get me back on better form too - still no appetite, I havent felt hungry and eaten properly for days now - so its best if I take the medication. PND - its a funny one, sometimes you feel okay, but can then come crashing down - and, for me, a background feeling of not being 'quite there'.

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  6. Oh poor you. I hate getting your posts late by email and missing the moment, but never mind, this is about you. Beautifully written - really heartfelt - no wonder it flowed. You have always been true to yourself in your writing and it shows. It sounds like you've reached a stage mentally now that will hel you anyway - and the Acupuncture will be wonderful, because it is over 4ooo years old and works on health, not illness. Here's to kicking ass hon. You're so over it SOON. XXX

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    1. Thank you lovely! Thank you for a lovely comment - I think I am on a precipice now, and the only way is up. I am going to have more acupuncture, but also feel I now need a low dose of antidepressants to get me back on the straight and narrow!

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  7. Heartfelt sympathies.
    Can I agree with what they said first. You have written this so well, clearly your bubble does not diminish your talent.
    And there is no shame in antidepressants.

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    1. Thank you Ellen! I was really touched by your comment - I felt alot of energy behind your words. And you are right, no shame in anti-depressants, it's taken me a long time to really, really recognise I've not been myself, and labouring under depression.

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  8. So sorry to hear you have been feeling this way and it hasn't got better in any meaningful way. Hope the acupuncture continues to help and you feel a bit more clear headed very soon. Px

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    1. Thank you P! Hoping I turn a corner soon. Acupuncture has helped, but I think I will need to take the meds too!

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  9. Gosh you poor thing. I swear by acupucture, I have had had it on and off for years.

    Your writing is beautiful!

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    1. Thank you! Its proving very useful so far, and I have a few more treatments lined up.

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  10. Sorry to hear that the bubble has formed around you again. Hope the acupuncture can provide some relief. There's been a lot of emotional changes for you recently so you're bound to feel emotionally upheaved. Big hugs xx

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    1. Ah thank you! Yes, the acupuncture proved very helpful and I intend to have some more! I'll do anything I can to get myself back on track!

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  11. Every time I read one of your posts I feel like I've been taken on a journey. Your writing is beautiful and you make everything so vivid and real. I hope the acupuncture works for you. You need to do what is right for you, whatever treatment or medication that involves. I've worked in mental health services for the past 11 years and there are things that work, and there is absolutely no shame in it. Big hugs xxx

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    1. Thank you Joanne, that was lovely, and reassuring. At the moment I am very open to a combination of treatments to get me back on track again. So far acupuncture has been very helpful, but I will probably take meds as well.

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  12. Sorry you've been so low. Great tat you're taking some time to evaluate how to get back up though.

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    1. No it hasn't been great, but thankfully I'm doing what I need to do to get myself back into happier shape!

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