This is going to be one of the toughest blog posts I have written yet, but I feel it is important to share my feelings for my own sanity and to help others who feel the same way.
I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday and didn’t know where to turn. I felt that I had no one to talk to. Although I have friends and family around me it’s hard to know what to say when you are feeling depressed and anxious and people are busy with their own lives. Sometimes you wish your friends or family would come to you at that time and just ask ‘how are you’ to start up a conversation and enable you to open up. You don’t want to be a burden on anyone or message someone talking about yourself again. So I rang 111, which I have never done before. This was a massive step for me because I am always too embarrassed to talk to people, especially those I don’t know.
For those of you who don’t know, you can call 111 for mental health issues as well as physical health issues. The lady who answered the phone to me was so lovely. I was mid panic attack and on my own with Charlie. I was having thoughts about ending my life and didn’t know what to do. I knew I wouldn’t actually do anything because I was on my own with my son and truth be told I was too scared to actually act on my thoughts. All I knew was that I couldn’t cope and I needed someone to help me.
I have been saying to people for a while that I am struggling, but I just get the usual replies of ‘me too’, ‘we all go through this stage with our children’ or ‘things only get worse’, but that’s because people didn’t know the extent of how I’m feeling. The truth is I am scared to be alone with my son. Every time my husband tells me he is working late or he is working at the weekend, I instantly feel anxious and panicky because I don’t know if I can cope with Charlie on my own. The thing is, I do cope most of the time and I am with him on my own all the time, but that doesn’t stop me worrying about being alone with him. And when I say I cope, it’s by the skin of my teeth and because I have to for Charlie.
I don’t know where these thoughts come from. Maybe it is because of the thought of not being able to cope or because I don’t know how to occupy him or settle him very well. I don’t know. All I know is the fear is there and I feel absolutely horrendous for feeling that way. After all why would a Mother be scared to be on her own with her child? How ridiculous does that sound!
I love my son more than anything in the world, but I still feel this way. I keep telling myself ‘why do you feel like this?’, ‘you are such a bad mum for feeling this way’, ‘you are not cut out to be a parent’. Everyone always tells me I am a great Mum, but I don’t feel like it. I know I do my best for him, he is clothed, fed, has a roof over his head and doesn’t want for anything, but I still don’t feel like I am doing it right. I still feel anxious and on edge. I still feel like he hates me because he cries all the time around me. I still feel like he prefers to be anywhere else but around me. And these feelings won’t go away.
When he cries I instantly feel like I am going to have a panic attack. The crying goes straight through me. I wonder ‘what am I doing wrong?’, ‘why doesn’t he love me?’ I know deep down that he does love me and he cries because he is ill or teething or just because he is attached to me, but I still struggle to cope with it.
I admitted to the lady from 111 that I need support at home with Charlie. That was such a hard thing to admit because it makes you feel like a failure. I feel like I have failed because I can’t cope with him on my own and because I am not doing what every parent does and just getting on with it. But I can’t right now. I feel weak, exhausted, emotional all the time and unable to even look after myself, so how am I supposed to look after my son?
My husband suggested that Charlie goes to stay at his Mum and Dads for a few days but that is the last thing I want. It’s not that I don’t want Charlie around, far from it. Taking a child away from their Mother is like taking a limb. I do want him around, but I need help to look after him at the moment. But everyone is too busy to help. Everyone is working and getting on with their own lives and I don’t begrudge them that at all, but that’s why I don’t feel I can ask for help. When I do ask most people are already doing something else and can’t help at that time. The problem is I can’t choose when I am going to feel anxious or have a panic attack and people can’t be at my beckon call, so I need to learn how to cope with these feelings.
My councilling appointment is in a few weeks (finally, after an 8 week wait) and I feel better knowing that I have 111 to ring if I ever need to speak to someone. I just want to be able to enjoy being a Mum to my son and to go to bed looking forward to the next day I spend with him, not filled with a sense of dread about how I will cope or what might happen.
I am not writing this post to get sympathy or for people to tell me I am a good Mum. I am writing it as a therapy for myself for starters because I always find it best to talk about how I feel, but mostly to continue to help raise awareness of Mental Health issues and for others to know that they are not alone if they also feel this way.
The 111 Mental Health Team offer such an invaluable service. They are available 24 hours a day for you to speak to and you can ring as many times as you need. They also offer a service called The Sanctuary that you can attend if you need to get out the house and speak to people. So please utilise this service and don’t hesitate to contact someone if you are feeling the way I have been feeling. Although it doesn’t feel like it a lot of the time, there are people out there to talk to. You are not alone!