Husband and I packed up the bare essentials and took Toddler (then Baby) to live at my parents' house to help Nana in the day when she'd been awake all night. He still had to work obviously so I was running the house, walking 3 dogs, looking after Baby, sitting with my Dad while Nana got an hour's sleep, dealing with shitty relatives who crawled out from underneath rocks, liaising with hospice nurses, collecting morphine at all hours of the night... It was hell. Sheer hell. Don't get me wrong. I know my Dad was the one in agony, he was the one facing death, and for him 8 weeks was 8 weeks too long. And I know everyone else found the whole ordeal awful, Husband was the one who confirmed my Dad had stopped breathing for Christ's sake.
But the entire thing broke me. I have always been a Daddy's girl and suddenly, my world was upside down and cracked right down the centre.
Once the funeral was over and the well wishers had left and the phone calls had all been made I just couldn't function. I snapped all the time, I cried, I panicked, I shouted. I wasn't being the Mama I wanted to be, nowhere near in fact, and not only was I mourning my beloved father but now I felt like I was mourning the loss of my previous self. The carefree Mama who knew that things would be OK no matter what because she had an invincible father to come to her aid 24/7. The stress free Mama who didn't wake up 5 or 6 times a night dreaming that Baby had died infront of me as I watched, totally immobile and impotent. The happy Mama who got so much joy from watching her 'difficult' Dad and his little namesake sharing books and toys, beaming at each other. I used to be so calm watching Toddler at the park, trusting him implicitly when he chose to climb higher than I thought he should...suddenly the thought of just leaving the house with him felt too dangerous, like he would be snatched out of my hands too.
I felt, and still feel, like my heart had been ripped apart. Some days it is a tangible pain in my chest. Songs will make my eyes fill with tears and older men in baseball caps walking down the street make me raise my voice to shout out for them to stop. I've woken Husband multiple times yelling out in my sleep for my Dad to stop walking away from me as I race after him.
I struggled for a long time before I saw my GP and asked for anti-depressants. And I procrastinated for a long time when we were thinking of trying for another baby, worrying that I wouldn't be strong enough to not take the medication for an entire pregnancy. But I did, and I managed quite well on the whole. Maybe pregnancy balanced those particular hormones out somehow? Who knows.
When Baby was weaned off me at around 4 months I started the pills again. I felt quite stable but had noticed the first signs of slipping and didn't want to get too far down that path before intervening. And that was all fine.
But lately I've been feeling broken again. Instead of my funk being directed solely around the loss of my Dad, this time it's centred around failure. Failure as a Mama who can't do this without anti-depressants. Failure as an individual who just can't cope with the loss of her parent like everyone else does. The thing I don't understand is how other people get up in a morning and carry on in such a strong and normal manner. What is wrong with me that I seem to be feeling everything so keenly? Why can other friends handle their grief when mine makes me feel like I'm drowning at random moments? And this is WITH chemical help.
Anyway, I have taken decisive action. It might be perceived as stupid or reckless but I have stopped taking my medication. I've had the nausea and the dizziness, but then that coincided with vom-gate last week so it went almost undetected. I am slightly more anxious, but we're in the process of buying a new house so have put it down to that.
I need to be healthy and fit and strong. I can't be dependent on these drugs any longer. They help me feel 'even' but they are a constant reminder every morning that I am broken.
We shall see how it goes. The new running regime is helping. I'm not stupid enough to get too close to the edge, not with two precious little ones depending on me, but I guess I just want to find a different glue?