A lot has happened recently. A lot has happened over the last few years too.
Our life like most of yours too is not simple. It’s not bad at all, In fact it’s quite good mostly. My children, while facing daily challenges are happy; healthy and as well rounded as they can be given their differing circumstances.
So when I took Sam to see our GP last week about his head banging and she turned the conversation to…insert air quotes here…”and how are you” To which I just shrugged.
We’d just faced one of the hardest nights on recent record and had the most challenging of weeks. What could I say? But she asked to see me separately the following week to which I agreed.
In the meantime, Sams self injury calmed down a little, as it often does. Peaks and troughs.
I however, began to look into myself a little bit at a time.
I have six hours a day to myself. SIX!! But I’m not very productive. Yeah I do the basics, hoovering, washing up etc and I usually have at least one meeting or appt a week to attend. Sometimes more. I should do more. I have time, though little inclination. I don’t have to by any means. Stu steps in where I need him too and steps up at weekends.
Know one quite knows like a parent of a child with additional needs, the fear that we must get it right. Waking up every morning knowing I cant slack on anything. If I get it wrong, that guilt I feel, feels like failure. Small, teeny failures. Didn’t get there quick enough to stop him hurting himself. Didn’t engage enough one on one with him for an hour.
The trying is exhausting, and it doesn’t seem to have lifted for me for a very long time; this is where I’ve struggled to self diagnose myself. We have so much joy in our lives. My children give it to me by the bucket load, unquestioningly. Sammy pretending to read, or trying something new at school, or snuggling up to his dad and chatting away to himself. These things bring me joy. Connor, excelling at school, becoming a strong young man, regaling me with tales of the Xbox. These little things daily, sustain me. They help me breath. So I’m not depressed. I’m happy, aren’t I?
I am not an expert on depression, its not something I’ve been around much but I think you can probably be happy and depressed at the same time.
So appointment time came around this Tuesday, and after discussing it with the doctor, she gave me some information to go away and read. I’m not against medication at all, and I cant really explain if I have an aversion to taking it. It’s just not something I saw myself doing.
That appointment was followed by a meeting at school, with his Senco and the staff nurse. She works for the local authority and was there to see what additional help we need. We are all on the same page with that and it was productive. Extra support for Sammy, and me.
She, like the doctor also asked me how I am. To her though, I replied, well you’ve got me on a strong day, so there will be no tears as we talk through the difficulties Sammy faces. She brought this up later on and said that even though this is a strong day, I do seem very flat. This is exactly me right now. Completely flat. I’m flat Stanley. But I cant float away. Nor do I want to. Plus I’m way too fat to float away!
The minute we have our babies we open ourselves to the concept of real fear and pain. Inflicted upon ourselves because we love someone else more than anybody else in this world. But in loving someone so deeply and in rightly putting there needs before your own; when his needs became more and more complex, I believe I began quite a while ago to lose my equilibrium.
I realised I’ve been this way for so long its just my normal. My baseline. this is how I feel and I thought it was normal. It isn’t. After a few chats with friends and family, I realised there is no point arsing about. A good friend explained anti depressants as ferreting around in your brain until they find the depletion. Dopamine levels or whatever it may be, then when they find it, after that initial look around, they begin to fill it up again. This is what I need. I need to balance my brain.
So I went back to the docs this morning and asked for chemical help. I scored quite high on the scale. The test she gave me, which perversely I am ok with, I know its real, I don’t need a quack to tell me that, but to take any mood altering medication, I’m glad its not just because I’m a little bit down. Is that weird? Probably!
Depression isn’t something I’ve hidden, from friends or family or shied away from. I didn’t know it was there. I’ve just this week noticed it and focused on it, bubbling happily away beneath the surface. Lived with. Its a lurker!
I’m not going to fixate on it either, no “depression label for me thanks, I am depressed yes and I know they amount to the same thing, but to me I’m not suffering, I am living with it for now. I will fixate on those little white pills helping me get back to match fitness.