I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs relating to mental health and was finally diagnosed with postnatal depression when Elliott was 19 months old….it was a long battle. These days it hasn’t gone just yet, I wonder if it ever will. The anxiety and depression still rears it’s head every now and then but I’ve been working hard to keep it in check. I have good days and I have bad days, thankfully the good outweigh the bad.
I decided to ask Mr. G (my husband) to write about it from his perspective, what it was like to live with someone with PND, anxiety & depression to perhaps give others a bit of insight from a different point of view when it comes to this crappy, life sucking disease. When he read this post out to me the other night I burst into tears. It was the first time I had heard him explain it this way, it was confronting, it was upsetting. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin and it reminded me that he too was affected by what affected me.
Oh…and I promise I’m not crazy, you may read this and think I am but really, this is just what makes me me, I guess. It’s the raw and honest truth about the black dog and I hope that it may be of help to some.
Over to you Mr. G…..
When Eva asked me to write a blog post for her about living with someone that has postnatal depression and someone who continues to struggle with general anxiety and depression disorder, I thought to myself that this was a trick to get me in trouble. After being reassured that I wouldn’t get in trouble I started to think about what it is really like. So before I start I will say that I will do my best at trying to describe what I see and also how I feel. At times this may came across as selfish because I’m not the one battling, but I often say to Eva that I also live with it daily too.
If I am being honest, Eva being diagnosed with postnatal depression was not a shock to me because she battled anxiety and depression long before Elliott was born. So being a first time dad I didn’t know that the crying and mood swings were any different to what I’d been seeing before Elliott came along or just something a new mum had to deal with. So it also took me a while to suggest that she needed to go see someone. It was only once Eva opened up about how she was really feeling that I began to understand that things were not right.
Something even today I find interesting is that if I were sick, I would go to the doctor. But back then trying to convince Eva that she needed to see someone was very hard. Explaining that you will not feel better until you do see a doctor didn’t seem to matter. Eva found it difficult to admit that there was a problem and I realised that asking for help wasn’t easy for her.
At times, and even now, it’s like I’m living with more than one Eva. The happy loveable girl with a great smile. The quiet and withdrawn introvert. The motivated and determined business women and the highly strung ball of stress and worry, close to breaking. I don’t see them all everyday but they are not all the girl I married.
The quiet withdrawn introvert is a sign to me these days that there is something worrying her. I do my best to get out what is troubling her and work through the issues but this doesn’t always help. Minor day to day issues can be bigger than they need to be. I feel that there is always a problem, always something to worry about. There is always something.
There have been times when things have become too much and she’s had massive melt downs where she shakes and cries. There is no consoling her or trying to get her to be rational. She either does not hear what I am saying or yells at me for trying to point out that things will be ok or that she is over reacting.
I’ve also come to believe that what Eva battles has also shaped her motivation and determination to succeed in business. Her constant worry and stress means that she will over think and play out every possible outcome before making a decision. But that means she almost can not turn off. Something is always ticking and at times this can mean that she is not 100% present in what we are doing or other things that may be important to me can be seen less as important to her.
Eva has always questioned whether she is a good enough mother, whether she spends enough time with Elliott and whether she does enough for him. I think Eva does a great job and I think she is a wonderful mother. We have a wonderful son who is happy. We will not be judged poorly as parents if he does not become a brain surgeon, instead we will be judged by how he behaves as he gets older, his manners, how he treats the people around him and the values he has as a person, but mostly if he is happy.
For me I guess I live the same day to day ups and downs as Eva. At times I can feel way down on the list of priorities. But I also know that the happy girl with a great smile, who laughs at my stupid jokes is still there. All I can do is help Eva where I can and be there to pick her up if she trips.
or as my friends call me, Gavin.
Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT