Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I'm fine, I'm happy... but I'm breaking inside... (*warning tears were shed writing this*)

So today I went to London to meet an awesome friend and had an amazing time visiting the sites, like a proper little tourist (even if I've been loads of times). I like to take random days out, as a form of escapism. Time for me to forget all that's happened or is happening and just be me in the middle of nowhere or surrounded by people I don't know...  After a 30 minute stint on the tube, as the one in front broke down! Thus reviving my hatred of confined spaces and the general public!... I finally got on my train home...

The train to Banbury was sat at the station for quite a while and when I sat down at a table seat (which is a rare occurrence that one is free) the lady on the tannoy announced the stops... Slough, Reading... blah blah... Banbury. I know this is weird but I felt this odd feeling in my stomach, a bit like I was getting Deja-vu. And then it dawned on me why... the last time I had sat at a table seat to Banbury it was for an oh so different reason. As the most horrible feeling of a hidden old memory rolled across my body, a tear rolled down my face. The lady opposite asked if I was OK, feeling almost mute, I just nodded and smiled...

I apologise now, if this is in loads of detail and I just drone on, but, I read, It's essential that to get all repressed memories out when they're remembered, in order to remember new ones... And this is a secret held since that day, and one that I have never spoken of, to anyone...

I touched upon before, that I have suffered from Post Natal Depression in the past, quite severely, but I didn't really have much of a memory of quite how bad it really was or even quite as bad as it really could have been... Until now.

Having Kid so young was hard, add the problems with his dad, his health and the fact I was on my own and had no idea what I was doing and you have a recipe for Post Natal Depression. I was very good at hiding it though... A false smile and a loving embrace with my baby and everyone thought I was on track... I had even fooled the doctor and my family. Time was closing in on me though as I had developed a habit of going on spending spree's to relieve the stress. Silly things at first the odd thing here and there... until I realised that I had developed an ever increasing debt. I remember the feeling of panic when I had realised the amount of money I had spent and that I had nothing major to show for it. That panic turned into fear and the fear turned in to self destruct mode. I just couldn't see a way out. I was 18, had a 2 year old disabled child and was up to my eyeballs in debt. I began to deteriorate but I hadn't told anybody, from what I remember, I held the whole lot in.
  I had a boyfriend at the time and it was my first since Kid's dad. This to me was a big deal at the time as, in mid argument less than a year before, Kid's dad had told me that I was going to be on my own forever, as nobody would want me... The words 'Who would want you now?... a teenage mum with a disabled child' stuck in my head and even with all my memory loss this has always been there at the front of my mind. The fact I had found someone to take on both me and my son was the most amazing feeling, after convincing myself that I would be alone forever. He was brilliant with Kid and I trusted him with him, which was difficult for me at the time. I had told him nothing about what was going on. He knew a few details but I had hidden most of my true situation. He was, like everybody else, in the dark.
My family had no idea due to the fact I didn't want them to know. I was convinced that they would hate me and I honestly thought I had put enough shame on them to announce that I had also failed in life. I remember thinking that things just couldn't get any worse and began to think of ways out.

...I remember thinking, of running away with Kid in tow, but realised that without money, I couldn't. I know I probably came up with so many more ways out, but how I came to the next one I have no understanding of.

I decided that Kid deserved better and I couldn't deal with giving him up, or having him taken off me, but he needed to go to better parents, as I just couldn't do it. I remember cuddling Rhys whilst he was asleep and stroking his hair and just crying and crying, telling him I was sorry. I convinced myself that it was all my fault and that I was being punished for something and that Kid was taking my punishment, in a form of Down Syndrome as it had already been proven that it was in my blood so it was my fault. I got to the point where this was happening more and more, two, three times a day I would cradle Kid and cry and I just knew that I wasn't good enough to give him what he deserved in life. So I decided I didn't deserve to live, if I couldn't even give him a normal life, I couldn't, in anyway, deserve to have this amazing little thing that depended solely on me... when I couldn't even sort myself out. I began to write out letters to friends and family highlighting why I had decided to give up my life. I had written to my aunt to plead with her to take Kid on as her own. I had also written out my funeral... what I wanted for Kid and also a general apology. I remember writing them and I even remember hiding them in a small black suitcase and I can't seem to get my head round how I had got to that point and hidden it from so many...

I recall thinking I needed to wait for someone to be staying with me at the house before I did anything, because when I didn't wake up, Kid then wouldn't be alone. I had thought it through to every finer detail and I was so sure about what I was going to do was right that, I wasn't even crying when I took the first pill!... I remember taking the whole packet, bit by bit, whilst my boyfriend and Kid were asleep in the other room. I started to feel sick and I know that because I remember sitting next to the toilet. I finally got in to bed and cried myself to sleep just like every other night before that.
But I woke up... and other than feeling a bit sick, I was no different than before. I don't remember how I felt at that moment but I know that I tried again just a few short days after... and again... Nothing... I think in all I tried about 4 times to end my life, whilst my boyfriend and son slept soundly unknowing what was really going on. One time, I even went to the trouble of texting several loved ones the message 'I'm sorry' which I expected them to get when they woke up and I didn't. But my cousin was awake and sensed that I wasn't being myself and just half way through taking yet another packet of paracetamol I heard a frantic knocking at the door... after hiding the pills in a hurry... I ran down to get the door before she woke the others. She was panicking that I was just about to do something silly... again with a smile on my face holding everything in, I told her that I had accidentally sent a message for my boyfriend to everyone as a group message... I'm not sure whether she believed me at the time or not but I have just remembered how much I love her and the realisation of the fact, if I had just told her there and then the following wouldn't have happened...

I'm not sure how long after this had all started but I was still in the mind frame that Kid was better off without me anywhere near him, when me and my boyfriend had a row... god knows what about but it was a huge one... I just walked out... and kept walking... No Kid... No Phone... just the clothes on my back and my purse in my pocket. I don't remember how long I was walking but I remember ending up at the Train Station. I stood starring at the ticket machine and I remember thinking 'f**k it'... but also remember looking down at my hands and seeing a carrier bag with 3 packs of paracetamol and a bottle of vodka... I remember not remembering buying them and feeling shocked. I must have just walked along like a zombie or something just numb. I bought a one way 1st class ticket to Bridlington with the idea that by the time I get there it will be too late... But I never got there.

As I walked to the train a man stopped me and told me that there was a rail replacement bus service from Oxford (? I think) to Banbury in which I could get back on track to Bridlington from there. As I boarded the 1st class carriage, I remember feeling completely out of place. I sat on that table seat and began to take yet more tablets... I remember panicking as someone came and sat near by, as this meant they might stop me or see me. A young girl came and sat opposite me. She asked where I was going I think but I recall completely lieing to her and saying others had taken my bags in the car but there was no room for me so I was following on... I wouldn't have bought that, but she seemed convinced I think from what I remember. I took a few more but with water and said I had a headache. I remember thinking she didn't believe me but I'm not sure if that's just my mind making things up.... I got off the train and on to a bus... and from there I am blank...

I woke up in Banbury hospital covered in sick and surrounded by doctors. I had collapsed in a heap on the bus and been sick all down myself. They had called an ambulance after I hadn't woken up... God knows what the bus driver had thought, let alone the other passengers, but I am mortified at having put them through that... They had put me under watch and because I had no phone they hadn't been able to contact any of my family. They had found empty pill packets and a half drunk bottle of vodka, put 2 and 2 together and wanted to pump my stomach. Even when asked I denied it... I remember telling them I got travel sick on a regular basis and I would be fine... They didn't pump my stomach. They believed me... looking back I remember it said in my release notes it said 'suspected overdose'... honestly, what is that about! I remember wanting to just scream at them 'please help me!' but my pride seemed to get in the way...

I used their phone to phone my phone as this was the only number I knew... It must have been gone 10pm and my panicked boyfriend answered. I quickly said I'm OK I'm in hospital in Banbury... I remember not having an answer to the next question... 'What the hell are you doing in Banbury?' I just said I hopped on a train for a day out on my own and forgot my phone. I lied and told everyone I had had a random epileptic fit on a bus and they wanted to keep me in... They wanted to keep me in to keep an eye on me that is true but there was no fit involved. He rung a few of my panicked friends who were searching for me and luckily one of their parents lived not far from Banbury. They drove to see me with spare clothes in tow and again I greeted them with a smile and the Alice 'everything is great' look... I'm not sure they've ever truly understood that night and I don't think they know how truly grateful I am for them doing that... My Boyfriend came with them he was so upset that I had just upped and left... I kept thinking 'if only you knew'. His parents had Kid over night and until we got back.. god knows what they thought either, abandoning my baby like that!... After they had been to see me they then stayed at the parents house nearby. They came and picked me up the next morning and drove me home to Kid and we all laughed about it... but deep down I was still crying out for help and was quite unsure why I'd failed to overdose so many times...

When I got home and Kid was once again cradled in my arms, I suddenly realised why I was still alive... Kid... I was meant to have him and he was meant to be with his mum. good or bad, happy or sad, I was his mum and I loved him. I was prepared to give up my life to benefit his... but he would've never forgiven me for taking my own life and leaving him without his mother. I almost had a eureka moment and at that moment I decided to get the Doctors involved and that I should start on the, much needed, anti depressants again. I also stopped being stubborn and accepted I needed help, so I phoned my mum in Yorkshire and told her, not about the overdosing, but about all my debt.. She still doesn't know about that... well she does now obviously but you know what I mean... I know she was disappointed in me but she was calm and brilliant. She helped me deal with it and I began to see a way out. Although I still kept it from everyone else, I knew I had my mum, so didn't see the need to tell anyone else. I do remember thinking that I was lucky, for the first time in years and believed in myself and Kid's future for the very first time which was so refreshing.

The overdosing stopped, the crying was tamed... I still suffered from depression and it often resurfaced... and if I'm honest still does now... But I could more or less at this point handle it. Isn't it funny how something that seems so stupid and little to most, can affect someone so badly when they are suffering from depression. It took a massive shock like waking up in hospital for me to wake up from this... but what if I hadn't, in fact, woken up? What would that have done to Kid or my family and friends? I can't imagine not seeing Kid grow up.

I beg that if anyone reading this, has or is currently feeling similar to this or if you think that your depression is worsening... please tell someone... You aren't alone, however stubborn you are and however much you want to sort it yourself... It's not worth it... friends are friends for a reason and they are there to help you through these times.

This has been great therapy writing it down, if not a great awakening to how my life was.. actually not too long ago!... and just getting it out there for the very first time... plus just to clarify I'm writing it down so people don't have to try and understand my crying voice!... but if I can make just one person aware of the extremes that depression can reach... It's been worth every tear.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad it worked out for you and Rhys. xx

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  2. Hi Alice. I am so sorry that you had to go through that, but so glad that it worked out in the end. I hope the future is much happier for you and Rhys. xx

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  3. The more I read around on the blogosphere the more I realise how common it is to get depressed.

    This starts to depress me too until I see the irony of it all... and it becomes clear that the cause is all too often also the solution!

    Have a great, big, hairy monkey hug from me and I'll try to hang on to that branch of hope at the top of the tree.

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  4. How very brave of you to tell your story. I was hooked until the end, im sorry you had to go through that but i am so happy that things are better for you now x

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