Lauren. Her voice. Her story.
It’s ok not to be ok… or is it?
“It’s ok not to be ok”, how many times have you heard this and thought, phew! But… how do I cope with not being ok and still be a Mum and a wife and a friend and a daughter and a sister and an employee etc etc etc. How do I hold my shizzle together when I am not ok…? Which then starts you thinking… is it really ok not to be ok?? Because Jane down the street and Maisie from baby group make life look like a walk in the park and they are clearly alllll ok. Why am I not ok? Why did I become a Mum? I clearly can’t cope and I am doing my children a disservice and the tape keeps playing over and over.
YES it is ok not to be ok. Of course it is! No one is “O K” all the time. But it is not ok to stay “not ok”. And the great news is you don’t have to settle for being “not ok” all of the time. Life as a mother is tough, life as an adult is tough. Adulting is totally overrated at times. But it should not feel unbearable. You should not have to wake up every morning and think, I just want to stay in bed. You should not be looking at the clock at 9.30am thinking only 2 hours until nap time and again at 3pm thinking only 2 hours until help arrives and again at 6 thinking oh thank heavens, only an hour until bed time! This was me for almost 2 years. I wished my life away every day. I could not see through the fog or shift the pit of despair and anxiety that sat deep within my stomach. I reached out to health workers, counsellors, Drs, family and friends and the same tape kept being played on repeat… “you will feel better when you are sleeping.” Well, I had a child who suffered from sleep disturbance, so sleep did not come for nearly 2 years!! But one day, praise the Lord, both little cherubs decided it was time to sleep through the night! Yesssss, finally I would be able to catch up on sleep. NOPE, I was still waking every 45 minutes. It was the most infuriating thing, to be lying wide awake in bed for no reason! Surprise surprise I still wasn’t coping. I broke down in tears and spoke to a couple of friends who recommended sleeping tablets as a quick fix. Great idea!! A little reluctantly and without a clue of what to say or how to get my paws on these magic sleeping tablets, I made an appointment with a GP. I do believe in a higher power, God, and I honestly think that he orchestrated a meeting with the perfect Dr to help me out on that day. I was passed on to a different Drs surgery as mine was understaffed that day and I told her my story and asked for sleeping tablets. Guess what she said… NO! I was so DESPERATE. So I pretty much begged her, but she still said no. She said “they will not help you”. At this point I didn’t know whether to scream or cry. She then went on to ask me a series of questions and finally said, I am so sorry that this has not been picked up earlier, but I believe you have postnatal depression. I believe you have had this for the past two years. You have done incredibly well to cope for this long with no support. I am going to prescribe you anti-depressants. WOAH!!! Red light. Oh nooooo you’re not. I just need to sleep and then I will be fine. “No you won’t. What you are experiencing is a hormonal imbalance which will be rectified through antidepressants and as a result you will start sleeping. Give it a go and see how you get on. You can always stop taking them.
Deep breath… “ok”.
That was back at the beginning of 2021, the day before my birthday. Within 3 weeks I was sleeping and within 6 weeks I cannot tell you the incredible difference it began to make to my life. My relationship with my kids, my husband. I suddenly enjoyed spending time with my kids. I looked forward to having them home. I wasn’t wishing our time away any more. Best birthday gift ever!! The fog that had been hanging over me suddenly lifted and I could see in bright and beautiful colour again. After 3 months of taking the meds, the pit of anxiety and despair which sat permanently entrenched in my gut was gone. I cannot tell you how incredibly freeing that feels, to feel like ME again. I don’t second guess myself anymore, I don’t get nervous about seeing people anymore, I am just living as me and it is great. I obviously still have my monthly hormonal ups and downs as we all do but I am so so grateful to God for rescuing me out of my pit of despair and placing my feet back on solid ground again.
So if this is you, if you are struggling and don’t know where to turn and feel like all hope is lost, let me tell you. There is hope my friend. Reach out to someone, go for counselling, take the happy pills. You deserve to feel like you again, you CAN feel like you again. Be free!