About a month ago, I wrote on my other blog about PND and how lucky I had been thus far, particularly given my history with depression. However, I can feel the familiar cloud creeping up on me.
It feels like I’m looking over my shoulder waiting for the inevitable rainstorm. In front of me is all the washing (read life) I’m trying to manage, take in before the weather hits, behind me is a typhoon blowing up. The quicker I try to work, the more my fingers fumble, I drop clothes, pegs, eventually the whole basket. As always, it is a combination of things that have caught up on me, made me realise at this moment, I am not doing as well as I thought. My monthly cycle, always a trying time with those pesky hormones. That I’m not updating this blog enough. That I’m not emailing people back who’ve emailed me. That the baby while sleeping much better struggles with solids, like that is my fault. That I don’t appear to be getting anywhere.
I want to go back to work, I also knew before I left to start my maternity leave that I would want to go back to work soon after the beginning of 2012, it’s now the middle of February, and my tolerance of my own company 95% of my time is wearing thin. However, to get cover for my role, it had to be a year’s contracted position that we advertised. So while I’ve been wanting to get back behind my desk, I’ve been conscious of the revenue stream, been conscious that my incumbent is on a fixed term contract, so I was stuck. I put someone else, something else over my prior knowledge of what I would likely need, and I’ve come a cropper. I’m not blaming work, they’ve been wonderfully supportive, I’m blaming myself for not speaking up strongly enough about what I needed.
I’m blaming myself for not updating this blog more often, for not writing in Archie’s book more often. The memories that were so clear of when he was tiny, are now lost, diluted. I deliberately saved a precious book given to both Hubs and I to write in about his babyhood, and I didn’t do it.
This is what I do. When I fail to meet the standards that I set myself, I beat myself up. Most days I can get around it. Some days I can’t. This week is turning into one of those days, repeatedly.
Yesterday I had Archie in the car, it was a hot day here in Melbourne, 31c, as I came back in the house to get my handbag, my mobile was ringing, but I missed the call. Then the house phone started, thinking someone needed to get hold of me, I answered it. It was his childcare centre telling me that we needed him to start a lot sooner than we and booked him in for. I cut her off, explained Archie was in the car and that I’d call her back. On went the hands-free kit, and as I drove out to the freeway I was sobbing on the phone trying to understand why after a conversation where we had confirmed the dates on Monday, she was now telling me that we were going to lose our place on Wednesday? I asked her to tell me when he needed to start, 3 weeks earlier, I then asked her to email exactly what we needed to do to guarantee his space. I then called Hubs, still crying, said that we needed him to start on 7 March. He calmed me down, said ok, we’ll work it out somehow.
I then called work, left a message for my boss and HR that basically said I need to come back in earlier. Because the Paid Parental Leave I am currently getting from the Government, will not cover his childcare expenses. If we need to get Archie in full time (which despite me asking for exactly what we needed to do to secure his place, we still don’t know), I have to return to work. The date that had been carefully worked out has now gone out the window, I can’t change childcare centres, this is the only spot we have for him. There is nowhere else we can entrust him to – full stop.
I’ve been working off an A4 printed calendar with literally everything in, from specialist appointments, to when his Granny is visiting, from Board meetings to birthday parties, if he has to go into his care earlier, nearly everything in the planner, particularly for March, goes out the window, including our budget.
So why is this my fault?
Why did I lay awake for over an hour after I had fed him at 2am stressing about everything?
Why do I feel that lovely, age-old sensation of ‘I didn’t try hard enough, do enough, plan enough paranoia’ creeping in, darkening my vision?
Because with depression, this is what I do. Everything turns into my fault. When friends don’t text me back straight away, or reply to an email, (if I’ve been brave enough to send one), it’s my fault. When the housework doesn’t get done, it’s my fault. It is a perpetuating circle of doom that spirals ever closer, tighter until I can’t breathe. I then break down, literally and become catatonic. I will stay in the house, afraid to leave it. But I can’t do that. I have Archie who relies on me for his food, his safety, his security. He’s still 90% exclusively breast-fed, as he faffs about with formula, doesn’t like it, so plays with the bottle and only takes in a little by chewing on it. His gag reflex is still strong, so anything more than mush he chokes on, we had a projectile vomit from him on Monday. On Tuesday, he coughed a little again in his high-chair and got visibly upset and started crying. The memory of the day before obviously still high up there. We want him to enjoy his food, so are not forcing the issue with him, but I still compare him to other babies his age. Did I do something wrong? Is that why they’re feeding better?
Regarding my self-care; I eat healthily, I’m feeding two people here, I barely drink, I sleep when I can, although with any baby you take what you can get and for exercise I try to walk as much as possible. What I really need to do today is a huge long walk to shake it out my system, but it’s going to be too hot again for me to walk out, Archie would get too hot in his buggy, so I’ll have to stay in and hope the cool change comes through earlier than predicted. In the meantime, there’s housework. I’ll put some music on, dance around the house and hope that will do instead. Unfortunately, the best way to keep a house cool in weather like this is to shut it up, close all the curtains and windows and put the aircon on, there won’t be much natural light coming in today.
But I have to take action, take steps to get rid of this feeling before it breaks me. I have called my GP, because I can’t wait it out for the skies to clear. I’ve hit a wall. I need help. I’m seeing her at 11 o’clock.
Updated after GPs visit
I’ve been prescribed a low dose anti-depressant that is safe for Archie, she listened to what has been happening and how I’ve coped so far, it’s to help me get through the next couple of weeks/months.