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Dear Post Natal Depression… You’re off the Christmas card list
I was toying with the idea of sending you a Christmas card this year. It felt strange but liberating to know that you wont be having Christmas dinner with us.
You were my faux friend for nearly two years, so I thought I at least owe you an explanation. You see, I don’t need to run things past you anymore, or consult you regarding my every move. I have grown stronger, wiser and have distanced myself from you further and further each day.
When you came into my life, I was pregnant, but I managed to avoid you most days, in between work meetings and gym sessions, I kept cancelling our plans to catch up, despite your best efforts.
You were really there for me at the birth of my son. You made sure that ‘Love’ wasn’t present, and replaced my emotions with overwhelming fear and doom. You convinced me that I wasn’t able to care for my child and that I didn’t know the first thing about looking after a baby. You stayed up most evenings, talking with me late into the night. Despite my complete exhaustion, you were able to entertain my thoughts and helped me google Cot death, Night Nanny’s, Mother and Baby psychiatric units and baby sleep advice. You taught me how to be clever though, to remember to delete my search history, and be sure not to confide in anyone else.
When I returned to work at just 3 months Post partum, you made sure that I didnt talk to my team or my customers about being a parent, you gave me such incredible drive and commitment to be better at my job, and to help me prioritise late night emails and working lunches, over time spent bonding with my son.
One of your best attributes was the ability to make me feel lonely in any given situation, you whispered in my ear such feelings of shame and embarrassment, that I wouldn’t put myself in a social environment. You didnt let me go to mum and baby groups because you liked to keep me all to yourself. My poor husband didnt have a clue what I was thinking, as you told me he wouldnt understand.
During one of my bouts of insomnia, I had kindly asked you to leave me alone, and despite your resistance, I sneakily googled online therapy in a moment of Clarity. You sat with me while I typed to my therapist, but you couldnt hide, for he could see you! He told me all about your habits, and the ways in which you would attach yourself to me, but you assured me that we would be ok on our own, and that we didnt need any intervention.
You even travelled with us to Greece, when my son was just 10 months old, you helped me feel like more of a failure than I had ever been. I walked and walked along the beach front, willing my poor little baby to sleep after he had kept us up for most of the evening. You stood infront of me, strong and victorious, and tried to convince me to leave him there. You told me that he had just had a bottle, and was shielded from the hot-sun, that perhaps a nice waitress from our hotel would rescue him. I tried to wheel the buggy around you, but you gripped on so tightly, luckily you got distracted by some tourists and I was able to make a break for it, back to my husband.
You pushed me so hard at work, that I felt like a zombie and when your back was turned, I asked my boss about dropping my hours and responsibilities to try and spend some time with my son. You weren’t happy with my decision, but you did your best to keep me working late into the night and taking on additional responsibilities.
The health visitor suspected your presence at my son’s 12 Month review. She wiped away my tears as I told her that I just couldn’t be the friend that you needed me to be, our outlook on life was different, our interests were miles apart. She arranged for my to see my GP, who gave me some medication to try and give us ‘some space.’
You hated it when I decided to meet my Counsellor. You struggled to hide your disgust when I told her all about you, and that I didnt want our friendship to continue. She gave me the strength to confront you for what you really were. I didnt need you in my life, I had a husband, a family, friends and colleagues who you had tried to keep me from. I learnt new skills and techniques to start to manage you and encourage you to hang out with your own friends.
I finally went against your wishes, and took a career break. I fell in love with Motherhood. I learnt the art of self care and Mindfulness, and banished you from my life. Your toxic, suffocating thoughts no longer clouding my brain. My son was the happiest that I had ever seen him, and I wanted to shout that from the rooftops. I found my passion, my purpose, and I began to warn others of your trickery.
I know you tried to visit last week, I heard you knock on the door and saw your missed calls, but I just cant let you back into my life. I sometimes see your reflection in the mirror, or your car parked on the drive, but I choose to ignore you, as my other friends are alot more fun to be around.
So I guess this leaves me to say that I wont be sending you a christmas card next year, I think its best that you stay with your family. I know how well you get on with your sister ‘Anxiety’ and your cousin ‘OCD’ so I’m sure you wont miss little old me. I wish I could say that ‘its been nice knowing you’ but we both know that it would be a lie.
Emma The made up Mom