I came on today to blog about PTSD…. and found this. I’d written it months ago. It’s only right that I publish this before I publish today’s episode.
So after what can only be described as the pregnancy from HELL ( Hyperemesis Gravidarum, blood transfusion, Diabetes, blood clots, problems with my pancreas, kidneys and liver) I finally gave birth to my beautiful daughter Eden. The apple of my eye.
I’ll be blunt. I didn’t love her for the 8 months I was pregnant. I didn’t even acknowledge her.
During my hospital stays (9 or 10, I lost count) I was repeatedly canulated and had arms like a heroin addict for months and months. I lost stones in weight, and the will to live.
Fast forward a few months and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I have the most delicious little girl who falls into the ‘easy baby’ category. Max is lovely and has forgotten coming to visit me every day in hospital, Glenn is the perfect dad and totally besotted with his little girl.
But I’m still being sick occasionally. And I’m still feeling sick a lot of the time. And I’m having really graphic nightmares (always involving multiple needles in my arms, ankles or neck), I get flash backs and now panic attacks are occurring regularly. I have food aversions and ridiculous phobias…. of bins, the fridge, the oven, strong smells, visual triggers. I avoid food for days and days then I binge on takeaways or go out for a meal.
I hadn’t eaten a meal at home for 3 months and my credit card bill for takeaways and eating out had topped £3k. Three grand because I was avoiding these panic attacks.
I’ve become obsessive. Every day and night I check my 30+ FB groups, DDDL, Twitter, E-mail x 2, Ebay, news groups….and then, because this takes me so long, I start from the beginning and check them all again. I belong to a nappy raffle board (custom cloth nappies) and I sit and refresh this page constantly just to see if anything new has come up (if you’re on FB you’ll have seen some of my winnings). This ritual uses up at least 5 hours everyday.
After psychiatric assessment I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was when we were attempting to define the elements of ‘trauma’ in order that we could address them…there were so many! The depth of how ill I was, my mum getting aggressive cancer, the way I was (mis)treated by some medical professionals, the burden that I placed on the ones I love. The friends I lost.
I had 6 sessions of treatment, every Monday at 10:30. My mum comes to pick me up and she takes Eden for a coffee while I talk and cry for an hour.
Last Saturday the four of us drove to Telford to meet up with some of the HG ladies who had kept me going with moral support during the toughest times in and out of hospital. There we all were with our babies and partners pretending everything was fabulous. And then I told them what I was going through and one by one they all told very similar stories. It brought it home that none of us were ‘better’. And it really upset me.
I couldn’t eat in front of them. I was sick on the way there too. And had a panic attack.
The Monday afterwards I had my first ‘reliving’ session, where you relive an element of the trauma by recalling all the details such as smell, touch, taste etc. I covered about a 4 hour window of the morning before I first got admitted to hospital. I relived it so much I was sick in the therapy room. I was sobbing uncontrollably. It was like I was there again and it was fucking awful.
Lots of issues came out of that session. The fact that I felt a burden to Glenn, the fact that I thought I was dying (turns out I was!), the fact that I didn’t love or want the baby inside me.
I came home from that session and everything went black. That’s the only way I can describe it. Horrid. My obsessive routines were keeping me going but had escalated to the ridiculous. (Shame they weren’t to do with cleaning, this house is a shit hole!!).
Wednesday night I was due to see Adam Ant, something I had treated myself to months before Eden was born. I tried to give my ticket away. I cancelled the babysitter (mum) as I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else putting Eden to bed. At the 11th hour Glenn convinced me to change me mind.
Basically, I went, but in doing so had a complete fucking meltdown. I screamed at my mum and Glenn, grabbed Eden out of my mum’s arms and locked us in the bathroom. That all came to a head and I calmed down enough to get in the car. I cried all the way to Cambridge and was sick as soon as we got there. The gig was shit. No it wasn’t. It was probably really good, but I didn’t want to be there. We left early and as soon as I got home I grabbed Eden from her cot, cuddled up to her and slept.
Thursday I was supposed to meet Danni and Teresa in Peterborough to see the Coca Cola lorry. Again, I said I would go then had a major panic and had to cancel at the 11th hour. I spent the rest of the day sobbing and feeling generally sorry for myself. And then I thought I didn’t want to be here. That Eden and Max and Glenn would be better off without me.
And I thought about that for what seemed like hours.
And then I picked up the phone and rang the Crisis team.
I’ve been seen by the Dr and Psych and had some different meds and some phone counselling yesterday. I’m on a watch list, so they call me at random times. 8:30 this morning wasn’t funny! Particularly as I’d been up all night doing my social media routine.
I’m not at risk. I’m not suicidal. I did want to ‘go away’ but I think I just wanted to hide.
And that’s where I am today. Ok. Mediocre.