Last week my recovery took a sharp nosedive. In hindsight, the nosedive was at the end of a gradual decline over the past three weeks or so. I was barely coping. Duncan had to come home to care for me and Rory. My parents drove up from Albany. A friend from the farm came to the house to pray over me. I went to Albany and saw a GP, asking that my anti-depressants be reviewed. In previous months I actually FELT the medication working. I was quite robust and calm in situations that would have been unbearably stressful when Rory was little, but now every little thing that went wrong incited a major meltdown. Previously I went weeks without crying. Now, the 'bad days' and the tears were becoming alarmingly more frequent.
I've decided that this federal election I will vote for whoever pours more money into mental health. The system really is a joke! I was told I would have to wait two weeks to see someone at the hospital in Albany, even though the doctor put in an urgent referral. I told them I was close to the end of my rope. I always know I've slid backwards when I start talking and thinking about death. Eventually, after a visit to the ED and much pushing, they brought my appointment forward to this Thursday. Until then I've been instructed to come off the anti-depressants slowly and remain in my parents' care in Albany in case the side effects are unpleasant. So far I haven't really felt any worse....just very, very tired.
I've tried to pinpoint external factors which may be contributing to my slide:
- Rory started solids a month ago. While he took to eating really well, he has since suffered from extreme wind pain and has been really unsettled at night. Most nights we have to get up about six times on average. I am annoyed at people who told me babies sleep better on solids...what a load of crud! He has been more unsettled than he's ever been! The introduction of solids has also meant more work for me in preparing his meals. This has been coupled with one outspoken person in particular insisting that I HAD to steam and blend vegetables and NOT give him packets from the supermarket. This has just added to my stress. I was already struggling to get up, moving and motivated in the mornings and solids is another 'thing' to do. I hate the way depression makes me feel so slow and sluggish in getting out of the house.
- Rory has had eczema and is apparently teething (although there is no tooth yet) and has been a downright grizzle-bum.
- Winter is getting me down. I was a 'winter person' pre-kids but now I just wish the rain would go away and never come again another day. I know I'm not supposed to say that on a farm, but who cares. It sucks being out with Rory when it's raining. It sucks that he keeps getting cold after cold and so do I (right now he's got a horrible cough again). It sucks being confined to the house because it's wet. I think part of the reason I was doing so well before was that I was going for long walks with Rory and the dogs most days. When I don't exercise I feel sluggish. Rory is a very 'busy' baby who seems to get bored. I miss out on Vitamin D. I feel depressed so I seek comfort in food. I put on weight. It's a vicious cycle.
- I was struggling with life balance. When I was in hospital I was told I need to fight depression by getting out and about, but sometimes I think I do too much. It's hard to get the balance right. If I go out too much I get tired and that makes it harder for me to be patient.
- I was annoyed with the inequality for country women. In Perth and large regional centres there are a host of services for women with postnatal depression and many of them are FREE. Organisations like the Red Cross will come and babysit or help out with cleaning. You can claim the Special Childcare Benefit for free childcare. There's nothing like that out here. Very little help or support. There is only one childcare centre in town and they aren't registered with Centrelink so I can't claim anything back. It sucks! City people get everything. Country people get jack.
- I've been organising a trip to Sydney and my 30th birthday party - both good things but the organisational skills required have been a test for my muddled brain.
I had a scary thought the other day: What if I never fully recover? What if 75% well is as good as it gets?
I don't think I've ever cried out, "Come, Lord Jesus!" more than I have this year.