Today is my 33rd birthday and although not a milestone birthday it has become a bit of a personal milestone this year. This time last year I was sat in my pyjamas all day, not because of my love of pj’s but because I didn’t want to face the day. It was my 32nd birthday and I could not have cared less. I was in the depths of anxiety, possible depression and most definitely grief. I had huge physical symptoms from my anxiety that day too. I couldn’t see straight because I was so dizzy from the hyperventilating. I had migraine after migraine after migraine. I was off balance. I was, in short, a mess. Everything had gotten on top of me and I hadn’t seen it coming. The weeks leading up to my birthday I had spent days in bed not being able to make sense of how I was feeling. I thought I was physically ill but I wasn’t. I was grieving, I had mental ill health and now when I look back on it all I realise I had a breakdown.
Other than to my husband and my best friend I have never admitted that that was what it was. I simply couldn’t cope with life. This was my turning point though. The day before my birthday my husband had taken me out shopping. We were in a big shopping centre with lots of people and bright lights. I couldn’t deal with it, I was hyper sensitive to the lights and the noise due to my anxiety. I tried 3 times to do it, each time having to return to the car to calm down. Isn’t it funny that it’s only when you look back on these events that you realise how serious they were and how much you needed help. It was only a year after losing Heidi. It was only a year since Little Lady had started her Neonatal journey and I watched her nearly die several times a day. It was only a year since my whole world had been turned upside down and I just hadn’t allowed myself to deal with any of it. I had convinced myself that I needed to be strong for Little Man and Little Lady but in the end being strong took it’s toll and I broke.
A couple of weeks after all of this happened I finally went to the Doctors. I completely broke down and he prescribed me antidepressants. The best thing I ever did. I know that medication isn’t for everyone and everyone has to find the best way to help themselves but this one worked for me. It took a few months and a few life changes and finally I started to feel physically a bit better and eventually mentally too. I still have some awful bad days, I think I always will but on a day to day basis I cope a lot better. This summer holiday I have taken Little Man to the cinema twice on my own, I have taken both kids on mornings out on my own and enjoyed it too. This time last year these were things I simply couldn’t too. They felt too big, too hard.
I don’t claim to be better as I know my loved ones reading this will know different but I do claim to be a bit more in control and to be a lot more accepting of my mental ill health. I am okay with admitting that I’m having a day, I’m okay with telling my friends that I’m feeling anxious so might not be able to do what we planned, I’m okay with explaining to Little Man that my heads a bit poorly that day. I’m okay with admitting defeat every now and then and looking after myself. I’m okay with admitting that I’m not as strong as I want to be and that’s alright.
My 31st birthday was spent next to an incubator with Little Lady inside and Little Man doing stickers on my knee. My 32nd birthday was spent in the depths of anxiety. My 33rd birthday will be spent with a smile and that’s enough for now.
Happy Birthday to me!