I should have written this yesterday but due to no internet access (cheers BT) I couldn’t. Although to be honest it is probably better done with the benefit of 24 hours.
There was nothing particularly strange about yesterday. I had to ring the vets in the afternoon to talk about possible further treatment for our sick guinea pig and in the evening I was due to go to our wee local singing group with a friend, and my eldest. To do that I would have to forgo my monthly meeting of additional needs parents and carers but I had informed a friend so that was taken care of.
All that remained was making sure the kids were fed and entertained and some house keeping chores, nothing likely to tax me over much in the school holidays.
So what went wrong? I have no idea.I must admit the lack of internet was very frustrating, mostly because I kept wanting to refer to it for small things like phone numbers, or a recipe, and I started to realise how much I rely on it. I spent far too long on the telephone trying to get some connection restored but it was frustrating, not really stressful. The kids were no more and no less challenging than any other day and thinking back on it possibly even slightly more accommodating than normal. The weather was fine – cold and sunny – and R (eldest boy) took the wee ones outside to play for ages.
But by the middle of the afternoon I was feeling weird, like I had something bubbling up inside me. I was jittery as though I’d drunk a dozen strong coffees. I was buzzing somewhat from lack of sleep but it felt so much more than that. I did wonder briefly if it was hormones but that thought got lost in the mounting panic that followed. In the space of about 2 hours I had started seeing really bleak scenarios in my head and I was beginning to think I was in danger of losing all rational thought. Part of me wanted to scream and smash the house up, and then hit my head again and again, the other part wanted to hide under the bedclothes. With the help of some amazing people on twitter I just about held it together until hubby got home and then I bolted.
During my “meltdown” (which wasn’t – it just felt I imagine like my wee M feels so often) I had been fobbed off again by BT, been told that the choir practice was off, bunged tea in the oven for the kids and done some washing-up, so not the stuff of nightmares but something about the day had nearly tipped me right over the edge. Hubby had expected me to be going to choir so he knew I was leaving and was very supportive when I almost ran straight out the door the second he came in. I’m not sure if I even told him choir was cancelled but possibly rather stupidly I got into the car. Only after I’d gone 5 miles I realised I could in fact now go to the monthly meeting so carried on heading into town. The meeting was what I needed, it gave me a focus other than myself, and even more usefully from my viewpoint we had a new person join so time was spent welcoming her and making her feel at home.
By the time I drove home I was a lot calmer and no longer full of the bubbling lava of terror that had threatened to engulf me earlier. It did take me several hours to unwind enough to even turn off the bedside lamp but eventually I slept. Not well but I did sleep.
And I woke this morning without that dark cold patch of nasty inside. It scared me you see – I have been in that place before and I really have no wish to return. I had a breakdown about 2 years ago, and there is no easy way to say that apart from straight out. I didn’t know at the time just how bad I was, but what scared me so much yesterday is that M, who is 6 and has autism, came to sit on my lap at one point and said “are you going to start crying again all the time Mummy?” I told her, no, Mummy was a bit tired and sad, but truthfully I thought I would never stop.
Today I had no expectations of how I would feel, but luckily yesterday appears to have been a vicious blip and no more. I have felt a bit tired but I didn’t sleep well so that’s no surprise. I have been cheerful (not manic) with the children and I have achieved a lot in a few hours. However the niggling question in the back of my mind is still “what will tomorrow be like?”
I can’t quite believe I am openly writing about mental health, or more to the point, my mental health, but someone has to if the stigma that surrounds mental health is ever to be lifted. I would have no embarrassment if I broke a limb or had a sudden hearing loss so why should this be any different? If I speak out maybe others will realise it’s OK.