Growing up, I did not even realise that there was a thing called depression. Usually in African culture, depression does not exist, as no one talks about it, or admits to it’s existence. It is seen as a weakness, so suffering alone is the done thing. My first experience with depression first hand, was early on in our relationship, a year after he finished his chemotherapy, when I felt Graham was acting odd or out of sorts. I was not getting my normal load of attention, his text messages was different and his talking was getting a bit negative. Knowing him not wanting to make me stress, I called our family Dr, made an appointment and told him: “I think Graham needs to talk to someone and that was not me”. I told him about his scheduled appointment which he attended.
In today’s crazy, hectic and busy life it is a very common aspect of life. Pressures at work, financial difficulties, relationships trouble, and any kind of trauma is a breeding ground to feel overwhelmed. Two weeks after delivering my babies I had a follow up appointment at the hospital. All was good and well until the nurse gave me a form to fill in. A form that will check my mental health since becoming a new mom.
Reading all those questions that felt so real and part of my life at the time, I was completely overcome with emotion. I do not think those Chinese patients looking at me has ever seen any one cried like that. I just could not stop. Well and my blood pressure as usual was sky high to. After what seemed like hours I started to relax, when I got called in to see the Dr. who was the on duty psychologist. I can not really say whether he heard anything I said through my tears. He was kind, calm, relaxed and reassuring. He asked me how I felt about myself after spending eight weeks in the hospital waiting for my babies to arrive. “PROUD” was my only answer. He recognised that I was not depressed, but that being surrounded by everything in the hospital at that moment brought back my traumatic experience in antenatal ward. This was my first encounter with a psychologist, apart from what I saw on TV, with their patients laying on a beautiful leather couch. clipboard and pen in the hand. And here I was, sitting opposite one. It felt great to have someone to complain to, someone that listened, someone with experience in how to deal with someone like me, who at the moment was a crazy person! A person with too much on her plate. A new mom!
I left left feeling better, but as my days carried on into weeks my anxieties surfaced again. I think now as a mom, I felt fearful, that I was just going to collapse and die, leaving my babies without a mom. This is a major issue to have on your mind the whole day. One that consumed my every thought. On my next appointment with my endocrinology team, I told them my concerns, and on my request I got admitted for the thorough check-up. Talking to the Drs about their game plan for my blood pressure, I felt in a better state of mind, because of them I feel relaxed. I am in a good place.
Feeling reassured that my physical health is being taking care of, I thought what if I sort our my mental health to. I am not depressed, but I have an obsessive compulsive behavior with my blood pressure. My fear for the blood pressure machine. These might seem like petty concerns for someone that is not dealing with this, but any issue for the person involved is a major thing. Mental issues, depression, compulsive behaviour is a major thing! No one sees them, we look healthy, and are happy, we do not talk about our demons but do they exist. They are real.
So I found myself a psychologist dealing in trauma. Now I am one of those patients sitting in a leather chair blubbering away. My first meeting was pretty intense and emotional. After seeing her and taking her advice into account I made mental notes of how I deal with situations, and my reactions especially those involving my blood pressure, my babies, my husband, my happiness, and how often I thought of my worst nightmare!
One of my therapist recommendations was to try and relax through being mindful, meditation and to colour myself calm.
This is the new trend now, where ever you are, you can use the meditation and relaxation illustrated books, that you can colour in to just take a bit of time out for yourself. A breath of fresh air sitting in your office, home, traffic, train. It might look like you are walking around with one of your children’s colouring books but this one is especially for adults. I TOTALLY LOVE IT! Just a couple of minutes makes all the difference!
In my session today, NO tears! It felt like i was talking to an old friend, just this one wanted money for it! At the end we did a meditation and mindfulness through breathing techniques. It was so peaceful, I remembered my safe place, a beautiful place, happy place with Graham’s wrapped arms around me near Roswell, Scotland in front of a fast yellow rapeseed farm! The scent of the flowers, the chill of Scottish weather on my face! Printed into my mind, to be remembered and cherished forever. Just like that you can remove yourself from the real world for a moment and embrace the beauty of your imagination!
Life is not perfect, as human beings we are not perfect: Love yourself first, be happy within yourself first , only than can we allow those who love us, to help fulfil our destiny!