Thursday, 19 February 2015

Ups and Downs

I haven't written in a while. I think because I haven't felt like it, otherwise I have to put it down to laziness. 

I'm still here, in the nut house/mother and baby unit. A bit over 5 weeks now and counting (only one other girl has been here longer). BabyF is growing and learning and practicing new tricks; she now rolls both ways and shuffles around the floor (mainly backwards), and it looks like she might crawl soon. She bites everything (apart from my nipples - she knows which way her bread is buttered) and drools everywhere. She giggles and giggles and giggles and must be the happiest baby on the unit by miles. She beams at everyone and everything and doesn't seem affected by the shit going on inside me. Which is the plan.

We spent a night at home last weekend, and while it wasn't a total failure, it was hard. Settling issues, meltdown issues, and in the end I was told to take my meds and go to bed. It was like being a child. So much of this whole process makes me feel like a child - especially meetings with the psychiatrist and family meetings. My emotions feel childish somehow, but far from basic.

Today I'm going home for the weekend. Friday to Sunday - it's a big deal. I've been anxious about it for days, and the closer it gets (2 hours and counting), the worse the anxiety.

My brother arrived last night and my mother leaves tonight, and despite the fact that my husband and my brother will be there, I'm so scared I'll feel alone again. Like I did for so long. And that I won't know what to do with myself or BabyF. And that I'll work myself up into a meltdown or four. I can always come back to the unit, any time, day or night they say. But isn't that failing? Haven't I don't enough of that?

So I guess I need a plan. Tomorrow morning I'd like to take BabyF to swim in the ocean before the sun gets too strong or the wind comes up. I'll miss yoga but can do that at home in the afternoon - will be a nice break I think. According to the psych, my breaks have to be activity based rather than sleeping or resting. When husband offers to take BabyF out for a couple of hours so I can have some "me" time I have to refuse and go with them.

My mood has been up and down and down and up, not stable enough to be going home for good. This weekend was supposed to be a test, release usually follows soon after. But after seeing the psych today I don't think that's the case for me. Probably another couple of weeks.

BabyF will start sleeping in my room overnight soon. This worries me a bit because of the sedation (mine, not hers... although that would be nice at times) and having to feed her through the night. Staff will have a monitor and help me when I'm drowsy or incapable. At home my best husband would do those feeds. 

Slightly Off Topic, but the other night my best husband washed my feet before I got into bed. I was so touched by his kindness, I could have cried. He also sent me beautiful colourful gerberas last week, the day we had a dinner date planned. I'm lucky to have him.

I'm also lucky to have a mother who drops everything and flies across the world to visit me every day from 3pm at the unit. We go for walks and stuff, but it must be a pretty shitty time for her too. So thanks mum. Now it's my brother's turn to visit me every day from 3 - I'm sure these will not be remembered as their best holidays...

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Fake It 'Til You Make It

I want her childhood to be enchanted and beautiful. How can I achieve this, feeling the way I do? 

"Fake it 'til you make it" is a mantra round here, and advice that I've lived by for years. But having a baby has stripped me. I'm naked and raw and have run out of faces to put on. Somehow I manage with BabyF - she very rarely sees me cry and I always show her a smile and chat when I least feel like it. But I don't know how much longer I can keep up the charade - eventually she'll figure out that I'm faking. Then how will trust and love grow between us? Fucking "Attachment issues" I do not want to pass on to my little baby.

Apparently I need to start putting into practice some of the techniques I'm learning in group therapy when I feel low and anxious like this. It's hard to find the motivation.

Yesterday it was sprung on me that BabyF has to have her day time naps in my room now, no longer in the nursery. I would rather have had some notice (I appear to meltdown whenever change is mentioned), but managed to get her down for her last nap yesterday and her first today. I'd like to say with minimal fuss but that would be a total lie. She's a demon when it comes to bed time.

But she wakes up happy and squealing, sometimes chattering and babbling to herself. I'm sure she'll talk early and we'll never have a moment of peace again. She's already sitting and rolling and eating her feet (and anything else she can get her mouth on). The nurses here think she'll crawl and walk early too so we're going to have some baby-proofing to do.

Today I feel shit. We picked mum up from the airport on Sunday and she came in to the unit yesterday at visiting time. I feel pressure (not from her) to be better while she's here, to suddenly be well enough to go home. I feel like I should be planning things for us to do and actually doing them rather than sitting here feeling crap and getting into a panic because I haven't planned anything and I don't want to go anywhere and I don't want to do anything and I don't want to ruin what little routine BabyF has. 

That's a lot of don't want. Pretty sure that's not in my group therapy file. 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Tired

I'm tired. BabyF is almost sitting on her own - in any 5 minutes my emotions regarding this range from pride - you go girl - to sadness that she is a) growing up so fast (I'm sure I'll lament this forever) and b) growing up so fast on a psych ward. 

Today's meeting with the pdoc was ok-ish. I cried, didn't mean to, because I feel so useless and so scared. My thoughts and feelings scare me; they're huge and ugly and dark and when I'm at my lowest it's a real struggle to control myself.


That was yesterday. Today I am also tired, mainly because something in the corridor was beeping all night. Apparently it will be fixed today. 

I can no longer go outside alone so the past couple of days my lovely nurses have taken BabyF and I for walks and juices and coffees. Today I couldn't go for a walk because my baby was asleep and there weren't enough staff to leave her in the nursery. I feel trapped, both physically and metaphysically - not a great place to be.

The handful of pills I swallow each morning don't seem to be doing much yet. I want to cry. I want to leave. I wonder if my life will be like this forever, if these feelings aren't anything to do with severe depression, but are just my actual feelings. That would make me a monster and a terrible person and awful mother. These thoughts (and more) in turn make me so distressed that I can't cope or do anything. It's at the bottom of this pit that my worthless self  wants to die. 

Right now I should be looking after my baby but I feel incapable of movement. I haven't even showered. She's been changed and fed and dressed (by me) all on autopilot. Autopilot is no way to raise a child. Things HAVE to get better. They have to.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Brutal

Yesterday was hard. Today is the fucking pits. Yet BabyF just lies there, eating her toes and smiling indiscriminately (at the tv, at the back of people's heads...), as if this is the most normal and natural place in the world for us to be working our shit out together. 

"We did discuss how rough these few days would be" - yes psych, we did. But I am LIVING them and you are OBSERVING them so fuck you and your change of meds and your constant observation. I feel watched and judged and paranoid. I feel like the nurses are talking about me behind my back, saying that I should snap out of it and go home. The psychiatrist said I put on such a good front that some of them probably can't see past it to the depths of my illness. So they ARE judging. I don't feel I have the right to be here. I feel like everyone is judging my ability to be a mother and finding me severely lacking.

My baby still sleeps in the nursery which means my doctors don't yet deem me fit to care for her overnight. The drugs they give me to sleep don't work anyway. I'm building a tolerance to the quetiapine which is now giving me nightmares. I feel like the new people coming on to the ward judge me for still having my baby in staff care when some of them have their babies in their rooms. We're all here for different reasons we're told. "Don't compare with one another. Just accept that you all need to be here and will be treated individually." But I still feel judged.

I just want it all to stop. I want to disappear, to vanish - poof! Gone forever. But they guilt trip me, using BabyF and Husband as collateral. Mother uses all of above plus self (she's forgiven today for sending beautiful sunflowers just when I needed them). I'm fucking sick of living my life for other people. You're not allowed to say that though, how dare you be so selfish as to want to live for your own pleasure and enjoyment? Now I have to live for my baby, my husband, my mother, my fucking GP. When do I start wanting to live for me?

Right now I'm very medicated. I keep having crying fits and getting really agitated and irritated. I've been out for 2 walksans just bathed BabyF and put her to bed. Half an hour of patting and shushing and singing tonight. Not bad. I might cry again now - all feels so hopeless and hard and neverending.

And all of this must be harming BabyF In some way. They say she's perfect and well adjusted and that there's no sign of my illness having affected her. But it must. I have "severe depression, anxiety, and attachment issues stemming from my own childhood". I want to attach to my baby. I want her to attach to me. I just don't know how to make that happen. I especially don't know how to make that happen on the days I don't want to look after her, to play with her or feed her.

Sounds brutal. It is brutal.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Strings

I feel like strings are growing between our hearts, her and I. Growing together, all tangled yet barely there like the finest of silk strands. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

Broken

It's hard and it hurts. Physically hurts. BabyF screamed and screamed last night while we were trying to put her down. I just want to go to sleep and not wake up. Too much to ask? Obviously. 

Yesterday I had a meeting with the psychiatrist and they're switching my antidepressants from escitalopram to pristiq. Starting today, my escitalopram dose has been chopped to 1/3 of my usual dose. It's going to be a screwy weekend - husband is aware. We've been told to make some nice easy plans so we're not stuck at the unit all weekend with me feeling shitty.

My stay here will be a bit longer than the 3 weeks we originally thought it would be, maybe 4 or 5? They haven't given me a release date yet, these things change day to day, week to week.

This morning I'm bone tired. I think I cried myself to sleep, or at least until the drugs took over. Big hateful crying, with sobs and tears. HN1 stayed with me and hugged and offered comfort, but he just doesn't understand. And I can't expect him to understand when what I "want" must feel like the most awful, hurtful thing in the world to him.

Imagine having a wife so broken. He didn't sign up for this. Well, actually, he did - if this is sickness he signed on the dotted line. But nobody enters a marriage imagining that less than two years down the track their partner would want to have their beautiful baby adopted, or that they would want to kill themselves.

I feel broken. I've been broken before but somehow I've stuck myself together again and carried on. This time feels different; I'm not sure telling myself to "harden the fuck up" will cut it. 

I wish I wasn't such a burden.

I wish I was myself; I've lost myself. I no longer have an identity other than "mother to BabyF". Actually that's not true. My other identity is "Patient xyz". It fucking sucks to be perfectly honest. 

Today I had lunch with Kat. She bought me beautiful pink and white flowers which are now sitting in a teapot in my room. A much more annoying thing happened at 5am when one of the nurses came into my room and over to my bed, woke me up and accused me of burning candles. Um, yeah. That would be the LED fucking star lamp night light you buffoon.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Guilt

Today, especially, I hate myself. No, I loathe myself. Inside and out, from top to bottom. I loathe myself so much that I want to disappear, to vanish into thin air. Then come the thoughts of slit wrists and bottles of pills washed down with vodka. Then comes the guilt.  

(Mum, don't jump on a plane. I'm in hospital, I'm fine.)