Happy Mother’s Day

I can take the boy-child anywhere, though admittedly, the second time to apologise.

I can take the boy-child anywhere twice; albeit the second time to apologise. Phot0: The Big T, 2013.

It’s Mothers’ Day; but today I’m off-duty. My son is on his first solo out-of-town trip, visiting a friend in Wellington.

Last night his friend’s mother sent me an email thanking me for having a fantastic son who is a pleasure to have around and has become a good friend to her son.

That’s my Mothers’ Day present, and it’s probably the best I’ve ever had (sorry kiddo). It doesn’t take anything away from my son’s ability to manage his own actions and choices, but acknowledges that I have played a role in raising a child who can go out into the world and be a credit to himself and his family.

Photo: The Big T, 2011

Photo: The Big T, 2011

This is important to me for a whole bunch of reasons; not least because I’ve been a “stay at home” mother to my only child. I don’t regret that at all; in fact I believe that both the boy-child and I are better people because of our time together. But the choices that were made when he was little have come at a cost to our family. I suffer from depression and it impacts on us all.

I was diagnosed with post-natal depression 17 years ago, and although circumstances have changed, I don’t think I’ve never really recovered. I have weeks and months when things seem fine; I function as a fairly competent human being. Then the gloom descends and my world falls apart.

So much of his first year passed in a blur. Photo: The Big T, 1998.

So much of his first year passed in a blur. I look at photos and wonder if that was really me. Photo: The Big T, 1998.

I’ve talked to various GPs about this in the past, but only in a general “let’s wait and see” sort of way, mainly because of my reluctance to buy into any sort of pharmaceutical solution (I’m like this generally — about most ailments). But last weekend I hit a new low and sought help.

I’m not really sure what I expected, but my doctor has prescribed anti-depressants (and some other stuff that I’m still thinking about). I came home and did some research on the particular medication (I have a library degree, so I mean actual research – not Google); and I’ve decided not to fill the prescription. The thought of what the chemicals can do to my body actually makes me more depressed. But I think more importantly, it makes me feel that I’m relinquishing control over my situation and I’m not ready to do that. I know that antidepressants do a whole lot of good for many people and I’m not ruling them out forever. I just want to look for alternatives first.

Medication also treats the symptoms, and I really, really need to address the causes. I feel like my life is shit because – well, objectively, a lot of my life is shit. Taking drugs won’t fix that I’m overweight, unemployed, have a relationship in crisis and feel like my brain is turning to mush from under-use.

So I’ve decided to deal with this the way I tackle most things; by doing research, analysing the information I find, doing some more research, and making a plan that involves taking charge of things myself.

Feeling a bit more in kick-ass mode. Photo: The Big T, 2012.

Yes, I am a control freak; but actually that’s a part of me I can live with.

I’m also a writer; and have realised over the years that writing is how I make sense of the world. I’ve never been one of those people who plans something out and then writes it down. I start writing, then read what I’ve written and change it a bit, then I write some more, and repeat this process over and over again until I’ve created meaning out of all the thoughts and connections that whiz around my head like ingredients in the pantry, waiting to be turned into a cake or a casserole or whatever.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m not sure that my blog is the right place for this process. But the fact is, part of dealing with depression is acknowledging that it exists. My blogging community is no less real than any other I belong to and it would feel disingenuous to continue posting with a phoney “happy face.”

I have no intention of turning ZimmerBitch into a chronicle of depression. One of the things I derive real pleasure from is photography, and the blog will still be principally a place for my images and the thoughts that go with them. But I guess I’d also like to use the structure and discipline of writing a blog to explore some of the stuff I need to think about.

photo 4-1

Taking photos is one of the things that gives me pleasure; knowing that might be part of the recovery. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

I will provide warnings on all DEPRESSION content, and if you start abandoning me in droves, I’ll see the error of my ways and find alternative forums for my angst!

In the meantime, I’m taking baby steps. So I’m off to get ready for a date with the Big T; dinner and An Evening with Noel Fielding.

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33 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day

  1. I love that you wrote about your ups and down and depression. I also suffered from post partum depression after my daughter, my 2nd child and my only daughter out of 5. As you, the 1st yr of her life is really hard to even remember. I feel like I missed out on so much…even to this day. I hate the feeling I get even thinking about it. Not being able to look backlłat tht “missing” first yr of my daughters life. I admire your strength…and the first step to healing is speaking on it. Forgiving ourselves…or others..i have a post on my page about forgiveness and how powerful it can be in our own lives! 💜 I’m working threw my depression everyday…it’s a process. But we’ll get there! Happy Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brandy, thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment. You are right; forgiveness is really important, and really powerful. Something I need to work on too. And I figure as long as I take one step at a time and head in more or less the direction I want to go, I can make things better. Happy Mother’s Day to you; hope you have a great day with your kids. 🙂

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  2. It’s Mother’s Day today in New Zealand, too? Happy Mother’s Day. It is very late right now for me, and I have an only son who has a plan for my day in the am. I will come back to reread slower and comment more fully because I have a lot to say about your post. I can so relate on many points. Enjoy your day!

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  3. Your son really does look like you Su, sometimes I look back and think there was no huge achievement and then remind myself how incredibly proud I am of my children, like you I stayed at home to bring them up. Depression has come in and out of my life, your post really struck a chord, choosing to take tablets is very personal, I did once and felt just as you described and would not choose to do that again. I hope your date is fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Julie. I sometimes wonder how something so natural and universal as motherhood has become so emotionally and culturally laden that so many of us actually become sick.
      Our date was really good fun. I didn’t know much about Noel Fielding (except from seeing him on Never Mind the Buzzcocks), so it was a new, and very funny, experience. Thanks again, Su.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Mother’s Day to you too Su! You are doing well and I think you are very brave. I agree though that being open with yourself is a good start and you know yourself well enough to know what will work for you. Take it easy on yourself! Your son sounds lovely and what a nice message for you to get from his friend’s mother. 😊

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  5. Happy Mother’s day Su! You got a deserved gift!
    And I commend you not only for having raised this kid so well, but for having endured all these years without medicines. As hard as it can be, it seems that you are not only very brave and determined but very strong.
    You’re looking at depression in the eye and if you feel that sharing with us here will be good for you, bring more, as your thoughts are welcome.
    I’ll be here to follow not only your stunning photos but your journey, wishing you all the best.
    Warm regards
    Lucile
    PS. Have you bee to yoga yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lucile; I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, and your lovely, positive wishes. I have been to yoga in the past; but stopped because I got really busy and struggled to make time to not only do the class, but travel back and forth. It is something I’ve been thinking about going back to, so thanks for the (very timely) reminder. 🙂

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      • You are most welcome, Su.
        It didn’t cost me time as I appreciate reading your posts. This one even more so.
        Yoga is great. It has done wonders for me. I had sleeping problems after a shoulder injury and that’s definitely the best way to relax.
        It works inside out.
        Hope you can make time for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Lucile; I’m looking for classes nearby at the moment, and trying to find ways of de-cluttering my life generally to make time for the things that are important. 🙂

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  6. Happy Mother’s Day from Canada where it’s Mother’s Day too!

    I think virtually all of us bloggers would agree that writing is a powerful outlet for the buildup of thoughts and emotions that sometimes threaten to overwhelm us. It helps us twice – once in the expression of those thoughts and then again at the feedback that comes from others.

    Wishing you a day full of brightness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You go, girl! Thanks for sharing not only the good and for letting me and all of us be perhaps just a tiny bit of the recovery process. Having others appreciate your children, no matter their age, is truly a compliment. And good for you being a stay-at-home mom. I was, too, and home schooled our two girls through high school, which made me different in two ways. Well worth it, though. Happy Mother’s Day, Su, and all the very best.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You look fabulous in these photos. I have just been diagnosed with PTSD. So my life will be taken up with counselling. I am doing some therapy with horses which is great as horses don’t judge you at all but react to how you feel. I spoke to my daughter yesterday and she was totally behind all that. She did tell me that all her friends envied her for having a cool mother. I was a stay at home mother and she and my son really appreciated that someone was there to greet them after school. They were very upset when I was held up somewhere. So I hope you will find some way through all this and get to the other side. I hope so too for me.

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    • Thanks Raewyn (must admit I did have to hunt for a few good shots!). I’m glad you have a diagnosis, and that you can get counselling. I’m sure that will help, and having your children’s love and support is invaluable. I’m feeling better just for having put things down in writing (and even better about all the positive feedback I’ve had), so one day at a time. I’m sure both of us will come through it. Kia kaha.

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  9. Oh Su!! Your post goes to show how everyone is struggling with something in their life. Not everyone’s struggle is necessarily visible. I wish you hope and peace of mind this Mother’s Day!

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  10. I’ve just reread this post. First of all, good job with the boy-child. Raising a decent human being is work, divine work I think, for I have loved nothing so much, but work nevertheless.

    I, too, was a stay-at-home mom of an only child. And I have struggled with the demon depression for most of my life. I felt as you do, that I should be able to find a way to deal with it. I went into therapy for some years, which was helpful. Eventually, though, I did reach a point of acquiescence born from need and began taking an antidepressant. It helped at a time when I desperately needed it. But it was never like a sprinkling of fairy dust that makes everything better. Last year, I decided it was time to stop taking it, so I weaned myself very, very slowly off of the drug.

    What amazes me is how being off the medication has allowed me to feel things again more acutely. I find myself easily weepy but in a good way. Things move me to tears.

    Kudos to you for sharing your struggle. Sharing helps others as well as ourselves. Peace and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mary; thanks so much for taking the time to support me and to share your experiences. I’ve heard friends tell the same story of coming off antidepressants and “feeling” again. I’ve done some more reading, and feel that for now (who knows what will happen in the future) it is better for me to keep “feeling” — even pain — so that I don’t forget that what will really make a difference is addressing the parts of my life that bring me unhappiness and stress. I think it’s a bit like putting a stone in my shoe to remind me why I’m walking! I am looking for a therapist, as I think that will help, so we’ll see how it goes. Thank you again. All my best wishes to you in your journey.

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