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Hello? Is Anybody Out There?

*TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDE*

I’m desperately unhappy.
When I was suicidal a few months ago the Crisis/Home Treatment Team (HTT) and Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) talked about how I’d fuck my daughter up if I killed myself, mentioned new therapies to try. I felt guilt tripped out of killing myself and was given a shred of hope. But where are these therapies? Where is the support? It was all bullshit. So now I’m left here like this, with no quality of life, when this all could have been over months ago.

I last met with anyone in a professional capacity (aka Paid To Help Me) in August. My next scheduled appointment with the CMHT is the 22nd October. I missed two recent appointments, at the beginning of September. One because I forgot (I’m increasingly frustrated with a brain that doesn’t work) and another rescheduled a few days later because I was ill (physically). So, I feel like they’re punishing me. I’ve been bumped down the list because I’m not committed enough. MrTPM has called them (I can’t use the phone, another frustration) to ask to see someone before the October date. They said they’ll get back to him.
We’re still waiting, five days later. I don’t know what to say to them now. I’m honest whenever I see them, I tell them I still think of suicide, that I’m not happy. I don’t know what else I can say to get more help.

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Doing one step at a time was fine. At my last appointment (about 20 years ago…) I was told to try planning meals and answering the phone. I’m ok for a couple of days. But I can’t manage those things AND the day to day stuff that I HAVE to do. I have to look after my daughter, keep her clean, feed her, dress her, take her to preschool, engage with her. And each one of those things is a real challenge for me. I analyse each step, each thing I have to do. And while I’m sitting there, trying to play with her, I’m thinking about how unhappy I am. I have no patience, I’m snappy, then I’m upset that I’m treating her like shit. She needs to not be near me with how I am at the moment. And that’s my everyday. I can’t achieve the small steps because I cannot focus on them.
I just need some fucking quiet. How can I get better if I can’t focus on it? And with no health care professional around to guide me?

As far as the ‘working diagnosis’ of bipolar disorder and the Lithium therapy goes, I have no idea. I’m on a trial, which indicated to me that it’d be monitored, both physiologically and psychologically. I’ve not had a blood test in weeks. I’ve had one blood test since I started taking it in June and none since the increase to 600mg. Whether it’s helping my mental state, I don’t know. I think I’m better than I was, overall, but with episodes like the one a few days ago (triggered by the letter from the CMHT), I’m not sure how effective it is. Have I got bipolar? Have I not? If I haven’t, what have I got? I’m very lost, and left to figure this stuff out on my own.

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I feel unsupported. And with that I then become disheartened. I’m struggling to not give up as it is. Is this a government thing? Lack of funding? Is this a communication issue? Are staff over stretched? Should I be thankful that I’m not ill enough to be a priority? Does a person have to be literally hanging on a rope to get a helping hand? At times, I’m concerned I’ll find out.

(Apologies if this post makes no sense, much of it is excerpts from text messages to the Samaritans.)

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The Pumping Mama Is One

It’s been a year since I started The Pumping Mama Facebook page, as a way to escape abuse on my personal profile when sharing images and articles that I found to be interesting and/or inspiring. I became free to discuss breastfeeding in a way that I couldn’t before, and soon connected with other mamas on the same journey of exclusive pumping. The WordPress blog followed, along with Instagram and Twitter accounts. I’ve been profoundly touched by the messages of support and encouragement, particularly when my writing became much more focused on my ill mental health. Depression and anxiety can take you to very dark, lonely places so I’ve deeply appreciated every kind word typed to me over the last twelve months.

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The Facebook blog has developed from being a pumping diary, to a support page. Being able to post questions and worries on behalf of other women has been a gift, something positive coming from a very difficult time. I’ll always be heartbroken that I didn’t breastfeed, but contributing something to the exclusively pumping community has eased the pain. The range of topics I write about has broadened, to parenting in general and mental health. Blogging about postnatal depression and my mental illness has been free therapy for me and my online support network is invaluable. Although my pumping journey has come to an end, I hope that this new direction of blogging continues for a long time to come.

It’s funny that this anniversary falls on Mother’s Day. I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it’s lovely, and somehow fitting. This whole chapter of my online life came about because I became a parent, a mother. But on the other hand, Mother’s Day is a difficult time personally. Something about the whole celebration doesn’t sit right with me, as though I’m some kind of fraud. I don’t feel deserving of a special day of recognition for my mothering skills. I’m barely a parent at all most days and often don’t want to even be a mother. Brutal, but true.

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I had hoped that Mother’s Day would be a very different affair by now, that I’d be much more ‘sorted’. But as it turns out, I’m not quite there. I shall try to enjoy the day, embrace it. I know I’ll savour the lie in and the restaurant dinner and I’m looking forward to holding Moo pretty tight. As with all parents, I’ll muddle through the next year as best I can, potentially making (hopefully not too catastrophic) mistakes and learning about myself along the way.

Here’s to all mothers, of Earth babies and angel babies, mothers to be and mothers of the future, to all women raising children, doing the best that they can with the hand they’ve been dealt; I hope you have a beautiful, beautiful day, filled with love and peace.

Where Were They?

I’m so sad. It’s just hit me, just then, in the last few minutes. I’ve had a great day until now, and one photo of a baby nursing has set me off.

I needed someone there, pushing me on to keep trying with the breastfeeding. I didn’t need people telling me I’d tried hard enough, or that it was ok to quit or that bottle feeding was good too. I needed someone to slap me across the face, tell me to get it together. I needed someone to tell me that it was ok to stop trying for 24 hours, to compose myself, take some deep breaths and to try again tomorrow.

I needed someone there after Moos tongue tie snip. I needed someone that new a damn thing about exclusively pumping. I needed cool suggestions, like using a bottle teat as a nipple shield. I needed someone to help me with the SNS when it was fucking me off. I needed someone to tell me that it was never too late to keep trying. 

Health visitors? Midwives? Lactation consultants? Doctors? I don’t know who that person should have been, but where the fuck were they?

Blogging

Blogging

I wish I’d blogged from the beginning, but I just didn’t have the mental capacity. It’d be wonderful to have moments documented, as a reminder, to help fill the gaps in my memory.

I’ve always kept journals, on and off from childhood. The first year of Moo’s life was so difficult, my mind was so frazzled, I don’t think I could have put pen to paper if I tried. It’s an escape, it’s free therapy. Instead of sobbing my heart out, I’d write through the tears, eventually feeling a sense of release. Paper can’t answer back, it can’t question you, doubt you or judge you. It’s an ever listening ear, reliable, trustworthy, open 24 hours a day.

I love that what was once a private rambling exercise has now become a way to reach out to people. I love connecting with other parents with similar struggles. Knowing you’re not alone is a huge comfort. I started this page as a way to discuss breastfeeding as much as I wanted, without pissing off friends that found it monotonous, irrelevant or ‘offensive’. But it’s become so much more to me.

I wonder if Moo will read these one day, and realise that her mum is a total fruit cake.