I SAT on the uninviting, stark doctor’s bed, hunched over in fear.
Fear that I wouldn’t be able to get out of the dreamlike state of detachment. Fear that I wouldn’t realise my potential as the mother I knew I could be, fear that my life would forever be that of a never-ending slow motion horror film.
Feeling nothing, I was numb, and yet feeling everything, like an electric fire through my spine. I remember looking at my hands, the hands that wiped my daughter’s tears and held her unformed head, and they didn’t feel like they were a part of my body. Like I was watching.
Watching a life outside myself, never really hinged to the earth. I remember not being able to swallow. Not being able to eat. Not being able to cry. Not being able to breathe. Just not being “able”.
Then I heard those words “You have post-partum anxiety”.
I remember that day. Even in my detachment from my newly formless world I remember it so vividly that it burns bright in technicolor.
“Mum, I need help.” I faintly whispered that morning. “I can’t do this anymore.”
I’ve never really asked for help. I spent my life trying to pave my own road like a relentless, tunnel-vision warrior, reframing every painful experience into that of a positive one. But then again I’ve never really suffered so much that it broke me. Suffered so much that I felt like my entire body was made of glass and a mere touch would create hairline fractures that would slowly break, like pieces of a puzzle, and take my soul away with it.
“We will get you help,” my mum said earnestly. “We will get you better.”
So here I was. Diagnosed. Sitting in the doctor’s room, instead of celebrating my magnificent newborn and the rebirth of myself as a mother.
Now what? After six months of trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me, trying to boil it down to “just hormones” and “just sleep…