The Day A Police Helicopter Found Me...
One wet Sunday afternoon Papasaurus and the children were playing and I was cooking in the kitchen. I popped a casserole in the oven and then walked out of the front door. No coat, no mobile phone, no money and no clue where I was going. Seven hours later a Police helicopter found me twelve miles away, still walking, after unbeknown to me, what was quite a big local search.
A Policewoman drove up to me and asked me to get in the car to be taken home. But I didn't want to go home, I was afraid and I had no idea what of. I begged her to take me to the Police station and arrest me - anything other than be taken home. She obviously didn't want to do that so I half heartedly kicked the Police car tyre. Hardly gangster material am I?
Eventually I returned home that night on the agreement that Papasaurus was gone when I arrived. What had he done wrong? Nothing.
Two days later I asked for someone to come and take Ozzy, who was 3 months old, to join Papasaurus at my mother-in-laws. That left just Queen Scamp and I.
I'll fast-forward to a week later. I hadn't eaten a thing, I would not leave the house, I rang my GPs and begged for help, I admitted that I had thought about smothering Ozzy with a pillow. They gave me an appointment for a week later. A hour later and I was hysterical ringing my GPs telling them that my midwife had taken my baby at my homebirth 5 weeks earlier and swapped him for Ozzy who was NOT MY CHILD. A Peri-natal mental health team came out within the hour to see me. By the time they got to me I had cut off my own hair with blunt kitchen scissors. It's hard for me to express how awful a feeling it was, you won't know but I draw and paint a lot -here is what I painted that evening - this for me visually sums up the 'place' I was 'at'.
I was hesitant to take medication and for two weeks I did not. Finally I agreed to give the meds a go. Within two days I left my home and went to stay with my older children and their father in Gloucester with Scamp for a break. The meds made me insanely happy, I grinned all day long, but I felt very confused all the time. Two weeks passed by and I had stopped sleeping altogether and became very emotional. Papasaurus came to visit and demmanded I came home at once, he could finally take no more.
And it was then I decided the meds were making me feel worse and not better and that no one was going to actually HELP ME. So I sat down one evening and wrote my own plan - my manifesto, if you like, of things I was going to do to help myself. I posted it to the perinatal mental health team along with my decision to stop taking the meds. They were sceptical about it all to say the least but that kind of spurred me on to prove that I could do it. The result has empowered me as a mother and a woman and to anyone with PND I would say 'it WILL end even though it feels that it will not and you will feel empowered that you came through the experience'.
So I returned home, started running every day for 30 minutes in the evening, made sure I had 6 hours a week to myself for whatever I wanted to do and made a list of groups and activites that I could take Scamp and Ozzy to together. A week later and Ozzy was home. It took a month for me to feel 'normal' again and bad feelings to drift away. But they did.
And it was my doing. The PND took away 'me', no one could help, no one would help, I made the decision to stand against it alone, to keep busy, to exercise and to get the old me back. I am not a super mum, I am simply a mother who got right down to the bottom and decided to claw her way back up.
I wanted to kill my baby. That's not an easy thing to write but it has to be said. I am not a bad person and I knew feeling that meant that something was very wrong with me. But the system is flawed, mums need immediate help and do not get it nor do their families. It is no wonder some feel that they have to take their own lives, it's a maddening illness.
Instead of commenting on this post I'd love you to take a look at something. Something another mother is doing to help ladies like me and like herself who have been visited by the shadow of PND. This mother has worked hard and selflessly to set up something that is going on right now to make a difference she has managed to accumulate 44 lovely items from companies of a value of £1000 altogether and is holding a raffle - £1 buys you one ticket with 100% of monies going to the Charity which was set up following the death of a woman 10 weeks after her baby was born due to PND.
Believe me PND comes in many guises and it's the knowing that how you feel is WRONG but not being able to help how you feel or change it that is the worst part.
This mum needs your support and help, her hard work is going un-noticed, if us mothers and fathers can not relate and support such a thing then there is no hope of changing what is a flawed system of dealing with PND.
So instead of commenting on this post, spend those couples of minutes to do something positive and amazing.
Go to the Charity Giving Page for A Helping Hand to buy a ticket - and please do NOT click the Gift Aid option and REMEMBER TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS so you can be sent your ticket numbers ready for the draw at the start of December. You can find out how it works in more depth here.
And finally hunt down Boo and Me on her blog or make contact on Twitter simply to tell her that what she has achieved in setting up this raffle, the A Helping Hand website and raising awareness is immense. She has worked so hard for such a worthy cause and is feeling dejected and thinking that it isn't making as much of a difference as it could do. She needs support and love and if you do nothing else after reading this please tweet her some kind words because I know you are all lovely people xx