Depression: Stealing ‘The Magic’

Today, in the run up to Time To Talk Day, I have a fabulous guest post from Kelly who has kindly shared her thoughts on mental illness.

Having a baby is a total mind-bender. Actually getting knocked up is, in most cases, far harder than is portrayed in the soaps and to be honest there reached a point in our trying-to-conceive journey where I began to hate even fictional characters when they fell pregnant after a one-night stand in implausible situations.

Every single moment of the birth was surreal because the arrival of that longed-for baby had assumed significance on a par with the arrival of the Christ child himself. And then there’s the whole eject-an-actual-human-from-a-cavity-that-simply-cannot-be-large-enough thing. It was all I could do not to adopt a Paul Daniels accent and proclaim “That’s Magic, that is!”

And it was magical. Until it wasn’t.

Until I was crying more than the baby.

In these situations, with the baby so new they don’t actually legally exist, any new mother would turn to the Health Visitor, hailed as the Font of All Knowledge by the nurses teaching my ante-natal class.

A trained specialist.

The best person to speak to.

The person who sat on my sofa, talking in hushed tones like Patricia Hodge’s character in Miranda, a 70’s time-warp who couldn’t bring themselves to utter the word “Depression” out loud and mouthed it across the baby asleep in her Moses basket.

The person who talked in euphemisms, and asked “how are you feeling?” with clasped hands from my armchair in the corner of the sitting room.

The person who never seemed to be capable of telling me what I needed to know about anything in simple language that I could understand.

A trained specialist. Who dealt with mothers every single day of her working life.

I could have been sunk by that.

I could have never recovered.

But after two weeks of being patronised and feeling slightly like I was living in a soap opera myself, my sense of indignity kicked in. My sense of injustice.

I fought back. I went to the doctor. I got the help I needed.

It was a very long journey back to The Magic. Not made any easier by the fact that though I petitioned to get a different Health Visitor during my second pregnancy, and was told that I would have to change surgeries if I wanted to change Health Visitor.

Leave the surgery that had succeeded in getting me pregnant, that had succeeded in nursing me back to The Magic. Or suffer the comedy sketch show a second time.

I endured the mouthed word “Depression” once more. I went back to the doctor once more. I complained once more.

And I left the surgery. I took my magic and I found a new practice. One that uses the phrase Mental Health without blushing, without looking at the carpet, without mouthing the word like it is a communicable disease they could catch.

Second time round I knew the score. I was strong enough to stand up for myself. But what first time parent would do the same? What first time mother would know that they should not have to feel shame, to feel inadequate, to feel embarrassed by their feelings in their own home? When will they feel they are worthy of the good Mental care that they deserve?


Kelly headshotKelly is the face behind the vintage silhouette at Domestic Goddesque. She eats too much cookie dough to have a waist that small. She is a Thirty-something Mother, Blogger and Girl Friday, who married her beloved DH and endures daily battles-of-will with the dog she refers to as the Wonder Hound. She likes to avoid housework as much as possible, preferring to bake, craft and drink cocktails. Sorry, did I say cocktails? I mean coffee. And nap. She likes to nap too. When not blogging, you can find her haunting Facebook for interesting snippets of gossip, or throwing her wit around the twittersphere. (She may have made that last bit up too: she’s not that funny.)

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