Nobody feels like this do they? That’s what I used to tell myself. I always felt alone. Alone in feeling this way I mean, I’m never alone really. I have three brilliant kids, a husband who loves the bones of me and so many approachable friends and family members, I’m so lucky but they just won’t get it. I can’t tell people about this they’ll think I’m fucking crazy. What am I supposed to say?
“I get nervous watching TV dramas”
“I lay awake at night stressing about bills I might have forgotten to pay”
“I don’t like leaving my kids”
“I can’t stand the thought of going in to a supermarket that I haven’t been in before”
Ridiculous right? Yes, but all true I’m afraid (and this is just some of the many pathetic things I get stressed about). People who don’t suffer with anxiety don’t understand anxiety, not really anyway. They try their best and they sympathize but they just can’t understand that sinking feeling. That knot and twisting drop of your stomach, that lump in your throat, those sleepless nights and those constant butterflies in the pit of your stomach. I honestly thought I was going mad at first, when I first noticed it. I thought that no one would listen or even care because it sounds like made up bullshit but over the last few years I’ve noticed more and more people (both people I know and people on TV) sharing their experiences with anxiety and I realised I’m not alone. Not by a long shot.
I’m not sure when it all started for me with anxiety at least but I can honestly say that I suffered with depression more than once. At first it was post natal depression when I had my eldest son Jay and I was only 17 years old, stuck in a toxic relationship. I didn’t know it and the time and I defiantly wouldn’t be told by anyone (and believe me when I say people tried) but the relationship was built on the pregnancy and little else. I thought I was in love and maybe I was but it wasn’t right, neither of us did each other any good and I think that it was a combination of that relationship, my age and the fact that I had just become a Mum which triggered off my depression at the time. It’s a hard thing to say out loud but I wasn’t a brilliant Mum back then. I loved my son immensely but I was so young I didn’t understand just how important my job as a mother was. I liked to go out way too much and relied on parents, friends, friend’s parents, anyone really to look after my son while I went out and partied. Pretty soon I got fed up of the partying and decided to really try being a Mum and to try and make my relationship work, but by then it was a horrible living environment for me and my baby but I was led to believe that this was it and no one else would want me. So I stayed in, I mean in my flat. I barely ever left. I did the school runs, went to work and the shop but that was it. Even when my son would go to my parents most weekends I never left. For months with nothing but my own company, apart from the girl who lived below me and the cast of Sex and the City I was alone all the time. I became a constant phone/text checker because I was cheated on, I became a tiny size 6/8 because I couldn’t afford much food and even when I could I didn’t want to leave the flat and the longer this went on for the worse it got. This was depression. At first post natal maybe but it developed. I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid that they wouldn’t believe my situation or that they would think ‘Ha! We told you so’. I could see my life drifting past without me, leaving me in a relationship that was non existent except we shared a bed and a kid. I decided the only person that could rescue me was me. So I did.
For a short while it worked and I met someone else. They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else and they didn’t lie. I felt great again. I was loved and wanted, I had a new job and new friends (still some amazing old ones too), it did wonders for my self esteem but it was short lived. Those old feelings came creeping back, am I going mad? To the outside world I was hiding the person I obviously was because this couldn’t happen all over again I wasn’t going to let it. It had to be me and something I was doing wrong. That’s the thing with depression, it gets you at your lowest and keeps you there. I buried my head in the sand about another failing relationship and after more phone checking and second guessing myself (even though I turned out to be right all along) I decided, ‘Yep. Marry this one. What a top fucking plan’ NOT!! So the wedding planning began and even though I thought I was happy, it was a mask but I actually started believing I was truly happy. All the fun, plans and future I was planning was all fake but I just couldn’t see it. So once again I was depressed. A different kind I’ll admit, not so much in a toxic way but I was playing pretend with myself if anything. Trying to create this future I so desperately wanted but I was doing it with the wrong man and for all the wrong reasons. So during this relationship, I’d say at least the last 6 months of it I was just going through the motions. I played the role of excited Fiance and I did it well, but on the inside I was slowly healing myself. I knew that this person I was becoming wasn’t the real me, I had never felt like a push over before and I’d never done what someone else thought was right for me so why was I doing it now? I felt detached from the relationship but I couldn’t just end it, I couldn’t have ANOTHER failed, long term relationship. I had a kid to consider, he would be devastated. My parents had spent money on deposits, venues and even a fucking wedding dress for God sake. I had to marry him. I just had to.
“What the hell are you doing Nat? You can’t just marry him out of guilt.” this came from a good friend, a friend who had come into my life not all that long before the time I finally admitted to myself that I was deeply unhappy and probably not in love anymore. Now in a very cliched way and most people will probably think ‘shut the fuck up’ but the book Eat, Pray, Love has a whole lot to do with why I finally called time on that bullshit production. I read the book and almost instantly felt relieved (I would advise everyone to read it and take from it what you will), I asked myself ‘What the hell are you doing girl?’ and the answer was ‘I have no idea’. So I knew I had to call time on this crap, on this relationship and on all the crap that I’d been carrying around with me.
It’s not ok to be this unhappy. It’s not ok to feel like you are constantly failing. It’s not ok to pretend you’re in love just so you don’t hurt other people’s feelings. It is not ok to be continually cheated on. It is ok though, to admit to yourself that your struggling and ask for help. Ask I did, I needed to find a way and I found one. I called time on this game that I was always coming last in but it didn’t have the desired affect. I didn’t feel instantly relieved, i was still racked with guilt, embarrassed and convinced I was going to spend the rest of my days a lonely old woman. However I found in those last few months I had grown a little as a person. I knew what was right and wrong, what I wanted and what I didn’t and it defiantly made me stronger in some way. A better Mum and someone who will never settle for second best again. Even though I was emotionally ready to move on and I knew I wasn’t in love anymore, I (for whatever reasons, I’m still unsure) just had this horrible sinking feeling that I couldn’t shake. In those early weeks I couldn’t have survived without my friends, literally could not have survived. One friend moved in with us to help me cover the bills, she slept in my bed to console me when i would wake up in the middle of the night crying and spoon fed me when I would have rather starved. Another picked up and took my boy to school every day, made sure he was fed, washed his clothes and kept him entertained all along with her job and her own son to care for. Others stayed up late talking things through and texting into the early hours of the morning. So it’s true what they say ‘You get by with a little help from your friends’, it all comes back to finding your tribe.
Little did I know that once you become happy with yourself and what you have at any one time, you attract what you wanted all along (your vibe attracts your tribe – one of my favourite quotes ever). I projected what I wanted, made me happy again, built the life I wanted for me and my son and BOOM… I was caught completely off guard by the love of my life (but that’s another blog). I believe that when you meet the person who you’re truly meant to be with your soul mate, you never even question it you just fall for it straight away. I never ever question the trust in our relationship, it never comes up. We want and have wanted the same things in life from the word go, we are just one. I can’t explain it other than that and it won’t make much sense outside of us but that’s it. I am him, he is me. I don’t feel ‘depressed’ anymore, well I don’t feel the way I did at least. I think I was quite lucky that I found the strength to pull myself out and it wasn’t easy, it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but I was lucky to have support and the belief in myself enough to do it even when it hurt. Most people aren’t that lucky. I’m sure I read once that depression never really goes away, that it just lays there dormant in your brain. Well I don’t know if that’s true or not all I know is that I must be prone to it, not depression maybe but emotional baggage. I defiantly where my heart on my sleeve and I get very quickly emotionally attached and I invest, I mean I really commit. If your my friend then your my friend and I mean it, you can always count on me and the same has gone for men (maybe that’s why I got my heart handed to me through a blender!?). Anyway what I mean is I give 100%. I feel all the feels.
So it hasn’t come as that much as a surprise to me to find that I’m suffering the way I am with anxiety. It started so simple I never even noticed it, I’m a worrier. I always worry even when I can’t do anything to change the outcome I just worry. I can’t help it. I get anxious now over pathetic little things and it escalates into absolute nonsense, but then it’s not nonsense if it’s sense to me. It’s real to me, that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and that feeling in bed where it feels like your falling and bang you have to try to catch your breath, to the point where it makes you wretch. To me it’s real. There are lots of different things that trigger off a panic attack for me, little everyday things and big massive things that our family has to go through all the time but I’m lucky that I have friends and family to talk to. I know that some people don’t and I will always be grateful for mine. I still haven’t got a grip on it and I’m not positive I ever will but I do have coping methods and it does help ease my mind, like writing it down for example. It heals me.
I wanted to write this blog to show that you never really now what goes on in a person’s life unless they choose to tell you and most people only choose the good stuff, like the Instagram life. More people than you know suffer with depression, anxiety or some kind of mental health condition that they are struggling to hide. Well they shouldn’t have to hide it, I say share it or at least the parts of it that help you to move past that one area. The more people talk about it the more people will realise that it’s more common than you think and that it’s not a dirty subject and that there is NOTHING wrong with needing help. It’s ok not to be ok. So there it is folks, I’m Natalie and I’ve been depressed, I suffer with anxiety and I’m not afraid to share it.
Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy
If anyone ever needs anybody to talk to, you know where I am.