We have a guest post today from one of our peer supporters. Many thanks to her for sharing her writing and her experiences with us.
During my recovery from postnatal depression, I was reflecting on my experience and something reminded me of this quotation…
“They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into a tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.”
Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love
I really like the idea that an older me is willing a younger me through my life, so whilst I was in a good place mentally, I decided to write a letter to my past self when I was at my lowest…
Dear Past Me,
You are a mum now, whether you feel like one or not. I know you were expecting a magic switch to flick when you gave birth, but there isn’t one. I know you’re expecting a magic switch to fix your depression, but there isn’t one for this either.
I know it feels like the hardest thing in the world right now, but just keep getting out of bed every day, keep eating and drinking, keep talking and keep loving your baby. You will feel better than this, maybe not for a while, but you will. Just keep on living until you feel alive again. Don’t think about the past or the future, just get yourself through one day at a time and if that feels too overwhelming, concentrate on one hour at a time.
I know you don’t understand why people are messaging you or why they want to visit you right now, but it’s because they love you and it’s not arrogant to recognise that, it’s a testament to how wonderful your family and friends are.
Soon you’ll be back at home, loving your family, living your life and achieving things that you think are impossible right now. You’ll be so thankful that you managed to get up every day and take care of yourself and your baby as best you could. You’ll be grateful for all of the help you’ve received, you’ll forgive yourself, you’ll accept that you were unwell. You will finally believe people when they tell you how brave you were to ask for help. You won’t be ashamed of what’s happened, you will be proud of what you overcame.