As I smashed my face against the kitchen floor, the pain felt so good. Each time I catapulted my skull at the cold Lino, the pain became more intense. It was addictive. I couldn’t stop.
I wondered if I could crack my bones, draw blood.
I hoped I could, as that would be satisfying. Maybe then the internal pain I was feeling would leave my body and be replaced by the searing pain of shattered skull and split skin.
Just then, my partner returned home and I had to stop. I felt empty. I hadn’t achieved what I set out to do. My skull was intact. The disappointment overwhelmed me, followed by shame.
What had I become?
It was a Sunday morning.
My partner trains at the local RNLI lifeboat station on a Sunday morning so I was alone with the children.
The house was especially untidy and the dishes were stacked high, waiting to be washed. I was surrounded by mountains of clothes – some in need of folding, others were folded but needed to be put away and there were two heaps of dirty clothes in need of washing.
My mind was whirring with the thoughts of my dead parents and how much I was missing them.
I felt behind with my doll business.
I was in need of a shower and a hair wash.
I hadn’t slept well.
I was in the middle of a M.E. relapse, meaning my entire body ached and my brain couldn’t do "brain things".
This probably sounds like I’m making excuses for my obscene behaviour. What MOTHER does that to herself?!
A mother like me of course – a disappointment.
Perhaps a kinder, more sympathetic person might suggest that a mother who is struggling would do such things.
I am not struggling though. I have a supportive partner, an incredible network of friends and impeccably behaved children. I live in a lovely little house in a beautiful part of the country. I drive a decent car. Money is tight but we survive and we are happy. In the evenings I am surrounded by books ...and chocolate!
However there is an elephant in the room. One that my partner and I do not discuss enough. One that I do not discuss enough.
After my first child was born I suffered from severe post-partum depression. It was so severe that I would see strange creatures outside my windows. They wanted to take my baby. They’d send their rats into the house to steal my son. I’d see the rats scurrying across the hallway.
Of course, this wasn’t real. But to me it was very real! I’d physically see all of this and it was terrifying. It was like living in a nightmare that you cannot wake up from.
It drove me to consider suicide. I had it planned. I’d pop my baby into his car seat in the house where he was safe until my partner came home. Then I’d hop into my car and simply drive into a brick wall. Easy.
Luckily I was provided with counselling (and my car keys were removed), although hindsight says I probably should have been institutionalized! I’ve been on strong medication since. It’s made me gain weight and if I miss a dose, I’m screwed. But it keeps me on the theoretical “happy path” for the most part.
That Sunday morning I probably missed a dose of medication – I really can’t remember. I don’t know why it happened. I think my brain is permanently messed up from the PND. Now I’ve reached this part of my story, I don’t know why I started. I don’t know how to end it.
Just know that if you are going through a rubbish time, that other people don’t fully understand, you’re not alone. I suspect most of us have a Sunday morning where we cry in the shower, punch a wall, smack our faces against something solid or simply can’t get out of bed through feeling immensely low.
Once you’ve wallowed in it, get back up again and try again. Please don’t do anything that’ll harm you permanently, call someone. Go for a walk. Speak to someone. Call the Samaritans if you need to (116 123 (UK), 13 11 14 (Australia), 988 (USA)).