I knew the care pathways, I knew what people would ask me, what they would be looking out for, what I would have to say to get this treatment or that treatment, I knew what the treatment entailed, how it would be delivered, probably word for word what the therapist would say to me. It all felt pointless. I know it like the back of my hand, I can just sort this out for myself I thought. So I just muddled along, tying to ignore it, trying to pretend it wasn't happening to me. But I couldn't, it was eating me alive from the inside, there was a cloud over eveything, nothing felt authentic or real, the flashbacks were constant, the sudden panic and feeling that I was back in that delivery room was on going. I'd weep and weep in the shower, thinking no one could hear me. Everything I looked at or touched didn't feel familiar, it was all alien and cold, I wanted the old me back, the old world I inhabited. I loved my beautiful new baby, but I felt a nagging feeling that I didn't love her enough. I felt I had failed her already. I wondered if she'd be better off with someone else, someone who could cope, who wasn't crying every hour, and then I'd cry again that I had wondered such horrible things.
I declined all help, I was embarrassed. What if I ended up being seen by an old colleague? Surely i could just talk myself out of it on my own, it's what I am trained to do. I thought I could get through it without help, so I avoided all offers.
But I was so wrong. I lived through a nightmare for months, and it was only when I started to let people in, and give people an insight in to what was happening in my head, did I finally start to see that it was nothing to be ashamed of. Being a mental health worker doesn't make you immune to mental health problems, and knowing the treatments inside out doesn't mean they won't work on you - sometimes just having someone to share the experience with and hold your hand through doing the things you know you need to do can be the difference between suffering indefinitely and making a breakthrough.
Whoever that person is for you, your partner, family member, friend or professional, the most important part of recovering is opening up to someone. I had so many reasons to feel ashamed, but I feel that my own journey has proven that it really can happen to anyone, regardless of how equipped they may seem to be. I sometimes wonder what my past patients would say if they knew I had gone through something similar to them and had not followed my own advice, but has tried to go it alone. I guess it just proves we are all human, and patient or therapist we are all trying to navigate what life throws at us in the best way we can. And sometimes that means asking for help, even if you think you shouldn't need it.
Ever After With Kids