I am going to share my experience because I was terrified before I went to see my therapist. I thought I would be judged and that they would think I’m a bad parent and take my baby away from me.
My husband sat me down and said he thinks it would be best I went to see someone, someone that wasn’t involved in my birth. So I can talk freely and not think their opinion is tarnished in anyway.
It took every bit of courage I had. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy and yes it is scary. But it is by far the best thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’d be here today if I didn’t.
I was very low and constantly crying. I was in a very bad place after my birth. I thought about what it would be like for my family if I weren’t there. Maybe it would be better, as they wouldn’t have to deal with me being like this. I went over and over every minute of every day what happened during my labour and after.
I had nightmares and use to scream out in my sleep. I freaked when anyone touched me. I won’t go into too much detail as I have in my previous blog; ‘My Miracle and my nightmare’ and ‘ The Worst and Happiest day of my life.’
We went private with the help of our family. I wouldn’t go to through the NHS at that time. I hated them, I had lost all faith in them. They truly stripped me of my dignity and confidence. I couldn’t have been any lower. I had hit rock bottom.
Appointment day came and I walked into that room to see my therapist. She was very approachable and made me feel very welcome. She didn’t push me to see why I was there. She asked me how I was and when I felt ready to talk I could talk. She said if I just want to sit and not speak I could.
I tried to speak. It I burst into tears. I couldn’t get any words out. She asked me to go home and write in a notebook. I wrote what happened and how I felt. She said if wanted to bring it and share it with her I could. I went home and left it a few days. My husband said to me I should go upstairs and write. I sat for ages trying to remember. I got as far as turning up at the hospital. Then it was like I was trying to put a puzzle together but I couldn’t find the pieces.
It took me a week.
I became more low and emotional. My GP put me on Citalopram. My appointment came around and I took the notebook. She read it and said we will work on the bits that you cannot remember and try to piece it together for you. I went every week. Two and half years on I still cannot fully remember. I have had to ask my husband over and over what happened at certain times.
The looks you get from people when they say ‘did you do this’ did you have this?’ I look at them blank like…I don’t know. I have to ask my husband.
The most heart breaking thing for me is I don’t remember my little girl as a baby. It’s a blur and when I’m shown photos of her as a baby it’s not a memory for me. It’s like the first time I’m seeing it.
Months went by and as my mind started to unravel and memories came back. I found it harder and the anxiety kicked in. She gave me some breathing exercises to do. They really helped.
I became very, very low when my husband went back to work. I couldn’t cope. I’d lost my safety net. I was scared that my anger and frustration, my emotions would get the better of me and I wouldn’t be able to care or want to care for my baby.
I continued seeing my counsellor every week. It got to the point where I told her everything. She became my escape. The only place I could go alone and pour my heart out without feeling judged.
She advised I up my medication as I was at rock bottom. I couldn’t stop crying. I wanted to pack a bag and leave it worse. I just wanted out.
The medication made me feel numb. I hated it. But it helped by taking me from zero to five.
She told me to write down every feeling I had or fresh memory I had. She said I needed to say to myself I will deal with that thought later and I need to focus on me and baby now. After about a year I was able to put a bad thought in a box and focus on something else.
It’s hard to explain but I imagined a box and I put all my bad thoughts in it and focused on us.
When I saw my counsellor, if I remembered the bad thoughts I’d go over them with her. There’s still days that I struggle. I’m two and a half years on. I’ve only just stopped seeing her. I will continue to see her monthly or every other month as I don’t ever feel I will be able to fully escape my PTSD.
But I have found ways to cope better with her help. I don’t know if I’ve been helpful at all. What I want to say is seeing a therapist helped me massively and I strongly suggest it. I appreciate it’s not easy and there are waiting lists. Find someone who will just sit and listen. Listen to you talk or sit with you and just keep you company.
Nearly three years on and I can now say I have found a way to cope with my bad days the best way I can. It never leaves you, don’t feel guilty for having bad days, find a way to cope a way that’s right for you.
Be strong x