Last week (16-22 May 2016) was Mental Health Awareness week. Through seeing my blog on Twitter, I was approached by Aron Bennett who hopes to compile a book to raise awareness of Mental Health. He asked people to write a diary entry for the date 16th May, no more than 750 words, to be included in the publication “A Day In My Head”. Money will be raised for several charities from the sale of the book.
Aron has given me permission to share my day with you also.
Having watched the clock throughout another night of insomnia and screaming demons, when it finally hits 0645 and the house starts to stir, I’m ready to pull the duvet over my head and hide from the world. With two children dependent on me though, I stick my “Mummy” face on and begin the morning routine of breakfast, school uniform and packed lunch. My eldest is out the door in a loud whirlwind by 0830, leaving behind myself, my Husband and my youngest who is severely disabled and requires 24/7 care.
During the early days of my little lady’s life she needed a blood transfusion, and today I am going to finally repay the kindness of a stranger by giving blood for the first time. For years my darkness has stopped me from doing things I’ve wanted to but today I am determined to fight through my depression and the anxiety that comes along with it, in order to give blood for the first time. There’s time for a cuppa first though, and a catch up of EastEnders. A little bit of Danny Dyer to calm the nerves.
As I drive to the Football Ground where the blood donor session is being held, my heart is racing and my head is all over the place. The thought of being in a room with lots of people freaks me out, the need to be chatty, smiley and “normal” is a huge pressure and not being able to walk out whenever I need to scares me. I don’t even give a second thought to the needle or the usual worries my Husband is experiencing.
We arrive a few minutes early and as we walk to the room, I concentrate on calm breathing and trying to fight every bit of me which is telling me to walk in the other direction. The session is busy, people are coming and going and I avoid making eye contact as much as possible. The waiting area is too small for my daughter’s wheelchair, so we are allowed to wait outside in the hall; it’s quieter and calmer and gives me the opportunity to focus my thoughts on anything other than being where I am.
An hour later and the process is all over, I have officially donated my first 475mls of blood and managed not to have a panic attack! High five me!
Walking out into the fresh air again, the sun is shining and for the first time in a long time I can feel its warmth. The sky is blue and the world isn’t intimidating. As I drive back home, I’m feeling something I haven’t for many weeks – I think it might be happiness.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a haze of light, which after months of darkness is a welcome relief. My eldest comes home from school, full of tales about her day and I am able to enjoy her stories instead of not being able to concentrate as is usually the way. My youngest has a fun physio session which I actively participate in with her, rather than sitting in another room feeling like a useless Mother and wondering what the point in my existence is if I can’t even find the strength to help her.
Tea time rolls round and instead of asking the Husband to cook something because I don’t feel able to, I’m in the kitchen. My eldest daughter comments on the fact that Mummy is making dinner tonight.
After everyone has eaten, I head to the bedroom for some “me” time with my Kindle. It’s been a long day and as always I’ve had to do it on barely any sleep. The more tired I get, the louder the demons are and I’m starting to feel very low again. They never allow me to enjoy the air for long; always ready to pounce on the slightest little dip I have and turn everything black again. I think today though they’re just angry because I fought back and if only for a few hours, I was in control.
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