On the second day after my second son was born, post-natal depression hit me. I was sitting in the bath at home, door locked, and Kit was screaming at the top of his lungs. My mother-in-law had come down from London to help, and I could hear her saying to OAB, “She’s not producing enough milk, the poor little soul is hungry, bless him.” I looked down at my leaky breasts and still-huge belly, and felt a right failure. All my friends were at University; I had to take another year out. We lived in a little house with no central heating except those run by the 50p meter, and my bedroom in my parents’ house is larger than this whole sodding house. I was stuck here with a penniless man, his disapproving mother and his screaming brat. I felt like my whole life was over.
I got out of the bath, got dressed, and announced with deadly calm to OAB and my MiL: “I am leaving.”
He was shocked and tried to stop me. His mother, in her infinite wisdom, said, “Let the silly girl go.”
The silly girl went straight home like a bat out of hell to her parents.
Obviously, I went back to the penniless man and his screaming brat. That was 25 years ago. I left him many times since, to move back to my parents’ house, albeit for a few hours, a few days, and even a few weeks. And here’s the thing: no matter how old we are, there is always traces of the silly girl/silly boy in all of us. Who do you take your drama, heartbreak, depression and neediness out on? Your long-suffering partner or do you burden outsiders with your woes? Or do you just bottle those up?
I am blessed that I never had to go beyond my family to seek help. I don’t expect the father of my children to be the solver for all my problems; after all, I am not his child and he has enough children to deal with. I don’t expect my friends to accommodate my occasional neediness; after all, they all have their own lives. There is nothing more unattractive than a needy, desperate clingy grown-up. Fortunately, I have brothers to deal with that unattractive side of me, that I bet you have too, hidden somewhere in your grown-up self.
Here’s my article on family closeness for Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jacqueline-koay/six-ways-of-growing-sibli_b_5871482.html
If you need someone to talk through your problems (don’t go through it alone), these are the people who are there for you: