I look around at my friends, social media, stories I hear and I don’t know if it is a coincidence, a bad (few) year(s) or our age but there is so much unhappiness and suffering, than it’s staggering.
I believe that it is our age. That it is the 35-45 years old women who are on the toughest spot today.
Stay home moms longing for financial independence, recognition of their hard work or more ‘off duty’ time; working moms wishing for more time with family and less guilt; women with their bodies falling apart after pregnancies, long lasting sleep deprivation, worries and anxieties. Couples going bust, bad financial decisions materialising and that awful feeling of loneliness and self condemnation.
Stress and being unwell for long period of time has an impact on physical well-being and often translates into a concrete health issue.
Myself I’ve been struggling for quite a while and it had a direct impact on my health as I developed strong autoimmune reactions with idiopathic (no apparent) cause. Meaning I don’t know why and when my face and body will swell and cover in hives. Apparently long lasting emotional distress and severe fatigue has triggered this autoimmune reactions and while the good news is that it will pass (while I remain on medication to relieve the symptoms) the downside is that nobody is able to guess how long it will take. It lasts already good 4 months but I am hopeful.
I am sure that we all agree that mental health is crucial, yet there is so little done to maintain it.
We shower daily, we wash and cleanse our bodies but very few of us has a routine about cleansing our mind.
There is still some stigma surrounding mental health but it shouldn’t be that way.
Myself I refused to acknowledge that I cannot deal with my problem on my own and I should seek a help.
You see, I knew that I have a problem, I knew that it is not ok the way I behave and feel, over-sensitive, irrational, depressed, obsessed about being the worst mother, wife and person. And to finish it I felt like a total and utter failure for not being able to ‘fix’ myself.
I refused for long to see a doctor because I felt ‘how useless am I if I can’t fix my own problems?!‘
Those nights when I was so exhausted, alone and the little one would scream and scream and scream. The 4 year old sleeping next door, having own issues. New school, no friends, new challenges. Little one was co-sleeping but nothing was helping. He would scream for hours.
And there… it was happening on those nights…. I would just imagine throwing him, this never-sleeping-always-screaming baby against the wall, or just covering his mouth with a pillow to make him quite for just a little bit…. then I would run out of the room crying, terrified of those thoughts and feelings. Crying and closing my eyes imagining I am not here anymore. Imagining that I died, I was gone and it is all fine again.
I was thinking about ‘being gone’ so often. Almost daily. I didn’t have suicidal tendencies. I did not imagine how I am dying, just that I am not here anymore. It’s all gone. I’m gone. I am dead.
I suffered too long and too much till I agreed to get help – and that was my major mistake. Trying to do it all on my own.
You might suffer from anxiety, depression, phobia or simply be overwhelmed. You might believe just like me that it shall pass any day now… but don’t you wait any longer, go see your GP (general practitioner) and talk to him about all this.
A) (s)he should make a blood test – to verify that you don’t suffer from any vitamin deficiencies (eg. iron deficiency can cause severe fatigue and weakness; vitamin D deficiency causes difficulty to think clearly, bone pain, unexplained fatigue; – in my case iron deficiency and light Vit D deficiency were confirmed and I was prescribed supplements)
B) (s)he should evaluate your state and recommend solutions. In my case my GP provided a contact for family support centre (specialised in sleeping habits and issues with children) for me to go and seek support. Then GP also can recommends specialists. Psychologist, psychiatrist or as in my case allergist for my breathing, swelling and hives issues.
Too many people don’t have any GP or have just any GP, meaning a doctor they don’t trust or appreciate and generally don’t go see. The problem is that when you have an emergency or a situation that requires trust and confidence this won’t make it and new doctors don’t take you in quickly (at least here in Switzerland the waiting time is weeks).
Make sure you have the right doctor you trust and can open to about your issues.
Then (9 months late) I also finally took the step to go talk to a psychologist. I was convinced I suffered from a post natal depression or some other form of depression. First three sessions of 50 minutes I just unstoppably cried. I was so full of pain, regret, guilt, doubts, all those strong feelings were coming out and it was impossible to even think that one day this misery will be over. That this mess (me) can be fixed. (But it could, see here).
Ladies, the struggle is real, we all know it! Now let’s take it step by step and let’s work towards balance and proper wellbeing because that is the key to everything.