August. Not long until my son’s first birthday and therefore almost a year of having post natal depression for the second time. Also the time of the year for our summer holiday. Now I say holiday. But I’m looking for another word for this annual event as I don’t think holiday quite covers it as the cartoon below illustrates quite well!
Maybe it was a challenge from my GP for me to overcome:
‘So you think you’ve recovered from PND? So you think you’re ready to come off your drugs? Well then let’s send you to a 10×35 ft space with your family for 7 nights. And to add to the experiment, your kids will be hyper, go to bed late and play up at every opportunity as their routine is turned on their heads. Ha ha ha.’ [evil laugh].
First hurdle was packing. Packing for the family whilst the family help. No we don’t need all your knickers dear daughter. Nor all your toys. Or those books you’ve never read. I pack as quick as I can then retire to the garden so that my husband can pack the car. I’m lucky that his mother taught him how to do this properly.
Second hurdle was the journey. My daughter never tires of the same 5 words over and over (are we nearly there yet?). Or the same CD. Last year was Frozen, this year was the kids party tunes. Argggghhh. Then we hit roadworks. Then the baby starts crying. Then I need the toilet. We arrive more stressed than when we started.
Third hurdle was adjusting to holiday living. I spent two days stressing out then as I caught my husband muttering ‘i want to be back at work’ I realised I needed to RELAX. So I lowered my expectations, reduced the rules and even – OMG – let my husband plan a day out. I also started colouring. And going to bed earlier. And eating better – fresh fish caught locally and lots of salad. It worked. Well apart from the time I spent hiding in the laundrette to get some peace…
Fourth hurdle was bedtime. You think the days my daughter spent running around in the fresh sea air would tire her out. Seemingly not. Light nights, paper thin walls and a bloomin’ shooting star spectacle meant we couldn’t get her to bed before 9.30pm most nights. Stressed about it at first but then we just adjusted our days accordingly and started them later. Of course the baby was up nice and early.
Don’t get me wrong, we had some fun times, enjoyed some lovely family moments including watching our son standing by himself for the first time and our daughter swimming without her float. But goodness, it was hard work. No relaxing evenings watching the sun go down, or lazy Sunday pub trips. No reading long sought after books (although I always take two) or sipping cocktails in the bar. So that’s why I’m not sure I class it as a holiday.
But did I overcome the challenge? Yes I think so. The proof is in the pudding so they say. We had some great family moments. I spent some quality time with my daughter during our evening colouring-in sessions, watching seal pups splashing around in the sea and making potions together. My husband and I had some time to relax at the end of the day – we watched two films together which is pretty unknown at home. And I watched my baby grow – standing unaided, reaching out to the giant turtle at the sealife centre and chuckling with his sister at every opportunity. Magical moments I sometimes overlook at home.
So yes I’m sure I overcome this challenge. But the next one is on the horizon as I’ve already phoned my GP to book my appointment to talk about coming off my anti-depressants. Wish me luck.