Postnatal depression making me forget something something (I forget what)
Back when I was new to the whole ‘gay scene’, my friends and I would play a silly game called ‘Hipster or Gay?’. Someone would spot a girl with a cute, short haircut wearing a vest and ask ‘is she the quirky, creative type, or does she like boobs in her face?’, followed by an exasperated ‘These fucken waistcoats, man, you just don’t know who to hit on anymore’.
Look, that’s an entertaining little anecdote, but a rather abstract segue into my new game, ‘Depression or Dementia?’. But hey, it’s my blog and you’re still reading, so here we fucken’ go.
I’ve been getting kicked in the bum by postnatal depression for a few months now. But the cumulative exhaustion of juggling work, motherhood, a pandemic, and living in this goddamn patriarchy has really dropped me into some seriously stinky anxiety and depression doodoo over the last few weeks.
I don’t know which came first - the exhaustion, the depression, or the anxiety, but now they’re all in a great big circle-jerk and I, for one, am not into it.
For me, depression feels like I’m walking around shoulder-deep in wet concrete all day. Layer on a truckload of Mum guilt and now the pity party’s really getting started.
I'm also a complete space cadet so I forget things and will tell you the same story again and again like it’s new news. How fun for everyone!
I work as a Communications Manager in my day job, so I literally talk and write words for a living. I like to think I’m pretty good at articulating myself most of the time, but the other day I couldn’t remember what Netflix was called. “Hey Siri, what’s that website thing where you watch all the shows and stuff?”.
A few days before that I was trying to describe my symptoms to my GP. I likened the feeling to being jet lagged in that I’m fine one minute, then a wave of extreme fatigue and ‘spaciness’ washes over me and I completely forget what I was doing or saying. Except, get this, I couldn’t remember the word ‘jet lag’.
So there I was, a very serious and accomplished (ahem) Communications professional, saying ‘you know that thing where you’ve been on a long flight from somewhere far away and you feel really tired and weird?’
How’s that for a punchy communique? I was going to say ‘[INSERT NAME], eat your heart out’ but I can’t remember the names of any of the writers I idolise.
I’m ok. I really, really am OK. I have the privilege of a loving, caring family, a supportive employer, and the means to access high-quality, private medical care. Oh, and medication.
For me, the right medication is the difference between feeling like a sad, angry, zombie-woman just going through the motions, versus that lovely tingle inside when you realise it’s a beautiful day, the sun’s on your shoulders, and you’re really diggin’ your outfit.
I can’t stress enough that if you’re a Mum struggling with mental health, sheer exhaustion, or both (they're besties, those two), it’s ok to ask for help. Please don’t dismiss it as you being tired and/or hormonal, and don’t tell yourself that taking medication means you’re a failure. I’ve been there and I see you. That bullshit is decades of social conditioning and patriarchy talking, but that’s a blog for another day.