The Glass Box

This was recently shared with me, by a fellow mama who had PND. She is remaining anonymous at her request. I’m sharing it with you. Not only is it a beautiful piece of writing, but it also is an insight as to how someone with PND feels.

PND to me was like being in a glass box. I could see people and people could see me. I could hear people and people could hear me. But ultimately I would walk around/sleep/live in a glass box all alone. I wanted to get out but couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why I was in the box and why literally no-one else I saw was in a box. In fact not only were they not in a box they were running around free as a bird, laughing, genuinely smiling in the breeze.

On a couple of occasions the lid would lift a little and I could stick half my head out. It would make me feel a little better, but then someone would push me back down in it and I’d be alone again.

Sometimes it would feel as if the box was getting smaller, closing in on me so I would want to take my own life to avoid my failure of being able to live in the box without getting squashed. My baby needed someone else other than me. Afterall how could a mother care adequately when she is always in a glass box. My husband didn’t like me. What husband would love a woman who could never leave her glass box and would moan about being in there all the time.

So I would cry alone in there. Not knowing why I was put there or when or if I was going to get out. Because to me the glass box was firmly nailed shut and had a padlock on it. There was no way I would ever ever get out, I would be stuck in it forever.

When I read articles about ‘PND’ or when a doctor showed me empathy, my glass box would move closer to another person who I could suddenly see was also in a glass box. That made me realise that in the world I wasn’t the only one. But ultimately I was still alone. I would walk the streets even surrounded by the glass box. I would drive inside it, go to baby groups inside it, even spend Christmas Day inside it! Whilst I watched my little girl who I adored more than the world in her pretty velvet dress unwrap presents. I wished I could get out just even for a day but I couldn’t.

Then one day someone came and unlocked the padlock. I felt a bit better. I was still trapped inside but the lid felt lifted somehow. It would lock again but bit by bit the unlocking incidents occurred more regularly. Eventually and over time, without even knowing it, the glass lid lifted and slowly I was climbing out. Then one day, I realised that not only had I got out but as I turned around to look at the box that was my prison I saw….that it had shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and I knew I would never ever go back in there again. I was free! Free to run in the breeze like other mums. As I turned, I noticed an egg timer next to the shattered glass. I had never noticed that before. And it was empty. I started to see other women in glass boxes and now I was the free one. I wanted to give them hope. Each of them had a different amount of sand in their egg timers, but I knew that they would run out eventually.

The only thing that helped me during my time in the box was to play music in there. Music that I used to love that made me feel happy. The odd glass of wine in there, reading loving letters from friends and texts of compassion.

A Monster Ate My Mum

A few weeks ago, someone RTd a tweet. It was an author looking for bloggers to review her new children’s book.
My brain went “ooooh book!”

You see one of my hopes for Emma is that she has the same fondness and love for books as I do.

I want her to be able to delve into the world of imagination and lose herself amongst stories of fairies, and princesses, and girls who live in mountains, and find secret gardens and boys who solve mysteries and whatever wonderful stories that come from the muses.

I want her to be excited to get books for birthdays and Christmases. I want her to ask to visit the library and book stores.

So I contacted the author, Jen Faulkner aka Instinctive Mum, aka @MonsterAteMyMum and a few days ago it landed in my postbox.

20131109-141002.jpg

Although the book is aimed for children between the ages of 2 and 12, I still wanted to do the review. You see Emma is only 7 months old. But to me that didn’t matter because you’re never too old or young for books.

A Monster Ate My Mum is a book about Post Natal Depression through a child’s eyes. A little boy wanders from Monster to Monster looking for his mothers laugh, her smile and her spark. It’s aim is to help children understand that sometimes their mum is sad or tearful, that she is snappy and that most of all it’s not forever and it’s not their fault.

I’ll admit, it’s the first product I’ve had for review which has reduced me to tears.

You see, although I am not one of the 10 – 15% of new mothers who has been diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, but I do have a history of depression as well as anxiety and PTSD. It’s something that I manage on a daily basis and some days I do better than others and on other days I really struggle.

I like that there’s a book that we can sit down and read together so that Emma understands that when my bad days are bad, that a monster has been to visit.
Because let’s face it, that’s what depression is, a lying monster.

It’s a really clear and simple to understand book, which flows very easily thanks to the rhyming words Jen uses. The pictures are very imaginative too. Emma seems to like it, and apparently, just like her mama who dislikes the monsters (in real life), she decided this morning to rip a page out of the book! Don’t think she liked the monster who ate mums spark… I caught her trying to eat him!

I would really recommend this book, especially if you have or have had depression, whether it be Post Natal Depression or not. It’s an enjoying read, and also, Christmas is coming up soon, so perhaps a stocking filler idea?

You can buy it from Lulu.com and it retails at £7.49 for a paperback (although it is currently now on sale for £5.99) or 99p in ebook format for instant download.

If you think that you may have depression, or you’re not sure if you have post natal depression or a touch of the baby blues, please do see your GP. You can also, refer yourself to your local Mental Health Community Service. If you are a post natal mum then you’re referral will usually be pushed to the top of the waiting list too.

Remember, “depression lies”, and it is something you can overcome. Always ask for help, because it will always be there, sometimes you just need to find the light to chase away the dark.

I would like to thank Jen for sending me a copy of her book to review. I’ve never had a review product that has 1) made me cry and 2) been so completely in tune with me.

I love it, and I hope that my love for books rubs off on Emma, and that in future she doesn’t rip the pages out and try to eat them. That’s not the definition of book worm that I had in mind!

I now need to find my Sellotape to fix the page that Emma tried to eat.