Sometimes a trigger blindsides me. I can’t see it coming and all I can do afterward, is try not to relive the flashback over and over. Which sometimes I do for days, like a record stuck on the needle.
I’m not going to deny that I haven’t been the easiest person to live with in the last eighteen months. I’ve lost friends (and solidified some amazing friendships) and I’ve made some serious changes to who I am as a woman, wife and mother.
Just today, I found myself scooping up my Missy and smothering her little face in kisses. She was giggling and saying “Mama” and cooing and garbling indeterminable sounds, which mimicked me saying “I love you”.
Six weeks ago, I couldn’t have done this. Six weeks ago I loved her, but was keeping her at arms length.
I’m not sure what happened with the turnaround. I’m still seeing in vivid colour, feeling and sound, the events of ‘that day’.
I saw my scar in the shower two days ago and was back in the theatre being cut open. Me saying to my doctor as he shaved my pubic hair back “I can feel that”. Him rubbing my belly with iodine and me saying “I can feel that”.
How can I avoid a trigger that is on my body? I’ve deleted the people from my online life who were in my mothers group. I’ve left my job at the hospital where she was born. I avoid driving past the hospital at all costs and if I do, I shield my face so I can’t see the building. I’ve also deleted most of my former colleagues from Facebook as I couldn’t cope with seeing updates from work. I have actually done what Sarah suggested and replied to an inquisitor, with my hand up saying “I do not want to talk about it”. It felt so good and empowering.
This year, I decided to start with a clean slate and change my mindset and lifestyle. It doesn’t sound like much and it’s not a New Years resolution that will be all but forgotten by February, but tonight I did a 3.2km walk in my neighborhood. All 3,982 steps, according to my iPod pedometer. It felt good to strap my sneakers on and put my iPod on and just go for a walk. No pram, no baby, no mobile phone. Just me and my music and my thoughts. I read online the other week about waking helping to stop depression. You know what? It was so so good to just get out into the fresh air and see the birds flying, the sun setting and the dark clouds of nighttime rolling in. I’m actually looking forward to next walk. I also got my husband to hook up the Wii so I can get back into using the Wii Fit programme.
I may not be able to erase the triggers or the memories, but I may be able to learn to live with them, by seeking pleasure in other activities.
I know I’m pushing the memories to the back of my mind. I know I’m shutting the metaphorical windows without properly closing them. I know I’ll breakdown again in the future. That’s certain. It may not be this month, it may not be this year. However I know it will happen. I’m hoping that I know the signs and I have the mechanisms to cope next time.
Interestingly, today has been a day of talking about the past. The early days of motherhood when I was computing the enormity of what had happened to me, while navigating my way around my newborn. Spending so much time online, a great deal of my socialising is with the people inside my computer (well, in my case, my iPhone). I’m still not sure how people missed the red flags. I’m not blaming anyone, not at all, I just wonder how me saying what I was at the time, was not a red flag for anyone.
Talking about the past has its good and bad points. Good to reminisce about the good times. The first time I saw my Miss, her wide open eyes. Her first breastfeed. The first time she said “mama”. Her first steps. When she ran to me from across the room and leapt into my arms for a cuddle. Those times are great.
Then there are the bad times. Like the first time I told her that I hated her and that I regretted her because of what her birth did to me.
I’m not proud of myself for telling her that more than once. But I did it. I need to own that. I need now to remember that things will never be that bad ever again, even when I do breakdown again, because she deserves better. I can’t let her hear those words ever again, even though she won’t remember me saying them. She can’t help how she got here. All she wants is love. That’s what gets me through. One day when she’s older, if this blog is still about, I might let her read it. I think it’s important that she knows her story and my story.
I think I’ve waffled on enough for today.
Have a wonderful week xx