Monday, May 23, 2011

Help me win $5000 and a New Ford Territory for a year

Last year, I was hospitalised for what was formerly described as a 'major depressive disorder'. Most of you would know it as a nervous breakdown.

As my marriage imploded, and the world collapsed around me, I went with it.

It was the worst time of my life.

You can't imagine the shame, confusion and yes, resentment, I felt, that I needed to be admitted to a mental health institution in order to find myself. The guilt that I had to be away from my kids in order to do it.

"You have to do this," the extremely wise and caring nurses would say. "If Mum's not happy, the kids won't be happy."

And they were right.

On my first day in hospital, I didn't even talk to anyone, apart from the staff. I took to my (single, hospital) bed, trying to work out how the hell my life had come to this.

There I was, then 42, with two marriage failures behind me. Through no fault of my own, I was now homeless. And I was in hospital battling anxiety and depression.

I went from being a hands-on Mum; a successful writer and journalist; to what felt like a failure
I spent more than a month in that hospital, basically getting better. Slowly coming out of my shell and sharing truths I had never before revealed. To anyone, least of all myself.

(After I left, the healing continued. Still does. I attend outpatients' groups, study and practise Mindfulness, see my psychiatrist and a counsellor regularly. I take my meds. I do everything I need to do in order to stay well.)

At first, my psychiatrist terrified the crap out of me. But gradually, I warmed to him and learned to trust him with my secrets. The psychologist and psychiatric nurses were awesome. They knew how to ask the hard questions that would lead me to sudden 'a-ha' moments.

"So that's why I do that," I realised.  "That's why I made those (often wrong) choices)."

And did I mention the other patients? The people I was too scared to talk to on my first day, because hey, they must be nuts too, right? Those people were among the sanest, most talented, smart and interesting people I've met in my life.

Who knew?

And yet, it was hard work. Especially as my life outside of hospital, was careering out of control. Especially when I was treated with cruelty and contempt by the very people who were supposed to love me. (Note: Not my own family. My family have been nothing but supportive and great).

People often ask me if there were times when I just wanted to give up. To crawl into the foetal position and die.

And I have to say that yes, I felt that way more times than I can say.

But I had two very good reasons not to give up. To hang in there and fight. For me, for them, for us.

You know where I'm going with this, right? My kids, C. and H.

The two constants in my life that even I haven't managed to stuff up (much.) The two people that gave me a role that I (mostly) know how to do, being Mumma. The two people I love and admire most in the world.

They're my heart, my soul,  my reasons for being here on this earth. They are my drive.

It was the kids that lit up that dark, difficult period.

It was C. and H. who gave me the impetus, the motivation and the drive to get myself out of that hospital and back into my rightful role. As their Mumma.

What I've learned is that parenting and my pursuit of happiness is a rollercoaster. There are unforgiving lows, heady highs, squeals of joy, and moments of feeling dreadfully sick.

And happily, there are those perfect moments. When the kids are making a 'Mumma Sandwich', when they're giggling infectiously, or coming to me for a cuddle, just because.

And I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be.

Back in the driver's seat.

Readers, what drives you?

And if you like this post, would you care to vote for me? Just click on the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers button on the right.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great post Bronnie, very wise you are indeed. Off to vote right now! :D

P.S. love the hat!

Louisa Claire said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this post, it's courageous and inspiring at once!

Kellie said...

So well written. Well done for sharing your story. This will help so many mums out there.
I have been the child in this situation and it's tough for everyone. But so worth getting the help. And she was right: when mum's happy, the kids are happy. :)

Monaghan Family said...

I have a friend who went through something very similar. You should be really proud of yourself for everything you've achieved. Finding yourself is the bravest thing you can ever do IMO.

Taryn said...

You are awesome Bronnie. Thanks for sharing xxx

Romina Garcia said...

I read this post and all I can feel is admiration for you. I wish my mother would have taken the steps which you have. Perhaps we would be on speaking terms right now.
What would have felt like rock bottom at the time will make you feel as though you are floating on air later on in life.
I commend you.
What you did/are doing is ensuring your children get the best care possible and have the best mother they can wish for.
Ignoring the situation would have not only been detrimental to your mental health, but your future relationships with your children.
Don't ever look upon this time as a moment of weakness, rather a moment of triumph.

Megan Blandford said...

Beautiful. x

Denyse Whelan. said...

Back in the driver's seat ... Best analogy I've come across to make the most sense for how your life is now.
Much admiration for your courage and determination.
Onya!!! Denyse xx

Lynnelle said...

Way to go Bron...yep sometimes it all gets to much. Always remember that there are those who love you no matter what, will support you no matter what and only want to see you spread your wings and fly!

vegemitevix said...

Thank you for such a moving post Bronnie. Your words reach out and touch your readers, they are like verbal embraces. Thank you! Vxx

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

It's always good to have some one to chat things over with glad your better & trying your hardest to stay there.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Anonymous said...

A very honest post Bronnie. Reminds me that our mental health needs to be nurtured and looked after just like our physical health.

I made a decision yesterday that I would not be starting work until 10am going forwards. My staff have the early morning covered and I ususally stay back anyway. Running my business drives me but I am not going to let it drive me into the ground. I am taking time out to do interesting things with my partner.

lisa heidke said...

Oh, gosh...I could barely get through this are incredibly brave and inspiring!
Lisa xx

Unknown said...

Wow, my heart swelled reading this! You are so brave, and these words will make a difference to many. Well done you for sharing this deeply personal story and for taking a path towards true healing. I wish you so well x

Unknown said...

Just voted!! :-)

Seana Smith said...

Thank you for writing such a brave and confronting post. It is so important that we talk kore about mental health issues, and especially to de-stigmatize the experience of being in hospital. It's a place of healing... And you are healed.

Carly Findlay said...

A brilliant honest post - I believe the best entry of the competition. I am glad you are healing. You're so courageous. Thanks for sharing.

Mrs Woog said...

So not for naught. I adore you xx

Unknown said...

Great post, Bronnie. You and I seem to have lived parallel lives. I wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for my kids. You've also reminded me that I have access to resources I've forgotten about. Might be time to reconnect. I need something...

Mrs M said...

such an honest and deep post about your life.

I can only begin to imagine how hard that would have been for you.

I'm one of these people who always tries to remain focused, in control, sometimes I think people think I'm strong, but sometimes it's because I'm too weak to really let people in. Life is definitely a challenge.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Amazing post Bronnie. So glad you're back, driving, where you belong.

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

Unknown said...

I came across this post today when I was looking for a photo for my latest blogpost. I hadn't realised I'd been mentioned by Kidspot in their piece about how they chose the prize winners. I wanted to thank you all for your comments, and let you know I'm still in that driver's seat and doing better than ever. Mind you, I wouldn't mind doing it in a nicer car than my poor, beaten-up old motor, which has been coated in a variety of bodily fluids over the years! Of course, life had more challenges to throw at me, but that's what it is about isn't it? Thank you all for your support. x