It’s been nearly four months since I was signed off from my perinatal mental health team.
The team I was under for most of my pregnancy, helping me to deal with the antenatal anxiety I was experiencing, brought on from previous birth trauma.
And I’m feeling really good.
The months leading up to the birth. Discussing the intrusive thoughts that were penetrating my brain. Working through them logically. Putting coping strategies in place to deal with them.
My regular psychologist appointments.
Times where I thought I would never be rid of the fog of anxiety that clouded my every thought.
And yet, here I am, four months later. Signed off.
Feeling like a completely different person
When I first walked into hospital, one foot after the other, at 14 weeks pregnant my shoulders were hunched. My eyes darted round. And all of a sudden every thought that I had had over the previous weeks were spilled to the midwife sat in front of me.
When I left the hospital after my last appointment I practically skipped out. Singing the joys of spring and how wonderful my new baby really was.
Now don’t get me wrong.
Once I let the anxiety monster into my brain, my thoughts, my life, he has taken root. He is still there. Deep inside.
The uninvited guest at the party.
Like anything else in life this is a journey. There are good days and bad days.
I still have days where I wake up with a gasp, rush to check on each of my children that they are in fact still breathing.
I panic when my husband isn’t home when he should be, imagining car crashes and ambulances flying everywhere. Rather than late nights at the office and terrible traffic.
I over analyse every symptom or illness. Making it into something more.
I can manage this. I can deal with it. I have the tools I need.
I know when it’s anxiety talking rather than me.
I know that the uninvited guest will loom in my head now. But instead of actively trying to shut him out, close the door on him, and giving him more presence of my mind than he deserves, I am acknowledging he is there. He can go about his business and I can go about mine.
And that’s OK too.
Feeling better, and being signed off, doesn’t mean that he’s gone forever. It just means I am better equipped to manage my thoughts, my anxiety.
And that feels pretty good to me.
images taken by the extremely talented Shehar Bano Rizvi