1987

Once I lived in a world of dreams where the future held the key to life and the present, with the harshness of its reality, was my stepping stone to true fulfilment. My imagination became my friend, and through its power I could approach each landmark of the future with true hope and certainty. I dreamt of marriage where I could live in a land of romantic fantasy. I dreamt of motherhood and the joy it brings, with visions of sweet Jesus asleep in Mary’s arms, and in my dreams I the perfect mother stood, stroking the innocent face of my child. But when the birth of my daughter came my imagination turned against me and only darkness filled my world.

She brought me such fulfilment; she gave me so much joy. Happiness came, but then it left me with a fear that could destroy: a fear of life, a fear of death, a fear of what, but fear? The days turned into nights and panic took sleep’s place. I could not bear to hold her as her cries turned into mine, and through the power of my thoughts I believed that I would make her die. Each night was spent in contemplation of her death, for I could not accept that somebody as worthless as I could receive a gift of such perfection. My heart overflowed with love for my child, but I could find no expression and all the feelings buried deep returned from their suppression.

How can you describe depression to somebody who has never felt it? How can they know such anxiety when they have never met it? They take over your body, your mind and your soul until you cannot find a way out of their black hole. The panic lashes, whips and beats you; the depression torments, consumes and defeats you. You cannot see yourself as others see you, or live in a world where others can be with you. I searched and searched to find a god to forgive me of my ‘sins’; I prayed until I could pray no more, but my heart welled up with such depression. I fought and fought to stop the thoughts, but on and on and on they came immune to my determination.

She stayed with me, so new thoughts came, obsession followed by obsession, until I in desperation took much more than was prescribed. She was almost two and although I loved her with an intensity beyond description, I needed a rest from the visions of hell and the blackness that still filled my days. No memories of that dark night remain, except perhaps a tube being rammed into my throat. I awoke some time later in what I thought was hell, but the hell was only inside my head as I lay on top of my hospital bed.

I did not live, nor did I die on that dark night of exasperation, for what is life where there is no hope or love where there is no expression?

 

Mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain.

We do not choose to feel this way.