Health

Loss is loss. 


Just because you didn’t hold it, or see it, or feel it, doesn’t mean you didn’t lose it. In fact you did hold it; you held it when you first saw that line turn blue, and you held your hand to your stomach with anticipation and joy. You did see it, when they imaged your belly and showed the tiny little sac forming deep in your womb. And you did feel it, you felt every single cramp and ache as your body started to rid itself of what it could no longer nourish. 

Loss is loss.
When I think back to the time I miscarried I can’t help but wish there was more people around at that time in my life to have shared in the grief with me. More people to tell me that it was ok to feel sad, that it was ok to cry, and feel hopeless. I wish there were more people around to explain why I felt so much shame at the time? Why would anyone feel shame about such a thing? I wish there was a way somehow to tear down all that stigma and cultural rubbish, that voice in the back of my head saying, “don’t tell anybody what’s happened”. 

But why! Why on earth couldn’t I tell anybody of the news that gave my entire existence so much joy, was no longer a joy I could imagine. Why couldn’t I share my excitement of potentially becoming a mother for the first time even for those short weeks, only to have the dream end before it even began? Why couldn’t I grieve or mourn the loss of the baby that could have been; the older sibling of my Isaac and my Laila? Why couldn’t I share the fear that I had that my biology couldn’t nourish and sustain life past the 10 week mark? 

I remember when I told my husband about our second miscarriage he was time zones away, sitting on a mountain in the desert begging God for forgiveness and a healthy, happy baby. I phoned him on the day of Arafat and told him that our precious gift had no heart beat and stopped growing at 10weeks gestation. That night I swear I dreamt I heard him weeping on top of that mountain. Not for the baby that we never held or saw or felt, but for me. 

Loss is loss.
Miscarriage is loss. I didn’t want to hear about “maybe it wasn’t meant to be”, or “perhaps it’s for the best”, “perhaps the baby would have been sick” and “the body knows when something isn’t right.” These gave my heart no reprieve. What I wanted was to grieve, to cry and miss my baby, even if my baby was just an idea, a line on a stick or a blur on a screen, I wanted to mourn, and I wanted that to be ok. 
Bears of Hope

•••

The Black Dog 
This post was hard, very hard but it was necessary.

It’s about as real and open as it gets for me. I trust you’ll tread lightly on the words.

Do I start with describing my first panic attack, or do I start with when I was officially diagnosed  by a doctor?- ‘FINALLY!’ I thought, my affliction had a name!

ANXIETY DISORDER… DEPRESSION… PANIC ATTACKS.

They don’t sound too pleasant do they? Statistics continue to grow and currently according to WHO 350 million people are suffering from depression world wide. Yet somehow still you get those that deny these conditions truly exist, telling you simply to get over it! Reminding you of how grateful you should be and that there’s people living in far worse circumstances in the world. You get told your being selfish or a plain attention seeker. You get told your a burden on family members and friends, friends eventually stop calling and relationships almost always fail. That alone is enough to make anyone depressed isn’t it ?

I can’t tell you just one moment in my life that defines it all, I can’t even tell you the moment it started. It’s a condition so multifaceted, that now looking back I understand that it was definitely in the making for me throughout my early childhood. I’m certain it’s biological as much as it is social and environmental. And that’s the truth for me. It was my genetic lottery and boy did I win the jackpot.

You can’t tell a person with depression that tomorrow will be a better day. You can’t tell a person filled with paralyzingly anxiety and fear that that car ride down the road won’t result in a fatal crash, or that headache that’s lasted several weeks isn’t a cancerous brain tumor eating away at their hours to live. You just can’t. It’s not that easy. And what seems like a joke to most, is reality for those who suffer anxiety and depressive illnesses. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no convincing me that I’m guaranteed to live tomorrow or survive that car ride to Uni.

Then you’re shown a wonderous drug that makes every thing better for a time. And you’re cured! You’re normal again. Laughing, living! Going out on the weekend with friends and just being a regular 20 something year old! You’re free!!!

But are you really? Is this not just a temporary fix? Because you know deep down soon as you stop taking that 100mg of happiness in a pill you’re back to sleeping in until 2pm, hiding under sheets and cancelling coffee plans.

You’ve changed about 10 different psychs and counsellors trying to find the one that you can just click with. The one that lets you cry and curse the world for what it is and does it with you. Better yet, takes your hand and says let it out, let it all out and let it go. LET IT GO. These 3 therapeutic words hit me long before Frozen did.
I may not be cured from my affliction, I still have days I’d much rather stay under bedsheets crying. I may not be able to live a wholesome fully plant based lifestyle and rid my medicine cabinet of all the paracetamol and poison – I’m not ashamed of still relying on those happy pills that somehow manage to keep the black dog at bay, or the dark cloud away.

And that’s me surviving what could’ve swallowed me whole many years ago. Every panic attack free day is a victory; every moment fully lived and experienced is a step towards being free. Every person in my life whose stood by me supporting me have contributed to my cure. My children, my husband, my sister, my family and friends that have always reminded me of the countless reasons I have to fight and to live.

Below are links to my favourite mental health campaigns and organizations in Australia.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
https://www.liptember.com.au
https://au.movember.com

Little Rose Cafe – Port Melbourne, VIC.