The importance of mental health (and not taking it for granted)

Moi! Happy!
Moi! Happy!

A couple of people on my online HG support group have recently been asking about mental health and how this can suffer when HG is at its worst. HG brought me as low as I think I’ve ever been in my life. It’s strange because, at the time, I don’t think I realised it. I just felt hopeless, miserable, listless and, worst of all, really useless. I felt like I was a burden on my entire family and that my poor husband of two months must have been regretting marrying me. Waking up in the morning was rubbish because it meant feeling listless, purposeless and unhappy all day only to fall asleep and do it all again the next day. Worst of all, despite the fact I was pregnant, I felt like there was absolutely nothing to look forward to because everything seemed too difficult and awful.

It’s quite scary to look back now and reflect on my mental health at this time, because I’ve never felt that low or devoid of purpose before. I felt as though nothing in the world could bring me pleasure, and that’s a really dark, sad place to be. But, there was another part of my brain that, somehow, seemed to believe that this was because of the HG – and that no matter how awful I felt, it wouldn’t be forever. Once I started to feel better, slowly the cloud started to lift.

On Friday, I went out for a couple of (non alcoholic) drinks with my husband and it was wonderful. We went to Skylon on the Southbank and I enjoyed the views and soaked in the atmosphere of all these busy, working people getting on with their lives in a way that I hadn’t been able to for the past couple of months. I enjoyed it; I remembered what it was to take pleasure in experiences, in seeing people, in contented moments.

On Saturday, Mr Bug made breakfast and we sat enjoying the sunshine from the window. We watched the Rugby World Cup Final and I cheered on the All Blacks. On Sunday, we drove to see my brother and his wife and had an amazing roast dinner at The Three Compasses. There was lots of laughter, silliness and I even managed a sublimely gorgeous gluten free brownie for dessert. Last night, I put some candles on and we sat on the sofa to watch a couple of episodes of Homeland (Season 4 is awesome!) and Downton Abbey.

I enjoyed every moment of this weekend. I wanted to get out of bed, I wanted to see my family and hang out, and I even enjoyed watching the rugby(!).

I don’t want to come across as trite or cliched but this experience has given me a new found respect for the importance of mental health and, also, for those who suffer with mental health issues and keep going. I’m not sure I would describe myself as depressed during HG but, looking back, how I felt was frightening. I don’t know how you feel like that and keep putting one foot in front of the other; keep DOING things when you don’t want to do anything at all. I’ve read a few blog posts recently about people’s struggles with PND and similar. Struggling through that is actually kick-ass because it must feel impossible when your own mind is against you.

For me, I’m glad that I’ve re-discovered pleasure in life. The memory of feeling so awful is slowly fading and I’m getting back out there, especially as the HG continues to lift. I will never take my enjoyment of things for granted again.

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