It doesn’t happen overnight. 3 months prior to letting my daughter go I had been to the doctors. I explained I was struggling, that I felt suicidal and that I needed help. I was put on a waiting list. A waiting list for counselling. Let that just sink in. A single mother of a young child reaching out for help because she feels like suicide is the only way out and gets told she has to wait up to 6 months for help.
Well I tied to hang in there. I tried with everything I had in me to fight off the darkens that was taking over but I failed. I was becoming numb. Planning my escape. I knew just what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. Every night I would tuck my baby up in bed and count out how many tablets I had. I would line them all up on the kitchen side ready to take them one after another. I had a plan I knew what I was doing. The darkness in my head was growing stronger and encouraging me to do it. To take the pills, smother my girl in her sleep and lie next to her whilst the pills took me. It would be so peaceful. All my worries and stress would be gone and we would be together for ever.
I would pace up and down the house for hours, crying uncontrollably. Scratching at my hands and not realising it until the sticky blood caught my attention. Battling with my mind. Take the pills. ‘No don’t take them, go to bed’. I wanted someone to help me. I wanted to survive but I was losing the battle with my own mind.
These episodes mostly happened at night. During the day I was still being a good mum and providing what my daughter needed but I was distancing my self from her emotionally. I would sit and watch her play without interacting with her. I wasn’t eating and just wanted to sleep all day but I didn’t. I was a mum and I had a job to do. She was in clean clothes, fed well and kissed good night every day she was with me right up till the day she went.
The darkness that would come at night when I was alone. It was growing out of control. I made the decision to call Lee and ask him to look after his daughter. Social services were never involved. It was my choice. Until now I have never told anyone the true extent of those episodes. I have never told anyone that I had to let my daughter go to keep her safe. Safe from the darkness in her mummy’s head.
Lee came to collect my little girl. It was the hardest day of my life and probably hers too. I still get flashbacks now. I see her little face looking out of the car window as they drive off. Confused and scared. Calling for her mummy as she went. That day will haunt me for the rest of my life and even as I’m typing this those feelings are coming back, and I can’t fight the tears. I can’t say much more about that day. It’s just too painful.
Now without my daughter I had nothing to live for. I laid in bed for 2 weeks taking sleeping pills so that I could fall asleep and forget about life. For 2 weeks I slept.
My family now started telling me they would help me. Go get her back they said. We will be here to support you. It will be ok. So off I went to collect my daughter. I was so pleased to see her. Lee didn’t want to give her back but I took her any way. She was my little girl. I needed her with me. I held her so tight that day and took her home.
Support!? What support. Everyone was so pleased to hear we were both home but after a few days now one cared. No one was there to help me. Not even a phone call. The darkness was back worse than ever so Lee had to come for a second time and take our daughter. This time it was for good.
I lost the flat and was homeless. I was in a dark place with nowhere to go. I threw away all of my belongings. 10 trips to the dump and everything was gone. I had my car, a duvet and some photos. Everything else was in the tip. I drove around for days. Numb and not knowing where I was going, just driving. Eventually I turned up at my mums house. I collapsed to the floor crying uncontrollably and all I could say was help me. Over and over again. ‘help me. Help me’. My mum took me straight to the doctor who saw me immediately. Again all I would say was ‘help me’. The doctor told my mum to take me to the mental health ward at the local centre for health where they assigned me a physiatrist who spent the day trying to assess me. We spoke about my childhood and the recent difficulties I was experiencing. After hours with the physiatrist she decided that she wanted to section me but was unable to find a bed space where I could be admitted. Reluctantly they sent me away with my mum, a crisis number and a plan for the mental health team to visit me at my mums 3 times a day. Reluctantly my mum agreed to let me stay with her for a while.
2 weeks passed and my mum found me somewhere else to live and I moved on. Now visiting the mental health team at the health centre and having phone appointments regularly as well as various medication I was starting to make sense of my mind, why I felt like that and how to control it, I was slowly starting to get better.
I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Having a diagnosis made me feel a bit more in control of my illness. It was real. And If its real I can make steps to getting better. I was at last getting help.
I made the occasional visit to my daughter, but it was hard leaving her. She was calling Lees partner mum and it was hard to hear. The visits slowed my progress in recovering from the breakdown but not seeing my daughter at all was not an option. I didn’t want her to forget who I was.
A few months later I met the most amazing woman. Now my wife, she pulled me from that dark place and made me smile for the first time in months. Things were looking up. I got a job and we moved in together.
Having a mental breakdown is the most frightening experience I have ever been through. I hope I never go there again. I have down days and days when even breathing feels difficult, but I know that those feelings will pass and I will be ok. I am not alone any more. I feel safe.
I still have flash backs and still suffer with depression, but the darkness that used to grip me and the loss of control is long gone. Now all my focus is on getting my daughter home again. Back where she belongs. With her mummy.