When I Told Him I Was Leaving

A couple of months ago I had a meltdown, which resulted in the collection of slowly fading scars on my upper arms.

It also resulted in a few hours of me being absolutely convinced that I was leaving Squidge and the Northern One behind to start a brand new life on my own.

I don’t remember what happened to put my in such an unstable mood nor can I think of any particular triggers that sparked the whole episode. We’d been to a birthday party at a friend’s house the previous day and social situations like that are something that I always find difficult but the reason behind my having such a spectacular meltdown remain unknown.

After a day of feeling incredibly tense and angry I stormed off to the bathroom to have a bath with the door locked, leaving the Northern One to put Squidge to bed on his own. The opportunity to have some time to myself did nothing to calm the rage I could feel simmering just below the surface and even after an hour in the bath I felt anything but relaxed.

The only thing that bought me any relief was the repeated slicing of my arms which, somehow, with the pain and the blood came a calm clarity; crystallizing my thoughts until I became absolutely certain of one thing.

I couldn’t live like this anymore.

The longer I lay in the bath, my arm burning but my mind quietening, the longer the list of reasons as to why I needed to live my life on my own became and the more compelling those reasons became.

I’d have the career that I’d planned without being restricted by childcare or part-time hours.

I wouldn’t be exhausted all the time because I’d be able to sleep all night and would actually be able to have a lie in on my days off.

I’d be able to lose weight and improve my physical health because I’d be able to exercise whenever I wanted and the only person I’d be buying food for would be me.

I’d have the best chance of being able to regain control of my mental health because I’d be able to focus on what I needed.

Every decision I made would be about me and what I wanted from life, without having to take anyone else into account.

I am aware of how unbelievably selfish and if anyone wants to take this opportunity to tell me how despicable I am go right ahead because there’s honestly no way you could make me feel worse than I already do.

While I imagine many mothers occasionally secretly fantasize about being able to leave their current life full of stress and worry and demands behind, for most it probably remains just that; a fantasy. Something to sustain you on a day when everything has just become too much and you need some sort of outlet so that you don’t explode.

I, on the other hand, made such coherent plans that by the time I eventually got out of the bath that I told the Northern One exactly what I planned to do.

I had it all figured out.

I was going to get a new job somewhere that I’d never lived before and rent a little flat so that was going to be full of books and art and absolutely nothing to do with children.

I was going to start running and horse riding again and I was going to get back into the sort of shape that I hadn’t been in since my teens.

I was going to sleep peacefully at night and wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to do all the things that I wanted to do.

I was going to have baths that lasted hours and spend mornings reading books in bed and do everything completely on my own terms.

The tiny, realistic part of my brain knew that I couldn’t leave straight away, if for no other reason than the fact that I had to complete two weeks notice at work so that I could have the reference I’d need for a new job. I knew that actually finding a new job wouldn’t be difficult as neonatal units throughout the UK are always recruiting; it would just be a case of deciding where in the country I wanted to live.

When I told the Northern One that I was leaving he reacted in exactly the way that you’d expect; he was shocked, upset and more than a bit frightened that was actually serious about leaving. He also seemed to think that I intended to leave straight away and so I decided that if that was what he thought, that was what I was going to do.

I can see the pained, shaken look on his face as I shoved past him to go upstairs and get dressed so that I could get in my car and go. I don’t know where I was going to go or what I was going to do when I got there but I honestly felt as though now that I’d started on this course of action, everything would just fall into place as I went.

I went into our bedroom to dry my hair and find some clothes but before I could do anything all of the rage went out of me so quickly that my knees started to wobble and I had to sit down on the bed before I fell. A few minutes later, after realising that he could’t hear me packing the Northern One came upstairs to find me lying in bed with the duvet over my head, completely and utterly exhausted.

With the exhaustion came the tears and the beginning of apologies that can never be enough for the things that I said or the things that I planned to do.

Looking back, the worst part of the whole episode was the fact that I was absolutely convinced I could just walk away from my family without feeling anything negative at all. Somehow I had ended up in a place so dark that I couldn’t think why I would miss them or remember why my life, difficult as it can be, would be so much less without them. At the time I didn’t care about how much my leaving would damage Squidge and the Northern One, the two people that I love most in the world and I have no idea how I ended up there.

Depression manifests itself in unpredictable ways and while I’m not trying to excuse my behaviour by blaming in on my depression I also know that when I’m in a good place with my mental health I just don’t act like this. I continue taking my prescribed medication, attending counselling and appointments with my psychiatrist but despite these things there are still occasions when I still find myself in a downward spiral with very little explanation as to why it’s happened.

All I can do is carry on with my current treatment and try not to hurt Squidge and the Northern One by saying or doing things that I can’t take back.

Louise is a full time mum, a part time neonatal nurse and award nominated blogger who has battled depression for many years but was particularly ill during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen. 

Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss. She’s also involved in #MatExp (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MatExp/); an online maternity experience campaign that was formed to help improve maternity services in the UK. As part of this she hosts the #MatExpHour Twitter chat every Friday and would love to see you there.

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49 thoughts on “When I Told Him I Was Leaving

  1. mrshsfavouritethings says:

    Oh darling lady. I have had all those thoughts and probably said similar in the heat of a depressive episode. I always feel the worst thing is that you can’t take these things back. You wish desperately that you can undo what you’ve done but it is just not possible. I am glad you are feeling better at the moment. Sending you massive hugs Mrs H xxxx

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      Thank you my lovely. You’re so right that the worst thing is that you can’t take back what you’ve said. Even if the other person forgives you unconditionally you can’t escape the fact that you’ve said some truly vile things to them. You also know that hard as you try, when you’re next in the grip of a depressive episode, you may well say something like that again.

      Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      Thank you Nicola, I am feeling a bit better now and my mood has mostly improved over the past couple of weeks although I have had some really bad days. The post made me cry to write it and I was bracing myself for an onslaught of comments telling me what a horrible person I am. But those comments didn’t come and instead everyone has been so supportive which has somehow made me feel worse.

      Like

  2. Tara says:

    I think a lot of mums have that fantasy (I know I do, especially when the days start at 4am) although, as you said, maybe not planned to the same degree. You didn’t leave either though, I think you should acknowledge that. Sending hugs.

    Like

  3. Victoria Murray says:

    Such a brave post, and I did exactly the same thing to my boyfriend at the time on a number of occasions. At the time I didn’t know anyone else had gone through this and I felt so alone and didn’t understand, so I really really feel for you. It’s really hard on you but also on the ones you love. I’m pleased to say that he learned that he just needed to let it run its course till I wore myself out (which didn’t take long!) and keep supporting me – and we got married two years ago! Hang in there, you’re doing brilliantly 🙂

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      I’m so sorry that you went through something similar Victoria but so pleased things worked out for you. You’re exactly right when you say that it’s hard on the ones we love and who love us.
      Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.

      Like

  4. Ali says:

    Strange I stumbled upon this at this very moment. My teenage daughter has just told me to leave her alone in slightly less polite terms. I know today is a bad day for her and I know she is up in her room slicing herself. I know that at this moment there is nothing I can do. I know it is so much worse for her than it is for the people who love her but I also know how hard it is feeling so helpless and wishing I could take the pain away from her.

    I also wish there was an answer xxx

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      I’m so sorry that you’re going through this Ali and I can only imagine how helpless you must feel.
      The impact of mental illness not only on the sufferer but also on those who love them should never be played down or underestimated. I know how hard it is for my husband to see me in pain and not know how to take that pain away.
      I truly wish there was an answer but at the moment all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and refusing to let mental illness beat us.
      Much Love to you and your daughter.
      Louise

      Like

  5. Corrina Lunn says:

    Gorgeous lady, this could have been written by me. I have had the same thoughts and made plans, convinced that in order to feel happier I needed to be alone and “free”. I love my twins and my OH more than life itself though I didn’t remember it at the time. I think for me the overriding emotion became numbness mixed with desperation to feel better. I remember packing a bag and driving for a couple of hours. I can’t remember what made me stop and return but I am so glad I did. Life is very different now, but there is still guilt about the pain i caused on that and other occasions. Thank you for being so honest and making me see I am not alone xxx

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      You are definitely not alone; something that writing this post has helped me to remember. I’m so sorry that things were so awful for you but I’m really happy to hear that life is much better for you now. Thank you for sharing your story with me, I know how difficult it is to open up about something that makes you feel so incredibly guilty.

      Like

  6. KayJayBee says:

    Oh darling lady. I know this feeling only so well. I was stuck in a management position a few years ago with no way to get out and on one occasion lay awake on the sofa for hours on end trying to plan my escape, though I mean The Big Escape. Sadly, I am a selfish person who adores her own squidge to the ends of the earth and I realised if I was going, she needed to go too. I cannot reveal the plan I had for her because remembering how I close I was now makes me feel sick but needless to say when I realised what I was thinking, it snapped me out of the darkest place my mind had ever gone. I wish I had gotten help, I felt so alone and when I called my mum sobbing I made her so sick with worry that I felt like the worst daughter in the world.

    I realise now just how depressed I was and that is so scary. Your mind is a terrifying place, sometimes.

    I have done a complete about-turn, by the way, and left management to return to education and finally follow my dream.

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      I’m so sorry that you had such an awful time but I’m so pleased that everything worked out for you and that you and your very own Squidge are happy now, Thank you for sharing your experience with me, I know how difficult it is to admit to something that you’re so ashamed of.

      Like

  7. Mummy to girls says:

    You are very brave and definatley not alone! I went through something similar & had a bag packed under the bed and plans to just dissappear without a trace because it made sense to me at the time. I’m through it now but not without unconditional support (even when I really felt like I didn’t deserve it). Just take it one day at a time and remember squidge loves you no matter what! Xx

    Like

  8. helen gandy says:

    Oh this made me well up……the struggles you have been having, the exhaustion, juggling life as Mum…..it’s tough. I hope you start to feel better about things and most of all I hope you find the support you need to get you through this tough time. I’m sending you a big, virtual hug….obviously I know that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things but I really do mean it when I write it! Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst and hope you’ll pop by again XX

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      Thank you for the virtual hugs Helen, they really are very much appreciated. I am feeling a bit better and my mood seems to be on the way up so hopefully things will be a bit easier over the next few months.

      Like

  9. wish says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s so hard to have these feelings and not be able to share them for fear of being judged. To know that other mothers feel this way makes me feel less alone! xxxx

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      It is so difficult because you assume that everyone will judge you in the same way that you’re judging yourself when actually they can see how difficult things are for you and what an amazing job that you’re doing. I’m so glad my post has helped you in some small way.

      Like

  10. El says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It must haven taken you a lot of courage to share this. It brought tears to my eyes because it reminds me of things/parts of myself I do not want to recognise. It’s good to know that we are not alone on our journey and something like your post can impact many positively.

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      We are definitely not alone and the more people who share their stories, the more we will realise this. I’m so sorry you’ve felt these things too and I know how difficult it can be to recognise these traits in yourself.

      Like

  11. Zena's Suitcase says:

    This must have been such a scary episode for you, I can see why you were left exhausted. depression can be a selfish illness but it is an illness and it sounds like you manage it very well. Thanks for linking up with #myfavouritepost

    Like

  12. LadyNicci says:

    Very brave post and sorry to hear you’ve been having such a tough time of it. I’m sure we’ve all felt this low at points – and getting through it is the bravest thing of all. Well done for sharing.. and for staying 🙂 #thelist

    Like

  13. Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby says:

    You’re such a brave woman for sharing your personal health struggles and difficulties… I know sometimes when we’re too low, we end up thinking the worst things to do to escape the situation… hopefully by looking at your family specially squidge would brighten your life again and be inspired to carry on! Thanks for sharing! #TwinklyTuesday

    Like

  14. kerryvillers says:

    You’re so brave to write about this, but I’m really glad you did. I think the pressures of being a parent can sometimes become a bit too much and if you’re feeling depressed whilst trying to cope with these pressures it becomes in possible. I don’t think anything in the world can prepare you for the challenges of being a parent, but you not walking out, despite feeling so low, goes to show that it’s worth the exhaustion xxx #TwinklyTuesday

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      Before Squidge was born the only person I had to look after was myself but now even on my worst days I still have to make sure he’s happy and feels loved. Depression is draining at the best of times but combining it with trying to be the best parent I can is exhausting.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You Baby Me Mummy says:

    I think you are very brave to share, what is obviously such a difficult time in your life. I hope you can find some peace. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    Like

  16. acornishmum says:

    A very brave post, and I can’t imagine how it must feel to feel like this lovely. The fact you can talk about it so openly shows you are strong enough to get through these episodes, admitting you need help is half the battle apparently. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix and I hope you’re in a happier place now
    Stevie x

    Like

  17. Mummyandmonkeys says:

    This is such a brave post! Well done you for being so honest about what it can be like. I have been there and like you say it came come out of nowhere. I can remember wandering around in a tear filled daze absolutely sure I was going to leave as I couldn’t cope anymore. I hope you are feeling a bit better. Try not to be too hard on yourself! Thanks for linking to #PickNMix
    &n

    Like

    • blopmamma2014 says:

      I am feeling better thank you, life has seemed more full of possibilities this week than it has for a while. I just wonder how long things will stay like this and when the positive feelings will go away.

      Like

  18. mummascribbles says:

    Such a brave post to write. Your honesty will help so many others who are feeling the same way. I’m sorry that you have to deal with this. Despite it all, your boys know you love them and will hopefully keep you strong at the hardest times. Sending you lots of love. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Like

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