Written January 2019 – Unedited
The walls came tumbling down
This part is very hard for me to describe. I am going to try my best, but it is still difficult to acknowledge. But I wanted to write it down, get it out of my head.
Friday afternoon I handed the kids over to their Dad for seven days over Christmas. I had booked up the rest of my day with lunches, drinks, dinners and going out. I had big plans to be busy and social and out and about all week in fact. I packed my little bag, and zooted off for my carefree adventure in Mom’s little zippy car. I managed a lunch with my A Team buddy, and then…
Dark clouds arrived. I felt like I fell into a tunnel and kept falling.
The next 24 hours are a bit hazy.
With the kids away for so long, especially over Christmas, I finally fully fell apart.
I was broken.
I couldn’t speak without crying.
I couldn’t eat.
I couldn’t think.
I felt like I was in a daze. I felt hopeless, lonely, despair. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, tell anyone because I felt like failure, ashamed, and also, why would anyone want to know about my issues? I didn’t want to give it attention. I didn’t want my mom to worry and cancel her trip. I didn’t want to be a burden to family and my friends. I wanted to quit my job, move back to Durban, basically run away. I berated myself for not being a good mother. For messing up at work. For making bad decisions. For being in this mindset which I had worked so hard to avoid. I felt lost and afraid and no longer trusted my own judgement. I honestly did not know what to do. My mind was trapped in a loop of all the negatives thoughts, playing over and over and over, obsessing about everything, criticising me, judging me. I could see nothing before me. Nothing. I felt like my skin was ripped off and all my nerves were exposed. There is a history of depression and suicide on both sides of my family, and both sides of my Dad’s family. I am surrounded by it, and tried so hard not to fall prey to it. So. Dam. Hard. When you have fallen down that hole, you don’t know you are there. You have no idea. You don’t know when you fell in, you don’t know how long you have been falling. When you have crashed into that wall, its time to call for help.
My mother took control. I was so grateful as I couldn’t make one more decision. She was so supportive, and dragged me off to the doctors on a Saturday morning, along with all the other emergency patients. Malaria, heart surgery whose stitches fell out, suspected meningitis, and me.
Burnout & depression.
It is a humbling experience when at 38, your mother accompanies you into the doctor’s office and basically speaks on your behalf or prompts you to tell the doctor the truth. They wanted to send me off somewhere to get help, but my timing of this breakdown was not ideal. Mom was getting on a plane to Canada, everyone had plans with their own families and loves ones. No therapists available. I was deemed unfit to fly back to Cape Town with the kids. The doc thought it best I stay and recuperate in Durban. But with both Mom and the kids’ Dad out the country and school starting on the 9th Jan, it just wasn’t feasible. Armed with antidepressants (which I hate, hate hate), a sick note booked off for 3 weeks, and a promise to check in with the doctor daily, it was agreed it was best for me to rest and recover at Mom’s house for the week and then back to Cape Town where Jean, my nanny would be able to help.
I set up camp in Mom and JK’s room (JK moved into a spare room). I had the bed, TV and the bathroom. And there I basically stayed in my pj’s and slept and slept and slept. I didn’t shower, or brush my hair or teeth. I barely spoke. On the Sunday afternoon enroute to the airport Mom and JK dropped me at my one of my bestie’s… yup in my pj’s with greasy hair. The only instruction was to bring gym stuff. Shaz dragged me off to a workout the next morning which I needed. Then she dropped me back home where I crawled back into the safety and comfort of the bed. I would wake up during the day and see a glass of juice and a snack left for me. (Thank you JK) I checked in with the doc, and went back to sleep. Sometimes I would read or watch tv but mainly I slept.