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Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:24

Karen's Story

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I am just a normal mother trying to get on with my life.

My story is maybe not very exciting but I am just an ordinary woman trying to bring up a family and fight the depression I never really seem to get over properly.

I am 34 years old, married to a lovely man, I have 2 children and have a nice house, car, part-time job, most things a lot of people would love to have, but have been depressed on and off for years.

I think a lot of my problems started when I was young, everything I did was never good enough in my dad’s eyes, he left home when I was twelve, although we had contact with him and he has been a complete arsehole, I don’t have much contact with him. I had to grow up really quickly when he left, mum was often ill and in hospital and didn’t cope very well with the divorce, she also had loads of money problems.

I left school at 16 and didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I joined a training scheme and concentrated on office studies. I had a couple of boyfriends, then met my husband in 1989, we got engaged later that year and bought a house the following year, then married in 1991. I had times when I was maybe depressed but thought it was just part of life. In 1994, I was made redundant from my job, which in some ways changed my life, later that year I was pregnant with my daughter, she was born in the July after a very difficult pregnancy. I had to have an emergency caesarean section, we were both lucky they nearly lost both of us, this wasn’t a good start to parenthood, within days of coming home from hospital I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, put onto Prozac and got on with life or so I thought. I suffered a lot of pains which were never diagnosed as anything, I was made to feel I was just making it all up, but believe me they were real. Then in 1996 I fell pregnant again six weeks after a miscarriage, this time the pregnancy was easier until I was told at a routine scan one of his kidneys was larger than the other. Being told this put me straight into a depression again, I was already anxious about having to have another cesarean. After his birth I recovered well until a few weeks after, when the post-natal depression hit me again, I went straight to the doctors and was put on the Prozac again, and soon seemed to recover. It wasn’t until after Daniel was born that I felt as though I hadn’t bonded properly with Laura when she was born, I didn’t have the same feelings for her as I did him. It is a horrible thing to say I love her dearly but there is something missing between us, and I guess there always will be.

The last few years I have just plodded on with life trying to bring up the kids the best I can, I have always felt that motherhood just doesn’t come naturally to me and don’t think I should have had kids but its to late now. I have suffered different periods of depression over the years, which I realize now but have never been able to go to the doctors and admit it to him, although my husband has tried loads of times, it wasn’t until October 2002, when my husband had an operation on his knee which went wrong, my mother was ill, granddad had lung cancer. I was suffering really badly with endometriosis, which had been diagnosed the year before, (it turned out this was probably the same as I had after Laura was born, but was never diagnosed properly.) I was being treated for the endometriosis and at the time couldn’t cope with everything going on my life, I just collapsed in a big heap in the GPs room. He was very understanding and wanted me to go on antidepressants, which I wasn’t very happy about but agreed eventually. I started on Cipramil, and by Xmas that year I was feeling much better, I carried on taking it throughout last year, I had my ups and downs as we all do and was just starting to reduce the dose when Mum was taken into hospital with a stroke, this left her in a very confused state. My sister and I were very worried about her, and were told by the consultant she would not live to be an old woman, she is only 57 years old but with all her health problems she was much older. Later on that day, there was a phone call from my best friends husband to say that she had committed suicide.

My whole world just seemed to fall apart that day. Jane and I were best friends from the age of about 2 years, everything we did we did together, we were never apart, I was her bridesmaid, she was mine, I am god mother to her two girls, she was to my kids. She had suffered from depression over the years and tried to kill herself just before we got married, but would never let anyone help her, she wouldn’t go to doctors and she was frightened of being sectioned again. Over the last year or so we had slowly got further and further apart, and I hadn’t spoken to her for a while, so I didn’t know how she was so this was a total surprise. The times I had been around to see her I knew she was at home but she would never answer the phone or door, so I naturally thought she didn’t want to see me, so I stopped bothering. Apparently everyone she was close to she gradually pushed away from her. She always said to me that if anything happened to her I was to keep an eye on her two girls, and I will. My husband made me go to the doctors the Monday afterwards as I was in such a state, she upped my Cipramil which I was still taking. I don’t know how I got through her funeral and the next few weeks, but until after Xmas I wasn’t too bad, yes, I spent lots of time crying and thinking about her, why did she do it? She was such a good friend and I will never forget her. I am sure that when she died she took part of me with her. There have been many time I have thought of joining her but I cannot do to my kids and family what she did to hers, its just not fair.

About a month ago I hit a real low point in my life and went back to GP, I was changed onto Efexor xl , the first 2 weeks didn’t seem to make much difference so the dose was increased. I am only now starting to feel a little better, I know its going to be a long recovery but I cant let myself get the way Jane did.

This may not seem that I have depression very badly but to me it has affected my life in such a big way. There must be other people out there who feel like me that there story is not as important as other people’s but as I have said I am just an ordinary mum trying to survive.