Now I know that I speak of sucking it up and just getting on with but the truth is there is a bad day and then there is a series of bad days and thats most often depression. I think its an unfortunate trade off that comes with this fifo life and it can be when not lived right; can be horrible and lonely. Fifo life can bring out emotions and relationship issues that normally wouldnt occur on a everyday level. As a result I have been there and done that.
I thought I was the only one to feel that way. Initially I didn’t want to admit that was what it was and it wasn’t until one day two years ago six months after the birth of my third baby did I crash into a literal screaming heap did I know I had to see someone. I remember the day with such clarity that it makes me so emotional and loved at the same time. My mother and fifo husband swooped into action so quick it was like something out of an action movie. I think they were just waiting knowing despite my cries of No Im fine they knew it was just a matter of time.
I always thought that depression was someone that was crying all the time couldn’t get out of bed and for some I guess that’s what its like. For me I was angry. I didn’t speak, I yelled. I cried. I hated getting out of bed because I knew what I would be greeted with four walls and endless caring. I hated my job not my children I hated myself and my job. I was tired, hormonal and burnt out. I’m not sure what finally sent me to crash that day but I remember my husband rang to check on me and I started to cry and cry something that I never did. I remember saying that I was so sorry and that I had let him down, I didn’t think I was a good mum. I couldn’t control my temper and I was scared of myself. I could here the panic in his voice. He couldn’t come home he was in the middle of a tow but he had my mother on a plane the next day to pick up my babies and take them to Darwin so I could go see a doctor and get a rest. I wasn’t a danger to myself I was a danger to my babies.
I walked into my doctors office brave. I was initially going to pretend that I was there for something else. I didn’t have depression. I didn’t have a MENTAL ILLINESS its such a dirty word I thought and still it makes me a little uncomfortable. I had always I guess like many had had this mentality of build a bridge and get over it. Everyone has bad days. I was embarrassed that this was happening. I was embarrassed that I was there. I was embarrassed that I wasn’t coping with being a mother to my three gorgeous babies. I was embarrassed that I had treated them this way. Yet the moment I sat down in that chair and she said what can I do for you the flood gates opened. I cried I heaved I sobbed. I couldn’t stop. I tried to tell her in between the heaves that I wasn’t okay and that I wasn’t a good mother and could she fix me in two weeks because that’s when my husband and babies would be home.
She gave me a serious of questions and the result I was clinically depressed. I didn’t believe her I didn’t want that label. She suggested that I go on a course of medication. I told her no thats what the weak take. I was more worried about what people would think of me especially my husband. She pleaded with me to consider it. I said a firm no. Try diet and excersice at least. I had had little time for myself whilst trying to keep everything perfect. Support what was that? I found that in the process of trying to keep the facade looking wonderful that I had aliented myself. I didnt have any friends they had all drifted away tired of asking if I wanted any help or would I like to come for tea. Taking all three boys places on my own was so hard that it was easier to say no so I did.
What I forgot and what she reminded me was this is a hard job. Motherhood is hard. Its especially competive these days and whilst I dont believe I had fallen into that trap I had fallen into the trap of not asking for help. Not wanting to appear weak incapable of looking after my children because as a woman that should be my natural instinct, right? Hmm no thats not right. As fifo wives we do it on our own and for many like me there is no immediate family support. Its hard 24 hours a day and even when husband is home its still hard. The more children you have the harder it can be. Being a mum is hard work being a fifo mum or single mum is even harder. Dont forget that she said.
I walked out of the doctors surgery feeling better I had in my mind that a good cry was all I needed. I changed my diet, I started exercising, I changed my schedule around so that I could attend a play group talk to other mum’s and it was great for awhile. I still didn’t tell anyone I was still embarrassed by it all. We carried on then at the beginning of this year it started to unravel again. We suffered two major cyclones, one bout of terrible illness, one very loved lost cat. I was tired and I remembered they day I went to the chemist with that prescription in hand. I went because I had screamed at my B1 for something so insignificant that I knew that it was wrong. I knew something had to be done before well before he hated me as I had hated my mother when she hadn’t done something about her drinking.
It was big step for me giving the chemist that prescription. He was scared for me. He called me the next day (small town) he asked if I was okay. Its what he said that was the most important thing I have ever been told. Im embarrassed I said. Its not your fault, your brain is lacking certain chemicals that’s all. It can be triggered by a number of things. Tired, stressed not looking after you. This is like any other illness any other disease. Its no more embarrassing than having diabetes. Lots of people take these Deb he said. I don’t want to be one of those people I told him. Yes you do he said because those people are choosing to fight this and to win over any illness you have to choose to fight it otherwise it will win. Six months it took. Six months of medication and being a little bit selfish finding the time for myself and working out the bigger picture. Finding some support. Im off meds and so happy.
The best part my boys knew and they forgave me. It was like they knew despite there age and they didn’t care they had their mum back. My chemist I love him for what he said to me I really do, I don’t think I have ever told him how grateful I was or am. I still have my bad days but everyone has bad days and Im allowed that I have a tough job with a tough cliental. I now wear that period of ‘depression’ with pride. I fought that battle and won.