Wednesday, December 28, 2011
A mother descends into post-natal depression, the mother’s strength vanishes and she becomes exhausted. Her whole life seems to be falling apart; there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Is this normal? Am I the only one who feels like this? Where to go for help and understanding? Slowly the healing begins, the light returns to the end of the tunnel. Life is wonderful. Rehabilitation takes time, medication and psychotherapy, as well as empowering photography and writing.
How life ultimately always wins, no matter how bleak it seems. Some days I imagined my life was ruined and there was no way for me to go on. I did not give up; instead I fought against the bad feelings and stranger emotions. I fought to be the vindicator for myself, my children, my husband and for my nearest. Most of all I fought for myself, to be able to see what this life still has in store for me.
I want to share my story from downhearted childhood and youth, ill feelings, eating disorder and postnatal depression. I want to increase awareness as to how difficult it can be to recover from depression. How much time and energy a full recovery demands. If such a state can ever be achieve? To be yourself and feel at ease.
Where does it all start? Why does one get sick while others do not? Why did I get sick? What kind of evil have I done to deserve this? Why does it not go away? Whose fault is it? How long will I be able to cope with this? And what happens when I cannot anymore, how will I know? Could I kill myself?
These questions and so many others I have circled in my mind for past many years. Some of the questions I have been wondering already for more than a decade. Actually, I have always tried to think what is wrong with me?
After the birth of my second child, or actually already during the pregnancy, I began to wonder if I was depressed. During the pregnancy I did not, however, fully comprehend what was happening. After the birth, at first I thought it must be just the after-birth hormonal fluctuations, normal nervousness and being tired. A couple months in, however, I began to think this was no longer “normal”.
There were good times and worse times. I could have several good days and I would think it would all work itself out. The other days I would think life is horrible. I tried to speak about it with my husband, who always retorted that all parents with small children are tired. I thought that must be it, then. But on the other hand I thought there is something else going on. I wrote a lot of emails about my feelings and thoughts to a close friend of mine. Her enthusiastic pressuring I got the verve to call a clinic. At the clinic, there was a familiar and friendly nurse there, who immediately understood what was going on and directed me to a family doctor.
I have been at the bottom! The psychiatric clinic, therapy, family welfare centres are all familiar, as are a pile of various depression-, sleeping- and sedative medications. After a year of trial and error, the right type of medication was found. Due to my husbands work, we have moved through three municipalities during my illness. In each municipal I had to fight tooth and nail. In Kuopio I was only given care after thoughts of harming myself entered my mind, and even then only through the help of an employee with The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters. The four months I lived in Mikkeli, my rehabilitation was nothing more than a large amount of various medications. In Helsinki I was only appointed to a psychiatrist after a great struggle, and only after the insistence of a patients ombudsman.
Diagnosis of severe post-natal depression and exhaustion was not enough to guarantee care even for a mother of two small children.
So it is in our affluent society. Many municipals are saving and cutting their mental care appropriations. What frustrates me the most is how the society is so willing to skimp on the well being of mothers. Depression with the mother does not merely impact the mother and the baby, but the spouse and siblings as well. Eventually the influence of mother’s depression will appear when the child grows older, and the impact is then transferred to their children. The chain seems unbreakable if nothing happens and nothing is taken care of.
My idea for the site is to explore my tale through images and words. Using old and new texts, together with a heap of photography. I have received remarkable aid to my recovery through empowering photography.
Photography by Saila & Timo Turkka