So one thing that I’ve learnt in the past two years that I’ve spent on my healing journey, is the importance of holistic treatment. I used to be scared of medication because I was fearful of it fundamentally changing who I am. I believed in talk therapy, because I felt that my problems weren’t that big. I didn’t realise how seriously my anxiety was impacting my marriage because I didn’t realise how ingrained it was with who I am. And also, I thought things like moms groups were lame, and also I don’t like interacting with “moms”, where all we have in common is the fact that we are moms. And worst of all, I thought clinics were like a scene out of “Girl, Interrupted”, and when you talk about your stay in one, you should always whisper the word “clinic”, out of shame.
And then, these humans found their way into my life. And my
head. And they have all shaped my journey to recovery in important and valuable
DISCLAIMER: I realise
that I am quite privileged in that I have access to all these healthcare
professionals, but if you can get holistic treatment, it is so important and
helpful to your overall journey. But what is most important is getting the help
The woman who saved
My Therapist. About two years ago, my son was born with two
holes in his heart, and then I was retrenched, and lucky enough to find another
job, but still I felt like I needed support. I happened upon a Facebook ad for
a moms group, and when that fell apart, I contacted the facilitator to see if
she would see me individually. She unfortunately couldn’t see me until
December, and I felt like I needed to see someone before then. So she suggested
a colleague of hers, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I remember sitting down in that first session and saying to
my therapist, that I’m here for what she called “champagne problems” on her
blog. Those things that make us feel bad, but aren’t quite clinical. We started
with me sharing what led me to therapy: a complicated pregnancy, a son with a
heart condition, a retrenchment. In our next session we went through my
history: family structure, childhood, issues I deal with.
We had an immediate rapport, we were able to joke, while
talking about serious things. We have a shared love of books and words. And she
understood me. For the first time I felt like someone was seeing me. I felt
We are still working through my stuff, because it turned out
that it wasn’t just “champagne problems”, and the fact that I thought that they
were speaks to all the stuff that I have to work through.
The woman who saved
After seeing my therapist for a few months, she suggested
that I see a psychiatrist for medication to help with my anxiety. I was a bit
nervous to go the medication route, I really believed that all I needed was
talk therapy. I didn’t want to mess with my brain chemicals. What if the person
I’ve always been changes?
The truth about medication, from my experience, is that it
lifts the fog of depression, and slows down those train tracks of anxiety for
example. It gives me the space to actually work through all the stuff from talk
therapy. It helps me to have a better handle on my day-to-day functioning.
My psychiatrist is great, and she is particularly skilled
with managing women’s issues. Also, when I started with her, I was still
breastfeeding, so she prescribed medication that I could take while
I’ve been through a couple of brands, and a mix of dosages,
but I think we’ve found something that suits me for the time being. Every time
we up my dosage or change brands, I have to try it out for a month and then go
back to her to check in if it’s working. If it’s not, then I need to try
something else. I’ve had some bad medication experiences, but in the end, I’m
supportive of the medication route, if it’s necessary.
It doesn’t change who you fundamentally are. And also, being
that I’m in this process would it so bad if the person I’ve always been
The woman who saved
Having two kids really changes a marriage. Having two under
two is like a wrecking ball to a marriage. And our marriage was already under
strain due to my husband working shifts. From my side, I felt depleted, and
distant from my husband. I felt like he took me for granted and completely disrespected
We had been in marriage counselling in our first year of
marriage, and she had helped us navigate our marriage, and the changes it
brought to our lives. I didn’t want to go back to her because I felt like she
favoured my husband, and with my whole self-renewal process that I was
undergoing, I couldn’t be in a room where I didn’t feel as heard as he was.
So we tried out someone else. We saw him for 3 months. And while he was well-revered, with many years of experience, I felt like he didn’t change anything in our marriage. I also felt as though he preferred my husband to me.
And that is when my therapist suggested the psychologist
that my husband and I are currently seeing. She is helping us communicate
properly. She’s teaching us about communication styles, and how our emotions
work at a neurological level. We’ve learnt what is hampering our communication
with each other. And she gives us homework to make sure that we practice what
we discuss, and that this process is dynamic and not held in the room with her
The women who help me
Parenting is not easy, no matter if you have one kid or
many. Girls or boys. Babies or adult children. Parenting is hard. And
confusing. And you never feel like you’re doing anything right. One day your
kid is eating carrots. The next day she hates them. Parenting is hard.
My therapist introduced me to “Mindful Mamas”, which is a group facilitated by a therapist, and through which we are guided through healing stories. We are also taught about the Conscious Parenting movement, which we can then try and apply in our lives.
The main tenets which I have gauged from this process is to
treat my children like tiny humans, with their own thoughts and emotions.
Discipline is no longer about getting them to do what I believe is right, but
rather guiding them through life.
I have learned to review my own agenda, and what it is that
I want out of the situation, and how it is perceived by them, and what they
want out of a situation. All kids want to do is enjoy life, and play. And this
is valuable for anyone. I have learnt so much from them about mindfulness. Yes,
we need to get done and go to work and school.
But is it really going to harm us if we sit for a few minutes to build a
lego house? And in reality, it’s not. In fact, it heals us more than it harms
I still struggle through parenting, but, as a conscious
parent in training, I feel like I’m building valuable connections with my
children, and validating them, by seeing them for where they are. And hopefully
through all of this, I am building a secure attachment, and building confident
children, with a healthy sense of self.
My friends. Who are always by my side. The people who will
stand up for me when the world is against me. But will also stand up against me
to steer me in the right direction.
I recently spent a few weeks in a psychiatric clinic. And I
met a group of awesome people. We spent many nights giggling and talking. For
the first time a group of people just got me, and could support me in ways I
have never been supported before. They held me together when I was falling
apart. And they are part of my journey to recovery.
(actually that’s his nickname for me) I’ve mentioned him
before. And about how our marriage was falling apart. But he has truly been so
supportive. When things were really bad, and he was scared out of his mind, he
was able to give me the space to heal. And then opened himself up to learning
about me and my struggles, and what I need from my partner. He finally read all
those blog posts I shared with him.
My kids. They are lively and energetic. And mothering is
draining sometimes (most times). But when I walk in that door, and they run
towards me shouting “Mommy!” all is forgotten. And on the bad days, all I need
is a hug from them, to get perspective. And to remember two of the reasons I’m
So there it is, your support can come from the strangest of places. And if you are in a dark place, you may not realise that you have anyone at all. A lot of the time, despite having all of these people in my life, I feel really lonely, and like I have no one. But that is part of my journey. Learning to lean on those around me for support, and about boundaries and who to trust.
But if there is no one that you do find comfort in, I hope you find comfort in this blog, to know that there is this quirky chick, with some issues, who wants to be there for you.