Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Shades of happiness

DH and I have been together for 11 years today, and looking back I realise that I have suffered with depression quite often during those years. That’s nothing to do with DH btw – I have had depression since my early teens. During my time with DH I have had 2 bouts of postnatal depression, 1 bout of antenatal depression and assorted other ‘for no particular reason’ bouts. He has supported me throughout – in fact he usually spots the symptoms before I do!

The odd thing I’ve realised today is that even though I know how bad things were at times, especially with the PND (when DD was tiny I gave serious thought to killing myself) I can still see a hint of happiness too. I may have been a sobbing, shaking, desperate mess of a woman but part of me was still happy – I knew that DH loved me and was there for me, and I was happy that we had our long-awaited baby.

There have been many times in my life and during my relationship with DH when I have been gloriously, vividly happy and the world was in technicolour. There have been times when the happiness was more muted, more pastel, perhaps because of stress or difficulties. And then there have been times when the happiness is so faint and pale that it’s almost invisible. It’s like when a dark cloud blocks the sun – you can’t see the sun, you can’t feel its warmth. But you know it’s there and sometimes you catch a glimpse of brighter light around the edges.

To me, depression isn’t necessarily the absence of happiness, more its dilution. The darker my depression the paler and fainter the happiness – but it’s always been there.

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Comments on: "Shades of happiness" (5)

  1. This makes perfect sense to me. I have just come out of a 2.5 year bipolar episode that at times made me utterly desperate, unable to see any way forward other than to take my own life, or terrified by my own crazy thoughts. Yet I am still generally much happier with my partner than with anyone else (and I have based for comparison as, like you, I have been unwell since childhood).

  2. Beautifully written,PND does dilute happiness for me too. Hope you feel better soon xx

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