“Another aeroplane, another sunny place – I’m lucky, I know, but I want to go home. I’ve got to go home.. “
A lot has happened in the last six months. I’m married, I’ve given birth to a near perfect second human and I’ve moved six hundred miles across Europe, losing a lot of myself in the process.
This week has been particularly tough. My hopes of returning home, even for a visit, were promptly scuppered by the British embassy. The new status quo is it will be at least Christmas before I can go back to England.
I’m not sure how I can articulate with words the way it feels when someone tells you, someone who doesn’t know you, who operates on a ‘check box’ principle by order of HMRC, that you cannot go home. You can’t run to safety, you can’t see your friends or family, it’s simply not going to happen this side of the new year.
At first I felt nothing, which is not an unusual feeling for me at present. Feeling nothing is worryingly becoming the norm as I try to navigate my days without a series of emotional breakdowns.
From nothing is where it gets fun. Nothing escalated to anger, anger at my husband for the lies I was fed to get me here by him, by his mother.. “You’ll have your own income Siobhan”, “You’ll be registered and so will Eryn ready for October, Siobhan”. None of them came to fruition. Not a single one. Anger that his mother who was so heavily against my trip to England, has silently and undoubtedly gleefully won another battle with me.
The anger subsides, it didn’t achieve anything of use and processing anger while in the company of a newborn simply isn’t healthy or fair to her. I regroup, get a coffee, try to think rationally while we cuddle on the sofa.
I stare at Eryn who is now sleeping, and anger subsides, gracefully leading despair into her place.. I cry. I look down at Eryn now nearly three months old and I feel overwhelming sadness. My family are so desperate to get to know this small extension of me and embrace my older one, and there is just so little I can do. I cry that I can’t just spend an hour with my brother, or my dad, or my nan.
My eyes hurt, and my jaw throbs from being tense. I stop crying as Eryn wakes on cue for the school run..screaming. Splashing my face with cold water, I pull on a hat to cover the knots in my hair, the ones in almost three months I haven’t had long enough alone to sort and that now hurt my scalp so unbearably at times that I want to rip them from my head with sheer force, but don’t have the nerve.
Patrick comes home, there was an exhibition today with work. He is excited and I try to hold it in, the news. He tells me about his day and shows me his business cards and talks of the people he met.. And it’s there again, the bubbling anger, the sadness, the all consuming feeling of absolute worthlessness. Sat across from my husband at the table, I see my reflection in his glasses – overweight, with tangled hair, ill fitting clothes and covered in sick. I feel nauseous.
I snap. I blurt out the embassy has denied my travel at the end of the month and begin tyrannosaurus rex size rant about how I absolutely detest it here. I voice that I could disappear here and nobody would know, nor care. I punch into him all the reasons I can’t stay here with snarling teeth and puffy wet eyes and then it’s bedtime for Eddie, and the rant comes to an end. Do I feel better? No. I now ruined my husbands day too, and I still can’t leave.
We go to bed, Eryn is side-fed and Patrick lays behind me. The feel of his beard against my shoulder blades and heavy sleep breathing makes my skin crawl. I need space, but so desperately want contact with him at the same time. I close my eyes, ears ringing, and will the day to be a bad dream. Denial works well and I am out cold until Eryn next needs me.
Thursday came and I resolved that morning that I’d try to sort myself out. I’d seek ways to make it more tolerable here.. I’d brush up on my basic Swedish, hell, I’d even get to an “international mother’s group”. I arranged to meet them Friday. But then when getting dressed while Eryn (you guessed it) screamed at me for putting her down for thirty seconds.. I caught a look at myself in the mirror. How could I possibly leave the house and make friends looking like this? The back of my hair stood out four inches on end, matted like a birds nest, my shirt hung on me at odd unflattering angles and my face puffy and grey. My chest tightened, the nausea hit and I stared blankly at the girl in the glass. No, I surely could not attend anywhere, not beyond the school run, and that was that.
Friday came, that’s today. Right now I should be at a mother’s group at a lady’s house.. But I’m not. I couldn’t bring myself to go. Not only am I embarrassed by just being myself, breastfeeding and managing Eryn in a confined space with strangers sounds like hell.
So I’m on the sofa, trying to figure out where I’m going and what I’m doing with myself. The furthest I have gotten is trying to plan an interval in the day somewhere that I might get to un-knot my hair (meaning more than the two minute shower I get with the soothing soundtrack of ‘Screaming my lungs out’ by Eryn Inderhaug) and waiting for the washer to beep.
There isn’t really a definitive point to this post.. Only that I hope if anyone out there suffering with Post natal depression, anxiety or anything in between feels they’re not alone by encountering my monologue, that it helps.
These things are real, they are raw, they expose me and leave me vulnerable.. But being real is all I have left. The wax mask has well and truly melted, and I have to work on getting to grips with the underneath.
As with anything and everything, I try to remember, this too, shall pass.
Over and out,
Photo credit to @shawncoss on Insta.