Lisa Harrison talks about her personal experience of post-natal depression 

You... Who are you? I don’t remember you too well anymore. As though you are a distant, fuzzy memory

I don’t want that. I don’t want to forget. For however painful, however bleak, however black, torturous and fearful, I don’t want to forget because you have made me me. Best me

We crossed paths once and I returned. I came back. I inhabited myself again when I feared I never would. Because of you I have perspective, I live in the moment and I fear very little. Because of you I am kind, I am compassionate and I am brave.

It was October 2015 when you came to visit. You didn’t knock but just barged right in. Barged right in and shattered me.

Shattered me into fragments.

You took me completely by surprise. Although I should have known... I should have heeded the signs ...

“Sleep when she sleeps” they all said. “You will need your rest. Especially with two”. Ha! If only I could. You barged right in and stole my sleep. Took it and kept it and left me with long nights of fear, panic and a raw and desperate need to make it all STOP.

How long did you stay? Move in and inhabit my space, my days? Days of sitting. Sitting ever so still. The only movement being the grinding of teeth on teeth. Sore jaw. Such a sore jaw. Shoulders. Neck.

You came with me everywhere. When I did go out, you followed. Shadowed me like a rain cloud. Although the cloud turned to tiny droplets of sweat that trickled from my brow. From my neck. The cloud turned to tremors and twitters and twitches in my hands. My hands. My legs. My eyes

The mountains I had to climb were insurmountable. After school dinner. The wiping of a bottom. A nappy change. A smile. Just a smile. All the while pretending to be me.

“Let someone in or take her out”. That’s what they said. “She can’t look after herself”. That’s what they said. “Look at her”. That’s what they said. I couldn’t blame them. My soul had left the building.

Drugs. Drugs. More drugs. Sleep. Beautiful sleep.

Slowly, slowly.... they entered my bloodstream. Returned my soul to its cocoon. Minutes. Seconds. Moments. Tiny remnants of a return. A return to me. Me. A slow release syringe. Drop drop. Droplets of life returning.

I don’t remember the day you finally left. Although you didn’t just pack your bags and say goodbye. Nothing quite so final as that.

But slowly, slowly, ever so slowly.

Sometimes I would look up and you had gone. Those moments gave me hope. Hope that there was a future without you.

You’d return. Just as I was getting comfortable. But the lengths of your absence slowly, grew longer.

You come and you break. You shatter and you fragment. And we fix ourselves. I fixed myself. Not the same. Never the same. I fixed myself better.

I am always armed now. Armed with the scars you left me. My beautiful scars. They exist to remind me that I survived. So don’t let me ever forget.

Don’t let me ever forget you.