But for now, bear with me.
For the first time in two and a half years (since before becoming pregnant with The Boy) I have been feeling the first familiar signs of an episode of depression coming my way. When I had postpartum psychosis and subsequent anxiety - well, back then I was in hospital, or at home being visited by a CPN and specialist HV. I was in "the system", diagnosed, in the care of perinatal specialists. This feels like the first real test of what it means to manage my symptoms myself, proactively.
During my PP recovery I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (having explained about my periods of depression, and possible manic symptoms, over the last 15 years). After leaving the Mother and Baby Unit, we took care not to take on too many potentially stressful things, and my family and I were vigilant. But as the months of good mental health sailed by, I naively thought that I had somehow found my cure. That being a devoted mummy to The Boy (all those walks in the park, teaching him new things, laughing along with his antics) was acting as a protective shield. My confidence grew (possible hypomania, but who can ever really tell?) and so did my to-do list, as I thought that I could take on the world.
This was never going to end perfectly. But the good news is: I have recognised the early symptoms (sleeplessness, racing anxieties, inability to concentrate, social anxiety) and we are taking action. And I have, for the first time in my life, found a community of people (the incredible #PNDfamily - you know who you are!) who I can share all this with.
So please bear with me, dear friends: normal service will be resumed soon!