For awhile there I looked like a bit of a monster. An unkempt, raging thing in a world of Cbeebies smiles, cuddly toys and Boden beauties.
For awhile there I sounded a bit like a monster. Snapping and growling and saying things I didn't mean, that I'm glad my children didn't understand or remember.
For awhile there, I lived like a bit of monster, wading through puddles of vomit and crap and drifts of dog hair.
For awhile there, I wished I was a monster. Stomping wide-open plains, roaring into the wind, rolling my terrible eyes, showing my terrible claws and inciting a wild rumpus.
I'm not a monster. I was just a bit depressed. Wow, there's a confession that makes my head spin. It's not something I've admitted out-loud much, even to myself. I was in denial, telling myself I was just having a bad day... week... month...
But after awhile, after one bad day too many, I decided I didn't want to be a monster anymore. I went to the doctor - she practically nodded her head off when I told her how I was feeling. That the basics of getting through the day in an acceptable fashion were an exhausting, miserable effort.
'I can't believe you've held it together this long,' she told me, having seen what we went through with Bouncing Girl during her first 6 months. Yes, Bouncing Girl was thriving by now, give or take few chest infections, but she was never going to be an easy baby. And it was only when I had time to breath out, look around and survey the damage that it became clear: I wasn't thriving.
The doctor packed me off with a prescription for Citalopram - the latest must-have for so many mothers it seems, having spoken to mummy friends. I've since come out of the cave and feel much more human. But books like Jen Faulkner's 'A Monster ate My Mum' still give me a wobbly lip.
This reassuring book is a gentle yet moving look at depression, seen through the eyes of a bewildered child. It's a great way to broach a difficult subject with little ones who might be suffering from the fall out of a condition they're too young to understand - children will take comfort from the message it's not their fault and that mummy will get better. The book is beautifully illustrated by Helen Braid and despite the dark subject matter, it's ultimately uplifting. Understanding, hope and optimism make for a lovely 'happy ever after'.
For more information, check out Jen's blog http://amonsteratemymum.wordpress.com/ or follow her on twitter @monsteratemymum
P.S. Please, let's not dwell on my monster alter-ego. I might just bite your head off. ;-)