Home Parenting Sleepness Nights, Black Tunnel Days

Sleepness Nights, Black Tunnel Days

by Jessica Amey

 I wasn’t going to write a post about this issue as its not really something that I have spoken to anyone about, not that I wouldn’t, it’s just not a topic that usually comes up in conversation.

I have always had a tendency to find something to worry about and then let it escalate in my mind until it becomes slightly obsessive. It can flare up at anytime and with no set trigger. The most common thought usually involves Mr C dying or being killed and after a while of the thought going round it then turns into, is this a warning something bad is going to happen? Or am I going to make bad things happen by having this thought? After a few days of it being all I think about my brain hurts and it usually leads to me feeling depressed, or having a black tunnel day (that’s how I describe feeling depressed as it feels like being in a dark tunnel with no way out). It is not severe depression and after a day or two I will return to normal.

During my pregnancy I went through a stage of feeling quite depressed, I guess all the hormones and anxiety made it worse and because of this I was so sure I was going to suffer with post-natal depression. When I was ten my mum suffered with it really badly after having my brother, I can remember her lying on the floor breathing into paper bags while yelling at me to phone her therapist during a panic attack (she had other problems as well). This was obviously playing round my mind a lot so after giving birth when I realised I didn’t have it I was extremely relieved and after the baby blues of the first few weeks I found myself feeling back to normal.

Until the good old niggling thoughts made an appearance and this time they were back with a vengeance as not only was I suffering with major sleep deprivation but they were to do with my tiny little bundle that I loved and wanted to protect more than anything in the world.

The main ones were being scared to hold her while walking down the stairs, to the point where I actually used to do it sitting on my bum. I was also scared of lorries hitting into her pram, scared of someone stealing her pram and abducting her and scared of dropping something on her head. The thing is that they weren’t just thoughts, they came in as a thought but if I didn’t ignore it then my mind would read into it and turn it into a movie clip which was the disturbing part. I am not going to go into details as I still find some of the pictures awful now but I am sure if you imagine a lorry hitting a pram then you can imagine what was being played out in my mind. The more this happened, the worse it made me feel and the more I tried to stop the thought, the more it happened so it was a horrible cycle. I then started feeling guilty about why I was thinking such awful things and so then came the black tunnel days.

It peaked after a day when I was moving a CD player across the room while Cherry was sat in her bouncy chair and looking back now it wasn’t over her head but I was convinced that it had been so started having these awful images running through my mind. By the time my Mr C had got home I was really upset about it and remember crying and feeling like I wasn’t capable of looking after Cherry.

It was at this point things started to get better as he said that he had been having all the same worrying thoughts especially one about tripping while holding her. The only difference being that he was able to brush the thought aside and stop it from escalating, where as I wasn’t. Following our talk I turned to Google and was so relieved to find lots of women experiencing exactly the same thing. Since then I have had less flare ups than before I had a baby, mainly because I understand them a lot more now and knowing it is happening to other people and not just me helps a lot. Of course I still get the thoughts, as she gets older they keep changing, current ones being a TV falling on her and burns from hot drinks but I can cope with them a lot better now. Plus my memory is not what it used to be so I forget quite quickly! There is always something to worry about but I feel a lot more in control of it now.

So I may have spent a few weeks in the dark tunnel but I am now out the other side.

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