When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was scared to death and horrified. I was only 18 so I was young. As my pregnancy progressed I looked forward to meeting the tiny person growing inside me. I had to have extra hospital appointments because I was and still am on medication for epilepsy. I was warned the medication could affect my daughter. I can not wait for anything so as soon as it was possible to know the sex of my baby I wanted to know. I was so happy to learn I was having a girl and all sorts of little girl names jumped in my head. There were so many beautiful outfits I wanted to buy and it was so easy to get carried away. I felt like a whale when I was pregnant and craved mint chocolate chip icecream and cherry coke. The smell of coffee made me want to vomit. Anyway it was a long and painful labour and by the time I gave birth to her I was exhausted. It was 23:55 on the 17th of August and it was one of the hottest summers on record. I was so tired and in pain but when I returned to the ward with this tiny person in a tiny cot next to me all I could do was look at her. I remember the other mums coming over to look at her and to tell me how beautiful she was. She had lots of really dark hair and slept through everything. I couldn’t believe this tiny beautiful baby had come from me. It was such a weird and surreal feeling knowing I was now a mum. For the rest of the night, even though I was exhausted all I did was look at her and stroke her tiny little cheek. My life had changed forever and since that day the 17th of august 1995 my life has been better. I couldn’t begin to imagine my life without my beautiful girl. She has been a pleasure since the day I had her and has never given me any trouble. She is a sensitive, loving and amazing person with beautiful manners. She makes my life worth living. I love her smile, her laugh, her toes, her humour, her gentle nature, her manners, her sense of adventure and everything else about her. She has saved me.
When Brittany was 11 she became seriously ill with an infection and abcess on her brain. I thought I was gonna lose her. She had life saving brain surgery twice and I can honestly say it was the worst time of my life. I even had visions of planning her funeral. I never felt so alone. Luckily after quite a long time she recovered but since then ive lived in fear of losing my daughter. She is now 21 but I still check to make sure she is still breathing when she is asleep and I worry when she goes out. I have awful intrusive thoughts and I cant seem to make them go away. I have awful thoughts of her being sold into the sex trade and its crazy because the chances of it happening is virtually nil. When she was 7 we went to Tenerife with my parents and it was very hot and humid. My daughter and I had a room on the bottom floor and in the evening we opened the balcony door open because of the heat. I didn’t think anyone would come in with us being there. I was wrong. The next morning I realised my bag had been emptied out in the bathroom and my phone had been taken. One of the other holiday guests had seen a man hanging round. All I could think was “what if he had taken my daughter”! this is another thoughts that intrudes my mind when I feeling really distressed. Even tough it was years ago I still haunts me and I dwell on it even though nothing happened. What ifs batter my brain all the time and I don’t seem to know how to make them stop.
If it wasn’t for my daughter I doubt I would be here. She is the one thing that keeps me here and I owe it to her to stay in her life. When I laugh its because of my daughter. When I feel proud its because of my daughter. When I feel as though life really is worth living its because of my daughter. I also feel so guilty because I know she is frightened for me. Even though I have given her my word that I would never leave her I know its still something she fears. Depression affects the families of those who suffer and sometimes its easy to forget that. Mental health illnesses are soul destroying and cruel. No one chooses to suffer from depression or any other mental health illness and it isn’t selfish. Its not something you enjoy and you certainly don’t sit feeling sorry for yourself. No one should feel guilty because they are ill but I think its important that those closest to you should also be supported and appreciated. There will always be cruel and spiteful people that mock those with mental health issues but, there will also always be people that want to be there for you. For me it is my daughter. She supports me and hugs me when I need it and I owe it to her to get better. I just wish I knew how. I wont stop stop trying to find happiness and I will never stop appreciating just how much my daughter has already saved me. We have had so many great adventures together and I know we will have many more. Brittany, I love you so much. xxx