I remember having plans in high school, I was going to go to university to study maths or philosophy, maybe both. Despite dropping my computer science A Level and not replacing it with anything I was still provisionally accepted by my top two choices of university (Southampton and Nottingham) yet when the time came to committing I couldn't - I wasn't ready mentally or emotionally.
I can't say I regret it as my life would have been different and I wouldn't have been blessed with the things I have. Maybe I look back from time to time and think "what if?" but it's never regret.
When we decided to move recently I wasn't ready, the difference was we did it anyway. We thought it was now or never and better to take the chance than stagnate somewhere we didn't want to be. When we thought about having kids I wasn't ready but then you're never ready; children change your life so completely that you can't ever be truly ready. Still, we did it anyway. And it's hard. Don't let anyone tell you any different.
There were times when I felt completely overwhelmed, like I didn't have a clue what I was doing (I still don't) and there were times when I was tired, frustrated, felt like a failure, and was even angry. There are times when I wanted to give in to that anger, to lash out, break something, hurt someone, and there are times when I felt I couldn't cope which only made the anger worse by redirecting it at myself. I'm not proud of that anger but I'm also not necessarily ashamed, I know I'm not alone in having it and, as I said, it's hard.
Reading Sameer's piece about having postpartum depression brought back a flood of memories. Sameer has long been open about his mental health issues but the stresses of having a high needs child have understandably pushed him to his limits including "suicidal ideation". I'm so glad to say I never got anywhere near that bad but I understand how, when you are already surviving, that it could do so.
Sameer sums up his position so eloquently with the following paragraph:
"It’s strange, not wanting to live when you’ve just welcomed a daughter into the world. You ostensibly have everything to live for—a new life to support and shape and help thrive, a new source of joy and adventure, a new person to love—but can’t seem to find the energy or willpower to actually continue living."
The ultimate irony, life playing a cruel joke on you.
I had some suicidal thoughts back in my teens and early twenties but don't think they were ever really bad enough for me to act upon them, I always scared myself out of anything before it happened but will admit to, at different times, sitting on the edge of a cliff or in a puddle next to the live rail on a train track. I know what it's like to be there and wonder "what if?" I know what's it's like to feel like there is nothing to live for, to get so low despite having things in your life that others would be overjoyed with.
He is doing the only thing one can do in such a position, look for the small wins: the little things that tell you everything isn't bad, that things will get better. The signs are there that they will. Over time the little things get more abundant and start to get bigger, the positives start to outweigh the negatives rather than being the bare minimum to keep you going.
It's hard and it takes time but it happens.
He may never read this but I want him to know that he's not alone.