I want to talk to you about anger.
I want to talk about that simmering, unexpected overflow of rage that happens in those silent lonely spaces and results in bitter words.
That same rage that brutalises your mind and exhausts your body.
I want to talk about the rage that refuses to “relax” and demands you shut the f*ck up and listen to it.
That other face of anxiety that we don’t hear much about, but is alive and well.
5 MONTH sleep regression your f*cking killing me ???? This is me getting some rest whilst Harper is asleep in the car. She has been waking every 2 hours (night and day) and just wants to be held. I’m parked outside our house. I haven’t showered today and let’s not even get started on my hair situation???????? Interestingly I just came from the post office where a lovely old lady smiled at Harper and asked me how motherhood was going. I cheerily replied “it’s great” but what I really meant was… It’s been a tough week. Motherhood can be at times exhausting. It is constantly worrying about not being good enough, doing enough and not being present enough. It is that moment at 2am that makes you wonder if you can keep going and wondering if anyone else ever reaches that point too? It is missing your husband and that carefree quality time together. It is the relentless lack of sleep, the littering of half drunken cups of coffee all over the house and the constant selfless attentiveness to this little needy, gorgeous human. That’s motherhood right now. But other than that, yeah it’s fantastic! #grumpyandtired #rawandreal #motherhoodisnotahuggiesad ???????????? #marriedatfirstsightAdvertisement
Irrational, aggressive, explosive, depressive. Anger.
The anger that overcame me when (after holding my newborn baby in my arms and on my breast from sunset to sunrise) only to have her scream murder when I tried to put her in her cot and take a 10 minute break.
Exhausted from it all. Soaked in breastmilk and sweat.
The anger that I would feel when I couldn’t bear the thought of another sleepless night, followed by yet another foggy day with a forced smile.
Yet another midwife who patted my shoulders and told me I was doing so well when I wanted her to see I wasn’t. I really bloody wasn’t.
The guilt that would engulf me when I would question whether having a baby was a mistake.
The rage that took over me that in my darkest moment as a mother, riddled with the pain of mastitis and weak in body and soul – I envisioned throwing my tiny baby across the room. Into the wall.
Angry like I had never been before. Who had I become?
Instantly followed by the guilt that would leave me shaking, shocked and in pain.
The guilt. The shame.
That always follows the anger.
Psychologist Kirsten Bouse talks to Holly Wainwright and Christie Hayes about what post-natal depression really looks like, and strategies for coping. Post continues after audio.
The temper that caused me to constantly snap at my loving partner and see him as yet another burden. The irritability, the frustration, and the sense of being trapped. Resentful.
But worst of all, the anger that eventually turns inwards and tells you how much you are failing. How this uncontrollable anger and temper is proof of that.
How sh*t you are as a mum, as a partner, as a modern women. How you are worthless. The critical voice in the back of my head that would become the soundtrack to my daily routine.
We hear a lot about sadness and despair as part of the post natal depression or anxiety story, but not enough about rage or anger.
Maybe it’s the strong social stigma that says women can’t be seen to be angry, but just like sadness, anger is a psychological response and doesn’t deserve to be stigmatised. Anger is an outward response to fear, insecurity, frustration, embarrassment, guilt, shame and so much more.
Listen to your anger.
I continue to speak with a therapist who has guided me in understanding how my anger is yet another element of my anxiety and depression, yielded by the trauma in my early childhood and that it can be understood and managed.
There are many faces to anxiety and anger is one. But it can be overcome.
If you are feeling the emotions that I have described, please know that you are not alone. Please take action to seek help for yourself. You deserve it.
If you notice these emotions or characteristics in someone you care about, please help them seek help. They deserve it.
Let’s help one another drag our dark demons into the light.
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, contact PANDA – Post and Antenatal Depression Association. You can find their website here or call their helpline – 1300 726 306.
If you need a virtual parenting community to join, our podcast for imperfect parents – This Glorious Mess is just that. On this episode Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo talk about slowing down as parenting and banning the word busy.