RED 21: Survivorship and me: depression

*I will not go into details of family life on my blog as to do so would be to publically share information that is not only mine to share.*

My children are adopted and we have been fighting to get support for over 10 years. The past year has been unbelievably hard, leading me to the lowest mental health point that I’ve ever experienced (and hope never to experience again).

We have had involvement from numerous social workers, we have cried, pleaded, begged for support. We have battled social care with words, ultimatum and finally by lodging a formal complaint against three departments. We have researched support options, we have taken the lead in their meetings following our agenda, and we have used our superior intellect against them. But still nothing.

We were pushed back time and time again by the decision makers, by those who control budgets, until we could not fight any more.

Before Christmas we received a response to our formal complaint, we have not read it fully as, in just looking through it, we could see that it was filled with excuses and blame shifting. However, a new social worker was assigned and on Friday I met with her.

I had to recount everything that had happened over the past year, from our perspective, including how social care had failed to show any empathy or consideration to our family and specifically in regard to my mental health. Doing this broke me. My mood plummeted, overwhelmed by fears that there was no end in sight and that our family were never going to get the support we so desperately needed, reliving my worst days.

It has taken a lot of self care over the past two days for me to recover from this meeting.

My mental health is fragile. I manage because I adapt my life to minimise stress, to allow myself the time and space to help myself. I manage because of the unending support and love of my wonderful husband. I manage because I have good friends I can talk to and because I know my GP is there for me. I manage because of a healthy diet and exercise. I manage because of my hobbies and interests; because I sew, knit and crochet, because I teach myself piano and write poetry. I manage because of my awesome band.

I manage because I work so damn hard to be well. To be a survivor.

And that is not easy.

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