Ten years ago I was introduced to a woman of seventy who had big children of 50 years of age. It was whispered to me that she was “a bit funny”. I let it lay. Then another whispered to me the same warning. I just saw a humerous beautiful woman with deep brown eyes, a remnant from her shipwrecked Armada ancestry. Being curious, I asked over a Monday morning cuppa ,the wise old woman of the village what was up with so called looney.
Turns out the ‘funny’ woman was disliked by many after she had ‘the baby blues’, how many bloomin’ years ago? I translated that to my educated self: Post-natal depression, a scourge on us like dementia, like something we ward off with now, wait for it, mindfullness, and in the soon future ‘nature and art’. I never felt sorry for Spanish hereditary lady but hated the prejudice again of the same community which uses “darky” and “Paki” in 2016.
The woman had somehow let down womanhood and the larger community, The “we” became “I” for a lifetime.
Nowadays in London 2016 it’s okay to talk openly about post-natal depression, about not coping, about severe exhaustion which has no cure but prolonged sleep. We should look out for the signs of an added curse on women. There is no weakness about sickness. Even if there were, so what? Like all mental illnesses we have to recognise post-natal depression, be amazed that in the near past we older women hid the nuisance under our duster coats and headscarves.
I wonder if that lady ever knew she needed help back in the day or was it the doctor’s receptionist who let the cat out of its messy bag.
How do I help someone on the edge? Offer silence, air space to offload pent up misery and meals to give energy to days of life.