On the 2nd of April, a week after I buried my mother, I finally had the hysterectomy.
I had decided that I didn't want to take the HRT that the hospital and my doctor were suggesting - I would see if I had any menopausal symptoms and how bad they were - I thought I was invincible! A strong woman who could push through anything.
Within a month I was a complete basket case - stress, grief and menopause had joined forces to render me a complete bitch!!
I was angry, sad, hot, itchy, tired and impossible to live with.
I decided to opt for a natural form of HRT in the hope that it would get rid of all the symptoms.
Within the next 2 months all the physical symptoms had abated considerably but I was still on an emotional roller coaster ride and taking my family with me.
One morning, when I found my fist raised at my 8-year old son, I knew it was time to get help.
I felt like I was standing on the edge of a black hole and that I could just take one step into the abyss and disappear.
In my mind, I had become a bad mother and wife - I felt so far removed from the loving, happy easygoing person I used to be.
The doctor diagnosed me with depression and put me on medication.
From the moment I started taking the anti-depressants my mind was filled with thoughts of how soon I could stop taking them.
I felt so ashamed and like such a failure. Why couldn't I just cope with life?? So many people had it much worse than me. I knew I was blessed in so many ways so I must be weak and pathetic to need anti-depressants.
They helped though...within a few months I was feeling much calmer and if not quite happy yet, I would say that I was content.
I had started working part time in an industry I loved and things were definitely looking up.
I weaned myself off the anti-depressants 6 months after I started them - the minimum recommended time.
Within 6 months I was back on them.
Dealing with a very sensitive and stressful family situation and increasing financial pressure, I could feel myself slipping back towards the abyss.
Again I felt the shame and stigma that so often comes with the diagnosis of depression. It was like a big, dirty secret that I couldn't share with anyone.
Thank God for my children - they saved me. The thought of turning back into that person who could raise a fist to her own child, was what sent me scurrying back to the doctor.
If not for them I probably wouldn't have gone back - I probably would have succumbed to the pull of that black hole...
An excerpt by Esther Andrews
For 'Made Beautiful by Scars- real women's stories'
All rights reserved
Copyright Made Beautiful by Scars book series
Made Beautiful By Scars...