So there is something I haven’t written about, that is part of my PND Journey but if I am honest I haven’t wanted to write about for fear of being judged by people and if I am honest I was a little ashamed that my mental health and lack of self respect or self worth led to this situation.
Just over a year ago Elizabeth had an accident that start a chain of events that would lead to the worst month of mine and Mel’s life.
We had had a good day playing and spent the day out we decided that for tea we would do something easy and make some home made tomato soup we had a big lunch so thought something quick and cheerful would fill the hole and do us just fine for our tea so I got out all my ingredients and made my world famous homemade soup, a little while later everything was ready and it was time for us to eat..
Our house was small and cluttered so the house was very cluttered to say the very least and the table we had was covered in rubbish so we didn’t use it very often today like most days we would be eating on the living room. Elizabeth had asked if she could sit on the floor with a tray on her lap we didn’t see a problem with this so we said that was ok and brought her food in on a tray so she could eat. We had asked her to wait for her soup to cool down before she began to eat. Elizabeth was in no mood for waiting before we had a chance to do anything she took the tray and moved it quickly on to her lap not looking at what she was doing. The next minute she was screaming in pain she had moved the tray so quick that the soup had go all over her foot burning her ankle, I grabbed her striped her off very quickly and got her in the bath and used the shower head to try and cool her leg down nothing was working Elizabeth was getting louder and louder even when we took her out the bath she would not settle the burn looked horrible. We made the decision to keep cooling her leg in the bath using the shower head and called an ambulance, the ambulance came and took Elizabeth to hospital with me, Mel followed a little while later with Andrew. We had the usual hospital showing concern and quizzing us on what happened, we even had someone from the police come and see us. The paramedics had raised concern that the way it had happened looked/sounded suspicious so the police just had to come and check everything was ok, they were satisfied it was an accident and didn’t want to follow it up, Elizabeth was patched up and we went home thinking the whole ordeal was over. Turned out it was to last the next month.
The next day I arrived home to find someone from social services sitting in my living room talking to Mel. He Explained to us that it is normal that after an accident like this that a report be sent and he was following up on that report. He was very kind and honest with us he listened to what had happened and what I have been through in the past few year. He explained he could see we were struggling slightly, with both working as well as look after the kids and find that balance. He explained that he would be putting us on a 28 day review were his colleague would come out to do a full assessment and give us any help possible.
His colleague came out a few days later and could see we needed some help, she could see we loved our kids and would do anything for them but we were struggling to keep the house safe for 2 young kids, she had a few things that we had to do straight away and things that needed to be done as soon as possible, looking back it was fair to say the house was messy, un-kept and dangerous at times.
At the time it felt like I was being attacked left right and centre and I am sure Mel felt the same, someone who doesn’t know us or how hard we had worked to get to the point were we at then kept telling us we need to do more. We had meeting after meeting and it felt like we were being told we were unfit as parents, was fair to say my mental health wasn’t 100% so that didn’t help, I had to leave a few of the meetings as at times it did feel like we were being attacked or that they never understood what we were going through.
After a few appointments though We began to see they had a point we had let things get the better of us and the house was untidy and we could see how they could be worried. We began to work with them and they were very helpful, they organised a skip to help de-clutter the house. They helped us to start to see things differently and see that they were there to help, we were supported through the whole thing and they helped us in anyway we needed it. They made us take a step back and see re-evaluate what we did and how we lived.
At the time I have to admit my mental health took a back step for a few weeks it felt like everyone was against us, that we were useless parents and that someone thought we were doing a piss poor job at keeping them safe, we were worried that one day someone was going to take our kids away from us, It felt like no one was on outside well almost no one, Elizabeth’s nursery were very supportive and were in our corner all the way.
Well anyway after a month of working with social services, many arguments with them and each other and a lot of stress. we were told they were happy with our progress and that they would be leaving us alone and said they no longer feel they need to be involved.
It is Fair to say thought this was the worst month of our life, I had gone through all my issues with PND, had finally started to work my way through it and bond with my kids and someone was telling me I was doing it all wrong and was an unfit dad. Or at least it that’s how it felt.
Looking back now I see it wasn’t, that it was them looking at our kids and us and making sure we all had a safe place to live, that our kids were safe and importantly that we were happy as a family.
It has made us take a look at how we live to make sure everything is safe and even made us sit back and make sure we keep the new house we have safe and tidy for the kids. We said when we moved back to Liverpool that we would care more about ourselves and that we would make sure we never let the new house get like the old one and so far we have kept that promise. But most of all it made me realise how much I need my kids, even the fear of losing them made panic and feel sick.
I will finish this blog with some advice, if you ever find yourself in a situation like we did please work with those who are trying to help you, social services are there to help and will only take your kids as a last resort. Let them see how happy you are as a family and take any support that you may be offered.
The PND Daddy