I am even more muddled than I had previously thought and after being under the care of the crisis team AGAIN I got to see a psychiatric doctor for the first time. After pouring all my problems out and leaving myself feeling pretty vulnerable and bare I was asked what seemed like a million questions, I could tell she was getting at something when each thing she asked got me to open up more and I could see she had figured me out, which is a first for anyone. Last week I was diagnosed with something new, not only have I got postnatal depression and anxiety I know have a new diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
The words echoed around the room and I wasn’t sure what they even meant. Was my personality broken? Was I neurotic? Was I an attention seeker? My only ever experience of knowing anything about this disorder was from watching girl interrupted as a teenager, which I don’t believe was a particularly accurate depiction of the disorder.
It’s taken a few days to settle in and a fair bit of googling to understand what it really means. As always I have ordered way too many books on my kindle and spent every evening devouring the information so I can understand this disorder as best as possible. The more I have learnt the more I have been able to see that this diagnosis fits me well and is something I have struggled with for a number of years. In a way it’s been a huge relief that I finally know what is actually wrong with me and why I am so impulsive, why I throw things in without much thought or consideration, why I am so self-critical and why I feel my emotions so intensely.
With the diagnoses of borderline personality disorder I’ve had the worry of if I should tell anyone, would I be cast out and judged or could I do what my personality does so well and be impulsive with it and just say fuck it. So here I am borderline personality disorder and all. I plan to get to know and understand this new part of me and break the stigma as well as I can. Now mental illness is such a big part of my life I feel helpless to really blog about much else, seeming as it impacts every aspect of my life.
My personality is not broken, it loves so deeply, feels pain so ferociously, acts impulsively and punishes itself so vengefully. Just like anything else in this world it will make me stronger and I will do it justice in being honest with how it really is.
I never knew how tough it would be to be a parent until I became one. I was naive before children and thought it was something I would find easy as I was certain I had maternal instinct. In truth the maternal instinct kicked in straight away and I learnt quickly how to nurse with minimal nipple on display, how to pull a vest down rather than over after an explosive poo and how to ninga move out of a sleeping babies room. That stuff is hard to some extent and takes time to learn but parenting is so much harder than I could ever had imagine and something no one could have really prepared me for.
Parenting through sleep deprivation is hard. I have had to function on little to no sleep many times. I have been so tired I have walked around like a zombie unable to complete the easiest tasks like adding orange juice to tea instead of milk. People always assume you are most sleep deprived with a newborn which can be true and you tend to get some sympathy, but when you have a 2 year old who won’t sleep because of his teeth unfortunately you are own your own and just have to suck it up.
Parenting whilst adding an extra child. I thought it was tough, but manageable when I had one child. I could still get the washing done, have a shower and do my make-up with just a little juggling. When you have two or more there is no rest bite in between and they have a tendency to tag team you. Mr T is great at destroying something just as his sister needs to help having her bum wiped after a poo. Some days I literally feel touched out by having constant contact with one little person and I feel like hiding in the kitchen cupboard, unfortunately that is not an option as I’m too fat.
Parenting through sickness is bloody tough. My children have a knack at throwing up directly down my top so my bra catches it, coupled with Mr T doing an explosive poo and me being sick myself, things can be a bit minging and extremely exhausting when you are ill, but when you have children sick too is just relentless.
Parenting alone is something all us mum’s have to do to some extent but lots do it every single day, with little, to no break. I can’t comment on being a single parent as it’s not something I have been, but I can comment on the loneliest of having a husband who works twelve hour shifts, often nights. I have spent many a long day with the children just wishing he was there to take over for ten minuets so I can have a quick shower without my daughter watching, commenting on the size of my big wobbly bottom. It can be extremely isolating and the best way to deal with it is to complain with other mummy friends through play dates and the powers of social media.
Parenting through a mental illness is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do. Dealing with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child was really tough and something I am still struggling with now 20 months later. On days I feel emotionally and physically weak, I still have to get up, still need to feed the children and still be a mum. I can’t just take the day off or hide under my duvet as much as I want to. I have hidden in a locked bathroom more times than I care to remember with tears pouring down my face, wondering how I will make it to bed time, but I always do.
Through the days of tough parenting I try to remind myself that I have a 100% success rate of completing these days. I have survive and I will continue to survive these days.
For anyone following my story will know I had a breakdown last October and ended up under Crisis team care after becoming very close to ending my life. I was discharged in mid November and worked so hard on staying positive and holding on to the fact I had been refered for Therapy. Christmas came and we had a lovely time as a family and got to make some wonderful memories. When new year came I was getting this niggling familiar feeling in the background, but as I do I painted on a smile and stayed up beat, clinging on to the thought of my therapy coming through. I chased and chased with no end in sight on when this would be. I quickly felt things start to unwind, My mood was dropping, negative thoughts were creeping in and I was lacking motivation. I told myself it was just the January blues and it would pass.
Things didn’t pass, my anxiety got crippling, my sleep was restless with disturbing dreams and I could see that mean, snappy mummy coming back. I wasn’t coping anymore and I was scared. I ended up going back into old habits which I knew were destructive like relying on my larazapam too much to relax in the evenings, self harming and binge eating. I felt like my mind just wanted to die and no matter how much I tried to stay strong I was losing the battle and my family was losing me. I was disappointed in myself every time someone would say to me how well I had been doing as I knew it was all a lie and I had yet again let everyone down
Things all came to a head on Friday, which resulted in a police welfare check and a trip to hospital. I literally have no memory of a few days before that or after. It was like it wasn’t even me and I was just watching from afar. I was disengaged with my children and unaware of what I was doing and who I was hurting. I ended back under crisis team care and had hit rock bottom once more and was giving up on life.
Friday was my cry for help and I could see that I did want help to get better I just didn’t know how to get better anymore. I gave in and was honest with the crisis team about everything I was feeling, how I wasn’t capable at this moment to be the mother I wanted to be, the intrusive thoughts I was feeling daily and that I didn’t want this life anymore. I accepted help from the crisis team and have been promised I will not be discharged back to my GP this time and I will be discharge to the mental health community team. I have accepted help from family and friends to try to focus on myself and give myself a break. I am learning there is no shame in letting others help when you need it.
I can see things a little clearer and feel that I do still have a future, but I have a long road ahead of me and it will take time. There isn’t an instant fix and this will take time to heal from, but I am not ashamed of this. I believe life is trying to make me stronger and it wouldn’t throw this at me if it didn’t think I could handle it.
A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.
Everyone feels anxiety to some extent in their lives. It’s a natural reaction from when we had to use the fight or flight to survive. With us no longer being hunters are anxiety now proops up in everyday life and for some can become very exhausting.
For me my anxiety has started from being an unsure child and as I’ve got older it has started to manifest in many aspects of my life. Since becoming a parent it has become a real problem, but it was something I still I had control over until I was pregnant with my second child. Since being pregnant with Mr T I have almost constantly felt on edge leaving the house and doing things I would normally enjoy.
I have tried CBT for my anxiety which I found slighty beneficial, but I still feel the anxiety trying to stop me in my tracks on leading a normal life.
I often force myself to go in my car to go out and I end up turning around and coming home as the worry and panic gets too much for me. I forced myself to go in town a few days ago and walked backwards and forwards unsure what I was doing. Mr T was hungry but I couldn’t bring myself to sit somewhere for lunch. Eventually I found somewhere small to get him lunch and he ate it so quickly as he was that hungry. Anxiety is directly affecting my family and I hate the control it has.
For me to go to my work I have to take lorazepam to get through the day, which then makes me forgetful so I can’t see how that is good for my job. I constantly feel like I am having to be babysat through life just do everyday normal things. If I don’t have someone to babysit me then my children miss out on doing so many enjoyable things.
When things are like this my life is pointless and worthless. I am unable to do anything for anyone or myself and my existence pains me.
The intrusive thought I have, the never-ending playing through conversations I had earlier and struggling to make eye contact, this is all my head goes through every night whilst I am desperate to sleep. Sleep is my release usually but to go sleep is hard to come by and often it is disturb with terrible dreams.
I don’t know how to be happy anymore besides a fake smile and this is a life I hate, but I am desperate to make it change.
Having to deal with postnatal depression for the last 20 months since my son was born has made me think of all the ways my family and friends have helped me through this. I hope this can be of some help to someone who has a loved one going through this difficult chapter of their life.
Don’t make them feel guilty for not keeping on top of house work. I would feel guilty about anything and everything and one last thing I needed was to feel guilty that I wasn’t keeping on top of things.
Don’t just offer to help, do it. If someone had offered to hold my baby so I could have a bath or get some sleep I would have probably said no. Sometimes you need to insist without bruising their pride.
Just listen. Sometimes all I needed was someone to listen to me rather than any advice or help. I was isolated and alone and I just needed someone to talk to.
Check in. I know everyone has busy lives, but a quick texts was all it would take to make me feel reassured that someone cared. My husband would often call from work and even if I wasn’t in the mood to talk it helped.
Let them sleep. The mornings my husband got up and did the school run or sat downstairs with our baby I appreciated so much. Sleep deprivation is not helpful to the mind in any way.
Don’t ask them why they feel like this. A couple of times I was made to feel more guilty by people for asking how I could possibly feel like this when I had such a perfect baby, this was extremely damaging to my mental state.
Don’t take over with the baby. Even if you think you are helping sometimes you can be seen as taking over. By all means help with the baby when it’s needed, but don’t take over.
Cook some meals to help out. Offering to make dinner is always something I’ve appreciated and my husband would often make me a wrap or sandwich and leave it in the fridge before work.
Run a bath and let her relax. A bath can help relax the body and the mind.
Don’t ever let them think that the postnatal depression was their fault or that they are inadequate in any way.
If they are breastfeeding be supportive in any way you can be. If they are bottle feeding be supportive in any way you can be.
encourage them to get help and if they need you to come with them to appointments then do or offer to have the baby.
If it’s your friend, wife, daughter or sister going through this make sure you tell them you love them.
I am sure many of us mums can relate to have a mini person following them where ever they go, as soon as I move from one room I hear the scurry of little feet behind, following me. I expected it as a parent to not get a minuets peace, but sometimes i’m thinking please just sit down and please play with your a million toys and leave me the (insert choice word) alone.
Miss J is four and half years old and has been at school now since September. I drop off in the morning with no tears and a quick cuddled and kiss with no worries of how she will be. The problem is when Miss J is home, she is incredibly clingy to me and cannot spend a single second in her own company. I thought having a brother might help at least entertain her whilst I went for a poo, but no chance just yet. Mr T at 20 months is quiet happy sitting watching the minions whilst I get on with my jobs that I need to complete.
Miss J is a sensitive little girl which I adore about her and she is still a very cuddly little thing. I know I shouldn’t complain, but I am unable to get a seconds peace whilst trying to fulfil one of my many lovely mum duties I have. If I’m making the bed she is rolling around on it, if I am having a shower she is sitting on the toilet seat telling me she loves my wobbly tummy and if I do need to use the toilet she will be handing me a tampon (she thinks they are toilet fresheners).
From the moment Miss J was born she has been a velcro baby and we only managed to get her out of our bed just before her little brother arrived. Me and Miss J were so lucky for it to just be us two for three years, where we spent many a day out together, making wonderful memories and cementing an everlasting bond. Little Miss J has become my best little friend and someone I love to spend time with, especially as her daddy has to work long hours and shift work. When Mr T came into this world Miss J wasn’t so keen and wasn’t overly impressed with having to share her time with me. Mr T as he gets older has started to get his independence, partly because his sister has left him no choice.
Even when Miss J’s dad is around she is still wanting to know where I am and if I do leave the house there will be tears from her. As soon as I go upstairs to attempt to hoover I hear her screaming ‘mummy’ and following after me. I love her dearly, but I wish she would learn to be on her own for just a while.
I will try to remind myself everyday when she is asking me to pick her up, sit with her to play barbies or cuddle her through a scary bit in a film, that one day she will stop asking for me. One day she’ll be rushing out the door to go shopping with her friends or to meet with her boyfriend and I’ll hardly get a goodbye.
Whilst going through my old files on my computer I came across my birth stories I wrote a few weeks after giving birth to my children. I wrote both these stories whilst they were fresh in my mind and I’m so glad I did as reading through now there so much I had forgotten. I love a good birth story and could listen to people talk about them forever. To give birth or to be part of someones birth story is such a raw look into someone in such an intimate way. When giving birth you can not try to be anyone else but yourself and you see your partner in a whole new way. My husband was a wonderful support through both my labours, but the person who helped me the most was my sister, but unfortunately I pushed her away before my epidural with my daughter as I wanted mine and my husbands first birth to just be us two.
A couple of days before my due date I had started to have contractions on and off, but every time I went to bed, things seemed to stop. I was getting extremely exhausted and frustrated waiting for things to kick off properly. By the Thursday at 40 weeks 4 days my contractions finally started to get regular at about 4 minuets apart and we decided to leave for the hospital once my husband had finished watching football. I was checked over by a midwife and was told I was 2cm dilated and was sent home. At the time my husband didn’t drive so we went back to my sister’s house and I attempted to get some sleep. By 5am things were just getting too uncomfortable so we headed back to hospital where I was checked again and told I was 1cm! How was I managing to go backwards was beyond me and I was feeling really disheartened. The midwife did a horrendous stretch and sweep and I was sent home with some co-codomol. I spent Friday at home bouncing about on my birthing ball, in the bath and trying to get some rest for the impending birth.
By evening I was unable to cope at home and was feeling so much pain in my back that we went back to hospital where I was examined again and was told I was 3cm and I was admitted onto the labour ward. I was desperate for a water birth, but both pools were occupied so I settled for a bath, but I just couldn’t relax and felt like I wanted to walk about. I was told by the midwife that the baby was back to back and with things slowing down again I was moved to the ward and my husband was sent home.
By Saturday morning I was exhausted, fed up and desperate for this baby to be out. We spent the morning walking up and down the stairs and taking many laps of the hospital. I was contracting well, but all in my back so we went back to the ward and I was given pethidine. By evening my husband had to be sent home again and I was crying in the ward feeling defeated and alone. I was given sleeping tablets and co-codamol, but the pain was just horrendous and all I could do was sit upright and try to breath through the pain. At around 3am I tried to force myself to eat some toast, as by this point I hadn’t eaten properly in days. Whilst eating my toast through contractions I had a spider crawl up my neck and had to be saved by a fellow patient who had given birth earlier that day, I was so jealous that she had her baby already and I was still stuck in this state.
Through the early hours of the morning a mum in my ward being observed, who I actually knew from my clubbing days (not how we had spent 3am Sunday morning a few years earlier), sat with me and helped me through my contractions until my husband was able to get to the hospital. I remember my husband calling me at 7am and asking if I wanted a Macdonald’s breakfast, I told him to fuck off and hurry up. My husband arrived at about 8am with my sister and tried to get me to calm down. I was in quiet a state and pethidine hadn’t taken the edge off at all. My sister was finding it very upsetting to see me in so much pain. My contractions came very 2 minuets and felt like someone was snapping my spine in half. I felt let down by the midwives as I was still in the ward with no access to gas and air and they didn’t seem to have the time to help me. At 9am I kicked up a huge fuss and insisted I was having an epidural, which was something I didn’t really want to have. One of the nice midwives checked me and I was still only 3cm dilated, but she phoned delivery suit and told a white lie that I was 4cm. My sister left me and my husband to it and it really started to sink in that we had a baby coming into this world very soon.
Once up in delivery suit I was quickly prepped for my epidural and I remember them telling me to let them know when I was contracting so they could stop. I can tell you now I didn’t tell them when I was contracting and didn’t move a muscle until that epidural was in. Within 20 minuets I was numb, I was put on a drip to speed things up and I went to sleep for three hours. At 3pm I was checked and was 4cm and they broke my water and I wasn’t checked again until 5pm when I was 10cm. The midwife said that the head still needed to move down so I had another nap until they woke me and told me to push. Two pushes later and about 10 minuets Miss J was born into this world. She was perfect, pink and looked like one of those babies born in soap where they look a good few weeks old already. She weighed a healthy 7ib 13oz and immediately pooed on me. She latched on perfectly at a few minuets old and took her first feed from me. We got a few hours to ourselves in the delivery suit where we took in every second, looking over our beautiful little girl.
The next day we were discharged and we took our beautiful little girl home to start are life as a family of three. Those memories I have us all are so special to me and something I will never forget.
I have failed to succeed at a few things over my years and always had feelings of inadequacy. I’ve never felt quiet good enough at anything I had done, whether it was sport, education and then later on my work. Something I always thought I would succeed at was being a mother and when I got postnatal depression I was very self-critical and hard on myself as I saw myself as a complete failure with something I was so determined to be good at. It has been a long road, but eventually I realised that those feelings were making the postnatal depression worse by giving it ammunition.
At school I was always too scared to say when I didn’t understand something and wouldn’t raise my hand for help. I went through school doing the minimum to get by and felt a bit lost. I always felt I was living in the shadow of my older sister, she was intelligent, everything seemed to come natural to her and I felt my parents did forget the younger, not so intelligent child at times. I know this wasn’t on purpose and something they may have never noticed, but it’s how I always felt. I left school with average GCSE grades and decided to embark on a Holistic Therapies course after I was told A-levels were not the right fit for me. I did a year of Holistic Therapies, but knew it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue as a career and once I lacked motivation, I quickly started to fall behind on the work. I decided my next step was to go into full-time work in an office and although I liked the people I worked with and having a wage, I didn’t enjoy the job and found it rather dull. 18 months in I had a change of heart and decided that I was to go back to college to do an access course to university. Going from a full-time wage to a part-time waitress wage was a struggle and I found that the easy option was to throw it all in and admit defeat when I was only three months into the course.
After a few full time jobs in various different roles and a trip to Australia, I finally found something I enjoyed and almost 8 years on and two children I am still working there today. I now work for a food gifting company in the Technical department and have a very varied job. I’ve been able to complete some great courses and the team I work with are brilliant. However much I do enjoy my job (for the most part) I still felt like I was missing something and needed a creative outlet.
I still felt like I needed somewhere to express myself and do something for me so I started blogging to help me through my battle with postnatal depression. I didn’t realise at the time that I found something I had missed for many years, which was writing. I had always been passionate about writing at school, but when I would hand in a piece of work to a teacher I would have it returned covered in red pen, full with spelling mistakes and grammar issues. I’m still struggling with both of these things, but it is something I am focusing getting better at.
Blogging has given me time to do something for myself again and an outlet. I have received praise, done guest posts for other fantastic bloggers and have some exciting opportunities lined up, that will be challenging and exciting for me and something that I would have never had the confidence to do six months ago. I am no longer scared to succeed and I am happy to except what I deserve. My work is by no means fantastic, but it is honest and I have put my heart and so many hours into it. It has been a labour of love.
I am taking risks in my life and putting myself out there and hopefully it will pay off. I will not let being afraid stop me having the chance to succeed at something I enjoy. I will not let the fear stop me from achieving my goals and if I fall or if it doesn’t work at least I can say I tried.
I am so glad to see the news today that Theresa May is planning to invest millions into helping fund mental health care in England. This a great step in the right direction for mental health to be taken seriously like any other physical condition. They have said every secondary school will receive mental health first aid training, which I thing is such a positive thing. 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental illness and many mental illnesses start through teenage years.
Looking back at my teenage years it is now quiet clear to me that I had mental health issues, but I was completely clueless on how to deal with them and often suffered with depression. I remember listening to someone say that once you were on antidepressants that you would be on them for the rest of your life, so I felt to scared to even ask the doctor about them. I suffered with terrible PMS right until I started antidepressants, I would have fits of rage, breaking things, hitting and the followed by feelings of shame for not being able to control my emotions. I would feel fine one minuet then it was like I was possessed and I wasn’t able to contain my emotions. If I knew what I knew now I would have started taking antidepressants to help with this alone as since starting them I am so much more relaxed and no longer get angry about silly things
For anyone following my story they will know after battling postnatal depression for 18 months I had a breakdown and ended up under the crisis team care. Since I was discharged back in November I have had no other contact besides a ten minuet phone conversation with someone from the Iapt team. I am still waiting on a priority list to see someone and have been prescribed antipsychotics and benzodiazepines to take when needed. I have kept myself positive and have used support groups on Facebook and called Samaritans when I have needed extra support. I find it quiet shocking that someone can be left with no care for so long who was previously suicidal and self-harming.
Since I accepted I have postnatal depression when Mr T was 5 months old and let go of the initial guilt, I have now stopped worrying what other people think about me and I am doing everything I can to help lift the stigma around mental health. I could hide what I went through, but for whose benefit besides the people who find it uncomfortable to talk about it or the ones who do not believe it is a real thing.
Mental illness sucks not just for someone going through it, but for the family and friends who have to support you through it. Everyone can probably relate to it or knows someone who has dealt with it and the more we are open about it, the more we can help each other. I hope the Prime Ministers new plans to invest millions into mental health will help lift the stigma around metal illness so we can progress in this ever challenging world.
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