Funding mental health with open eyes

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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Making Christmas special through postnatal depression

Something I can now find overwhelming, is when there is some big event coming up that I should be enjoying. I find there is so much pressure to enjoy Christmas day and after lasts year when I was deep in my postnatal depression I was a little worried how it would be. Last year Mr T was 7 months old and I had started antidepressants a couple of months earlier, I was extremely anxious and feeling pretty disconnected from the whole thing. I painted a smile on my face, some make-up and drank a fair amount of baileys in the hope it would improve my spirit. Looking back through pictures I just feel sadness that I wasn’t able to enjoy my baby sons first Christmas, so this year I felt I wanted to make up for it.

This year, even  though I was determined to make it a great Christmas, I wasn’t very organised and brought my last present on Christmas Eve. I would usually be frantically shopping around for Black Friday deals, but instead I was relaxing in the sun in Fuerteventura. I was kind to myself this Christmas, I wrapped a few presents each night, whilst watching Christmas films, didn’t spend a fortune on my children as I knew they would be spoilt by family, I made sure that I got a present I really wanted (Canon 1300D DSLR camera) and I made sure I took the time running up to Christmas enjoying my family and embrace Christmas. I even managed to get a night out with my girlfriends and have a great night in a new local prosecco bar. I think being back at work this year helped me get in the mood, as not only was it Christmas it was also a break away from work for just over a week. If I can I always try to be thoughtful of other, but after this last year I felt I had taken more from the world than given back so I decided to set myself a task of doing something thoughtful every for 11 days before Christmas, I am happy to say that I completed all these little tasks, which made me feel fulfilled before Christmas.

Christmas day this year really was lovely besides waking up to Mr T, covered in poo, half way up his back. The children woke at respectable 8am and Miss J patiently waited upstairs, whilst her brother was bathed. It really was magical watching the children open their presents and watch the excitement in their faces. After presents we went around to my parents house for the second round of presents with my sister and her husband. We had a lazy morning, opening and putting together multiple children’s toys and I even managed to have a play with my camera. My mum put on the most fantastic Christmas lunch and after collapsing into a meat coma for a couple of hours we headed to my mother in laws house for round three of presents.

My mother in law loves nothing more than Christmas and never fails to disappointment in making it a lovely day for the children. My two children got to spend the afternoon playing with their four other cousins, running around and playing games. My mother in law does a separate Christmas tree covered in prizes for the children, they pick a raffle ticket and get to find there present on the tree, which the children love.

All six cousins together

The whole day was beautiful, filled with laughter, love and far too much food. I’m so glad I was able to fully embrace Christmas day and appreciate the time spent with our family.

My parents cat really got into the Christmas spirit

 

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Lonely parenting and finding the support you need

Taking Miss J home from hospital for the first time was nothing short of magical. She was beautiful, happy, content and feeding well. My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off and we spent those couple of weeks visiting friends and family and going out for lunches. When my husband went back to work working 12 hour shifts and the visitors died down I started to realise the reality of being a mum with a husband who worked. I started to get lonely and realised that being at home with a baby all day long, with no one else to speak to was lonely and isolating. At first when Miss J came along we had so many visitors, but as she got older they dwindled, not for any fault of their own it was because life moves on and people have their own lives to live.

I didn’t have postnatal-depression with Miss J but I did struggle with anxiety so for me to go to baby grows was pretty scary experience and something I would get myself really worked up over. I forced myself into these groups but in the village where I lived at 24 I was one of the younger mum’s who went and felt a little bit unsure of myself. I continued to go and did make some lovely friends through these groups and me and Miss J loved doing the baby massage class together. My year at home with Miss J was pretty jammed packed full of different groups sometimes even two in one day and it honestly was the best year of my life. The baby stage is very short, even if at times it feels never-ending probably because you haven’t had eight hours sleep over three nights let alone one night. I felt it was important and helpful to me to find some friends who were going through the same stage as me so baby groups and also Facebook groups were so invaluable to me. When I did have to return to work when Miss J turned one I was honestly gutted that I wouldn’t have that time with her again. I went back to work three days a week and I cherished my days off in the week with her.

When Mr T came along I was naive to think it would be the same. I thought having Miss J at home would be helpful and would be nice as I could now have a proper conversation with her. Miss J wasn’t particularly impressed with this screaming and pooing thing that I spent most of my time feeding. She because quiet jealous and wouldn’t acknowledged his existence. As a mum you immediately feel guilty and that you have betrayed your first born child and with my husband going back to work I had never felt more alone and isolated. I tried desperately to get out the house but I found toddler groups just exhausting, as I had to keep an eye on Miss J whilst carrying Mr T with me. I wasn’t actually able to talk with anyone and found the whole experience stressful. Miss J decided to perfectly time stopping napping when her brother was a week old which made me I feel I was unable to have anytime to actually bond with my new baby or time to be able to appreciate my daughter and I desperately lonely in my house all day long. We tried getting out with walks to the park but Miss J would refuse to walk and want picking up whilst I tried to push the pushchair. I found that I wasn’t seeing or speaking to people for days and I would just sit at home crying and feeling like I was letting both of my children down.

When Mr T was 5 months old something had to give and I excepted that I needed to get help for postnatal-depression and anxiety. Luckily Miss J had started pre-school at this point and I was able to get a little bit of a break from her and she could get a break from me and her brother. I started taking antidepressants and started CBT which did help my anxiety. It has been a constant battle and something I am still battling. I’m enjoying my time more with the children and I am able to appreciate them more, but I do still have times where I feel isolated and lonely. Miss J now loves her little brother and also loves to go to school whilst Mr T has got a little easier and is happy to entertain himself for short periods of time so I can just about keep on top of the house.

The point to this post is that it does get easier and it is all momentary and will not last forever. They will soon grow, need you less and became their own little people. It’s important to involve yourself in local groups, even if it means trying out a few until you find one you really like. Connect on Facebook with local groups and also baby groups and you will soon realise you are not alone and that your feelings are quiet normal to feel lonely. I have made some lovely friends through Facebook, some who I have met a few times and some who only live in my phone, but these people are real people who care for me and support me as I do for them. Do what you need to do to get through the day and don’t feel guilty as you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. If someone offers to babysit, take them up on it, if no one asks, then ask them, if you can put you child in a crèche whilst going to the gym, then do it and if you can put an older child in preschool or nursery then do it. A happy mummy equals happy children so make sure you are looking after yourself so you can look after your children properly.

 

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The last year of my twenties and reflection

So on the 3rd of December I entered the last year of my twenties, eeekkk! I am now a year away from being a fully fledged grown up in the eyes of my ten-year old self. I always assumed that at thirty I would be married and starting a family and at 29 I have managed to be married for over five years with two children. My twenties have had their ups and downs and I have learnt so much in this time, but I am happy in myself to say goodbye to them next year and move on to the next chapter of my life. Will I feel any differently turning thirty? probably not. Will I have some grey hair? most probably.

I welcomed my twenties in true 2007 style by hosting a ‘Moulin Rouge’ themed birthday bash in good old’ Bedford town centre. We graced the presence of the sticky floored Litten Tree and then moved onto the crappy club over the road. Looking back at pictures on Facebook (I still can’t believe I’ve documented my drunken pictures for almost a decade) I can still see lots of familiar faces which makes me feel so happy that a decent amount of my friendships have lasted the test of time and the test of parenthood. At twenty I was carefree, single, living at home, at college and working in my now local pub The Fox and Hounds. I was single for a whole three months of my twenties until I met my darling husband, but that is a whole different story to blog about.

Welcoming in my twenties 'Moulin Rouge' style 2007
Welcoming in my twenties ‘Moulin Rouge’ style 2007

At 23 I got to marry my soul mate and love of my life. I may have been too young in some eyes, but for us we were just killing time until we said ‘I do’. Six weeks after getting married we found out we were expecting Miss J and we quickly had to grow up and become parents. It really has been such an amazing adventure making our own little family and becoming ‘The Goodwins’. I never would have believe at twenty, that I had all this to look forward to and that I would get excited about making our own Christmas cards and staying in every weekend whilst exchanging foot rubs.

The day I became a 'Goodwin'
The day I became a ‘Goodwin’

My twenties have taught me the value of friendship and how important the ones who have lasted the last decade are to me. My friends are basically my extra sisters and we’ve been through marriage, divorce, plenty of babies, breastfeeding, drunk nights out, miscarriage, depression, mental breakdown, loss of friends and loss of family. We have all stepped up for each other and supported one another when we’ve needed it. We have cried together, laughed together and cried laughing together. I have also learnt that it is never to old to make great friendships with new friends and to make friends with your friends, friends. I really am so luckily to have the most amazing ladies around me who will always have my back.

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Me and my babies

I spent my 29th birthday a bit more low-key to my 20th. I was on holiday in Fuerteventura, had a lovely meal out with my husband and a slight hangover the next morning. On my actual birthday we flew back to England and it was written off until the following day where we spent the day in pj’s and watched Disney. It was a perfect birthday as I had my family with me and a box of Lindor Chocolate Truffles.

We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love
We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love

The last 18 months haven’t been the best for me, obviously I am so happy and grateful to have Mr T in my life, but I’ve struggled so bad with anxiety and postnatal depression, that it has tarnished the memory. It has honestly been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with and something that has pushed me right to the very edge, but I survived it and fought it. I plan to make 29 a really great send off of my twenties and will embrace everything it throws at me. Not everyday will be perfect, not everyday will be easy, but I know I can find my happiness. I plan to keep blogging and giving it everything I can, as it really has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.

Bring on the next year of my life, my journey, my family, my friends and my thirties.

 

 

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A week away from reality – Fuerteventura

We decided to book a holiday a few weeks ago which couldn’t have come at a better time, my parents had already booked to go and we decided to tag along so my mum had a drinking buddy and we had babysitters (win, win). We booked a week away in Fuerteventura staying at our much-loved RIU Olivia Beach Hotel, which we have stayed at on and off for around 20 years. I have some fantastic holiday memories as a child, teenager and a new parent taking Miss J away on her first holiday, so I was happy to take my family back with our not so new addition Mr T. I’m not sure what it is about Fuerteventura but it relaxes me so quickly and easily. Its familiar, like a home away from home, it’s reassuring, comforting and my happy place.

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The plane journey wasn’t as bad as I had built up in my head and Mr T had his own seat so was more than happy watching paw patrol and stuffing his face full of crisps and sweets. I enjoyed some prosseco and even managed to get me and Mr T to take a nap together. We got to the hotel in good time and unpacked and found the restaurant so we could take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drink. The rooms here are looking dated and a little shabby, but they are still clean and have everything you need. I did notice the restaurant food was particularly fantastic this year and selection had greatly improved. I struggled to narrow down what I wanted to eat with so many tasty dishes they had on offer. I think I’ve probably gained a stone since being away. What the rooms lack the location makes up for. The beach and views are breathtaking and the beach is as good as any I’ve seen around the world.

I didn't find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
I didn’t find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
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Mr T loved having his own seat

We were very lucky with the weather and had temperatures of up to 31.8C with one over cast day out of seven. The children were more than happy in the heat, suntan lotioned up and jumping in and out the pools. Miss J managed to swim a little unaided and got very confident with throwing herself straight in off the side. Me and Miss J got to spend some amazing quality time together swimming and I enjoyed every second of it just being us. My darling husband doesn’t swim and Mr T prefered to play at the side with him whilst me and Miss J explored the deeps.

We ventured out a few times to the local town Corralejo which is around a ten minuet taxi ride away and went out for dinner twice at our favourite restaurant Waikiki. Waikiki is a lovely, friendly restaurant which does some unique eating experiences, you can cook your own meat on a metal sombrero hat, a stone and also in a fondue. On our first trip out for dinner we went with my parents and children and as enjoyable as it was it wasn’t so relaxing. Our second night was our childfree date night and we made the most of having a chilled night out and some cocktails. We took the children down in the day to see the sand sculptures on the beach and to see the local shops. The locals are so welcoming and really love children. I love how the Spanish people embrace family and don’t see children out in a restaurant at 8pm as a hinderance, but as something that is important for them to experience. I love taking my children out in the evening when abroad, and the children did a few 10pm late nights with Miss J falling asleep in the pushchair and Mr T flirting with any lady whose attention he could grab. He’s becoming a real heartbreaker with a love for blonde hair.

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Fillet steak cooked on a sombrero hat
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Long overdue date night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt my anxiety reduce, stress disappear and worry seem a million miles away. I slept a solid 8 hours a night and napped every day for a minimum of an hour. I ate well, didn’t care about diets and embraced being the fat mum in the stomach controlling swimming costume jumping in and out of the pool. I didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought of me and felt completely happy in my own skin and liberated. I loved myself and my family and squeezed every ounce of happiness I could from it. I laughed with my children, drank and giggled with my mother and held my husband’s hand with love.

Mr T
Mr T

The day we travelled back I turned 29 and I decided that today would be the day that it would all change for me. I would not look back and be sad for what I had missed, but would embrace everything I have to look forward to. I will love being a mother again, I will love my life and will not let the guilt consume me when things aren’t going to plan. Life is what you make of it and I plan to make so much more out of it for me and my family. I have drive, ambition and a head full of ideas and will do everything in my power to make our little family a success. Depression may be a part of me for a long time but it has shown me how to appreciate things again and I will not let it beat me. Fuerteventura has been the break and eye opener I needed to heal.

Miss J
Miss J

 

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The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually – Eeyore

Today it has rained none stop, Mr T is cuddled up to me, poorly and it’s just a bit depressing. I am stuck in, unable to move off the sofa, the washing is piling up, I have holiday clothes to wash and pack, but today it will have to wait. I hate the rain and how it makes everything seem so depressing.  I have such a fear when one of the children or me is sick as I know how easy it is for me to slip back into depression. Being stuck in a house with a poorly child, isolated, alone and unable to do the jobs that I need to be doing can be such a difficult thing for me and my wellbeing can suffer quickly. If I get into a habit of staying in and being isolated I then struggle to get out again and things can easily spiral for me and negative thoughts can creep in, but the best thing that has come out of my recent mental breakdown is that I can recognise this and put things in place to stop it snowballing. It’s hard when you have a small child who is sick and is demanding your time and attention and when you add the lack of sleep into the mix, it can quickly become too much.

I won’t always have postnatal depression, the house won’t always be messy, my children won’t always be small and hopefully won’t always be ill. Everything is momentary and just a small piece of time, we will move on and carry on as that’s what we have to do as humans. Be kind to ourselves, be honest with ourselves and don’t worry about tomorrow as tomorrow will come in its own time.

Mr T has eventually fallen to sleep and been placed in his cot and I can see the gently rise and fall of his chest. He looks so at peace, content, warm and loved. He is happy and right now and i’m all he needs.

The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually – Eeyore

The lonely mother and the working husband

 

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Mental illness

Breaking the stigma around mental illness

Yesterday I did something completely liberating and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I took a massive step and admitted on my Facebook that I am recovering from a mental breakdown. Some people may see that writing a status admitting this as attention seeking or even over sharing, but for me I think it’s so important to lift the stigma around mental illness. Anyone who reads my blog knows what I have been dealing with, but putting a status on Facebook is as subtle as standing in a crowded room and shouting it for everyone to hear.

The reasons why I have taken this bold move was because I can’t stand uncomfortable silences, they make me anxious and make me talk crap to fill them. I’m going to have to face going back to work on Friday after nearly a month off and would prefer knowing that everyone knows what has happened and they can either say nothing or if they want they can talk to me. By being honest and open I am telling people I am not scared of this and also this illness has not defined me. I am still Michelle, wife, mother of two sprogs, Technical Assistant and part-time blogger. Nothing has changed besides me going mental, recognising it and seeking help. Why should I hide that? Why should I be ashamed?

By being honest I have had so much from support and love from people who I really think has been key to my recovery. The more we talk about mental illness, the more people become comfortable and the more normalised it becomes. The more I’ve read into mental illnesses the more I’ve come to understand and appreciate it. The human mind is so much more complex than we know and they still don’t understand it completely.

1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year in the UK so for anyone to think now with the knowledge we have on this subject that it doesn’t exist or you can just get over it is just ignorant. I can’t just brush it under the carpet and pretend it is not there. It is part of my life and I am trying my best to overcome it and if I can help some people along the way, then that is even better.

Today I have been discharged from the CRISIS team at hospital and will be now having support through the community mental health team. I take medication every day and cannot see myself coming off these anytime soon and will be starting counselling in December. I have things in place to get better and I have support. I am confident that I can and will get better. Read steps to get help with postnatal depression

Finding happiness again

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To love someone with postnatal depression

To love someone with postnatal depression must be incredibly hard and exhausting at times and requires so much patience. My darling husband has really been my rock especially over the last 18 months and has been a constant cheerleader to me. He has seen me at my worse, he has seen me broken, he has seen me hate myself and has still been able to love me. I have screamed at him, taken out my frustrations on him, blamed him and cried on him and yet he still tells me he loves me. My postnatal depression has probably directly effected my husband the most as with my children I have hidden emotions and shielded them as much as I can. My darling husband has seen it all and seen me broken and I need to thank him for what he has done for me.

We met when I was 20 years old on a night out in a local pub and I’ve always said if it wasn’t for texting our relationship would never have taken off. My husband is not one with his words and is a listener not a talker, but his kind eyes and warm hugs have always made me feel safe and secure. We were young, carefree and spent most of our time in each others arms not caring about what was going on in the outside world, we had fallen in love deeply and my world was now centred around you. I’ve always wanted children and it was clear from early on in our relationship that my husband wanted this too and I knew he would make a brilliant father and husband. After three and a half years of dating me tied the knot in my local church and I was living the fairytale I had always dreamed of. Six weeks after our wedding I found out I was pregnant with our first child and I honestly couldn’t have been happier if I tried. We decide two years later to add to our family and Mr T made his appearance quickly after. Things weren’t the same this time though. I felt sad, tearful, anxious, depressed and lonely. I was unable to connect with you and I was pushing you away and I felt like I hated you for leaving me for work all day on my own. My life had been changed and put on hold and I felt you could escape this shit storm and still have your own life. I didn’t know how much I was hurting you and when at work all you did was worry about me.

My body had been ruined, my confidence and self-esteem had been shattered, but you still found the time to tell me I was beautiful and that you loved me. You would remind me that I was a good mother, even though I didn’t believe it myself and was consumed with guilt of not matching up to this perfect mother I had built up in my own head. Every night before bed you still cuddled me even though I edged away from you, you were patient, not angry or frustrated with me when you had every right to me. You have understood that I have been unwell and have been able to still love me, which makes you an incredible and kind human.

I owe you my life as without you I’m not sure how I would have survived this. I owe you my sanity when at times it has been sketchy, but you have reassured me that I am still me underneath it all. No one has every loved me the way you do and I promise you that no one else will either. Five years ago when you made me your wife and we said our vows I meant them, but today I know we both truly know what they mean and that we will never break them. I love you from the bottom of my heart and will forever keep fighting for us and our children.
‘I, Michelle, take you, Tony
to be my husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part,
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow. 13/08/2011

A letter to myself in the depths of depression

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I survived another week

I survived another week

I survived another week which was the hardest week of my life. Click here for last weeks blog post. Things have been tough to say the least, but after finally having things in place to get better and the support of my family and friends I finally can see a future again and make plans with my life. The biggest thing this week is that I’ve been able to get sleep and because of that I have been able to see things a lot clearer. I have forced myself out over the last few days to see some friends and do some stuff for myself and actually getting out, even though hard has made a huge difference. I’m still finding evenings hard especially with my husband at work, but I have now found ways to cope and keep busy.

The last couple of weeks I’ve felt extremely discounted from everything and unable to cope with daily life. I no longer cared about looking after myself and was only taking care of my children’s basic needs and leaving everything up to my husband as I was drowning in depression. I’ve felt like a complete failure as a mother and wife and been consumed with guilt which was eating away at me and making me more depressed. Mr T was refusing to feed from me which made me feel like an even bigger failure and that he no longer needed me in any way anymore. He was trying to latch on and coming off screaming like he couldn’t get anything and I was having to put him to bed crying, which really broke my heart. I think he was picking up on the stress as now I’m on new medication and getting sleep he’s back to feeding first thing in the morning and again at night. I’ve always cherished this time with him and its given me a purpose when I’ve been at my lowest. I know the day will come when he no longer needs this comfort from me and as long as it’s on his terms I will be happy for this journey to end.

Miss J has seen me cry over the last couple of weeks which I’ve hated her to see. She’s such a sweet and caring girl and has tried to make me feel better which has then again made me feel guilty as it’s not her job to make me feel happy. I have to remind myself that my daughter is a credit to me and her sweet caring side is from the way I have nurtured her and its something I should be incredibly proud of.  She has been more challenging than usual which I put down to her picking up on my depression and also her not being at school and being stuck in with me most days when I haven’t met her emotional needs. She’s back at school now and happy and I’ve made the most of story time and cuddles before bed with her. Miss J changed my life for the better when she was born in 2012 and made me something I had always wanted to be which was a mother. I really do love her with all my heart and thank my lucky stars everyday that she was given to me as she really has saved me.

My husband is not one with the words, but his actions always mean so much more to me. He has helped out so much with the children and showed me support and affection. He has built me back up and reminded me of how important I am to our family and has made me feel loved. I forget to give him the credit he is due and how important he is to me. My husband is my soul mate and for him to stick by me through all of this which has actually made us stronger is a massive two fingers up at postnatal depression.

I have had amazing support from the CRISIS team, my husband, friends, family, work and Facebook groups who have been there to listen to my fears, worries and have built me back up from rock bottom. without this amazing support system in place I can honestly say I’m not sure what would have happened to me. I was in a dark place and unable to see clearly or rationally and can honestly say I was scared for my own safety.

I am not cured and still have a long road, but I now know the support I need to get again if I ever to go back to that place. I will keep on fighting and will gain strength from this to become again the wife, mother and friend I was before, because I survived.

For support please have a look at Minds website

Taking a second to appreciate my children

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A letter to myself in the depths of depression

I know You really didn’t expect to feel like this and it’s caught you off guard, but please don’t be scared as I know how confusing this can be. Depression is hard, consuming, isolating, scary and painful, but you will get through it. I know you are struggling and you can’t see the light, but it is there. You will feel joy and happiness again and will be in charge of your mind once again.

You are blinded and consumed with fear and anxiety, but please listen to me when I say you are not alone. Please don’t hide, please don’t isolate yourself as there are people who want to help you. You might not see it yet but you do have a purpose and you’re loved so don’t think you are not. Don’t feel like your crazy and you’re losing your mind and that you’re slowly falling apart piece by piece as these horrible thoughts and feelings can only manifest if you give them power, which you no longer have to do.

You are stronger than you know, because to go through this battle you have to be. Sure, I know there is stigma and judgement around mental illness, but us survivors are doing all we can to get rid of it and we would love for you to come join us. Battling this disease is not something you need to do alone and I can assure you, that you’ll never be alone. We are here beside you, you can call us, visit us or find us online. We are here to help you and remind you that you have people around you who care and people who have beaten this. Let go of the worry about other people’s opinions as the only opinions that matter are your friends and you know that they care for you.

Please don’t be scared of the doctor or health visitor, they see this everyday and they know you’re not a rubbish mum, your mind is just a bit broken and needs help to heal. Don’t feel guilty for feeling exhausted as there is nothing harder than battling with your own mind on a day-to-day basis. I know you are struggling to bond with your baby and feel like you’ve let Miss J down, but you haven’t and they will never remember this, so please don’t beat yourself up. Please don’t let the guilt consume you any longer and learn to let go. It is doing you no favours and that guilt and self-doubt is keeping you prisoner and stopping you from getting better.

Tell your partner, friends and family so they can support you and if they don’t understand please turn to someone else for support. You’ll find the more you talk about it the more people you will find who have been through something similar. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem in their lives so please don’t feel like the odd one out. Things are going to get tough with prescription changes, doses increased and councillors, but you have got the power to conquer this. Some days you’ll feel like you’re back on track and then it will come out of nowhere again like a black cloud, but these days will get fewer and you will have more good days than bad and you’ll know that you have the ability to feel happiness again.

You’ve done nothing wrong and you didn’t deserve this. You will get better and you can battle this and in this progress you’ll see how strong you really are.

http://www.mind.org.uk

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