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.
For the first time in a long time I am finally feeling like I’m in a good place and I am ready to set myself some goals to complete throughout the year. Postnatal depression and anxiety has made me extremely reliant on friends and family to get out and about and I have found it almost impossible to do things on my own or with just my children. Even a trip to the local supermarket with my anxiety can be extremely overwhelming, but I’m ready to put my big girl pants on and start fighting back, so I can stop being limited enjoying my life. There is no better time than now for me to grab the world by the balls and start doing stuff for me again. I’m back in control of my life and will not be forced to sit on the sidelines anymore.
I am terrible for cancelling last minuet and it isn’t because I’m a bad friend it’s because of my anxiety. I over think every aspect of doing something, however small and find it so overwhelming and exhausting that I avoid it and hide away. This just makes things harder for me to get out the next time and stops me from doing something I probably would have enjoyed. The worse part is I feel my children miss out on so many lovely things because of my avoidance behaviour.
The first of my goals I’ve committed myself to is to see the lovely Vicki from Honest Mum at ‘Turn your passion into pounds‘ workshop in London. I’m so looking forward to doing this and planning to spent the day in London before to enjoy exploring. Going by train is something that has always caused me anxiety over the fear of getting lost and London I find quiet overwhelming, but I do love London and want to get out and explore.
I’ve been asked a few times to guest host, which is something I was very nervous about doing. I’ve always doubted myself and thought my content wouldn’t be good enough. I have now written my first guest post for mummyitsok and two more to write for two other amazing bloggers.
I am planning some trips with the children to go to some new places we haven’t been to before, not just for their benefit, but also for mine. It’s time to make some wonderful memories with these children of mine.
I really want to spend a weekend away with my husband. We haven’t stayed away anywhere since our honeymoon where I was 18 weeks pregnant and had terrible morning sickness. We’ve been married six years this August and I’m determined to do something with my wonderful husband.
I ended the year by joining the gym in November and I am happy to report (besides a Christmas break) that I am still going and enjoying the classes. I plan to keep doing this and would like to go at least twice a week. I had a real fear of going to the gym as I was scared of how unfit I actually was and how stupid I would look, but I’ve found it so rewarding and something I am honestly enjoying.
I would like a family holiday, if possible and if finances permit. I’m quiet happy for just a little break in England, but would love a trip for us together as a family.
Last year I started this blog at a very low point of my life through postnatal depression and I honestly didn’t think anyone would read it. Blogging has been amazing for my confidence and something I’m enjoying so much. Blogging isn’t just about writing good content and it takes up hours of my time each week, I’ve had to learn so much and still have so much more to learn, but I am keen to carry on and hopefully make my blog somewhere that people will want to keep coming back to.
I have a bad habit for starting to read books, but not completing them, This year one of my goals is to read at least one new book and month and finish it.
I am very keen to learn more about mindfulness and make it a part of my everyday life. After suffering with PND I’ve realised how important it is to look after you mind.
Just a few days left until I can say goodbye to 2016 and roll on 2017. 2016 has been so horrid for so many people I know and so many people I don’t. I do have some great memories, but unfortunately everything has been clouded in between. This year I did get to go on one of my best friends amazing Hen Party in Cambridge, then her fabulous wedding where I was a bridesmaid. I also got to go on two holidays and a few days break in England. I saw Miss J grow up and leave me to go to school for the first time and have subsequently watched her blossom and grow with confidence. I do unfortunately have many unhappy memories especially a particularly dark time in October, when I had a break down.
This year my confidence and self-esteem have been shattered and I have doubted myself as a parent and a wife. Postnatal depression brought me to my knees and caused me so much suffering, that I’m sure will have a lasting impact to me for years. Anxiety had ruined my day to day life and the depression had made me doubt everything I thought I knew about myself. I have been a pretty crappy mother and only met my children’s basic needs for much of year, consumed with my own battle.
I found my blog this year in September and found my own little space that was just for me. I have my own website where I can write whatever my heart desires. I read back through old blog posts and can see progress and I can make sense of my feelings whilst typing them out. Blogging has been my saviour in a world where I had no time for me anymore.
I know I can leave this year and hold my head high knowing I did the best I could in the situation I was in. I have let go of guilt, excepted that things don’t need to be perfect and that it is ok to not be ok. I have got my confidence back and I have learnt so much about myself in this year. I have always sought approval and still do to some extent, but I have also learnt that I need to love and look after myself before worrying about others opinions.
I am not one for resolutions, but this past year has changed me so much that I am willing to try new things. I plan to get fit, not lose weight, not starve, I mean get fit and lose inches and gain confidence. I will not being standing anywhere near my scales and will be committing to the gym. By getting fit I also mean mentally, I will be going for counselling, investing time into my self and caring about my wellbeing.
2017 I am ready for what you have to offer and ready to fight for my happiness. I will leave this post with a quote from the amazing late Carrie Fisher, who sums it up all so well.
I don’t feel particularly messed up. I’ve always been quite sane about being insane. Carrie Fisher 21/10/56 – 27/12/16
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.
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.
I am the selfish mother, which is something pre children I would have never dreamed of becoming. I make sure I have adequate time away from my children, I buy myself treats, I go to the gym and leave my child in a crèche. I am more than happy to book weekends away with friends and have nights out getting drunk and I feel no shame in this. I go to work and feel no guilt leaving my children for the day, as I get adult conversation and money to treat myself. I lock myself away in my bedroom whilst my husband watches the children so I can write my blogs or even sit on Facebook in peace. I even have long baths and leave my husband in charge of the chaos. I sometimes ignore my children and I don’t jump up for their every request. The playdoh and art supplies stay firmly in the cupboard and comes out if I can be bothered.
I am a selfish mother and that suits me fine. I spent so much time trying to give my children every ounce of me and the consequences were not good. I tried to do too much and I got to breaking point and wasn’t able to care for my children properly because of this. I will never become that emotionally and physically drained mother again as my children were not getting the best of me. For me to be a good mother I need to look after myself first so I can look after them. I am again enjoying being a mother and I am again capable of giving my children quality time that they deserve.
I used to force myself to take the children out constantly and felt guilty if they were stuck in whilst I had to do the housework. I used to spend every penny I had on my children’s clothes and shoes when I reality they didn’t need as much as I was giving them. I am strict on bedtime so I get my evenings to myself again, as this is my time and it is important to me for my mental wellbeing. My children are my priority, I love them dearly and their needs are met but I can be selfish whilst this is achieved. As a mother we are told we need to sacrifice everything, our bodies, our looks, our time, our friends, our money and that really isn’t fair. My husband has given up a lot to be a father, but he isn’t the one who has to drop everything at the drop of a hat if a child is ill, or plan his whole life around school pick-ups and after school clubs. I am the one that keeps this house running not because of my money I put in, it is because I plan every aspect of our lives to fit in and work perfectly. I had forgotten for some time to plan myself into this time for me to have a break, but I now am.
2017 will continue to be about me, my wellbeing, my happiness and the happiness pf our whole family. I deserve a break as much as anyone and I will take it.
The day is warm and the sun is shining bright, whilst a mother and her children walk along a country path. She smiles away, pushing her baby in his pram whilst her angelic three year old skips along side her. She has her make up on and a pretty summer dress and to the outside world she looks happy and content. She smiles when she walks past people and lovingly strokes her baby’s cheek as yet another old lady stops her to coo over this beautiful baby. Her life is complete as she has one of each and they are the most beautiful children she could have ever imagined, but why does she feel like this.
Behind the smile she is dying inside with pain. She wants to scream and shout, but she doesn’t think anyone can hear her. Maybe she could run away, but would the pain still follow her or maybe it’s best to end it now, so she doesn’t have to feel this pain anymore. She is consumed with guilt, anger and pain and she knows she is failing, but that make-up is hiding the bags under her eyes and is her mask to the outside world that she is doing ok. When people ask how she is, she always smiles and replies that she is fine, as she is too scared to tell them the truth. No one wants to know that she can’t cope and that everyday is a battle. Why would anyone feel the way she does with two beautiful children.
Her pain is invisible to the naked eye and she blends in like any other mum taking their little family out. She is isolated and alone and feels like she is battling this pain all on her own. No one knows that this is the first time she has left her home for a week or that she feels like a prisoner trapped in her own mind. She’s afraid and anxious that she will never feel happiness again. The anxiety has been building up inside her to force herself out and to not spend another day in that prison that used to be her home.
She finally gets to the shop and buys what she needs and heads back to her home. She made it out today, she kept the children alive, she survived and she continued to fight. Today she made progress and tomorrow she will be strong enough to ask for help.
I have been back home from holiday for almost a week and have been so worried about how I would stay positive, cope going back to work and having to get back into our normal routine. I’ve found that I can spiral quickly when things are on top of me and when I feel overwhelmed and with coming back to a house with a mountain of washing, school runs, catching up on jobs and going back to work I was unsure how I would cope. The first couple of days after getting back from our holiday I stayed in and just caught up on washing and jobs around the house, I wasn’t feeling very motivated as I’m sure no one is about washing, but I pushed myself to get it done. I find it so easy to get myself stuck in a rut and not going out of the house. On a Monday I now usually go to a gym class, but with Mr T being full of cold I was stuck in doors for the whole day which had then made me anxious and I struggled to stay positive about returning back to work the following day.
Miss J had her first nativity play this week as a towns person, which she has been very excited about. She’s been singing the songs all week and was so excited that me and daddy would be coming to see her. Unfortunately were not able to see her much in the nativity as we didn’t get great seats, but she saw that we were there and she loved it so that’s all that matters.
My sleep on holiday had been fantastic, I was getting a good 8 hours a night plus naps most days, but since getting home I’ve been struggling to unwind and sleep again. I felt so relaxed and calm on holiday and since I’ve been back I’ve felt like my mind is racing again. When I don’t get sleep my mood can be effected quickly and it’s something that had worried me. Last night I downloaded Headspace app which I have used previously to help me sleep. I’ve put a reminder on through the app every night at 11pm so I can go upstairs and listen to it in preparation to sleep. The sessions take ten minuets and they really are so relaxing and I always seem to be able to get to sleep quickly after.
Something else positive this week was going back to the gym yesterday. I tried out the body pump class and can honestly say that I loved it and will be back again next week. I ache so bad today, but am determined to keep up with the gym so I can lose weight, tone and also feel better in myself. Before my holiday I had been going to Zumba class on a Monday which I am also really enjoying, but unfortunately with Mr T being ill this week I had to miss it. I never thought I was a gym person and when I had joined other gyms before kids I soon got bored and stopped going. I think the key to this one is that I can go in the day when I have energy and they also have a crèche so by the time I’ve finished my class and had a shower Mr T is ready for his nap, so I can have some time for lunch in peace and we then can have a lovely afternoon playing. Mr T hasn’t been in a nursery yet so this time for him has been great for him to be away from me and to interact with other children in preparation to him starting nursery next month. I have also taken some horrid pictures of myself in my work out clothes to motivate me to lose this horrible belly and massive thighs of mine, I don’t think I’ll be sharing those with you though.
This morning we managed to have a bit of an epic fail. I got Miss J dressed for Christmas Jumper Day today and then realised half way to school that no other children were dressed besides mine and my equally silly friends two kids. We quickly ran back home, did a quick uniform change and promised that she could put it back on after school, when I realised I had locked myself into my house. We had our door fixed recently which wasn’t done very well as we now need to use the key to open it from the inside, but you can open it from the outside if it isn’t properly locked. In the frantic rush to get Miss J dressed I had managed to leave the keys on the other side of the door. Poor Miss J had to go out the window and broke a plant pot in the process, so she could open the door for me. We then eventually made it to school, dropped Mr T of quickly to my mum and managed to make it to work on time. Another thing on my list of things to do is to get the front door fixed.
My job for over the weekend is to start writing out a chores schedule, so we can all do our bit in the house to make it cleaner, more organised and taking away some of the stress of it all landing on my shoulders. My husband is fantastic as he works long hours, but to do anything he has to be told and he has a habit of leaving clothes, cups plates and sweetie wrappers all around the house. My husband like many others still lives like a teenager and with the children taking up so much of my time it’s his time to start chipping in. My darling husband you are no longer going to be picked up after and you are in charge of you own mess. Another job for me this weekend is to have a clear out whilst Miss J is staying with her nanny. I have made a start going through the children’s clothes and packing up a big bag to go to a local hostel for young mums. Tonight I will be making my yearly Christmas card and calendars for the grand-parents so I can tick off something else on my never-ending list. Getting the children to stay still and happy last night for pictures for the Christmas card was extremely frustrating (see blog post picture), until we discovered jelly tots. We eventually managed to get a decent picture through bribery and got the children hyped up on sugar just before bed.
I have my first appointment with the mental health community team next week to see what long-term help they can offer me. I’m so nervous about going, but I know it will be a hugely positive thing for me to have this support so I can continue to get better.
I have set my goals for the following week to stay positive and achieve what I can. Any achievement for me to improve even if only slightly is a huge step in the right direction. I will continue doing my affirmations everyday to make sure my head is in the right place.
Today has been one of those days. I have struggled from the moment I got up this morning with my anxiety and depression. I have felt fragile, like I could break any second. I have been questioning myself as a mother, questioning how much I actually love my children. Do they deserve better? Am I just hopeless? Do I not deserve joy and happiness?
Postnatal depression has reared its ugly head and has tried to crumble any kind of confidence I had gained, self-esteem, self-worth and has tried to plague me full of self-doubt, negative thoughts and guilt. I let it come in gradually and started to believe again what a terrible mother I am and how my children deserve better. I hate feeling like this and always having to battle every single day for my happiness or lack of it. I don’t want to be this person and I don’t want it to consume me and have control over me.
I forced myself like I do every day to go through my blog posts comments and started to feel an ounce of happiness again. For someone to say my writing resonates with them or it has helped them feels amazing and is a huge boost to my confidence. I’ve got to keep going and keep on writing as it really does help me so much.
As I was finishing replying to my last comment Mr T awoke and started to cry, so I went straight into his room and picked him up out of his cot and settled into the nursing chair. I could smell the smell of his warm dribble and stroked his messy hair, whilst I let him have his milkies. As he lay in my arms, latched on to me, eyes rolling back, I felt at peace, I felt like I had a purpose, I knew this is where I should be and what I am worth.
The fact that I have two beautiful children that love me unconditionally is amazing and my biggest weapon in fighting this horrible thing. These two people hang on to my every word, they cry for me, they want my cuddles, my kisses and my bedtime stories. I am everything to them as well and they are everything to me. I have a family who loves together, plays together and cries together.
I love unconditionally. I am unconditionally loved.
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
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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