Learning to communicate emotions

I thought I would write a post on something I am trying to learn to do with my therapist to hopefully give me a better understanding and also help others. Something I think many of us struggle with daily is how to communicate emotions and trying to change the way we think and do things, especially when we are creatures of habit it can be quiet difficult to learn to do something in a different way. For me to learn I find the best way to do it is to write it down in my own words, so this is what I am going to try to do.

We are taught from a young age to hide our emotions and often our emotions are invalidated. Do you remember at times as a child when you would cry and were told by your parents or even a teacher you were over reacting to your emotion. I know I have even told my daughter at times this and have even said she’s acting like a baby or being silly, which could affect her negatively. This behaviour is not helpful to a child or adult as it is basically invalidating them and teaching them hide their emotions. We all know if you suppress emotions eventually they build up and then they blow out of proportion to the actually trigger. I have a tendency to shout and cry at the same time when my emotions boil over and it can happen pretty often. I think the stiff upper lip of us English people is still so prevalent today where emotions and feelings are still often dismissed, but as we become more aware me know that this isn’t helpful for our wellbeing and things are beginning to change and people are becoming more mindful.

What I am trying to learn to do is communicate my emotions better and notice them more. I am a highly emotional person thanks to my borderline personality disorder and I want to recognise and communicate my emotions better. I find it easy to write about how I feel and I think that’s why I’ve found blogging so therapeutic, but for me to talk face to face I struggle to explain and that is something I need to work on.

Out of habit I also seem to suppress emotions and not show how I really feel which impacts me mentally. I have felt hurt and betrayed and never spoken up over fear of being told my feelings are not validated. I need to learn to own my own feelings and emotions and find a healthy way to communicate them.

This concept all comes down to mindfulness, which is all about being conscious of the present moment, are thoughts and feelings and others around us. It improves mental wellbeing so we can enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. A quick exercise I have learnt is to concentrate on your breathing, this is such an easy concept and something you can do almost anywhere. To do this all you need to do is focus on your breathing, breathe in for five seconds and then breath out for seven seconds. It immediately makes you focus on just your breathing, something we do all the time without a conscious thought, it relaxes and re-centres you and you can do it throughout the day to bring moments of calm.

We can learn to understand our emotions and use them in a more positive way to become more conscious and happier people. Emotions are not bad and not something we should feel we need hide and not something with should try to make our children hide. Once you learn how to communicate your emotions in a healthier way I believe life will be more rewarding, relaxing and you will feel better and more in control of your life. You are the manager of your life and you are in charge.

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New year and a new start

A New Year and a new start

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.

Mr T turned 1 this year.

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.

In Cambridge at one of my best buddies hen party.

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.

My favourite family picture of the year when I was a bridesmaid.

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

 

 

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I am the selfish mother

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.

 

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Loving myself and happiness that I deserve

Something that I’ve really struggled with all my teenage and adult life is loving myself. I have always had a low opinion of my self and lacked confidence, but with postnatal-depression my self-esteem really took a bash. Not only did I not like the person I was, I was also doubting myself as a mother and how good of a parent I actually was. I am currently trying to build my self-esteem and confidence to become the person I want to be. It’s all about believing and knowing what you deserve and I know I deserve happiness. I know some days will be hard and some days I will struggle to believe in myself, but it’s all about picking yourself back up and not letting those feelings linger and not letting them work their way in so you believe them.

I’m finally feeling well enough to enjoy parenting again and am able to appreciate my children. I can now feel emotions of love and happiness and not just pain and sadness. My children are my main focus through this and I need to get better for them not just myself. I need to love myself so they can grow up knowing how to love themselves. I need to be the role model my children deserve and the support for them when they need encouragement.

I am taking this time to focus on myself and putting my needs first. I am no longer doing things just to make others happy. I am looking after myself, I am taking the time for long baths in peace so I can unwind and relax after a day, going to the gym so I can feel healthier and doing something for myself, writing my blog as its therapeutic and puts things in perspective, taking time to do my make up and hair so I can feel more like me and occasionally treating myself to something I want and not just need. I have dedicated 18 months of the last five years growing humans and 2 1/2 years breastfeeding them and it’s my turn to be a little selfish and start focusing on myself. I have given everything I have to my children and can no longer give as much, unless I start looking after myself. I am Michelle and not just mum and need to focus on what makes me happy from time to time.

These last 18 months have been extremely hard on myself, but they have also been enlightening. I have learnt so much about myself and why I am, the way I am and what makes me act in certain ways. I know I will never been perfect and I am letting go unrealistic expectations and starting my life as a new blank page. I am fortunate that I feel love everyday from the family that I have helped create and I am rich in so many ways besides wealth. Life is good and my happiness is reachable.

 

 

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Another positive week with some challenges

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.

 

 

 

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Fighting depression with unconditional love

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.

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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.

 

 

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Finding happiness again

Finding happiness again

My task for this week is to find happiness again. I feel like I’m now ready for a few challenges which I know will make me feel better so I can get back to work as soon as possible. My biggest worry this week is being weaned off the medication I was on to help me relax and sleep, but I’m hopeful that I can do it if I have other things in place to make me happier.

Affirmations are something that do work from experience but over the last few weeks I’ve neglected them completely as I’ve been stuck thinking negatively, but I am ready to start these again. See a post I’ve written about affirmations click here . Something else I am starting again is my head space app which from experience has really helped me unwind before bed and clear my head. I find that with my anxious thoughts my mind races at 100 miles per hour and I really struggle to switch off and fall asleep, so I need to again adopt a calming bedtime routine to help stop this.

I’m planning on visiting a gym tomorrow which is local and has a crèche so at least on my days off I can have some time to myself and get fit at the same time. We all know how important endorphins are to make us feel happier so I think if I do a couple of classes a week to start with like Zumba and Pilates Its time to myself, gets me fit, I feel better and I’ll hopefully lose some pounds.

I treated myself to a lovely organiser a few days ago from Paperchase http://www.paperchase.co.uk/ which I am hoping will make my life easier. I have a terrible memory especially with my medication so I thinking if everything is written down and scheduled in it will make me more likely to complete these things. I have a habit of cancelling on things at the moment as my anxiety and depression make it hard for me to get out.

A massive achievement this week for me has been to schedule my first counselling assessment on Tuesday which I know is going to be incredibly difficult, but its something that needs to be put in place so I don’t go back to where I was before and I know the long-term benefits will definitely be worth it.

I am back on Slimming World this week and will be eating plenty of fruit and vegetables as after a 4.5ib gain last week I’m feeling pretty rotten. I gained as I didn’t care and ate what I wanted to try to get some comfort, but I know this isn’t effective as at the time it might be nice and feel good to indulge, in the long-term it makes you feel guilty, sluggish and your jeans tighter. I need to get healthier for my own mental wellbeing as well as my health and stop using food as a coping mechanism. Check out my tasty slimming world soup recipe click here.

I have become guilty of palming my children off to the TV and tablet over the last couple of weeks as I haven’t been able to connect with them emotionally in my depressive state. TV is great and I have no issues with them watching it but they need a healthy balance. This week I’m going to focus on getting on the floor and playing with them, having the time to listen beyond their basic needs and laughing with them. Children can be the best medicine and without mine I would struggle so much more to get better as they really do bring me so much happiness.

Blogging has been a huge help for me to see things clearly. Writting everything down and reading it back is an amazing therapy and something I will be focusing on again, as it brings me lots of happiness. My mind last week was blank for ideas and it was something I just didn’t want to do, but finally now I’m sleeping again I’m getting some ideas again on what to write and I hope that continues.

Last week me and a friend went to Y spa which is local to us and I’ve visited many times before. If I’m honest I really didn’t want to go and have to face anyone, but my lovely friend arranged it all and forced me out the house and I’m so grateful she did. I had a lovely relaxing, child-free time and managed an hour-long nap on the heated water-bed. I had a fantastic facial and scrummy lunch and felt like a new woman when I left. I think spa trips should be compulsory to all mums every couple of months.

This week I’m going to be focusing on me and my happiness and doing things for myself again because if I’m not well I’m not going to be able to be the best parent I can be for 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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Embracing the rubbish parent inside us all.

Since having postnatal depression and thinking I was the worst mother in the world something amazing has happened. I’ve actually for the first time in my life stopped caring about what others think of me. I am so liberated that I am finally at a stage in my life where I am comfortable in my own decisions as a parent. I have stopped judging others by their parenting choices and am very much in the mind set that you do what ever you have to do to get through the day and be happy.

I felt so much pressure as a parent to be the perfect parent, but by trying that I was unhappy, alone and failing in every aspect. Having to revaluate my whole beliefs and ideas after making the change to be more consious of my mind, I know have this freedom that I once didn’t. When  I go to the school playground I know some people will not like me and I honestly no longer care. I do not live in a big house and have a fancy car and I’m no longer ashamed of that. I have so much more of value than material things and every day I feel blessed to be married to my soul mate and have two beautiful children with him, but believe me when I say that he and the kids can be right idiots at times.

I love facebook and Instagram but now I’ve realised how I too crop a picture so it looks it’s most perfect. Who’s bribed an older child with sweets to take the perfect picture with their sibling? Who has chucked a dirty nappy in the corner so it doesn’t ruin a perfect photo opportunity? No one’s life is perfect as soon as we remember that we realise how much better ours really is.

 

A great example of a picture where sweet bribes have been exchanged.

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