I think I just beat depression

Every day I have woken up, depression has been there, hiding in the background, like a dementor draining all happy thoughts away. The other day I woke up, just like any other and got out the bed, had a shower, which was interrupted by a half asleep Miss J needing a wee. I dried off and settled down to do my make up with my children sat in my bed, cuddling and the TV on with cartoons. I stared at myself in the mirror and something had changed, had shifted and I didn’t recognise my own reflection. We pass through life often not noticing the small changes until it adds up and becomes a big change. As I stared at my reflection I realised the woman staring back at me was happy, I was happy, I had changed and depression had left me.

I had been so busy with life and our routines that I hadn’t even noticed that my depression had finally gone. I wasn’t just having the few odd good days anymore I was having most days which were good. I was able to wake up in the morning, deal with everyday stresses without crumbling under pressure. I am taking care of my children, going out with them, enjoying them and enjoying life. Life is no longer this foggy, dark, monotonous and painful existence, but actually a fun, happy and worthwhile existence.

My hard work had finally paid off and I had ridden the storm out. The positive thinking, mindfulness, reading and therapy had finally given me that light bulb moment. I was in charge of my own life and own happiness and I needed to make the changes to let happiness in. I had accepted myself and my flaws, let go of guilt and finally got my life back and it feels amazing.

I know that I will still have challenging days and that my depression could even come back, but I now have proof in my own life that things can change and turn around. You can reach rock bottom and climb back up to the top. You can make plans again, you can smile, you can still be you again. I had become me again, but better, I was more aware, kind, understanding and appreciative. I can see things from both sides and have great empathy for everyone going through their own personal battles.

What has depression taught me in these last two years? It has shown me that I am far stronger than I ever realised and deep down I am a kind person with a big heart. It has shown me that I am a fantastic mother, because even when I was at my worse I felt immense guilt about my children. Even in midst of it all I still fed, washed and cuddled my children even when I couldn’t take care of myself. I still protected them and shielded them the best I could. When I was struggling most I was still trying to be selfless to protect them.

This is just my battle and you shouldn’t draw comparisons if you are going through something similar. Everyone’s battle with mental illness is unique and has many variables. I was lucky as I always had a supportive husband next to me, I was able to pay to go privately to get the therapy I needed and I finally found an antidepressant that works for me. I am forever grateful to my husband who has stood by me, supported and loved me when I couldn’t love myself. His patience is admirable and his heart is pure and without him I couldn’t be the woman and mother I am today. I still have problems just like anyone else but I am in a place where I can work on them and become better, but for now depression can fuck right off.

 

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Mr T is turning two – Reflection

Mr T is shortly turning two and is no longer my little baby boy, but rather a tall toddler. Mr T has done well to holding onto his baby status for longer than his peers with his chubby cheeks, his late walking and reluctance to talk. If I’m honest I have loved keeping him a baby for longer and have savoured every second with my baby boy, but times are moving and he’s ready to graduate to a toddler. Mr T stopped having the boob last week, which makes him seem so much more grown up to me and has been surprising me daily with new words, he’s also had his first proper big boy hair cut which has turned him from cute to handsome.

Starting off Mr T had a bit of a rough time with horrible reflux and because he was a bit of a piggy and was still gaining weight the doctors weren’t concerned. He would scream all night and often go through five babygrows a night. I spent so much time googling and eventually found a pillow (babymoov cosydream) that helped him sleep in comfort and after many trips to the doctor I finally got some prescribed which helped. The reflux has finally stopped in the last few months and I no longer find puddles of sick around the house or him going blue and it’s one phase I am so happy to be out of.

I’ve always found Mr T to be more needy than his sister, he didn’t sleep well and always needed me around. I loved all the cuddled, but at times it was suffocating never having a second without him attached to me. Recently it’s all started to pay off and he’s finally found his independence to play and explore. Last week I managed to get him to stop breastfeeding, which was a huge step for us. I had planned to feed until a year like his sister, but we just kept going. I never thought I would be an extended breastfeeder, but I am now so happy I have. For the last six months he has only fed before bed so it hasn’t been an inconvenience, instead a nice part of our bedtime routine. Mr T has happily weaned and excepted that the milk has gone and I couldn’t be prouder of what a big boy he has become.

When I compare my two children I always feel a bit like he pulled the short straw having to divide his time with his sister and also having a mum who had postnatal depression. When the depression was at it worse I was forever blaming myself and letting the guilt eat me up about what a rubbish mum I was this time around. In reality I can now see, he was none the wiser to anything going on and I’ve done an amazing job over the last two years at being his mummy. The joys of coming out the other side is now seeing I did the best I could have done in the situation I was in and that is pretty amazing.

One thing that has shined in the last few months is Mr T’s personality, I really have a little comedian on my hands who will do anything to make someone smile. He really is a little sunshine and always such a happy little boy (besides when hungry), he actively is always trying to get people’s attention, just so he can show off how charismatic he is becoming. I’m certain he will be the class clown when he starts school and will keep us in stitches for many years to come. He’s honestly so engaging and I could just watch him for hours pottering about doing his little thing.

One thing that has always been easy with Mr T is his eating and something I am so grateful for after his ultra picky eater sister. I’ve always had that worry that he will also get more difficult, but ‘touch wood’ so far he is a real food lover. He was feasting on calamari and steak the other day and likes a good Thai curry.

All in all it’s been a good two years with Mr T, he has taught me so much and shown me such love and I can’t wait to watch his personality grow in the next year of his life. He is still called ‘The destroyer’ and doesn’t seem to be dropping that nickname anytime soon, but you have to admire his strong wilfulness. This boy will do great things.

 

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Accepting the past and moving forward

Like many people do I do struggle with accepting the past, my mistakes and the whole what I could have done differently struggle in my head. It’s human nature for us to over analyse and wish that we could change things. I for one have a few things from my past I wish I could change, mistakes I wish I hadn’t made and people I wish I hadn’t hurt through my actions. I am very aware that I am not perfect, will never be perfect and will probably still make mistakes in my future. I am trying to learn to let go of anger and sadness that my past has caused me and move on with my life in a positive and happier way. I have a tendency to beat myself up and be very hard on myself, especially when it comes down to my parenting, but for me to be a better parent I need to learn to let go of these feelings.

Postnatal depression was a real kick in the teeth for me after years of working to be the best parent I could possibly be to my first born. I took the diagnoses as a criticism of my parenting and was incredibly hard on myself. The guilt manifested and made the problem much worse, but at the time I couldn’t see that. I know I haven’t been the best parent at times, but then I also know that I loved them dearly and did the best I could in the situation I was in at the time. We are our own worst enemies at times and often our worst critics. Anyone looking through my Facebook or Instagram at the time of my diagnosis would never have guessed anything was wrong and would have been led to believe I had a happy, perfect little family. Social media and our outside face is not a true depiction of reality and we need to remember that we are not alone in our struggles. Everyone I know closely in life has their own struggles, battles and issues daily, as does everyone in the world. We need to be more conscious and forgiving of this. Someone’s actions one day don’t always depict a true reflection on an individual. Usually when we feel attacked in any way we become defensive and push that onto someone else, we criticise others, compare ourselves to others and even try to out do each other.

I am gradually learning to let go of my past. I am no longer blaming myself for things I can no longer change. I am giving myself a blank slate and starting fresh in a happier, more stable and positive mind-set.  I am a great parent, a loving wife, a loyal sister and a wonderful friend. The people I surround myself with are people I love, they understand me and they do not judge me. I have learnt to let go of friendships that are one-sided and others that are toxic. I accept others for their flaws and work my best at understanding their flaws as I hope they do with me.

Accepting the past and moving forward

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How i'm learning to accept my personality disorder

How i’m learning to accept my personality disorder

Recently I’ve been asked how I’ve been able to be so accepting of my borderline personality disorder diagnosis. I’ve sat back and thought openly on why I have accepted it and why I haven’t let it destroy anymore of my life. The answer is I have accepted it as for me a diagnosis was almost a relief to know why I acted this way, why I was so emotional unstable and why I was so impulsive. I’m not saying I love this diagnosis or I am happy to be like this, but finally in my life I feel I’ve learnt to understand a big part of my personality.

Borderline personality disorder has ruled my life since I was a teenager, but like many people I was unaware, I just assumed I was just a really emotional person and even at times I was a bad person. The thing with borderline personality disorder it’s not always bad, I feel emotions really intensely the good and the bad. At times in my life I have felt such overpowering, wonderful emotions of happiness and love. I have at times cried happy tears and have felt so happy, I feel euphoric and like I can do anything I put my mind too. The other side is that at times I feel the lowest of the low and have intrusive and suicidal thoughts, but now I know that I have borderline personality disorder I do know that these mood instabilities are only temporary and they will even back out again.

Like most people with BPD I also deal with depression and anxiety. These disorders are all separate, but are strongly linked together and play a big part. Before I was diagnosed with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child my anxiety had already been causing massive issues for me throughout my pregnancy. Once my son was born it was quite apparent that the PND was making my borderline personality disorder worse. At the time I had no idea that I had borderline personality disorder, but looking back I was emotionally very unstable and would sit holding my son feeling a rush of love and crying with happiness to then feeling resentment towards him and complete detachment. It was an emotional rollercoaster and it all came to head this January when I tried to end my life. I have now started to recognise my triggers, which unfortunately I cannot avoid, but I  can understand a little better why my symptoms of BPD are getting worse at times.

Most people also assume like I once did that BPD was for life and that you could never be treated for it. Only twenty odd years ago BPD was thought to be a lifelong condition with no treatment. BPD sufferers have a high suicide rate, around 1 in 10 people and for someone who suffers with it I can see why that number is so high. The most effective treatment for BPD is dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) which was created in the late 1980’s. DBT works in a similar way to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which works well for anxiety and depression. DBT in a nutshell is about accepting yourself as you are and making positive changes in your life. I won’t go into much more detail because if I am honest I really don’t know enough about it yet, as I am yet to start sessions. Knowing that there is a form of treatment does give me hope.

BPD has been a large contributing factor in me sabotaging goals in my life and that is why I have to write about it, as it is such an important therapy for me. Not only does it help me deal with my feelings, it potentially helps someone else, raises awareness and also keeps me focussed on a goal. So yes, I am accepting BPD as I have hope that one day I can say that I no longer have it and that I have overcome it.

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The little lost girl and finding herself through postnatal depression

The little lost girl and finding herself through postnatal depression

I have grown up always feeling like the little girl lost. I sometimes wonder if it’s through the way I’ve grown up, my personality or is it because of my borderline personality disorder. I spent my teenage years constantly trying to fit in and be some body I wasn’t, which I think is normal, even if it doesn’t feel it at the time, but as an adult I thought one day I would wake up and know what I was supposed to do. All minds are complex as our emotions, but my own mind I have struggled to understand and my emotions have always be chaotic and sometimes just unpredictable. Some days I have woken up not knowing what personality I will be that day.

I have bobed along for so long and done what I thought was expected of me. I have been happy, sad, excited and suicidal. I have loved life and hated life. I have had my heart-broken and I have loved with all my soul. I have understood the meaning of unconditional love and felt the pain of losing someone too young. I have lived, sometimes just surviving and I have been so lost of who I really am. Any dream I had ever imagined had always been crushed and I eventually learnt it was best not to dream.

I have always been good at seeing both sides of the story and can empathise with people whole heartedly. But at times I still feel like I should just follow the path that’s expected of me and not push past into the unknown. Since Mr T was born and having postnatal depression it has made me see my life in a new light. Going through hell and back I have questioned many things about life, my beliefs, my values and have worked hard at self-improvement. I don’t want to be the person I was programmed to me and want to be able to give more and get more out of life.

I am blessed to have met a husband who understands me and accepts me for all my flaws. He makes me stronger as I make him stronger, we are so different, but have the same ideas about life. He has opened my eyes and made me see things through a different perspective. He is the only man in my life who I have complete respect for as I know he has always had my best interests at heart.

Growing up I feel I haven’t been able to channel my energy well which left me as a teenager rebelling badly. I wasn’t just a naughty teenager I was off the rails for a few years. Into my adult life I continued to be reckless and often put myself in dangerous situations. I was just lost in life and didn’t know what to do with myself or what I wanted out of it. I was always desperate for a family, but besides that I had never looked at what would happen after that.

Getting pregnant with Miss J was the moment it all changed for me. I had always wanted the family life, the husband, the house, the children and the cat. I got it, I had what I had always wanted, but with the birth of my second and my tendency to self-sabotage anything that goes well, things started to become testing and I lost myself for a while. Postnatal-depression made me reevaluate my life and eventually figure out who I needed to become.

Mr T is almost 2 years old and I have now learnt how to be the mother of two children, have a work/life balance and let go of the expectations of me. I have learned to appreciate my children, not stress about the small stuff and to always have a dream. My dreams and goals may have changed a little over the years, but they still involve the same people and I am now certain that I can make these dreams come true.

I was lost for so long and now I am found. My story has many chapters left and I dream endlessly about the outcome. Postnatal depression sent me to hell and back, almost killed me, but it also woke me up to life, taught me to appreciate how precious every moment is and how we should not just exist and waste time. Everyday is a new day to grow and learn and I am thankful for that, I am thankful for life.

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Little moments of happiness

Little moments of happiness week 4

I’ve neglected my weekly post of little moments of happiness for the last few weeks as I have been a bit busy, I’ve also been really happy and haven’t felt the need for it. It is an important way for me to stay focused, so i’m back to writing it as we all know moods go up and down and it’s a good habit to get into. Little moments of happiness this week will reflect over the last three weeks, as it’s been a really exciting time for me.

  • I went away and spent some quality time with myself. Having a chance to reflect and be me again, did me the world of good.
  • Mr T has finally started talking to me. He’s stopped crying as much as is trying to communicate with me. It’s so rewarding to finally hear him ask for his drink or a cuddle.
  • I was tagged in a post for Internal Women’s day by the amazing Diaries of a diddy dictator, for being inspirational. It was the most overwhelmingly lovely post I’ve been tagged in for a long time. Thank you.
  • I went back to the gym after putting it off for weeks and felt so amazing afterwards. I’ll be back at it again this week.
  • I got my work mojo back. I finally feel settled back into work and feel like I am taking charge and doing my job well. It’s good to be back.
  • I had the most amazing afternoon tea in London with my mum and sister, We saw some amazing sights and laughed away the whole day. A blog post will be up in the next couple of days.
  • Miss J has been working so hard on her reading and read me the most lovely story the other day. She’s growing up so quickly and is such a wonderful little girl.

I will be taking note of all the little moments of happiness I had had in the next week to stay motivated and positive.

 

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Six months into blogging - Where am I now?

Six months into blogging – Where am I now?

The Muddled Mother is officially six months old today and these last six months have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I started my blog initially as a way to just write down what I was feeling and to try and make sense of it all through my battle with postnatal depression. I honestly had never thought about blogging before or really even read any other blogs myself. I thought of myself as pretty basic with my writing skills and knew I was pretty useless with my grammar and spelling (I’m sorry, I am trying). After publishing my first post I was actually shocked it was getting read and even commented on and decided to show a couple of my closest friends. The feedback I was getting was so overwhelming, positive and I actually felt good about myself for the first time in a long time. I got brave and decided to write a couple more posts and then decided to go public over Facebook. It was a huge leap for me to be so open and honest about my struggles, but I felt comfort that people could resonate with how I was feeling and I got plenty of messages from old friends, new friends and strangers who pushed me to become open about my struggles.

Blogging has been tough for me as it has left me rather exposed and has made me delve deeper into my own mind, this has left me emotionally exhausted at times and has caused me to have a couple of breakdowns and being put under hospital care. I have faced it all now and finally have the tools in place to get better. I have had problems with my mental health since my teenage years and writing about it has helped me open up and not supress these emotions. I think my postnatal depression was basically everything I had supressed for years finally exploding and I had to finally deal with it.

In January after another breakdown and visit to hospital I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. To have this mental illness labelled on me was pretty scary and something I knew nothing about, but with time, reading and understanding I have accepted it. The diagnoses does actually make sense to me and I am learning skills to deal with it, so I can make my life easier. I am optimistic about the future and have decided my mental illness with not define me.

These last six months I have learnt so much about myself, the good and the bad. I have a new found respect for anyone dealing with mental illness and have become much more open minded. I’m pretty happy with the person I am becoming and plan to continue working in a positive way to help lift the stigma around mental illness.

So six months in and I now have a DA score of 20 (this won’t mean much unless you are a blogger), which I am so happy with. I’m around 715 in Tots 100 as of last month and I have over 3000 followers across social media. I am happy with these stats, but I still have plenty to improve on. I try and average out 2 blog posts a week plus one review, which I find doable and not too stressful. If I don’t want to write for a few days or a want a week off then I do. I am starting to do reviews which I really love doing as it’s part of one of my skills in my proper job and to get paid to do it is always a massive bonus.

The next six months I have many other plans for my job and will hopefully starting the tax year with a self-employed income. I will continue writing about mental illness, my struggles, parenting and hopefully a few more recipes (one of my other skills from my work). I am still considering possibly doing a little bit of vlogging toy reviews with Miss J.

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, comment and share. Your support, kindness and understanding has meant so much to me. Here is to the next six months!

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Returning back to being mum

Returning back to being mum

For the last few days I have been away with my mum and sister for a girls holiday, we’ve had no children and no men to deal with and this break has been just about us relaxing and enjoying each others company. A few weeks ago I was in a very dark place mentally and had hit rock bottom and me and my family have done everything possible to try to build me back up and also get the help I need so I don’t ever get to that place again. To say that it has been challenging is an understatement, it has taken lots of courage, strength and determination to get myself back and this holiday has been everything I have needed to help with this process.

I lost my identity with becoming a mum, I by no means didn’t enjoy becoming a mum, I actually loved it, but I found it challenging to be anything but mum. My life was whole heartily focused on my children and I felt tremendous guilt at the thought of putting my needs first. I found it so hard trying to identify being a mum and also a wife, also a worker and also the person I was before mum. I forgot that I had needs too and that I still deserved to fulfill my ambitions, dreams and goals as I had before my children. I know I am not the only one who feels this way after becoming a mum, but for some reason men don’t seem to feel this guilt and I wish I could switch it off too, but then I wouldn’t be the mother I am today.

Being a mother has defined my identity over the last five years and since my diagnosis of postpartum depression 18 months ago, again I have found that has defined me. With the recent diagnosis of borderline personality disorder I am very much aware that this could to define me again as a person. All these things are very much a part of me and something I am not ashamed of, but I need to learn to be me again whilst including these parts and letting them work for me by becoming a better person.

I have focused my attention on myself recently and have been making positive steps to heal, I am taking time for myself, putting my needs first and being mindful. Mindfulness is something I am still fairly new to, but I wish I had tried it years ago as it really is the answer to finding peace in a hectic world. I am setting goals for myself which are achievable to focus me and keep me motivated. I am being kind to myself and reminding myself every step of the way of the progress I have already achieved. I am learning to not let negative feelings linger, to question them and disprove them, I am working constantly to be a happier and better person and I know I am achieving that just by knowing I needed to change and putting the effort in to do so.

I am stronger than I ever thought I was and I know I’m a pretty good role model to my children. I am showing them to never be ashamed of who you are and that you can work to be the best possible version of you. I’m teaching them patience, kindness, love and imagination and I think that makes me a pretty good mum. I know I’m not perfect and I’m sure I never will be, but I have fought hard to get to where I am today and will continue to fight every step of the way to be my best possible self. I am ready to return back to being mum.

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Little moments of happiness week 3

Little moments of happiness week 3

I’m onto my third week of little moments of happiness, where I try to focus on what little things have bought me happiness this past week. I was expecting this past to be particularly challenging with having my daughter off school for the week and my husband working 12 hour night shifts 7 days straight. This week went surprisingly well and not only did I manage to keep everything together I also enjoyed every moment with both my children. I really hope this means that I am turning a corner and that the happiness continues.
  • A very hectic, but enjoyable lunch with a few friends and children, whilst the children played in kids area. We spent over three hours chatting away and Tristan only rugby tackled his best friend once.
  • My appointment with my new psychotherapist went really well and it’s something I think that will really help me.
  • I’ve been approached to do a collaboration for a new app which teaches you tried and tested techniques to manage stress and how to optimise your coping mechanisms. I’m really excited to try this and also review it and will be sharing with you a discount code for a months free subscription.
  • I went back to work. I was waiting for the anxiety to build up and the sleepless nights start to follow with the anticipation of going back to work, but my anxiety seems to have disappeared. I’m hoping it’s to do with my antidepressant increase and it stays this way. Anxiety has plagued my life so much it’s like a ton of bricks being lifted from my shoulders. It was great to get back to the routine of work and get away from my home.
  • Meeting up with my sister-in-law and watching our children play. We had a great couple of hours watching Miss J run around like a manic and Mr T’s big cousin was playing beautifully with him.
  • I took both children to Tescos and came out with everything I needed and managed to stay sane in the process. Both my children decided to sit in the trolley (even though Miss J is almost five) and were well-behaved. A trip to Tescos would normally fill me full of anxiety with only one child with me.
  • Me, my husband and Miss J had a great game of Star Wars the other night with my daughters new lightsaber. unfortunately for my husband it was girls against boys and get got a bit beaten up.
  • Mr T has been suffering with his teeth the last few days and on Saturday night he curled up in my arms and slept like a newborn whilst I watched TV. It was the most amazing feeling his weight on me, snuggled in close.

This week I am back to work three days a week and plan to start back at the gym. I am feeling positive and motivated.

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Little moments of happiness week 2

Little moments of happiness week 2

This is my second week of little moments of happiness where I try to remember all the little moments of happiness I’ve had in the past week to try to keep me focused and positive. To be honest this week has been horrendous and emotionally draining (read about my week here), but by writing down little things during the week which have made me smile, it shows even in the most awful week I think I’ve had, I have still done things that have made me smile. People who haven’t dealt with depression often assume that to be depressed that you cry all day and never smile, which for me isn’t true. I have cried far too much this week, and have felt like I’m trying to stay afloat in a river with a brick tied around my foot, but I have still smiled, laughed and I can reflect back now and see the little moments of happiness that will lift my spirit and I hope yours.

  • A walk with my husband and son around the park to feed the ducks, having a play on the swing and enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake outside. I also managed to get some lovely pictures.
  • My Tots 100 score moving up 455 places to 727. I might still have a long way to go, but I’m really happy how well my blog is doing considering it focuses on such an uncomfortable topic for many people.
  • A few weeks ago I made plans to make a goals/mood board and this week my board was delivered and my husband hung it for me. I plan to add lots of stuff to keep me focused, make me smile and inspire me. I asked my daughter (4.5 years) to draw a picture of our family to be our centre piece for the board and every time I see it, it fills me full of love.
  • I’m very lucky to have some amazing friends around me and for the last 7 years or so we’ve done Friday fajita nights around each other houses when we can all get together. We don’t do it as often, now we have so many children and commitments between us and we’ve upgraded from doing a picnic on the floor in our small two bedroom houses to now our family homes complete with a dining table. With everything that can be wrong in your life in that moment, getting together with friends and having a gossip, everything is all right with the world again.
  • The final thing this week that really made me smile was seeing a sprinkle of snow. unfortunately we didn’t get much, but for a short while it was coming down thick and fast and me and the children ran around playing outside. It felt like the slate was being cleared and it was a chance to start over.

This week is half term and my husband starts a week of nights which I always find challenging, but I have plans to get out and about and will start back at work on Friday. I feel like I’m turning a corner and am doing everything to stay focused on the main goal ahead, which is to get better for my family.

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