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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A letter to my sister

A letter to my sister

My darling sister you have taught me so much and I am forever grateful for your guidance, your hand to hold and shoulder to cry on. You have seen me at my highest of highs and lowest of lows, but one thing you have never done is judged me. We are so different in looks and personality, but we are wired the same, we get each other, we feel each others pain and a simple look into each others eyes and we know what we are thinking.

As little children I always admired you and looked up to my big sister, even when you dared me to drink vinegar or blind folded me and gave me Marmite to eat. We spent many an hour playing Barbies engrossed in our games and only needing each other for companionship. As we got older and we moved house we found lots of our own friends which we offend shared and we were still never far away from each others side.

One day you grew up and you found boys and I was just the little, embarrassing sister who was cramping your style. I would go into your room and nick your clothes and borrow your make-up and we had many an argument that mum tried and failed to referee. We still loved each other deeply, but often hated each other, but I still knew you would do anything for me. I remember how you stuck up for me and how fiercely you would protect me when I was having problems with other girls at school.

I soon over took in you in height and I became your clubbing buddy. We were a force to reckon with on a night out and would always get free entry, free drinks and straight into the VIP area. We nicked each others clothes, gossiped about boys and spent Sundays hungover in bed together watching the Hollyoaks omnibus. Boyfriends came and went but we knew that we always had each other.

The day eventually came when you were big enough to stand on your own two feet and you flew the nest leaving me behind and I felt lost in this house without my sister in the next room. Things weren’t all bad as I did manage to steal your en-suit bedroom though and I had your amazing flat to hide out at as our drinking pad before our nights out.

Not long after we both fell in love and had our own homes, I got engaged, married and pregnant and an engagement soon followed for you. Your husband became my brother I never had and my husband became yours. The dynamics of our friendship had changed, but the bond had never changed.

I gave you the gift of becoming an auntie and you fitted into the role so well. You adore your niece and nephew and helped me through my labours, close to my side, supporting me. Your gifts to my children have always been thoughtful and generous and even though you have a highly demanding job you have been there when I’ve needed you most.

Through my struggle with postnatal depression you have been the person battling my corner, supporting me, helping me and understanding me. You have never judged me, made me feel guilty or worthless and for someone with out a child of your own you have shown such empathy and understanding.

I just want to tell you that I love you unconditionally, respect you wholeheartedly and admire you admirably. You will always be my first ever friend and the roots that keep me grounded. Thank you for all you have done and for loving me when I wasn’t able to love myself.

 

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I can fight mental illness

I can fight my mental illness

I came to the conclusion this afternoon, after waking up from a very sleepy drug induced hangover, that I can fight this mental illness and I can survive it. Last night I became very close to the edge and had given up on all love and hope and was numb to feeling anything but pain. In my troubled mental capacity I was unable to think of anyone else or even care.  All I cared about was stopping the overwhelming feeling of pain that was submerging my whole body. I could have chosen life, but with no strength left in my body or mind I instead reached for a cocktail of medication. I poured myself a large drink and sat back and let the feeling or something besides pain soak over me. I had escaped the pain and was able to not think or care about anything else.

I can fight mental illness

Much after is a blur, but I know I was taken into A&E by the police and paramedics and immediately but on drip and I fell asleep. When morning came and I woke up in an unfamiliar ward, needle in my arms, ECG wires on my chest and still wearing my clothes from last night I felt so scared. and immediately tried to dissociate. I had no memory of what had happened to me and I felt sick, exhausted, disoriented and my stomach hurt. The overwhelming feelings of guilt crept in and I cried for everyone I knew I would have hurt. In the darkest of times I decided to not fight and I decided to give in to the evil negative thought. The thoughts of if I would have been successful, how much damaged I would have caused to my family made me feel so ashamed of my actions. As naive as it sounds when I took all those pills I knew it might kill me, but I didn’t see how that would impact my family.

I was told today by someone from the crisis team that the worse possible thing for me is to be sectioned as I have borderline personality disorder. He told me I was already living on a knife-edge and my emotions were not strong enough to go into one of those places. I went home this afternoon and slept some more and got to see my children again. See there faces broke my heart knowing how I had nearly betrayed them and taken away their mother. As Miss J would say when upset with me ‘I had broke our love’.

I don’t want my children to grow up without me, I don’t want them to blame themselves for my selfish actions. I want my children to be shown love and affection which I know I am capable of. I will fight this every single day, accept any therapy. This will not beat me, I can fight it. You have got to reach rock bottom, before you can get back up and yesterday was my rock bottom. I have so much more to give and so much more fight left in me. I will not be beaten.

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little moments of happiness

Little moments of happiness week 1

When dealing with depression it’s easy to look back through a week and think that you’ve done nothing and nothing has made you smile. This last week I’ve been writing down little things that have made me smile so I can look back through and realise that there is always something positive to reflect on and moments of happiness to cherish.

Here is a little list of things that have made me smile this week:

  • Miss J sitting and doing row, row, row the boat with Mr T. Whenever I see these two do something sweet together it makes me so happy as it was such an adjustment for Miss J when she became an older sister.
  • A trip to Ikea. I love a good shop around Ikea and buying things to make my house seem more organised always makes me feel a bit better. Meatballs always help too.
  • A visit from a friend and her son. One of my old work friends came over with her son in the week which was great to have a catch up and lovely to watch our boys play together.
  • Sleeping. Besides last night with Miss J waking up many times in the night I’ve actually slept well and stayed off my phone at night.
  • Reading a book that I enjoy. I decided this week I needed to pick up a book and have a read before bed that wasn’t a self-help book. I looked through my bookcase and picked a book out that I’ve had for around 8 years and only ever read the first couple of chapters. The book is called Harvesting the Heart By Jodi Picoult and is about a young lady struggling through the demands of having a young family to look after. This book couldn’t have been more appropriate for me to read right now and I think it’s amazing how I picked it up out of a full bookcase with no memory of what it was about.
  • Reading to my children. I always read to my children every night separately, but a couple of nights ago I managed to get both my children on my lap and read them both a story. There was no shoving and they both sat still and listened. These moments when they get on are sometimes few so I know when to cherish them.
  • New clothes for Mr T. I love dressing Mr T up, but now he’s almost two I’ve found the clothes on offer a bit blue and boring. I went to John Lewis and managed to find some lovely bits for Mr T which have got me excited about the prospect of spring around the corner.
  • A walk to the park. I didn’t want to go out and leave the comfort of my home, but I was forced to go to the park and feed the ducks. It started off stressful with Mr T having a tantrum and not walking the right way, but eventually I learned to relax, enjoy the sun streaming through the clouds and I was able to embrace my children, covered in mud enjoying life and full of happiness. Mr T was a complete dare-devil on the slide.

Yesterday I hid away all day and felt pretty sorry for myself so this week I want to focus on getting out for walks and remembering to take my camera with me. Join me next week for my moments of happiness.

 

 

 

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and SMART goals

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and SMART goals

I tried cognitive behavioral therapy back in April last year, it was focused on my anxiety and I did find it helpful to find some coping strategies to start getting out and about. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talking therapy that looks at the interaction between our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours. When we start challenging these thoughts we are then able to deal with the problem and help change negative thought patterns.

Last year in October I was under crisis team care for my postnatal depression and was refered to cognitive behavioral therapy and on Monday after a long wait I had my first session. This time we are focusing on my postnatal depression so I can help rationalise my negative thoughts. unfortunately I am under crisis team care again as things began to spiral again without any kind of support from November to January and I now have a second diagnosis of borderline personality disorder which I will start a therapy for afterwards called dialectical behavior therapy.

This week I have the task of questioning my thoughts which isn’t as easy as it might sound. For example when I wake up in the morning and my thought is that I don’t want to get up as I know it will be a bad day, my emotion will then be feelings of being down and depressed, which then affects my behaviour and makes me not want to get up or get dressed and my physical symptoms will be tired and tearful. I need to learn to challenge these negative thoughts so I can have more positive emotions and behaviour. It’s going to be a slow process, but I know this therapy works I just need to put the time and effort in.

Something else this week I will be starting is my S.M.A.R.T goals which stands for:

S – Specific goal

M – Measurable goal

A – Achievable goal

R – Realistic goal

T – Time bound goals

I’ve set myself a few goals I wish to achieve in the next month and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I will be able to add more to it.

My S.M.A.R.T goals so far are:

  1. Write a weekly blog post of everything I have enjoyed the previous week. I have been writing down any little small things I have enjoyed this week, a text from a friend, a lunch out etc so I can reflect and see the small positives in the week I have had.
  2. Turning my phone off at 10pm. I am so guilty to playing about with my phone up to the second I want to go to sleep and I find my brain is still running 100 miles per hour. We all now know that blue light is bad for us and stimulating our brains so by 10pm my phone turns off and I pick up a real book (not my kindle) and read for an hour. So far this has worked so well and I’ve actually been getting to sleep much earlier. As a person I require a good 8 hours sleep and without it my mental health quickly starts to deteriorate.
  3. After a couple of weeks off from the gym my next goal is to start going back to the gym for one class a week. I would like this to be two classes, but I am being realistic and not adding the pressure. If I do one class a week I will be happy. Exercise is great at making us feel better and it’s something I need to build into my weekly routine again.

Another thing I plan to start doing in the next week is to start making a goals/mood board. This was suggested by an old school friend of mine and it’s something I am keen to start once my Amazon order arrives. This will be a bright visual board that I can look to for inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

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Parenting through the tough stuff

Parenting through the tough stuff

I never knew how tough it would be to be a parent until I became one. I was naive before children and thought it was something I would find easy as I was certain I had maternal instinct. In truth the maternal instinct kicked in straight away and I learnt quickly how to nurse with minimal nipple on display, how to pull a vest down rather than over after an explosive poo and how to ninga move out of a sleeping babies room. That stuff is hard to some extent and takes time to learn but parenting is so much harder than I could ever had imagine and something no one could have really prepared me for.

Parenting through sleep deprivation is hard. I have had to function on little to no sleep many times. I have been so tired I have walked around like a zombie unable to complete the easiest tasks like adding orange juice to tea instead of milk. People always assume you are most sleep deprived with a newborn which can be true and you tend to get some sympathy, but when you have a 2 year old who won’t sleep because of his teeth unfortunately you are own your own and just have to suck it up.

Parenting whilst adding an extra child. I thought it was tough, but manageable when I had one child. I could still get the washing done, have a shower and do my make-up with just a little juggling. When you have two or more there is no rest bite in between and they have a tendency to tag team you. Mr T is great at destroying something just as his sister needs to help having her bum wiped after a poo. Some days I literally feel touched out by having constant contact with one little person and I feel like hiding in the kitchen cupboard, unfortunately that is not an option as I’m too fat.

Parenting through sickness is bloody tough. My children have a knack at throwing up directly down my top so my bra catches it, coupled with Mr T doing an explosive poo and me being sick myself, things can be a bit minging and extremely exhausting when you are ill, but when you have children sick too is just relentless.

Parenting alone is something all us mum’s have to do to some extent but lots do it every single day, with little, to no break. I can’t comment on being a single parent as it’s not something I have been, but I can comment on the loneliest of having a husband who works twelve hour shifts, often nights. I have spent many a long day with the children just wishing he was there to take over for ten minuets so I can have a quick shower without my daughter watching, commenting on the size of my big wobbly bottom. It can be extremely isolating and the best way to deal with it is to complain with other mummy friends through play dates and the powers of social media.

Parenting through a mental illness is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do. Dealing with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child was really tough and something I am still struggling with now 20 months later. On days I feel emotionally and physically weak, I still have to get up, still need to feed the children and still be a mum. I can’t just take the day off or hide under my duvet as much as I want to. I have hidden in a locked bathroom more times than I care to remember with tears pouring down my face, wondering how I will make it to bed time, but I always do.

Through the days of tough parenting I try to remind myself that I have a 100% success rate of completing these days. I have survive and I will continue to survive these days.

 

 

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Life is trying to make me stronger

Life is trying to make me stronger

For anyone following my story will know I had a breakdown last October and ended up under Crisis team care after becoming very close to ending my life. I was discharged in mid November and worked so hard on staying positive and holding on to the fact I had been refered for Therapy. Christmas came and we had a lovely time as a family and got to make some wonderful memories. When new year came I was getting this niggling familiar feeling in the background, but as I do I painted on a smile and stayed up beat, clinging on to the thought of my therapy coming through. I chased and chased with no end in sight on when this would be. I quickly felt things start to unwind, My mood was dropping, negative thoughts were creeping in and I was lacking motivation. I told myself it was just the January blues and it would pass.

Things didn’t pass, my anxiety got crippling, my sleep was restless with disturbing dreams and I could see that mean, snappy mummy coming back. I wasn’t coping anymore and I was scared. I ended up going back into old habits which I knew were destructive like relying on my larazapam too much to relax in the evenings, self harming and binge eating. I felt like my mind just wanted to die and no matter how much I tried to stay strong I was losing the battle and my family was losing me. I was disappointed in myself every time someone would say to me how well I had been doing as I knew it was all a lie and I had yet again let everyone down

Things all came to a head on Friday, which resulted in a police welfare check and a trip to hospital. I literally have no memory of a few days before that or after. It was like it wasn’t even me and I was just watching from afar. I was disengaged with my children and unaware of what I was doing and who I was hurting. I ended back under crisis team care and had hit rock bottom once more and was giving up on life.

Friday was my cry for help and I could see that I did want help to get better I just didn’t know how to get better anymore. I gave in and was honest with the crisis team about everything I was feeling, how I wasn’t capable at this moment to be the mother I wanted to be, the intrusive thoughts I was feeling daily and that I didn’t want this life anymore. I accepted help from the crisis team and have been promised I will not be discharged back to my GP this time and I will be discharge to the mental health community team. I have accepted help from family and friends to try to focus on myself and give myself a break. I am learning there is no shame in letting others help when you need it.

I can see things a little clearer and feel that I do still have a future, but I have a long road ahead of me and it will take time. There isn’t an instant fix and this will take time to heal from, but I am not ashamed of this. I believe life is trying to make me stronger and it wouldn’t throw this at me if it didn’t think I could handle it.

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.

 

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What anxiety feels like for me

What anxiety feels like for me

Everyone feels anxiety to some extent in their lives. It’s a natural reaction from when we had to use the fight or flight to survive. With us no longer being hunters are anxiety now proops up in everyday life and for some can become very exhausting.

For me my anxiety has started from being an unsure child and as I’ve got older it has started to manifest in many aspects of my life. Since becoming a parent it has become a real problem, but it was something I still I had control over until I was pregnant with my second child. Since being pregnant with Mr T I have almost constantly felt on edge leaving the house and doing things I would normally enjoy.

I have tried CBT for my anxiety which I found slighty beneficial, but I still feel the anxiety trying to stop me in my tracks on leading a normal life.

I often force myself to go in my car to go out and I end up turning around and coming home as the worry and panic gets too much for me. I forced myself to go in town a few days ago and walked backwards and forwards unsure what I was doing. Mr T was hungry but I couldn’t bring myself to sit somewhere for lunch. Eventually I found somewhere small to get him lunch and he ate it so quickly as he was that hungry. Anxiety is directly affecting my family and I hate the control it has.

For me to go to my work I have to take lorazepam to get through the day, which then makes me forgetful so I can’t see how that is good for my job. I constantly feel like I am having to be babysat through life just do everyday normal things. If I don’t have someone to babysit me then my children miss out on doing so many enjoyable things.

When things are like this my life is pointless and worthless. I am unable to do anything for anyone or myself and my existence pains me.

The intrusive thought I have, the never-ending playing through conversations I had earlier and struggling to make eye contact, this is all my head goes through every night whilst I am desperate to sleep. Sleep is my release usually but to go sleep is hard to come by and often it is disturb with terrible dreams.

I don’t know how to be happy anymore besides a fake smile and this is a life I hate, but I am desperate to make it change.

 

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