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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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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