Learning to be positive again 

Writing these blogs and getting them out to an audience has left me rather exposed which has made me feel nervous. What if someone doesn’t like my post? What if someone leaves a horrible comment? And you know what I do care but I also don’t care as I feel from the feedback I have had so far I’m doing ok. I am my own worst enemy with self critical thoughts but I’m being brave and putting it out there. I need to learn to be positive again and stop the critical thinking.

I’ve been having counselling for just over a month and we have determined that I hold onto guilt and I lack confidence in myself. I think I’ve always been like this and have never thought that I have the ability to do anything I wanted, which has stopped me from achieving so much. I’ve left three course in college early and come back from Australia 9 months early as when things get too tough I throw it all in and run.

Things have shifted though as even though I’m not fully recovered from PND, I have stuck it out and not run when its all I’ve wanted to do. Another thing I have stuck out with is breastfeeding and I am now at 16 months and enjoying every second of it. I am finally at a place in my life where I can see that I am able to achieve things and I just need to be kinder to myself.

I think living in this day and age with Facebook, Instagram etc its so easy to think that everyone else is doing well and its just you that struggles, when in truth its lots of people. When I finally opened up about my depression and anxiety I found lots of other people also have the same problems. I couldn’t believe some of the people I had envied for having their shit together were just as screwed up as me.

It’s ok not to be ok and we do need to talk about it and remove the stigma attached. When things were at my worse before going to the Dr’s I had completely reverted and isolated myself from everyone which was a very dangerous place to be. I was so ashamed of how I felt and was convinced it was all my fault. I was mentally not able to make decisions for my wellbeing and I wish I hadn’t shut down so much so I could of got help earlier, but I was in denial.

To be almost out the other side I feel liberated and free but I still do have dark days and have to work hard to keep the negative thoughts away. I wish I could of told myself a year ago were I would be today, or even two months ago as I don’t think I would have believed it. Things can change but you just have to want the change and have the power. I got my power through antidepressants, CBT, counselling and my support group of friends.

Finding happiness again

 

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Postnatal depression awareness week 

The exhaustion of PND, anxiety and antidepressants.IntroductionThe first steps of getting helpWith it being postnatal depression awareness week I think it’s fitting to write something.

It’s been almost a year since I admitted I had postnatal depression and I’m still dealing with it everyday. I never knew what it was before Mr T and even when the health visitor did her routine questions I just answered them in the way they wanted to hear. For me with PND I withdrew from contact, from talking to friends and isolated myself.

I couldn’t get out the bed in the morning and spent most of my time either crying or wishing I could escape. I felt so trapped and still sometimes do in my own mind. It was lonely, dark and hopeless existence in a time when I should be jumping for joy. The negative thoughts that plague my head and the critical thinking I was believing just made life impossible to live and enjoy.

I would stare at Mr T and think I love you but I really don’t like you and I did still smile and laugh but it was almost like I was an imposter pretending I was ok. I got pretty good at faking it especially with friends and on Facebook, that when I did ‘come out’ no one actually noticed something wasn’t right. Only now my husband has said it makes sense and he wish he had noticed earlier.

I know so much more now and I’m not surprised that I got it, as I  had a difficult pregnancy, was very anemic and had a very difficult baby with reflux. I wish I knew then that having PND didn’t make me a shit mum and it was something that was out of my control.

The PND still has a huge impact and the scars it has left are hard to heal. Mr T’s first five months of life I don’t really remember as I have blocked them out, I remember the emotions but not him as a baby which I find heartbreaking. Miss J also had to deal with the effects of having a depressed mum and our bond was damaged for a while. Both my children I disconnected with

but I believe we have mended those wounds and the bond I have with both of them is stronger than ever.

I’ve held onto lots of guilt but now I’m able to let go and accept I did all I could in the situation I was in at the time. I went out and asked for help and even though the road has been long and I’ve hit a few dead ends on the way, I have progressed and I have got through it. I am not finished yet, but in this year I am am a millions miles away from where I was and I’m thankful I found the strength in my weakest moment and managed to survive.

Text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660 to make a donation. 

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The exhaustion of PND, anxiety and antidepressants.

The first steps of getting help

I feel exhausted and unmotivated every single day and have to force myself out of bed. Initially it was the PND and anxiety which were exhausting and not letting me sleep, now I think it’s the antidepressants and it really pisses me off. I hate waking every morning with a foggy, almost hungover state of mind and it doesn’t matter how much sleep I do get I still feel like this everyday. I’ve never been one of those types that springs out of bed at 6am and ready to go but I really wish I could wake up and at least get going in the morning without the battle. Most of my days off I struggle to get out my pj’s and out the house by 11am, but now with Miss J’s at school I’ll be forced to get up and I’m hoping this will change. I definitely one of these people (at least on the antidepressants) that need to be forced into doing things otherwise I’ll sit around all day doing nothing which does nothing for my low mood.

I’m hoping this blog will be a step in the right direction to give me confidence by being able to see that I can carry on with something I enjoy with out the self critical and negative thoughts keeping me locked away in my own form of hell.

This week so far has been more positive than negative which has really given my wellbeing a boost that it needed and it’s also taught me that I can actually do something for just me rather than just being a mummy, wife and housekeeper. I feel for the first time in a long time that I’ve got this!

 

 

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The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety

The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety (antidepressants)

After speaking with my Dr and getting a prescription of Sertraline things got much worse before they got better. I had been warned by the Dr that these antidepressants could make me feel suicidal which they did. I was feeling broken, hopeless and guilty, but I was still trying to keep up the impression to the people closest that I was fine.

Miss J had just started pre-school, which eased my guilt slightly knowing she could have fun at least two days a week away from me. The playground made me feel super anxious as everyone already seemed to know each other. I had Mr T strapped in the baby carrier against me almost like body armour, I would keep my eyes forward and march Miss J into her nursery room and get out as quickly as I could. I now know the other mums are actually nice ladies and some have even become friends, one in particular has become a very close friend and a huge help in my ongoing recovery, but at the time I was so scared to talk to them and so worried about what they thought of me. Any conversations I did have with Miss J’s teacher and other mums over the next few months I would replay in my head  constantly, so worried that I had said something stupid.

The days at home with Mr T were strained and not what I had planned in my maternity leave fairy tale. Washing was mounting with Mr T throwing up constantly from his reflux, the husband worked every hour he could so we could afford for me to be at home and I was alone and empty. Many a times I just wanted to run away and hide or even end it, but the fact this baby boy needed my milk to sustain him kept me going. I’m all for feeding your baby, which ever way suits you and your family, but for me breastfeeding made me feel like I had some use even in the dark days.

After being on the antidepressants for a couple of weeks I forced myself to go to my local children’s centre to get Mr T weighed and to speak with a health visitor. I told the health visitor everything and broke down in tears whilst she held me. It was such a relief to tell a stranger and not feel so alone and trapped. My HV was lovely and offered me lots of support and set me up by visiting me every week at my home whilst sorting out cognitive behaviour therapy. I was so thankful to have the HV for support, especially with the antidepressants still failing to kick in and a six week wait for CBT to start.

After this I started to feel ready to come clean about my mental illness and confided in my best friend who was also on maternity leave and able to offer me support and comfort without judgement. On a girls night out after a few too many glasses of wine I came clean to the rest of my group of girlfriends who were amazingly supportive and still make the time to check in on me from time to time to see how I’m doing. Realising that I had support and that I had amazing friends around me gave me a glimmer of hope that I could come out through the other side.

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the muddled mother

Hi my name is The Muddled Mother and I have postnatal depression

Hi, I am new to this and plan to write down my experience of postnatal depression as a way of therapy. I’m not a writer and only scraped a ‘C’ at GCSE English, so please be kind.

My name is the Muddled Mother for good reason, I am 28 years old and I have my daughter, Miss J who is 4 years and son Mr T who is 16 months. I work part-time whilst trying to keep my two kids, a husband and a cat alive. I am dealing with my postnatal depression and anxiety, but as much as I am struggling I am making progress and learning so much about myself on the way.

My postnatal depression or I guess prenatal depression started when I was pregnant, but if I’m honest, I have suffered with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. I found myself extremely isolated and trapped in my pregnancy with Mr T as I was unable to get out much because of SPD.

When Miss J came along a few years previously I had read every baby book going, had all the equipment and supplies I could possibly need. I decided my parenting type would be attachment parenting and that we would breastfeed no matter what. When Miss J arrived 8 days late after a very long labour I was in a little bubble of love with her, she was such a happy content baby and slept through from 5 weeks. Breastfeeding was tough and we had a few tears and few top ups of formula, but we made it work and got into a lovely routine. When other new mums talked about their struggles I just kept thinking how are they finding this so hard. Miss J has been always ahead with her milestones and her behaviour was angelic that I was a little worried when trying for a second that I couldn’t possibly get that lucky again.

My pregnancy with Mr T started off well with very little sickness, but by the time I got to 20 weeks I could hardly walk. Thankfully, my work offered a private medical care and I was able to see an osteopath which was my saviour. I was working three days a week and found that my two days I had off in the week were for me to sit on a sofa. Poor Miss J had to get used to the fact her mum wasn’t able to walk to the park let alone run around the park with her. Miss J was frustrated and bored and our house was overrun with clutter and mess. I felt like I was failing my role as a mother and wife and started to feel so down about it. Why couldn’t I cope when everyone else seems to be? I partly blame Facebook as we all paint our lives to be more perfect than they actually are but when you are struggling its hard to see through it.

Work was a struggle with a few trips back and forth to hospital, but somehow I managed to stay till I was 37 weeks. I did start my maternity leave a week earlier than planned which was a good thing seeming as he was born the following Monday at 37 weeks. On Saturday night after a lovely Chinese with my sister, my waters broke whilst at home on the toilet doing a number ‘2’. I quickly called my sister back who had left 10 minuets earlier and rushed to get everything all ready for the imminent arrival of my son. Off we went to the hospital to be told nothing was happening and to go home and rest. I was feeling rather anxious, so decided to stay at my sister’s house which was closer and I sent my husband off to finish watching a big fight on TV with his friends.

The next day was rather surreal as I knew the baby would be here in the next day or so but I didn’t have the panic. My mum took Miss J and I had a lovely long nap and a shower. My mum cooked me a tasty dinner and me and my husband went back to the hospital in the evening to be induced. I started off with the pessaries and told to sleep, which was in fact impossible with acid reflux and a noisy ward. Nothing happened over night so at 11am it was decided I would be put on a drip to induce my labour. My sister arrived with my husband and we waited….around an hour later I started to get cramps which progressed well. Three hours in and I asked for gas and air, which I enjoyed and I was still coping well. Five hours in the pain quickly became unbearable and I begged for an epidural which didn’t work. I was sitting on my hands fighting the urge to push as I was 6cm when I shouted out that I didn’t care and I was pushing. I was 10cm without knowing and at 18:01 in two pushes Mr T came out all blue, squished and gross. I was extremely anemic and was hooked up to an iron transfusion, but otherwise felt ok and he fed from me straight away. At 11pm that evening I was put on the ward and my husband was sent home, this is where I believe everything started to snowball.

I was put on the high dependency unit as I was unable to walk or stand without feeling very faint because of the loss of blood I had, had. At around 1 am a nurse asked if I needed any painkillers which I replied yes, so she gave me paracetamol and tramadol. The tramadol was great as it effectively helped with the pain from my SPD and I felt quiet euphoric and in love with my newborn baby. After blood tests the next day I managed to persuade them to let me leave when in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best decision. Once home, I suffered with agonising pain in my hips and was constantly feeling faint. All I could do was feed my baby, then hand him back to his dad so I made a call to the Dr’s to get tramadol prescribed and booked an emergency appointment with my osteopath. I was getting annoyed with myself that I wasn’t getting this fairy tale that I had imagined and I couldn’t even hold my baby as I was in so much pain. Miss J hated Mr T and ignored his existence and my poor husband was running around trying to pick up the pieces that I would normally have a handle on.

Tramadol was my new go to so I could relax and even when the postnatal pain had subsided, I was still taking the Tramadol as it relaxed me. I wasn’t sleeping at all, even when Tristan was asleep and was still taking horrible iron pills whilst I continued to bleed for 10 weeks postpartum.  I recognized that the Tramadol was becoming a problem and decided that I would no longer rely on it, but without it my life just felt shit. I had a massive black cloud consuming me and all I wanted to do was run away and hide and not be me anymore. The guilt I felt was overwhelming that I had, had another baby, which my daughter hated which now meant I was a shit mum to both of them and that I was failing them. Now I look back and it was obvious that I had PND and also that I wasn’t a bad mum, I was just struggling and trapped in my own self doubting head.

The lack of motivation and my mind constantly over think, every little detail and conversation I may have when I leave the house was just shit. I couldn’t get out the house but, then I felt trapped by being in the house. I wanted to go out in my car but would end up turning my car around as the anxiety had been too much. Miss J and Mr T were missing out on so much and having to live with me, someone who was depressed.

The day I realised I needed help was a lovely sunny day. I managed to get two loads of washing in and out in the garden by midday to dry, with a baby with reflux I was so thankful for some sun to dry the clothes so my house didn’t look like a dry cleaners. Later on that afternoon the lovely English weather decided to change to a full on English storm so all my hard work was wasted. I cried and screamed and felt like I just couldn’t do this crap for one more day. As I sobbed Miss J came up to me and said ‘mummy don’t cry, I love you’. This as lovely as it had been to hear just made me cry even more, but I knew I needed to change for my children and for myself so I phoned my Dr and confessed out loud for the first time that I had postnatal depression and I needed help. Five months we had lived in this postnatal depression hell and Mr T’s first five months of life have been blocked out of my memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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