The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

I have struggled with mental health problems for years without even being aware of them. Well to be honest I did know something wasn’t right with me, but I just believed I was a bad person and my anger and depression was my own fault. Depression and anxiety have dominated me and effected me all of my adult life and after having my second child two years ago and my postnatal depression came to a head and I realised I needed to fix me. I was scared that in this process I could further hurt myself and I was right. To finally move on from my old life I needed to deal with my past to some extent and it was painful. I sunk lower than I ever went before and worried that by dealing with certain things that had happened that I would never feel happiness again.

Having to deal with my own mental health problems with a baby and small child at home was tough and not ideal and it was impossible for me to shield them completely with what I was going through. My daughter Jasmine saw me cry too much, not able to look after myself and many specialists coming into our house trying to help her broken mother. This is not what I wanted, but I either tried to heal at home or leave my family all together and go into hospital. Jasmine grew up quick and learnt what to say to help me, to encourage me and she was my strength when I had none left.

Things have been steadily improving over the last few months and I am in a much better place mentally. I am working on being the right role model to my daughter and I am a much better parent than I was six months ago. I am certain my mental health problems have affected my daughter and that’s something I do feel guilt over. I didn’t want my daughter to see me like the way she did, I tried to hide it as much as I could, but I know my child and she is bright and was picking up on the problems going on and it was affecting her too. Jasmine came home last February with her dad, for them to find that I had taken an overdose. Jasmine doesn’t remember what happened as she was sent upstairs and missed the police and crisis team taking me to hospital, but I’m certain she knew something was wrong

Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for and at times I feel like she is punishing me or that our bond has been damaged for what I had to put her through. Her concentration at school has suffered, her behaviour and even her sleep have been affected. My little girl gets frustrated and angry at times and I understand her frustration and it’s something we are always working on. I don’t want my girl to grow up angry with the world and I want her to continue to flourish and not become who I was as a teenager.

All I can do now is keep encouraging her, showing her my strength and dedicating my time on my own daughters mental health. We are working on yoga and mindfulness to help our bond and our mental wellbeing and I am seeing an improvement. I just hope she knows how hard I am trying for her and that everything I do is for her. I don’t want her to grow up with the same problems that I had and I hope she doesn’t grow up resenting me for what I put her through.

My bond with Jasmine was affected through my battle with mental health, but we now have a more intense kind of bond. My daughter has shown me such compassion through my struggles, I have seen so much of my self in her, that it has helped me understand myself and her better. She really was a blessing for me, my savour and my strength.

Jasmine I am sorry for expecting too much from you at such a young age, I am sorry for not being strong enough at times to be a mother to you and I am sorry for resenting you when I was struggling through my PND. I love you more than you will ever know and will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I will always be there for you, no matter what. I love you.

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My anxiety journey and how I am learning to cope

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing and is actually rather useful at not just keeping us safe, but also helping us reach our full potential. It’s healthy to have a certain level of anxiety for real stressful situations, it spurs us on when we need it. The problem with anxiety is when it comes from imaginary danger. We become hyper alert and play out thoughts in our heads and often it leads us to avoid certain situations.

Anxiety manifests in many different ways, shortness of breath, dry mouth, increased heartbeat, digestive problems, dizziness and weak bladder. For everyone it is different, for some people it is deliberating and stops them from enjoying life, from going out and it is damaging to your mental wellbeing.

I have suffered with anxiety since I can remember, but I had no idea what it was until I was in my early twenties. I remember always shying away from crowds of people and even having panic attacks on nights out. To even go out for the night I would have to drink before hand. Having my daughter who is now five really highlighted how bad my anxiety had got, but I continued to fight it and forced myself out my comfort zone, but I still had some much avoidance behaviour.

When I got pregnant with my second child and I was diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction), my life changed as I just couldn’t get out. I was avoiding more and more things and was isolated and alone. I kept telling myself as soon as my baby was born it would be ok and I would be able to get out, but this wasn’t the case. I became a recluse and only felt able to leave the house if I had someone else with me who would take charge. I would feel sick, dizzy and I would panic. This would then lead to frustration, anger and then tears. It was apparent after six months after my son was born that I also had PND (postnatal depression) and combined together it was a very sad existence.

I remember not even being able to do the food shop because of my anxiety and getting in the car to go out and having to turn the car back to go home. It wasn’t just my life it was effecting it was also impacting my children’s life and stopping them from having a normal childhood. I decided to seek help and a couple of months later I started CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it has given me tools on how to deal with my anxiety, so I decided to start a diploma in CBT and I am now almost half way through the course.  

CBT helps you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, so you learn to challenge them. I can now usually notice the negative thought and question it before it and stop it. Once you learn the skills of CBT it can be used in so many areas in your life. CBT teaches you to be your own therapist and as long as you go back and remind yourself how to use it once in a while it will make your life far more positive.

I have tried medication for my anxiety called lorazepam which is a benzodiazepine. It helps with anxiety and sedates you, but these tablets are highly addictive and can be fatal if overdosed as they suppress breathing. I have overdosed on them twice, with other prescription drugs and have had a lucky escape. You quickly build up a tolerance to these drugs and need to take more for the same effect. They shouldn’t be taken long term and you should be monitored. They can cause rebound insomnia and rebound anxiety so these drugs are more for a quick fix and not for long term use. They are known to increase risk of suicide.

My anxiety today is manageable with CBT skills that I have learned and I am now able to enjoy life so much more. If anxiety is a problem for you please see a doctor and explain your worries so you can be referred for CBT.

 

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Mental health awareness month - Borderline personality disorder

Mental health awareness month – Borderline personality disorder

Last month was maternal mental health awareness week and I got an amazing response from my blog post of my battle with postnatal depression, maternal mental health awareness week is part of mental health awareness month so I thought I would share my experience with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is still not really talked about and still has a massive stigma attached, people often don’t understand it and it’s something people don’t like to admit that they have. Like everything on this blog I am open about my personal struggles, but I do struggle to write about BPD myself, so I will try to do it justice by being open and honest.

BPD has affected me since my teenage years, but was only diagnosed in January after a suicide attempt. It is thought that around 1 in 10 people diagnosed with BPD will complete suicide, many more will attempt suicide. People really don’t like talking about this and it makes people very uncomfortable. For me I just wanted to end the pain I was feeling in that moment not necessarily end my life, but like most stuff BPD related I act on impulse. Many people who suffer with BPD also self-harm and it’s something that has effected me mildly on and off since my teenage years, again this is something I find very difficult to talk about and so do others.

Since I can remember I’ve had a real fear of abandonment and have taken extreme measures in relationships to stop that happening, which has made things worse and often left me alone. My emotions can me very intense from very happy to very sad and can change quickly. I can start the day feeling elated and end the day with negative, dark thoughts. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster and I struggle to predict my own moods. Antidepressants do seem to have made this much more balanced than it used to be, but the dark, intrusive thoughts do creep back in.

BPD affects people in different ways and sufferers usually have problems with impulse control, there are continuing studies into why this part of the brain seems to be wired differently with BPD sufferers. Often PBD sufferers will have an eating disorder, for me I binge eat, I binge so much I physically feel sick, I know if I could be sick I would force myself to be, but I am unable to (I have a strange phobia of being sick and am sick very little even with a sickness bug). My impulse doesn’t stop just at eating it also is a problem with spending, which I am learning how to control. Often drug addiction and alcohol can be become problems for BPD sufferers and it’s something I am very aware of, I did have a mild problem with prescription drugs and have used alcohol in the past to numb emotions, luckily I don’t actually like the taste of alcohol.

With PBD I feel lots of paranoia, this is constant and even amongst good friends, I am forever trying to rationalise these thoughts and worry about what others think of me, It’s pretty exhausting, but I’ve made good progress at coming to terms with this. Questioning these thoughts has helped me understand them better.

Many people still think BPD is a lifelong mental condition and there is no cure, I know I did when I was diagnosed. Luckily with so many advances in treating mental health over the last twenty years there has been a talking therapy developed to help BPD suffers called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), which is a form of the better known cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that is specialised for BPD patients. I started DBT recently and have found it really helpful, I hope to write a blog post once I have learnt more.

Unfortunately many people with BPD often feel empty and alone and I think the fact that this disorder like many other personality disorders are not talked about just makes the problem worse. Don’t be scared by someones condition, be mindful, open and always caring. People with BPD usually always have great empathy which to me is my greatest personality trait. I understand people and appreciate people for who they are and am great at listening and trying to help people.

Many people with BPD are also diagnosed with another mental disorder at the same time like depression, addiction, eating disorders and anxiety. It might not seem like it at the time but having more than one mental disorder can help work out what care will work best for you.

I hope I have been able to describe how BPD has affected me, but my experience may be different from someone elses, to learn more look at the Mind website  for a full list of symptoms. Keep spreading the love and do everything you can to help mental health awareness month be as powerful as it can be.

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#MaternalMHMatters

Maternal mental health awareness week

Today marks the first day of the very first maternal mental health awareness week #MaternalMHMatters so I thought I would write a post about my experience of postnatal depression now I am out of the other side. This week marks two years since my son was born and the start of my long battle of postnatal depression and maternal mental health problems. A child’s birthday is a time to celebrate and reminisce about all the amazing memories you have made in the first two years of life, but for me as a PND survivor it also reminds me of the very tough battle we had to overcome. I say we, as PND didn’t just affect me, it affected my baby, my daughter, my husband, family and friends. I had everyone rotting for me and encouraging me, but until I found the strength to fight it, they were powerless to really do much.

Many memories of my early days at home are tarnished, I didn’t understand why I was struggling so much more second time around, I didn’t know how to stop the negative thoughts and guilt and felt at PND’s mercy, powerless and broken. I muddled through and painted on a smile, but with my husband I couldn’t keep up the facade and the mask slipped. He saw me broken, distant, fragile and angry, he didn’t know why and he didn’t know how to help. My maternal mental health was at breaking point and I needed help, fast.

One morning I was struggling through the piles of washing, whilst my husband slept off his night shift when I decided to dry the clothes outside in the sun. My garden was full of clothes drying and I finally felt like I had a mini defeat that day, then the heavens opened and monsoon season decided to reach North Bedfordshire. Despite my efforts, everything was soaked through and yet again I was back at square one with wet clothes, nothing clean in the house and Mr T crying in the background wanting feeding, again. I collapsed on the floor and once the tears started they wouldn’t stop. Miss J confronted me and cuddled me and kept telling me it would be ok, which made me feel even worse. I knew then and there I needed to speak to my Doctor and get the help I needed, I couldn’t keep pretending and couldn’t let my daughter keep seeing me like this.

It took me five months to finally get help and I really wish I had done it sooner. I missed so much of my sons first five months of life and let the guilt rip me apart and the anxiety take over. Maybe if I had got help sooner my PND wouldn’t have lasted two years, I don’t know. The antidepressants didn’t work for me, but I just assumed I needed to keep fighting and because the antidepressants I was on was the safest option when breastfeeding I thought I had no choice of changing them. Every few weeks I would have them increased, yet nothing was changing and everything around me was crumbling away. Eventually I saw a doctor who listened to me, answered my fears and changed me on to something that actually worked. It wasn’t an easy journey and plenty of ups and down, but eventually I noticed I was having more good days then bad days. I saw hope and clung on to it.

These two years have been tough, draining, but they have also taught me many other things. I know the importance of life, appreciate people for their faults and I have found who I am again. Sitting in hospital in February of these year with an IV in my arm after attempting suicide made me realise that I couldn’t go this far down again, I was lucky to be found when I was and I have thought so many times how different it could have been. I am unconditionally loved in this moment, I always have been and I always will be. I need to be healthy for my family, let go of guilt, nurture my soul and gradually heal. PND is shit, but it can change, it can heal and you can recover. I did it and I now love my life.

Share you own stories of maternal mental health, support others, don’t stigmatise and we can fight this together. #MaternalMHMatters

Read my blog post on how to help someone with postnatal depression

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The obstacles of accessing mental health care as a mother

I need to have a bit of a rant about the obstacles I have had accessing mental health care as a mother in England. I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall, trying to get help with my mental health problems, whilst finding someone to look after my child. Just like anything to do with parenting it is a juggling act and since the birth of my second child two years ago I have felt a constant struggle to access support for my postnatal depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. Things got so bad for me at points that I was under CRISIS team care twice and I attempted suicide.

After lengthy waits and weakening mental health you finally get an appointment for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and then you are met with the challenge of who will look after the baby? Like so many of us we don’t have access to childcare to go to these appointments and we miss out on crucial help. I have just completed CBT which took 3 months to get my first appointment and between appointments I had a minimum wait of 3 weeks between seeing someone and maximum of 6 weeks. CBT was helpful, but I had to be proactive and help myself as much as I could, which I couldn’t do when I was at my weakest. Not only could I not get appointments with my therapist I also couldn’t find someone to watch my child.

I have found this a relentless battle for accessing mental health care. I didn’t get everything I could out of CBT as I just wasn’t able to see someone enough and on a few occasions I had to cancel appointments when I needed it most, as I had no one who could help me with childcare. Like many people in my generation my parents still work, my other mum friends work and my husband also works long, unsociable hours. Between having the school runs to do with my oldest child and finding someone to watch my son for a couple of hours it was proving impossible at times.

I tried for over a year to get better by seeing various people, counselling, CBT and a private therapist and each time I had to stop before I felt ready, because of childcare. I am now starting diareltic behavioural therapy (DBT) which will be for 2 hours, once a week between 2-4pm, this is a group sessions and only runs once a week, so my hands are tied. I am doing everything I can to sort childcare, but I know I probably won’t be able to attend all sessions because of childcare issues. DBT is a fantastic therapy for people who suffer with borderline personality disorder and will give me ways in which to control my emotions and impulses. I have been desperate to start this since January and think it really could change my life for the better.

What annoys me most is that I may be seen as someone who isn’t using these services properly and that I am wasting time and money. I need these therapies to be a better person mentally and overall a better mum, yet nothing is done to help me go to these appointments. I feel I am doing all I can in my power to get help, yet I am forever struggling. I feel like I am wasting time and money and I am powerless to change things. How can I get childcare when there is none available?

It annoys me that I can’t drop my child off in a nursery (pre booked without a contract) for a few hours and pay for it as I go. I literally have my hands tied and no way of accessing the help I need. I am wasting NHS money. Wouldn’t it be worth the government looking at group CBT sessions for other mentally ill mum’s that had a crèche. All mum’s grouped together 1 hour a week whilst the children are watched. Wouldn’t this save the NHS money and also help mothers be seen quicker. After all we are a mother and we need our mental health to be looked after quickly and effectively. Could we not utilise the children’s centres we already have around us to make this a reality?

It still feels in this day and age as mother you are just expected to suck it up and get on with it and this infuriates me. I tried to do that and I had a mental breakdown in the process and then required CRISIS team care with daily visits, costing the NHS dearly. If I had been able to access the care I needed earlier I probably wouldn’t have needed this extra support and hospital admissions. In this country the go to support from the doctor is a prescription of antidepressants and possibly a visit from the health visitor. Things need to improve and become easier to access.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this and what you think could be done?

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Getting out of the comfort zone

Getting out of the comfort zone

It’s so easy in life to stay in your own comfort zone and not rock the boat too much. I did it for years and stayed in my bubble and let my anxiety fester into every aspect of my life, until I became so limited on what I could actually do. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been a huge help to me and I am finally getting out, enjoying life again and having plenty of new experiences.

This time last year I was just going back to work from maternity leave and I was feeling especially vulnerable and overwhelmed at the prospect. I was still in the middle of a battle with postnatal depression and anxiety had creeped into every aspect of my life. It was exhausting to constantly being in a state of fight or flight (usually always the latter) and I was becoming increasingly limited on what I could do in my day to day life. I was becoming a recluse and my enjoyment in life was dwindling away and it was feeding my depression. It was vicious cycle and I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

Something had to change and that change would only come about if I changed. I needed to change my though processes first and CBT was a great stepping stone. CBT taught me so much and helped me question my thought process. I started off small just at first doing the food shop and then gradually built up. I faced my fears, proved my thoughts wrong and exposed myself to a new way to see things. I made sure once my CBT sessions stopped that I continued to read my book and put what I was taught into action when I felt anxiety creeping back in. It’s not always easy, but I have now been able to witness the benefits and I now have proof in my own mind that it works.

CBT has taught me how important it is to get out my comfort zone, not just to do the normal everyday things in life, but also giving me the courage to then try new and often scary things. The scariest thing I’ve done has been blogging as I’ve always been very self-conscious and aware of other people’s opinions of me. Blogging has left me exposed and it has really put myself out there. I’m not the best at spelling, grammar and am forever worrying that what I am writing is rubbish, but with support I feel I’ve found something I love, it gives back to me, helps me grow and it also gets me to try new things. I have found a passion, something that gives me so much and I also feel I am able to give back and hopefully help others.

The last 3 months I have really built myself up and got out my comfort zone on many occasions. Once you start the feeling can become quite addictive and I am forever accepting invitations to new and scary things I couldn’t imagine myself doing a few months ago. I am no longer scared and constricted by what I can and can’t do and it’s opened up a new world for me. Since I have started getting myself out my comfort zone everything else in my life has improved, my confidence, my depression, my anxiety and my overall wellbeing. I am getting new opportunities everyday and I love the feeling of excitement my life now brings.

Except new challenges and remember that you are the only person coming between making them a reality.

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my 11 top tips for getting happy

My 11 top tips for getting happy

I am not a therapist and definitely not a doctor, but I have found ways of getting happy again. I’ve been in a rotten place and I’ve been diagnosed with postnatal depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. I’ve had experience on how to change my life for the positive and I’ve worked extremely hard the last six months to dig myself out of a dark place. I’ve put together some of my tips which have worked for me.

  1. Have a therapy – Therapy for people can mean different things, I recommend having a councillor to talk over your worries before they become problems so you can make sense of them. If you think a more direct therapy may help then look into Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. For me CBT has really changed my behaviour and made anxiety easier. Read my blog post here.
  2. Have a creative outlet – For many years I neglected giving myself the time and space to have a creative outlet. Painting, drawing, colouring in can all be amazing to take your brain away from thinking to just letting it be. For me now my creative outlet is writing and it also doubles up as a great therapy. If you aren’t artistic then try gardening, baking, cooking, dancing and I’m sure you’ll find something you love. If in doubt think back to when you were a child and what you enjoyed doing.
  3. Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness without a doubt works in my mind. It has helped me to switch off, relax and take notice of my own body. It’s great for anxiety and lovely way to unwind before going to sleep.
  4. Get good sleep habits – I try (and sometimes fail) to stay off my phone an hour before bed every night and either practice mindfulness (breathing) or read a simple book (nothing that requires too much thinking).
  5. Make a weekly happiness list – When I was going through a really tough time I found this really helped me to see even on the worse weeks I still had moments of happiness.
  6. Do something you love and be selfish – Once a week if you can, do something just for you. Have your favourite dessert and watch a good film, a bath with you favourite bathbomb or a coffee with a friend. Make sure it happens and make the time for yourself.
  7. Walk – Get outside the house and walk, it’s good for you. If you need to layer up with lots of layers or wear a rain coat it doesn’t matter just get out. You’ll always feel happier  and see things from a different perspective outside your four walls and the exercise is good for you.
  8. Right off a bad day – Some days nothing will go right, right it off and start a fresh the next day. Every bad day we learn something new to move forward with and put it in the past. Being happy isn’t possible 100% of the time, we just need to learn to deal with the negative in a positive way.
  9. Read – I love reading, but again neglected it for a years. I now always have a few books on the go. Like TV shows I read what I’m in the mood for at the time, so sometimes it’s self-help/motivation and others its romantic book. I love nothing more than getting lost in a book I love.
  10. Positive Affirmations – I love a good affirmation and have a few written around the house that I read and repeat. It’s amazing how just saying something out loud can have such a positive effect on your mind.
  11. Get the family involved – Recently I have been trying to get my daughter involved, we’ve been practising different yoga moves, breathing and affirmations. It makes my daughter happy, I enjoy the company and I know how much good it is doing her.

In my experience the more you do something the easier it gets to make it part of your routine. I hope these tips to getting happy help and I would love to hear some tips from yourself.

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Mr T's birth story

Mr T’s birth story

I love a good birth story, click here for Miss J’s and now Mr T is almost two I think it’s time to share the story of how he came into this world. I think watching One Born Every Minute has also inspired me to write it down. I had a pretty rotten pregnancy with Mr T with lots of bleeding at the start and I was told on our second scan at 8 weeks I had a large hematoma next to my placenta and I could lose the baby. I had eight scans in total, had awful SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunaction) and really struggled getting around in the second half of my pregnancy. I saw a Osteopath weekly to help with the discomfort, but felt stuck either at work or home, unable to get around with a toddler. I’m pretty sure this is where my depression and also anxiety started. I cancelled plans constantly and just stayed at home crying wishing for my pregnancy to hurry up and be over, thinking I would immediately feel better once the baby was here.

I started having some twinges at 35 weeks and ended up in hospital where it was determined that I was very anemic and tachycardic and needed to be put on iron tablets and I was sent home after monitoring. A week later I was sent back in with irregular contractions and was kept in for monitoring where things seemed to be progressing nicely. I had spoken of my desire for an epidural from the start after a succesful one after a very painful back to back labour with my daughter and my midwife was more than happy to oblige and send for one. The midwife decided it was time to break my waters, but before then she decided to tell me as I had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) that the babies umbilical cord could come out first and I would need to put my bum in the air and have an emergency c-section. I went tachycardic again, blood pressure was high and babies heartbeat went a bit crazy, so they held off and decided to put a cannulae in instead to check for preeclampsia. The midwife made four failed attempts, and plenty of squirting blood to get a cannulae in and then decided to send for an anaesthetist. Luckily the anaesthetist got it in first time and gave the midwife a telling off for buturing my arm and hand. With all the panic my contractions slowed right down and I was feeling a bit of an emotional wreck. My test for preeclampsia came back negative and I was sent off to the ward to ‘rest’. Anyone who has been on one of those wards, knows unless your sedated you don’t rest. By the next morning everything had settled, my iron was increased again and I was sent back home and they said they were certain they would see me again in a few days.

I went back to work the next day, I still can’t believe I managed to finish off my last couple of days until maternity leave started. Once maternity leave had started I was feeling pretty determined to get the baby out. I think having the whole experience of being in hospital with everything ready to go, to then being sent on your way home I was just ready to meet my baby and also I was terrified that when my waters broke the umbilical cord would come out first and I would have to call 999 like instructed to. In those few days I got pretty miserable sitting around bouncing on my ball with contractions starting and stopping. My husband was working 12 hour shifts and I was at home with a very energetic almost three-year old.

On the Saturday whilst bouncing about on my ball the news came on saying that Kate Middleton was in labour, all I thought was lucky bloody cow. My friend called to meet for lunch in town, but I declined as I really thought my waters would break if I went out. I felt like I could feel my waters bulging and in the end decided to drive to my mum’s for some company and help with my daughter. My husband was due to go from work straight to a friend’s house to watch a fight on TV and my sister insisted on coming over to my house for a Chinese. Contractions started to pick up again and my sister started to time them. My sister was my birth partner and was very anxious to get to the hospital, I knew the drill and knew I would be sent home and couldn’t be bothered with the fuss of getting my daughter out of bed. Things again calmed down and I managed to persuade my sister to leave. I went upstairs immediately and went for a number 2 (haha) when I noticed I was leaking and had no control over it, I thought I had become incontinent, then I thought maybe it was my waters. I laid on the bed for a few minutes as you are advised and then stood up, when I felt a huge gush of water. I immediately phoned my sister back who already had her phone on her lap when driving, as she had a feeling I would go into labour that night. My sister woke Miss J up to tell her she was going to be a big sister and we rushed off to drop a sleepy, confused Miss J with my parents and headed to hospital.

Hubby beat us to the hospital and I went up to be examined where I was told I was 2cm so I was sent home. I was convinced everything would be all go when my waters broke and all the contractions I had earlier, so I stayed at my sister’s house which is much closer to the hospital and my husband was sent off to watch the rest of the fight around a friend’s house. My waters kept going and going, but I didn’t even have so much as of a backache. I tried to sleep as best as I could and in the morning my sister dropped me back home so I could rest. I was due to go back to the hospital at 8pm to be induced so I decided to sort the house, have a shower and a long nap. Everything was in order and at 6pm I went to my mum’s for my requested dinner of pie. Everything was so calm and it was so surreal to drive around with no water around my baby. We went off to the hospital for 8pm and a pessary was inserted to hopefully induce labour.

Relaxing through a contraction.

I attempted to sleep with terrible heartburn and mild backache and my husband and sister were sent home for the night. Morning came and I was checked again and the midwife said she could still feel my hind waters so she broke them and I was put on a drip. contractions were manageable and I put off having the epidural and just had gas and air. Five hours in and I was 5cm’s dilated and things went from being ok to horrendous. I begged for an epidural which only made my bum cheek numb. My midwife had to go off on her break and another came into cover. I kept telling her I felt the need to push and she kept shouting at me that I wasn’t ready as I was only 5cm. I decided to push anyway just as my midwife came back and confirmed I was fully dilated and two pushes later my baby boy was delivered at 37 weeks. He was born at 6:01pm was grey, squished and a perfect 7 ib’s and 1 oz.

Born at 37 weeks weighing 7ibs 1oz

I was bleeding heavily after labour and was 50ml off being classed as hemmoraged. I was put on an iron transfusion and left to lay in bed for two hours unable to move. I managed to get Mr T to have a feed after struggling to get him to latch at first, but otherwise I was so exhausted I didn’t have the energy to really hold him. I was put on the high dependency ward at 11pm and my sister and husband were sent home. I was given tramadol to help with the pain in my hips and spent the night a bit off my face being handed a baby to feed. The next day I begged to go home and made out that I felt fine. My iron was still low and I was given tablets and was discharged after lunch.

Looking back I was no way ready to have gone home and I think the lack of iron contributed to my postnatal depression, I was bleeding for ten weeks after birth and was constantly exhausted but refused to go and get help. If I did it again I would have done things differently. Even though the pregnancy was tough the actual labour was really straight forward and I am so happy to have a perfect little boy in our family.

Happy nearly two years Mr T x

 

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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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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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