What was the best advice you received to battle through postnatal depression?

What was the best advice you received to battle through postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression sucks, it is isolating, exhausting and makes you forget who you are whilst it deprives you from making special memories with your beautiful new baby. For me the battle through postnatal depression was a long hard slog and without support and help I honestly don’t know what I would have done, but the good news is I survived, just like everyone can with the right advice and support. My blog heavily focuses on my battle through postnatal depression and I do my best to provide advice and support in an honest and loving way.

Unfortunately a stigma still surrounds mental illness in general and unless we don’t keep talking about it nothing will change. There are many parenting blogs around and it’s something I love being a part of, but even I was surprised when I first started blogging a few months ago at how many mummy bloggers have also struggled through postnatal depression when in the real world I didn’t seem to know that many mums who were going through this battle. Something changed once I hit publish on my first post and that something was conversation, I started getting messages from Facebook friends and even strangers who could resonate with how I felt and that also have some kind of experience of postnatal depression. My going public I quickly realised that I wasn’t alone and talking with other women helped me understand my own battle so much better.

I decided to ask some other mummy bloggers what was the best piece of advice that received whist battling postnatal depression and here is what they came up with.

 

  • Sophie from Soph Obsessed shared “I was told by a really good friend that what I was feeling was normal! This just really resonated with me and reassured me because the whole time all I was thinking was ‘You are not normal!’

 

  • Laura from Five Little Doves shared  “The best advice I had was to see my GP. Having suffered in silence for so long, taking that first step to getting the help I needed was a major turning point.”

 

  • Sophia from Tattooed Tea Lady shared “Never be afraid to speak out. Talking to your GP is a huge and brave step to make – but you can also talk to friends, family, anyone who you feel comfortable. PND can be an extremely scary thing to go through, particularly with the media perception only ever sharing the worst instances – you are not alone, people want to help and you will come through the other side. “

 

  • Sarah from  A Few Favourite Things shared “To take each hour as it comes. Instead of thinking about the day ahead and how I would manage, I was told to break it up into chunks.”

 

  • Emma from Me and B Make Tea shared “Go talk to someone – be it your doctor, a therapist, a friend or someone online. Just talk.”

 

  • Lynne from A Day in The Life of a Mum of 6 shared “Mine would have to be building up the courage to get help. Try and not bottle your feelings up and take all the help you can either medical or help at home.”

 

  • Veronica from My Parenting Journey shared “I was feeling off when I had my first baby, first thing I did was write a journal, poured everything I was feeling (joy, fear, sadness, everything). Then one day I started talking to myself, it’s funny thinking about it now, but it helped me. I encouraged myself and assured myself that everything’s going to be okay. After than you should start talking to someone, talking would really help.”

 

  • Emma from Our Fairy Tale Adventure shared “It’s really okay to admit you are struggling. I was so scared that if I admitted I was finding it difficult, that someone would come and take my baby away from me. But that didn’t happen, I got help, someone to just talk to… I got support. So please reach out if you are finding it difficult. Reach out to somebody! Parenting is hard. Parenting when you feel alone is even harder and it really doesn’t have to be like that.”

 

  • Emma from The Cheshire Wife shared “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It took me 18 months of feeling rubbish to ask my Heath visitor for help.”

 

Personally for me my best advice is be honest and patient with yourself. Postnatal depression is a tough battle and something that will take time to overcome. The other thing is a big one for me, which is to let go of guilt, as it will hold you back from getting better.

Many thanks to all the bloggers that were happy enough to contribute to my post.

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The unlikely benefits of depression

The unlikely benefits of depression

I love to look for the silver lining and I have come up with the unlikely benefits of depression that I have found to be true for me. This does not take away from the fact that it is horrendous, but now I am for the most part out the other side, I like to look at some small positives I have found through my depression journey.

  • I now have a new kind of appreciation for the good days, I never know when it could all be sucked away again, so I do appreciate when things are going well and I am feeling mentally strong.
  • I am much more in touch with my emotions than I ever was before. I now know all emotions are needed and valid and that I should never be ashamed or try to hide them.
  • I’ve talked about this before and I think it is one of the most important things I have learnt, which is empathy. Depression has changed my outlook in life and taught me not to judge as we never know someone’s personal battle. I have great empathy and now regard it as one of my best attributes.
  • I have taken time to find what gives me joy in life. I have had to work out what makes me happy in life and have found some hidden talents that I might not have ever discovered otherwise.
  • I have bonded with friends and made new friends on a different level. To talk about depression is something very personal and by talking about it I have found some amazing people.
  • I have learnt not to hide emotions anymore. I was very good at hiding who I was out of fear of making someone else uncomfortable. I have found new ways to express my emotions in a healthy way which has made me better at communicating.
  • I am always looking at new ways to make myself happy. I know how easy it is to get sucked back into depression so I am always aware of trying to keep myself busy and happy.
  • If and when depression creeps back into my life, I now know I have survived depression which inspires me to fight it again.
  • I can help someone else by showing them that they are not alone in this battle and that you can survive it and also flourish.
  • I have now proven to myself that I am a fighter and that I am incredibly strong. To fight a battle with your own mind is one the toughest and I am pretty proud of what I have achieved.
  • I no longer take sleep, health, exercise and diet for granted. I now know that  it is important to focus on these and that they make a huge difference in your mental wellbeing.

What has depression taught you?

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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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The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

This isn’t a post for attention or even pity, it is a post for understanding, making sense of my own thoughts and also helping others understand about different mental disorders, the one that less than 2% of people suffer with. I’m having a bad few days, and when that happens I try to force myself to write as it is more important than ever for me to make sense of my emotions. Having BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be very intense at times and often if I am struggling with BPD my anxiety and depression will be heightened too. I don’t get in this frame of mind often, but when I do it can be pretty dark and very scary. It will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

I have been feeling a bit out of touch with reality and have disassociated myself, which for me is normal when I’m in this state of mind. It’s not that I want to be left alone it’s just I feel unable to interact with the outside world. In truth this is when I do need people around to connect me, encourage me, but I struggle to let people in. My life can begin to spiral out of control and I have no power over it. It’s like I’m just there for the ride. I get frustrated with myself and hate having these thoughts and feelings, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

You are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if you are female. 7 out of 10 people with BPD will attempt suicide and this figure does not surprise me. Even more frighteningly is that around 1 in 10 will succeed. 75% of BPD sufferers will engage in self harm. It’s a scary and confusing place to be in when you feel all alone.  Something else that often goes along with this is self harm, it isn’t just something a teenager does, it’s something many people do, especially BPD sufferers do as a coping strategy.

When my BPD is bad I struggle to trust many people, I have paranoid thoughts and I feel like I am being a burden to them. It’s a mentally and physically draining and I still always worry that one day BPD will win. I don’t want it to win, as I love my life and just want happiness I just want rid of this black and white thinking and these intrusive thoughts that try to ruin my life. I am trying to control it with the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a form of the better known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s a skill and I am having to relearn my thinking patterns., which will take time.

The thing is BPD isn’t always this way and I have episodes of being happy, organised, motivated, but then with little notice it can come spiralling out of control again back to the dark place where I feel vulnerable and alone. When I am in one of these episodes I withdraw from contact, this includes my own children, I feel flawed, I will even engage in risky behaviour and try to escape reality. I can see myself sabotaging and falling apart, but once in motion I cannot stop it. I am trapped in my own dark mind and don’t know how to make it right again, it’s my own version of purgatory where I am unreachable

One of my biggest fears is abandonment when I push the people l closest to me away. I have been incredibly lucky to have support people around me, but I do worry that eventually they will just have enough of me and leave. My biggest fear after that is that I will eventually commit suicide I know this is morbid and something many people cannot understand, but I do worry that one day when I am not in control that my demons will win. The truth is I want to live so much it’s just my brain that’s stopping me.

Each new day is new start where I can make a difference and shape my future for the better. I am doing everything I can to hopefully recover, which is a possibility with a BPD diagnoses. I have just got to try to stay positive and keep with the DBT classes.

 

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Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

In my opinion as a society we need to become more aware of mental health care with children, even though massive leaps in recent years for mental health have happened, it’s still often forgotten about or brushed under the carpet, especially with the care of children. The statistics say one in four adults will suffer with a mental health problem, but I am certain that figure is higher. I think many of us have been parented in an anxiety inducing way that manifests as we become adults. I am working on my own mental health, trying to be more aware of myself and how I treat others, especially with my children.

People might not want to face up to the realisation that many mental health disorders are deep rotted from childhood or teenage years, this could be from parenting, discipline or even abuse (physical, sexual or mental). People often talk about the chemical imbalance in the brain of mental illness, but not where it could have started.

Parenting is tough and I for one I am the first person to admit it and I am certain I am not doing it perfectly much of the time. I have tried since first having my children to practice attachment parenting and gentle parenting, which helps form strong attachments with parents, which then gives your child security. I try to be conscious how I speak to my children, admit when I am wrong or have overreacted in a situation. I will make mistakes as a parent, but the important thing is that I explain to my child why I acted in a certain way and apologise when wrong. I don’t want my children to be anxious like me and I want to show them why it’s important to admit when you are wrong. I don’t believe we apologise enough as adults for our bad behaviour, yet we expect our children to be so quick to.

Three children in every classroom has a mental health problem and this is something that deeply saddens me. More needs to be done to recognise mental health problems in children by parents, teachers, health visitors etc. Children deserve the chance to get access to mental health care and support.

Something I have been focusing on recently with my oldest is mindfulness and yoga. I have found both have really benefited me and it’s something I want to share with my children to start health habits which will hopefully help them throughout life. Me and Miss J found a great website called Cosmic Kids which has videos of stories, yoga and mindfulness exercises, this has been amazing for Miss J as she is unaware that she is learning and is just enjoying taking part. I believe this will help her with her concentration and mental wellbeing, whilst it helps us bond over a shared interest. More schools than ever are starting to take part and use mindfulness in classrooms and I believe this will increase when people see the benefits it has.

I hope people are starting to realise that children should be seen and heard. They shouldn’t be expected to act in a certain way, be carbon copies of their parents and that every child deserves to grow and express their needs and desires. Children are the future and I am doing everything I can to make my future as self-aware, empathetic and mindful. Mental health care for children matters.

 

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Healing life lessons you need to know

Life lessons are something we all learn and I feel I have learnt more in the past two years than I have in the last 29 years of my life. Postnatal depression has been horrible, but it has also opened my eyes to see the world through a whole new light. I have discovered mindfulness, have become a happier and calmer person (still a work in progress) and I have become a great mum. I thought I would list a few healing life lessons that I have discovered and that I think can be appreciated by anyone at any age.

  1. You need to feel pain before you are strong enough to grow to your full potential.
  2. At times you are left with the choice to walk away and you have to take it.
  3. Stop worrying about peoples opinions of you and as soon as you stop you will be free.
  4. Every experience will teach you important life lessons to help you grow.
  5. Look after yourself first and others second. If you forget to take care of yourself you will burn out an you are no good to anyone.
  6. Some people are just not good people, cut them out of your life, don’t try and change them.
  7. Try not to think about what you don’t have, but what you do have. Your life is far more fulfilled than you know.
  8. You are your own worst critic, you may have failed, but don’t let those negative thoughts in and stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
  9. You can survive the darkest of days. When you are at you lowest and feel like you can’t go on remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new start.
  10. Don’t live your life in the past. Remember and cherish memories but look forward to making new ones. You can’t go back so don’t spent too much time living in the past instead of enjoying the present.
  11. Judge people by their actions, not their words.
  12. Be adaptable. Life changes and sometimes plans have to change to work with it.
  13. Don’t avoid your feelings, address them, make sense of them and deal with them.
  14. Be present in the moment. Take a step back, breath in and feel it.
  15. Failure is important and something we need to go through so succeeding is more rewarding.
  16. Having your heart broken will show you the importance of true love in the future.
  17. Apologising is as important for you as the person you apologise to. To say sorry and mean it is healing.

Excepting my life and these lessons has helped me heal and become a more positive and happy person. I would love to hear some of your life lessons you have learnt?

 

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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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