I survived another week

I survived another week

I survived another week which was the hardest week of my life. Click here for last weeks blog post. Things have been tough to say the least, but after finally having things in place to get better and the support of my family and friends I finally can see a future again and make plans with my life. The biggest thing this week is that I’ve been able to get sleep and because of that I have been able to see things a lot clearer. I have forced myself out over the last few days to see some friends and do some stuff for myself and actually getting out, even though hard has made a huge difference. I’m still finding evenings hard especially with my husband at work, but I have now found ways to cope and keep busy.

The last couple of weeks I’ve felt extremely discounted from everything and unable to cope with daily life. I no longer cared about looking after myself and was only taking care of my children’s basic needs and leaving everything up to my husband as I was drowning in depression. I’ve felt like a complete failure as a mother and wife and been consumed with guilt which was eating away at me and making me more depressed. Mr T was refusing to feed from me which made me feel like an even bigger failure and that he no longer needed me in any way anymore. He was trying to latch on and coming off screaming like he couldn’t get anything and I was having to put him to bed crying, which really broke my heart. I think he was picking up on the stress as now I’m on new medication and getting sleep he’s back to feeding first thing in the morning and again at night. I’ve always cherished this time with him and its given me a purpose when I’ve been at my lowest. I know the day will come when he no longer needs this comfort from me and as long as it’s on his terms I will be happy for this journey to end.

Miss J has seen me cry over the last couple of weeks which I’ve hated her to see. She’s such a sweet and caring girl and has tried to make me feel better which has then again made me feel guilty as it’s not her job to make me feel happy. I have to remind myself that my daughter is a credit to me and her sweet caring side is from the way I have nurtured her and its something I should be incredibly proud of.  She has been more challenging than usual which I put down to her picking up on my depression and also her not being at school and being stuck in with me most days when I haven’t met her emotional needs. She’s back at school now and happy and I’ve made the most of story time and cuddles before bed with her. Miss J changed my life for the better when she was born in 2012 and made me something I had always wanted to be which was a mother. I really do love her with all my heart and thank my lucky stars everyday that she was given to me as she really has saved me.

My husband is not one with the words, but his actions always mean so much more to me. He has helped out so much with the children and showed me support and affection. He has built me back up and reminded me of how important I am to our family and has made me feel loved. I forget to give him the credit he is due and how important he is to me. My husband is my soul mate and for him to stick by me through all of this which has actually made us stronger is a massive two fingers up at postnatal depression.

I have had amazing support from the CRISIS team, my husband, friends, family, work and Facebook groups who have been there to listen to my fears, worries and have built me back up from rock bottom. without this amazing support system in place I can honestly say I’m not sure what would have happened to me. I was in a dark place and unable to see clearly or rationally and can honestly say I was scared for my own safety.

I am not cured and still have a long road, but I now know the support I need to get again if I ever to go back to that place. I will keep on fighting and will gain strength from this to become again the wife, mother and friend I was before, because I survived.

For support please have a look at Minds website

Taking a second to appreciate my children

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dementor

My dementors back and he’s an a**hole.

My dementors back and he’s an a**hole, his ugly, negative presence has done everything he can to suck any life which I have inside me and to leave me in fear as a shell of myself. This blog post is difficult to write, I am not writing this for pity or attention, I am writing this to be honest, stop stigma and raise awareness. This is me in my most vulnerable state and if you don’t want to read it, then don’t as your negative opinions mean nothing to me and will never be as strong as the negative opinions I’ve had of myself.

I’m usually pretty organised with my prescriptions, but on the Friday I had realised I didn’t have any box’s left of my antidepressants and I was completely out. I always take them in the evenings so I was unable to call the Dr’s by the time I  realised. I went online and went to order a repeat prescription, but was unable to as I was due a prescription review. I waited until Monday when the Dr’s reopened and called as early as I could and after a long time on hold I booked a call back from the Dr. I didn’t get a call so phoned again Tuesday morning and got a call back a couple of hours, but didn’t get to my phone in time. I phoned straight back, but again didn’t get a call until Wednesday after spending an hour on hold. this had meant that I had gone over five days without a prescription and was feeling completely on edge. I had, had an awful cold and cough for over a week and hadn’t slept for a week by this point. I was going through withdrawal from a high dose of antidepressants and was ignored when I begged for help. I have since found out I could have gone to a pharmacy with my box and got a five-day emergency prescription (if only I had known).

I had already been struggling a fair bit over the last few weeks as the counselling I had been having had bought up some stuff I had suppressed a few years previous and not dealt with at the time. I should have worked through these feelings, but I felt too scared to carry on and stopped my counselling straight away. This has then lead to major anxiety and night terrors, so any quality of sleep I was getting was poor.

Four weeks ago I went back to the IAPT service and referred myself back to counselling so I could start to work through these problems, as I had realised I had to face them head on otherwise my sleep and wellbeing would continue to suffer and these feelings of anxiety and depression would just keep manifesting in every aspect of my life. what I though would happen, happen and I  am unfortunately still waiting for my phone call for my initial appointment.

Between me going through withdraw and unable to get my medication and the long wait with no mental support, I had hit a crisis. I went back to my Dr’s and was referred to the CRISIS team at hospital and have been having daily visits from a dr. my first visit where I was an emotional and exhausted wreck was within 3 hours of that call. I’m not sure how I would have survived without there support.

I won’t go into details as I’m still very much in the middle of it all but I am now back on my medication, plus three others to keep me calm and to help me sleep, but I am getting the support I need and these Dr’s have done everything to keep me at home with my family, whilst I keep battling.

This honestly has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live through and even writing, which has been my main salvation has not helped. I’ve had countless offers of  support and kindness of which I am grateful for, but unless I find the strength in myself I am not going to get better. I’m hoping that after a good few nights sleep, without terrible nightmares, I will be back with some energy behind me to fight through this again.

This will not beat me permanently, it will not take away my family, my job, my friends. I know I am stronger than that I’m just too tired to fight it just yet. until that time comes I will rest, take care of myself, my wellbeing and mend my broken wings ready for the fight.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I have postnatal depression and I’m not ashamed

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I’ll get there, I’m just a bit broken.

I will get there eventually, it’s just my road isn’t as straight as others. I will try my hardest, but at times my hardest isn’t good enough. I will still smile and laugh, I’m just not the same as I once was inside. I can’t just get over it, suck it up and get on with it, but I wish I could.

I am a little broken, but I reconise that and I want to get better and work on myself as a person. I am not ashamed of who I am and the struggles I am going through, as they make me who I am. I do need more love and affection than most people need, but I’m lucky enough I have found a partner who is willing to be that person for me.

I am battling, but I’m prepared to fight and get through this.

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Trying to see clearly through the fog of depression and anxiety.

The exhaustion that postnatal depression and anxiety brings is deliberating and consuming. My days at times have merged into one where I get up and do the things I have to do, but I’m not present in the moment, I am detached, I am just running slowly on autopilot. This has made me feel like a terrible mother at times as all I’ve been able to do is focus on the children’s basics needs but nothing more. The antidepressants stop me from feeling any heightened emotions, sure I can feel happy and sad but not in the same way I used to.

Anxiety is such a struggle for me, the way it makes my heart race, sweaty hands and that need to leave the situation immediately. CBT has been so helpful to me but I constantly have to stop myself going back to my old coping mechanisms that hold me back from getting involved and living my life. One of the hardest things I find about anxiety is how exhausting it is, over thinking everything and not being able to sleep which then starts to really negatively effect my mental state.

Depression and anxiety really have controlled my life for so long and have put in so many limitations. I hate how depression has taken away my confidence and made me feel guilty over things I haven’t been able to control. I believe that I am always going to have to fight this battle and that scares the shit out of me. I feel so weak and overwhelmed at times but the rational side of me knows that I am not weak ad I have come so far, but at times that all feels pointless. When my head is ready to explode all I want to do is run away and escape, not permanently, I just want a break from my own mind.

I am still fighting and will continue to fight for my husband and kids as it’s all I know how to do. I mask the pain well to spare them the burden of my problems and even though I feel hopelessly alone at times I know I never will be. I take comfort in the fact i have more good days than bad days now and when I do have a blip it is usually short lived. Please get help if you need it as talking about it does help and if I hadn’t of got help when I did I really don’t know what would of happened to me.

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I have postnatal depression and I’m not ashamed.

Yes, I do have postnatal depression and no I’m not ashamed of it anymore. For over a year I have battled it every single day when at times it has made me close to the edge. It has consumed me and isolated me. Postnatal depression has been the dementor in my life for so long and at times it paralysed me and fed off my fear.

We need to get rid of the stigma around mental illness and educate people. I can’t just get over it, I can’t just suck it up. It has invaded every part of my life and damaged my closest relationships, but the day I admitted it and asked for help was the day a huge weight was lifted and the PND lost its control over me.

I’ve come along way in my battle and can see things from the other side now. The mummy guilt was horrible and the fear I would get my children taken away for admitting I had suicidal thoughts was frightening. Now I’ve got help even though some days are a struggle my life has got so much better. I now understand myself so much more and I appreciate that just like my body I also need to look after my mind. Isolating myself is a problem for me when I’m having a down few days, but now I recognise it I stop it from becoming habit so I don’t fall back into old traps.

If you you are going through this your self please do not be ashamed and talk about it. If you don’t have it and never have then be supportive and understanding as you never know the battles someone is going through in their head. They may look fine, but believe me they are not making it up and by being ignorant to it you are contributing to the problem. Everyone please open your minds and support each other. Please do not be ashamed over something you couldn’t help getting.

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Returning to work

Returning to work and why it was the best decision for me and my family. 

I had 13 months of maternity leave with Mr T including my holiday, which I was incredibly lucky to have. My husband worked extra to make sure I didn’t have to go back to work when my PND was at its worse, which I am eternally grateful for, but unfortunately I had to make the choice when my son was one to either return to work or get signed off work.

We had no option for me to be a stay at home mum and for the most part I do really enjoy my work, but the thought of going back whilst still suffering with PND scared me. It was still touch and go with my recovery with more good days than bad, but I was scared how it could rock the boat and if it would put me in a downward spiral.

In the end I decided to at least give it a go and if it got too much then I could always see my GP. I wasn’t convinced, but I told myself it might actually be a good thing for my recovery.

I was honest with my employers about my PND and they were incredibly supportive. It was rocky at the start especially with a change in my medication and feeling close to a complete breakdown for a week but now I’m on the right medication and we’ve got into a routine, I’m enjoying it more than ever.

I love being able to drink a hot cup of tea, chat with adults about something besides kids and not having to be a mum for the day, which then makes me appreciate my two days off in the week with my children. Routine has been key to my recovery and now I’ve been back at work for four months I’m feeling the best I’ve felt for a long time.

I definitely lost my identity being at home on maternity leave and was convinced I would be rubbish at my work when I went back, but I was surprised how quickly I got back into it and what a confidence boost it has been. I no longer feel guilty as I know this makes me a better mother.

I know it’s not for everyone but for me it works. I’ve got so much respect for stay at home mums and I’m not sure how you do it. My lunchbreak is over so I better get back to it.

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The power of positive affirmations. 

Over the last month I have been doing positive affirmations every morning and I’m shocked how much good it has done for my mental wellbeing. It wasn’t easy at first and I struggled to believe what I was saying, but now I really do believe and feel it and it gives me a huge boost. When anxiety gets the best of me I go through them in my head and my adrenaline seems to get rerouted to become confidence. It’s amazing how things we can do by ourselves can have such a positive on our mental wellbeing. Don’t feel like you are being stupid just know that you are becoming more mentally in tune with yourself and taking care of yourself inside.

Since my daughter Miss J came into our lives I’ve done everything to try and make her grow up feeling positive in herself so why couldn’t I do the same for me. Why did I tell my daughter she was beautiful, kind and could do anything whilst I told myself that I was ugly, fat and stupid. I would always give my friends good advice and pick them up when they were down but I seemed unable to do the same for myself.

I turned to selfhelp books and found lots of positive affirmations and decided I had nothing to lose. At first I tried to focus in to when I had moments of doubt and negative thought. I found becoming more aware of these thoughts helped so much as they didn’t just become fleeting thoughts that I never questioned. The more in tune I became the easier it got to challenge these thoughts and everytime I have a negative thought I now do an affirmation and it stops immediately. It takes practice but it works.

You can’t just say an affirmation you have to believe and feel it. Take a step back, focus on your breathing, get good posture and believe and feel it then repeat. The more times you do it the more it will become ingrained into you and the negative thoughts will slip away

“I am unconditionally loved in this very moment. I always have been, I always will be.”

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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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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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