Blip?

I don’t know what you want to call it.. stupidity? A moment of madness? Whatever it is, I wish I hadn’t done it.What am I talking about? I stopped taking my anti depressants because I thought that I was doing “ok”. I thought that I finally sorted things out with the healthy eating, exercise and all that sort of thing. However, I didn’t and recently I have paid the price but worst of all, so have my kids and husband. Don’t get me wrong when I was exercising, I felt on top of the world but due to holidays and schedule clashes, I haven’t done much in the past 2 weeks.

It wasn’t until last night, reading a post by the amazingly strong and in my eyes, courageous woman , Vicky AKA @SingleMAhoy and her post which she had written a long time ago but only decided to post it, which can be read here where she talks about often forgetting to take her pills and then thinking that you’re ok and really, it’s a downward spiral from there.. I usually follow that pattern. I also can empathise with the everything annoys you , little things . Again, it’s from someone whistling, chewing loudly (or so I think), Thunderpants doing handstands and saying that she will disturb the family down stairs when really its the noise which irritates the fuck out of me. In fact, everything irritates me. So much so that I am wanting to claw at my face to make things stop. I break out in sweat, I itch and I just can’t concentrate on much at all.  I cry, I shout, I throw things and I just can’t understand why I can’t be “norma;”. But what is normal? Really, can someone please tell me?

What is it like to find enjoyment again in simple things, to not feel so exhausted all the time because of the stress? Let me tell you… I have done Tough Mudder recently and that never even touched on the exhaustion that I feel on a daily basis due to the anxiety. Ok, so we went through a period where the boy wasn’t sleeping and it is hell and it is hard but it’s not where all of the tiredness is coming from. I wonder if I will be able to feel content again.

I have started back on the tablets again as of today and I really hope that they stop my mind from realing and I stop feeling like there is a ping-pong ball in my head , dotting from one side of my head to the other.. or is it more like a game of squash that’s going on?  I just want it to slow down, to stop and for me to be calm. I don’t remember the last time I felt calm. We went on holiday recently and there was an incident which happened and although we were all on edge, it increased my anxiety even more. I thought I could ride it out and that once I returned home that I could really just decide what to do.

You see, I am not depressed. At least I don’t feel that way , but it could lead to that if I don’t buck up my ideas and sort this out. I am very self-aware and I just needed a kick up the arse to get things in motion. I think that post was meant to be sent out last night because despite the tears that it brought, you can bet your ass, some were tears of utter relief.I just couldn’t believe that some of the things described were so similar.

So here I am, the doctor wants to see me again in two weeks.. I’m not sure that the ones he has put me on are really right but I’ll give them a try. I guess part of this whole thing for me is that I have a personal issue with being on antidepressants. I would never treat anyone the way that I treat myself so I can’t understand why I add a personal stigma. I need to get on with it and just accept that I need them. However, as someone who studied counselling, I think fixing things with a tablet rather than working through it, isn’t the answer. My other part of me thinks, well if it helps is it really doing any harm? This is the inner conflict that I have and it drives me crazy.

I don’t know what the answer is, if there is one in the first place but I know that I am pro active and for now, the pills are what I need.

The Rollercoaster of life

Today, I want to run away. I don’t want to be a wife, a mother of two beautiful children, an employee , a friend or a family member. Today I want to be alone with no worries , thoughts, anxiety, or stress. I want to have a clear mind and be “still” like the water on a lake on a quiet summer morning. Is this too much to ask? When did life become so complicated?

I know that I can control my own destiny but when there are so many people to throw into the loop, who are affected either directly or indirectly, throwing caution to the wind is damn near impossible. Hurting others is not what I am about and I don’t want to start… yet there will have to be some decisions made and fast because I cant go on feeling like a pressure cooker who is about to blow at any minute.

I’ve had the conversation in my head about what to do, pretended that I am giving advice to a “friend”, but in reality its not very practical! You see, I have never been one who can make decisions well especially when it affects the lives of others. I would rather bury my head in the sand and be a coward. I put on a hard exterior but I’m very much “soft” on the inside. I hate upsetting and hurting people and I have a lovely list of defense mechanisms that I use.

I seem to get by on the reactions of others… It can dictate the kind of day that I’m having if going through a particular low point. This isn’t a daily thing thankfully but it happens and it makes me feel weak and upset that I can’t have my own mind.

When does it all kick in, the life experiences and the coming to peace and acceptance of yourself? When do you learn to love yourself or settle for who you are? Is it something that comes with age and time? Or does it just not happen for some folk and not others?

If that’s the case, it seems like a pretty big waste of life, no? I sure as hell don’t want to go through life feeling as though I’m a bad person. In theory I know I’m not but I still haven’t accepted myself , still unsure of who I am or who I want to be.

I feel like a chameleon some times.. I used to do a lot of copying of friends when I was much younger. It was admiration of those few choice friends for me and annoyance for others. I lost a few friends and although there was no ulterior or sinister motive in it, I can see how it was detrimental to those friendships. I just didn’t know who I was but I saw happiness in their lives that I wanted for myself.

Luckily, I’m less about copying but I still do change opinions to suit those who I admire in hope that I’ll be accepted. I don’t do it with everyone… I am lucky that I have a few folk around me that know me completely. The problem is that I still continue doing this… It achieves nothing.

Wow, this post has turned into a major self loathing exercise! You know what they say though… “better out than in” and I did start this blog as a way to get out how I feel about things. I’m a thinker, a very deep thinker and sometimes it can be dangerous… Or sometimes it can be good.

Anyway. No idea how to end this post so I just will.

 

Anxiety, it’s high

See when you have or are prone to anxiety and you forget to renew your prescription and all of a sudden your behaviour changes. That.

I honestly forgot to take them, exercise and life was and still is apart from a few glitches,good but then it just crashes and every little thing/noise bothers and irritates the fuck out of you because your senses are heightened? That.

When you start sweating profusely, your back and all other muscles tighten in your body causing constant muscle ache and physical and mental exhaustion. That.

When you take far too much on in life, and can’t say no to anything or anyone for fear of letting them down.That.

When you go to see your doctor about how you are feeling, ask for blood tests and are told to make an appointment with the nurse, only to finally do that, arrange childcare and when you show up, are then told by the nurse”I don’t see a request on your notes, I can’t take blood unless GP gives consent and well, she wouldn’t forget cause she is a GP”. You ask the nurse to ask the doctor who says that they didn’t feel it was necessary for them to be taken and deny all knowledge of the conversation. That.

You don’t want to make a complaint for fear of having “anxious/mental health etc” in your notes as you’ve viewed them once before after speaking to a doc and not agreeing with him on one occasion only to see the shitty comments that they have made. That.

When you’re visibly upset and your prescription isn’t ready, and the receptionist is looking at you like you’re bat shit crazy, and you’d really like to go all nuts in her face an ask why she feels it necessary to pass judgement on you… That.

When you want to just get on in life without medication (it’s the lowest dose) but still feel part of the stigma, and believe me there is a stigma cause i work in the NHS and have witnessed it by so calked professionals.That.

BUT, despite feeling like this, you know you have fight in you and are proactive, have friends around you, as well as in the virtual world … You know that you’ll come out just fine 🙂 .

My CBT Revelation

Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I attend the Mother and Baby Unit as I was a bit scared about  the feelings that I had at the start of my pregnancy. I was also scared about what would happen post natal wise as I have a high chance of going through PND for a second time . However as soon as the thoughts entered my head, I was on the blower to the doc and made choices to try and support me through it and one of the things was getting a referral asap.

I have been going for a few weeks with a 2 week break in between due to holidays but I really felt that yesterday for some strange reason, put it all into perspective for me and I have changed my thought process in a big way. when the penny drops and you can see things clearer, its immense just how much weight is lifted from your shoulders and any experience that you have had in the past or about to have in the future, becomes less scary and how you deal with it is within your control. I know that I have been so much better since finding out the sex of the baby and with the sickness passing (that was a major major part of the way that I was feeling), but to know that I can pick apart my own thoughts and see them for what they are, is bloody amazing.

I did study the unit of CBT when studying counselling but when you have to put it into practice, its a whole new ball game and you start going through all the fears that you have, whether they be minimal or life affecting, and you see them for what they really are. I have always been proactive but I guess I didn’t really know how to get  beyond a certain stage and there was something that was said yesterday which makes a hell of a lot of sense. Its knowing when you have reached a goal that makes the difference. That is it, plain and simple. no big huge pa-lava of words and sentences and things that don’t make a lot of sense.

Some of the fears apart from the new baby coming and the sleepless nights, pnd are all becoming less and less of an issue and are manageable to pick apart and rationalize for me now. I had some stress relating to re entering the blogosphere in that I felt I needed to write every day. Who says I need to?I became a bit crabbit this week if something got in the way of me doing it, whats that all about? its about me thinking that I will lose the feeling I get when I write , coming out with crap posts and losing followers. However, I started writing for me not anyone else (thanks to those who follow and read, it isn’t a dig) , if I continued on that way it was making me feel , ie stressed which then manifested itself into a physical feeling which is tiredness and waking up in the middle of the night thinking about what to write the next day, where was the fun in that? I wasn’t being true to myself. yes, I may write each day but now it will be because I want to , I was the one putting the stress on to myself, no one else.  Its amazing just how much stress affects us and sometimes we aren’t aware of that.

So now its about taking time, not taking too much on. having a cup of tea and chilling! Now off to work…

 

Guest Post:Prenatal Depression

Here is one amazing woman’s experience of prenatal depression. Thank you for sharing and for being so brave. Another example of strength and inspiration!

I am a mum to a fantastic 4 year old boy who is the light of my life and life is good. It wasn’t always like this for me.

The pregnancy was planned and longed for and after experiencing an early miscarriage in June, we were delighted to find out I had gotten pregnant again just the month later and I was due our baby in April.

The first few months passed in a blur of to be expected symptoms of nausea and tiredness but soon these manageable though rotten symptoms began to be replaced by uncomfortable feelings and worries which I couldn’t make sense of. As my baby grew and my body changed I started to experience feelings of claustrophobia and began to feel overwhelmed by what was happening to me.

I knew that I shouldn’t really be feeling like that and I broached the subject with my husband and friends and they reassured me that it was normal to feel emotional, hormonal and not everyone likes being pregnant and it would all be worth it.

As days went on, those words weren’t helping me and I was starting to feel really overwhelmed and panicky about this baby growing inside me. Intrusive and distressing thoughts began to fill my head and I couldn’t sleep. I was scared that these thoughts were what I truly felt about myself and my baby and that I would act on them. The thoughts were about me harming myself and my baby and I was terrified to tell anyone. What kind of mother to be thinks like that! Everyone around me was so happy for this wee baby arriving and I was trying to block out what was happening, no easy feat with a baby bump increasing by the day.

Once I felt baby starting to move and kick inside me, I was truly panicking and overwhelmed. I knew then I wasn’t very well and needed help. I phoned the maternity hospital but the midwife’s response of ‘you need to just calm down’ didn’t help me at all. At my next routine midwife appointment I broke down in front of my lovely midwife and told her how scared I was and that I was having terrible thoughts and feelings and just wasn’t coping with what was happening to me. She was amazing and quickly got the consultant in who recommended that I go to hospital for a few days. I remember being so relieved that I was going to get help but also amazed that they took in their stride as to what I was telling them, that this happens to some women and there is help out there.

I don’t think they knew where to put me in the maternity hospital and i was admitted to a ward where women were being induced and in early labour. All the women were on foetal monitoring units so i found it very distressing hearing in stereo all the babies heartbeats when i was panicking so much about my baby inside me as well as being 7 floors high with intrusive thoughts of throwing myself out a window.

I was then assessed and a care plan put in place that was very personal and individual to me. I was given medication (which was safe to take) and assigned a CPN from the Mother and Baby Unit who supported me for the remainder of my pregnancy, the birth and beyond. The best thing I did was tell my nurse all the intrusive and negative thoughts as she reassured me that it didn’t mean I wanted to really act on them, that they were a distressing symptom of anxiety and stress. When I realised there was actually a Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit, it really helped me as I thought ‘this must be so common if they have to have a department especially for mental health.’

I started to feel better as the weeks went on, although still emotional. I learned coping techniques to help me get through the rest of the pregnancy which really worked for me and I also went swimming and received reiki.

I had to come off my medication at 38weeks pregnant for the birth and my baby ended up being born 2 weeks late so i was off medication for a month which was quite difficult. I had written out a detailed birth plan about my mental health and what would help me in labour, and i was lucky that this was truly respected. I had a difficult birth which resulted in an emergency section but I was just so happy to have him and loved him straight away. I was just so elated not to be pregnant and thought this was the start of the rest of my life.

The first few months went well as I had a lot of support, visits from HV and CPN and my husband was off work for a while. However as the months went on, the old familiar intrusive thoughts started to reappear and this was even more overwhelming as now I actually had a little baby who I was terrified I could hurt. I knew I didn’t want to harm him but I was terrified that the thoughts would take over and something terrible would happen. I was scared to be on my own with him in case I did something. I started to feel like my baby deserved a better mum than me, that I didn’t deserve him and the worst memory for me to revisit is the memory that I used to think everyone would be better off without me.

I managed to tell my husband what was happening for me and he reassured me that these were just thoughts and I remember thinking ‘if he thought the baby was at risk then he would never leave me alone with him so the fact he does means he thinks I am a good mum’.

I revisited my coping techniques for dealing with intrusive thoughts and very slowly they started to fade. It did take a long time for the anxiety and thoughts to fade to a manageable level and sometimes even now they will reappear. Not in the form they were before but I realise they surface if I am very tired, stressed etc so now because I am aware of what my triggers are I can manage and cope with my anxiety.

I truly never thought I would ever get better and can’t believe there has been an end to the nightmare I went through. This experience has been the scariest, loneliest time of my life, made all the more difficult as it was supposed to be a happy time but I can truly say now that I am so glad to have my little boy and be here to see him grow up.Having survived this experience I know now how strong and I am and I am so proud of myself. I just love my little boy to pieces and feel truly connected with him. This is something I never thought I would be able to say so I am happy and grateful to be able to do so.

When I think what women go through in pregnancy, birth and post natal I just think we are all amazing!!

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