Five years later…

“Suicide does end the chances of life getting worse. But it does eliminate the chances of it ever getting better”

It’s that time of year again. Maybe sometime, I’ll shut up about it. But all the time I know that I might be helping someone else by talking about my experiences, I’ll share them.

  • In April 2011, I started to notice severe symptoms of depression within myself, after 5 years of battling with self harm.
  • December 2012, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and given 6 months of Sertraline.
  • May 15th 2013, my mental illness took over and I decided to act on my negative feelings in attempt to end everything, as a result I was hospitalised.
  • A minimum of six disastrous months on several antidepressants that did nothing for me.
  • March 26th 2016, I was diagnosed with PND, GAD and PTSD following a traumatic labour.
  • June 2016, it was suggested that I could have BPD
  • 1 year of mirtazapine and a 4 stone weight gain.
  • January 29th 2018, I was diagnosed with Cyclothymic disorder (a milder, yet more chronic form of Bipolar Disorder) and Borderline Personality Disorder.

To me May 15th 2013 was like a semi colon (;) , representing where my story could have ended, but instead continued.

Five years on is such a bitter sweet feeling. Not only am I proud, when I think about how far I’ve come. But I am pained when I think that it’s taken me 5 years to get close to the help that I need and deserve.

The contrast between wanting to die and not being able to – with wanting to be alive and almost dying numerous times due to things that are out of your control is terrifying. It really reiterates how quickly your life can go full circle in such a short space of time.

I remember, sitting there in hospital wishing that I’d have died. Wishing so much that I could have just let go. I was convinced that I’d never get better. That I’d never feel better. That I’d never get a correct diagnosis. That i’d never get the help that I needed. I was in the bottom of a pit. There wasn’t a way out.

I have received my correct diagnosis and had many other mental health struggles since my most serious suicide attempt. I’d go as far to say that life since has been harder than I ever imagined. My pain hadn’t peaked on that night, I didn’t realise the depths of despair I’d get to – but my resilience and strength has just kept growing. Of course my mental health relapses due to the cyclical nature of my diagnoses. But, even when I feel like the worst person in the world with nowhere to go- I look at my baby and know that I at least got something right. Her smiles brighten my day and her laugh brings tears of joy to my eyes. Most days, just getting out of bed hurts and exhausts me so much I can barely carry on. but I constantly WORK so HARD to just keep going.

Anyone can go through a mental health issues or illnesses, it’s a hell of an ordeal. Recovery can be lifelong. Most days are a challenge, but there’s always days worth fighting for. This is anything but a cry out for attention, I just want anyone going through the same to know they’re not alone. Your experiences make you, who you are. You owe it to yourself to live for another day and give yourself another chance.

“Keep strong little fighter, soon it’ll be brighter.”

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A letter to my husband…

Dear Jamie,

As you know, you’re currently enjoying your all-inclusive 5* holiday in Kabul, and our daughter and I are stuck at home, trying somehow to cope without you around.

Of course, I’m joking. You would never leave us for a 4 month holiday, you’re actually at work (perks of the army, eh?) but from what you’ve told me about your camp it sounds a lot like a holiday!

Don’t be annoyed, but I thought this would be more difficult than it has been so far. Today marks the two week point, and honestly I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time to think about you being away. We get to speak quite often on the phone too, so that makes it a lot easier. But it is still a big adjustment. It is now, and it will be when you return.

I can imagine you’ll find it so much harder to come back, assuming I do have Olivia in some kind of routine by then (I won’t hold my breath on that one), and Olivia, especially, will have changed so much from the baby you left 2 weeks ago. She’ll be talking even more than she is now, potty trained (I hope), she’ll have had her 2nd birthday and she will have grown both physically and developmentally. She’s not far off your intelligence now, so I’m sure when you come back she’ll have far surpassed you on that scale! 😉

I’m kidding, of course…

However, right now, I’m having to deal with a much naughtier little toddler, who is probably testing even more boundaries because she’s stuck with Mummy all of the time. I wonder what goes through her head, and whether she knows when she asks for you that you’re at work. She seems to be coping quite well, it’s more my sanity that’s at risk while you’re away!

Right now she’s upstairs with Amy showing her the “naughty” scribbles she did on her wall, huffing and puffing and chattering away. See? This is pretty normal for her. She’s okay. We both are, really. We just miss you, that’s all.

People keep telling me that this time will go by so quickly, but what I’m really worried about is when I finish my course in June. Having so much free time, I’m sure, will make the time pass much more slowly. I won’t have any more milestone points to take my mind off it. At the moment, all I’m thinking is that I have 3 exams, 1 a week for 3 weeks, and then 3 weeks of teaching, 2 more exams and then that’s it, beginning of June, course done. That really doesn’t seem that far away, and that’s the half way point of you being gone. After that, the only thing I have to look forward to is you coming back! I might need to plan my own little holiday or something with the baby… Not that it will be much of a break, but it will at least fragment the time up a bit.

Olivia’s pestering me to have a go on the keyboard so I’m going to let her touch my Mac (I know right, see? My sanity is obviously gone) and write to you too…

saAS`A` GYTCxzxzxxccvcxzxczzxdsddxxdwdedcwggghgvghgvsmnhgghjkljkljnknn, ngfhghqzfsxbv de HGfcvdfdfdddgfdfsdd 

Translation: love you Daddy, see you soon, stay safe, love from Olivia xxxxx

Right, that’s enough for now and the brat smells so I have to execute a quick nappy change before attempting to get out of the house for messy play – god help us all.

We miss you so much – you’re the piece of our family that holds it all together.

Lots of love,

the Mrs
xxx

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Breastfeeding Blues

Initially I tried for almost 48 hours straight to breastfeed and had to beg a midwife for formula as my baby was screaming as she was so hungry. I continued to try for weeks and weeks. Pumping didn’t work and neither did feeding. I never got a ‘let down’, I don’t know what if feels like to have one.

Looking at my happy, healthy, strong and beautiful little girl, it’s hard to remember why I worried so much. My daughter is 18 months old, she’s 95th centile for height and 91st centile for weight. We couldn’t have a more incredible bond. I’ve struggled with Postnatal Depression- but I’ve always adored her and I know that she loves me too.
It’s breastfeeding week this week, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t shed a few tears when reminded of the fact that I couldn’t breast feed my baby.
I was scrolling back through photos when a found this picture of Florence latching. I didn’t realise it had been taken, but seeing it soothes me and reminds me of how I tried my best. After a major artery was ruptured after a tear during labour I had a massive haemorrhage and lost around 66% of my total blood volume. I had to have a triple blood transfusion and a plasma transfusion but despite this, I was left very anaemic.
I was later diagnosed with sepsis due to complications of being strep b positive. When I wasn’t fighting for my life I was trying to feed my baby. My milk never really came in and due to my mother having to bottle feed my baby whilst I was in intensive care, my already almost non existent supply couldn’t match that of a whole formula feed.
Initially I tried for almost 48 hours straight to breastfeed and had to beg a midwife for formula as my baby was screaming as she was so hungry. I continued to try for weeks and weeks. Pumping didn’t work and neither did feeding. I never got a ‘let down’, I don’t know what if feels like to have one.
We started our journey trying so desperately to breastfeed, but this journey was cut painfully short due to circumstances out of my control. My heart still breaks about this, because after a difficult labour and pregnancy, it would have been lovely for something to work out!
A family friend who is a lactation expert came to see me a few months ago, we talked through it all and she tried to reassure me that I have no reason to feel so awful, I really did try my hardest and she truly believes that it would have been almost impossible for me to breast feed, given the circumstances such as fighting for my life, the medications I was on and other factors such as having an underactive thyroid and PCOS.
Some people don’t want to breastfeed and that is fine. Babies who are bottle fed still thrive… But I wanted this so much for my baby and it still hurts that I couldn’t even provide her with something as simple as my own milk.  Yes she is incredible and she is thriving, but every time I see someone else feeding their baby, I feel like a failure. I can’t help it, but that’s how I felt then and often how I often feel now. One day it might stop hurting, but for now it is still a very sore subject. My body physically couldn’t feed my baby. My body failed me and my baby. Without formula, my baby would have starved.
I’m sure that the colostrum and the action of poaching my daughter on my breast helped to lay the perfect foundation for our incredible bond, but formula, and my love, influenced our incredible girl to blossom so beautifully.
Don’t buy into the “Only 1% of women cannot breastfeed” … it is a load of crap. Think of the Mummies on medications, the Mummies who are mentally or physically unwell, or fighting for their lives through illness or after a traumatic labour. The babies born prematurely or with a tongue ties. This supposed statistic leaves far too many parents feeling inadequate or like failures and it isn’t okay!
Shout out to all mummies in the same boat who have ever felt inadequate because of feeding problems and complications. I completely feel your pain, this week and always.