This is so hard and difficult to write because what has happened is still so fresh, but I need to share how I’m feeling and hopefully work on a bit of prevention with my beautiful friend.
I have an anxiety disorder. There it is, I said it. Phew! That wasn’t so hard I guess… but I’m someone who doesn’t openly discuss my anxiety issues, (being a bit of a proud and stubborn person), I still find it hard to admit that I have difficulties, which were on a daily basis. But here I am opening up about it and who better to share it with than you lovely mums?
I came off Facebook earlier this year and I’ve not looked back. When I realised that it was causing problems for my mental health, I decided it was best for me to finally ditch it.
Facebook has over the years been a great way for me, (like most people who use it), to stay in touch with old friends and new, but as my long-term relationship broke down, it was visually obvious just how much I had lost in the process. Seeing that old friends and family were deleting me out of their lives, after years together, took its toll on me and contributed towards my illness. Memories popping up each time I logged on. My anxiety was constantly telling me how lonely I had become. Some of my closest friends, I thought would be there through thick and thin, weren’t as supportive as I needed at that time, (and I recognise now that yes I was needy), and Facebook was reminding me of how much fun everyone was having, whilst I was falling into what I didn’t see at the time as depression. Of course when you’re in a better state of mind, you know that Facebook isn’t really ‘real life’, but as a result I was further pushing those people away and isolating myself as a way of coping, which I can see now.
Facebook again continued to serve as a reminder that as I reached my 30s and had become a mum, that I was no longer such a socialite. I love being a mum, so I accept that I can’t do as much; it’s part and parcel of being able to have a wonderful child, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped being me! Am I still fun to be around? My anxiety would chime in to torture and remind me that I’m lonely and instead of fun nights out, I’d be updating everyone on my excitement that I’d managed to get through the day without tearing my hair out.
The final push for me as a mum with anxiety was because I was noticing that family members were using Facebook as a way to ‘stay in touch’ with my daughter, by picture comments. Whilst it’s lovely to hear from people and to get their well wishes, (I don’t want to seem ungrateful), it means nothing to a baby/toddler, when she’s older and can read it’s a different story. I felt like people were knowing what my daughter was up to, without really knowing her and my anxiety again was causing me to have difficulty processing and dealing with this. Relatives, living nearby, were often going long periods of time without seeing my daughter. I knew I would much rather be able to see those people in person to build up relationships the old fashioned way, no matter how often that was. Coming off Facebook felt like the push I needed to arrange to see people more in person.
Coming off Facebook helped me to concentrate on my little circle of close friends and family and helped me to prioritise what is important to me and my family.
Leaving Facebook didn’t of course erase all of my mental health issues, but I’m using the social media that doesn’t trigger my anxieties instead which has helped me to feel more in control. Facebook is no longer there to remind me of the person I used to be; because I am finding that person again myself. Getting additional help from my GP has meant that my anxiety isn’t feeding me this false information, which sends me into a downward spiral where I am convinced that I am lonely. I am also far better at dealing with things that would have previously been a trigger.
I’m in a place now where I can stand up to the anxiety, (which I refer to as the A hole), and I can say I have my daughter’s and my partner’s love and that is more than enough! So with my little social circle of mums and treasured old friends, I feel very rich indeed. I haven’t felt this good about myself in a long time and I have more confidence than ever before to get out and meet new people. Each day feels like a new exciting opportunity now.
Thank you for reading about my journey.
If you liked this you may enjoy reading…
Hello everyone! I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently as my gorgeous husband is back from Afghanistan for a very short 12 days.
What do you remember about your two girls being born?
Today’s blog post is a special contribution from Anna Kucirkova. Anna speaks 3 languages has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and South East Asia she still wants to explore the rest of the world.
In this article, we’re going to examine the vicious combination of anxiety and depression to understand how they are related and how the latest research helps us understand the connection between them.
Conclusion: Don’t Let Anxiety Or Depression Destroy You
If you liked this you may enjoy reading…
So we all have times where we’re not ourselves, and if you suffer from mental health issues then you’ll know what I mean when I say sometimes it’s okay not to be ok. It has come out in recent news that Demi Lovato was hospitalized due to a relapse in her mental health, and it truly baffles me as to why people felt it was okay to criticize her for this? Mental health isn’t something you can take a tablet to fix it takes years, sometimes lifetimes to be in a good place…and that’s okay because everyone copes in different ways.
I have had my fair share of experiences with mental illness; Anxiety, depression, paranoia, post-partum psychosis and BPD to name a few. My experiences are completely different from those of my friends and family members that have experienced these conditions, so to people who don’t have any experience with poor mental health (and I mean this in the nicest way), what might have worked for your Aunt Becky’s hairdresser’s niece isn’t going to work for me. You see, this post isn’t just aimed at mums – as humans we are not expected to hold it together every minute of every day, nobody is expecting you to be perfect and that’s okay.
One thing that really grinds my gears on mental health is the stigma surrounding it. Why are people so ashamed and afraid to talk openly about how they are feeling? Having a broken mind is no different to having a broken arm – both take time and care to heal. Of course, in this day and age you still find people saying, “Oh get a grip”, “Mental health isn’t a real illness” or my personal favourite… “Stop attention seeking.” These are always the people that have had no experience of mental illness and I’m super glad life has been peachy keen for them, and I honestly hope they never do experience it.
When I think back to the time my mental health was at it’s worst, I reflect back and look at how far I’ve come. I would be lying if I said I’m completely cured… I still have a hell of a long way to go, but when I look back and remember sitting on the edge of a bridge over the M20, I tell myself it’s okay. I’m only human and some days I’m going to be a mess, some days I’m going to feel worthless but until anyone has walked in my shoes who the hell are they to judge me?
Recently, I discovered a young person quite close to me was suffering with depression and self harming, it broke my heart that they felt they couldn’t talk to anyone about it. When I asked them why they didn’t talk to anyone they replied, “people will think I’m a freak, I have seen how people at school get treated for being like this and I don’t want that,” and I was left speechless. Why do we live in a world where people, even more so young people, can’t talk about their mental well-being in fear of being bullied for it? Why do they feel they can’t discuss it openly or freely without fear of being judged?
So my darlings, don’t ever be ashamed of who you are or what you are going through, you are NEVER alone and you will get through this. You are worth so much more than you feel you are and it’s okay not to be okay.
If you liked this you may also enjoy reading…
It’s not always plain sailing…
Our mental health, much like our physical health, can be up and down. You can be fine one week, and find yourself in a bottomless pit the next. Whether you’ve largely recovered or you’re gradually on the road to recovery, it’s important to remember that relapses are normal.
You won’t always feel as great as you do on your best days and you won’t always feel as bad as you do on the worst days. It can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, helterskeltering to the bottom or being chucked up in the air in a fit of happiness!
What do you do when you are relapsing?
1. Remember that just like having any kind of physical relapse, this is normal! You will have bad days (probably for a long time) but they’ll get fewer and fewer as time goes on and as your brain repairs itself.
2. Take some time out – self care is even more important when you’re going through a relapse. One of the easiest ways to keep yourself going is to pamper yourself a bit, make sure you look after yourself, force yourself to get out of bed and have a shower, but do take it easy. If you need to rest, then rest. You know what you need, so listen to your body and give it a break!
3. If it lasts longer than a few days, seek help. Sometimes relapses do need some medical attention and you might need support when you’re dealing with them – don’t be afraid to reach out if things get too hard. If you don’t feel like you can talk to the people around you, you are always more than welcome to reach out to one of us for a non-judgemental rant and rave, but we still advise speaking to your GP if you’re struggling!
4. Remind yourself that you are not a bad mother… When depression strikes, you can feel like the whole world is against you and that you’re completely worthless. It can take a long time to realise that those thoughts are the depression talking – you’re a perfectly capable mother, and you should never ever criticise yourself for having a relapse. You wouldn’t criticise someone for suffering with cancer, so why criticise yourself for suffering mentally?
5. Focus on the good days, they’re what will get you through the bad ones. When those bad days do come and plague you, it’s important not to dwell on them for too long or to overanalyse the way you felt when you were at your worst. You’ll have days that are equally on the opposite side of the scale that are amazing, and focusing on those days will help you pull through in the long run!
Is there anything else that you do when you suffer with a relapse in your mental health? Let us know!
The title says it all really, all I have seen lately is people beating themselves up whether they are too thin, too fat, too tall…the list is endless, but when did it become okay for us to beat ourselves up this way? Essentially, we’re torturing ourselves whenever we look in the mirror.
You could say that since becoming a single mum I have been doing a bit of soul searching and a bit of self discovery and gradually I am coming to love the things I used to hate. You see I am a rather tall being 5ft 9 and a size 14 with a bit of a bum on me, and I always used to harshly criticise myself for this but lately I’ve learnt to love my curves and my height, after all they’re what make me, me. Besides, what kind of image am I setting for my son if all he ever hears and sees me doing is loathing myself?
I also have Excoriation Disorder which does mean my back, shoulders, chest and legs are covered in scars and skin blemishes which I still struggle to accept but i’m sure as time goes on i’ll come to accept them.
What I’m trying to say in all of this is: next time you’re stood in front of the mirror, just remember that for every flaw you find, there are possibly 5 qualities to counteract that flaw, and that flaw is what makes you, you! And one day your little girl or boy will come to you pointing out every flaw they can find with themselves and it’s our job as parents to help to show them a way to love themselves and be confident in life.
“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.”
If you liked this you may enjoy reading…
Depression is a friend of mine.
Tales From Mamaville
In light of the fact that this week is maternal mental health awareness week, I wanted to do a post about something a bit personal. I’ve previously blogged about how I had postpartum psychosis, however I didn’t really talk about the thing that changed it all for me, and that was probably the lowest point of the journey for me but equally it was also the start of me getting help. This was the night I was sectioned after trying to take my own life.
I immediately let out a wail. I thought I would never see my boy again. They assured me all this means is that they would be taking me to a mental health hospital and a place of safety. They rang and asked for an ambulance escort but was told there was a long wait and was told providing I wasn’t going to harm myself there would be no need for an ambulance escort, and at this point I was exhausted so just nodded and said I wouldn’t attempt anything.