I am over the moon that mental health is no longer that ‘taboo’ subject. In fact more and more of us are opening up about our feelings, worries and emotions. Last year seemed to be a pretty epic year really. Mental Health was boldly talked about and it became apparent that there are more of us suffering from anxiety and depression than really known about. My own experience is still very real and plays a big part in my everyday life. I considered keeping it all to myself, inside my worrying brain but soon realised I shouldn’t be ashamed of my feelings. Anxiety is very real and I think a lot of us are suffering in silence, when really we could be helping each other.
I’m sorry in advance as this post won’t sound particularly cheery, but that is in fact real life. Some days aren’t all big smiles and happiness. Some days merely are just crap. I’ve always been a worrier shall we say, but my big no no subject has to be Death. Since I can remember I’ve had this negative relationship with it, when I think about it my whole self goes into sheer panic mode. However I have always seemed to keep those thoughts and emotions at bay and only think about it when I really sit down and choose to think about it. Unfortunately this is no longer the case, death is at the forefront of my mind, every single day and it is exhausting.
I noticed this change about a year after Freddie was born, I began to think about it a lot, all the time in fact. I attempted to figure out the trigger to this sudden surge in emotion, perhaps my job in healthcare hasn’t helped. In all honesty these thoughts were always there but having Freddie just made me worry more about life as I guess I have so much more to lose- sounds silly right?
Just before Christmas 2016 I fell poorly with my same boring tummy problems. I was signed off from work for 3 weeks and began to feel really low (although I had been battling these issues for a while before this.) I noticed a huge increase in my levels of anxiety- so I decided it was best to discuss this with my GP. After a few appointments I was put on anti-depressants and referred to Healthy Minds (NHS Mental Health Service), reluctantly I started to take these tablets and after a few months I began to feel more calm and overall a bit less unbalanced. I have to stress before this my mind was on overdrive, I began to have very irrational thoughts during mundane everyday activities. I wish to list some below just as an insight into my mind at the time, please note they all pretty much revolve around people dying! Again full of the cheer!
- If I heard of a car accident on the radio or sirens when I was out driving I would automatically think ‘maybe my mum was driving near there? was she due to be in the area at that time?’ I would then have to call her to check she was okay.
- If Freddie slept through the night- of course I assumed he may have died before any other thought entered my mind.
- If Adam went into town perhaps he’d forget to look where he was going and be knocked down by a car or a bus.
- Before I get in the car I think maybe someone will crash into me today?
I wont list anymore as I think you all get the gist- just imagine pretty much any daily scenario involving anyone close to me and the possibility of them dying. Its so morbid and writing it down is quite embarrassing but that is genuinely how bad my anxiety got. I was and still am petrified of losing someone close to me and I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away. My therapy sessions helped for a few weeks, however for me, I found over the phone therapy difficult and felt face to face contact would’ve been more beneficial. This of course is challenging when juggling work and children. Falling pregnant with Noah really helped me, it gave me something to focus on when I was feeling pretty low and I did start to feel a lot better.
I decided back in September to stop taking my tablets- in all honesty I felt a bit ashamed. When asked at every midwife or hospital appointment ‘if i took any regular medication’ I always felt silly saying ‘yes I take anti-depressants.’ I have to say there was never any judgement and I was never made to feel this way, it was just a natural emotion. The classic ‘I should be happy because I’m having a baby’ statement hung around my mind and it just made me feel awful. I am now 4 months without them and I can see those crafty irrational thoughts worming there way back into my mind. It is so frustrating but I think it will always be a part of me. Of course in the future I want to talk it through with someone professionally but for now I am doing okay.
My two gorgeous boys and Adam help me a lot, I have a brilliant family and can distract myself from it taking over like in previous years. My blog has been a brilliant aid, therapy in its own little way. I have realised how much I love to write about my life and feelings- how much I love to interact with fellow mama’s who are in similar situations. My mum always jokes that I always have to have something on the go, something to look forward to. Perhaps that may be how I cope with these feelings but I’m okay with that. Yes one day I hope to be happy living in the moment but for now focusing my mind helps me and boy do I have a lot of things to focus on this year.
I hope I haven’t come across as a Debbie Downer, I really am generally a happy person. Just some days I battle with this anxiety and these emotions that I’ve not quite figured out yet. I wish, in the future, that more and more people will open up and continue to normalise these mental health problems. I think more of us suffer from them than we are aware, and I also think we can help each other. I’ve come across some pretty cool people- via Instagram (shout out to Anna from Mamas Scrapbook,) who have some awesome reading material on all things psychological. So please if you can relate to anything I have said, then get in touch! I would love to hear from you. Or if you know of more fellow Mamas or Papas I should follow send the link my way. I would really appreciate it x