Mental Health Awareness week
Monday, 21 May 2018 | Mummy and Little MeSo its Mental Health Awareness week. I always try to write about things that are currently relevant (shameless plug to my recent blog about Prince Louis https://www.mummyandlittleme.co.uk/blog/how-did-you-look-4-hours-post-delivery.html) and so it seems fitting that I write about MHAW.
That means getting personal. Being really honest. So where do I start?
I suffer from depression and anxiety.
More so the latter. When I let the anxiety go untreated, the depression eventually follows. It’s a spiral. Constant. A rollercoaster.
I think I’ve probably always been a little anxious, but really, isn’t everyone? It’s a normal emotion. It’s just when it starts to become a daily hindrance that something needs looking at.
In Summer 2004, I was working my dream job in Disneyland Paris. I had a panic attack during a shift. I suddenly had no idea where I was or what I was doing, I was dizzy, I couldn’t breathe. My face became paralysed as what I can, to this day, only describe as that mask from the ‘Scream’ films. What the hell.
Unfortunately, these attacks became a daily occurrence each lasting about 45 minutes of me hyperventilating and rocking forwards and back.. The more I tried not to have one, the more likely I was to suffer one!
It was one of the reasons I left my job and moved back to England in 2006.
Since then, I’ve been on and off medication. I’ve been on all sorts. Each time, I’ve then weaned myself off them (and not always with the doctors recommendation).
In 2015 I tried to ‘go it alone’. The anxiety became too much though. A simple task such as buying shampoo would take me an hour; choosing, queuing, going back to change it, queuing, going back, then after all that leaving the store without anything! I just couldn’t make a decision. I can look back now and think, ‘just choose one, what’s the worst that can happen!?’ But at the time... I couldn’t think straight.
My temper was at an all time high. Anything would anger me. My hubby once opened a toilet paper pack when there was already a pack open. I lost it.
I’d start arguments for no reason just because it seemed everyone was against me. Everything was a problem. I’d be able to feel my breath being taken away from me.
At worst, I had thoughts of self harm. On one occasion, I just felt that if I were to pour boiled water from the kettle over my arms, I’d feel better. I thought about stepping it into the busy road outside my office but I was worried if I didn’t die straight away the pain would be too much. Too scary. I didn’t want to die. I tried to make myself sick one night. This was when I knew it was too much.
We had a (then) five year old, I didn’t want him to see me upset or mummy and daddy arguing all the time. So I went to get help.
I went to the doctors, talked and was prescribed medication. I also completed some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which was really helpful and I would recommend to anyone.
Unfortunately, in 2016, I again tried to come off it without any help. It was like deja vu.
That year, we also decided to try for another baby. The doctors tried to persuade me against it until I was stronger in the mind. It was difficult. Do I want to be on medication and pregnant? Can I risk not being on medication again?
It was agreed we would lower my dose whilst trying for a baby as some medications are strictly a no go when pregnant. To be fair, no medication is probably the best option, but I refused to put my life on hold. I’ve had anxiety for over 10 years, it’s a part of me, I just need to manage it.
We became pregnant in June 2017. I absolutely loved being pregnant. Everything just fitted into place. My anxiety was minimal, I was just so happy.
In January 2018 our baby girl, Lily, was born prematurely. (https://www.mummyandlittleme.co.uk/blog/how-do-you-cope-with-a-premature-baby.html )
In April i was due a review of my medication, I decided to increase my dose. I didn’t want to, ideally, I don’t want to be on any medication, but, if one tiny pill a day can help me feel ‘normal’ then it’s worth it.
If you’re feeling down, worried, anxious, you’re not being silly. And I can guarantee, someone you know is suffering too.
Talk. Talk to a family member or a friend. Talk to me. (My social media handles are below)
I’m so lucky I could talk to my hubby but I know some people aren’t in this position, and the thought of talking it over just seems too much.
You may never be ‘cured’. I don’t think I will be. Who knows? But I’m starting to feel more normal now, this helps me be the best wife & mummy I can be.
Mental Health is being talked about so much more now. Let’s keep up with the movement. Let’s talk.