That what it took of looking after the girls day in day out without a break.
My patience was broken, my anxiety was breaking me. I had given in and given up. I just couldn’t take it any more. So I took it out on those that didn’t deserve it and now I feel totally ashamed.
I screamed till I was hoarse and ranted until I couldn’t think of the words to say. I grabbed the nearest thing to me which was the cat scratching post and waved it around like a crazy woman hitting everything I could; walls, doors and then I heard the crack of the bannister. That stopped me in my tracks and I collapsed on the bed howling into the duvet cover.
My youngest crept up the stairs, I didn’t hear her until she put her arms around me and said “are you okay mummy”. ” I’ve not seen an adult cry like that before”. I felt dreadful, exhausted, ashamed and
Guilty about that outburst and have felt awful ever since.
It’s 10 past midnight and yet again I can’t sleep. I’ve been doing that a lot this past week and I know it’s due to my anxiety. I’m so tired yet can’t sleep. However I wake feeling drained and go back to sleep after the girls have woken and plonked themselves in front of the TV with breakfast. My energy and mindset is at a low and I’ve hardly left the house.
I’m feeling confused about my mental health state as I’m technically “relaxed” and not really planning much yet still I feel
on edge. I’ve turned into a “yes mummy” for which the girls are loving; binge watching tv, eating pretty much what they want and not even saying the”H” word (Homework)! The perfect holiday some might think for them and me.
Yet I still feel all the guilts, all the anxiety and all the apprehension. My fingers are red raw and sore from picking and biting the skin, another sure sign I am not coping. At first I put it down to the general festive stress but it’s gotten worse since Christmas has been over. So what is it causing me to feel like this? I’m not entirely sure.
What do I need to do to stop this feeling? The immediate answer would be some headspace away from everyone but then I’d be alone in my thoughts and I definitely don’t need that anymore.
Talking about it would be a good second but I’m not sure what to say. It’s like the feeling you get when you’re coming down with a cold, you can’t put your finger on it, you just know you don’t feel right. But then when you get the full blown snot fest and stuffy head feeling you feel a hell of a lot worse. I feel like I’m trying to avoid that but ignoring it won’t go away.
Since writing this a few days ago I’ve managed to get more sleep and general rest but sleeping at the right time is still difficult. Talking with hubby is helping as well as getting out into the fresh air. Slowly slowly as my father-in-law would say.
Not quite having that festive feeling.
Depression and anxiety at any time of year is hard but at Christmas time it’s even harder.
Although I am feeling well in my mental health at the moment, I still feel at this time of year that I’m teetering, like a tipsy office worker in her highest stilettos after a lunchtime drink.
Sometimes I feel it’s inevitable that I will fall like I have done before. I have previous when it comes to Christmas blips in my mental health. I’ve fled like Cinderella, quite literally from a Christmas ball unable to face even sitting down for a meal. One year I ended up wearing a 18″ pizza when the wind took it from me and proceeded to blow it off the top of the pram as I negotiated hurricane gusts of wind. I’ve also had an emotional breakdown when I couldn’t deliver the Santa request from my 6 year old of the elusive “Elsa powers”. So much so I couldn’t face any part of Christmas Day and tearfully got through it. Just.
I’ve experienced all of these so I know only too well that the Christmas rollercoaster of emotions and expectations as well as the personal pressure we put ourselves under can be so overwhelming that we just want to hide somewhere warm and protected until at least Easter.
Lots of advice is given around this time of year to help get us through. Some of it helpful, some of it lip service. What I do know is that I need to listen to my own needs so much more. It’s just another day I hear all too clearly but it comes with the hidden pressures we put ourselves under.
As a mum with 2 lively daughters who seem to have an endless amount of school holidays and a husband who sadly can’t take all the holiday time off the stress levels go up a notch. I like to give this air of relaxed calm, open house, gifting and charitable good intentions which is all completely genuine and who I am, and what I love. However I still have a fight with my inner voice which says I’m not doing enough, not giving enough, not being enough. Deep down I know that’s not true but overcompensate many times over nonetheless.
Self care is a phrase we often hear, and one which I need to adhere to. Take that time for myself and not to others. Don’t listen to that inner voice giving me a guilt trip. I am enough. It’s something I know I need to practice ensuring that I listen to the needs my mind and body are telling me. Look after myself, eat well and above all take that pressure off of trying to be the perfect mum, wife and friend.
Things I like….
Offer me a cup of tea and I will tell you how strong I like it by comparing it to a colour in your kitchen. ” not as dark as the colour of your kitchen cupboards!”
FYI; Earl Grey tea, no sugar, not very strong, dash of milk.
No matter how full I am after a meal there is always a little space for a sweet something. In the absence of a bar of chocolate, it has been known that I would settle for a spoonful of Nutella!
I love the smell of coffee but won’t drink it and freshly cut grass but rarely mow it. Washing that has been dried outside in the sunshine and the smell of a newborn baby’s dirty nappy; strange I know!
I like reading, nice stories that I can imagine being a part of. Watching similar style films. Always love a bit of period drama. Listening to folk music and generally music that I can relate to the lyrics or I like the melody of it. My preferred radio station flicks between BBC radio 2 or Classic FM: Especially in December when they play Christmassy classical music.
I love Christmas and celebrating all festivals in the U.K. I like the idea of getting people together for a social occasion. Nibbles, wine and Gin always go down well. Give me vodka and you’ll be holding my hair back out of the toilet.
I like being outside in the fresh air yet also I’m a home-bird. I love to travel but I always love to come back home. I love cuddling up with my husband, kids and cats but not all at the same time!
It’s good to remember these things that I like. It helps to know them especially when I may be feeling low, or struggling with my mental health. It is also important to remember that just ‘being’ is enough and that I am enough.
Out of all the photo challenges so far of this perinatal mental health photo challenge this theme I’ve found the hardest to comment or find a photo for.
I can gush and have done previously in this challenge about my deep love for my friends and the amazing support they have given me. However the elephant in the room here are friends and friendships that have fallen by the wayside over the years. Thankfully there aren’t many but those that have gone I still think about them and hope they’re doing okay in their lives.
Loosing a friendship for whatever reason is really hard to come to terms with. It has to be said it is a grieving process of sorts and is highly emotional. Disbelief, anger, sadness are all there, along with a deep questioning of what went wrong, how did we get to this and ultimately “what did I do?”
I have spent many hours thinking about what has happened to the relationships I have lost trying to understand. After all the internal questioning for your own sanity you need to conclude that it is a two way situation of misunderstanding and unsaid words.
Then comes the crux of the situation; what do you do about it? Do you try and maintain contact despite feeling hurt? Leave contacting each other for a while? Or cut that person from your life. Sometimes if a moment of peace and the white flag raised communication and conversation can return. However honesty has to be at the heart. You need to let that person know how the falling out has affected you. The other person may feel the same or simply have been going through a difficult time too and felt unable to say. Only when that honesty has happened can the mending begin. And sometimes even either that amount of honesty things happen that mean for your own good you need to cut off that person as they are too toxic in your life.
Whatever happens you need to do what is best for you.
Friends come into your life for a reason and so they leave it too.
You hear people say “don’t believe all you see or read on social media”. Life isn’t a Pinterest picture or an Instagram montage. For me when I had postnatal depression it was my mask. I hadn’t entered the realms of Facebook until I had my second child. I did so because I had this silly notion of missing out on things. Friends were talking about it, laughing over photos I hadn’t seen, this made me feel quite paranoid. Now commonly referred to as FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. So on New Years Day 2011 my first photo posted was a photo of my youngest daughter looking happy. Likes and congratulations messages all round. I had finally stepped into the modern world that is social media and joined the masses.
However I was in the throes of postnatal illness and I wasn’t well at all. Paranoid thoughts were a constant in my day to day life. I would rerun conversations over and over in my head. Should I have said that? Did that’s person take what I said the wrong way? Were they offended? Did I upset them? What would they be thinking about me? Would they say to their friends I had upset them? Whatever had happened I would replay it over in my head to think if I could have said something differently.
Despite my better judgement Facebook, which I had been quite openly verbal in my dislike for it, had now become my mask. I would put photos of my daughters on there or happy statuses to show others I was okay. I was definitely sucked into the pretend world of Facebook. It was like a new friend, I wanted to spend lots of time with it, find out more about it, it was fun. However I was trying to live my life as if I was a Facebook status. Strange as it sounds I would compile posts in my head to match a situation. Combining this with how mentally unwell I was feeling it wasn’t a good combination.
Now I am well I know that social media has its place but it is like a good book on a shelf. I can pick it up if I want to. Read it or just glance over the cover. Enjoy it, recommend it to others or just know that’s it’s there.
My definition of self care;
Self care is defined by doing something for ourselves that rebalances our state of mind to ensure our mental health and wellbeing is in a positive and happy place.
My top 10 self care tips
My self care priorities are
0. Sleep; getting enough sleep
0. Food; eating good food. Trying to be healthy but allowing myself to eat the junk food too.
0. Family; making sure I spend quality time with my family, not doing homework or trying hard to “make memories” but living in and appreciating the little moments.
0. Closeness to loved ones. For me this is closeness to my husband:Remembering who we were before we had children. Going on dates, appreciating each other.
0. Friends; spending time with friends and catching up with old friends.
0. Pampering taking time out to pamper myself; paint my nails, have a massage, get a haircut, going shopping, buying and reading a magazine.
0. Reading I have always loved readying and getting into a good book.
0. Nature; appreciating nature, making sure I get out during the week to hear the birds singing and sense the stillness in the woods.
0. Laughing; a chuckle, a snort, a giggle, nothing can beat the laugh out loud, can’t actually make a sound, struggle to breathe situation of hysterical laughter, hearing it or falling about yourself is one of the best highs I can experience. It might not happen often but I love it when it does.
0. Confiding; telling others you’re not okay and needing to share and talk with them.
It is totally personal to you and what defines a happy and positive place for some could be the opposite for others. Find yours …