Social media

IMG_3513Social media.

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.

 

 

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Self care

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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 …

Nature

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Nature

I love nature in all seasons but I think Autumn is my favourite. It’s important for my own mental health that I can take those walks outside and hear the birds singing even on the dullest of days. A boost of vitamin D from the sun when it makes an appearance, watching the dappled sunlight hitting the forest floor and taking time for myself to feel the sense of peace it evokes in me.

Being a complete nature lover, Guide leader (Girl Scouts) Forest School practitioner and Horticultural Therapist it is kind of in my blood that I have an affinity with nature and all things outdoors.

Nature is a fickle thing, it’s never the same week on week year in year season on season. It changed, evolves and ultimately it is the boss despite us trying to tame it.

In this sense it is also very grounding and predictable. The seasonality of Dark grey winter months whilst the plants and woodland life is dormant, waking up in spring, creating new life, bursting with goodness in summer and autumn bringing with it incredibly intense changes in colour, then back to sleep to conserve its energies.

A bit like ourselves, it would be too much if we were 100% full of life and energy 24/7 365 days a year. We would burn out pretty quickly. So it’s important to learn from nature and take notes. Learn to bloom slowly like the flowers in spring. Snowdrops appear in January yet Wisteria is at its best in May. Give yourself time to bloom at the best time for you and not when others want you to.

Know your purpose. Some plants provide shade, other provide food, some are for show and for some it is only in winter that their purpose is known; I’m thinking of the Christmas Tree, for which I love the fact that this tree can provide such nostalgia and joy during the darkest months.

Trees are very resilient, they tolerate a lot of stresses in their life; weather extremes, damage (human, animal or disease), and devastation (floods, fire or felling).
They come back fighting and regrow stronger than before.

There are lots of lovely quote

 

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Strength

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Strength means so much to me. It describes the amazing mummy’s who get out of the house with their baby after having no sleep to go and be social at a playgroup. It takes strength to put on a smile and pretend that everything is okay

The mum’s who put on make up to cover up their exhausted faces. Concealer to conceal how their true feelings; being a mummy is not what I thought it would be.

It takes strength to admit to yourself that you don’t like being a mummy and wish that you could go back a year to when becoming a mummy seemed so simple. It takes even more strength to tell loved ones and friends how you are truly feeling.

It takes strength to know when you need to ask for help, to speak to your doctor, midwife or health visitor and trust to know that you will get better with the right therapy for you.

Strength to not rely on a tablet to feel better. Strength to take that first tablet to know you are on that road to recovery. Strength to open up your deepest darkest thoughts to a stranger in a room on a couch, strength to walk into a room of strangers who will give you the support you need. Strength to know what therapy is right for you.

Finding your #pndfamily makes you strong and the strength you feel when you become a well mummy means that you never want others to experience those things.
That’s what helped me to become stronger, in that I know how hard it is to become a mummy and to feel all these emotions. To listen to others and actually hear them and ultimately believe what they say is true. You are a good mummy and you will get better. To believe that takes all your strength.

Keep strong.

 

 

Motivation

Motivation

Here is my motivation; our two gorgeous daughters.
They’re funny, sensitive, cheeky, caring and kind. All we could ever wish for. Little miniatures of ourselves, like play doh ready to be moulded and shaped. I love them with all my heart and would literally die for them. When they’re in pain I’m in more pain. When they giggle and laugh my heart could burst with their joy. They are my motivation to be a good mummy, to be a good wife, to enjoy my life and to live and love as freely and unconditionally as they do. They give me motivation to hope and dream. It feels like an honour to be able to be part of their future. To know that their memories of growing up will be shared to their grandchildren long after I am gone.

I have always felt this way yet when in the throes of postnatal illness it robbed me of knowing I actually felt like this. Others could see this love I had and that I was a good mummy. Yet my depression and anxiety masks all other feelings and emotions other than negativity. I know now that this is what postnatal depression does to us.

I love that I am able to share my honesty with them so that they can make the right decisions and take the right pathways in their lives. To reassure them that no matter what life throws at you, it happens for a reason and you can learn from those experiences to help make you a better person and to use that knowledge to share with others.
To ensure that we are keepers of the past and shapers of the future. To be continue to have that child like wonder and excitement. And most of all to believe. Believe in fairy tales, Father Christmas and the tooth fairy and to pass on that belief to our future generations.

Motherhood is overwhelming, pressured, rewarding and emotional. Scary and exciting, daunting and motivating. All of these and more give me motivation and that is all I can ask to be able to say I am loving my life.IMG_7830

Rest

 

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Rest

There is nothing I like more than to curl up on my bed next to my two cats and take a rest/nap. This is usually a luxury many people can’t do and certainly took a while for me to allow myself to do this. Working part time means I can cherish the quiet moments in my house when the girls are at school and hubby is at work. No one around its just me and my two furry friends. I can let my mind wander and drift off.

When I was ill with postnatal depression I found switching off really hard to do. Even if I took myself off to another part of the house I could still hear the goings on with the family and found I couldn’t relax. My husband would have to take the children off to the park or to visit his parents so that I could be guaranteed two hours to myself. One hour would be spent winding down my mind and body and then the next hour or so I would finally drift off to sleep.

Still now I find that I need that rest and often when I have been solo parenting due to hubby working away, when he is back it is only then that I can really relax and drift off to sleep for a few hours. I now can appreciate and know that it is a vital part of my self care.

#pmhphoto2017
#rest
#selfcare
#postnatalillness
#pnd
#pndchat

Active

Active

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The sixth photo in the perinatal mental health photo challenge.

 

I’m definitely not active in the fittest sense of the word! But I like a challenge. Last year I challenged myself to walk the London Bridges walk to raise money for our support group Embrace which myself and my friend run as volunteers at our local Children’s Centre. However months of knowing I had to train I didn’t until the last 3 weeks. Despite this I still managed to complete the challenge in one piece, walking 16 Bridges along the River Thames a total of 25km. A huge achievement and one I couldn’t have done without the amazing support and donations we received.
Sometimes it’s good to challenge yourself and get active. Now I need another challenge to motivate myself to get a bit fitter!