What I Learnt This Week……

On Monday I may have possibly had a breakdown of some sort. I just thought I was having a wobbly moment at the time but, I realise now, it was possibly more than that.

I’m not even sure how it got to that point. I had been severely sleep deprived with middle and then awoke to a barf fest from baby. But, normally I’ve got it. Deal with it, get ready. Look outwardly like I haven’t been dealing with utter chaos. That’s more for my own sanity.  Instead, the tears just would not stop. I literally couldn’t stop them! My body threw up a year’s worth of tears it had stored up for so long. What did I think? Well, I was embarrassed mainly. Get over it and get on. But, this time I found I couldn’t. I had to call my mum who was utterly panicked. This is her strong daughter who always has it together. Her strong daughter that is a great mum but has broken. My mum placed me in the shower and all I could think was ‘ my mum has seen me naked for the first time since I give birth to eldest and she randomly showed up in the delivery suite’. This resulted in me crying more.

That was a bad day right? The next day, for the very first time, I actually started having panic attacks. I didn’t even know these existed. I literally felt, at that stage, that my brain was deserting me. But, how could I let that happen? My mum, sister and dad worked together to look after my kids that day. I felt utterly useless. Whilst having a sob and, thinking about how many things I’d neglected the previous day, I decided f@ck the cleaning, f@ck the washing, self care is the way forward. Why was I even contemplating those things? Well, because it doesn’t ever stop! But, I took myself to bed and slept for hours. I woke up in a panic messaging every family member that had the boys. Where they ok? Had they behaved? When can they come back? Because, I missed them. I worried they would know that their routine had been disrupted.

When my sister returned with eldest in tow, she told me he had said to her ‘mummy is really sad right now’. My amazing sister told him ‘everyone gets sad sometimes, it’s okay’. And, it is! I had to royally lose it to even think to ask for help. The main thing is, the help was there when I actually asked. Eldest hugged me so much when he came back and told me he loved me. He knew something was up.

The last few days I’ve worked hard to be my normal self. Middle has made me laugh profusely with the zero f@cks he gives with any kind of decorum ‘mummy, can you wipe my bottom, biggest poo ever- yes!’. He also makes noises that I didn’t even make in labour whilst doing so! Eldest, being as sensitive as he is, has done nothing but bestow kisses upon me and cuddle me (yes) and, baby is still trialling my kitchen cabinets apart and getting ready to walk. Even he has given me lots of impromptu kisses. I’ve realised that they all sense this. Obviously it hasn’t stopped the battering hours between 6-8pm. But, I guess kids have empathy in the moment purely. I’ve got this though, let’s get back to normal! Falling apart for me, has made things fall together. Please ask for help if you are drowning, don’t be ashamed. Sometimes people need it spelt out. These days we are relying on grandparents to cover childcare during working days and therefore feel like we can’t ask for a break come the weekend. Who want’s to start a childcare party night were we all converge, drink wine and leave them with the men?

 

Why It’s Time To Talk And End The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health!

Today is ‘time to talk day’ ladies. A day in which we should all be talking about mental health openly and honestly. After all, one in four of us will suffer from some kind of mental health problem and yet, there is still a shame attached to having these sorts of problems. Some of you may know and, others may not but, I have been quite honest about my own struggles with regards to mental health: https://youandmeplusthree.uk/2018/05/03/why-its-ok-not-to-be-ok/ I wrote this about my struggles with postnatal depression not so long ago. At first, I just put it down to the kid’s sending me absolutely batty but, it turns out it was much more than that.

After eldest, I suffered from postnatal depression. I didn’t realise this at the time however and just thought I was being overly emotional what with the lack of sleep and constant crying (him and me). I tried to let it slide for months, ignoring how I felt and making excuses for why I felt that way. I was tired, I was so busy, making bottles and changing nappies was so monotonous and, finally, I was just feeling this way now but it would eventually pass. Alas, it didn’t and I found myself on antidepressants for over six months. I told very few people. I was embarrassed and almost frightened that they would consider me a failure as a new mum.

With middle, I was wobbly afterwards. Not as bad as before but, also not great. His birth had been quite traumatising for me and he suffered badly from reflux and colic. There were days he would cry for four hours straight. My mum came to stay to help me one week as hubby was away in America with work. She left after two nights it was so bad! I found it very hard to bond with him, I’m not going to sugar coat it. I felt awful that I couldn’t make it better for him and viewed myself as a useless mother. The guilt I felt surrounding the lack of bond, made me extremely down and anxious. But, I got through it and came out the other end once he was on solids. Now he is a walking terror but, one that makes me laugh daily with his huge, gregarious personality. I still feel guilty to this day for feeling how I did when he was a baby. There’s the mum guilt again!

This time, with baby, was entirely different. I actually developed full-blown depression whilst pregnant with him. There were many reasons for this looking back. Mainly wondering how I would cope with three and the stress of looking after two other children whilst carrying what felt like a rhino in my tummy. When I gave birth, things got much worse. I didn’t even want to get out of bed most days. Which, is not an option at all when you have kids. Meeting friends filled me with dread and I retreated into myself. Motivation was not to be found and I didn’t even recognise myself any more. The feelings I had felt throughout his pregnancy came back to haunt me. How could I have thought those things? He was perfect and I was so in love! This quickly manifested itself in me becoming obsessed with every little thing that could be wrong. His weight, his eyes, oh my god- cradle cap! Basically, my anxiety was through the roof. I was placed on anti-depressants once again. These then had to be doubled as there was no change. Now I find myself having to wean myself off the ones I am on currently so they can be changed to another type. I’ve also attended counselling sessions and enrolled on a course that promises to boost my self-esteem and confidence. I am fighting against it with every part of me yet it still defeats me most days.

It’s time that we talk about our mental health to others and, especially, those who don’t understand it. How will they ever learn if we hide away from sharing how it affects us? No one wants to wake up each day feeling sad and hopeless. I’m also a firm believer that today’s society is causing more and more people to feel this way. We are expected, as women especially, to be all things to everyone. Wife, mother, cleaner, cook and worker. There are not enough hours in the day and it’s no wonder we are all feeling so overwhelmed. If you feel this way please talk to someone and don’t suffer alone. Even if you don’t suffer from mental health problems, make a point of speaking to someone who does. Ask them if they are ok over a cup of tea. Sometimes all we need is to feel supported and understood.