This Is My Time and You Won’t Take it From Me – PND

It started when Pie went off to school. I knew it would be hard but a little part of me was looking forward to some peaceful days. Well peaceful days have turned into peaceful weeks… With out realising it the low mood has crept back in. Slowly, unnoticed but as dark as before.

I recognised it quicker this time. The rising irritability, the lack of motivation and I am sorry to say but a slight slide in personal hygiene. Maybe I did realise it earlier than I wanted to admit. I knew I was struggling. But I figured it was normal to feel a bit lost when your child first starts school. Lost yes – totally derailed no.

Counselling / Pixabay

The school provides Pie with a routine and me too, to a certain extent. But the 6 hours he is away leaves me able to stew in my own juices quite uninterrupted. To torture myself with what I should or could be doing, but ultimately doing nothing. Feeling uninspired to eat, socialise or indeed shower.

I force myself out of the house on occasion. For Puddings sake I attend a class, potter into town or if its a particularly bad day we just about make it to the corner shop. I speak to no one other than my husband or my mother. If friends ask I maintain I am ok, just busy. Yep just busy sitting staring blankly at the TV. I can’t even pretend I am busy blogging! Maybe if I could concentrate long enough I would blog. But my mind flits about, not able to settle to anything. Like a constant turning cog, of a machine that keeps slipping it’s gears.

On the outside you would never know. I function. Childcare, work, chores, sleep, repeat. A robot going through the motions.

DigiPD / Pixabay

This time I caught myself getting frustrated over everything and nothing. Spotted the signs in my own self. From somewhere I found strength enough to say to my husband ‘I am not doing OK’. It’s only half the battle though. Now I need to act. To pull myself back and to get a grip on the darkness before it sucks me back in. I can do it – but I need to want to.

Tomorrow I will get up. I will shower, maybe even straighten my hair. When Pie wakes up I will be dressed, downstairs and breakfast will be ready for him. Let’s start small and work up from there. It’s time to crawl out of my well and stand in the beautiful autumn sunshine.

I will not be beaten by you PND, this is my time. My time with the children, to enjoy them and to nurture them. I only get this chance once and you won’t take it from me.

Admitting You’re Not as OK as You Make Out – PND

We all know that being a parent is not an easy job, we all have good days and bad days. But what do you do when you start to feel like the bad days are outnumbering the good ones at 10:1? It’s not an easy thing to admit that at the moment you are not enjoying being a parent. I know I have been there. Here is my first post about my battle with PND

When Pudding was born before Christmas, I was elated at last the pregnancy was over. I had survived the elective c-section (a real concern of mine) and I was finally cradling my beautiful girl in my arms. I fell in love immediately. Totally head over heels for this tiny Pudding as soon as they laid her on my chest in the operating theatre. Taking her home and enjoying our first Xmas as a family of four surrounded by proud grandparents was wonderful. Then the festivities were over and everyone returned to work leaving me to deal with having two small children.

Let me tell you reality hit home hard. I was so tired and still recovering from major surgery, but Pie didn’t really understand that. He wanted his Mummy back to do all the things we used to do. Not to mention Pudding who needed feeding and changing as an almost constant. I could feel all my patience for the children start to slide away from me slowly. I was irritable and snappy all the time. Everyday started to feel like ground hog day, get up, breakfast, activity, lunch, film, tea, bath, bed. Over and over like a monkey with a miniature cymbal. Feeling myself slipping away. I had become a drudge for two small children and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

I started to dream about just getting in the car and driving as far away as the petrol in the tank would take me. Wanting to run away from my life. How could I have been so deluded to think that I could handle two children? I wasn’t cut out for this motherhood thing. As my mood got lower, my relationship with Pie really started to suffer. He was my constant source of irritation. I found myself nagging and niggling at everything he did and said. I knew I was being unreasonable but I just couldn’t stop. All I kept thinking was that if he could just calm down and be quiet I would feel better…Lady sitting cross legged on floor

Everything came to a head one night, as my husband and I climbed into bed and prepared to dream feed Pudding. I had made the decision to give her some formula in a vague attempt to get a bit more sleep. So I settled back into the pillows to feed. As I tipped the bottle I realised I hadn’t put it together properly. Milk went all over me, all over her and all over the bed. This resulted in what I can only describe as a ticking time bomb going off!

I plonked Pudding on her Dad, announced I was a rubbish mother and that it was no surprise the children hated me and then ran from the bedroom sobbing. I think that was a pretty big red flag to my husband that I was probably not as ‘OK’ as I kept telling him I was! After sorting out a very cross Pudding he found me sitting outside in the rain in my dressing gown. We talked about how I was really feeling, about how I spent a lot of the day sobbing or just walking about in a daze. He was great and he made me realise that all the things I was feeling were not normal. That maybe I needed to actually get some help.

The next morning, I rang first my Mum, who did some long distance counselling. Just talking to her and my husband made me start to feel better. Then I called my health visitor, she was amazing! She came round that afternoon and spent an hour talking to me about how I was feeling. Explaining that postnatal depression can strike at any time within the first 12 months and that it was nothing to feel ashamed about. Some of the guilt I had been dragging around with me started to lift.

The HV suggested that if I thought it would help that I could stop the breastfeeding. This would at least give me the opportunity for a break away from the children if I wanted a break. She also suggested a local talking therapy group and said she could arrange for someone to come in and watch the kids for awhile if I needed some extra help. She was so helpful and understanding. I had felt like such a fraud ringing her, but she made me realise that I had done the right thing. I chose not to go down the route of medications before I had accessed the talking therapy and actually now I feel like I won’t need to start taking any tablets.

Things have really started to improve, and I am finding that the blogging definitely helps me to express some of the things I am feeling. I am trying to lose that guilt that I am not doing a good job. I know I am never going to get it perfect every time. At least now I am starting to enjoy both the children. I have a great load of support from friends and family now I have admitted that I need some help and that I am no superwoman. I am so glad that I reached out when I did and didn’t let PND consume me.

 

Photo Credit: Al 8574 via Compfight cc

Are you Ok? Oh Yeah, I am Fine…

As women we are totally rubbish at providing a straight answer when asked that awful question; ‘Are you ok?’ Even if it’s clear we are anything but ok. We still answer ‘Oh yeah, I am fine’. Why do we do that? Despite our inner voice screaming I am not f’ing ok!

So maybe that’s not all women – perhaps it’s just me. I always feel responsible in part for someone else’s happiness. So I don’t like to directly impact on them by saying I am not doing so well. It’s hard for me to open up and tell them what’s wrong. Mostly I just cover by asking about them, or my latest tactic become a hermit!

Definitely not leaving  the house has some huge positives. For example I don’t have to dodge the question ‘are you ok’. Equally I don’t have to look confident and happy. If I want to stand in the kitchen lost in my own thoughts I can. But equally I know it’s pretty unhealthy. I know it’s a sign that I am not winning the battle…

Counselling / Pixabay

The start of the CBT sessions for my PND has thrown some interesting curve balls. I have strayed back into aspects of my life  that were best left under the rock from whence they came. Unfortunately now we have dug them up they need processing. Almost like a data entry clerk, my brain runs through the information. It picks it up, breaks it in to categories and starts to refile it. However; as the filing system is currently being redesigned there are stacks of stuff just floating about! These are the issue, my brain is stuck in the processing stage. If it was a computer it would have one of those hourglass things running.

Consequently I am tired. So tired I could sleep all day. I have a constant headache. I know I am snappy and irritable – especially if my brain is interrupted in its ‘processing’. Obviously with two small children this is a problem! Being over sensitive to others comments and criticism makes me pretty unsuitable to socialise as well. Besides I don’t have the energy to put my brave face on. Or the will to get dressed.

Maialisa / Pixabay

I will go out today – we need food, it’s like Mother Hubbard here. Should any one ask I shall say ‘oh yeah, I am fine’. They will continue on with their day unaware of my true feelings. After a shower I will stick my brave face on and keep on pretending everything is fine. Who knows maybe if I can pretend long enough it may actually be fine…

The Pramshed

Reviewing Hug-in-a-Box: Promoting Mental Health

If you haven’t heard of Hug-in-a-Box then you are missing out. These wonderful boxes were launched by Mind Matters earlier this year. The principle idea behind them is that you can send them to a friend or loved one to give them a theoretical hug so that they know you are there for them.

Mind Matters have designed their box to help provide ‘perfect moments’. Those priceless moments when we all feel present and content. With this in mind they have included items such as dark chocolate which has the ability to boost the brains natural opiates. As well as chamomile tea which is extremely effective at helping with anxiety and insomnia.

The evidence behind the idea is that giving or receiving a hug can create significant physical and mental benefits. Including reducing blood pressure and reducing stress levels. Hugs also increase the level of the love hormone, oxytocin. Although a Hug-in-a-Box is only a metaphorical hug; research suggests that receiving something that shows love and attention also reaps these benefits. Sounds great right?

Well we certainly thought so! Now having been fighting my own PND for the last few months I thought this was an ideal product for me. However, poor Mr Pud has been on endless night shifts this month. So I very kindly offered the box to him. I mean if anyone deserves a hug its Mr Pud. He was pretty excited when I handed it to him.

Hug-in-a-Box

I have to say when we opened the box together I did slightly regret my decision! The box was beautifully packaged. All the items were individually wrapped in pink tissue paper, making it all the more exciting to unwrap each one.

Hug-in-a-Box

We couldn’t believe how many things were in the box! I kept diving in and handing him another one. Honestly he was like a kid at Christmas.

Hug-in-a-Box

Once we had unwrapped all the bits, he immediately scuttled off to run himself a bath to test out the bath salts. (Don’t worry I didn’t get any pictures of that) He then requested a cup of chamomile tea, his chocolate bar and his little mindfulness book to enjoy in said bath! After leaving me for an hour with the children, he emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of lavender scent and looking like a new man.

Mr Pud certainly enjoyed his Hug in a Box. It definitely helped him unwind and de-stress after a hard week. I personally think it helped him to cope with the mood crash he often has after a long stretch of night shifts.

Hug-in-a-Box appreciate that this little gesture won’t solve everyone’s’ problems. Hopefully it will provide a chance to recharge and assist with a persons coping abilities. It may become the start of a recovery for some people and every Hug-in-a-Box contains a ‘Get Support Now’ card to signpost people to a range of services.

Hug-in-a-Box

We were very impressed with the Hug-in-a-Box. If you have someone out there who could do with just a little pick me up then you can order them a Hug-in-a-Box here. Every box can include a special message from you, to ad that personal touch.

Want to know more about Hug-in-a-Box or Mind Matters you can find them on Twitter

Diary of an imperfect mum