Posts Tagged ‘post natal depression’
Tonight I am sitting on a panel for an event hosted by the Female Empowerment Network. We will be discussing whether women can have it all and stay sane, a hot topic for Mental Health Awareness Week. It seemed the perfect excuse to re-publish this letter, which originally appeared in Bristol Woman magazine…
Thank you for not judging me. But for listening, and nodding without telling me I was being silly. You never tried to fix me. You never tried to change me. You knew I was ill and you knew I’d get better. Even when I doubted I even wanted to.
Thank you for not abandoning me. For sticking by me even though I wasn’t very nice to be around, or easy to communicate with. For spending time with me when I couldn’t be alone. And for leaving me in peace when I needed the isolation.
Thank you for accommodating my paranoia without making me feel paranoid. You made the impossible seem possible and made me feel safe. You allowed me time to process decisions and events and protected me when I was unable to think clearly enough to do even the simplest of things.
Thank you for feeding me. And for making sure my children were fed when I was trapped on the sofa unable to move for fear of waking the baby. For the take away meals and cups of tea. For the juice and the dark chocolate.
Thank you for understanding why you couldn’t hold the baby. Or that you had to hold the baby when I couldn’t anymore. For getting why I cancelled plans and hid away. For still phoning even when I wouldn’t answer the phone or return your texts.
Thank you for calming me down when I couldn’t breathe. For never telling me I needed to pull myself together or that I was crazy. For staying strong when I was weak. For being patient.
Thank you for coming with me to the doctors and talking to them honestly about how I was behaving. For not showing your fear. For looking after me. For loving me.
Thank you for still being my friend, my mum, my husband, my family.
Thank you for giving me hope.
Love, me x
I wrote this post a couple of months ago, and today, on #timetotalk day where everybody is encouraged to take 5 minutes to talk about mental health, I thought I’d temporarily come out of blogging retirement and publish it.
Backwards: (of an object’s motion) back towards the starting point.
So where am I right now. Well, it’s safe to say I’m not somewhere good. It would seem life is handing me more shit and I’m firmly back at square one. Back where I never wanted to be. Except now it’s not post natal depression, it’s just plain old depression. And it fucking sucks.
It all started with a panic attack that came out of no-where and knocked me for six. A few weeks of trying to convince myself and everyone around me that I was fine only served to allow the depression to fully take hold until I couldn’t do anything anymore except take myself back to the doctors and admit it. And now, four days into a brand new batch of antidepressants, I am feeling worse than ever. It’s so cruel that the one medicine that helps cure this evil illness makes you feel a million times worse before you feel any better, and that it can take weeks and even months before you do feel better.
I forgot how much hard work goes in to simply surviving when you feel like this. A shower can feel like a huge achievement, actually managing to leave the house a fucking miracle. My anxiety is at a level I never knew existed and insomnia has taken hold once more. And we all know sleep deprivation is bloody cruel. My body feels like it is on fire and I am battling minute by minute not to let it overwhelm me.
Oh and the guilt. I feel like such a failure for being here again. I feel like I am letting everyone down. My husband, already not fully recovered from the last time I lost it, my children, all now that little bit older and that little bit more aware, and my friends, who have to deal with phone calls and texts at all hours when I can’t get my fears and emotions under control. I feel like a burden to everyone.
I am angry too. Angry that I’m here again. This year has been one of the most challenging in a long time and I thought I was coping well. Turns out that sitting at your desk on a daily basis crying because your job is so horrendously stressful, then leaving said evil job and embarking on a Masters with three demanding children possibly isn’t the best thing to do for good mental health. If only I spoke up more and asked for help and support instead of putting on the smile, being the joker and hiding behind my, often inappropriate, sense of humour. I knew a long time ago I wasn’t right, but refused to admit it or do anything about it. Powering on through really is a load of bollocks at times.
So what now. Well now I will wait for the side effects to go and the tablets to kick in. Thankfully this is the last week of university before we break up for the holidays so once my assignments are handed in on Thursday some of the pressure is temporarily relieved.
I will not let this beat me. I recovered once and I’ll be damned if I can’t recover again.
Tears: Lacrimation, or lachrymation, (from Latin lacrima, meaning “tear”) is the secretion of tears. Tears formed through crying are associated with strong internal emotions.
Tears bubble under the surface,
I will not set them free.
They won’t escape, just bubble there;
Always a part of me.
Sadness washes over at times;
Overwhelming, sudden, shock.
Instead of listening, addressing, dealing,
It’s in a box, shut tight, no lock.
Not wanting to admit the pain,
Not seeing the honest truths.
Smile and say I am ok,
Believe it, as if smiling is proof.
Please don’t ask too many questions,
Please don’t delve too deep.
I will not cry, I won’t go there,
I cannot bear to weep.
Just know I take cover, hide away,
Say I’m ok, that I’m fine.
Tears will always bubble inside,
But that’s where they’ll stay for some time.
You know you’re not welcome here anymore,
Go away, get out, I’ve shown you the door.
Don’t you dare come back and ruin my world,
I won’t let you, I’ll stay strong for my boys and my girl.
Get lost, jog on, go away, just scram,
I’ve worked too hard to get well and to be where I am.
You were beaten, overcome, I was rid of your hold,
You can’t break me, can’t destroy me, I refuse to fold.
My ears are shut to your self loathing attacks,
I shan’t be irrational, I’ll hold on to the facts.
You will not absorb my energy and spirit,
You can say what you like for I’ll choose not to hear it.
I’m stronger than you and I win every time,
There’s no point in fighting, all choices are mine.
Try all you like you’ll never beat me,
So give up, f*** off and jog on PND.
This Christmas and New Year, I am fortunate enough to be well. I am lucky that I can see the joy in Christmas and celebrate it with gusto. But for many, I know this may not be the case at all; just like it wasn’t for me last year when I was recovering from post natal depression. Christmas and New Year can be extremely difficult for people suffering with depression. It is not always a merry and happy time of year. It is often a very lonely and difficult period for everyone who is affected by the illness, and supporting someone through it can be – in its own way – as challenging as it is being the person who is ill.
Today I have the pleasure of hosting a moving post about just this…supporting others with PND. And in particular supporting others when you are suffering or have suffered yourself – for many of us who are recovering or have recovered are determined that no one should suffer like we have, because that thought is simply unbearable; you wouldn’t wish post natal depression on your worst enemy.
The post is from the lovely Pumping Mama who blogs, amongst other things, about her experiences of PND with raw honesty at thepumpingmama.wordpress.com. She’s recently blogged about Christmas, and describes it as a ‘two sided coin,’ one side where you are able to enjoy it, and another where you are suffocated by other’s Christmas cheer and possibly feel at your lowest point ever. The Pumping Mama is passionate about mothers not feeling alone, about us all supporting each other through talking, texting, and tweeting, giving hope and encouragement to each other. This post has verbalised many thoughts I’ve had when talking to others suffering from PND, for even though I’ve suffered my experiences may be very different to those of others. For me in particular, the last line says it all.
Supporting Others With PND
Do I make my reality theirs? The feelings they have, the things they’re suffering, may not be anything like my personal experience.
Do I tell them the gritty truth? Do I tell them that I don’t remember a lot of the first year of Moos life? Do I divulge to them that I still have bad days, even now, more than two years on?
Do I just listen? This isn’t about me now. Do I tell them that I can empathise, that I’ve been there, that it gets better?
No one tells you how to support others in life. Is this why we live in such a fractured society, often lacking in compassion for mental health issues? How do we learn how to love other human beings, to hold each other up, to comfort and nurture one another?
I don’t know the answers. I just know my experience, my reality, my journey, and what works for me. All I can do is hold a hand, make a cup of tea, and listen. I’m no expert on mental health, no degree backs up my support. But in the midst of a vastly lonely head space, someone simply walking alongside you is enough.
You can follow The Pumping Mama on Twitter @ThePumpingMama, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ThePumpingMama and her blog is http://www.thepumpingmama.wordpress.com
I am so excited to be writing this post to let you know that I did it…and that I am officially a self-published author (even though no-one has actually purchased the book yet lol!) My last post detailed how I was planning to spend all day Friday tackling the self-publishing technological minefield until the book was for sale. I was very nervous as I’m not at all IT trained, and have learnt most of my skills through blogging and being self hosted. I was however, determined not to be beaten.
The day started with a visit to my oldest friend who has just given birth to her first child, a beautiful baby boy, and so the publishing had to wait. It was so worth it though as he was absolutely gorgeous and cuddling newborns is always so wonderful. We chatted childbirth, breastfeeding and nappies before I left them to feed and nap.
Having spent most of the day before in email contact with Helen Braid, my illustrator, I felt confident that I had all of the correct files I needed, and in the correct format. I had the front and back covers as separate files, as well as the inside of the book, all in PDF format and in high resolution. If you ever need to send someone a file that is too big for an email then I can highly recommend using mailbigfile which is just amazing. You can email large files and the recipient can easily download them via the link. Brilliant! It was perfect for us on Thursday as the files did need to be adjusted and then resent. Helen was amazing! I think it was a learning curve for the both of us.
So, down at my desk I sat. I had already set up an account with Lulu and had chosen the size of the book (21.59X21.59), the binding (saddle stitch, only option for a small book), full colour, and for it to be printed on basic grade paper. This last option disappointed me a bit, but because I haven’t yet got an ISBN I had no choice. Lulu do offer free ISBNs but Lulu then become the publisher and I wasn’t prepared to hand that over! So I decided (with the awesome help of @wombat37 again!) that as this was my first project it was better to start small and work on it. Once my ISBN comes through I can then add it to the book and distribute widely through Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as the Lulu marketplace. I clicked on ‘choose file’ (at this point just the inside of the book) and then clicked ‘upload.’ I sat nervously staring at the screen whilst it uploaded. It began by saying it was going to take 15 hours which I thought was a bit excessive, but in the end it only took 20 minutes or so!
The next challenge was the cover and this is where I first stumbled. Lulu do let you upload and add your own covers, however they also make a cover for you which you have to change if you don’t like it. I went to ‘browse files’ and tried to upload the PDFs of the front and back covers. It wouldn’t let me. I clicked and clicked and nothing worked. On quickly reading the help files (would’ve been handy if these files had been available to read sooner!) I discovered that the front and back covers needed to be in JPEG form and not PDF. These I had, but on uploading them it became apparent that they were not in a high enough resolution. I knew it was Helen’s son’s birthday and really didn’t want to have to interrupt the celebrations, but I had no choice, we needed those JPEGs to be in a higher resolution or I couldn’t continue. Helen, as always, was just amazing and it didn’t take long for my phone to ping with an email containing the covers in high resolution JPEGs. One quick and easy upload later and the cover was complete. And then, with a couple more clicks this message appeared…
Now I’m not ashamed to say that at this point I did sit at my laptop and have a little cry. I couldn’t explain how I felt; I felt such a amazing sense of achievement mixed in with feelings of luck and joy that I was better and had been able to have the drive and commitment to see this book through. I’ve never really felt as proud of myself as I did in that moment. I’ve always been very determined, especially when I believe in something, and I believe in this book so very much.
The next thing I had to do was set a price, based on what it was going to cost Lulu to print the book. I found this very difficult as I always undersell myself, so I have taken a lot of advice on the price, and I think I’ve got it right! I ordered myself a copy and paid a stupid amount of money so it comes as quickly as possible, I will not believe it’s actually published until I hold a copy in my hands. (and see that the paper isn’t as bad as I think it might be) Today’s post hasn’t arrived yet, but I think I’m being optimistic in thinking it will be today; I’m hoping for it to be here by the end of the week. And when it does arrive, and I can see for myself how it looks and feels, I can spread the word and start marketing and publicising the book. I’ve already got several brilliant bloggers who have said they would love to review the book, and Netmums would like to feature it on their blog and website with a giveaway. It is PND awareness week in November and I hope that my press release (hopefully writing this today, do not know where to start as always!) will be available so that everything is good to go to coincide with that week. As I have said before, I’m not very good at ‘bigging myself up,’ but I hope A Monster Ate My Mum will help families who have been affected by Post-Natal Depression, and that in itself is motivation enough to shout about the book from the rooftops.
So many people have supported me in this process and I am so thankful, I couldn’t have done it on my own. Once I have my copy and have checked it’s perfect I’ll let you all know…and then, if you’d like to buy the book, you can here…
The next jobs I have now are to write that press release…and to upload the book onto Kindle Direct Publishing as an ebook, which hopefully I can do this week! If you’d like to keep up to date with everything please follow me on Twitter @MonsterAteMyMum 😉