Lucky in love

This morning I woke up feeling ill again. For once I am not talking about my mental health, but my physical health. My physical health has taken a step back recently. I am having problems with my blood pressure again. Just as I thought it was under control, it increased again and I didn’t know why. I now know that I had a sinus infection for quite a while, which may have contributed to my blood pressure increasing. I got rid of this with antibiotics then caught a stomach bug. The only thing the Doctors can think is that the infection and dehydration from the stomach bug have dropped my blood pressure way too much. They are reviewing my blood pressure and trying to push for a cardiologist appointment so a specialist can investigate what’s going on.

I am feeling a bit better than I was, but still very tired and spells of nausea and dizziness (and no I am not pregnant before anyone else asks me ha!) Charlie has now caught my stomach bug, so he is at home with me today instead of nursery which I would normally like, but changing endless dirty nappies when already feeling nauseous is not in any way enjoyable! I also have university work that I need to complete, but that is 100% impossible with Charlie around.

Despite my physical health not being great, surprisingly I am still feeling good mentally. Normally with all of these set backs recently I would be wallowing in self pity and feeling very depressed, but instead I am focusing on the positives in my life. The opportunity I have at university, my family and my friends. That’s keeping me going.

BUT THEN….

This afternoon I had a major meltdown. I felt hopeless and useless after having a hard day doing housework and looking after Charlie. I guess the last few weeks of bad luck just caught up on me in the end and I didn’t feel so positive anymore. I was having thoughts that life wasn’t worth living and feeling like I never have any luck. I felt alone and like no one understood me. However Charlie brought me out of it by being his usual nutty self which really got me thinking. If it wasn’t for him, I would be so much worse than I am. He always manages to put a smile on my face and bring me back to reality.

He made me realise that I am so lucky to have him and family and friends that care about me. I may not be lucky all the time, but I am definitely lucky in love ❤️

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Pushing myself out of my comfort zone

It’s been a busy week. I started University, my husband’s van was broken in to, I had a trip to A&E on and started group therapy and it’s only Wednesday! Despite the A&E trip and robbery it has been a good week for me.

Starting University has brought back my spark for learning and made me feel confident and determined to succeed, which is an amazing feeling. I am back in my comfort zone at the moment because I really enjoy studying and learning, but when I am on placement it will be a whole different ball game. I am open to learning new things though and want to try and push myself out of my comfort zone to make the most of the opportunities I am given.

Everyone seems very supportive and friendly in my University group so I immediately felt at ease. A few of the ladies I could see myself becoming good friends with. Meeting these new people has made me reflect a lot on how I communicate with people and the dynamics of different situations. It’s funny how friendship groups form within the first day of starting new courses, jobs etc. Some people seem to immediately click and others keep to themselves for a bit longer and observe the situation unfolding. I guess that is because everyone has different personalities, backgrounds, values and beliefs and they find common interest with certain people. It reminded me the ways in which I am different and that I should celebrate these differences.

I explored this further in group therapy that I started today. I was referred for this to help me deal with my low self esteem which seems to be a contributing factor to my anxiety. We looked at what triggers there are to negative thoughts and how we behave when we have them etc. I found it really interesting and met some nice people in the group so I’m hopeful that it will have an impact on me.

After my trip to A&E the other day I am feeling a bit better but still not fully there. I have hypertension and was experiencing chest tightening and breathlessness which was a very scary experience. It made me realise that I need to look after myself more. Not just leading a healthier lifestyle, but also making time for myself. As a Mum it’s hard to find time for myself, but even a short bath in the evening or reading a book before bed can help me sometimes. I think it’s really important to make sure you make time for yourself to remember your identities before you were a Parent and to boost your self esteem. I know this is something I am going to work on this year.

Hope you all have a great week and find some time for yourselves or maybe even try something new to push yourself out of your comfort zone ❤️

A healthier me

After a chaotic Christmas, me and my Husband enjoyed a fun filled day and night in London with my brother and his friend. We went for lunch, to Twickenham to watch the rugby and for a few too many drinks! I actually drank lots of water later in the day (a sign that I’m getting older 😩) and my Husband was the drunken fool at the end of the night. He told me the train home was at 2am but it actually got back home at 2am so we missed it. The next train was at 7am. Queue anxiety and panic! After a ‘marital’ argument, my husband redeemed himself (slightly) by booking a cheap little hotel down the road for the night so at least we had a bed to stay in. Although this was better than staying at the station, my anxiety still kicked in at the thought of staying in a strange hotel in an area I don’t know.

Despite the carnage it was lovely to spend time with my husband because most of the time we are together usually involves changing dirty nappies, discussing bills and sleeping. I think it’s important to still make time for yourselves as a couple when you are Parents otherwise you will lose the love. I have promised myself that I will make time to do things with my husband in the new year when we can, whether it be going for dinner, the cinema or just watching a film together at home. I also want to make sure I make time for friends and have more dinner parties and games nights because that’s what makes me happy.

Other things I want to achieve in the new year are becoming healthier and being kinder to myself. I want to look after my mental and physical health more. I have blood pressure issues at the moment which are being investigated and have sent my anxiety in to overdrive. Will I have a heart attack? Will I die young? Will exercise make my blood pressure too high? I know some of these sound extreme, but these are the genuine thoughts that go through my head.

So, I have spoken with my friend who is training to become a personal trainer and she is going to devise a fitness programme for me to help me get fitter. I am also looking in to Luna yoga which my friend runs. It is supposed to be good for both your physical and mental health. I have spoken to my Husband and my Mum who say they are going to eat healthier with me so we can encourage each other. It’s important to have support from loved ones when it comes to changing your lifestyle because it’s so hard to commit to something when you are eating a banana and your husband is sitting next to you devouring a chocolate bar. Trust me, I’ve tried so many times!

My aim is to lose weight and tone, but ultimately to be healthier. I want my son to grow up not overthinking what he eats, not obsessing about his weight or yoyo dieting like I did from a young age. I want him to have a healthy balanced diet and not think twice about it. I want him to pick up a piece of fruit instead of a chocolate bar when he’s older and make healthy lifestyle choices. And if I expect that of him, I should live that life myself. I believe being physically healthy will help me to be mentally healthy.

Although I have anxiety and down periods still, my mental health is a lot more stable since being on my new medication. I feel like a completely different person. I am looking forward to starting group therapy next week so I can become more educated around mental health and ways to cope. I believe you need to have more of an understanding about why you may feel certain ways in order to learn to help yourself. I am also starting my Masters next week which I think will be so good for me. It’s going to give me something to focus on and aim towards.

Here’s to a healthier and happier year than the last 🙏🏻

Christmas Chaos

I’ve been a bit quiet lately because there has been a lot going on at home with Christmas and Charlie being ill (again!) The Friday before Christmas we ended up in A&E again because he wasn’t drinking or eating and had a temperature of 39.2. We were there for about 5 hours and they told us he had a viral infection but luckily we could go home.

The next day on Christmas Eve all the family got together for a meal for my Nan’s birthday. It was touch and go if we were going to be able to make it because Charlie was so upset and tired, but we decided to go and risk it. It actually went quite well with no major tantrums, although he only ate about half a sausage and vomited twice in the car on the way home, which meant an early bath when we got home and having to clean out the car seat. But nevertheless we got to see family and join in on some of the festivities.

Charlie had an early night on Christmas Eve in the hope that he would sleep it off for Christmas Day. I built myself up to Christmas Day thinking of Charlie coming down from bed excited to see all his presents, opening them for the first time and stuffing his face with roast, but that didn’t happen. Instead he was ill, crying a lot, clinging to our sides, eating hardly anything and we were all worrying because he was dehydrated. (Although you wouldn’t know this by my Instagram photos!) This resulted in me crying out of pure frustration. It’s been a hard few months with Charlie and my husband being ill nearly every week so it’s been a really stressful time.

Despite the stress and frustration of the day, we got to enjoy a delicious roast cooked by my husband and to spend time with our families. I also received some lovely, thoughtful presents and so did Charlie. By the evening he perked up a little bit and was able to enjoy playing with some of them which was lovely to see.

Charlie woke up Boxing Day a little better but still being extra fussy with food and having mega tantrums. I have put this down to teething and a cold because he doesn’t have a temperature anymore so I think the viral infection has gone. It’s so hard to tell with babies though!

I have now woken up this morning to my husband being sick and Charlie crying continually. He keeps taking me back to the fridge and cupboard then not eating anything. He is also refusing to drink again at the moment. I am really at the end of my tether now and hoping to get a break soon. Roll on 2018! Hopefully it brings us some luck and most of all, good health and happiness.

I hope you all had a less stressful Christmas than me and got spoilt by your loved ones ❤️

Back to normal

My new tablets have started to kick in and I am starting to feel ‘normal’ again. I feel really good actually. I feel able to look after my son again, his tantrums are not making me panic or want to shut myself away and most of all I am enjoying spending time with him again.

I was in a dark place last week and I’m so glad that I followed peoples advice and went back to the doctor to ask to change my tablets. I had been on the same antidepressants for years and they clearly weren’t working anymore. That’s the thing about medication, not every one tablet is suited to every one person.

The first doctor I saw told me that I would need to wean off my current medication and come off it completely for a while before taking the new medication. This instantly sent me in to a panic because I know what I am like off the medication and I was already in a really bad place so I thought if I am like that on medication, what will I be like off it at the moment. After following a friends advice I sought a second opinion and that Doctor told me that would not be a good idea at the moment and to go straight on to the other medication. Luckily I only had a few days of feeling a bit spaced out and tired. No other horrible side effects.

This weekend I have spent time with family and been able to laugh and enjoy myself for the first time in a little while. And I am now looking forward to the week ahead and Christmas celebrations with my family and friends.

Just remember it is important to recognise and reflect on what is working for you and seek help if you need it. I have gone from not feeling able to get out of bed and needing my Mum to look after my son to feeling happy and being able to look after my son on my own again within the space of a week and a half. It’s amazing what a change in medication can do for you. Never be afraid to take medication. If it helps you to feel better it’s worth it!

My own worst enemy

Today is not a good day.

I started new medication two days ago so I feel spaced out, dizzy and nauseous. And on top of that I still feel anxious and depressed. My whole body feels pent up and stiff, I feel shaky because I’m worrying and have no appetite which is very very rare for me. I am currently laying in bed in my dressing gown feeling unable to face the world.

My amazing Mum has come over to help me with Charlie for a few days. The trouble is although she does her best to help, he only wants me at the moment. He is so clingy! And I know this is just a normal thing for a toddler, as everyone keeps telling me, and I know I should probably find it quite sweet that he wants me, but at the moment I don’t. I need my own space, I need to try and get better, I need a period of time without him crying in my ear. All he seems to do at the moment is cry or have tantrums because he doesn’t get his own way and it makes me feel panicky and anxious and upset.

I planned to take Charlie to soft play with my Mum later because I feel like I haven’t done anything fun with him in ages, but I just can’t face it. I can’t even face getting up and having a shower, so going out the house at the moment isn’t going to happen.

I am facing a constant battle in my head. ‘You are being selfish’, ‘you need to get up and look after your child’, ‘you need to take him out’, whilst also thinking ‘I just want to stay in bed, ‘I need sleep’, ‘I just want to be left alone!’ These contradicting thoughts are so tiring and debilitating. I constantly feel guilt for not doing the ‘right’ thing and looking after my child on my own.

I need to try and find a way to not feel this guilt and to give myself a break because I am doing my best. I am my own worst enemy though. It doesn’t matter how many times people tell me I am doing a good job or I am a good Mum, I still don’t feel that way!

It’s hard to admit that you are not as strong as everyone believes you are!

This is going to be one of the toughest blog posts I have written yet, but I feel it is important to share my feelings for my own sanity and to help others who feel the same way.

I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday and didn’t know where to turn. I felt that I had no one to talk to. Although I have friends and family around me it’s hard to know what to say when you are feeling depressed and anxious and people are busy with their own lives. Sometimes you wish your friends or family would come to you at that time and just ask ‘how are you’ to start up a conversation and enable you to open up. You don’t want to be a burden on anyone or message someone talking about yourself again. So I rang 111, which I have never done before. This was a massive step for me because I am always too embarrassed to talk to people, especially those I don’t know.

For those of you who don’t know, you can call 111 for mental health issues as well as physical health issues. The lady who answered the phone to me was so lovely. I was mid panic attack and on my own with Charlie. I was having thoughts about ending my life and didn’t know what to do. I knew I wouldn’t actually do anything because I was on my own with my son and truth be told I was too scared to actually act on my thoughts. All I knew was that I couldn’t cope and I needed someone to help me.

I have been saying to people for a while that I am struggling, but I just get the usual replies of ‘me too’, ‘we all go through this stage with our children’ or ‘things only get worse’, but that’s because people didn’t know the extent of how I’m feeling. The truth is I am scared to be alone with my son. Every time my husband tells me he is working late or he is working at the weekend, I instantly feel anxious and panicky because I don’t know if I can cope with Charlie on my own. The thing is, I do cope most of the time and I am with him on my own all the time, but that doesn’t stop me worrying about being alone with him. And when I say I cope, it’s by the skin of my teeth and because I have to for Charlie.

I don’t know where these thoughts come from. Maybe it is because of the thought of not being able to cope or because I don’t know how to occupy him or settle him very well. I don’t know. All I know is the fear is there and I feel absolutely horrendous for feeling that way. After all why would a Mother be scared to be on her own with her child? How ridiculous does that sound!

I love my son more than anything in the world, but I still feel this way. I keep telling myself ‘why do you feel like this?’, ‘you are such a bad mum for feeling this way’, ‘you are not cut out to be a parent’. Everyone always tells me I am a great Mum, but I don’t feel like it. I know I do my best for him, he is clothed, fed, has a roof over his head and doesn’t want for anything, but I still don’t feel like I am doing it right. I still feel anxious and on edge. I still feel like he hates me because he cries all the time around me. I still feel like he prefers to be anywhere else but around me. And these feelings won’t go away.

When he cries I instantly feel like I am going to have a panic attack. The crying goes straight through me. I wonder ‘what am I doing wrong?’, ‘why doesn’t he love me?’ I know deep down that he does love me and he cries because he is ill or teething or just because he is attached to me, but I still struggle to cope with it.

I admitted to the lady from 111 that I need support at home with Charlie. That was such a hard thing to admit because it makes you feel like a failure. I feel like I have failed because I can’t cope with him on my own and because I am not doing what every parent does and just getting on with it. But I can’t right now. I feel weak, exhausted, emotional all the time and unable to even look after myself, so how am I supposed to look after my son?

My husband suggested that Charlie goes to stay at his Mum and Dads for a few days but that is the last thing I want. It’s not that I don’t want Charlie around, far from it. Taking a child away from their Mother is like taking a limb. I do want him around, but I need help to look after him at the moment. But everyone is too busy to help. Everyone is working and getting on with their own lives and I don’t begrudge them that at all, but that’s why I don’t feel I can ask for help. When I do ask most people are already doing something else and can’t help at that time. The problem is I can’t choose when I am going to feel anxious or have a panic attack and people can’t be at my beckon call, so I need to learn how to cope with these feelings.

My councilling appointment is in a few weeks (finally, after an 8 week wait) and I feel better knowing that I have 111 to ring if I ever need to speak to someone. I just want to be able to enjoy being a Mum to my son and to go to bed looking forward to the next day I spend with him, not filled with a sense of dread about how I will cope or what might happen.

I am not writing this post to get sympathy or for people to tell me I am a good Mum. I am writing it as a therapy for myself for starters because I always find it best to talk about how I feel, but mostly to continue to help raise awareness of Mental Health issues and for others to know that they are not alone if they also feel this way.

The 111 Mental Health Team offer such an invaluable service. They are available 24 hours a day for you to speak to and you can ring as many times as you need. They also offer a service called The Sanctuary that you can attend if you need to get out the house and speak to people. So please utilise this service and don’t hesitate to contact someone if you are feeling the way I have been feeling. Although it doesn’t feel like it a lot of the time, there are people out there to talk to. You are not alone!

A day in the life of an anxious Mother

Will he be cold in what he’s wearing? Will he drink more if I give him squash instead of water? Will he sleep in the buggy if we go out? Will he be grumpy today if we stay in? Is the dummy bad for him? Why doesn’t he like me? Why does he keep crying? How am I going to get everything done today? How am I going to find time to clean the house? Why does nothing I do seem to settle him?

My anxiety is always there, but some days it comes out more than others. Most of the time I paint on a face so that no one knows I am feeling anxious and I try and get on with it. However some days and weeks my mind obsesses over things and it gets the better of me. This week is one of those weeks and I know my anxiety is getting the better of me because my body feels pent up, I feel sick at times and I feel so tired.

As trivial as it sounds, one of the things my mind keeps obsessing over at the moment is whether Charlie should be wearing a coat in the car. I know the answer is no because the seat belts don’t do up tight enough, but I see other Mums putting their children in coats in the car seat and wonder if it’s bad that I am not and if Charlie will be cold. Yes he may be cold when we first get in the car but then the heating kicks in and he is fine. I know this, but I still worry about it.

The next constant worry is will I be able to get out the house today because I find it so hard negotiating getting out around his nap. He is now having one nap a day which I am actually finding quite a pain because it’s in the middle of the day meaning no more lunch dates (boo!) and having to go out in the morning, come back then going out again in the afternoon if I still need to do something. What a pain! When Charlie was younger he would fall asleep in the buggy, but not anymore. He rarely likes being in the buggy fall stop.

Another bug bear is not knowing what to do with Charlie when we are out. I want to go to all these Christmas markets etc but I don’t bother because I feel like it will be too much hassle on my own. As I said Charlie doesn’t like being in his buggy nowadays, so cries continually to get out. Then if I try to walk with him he doesn’t always want to hold my hand, so I asked my Mum to buy him a little life bag with reins, but he doesn’t like that either. He either stands there and doesn’t move when he is wearing it or walks round in circles trying to look at the bag. It is also hard to steer them in the right direction with the reins, which normally results in me picking him up, but I can’t do this for long because he is too heavy.

Although I know the answers to half of the questions I ask myself and I know this is just the life of a Mother, I still worry and think about things over and over. Living with anxiety is a constant battle, which some days I cope with and some days I don’t, but I will keep fighting it. The only thing I do know for certain is that I worry about things too much! I refuse to let it get the better of me and I definitely do not want it to affect my son so bring it on anxiety, do your worst!

Am I doing anything right?

At the moment Charlie seems to be constantly whining and crying. He rarely seems happy, unless he is watching peppa pig. To be honest he is just a very whiny baby and has never been very easily pleased. And unfortunately I have very little patience. A whiny baby and an impatient mother is not a great mix!

How is it that some Mums just seem to have all there shit together all the time. They find time to cook, have a shower, clean… HOW?! I obviously do all of this because I’m not disgusting. But it’s such hard work and my cleaning usually involves a quick wipe round and hoover. It’s by no means a deep clean.

This morning has been a chore. I put Charlie in the shower with me (like my husband does) and he just cried. He doesn’t do that with my husband! He laughs and plays when he does it, but oh no when Mummy does it he just cries. So I had to shower and wash my hair in 2 minutes flat with a crying baby standing in the shower with me. I then had to dry my hair and do my make up with him crying the whole time and clinging to me to be cuddled. Sometimes I do resent the fact that my husband can have a shower on his own for 10 minutes and get dressed in peace. I very very rarely get to do that.

When Charlie was younger it was a little easier because I would wait for him to have a nap in the morning so I could shower in peace, but he doesn’t nap in the morning now. I have put toys upstairs to occupy him, tried him in the shower with me, let him roam around upstairs whilst I shower, but nothing works. He still wants to cling to me, which is usually a sign that he is teething again. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just another phase, but I’m fed up of this phase now. He seems to have been teething for the last 15 months with only a weeks break here and there. It’s so draining and makes me feel like I am not doing anything right because he is always upset.

I don’t think I give myself enough credit sometimes though. I look after him as well as I can. Feeding him nutritious meals, taking him out regularly, socialising with other children to stimulate him and giving him plenty of love. So I just need to remember when he is upset that it’s probably nothing I have done wrong and it won’t last forever. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Roll on the end of teething!

Running on empty

Somehow, even though I am not working at the moment and have had nothing in particular on, it has been a very busy week. Running around after a toddler is hard enough work on it’s own, let alone keeping on top of the house work, food shopping, Christmas shopping and trying to fit in play dates to keep Charlie occupied. I feel physically exhausted this week. My whole body is aching and I feel like I am running on empty.

To those without children it probably looks like I am just out having lunch and going to soft play all the time. Although I do this a fair amount, it is far from relaxing! My lunch dates involve sharing my lunch with Charlie, him crying if he is confined to a highchair and me chasing him around whatever food establishment we have gone to (nowadays these are cheap family friendly places where people won’t look at us like we are crazy if my son is screaming and running around). Play dates at soft play involve me climbing up and down the apparatus with Charlie and trying to stop him from bulldozing his way past other children or throwing stuff around. So yes I am lunching and having a lot of play dates but they are definitely not for my relaxation. I also do a million and one other things. Being a stay at home Mum can be enjoyable but it certainly isn’t easy.

I took Charlie to a new play group yesterday and he was acting like a right brat. He loved the little tikes coupe car, but became very dominant over it. Every time another child wanted to play with it he went over and screamed in their face. He even hit another girl on the hand. Obviously I told him off and took him away from the car but it was hard work. Sometimes you feel like all you are saying is ‘No’, ‘Don’t do that’ or ”stop it!’ It’s enough to drive anyone insane. He is just at that age where he is testing me to see what he can get away with.

I do look forward to nap time most days. Charlie is down to one nap a day now which is usually after lunch. I do find this hard work at times because it is a bit restrictive, but if we are at home, it’s lovely to have some time to sit down and eat my lunch on my own. Maybe even catch up on TV. Then when he wakes up we are ready to do it all again.

People weren’t lying when they said it only gets harder when they learn to walk. I really enjoy this age though because Charlie is learning something new everyday and really exploring things. However it is hard work and they say it only gets harder. Well bring it on! I’m ready for the challenge. Anything for my little boy ❤️

Where do I start Mum?’ 😂