It’s Been Awhile!!

It’s Been Awhile!!

Ok, its been 2 months since I last blogged and since then my emotions, depression and anxiety have been all over the place!

After trying to come off Venlavaxine I only last a couple of days before I gave up, the withdrawal symptoms were horrendous – and no one had any wise ideas of how to improve it, or make it easier. So I went back to 150mg. I see my psychiatrist at the end of Feb, so I will ask him then what he suggests.

Leading up to Christmas I started to get into a really positive mood, everything felt great and I was feeling good about the future and me, I felt strong enough to battle the gremlins in my mind, they were still there but I could push them away. I wasn’t feeling as negative, I wasn’t feeling so down on myself. During this time I saw the 3 health professionals who have seen me the most; CPN, GP and Psychologist and all 3 said I was looking and sounding really good. My CPN said it was the best she had ever seen me. All of this made me feel even better, I felt I had finally started to turn a corner, I knew there would still be a way to go, but I also knew that I was finally getting stronger and coming out of the darkness.

Unfortunately that didn’t last, I’m not sure if it was just before or just after Christmas, but I felt my mood drop. There is nothing specific that I can pin point to say there was a trigger, my mood just seemed to slightly drop. From then on my mood was low, grouchy with the kids and fairly useless around the house.

I saw my CPN last week and  it transpired that I was missing my closest friend and also jealous as she had got a part time job from the New Year and she had also got a puppy after the summer holidays. I ended up in tears, but it did make me feel slightly better to have off loaded some feelings, even though I hadn’t realised they were effecting me so much.

Then last Friday I had a day out at a conference (of sorts) for my business, it was a really good inspiring day and I came away with lots of positive ideas and thoughts. Monday saw me planning what I would get done during the day, having coffee with friends (whilst the kids played) and then a productive afternoon. Tuesday was a very productive day, I had a meeting with my mentor and then I spent the afternoon on my business and also got the news that I might have someone who wants sponsoring. I felt great, I was really inspired, I was motivated and felt really good.

As always it didn’t last, Wednesday saw my mood drop – just because a friend wasn’t able to meet for coffee and another was already busy. I felt unwanted, un-friended (not sure that is a word??), and generally down on myself. The urges to self harm were strong – but I didn’t act on anything. Then again today my mood feels flat and down, I feel empty.

I have so much to live for; I have 3 great kids, I know they can be pains and I want to shake the eldest to get her stirred up about something, but she can still be very kind and loving and I know she is great when she is with her friends and at school. I have a good business, that I believe could be great and give us the income we would like – I just need to work harder at it! I have a husband who really loves me – something that I don’t deserve, but he’s stuck by me over the last few years and I should really be more grateful and realise that he does actually like me!

So why, if I know these things, do I feel so down? Why do I sometimes feel I just don’t want to be here? Why do I want to constantly harm myself with something sharp? I know no one can really answer this questions, but for me it is mind blowing. I can go from being so high, to so low in a matter of hours and even though the rational side of me knows that things are good, the other side of me just says how rubbish everything and everything about me is.

So yes, its been awhile since I last blogged, but my mind has been all over the place and so many times I sat to blog and the words just didn’t flow. Hopefully I have broken that barrier for now and I will try and blog more frequently.

Triggers and Questions

Triggers and Questions

I have stupidly watched the 3 Bedlam episodes and an episode of 999 What’s your Emergency, which was about MH, yesterday and today. It really wasn’t a good idea as it seems to have triggered some anxiety and mild thoughts of sh. Its the first time that I’ve really noticed something making me feel bad, but what is worse is I realised this morning what it was doing, yet I felt compelled to carry on watching it!

I am also triggered by any stressful situations, my kids shouting and not listening to me, my husband getting cross with the kids, my husband being disappointed with me, there are probably more, but mostly it’s triggered by my inability to parent the children and it makes me feel so useless.

After watching the programmes I found myself needing to talk, but who to and what I about I had / have no idea. So I’m hoping that blogging my bring some comfort to my brain!

I seem to have so many questions and thoughts running through my head, that I don’t know what is relevant, what does anyone want to read, why would anyone be interested in me, what will help me, why doing I keep thinking about me all the time?

The last time I saw my psychologist and we came to the conclusion that maybe even after 3 years I have still not totally accepted that I am ill. I am happy to accept that depression happens and other  mh illnesses, and it is no ones fault, no one brought it on themselves, but I can’t accept that for me. I feel that I am to blame, that I just need to pull myself together, get over myself and then everything will be ok. He said that in order to get better I need to be able to accept that I am ill, through no fault of my own, but that is where I struggle, I feel it is my fault I am where I am.

The trigger for my mh demise was having a 3rd child, I struggled through the pregnancy, and then had a traumatic birth – this triggered the depression and over 3 years later I am still struggling. I didn’t have to have a 3rd child, we had 2 healthy children, but it was my desire and NJ was happy to go along with it. I wouldn’t be without TJ now, but what would life have been like if I hadn’t got pregnant? Would I still have sometime through my life ended up in a crisis situation?

I don’t believe that my anti depressants are really helping me anymore and I want to come off them, I need to see what I am like without them – will life go back to ‘normal’ then? My GP, CPN and NJ all know that I want to stop, I’ve just got to convinced the psychiatrist tomorrow that it is a good idea. I know that the antidepressant I’m on (Venlavaxine) is terrible to come off, but that shouldn’t be a reason to stay on it. I know that I may struggle, but hopefully I will have the support network to help should that happen. I also know that I could be fine, and life will start to seem better again. I need to know what is me and what is the medication.

I also need to know why I think like I do, I get paranoid if a friend doesn’t want to meet up, I get paranoid if NJ seems cross, it must be my fault, I’m not a nice person, they are fed up with me etc etc.

I’ve had a bit of an emotional run in with my family over Christmas, it is kind of sorted, but no one has actually acknowledged that I have been upset over it all – no one has said sorry that I was upset. Which makes me think that I’ve always had my emotions and feelings pushed aside by my mum and sisters. When I think about it, I still get upset by the whole thing.

I am trying really hard with the kids to make sure they never feel like they are not listened to when they are upset, that they know their feelings are justified, and to talk to us so we can help. I am also always telling them that I love them. I don’t think my mum or dad has ever said they love me.

So now I have thoughts of not being good enough, I’ve always been the average kid, nothing interesting or spectacular, I’m never missed if I’m not around and contact from people is few and far between. I know there is nothing wrong with being average, but I guess I have always wanted to be outstanding in something, which means I have generally failed at everything I’ve done. I am not got the right personality or mentality to be outstanding at anything. Maybe this is why I always feel I am failing at being a parent and a wife? I will probably never be as good as I want to be, but I don’t know what that person is either.

Anyway, I’ve still got questions and thoughts floating round my head, but maybe they can wait for another day to be outed?

Depression?

Depression?

What is wrong with me? Why am I so lazy and useless? I don’t and can’t believe that this is all an ‘illness’. I have stuff to do around the house and for my business, but I can’t get motivated to do any of it. I need to find myself a focus a goal, but I can’t seem to get my brain to dare to plan. It seems ok to plan for others and events, but not for what my future might hold. My youngest (TJ) starts school next September (see I can think ahead), but I have no idea what I will do with my time. I am pretty sure NJ (Hubby) will want me to be making some money to help fund our life, but I’m not sure if I will be making enough with my business, but I’m also at a loss to what I could do. I would want something to fit around the children, which narrows it down some what!

My head feels a mess at the moment, no real focus, no real aim in life. I can do the basics, I get up, showered, eat, sort lunches, get the kids to school, get washing done (eventually) ironing (again eventually), feed the kids, get them to bed. But the stuff in-between doesn’t seem to be making any progress. I really good friend spent time on Friday (time she was short of) helping me to do a time table for my week, to help give my some structure and manage to get rest, do jobs and play with the youngest (when she’s around), but so far I have failed to even look at the timetable, let alone try and achieve any of it.

I’ve no idea if this is all to do with the change of meds, which I doubt it is all to do with it, and is the medication I am on making me any better anyway? Would I be better off without taking anything? At least then I would know for sure if I was ‘ill’, sent ‘weird’ with the medication or actually there is nothing wrong with me and I can go back to the life I once knew. (And for the record, I have no idea what that life was).

I am eating better now, and have been for a few weeks, but it has not changed my mood or my motivation, and I don’t feel any healthier. I am going to continue with eating better as the only good thing from it is I am losing weight. So I am trying, but maybe I am not trying hard enough, maybe all this is in my head (well actually yes it is, apparently my brain), but maybe there is no chemical imbalance, maybe it’s just who I am, and I pretended to be someone else for so long, that now I have been on the other side subconsciously I don’t want to go back?

My CPN asked me last week what I would say to a new health professional about how I felt, I was a bit stumped, where to start? It would be no good going back to the beginning, because although TJ’s birth was the catalyst for how things have been, I don’t think it’s about that anymore. I do know that I feel unmotivated, tired, unable to cope with stress (even small amounts), I feel unable to deal with the children, which in turn makes me feel useless and a failure. When I read that back it doesn’t seem worthy of being on medication and having regular visits with a CPN, but I know that there is more to how I feel. I just don’t seem to be able to find the right words, to explain this empty feeling inside, the loneliness when you are surrounded by people, the need to have people around, but at the same time wanting to be alone. The need to self harm to feel something, the feeling of wanting to run away, but not being able to because of the people around you. Okay, so maybe I did find the words for some of it?

I thought writing things down might of helped, but it hasn’t. My head still feels foggy, full of cotton wool, also feels empty, but full of thoughts all the time (see I’m really not normal), I hope others that struggle with depression (if that’s what I am suffering from), can maybe empathise with how I am feeling and struggling.

What’s worked for you with finding the motivation to do things, and to help with your recovery?

What am I?

What am I?

Earlier in the week I blogged about not knowing who I was, I still don’t know who I am, but I do know what I am.

I have realised that I am selfish, all I think about is how I feel, how what the kids do or say makes me feel,  how what my husband might say or do might make me feel. I have forgotten to listen to everyone else and see how they feel, how what I am saying or doing is effecting my family and friends.

When I see my CPN and Psychologist I seem to say the same things over and over again, I can’t cope with the way my children are behaving, I don’t know how to control them, I have nothing to aim for, I have no goals in life, I don’t know what makes me happy. It’s all about ‘me. me, me’!! I need to change, and I need to do that now.

Maybe if I stopped thinking about me, then I would get better, or at least spend less time thinking about my thoughts and feelings and therefore I wouldn’t have the time to dip into a big hole! I would get more done around the house, I would get more done with the business and I would have more time to spend with the kids and my husband.

I need to start now, but not sure how I will achieve it, I’m not sure if I’m able to do it anymore. Before I was ill I always thought about others, how my actions affected others, but I also got on with life, the housework and spending time with the kids.

Was I happy? I don’t know, my husband might have an answer to that, I can’t remember. I do know that I wasn’t happy in my job at work, and I struggled with not having friends, but was I happy at home, and with the kids, I’ve no idea. It’s hard to remember a time before I was ill, and maybe that’s the problem, I can’t remember what it’s like to not be ill and what it’s like to not know about depression and anxiety, I also can’t remember what it’s like to not have health professionals just at the end of the phone or only a week away from an appointment.

I read and talk to others who have got mental health problems, and I wonder why I have been supported so well over the last 3 years, when there are so many others that are not getting the same support but seem to be in a much worse place than me. Why is it seemed that I need this support – do they see something that I don’t? Or is it  just that the selfish person I am is clinging to something that I no longer need?

I don’t have any answers, except I know that I have become selfish and self absorbed and I need to change. If anyone has any good suggestions on how not to be self absorbed please let me know!

Normal?

Normal?

I’m starting to struggle again and I don’t feel like I have anyone to turn to. I’m fed up of feeling like this, I know I have got friends, but what they see doesn’t seem to go with how I feel on the inside. Also, I am fed up of being the one who is still not right, the one that is still saying I don’t feel great, that I’m having negative thoughts, that sometimes I wish I didn’t have to deal with life.

I know I’m being selfish and everyone has their problems and it can’t always be about me, and I don’t expect it to be about me, in fact I don’t want it to be about me. I want to be ‘normal’ to not be constantly thinking about how I feel, is this a little or big dip, is it just a blip? I wish I could go back out the door I walked into 3 years ago and forget everything I have learnt. It almost feels like a curse knowing so much about depression and anxiety, constantly being careful about other peoples feelings and emotions. I was always the person that thought of others before myself, but now I think more about how they might be feeling, that something might have happened, that they may have their own emotional issues.

I would like to erase my knowledge of CPN’s, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and any other health professional that I have had dealings with. Maybe if I could do that I could start to lead a normal life again? I’m quite sane and know that the above is not possible, but we all need our dreams. I would love to be transported back to before I started feeling like this, how did I feel, how did I feel about the children? How did I feel about NJ? What were my thoughts on life? I have so many questions that no one can answer, and I don’t think I will ever be able to answer them either.

In 2 days it is the school holidays, so it will be 3 years since I realised that all was not right with me, although it took till the end of the holidays to take the step to get some help, but maybe that was the wrong choice, maybe I should have battled on like I always did? Maybe then I would now be leading a ‘normal’ life (not sure what that is though!).

For now though I guess I have got to just get on with the life I have, and try and stop feeling sorry for myself and enjoy the sunshine and having the kids at home!

3 Years On

3 Years On

Next week TJ turns 3, and 3 years ago I was still innocent to the effects of  mental health and names of different antidepressants, even though I’d had a brush with depression at university I had never discussed it with anyone and so it was still just inside my head.

My pregnancy was not as straight forward as the previous 2, and the birth was definitely not, you can read about it here, but briefly I had always dreaded having a c-section, and not only did I end up with a section I was knocked out with a general aesthetic, and spent the next 24hrs feeling quite out of it. I struggled to bond with TJ and I seemed to spend most of my time crying but I was given help after a very sympathetic midwife at the hospital (I had to have a blood test due to gestational diabetes) listened to how I felt and she relayed her concerns (with my consent) to my health visitor.

I denied that I could have depression, I was adamant that I was just struggling to come to terms with TJ’s birth (who for the first few months I kept calling ‘the baby’), I was given extra support from the health visiting team and I was also referred to a counsellor, but by the time our family holiday came round I realised that I was suffering from PND, it took NJ mentioning it, for me to actually vocalise it.

At the beginning of September 2010 I started taking antidepressants (fluoxetine) within a couple of weeks it was clear things were not good and suddenly I had been referred to the  crisis team, a change of meds and things began to settle down. Over the next 2.5 years although my mood and ability has gone up and down, and I’ve had meds changed up and down, I have felt (looking back) that life was bobbing along okay.

Then came March / April 2013 and I find myself in the familiar hands of the crisis team (now called the intensive home based treatment team), they are trying to sort out my medication, which I am not entirely convinced about at the moment, but NJ has convinced me that I have to try what the professionals are suggesting.

I go from feeling calm and happy at times to racked with guilt for being ‘ill’, to full of anxiety and then thoughts of wanting to self harm. I have so far managed 3 or 4 weeks without cutting, but tonight the urges have been incredibly strong, I’m not too sure how I’ve managed to stay safe.

From my point of view I have nothing tangible to be unhappy about, from the outside everything must seem great, big house, nice family, 2 cars, I’m a SAHM, but inside I’m not right and I no longer know why. When I was first ill I could identify with the difficult birth and pregnancy, now there is nothing to identify with. I have spoken to so many people over the last 3 years that all the reasons I thought were why I was / am the way I am, that I have realised none of these are real anymore. I am me, and somehow I have to learn how to live with being me, I have to learn to like me, and possibly love me (although that may be stretching it a bit far!).

I am worried that my current medication is sedating me too much to feel anything, I have been given a lifeline from my daughters preschool and she is going there nearly full time, which gives me the space I need, but more importantly the attention she needs and she is loving it there. I just no longer know how to live properly and I no longer know what it is that I want.

People on the outside will say that I am doing okay as I am functioning, I get dressed everyday and get the kids to school, they are always fed, clean and dressed (okay not so clean at the end of the day, but that’s good right?) and 9 times out of 10 are where they need to be on time. Unfortunately no one can see inside my head, they don’t see the constant thoughts of self harm, the constant thoughts of being unworthy of what I have, the constant thoughts of being an inadequate mother, and I could go on but I think you will probably get the idea.

So that is me, 3 years on, I am now an old hand at reading and hearing about mental health, a conversation that contains talk of suicide and or self harm is often the norm, and I currently seem to be living in a slightly different world to the one I was in 3 years ago.

On my Shoulder

On my Shoulder

Sitting on my right shoulder is my gremlin, and each day he seems to be getting bigger as he shouts his negative thoughts at me, egging me on to feel down, fed up and rubbish. On my left shoulder is my positive thoughts (I have no image of what this looks like!) but it seems to be getting smaller, losing its strength as the gremlin gains his.

I no longer know what is me, what is my medication and what is the depression (if that’s what it is?) I have spent the last couple of weeks feeling ‘fed up’ and down for no apparent reason, I just do. I have no get up and go and no desire to be with other people, I struggle each day with all 3 children, but mostly my youngest as she (quite rightly) begs for my attention, and I just want to be alone.

I hate myself for feeling like this, and even though I am still functioning by getting the kids to school, collecting them and giving them tea, I know I am failing them on so many levels. I’m not giving them what they need, the one to one attention, support with their school work, my undivided attention, playing and having fun with them. I am even beginning to wonder why I had kids, I look back over the last 10 years and wonder have I ever really coped with them? My son struggles being the only boy and often say’s he wishes he was the only one, and my eldest has said the same many times, I feel so crap that I have made them feel like this, that they do not want to share their lives with their siblings.

My gremlin is sitting there telling me to find something sharp to self harm with, and so far I have resisted  but his voice is getting ever louder and I do not know how long I will be able to ignore him.

The health professionals know that I am struggling at the moment, but no one can actually turn my brain off and stop the gremlin, no one can change who I am and make me the person I want to be. I know all the things I should be doing, keeping myself busy, eating healthily, doing exercise etc etc, but anyone who has been in this black hole will know that it is at times like this that the black hole is so big it is hard to get yourself out of it and do the things you ‘should’ be doing.

I am really a very useless person.