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.

Medication

Medication

I saw a psychiatrist today (not my normal one, but his student type person), he asked me a few questions, but then I was brave and said I wanted to come off my antidepressant. He wasn’t keen on the idea, he felt that I should wait until the New Year and see how I felt then.

I always seem to have a dip Jan / Feb time, so felt that it wouldn’t be beneficial, and I wouldn’t be able to tell if it was me or the meds.

I want to come off them as I need to know if I am ok without them, and do all the thoughts etc come from the meds or are they really from my brain? I don’t think he really understood my reasons, or even if he wanted to understand them.

I was quite forceful in saying what I wanted, and I don’t think he was particularly happy with what I was saying, but I am fed up with just listening to everyone else and doing what they think is right.

So I may be wrong, I might not cope off the meds, but at least then I will know, and then I will take what ever I need to take. But at the moment I have a need to know how I am.

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?

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!

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.

Can I Hide?

Can I Hide?

In May last year I wrote about wanting a Time Machine to change how TJ was bought into the world, I am still looking so if anyone spots one please give me a shout!

I know by now that I should be over what happened with TJ’s birth and I possibly am, I am not however over the PND and at the moment I am having a big dive back down the dark pit. I want to be able to go back and even if I must have the same birth experience I would like to just cope with it, not have the breakdown that happened and not have shared everything with everyone. I feel like I have given too much of me away to people who know me, and in doing so lost some of my self-respect.

I’ve cried with so many health professionals, Midwives, Health Visitors, Doctors, CPN’s psychiatrists and psychologists and given everything away. I know that’s what I am supposed to do, but at the moment I look back and feel silly and stupid for the things I’ve said and done, I’m trying to figure out why people think I need the support and why I am seen as any different from the next person.

I’ve not had a bad upbringing, there may not have been hugs and ‘I Love Yous’ flying around, but we did have a really nice house and garden, I was able to do many activities and I think I was essentially happy. I don’t have a bad life now, I have 3 healthy children and a husband who (I think) loves me (not sure why though) and a really nice house in a lovely village. So on the face of it I should not need support, or help with my ‘mental health’ I feel like I am taking up precious time of these health professionals when they should be out there supporting the people who have real problems.

It’s hard to explain but my life has been changed forever, and it’s not in either a good or bad way, it’s just been changed. I’ve been exposed to a world I was blissfully unaware of, the world where mental health problems are the norm and talking about your medication and the way you feel is not shied away from. I am not saying this is a bad place to be, but I do wish sometimes that I had not crossed into the world I now live in, it was quite nice to be unaware of how many people are affected by it all. It was also nice to have a normal family life, where we got on with things, I worked, and we had more money. Now I am so acutely aware of how I feel I am constantly on edge that I am feeling worse, that it’s all going down hill even when things are not that bad.

Unfortunately though, even though I don’t want to have to rely on anyone, especially the health professionals, I do need them. I am not coping and I need support to try to find the right path again, to help me feel like I did at the end of the year when I had so much energy and it all seemed to be going away.

I just want to run away and hide until all this is over, to come back when I am back to being ‘me’ and the negative thoughts and self-doubt have gone for good.

Guilt

Guilt

On Monday I listened to Chris Bingley talk about his wife’s untimely death on Radio Humberside only 10 weeks after having a baby following a severe case of PND, she felt she could no longer be here or have to deal with what was happening in her head and walked out in front of a moving train. I also read an excellent article in The Yorkshire Post  about Chris and his wife Joanne’s illness and how he is dealing with the lasting effect of it all.

Chris has set up The Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation to try to get better understanding of the illness to those that need it and ensure that anyone who does suffer has the right support. Chris felt that his wife Joanne did not get the medical support that she should have done and feels that had she been given that support and taken to hospital then she would still be with us today.

Listening to this and reading the paper I can’t help but feel some guilt that Joanne died and I didn’t, I feel that had this not happened then I may well not have got the excellent support that I did. If I hadn’t received the help and care that I did I am not sure what would have happened, I know looking back that I was in a very bad place and I was suddenly surrounded daily by CPN’s worried about what I might do, there was even talk of me going into hospital (something I really did not want to do). All this support was offered to me, but it wasn’t to Joanne which is so wrong, and I know that around the country the care given to women suffering PND varies greatly.

It is because of this guilt that I am so committed to getting involved with The Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation to help spread the word about the illness, help get all health professionals fully informed of what is needed by the sufferer and the immediate family to ensure that someone like Joanne, suffering so badly, does not do the worse thing possible.

Chris has set up an e-petition “Call to Action” for Improvement in Perinatal Mental Healthcare Services to get the government to sit up and take notice and realise that this is a serious illness that effects so many, and when the worse thing happens a child ends up with no mother, the father has no wife, siblings have no sister and parents have lost a child. Please take the time to sign the petition and read the article, the pass the information on, the more signatures we get the more chance we have of this issue being debated in parliament