Is PND losing it’s hold on me?

I can’t believe it has been a year since I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression. In so many ways it feels like 5 minutes ago and I really didn’t think I would still be taking my anti-depressants a year on. But after trying and failing to come off them earlier in the year I have been in absolutely no rush to try again until I was more sure that I was ready to. I have worried at times that I wouldn’t know when that time was and would I ever feel ready to try with absolute certainty? I’m still not 100% sure but things are different at the moment. I feel different.

I am starting to wonder whether PND is losing its hold on me and feel there is the possibility that I am coming out the other side. It is a little difficult to quantify other than saying that feel different. I wouldn’t say life is particulalrly less challenging than it was a year ago. With the kids being a year older things are different now and probably challenging in different ways. If anything though things have been really tough lately. With hubs’ operation meaning I have had to pick up all of the slack and try and get everything done I was worried how I would cope with it. Worried that it would knock me down. But it hasn’t. I have just got on with it and though yes, I have felt overwhelmed and stressed at times, but where in the past those feelings would have consumed me, they just haven’t this time. I have found it relatively easy to focus on the positives.

WP_20160507_17_59_05_ProThe worst thing about the PND for me was the way it changed me as a parent. I wasn’t able to be the mother I wanted to be while I was in the worst moments of it. I was tetchy, irritable, tearful and so snappy with the children. Doing anything fun with them was too much effort and the TV was on far more than I wanted it to be because it was the easy option. That was when I realised and accepted that there was a problem and that I needed help. That was why I went on the anti-depressants, and they have helped, so so much. They have helped me to be more like the mother I want to be (I’m still not as perfect as I would like haha but are any of us?).

So why do I feel this time like it may be more than just the anti-depressants helping me. Again it is so hard to quantify but where the anti-depressants have always helped there has still been times when things have been too much for me. When the kids getting messy with paint has tipped me over the edge and brought back the shouty snappy mum. When a day with little sleep or my husband not helping me as much as I wanted has resulted in me being foul and grumpy and unable to lift myself out of that.

Lately though I am more able to make the choice between being grumpy or looking past the problem to see the positives. That is the key and that is the difference between just feeling a bit down, and having a mental illness, in my opinion. A difference that isn’t easy to see or explain, a difference that perhaps you have to feel to understand. I have tried so many times in the last year (and beforehand before I accepted there was a problem) to be mindful, to choose to be happy, and I just haven’t managed it. No matter how I hard I tried I was constantly dragged back to the darkness by the simplest and smallest of things. Even whilst on the anti-depressants, though a thousand times better than without them, the darkness is often not that far away. Now though, the darkness feels smaller, more manageable.

Let’s face it, parenting can be a battlefield. You can wake feeling positive in the morning but after your preschooler having a major meltdown about which pants to wear, a baby throwing breakfast on the floor, pulling off their nappy and weeing everywhere it is easy for that positivity to be eroded. When those things happen on a day when you haven’t slept well or have woken with a cloud over you it is very hard to see the positive side to anything. Everyone has bad days, but depression can mean most days are bad days, or that on a good day, even something minor can turn that day into a bad day.

Maybe hubs’ operation has helped because I have had to get on with things. There has been noone there to pick up the pieces for me. Hubs and I both know that sometimes we make each other lazier… with the “oh they can do that” or blaming them for not getting jobs done. Not in a nasty or even a particulalrly concsious way… but we know we do it. With him out of action I have definitely noticed it as I have known that there is noone else to clear the dishes, do the washing up, empty the bins, mow the lawn etc. etc. There was no point griping about it I just got on with it. Maybe that has helped shift my attitude in every area? Or maybe it has happened at a time when the PND is subsiding. When I am able to choose to see thehappy rather than focus on being stressed.

Will this feeling last? I have no idea, but I hope so. I’m not going to suddenly stop taking my anti-depressants yet. Hubs has to go to Canada for 5 days for work in a couple of weeks so I will see how that goes first. If all goes well and the positivity remains, I will try and cut the dosage again. See what happens then. This time though it will be my choice, because I feel I am ready. Not because a Dr thinks it is time that I come off them, or because I feel like I should be able to come off them. But because I just might be ready to. I will keep you posted!

And then the fun began...Mummascribbles

Postnatal Depression doesn’t make me a failure

Ok. Truth time. I’ve been struggling a bit lately. The year got off to a pretty positive new start with keeping the house clean and tidy, being fitter and eating healthier, and reducing my antidepressants. When I announced this, my friend Sam from andthenthefunbegan expressed a concern that this was all a bit much. Oh you wise woman you, you may have been right.

In my defense the house cleanliness and fitness objectives were designed to help my mental state. And they have. Having the house clean and tidy definitely makes me feel calmer. The exercise makes me feel great and I am fitter. The diet hasn’t been going quite so well though and I have succumbed to eating comfort food a fair amount because I have been feeling really low lately.

The reduction of the dose of my antidepressants started off pretty well and I thought maybe I was ready. Maybe I don’t have Postnatal Depression anymore. Then slowly… But oh so surely, the negativity, stress and anxiety came creeping back.

The ball of stress in the middle of my chest has returned and I feel like I could cry. I wake up unhappy and I get so irrational and angry. Angry with my husband, angry with my children, angry with inanimate objects. I know this feeling and I don’t like what it means. I do still have PnD and I need to go back to the full dose of my antidepressants.

Much as I don’t like it, there is a feeling of failure associated with this. Now, rationally, I know I haven’t failed. Depression is an illness and I am not better yet. I tried to reduce the medication on the advice of my doctor but this clearly isn’t the right time for me yet. That doesn’t mean I have failed. But I can’t help but feel like I have.

The stigma associated with depression is a difficult one to break. I have always tried to be understanding of anyone with depression but I do think it is difficult to fully understand until you have it… And even then it’s tough! Surely I should be able to snap myself out of this? Come on think positive, stop wallowing! But I know now it isn’t that simple.

Recognising that I need to go back to the full dose of my antidepressants isn’t failing. Failing would be not recognising what I am feeling. Failing would be not accepting the help that is available to me. Failing would be letting the Postnatal Depression take hold again. To give in to the anger and tears and stress that prevents me from being the mum and wife that I want to be and that I know I can be… With a little help.20160124_171935

So I am not failing myself or my family. I am back on the tablets for a bit longer. I will try and reduce then again at some point and will see how it goes as you don’t know if you don’t try. But now isn’t the right time. These years at home with my kiddies are fleeting and I don’t want to waste them feeling stressed and unhappy and blaming them for the way I am feeling. It’s not them it’s PnD.

And you know what? I hate depression. Depression sucks. I hate the way it makes me feel. The way it makes me want to curl up and stay silent. The way it stops me enjoying my family as much. Maybe this is uncomfortable reading and maybe I am over sharing and I apologise if you feel that way. But maybe you feel the way I do and it helps to know you are not alone. Someone recently told me that by sharing my Pnd I had encouraged them to seek help too. That makes me so proud and grateful and if this having this stupid depression and talking about it helps someone else… Then I won’t say it is worth it as I wish I didn’t have it….but it helps so I will keep on sharing.

My word of the week is depression.


Goals for me in 2016

Most of my posts on here are about our family life and the kiddies especially. Inevitable really as they are the most important things in my life but for now I thought I would write a little post about me. I’m not particularly setting new years resolutions as I don’t think you have to start something new just because it is the new year. The being said there are changes that need to be made and things about me that I want to focus on and now is as good a time as any to start.

Diet and exercise
Yep, starting with the obvious one. I have been eating way too much for quite a while, even before Christmas and have definitely not worried about indulging over the Christmas period. I am not beating myself up over this, life is too short and I have enjoyed myself. But, and there is a but, I am not happy with the added weight I am carrying at the moment.

Our scales broke a while ago and we haven’t replaced them so I don’t know how much I actually weigh (I find it better to judge based on how my clothes fit anyway) but I am carrying it a bit differently at the moment. I’m pear shaped and have always carried extra weight around my hips and bottom. Now though, I guess as a result of being stretched from having 2 children I am very much expanding around my middle and ooh do I hate it! I have been wearing legs and tunics and dresses loads as it is more comfy than squeezing into jeans and it is time to tackle it. I’m a big believer that if you are unhappy about something then you are the one who needs to change it. So that is what I am going to do. No matter how much I enjoy eating, I don’t enjoy carrying around the extra weight so need to change.

Of course the main thing is going to be watching what I eat again. I have done weight watchers before and find the points really help me be aware of how much I am eating etc. so I will be doing that again. No fad diets here, just sensibe eating. Exercise is going to play a big part too though. My friends and I have been swimming once or twice a week for a while (thank goodness or I don’t know how huge I would be) so that will continue and I want to make it a definite twice a week thing. I also want to do more yoga or pilates as I really need to strengthen my back.

I’ve always had a few problems with my back, especially my lower back but since having kids my upper back can get terrible too. (All the carrying and stooping over etc.) It gives me horrific headaches from the referred pain and I know I need to work on strengthening my core and my whole body. There is a great pilates class nearby I was supposed to start a couple of months ago but, well, it hasn’t happened. The first week I didn’t go as LM had croup, the next week hubs Grandpa died that day, then I was ill, then I was preparing to host hub’s grandpa’s wake, then Monkey had croup, then I did actually go but the woman running it had the flu and cancelled the class! Then I was out for a meal and then it was Xmas week and they closed. So it has been a catalogue of disasters but I really want to try and go in January.

I’ve also been wondering how I can squeeze some yoga in to my day as I have a couple of good dvds and even 10 mins of good stretching here and there would be better than nothing. Every evening at the mo hubs does bath time with the kids and because I am shattered, unless I am sorting laundry I am generally lying on my bed playing candy crush until LM gets annoyed and I play with her while hubs carries on bathing Monkey. I am trying to make this a bit of yoga time instead and I have managed 2 days so far! Hopefully I can improve on that and hopefully it will contribute to me feeling better, fitter and stronger.

Postnatal Depression
I haven’t talked about it much for a while because I have being doing so much better on antidepressants but the time has come where my doctor has suggested trying to see how I feel about coming off them. There’s no rush obviously but it has been over 6 mths and I guess you don’t know if you don’t try, right? So she has suggested taking them on alternate days to see how I feel. I started this right before Christmas and sadly it didn’t go well. I would skip a tablet and feel fine all that day, but the following morning I was feeling very stressed again. I wondered if it was psychosomatic but I would have thought that if that was the case then I would have felt anxious on the day I skipped a tablet, rather than 24hrs later?

Anyway I got quite anxious and stressed and after a chat with my husband, who was concerned about the way I was reacting to things, we decided I wouldn’t try this until after Christmas. Christmas can be stressful enough as it is and he didn’t like seeing me reacting the way I was when things were at their worst. I am trying again now though and so we shall see how things go this time. If I react the same way again then I will tell my doctor that I don’t feel ready yet, as I don’t want to pressure myself into coming off them until I am ready.

I also hope to make a bit more time for me and my friends this year as it is all too easy to be consumed with family life, though I know it does me the world of good to just be me from time to time. It’s a difficult one as my kids are the most important thing in the world to me but I know it is good for them to have time with their Daddy and with their grandparents and good for them if I feel fresh from having a break. The doesn’t always make it easy to leave them though or take away the guilt when Monkey gets sad about me going. Which happens.. even some time afterwards and even if he had a lovely time at the time, he just comes out with the fact that mummy going somewhere made him sad. Talk about pulling my heart strings! But I know he has so much of me that it isn’t a bad thing for me to do things for myself sometimes too.

As for the blogging…. I um and ah about it a lot and think about stopping but the truth is enjoy it. I am always thinking about what else I can blog about. I am never going to be a huge blogger, I just don’t have the time or energy. I don’t contact pr companies or fight to get what I can… If someone would like me to review something and it is something I would genuinely use then I will review it. Otherwise again I just don’t have the time or energy. But that’s OK because it is a hobby I enjoy and the rest doesn’t really matter. I am going to make more of an effort to engage with the blogging community though and my favourite bloggers in particular. I can be very insular by nature and tend to hide away rather than joining in with things but this can mean I miss out so I want to try a bit harder with that.

I am also going to try and be a bit more organised. While Hubs has been off we have done a lot of sroting round the house, the loft and garage are much more organised as are many of our cupboards and the conservatory is possibly the cleanest it has ever been. So this should help. I have aso been rubbish at doing things like sending thank you cards over the past year which I hate so I am going to try and be more organised in that respect too.

So I say I am not setting new years resolutions… but I guess I am. I just hope that they are realistic and achieveable though rather than pie in the sky objectives that will fall by the wayside after a few months!! Over all I think I just want to be happy this year and I hope that by making a decision to change the things I dislike that I can achieve that and feel better overall.

Are you setting yourselves any resolutions this January? What would you like to achieve over the next year?

Rules for Me & Choosing to be Happy

Regular readers will know that I have recently accepted that I have postnatal depression. I am taking antidepressants and things are definitely improving. The medication isn’t a miracle cure though and I have to play my part too. I need to change the way I think about some things to help get through this and I have come up with some “rules” for me to live by.

I actually came up with a number of these before accepting I have PND and was trying to manage it by myself. I didn’t manage and I did and do need the help but that doesn’t mean that these rules are any less valid.

My rules are:

Stop being mean to yourself. You are not fat and disgusting, stupid or incompetent. (Honestly I am meaner to myself than I ever would be to anyone else!)

Be kind to yourself and make more time for you. 

Take deep breaths when things go wrong (rather than f-ing & blinding under my breath, slamming doors and stomping around like a teenager – this one may be tricky)

Don’t let the fact that one thing has gone wrong ruin the rest of the day or make you forget what a lovely time you were having until that point. It hasn’t ruined anything and won’t last forever.

Have realistic expectations. Both of yourself, your plans and of the children. I need to accept that perfection doesn’t exist and unfortunately things won’t always go smoothly. If LM is off routine then I must take a deep breath and go with it rather than stressing about it.

Be more organised. One of my biggest stresses about 4 times a day is working out what to feed LM, so I have created a meal plan a week in advance to remove the stress of that multiple times a day. (We already meal plan for the rest of the family.)

Set times to do things and make lists so you can feel you have achieved something (rather than just getting weighed down by a seemingly endless mental list)

Don’t try and squeeze things in when looking after the kids – I get so frustrated when I am trying to blog but have a child jumping on my head or kicking me in the ribs, when really they just want my attention

Have two blogging evenings a week. No TV on those days.

Remember that blogging doesn’t have to be a competition. You didn’t start blogging to win awards etc. 

Write and do what makes you happy.

Do more exercise. I have been saying I need to do this for ages but have so far been lazy and not done so! My diet did me well for a while but I have had enough of it for the time being. I am doing lots of walking and that and looking after the kids is helping me maintain my loss but I need to tone up and strengthen my muscles as I am very weak and I have no core strength at all. So I have started some yoga and pilates at home and my brother’s girlfriend and I are starting to play badminton every week next week so that should be fun!

Enjoy the kiddies. Too often I get annoyed when the kids won’t play on their own so I can get on with jobs – when I should be making the most of my time with them and having fun, that is why I am a SAHM after all!


Definitely enough rules to be going on with and I have to keep reminding myself at the moment but I do feel like they are helping me …. that and the sheer quantity of chocolate I have consumed in the lately. I am being kinder to myself…. though I really need to keep up with the exercise so that I don’t put back on all the weight I have lost this year!!

Do you have “rules” that you live by?

#BloggingToJoggingMama and MoreAnd then the fun began...

Accepting that I have Postnatal Depression

PNDIn general I am quite an upbeat positive person but for some time I have been feeling very very low and not myself. I have felt very negative about pretty much everything and feared I was sounding like such a misery on my blog. I considered the possibility of Postnatal Depression but the label seemed too big, if that makes sense. I think of PND and I think of Mum’s suffering with it and I just feel like “no, not little old me, I’m just a daft woman struggling to cope. I just need to get on with it and sort myself out.” So for some time that is what I have been trying to do.

I’m a big believer in faking it till you make it. I felt if I told myself I was happy then eventually I would get there. So I kept trying and making myself take deep breaths and stay positive and fixed on my goals. But the problem is that anytime anything went the slightest bit wrong I would crash and be right back to rock bottom. My attempts weren’t working. My motivation for my diet has gone too and I have been comfort eating like crazy but not feeling any better.

A good friend of mine used a great analogy for depression recently. “It’s like you’re constantly cycling uphill and you’re giving all you’ve got. You can’t stop peddling as you know you’ll go downhill, but you can’t keep going the way you are either.” I felt this summed it up perfectly and I have been trying so so hard to just keep going but it wasn’t working. I know how lucky I am and I have a wonderful husband and 2 amazing kiddies but I really haven’t been enjoying, well, anything, for some time.

It has also started to affect Monkey too. The last couple of weeks in particular were really low for me and I have been in tears quite a lot and very snappy. Monkey is a sensitive little soul and he really takes it to heart when I shout at him or am upset. He obviously copes with the odd time but the frequency lately has had a cumulative effect on him. He has been going through a bit of separation anxiety at playgroup and crying a lot about going and when he is there. He is waking up some mornings crying. When we ask him why he just says “Mummy.” Which makes me feel awful I have to tell you.

So last week I finally accepted that this isn’t normal. That it was time to get some help. I went to the Dr and after a chat with a very lovely lady Dr she confirmed my suspicions. I am suffering from postnatal depression and it does need to be treated for my sake and the sake of the children.

As well as the low-dose antidepressants my lovely GP said I also need to let go of my need to be in control. I need to stop trying so hard to be a perfect Mummy all the time as I am dooming myself to failure. She said I need to remember that I am a person too and not just Mum and have to put myself first sometimes. I need to make time to do some exercise as that will help my mood too. She really was helpful and understood exactly how I felt.

I am a few days into the tablets and have felt a bit odd at times, which I think is normal. But in general I am already feeling better. I think even just the act of accepting that I need some help, and taking the pressure off myself instead of constantly trying to pretend all is fine has made a big difference.

Hubs has been great and supportive. He has said he feels guilty like it is his fault and he should have done more and of course that isn’t true. In true man style he wants a solution and he wants to ‘fix’ it but he is coming round to the fact that medication is the right thing for now. I never wanted to be on antidepressants and never thought I would be, not that there is anything wrong with them, I just didn’t think I would need them. But right now, I do. They are low dose, non-addictive so I can stop anytime, although my GP has recommended I use them for at least 4 months.

So we shall see how things go, hopefully the tablets will just help me stay a bit more level and stop the crashing lows I have been feeling, meaning I can enjoy my little ones, and everything, a bit more. The label of “postnatal depression” still feels a little uncomfortable, like I don’t deserve it, but I guess like anything it is a spectrum and there are varying depths of it. I still feel uncomfortable writing this post but I have accepted that I need some help and I will come through the other side of it, I know I will.

Have you suffered with postnatal depression? How did you feel about the label?

My word for the week is “acceptance.”

The Reading ResidencePost Comment LoveMaternityMondays

Mama and MoreAnd then the fun began...

Having some fun

My word of the week this week is a great one. One that I am really happy to talk about. It has been a lovely week, full of fun, so that is my word, fun!

After the past however many months of struggling, first with the difficult newborn days, with colic and reflux thrown into the mix, to just the endless parade of germs, colds and flus keeping us down, it is great to say we have had a fun week for a change!

Continue reading