PND : THE WAY OUT

What happens when you are locked inside a house with a newborn? Your life turns into a single day. That day lasted 6 months for me. The longest day of my life I’d say. They say time goes by so quickly, that sounded like a complete lie. And I am so sorry if you are here now in this never ending day.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS NATASHA BAILIE

Nothing is off the menu. When we get together it is a free for all buffet meal deal on oversharing. No judgement, just love and kindness. It has taken effort, but it is well worth it to be at this point - the friendships I have today are strong, empowering and a force for good. Without these women I would be half the MUTHA I am today. 

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS RACHEL EDWARDS

If I am feeling emotional or tired I will tell them. Not to overwhelm them, but to reassure them that it is okay to have an 'off' day, and that we can talk about our feelings. I ask my children how they feel every day, and sometimes use analogies such as asking if they feel light like a butterfly or heavy like an elephant.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS SARA SHIELDS

I got to this point where I felt like every part of my being was being weighed down by negative matter so one morning I got up out of bed and decided that from now on I would say yes, and I did. I became the β€˜yes Mum’. If my son wanted to go to the park, we went to the park, if my friends invited me somewhere I said yes.

ANTENATAL DEPRESSION

The combination of hyperemesis and first trimester hormones sent me tumbling down a vortex of sadness like a bloated Alice down a big sad rabbit hole. Constant floods of tears, that lump in my throat sitting on a sob which was just waiting to erupt.

I QUIT BOOZE AND GOT MY SANITY BACK

But also, the grip alcohol had on me was tightening. I felt an itch to scratch. I wanted to get pissed, almost needed to, a couple of times a week. When I'd had a few I wanted more. Until I was drunk. I was on a horrible weekly big dipper ride which consisted of getting pissed, feeling awful, getting better, feeling OK, getting pissed and so on. My life was like a drunken Groundhog Day.

PANIC ATTACKS AND PARENTING

Another evening, I collapsed on the kitchen floor. I didn’t faint, my legs just went from beneath me. It was as if I was watching myself curled up in a ball on the floor, unable to move.

I was desperate for someone to help me, but I didn’t know what they could do to help. And I didn’t want them to think I was a bad mum.

SUCK IT SEPSIS

Sepsis was undoubtedly one of the most challenging and frightening times of my life, it left scars that are far deeper than the ones that you can see on my body. There isn’t much known about maternal sepsis, in fact I’m willing to bet that you don’t know it is the UK’s biggest cause of death in pregnancy (for mum and bubs) and that it kills more people that prostrate, breast and bowel cancer combined

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS JESSICA AVEY

I'm a planner, taking control really helps me when I'm feeling overwhelmed so making to-do lists, delegating tasks and even talking them through with my mum/ friends/ instastory family helps things to feel more manageable and less overwhelming. I'm also HUGE on self care so if I can do this while in the bath with a face mask on then I get a small sense of winning at life.

LIVING WITH PERINATAL OCD

While it’s not been easy, every step I took along the way was totally worth it. I still deal with OCD daily, but it is far more manageable now and it very rarely stops me doing anything. So, if you are struggling with OCD please have hope. It really does get better and, despite what that troublesome brain tells you, you are not a monster and you, most definitely, are not alone! 

REACH OUT AT WORK

All the signs were there. She had been screaming silently for help for months. She had changed. She was no longer the person she used to be. Yet my naΓ―ve, inexperienced and success-driven mind, didn’t notice.  As someone who had always been in control of her emotions, I genuinely thought that problems could be left at home.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS VICTORIA CASEBOURNE

I think we are all suffering on some level and yet most of the world is turning a blind eye and pretending everything is ok. My homeopath said that 25% of the UK (and rising) is suffering from Mental Health issues... that is massive and I think largely down to the way society seem to be going. In such a connected world we are all becoming so disconnected.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS SPARKLES & STRETCHMARKS

I tend to surround myself a lot with people who β€œget it” and so I rarely find it difficult to discuss, but the main struggle for me is trying to talk to my parents about it. My mum in particular is the kind of person who doesn’t β€œbelieve” in depression or anxiety…even though she knows these are things I’ve been in therapy for since I was a teenager. And I find that quite tough. 

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS ANNA WILLIAMS

Currently therapy is helping me get through. I’m currently having weekly sessions plus extra input from the dietician to help me put on weight. My weight got very low just before Christmas and I was on the verge of being admitted as inpatient but the threat of that and being away from my kids gave me a huge kick up the arse and I began to get myself on track.

I NEVER KNEW I HAD A TEMPER

I told you I couldn’t send you my piece, I was too scared. Well, I have faced the fear and here it is. I haven’t really read it over and and refined it at all- I just wrote it and have hoped for the best. I am obviously worried about any backlash because my past issues were physical. This is clearly a sensitive and horrible subject for me and I’m still so ashamed of it, but perhaps there are others? This is for them.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS HELEN WRAY

In recent years I have been very open with my kids about my mental health. When they have seen me have panic attacks or when i cry and I just cant stop, I have spoken to them about why it happens. They lost their school caretaker to suicide and the conversation started at their school, we talk about it much more openly now.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS LISA GUMN

I am so lucky to have really supportive mum mates and family but I find it so much easier to write about it and then its up to them if they want to read it and respond. I try to avoid putting people in the awkward position where they’ve asked you how you are and instead of giving the classic british stock phase of β€˜im ok or i'm fine’ start pouring my heart out about my low mood and anxiety!

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS SARAH COOK

I am most definitely a Mental Mother - I suffer with Anxiety and depression. I began to notice that it was becoming more apparent after my daughter was born. I was 20 at the time and feeling massively overwhelmed. I didn't tell anyone that I was suffering because I thought it would affect the way people saw me as a mother. I started university a few months after she was born, because as if being a full time mum wasnt enough - sucker for punishment! Plus I felt that people would look down at me if I didnt do anything with my life.

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS EMMA ASHTON

I tend to lose my shit... Yep, I’ll be honest, i’m not the best person to be around when I feel overwhelmed so I tend to vent at those closest to me.  However, I’m getting better the older I get at simply talking these feelings through rather than bottling it all up till the pressure cooker explodes.  

MENTAL MUTHA MEETS HARRIET MITCHELL

I’m both a mental mum and one that has mental health struggles.  Bipolar was the diagnosis’ I received in 2014, yes it does confirm that I have mental health struggles daily but it doesn’t always define me as a person or a mum. Of course, my son will remember the days I’ve been riddled will depression and laid in bed all day long and Daddy has had to take over with the normal day to day routine. However my son will also remember the mental mum I am, that sings songs in silly voices, speaking to him in different accents, gives him tickly cuddles, being loud at ice hockey and dancing in the kitchen.