On Not Coping

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Life Stuff, Mental Illness, Parenting, Post Natal Depression | 18 comments

Crazy Kids, South Coast NSW, Not Coping, Love them

Sometimes, when I’m not coping, things around here aren’t that great. If I am honest with myself, things haven’t been the same within our family since early last September, when James first left us all behind in Bathurst and started his new-old job and I did some solo parenting, lots of traveling, house searching and a whole lot of not coping.

Of course, things can’t always be sunshine, beaches and zoo visits, but a little more certainly wouldn’t hurt. It’s that old thing, where if things are good they’re really good – in that moment. And when things are bad? They’re really bad.

I’d been desperately hanging out for our Pink weekend, I had tried to organise other times for me to get a break but nothing was coming together, so I was holding onto that weekend as a time to recharge, reset and start again. A time to leave all the difficulties since September behind and just go forward as a new, refreshed woman.

Of course, I set myself up for failure in looking forward so intently and placing every last bit of strength into getting to that point. We didn’t sleep, we didn’t relax. It was wonderful and worth it but also taxing. I came home, fully seeing a beautiful reunion and a shift in all those family dynamics which were plaguing us only to be greeted by over tired, sick children.

This week was meant to be a realigning of life. I was going to get everything under control and organised, instead I am trying to get ahead in a house that has, seemingly, imploded on itself out of spite for me. The more I forge ahead, the more bogged down I get. I am beginning to look around and feel utterly despondent. Anything I can get done they can undo in double time.

There’s too much yelling. There are things I started to allow back in September because it was what I needed to do to get through that time. We do what we’ve gotta do, right? But, there have been reasons to continue to let things slip and it’s almost been a year!

Things need to change. I know that. I do.

I’m just so exhausted. But, it turns out throwing my hands in the air and yelling more than I would like just isn’t getting us anywhere. Crazy, I know.

Where we go from here, I don’t really know.
How do you cope when you’re not coping at all?

Linking up with Jess for #ibot.

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Disconnection and The Blogger

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Family Life, Life Stuff, Parenting, Post Natal Depression | 8 comments

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have readily agreed to Switch Off for myself and my family and wanted to share with you in case you also would like to switch off. I was sent a digital detox kit to help with our ‘downtime’.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In this day and age we are constantly connected. At any given moment, we can be checking our emails, flicking through facebook, tweeting, posting photos, playing word games, drawing games, messaging, blogging, reading blogs. Or, we could even be making phone calls. Through these amazing technological advances we are able to keep in touch with friends and family near or far and we are able to do it where ever we are, whenever we feel like it.  We no longer have to wait until we a home to sit at our computer or haul out our laptop. The whole world is accessible and we keep it in out pockets, bags, or in my case, bras.

As a stay at home mum of three children, I certainly appreciate that I am never more than a moment away from adult interaction. Having spent the first two years of my parenting life feeling completely isolated, I find much comfort in the knowledge that I can reach out when I need to and I often do.

At one stage I was always checking my phone or always getting on my laptop to check my comments on the blog, on facebook, on instagram. I found solace online as I struggled with Postnatal Depression and it was all too easy to get lost in the cyber world.

Then, I happened upon Hands Free Mama, her beautiful words broke me. I was hiding in a world away from my children and it was a painful reality to face.

I implemented rules for myself about the use of my phone, my online time, blogging time and when I could have my laptop out. I moved all blogging, writing and reading, to when the children were sleeping. No phones at the table. No social media when my children wanted to be interacting with me.

If you’re connected with me online you probably see lots of photos on Instagram. I do take heaps. But, generally, I wait for a more appropriate time to upload them. I take a snap or a video and then put my phone away. Or, if I needed to upload straight away (for reviewing experiences and so on), my rule is to upload and move on.

If there’s a quite minute I might update a status or check my blog comments, but my rule is to not get distracted and only when the children are happily engaged elsewhere.

Obviously, the above is easier said than done. If it was easy to not get sucked in there wouldn’t be a problem, would there? I’ve just been sent some research revealing that one third of people are connected to technology for between 8 – 16 hours every day*. At reading that I was slightly alarmed but then I thought about it and I know how it can happen. You get sucked in.

While my rules guided my usage strictly for some time, I have noticed recently that I am getting my phone out more, scrolling through facebook instead of doing the things I promised myself I would be doing. At first, I denied it but more recently I’ve noticed that the longer it is since having some quality alone time (with or without James) to get my mental state realigned, the more I find myself ‘escaping’ online to try and grab what normalcy I can. Because I am struggling and I have to do what I can to find calm and balance. (If you have a holiday to offer me please contact me pronto).

I am not happy with it and it’s not okay.

Because of this I have put my hand up to participate in Switch Off Sunday this weekend. While I know nothing of Amaysim as a provider, I am pretty impressed that a company which makes it’s money from us being switched on and connected is initiating a campaign to help us take some downtime.

Disconnect from the online world, getting off my phone,

James is thrilled. I think his exact words (via SMS) were ‘Switching off is not my favourite lol’ but I think (hope) he will be surprised on the day. I believe we need it. I certainly do.

What about you? Do you ever have a day to switch off? Do you think about it? It’s a daunting idea and can readily be seen in the comments on the Switch Off Sunday post. People freak out. I panic about being contactable, but my kids will be with me, as will most of the people who contact me!

While being able to reach out into the world is such an amazing privilege which has blessed me with many friendships that see me through the tough times, it is also so very taxing. On our families and friendships. On ourselves. I don’t need to be constantly wired. I don’t need to know every little thing that’s going on. Right. Now. I can live and be free without the constant distractions and enjoy my connectivity on occasion.

I am going to challenge myself to stay off for as long as possible during the weekend and come back next week to tell you how we went and what we did. Are you interested in joining us?

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* Research conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Amaysim. March 2013.


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#bePNDaware

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in Me + PND, Post Natal Depression, You + PND | 0 comments

bePNDaware, Postnatal Depression, PANDA,

Postnatal Depression. It’s not always black and white

Did you know that this past week has been Postnatal Depression Awareness Week? I have tried to write this post three times now, which is why I am sharing at the end of the week rather than earlier, but I am passionate about raising awareness and want to actually get something posted.

Right now, James and I are at Number 4. Packing, cleaning, tending to the house and sleeping in because we are childless.

We are childless because my mum, my husband and I have made a point of being aware of my PND and made the appropriate steps to give me – and them – a break.

Being aware of my feelings, moods and triggers is a huge part of my management plan.

Almost exactly 2 years ago, however, I was hospitilised because I didn’t pay attention to the signs that I wasn’t coping. In fact, I didn’t know the signs because after my initial diagnosis, 5 months before, I thought I could take my medication and pretend nothing had happened.

By that time, I had been suffering from postnatal depression for 33 and a half months. Or, since Ellie’s birth.

When I first brought her home, all I wanted was to be a good mum. The best mum. I thought that the exhaustion, crying – about everything, anything and nothing, anxiety, irritability, loss of confidence and self-esteem and complete and utter overwhelm would go away with time. I thought if I wanted it bad enough, it would dissipate and I would be that mum I always dreamt of being.

I thought that if I admitted to not coping I would be a lesser mum. A bad mum.

Once I was officially diagnosed, I didn’t talk about it with anyone but James. I didn’t want to disappoint. I didn’t want to be seen as being weak, which is how I saw myself.

I had no idea that I was one of many.

  • One in 7 new mums and 1 in 20 new dads are diagnosed with postnatal depression each year in Australia – that’s 15 per of mums and 5 per cent of dads

And I didn’t know my silence was part of the problem.

  • Lack of community awareness often contributes to parents remaining undiagnosed

The stigma surrounding PND and all mental illnesses is a dangerous one. We need to talk, be open and honest. We need to tell our stories and raise awareness for others but also for ourselves. We need to be able to speak up and ask for help because doing that and getting healthy is the best thing for our families.

Postnatal depression can’t be ignored. It doesn’t just go away. Admitting that you’re struggling doesn’t make you weak and it’s a step towards becoming the kind of mum you want to be.

Know the signs, know the risk factors, know your triggers and take action if you feel there is an issue, whether it be yourself, your partner or a friend.

Visit PANDA or call their National Perinatal Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306for more information, resources or help.

If you have a friend who suffers from PND and you would like to know ways you can actually help, pop over and read this awesome post on Good Golly Miss Holly – it is the most practical advice I’ve read.

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Me and PND: The Little Pill

Posted by on Jul 10, 2012 in Me + PND, Mental Illness | 10 comments

Antidepressant, pill, medication

Yesterday, I took my medication. You may not be about to cheer and give me a parade for that, but I can assure you that James probably is and if he’s not it’s probably because he’s gone into an exhausted coma after having to deal with my non-medicated self for days and days and days on end.

I am good at taking my pills on a daily basis, just so long as someone else is keeping track of when I am going to run out. I think I am still living in the time when we would breakfast together and James would bring me my tablets and knew when I needed more to be ordered.

The first day off my meds is always okay. Sometimes it’s even good. So good that I think I can, maybe, see the light at the end of the medicated tunnel. But, once I get to day two, I crash and burn. I am exhausted, dizzy and, quite frankly, horrible.

Everything gets on my nerves. Birds singing in the morning, children laughing and (oh-for-the-love-of-everything-that-is-sane) playing, the dog being all doggy and the husband just being. People looking at me sideways. Not to mention that Willy Wag Tail that dances on the fence while I hang clothes, he could NOT be any more annoying. If. He. Tried. Seriously, why so peppy? And singy?

Even my most legitimate issues come out as a tirade of mammoth proportions which render them practically pointless, because the way I addressed it made them seem purely like the ramblings of a crazy person. Which just makes me more crazy because I know I have an actual REAL point, dammit.

And then I get to the point where I start to wonder. I wonder about myself and who I really am. I wonder if this horrible so-and-so is the real me. If I am a narky, grumpy, short tempered person naturally and that by taking my antidepressants I am changing myself into someone I am not. And I hate the thought of this being me. The longer the thought is allowed to sit, the more it seems to me to be the case. It makes sense, after all, this is my brain untouched.

Number 79 of my 101 in 1001 is ‘Come off my PND meds’, but every time I end up not having them for one reason or another I become more convinced that I might never be off them. And I struggle with whether I’m okay with that or not. Am I me on them? Will I forever be negative and overly anxious when not medicated? Am I me now that I have finally popped that little pill? Should this be something I am aspiring to or should I accept that this is how I keep myself balanced?

Right now, I am happy to leave the questions behind and get through the tough part of getting back on the meds. As well as figuring out a workable system for when I need a new order placed.

If you hear cheering while reading this, it’s definitely James doing the happy dance that life is starting to realign.

Back to Linking up with Jess for IBOT

 

 

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Finding 100 Little Lights

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in 100 Little Lights, Post Natal Depression | 14 comments

{Click image for Source}

Sometimes, when there are lots of things piling on top of me I manage to lose my way and not realise I am being particularly grumpy. Other times, at the start, I realise things are going downhill but then more things come at me and it simply happens that I just am.

And I continue to be.

If you’ve ever suffered depression, you might know what I am talking about. Or I might be talking crazy talk (it happens, don’t worry).

James has mentioned that lately I have been particularly depressive. It’s not awesome to hear. In fact, it can be quite disheartening and crushing to hear.

Disheartening but not entirely surprising. I’ve been raw. Struggling to cope. Feeling abandoned. Tired and now sick thanks to my children being so lovingly sharing with their germs. It’s accumulated and now it seems I am buried by the weight. I just didn’t know.

PND can be a dark journey at times and if you don’t find little lights to guide you back to the path or show you there is light at the end of the tunnel it can become ongoing.

This year, I want to find these little lights. I want to seek out those moments that light up my life. I want to always have a little something I can turn to when I feel down in order to lift my mood and maybe, just maybe, find a way to move away from the darkness and into the light. Permanently. One can hope.

Once I’ve found them I want to share them, as well as having them easily accessible for myself when needed I want it to be easy for others who may need a light to find them, too.

A Little Light can be anything that gives you time to breathe, brings a smile to your face, makes you feel refreshed or happy. Here are a few I’ve thought of so far;

Little Lights to help find your way through depression, Positive things to when you're down,

Would you like to help me make a list of Little Lights? I would love to have 100 Lights to share in a couple of months.

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Ranty Pants

Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 in Me + PND, Ranty Pants | 8 comments

I am still suffering a blog slump. I thought we would have our week away, I would rest, play, go to the beach and on our return I would be ready to jump back into it. I have a list of posts waiting to be written, but I just can’t find the energy or words. And the worst part is that I’m missing it and wanting to sit down and write but nothing’s coming together.

As I was thinking about all this I started to wonder if all the stress and life’s goings on are blocking me. Maybe I need to get my Ranty Pants out and just let it all out. Have a purge and see if that leaves the way clear for me to start blogging properly again.

If you don’t love random ranty post, click away now. There might not be a lot of sense behind what follows, I am just going to let it flow. If you do stay to the end, thank you!

Life is leaving me eternally exhausted. Even more so than normal. I can’t get through the day without a nap. It’s 9.46am and I am so ready to be back in bed. And I am sick. Again. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever..

I think we all have ‘living together’ fatigue, which isn’t surprising really. Living with 8 people in a small space for 6 months can get a bit much, especially when we are all getting sick all the time. It’s all just going ’round and round. There’s no relief. Mum and Caleb have gone on holidays and Ethan’s off to camp, so maybe this break will do us all some good.

And every time I think we’re about to get a house and be able to move it all falls apart. I honestly did not know it was so hard to rent. Having our own house for the first 5 years of marriage meant I was happily living in my own little bubble where if you needed a house you found one. I really had no idea. The most disturbing thing is that my instincts are obviously broken. There have been two instances now where I have ‘felt’ we would get a house and be moving out the subsequent week and (obviously) both times I was wrong. Only yesterday we went to look at one and I was SO sure only to discover it wasn’t the 4 bedder that was advertised and it wasn’t at all practical for a family. Completely crushed.

It has me wondering if we’re meant to stay here. Yes, we’ve just moved and yes I have been going on about this move forever. However, the reason for coming here was to be closer to my family, to get support as I fought my PND and, things aren’t always what you expect. There was so many promises. So many things that made me believe that moving my family was for the best, even though James didn’t want to come here. People who were excited and planning to see me and the children “once a week” for coffees, catch ups and so on are hardly around. Living in a town where I know people but don’t see them doesn’t make me less lonely than living in a town where I didn’t know a soul. And it’s not like I want to be constantly seeing people, either. I just never thought certain people would be too busy to see me. And I certainly never thought they’d be too busy to see the kids. I never thought they’d be seeing other people’s children more than mine when we’re blood. And family means something, right? Maybe not.

So, here we are and things aren’t what I expected. Not that they ever are. And, of course, there have been some pluses and some breakthroughs for me. It’s not all bad, but right now it all feels pretty bad. You see I have immense guilt at forcing my husband to come here. This move could have detrimental effects on our marriage, but I believed I would be better and there fore family life would be too. I believed that his questions about our future in this area would soon disappear and he too would realise this was for us. Unfortunately, his ponderings in our decision making have all been right. All of them. And that’s not easy for me to say. He’s such a smarty bum.

“Will you even see him?” turns out, no. “How do you know that’ll happen?” It won’t. Shut up. “Will they even stay there?” No, we’ll come here and everyone will bail.

And that’s the clincher, where all the guilt is coming from – I promised we wouldn’t be moving in vain. I said “Of course they’ll stay! Why wouldn’t they if we’re there and they couldn’t move before?” And I believed that. Stupid.

We’ve not even been here a year, not even settled into our own place and both my parents are leaving. Probably before the end of the year. Of course they have to do what’s best for them but it sucks. Of course, that negative part of me can’t shut the hell up about this, understandably so; if you were told to move somewhere because life would be easier and the people you were moving to be closer to couldn’t move to be closer to you only to drag your young family away from their home and all the services you had in place only to have those same people suddenly decide they were in fact moving closer to where you had been in the first place? Yeah, you’d take it personally too. I know it’s not personal. Mostly. Maybe.

Right now, I just want us to be in our own place. Getting our routines back, getting organised and figuring out life without all the support I thought I would have. For whatever reason I can’t get services here and so I no longer have a Councillor and family support to see me, so that’s another thing I need to come to terms with and work around. It’s not until you no longer have these things that you realise they were quite important. Turns out I need to look to myself. Maybe I should have learnt that before prancing off on a ‘it takes a village’ move.

 

 

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liptemeber, women's health, raising money for women's mental health
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