New Ink

I’ve been MIA from MrsFlams for a while. We have had so much happening of late, and my poor blog has been neglected. The same can be said for Twitter. Infact the only social media platform I’ve really been using is Facebook, and then it’s only been to watch amusing/heart warming/cute animal/funny baby clips.

I’m slowly returning, slowly getting back into writing. Slowly immersing myself back into pinning things I want but can’t afford or haven’t got the creative or artist talent to recreate.

Slowly getting back into posting clips on my YouTube Channel.

I’m envious of all the bloggers who manage to not only raise a family, but hold down a job, a social life AND their blog and social media platforms. I’m in awe of them also, as I know it takes A LOT of work.

I’ve had a time over the last few weeks where I’ve really struggled with my mental health illness. Thankfully NOT as bad as the end of 2013, but still hard on occasion. I don’t think it’s something that is ever going to fully go away, it’s part of me, and something I have to live with, I have to work with and I have to accept.

It’s ok to have bad days. I have to remind myself of this. I have to push myself to know that I can overcome the bad days and that the light at the end is there, waiting to embrace me.

Mental Health has been in the media of late, following the death of Robin Williams. I read countless blogs, articles, news stories about it. It saddened me beyond words. I read so many well worded and thoughtful posts. But I had no words of my own to share.
I still don’t.

My heart is sad.

My mind is sad.

My soul is sad.

Depression (which is only 1 of my illnesses) is horrible. It’s dark, and desperate, and it clings to you like tar. It twists your mind, it lies, feeding you negativity and paranoia.
It corrupt and vile, and difficult to prise off of your soul.

It’s like a black hole, pulling you in, sucking away the light, the happiness and kindness and all the wonderful positive things in the world. JK Rowlings’ descriptive dementors sucking the goodness out of your soul. Cold and heartless, sucking the will to live right out of you.

It’s hard. So very hard.

We all need a little reminder every now and again. Something to remind us that the battle isn’t lost. Something to remind us that just behind that little black cloud is light, waiting to breakthrough and to chase away the darkness.

Tomorrow, I’m taking the step to give myself a permanent reminder. A new tattoo.

Well, not JUST yet. The design needs tweaking (that’s happening tomorrow) and then I’m booking the appointment.

Depression is a liar.

The truth shines through.
Eventually

100 Days

For these few weeks I’ve seen countless friends and acquaintances post across social media the 100 Days of Happiness challenge.

I contemplated doing it too, and then thought, nope.

I fully get that it’s a motivational thing. Every day you post a photo, that gives you a reason to be happy. For 100 days. In a row.

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It’s a nice idea, but it’s unrealistic.

100 days in a row of being happy?
Thankful? Yes.
Happy? No.

If I get a few happy days in a row then great, but I’ve come to realise over the last few months that it’s ok to be unhappy every now and again. It’s ok to be sad. To be miserable. To be angry.

You cannot be happy all the time. Trying to make yourself be happy for 100 days in a row?
This project just seems like it’s setting people up to fail.

Even the site itself has a phrase of “people successfully completing the challenge” gives you an idea that not everyone is successful and people, do in fact, fail.

For someone with a mental health issue like PND and PTSD, it’s an unrealistic project.

What happens if a loved one passes away? Or you lose your job? Become a victim of fraud?

The sentiment is nice and I fully get the idea of wanting to be happy and upbeat and positive. However, when I have a low day, or a day where someone has pissed me off to the point of seeing red, will my mind have a set back because it’s a day where I’ve not been “happy”?

Your emotional health is a complex thing, and if you’re already fragile, why would you want risk the possibility of disappointment in an unachievable goal?

Will you have a sense of failure and disappointment if you have a few shitty days?

Maybe some people are emotionally strong enough to just brush it off, and carry on.

Me? I am not.

So, instead I’ll just be thankful.
Thankful for a day that I get through, with my emotions in check.
Thankful for a day I get through in good spirits.
Thankful for what I have.
Thankful for the close family and friends supporting me.
Thankful that I don’t have to worry about failing to be happy for 100 days in a row.

Overdue

I haven’t posted properly in a long time. For once I can’t blame motherhood or having to work or have a social life (ha!). The truth is, I’ve had nothing but time on my hands of late. My only commitments have been the various doctor appointments.
I’m still in a fog of new drugs, getting used to them, I want to ensure they stabilise before I attempt going back to work because I don’t want a relapse.
I’m starting to have more days that are OK and relatively good as opposed to days that are bleak and numb.

I didn’t want to start 2014, or even end 2013 by having a mental breakdown. But I did and now I need to concentrate on getting better and managing my illnesses.

When I was pregnant and I had Emma, I was very closely monitored, having a history of depression meant that I was likely to get postnatal depression. So my doctors, obstetrician and the Community Mental Health team were very proactive in looking after me. I felt great, that after 6 months or so that I was doing great, no signs of my illness. I was managing.
I went back to work, so the strain of working and being a new mother was difficult, but I managed.

My job isn’t hard (mostly) but sometimes it brings unique challenges in the form of confrontation. After a very unpleasant incident a few years ago, I do try to avoid aggressive conflict where possible. Until I had an experience which triggered memories of the incident a few years back. PTSD my doctor said, PTSD my psychotherapist said, and referred me for CBT.

Eventually, no matter how hard you try to survive, the way that others treat you, impacts greatly, and eventually you crack. It takes a lot of glue to try and hold the cracks together, and just one misplaced thought, action, situation can send things shattering.

Recently I have had some of my darkest days, days where I sobbed endlessly, days where I could hardly breathe, days where I contemplated whether or not I’d be better as a psychiatric inpatient. I reached out for support and some people I expected to give it, did not. Some 5 weeks later, I am still waiting for some my “friends and family” to ask me how I am.

I get that when someone has a breakdown, or a bereavement, that it can be difficult to reach out to those people. But in reality, all that person wants to know is that you are there and have time for them. That you text/call to say “I’m here if you need anything” or “how are you doing today?”

To the people who got me through my dark days, thank you.

I’m still finding the pieces that I lost when I shattered. They’re around here somewhere.

I found a glue that works, in the form of a select few people and some pharmaceutical assistance.

Four wonderful amazing women, a fantastic husband, my father in law and his partner, my mum and aunt and my grandmother and of course, Emma, who is my reason for living.

I’m slowly piecing my mind and psyche back together.

I have postnatal depression, anxiety and PTSD, but they’re not who I am, and I won’t let them control my life.

2014, you may have been a crappy start, but I’ll be damned if I finish up 2014 like I did 2013.

Roar!

Every so often I hear a song, which resonates very deeply with me. I say every so often, but to be fair it’s probably less than that.
Yesterday I heard a song, that i’d heard a million a lot of times, thanks to the radio/TV music channels and I liked it but I never paid it much notice.

I’m not one who is up to date with current music, and my iPod is full of songs that have release dates of 1960/70/80 and occasionally 90/00s. I even have songs that were released in the bloody 1800s and well, it’s safe to say I don’t go out and buy the “chart toppers” every week.

But yeah, every so often I hear a song and it improves my mood, which I use to my advantage. My therapist says that it’s good that I can use music to improve my mood. To be honest, punching a few people in the face would probably help too, but buying the odd song from iTunes gets you less jail time.

The current song is Katy Perry’s Roar. The tune and beat make me want to run, I know (!!) AS IF. I don’t do running.

And the lyrics? They seem somehow appropriate for my mood, past and present if you like.

If you’ve not heard the song yet, then have a listen.

Mental Health & Pregnancy

Tomorrow morning, I get to talk to a psychiatrist. I’ve known about this appointment for about a month now, and for the last month I’ve tried very hard to keep the appointment at the back of my mind.
Until today, because after today is tomorrow and well, tomorrow I get to talk to a psychiatrist.
As you can probably tell, I’m absolutely thrilled by this.

All through pregnancy, your body changes, your hormone levels fluctuate and on some days you quite simply become a raging bitch, on others you become a pity party for one at Snotfest, which is often headlined by Personal Demons and Professor Sadness.

I’ve posted previously about my depressive episodes and even recently about trying to understand what are pregnancy hormones and what are brain chemical imbalances, because they seem to blend so seamlessly and I can’t be sure which is which.

So tomorrow I get to see a shrink, to talk about past episodes of depression and current worries, anxieties and the fact that I’m more likely to get prenatal depression AND postnatal depression.

The fact that I still can’t talk about the incident that triggered my last depressive episode without some sort of emotional freak out, means that I’m not looking forward to my hour long session tomorrow morning.

Lucky me, Lucky Psychiatrist.

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I was going to post about something that happened to me in 2010/2011, but I won’t, not here. I won’t because it’s about several incidents that happened to me whilst at work, and I didn’t want to break one of my rules about writing about my job on here. Too many people who share my employer read this. Instead I wrote down everything and I posted it elsewhere. On a site that I have been reading for a few years now. On a site that I support whole-heartedly.

I wrote about the circumstances that led to me moving roles and taking on a secondment. I am sad that my secondment is coming to an end, I will miss my new colleagues dearly. They have been wonderful and friendly and kind, and less bitchy and backstabby.

I have to go back to my old job, and I won’t lie. I’m dreading it. I don’t want to go back, but I will, because I’ve done nothing wrong and I refuse to be weak. SO instead, I’m going to pull my big-girl panties up and I’m going to hold my head high and be the bigger and better person.

off

Over the last month or so I’ve slowly been coming off of my anti-depressants with the help of my doctor. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I have moments of panic that I’ve made the wrong decision, and moments of proudness that I’m managing OK without medicinal help.

You see, my anti-depressants were never meant to be long term.  I’ve had a long history with depression, and it flares up and down, and rears it’s ugly head when I least expect it.

The last time was an unfortunate incident in my old job, which I won’t go into on here. The incident left me scared to return to my job and as such I moved departments. It left me on medication to cope with working. Medicine that after 8 or 9 months became ineffective.  I started on new medicine, which worked a dream, and now I’m off it. After 15 months.

I have days where I’m wondering if I made the right decision, worrying that I’ve stopped too soon, worrying that I’ve made a mistake.  Depression never goes away, it’s always there, waiting, all that changes is our ability to handle situations and our emotions.

I’m proud that I’ve managed to come off the meds, anyone who suffers from depression will tell you that weaning off your meds is hard.  I did it, and I’m proud of myself.

I’m slowly winning my battle.

The R Word

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The other day my husband said something to me that made me very happy.
No, it wasn’t “course you can buy those Jimmy Choos darling” but rather “I’m going to stop using the R-word.”

I always used to use the R-word, then one day I read a really amazing blog post by Tanis (also known as Canada’s The Redneck Mommy).

From that moment, I stopped.

Now, whenever someone uses that word in front of me it causes my blood to boil, and it makes me ashamed.

Ashamed because someone I know thinks it’s appropriate to use it. Ashamed of myself because clearly my voice isn’t being heard or if it is, then it’s not being effective.

So many people justify it by saying “it’s just an expression”. Well I’ve got news for you. You know what else is “just an expression”?
The phrase “tar baby” and “Jew them down”.
You wouldn’t use those “expressions” so why use the word “retarded”?

Do you even know what it means?

Would you go up to a woman in your local park who has a small child with Downs Syndrome and ask her how “retarded” her child is?
I didn’t think so.

Words are powerful. You can’t unsay something. So if you’re one of those people who uses the R-word as an “expression” for something you think is stupid, then perhaps you should engage your brain and think before you open your mouth.

Spread the word.
Spread the word to end the word.