14

Day 14 of new meds, all good so far.  Appointment with psych next Monday to discuss, and also back to work too!  I’m looking forward to it.

In other news, I’ve been trying my hand at website building.  It was a definite learning curve, but I’m quite chuffed with the results so far. Now just need to add content and off we go!

Oh! and Emma got into her first choice school, well our first choice school for her.  Shes going to school in September! When did my tiny 6 pound girl become so big?!

Mind Our Minds

I’ve (in the last 5 months) become very involved with a new non-profit organisation called Mind Our Minds UK. Leading a team of Social Media and Public Relations volunteers.

Soon I’ll be raising money for the company too, as we aim to become a charitable organisation. 

We focus on improvement of NHS services and all staff on the team are service users too, with varying experiences of the UK Mental Health Services via the NHS.  

Please come visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. We are currently working on our website (exciting!)

We also have an Instagram account too, where we share submissions from our members. 

I feel very honoured to be a part of this organisation. 

Black and White

Today brought me the letter from the psychiatrist following my appointment last month. 

I know what we discussed at the time but it’s something else to see it in black and white.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel right now. 

That said, it’s a start. After consulting with another psychiatrist they’re reconsidering whether part of my treatment will involve drugs, which now means a whole host of test so they can determine my baseline and be able to work out dosages if they decide they’re definitely needed. 

The also want to see The Husband to see what his experience of my moods is. Husband doesn’t like having to see doctors or visit hospitals at the best of times. 

Reminds me of 360 feedback to be honest. I wonder if there’s one for MH experiences. Hmmmmm. 

Dear Diary

My psychiatrist said it would be helpful to keep a journal to help plot my highs and lows and to see if we can discover what triggers them. In order to get a firm diagnosis they need a clearer picture of exactly how I am emotionally, and how frequently, how far it ranges. They said it will take between 12 and 18 months of evaluation. 

Not only will it involve my own record keeping but also psychotherapy and 1 to 1 meetings with a mental health professional and maybe some CBT.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased that I’m getting the help now but I’m also absolutely annoyed that it’s taken 2 years to get to this point. And then potentially another 18 months to solidly confirm a diagnosis. 

It may be Cyclothemia Disorder, or it may be Bipolar type 2. Without any type of treatment it could have developed into Bipolar type 1, and an inpatient treatment programme as opposed to an outpatient one.

I suppose it’s better late than never… and I got to buy a pretty new journal notepad. And pens. 

Round 2

After my initial assessment with CAMHRS, I came away feeling defeated.

The GP in training who saw me, seemed disinterested, talked over me, pressed issues that I felt were not relevant, and her report was contradictory and had gaping holes. 

I read my report and promptly cried and then shoved it away, never to look at it again.

My symptoms have gotten worse. My moods cycle too quickly between high and low, and don’t seem to stabilise for very long.

Small things that I’ve previously shrugged off, have slotted into place. Particularly an incident that happened just after Emma’s birth. 

Some days it’s like I’m not in my own body. I’m stood outside watching my life and I recognise that my behaviours are abnormal. 

I dug out my letter from CAMHRS and uncrumpled it and pushed myself to go back to the doctor. 

I like my doctor, she’s very matter of fact, and to the point. No nonsense.

She immediately referred me back to CAMHRS with a request for a psychiatric clinician to do another assessment. 

I don’t know what to expect.

I don’t know how to feel.

It’s so incredibly hard to verbalise sometimes. I find I’m much more open to discuss my symptoms when I’m experiencing a manic episode. When I’m in a depressive episode I’m more inclined to withdraw and internally sift through everything, which just makes it worse.

I’m fed up of this.

So. Fed. Up.

Le Sigh

I am no closer to an official diagnosis. Instead I am stuck in a limbo between the GP (who is pushing for a diagnosis) and an under-funded and under-resourced Mental Health trust who keeps pushing me back to the GP as my issue is not “severe” enough.

Le sigh.

But, I expect it’s going to take a LONG time. My options are to ride it out and continue to be frustrated and annoyed by a broken system and manage as best as I can, or look at going private.

Le sigh.

I have become disillusioned with the system. Up until recently, I had nothing but great experiences. Helpful, quick, supportive and practical help. Now? Not so much.
I have a fantastic GP team, not as amazing as my previous GP team, but still pretty fantastic. But the rest, not so much.

Le sigh.

I’ll get there, but apparently I have to take the full boring long winded route.

P.s I apologise in advance for upcoming posts where I ramble and use you all as my therapy sofa. It could be amusing and odd for you AND me.

Up. Down. Round. Rinse and Repeat.

The last time I posted was September 11th. Over 2 months ago.

It was a post about PND, submitted by another mother. An absolutely lovely piece of writing.

I’d like to say I’ve been away, to somewhere fun and doing exciting things and letting life carry me away, but sadly that’s not the truth.

I’ve neglected my blog, my readers, my social media accounts, because of, well, illness. And of course life, because you know, work, toddler etc, it does keep one busy!

Physically, I’m fine, healthy almost (barring the many pounds I should be shedding) but mentally I am not.

Many people, who suffer from mental health illness often run dual lives. To the outside world they portray what they choose to show others, and then behind closed doors they present how they really feel. Sometimes the two overlap.

The stigma surrounding mental health contributes towards this. People projecting to the world how they think they should be seen to be feeling and not how they actually are feeling.

If you know me, then you may have noticed that I haven’t been myself, I may have snapped at you, jumped to conclusions, been rude or mean, disassociated myself, shown no interest and well I could go on and on and on…. I’m sorry, I’m working on it.

It is EXHAUSTING. I am exhausted.

For the next few months I’ll be in and out, posting occasionally, maybe not posting at all. Maybe posting a lot. Who knows.

Hopefully a correct (further) diagnosis and medication will help me on the right track.

The Glass Box

This was recently shared with me, by a fellow mama who had PND. She is remaining anonymous at her request. I’m sharing it with you. Not only is it a beautiful piece of writing, but it also is an insight as to how someone with PND feels.

PND to me was like being in a glass box. I could see people and people could see me. I could hear people and people could hear me. But ultimately I would walk around/sleep/live in a glass box all alone. I wanted to get out but couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why I was in the box and why literally no-one else I saw was in a box. In fact not only were they not in a box they were running around free as a bird, laughing, genuinely smiling in the breeze.

On a couple of occasions the lid would lift a little and I could stick half my head out. It would make me feel a little better, but then someone would push me back down in it and I’d be alone again.

Sometimes it would feel as if the box was getting smaller, closing in on me so I would want to take my own life to avoid my failure of being able to live in the box without getting squashed. My baby needed someone else other than me. Afterall how could a mother care adequately when she is always in a glass box. My husband didn’t like me. What husband would love a woman who could never leave her glass box and would moan about being in there all the time.

So I would cry alone in there. Not knowing why I was put there or when or if I was going to get out. Because to me the glass box was firmly nailed shut and had a padlock on it. There was no way I would ever ever get out, I would be stuck in it forever.

When I read articles about ‘PND’ or when a doctor showed me empathy, my glass box would move closer to another person who I could suddenly see was also in a glass box. That made me realise that in the world I wasn’t the only one. But ultimately I was still alone. I would walk the streets even surrounded by the glass box. I would drive inside it, go to baby groups inside it, even spend Christmas Day inside it! Whilst I watched my little girl who I adored more than the world in her pretty velvet dress unwrap presents. I wished I could get out just even for a day but I couldn’t.

Then one day someone came and unlocked the padlock. I felt a bit better. I was still trapped inside but the lid felt lifted somehow. It would lock again but bit by bit the unlocking incidents occurred more regularly. Eventually and over time, without even knowing it, the glass lid lifted and slowly I was climbing out. Then one day, I realised that not only had I got out but as I turned around to look at the box that was my prison I saw….that it had shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and I knew I would never ever go back in there again. I was free! Free to run in the breeze like other mums. As I turned, I noticed an egg timer next to the shattered glass. I had never noticed that before. And it was empty. I started to see other women in glass boxes and now I was the free one. I wanted to give them hope. Each of them had a different amount of sand in their egg timers, but I knew that they would run out eventually.

The only thing that helped me during my time in the box was to play music in there. Music that I used to love that made me feel happy. The odd glass of wine in there, reading loving letters from friends and texts of compassion.

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.