Today is #TimeToTalk day, a day for shouting loud about all things mental health. The campaign is run by Time to Change and their aim is to help us all start conversations about our mental health, to break the stigmas surrounding mental illness and to raise awareness of what living with a mental health condition is really like. If you regularly read this blog then you will know that I have suffered from post natal depression and severe anxiety, it first began in late 2016 after the birth of my second child. If you are a really avid reader then you will also know that I didn’t start taking any medication until my son was almost 18months old, way over a year after my symptoms first began. It has now been a year since I first started taking anti depressants and I thought I would share with you what the last year has been like. I am going to try my best to give an honest account of what life on sertraline is like, I am not going to hide anything behind any dark corners or avoid talking about when things have been tough. After all, the point of #timetotalk day is to have honest conversations about mental health, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing some kind of mental illness, it is important that we speak the truth to help each other to feel less alone. View Post
Oh, please know before you read on that mummy loves you. Mummy loves you so so much; you are only the size of an avocado but my love is the size of the world. You have only been growing inside me for 16 weeks and 5 days, I have only seen black at white flickering images of you on an ultrasound scan, but I love you fiercely already. I promise. View Post
Have you recently had a baby and feel like you might be struggling with postnatal depression? Whilst feeling a bit low and having the ‘baby blues’ during the first few weeks after giving birth is normal, more than 1 in 10 women suffer from postnatal depression. If you are feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and tearful most days, you may want to speak to someone and get some support. Speaking out and sharing how you are feeling is the first step you need to take towards getting better. Talking about your mental health can be difficult but once you have done it you will feel better and will be able to get the help and support you need. If you don’t know who to speak to or where to go for support and advice, I have made this list for you of all the people who can help. I know from experience how hard it is to talk about how you are feeling and to admit you may have postnatal depression, but there are so many people out there who are understanding and just want to help you. View Post
*This is a post I wrote when I was 8 weeks pregnant*
I have heard people say some pretty amazing things to me in my life so far. ‘I am in love with you’ , ‘It’s a boy!’ , ‘I am so proud of you’ to mention just a few. Earlier this week I heard six little words from a complete stranger that made me feel the most relieved and happy I have ever felt. The words came from a lovely lady, I think she said her name was Kirsty, and up until she said them I had been on the verge of tears and full of fear for days. Kirsty is a lovely sonographer at the Early Pregnancy Unit in Singleton Hospital and what are these words she said, you may be wondering? The sentence that flooded my whole body with relief and caused a strange sob/laugh to escape from my mouth was this – ‘There’s a live baby in there’. A live baby! I had been bleeding on and off for about five days, the blood changing from small spots to a heavy enough flow to need the protection of a sanitary towel, in the hour we had been sitting in the hospital waiting room I was convinced I was going to be told I’d lost the baby by the time it was my turn to go and be scanned. I am currently 8 weeks and 5 days pregnant and for the past month and a half I have been full of anxiety that I am going to have a miscarriage. View Post
It has been over two years now since I first experienced severe anxiety. Every day I was scared, my heart would start pounding for no reason, I would feel like I was going to faint and my mind would be racing so fast I’d sometimes forget to breathe. The only thoughts I had were negative. I would play out worst case scenarios in my mind, a constant loop of ‘what ifs?’ would torment me and intrusive thoughts would flood my vision and leave me feeling terrified. While all of this was going on I was trying to look after a newborn and a toddler, this felt impossible most days when the majority of my anxiety was triggered by worrying about them constantly. When I was experiencing these feelings, I was convinced I was the only mum out there who was going through this. I felt so alone and scared and I truly believed there was no one else who could possibly understand what I was going through. Well, that’s simply not true. Anxiety is really common, especially amongst new mums, it may effect us all in different ways but you are not the only person to experience it. In this post I am sharing the stories of lots of different mums, to help those of you who may be struggling and feel alone but to also help the families of people with anxiety see what it’s like being a parent with this condition and hopefully find ways to support those around them. View Post
A new year has landed and I’ve got that fresh start and new beginnings feeling going on, are you feeling it too? I am not making any new years resolutions or setting any blog goals though as I never manage to see them through or stick with the new habits so I won’t even be trying in 2019. Besides, I don’t really want to eat less chocolate or start jogging and isn’t that what most peoples new years resolutions are anyway? There are lots of things I want for the year ahead though and one of the main ones is to be happier. Regular readers of my blog will know I have battled with post natal depression and anxiety over the last two years and although I feel I have mostly recovered, there are still the bad mental health days now and then that can leave me feeling overwhelmed, anxious and sad. From now on, whenever I am doubting myself, whenever I feel like a bad mum or that I am not good enough, I am going to have a positive little word with myself and shift back into a happier mind set. If you want to be a happier mum this year too, here are five things to tell yourself every day. View Post
I suck at making Mum friends. There, I’ve said it. I have friends, I have friends that are also mums but the whole going to a baby group or chatting at the school gates and making a new mummy bestie, yea, I suck at that. When Leo was small I met a quite a lot of mums at various groups, being a first time Mum I really valued those conversations with other women who just got how tough having a baby was (plus, it was always useful knowing I could ask someone for a baby wipe or two if a poonami happened and my nappy bag was empty). I was braver then, naïve and not scared of judgement, twenty two and thought making Mum friends was going to be easy. Through some kind of magic I did make a few close friends but I have a very annoying habit of befriending people who will later go on to move miles away. My best mum friend relocated when our boys were one and then when Leo was two I moved away and making new Mum friends at baby groups when I had an extremely chaotic toddler was more than difficult, it was impossible. I spent a long time feeling lonely and that I was a bad Mum because I didn’t have a big group of other Mum friends and their babies around to go to soft play with, ask over for play dates or to invite to the boys birthday parties. I’m out the other side of those feelings now though and I’m here to tell you this, if you don’t have mum friends that does NOT make you a bad Mum. View Post
About a month ago I decided to stop using Instagram. There was a combination of different reasons why I decided the social media app was no longer for me, the biggest one was the impact it was having on my mental health. It might sound strange to those of you who have never suffered with mental health problems, but Instagram was really messing with my head. I felt invisible in the crowd of millions of other users, I felt like no one cared what I had to say and every picture posted that only received a handful of likes made me feel like no one liked me, not just that they disliked the picture. So, I posted a photo of myself and I told my 2000 followers that I’d had enough, that Instagram was making me feel lonely and miserable and for something that is classed a ‘social’ media platform, it was making me feel anything but connected to everyone else. Before I signed out for the last time, I was definitely an Insta addict, I was on my phone ALL.THE.TIME. So, how have I coped without Instagram for the last month? Would I recommend everyone take a social media detox to help improve their mental health? What have I learnt in my month off Instagram? Here are my thoughts.. View Post
Tonight I slipped back into the darkness.
It was, in fact, more of a fall than a slip. I was like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland: falling, falling, falling, wondering if I would ever stop and what the world would look if I did. My toddler is ill and my five year old forgot how to use his quiet voice and his listening ears in bed this evening. The older one woke up the younger one; I moved them in to share a room at the beginning of the week, just another fuck up to hang from my ever expanding mummy mistakes belt. The five year old settled but the toddler was having none of it. He screamed, fidgeted and fought sleep with every ounce of his being. So I rocked him in my arms like a newborn, all 11kilos of baby chub and gorgeousness. He’s an Oscar winning actor in the making, he looked peaceful so I lay him in his cot, the second he was gently placed on the mattress he started screaming and was wide awake again. I picked him up, rocked and shushed him some more. View Post
People blog for loads of different reasons. You have the bloggers who do it for the money, the bloggers who want to raise awareness, the bloggers who just love to talk and the bloggers who want to share their opinions and beliefs in a space online that they have carved out as their own. Recently I have been questioning why I blog, why do I spend hours of my life tapping away at this computer, crafting posts that I hope will you all read and enjoy. The answer has changed over the three and a half years I have been writing Naptime Natter, it started as a diary, then a place to create an income of my own and has evolved into a home of completely unfiltered honesty about motherhood and family life. Since I began blogging about post natal depression and the loneliness and challenges of motherhood, I have received several comments, emails and private messages from other parents thanking me for my words, from other parents who have felt just the same as me. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different, I have written a poem for all those people who have struggled, whether with their mental health or the day to day challenges that we experience as parents. To all of you who have related to the stories I have shared on this blog, I write for you. View Post
This week, postnatal depression and anxiety support charity PANDAS Foundation are running an awareness week – #PNDA18. The theme of the week is Hope, stories and support will be shared all week to provide hope to all the mums struggling with their mental health that a happy life is something they can have again. I have written a piece for PANDAS that will be shared on their website tomorrow, until then, I thought I would share five little things we can all do on a bad mental health day. The cloud of depression can be heavy and all encompassing but there are ways to ease the pressure and make it out through the fog, if even just for a little while.
When Alex was a couple of months old and I felt like I was slowly losing my mind, I never thought I’d feel happy again.
When I was exhausted beyond measure and crying every day, I never thought I’d feel normal again.
When every decision I made was followed by crashing waves of Mum guilt and self doubt, when I had no time or desire to look after myself and when the only thoughts I had where anxiety fuelled and terrifying, I never thought I’d smile again.
There was a long time that I thought my brain was broken, that I couldn’t trust my own instincts and the majority of the thoughts that whizzed around my head scared me to my core. I had post natal depression brought on by really bad anxiety and for months I didn’t get the help I needed. Over 18months on, I no longer say I have post natal depression, I am no longer a giant ball of anxious energy. I’m happy now, the happiest I’ve ever been. If you are struggling, if you are trapped under that dark heavy cloud and feel like the storm will never pass, I’m here to tell you that you can get through it, you won’t always feel the way you do now. View Post
Do you have a happy place? You know, a place you go to in your mind when you just can’t handle another second of the real world and you need to escape. It might be an abandoned beach, with just you on a deckchair with your favourite book for company. Perhaps it is a room full of your best girlfriends, you are all talking about anything and everything, laughing and drinking wine. A beautiful waterfall, a serene lake, the top of a snowy mountain watching snowflakes drift peacefully to the ground. Wherever your imagined happy place may be, when you need a minute to yourself, take yourself away from the stressful situation, close your eyes and go there. That’s what I do. View Post
*sponsored guest content*
I have reached a point in my motherhood journey now where I am starting to think about what career I want to have when Alex starts pre school. It is hard to know what to do when I have never had a career before. If you are in a similar position or are thinking of a career change, perhaps you will be interested in learning what it takes to become a counsellor. Today I have a guest post from Chrysalis Courses about what skills you need to be a good counsellor. Also, if you are struggling and feel you may need to see a counsellor, this post will help you know what traits and skills your counsellor should have to be of a real benefit to you and your mental wellbeing. View Post
*sponsored guest content*
If you are a regular reader of Naptime Natter you will know that I am very passionate about raising awareness when it comes to mental health, especially the mental wellbeing of mothers. Today I have a guest post for you from the National Counselling Society, covering the main things we should all know about mental illnesses and what we can do to help society change its attitude towards mental health. I hope you find it useful. View Post