Tag Archive | depression

The Dark Hanging Clouds- a personal experience

 

anxietyI do not hide the fact that I have anxiety. Given all that my family go through, is it any wonder?

I have what is known as “Situational Anxiety” , which means that I’m not anxious all the time…but drop me in a situation where stress is high, I tend to temporarily take it to the extreme…and if pushed enough, will have a full blown panic attack where I can’t breathe, my heart rate rises rapidly, I want to throw up and I get dizzy and feel like passing out. Thankfully I haven’t had many of those.

Believe it or not, but this is an improvement for me!

Really, it all started around the time that my eldest son was born eight years ago. It would have been classed then as Post Natal Depression (PND). I was moody, sometime teary, overwhelmed and didn’t have a lot of interest in much. But (and this is NOT recommended) like a lot of women…I hid it.

Then I had my daughter, things were a little worse. By the time my middle son came along (bear in mind, this was three children in 2.5years) things had hit a critical point. I had no energy, didn’t want to move from the couch. I had zero interest in anything….zilch! IF I spoke, it was because I had to, and it was barely above a whisper (and for anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to talk!). I felt numb…like a hollow shell.
I wasn’t suicidal. I didn’t have visions of harming anyone…least of all my children…but I just didn’t care about anything anymore.
This was when my husband intervened and said that I needed to get help because I was freaking him out.

postnatal depressionOff I trotted to my general practitioner (GP) and burst into tears in his office when I told him that I thought that I had depression. He patted my knee and told me that he was proud of me for coming forward. He did the formal examination to officially diagnose, and I was prescribed antidepressants.

I wouldn’t say that medication turned my life around, but they helped me to cope with life easier. I was functional again.

When I fell pregnant with my youngest son, he definitely wasn’t planned. I had eased off my medication, but was worried about a bad relapse again. Pregnancy with Cameron drained me, making me very moody and tired. Part of it was physical, due to the pregnancy, the  other part of it was mental state. I managed to push through. After he was born, I felt fantastic physically, which improved my mental state. I still didn’t need medication.

Then, four weeks later…we recieved Cam’s earth-shattering diagnosis. While we were in hospital in Perth during Cam’s diagnosis admission, the nursing staff told me that my GP called the hospital every few days, not only to check up on Cam’s progress, but to check up on me as well considering my history of depression.
The CF team knew of my history during this period as well, and considering that nature of what was going on, kept a close eye on me as well. They praised me for keeping it together, for helping out during the dramatic parts instead of becoming a hysterical mess.

Throughout all this, I was still numb from the shock of diagnosis, but Cam’s current health condition took my complete focus. I did have a brain snap moment in the hospital, where I had a complete blubbering meltdown over the fact I had completely lost my milk supply (probably due to stress) and could no longer feed my baby breast milk. We had tried medication to boost it, but it didn’t work. I felt like I was under pressure to keep producing, and felt like a failure that I couldn’t do it. A wonderful nurse closed off our room, talked me through it and boosted my mood and self-confidence again.

When we returned home a few weeks later, Cameron had to have his routine, post-birth checkup at around 12weeks old. By then, I could tell it was all getting on top of me again. My GP was very understanding and I was back on medication.

By the time Cameron was about 12 months old, and I had an annual mental health review with my doctor, we both agreed that it wasnt so much depression any more, it was more anxiety. There is a fine line between depression and anxiety, often symptoms overlap…but we were confident that this was the case in this situation.
Little things would set me off. Passing a police car while driving was a major trigger! I didn’t even have to be speeding, but I usually had to pull over because my heart was racing, my breath was short and I felt like being sick. A few minutes later, I could carry on.

Anxiety attacks really suck!

Anxiety attacks really suck!

Occasionally, a panic attack would occur for no apparent reason. I remember one where I had spent the morning getting ready for one of the kids birthday party at our house. Everything was fine…I was happy…everything was sorted and ready to go. When guests started arriving, I suddenly had to rush off to my bedroom for one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had.

Thankfully it left as fast as it came, and I walked back out to the party, with guests none the wiser of what had occurred.

A trip back to the GP and a change in medications fixed that back up.

About a year later, I was able to ease off the medications again, until only a few months ago.

When my anxiety is high, I get very aggressive. Nothing can placate me. My husband urged me to go back to my doctor again. Off I went, where discussing it, the diagnosis changed to situational anxiety.

Basically, I’m not anxious ALL THE TIME. Put me in a high stress situation, you start seeing snippets of anxiety poking through. If you keep prodding me during those moments, it quickly escalates until….KA-BLAMMO…explosions and fireworks, or a panic attack occurs.
Considering the amount of pressure I was under at the time with work, and drama in the family life, these explosions were happening a little too frequently. So I am currently back on my medication again.

It’s not making me feel any different. I am still my happy, chatty, normal self….but when I am dropped in those high stress moments, I am able to cope better.
But it’s not all about medication. You have to tweak your life and environment to help as well.

Support networks are a massive help to me. My friends who pull me out of the house to catch up (and wont take no for an answer!), my online communities allow me to vent, there are so many communities out there in cyber space aimed at depression/anxiety support, for me it is through my parenting communities….they understand most of all since they have families as well. Maybe it is the anonymity of cyber space that helps to spill the beans?

Deep breaths...that is the key

Deep breaths…that is the key

Mediation helps to clear the mind…switch off from all the thoughts of what’s going on, what has to be done…and just general negativity.

Writing is my biggest outlet. It helps me process and deal with my emotions. I cannot recommend enough to people to write their thoughts down. It’s very soothing, and years later, you can look back on it and see how far you have come in the process.
This story may come as a surprise to some of those who personally know me, because while I don’t hide the fact that I am dealing with depression/anxiety, I don’t advertise it either. Some family members didn’t even know I had depression until years later.

I just wanted to share my story in the hope that if someone out there is going through the same thing, they understand that they are not alone, and I urge them to get help! Anyone of you can contact me via email (bellasblog@hotmail.com) if you ever feel overwhelmed and just need a listening ear.

Your life will better for it with some help.

Bella 🙂

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A heartbreaking choice (Hollie’s Story)

I would like to introduce Hollie Gilmore-Lindroth. This lovely lady and I went to high school together. We lost contact for a while after school ended until a couple of years ago when our eldest children were in the same class.

In the years we were disconnected, she was placed in a horrible scenario. She has kindly agreed to share her story. It is written in two parts. The first was written a week after she lost her daughter, Angelina, and Hollie shared this part on the bubhub.com website. The second part was written seven and half years later.

It’s not a nice story. The loss of a child never is. But we wanted to share so that the story can be seen by those going through a similar situation, and hopefully it can help them.

Bella 🙂

PART ONE:

Hi. I’m Hollie and I am going to share my story with you about my 3 children, particularly my 2nd little Girl Angelina May, born and died 7th September 2005.

It all began on the 16th of April 2005.
A new life began that night and was unknown to me for 2 weeks. My husband and I were overjoyed but a little bit afraid of how the pressure would affect me, as we had a 7 month old at the time( my daughter Casey, now 15 months). With me only just turning 20, I was and still am very young.

With the pregnancy came depression and all-day morning sickness. As we were in a bit of a financial hole we couldn’t afford to have the 12 week ultrasound and only opted to have the 20 week one. My belly grew big very fast and a lot of people joked that I was having twins(and secretly I thought I was too).

Then came the 20 week ultrasound, I was 19 weeks and 1 day. I was all excited sitting in the chair holding onto my hubby’s hand when they delivered the news….my baby had a severe case of spina bifida. I bawled and wondered why this had happened to us and what we could do for this baby.

We were rushed to Perth for extensive tests with the head of radiology for Western Australia. She told us that we had a baby girl but she will never be able to walk, go to the toilet by herself and possibly never have kids. That wasn’t even the half of it, we could probably handle the physical side of things (just). They said the fluid on the brain was borderline severe and was most likely to get worse, resulting in them having to drain the fluid before she was born which 90% results in death. Plus they couldn’t see the formation of the hemispheres of the brain through the fluid.

We were told we had to make a decision in less than a week. Being Christians, we didn’t want to take this life away, but we thought what sort of life would she have here?? We have a chance to take her future pain away and we would see her when we return to Heaven.

With much pain and emotion we decided to let her go and she was born on the 7th of September 2005 and surprised us and the doctors by surviving for 1 hour and 40 minutes. What a blessing!!

Her due date is the 23rd of January 2006 and it really hurts to know that I will never get to see my baby girl, ANGELINA MAY, grow up, but we know she is safe and happy in God’s arms.

If you are reading this, and you are pregnant, or are trying for a baby, please, please, please take the folate, and have all the tests because everyone is at risk.
To all the parents who have children with disabilities: I really admire you and the strong personality you need to be a parent of a child with special needs. Please don’t be angry at us for choosing to let her go. She was and always will be our daughter and a part of our lives.

PART TWO (7.5yrs later):

So within a year I watched my mum give birth to my baby sister late Nov 2005 (yes, we were pregnant at the same time). This was really hard but I was so thankful to be involved and my sister and I now have a very close connection.

Shortly after my sisters birth I went downhill, and ended up at the hospital for a few weeks and diagnosed me with Severe Post Natal Depression, Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress. Needless to say my marriage started to falter and we separated not even a year after we lost our little girl. It was extremely hard on both of us as a young relationship, with a little girl to look after, whilst grieving for another took its toll.

My oldest daughter and I moved back down the South West of Australia to my hometown , so I could start fresh and get my life back on track. After a few years I met a man who I thought was amazing and be “The One” and we decided to get married, and he knew the hoops I needed to jump through to have a healthy baby and all of my emotions that will come with trying, conceiving and carrying another child after Angelina.

5 years after Angelina was born, I fell pregnant. Only 8 weeks into the pregnancy and a few months away from our wedding, he decided he did not want to be a husband or father, and left. We were heartbroken and the pregnancy that followed was horrific. I found out early that I had carried twins, sadly one died in the first few weeks.

After numerous scans and all the meds I needed to take to prevent Spina Bifida or a Neural Tube Defect, a specialised scan in Perth with the same Head of Radiology that scanned Angelina, performed the “Big Scan” at 16 weeks that told me I was having a healthy baby girl.

At 24 weeks I ended up getting severe Braxton Hicks contractions which rolled into early labour. It was stopped but happened again at 30 weeks and 35 weeks.

I was so scared but delivered my healthy baby girl into the world in April 2011.

There isn’t a day I don’t think about Angelina and when people ask “How many kids do you have?” I generally always reply “Three. Two here and one waiting for us in heaven.” If I didn’t have that hope that I will see her again, it would destroy me.

So far I have had a few scares with my oldest girl, now 8.5 years old and my youngest girl 2 years. But that’s another story…

 Hollie:)

Things I have learned since having children

All mother’s learn “tricks of the trade” as time goes on. I have called on the help of some of my mummy friends to come up with some little ideas for new, first time mums.

Keep a change of clothes for yourself  (and bub) in the car at all times.

Spares never go astray

I have lost track of how many times I had to run into  a clothing store when I was in town to buy a shirt because of one of the three embarrassing baby “P’s” (poop, pee or puke) Then there is the worry of breast milk leakage…yup…I have had the embarrassment of a wet circle around my chest in public, which resulted in bub being carried until a change of clothes or calling quits and heading home earlier than anticipated.

I have had some parents say that they forgot to bring baby clothes with them at some stage. Its seems obvious to take baby clothes in your change bag, but it can be forgotten with the “baby brain” we all suffer in those first few months (or years….)

 

Essentials for every handbag: wipes, band aids and stickers!

I used to (and still do!) keep a pack of wipes in our change bag, handbag (since the change bag didn’t come everywhere), and the glove compartment of the car. No matter where you are, or what you are doing, you should never get caught out, whether it’s a nappy change or wiping up sticky messes after ice cream at MacDonald’s.

For all scrapes and bruises

Band aids are always handy because they make everything better! A stubbed toe can feel better with a band aid, but then there also times when there may be blisters caused by shoes, or scraped knees falling over in car parks.

Don’t forget stickers, because any child can be bribed with the promise of stickers. I quite often use this piece of bribery to get the kids away from those blasted rides (you know the ones, the cars that bounce up and down, or trains that go round and round) that are always parked out the front of shops to drain parents of any coins that might be hiding in the depths of their purses.

Find a GP who will listen to you.

A doctor you trust is essential

Good doctors can be hard to come by. Find one who will take you seriously if you take your child in when your gut is telling you that they are ill. No-one knows a child better than its own mother. But you also want a doctor that isn’t afraid to tell you that the sniffles are just the sniffles and you need to relax. It’s a little contradictory, but you need to be able to trust your doctor to take you seriously and tell you the truth.

 

 

Sleep whenever you get the opportunity.

Sleep when the baby sleeps. No-one cares about the housework, catch up on it later. A dirty house is better than an axe-weilding maniac! Those who pass judgement probably havent had kids and aren’t worth the time…they will soon learn.

Sleep is your friend!

Call on family members. I bet they are more than willing to help out (Well…people going ga-ga over a baby can be helpful at times!)

Sleep as much as you can in hospital, it means that you will have more energy to deal with things when you get home, because I’m warning you now, the first night home is generally a nightmare (though it usually settles very quickly)

Depression isn’t weakness.

Never be afraid to ask for help!!

It happens to the best of us. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your baby. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing a good job. Parenting is hard. Find someone who you can vent to…or write a blog (it certainly helps me!) and never be afraid to ask for help. It is normal for your moods to be all over the place for a few weeks after birth while your hormones settle. But if the feelings of sadness or hopelessness (amongst other symptoms) continue, see your doctor. Check out www.beyondblue.org.au for more information.

Don’t forget, fathers can get postnatal depression too!

No book has all the answers.

There is no such thing as a baby "Bible"

Some parents have huge expectations of how their baby is going to be once born. They aren’t going to have pacifier at all, organic cloth nappies only, and of course they are going to sleep straight through the night instantly. It’s these sort of people who experienced parents sit back and look at, giggling inside while thinking “Well you’re in for a wake up call!” I have met expecting mothers who have found a certain book and swear blind that they are going to follow every word and their baby will be perfect, only to be dismayed when their baby had other ideas.

Allow your child to have some time to work out a bit of a routine. You can slowly guide them towards one, but don’t expect instant results. If you make a decision on how to do something, then stick by your decision. Don’t allow yourself to get bullied by others to do things their way (for example, the breast vs. bottle debate I touched on recently) What works for others may not work for your family. Allow time to figure it out!

Run fast, run far!Now finally, I asked my husband for some tips for upcoming first-time dads, and what do you think his little pearl of wisdom was??

 “RUN!!!!”