Tag Archive | emotional support

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 🙂

Loving Hearts for Micah

Recently, a very good friend of mine shared some devastating news. Her three-year old nephew, Micah, was diagnosed with a rare and incredibly aggressive type of cancer.

To quote my friend about his updates“At this stage we don’t think it is in his bones or his head however the cancer has wrapped itself around the major blood vessels that supply blood to the lower half of his body. The cancer has also grown in and around his organs to such a degree that it is very difficult to get to. The only chance of operating is if the tumor shrinks to a manageable size. Given that this happens, the surgeons would have to be able to extract every cell of cancer from every single part of the body that it has spread to”

This is a very grim and emotion situation, so when I was told about a fundraising bid to raise money towards a top of the line Dyson vacuum valued at cost price of $700 ( in order to keep their house immaculate for his fragile immune system during high level chemotherapy/) and I felt compelled to spread the word as much as I can!

Micah’s family are holding an auction Wednesday 5th October, 2011, till Wednesday 12th October, 2011. You can find all the goodies donated to the auction on the Facebook page that has been set up.

If you are a wholesaler/retailer who can find it in their hearts to donate towards this worthy cause, please contact them at auctionformicah@gmail.com I can’t urge you enough to donate!

Alternatively, you can donate cash via www.paypal.com to auctionformicah@gmail.com.

Please support this little man. He needs as many positive and healing vibes as possible!

Good luck to the family!!

Much love,

Bella 🙂

65 Roses Day fundraising update

Don’t forget that 64 Roses Day is on the 27th May (don’t worry…I wont let you forget! You will probably be sick of me by the time that date rolls around!)

Our fundraising campaign is coming together nicely. We have at least two butchers donating sausages towards our sausage sizzle, and a local bakery is donating half a dozen loaves of bread.

I have tried to shake down some florists, and have found one who is already involved in 65 Roses Day by donating a portion of their roses sales toward CFWA (Cystic Fibrosis Association, Western Australia) but they have pledged a couple of rose bouquets for us to sell. That is fantastic!

Our nearby convenience store is a liquor/bakery/cafe/fuel station, and they have pledged something from their bottle shop towards our raffle. It will more than likely be some wine or something, but anything is greatly appreciated! We are regular customers, and all the staff know about our son’s condition. One staff member had a possible CF child herself (though it was later discovered after testing that it wasnt CF). So they are more than happy to get on board.

If there are any readers out there, especially local ones, who would like to donate some produce or services towards our raffle, please let me know. It would be great if you could get on board.

But you don’t have to wait until 65 Roses Day to donate, you can donate online here (don’t forget, tax refundable!)

I will keep you updated as plans come together.

If you are in Albany on the 27th May, come down to Western Workwear and Safety on Chesterpass Road for lunch, meet the family, and you have to be in it to win it for the raffle!

Bella 🙂

Fundraising and awareness

One aspect of being a CF parent that I have noticed is very common, and I can completely agree with, is that for the first twelve months or so, you aren’t interested in anyone else but your own little family.

Being members of CFWA, they give you the opportunity to get in contact with other CF families. As it turned out, we actually knew someone whose son has cystic fibrosis, and is only about a year or two older than our son. We always knew that he was sick, but we didn’t know until after our own diagnosis that it was because of CF. So having someone there who understood has been great.

But in those first twelve months, I think the shock (and I guess, trauma) is still raw, and you honestly don’t feel like meeting anyone else. You are so tied up in your own little world.

Once that period is over, you have routines in place, you are confident with what you have to do and deal with. Now, I am one of those people who want to raise awareness of life with cystic fibrosis.

27th May is 65 Roses Day, named after the story where a child couldn’t pronounce the name of the disease.It is the day where we raise money for CFA and awareness of cystic fibrosis. There is a song called “65 Roses” by the Wolverines (I hadn’t heard of it until my son’s diagnosis…actually, I still havent listened to it, but all the older members of the family knew of it.) I will put the lyrics to the song at the end of this post.

This is the first year that my family and I are going to get involved. I have always wanted to do something, but never really knew what to do.

As my parents own a retail store, they are throwing a big barbeque out the front on the day. I am approaching local businesses to see if they can donate produce or services that can be used in a raffle, and I am going to approach some florists to see if they will donate some roses for us to sell. The paper is going to run a story about our son, and advertise the fundraising we are trying to do.

So, if you are in Albany on the 27th May, 2011, head down to Western Workwear and Safety, on Chesterpass Road, join in on the fun, grab a bargain, and help us to raise money toward families dealing with cystic fibrosis

“65 Roses” by the Wolverines

When I was just a small child, my mum and daddy came to me,
They sat me down and told me of the flowers my sister received.
Sixty-five roses with yellow and red,
Made her so tired she had to stay in bed.
I just couldn’t believe the flowers my sister received,
Made it so hard for her to breathe.
Why did she have sixty-five roses?
Must be her birthday today.
She must have been good to get sixty-five roses,
What can’t she come out play?

Sixty-five roses, with yellow and red,
Made her so tired she had to stay in bed.
I looked all around, but I couldn’t find,
The sixty-five roses were all in my mind.
I’ve thrown up and I see that,
The only one thinking of roses was me.
And the reason that the sixty-five roses came,
Was because I was too young to understand the name.

Sixty-five roses, cystic fibrosis,
Made her so tired, she had to stay in bed.
Sixty-five roses, cystic fibrosis,
I wish she had roses instead.
Sixty-five roses, cystic fibrosis,
I wish that she could come out to play.
Life, one supposes, is no bed of roses,
I wish she had roses instead.

Wish she had roses instead,
(Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses,
Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses).
Wish she had roses instead,
(Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses,
Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses).
Wish she had roses instead,
(Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses,
Sixty-five roses, sixty-five roses).

Just a little bummed

Some people reading this (once I have published and shared this) may feel the way I do. Maybe I am over-reacting a little. But I am trying to deal with a loss of something that has had a major impact on my life for a few years now.

So let me start with the back story.

Not long after my eldest was born, I joined a website found on the back of a Heinz rice cereal packet. Being my first baby, and the only one in my circle of friends to have a child, I was interested in all the information provided on the website, ranging from development, to tips on feeding. While there, I stumbled across a little community in the forum.

I was a quiet beginning, but being the pushy busy-body that I am, I quickly worked my way into the thick of it. I was sharing the milestones made by my eldest, and soon, the joys (and not so crash hot parts) of being pregnant with my second child.

After a while, for whatever reason, the forum admin decided to shut the forum and reopen it on a different platform. So many of us made the jump on to the new website, and continued to share in each others ups and downs, by this stage, we were starting to share everything, not just parenting skills. We enjoyed the features the new website provided such a sharing photos, little smiley faces, the little sort of things to help us express our personalities.

Time went on, and again, for reasons unknown, Heinz admin decided to shut down the forum for good. Friendships were thick and we couldn’t bear the thought of not having each other to turn to, so a few members started up another website for us all to go to once the orignal one had closed.

Again, we all made the jump (of course, it didn’t happen without a few dramas, mainly due to one person who will remained unnamed, but some readers will giggle and know who I’m talking about!)

Once the platform provider asked us to start paying for our use, we created yet another website, and made the jump again. So you are starting to get the idea of how close we are.

These gorgeous, hilarious, and compassionate women have helped me through so much over the past  five years. They laughed along with all the funny things my kids got up to, gave great advice on things from cooking to relationships and health for both ourselves and our children. We do a christmas card list and secret santa (though its pretty obvious when the gift is from me. Since I am the only one in Western Australia. They just have to look at from where it was sent, and they know!) Gifts get sent to those who have just had a child, or if there is a significant birthday looming.

My only disappointment is that being the only one in Western Australia, everyone else is miles away and I can’t meet up with these ladies, for example, go out for coffee like some of them regularly do, or organise play dates for our children. But despite the distance, they have supported me greatly, especially so after the young one was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The morning after he was flown to hospital, I sent a text message to a couple of the ladies and asked them to tell everyone the bad news. Everyone felt the shock and shared the pain of his diagnosis. So, to show their support, they rallied together and sent a gift basket to the hospital, complete with flowers, a teddy for the boy, and some much-needed chocolate! I cried when it arrived! I was so touched by their thoughts.

But I have been walking around my house, moping a little. You see, we recently had a bit of drama on the website, and some members left. I guess you can’t expect everyone to like each other, but now that we have a private group on Facebook, and most prefer the features on there,  and the website is being shut down.

While I’m not losing contact with any of these ladies (well, I hope not anyway!), and I am still talking to many of them on a daily basis, but I feel like I have lost one of my best friends. We all helped to build the website. A big part of me went into it. It was like a child. We all helped to nurture it and help it grow, become something magnificent.

I don’t know why I feel this way over a website. Its stupid really. But I cant help but feel that I somehow let the site down by not maintaining input. I feel like I have let my friends down.

But I am so grateful for the friendship and support from these wonderful ladies. I am glad we can still keep in contact once the forum is gone for good.

Dont worry, I will get over my mopey-ness.

Bella 🙂