Tag

anxiety

Well, October is well an truly over, and I have finished my month of posts for Mental Health Awareness month. I have shared a lot about what goes on in this crazy little head of mine. Hopefully some of it has helped some of you to feel ‘normal’.

I would really like to thank every one who contacted me in their own little way to show support, share a similar story or just reach out. Anxiety and depression is only going to be easier to deal with when you let yourself be vulnerable enough to allow others to help. The voices in our heads are there to test us, and we have the power to turn the volume down.

It is so wonderfully okay to feel low. It is also a treat to feel good. You will survive both emotions and all the little twinges in between.

Don’t worry I’m not going to stop writing. I won’t be writing every day, but I am going to make the effort to write more often than I was. It is such good therapy for me.

And as always, I would love to hear what you are going to do to help improve your mental health.

Thanks for joining me!

Llew

Through this entire journey I didn’t want to be fake. I didn’t want to write just for the sake of writing. I feel fake enough in my day-to-day when I’m putting on a happy face, even when I’m not entirely feeling it, that I didn’t want to pretend here as well.

This week I was happy early on, yet yesterday I felt flat. Not high, not low – just flat.

And it is at those moments when I have zero motivation.
Where does motivation come from? Why does it change?
For whatever reason, I didn’t have it yesterday. So instead of giving you crap, I stayed silent.
Today I travelled into the city to listen to a few of my idols speak about their publishing journey. And it inspired me. Inspired me to keep going even when the times are tough. To be real. To be honest. To be authentic.
Because if I’m not me, who would I be?
Being me is all about being comfortable over fashionable. At times I doubt my attire as I felt completely underdressed – as an example take today’s event. Everyone was in spring dresses, lacy tops and high heels. I was in jeans, flats & a white shirt. I threw a pink scarf on at the last minute for colour. I felt like I had just stepped out at the races, and hadn’t got the note about dressing up.
But as a friend pointed out, I was comfortable in what I was wearing, and I was showing my true personality. My casual clothes are a part of who I am. My brand. My statement. And I wear it well.
It has taken me years to realise that I rock casual wear. I wear it all year round, and am not ashamed to say I only wear heels for BIG events. Weddings & the Races. That’s it. Any other time I’m in flats.
I always want to dress more ‘girlie’ but any time I put on what I think I should wear, it doesn’t sit right, looks like I’m trying to be someone I’m not, and basically makes me uncomfortable. And in the end, I go for what I thought would work in the first place.
If you don’t feel comfortable in what you are wearing you don’t feel confident. So be confident in your style. No one can own it like you.

I am a stubborn little cow.

For so long I thought I had to nail this ‘Mum’ thing all by myself. I honestly thought I had to be able to cope with all the demands of motherhood on my own, alone, just me.

It has taken me years to realise that it takes more than just me to raise my kids. Yes, I needed to ask for help. Help from my hubby, help from my mum, my dad, my in-laws, my brother and sister, and their other halves.

I pushed away offers of help, I had to be in control, at all times, no matter what the cost to my health. I would obsess that anyone who looked after my kids wasn’t doing it ‘right’. I would write out instructions as to what had to happen when, sleep times, food, bottles, nappy changes. It had to be done my way or not at all.

The control was what I thought was keeping me sane, attached to reality.

When the truth was, it was just one more thing to cement in my mind that I was failing at. That I hadn’t given enough instruction, or hadn’t been clear enough to those looking after my babies.

From day care to grandparents, I had to have the routine down pat otherwise it wouldn’t work.

I would compare myself to those who didn’t have to work. I would think that because I had to leave my children each day, that I was losing precious time with them that I wouldn’t get back. I believed everyone was judging me for putting my kids in care. But then I knew I couldn’t cope with being home all day. I would literally go crazy.

Then comes the guilt. For not being able to handle my own children every day. For not being the best mum. For wanting to go to work to get some time off. What a cycle of negativity.

It has taken so much retraining of my brain with Psychologists to get to the point where I now realise that my kids need to miss me. They need to realise that I will leave and then return again. That I don’t have to be the one and only carer.

Over time, the need to keep control over my children in other care has subsided. I tell myself all the time that if I am going to get time to myself, or time off from the kids, that I need to let go of the hangups about others looking after my two monsters. That even if it is not the way I look after them, the fact I’m not in charge for even a little while is better for my brain than if I don’t take the break.

It has carried into the early years of my daughter going to school too. This year I have dealt with some severe loss in the family, and without the community of neighbours and parent friends from school, I could not have been there for the final weeks.

If I had not just let go of my anxiety around asking for help from friends and family, I would have regretted not being able to say goodbye. Sometimes it isn’t even about asking, but accepting an offer when someone puts it to you.

My first instinct is to always thank the person for the offer, but then turn it down. Not wanting to be a burden or letting go of that control. And I would still be that way if my friends hadn’t been truthful with me and hounded me to let them help. I finally caved and the sense of relief was enormous.

Children aren’t meant to be raised on their own. I realise this now. It takes more than the family unit to teach them how to grow up safe and strong, and build their beliefs. They need to experience others and how they run their own families to know that not everyone is the same and there is not one way to get the same result.

Time has, and is still, changing the way I believe what being a parent really is all about. No one tells you this stuff. Everyone just focuses on ‘When are you getting pregnant?’ or ‘When are you due?’. But no one tells you what a rollercoaster ride of emotions building your own family can be.

How you can be frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, adoring, nostalgic, ecstatic and the rest all in a matter of minutes. Especially at 2am with a screaming or sick child.

And the whole time you are always wondering what damage you are doing to your flesh and blood.

In the end they survive in spite of us. In the end they survive because of us.

I have nothing to write. Yep that’s right, nothing.

When most of you say – ‘yeah but she writes all the time’, be assured I too have times when I have absolutely nothing.

So instead I’ll leave you with a few lyrics…

Adam Lambert | Ghosttown

Died last night in my dreams
Walking the streets
Of some old ghost town
I tried to believe
In God and James Dean
But Hollywood sold outSaw all of the saints
Lock up the gates
I could not enter
Walked into the flames
Called out your name
But there was no answerAnd now I know my heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town

Died last night in my dreams
All the machines
Had been disconnected
Time was thrown at the wind
And all of my friends
Had been disaffected

Now, I’m searching for trust
In a city of rust
A city of vampires
Tonight, Elvis is dead
And everyone’s spread
And love is a satire

And now I know my heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town

There’s no one left in the world
I’m gunslingin’
[Regular version:] Don’t give a fuck if I go
[Music video version:] Don’t give a damn if I go
Down, down, down
I got a voice in my head that keeps singing
Oh, my heart is a ghost town

My heart is a ghost town
Oh, my heart is a ghost town
(Said, my heart)
My heart is a ghost town
My heart is a ghost town

 

I am no stereotype.

When you look at me what do you see?

Do you see blond hair, hazel eyes, and a big smile? Do you see me as pretty or as pretty tired?

Do you see a stay at home mother, or a workaholic? Do you see a spoilt little rich girl, or a strong woman working for her bread?

Do you see a carer, or do you see a lover? Do you see me, or just another mum?

Everything you see, is everything you judge.

I am not your average girl.

I do not like to go shopping for hours, and am not worried about labels. I do not get my nails done, and barely take the time to style my hair. I’m happiest in casual clothes, or a surf brand.

I love my sport, no matter what, and love to be active too. I love to watch movies – action or comedies please. I have never watched The Notebook. And promise I never will!

I love mornings, and making coffee at home.

I smile and go about my day. I get out of bed every morning, there is no lying around for me. I have my own business and work hard to keep it going. I have staff who help me, and I am responsible for their livelihood.

I am continually talking about anxiety and depression, though expressing how I am feeling is still tough, even to those who love me – craziness and all.

I like to listen to others. I like to observe and take note of what people are not saying. I like to look, really look at people and acknowledge them when they are having a moment of their own.

I am always the first to admit when I have made a mistake. I am always ready to learn.

I do not believe I have all (if any) of the answers – and will tell you so.

I do not look like I have anxiety and depression. I do not act like I have anxiety and depression. I do not seem like I have anxiety and depression.

I am an actor.

What a busy day. So busy I didn’t even get to the computer!

I travelled to Tempe Public School as the representative of beyondblue to take part in the first annual National Bounce Back Pogo-thon.

I was in awe of these amazing students, pogoing for an hour in amazing heat, to complete the challenge set for them. With regular drink breaks, and rest stops, they still managed to pogo throughout the hour over obstacles with big beaming smiles on their faces.

It was such a fun day and a tribute to the organisation of the event provided by Barton Williams and Pogo Pulse.

Here is a preview of our day –

 

I didn’t know that I had post natal depression. I just thought I wasn’t coping. I just thought it was normal.

Never in a million years did I think that I didn’t have to live that way. I honestly thought that it would pass. And I guess after my first child, it did. But I still had a bout of PND for the first 6 weeks. After the initial 6 weeks, a light came on and I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. Maybe it was just the ‘black dog’ going on holiday. Then he came back after my second child, and has been with me ever since.

My hubby was the one to tell me to speak to my doctor. He told me several times, and when I finally broke down, I finally thought I can’t live like this anymore.

And yes I manage the deepest darkness with medication, but if it helps me to find the light through the fog, I don’t mind. I like drugs. Drugs are good for me.

But that isn’t all I do.

I listen to my favourite music. I go to the gym every week to see my personal trainer which I only started to do as a result of my PND and is a constant check in to make sure I’m doing something for me. I write (case and point right here!). I exercise as much as my ailing body will let me. I have coffee with friends, and sometimes I just stay home and do nothing. I watch comedies on tv to make me laugh. I crochet. I build websites. Yes I am a nerd, but proud of it!

But all of these things give me an outlet to be creative, to be me, and to find that little piece of myself that I feel like I lose at times.

Do you know if you are the one experiencing anxiety or depression that you may not be the one to recognise it? That usually it is a friend or family member that will notice it first.

Even though we all think we know the signs, it is really common to think that ‘I’ll get over it’, or ‘I’m just having a bad day’, or even ‘I must be getting my periods’.

Though if you have been feeling this way for more than two weeks, it is most likely that you are experiencing a form of anxiety or depression.

And that is ok.

Did you know that 1 in 2 people will experience anxiety and depression at some point in their lives? That’s 50% of the population. And although there may be a major trigger for some – separation, loss, illness – others will suffer for years on end.

Yet no one needs to live like this. There is help. There is a lot of people who really want to help.

So if you find that you have been feeling ‘off’ for a number of weeks, and someone you know and love also recognises this in you, take 5 minutes to take care of yourself by seeing your GP.

 


 

Here is an extract from the beyondblue website in regard to seeking help, and the benefits of checking in with your GP.

It can be difficult for people with depression or anxiety to take that first step in getting help. These conditions can reduce people’s motivation or confidence to take action, and some may feel embarrassed. However, effective treatments are available so while you might be hesitant, it’s worth seeking support.

If left untreated depression and anxiety can go on for months, sometimes years, and can have many negative effects on a person’s life. It’s therefore important to seek help early – the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner they can recover. Enlisting the support of family members and friends can be helpful in getting you started towards your recovery. A range of health professionals can also assist.

General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs are the best starting point for someone seeking professional help. A good GP can:

  • make a diagnosis
  • check for any physical health problem or medication that may be contributing to the depression or anxiety, or may affect your treatment
  • provide information and discuss available treatments, taking your preferences into account
    work with you to draw up a Mental Health Treatment Plan so you can get a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment
  • provide support, brief counselling or, in some cases, more specialised talking therapy
  • prescribe medication
  • refer you to a mental health specialist such as a psychologist or psychiatrist
  • provide information and support to family members, if you agree
  • schedule regular appointments to check how you are going.

Before consulting a GP about depression or anxiety, it’s important to ask the receptionist to book a longer or double appointment, so there is plenty of time to discuss the situation without feeling rushed. If you have not been able to make a longer appointment, it’s a good idea to raise the issue of depression or anxiety early in the consultation so there is plenty of time to discuss it.

It is recommended that people consult their regular GP or another GP in the same clinic, as medical information is shared within a practice. While some GPs may be more confident at dealing with depression and anxiety than others, the majority of GPs will be able to assist or at least refer you to someone who can, so they are the best place to start.

It pains me to say it, to admit it, but my children are a big trigger to my anxiety.

I never wanted to be the one to bitch and moan about my kids all the time. I love them to pieces, would do anything for them and will protect them to the ends of the earth.

But truth be told, they are a major part of my anxiety.

Socks. Putting on socks every morning as we get ready for school and kindy is the biggest drama in the world.

I get, ‘They hurt’, ‘I hate them’, ‘They’re twisted’, ‘You did it wrong’, ‘Something feels funny’, ‘They’re hurting me’… I could go on – it is a broken record in my house.

My response?

‘Socks?! Fucking socks?! Every fucking morning I am dealing with socks! They are the softest thing in the world yet every morning they are so fucking hard!’

Yep I swear. I swear a lot. Not just under my breathe, but quite loudly. Ok I’m usually yelling. I always feel like there is going to be a crowd out the front of my door shaking their heads at me as I take the kids to school and kindy. I’m almost certain everyone can hear me in the street. Maybe the loudness of it scares them all back inside their homes. Good. Be scared, be very scared.

This morning was no different, it was n’t just the socks though. It was also the brushing of the hair. It is like nails down a chalkboard the noises that come out of my daughter as I brush her hair. Every. Single. Day.

So much so , my nerves are shot, I get angry and there are tears. OH MY GOD THE TEARS.

I don’t know if my anxiety would be so bad, if I didn’t have to get tears after every little thing that doesn’t go right.

I want to cry. I want to cry. Every. Single Day. But I can’t. I have to listen to it instead. I have to listen, and listen, and listen to it.

I should be a spy.

They could use crying on me as a torture device and instead of breaking down and giving them the information they want, I’d go nuts and break them in half. That’s how it makes me feel.

Angry. Oh the anger that boils up inside. I hate it. It really makes me hate myself. For feeling so angry. And I don’t know what to do with it. So I yell. I scream. And then my heart breaks into a thousand pieces. Leaving a huge gaping hole inside my chest which is replaced by a huge think chunk of anxiety.

For being such a shitty mum. A horrible, mean, bitch of a mum. I am the mum I really didn’t want to be. The mum who is angry all the time. The mum that behind every smile is struggling with how she is going to cope with the same dramas outside of the home. The mum that every time her kids act this way in front of other people, has a mini heart attack because I have no Idea on how to deal with my own children.

And so now I’ve admitted it. I’ve been brutally honest with you, and although I may feel like shit, maybe, just maybe, one of you feels the same way?

That we are all horrible shitty mothers who have no fucking idea what we are doing, but at the end of the day don’t judge each other for it. Instead we cuddle each other and laugh at how ridiculous it all is. That we, as big kids, are responsible for these little kids, these mini figures of ourselves. And how the hell do we teach them the way of the world, when we don’t really know?

Today is a day when I have nothing to say.

This is not a bad thing. Sometimes, the silence in my mind is a good thing.

I am enjoying the sunshine. I have been in the garden. I have been to the pool with the kids and got wet. Nothing strenuous, and my mind isn’t racing.

Tonight I am going out for drinks with friends, and I have told them many times I am coming. Now all I need to do is make sure I get there. I won’t let the anxiety creep in and tell me to stay home. I won’t think I have nothing interesting to say. I will not worry about anything.

My friends will even read this and laugh when I show my face.

I have great friends that can laugh at me.

I am pretty fucking funny after all.

 

Today I am tired. It is a regular Friday issue. I just want to curl up on the lounge and rest. At some point I usually do, with my 4 year old beside me, as we watch a movie and take a breather before the craziness of the weekend.

So today I’m looking back over my week and realise I have a lot to be grateful for.

I use my ‘gratitude’ notebook to write down 3 things everyday that I am grateful for. It helps me focus on the little things and be more mindful of them as they are happening.

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Sometimes it is the very small things like –

1. Coffee

2. Sunshine

3. Sleep

And it doesn’t matter how little the items are you are grateful for, or what they represent, to be grateful for anything in your day keeps you focusing on the positive, instead of the negative.

But you have to be honest, really honest.

No excuses – no saying your day was so bad there was nothing to be grateful for, because no matter what, you should always find at least one thing.

For example… if you have been shouting at the kids all morning, then when trying to get out of the house you have a car accident, and you end up with crying kids and a nappy explosion with no change of clothing left in your bag, plus being locked out of your house…you would be quite in your right mind to bitch and moan about how shit your day was. I would even supply you with a drink and mounds of chocolate.

Yet in this you could find something.

Be grateful that you managed to get out of the house, that the car is damaged but you are okay, that clothes can be washed – or thrown away – and you will laugh about it one day, and that you have learnt that you should hide a spare key for when you get locked out next time (because if you are anything like me, it will happen again!).

You can also be grateful that at the end of the day there is someone close by who cares about you and what you have just gone through and I’m sure that at a moments notice you will have company to vent about the shitty situations, and laugh about it in the future.

(Caution: rude words ahead…)

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