Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Pregnancy Series

Our little girl will be due in April and I thought as a first time mummy who has previously suffered with mental illness that I may be able to shed some insights into pregnancy and mental wellbeing. We waited until I felt 'better' and well enough mentally and physically to try for a baby (then left it a little longer just in case.) I worked hard to keep my anxiety under control and depression at bay and still do now to maintain my mental health. For now it's all about maintenance and prevention. With a change in hormones, changes in my body and all those thoughts and worries that first timers have I wanted to talk about how I am caring for my mental health during pregnancy and hopefully others can relate or find some helpful hints in this series of pregnancy related posts. This series will cover...

- sharing your news read Baby News
- pregnancy and body image read Baby Beautiful
- bonding with bump read Baby Bond
- pregnancy worries read Baby Calm
- mood boosters read Baby Boost
- keeping focused/ on track read Baby Now

All posts can now be found on one page by clicking this link:

Each topic will set you a small challenge to complete and be open to comments. Mummies-to-be we are in this together and daddies-to-be may find these useful too. Let's talk about all things pregnancy related to our mental health. We can do this!

Mini challenge: you are about to experience the most beautiful journey- name three things you are most looking forward to or already enjoying about pregnancy

Much love,
Becky & Bump xx

Friday, January 12, 2018

Anniversary Review

It's been two years since the start of Not Just Depressed. Although I finalised the blog in April 2017 I wanted to check in with you all and do a bit of a review of where I am in my mental health journey. A quick recap: square 1, the breakdown, was the bleakest place I've ever been, the most drained and physically unwell I've ever felt and I just felt hopeless. Through my blog we saw how I began to fight back and how I learnt to cope and lead a 'normal' daily life again. I had slowly reduced and ended my anti-depressant medication and kept up with the tools I had gathered along the way to help me feel calmer and healthier. Although I still suffered with anxiety and low moods I managed to debut in burlesque, hold onto my day job and earn a promotion, achieve a better sleep pattern and build on old and new relationships. Yes there were still hurdles, some I found extremely difficult but I got through them. I got to a point where I was still anxious and worried that my mental health may take a nosedive but I was determined and had gained the tools to carry on. I felt calmer, healthier, happier and able to cope.

So what's new with me nowadays? After focusing on kicking depressions ass with the hope of living a calmer life and improving both my mental and physical illness I hoped I would get to the point where me and my husband could try for a baby. We concentrated on gathering up savings and finishing a lot of the major DIY and maintenance jobs on our property. I enjoyed spending time with my husband, going to events and trips away together. We talked and planned so much for our future baby and just enjoyed being together while we were still a pair rather than trio. I felt so far away from 'depressed Becky' that when I reread blog posts and thought about how I was I didn't recognise myself at all. I tried to continue my blog but felt as though I was writing about a subject completely foreign to me. I felt like I had more energy and generally felt well. My husband and family noticed I was a lot happier in myself and back to being me.

In truth my anxiety is not yet fully under control but it is manageable. I can struggle to leave my home without constantly checking that things are turned off and that the doors are locked. I can feel conscious doing this at home or work when I need to lock up but tell myself not to worry because I'm doing it to reassure myself. I still want to work on this and not feel as stuck with this routine I seem to have created. In general I am quite calm and relaxed, if problems arise I face them and find solutions but the odd thing can make me feel very overwhelmed. I can now calm myself a lot quicker and not feel unwell throughout the day after a moment of anxiety. I don't lay awake thinking of problems or let things get to me, once it's done then it's done, I leave it in the past and move on. I try my best not to stress about the future because it hasn't happened yet and I know that I can exaggerate things that may happen to the point they become a worry. Not anymore. I prep and make plans but if things don't turn out the way I thought I remain calm and change strategy. Sometimes things throw me but I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and it's better to stay as calm as possible or quickly get myself back to a state of calm and deal with the situation.

Life is good right now. I still feel grateful for my mental illness because I came out a new and improved version of myself with more empathy. knowledge and drive. It helps me remain focused on living as stress free a life as possible and concentrating on happiness. Anxiety is something that I control, it doesn't control me. Depression is something of the past that feels a million miles away. Sleep is restful. And as for my dream of getting to the point where I could be well enough to try for a baby? 

Our little girl will be due in April, almost three years after my initial breakdown. I'm over the moon and feel very relaxed about my pregnancy. I'm really enjoying being in this moment and looking forward to what the future brings. So you see things can and do get better. Storms pass and the sun shines again. You just have to focus on getting better and want to come out of that dark place. Put yourself first and know you deserve to beat this.

Much love,
Becky xx