What’s happened to me?

I’ve been trying to write a post for over a week now. Having loads of ideas about the books I’ve been reading, the funny things that no one tells you about pregnancy, doing my best not to have a massive political rant etc etc. But it’s just not been coming, I can’t get the words out and I think I finally know why. I can’t seem to find myself and my voice because I don’t know what’s happening to me, as in my mental health “me”.

Pregnancy Mental Health

I’m finding each day a chore, struggling to put a smile on and enjoy things I normally love. Struggling to find interest in my work or hobbies. Struggling to properly interact with people without having to put a fake face on. Now that the secrets out of the bag I’ve had so many friends and well wishers getting excited for me and wanting to share in my joy, but the thing is I can’t find the joy? I can’t seem to find the excitement? Where is it…?

I have worried that maybe I’m getting a bit depressed, I’ve had depression in the past and working with teenagers all day I definitely know the markers. But I don’t think it’s quite that bad yet, I’m just not me and I really want to know why and get back to it. I want this pregnancy with every fibre of my being, I want to be excited and coo and squeal and stare longingly at miniature sleepsuits. I want to check my 9 pregnancy apps every day to see what if anything has changed. But I’m just not.

A few people that I’ve confided in have been really helpful and reassuring. My husband is fantastic, looking after me despite being exhausted and stressed himself; letting me sit quietly when I need to, encouraging me to sleep properly, making me laugh and distracting me when he can see it’s getting too much. My very northern best friend has given me the “be reet” chat and helped to cheer me up and distract me with the oddities of house sharing and a new relationship. My mum friends have reassured me that this is normal, just to remember the insane amount of changes going on not only in my body but the baby’s too. Not to mention the many many hormones pinging their way around my body, it’s bound to have an effect. And then there’s my friends who haven’t understood why I’ve been hiding in the house hugging hot water bottles and avoiding all contact. The ones who ignore my apologies and don’t even bother replying, that hurts and then sends me right back to feeling not “me” again.

So what to do now?

I’m determined I’m not going to let this feeing overwhelm me, I’m going to make myself do the day to day things. Try and smile and take joy in the stupid and inane things that cross my desk each day. Try and look at the baby books and apps, get excited about names and size of the baby and of fingers and toes (I’ve got a kiwi sized little one right now).

I’m also doing my best not to let the negative things cause more problems; the friends who don’t reply, the things that go wrong at work, money worries or stress, just anything. Water off a ducks back – that’s my goal!

Anyway. I think I’ve now got these rants/thoughts out of my system. Hopefully. I know the feeling isn’t going to go away just because I will it, but I’m stubborn and I’m not going to give in. I also know where my line is and I know when I need to ask for help – luckily for me I have a fantastic support network.

If you’ve read this to the end, thanks for sticking with me and if you’re feeling this way yourself – please talk to someone and don’t try and struggle on alone!

Lucy At Home
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Fed Up February

As you may or may not have noticed – being that my only loyal fan is my husband – I haven’t written much recently. I seem to go through this every year at the end of January and February, I get fed up and give up for a few months. I get fed up of my job, of my company, of my colleagues, of my house, my car, my town, my hair, my dogs, my husband (shhh) and this year I can add trying to conceive to that – just everything. I’ve taken to calling it Fedupruary, I know snappy isn’t it!

Fed Up February

The thing is I have no real reason to be fed up of my life, I have a decent-ish job in a nice-ish company, a house that we own and not rent, my hair is just fabulous so shut your mouth, my dogs are gloriously cute little troublemakers and my husband actually isn’t that bad I suppose. However trying to conceive, that I just can’t seem to square off in my head and I think that is what is what is dragging me down so much this year. Because of this dragging me down I can’t seem to make any of the previous statements cheer me up, I just brush them off and come up with some crappy excuse.

Anyone who has tried to conceive will know that there are good times and bad, no matter the length or difficulty of your journey. We are coming up to our ninth cycle, although I’m praying it will be our last it more than likely will – with one early miscarriage, which was just frankly pretty darned shite. The last month or so I have really struggled to want to carry on with it all, of course I still want baby but to actually want to carry on with this shitty journey is something all together.

Fed Up February

So what do I do?

I can’t carry on feeling like this, I will only feel more and more crappy and eventually start to seriously damage my mental health. So I follow the lyrics of a Kelly Clarkson song that I clung to as a teenager –

“I’m forced to fake

A smile, a laugh every day of my life”

Depressing isn’t it? But I learnt a long time ago that the only way to I could get past things was to barrel through them, get up and put a smile on your face and go do the thing you really can’t face. It takes time but eventually forcing the routine helped me to start to feel like me again. So that’s what I’ve done.

MumsnetI’ve gone back to Mumsnet and to my lovely group of ladies that I chat to on a regular basis – all complete strangers that I feel I share this journey with so intimately I kinda missed them whilst I’ve been shut down and avoiding it all.

I’ve planned a trip away with my husband, I am so excited that I’ve spent a fortune on new clothes and shoes obviously. Lion King is going to be awesome! Although I haven’t picked an outfit for that yet… Hmm, more shopping?

Finally I’ve forced myself to write this sort of self-pitying and self-indulgent post and get back to writing!

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Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson was another book recommended by Chelley Toy from Tales of Yesterday Book Blog, it is by the Author of the Month book for January for the British Book Challenge 2017. I wasn’t too sure at first as I never quite manage to finish non-fiction books, however the subject of this one intrigued me – even more so after I’d read the Amazon sample.

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people’s mental health – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them, with real-life stories from young people around the world. (Goodreads)

At the tender age of 27 and as someone who works within the Great British education system I found the premise for this book interesting, a way to talk about, outline what it is and potentially help those with mental health issues. This is definitely the topic du jour at the moment in the press, whether for good or bad. I was curious if this book could honestly and openly discuss these issues without being patronising, generalising, stereotyping, judging, or just down right preaching – and you know what? It did and I was very impressed.

As a young adult I struggled with my own serious mental health issues and fought my way through some very dark days and I often wonder if this experience colours how I see and react to the information that is now in the press about those who struggle with illnesses such as Depression and Anxiety. After reading Mind Your Head I can honestly say that each page resonates with me and I found myself nodding, agreeing and laughing along with Juno Dawson. Yes, laughing, you read that right. One of my favourite part of the books was the screenshot above, the one explaining that yes mental health issues are serious and tough to deal with, but they are a health issue and just like a broken wrist – sometimes a bit of humour is needed to help us deal with them and find ways to cope. Making something special or unique or only discussed in a quiet whisper in a private back room makes them harder to deal with, not easier.

So! The book! The reason I often struggle with non-fiction is the lack of pace and movement, I feel like i’m reading a text-book at school again and that was never fun. With Juno Dawson’s Mind Your Head I didn’t think that once, the writing is engaging and moves at a steady natural pace from topic to explanation to discussion to personal experiences and on again to the next. The voice is lighthearted and amusing, but also compassionate and serious where needed and they tackle some extremely difficult issues in a very impressive manner. The addition of explanations and opinions from Dr Olivia, personal experiences and stories of other people and glossary terms throughout give the feel of sitting in a chic London coffee shop all chatting and exchanging experience, help, advice and most importantly an understanding ear.

The resources used in the book, that is the links to websites and companies currently available to help people in the UK is invaluable. In other cases of texts like this it often simply refers you to the GP or school counsellor as a place to get help, Juno looks at more than just these two resources and honestly analyses what help they can give and what other resources are out there, indeed linking to them and sharing experiences.

The bit I want to stress most about this book, the bit that I think is the most important is that it is honest and kind, it addresses the very real issues that young people today are dealing with and could honestly help someone understand what it is they are feeling. Covering everything from recognising every day stress to eating disorders to self harm to drug and alcohol use. I can honestly say that this is a book I will be strongly recommending to my friends, those who may benefit from its help personally, those with children, my colleagues who work with children to young adults alike and yes, those who have no idea about any of “that stuff” and maybe just need their eyes opening a bit. A very useful book and definitely much needed in today’s society!

British Book Challenge 2017

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