Depression and the Poo Episode

If I thought yesterday was bad with my post entitled Failure all I could muster up, today brought its own challenges. I really don’t feel well right now. Anxiety is coursing through my veins and depression beginning to weigh me down. I’m hoping it will be short lived.

Today I woke with anxiety. I shook with worry. I had two separate visits to the doctor to deal with for my son’s flu vaccine and my smear test. Anxiety is completely irrational but it’s so real. This is why the poo episode was worse than normal!

The poo episode

It’s about 9:15 and the plan was to do a few jobs round the house before leaving for the doctors for my son’s flu vaccine at 10:15.

A five minute sit down I thought before the jobs start. My 2 year old seemed happy playing with his toys. Suddenly “Mummy I need a poo!” I jump off the sofa, pick him up and run up the stairs to our bathroom. Pull down his pants and there is a little poo already there. I sit him on the toilet where he argues “no poo coming mummy”. Change of pants number 1.

Ten minutes later I’m hanging up washing on the airer. It is suspiciously quiet. I shout to him (in another room)

“Thomas are you ok?”

“Yes mummy”

“Thomas do you need a poo”

“no”

About 30 seconds after this conversation. “Mummy I done a poo.” We repeat episode number 1 although this time Thomas has kindly touched his bum with his hands, spreading his poo onto his jumper and his trousers. In the bathroom whilst wrestling a 2 year old to take off his clothes covered him poo, we now have poo everywhere. All over my hands, the bathroom seat, the floor. Change of pants 2 (plus now no jumper or trousers on).

I decide perhaps I need to allocate some time to poo gate. Thomas and I sit in his bedroom. I read The Gruffalo whilst he sits on the potty trying to push out a poo. In reality what this looks like is a 2 year old who keeps jumping up to give me a hug whilst I wrestle him back to the potty as poo is coming out of his bum. No success, tiny, tiny poo- but now poo on his T-shirt, leg, potty, millions of wipes used. No change of pants we hadn’t got any on!

So now Thomas is completely naked (he still has socks on) wandering around upstairs. I am losing the plot knowing that a poo is on its way sooner or later. Also the time seems to be disappearing it’s now 10:05 and we need to go out in ten minutes. So now my patience has completely disappeared. We are having a poo standoff in the bathroom. Thomas is on and off the potty whilst I demand a poo. I threaten taking away toys, offer rewards and even threaten putting nappies on him again to which he shouts “no I’m not a baby” and I shout back “do your poo then”. A 10:10am I give up. I put him in a completely new set of clothes, put on his shoes and coat and make him promise he will be good at the doctors. We then fly out the door.

Nothing unusual here. A normal mummy day. But it’s how I am dealing with these events that doesn’t feel normal. I am in self destruct mode where I’m blaming myself for everything.

I blame myself for the fact my 2 year old isn’t pooing on the toilet yet. I blame myself for putting on the tv after lunch because I’m tired. I blame myself for how I have brought up my children when they are whiny when we have a play date. I blame myself when watching my eldest son at football after school and he is standing not joining in. I blame myself when I snap at my husband for doing nothing other than breathing.

I can’t stand my own company right now. I just want to hide. I’ve been off the antidepressants for about 4 weeks and it’s tough. I don’t want to go back on them even though some people will tell me that’s the right step; I don’t agree, I’m feeling again! I also think it’s not helping that for a complicated reason I don’t have any counselling for 5 weeks. I haven’t got my usual talking outlet.

Depression: How to understand the invisible?

Blog posts are starting to flow, which means I’m feeling poorly. I always write when I’m not quite right. Depression and anxiety always gets my creativity going.

Tonight I feel again like this is my life forever. However many times I try to get over depression and anxiety I fail. It has become me. It is not something I will ever be completely be free of, it’s something I cope with.

Today I came across a lack of understanding of mental health. Stigma exists. Mostly I would say this stigma isn’t intentionally hurtful (although sadly that does still exist). But an honest lack of knowledge. An honest lack of experience. An honest I don’t get it.

It’s really hard to help people understand what cannot be seen. I get why people don’t get it. I appreciate how hard it is. I don’t blame them for their lack of knowledge. Depression and anxiety are so irrational in many ways that we can’t explain them clearly.

This doesn’t mean I will give up. This doesn’t mean I will stop trying to help people understand.

Being completely honest about what goes on in my head scares me. I worry that if my husband, counsellor, doctor knew they would section me immediately. My head is irrational and dramatic. It isn’t all bad.

More than anything opening up truthfully often leads to advice. I’m not one for people telling me what to do. I like it when people listen. I don’t like not being in control. It’s not that I always know best but I have had this for a long time now and I know what does and does not work.

So I’ll try to be honest to help people understand if you promise not to worry!

  • I self harm every day.
  • When I’m at my worse I have had suicidal thoughts daily.
  • I have been about to commit suicide.
  • Even now much better than before I still think about suicide sometimes (luckily not seriously currently).
  • Sometimes I can’t get out of bed I feel so low.
  • Sometimes just to get out of bed is an achievement.
  • I feel like I have a tonne weight on me holding me back.
  • Anxiety makes me sick.
  • I worry about everything I do, say, write. I analyse it over and over and over.
  • I am scared of everything.
  • I have zero self belief or confidence.
  • I think I am a rubbish mum.
  • I think I am a rubbish teacher.
  • I feel worthless.

And these are just a start.

No mental health illness is the same. I have friends who have issues but theirs jare different to mine in many ways and same in others. Essentially I’m not sure you will ever fully get it unless you have it. But I do ask that you all try and show a little bit more compassion. You make time to listen. You make time to learn more and try to understand.

4 Tips for recovery from Depression

Anyone who knows me or who has been reading my blog will know depression has crippled my life. For me I feel like it is an illness I will now live with for my whole life but it is about how I can manage it to live a full and happy life.

Nearly two years ago now I fell into the second deep depression of my life. Suicidal, self harming daily, I became extremely poorly and withdrawn from my normal life.

Now as I begin to come off my anti-depressants after feeling stable for quite a significant time I wanted to reflect and share on my journey to recovery.

These are my 4 tips:

1. “It will get better” at my depths two of my great friends who I shall call B and M regularly reminded me of this. M would turn up on my doorstep regularly and state this when I was so low I couldn’t even talk. B using her own personal experience of her husband would remind me of this during our long chats.

At the time I couldn’t see it. At the time I wanted to shout back no it’s like this forever. At the time I wanted to commit suicide as I saw that as the only way out of it. Looking back they were right! When I couldn’t see it. When I couldn’t believe it. I needed people to remind me there was an end in sight to how I was feeling. So tip number 1 try and believe it will end sometime.

2. Don’t try to rush the recovery. It’s honestly taken nearly two years for me to feel better on a more regular basis. I still have low points as well. I wish I could wave a magic wand. I wish I could make you immediately better. I wish there was a magic pill. Countless times I have prayed and begged to feel better. I have willed it to be over. I have beaten myself up for it taking so long. I have told myself off. But I have learnt it’s no good trying to rush it. The only way is to accept whatever time it takes. There is no one pattern fits all. For some it maybe a quick journey for others it may go on for years, decades even. Please don’t try to rush a recovery. Please don’t criticise yourself for taking your time. You deserve patience for yourself.

3. Take whatever help you need. If anti-depressants help – take them. If they don’t – don’t take them. If you need time off work – take it. If you need to work to keep busy – do it. If you need to stay in bed all day – rest. If you need to go for a run- get out there. If you need to talk to anyone who will listen- talk. If you need to hide away from people- find somewhere safe. If seeing a counsellor helps – talk as much as it makes you feel more like you. If seeing a counsellor is far from anything you can manage – don’t feel guilty.

Depression is so different for everyone. There is no right way. I have taken anti-depressants (4 different types) to varying degrees of success and I’m still a bit skeptical. I have been seeing a counsellor for 18 months and I will continue to do so because I think it helps me. I have friends who I can chat to when it gets tough. I have things I like doing to get some space from the world. Do what you need to do to survive.

4.  Try and find some joy again. It maybe something small. Whatever it is look for the spark of joy. Try and find something that makes you smile. Try to find something that makes you happy. Try to find something that gives you something to focus on. It might be a pet. I have heard they are good to stroke and take care of, something to distract the mind. It might be a new project. For me writing helped. It enabled me to pour out my feelings. It might be your family. For me I have learnt to try and hold on to the moments of joy I get from my two boys. When I have been really low it has helped to go back to those times. Whatever it is try to find something that helps give you a bit of love of life again. However small something positive can grow.

Ultimately recovery is a journey for everyone. It is going to be completely different for everyone. I can only offer my thoughts. They have helped me.

I also know I still have a way to go to be exactly where I want to be. There are still issues that I am working on. My self confidence and self esteem is still not where I want it to be. My self doubt and self image are still very low. As a result this makes me question every conversation; I am my biggest critic.

My self harm hasn’t stopped. It has decreased. It isn’t such a crutch but it is still there. Another goal is to remove it. Let’s hope.

Recovery is an unfinished journey. I’m not ever sure I will be fully rid of depression. But it can get more manageable. It can get better.

Feeling emotional.

I haven’t written a blog post for a while now. To be honest I’ve been feeling so well. I’ve been happy and content. I know I should be sharing this as much as the bad but for me my writing only ever seems to flow properly when I feel low.

I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful 6 week summer holiday with my two children and my husband (who is also a teacher). But the last two days I have felt absolutely pushed and pulled in all directions. I feel drained. I feel very teary. I feel uptight.

What’s the cause? I’m getting better at trying to think this through rather than leave it as a jumble in my head which usually disintegrates into depression.

1. My children are driving me crazy! I love them. They are my utter world. I would do anything for them. But right now I am seriously thinking of changing my name to Bob, anything but mummy. The last few days they have been so whiny, demanding, moany and not only that they have been winding each other up as well. For one hour this afternoon my toddler must have screamed at his brother every 5 mins.

I know they both have colds. I know they are both tired as they have been up at night with coughs. I know some days it’s harder to be kind to your brother when you are stuck in the same room of one house. But seriously mummy is struggling.

And the worst thing is they are so loud about it. We went out for dinner tonight for my mum’s birthday and the whole pub would have heard them whine at every little thing.

2. Today is my mum’s birthday. A day I now find quite difficult. So in the weeks before her birthday I usually now buy my mum a present from my dad as his Alzheimer’s means he can’t do that. I then have to somehow give it to him to give to her without making him feel like I’m taking over or him feel like he is useless. I then worry all day about how my mum will feel. Dad used to be great at birthday presents and taking her out on her birthday etc. Now she has none of that from him and I end up feeling bad for her.

It also always hits me hard on occasions like today how much of the dad I used to know I have lost. Sometimes it is easier to forget how things have changed as I like to block it out but today I can’t. It really hits home to me how difficult it is for my mum and how different my dad is.

3. Sometimes my husband drives me mad! I know he will probably read this blog post so it’s a risk writing this here but it’s not meant to be a criticism so I hope he doesn’t take it this way. We have a different way of parenting at times. He is loud and snappy at the kids at times where I prefer the softly approach. I’m not saying either is better or worse, there are probably times when one is better than the other. But today I have struggled with his snapping at the children and his demands on them. He is completely right to expect better behaviour than we have seen today but I just can’t handle anyone else shouting and screaming!

Also he is very short with me at the moment. Sometimes I seem to ask an innocent question and he jumps down my throat with the response. He is super defensive all the time and I feel on edge that I’m going to do something to upset him.

4. Finally work is round the corner. My glorious 6 weeks that I was desperate for and look forward too so much is nearly over. Im feeling sad. I’m gutted. Work isn’t too bad. I like the people I work with. The students are generally amazing. But it’s work. Back to juggling being a mum and a job. Having more to worry about on a daily basis. Having the prospect of the added stresses throwing my depression out again.

I know these aren’t major things. But for me life is feeling a little topsy turvey. I’m very emotional and just need a massive hug (minus the whinging or moaning that can come with it)

There isn’t always a reason why depression strikes!

A week on holiday. It has been good. Friends, family, days out, holidays and mainly great weather. All week I have been good. Positive moods. Happy. Content.

But depression doesn’t have a plan. Depression is an illness that can strike at anytime. Depression doesn’t always have a reason. Today depression hit me hard.

The lowest day I’ve had in months. There is no reason for it. Nothing to worry about. Nothing I didn’t want to do. Just time at home with the family, the garden and the sunshine.

But depression came calling. A deep dark shadow hang over me all day. The black dog sat on me making me incapable of any action. All day a black storm cloud rained numbness down on me.

Today depression sucked the energy out of me. I had plans. I had ideas. But I couldn’t do any of them. I felt like I was stuck in quick sand. Being sucked into a complete abyss of nothingness.

Today I largely gave in to it. Today I mainly sat. Today I mostly spent the day consumed with my dark cloud.

My husband has been good today. He has been patient. He has been kind. He has been a great friend as well as a husband.

I always end days like these feeling guilty. Guilty for the lack of energy. Guilty for the the lack of action. Guilty for the effect on my family. Depression has taken its toll. Today I feel like giving up.

Why I’ve been hiding…

Blogging has been taking more and more of a smaller role in my life recently. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the main one is I’m hiding. But more of that later.

Firstly, football manager has come into my life again. A game from my childhood; I used to play it on my pc years ago! I recently downloaded the latest version on my iPhone and I’m hooked.

Yes I know I’m a girl but I love football (I keep it well hidden from some). Well anyone who is a fan of the game will know how addictive it can be. I have take Crewe from league 2 to the premiership, won the fa cup with them and I’m also now managing France.

Ok so many of you have switched off now. Boring. But in reality, just like Netflix also works for me in the same way, it has been my way of drifting off into a different world. Forgetting how I feel. Moving on from the emotions riddling through my brain. It’s a great escape.

Secondly then is the hiding going on behind the lack of the blog posts. Over the past few weeks I have been struggling to write because I am scared of being truthful with others.

More than anything I don’t want people to know how in really feeling. I don’t want to let my husband down. I don’t want my friends to think “not again, is she ever going to be over this?”. I also know friends who want me to see the gp are perhaps right but I’m happy in my denial of it all phase!

The problem is I’m so pleased my husband shared my blog with family and friends but now it becomes more scary when I write a post. My writing comes from my heart. My writing is full of honesty. My writing is who I am. But ask yourself this how many of you pour your soul onto paper? Out of those how many of you share it with people who know you? I do but sometimes it is hard to cope with.

When you feel like a failure every day of your life it’s so hard to open up and share that with people that see you. With people that know you. With people that see me coping. To tell them it’s all a lie or a front is very difficult. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want to be a failure. I don’t want the depression to win. I’m sorry.

Being a mum with depression

Illness illness everywhere,

Coughs and colds and virus’

Sick bugs, fevers they all are striking,

Making my children too stroppy for my liking.

Is it me? Am I the cause of their behaviour?

Is it me? Have I led them down the wrong path?

Is it me? Am I such a bad mother?

Is it me? Would they be better off with another?

Every evening my house has felt like a battleground,

It’s hard to keep calm when we are all so tired and uptight,

The depression means I lack as much patience as usual

The depression means blaming myself is completely normal.

I’m longing for spring and the warmth it brings,

I’m longing for spring and the end of the illnesses.

I’m longing for the depression to disappear

I’m longing for strength to come near.

Next week is half term a break from work,

Next week my eldest son can have time off school to regroup,

Next week is a chance to have some family time

Next week let’s hope the depression is last in line.

Excitement overload. Head spinning

So very excited. He can’t contain it. Hyper and full of energy. It is exhausting just to watch him. He cannot settle to anything for long. He is also winding his brother up all the time. Temptation to look at presents is overfilling in him.

I have been so looking forward to this Christmas. Seeing my four year olds face on Christmas Day. And now it is nearly here. I think the build up has been too long. I hope the reality lives up to my high expectations.

What am I looking forward to? Mainly the amazement and joy on the face of both my children when they wake up Christmas morning and see all the presents under the tree.

Christmas Eve today but I feel like I have been on a long Christmas Eve for the last month. Christmas is for children and now I have two that can’t wait.

The depression isn’t coping very well at the moment though. My brain feels foggy. My mind so tired and exhausted. My thoughts very cluttered. My anxiety heightened.

I’m trying to push this all to one side. At times I feel like the dark cloud is going to overcome me. I’m desperate to enjoy this time of year. Perhaps I’m trying to hard. Perhaps I’m wanting to much. Perhaps my hopes are too high. But I’m scared to let go and just be.

I’m an expert now at this illness. I feel like I am learning more and more how it works. At times that puts me at an advantage, whilst at others the battle I’m always geared up for is just too much to cope with.

In half an hour I will get ready to go to church and perhaps it will help to be busy. All this sitting, waiting and building up of emotion is sending my brain into overdrive. Living in the now is tough when you are waiting for tomorrow.

I hope you all have a happy Christmas. This year I will be making a wish for you all that mental illness becomes more respected and the stigma is slowly shattered more each day. I wish you the strength to deal with it and the tools to cope.

Dear Father Christmas

Certainly the words of the picture are so apt. Certainly my Christmas list this year is very very short. I don’t really care for anything material even though my husband will buy me something to open on Christmas Day. The things I really want cannot be bought.

I have one major goal for Christmas and that is for my family to be happy. To be surrounded by the love that we share.

If I’m honest I’m writing this now not knowing how my dad is. About half an hour ago my mum called to say Dad was really poorly and struggling to breath. Me in my pyjamas as I was putting my two boys to bed, shouted to my husband to go to my mum’s now (they are only a 5 min drive away). I’m writing this not really knowing what is happening. I know an ambulance has been called but that is it.

Like always of the recent months I seem to turn to writing when I can’t express my emotions. I’m at home now stuck as my two boys are asleep. Not really knowing what is happening but trusting my husband has it in control and will call me if there is any news.

Nothing feels right. Should I make a drink? Should I put the tv on? Should I tidy up? I actually feel completely frozen with worry. I can’t do anything. So I’m sat on the sofa writing how I feel!

So more than ever right now my wish for Christmas feels so real. Besides tonight my dad’s Alzheimer’s is worsening and who knows whether this is the last Christmas we can really enjoy with him being able to fully participate. Nobody knows what is around the corner and how his illness might deteriorate.

This Christmas is also special for me as I have two young boys. The four year old is beyond excited and fully believes in the magic of Father Christmas. Although my nearly 2 year old doesn’t understand that yet I am still excited to see his face when he sees all the presents on Christmas Day.

It leaves me to feel that Christmas is all about families and friends. Spending time with those you love. If you have young children around there is certainly also a magical element.

But let us not forget two things:

1. Don’t lose Christ from Christmas! Let’s remember why we celebrate Christmas. Certainly one of the family events that has become traditional in our house is sharing of the Christmas crib service. It lets us remember the real meaning of Christmas.

2. For some Christmas is the most difficult time of year. I know from my illness how crippling loneliness can be. Perhaps we could all make an effort this year to welcome or visit someone who we may know is on their own this year. For many reasons Christmas is far from happy for some. Let us try to do our bit to support those who are struggling.

P.s. it’s now the next day. My dad was taken to hospital with a funny ecg. He was let home at 3:30am this morning. It is hard (and a long story) to explain what happened but his Alzheimer’s made it worse as he was very confused.

The events of yesterday make me even more thankful of families. Nothing is easy (today a virus has wiped me out and my youngest has come home from nursery with chicken pox appearing) but all I want for Christmas is my family.