Let’s Talk About That Baby

Let’s Talk About That Baby

Let’s Talk About That Baby. A real article that confronts the topic of PND for what it is, honestly, so please give it a read.

My thanks to the blog author, Robin Riedstra, who although I’ve only found recently, I’ve been super interested in her articles because of their honesty and interesting subjects, so keep up the awesome work, Robin!

Yes,  that woman needs help and if there was more pr in hospitals, at the Dr surgery or that we moved to a place in the future women just knew that there were places that would take care of them, or their baby, when things got too much, with no judgement, just real, honest long-term support and continual care.

Oh yes, I know it’s only a dream, but hey, I’m allowed to, aren’t I?

If you’re feeling sad, down or worried that you may harm or neglect your little one, please get in touch with beyondblue.org.au immediately as they will have staff on hand to support you through this time. Your other option is to get in touch with your GP, or PANDA.

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16 – 22nd November is PND Awareness Week…

16 – 22nd November is PND Awareness Week…

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week is 16-22 November.

Help raise awareness and reduce the stigma.

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Ahhh, pregnancy… do you remember yours fondly? Perhaps yours was awful and filled with illness and worry? Perhaps everything was great, until you started worrying and feeling depressed? Or perhaps everything was fine until about 6 weeks after you’d settled back in at home and then it hit you. You are now responsible for a whole other little person who totally relies on you and you can’t back out now…

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Did you know that up to one in 10 Australian women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to one in seven in the year following birth. Anxiety is thought to be even more common.

Now here’s where I give you my story to inspire YOU to be HONEST with others to CHANGE people’s lives and STOP THE STIGMA AROUND DEPRESSION.

I’ve suffered from mental illness since I was about 16 – anxiety and depression – and because I am treated by a psychiatrist both of my pregnancies were closely monitored by medial and psych staff to ensure that I wasn’t succumbing to depression.

My first pregnancy, although filled with constant vomiting and feeling hideous, was fine in regards to depression and anxiety. At six-days old my son was rushed into hospital and there he stayed for 6 weeks with heart problems, accidental overdoses by his medical team and a number of other ghastly issues; still I stayed ‘together’. In fact, I kept things ‘together’ in regards to his illness, my subsequent divorce and our battle to survive alone for another 4 years! I did pretty darn well, I think! Sometimes however, survival mode kicks in and you just can’t have the time, nor introspection to deal with a deep depression that is lurking in the background.

Over the coming years I suffered on and off with severe bouts of anxiety and depression – but didn’t allow myself to explore the reason behind it – probably due to the fact that I felt so bloody lucky that my boy survived that I didn’t really want to bring back all of the drama and feelings that I had about being on the very, very knife-edge of losing him. So, I pushed it down and talked with my psychiatrist about other ‘issues’!

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Nine years down the track, in a wonderful new marriage with a fantastic husband and a well, happy and kinda awesome 9-year-old son, I blessedly became pregnant again (hooray!!!!!)) and yes, I suffered – although I believe it wasn’t actually possible, much worse all-day hyperemesis (that’s constant nausea and vomiting). Also 41 isn’t your prime time to reproduce ladies – there is a name for us in medical circles and it’s a geriatric pregnancy! Humph!

This baby was the one I had prayed for. I had dreamed and begged and not been able to get the urge away that I needed to have another. For any guys reading this, I’m sure it’s biological – you just cannot be rational about it!

So when she arrived, she was perfect – okay, we had 24 hours in the special care nursery, but after my previous experience that was nothing! Everything was super, super awesome and I was so blissfully happy with my new bubba, my gorgeous boy and my darling husband that I didn’t put my finger on the little signs that had begun.

Things I was very much used to being aware of… unexplained worry about grand and insane tragedies that may befall my baby, my son or my husband. A constant feeling of unease. A few all-night insomnia bouts not related to the baby.

Yep, the anxiety had started and started in a big way. My psychiatrist and I had been planning for any potential PND and it happened pretty much right on time! Six to eight weeks after the birth…

So what was to be done?

Well we increased my daily medication, I had more frequent appointments with her and I began to learn the technique of mindfulness to combat the feelings – at times this works, at others, not so much! But I have been very, very blessed to be surrounded by amazing health professionals and a husband who has suffered depression before and felt it was very important to know what signs to look for in me so that we could attack the PND before it got any worse.

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So, two totally different pregnancies; two totally different first months of looking after a baby – boy child was looked after by nurses at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and missy was home in three days; two totally different situations in regards to my personal happiness and situation at the time (first marriage – abusive and frankly, awful and frightening on most levels – this time around I learned and learned well – we’re true partners, deeply in love and are happy, oh, and we laugh all the time!).

So girls, Post Natal Depression can strike you regardless of your situation, your personal feelings about parenthood, marriage, career or life, you can get it when you’re a normally happy-go-lucky woman or somebody who is more sedate and a planner. There seems to be no correlation other than you’re at a higher risk if you suffer from depression, or have had episodes prior, or if you suffer from anxiety. Also lack of sleep is a huge monster that makes PND much, much worse and as we know babies don’t like it when you sleep!

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My friends: I ask that you do something to change our world. Something in honour of your own mother, your female friends, your male friends, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers.

RAISE AWARENESS OF POST NATAL DEPRESSION.

There is NOTHING to be ashamed of in suffering from a mental illness – I discuss my experiences because I am DETERMINED to show that you can be a normal, unscary, and contributive member of society, a mother, a wife, a volunteer and a businesswoman and suffer. Yep, some times (not days, but weeks and sometimes months) are worse than others, but at 42 I’ve learned a lot about what gets the ‘black dog’ off my back quicker than I used to be able to and I’m in control of my illness – it DOES NOT control me.

So DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR STORY – it will help others. It will give others the courage to speak out and share. And it will help others to seek treatment.

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How can you help? It’s easy-peasy! Just hop on over to beyondblue.org.au where they’ve got lots and lots of great materials that you can download, as well as helpful advice for mamas-to-be, dads-to-be and new parents.

There are also some other ways to get involved, you can:

  • Pop on over to the beyondblue’s Just Speak Up campaign website and add YOUR voice to the campaign. Take a look around the site and you’ll find lots of great stories to inspire and support
  • You can change your social media profile pictures to the Just Speak Up profile badge
  • Display the badge on your blog or other forum (you’ll see mine is over there on the side!)

More practically, you could:

  • Hold an event to raise money for beyondblue and you can even order FREE resources (including information booklets and flyers for women and their families as well as posters and postcards) to hand out
  • Display Just Speak Up posters on your community or work notice boards.
  • Include information about perinatal anxiety and depression in your workplace newsletter.
  • Include a link to the beyondblue and Just Speak Up websites on your workplace intranet and/or website.

Here are some files that may help you out!

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Good luck and remember NEVER be ashamed to be yourself. You are you and you are good enough JUST AS YOU ARE! The world only has one of you and it would be a lesser place without you.

I would LOVE for you all to share your experiences on depression, anxiety and also PND here and hope we can all be of support to each other – it does help a lot!

With extra-special hugs and hand-holding courage,
Mrs Jones x

Upon life sucking as a mother, and it’s not why you think…

Upon life sucking as a mother, and it’s not why you think…

What’s on my mind at the moment? Glitter.
Why?

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Yes, Rebecca, why, when I can hear the anguished cries of my beloved daughter in the next room with my husband calming her, would glitter be on my mind?

Bear with me friends as I give you this longish, but I think, rather interesting, backstory…

You see, this month alone I’ve had 4 separate stays in the hospital due to a bulging disc in my back and the complications that have come about from bits and pieces related to this chronic condition I must suffer for life with.

Surely not! I hear you cry! Modern technology! Modern medicine! Modern stuff, anything… Nope. Doesn’t work that way.

Just last week I was told by this State’s most super, of all super doctors who are super at this orthopaedic kind of thing, that I’ll always have ‘episodes’ where my back goes ‘out’. I’ll always need super strong drugs and super awesome doctors to help me during said ‘episodes’ and even super rehab people to build me up again and, of course, rely on my super trusty bloody walking stick AT THE AGE OF 42.

Each and every time this happens – you know, probably a few times a year if I’m unlucky…

As I type this my husband is still comforting our daughter who it seems is probably teething again. And what’s on my mind? My daughter? Nope – that is too painful to think about so I’m doing my best to move over to glitter at the moment. Because I love it. It’s pretty. It makes me happy.

Why? Because if I don’t I think I may just go mad…
Honestly it would be so easy to just let go and stop fighting to keep it together, because life is really rather awful for me, and our family, in many ways at the moment.

You see, Edie my daughter, who will be one in a few days won’t come near me if she has a choice. If she’s given to me she struggles to get away and if she’s got to stay with me for a few minutes she’ll scream the house down before she realises she’s stuck and better make the most of an unfortunate situation.

As a mother, who frankly went through something akin to hell to carry her to a safe gestational state to leave my body, I die a little inside each time she turns away…

Why has this happened and why on earth to me? A mother who a few short weeks ago was the centre of my daughters world?

Well my friends it seems that everything comes at a cost! Some more severe than others…

You see all of the ‘wonderful’, pain relieving medicines I’ve been given to get me moving, need additional medicines to cancel out the rather bad side effects of the ‘wonderful’ medicines; but in addition to the ‘wonderful’ drugs and their additional ‘wonderful’ helpers I still need to take daily doses of ‘restricted’ medicines that give me relief from what is called ‘breakthrough’ pain.

This, on it’s own – besides being a confusing and extraordinarily large amount of pills – isn’t actually that bad…

Well it wasn’t all that bad until I came home from my first hospital stay of 5 days; where, by the way, I found myself a Grandma – hooray (I’ll save that story for another post!).

I’ve never been away from Edie for that long before, and Mr Jones brought her and Dexter in to visit me daily. But when I got home she was not particularly thrilled to be around me, which I took as just her being a little snippity at my ‘holiday’ away from her, the centre of my universe!

Nope. The little narc knew I was on ‘drugs’! She could sense it! It seems that she knew I was on some pretty strong stuff and as a primal protective behaviour decided I wasn’t up to the job of Mama and so Daddy better gear up pretty quickly because he had become her number choice of parent! Fair call… In fact, I felt pretty proud that she had such strong instincts that could protect her.

But, 4 weeks and another 3 hospital stays down the track, I now need to keep something pretty positive in my mind before I go to bed these days… Hence the glitter. It makes me happy – don’t judge.

You see friends, the fabulous and, I’m sure, personally delightful, team of medicos at the hospitals I’ve recently been the guest of, in their collective wisdom actually decided to put me, a patient who is on daily medication for anxiety/depression, onto these ‘wonderful’ medications whose collective side-effects include –

“trouble sleeping; feeling anxious, nervousness, unusual thoughts or dreams or feeling deep sadness; abnormal thinking or changes in mood; unusual changes in mood or behaviour; signs of new or increased irritability or agitation; signs of depression”

Well, God Bless ’em because within 2 weeks on the meds guess who was up at the ED for a midnight visit suffering from some ‘unusual thoughts’: my iPad was controlling my mind (actually this could be closer to reality than I’d thought…); some ‘abnormal thinking’: none of it was Steve Jobs fault and he was NOT to be blamed, especially by Mr Jones; and some ‘unusual changes in behaviour’: I spent a good deal of my trip to the hospital making the exact noise Edie does, a clicking/blurting thing… She’s not yet one. I’m 42. Clearly this wasn’t an awesome change in behaviour…

Don’t fear, I’m not done here, there’s so much more to tell you and the answer to why being a mama is killing me at the moment, and yep, it’s definitely NOT why you’ll think it is…

So darlings, keep a sharp eye out for my next post which includes more of the charming, and I’m sure amusing, adventures of ‘Becky the useless and rather disliked by her progeny Mama’…

Love you all more than ever (the drugs make me say stuff I only think!)
Mrs Jones x

One anxiety attack at a time…

One anxiety attack at a time…

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Mrs Jones Lilac...
Mrs Jones Lilac…

Okay, so last week I FINALLY – and I say FINALLY because it’s been over a year (gasp!!!) – went to the hairdresser and got a cut!

I’ve been growing my hair since before I was pregnant and it’s been a LONG TIME coming! Edie is nearly 9 months old and I’ve just not had the time, nor the energy, to bother with my hair. So growing it was the solution and then I decided to go gray – which by the way I’m still doing – but I’ve decided to have a bit of fun and do EXACTLY what I want with my hair without worrying about bosses or what people think because frankly, this will probably the last few years I can be bothered to do it!

I’d gone a nice lilac colour as the pink faded and I did a little experiment, so now I have a lilac fringe and the rest is a greyish/ash blonde colour… But… I’ve been told a few times now, by my darling husband that he really prefers the pink, so to give him a thrill (mwahahaha!) I’m going back to pink for a while… now I just need to find an hour or so to do my roots and add the pink!

I’m using Fudge Paintbox Pink Moon, which sounds fairly exotic, but is a nice candy pink colour – well that’s what my aim will be. The final result shall be anybody’s guess!

Now I suppose some of you (who have a remote interest in this blog or my thoughts!) are interested in my depression/anxiety journey and where I’m at… Well, I’ve been steadily getting more positive and ‘in control’ over the past 2 weeks – still having extremely crappy moments and lots of stress with my ability to deal with more than one thing at a time, but I’m on the up and today is a sunny day. I’ve got an appointment with my doctor on Monday and we’ll chat about things and I’ll see where I’m at longer term and why I’m cracking apart more often. We both suspected that lack of sleep had a fair bit to do with it (Edie is NOT sleeping through) so Mr Jones has taken it upon himself to do a few additional overnights – which are during the week and as he works in the city each day, he is SUPER WONDERFUL and a fantastic man to support me this way.

Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted some more interesting stuff asap!

Have a lovely day and enjoy your sunshine wherever you can find it
Love Mrs Jones x

On Anxiety & Depression…

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Sarah’s flowers

Hello friends,

I certainly don’t want to bring you down, especially if life is grand and all you can see is sunshine outside your window! I just want to explain why I’ve been out of the loop lately and you’ve not heard from me for a while… (If you don’t want to get personal, leave this post and come back when things are sunshiny and gorgeous again!)

I won’t overshare, as the interweb is full of oversharing: both pictorially and word-wise, and frankly nobody needs more of that! So, in brief, I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for over 20 years now. Wow, that’s a long time when I see it written down like that!

For the past 10 years or so I’ve dealt really well with it with the help of medication and therapy. In more recent times (the past 2 years) I’ve only needed to see my doctor every 6 months or so because things have been easy-peasy (with the exception of a full-blown breakdown when I had to change medication while I was trying to get pregnant, but that’s another story!).

Of course, life is never a smooth sea and to quote “a smooth sea never made a strong sailor” which is something that always makes me feel better. I will admit that suffering from this affliction has made me a much better person for the most. I tend to see signs of depression in others who suffer and have, hopefully, helped a number of people who were suffering in silence, to seek medical attention and grab onto an anchor in their distress.

Unfortunately, things have recently taken a turn down a dark tunnel for me, and regardless of how awesome life is – wonderful, supportive (and I believe the most handsome man I know!) hubby; two funny, happy and healthy kids; teaching Sunday School at a small church; crafting my little heart out when I have time so that I can share my wares with those on Etsy; and lots and lots of exciting plans to share crafting with others through workshops – I’ve had to admit that I was beginning to go downhill fast and needed to see my doctor for an emergency appointment where we decided to increase my medication and have more ‘chats’ for a while. How sucky is that? Not because I’ve got to see her; not at all! My doctor is the most amazing, supportive and insightful woman I’ve met and I truly love the insight she gives me and do my very best to apply what she teaches me.

The suckiness is because anxiety is without doubt the most invasive and distressing affliction I’ve had to deal with. For me the depression comes BECAUSE I’m so bloody anxious constantly (for no apparent reason) that I get so tired from being hyper-vigilant, sad because I let people down and angry because I can’t reason my way out of a feeling of impending doom that blankets my entire world.

This has been going on for 3 weeks now and honestly folks, I want to scream! I’m doing everything I should: exercising (I’ll admit I only began that again yesterday – but it felt great physically), keeping all stress and non-essential additions in my life to the bare minimum; seeking help where I can; you know, pretty much dropping out of life until I can breathe without feeling like a panic attack is just around the corner.

And you know what else is even suckier? I’m a Christian woman who tries her very best to give things over to God. Yep, I know this isn’t popular these days (and please don’t judge me. I’m not about the whole Westborough Baptist view of the world! My only aim is to be as much like Jesus as I can – love God with my whole heart, mind and soul and give people love, support and no judgement and as I go through life with them; hopefully showing them that regardless of what life throws at them, having faith can be an amazing and beautiful thing!) but no matter how I try, when I’m like this I cannot, no matter how hard I try, stay on track to pray, read my Bible and give this crappy feeling over to God. (Interestingly, many other Christians I know who suffer in this way find they can’t either and reading the Bible is almost impossible because you cannot concentrate long enough to understand what you’ve just read. Depressing really.)

Look, I know by this stage that I suffer from a biological affliction and the serotonin doesn’t go where it should in my brain, but there are some days when this ‘cross’ is pretty hard to bear…

Anyhow, enough of that! This will pass and I have amazing love, support and inspiration around me and I WILL feel better eventually. Many others around our world are dealing with MUCH, MUCH worse situations than I’ll ever see. Death, disaster and destruction of their lives.

So friends, I lied. I did overshare. Sorry.

I won’t burden you again with stuff about me that is so depressing and yuk, but I did want to explain why I’ve not been posting and sharing beautiful things with you. I do have some awesome plans for the coming months that will involve other crafty, vintage-loving mamas and awesome women from around the place, but unfortunately you’ll have to make do with some simpler posts until I finish climbing this mountain and begin coasting down the other side!

Love to you all. I’d love to hear from anybody else who goes through this kind of thing – not only can we be vintage-loving, awesome goodness loving people, we can now be online, anxiety buddies 😉

Take care
Love Mrs Jones x