My Masquerade Ball – Wearing a smile to hide the pain!

It has been a very tough week – it’s amazing what comes out when you start to write things down……

My Masquerade Ball

I put on a smile for the whole world to see, so as not to reveal to them the real me.
The demons I hide, the voices in my head, screaming ‘come on slit your wrists you’d be better off dead’.
The noise is unbearable, the racket insane, is it really just something wrong with my brain?
I’ve heard it been said it’s the devil inside, having his fun, dragging me along for the ride.

I’m drained, I’m exhausted, I have no more to give, but somewhere inside I know I must live.
So I put on my smile like at a Masquerade Ball, to hide all my tears like there’s nothing wrong at all.
I want to be happy so give them all a grin, I know my smile will hold it all in.
I shall play, I shall sing and give it my all, but the devil is still dancing with me at my Masquerade Ball.

But at what point can I stop smiling and playing the part, of a happy new mother who is happy at heart.
My mind is so broken, chaotic, confused, but I must dig real deep so I do not lose.
Because if I lose the smile, surely they will all know, how ashamed I am for feeling so low.
I am disgusted and hate what I have become, when all I wanted was to be a mum.

I have a beautiful daughter who’s healthy and bright, she is so well behaved and sleeps through the night.
My husband he helps me take care of the chores, and tidies the explosion of toys on the floor.
But why is it then my world has fallen apart, no control of my emotions, was I damned from the start?
To suffer in silence feeling isolated and alone, afraid to walk out the door to leave my home.

My home has become like a prison for me, scared if I venture out someone I know I might see.
They will ask if I’m ok and is motherhood everything I’d planned, isn’t life just amazing and fantastically grand.
I will put on my smile and politely say, ‘yes I’m having such a wonderful day!’
‘Every moment is precious and fills me with love, it’s hard but it’s worth it and I thank heaven above’.

I desperately want to feel this wonderful bliss, enjoying every little cuddle and kiss.
But the truth is far darker and I know I can’t say, I just want to pack up my bags and run far away.
They don’t want to hear how I am destroyed inside, my marriage is suffering as emotions collide.
I know it will pass as that’s what you get told, you will break free from this demon and away from the cold.

Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change a thing, my daughter is here and truly a blessing.
But until I am free from popping pills and the dread, caused by the voices running riot in my head.
I am under the devils dark and relentless rule, smiling and having fun at my Masquerade Ball.
I will wear a smile, the tears it will stop, until the demons inside me are all but forgot.

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Are you a PND Zombie????? – Post Natal Depression & Tiredness

Tired, exhausted, drugged, drained, consumed, pooped (quite appropriate considering the amount of poohy nappies one encounters as a mummy!), fatigued, worn out, weary, depleted, debilitated, used up……

One of the most debilitating symptoms I have experienced is the exhaustion and unrelenting tiredness caused by PND. After my daughter Iyla was born, it slowly led to me walking around the house in a zombie like state, confused and having no idea what was going on. It’s just the lack of sleep and an adjustment to motherhood I thought! Little did I realise that this was the beginning of a very dark time for me.

Even now, 10 months on from being diagnosed with PND, trying to get words out of my mouth sometimes results in a dribble of random, slurred twaddle. Somehow, my husband seems to get the gist of what I am struggling to say…..well most of the time…..he’s almost fluent in PND Zombie speak! Other times, I get words in the wrong order or the first letters mixed up. Sound familiar….? Oh and not to mention saying a completely different word to the one I actually mean….for example…. ‘can you Hoover the grass’ or ‘can you get the mushrooms out of the washing machine’…….errrrrr WTF????

When I was studying for my A-Levels I developed Glandular Fever, I thought that the exhaustion caused by this was bad, but this PND zombie fatigue is so much more intense. Every part of my body aches; when it’s bad it feels like I have lactic acid build up in every single muscle, so just moving hurts. My eyes do this weird ‘one eye open one eye closed’ thing, desperately wanting to both be closed, but I can’t as I have to look after my daughter. It is a battle of wills to force my eye lids open sometimes.

So what’s the answer? I also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) so I can’t take caffeine as it gives me terrible nausea, so Lucazade has been my pick-me-up drink of choice, not that it does much good. I also get constant cravings to eat chocolate…..leading to uncontrollable binges; the other week I sat on my sofa and ate 4 double-fingered Twix’s one after the other, shoveling them in, desperate to get an energy kick, which I know is stupid considering it only causes a brief sugar spike followed by an almighty fall. And so it begins again…..seriously I think I should be taking shares out in Lucazade considering the amount I’ve consumed!

All I want is to function normally. A common line in my household is “what’s wrong with you”…the reply….”I am so tired” – it then turns into a competition between me and my husband to see who is more tired! What I try to explain to him is that the tiredness I feel is a debilitating exhaustion and that sometimes I just can’t push past it, no matter how much I try or want to! No amount of sleep or power naps seem to help.

So I ask of those supporting loved ones through Post Natal Depression….Do not make it a competition….you may be working and doing the housework and going to the gym and looking after the baby AND mummy!…..but the type of tiredness we feel affects our physical and mental ability to function even remotely normally. Lines become blurred, decision making is impossible, rational thoughts are a thing of the past and just getting through one day is a mission.

So are you a PND Zombie?…. I looked up the definition of a ‘zombie’ on the internet and this is what I found…..
Life-less, unfeeling, soulless corpse, a slave with no will of their own, metaphor for the history of slavery, induced death-like state of suspended animation, reawakening into a psychotic state, mindless, mute and will-less, the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, usually for some evil purpose…..

I think I may have coined a new phrase to describe the exhaustion felt by PND sufferers?!?!

If you had a broken leg you would be told to take it easy and don’t do too much….just because our injury isn’t visible on the outside, it doesn’t make it any less of a burden or any less real. So rest when you can, if you don’t feel up to doing something then say so, you don’t have to try and battle on! Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or for someone to look after your little one while you get some rest! Listen to your body and put yourself first once in a while! 🙂

Mwah

Natalie xxxxxxxx

Post Natal Depression is NOT an Excuse!!

On my road to recovery from PND, the need to constantly have to justify my actions, my feelings, my symptoms or my moods, has been extremely tough to deal with. It has been hard enough to have the courage to say out loud and admit I have Post Natal Depression, let alone having to repeatedly explain myself to others too.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to say….”It’s because of my Post Natal Depression” or “I can’t because I have Post Natal Depression”….(even I am getting sick of hearing myself say it lol!)….
How do I get people to understand that I am actually ill? How do I get them to understand that simple daily tasks are sometimes just impossible? Surely those closest to you should know better than to put us in a position, where we constantly have to justify ourselves by saying ‘it’s the PND’ over and over? Personally, it makes me feel ashamed, like I am forced to admit my failures. It may not be their intent, but nevertheless it still has this impact.

There will be quite a few people out there who think it’s my ‘get out of jail free’ card; but PND is NOT an excuse! It is NOT an excuse to get out of doing the household chores or looking after the baby; nor to avoid exercising or an excuse to lounge on the sofa or have a few cheeky extra hours in bed! We are NOT just being ‘lazy’!

The line that has hurt me most on this subject, was when my husband said “I can’t tell if it’s actually because of your PND or whether you are just being lazy, like the old you”. It was bad enough that he questioned my PND, but to think he thought that I was lazy before I had my daughter, was all too much. It is comments like this that can really cut deep when you are suffering from depression. If you are trying to support someone with PND, please be mindful what you say, as it can do more damage than you could ever imagine, even if this was not your intent.

Some who read this may have negative vibes towards my blog and think that it’s depressing (errrr to be fair it is a blog about depression lol?!?!?). They might think that I am a self pitying, wallowing, hypochondriac that wants attention; or even that I am lazy and finding excuses for everything, and they wonder why can’t I just suck it up and get on with life!!! Great suggestion….come on ladies, suck it up and get on with life….all better, problem solved! Please try to understand it’s attitudes like this that are the problem, those with PND can’t just ‘snap out of it’ or pop a few pills, there is no ‘voila’ moment where we are suddenly cured, forever free of our imaginary demons! These demons are very real, and more deadly that any others, as they can’t be seen!

My opinions are my own and everyone’s experience is different, but we have one thing in common, it’s not just the PND we are battling, but also the non believers and those who aren’t willing to understand!

They say ‘knowledge is power’…..my hope is that by sharing my insights into my world as a sufferer of PND, that it will open peoples eyes and help them to understand, so they are emotionally better equipped to support sufferers of Post Natal Depression, and in turn help those suffering to recover.

Mwah

Natalie xxxxxx

Baby, Me & PND – Facebook Page

Exciting times…….I have now created a Facebook Page to link with my blog……please take a look & ‘Like’:

I hope that this will mean that I can reach out to more people who may benefit or find comfort from reading my blog.

I also want to say thank you to all of those who have taken the time to read my posts, the response so far has been amazing and rather overwhelming. This is the most positive and enthusiastic I have felt about anything in a very long time. It almost feels alien to feel this way; after so many mornings waking up feeling exhausted, my body aching, not wanting to face the day ahead, it is a pleasant surprise to instead wake up excited & finding inspiration in what’s happening in my life, to develop ideas for new posts. 

This past week, I have been more driven and more determined than ever to battle my demons and to use my experiences and resources to help others who are suffering from PND.

‘The struggle you are in today, is developing the strength you need for tomorrow’ – Anonymous    

Mwah

Natalie xxxxxx

Share YOUR Experiences of PND – Never be ashamed of how you feel!

It is so important to me that I share your experiences of Post Natal Depression on my blog, not just my own…… I am not alone in the pool of mummy’s that have the ‘PND t-shirt’!

No one should ever be ashamed of how they feel, it takes a huge amount of courage and bravery to open up and give voice to the voices in your head….I should know, it has taken me months to get myself to a point where I could admit that I am really struggling and express my true feelings (rather than just saying what I thought everyone wanted to hear!).

There will always be people out there who don’t understand, don’t want to try to understand and those who would rather not acknowledge that PND even exists……..fear not though as I am sure I will have a few posts and things to say on that subject lol!…..Sadly, these people are often the ones closest to us, which is why their comments cut us so deep and can make moving on so hard. However, there will always be someone out there who will read what you have to say and think that you have read their mind and put their feelings down on paper (or blog lol!). If it can help just one mother battling against this very real illness, offering comfort and support that they are not alone, then what a wonderful support network that would be.

So I am calling all mothers that are still battling their Post Natal Depression, and those that have come out the other end….please offer your thoughts, poems, tips, feeling, ideas….I know we would all love to hear them.

Here is one poem that was written by a lady who has ‘won’ her battle with PND, but in one of her darkest moments she wrote this……

The Pool of Life… 

Life is a like a large pool of water.You are put into it and quickly learn how to splash about and swim to keep your head above water. But soon after you get in amongst a lot of other swimmers, they hold you under the water or push you down to keep their heads above the water. You reach out to grasp things, but they slip through your fingers, or break off and again you go under. You keep fighting for air, and keep splashing about and pretend to look as if you are enjoying the swim. But when so many things or people put you under, you can only come up for air for so many times before you really start to sink. Someone help me, take me out of this water so that I can breathe. All I want is to float up, and find a true feeling of happiness and peace of mind.

Sometimes I wonder if we are all meant to go through certain challenges in our life, so that when we come out the other side, we have the ability to help and support those that have fallen prey to the same struggles.

So go on, be brave, and if you can, get those feelings out and do not be afraid of what others may think! If you aren’t yet able to express yourself, then read what others have to say and take comfort in knowing you are not alone, no matter how isolated you feel.

Mwah

Natalie xxxxx

Taking Tiny Steps – Let your child show you how!

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So this morning the sun was shining…..the birds were singing…..Iyla let me have a bit of a lay in….. and I was feeling good! – Sorry couldn’t help myself, just had to add the singing bird line in lol! I am sure there were probably some birds tweeting away merrily somewhere nearby though! – When I woke up today there wasn’t that stomach wrenching fear to face the day ahead, my physical body wasn’t dragging my mind out of bed, and no wishing that the day had ended before it had even begun.

There have been many ‘bad’ mornings where I have started by counting how many hours there were left until I could put Iyla back to bed, and that was before I had even emerged from my bedroom to greet her with my enthusiastic smile and excitement…..it is amazing how good of an actress you can become when you have PND. It may sound ungrateful to wish away spending time with my daughter, but when you have PND, sometimes just the thought of having to look after and entertain your baby is terrifying, especially when inside all you want to do is curl up in a ball and wish that you just didn’t exist.

BUT…….today was a ‘good’ day for me!!!! – Those battling with PND need to remember that the ‘good’ days will eventually out-number the ‘bad’ days….you will wake up and want to get out of bed. It’s days like today that I know that the darkness of Post Natal Depression hasn’t completely taken over me, a little bit of me is still in there.

So…..this morning I decided to head out for a run (…an awkward plodding motion might be a more accurate description), and I put on my new trainers, grabbed my phone and headphones, put on some funky tunes and walked out the door. Now to many this would be considered as no big thing, just a sign that I have finally decided to get off my arse (and in my case, at the moment, it’s a considerably wobbly and cellulite ridden one…there is nothing bootylicious about this booty lol!) and do some exercise, instead of being lazy and moaning how unhappy I am with my appearance! However, for me this was a step forward!

When I started my run (aka my plod!) I was concentrating on trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other, oh and not passing out because I was out of breath; then my mind turned to thinking about steps…and daisies (this will make sense…there will be another post to come about daisies!).

The other day I felt able to acknowledge that I had been making positive steps towards getting better. Good on me I thought, until my hubby pointed out that they were only ‘tiny’ steps, and that I could and should be taking much bigger steps to help myself! That one comment was enough to make me feel useless.

BUT……..a step is a step, no matter how ‘tiny’, if you are moving forward and towards doing more positive things, do not let anyone put your efforts down!

When our little ones get to the point where they are on the verge of taking their first step, it is a massive milestone. All we demand from them is one ‘tiny’ step; and when they do take this one ‘tiny’ step, we are amazed, excited, in awe of this massive achievement. It seems to be one of life’s most memorable moments as a parent. Everyone wants to know at what age did your little one take their first step, it’s a question that seems to be enormously important when comparing babies developments.

So when we take a ‘tiny’ step along our road to recovery, why is it that we do not give ourselves this same praise and have pride in our achievements? A child only learns to walk by taking it one ‘tiny’ step at a time, until their confidence slowly grows, then the steps will become bigger and bolder, until they are running around with energy and excitement, enjoying their freedom!

When I got back from my run…oooops sorry I meant plod….. I watched as my daughter was cruising round the furniture….her steps were ‘tiny’ but she got to where she wanted to go. She has still not mastered the art of walking unaided yet, she has the strength there but just needs a little more confidence in herself, to know that she can take those steps alone. Maybe me and Iyla can build up our confidence together and take the ‘tiny’ steps to get to where we want to go.

Mwah

Natalie xxxxxxx

Ps. I am LOVING my new trainers……pink pink pink pink pink…….oh and they are very comfortable too!!!!

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Strength – Find your strength to battle your PND

You have been given this life because you are strong enough to handle it

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I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason…….

I received an unexpected gift this week that contained a necklace with the word ‘strength’ on! It was exactly the word i needed to hear and strangely (and a little spookily) it randomly found it’s way to me! It got me through another one of my dark moments, which seem to creep up on you a lot when you have PND!

I think that this is such a powerful word…..no matter how bad things get, somewhere deep inside there will be that little bit of inner strength to help you carry on!

I know that a lot of the time I don’t feel strong at all, even though through my life I have always been told that I don’t realise how strong I am…to which my reply was always ‘I am not strong’. Now when I look back at certain situations and hard times that I have had to face, the fact is I survived them, I carried on, I got back up! The key word here is ‘I’…. I had the ‘strength’ to move on, even if it was only one day at a time!

We all need support to help us in life, but it is our strength that will ultimately get us through the dark times! So when we think we can’t carry on and we aren’t strong enough…..take a deep breath and remember you are still here fighting against it….and to fight you need strength….you are doing it without even realising it!

It may not seem helpful to look back at our past, but maybe when we are low and feel desperate, unable to see any light at all….think about one specific situation that you survived, a battle that you fought to survive…..it may be something big or may only be that this morning you got out of bed (when you have PND even that is a massive step) …..you had the strength to overcome it then and that strength is still there, maybe just buried a little deeper this time, but it is there!

We are strong and powerful women….it is just a shame that sometimes we just don’t realise it!

Mwah……

Natalie xxxxxxxx

Ps…..try standing up straight and closing your eyes….repeat several times (around 10 but don’t count otherwise this will put you off lol!):
‘I am a strong and powerful woman’
Your subconscious will absorb this and you may not feel it but it will have an impact….so stand up straight and give it a go 🙂 x