anxiety, blog, depression, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, Uncategorized


Below is a list of some of the things or ‘triggers’ that set my anxiety or low mood off. There are many but these are probably the most prevalent:

  • The weather: I have, for as long as I remember, always noticed a change in my mood when the weather is dull and gloomy. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer, if the weather is dull, wet, windy and gloomy, so is my mood. I am one of those people who thrive when the sun is shining. The warmth, the sunshine, the long days in the summer and even those cold, crisp sunny days in the winter. Everything always seems better when the sun is shining. I am sure no one really loves it when it’s dark, rainy and windy outside; but for me it’s more than just a dislike. It makes me feel sad. It makes me feel down. It makes me want to hibernate. I do not like being cold and wet. It makes everything that little bit more difficult. Everything is more of a faff. The uncertainty of it all makes me anxious.


  • Sleep: I love and need my sleep. If I do not get enough sleep I can be pretty foul to be around (just ask my husband). I must say, since having our son I have obviously gotten used to having a little less sleep than I would like, but I am glad (and lucky) to say that he has, on the whole, always been a very good sleeper. Of course he has his moments when he is ill or teething, but these are few and far between. I know I can function on very little sleep (because I did when he was a new born), but now I am used to my sleep again, I literally do not know how I would function if he wasn’t good at sleeping now. Particularly now he is an exhausting toddler and I am back at work. I always notice a change in my mood and anxiety levels when I am tired and haven’t gotten enough sleep. I snap and I am irritable. I get angry at the silliest things. Everything frustrates me and I struggle to cope with the simplest things, as they take all my energy. These are the days when CBeebies, or whatever our sons favourite film (obsession) is at the time, come in very handy. At the moment it is Shrek, or “Ogre” as he calls it. Quite frankly, some days the TV is a lifesaver. I used to beat myself up about days when we watched a lot of TV, but I don’t anymore. Through my counselling I have learnt and accepted that it is ok to have lazy days every so often if that is what I need to get me through the day. To cope with everyday life. I have now accepted this and know that it does not make me a bad mother. It makes me one who recognises that to do the best for our son and our family, I need to look after myself too.


  • Baby / Toddler mealtimes: Ever since we started weaning our boy at six months old, mealtimes have always been the worst part of my day. I basically dread them. They send my anxiety through the roof. We chose to wean our son using the baby wed weaning method (letting your child feed themselves from the very beginning of weaning). We chose this because this is what the Health Visitors recommend these days and on researching it, we could see the benefits of it (getting baby to learn to chew before swallowing etc.) and we liked the idea of just giving him a bit of what we were eating – less preparation for us to do (call me lazy if you like). But my god…THE MESS!!! Not long into it I started to regret the choice we had made but we didn’t really have a choice as even when we tried to spoon feed him, he wouldn’t let us. So we persevered. Sometimes it was easier than others. Sometimes we thought we had cracked it. Other times we felt like we were back at square one. I would love to say it has gotten better as he has gotten older, but that would be a lie. It is still like this now he is a toddler. The reason my anxiety always rockets through the roof at mealtimes is because I want our son to sit up nicely and eat all of his meal without making any mess. In other words, my expectations are completely unrealistic and I want him to be the perfect child so I don’t get judged as being a bad mother. Even though I know this is a totally unrealistic expectation for a not even two year old, it still doesn’t stop my anxiety from happening. My anxiety is not something I can control. It just happens. Many a time I have had to walk out of the kitchen and let my husband take over mealtimes because I just get so overwhelmed by it all. Since taking my anti-depressants, my anxiety around mealtimes has lowered and I am much more relaxed than I used to be, but I think it will always be there. To a certain extent anyway. And some days will always be better than others. I have already decided that if we have another baby, spoon feeding will be my preferred method of weaning and I will set my unrealistic expectations much lower.


  • Our son crying: I know they say that your baby’s cry is meant to get you. It is their only way of communicating and getting your attention after all. But from day one, every time I heard our son crying, it triggered something in me that told me I had failed. It told me I was a bad mother. It told me I wasn’t meeting his needs quick enough. It told me that people were going to judge me. It told me that people were going to think that I couldn’t look after our baby. It told me that people were going to get annoyed at me for having a baby that cried. Not once did I tell myself that it was ok for our baby to cry because that’s what babies do. Not once did I tell myself that people around me weren’t judging me and were just getting along with their lives. Even though I knew this, I punished myself every time he cried. What made it worse is that our son has always been a very content little boy and didn’t really cry that often as a baby. This just made me feel so, so guilty for feeling the way I did. Although I still find it hard when he cries, I am now able to cope with full blown toddler meltdowns when we are out without having a meltdown myself. I just tell myself that I don’t need to care what others might be thinking (because they probably haven’t even noticed) and tell myself that it is ok because this is just what toddlers do.


  • Change of plans: I like routine. Routine, makes me feel secure, as I like to know what is happening when and where and with whom etc. If I am going somewhere I have to plan to make sure I know things like where to park, what the cost of the parking is and where the entrance to the building is. This is to avoid looking lost and people thinking I am unorganised. So when plans change, particularly at the last minute, even if this change is just someone being late, it throws me all out. The unexpected unsettles me and makes me feel uncomfortable and anxious. Why can’t people just be on time? Why can’t I cope with change very well?


  • Meetings: I have never felt comfortable in a meeting environment. I only ever really contribute when I really have to. And even then I try to say the minimal I can get away with. I used to think it was just because I lacked confidence. I know this is part of it but I have also learnt that my anxiety plays a huge part. I have spent entire meetings before thinking of what to say word for word and when to say it, only for me to never pluck up the courage to say it. My anxiety stops me. It never wants me to say the wrong thing. It doesn’t want me to look incompetent. It doesn’t want me to be judged. It tells me that people aren’t going to be interested in what I have to say. It tells me that my views aren’t valid or important. It asks me “What if you want to say has already been covered but you missed it or just didn’t understand?” It asks me “Are you qualified and experienced enough for your view?” It asks me a lot of questions which stops me from speaking up. This is something I am so very conscious of in my work environment that it makes me feel sick sometimes. I now understand the reasons as to why I struggle in meeting environments, but it is not something that I would say has improved yet. My colleagues may think differently of course.

So that is just a flavour of what triggers my low mood and anxiety. I am sure I have already touched on others in previous blog posts and will do in future blog posts too.


anxiety, blog, depression, mental health, motherhood, parenting, post natal depression, Recovery, Uncategorized

Recovery takes time

Once the doctor had diagnosed me with postnatal depression and anxiety, they signed me off work for two weeks with immediate effect, prescribed me anti-depressants and referred me to a local NHS counselling service.

I eventually ended up having five months off sick from work in order to fully aid my ongoing recovery. During this time, I was still taking our son to nursery on the three days I should have been at work. We wanted to keep him in his routine as much as possible during this time, plus he loves nursery. I usually have to chase him round the room at the end of the day to get his shoes and coat on and have to bribe him with all sorts of things in an attempt to get him to cooperate; which usually fails.

This meant I had three days a week to myself for five months. Bliss, I hear you say. Every parent will, I am sure, understand how precious child free time is, so I do fully appreciate that I have been very lucky to be able to have this time. I would love to say that I spent the time doing really exciting things but that would be a lie. The time was a complete mixture of ups and downs, good days and bad days, as you would probably expect. Some days I found it hard to do much more than to get out of bed, sit in front of the TV and sleep for most of the day. Other days I was able to get out and do things.

I feel I could probably write forever about my ongoing recovery as it is such a long process with lots of ups and downs. Plus I am not sure you ever really recover from postnatal depression, you just learn to cope and manage it better and you become a new version of you. So what I am going to focus on in this blog post is some of the things I have done for myself over the last year to remind myself that I am important too; spending time on ‘me’ is not selfish; and neglecting myself only serves to make myself worse.

One of the first things I did for myself was to book myself in to see an osteopath. Something which I had been meaning to do since our son was born. I suffered badly during pregnancy with back ache and pelvic girdle pain and it had not really righted itself since having him. But of course, I just thought that it was normal to feel like this after giving birth so did nothing about it for over a year. Little did I know, my pelvis had been stuck in the birthing position all year! Luckily, this was quite common (although most people get it sorted out sooner) and it only took five sessions with the osteopath until I felt like I had a new back.

Another thing I did was to book myself onto my best friend’s three week beginner’s yoga course. I knew that yoga practice is good for the mind as well as the body and I felt like both needed a treat. My osteopath had also been talking how important stretching is when sorting out back problems and recommended yoga. My low mood and anxiety was still very prevalent at this point, but knowing that it was my best friend teaching me put me more at ease. She is a truly awesome yoga teacher and if you are local to Sussex and are interested in yoga classes, check out her website and blog at Unfortunately due to it being early days in my ongoing recovery, I had to miss the second week of the course, as the doctor had just upped my medication and I was feeling a little sick and spaced out that day. She understood.

I had not had my hair done since before going back to work after maternity leave six months prior, so it was definitely due some tlc. I decided I needed a new low maintenance cut and colour so that if I neglected myself again, my roots wouldn’t look so bad. My hairdresser suggested ombreé (the gradual blending of one colour hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark). So ombreé it was. Having my hair done was amazing therapy, but even better were the chats I had with my hairdresser about her postnatal depression, as once she had learnt about me, she opened up to me. This made me feel much less alone.

I had been thinking about starting a blog on and off for a few years but never really thought I had much to write about or anything interesting to say, so always put it off. Once I had started counselling though, which I will write a separate blog post about one day, I realised that I had a huge amount to say and that talking was really helping me. So, I decided to give writing a try. At first, it started off as notes in a note book which helped to clear my mind of any thoughts I was having or anything that I wanted to talk to my counsellor about at our next session. I was so surprised at how much it almost instantly helped, that I decided to give blogging a go, as an additional therapy tool to aid me in my recovery.

So, I set up my blog ‘From Mind to World’, which was very easy to do (I have no prior experience) and I started writing. At first I had so much to write about that I was writing almost daily, sometimes all day. I had draft after draft sitting in folders on my computer, and idea after idea in my notebook. I have no prior writing experience except a B in GCSE English, so I just decided to write from the heart and to not try to be anything. I am pleased to say that my blog has been really well received and some of the comments I have received have been so overwhelming. I have had strangers contacting me to thank me for opening up about my experiences as it has helped them realise they are not alone or to have that conversation they have been meaning to have for a while but haven’t been strong enough. It was amazing to hear that my therapy tool of blogging was not only helping me, but it was also helping others. It has also led to me writing regular blog posts for Mums4MumsUK Check it out!

One thing I realised from blogging is how important it is to surround yourself with positivity and things that make you feel good and to get rid of any negativity and things that make you feel bad. One thing so many of us are guilty of (including me) is filling our social media feeds with our ‘perfect’ lives for all to see. I had never really understood the effects of this until my recovery but it is so important to remember that this is not ‘real’ life. It is a snapshot in time of a moment that someone wants you to see. You have no idea what came before or after that photo or even how that person may really be feeling. I took the decision to ‘unfollow’ a lot of people on my social media pages for this exact reason. Not because I didn’t care about them and their lives, but because I needed to look after my mental health as a priority and this is what I needed to do.

I also joined a few different online support groups around postnatal depression and mental health so that I could receive support from others who understood what I was going through (as I think it is so hard to really understand unless you have been there yourself) but also so that I could give my support to others. It has made me feel much less alone, much more ‘normal’ (I know there is no normal) and has made me realise just how prevalent mental health issues are and that, although it is better than it was, we have a got a long way to go before care for mental health is equal with care for physical health.

Notwithstanding what I have just said above about understanding, I cannot finish this blog without mentioning the incredible support I have received from my husband, family and friends. A lot of them haven’t been through what I have been through, but some have. I have never expected anyone to fully understand what it is like living with a mental illness, but this does not mean they haven’t listened to me when I have needed it, tried to understand to the best of their ability or been there for me. Even if they haven’t been able to understand, they have always made it clear that they are there for me. That I am not alone. And that it is ok to need a bit of help from time to time. Life is hard! The support has been truly amazing. You know who you are, and I thank you!

So, these are just a few of the things that I have done to aid my ongoing recovery (I will write about more in other blog posts). The time I have had and the support I have received has been vital to my recovery. I truly believe that without it, I would not be where I am today and I would certainly not be writing this blog for the world to see. It has given me time to really focus on me and remind myself that I can’t look after my family and friends if I am not looking after myself first. I have learnt a lot to say the least!

The journey has been slow and is still ongoing but it’s all about taking small steps and eventually the good days will start to outweigh the bad days.


anxiety, blog, depression, mental health, motherhood, parenting, post natal depression, Recovery, Uncategorized, writing


Prior to being diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety, I was fairly naïve to all things mental health. So when the doctor diagnosed me with postnatal depression and anxiety, and prescribed me anti-depressants, it was fair to say it was a little bit of a shock. Despite the shock, I was fairly open to taking medication if it was going to help me feel better. I did not want to continue the way I was feeling anymore and I wanted to do all I could to help myself.


The thing I was worried about, apart from telling my husband about my diagnosis, was that he would not support me in taken medication and would suggest that I was able to get through it without medication. This definitely says more about my state of mind at the time than my husband as he couldn’t have been more supportive about getting me better. I remember him saying ‘you wouldn’t think twice about taking medication prescribed by the doctor for a physical illness, so why is this any different?’ And he was right. It isn’t and it shouldn’t be. So with my husband’s support, I started taking 20mg of Fluoxetine every morning.


I had obviously spoken to the doctor about any possible side effects and had also done a little bit of research myself, as I wanted to be aware of what to expect. Of course, as usual on any medication, there was a whole long list of possible side effects. I guess the pharmaceutical companies have to do this to cover their backs. The main side effects I noticed in the first few days of tasking my medication were an increased appetite (mainly for unhealthy food), what seemed like an unquenchable thirst, tiredness and headaches. The strangest side effect I noticed was that I felt like I was floating around in a bubble and that I was moving much slower than the world around me.


The doctor said the medication could take up to 3 weeks to have any real effect. At this point I was having 2 weekly reviews with the doctor, so we were discussing my progress regularly. After a couple of weeks, the doctor was not happy with my improvement on 20mg Fluoxetine, so they upped my dosage to 40mg a day. On this dosage, I saw a definite improvement in my depression and anxiety, however after a few weeks it seemed to plateau and again through my reviews my doctor advised me to up my dosage to 60mg a day (which I understand is the highest does you can take of Fluoxetine).


This was a real turning point for me. A few weeks after taking 60mg a day, I felt like I turned a corner. The only way I can really describe it is that everything felt lighter and easier all of a sudden and there was a definite shift to more ‘good’ days than ‘bad’ days. This was probably a good 12 weeks (3 months) after my diagnosis. In this time, I had been fortunate enough to have paid sick leave from work, which definitely contributed to the speed of my ongoing recovery. It meant I had time to really focus on myself and as our son was still going to nursery on the days when I should have been at work, I had 3 days a weeks all to myself.


Longer term side effects were trouble sleeping at night and extreme tiredness during the day, along with weight gain from my increased appetite. I dealt with the tiredness by switching around the time of day I took medication. Instead of taking it in the morning, I decided to trial taking it at night, with the hope that it would help me sleep better at night and be more awake during the day. This has worked for me. I now sleep much better at night and also am less tired during the day.


With regards to my increased appetite and weight gain, since having my son nearly 2 years ago, I have gained about 1 and a half stone. Now to some that might not seem a lot but I was actually lucky enough to lose weight whilst I was pregnant due to ongoing ‘morning’ sickness, so to me this is quite a gain. The depression and medication have definitely played a big part in this over the last 2 years. Whilst ultimately I am not happy about this, I have to remember the tremendous journey my body has been through over the last 2 years including growing an actual human (this still completely amazes me!), postnatal depression and anxiety and ongoing recovery from this.


It is a constant battle in my head between wanting to do something about it and finding the time and motivation to do so; but at the end of the day, you have to be in the right frame of mind to achieve. Right now, I would much rather spend time and effort making sure my mind is healthy and then hopefully one day in the not too distant future (I have signed up to run a marathon in April 2018!!) the same time and efforts for my body will naturally follow.


I have now been taking my medication for 10 months (the doctor advised to take it for at least 9 months minimum) and I do not have any plans to come off it this year. I would like be off it by summer next year, so may start the weaning process in the spring when the weather is less dull and dreary. Of course any weaning from my medication will be done in consultation with my doctor.

I think, if I was only able to say 2 things about taking anti-depressants, I would stress the benefits of them in terms of clearing your mind to enable you to fully benefit from other therapies, whatever they may be – for me it was counselling; and that recovery takes time – there will be good days and there will be bad days, but with the right help and time the good days should start to outweigh the bad days.


Lastly, remember to be kind to yourself. Any illness is not your fault and you deserve the time and help to get better.


N.B. It is important to remember that all the side effects of taking medication I experienced are also symptoms of depression itself. Also that along with taking medication, I have also had a total of 5 months off work, regular reviews with the doctor regarding my medication and weekly counselling for 9 months.

anxiety, blog, depression, mental health, motherhood, parenting, post natal depression, Recovery, Uncategorized, writing

From Mind to World

Ok, so let’s start with a little bit about me. I am a 30 something first time mum. I live on the south coast of England with my husband and our son. They are my world. They both make my heart burst with love, laughter and pride every single day…even when they are doing my head in. I have lots of family and friends that live a short drive away in the town where I grew up. Some have spread their wings now though and are now slightly closer to me. I also have friends which live in other parts of the country. I make an effort to stay in contact with them and see them when life allows.
I work part time while my son goes to nursery. I do not have the most glamorous or exciting job, but it is one that I have stuck at and have managed to make a fairly successful career out of it. I constantly find myself questioning whether it is what I want to be doing with my life, but it has its perks – it’s local, the people are lovely, it’s flexible and it helps pay the bills.
About a year after the birth of our son (he is almost 2 now!), I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. During my ongoing recovery I have learnt, and am still learning, so much about myself as a person. One thing I have learnt is that I have suffered with depression and anxiety without realising, for as long as I can remember. My ongoing recovery, which has included antidepressants, time off work and counselling, has given me the time to reflect on my life so far, think about what direction I want my life to take and the person I want to be. I now have a much deeper understanding of who I am and what makes me, me. Life has certainly made a lot more sense to me since my diagnosis.
It is this period of reflection that inspired me to start writing. My first thought was “I could write a book about my experience!” Then I realised that as I struggle to read past chapter 3 of most books, I would probably struggle to write a book?! So this led me to the world of blogging. Why not combine my love for social media, the therapeutic need to get stuff out of my mind and my lack of any real hobby to date; and turn it into something productive, something creative, something I can get my teeth into and feel passionate about, and something I really feel will help me get a deeper understanding of who I am and enable me to become a healthier version of myself.
I also want to help reduce the stigma around mental health. Many see it as a weakness and as something that shouldn’t be talked about, so do not seek the help they need. I must admit that before I was diagnosed with post-natal depression and anxiety, I was fairly ignorant to mental illness. But I have learnt a lot. Two things I heave learnt is just how common it is – one in four adults and one in ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime; and that it can affect any of us – your friends, family, the man or woman you see on the platform every morning, or the young person you see walking to school every day. Everyone should have the confidence to be able to talk about it and seek the help they need.