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

Mothers with illness.



Mummy, why are you sad?

The topic I would like to discuss today is around motherhood and mental health.

As a mum in today’s society we are very much expected to be superwoman, I mean all mums are! However, in the older days it was normal to have neighbours, friends, family help you. Now, if you ask for help there is something wrong, people wonder why you cannot manage alone.

Being a mum is tough, there are many positives (I won’t go into), but it is very hard work.

What makes this harder is poor mental health.

I do believe there is a “normal” level of mum guilt to be expected in any relationship with mother and child. The first time you leave them, when you return to work etc.

Having a mental health problem on top of that just escalates the guilt a million times.

As noted in my last post I have depression and anxiety. I am using medication currently which seems to be taking the edge off, but for a long time I was untreated. Being a mum with these problems does not mean what people think it means.

It’s not that I don’t love my child.

An example of a day with combined mum guilt, depression and anxiety would go like this:

7am Daughter wakes up, she is happy, springing to life. I try desperately to wake; I struggle profusely and want to cry due to the little sleep I obtained the night before due to racing thoughts.

I get up, Wednesday is our day off, and I have had this since she was born as it made me feel better about leaving her at nursery the other 4 days. So on a wed, I feel so guilty about sending her to nursery that I NEED to take her somewhere to have fun, spend money on her (guilt and anxiety).

I am extremely fatigued at this point already.

SO we may go to the cinema or soft play, these in themselves exhaust me as physically I feel constantly weak, and I am anxious in social places due to my anxiety about terrorism.

We get home following dinner out; we play with toys and games.


I really want to cry at this point, as I don’t want to play games, I want to lie down in bed in the dark and rest, I feel drained and exhausted from our day but I will keep trying to amuse her as I feel too guilty not to.

I spend my entire time amusing her, when really I should be also spending time cleaning or preparing dinner as we take turns cooking in our home. I know she does not need constant attention, but I get anxious from the feelings of being a bad mum that it is almost as if I have to prove myself to her.

By the time 5pm comes, the house is disgusting, there is no dinner ready for me and my husband, and I am tired, weak and tearful, and snap at my husband the second he walks in. I feel content in the fact that I now share the responsibility of my daughter and I can leave the room.

I will later then go to bed and not sleep due to hating myself for not cleaning the bathroom today, not hovering the landing and providing a good home for my daughter.

This is a viscous cycle that continues until I have the strength to break it again.

Being a mum with problems is difficult, I have good and bad days, above is a bad day.

On a good day I may go all day not noticing my thoughts, and we have a great day like I normal mummy. On a bad day I notice a change in her behaviour, it took my mum telling me for me to notice the pattern.

I would see my mum and tell her I am having a bad day due to my daughter being naughty, well in fact as my mum noticed when I woke up stressed and was overly trying to keep busy and distracting myself and her due to my low moods and anxiety, she could pick up these negative feelings and I triggered this behaviour!

I find good days are easy to manage (hate to point out the obvious), of course they are not instagram perfect, but they are manageable. I feel that is key, I used to re think my day and think about what I could have improved on, (I still do on occasion) but I now try to see good days as achievements, if I only became irritable a few times but was able to be out most of the day, engage with people and actually embrace society and my family then I reflect on how well I have done that day. I now discuss these days with my husband on the way home, it sounds silly but he will congratulate me on having a good day and tells me he loves me.

On my bad days, he will take my daughter out and let me rest for an hour or so, which before when I was at my worst I would not allow him to do, as I would feel too guilty to waste my time resting and push myself despite the exhaustion and anxiety and I became very angry and suicidal. Now, I rest.

If your phone dies, you would re-charge it. Why do we not consider re-charging ourselves?

We are human, we have energy, and we waste and use energy. I had to think biologically what am I doing to myself, I am already exhausting my body by having anxious thoughts, stress levels are rising, blood pressure rises and I experience a wave of panic and release of hormones. Instead of resting (recharging) following this drain on my body, I push myself to carry on, to go to work, to play with my daughter, to be a good wife. I then know how tired I am and that I am only offering half of my intentions and feel guilty about this and the cycle continues.

I am learning to recharge myself! As mums we have to, we are first and foremost humans, and without charged batteries we are only surviving and not living.

Our children need us to live, not survive.

It is not easy to adopt this way of thinking, especially when depression and anxiety is involved as your thoughts will tell you that you are lazy, neglecting your duties etc. And I still experience this, but I try breathing heavily through these thoughts whilst resting.

My daughter once asked me why I was sad, this was following another day off where she had a fab day, but I was emotionally and physically exhausted and was near breaking down and cried in the car on the way home.

I do not want her to ask me why I am sad, she is 4. She will learn to accept mental health as I will educate her in this as she grows as I want her to be open to her feelings and expressing these, but never again do I want my daughter to be concerned about my well-being.

We all have good and bad days, mums with mental health difficulties especially.

Embrace family, friends, and breathing techniques and make time to re charge yourself to enable you to live.




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

Never ending road…



Recovery, what is this?

When we think about recovery we think of things we can recover from, like a hangover? flu? a broken ankle? But do we really think about recovery when it comes to any long term illness.

Because that is what mental health is, a long term illness. I am sure we have all met people that have felt as though they have over come depression, anxiety, and may have been stable for a while. However, it is likely that they are then more susceptible to experience this again.

Therefore are we ever truly recovered from mental illness?

The fact is life is hard, it can be really hard. If you are already struggling with your own mind then everything else just seems 100 times more difficult to manage.

My personal journey as noted in my intro, discusses my anxiety and depression. I honestly do not believe I will ever recover. Currently I would say I am on my way to remission, I may stay there for a while (hopefully) but I have no doubt that my depression and anxiety may try to sneak its way back in.

I feel that once your mind has experienced that dark world there is no permanent return from this. If I were to compare this to anything people can relate to who cannot empathise, I would suggest reading Stephen King’s IT. Within the book one of the boys lock minds with the clown, he is then exposed to a whole new universe, a dark, depressing place where he does not wish to stay, and fights back to be released from the hold keeping him there. He moves away and loses memory of what happened, but things never felt right in his life, he moved on but not truly as deep down he had been scarred by this episode of which he later had to face.

ANYWAY… That is my interpretation of my mental health. This is not an IT adaptation, but I feel to have a reference to offer another person assists others to learn and empathise.

As a mental health nurse, I believe you should always try to help yourself, surround yourself in positivity, exercise, do things you enjoy, and most of all talk to others.

I believe this, but I do not do this. Motivation, unfortunately is often my enemy.

My trigger is stress mainly, stress, overwhelming situations, feelings of not being in control, and fear of danger will trigger my anxiety and depression.

I have not always known these triggers, and lets be honest most peoples triggers are simply out of their control. I cannot help it if work demand more of me, I cannot help that there are two weddings and a birthday party in one week and I am feeling overwhelmed by this. I certainly cannot help that there was another terrorist attack and it is making my anxiety sky high.

What I have learnt by this is that it is ok to say NO.

I say no, I used to experience overwhelming guilt by this, and would agree to anything anyone asked me to do either work or socially so I didn’t let people down. But this is what would start the rapid cycle again, exhaustion and anxiety caused by the pressure of being expected to fulfil other peoples wants and needs would trigger a guilt of not wanting to let them down by saying no, despite the mum guilt and anxiety this would cause. I gave myself no way out.

I have learnt you have to give yourself an escape route.

Mine is to say no, no to nights out, no to coffees, no to extra work, and say yes when I really feel able to. When I feel I can mentally manage this, as then I can enjoy it.

I am by no means well, wellness to me means no physical pain caused by my anxiety, no intrusive thoughts, being able to say yes to social situations again.

I work, I manage small social gatherings in moderation but I am taking it easy.

The key in my own remission within mental illness is about understanding you. Identify those triggers, what makes you feel well? I know I love yoga, I am quite good at it, but currently I lack motivation due to my fluctuating moods and anxiety. I am now planning on attempting it at home at least once a week to enable me to feel more motivated and release endorphins (they make you happy – I actually learnt this from legally blonde and not my nurse training lol!). It is not always easy to gain motivation, but I find planning little things give you focus.

On a very bad day I will write a list of things to do. Nothing ridiculous, I shall give you an idea:


  1. Shower
  2. Do 2 loads of washing
  3. Empty the rubbish from my car

That to the old me isn’t even worth writing a list for, however, me on a bad day would struggle to motivate to do this list. So I force myself to do these things over the course of the day, once I have done each I put a little tick next to each one and feel accomplished. I accomplished my aims for that day, and tomorrow is another day.

Personally within my experience of my personal mental health difficulties, I feel initially I do not notice my decline, I am so used to being the “positive person” or my fake façade (as I like to refer to that side of me), that my show can deter others and even myself. Most recently I feel my mind has instinctively taken over, last week I knew the stress was building due to issues with work but thought I was managing this, out of know where I had a panic attack at home and my mood plummeted for 2 days, 2 days of tears and panic. I feel this was my body alerting me to my decline. I do not really feel better for knowing this, but I am taking preventative steps to avoid a decline, I have informed my husband I feel low, I plan to go out tomorrow to the shops and put all my make up on which normally helps motivate me to complete the day.

Mental health is so unique to each individual, we all may experience similar symptoms, but the effects may influence us in our own ways.

The points I would like ot offer from anyone that made it this far into my ramblings are:

  • Take time out, have you time, have family time, do not pressure yourself
  • Say no when you need to
  • Plan, plan to do little things on bad days, on better days plan a trip to the shop
  • Talk to others, my  biggest mistake was not sharing
  • Approach your GP

For now I continue on my journey, and I wish everyone all the positivity for theirs.

Casey xx


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


My name is Casey, mum to a 4 year old girl.

I am a qualified mental health nurse, a wife, a soul searcher, and someone who experiences depression and anxiety.

My mummy journey was not planned. I had been with my boyfriend around a year and we just were not careful at all. I never planned to have children, I was so naïve thinking I would not get caught. ANYWAY… we did.

The day I found out, I cried, I know that sounds awful! I did not want to be pregnant.

So my anxiety began. This was day 1.

Me and my boyfriend discussed all our options and decided to have an abortion (sorry for those who do not agree). We booked the appointment, I attended and broke down completely, my head told me to agree to it, but my heart sank. The day arrived to go in for the abortion, it was snowing that day, we arrived at the hospital and it took every ounce of me not to cry, I thought well my boyfriend is not asking me to keep the baby so he must not want it….

So, the snow was not that bad, but apparently it was bad enough that there were no anaesthetists available at all. At all, in a hospital! I knew from that second fate was decided for me. Where I had been unsure before, fate stepped in and told me this is your baby!

We cried in relief, and went home and planned our child and future.

So, months went by, getting bigger by the day, growing more anxious by the day. I would wake having panic attacks during the night worrying about what a bad mum I would be, crying into my boyfriends arms as I knew that my daughter would hate me. How I could never truly love her, as I never wanted her, so how could I? These thoughts and dreams continued throughout my pregnancy and my anxiety was overwhelming. I remained untreated.

So the big day arrived, I went into labour (no one tells you the truth about how much that hurts! IT HURTS!). She was born, I remember her coming out and them immediately putting her onto my bare chest. I remember thinking this should have been an amazing moment, but it wasn’t, she felt warm, wet and very long, that is all I remember.

I didn’t feel that immediate flash of love. It is hard to admit as I know most people do, but I didn’t. I wanted to be left alone, she was out of me, and I needed to shower. I should have known then that I was struggling already. She was kept in hospital for around a month due to a paralysed vocal chord which meant she could not feed. She was sent to the baby unit and I was sent to the mother and baby ward.

I hated the staff for that, I cried, I closed my curtain around my hospital bed, hugged my pillows and cried as quietly as I could. The other 3 mums were in their beds with their babies, crying, feeding, moaning about wanting to go home, about breast feeding and vaginal pain from birth. I was crying because I thought my baby would die. I was not sure if I loved her, but I knew I had to protect her.

I visited her in her tiny plastic little “oven” and I could not control myself. I cried, every single time I saw her. I think the nurses were annoyed by me. There were children with more serious conditions but I could not contemplate why mine had to be there and why (at that time) they didn’t know what was wrong with her.

Anyway, she was discharged with a feeding tube around 4 weeks after diagnosis. I am a nurse, I new how to insert a tube. Doing this to my baby though, wow! I struggled. She was also given a breathing monitor as they thought she was at risk of breathing difficulties. My anxiety at this point was sky high. I though she would die, every. single. day.

I understand this sounds extreme, but this is what illness does to a person. At that time even with my career of choice I had no idea it was anxiety. I thought it was normal. I thought imagining all the possible ways my baby will die and stressing about this was normal. It was making me ill. I was making myself ill.

I started to adapt, I started a new job and she eventually was able to regain use of her vocal chord and could eat and drink without difficulty, we then followed the usual stages of childhood. However, I felt that everyone had moved on from her traumatic birth and I could not let it go. If I be honest still to this day I often check on her several times a night to check she is breathing!

The last 3 and a half years since I started working again I have coped. Sometimes well, sometimes not at all. I did not notice how irrational I was. I thought people were strange for not experiencing the guilt I experienced any time I left her.

I was exhausting myself everyday with worry, guilt and depression due to this. I knew that I was having difficulties with my mental health when she was around 1, I was driving my car (alone) and all I could think about was how much better I would be if I just switched off. I could imagine in detail dying. Just driving off the motorway, into a barrier, even at a quiet time to ensure I did not endanger others. I did not have actual intent, but the plan was very real.

I will be honest, my guilt was the only thing that prevented an attempt. Peaches Geldof had committed suicide that year. I remember reading about how much her mums suicide had impacted her, and then she did exactly the same, leaving her children. I cried reading this. I considered what impact my suicide would have on my daughter, I would have ruined her life before it even got started.

I never really told anyone, I had a few sick days. I approached my GP, I told him how I felt, he advised with my career it is best not to have it on my file and to have a week off. I then had a visit with the health visitor to check on my daughter (routine), where I wanted so badly to tell her, but when she asked what I did for work, she laughed and said how do you manage that? I cannot deal with the crazy mums!!! Well, I did not tell her!

I remained untreated, with no help. I hid everything from friends and family.

Time went on, I started some natural medication that was advised on a blog I saw, a natural antidepressant apparently. I thought it was helping, I had good and bad days. Some days I hated everyone, some days not so much. I was able to engage with friends, attend social events, I even went abroad on a hen do! What I didn’t tell my friends was how hard that was for me, for weeks, no, months I was dreading it, I had sleepless nights, I had a flare up of physical conditions, cold sores, migraines, the first night of the hen, my head was so bad from the guilt and anxiety I had to stay in the room alone anyway to recover, of which I spent half the night worrying about people breaking in and killing me! (anxiety at its best).

So fast forward a year, I started to experience severe fatigue, shoulder, neck and back pain, weakness all over my body. I was under several investigations, had flare ups of flu like symptoms and was convinced I was dying (obvs). My depression was under control, well I thought it was, I had lost all feelings, I had only married my husband 5 months before, yet I had lost all feelings in this time. I was no longer unhappy with life, I just felt nothing. I was an empty shell. The only time I felt anything was pain and panic. This was depression at its worst.

I had no idea I had anxiety. I am a mental health  nurse, and had no clue! How about that! I guessed I had depression, but at my worst did not recognise the severity. I just thought this is me, my life is crap, I don’t want to live, but I suppose I have to.

Everyday I would experience what I now know is anxiety, I would see friends, then mull over conversation’s I’ve had with them weeks after, wondering if I said the right thing? Did I sound crazy, or like a cow? How did I approach situations and how were my reactions…I was mulling over everything. Things that happened in the past, I would worry that I was a bad child and that is why my dad never wanted to know me. This had become the norm for me, then it increased. Then, the worries about my daughters health increased, I worried about her possibly being abused at nursery (there was nothing to suggest this) but I would worry, worry about being caught in a terrorist situation, dying on the motorway, dying on an aeroplane.

It was so bad, that I am sure you will remember the little girl that died in Disney (RIP) from the alligator attack, well I dreamt every night for a week, in full vivid imagination style that it was my daughter! I grieved nights on ends for her. We have never been to Florida!! I do not have current plans to, and someone lost their little girl, yet all I could do was worry that it “could” happen to me.

Work was becoming too overwhelming, I had a week off sick, I broke down at my doctors, she advised I have 4 weeks off. This turned to 6 in the end. I commenced medication at this point (will cover this in another post).

Since this time, things have improved. I am no longer suicidal, I have some enjoyment in life and do not feel empty. But the anxiety is still present. I struggle on and off with it. Usually always around my daughter and dreading the worst.

I try to remember I have an illness, I have good days and bad days. It is not me, and I cannot let it control me again.

So the baby that I never wanted, she turned 4 last week. She changed my life, despite the anxiety, the depression, the emptiness…Everything revolves around her, she is my world. Being a mummy is tough, being ill is tough, and all of us struggle, we are all human.

That is my story in brief. (ish).

I hope this offers insight into why I want to share my stories, in a hope that other mummies do not feel as alone as I did.

Stay strong mamas.

Casey xx