One thing I promised myself when I started my blog is that I would treat it as my own secret diary but I would literally share EVERYTHING… all my highs and all my lows, but to be totally truthful I have been putting off this post for quite some time as serious topics are quite difficult for me to write about… but here goes;
After a really rough pregnancy, a marriage without my best friend and father (due to a heart attack a few days before) a traumatic birth and a premature baby I guess you could say I was a quivering wreck… day in, day out…My anxiety levels were through the roof.
My mental health wasn’t ever something I was worried about and to be totally truthful I didn’t understand what it was all about.
Mental health issues were one of those things that happens to other people but not me… not happy go lucky Carla but man I was totally wrong. Now please don’t get me wrong I have had my fair share of ups and downs usually when I had burnt myself out by doing/drinking too much or if I had been dumped or cheated on.. but like anybody but usually a cup of tea, lots of chocolate, a girlie movie with my friends and a couple of early nights would sort me out and I would be right as rain again…But not this time.
I guess you could say that mental health crept up on me and it really did. Looking back I can’t pinpoint a day or time of course but I guess it all started when I brought George home from hospital.
I was told to rest after my c-section and I began spending way too much time in the house. I didn’t want to see anyone… some of my friends forced themselves in to my house now and again to check I was still alive and to be honest I couldn’t wait for them to leave. I couldn’t find the motivation to get dressed most days and I just wanted to be alone. I should have known at this point that I was becoming depressed.
Too Much Time to Think
Being alone in the house with a new baby gave me a lot of time to think (too much time) I would think about how close to death I was when I had George, how George had to be resuscitated and I would wonder what would have happened if I was at home instead of the hospital the night George came… truth is I knew If I was at home George and I would have died – I had been told numerous times and I guess you could say it really freaked me out.
I don’t think it helped that I would be constantly reminded how lucky we are to be alive by the midwife, health visitors and doctors which really didn’t help a deep/over thinker like me, I would rather not know.
I have always been a bit worried about death but I began thinking about and fearing death in a way like never before… I would wake up every morning convincing myself that something terrible was going to happen and I had constant anxiety. My heart would race 24/7… I felt like I was constantly on edge waiting on the next big shock… I couldn’t keep George close enough but in some ways I was scared to get too attached, I felt useless and like the worst mum in the world.
I am a very open person I was very surprised that I initially didn’t tell anyone about how I was feeling for months and I plodded on through the early stages of motherhood with dark thoughts hanging over me.. pretty much every minute of everyday.
Everytime the health visitor was due to come round I would convince myself for a good ten minutes that I was fine and these issues in my mind would eventually disappear. I would pace up and down until she came and then I would greet her at the door like I was collecting a mother of the year award “HELLOOOOO HOW ARE YOU? WE ARE GREAT“ I can hear myself now… talking at her with my extremely loud, high pitched over enthusiastic and annoying voice hoping she would believe everything was fine and I was a great mum… For some reason I thought the louder and more high pitched I talked the more she would believe that I was loving life as a mother -something that was sadly not true.
Each time she came round it was like she knew I wasn’t ok and she would look in my eyes and ask “Carla, are you sure you are ok?” I would swiftly look away and reply “yes everything is great…” I feared that if I told her the truth about my anxiety that she would think I wasn’t in the right mindset to be a mum and take George away from me.
I carried on living in constant fear and my anxiety became worse, I began thinking and acting as if I was dying. I would speak as if I in my had weeks left and I genuinely believed it, I didn’t know how or when it would happen but I really believed my time was coming.
After a few months my anxiety got soooo much worse. I would go to bed at night fall asleep for an hour or two and then I would spend the rest of the night wide awake thinking about things no one wants to think about. I would lie in bed and a tear would fall across my cheek as I was wondering if my parents were ok and worrying about what I would do if something happened to them. I would panic about Dan and George and wonder why I wasn’t finding motherhood as easy as other people do. I felt useless and like George would be better off without me.
The not sleeping at night lasted months until I finally told Dan what was going on in my mind and he told me I needed to go to the doctors. I sat in the doctors chair and just broke down. I told him how I felt and he put me on Citalypram, at first I was terrified of taking pills for mental health as I felt embarrassed and it was like I had failed as a mother and I didn’t take the prescription to the chemist and just carried on thinking it would all fix itself.
A month later lack of sleep and the anxiety was taking over my life. I couldnt think about anything else. Everytime the phone would ring and I would see it was my mum I would think the worst and that something had happened to my dad again.
I was back at the doctors absolutely exhausted and he told me to just try the pills, I did and within 2 weeks my anxiety levels had dropped massively . I stopped worrying and I slept through the night. I stayed on Citalypram for about 6 months and I thought life was back to normal until I managed to sit through the whole of “The Notebook” without a tear in sight….. I realised that although I felt a lot better in regards to my anxiety I became totally numb to a lot of things…. If Dan and I had a cross word I would jusy reply with “Go and find a new wife then” and to be totally truthful if he brought one home I probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid…PARENTS AND IN-LAWS TURN AWAY NOW I am also a very sexual being.. always have been and I wasn’t even bothered about sex… It was time to come off Citalypram and get back on the horse… mmm perhaps not the right phrase to use after the sex comment… what I meant was get my life back on track and start feeling feelings again.
The first few weeks off it were touch and go… I would cry at Jeremy Kyle on a regular basis, one time I cried for a good 15 minutes when we all found out that some little delight with no teeth found out he was the dad of his ex girlfriends baby and he needed to stop the weed to start seeing the baby again – it really choked me. I knew I was probably overreacting but I didn’t care at least I have my feelings back. I decided to join the gym (yes… again) and now I am feeling so much better in myself.
Mental health can happen to anyone at anytime. I honestly never thought it would be something I would suffer with but I did and I am proud that I found the strength to go to the doctor and speak up. If you are suffering with mental health issues and you just want someone to talk to outside of your usual circle then please feel free to drop me a message.
Carla is the founder of MyBump2Baby. Carla has a huge passion for linking together small businesses and growing families. Carla’s humorous, non-filtered honesty has won the hearts of thousands of parents throughout the UK.
She has previously written for the Metro and made appearances on BBC News, BBC 5 live, LBC etc. Carla is a finalist for Blogger of the Year award with Simply Ladies inc. Carla is also the host of the popular Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast and The MyBump2Baby Expert podcast.