Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs

Housework Tips

The title of this blog piece will make sense in just a minute! For now, if you struggle with housework and keeping up with your home then keep reading.

Even if you live at home with your family, friends, house mates or other students it is still hard to keep up when you are chronically or mentally ill. Of course, not every single chronically or mentally ill person isn’t automatically ticked in the category box of not being able to keep up! Some struggle, some don’t. For those of us who do, on the days we really struggle are the days where coincidentally the washing needs done or the dishes need to be washed. Some are lucky to have people around to help others do not.

I have found some things helpful at not only just after major surgeries but also for daily life of being chronically and mentally ill. Either of these are challenging enough to live with so sharing these helpful things I have found, may help you, they may not but still worth sharing! If it can help someone then that is the sole purpose of this blog.

  • Having more than one clothes dryer – this I found helpful due to the fact that you can spread your washing out more which means it dries quicker. It can also allow you to catch up on your washing on the days you are able with somewhere to put it all, which leads me to the next helpful thing!
  • A tumble dryer- not everyone can afford one but if you can save for one or get one second hand it really does give a helping hand.
  • Keeping cleaning products in the bathroom, too! – if you are an ostomate or have anything medical in your bathroom, you will know an accident is bound to happen at some point! Keeping cleaning products close by saves having to dash around looking for them.
  • Using lenor unstoppables inside your hoover or hoover bag – this keeps everywhere fresh whilst you hoover and it lasts a few days! Simply pop inside your hoover bag or hoover some up.
  • Fabulosa carpet freshener- super affordable and SUPER for carpets that need a little freshen up. Its hard work using a carpet shampooer or scrubbing carpets. It dries quickly and lasts for a few days!
  • A dishwasher – again not the most affordable thing to have. Finding room for one can be difficult too however counter top ones are available! It saves you having to stand for a long period of time washing dishes, you can pop them into the dishwasher and rest.
  • Pre cooking meals – cooking meals that are easy to store in containers can be kept in the freezer for future or in the fridge for a couple of days, meaning you don’t have to stand cooking every single day.
  • Having a washing basket divided for light and dark washing – this just makes it a little easier to pre organise your separate clothing ready to be washed.
  • Little Bin liners – a MUST have. It keeps the inside of your little bins from getting dirty and much easier to empty.

I would love to know what little tips and tricks you have that help you too! 💕

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs, People's Stories!

Trilogy of Chronic Illness stories Part 1

Hey, My names Aron and what you see is what you get! I’m a happy fun loving going person but that’s just on the outside, on the inside it’s a different story…….if you are a frequent reader of this blog then you will understand about what I’m going to say next. I have Crohns Disease which is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. In short some foods I eat give me a great deal of pain. I have another hidden condition called CSS – Centralise Sensitivity Syndrome.

CSS makes a selective group of nerves in your body over sensitive so its just really unlucky that CSS has chosen my bowels to attack, so this means anything that passes through my bowel e.g. food, liquid and wind gives me the most pain I have ever experienced but as always it will get better in time doctors say. However I will always be in some sort of pain as it is a life long condition.. Yes I’m always In pain and it sucks, I wake up in shock every morning it is slowly getting better with the new neurotic pain killers I have been prescribed. CSS & CD  work hand in hand unfortunately, so if I have a flair up it will cause me a lot more pain than the average person and it will last longer than a ‘normal’ day of pain. I feel embarrassed when I have to walk around with a walking stick, I know I shouldn’t but I do. I am young (24) so walking around with a walking stick at my age in public is hard. One day soon I will be able to walk without it, if not then I’m hopeful I wont feel embarrassed in the future.

I have a lot of support around me! My cousins have made a real effort to keep me company. Kai and me started playing the PS2 to pass the time, oh yeah sorry I forgot to mention I’m under home rest for the next 4 months! So this should be fun! The game we are working through is Lord Of The Rings Return Of The King. I’ve been playing some old school PS1 games like Bugs Bunny Lost in Time & Bugs and Taz Time Busters, too. Keep yourself busy they say! I have also got a PC/xbox one/Ipad/PS2 so I’m never going to be bored. I also will be doing a lot of researching on a editing software called Hitfilm – this will be taking a lot of my time up due to the fact I want to create a Platform or social media presents/group by making videos on my conditions. I’ll be doing a series of me telling peoples stories about the incurable conditions.

I haven’t suffered from CSS for long so what I’m going to talk about mainly comes from having Crohns. Being a male and having Crohns is challenging! In this day and age yes it’s okay to be male and sensitive but only online or in a support group. What about people like me who’s friends hold ‘banta’ to a high standard? They are ‘lads’ but that doesn’t mean they don’t care! They are my boys. Sometimes though there will be a comment made and I would have to bite my tongue because I’m a ‘LAD’ and get told to stop being so sensitive sometimes. Also shitting myself now THAT is not easy (well it’s easy enough to do it without knowing!) The worst time this happened believe it or not was when I was in bed in a nice apartment I was renting with a beautiful girl. Luckily she helped me clean it up and it only gets brought up when we want a laugh now. As time went on I think being a male and having this condition gets easier, well it did for me because I just accepted that no matter what gender we are, we are all going through something that can’t be cured and I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about anything. I can now laugh about me shitting myself with the boys due to their support. They are also really understanding if I’m on the toilet too long!

Just before I finish up here, I want to say that support is a massive thing no matter what you are going through. The one/two people who make it worth it wakening up everyday is my Mum and my Auntie, the support from these two is what I will always need but my Mum is the real rock star! She is the main reason I’m still fighting. She’s the most caring person (when it comes to family) and I’m so lucky that I have her to help me.

Arons Social Medias:

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/azzahodge

YouTubeDealing With It

Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs

We Have Moved!

Baux and myself settled in!

It’s been a while since I gave you all an update! My laptop got completely rebooted by my friend John who used to work in a computer shop and now fixes computers etc in his spare time. So even though my laptop has been fixed you’re probably wondering why I haven’t been blogging! For the past few months we had been preparing to move so we had to clear out E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G because I had way too much stuff!

We have been in our new place a week past Sunday and we are absolutely loving it! What had drawn us to this place the most was that there was a bath and shower separate in the bathroom and there is no big garden so we hadn’t the need to to cut grass as we struggled with that at the last place. To start with at the new house I really struggled as just three days before moving I had dislocated my knee cap twice so I had this awful leg brace on and I couldn’t walk properly (it’s still causing me pain.) The bath has been absolutely lush and I have been using my bath bombs! We had another few hurdles to bypass whilst moving which included my huge bedroom wardrobe having to be taken to bits and rebuilt and other minor little things. The dogs have settled in so much better than we expected too which has been great. The best part though is not living under temporary accommodation anymore and having anyone with issues living above and also not having a party animal living above making my life an absolute hell anymore.

My health is up and down at the moment.. stomach pain has been quite intense, my reflux hasn’t been great with frequent heartburn and feeling sick, my headaches have returned again, joints are not so well and I am super exhausted. Stoma wise I have been having A LOT of bag leaks. Luckily I haven’t needed to visit the doctors since my knee dislocation but who knows how long that will last – all chronically ill people know the drill with that! Emotionally it has been a really rough ride through 2020 so far and I got to a really bad place where I really was not coping after loosing my Aunt Nina, and old school friend and an old work friend. Hopefully though this is the start of a better period of time with two friends expecting baby girls I am super excited for them to arrive!!

So for now, my time is spent playing Animal Crossing, trying to sort out the new house, resting and catching up with Family and Friends. I have been told due to my Hyper Mobility Syndrome that dislocations are very common and it will more than likely happen again (but im going to hope NOT! Its so painful.) Today it is SUPER cold so I had a shower, got back into my P+J’s, put on harry potter and my partner and his sister are baking some goodies including my favourite – chocolate sponge cake with cream!! I hope you enjoy your day ❤

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Entertainment At Home (LockDown)

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This past little while has been difficult for many people healthy and chronically ill. Now the next little while is going to be a little bit more tough at home with trying to find things to do to keep you and your family entertained! We won’t talk about the shopping item crisis or anything negatively related to why we have to stay home as those who have to know why.

I was thinking earlier today it would be great to share some great online games you and most teens can play during the lockdown period. These are some games I love (some that are popular) and also many that are free to play through Xbox One, PS4, PC/Laptop and on the Nintendo Switch. I will also share some links on where you can get games straight to download through codes instead of having to wait however long for the game to arrive in the post!

  1. RuneScape – this is a great game to play on your computer or laptop! It does have a monthly fee of £6.99 but with great rewards. You can do a wide variety of things such as quests, scrolls, gaining XP in many skills and the game itself is beautiful. To view a beginners guide, you can watch ProtoxxGaming on youtube.
  2. League of Legends – this game is free to download on your computer, laptop or on your mobile (mobile is Team Fight Tactics only.) This is a PVP game with loads of champions to play! To start, you go through the training and then slowly unlock more champions. To watch some League of Legends game play, you can visit GrossGore who plays this ALOT or you can visit the Twitch website.
  3. Animal Crossing – this game can be played on various nintendo devices and on your mobile, however the mobile app is a slightly different version. You can get this on CDkeys.com for £8 less than it is on sale at anywhere else and the bonus is you don’t have to wait for the game to arrive in the post! Simply purchase through the website and it will send you a download code through to your email address!
  4. World of Warcraft – for this game, it works the same as RuneScape in how you pay monthly to access the game and it’s rewards. The download is free.
  5. Cards Against Humanity (online addition) – everyone has heard of this game and it started out as a board game, however now you can play it online with your friends or family for free by clicking here.
  6. Apex Legends – this is a multiplatform game that can be downloaded for free on Xbox One, PS4 and on you computer/laptop (through Origin.)
  7. Fortnite (similar to the game above) – another game that is free to download on multiple gaming devices.
  8. Neverwinter – again another free game to download on multi game devices which is very much like a mixture between Diablo and Skyrim and is great!
  9. SMITE – this game is also free on multi gaming platforms and I suppose you could say it is like a form of a League of Legends game but much more child friendly.

To view all free games to download for your gaming device, click each one below:

Hoping that one or some of these games are of use for your kids, teens or yourself!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Covid-19 With Chronic Illnesses

With recent news and articles left, right and centre, those of us who are chronically ill are in a state of panic, anxiety and fear.

The World Health Organisation and the NHS are the two BEST and most RELIABLE sources of information regarding the coronavirus also known as covid-19. There are many newspapers and online articles publishing unreliable information to the public through social media world wide.

So what is the advice given?

  • Avoid close contact with people out of your home
  • Wash your hands after touching anything even in your home
  • Using hand sanitizer in between washing your hands
  • If you are to cough or sneeze then please do so in a tissue
  • Wearing a mask doesn’t protect you 100% as these germs live in your nose but you can still wear one
  • If you have a high fever and/or cough with breathing difficulty then you MUST self isolate for 7 days
  • DO NOT go to your GP practice if you are experiencing a high fever and/or cough
  • Stay calm and keep in contact with friends and family through your phone and social media
  • If you are mentally struggling to call someone who can help over the phone.
  • Only go to A and E in the case of an emergency

It is so difficult for all of us who are chronically ill at the moment, more so because of how the media and people are reacting. It’s normal to feel scared and anxious as we do with any virus or bugs.

It is also difficult for all of the NHS staff who also have the fear and anxiety even in situations similar to this with treating patients with TB, HIV, AIDS and other infectious diseases. This is why we MUST follow their advice – they do this day in, day out throughout their training, placements and career to protect themselves from viruses and diseases on a daily basis.

I cannot emphasise just how important it is not to pay attention to click bait articles online. As stated at the start of this blog post – World Health Organisation and the NHS are the most important organisations for advice and updates.

If you are struggling mentally take some time to unfollow news article pages on your social media, if you find people on your social media are posting too much then take a break and some time out away from social media, you can speak to people through facebook messenger as normal or there is also whatsapp, Skype, facetime, discord and various other apps that are free to download onto many mobile devices and computers/tablets/iPads.

I hope anyone that has been affected directly by covid-19 recover and those that have been indirectly affected are OK and know that you are not alone.

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Life With A Stoma, Mental Health Blogs, Uncategorized

The Blue Badge Scheme

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The Blue Badge scheme is a disabled parking permit but more commonly known as a disabled badge. This is where a blue badge is visible in your vehicle window to allow you or the person transporting you to park in disabled parking spaces.

How to qualify?

I’m asked this question quite frequently, as recent as just last month. It’s difficult to know if you are eligible and how to get one so I gathered my information and will pop it down below (please note that some councils policies on your eligibility can differ so always consult them):

  • If you are under the age of 16 and have a letter confirming your eligibility from your visual impairment team (eye care specialists.)
  • if you are 16 or over and you are registered as visually impaired.
  • if you are receiving the higher rate of mobility component from DLA (Disability Living Allowance.)
  • if you are receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and have scored 8 or more points in the ‘moving around’ in the assessment.
  • if you are receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and have scored 12 points or more for the ‘planning and following a journey’ in the assessment.
  • If you are receiving ‘war pensioners’ mobility supplement.
  • if you have gotten a ‘lump sum payment’ from tariffs 1-8 of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

If you have any of the above then you automatically qualify for a Blue Badge! If you don’t then click here where you can do an eligibility assessment online. You will need your national insurance number for this if you have one.

How to apply?

You can apply directly through the link up above or you can call your local council and request this to be done on your behalf over the phone and then visit your local council with documents to prove your identity, address and proof of benefits you are currently receiving such as :

  • a utility bill
  • passport
  • drivers license
  •  birth certificate
  • council tax bill or government letter
  • letters from DWP of your current benefits
  • a recent passport sized photograph (for the badge)

Once you have done this, the process time is usually 12 weeks but depending on your local council it could be a little longer, they will email you to let you know! How you pay and how much you pay also depends on who and where is your council for example in Scotland it is £20 and in England it is £10 and for wales its completely free.

What are the benefits of having a Blue Badge?

Having a Blue Badge can be very beneficial if you are disabled such as parking at on street parking meters, parking in pay and displays, parking at disabled parking spaces and on single and double yellow lines if there are no loading restrictions (all of these are completely free!) This does not apply when parking at shopping centre car parks, hospital car parks (if they charge) and super markets (if they charge.) You can also use your badge all over the UK and abroad, in England and Wales you must use a parking clock.

Displaying your Blue Badge

It is important to display your Blue Badge so that when near your vehicle, someone can see it clearly from outside the vehicle and the front of the badge must be facing upwards showing the name of your local council.

If you have any issues with losing your badge or it has been stolen please contact your local council ASAP to get this resolved. Please also note that giving your Blue Badge to someone who is not entitled to one or is not helping you can be charged with committing a blue badge fraud and fined up to £1000 EVEN if they are family or friends. DO NOT buy your blue badge anywhere online where it states the price is £49 as there are SO many fraud websites scamming people and are fake. If you get a fake blue badge you are also at risk of being fined up to £1000.

I hope you found this useful in answering your questions about the Blue Badge Scheme!

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

Fabulous Freebies!

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Good evening everyone! This blog post is about/links to some fabulous freebies I  had found whilst scrolling through the hotukdeals app on my phone!

To find the freebies, simply go onto the hotukdeals website or onto the app and click the ‘freebies‘ tab. There you will find loads of freebies such as apps, books, food, items, free games to download on various gaming consoles and PC and more. There were a few that caught my eye more than others because I knew they would be beneficial to people who either have a chronic illness, insomnia or have felt the burn of the recent benefit cuts. Bare in mind that when you read this a week or a month I have posted that the following might not be available anymore or the deal has expired so do keep an eye on the expiry date of the free offer!

So my eye catching freebie favourites!

Of course there isn’t just this website to get good deals, there is alo Groupon and Wowcher. They both do great meal deals and holiday deals MUCH cheaper than what you pay in the restaurant and at travel agents! Keep an eye for helpful apps I managed to get a painting by colour (not painting by colours brand) app where you can paint pictures like mandala on your phone and save them! Great for when insomnia strikes!

I will be doing more research to see what freebies I can get up for next week and will doa another blog post then! If you have any good websites to recommend that are alike – get in touch! Thankyou!

Awareness, Mental Health Blogs, Personal Blogs

Christmas Wishes

Hello everyone, it’s been just a wee while since I updated you all about my health and everything else in my life! So here goes;

Mental Health

So many who follow my social media will know my mental health hasn’t been so good. You will think “is there a particular reason or trigger?” The answer to that is yes. Myself and Jaimie have had a very hard past few months financially which has been extremely stressful. Last month I sadly had a miscarry and not long after that, I had family members treat me like absolute dog poop due to not having money to attend a baby shower before hand – it got really nasty and my mental health has been spiralling downwards ever since. This isn’t because of the lies they said to me and about me, just more so that they felt the need to directly be nasty towards me rather than just be quiet and leave me alone with their negativity. Anyway, I see my doctor next week so I can try yet another medication for my Anxiety and Depression.

I get so scared over the silliest of things such as the shower curtain being closed, the door not being locked and when Jaimie isn’t in the house I feel panicked. I am barely sleeping and sit awake all night and lucky to get a nap in the morning without someone knocking on the door (usually post that sort of thing!)

Chronic Illnesses

The fun part, I wish! My wound where my rectal stump had been, is a real pain in the ass – pun intended!! My fistulas have been leaking and giving me infections which is super sore, my Tonsilitis/Tonsil stones won’t clear and my wisdom teeth keep getting abscessed (currently on the waiting list as urgent to have the four of them removed.)

My arthritis of course has flared with this cold weather so most days I need to use my walking stick and last week I had an appointment at ARI so used the bus, BIG mistake. I really struggled with sickness and my joint pain was just exhausting so Jaimie came to pick me up after offering to as he knew I was struggling.

I continue to fight the constant fatigue whether I manage to sleep or not and have also been in and out of hospital recently with my chronic migraines, sickness and wound problems. I’m also waiting for a capsule camera endoscopy to find out what is wrong with my small bowel and stoma which is four months overdue.

Charity Volunteering

I have done quite a bit of charity volunteering via social media this year!

I have just made a hamper in aid of GetYourBellyOut to raise money for those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, it’s almost finished! I also did the photography for the charity ball in April this year when my friend Hanna took really poorly and was admitted to hospital, thankfully she was okay and recieved really good care. We will be attending the ball next April again to see some of the most amazing people ever including my best friends Levi and Steph!

I have been collecting donations for Street Friends Aberdeen charity who help the homeless of Aberdeen, run by volunteers making them warm meals a few nights a week. (If you would like to help please click here for the items list.)

You will remember earlier this year in March, I took part in a charity photo shoot for The Purple Wings Charity Calendar where I raised almost £600 in sponsors and by auctioning off items for the charity. The calendars are now on sale for next year and can be bought by clicking here. It was great fun!

Everything Else

A lot to take in right?! I know it is a lot, sorry! This saturday we get our first ever real christmas tree! Most of the christmas presents have been wrapped up for everyone, just literally one or two left to wrap and that is all done yay! The dogs are all doing fine and have been squished up to me or on my knee giving me loads of cuddles whilst I have been poorly. They always seem to know how to make me feel comforted, bless their little but big hearts.

My Christmas Wishes

Lastly, my wishes for this christmas.

  • Have tests done
  • Be seen in the IBD clinic
  • For friends and family to have a lovely christmas and new year
  • More donations for Street Friends Aberdeen
  • Get my GetYourBellyOut volunteer shirt!
  • Not end up in hospital
  • To be well enough to enjoy christmas day without being tired and being able to eat Christmas dinner without feeling sick

Seems silly christmas wishes to many but for me, it’s big wishes.

What’s your christmas wish(es) this year?

Awareness, Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs, People's Stories!, Personal Blogs

The Mental Health Taboo With Pregnancy

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After watching Loose Women, a celeb dating star Anna Williamson talked about her mental health before pregnancy, during and after the birth of her first child. Anna was extremely brave in talking about something that society has a set perspective on when it comes to pregnancy and having a family which is that pregnancy should be the most exciting and amazing time of your life. But that isn’t how it is for many who suffer from mental health conditions.

In my blog IBD – Pregnancy/Termination I talked about my situation when I became pregnant after being told I would never be able to get pregnant and to help other women in the same situation I was in which was that I was told this information based on opinion and through no fertility testing. However I never talked about the emotional impact this had and STILL has on me. It’s hard, and that’s putting it lightly. Since then I have had another miscarry and I am desperate to be a mum. They say to look at that silver lining and for us, it’s that I know I can get pregnant now!

I spoke to women and men who also felt that mental health had a big role to play prior, during and after pregnancy;

 

Kellie

“It felt like I was going to fail as a mom. When I was pregnant over three years ago, four months before falling pregnant I had my stoma operation. My surgeon was very concerned which made me concerned and panic. There were regular what ifs and what if this baby didn’t make it  as I had had 5 miscarriages. At ten weeks, my whole life was on pause as they didn’t know if I would survive, they diagnosed me with a brain condition and I went blind for three months. I was in such a dark place I didn’t know if I was going to make it, I kept asking myself was my baby going to make it, or if we did pull through how would I cope being a mom with a new illness on top of the illnesses I already have!”

“Pregnancy was no walk in the park for me, and I couldn’t be alone. I was scared to be left alone so my partner would come to the hospital everyday and be with me from 7am that morning till 11pm at night. I had to stay on the phone to him all night just to try and stay as calm as possible. I was also on different types of medication as they didn’t know if the baby would come out addicted to the medications or not. I wasn’t on medication by choice, I was on medications to try and survive and for the baby to survive. I had open brain surgery at 20 weeks pregnant and I honestly thought when I was being put to sleep that it would be the last time I would see my family. I didn’t bond with my son for a few months and unfortunately, it took longer for me to bond with him as all I did was sleep and eat. My partner actually had him the majority of the time after major bowel surgery, being ill, open brain surgery and being a new first time mom. Delivering conor I was all over the place between hormones. I really didn’t know if I was coming or going. When I got better and when I was allowed to go home, I was close to my due date and I kept having panic attacks thinking something was going to happen to the baby or myself. I couldn’t sleep, I was restless, I was alone.”

Laura

“I’ve been on maximum dose antidepressants for depression and anxiety since the age of 14. When I became pregnant in 2010, I was seen at the hospital regarding my medication. They advised me to either come off my medication or to switch to one that would have less effects on the baby. My anxiety told me to stop my medication completely, I couldn’t bare the thought of any medication having a negative impact on this little person I was growing. The first few weeks weren’t too bad, I found myself either feeling on cloud 9 and the happiest person alive or I then felt myself pushing everyone away and isolating myself. I kept blaming it on pregnancy hormones and carried on as I was. My baby was born prematurely in April 2011 via emergency caesarean. Nothing prepared me for that, and especially for what was to follow. I blamed myself entirely. I blamed myself for my tiny baby being in high dependency. I felt like I had failed him, my body had failed him, and for weeks I bottled these feelings up and tried my hardest to embrace my new role as a mother.”

“When I finally brought my baby home, I made sure he was clean, fed, loved and my god did I love him. But there was always this overwhelming feeling inside that I wasn’t good enough. I truly believed that I didn’t deserve this baby and didn’t deserve to feel happy. I told myself I didn’t love him enough. I struggled in silence for 6 months before admitting that I needed help. I openly told my doctor “I can’t do this” and the GP put me back on to antidepressants. It has taken me so long to accept that I need these tablets to function and to stabilise my emotions. It has taken me so long to accept that I was and am worthy of this special boy. I am no longer ashamed of my mental health issues and I need to take these tablets to make life easier for me and keep those intrusive thoughts at bay then I do! I was also so in love with him but I remember those unwanted and intrusive thoughts creeping in, telling me I wasn’t good enough for this and that I didn’t deserve this beautiful baby boy.”

 

Danielle

“Before I fell pregnant, apart from the desperation and obsession with becoming pregnant, my mental health was quite good. I was always able to control it and get on top of it myself. Never felt I needed to seek much help and always dealt with life’s shit pretty well. But it’s like something changed in me when I became pregnant, I was petrified of losing my unborn baby! SO petrified that I was adamant it was going to happen.
I didn’t really enjoy pregnancy much until 20 weeks. I don’t know why but that 20 week scan made me feel like I could breathe a bit and my unborn baby boy was healthy and he was actually going to be OK. But that horrible anxious feeling never fully went away, I think that’s because I didn’t have a lot of trust in my body, seen as though it had thrown a chronic illness at me out of the blue. Despite all my concerns and issues, besides initial worries from labour, he was a healthy baby boy. I don’t know if my pregnancy anxiety is to blame for my mental health declining once I had him. He had Cmpa ( a food allergy caused by the baby’s immune system reacting to proteins in cow’s milk) from birth so we had our issues and battles which was never easy. He wasn’t diagnosed for weeks and I felt like I was losing an uphill battle with medical professionals. I struggled so much from early on because he screamed, a lot, and wasn’t a happy baby. I felt so stressed and angry All. The. Time, A time that I was meant to be enjoying my new baby boy it was awful some days.”

“Even though I wasn’t alone I felt very alone, very scared, both judged and a very bad mum! I was petrified to talk to anyone about how I really felt incase I was judged! I was so scared someone would take my baby off me and think he would be better off with someone else. I did go to the Drs a few times, trying to explain how I felt but I kept getting dismissed and I lost faith in them. Eventually, nearly 2 years after having him! 2 whole years, I felt like I was losing my mind and I wasn’t a very nice person to be around. I couldn’t control my anger or my emotions. I felt so lost and so far from myself it was unreal! I took my sister to the Drs with me who thankfully listened. I self referred from there advice to try CBT. I give it a good go, I tried a few appointments and stuck to it, but still felt myself sinking. My son was well over 2 now and he deserved so much more than what I was giving him! So I went against everything I once believed in, and asked for antidepressants. I was scared of those because I didn’t want to feel numb, I didn’t want to be emotionless towards my son or partner, but I NEEDED something and fast. So 11 months I have been on them now, and my God what a difference!! I’m quite saddened to think I lost myself for so long and got such an important chunk of my little boys life, and I know, which is also proven, that my mental health WOULD of had an effect on him because I left it too long. But I pray and I hope with everything in me, I have time to reverse any damage and soon enough, before the years out, I’ll be medication free and coping OK. Nobody tells you about this part of pregnancy and being a parent, not peppery. You never expect it to happen to you. But it can happen to anyone. And please don’t do what I did, don’t try cope and don’t ignore it. Ask for help, no-one is there to judge you, only to help you.”

Zoe

“My experiences with a newborn – I went into it expecting it to be the most amazing and wonderful experience in the whole world: especially after all the ivf and how longed for our baby was, I thought it would be magical. And don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful, but wow it was so hard too! The physical exhaustion of having a newborn affected me more than anything. I was breastfeeding for the first 2 and a half weeks, and he would feed constantly. And I mean constantly. There was no physical time left in the day for me to sleep. I was beyond exhausted. I was losing control of my mind, I felt like I was ghosting my body, like I wasn’t there. I felt like looking after my baby was a chore. I didn’t feel like I could enjoy even the cuddles. It wasn’t until I started bottle feeding, where Harry actually enjoyed being put down, I could actually sleep, and I got my sanity back. When he was breastfeeding, he would only settle on me, he would only sleep on me. It was relentless. I didn’t want to tell anyone, I felt like I was failing and I had to keep my front.”

Debbie

“I have recently had 3 miscarriages, and during my pregnancies with both my daughters in 2007 and 2008, I had strep B with severe sickness. Due to severe depression which I was diagnosed with in 2009, my two girls were taken away and have been adopted. I found it hard to manage simple things like cooking, couldn’t eat without being sick so ended up being anemic for a while, I couldn’t get much sleep as I was always lay awake worrying. Due to this awful experiences, I have ended up not trusting professionals and I still don’t. I was always worrying something bad was going happen and this has affected my mental health long term.”

(this gentleman is being kept anonymous) 

“I find men don’t know what to expect during pregnancy, and I personally found that when going into the hospital with my partner, I was ignored by the staff. They don’t tell you what to expect or how it’s going to be. When we had my youngest, my partner was on gas and air and I sat there doing nothing until she went into labour, nobody talked to me or said what to do or helped me cope with it all. I think because we aren’t the patient, we are left to it which I think is unfair as it’s an experience to go through together as a couple.”

Amy

I have never been very maternal, yes I wanted children, I wanted one each a boy and girl, but for me I had to be a lot older, successful and married. Obviously fate had a different idea. I fell pregnant 3 months after dating my boyfriend, it was mid Jan 2015 when I found out. I had just landed a full time permanent job and this really put a spanner in the works. It was a shock, this wasn’t planned and I didn’t know my boyfriend that well enough either. Even though my pregnancy was a shock, I knew then and there I was sticking with this pregnancy. My boyfriend however wasn’t so keen on the idea. I broke the news to my parents and apart from an initial shock the next day they both supported me with whatever I decided. My boyfriend took a whole week to tell his parents and they weren’t thrilled either. Back then I think I should of left him as the warning signs were all there.

My pregnancy wasn’t easy at the slightest, I’m 4ft9, I was about 5 and a half stone then, so growing a baby left me in a lot of pain. I was sick constantly and was back and forth in A&E as I was so dehydrated and had constant drips to help with that. I had sickness throughout until I actually went into labour. My boyfriend came to terms with things but wasn’t at all in the slightest encouraging. He came to most of the scans, as did my family but he wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion like we were. Anyway we got prepared and minus the sickness and needing constant growth scans, (as for a while baby was growing quite small) things were fine and dandy. My due date was 4th October 2015. I got told I wouldn’t be on time and would be late, however on the 14th September, I was getting a lot of pain and started bleeding. On the 15th pain was worse and my mum decided to time them and low and behold I was actually starting labour. The labour ward got me in when my contractions were about a minute apart and after a quick sweep and realising I was already 4cm dilated, I had a birth pool running and we were in hospital. 16th September 2015 at 7:56am my daughter was born at a beautiful 6lb4oz. Apart from being a bit blue and mucusy she was fine and after 24 hours we went home. This was when things went bad. My partner moved in with me in my parents house, but they just couldn’t get on. He hardly helped with our daughter and at this point I became quite poorly myself as was having a lot of stomach pain. It got so bad at one point I had to get an ambulance round. No-one could work out what was wrong so was put on some painkillers. Day 5 of my daughter’s life and after a few days of her being jaundice my midwife and health visitor told me to get her to hospital and myself as well as I was running a fever and not being well. So we did. We both got admitted in.

My daughter was poked and prodded with numerous tests and she was rushed straight to NICU as her bilirubin levels were dangerously high. We were told if they continue to rise that she may have brain or organ failure. We were told to expect the worst if things didn’t improve in 24 hours. She was put in all uv lighting. She had tubes going everywhere and the tiniest cannula ever. This was when my mental health went bad. My heart was breaking in so many ways. How can this happen? I’ve only had her in my life for 5 days, you can’t take her away from me now. Will she live? Will she have permanent problems? How am I going to cope? Why the hell has this gotten so bad? I was distraught and worse I was admitted in and until they can figure out what was wrong with me, I wasn’t allowed to be in nicu. I was breastfeeding so I needed to be there so I could do that. They allowed me for that reason but after 2 days my bloods came back saying I had an infection and while that was going on I no longer could be there. So I expressed. But I wasn’t making much sense, which then made me cry my eyes out as I couldn’t even do one simple thing for my daughter. The hospital was amazing. They made sure I was being checked on and keeping me updated constantly about my daughter. I had the mental health team round as my scoring was very bad so they sent the support, but I refused, I just wanted to be with my daughter. Her father hardly went to see her, he was more interested in playing his game or sleep. At one point he saw her for about 10 minutes and then went off with his family to get a pizza, not once asking if I needed anything.

My parents, especially my mum, were there being my support group that they always are, they made sure I was coping and being there with my girl while I couldn’t. They gave me things so I had her smell and she had mine. Regardless though, I still felt alone, so lonely, so lost, so hopeless, so frustrated and so very angry. I just want my baby home and well. Somehow a miracle did happen and after 2 and a half weeks we were home. We had another month of tests to make sure nothing creeped back but she was safe. But even being home my low mood didn’t budge. I instead worried every time she was asleep.

It is incredibly brave for these people to share their stories over the past few months and to share via this blog post. The main aim in sharing these stories is for those who are in similar situations with mental health whilst being a parent’s or parent’s to be to not feel so alone. It’s OK not to be OK at any time in your life! Just make sure to reach out and get the help and support that you need, whether that be in a friend, family member or medical professional.

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

How To Pass The Time On Bad Days

It may seem a strange to blog about how to pass time when you are having a bad day, but in reality time really does go slow when you are having a bad day, for example with pain or mental health. Many of us are guilty of trying to pass the time by scrolling through social media and find that it can sometimes make you feel worse or if it’s really late and no one is online, it can make you feel quite lonely.

So how can we pass the time during these difficult times?

  • Apps such as Pinterest, the Kindle App, YouTube, Sky Go and games that you like or may like to try.
  • Gaming on your laptop, PC or gaming consoles (for cheaper prices on games visit cdkeys.com)
  • Colouring in or diamond painting (you can get these cheap on eBay)
  • Picking a new hobby such as photography or walking if able.
  • Doing D.I.Y projects that are within your limits such as revamping an old mirror or old furniture.
  • Visiting the beach if it isn’t a cold day! The sea air smell and sounds are so relaxing that you don’t need to walk around the beach to enjoy it, just sitting with a flask of tea or coffee watching the sea is lovely.
  • Doing crafts, many people make beautiful things such as hats, scarves, sculptures and scrabble pictures.

For more ideas on what you can learn to do, visit google or Pinterest where there are so many ideas to choose from!

Please also remember that should you need to rest and sleep a few or many hours a day, do not feel guilty! I spend a lot of hours per day sleeping or napping and I always remind myself that listening to your own body is so important. On the good days, make the best of them! After a day of sleeping, I try to get my housework done and if the weather is nice then I like to go for a little walk with my pooches. Each day is very different, if not every hour so do what you can when able and try not to be hard on yourself.💕