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

The Mental Health Taboo With Pregnancy

68618324_716981562081886_7125175591002701824_n

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.💕

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Looking At The Positives

Alannahedit-3

Hello all, it’s been a while hasn’t it! I hope you are all doing well and my apologies for being so quiet this last little while.

So what’s new? Not much is new really! I had my implant removed finally which is slowly improving my acne. My mental health really hasn’t been good at all as it’s been a very stressful month or so and I have taken quite a bit of time out for myself to focus on family and friends. I have to admit that I’m not quite 100% and need to revisit my GP for a referral to get more mental health help but I have fantastic support from Jaimie, his parents and my parents. Having the dogs around has been my cushion when I fall, when the world feels like all hope is gone- there they are with a lovely soft cuddle and lots of kisses. As for moving house, I have decided that it just isn’t the right time due to the stress moving causes so I’m happy to stay where we are. It gave me the push I needed, though, to declutter my wardrobes etc! Biggie had his operation to remove his manhood and has recovered well and is now a little water baby and it is so, so cute!

Now, it’s about trying to get more into N.O stands for ‘Next Opportunity’ and focusing on the positives. A break from things like social media (and if you are a blogger, then blogging too) does you the world of good. I had a few issues with others trying to shed me in a public negative way and after so long I told myself that enough was enough and I deserved better and to only surround myself with good people who care about me and my wellbeing and what a lovely bunch they are! Even people that I don’t know who follow my blog and social media’s have been incredibly supportive and I thank you all so much. At the moment I will be doing some blogging here and there and remain to write articles for the Stoma Tips Magazine and possibly work on some blog contributions in the next few weeks.

Health wise i.e my Crohn’s Disease etc hasn’t been ideal but I’m coping. The Chronic Migraines has been the worst alongside Chronic Sinusitis and Arthritis but I have listened to my body and rested when I can, mostly watching Harry Potter! I also binge watched the new season 3 of 13 Reasons Why and Euphoria which were brilliant. Things can only get better and I will do my best to make sure of it! I also need to start watching That Crohns Chick more, if you aren’t subscribed to her Youtube Channel you can do so by clicking here to check it out!

A big thank you for reading and supporting me.

-Alannah

 

 

Mental Health Blogs, People's Stories!, Uncategorized

What’s Your Story? Meet Lisa!

62399209_466688697438288_4402369649090494464_n

Lisa (37) was diagnosed at age 21 with Crohn’s Disease.

During Lisa’s time with Crohn’s Disease, she has had to endure 7 surgeries, 3 abscesses, 1 drain, numerous hospital stays (longest one being 5 months) and many complications, infections and procedures all whilst working full time as a nurse. For the past 10 years Lisa has not been able to work but spends her time doing her favourite hobbies such as art. After 2 years of taking a medication called Humira which suppresses the immune system, Lisa still suffers from active fistulas from her stomach which leak out the abdomen!Lisa was also diagnosed with Anxiety, a mental health condition which can be quite commonly ‘hand-in-hand’ with a Chronic Illness, which has been getting worse for her over the years. Lisa said “I personally think unless you’ve actually experienced anxiety, on any level, you have no idea what it feels like!”

“I felt so alone, I honestly didn’t know how strong I was until I had to go through this roller coaster.”

During her first hospital admission, Lisa had an Appendectomy which confirmed she had Crohn’s Disease and this came to no surprise as being a nurse meant she had already studied Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the nursing programme. It still left her with feeling scared, alone and worried. Lisa had a good life until the age of 19, where luck was always on her side with a bright future ahead but this changed after her diagnosis which meant she was no longer in charge of her life or ahead of the game. For the next ten years, Lisa tried to live her life as normal as possible doing things she loved such as partying, going to concerts and working hard and hid her suffering from all those around her. One positive that has come from having Crohn’s Disease and the experiences surrounding being chronically ill is that it had benefited Lisa in her career as a nurse which meant she had more empathy and was able to be patient with people.

“The craziest part is that I’m the happiest human all the time…constantly trying to do anything to make others smile.”

Relationships were a big worry for her, due to severity of the disease and how unpredictable it can be, accidents can happen and dashing to the toilet becomes the ‘norm’. “I was going for the broken type of guys (the ones who needed ‘fixed’) The broken guy who needs to rescuing, aka the single dad or the guy with no job.” Luckily, Lisa soon realised that relationships like that just don’t work, it isn’t anyone’s job to fix someone else. During Lisa’s time being poorly, her mum was a huge support to her.

“I’d never have thought that my mom would be helping my sick, limp, malnourished body from a wheelchair to the bathroom chair in the hospital, and washing my hair for me when in my early 30’s. My mom was right there beside me, rubbing my back and helping me with getting me a clean basin for being sick.”

64811586_507266113361785_311899150645985280_n.jpg

Albert (8) in picture above

The next part any Chronically Ill person gets quite often is the dreaded question of “when are you having kids?” Due to having treatment for Crohn’s Disease, Lisa was never in a position where she was well enough to try for children then the issue of most medications being used to treat IBD, you cannot get pregnant whilst on them. Now at 37 years old and on Humira again it is advised that you don’t get pregnant on this medication so it is very difficult. For Lisa, her dog Alfie is her kid! Albert short for Albert, is an eight year old Shihtzu. “It’s a cute little story how we got put together, I wasn’t looking to buy a dog!…. When I first saw Albert, he was about 3 months old. I was supposed to take care of him while friends of mine went for a tropical holiday for a week over the winter holidays. When they returned, I knew they saw how much albert and I were meant to be! I still remember my friend yelling “Merry Christmas!” as she left my place! My favourite Christmas gift of all time!” The joy, love and laughter that Albert brings to Lisa daily, keeps her fighting through and continues to give her strength.

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Nurse VS GP: which is more beneficial?

NURSE VS GP

For approximately four years, I have seen a variety of health professionals but never really knew which each individual one actually does. After seeing my Nurse Practitioner at the beginning of the week, I asked her what the difference was between her job and my GP’s in terms of what they specialize in and their roles when it comes to providing care for their patients. It is just as beneficial to see a Practice Nurse as it would be seeing a GP. Here’s why;

A Practice Nurse – 

Practice Nurses are registered nurses that work in GP surgeries. They provide care in the following aspects:

  • Collecting blood samples
  • ECG’s
  • Wound management
  • Health advice and vaccinations
  • Child immunisations and advice
  • Womens and Mens health including sexual health
  • Swabs
  • Blood pressure
  • Urine samples

A practice nurse will have more specific jobs within the practice. They can help and advice within minor illnesses however they cannot diagnose or prescribe medications, however you may find that some can. They also run clinics for long term conditions such as Diabetes and Asthma.

A nurse Practitioner is a nurse who has advanced in their nursing with additional training and skills who are usually able to prescribe medications and have more knowledge with chronic or long term illnesses.

Both have access to your medical notes and care plan if you have one put in place. Many Practice Nurses/Nurse Practitioners specialise in different areas of health which can be very helpful.

GP’s – 

GP’s (General Practice) provides care in all common medical conditions, refer patients to specialist hospitals and focus on the patients health in all aspects such as :

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social

This also includes community, home and care in hospital. GP’s who care for patients with chronic illness have the aim to enable them to stay at home and keep them as well as can be. GP’s can also work in different aspects of the hospital such as A and E centres, Discharge planning and may run clinics. They look at the patient’s medical history and the symptoms that they present with at the time of the consultation. If you have a phone consultation they can also give a patient advice via telephone or organise for them to come in for example a blood or urine test.

 

 

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

Weekly Vlog Content – That Crohns Chick Youtube Channel

60838683_2018879704908123_5344155792696147968_n

At That Crohns Chick Youtube Channel, we have some exciting content coming your way! In my new role as co-host to the channel, I thought it would be good to let you know  about what is new and what we plan on doing!

Live streams are 9:30pm UK time (me) / 6:30am South Australian time (Sharnii) where we talk about all things related to various types of Chronic Illnesses. We have covered topics such as :

  • Dating with a Chronic Illness.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  • Ostomies (Colostomy, Ileostomy, Urostomy.)
  • World IBD day.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Thyroid Awareness Week.
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis.
  • PSC / Liver Transplant.

In a few weeks, we will be expanding the channel and bringing you weekly blogs ” The Day in the Life of A Crohns Chick” which will show you an insight to how we live our daily lives, on the good and bad days, ostomy related, eating out with IBD or a stoma and much, much more! This is a good opportunity for us to let people who are not chronically sick, have a view of what it could be like which therefore can help them support those they know that are chronically ill. We will also be highlighting medications and what mental health can look like and also bringing you some positivity and laughter. This is also a chance for you to know us a that little bit more and what we enjoy.

We are looking at having more people on the channel with various Chronic Illnesses, so if you are interested please message  Glitteryguts or That Crohns Chick! We want to raise as much awareness of any type of Chronic Illness out there and look really forward to what is yet to come!

 

 

 

Chronic Illness Blogs, Mental Health Blogs

Mental Health

I have been struggling with my mental health for a long time, due to illness and things happening in my personal life. After being off of antidepressants for almost two years, my GP and I decided that it was best to go back on them as the problems I’ve been having are very complicated and I am in the process of working through them.

After my surgical termination last June it was really difficult having that procedure done itself but also coming to terms with loosing my baby and last month would have been my due date. When problems started happening at home I began to have frequent mental break downs and found it so hard to cope with life. I would lay in bed all day in the dark and try to not to talk to anyone. I would barely eat and I couldn’t see much point in being alive with the stress of everything and being chronically ill.

After months struggling with the mental breakdowns and thoughts of not wanting to be here or deal with the physical and mental pain, I went to my GP and told him that I thought it was time because everything I had tried such as medtitation and anxiety apps on my phone just weren’t helping. My GP had been asking for a while for me to go on medication for my depression and I refused because I was terrified of the side affects.

At the start of taking Prozac, I was also given Pregablin to help manage my pain. At the same time starting these medications, I caught a sickness bug and was extremely ill so they weren’t able to kick in as well as they should have so they took a little longer to kick in! I felt a little tired for the first week but nothing more than the usual tiredness I get.

Slowly those bad thoughts went away and I felt so much more motivated with my life and wanted to not only live but to accomplish goals and dreams, doing more for charities and also taking care of me more. After a few months the dosage was put up because I felt the affects were wearing off a little. Since then I do still struggle some days but not as bad as before. My Anxiety and PTSD isn’t great but I’m working on those by distracting myself when I feel anxious by watching films or cuddling my 2 yorkies.

Just recently, I had an iron infusion as my ferratin levels were below 50 again. As my iron was dropping, I felt my mood dropping too. After talking to my IBD nurse and another GP it was said that when your iron drops it can also affect your Depression which I didn’t know! So in 2-4 weeks my iron should hopefully be back on track!

When you suffer from mental health, it is really difficult to open up to anyone but also to admit when you need help. Taking antidepressants is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about because the way I see it – you are helping to help yourself get better. Finding a GP or someone close to talk to can really help let out some pain of feeling alone in the battle inside your head. There are a few things you can try with mental health but I really strongly recommend talking to your doctor and making sure they are happy for you to try other things first.

There are apps you can download for Anxiety such as Headspace and learning meditation. Many people find that seeing a councillor helps but the waiting list for one is very long on the NHS. You can also read books on coping with anxiety and many various mental health conditions from amazon or local book stores. Colouring in books can also be very relaxing and handy when you want to go somewhere quiet and colour. Animals can also really help to comfort you and knowing a little furbaby loves you unconditionally is one of the best feelings in the world!

I have heard people refer to antidepressants as “wacky pills” and “loopy tablets” and I just think that is completely unfair for those who suffer. Taking antidepressants does not define you! For anyone who does not walk a day in our shoes they have absolutely no right to judge what they do not know or understand. Be proud for taking that step in talking to someone or swallowing your dose of antidepressants for the day, each day. To fight those relentless demons day in, day out makes you fucking strong.

And if nobody has told you, I’m proud of you.

Mental Health Blogs

If Today Was Your Last Day

This month is known as Movember, a term in which is associated with men’s mental health charity, The Movember Foundation. Their aim is to prevent suicide and mental health in men. They also help with prostate cancer and testicular cancer sufferers.

If I were able to grow a mustache, then I would certainly take part. The work this charity does, hits close to home and is really important. The thing is; I havent spoken of my experience with suicide except from my own mental health. So I’m going to share my story of my experience with suicide (with permission.) Before you continue to read please be aware that this includes some graphic content that includes alcohol abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues so if that could be a trigger for you please donot read.

This is my story on loosing someone to suicide;

At the age of 12 my Mum was with someone who was an alcoholic and involved in domestic violence. In the January of 2008 it had just been a week or two after my 13th birthday, Mum was asked to go down and identify his body and later on told he had committed suicide. It truly was an awful time for mum and for me, as I had to see her cry and there was nothing I could do to help the pain. For me I didn’t really know how to cope, I went to school just 2 days after and ended up collapsing in tears during the morning class and was sent home. Within a week after, my uncle lost his battle to cancer and then my step granda to cancer too. Not long after the suicide, we had come to learn that he had suffered from a Personality Disorder and had drank alcohol to try and cope with that.

Sometimes when we loose someone, they live on in other parts of our lives such as an item, a diary or a song. Before he died, Nickleback was his favourite. So when it comes to that time of year I like to put on If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickleback. The lyrics are also very true and if you’ve listened to it then you’ll know how loud it speaks out to you.

For men, mental health is much harder to talk about because there is this stigma that men shouldn’t cry or are much less of a man if they show emotion and that just isn’t true. Why should mental health be different for men than women? It shouldn’t and isn’tfact. There are so many ways in which mental health can affect a person. My findings online research is that in 2017 5,821 suicides were recorded in the UK, 75% being male and 25% female. Drug and alcohol abuse is not an uncommon problem within people who suffer from mental health issues. The Movember movement seeks to help raise awareness about men’s mental health and to help them be able to speak to someone about their mental health and daily stresses in life. Men grow a beard and/or mustache to raise money for this charity who specifically day in, day out, tackles these issues. Mental health is really important, infact just as important to your physical health. But here’s the problem we face… men don’t want to talk about it. Let’s work to try and change that.

I think it’s a really great movement mostly via social media and I have seen money raised by a few people I know for Prostate Cancer and The Movember Foundation already! One person who is unwell himself, is raising money, growing a beard and moustache. He is the founder of The Sick but Invisible Campaign, Ste Walker. If you would like to donate please click here! To donate to Adz Michael’s page please click here! I have donated this month and even the littlest of pounds can go a huge way to help all men out there battling with mental health issues. Being through what I have and loosing someone to suicide, no person should ever have to feel like the only way out is out of this life.

For mental health services advice and information please visit the nhs mental health services page.

Awareness, Mental Health Blogs

What It’s Like To Be With Someone Who Has OCD/ What it’s Like To Be With Someone Who Doesn’t!

It’s no secret that I have OCD nor am I ashamed of it or embarrassed. I actually have, over time, loved having OCD. Why? You may ask; It gives me some peace of mind when I am able to get things done such as the ironing, having a clean washed sofa or a freshly cleaned floor. It gives me real satisfaction emotionally. When people use the phrase “I’m bored of waiting it’s like watching paint dry”, I literally could sit and stare at a freshly painted wall and have so much peace and happiness. It’s not something easily explained but it feels great looking at something that’s so fresh and clean.

One thing I do wonder however, is what it is like being in a relationship with someone who has OCD. I have never discussed this with my partner before. I sit here on the sofa whilst he is gaming and I am watching The Notebook on Netflix and away to ask him what it is like for him. Hopefully it’s not all bad answers!

“How do you find it with me having OCD?”

“Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me. Sometimes it can be frustrating when I help to do things when I’m over e.g hanging out the washing- you like it a certain way and I always forget and you take it all down and hang it all up again.”

“Or when I do the dishes in the sink and you hate dishes being done in the sink and like them done in a basin so I have to take them all out and put them in a basin otherwise you get really unwell.”

“But really it isn’t so bad. The house always looks so clean and tidy except when you are more ill some days and infections, the Crohn’s Flare or fatigue makes it hard for you to even walk, but even then it’s never bad.”

I think I’m quite glad that my partner isn’t too badly affected by my OCD however being with someone who doesn’t have OCD can be extremely difficult for me;

I have to do things a certain way and in routine. Certain days for certain things. If I’m unable to do things I get extremely stressed or if I’m really unwell the littlest of mess will aggravate me and I get really moody and stressy!! I find it infuriating with myself that because things have to be done a certain way that when my partner does help me that if it isn’t done my way then I have to feel the need to correct him and re do it. I get annoyed at myself.

Sometimes I have had panic attacks because my anxiety kicks in from the OCD and the days I feel like I’ve failed to do even the simplest of tasks. Many days I get so caught up in cleaning that I make myself unwell for days because I try to get as much done as I can to the point where I’m crawling and crippled by pain- baring in mind that even doing a load of washing and then taking it out or hanging it up causes me extreme pain.

I always make sure to de weed the garden when it needs done and I do my best to make my garden pretty so if I need air from being sick or feeling sick that is relaxing and helps me calm down. But again my OCD makes me seriously ill and unable to cope with the pain I have most days that even finding a cigarette tab in my garden sends me into a fluster. At the moment I am constantly finding them littered in my garden and I spent 30 minutes just picking them all up a few days ago resulting in me not being able to cope with the pain and I’ve lost sleep. Over the past few days I’ve had around 11 hours of sleep possibly even less, meaning each day is a real struggle with pain being intensified by fatigue which then brings on sickness.

When I do have panic/anxiety attacks triggered by OCD or not I have extreme insomnia that can last for days sometimes weeks. So it is a vicious circle if it isn’t a good spell of OCD. I think that, really, the best thing is knowing other people who have OCD. So many of us mostly suffer from the mental health condition but I also believe that it brings great joy to people’s lives too. It’s a love hate condition and I found that accepting it and dealing with it each day was a much better option for me rather than continuing antidepressants. Due to suffering from anxiety and depression over the years, I have been on many and the only time I have benefited from them was when I was in a bad depression which led me to self harm. I’ve been free of that dark place for just little over a year now too which I think OCD has helped me out of on top of the treatment.

If I could sum up OCD I would say it’s taking the good from a bad situation and taking the bad from a good situation- there are always going to be pro’s and con’s. You can’t always garuntee it to be a good day but you can try to deal with as best as you can.