Things can get better

Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much progress I have made over the years since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I have two things that have happened over the past few days that I want to talk about.

Dave received a Facebook message from someone I have not been friends with for nearly 3 years a few evenings ago. I have spoken about this person. She was one of my bridesmaids when Dave and I got married. But when I was at my lowest, she made my life even worse. She made me feel guilty, didn't respect my boundaries and only cared about herself.

I made the decision that I did not want or need this person in my life. So I was surprised to find out this person messaged Dave acting as if nothing was wrong, asking how we were and congratulating us as she (somehow) knew I was pregnant.

Dave worried so much how I would react that he got in touch with my sister. She reassured Dave that I am stronger then a lot of people realise.

My first response when Dave told me was to laugh. I can honestly say that I have not once missed the friendship. I questioned the motives behind her getting in touch in the first place. Plus, the message acted if nothing had happened when it was quite the opposite.

Dave and I both agreed to ignore the message and that he would block her on Facebook. I am so happy with the people in my life. My family have always been amazing. I have the nicest and supportive friends. I didn't see the point in trying to be friends with someone who made me more ill and turned out to be an awful friend when I needed them the most.

I know for a fact that this message would have triggered my anxiety and depression when I was still struggling. I would not have been able to stop ruminating about it, quite possibly had a panic attack and it would have made my mood come crashing down. I would have brought it up continuously with Dave. It has been quite the opposite. We have not talked about it since Dave received the message.

Yesterday I went for afternoon tea for a friend's hen do. In the past, I would have automatically said no to something like this. I used to actively avoid situations like this; too many people, being with people I didn't know, a busy place etc. The only person I knew was the bride. But I went and had a good time. I chatted away to people I didn't know and they were all lovely.

To think there was a time that I was suicidal, struggled to leave the house and was constantly anxious and my mood was low is hard to believe right now. I am proud of how far I have come. I want to stress how it has not been easy to get to this point. There have been a lot of tears, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and being honest with myself and others when it is not always easy. I can recognise if I am starting to struggle and do things to help myself feel better.

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Chester Bennington

Like so many people, I was shocked and saddened to hear that Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide. 

For those who are into rock/metal music, we all have that one band that got you hooked. The band that opened your eyes and ears to music that completely speaks to you. For me, it was Linkin Park. 

When I first discovered Linkin Park they had only just released Hybrid Theory. At the time, I was a teenager. I was struggling back then with feeling of low confidence, doubts and anxiety. I know now it was more than your average teen angst. 

Finding Linkin Park helped me feel a sense of belonging; that other people felt like me, that someone could captivate perfectly my own thoughts and feelings. I was fortunate enough to have seen Linkin Park live on a number of occasions. It’s hard to describe what it was like singing your heart out with thousands of other people. It was beyond magical. 

I have been in that deep, dark place that Chester must have been. It feels neverending. At my worst, I would spend hours researching ways to kill myself including where I would do it. It was all consuming. I didn’t see a way that the darkness would leave. I really wanted it all to end as it was unbearable. 

I can’t remember how or when, but I decided that I couldn’t go on feeling like this. I felt I was just surviving, not living. Thanks to my amazing family and friends who supported me I got the help I needed. It was not easy. Addressing the deep rooted issues in my head is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. At times, I had to take myself out of my comfort zone and trust my therapist. It was scary and exhausting. 

I am not saying that life is now a bed of roses for me. It isn’t. But I can identify triggers or when I am starting to decline. I am more open with my family and friends when things are hard. For years, I hid my difficulties which I now know made things so much more worse for me. 

Things can get better. If someone had told me a few years ago how my life would be now, I would never have believed them. No one should feel like Chester, that suicide is the only option. Please find someone to talk to if you are struggling. 

I hope Chester is at peace now. My thoughts are with his family and friends. I am sure I am not the only one who is grateful to have found Linkin Park. Chester’s voice spoke to a generation and helped us during our worst moments. It is such a shame that he didn’t feel able to continue living when he had so much more to give. 


I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real. 
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along. 

Somewhere I belong 

Linkin Park, Somewhere I belong

Viability


Today marks 24 weeks pregnant which means from this point on, our little girl has a good chance of surviving if she were to be born. This made me smile immensely when it came up on Ovia, one of the pregnancy apps I use. 

For the most part, my morning sickness has gone. I have had the odd bout of it but nothing major. The recent hot weather has been horrible for me. I am finding it harder to get comfy in bed at night even with a pregnancy pillow. But it is so much worse when it is warm. As a result, my sleep has been terrible. I haven’t been the gym since Saturday and have needed to have naps on days when I am particularly tired. 

My bump is definitely more noticeable now. The past few weeks when I have had Dom, he has commented each week that my bump is bigger. 


Our little girl’s movements are becoming much more stronger. Dave, my mum, brother and best friend have all felt her which has been lovely. 

I had a recent spell of being super anxious about our baby. My biggest fear is something is wrong with her or will go wrong. I spoke to Dave and my Mum about it which helped a lot. It is nowhere near as bad now. 

We have booked a 4D scan for the end of August. We are going to where we went for the gender scan as they were brilliant. Plus, they had a great offer on and we couldn’t resist. We only have to wait another 6 weeks for it.

We have had so many lovely people giving us things for our baby. From clothes and books for her to maternity clothes for me. Our little girl is loved by so many already. 

Pregnancy aside, things are good. Spent lots of time with my family recently including a birthday meal for my Dad at the weekend. The times I have been able to go the gym I have thoroughly enjoyed it and kept up in classes. I am doing low impact moves/adaptations when needed. 

From tomorrow Walter’s BFF Lola is staying with us for just over 2 weeks. Dave and I are really looking forward to it. Walter enjoys having her here. Dave has some time off over the next few weeks which will be nice. 

Mummy Guilt

How is possible that at 18 weeks pregnant I am already experiencing Mummy guilt? There are two reasons. The first came about at what I thought was going to be a routine asthma review. 

Last Friday afternoon, I had a routine asthma review. The day after my review, my asthma became worse due to a cold I had getting on to my chest which is just typical. When I arrived for my appointment, the receptionist told me that I needed a doctor’s appointment to discuss my recent blood tests. Luckily, I managed to get an appointment after my asthma review. 

I am taking folic acid and vitamin D and I was told that I needed blood tests in order to receive more. I was advised to take this while pregnant. My vitamin D levels are low. But is it any wonder when I live in the UK? We don’t get enough sun. 

When looking through my notes, the doctor found that I was on paroxetine. She said that I shouldn’t be taking this when pregnant. I felt so sick, anxious and let down. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I saw my GP so I could discuss my medication. I was told paroxetine would be fine to take. To then be told that fluoxetine is a safer SSRI  made me feel so guilty. I have been risking my baby’s health and it could have been avoided. Paroxetine has an associated risk of heart problems in babies during their first few months. The only reassurance I have is that each and every scan we have had, our little girl has had a strong, healthy heart. I have been taking fluoxetine since Sunday and I see my midwife a week today. I need to book an appointment to see the GP next week so they can see how I am doing. 

The other reason I feel guilty is my lack of appetite and nausea which seems to have got worse again rather than better. I have been making a conscious effort to eat healthy. Yet thanks to morning sickness (which by the way, happens any time of day) I threw up all the grapes I had managed to eat. I worry that my little girl isn’t getting enough nutrition to grow and be healthy. 

I think I am dwelling on things a lot more than I normally would. As I mentioned earlier, I have been physically unwell. I am finally starting to feel better. Although I don’t work much, I do have a routine; going the gym, seeing family and friends, walking Walter. All of this has gone out of the window. I have been stuck in the house. Thankfully, I have Dom in a few hours and the sun is shining. 

Reality Check

For the past month or so I have been experiencing chest pains. I’m not one to go the doctors over the slightest thing. I hate to think that I am wasting time of an already stretched NHS. 

But this week it became even worse. The pain has been more intense and more frequent. I am stopping more during classes at the gym which is massively frustrating. It is a struggle to get enough oxygen into my lungs and my chest feels so sore. The past few days I have had intense heartburn and it hurts to swallow food. 

I managed to get a doctors appointment this morning. The GP I saw was lovely. He listened to me and checked my lungs, blood pressure and heart. He said that I The doctor said I have costochondritis which is inflammation of the cartilage that joins my ribs to my sternum. All I can do is take it easy at the gym and take ibuprofen. 

The main reason I ended up going the doctors is that my grandad has Oesophageal cancer. He had been experiencing the symptoms for around two years. On finding this out yesterday, it gave me a kick up the arse to get myself checked out. I am so grateful and relieved that it is nothing as life changing as what my grandad will have to go through. 

My lovely grandad will have to put on weight as he is malnourished from not being able to eat. He has to have a bit of chemo and then have an operation to remove the tumour. He will be in hospital for two weeks and will have more chemo after that. 

It breaks my heart to know what my grandad will go through. He is such a lovely, kind and caring man.  My grandad has been so positive about it all though and has accepted what lies ahead. So if he can accept it then I can too. 

Sunday Funday

Walter has had a lovely day. My brother came round this afternoon and Walter was delighted. We took Walter to get some treats from where he went for his puppy classes. One of the trainers from his classes served us in the shop. She loved seeing Walter and could see for herself how much he had come on. 

  
This was Walter’s pupcake he had after his big walk. 

We then took Walter for a big walk at one of his favourite places. He saw lots of other dogs including another dachshund called Frank. 

   
    
   
Faith wrote Walter a birthday card so I sent her a photo of Walter with it. I love the photo I managed to get. 

  
Needless to say, Walter is now completely worn out after his fun filled day. He is currently fast asleep on the couch.

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling not right. My throat was sore, I had a headache and earache and I was so drained. Today I woke up feeling even worse. My throat feels so scratchy and raw and my earache is unbearable at times. I have white spots on the back of my throat too.  I didn’t want to just sit in when we had plans today. But I have probably done far too much today. 

So I plan on resting as much as I can this week. It’s Dave’s birthday at the weekend and we are planning to go the zoo on Friday. As much as I love the gym, a dog walk today has left me feeling awful. So I won’t be going the gym this week

Emotionally and mentally, I have still struggled at times this week. Nothing in particular has been playing on my mind, but the feeling of uneasiness has lingered. I have CBT again tomorrow. I haven’t even attempted the task I was set. But I plan on telling my therapist that things haven’t been great. 

A breakthrough

So on Tuesday night I broke down. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, tired and incredibly low. I ended up uttering the sentence, “I hate my life” to Dave. I’ve never said anything like this out loud to anyone. I’ve never wanted to voice these thoughts. I don’t want people worrying about me, especially Dave. We had a long chat. Dave is such a level headed person and he helped me calm down eventually. Dave and I decided that I have waited long enough for NHS counselling. We decided to try getting counselling via my Dad’s work. 

My GP appointment on Wednesday afternoon was actually quite productive. The doctor I saw was very good. She was really supportive and took what I said seriously. She asked me to fill in a questionnaire of some sort. I can’t remember the name of it but I got a score of 22 which is high. 

I was honest about my insomnia, how run down I am and how I am avoiding being around people. The doctor suggested upping my dosage of Citalopram from 30mg to 20mg. I am now taking it when I get up rather then before bed. She also gave me sleeping tablets for the next month. I have an annoying rattle sounding cough and as I am asthmatic the doctor listened to my chest. Thankfully, my chest is clear. I have to go for blood tests because of how ill I am getting. She mentioned something about my thyroid and how that might be impacting my low mood. Luckily, my GP surgery can do the blood tests on Wednesdays so I have an appointment on Wednesday morning before the gym. I explained how I want to be more settled before going to Australia. She wants to see me again before I go. I am seeing her again the week before Dave and I fly out. 

The sleeping tablets are slowly having a positive impact. My usual lying awake for hours on end has decreased dramatically. The past two nights I haven’t woken up during the night. Although I am still not getting enough sleep right now, I woke up at 8.30am on Thursday and 9am this morning. This makes a pleasant change to 7am!

I experienced high levels of anxiety at the gym last night. I am not sure if this is due to the increased medication dosage, switching to taking it when I wake up or something else entirely. I was on the verge of tears before the start of bodypump. The anxiety did subside gradually during the classes. My appetite is virtually non existant since increasing the dosage. 

On Wednesday afternoon I have my first counselling session. I am entitled to six sessions which my Dad’s work are paying for. I feel like I will be able to get a handle on my depression and anxiety and actually start recovering. I am going to ask this counsellor for my notes at the end of my last session with her so that when I actually get to see an NHS counsellor I can continue making progress. For the first time in I don’t know how long I haven’t felt anxious today.