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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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. 

Everything seems grey

It feels like all the colour around me has zapped away. Like I am in a strange haze. This time of year is always difficult for me. I am struggling to get enough quality sleep. I have been on the verge of crying all day and I don’t know why. 

It probably didn’t help that when I went to Aldi it was stupidly busy. I went at 6.30pm when it is normally really quiet. I could feel my anxiety building the longer I spent in the shop. 

We still have loads of sorting to do at our new house which isn’t helping my mood. Could do without Christmas so we could blitz it really…

A strange trigger

Since the house move, I had been coping (at least I thought I had) with the upset with handing my notice in. A friend messaged me as she found out about it through another friend. They are both aware of my anxiety and depression. My friends had talked about the issue I had to deal with in regards to work. 

A friend asking if I am ok has made my mood drop significantly lower. How messed up is that?! Mental illness is such a strange thing. 

Deep down, I know I did the right thing. But I guess I am still processing the whole thing. I have been doing an accredited online dog walking course which, so far, I am enjoying. A fresh start is always good. 

I talked with my lovely friend on here Vicky about how I was feeling. She is such a good person and gives great advice and support. Last night I looked after my friend’s two little girls while she was at college. They always make me smile and laugh. So all of this has helped. 

I’m chilling with two good friends later on today. Tomorrow Dave, Walter and I are up to Vicky’s to have a Christmas get together. Spending time with some of my favourite people is always good. Even when I don’t feel at my best. 

‘Just a dog’

For a number of reasons, I have had to stop working with Faith. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. In the back of my mind, since the incident that happened recently, I thought this was inevitable. For one thing, Faith’s mum is a heavy smoker. Dave and I had recently talked about when I became pregnant I would have to stop working with Faith because of this. 

For nearly a year, Walter came with me to Faith’s. I was told that he was more than welcome there. Faith’s family had got a kitten recently and I was told until the kitten and their dog had gotten totally used to each other that it would be best not to bring Walter. I totally understood this. I was under the impression that I would be able to bring Walter with me from the messages I received. 

I arranged for a friend to look after Walter while I worked. While trying to arrange this, messages were received saying a number of things that I perceived as hurtful. One being that Walter is ‘just a dog’ and I should be able to leave him for 5 hours for evenings four times each week. 

Things were said to me that couldn’t be unsaid. A lot of hurtful things.  As a result, I had to make a tough decision to stop working with Faith. It probably sounds like all I seem to do is quit when things are difficult. But, the past two years have taught me that I struggle to deal with conflict. I shouldn’t have to deal with conflict in a work setting on a regular basis. It has a negative impact on all other aspects of my life. 

It might seem silly that I have stopped working over ‘just a dog’. But Walter is far more than that to Dave and I. Before we decided to get Walter we read up a lot about dachshunds. They are prone to separation anxiety. That is not to say that Walter is never left and that I don’t go out. He is left when I go shopping and the gym. But 5 hours on his own? We didn’t get Walter to leave him for that long on his own.

Sometimes (such as at the moment) Walter is the only thing that makes me leave the house. I have only left the house the past three days because Walter has needed to go for a walk. He is my little buddy and keeps me going. He is always there no matter how low and anxious I am. 

So just a dog? No, he is a super dog to me. 

Accepting a Bad Day

After a week or so on an even keel, things have started slipping. 

With my new medication, I have noticed that I wake up in the mornings with a dull headache. It is lingering more each day. Today I felt really drowsy when I woke up and my mood was noticeably low. It took me what felt like an eternity for me to will myself to get out of bed. 

I had planned to go and buy Walter some more food and to go to Bodycombat. Yet when I finally managed to go downstairs I then couldn’t get off the couch for ages. Thankfully, Dave was going out on his lunch to pick up Christmas presents for our nieces and my godson that I had reserved in Argos. He also managed to get Walter’s food. 

It feels too much to go to the gym today. I can tell that it won’t help and will more than likely make me feel worse. So I have spent the day chilling with Walter. I did manage to take Walter for his walk. It took a lot out of me. But it is an achievement given how much depression and anxiety are having an impact on me today. 

Here’s hoping that tomorrow is a better day. 

From bad to worse

It has been hard going this week. Even more so than last week. 

Besides Tuesday night, when I took a sleeping tablet, my sleep has been bad. The days I get up early for work I have had to go back to sleep when I get home. Not for just an hour. For about 3 hours. 

I have barely been to the gym. I managed to go on Monday evening which helped. But the lack of sleep, high anxiety and low mood doesn’t fill me with any inclination to go out unless absolutely necessary. 

My appointment with the crisis team was yet again a waste of time. It involved a lovely woman reading an anxiety booklet with me. It didn’t help that a student nurse was in the room. Not once was I asked if this was okay with me.

So the outcome of the session was I will be re-referred for CBT through the NHS. No indication was given as to how long I will be waiting. I have requested to see the therapist I saw last. I am glad I am not under the crisis team anymore. They haven’t helped at all and in some regards have made things worse. 

I have an appointment with my GP next week. I say my GP, but I am seeing someone I don’t really know. Dave is going to come with me. He is really good during appointments and doesn’t let professionals walk all over me. I feel that I need a referral to a psychiatrist. My mood is unstable and can plummet without warning. I don’t feel that I am on the right medication. Surely I shouldn’t feel suicidal so often?

I am hoping a weekend with Dave and Walter will help. Walter is being neutered next week. Dave and I are dreading it. But we know it is for the best and he will be fine.

Dave has been amazing this week as always. He is in regular contact with me throughout then day even when he is really busy at work. Walter’s little face really does keep me going. He gives such good cuddles and knows when I need one.