When Do We Need Help with Our Mental Health?

So I’m feeling down. Like really down. Like I couldn’t give a crap about anything, and just want to hide somewhere on my own. And yet it is killing me that my house is a mess and I have so much I’m supposed to be doing. But I just can’t be arsed to do it. I have absolutely no patience. And I have a constant stream of negative thoughts running through my head.

I was at the doctor last week about something else, and I told her that I wasn’t great and that I had given myself a time line to either be better, or do something about it – ie medication.

My husband says that when I’m exercising I’m so much happier in myself, and of course when my weight goes down I’m happier too. So he’s trying to motivate me to get out on the treadmill, and encourage me to eat better. But I’m finding that tough. I think myself as well that if I could do that – exercise and eat better, and also journal a bit to get my thoughts out of my head and try getting some head space somehow whether to even read a book in the bath or to listen to some meditation, then I would probably get myself out of this funk I’m in.

But I can’t.

I have been out on the treadmill three times a week for the last two weeks, so that is a start, and I was listening to the meditation apps. I got the journal out, and a pen. But I haven’t written in it. So I’ve been trying a bit, but again I just don’t have enough interest.

I know I should. I know I should try try try, and just push myself. But I feel crap, I feel down, I feel sad and hollow and I just want to roll up in a ball on my own and be left in a pile somewhere.

And I really really really don’t want to go on anti-depressants again. I was on them for one year exactly, nine years ago. After my second child, it wasn’t for post natal depression, the doctor felt I had anxiety and stress management issues. And the medication helped. I felt much better after a few months, and I got back to myself. But it took me about a month to six weeks for them to settle in my system – in other words I could barely move off the couch for those first few weeks, I was so tired and lethargic. And I ballooned in weight. And I cannot afford to do that this time. Then, I was almost back at my pre-pregnancy weight from before having my son, and I put up at least a stone and a half, possibly more. This time I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight from having my last baby, but it is still four stone heavier than I was before getting pregnant on my first – which is my goal weight. I already hate going anywhere because I feel I look crap, because I’m so overweight. I think if I put on that type of weight again on top of my current weight, I would literally sink into a pile and just not move and never leave the house.

And I am not in a situation to do that. I know that I have to get up, shake it off and basically fake it – for my kids. They need to be brought where they need to go, they need to have the things that they need to do and get done, and I am the one to do it. And I am doing it. Even if its last minute and a rush because I didn’t have the energy to do it when I should have.

But I do have to do something about it – because I have no patience with them, and it is not fair. They are amazing kids. They are lovely and kind and helpful. They are just kids and I need to be a happier mama for them. And at the moment I am not.

So I told my husband a few weeks back that if I wasn’t feeling better in three weeks, that I would have to do something about it. Pretty sure that was two weeks ago. So basically next week I either need to be on the way back to myself – or I need to go to the doctor for advice, and discuss medication if that is what the doctor thinks. The funny thing is that what I went to the doctor for last week was an ongoing eye twitch, and she decided was stress related but gave me a course of treatment that has relaxers and antidepressants, in such low doses that they aren’t to help with depression but with the nerve under the eye. But even from taking them, and they are extremely low doses, I already feel even more sluggish. So it’s further putting me off taking full doses of anything that might help my mood.

But if I can’t shake this myself in the next week or so, for everyones sake I need to do something about it.

I have always been very aware of my mental health, and I flag my feelings with people, like my husband or a close friend – so that if it is ongoing, then I know that I need to do something about it. It is so easy for us to let our own mental health slip and slide, and the time goes fast. I thought three weeks was ages to get myself sorted and already we’re almost there. It is a reminder to us all to make sure we notice how we are feeling, and to make sure we make a plan to look after ourselves.

Immerse Myself in Health

I have decided to or realised that I need to, I’m not sure which, immerse myself in health and fitness if I want to stay focused.

I know that some people think that it is better be more balanced and not get obsessed with something. That is fine if you are able to keep yourself motivated and on track. However I am not great at that. I forget that I am being focused and motivated and I just fall off the wagon.

So I have decided to become obsessed with my health and fitness and wellbeing.

I realise that this could make me quite boring to other people, but hopefully it will be a relatively temporary thing and I’m hoping I can pretend to other people to be normal and talk about normal things to people. But in my own head, and with my own people, I am going to focus on staying on track. I have over three and a half stone left to lose, I can’t afford any slip ups or falling off the wagon. I need to stay on this and lose this weight, once and for all.

Already I have set up my Instagram (new to me) to be following people I find motivational and inspiring. I have discovered podcasts and I am listening to one particular person from start to finish, because I am finding myself nodding along with him and his experts on every single one of the podcasts. I like finding people who are of the same opinion to me and in health and weight loss, I believe in less processed foods and more whole foods, and a lot of the weight loss industry is angled at fat free and processed food. I am listening to podcast after podcast and telling my husband all about them and trying to think back to what was said to focus my attention on the positive steps to make.

I’m in it to win it this time! I am going to lose the weight and keep it off. There’ll be no more yo-yo-ing back up and down. I am losing this weight slow and steady with lifestyle changes and I will get it off and gone. I can do it, and I will do it, and I am in the process of doing it! 🙂

March – My Month of Gratitude!

I love gratitude, and giving thanks for all that we have, but as with everything I have great intentions and very little follow through.  I have bought gratitude journals, diaries, tried starting a tradition of writing what we are grateful/thankful for with the kids every night, so many different ways I have tried to incorporate it into our lives. But I usually realise weeks later, oh we haven’t done that in a while.

So I was thinking about it last night and I have decided that I am going to make March my month of Gratitude – and I am going to post daily here, to make myself accountable.

The first ten days or so will be very easy, all the basics that I rattle off every time I think of what I am grateful for – and then things might become more interesting or unusual. I don’t think that I will ever be stuck for anything to be grateful for even on Day 31, because I notice the smallest things to be grateful for. But we’ll see! 🙂

Taking a break this morning

This last week has been crazy. I’ve had so much on, I’ve been super productive with my planning and organising and also fitting in my walks for my leg! Yesterday just topped it off with back-to-back appointments and parties and afterschool activities, I needed a clone of me as I was expected in two places at the same time more than once, all while arranging a birthday meal and making the cake too!

So this morning I have decided, instead of keeping going at my jobs and getting the kitchen cleaned and all the usual things, I’m going to take a break. I have a cup of coffee, and I’m not worrying about anything else – I’m just going to watch a little bit of tv while the baby sleeps!

Sometimes it’s important to realise you also need to schedule in some down time for yourself too. Otherwise you’ll burn out.

Slowly starting to exercise

I got my varicose veins in one of my legs removed almost 4 weeks ago – and part of the recovery is that I need to take 3x 20min walks a day. This is a huge increase on my previous activity. I was probably getting one walk in most days, but definitely not every day.

So I’m making it a definite addition to my routine, and I am making sure that I get at least two walks in a day, if not all three.

And I’m loving it.

The walks are for circulation, not exercise. Is the way I was told about them. But I think that even at my slowish pace, it is exercise for me seeing as I’m starting off. After the last four weeks I’m starting to want to increase the speed a bit, but I’m also so conscious of my shin splints and making sure they don’t kick in and ruin all of this. Every single other time I have started an exercise routine, I do great for two or three weeks and then I increase by too much and the shin splints start and I have to take a break, often for weeks or months. I do not want that to happen. So I’m trying to keep it slow and steady!

I am noticing that I have more energy most days, and that it is great for my headspace and mental health to be getting out for the walks. Its been a great motivator to get me going.

Depending On Others

This is something I am not very good at. Depending on others. I don’t know why, I suppose I have always been well able to take care of myself so I tend not to rely or depend on other people (except my husband).

I didn’t actually realise that until about five or six years ago when I started in counselling, and I started talking to my friends about things and one of my friends said it to me that I would never ask for help or depend on anyone else. I was surprised, but realised it was actually true. I’ve been through enough counselling to make a good guess at why that it is, but those musings are not for this post! 🙂

What has spurred this post is that this week I have had to ask people for help. My husband is gone long days, and I have an eye condition that means I can’t drive. I have the morning school run and two school pick ups to do each day and the school is a ten minute drive, that would take hours to walk! So I’ve had to ask for help. And I don’t like it. I am delighted that I have such lovely people in my life that they have no problem helping and each has offered to do more than I even asked them. I really appreciate it, and I get that warm fuzzy feeling about the fact I have such wonderful people around.

But it also makes me uncomfortable. I’m not sure why, I think it must be that I HAVE to depend on others. In case you’re thinking it might be because I might have to reciprocate in the future, it is not that. I am, and always have been, more than willing to help out with lifts and school runs. I am even happy to be asked. So therefore I should understand that these friends and family would be happy to help me too. But still I feel I am putting them out. This time however, I don’t have a choice, and I think this might be a great thing for me.

Do you find it easy to ask for favours and help, or do you find it hard like me? Do you know why you feel like that? It is an odd thing to think about.

Everybody is different

I have come to realise that my mental health is definitely linked to two different factors – my home and my body size. By my home I mean the mess and disorganisation. These bother me hugely these days.

I was in a friends house last weekend and her house is beautiful, fully finished and fully organised and spotless, and that spurred me to get a move on with more organisation in my house. I also started looking at bits and pieces of finishing touches for some of the rooms, and putting plans into place, so I’m hoping that will all help with the house.

But we also got to talking, and I was saying I was a bit “not myself” at the moment, and that I know its because I’ve put on a bit of weight around my tummy since Christmas. She thought it was interesting that it bothered me so much, because she was saying that when she was at her skinniest for her friends weddings, it make no difference to her feelings or happiness than when she was at her heaviest. Whereas I notice my weight/size at every part of my day, and it affects me.

It really got me thinking how different we all are, and how different things affect us differently. It shows that we need to look at what is important to us, and what affects us and then try to make our lives fit in accordingly. Not to think that what makes one person happy will work for us.

I think this is also important for new mums and people around new mums to understand. I have a lot of new mums around me at the moment so it is in my head. Even last week I was at playgroup and talking to two mums, one with a newborn and the other has older children, including a teenager. This experienced mum was saying to the new mum that this time with a newborn is the best time of your life and to enjoy it, but I was getting the feeling that the new mum was actually started to get a bit antsy and maybe a bit bored because she’d mentioned thinking about starting doing a bit of work again soon. The other mum was saying not to even think about it and just enjoy this time with the baby.

While I agree personally myself that you should sit under the baby and enjoy every moment, I also understand the mundanity and boredom that comes with a newborn when you only have one child (it all changes when you’ve older children, and you’d love to be just able to concentrate on the newborn!). I myself was back working for our family business when my first baby was a few weeks old. I regretted it afterwards but at the time it didn’t phase me.

I think one mum pushing the other mum to just enjoy the baby, if that mum isn’t enjoying all the time with the baby, can make her think that there is something wrong with her feelings and with her. I think we all need to make sure if we’re giving advice to a new mum, or anyone really, that you allow that person to know that it is just your opinion and they could find something else works for them. And in general, just to remember we are all different and what works and affects one person might not another.