I’m so cray-cray, apparently i can’t function…

giphyNot long ago someone mentioned that i was a ‘headcase’ for having been through Postnatal Depression, anxiety etc. That i was unstable & even questioned my abilities to be a mother to more children! After originally being pissed off & wanting to dish out bitch-slaps, i’ve thought long and hard about it, the annoyance has faded and further confirmation has set in that the lack of true awareness surrounding mental health in mother’s, mother’s-to-be & new mother’s is rife. I mean, i’m recovered & still face the stigma for having been through it even though no-one is immune. You can be the most strong-willed, headstrong & optimistic person and let me tell you -it can still creep up and try to destroy you & your family. The difference is i’m saying it aloud & publicly so i should basically welcome the criticism really. I don’t mind, i expected it what with the blog, support group going public etc i have a sense of humour & a thick skin. What i do mind is that people saying these small-minded things goes on to stop a number of people admitting they have a problem for fear of the same judgement. That is not okay.

What does that tell you about society? Would a twenty-seven year old, otherwise healthy, woman be told those things after battling and kicking cancer’s ass, or any other illness? Would it be accepted more that they find themselves depressed? But they could die, they’re fighting or have fought for their lives! Yeah, well so are the many mother’s fighting their own minds to take themselves from the world and their families because their unmanageable thoughts are telling them it’s the only option they have (see Media). That they will be chastised by the majority of people around them for being ‘weak’ and incapable of simply living or being a mother, wife, daughter, sister etc. Fear leads to isolation and loneliness -how can someone seek out help and voice their concerns when people are telling them they’re fucked up for feeling this way?

Let me tell you, depression, anxiety etc they can accompany most illnesses which means train of thought can’t always be trusted in those circumstances. It could jeopardise ones ability to make sensible choices, be all they need to be? Yeah, whilst unwell and in treatment, sure.

But afterwards? When those individuals have bravely chose to fight, have sought out help when they realise there is help, that it does qualify as a medical condition, they’ve gone through therapies, worked hard to fight their own mind & re-program their thoughts to how they used to be everyday because they want to fix the problem & they do -they recover. Hell-fucking-no.

Would you tell an amputee to sack their plans or dreams because they couldn’t possibly live up to what would be a socially acceptable and a capable human being for having been through such RS56gLshardships and battles? Would you say scrap treatment, man-up & get on with it, shake it off? No, because that would be rude, right? Incorrect, unethical & perhaps impossible, yeah? Exactly. You see there is a process they would have to go through. It comes down to the word ‘choice’, you do not choose to face some shitty things in life, they just come at you. I don’t like to compare. Everyone has struggles and of course they’re different, but the end game is the same: we fight & adjust to things that try to destroy us mentally or physically, we fight to live with ourselves for ourselves and our families, why should some of those people be praised for their efforts and some chastised?

Don’t get me wrong, i’m not spitting fire at those that have negative opinions or a lack of patience surrounding mental health, i’m just saying that it all boils down to being uneducated about the subject. Ask me about the ins & outs of, say, diabetes? I wouldn’t have much to discuss or be opinionated about because i simply don’t know enough about it! I wouldn’t, however, tell someone that had to inject themselves with insulin daily and keep a constant eye on their diet etc that they were any less of a person. It makes me sad that there is a huge platform that could be used to sort this shit out: newspapers, magazines, endless online sites/ social media etc, not straight away but gradually. Like the selling of stuff, you market it correctly, you keep it in the minds of potential customers and tell them they want it & they’ll eventually naturally believe and gravitate to accepting it. It says a lot when we believe a lot of the crap products apparently do because we’re told to believe it, but we can’t have each other’s back with struggles and make it a trend to support one another.

I had a radio interview the other day & i don’t think i said these important points, instead focussing on the support group (Highland Mama’s) that i set up through PANDAS and the upcoming trek to raise money for PANDAS (since they run solely on donations) and why i was doing it etc. I wish i did mention stigma more & i wish i knew how to express these things briefly & simply (without swearing) but i guess it may still put PND in the mind of those that hear it, i only hope it works and that mother’s questioning whether to seek help or not see that there is nothing wrong with momsgrouppicturedoing so. And that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I ask anyone that is not directly affected by any of the pre or postnatal illnesses that may see this to have an open mind and an open heart. To see a mother and give her a smile. To give a father a smile too, because they’re not immune to being affected either you know. And most of all to fight stigma of any kind, any kind.

And i ask:

  • those in the midst of any PND journey to keep your head up and your fight constant.
  • those just finding out that they have either pre or postnatal depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis etc not to be scared. Be relieved that 1) you are not alone 2) there is help 3) it won’t last forever
  • those that came out of the other end to never be mad about the lack of understanding, but encouraging of folk learning.

And that is my midnight rant. I was going to talk about what’s been happening lately, some hurdles, the trek, my progress & the things i’ve learned when facing possible ‘bubble days’ etc but i’ll let you’s know another time with some updated photos, vids. But so far so good!

Peek a boo!

*Quick Update*

I’m here! Honestly.

Posts are coming slowly, huh? Well i’ve been busy with Highland Mama’s and general living. Things are going good, & although the last week or so has been rocky, it ain’t really been that bad!

The group’s going well, i’m still working on the balance of emotions when it comes to hearing the journey of some women, but i’m human -gi me a break. What i’ve noticed is just how freely conversation flows. And no, it isn’t all Pre & Postnatal chit-chat. It’s the weather. The kids. Food. The need for coffee etc. That’s exactly how i want it to remain, just a safe haven for women to sound off if needs be. One sweet, sweet lass actually got to eat her breakfast without disturbance. This may not seem a big deal but it fucking is, us women either look like we’ve got ants in our pants or are having a tourette’s episode every five minutes when our wee ones are running riot.

Training for the 100 km Sahara Desert Trek…

*whistles, eyes sky bound*

I ran after my 1 year old in Icelands today, does that count? No it doesn’t, because i didn’t really, my hubby did… 😂

It’s getting there, okay? Haha

PANDAS is doing amazing! Rachael was on This Morning the other day, total act of bravery telling her own personal story to that many people. What’s fantastic is that some Mama sitting home suffering would have realised she isn’t alone & googled the PANDAS community. Fab.

My progress…

Hm, well good and bad news, my Community Psychiatric Nurse ***** has officially signed me off. Woo hoo! I’m already missing her terribly, she was amazing & really saved me. I’m to stay on my meds for a further 6 months, not a problem, i’m not going to do what i did last time & come off them prematurely -epic fall on the ass there. Then who knows, i may be what’s deemed socially ‘normal’ once more…

Chins up ladies ‘n’ gents,

Vix xxx

The sad truth #PNDChat

Postnatal-Depression-264x261One thing that i’ve been advised time & time again in regard to starting Highland Mama’s is to make sure i go easy on myself. Watch out for triggers & be prepared to face them. Don’t overextend myself with the workload i put in, balancing my time. And, try not to become too emotionally involved in what’s going on around me with other’s & their PND journey.

The latter is already proving tough. In fact it has been from the get-go, when i was adamant i’d start a PND support group & was patient waiting until i was in a better place & my health was in check.

Now i see things, i read things, about women either well into different stages of PND or at the start: them confessing aloud that something just isn’t right within themselves. And it breaks my heart each bloody time. It’s like you can see how lost they’re feeling even through words alone. Like they’re spiralling & they’re scared. Would my reaction have been the same two years ago? Most definitely not. But now, after all the bollocks the past year & a bit has thrown at me & i understand? Yeah, just yeah. Because i’ve got the t-shirt in all kinds of fucking colours.

What’s worse is seeing the same thing written over & over again.

“They’ll think i’m a bad parent.”

“I’m unfit.”

“Social services will take my child(ren) away.”

“I’m so alone.”

“My child(ren) & husband will be better off with me out of the picture.”

I’ve thought each one of those & even though i was being reassured that they’re all bollocks -i was still terrified. But now that my fog’s cleared i know these things:

  • IT IS AN ILLNESS. – Bottom line. It’s an illness.
  • Seeking help doesn’t mean you’ll be challenged on the care of your child (ren). You’ve sought out help. You care about the future & wellbeing of yourself and your child(ren). If you’ve had an intervention & the folk around you are waving red flags like a bunch of matador’s, it’s because they can see a problem that you can’t. And they’re trying to help. 

Granted, if someone thinks you’re a major & immediate risk to the health of yourself &/or your children & can’t think for yourself, you’re alone with your child(ren) etc -something must be done as soon as possible i.e an MBU, but let’s face it, that’s for the greater good really & you’d appreciate that either at that time or eventually! But it doesn’t warrant the inclusion of social services simply because you walk into your GP’s office & they diagnose you with a Postnatal illness: Depression, Antenatal Depression, Anxiety, PTSD/ Birth trauma etc. They won’t scream for the Police or S.S. They’ll (hopefully!) give you information & advice. They’ll (again, hopefully) talk about the right treatment for YOU & discuss a plan of action which involves you being with your child(ren) & family. Because although symptoms & experiences can be similar to other people’s, you’re still going through your own personal journey. What works for some may not work for you, including medication. PN Psychosis on the other hand is trickier and so, okay, the above about immediate help will apply and be a psychiatric emergency. A woman in the throes of PN Psychosis most likely won’t realise just how ill she is. 

  • You are not alone. Even when you feel so badly that you are and i know it’s likely, it’s such a lonely, isolating illness. Or, that the people around you don’t care. There are those that do, i promise you that.
  • No one can replace you as your child’s mother. They won’t be better with someone else in the picture & you gone. And like the first point: Bottom line.
  • Will this PND ever fuck off? I’ve asked that sooooooooo many times after a bad week/ day. To myself, to my hubby, to my CPN etc etc. Yes, it does.

There are so many points, so many. I could rant like a loon (excuse the stigmatised pun) forever, but it’s just because even though i have some stuff to work on & i’m still on meds, i have come out of the other end & it’s like taa-daa! That advice you got? that reassurance you heard? yeah Vix, they were talking sense!

But here’s the sad truth… When the bubble days have you in their shitty grip, you can’t accept & believe this advice! There’s not much you can see except a fog of cutting taunts that do nothing but highlight every insecurity as a parent that you never even knew existed, and beat you around the head with them. Constantly. And the anxiety? Well, that’s just episode after episode of EVERY BAD THING YOUR MIND CAN CONJURE UP IS GOING TO HAPPEN. In your mind on re-run. And the mass detachment you feel and want, from either most things or your child(ren)? I can’t even try to explain that yet.

That’s what is hard to break through to, to those in the midst of PND. & that brings it back to the point of reading what women are going through & it breaking my heart. So it’s crazy late 02:54(am). My phone pinged & i saw someone write a post on a mummy’s page on Facebook earlier that i tried to hold off replying to until the morning (because i know being tired can lead to bad days), but ended up lying in my bed having so many things i wanted to say to her. As you can see i have come down to my computer and i did reply to the woman with the clear shout for help before writing this.

I don’t know everything about PND, the medical jargon, the stats, what would be the perfect advice for each & every person -if anyone! But i do know this: I cannot stand to ever see/ read/ hear of anyone going through any form of Postnatal or Prenatal illness and not let them know that they are not alone. Be it sharing websites to visit, chat’s to join, helplines to ring, places to go or my own email address for folk to send a rant to, i just have an overwhelming feeling to reach out to as many people as i can. I know it’ll never be enough though, there are just so many people suffering.

…Awk anyway…My mission is to try & have the right balance. I’ll work on that.

Preparations for the March Moroccan madness!

Did the past year really happen?IMG_2233

I can’t stop saying this.

Hubby and i went on a walk yesterday, as part of my prep for the 100km Sahara Desert Trek in March 2015, and it felt awesome! Being outdoors is something I’ve always loved, but for the past year that had been crushed by the weight of doubts, anxiety and just plain miserableness! I’m not entirely out of the woods yet. I had a bubble day not long after my previous post. BUT it wasn’t even close to how horrific some of my previous bubble days were. I really do think the key is time. It takes time to ‘get over’ Postnatal Depression. If you ever do, that is. But time, help, support, medication and lack of isolation are some things that what have helped me personally.

We made some videos/ pics to post on here & keep folk updated. Now guys, remember my previous posts: I swear! Okay. I’m sorry, but i do, so beware of when i do upload the videos! IMG_2234

I’m hoping i can document every trek/ walk/ exercise session etc in preparation for the Moroccan madness!

In terms of the upcoming trek, i’ve been nervous, but it’s really that excited-nervousness you get before something you know you’re going to enjoy. The distance/terrain was a worry, but as long as I have real expectations of what’s coming, I don’t think it’ll throw me all that much. What is worrying me at the moment is sponsors, there’s a fair bit for me to go until i reach my target! I went quiet with plugging my mission for a while, i shouldn’t have, but i did because i wasn’t well and concentrating on sorting my shit. Now i’m all worried that i’ll never reach my target for PANDAS. I have until February!

Saying that, i have received a couple of sponsors today from Colin, Nikki & Robyn -thank you so much you wee angels! So hopefully the number will creep up to the target soon and it can help them to reach as many families as possible.

10527811_10154490985180621_3801137315475288312_nSpeaking of PANDAS, they’ve just had their third anniversary, with the likes of Mark from Father’s Reaching Out and Denise Welch attending (Co-founder, Rachael is in the centre. Also participating in the Sahara Trek!). This charity is doing so well, rightly so, and getting recognised for the fantastic work it does for families effected by PND! Long may it continue, get behind them folks!


Signing off for now. Please, please Donate if you can. Every single penny counts <3


PND – What it’s given & taught me

  • Realistic views of motherhood.stinky-diaper-clipart

I cannot do it all, i cannot be good at everything. I am not super-woman, nor super-mum. If i was, my cape would be a dish-towel, i’d keep spanx companies in business (’cause y’know, no lycra is going on me without some control & help!) and my nemesis would be the last baby wipe in every packet. For it’s with that, an inhumane shite is produced by your wriggling offspring, who, of course, giggles whilst showering you with pee. My superhero catchphrase would be: Nooooo! And always is an exaggerated facial expression. Slow-mo too, duh!.

Too much info? Whatever. If you’re a mother, you’ve been pissed on. Fact.

  • Self belief.

Threw a bunch of horrendous bubble days at me? Yeah, i batted that shit right out the park. Come at me bruv.

I’m impulsive at the best of times, but the best impulsive decision i made was to sign up for the 100km Sahara Desert Trek. It started as a solo mission of craziness, it led to plans for friends to join, it’s ended as the sole focus for me to signify a hopeful end to postnatal depression & anxiety. I was scared of everything. Planning the trek was terrifying. Yet i was booked in, locked in, and began raising cash for the brilliant charity PANDAS. I’m still doing that now, as you know, but i have no fear. I’m excited. There’s a huge dune at the end of the journey, i’ll be crying like a little bitch on that sand hill, i promise you. It means more than a simple ‘completed trek’, it means more than helping a charity close to my heart raise funds to help as many people as possible. It means i can look back on the time i decided to do it and realise just how far i’ve come.

What makes it better, is that fellow PANDAS ladies signed up too. It opened the door to meet and have wonderful people in my life, who know all about ‘the PND experience’.

Continue reading

I’m blessed. We’re all blessed.

image-2It’s been a while so it’s time for an update, i think the last post i wrote was at the beginning of June! It’s because I took a big step back from pretty much everything except my boys, hubby & family, and have poured any and all energy into them & getting myself back on track to normality. Basically i didn’t have the balance right before, everything felt sort of on top of me and with going back to work looming in on me, i was away to burst knowing that i wasn’t mentality ready. The support group has been on hold, i haven’t been in the conversation loop with PND discussions online/ offline etc, i haven’t even mentioned the fundraising for the trek & i’ve still a way to go until i reach my target! I’ve even had a gap between visits with my CPN.  But i needed the break from it all to be honest & what i lost with that side of things, i gained in others, letting life naturally continue and progress on its own, slowly. I’ve been out & about a hec of a lot more, the anxiety i had for the safety of the boys has almost disappeared! Not entirely, but compared to how it was? Yeah, definitely heaps better & i can’t believe the scary thoughts i used to have actually shook me as bad as they did. It all seems so unbelievable and far-fetched now, i mean trees falling & crushing my boys? Random Cujo-like dogs coming out of nowhere, being unable to be a parent yet scared not to be etc… FFS! But at the time it was terrifying! Damn those unsolicited chemicals in the brain!

I took my eldest on a boat ride, alone, and didn’t think much of it, other than how fun it was & how uncoordinated i seem to be when trying to row! I just function & think a lot more easier, and ‘normal’, compared to how i was before. Yes, i’m still on the meds, but like we know, it isn’t a short-term fix with them. They also seem to be doing their work, and to think i used to be so anti-meds? I also went for a six-odd hour trek in preparation for the 100km Sahara trek scheduled in March (2015). It wasn’t a normal trek/ walk -i wanted something to kick my ass!- there was plenty of scrambling, leaping & dangerous situations, but instead of fear (as i used to panic a lotimage about dying & leaving the boys!) there was just adrenaline and awe at the beautiful sights. Looking back up at the route we took whilst back on level ground made me so proud lol. It was fantastic and although i couldn’t even walk straight afterwards, i was dying to get back out there & over to Morocco for the charity trek!

As noted in the earlier days of blogging, my family was hit with tragedy. Lately the string of bullshit seems to have continued & we’ve faced more unfortunate events. I say we’ve, but it has been a few family members in particular. Unfortunate is an understatement really. It’s humbled me, making me look at my children every morning for longer than usual, appreciating their quirks and urging my patience to hold out a little longer when pushed by their antics. It doesn’t take tragic news to always ignite this reaction, but it does make me battle that much more to fight any demons on my shoulder, or in PND’s case, fucked-up chemicals niggling their way through.

I’m blessed. We’re all blessed. Sometimes we’ve just gotta keep fighting through the nonsense to really see it. I am incredibly happy to admit that i was wrong (a rare occurrence, of course ;-) ) when other people hit by PND spoke about ‘coming out on the other side’, meaning there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it was an illness to overcome. Because on ‘bubble days’, you truly think that this ‘light’ and it’s annoying tunnel are just a myth! But like i said, i was wrong, because i’m having continuous glimmers of that ‘light’ these days despite crappy situations arising, and i can confirm that said ‘light’ is there folks, so keep pushing if you’re on the PND journey right now.


Journal update: Friday 6th June 2014

Another gap between posts, as mentioned, i seem to retreat into quietness when things are a bit chaotic & to say the last few weeks have been turbulent may just be an understatement. But yeah, i will be Vlogging soon. Although the last few weeks have had their downfalls, they’ve also had their ups. For the first time since Dwayne was born (Aug 7th 2013) i actually walked into town & back with him, alone. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but one of the many ingredients to PND is anxiety. And i have/ had it pretty bad. But that day i was smiling the whole time. Yeah i had my momentary worries, but like an ignorant bitch, i ignored them and kept going. Result.

My ignorance then knew no bounds & the next day we had a family day out at the fair. I ignored the worries then too with my tower of strength (hubby) beside me.


So it’s onwards & upwards, right? Yes.

I’ve got to admit that going to bed every night wondering how things will be when you wake up, is exhausting. Some days i just want to throw in the towel at all this effort and struggle. But i’m receiving the help that i need and things are slowly improving. Once again my meds have been upped. The effects really make you feel sick at first! Boo. I thought i was a baw-hair away from going into a Mother & Baby unit (there’s no shame in going) but thankfully i’ve avoided it thanks to luckily having an amazing CPN. Hubby went away (with work) & i struggled big time, but my CPN pushed me. Hubby can come home, but he doesn’t need to, I can do this. That was my given motto. She realised when i cancelled her visits, it meant i was having a bad day so began to come everyday, sometimes twice a day, helped me through & told me to look at my progress journal etc. And it was at the end of that week that i text her not to come round because i’d been to town and was feeling good.  As mentioned above: Result.

I’m jotting these things down so i can hopefully reach at least one person who is struggling too right now. You WILL get there. If it’s inch-by-inch, you’ll get there. I’m not one for patience, myself, but i am one for hope.

Now, update for the PANDAS Highland Mama’s support group.

I’ve finally settled on a date now that i have a location. July the 2nd the first meeting will take place in the Community Centre on Wimberley Way, Inverness. (Scotland). Reading through the PANDAS Support Group leaders page on FB, it seems that group meetings take a while to build up. From no-one attending the first few, to one, then onto more. It can take weeks, even months. It’s a catch 22 really because i know when you’re in the situation of having (pre or) postnatal depression, you isolate yourself. You simply can’t help it. But this feeds this pain-in-the-arse illness, feeds it until it snowballs. I hope i can get the message out to those struggling to attend. I’m sure one day i’ll feel like i don’t want to leave the house & go to the group, but i’m running it so have no choice. There’s my therapy right there.

Fundraising/ Trek update:

Awk jeez, the sponsors are tinkling in, but not fast & not regularly. I’m on £845 (inc. gift aid), with £100 to come from an offline sponsor. My target is £1500, so still a way to go & fingers crossed i make it by February 2015! There are a couple of people that have written to me that will now be joining in on the 100km Sahara Trek. This is great news, i think the morale will be high!

Anyways, my CPN is due round, so i’m signing off for now. Cheers for the support i’ve been given recently. You’s know who you are.