My mental health issues first began when I was made redundant during my first pregnancy. My relationship was very rocky at the time as well and we decided to call it quits. So at the age of 30 I moved home with my parents and lost my entire social support system. Once my daughter was born I struggled to breastfeed and ended up pumping for a few months but once she went onto formula her allergies developed. It turned out she was allergic to absolutely everything. The poor thing had hives all over her body until she was around a year old. She would never sleep longer than three hours at any time. I was so delirious from lack of sleep I would just find myself crying all the time. I realize now that I’d had pre and post-natal depression (PND). If I’d recognized it sooner and gotten help it would have made life a lot easier to deal with.A few years later I was driving down Victoria Road and I thought I was having a heart attack. Turns out I developed panic attacks out of nowhere. With some therapy and mindfulness meditation I was able to get it under control. I downloaded the Headspace app which gives you ten 10-minute meditations for free and I would do them every night. Thankfully they helped me with focusing on what I was doing rather than the anxious thoughts running through my mind. It was an absolute god send!
That was until I had my son last year. I ended up getting pre-eclampsia and having an emergency C-section. I was discharged from hospital but a few days later I was readmitted because my blood pressure rose back up to 215/120. It was a pretty scary time and resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a return of the panic attacks and more PND. Unfortunately this time around I haven’t been so lucky in getting rid of the panic attacks. Just the other day I was talking to an acquaintance at the shops about her holiday and suddenly felt the feeling of ‘impending doom’. I needed a lot of psychological intervention to help with getting over the birth but at least this time I had a GP who really understood and sent me to get the help I needed.
These days I don’t often get time to meditate so I usually do a kids meditation with my daughter when I put her to bed so at least I get some relaxation into the day. I still use mindfulness techniques to get through rough patches. A lot of my anxiety comes out when I’m driving so I play The Wiggles ALOT to distract myself from those thoughts and it usually brings me back down.Panic/anxiety is a horrible feeling and once you start getting panic attacks it almost feels like it’s bubbling away under the surface of your brain and you’re constantly waiting for it to happen again. I had always had the impression that people with mental illness were sort of weak minded…until it happened to a tough nut like me…