This week feels massive for me this year, and I’m going to shout about it.
I’ve been struggling severely with anxiety and depression since the beginning of my second pregnancy-I wasn’t even aware of what it was I was struggling with until about sixteen weeks in when I found myself sat on my bed, in tears, having a panic attack.
My other half told me rather firmly that I had to contact my GP tomorrow morning as he had no idea what to do with me or how to help me.
So I did.
At first I didn’t really talk to anybody about it but my partner. I was worried about how I would be perceived and about having a label put on me. I was scared people would judge me as an unfit Mum, think I was unstable, and was terrified I could have my little boy taken off me.
I eventually went on medication and have been up and down with it since.
The featured image of this post is of me and my first boy, Rupert, when I was quite far on into my second pregnancy. My Mum took the photo of us because she thought it was cute. When I look at it all I can see and remember is how much of a pit I was in. I was exhausted, I felt like I was completely failing at being a person. I had a complete lack of interest for everything, that I just couldn’t put into words to explain to anybody.
When I got pregnant a third time I was terrified it would mean going down the same path again. I could instantly feel the same anxieties coming back, all my progress was unravelling.
I soon realised there was something massively different this time round…I had been a was continuing to talk about my illness now.
My support network was established and strong. My best friends know, my Mum and Dad are very aware (especially when I show up on their doorstep at 6:30am, two kids in tow, desperate for another hour in bed), the friends I have made this past year through my business are all super caring a supportive, my partners family are so understanding, and of course my partner himself (who is my go to guy every time I wobble) is amazingly patient and always helps reassure me. I talk about my ups and downs to all of them ALOT.
The more I started opening up about the feelings I had the more I realised that loads of people struggle with anxiety and depression. People I had been close with for years, but I had had no clue they were feelings it too. It’s just that NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT!!!
This is crazy! Why is there such a stigma around the health of your mental state? Where has it come from? And how can we break it?
Anyway, things have gone so much more smoothly during this pregnancy, now that I feel free to really express how I feel. Admittedly, I don’t always run round shouting when I have a lull. I still shrink away from time to time and struggle with thoughts and feeling that I can’t even bring myself to say out loud. I can simply say “I’m having a really bad day” and know the support will be there.
Talking about it when you’re strong enough to has meant, for me, that I know I am not alone in feeling this way. It’s not me, it doesn’t define who I am, it’s just bad anxiety.
I’ve also gained life changing advice from others-simple things that just never would have come to mind. Anxiety techniques, reading a suggested book, meditating when I can’t sleep, splashing my face with cold water, getting showered and dressed as soon as I wake up…
So I know this blog post has nothing to do with photography and isn’t really child related but my business mentor told me ‘people buy from people’. So I thought I’d share a bit more of myself for Mental Health Awareness. I think, if anything, this experience has actually made me better at my job. In this line of work I obviously interact with parents often. Before I had my kids I couldn’t really empathise with how hard it is giving your all to being a Mum and the struggles that come with it. Never does anybody coming to the studio have to feel judged on the way their child behaves, on the way they look or weather or not they smell of sick! I’ve been there…I am there.
I’m going to wrap this super long blog post up with a quote that I have pinned up in my bedroom…
“You wake up each morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.” – Unknown