Breathing a sigh of relief

I woke this morning, and I actually wanted to get up. I did think about rolling over and closing my eyes but I thought to myself ‘I’ll get up and have a cup of tea”. And I actually made Mr Happy his porridge, something I haven’t done for quite a few weeks and I felt proud I accomplished this task. It may sound a small task, but to me it was huge.

See that’s one of the things about depression, carrying out and finishing a task no matter how big or small is actually impossible. For the past few weeks, for many days I have had to force myself to do things we manage to do nearly everyday. Plus, my appetite has been non existent, and when I have eaten I probably haven’t eaten the best foods. But who cares? Its food right? I know that eating well is fundamental to helping with depression, but I struggle to make something nutritious when I have hardly any energy, motivation or an appetite. And the thought of going out feels me with dread. Plus I often say to myself ‘be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can”.

16/8/2015

16/8/2015

Little Miss

Little Miss

Mr Happy 16 months

Mr Happy 16 months

I also know it is important to get out for a walk, exercise in fresh air is great for boosting a mood, but yet again it was something else that I struggled with. I did get out for a walk with a friend one morning last week which was good. I was really proud of myself for doing it and making the effort. My hubby phoned when I got home and asked if I wanted to meet him in town for lunch. It was a lovely thought, but I had already wanted to turn the car round when driving to meet my friend as the anxiety was kicking in. I was now home and I wanted to stay. I felt secure and safe. He of course understood, he just wanted to check in and see how I was doing.

I have made a few plans for this week, which is good for me. And I am even preparing to be home with Mr Happy all by myself one day this week. To me this will be a big day, which is strange as this was something that would happen quite often. I’m so desperate to have a relationship with Mr Happy again and of course Little Miss. I’m hoping we will have a good day together and if everything doesn’t go as planned, I can call my hubby at work for support.

Found on cardstore.com

Found on cardstore.com

littlebylittle by anothernicole on Flickr

littlebylittle by anothernicole on Flickr

As I am starting to see a glimpse of light through the fog, I can breathe a sigh of relief and know that things will get better. I’m looking forward to being Stacey again, a Mum who wants to spend time with her children and be a wife. It will also be good to enjoy doing the things that make me, and to actually go outside and see people again. Thinking of this brings me hope and a smile to my face.

 

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Living with the fog

I started writing a blog post at the beginning of this week and I had every intention of posting it. I still will, just not today.

Instead I am taking to my blog to write about my week. This week has been AWFUL. I thought last week was rough, but, no. This week has actually been worse.

I felt a lot calmer on Friday and over the weekend. I then woke Monday morning feeling like I had really hit rock bottom. Every morning I have woken this week and just want to roll over and go back to sleep, I don’t want to see anyone and certainly don’t want to talk to anyone. I can hear my husband and the kids having breakfast and I feel, guilty. Guilty I am not up, making the breakfast, chatting to my hubby and the kids and thinking about what to do with my day. Instead I am dragging myself out of bed, desperate for a cup of tea and to take my antidepressants. Anything to just make me feel like Stacey. Each morning this week I have made the effort to help my hubby with the kids, mainly making their lunches and tying up Little Miss’ hair. I breathe a huge sigh of relief when they all leave, it’s quiet, I can slob around in my pjs and drink tea.

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Mr Happy

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Little Miss

I absolutely HATE feeling like this. When did everything go so wrong? Why can’t I be like I was a month ago? I desperately want to ENJOY my kids, but I don’t. Instead I’m wishing they would be quiet and leave me alone. Little Miss is so caring and happy to see to see me, I give her a cuddle hoping it will help. She tells me “Mummy, you’re the best” and asks me what’s wrong? I reply with “Mummy is sad and needs hugs”. I have no idea how to explain how I really feel to my three year old.

Mr Happy will look at me and smile but he favours my hubby for everything he needs. The rational part of my brain is trying to tell me it’s just because I haven’t been able to pick him up post surgery , but the emotional part is taking over and saying he doesn’t need you, he doesn’t like you, you are a rubbish Mum. The emotional part of my brain is winning.

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Image from SupportGroups.com

This fog is horrible, it’s robbing me of my sleep, appetite, being a parent, a wife, a friend and ability to work. There are things I need to buy, want to do with the kids but my usual enjoyment for shopping and motivation for life has deserted me.

The past few days all I have wanted to do is sit around in my pj’s all day, but a friend visited yesterday afternoon and I went for a walk with another friend this morning. Thank you ladies, because of your visit and encouraging me to get out, I have showered and dressed even though I didn’t want too.

I’m hoping when I wake tomorrow I can begin to see the fog starting to clear, I’m desperate to be who I was.

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Image from Pinterest

Me and the Fog

When you hear the word depression, who or what do you think of? Someone you know? Do you have it yourself? Or do you tend to ignore it, because it makes you feel uncomfortable? When I hear the word depression, I think of myself. I’m Stacey, 34 years old, I am married and a mother to three children. I’m fortunate to watch two of them grow and the other watches over us.

I faced my depression at the beginning of this year, I knew I was on a downward spiral, the fog was closing in and I could not stop it. Waking up most mornings with that awful dread, “do I really have to get up”? I just wanted to lie in bed all day and hide from the world, but I had to get up, after all I have two children to care for. The days were hard and long being stuck at home with two under three, but it was my choice to have these kiddies. “Why didnt you take them out” you might be thinking. The thought of going anywhere, terrified me. I didn’t have the energy or the patience to deal with them and the thought of getting organised to go out, filled me with dread. Each weekend when my hubby was home, I would say to myself “right on Monday, I’m going to take them to the park across the road”, BUT, Monday would come around and I just couldn’t face it.

Happy Kids

Love these kids

Happy Kids

Those days were, The. Worst. I hated that I was not really wanting to be a parent and interact with my kids. I would tell myself I would feel better tomorrow, but tomorrow would come and I felt exactly the same. Bedtime was just as hard as the morings. I was so, so tired, mentally and physically, I just wanted to sleep but I couldn’t get off to sleep. Plus I knew as soon as I went to sleep, the morning would soon come. I just wanted this vicious cycle to end.

I sought help from my counsellor again. Seeing her was usually enough to help me see through the fog that would be constantly blurring my vision and felt like a heavy weight, weighing my down. It helped to see my counsellor, but it wasn’t enough. I still continued to feel overwhelmed, anxious and negative thoughts were still there, full force. I made an appointment to see my GP, I had been putting it off for a while, maybe even years. I didn’t want to admit I needed antidepressants to give me my life back. My GP was fantastic, he and my counsellor both agreed there was a time and a place for medication and this was the time.

To be begin with some of the side effects of the antidepressant was not much fun, I felt worse. I was told I would feel worse before I got better and that was the truth. I was so fortunate my Mum was able to travel from England and visit us for a few weeks in February, she ‘got it’. She was there when I needed to talk, cry, vent and above all she was there for the kids. Plus it took pressure off my hubby, because he really has seen the BAD times and I think my Mum was great support for him too.

Fast forward to now, Friday 7th August. I’m currently off work after my surgery to have my appendix removed. I’m out of my usual routine, unable to work, and most importantly I feel I am unable to be a Mum to my children. I don’t know where it came from but on Wednesday I, well you could say, I lost it. The fog had slowly been returning and now it was back. I ended up ringing the Mental Health Crisis team, I needed someone, anyone to listen. I wanted to quit my role as a wife and a mother and to run away. Yesterday (Thursday) I had a visit from the mental health team. The two guys that came to the house suggested I needed to increase my medication, I was hesitant but knew it was the best decision. Thankfully I had a counsellor appointment which was already booked. My hubby came with me which I felt was really beneficial for both of us. I left the appointment feeling a lot calmer and the fog was starting to clear. I will be better, I will not let this illness beat me.

Found on weheartit.com

Found on weheartit.com

Taking an antidepressant has saved me from the dark days and I feel it has given me back my life. I still have the odd times when I feel the fog is closing in but they do help. I know there are some people out there, who may be reading this that do not believe in medications. That’s fine, I believe you have to do whatever works for you. For years I resisted medication, thinking it wasn’t right and it wasn’t for me. I did not make the decision lightly. Looking back I have had depression on/off throughout my life and it is in my family. We only have this life and we need to do what is best for us and our family, our kids.

Depression is an illness, not a low mood. The experience of depression is different for everyone. Support is essential to help anyone through their journey. The Depression Website is a great source for anyone who is struggling and has information to help others help you.

cropped-craftyorganisedme-sig.pngImages courtesy of Pinterest

The Longest Ride

You know that moment when you have just finished a book and you feel happy because you have finished it?

Oh what can I read next? You ask yourself. You can feel the excitement browsing through the library website or your kindle wish list. But I don’t want to read anything else, I was really enjoying that book and now it’s ended 😪😪😪😪

These thoughts did cross my mind when I finished reading The Best of Me, but now I have finished The Longest Ride I am definitely experiencing those thoughts. What am I going to read? I feel totally lost now I am not reading the stories of Ira, Sophia and Luke.

The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks book, his 17th novel. I haven’t read a lot of his books but I think it would have to be my favourite so far. I thought it would take a lot to beat The Notebook, but to me this one does.

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I knew there was a film version coming out so I was keen to read the book first. The book tells the stories of three characters and how their lives are entwined. There is Ira Levinson, a 91 year old widower who is trapped after crashing his car. While he waits to be rescued, he sees his wife Ruth at different stages of their life together and they share the tales of how they met, his time in the war and building their art collection.

Sophia Danko is another character in the book. She is a student at College and meets Luke Collins, a cowboy, bull-rider. Their story is how they meet, how their relationship develops and things they learn about one another. (Of course I don’t want to share too much, in case you want to read it yourself).

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I was a little skeptical about reading a book that featured a cowboy and bull-riding, I was half worried I would find it boring! But I could not be more wrong. Sure the book, discusses life on a ranch and bull-riding but it was all interesting and part of the story. It was a great book to be reading during my recent hospital visit, easy reading and quite a page turner. I even found myself saying  “Just one more chapter and then I’ll have a nap”, that chapter than turned into two!

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, but after watching the trailer, I can see it is going to be quite different to the book. As most of us know the film version of books can vary. I usually find when I’m prepared for this I usually enjoy watching the big screen adaptation. Scott Eastwood portrays Luke and Britt Robertson plays Sophia. With Jack Huston as young Ira and Alan Alda as older Ira.

 

So, what book am I going to read next? Well a few months ago I started Gone Girl (yes another book made into a film) I wasn’t in the right head space for it then. I have picked it up again and I’m enjoying it so far. I have heard good things about the book and the film.

If anyone has any book suggestions, please share I would love to know what others are reading.

(Plus, if I could I would dance around because I figured out how to post Youtube videos to my post!)

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Sisters

To my brothers if you are reading this, thanks for reading and I love you. And I thank you for being my brothers.

Those of you that know me personally, will know I have two younger brothers. One is six years younger than me and the other eight years. Both of them live in England and I’m here in NZ. We don’t talk very often, but I know they are there when I need them and they are great Uncles to Little Miss and Mr Happy. My daughter Little Miss doesn’t have a sister. When I was pregnant with Mr Happy I was torn, I wanted a boy to know that my body could carry one to term and to have another boy that I would be able to raise. But I also told myself Little Miss would be fortunate to have something I don’t, a sister.

I have seen and heard things lately which have made me think about not having a sister. And it triggers a sadness in me, apparently having a sister is one of the best things a female can have, a best friend for life. But what happens if you don’t have one?

When my first brother was brought home I was a very happy six year old. A younger sibling, a baby brother yay! Fast forward two years later and I was told my Mum had delivered another boy. Yay, for another sibling but I also remember, even as an eight year old feeling gutted I didn’t have a baby sister. After all isn’t that what most girls would like? Another girl in the house to play dolls and My Little Pony with. And as we got older, fighting over clothes, shoes, as well as movie and lunch dates.

Some of my friends have been there through the tough and hard times and been there to share in my joy and happiness. I have seen some friends come and go throughout my life but the ones I have now are the best. I have friends who have sisters and I have always thought the bond and relationship they have is something you can’t always have with a friend. With a sister the bond is unbreakable right? You share the same parents or parent, I know the relationship I have with my brothers is different to other relationships I have.

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Since I became Mother to our dear Alex in 2011 and then to Little Miss and Mr Happy, I have become more aware of not having a sister in my life. Surely she would of been around when they were born or if not soon after and wouldn’t she keep in regular contact and celebrate her niece and nephews birthdays? I send regular photos to my Mum and I think if I had a sister she would of wanted to see the kids as often as she could. After all isn’t that what Skype and Face time are for? To me family is hugely important and since I don’t have my family here in NZ my friends are my family. Those who are near and far.

I have been honest about my depression and working through it I have come to realise that I have been grieving not having a sister in my life. I have spoken to Mum about it and she seems to understand, it isn’t her or my Dad’s fault it’s just one of those things. How can someone grieve for someone they have never had in the life? I know it’s strange huh? I guess I thought as I got older it wouldn’t bother me as much but strangely it does.

I consider myself to be pretty fortunate I have always had a lot of girl friends. Living here in NZ my friends are extremely important to me, my family is in England so my friends are my family. Despite having an amazing friendship circle here in NZ, in England, and a few in Oz it’s not the same as what I would imagine the relationship between sisters would be like. I’m honestly really, really sad I don’t have a biological sister.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, whether you have a sister or not.

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Love to colour

 Who doesn’t love to colour? I used to love to colour when I was a kid, a new colouring book and some felt tips were always a great present and I know my 3 year old Little Miss enjoys colouring. She was lucky enough to aquire some new books and pens for her recent birthday. Even now I’m an adult I enjoy sitting with Little Miss and doing some colouring with her. I always find it a good chance to connect with her at her level and have a catch up, as well as teach her colours and shapes. 

 

Recently I have seen quite a bit of information about adult colouring books on social media and I also found a couple of articles which I found of interest. There is evidence that colouring can alleviate stress in adults and also depression. Having depression myself I found it interesting and intriguing. “Colouring can calm the mind and occupies the hands, giving the individual something to do as well as alleviating any negative thoughts”. I also thought it was fascinating that individuals who enjoy creative activities are able to deal with stress better. I love to craft, but of course being Mum to two little ones, working part-time and home-life responsibilities, I don’t always have the opportunity to escape and indulge in craft time. My scrapbooking is something I can really enjoy when I have time to myself. I have actually ordered myself a colouring book, Anti-Stress Colouring: doodle & dream by Christina Rose. I’m looking to doing some of my own colouring, I looked at the sample pages online and they look great. I hope the colouring is something I can do whilst I’m at home, for me and maybe at times alongside Little Miss when she feels like colouring. 

https://psychologies.co.uk/why-adults-are-going-back-colouring-books
 

When I searched for adult colouring books, a great article by the New Zealand Herald came up from April 2015. Adult colouring books are currently the top selling books on Amazon and in the UK 5 different adult colouring books are In the top 10 books. Johanna Basford’s adult colouring books, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest are hugely popular and are good at easing stress and ‘calming one’s inner child’. A quote from the NZ Herald I thought was engaging is “colouring is all about regaining mindfulness and getting a digital detox”. I’m aware that Mindfulness is a therapy used in the treatment of depression, but I’ll save the discussion about that for a blog post another time.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11429558
 

  Whilst looking for photos for this blog post, (usually I find everything on Pinterest, another love of mine)! I searched adult colouring books and loads of pins of black/white pages appeared. All printable, ready to be coloured in. There were also some great quotable colouring pages, which would be ideal for adults or kids to colour and could be used to decorate bedrooms, playrooms or for my teacher friends, classrooms.

 

Love this one, this was one of the many downloadable prints I found on Pinterest. Are any of you keen to get yourself a colouring book?


        



Lumps and Bumps

I saw this article this morning and I wanted to share. I think these women are awesome and the more I read the article and look at the photos, I just admire them. If someone approached me to stand with my kids in my underwear and photograph us I would actually do it. If the right opportunity came up. Don’t worry this blog post does not contain any photos of me in my underwear!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3118998/Imperfections-beautiful-Mothers-proudly-bare-postpartum-bodies-pose-kids-photo-series-urges-women-embrace-flaws.html

I’m sure most of us who are mothers to living and angel babies, have our issues with our bodies. I know I do. Since returning to work at the end of April I have had lots of lovely comments from work colleagues and a few friends on commenting of how good I look. Sure I feel good, the clothes I want to wear fit me, I’m pretty lucky but I constantly worry that someone is going to ask me when my next baby is due!

I am not a fan of my belly, there I said it. I’m sure some of you who are reading this and see me on a regular basis are thinking what the hell?! There is nothing wrong with her belly! And if you are thinking this, thank you! And I love you! Depending how I’m feeling on a particular day I get really self conscious about my belly and I prefer to wear tops that I feel don’t ‘cling’ to the belly area. I’m not one to commit to a gym memebership and if I’m honest I’m pretty lazy when it comes to exercise. I try to get to yoga once a week but this doesn’t always happen. I like to get out for walks but I definitely don’t do any work on my abdominal area. I sometimes think it’s my fault my post baby belly is the way it is, but perhaps it’s just my shape. I saw this great quote by Jennifer Garner which I thought summed up how I feel and how some of you might feel. Of course the children’s names are different.

I think this quote is great, and I will have to remember it if anyone does ever comment on my belly.

A woman’s post baby body is beautiful, it tells a story. After all we all have a story to tell regarding our pregnancy or pregnancies, our labours and births. They are all different. I know I am truly blessed to have the children I have and I do try to tell myself this when I’m looking in the mirror.