So I’ve just checked and it’s been a fair old while since I’ve posted on here. I’m disappointed because this blog is really important to me but I’ve decided to be kind and forgive myself as the reason is I’ve just had no time to focus on it. I have a newborn who seems to be allergic to sleep and therefore I’m trying to catch up with that in any free time I get! My sleep is really important to my mental well being and therefore it comes first.
So shes currently having nap so I thought I’d go for it and see if I can manage to get to the end of a post.
So newborns and mental health, where to start? This is my second child and so I knew a little of what to expect this time around but it still takes a massive toll on your mental and physical health no matter who you are and so if you’re someone already suffering from a mental health issue then it can really throw you off track.
I’ve found control and structure to be so important in my mental health recovery, things such as: eating well, getting enough sleep, socialising, exercise and routine are so important to incorporate into my daily life and when you have a newborn (and in my case a toddler as well) your self care can really go out of the window. Some things for me have slipped this time around (this blog included) and at times it has been tough. She still wakes up 3/4 times a night (at 7 months!) and an extended period of time with broken sleep can really takes it’s toll on, well, pretty much everything. I am lucky that I have a lot of support from family but even so there have been days where I’ve just had to push myself through with will power.
There is a good side to all the madness though (and this is something I would never have believed prior to having children) and that is that I’m so busy that I don’t have time to dwell on OCD thoughts at all. They come into my head and I honestly don’t think of them again, there just isn’t time. I have never known anything better at grounding me then my children. Yes there are other mental issues I am processing such as my anxiety and worry but I almost feel like they are slightly more ‘normal’, everyone seems to have some sort of worry/anxiety and so I don’t feel quite as abnormal for having them. They’re still completely rubbish but I find other people are able to relate more easily to them and so when you’re chatting about them you don’t get the blank faces where someone is trying to understand why you think you ran over something on the way to meet them and have then completely forgotten about it, stupid intrusive thoughts!
Anyway, I have still been noting a few ideas down over the last few months so hopefully I can manage to write a bit more regularly now. If anyone has any requests for information on coping strategies or OCD topics or pregnancy or post natal related OCD then I am more then happy to share my experiences so just say in the comments.
but for now,
Stay Strong xxx
So I’ve not posted for a few weeks, life has been a bit hectic as I’ve just had another baby and it hasn’t left much time for anything!
If you’d told me 5 years ago that I would have two babies now I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I have come so far with my recovery over the last few years but still my OCD tries to bring me down daily and I have to keep strong and battle it constantly. It is exhausting and having a baby definitely intensifies it.
I believe this pregnancy was easier then the first, there weren’t so many thoughts that floored me the way they did the first time around. Possibly this was because I had less time to focus on the pregnancy with looking after my little boy but also I had a bit of experience on my side this time around.
Pregnancy and looking after a baby heightens everything: stress, hormones, fatigue all with less time for self care, eating well and exercise. For anyone dealing with a mental health issue you will know how important all these things are to stay on track. I believe I said the last time I blogged about pregnancy that I could understand how some mental health issues, such as Post natal depression, anxiety and OCD itself among others can actually be triggered by pregnancy let alone intensified by it. It really is life changing in so many ways.
There have been a few things this time around which have caught me a bit off guard I’m sad to say, nothing too huge but enough to impact on my mood on occasion which I hate. I can however still see that I’ve come a long way and when I do confront the thoughts rather then avoid them it does help so I have to remember that.
What advice would I give someone who has OCD and is struggling with pregnancy?
- Take one day at a time, one hour at a time if it helps (I still have to do this sometimes).
- Don’t isolate yourself, except help and talk to people if you feel like you’re not coping
- Remember that you’re definitely not alone, OCD in particular can make you feel very isolated, this is how it really gets under your skin, don’t let it.
- If thoughts come to you when you’re up in the night don’t do anything with them until the morning. The day can give everything a new perspective, if you can dismiss the thoughts altogether even better but definitely don’t tackle them in the middle of the night when everything seems worse.
- If you can feel yourself getting stressed/anxious take a deep breath. If you can safely remove yourself from the situation then do. If that’s not possible try to ground yourself by being mindful about your surroundings.
- Don’t beat yourself up, remember that no one finds this easy and if they tell you they do they’re probably lying or have a lot of help.
Hopefully some of this will help reassure anyone struggling with pregnancy related OCD and as always,
Stay Strong xxx
So this was a big one for me. Having had OCD since I was 11, having kids is something I always thought would probably be beyond me. The very thought of having to look after another person who would be completely dependant on me – when at times I wasn’t that capable of looking after myself – seemed ridiculous. I can even remember having a conversation with my husband before we got married where I explained that children may be completely off the cards for me and he should know that before we went any further. Luckily for me, he was OK with that but I guess a lot of people wouldn’t be.
As time went on however it became apparent to me that kids were something I did really want and so I set to work sorting myself out. It took two years, a course of anti depressants, 12 weeks of CBT therapy and a lot of hard work and communication before I felt ready to go for it. At this point I was pretty in control of my OCD and I felt the strongest I had for years.
For someone with OCD, pregnancy is a minefield – so to speak. Pregnancy brings with it an endless list of things that can go wrong and all when you’re in a heightened emotional state – in fact I understand that many people actually develop OCD during this time. I don’t know how many times my partner had to say to me ‘You just have to have blind faith that everything is going to be OK’ and unfortunately it is a bit like that. It was a tough time but each day passes and you move forward. I wrote a list every time I had an OCD thought that I couldn’t dismiss straight away whilst I was pregnant, I have just counted back and there were 74! I did have the support of a counsellor through my pregnancy and even though this could be seen as scary in some respects I actually found it reassuring.
However as tough as the pregnancy was, I got through it and I now have the most amazing little boy who makes every day worth while. I hardly have time to think about OCD thoughts anymore, I’m so busy looking after him. There has never been an easier way of grounding myself and being mindful in the moment because he demands it of me. I never would have imagined beforehand that I would of coped with giving up my routine of full time work – the thing that always used to work best at grounding me – and spending long periods of time at home – something that always used to terrify me beforehand. It just goes to show you don’t know what you are capable of until you try. I had to go on a long journey to get there but it was worth every step to be where I am now.