It’s mental health week – a time to talk frankly about mental health issues. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk personally about how mental health has affected me over the recent years.
Our triplets were born in 2015. Six months later, while on maternity leave, we found out I was expecting again. I returned to work late in my pregnancy for a few months. My line manager had changed while I was off, to someone that I did not know and had not worked with before. Agreeing a flexible working arrangement of 5 days a week but with one day from home was not easy.
My career was important to me and the desire to be a SAHM was unexpected. I thought that I would be happy and excited to return, however I was very wrong. Not only was I wrong I went from being someone that is normally a very outgoing to the complete opposite. My confidence was low, my hormones were high and emotionally I felt torn, pining for the triplets that were at home being cared for by someone else.
There was an overwhelming worry that I was inadequate compared to my peers, judged for returning to work pregnant and extremely stressed over all of the worries. How can I do a ‘good’ job at work and deliver what is expected? My mummy head was in full speed too – how can I make sure my time is split to serve everyone? Give the babies quality time, ensure our home is ok, get the washing done, find time to keep cooking freshly cooked meals. I feel certain there are many mums reading this that can relate. Our lists continue to grow and our time seems to evaporate.
Thinking back to this time and how I spent more of my days being tearful than I did happy, my mind was consumed with thoughts of a future that required me to work full time. This was when my depression and anxiety started. I just did not recognise it, blaming my emotions on being pregnant.
Reevie, our youngest arrived and a new maternity leave started. My time at home with her and the triplets flew by. The looming return to work made me ever nervous. It was unavoidable and in early 2017 I was back in the city. We struggled with childcare. Nannies were the cheapest option but finding someone to live up to the job proved impossible, and one by one they quit. Each time, leaving us with the tasks of searching again, completing the checks and settling the kids in with them.
In the first three months of returning to work I was ill with flu, a chest infection and a sickness bug followed by a cold. Then the panic attacks started. I’ll never forget the very first one.
It was a Saturday morning and my husband was at work. A wave sensation overcame my body – a mixture between pins and needles, a hot flush and a temperature. I thought I was having an allergic reaction and started thinking back over what I had to drink and eat. Shortly after another wave followed, I rushed to the toilet with d&v; at that point I rung my dad. He rushed over to find me in a state and unable to calm down. I started pacing; worried about the next wave. My throat felt like it was closing and that soon I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I thought this was it, I was going to die.
This happened many more times, mostly late at night. They started to consume me, happening daily and sometimes multiple times a day. After a trip to A&E and being told I was suffering panic attacks my dad marched me to the GP. I was given two types of medication to take daily. My GP explained that my body was in a constant state of panic and I needed to reset my body. After a few months using the medication to aid my recovery, I stopped taking them – I wanted to try and deal with it myself. I have never recovered fully from them and still suffer with panic attacks regularly. It restricts me in some ways because I feel too worried to drink alcohol, I restrict my caffeine intake (and swapping for hot chocolate is having an effect on my hips!) but I live in hope that one day I will recover fully and be attack free.
I hope that by speaking publicly about my experience that I can help someone else. When my attacks first started, I was extremely embarrassed. I felt that I needed be strong for my family; that I was letting them down in some way. I did not want to talk openly about them.
Now I have accepted that they are a part of me for the time being. I have learnt to understand that this is my body’s way of telling me, ‘Take five mins, breath, give your mind a break, release some stress and relax. You need it to help reset.’
After another attempt at working full time and feeling miserable, there was much deliberation with my husband and we finally agreed that I could quit my job to start Your Own Life Organised.
Here at YOLO we are committed to supporting mental health and we also care a lot about mindfulness. Lee and have created The Bedside Books as a tool to help you offload your stresses from the day. We think its a great personal tool to focus on yourself for five minutes a day and a perfect gift for anyone that you think may need to give their mind a break!
#yourownlifeorganised #yololifestyle #bemoreorganised #bemoreyou
Written by Sarah Williams
14th May 2018
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