I’m a Mum!

Well hello! I bet you’d forgotten about me, hadn’t you! I am sorry it’s been so long since I last wrote anything, but there’s a very good reason for that. Say hello to my beautiful daughter, Niamh Esmee Iris Campion.

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Niamh is Irish and pronounced like Eve but starts with an N. It means bright/beautiful/radiant. Esmee is French and means loved, and Iris was the goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology. My family are Irish, my husband’s surname has French origins and she is our rainbow baby, so all 3 names are very fitting.

I honestly didn’t think the day would ever come that I would be able to write ‘my daughter’. It’s all still very surreal, in the most wonderful way.

I only wrote one post during my pregnancy. To be completely honest I was terrified I would have another miscarriage, so even the thought of writing about being pregnant felt like I would be tempting fate. Because of this, and my ever increasing anxiety, I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I wanted to, but I also just wanted her to be OK, to be safe, healthy, and to survive. Add to that a not very empathetic consultant, and by the last month I was in a real state.

In the end it was decided that a Caesarian Section was the best option. I cannot say enough positive things about the delivery team in theatre. They really were wonderful and looked after us both so, so well. To anyone who thinks a C-Section is the ‘easy way’, and I’ve heard that more than once, let me tell you it really isn’t. I could write a lot about this, but it will only annoy me, and I want this to be a happy post.

So, I’m a Mum! It’s the hardest ‘job’ I’ve ever done, but the one I wanted more than anything. The hours are long, the pay is quite frankly criminal, but the rewards, well, they’re just everything. When she smiles at me I feel as though my heart might burst. I never thought I would be proud of someone for burping, but she does it with such style!

I haven’t found it easy adjusting to becoming a Mum. If I said I never thought beyond being pregnant to what it would actually be like when we brought her home from the hospital, would you judge me? Well, it’s true. For 9 months I simply willed my body to keep her safe, and so having her here with us has been amazing and completely terrifying. For the first few nights we just watched her sleep, mainly to make sure she was alive, but also to try and take in this beautiful little person that we made. She is the best thing to ever happen to us and we are so besotted with her. How I’ll ever do anything productive ever again I do not know, other than looking after her obviously!

So, I am back now, but please bear with me while I enjoy my time with my most precious girl.

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Semicolon Slippery Pig

Great title, right?

As you may know if you’ve read any of my posts over the last week or so, I have had a bit of a major flare up with my anxiety and have struggled quite a lot. At the moment I feel OK, but I never take that for granted as unfortunately my anxiety can strike whenever it feels like it.

I saw my therapist yesterday and had a really random, but good chat about things. I told him I feel as though I’m on pause, like I’m waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what or why, but I’ve felt like that for a while now. He was talking about different stages in life and how they can relate to meaningful periods. For instance, 50 is often considered as mid life and people can make rather big decisions about their life as there is still plenty of time to make changes if they feel they are needed. At 80 it can be seen as though acceptance has been reached as it is rare for any big changes to be made at this point. I am apparently at the other phase, the ‘is this it’ time, but I know this isn’t it and there is plenty of time to find out what else life has to offer. We talked about it in terms of punctuation marks, so 80 can be seen as the full stop, 50 is the colon and 25 – 35 is the semicolon.

It was serendipity that he mentioned the semicolon as that is something I had been talking about the day before in relation to mental health, and my potential desire to have a tattoo. As the semicolon has become a worldwide symbol for mental health I was looking at incorporating it into something as a reminder that although anxiety can feel like the worst thing ever, it will pass. Also as a reminder that you can survive it. Just to say that I am the world’s biggest softie and HATE needles. I mean really hate them. I have no pain threshold whatsoever, but for some reason the idea of having a tattoo that holds a real meaning for me feels right. I also think the pain would help make me more aware of what I can tolerate. I don’t mean that to sound big headed or cheesy, it just feels right for me.

So, the slippery pig! Well, because there isn’t one specific trigger for my symptoms, my therapist called my anxiety a slippery pig that couldn’t be contained. Makes perfect sense when you look at it like that, right?

Don’t worry, my tattoo won’t be a semicolon on the back of a pig, promise!

 

Anxiety is definitely Physical

For the past week I’ve felt pretty dreadful: temperature, earache, stiff neck, shaky and tired. I put it down to being a virus as everyone catches them at some point. However, once the crappy feeling passed, the shakiness increased, my sleep pattern became really messed up and my concentration went the same way as my motivation, on a permanent holiday.

I haven’t really felt like me for so long that I’m not sure what’s real and what’s part of my well rehearsed act. I do know that over the last few days I’ve been overwhelmed by anxiety, and am exhausted from the physical symptoms that come with it. I have been shaking pretty much constantly for a week. It feels as though I am shaking internally as well as my hands shaking and legs feeling like jelly. My heart is racing to the point that I can hear the blood pumping in my ears. I’m tired, really tired, but can’t sleep as my mind is racing in conjunction with my heart.

I have been to see the doctor, one I haven’t seen before, and he was wonderful. He didn’t rush me. He let me fall apart without judging. He was straightforward and empathetic, exactly what I needed. As someone who is always happy to listen to others, I often forget how much talking to someone about how I feel helps me. I bottle it all up and keep going as I’m terrified that if I stop it will all come out and I won’t know how to deal with it. However, that then causes all of these awful physical symptoms I’ve been experiencing. For someone who has been dealing with anxiety for years I can be a right dumbass sometimes!Β 

Right now I feel calm. Yes, I have a raging headache. Yes, my neck and shoulders are so tight that it hurts to move. Yes, I feel like I could sleep for a week. But, the shakiness is subsiding, and the overwhelming urge to run away is lessening, and that is such a bonus that I’ll take that as a mini win. For now I won’t worry (as much) about tomorrow, I won’t even worry about whether I’ll sleep tonight. I’ll just concentrate on breathing and being grateful for what I have.Β 

Vanilla Monday

I’m getting the distinct impression that Monday doesn’t like me. I don’t know what I’ve done to offend Monday, but it wasn’t intentional, I promise.

Monday used to be good to me. We got along really well, but as quickly as we had something, it stopped. For no reason, as far as I can see.

I might have said that I thought Monday was pretty vanilla, you know normal, but it wasn’t an insult. I happen to like vanilla. Plus, it’s a great starting point to build on, isn’t it. No one wants the finished thing, all bells and whistles straight away. You have to work on that, put the effort in, be creative. Then it’s something special as you’ve created what you want. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but does that really matter?

I’m aware that this is not my usual type of post, but I’m not feeling like myself too much at the moment. Everything feels off. I can’t really say what or why as I’m not sure myself, but I am certain that all is not right. I just wish I knew how to fix it. I hate not knowing. I don’t deal well with feeling like I can’t sort something.

I suppose the only good thing is tomorrow is Tuesday, and so far we seem to be on the same page. Hopefully I’ll be back to my version of normal then.

Reasons To Be Thankful

We’re all feeling pretty rubbish right now, aren’t we.

2016 has not been kind to us, in so many ways. I had really high hopes following the worst year of my life in 2015, but someone else (the Universe, the masses, God, an evil fairy?!) had other plans. I’m currently feeling very unwell and pretty sorry for myself, something I’m pretty good at. I also usually tend to feel extra emotional and nostalgic when I’m forced to rest, so be prepared for some properly cheesy writing…

For a very, very long time I kept things bottled up as I didn’t want to burden someone else with my issues. I probably also thought that my problems weren’t that important, so was too embarrassed to ask for help. I realise now (here’s the nostalgia) that looking back at all of that pretending to be OK and holding in how I really felt led to a lot of unhappy times, and illness, emotionally and physically. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have learned that asking for help is a good thing, and that I am not on my own with how I feel. Realising this was a huge turning point for me. It is not easy, and there are plenty of bumps in the road (even now), but putting the effort in certainly has made a positive impact on me.

Knowing that everyone out there is feeling a little/lot sore and bruised right now, and that I can’t do anything to make that better isn’t great. However, if we all do just one thing that might make a positive change to someone else, isn’t it the perfect time to try? It can be as little as smiling at someone who looks upset. I feel like I repeat myself a lot in my posts, but I also feel like I really cannot express the importance of kindness. None of us know what someone else is dealing with, yet we apparently judge someone within 90 seconds of meeting them. Pretty harsh when you think about it.

While I’m sat here on enforced rest, I’ve been thinking about the things I am grateful for, and one of the big ones is all of the wonderful people I know, some of whom are the furthest away from me yet it feels as though there is no distance. When I first started writing this blog, I never thought I would meet so many amazing people who had been through good and bad times and were prepared to share these experiences with me. I didn’t know I’d be pushed to my limits by heartbreak and loss, or that I’d make it out the other side. But in order to make it I needed help and support, and I received it without even asking from you lovely people out there, some of whom I probably will never meet.

So, at this really turbulent time where so much is up in the air I want to say thank you.

Thank you to the people who take the time to send kind words. Thank you to those of you who picked me up when I thought I couldn’t get back on my feet. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for being you.

With kindness and just a little bit of time, we can help each other through.