The moment I stepped in to the Leeds Mother and Baby unit, was the first step of recovery for me. I got the medication I needed to regulate the chemicals in my brain.
I have always felt ashamed, embarrassed and like there was something I could have done to prevent me getting Postpartum psychosis. However since I took the step a few weeks back to ‘come out’ I have been able to look at websites and other people’s stories who have also suffered with the illness, something which made me feel instantly sick to do before.
I came across the rcpsych site a few days ago, and something stood out from the page which made me sigh with relief “Postpartum psychosis is not your fault. It is not caused by anything you or your partner have thought or done. Relationship problems,stress or the baby being unwanted do not cause postpartum psychosis.”
CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
During my recovery at home I had a wonderful lady called Sal visit me often, from the mental health team to teach me how to use CBT . At the time, I was depressed, had no motivation and was stuck in a dark place. I didn’t want to use the techniques I was being shown, how the hell would visualising putting my thoughts on a leaf and letting it float down a river help??? But somehow it did.
I think CBT is fantastic, it’s just remembering to do it. It allows you to stop the racing thoughts in your head and allows you enjoy or cope with the current moment. There are some great apps available to help remind you to take 5 or 10 minutes out a day to clear your head. I think this is really important in staying well, and should be done even when your feeling fine.
Another method I used which is amazing, is meditation. I know it sounds very hippy, but it is a fantastic way to calm anxiety. I really need to start doing this more often. I use guided meditation videos on YouTube
For meditation to work you really need to make sure you wont be distracted at all! Try not to think about if it will work or not, just listen to the guide, using head phones, and go with it. Even I sometimes end up turning if off half way through as I’m not truly relaxed or have other things to be getting on with so find it hard to get in the zone. But when I do have the time and right settings, its great! It makes me feel weightless happy and in deep relaxation. I don’t do this daily, but if I’m anxious about something coming up, then this really helps.
I took up running a few years back, at one point I was running about 3 times a week. I ended up getting bad shin splints so had to stop. I then joined the gym, left the gym, then rejoined the gym (for the third time). I do like going to the gym but find it really hard to get motivated. When I do go, I go with my mum and sister who are stick thin and go there religiously. We don’t really push ourselves and just have a natter.
I did take up running again when we moved house last year as its near to fields so its softer on my shins, I’ve been fine so far, but need to get in to a better routine with it as its very hit and miss at the minute and I have to lose weight as I’ve ordered my wedding dress in a size smaller that I am! I find exercise is a great way to relieve stress and tension, and you always feel great after, It’s just so bloody hard!
BOOZE (not recommended!)
The worst self-help method I used/use was booze! That was the only instant thing which was guaranteed to work. Like I said in my other posts I’m not so bad nowadays, but if I’m going out round town I usually have Pre drinks to calm the nerves or if Kayden has been a little bugger (which lately is more often than not) then Id be popping the bottle at a reasonably acceptable time (5pm sharp).
I have been listening to a lot of audio books on cutting back on booze and the negative effects it had on mental health. I have nearly finished This Naked Mind and it is a real eye opener.
Is scary to know the truth about alcohol and what it really does. Some people drink to dull anxiety down, when really, it only was makes it worse, so then they would drink more, hence why some people become so hooked. I have also read the The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley which is about a mum who drinks to relieve the stresses of parenting, but it soon starts to become a daily habit. I found it really funny and so relateable. My plan is to cut out the booze till Christmas as a reset period.
Wish me luck!