I am a huge advocate of the “It’s ok” movement. Actually I am not sure that it really classes as a movement but you know what I mean. I am forever telling people that it is ok to feel however it is they are feeling and that talking about their feelings is the best thing to do. This is advice that I seldom take. Aren’t I ridiculous?
The past few weeks I have been struggling. To start with Evan still isn’t sleeping through the night. I really hate moaning about him waking up in the night but I am going to. Evan was getting better at sleeping, going longer and longer through the night but he started to go back to waking every 3 hours. I know that doesn’t sound too bad but he takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to feed in the night. And it is definitely a feed that he is after. I am talking at least an hour and then he babbles in bed for a while before and after and when I say babbles I mean he shouts babble at us as his rampages around his cot. I hate moaning about the lack of sleep because I know how lucky I am to have him. I hate moaning about him, I know other people who have babies that sleep worse that he does and I know that this time is precious and fleeting and I do really enjoy feeding him in the night. But it is hard going. As Dylan is at school there isn’t the chance of lying in like I used to do when Dylan was a baby and Evan is shite at napping in the day unless he is being pushed around in the pushchair so I can’t catch a nap with him.
There is a reason why Prisoners of War are subjected to sleep deprivation as a form of torture… It is absolute torture. And then a few weeks ago Evan changed his waking up pattern and instead of going down at 8ish, waking at 12, 3am and then 6am he started waking at 11pm, 1am, 4am and 7am. Ugh. I think that maybe this was fucking me up more as it was hitting my sleep cycle when I was in a more deep sleep. Then while we were in Center Parcs he slept through. What the fuck!? So he decides to sleep when we have a troop of 5 other grown ups to help us out first thing and to let us have naps in the days… But no. On our return home, Evan went back to his multiple wake ups during the night. And like I said before he wakes at 11pm and then takes about 1 and half until he is asleep and quiet and then he’s up at 2am for a hour and a bit, then 5am for an hour and a bit… all in all there isn’t much sleep going on for me.
After feeding Evan in the night I would snuggle back into bed to try to get back to sleep and then my head would start whirring. Thinking, over thinking, worrying, panicking and then trying to distract myself from intrusive thoughts by googling things or reading my book followed by trying to sleep again and more thinking, worrying, over thinking, panicking and so on and so on and so on. I can’t even really think what I was worried about, I just worried about things. I spent one night looking at all the photos and videos I have on my phone of Eilys. I spent most of that night in tears allowing myself to wallow in how unfair it is that she had SMA type 1, going over and over her death in my head and worrying about how it will affect Dylan. In short, I stopped sleeping pretty much.
As I wasn’t sleeping I was grumpy most of the time and when I wasn’t being grumpy I was apologising for being grumpy. Then spending a lot of time feeling guilty for being grumpy, not wanting to go out because I was feeling so shite about everything but then feeling bad that I haven’t taken Evan out. I had a mountain of jobs to do around the house post holiday and I tried to get these things done in my zombie like state. As a result not much was done. I felt weepy all the time. I kept getting headaches that I then spent time worrying about having headaches on top of all the other worrying and over thinking going on. I felt unhinged and like I was unraveling. Joe kept getting met at the door by a frazzled wife in tears.
I have suffered with anxiety before and knew that that is what I was feeling. I was having those intrusive thoughts that kept whirring around my head. In the past I haven’t spoken to many people about this as I felt ashamed of it. I felt guilty that I couldn’t cope and honestly I felt like a failure. I was really struggling with anxiety a few months before I got married. Looking back, it is not hard to see why. I was getting married, I was planning a wedding and making a lot of thing for the wedding myself, we had relocated from somewhere that I had a large group of friends and a job I loved to somewhere where I knew no one and I had moved to a job that I really didn’t enjoy. I spent my nights worrying and in tears, I got stress headaches a lot and felt very on edge. At the time I felt like I had no right to be struggling as I was getting married and had such a wonderful life in so many ways but I was still falling apart. I felt like an utter failure. After going to the Doctors a few times convinced that something was really wrong with me he suggested that maybe I was suffering with anxiety. He explained about talking therapies and said that the waiting list was long and offered to medicate me while I waited. Yes, anything to stop me feeling like that. And after a few weeks I started to feel a lot more like myself. But I felt ashamed. How could I be having mental health issues when I was getting ready to marry the man of my dreams? I still felt like I was a total failure. and as a result I didn’t talk about it to anyone except Joe really. Looking back I know that this is ridiculous. Like physical illness, mental illness can strike anyone at any time. I wish I had talked about it a bit more at the time but I didn’t.
This Wednesday I’d had enough and decided that I needed to take control back. I wrote a list of the things that we causing me issues and set out to tackle them one by one. Firstly, I talked to my best friend, I talked to my Mum and my MIL and I messaged a few of my online-buds and I spoke at length to Joe. Talking things through felt so good, I felt so unburdened. I went back to being strict about not taking my phone to bed with me, no good can come from google at 3am (or furiously flitting between social media platforms on loop for hours). I then booked a Chiropractors appointment for the Thursday to try to sort out my back pain. As it turns out I am completely misaligned (fucked) which could also be causing me to not sleep and give me headaches. I went for a coffee and cake with a friend which was really lovely. I have booked a Doctors appointment with Eilys’ GP so I can possibly get referred for talking therapies (I didn’t actually go for it last time as the drugs did work) and potentially get some anti anxiety medication, we’ll see. I also signed up for PayAsUGym and I went to the Gym on Friday for an hour which felt absolutely incredible and so good for the soul. Me and Joe have been doing relaxing yoga together before bed each night (find it here also Adriene is so awesome, all her vids are ace). And I am blogging about it because I don’t want to feel like I am a failure because I am struggling.
It is ok to be struggling and to reach out. I have had a tough few years, a tough few years that I am still not sure how I survived but I did. It isn’t just that I have lost Eilys, in the last 10 months I have lost both my Grans and more recently a close family friend has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Add to that working to keep my marriage a lovely one, then being pregnant, the initial stress of waiting to have the baby tested for SMA, then having a baby, caring for a baby and having Dylan to care for too. Then there is trying to keep on top of the endless washing, the tidying, being slightly obsessed about my weigh, the endless school runs, trying to get to baby groups to socialise myself and Evan etc etc. No wonder my head is a bit of a boggle with it all.
I felt so much better just by talking things through with Joe and then I have felt increasingly better with every positive decision I have made this week. I am feeling much better, still quite anxious in my quieter moments but I am trying to talk about it as and when I feel like that. Going to the gym was so good. It was just so lovely to be on my own with music blaring in my earphones and exhausting myself a little bit, unfortunately the only music I had downloaded was things I had for Dylan (Lego Movie sound track and the Lego Batman soundtrack). Being proactive and reaching out has really improved my mood. Fingers crossed that the Doctor can give me some support too. It is OK that I am not OK at the moment. If you aren’t feeling OK then please reach out to someone you trust if you can, or talk to a Doctor. Or message me. But please reach out.
Thanks for reading