Post Natal Depression
Is being a mother not the way you wanted it to be? Has it been hard and then harder still, so much so, that you feel you cannot do it? Have you had a diagnosis from a professional of Post Natal Depression.
I can help with any difficulties or depression you face after giving birth, whether it is your first child or your third! Do not face this situation on your own. Post Natal Depression can effect anyone, it can affect you after your first child is born or after your third, even if you showed no sign of Post Natal Depression with your other two.
After giving birth popular media lets us believe that we will have "baby blues" and then everything will settle down and things will slot into place. Baby blues refers to the hormone balance going back to their normal pre-birth and pre-pregnancy state, Post Natal Depression is a very different illness to face.
For some new mothers it can be an ordeal, night and day. No matter how you are feeling your baby will require you, so the up hill struggle will go on and the light at the end of the tunnel can seem farther away.
You can get peace from your suffering. You can bring your baby to these sessions as long as they are in a car seat or carry cot.
I will take referrals from a third party in these cases.
Post Natal Depression can affect anyone, it does not matter about financial status or education, if it happens it happens.
Post Natal Depression can feel like a prison, you have thoughts that are uncontrollable and uncomfortable, telling any one can feel like the worst shame and guilt ever.
Post Natal Depression can feel like on one understands you at all, isolation becomes part of every day life, you and your baby have not bonded and admitting that feels like a strain that could break you.
If you suffer from PTSD, Anxiety or Depression you may already know what triggers are and what your personal ones are. You may also suffer but not be aware of your triggers, this is when therapy can help.
Triggers can be anything and they can happen at any time. They will be the start of a panic attack or an anxiety attack. They can last for minutes and the after effects can last for hours or days. They can mess with your emotions and mess your plans up, the trip that you planned months ago may be cancelled because a trigger occurred and you suffer.
Because triggers are out of your control, for example, the sound of the a football match and the crowd chanting in the background, they take you by surprise, even shock and cause confusion. The sufferer can be transformed back to the original event instantly, but start to re-experience all the emotions including fear, of the original event. This, of course, can be very unsettling and cause confusion, anxiety and panic.
By understanding what our triggers are we can accommodate them and incorporate them into out lives. Like not being near the tv when football is playing, or working out why we are triggered and start a re framing process.
They are also very personal because they can be a direct link to past trauma, so, of course, they are only yours. No other person feels this way or has them in conjunction. Finding out what yours are can help you to control your reactions by affirming to yourself that you are not in danger and then you can recover quicker.
Triggers are a part of recovery from Trauma, they may not disappear through therapy, but you can find a way to deal with them and therefore heal from your trauma.
"Shame is I am bad. Guilt is I did something bad."
"Shame is highly highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders."
"Guilt; inversely correlated with those things.
The ability to hold something we've done or failed to do up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It's uncomfortable, but it's adaptive.
The other thing you need to know about shame is it is absolutely organised by gender."
Brene Brown Ted Talk
Tiredness and mental health
It is proven, that being tired can affect your anxiety levels, as can a hangover! Put the two together and it can lead to a highly aroused sate of anxiety leading to depression.
Sleep has to be learnt, as a child it is not something that occurs naturally for most, some of course it does. Most babies fall asleep after a feed without any difficulty, as they grow it can become a struggle. Then as adults we still struggle on. There is the point of awareness, just before sleep, that we fall into that can be frightening for both adults and children. We need to be in a relaxed state to allow this state to come upon us, with today's switched on world that can be difficult, most of us look at our phones in bed and the blue light it emits tells our brains it is tome to be alert.
Try sitting by the side of your bed so you are not in your bed but on it without the covers. Feet on the floor, then you can use your phone before bed and this can aid sleep and help you to switch off and fall asleep.
A weighted blanket can also be beneficial, or a heavy blanket, to aid a restful sleep. Usually they are used for people who suffer with PTSD, but they can help anyone.
Hypnosis can relax you before bed and whilst you are in bed, so that you get a good nights rest.
When you are facing anxiety and depression it can affect your sleep, which in turn affects your anxiety and depression. Sometimes getting the sleep right can be the first step in recovery and I can help with this in therapy. Using techniques I have described above can lead to a successful outcome.
What are the signs to look for?
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or close family and friends it may be a sign that their mental health is unwell. This is when therapy helps.
Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks.
Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain.
Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.
Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.
Nervousness — Fear or being suspicious of others or a strong nervous feeling.
Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care. Not being able to shower or brush your hair.
Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings.
None of these symptoms are a choice. If you are suffering it can be the hardest thing to reach out and get help, it can also be the most important thing you do to aid your recovery.
If you feel depressed therapy can help. A Doctor may prescribe it and sometimes CBT therapy can be useful. NICE Guidelines also state that talking therapy for depression is useful in the treatment.
Some feel that you never get a cure from Depression, just ways to deal with the effects and locating triggers, if you have any, can be useful to prepare for a period of depression.
There are many symptoms of depression, if you feel any of the following you may be suffering depression:
Low mood, loss of motivation, loss of appetite, unable to get to sleep, constipation, loss of libido, no or low energy.
If you feel like this you can make an appointment to see your Doctor and get support, You can also use therapy to deal with depression. For example, feeling confused about how we feel can cause depression because it disrupts our brains usual activity and therefore can effect everything else our brain does.
Depression is an illness that has an effect on our brain and sometimes medication can help along with therapy. The medication a Doctor prescribes is usually anti depressants, always make sure you check with your Doctor before stopping any medication prescribed. The medication has a effect on parts of the brain and can suppress the low mood so that therapy is possible, without the medication the patient may not seek out help.
Social Media may be one of the first places people go to express their feelings of distress, if you find yourself on one of these platform expressing feelings that do not make sense to you therapy can be a place to unravel how you feel and work on strategies to move forward.
Mental Health Tool Kit for Life!
A mental health tool kit, or a survival kit, is something that you can carry around in your bag, or have in your pocket.
It is things that help if it starts to become overwhelming at the holiday time, especially if you celebrate Christmas.
So, for example, you may have difficulties with your parents or partner and the holidays is when we all spend more time together!
1. Something to fiddle with!
A pen, a little toy or a mascot, something to grab onto when it starts to get tough.
2. A bottle of water
This can help if your mouth goes dry and you feel like you are choking.
3. Something soft
This is like a comfort blanket, but smaller, so it is portable. A silk scarf is good that feels soft.
4. Sweets and chewing gum.
Focusing your attention on what you are eating or chewing is great for re-framing the situation/interaction.
5. A journal or colouring book.
Anything that helps with doodling, writing down thoughts, colouring for a distraction and a help calming.
6. Letters or messages from supportive friends.
Since you may not feel like contacting friends, or they may not be reachable, having letters, texts and messages ready to look at.
It is a hard time of year for some people, especially if you do suffer with anxiety, never underestimate the force of trying to have a good time when you are not having a good time. It is exhausting.
What does it feel like for you, everyone is different, there are no rights or wrongs. Some people are set of by the most unfrightening of experiences, everydays things can set them off. Like a busy road, a noisy city, feeling lost in the car, walking by a group of children or teenagers. Going into a shop and paying for goods if there is a que behind you, doing exercise in a gym, going to the swimming baths.........
I would be very interested to know what you fell and what happens in your body when you get a panic attack, email me!
Maybe I could add some onto this web page, so that we can get a bigger idea of the effects.
If you suffer from Panic Attacks
There are things you can do whilst in a panic attack, because when they happen it can feel like you are going to die! You are not, I can guarantee that!
You can start by recognising that you are having a panic attack, see below for symptoms. Then focus your attention on something else, the room you are in, your bag or clothes, start to notice your breathing and then move around, slowly. Take a seat, safely, put both feet squarely on the ground and rest. Close your eyes if you like or leave the current place you are to a safer area.
It will pass, and if it happens again, do the same thing.
It is the body reacting to a trigger or a memory. It can cause symptoms like a feeling of choking, heart racing, pins and needles, dizziness, nausea, muscular pain.
Check out the diagram above about the symptoms and the one to the side about ways to deal with panic attacks.
If you suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, or any other mental issues, it can leave you in a panic.
You may feel you need to calm down you emotional state at times.
This guide is helpful.
Why do we aplogise for being emotional?
If we get upset we can find ourselves saying sorry for crying or sniveling! Is this a real way to behave or a reaction to a perception that emotions are weak, messy, wrong and control you, rather than a reflection on how you are feeling.
Thinking about what is appropriate and genuine can cause a sense of shame around normal emotions.
Anger is often an emotion people feel afraid of showing, yet it is a normal emotional feeling and can often give insight to what is wrong or unjust.
Emotional Agility by Susan David gives great insight in the way we can handle our emotions, rather than them handling us. When we feel anger the usual response is to hide from it and deny its existence, or laugh it off! If we go into it and think about why we are angry, a therapist can help, we can see that our response forms part of our value system and we see an injustice.
Ah, it makes sense!
Crying is also an emotional response that is normal, yet we perceive it as weak. The same process can apply to crying, so it gives us information about our values and what we find upsetting. Death can make us cry and the natural grief process, but we may be confused if we cry at the funeral of someone we didn't know. We have assigned our emotional a value judgement and not a spontaneous feeling that they are. Death and grief can make humans feel a shared sense of sadness, normal, we need these shared feelings to feel compassion and connection.
Dehydration and Mental Health.
Our mind and body are linked, not just by the neck but by each other! So, we can be aware of how our body works, for example, being dehydrated is not good and can cause physical problems. It can also effect our mental health, most of us do not know this and would be surprised to hear this. When we do not drink enough it can effect our mood, cognition, memory and concentration. By the time we are thirsty it is already too late and we are dehydrated and feeling the effects on our mental health.
It is usually stated that 8 glasses of water are a good guide for humans, however, each person is different, you know when you have had enough and are not thirsty anymore. Coffee and tea and mostly water, so your morning cup counts as part of keeping hydrated, so does eating a bowl of soup.
Women suffer the effects of mild dehydration more then men, experts are not sure why this is, but it could be part of the primitive alerting system in our brain.
The early signs of dehydration are;
Tired or sleepy.
Decreased urine output.
Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal.
I also find that my hands start to appear pruney!
Borderline Personality Disorder
This is a group of personality traits that have been identified together and witnessed in a number of individuals and the outcome is labelled as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). The classification is in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual Ed. 5) and is used by medical practitioners. It can be useful to have a diagnosis to use in therapy, it can also be useful to find out about others coping strategies and to help the sufferer feel more normal. If you have suffered a trauma, you can be left with some of these traits, which are normal for someone who has suffered a trauma.
Often the person will feel uncontrollable emotional intensity, which can manifest as;
poor self image
This is a useful description from themighty.com
Many individuals with BPD may feel things more deeply than the average person, have feelings of emptiness or isolation and struggle with an intense fear of abandonment.
The intense emotional pain felt by those with BPD can lead to mood fluctuations of uncontrollable anger, depression and anxiety. Individuals with BPD may also experience feelings of dissociation, which can cause them to feel disconnected from their thoughts and body entirely. In some cases, the experienced intensity of these feelings may cause an individual to engage in risky and impulsive behaviors or have thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Individuals with BPD may be more prone to stormy and unstable personal relationships.
(source The Mighty and Personality Awareness Disorder Network)
This mental health issues is often used by people who do not suffer. It is used as a way to describe behaviour such as neatness, or controlled order. For example, "I like my books in alphabetical order, I am a little OCD!"
This is not what OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is, at all. It is characterised by two parts, the compulsion and the obsession. These are then driven by intrusive thoughts and anxiety that get in the way of normal daily life.
The complusion is an instruction that, if not done, will result in bad things happening "I must wash my hands until the contamination is gone!"
It is followed by an obsession, "I am not clean!", which can be more intense in each individual sufferer. There is not set pattern of symptoms, each person may obsess over a different compulsion, but it is intense feelings of shame if it is not followed through.
It can be rituals involving counting, washing, sex, cleanliness, contamination, religion, sex, violence, loss of control, physical harm or perfectionism.
There is no "cure" for OCD, but medication and psychotherapy can help to deal with the symptoms.
Mental Health and Trauma (ptsd)
A traumatic event can happen to any one, in fact what may be considered traumatic to one is not to another. We all have our own way of dealing with events that happen to us. Our process is important and totally individual to us. A comparison to others can be useful, if it tells us we may be suffering more than others and helps us get help. However, it is not useful if it makes us feel less because we are suffering more and start to hide how we feel so we do not appear odd.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) has been associated with soldiers coming home from a war. Yet, we can all suffer the after effects of a frightening event. These might include; natural disasters, serious accidents, assault or abuse. It can be long term or short lasting only a few weeks after the event.
Most people will experience trauma after an event, however with ptsd it can involve reliving the event with emotional and physical involuntary responses. Flashbacks and nightmares are common, including being back in the event as it happened, you may feel the need to avoid places or things relating to the event, experience constant reactive arousal (for example always feeling “on-edge”) or have cognitive difficulty or mood changes. Physical symptoms like sweating and a racing heart, feeling detached or empty, tense or irritable. This could result in difficulties sleeping, holding a job down, keeping your relationship on track and being unable to concentrate.
There are certain symptoms that are common with ptsd, I have listed the most common ones below. Remember, everyone is different and we all have our personality and ways of processing our thoughts and feelings. There is no right or wrong, what you feel is what you feel.
1. Flashbacks and Nightmares
2. Reliving the experience/trauma
3. On edge or red alert
4. Physical symptoms like heart racing
5. Panic, anxiety, depression
6. Being moved to tears easily
7. Anger and aggression
8. Tense muscles
9. Guilt and shame
10. Self Harm and Suicide
This is a most important part of LIFE!
We tend to leave it till someone else takes the time to treat us. We tend to feel we are only worth it if someone else chooses to treat us good. It seems to stem from a false modesty from years ago, that does not serve us well. It was seen as selfish to be kind to yourself, this is not the case. I am going to repeat that!
Here are some ideas about self care, remember it is crucial if you suffer with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, but it is just as important if you do not.
1. Cry, then cry, then cry! Make time and space to do this, safely and contained.
2. Reach out to a friend or family member that you trust.
3. Say No, when you do not want to do something.
4. Go to see a therapist.
5. Watch you favorite funny/silly/easy tv show.
6. Get a childhood favorite book and reread it.
7. Go to be early with clean sheets.
8. Stop expecting too much from yourself, you are a human not a robot.
9. Look at inspiring and gorgeous Art.
10. Ask for help, from your boss, doctor, loved one, friend.
11. Look at heart warming stories on heart.co.uk
12. Take a bath, with bubbles and wonderful smells.
13. Start a journal.
14. Do exercise that you enjoy, til you puff and pant.
15. Look at inspiring quotes on brainyquotes.co uk
16. Cuddle someone, if you are alone, cuddle a pillow or cushion.
17. Go outside, even in the rain, this can give you perspective on yourself and a connection to other humans.
Hypnosis and the Dentist
If you have ever felt fear when you think of going to the dentist you are not alone. It is one of a number of conditions that can be helped by hypnosis. One adult in three has a fer of the dentist, through moderate to severe, Dentophobia is the term used to describe an extreme fear that will stop suffers going to the dentist.
Hypnosis can alleviate the symptoms and help you to get the treatment you need.
It can also help with Bruxism, a condition in which the patient clenches or grinds their jaw whilst asleep. It is thought that this is an expression of anger and pent up tension.
Recovery from Flashbacks
How to recover from a flashback.
This may not work for all, but it is a tried and tested method. It is all about Mindfulness and being present in the moment.
When you experience a flashback you are back in the painful memory with the emotions or physical pain that went with it, so recovery is vital.
To help bring yourself back from pain, whether it is emotional or physical, use a mantra. It can be something like "Be here now." You can say this to yourself whenever you need to or you can make up your own one. It can add weight to it if you use your own name at the end, and create a sense of comfort, a bit like you got your own back!
So, you could say "Be here now, Victoria". Basically it is all about bringing yourself back to now and away from the flashback and past pain.
We all need tools to help us through the tough spots, share this post with your friends so we can all feel better.