Persephone: Parent

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CBT Session Five – “Sorry, Not Sorry” #PND

Session 4 left me trying really hard to think about how I was thinking. To notice a hot thought and recognise that the thought was starting off a cycle (going into the 5 areas), and to then interrogate that thought to see if it was true, if my reactions were valid. It is an amazing process. In theory.

It’s not so easy in the moment, but I guess that’s the point. It’s about noticing whenever you notice, hours after the fact if needs be and then interrogating the events. With time, you’ll get quicker at it. I have used it and it has helped. Unfortunately, I’m a talker so when I get a Hot Thought which causes me to fly off the handle with my husband, it doesn’t feel right to me to figure out what happened and simply say sorry. To me, I need to explain to him why it happened, what I was thinking and feeling. Well, that’s like doing the 5 areas just out loud. I guess it might be helpful for him to see where I’m coming from, but might not be super helpful to me moving forward as I need to be able to write down what happens.

This is why the daily mood/activity sheet is so helpful.

Session 5, however, held some answers to a problem that, I guess runs deep within me. And this blog.

Assertiveness.

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CBT: Session Four – I Can Read Your Mind #PND

The fourth therapy session was the first one after a huge break over Christmas. During this gap, not only had Robin started sleeping through the night and dropping her morning feed (only two feeds a day left), but she had started going to bed really easily (quick feed and then done) so I’d started reintroducing things to my life and, unlike previous attempts, had begun to enjoy them. I guess it was part of the depression, the constant thought of “what’s the point?” What was the point in trying to do aerobics or go jogging at bedtime, she’d still be screaming? Why bother getting up early to do it, I’m too tired anyway? I don’t want to read a book, I want to veg out on the sofa and watch TV, get bored and eat junk food. Everything had seemed so hard, so hard to motivate myself to do and so hard to wrangle the family to allow me to. But that had started to change over the Christmas period, with a cinema outing and date with my mum, going out for drinks with a friend – no children in sight, taking the time to exercise, trying to get my diet in order and using calm, quiet times to read my book so that I finally got interested in it. I’d never seen that as part of the depression, but it was.

In the fourth session, we learnt about negative automatic thoughts (yep, I know them very well) and what type of thinking you do. I’m a black and white generaliser who can read minds and plays more on the negative than the positive.

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CBT: Session Three – Oh, There I am! #PND

As I walked into the third session, I was still feeling so so down from the session before and then my failed attempt to socialise, that I wondered what the point was. But I wasn’t about to lose my place on the course and I really loved the creche aspect! Honestly, possibly not the best reason, but I’m not going to lie – it was not hope and optimism that made me go on the third week. Haha! The third session was all about rumination (I tick all the boxes, so, yep, I ruminate. A lot) and introduced SMART Goals.

Well, somewhere in the week afterwards, I began to see some light.

I think it happened when I set my SMART Goal in front of everyone in the therapy session. Because that meant I had to stick to it. Right?

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CBT: Session Two – What Do I Like? #PND

Still no closer to figuring out who I was, session two actually sent me plummeting into a deep giant cavern that was possibly worse than I’d felt before. The second session introduced the lethargy spiral and identifying whether activities you do are pleasurable, routine or necessary. I learnt about how to prioritise my demands.

Well, what the bloody use was that when I am a super organiser. Even now with kids, I organise and plan. That’s what I do. And I think I kinda excel at it. Ask me to deal with not having my routine and I might scream and cry. I might avoid doing something that could alter my routine as I don’t know how I’d cope. But, I didn’t need help with prioritising my demands. I know my daily demands and they never change. Then I read the list of possible pleasurable activities – visiting friends, reading, watching TV, playing with the children, going to the cinema, go swimming, go for a run… Well, I couldn’t see a single thing that I could find pleasure in.

I spent a week in such an awful rut. I tried to be sociable (it was nearly Christmas and Robin finally started going to bed better), but it made me feel worse. How on Earth could I try and figure out who I was if I didn’t know what I liked?

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CBT: Session One – Who Am I?

Last year, I went through a pretty rough time. I’d already consulted my health visitor about needing to speak to someone regarding how I was feeling. It was getting worse, week on week, or maybe month on month and I was waiting for the appointment when we went on a family holiday. The final day of the holiday I could not stop myself from crying because I desperately did not want to go home. I was walking back to the lodge in the dark (it was dark by 7pm) after the dinner and the entertainment show, with Elvis. My OH and Robin had gone a different way with the pushchair. We were walking past the bird enclosure and all I could think was that I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to run away with Elvis. Sod, my husband, sod the baby, sod the boring everyday routine that I hated. I didn’t want to go back to the real world. I didn’t want to go back to my life. I wanted to run away.

And I just kept crying.

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Operation: Yummy Mummy

Hiya! Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? So much has happened since the last posts on here. The last post I really thought was here was The End? And it was. But a lot has happened in the months since then. I was questioning why I was blogging. I was questioning why I was doing anything pretty much. Questioning why I even existed. I tried setting up a new blog that was more about day to day life and not as personal as this blog has been, but it never felt right at the time. I guess because I always blogged when I was low, when I needed to pour out my heart and blogging about being a parent wasn’t what I needed. I think I was trying to make this blog something else and I wasn’t happy anymore. I wasn’t happy with the blog, I wasn’t happy with me. I just plain wasn’t happy. So now, over half a year later and so very close to Robin’s first ever birthday, I’m in the process of changing my life.

I was referred to a local course that helps mums with post natal depression and it made me realise that I completely lost my sense of identity, but not when I got pregnant. Not when I became a mum. I lost my identity somewhere in 2009 when I decided to make the decision to become a mum, only to wait over 3 years. My identity was, for three years, the infertile one. But then I became a mum so who was I? I was just a mum. And that wasn’t, isn’t who I want to be.

Robin has been such a different baby. Easier in a lot of ways. Happier and far, far smilier, but she’s also needed feeding more. She took longer to take to food, to drop her milk. So, I (who has no identity other than Mother), was trapped more and more. For all her easiness and joy, I found it harder. I just wanted space. I just wanted time. I wanted to be me, well, to figure out who I even am. But she was taking longer. So I felt worse and worse.

I guess with a combination of her growing up (almost 1, only 2 milk feeds a day, finally gained some weight, pretty much sleeping through) and the course I’ve been on, I’m working some things out. And so, to find me, I’ve thought a lot about what I like. Or what I used to like.

I like to exercise, to have 30 minutes where I’m not in my head. It could be swimming, jogging or aerobics, but I like it.

I like to read.

I like to be up to date with my Marvel and Star Wars films.

I like to be alone.

And I had blogged for years.

Well, hello 2016 and the year where I make myself happy (because if I’m happy, my family is happy). I’m calling it Operation: Yummy Mummy. It’s not about being the picture of a Yummy Mummy (I’ll never get the figure or beauty for that), but it is about feeling like a Yummy Mummy. It’s about noticing what makes me feel like a failure as a mum, being more active in being a person independent from my children, reaffirming my relationships with friends and my husband. It is about realising the triggers that make me feel down, get me stressed, make my cry hysterically and working on avoiding or fixing them. And, yes, it is about shifting the baby weight which seems to be so much harder to do the second time around. I want to be able to hold conversations with anyone that don’t revolve around children.

And blogging might help. It might not. I might forget about it again within days (I’ve been planning this post for, oh, about 12 days!), but that’s what blogging was originally. It wasn’t planned posts on a regular interval. It wasn’t trying to keep an audience or traffic stats. It was blogging when I needed to. Needed, not wanted. I guess, it was my incredibly public diary. But maybe if I had kept an element of privacy over it, I would have used it more ┬áduring the darker few months. And I’m not out of the dark yet, so it can only help, right?

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