Post Natal Depression and me. You are not alone.

2014 – the year my partner and I decided we would try for out first baby. I had always wanted to be a mum so this was the most exciting time for me and at the end of October 2014 a pregnancy test was positive. We were both over the moon, I could not believe I was going to be a Mum! In July 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. It was the best feeling in the world.

6 days after giving birth, I woke up with a horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and I started to cry and could not stop. I felt awful. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, i’d just had a baby so why was I feeling so sad? I rang my mum who came over to my house more or less straight away. I called my midwife who came over too. She said lack of sleep and being a new mum was the cause and that it would get better. The doctor said it was ‘new mum syndrome’ and that it would settle down.

I felt like an awful Mum. I found it hard when my baby cried. I felt like I didn’t love my baby enough.

Where was this instant bond everyone talked about?

Every morning I was woken up with this horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and uncontrollable crying. I had my midwife/health visitor round everyday as I knew there was something wrong with me. I went back to the doctor who said it sounded like Post Natal Depression which I think I already knew. I was given Citalopram and told that it would take 3+ weeks to start to take effect.

I also started seeing a psychologist but this didn’t seem to help me as I didn’t have the answers to their questions. They asked ‘why do you think you feel like this’ but I did not have an answer. I did not really know why – I could not think of anything that had triggered it, it would have been easier if I could have.
By May 2017 we decided to try for another baby. I weaned off my citalopram as I had been feeling ok for a while so I thought I was ready. End of August 2017 another positive pregnancy test once again brought excitement.

A week later the horrible anxious feelings and endless crying returned. I didn’t want my partner to leave to go to work. He said I should go see my mum so I wasn’t sitting on my own. I remember getting ready to leave and standing at the back door of my house crying cos I didn’t know how I was going to go outside. I eventually went out but I think I was struggling not to cry most of the way. I was off work for 12 weeks. This was prenatal anxiety.

I got put back on Citalopram throughout my pregnancy and am still on it today.

My advice to any mums feeling like I did is to seek help as soon as you feel something is wrong. Go out for walks even of its a short one. Talk to someone – your partner, your family, a doctor – anyone.

You are not alone.

The not so subtle art of “Ghosting”…

Dating… I really find it such a minefield these days and call me old school if you like but I’m learning all the fricken time about new age dating and the do’s and don’t’s and everything in between.

I’ve dabbled in a few relationships and dates since my divorce but as I get older and my values and goals solidify, my fear of dating just kinda grows!

Something which has happened to me a few times throughout my journey of singledom which is pretty damaging to my confidence and self worth is “Ghosting”… so naturally, I’m going to write about it on my platform.

So you go on a date… they are very charming and attractive to you and even treat you to lunch and the chat is flowing like nobody’s business. They’ve made you laugh, they like the same stuff as you and your mind’s already reeling thinking about date number 2 with this awesome human…

When the date comes to an end, you give them a hug or maybe even a passionate kiss if it’s went that way and you really look forward to seeing them again.

But there’s a problem… radio silence from their end.

They ignore your messages, unfollow your social media and seem to disappear completely off your radar.

Has anyone experienced this before?

It’s very disheartening and can leave you with so many questions about yourself and your worth, no matter how confident you think you are. I would say I’m a pretty positive and upbeat individual, so I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve frequently asked myself the following questions following being ghosted recently:

1. Am I not attractive enough?

2. Was my chat rubbish?

3. What’s wrong with me?

4. I wonder what I could do to get them to like me more?

These are a tiny selection of genuine feelings and reactions I’ve had to being somewhat ignored after what was, in my opinion, a really great date.

I think a few things to remember just to keep you SANE if nothing else is, none of this is your fault. In fact, someone else’s actions and responses are none of your business and outwith your realm of control.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed with the details on your end but let’s face it, you don’t really know what’s going on at their end! Maybe they’re taken, maybe they think you deserve BETTER, maybe they don’t want to waste your time! Maybe, just maybe, they had your best interests at heart?

Something I’ve found useful to apply to all aspects of my life is to challenge any negative thought which enters me head with:

“What evidence do I have to support that?”

I guarantee that, with time, questioning your own inner voice with this will really help you to realise you make negative decisions on situations and people all the time but most of this is just you projecting your self doubt and insecurities onto someone or something else.

Let me know what your stories are with regards dating and ghosting!

Mandy @ TEWP x

But… you don’t even know me?

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post!

But it doesn’t mean that I don’t always have lots of ideas floating around for topics I’d quite like to highlight (if they don’t crop up already that is!) but there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

This is something that I’ve become very aware of recently.

So, as you all know, I am an extremely multi faceted person. Whether this is due to my Borderline Personality Disorder or whether I am just wired this way… well, I’m not too sure.

This project’s whole purpose has been to explore who I am and to get to know myself on a deeper level through sharing experiences and connecting with others who are on similar journey’s.

Some parts of myself I’ve found, I’m extremely proud of and some parts: not so much. But it’s all about understanding what and who amplify the good bits and what reinforces the bits you’re not quite so fond of and then exploring those.

If this year has taught me anything, it’s that there is SO much to a person.

Especially me!

Recently, as my profile online has increased a little, I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous messages from strange men on the internet saying things like “I’ve liked you for a while” or “I can just tell we’d be great together”… but how can someone be so sure?

All that person has seen is a few pictures where I’m probably putting my best self forward more often than not. Full face of makeup on, at a moment where I wasn’t harassed or upset or having some kind of meltdown and probably feeling positive about life which, if you know me on a more intimate level, can be pretty fleeting.

This got me to thinking… there is literally so much more to a person than meets the eye.

Particularly on Social Media.

It’s so easy and flippant for someone to say or type that they like you. They are basing that comment on a moment when a few things were aligned in a positive manner… but it’s not easy for someone to show up, like all of the other facets which are good, bad and ugly and choose to stay.

There aren’t many people who would see the image I portray online and then also manage to cope with all of the intricacies in between.

When I’m anxious, I pick my skin.

When I’m unpacking and repacking a bag, it takes me twice as long as anyone else because I have to arrange everything in a particular way. A way I’ve reasoned with myself during the process is organised.

When im anxious, I have meltdowns.

When im really happy, I sing random songs at the top of my lungs and perform random dance moves to support the song…

When I’m anxious, I can’t breathe and decide everyone must hate me.

When I have to leave the house, I have to go through rigorous health and safety checks which take about an hour to ensure there won’t be a fire while I’m away. This is because I was involved in an Arson attack last year. So even although the fire wasn’t my fault, I still panic that it will happen again and that it will be due to my carelessness.

When I’m anxious, I can’t decide who I want to be that day. Is it an 80’s chick with a trucker jacket on? Is it a 90’s vibe? Is it wearing your brother’s Tshirt and then cutting in your own fringe?

So these are just a select few of my intricacies or ‘behind the scenes’… interested now? I know a fair few of you won’t be. But my point is, there is SO much more to any person than meets the eye.

Whatever you’ve based your comment on is literally 5% of that person or if it’s me, probably 2%.

Next time I say, “But you don’t even know me?!”, refer to this post. By all means, get to know me and hang around… but seeing a nice picture doesn’t mean you know me and certainly doesn’t mean you like me.

Mandy @ TEWP x

“THERE IS A LIGHT AND THERE IS A DOOR” By Sara

Have you ever felt so empty?
That you’ve forgotten how to breathe?
So weak without resolve,
That you just buckle to your knees?

That even when you’re outside,
There just isn’t enough air.
Of all emotions rushing by,
All you hand grasps is despair?

Have you ever felt so desperate?
Like your whole world’s caving in?
So no matter how you push and strive,
It appears you’ll never win.

When the odds seem stacked against you,
And it appears there’s nowhere left to go?
When you’re surrounded all by people,
And yet feel increasingly alone.

Have you ever felt so hopeless?
And that this world has no value left?
Whereby, fighting to hold on,
Just leaves you bankrupt and bereft.

Well I’m here to try and tell you,
That I know this feeling well.
And – I acknowledge this admission,
Won’t serve to calm or ease your hell.

But what I wish you to believe is,
That it can’t last for evermore.
Although now, feeling never-ending,
There’s a light and there’s a door.

Yes, the door is hard to open,
And you can’t do it by yourself.
It’s heavy, rusted, barred and bolted,
So you’re going to need some help.

Now help is an endless resource,
If, knowing how and where to look.
I know you’re broken and exhausted,
So this will take one lasting push.

But, in perservering you’ll have made,
The first step – from darkness into light.
Yes, it may appear so grey for now,
The change won’t happen overnight.

But with help, support, encouragment,
I promise the smog can begin to clear.
And with time, and more time yet again,
The light will start to near.

The door may open slowly,
Don’t force it – or you might get hurt.
Gentle, little movements,
Conserve strength, rather than exert.

The helping hands will push,
With you, to ease and support the strain.
Now – the door may swing back sometimes,
Don’t give up, start over again.

With help and time and input,
The door can allow you to pass through.
Where things seem a little brighter,
The air less dense – more fresh and new.

You can look back and remember,
When you thought, you’d never make it there.
And know now – how very far you’ve come,
That broken parts can be repaired.

So – If you are, or ever find yourself,
Lost and feeling in this way.
Remember there’s a light and there’s a door,
And they will not be too far away.

by,

Sara xx

FB: https://www.facebook.com/sara.preston.125
IG: @sa_rapreston
Twitter: @Sa_raPreston

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Hello again, darkness.

My old companion.

You’ve certainly made yourself known at regular intervals throughout my life.

Today was a dark day.

The peak, I hope, of a what’s been a few days of crisis with my mental health. The first crisis of note since I was discharged from hospital back in April.

No one really talks about Borderline Personality Disorder in depth. Particularly not openly and honestly and it’s the condition I live with. No one talks about the sheer intensity. There’s no black and white with regards to feelings. Everything is magnified. The inconsistencies with identity, the uncertainties around every relationship you develop and the horrendous criticism you inflict on yourself day in, day out.

This place can be intolerable at best and yet we do our best to battle each day again and again, over and over.

I’ve sort of learned to sit with darkness. To accept that it’s inevitably going to reappear throughout my life. It’s not easy! Not by any stretch of the imagination. But when I feel it creeping back in, I know it’s my body’s way of saying “Stop. Breathe. Look after yourself. Breathe”. And I’m getting better at actually doing those things.

I think for many of us, it’s normal to blame ourselves for feeling down and entering a place of darkness. We feel like we should be happier and must act immediately to change how we feel. That’s not that case. It’s natural that, as humans, we will experience peaks and troughs. Existing in those troughs and knowing that without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the peaks, is the state of mind we must work towards.

I hope I see the light soon.

Mandy @ TEWP x

Don’t be a prisoner of your past…

Something I’ve been focusing on a lot lately is to stop being a prisoner of my past. The past has happened. It’s done and it happened. There’s no changing this (unless you’ve created a time machine… in which case, tell me how because I’m obsessed with the possibility of creating one!).

You see, to say I’ve lived a colourful life for my short 28 years would be the biggest understatement of the century.

I’ve travelled, I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve grown and I’ve fallen on numerous occasions.

My past is definitely a patchwork of bad decisions and less than ideal people sewn together with good intentions, huge ambition and a persistent identity struggle.

The first thing you have to do to stop being a prisoner of your past is this: take ownership of it.

Stop blaming other people. Stop casting yourself as the victim in your stories you keep telling yourself.

It’s very liberating to look back and agree with yourself that it happened. And because it happened, you are where you are now.

Look around you.

Life is happening now.

This ain’t no fucking dress rehearsal! We don’t get to make a fresh go of it once we’ve learnt some important lessons that we’d like to implement.

My second step to losing the shackles of your past is to turn your pain into your purpose. Do you see all of that negative energy and hate you have for your former self or for things you’ve done wrong in your past? Change that energy into drive and positivity to create a different present and and even better future.

The beauty of life and being permitted a chance on this incredible planet in the form of a human no less is that every single day is a unique chance to start again and to live the life you were always destined to.

Change the bullshit story you tell yourself internally. The story that you’re not good enough. The story that people will laugh at you. The story that people are judging you on your past.

I can almost guarantee you that everyone else you’re worried about are too focussed on their own lanes to give a shit how quickly or slowly you are progressing.

So take a leaf out of their book.

Focus on that lane of yours which lies ahead. Even if there’s a little bit of fog in the way, as long as you are looking forward, I promise you that with the right energy and attitude, that will clear.

Let me know how you stop yourself from being a prisoner of your past.

Mandy @ TEWP x

 

Charlotte’s story.

Hey, I’m Charlotte and I’m a 22-year-old university student. Whilst trying to navigate the stresses of being in my 20s like keeping up to date with the latest ASOS sale, never knowing when’s appropriate to message the guy I like and remembering to actually eat vegetables, I’m also the leader of 80 people. In the roles’ 16-year history it has been filled by two women before me, so right now I find my 22-year-old self-feeling the pressure to prove that the female race can lead.
The first thing which has been hard has been to actually recognise and call myself a leader. Looking back, it is easy to see why I never aspired to leadership because my whole life I have, like most of girls & women, have experienced a double standard.

Growing up I was always called ‘bossy’, when I was being assertive. I came to university and someone called me ‘fierce’, when I was just giving an opinion. On a leadership course, after giving the best lead of the day my feedback from my all male group was that I needed to ‘chill out’. On the dating scene I’ve been told that being a leader is ‘unattractive’ and ‘intimidating’. As a result of this double standard, it is extremely easy to see why I and so many other women don’t want to be leaders. The running narrative across our whole lives is basically to ‘keep our opinions to ourselves’, ‘not to make a fuss’ and to ‘smile because we look prettier’. What a rubbish message.

So after dutifully ignoring societies’ message to not be a leader, now being a leader, I would love to say that it is wonderful. However, in reality it can be pretty hard. It is hard because numerous times I have felt like the biggest hypocrite. Whilst pushing to try and inspire other young women into leadership, the reality is that I’ve cried three times in three weeks. Messaged friends thinking that I’ve failed. I’ve made mistakes and then felt like I had let down the whole female race. I’ve consistently questioned confidence in myself and I feel massively out of my depth and underprepared.
After reading about the progress of women’s movements, I naively had an idealistic view that when I became a leader, I would be treated like any man. Unfortunately, at the moment, that’s not true. We have to figure out and play by the rules set before us. Well-meaning people will undermine you, question you and scrutinise you more than they even realise. It can feel pretty exhausting and overwhelming.

Luckily for me, my mother keeps reminding me that Hilary Clinton didn’t have it easy either. She has also taught me that I, like all female leaders, will be okay. Whilst being a leader in a male dominated environment can be incredibly frustrating, you will find your feet. There will be a lot of moments of despair, frustration and loneliness, but there will also be great moments of success. You suddenly have this amazing platform which you can use to create positive change – how cool is that ?! There will be many amazing moments and changes you which you will make and they will remind you why you set out to lead in the first place. Remember them all because they’re important

My advice to any aspiring female leader, is firstly that you are absolutely capable whoever you are. Being able to call yourself a leader should not be defined by age, gender or any other category. You can do it – from my experience the world needs more female leaders regardless of whether you are 15 or 50. You will get great satisfaction consistently surprising yourself and others around you what you can achieve.

And secondly, whilst at times it may seem like you are fighting an uphill battle to be heard, you do have a voice. A voice which is important, valuable and worthwhile. Show the world that you have something to say and that you deserved to be heard. I’m pretty confident that if you remember those two things, you may get off to a better start than me.

TEWP x