Mental Health Awareness week’s focus this year is on Stress. Stress can have an impact on you at anytime and sometimes it can hit when everything seems to be finally going right. Like what happened in my case. With mental health, it is always good to talk, so although it is a very personal thing for me I wanted to share my experience.
I see your mental health like a bucket, it stores everything you push aside and at times it can become too full.
My Mental Health Bucket Overflowed
When we finally got to bring J home and got settled, I thought everything would be how I dreamed. Finally a family at home, everything was on the up, but it didn’t work that way for me. Once everything was sorted, it didn’t go the way I thought and my mental health declined. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling the way I was, everything was good, everyone safe at home. So I kept questioning why, telling myself I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I battled through and just got on with everything pushing it to the side.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I talked about it all, and realised actually it is completely Ok that I was feeling the way I was. By not opening up and talking about it earlier it affected all aspects of my life to too long. Once everything was settled my mental health bucket overflowed.
A lot going on
Back in 2010, when I found out I was pregnant with J, I was worried I would miscarry again. I couldn’t convince myself that this time would be any different to the past 15 times. Each morning I would look for bleeding, worry over any twinge or pain. Luckily he seemed to stick and grow after a few scares. I set myself little goals to get past to help me cope mentally. This did help me, but also had me counting the days. I promised myself that I would relax once we reached 24 weeks.
Once we hit 24 weeks I couldn’t relax as I found out I was in labour and there was a risk he would be born so very early. The stays in hospital, procedures and monitoring all paid off but I was a nervous wreak. I knew he was going to come early and I tried to prepare myself, though can you ever be prepared to see your baby be born so soon?
After a couple of weeks of worrying that labour would start again, it did. A few days later J was born. All the emotions of his birth and what happened rolled into the days sitting beside the incubator willing him to fight. The set backs and moves forward until the time he was to be moved to a local hospital. My days had focus and routine, although I had a few moments of tears and little breakdowns I thought I was coping.
Then came the news I could finally bring him home, we could be a family. It was single most happiest and scariest day of my life. Getting on a plane to come to the UK on my own had nothing on the fear factor of bring him home. I finally had my baby home.
Then it Hit.
What I didn’t appreciate at the time is the huge amount I had been going through, and I focused on staying strong for J, Dave and Tony. I didn’t consider the impact to me. All this on top of the stresses of life, work, finances was just too much. Yes I should have been happy. Everything was going good and I finally had my baby I had been dreaming of. I wasn’t and simply put, my mental health bucket overflowed, and I know how it was Ok to feel like this.
Take time for you, your mental health is a key element of your health. If you start to feel not right, don’t bury or push it to one side, it’s Ok to feel like that.