A new Chapter why cant I cope?

Its been 9 weeks now since Michael was born and things are not as easy as I thought they would. I thought with all my PND problems with Elizabeth and Andrew that this time I had this in the bag.  I thought this time would be easier but it turns out I have a whole new problem, on that when I was told I was more shocked than when I was told I had PND.

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Before Michael was born I was struggling to sleep and having some bad anxiety, I was scared that something would be wrong with Michael when he was born. I was dreaming that Michael would be born and need to go on  ventilator. This is exactly what happened he was born and he needed to go on a ventilator. All be it not as bad as how I dreamt but still it happened.

When it happened I knew at the time I had to be strong. I had to be the one who stayed positive and stay strong for Mel and the kids so I tried not to think about how I felt at the time and concentrate on making sure everyone else was OK. My family would tell me how proud they were of me for being so strong and dealing with things so well. I thought I was coping but deep down it turns out I wasn’t.

Things finally came to a head a few weeks ago when I broke down at work. In a mix of worrying about Mel and my own problems just took its toll on me and I broke down. I was sent home and when I got home I finally started to talk to people about my worries and how I was feeling. I haven’t slept properly since Michael was born and this wasn’t just baby lack of sleep. It was deeper than that, night terrors that result in Mel waking me up or me waking up in blind panics. I  dream about all sorts, the kids going missing, the kids getting hurt or worse. It results in me doing silly things like sleeping by the front door or in the kids rooms. I am also having problems around Michael as well, I struggle with going out in the rain as his rain cover reminds me of him being in an incubator. I would be at work and see a feeding tube and I would be back in the hospital. Machines beeping and I would be back. All the feelings would flood back I just couldn’t keep it in any longer the flood gates opened.

I got home from work and told Mel how I was feeling, went to my GP and then had a mental health assessment. I was told to self refer to get some help from our local service and see what help I could get. After a 2 hours assessment over the phone I was told it sounds like I have PTSD that is leading to severe anxiety and depression. And I was put on the list for cognitive behaviour therapy. I have had CBT before so that wasn’t a worry for me. What got me more was a PTSD diagnosis isn’t that what soldiers get after years of war and seeing there mates get blown to bit. Not something you get after a seeing a difficult birth. But after some talking and research I found out this is common in people who have witnessed traumatic births. And here we are I’m not sure what to expect with having PTSD or how I am going to cope with this at the moment I am on a waiting list that is 12 weeks long so I am having to find my way through this and keep on going. It can be hard at time this time last year I was writing about an event after it had happened I had PND and I had recovered from it. I was telling you my journey from rock bottom to recovery and a brighter life. Now I am writing whilst still going through this, I am using this writing as my therapy and a way of getting all my thoughts out there and document this new journey in my life. Sharing my highs and lows and the recovery I know will come but feels a long way away. I know I will get there right now though I don’t see what recovery is. I’m sure my next few months of blogs will document what recovery is.

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Then We Had Three,All Be It After A Scary Week.

Its been a few months now since our Son was Born on Saturday 16th December 2017 at 7:42 weighing an amazing 7lb 11oz.

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Mel was induced on the Friday and 24 hours later our son was here in this world. Mel’s labour was one of the easiest I had seen her go through she coped amazing. The labour itself was about 2 hours from what Mel told me afterwards, the birth was very rapid two pushes and he was here. I got to cut cord and me and and Mel got to hold our son, we laughed and cried, took photos and phoned around to tell people that our son had been born this time was amazing. I wish I could end this blog there, throw a picture in and tell you how this week has been the best week at home getting to know our son. However things were not as simple as that.

When our son was born he was really fighting for breath, struggling to breath and becoming increasingly unwell and unsettled. He was going from a nice pink new baby colour to a horrible dusky grey colour, his lips were turning blue and the midwife was becoming increasingly worried to the point she called in the specialist nurses from the neonatal unit at the hospital, they came across and examined our son and suddenly rushed him away and asked me to follow. when I had caught up with the team, there were doctors and nurses surrounding my son who was now on a resus trolley with oxygen on, they informed me that they were concerned with how his breathing was as he was struggling to breathe and his oxygen levels had dropped to 26%, having spent the best part of the last 2 years spending my nights looking at peoples SATS monitors i knew oxygen levels of 26% was bad. I could feel the anxiety levels building, the nurses informed me they were going to to take him for observation for a little while on the neonatal unit that there was nothing to worry about they knew what they were doing and that I should go and check on Mel and update her on what was happening. I knew from experience that I was being given the talk that all health professionals give to reassure worried relatives but still I went back to Mel and gave her the same talk, it was bad enough she hadn’t had much time with Michael and she was exhausted I didn’t need her worrying when we didn’t even know what was wrong, we spent the next few hours going between out room and on the ward that Michael was on, each time he was getting progressively worse, the doctors and nurses were amazing in keeping us calm even when we thought we might lose our son. Eventually we were told they need to put him on a ventilator to give him a rest so they could give him the meds he needed and give him a rest so he could get better. I knew this was the right call he was struggling and I knew where things would have ended up if they had not done it but still it was hard seeing my son with a tube in his mouth breathing for him and a tube down his nose giving him all his food, we could only touch him by holding his hand, all his needs met by nurses, wires all over his body monitoring all his vital signs. I felt helpless I can only imagine how Mel felt. Luckily he was on the ventilator for only 10 hours in total just enough time to give him his med and the rest he needed. The next few days were a mixed bag, he had an infection so was on oxygen whilst he fought the infection. He had a few touch and go days but by the end of the 5th day things were starting to look up a bit. we had spent 5 stressful days constantly back and forth to help with his cares and do his feeds through the tube. We had had a scare were we thought we might have to go home and leave Andrew… Michael I mean Michael (8 weeks on and I still call him Andrew, I call Andrew Michael to…They look similar that’s my defence) but eventually Michael was able to come out of the incubator and in to a cot, fed off Mel and spend the first night in a cot next to mum. I had to go home that night but the hospital were amazing and had let me stay for the days before that. But if Mel’s first night was anything like I felt the day he fell asleep at home next to us it must have been amazing. Looking at Michael now no one would think there was anything wrong with him, hes just a normal baby hitting all his milestones and growing quickly, he will never remember this time in his life it will never effect him. I wish the same could be said for me. Eight weeks on I am struggling to move on, struggling to forget, Beeping on work monitors remind me of hospital, I see a feeding tube and my mind goes back, I put the rain cover on Michael and I see a baby in an incubator and now i’m having night terrors. Mel struggling to but they are her struggles to share not mine. I honestly thought I was done with PND, I thought I had recovered, I thought from now on my blog would be funny parenting stories or how stressful 3 kids would be. But this story has one more chapter and this is just the beginning this is something new PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) leading to a whole new kind of depression still PND in so much as the PTSD leads to a depression after becoming a father and still centres around my children but this is new even to me. This is new to me and I don’t know what to expect, Its not like with Elizabeth were the love wasn’t there this is something new, the one thing I know is this blog is going to be my way of processing the whole thing, sharing how I felt and documenting my whole journey. The good, the bad, the ugly and the scary.  This blog helped me before it will help me again.

 

Things Haven’t been Brilliant Past Week.

The last few weeks have been hard especially the last week and I really feel like I need to sit down, vent and write my feeling down and just post how I am feeling today.

I Shared last week how i was struggling with Andrew not sleeping and how that had made some of my feelings I had right in the thick on my last battle with my PND well now I am having more of those feeling. Lucky not of harming myself or others I know for sure I want to be here and I want to live this life. But I am having some more of the anxiety, bad dreams, fear and over thinking things.

 

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I have anxiety attacks because I am having bad dreams, I then fear sleep because of the dreams giving me anxiety attacks,  I then over think the dreams giving me anxiety attacks. And people like my GP saying they’re just dreams don’t help.

So why are these dreams so bad I keep having the same recurring dreams each week.

The first is on Andrew drowning. I dream that he is in his buggy and it rolled down the hill in to a lake, I jump in the lake and get the buggy and Andrew is not there, so I diving down again and again and again to try and find him. screaming in vain for help and not able to find him when I dive down under the water.

The second is my children being kidnapped. I will be out shopping and will turn round and my kids will be gone so I will be frantically be searching around trying to find them to no avail.

The worse thing is that I feel trapped in these dreams I can’t wake up so in both dreams I am frantically searching for my children and cant wake up.. I am usually woken by Mel shouting me up.

Then Each night I get anxious as I fear the dreams and having them again so I try to keep awake.

And to top it all off I am over thinking all this what if the dreams come true again giving me attacks and boom panic attack.

I have done all the things I tell you guys to do seen GP, Spoke to family and got help and work is supporting me well so I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel but right now I am just so angry and frustrated.

I know its stupid that I should be angry but I am so angry at my stupid head. It has been OK for 3 years. No downs and perfect and boom depression comes back. I’m also angry at myself for getting ill again and not noticicing signs sooner.

I am frustrated that this is all affecting my work as I signed off I want to be in right now as it keeps me busy.. all in all I frustrated that its all happening again and I wasn’t prepared..

I know I will get help and things will improve but what if this is my life now

depression—good time—-remission—-repeat

I just want to get better and not slip back. I want to end the cycle. I don’t want a full blown episode like last time.

Why Do I Blog?

bigstock-Funny-Cartoon-Sheep-Jumping-Th-65570800.jpgThis week I realised that this blog is just as much for me and helping me with my mental health as it is about raising awareness of PND in Men.

I always say I share my story to show others that it can happen to Men and that we need do more so men don’t suffer in silence. I hope that by sharing my story, more dad will get the help and support they need and not feel alone.

But here’s the thing I do it for me as well. I used to hate writing in school and would do anything to avoid having to do it.  But some how something that I hated doing has become my therapy. I’m not the best talker and I hate sitting and talking to a councillor about how i feel.. it just makes me feel like i am being assessed. So writing for me is my way of venting how  I feel at the time. Sometimes I write and then just delete it but the writing of it makes me feel that little bit better. Sometimes a Share with you how I Feel.

I was asked on Facebook by someone why I would share such personal details with the world. I told them it was simple I do it to show other dads mental health is a real thing. That dads can struggle with becoming a dad as well. And that PND in men is a real thing and its OK to ask for help. I share my story to help others and if it helps even one dad get help then its all been worth it.

All that is true but I wished I had added one final thing. I write my Blogs as its my therapy and It makes those days when I am struggling that little easier.

So Guys thanks for reading my story and please keep Re-tweeting but also thanks for being my therapists and just letting me vent it all the good and bad.

I thought I was Coping.

Its been a few months since my last post and things have changed so much. The first big change is my new Job. I have been there since September now and I am now settling in after a bit of a bumpy start getting used to a different group of people. I am happy to say I am now fitting in and love the team of people I work with.

I wish I could say it all hunky dory and life is amazing but right now I can’t say that, I am ashamed to say even though I tell other people to talk about how they feel and the importance of talking to their family, but the first think my wife will know how I feel is when she reads this blog today. I need to learn to practise what I preach.

The strange thing is its not the new pregnancy I am struggling with. So far I am very laid back about having this new baby. Pram is bought, Moses basket is ready and we have even done up our own crib. We have a few things to buy, but we are getting there.

There has been a few bumps along the pregnancy Mel found out she has Gestational diabetes and has to go hospital every few weeks for checks and take her blood sugars 4 times a day. But I have seen the positives in this and even tried to show them to Mel when she has been worried. For starters we now know when Mel will be induced so we have a date to aim at being ready for. All the extra scans and checks means more chances for her to see baby or hear heartbeat. The number one positive has been the fact that Mel has been determined not to need medication and a big part of not needing medication is making sure you eat right keep sugars under control and make sure you eat right. This has actually been good for me as she wants to lose weight anyway. Eating well has meant that she has controlled her sugars and despite baby growing she has lost weight.

So I have an amazing new Job and I looking forward to being a dad again I should be over the moon so what’s wrong?

My son Andrew that’s what’s wrong right now he’s a monster, he’s naughty all the time, he never want to be around me and to top it all off he’s gone from sleeping well to refusing to go to bed, banging on my doors at 2am and drawing all over my walls. To put it bluntly he’s a little S**t.

I feel like my depression is coming back again. I thought I had this I gained a bond with Elizabeth and now we are the best of friends we do loads together she even comes wall climbing with me and loves it. She’s a mini me, my best mate.

Andrew on the other hand is a royal pain in the arse right now. He is clingy to mum all the time. I try and spend time alone with him and all I get is mummy, Mummy, Mummy scream after scream. He is as naughty as everything he just destroys my house he draws on my walls and in the space of 5 mins he makes my living room look like an elephant has trampled through it. He has gone from a good eater to screaming in his high chair throwing his food. And his new Favourite word is NO. you ask him to tidy you get NO, you ask him to put shoes on you Get NO. everything you ask him is NO.

But for me that’s not the hardest thing right now its the refusing to go to bed. For the past year he has gone up to bed and been asleep in 10 minuets its been brilliant but for the past 2 weeks its been hell. You put him to bed and he runs after you and BANGS the door until you answer. We try and ignore and after 20 minutes he still going he just wont settle so we end up letting him lie with us until he goes to sleep and then trying to get him in his bed sometimes it works and he’s fast asleep and then sometimes he wake up we start again. Me and Mel are eating late and we are struggling to get time together. Its getting to us both.

Last Saturday when Mel went out I got Elizabeth to bed and then went about settling Andrew I thought great Andrew is settled on me I will put him to bed, low and behold he woke up screaming 5 mins latter and so we started again. back and forward we went. settling him putting him to bed again and again. I never ate until 9pm, I ended up shouting at Andrew and just wanted to scream, I was resenting Mel going out and when she got home I just passed her Andrew and walked off, we ended up having a row and getting cross with each other. We made up later on but it left me resenting Andrew.

He is just making us so exhausted, were snapping all the time and getting at each other its like Andrews behaviour is bringing the whole family down every day is a battle with him. I look at him and just see a monster. I don’t feel like of love like I did with Elizabeth, but I am finding it hard to enjoy time with him and right now I don’t want to be around him.

I know he is Two so is going through that stage and a lot of parents have been there and will say its normal and I just need to step up and plod along through it but I found the twos easy with Elizabeth where as they are hell with Andrew and I am really struggling to cope with it. Right now I don’t want to be around him and am not enjoying time with him. Everyone sees him and thinks awww he’s cute and amazing when all I see is a screaming naughty monster. Right now I am struggling to see the end of this naughty time in his life and our stress and I am getting even more anxious about new baby in less than a months time. What if When we have this baby he is still like this will I cope with a naughty two year old and a new baby. Right now I just don’t see the light. I am sure I will be ok and its just a Phase but its getting me down.

Trip To Essex – BBC Stories

A few months ago I made a trip to Essex to meet with two other dads Brad and John to talk about our experience and finally last week the video was made live and so far nearly 100,000 people have seen the video on BBC Stories and it has shared a good number of times if you shared the video Big Thanks. If you haven’t shared it then please share this blog.

Filming this video was definitely an experience, it took all day to film all the footage that went in to making this 6 minute video, but it was worth it for sure if even one person is helped by this video then it has been worth it for sure.

It was an amazing weekend sharing our stories and getting to know John and Brad and really think the BBC did an amazing job putting this video together and getting our story out there.

I have had a quick look at comments but I tend to shy way from comments as I find it hard not to engage the trolls. But good or bad I would like to thank you for the comments, it has started the debate and that’s what the video is all about.

on a side note it took four takes to get answering the door right so you can guess how long the whole video took.

Guest blog by Ross – Postnatal Depression: What Helped Me Through It

It’s an incredibly hard thing to go through. To put it in its simplest form, postnatal depression sucks. It really sucks. But having things you can fall back on are vital if you want to pull yourself through to the other side.

For me, I’ve had depression on and off for years, but this felt different. I was used to depression, but having it towards my baby felt horrendous, especially after wanting her for so many years. But having depression for that long taught me something, it taught me that I can find ways to pull myself out when I’m in a slump. So I looked at postnatal depression in the same way. I knew I could find things that would help me learn to love Isabelle, even if there was a part of me telling me not to try.

I tried a lot of things. I tried being involved, changing the nappies, playing with her every morning, letting her sleep on me and connecting more with my wife. But what worked the best, was something that was pretty simple. Just going away.

It didn’t matter where, but we just wanted to go somewhere different. Away from all the distractions of the house, the visitors, the housework, the animals and the same four walls that had been staring at us.

The first time we did it, Isabelle was 8 weeks old, and we took her to the seaside town of Weston. I’ll always remember it as it was the first time she ever smiled at me. She actually smiled at me. For the 8 weeks previous I felt that we had a mutual hatred for each other. I didn’t like her, and she didn’t seem to like me either. Maybe I took things too personal, when I look back now it was simply her wanting feeding, and since my wife breastfed, obviously I wasn’t the one she wanted.

But that day, with her propped on the bed watching me walk around the room, she smiled. And I felt something inside me grow. It was love, and for the first time since her birth I actually felt like I loved her. It didn’t last long, but it was there. And from then on I knew it could grow. I had found something that really helped.

So we did it again. A few weeks later we went to Bournemouth, this time for 2 nights. Then to Glastonbury for 2 nights. And very recently we went around the country on a 6 day trip of the UK. Every time we do it, I’m reminded of how much I love her, and more importantly how much she loves me. Seeing her face when she’s somewhere new lights me up. Maybe she’s just a slightly evil baby, and merely likes the fact I’m spending my money on her, I don’t know. All I do know is this: she absolutely loves it. And when she loves it, I love it.

If you want my advice, I’d suggest booking a hotel somewhere and getting away with the baby. I can easily picture myself, my wife and Isabelle all together in a hotel on the seafront, taking a stroll down to the beach then watching the sunset from the window. It’s something I can picture whenever I feel myself start to slip. If things ever start to get rough I can take my mind back to that place and remember how much I love her.

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