Recovery – more than a tick list

 

I have always been a bit of a planner – the write a list and tick the box type of lady. I’m sure you know the type, to do lists, menu planning, schedules and don’t even ask about my colour coded diary!  Some would say it’s a bit ocd, others would say it’s a bit of a waste of time, me – well I like to think of it as organised and proactive,  I liked my lists they gave me comfort and stability and that little bit of control over my world.  I remember bringing my baby boy home from the hospital and recording all his feeds and nappy changes for that first week – at the time it brought me comfort in unfamiliar territory. At the time it helped me to feel some control over a new and scary situation, or at least I did at the time.  As the weeks went by it began to stress me out and I realised I needed to try and go with the flow a little bit more.  I did – it felt good and I realised that sometimes trying to control situations so much was having a negative impact on my day to day living.

When I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety I approached my journey to recovery true to character, in a logical and clear way – I made a list.
I thought about my end goal of being in recovery and then tried to break this down into the smaller steps I needed to take to get there.

It went something along these lines :

End goal

To be recovered from PND and Anxiety.
How will I know ?

I will be medication free and back to the old me.
I then went on to list all the things I would do to try and reach this end goal.  The list was not short, I did research online on all the therapies available, I talked to my doctor for advice, I went home and the list was made.

It included mediation, group counselling, peer support group,  intensive individual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions, exercise, self care time , asking for support . If you can think of something missing it was probably on my list – I was determined to get better and would try anything and everything to get to that place.  Some of these things were harder  to do than others, but at the end they were  all ‘ticked off’ the master list and  slowly  I began to feel better. One day I woke up and realised I had lots of good days and very few difficult ones – It felt really good and while that bad days still came they were fewer and less intense than they were before.  I looked at the list and wondered if this was it? was this recovery?  I felt the time was right to slowly reduce my medication, 3 months later I was mediation free and feeling good. HUGE tick on that list, and wow it was a goal his time,  Be mediation free.

It was at this point I realised that I didn’t think that I would achieve the other one – to be back to the old me. I had come to realise that this person  didn’t really exist anymore. Motherhood changes you – becoming a mum is the most wonderful thing I have ever done. There are times when it is hard, there are times when you are tired beyond belief , there are days when you feel like you are just staying afloat but these are nothing in comparison to the laughs and the love I feel spending every day with my son. I don’t think anyone is ever the same after having a child.

Experiencing postnatal mental illness was the most lonely and terrifying time in my life. My darkest days were prior to being diagnosed and before I started fighting back. It took courage I never thought I had.  In the midst of all this struggle, I grew as a person, I faced and overcame challenges I never thought I would – the experience changed me. I was still me of course – you can’t really change who you are but I was a different type of me not the ‘old me’ anymore.  It took time to accept this – to me recovery was being back to the person I was before I had my son.  I slowly came to accept things and in time I began to realise that maybe the journey of PND had had a positive impact and I came to like this more relaxed me, a me who was less judgemental and more compassionate.  A me who worried less about possessions and more about people.  A me who would smile more at little things, a me who knew how important it was to look after myself as well as others A me who was grateful and thankful that I made it through the journey to recovery.

If you look at that list now (it has all those nice ticks down the side)
but it also has a big cross at the top and written in pen beside it – be the best version of yourself.  Experiences are powerful, they can change you in unexpected way.  Sometimes what can start out as difficult path can take you places you would never have imagined. My journey with PND was the most challenging time in my life so far , but it has taught me so much and made me a better person in the end.

Mami 2 Five

 

A Cornish Mum
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11 thoughts on “Recovery – more than a tick list

  1. I’m further behind you on the journey – only been on meds for a few months and starting to feel the benefits. But so glad to have them! Like you I also made my list, according to therapy I do have OCD traits, but learning I have to let go and allow healing to happen as it will! I do list my little achievements though!! Figure that’s good to help stay positive. Thanks for sharing your story – really helpful to hear someone who is a further forward but so much the same! You are great xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow you incredibly brave girl! to face ones problems must be the hardest thing to ever do but you are amazing to have come so so far and to be able to write about it with such clarity is incredible and am sure will help so many more women in the process – well done you for being able to speak about it. I hope you are still smiling more. #sundaystars happy sunday xx

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  3. I can only imagine just how hard post natal depression can be. I’m glad you’ve come out the other side. I’m also am obsessive list writer!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

    Like

  4. This is the most inspiring post for anyone suffering from not only PND but any other mental illness. Recovery is a long and difficult road to follow. It is part about accepting that you need to look after yourself and do things that make you feel better but it is also about accepting that life is different and being content with that. It sounds like this is something that you have embraced with open arms. And although it may have been tough you should be so proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring and powerful post with #SundayStars. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi. Im just starting my second journey on the depression/metal illness roller coaster that it is. I haven’t thought about what it means to be free of it. I just can’t wait to feel like me again. Not the old me but something that approaches who I know want to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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