Just because depression isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Depression is something that the majority of us will suffer with at some point in our lives. Whether we realize it or not. It comes in different ways for all of us. Some of us just think we’re feeling a little low. Some of us feel like life isn’t worth living anymore.

My experience.

When I first went in about my mental health, the Doctor wasn’t sure whether I was confusing depression with anxiety. Now I look back on it, maybe at the time I was, but I’ve definitely had an element of depression.

I battled for a very long time with my mental health, and I was stubborn enough to not accept the help and let the Doctor prescribe me medication. I was scared I’d be on it for life and become addicted.

A colleague of mine at the time managed to convince me to try it because I’d got to the point where I was nervous about even answering the phone. I was pushing everyone that cares about me away by not talking about my feelings because I felt like it’d just be a burden on them. They did everything I did, worked hard, looked after the children etc. So why couldn’t I do that?

My plan of action.

I finally took the plunge and went to the Doctor asking for medication. I was already on propranolol for my anxiety but that didn’t touch my mood. When I finally gave in I just sat there and sobbed, rambling onto the Doctor about everything that’s built up for me. I felt stupid. So many people in the world are going through so much worse than I am.

I did, however, feel better for just letting it out. The Doctor prescribed me a low dose of sertraline, as what I was feeling clearly wasn’t just my anxiety.

I went back after 2 weeks for a review of my mood. To be honest, in that short space of time I didn’t really see an improvement, apart from the fact that it had helped my anxiety issues slightly!

Within a month of that, I felt like a totally new person. I was no longer crying every day or breaking down over the smallest of things. My patience had improved when it comes to Dinky and his challenging behaviors. Most importantly, I was actually able to smile again.

How do I get a diagnosis for depression?

It’s not something that the Doctor will just diagnose straight away, especially if you’ve not had any past history of mental health. The Doctor will likely prescribe you some antidepressants and ask you come back after a few weeks to check your mood. The Doctor may even refer you to see a mental health worker if you really don’t want to take medication for your depression.

I’m not saying medication is the way forward to cure depression because it isn’t the case for some people. I’m just saying it helped me and still is. I hope to come off of my medication soon.

If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, please go and see your Doctor. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it means the opposite. You’ve got the strength to go and tell someone that actually, you’re really not doing okay and need some help. There is nothing wrong with that. Just because depression isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Useful links

Here are some links to find out more about depression, take a mood test, and how you can get the best help for you.

Moodzone

NHS Choices

How To Cope With Anxiety

Please remember that you’re never alone in this. I believe that you can get through this.

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Big news in the Miss Pork Pie Household!

I am super excited to be able to share with you all the news that I have taken the leap and decided to become a full-time blogger! It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for ages, but never thought I’d achieve, at least not for a while anyway.

It all came about because I have been really struggling to find childcare for Dinky over the summer holidays. There are plenty of people that could and would help me but I just couldn’t expect them to have him 5 days a week for the whole 6 week period. I really struggled to pull it together last summer holidays, and even on just the half term holidays I sometimes only just scraped it together.

So I went into work and asked if I could reduce my hours so that I’d be able to work in the afternoons when Dinky could go to my parent’s for a few hours. It seemed like the perfect plan. Unfortunately, my employers couldn’t offer me the hours I was after, so understandably I was told to keep my hours or resign. It really hit me hard, to be honest, I felt stupid because I’d assumed that everything would work out okay. Now though I was faced with a decision to either beg for childcare from my friends and family or to leave my job that I’d worked hard at for two years.

Dinky always comes first, that’s a given but if I can’t provide for him and support and earn money alongside Mr. Pie’s wage then what use is it being at home? So that’s where I decided to jump in feet first and become a full-time blogger. I’ve been blogging as a hobby for three years now and more recently than not my views have started rocketing, and I’ve been offered work from various brands. I’ve had to turn a few away because of working full time but I know that once I’m at it full time I can take on so much more.

I have also recently started taking on some freelance writing jobs for various people/companies, which I plan on continuing once I have finished my current job.

I am really looking forward to beginning this journey into becoming self-employed. I am going to be doing vlogs on mental health, beauty, and parenting. I also have many other ideas in the pipeline, but for now, I’d love to hear any ideas that could help me get going or even share your stories on how you became a full-time blogger.

 

Much love xx

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How To Cope With Anxiety

I’m just going to put it bluntly, anxiety is shit. I have dealt with it daily for over 10 years. Most of the time it isn’t bad enough to rule over my day, but those days/nights where my anxiety is so intense that I can barely catch my breath are awful. I had my first one of those creep up on me after months of nothing last night. I got through it in an unusual way, so I’ve decided to compile a list of quick fixes and long term treatments you can do if you’re struggling with your anxiety!
Quick Fixes

  • Distraction

I always find that the first trick I turn to when I feel anxious is to distract myself, whether that be on my phone, a game, putting the TV on or simply going for a walk. Sometimes that is literally all you will need. A distraction long enough to make you forget about what you were anxious about in the first place. Often I’m not even sure why I feel anxious or what thought triggered my feelings, so I find doing something different will change my train of thought.

  • Shout it out

Sometimes I find that I mistake frustration for anxiety, or even that my frustration and stresses create the anxiety. If this is something you feel happens to you then my suggestion is to just let it out.

– Go and find a quiet place and shout out your frustration. 

– Maybe nominate a friend that you can call and just rant to (offer the same back to them for if they ever need it, of course)

– Crying always helps. Don’t be ashamed or too proud to cry. Of course if you feel like crying or you do cry very often, then what you’re feeling may not just be anxiety, so please visit your doctor (see long term treatment for more information)

Basically any way to let out some emotion will help. This is a tip I have picked up very recently and it works very quickly for me. It releases pent up stress that’s boiling inside and you will feel better and fast.

  • Talk it out with someone you trust

I know it may feel hard to talk about how you’re feeling, and it’s difficult to even know where to begin but talking it out with someone I trust helps me feel like I’m not so alone. Even if the person I have told doesn’t have anxiety themself, at least they understand why I’m acting a little strange or why I’m more fidgety than normal. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised how understanding most people are.

So if you feel like you can talk to someone about it then do it, it will help!

  • Deep breathing

This trick is probably the oldest one in the book, but it’s a tried, tested and true way of alleviating anxiety symptoms. Simply sit up straight and breathe 8 seconds in through your nose and 5 seconds out through your mouth. Carry this on until you feel calm again.

  • Keep your feet on the ground.

I often find that when I’m feeling anxious my head spins and I almost feel like I’m not in my own body any more. Putting at least one foot on the ground helps your body regain balance and work out where you are. This technique is called “grounding” and is also used for people who are suffering with symptoms of vertigo.

  • Ride it out.

A few years ago a therapist told me something that I’ve always tried to remember when I’m feeling anxious. What goes up must come down. This means that your anxiety will only get so high and then it will slowly drop and go away. If you’re able to ride it out, then ride it out because I promise you, every time after that it will get easier.
Long term treatments

  • Change what you put in your body

    In every way possible, look after yourself! Eat as healthily as you can. Being overweight and eating the wrong food can often give you symptoms that mimic anxiety, which would in turn make you worse. Cut out alcohol (or cut down at least). Quit smoking, not just for your anxiety but for your general health too.

    • Exercise

    As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a walk can distract you from a panic attack. Not only that, exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Also, of course exercising will keep you fit and healthy.

    • Talk to your GP

    For a very long time I’d avoid speaking to my GP about my anxiety because I was worried that they would just shove me onto medication and I didn’t want to take anything. After now working in a GP surgery and seeing and speaking to my colleagues about anxiety I have learnt that there are so many different ways of treating/dealing with it. You can:

    – Get your Doctor to refer you for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)

    – Your GP can also help advise and monitor your lifestyle, ask what help is available.

    – Your GP can also recommend self help websites.

    – Medication. I used to have this massive stigma in my mind about taking medication for my anxiety. I was convinced I didn’t need it and that they just cover up the problem rather than solving it and I didn’t want that. I do now fully support medication for anxiety because once I had heard and seen how it helps people, I knew I needed to try it. 

    It was hand on heart the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. The Doctor explained that it resets the chemical levels in your brain that cause you to feel the way you do. I’ve now been on medication for 6 months and I’m happier than I’ve been in years. My anxiety still creeps up on me, but nothing like it used to.

    There are many different types that the Doctor can prescribe you, so go and speak to your GP.

    Also, don’t forget to…

    I really hope that my tips can help someone. I know only too well how horrible it is crawling through the internet trying to find help. Do you have anything else that you do when you’re anxious? I’d love to know!

    Much love xxx

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    #YoudNeverBelieve

    I am so excited and proud to announce that I have taken part in #YoudNeverBelieve.

    What is #YoudNeverBelieve I hear you say?
    Well, I do have some super informative links to share with you but I will tell you a little bit right now.

    #YoudNeverBelieve is a campaign to show teenagers that you are never truly alone. Feeling low and helpless is one of the worst things anyone can experience and I’m super proud to be backing this cause to encourage young girls to speak out if they are feeling anything but happy. In this video, myself and a bunch of awesome bloggers confessed some of the things we felt when we were teenagers, and possibly some of us may still feel this way.

    We want to create a support network for anyone struggling and the amazing Ella Stearn is the brainbox we all need to thank for this! Please please pleeeeease back this cause because #mentalhealth is SO important.
    #YoudNeverBelieve that I used to be scared to go to school.

    Watch the video here:


    Anyone who knows me will know I am really passionate about mental health. Having an autistic son and battling anxiety, depression and panic disorder myself really fuels me to help others. As soon as I read about this campaign I knew I had to get involved.

    Here is where the magic is happening, please donate to this amazing cause – #YoudNeverBelieve

    Oh, and one last thing. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. There is always someone out there. Don’t suffer alone.

    Much love xxx
    Photo credit to the beautiful Amy Thompson xx

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    Pitter-patter.

    I was sat in a dress shop watching my beautiful cousin try on her wedding dress when it first happened. That magical moment when you first feel your baby kick, not just a flutter but a full on boot you in the side. Everyone rushes around to feel your stomach, but the baby doesn’t kick again, that first big one was just for you and you absolutely love it. You smile smugly and feel warm.

    You go home and tell the hubby, wait until baby is active again and sit there for hours holding your stomach together, It finally happens, baby lets Daddy feel the magic too. You sit in each other’s arms all night, excited, scared, but most of all, happy. Toddler runs in, you tell them they’re going to have a brother or sister, toddler laughs and carries on playing whilst mumbling something about not sharing his Tigger. You smile, you know he is going to be an amazing big brother.

    Today is the day. Halfway point, scan day. Pink or blue? The car was silent on the way, apart from the boy, singing away in the back. He had no idea how big that day was for him, for us. It feels like forever in the waiting room, I’m pacing, partly because I’m nervous and partly because I needed my 4 millionth pee of the day but didn’t want to miss the appointment. We get called in, I lie on the bed, the familiar freezing cold gel is lathered all over my belly and there it is. On screen is our baby, our joy, I’m so overwhelmed I am fighting back tears, my eyes sting and my throat is choked up. But that can’t last long, pink or blue? Pink or blue?! PINK OR BLUE?!

    Pink. Pink. Pink!!!!

    It’s finally time, it all happens in a rush but I’m in the car, on the way to the hospital. I’m in pain but I don’t really care, the baby is coming, and I’m not even nearly ready for this. We don’t have a name, I had a section last time, the baby is early I’m not ready. I’m not ready! I’m pushing, I see a blur of people around me trying to be encouraging, but I really can’t hear them, I’m scared, and in pain, a lot of pain. I’m pushing again, and again, and again until I’m handed this beautiful angel, She’s crying until I speak and she just stops and opens her beautiful eyes. Her hair is whispy and blonde, she’s got huge eyes, and her Daddy’s lips. But it’s all going blurry.

    I hear the sound of a truck. A truck? Why can I hear a truck? I open my eyes and I’m in bed, I look to my left and there is hubby fast asleep. Where is baby? Where is toddler? How did I get here?

    It was a fucking dream.

    Heartbroken.

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    The Worst Things I’ve Been Told As A Parent

    Everyone has their own little ways of soothing, disciplining and in general just dealing with their child, and normally I say each to their own, but here are some of the most ridiculous things I’ve been told to do as a parent!

    -If your baby bites you, bite them back-
    I’m sorry but fuck off, if your baby is biting you, they are probably teething. Plus, I think taking a chunk out of your baby is classed as child abuse. Even if your child does it, and knows exactly what they’re doing, you still don’t bite your child.

    -Sleep when your baby sleeps-
    Oh Ok then, so who’s coming to do all of the housework whilst we are tucked up dreaming away? No one that’s who, now get your head out of your arse.

    -Reward bad behavior with a cuddle-
    Ok, so those exact words were not said to me, more in action form. Zak was being naughty once and after ignoring everything I said, they took it upon themselves to give him a big cuddle and kisses. Tell me where the logic is in that one.

    -Babies who have a dummy are more settled-
    Not once did Zak have a dummy and still sleeps through the night, and he has done from the age of about 8 weeks. So no, babies with dummies are not necessarily more settled. Dummies are the parent’s preference, but personally, I feel like dummies are sometimes (not always) used to just keep their child quiet when they can’t be bothered.

    -Stick some whiskey in their bottle-
    No, no, no, no, no and guess what? NO. Alcohol is poisonous to adults, hence us getting “drunk”, and you want me to give my child an alcoholic drink that is quite strong for fully grown adults? Yeah, don’t come near my child.

    What bad advice have you been given?

    Much love xx
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    Things all parents will relate to.

    A few things have been swirling around my head recently about children, especially toddlers.  Some of the things they do, and some of the things they say leave us all gob-smacked, laughing, the things you experience amidst all of the madness and sometimes most of the time, leaves you crying.

    -The inability to listen the first, second and third time you call their name…
    To which you then resort to raising your voice, and your child does not understand why you are raising your voice at them, which then leads to a strop.

    -The words “no” and “what”…
    Zak has recently really got into these words. We could be chatting, and I’ll ask him to do something and I get an immediate “no”. It shocks me every time, if I’d have done that to my parents I’d have been bollocked for it. Zak’s favourite at the minute is “what”. If I call him from another room all I hear is “WHAT?”. It really frustrates me, and no matter how many times I tell him to answer differently, he still does it. Probably because he knows it annoys me.

    -The mega cute face they find when you’re mad at them…

    The big eyes come out, the cuddles, the kisses on the face and then they bring out the cute phrase/dance/action that they know you love. How can you stay mad at that face?

    -The overwhelming feeling that no matter what, you’re not good enough…
    I get this one a lot. I constantly feel like my best isn’t good enough, I feel like I am the only one struggling to get my child to pick up the cushion he just threw for no reason, to eat his food, and to just behave in general. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the naughtiest child out there, but I get those moments where it all becomes too much, and I wonder sometimes why I am failing this, badly.

    -Those days where you feel like a TV Mom
    I can’t be the only one who feels like this from time to time? The days where your child behaves, the house is clean (well everything is packed into bulging cupboards and it looks clean), you get everything done that you need to and you even had time to slap on some make up, and you found probably the last set of clothes without a bleach stain on them. They are great days.

    -Getting stupidly excited when another adult comes over, or you bump into someone you know
    When the only conversation you’ve had all day is about minions, farts and lollipops, when you do get the chance to have some adult conversation, you get that rush of excitement run through you. Until of course, your child gets jealous that your attention isn’t just for them and they play up. Then you end up telling them off. No wonder you don’t have much adult conversation.

    -Finally, when you’re without your kids, it’s not right
    You’ve been stressed and crazy all week, you have bags under your eyes, matted hair, you’re hungry, tired and need a long bath. You finally get that little bit of time to yourself that you have been waiting for. The moment is here and it just doesn’t feel right, you miss their little faces and weirdly miss all of the stress. You then sit there upset because all you wanted was free time and now feel like an awful, selfish person.

    Much love xx

     

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    Ouchies & Lots of Tears

    Part 1.

    Zak had to go for his preschool jabs yesterday.

    He normally gets way over excited about going to the Doctors, so I prepared for tears, by buying some smarties for after, and being ready for a clingy child.

    We were waiting to go in and he was zooming around where I was sat, buzzing to see the Doctor. We were called in, to a different room than normal, and he was still in high spirits.

    The nurse then sat him down and explained that he was going to have some “magic medicine” to make him big and strong, but we had to give it to him a little differently, one in each arm rather than the usual magic medicine he is used to.

    -He then got nervous, oh crap.

    She gave him his first injection and he let out a huge wail and clung onto me. He started sobbing and holding tighter and tighter. He’s generally not the type to properly cry, he will cry when he strops but this was different, he was frightened and in pain, which then led to me crying. The second one was even worse, Zak crying louder, me fighting back the tears and also fighting to keep him still. At least it was over. Poor Zak just cried into me whilst the nurse explained any side effects he might experience, then, she offered him a chocolate button and POOF! It was like there was a different child on my lap! He shoved it in his mouth and then got down, it was like nothing had ever happened!

    Part 2.

    My turn to see the Doctor. I’ve been wanting this appointment for a long time now, but as I was sat there, I felt like all of my problems were so minor, and I couldn’t think of what I needed to say. After seeing Zak like that just before, I suddenly didn’t care about me.

    I was still teary when I was called into my appointment. I just went for it and explained that I have been suffering quite badly with my depression and anxiety recently. I also mentioned that I think one of the main factors is because I have such low self esteem, and that I’ve been trying to lose weight, but not really got very far. Throughout all of this I was struggling to hold back the tears, I’m not sure if it was because I was still upset from seeing Zak cry and then unloading like that set me off again, or if it would have happened even if Zak hadn’t have had any jabs. We talked for a while, she gave me loads of booklets on healthy eating, all of these I already knew, but maybe hearing it and having information from my Doctor will help. Either way, she has booked me in for next month to re-weigh, and if there is no improvement, she spoke about the possibility of using weight loss tablets.

    As for my anxiety and depression, I explained that I’d rather not medicate, as I don’t like the way I feel on them, and I feel like they are just covering up the problem, rather than solving it. So she has signed me up to a refresher course for cognitive behavioural therapy, which is what I had just after having Zak, and it really helped. The only downside is the waiting list, but I think it will be worth it.
    In the meantime I’ve got to try my best to sort out my weight, and self esteem issues. So, like I have been trying to do all year, I’m going to work on myself, not just eat healthily to lose weight and look good, but to change my lifestyle and feel good.

    So now, at least for now, I’m going to try and name something that I like about myself each day, and try to name something new as often as I can. Mr Pie is constantly telling me how beautiful I am, and for those few seconds I believe it, so I’m going to try and get to a point where I believe it all of the time (or at least most of the tim, we all have fat and ugly days right?!). Here’s my first quote I’ve read today, to lift myself up.

    Much love xx



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    I admit it, I’m depressed.

    I haven’t posted much recently, apart from my weight loss posts my blog has been pretty much dead.

    I guess I’ve been feeling a little lost. I have so desperately been trying to work on myself, not just losing weight, but my general happiness. If I’m honest, it’s rare at the moment if I think to myself “it’s been a good day”.

    I’m not entirely sure on why I’ve been feeling like this. Maybe it is to do with my appearance, I think at least some of it is anyway. I look in the mirror and truly hate who I have become, I can’t understand how anyone can find me attractive. Anyone who has read my blog recently will know that I’m trying to do something about it, with trying to lose weight alone, and also more recently starting Slimpod, but so far I’ve not really had any success. The thing is I know exactly why I’ve not had much luck. I eat when I’m stressed, or low or angry or even anxious, which unfortunately is most of the time at the moment. I also enjoy a drink (or many more) on a more regular basis than I’d like to admit. I think that’s because it takes me away for a few hours. It’s never when Zak is around but when he is at his Dad’s myself and Mr Pie do tend to go out and go a bit mad.

    That’s not who I am though. In general I am a very happy person. I get stressed like most people do but not to this extent. I’ve felt like this for a while, and people are noticing. Mr Pie said that it’s rare to see a smile on my face, or even just a natural face without emotion. That’s when I realised I need to try and do something.

    I’m pretty sure I’m depressed, but I will refuse to take anything for it so I haven’t got it diagnosed. I’m not at a point where I don’t see the point in living, but I do really often get days where I just don’t want to leave the house, because if I leave then there’s probably going to be some sort of crap piled onto me. I don’t feel good enough, as a parent, a girlfriend, a friend and as a family member. I’m constantly trying to do things to be a better person, to make people proud of me, but no matter what I do, I still feel completely useless.

    I constantly feel tearful, and it’s definitely more than just hormones. It used to take me a lot to cry, but now I cry every day, sometimes over something that looking back on it, seem so pathetic

    I have the motivation to change, but I am one of those people that caves as soon as something goes wrong. I really want to make a change, I’m pushing the people closest away and I don’t want to do that. I guess this is a cry for help, because I really don’t know what to do.

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    Feeling low and sorry for myself.

    I’ve been a bit quiet these last few weeks, to be honest I’ve not really had the will to do much, it was Zak’s birthday on the 9th, which was wonderful, he loved all of his presents and was so happy all day.

    But since then things just seem to have gone a bit downhill, for me at least and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s because its the lead up to Christmas, maybe it’s just the weather and the time of the year just getting me down but I’m feeling like at the moment, I don’t have a lot to look forward to.

    Christmas is going to be the worst one for me. Zak is with his Dad in the morning. It’s breaking my heart knowing that he wont be with me in the morning to open his presents, Mr Pie is working all day and wont get to see him either, not until close to bed time, so I guess I’m feeling rather emotional about it all. I feel like when I do see him later on in the day, he’s going to be exhausted from all the excitement so far, and he’s not going to want to know. I’m also going to be at my parent’s this year, which as much as I love them and appreciate the hospitality, I want Christmas at my own home, with my own little family. Am I being a bit over emotional?
    Also, you may or may not have read my post on my psoriasis, but this time of year is always gets me down, it flares up really badly in the winter, I’m constantly itchy, more appears and in odd places, and quite frankly, I’m sick of having to suffer with it. I’ve given up on asking with the doctors because they fob me off with the same things every time. I’m actually sat here now trying to resist scratching my legs to bits. I’m avoiding showing any sort of skin from the neck down, because I’m so embarrassed.
    Mr Pander and I went out Saturday night for a friend’s birthday, and one of his friends even commented on the patches on my hands, he said he thought they might be mosquito bites or even self harm, which as I’m sure you’ve guessed, has brought me down at lot.

    I think I’ll actually be glad once Christmas is out of the way, try and pick myself out of this low mood, I’m finding myself tearing up over really pathetic things at the moment. Almost everyone that knows me well enough will tell you I’m an emotional person normally, but even I’m thinking to myself as I’m crying “what the hell is wrong with you?!”.

    Right now, I’m ashamed to go anywhere because I’m being looked at or people comment on my skin or I’m thinking about how much I really want Zak with me this Christmas morning, or even how badly I want a lot of things to change in my life at the moment. I don’t know how to pull myself out of this and I feel so helpless.

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