Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week I want to share my story of living with Depression & Anxiety.

I’m rolling it back to early 2017, I was at my lowest & I felt this wave of anxiety & depression take over me. I had previously struggled with both but this time it creeped up on me without any warning & smothered me.

I was lost, miserable & angry. The anger stemmed from my frustration of a Three Year battle to conceive. Infertility Appointments which made me feel like a failure. The Specialists had no answers as to why I couldn’t have a Baby which added to my miserable state. Unexplained Infertility.

I struggled to deal with the situation I was in, I pushed people away, I lashed out & I hated myself.

A dark cloud was over me all the time, I tried to shrug it off or ignore it but I just couldn’t. My actions spiralled out of control as I couldn’t see a way out of the situation. I turned to painkillers to help me manage. Of course, they didn’t help but I had to take them.

One day I broke down to my Husband, he could see that I was in a bad place & had noticed I was hiding painkillers from him. He always reassured me that the Infertility issues were our problems, not just mine & we could find a solution to any problem. He encouraged me to reach out to my GP & seek help & that’s exactly what I did.

The hardest part was opening up & telling someone how I felt without covering it up with “but it’s fine, I’ll be okay” or “I’ll deal with it, I just have to”. I came off painkillers, spoke to my husband more about my inner battles & I acknowledged my anger & worked to change it into something positive.

A year on, I still choke up at the thought of what would have happened if I continued down the road I was on because I was desperately looking for a road out.

I opened up. I told someone how I really felt. I got help. Here I am, a year on, 37 weeks pregnant with our little miracle. I’m extremely lucky & thankful & I continue to battle my demons but I’m not alone.

Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out. My door is always open to others who want to talk.

The following links have useful info & support:

https://www.seemescotland.org

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

https://www.samaritans.org

It’s Going To Be A May Baby!

April was a quick month filled with Consultant, Midwife & Physio appointments alongside Feeding workshops, Baby First Aid & Antenatal classes.

I’ve known for some time that Baby Kelly will be delivered sooner than his due date of the 2nd of June but it was confirmed at our recent Consultant appointment that he’ll be here in a few weeks. The reality of it all is sinking in, I’m excited but nervous with a whirlwind of other emotions & anxieties buzzing about my head.

Growth scans have shown that Baby is doing well weighing at 6lbs & still on target to hit his weight of around 7lbs. The only thing concerning me is that he is back to back but we still have enough time for him to turn.

I have a feeling May is going to be a quick month, a bit of a blur & overwhelming but I can’t wait to meet my Little Guy ❤️.

Babymoon – Perthshire

Before I was pregnant I didn’t even know this was a thing. A last romantic getaway before the baby arrives. The romantic scene of husband & wife cuddling up in front of the log fire & embracing each other before life changes. Well, that’s certainly the image I have painted in my head.

Let me set the scene for our babymoon. My husband, I & Chewie! We couldn’t possibly go away without taking our puppy.

We booked the Whitemoss Lodge B&B in the heart of Perthshire for an overnight stay with a different feel to it. We stayed in a Pod which was a wooden cabin looking much like a hotel room inside with all its luxuries & central heating & ensuite bathroom but felt more like the adventure of camping. Without the sore back, cold weather & creepy crawlies!

Our pod overlooked the beautiful Perthshire Hills surrounded by green fields as far as the eye could see. Sheep roamed the fields & the rabbits darted in between them. Soon to be replaced by little bundles of joy, with the sheep due to have their lambs. The long windows in the pod gave a great opportunity to sit back in the comfort of the pod & enjoy the wonderful views of Perthshire.

The air was still as we walked Chewie in the fields while he jotted about like the happy pup he is with a watchful eye on the rabbits & sheep. Being pregnant, I tried to keep up & was left feeling jealous of my pups energy levels.

In the Morning, we had a lovely breakfast made by the B&B owner who delivered our hot meal with a selection of cold items in a wicker basket. This was the perfect end to the overnight stay.

Whitemoss offers the peaceful getaway in a perfect location to explore the countryside & local towns with the option of visiting the City of Perth. Free WiFi, parking, breakfast included & dogs go free!

The Travel Tag

First tagged post that I’ve done . Thanks to Just Snap Shot Stories for tagging me & hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What countries have you visited?

Italy, Spain, Catalonia, England, Turkey, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, USA, France & Netherlands.

What countries are you visiting this year?

It looks likely that this year we will be having a staycation with the arrival of Baby Kelly due in 7 weeks time. Lots of beautiful places to visit in Scotland & would love to make the trip to the Isle of Skye.

What destination is number one on your bucket list?

I’d love to visit Iceland but on a warmer note I’m more inclined to say Portugal.

What is your idea Holiday?

I have this image in my head that I love lying in the sun by the pool but in reality that lasts for an hour before I’m bored. An ideal Holiday is enjoying the sun, planning day trips and exploring the History of Cities.

Which place did you think was so special that you would have to go back there one day?

Rome was my Husband & I’s first holiday & we absolutely loved exploring the City. It was a roasting hot July & we loved exploring Vatican City, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & the Roman Forum.

Show us your nicest holiday photo!

Disneyland Paris was the last stop of our Honeymoon & it was magical.

Have you ever had to travel for work? If so, where?

Unfortunately not, the furthest I’ve travelled with work is Dumfries.

Who would you like to go on holiday with? 

My favourite person to explore places with is my Husband. Can’t wait to go family holidays with our wee one.

What is your nicest holiday memory?

In July 2015, I won a competition for a weekend stay in Barcelona & the chance to play football at the Camp Nou. All expenses paid trip with 20 others, trained at Barca’s training camp, toured the Stadium & played football at Camp Nou. It was a pretty special weekend & I can always say I’ve scored a penalty at Camp Nou.

What is your worst holiday memory?

Rome was bitter sweet because it was our first holiday but also the first time I experienced severe Arthritis symptoms & spent every night in bed crying. When I look back on photos of Rome I am reminded of how difficult it was for me. I’d love to go back to Rome & take in more of the City while being physical able to do so.

Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want to visit?

I wouldn’t rule out anywhere, I’m always open to new countries and adventures.

I tag Amanda Diaries & Everyday Life Girl to do the Travel Tag next.

Chronic illness & Maternity Care

I’ve been sharing my experience of pregnancy while living with a chronic illness. My last two blog posts have covered Managing My Fibromyalgia during Pregnancy & Arthritis & Pregnancy . I’d like to share my experience of accessing good maternity care & the support I’ve received so far.

The most difficult part of my journey was conceiving & coming off medication. It was a testing time coming off Methotrexate & reducing painkillers. I had a supportive Rheumatologist who respected our decision to have a baby & she supported me to reduce medication. She also referred me for further tests with infertility Specialists & I was referred to pre-pregnancy counselling.

At the time, I underestimated the importance of the pre-pregnancy counselling, it helped put a plan in place for when I did get pregnant & they made it clear that I would be consultant-led with regular hospital appointments & check ups.

At first, my maternity care was based with the Community Midwife as my GP arranged the first appointment. I had made it clear to her that I would be consultant-led & asked about the referral process to the consultant in question. She was dismissive of this & instead I was assessed by a consultant at the Health Centre who deemed me as “green” pathway & not a high risk. This didn’t sit well with me & my gut instinct told me that I would have to push for more support.

I chased up the hospital referral for the consultant & after many phone calls, I finally was given an appointment for the consultant at the maternity unit & was prescribed a low dose of aspirin as required for pregnant women with chronic conditions.

This was a turning point for me during my pregnancy & I’ve been seen every 4 weeks by consultant & midwife with regular growth scans. The maternity support I have received has been consistent with an assigned midwife & consultant who are aware of my conditions. I’m now 30 weeks pregnant with a clear plan in place with the view of being induced at 38 weeks.

If you are pregnant with a chronic illness, have a plan in place & ensure you receive the right support & don’t be afraid to ask for more support.

Baby Kelly,28 week scan.

This post was also published by The Mighty Site & can be accessed here:

https://themighty.com/2018/03/maternity-care-arthritis/

Managing My Fibromyalgia during Pregnancy

Since I was diagnosed in 2016, I’ve struggled daily with widespread pain, brain fog, anxiety, migraines, IBS, skin sensitivity & sleepless nights. Living with Fibromyalgia was never easy before I conceived & I knew that it would continue to challenge me during my pregnancy.

Similar to my Arthritis, the first 12 weeks of my Pregnancy were relatively pain free & I felt a burst of energy like never before. I was able to walk in the mornings & got through much of my days pain free. I made the most of this unusual feeling & was able to enjoy a trip away to New York & Philadelphia. Thinking back, I would have struggled to enjoy that trip with Fibro flare ups.

Although the symptoms of pain had eased during this time I experienced morning sickness or should I say all day & night sickness! From the moment I woke up until last thing at night I felt sick & I developed a sensitivity to smells. Even the smell of my husbands aftershave was enough to tip me over the edge.

From week 12-20, the little burst of energy I had left me & the fatigue creeped back in. I struggled to find a work-life balance & was so exhausted after work & I felt myself sliding back into a flare. My IBS symptoms were active during this time which left me feeling sluggish.

As I mentioned in my previous blog Arthritis & Pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain which is common in pregnancy. This has caused much of my pain to be in my hips & lower back.

My fibromyalgia has been up & down during my pregnancy but I do feel like I’ve been able to manage it & battle through it. I was relieved to experience 12 weeks pain & flare free & I made the most of that time. I’ve now reached my third trimester & final stretch is in sight.

This blog was also published on The Mighty & can be accessed here:

https://themighty.com/2018/03/managing-fibromyalgia-during-pregnancy/

Mother’s Day

I wrote this for Mother’s Day on the 11th of March & posting it on International Women’s Day. I feel it’s a fitting post for both.

I’m well aware that life with a chronic illness has been just as difficult for my Mum as it has been for me. From a young age I’ve been attending hospitals for various conditions & my mum was always there supporting me & making sure I followed treatment plans.

She was there every step of the way with me, she endured as much of the pain as I did as she watched me & had many a sleepless night looking after me. Not once did she complain, or question my pain & fought hard for me to get support.

Many times I would falter. I would question my ability to do things. I wanted to give up. It was that voice of my Mum in the background “Leann, you’ve came this far. You can’t give up. You can do this”. She reassured me things would get better & she instilled in me a can do attitude where giving up was never an option.

A strong, independent & determined women who brought me up on her own & supported me through High School exams & University. Through the tears & tantrums she guided me.

I’m blessed to have such a strong women by my side & I hope that I’m half the Mum she is to me.

Photo by Premier Photography