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

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.

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/

A Valentine’s Night Like No Other

I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day & it’s took me 7 years of celebrating it with my husband to finally enjoy it. I was reluctant to spend it in a overcrowded restaurant with the added pressure of eating dinner in under an hour, before the Waiter gently pushed you out the door for the next set of love birds to arrive. I was reminded of this mayhem as we drove past my favourite Italian Restaurant in Glasgow to see it queued out the door and onto the street!

Instead,we booked a private baby scan at Baby Scanning, Glasgow. I was a little disheartened after my 20 week scan as my little one was lying in an awkward position & we didn’t get any clear scan photos. More than that, I wanted to know my baby was healthy & doing well.

It’s only natural to feel anxious as a first time expectant mum & to put my mind at ease I opted for the 4d scan. The scan was 45minutes & it was great to lie back & watch it on the screen. Our little baby is 24+5 weeks now & our active little one was kicking about with their legs over their head. Time seemed to stop as I was lost in the moment of watching my little bundle of joy move around & was lucky enough to catch them yawn – it’s a hard life.

Not only did we get to see our baby but we heard their heartbeat & got a lovely little keepsake which was the heartbeat inside a teddy bear.

Perfect way to spend our 7th Valentine’s Day together ❤️.

Time To Talk

Having a mental health issue can make you feel lonely, isolated & worthless but Time To Talk encourages everyone to have those conversations about mental health & to open up about it.

I think back to this time last year when I was stuck in a bad place physically & mentally. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia alongside my Arthritis & medication was the first port of call. I didn’t realise the impact the medication would have on me & before I knew it I had spiralled out of control into a depression.

Living my life in constant pain was telling on me, I was exhausted & I felt trapped. Trapped in my body of pain & misery. Everything was out with my control, the pain, the low mood & anxiety. I didn’t talk to my husband about how I really felt & instead I turned to painkillers.

The telling point for me was when I was driving & the thoughts of not being here whizzed through my head & ways of ending it would become more vivid & harder to suppress.

I didn’t feel like Leann anymore, I was no longer a supportive wife, a daughter or friend. I was hiding things from my husband, I was storing painkillers everywhere for the just in case moments & I hated myself.

I finally plucked up the courage to say to my husband, I think I have a problem. Saying it out loud I knew I had a problem & I couldn’t hide from it anymore. My husband encouraged me to go to the GP & I shared my cocktail of meds with him & the harsh reality of the situation smacked me in the face. If you continue like this Leann, you will harm yourself. Right up to that point, that’s what I wanted, or at least I thought I did.

I had so many reasons to stay alive, my husband, Puppy, my family, my future. I had a future. Reaching out, opening up & talking about how I really felt was a big leap for me but it saved me from the depression.

My relationship with medication & painkillers was a toxic combination & I decided to come off everything. It was difficult, I couldn’t see the immediate benefit but I kept going & I looked for other ways to manage my pain & mental health.

The most helpful book I read was Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive. His words rang true with me & his experience helped me to see that I wasn’t alone & it also helped me to open about my mental health.

A year on, I’m more open about how I feel & I openly share my journey. I have a future. A second chance of life with my husband & our new beginnings with baby Kelly due to arrive in June ❤️.

As much as it was difficult for me to reach out, it saved me & I hope you can reach out too if you are struggling. You are worth it. You do have a future. Keep going.

#TimeToTalk

Loch Lomond

On Wednesday, my husband and I had a day off work together and we went a drive to Loch Lomond with our puppy Chewie. The drive down we listened to music and Chewie happily sat in the boot gazing out the back window.

Although it was cloudy the sun was breaking through but it was typical that when we arrived in Loch Lomond the rain came on. Typical Scottish weather!
We didn’t let the weather waste our day and we walked along the beach while Chewie was tempted by the cold waters and chasing ducks. He ruined plenty of tourist pictures that day, incoming Chewie!

It was so peaceful looking over the Loch to see the hills and Ben Lomond lurking somewhere amongst the clouds. It was the most chilled I have been in ages and my anxiety slowly slipped away and left me. We went to a café nearby and grabbed a sheltered seat outside and enjoyed a coffee and some peace and quiet.
Loch Lomond has a terrible mobile phone reception and from the moment we arrived I had no signal which was a good thing. It was good to be free from a phone, constant updates or from constantly checking my phone. If anything, checking my phone is a bad habit and even although I am aware of it, I still do it.

No phone. No Anxiety. No Worries. Just Scott & Chewie & the beautiful Scottish weather.

I’m going to plan more days like this as it has such a positive impact on my mental health.

Continue reading “Loch Lomond”