Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Whether it’s yourself OR someone you know, I’m 100% sure that we’ve all been or will be affected by mental health at some point in our life time. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had self-esteem issues (I know some will find that hard to believe) a real difficulty in believing in my own ability, I’m naturally very introvert unless I’m comfortable with the people I’m around – put me in a new crowd and I’d happily match the wall décor, I’m socially awkward even with people I know – depending on my frame of mind, it can make me quite anxious and I struggle to make conversion (I envy those with the gift of gab – I prefer (find it easier) to write) or will even go to the extreme of cancelling meeting up,  I’ve suffered stage fright, body image issues (and still do) and of course, more recently post natal depression which thankfully I’m over.  However, even though I’m over post natal depression, it hasn’t left me completely free from negative emotions. Now, I’ve always been deemed as “Moody” and yes, to an extent I agree; although there has also been circumstances and events that other people have caused and this has impacted on me and influenced the mood that I then displayed. A lot! After the battle with PND, I’m now dealing with hormonal depression which is related to the lovely gift from mother nature on a monthly basis! This is know as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Now, most woman will have some sort of PMS and they can continue with their lives normally with some pain killers, comfort food and retail therapy. PMDD is different. It’s more severe. Basically, 2 weeks before the monthly cycle, it’s a slippery slope down the way to a horrible dark place. Then boom, period comes and back to being “normal” (i hate the word normal…but you get the idea) That’s 2 whole weeks of every month feeling utterly hopeless, guilty, sad and very tearful (to say the least). At the moment I am still trying to work out what works best for me. Contraceptive pill is one of the milder treatments. I have tried 2 different kinds and each worked for the first month and then gradually got worse as the months went on. The 2nd worked better and my symptoms were a little more balanced. I decided to give my body a break from artificial hormones. BIG MISTAKE!! I assumed that because I felt more “balanced” that maybe, just maybe I would feel better now without. NOPE! I don’t imagine many people are aware of this. I certainly wasn’t until the Dr had mentioned hormonal depression. So, I did my research. The symptoms are far worse than PMS and I tick every box – great! Nor only does it make life very difficult for me but also for the people close to me. I have ZERO control over any of it. And I know it can be frustrating for those around but take a step back, if YOU’RE frustrated,  think how I must be feeling. As I said I doubt many people are aware of this condition so I have decided to highlight the symptoms and how to help the person suffering (from my experience).

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of PMDD can include any of the following:

Mood swings
Depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness
Marked anger, increased interpersonal conflicts
Tension and anxiety
Irritability
Decreased interest in usual activities
Difficulty concentrating
Fatigue
Change in appetite
Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
Sleep problems
Physical problems such as bloating

HELP/SUPPORT

DO’S

Be patient – reassure and support when needed. Pressure makes it worse.
Encourage relaxation
Give space
Hug – loads
Expect tears
Do your Research to help you understand
Ask what she is feeling and if there’s anything you can do to help

DON’T

Don’t get frustrated – she’s really not in control of it or how she feels, you getting angry, impatient and frustrated makes it worse.

Don’t make silly comments – “oh, is it this again” “you need help” “shake it off” “things will get better” “stop being so moody” etc etc this DOES NOT and WILL NOT help EVER!!

Don’t expect a lot of emotional connection or intimacy – She’s trying to keep her life on track without feeling like a complete failure and trust me she already feels that way and that she’s letting you down.

Don’t pressurize – this only causes more anxiety and more stress which eventually leads to more tears

and last but not least,

Don’t take it personally – trust me, she is not in control of any of it and it’s a scary place at times. Of course, don’t walk on eggshells either but just be aware. If she is snapping then ask if she’s OK or what you can do to help. Snapping back doesn’t help.

This is my apology in advance; I’m sorry if I become robot like, with very little emotion and don’t want to interact. I’m sorry if I get overwhelmed and stressed and can’t quite deal with things the way I would when I’m feeling OK. I’m sorry if I snap (unless you are being stupid and deserve it. I make no apology for your stupidity) I’m sorry if I cry unexpectedly, for what seems like no apparent reason. Please remember I have ZERO control over this.

Like I said before, there is different treatments available. It’s not the case of one fits all, it’s trial and error. And this will always take time to work out. In the meantime;

Ladies – Please do your research if you think this may be a possibility and get to the Dr for support. Remember just because you don’t suffer from it doesn’t mean other females you know don’t either. Do not suffer in silence, talk to someone about it.

Men – Please do your research. Try to understand a little bit more. Read and refer to my Do’s and Don’t list.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because I don’t look sick, doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.

I hope I’ve shed some light on and raised awareness of PMDD.

No-one is alone. We are all in this together.

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Love L x

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My little silver lining…

I quite often (daily – actually, hourly is probably more honest) put myself under way too much pressure for everything and anything (which from an outsiders point of view would probably seem really daft and not really understandable) See, my logical side knows I do this, I just can’t control it!! Trust me, i’ve tried. From constantly asking myself what have I achieved? Am I doing enough? Am I doing what I should be doing? Am I doing the right thing as a mum? As a wife?as a teacher? To sometimes feeling like a complete disappointment  (And believe me that’s not even half of it)…. It gets exhausting!!  That coupled with being a first time mummy, a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and generally, being human and making countless mistakes that i give myself a hard time for over and over again (in my own head that is –  chances are I’ve done nothing wrong yet I blame myself for someone else being in a negative mood, paranoia sets in and I wreck my brain trying to think if I’ve said or done anything to hurt/annoy/offend – this of course, is just another side to my wee sidekick called anxiety… It’s just the best…) and then of course, dealing with the anxiety when it decides it won’t be controlled and appears with no warning or apparent reason… Oh, those days are so much fun!!! But then there’s nights like this…(the reason for me actually writing this blog which was originally a Facebook status!!) and for a split second I know, i just know, I’m doing something right… I created a perfect and incredible mini human who continues to amaze me every single day and I know looks up to me with excitement and wonder. While he continues to grow, learn and develop I JUST know my hard times are all worth it, my own battles in my own head and heart are all worth it… Because me and my not so perfect body created this perfect bundle of love… (Okay, okay Craig had a part to play) but my body created, carried, delivered, loved and continues to love more every single second and if it’s the only thing I ever achieve in life then I can’t really ask for anymore can I? My not so perfect body and I created life… and that, I AM proud of…Riley is my silver lining… What’s yours??!

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Here’s to your reflection…Now let’s move on!!

So its almost that time of year where we all start to reflect about the previous year’s journey and look forward making unrealistic promises to ourselves, for the next year, because society said we should.

Here is a BRIEF reflection from me.

This year in all honesty has been one of my toughest to date. Mentally and emotionally it’s been a complete roller coaster ride. First, we just became new parents before the year started and that, of course, brought it’s difficulties with Riley’s additional hospital stay, but no one tells you how hard it really is being a parent. Everyone tells you how wonderful it is and yes, it’s an incredible gift having a child but its also exhausting. It’s exhausting without being full-time working parents never mind being a full-time teacher in to that bargain! I also had the challenge of Post Natal Depression which is not a nice battle to have but hey, I’ve survived and seem to have won that particular fight (yes, I still have my moments).  It’s also not a nice thing for other people around me to see or deal with. My family has had their struggles this year with caring for a member of our family for the majority of the year and then dealing with the loss of that member which no matter how you look at it is always going to be difficult and feel they’ve been taken too soon. It’s been a pretty horrible year at times and choosing to hide how I felt for most of it to protect others wasn’t easy (which, believe me, I did a lot of because some of those moments in my own head were pretty terrifying) however, despite the negatives I know there were some positives.

Here is my list of SOME of my positives:

* My son turned 1 and what an incredible little human he is.
* I still, despite my “craziness” have a loving and supportive husband by my side.
* I still have my family and friends that support me through everything.
* I still have a job even as tiring and stressful as it can be.
* I have a wonderful home to share with my family.
* I managed 2 new tattoo’s.
* I beat PND – Yes, I still have dark days but I’m aware of them.
* I have my health.
* I successfully hosted and prepared my first ever Christmas dinner (and everyone survived it)

And I’m grateful for both my negatives and positives – it’s who I am today.

Go ahead reflect on your year, everyone has their struggles, their own journey (some more superficial than others if truth be told), most of which you don’t even know about! Look at the negatives – what have you learned from them? can you prevent them? but FOCUS on the positives of the year. Be thankful for what you have or even what you haven’t got – there is things in life no one wants!

Don’t make silly promises you can’t keep for 2016! Instead, take one day at a time… focus on the GOOD and get rid of the BAD (even if that means people)…a step at a time.. Be thankful you survived another day to tell the story. Laugh more, do more of what makes YOU happy and worry less. Spend time with your loved ones, show them you love them and regret nothing.

I’d like thank to 2015 for being my toughest year yet, I’m grateful for the lessons but you’ve well and truly knocked the stuffing out of me! I am exhausted but I am ME and I know who that is more than ever. Here’s to 2016 where we can make more memories, love more and do more. There will be hard times along the way but it’s how you deal with them that matters!

Wishing everyone the best of everything for 2016! I know it’s going to be a good one… I just know! I can feel it!

Love L xxx

1st Birthday poem for my son!

Whilst being super busy and letting life pass me by I totally forgot that I had started writing a poem for my son’s 1st birthday!  I finished it tonight so thought I would share it! It’s not perfect by any means… it’s the thought that counts though, right? Plus helped me to relax before sleeping so there’s an additional bonus!

My baby boy

My baby is One today
Let’s celebrate, hip hip horray
One full year, your journey began
Growing, learning, holding mummy’s hand

full of giggles and smiles and learning new tricks
Pulling funny faces and clapping hands to flipping the switch

From rolling to crawling to walking on tip toes
From sitting to standing and wondering where stairs go

 Freezing when you hear the rumble up high
And smile as you realise
It’s an aeroplane in the sky

Though your words don’t make sense yet
We know just what you mean 
Lets face it, with the point of your little finger
There’s no in between 

Your my night and my day
The light when it’s dark
My tiny little terror, my wonderful little sweetheart
I love you no end and i’m proud from the start
My gorgeous baby boy
You’re the beat of my heart
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Love L xxx

Postnatal depression is an absolute C * * T

Postnatal depression is an absolute C**T. And I am one of the ones struggling greatly with it. I’m open about the fact I’m finding it difficult  and will not hide it. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t just affect me,the person who has been diagnosed with it, it affects my husband, my child, my family, my friends, my colleagues and generally anyone I’m in contact with. NO, I’M NOT JUST MOODY!!! So I thought I’d share some TIPS for others on how to support anyone they know that suffers with the horrible illness called Postnatal depression and give a very very small insight to what may be going on in my head during a particularly bad day.

A BAD DAY with PND

Waking up feels horrible, like a black cloud, ground hog day again… do u really need to get out of bed?

I see my gorgeous boy’s face and know I have everything to fight for – so I should feel great, right??? Wrong! I feel terrible, I second guess everything I’m doing when it comes to my son (and no, I don’t have control over it, so don’t tell me just to let go and stop worrying it doesn’t work like that) and believe me I’m going to be second guessing everything everyone else is doing when it comes to him too and no, I don’t feel guilty for that because HE is MINE and I will ensure he is cared and provided for the best I can offer…

After a long drive, in traffic, singing the whole way and talking to keep my boy happy during these horrible cold, wet mornings – which gets tiring itself – I then feel guilty that I have to leave him to go to work and teach other children that don’t necessarily want to learn and battle with the daily stresses and strains the job of a Secondary teacher brings… I get to work, I do what I can (and believe me, i know on a good day and even on my bad days I’d say I’m more than competent at my job) I can’t always focus because although I may look well… I don’t feel it… but I won’t call in sick because yep,  you guessed it…here comes the guilt… and the worry, let’s face it I don’t look sick! Plus I’d feel like I’d be stuck in the house which doesn’t always help…

It’s not even lunch and i’m exhausted.
.I’m not only doing my job but I’m battling to keep my anxiety at bay (which is heightened during bad days).. keep it under wraps… force conversation when I feel incredibly uncomfortable and granted, sometimes it does help me especially when I know I have colleagues who I happily call my friends…

Home time… now more traffic… pick up my boy… get the update of how his day has been get all his stuff together and yet again long drive home to more traffic…

We play,have a bite to eat, and on a good day which we seem to have sorted Riley goes to bed at 7.30… and now … I do the same… because I have zero energy to do anything else… I’m very fortunate I have a supportive husband who will happily do the housework and cooking… but yet again. ..I feel guilty and think I should really be doing more… but I’m really tired… so bed time…

I sleep for a couple of hours… and even if the wee guy has a great nights sleep… I’m still up …I’m checking he’s ok… I’m listening for little sounds… or i’m having nightmares and vivid dreams… and I clock watch too…  how many hours have I got left to get a decent sleep… count down every night… before you know it’s time to get up and do it all again….will this ever go away?? Will I ever feel rested and relaxed?? Will I ever get better?? as I said this is very brief idea of what goes on in my head during a bad day…

Now I’m very grateful for my supportive parents… They take Riley if and when needed, even overnight like tonight… because all I want to do tonight … sleep!  He stays with his Nana and Pops every weekend – I feel guilty… but I need the rest and they enjoy it,of course,  they love having him… I should then take the time to do something for me right? How can I?  I’m exhausted so I “sleep”… I watch my weekends pass me by and let’s face it with PND if I was to actually enjoy time away from my boy I’d feel like the worst mother in the world … so, yeah, PND is awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!  But like I said I know it doesn’t just have an impact on me… so if you know someone who is having a hard time with PND, whether you’re her husband, partner,relative or friend here is a few tips that may just help support that person when they need it the most…I think these would defo help me!

TIPS

1 – READ – learn about PND so that you understand what it is
2 – BE PATIENT – they will get better but you can’t rush it.
3 – LISTEN  – you don’t need to offer answers, just listen even if they repeat themselves
4 – HELP WITH CHORES – help with daily chores or housework but don’t take over and let them do things… don’t make them feel like they can’t do things… we already feel that way! 
5 – REASSURE THEM – don’t take it personally if they ask you if you still love them… They just don’t love themselves at the minute and wonder how can you?
6 – REMIND THEM – tell them what they are good at, if they did something you liked the small details matter
7 – HUGS – There is never enough hugs when feeling this way! Hugs are always welcomed! Be warned it may bring tears! 
8 – GIVE SOME SPACE – whether that means letting her have a bath for an hour or taking the baby for an hour to let mummy enjoy something for herself then DO IT and let her know it’s ok for her to have some time that’s it not a hassle you actually want to take the baby
9 – DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY – It has nothing to do with you, even if she takes it out on you! She’s not being moody, she can not control it! It’s horrible!! So don’t lose your temper with her – it won’t go down well!
10 – DON’T TELL HER HOW TO GET BETTER – this will not work.  She will get better in her own time whether that is with or without meds. Don’t tell her to shake it off,  that she’s fine!  Clearly she isn’t!

I’m no expert… and I don’t know what would work for other people, I can only talk from experience.

Anyone that knows me, knows my blogs are honest and from the heart. I would like to think these tips would help support another female battling PND.

Stay strong and keep fighting!

PND will NOT beat me! 

Love L xxx

PND or any mental health illness is not a nice thing to deal with, for anyone. It’s a very serious illness, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! 

A blog from my dad… weigh ins!

I couldn’t be more proud of @[100009533133186:2048:Junior Roberts]  he showed how tough he is when the going got rough. He always makes the weight when people say he’s too big for featherweight. Junior Roberts was 9st 4lbs on fight night, the opponent was 9st 8lbs! On the night,  they announced they where the same weight however, people involved in boxing know this weight difference can make an impact on the night. Professional boxers should never have to weigh in on the same day as a fight it’s a hard enough sport as it is – training, sparring, watching what you eat, cutting weight  and sacrificing then having to weigh on the night/day of the fight… The only thing they should be doing on the day/night of the fight is preparing mentally and relaxing… The hard work has been done now it’s time to finish it and show it.  So after 5 years as a Professional Boxer Junior will no longer weigh in on the night. 

Mick Roberts Snr

Team Roberts,  Team Junior

Win, Lose or Draw!

Not my usual blog and maybe more of a rant but here goes.

Team Roberts didn’t bring the win home last night, but we also didn’t lose. It was a tough fight that gained a draw. So as far as I and many others are concerned, Team Roberts is STILL undefeated.

However, the thing that has really annoyed me today when I woke up I read a status from my brother on Facebook – he is apologising for a disappointing result?? That fact he feels he needs to apologise – THIS IS BEYOND ME! I guarantee there is no one more disappointed in the result than him. That is surely hard enough to deal with never mind feeling that he has to apologise to everyone else for his performance.  Personally, I thought he won a tough fight but it’s irrelevant what I thought or what anyone else thought, the ref called what HE saw. And that’s it.

Boxing as a sport is tough and anyone worth their salt knows this. The boxers, whether amateur or professional, sacrifice a lot in life just to compete in the sport. Yes, their families and coaches also sacrifice to an extent; some more than others but not in the same capacity as the boxer themself.

It’s easy after a competition/fight, for an outsider, whether that be the coach, family member, friend, fan or general member of the public to sit back and say to the boxer “you should be doing this, you should be doing that, you could have done this, you could have done that” and yes, I am and have been guilty at times doing this to my own brother.  Yet, I, myself have never been in the ring (except when I was sparring with my brother, of course, as I child, did I mention I was his first sparring partner? I have video evidence to prove it!) Don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism is needed but there is a time and a place. It is NEVER needed straight after a fight especially from folk who have never even stepped in the ring.  As I said, whether win, lose or draw, constructive criticism is needed and of course, I know people are trying to be supportive – but if the boxer has won – congratulate them, let them enjoy the win because tomorrow it’s back to the grind, if they gain a loss – offer some supportive and motivational words, the loss is hard enough without everyone and their granny telling what they did or didn’t do and if it’s a draw, then show them the silver lining – it’s not a loss, it was a tough fight and to use it as a learning curve. Trust me, the boxer is aware of what they did, what they didn’t do, what they should have, could have and would have done, they know what punches they took – they don’t need reminding.  That’s why they have trainers and coaches – to discuss that and look at new strategies with their TRAINERS AND COACHES.  Granted, all support is welcomed, 100%, but please just think about how that boxer feels after the fight before telling them what they could have and should have done. Trust me; they are already aware of it.

As for my brother, Junior, and Team Roberts, I, for one, am certainly NOT disappointed in you or your performance last night and you should NEVER feel the need to apologise for it either – even if it if the result was ever a loss!

Make no apologies, just improvements Junior! Do it for you! Learn from this, it’s just another building block on the way to the top. Keep marching onwards and upwards, focus on what’s next, not what has been. You know what you need to do now, this is not a loss, and your record is still undefeated.  Your team are behind you all the way, even when you feel like they aren’t!  We ALL want the best for you, we just don’t always go the right way about it at times!  Least we know now you can take a punch or two eh? 😉

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Love you loads,

Lillian, a proud big sister! xxx