Interviewing people with mental health issues…(Emily’s Story)

A big hello to you all!

It’s been a while since I last posted as I am now back at work as of last month and my son is back at school too. So everything is manic and go, go, go from 7am – 8pm!! So I apologise for not posting anything for a while – the blog has still been on my mind a lot though because there are still so many people’s amazing stories I want to share with everyone on here.

When I first started this blog, I got a lot of people confiding in me and telling me their stories about their mental health or a loved ones mental health and every single person who has contacted me and shared their story with me is incredible, brave and inspirational.

I share other people’s stories for the sole reason of trying to spread awareness about mental health, show people that they’re not alone in their struggling and suffering and to bring comfort and reassurance to people. This is the whole reason I started my blog, to try and help people as much as I can who suffer and struggle with parenting, their own mental health or supporting a loved one with mental health issues.

I have another story to share with you from a lovely young lady who lives in my hometown. She explains in detail her traumatic labour with her first child, the painful and complicated aftermath of her labour, life as a young parent and suffering with crippling health anxiety.

Emily’s Story

I have two children Evie Anne-Rose who is 23 months old. And Daisy Mae who is coming up 6 months old. 

My labour with Evie was pretty traumatic as labours go I would say. I was induced so I didn’t go into labour naturally. The reason being a part of my waters had broken and because I had had b strep water infection detected in my pregnancy they couldn’t risk it spreading to my baby incase I did have it at the time of labour. I had a third degree tear as she was delivered by ventouse delivery (suction cup) and so I also had to have an episiotomy. And then on top of that I had to have 300ml of blood drained from a labial haematoma that was underneath the stitches in surgery a few days later. It was agonising I couldn’t get up to walk and I could not close my legs at all due to how swollen I was down there. So it was hard to get comfortable as I couldn’t lie straight. I was stuck in a hospital bed for just over a week in total. The worst bit was I kept having to be put of going into surgery as emergency c sections kept being put first so I was waiting a few days in the pain and also nil by mouth for all that time. But that didn’t stop me wanting baby number 2! I was so lucky with Daisy I had a first degree tear no stitches and she was born so quickly I only had time for gas and air. She was born in just over an hour with the third part of labour only lasting 15 minutes. The difference betweens the two just proves every labour is so so different and you can’t predict what will happen. Just because the first was awful doesn’t mean the second will be too! 

I suffer mainly with health anxiety. I always think there is something wrong with me. I’m a headache sufferer and had as many as up to 4 migraines with auras a week with both pregnancies. Getting migraines with auras is terrifying as you think you are having a stroke because you can’t see properly but what you can see is just wobbly lines and things which aren’t there. 

A few years ago I kept thinking something was wrong with my heart and kept feeling my pulse I was so obsessed with it I couldn’t think of anything else but whether or not my heart was ok. It started to take over my life just holding my chest and worrying whether my heart will skip a beat, it really is awful having health anxiety because you can’t help but think about your health all the time and being constantly convinced something is wrong with you.  I even had an ECG due to being so worried about my heart and the palpitations I was getting etc I now realise that is anxiety in itself. I have also had an MRI scan for the cause of my headaches because I was also getting tinnitus and again I believe that was down to anxiety. 

When I had given birth to my first baby I was so so worried about getting a blood clot I made my sister and boyfriend move my legs up and down as I couldn’t feel them due to the epidural. So pretty much straight after giving birth one of the things I was most worried about were blood clots!

One good thing about having health anxiety I have to say is I am so knowledgeable about medical conditions due to googling everything I have actually educated myself about so much to do with health!

I have been suffering with health anxiety since I was about 13 I would say.

The symptoms are as I said above headaches, migraines, tinnitus, pins and needles, palpitations, sharp pains in head and neck and just a feeling of impending doom is how I wouldn’t describe it.

To cope I just listen to music as I find that relaxing to sing to myself especially in the car and try to get out to get fresh air which isn’t always easy with two young children though. And most importantly to see friends and family as that takes my mind of things. And I do like to meditate with crystal healing and angel cards etc I find this incredibly relaxing. I am quite a spiritual person too so really unwinding at night with some candles and time to reflect on things is my most best way to cope.

I have had a few sessions of counselling over the years and I would like to do it again although it’s finding the time due to having two young children.

It is incredibly helpful to talk to someone who doesn’t know you and would never judge your situation and who is just there to listen and provide guidance not advice I think we have to all remember that counselling is for ways to help guide you not advise you. I have made that mistake before asking them for their advice. But that’s more for what friends and family are for. 

My advice for someone who is suffering with mental  health and anxiety would be once you realise you need help that is such amazing progress already and to not be afraid to go to your doctors and ask for counselling. Counselling can benefit absolutely everyone at some point in their lives. To go to family, friends or even a neighbour or someone from a parenting group just to talk, everyone loves a good chat every now and then and if they don’t feel they can help I can guarantee they would try to help you another way by finding someone that can help or a different way to just talking and listening. If people are uncomfortable in these situations there are other things they can offer and probably will as most people do want to help in one way or another. 

I also think being out in nature is relaxing where you can unwind and just breathe in the fresh air. Take a walk in the woods and sit by water, I find that relaxing or even just lighting a candle and taking time to talk to your inner self. And maybe take up a hoobie can help take your mind of things and also reading is another that helps me.

My advice to someone who supports someone with mental health and anxiety is never say you know how they feel because I don’t think anyone knows really how anyone feels. My best advice is to listen intently, provide support and to help ease their mind. Do something fun, offer to take them out and just to simply say I’m here for you. Sometimes asking too many questions doesn’t always help I have found. Just listening is the best tool as it’s so comforting to have someone to just listen to how you are feeling and trying to get someone to see how you feel so you don’t feel as alone.

I would say suffering with health anxiety has affected my parenting because I am now constantly worried not only about my health but the health of my two daughters too. So it has probably got worse but I don’t have as much time to sit and think about it like I used to be able to so being busy I have to say does help take your mind of all those worries you have. Try and keep busy is my advice best of all but most importantly to not blame yourself because so many people out there suffer with anxiety and if we all reached out there would be so much more help and advice out there if people see it’s more common than they think.

A huge thank you to Emily 💕

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