‘It is perfectly ok to admit you’re not ok’
Since having my first child in 2015 I have been struggling mentally for the past years and I had a lot of down times. I kept it to myself and I didn’t want to talk about it because I thought it was just one of those 'bad days'. But then, over the next years I still had way too many ‘bad days’ and kept falling into this dark hole until it got to the point where I thought to myself that this is not how I want to live - I want to be happy and I want to do something about it. I went to my GP and he diagnosed me with postnatal depression and put me on medication which has helped me a lot. I also started running again (I did running before I had my daughter) but I took it more seriously this time and I soon fell in love with running - I signed up for 10k runs, did the local park run, and run a half marathon.
In October 2018 I gave birth to our second child and my depression and anxiety almost instantly returned. I was overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions which is completely normal for a new mum but I struggled, I struggled a lot. My midwife referred me to Perinatal Mental Health, a post-natal support network which extends further into the future than your traditional health visiting service. Soon after, I went back on my medication, got back on track, and I started running again. And I have to say, I missed it, I missed it a lot. Running helps me free my mind, I feel so good, and proud after every run. No matter how long or how far, I always come back in a better mood than when I left.In 2018 I was overjoyed when I found out I would be expecting my second child and felt well enough to come off my medication. Shortly after, I stopped running as it didn’t feel comfortable during pregnancy and went swimming instead, but it just wasn’t the same. After seeing the midwife and talking about how I felt in the past they recommended I should give CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) a chance, which has helped me appreciate and understand how the mind works. They also suggested I contact Mindful Mums, a meet up for pregnant women and new mums to look after themselves, and to talk about mental health. Since taking part in the Mindful Mums group, I quickly realised I wasn't alone. Everyone struggles, some more than others, but for all of us in that group, being together really helped us get through a tough time.
I know it’s hard but I can only encourage people who have one ‘bad day’ after the other, feel down, depressed and low or simply can't find happiness and joy to please go and seek help and don't hide with your feelings. There is a lot of help out there and you soon will see that you are not alone.‘It is perfectly ok to admit you are not ok’ - It really is. The hardest part though is to admit that you are not ok. I remember that when I went to my GP the very first time to talk about my mental health I broke down in tears. It was so hard to actually go to the appointment, I kept putting it off. But I felt so good after, relieved and happy in a weird way. Relieved because I could tell somebody what was on my mind and how I am feeling, why I am feeling this way, and happy; because I actually went to the appointment. It felt like the sun was rising on a new day, that would help me get out of this dark place. I knew it was going to be a long journey.
If you want to join me on my journey, please follow me on Instagram on runningmymind_ > https://www.instagram.com/runningmymind_/I am glad that I went to seek help as I am in a much better place now. After years of benefiting from the help that is out there I felt like it was time to give back so I signed up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon last year and raised money for Mind. I am looking forward to run for Mind again, a wonderful charity which has helped me.
Thank you xx