When we lost Dexy I knew that my mental health would get hit hard. I’ve briefly mentioned in Am I Supported? that I have existing mental health and that I get regular help with it. The NHS have been amazing with giving me so much emotional support. I really want to touch on this some more as I feel that it is a really important part of my journey with child-loss and how I am able to cope with everything going on.
I’ve never really spoken about my mental health publicly before. I might have made the odd mental health awareness post in the past on Facebook or Tumblr but other than that I’ve kept it pretty private.
So I have three “conditions” if you want it put that way. I have Emotional Intensity Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia.
I have been receiving support since a really young age as my anxieties used to be expressed through really severe OCD. As I got older the OCD got under control and I started having more and more depressive spells. I couldn’t get out of bed and everything in my life felt like it was slipping away from me. When I was 13 I had a really shit psychiatrist who told me I had manic depression. This only summed up half of my feelings and left the other side of me unresolved. I tried group therapies and decided that I hated being around people who were just like me. It hit home that I was really struggling.
Fast forward a few years and at 17 I saw a mental health nurse who mentioned I should be seen for Emotional intensity disorder which is also known as Borderline Personality Disorder. I hate it being called BPD because its more I struggle with my emotions rather than having a personality problem. This was the FIRST time when I read about it I actually felt like this was me and I could finally find the help I needed.
When I was 18 I really wasn’t very well. I had a few personal situations and break ups and this took its toll. I was a “regular” at the A&E and I finally saw an amazing psychiatrist called “Brains”. Okay his name isn’t that but I’m sure for some legal reasons I’m not allowed to mention him.
Now Brains was really amazing. Within a few weeks he had found me some medication that helped stabilise me and helped me to try to get my life back on track. In this time I met Phil who was a really good influence on me. He was older and I felt like I could trust him and if we worked together I could have an amazing life.
I was put on a pretty high dose of Sertraline and Risperidone. The Sertraline was an anti-depressant and the Risperidone is an anti-psychotic. At first they really sedated me and I acted a bit like a zombie because my emotions were so numbed.
The downside of Risperidone is that you can’t conceive on it and seeing as me and Phil wanted a family we had to try to find a way around this. I thought because I had everything in my life going to plan and I was stable I decided with help I would come off my medications.
Pregnancy and Mental Health.
When I got pregnant with our first baby and we had a miscarriage I really struggled to get out of this dark hole I was in. Phil was supportive as ever and we agreed to start trying again.
When we got pregnant with Dexy the pregnancy hormones messed completely with my head and I started getting more unstable mood patterns. I was getting quite manic and then would come crashing down and feel like the world was against me and my baby.
I also struggled until I was around 20 weeks to bond with Dexy. My midwife said this was normal and most people don’t build a bond with their pregnancy until they have a really visible bump and can feel the baby move around more.
I got referred to the perinatal mental health service. I was put back onto medication but this time I got put on Sertraline and Quetiapine. This is again an anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. It took a couple of weeks to get my body used to them as they made me extremely agitated and on edge. I had support from this service all the way through my pregnancy and they were preparing me for the high risk of “Baby Blues”.
When Dexy died the first person I rang was my psychiatrist. We had built such a strong relationship.I just wanted to tell her and tell her that I was going to be okay. I don’t know why but I just didn’t want her to worry about me. I wanted her to know I still wanted help and I still wanted to take my medication. She was fully supportive of my decisions.
The week after Dexy died I met up with another psychiatrist and Phil came along. We now see her on a weekly/fortnightly basis depending how I feel. We are on first name basis which is relaxing to me because I feel like I don’t have to hold back. I can cry, I can swear, I can do whatever I really want in there.
Because I have Agoraphobia I struggle to leave the house without someone. If Phil is working I rarely leave the house on my own. During my pregnancy we worked on me being able to leave with Dexy. I brought outfits that I could put him in and that I know I would want to take him out in. I worked on going to the shop over the road on my own and I started CBT. I didn’t find CBT very useful and I stopped going to it.
Since Dexy has died I have received a lot of support from my family, friends and mental health team. My Drs and nurses have been wonderful and I feel like if I didn’t have such a strong system involved with me then I probably wouldn’t be processing this all so well.
I’m at a point in my life where my mental health doesn’t define my life, it only opens new doors for me to explore. I’m grateful for it because it gives me a very black and white view on life. There is no beating around the bush or sugar-coating. I’m happy I’m “ill” because if I wasn’t who knows how boring my life would be.
I was trying to find articles or blogs on babyloss with mental health and I couldn’t find any. Stigma on mental health and stigma on stillbirth needs to broken.