Mental Health Mondays With: Mummy&Liss

Monday, August 14, 2017

"I'm Zoe from Mummy&Liss, I'm 18 years old and a young mummy to 17 month old Alyssia. I am currently suffering with PND & Anxiety, and fought my battle with an eating disorder in 2015. I have suffered with depression and anxiety for years so you would have thought I would know how to deal with it by now, but nope.. I'm still struggling.



What's my story?

I don't really know where to start, my anxiety became noticeable in 2010 when I was just 12 years old. My mum was suffering badly with PND herself and I became a young carer for my youngest brother who was just a baby at the time. I had to grow up very quickly and look after my family, I cooked dinners, changed nappies, did the laundry and I would get comments like 'why are you doing that, you're only 12 years old?' or 'I don't have to do any of that, my mum does it all' and these comments really got to me but what they failed to realise was that my family was different, our situation was different & our lives were completely different to theirs. My anxiety became more noticeable as time went on, I was always worrying about others - I worried about my brothers when I was at school, how my mum would cope, if my mum would be okay whilst I was at school. It was hard but I don't blame her at all, I am now a mum myself and am also struggling with PND, maybe not to the extent that my mum did but It's still there & its hard, its really bloody hard at times and this makes me realise that I did the right thing, becoming a young carer was one of the best and worst things that ever happened to me. It made me grow up, but it also made my anxiety brew.

The first time I ever felt anxious, I felt like I was dying and I remember doing all that I could to get out of having to go to school, or having to go out at all for that matter. I was in and out of the doctors surgery thinking I had all these different things wrong with me, I honestly thought I had a heart problem because each panic attack crippled me and my heart pounded so hard that it felt like it was going to leave my chest any second but I was given medication and told it was 'just anxiety' at the time I was like 'what the hell is anxiety?' 'why am i going through this?' I had my first counselling session at 12 years old and I remember filling out questionnaires and writing down my feelings but as a child I felt like my thoughts & feelings were dismissed by professionals.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with Depression which was apparently common amongst people that suffer with anxiety. I was referred to CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) at just 14 years old when I started to struggle with day to day life. I struggled to do the normal things like getting out of bed or eating and I felt like life just wasn't worth living. I was diagnosed with an ED and as well as the counselling I was receiving on a weekly basis, they began to weigh me to make sure I wasn't losing too much weight. This is when shit got real. 


I was ill and I hadn't even realised.

December 2014 I was hospitalised after a recent break up with my ex boyfriend earlier on in the year, I couldn't cope anymore & told my parents I wanted to die, this is when the crisis team got involved. It was heartbreaking for not only myself but for my parents too, I can't imagine my own child ever telling me this. I stopped attending school as I couldn't face it anymore & lost a lot of my old school friends, this doesn't surprise me though - at the time this was all kept on the down low and not many people knew I was so poorly.

I had been speaking to a boy for a while and he was helping me get through these hard times, he helped me battle with the voices that were all in my head (at the time I thought they were real), he would talk to me every night until I fell asleep and would send me daily reminders as to why I'm so loved every single day until I recovered. He became my partner on the 29/12/14 and nearly 3 years later is still my one and only. In 2015 I fell pregnant with our daughter, and this is where my recovery started. 


Pregnancy saved my life, my daughter saved my life. 

She was the reason I stopped harming myself, and she is the reason I am still here today. I was discharged from all mental health services in March 2016 when my little girl was just a few weeks old but was unfortunately diagnosed with PND at 6 weeks postpartum, it was obvious it was going to happen but I can't say I didn't have hope that it would miss me. I suffered with depression pre pregnancy, all the way through & still now at 17 months pp but I wont let it beat me and this is where my story ends."


Do you feel, or did you worry, that your mental illness would affect the lives of your children?


I do often worry that my depression will affect my children the way that my mum's depression affected me but I am determined to not let it get that bad. I will always be open with my children about mental illnesses and I will ALWAYS listen & look for the signs, at 17 months old my daughter is my best friend and I hope that we are this close for the rest of our lives.

Have you found support from online communities such as blogging/Facebook groups etc?

I do definitely feel like I have received lots of support from online communities such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc especially since starting my blog in March 2017.

Do you feel like there is enough professional support for parents with mental health problems?

Yes and no, I do definitely think it is out there (somewhere) but I feel like as soon as your 6 week PP check is over, everybody disappears and nobody bothers to ask how you're doing. They say to 'just visit your GP if you feel like you are struggling' ringing the doctors and booking an appointment is probably one of the hardest things to do if you are struggling, it's really not easy.

Did you ever worry about how you would appear to professionals if you sought help?

Yes I did worry, I have always worried about other people think and although I did get thoughts like 'they'll take your baby away from you' or 'they'll judge you' I knew deep down from my experience with social services that they are there to help you, not to take your baby away from you. I received a lot of support from social services pre pregnancy and if I'm completely honest, I can't thank them enough. So if you are worried about talking to a doctor or professional because of this, don't be - they are there to help you despite what certain others say.

Do you wish you could change anything when it comes to your battle with this illness? Such as how long you have left it, or how you dealt with family/friends?


Yes, I wish I didn't have to go through it. I wish that I had spoken out & was more honest about how I felt, I wish I hadn't left it so long and I wish I didn't do the things that I did but we can't change the past and if I'm honest its only made me a stronger and better person.

My inbox is always open to anybody who want's to talk about mental health. I am quite open about my mental health issues and this is to help other people. I started the #YoungMumsProject in hope that it would help others and I seem to have achieved my goal with this.

You can contact Zoe via email: zoe@mummyandlissblog.com 

You can also find Zoe on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

*If you want to get involved in this series, please contact me at mumconventional@gmail.com*

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