Mental Health Awareness Week: When life feels overwhelming

Every day for the last few weeks I have sat down to write and yet somehow, completely out of nowhere, the words won’t come. And it’s not that I don’t know what I want to say, nor that I have nothing at all to share with you, I guess it’s just that I’m really not sure where to start.

One of the wonderful things about being a blogger is the support which you all show me, and my family, on a daily basis. Each day I am grateful for your kind messages, complimenting me on my beautiful family, praising me for the awareness I raise about baby loss, and commending me on my bravery in surviving such heart ache to go on and find happiness.

And whilst I appreciate those messages, in ways I could never hope to convey, by putting myself out there and sharing our story comes a silent, yet at times stifling, pressure, not from others but from myself, to continue on this journey without letting any of you down.

I have made no secret of my battle with my mental health. I have been honest and open about the depression which hit in my teens, how that soon spiralled into an eating disorder, into panic and anxiety, and how, ultimately, I found myself in a mental health facility extremely unwell and at an all time low.

I guess when you’ve been to hell and back, when you’ve fought so hard to claw back a little sanity, a little hope, it is inevitable that the same people who failed to notice how bad things were, are hyper aware of not missing the same signs again. Far too often I am asked, are you feeling okay? Are you eating properly? Are you taking your medication? You would tell me if things were bad, wouldn’t you?

And yet sometimes, it’s far easier to tell others that you are doing just fine, even at the times you are not.

It’s funny because over the years I have become adept at tuning into my mood, at pinpointing the moments, and the events, which trigger those negative feelings inside of me. I have been all too aware of the signs that life was becoming a little harder, my days a little tougher, my nights filled with anxious thoughts and an overwhelming sense of loneliness. And yet this time, right now, it has sneaked up on me in a way that I wasn’t expecting, like an old friend tapping me on the shoulder, causing all of those memories to come flooding back. And it wasn’t until last week when I found myself crying in a Pilates class that it hit me just how low I have got.

And later, as I sobbed on the phone to my best friend, spewing out all of my feelings in one long, desperate, and snot filled, breath, when still I assured her that I would be absolutely fine, she told me, “Laura, I know you’re not okay.”

And I guess sometimes, that is all we want to hear.

Because you know what? It’s bloody hard being a grown up, dealing with four children, running a business, a house that is never clean and a life that, although I am absolutely grateful for, is not the one I dreamt of.

It’s hard to realise that I’m not the Mother I hoped I would be, and the Mother I want to be, when the children just will not listen, when they cry and argue and scream from morning ’til night, when my sanity is literally hanging by a thread. It’s hard to know what to do for the best when I’m  dealing with aspects of parenting that I never even contemplated, when my children are unwell, or ridden with anxiety. It’s hard to tell the children that everything will be okay when, sometimes, I can’t even promise that it will be.

It’s hard dealing with health issues, with four long years of relentless tests, scans and specialists, being in pain 24-7, taking a cocktail of drugs each day simply to function, battling with an overwhelming reality that, realistically, I will feel this way forever.

It’s desperately hard to live, every moment of every day, without Joseph, to see another Summer come around so fast, to see another birthday he will never celebrate. It’s incredibly hard to make sense of the anger and sadness that eats me up inside, to find the words to explain how all consuming my loss still is, to admit that, whilst the world keeps on turning, a part of me is still stuck in 2006, lost in time for always.

It’s hard to explain that whilst I have a wonderful life, with the most beautiful of children, sometimes, inexplicably, it simply isn’t enough. It’s hard to be a grown up when you simply don’t have the answers.

And perhaps this last month has pushed me over the edge somewhat? Perhaps going on live television to speak about stillbirth, the day after I discovered a lump in my breast, when my mind was filled with fear and my heart was filled with loss, was a little ambitious for the best of us?

Because although, thank god, after the longest two weeks I got the all clear from the hospital, during that agonising wait when I lay awake worrying about the outcome, cursing the return of my insomnia, it has left me feeling incredibly fragile.

And although I was completely honoured to share Joseph’s story with the nation, to be a part of something that raised so much awareness and did all of our babies proud, it has still left me feeling a little bruised, a little sad, a little lost.

And whilst so many of you commend me on my bravery and strength, whilst family and friends tell me how utterly proud they are of me for all I have achieved and how very far I have come, whilst others comment on how healthy I look, and how happy I seem, I want you to know that I am still fighting, still battling, still trying my very hardest to survive.

And although things are hard right now, although I am feeling so overwhelmed by life, I’ll keep going, I’ll hold my little ones close, I’ll be kinder to myself, and I’ll bounce back, I’m sure. Because in the words of someone far wiser than I, nothing lasts forever, not even your troubles. 

 

For more information on mental health awareness week, advice or support visit Mind, MentalHealth.org, Samaritans, and genuinely, my inbox is always open. 

 

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55 Comments

  1. Hannah swancott
    May 16, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    These posts are so powerful! I love the support for mental awareness week, it’s such an important subject!

  2. May 16, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    My beautiful friend it’s been a tough month for you and it’s ok, to not be ok. Life isn’t all roses and if we pretend it is then we will never deal with what is right there, it will be linger! I could tell you that I’m proud of you, that sharing your story on TV was amazing and of course I am, you know that. But I really want to tell you, is that every day you make me smile, at times laughing so hard it hurts and you listen when I’m sad, moaning about life and letting me get it off my chest. without a doubt having you in my life turned on a light that had been switched off and I hadn’t realised you. You have been a MASSIVE part of my journey with my mental health and you don’t even realise it. I’ll always be grateful to call you my friend. Now if you could just mover closer to me that would be amazing xxxx

  3. Kathryn
    May 16, 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I’m also struggling too. Nobody knows though. I’ve just finished my CBT which has been great but I’ve just lost it again with anxiety and thoughts which just destroy my confidence and well everyday life really. I wake each day telling myself it’s a new day, a new mood and I just plod along because I’m crossing everything that I don’t feel like this for ever x

  4. May 16, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Sometimes it is ok to admit you’re simply not ok. It sounds like life has dealt you an unfair amount of tough cards, but like you say it won’t last forever and it will be your turn for good news and less worry soon 🙂

  5. May 16, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    Lots of love to your Laura. It’s really brave of you to share your thoughts and I’m so pleased you got the all clear. Keep being you. That’s all you can do. Lots of love.

  6. Monidipa Dutta
    May 16, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    I thought I was the only one raising my voice about it atleast it’s good to see people speaking up about this

  7. May 16, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    Sending gentle hugs. It can be so difficult to cope with life when things are so overwhelming. For the past two days I have had a flare up of one of my chronic illnesses and I am just struggling to find the willpower to carry on. Physio is so painful and I am waiting for the improvements to start and they are a long time coming. I feel like I am dragging myself around through willpower alone these past few months, and I am not sure how long my willpower will last.
    I hope that you see some improvements soon, I am glad that you have had the all clear from the hospital. I have had two lumps removed, one from each breast and though they were fine once I got the results the wait is just the longest and complete agony.

  8. May 16, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    Sending lots of hugs. I’ve been struggling with day-to-day life at the moment but for different reasons. I have no-one to really talk to and find myself saying “oh I’m grand” when I’m not. I reached out to a relative last week and I’m hoping to see her to chat. Until then I just soldier on.

  9. May 17, 2018 / 5:39 am

    I think it’s so important for everyone to recognise mental health, you are brave talking out about your mental health issues and it’s important for more people to know they can toon x

  10. May 17, 2018 / 6:19 am

    Glad to hear you got the all clear. Bet that’s a big relief. Hugs for all the rest.

  11. May 17, 2018 / 6:33 am

    What a beautifully honest post Laura. I think it’s so good that people are encouraged to speak up about mental health and there’s more support out there. I struggled when Oliver was still with us and looking back I was crazy, but thankfully I came through it. x

  12. May 17, 2018 / 9:03 am

    I think if we are all honest we all struggle with our mental health at some point or another. I have had my struggles and recognise when things are starting to change and do something about it quickly. I know what my triggers are so try to avoid them or work through them

  13. Jaime
    May 17, 2018 / 9:39 am

    It can be so hard to be a grown up sometimes, I agree. It is okay not to be okay and let things get on top of us sometimes, that’s life. Sending hugs, take your time to feel yourself again. We’ll be here for you x

  14. Dannii
    May 17, 2018 / 9:41 am

    Sending a big hug. Life can be so overwhelming sometimes, but the more than people speak out the more that others will know they are not alone.

  15. May 17, 2018 / 10:04 am

    There is a point in our lives where the pain is so much to handle and you need help. I only wish all people could have access to that help.

  16. May 17, 2018 / 11:52 am

    Oh lovely lady I just want to give you a huge hug! You should be proud of yourself for getting that out. It can be so so hard to admit that you’re not okay when you feel like you should be. Sending you lots of love and hope that things will start getting brighter soon xx

  17. May 17, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    What a hugely powerful post, the way you write always gives me goosebumps. I don’t entirely agree with the last line though – “nothing lasts forever, not even your troubles.” In my opinion, and I’m chatting here from my experiences, big, key moments in your life will ALWAYS stick with you…it’s not about them lasting forever…they will, it’s just about learning to cope with them. I will always be troubled in regards to parts of my life, but I have, for the most part, worked out a coping mechanism that works well for now.

  18. May 17, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    Keep on being your awesome you. I can’t imagine the toll of having a long term health issue – I’ve spent the last six months worrying whether or not I’ve got cancer, and now that I’m recovering from surgery (and not-so-patiently waiting for the final definitive result) on a cocktail of pain meds and antibiotics, it’s hard to keep upbeat and positive all the time. Life is hard work, but how great is it that we’re alive at all.

  19. May 17, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Such a powerful post! I know that when I wrote down my mental health journey it was so scary. I didn’t mind strangers knowing but I was worried about the people who I knew who read my blog and how they would see me. Keep being the strong amazing person you are.

  20. May 17, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Thank you for such an honest post. I just want to say that I love reading your blog, you are inspirational and amazing and so strong. It’s so important more people speak out about mental health, it’s a conversation we all need to be having.

  21. May 17, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    Such a brave post. It’s amazing how much more people are discussing their mental health now, compared to 20 years ago. You’re amazing! #coolmumsclub

  22. May 17, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    People you can talk to is so important, I go for a walk with my friend each Thursday and I feel so sorry for her having to listening to my moaning! But I would do the same for her, and I am glad you have a friend that can do that too

  23. May 17, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    Oh lovely, you have obviously had a hard time and it’s ok to feel the way you do. No one is super woman and you deserve some respect for all that you have been though. Take care and hold your babies close. Take care and I hope the summer will turn out to be a happier time for you. X #coolmumclub

  24. May 17, 2018 / 7:41 pm

    Such a powerful post and thank you for sharing. I think when you’ve been through such a tremendous experience, it will never leave you. I understand this. It can come in waves. Take care and take each day as it comes.

  25. May 17, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    Such a strong and powerful post and I commend you for putting it all out there for people to read, Mental health is getting spoken about more (I am very open about my own battles) however there is still a little stigma which needs to be overcome. Loved this post so much xx

  26. May 18, 2018 / 6:12 am

    It’s never easy, it feels as if you’re drowning in everything that you’re going through and it’s tough, really tough to swim right up and just live life like everything is okay again. I totally understand how it feels and during these days you just really have to take your time until you’re okay again.

  27. May 18, 2018 / 7:09 am

    Such a powerful and emotional post. We all have times where we struggle in our lives and at those times it’s about taking breaking up the day and taking each moment as it comes. In essence baby steps. Sending hugs x

  28. May 18, 2018 / 7:15 am

    I think the first step to getting anything resolved, or as resolved as it can is talking about it and sharing. That’s something you are definitely good at and I hope it inspires other people to talk too. I know its a cliche but take each day as it comes and anything that is not super important/relevant can be put to one side. xxx

  29. May 18, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Laura – watching that show I could see the pain in your eyes and I knew how hard that must have been. Emotional drain can make any of us feel physically ill and I have no doubt you will do what you need to get through this, as you have always been a survivor. Talking openly about mental health and not feeling okay is so important and I salute your bravery and honesty – your imagery is always such a picture of domestic perfection, yet as we all know – parenting isn’t always smiles and rainbows. Always here for you at the end of a keyboard, and please know this whole community adores you, believes you are a survivor, and has your back. Much love x
    Thank you for sharing with #CoolMumClub

  30. May 18, 2018 / 10:00 am

    I totally agree with Kara, I think we all have times of difficulty and struggle with mental health. It’s brilliant that we are raising more awareness and that people can get the support that they need!

  31. May 18, 2018 / 10:16 am

    It’s ok to not be ok sometimes isn’t it and to actually say that. As you say nothing lasts forever 🙂

  32. May 18, 2018 / 10:17 am

    I think blogging about Mental Health is so important for the blogger and reader who is silently suffering and also for a person like me, who is educated about how you feel and how to treat others. Keep on blogging and I hope you find courage to continue no matter how hard it feels.

  33. May 18, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Such a brave post Laura, you’re doing amazing, even if you don’t feel like you are, so many will draw strength from this.

  34. May 18, 2018 / 1:01 pm

    It’s such an honest post about what you’re going through in regards to mental health. We all struggle with some issues in our lives, but it’s really all about how we handle them. I am glad you are coping better now.

  35. May 18, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post, you’re incredibly brave to say it all the way you did. I suffer with MH issues and sometimes it’s very hard to say when having a bad day or you’re upset for the things, people and life you feel you have lost. It always hits us at the strangest of times too and everything seems to happen all at once. I am sending you the biggest amount of love xx

  36. May 18, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    Thanks so much for such an honest post. So many people, myself included, can sympathise with feeling overwhelmed when life becomes too much. Take care of yourself x

  37. May 18, 2018 / 5:26 pm

    It is good to know when the people who are around us know that we are struggling. And yes sometimes they say stuff which just doesn’t work when they know we are all suffering. We may know all the great lies about it will get better. You just have to be patient… stuff like that. When in that moment all we really want to hear is yeah it sucks. And we know you are having a rough time. And we just want you to know you aren’t alone, even if you want to go run and hide in a room. Anyway… sorry it’s been rough.

  38. Razena
    May 18, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    I cannot begin to comprehend the loss you have experienced but I pray that some day you will find peace and contentment.

  39. May 18, 2018 / 9:23 pm

    Oh bless you, I want to give you a big hug. You know yourself, as you say at the end, you will get through this xx

  40. May 19, 2018 / 9:25 am

    Sending big, virtual hugs after reading this. I went through a similar situation to you back in 2015 and I often feel like the worlds biggest liar as I plaster on a smile most days and pretend I’m fine. There’s one friend who I always end up breaking down to though as I know she won’t judge me for having bad days. She’s used to me randomly just bursting into tears on her now because of putting a brave face on to the rest of the world.

    Louise x

  41. May 19, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    Sending you a big warm hug. You are very brave for sharing your story, but you should know your not alone. I have suffered with depression and anxiety for 5 years, and it recently came back. Even how hard life gets you can never give up because there is always light at the end of the tunnel! Celia, xx

  42. May 19, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    My heart aches for you that I can do nothing to help you in your suffering, in the same way that you yourself can’t. But, you do everything right and you are a shining example to others who have been through similar. You should be proud of what you’ve achieved, as well as what you’ve overcome. xx

  43. May 19, 2018 / 9:45 pm

    What a perfect way to end your post! That’s true, although good things don’t last, the bad things are all just a phase. If someone considers their life as one whole bad phase then there’s a different problem there. I guess one way to find that out is to read experiences like this and I am 100% sure that something good will trigger from inside.

  44. May 20, 2018 / 5:48 am

    Your post had me in tears as I read it, as it felt like this is me. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression, and have only over the past few months started talking about it on my blog. So much needs to be talked and shared about to show people its nothing to be ashamed of. Support people. You are a warrior beautiful and an inspiration xxx

  45. May 20, 2018 / 11:14 pm

    Your post had me in tears as well. I loved getting to read your story! I know when others read it, it will help them as well. You are so brave for sharing! You are never alone!

  46. May 23, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    It’s certainly not easy to soldier on at times and accepting that we are not right within ourselves is acceptable. It’s great to read that you have a friend to call and can talk out your problems with them. #coolmumclub

  47. May 23, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    It’s not easy but well done for writing this post, I’m sure it will be really helpful in supporting others going through a similar thing #KCACOLS

  48. May 23, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    I too have suffered with mental health issues since my teens. I find it so hard to explain how I am feeling. I am lucky to have some amazing people around me who know when I am struggeling. This is am amazing post and I am sure it will help someone.
    #KCACOLS

  49. May 24, 2018 / 4:57 am

    It isn’t always easy to admit that you’re not okay, I think it’s brave of you to write so honestly. I find it hard to be open about how I really feel. You’ve been through some terrible experiences that would break even the strongest, so I know you will get through this low point too. I hope soon. #KCACOLS

  50. May 24, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    Such a brave and important post. Everyone needs to know that it is ok not to be ok. Life is tough, parenthood in particular. Thank you for talking so openly #KCACOLS

  51. Jessica T
    May 25, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    This post should inspire others to talk about mental health. I hate that there is still so much stigma attached to these issues. Life can beat us down but we need to be open and talk about our issues so they can be managed and dealt with the right way.

  52. May 26, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    Sending you lots of love Laura. I think it’s only natural to have highs and lows after all you’ve been through and it’s absolutely ok to not be ok and reach out for the help and support of your friends. xx #KCACOLS

  53. May 26, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    What a beautifully honest post. You are all those things though, and I know it is so hard some days to get out of bed and put your mask on and your body armour, you are truly inspirational. Writing this must have been such a difficult post, and you have no idea how much it touched me, and I am sure everyone else who has read it. Keep talking about / writing about it, and hopefully those hard days will turn into ok days. ~KCACOLS

  54. June 29, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Thanks for the brave post, I really appreciated your honesty. Such an important reminder that regardless of how upsetting and never-ending our troubles might seem in any moment, they never last forever. There is always hope of better moments to come.

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