Tag Archives: mom blogger

I Am A Warrior – Dannii

image1

I’m a warrior against anxiety and depression. This is my story.

I was twenty-six when I had my daughter Mia. I lived with my boyfriend at the time in a one-bed house and we’d only been together about a year. We hadn’t necessarily planned to have a baby. I was scared but believed everything would be ok. My pregnancy was good with no problems and very easy. I had to be induced because I was twelve days overdue but I had a fairly straightforward labour. I fell in love with Mia the second I saw her. She was perfect. But I was terrified.  All of a sudden I was a mother. I was responsible for every decision, every choice for my little girl. Everything I did would shape and mould who she’d become. Very quickly I learnt how scary, beautiful, frightening, wonderful, terrifying, emotional, nerve racking, blissful, stressful, rewarding and amazing motherhood was. You go on this emotional, mental and physical, rollercoaster ride and it blows you away. Some days are tough; other days are tougher. Some days are testing, emotional and stressful. Other days are perfect and you feel more joy, love, contentment and happiness than you’d ever known was possible.

I didn’t know until much later that I had post-natal depression and anxiety. I’d previously suffered with depression as a teenager and young adult but had counselling for that and I never associated it with this. I felt different. So I didn’t believe I had post-natal depression until later. I had terrifying thoughts, dreams, and my mind played tricks on me all the time. Most days I’d cry for no reason and couldn’t understand what was wrong. My boyfriend asked all the time if I was okay, and I’d just say there was nothing wrong and that I was fine. I’d get angry with him asking me all the time because I thought I was fine but secretly knew something had to be wrong—I just couldn’t explain it or pinpoint it.  Also, I just didn’t want to admit that I was struggling in case he thought I was a useless mother. I wanted to control everything and do everything myself, even though deep down I did want help with things, but I wanted things done a certain way. I just wanted to be able to manage everything on my own because other mothers seemed to do fine and my boyfriend worked so hard; I just wanted to cope with it all. I dreaded going out and leaving the house but at the same time, I was desperate to get out, although I was just too scared. Breastfeeding didn’t come easily to me and after six or seven weeks I admitted defeat, switched to bottle feeding and felt like I’d failed. Mia wasn’t a great sleeper and I was exhausted. Her dad worked long hours on his feet all day so I wanted to do as much of the night feeds as possible, but sometimes I just needed rest. It really took its toll. I turned into someone else; I’d lost who I was. I had no self-esteem, I hated how I looked and how I felt, I lost my self-worth and self-belief and doubted everything, doubted myself. I was a nervous wreck but did everything to hide it. In hindsight, I should have got help but I didn’t because I was terrified that people would think I was an unfit mother and take my daughter away from me. I hid my feelings; I never spoke to anyone about anything that I thought or felt. I was trapped in the madness of my own mind.Inside it was eating me up and I was screaming from within.

On top of all of this, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy when Mia was still a baby,. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, my Gran and Grandad (Dad’s parents) both passed away within months. Although Dad made an amazing recovery from the cancer, it had all been too much and he turned to excessive alcohol consumption. Sadly he began to deteriorate drastically so I had to deal with that and trying to help keep his business going whilst he was so unwell and unfit to cope. I’d get calls at all times of the day and night from the staff or people who knew my dad at the pub, telling me he had fallen down the cellar or down the stairs. Times when they couldn’t wake him—the list goes on. I had time off work to keep rushing over to check on him. Eventually he ended up in hospital and I was backwards and forwards visiting him. I was at breaking point and I just crumbled. I couldn’t cope. I remember several times just getting in my car and driving somewhere, parking up and just sitting there and crying. I cried so much my eyes burned with the tears, my heart pounded so hard in my chest, I felt like I literally couldn’t breathe quick enough. I felt so sick and so empty.  I used to think what if I just disappeared, what if I could just fly away from it all, like a bird. How could I possibly be a good mother to Mia like this? I’d failed her. I felt useless. I used to imagine just floating, drifting away, almost like imagining an out-of-body experience. Sometimes I’d lie down in a field or on the bonnet of my car and just look up at the sky, the clouds, the stars and just wish to be up there. It sounds ridiculous now, but I felt so defeated.  I did this on several occasions, just sat there by myself.

Nobody knew.

The emotional pain and torment I was facing and tried so hard to hide just completely overpowered me. It was unbearable. My relationship broke down and I knew we couldn’t carry on for Mia’s sake. I didn’t want to risk our friendship and I knew we both deserved more than what our situation had become.

To this day, even writing this, I cannot begin to explain all the emotions and feelings that were searing though me for all that time. I was angry, desperate, frustrated, frightened, lonely, scared, deflated and just totally drained with everything.  Above all, I was so bitterly sad and upset. Something had to change. I couldn’t live like this. I still had to be a mummy. I had to rise above it all and get my inner strength back. I had to find myself again. I had to get ME back. I just wished I had addressed my anxiety and depression sooner. I was so tormented by my inner demons for so long. I want to stress that if anyone reading this feels the same or has been in a similar situation that you are not alone.

It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about or be hidden or brushed under the carpet. For years I’ve had it and didn’t realise. I thought I was going mad and thought there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t love myself, let alone anyone else. Anxiety can strike at any time. You’re never really free of it but it’s about how you re-wire your mind and your way of thinking. Mind-set is key. It’s about keeping active but also taking time for you, to relax and rest when you need it. Although my anxiety has been so much better lately, I’ll always feel like ‘it’s in the mail’—on its way to me. Anyone who has anxiety and/or depression will know exactly what I mean by that. Anyone who has this, or thinks they do, are not alone. You don’t need to suffer in silence or feel alone.

Every day I try to be the best I can be, always worry and always just want to be all I can for Mia and my family. But sometimes I can’t be super-woman; sometimes I do feel weak. Sometimes I do question everything. It’s the not wanting to face the day or let anyone see, to just want to hide away, but then it’s the million-and-one things that my mind does going through all the consequences if I didn’t. It’s the constant over-thinking and over-analysing everything. It’s the stupid thoughts that you don’t want that frighten you but you can’t stop them in your head. It’s a constant battle. It’s the wanting to still go out and have fun to see friends but not wanting to leave the house. It’s the wanting to be alone but not wanting to be on my own. It’s the not being able to explain it or make anyone understand. It’s sometimes not being able to say a word but wanting to say so much. It’s feeling so utterly alone even though you’re surrounded by loving, supporting people. It’s about just needing a hug. No words.

Sometimes I do break down and it does take over me. But it won’t beat me. I know I’m stronger, now more than ever. I know a bad day is just one bad day in amongst a million good ones. I know my strength is within me and I’m a fighter. There are so many people in my life who inspire me in so many ways and help me with positivity and motivation every day. The key for me is having a routine, staying focused on the good things, doing things you love, keeping your mind filled with positivity and mind-set activities. Eat healthy, exercise and try to get out as much as you can to just breathe, take in your surroundings—even if it’s just for ten minutes, even if it’s the last thing you want to do sometimes—it really does help.

I know I’m probably not easy to live with or be around sometimes, but I still like to think I’m outgoing and fun a lot of the time. Again, just the many issues of having an active personality but an anxious mind. The people I love—Gary, my husband, my amazing family and friends, but most importantly my gorgeous little girl whom everything I do is for—are more precious than I could ever say. I wouldn’t be anything without them; they are my medicine and they fix me when I feel broken. But there are so many people and organisations like Mind who can help.

The fight continues. It’s okay not to be okay.

image2

About the Author: I’m Dannii, I’m a full time working mum to my daughter Mia, wife to Gary and we live in Bucks with our little sausage dog Ralph. I’m on a mission to use my passion for writing to reach out, help and support other mums, women, parents and anyone in general really, who reads my blogs and can get something valuable from it. My life and motherhood experiences in their real, open and honest form. This is me, the good, the bad, the ugly, but more importantly keeping it real and from the heart. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

How Mindfulness Can Make Parenting Easier – Mother of All That is Perry

Welcome! My name is Erin! I like to think of myself as agony aunt, funny mum and wordsmith of all things parenting from icky tums and dirty bums to baby blues and the terrible two’s.

IMG_20190507_204253_445

My social links are as follows:

How Mindfulness Can Make Parenting Easier

For a lot of people, becoming a parent is one of the best things in life. It’s enriching, rewarding and above all challenging! However, if you are a parent you will also know how stressful it can actually be.

Children have copious amounts of energy and need to be on the go all day. Their little minds work much faster than ours and so with everything else us adults have going on it can be pretty hard keeping up with the kids.

By the end of the day we can be worn out with very little energy to do anything else that needs done. Some parents turn to comfort food, others turn to wine but at the end of the day nothing has really changed and tomorrow will be the same. This is where mindfulness can help.

What Is Mindfulness

What Is Mindfulness?

The formal definition of mindfulness is:

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

In my words, mindfulness is living in the moment. You must clear your head of every other thought about the past or the future. You also have to focus solely on what is around you.

Try it now. Take a deep breath and look at what is around you. Focus on something specific, maybe a candle… What does it feel like? How does it smell? What does it sound like? That… is Mindfulness.

Comfort Food

Mindfulness In Parenting

So, how can mindfulness be used in parenting to make it less stressful?

Most people get mindfulness confused with meditation. Obviously, they both require your full attention however, mindfulness does not have to be quiet and it doesn’t have to be alone. You could even practice mindfulness at a festival. And so, practicing mindfulness while parenting is easier than you think.

The first thing you need to do in order for this to work is turn off your phone (or at least out it on silent in another room). We live in an age where having your phone in your hand 80% of the day is normal, sadly. But, you have no idea how much more you will relax just by putting that phone down for an hour.

Secondly, turn off any other electronics that are likely to cause a distraction. You want your kids to practice Mindfulness too rather than sitting watching a mind numbing program that they’ve probably seen 3 times before.

Then pick an activity that is going to use all your senses. For babies you could get a “touchy feely” book, for toddlers you could do some arts and crafts, for children you could bake and for something for the whole family: go for a walk. You might be surprised by how much there is to focus on outside. By choosing an activity with a lot of texture or dynamics you can spend more time on it.

Finally, break convention! You have to think like a child, smell the puddles, taste a twig, listen to a leaf. I know I might sound like a raving loony but take it from somebody who practices mindfulness with her kids: spending an hour, taking the time to become aware of your surroundings is going ton help you unwind and tire the kids out.

How Do Children Benefit From Mindfulness?

As I said before, practicing mindfulness takes a lot of brain power which can tire your children out and keep them from getting bored. By taking time in the activity you do, you’ll find your child learns much more than what they would at a standard pace. These are great benefits for your child but teaching our children about mindfulness will also help future generations. Hopefully our children will make a habit of practicing mindfulness and teach their children to take time away from distractions. It may not seem like a big deal but I almost guarantee that if everybody practiced mindfulness daily, the world would be a little more positive.

Minfulness In Parenting

What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression – Mary Lentz

Another guest for everyone at the Unsanity today! Please give a warm welcome to Mary, who gets very real about PostPartum Depression after having a child. Thanks so much for opening up and giving our readers some insight as to what it looks like.

image1.jpeg

Mary Lentz is a stay-at-home mom and lifestyle blogger at My Beautiful Mess, which offers motherhood support, personal growth, and parenting tips and advice. You can learn more about homemaking skills, organizational help, and entertaining in weekly posts. She is also a strong advocate for emotional wellness and mental health awareness. You can find her on the following platforms and social media:

MY INSTAGRAM: @my_beautiful_mess_blog
MY TWITTER: @maryrobinson

What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression

Before motherhood, I just assumed that Postpartum Depression was simply feeling down after giving birth. I had no idea just what it caused you to think, feel, and believe about yourself and your child. Today, I want to share with you what no one tells you about postpartum depression.

I’ve suffered depression my entire life. As a bi-polar patient, I was at special risk for postpartum depression. When I was pregnant, doctors talked to me about weepiness and sadness after giving birth. But I never realized just what postpartum depression would cause me to think and feel. Early in my motherhood journey, I was surprised to learn what no one tells you about postpartum depression… that it rears its head in feelings of irritation, frustration, inadequacy, futility, and loneliness.

You May Not Feel Love or Bond With Your Child

 

When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent hours daydreaming of his little face. I couldn’t wait to hold him, kiss him and love on him. I’m sure there are women who instantly bond with their child. But I didn’t and post partum depression had a lot to do with that. About 3 weeks after giving birth, I felt like I was holding a stranger. I didn’t know what his cries meant.

I just assumed everything was instinctual – that you just magically know and understand your newborn as soon as they come out. Maybe I was naive. However,I never expected to feel completely overwhelmed, flustered, and frustrated. Who knew depression would increase those feelings exponentially?

Depression maybe a mental condition, but it distresses the heart. It directly interfered with my ability to fall in love with my little boy. It took a while for me to truly feel that loving warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for him. Logically, I loved him, but I didn’t feel the crazy, obsessive kind of love I feel now. If you’re struggling to dote and love your newborn, you may have post-partum depression. The cure? The more you hug and hold your baby, the closer youll feel…sooner.

You’ll Cry Over Nothing and Everything

 

With my first son, I was determined to breastfeed. My son was born prematurely and it took 6-7 days for my colostrum to come in. I was so sad that my little guy was having to take a bottle until my boobies got their act together. My weak little boy was burning too many calories trying to nurse and was quickly losing weight. Therefore, doctors suggested I pump for the first month and supplement with formula. I was heartbroken.

There is a saying, “there is no use crying over spilt milk.” I don’t know what the etymology is, but I’m willing to wager it had to do with breastmilk. This stuff is liquid gold! At about two weeks postpartum, I had spent the entire day pumping frequently. I squeezed out 2 oz making a total of 5 oz for the day. While I was taking the flanges off the pump, I accidentally hit and spilt all the milk. Every. Last. Drop.

I shrieked so loudly, my husband came racing down the stairs. My mother came running in. “No! No!” I wailed in a blood curdling cry, like when someone gets word someone has died. That’s what my husband thought had happened. That someone had died. My whole body shook as I sobbed and clutched that pathetic empty bottle to my chest. When I finally calmed down, I explained to them what had happened. They didn’t understand. They stared in confusion, surprised by my dramatics.

 
No one told me postpartum depression would cause every set back or failure to seem futile. Small problems yielded big reactions. You might think depression makes you quiet and despondent, but depression actually unbalances all your emotions. My reactions were excessive, dramatic, and desperate. In those long eight months of depression, I cried over anything, everything, and nothing.

You May Wish You’d Never Become A Mom

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. It makes me cringe just knowing I had these kinds of thoughts. It’s surprising to learn other moms have this thought too. As a new mom, you can feel so inadequate. The first night I brought my son home from the hospital, I had this thought. He cried for three strait hours and when I couldn’t comfort him, I felt as if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe, I’m not cut out for this. He deserved someone better. Someone who knew what she was doing.

 

Learning your newborn can be incredibly frustrating. Don’t listen to the hype. Food, sleep, burping, or a clean diaper are just a few things your child wants. They can cry for thousands of reasons and when you can’t soothe them, you can feel like you have no business being a mom. I was very grateful to have my mom after delivery. But when she’d swoop in and take over, it left me feeling even more useless and incompetent.

 

Depression can make you have all kinds of hopeless thoughts. I had a few miscarriages before I gave birth to my oldest son. So when this thought crept in, it made me feel even more guilty. After all, I wanted this. Now I know, depression causes these thoughts.

You May Feel Isolated and Lonely

 

Having a child changes your life. A child ties you down. If you’re a new mom, you may even feel anxious about leaving the house with your baby. Routine can be helpful, but monotony can add to depression. Be aware of how much you shut yourself inside the house.

I remember posting pictures of my first son on social media. You would’ve never guessed how sad and isolated I felt. I was so lonely. The days seemed long waiting for my husband to return home. If you are not returning to work, you may even feel more alone. Work friends move on and suddenly your spouse becomes the sole provider for your social life. That’s not healthy!

 

Challenge yourself to get out of the house. The more cooped up you are at home, the more isolated you’ll feel. I share the things that helped me while staying home in the post How To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom.

You May Feel Anxious or Angry

Postpartum depression includes anxiety. Who knew? Well, technically it’s postpartum anxiety but doctors don’t really discuss it and most moms I know, experienced it alongside depression. Anxiety often includes unrealistic fears. One mom I know said she was terrified to be left alone with her baby – like her baby was safe with anyone except her. There is a “what if something happens I can’t handle” sort of sensation.

But here is the real shocker: irritability, anger, frustration are components of anxiety and depression. I couldn’t believe I had feelings of anger when my baby cried. I was short with my husband and my other child. Furthermore, I snapped at friends and made snarky comments over the stupidest things. I was irritated all the time and it actually took me losing a friend to grasp how badly out of control I was.

You May Need Therapy or Medication

 

Postpartum depression is both chemical and situational. It’s a fact, chemical and hormonal changes occur in the body after childbirth. Your body undergoes amazing, but drastic changes to give life to another person. If you choose to nurse, your body suddenly belongs to another person to sustain their life. You may need medication to help supplement or balance those changes. THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATION. You’ll be shocked to learn just how many women take them and it’s a shame they feel they must do it in secret.

 

Your situation changes after childbirth. You don’t have time for yourself. You don’t sleep. The weight of the responsibility may burden you. Your sex life becomes non-existent. You may be staying home by yourself with baby. Lastly, expectation versus reality may be shocking to you once baby arrives. There are lot of life changes and you have little time to process what that means. Therapy can help you work through those changes. If you are struggling, seek medical attention. Seriously – babies get shaken when you don’t seek help.

You May Struggle To Do Basic Tasks

 

I was unprepared for this. To clarify, I didn’t realize this was happening for while. I remember when my son was three months and he had a blow out in the middle of Target. It suddenly became a monumental task to change his diaper in a public place. I struggled to work a coffee pot and to get chores done. I felt confusion and perpetually overwhelmed, even clumsy.

Some women refer to it as “mom brain” but honestly, I think it has to do with postpartum depression. Difficulty functioning or being overwhelmed by small tasks might be a sign you are struggling with postpartum depression. No one told me that. Don’t feel ashamed asking for help – ever.

It’s Time to Stop Punishing Yourself with Food – Nourish With Renata

Hello Unsanity readers, as promised, here is another guest blogger for your Friday! This one comes from a fellow blogger of mine, Renata, who specializes in healthy easy recipes!

 

Hi! I’m Renata and I am the founder of NourishwithRenata.com, a healthy recipe blog focusing on delicious, easy recipes that not only taste good but are good for you! I am a mom, wife and foodie, living in Texas with my husband, 3 kids and trusty labrador. I love helping people rediscover healthy food through the recipes on my blog and e-books, as well as my personalized cooking classes. 

It’s the beginning of a new year and lots of people are making New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions might be about making healthier lifestyle choices, like working out or eating healthy. 

But what does it mean to eat healthy? Does it mean doing juice cleanses? Does it mean only eating one meal a day? Does it mean not eating carbs???

What some people don’t realize is that these kinds of restrictive diets are not sustainable long term. Depriving and restricting your body is actually punishing your body. It is not allowing your body the fuel and nourishment that it needs to not only survive, but to thrive. And that means that your body will try to find a way to get back the calories you were depriving it. This is why so many people gain back the weight that they were trying to lose, and then some. 

This begins the cycle of purging and binging, or what I call, the diet culture. It is a completely destructive way of treating your body and it forces you to look at food in a harsh, negative light. Foods are either “bad” or “good”. And more often than not, you feel guilty for giving your body the nourishment that it needs. 

Diet culture is a slippery slope. I think that is why so many people start having eating disorders. We are programmed by social media to think that we have to look and eat like everybody else. That a “quick fix” is the only way to change, that immediate gratification is the only way to get recognition. That in order to be “liked”, we have to be the same as everyone else. 

THIS SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE. It’s time to change our mindset. It’s time to stop trying to be like everyone else, and start being our truest selves. It’s time to bring a whole new perspective to how we think about ourselves and how we think about food. 

Instead of punishing your body, start building a positive relationship with food. Food is a fuel source, a way to nourish your cells, brain and muscles with the nutrients and energy that it needs to support you during the day. By giving it the foods that provides you with maximum energy and vitality, you are ensuring that you can achieve your to-do list, you can work out without feeling drained, and best of all, you can spend time with your loved ones without feeling bloated, lethargic or a slave to food. 

So how can you stop punishing yourself with food? Here’s a few tips:

  • Pay attention to how you feel after you eat: If it helps, make a food diary, so you can record how foods are making you feel. Focus more on eating the foods that help you feel energized for longer, and less time eating the foods that make you feel tired and sluggish. Food affect people differently, so your list of energizing foods may be different from someone else’s.
  • Don’t worry about fads: There are so many diets out there from keto, paleo, whole 30, vegan… the list goes on. Your friends may be doing some of these diets, and if so, let them! You don’t have to join in. Scientific studies have shown that the best diet for weight loss is one that is sustainable. So don’t worry about fads. Fads are a one-off that may help you lose weight quickly, but are not sustainable. Stay strong against peer pressure and focus on nourishing your body with whole foods that taste good and are good for you. 
  • Building a healthy, positive relationship with food takes time: This is real life. There will be times when you will go out to lunch with friends or go to big family gatherings that have a buffet of foods that you don’t normally eat. It is ok to eat different foods! It is ok to eat richer, more indulgent foods sometimes. It may make you feel less energetic than normal, but it’s ok. Building a healthier, positive relationship with food means that you don’t ever have to feel guilty for having dessert. 

Changing your perspective on food can have incredible repercussions on other aspects of your life. Once you see the positive change from how you think about food, you will feel energized and motivated to accomplish other goals in your life. But best of all, you will gain back your self-confidence. Your relationship with food is in your control. And it’s time to make it a positive one. 

You can connect with Renata on the following platforms:

Nourish with Renata blog at www.nourishwithrenata.com 

Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/nourish_with_renata

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Nourish-with-Renata-2030856650493733/

Twitter at https://twitter.com/NourishwRenata 

Non-Medication Remedies For Anxiety – Brittany Lee Vaughn

My name is Brittany Lee Vaughn. I am a 22 year old single-stay at home-first time mother to a beautiful little girl named AnnaLee Willow. Anna is currently 5 months old and the highlight of my life. B​eelieve In The Journey​ is my personal passion project. I hope to turn my blog into a full-time job, and stay home with my darling daughter all while doing what I’m passionate about. I hope that you will consider joining me on my journey. Below is a list of my contact information and social media accounts: Beelieve In The JourneyInstagramFacebookEtsyPinterestGoogle+, and Tumblr.

Non-Medication Remedies For Anxiety

1

The ​Merriam-Webster​dictionary defines anxiety as “​an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often ​marked by physical signs​​ (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat​​, and by self-doubt about one’s ​capacity to cope with it​​.”

There are some key points I would like to point out in this definition. The first would be that anxiety is “marked by physical signs.” If you have experience with anxiety you know that anxiety will show its ugly face several minutes before or hours before an attack occurs. Either way, an anxiety attack will let you know that it is coming. This concept is what my therapist loves to refer to as “fight or flight mode.” It’s a very common phrase and refers back to our very own primitive instincts built into our very own brains.

Rick Hanson​, Ph. D. explains that “the amygdala (as you know, there are two of them, one on each side of the brain) does initiate the fight or flight response through inputs into the hypothalamus (triggering the hormonal part of that response) and to brainstem control centers of the sympathetic nervous system for the neural parts of the fight or flight response.” Referring back to Webster’s definition, anxiety appears by feeling threatened. This is your fight or flight response. The duration and severity of your anxious state all depends on your “capacity to cope with it.” For some people this may be medication, but for others the idea of taking and/or relying on a medication everyday is a scary thought all within itself. As a person who also struggles with severe anxiety, I have witnessed the very panic of taking medication to cope with my anxiety.

2

I am here​ to tell you that anxiety is manageable, to a certain extent, without medication. I must say that I am not a healthcare professional. ​This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I advise that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. From my own experience,

I have successfully managed anxiety using methods other than medication and I am here to share them with you!

Practice Mindfulness

B​eing mindful is one of the most effective ways to manage your anxiety. Be aware of your mind and body sending you warning signs. If you are starting to see signs of anxiety arise, whether it is long term or short term warning signs, utilize some of the upcoming tools to help you work through it.

Breathe ​

When you start to feel yourself getting overwhelmed, have a go-to breathing exercise. Personally, I mix counting in with my breathing. I count down from 10 and take a deep breath in, hold it for a couple seconds, and then release. This keeps you stay inthe present moment and stops you from over thinking.

3

Meditate​

Meditation can center your thoughts and help you overcome your fears. Mediation is a great long term anxiety method but can also be utilized in the moment of an anxiety attack. You can also mix breathing techniques in with meditation.

4

Self Help/Personal Development Blogs or Books

​ Reading blogs or books on how to improve yourself, love yourself, manage your anxiety, or even on how to just get the most out of your life will help your anxiety. The authors of these blogs or books are going through or have gone through ​exactly ​​what you are going through right now. I find it very comforting to know that I am not alone in this. I hope that you do too. Best part about this is that you are already taking advantage of this tool just by reading this!

Exercise

Exercise is a very BLEH way for some people to manage their anxiety. From personal experience it does help. It gives a sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel strong and capable. Sometimes anxiety is caused from overthinking and being hard on ourselves.Exercising eliminates these aspects of anxiety. If you aren’t able to go for a run or hit the gym you can simply walk, practice yoga, or do some vigorous cleaning. These are lighter forms of exercise that will also give you those same feelings.

5

Changing Your Sleep Patterns

​If you are anything like me then depression and anxiety go hand in hand. One of the most effective ways to manage both of these at once is changing your sleep patterns. Most people will recommend that you get 8-9 hours of sleep a night to become well rested. Although, too much sleeping can be detrimental to your mental health and well being. To a certain extent, I believe in this. On the other hand I believe sleep can give you a mental reboot of sorts. If I start to feel myself getting anxious I will go to bed early or take a nap. Too much sleep can be seen as depression warning signs, but it can also be a great self love and reboot tool as well.

Brain Dump

​Something I use all the time are brain dump tools. I go a bit overboard and use a bullet journal, planner, writing journal, as well as a counselor. I am very comforted by lists and organization. I feel like I have control over myself, my brain, and my emotions if I am able to put it all on paper. A bullet journal helps me create an environment to place all my lists, plans, and habits. A writing journal helps me dump all of my overthinking out onto paper. Once I pour everything out I shut the journal and never read it again. Once my thoughts are on paper, then that is it. Worries out the door! I see a counselor whenever I need to work through something that is causing me emotional distress or making me nervous. Having someone unbiased and experienced makes me feel safe and allows me to move forward. I highly advise to use any one or more of these tools to help you stop overthinking and causing worry.

6

These are just some things that have personally helped me overcome my anxiety everyday. I hope that they can help you as well.

You are not alone. It is incredibly important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with you and that what you are going through is normal. Anxiety IS manageable especially when you have support. If you start to feel like it is unmanageable reach out for help. Whether it is a health expert, a friend, a family member, or even me. ​I am always an email or private message away.

Bee Inspired,

Brittany Lee Vaughn

8

I want to thanks Brittany for sending over her entry as a guest blogger for my blog! She’s been patiently waiting for it to go up on my site because I had so many people send me their posts over the last few months, and still more are coming in! Check our Brittany’s blog, or hit her up on any social media listed at the top for more stories and remember to check in on your mental health from time to time.

NAME

 

A Red Hair Girl Blogger

My Depression Story & 3 Steps I Took to Get Help – A Red Hair Girl

My first guest for the new year! A special thanks for this very detailed blog from a new friend, Stephanie! You can find her at the following links: Facebook Instagram and Twitter. I’m just going to let her take it away and share her story!

Hello! I’m Stephanie Robbins. I’m a new blogger over at A Red Hair Girl. I am a mental health, family, travel, and education lifestyle blogger. I have 4 kiddos. Mr. E is 7, Miss L is almost 5, Miss S is 3, and Miss N is 1. I am a stay at home mom. I taught first grade for nine years before I stayed home. I have worked full time, part time, and stayed at home with kiddos. It’s all hard.

A Red Hair Girl Blogger

Photo Credit: Whitney Beth Photography

I wanted to start a blog for a long time before I got the courage and strength to go for it. I found some great resources by way of another blogger couple that was very helpful in getting things set up. I have learned so much but have a LONG way to go.

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to help my depression and anxiety. I kept a closed lid for so long, it was tiring. The more I started to open up about some of my mental health illnesses I realized so many others were also going through the same or similar things.

For a long time I tried to deal with it on my own. I was teaching part time in a less than ideal situation. It should have been ideal but I was struggling. I was not a good mom. I was not a good teacher. I was not a good wife. That’s what I thought and certainly felt.

I was being pulled in too many directions. It was overwhelming and I was not happy. I had to work for a few years to help provide for our family while my husband (Eddy) was in school full time. Having to work took out some of the fun. Eddy was in pharmacy school, it was not cheap. So we choose to have me work part time (making the big bucks teaching part time… haha!) to not have to take out as many living loans.

We decided that the last year Eddy was in school I would take an unpaid leave of absence from teaching. I was pregnant with our third, we had to purchase a van to get to fit three car seats in, and we moved out of our tiny basement apartment into the house we bought. It was a lot of change at one time. Good change though.

The first year I wasn’t working after having kids was great. It was super weird to not go back to work when school started. But it was also amazing! I loved being home with my kids. It was great to be able to get to know other families in the neighborhood and get to play with them.

A Red Hair Girl Photo 1

Miss S

I had depression after each of my babies. Looking back before having kids and being married I had depression. It was different from after having kids. I just felt lonely or down at times. With each baby my depression became worse. After I had Miss S (baby number 3) it was a game changer.

She was born in November 2015. I wasn’t just depressed, I was angry. I would be fine and then would snap. It was the sheer number of kids. I was totally outnumbered and out handed. Miss S was our best baby so far so I was confused.

angry face

It took me until about May before I decided to go get help. Eddy was super supportive. That was huge and very helpful. I called my OBGYN to get some names of therapists. I was so scared. I was terrified to admit that I needed help. I thought I was a failure. Why couldn’t I control what was happening to my body?!

Guess what? My negative thoughts were SO backwards! I was not a failure. I was a hero for myself to realize I needed help and that I was taking the first step to get help. I made some phone calls and found someone close to me that insurance would cover.

I called and left a message. I thought I was going to throw up or explode with nervousness. She soon called back and I had an appointment. There were a lot of mixed emotions going on. Again, when the day came for my appointment I was nervous.

It was June or July of 2016 and I was finally doing one of the best things that I could have done to help save myself. Save myself from a life of misery. Save my children from having a sad mom all the time. Save my husband from feeling helpless.

It wasn’t overnight that things started to get better. It wasn’t easy. But little by little I started to have better moments, better days, and then weeks. Am I 100% depression free? Oh heck no! I doubt I’ll ever be. However, now I have more tools to help me. I have a better support team. I now see my therapist about every 2 months. I have to be realistic that depression will always be a part of my life with highs and lows.

 The follow are some steps I took to help myself.

numberone

Admit You Need Help

This was the hardest thing for me to do. I like to think I can take care of myself. But in reality I’m better when I let people help me. I may have an issue with control. So not being able to control myself was scary. Ok, I have an issue with control. 😉 I’m willing to bet that this might be the hardest step for you too. I’m here to say you CAN do it! You are not weak or silly or crazy. Well, you may be a little crazy… haha! I sure was! My point is that once you can say you need help you might have a huge weight lifted off of you. I did.

monkey.png

My challenge for you is to go look in the mirror and say out loud, “I am not happy. I need help. I am not weak, but strong. I am WORTH it!” Now you may not need to say those exact words. Whatever you are struggling with I want you to say it out loud. You may cry, you may laugh, or you may get pumped up. I hope you feel some relief. Then you will be ready for step number two.

numbertwo

Talk To Others About Your Struggles

It can also be hard to admit to others you don’t have all your stuff together. But let me tell you a little secret (or maybe you already know this…J). No one has their stuff together! If they say they do, I’m calling their BS! Haha!

portrait

Eddy, My Biggest Support

You just might find yourself connecting and becoming closer to those you talk about your struggles with. Or you might find out that they also struggle. What a great way to build a deeper relationship. This new knowledge might be so helpful in the future when you need a lifeline and they can give you one.

Since I have been more open about my depression I have had great conversations with some friends where I find out some of the things they struggle with. Just the other day I ran into a friend that I haven’t seen for a while. We chatted and had a great time. She must have seen my blog or social media posts where I have been more open about my mental health. She was very open and forthcoming about some of the things she has been struggling with. I felt our relationship get stronger and my love for her grew.

Why wouldn’t we want that? Why would I want to keep my mental health a secret when it can be shared and then strength can come from it?

family

Family is a great place to start opening up

I challenge you to think of at least one person you can share your mental health struggles with. Think of someone that you feel will love and support you. The goal is to not have this person feel like they need to fix you, because they won’t be able to. Maybe that needs to be said to them. This should be the beginning of a more open relationship.

numberthree

Get A Therapist

At this point I had admitted to myself I needed help. My husband, some of my family, and a few friends knew. I mentioned it was super scary to call the therapist and leave that message. To have to admit to a total stranger was hard. I’m glad it wasn’t in person.

I want you to think if talk therapy might be helpful for you. Let me give you a hint, it probably will. I suggest you just try it for a little while and see what happens. Let me answer a big question for you… Yes, it’s pricey. But can you and should you put a price on your happiness? No way! You are so important that you need to do what you need to help yourself. So go pick up your phone and make that phone call! Call your insurance to see who is covered and close to you. Then start calling therapists to see who is taking new clients. You may need to make a few phone calls and shop around for a therapist that you feel comfortable with AND trust. Again this can get pricey. I’m still going to answer the same, JUST DO IT ANYWAYS!

I was blessed that the first one I met with I instantly felt calm and comfortable with. Years ago, before I was married, my mom suggested I go talk to someone because she felt I wasn’t as happy as I normally was. (I told her about this a couple days ago and she has no memory, haha!)

The first therapist I went to I didn’t feel that connection. So I went to another one. She was better and I met with her for a little while. I tried to find her when I decided I needed help back in 2016. I couldn’t find her and I’m glad. I really like my therapist that I have now. We have a better connection then I had with the other therapist.

phone

So now that I have rambled on for what seems like forever I am going to challenge you to find a therapist (or counselor, social worker, any health or medical professional). Give it a good try to see how you like talk therapy. You just might find a winning connection.

I still have a ways to go. I always say I take a baby step forward and some big steps back. Haha! At least I’m getting those baby steps forward. Those small victories are the ones we need to celebrate and grow from.

You also need to celebrate the small victories. Don’t be hard on yourself. You can do this one baby step at a time.

I have a post where I talk about some of the steps I’ve taken while in therapy that have helped me. Head over to my blog to find it.

NAME

Drugstore Finds to Cure your Holiday Anxiety – Eve Tawfick

A special guest posting for this Thursday before Christmas with a small curated list of easy drugstore finds to help calm your stress and anxiety during the holiday season. Fitting, I think, as Christmas is only a few days away and families are scrambling to get together. Thanks Eve for taking the time to write this little piece for my readers to enjoy!

Hello everyone – My name is Eve and I’m from Downham Market UK. I’m a blogger, media student and freelance writer, while also a single mother of two! My aim is to reduce social stigma and empower single mothers across the globe.

Nothing spells anxiety greater than the impending doom of turkey basters, tangled Christmas lights and spending time with your drunk Uncle Phil. The need to socialize, sing and spend money has many of us reaching for the mulled wine in terror-and seeking refuge under the nearest duvet.

However, the onset of seasonal anxiety doesn’t mean you have to go running to the nearest acupuncturist, or seeking pharmaceutical help. There are some natural, cost effective ways to turn your home into a high-quality Christmas spa.

So grab your nearest mulberry scented candle and get comfy-here are some time-tested ways to kick the ass of party panic, gift jitters and tinsel related hyperventilation.

Neroli Essential Oil(Orange Blossom)

one.png

Neroli happens to be the essential oil with science on it’s side. Boffins have concluded that a few drops in a bubble bath or neroli infused products increase serotonin (natures happy chemical) production in the brain. It’s commonly used as a remedy for both depression and anxiety. Not to mention you will smell as fabulous as an orange tree!

Valerian Root Tea

two

I can’t praise this ancient anxiety cure enough. You can get ‘raw’ valerian root from most health food stores. Simply steep the root in boiled water for fifteen minutes and drink before bed. When I first tried this I genuinely felt kind of ‘high’ and sank into a glorious sleep.

CBD/Hemp Oil

three

This one takes longer to dissipate anxiety, however once established can take you from a worrying wreck to surfer dude cool. I vape, so that’s how I take CBD, however a lot of stores sell the oil to take orally. Warning: It tastes like mold.

Epsom Salt Baths

four

The one Granny told you to do, yes salt baths are making a comeback. Pour a generous amount into a bath and sink into the salty goodness. Clears the body of anxiety causing toxins – creating a ‘cleansing effect’ throughout.

EFT Therapy

five

This one you can do on your own, or with a licensed therapist. By tapping acupressure points throughout the body and focusing on your anxiety- the therapy has been known to work wonders. Click here for a great website to learn more about EFT Therapy.

For parenting, lifestyle and dating tips please check out my website.  A big thank you to Koral for letting me guest blog and Merry Christmas!!

NAME

 

 

The Story of a Grieving Journey – Tiffany South

 My Name is Tiffany, I’m honored to have this opportunity to be a guest here. I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression, which stems from losing my 2 sons. Here’s a little backstory.

I had my first baby in 2008. After a very long stressful pregnancy in and out of hospitals, bed rest, etc. I had my baby boy in 2008. Peyton, he was born very, very sick and there was no treatment for his condition. We got to bring him home after him being in the NICU for 3 days after they had run various tests on him as soon as he was delivered via cesarean section. He was with us for 10 days, 7 days at home before he passed away in my arms.

Babyless… But I’m a mom, I need my baby…  How do I go on!?!?

I didn’t want to go on! My arms ached for my baby boy. In 2009 we decided it was time to have another baby. We did but, this time….. twins.

Yes, twins this is the start of Happy and sad!?!
HAPPY AND SAD

Everyone kept saying to me aww.. you’re going to have your family now,  seriously….ok maybe they meant well, but it was very painful to listen to them.

BUT I WAS ALREADY A MAMA

A mama with no baby… the cradle was empty. A bedroom filled with baby decor, baby clothes and well the JCPenney theme teddy bear set I just had to have. A room filled with hopefulness and filled with all the love in the world. The bedroom door now shut! Why? Well because I couldn’t bear to look at the empty room. The room that should have new life, a little boy napping or him, needing me for a feeding.

Untitled design (2)

LIFE AND TWINS

Short story After yet another long stressful pregnancy in and out of hospitals…being in the hospital for one month straight. One of my twins died after 21 days his name was Brenden and his twin, my daughter. I named her Emmah. Brenden, like Peyton, got to come home also and died in our arms.

GRIEVING

After this time we felt like we didn’t have much time to grieve. With a newborn baby girl, we decided the best thing to do was to concentrate on our family to make our way through a difficult time. About a year passed and I made the decision to start my own business. I began an In-Home child care business so I could keep my daughter home with me.

During this year my husband and I began to notice changes in our anxiety and attitude. My husband spent a lot of time in bed when he was off, and I began to have a lot of anxiety when performing tasks like driving. We decided to seek help and attend group therapy for grieving and saw a counselor for about 5 sessions.  We began to feel better after the sessions and decided we could handle it on our own from now on.

What we didn’t know or maybe knew but ignored was that we were far from better.  As the years went on we both began to deteriorate. My husband once again began to withdraw from us on his days off. Staying in bed and not being active around the house. He would still play and take care of our daughter but he was not the same fun-loving guy I married.

I began to notice my anxiety grow when it came to driving. Having panic attacks while even driving a short distance. Also, I began to notice I felt more irritable and angry. I felt my anxiety going up over things that normally wouldn’t be a big deal to me in the past. It got to the point where my husband came to me and said he couldn’t live like this anymore due to his rising anxiety attacks.

We never once gave up on each other and when my husband came to me, I was hesitant at first because what I didn’t see then but know now is, I was scared to face and relive the trauma again!  I didn’t realize this at the time but this was the reason we were deteriorating. We began therapy again in 2015 and this is when we were both diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder on top of our depression.

We were both put on medication which made a huge difference for us also continuing with therapy. The more we have learned about our disorder the more we have realized that it had been a serious problem for years that we had ignored.  Our bodies were trying to tell us that we needed help in dealing with our trauma but we would not listen. We continued to fool ourselves into thinking we could handle it without help.

We have become good at watching each other for the symptoms knowing that is a sign to either adjust our medication (which I have just recently changed) or talking about what we are feeling. At one point I felt myself slipping back into depression. Things were not bringing me happiness as before, I was feeling overwhelmed and working in my daycare for 12 hours a day at 5 days a week so 60 plus hours a week. I have recently shortened my hours. I have turned Families away that need longer hours. I HAVE to think of my happiness first and also my families.

Around this time is when I began my blog about homeschooling my daughter. It has been great therapy for me to share my story, our homeschooling Journey and hopefully help others along the way. My husband and I will always work as a team. Through thick and thin, happiness and sadness. We call ourselves Team South!!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my story, I know how precious your time is.

You will Always be in your Hearts

Endnotes:

Pay attention to your body.  It will tell you when something is wrong.  DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. We have learned over the years that everyone grieves differently. Reach out to a family member, a friend, or a licensed counselor.

You don’t need for it to be a public matter If you don’t want it to be. which is something at first I struggled with. Only very close family members knew and one of my best friends. It’s not anything to be ashamed about but I choose to keep it private.

I’m on medication for my depression and anxiety disorder but I did this for myself to help my life and how I feel and cope. Most people will not have to live this trauma of losing a child let alone two children but whatever you face in life don’t ever hesitate to reach out to someone. Your life is worth living and to live it healthy and happy.

Christmas Cruise

I want to give a big thank you to Tiffany for sharing her story with us on the Unsanity Blog. It take a lot of strength, courage and being honest with yourself to share such a story and I’m happy to have her as my guest this week. You can find her at the links below if you want to read more of her writing and what she does with her blog.

Tiffany South @ https://royalhomeschoolmomblog.com

Facebook Page

Instagram

Royal Deliveries

Pinterest

NAME