I’m Tired

Some days I’m happy, some days I’m sad and some days I’m angry. It seems like the angry days outweigh the happy days, but reality is I experience all these emotions daily. It feels like the anger is in control, but the sadness seems to linger as well. I have no idea how I’m going to react from one minute to the next and then feeling flat for extended periods. And I’m always tired.

I’ve never been suicidal. But at times when I get low I begin to feel like life would be easier if it just stopped. That’s sometimes how I’m feeling now. I’m sick of being angry. Angry at my kids, angry at Zombie, angry at my situation. A situation I wanted. Angry of having to keep on keeping on when all I want is to stop for a few days.

I’m physically tired. Tired from having three young children taking turns keeping us up at night and busy all day. I’m mentally tired. Tired of being on edge all the time, tired of fighting, snapping, yelling and crying uncontrollably throughout the day. I’m tired of having arguments in my head, of reliving every conversation I’ve ever had over and over. Of standing in the shower, wasting water while defending myself to people who are never going to hear it and who probably never meant offense in the first place. I’m tired of feeling like I have no personality, that I’m just a shell going through the motions with nothing important to offer. I know it’s not true but that doesn’t stop my brain from thinking it. I’m tired of people asking how I am and responding that I’m always tired when I tell them so. I’m tired of pretending to be okay to protect myself from people feeling sorry for me.

Mostly I’m tired of making promises to myself that I can’t keep. Promises to eat better, to go for walks, to do some yoga, to take some time out (Zombie gives me plenty but at the moment I just can’t seem to get enough). I’m tired of knowing what I need to do to ‘fix’ myself but not being able to action it. Even if I did get myself up and running again I sometimes wonder if there’s any point. I don’t seem to be able to maintain it, I give up at the first sign of trouble. Life is full of troubles so why bother?

Capture.PNG

I realised the other day that in my 35 years I’ve never been truly happy. I’ve had plenty of good times in my life. I’ve had a lot of laughs and have some wonderful memories, but Depression and Anxiety always lingered in the background threatening to attack at any moment. Even as a child I’d spend my days worrying. I’m happy to have a wonderful partner and three beautiful children, but something in me just won’t let me be truly at peace.

I know I’ll be okay. Parenting won’t get easier, but I’ll probably get better at coping with it plus as the boys grow they should hopefully become less reliant on me 24/7. I’ll keep going to my support groups. I’ll pick myself back up every time I get angry and sad and I’ll continue to enjoy the moments of happiness. I’ll make my way through the flat moments until I get out the other side. With the weather getting better I may even find it easier to keep some of the promises I make myself.

I don’t want advice. For some reason advice currently makes me angry and resentful. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, that makes me feel like a failure and I’m doing that to myself enough. I don’t want to be told that this will pass, that it’ll be okay, that I’m strong, that I have a lot of my plate. Most of all I don’t want to be told to suck it up, reminded how lucky I am and that people have it worse than me. I know all this. I just want to be happy.

Advertisements

When The Kids Are Sick

I think the worst part about being a parent (so far) is when the kids are sick, especially when they’re babies. They’re so little and it’s scary. They get fussy, meal times become impossible. It can take hours to get 20mls of milk into them despite their hungry cries. Their tiny noses drip constantly and everything gets covered in gooey snot. Mums face, hands and clothes included. Their eyes drip green goop because their tear ducts aren’t fully formed yet and if you don’t remove it regularly their eyes start to stick together, conjunctivitis, but the viral kind so eye drops don’t work. Their breathing becomes a rattly gasp, each breath struggling to get past all the snot and phlegm. They can be inconsolable at times, especially overnight, those babies that used to sleep through start waking up coughing and screaming every hour on the hour.

They lose their beautiful smiles and stare at me with red ringed miserable eyes. It breaks my heart every single time. They are miserable and in pain and they don’t understand why.

And then of course we get sick, which makes it even harder to deal with. Gone are the days where we could sleep off sickness if that was what we wanted. Then of course the toddler who’s always the first to get sick is fine now, after days of experiencing a ‘man flu’ that could rival the biggest man babies sickness, but with all the energy in the world making him a whirlwind of flying snot and germs.

When my boys are sick, I wish I could fix it for them. I want to wave a magic wand, banish the snot, get rid of the cough, restore the sleep and find those beautiful smiles. I want to hear them giggling to themselves if they wake during the night instead of coughing themselves awake all the time. I want to spend a day not wiping dried up snot from their hair, arms, the bed, the floor, myself…

Having a nap at after hours

And I want the continual crying to stop. It does things to my head, stresses me out, makes me want to cry too. It affects me worse once I get sick as well.

We’ve had a rough winter, cold after cold, every time one of us gets better, someone else gets sick and of course since the twins live in each others pockets we always get a double whammy with them. But we did have the entire month of August without sickness which was wonderful.

Then September came and we’ve had a three week stint of the worst sickness in a long time. The twins and I practically lived at After Hours, even spending an entire night there. Unfortunately they had Bronchiolitis, which is a viral bug so not a lot could be done other than trying to keep them hydrated and giving them love. One week was so bad that I was averaging about 2 hours sleep a night as well as dealing with a cold myself (thankfully not as bad as theirs). I cried a lot, I was emotionally and physically drained.

On the mend

We’re coming out the other side now thank goodness and it’s spring so hopefully there won’t be anymore sickness for a while, although there is teething to look forward to.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Experiencing Postnatal Depression For The Second Time

I woke up angry this morning. It’s been happening a lot lately. Not every morning, but most. Angry because I have to be a mum.

I wanted to give up. I imagined dropping the boys at daycare and running away. I like to think I’d never go through with it, what kind of mother abandons her children, but it took several minutes to brush the thoughts aside.

It’s the worst feeling and it all comes down to Postnatal Depression. I thought I’d avoided it this time, but in the last two months it’s become glaringly obvious that it’s back. As depression often does it crept in slowly, I thought I was fine until one day I realised I wasn’t and that I hadn’t been for a while.

My main symptoms are anger and guilt. I get angry when Raiden doesn’t listen, when he repeats himself, when he asks for something he doesn’t actually want, when he cries for no apparent reason. Basically, I get angry at him for being a typical two year old. I get angry when the twins won’t drink their bottles before bed, then wake up starving twenty minutes after I’ve fallen asleep and when Zombie sleeps through their cries (he doesn’t always). I get angry when they poo minutes after I’ve changed their nappies, when they roll onto their stomachs and get upset because they can’t yet roll back and when they cry. Basically, I get angry at them for being typical five month olds.

IMG_20180818_180727.jpg
Got myself all dressed up on Saturday for a work do, getting away helps for a little while.

The anger is hard. I sometimes yell, although not often. Mostly I just feel annoyed and get huffy. I throw blankets off roughly as I get out of bed, bang bottles on the benchtop while preparing them, roll my eyes when Raiden repeats something I don’t understand for the eightieth time, slam doors, stomp my feet and generally behave childishly. Sometimes I get to a point where I’ve had enough. I ignore my children, pretend I can’t hear them. I don’t know how long for but something in me overrides any maternal instincts and I selfishly stay in bed or continue what I’m doing while they cry out for me.

It’s horrible. The guilt consumes me. I couldn’t tell you how many times I cry in a day. My children don’t deserve an angry mother. They didn’t ask for it and it breaks my heart but in the moment I struggle to control my emotions. I’m happy to report I don’t harm them, but I fear one day I’ll be a bit rough with them while I’m angry, a thought that scares me to no end. I worry I’m scarring them emotionally, setting them up for anxiety, making all sorts of mistakes that will haunt them for life and put them in the same mental illness cycle that I’ve battled for years. I worry I’ve delayed the twins development because sometimes playing with them is too much effort. I worry constantly about how my depression is affecting them, Anxiety has become part of the furniture again.

The absolute worst part is that my boys still love me unconditionally. No matter how angry or dismissive I get, they still adore me. Raiden looks crushed when I dismiss him. The twins faces light up when I pick them up to feed them and ignore them while doing so because at that exact moment I just can’t deal and yet they’re still excited that I’m holding them. I know they are tiny humans who don’t yet comprehend emotions, but I feel like I don’t deserve their love which sets off the waterworks again.

I’m getting help. On Thursdays I attend a support group through PND Canterbury. It’s a group of mums going through the same things and it’s very supportive. We are all members of a Facebook group too so if we’re having a bad moment we can post and support each other. It’s helping, but on days like today Thursday feels like a million years away. I’m trying to look after myself like I described in my Winter Health post, but some days are easier than others. I’m lucky to have Zombie, he’s so supportive and constantly reminding me that I’m actually doing a good job, that I’m not a terrible person however it’s hard to believe all the time. And of course I’m on medication although I often forget to take it which is probably making things worse. Setting alarms doesn’t help because life with three tiny humans is so unpredictable. There’s is no guaranteed time I can do something on a daily basis.

IMG_20180818_120551.jpg
Going out for walks as often as possible. It’s slow going at times but being outside helps.

I’m not asking for sympathy and I’m really hoping I don’t get judgment either. I’m not the first mother to feel this way and won’t be the last, but when people try to justify my depression, reminding me that twins let alone singletons is no picnic it actually makes me feel worse. People telling me how amazing a job I’m doing doesn’t help because I don’t believe them, especially when it’s someone who hasn’t seen me in action. I know we’re supposed to reach out and be supportive of each other, but sometimes it’s easier to not have people around. I’m not sure it’s healthy but I feel like depression has different stages and I’m at a bit of a hermit stage.

All I can do is fight. Get out of bed, out of the house, take a break when I need it, just keep on keeping on. Some days, like this morning, fighting feels like the last thing I’m capable of, but I’m still at a point where I can, so I will.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Back To Work After Having Twins

Today I roasted a chicken. I cooked a cottage pie, a chicken casserole and made a cajun chicken pasta for dinner. I baked some sugar free apple and cinnamon quinoa flour muffins, boiled some eggs and cut up some carrots for work and daycare snacks. With the vegetable offcuts and the chicken carcass I made a stock for use on other meals.

Cajun Chicken Pasta. Was going to make my portion with zoodles but ran out of mission efforts.

While doing this I also put through two loads of washing, played with my kids as much as possible, went to the supermarket and bathed all the kids. With Zombies help of course. The twins watched me cooking from their bouncers, peacefully for the most part and the toddler and Zombie spent hours outside playing with the sandpit and the slide Zombie made.

I also spent a lot of time apologising to my boys for being so busy.

Sugar Free Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Flour Muffins. They are crunchy on the outside and not cooked on the inside but delicious. Recipe here.

On Monday I went back to work, part time, two and a half days a week. On Monday evening when we got home from work and picking up the kids from daycare after six and couldn’t be bothered cooking we got fish and chips. The evening was a blur of feeding babies, getting toddlers fed and organised for bed before finally falling asleep on the couch. On Tuesday when we had the same issue and decided to whip up some toasties for dinner we decided that we needed to be more organised. 

I’m wanting to eat healthier. Since I was pregnant with Raiden my diet has been all over the place and I’m suffering for it. My eczema is so bad I’ve had to go back on some pretty nasty medication for the forseeable future to get it in line as with three kids under three there’s a lot less time for organising a processed food free menu. Plus my weight is creeping back up, I’m perpetually tired despite the fact that my boys sleep through most nights (I’m so grateful) and I’ve recently discovered the PPD is back.

Cottage Pie for lunches and tomorrow nights dinner.

So Sunday is now the cooking day. I’ve prepared enough food for lunches to last the week, three dinners that just need throwing in the oven and snacks to tide us through our work days. It’s relatively healthy with nothing out of a packet involved and now all we have to do is pack the boys bags for daycare. I’m currently melted into the couch with no desire to move, the house looks like a hurricane went through it, but at least I know that no matter what tomorrow throws at us, we will eat. And that’s a good thing because frankly I quite enjoy not feeling hungry.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Eight Things I’m Doing For My Winter Mental Health

It’s winter which is my least favourite season. I’ve mentioned in previous posts here and here that I often suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the form of Winter Blues. Nothing drops my mood faster than grey dreary days and the cold. And I’m not the only one.

I used to let winter bring me down to the point of depression and then spend most of spring and summer crawling my way back up. But as I’ve grown up I’ve realised it doesn’t have to be this way. Combatting Winter Blues before they turn into depression is pretty simple and only takes a little bit of effort each day.

1. Get out of bed.

This is something that I find really hard to do and before I had kids I would happily spend my days that I wasn’t working in bed the whole day, thinking it made me happy but actually heading in a downward spiral. Nowadays I have to get up for my kids and I usually wait for them to wake me, but I have noticed that despite the fact I hate getting up early, I’m generally calmer and happier than days I get up before them.

2. Get outside. 

I’m a bit of a homebody and enjoy being inside, especially on cold and dreary days, but it’s not good for me or any of us for that matter. Getting some fresh air into my lungs and on my skin for a few minutes a couple of times each day gives me a pick me up and a little energy boost.  Being that it’s only for a few minutes at a time I don’t even have to wait for the sun to come out although it’s better if it’s stopped raining. The toddler and I enjoy playing in the fallen leaves as a fun outdoor activity.

3. Get moving.

Our bodies thrive on movement but winter is a time where I tend to get stagnant. The longer I sit, the lazier I get. Having three young children does get me off the couch several hundred times a day, but I try and go for a walk every day that I can to blow out the cobwebs. If it’s cold, I can just layer up. Bonus is it gets me some fresh air and keeps the toddler from. 

4. Eat something green.

We all know that eating well is good for us and it definitely helps to lift my mood. It’s so easy in winter to binge eat junk because it’s easier and comforting but for me and many others it might bring happiness at the time but generally our overall wellbeing will suffer for it. Plus eating well helps deal with winter ills! I’ve been getting extra fruits and veggies into both me and the toddler by having smoothies for breakfast.

5. Keep in touch with friends.

This is something I’m not so good at. I’m a bit of a hermit and of course winter just makes me want to hibernate. But getting out, calling or even having a conversation over messenger with a mate can do a world of good. I go to a mums group most Tuesdays and also try and contact my friends regularly. Or at least respond to their messages. Work in progress.

6. Take a break.

No matter how busy we are, it’s important to do nothing for a few minutes everyday. I find this really hard in todays world, especially when I can barely watch TV without playing on my phone anymore, but the more I give myself ‘time out’ and a chance to be mindful of what I’m doing, the better I feel.

7. Count blessings.

Sure it’s cold outside, but I have a nice warm blanket keeping me snug. When it’s gloomy outside it’s so easy to focus on the negative, so I try to take a few minutes each day to remind myself just how lucky I really am. 

8. Do a yoga.

I used to do yoga every day and I loved it. I was less anxious, slept better and my entire body felt better. Sometimes even just a good stretch is enough to make me feel refreshed. I don’t have a lot of time for doing things by myself, but I intend to start doing a little yoga every day, even just ten minutes each morning. There are thousands of yoga classes on YouTube, I really have no excuse.

This winter I have been the most mentally well that I can remember. I still have my down days and times where I don’t think I can continue, but I owe it to my boys to be as well as I possibly can, so that’s why I try to do as many things from this list as I can fit into each day.

Smiles and Sunshine,

Katie

My Day At Home With Three Under Two

It’s 3am and one of the twins has started crying. I get up, offer him his pacifier and get up to make him a bottle. I decide to go to the bathroom first and when I come back he’s gone back to sleep. I stay awake for a while in case he wakes up again then go back to sleep about 4.

5.30am and he woke up again, so this time I make two bottles and feed the boys one at a time. Zombie gets up for work and at 7 once the boys are settled again I decide to get back into bed.

The toddler wakes at 9am. He’s sick so sleeping late which is nice. I make him a bottle, jump through the shower and get dressed. The bath gets run, a load of washing thrown into the machine and the toddler gets out of bed and into the bath. I get the first twin into the bath and washed and then the toddler decides he’s had enough and throws a huge tantrum while I wash his hair and body. 

Out of the bath he gets and both twins start crying to be fed. I dry and dress the upset toddler and put Thomas on the TV for him. I get the bottles prepared and put the jug on to heat them up before quickly putting the second twin through the bath.

Toddler decides he wants a smoothie having declined multiple food choices up until this point. I make smoothies for him and I, stopping to give the twins pacifiers when they cry. He sits at the table to drink his smoothie. Bottles get heated and one twin gets fed while the toddler drinks half my smoothie and refuses his. The other twin has fallen asleep. I tell the toddler we’re going to hang the washing out, feed the other twin then go for a walk. 

Dinosaur smoothie means he’ll eat spinach.

It’s 11, the time I wanted to leave for our walk. The toddler gumboot and jackets up and comes outside to hang the washing out with me but decides to rake the leaves instead. The rake gets stuck so I stop to help him often. I go in to check the twins who are both asleep now. I head back outside but the toddler has decided he needs his ‘car-ses’ so we go inside to find his sunglasses. Back outside and I have to play with stones with him for a few minutes. 

I get the rest of the washing hung out while the toddler has a tantrum then we go back inside to feed another twin. I tell the toddler to put his gumboots and hat on which was a mistake because now he’s ready to go and crying because I’m changing babies nappies.

I get the pram out of the car and load up the twins. The toddler grabs his bike and we head outside. I put his helmet on and he informs me he’s done poos. I take his helmet off and we head back inside to change his bum. He doesn’t want it changed so he wriggles and fights making it take three times as long. The twins start crying halfway through but I have to leave them while I’m toddler deep in poo.

I leave the toddler to put his gumboots back on and close the windows because I forgot to earlier. Toddlers helmet goes back on and we’re finally off at 12.30. The twins fall asleep right as we start moving. The toddler bikes ahead of me, stopping every few meters to point out cars, trucks, houses and stones. He sees a truck from my work, points at it and says ‘Mum’. I have a proud moment at his recognition skills.

Knew I’d end up pushing everyone

About a third of the way he decides he wants to walk so I chuck his bike on the pram and let him lead the way. We get about four houses before he decides he wants to be pushed in the pram. After another four houses he jumps off and runs in the other direction. I chase after him and explain that’s not the way home and thankfully he gets back on the pram and we go home.

The twins are still asleep so I get them out of the pram in their cacoons and onto our bed without waking them just as I hear a crash in the kitchen. The toddlers pulling dishes off the bench. I sort that out, make him a bottle, change him and put him to bed.

It’s 2pm and the twins could wake at any moment so I quickly throw some eggs in the microwave, make toast and run the steriliser. I’ve gotten halfway through my lunch before I hear crying. I wolf the rest down and get bottles ready. I feed the crying twin, burp him and enjoy a cuddle for a few minutes before I hear crying again. I repeat the process, change bums and Zombie arrives home and gets the washing in. The toddler wakes so I take him with me to the supermarket. 

Got them inside still asleep!

We get home and I do the dishes from last night while the toddler cries at my feet. He’s not usually this fragile but he’s sick. Dinner gets made with interuptions to help Zombie feed twins. I set the toddler up with dinner at about 6.40 then Zombie and I eat, stopping regularly to settle the twins who just want to be held. 

The toddler doesn’t eat much but gets up and down from the table regularly to cry. We get him ready for bed then tend to the twins who are still just wanting to be held but fussy even then. About 9.30 we decide it’s bedtime so we feed the boys, change them and put them to bed. I run the steriliser and clean the kitchen a little while Zombie goes to bed. I sit up in bed awake for a while because it’s the only alone time of the day then drift off to sleep half an hour before the twins start stirring. They won’t wake up and don’t need anything but I stay awake for a while in case they do wake.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Nice Day For A Walk

My mood and mental health is often quite low in the winter and when there’s three weeks of gloomy rainy weather in a row and the only time I set foot out the door is to run from the house to the car it can be very hard to feel happy all the time.

It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder and it’s pretty common. Winter Blues and Summertime Sadness. I find the constant grey, being stuck inside and not being able to move around much just brings me down and these last few weeks have been no exception. 

I thought he might like to play in the leaves but he preferred to help with the taking.

This June my hometown has had some of the least sunshine hours on record. On the 18th we’d had just 13 hours and 48 minutes. That’s less than an hour of sunshine a day. It’s been cold, rainy and miserable. Most days it feels like it’s never gotten fully light, sometime we’ve even been putting our headlights on at 3 in the afternoon!

It’s fun to throw leaves at Nana

Thankfully, this past weekend has been quite sunny. Still cold, but dry and bright enough to play outside. I needed to get some air and vitamin D and Raiden has been itching to get outside for some time now, so we took full advantage, playing in the fallen leaves yesterday and going for a big family walk today. 

Love holding hands and going for a walk with this guy.

Raiden got to ride his bike, crunch leaves as he walked and jump in little puddles. I got to stretch my legs and the twins and Zombie got some much needed fresh air.

I feel better already. Less foggy and anxious, more optimistic and light. I definitely wasn’t on a downward spiral into a deep depression, but I’m hoping it’s not another three weeks before we get to play outside again.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie