Have you ever really wanted something but when it happens you’re not prepared for the ream of extra emotions that suddenly hit you?
This was me a few weeks ago.
I’d always wanted two children, ideally pretty close together so they’d be buddies (wishful thinking re the buddies part, I know!). We’d even bought a specific pram that we could add the fixtures for a second child too when we bought our first pram! Rather organised for me…
However, life had other plans and when my first son was 10 months old I got a condition called Guillain Barre Syndrome. This involved me going from being a fit, active new Mum to a quadriplegic in the space of 3 days. I was subsequently hospitalised for 3 months and had to re-learn to walk, to grip things etc…
Fast forward to my son being nearly 3 years old and me finally being physically and mentally able to conceive our second child. Weirdly, any concerns about whether my first pregnancy might have caused the Guillain Barre, getting it again or having to go through the hospital experience again weren’t what hit me when I found out I was pregnant.
You see I’d always known I would recover from the Guillain Barre so that was what I had focused on during my time in hospital.
The harder bit for me came after I left hospital. It was when I was at home again, able to walk, looking relatively normal… But not actually physically able to make it through full days without having to go back to bed, not able to care for my son on my own for fear of the fatigue would floor me as it often did, being told how amazingly well I’d done but feeling like a total fraud as I was living just a fraction of my former life and had absolutely no idea how long this was going to go on for, if it could be forever…?
This was when the Reactive Depression started to take hold. When the thoughts of suicide and how I could go about ending my life began. Mixed with the gut-wrenching guilt of how much I loved my little family and knowing I was ‘wrong’ to be thinking these thoughts but not able to stop them from coming. Our minds are so far from logical when we're in that state that it's impossible to rationalise these thoughts now. This is what I believe creates the stigma; why it's so hard to talk about it and why it's equally as difficult for people who haven't experienced a mental illness to genuinely understand.
However, these were the memories that came flooding back to me soon after finding out I was pregnant.
What happened in both situations was I lost my ability to believe in myself.
During the 20 months of fatigue and subsequent reactive depression I lost my ability to focus on getting my full life back. It was such a hard slog that I let doubt start to creep in; maybe I should start to accept this was going to be my life now, full of chronic pain and fatigue, many people I know live with far worse. I should be grateful for what I had… but I wasn’t.
And then during those first few weeks of my second pregnancy the tiredness came back. I’ll highlight this as tiredness, not fatigue, as there is a significant difference, but it felt familiar enough to scare me and bring back memories. Add to that hormonal emotions of not really wanting to put myself out there to promote my business; be that via social media, for fear of rejection, or face-to-face in networking groups. The emotions also led to me feeling quite vulnerable, wanting to protect myself and my new forming baby and generally wanting to hide from the world a bit.
So again, I started to lose my belief in my ability to run my business and grow a baby inside me at the same time and scarily the thoughts and feelings my mind started to create once I’d allowed myself to think that belief, although they weren’t suicidal this time fortunately, were very familiar and similar to those I’d had on the slippery slope down to the reactive depression.
‘I can’t do this’
‘I’m not good enough’
‘Other people might be amazing successes but I’m not cut out for this’
‘I haven’t got it in me’
Fortunately I’m out the other side of both the Reactive Depression (I took the meds, please don’t ever worry for a minute about taking medication for depression if you’re in a suicidal place, it is genuinely what saved me) and I’ve kicked the self-doubt around my business into touch (yes, approaching 2nd trimester no doubt helps too!).
The message I want to share with you is just how important our minds, and the thoughts and beliefs they are creating are, to absolutely everything we do in life!
Whether negative or positive, what we BELIEVE underpins everything we do, every action we take and the outcomes we get as a result of that belief.
This is why for me, the Reactive Depression was far worse than the seemingly traumatic experience of Guillain Barre Syndrome. When I’ve lost my ability to believe in myself and think positively about my future is when I have found myself in the most trouble.
My desire is to guide others through a transformation process to save them from living their lives feeling stuck, lost or, worse still, from starting down that hideous spiral into any form of mental health condition. Because if I hadn’t learnt these skills and techniques and managed to turn myself around again in the last week or so I hate to think where my thoughts might be heading today…
If any of this resonates with you, if you feel like you have lost your ability to believe in yourself or can see how your thoughts are steering you towards a life you don’t want to be living but don’t know how to break the cycle you find yourself in, then please do book a free call with me to discover how coaching could set you on the path to living the life you want to be living.