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Where shall I start? Tuesday August 15, 2017

The past twenty years have involved a lot of hard work, trying to work out why I got very ill with postnatal depression after the birth of my third baby but not before.

I was working hard as a probation officer looking after other people and helping to solve their problems but I couldn't solve my own. I tried the stiff upper lip, medication, herbal remedies, other antidepressant medication and all different types of vitamins.

I handed my notice in and was persuaded to stay and changed my working hours to better suit my children and my family. I got pregnant again and suffered a miscarriage and then, after five years of trying to sort myself out, I admitted defeat.

I spent years reading self help books, trying to change the way I think about people and stuff and trying to change myself because I felt like a failure. The result of this is that I feel like I know myself inside out and upside down.

Has it helped?

Well I am not mentally ill any more but really was I ever? Or was I just a hormonally challenged, overworked mother of three lacking in support and trying to cope?

So next time you feel low and and depressed before you label yourself a failure just consider whether you are in fact just surrounded by people who, although they love you, have no idea what you are going through or how to support you, through no fault of their own and then find your tribe whether it be other Moodscopers or someone else who is not afraid of emotions.

It will make all the difference to how long you will travel down the lonely road of depression before turning the corner.

Wishing everyone good luck in their mental health ventures.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Lex Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 5:09am

Hello Romy. I'm loving the succinct wisdom of this great to action: "find your tribe whether it be other Moodscopers or someone else who is not afraid of emotions." Aint that the truth? Moodscopers, a tribe who are not afraid of their emotions... or to talk about them! Brilliant! Thank you!

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:01am

Thank you Lex . I enjoyed reading your blog yesterday too about how preconceptions alter the way you interact with people . I think that this plays its role in how people deal with those with mental health issues . Lots of people are scared they might make depression worse by talking about it with the sufferer but not acknowledging distress is so much worse . If it's hard to know what to do to help I think just asking the question is a kind thing to do and can make all the difference . Look forward to more of your blogs ! Romy

Isabella Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 7:07am

Hi Romy, a very timely blog for me. Yesterday I had a review appointment with my GP. My husband is very ill and my mum very old, so I'm coping with a lot of 'stuff' - I keep going, I'm busy, I see friends, have a laugh even... She asked me if I wanted to double my anti-depressant drug. I just didn't know what to say apart from 'no'. My friends say 'you're coping well' - do I have depression or am I just coping with what life throws at me? 5 minutes with the doctor is useless, I'm so glad I have my homeopath - I get an hour with her and just talking makes so much difference. I'm blessed that I appear to have people around me who love and like me - I'm never sure that I would like me, if you know what I mean...

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:09am

You sound lovely and are doing a brilliant job . Looking after you is sometimes the most important thing you can do so you can keep on looking after your mum and husband . It's hard work being a carer and you need to be cared for too. Keep seeing your homeopath ....and contributing to moodscope ! X

Orangeblossom Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 7:36am

Hi Romy, thanks for your blog which I enjoyed reading. Your suggestion is very helpful.

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 10:50am

Thank you Orangeblossom . Glad you enjoyed x

Sally Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 7:49am

Hi Romy, good advice! I wish I'd known at 18 that there were people like Moodscopers, my sort of tribe as you put it! I suffered for too long and only succumbed to antidepressants in my mid forties. I agree with Isabella too that it's the right sort of help that is important, and that an hour well spent with someone ( in her case a homeopath) is worth its weight in gold. Thank you for your honest and interesting blog, Romy.

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 10:52am

Hi Sally . Yeah an hour spent with someone who cares and listens is worth its weight in gold x

S Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:07am

Hi Romy, I found this a very hopeful blog- thank you! I am sorry that you had to feel bad for so long before finding a tribe- your experience is helping others. Thank you, Sx

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:16am

Yeah it was a long time ! So the motto is never give up ! X

LP Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:07am

Hi Romi,
I really identified with your blog. Hormonally challenged is a description I completely get!
It was so good to read that you are no longer mentally ill. How did that happen?! :) I would love to confidently be able to say that.
Thanks for your inspiration. Well wishes to all LP xx

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:24am

Hi LP. I am more assertive now and not afraid to talk about my experiences. I think that helps . Also I have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and since all gluten removed from diet feel much more emotionally stable. Antidepressants are great but not the answer to every ailment . Experimenting with vitamins helped a lot initially . Magnesium was great . Seroxat prescribed by my GP was evil to come off but helped a bit at the time. Wishing you lots of luck xx

LP Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 12:16am

Really helpful, Thanks Andrea, you too :) xx

Jul Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 7:47am

Hello LP. It's good see your name here again. I get the feeling you might not be 100% but life goes on doesn't it as we go through difficult (and good) times. Go well. I'm still trying to think of 5 sounds when I'm out on my bike...thanks to you! It's good and keeps me focussed. Love Jul xx

LP Mon, Aug 21st 2017 @ 10:37am

Hi Jul, Yes I wasn't great for a while. I'm feeling ok at the moment, which in itself is wonderful! Had a few ups and downs in recent months but always aiming to settle back to steady. So glad the 5 sounds thing has continued to help. It's a nice thing to do too :) Thanks for your message :) Love LP xxx

Anonymous Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 2:48pm

The 5 sounds? My therapist's variation is 5 things you can see, four things you can hear, thre things you can touch, two things you can smell and 1 breath. I find it doesn't help as it's just repetitive. Do you have any suggestions to make it more effective?

Salt Water Mum Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:12am

HI Romy, your blog so resonated with me. I too ask myself those questions - am I depressed or am I a hormonally challenged working mother with little support? Do other people feel this much anxiety? What is a 'normal' amount of anxiety and sadness? Why do I label myself as 'failing'?

I don't take medication but I do attend my therapist and she is most definitely not afraid of emotions!!! !! I have a glorious group of very different friends. Of my very close ones, a few are very emotional and we connect on a deep level. However, a few are practical and witty and never 'do' emotion and I need that too interestingly... I have such a busy racy worry anxious emotional brain that I need the 'other' very much too... a sort of balance perhaps...

Thank you Romy,

Thinking of you every day when I wake up Another Sally,


Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:26am

Great to hear that you have found the support you need . Keep swimming ! X

Tutti Frutti Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:21am

Thanks for the helpful blog. I am too exhausted to attempt to say anything more today. Love TF x

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 12:35pm

Sending you big hugs xx

Valerie Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 9:50am

Hi Romy,
Reading about the circumstances that started you off with depression,I am hardly surprised that things fell apart.I think we all tend to concentrate on our innate predisposition to mental illness,and try to find ways to cope.We think we have let ourselves and others down.

What is often overlooked is that a lot of us-myself included-were born into lives that had us battling fears and insecurities from the outset.The wiring of the brain is changed.If you then go on to have the usual traumas of adult life,you are less equipped to deal with them.

Also,if you are a sensitive and conscientious person,you take on too much,try not to burden others.Other people can make you ill,in mind and body.Exhaustion and stress does proven damage to the flight/fight hormones.Throw in some powerful menopause/PMT/post natal chemicals and you have the perfect storm for a breakdown.

I think we all deserve a pat on the back for managing to lead reasonably normal lives-whatever "normal" is!

I am so glad that you are healthy now,but then again,there was nothing about your reaction that was abnormal, given the context.

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 4:43pm

Thank you for such a lovely thoughtful reply . It means a lot xx

The Gardener Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 10:55am

Hello Romy - you have 'encapsulated' the chicken and egg situation - getting labelled 'depressed' and prescribed medication because people do not have the time (and often, with the medical profession, that vital time to see the 'whole' picture before making a judgement). I am a mirror image - two lovely sons, then nothing but trouble trying to have the next one (discovered later that I only had one working kidney). After two nasty miscarriages I was virtually put to bed the last couple of months before the third son arrived - perfect, and in a tearing hurry to enter the world. When he was seven days old I felt more miserable than ever in my life. Won't bore you - but loads medication, consultations, even being on the pill (although I had a hysterectomy) to see if it would shove the hormones in another direction. Like you, I was busy, tired, three children, a business - now, I think, if I had more post-maternity time things might have been OK. So, echoes of above - stick stress, family problems (cause and effect) overwork and hormones together and you get labelled 'depressive'. If only you could get a prescription for 2 weeks in the sun, or just in the garden with a good book. Glad you are coping - I've got it rough today, Festival of the Assumption of the Virgin - Catholic festival which has seriously dodgy beginnings - so, it's a public holiday and no respite - Mr G particularly awful - this morning's nurse says he is going downhill quite rapidly, heigh-ho - out to lunch - alcoholism stares me in the face. Talking about childbirth, I have 'conceived' a passion for doughnuts, what do you read into that? Go well xx

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:00pm

The similarities are spooky . Hope today went better than expected . Doughnuts are better than alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant the last thing you would need in your present circumstances I would imagine . Hope you and Mr G have a bettter day tomorrow . Kind regards Romy xx

Geoff Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 1:25pm

Hi Romy, Thank you for your blog. I know what you mean abut "finding your tribe." After many years suffering with anxiety and depression, I have started to move forward this year. Part of that was due to a hypnotherapy session I had in January, which helped me clear out a lot of the rubbish in my head that i'd been carrying around for years. But, also, I've been meeting regularly with two lots of people whom I met during two different Well Being groups. The support that we've been able to give each other has been tremendous, and knowing that each of us are just a phone call away is wonderful when times are tough. Then, of course, other trusted friends and moodscope bloggers have added to my positive upturn in my health. I'm grateful for them all. Yes, I think that I have definitely found my tribe.

Andrea Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:01pm

Geoff I am so glad for you . Best wishes Romy xxxx

E Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 4:23pm

Labelling yourself a failure is never helpful unless you are determined to be one in which case it is more of a self fulfilling prophesy than a label. Labels like "depression" or "Bi-polar disorder" or diagnoses as they are otherwise known are another matter. What use is a label like schizo-affective disorder when no two people can agree on who or what it is anyway?

Andrea Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 5:53am

Thank you for the food for thought x

Anonymous Sun, Aug 27th 2017 @ 2:50pm

This is true, but the opposite with BPD. Obsession with failure is your life's goal. Anything you do wrong, was a failure, and you were a failure at and a disappointment and everyone will be ashamed and abandon you. It's so hard to fight that inbuilt instinct on every rejection or on every negative thing.

Ach UK Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 5:35pm

Hi Romy, I enjoyed your blog. Struck a few chords.
I wrote a long reply earlier but my computer somehow gobbled it up and so couldn't find it again to send. Definitely computers fault, not mine ;))
But Valerie's comments at 09.50am are much in tune with what I had written. May you stay well.

Andrea Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 5:56am

Just happened to me too! Stay well too xx

Leah Tue, Aug 15th 2017 @ 11:38pm

I enjoy reading how people cope with life's problems and what lesson they learn. Thanks for your blog.

Andrea Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 5:57am

My pleasure x

Molly Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 3:41am

Hi Romy, I am a bit late to respond, it is good you have overcome 'mental health' I do agree and believe hormones have alot to do with it all! Something I have never managed to work out and it does not seem to be recognised that much. Professionals look for every other reason and never look at hormones (in my experience). I also like the reminder that friends and family do not always know how to help as I tend to turn against people for this reason as I feel so misunderstood. But that does not mean we are a failure. Interesting thoughts here, thank you xx

Andrea Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 6:04am

Thank you taking the time to read it Molly and glad you found it interesting. Worst experience of my life and changed me a lot but maybe for the better? Who knows? It didn't feel like it at the time! Kind regards Romy xxx

David Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 4:59am

Hello Moodscopers,

I find waiting until the end of the day to reading the Blog with all the comments more beneficial to me, also I avoid upsetting anyone.

We all have trigger moments in life mine was six weeks in Hospital with Glandular Fever in 1965.

I realised something was not right mentally as one day I was good then not so good and my surroundings were not changing.

I saw a Psychiatrist Dr Abromochist who diagnosed Cyclothymic disorder.

Which has turned in to full blown BIPOLAR now?

So what is your trigger points

Romy Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 6:15am

Hi David. Our brains are part of our bodies so it stands to reason that if our bodies get sick our brains can be affected too by the experience . ... so complex . It can take years to try to figure it out and then get no real answer. Genetic predisposition combined with physical illness as the catalyst ? Thank you for taking the time to reply and share . It means a lot xx

Romy Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 6:18am

Loved reading all your responses . Means a lot that you took the time . I now feel more connected to my fellow moodscopers . Big hugs Romy aka Andrea xxxx

Jul Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 7:54am

Hello Andrea, I have always known that my depression is only partly an illness. My personality, hormones (which can affect men too) and upbringing contribute so much to how I react to situations and every day living. A Doctor once told me that my depression was a response to the events occurring in my life at the time. Such a simple explanation and one I've never forgotten. I suppose depression and mental illness have become medicalised and almost commercialised, made to be and feel something more than they are. Of course in many cases they are real medical diagnoses. I am glad you were able to resolve your issues yourself. Perhaps your blog has shown others how they may be able to reconcile their depression etc and deal with it in a kind way, less selfjudgmental. Jul xx

Romy Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 9:59am

Hi Jul If I have learnt anything it has been to be kinder to myself and less judgemental of myself and others . None of us is perfect and we all have issues that upset or affect us . I think self acceptance and acceptance of others , not in a complacent way but just not by being so harsh on ourselves is the way forward . Thank you for taking the time to respond . It is much appreciated . Andrea xxx

Jul Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 11:38am

xxx Jul x

Sheena Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 5:52pm

Hi Romy - I have only just read your blog but it's so sound, in my view, that I have to comment. What is mental illness, what causes it, who are vulnerable to it? All mysteries still. Yet it does seem on reading on Moodscope that it is exhaustion (not weakness), determination (not laziness) and those who put others first (not selfish types) that are most susceptible. I am looking forward to reading further blogs from you, Sheena

Romy Wed, Aug 16th 2017 @ 11:24pm

Hi Sheena Thank you for taking the time to comment . Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances and genetic make up and it is only with hindsight that I can see I was trying too hard to keep a variety of people content at great personal expense . Whilst I still don't put myself and my own needs first , I do at least try to treat myself with as much empathy as I show others . I have found that being kind to oneself is a much better way of keeping well than berating yourself for being human . We none of us are perfect and life can be so challenging and upsetting on occasions it's no wonder we get emotionally overwhelmed. This is the first blog I have ever done and I am glad you enjoyed it . Thank you again for your comments . Kind regards Romy xxx

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