Parenting with a Mental Illness: Kirsty

Welcome to the next installment of Parenting with a Mental Illness.  Today I have Kirsty from My Home Truths.  She shares a little glimpse into her life with Depression and Anxiety while caring for her three children.  If you would like to share your story, get in contact with me via the contact tab above.   

My normal is living with a weighty ball of anxiety sitting in my stomach, ready to pull me down at any time.

My normal is worrying about things I can’t control, fussing over hypothetical scenarios and not being able to stop my brain from ticking over constantly.

My normal is not being able to relax, having to move and do something at all times to stop myself from having to sit still and listen to my negative inner thoughts.

My normal is feeling contentment rather than sheer joy; feeling alone even in the midst of a crowd; feeling weighed down by expectation, duty and the daily grind of life.

I live with anxiety and depression. I have lived with these conditions pretty much all my life but I
really didn’t fully understand that for a long time.

It’s my normal. This is the way my mind is wired, the way I process thoughts and ideas, the way I
cope with the uncertainties of life.

Until I became a parent I was undiagnosed and completely unaware. I knew that I had experienced bouts of feeling low but I didn’t realise that they were depressive episodes.

I had always been highly strung; a worrywart; a control freak. But I didn’t realise that my sometimes crippling obsessions over trivial things were symptoms of anxiety.

It wasn’t until I experienced the stress of trying to combine full-time employment with caring for two toddlers and dealing with my son’s special needs that I truly fell apart for the first time.

I came to realise that it wasn’t normal, even for me, to leave work early in tears because of an offhand comment about the accuracy of one of my reports. Or to wake up in tears in the middle of the night, feeling unable to breathe, smothered by bleak thoughts about my son’s future.

It took an emotional breakdown for me to realise that I did have real and life-long issues that I
needed to resolve. Medication, stress leave and psychologist visits helped me emerge from that
episode but five years on and I’m back here again.

I’m learning (slowly) that I also need to find time for me and find ways to “switch off” so I don’t fall back into the abyss. I am my own worst enemy – I always seem to put myself and my needs last on my list of priorities.

But I have come to realise that I do need to start putting myself first and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for needing time to myself. I need to stop listening to that insidious inner voice that whispers that I’m selfish and bad for needing a break and just do it.

Maybe then that insidious inner voice will finally leave me alone…

I will always have stress in my life. I will always be a mother, a worker, a wife, a carer, a friend, a
daughter and a sister. I will always worry and fuss and overthink things.

However, I now know that it’s up to me to recognise when things are getting out of control and to find the strength to admit that I need help to get back on track.

It might have taken me over 30 years to realise that, but I guess it’s a case of better late than never!

A little about Kirsty:

657bc49f-ea3a-49dd-9978-15fc3413f46e_zps0fab0d3cHi, I’m Kirsty. I’m a mother of 3, wife of a big kid, worker, carer and blogger. I always have way too much on my plate but I am learning to juggle with the best of them. I use my blog to vent, laugh at myself, raise awareness of autism and albinism and to pretty much just crap on. Because in the end it’s all about me – my life, my stories, my truths.

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7 thoughts on “Parenting with a Mental Illness: Kirsty

  1. Me

    Thanks Tegan and Kristy – what an honest and open post. I suffered from depression before I had K but nobody wanted to call it that – it was like a dirty word and so we didn’t call it anything. With the onset of menopause, I have suffered with anxiety attacks and depression and I know just how debilitating they were for me – and I didn’t even have little children to look after.
    I have learned to deal with the anxiety and am on anti-depressants and life is certainly heaps better. What I learned about 6 or 7 years ago was that I needed to look after myself first because if I didn’t, I couldn’t function properly as a wife. mother, worked, daughter – I too would feel guilty about spending money on appointments for myself (but of course would be happy to spend the money on appointments for anyone else in the family !!) until I realised that I had the whole thing the wrong way around – I HAD to look after myself if I wanted to carry on looking after others. Life has certainly improved since I came to this realisation and started to act on it. Sometimes I still fall back into the ‘I can get through this without any help’ way of thinking but, more often than not, realise afer a little while that I just need to do what needs to be done for myself and move on with everyone else.
    Sending heaps of love, hugs and positive energy to you both !
    Me

    Reply
    1. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

      Thanks for sharing your experiences too – they sound very familiar! I think I will always struggle with accepting that I need time for myself to function even though I feel guilty and selfish for taking that time for myself. I really wish I could just get over myself and my baggage…maybe with practice I will get there…

      Reply
  2. Alison

    Anxiety is a bitch, I have GAD as well as a host of other issues. I related to your comment about not realising there was any other way to be, in particular. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, something happened in my brain and I was suddenly happy and contented. It was like a magical switch had been flicked. I would pay a great deal to know what combination of hormones made me feel so much at peace for several months of my life. I remember one day thinking – wow, is this how normal people feel? Sadly, the effects did wear off in time.

    Be kind to yourself, and thank you for this honest post.

    Reply
    1. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

      I’m more than happy to share my story Vanessa – especially if it helps others to feel less alone. Hopefully if more people can share their stories too it will help de-stigmatise mental health and show that it can truly affect anyone.

      Reply
  3. Rhianna

    You are wonderful for sharing so openly and honestly on such a difficult topic. It is so good to see that more people are feeling comfortable discussing issues that are felt by so many. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses

    Reply

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