Women’s Mental Health – When to Get help

I look around at my friends, social media, stories I hear and I don’t know if it is a coincidence, a bad (few) year(s) or our age but there is so much unhappiness and suffering, than it’s staggering.

Depressions.

Illnesses.

Couple crises.

Burnouts.

Anxieties.

Losses.

Financial crises.

Loneliness.

I believe that it is our age. That it is the 35-45 years old women who are on the toughest spot today.

Stay home moms longing for financial independence, recognition of their hard work or more ‘off duty’ time; working moms wishing for more time with family and less guilt; women with their bodies falling apart after pregnancies, long lasting sleep deprivation, worries and anxieties. Couples going bust, bad financial decisions materialising and that awful feeling of loneliness and self condemnation.

Stress and being unwell for long period of time has an impact on physical well-being and often translates into a concrete health issue.

Myself I’ve been struggling for quite a while and it had a direct impact on my health as I developed strong autoimmune reactions with idiopathic (no apparent) cause. Meaning I don’t know why and when my face and body will swell and cover in hives. Apparently long lasting emotional distress and severe fatigue has triggered this autoimmune reactions and while the good news is that it will pass (while I remain on medication to relieve the symptoms) the downside is that nobody is able to guess how long it will take. It lasts already good 4 months but I am hopeful.

I am sure that we all agree that mental health is crucial, yet there is so little done to maintain it.

We shower daily, we wash and cleanse our bodies but very few of us has a routine about cleansing our mind.

There is still some stigma surrounding mental health but it shouldn’t be that way.
Myself I refused to acknowledge that I cannot deal with my problem on my own and I should seek a help.

You see, I knew that I have a problem, I knew that it is not ok the way I behave and feel, over-sensitive, irrational, depressed, obsessed about being the worst mother, wife and person. And to finish it I felt like a total and utter failure for not being able to ‘fix’ myself.

I refused for long to see a doctor because I felt ‘how useless am I if I can’t fix my own problems?!

Those nights when I was so exhausted, alone and the little one would scream and scream and scream. The 4 year old sleeping next door, having own issues. New school, no friends, new challenges. Little one was co-sleeping but nothing was helping. He would scream for hours.

And there… it was happening on those nights…. I would just imagine throwing him, this never-sleeping-always-screaming baby against the wall, or just covering his mouth with a pillow to make him quite for just a little bit…. then I would run out of the room crying, terrified of those thoughts and feelings. Crying and closing my eyes imagining I am not here anymore. Imagining that I died, I was gone and it is all fine again.

I was thinking about ‘being gone’ so often. Almost daily. I didn’t have suicidal tendencies. I did not imagine how I am dying, just that I am not here anymore. It’s all gone. I’m gone. I am dead.

I suffered too long and too much till I agreed to get help – and that was my major mistake. Trying to do it all on my own.

You might suffer from anxiety, depression, phobia or simply be overwhelmed. You might believe just like me that it shall pass any day now… but don’t you wait any longer, go see your GP (general practitioner) and talk to him about all this.

A) (s)he should make a blood test – to verify that you don’t suffer from any vitamin deficiencies (eg. iron deficiency can cause severe fatigue and weakness; vitamin D deficiency causes difficulty to think clearly, bone pain, unexplained fatigue; – in my case iron deficiency and light Vit D deficiency were confirmed and I was prescribed supplements)

B) (s)he should evaluate your state and recommend solutions. In my case my GP provided a contact for family support centre (specialised in sleeping habits and issues with children) for me to go and seek support. Then GP also can recommends specialists. Psychologist, psychiatrist or as in my case allergist for my breathing, swelling and hives issues.

Too many people don’t have any GP or have just any GP, meaning a doctor they don’t trust or appreciate and generally don’t go see. The problem is that when you have an emergency or a situation that requires trust and confidence this won’t make it and new doctors don’t take you in quickly (at least here in Switzerland the waiting time is weeks).

Make sure you have the right doctor you trust and can open to about your issues.

Then (9 months late) I also finally took the step to go talk to a psychologist. I was convinced I suffered from a post natal depression or some other form of depression. First three sessions of 50 minutes I just unstoppably cried. I was so full of pain, regret, guilt, doubts, all those strong feelings were coming out and it was impossible to even think that one day this misery will be over. That this mess (me) can be fixed. (But it could, see here).

Ladies, the struggle is real, we all know it! Now let’s take it step by step and let’s work towards balance and proper wellbeing because that is the key to everything.

Love, A.

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Coffee, soup and happiness addict, girl of controversy I miss daydreaming and slow time. Leaving corporate world, pursuing my dreams and blogging about things close to my heart. Swiss based.

17 thoughts on “Women’s Mental Health – When to Get help

  1. Your post is really interesting and I see we lived similar situations. I suffered from post-natal depression too and waited waaaaay too long before I sought support (the I-can-do-it-on-my-own you describe). Well at least it made me start writing, it was kind of a therapy for me 🙂
    But I’ll keep in mind what your wrote: “We shower daily, we wash and cleanse our bodies but very few of us has a routine about cleansing our mind.” That’s totally true and I definitely should start doing that.
    Have a nice day, des bises!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems like we both started writing for the same reasons ☺ it is so interesting to see how we care of our bodies and how much less careful we are about our mental state. We get little rush and we run to get new creams or see pharmacist or dermatologist. We are unhappy, depressed and miserable and we just carry on as if it is normal to suck it up and keep going. Have a lovely evening, thanks for sharing ♡ Bizzz !!

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  2. I loved the line “We shower daily, we wash and cleanse our bodies but very few of us has a routine about cleansing our mind.” So absolutely true. We need to start a daily yoga/meditation practice to really get in touch with what is happening with ourselves. We are so busy taking care of daily motherhood to look beyond what’s for dinner. And even further, living away from our home countries, who knows what effect this has on us in terms of the lack of a support group we have in raising our children.

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    1. Taking the time to get in touch with ourselves is really essential and it is like a vicious circle, the more busy and swamped we feel the less time we ‘have’ to slow down when it is exactly that moment we should stop and take our time. I love your comment, so insightful… I believe too that the separation from our families, support net and familiar environment has its major impact on us. I just had my mom over here for a week and the world was suddenly brighter 😉

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  3. I’m so glad you were able to get help. I think life is so tough for us these days. Parenting is a full time job and yet society kind of leaves us with the impression we need to work and earn money too. Exhausting! A lovely post that I hope will encourage others to admit when they struggle.

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    1. Thank you Kate! Parenting is such a roller coaster ride! One moment you feel like you figured it all out and in other it all breaks like a house of cards. Without family love and support I feel like us moms are even more fragile and lonely, easily discouraged and disconnected. Hence your work is so amazing because it helps and provides tools to all of us . Your book is on my ‘to read list’ 🙂

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  4. I think that we miss out on so much because of the way that culture has shifted, and we live such isolated lives. Women used to interact with each other so much more face to face, daily. We’re lacking that support, advice, mentoring, modeling…so much! Part of the issue with brain stuff is that so many of us have the same attitude you did, that “I can fix this myself”. Like somehow we are stronger if we can overcome this on our own. We need to talk about it more. I appreciate you doing that.

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    1. yes, yes and yes! Back in the days generations lived together, child care and parenting was shared, wisdom and mentoring was easily accessible. Now most of us live far from families, even in different countries and cultures and try to figure it out on our own while juggling other life stuff. We feel awkward, inadequate and failing because often we have no comparisons to make and everyone around seem like they have it all figured out. Thank you for your support, Susan 🙂

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  5. It’s no secret that women feel more stress, when we reach our thirties we are bogged down with alot of responsibility and many of us don’t know how to shut down the thoughts and worries. I have found mindfulness really helps.

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    1. I did not do enough research to be able to say why the stigma is there and where it comes from, I just feel like talking about it and spreading awareness is helpful. People keep mostly to themselves and back in the days I felt like I am the only one being such a mess and completely failing. Social media show mostly the stunning mothers with their gorgeous houses and families, all smiling and peaceful, everything at its place and space. That made me feel isolated in my problems even more. Thanks for coming over, reading and commenting, Meiah 🙂

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  6. I totally agree with this, after having kids, I really went through this type of identity crisis, and a moment of so-called depression or maybe more like an adjustment period… Still trying to adapt to this new identity and it’s hard. Motherhood is rewarding but the hardest job in the world and sometimes it feels overwhelming I think!

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    1. We often call it a depression when we feel down and you are right that more often it is a question of an adjustment period and fatigue.. My dr diagnosed me as not depressed but very overwhelmed 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Miki Nava 🙂

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I went through a very similar phase, last year. Panic attacks would set of chest pains and body aches. After a few sessions with physicians and heart-to-hearts with my mother, it was diagnosed as stress and anxiety caused by a combination of a loss of identify (that came from moving to a new country, and quitting a much-loved job for the move), trying and failing to understand my toddler’s needs, and a Vit D deficiency. I realized that the only way forward, in addition to taking Vit D supplements, was to keep a positive outlook and to not let a career define me. I found rhythm and routine in blogging, baking, my German class and meet-ups with like-minded women. My son joined a wonderful Krippe twice a week and we both better off now. Your story is definitely something I can relate to. I wish you a happy journey forward!

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