You Are Not Alone – Mel’s Story – Mental Health Awareness
Hi all, and welcome back to my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Rachel, get that here. Today I am joined by Mel from leicoindemel. Mel is talking to me today about her battle with OCD. Please show your support, and like. leave a comment, and share this post.
Hi Mel, Thank you so much for taking part in my mental health awareness month, please tell me abit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Mel and I have four gorgeous children aged 3, 5, 7 and 9.
Until a couple of years ago, I was teaching French in a North London secondary school. I’m now working freelance as a photographer, blogger at “Le coin de mel” and recipe developer.
Tell me a bit about your mental health condition
OCD (OCD NHS) has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s sometimes my best friend (go, organised me!) but it can also be my worst enemy at times (hello crippling anxiety!).
OCD is an acronym people use and overuse so much it sometimes feels like it’s lost its meaning. It sounds like everyone is ‘a bit OCD’ from time to time. The thing though is… an obsessive–compulsive disorder is not just having a tidy home, or clean kitchen surfaces… The rituals, anxiety and obsessions can be exhausting, crippling even.
I agree, I think people can be guilty of just throwing that phrase around.
What Struggles do you/did you face?
I wrote about OCD and how it made me feel just a few weeks before I decided to seek help and get it sorted. Here is how it felt to live with unmanageable OCD
I was simply not able to to let go of my routines and ‘quirks’ to the point they dominated me. I would isolate myself, not wanting to talk at the most difficult of times. I would hold on to my soul-destroying perfectionism, always trying to reach an unachievable goal. I felt guilty about the way I was yet I was beating myself up for never being good enough. It was basically like being a dog running after its tail, 24/7…
When planning to start a family, did you have any worries, if so what were they?
I was worried my future children would be like me, that I would pass the OCD on. It was a scary thought, so in order to break the cycle, I have worked really hard to get my condition under control.
How did your mental health condition affect you during pregnancy?
It affected me in different ways in my 4 pregnancies, but the most obvious symptom was obsessive-compulsive nesting for a large part of each pregnancy. I would bleach the house from top to bottom (literally – even ceilings got bleached), I would spend a fortune on cleaning products and spend every spare minute cleaning and organising, wrecking my back in the process. The most extreme things I did were spending £279 on cleaning products in the supermarket and cleaning the loft (vacuum cleaner up the ladder, dusted all boxes and beams…) when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my 3rd baby…
Wow that sounds like it would have been really exhausting too!
Has it or did it impact your parenting?
Strangely enough, I think it has made me a more relaxed parent because I worked so hard on getting my OCD under control I tend not to let it rear its ugly head and I keep calm and stress-free as much as I can.
That’s a great achievement, It’s not easy to keep it under control.
Did you receive any help? If so what was it?
I spoke to my doctor about it, as well as my health visitor after I’d given birth to my fourth baby. A few weeks after I wrote this blog post, I started CBT and SSRI antidepressants. I also attended counselling sessions and self-referred to my local Home start charity . All these things, together with the exercises recommended during the CBT sessions, helped me break the cycle and feel ‘normal’ at last.
Do you feel like there is enough support and help for people suffering from mental health conditions?
There is, once you gather the courage to seek help.
What advice would you give to someone who has a mental health condition.
Talk about it and seek help. No one will judge you. You are not alone.
Thank you so much on taking the time out to answer my questions, and help me spread awareness. If you would like to follow Mels journey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am joined by Jenni, who is talking to me about her battle with PND. Post goes live at 9am.
Much love 💕
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