By Rosey Wren
Hannah, now 25, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the tender age of 15. Bipolar is a condition which causes high anxiety when in low patches.
Hannah favours Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) over medication; she was prescribed Anti-Depressants but explains why she chose to stop them.
She said: “Because they stop you feeling low I felt they stopped me feeling the high as well, it was all a bit numbing”. Hannah explains that Bipolar can make you “Live in the moment” so CBT helps you feel in control as it encourages you to look at your situations/troubles constructively.
“It’s good to pull your head out of the sand to see the bigger picture and make a plan for what you can do to change what is stressful to you”, she says.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is recommended a lot when treating mental illness such as Anxiety and Postnatal Depression, have a read here to find out more about it. You can ask your GP for a referral to CBT in your area.
Due to her bipolar, Hannah when expecting her first child at 23, was closely monitored. She describes how her anxiety presented itself during her pregnancy and after the birth of her son.
“It often manifested itself as being concerned over moments and pain, when he was a newborn I would worry about him and constantly check him, I was scared to leave him alone”.
noun: attachment parenting
An approach to raising infants that aims to promote a close relationship between the baby and its parents by methods such as feeding on demand and letting the baby sleep with its parents.”
Attachment Parenting has helped Hannah to connect with her son. She said: “I found Breastfeeding, Cosleeping and Babywearing have helped me build a strong bond with my son and reduce my anxiety”.
She has found the Breastfeeding community a real support but feels there is a need for more support for mums with mental illness.
Hannah is now 6 months pregnant with her second child, and is still learning to keep her anxiety levels down.
“I’ve found I’m still getting anxious and find myself getting stressed, but I am more aware of triggers and because I’m a second time mum I feel more confident in knowing what’s normal and what to expect.
“I luckily have a very supportive and understanding husband which helps because I feel it can be a bit of a balancing act to keep the anxiety in check”.
She shares this advice for any young mums or expectant mums out there who suffer with a mental illness: “You need a good support network and coping strategies, it doesn’t have to mean medication. You’re not any less of a parent for seeking help”.
Pop over to Hannah’s blog to read more about her Attachment Parenting adventures, healthy recipes and much more.