If anyone follows my blog, or regularly reads the things I post, you’ll know about my history with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD following a lack of aftercare when I had 3 recurrent miscarriages a few years ago.
For those who haven’t read any, my basic background is that, between having my son and daughter, myself and my husband lost 3 babies. We were offered nothing in the way of aftercare, no psychological help, and because of that, years later, I’m now suffering from several mental health issues.
Today, after a trip to the park with the little ones, I decided to sort the vast amount of photos and videos on my laptop out, and add them onto my external hard drive. What I hadn’t anticipated was the sheer amount of them I actually own. On the laptop alone there were over 8000 (whoops!)
I added them and decided to sit and nose through the old photos I’d already stored on the hard drive, and in doing so, came across the last six years worth of memories. I’m going to go ahead and use the term “memories” loosely-you’ll read why further down.
While going through them, I remembered around 90% of them, whether that was taking them, or seeing them from someone else.
I know some memories don’t make it to the “long term memory” part of your brain (I’ve just completed a diploma in psychology-this was one of the modules), but I do remember the majority.
I then flicked through until I came to my daughters last three years worth of photos and videos.
We all sat round, giggling at how little, funny and sweet my daughter was (and still is-sometimes), and discussing with my son when they were taken etc. It was then, that I realised something pretty sad-I didn’t remember the majority of them.
Of course, I know I took them, I remember roughly the reason behind them, the time (roughly) they were taken, but I cant remember being there, enjoying that moment, like I did with my son. Quickly switching the laptop off, I tried to reassure myself. I have a lot going on, most days, and what with the issues left behind from the miscarriages, my mind isn’t as clear as it used to be.
Then it dawned on me, what if those two things were connected?!
After putting the children to bed, I opened Google on my laptop. I’d love to say I was wrong in my suspicions, but unfortunately I’m not.
I found out that the hormone cortisol, which is released when you’re stressed, is known to prevent the formation of memories, and therefore causes memory loss. Because anxiety tends to be a long term issue, you’re putting your body through almost constant stress, therefore releasing a harmful amount of cortisol into your body. Additionally, anxiety also distracts you, making your mind wander, therefore hindering your ability to remember what’s happening in the here and now.
PTSD is one of the biggest causes of anxiety, because of the trauma sustained.
I have to count myself as one of the lucky ones, even if it doesn’t feel that way. I have thousands of videos and photos I’ve taken of my kids, and my “memories” can be in front of me at the click of a button. However, what I find that infuriates me more than anything, is that this could have all have been prevented. This is yet another thing mental health has taken from me, primarily down to the lack of aftercare I received.
Its just another thing I’ll have to live with, and slowly come to terms with.
I know I say it a lot on the end of these types of blog posts, but its SO important that the message is sent out. If you, someone you know, just anyone you hear about, has gone through even one miscarriage, or a trauma, make sure they’re battling as hard as they possibly can to get help. And if you/they can’t find that strength to do it for themselves, if their minds and bodies are just too bloody exhausted from fighting to get through each day, then help them, help those around you to get medical help.
Because the life they’ll lead without it, isn’t worth thinking about.
For immediate help or if you’re worried about someone’s mental health while they’re stuck on waiting lists/doctors lists, click the following links for advice. There’s also a link for advice following miscarriage(s) from an amazing organisation, Tommys.