8 things that inspire me.

This post has once again been inspired by something I saw on another blog I recently read. On the road to recovery from depression this list is helpful to keep going in the right direction.

1. My children.

This one is pretty obvious. Each day my two boys give me energy, life and strength.

They make me laugh. Tonight it was My four year olds declaration “he doesn’t need teaching anything” when talking about learning Italian at school. His pronunciation of volcano as tolcano. Thomas’ constant mischief at the moment, dragging the plastic table and chairs in from outside because he can!

They inspire me to keep going even when I’m so low I can’t manage to do anything else. I carried them for 9 months and everyday since they have been born I have loved them with my whole soul. They are everything. They inspire me to be a better person so I can be a good example to them. They inspire me to do things out of my comfort zone because it is good for them.

2. Parents

They have given everything to me and my brothers. They are always there for us in every way. They have provided for us emotionally and financially. Even now they demonstrate such strength and

determination.

My dad has Alzheimer’s which has completely changed their lives. For my mum she has taken on everything at home. She is his carer. From being in control of all the money and bills to having to sort everything practical round the house, life has changed. Emotionally it is tough seeing the man you love fade before your eyes.

My dad despite his illness shows a determination to keep going. With my two boys you see the spark which made him the best dad and his grandchildren adore him.

3. Grandparents

My dad’s mum and dad are 96. They have been married 76 years! They have lost a son and a grandson. They married in World War Two. My grandad fought in WWII and my Nan gave birth to two children and was evacuated in the middle of the war. Today they are happy, determined and

stubborn!

My grandad is the cat with nine lives. He has dialysis for kidney failure which should have kept him going for five years (he is still here 11 years later). He is blind in one eye. He has cancer. He has had a heart attack. Recently pneumonia. Every time this is the end and then before you know it he recovers again.

My nan is as sharp as they come. She knows everything that is happening in the world. She loves her sport.

4. Husband

My rock. He inspires me to be a better person. I owe it to him to be the best I can be because he does so much for me. He works so hard for our family so we can have things we love. Or as Jacob says when you ask him why does daddy work…for trains and centre parcs.

5. Walking in nature

I get so much rest and recharge from this. It can inspire my creativity at times. Others it inspires my mind to rest or calm.

6. Music

So I grew up surrounded by music. My dad collected records and friends would constantly ask him questions about music. He knew everything and was definitely the person you wanted on your music quiz team. Sadly his illness has meant much of that is gone but it is still in me. I’m the opposite to him in the sense I have no idea who sings a certain song or what is the title but I do find music helps me. Motivation. Guidance. Support.

7. Children I teach

They inspire me in two ways. A) to be a better teacher so I can help them learn b) be a better person so I can show them the way we should treat others.

8. Sunshine

Just a bright sunny day. Whether in the crisp chill of winter, the green of spring, the warmth of summer, or the crunch of leaves in autumn. Sun makes such a difference to my mood. It gives me life. It gives me energy.

Maybe have a think about what inspires you. What gives you energy and life? What makes you strive to be a better person? It might help you look for the positives.

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First ever day at school.

So what I’ve been building up to for the last few months finally arrived today. My eldest son’s first day at school.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Mainly due to my son being the youngest in the year, his birthday being the 31st august. Partly due to his sensitivity to new things. Partly due to the ever present campaign in some parts arguing summer born children should be able to start reception aged 5.

So he has just turned 4. He looks about 6 as he is so tall! He is very young in every way. What makes it all worse is the fact given the option by the consultant four years ago I choose to be induced on 30th August when I could have chosen the 2nd September. It’s my fault he can’t spend another year at home with his mummy.

So the day came. I certainly woke up with butterflies in my stomach this morning. My husband too was anxious, pacing the house. My son seemed oblivious. He got on with the morning like any other. Thankfully his uniform is yellow (his favourite colour).

I was expecting tears. He has always cried at firsts before. He had kept saying he was scared and don’t leave me alone. But when it came to it he made me so proud.

He strolled in with his friend. He was welcomed at the door by his teachers and assistants who all knew his name. He put his stuff up and found his friend playing with the trains.

He beamed as he found a “streamline” Thomas the tank and we took the opportunity to leave. Not a tear in sight. (From mummy or son). No looking back.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him all day. I showed his picture to anyone who would give me the chance. I felt a little crazy to be so obsessed by it. But as my husband and counsellor had stressed it is a big day. The start of the school adventure.

My mum went to pick him up this afternoon. Apparently he came out smiling. He loved it. He told her all the things he did.

When I got back from work he was playing on the trampoline in our garden with his younger brother. He was happy with school. He was pleased with himself. Talking about it he said “I love school but I still love you mummy”.

At bedtime he said “can I go to school now?” I was like what??? He must have enjoyed it. I replied “no not now but tomorrow”. That seemed to appease him. Tomorrow seemed to be ok.

Let’s hope the smiles last. I’m sure we’re in for some ups and downs. I’m sure when the reality of five days kicks in we might have a bit of a struggle. I’m sure the tiredness will make him grouchy. But I’m hopeful after a good start we will ride the roughs with the smooth. Let’s hope he ends up loving school as much as I did.

The effect of a difficult birth story.

I recently read a post sharing the belief that a difficult or traumatic birth experience can actually have long term effects on the mother. It left me thinking. Both of my births were difficult for different reasons. I often think about them. Perhaps they have had more of an impact on me than I acknowledged.

Pregnancy number 1 back in 2013 was difficult from the start. The morning sickness was hard and lasted from wk 5-20. It was quickly followed by a gestational diabetes diagnosis which produced its own challenges.

The hypnobirth in a pool which I imagined was never an option now. Consultant led induction on my due date. Everything medical about a labour that I wanted to avoid. Pessary and then oxytocin drip to begin the labour. The oxytocin increased to the maximum level.

Hours later the consultant believing the midwifes had hiked it too high to quick. No wonder I couldn’t handle the pain. An epidural that didn’t work. The pain still unbearable. Topped up and the pain still crippling me. The baby pressing on the sciatic nerve apparently, an epidural won’t work. Eventually an anaesthetist who managed to take the pain away. In my delirious state I called him God!

Over 24 hours later the baby was in distress. Rushed to theatre. Spinal block. Baby pulled out with forceps. Was he ok? Daddy got the first cuddle, I was too busy being sick all over the anaesthetist as I could only move my head to the side! Afterwards a worrying time as I was poorly, a temperature that wouldn’t go down. The next day the catheter finally came out but my beautiful baby boy would not feed from me.

A week of persevering and he wouldn’t even suck a drop from me. He just fell asleep whenever he came close! Feeling like a failure. Bottle feeding it was then. Sitting on a cushion for months. 3 months later after infections. Episiotomy not healing. Cauterisation.

Birth number 2, 2015.I had lost weight I was determined not to have gestational diabetes again. Determined not to be induced. A natural birth for me. But no you had it last time we treat you as if you have it again! What!!! But I’ve tried so hard! A battle from the start with the sickness worse than before.

Finally I proved it to them. I passed the test at 24 weeks, I didn’t have it! I could be signed off consultant care. I could have a intervention free birth.

Or so I thought. In labour I go to the hospital and they want to test my blood glucose every hour, they don’t want to let me in the pool. You have gestational diabetes! What? Have you read my notes? Well it’s hospital policy to treat you as if you have if you had it first time. Having to argue in between contractions that no the consultant said I didn’t have to be treated as it anymore. Bank holiday Monday over Christmas of course they couldn’t check! Luckily my stubbornness allowed me to get in the pool.

All was going well. A back to back labour apparently. Then getting out to be checked the pain ramped up so quickly. Pethidine please. Oh wait we have lost the keys to the pain cupboard! 45 minutes later screaming and swearing. My husband crying because he didn’t recognise his wife.

The baby is distressed. Coming out at a funny angle. Theatre? Forceps? Not again! Thankfully he came too quick. He was out! My amazing boy. A cuddle for mummy. Bliss.

Out of hospital in 3 hours. Perfection. Both my boys together. But dizziness that lasted two weeks. A husband with post natal depression. Struggling with what he had witnessed. He was majorly obsessive with cleaning. He was extremely snappy. Where was my husband?

Once again a baby not feeding from me. A similar story sleep too important for him. Numerous midwifes and others trying to help. All of them after trying everything they know telling me to give up. A failure again.

4 months later and finally things start to level out with my husband. But at the same time hit with needing a new roof on the house. Money problems! My dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

So when the depression hit 9 months after my second boys birth. Maybe the birth had something to do with it. My husband was back to himself but I was starting to feel the effects of all the trauma. Mentally drained. Mentally exhausted. Mentally overwhelmed.

So I think there is something in the article I read. It is important to remember for many women the difficulties of birth can live with them. It can effect them. Change them. We should let them talk. We need to encourage more support for mum’s and dads.

Depression is fickle.

Monday was amazing. Work was so positive. I picked my husband up at home when he had a bad day at work. I felt happy. Proud of myself. So what happened? Why by Tuesday afternoon was I starting to feel the effects of depression? Absolutely nothing! That is the fickle nature of

depression.

I truly am afraid of my own mind. It is so scary how it can turn so quickly. Not only the speed but the lack of reason for the switch is devastating. It leaves me questioning my sanity. It leaves me wondering if I will ever be fully well again.

So what do you do when your mind is a pathological liar? What do you do when there is no apparent reason for your depression? What do you do when your mind twists everything that’s real?

Accept it. Try not to fight against it. The harder you fight it seems the opposition just gets bigger. As all the counsellors I have ever seen have said, don’t force a recovery and certainly don’t rush it.

My mind’s tricks exhaust me. I can’t continue this path. This war. The unpredictably. The fickleness. It’s like living with your worst critic.

So tonight I’m tired, which never helps! I spent last night worrying about our trampoline flying away in the wind! Irrational worries are also a regular occurrence. Who knows I may wake up tomorrow and all will be well again. I may wake up tomorrow and it is the same or even worse.

Depression is impossible to predict. You cannot plan it. There is no forecast for how you will feel the next hour, day or week. You can develop strategies to maintain the level but there are times it overcomes you so much even these are powerless to its effects.

So fingers crossed tomorrow is a better day. Let’s hope tomorrow I wake to the depression in control.

Depressed teacher 3 – I love my job!

Yes you read it right! Yes the woman filled with self doubt and lacking any self-belief is actually enjoying teaching.

So I’ve questioned my job so many times over the past year. It is true it has caused me stress. It has made me cross, frustrated and anxious. I even applied for and got offered three other jobs whilst off ill. But I think I’m coming to terms with it more and more… I was ill.

Yes the job perhaps triggered the depression. Maybe better put it took the depression I live with out of my control. It was one out of several factors that made me spiral into self harm, deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

Today I remembered when I’m well I love my job. Yes it’s tiring. Relentless. The job list is never ending. But it’s also the best job in the world.

Why? It’s so hard to put it into words. I get a buzz from being in a class. I love watching the faces of the children as they learn something new. I like to believe I’m making a difference. I try to help these young people be better prepared for the world we live in. I want to share with them my belief that every single one of them is important, valued and special. I like to push them to reach their goals.

And do you know what I like to learn from them! Yes you got it. They teach me everyday. They show me what it means to be human. What it means to be alive. They give me an energy and a life.

Despite this I’m still don’t feel like I’m fully recovered from the latest episode of depression. I’m just bobbing, keeping my head above the waves so that I don’t sink into it again. I feel as fragile as a china cup that I could be broken at anytime. I know that in this state I could go either way. The road to recovery is a difficult and long one. It’s so hard not to rush it.

So I’m going to take my own advice. When a colleague told me with surprise that he had actually had a good day and enjoyed himself today. I told him to hold onto it. So today I love my job and I’m going to hold onto that, for however long it lasts.

The Power of Counselling.

So I currently have regular counselling every Friday evening. I’m not ashamed of this. There is nothing to hide about it. It helps me, I do it. I’ve been extremely ill, lucky to be alive. I need it.

Sadly people do feel a need to keep the fact they are having counselling a secret. They are worried about what people think. They think it is something to be looked down on.

In the last few months a couple of people have shared with me that they are having counselling when they have been too scared to tell anyone else. Although I am very happy they feel they could do this. Im sad that society would judge somebody for getting the help they need to be well.

Why is something that can help so many people a taboo? Is it the British stiff upper lip? Is it the fact our culture makes it an alien concept to share our emotions? Why when we value chatting with mates do we see it as weird to chat to a counsellor?

Why do people (including myself) think they are going to be judged for seeing a counsellor? It doesn’t make me less of a person. It doesn’t make me a failure! It makes me brave. My whole life I have never been encouraged to share how I feel so to do it is the scariest thing there is.

So how does it help? Yes talking is medicine for my sick mind. It is a tablet to help me get over my illness. My depression ensures my mind plays tricks on me. It is like living with your worst enemy in your own head. It constantly questions me. It constantly puts me down.

Counselling helps me with that battle. Sometimes I get too tired and overwhelmed to fight that voice in my head. I begin to believe it. I’m blind to reality. Counselling let’s me share how I feel and what I’m thinking. Where normally I’m useless at opening up. I am encouraged and supported to.

Inside my head just becomes more and more worked up. Imagine a bottle of coke that has been shook over and over. Counselling helps me release it slowly so it doesn’t explode everywhere. It helps process the muddle that is in my head. It is like the peacemaker finding a truce in the war.

Last night I went feeling very topsy turvy. My broken wrist was sore and annoying me but i had enjoyed a good day at work.

The last few weeks and months my depression has been plagued by my overthinking mind. The anxiety can be uncontrollable and very irrational. Talking about this opened up a whole new perspective. It made something that has been plaguing me for years become a little clearer. It certainly hasn’t solved the problem but drawing it into focus is a step in the right direction.

I have an awful long way to go and have been told it would be best to have regular counselling for even a couple of years. So I will. I will also not hide it. I am not ashamed of something that helps me.

So please if your reading this and you have counselling well done for being brave and doing something for yourself. If your reading this and someone tells you they are having counselling don’t laugh, scoff or make them feel ridiculous. Be proud of them. And finally if your a counsellor thank you. It may be just a job but everyday you help people. Help people, be happy, be content, be themselves and stay alive.

I currently access counselling via The counselling foundation.

Most difficult things to do with a broken wrist.

Another lighthearted post! I’m kind of in the mood to laugh about the wrist today. There have been moments it has made me feel like a failure and exaggerated the depression. But today I’m out for a bit of fun!

1. Hardest thing I have done so far… try to peel a carrot. Seriously impossible. If I held the carrot in my good left hand it hurt too much for my bad wrist to do the peeling. Holding it in my right and trying to peel with my left just didn’t work!

2. Changing a 1 year old’s pooey nappy! Yes Thomas likes to roll. So it kind of involved holding him down with my elbow whilst trying to hold his legs up to wipe with my shoulders. Then once clean putting a new nappy on one handed whilst he is wriggling around.

3. Sleeping! It so annoying having a massive, hot, heavy extension to your arm. Finding a place to put it has been a nightmare. I have even hit my husband in the night with it (apparently).

4. School work! As a teacher I write quite a bit. I can’t write at all! I have done a little with my left hand when I haven’t found an alternative but it is frustratingly slow. It also looks like a five year olds writing. I guess no marking in books just yet!

5. Opening things. Seriously I can’t get any grip or power out of my fingers on my poorly wrist. My teeth have become my second hand!

6. Carrying things! I just can’t. It hurts to put any weight on my broken wrist. Even a class set of exercise books I had to do in three lots! This is extremely frustrating. Everything is taking so much longer than normal. Be patient. I will do what I can.

7. Carrying my son down the stairs. If you have ever been to our house you will notice we have the most beautiful stairs but also the worst for children. They are so dangerous for little ones. Thomas can’t get down them himself yet. So currently I have to carry him down with a rather precarious one handed lift!

8. Eating my dinner. My husband is fed up of having to cut things up for me. A knife is just not needed at the moment I can’t use it anyway.

9. Have you ever tried cutting an apple or spreading butter on toast with your non-dominant hand? Give it a go. Good luck. Wow breakfast time is hard. My boys always have cereal and then apple cut up and toast. I curse every time.

10. Hanging out washing on the line one handed is very comical. How do you peg and hold at the same time. Yes it can be done but it’s very slow.

11. Building lego. So my oldest son was 4 last week. Some friends bought him lego. Yesterday on my day off from work I had a brilliant idea about making some of it with him whilst my youngest was napping. I never realised how much two hands were needed. Also it hurt to push pieces together so I soon gave up!

12. Shampooing your hair. So in the shower my broken wrist is inside this plastic sleeve so it doesn’t get wet. This means I can’t even hold anything in it or use it to balance anything against it. So I kind of get the shampoo bottle with my left hand open it with my teeth and then squirt an unknown amount on the top of my head. Today it was too much and it started running in my eyes. Other days it has been far too little so hence repeat. After the squirt it is a rather unsuccessful rub into the hair one handed.

P.s. Opening a jar! Just stopped the postman and asked him to open something for me 🙈🙈🙈Update: winning at life tonight! Just survived two days looking after two little ones on my own with a broken wrist. Just made two sets of dinner (one for the boys and one for me and my husband) washed and dried up! Wrist killing now but not surprised with all I have had to do today! Work with a broken wrist might be a doddle tomorrow???