Give me a break depression

Tonight I’m feeling rather low

Depression strikes

My arm is making things hard work

Give me a break

Tomorrow is the day I hear

Broken please not

It’s crippling my mood, my soul

Frustration worry.

Summer holidays have been good

Out of the dark

Work is imminent, fear real

The arm a barrier

I was scared before the broken arm

Would I manage?

Could I put the depression to bed?

What now? Don’t know.

Physical and mental illness gang up on me

One was hard

Both feel impossible, too much

Please God help me

Give me the confidence I have lost

Find my abilities

Stamp on the depression so I can succeed

Heal my arm please

Stop the waves of depression lashing in

Make me strong and firm

Help me so I don’t fall into its power again

Show me an easy path

The myth of Physical vs mental illness

So I can’t write much tonight. One handed typing is very slow and annoying. My thumb can’t keep up with my brain.

So I’ve had such a great summer holiday so far! Spending time with my two boys and my husband has done wonders for the depression. Even a few minor relapses have been overcome.

Bank holiday weekend was spent with my family at centre parcs. I was anxious about going. Family dynamics are interesting in most families. My dad’s Alzheimer’s brings its own difficulties, forgetfulness, confusion, tiredness, stress and many more. My brothers and I are similar yet very different. 6 children ranging from ages 8 months-8 years old. Never being to centre parcs before I also didn’t know what it was like.

But my worries disintegrated. The weekend was brilliant. Everyone got on. Seeing the children so happy together was pure joy. We all had so much fun.

That was until Sunday night. My husband and I took the 3 oldest children to the swimming pool after dinner. Once again the kids were superb. I took my 4 year old nephew to the toilet. Bang! I slipped on the wet floor and wow did it hurt.

Assessed pool side I was assured it was just a sprain. In the morning it was much worse. A trip to the nurse at centre parcs and they thought it was broken. 3 1/2 hours at a&e and I still don’t have an answer. It isn’t clear. It has to be treated as a break. Come back Thursday to see the consultant.

So please be patient I’m in cast. Plus it’s my right wrist that’s hurt- of course that would be my writing hand.

Now I can truly be honest about the effects of both on me. The broken wrist is painful. It’s throbbing. Tonight my son caught it and the pain shot through me. It’s incredibly frustrating. I can’t pick up my one year old. I can’t do up my bra. I have used my teeth to do more jobs today than ever before. My husband is finding it tough having to take on most of the jobs in the house.

However, I can cope with the arm better than the depression. I can take tablets for the pain. I know it is temporary. I know it can be fixed. I know there is a solution. I know there is an end in sight.

Depression is none of these things for me. There is no tablet that takes away the pain. There is no cast that helps it heal. There is no doctor that can fix it. Sometimes it feels like there is no end in sight.

I am not trying to say this is the same for all physical illness. I am not saying that depression is the worst out there. I am not trying to belittle physical illnesses or pain. I’m just trying to show you that depression needs to be respected. It needs equal concern, treatment, love, understanding. We need to shatter the stigma.

It should not be physical vs mental. It should be equal treatment for both. Whatever the problem physical or mental people deserve to be listened to, valued and believed.

A poem of depression

Depression is tough

So often I have had enough

It’s hard to keep going

Through treacle I am rowing

The road to recovery is so long

To rush it would be so wrong

My mind tears me apart every day

Overbearing thoughts make me pay

On the outside I look so well

It is so hard to even tell

That deep inside me is a war

The biggest one you ever saw

But despite all of this strife

I do still want my life

I have often wanted to give up

As depression is a gloomy overflowing cup

My friends have held me tight

My husband mr right

My special boys my reason for life

To keep fighting despite the strife

Words of wisdom, listening ears

Have stopped the flowing tears

Love, understanding, belief

To be honest it is such a relief

Still more battles to be won

In order to see the sun

It will get better, it will be good

A battle won I knew you would

So how do you recover from depression?

So today I’m on a spa day with my husband. Seems rather apt that today is the day to blog about recovery as I chill in a thermal spa. However, surprisingly a day at the spa may not be the best setting for recovery for some…too much thinking time. Too much space!

I want to share with you some ideas for starting the recovery process. I think it’s important to remember depression is different for everyone. These ideas might not work for some. It is about picking and choosing what works best for you. It may even include trial and error before you find the right path for you.

So I have put together a list of ideas that work for me. I’m certainly on a journey to recovery at the moment. My counsellor keeps reminding me it is not a race. I’m always one to put a time limit to it. ‘I must get better before school starts in September’ is my current mantra. The counsellor advocates that this doesn’t help, it takes as long as it takes!

1. Rest. For me certainly the most important. This is both resting the body and the mind. For me taking a nap is a brilliant recharger and can at times reset my poorly brain. But I bare witness to the power of switching off from the world in whatever way works for you. When ill I struggle to concentrate on reading so where usually I can submerge myself in a good book to hide from the world, I can’t settle to that right now. In previous posts I have mentioned the world of TV and film as escapism for me. Lying in bed watching Netflix on the iPad is a real strategy I use.

2. Talking. For me this is like medicine. I still doubt whether anti-depressants actually help me at all but I know talking does. It’s hard because when I’m at my worst talking is the last thing I want to do. I tend to push friends away rather than opening up. But the times I have managed to talk have been amazing.

In particular I have had 4 friends over the past few months who have listened so well. They have understood. They have given me their time. They have been there for me. They have believed me when I haven’t believed myself. Either depression sufferers themselves or having someone in their close family who has had mental health concerns they have been like the rope stopping me from falling as I abseil off the cliff.

3. Exercise. If I am honest I find it so hard. The illness takes all the motivation I possess. It starves me of the get up and go. Despite this I really encourage you to exercise. The endorphins truly do help the mood. For me running helps pound away the thoughts from my mind. Walking in the countryside surrounded by the beauty of creation brings me a sense of peace.

4. Planning happy times. I’m conscious fellow sufferers may not agree with this one but it works for me. The last four weeks have been good because I have planned and had lots of wonderful time with my family. They are my world. They bring sun to the darkest, rainiest day. Smothering myself in them really helps me.

5. Writing. For others it maybe music or another hobby but I have found writing is my outlet. Some people write a diary when they have depression. I have tried that but it didn’t feel expressive enough. For me writing allows me to pour my heart and soul onto a page. It gives the jumble in my head some order. It brings clarity to the emotions that I find hard to contain.

6. Holding on to glimmers of light. Some people in recovery write 3 things at the end of their day that they are happy about or proud of. For me it’s trying to treasure the good times. A few months ago I was so desperate. I had the most horrendous day. But at the end of it I was watching my two boys play so happily in the garden. They were chasing each other laughing and giggling. I started to cry. Not sad tears but happy tears. Capturing these moments, these glimmers of light helps the journey to recovery.

Finally I want to reiterate recovery is not a race. Like I have said before it is a rollercoaster with many ups and downs. Try to find what works for you. I hope some of my ideas help. I’m trying to listen to my counsellor who keeps telling me all in good time.

Five tips to help those supporting a loved one with depression.

Living with someone who suffers from depression can take its toll. When at my worst my husband always says it is like his wife has disappeared. What makes it worse is the illness makes me so consumed with my own thoughts that I often fail to see the effect I have on him.

In their book living with a black dog Matthew and his wife Ainsley explain how depression can affect those closest to the sufferer:

“A black dog in any relationship can be confronting, frightening, but navigated together, the bond can be deeper, richer and better for it.”

(Johnstone, 2008, 71)

It truly is all those things. But without the support many would crumble completely. But it’s hard for the supporter too.

I have snapped at him for everything, I have told him off for the most ridiculous things from moving on the sofa to making too much noise. I have moaned at him for not doing the littlest of things and shouted at him for nothing. He has borne the brunt of all of my anger and frustration. When things haven’t gone well at work he has taken the consequences of it. I have moaned to him about it and then all the frustration and anger I have had with other situations I have taken out on him.

If you are going to help your loved one it is important that you stay well. It is important that you remain strong for them during their illness but in order to do this you must take care of yourself as well.

1. Get out when you can. If it means running to the local supermarket to grab some milk and a free coffee, as my husband does from Waitrose, do it. It may only be 10-15 minutes but it can just take you away from the situation for a little while, just to build up a little bit more patience and strength. When you get the chance take a longer break, go for a drink with some friends and blow of some steam. Have a good moan to them, let it all of your chest and don’t bottle it up.

2. Don’t get sucked into their illness. It can be easy to fall into the depression yourself. Living with someone who is constantly down and low can make you feel this way. When they find the negative in everything, you can start to do the same. When you live with a person with depression you can be drawn into their low feelings just like a fly is caught up into a spider’s web. The best advice for anyone living with someone with depression is do whatever you need to do to avoid this.

3.Another piece of advice for those closest is don’t take it personally. At times my husband asks me “are you in a mood with me?” He is asking because I become very withdrawn at times. The depression attacks me from within. The phrase you take it out on those you are closest to is certainly true. Hence him asking me over and over whether I am cross with or annoyed with him. The answer is 100% no. He has done nothing to upset me. He has done nothing wrong at all. I just can’t stand to be in my own company. Unfortunately he gets the brunt of how I feel. So if you have someone close to you who has depression and has been treating you pretty shoddily recently, take heart-it is not personal. Most of the time it is not anything you have done or said, they are just really struggling to be alive at times. It is an effort just to sit still because their head is making them feel so bad.

4. One of the things that is important to remember, so as to preserve yourself as a loved one of someone with depression, is take some slack but don’t start doing everything. It is true that depression completely cripples someone’s motivation, enthusiasm and energy levels. Firstly if you do everything you will burn out. Secondly it has been important for me to do what I can do so I don’t feel completely useless and a failure. I feel like I have some worth. So when you live with someone with depression it may help to take up a little bit of the slack temporarily but don’t suddenly start doing everything. It won’t help you or the person with the illness.

5. Finally it is important to remember you will get it wrong from time to time. You will lose your rag, you will fail to show patience at the correct time and you will snap. When this happens, take a step back and don’t beat yourself up, you are human and it is impossible to be understanding, compassionate, a good listener and be with someone who is depressed 100% of the time. Ultimately the message is you will lose your cool living with someone with depression. Do it and move on.

I’m sorry to my husband for all the times I have been like this. I am sorry for snapping at him. I am sorry for not listening and I am sorry for being distant. I love him so much. So don’t take these actions personally. This illness will be over and I will get better again.  

Thank you for sticking with me always. Keep strong!

Message for a friend with depression.

So over the last few weeks I've witnessed the destructive nature of depression from the other side. "I'm a failure. I'm a burden. I don't want to live like this anymore. I have had enough. I'm too tired of fighting." A friend who has had enough.

Mental illness is different for everybody. Depression is certainly not the same person to person. But there are similarities. Listening to these words has been like hearing myself talk.

Over the past few weeks I've been in an ok place. Things certainly seem to be looking up. It is a slow process and I still have low hours or days but it feels like the tide has turned for now.

Listening and helping others with their own struggles is helping me feel needed. It gives me some value back to my life. It lets me to put into practice some of the advice I have been sharing.

I can empathise completely with my friend. A few weeks ago this was me. You hate yourself so much. You see no value in who you are. You feel a burden and a trouble to everyone. You are so scared of dying but wish you weren't because you just want to end it all. You can't live with it anymore.

Helping my friend has made me realise how hard it is for the person on the other side. It is a natural human instinct to want to make it all better. Give advice. But depression and mental health is not rational. It can not be problem solved. It is the most irrational thing in the world.

It is hard to fight my natural instinct to ask "what's wrong? Or what's happened?" I know from my own experience the answer is "nothing". There is no rhyme or reason to depression. It just hits at anytime often without an event to stimulate its growth.

So I've been trying so hard to remember my own words of advice for those wishing to help. Listen. Believe. Be there. I don't know how successful I am. I can criticise myself so easily I find I judge my responses.

To my friend. I want you to know. You are special. You are valued. You are wanted. You are needed. You have helped me and I am trying to be there for you in the same way.

It is your brain that is poorly. You have a mental illness. You are not all these things that it is telling you. I know you don't believe me when I say these things. But I will keep saying them incase there is something you can hang on to. Years after I first had depression I can still remember the words of a good friend who used to regularly tell me how amazing I was. I used to push it away. But somewhere it stayed in my head.

I will keep listening. I will keep being there. And more than anything I 100% believe you. I believe how bad it is. I believe what you say. I believe how awful you feel.

It will get better.

My experience of being suicidal.

Desperation. So low I couldn't handle it anymore. I just wanted it to be over. It hurts so much. Every second of everyday is a complete nightmare. I am a burden. I am a failure. I had walked here. Taken steps to my end. "Just going for a walk" I had said. Ended up at a place where I could end it all.

A few months ago this was me. Mother, wife, daughter, teacher contemplating ending it all. I thought it would be better if I wasn't here.

Last week Sinead O'Connor posted an "alarming suicidal video" (independent). Her video, which I haven't been able to watch because my own experiences are still so very raw, has been commended for its openness and bravery.

I have been thinking about this post for a while. Am I brave enough to share? Will I get the tone right? Can I explain it clear enough? Can I get people to understand? But O'Connor's video made me remember stigma is only shattered by sharing.

The Samaritans share that:

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK.

6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland

There is still a battle to be won. A fight to eradicate suicide. If we have any hope of that we need to help people understand suicide. There are so many myths about suicide.

Firstly and key for me is knowing

"the majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have."

Depression can make life feel unbearable and impossible to live. In the midst it is so difficult to see that there is anyway out.

I can remember the first night I really felt suicidal. I was off work, yet I had just heard about something that had happened at work in my absence. I was happy for my colleagues but I felt like I wasn't needed anymore. It felt like they were better off without me. When this combined with my thoughts that I was a useless mum and wife was catastrophic. A burden to everyone. No one would miss me.

That night I was desperate. I just wanted it over. I wanted to go and throw myself in front of the first car I saw. The combination of texting a friend and her husband contacting mine meant I spent the night sobbing in my husbands arms rather than anything else.

In the weeks that followed that time, suicide was often on my mind. Several times a day I would think about it. This is someone petrified of dying. Scared of the unknown. I don't want to die. I want to live forever. But depression is so bad at my worst I would have considered death just to make it go away.

I have planned different ways. I had thought about when. Then one night after a particularly bad day I put my boys to bed and declared to my husband I needed space and I was off for a walk. I set off in the direction of town. I knew where I was heading. I text a friend. I told her how I felt. I told her where I was. This was my safety net.

I walked whilst texting. She urged me to turn around. She begged me to stop. She commanded me to come to her house. I ignored her instructions. I pushed her worries aside. I was glad her children in bed meant she was unable to come out to me.

I walked. I cried. I internally screamed at the desperation I felt. I knew where I was heading. As I turned a corner I could see it in front of me. It was like I had reached the promised land. There was a sense of relief. There was the multi-story car park. There I could end it by throwing myself off the top. Quick. Sudden. No pain. Not to be found by a family member.

And that's as far as I got. A street away. I didn't dare go any closer! Just in case it was like Winston Churchill once wrote:

"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through…A second's action would end everything."

I avoided the situation where in a split second I could make the wrong decision. I avoided dealing with the second of desperation.

3 times I have made this journey. 3 times I have been so desperate for the illness to be over. 3 times I have lost all hope that it would get better. Many more times I have had other suicidal thoughts (sometimes several times a day) and done nothing about it.

This is not a selfish act. Of course I had thought about my friends and family. Depression is irrational. It cannot be explained. In those moments I felt like everyone would be better without me in their lives. I knew people would be upset but long term I thought they would be without the burden of putting up with me.

So what stopped me? My two boys. Thank God they are in my life. God is great. Even at my worst. Even when I can see the car park. Even when the option has seemed viable. They have made it impossible. Luckily never have I felt that they would be better off without me. I know my suicide would affect their whole life. They need me now and in their future. I'm their mum and I couldn't do this to them. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have been able to hold onto this in the depths of despair. Others haven't.

So what do I want you to know? Suicide is real. Action is needed to be taken to eradicate it. Suicide is not selfish. It is not a wish to die. It is a wish to end the pain. A desperation for it all to be over.

Please be there for friends and family. If you are worried about them, don't shy about the obvious question. Ask it. "Are you suicidal?" And if they say yes. "Have you made any plans?" It maybe the thing that could save their life. Sometimes people need to talk. Sometimes this is all it takes to help.

I repeat. Im lucky. I have had four friends and a husband who took me seriously. Who encouraged me to share about the reality of my suicidal thoughts. Thank you.

If you ever feel desperate call the samaritans free from any phone anytime 116 123 (U.K. and ROI).

My Liebster Award Nomination

I was recently nominated to take part in the Liebster Bloggers Awards. The Liebster is an online global award that helps people connect with new blogs. It helps you to spread your blog and raise awareness of other new blogs that generally have 200 readers or less.

The rules can be found at Global Aussie who originally started the award WAAY back in 2011 – https://theglobalaussie.com/blog/liebster-award-2017/

I was nominated by https://travelbear92.wixsite.com/travelbear who has a fantastic blog which is a combination of travel and mental health.

She asked me to answer the following questions and then continue on the tradition by nominating 11 more new bloggers to follow on the trend.

1 What made you start blogging?
When I was off work with depression I wrote a book to try and help my self recover and process my thoughts. I had suffered some stigma with different people and I wanted to explain what depression was like so that others wouldn't have to suffer in the same way. The book hasn't really gone anywhere. I had a major blip in my recovery and felt very suicidal. I decided to start writing my thoughts down and start a blog and I haven't looked back since.
2 What have you found most helpful since starting your blog?
The therapeutic affect it has had on my own mental health. It is helping me with my recovery from depression. Even if no one reads it, I will keep going as it is self-care for me.
3 What inspires you everyday?
My two boys. They are very young and they have kept me alive and fighting this horrible illness. They inspire me to be a better person and to be the best mum I can be. Also today I visited my 96 yr old grandad in hospital. He has dialysis 3 times a week, cancer, is blind in one eye and currently is in hospital as he has pneumonia. Him and my Nan (also 96) have been married for 76 years. They are so special to me and have overcome so many difficulties including world war 2 and the death of a child and grandchild.
4 If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Say yes when alan lovesey asks you out aged 17. He is now my husband and after 3 rejections in sixth form we eventually found love at the age of 28! When I was younger we were friends but i just didn't see him as anything other than that. I wasn't the best of people, I definitely led him on and made him think I wanted more. I regret that. I hate that I hurt him. I love that we found true love eventually.
5 What’s your biggest dream and do you think it will ever become reality?
I would love to become a published author. I have so many ideas for books. I don't really have the time to write properly at the moment but maybe in the future. I think becoming an author is so difficult. You need to get a break. An opportunity. Maybe one day.
6 When do you find time to blog & do you struggle?
Blogging at the moment is very spontaneous. I tend to write in the evenings after I have put my boys to bed. At the moment I have found it quite easy to fit in as I'm new to it and enjoying it but I think it will be harder when I go back to work after the summer holidays.
7 How important is mental health to you and what is your experience of it?
Mental health is essential. Everyone has mental health. Everyone needs to look after their mental health. As a sufferer of depression I have struggled with my own mental health. My blog and twitter account were set up with the aim of helping to shatter the stigma of mental health.
8 Do you like yourself & do you think you have Self Love?
I don't. I'm my biggest critic. I constantly see my self as a failure. I don't have much self esteem or value at the moment. I am working hard with my counsellor to try and build this up again.
9 What do you gain from blogging?
Improvement of my own mental health. I have also had some amazing comments from friends, colleagues and associates who have been shocked at my openness. It has led to people opening up to me about their own mental health and struggles. I am proud that I have given them the confidence to share what they feel because they know I won't judge them.
10 What is your favourite blog post of yours so far and why?
My post on self harm is my favourite so far. It was very scary to write because I was very worried about what people would think but at the same time I am proud of being so open and honest and hope it has helped others.
11 If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I have always wanted to travel to Australia! Think it will be a long way in the future now because of money and having a young family but I hope to one day.

I really enjoyed taking part in this process. Thank you @travelbear92 for the nomination. It is now my turn to pass on the baton and nominate 11 others. I have been reading some really good blogs recently. I'm sorry if any of you have been nominated before and I don't know, please don't feel the need to do it again.

My favourite at the moment is written by @meandmymhmatters. I know how much this individual is currently struggling with their mental health but this doesn't mean they aren't working to inspire and help others with their blogging. You are amazing! You are important! You are loved! Remember that!

1.me and my mental health matters: Meandmymentalhealthmatters.wordpress.com

2.thoughtxhange1:
Thought xchange

3. M.chavez
Chavezanxiety.blogspot.com

4. Andrew Penner
Medium.com/@dancingbass

5. Cloudy light 1
cloudylight.wixsite.com

6. Stronger together
strongertogeth1.wordpress.com

7. Chaotic goddess
chaoticgoddess.me

8. Rich young minds
richyoungminds.com

9. Loving mental health
lovingmentalhealth.wordpress.com

10. Louise north
perksofbeinglouise.blogspot.co.uk

11. Kate Hawkins girlmasked.wordpress.com

My questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What inspires you?
3. What is your favourite quote?
4. What is your biggest achievement so far?
5. What is your dream for the future?
6. What is your experience of mental health?
7. Have you experienced any stigma associated with mental health? What?
8. Have you got any strategies that you use to improve your mental health?
9. Has something happened in your past that affects the person you are? How do you overcome this?
10. What self-care do you practice for your mental health?
11. What have you learnt about blogging since you have started?

I can't wait to read your responses.

A-z of what makes me happy.

I recently was reading stronger together's blog post stating the a-z of what makes her happy and I thought I would do the same https://strongertogeth1.wordpress.com/.

Depression sometimes means you fail to see the happiness around you. It is like the black dog is sitting on top of your face blinding your eyes from all the happy times. So it is good to remind yourself of the glimmers of light in your world.

A = Alan! My husband he had to be on this list. He is my rock, my inspiration, my everything. He is the only person who sees the true Becky. He is the only person in the world I feel 100% comfortable with.

B = beach. I love being by the seaside. I love walking along the beach. I can remember times where my friend Liz and I have played on the beach (in our twenties) as some of my best moments.

C = chocolate. I've never been a drinker, I can happily be the designated driver which my husband loves, but chocolate I have a real soft spot for.

D = dogs. I have never owned a dog but my mum and dad's closest and oldest friends always have. I grew up going on holidays with the dog, looking after the dog. Man's best friend is certainly true for me. My favourite are golden retrievers; poppy was my best friend.

E = education. It's been my passion always. When at school I loved it. Now as a teacher I love it. Enough said.

F = family time. I love being with my family. Spending time together. This morning my boys were chasing each other round in circles in and out of the house. It was so special hearing their giggles, sharing their joy.

G = garden. My safe haven. 84ft of it. I just sit in it and feel my self chill. I'm also proud of it as it's coming on slowly even though both alan and I are not gardeners.

H = headspace. My last post was about the need for it. It is so true I would collapse without it. I need time for my head to process the mess that is inside it.

I = ice cream. Chocolate in particular. My current favourite Tesco finest. I recommend trying it!

J = Jacob. My eldest son. Nearly 4 (I can't believe it). The most sensitive soul in the world (just like his mother). But also the kindest. Such a good reader of feelings and emotions. So empathetic.

K = kitchen. Only recently we tore off the old tile on a roll wallpaper. Our great friend Mike plastered it. Alan painted it. My mum and dad helped clean it and suddenly it is a pleasant space to sit in. It was worth the effort.

L = lie ins. Bit of a sucker for these I'm afraid. They have to be shared with alan now as someone has to get up with the boys but I do love a good lie in and it can set me off on a good way for the day.

M = Manchester United. My team. I am obsessed. It's all Dominic Rentle's fault. My dad and one brother support Tottenham and so did I until spending every holiday with the Rentle's meant I was indoctrinated into Man U worship. I wouldn't change it for the world!

N = Netflix. Truly this has been my life line over the past few months. When I was off work, I was so ill I couldn't bring myself to do anything. Bed was my haven. Netflix took me into a different world. My best was watching the series that just transported me out of the real world for a little while. Watched so many but 12 monkeys from Netflix and handmaids tale from channel 4 have been my recent favourites.

O = organisation. I like to have everything planned out. It makes me calmer and less stressed.

P = parents. This is my mum and dad and my mother in law. They are very important in my life. I love seeing my children playing with them. They also give me time to myself by having my children when I need some space.

Q = quiet time. Shhhhh.

R = running. To be honest I don't enjoy this but it does make me feel better. Recently I have been running with a friend and colleague and it makes it much easier and a little more enjoyable.

S = sunshine. There is something about the summer and sunshine that makes me happy. I love being out in the garden and a bit of sunshine helps with that. The warmth of the sun, the paddling pool out with my boys playing …great combinations.

T = Thomas. My youngest son. The cheeky chap he is. He is such a monkey. Complete opposite to my eldest.

U = underwear. (New) nothing like a new pair of pants or bra!

V = visiting friends. I love catching up with friends. Especially when they understand my depression and care for me.

W = workmates (some current and some of the past). It is so important to have people you work with who you get on with. Otherwise work can be isolating and stressful. Lighthearted relief with workmates helps!

X = xxxx (kisses). Who doesn't need these! Husband kisses. Jacob peck kisses. Thomas open mouthed kisses.

Y = Yorkshire puddings. Nothing quite like one. My favourite part of a Sunday lunch. Covered in gravy helps.

Z = zoo. Love my days out with my family at the zoo. Whipsnade and London zoo have been a regular location for family trips over the past few years.

I have enjoyed writing this post! W should have been writing as well. It has become a bit of a life line recently. Sat writing this list in lister hospital waiting to see my 96 year old grandad. He inspires me everyday! Thanks to my husband and mother in law for helping with a few suggestions!

Depression: the need for headspace.

So today we got back from our holiday. Yes we had a wonderful time. It truly was lovely to have a change of scenery. The sea air felt like it started to clear my cluttered, muddled mind. Belly laughing at my husband trying to row a boat was a real highlight. But there was a pure sense of relief when I drove onto the drive of my house this afternoon. Home. The place where I can just be me. My sanctuary. My haven.

Depression truly is a horrible illness. Like the hungry caterpillar who seems to eat a whole through everything in site, depression eats through my soul. It destroys my confidence. It destroys my identity. It destroys who I am.

It is so tiring to be alive. The over analysis of every action, comment, look, is exhausting. Being on holiday with my parents and my mother in law is like having to put an act on at times. I don't want to spoil anyone else's holiday with my mood. It's hard when you aren't really sure if people understand what depression is like. Do they know I can just wake feeling low? Do they know my dreams can make we wake with anxiety? Do they know how hard it is to talk when all I want to do is sleep?

Home is where I can get headspace. Yes I have two young boys who want and need me constantly so it isn't easy but I can be myself. I'm not trying to put on an act. If I'm tired and low I don't feel like I have to be happy. This doesn't mean I can't laugh and smile at their amazing qualities. I can still feel happy.

Home is where I can take time for myself. My husband fully understands. He appreciates that sometimes all it takes is 15 minutes on my own to reenergise. Sometimes I need a nap to sort my head. Sometimes I need to zone out on my phone or in a book to clear my head. Space.

So yes I had an amazing holiday. It was very special to share moments with my whole family.
Moments that made everyone laugh, like when my youngest strutted his stuff in his nanny's sunglasses. I wouldn't have changed any of it for the world and I am already looking forward to next year. But by the end of the week I need some time. Perhaps you may say well this is only natural everyone probably would. Well I agree you are right but the depression means mine is a deep innate need. I can just feel I am beginning to slip into the illness again and space is needed to avoid that!