Feeling emotional.

I haven’t written a blog post for a while now. To be honest I’ve been feeling so well. I’ve been happy and content. I know I should be sharing this as much as the bad but for me my writing only ever seems to flow properly when I feel low.

I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful 6 week summer holiday with my two children and my husband (who is also a teacher). But the last two days I have felt absolutely pushed and pulled in all directions. I feel drained. I feel very teary. I feel uptight.

What’s the cause? I’m getting better at trying to think this through rather than leave it as a jumble in my head which usually disintegrates into depression.

1. My children are driving me crazy! I love them. They are my utter world. I would do anything for them. But right now I am seriously thinking of changing my name to Bob, anything but mummy. The last few days they have been so whiny, demanding, moany and not only that they have been winding each other up as well. For one hour this afternoon my toddler must have screamed at his brother every 5 mins.

I know they both have colds. I know they are both tired as they have been up at night with coughs. I know some days it’s harder to be kind to your brother when you are stuck in the same room of one house. But seriously mummy is struggling.

And the worst thing is they are so loud about it. We went out for dinner tonight for my mum’s birthday and the whole pub would have heard them whine at every little thing.

2. Today is my mum’s birthday. A day I now find quite difficult. So in the weeks before her birthday I usually now buy my mum a present from my dad as his Alzheimer’s means he can’t do that. I then have to somehow give it to him to give to her without making him feel like I’m taking over or him feel like he is useless. I then worry all day about how my mum will feel. Dad used to be great at birthday presents and taking her out on her birthday etc. Now she has none of that from him and I end up feeling bad for her.

It also always hits me hard on occasions like today how much of the dad I used to know I have lost. Sometimes it is easier to forget how things have changed as I like to block it out but today I can’t. It really hits home to me how difficult it is for my mum and how different my dad is.

3. Sometimes my husband drives me mad! I know he will probably read this blog post so it’s a risk writing this here but it’s not meant to be a criticism so I hope he doesn’t take it this way. We have a different way of parenting at times. He is loud and snappy at the kids at times where I prefer the softly approach. I’m not saying either is better or worse, there are probably times when one is better than the other. But today I have struggled with his snapping at the children and his demands on them. He is completely right to expect better behaviour than we have seen today but I just can’t handle anyone else shouting and screaming!

Also he is very short with me at the moment. Sometimes I seem to ask an innocent question and he jumps down my throat with the response. He is super defensive all the time and I feel on edge that I’m going to do something to upset him.

4. Finally work is round the corner. My glorious 6 weeks that I was desperate for and look forward too so much is nearly over. Im feeling sad. I’m gutted. Work isn’t too bad. I like the people I work with. The students are generally amazing. But it’s work. Back to juggling being a mum and a job. Having more to worry about on a daily basis. Having the prospect of the added stresses throwing my depression out again.

I know these aren’t major things. But for me life is feeling a little topsy turvey. I’m very emotional and just need a massive hug (minus the whinging or moaning that can come with it)

Sun, sand, sea and my mental health.

The last few days we have been away with friends. It has been a treasured time. It has helped myself and my husband relax. It felt like the change of scene was a magic wand.

Firstly the holiday was shared with friends who have boys a similar age to ours. That was so special. Seeing them play their games. Seeing them interact. Watching without always having to come up with the entertainment. Sharing in the pure joy of being away with your best friends.

Secondly being with fellow parents who share your ways with their children. Follow the same type of routines and patterns. New friends that are such good company. I feel relaxed in their presence. Lots of laughter and fun.

Thirdly the bank holiday weather was glorious for us. We spent three days at the beach. The four boys sparkled with complete joy. Playing in the sand. Making up their own games. In the sea pure excitement. The complete bursting fun of a two year old discovering the great time that can be had jumping in the waves. All four of the boys running in and out of the water with such energy.

My mental health really does go up and down like a yo-yo. But right now it’s up on a lovely level page. I feel content. The sun, sea, sand holiday has really settled my brain. It feels like the wind and sea has blown away my worries. It feels like seeing my children’s joy has planted the seed of happiness deep within my being. For now the holiday has lightened my spirits.

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!

Managing the depression on a family holiday.

So we've been away since Friday. It's been 5 days. Staying in Aldeburgh on the east coast of England. Me, my husband, two boys, my mum and dad and mother in law.

I find there is a lot of anxiety before the holiday begins. What do we need to take? Will the holiday house be ok? Will my husband like the place when he wanted to go elsewhere? What time should we leave? Will the journey be ok? But this time my son being poorly was thrown into the anxiety mix. On the day before we went away he had a temperature (probably another ear infection as he seems to be particularly prone to them). Should we take him to the doctors before we go? Will he be ok? Will he be too ill when away? So many questions. So many unknowns.

5 days in and all the worries have gone. The holiday home is perfect. The location next to the beach and the shops perfect. My husbands remarks that he loves the town, also perfect! Everyone gets on. The weather has been glorious. The day trips enjoyable and well chosen.

I feel relaxed. I feel happy. I feel content. The night we arrived, having a drink at a pub for our 5 year wedding anniversary, my husband said you seem chilled out. And that in general I have been. It has been lovely to be away from my home town. Good to get away from the day to day. And there is something very special about sea air. Walking by the sea. Listening to the crashing waves. Throwing stones into the water. All are special, especially when your home town is a two hour plus drive to the nearest coast.

It has been a pleasure to see my boys happy. I love seeing my dad light up in the company of my children. He has Alzheimer's and at times struggles with adults now but he is a magician with children. He always has been to be honest. He plays and plays with them for hours and hours. He never tires. He was like that as a dad when I was younger too. The best dad.

So I am happy but that doesn't mean the depression has disappeared. Most of the time so far on this holiday it has been hiding. But it is still there lurking in the shadows. There have been times where i have felt its presence.

My son was very poorly the first two days. His skin was so hot I could have fried an egg on him. The worry involved in being a mum seriously causes problems for my depression. I can get so wound up in worry and stress that it tires me out even more and drags me down. So when he has been poorly and extremely whiny and clingy, I have struggled when I just want a moment to myself.

One of the things about my depression is my need to be alone. I need space. I need down time. I need time when I don't talk to others. I need headspace. It is quite difficult to get this when away with children, husband, parents and in laws. There isn't really any space. There isn't time alone. It would be rude to take myself away in the day. I have gone to bed early. Reading a book my outlet (the first book I have managed in 6 months due to the illness).

There have been times when I have wanted to shout and scream. Times when I want to have space. Times when I'm so tired I lack any patience.

But in reality I'm having a great time. I'm really enjoying seeing my boys so happy. I love that everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. I am loving the change of scenery.