Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is it OK to feel rubbish?

Did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning? 

Go back to bed and start again.

What's wrong with you?

Crack a smile will you.

Snap out of it.

These are just some of the helpful things people have said to me over the years. When in reality it has taken all I have to actually get out of bed that morning. People don't understand. We all get the feeling I don't want to get up today, I'd rather stay in bed. Suffering with severe depression means that sometimes physically I cannot get out bed, I could just stay there forever, I don't want to see nor speak to anyone at all, ever. The thought of getting up and getting dressed is all too much. And having to go into the outside world and see other people, hell no. Please just leave me in my bubble I have a permanent do not disturb sign hanging over me. I'm done.

Now if I didn't have such a wonderful mum that would be the end of the story. But mum forcing me to talk everyday meant I had to. Mum calling in and checking up on me I knew that I would at least have to get out of bed. And now having my two babies means I can't feel like this. Yes I wish I could stay in bed, but with these two no chance! My children and my mum have saved me from myself. But yes I do still feel like hiding away and not communicating with the world but that's just not possible at the moment my son needs to go to pre school and soon school. I have to go out, I have to make the effort. I have to talk to other people. And we all no what school mummys are like...I have to look half decent and not like I have dragged myself out of my pit, my comfy black hole, where I feel safe. 

We are currently in the process of moving. I'm so excited to have a fresh start exactly where we want to be for the best for all three of us...I'm scared. I've got to do it all again. Meet new people. Find my way in a new area. Force myself to join groups for the children. But I know I have to. If it was just me I would stay in my new home making excuses but the babies need to go out and explore. Shane will be going to full time big school, still coming to terms with this! So I will put on my brave smile and go out and face the world. When my babies are asleep I can take off my brave smile and settle in my bubble until tomorrow. 

It is OK to feel low, it is OK not to always feel happy. It is OK to want to sit and cry. Tomorrow is a new day and I will be OK. YES it is OK to feel rubbish!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A letter to Mark

Dear Mark,

It's been sixteen years since you left, and I miss you everyday. I'm writing you this letter because I need to tell you how I feel and clear my head.

Why did you leave? How could you do this to us? How could you tell you would always be here for me and then never see me again? 

I hope I haven't been a disappointment to you, I've really struggled everyday since you have been gone. So many times I have thought, if I were dead then the hurting would stop and I could be near you again, but I couldn't do this to mum loosing you was horrendous enough. I wouldn't even think this now that I have my two babies and they would of loved you. You would have been the best granddad to them. I talk to them about you, I want them to feel like they know you. Shane likes knowing his granddad Markie is living with the angels and looking after us.

There are so many reminders of you, red candles, yellow roses, bright coloured pansies in spring, tacky Christmas decorations, chocolate limes and Gambian trousers to name a few. And obviously every time I see an Eddie Stobart I smile and check the numbers! 

Your favourite music, mum still wont allow Eminem to be played when she is around, beautiful south, Mel C and Cyndi Lauper. Talking of music Boyzone have just announced their final tour, would you break your arm again to get out of going to this one! 

I have so many feelings towards you I hate that you left. I hate that you had an illness and the fact you were suffering so badly and I couldn't help. I hate that if I mention your name there are tears all around even now. I hate that I miss you so much it hurts, I don't go a single day without thinking about you, talking to you and crying. I hate that I can't accept your gone. I hate that I'm forgetting your voice and your funny ways. 
I love the way you made mum feel in the good times. I love how you made me laugh. I love how you would do anything for me. I love the things you taught me. I loved the days I came to work with you. I love that you would go out of your way to help me. I love the way you wore the silly headdress I got you from Egypt on my school cruise. I love our nicknames and miss using them. I miss watching football with you. I'm sorry for everything maybe I wasn't a good step daughter I wish things were different. I wish you was here. I wish I could hear your voice, even to tell me off! I wish I could see your smile. I'm still so hurt and confused. 
I wish I could of seen you to say goodbye properly, I understand why I wasn't allowed but I feel I needed to see you and know you were at peace. I wish I could of seen you be buried but again I understand why I couldn't. 
I feel I never got the chance to say goodbye to you that one last time.  I love and hate that I am the only one to visit your grave. I hate that your headstone is so bare because they wouldn't allow our input. Your funeral was all wrong and I'm sorry, we knew what you wanted but none of it was allowed. 

I used to feel you around but I don't so much any more, have you gone for good?  

It's fathers day and I can't treat you, or give you a cuddle. But I love you and always will. 

Thank you for the times we had, and for being my dad. 

Happy fathers day x

Thursday, June 14, 2018

First day of pre school

Working in childcare for many years I said my children would never go to nursery at least until they can tell me everything. True to my word Shane didn't go to pre school until he was three. I will be ready by then........How wrong was I.

Morning pre school 8.45-11.45 a whole three hours, what will I do with my time, I haven't had that much time on my own in three years! Well for anyone wondering three hours flies by, especially when you get chatting to the other mums!

We have just moved to the area and know no one. Its a scary daunting thing standing outside the school gate with the other mums. We've all heard the stories of the school mums haha!! Shane is so excited and I'm feeling sick, sad and so emotional, but I wont show him, I put on my brave mummy face.

What if no one likes Shane? What if I embarrass him? What if he has a threenager temper tantrum, yes they all do it even the perfect ones have tantrums! Shane has never been left with anyone, anywhere how will he cope with it all, sharing and joining in. I'm a wreck.

Shane is so excited, "look mummy its all my new friends" his little face lights up.

He is straight in and playing, here it comes I've got to say goodbye, "Shane, mummy has to go now but I'll be back soon, you have fun", I'm scared what reaction will I get? "OK bye mummy see you soon"...................That's it.

Now don't get me wrong I'm pleased he is happy to stay and play, for the first time ever without me, but not a tear or anything, really! He does look up from the home corner as if to say really mum you're going, for a split second, and then back into play.

Mummy on the other hand, well I have to literally run from the classroom in a teary mess. I phone my mum and we both cry.

I pick him up later and he is full of joy so happy and cant wait to go again tomorrow, my baby boy has grown up.

Best decision ever, we have both made some of the best friends.

I now have to prepare for full time big school, tissues ready! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My step dad, I'll never get over you

"Give it time" "times a healer" "it will get easier"

Yes for some, but not me. In fact I think it gets worse I feel like I'm forgetting Mark, his voice, his jokes. My step dad was far from perfect I know this, some have tried reminding me of the bad things, maybe to make me angry and so it hurts less, how could I possibly forget the good and the bad.

So here we go, mum met Mark the lovely, fun caring father figure I needed. He was a train driver and worked shifts so I got to spend so much time with him. He loved us all my mum, me and my nan and we all lived together. He had a great relationship with nan and spent time with her while mum was at work and I at school. Mark and nan would go to the pub for lunch or stay in and watch an old film! 

Mark was an alcoholic and had manic depression. He was also suicidal. This is where the bad comes in. 

Mark would drink and drink a lot, and we didn't always know. Often when he took his children home he would pop into a shop for his drinks to help aid indigestion...these miniatures were in fact neat alcohol, no wonder he didn't share with me! I never told anyone, why would I it was a drink for indigestion! 

When Mark was drunk he became aggressive to the point mum would hide all the knives and get in my bed, this was usual, wedging up the bedroom door so he couldn't get in. But we loved him and he had an illness, we understood that the drunk monster was not Mark, we wanted to help him get better. Mark had a few stays in rehab. One was a beautiful rehab in London and I was allowed to visit him there. The other that I can remember was a terrible rehab that he eventually discharged himself from, I wasn't allowed to visit in this one. Mark wanted help, he wanted to get better he loved us and wanted to spend as much time with us. Before he died he was actually doing really well and I was and still am so proud of him for really trying. 

I cant tell you the amount of times Mark went missing and we thought the worst had happened, or the times mum and I had to try and rescue him from rivers and boat yards, the sound of the boats rattling in the dark still sends shivers down my spine. The nights we sat up calling him, listening to how distressed he was, trying to make sense of where is was so we could find him. The times the police would return him from his car with the exhaust turned inside, or his motorbike recovered from the river. Thankfully all of these times he came home. 

We had some great times too, a great family holiday, a caravan in Hastings mum and Mark, my first boyfriend and me, and Marks two small children. It was the best. We all had fun and all the troubles were gone.  We did it all, crazy golf, bbqs and the dancing in the club in the evening. For this week everything was normal no depression or suicide.

Mark liked to cook and treat us, one night nan was at the pub for crib so Mark cooked for mum and I....banana chicken curry and rice, to this day I can tell you its the worst thing I have ever eaten, I have no idea where he got the recipe but hopefully someone has destroyed it now! This was the candle wax night. Mark asked "do you know how to put out a candle without blowing it"? Mark sucks all the air around the candle and it goes out, clever....until he gets the giggles and blows back into the candle and the wax explodes all over his face and in his eyelashes! Good job he was drunk or that would have hurt. I still cant look at a red candle without laughing!

Then it comes to marks final day with us. I come home from school and I'm struggling with my maths coursework, Mark sits down and tells me it will all be OK, he is always here for me and will never leave...these were the last words he ever said to me and I would give anything to hear them again. Soon after mum comes in from work and looks at Mark, have you been drinking? that's it yes he had he storms out taking a drink with him. He had been dry for a few weeks and then he had started but he was on medication that would make him so ill if he had a drink, we were really worried. 

This night we didn't get all the usual calls, we didn't know where he was, we phoned his friends and family and to be told by his sister "oh not again I cant deal with this I'm watching Eastenders" I hope she feels guilt every day. Mum needed her help. This night I slept like no other so at peace, I didn't keep waking up to hear if he had come home scared of the state he was in or if he was going to hurt mum. I slept like a log. He was dead and I didn't even know. I feel guilty everyday since that while he was lying there I was sleeping. That evening he went my boyfriend came around and to cheer me and mum up and he invented his fart aerobics, we lived in the same village and would come round most evenings so often knew or helped to look for Mark or try to cheer us up. 

The next day at school in sitting in English and my boyfriend phones me, he never phoned me while at school. I call him back straight after lesson, "oh its nothing don't worry, see you later" I knew something was wrong. I get off the school bus and there is my boyfriend waiting for me...this never happens. As I walk down my road I see my cousins car, why is she here today?

I know what is happening, I know my dad is dead. I walk through the door and I'll never forget the faces of mum, nan and my cousin. Mum takes me to my room and tells me Mark is dead. He was hit by a train and the damage to Mark is so horrendous I cannot tell you. I try to say that it cant be him. He would never throw himself under a train, he was a train driver he wouldn't do that to another train driver. I cry for what feels like forever and then I have to face everyone. 

My boyfriend at the time was amazing he spent the whole day making tea for my family and the police. He picked me up and kept me going. He was the one who stopped me trying to take too many paracetamol or drink vodka straight from the bottle at fifteen. He saved my life and I really don't think he knows that. He was a rock to me and mum especially at the funeral and for the months after. I owe him my life.

Marks death was an open verdict. Many, including his family believe it was suicide. I am 99% sure it was not suicide. He had tried more times than I can count but this time it was an accident. The diver that hit Mark said he saw something fall from under the platform and then a person scramble out and tried to get back. The driver couldn't stop, he just shut his eyes. It turns out Marks bottle rolled out and he tried to get it and get back.

Mark is at peace, he is no longer fighting his own demons. His troubles from being abused as a child. Being an alcoholic, manic depression and struggling to accept and feel love and part of a loving family. 

I hate the fact he left us but I love Mark and always will, he was my dad.

Monday, June 11, 2018

C Sections

In 2014 I had an emergency c section, huge shock after a plain sailing easy pregnancy. Now this is a difficult post to write as it has taken me this long to come to terms with the fact that I had to have a section and never 'gave birth', obviously a section is still giving birth just not in the natural way and I am still a mummy, thank god, to my beautiful son. 

My pregnancy was great, no sickness or any real dramas. I worked until 8 months, as a early years practitioner so was full on. Now when it comes to the due date I was never going to get that far 'all the babies in our family are early', myself included born twelve weeks early at a mere 2lbs 1oz. So due date came and went, three 'sweeps' still no baby. 

Okay so I'm booked in to be induced on my husbands birthday, fun day ahead. No baby. I'm induced a further three times...still no baby, 'tomorrow we will break your waters' (with the biggest crochet hook I have ever seen, slightly worried now). 

As a nervous wimp I lay in hospital watching all the other ladies coming in to be induced and whisked away to the delivery department, feeling like Rachel from friends but far less glamorous. All I can hear is the screams especially at night and I'm filled with terror.

Next morning comes and so does the lovely consultant. After having a feel around down there, 'I'm sorry you have still only dilated 2 cm, emergency c-section now'. Those words, how did this happen a section was never on the cards, now I'm really scared, how can I be awake while they pull the baby from my insides!! And I've sent my husband back to work, 'don't worry dear, the baby is still not coming, you'll have time to go to work'. luckily my mum was to hand. 

So they come around with all the legal bits and forms to fill in and prep me, or scare the life out of me even more, and I'm off. As I sit in theatre on the bed bent over at the prefect position so they can get the needle into my back, I have no idea what to think or feel. So I cry like a baby myself.

The operation is really quick and before I knew it I feel like someone is washing up in my belly and now they are holding up a beautiful bundle of joy. Mum is crying, being the doting nonna that she is and I'm confused and having a strange reaction to the anaesthetic, I've got the shakes like never before ' does mum want a cuddle with baby?' actually I'm laid flat with machines beeping and I can feel you tugging around inside me and I'm shaking so uncontrollably that no I don't want a cuddle I'm too scared I'm going to drop my baby! 'oh mum you are lucky to have had a c section he's 9lb 14oz, what a big boy'. Lucky, Lucky oh yes I am.

After being stitched up I'm wheeled round to recovery where my baby and mum are waiting for me. Dad is on the way, thank god he wasn't there, he would never have coped.
 'would mum like some morphine now?' hell yes please. 

I wont bore you with the horrific night in hospital or the huge row with the in laws that happened, this is a whole other story yet to come, the in laws or now ex....however I am sent home 14 hours after my section. 

Again in laws not helping and my recovery does not start well. Hubby was straight back to work, needs must. Mum calls in every night to jab with with my blood thinning injection, its only for a week, phew. The huge safety plaster comes off my wound ten days later and now I feel vulnerable especially as the Midwife tells me the wound is slightly open and to keep it clean and dry. Okay I really will try to. 

After a week of keeping a my wound clean and dry I end back in hospital with a serve infection and a major open wound, they talked about more surgery but luckily they managed a pack the wound. And now daily for the next six weeks I have to have a nurse in to clean and re dress/pack my wound. not fun. Although the nights waking up with my wound leaking and trying to get my husband or mum to patch it up with plasters until the nurses arrive was fairly entertaining. 

I see other mums have their babies and be up and walking around as normal and I had weeks of trauma and not the best start to parenthood. By the time I could get out, my chunky monkey had out grown the carry cot to his silver cross only being in it twice. 

Would I do it again, of course I would but hey id try the natural way of course, but another section, I would if I really had to but definitely not by choice...........  

This is when we get to 2018 and baby number two, I'm having a VBAC, vaginal birth after c section, yes this is my chance to give birth, I'm scared but after some great birthing stories from my friends I'm going to do it naturally! 

After a scary start to the pregnancy with early bleeding and a rocky relationship, he left the three of us when my daughter was two weeks old, it takes a long time to accept that she is doing well and I'm going to have a baby girl, but I'm doing it right this time a proper birth! So due date comes and goes two 'sweeps' and still no baby and then the consultant comes round....I knew it c section...again. 

Although this time a planned elective c section. Mum and I arrive at the hospital bright and early two days later and its quite exciting, I get to meet the midwife, nurses and the all the medical team that will be in theatre with me, would I like any particular music? Any comforts or even just a cuddle. This is much nicer and I'm happy and excited. I knew what to expect and only had a little cry as I get into theatre and in position!

I have a good c section no shakes this time but I do have some funny reactions, an unbelievably itchy nose but Barny, the anaesthetist, adds some meds into my drip and I'm fine and then trying to be sick but couldn't, now this did scare me a little as I could feel them in my tummy whilst I am retching, but not to worry Barny had some meds for that too! All is going well, she was so far down that they needed forceps to pull her out, she wanted to come out naturally too!

I look at the time so close my son 11.19 and my daughter 11.22! And another chunky monkey 9lb 8oz.

I have an amazing recovery second time around and have 48 hours in hospital after and more checks from midwives to make sure I don't have the same problems as the first time. This time I have to do my blood thinning injections into my tummy, myself.... So here I go, and its not actually that bad, I can be brave! I'm up and about much quicker than the first time and back in the car after five weeks.

Two c sections and both completely different my emergency was horrendous but my planned was actually OK. If I ever have any more children they will now have to be c sections, no choice, but they would be planned, hopefully.

C-Section the easy way out....never. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

I have depression and that is OK

Image from

When I was fifteen I lost my step dad, in an absolutely horrendous way. We had the best relationship and I adored him, correction I still do. I will go into the loss of him another time.

This is where it all started at school I was "the girl who's dad jumped under a train" or "the sad girl that cries" and "that one that has therapy cos she's nuts". School arranged for me to see a school counsellor to help with my loss, but this just made for bullying instead. 

Over the years I tried to hide my depression and not admit there was anything wrong when in fact there was lots wrong, and I now know that it is OK to have depression I don't need to hide away and pretend everything is fine. 

I eventually got professional help when I was nineteen and this did and didn't help. I had eight weeks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. You open up each week and try to see the positives and ways of dealing with the negatives. After eight weeks that's it you're cured and back on your own, I drove out of my last session to work so upset and confused I felt more alone than ever and wanted to drive straight into an oncoming lorry, I didn't thankfully. During my CBT sessions they gave me some great advice and techniques, but I was still alone. It made me open my eyes, I realised I have been suffering depression most of my life. In my first session she asked me to start at the beginning, right OK here we go, my dad died before I was born, I was raised by just my mum, (this is fine by me we have an amazing relationship she is my rock and my best friend, but the other children thought this was strange and again I was different and bullied for it at such a young age), excluded from joining in father day makes (this would be allowed now), made to sit in the back of my step dad's van I was hidden away sitting with the rubbish getting splinters in my legs, yes I have the scars, (completely different step dad we did not have a good relationship), moved area in secondary school year 8 and had to start again which is not as easy as you think, step dad died...and then now further in life my own marriage breakdown and the reality of being a single mum to two young children.

After the birth of my first child I had therapy again due to postnatal depression and many factors from my husband's family, this is when I was put on a number of different medications, as I had previously refused, but knew this time it wasn't just me, I needed to get better for my son. During my second pregnancy I had an amazing perinatal nurse who was an absolute life saver, she was always there and went out of her way all the time even during time off to still check in on me, she arranged meetings and lots of support. I also had an amazing midwife and health visitor, so much more support compared to my first pregnancy, although it did feel like they were waiting for me to crack.

Depression is a hard, sad and lonely time where you think everyone is judging you and without anyone to confide in it can make times seem dark and feel like giving up, my mum is amazing at everything until it comes to something being wrong with me whether I'm poorly, upset or my depression, she gets so frustrated that she doesn't understand or feels she cant fix things, this is why I have hidden my depression from mum and now I have learnt I cant talk to her but I still try to keep most of it away from her. In reality there are hundreds of people suffering with some form of depression and it's not embarrassing you're not mad and you're certainly not alone. I have found there are many people out there willing to help or just listen, which for me is the main thing just someone to listen without judging or having an opinion. Someone who doesn't know me or my life where I can just open up. 

I have people close to me telling me that there is no such thing as depression, I need to get on with it and snap out of it. These people love me and want the best for me, but they do not understand depression. It has been hard for me to hear this and made me feel like turning my back on them, locking myself away from the world, making me feel like I am in the wrong, I shouldn't have these bad feelings and that I am exaggerating my feelings. When really they have no idea, that their words could really do some damage and have done in the past. Now I understand depression more I know that everyone is different and deals with things in a unique way that is right for them. I just wish if people don't understand depression please don't try to help someone by telling them depression is overrated and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, please just stay quiet and own up that you don't understand and try to just listen. Depression needs to be a more talked about subject and the stigma removed.

I now know that I suffer with depression and I know I have good days and bad days, but that is OK. I stay strong for my children and I now accept that is OK to have bad days and it's OK to cry and feel down, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully it will be a better day. I have learnt to write things down when I feel bad and talk it out with someone. And a smile or laugh everyday is so important, it really is the best medicine!

A letter to the younger me

Over the years and my time having therapy they have always advised on writing letters to help me clear my head. I wrote a letter to my s...