Things I like…

 

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Things I like….

Offer me a cup of tea and I will tell you how strong I like it by comparing it to a colour in your kitchen. ” not as dark as the colour of your kitchen cupboards!”
FYI; Earl Grey tea, no sugar, not very strong, dash of milk.

No matter how full I am after a meal there is always a little space for a sweet something. In the absence of a bar of chocolate, it has been known that I would settle for a spoonful of Nutella!

I love the smell of coffee but won’t drink it and freshly cut grass but rarely mow it. Washing that has been dried outside in the sunshine and the smell of a newborn baby’s dirty nappy; strange I know!

I like reading, nice stories that I can imagine being a part of. Watching similar style films. Always love a bit of period drama. Listening to folk music and generally music that I can relate to the lyrics or I like the melody of it. My preferred radio station flicks between BBC radio 2 or Classic FM: Especially in December when they play Christmassy classical music.

I love Christmas and celebrating all festivals in the U.K. I like the idea of getting people together for a social occasion. Nibbles, wine and Gin always go down well. Give me vodka and you’ll be holding my hair back out of the toilet.

I like being outside in the fresh air yet also I’m a home-bird. I love to travel but I always love to come back home. I love cuddling up with my husband, kids and cats but not all at the same time!

It’s good to remember these things that I like. It helps to know them especially when I may be feeling low, or struggling with my mental health. It is also important to remember that just ‘being’ is enough and that I am enough.

 

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Friendship

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Friendship

Out of all the photo challenges so far of this perinatal mental health photo challenge this theme I’ve found the hardest to comment or find a photo for.

I can gush and have done previously in this challenge about my deep love for my friends and the amazing support they have given me. However the elephant in the room here are friends and friendships that have fallen by the wayside over the years. Thankfully there aren’t many but those that have gone I still think about them and hope they’re doing okay in their lives.

Loosing a friendship for whatever reason is really hard to come to terms with. It has to be said it is a grieving process of sorts and is highly emotional. Disbelief, anger, sadness are all there, along with a deep questioning of what went wrong, how did we get to this and ultimately “what did I do?”

I have spent many hours thinking about what has happened to the relationships I have lost trying to understand. After all the internal questioning for your own sanity you need to conclude that it is a two way situation of misunderstanding and unsaid words.

Then comes the crux of the situation; what do you do about it? Do you try and maintain contact despite feeling hurt? Leave contacting each other for a while? Or cut that person from your life. Sometimes if a moment of peace and the white flag raised communication and conversation can return. However honesty has to be at the heart. You need to let that person know how the falling out has affected you. The other person may feel the same or simply have been going through a difficult time too and felt unable to say. Only when that honesty has happened can the mending begin. And sometimes even either that amount of honesty things happen that mean for your own good you need to cut off that person as they are too toxic in your life.

Whatever happens you need to do what is best for you.

Friends come into your life for a reason and so they leave it too.

Social media

IMG_3513Social media.

You hear people say “don’t believe all you see or read on social media”. Life isn’t a Pinterest picture or an Instagram montage. For me when I had postnatal depression it was my mask. I hadn’t entered the realms of Facebook until I had my second child. I did so because I had this silly notion of missing out on things. Friends were talking about it, laughing over photos I hadn’t seen, this made me feel quite paranoid. Now commonly referred to as FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. So on New Years Day 2011 my first photo posted was a photo of my youngest daughter looking happy. Likes and congratulations messages all round. I had finally stepped into the modern world that is social media and joined the masses.

However I was in the throes of postnatal illness and I wasn’t well at all. Paranoid thoughts were a constant in my day to day life. I would rerun conversations over and over in my head. Should I have said that? Did that’s person take what I said the wrong way? Were they offended? Did I upset them? What would they be thinking about me? Would they say to their friends I had upset them? Whatever had happened I would replay it over in my head to think if I could have said something differently.
Despite my better judgement Facebook, which I had been quite openly verbal in my dislike for it, had now become my mask. I would put photos of my daughters on there or happy statuses to show others I was okay. I was definitely sucked into the pretend world of Facebook. It was like a new friend, I wanted to spend lots of time with it, find out more about it, it was fun. However I was trying to live my life as if I was a Facebook status. Strange as it sounds I would compile posts in my head to match a situation. Combining this with how mentally unwell I was feeling it wasn’t a good combination.

Now I am well I know that social media has its place but it is like a good book on a shelf. I can pick it up if I want to. Read it or just glance over the cover. Enjoy it, recommend it to others or just know that’s it’s there.

 

 

Self care

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My definition of self care;
Self care is defined by doing something for ourselves that rebalances our state of mind to ensure our mental health and wellbeing is in a positive and happy place.

My top 10 self care tips

My self care priorities are
0. Sleep; getting enough sleep
0. Food; eating good food. Trying to be healthy but allowing myself to eat the junk food too.
0. Family; making sure I spend quality time with my family, not doing homework or trying hard to “make memories” but living in and appreciating the little moments.
0. Closeness to loved ones. For me this is closeness to my husband:Remembering who we were before we had children. Going on dates, appreciating each other.
0. Friends; spending time with friends and catching up with old friends.
0. Pampering taking time out to pamper myself; paint my nails, have a massage, get a haircut, going shopping, buying and reading a magazine.
0. Reading I have always loved readying and getting into a good book.
0. Nature; appreciating nature, making sure I get out during the week to hear the birds singing and sense the stillness in the woods.
0. Laughing; a chuckle, a snort, a giggle, nothing can beat the laugh out loud, can’t actually make a sound, struggle to breathe situation of hysterical laughter, hearing it or falling about yourself is one of the best highs I can experience. It might not happen often but I love it when it does.
0. Confiding; telling others you’re not okay and needing to share and talk with them.

It is totally personal to you and what defines a happy and positive place for some could be the opposite for others. Find yours …

Nature

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Nature

I love nature in all seasons but I think Autumn is my favourite. It’s important for my own mental health that I can take those walks outside and hear the birds singing even on the dullest of days. A boost of vitamin D from the sun when it makes an appearance, watching the dappled sunlight hitting the forest floor and taking time for myself to feel the sense of peace it evokes in me.

Being a complete nature lover, Guide leader (Girl Scouts) Forest School practitioner and Horticultural Therapist it is kind of in my blood that I have an affinity with nature and all things outdoors.

Nature is a fickle thing, it’s never the same week on week year in year season on season. It changed, evolves and ultimately it is the boss despite us trying to tame it.

In this sense it is also very grounding and predictable. The seasonality of Dark grey winter months whilst the plants and woodland life is dormant, waking up in spring, creating new life, bursting with goodness in summer and autumn bringing with it incredibly intense changes in colour, then back to sleep to conserve its energies.

A bit like ourselves, it would be too much if we were 100% full of life and energy 24/7 365 days a year. We would burn out pretty quickly. So it’s important to learn from nature and take notes. Learn to bloom slowly like the flowers in spring. Snowdrops appear in January yet Wisteria is at its best in May. Give yourself time to bloom at the best time for you and not when others want you to.

Know your purpose. Some plants provide shade, other provide food, some are for show and for some it is only in winter that their purpose is known; I’m thinking of the Christmas Tree, for which I love the fact that this tree can provide such nostalgia and joy during the darkest months.

Trees are very resilient, they tolerate a lot of stresses in their life; weather extremes, damage (human, animal or disease), and devastation (floods, fire or felling).
They come back fighting and regrow stronger than before.

There are lots of lovely quote

 

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Strength

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Strength means so much to me. It describes the amazing mummy’s who get out of the house with their baby after having no sleep to go and be social at a playgroup. It takes strength to put on a smile and pretend that everything is okay

The mum’s who put on make up to cover up their exhausted faces. Concealer to conceal how their true feelings; being a mummy is not what I thought it would be.

It takes strength to admit to yourself that you don’t like being a mummy and wish that you could go back a year to when becoming a mummy seemed so simple. It takes even more strength to tell loved ones and friends how you are truly feeling.

It takes strength to know when you need to ask for help, to speak to your doctor, midwife or health visitor and trust to know that you will get better with the right therapy for you.

Strength to not rely on a tablet to feel better. Strength to take that first tablet to know you are on that road to recovery. Strength to open up your deepest darkest thoughts to a stranger in a room on a couch, strength to walk into a room of strangers who will give you the support you need. Strength to know what therapy is right for you.

Finding your #pndfamily makes you strong and the strength you feel when you become a well mummy means that you never want others to experience those things.
That’s what helped me to become stronger, in that I know how hard it is to become a mummy and to feel all these emotions. To listen to others and actually hear them and ultimately believe what they say is true. You are a good mummy and you will get better. To believe that takes all your strength.

Keep strong.

 

 

Motivation

Motivation

Here is my motivation; our two gorgeous daughters.
They’re funny, sensitive, cheeky, caring and kind. All we could ever wish for. Little miniatures of ourselves, like play doh ready to be moulded and shaped. I love them with all my heart and would literally die for them. When they’re in pain I’m in more pain. When they giggle and laugh my heart could burst with their joy. They are my motivation to be a good mummy, to be a good wife, to enjoy my life and to live and love as freely and unconditionally as they do. They give me motivation to hope and dream. It feels like an honour to be able to be part of their future. To know that their memories of growing up will be shared to their grandchildren long after I am gone.

I have always felt this way yet when in the throes of postnatal illness it robbed me of knowing I actually felt like this. Others could see this love I had and that I was a good mummy. Yet my depression and anxiety masks all other feelings and emotions other than negativity. I know now that this is what postnatal depression does to us.

I love that I am able to share my honesty with them so that they can make the right decisions and take the right pathways in their lives. To reassure them that no matter what life throws at you, it happens for a reason and you can learn from those experiences to help make you a better person and to use that knowledge to share with others.
To ensure that we are keepers of the past and shapers of the future. To be continue to have that child like wonder and excitement. And most of all to believe. Believe in fairy tales, Father Christmas and the tooth fairy and to pass on that belief to our future generations.

Motherhood is overwhelming, pressured, rewarding and emotional. Scary and exciting, daunting and motivating. All of these and more give me motivation and that is all I can ask to be able to say I am loving my life.IMG_7830