July 2013 archive


Control: Control (management), an element of management. Control freak, a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done

I have to start this post by once again apologising for it not being polished and perfect. It is simply an outpouring of some rubbish that’s in my head which is making me feel a bit crap, and blogging always seems to help! It’s nothing serious and no-one needs to panic that I’m spiralling back down into some nasty dark place, but equally I hope you don’t read this post and think I’m total a drama queen! I’m not. Things just get on top of me sometimes.

So…here I am, sat in bed, feeling somewhat out of sorts. I can’t quite put my finger on how I’m feeling, a bit like I’ve been dumped, have a hangover and am in the middle of a very weird dream all rolled into one. So many things in my life are happening and changing and are out of my control. I don’t do out of control. I make a messy drunk and swear I’d only be happy on a plane if I were the pilot.

Several things have conspired over the last few weeks and even months that have contributed to me feeling as such. Many of them I have been unable to control. A few years ago when anxiety had an evil grip on me I tried to practise the art of ‘if I can’t control it, then I’m not allowed to worry about it. But how do you not worry about your 4 year old who isn’t putting on weight and hacks up a horrific amount of thick yellow grunge on a daily basis? How do you not worry about your 12 year old daughter relishing what little freedom she has and beginning to make more and more decisions in life for herself? How do you not worry about family and friends who are going through a tough time and you can do nothing to support them or fix things and make it all better? How can you not be concerned about your son who starts school in September, and whose best friend has now moved to the other class so he hasn’t the support and friendly face he needed on that first day?

During my real job I am a primary school teacher and well known control freak. I’ve tried to job-share and it hasn’t worked, namely because I couldn’t control the people I worked with. That sounds harsh, I’m not a complete bitch and in fact am praised at work and respected for being supportive, empathetic and approachable. But at work I like order. I like things to be done to the best of everyone’s abilities, I know where I stand. I haven’t worked now for over a year and am not due back until January and sometimes worry if it’s this lack of routine, lack of feeling in control of things that adds to this weird way I am feeling at the moment.

And the reason I’ve not worked for so long…..the birth of my third (and final) child. The child who cannot be controlled in any way shape or form. We all know that becoming a parent means losing control of so many things. Your freedom. When you sleep, eat, shower. You even lose control of whether or not you can drink a cup of tea whilst it’s still warm. (and I wont mention the lack of control over certain bodily functions) This last year control has completely left me, run away and hidden in some far off land not returning anytime soon. Naively I thought that with my third I’d know what to do, get it all right, have it all sorted….but…no! Never have I had to trust my instincts more, listen to my baby more and lose what little control in my life I had left. And although most days this is ok, some days I find it frustrating. I want to be in control. I want to be on top of things. Drink a hot cup of sodding tea, go to sleep when I bloody well want to, be on top of the laundry and have a clean and tidy house. Ah the house!

Our house is a perfectly nice house. I’m not homeless and I live in a lovely area, yet in January after several long discussions with my husband about how he’d lived in this house since he was 6 and needed to move on and be the man of his own home, we decided to put our house on the market. I was also very keen to move as I’ve never really felt like this house is my home. Buying it off my in-laws seemed like a great idea at the time, but it still very much seems like their house. When my mother in law comes to stay, for example she will unconsciously put things back where she used to keep them, and our garage and loft are still full of their stuff. So, we were excited to move, to find our own forever home. However, I was soon to become frustrated at the lack of control over the sale of the house and I became more and more despondent as no viewings happened.

To cut a very long story short, a couple of weeks ago we found our forever home. The owners wanted to downsize and knocked on our door asking if we could do a house swap. Not quite believing it could happen my husband and I were cautious at first, but the other family were the driving force and were soon phoning or coming round daily asking how quickly we could move. Numbers were discussed and a deal was done. We were beside ourselves with excitement at the future this new house help for us and our family. It really was our dream house. Our forever home. One where I imagined grandchildren coming to visit us. And then on Sunday, returning from a weekend away we found a card through our letterbox saying the move was off, with no explanation. Now, I am VERY aware that I sound like a spoilt brat crying over spilt milk, but I was devastated. The life I had imagined for my family gone. My dream shattered. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried quite a lot over the last couple of days. So silly really, it was just a sodding house. A house I wanted but didn’t really need. Please don’t think I’m some ungrateful woman who doesn’t appreciate what she has got because I do, I really really do, but I think the loss of the house is just the catalyst for my current emotional state and has piled on top of the other crap I feel I can’t control and has been building up over a while. This year has been one of the toughest I’ve faced for a while and the new house represented a new start. A new beginning for us all where we could shake off all the crap that’s happened. But sadly it’s not going to happen, it simply wasn’t meant to be.

I know I need to learn to let go more, to analyse less and be more relaxed. I’m learning with my youngest that he isn’t a baby who does anything by the book and he is teaching me to lose control a little bit at a time….he’s very good for me! I’m also a firm believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t ever know or understand that reason. Many of the things that I am feeling so out of control about can be resolved or won’t seem nearly as important in six months time, and I will learn to embrace those that can’t be resolved; for life is one big adventure and it would be dull if we were always in control of what was going to happen next…I guess…


Friendship: Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people.[1] Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.

My mum always said to me that there are two types of friends in life….floaters and stickers. Now whilst I always thought this sounded more like she was talking about poo than people, over the years her words have actually proved true. Friendships are strange and wonderful things, some last and some are only there, often intense for the short time you need them. Sadly, sometimes friends let you down and make you question yourself and others, and sometimes a true, long lasting friendship can develop in the most unlikely of places.

Becoming a mum at the age of 24 changed a lot of my friendships. Many of my friends were into going out, boys, and burning the candle at both ends. Whilst I was also up all night it was for a very different reason and unsurprisingly some of those friendships very quickly fizzled out. But amazingly others that I didn’t expect to became stronger, and I learnt a lot about who I could trust, and who was a true friend who would go out of their way to support me.

This weekend we travelled up north to visit an old friend with whom I lived with for three years at university. A friend who due to many things, namely life and a couple of babies, I hadn’t seen for several years. I was very excited to be going to see her and her family and it was a brilliant weekend. All of our children (6 in total!) chatted as if they were old friends themselves. I think my four year old summed it up when he said, ‘these people are my best friends ever!’ Lost in the moment he was having the most fantastic time, on the beach, riding a real tractor, running around their garden and playing hide and seek. Watching the children interact and accept each other so easily was magical. Picking up where I’d left of with my friend…priceless. It made me realise that it doesn’t matter if you don’t see friends every day, or speak to them every week. It doesn’t matter if you forget birthdays or wedding anniversaries. What matters is that when you do see them it’s exactly like it was the last time you saw them, and that it’s easy, and fun! Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy is vital, and having the courage to let go of those who don’t is equally as important.

Friendships come in so many different forms. Be them floaters or stickers, I’m learning to cherish every single one, with all of the different things they bring….and put every effort I can into them!



Touch: Touch is one of the sensations processed by the somatosensory system. Touch may also refer to: Haptic perception, the ability to recognise objects through touch. Haptic communication, the study of human touching behaviour. Haptic technology, technology that interfaces to the user via the sense of touch

I’ve always been funny about personal space,
Don’t come near my body don’t be near my face.

I need room to breathe, room just to be,
I need to be independent, in control, free.

Don’t know how to dance, don’t know where to begin,
Not comfortable with my body, feel strange in my skin.

Asked to move, to copy each other,
Can’t make up new movements, work with one another.

Uncomfortable feelings, very self aware,
A need to escape, be alone, not there.

Trusting each other, hands and feet touch.
Going through the motions, but not liking it much.

Aches and pains, releases of tension,
Talking, understanding, receiving attention.

Easier with time, becoming more free.
Loosening my body, feeling more like me.

Helping, healing, team work and such.
The wonder of movement, the magic of touch.

This poem is a out a new dance therapy group I have been attending to help mums with post-natal depression. I have found it very challenging, but it is helping!

Prose for Thought


Recovery: Recovery or recover can refer to: Health; Healing; Cure; The Recovery model of mental distress/disorder; Recovery International, a self-help mental health program based on the work of the late Abraham A. Low, M.D.; Hair of the dog or “Recovery drinking”, the practice of drinking off a hangover, mainly amongst students; Addiction recovery groups.

Now I’ve not blogged about PND for a while. I took the last tablet and apparently was ‘recovered,’ if you ever can recover fully from the hideousness of the illness, it has certainly changed me forever. This time last year was hell, and I think about it daily. Just now, when tidying out a cupboard, I found my youngest’s first ever babygro. And I’m not ashamed to say it reduced me to tears. I remember him dressed in it, so small and helpless. It’s not the first time I’ve cried over that babygro, nor I imagine will it be the last as the memory of it all is very painful, but looking at where I am now, and remembering where I was last year has got me thinking about how far I’ve come, and how much better and more like my old self I really am. It has got me reflecting on what I’ve done and what has got me here and able to function without panic attacks and tears. I thought a post about the techniques and therapies I’ve had might help others in the same situation, or at least comfort them that they are not alone, and that they can get better.

Once I had finally admitted I had post natal depression (which took a few stubborn weeks I can tell you) the first thing I did was visit my doctor and start on a course of antidepressants. For me I viewed it very much as an illness, and if there was a medicine that could make me better then I would take it. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and I was beyond the stage where exercise could help. As far as I was concerned nothing could help, and I didn’t even want it to. Permanent sleep seemed like a good option. So those tablets were a start, even though the doctor told me I would feel worse on them before I felt better (I did) and that it would take several weeks for the effects to fully kick in (it did.) I remember when they did start to work, I woke up and actually wanted to get out of bed. I got excited about putting my son in a gorgeous outfit for the first time. I smiled and looked forward to seeing my family. However I was still plagued by anxiety and panic attacks and cried most days. The tablets weren’t enough, I needed something more.

CBT was suggested and I thought it sounded perfect. I’ve always been a very anxious person, mainly centred around my mortality, at just five I had a screaming episode where I apparently told my parents I thought I was having a heart attack. So the thought that this talking therapy could help me re-train my brain to function in the correct part sounded easy. It wasn’t. I referred myself and luckily was seen relatively quickly in a face to face, one to one meeting. I was given booklets to work through, exercises to do and techniques to try out. I met with the CBT lady once a week for 6 weeks. She was lovely and always asked how I was, but it was very clear that these weren’t counselling sessions. I had to be focused and do all the hard work myself. By now the tablets had well and truly kicked in and so panic attacks during the daytime had reduced and I wasn’t able to practise ‘thought challenging’ them. I was still having terrible nightmares and problems with my sleep and had no idea how I could ‘thought challenge’ something that was happening when I was asleep! The CBT lady gave me suggestions, and they did slowly start to work. But it was hard work, and I had to muster up every ounce of energy to practise everything I’d be told and had read. I would recommend CBT, but only if you are prepared to work at it and commit fully to it. The techniques need to be practised continuously before it all becomes second nature.

I was also lucky enough to be referred through the health vision to an art therapy group which lasted for 12 weeks which I blogged about briefly in the post linked above. The other ladies on the course were by far more private than me and I promised to them that I would never blog in detail about the sessions, so all I will say is that if you ever get an opportunity to be a part of a ‘My Time My Space’ group then do, it was amazing.

Now, whilst everything I have mentioned above was helping, my main fear was that as soon as I stopped taking the tablets I would be back at square one. I was terrified that my brain would once again neglect to make the vital mix of things it needs to function without depression, so I knew I needed something else. One day whilst on Twitter I spotted a tweet from a lady called Viv Kenchington. She was a reflexologist near me who was looking for people to have free solution-focused hypnotherapy sessions whilst she was re-training. I tweeted her and asked if it worked for PND and the response ‘Yes!’ was immediate. We arranged a date for the following week to meet. As soon as I met Viv I felt relaxed, she has a wonderful calm and friendly manner. Keen to find out why I was interested in hypnotherapy I briefly explained my situation. I was reassured that this type of hypnotherapy wasn’t anything like the kind you see on the television and that I wouldn’t suddenly start milking cows when I heard a bell ring. Viv was wonderfully clear in her detailed explanation of how the brain works, and how it functions when a person has anxiety and depression. The penny dropped there and then for me and it all made perfect sense. I couldn’t wait to get started, our sessions were to be an hour long so not least the thought of lying down with my eyes closed and no small people demanding things from me was incentive enough! For the next 8 weeks I visited Viv for regular hypnotherapy sessions. They were amazing. Peaceful. Relaxing. And yet strangely exhausting, I always slept extremely well after a session. Viv’s voice was soothing and even now if I have trouble sleeping I ‘hear’ her in my head and am instantly more at peace. She’d ask me what had been good about my week, and then asked questions so that I would come up with solutions on how to make it better. Her enthusiasm and passion for helping people is infectious, she would listen to me intently and work so hard to help. My sessions have stopped now, but I know I can always go back if ever I need to. I credit Viv as being a huge part of my recovery. Whilst seeing her I stopped taking the tablets, and miraculously so far have not needed them again. She saved me. She helped me clear my brain of thoughts it didn’t need, creating space to be more creative (I started my blog whilst seeing her!) Hypnotherapy is amazing when you find someone who is passionate about it and and who you can trust and feel comfortable with, and I felt that with Viv. If you would like to know more about solution-focused hypnotherapy and look at her website you can do so here.

And then finally onto my current therapy! (Yes I filled in that delightful form recently which we all know and love, and it showed that I’m still not quite there apparently) Dance therapy. Feeling that I’d worked enough on my brain and not enough on my body, when I was referred for this by my health visitor I agreed. I’d always said I’d do anything I could to get better and stay well. I have issues with personal space, touch and dancing in public all of which the course entails, so needless to say I am finding it challenging. I have written a poem about those challenges here. The thought behind this therapy is that the body and the brain are closely linked and that we hold areas of pain and anxiety in parts of our bodies that needs to be released. It definitely seems to be helping so far, but only time will tell so I shall blog about it in more detail when the course is finished, watch this space!

I know that some people reading this may have not been as lucky as I am in everything I have been offered and I know how privileged I have been. I have had wonderful health visitors and doctors and am blessed to have been able to take part in so many wonderful things. I’m also aware that many of you reading this may feel like you will never get better, that there is no hope, and have been struggling with the illness for many years, I hope with all of my heart that you feel better soon. Recovery is possible, I promise.

The Coin, Part 4

I am joining in with #SummerOfWords and writing my novel one bit at a time! You can read Part 3 here. (and if you’re new to my story then you can start reading it here.)

Megan hated being late, she would always rather be an hour too early than a minute too late. So hurry up she did, throwing on an old faithful outfit that made her feel confident and comfortable all in one go.

Whilst Megan was busy applying her mascara with haste, a few miles away on a stuffy crowded train, Elliott sat twiddling his thumbs. He’d never been on a blind date before, but when a text had arrived on his phone a little over a week ago from a work colleague, with a photo of a smiling face and the text ‘date my mate?’ underneath, the few beers he’d had that night had given him the confidence to reply, ‘ok!’ And now here he was, heading into the centre of Bath not feeling very confident. It had been a particularly busy day at work and what he’d really prefer to be doing right now is laze in the bath with an ice cold beer. He knew that having a bath wasn’t very manly, but he was learning not to worry about those kind of things anymore, and besides, it’s not like anyone knew.

Looking out of the window at the lovely houses made from Bath stone shimmering in the warming summer sunshine, he took a deep breath and thought back to his last date. It had been a few weeks ago with a rather strange woman, who had laughed over enthusiastically at everything he’d said, even when he wasn’t making a joke. And even when he had been making a joke he knew that he wasn’t that funny. He’d been told so many a time in the past, too dry a sense of humour was to blame.

Smoothing his shirt nervously Elliott wasn’t enjoying this dating malarkey, but after Sarah, his partner of 5 years, had sat him down several months previously and told him she had met someone else he’d felt he needed to get back into it all. He worked as a plumber so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to meet women, unless they were customers of course, and he was far too old for clubbing and everything that brought with it. A thoughtful and considerate man he’d never expected to have such a flagrant disregard for the rules of dating and game playing. There were far too many dos and don’ts involved in dating for his liking; if he liked someone he had vowed to tell them. None of this waiting for three days before sending a text nonsense. Why bother?

As the train pulled into Bath station, Megan was leaving her flat, reluctantly. She’d put the coin back in it’s special box. She trusted that coin, which was understandable given where it had come from, and it clearly had landed heads up more than tails. It must be a sign she thought, I am meant to go this evening and I am meant to meet this man. Fate may have given her a bit of a helping hand as it was technically an organised and not fated meeting, but nevertheless, fated that the opportunity had arisen. With the coin in it’s box, sat neatly on the top shelf of her lounge, Megan summoned all of the courage she could muster, and pushed open the door to the bar where they had agreed to meet.
You can read Part 5 here.


Store: Store may refer to: a retail store, a place where things are stored, e.g. a ship’s paint store
expendables released from an aircraft, such as ordnance or countermeasures.

So a few weeks ago now I was invited *coughs* okay, I invited myself along to a blogging event at the newly opened Kiddicare store in Bristol. I’m a bit obsessed with buying all things ‘baby’ and the prospect of being shown around a massive store full of things that I didn’t own, by an award winning company, was very exciting! Now, I will admit to never having used Kiddicare online before as I usually visit another well known baby store, but from now on, along with one million other customers, it is the only place I will shop! By the end of 2013 Kiddicare will have eleven stores and over 1,500 staff all over the country so will be very easy for many people to get to and shop for children from birth to five years old.
The choices for everything in the Bristol store were huge. More car seats to choose from than you will ever need, high chairs in every shape, size and colour and so many lovely clothes. (With an equal amount of boys and girls clothes which never happens in shops!)


We started off in the cafe which is perfect if you are shopping with your children as there is a fantastic play space for them to use which is safe and enclosed. Full up with tea and cake we were shown around the store. Kiddicare stores have been designed to make life easier and happier for young families and I can honestly say the store is brilliantly child and parent friendly. Not only are the children allowed to try out toys and if they fancy, drive or push them around the entire shop, but the parents are allowed to try stuff too without having to ask a member of staff to unlock it! Prams are able to go with you to your car to check they fit in the boot! Brilliant!
Everything is organised into specific areas and everything you will need for that subject is right in front of you. High chairs are with food, and bibs for example.

And you never need to worry about everything being cheaper online as the prices are all electronically linked to the store…matching the prices on-line.

Kiddicare was established in 1974 and part of the Morrisons family from February 2011 the Bristol store also has mum-and-me changing rooms, a Nursing Nest feeding room, free pushchair MOTs, free car seat fitting, free WiFi, 365 days returns and virtual queuing systems. They really have thought of everything!

Each Kiddicare store also values community and at the end of the visit we were shown the community event room, which has a wonderful and varied daily schedule of activities for mums, mums to be, babies and toddlers.
They really have thought of everything in the store to make shopping a stress free and happy experience. I for one, shall be visiting regularly!
You can find Kiddicare on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+

The Coin, Part 3

This is Part 3, you can read Part 2 here.

‘Heads, tails, heads, heads, heads, tails, tails, heads.’ The coin flew up and down, twisting in the air, glinting in the evening sunlight that was streaming through the ground
floor flat window.
‘Right heads I’m going tails I’m not, ok?’ Rachel nodded, whilst rolling her eyes, as Megan sat on the edge of her sofa, tossing a coin over and over again. ‘Argh it’s heads, right, best out of three.’ Sipping the large glass of wine she’d poured earlier, which was in fact her third, Megan got up and started pacing around the room. Having been sat, tossing the coin for over an hour now, a change of position was most definitely needed. Knowing in her gut that she’d have to go, it would be rude to cancel now, but at the same time not having the energy or the motivation to actually get ready Megan carried on with her own private battle and the coin tossing.
‘Heads, heads, tails, heads, tails….’
‘Oh just go Megs, stop being such a bloody wuss.’ Rachel interjected, never one for indecisiveness. ‘If it’s that awful then you can just leave, for goodness sake what have you got to lose?’
Good point, thought Megan, she always listened to whatever Rachel had to say. They’d been friends for several years now and not once had Rachel imparted any useless wisdom. But of course, thinking the worst as always, Megan still knew with certainty there was a lot to lose. She’d lost her heart before, and was in no hurry to lose it again. It hadn’t been a pleasant experience and had ended very painfully with the loss of a baby. And the loss of a love.
‘Sod it,’ she gulped yet more wine, ‘I’ll go, but if it’s horrendous then I will hunt you down and shout I told you so repeatedly.’
‘Excellent,’ said Rachel, ‘I shall look forward to that. Now go and get ready or you’ll be late.’
You can read Part 4 here.

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