Wish: A wish is a hope or desire for something. Fictionally, wishes can be used as plot devices. In folklore, opportunities for “making a wish” or for wishes to “come true” or “be granted” are themes that are sometimes used.
So if you’ve followed me on Twitter today you’ll know I’ve had a bad day, well afternoon really. And what does a blogger do when they’ve had a bad day…why blog all about it of course!
A few things that have happened recently have got me thinking (yes I do do that every now and again) and have made me realise how fragile my mental state can still be at times. It’s hard once you’ve suffered from depression (well it is for me anyway) to not think it’s always hovering not far away ready to come back and bite you on the ass. I forget sometimes that life with three children is going to be busy, stressful and hard work and that things are not always going to happen how I’d like them too or when I’d like them to. And I need constant reminding that I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed because I’m depressed again, but simply because it’s life; and good days are often intermingled with bad ones. We all have them. I guess for me maybe the trick is to recognise that this is exactly what they are…just bad days, not a bad life. And sometimes even though those bad days do all appear to happen at once, hence the phrase ‘never rains but it pours,’ the good days are still there too, if not a bit few and far between at times.
Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and a bit anxious again and it has got me worried I’m sinking back into the treacle I spent so much of last year trudging through. But if I look closely there have been so many reasons for me feeling out of sorts, not just PND…there has been a sickness bug in the house, my middle child has started school and routine is all out if the window thanks to a ridiculously long settling in period, my husband has had to work long hours and be away, my mum has been abroad, (this always unnerves me, I like it when she’s here even though she lives two hours away) it was my dad’s (who sadly passed away when I was 22) birthday last week, my 12 year old has been beyond hormonal and challenging, the toddler never ever sleeps (slight exaggeration!) and the weather has turned to pants to name just a few things. I know these things aren’t life threatening stuff. I know these things are not end of the world stuff and I know that these things are just stuff. Stuff that on a good day I can embrace with the fact that my life is never dull. Stuff that we all experience. But it is stuff that at the moment is slowly wearing me down and making me tired and emotional.
We all know parenting is relentless. The challenges and difficulties you face at one stage disappear only for a million other challenges to rear their ugly head. It’s never easy, the goalposts constantly change and a whole load of new crap comes our way. And yes I waffle on about instinctively we’re supposed to know how to deal with all of these challenges, and when I’m well and feeling rational my instincts do guide the way and I marvel at them all the time. But on days like today I’ll be honest, even I doubt them, even I doubt myself…and I hate self doubt. Deep down I know I can’t control my daughter’s hormones, just guide her through them. Deep down I know my toddler’s sleeping issues are not because of something I’ve done and that I have to be patient and know that this is how things are at the moment. Deep down I know I’m not ill again and my instincts are as strong as they ever were. But when I’m having a bad day all of that goes out of the window. I feel trapped. I feel useless. I desperately crave a break and a bit of time out. All it usually takes is half an hour. Time to say…let it all out in a blog post…and then I feel better. But sometimes it takes more than that. It needs a day away from it all and I’m starting to recognise when I need these days the most.
A while ago I wrote a blog post about a letter I had written to myself with wishes and hopes for the future and I thought that maybe it was time to write another one. I’m a firm believer in having things to look forward to, plus I’m a list lover, so writing a letter detailing all of the things I’d love for myself and my family in the near future seemed like a productive way of working through my current not-so-great-mood. It goes as follows…
1. A date night with my husband. Oh this is a big one on my list. We still have not had an evening or a night to ourselves since February. Lack of a babysitter seems to be the main problem. When you’ve got three children it can (shock horror) put some people off babysitting. And with the toddler not sleeping too great I’d probably worry he was being troublesome whilst we were out. But nevertheless my husband and I need some time so I need to make it happen.
2. A mother/daughter evening…or several! These have really worked wonders in the past and made our, at times tested, relationship stronger. Sometimes I forget that she had me all to herself for so long and that living in a step-family situation possibly isn’t always easy on her. It’s good for us to have some time together.
3. A day for me. To just be me and not a mum and all of the things that brings with it. I’d love to go to a spa, or sit in a cafe all day writing, or go for a swim where I can actually swim. You get the idea. I’d just, selfishly, like a ‘day off.’
4. Family walks and Sunday roasts. We got into the habit when I was ill with PND of not venturing out too far. Of just going for lunch and then coming home again with the excuse that the baby needed to nap. I love autumn and the run up to Christmas and have very fond memories of family walks as a child. collecting conkers and jumping in piles of fallen leaves. So I’ve joined the National Trust and would like to go on many a winter walk, coming home to cook a wonderfully warming roast. Thankfully the rest of the family would like to do this too! 😉
5. Self-publish A Monster Ate My Mum. This excites me…a lot! So far I have asked the wonderful Helen Braid to do the artwork for me and the sample pages have brought tears to my eyes they are so perfect. I have no idea how to go about self-publishing, but hopefully I will learn as I go through the process and the poem will be brought to life.
So that’s my list for now. I think it’s only fair to stop at five things for fear of writing down too much and becoming disappointed when they are not all achieved. The things I have written above are all achievable (I hope!) and would benefit more people than just me…so watch this space and hopefully, fingers crossed, I will be writing a blog post at Christmas telling you all about it!
What would be on your wish list for the next few months?
Essentials of Life
A short and sweet #wednesdaywords which has been inspired by this….
This hangs in my hallway. It was a gift from my very best friend this Christmas. (Yes, good old Cynthia again!) It sums up me so well, as the writing says everything I believe in. It represents all of the things which I need. I need to be busy, otherwise I can spiral into a pit of pure laziness! I need people to love (as well as needing people to love me!) and I ALWAYS need something to look forward to, even if it’s simply a cup of tea and a piece of cake. It reminds me, when I’m feeling low, of all the lovely people I have around me, and of all the lovely things that are yet to happen and that I have to look forward to.
Quite frankly, I love it! Do you have a quote or motto you like to live by?
Tablet: Tablet (pharmacy), a mixture of pharmacological substances pressed into a small cake or bar, colloquially called a “pill” (Wikipedia)
So, it’s Sunday…and today is the day I take my last anti-depressant. Today is the day I am meant to be officially cured. No longer trapped and isolated and broken from PND. And although I feel ok, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person I was before this vile illness took hold. A little bit of my confidence will never come back, an edge of anxiety will always be there in the distance, and the unbearable threat of the illness returning will always surround me.
But, for now I’m lucky enough to be ok, and to celebrate this last tablet (yes, for me it is definitely a celebration!) I am going to share with you a letter I wrote to myself several months ago. I was very very lucky to be put forward to go to a local art therapy group for mums suffering with PND. It was, as we all in the group felt, a lifeline. We all lived for Friday mornings, where our children were in the crèche and we were given time, and space, to talk, and be listened to. To not be judged. To not be made to feel like we were terrible parents. Where we drank tea, ate cake and got creative, each of us finding our own favourite creative tools. It was during the first of these sessions that we were asked to write a letter to ourselves, a wish list of everything we wanted, needed. And when the sessions ended it would be posted, for us to read.
My letter arrived in the post last week, and I haven’t opened it yet. It was so many weeks and emotions ago when I wrote it that it’s contents will be as fresh to me now as they are for you reading it for the first time.
So, today, after I have just taken my last tablet….here goes….
I wish these things for you…
*child free clothes shopping
*the gift of acceptance (to not try and control everything)
*the gift of reading a book, uninterrupted
*some quality time with each of my children, independently
*8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
*the gift of just being, without analysing and criticising myself
*some quality time with my husband
*waking up when I am ready, not be woken up!
*confidence to go back to work
*quality ‘child-free’ time with friends
*an uninterrupted bubble bath
*time to exercise; for hobbies
*to wake up looking forward to the day ahead, even if I’ve nothing planned
*to feel good about the way I look
*to feel positive
Okay…wow…that was actually rather lovely, but also very eye opening to me. It was like reading a letter from a completely different person, and it’s so hard to believe that I wrote it. What first strikes me as I read this through is how trapped I must’ve felt, and how I felt I couldn’t do some of the things on the wish list, things which now I actually take for-granted. And as I read I notice how such trivial things are written next to some really quite serious things, but at the time there was perhaps no differentiation, all of these things seemed like desperate needs to me. Amazingly, I have been lucky enough to have been granted many of the wishes I wished for myself all of those weeks ago. I have done so many of the things I wanted to do. And I don’t feel trapped or isolated anymore, I don’t feel like everyday I am trudging through treacle in a midst of panic and desperation for it to be bedtime again so I could sleep and not feel anything, not have to struggle through.
Reading this letter has shown me how far I’ve come. And has granted me one last wish, the knowledge that I really am recovered, it has shown me I am one of the lucky ones, and that those little tablets which held me together for so long are now gone. And now I know…that last tablet…really was my last.
Sunshine is sunlight, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun, especially in the visible wavelengths. (Wikipedia)
So today is Monday, and this week’s #magicmoment is brought to you by sunshine. (Sunshine, what’s that? I hear you cry!) Well, it’s a lovely thing that comes from the sky, and brings with it light and warmth. It makes everything look more beautiful to me. And it gives me hope.
Yesterday was my middle child’s 4th birthday. He’d already had his party (Bleurch, read previous post lol!) so the day was going to be a simple family day. Just the five of us, plus my Mum up from Cornwall. The birthday boy wanted a Wagamamas for lunch, and a robot cake. Simple. As the clocks had gone forward that night, getting up at half past seven hadn’t seemed so bad. (I tried not to think about what time it really was as I am NOT a morning person at all) We came downstairs, he opened presents and had a lovely breakfast together. Simple. We played with the toys he’d been given and then my mum arrived. Still simple, still so very lovely. We all went off to Wagamamas. Lunch was eaten and then we returned home. Simple. And it was after we returned home that for me, the magic happened.
For those of you who have read my blog you will know that I have recently been quite poorly with post-natal depression, and thankfully am starting to come out of the other side. In just over a week’s time I should be completely antidepressant free. It’s been a tough few weeks reducing my medication, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and for me, yesterday was another giant step forward. Another moment when I realised, and believed, that I really am getting better. And it was all because the sun came out. Tentatively at first, peeping out behind a few stray clouds. And then slowly it became stronger, and warmer, and out for longer stretches of time. There is always a temptation when the sun is out to quickly rush out of the house, to go somewhere, to enjoy every second of it and make the most of it whilst it’s here. Get our bikes, pack a picnic, hike up a hill. All wonderful things to do, but I forget that I actually have a perfectly lovely place to enjoy the sunshine not more than two metres away from me most of the time. A place that doesn’t require hours of planning, endless packing and organisation and more often than not a lengthy car drive. My garden!
So into the garden we went, and as we sat there, in the sunshine and for the first time in what feels like such a long time feeling warm, I felt a huge sense of optimism and hope. I watched my children laughing and running around and I felt hope for the future, for a summer full of sunny days (We are ALL most definitely due one!) For a summer where I can spend time with my amazing family in my garden, and in the sunshine, and actually enjoy it! Last summer was swallowed up by a giant black cloud for me, both literally and metaphorically, and I was unable to really enjoy any of it. I mostly spent it crying, panicking or trying not to run away and never come back. But this summer, when my youngest will turn one year old, I know that I will truly be back. The magic of the sunshine yesterday made me know that I will be the person I used to be, before the b**** that is PND took me away.