Valid. ✅

It’s a strange feeling, receiving a letter in the post informing you that your Anxiety is confirmed and you’re on the two-week waiting list for therapy. To have your suspicions (not so much well-informed suspicions, but more late-night-Google-aided-breakdowns) validated by someone who’s paid to deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis has made me feel this bizarre mixture of relieved that I’ll be getting help and ashamed that my Gremlin has become a better conman than Frank Abagnale Jr.

That’s the way I feel right now. I feel like I’ve managed to convince everybody I’m this weaker version of myself who has no control of her own mind when in reality I do but I just want the attention – for the sake of the old me who still resides somewhere in that cavern inside my skull, I hope none of those are true. I hope people don’t view me as weak, I hope that I do have control of my own mind, I hope that there’s no two sides to this and it is all plain, boring reality and I hope that people don’t think I’m doing this all for attention. I don’t like attention, I don’t like being on people’s radars or having people worry about me so this is shit for me right now. It’s hard for me to admit I can’t juggle all of these balls and need an extra pair of hands to share the task or take over once in a while. I wanted to believe I was Superwoman for so long and I guess I’m just not.

I don’t know if I’m looking forward to having therapy. I want to be able to walk around town and not feel like all eyes are on me but for the first couple of days after I was informed, the Gremlin was whispering that the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner I’d be seeing would think I’m conning them and not help me or they’d think I was a special kind of nutcase and tell all of their friends so I’m trying to quell that line of thought within these 2 weeks. Trying being the best I can do right now.

I just wanted to say, I’ve been trying to write another post since the same night my last post was published. I have draft after draft in my blog posts that I’ve never dared complete and submit to public viewing despite the lovely messages I received after my first posts. Every day I didn’t click ‘Publish’ was another day of feeling like “everybody thinks I’m attention seeking” which, in telling you this and writing this blog, is essentially putting the spotlight on myself and demanding your attention for a moment. I almost deleted this all having realised that. Oh god, I’ve just managed to actually torture myself. Continue, quickly.

I still feel as though I shouldn’t speak about my mental struggles in some circles, so on the whole I save it for a few people who aren’t going through the same thing but can appreciate that mental health is just as important as physical. But I’m nowhere near the stage of embracing it, it might have seemed that way in my last posts but I’m ashamed by it still. I’m embarassed that I can’t speak to people freely anymore without my Gremlin making me face consequences for saying completely normal things and I’m embarrassed that I’ve spent months trying to shut the door on it instead of asking for help. (I’m also embarrassed that I need help to control my own mind.) I think I’m probably most embarrassed though by the fact that I would rather stay home with Monkey and Husband and chill and crochet because I know (most of the time) they don’t judge me and crochet and knitting takes my mind off of everything and keeps my hands from scratching my phantom itch on my neck. Now that’s all I can think about.

I’ve had a good day today even though we spent it indoors, and we’ll be doing the same tomorrow as we’ve got a Plumber coming to fix the tap. I ate well (kept to 15 syns), I made sure Toby was eating well too and we played and I read to him and I managed to try out crocheting a little hat for him without using a pattern (I unravelled it all as it looked wrong in the yarn I was using) and yet I get to 8pm and feel like because we didn’t leave the house I’m a lazy and rubbish mother – and that’s just the beginning. So for things like that, I need to get this sorted.

2016 I will become me again. Update soon.

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IRL. II

I want to follow up. I feel like publicly sharing my problems won’t sit well with many people but it’s sometimes the only way that helps me.
I really want to be able to talk about the way I feel sometimes but I’m not a chatterer, I’ve always been better at putting pen to paper, so to speak, and I know myself well enough to know that whenever I talk about my feelings, I cry. To the point where I can’t talk anymore anyway.

It’s been less than a day since I wrote the last post, but I struggled to sleep properly last night for fear that I’d wake up to messages telling me I’m ‘being silly’, ‘it’s all in your head’ and ‘you just need to forget about all that and cheer up’, you know, the usual stiff upper lip treatment. The worry of being on the receiving end of pity disturbs me too; people’s perceptions of you alter as if they’re just waiting for you to break down (which adds to the building pressure you put on yourself as you anticipate your next dark moment) or they want to help you but don’t know how and don’t dare ask to bring it up.

The topping of this delightful trifle is made up of a nice concoction of guilt and worry. As I said in the last post, I feel like all of the world’s problems sit on my shoulders. I worry about my family and my friends so badly. Being empathetic by nature means I don’t just feel sympathy when other people suffer, I am genuinely upset for them, I feel guilt because I can’t take their problems away and I have sleepless nights worrying about them.

Raising Monkey on a daily basis while the Husband is working worries me in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. On the easier days I worry because I’m not that worried and on the bad, I worry that he’ll not develop in the way he’s supposed to because I’ve hindered it by keeping him at home with me. I worry that people think I have too close a relationship with him as I would prefer to spend all of my time with him. I never need a break from him (contrary to popular belief) as I really enjoy his company. Looking after him doesn’t wear me out.
Its evident from when we do spend time with other kids that I’ve not ruined his social skills by spending days indoors as he’s a friendly, funny, bright child who doesn’t retreat into his shell and grip onto me when we’re around people, which I am aware some people assume is the case.
I worry that he’s not eating/sleeping/talking/walking/drinking enough yet he never cries from hunger or thirst, I spend all day encouraging his speech, I make sure he has at least an hours’ nap every day (or he goes to bed early when he refuses) and I never stop him from walking (if he’s happy in the pram, he stays there, if not I get him out as long as it’s safe). This is why I don’t think the doctor was right when she told me I have the “baby blues” when I went, and it’s why I’ve never contacted the Health Visitor like she told me to. I think I have a mental health problem, not a Mum-related one because my child is the only thing that is keeping me sane on my bad days.
The worries go much deeper and darker sometimes but ultimately I know I am a good Mum to Monkey and this thing going on in my head right now can only make me a better one.

There’s a never ending train of thought whooshing through my head and all I ask is for you to forgive me when it might seem I’m being rude if I’m being blunt or cancelling plans or not talking for a while. I’m sorry my mind has taken this turn, I wish I could go back 6 months and not feel like this but I do. This is it.

This is me in real life.

IRL.

I’m not okay.

I have what I call a little Gremlin hiding in the dark space of my mind. He hangs out there, some days sleeping and I almost forget he’s there. Some days I wake up and my day begins brightly; full of good intentions and a perky attitude and then an event startles him awake – it could be nothing or it could be a shitstorm, he’s not picky. Then there’s the days where he’s lurking just behind the forefront of my mind, questioning every single thing I do, making me doubt every decision, every interaction, every move I make.

I try so hard not to pay any attention to it and try to get on with my life but that either doesn’t work or it ends up exhausting me, which isn’t ideal with a 1 year old who spends all day being a daredevil and hasn’t slept through the night in a long while.

Social interaction is the hardest. Even with the people closest to me, albeit except my baby boy. I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t understand everything I say to him or if it’s because I know he won’t judge me, but he rescues me every day from the thing inside my head. The days that are harder are those where I end up dreading seeing other people because the Gremlin makes me believe that people think I’m [insert negative word here]. It could be anything.

For instance, I met up with someone I hadn’t really seen since Secondary school last week. We went for a walk. The entire time I had these thoughts going around my head: “she thinks you’re trying too hard”, “she thinks you think you’re better than her”, “she thinks you’re lying about everything”, “she thinks you’re walking wrong”, “she thinks you’ve not changed since school”, “she thinks you should stop talking about how much cake you eat because she thinks you’re really fat”, “she wants this walk to end because you’re boring her”, “she thinks you’re conceited because you’re not talking much”, “she thinks you’re just here for gossip because you’re asking too many questions”, “you need to justify everything you do and say, you need to stop pretending you’re having problems, you need to realise everyone else has real problems, you need to show you’re a better Mum, you need to stop being so emotional” and that was while we were on our walk.
Afterwards, the thoughts got worse, to the point where I’m not sure where the Gremlin’s heckles end and my real thoughts begin. And this happens with every person I speak to. I haven’t seen some family members in a while because I’ve lost all confidence in the ability to talk to other humans without the torment my mind puts me through, as my body ends up going through it too.

I’m making the decision to leave Slimming World for now as I’m not losing any weight comfort eating and going to group on my own and a New consultant who doesn’t know my struggles makes me fear it.
The stress I used to feel only occured when my mind felt I couldn’t handle something and when I was stressed, I cried, I spoke to someone about it and I did everything I could to eliminate that stress. Now, Stress has me dangling on a hook for most of the day, plunging me into deep water now and again, just for sheer amusement. That stress I feel manifests itself as an itch just within my hairline on the back of my neck. Sometimes the Gremlin says, “you’re scratching this for attention, one day you’ll dig deep enough to touch your spinal cord but you’ll just have done it all to prove a point.”

I can’t win. I’m in a battle with my own mind every day and I’m scared the only way to win it is to go on medication, which I don’t want because I’m still breastfeeding Monkey and I don’t like the thought of not feeling like I’m in control. Which is ironic because I’m far from being in control now.

I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you’re close to me. I want to tell you so badly about my shit days but I’m too busy trying to stash all of it away to try and enjoy time with you and then implode later, when I’m sat on my own with my knitting in front of the telly, after the boy’s gone to bed. “I’m sorry” have become my go-to words lately because my mind would have me believe all of the world’s problems fall on my shoulders.
I’m the reason why I struggle to initiate conversations and so I go weeks, months without a word and then find it difficult to explain why; I’m the reason why I can spend a week inside with Monkey, just us two, not seeing a soul and then blame myself for not giving my son a social life; I’m the reason why I don’t want to talk to a medical professional about it because I’m scared of the outcome but will share it with the public. So I’m sorry. For everything and sometimes for no reason at all. I’m sorry I wrote this, I’m sorry you read it, I’m sorry you feel the way you do about it.

This is me in real life.

Review: Bean Bag Planet

I was lucky enough to win a bean bag from Bean Bag Planet in a competition a couple of months ago, and thought I’d write a review for anyone else thinking of buying one.

When it arrived, it was in two separate bits: the actual beans that go inside the bag, and the casing itself. It came with instructions on how to get the beans in the bag (which basically says you can’t do it unless you have 2 people – one to hold the casing, one to pour the beans in, which is a little presumptuous if you ask me) but with an inquisitive little Monkey around who likes to “help” at the minute, that proved a lot more difficult than originally thought.

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After hoovering the beans up and pouring them in (which makes me think why can’t the beans come with a pourer like Ella’s Kitchen porridge packets?), the bean bag was ready to use.

Bean Bag Planet have some gorgeous designs, and since they have a rather handy soft strap part which you can zip on for newborns to use, I decided to go with something unisex in case we get to use it with another baby in the future, and I’m glad I went with what I did as it’s really pretty. Even for a boy.

The bottom section is made of a material which can be wiped clean, which is handy if you ever use it outside in the garden, and the top is a very soft, thin, crushed velvet type material which is perfect for baby skin to lay on.

The only downside I have found with it is that on the website it states it can be used until 8 years old, but even at 1 years old, this is getting too small for him to use! He can perch on the edge, but attempting to sit or lay on it means he just rolls off – and he’s not a big lad! I think it’s perfect for babies, but if they want to advertise to parents of older children, they should really make them bigger or allow the option to pick a bigger bean bag.

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If you want to purchase the bean bag we have, click here. It is currently £29.99 (correct at time of writing).

All words are my own and this item was won in a competition.

#bressure

Can we all just stop creating these huge divides between the routes we take as parents in raising our kids?

Today Channel Mum have released a new campaign where they are calling out for bloggers to share how they feel about the way they feed their babies, as it as come to light that 1% of babies are being breastfed and mothers who bottle feed feel an intense pressure (coined #bressure) to breastfeed as #brelfies are becoming more popular.

I breastfeed my 9 month old son and at no point during my pregnancy did I feel pressured into doing so. I did this because I (and only I, I know that a lot of my family and friends would have preferred me to bottle feed) wanted to. Simple as that. Even though there were a few people who would recite those terrible words ‘Breast is best’.

I believe the NHS’ ‘Breast is Best’ campaign is completely outdated and causes more harm than good. Medical professionals should only persuade a mother one way or another if it is medically necessary. If you wish to breastfeed they should help you in any way they can before resorting to formula, but on that same line, formula should never be seen as just the back up plan. It is a second option, one which is just as good for babies as breast milk otherwise babies would not survive on it.

Breastfeeding groups are also making matters worse. Isolating a group of mums based on a decision not only makes it elitist and unfair for those who choose to bottle feed, it also puts even more pressure on the mums who eventually pluck up the courage to attend by making them feel like they have to breastfeed for a certain length of time or in a certain way. It instills a sense of superiority and it isn’t right.

There is no route into raising kids you can take without a few bumps in the road. You will always offend somebody and those who comment are usually the people who know very little on the subject. Women who bottle feed should not be made to feel judged or guilty because they either chose formula or had to swap to formula, just like women who breast feed should not be made to feel like they are doing something wrong because they have to pull out a boob when their baby is hungry.

There should only be pride. We are somehow managing to keep our kids healthy and happy and if we want to share photos with the world or tell people about it, we should be able to without feeling ashamed or worried that the recipient will take it negatively. How I feed my baby is not a concern of yours or a comment on how you should feed yours. No more guilt or prejudice, just lots of happy, milk drunk babies whether its powdered or direct from source.

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Spread love and milk guys. ✌ 💘

E x

Losing weight

If you don’t know me, you don’t know how much of a fan I am of Slimming World.

Before I was pregnant with Tobes, I managed to lose four and a half stone in just over a year with their Food Optimising plan, but then I decided I didn’t want the extra pressure of trying to lose weight while obviously gaining it growing a human and parted ways. After Christmas I decided I wanted to get back on track and rejoined, this time going to a different group but with the same Consultant.

I’m losing weight steadily (1st 12lbs in 15 weeks as of today), but I want to speed up that process a little because Toby’s birthday is fast approaching and I want to be able to look back on the photos with pride rather than embarrassment.

So in an effort to get into gear, I have devised a plan to add extra incentive (because health reasons just aren’t enough!) which I will share with you.

At each stone award I will treat myself to things I don’t usually buy, such as:

2st lost award: New hairstyle.
3st lost award: New pair of jeans/jeggings and a manicure.
4st lost award: New pyjamas and a new dress.
5st lost award: A new pair of shoes and a pedicure.
Target: New underwear, a set of digital scales to weigh at home and my first ever bikini.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been so close to getting my 2st award, and since I’ve had a holiday from weigh in this week, I’m going to work extra hard to get those last 2 little pounds off so I can get a nice cut and colour! It definitely helps to have something else to work towards.

Here’s hoping next week I’ll be able to post about my new hair!

E x

Becoming a Stay at Home Mum.

Today is the day my maternity leave ends. But instead of having to go through the awful feeling of leaving Toby with someone else I while I go to work, I am lucky enough to be able to not go back at all.

Although a lot of people would say that this is a luxury and I should be really pleased, this actually brings about a lot of feelings I didn’t realise I would have until very recently.

You see, we are living in a culture that aims to keep the economy running so telling people you’re choosing to raise a child over going back to work is relatively unheard of. So because of this, it is often met with lots of questions and preconceptions.

You may have read recently an article that featured a blog post written by Mike of Daddy Fishkins about what its like to be a stay at home parent. So many people seem to have this idea that stay at home parents pretty much spend every day in their PJs, lazing around and watching TV with their kid(s) and often their partners buy into this idea, so when they come home from work and dinner isn’t on the table or the house isn’t as sparkly clean as it should be, they wonder what they actually got up to and why they didn’t have time to have everything done.

Well, granted, I’m not sat at a desk all day and when we have a particularly bad night from teething or whatnot, we have the luxury of spending the next day catching up on sleep but my job doesn’t stop. I don’t ever get a break. Even trips to the toilet are rushed and spent listening out for any moments of upset or I have company in the bathroom. My job starts the moment I wake and I am still clocked in long after I go to bed at night. I’m unpaid (I don’t know about you but dirty nappies are NOT a legitimate currency in my opinion) and my job description requires so much more than the title suggests: cleaner, chef, entertainer, nurse (to name a few).

I know, this all sounds very “Woe is me” so I just want to mention that I love my new job. I feel like I’m actually pretty good at my new job. Each week I get promoted to a new role with more responsibility and areas to oversee. 8 months ago I was looking after a feeding, crying, pooping machine, today I am looking after a little boy who has broadened his horizons by way of crawling and can communicate through “brrrrrrr” noises. It truly is the best job I’ve ever had.

I’d love to get to know other stay at home parents and the responses they get.

Must go, I require at least an hour’s sleep per night.

E+T x.

Teething

I fucking hate teeth.

In the words of my Nanna, “They’re a pain when they’re coming, they’re a pain when they’re here and they’re a pain when they’re going.”

Its been 3 weeks of Hell with Tobes. Even the time when he was a newborn and he was feeding every 2 hours for an hour each time wasn’t nearly as difficult to deal with as this. This is the real parenting test for us.

He’s had the checklist of symptoms so I’m 99.9% sure it is his teeth but just when I think he’s feeling better, we have the worst night we’ve ever had and we’re back at square one.

I’ve been trying to keep him in his cot during the night to make an attempt at some sort of routine but when he screams every time I put him down and I’ve been trying for over an hour in the dead of night, I give in and cuddle up to him in our bed.

When he’s in with us, he sleeps pretty well which makes me question whether or not it is actually his teeth, or if it’s separation anxiety and I should be listening to all those people who say, “He’s just at that age where he needs to be left to cry and you’re making it worse by cuddling him”, or just being around him, because you know, babies aren’t supposed to be around their mothers so much. So I leave him to whine, hoping he’ll grow bored and nod off and then he screams and cries (actual tears) and the only thing that will calm him down is a dollop of Dentinox and a cuddle from his Mum. Even when he does sleep, its broken and dotted with tiny little whines of pain and it breaks my heart.

I no longer care that he wants to be comforted by me all of the time, or that he will only chew on bread and not eat anything else, or that our daily routine I am trying so hard to establish goes out of the window by 6 A.M. and hanging out in bed watching Elmo’s World on YouTube seems a much better plan than cracking on with a day we didn’t want to come round quite yet.

It might just be baby teeth to you, but to him and us its the worst pain he’s ever been in.

I fucking hate teeth.
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