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I’m back….with my happy pills!!

I haven’t put pen to paper/fingers to the keyboard to post a blog in a loooooong time; I genuinely haven’t had the time or motivation to share.

Today however my thoughts and feelings and general outlook has altered immensely. My life, my Husband’s life and my children’s lives have been turned inside out and upside down.

Me – I am back on my “happy pills” and have been for the last few months. Yes the need for the antidepressants came back to bite me in a HUGE way. For a long time, maybe longer than I care to admit I had been suffering with depression. Hiding behind the mask, putting on a front and not being honest with myself.

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I hit rock bottom earlier this year; I have never been quite so bad. It was as if I had been in a trance. I found myself sitting on a bench looking out to sea, contemplating very morbid, upsetting and sad things. Things that to this day still make me shudder. Depression can make you feel extraordinarily alone, disposable, invisible, weak and broken all at the same time. You can’t simply snap out of it. You can’t just smile and feel the joy. And usually you do not recognise the symptoms until you are at your worst. You are haunted daily by the dread you feel the nanosecond you open your eyes, the enthusiasm you once had becomes so false and so meaningless, but it also becomes a way of life. You live in a constant denial that “you’re fine“, that you’re “just tired“, “nothing is wrong, honestly“…..

Like anything you have to come down, sometimes a long way down before you come back up. I realised I was ill again, but I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone, my Husband, My mum, anyone, for fear of being thought of as an attention-seeker, someone who is overreacting. I carried on, playing the game, keeping my mask securely up, working in auto-pilot. It was exhausting. Get up, get kids to school, avoid those who made me feel invisible, do housework, pick kids up, do dinner, go to bed.

The penny must have dropped with my Husband, he must have realised, because I remember him saying to the me “Please go to the Doctors“. I cannot however, remember much more than that. Everything seems muffled and jumbled up when I look back.

I know I sat in my car on the phone to my Mum in tears, worried that the Doctor would not believe me and wouldn’t help. (He did by the way)

I know I sat in the Doctors room feeling like a little child with no voice. Speaking a language that was complete gibberish. I know I felt immeasurable relief when the Doctor listened, gave me tissues and talked to me, not at me but to me. We talked about what causes depression, coping techniques, how the medication works. He gave me the tool to help me be me again.

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Long story cut short; a few months down the line, I am ME once more. The ME I used to like, the ME who enjoys socialising, the ME who likes people and who doesn’t shy away. I am no longer the person who backs away from others, scared to look people in the eye, scared to be in a crowd.

I can very happily say that the dark cloud, the rainstorm, the shadow which clouded my mind and the dread I carried with me have now been replaced with sunshine, love, smiles, laughing and all thanks to some wonderful man-made drugs.

Depression is not a laughing matter. I may refer to my medication as “happy pills”, but they are still medication prescribed to me to help me deal with and live a mental illness. It is a medication which allows/helps me to be live as myself again. A medication which has stopped my children loosing their mum and has stopped my Husband’s marital status being changed to Widower.

Mental illness is a disease. A disease which is very lonely, debilitating, and carries such a stigma, because it is widely misunderstood. I guarantee that there are many many people who live with it, suffer because of it, who receive treatment for it and who hide it, and you wouldn’t even know it.

I am not here writing this for sympathy or to lecture. I use this blog as a tool, as a coping mechanism. If I can help others while I am doing it, that is epic.

If you know someone who is suffering with/living with depression; I implore you just listen if they want to talk, just offer a shoulder to lean on, sometimes just having company and not being on their own will be all they need.

Please don’t lecture. Don’t brush off their feelings. Don’t put words in their mouth.

Offer support and listen.

And to all those amazing people out there who like me deal with/live with/suffer from depression or a mental illness; remember you are absolutely not alone. You are amazing and I send you a hug from behind my computer screen.

 

Big love

S xx

Monday morning banking chores all done

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So on a hot Monday morning after I had dragged the kids around the various banks, queueing up in the heat, paying in money and paying bills;  I treated them to a milkshake in “Pop-pins” a 50s style cafe and ice cream parlour, Connaught Avenue, Frinton, Essex. (www.poppinsparlour.co.uk )
They loved it and the milkshakes were delicious 😋.

Make up – is less more and how young is too young?

My five year daughter, is a complete girly girl. She loves everything pink, sparkly, glittery, princesses, fluffy, purple, cute; you get the picture.

She already at the tender age of five is very clearly not an outdoorsy/sporty/messy/untidy type. She hates anything outside, hates wildlife and insects, she is even spooked by birds. On the rare occasion when she is outside she will insist on wearing a party dress and party shoes

She has very clear ideas about what she likes when it comes to what she will wear and will not budge from these, unless she absolutely has to. Even when it comes to her school uniform she will NOT wear a summer gingham dress unless it looks “pretty”; she HATES wearing her navy blue pinafore during the winter term.

If this is not even enough, she now has discovered make up! I am not sure when she started watching me when I was putting mine on in the morning, but I remember the first time she asked me “why do you have to wear make up mummy?” – I was driving at the time, so I could not give her my complete attention but I tried. Sitting in the passenger seat was my then 17 year old step-daughter who is a complete mirror looks obsessed teenager, and who does not go out without make up on, EVER! I told my daughter that you don’t HAVE to wear make up, but I liked wearing it and that it had become something I did every morning. That was that, or so I thought!

Then a relative very kindly bought my daughter a childs play make up set for her birthday. Fabulous NOT! So now I had to not only answer questions and try to field question after question about why this and why that, I now also had to deal with her walking down the stairs grinning as she had “just done her make up”…..by this she looked like a psychedelic maniac clown. It wasn’t long until she wanted to put it on every day, until she wanted to put lipstick on before leaving the house and then the straw that broke the camels back……it wasn’t long until she started playing with MY make up!!!!!

My GORGEOUS made up daughter. xx

My GORGEOUS made up daughter. xx

That was it, I knew I had to do something to try to douse the flames of this obsession before it grew to big.

It was during the Easter holidays I chose to do this project….to wear NO MAKE UP AT ALL! To anyone reading this who has blond eyelashes, you may appreciate that this is difficult to do. I think that I look like I have piggy eyes when I don’t wear mascara, but I had to do it.

Advanced warning and apologies for the following photo…..I am wearing NO MAKE UP!

Me without make up - I am sorry!

Me without make up – I am sorry!

So without advertising my little project one day I just didn’t wear make up, and to my surprise she didn’t notice. In fact it took her three days….?!?!?!?! I was noticing. I’d forgotten how quickly I could get ready, I was noticing how nice and clean my skin felt, and I also realised that no one else really cared if I wore make up or not. My daughter noticed on day four when she was in the kitchen helping me make bread. She looked closely at me and asked why I didn’t have any mascara on. I replied that I didn’t want to wear any. I then asked her “Is mummy prettier with or without make up?” Her answer…..”You are pretty both ways mummy”.

Since then I have worn the absolute minimum of make up. Below are photos of what I have worn up until recently….

my "old" make up bundle

my “old” make up bundle

Another pic of my make up

Another pic of my make up

Now…..or since then I have been wearing only tinted moisturiser and mascara, sorry I can’t do without mascara!

But I have noticed that my daughter hasn’t once asked for her make up, or for any to be put on her at all. So, is she only interested with make up because Mummy is? I believe so and although there is nothing wrong with wearing as much make up as you want – everyone is different; there are no rules – I do think that a five year old who is slightly obsessed with it and putting it on is a step too far. And so I am going to endeavour to keep it to a minimum for a while for both of our sakes!

Sleeping companions: How many is too many?

My son is almost 4 but anyone would think he is almost 75 when it comes to his routine and habitual foilbles. He carved his niche into his bedtime routine quite soon after coming out of his cot and in to a “big boys” bed.

The sleeping companions

He has always had, since birth, as all my children have, a knitted blanket – he actually has two! I am not sure how that happened, but he has two both the same in colour, pattern and size. He has always been put to bed with them. It was relatively soon after getting his new big boy bed in late 2013 that he began adding to his sleeping companions. Enter “Iggle Piggle” (from In the Night Garden seen on Cbeebies bedtime hour), he originally belonged to my daughter, but over time she lost the love for Iggle Piggle in favour of more girly, pretty dolls; in stepped my son to adopt the now unloved and discarded blue stuffed toy with his velcroed red blanket.

Shortly after this, Iggle Piggle was joined by “monkey” – this is a soft toy which was purchased from the gift shop of Colchester Zoo on his first birthday. Monkey has previously just sat in the book shelf until my Son decided that he needed another friend to cuddle at night.

This was swiftly followed by “Football Horse” – this is a soft toy of the Ipswich Town Football Clubs mascot “Bluey” given to us by some friends whose children had outgrown the soft toy stage. My son, who had then recently begun to show an interest in football and had been to a few Ipswich Town home games, literally pounced upon him and would not let it go – enter sleeping companion number FOUR!

"Monkey"

“Monkey”

"Football Horse"

“Football Horse”

 

At this stage, it began to cross my mind that his bed was now starting to get a teeny bit busy, but try as I might I could not get him to relinquish any of his beloved friends. On the rare occasion that I was successful, and put him to bed minus a friend or two, he would sneakily retrieve them once the light was off and Mummy had disappeared downstairs. Cheeky monkey.

Over time the number of my Son’s companions has increased considerably. In addition to the two blankets, Iggle Piggle, Monkey and Football Horse we now also have;

“Doggy”

“Football teddy”

“Mickey Mouse”

“Cars cushion”

“Small iggle piggle”

“Superman”

“Action Man”

“Dragon toy”

“Little Doggy”

“Optimus Prime”

“Easter Bunny”

“Megatron”

"Cars Cushion"

“Cars Cushion”

"Optimus Prime & Action Man"

“Optimus Prime & Action Man”

"Mickey Mouse & little Iggle Piggle"

“Mickey Mouse & little Iggle Piggle”

"Doggy"

“Doggy”

"Superman, Dragon toy & Megatron"

“Superman, Dragon toy & Megatron”

"Little doggy, Action man, Easter Bunny & Superman"

“Little doggy, Action man, Easter Bunny & Superman”

Most of his "friends"

These are the names which my Son has given them, and he cuddles all of them and HAS to have them when he goes to bed.

If somehow he is put to bed without first accounting for the attendance of his friends, he will shout downstairs to me, that he can’t find….enter friends name here…..only when they are all present and correct will he allow slumber to take him.

He will still not give any of them up. He cuddles them, lays on them, dribbles on them, clings to them and gets tangled up in them. What he is unaware of is that when Mummy (me) goes up to bed, I untangle his limbs from the numerous friends, move them away and make some space for his little body to actually sleep comfortably.

So….how many is too many? My son goes to bed with 16(!) friends. What is your child/rens, or your magic number? Is there a magic number?

(Please note at the time of doing this post, I had failed to notice that I had not taken a photo of the original “Iggle Piggle” apologies for this oversight. Consider my wrists slapped!)

Thanks

S xx

Fifty Shades of…. Yawn? Porn? I’ll decide!

Yes, here you go my opinion on everyone else’s opinion concerning Fifty Shades of Grey,  the notorious book by E.L James, which took the world by phenomenal proportions in 2011 and the subsequent film, which was released this past weekend.

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Yes, I have read the books. No I have not seen the film, and neither will I, unless I am in my own home watching it on Blu-ray; I have no intention of going to see it in the cinema surrounded by strangers. I am not a prude, but I know what the story is about. WHY would I want to watch a film concerning BDSM, “vanilla sex” and light erotica anywhere other than at home?! Equally I have absolutely no problem with people who do chose to go to the cinema and watch the film, why you would want to go there on Valentine’s night bewilders me slightly, but hey each to their own.

What I DO have a problem with is people, on the news, in the newspapers, on the internet, in magazines, friends, acquaintances, presenters the television, the woman in the street, the man in the shop, all moaning about it, going on and on and on and on. If the story offends you, DON’T GO TO SEE THE FILM! If the story turns your stomach, DON’T GO TO SEE THE FILM! If you consider it porn, DON’T GO TO SEE IT!

For the love of God, please just stop moaning about it. It’s not as if this is a classic story, a childrens story a majority of us may have grown up with which has been manipulated, tweaked and completely changed by a film studio to make millions. No, this is a film which has been made purely because the book was such a complete and utter surprise hit with EVERYONE, women and men.

I myself also got caught up in the bubble of Christian Grey the summer of 2011. I can clearly remember standing in the playground at going home time, and noticing how almost everyone was talking about it in their own little friendship groups. Hands up, I did too! “What part were you up to? Have you got to that bit yet? I can’t put it down” But I wasn’t alone in the fact that nearly halfway through the second instalment, I got bored of all the sex. It became to frequent and “samey”. I wanted to read the story about how Anastasia and Christian got over various and sometimes bloody big hurdles, to be together, not necessarily keep reading about their sexual escapades.

When it was announced that a film was being made, I laughed with my friends and joked that we could have a girly night out, and attend the cinema together. I thought that I wouldn’t have a problem going to see it. I enjoyed the teaser trailer which was released last year. But as the release date got nearer such a fuss has been made about it, it’s turned me off the film altogether. My local Tesco had made a display within their underwear section for “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I saw that my local Peacocks store had made a window display for the film…….for me it is too much. It’s almost along the same lines as having Christmas advertised to me in August! Too much, too much, too much.

I enjoyed the books, a bit of escapism into a world where money is no object, desire is fraught with curiosity, lust and potential danger. I wasn’t alone in enjoying it. Admittedly I dare say that a many number of people read the book purely out curiosity, the books popularity soared by word-of-mouth and was dubbed “mummy-porn”,  I even know a few men who admitted to reading it to find out what the “fuss was all about, the wife is clearly enjoying it!”. Even so, all I seem to keep hearing over the last two days is people/media saying how rubbish the film is, slating it for various reasons, it’s not as good as the book; it’s not going to be is it?! If it was it would definitely be porn!

I will watch the film when it is released on Blu-ray. I will make up my own mind on whether the screenwriters have been successful in transposing the delicate and difficult story with its debatable sexual topic and putting it on the big-screen. If you find the film, the book, the topic of sexual tastes within the storyline uncomfortable and as some have been heard saying “dirty”, DON’T WATCH THE FILM. DON’T READ THE BOOK and please please please STOP moaning about it. If the film hasn’t lived up to your expectations, WAKE UP it is NOT PORN! But please people stop saying negative things about it – you along with all the those other establishments pushing the “Fifty Shades of Grey” brand have completely made me NOT want to watch the film, and I DO actually want to watch the film.

At the end of the day IT IS JUST A FILM. IT IS NOT REAL.

Thanks – Rant over.

x

 

Closing the bath-time chapter

That time has come. The time I never actually thought would ever happen.  My babies all of sudden, way too quickly, without me even seeing it have grown too big to share a bath any longer. This makes me sad, very sad.

T now 5, and G, now 3, have taken baths together since G was a small baby.  Initially I started bathing them together to save time, water, energy, as I imagine many other mums with do when they have more than one child under 2 years of age. It was a success on all counts. I managed to get both children bathed and ready for bed, two for the price of one, I established a good evening routine, and both T and G developed a good strong bother/sister bond, and I had two clean children!

But over the last three years, the bath times have slowly become more infrequent, the evening routine has slipped, and the playful baths have turned into more of a squabble over space, toys, attention, who gets to take out the plug, and who gets out last.

Tonight really was the last straw for me, a sad one I realise now, but the last nevertheless. I lost count of the number of times an argument broke out over the lack of space. T wanted to practice her swimming, G didn’t want to move out of the way so he splashed her in the face, she pushed him, he kicked her, he got her hair wet, she pulled the toy out of his hand, it went on and on and on and on. Referring siblings is difficult at the best of times, but add a bath full of water and it just becomes a nightmare.

Therefore, for the sake of my sanity more than anything, I announced rather loudly in the middle of the last shouting match “That’s it! From now on no more baths together. You will have baths on your own!” . I rather naïvely thought that that would bring a halt to the noise; it did but not in the way I expected. They both cheered! They seem to like this idea.

So, while I have been clinging on to the idea that they enjoy their baths together, they have probably been wondering when Mum is going to wake up and realise that they want to bath solo. So it appears that another chapter in their childhood is closing. I’ll leave the bookmark in there though and revisit it when I want to remember my babies when they were at such a fun time in their lives; it has been a period of time and growing that I actually enjoyed witnessing and will miss.

S

xx