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Books ūüďö

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I’m sorry but you will not convince or convert me…..I am a book lover. I believe in the magic, the feel, the smell, the touch, the words, the comfort, the company of a book.
Any book is better than an electronic replacement.
You can tell a lot of a person character by peeking at their bookshelves.
Money spent on a book is not wasted. Books passed down through the family hold a meaning; hold a history.
Buying a book as a present indicates that you have given your time, your understanding and included your effort into that person, what they like, whether they are they a dreamer, a realist, a history freak.
The magic of a book will never be lost on me.
Xx

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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

The 12 week campaign – Week ONE

Varenicline (Champix¬ģ tm) is my new best friend, for the next 11 weeks and counting anyway.

Champix

Champix

Champix

Champix

One week ago today, Thursday 9th April 2015,¬†I took my first little white pill with a glass of water after I had eaten, and waited….I had the day before been to see the Nurse at my GP’s and spoken about my desire to want to stop smoking and that I had tried by myself in the past and have never been successful; I always start smoking again. Stupid isn’t it.

  • I have tried patches on the arms; they made my arm red and itchy
  • I have used E-cigarettes; they just made me want a real cigarette
  • I have tried plain old-fashioned will-power……I am not that strong
  • I have stopped smoking following an bout of illness, whether it be chest infection/flu/sickness…..eventually I always started again.

I need help in doing this. I WANT to stop and stay stopped. I have three children and I would hate myself if they started smoking because Mummy did it. I am burning money, which I don’t have and actually need; I cannot justify the cost anymore. I have seen members of my family be very ill through smoking; I don’t want this for myself in later years.

Twenty years, yes I started smoking at the stupid, young and impressionable ago of 14 (!), I have had this “friend” and now is the time to let go. I’m making it sound like something I am going to be sad to say goodbye to; well I am actually but pleased that I am doing it. If you have had a habit,¬†of any kind, good or bad,¬†for a long period of time, suddenly losing that and not having it there is difficult. Like giving up your driving licence and relying on another form of transport, like changing a job, changing your diet, losing a friend or pet….suddenly that thing which has been an almost constant in your life is no longer there and you have be strong and carry on. I will carry on. I will be a non-smoker.

The Nurse I see, Jo, is absolutely completely fantastic. She isn’t patronising, but welcoming and understanding. I feel as if she really wants to help me, not just because she is paid to, but because she genuinely wants to see me stop. She explained how Champix works, and called the 12 week course “a 12 week commitment“. This made me think; it IS a commitment, to myself to improve and extend¬†my life, health and bank balance. I am aware of the possible side-effects, which lets face it you get with EVERYTHING nowadays…..feeling sick – Yep I can deal with that, difficulty sleeping – please?! I have had three children I know what sleep deprivation is, abnormal dreams – yep I can handle these too. BRING IT ON!

So how have I found my first week? I hate to say it but relatively easy. Sorry. Actually with¬†Champix you can continue to smoke for the first week , with a view to cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke within by the end of the first week¬†and then stopping completely by the end of the second week. Obviously when I returned home and told the Husband this I emphasised “I can still smoke” bit, like I was clinging on to the very¬†last point.

I did continue to smoke. For the first 3 days I continued smoking but I also cut down how many I smoked…then Saturday night,¬†fortunately (I say fortunately as I think in hindsight it was a silver lining) I picked up the sickness and diarrhoea bug that had been going around my house. Obviously the last thing I wanted to do was smoke, so I didn’t; and I haven’t since…..Well…I did fancy a cigarette on Monday morning, not because I wanted it, but because I always had one mid-morning in the past. I lit it and immediately I hated it. It tasted vile and I felt dirty.

I continued to not smoke, and I can honestly say I haven’t had any craving for nicotine; it’s the routine I’m missing. I miss having a cigarette with my morning coffee; when I get back from doing the school run; once the kids are in bed, to have a break from housework, after dinner, before bed…..

My first follow up appointment with Nurse Jo was booked for Tuesday, and I was excited to go and tell her how I well I feel I have been doing. I told her about the stomach bug, etc and she was thrilled with how I was doing. The real test was the breathalyser thing-me-bob (I don’t know what it’s called!) It is like a breathalyser you see the police doing on drivers they suspect have been drinking, but this measures the level of carbon monoxide (I think) in my lungs. During my first appointment my levels were at 18mms, on Tuesday (5 days later 3 of which I had not smoked for) my levels had reduced to 2mms!!!! Whoop Whoop!! I felt like dancing, and that gave me what I needed to carry on with the determination I have got.

Don’t get me wrong I know that the next 11 weeks may not be as easy, and I will have tests thrown at me, however this time I feel differently about it.

So, please think good thoughts for me, and keep things crossed that this time I WILL stop smoking and beat this horrible habit once and for all. I will let you know how things are next week…..

Much love

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 na√Įvely 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

Age appropriate reading….?!

My 5 year old, T is in reception class at school and I am extremely proud to say is a real whizz at reading, writing and spelling – Cringe a proud mummy moment, apologies!

T reads anything and everything; adverts, road signs, newspapers, magazines, everything and if it’s a bit too advanced she still gives it go. I will be honest sometimes it gets a bit tedious, but I ALWAYS try to encourage it. On the other hand my eldest daughter, L, who has just turned 11, hates reading. She can read and is actually¬†good at it, but cannot be bothered and¬†finds it boring. I accept this, not everyone is a natural bookworm and each child is different in a variety of ways. My Husband and I have tried in vain to temp L to read more, but she just will not do it.

T’s school actively encourage reading at home, books are sent home with a “reading diary” so we can keep a record of what is read by T and how she is doing. I imagine this is fairly standard in all primary schools these days. We use this and always make a record for her teachers to see. If however I were to write in there all the things T actually read when she was at home, I would be forever filling the blasted thing in and would probably be asking for another one.

Last Sunday evening, I had just sat down to start a book my sister had lent me, “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly. I had never heard of it, and it looked quite interesting. (I now know that the book was made into a film in 2011 – a bit behind in the times on that one!) T came and snuggled next to me on the armchair and was asking me about the book, “did it have any pictures?” “Did it have any princesses in it?” etc,¬†the normal things 5 year old girls want to know. I was four pages in to the book when T started reading along out-loud¬†from the top of the page. I was happy to let her carry on with this and was excited that she wanted to. She did remarkably well. ¬†T read probably one complete page, it took a while, but I was fine with that; it’s all good practise after all. I decided that I would put a note in her reading diary to let her teacher know, but instead of writing it in the book itself I put a wrote a note on a post-it, just outlining what she had done and letting them know. I thought, na√Įvely perhaps that they would think this was good progress. I was wrong!

Wednesday afternoon (2 days later!) T came out of school and inside her reading diary was a post-it note in reply, basically saying that T should be reading material more suited for her age, and they have given her more books to read at home. I was a bit dumbfounded, and felt like a criminal, like I should be run out of the school playground and locked up. Had I done the wrong thing by allowing her to read one page from one of my books? Could I have scarred her for life?

I relayed this to my Husband that evening, and he much like myself was slightly stunned. What is age-appropriate for a 5 year old? Only the books the school sends home? Am I only to allow her to read those? Do I have to discourage her from reading anything but those? If I had been sitting reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” then yes I could see where the school was coming from, but I was FOUR pages in a book about an American lawyer – nothing sinister had happened in the book at that point! Lets be honest here, T is only 5 she will not have taken in the story from the page she has read! However, now I each time I pick up my book to continue reading it’s been tarnished, as¬†I get a heavy feeling in my chest,¬†I’ve been made to feel like such¬†a bad parent.

I have yet to speak to T’s teacher about this, and with the parents evening just around the corner I am very much looking forward to!

Do you censor what your children read? Was I wrong to encourage reading an adult book? I would be very interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else or what you would do, if anything? Please leave me a comment, let me know what you think.

Thanks

S xx