The start of a new year – time for reflection or just another day?

So, the bells have rung, the fireworks have gone off, the champagne has been drunk and we have changed from 2018 to 2019. As usual the world didn’t end, there were no technological epidemics at the point of midnight and the questionable political decisions of 2018 have not vanished in a puff of smoke.

Fundamentally nothing has changed!

Yet we all often fall in to the trap of feeling compelled to make changes or expecting things to be different just because we now have to end our dates with /19 and not /18.

I have fallen foul of this myself year on year, but encouraged by the many postings of Instagram I made the decision to approach this new year a bit differently.

The overall message from Instagram was that I actually didn’t need to change, there was nothing wrong with me and that was a message that started to resonate. I have real issues with myself, valuing who I am and treating myself with compassion. This has been heightened by an unfortunate incident before Christmas which I won’t go in to but did set me back a fair way.

So, the idea that I didn’t need to start thinking about all the bits of me I hated and wanted to change and instead could keep focussed on marrying who I am with who I want to be was enlightening.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that we shouldn’t acknowledge the turn of the year. I know it is basically just another day and in reality it doesn’t feel any different but it’s as good a day as any to start thinking about what you want going forward. There has to be a day one for kick starting a new approach so I think why not the first day of the year.

So this year instead of making a list of all the things I want to change about me, of which there are endless, I am instead going to focus on the things that I was doing last year and enjoyed. Things that have perhaps slipped from my attention or haven’t been prioritised as they should. Things that I value and that benefit me physically or mentally.

This list will be pretty fluid and I plan to add to it or amend it as the months go on, no one can know what the future holds so I think it is only right that there is no rigid plan.

So here are a few of the things I am planning to continue in 2019:

  • I would like to get back in to running and improve my fitness levels. Three years ago I managed to run a half marathon and whilst I didn’t really enjoy the race itself I did feel enormous satisfaction that I was able to run that distance. I had worked hard to get myself prepared for such an event and I would love to be back to that level again as I felt such a sense of accomplishment. But it is not easy starting again and finding the mental strength to push through the pain. I also need to prioritise running more and make some time for it.
  • I am going to continue with my “read more scroll less” pledge started last year when I gave up facebook and my personal Instagram account in order to make more time to read. I managed 24 books last year which was one short of my 25 target but that still mega for me as I think I averaged about 3 books a year over the previous 5 years. That’s also not including the 4 textbooks I read for my 2 exams which slowed down the reading for pleasure mission. Those textbooks definitely weren’t pleasure!
  • I am going to make a greater effort to write my blog and work really hard on getting some structure and order to my writing. I have so many ideas but I need to make the time to work on them. Otherwise, let’s be honest I am just wasting my time.
  • I am going to be more mindful of what triggers my anxiety because what 2018 taught me was that it wasn’t enough to just leave my job and expect to get better. There has been an ongoing battle with anxiety and I need to continue to work on how to make things a bit easier. I still don’t know if I will overcome anxiety, it feels very far away from achievable at the moment but I know I can take steps to make it easier to deal with and 2019 will be about fine tuning those steps.

And that is that, I think 4 things to continue is more than enough for me. I can’t cope at the best of times with being overwhelmed so there is no reason to actively do it to myself. These are all things that I have been doing in 2018 and would like to continue and improve upon. Not resolutions, not unattainable goals to fail to achieve. Just some structured thinking about what I value in my life. And obviously it goes without saying that I will continue to look after my family etc etc and I will probably on occasion still strive to be a size 6 but small steps and all.

Happy 2019 folks, may it be the best possible year it can be for all!!

What is this self care you speak of ?!?

I was casually indulging in a spot of kitchen cleaning, specifically the oven of doom!!, and to stop myself from losing the plot entirely I was also indulging in a bit of an Instagram story catch up sesh at the same time. So, there I was elbow deep in the oven pride and listening to the fabulous @Natashabailie talking about self-care.
If you aren’t familiar with Natasha, and I would urge you to change that, then you may not be aware that she is a great voice in the Instagram mental health community and speaks very passionately about the use of self-care in managing mental health difficulties. She can be found on Instagram or at
During these particular stories, Natasha was talking about the fact that whilst she strongly values self-care not everyone feels the same. She was questioning why this may be the case and this in turn got me thinking about my relationship with self-care and my take on what Natasha was saying.

Self-care hasn’t always come easily to me, in the lead up to my illness my life was completely full with work, kids, family and a never-ending stream if time filling commitments with little value. I viewed taking care of my self as selfish and it wasn’t what good mothers did because good mothers put everything in to raising the family and keeping the home.
(Disclaimer 1: I am not saying this is the case at all, it was simply a warped perception I held for some time. Disclaimer 2: despite what it sounds like, I was not raised in Stepford during the 60’s. I am not sure where this warped perception stems from)

It wasn’t until I broke that I realised I needed to work a bit more on me to be able to look after others. This is the tag line that is so often used and is absolutely right. But I’ll be honest, even now I still struggle with self-care and I don’t think I am alone in that.
So why is this the case? Why do so many people shun what seems like a dream situation – a genuine excuse to make time for yourself and do nice things?


Self-care doesn’t have to be a mountain, don’t be scared by the idea.

In reality I think that a lot of people either don’t truly understand what self-care means and they have a very tight definition of what counts as self-care. For others it just feels too big, too scary and too time consuming. After all, if your head is full and you are feeling the stretch, the idea of trying to factor something else in to the mix can be overwhelming. Consequently, the things that are easiest to remove are the ones we take out the first. After all it is not that easy to take out work or family commitments so we sacrifice the things that will help us the most.

Even now when I have worked very hard on trying to rebuild myself, and when I have changed so many of the negative things from before, I still struggle with having the time and the headspace to tackle self-care.

Yoga for example – My friend keeps telling me of the virtues of yoga for my physical and mental health. I know this is true and I do really want to get in to it, but I don’t feel like I have the time or the headspace to start it yet. It sounds crazy but I think it is a bit like addicts admitting they have a problem before they will seek help. I need to feel ready to commit the time to yoga before I can contemplate starting it. I had the same thing with counselling. I knew I needed it for a long time, before I was really ill but I didn’t have the headspace to commit to it. Counselling is a long and hard journey. One that is worthwhile no doubt but not something you can jump in to lightly. Obviously, yoga is not the same level of intensity as counselling but the principle is the same and that I think also applies to self-care. You have to be able to commit the time to it before you can start the process. You have to believe in the value and you have to recognise the benefits.

But I do think there is a lot of confusion or presumption around what is meant by self-care. It isn’t always about finding time to go to the salon or the spa, although these things count and are very valuable to some. It can be about doing something that makes you feel good, whatever that may be and recognising its value.

For me, and this may well sound lame to some, it is making time to do some life admin or some cleaning admin. I definitely didn’t enjoy cleaning the brown gunk out of my oven but my god did I feel good afterwards. That box of oven pride had been in my house for more than 2 months and sitting beside the oven for at least a month (minus the days when people came round and I didn’t want to highlight the state of my oven) to try and encourage me to do it and simultaneously making me feel guilty for not doing it. So, to have actually had the time to tick that job off my to do list made me feel amazing.
Having a clean house makes me feel like I have my sh** together, it makes me feel like I am top of things and that I’m not completely failing at life. That is important to me but it isn’t necessarily important to others and that’s fine.

Find what is important to you and try to make some time to do it. It doesn’t have to be the glamourous stuff that is so often publicised, it may be stuff that you don’t want to admit to or that isn’t “instagrammable” but that’s ok. You don’t need to justify to anyone else what self-care means to you.
Its really not a case of “go hard or go home” either, it can be small things leading to big things or it can just always be small things.

Self-care is not an insurmountable mountain, it is stepping stones towards making you feel better. Those stepping stones can be as close together or as far apart as you need them at the moment. If you only manage something for you once a month or less frequently than that, its ok. And as ever with the world of social media, don’t be driven by what others are doing or feel bad because others seem to be doing it more or doing it better. People only post what they want you to see. Self-care is just that, something for yourself. Do it to make you feel better and only you. If you want to, please feel free to comment and share what you do or have done. Perhaps it will help others to identify something they could do for themselves to make a positive change.


You don’t have to go from 0-60 straight away. Take small steps, even tiny ones will make a difference.

I’ll start you off with a few ideas that work for ME:
1) Keeping on top of the cleaning (I used the Organised Mum Method – see Instagram, facebook or this blog if you want to know what I mean
2) Having lists of all the things I need or want to do. This stops them swimming around in my head and making me feel overwhelmed or forgetful.
3) Painting my nails – I use gel/shellac but do it at home because I can’t afford the time to make an appointment somewhere. For me having nice nails makes me feel a hundred times better.
I would love it if you could share your ideas with me.

There’s just no pleasing some people!!

Over the past few years I have noticed that I am becoming progressively less tolerant of noise. I am becoming the annoying old battleaxe always telling people (namely my kids and dog) to be quiet and calm down.

Its important at this point to note that at the time of writing this blog I was sat in a kids dance class listening to the baby shark song!! Never have I wanted silence so badly and I cant think what inspired this particular blog!!

I think the need for silence, or just quiet, is a direct result of the anxiety and mental health problems that I have been experiencing for the last few years. My reasoning behind this is that my head feels so full all the time. Full of all the things I have to do, full of all the things that are

Photo courtesy of

worrying me, full of demands and full of anxiety. Consequently, there isn’t space for anything else so I can’t handle the additional noise and the demands. Continue reading There’s just no pleasing some people!!

Maybe it’s the quality of your wardrobe that’s the problem – flat pack just aint gonna cut it!!

One of the things that has stuck with me the most since I accepted I was ill (different from when I became ill) came from a great friend who simply said “your wardrobe is just too full”.
So, after the initial panic that she had indeed seen the complete and utter state of my dishevelled wardrobe with the back panel hanging off, I realised what she actually meant. She simply meant that I had taken on too much to cope with. I had been metaphorically cramming stuff in to my “wardrobe” and shutting the doors until eventually those poor doors had enough and came flying off and hit me hard.
The most frustrating part of it all was that my “wardrobe” was filled with loads of other people’s things that I was storing for them and consequently I had less room for my stuff.
But after about 3 months of counselling, I was able to manage some of the stuff. Chuck some of it out, refold some other stuff and generally get a better idea of what was actually in there. Suddenly things felt a bit better and less pressured. There was a small amount of space now in which to carefully place a few things that wasn’t going to cause another massive wardrobe explosion.
But as time has been going on, and since the counselling has stopped, I have been trying to manage the wardrobe on my own and the time has come to admit that it is starting to feel a bit bulgy again. Only this time it isn’t because of any major things, its just a series of life’s little niggles that are building and building and I don’t have the right level of resilience to fight them all the time.
So is that it then? Am I now so broken that I can’t even deal with normal life? That’s a very scary and sobering thought that I am trying to process. I mean surely everyone has to deal with the same everyday stresses – working, being a parent, running a home, trying to have a social life, maintain a relationship etc etc etc? so why is it that I am finding it so difficult to deal with all these things when I have already invested heavily in trying to make space in my wardrobe.
But the thing that makes it different now is that I am much better at self-reflection. I am not caught up in a whirlwind and I have time to stop and take stock of the situation. I am more rational than before. All of these things combined have led me to the realisation that actually the issue is the quality of my “wardrobe”. I need to work on making myself more bespoke fitted wardrobe and less Ikea flat pack special with the flimsy plastic door inserts!!
So that is my project for the next few weeks and months. Watch this space because there is a shiny, sparkly and sturdy new wardrobe in the making. In the mean time if you could refrain from putting your stuff in my wardrobe that would be great.

Hodor against intrusive thoughts..

There has been some talk of late around intrusive thoughts and their impact on wellbeing and mental health and it was a topic I wanted to pick up on. An early disclaimer, the title of this blog is in reference to a scene from “Game of Thrones”. If you are a fan then you will hopefully know which scene I am referring to, but if you aren’t then head to you tube and search for “Hodor death scene”. It gives a good visual representation of how I was feeling at the time and hopefully some context to the rest of this blog.
For anyone not aware, an intrusive thought is defined as : unwanted thoughts or images that you find distressing and/or disturbing. Intrusive thoughts can also result in compulsions, which are the things you do to help you cope with the unwanted thoughts. You may believe that they mean something bad about you as a person. (
The conversations I have seen around intrusive thoughts have focussed mainly on thoughts about bad things happening (your family dying) or doing something bad yourself (crashing your car in to someone). I have had and still have these kinds of thoughts but if I’m honest they don’t really bother me. I recognise them for what they are and don’t give them much more consideration. However, following on from these conversations it got me thinking about whether some of the thoughts and behaviours I had, particularly when I was at the peak of stress and anxiety, were actually intrusive thoughts in disguise.
You see, when I was at the peak of my difficulties I felt like I was going to explode. I was being pushed and pulled in all directions, I didn’t know if I was coming or going and there just wasn’t enough time to get everything done. Mornings were fraught, with constant rushing around and the inevitable shouting when children weren’t moving quickly enough or doing what they had been asked!! Something I should confess to now is that I am very time orientated. I was fixated on getting out of the house at a particular time and would get very stressed if that wasn’t happening. I knew how long it took to drive to different places and what time I wanted to arrive in the office. I wasn’t prepared to be flexible on this regardless of the fact that I had flexi time at work and therefore no set time to arrive. The thing is my life was balancing act, and everything had a set space and time it must fit in to in order for everything to flow.
I am sure in reality this is no different to the majority of people’s lives, so what makes me think I am different I’m sure you are asking and more importantly what the hell has this got to do with intrusive thoughts?!?!?!
I’ll explain… so I’ve set the scene – a mad house of a morning with lots of rushing, shouting and stress (sounds delightful doesn’t it). Now you may think that the things that I was cramming in to this very definite inflexible allocation of time would be essential things only – teeth brushing, dressing, breakfast, lunch making etc etc etc. A “normal” person might have identified the priority tasks and just focussed on achieving them before we left the house. But the mistake you could be making is assuming that I was a normal person at that time (or now for that matter!).
Oh no!!! So aside from trying to get a 3 year old and a 6 year old to conform to my military timings when really they had their own “essential task list” of a morning (usually comprising of finding an obscure toy, having a 6th bowl of cereal or writing a list of family members to name but a few), I also insisted that all beds had to be made, dishes had to be neatly stacked ready for washing, all breakfast items had to be put away, all rooms had to be tidy, cushions had to be fluffed and in place and the bathroom had to be clean. That on top of getting 3 people dressed, 4 people breakfasted, 3 lunches made and 2 bags to be ready for school/nursery all before 7.50am when we had to leave.
In my head this all made perfect sense because there was always a chance that the window cleaner might pop by unannounced – even though he always text the day before to say he was coming and invariably I forgot to unlock the back gate so he could never do most of the windows anyway!! Or (and this is a genuine thought pattern of mine) what if the queen was coming past and looked in my windows. I mean surely she has better things to do with her time than drive up and down residential streets of villages in rural Warwickshire looking in windows and casting judgment? But nevertheless this thought pattern was what drove me to run around every morning like a crazed woman tidying, cleaning and organising whilst barking instructions to small children about getting their shoes on and waiting by the front door!!

Looking back now I am veering between laughing at the ridiculousness of it and cringing from embarrassment. But if we go back to the aforementioned definition of intrusive thoughts – Intrusive thoughts can also result in compulsions, which are the things you do to help you cope with the unwanted thoughts – and as sad and pathetic as it may sound, I genuinely had intrusive thoughts about people (not just the queen) looking in my windows, seeing a mess and making a judgment about me as a person and as a mother.

See I had this obsession with looking like I had it all together, looking like the perfect working mum with the husband with the stressful job and the house that resembled something from an interiors magazine. I wanted people to be in awe of me and to be asking “how does she do it?”. I wanted to portray an image that was the complete antithesis of how I felt, because in all honesty I was drowning.

I don’t know why I did everything or how the hell I managed to do it for so long. I crammed so much in to such a small amount of time and the reality was I wasn’t doing anything to the best of my ability. I was doing whatever it took to scrape by without alerting anyone to what was really going on. And do you know what, in a perverse way I look back and I am kind of proud of what I managed to do and how I managed to hold it all together – and if the thing at work hadn’t happened I would probably be still doing it now and probably still getting away with it.
Sometimes I feel angry, really fudgin’ angry, that one person took all of that away from me. But then if you look at it from an independent, rational outsider’s perspective actually that person probably did me a favour (although I’m not ready to let go of the anger completely) because I was an accident waiting to happen. It wasn’t an if, it was definitely a when situation.
Believe me though, I have battled with this. I can’t go back to doing all that again, my body (or mind more accurately) physically won’t allow me to do it. I tried to gain back some of the extra-curricular non-work stuff that I did whilst I was off work, but I couldn’t do it. There was some kind of invisible barrier that I ran in to every time I tried. I’m sure it must be a protective thing that my mind has put up so that I can’t end up as I was, but it does make me cross sometime. Who does my mind think it is trying to protect me all the time?
As I have said before, I have changed as a person and I have struggled so much with that change. I hate that I don’t have the control over my mind anymore. I am a control freak – I’ll admit it – its possibly a contributory factor in how I have ended up like this so sometimes I cannot cope with how things are, and how I have changed.
But on a good day I can see how these changes have been a positive thing. I have managed to gain some control in areas that I didn’t previously. The majority of the time I don’t worry about the queen becoming a peeping tom and looking at my unmade beds on a work morning. My morning routine has relaxed a bit, not completely but then I would challenge anyone to hold their sh*t together when they have asked 12 times for a child to come and brush their teeth and instead they are bandaging a dolls arm because that doll NEEDS it to be done now!! I still have some way to go and I still need to work on achieving acceptance of my situation, but it is most important that I recognise the positives. It is the only way to come to terms with it all.
Intrusive thoughts can come in any shape and form, they can be deeply unpleasant or truly weird but if they are impacting on your life and your behaviours then it really is something you need to seek help for. Don’t be scared or ashamed, I’m sure that mental health professionals all over the world have heard it all before and some. Some things are worth losing control over even the queen!!

Why doesn’t it come with a manual?!?

When I think about how long I have been struggling with anxiety, I often say it started in the middle of last year. But in reality I had probably been struggling for a lot longer than that. Initially without realising there was a problem and then slowly transforming in to denial that there was a problem.

Life was difficult, and at times it was really really difficult but I just thought that was how it was supposed to be. After all I was a mother to two young children, working a 30 hour week in a taxing job, juggling childcare with a self-employed husband in a high pressured job and my own social life and hobbies on top. Of course life was going to be difficult. But I genuinely believed that I was coping, I had things under control and I was managing everything. In reality I was in denial and it was mega tough but it did all balance and that was what mattered. Then an issue at work arose and then it spiralled, all of a sudden I had been knocked off balance and there was no going back.
It started by feelings of sickness and that anxious rumbling in the pit of my stomach every time I went to work. Then I was on the verge of tears all the time. Then I couldn’t concentrate, I became a bit paranoid. Then I started jumping every time someone came in the office door, the panic attacks kicked in when I drove up the ramp to the car park. Meanwhile, although I was struggling, I had absolutely no idea that this wasn’t normal. I knew it wasn’t enjoyable and I knew I had changed but I didn’t really get it – or more importantly I didn’t really want to get it. I didn’t want to get what it meant. The trigger point was when I had a huge panic attack whilst working from home just because of an email I needed to send. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t talk or write or function. I was petrified and alone and I didn’t know what to do.
Luckily I had watched enough Casualty and medical dramas in my time to know that it wasn’t a heart attack or anything more sinister. My rational brain was still alert enough to know it was a panic attack. I didn’t know how to make it stop but I knew what it was. So I rode it out, and it did eventually come to an end. At which point I called my husband who eventually convinced me that it hadn’t been a “normal” response to the task in hand and that I needed to speak to a doctor. He forced me to call and I made an appointment for the following week. From that point forward I recognised that I had anxiety and sought treatment.
Seven months on and I still have anxiety but to a different degree. Luckily most of the time I don’t have panic and I have developed strategies to keep panic at bay when it tries to raise its ugly head. But unlike some physical illnesses, it has not been straightforward to treat and it hasn’t been cured. In honesty I don’t know if it will be cured ever or whether it will become a part of who I am and my character make up.
Things are very different now, whereas I was in denial this time last year about how I was feeling I am now probably a bit too far the other way. I am now more prone to over analysing every response and feeling, often mislabelling something as anxiety when it could be seen as normal behaviour.
Neither of these are healthy approaches, but anxiety feels a bit like being dropped in the middle of the ocean and being expected to make your way home. Like many of the most difficult things in life, it doesn’t come with a manual or a definitive cure all prescription. Instead you have to make your way through the best way you can, making mistakes and developing survival techniques.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the self-analysis that you lose perspective and start to think that you are more unwell than you actually are. That can then spiral in to belief that things are slipping and that you are taking a backwards step. That is incredibly disheartening and consequently rational thought is lost again. Bingo – that’s exactly what the anxiety wanted, it wanted you to give up and succumb to its power.
When I take a step back and recover enough to restore the rational thought, it is easy to see that it was just a blip. But when you are caught up in it all then it can become quite overwhelming and often destructive. It could easily go the other way, but I feel that I have managed to keep something in my reserves which stops that from happening. Will that always work? Who knows, but it’s the best I have at the moment and its good enough for me.
And you never know, maybe someday there will be a manual to help us all!!


Sunshine, daffodils and lambs.

Spring has Sprung!!
Although if we are honest it’s more of a gentle bounce than a full blown leap at the moment. But none the less, the clocks have gone forward, the nights are lighter and the sun is making an appearance. Happy Days!
And they are, at the moment the days are happier and I am feeling more positive and more determined than I have for a while. Importantly I am feeling that I am in control of my anxiety rather than being controlled by it. In reality I still feel a bit wobbly, it’s an underlying feeling of uneasiness and I guess a constant reminder that the anxiety is there. It wants me to remember that it could burst through at any time so not to get too complacent and cocky. I don’t know if that feeling is something I will always have or whether in time I will heal but it is something that you can kind of learn to live with and suppress to a degree so that it doesn’t impact too much on normal life.
But I feel that I have some control over my life at the moment and I feel like I could be strong enough to get back to some of the things that I used to be able to do without really thinking. This is a really big deal for me because I have majorly struggled over the last few months with the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to do things (such as running, going to the gym, painting) that previously I had been able to do without issue. Once I became ill there seemed to be a glass wall erected in my mind, on one side was my conscious mind and on the other side was all the things I liked to do, used to do or needed to do for basic functioning. I could see them and I knew what I needed to do but I couldn’t reach them – it was awful!
I remember very vividly on one particular day that I was due to meet some friends for lunch. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and panic and it was literally crippling me. I was at home alone, with a few hours to go until I had to leave. I had tried to be kind to myself and made myself a short list of three jobs I would like to achieve before I left for the lunch. One of those jobs was to go upstairs and get a pile of washing to put on whilst I was out, but I couldn’t do it, I physically couldn’t go upstairs. My mind had taken complete control of my body and the anxiety was stopping me from being able to climb approx. 13 steps, pick up a pile of washing and come back down. It sounds ridiculous, and to anyone who hasn’t experienced anxiety or doesn’t understand anxiety then it will seem impossible that I wasn’t able to physically walk up the stairs when actually there was nothing physically wrong with me.

Rest assured that I couldn’t believe it either and it went against every part of my character. I am by nature a bit of a control freak, I like routines and lists and structure. I don’t (or didn’t) have a lot of time for the irrational and firmly believed in mind over matter. I am a determined and tenacious person (this is starting to sound like my CV so apologies) so all of this felt absolutely ridiculous but it also felt extremely frightening. To have no control over your body and mind is terrifying and I really really struggled with this and still do to be honest.

I feel that for me the glass wall is a good analogy as like I said I could see what needed to be done, it was all over there encouraging me or maybe even taunting me but I just couldn’t break through, I couldn’t get to it. When I tried it hurt so in the end I just sat there staring through the glass much like my dog does when we are outside and he is not allowed out.

I made it out to the lunch although I didn’t manage to put the washing on before I went or in fact any of the other jobs on my list. But I took comfort in the fact that I had made it to the lunch even though I was struggling so much with anxiety. But I tell you what, when I got home from the lunch there was no stopping me – I was up and down those stairs like no one’s business and knocking all the jobs out of the park. It was as if I was a completely different person, no longer paralysed by anxiety.

There were a few more similar incidences but I am pleased to say that thankfully I haven’t experienced that level of paralysis for a while, not that its been plain sailing ever since, but I must have identified ways to manage that particular issue.

I also feel as though the glass wall has come down and I don’t have such a physical barrier between myself and the things I want or need to do. That being said I still find it a struggle to achieve the things I once did. I now consider that the glass wall has fallen down and become more of a large puddle between me and those aspirations. I could get over it but it isn’t easy, I could wade through but that can be messy and unappealing. I could ask for help, and sometimes I do, having someone with you definitely makes things easier and less daunting, but it isn’t always possible to have someone with you at all times and actually I don’t want to be dependant on someone to help me do what should be basic everyday tasks.

So, I will continue to make small but steady progress in the right direction. Some days I have enough energy to take a running jump and get over the puddle and when I do I always end up feeling really good and empowered to continue. But some days I just can’t do it, some days I may dip my foot in to the puddle and then bottle it – making promises that I will try again another day and succeed. Those days don’t make me feel so good but I am learning to be kind to myself and accept that I can’t be leaping all over the place all the time, sometimes its ok to be cautious.

But with the arrival of the warm weather and the lighter evenings, who knows maybe soon I will be leaping like a baby lamb all over the place and then who knows what will be possible.



But it was meant to be perfect…

For as long as I can remember,  I have fallen foul of the expectation that a situation would be perfect because that was I how I had imagined it in my head. I often had dreamt up beautiful perfect scenarios where special occasions would resemble that of a movie scene, perfectly behaved children, lots of love and laughter, absolutely no arguing, whining, moaning or fighting. No one running off, no one kicking off and everyone having fun. Idyllic scenes, instagram worthy scenes – utter perfection. We have all been there I am sure, dreaming of these wonderful scenarios. But how often does that actually happen???

In reality, I would imagine the answer is very rarely – not in the real world anyway. But time after time and disappointment after disappointment, I still find myself imagining that the next time will be different, the next time it will play out like it does in my head. I feel confident that we will have learnt from the mistakes that were made last time the dream was crushed, and this time it will be perfect. Invariably, as I’m sure you can imagine, the same thing happens – I imagine something to be perfect and it fails miserably. Not because anything terrible actually happened but because it was impossible to live up to my aspiration. The only thing I don’t seem to learn after each occasion is that the common denominator in all this disappointment is my ridiculous perception of what real life actually is like. Not just real life with children but real life in any situation. Perhaps I have watched too many films, looked at too many magazines and too much social media – my perception of real life is warped and maybe I am in denial.

Except, I am not in denial at all. My rational brain sees it all, realises everything and does eventually kick in when it all comes tumbling down in to a heap of crushed dreams and disappointment. That makes it sound all very dramatic and in reality, it is not me lying in a heap on the floor sobbing and screaming why! In fact, it is usually me just getting frustrated, angry and a bit shouty. It may then culminate in a bit of a blow out, a stomp to another room, a bit of crying and then lashings of mum guilt for how I reacted and behaved.  It is at this point that my rational brain comes back and reminds me that it was just a dream and ultimately it was unattainable.

Over the last 6 months whilst I have been coping with my anxiety, I have been constantly battling with the loss of my rational side of my brain when an anxiety attack occurs. I have always prided myself on being rational and in control, and unfortunately the anxiety and panic attacks have been eating away at that side of my brain. In fact, this has probably been the single hardest thing to come to terms with throughout my illness and the thing I have fought hardest against.

Counselling helped me to realise that this is a normal response during times of anxiety and it also helped me to realise that my need to control everything is actually quite damaging to my mental health and something that I need to work on managing better. It is something I have been pondering for a while and although I think it will be slow progress I do feel like maybe I am starting to learn to let go a bit.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and this would have been a prime opportunity for me to build up my expectations to insurmountable heights and then come plummeting down when reality kicked in. But instead I took a more reasonable approach to the day, after all I have young children who can’t be expected to behave perfectly at all times although some of the time would be good though!! I opted for a relaxed day at home, no expectations, no pressure to be anywhere at a particular time – no real plans. Do you know what? It felt good, really good. There were no major dramas, no tantrums – from me or the children and everyone had the flexibility to do a bit of what they wanted.


Was it instagrammable? No probably not. Was it the stuff they make films out of? Highly unlikely. Was it perfect? Well actually for me it was, for my current situation and frame of mind it was exactly what was needed.

And the key to achieving the perfect day? Well its quite simple, aim for the achievable and you wont be disappointed. Who wants to live like the movies anyway?!?!?