Weight for it

This morning I took the bull by the horns…..Or possibly the elephant by the trunk…….I decided to weigh myself for the first time in months! Oh I knew I’d put on weight. I had to go up a dress size ( well jeans) and even they are getting tight on me. I thought I was prepared for anything!

I stepped gingerly onto the scales and the numbers came up. Sigh of relief when I realised they weren’t in stones……A few more minutes of blissful ignorance until I made the conversion.

Then………aagghhhhhhhh……No that can’t be true I’d be going up a bus size not a dress size!

Took off my sketchers and PJs…..They’re very heavy …..Kept on my unicorn socks ( they give me comfort) and tried again.

The numbers dropped by 1 lb 😭

WAIT! 1 lb!!!!!! I thought I was weighing myself in kilos 😂

Another conversion rate tells the truth……Not great but hey I lost over 10 stone just in doing the conversation so pass me some cake ……I’ll diet tomorrow

Losing your mind and finding yourself

I did lose my mind. I didn’t realise I was losing it. I thought it was right there guiding me. Trouble was it was guiding me in a different direction every five minutes until I couldn’t keep up!

It was like one of those superballs. You’d send it off one direction and with a few giant leaps it was somewhere totally different…..often taking a few casualties along the way!

Eventually ….as with all good things…..and thankfully most bad…..this period of my life came to an end….a fairly abrupt end at that.

The next four years were spent trying to put the shattered pieces back together again. Therapy…..drugs…..drugs…..therapy.

For me mindfulness was the key that finally reached deep inside me and found the tiny shred of my mind that was still well. The little bit that could regenerate and strengthen if given a lot of care.

I don’t sit crossed legged and hum…..but if that works for you then go for it. I try to keep bringing myself back to the here and now if only for a few brief moments at a time. Listening to the birds, smelling the flowers, tasting the ice cream, really feeling the fur of my dogs as I stroke them.

Photography has really helped me. It makes me really stop and think about what I’m seeing, the colour, the texture, the detail.

I love playing around with editing too- using different filters and techniques to distort the reality of what I saw before me. That’s what mental illness does. It distorts reality and my “work” reminds me of this.

So now I’ve decided to try my hand at painting. I’ve never painted- other than walls, fences, cupboards, chairs, tables…..ok I have painted…..but not pictures.

I’ll never be a professional photographer, nor will I be an artist ( all that cutting off ears and starving in attics isn’t really me anyway). But I’ve discovered a peace and a joy that has helped heal my tattered mind. It is finding the beauty in the here and now. Playing with it, distorting it, capturing it either exactly as it is or in how it makes me feel.

So losing my mind wasn’t such a bad thing. In trying yo find it again I found a me I never even knew existed 😊

The hardest goodbyes

If you’re not a pet lover stop reading now because you just won’t get this! If you are you’ll understand how hard it is to make that decision that it’s time to let them go.

It’s weighing up the balance and trying to decide when it falls against quality of life. If you let them go a day too soon you can’t give that time back to them. If you let them go on too long they’re suffering needlessly.

This photo breaks my heart and yet warms it at the same time. The final moments spent with these two wee rescues before we let them both go. One 18 and only with us 15 months, the other 17 and came to us as an unwanted pup who was being drowned.

It took several trips to the vet with both before I agreed that we were at the end of the road. My husband and I spent the morning in the garden with them in the sunshine, then let them go to their beds and held them gently as the vet released them from their pain.

So where is the comfort in this? It is in the memories they left us with. The days spent walking with a joyful girl who loved life and was full of energy until the end.

The joy of having seen an elderly dog who had lost her family and her home, blossoming again when she realised she was once again home.

The laughter at the antics of the tiny pup learning to climb stairs without tumbling back down each one. The antics of a little old lady who loved nothing more than a rummage in the rubbish in case a model of food had accidentally been thrown away.

The comfort of a little wet nose pushed into your hand when you were feeling a bit low.

I do regret that we didn’t have enough time together but whether that time was 17 years or 15 months it was time worth having.

Life’s not fair

I have 3 grown-up children. When they were little the youngest one was a whiner…..His two favourite sayings were “It wasn’t me” and “That’s not fair”.

The first was always met with disbelief. It wasn’t him who drew on the walls with felt tip ( or on his hands, his face and his clothes!!!) It wasn’t him who scratched the neighbour’s car with his plastic sword……Well it might have been but it wasn’t his fault!! He was aiming at the neighbour’s daughters and they moved 😱

So in punishing him for any of these I’d get the response “That’s not fair!”

Being the excellent mother I was, I’d read every childcare book printed and knew that I should take time to explain his actions and the reason for his punishment…..But I also knew he wouldn’t listen. So my response became “Life’s not fair so you’d better get used to it!”

And guess what? He has! Life has given him many a kick in the teeth and he still likes a little moan to get it off his chest…..Then he moves on.

Now he is my teacher. Often I feel life has thrown something at me that I didn’t “deserve”. It stole my “golden boy” my middle child who had everything going for him. It instead left me an adult who will always need support for mental illness. It stole my strong, healthy, kind dad and left me with a stumbling, trembling, shell of a man who had both Parkinson’s and a stroke in his early 50’s and passed away at 72.

It stole my sanity during a period of my life when I was being hit from all directions……and it almost stole my life too.

But…..as my son reminds me…..All around me people are going through their own tough times. Some will be going through more than others. Just because we don’t see them or hear about them doesn’t mean those people aren’t struggling. Life’s not fair and it’s ok to have a moan, to ask for help, to take yourself to bed when you’re just too exhausted to cope today….but don’t get caught up so much in the bad times that you don’t appreciate the good. They are always with holding on for. Life’s not fair but it’s wonderful ❤️


6 years ago today my son was struggling trying to get back to northern Ireland from university in Leeds.His agoraphobia was getting worse again after his first recovery from being totally housebound by it. He could no longer get on a plane and to get him home by boat mum and I went over to get him and booked a private room for him so he didn’t have to be in public.

Agoraphobia….Not simply the fear of open space I always thought it was but “an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away” At its worst ….as we found out….that “environment” can become the whole world.

It’s a terrifying illness. Can you imagine waking up every day in a world that seems so totally unsafe. When you are a highly intelligent person and your logic tells you this isn’t true but your heart is pounding so heart you think it might explode, your chest is do tight that it feels impossible to breathe and rivers of sweat are running down your body.

Even worse is the fact that when my son got to the stage that he only left his bedroom to use the bathroom (and even that caused him to nearly pass out in fear) we were told that “once he’s able to make it to the hospital we can begin treatment”!

Look out for the early warning signs. Avoiding going into places that don’t have an “easy escape route” cinemas,theatres,shoppkng malls. Fear of using public transport. Growing avoidance of social situations. Get help early. Fight for it if you have to. We didn’t recognise it early or get treatment in time. For us it has been and continues to be a very long, slow journey with setbacks along the way……but we’re still travelling together 👫