20 October 2015

Him what lives here

I've got a secret.

And I'm ready to share it with people.

I'm not a single parent.


I'm married to a guy who I respect and who I love and who drives me completely insane at least once a week.

We have two children. Gorgeous children. Mad. Totally bonkers the pair of them.  We're rather fond of them the both of us.

He is a beautiful man. Kind most importantly. A super parent. Stricter than me which surprised not only us but everybody we know, but in absolutely fairness stricter than me simply means he won't peel their fish fingers. He'll just eat them himself and make them another meal.

I know. We're the kind of parents that give Type A people a serious case of the 'tut tuts'.

And you know something. It works.

We're on the same page when it comes to parenting even if we are singing from two different hymn books when it comes to the importance of putting things back in the cupboard from whence you first got them.

My children's inability to put things away I directly attribute to his genetical influence because my family lineage is littered (tee hee) with obsessive compulsive tidy upperers. Which is why we eat so fast in my family because otherwise the plate will be whipped away, cleaned and returned to the cupboard while you're still masticating the first mouthful.

I digress.

What's this about me not being a single parent?

Thing is, I am about to go away to America for 13 sleeps. To celebrate one of my BFFs 40th birthdays. Cool huh? I plan to get properly excited as soon as I finish my 'to-do list'.

But SOOOOOOOO many people are following up "Oh that will be nice/I love San Fran/lovely news" with a slightly bewildered "who is going to look after the children?"

Which I confess is driving me a little spare. Because at 6 foot three with startling light blue eyes he's pretty hard to miss.

You know the guy? The guy who started the whole growing the humans thing? The guy that taught them fart jokes are funny? The parent that likes taking them to the park? The guy that will agree to be the bad guy or the baby depending on the game? The guy that soothes their grazed knees and gives them cuddles when they're tired? The guy that does silly dances to make them laugh? The guy that lives in our house with us and they call him 'Dad'?

Him. That guy.

He'll be looking after them. Like he does all the time. But on his own for a bit rather than with me which may be busier but will definitely be quieter.

Exactly like I do when he goes away (except he gets to pee standing up which gives them less time to join him to discuss urgent questions like how does the internet work, what is wind and why is the tooth fairy the only fairy that's real?)

That's who will be looking after the children.


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6 October 2015

The D word

Is there anything that is true about yourself that you're not entirely comfortable with?

In fact, doesn't fit with your general view of yourself?

Mine is the D word.


Depressing isn't it?  In this last week, after a tough few months, they added PMDD to my file. To sit alongside PND, PTSD and old fashioned regular depression. I cried and cried when I got the diagnosis. Asked if I could just 'fix it' with vitamin supplements, kale or.... or.... or....

Anything really. Anything within my control.

I have a great doctor. And a great clinical psychologist.  A great support team in my husband and girls. All together we're a good team when it comes to 'managing' my depression. I self weaned myself off my medication this year and thought I was doing okay bar some dips.

But I wasn't.

Those 'dips' were extended mind fucks of paranoia, anxiety, hopelessness, dread, fear and sorrow that were impacting my life, my family and my business.

Chemical imbalances in the brain don't respond well to being ignored despite best efforts.

One of the things that is the hardest about depression is that people continually think of it as malingering which can be eliminated by some positive self talk, a kick up the arse, more exercise and kale. And they like to tell you how you aren't depressed you just need to do x, y or z and you'll be just dandy.

I wish. I would eat the kale, all the kale, if it 'fixed my brain'.

It is what it is.  And while this week I'm in a great place of acceptance about it, I know that once the medication is in full force again and I'm feeling on a more even keel, I'll revisit my view of myself. I am not the type of person who 'gets depressed', ergo I can't possibly be depressed.

I can be drearily predictable sometimes.  Even to myself.

The irony is not lost on me that my latest diagnosis happened the day before mental health week began. Almost like my depression diagnosis has FOMO. Which considering the brain it resides in, is entirely possible.  I'm a FOMO MOFO.

But I'm also becoming better educated not only about about my own depression but depression generally and the genetics around it. And the simple fact is that I have to be vigorous about my own mental health in as much as I want to be in entirely the right head space to recognise any signs that my daughters inherited a dose of depressive genes from me (alongside the astigmatism or general awesomeness which are also scientifically proven to have genetic links).

That genetics thing scares the absolute bejeezus out of me. This is not something I want for my daughters.

I was 13 years old when I first started self harming. Just 8 short years older than my eldest is now. I used to slash the inside of my arms and the tops of my thighs. It used to make me feel better. I just thought I was weird but I did it anyway. I did it until I stopped doing it. I moved on like all good undiagnosed depressives to other things that made me feel better. Except they didn't always. Because brain.

And that's how life is sometimes. You just do it and assume that it's you, that somehow you missed the memos about how to do life properly and you try and stay away from the edges. Until you find yourself a mother to one, pregnant with your second, making plans for them to grow up motherless and someone says.... um - this isn't actually normal, and not because you're weird or shit at life.

Because depression feels a lot like being shit at life. Failing at something other people seem to manage effortlessly.

I will never be "okay" with my diagnosis.

But I am incredibly grateful for it. It didn't just change my life. It ultimately saved my life.

So there's that. And I'm "okay" with that.

You can get help at Lifeline or by calling 13 11 14
Or if you want to talk about PND go to PANDA
and the guys at The Black Dog Institute really know their stuff

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