New Year, New Chapter

happy new year

Here we are, another year comes to a close & a brand new year begins. I think, personality, there is no better opportunity to feel a sense of renewal in your life.

A lot of people scorn the very idea of making new year’s resolutions. And whilst I’m not screaming “new year, new me”, I really like thinking about what goals I have for the upcoming year as I reflect on the year that has just gone. In fact, I like to try to predict or manifest the changes I’d like to see.

Last year, I knew 2018 would be a year of personal development – and personal development does not come without it’s woes. You don’t grow through things that make you happy, you grow through what you go through. 2018 hasn’t been a bad year, but all the same, it’s pushed me to change.

The year before, I knew would be a year of change and it really was.

But this upcoming year, I don’t feel like there’s anything big happening. There’s things I know I would love to happen, but I haven’t got any “this is the year of” motifs. I just feel a sense of calm.

Now, I’m not saying in psychic! Don’t worry. I just believe in the law of attraction enough to know that you manifest what you’re thinking about. It’s not as fanciful of dreaming up the winning lottery ticket, there’s no instant results, but that subconscious has a secret way of making things go a certain way.

I think 2019 is going to be a steady, calm year. I think big decisions are going to come up though, so we’ll see what happens there. I do think I’ll be moving into a house at some point – and that’s going to be stressful! But that’s the only big thing I can imagine happening next year. If anything, I’m trying to get ahold of the reins in my current life. I did therapy this year but I need to develop the skills I learnt through Cognitive Analytical Therapy. I forget. I don’t make time for myself. I get too stressed, too overwhelmed, too upset too easily. I want to work on that. I want to get the hang of looking after myself. Because where parenting is concerned, I know I’m doing my best to meet all of Reuben’s needs, but I neglect myself all the time. And yes, sometimes it’s because I’m too tired to do something for me, but I know I’d be less tired if I felt looked after. Heaven knows, nobody is looking after me… not on earth, anyway.

Four years ago, I was an insomniac on antidepressants, totally dysfunctional and struggling every single day. I’ve come so far. I don’t allow people to treat me badly. I know the difference between a healthy coping mechanism and an unhealthy one. I am a mummy to a gorgeous little boy. I am stronger, more resilient and very thankful. And when I falter, I don’t falter for too long. I don’t have any dirty little secrets where the shame is eating me alive; I’ve beared them all and it’s been ridiculously hard to, but I did it. I’m at a part of my journey where I no longer define myself as ‘in recovery’. I’m not ‘recovered’ either, I’m still learning, but I’m not defined by who I was then. The version of me that was, feels like an old friend I sometimes think about (and feel sad when I do) but cannot relate to anymore. I have dreams, still. And I hope one day I will love again. But I have plenty of time for that, don’t I? What’s meant to be will be & all that jazz.

Do you have new year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comments below if you do, I’d love to know. Here are mine:

  • Learn to look after myself better (body, spirit & mind).
  • Be more present in my parenting!
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I just want 2019 to be good to me though, I really do. I hope I’m in for some nice surprises, less loneliness & more laughter!

Thank you for reading!
With love, Rebecca ♡

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Festive feelings.

What a lonely Christmas this is going to be.

I keep trying to put on a brave face and remain positive, I am determined to make the best out of it and really enjoy my day with Reuben… but it’s still just going to be me and Reu.

And today, a wave of grief hit. I found some of my Nana’s socks that I must have borrowed and never gave back. They were in the back of my drawer, fluffy, and still smelt like her laundry detergent and her home – over four years after her passing. I put them on and I wept.

I haven’t cried about my Nana for a long time. I remember when she first passed I cried all day every day. And then it was every other day. And then it was once or twice a week. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. It absolutely crushed me. But there was a shift a few months after she passed, and following the birth of my brother. I decided I wanted to make her proud. And I also decided that I was in no fit state to have a child of my own, I was extremely broody and dreamt of motherhood (have done since I was 15 in fact) but I realised that the depressed insomniac on antidepressants needed to make every area of her life more stable before she had a baby. But that’s, that’s quite a tangent I went on, isn’t it? Oh dear.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I cried. But these socks, they really brought it home.

And Christmas? Christmas is creating such an ache in my heart because it screams family and festivity. It screams of indulgence and religion too (but I’m not religious). But here I am, knowing full well it’s going to feel like just another day for the most part.

Well, actually… I’m going to try my best to enjoy it. I could really enjoy Christmas Day but there’s a possibility I will be crying wreck when the day comes. That’s what happens when you run out of family.

Not that they’re all dead mind. Some I cut off, some I don’t like and some just don’t want me around.

I envy people will close families.

Because as much as I adore my online community of friends that I genuinely do care about. There are days when you really notice how alone you are.

I know, I know, I’m not truly alone, I have Reuben. I know this. It’s just that we can’t exactly strike up a conversation and he’s very independent. If I try to play with him with his toys he looks up at me, eyebrow raised, until I move away. He is the sweetest little boy though, I do my best to laugh with him all day long.

Today in fact, I turned the TV off after breakfast, because I’m doing a little experiment. I’m trying to see how much more I do, and how much more Reuben plays, if the TV isn’t distracting us. I’ll probably turn it on around dinner time though.

That’s the thing though, it’s such a distraction from all my thoughts and feelings. When Reuben took his nap (and he’s 95 minutes into this nap), I got studying and got through all the online activities – well not all some I labelled ‘irrelevant and annoying’ and blatantly dismissed them – so I’m now up to date. Hey, I got 14/15 questions right on the survey I just did about the week’s studies and I’m impressed with myself.

But back on point, it’s Christmas and that makes my heart heavy. But I’m going to do my best to have a lovely Christmas with my Reubs.

We will play Christmas music and movies, have the fairy lights on all day long, eat lots of food and I’ll try to stay off my phone as much as possible (I like taking pictures but then I get distracted by notifications and then I end up scrolling – it’s a trap!). I’m going to love seeing Reuben open his presents and completely ignore the contents! Haha. No but seriously I think he’s going to love them… and probably the balloons I intend to buy, since the ones from his birthday are pretty much stress balls at this point.

On a very soppy note…
Reuben is my link between heaven and earth. I had a psychic reading done in December 2016 where my Nana told me she was sending me my baby back. I was told he’d make it. And so, when I look at my sweet boy. And people tell me he’s an old soul, that he’s been here before, I just know in my heart that he is. His eye colour is settling but sometimes they go the colour of my Nana’s eyes and that always makes me a bit emotional. And even if people think that I’m silly for believing this, I will still believe it. That little boy, saved my life, and keeps saving my life, and although I know he’s his own person… he’s still my link between heaven and earth. And I intend to give him a wonderful childhood.

I think he must have heard that; he has just woke up! Time to give him cuddles!

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Psychology Babble #1: Violence and Children.

Hello there 🌿

I’ve found it quite hard to study lately, but not for the reason you might think. I am very interested in what I am studying right now, so when I have time, it doesn’t take much motivation for me to sit and do the work that needs doing. What’s particularly difficult at the moment is the content of which I’m studying in relation to the way it makes me feel.

I am currently studying the effects that violence has on children and although the studies vary in their conclusions, the facts and theories I am learning makes me think about my own childhood and the ways in which I have been let down. I then, naturally, think about my own parenting and my own child and I hope that I can use this knowledge to parent just a bit better than I might have done.

Facebook is the biggest culprit for what I am about to complain about; people who post things along the lines of “I got smacked, never did me any harm!” and also the “kids have no respect these days!” and there’s some wistful story about what childhood’s used to be before “we went soft”.

First of all, if you think there is nothing wrong with hitting kids but you wouldn’t hit your spouse, your work colleague, or your dog – then yeah, I’m sorry to break it to you, but it obviously did do you some harm because you will be harbouring resentment dressed up as respect. You’ve got to ask yourself; why is it okay to hit your child but not your spouse when they do something wrong?

People have literally said to me when I said I am not hitting my own child, that I am, and I quote “just gonna let him get away with it then”. And for a moment, I was stunned in the ignorance but then I at least attempted to defend my beliefs.

Because without examining my own childhood too closely, which is something I am not prepared to do publicly online, did being hit cause me any significant damage?

Yes, it fucking did.

It had long term lasting effects on my mental wellbeing that followed me into my adult relationships and caused even more long term lasting effects on my mental health; hence the complex (or chronic) post traumatic stress disorder. Because sure, it’s okay if they hurt you as long as they love you, right? That’s healthy, right? Wrong! It’s not okay at all.

Now there’s two ways that I think a child turns out after being abused, and I haven’t studied this, this is purely what I think… I think a child either turns out quite aggressive and quite likely to use violence in order to get what they want or they become aggressive when they cannot deal with their emotions and are quick to fits of rage – these children are often quite tough, don’t cry easily and grow up like that. Then, on the flip side, there are the children who are soft, cry easy, struggle to defend themselves and tend to be quite passive so avoid the anger of the person who is walking all over them (or worse).

Guess which one I am? I am now, if I’m honest, since having a baby quite angry and this isn’t just the whole mama bear thing, it’s the child within who’s really upset that she couldn’t be loved and protected like I love my own. You see, I will remain timid unless I feel my child is in any danger, or I’m being disrespected as a mother, and then I find that an aggressive side of me does reveal itself and yes, that’s the mama bear side of things.

Anyway, I have no data of any sort to back up my own theory on how children tend to turn out but I’m sure there are studies out there which will either support or disparage my claim. All I’m saying is, I’ve literally seen the way children grow up when they have been victims of child abuse.

Now, what I’m studying hasn’t even delved into child abuse and the effects it has. It’s touched upon it when studying the authoritarian personality and I’ve read about it in the criticisms of studies on how violence in the media effects children (and I’m not sure I can reference any of these studies without giving full references of where I found the information so I won’t elaborate on those studies) and I’m just so worried.

You know, I have always been the kind who won’t put anything remotely violent or upsetting on the TV if my son is awake – and that’s been since birth pretty much – and people have literally laughed at me for this. For me, I didn’t want him to see anything traumatising which might give him nightmares, but I also didn’t want him to see anything that promotes aggressive behaviour. I also would rather not see gore and violence, but it does mean I can only watch The Originals when Reuben is sleeping or is away at his Dad’s. But on with my point, I’ve now got some supporting evidence for what I’ve been “soft” about. I mean, is it really so bad that I am actively monitoring what Reuben sees on TV? No, I don’t think so. But if you’re wondering, there is evidence to suggest that seeing media violence can traumatise a child but too much of it can desensitize a child – and honestly, I don’t know which one’s worse!

Either way, my son is only 1, so right now it’s just about me holding off on that kind of media for as long as possible. I had no problem with letting him watch baby programmes and animated movies and PG tv shows and films… I mean let me clarify I know media isn’t bad for children, it can actually be a very positive thing, and anything you can find online, for example, you can also find in the real world – I think it’s more about trusting your child will come to you if they find anything upsetting. Kids are resilient when they are supported, that’s something I think we all know.

But deep down, I know I’m sensitive to what I’m studying because I don’t want my child to turn out like me. Although I have good qualities, I am still a troubled person. It’s not just failed relationships that have made me feel like I’ve got a broken heart, my life has done that. Sometimes I can’t quite accept how many people have let me down in such a way that I struggle to look anybody in the eye. I feel like they can see what’s wrong with me if they do. I’m scared I make everyone uncomfortable because of my mental health because I’m not any fun to be around, I’m on edge all day every day most days of my life. And yes, I know there’s no real reason to be on edge but my brain at this point, is constantly expecting something to happen no matter what. It’s exhausting. Writing this paragraph has brought tears to my eyes, and I am little afraid of exposing my own vulnerabilities like this, but on the off chance it might help someone else feel a little less alone, I’ll post it anyway.

I am determined to study my degree as hard as I possibly can because it’s not just about gaining the qualification, it’s about truly understanding the mind, because if I have understanding there is a chance that I can change other people’s lives… and possibly my own. I’m still in recovery myself but I think by the time I’ve done my degree, as long as I keep myself safe and keep doing what I’m doing, I should be a much stronger person by the time I’m done. I *think* after I’ve done my degree in psychology, I will have to do a further course to practice as a therapist but I am going to seek advice to make sure I can’t do that during this degree when picking modules to study each year.

But make no mistake, studying psychology takes its’ toll sometimes because you start to understand and notice patterns and problems in your own life and lives of those you care about. A lot of things you see people write and do become frustrating because you’re not so ignorant any more, and you know if you try to tell people something that you’ve learnt because you know it will help, you’ll just come across as patronising and lecturing, and do you know what? I could do without being seen like that.

So I’ve decided to do a little series of blog posts that are directly related to what I’m learning about and how I’m finding that it’s affecting me. I thought it would be quite good to write about what I am learning too. I don’t know if it’ll be interesting to anyone but I’m going to do it anyway 🙂

Thank you for reading my post,

With love, Rebecca ♡

P.s. If you know that I should be referencing what I’m learning about, please let me know. I am worried about plagurism and also I am worried that by not referencing the psychologists that I might be also committing an offence. So please, get in touch using the contact page on this website.

I Love Being A Mother But…

I love being a mother but I don’t love being alone.

I love blogging but I don’t love that it’s about readership no matter how much you convince yourself it’s not (it does sting a bit when you put effort in to writing and taking pictures and nobody reads it).

I love taking photographs but I don’t love that I know my semi-decent attempt at photography is rubbish compared to the next blogs’ who inevitably has a better camera, and better things than I do.

I love sharing things online but I don’t love that fight it or not, you waste time scrolling through things that harm your mental health so slowly you barely notice until the little things (like someone posting a viral text post about what friendship should be) makes you want to launch yourself into outer space.

I love being inspired by lifestyle photo posts but I don’t love that I somehow forget about what’s behind the camera and the editing that made that person’s life look so perfect – just because what? They’ve got a better bedroom than I have? (Seriously, why does my brain think “better bedroom/clothes/baby announcement = better life”??? Can it not?)

But mainly I love being a mother.

And I love that if I believed in myself, I could do amazing things and be happy (probably) but instead, I am afraid.

Life has made me question whether or not I’m a good person, and furthermore, it has made me question whether I deserve the good things in life; love, family, materialistic things that I crave. I hate to be all ‘woe is me’ but you know, I really have been through a lot and it’s left me with a bit of a complex if truth be told, and not only have I become incredibly insecure about myself but I have become very defensive about protecting who I’m trying to become in my healing process. I want to maintain the person I said I was when I was feeling better than I am.

Every mother is afraid, to some degree, of speaking out about her mental health. I’m sure it’s the same for fathers, and in fact, worse because of the heightened stigma with men and speaking up about how they’re feeling (thus the higher suicide rate in men compared with women – see here). I think I’m pretty good about speaking about how I feel but I’m definitely scared of telling a professional about how I’m feeling, for the fear that they will equate my mental health with my ability to parent. And when people mention Post Natal Depression, I’m just like “hey it’s not that, it’s the depression, ptsd and anxiety that didn’t disappear when Reu was born as much as I wish the joy could have cured me”. And there’s no shame in have PND/PPD either, I think it’s the fact I think people dismiss that struggle that has always been going on.

There’s a part of my brain which is constantly telling me I‘m not good enough, still ugly, still fat, that I get on everyone’s nerves, and that nobody cares (when I post stuff online), and although I know it’s a vicious bi-product of what I’ve been through and it’s wrong, it is so loud when I am struggling. Knowing it’s wrong and irrational doesn’t silence it, only the support of others does. And I can practice self care and battle through the tears as much as I want, but along with every coping mechanism I learnt in therapy, they are merely weapons in battle. Sometimes it barely feels like a battle at all, sometimes I feel like I’m fighting for my life; that’s mental health illness, and grief for you.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very long winded way, is that my mental health is not good lately:

I love being a mother but I don’t love being alone. Sometimes keeping yourself strong for so long, without feeling you have anyone to lean on, becomes mentally exhausting to the point you feel like you can’t anymore.

Reuben is saving my life over and over again.

I don’t feel like I can keep fighting sometimes. I am feeling so broken lately. So exhausted. I feel as though I’ve been screaming out for someone to notice how much I need someone to really be there for me and unsurprisingly, telepathy and hints hasn’t worked.

Today, I burst into tears and had a panic attack in front of my Dad and his partner. Struggling to catch my breath, pain strangling my chest, I told them I am struggling, that I am not coping, that I am suicidal. I was so scared of how they’d react as I did but I was there, feeling like I was dying already. I haven’t had a panic attack in years. I hope I made it clear, as I want to make it clear to you, I wouldn’t leave my son behind… but that doesn’t mean feeling this way isn’t incredibly painful and scary. I am hurting inexplicably. And I am terrified that if I tell the doctor they will want to take my son away from me.

But somehow, I have been managing to parent with love and patience DESPITE feeling this way the moment he is asleep or is at his Dad’s. And somehow, despite being teary eyed and losing my appetite, I’ve still managed to do everything I am supposed to do (and often that little bit more) to take care of my son.

But I’m still afraid I will have the ‘inadequate mother’ stamp upon my review as a parent, and that the implications will be too much for me. And despite people saying that no doctor and no social services worker will take my child away for that reason, that’s why I haven’t gone to the doctors yet.

But tomorrow, I am going to get an appointment and no matter how scared I am, I’m going to tell them how I’ve been feeling.

I’m doing my best but I don’t feel okay. And I could literally write for hours about what’s wrong but that’s where I draw the line – you don’t need to know and this post is already 84 years long. So if you made it this far, congratulations, you’re officially amazing!

Please take care of yourself & thank you for reading this post!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Letting Go: Mama Standards

I wanted to blog every day this month, for no reason other than it was a goal I set myself. But for the last two days, I couldn’t.

Now I have decided that I don’t blog when I don’t have Reuben. This is because I really struggle with my mental health when he’s away from me. It’s become apparent that’s it’s more than parental separation anxiety, although that does play a part, it’s also the weight of depression. But I don’t want to talk about that today. I don’t want to dwell.

Today, I’d like to talk about how lovely it is when Reuben comes back and I’m so excited to be back on parent mode. I can give 110%. I can be more patient, more loving, more energetic – and that, dear parents everywhere, is why taking breaks is important.

I didn’t stress at all this morning. I thought “we will be ready when we are ready and that’s that on that!” because I realised there was no point in rushing around just to go out to the shops and back, what a waste.

I made sure Reuben was napping before I started to get ready and I took my time getting ready when he did. I had the changing bag and buggy sorted by the time he woke up which made it really easy.

He woke up around 12:45 so we went straight to the Asda cafe for some lunch. I gave him half a ginger bread man to nibble on (which had gone a bit soft – but I like it like that more) and we made our way there.

I ordered my favourite hot sandwich and chips with a diet coke, and for Reuben I got him the chicken nuggets meal with carrots and sweet potato waffles.

For once I wasn’t scrambling around, I always get a bit anxious in these situations but I felt like I was managing it well. I have read that when we suffer with anxiety, we think it’s really visible to the people around us, but apparently that’s not true. So I tried to reassure myself by remembering that. It’s just hard when you think people, the older generations in particular, are watching you, critiquing you. And I wish that was paranoia, but I’ve had a comment or two thrown my way at the worst of times. I do get nicer comments too though, or at best, nothing at all!

So we finished up our lunch… Don’t worry I was holding the plate! In fact most of the time I just passed Reuben bits of food so he didn’t have the option to send things flying. You need to do that, in a public place, I think. It saves a lot of trouble to the waiting staff!

Then we did our shop, which I have posted a haul video of on my new Facebook ‘Aspirebelievemama’ page (self promo alert!), and once home and settled, I put Reuben down for a nap. He’s currently sleeping now. And I opted to do this instead of studying because tomorrow I will be studying my ass off. I have promised myself that. Cleaning can wait until tonight, and speed cleaning is enjoyable exercise I like to do every other day or so.

I feel like I’m finding the balance on days like today – you’ve got to let go a bit, when you’re a parent. It’s taken me 50 weeks of motherhood to realise that.

… Yep, I really REALLY need to invest in a camera. I have fallen out with Android, to my dismay, so you might find that I upgrade to an iPhone next year! I just think Apple are a bad company for creating expensive products that break so easily, need replacing often and *breathe*… if you can’t beat them, you’re supposed to join them, right?! Unless anyone’s got any android recommendations?

Thank you reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

The Attention Seekers

I’ve been very “real” in my blog posts lately.

It’s a part of the healing process.

It’s me saying “hey I’m fed up of hiding” because it’s more exhausting covering up mental illnesses than it is dealing with them.

But mental illnesses are so common, so many people have them, but the stigma lives on.

You may think because of depression memes, that there’s more acceptance, but they’re just not useful because people throw around these words like they don’t mean anything. But some terms such as “being triggered” have become invalidated, to the extent people don’t want to use that term anymore.

The point is, whether it’s a teenager, or a 40 something year old, the problem with ignorance is that it lives in every generation and socio-economic group. And we all, including me, belittle our struggles in order to feel safe letting out or feelings.

Because let’s face it; anything and everything you say can be used against you. You can be a squeaky clean person with the reputation of an angel but the moment you speak out? Oh no, now you’ll be treat differently.

I’m lucky. I speak out and I get support from the vast majority of people who see what I put. There are like-minded kind people on my Instagram, for example, who offer nothing but kindness if I admit I’ve been struggling. There might be people who don’t like me speaking out about it, but they’re yet to tell me.

But I know some people don’t have that kind of community/support group to fall back on if they need reassurance and encouragement. They’ll be called “attention seekers”.

Now, I’d like to clarify, there’s a difference between people without mental health illnesses using buzzwords to get attention and people with mental health illnesses asking for help.

And truth be told, it’s hard to tell. Are they masking actual MH illnesses with jokes? Or are they just joking? Either way, it’s good to check in.

Because let’s say someone has been hiding their depression, it takes a lot of courage to speak out. If that’s attention seeking then good! I’m glad they’re seeking that attention because they need love and support.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s better to be on the safe side.

It’s annoying when you catch someone pretending to have one, because for some stupid reason, they think it’s cool. Or I don’t know; I can’t imagine why you’d want to pretend you have a mental health illness when genuine sufferers are hiding in the woodworks fighting to stay alive. But it’s best to check on the people you know and care about, because they might be genuinely needing help.

You don’t need to play therapist. You just need to know how to be a friend. It’s the little things you can do for a person that matter. Such as:

  • A catch up, maybe over coffee
  • Helping them out (babysitting, housework, Grocery shopping)
  • Inviting them out (even if they say no, asking them will make them feel cared about)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Trauma and Motherhood

They’re not a good pair, are they? No, not at all.

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I remember feeling like I had the key to life. I remember feeling like I could trust people. I remember feeling excitement instead of fear when I thought about new relationships.

But I don’t feel like that anymore.

I feel anxious about the future. I’m anxious in general, but I just feel very, uneasy at the moment. And during this bout of depression, because mine comes in waves, I came to the realisation that I need to stop fooling myself that I have to behave as if nothing is wrong.

The question “how are you?” is a problem at the moment (please give me a moment to explain!).

Because it’s a bit of a lottery on how I might be feeling, and I don’t want to ask myself how I’m feeling because “when you dig, you find”. Furthermore, I don’t want to say I’m okay if I am feeling okay, because I’m worried that person might assume I am recovered from my bout of depression.

It doesn’t work that way.

Nothing in life is constant. We are part of an ever changing society on an ever evolving planet. Times change, people change. Things age, people age. And just like everything else, everything comes and goes.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I don’t want people to ask if I’m okay.

So WHAT do I want?

You know what, I’m going to clue you in on a little secret…

I have absolutely no idea.

I don’t want to be left alone. I don’t want to be disturbed. I don’t want to make small talk, but I don’t want to sit in silence. I don’t want to be single, but I don’t want to take a chance on anyone. I don’t want to let go, but I don’t want to hold on.

I’m a walking contradiction. The human version of a juxtaposition.

But it wasn’t so long ago that I felt settled, that I felt okay. I felt hope. I felt happy. I felt as though I didn’t even have any mental illnesses for a short time because I felt so balanced.

I promise that this isn’t SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It’s not that. Lately, things have been happening but I have felt stuck. I know I’m not actually stuck and that my life will change, but I am struggling to believe in myself, and I keep getting reminders that maybe my luck isn’t going to change. I’ve realised I’ve been quite a toxic person lately and I’ve found that upsetting. My bitterness has made me twist into something quite ugly and I can’t quite look people in the eye anymore. It’s my self esteem, I suppose. But this time of year, despite me loving the cold and the way it gets dark early (I love getting cosy, sue me!), there are so many reminders of the past hidden in the rusty coloured leaves and the beautiful sunsets. It’s not as simple as SAD, it’s the PTSD.

(Chronic/Complex) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder gets ugly, okay? It’s not just the flashbacks, the nightmares, the hypervigilance, the panic attacks, the low self esteem… it’s the way it doesn’t let go. It’s just something I’ve got to live with.

You know, I could go to therapy again and again (not that I can) but at the end of the day, the only thing they can do for me is to give me the tools to deal with it or give me medication to numb it down. I don’t want to take medication for it, not whilst I’m so focused on making memories with my son – these are not days I want to forget. So I’m doing my best to deal with it. But loving my child, studying for my future, taking care of myself… well, it helps but it doesn’t cure me.

When I gave birth, I felt like the past had vanished and that I would never feel bad again. My dreams had come true and I was euphoric. But that was quite naive. Because the past did start coming back and this time it was involving my child.

I had therapy, 16 solid sessions of it, this year. And I know it did me the world of good.

It’s just that the PTSD is there. And it’s not that I’m looking back. It’s that there are so many things that are triggering memories. And of course I’ve had some upset this month, which hasn’t helped. But that’s why I’m feeling depressed and anxious. They walk hand in hand with the PTSD. I don’t know why I bother mentioning depression and anxiety, when it’s not that simple. It’s trauma.

Of all the things I’d love to remember in glorious detail, trauma isn’t it.

I’d love to remember my son being a newborn, or the summer holidays spent with my Nana. Instead, it is trauma that’s taken up the most space on the hard-drive which is my long term memory. That’s sad.

I’m worried that this will reflect negatively on me as a parent. I feel like I need to put a disclaimer every paragraph saying “I’m still being a great mum despite how I feel!”. That’s how I know the stigma is still there. But I’m going to post this anyway.

Dealing with PTSD as a mother is really hard. But I want to be more open about it. I’m not looking for advice, because I’m doing just fine. I will be okay. Reassurance is fantastic, but this is about saying “you can be dealing with trauma and still be a good parent”.

I’ll say it again, slightly differently;

You can handle your trauma and still get sad, but you’re still a great parent!

Thank you for reading,
With love, Rebecca