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Learning Who I am

To live will be an awfully big adventure – J.M Barrie

In many ways my mental health issues have robbed me of many things, I essentially missed the first 4 years of my children's lives, I ignored my partner, lost friends and distanced myself from family. It cost me my career and a whole host of other momentous and insignificant moments over the past 7 years.

Whilst it would be all to easy to sit here and lament about the things I’ve lost, and believe me it would be easy, I can instead take heed of something my gp said today ‘You need to learn who you are again’.

So, here I am, almost 7 years after I finally found the courage to seek help, preparing to end my reliance on antidepressants. This piece of paper is the culmination of 7 years worth of tears, anger, panic, suicidal thoughts, violence, desolation, emptiness, self loathing, therapy, drugs and a whole host of emotions for which I just don't have the words.

But this is my last antidepressant prescription.

my last prescription

I've got just over 100 days of pill popping before I'm drug free. I've been slowly weaning myself off them for the past 2 months, it’s been both exhilarating and terrifying. To know I can cope with the challenges life throws at me and my mood swings on a lower dose has been fist bumping amazing but the fear that I could slip up and revert back to the empty shell of a person I was terrifies me.

I’m still feeling anxiety at times, panic attacks are a worry as I don’t do them easy, but as shitty as they are, they beat feeling numb to everything.

The years haven’t been easy, for a long while I never thought I'd get here, it feels kinda surreal and more than a little scary.

I now need to figure out who I am, because whilst I’m a mother, I need to find an identity that is also my own. One that doesn’t live in fear and hide from people or life. And honestly, I consider myself pretty darn lucky to have this opportunity to live once again, I fully intend to make the most of it.

Whilst I doubt I will ever be able to 100% escape my PTSD and anxiety, it feels fucking amazing to know I can live with it.
And even if I slip back once in awhile, or even need the drugs again, at least I know I can beat this.

It’s too easy to get trapped in the belief that once depression takes hold you can’t escape it. I wont pretend it was or is an easy journey to recovery, but it is certainly one that is possible, one step and one day at a time.

A Work in Progress

My home, much like myself, is a constant work in progress, and much like myself, something I doubt I will ever be completely satisfied with.

This Bank Holiday weekend, in Great British DIY tradition, we had planned on doing some decorating; painting and hanging shelves. But like all good plans, they went tits up and as I type this I’m gazing forlornly at our living room wall which has a huge damp patch of plaster.

It is glaring at me, almost mocking me I’d say.

In a house that is over 100 years old I guess we’re lucky that a patch of easily remedied damp is our only real issue, but it did remind me, in a rather annoying way, that homes, and their inhabitants, are rarely what you see on the surface, there is always so much more going on that we aren’t privy to.

We’ll get the damp patch sorted, paint the walls and hang up my driftwood shelves and that patch of our home will look good as new.

driftwood shelf and handturned vases

In the mean time I have 101 jobs that need doing around the house, but the sun is shining and faffing is calling.

Happy and Home at A Residence blog

In Bloom

The flowering season of blossom trees is rather fleeting, so when the trees around the corner from us burst in to flower I grabbed my camera and climbed a wall to get some shots, before the wind, hail and frost took all the petals for another 11 months.

blossom and blue sky

Loving the contrast of the sky and blossoms, come back Spring!

blossom and blue sky

blossom and blue sky

blossom and blue sky

I remember my wedding days at Primary School, the playing field had about 20 or so blossom trees, we’d get ‘married’ beneath them with a bouquet of blossoms, good times!

blossom and blue sky

blossom and blue sky

Just around the corner from the white blossom trees are two pink blossom trees, these have only just started to bloom.

blossom and blue sky

blossom and blue sky

I’m ignoring the weird weather we’re having this week, next Monday is a Bank Holiday, so the weather will pick up…wont it?!

blossom and blue sky

There’s things happening in the garden, but the blossom will be gone soon so I’m making the most of it whilst it’s here!

What You Don’t See

Depression can be so hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it first hand. Even then, each of us suffers in different ways, no two peoples depression is exactly the same.

From the outside looking in, I doubt many would pick up on my depression, I hide it well, too well if truth be told, here is what you don’t see…

The mornings I have to talk myself, whilst taking an anxiety tablet, in to getting out of bed and coping with the hours until I can crawl back under the duvet

The fear of opening the front door and stepping out from the safety my home

The nights I can’t sleep from overthinking everything and wondering if I serve any purpose

The finger twisting and nail picking as I walk around town, convinced everyone knows I’m about to lose it

The rapid breaths and clammy skin that preclude an anxiety attack caused either by something unexpected happening or worse nothing at all

The downward spiral of thoughts that are so incredibly hard to get away from

The loss of friends and family who can’t or wont understand that I can’t help being this way

The self loathing I feel every time I think how much of their childhood I’ve missed

The hidden house phone, because I’m too scared to talk to people for fear they have bad news

The excitement I feel when I think I can go out, perhaps even talk to somebody and then clam up, feeling pathetic and worthless

The exhaustion at pretending to be happy, so that others aren’t brought down

The overwhelming panic at making a simple decision

How pathetic I feel when I realise how lonely I am, yet can’t make the first step to meeting new people

How I feel life is slipping by and I’m wasting away

depression and me

Just because you can’t see these things, it doesn’t make them any less real or painful for me or anyone else who lives with depression.

Cacti & Succulents, My New ‘Thing’

Usually I detest having anything to do with current trends or fads, but I have wholeheartedly been sucked in by the allure of the humble yet mighty succulent and cacti trend.

flowering cactus

I killed my first cacti a few years ago, but in the past few months I seem to have found a way to not only not kill them, but make them grow!

succulent

As the garden outside does it’s thing, Spring really does tend to take care of itself, all we need to do is stop and take a moment every once in awhile to appreciate it in all its splendour, I have been building up and nurturing my cacti and succulent collection.

Spencer surprised me with a lovely delivery of succulents, which needed a little TLC in the way of repotting and stabilising, they arrived in a very sorry state, but are now doing amazingly well in just a few weeks.

succulents

After hitting up Google I was able to take cuttings, replant and generally improve the succulents growing conditions. If you have succulents which are looking a little sorry for themselves, taking the time to repot and a little TLC really pays of.

repotting succulents

Here’s just a bit of my collection, we’ve gone for a variety and included some flowering ones.

succulents and cacti

We’ve also been making more wooden pots for them, there is something about the contrast of the green and oak which is just perfect.

IMG_20160414_112725

Between making rude jokes about ‘little pricks’ and accidentally stabbing myself with cacti I have actually been rather busy outside too.

little prick cacti

I was forced to hack down my 10 year old Honeysuckle, the neighbours are incredibly lazy and selfish, letting their ivy grow out of control until it swamped and was destroying the Honeysuckle, revenge will be mine!

This wreath I made is all I have left from what, if I do say so, was a damn impressive plant.

IMG_20160412_105134

Here’s a pic from my Honeysuckle last year *sobs* I’m gonna miss the crazy weird looking flowers this summer.

honeysuckle blooms

I’m actually really pissed off about the whole thing, I realise it’s not all that important in the grand scheme of things, but still, cut your damn ivy!

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