My Gift. 

My Gift. 

Recently I’ve been going through a really difficult time. A change in my medications has gone incredibly wrong, meaning I’ve been flaring in every sense of the word. My pain levels have skyrocketed, leaving my meds completely unable to make any dent in them. I’m having hot and cold sweats, shakes, breathlessness and tremors. My racing heart is causing me to be dizzy and trip over my words, and my feet! On top of all that I can’t sleep at night, even though a constant exhaustion sits over me like a suffocating toxic fog. In short it’s been hell. Complete hell. 

My usual look at the moment.
This morning I woke up feeling much the same as I have every other day. I’d only had five hours of interrupted, restless sleep. I was exhausted and in pain. But, I was determined to get out of the house. As I laid in bed and waited for my meds to kick in, something amazing happened. They actually kicked in! For the first time in a long time the haze of exhaustion began to lift and my pain eased just enough to move around without visibly wincing! I couldn’t believe it! 

Of course I did what anyone would do. I made the most of it! In the car we hopped, and down to the park we went. This time, I didn’t sit on a bench and watch as my husband played with the kids. I got up, and I joined in! Today it was me taking our baby on the rides. It was me playing along. It was me being ‘fun mum’. Yes it hurt. Yes it took my breath away. Yes I’m now in bed feeling like I’ve been run over by an articulated lorry. But it was so so worth it!! It’s amazing the difference a few hours out (if that) can make to your mental state. 

Soaking up the sun and charging my batteries for fun!
Ziplining , slow and low! (I may have kinda fallen off.. but I was scraping along the floor anyway so it was fine!)
Little man loved the swings!
Me and both my boys on the slide.

Technically today I did the wrong thing. Technically I should have paced myself. Taken it steady. Reserved some energy for tomorrow. But what’s the point? What’s the point in saving myself, when I have so many overlapping conditions that tomorrow I can still wake up unable to function? I cannot live like that. I cannot and I will not. These last few months have been an exhausting whirlwind of pain and symptoms that’s left me feeling a shadow of myself. Yesterday I was low. I was the lowest I’ve been in a while, crying hysterically at the doctors receptionist when they couldn’t get me an appointment. Sobbing in the bathroom at 2am as I tried to shower away my searing pain. I needed a day like today. Today was my body’s gift to me, I’d be damned if I was going to waste it! 

As for tomorrow? Well, if I’m out for the count (which I likely would have been anyway) then at least I have my wonderful few hours at the park today to look back on. To me, that’s worth it. 

Jaymee’s Battle.

Jaymee’s Battle.

Our story begins when Jaymee became a mother, at the age of twenty. Soon after she was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression, a fairly common problem that many mothers face. As is so often the case, Jaymee was given antidepressants and sent on her way. But Jaymee knew deep down something wasn’t right. Months passed, and she didn’t improve. Those months turned into years and still Jaymee was no better. During this time the doctors tried many different tablets, but none of them worked. The only thing Jaymee gained from the medication was a detachment from her feelings, a numbness to life.  This feeling (or lack of it) enveloped her, it became her new normal. Her coping mechanism to get through the endless days of feeling broken inside.


Around 2013 Jaymee got to the point where she lost herself completely, she had a complete mental breakdown. The medication she had been on had only delayed the inevitable. She describes herself as “high as a kite one minute, the next (she) was the lowest (she’d) ever been”. Jaymee was thrill seeking, and taking crazy risks, with no consideration for those around her. Yes, she admits she had fun at first, but there comes a point when the fun stops and all you’re left with is emptiness and regret. It’s not fun anymore when you’re constantly hurting those who love you. You’d think that being a mother would help put things into perspective, but alas it didn’t. She couldn’t see beyond her own selfish desires. Looking back it was a very dark time in her life, though at the time she didn’t realise.  

Jaymee says, “This is a place I don’t want to go back to.  It was awful. I hurt and blamed the ones who loved me, pushed away people who cared.”

Along the way Jaymee was unkind to herself as well as her family and friends. She had completely lost herself, to the point she wasn’t even Jaymee anymore. It felt as though her head just wouldn’t work how she needed it to. She was lost, adrift in a sea of confusion and extreme emotion. Eventually she snapped. Everything came crashing down and Jaymee could cope no longer. Desperate for help she did something “really stupid and regrettable”,  and though she wishes it had never come to that, she did finally get the attention of her doctors. After years of them just telling her it’s depression, here’s a tablet;  they finally took noticed and realised there may be something more going on. 

Jaymee was referred to a Psychological unit. Finally she had been guided onto a path, instead of wandering aimlessly lost through life. She remembers how the first thing they considered was Bipolar Disorder, but it wasn’t that. She remembers how it took a whole year of doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists analysing her to finally get an answer. A year of being watched, evaluated, pried into. A year of waiting, stressing and wondering. It was not easy to go through, but it was worth it. Because eventually Jaymee got her diagnosis. Her label. 

Jaymee has Borderline Personality Disorder. The symptoms of this are wide ranging and can easily be mistaken for other things, such as depression. But BPD is completely different, and as such will not respond well to the tablets Jaymee had previously tried. Mind describes Personality Disorders as being a type of mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause you longstanding problems in your life.

Being diagnosed didn’t make all Jaymees problems go away, but it did help her to understand herself a lot better, to start being kinder to herself. Her diagnosis meant she was able to explain to the people she loved why she behaves in the way she does. It helped her learn to accept herself again, and take some control back. She was finally put on medication that had been properly tailored to her needs. Medication that actually helped. But even more importantly she was given a team of people to support her, and guide her through learning to live with her new label. She had counselling and went on courses to help her manage her emotions.

The journey was just starting, and it was to be a long and difficult one. Getting a diagnosis, a label on your back, does not automatically make things easy. There were many bumps in the road, and Jaymee almost gave up on herself so many times. But she didn’t, she caught hard and she’s still here today, stronger than ever before. 

Last year Jaymees life took another turn, tragedy struck and she lost her Father. The man she had worshipped and adored all her life. Such a cataclysmic event is enough for anyone to fall off their path in life, let alone someone with mental illness. But instead Jaymee did the opposite, she grasped her life in both hands and took back control entirely. Starting by coming off her medication. Now, Jaymee admits this was probably a rash decision, and it’s certainly not something she would recommend to others, but she knew it was something she needed to do. Jaymee needed to grieve for her father, to work through her pain and her loss, she knew this wouldn’t be possible for her on medication designed to dampen down extremes of emotion. Her doctors disapproved, but in the end it was her choice, not theirs. But she didn’t turn her back on all the things she had learned since her diagnosis. Jaymee took those skills and used them to get through life, facing one day at a time.

A year on and Jaymee hasn’t touched her medication again, and she’s feeling better than she has done in a long time. Finally she feels as though she’s found a part of herself again. Things are not easy, she still struggles from time to time, a diagnosis of BPD doesn’t just go away if you choose to stop taking your medication. But Jaymee is learning to live with it, with pride and a new sense of self worth. This has been one of the hardest battles she is ever likely to face, and she’s done it! Eight years, eight years was how long it took to get a diagnosis. Jaymee will never get those years of her life back, those years that should have been spent enjoying motherhood but instead were full of battles. Battles with herself, doctors, and those she loved. She knew in her heart all those years ago that Postnatal Depression didn’t fit with the way she was feeling. Jaymee knew the doctors weren’t doing all they could for her, and she often wonders how her life would have turned out if she had just shouted a little louder, pushed a little harder. 

If you are struggling with mental or emotional problems Jaymee has this message. “Please , please, don’t suffer in silence, seek help if you need it and keep going until you’re listened to. Mental Illness is not a weakness, from mine I found my strength”

Jaymee bravely decided to share her story on Facebook recently. Had she not many of her friends, myself included, would never have known of the struggles she’s faced. Mental Illness is perhaps one of the truest forms of invisible illness their is.  So easily hidden, and so often seen as taboo, people can be left helplessly floundering, battling their demons alone, for years on end. Jaymee says that if even one person can be helped by reading her story, then it was worth it to share. To Jaymee, I say thank you. Thank you for letting us in, and for trying to help those in need. I too hope your story helps others, I believe it will. 


If you are struggling with Mental Illness advice can be found at Mind.org. This post was adapted from Jaymees original Facebook post.

I’m fighting a battle. 

Tonight’s blog post was going to be about the massage I had today and it’s beneficial affect on my body. It was supposed to be happy. Upbeat. Light. 

But I’m not feeling light right now. I’m laid in bed, it’s the middle of the night and I’m feeling anything but light. The weight of the world pushes hard upon my chest, constructing my breaths to short painful gasps. Or at least so it seems. My mind whirs away hashing and rehashing over my problems whilst the stress that was released earlier seeps back into my every sinew. It gnaws at me, scratches at the corners of my thoughts, spoiling them. Fraying them at the edges and pulling at the seams, until they unravel and I’m left with only my stress and a tension headache.

At the moment I’m fighting a battle. A battle no parent should have to fight. I’m fighting with my daughters other biological parent for what I feel is best for her. No, before you think I’m one of ‘those’ women, I’m not trying to keep him out of her life. I’m trying to get him involved. I’m trying to make it so instead of a 200 mile round twice monthly trip, she has that trip only once a month. I’m trying to encourage her biological father to come here, instead of forcing her to always go there. To miss birthdays and events, clubs and memories. 

Since she was young she’s visited him. I’ve always encouraged it. In fact me and his family almost forced it upon him. But those visits have always been on his terms. She has to go there. He will not visit here nor attend anything for her up here. Which I’ve said all along will not work for her forever. As she’s grown up she’s been made to choose between seeing him and going to birthday parties. Seeing him and attending social events. No compromise. No fluidity. Just choose. Here. Or there. 

Recently things changed. She chose. She chose a club which helps her with her health. She chose to only visit there one weekend a month. She chose for her biological father to come here. To support her. To be involved. He is fighting against that choice. He is taking things down an official route. He is bribing and cajoling to get his way. 

But things run a little deeper than just being able to join in clubs and see friends. In fact, last week, things just got a whole lot more serious. My daughter went to a geneticist. She has EDS. Hopefully the same type as me, but at this point it’s not certain. This diagnosis is now a weight on her shoulders. It is now her shadow pulling at her, caught beneath the boulder of EDS and holding her back. I saw the signs. I knew this day would come. But I prayed I could work with her biological father to do things right for her. 

Her club, the weekend hobby that’s unimportant, has actually built her muscle tone so much her EDS has improved in her arms and legs. On the weeks she’s not travelling so far she is easy to get up for school. She’s calmer. She’s happier. She’s well rested. She’s as close to perfect as any child could be. I’m trying to teach her to pace. The doctor stressed how important rest was. Travelling long distances in a car does not constitute rest. 

But today. Today I found out everything regarding her health seems to have been pushed aside. Her need for her biological father to take part in her home life has also been pushed aside. The system that’s supposedly all about the needs of the child seems to be veering towards being more concerned with making life easy for her biological father. 

So here I lie. Stressed. Worried. Tying myself up in knots. 

I’ve tried my best. I’ve explained her needs to her, her biological father, everyone involved. I’ve gathered statements. I’ve spoken to doctors. I’ve done everything I can. I feel like I’m shouting to a crowd of people wearing ear defenders and not one of them is willing to take them off. People don’t understand. My daughter doesn’t understand. She can’t. She won’t understand until she’s older and in agony. When she looks back and sees the safety nets I tried to put in place flung aside. Until she sees a wrong turn was made. 

I hope beyond all hope she doesn’t end up in the same crippling pain as me. But I fear now she will. If she does, who’s fault is it? The biological father who refused to listen to her needs, or me the mother who passed it on? 

No matter the answer, I know I’ll always blame myself. 

Breast is best? 

I want to breastfeed. 

I also want to stand and rock my son. I want to put him in his sling and walk around. I want to go out into the fresh air and proudly push him in his pram. 

I want to take my daughter to school. I want to cook a meal. I want to be able to get dressed every day. I want to drive my car places. I want to get out of bed. 

I don’t want to be exhausted. I don’t want to shake and go dizzy. I don’t want to be confused and forgetful. I don’t want to need supervising on the loo or in the shower. I don’t want to cry at my husband and beg him not to leave me alone at home even once more. 

But I want to breastfeed. Breast is best. Breast is what he needs. Or so I’ve been told. 

But what if breast isn’t best? If I go back on my medication then breast would be downright dangerous. If I don’t, then literally all I’m good for is breastfeeding. 

I languish in bed. Exhausted. Undressed. Useless. 

But my baby boy is breastfeeding. He’s thriving. Surely that’s best?? 
I just don’t know anymore. What’s more important, breast milk or a healthier mummy?