Anxiety Doesn’t Have A Type

Last night:

I’m in bed, I’ve been here since 9.30pm It’s now 2.00am, but still I can’t sleep. I’ve come close, twice actually, but every time I feel as though I am drifting off to sleep I have a sudden feeling as though I’m falling. Impossible I know, seeing as I’m lead flat, so there’s only one culprit, and it’s anxiety.

I’m falling hard in the dark and as soon as I’m about to hit the ground I am startled awake. That’s not the end of it though, oh no. I startle, my heart racing, mind on overdrive like an update on your ancient laptop doing the loop for hours.

I even get anxious about being anxious. It makes absolutely no logical sense but it’s there just the same.

I take medication, practise breathing exercises (which I find are bollocks btw) I do everything I’m supposed to, even have talk therapy. The fact still remains that I have an anxiety disorder.

It’s aggravated of course, by life’s stressors, but sometimes it’s there for no fucking reason at all, other than just to be the mental version of thrush, in layman’s terms that’s an irritating cunt.

What has she got to be anxious about? You ask. I hear it all the time, whether to my face or through third parties. Well guess what sista, anxiety doesn’t have a type!

It might be your turn next love, and I can pretty much say truthfully, (unless you’ve committed crimes against children, in which case, suffer) that I wouldn’t wish this on you, or anyone else.

Maybe the bloke who cheated on and gaslighted me a few years back, or maybe the bitch in River Island who wouldn’t give me my parcel without photo ID, but I definitely wouldn’t wish it on your average Joe.

It sucks. And not good sucks, seriously fuckeduppy kind of sucky. Makes you question your own sanity kind of sucky. Makes you hide from the world and push people away through fear and exhaustion kind of sucky.

It can literally come on for me whilst I’m enjoying a nice relaxing bath or doing my shopping in Aldi. It takes one tiny thing, and here I am catastrophising and questioning my reasons to live. If you’ve never experienced anything like it, I beg you please stop dismissing it as if it’s nothing. It’s soul destroying and it takes strength to get through an attack, it takes strength to live with anxiety. It takes strength to talk about your anxieties and it takes that bit more strength to ask for help.

Most people in my experience who have an anxiety disorder are afraid to ask for help. It frightens them. What may be reasonable to you, is magnified 1000 for someone suffering from anxiety.

Sometimes the signs are obvious, like a full blown panic attack, hyperventilating, sweating, feeling faint. Some are much more subtle, a silent tear, a slight change in mood, irritability, lack of sleep. Some people are put off their food, where others purge and so on, basically you get it, it’s not always visible.

It’s not one size fits all. You can have all the money in the world and still be troubled. You can have family and friends who have no idea you’re even suffering. Or ones that stop asking because they’re tired of hearing about it. Or ones that are supportive but don’t know how to help.

I’ve kept things in and I’ve talked about it. Neither particularly work for me. I still feel just as anxious either way. I’m not saying don’t talk about it, do keep talking, as it gives others an opportunity to at least try and understand.

What does help me is recognising that anxiety doesn’t have a type and it’s not because I was a bastard in a past life, or that I’m clinically insane. It’s just my body’s reaction to fight or flight mode. More importantly, once I recognise it’s triggers I can sometimes even turn it off. Not always, but sometimes if I can find logic to my thoughts I am able to rationalise better and thus slow down the physical symptoms at least. Sometimes though your anxiety is so bad everything is a trigger, and that’s when for me, the only thing that works is medical intervention. I’m not ashamed that I take pills to relieve these symptoms when they are all consuming.

Of course my other chosen therapy is to write, that’s the main reason you’re reading this now. I hope someone reading this takes comfort in knowing they aren’t crazy! The brain is just a complex and sketchy place.

The Coconut Tree

You only have to look at me to know I’m a food lover.

Whilst taking a leisurely stroll along Bristol’s Gloucester Road today, I fancied eating something I wasn’t going to be able to cook at home. Something proper tasty though, as I was ravenous.

Tucked in at the bottom of Gloucester Road opposite Shape, Wrap and Roll, sits The Coconut Tree, where they aim to bring Sri Lanken street food to us here Bristolians (I’m actually from Bath, but who cares)

This place was alight with red wallpaper, scattered with palm trees, and a dining space filled with high tables. It was everything you’d expect for a tapas style eatery. The walls also donned tribute to their native Elephants and it was an all round vibrant vibe.

I was driving, so sadly didn’t get to try them, but the cocktail menu looked insane! Serving Sri Lanken takes on classics like, Old Fashioned, that had a chocolate twist, and Espresso Martinis made with coconut milk. They also had an amazing sounding turmeric and coconut concoction, that I’ll definitely be trying on my return.

Now let’s get to the bit you’re all waiting for, the food!

It was a serious taste explosion. Dishes are served as tapas, but are by no means small. We shared 6 between two of us and to be honest it was too much. But that was just because the richness and flavours were so intense, you didn’t need to stuff your face to feel satisfied.

I had THE best goat curry I have ever tasted, and being a huge fan of Caribbean food where goat is often used, I’ve tasted a few.

It was like curried silk. Salty and full of spicy flavour, but for you mild curry lovers, don’t worry, it wasn’t overly hot. The red rice was cooked to perfection too. We also had spicy cuttlefish pieces, for calamari lovers these are the shiz.

As were the chilli cheesy cubes of lushness, the devilled crispy pork, the melt in the mouth flat bread and every single thing on the menu, was insanely good.

Along with great food, they also had great staff, they gave us a talk about how to get the best of the flavours. And the best bit…. drumroll…. KIDS EAT FREE!!

Yes, they really do. There’s no catch, they just get to choose a free dish from the kids menu. Ciara especially loved the flat bread!

The whole place was alive with a lively buzz, and that was at lunchtime. It cheered me up on a dreary day, when I was starving, but also during a time when I’m struggling to get excited about anything!

Shaun (my fiancé) and I, both agreed we absolutely need to return for ‘date night’

Whenever the next opportunity for that is, we’ll be enjoying it at The Coconut Tree, and I can’t wait to get on those cocktails.

©️

Weymouth Favourites

I wanted to write a little post about where to visit in Weymouth. Summer’s over but it’s a lovely place to do some sunny winter walks too.

Also with kids – it’s hard to make a decision on UK holidays as we’re not always blessed with great weather. My top places to visit for sunny days and also rainy days are below in no particular order.

Sunny –

Weymouth Beach Obviously! It has everything you need, a harbour, a mini fairground and amusements, donkeys and this time of year you can even take your dog!

Bowleaze Cove

Again everything you need to keep the kids entertained whilst having a coffee and admiring the stunning views from The Sunset Cafe or The Look Out Cafe. Go pebble skimming on this shingle beach!

Farmer Palmers Farm Park

A short drive away in nearby Wareham. There are some indoor things to do here including a play barn, but the outdoor activities like go karting, the huge play park and adventure huts, and feeding the animals are even more fun.

Nothe Fort

Just truly stunning! Has a small play area and lots of woodland sculptures to find! Great for a picnic. Also I’m told the squirrels are very tame here and eat right out of your hand!

Weymouth Harbour

For a trip on the rowing boat. For just £1 a lovely gentleman rows you from one side to the other, it’s nothing special but the kids love it and it’s a nice little thing to say you’ve done! ✅

Rainy –

Weymouth Sealife Centre Again it has some outdoor activities but can easily be enjoyed during the rain too. Get your photo taken with the piranhas and touch a spiney starfish, then head off to find Nemo and Dory!

Enzo’s Italian

On The Esplanade! The waiter’s in there are just fab. They are family friendly and the food is fresh and delicious. Even the kids pizza is amazing!

Seaside Squad

I know I keep saying it but if you’re on a caravan site get to their indoor entertainment. The kids LOVE it and it gives you time to sit and chill for a bit as the blue coats do all the work.

Again if you’re on a site, make use of their pools! A perfect way to get wet indoors! Even if you aren’t on a caravan site though, Weymouth has a number of leisure centres you can attend instead.

Waterside holiday park

This one is really for the adults, but why not pop along to Waterside holiday park and enjoy a bit of relaxation in the spa. I highly recommend a full body massage. The spa itself is only £16 to enter!

Enjoy the Jurassic coast and get a bit of traditional British Seaside in you.

Another couple of must visit places to eat are King Edwards fish & chips! The kids even get theirs in a bucket and spade that they can keep!! And if you’re fancying something a bit more decadent head to Pascal’s Patisserie on Brewers Quay!!

Enjoy.

A shit load of reasons why you should not ask a woman when she’s having another baby…

Reasons why you should never ask a Mum when she’s having another baby….

I’ve updated this with extra points to reflect my current situation. I originally wrote this blog after Ciara was born in 2016. The minute people became aware that Ciara is starting school this year, they have been on me with the second kid question, like flies on shit, seagulls to a sandwich. It’s a throwaway question. It’s rarely asked with any intent to upset but there are so many reasons as to why you shouldn’t ask it. Most of my friends know my situation already, so they don’t ask. If they do ask it’s a conversation that is a two way, it’s a chance for me to talk about my hopes or reservations, but strangers? Strangers go straight for the jugular. Strangers need to back off. Auntie Aggy who you haven’t seen in 10 years but proceeds to tell you how bad an age gap is for children, she needs to shut the fuck up. Or Ethel next door giving you the third degree about your biological clock. So here’s my reasons newly extended as to why you should still not ask a mum when she’s having her next child!

1. She may not want anymore. She might be happy with her one beautiful child. Period.

2. She may not be able to have anymore. Your body goes through all sorts of changes after pregnancy and secondary infertility is a very real and very common problem. Please be mindful before you approach a woman you seldom know, with a loaded question like when she’s about to pop another human out.

3. She may have only just got her body back to a perfect 10. (Not me obvs) – but some women are passionate about returning to their pre baby bodies and that’s their choice. Just because you can’t think of anything worse than going on a diet or hitting the gym post pregnancy, remember we’re not all the same.

4. She may be suffering with her mental health and or PTSD from the trauma of her child’s relentless screaming, or her toddler throwing themselves on the floor screaming NOOOOO over and over again, she can’t yet bear the thought of having 2 irrational psychopaths living in her house. Jokes aside – these phases our children go through are not all roses and rainbows are they? Give the girl a break.

5. She may of had such a bad pregnancy that the thought of going through that trauma again, whilst also being a whale with a swollen fanny and fat ankles, just ain’t on the agenda for the foreseeable. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know my pregnancy story, I won’t bore you with it again, but pregnancy wasn’t enjoyable for me and no matter how many well wishers tell me it’ll be different with number 2, I still don’t get excited at the prospect.

6. Sex is so much better without another human inside of your abdomen. Ok so if you’ve just had a baby you might not be at it like rabbits, but maybe resurrecting your sex life is on the agenda. You go Goddess!!

7. Her and her partner/significant other only just survived the first baby, give them chance. Babies can have a negative impact on relationships as much as they can a positive one. The early stages can be particularly traumatic and resentment can fester. Maybe your girl isn’t ready for the second wave of hating her other half for his measly 2 weeks paternity leave, or the fact he gets to avoid night feeds whilst she’s breastfeeding.

8. Similar to the above, she may have found herself single, or be going through relationship difficulties, and therefore the next baby seems too far off to contemplate. You wouldn’t ask her when she’s getting her next boyfriend would you? So leave her be.

9. They like spending their money on holidays, date nights and stamp collections. The M Word. It’s a big one. Let’s not pretend money’s not a factor. Yes you will find the money and do your best to survive the financial toll of having a family, but some people want more than just survival.

9. They are just too tired. The first child is just about sleeping through the night at 2, let’s let them sleep a while eh?

10. Their child has disabilities, health problems or learning difficulties that they are navigating their way through and managing. The next baby hasn’t been thought of yet. Their first child needs all of their attention.

11. They had a traumatic birth experience. Birth trauma is very common but also very seldom talked about. Women who have negative pregnancy and birth experiences unsurprisingly might have their reservations about baby no 2. Don’t make them spell it out for you, it’s much kinder to just not ask.

12. Maternal mental illness is serious. It can become life threatening. I was suicidal during pregnancy and for a long while after too, that has had a big influence over my decision to not get pregnant again yet. Women who suffer ante and postnatally with their mental health will naturally be more anxious about going through that experience again or worsening their current symptoms.

13. My baby nearly died. Babies are rushed to NICU often. 44% of full term babies are taken in to special care and it’s scary, that’s without even looking at the premie stats. In fact for new parents, it’s terrifying. Nobody in their right mind would want to go through that twice and the thoughts surrounding the possibility of it happening a second time can influence a mum’s decision on whether to have a second child.

14. Mum has her own health problems and she doesn’t want to discuss them with Doris in the corner shop. So Doris if you’re reading. Drop it, Hun! Contrary to popular belief mums get sick too, and this might be affecting her ability to parent one child, let alone two.

15. It’s not the right time. Maybe the mum you’re questioning has gone back to work and got herself a promotion, or she’s decided to further her career by going back to college to learn a new skill. Maybe they’ve just bought a house and are doing it up. Maybe they’ve got a big birthday coming up and are waiting until after then so they can get suitably shitfaced for the occasion. Maybe it’s just not the right time. And that’s ok.

16. They’ve been trying and suffered baby loss. Imagine getting asked when you’re having another one if you’d just miscarried? 1 in 3 women miscarry. I’ll let that sink in.

17. Finally, my personal favourite: Because it’s none of your business. #justsaying.

Us women often share our thoughts with our friends, so it’s likely if she wants you to know, she’ll tell you. This question of ‘are you having another?’ Or ‘do you want more?’ is honestly I think the most personal question I’ve ever been asked.

It’s likely to get awkward real quick if I start reeling off the above reasons in answer to your questions, so to cut out this embarrassment for both of us, drop the question. We know you don’t mean anything by it. We know you’re just making conversation but you should know, it makes us uncomfortable. (It does me, anyway)

It’s not just the question either, it’s the unsolicited advice that naturally follows…. Why you mustn’t have an only child, or how you’ll regret not doing it sooner if you don’t start now. How no two pregnancies are the same.

We’re not listening. We don’t want to answer you anymore – Our bodies. Our minds. Our families. Our choice.

Sometimes Kids Are Dicks

This funny, beautiful, happy child is also sometimes the devil.

Like this morning before I turned up at my friends house in floods of tears, when I should of been smiling as we we’re just about to book a weekend away with the kids for £9.50 each! (Sun holidays, booking open, don’t miss out I’ll add the codes to the blog after this post) but before all of that, my 2 year old reduced me to tears. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s always the same, she kicks off and cries and I cry about her crying.

This morning, she woke up later than usual, she was unusually tired yesterday so I assumed she needed the extra sleep. I woke her up and we went down stairs for our milk/tea fix, same as always. Ciara can be very lazy, she will avoid walking up or down the stairs if she can, and when Daddy’s home she usually can, but my illness means some days I physically can’t lift her, today is that day.

So that was the first tantrum, which ended in me giving in, lifting her onto my lap and sliding down on my ass. 🙄 Number 2 was her not wanting her nappy off.

Number 3 was her point blank refusing to be wiped and have clean pants on.

Before we hit number 4 of actually pulling her pants up over her thighs, she pissed all over my hand.

Number 4 was another meltdown about the wipes (even though she was covered in piss)

Number 5 was not wanting her boots on.

Before number 6 (Which was about her coat) I had lost my patience and really told her off. She still carried on making a fuss. I put her on the naughty step where she usually calms down. But she just got up and carried on screaming at me like I’m some kind of monster with 6 heads.

By the time we got to school (late) she was hysterical and I thought I was about to malfunction and my head was going to physically explode.

She wouldn’t walk into class.

She wouldn’t carry her lunch.

She wouldn’t kiss me goodbye.

I left in tears and by the time I turned up at poor old Mrs Bowler’s I was a mess.

This is another reason you need mum friends when you’re a mum.

Just listening to my pal tell me she’s been there and sometimes kids ARE dicks. Turned my tears into laughter.

I still feel horrendous for shouting and leaving her without a reciprocal kiss goodbye, I’m still counting down the minutes until I can pick her up and hope she’s in a better mood, and smother her in snogs, but I don’t feel so alone with my thoughts anymore.

We righted the world based on how good and in my case badly behaved our kids can be. We then booked a weekend away that includes said shittily behaved kids, and vowed to console each other when they undoubtedly push our proverbial buttons that weekend.

If I hadn’t had that conversation this morning I may have come home and curled up in bed and cried more unnecessary tears. I might of still been feeling irrationally upset by the time I arrived to pick Ciara up.

Now though, I’m enjoying a cuppa, I’ve done my (budget) food shop and I’m ready to tackle whatever mood she comes home in. Because she is 2 and a half and I’m her mum. I can do this. And it’s ok to lose my shit occasionally and it’s ok to dislike your child’s behaviour. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them with every breath you breathe. It just means some days you need to be able to breath a little deeper before you can boss it.

Xoxo

 

My Toddler Hates Me

Is it normal for your two year old to pull away from you? Is it just another phase?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself since the Christmas break began. I think I already know the answer, it being that, there’s been a disturbance to her routine, she’s been spoiled and is pushing boundaries, but that doesn’t make me question myself any less.

I’m still constantly wondering if it’s something I’m doing wrong? Does she just prefer other people to me? Why won’t she listen? Where’s the logic in her dropping something, then throwing herself on the floor in tantrum, instead of just picking it up? Why does she refuse to give me a kiss goodnight? She only seems to want daddy to put her to bed these days.

Every time we’ve taken her anywhere nice these last few weeks, to see Santa, Longleat to the festival of light, she’s acted like a brat. Refusing to walk, put her coat on, you know, the usual insanely annoying things kids do. 6 months ago, she couldn’t talk so I understood her tantrums were because of the lack of understanding from us. Now though she is quite able to tell us when she doesn’t like something. I’ve found myself in tears of sadness and complete frustration over the last week or so! I’ve been angry and upset all at once. Someone said to me once, I think it was my sister in law, that kids can push your buttons like nobody else on Earth. I wondered at the time how you can allow yourself to get so worked up over a child, now I see. Now I see in all it’s glory, how fucking excruciating being a parent can be. How clueless you are left daily, how the guilt eats you from the inside out and you never truly trust your own instincts. Even when you know you’re doing the right thing, a seed of doubt still appears and sows itself into your psyche.

I couldn’t love my daughter anymore if I tried. She is my everything and rarely at the age of two does she understand the need to reciprocate my love. I know she isn’t intentionally setting out to stress me out, she’s two for god’s sake, but it irks nonetheless.

My reason behind this post was to let other mums know it’s ok to love your kids fiercely with every ounce of your being, and it’s also ok to think they are little knobheads every now and again. It’s ok to flip the bird when they aren’t looking, or roll your eyes, or text your bestie to say you’re throwing them out the window! (FYI- this is only ok if you have no actual intention of doing so)

What I’m saying is, you’re going to feel guilty pretty much for the rest of your life now, I’m told that’s 50% of what being a mum is! So allow yourself a meltdown. You’re still a good mum. Your kid might not like you today, but she also didn’t like fish fingers last week, but they are her favourite again this week!! Kids are fickle. It’s down to us as parents to second guess their every move and accept them, flaws and all. And as they grow they too accept us with our own flaws.

My toddler doesn’t hate me, I’m just not her favourite this week, and that’s ok. Because I’m her mother first. ❤️

About me

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog. I guess I should share a bit about myself and why I decided to write a blog in the first place.

I’m 30 years old. I have a daughter who’s 2 and 1/2 and a partner who’s 35. We live in Bristol, after having lived in the beautiful City of Bath our whole lives we decided to move to Bristol when the opportunity for a home swap came up, earlier this year.

Before I had my daughter in 2016 I endured a long, painful and dark pregnancy that I was sure was going to kill me after causing me a nervous breakdown. And when I was told at 37 weeks I had preeclampsia, it nearly did.

I hated being pregnant, detested it. The shame I felt over not being ‘grateful’ for this ‘gift’ really damaged my mental health. I was immobile due to SPD (Symphis, pubic, dis function) I had to give up the things I enjoyed, like smoking and drinking and I hated it. I felt constantly sick and was often incapacitated with migraines. From 16 weeks I was on crutches and the depression continued.

When my beautiful baby girl was born, I was sure that would be the end of the stress, I was not only naive but stupid too. Of course the stress vamped up and colic started.

For 12 hours a day every day my kid screamed. She screamed so loudly our neighbours had to come and check she was ok, more than once. My partner and I almost killed each other, I couldn’t wait for time away from her, of course prompting more guilt.

Then something amazing happened, she turned 6 months old, she started sleeping, napping twice a day and laughing. And that laugh, that tiny little cackle of a laugh is what saved me. What saved our family.

Our little darling still has tantrums, screams, hits, throws herself on the floor, you know, the usual. But it doesn’t matter, because nothing, nothing, is as bad as the colic was.

Since having our daughter our family bond has cemented. We are a family of three and we’re thriving in love and Paw Patrol.

Her eating habits are shit, she never shuts up and she often has a meltdown if you give her the wrong coloured cup, but she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Cliché but so fucking true.

I’ve always loved to write, it’s served as an outlet for me throughout my life. In my teen years it was dark poetry and gritty half novels, and in my adult years it’s been my thoughts, life events and opinions.

My dream is to one day be able to say I’m a writer in response to somebody asking me what I do.

After our daughter was born I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia a neuropathic pain condition that affects our neurotransmitters and how our brain perceives pain.

Some days I am unable to get out of my bed, carry my child, cook a meal, some days I can’t even take a shower, but still I fight. The fight is long, and I often feel like giving up, but instead I write. I write everything down, from the good to the ugly. I use Instagram and Facebook to spread awareness of causes close to my heart.

And that’s about it really, I don’t smoke anymore but I am a professional vapour. I’ve replaced wild nights out with copious amounts of tea drinking and I love, love, love, to read.

On that note, I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

Steph

Xxx