The Benefits of being a Blogger

Today I took full advantage of being a blogger and able to work wherever I want and spent the day with my friend so that we could catch up. (In between her doing housework and getting her youngest from nursery I was able to work from the comfort of her sofa!).

We decided to fill her paddling pool up for the kids to go in after school and cool off, and to treat them all to a takeaway pizza and chips.

I’ve not felt so relaxed in ages, I really enjoyed watching Dinky play with her children. His confidence has come on so much. When my friend and I first met he would be too anxious to join in with their games and would nervously be tugging on me to either go home or for me to have to be by his side.

But today, he proved how much he has come along by happily joining in with their play and literally only coming to me for food and drinks. As you can see, they had a great time!


Nothing makes me happier than seeing a Dinky enjoying himself. For years we really struggled with his interaction and now he seems to have conquered that. I’m one happy Mumma indeed.

So, to sum up my day, I managed to:
1. Catch up with a great friend of mine.

2. Enjoy watching Dinky play and interact with other children.

3. Work from where and when I felt like it.

I’m totally getting used to this whole being your own boss thing!

How can you become a full-time blogger?

If you want to know how you can be your own boss, check out my post here on How to become a full-time blogger. I’ve also got a great giveaway ending 30/06 there too, so head over and enter!

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Just because depression isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Depression is something that the majority of us will suffer with at some point in our lives. Whether we realize it or not. It comes in different ways for all of us. Some of us just think we’re feeling a little low. Some of us feel like life isn’t worth living anymore.

My experience.

When I first went in about my mental health, the Doctor wasn’t sure whether I was confusing depression with anxiety. Now I look back on it, maybe at the time I was, but I’ve definitely had an element of depression.

I battled for a very long time with my mental health, and I was stubborn enough to not accept the help and let the Doctor prescribe me medication. I was scared I’d be on it for life and become addicted.

A colleague of mine at the time managed to convince me to try it because I’d got to the point where I was nervous about even answering the phone. I was pushing everyone that cares about me away by not talking about my feelings because I felt like it’d just be a burden on them. They did everything I did, worked hard, looked after the children etc. So why couldn’t I do that?

My plan of action.

I finally took the plunge and went to the Doctor asking for medication. I was already on propranolol for my anxiety but that didn’t touch my mood. When I finally gave in I just sat there and sobbed, rambling onto the Doctor about everything that’s built up for me. I felt stupid. So many people in the world are going through so much worse than I am.

I did, however, feel better for just letting it out. The Doctor prescribed me a low dose of sertraline, as what I was feeling clearly wasn’t just my anxiety.

I went back after 2 weeks for a review of my mood. To be honest, in that short space of time I didn’t really see an improvement, apart from the fact that it had helped my anxiety issues slightly!

Within a month of that, I felt like a totally new person. I was no longer crying every day or breaking down over the smallest of things. My patience had improved when it comes to Dinky and his challenging behaviors. Most importantly, I was actually able to smile again.

How do I get a diagnosis for depression?

It’s not something that the Doctor will just diagnose straight away, especially if you’ve not had any past history of mental health. The Doctor will likely prescribe you some antidepressants and ask you come back after a few weeks to check your mood. The Doctor may even refer you to see a mental health worker if you really don’t want to take medication for your depression.

I’m not saying medication is the way forward to cure depression because it isn’t the case for some people. I’m just saying it helped me and still is. I hope to come off of my medication soon.

If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, please go and see your Doctor. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it means the opposite. You’ve got the strength to go and tell someone that actually, you’re really not doing okay and need some help. There is nothing wrong with that. Just because depression isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Useful links

Here are some links to find out more about depression, take a mood test, and how you can get the best help for you.

Moodzone

NHS Choices

How To Cope With Anxiety

Please remember that you’re never alone in this. I believe that you can get through this.

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

Thank you to Rachel over at Coffee, Cake, Kids for tagging me in this post thread to take part!

As we have all seen on the news lately there’s been awful terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and I think that we all need to appreciate how lucky we are to have been safe from these terrible events. My heart goes out to all of the families and friends of the victims of these attacks.

This is why when Rachel tagged me in this, I thought it was a great time to reflect on 10 things that make me happy. Even when life seems a bit shitty, and it feels like the whole world is on your shoulders, I think we should all take the time to think about things that we are grateful for. So here is my 10 things that make me happy!

1. Blogging

This one may seem incredibly obvious but over the last few months, blogging has become a big part of my life again. I have met some of the loveliest people through blogging and had so many great opportunities too. I’ve had the chance to review items that I would never even have thought about trying and some that I’ve loved for many years too. I’ve also managed to start monetizing my blog, and I am now writing full time. That’s something I didn’t think I’d be able to do for years.

2. Dinky’s Smile

As you may already know, Dinky has autism. Since about the age of two, we have noticed and have been trying to get an official diagnosis so that we can get him the best help possible to help him thrive in life. I know for a fact he finds every single day a struggle, he knows that he isn’t like some of the other children at his school. Every morning we really find it hard to get him to school happily, it’s very rare that he goes in without any sort of panic attack. So those times where I do get to see my boy’s amazing smile, I absolutely love it. It melts my heart to know that at that moment he’s not worrying about anything and that I made that smile happen.

3. Mr. Pie

This is going to be corny as hell but I honestly don’t know where I’d be without him. He has supported me through the worst anxiety of my life, through stresses of home and work and also he is still supporting me as I’m taking the leap and becoming a full-time writer. He makes me smile daily, he’s my best friend and my soul mate. He is an incredible step-father to Dinky and they both adore each other (even though I know they wind each other up sometimes too). I doubt Mr. Pie will read this but I love you!

4. Vodka

Come on, you had to know this one was coming? It’s not an essential part of my life, but when I’ve had a rough day there’s nothing I love more than kicking back with a nice cold vodka and lemonade (or two) (okay three).

5. Gaming

GEEK ALERT!! I have loved gaming pretty much my entire life, but for around 8 years (oh my, that’s a bit bad!) I have loved World of Warcraft. I have also met some of the best people I know on the game, including my best blogging buddy Zara from Mojo Blogs who was pregnant at the same time that I was, and they were born literally days apart! I’ve gone back and forth with the game, playing whenever I can. I’ll never be as into it as I used to be before I had Dinky, but I still enjoy logging on and letting it take me away for a few hours.

6. Movies

Mr. Pie is a massive film fanatic, and since we have been together he has shown me literally hundreds of films and still manages to name and describe films I’ve never even heard of. I love it when we watch a movie together, it’s our time to chill out together, get cozy and watch a good film. Plus, there’s nothing better than lying there with your loved one after a long day!

7. The plan that myself and Mr. Pie have for life

We’ve been together for almost four years now and we’re constantly getting comments about marriage and more children. As much as we’d love to jump straight in and have all of these, we’re trying to do things the right way for us. We want to buy ourselves a nice home, build up some money and then go ahead and get married and have children. I just love the fact that we can both shrug off the comments because we know what our aim is and we will get there.

8. Cooking

I’ll admit, some days I really can’t be bothered to make much of an effort in our meal plans, but I do actually really enjoy cooking. Whenever I see one of those recipe videos floating around Facebook I can’t help but watch it, and then modify it in my head. When it actually comes to cooking, I love being creative and even changing the recipes up as I go along, and one thing I love even more is seeing Mr. Pie’s face when he tries my food. Any compliment from him is a big one in my eyes considering he is a chef.

9. Our car

We haven’t had much luck with cars over the last three years, but I have loved each and every one of them. At the moment we have my Dad’s old Freelander and I absolutely adore it. It looks beefy, it drives incredibly and it’s also something that makes Dinky smile. Even though the car isn’t an absolute necessity for us, I certainly do miss having one when we don’t. Having that freedom there to just jump in the car and go somewhere is amazing, and of course, it makes life 10x easier with shopping and school runs!

10. My life

It took me ages to think about this final one because I wanted to make it a good one. I was sat there thinking about what I appreciate and I realized that I hadn’t even listed the most important one, the whole reason I started writing this post, I’m grateful and happy with my life. I may have 3458345 things to groan about certain things that are going on in my life, but in general, I have a great life, an amazing partner, an incredibly loving, intelligent and funny son, supportive family, food on the table and a roof over my head.

I nominate Katie Shacklock over at The Perfect Juggler to give us her top 10 things that make her happy!

 

 

 

 




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Your looks won’t pierce his strength.

It’s no secret that Dinky is currently going through a diagnosis for autism. I’ve known from a very early age that he would be.

All of these are phrases I loathe.

He doesn’t look like he has autism..

No it’s not a physical deformity, it’s a mental condition. So no, he doesn’t look any different to what you consider “normal”.

In fact he is a gorgeous, happy, cheerful looking child.

He’s fine..

No actually he’s not. He needs constant reassurance, a whole week planned out in advance. He needs everything to go as scheduled. He needs me to block out strange noises, he needs to repeat things, he needs to relive his fondest memories over and over, he needs me to go through the same rigmarole everyday just to prevent a meltdown.

But… he can remember things that you will have long forgotten about. He can take things apart and put things back together perfectly first try. He is so interested on how and why things are made. That noise he’s scared of? It’s because he wants to understand why that noise is being made, and how he can fix it.

All kids learn at different rates..

Yes they do, but when your child can barely put a sentence together at the age of three and a child almost a year younger is talking full on, you know something isn’t right.

He may not have been able to talk since he left the womb but he always shows love and compassion. He already knows how to use my phone better than I do. He’s so tech savvy I can already see him being in the tech industry when he is older. He’s always happy, he always greets me with a smile, even if he’s in trouble. He always knows how to cheer me up and put a smile back on my face.

Oh that’s normal, my kid does that

I’m not denying that your child doesn’t misbehave or become frightened at times, but please don’t make me explain how fear of the bathroom fan coming on is different to fear of the boogeyman.

I hate having to try and explain autism to the dumb and ignorant. I hate the looks he gets when he doesn’t do what a “normal” child does. I hate that “normal” is even something my beautiful boy is compared to.

Don’t look at me with pity. Don’t look at him with pity. He’s the strongest person I know. I can see his fright and confusion but he still faces every day with a smile. Your looks won’t pierce his strength. 

Autism, mental health, mother, son, mblogger, mental health matters,

He’s perfect, and he’s mine.

Parenting and PND
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How To Cope With Anxiety

I’m just going to put it bluntly, anxiety is shit. I have dealt with it daily for over 10 years. Most of the time it isn’t bad enough to rule over my day, but those days/nights where my anxiety is so intense that I can barely catch my breath are awful. I had my first one of those creep up on me after months of nothing last night. I got through it in an unusual way, so I’ve decided to compile a list of quick fixes and long term treatments you can do if you’re struggling with your anxiety!
Quick Fixes

  • Distraction

I always find that the first trick I turn to when I feel anxious is to distract myself, whether that be on my phone, a game, putting the TV on or simply going for a walk. Sometimes that is literally all you will need. A distraction long enough to make you forget about what you were anxious about in the first place. Often I’m not even sure why I feel anxious or what thought triggered my feelings, so I find doing something different will change my train of thought.

  • Shout it out

Sometimes I find that I mistake frustration for anxiety, or even that my frustration and stresses create the anxiety. If this is something you feel happens to you then my suggestion is to just let it out.

– Go and find a quiet place and shout out your frustration. 

– Maybe nominate a friend that you can call and just rant to (offer the same back to them for if they ever need it, of course)

– Crying always helps. Don’t be ashamed or too proud to cry. Of course if you feel like crying or you do cry very often, then what you’re feeling may not just be anxiety, so please visit your doctor (see long term treatment for more information)

Basically any way to let out some emotion will help. This is a tip I have picked up very recently and it works very quickly for me. It releases pent up stress that’s boiling inside and you will feel better and fast.

  • Talk it out with someone you trust

I know it may feel hard to talk about how you’re feeling, and it’s difficult to even know where to begin but talking it out with someone I trust helps me feel like I’m not so alone. Even if the person I have told doesn’t have anxiety themself, at least they understand why I’m acting a little strange or why I’m more fidgety than normal. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised how understanding most people are.

So if you feel like you can talk to someone about it then do it, it will help!

  • Deep breathing

This trick is probably the oldest one in the book, but it’s a tried, tested and true way of alleviating anxiety symptoms. Simply sit up straight and breathe 8 seconds in through your nose and 5 seconds out through your mouth. Carry this on until you feel calm again.

  • Keep your feet on the ground.

I often find that when I’m feeling anxious my head spins and I almost feel like I’m not in my own body any more. Putting at least one foot on the ground helps your body regain balance and work out where you are. This technique is called “grounding” and is also used for people who are suffering with symptoms of vertigo.

  • Ride it out.

A few years ago a therapist told me something that I’ve always tried to remember when I’m feeling anxious. What goes up must come down. This means that your anxiety will only get so high and then it will slowly drop and go away. If you’re able to ride it out, then ride it out because I promise you, every time after that it will get easier.
Long term treatments

  • Change what you put in your body

    In every way possible, look after yourself! Eat as healthily as you can. Being overweight and eating the wrong food can often give you symptoms that mimic anxiety, which would in turn make you worse. Cut out alcohol (or cut down at least). Quit smoking, not just for your anxiety but for your general health too.

    • Exercise

    As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a walk can distract you from a panic attack. Not only that, exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Also, of course exercising will keep you fit and healthy.

    • Talk to your GP

    For a very long time I’d avoid speaking to my GP about my anxiety because I was worried that they would just shove me onto medication and I didn’t want to take anything. After now working in a GP surgery and seeing and speaking to my colleagues about anxiety I have learnt that there are so many different ways of treating/dealing with it. You can:

    – Get your Doctor to refer you for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)

    – Your GP can also help advise and monitor your lifestyle, ask what help is available.

    – Your GP can also recommend self help websites.

    – Medication. I used to have this massive stigma in my mind about taking medication for my anxiety. I was convinced I didn’t need it and that they just cover up the problem rather than solving it and I didn’t want that. I do now fully support medication for anxiety because once I had heard and seen how it helps people, I knew I needed to try it. 

    It was hand on heart the best decision I have ever made regarding my health. The Doctor explained that it resets the chemical levels in your brain that cause you to feel the way you do. I’ve now been on medication for 6 months and I’m happier than I’ve been in years. My anxiety still creeps up on me, but nothing like it used to.

    There are many different types that the Doctor can prescribe you, so go and speak to your GP.

    Also, don’t forget to…

    I really hope that my tips can help someone. I know only too well how horrible it is crawling through the internet trying to find help. Do you have anything else that you do when you’re anxious? I’d love to know!

    Much love xxx

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    #YoudNeverBelieve

    I am so excited and proud to announce that I have taken part in #YoudNeverBelieve.

    What is #YoudNeverBelieve I hear you say?
    Well, I do have some super informative links to share with you but I will tell you a little bit right now.

    #YoudNeverBelieve is a campaign to show teenagers that you are never truly alone. Feeling low and helpless is one of the worst things anyone can experience and I’m super proud to be backing this cause to encourage young girls to speak out if they are feeling anything but happy. In this video, myself and a bunch of awesome bloggers confessed some of the things we felt when we were teenagers, and possibly some of us may still feel this way.

    We want to create a support network for anyone struggling and the amazing Ella Stearn is the brainbox we all need to thank for this! Please please pleeeeease back this cause because #mentalhealth is SO important.
    #YoudNeverBelieve that I used to be scared to go to school.

    Watch the video here:


    Anyone who knows me will know I am really passionate about mental health. Having an autistic son and battling anxiety, depression and panic disorder myself really fuels me to help others. As soon as I read about this campaign I knew I had to get involved.

    Here is where the magic is happening, please donate to this amazing cause – #YoudNeverBelieve

    Oh, and one last thing. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. There is always someone out there. Don’t suffer alone.

    Much love xxx
    Photo credit to the beautiful Amy Thompson xx

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