A letter to my Son ….

Dear Rory

I can’t believe that when I see you next, you will be 6! You are still my baby and will always be my baby!

When you were an actual baby, I always wondered what you would look like as you got older. You slowly lost all of your baby curls and gradually changed from a baby to a toddler, to a now school aged boy!

I worried all of the time about whether you ate/slept enough. Whether I taught you enough or played enough. I still worry and probably always will. That’s what Mum’s do!

But I look at you now and realise that YOU taught ME everything.

You taught me that there is nothing we cannot do together. You taught me that by talking to each other, there is no problem that we cannot solve. You taught me that you will only eat and sleep what/when you want/need to! You taught me that you are your own unique, remarkable little person and that I need to listen to you more. I have learned to not do what I think I should do in haste which is often incorrect, but to think more about  what you need me to do. You taught me that’s its OK to make mistakes. I have never been a mummy before so we are learning every step of the way together as a team, Team Murphy!

It breaks my heart when you come home from school saying children have been mean to you. I will always protect you and try to teach you to find your own place in the world. I will teach you that there are mean people in the world, no matter what age you are. People say unkind words. But they are just words. The words will hurt, but you will get past them because I will be there to help you. Being kind is the most important thing and if your kindness goes un noticed, I will always know. I will teach you that hurting someone is not ok, but if need be, you must protect yourself by any means necessary, just like your Little Dragon’s training. You are my absolute world. Always remember that.

We have faced so many obstacles in the past 6 years together. And even when Mummy was so poorly, you were my little sunshine. Always bringing me hope and happiness. Your childhood has been somewhat different to most. Mummy is so sorry that I was poorly for a lot of it. You were my absolute angel though and never complained about having to come to the hospital with me time and time again. Everything we did and continue to do has been an adventure!

I will always remember our first camping trip! Your first sports day. Your first steps. The times you unexpectedly said “I love you”! The time you starting calling me “mum” instead of “mummy”! The time my heart ached for you after not seeing you for 5 days. The time you ate chicken pie! The time we went to Tenerife. I will take you back one day. And I will take you to Disneyland! We have so many more memories to make and I just cannot wait.

I am the proudest mummy! We have everything we need in life because we have each other. I can’t promise that I won’t get cross at times. I can’t promise that I won’t react the wrong way at times. I can’t promise that I won’t get poorly again. But what I can promise is that I will always love you, no matter what. Because our hearts beat together as one.

All my love, always and forever

Mummy

ps I love you to the moon and back!

pps I love you more than you love me, not possible!

 

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Sisters

One of my biggest sadness in life, is that my 5 year old son doesn’t have a brother or sister. If I were to leave this life, who would he have by his side to grow up with? He longs for a sibling as much as I long to give him one. I have to believe that even if I can’t have another biological child, mine and Rory’s lives are meant to have a house full of children living happily ever after. Whether it be by adoption, fostering, surrogacy or step siblings, our hearts are meant to love more children in our happy home!

I am blessed with an older brother and a sister. My childhood is filled with wonderful family memories. And although my brother has emigrated to the other side of the world, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about or miss him and his family.

My sister is my best friend.

There is 21 months between us. We look nothing alike! Growing up, she had the straight black hair and I had the wild, curly goldilocks! Our temperaments are also very different, with me being the quiet and more reserved out of the two! But we compliment each other very well!

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She is the light and soul of my life (and of course Rory!). I followed in her footsteps career wise and her experiences of travelling gave me the confidence to explore the world. She has got me in more trouble during our youth than I care to remember but has filled my life with more fun than I could ever forget! We’ve worked Ski and summer seasons together abroad. She was always the thrill seeker! I was the follower! But without my sister I wouldn’t have had such a memorable and enriched past. We used one of our many lives skiing off piste  in the French Alps. We were seasonal chalet girls and making the most of our free ski passes. I was a beginner, my sister was much more of an accomplished skier, or so I thought! When a blizzard set in, we knew we were in trouble. Fortunately the very angry mountain rescuers got us down to a place of safety, oops!

I was always the sensible one! Always looking out for my sister. Growing up I was a real pain. I just wanted to follow her around everywhere and she would be made to have me along side her and her friends. I was one of those annoying little sister’s! We argued. We ram sacked each others bedrooms looking for ‘borrowed’ items. But we also nursed each others broken hearts and understood each other only as a sister could.

 

 

My sister has overcome so many heart-breaking situations in her life. With unbelievable strength and dignity. A survivor of immense pain. And yet she was, and still is, always there for me, and now for my little boy too. Nobody loves his Aunty Trace as much as Rory!

When I was 15 years old, and my sister 17, we made a terrible judgement call and got into a car we never should have late at night. The driver lost control of the car and crashed into a bridge. 4 out of the 5 passengers suffered broken bones. My sister being the most severe, breaking her arm and leg. I was the ‘lucky’ one. I got away with concussion and no memory of the accident at all.

Our dad was working on vehicle recovery at the time of the accident and had a call to recover the smashed up car we had been in. Just as he was leaving the house, the phone rang again to inform him that both of his daughters had been in that accident and he was needed at the hospital immediately. With my sister in surgery and me a hysterical mess, our parents were in a complete nightmare. My sister lost a lot of blood internally and was touch and go for a long while.

She spent the next 6 months bedbound in hospital with what can only be described as a piece of torture equipment screwed into her bones and traction weights suspended with her leg in the air. Even during that time, she made the situation bearable for everyone. My sister is very funny. She brought humour even when it was inappropriate but very much needed! She ran the hospital ward! Friends brought in takeaways and always outstayed the visiting times. She made the other patients and their families laugh even throughout her own pain and discomfort.

She had a long road to recovery. She had to postpone returning to college. She had to learn to walk again with intense physiotherapy. Once she was allowed home, even though she could walk a few steps, she still needed to depend on a wheelchair to get around. We used to wheel her around our little town and everyone would stop to chat to her. We were even given VIP treatment in pubs and our local club when the time came to socialise again. Nothing was going to stop my sister  living her life!

She has courage beyond belief.

So on Friday, 26 years later, my very brave sister is having surgery again to repair damage to the previous broken bone. Again she will face gruelling physiotherapy and another 6 months of wearing a metal calliper. She will get through it. Her little girls will get her through it. But I wish she didn’t have to go through it at all. I would do anything to take this pain away from her. The guilt that she got hurt so bad and not me lives with me everyday.

On the morning of my mastectomy, when I was petrified, she drove to be with me, to hold my hand and to be there when I woke up. She was there when I looked at my scar for the first time. She made me laugh during my cancer treatment and got me through it. She loves my boy the way I do. As I do my nieces.

So once again the Murphy’s are faced with medical challenges, painful memories and guilt. But I’m sure each one of us has been chosen for various things in our lives because we can get through them. We are lucky. We are strong. And we have each other.

Please keep my amazing sister in your thoughts throughout these next few months.

Love you Trace, my absolute hero! xxx

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The Battle of Clothes

As a single parent to a gorgeous five year old (almost 6!), the biggest challenges we have faced together so far regarding his development have been his lack of sleep and his reluctance to eat very much food.

Over the years we have tried and tested many ways, accepted what is ‘normal’ for us and adapted our lives accordingly.

When my son was 18 months old and I was exhausted beyond recognition after having no more than 2 hours sleep since he was born, we started co-sleeping. Once Rory started school I put some ‘sleeping’ bounderies into place as I needed my space back. But he knows he can come to me whenever he wants/needs to in the night and this works for us.

As for food, Rory is in control over what he eats and when he eats it, within reason of course! This might sound absurd to most but again it works for us.

Our newest challenge that we are facing and working through at the moment is a new one on me. The dislike of clothes. Now im not saying he roams around naked all day. He wears clothes but is incredibly particular about his clothing items to the point of daily distress.

Today is a ‘wear your own clothes to school day’. He was adamant that he wanted to wear his uniform. Most of the time I let him wear whatever he wants. Give him the freedom to express himself through clothes any which way he pleases. Respecting his choices. But all I could think about was when I was in secondary school myself and the sadness I saw on the peoples faces who wore school uniform on a non-uniform day. Whether they forgot or were from socially deprived families and thought their items of clothing would open them up to more ridiclue. Children can be so cruel. Rory had had an awful week the week before from taunts and non-inclusion from his peers in school, that I just wanted to protect my little boy. His upset is my complete heartbreak.

Since the spring, he has been obsessed with wearing shorts. His cousin gave him a pair of red football shorts which for some reason he called them the “100 shorts”  These shorts with a Power Ranger t-shirt were the only things he wanted to wear. Unfortunately he had to change them at some point! He absolutely despises trousers so I went along with shorts whilst the weather permitted. Every single label has to be cut out, even the stitching where the label once was can irritate him so much. Lots of his clothes have holes in where I have cut the labels out too close to the fabric. But it doesn’t really matter as he won’t wear them anyway!

I’d been shopping and bought him some really ‘cool’ t-shirts and tops. We’ve been shopping together for him to choose the clothes he wants but always come away empty handed. We’ve been through all of the Star Wars clothes which were ‘acceptable’ for a while. We’ve since moved on to a Harry Potter  obsession! I’ve found one Harry Potter t-shirt but unfortunately he can’t wear it all of the time!

Pants, socks, pyjamas! They all cause the same amount of trauma. He now has 7 pairs of ‘star’ pants that are fine to wear. Thank goodness!

He has 5 pairs of identical school trousers, but guaranteed at least one of the pairs will cause him some level of upset just as we are leaving the house for school, resulting in a full uniform change, late for school, an irritable mummy and a sad little boy.

I am starting to think that maybe there is some kind of sensory/skin connection to his discomfort. He hates anything being on his arms and legs, hence why he would wear shorts and t-shirts all year round. Our heating takes a while to come on in the morning, so we chose a lovely Spider-Man dressing gown for him to wear until the house warms up. He hates wearing it, along with any kind of hoody, jumper and coat. He desperately tries to convince me he is not cold whilst trying not to shiver! Trying to find a winter coat was traumatic to the point where I bought him one and that was that. No choice. He has to wear it. But is that the thing, am I giving him too many choices? I just want him to be warm and comfortable.

We have 100’s of Iron Man, Star Wars, Power Ranger dress up costumes that he loved wearing many moons ago, but now they stay hanging up in his bedroom. What does surprise me though is that a friend gave us a child’s wedding suit. Complete with waistcoat, shirt, bow tie and blazer and he will wear that!!!

I am at a loss with this. I’m not talking just a few tears, we have full on melt downs regarding clothes and am unsure how to progress. Is it just another developmental ‘phase’?

 

 

Any thoughts/advice/words of wisdom greatly received!

 

 

 

Where is the Emotional Support after treatment, for people affected by Cancer?

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, aged 38, i was propelled into a frenzy of medical appointments and life saving procedures. My medical team were there for me 100%. As a trained nurse I could not fault the care I received. My team responsible for my care became my security blanket, as long as I had them by my side I would be ok.
So what happens after treatments finish? What is life like after Cancer? Well for me it was scary. At a time where I thought I would be rejoicing in the fact that my cancer had gone and I could finally get on with the rest of my life, the reality of it was that I was too frightened to live my life. What if the cancer came back? Every pain in my body resulted with me going into complete panic. I will never forget presenting at my GP surgery with persistent headaches. I was convinced I had brain mets and my GP sent me on my hysterical way advising painkillers! That was a very low point for me and the point where I wondered where was the support for people who were struggling emotionally after Cancer.
I attended 2 sessions with a Clinical Psychologist, a Moving Forward course, a Look Good Feel Good course, a Younger Breast Cancer network conference and have even been on a Living Well After Cancer retreat. And although I am so grateful for these events as they did help my mental health and emotional needs, the problem is they end. A one hour session once a week for 4 weeks is not enough. Because once again you are left alone to cope with life after serious trauma. Those feelings of fear, helplessness, grief, sadness, despair, come to the surface all too soon again. The cancer support groups, choirs etc that run once or twice a month are great if you can get to them. As a single parent to a young son, they have been almost impossible for me to attend.
During my darkest days I used to wish there was somewhere I could just go to, to talk to someone or just to have a good cry. Somewhere that was accessible when I needed it. I would phone my mum and she would often say she was in the “crying café”. A place she would go to for a coffee but end up reflecting on the traumatic experiences our family had faced because of my cancer diagnosis. Crying alone in a bustling café. Where is the support for people who have been affected by cancer?
One of the biggest cancer charities in Wales has cut their counselling services and another mental health charity has a waiting list of at least 6 months for counselling services. With more and more people being diagnosed with cancer and mental health related issues, where is the support? Where is the care and compassion that is clearly missing in post cancer care. In 2022 the new Velindre site is due to be built in Cardiff with the addition of a Maggies centre, a well known charity that provides support for cancer sufferers. In 5 years time! We need something now.
There needs to be a home away from home environment, a place of comfort and support that is accessible not only for an hour but all day, all week, all month and all year. A place to offload. A comfortable, tranquil place where people affected by cancer can feel safe. Nobody should face cancer alone, yet so many people do. And nobody should feel abandoned after cancer treatment as this is the time when support is needed the most.
With so many cuts to much needed professional after care services, I am looking for help with the initial plans/funding advise to set up a centre in a homely environment to provide emotional support for people affected by cancer. Think of a ‘weight lifted of your shoulders’ environment. Comfortable sofas, cushions, throws, trickling water fountains, soft music and lighting. Run by volunteers with lived experiences of cancer who empathise with the overwhelming fearful thoughts that can arise from a diagnosis of cancer. An area that could accommodate tables for mindfulness activities such as art therapy, craft and design, crocheting/knitting/sewing, cake making. But more importantly, supporters supporting each other. A hand to hold if words are too difficult. A worry box to write down the most difficult of thoughts, to release the burden for a better quality of life. A place where cancer charities can refer people to for much needed support. But mostly a much needed place for people to go to should they need to.
Any help/suggestions greatly received. Please contact Debbie via email on debdeb2503@gmail.com

Arghhh It’s Birthday Party planning time!

 

 

There is nothing I look forward to more than celebrating the birth of my amazing son.  Showcasing to everyone his remarkable journey from birth up until this present day. Not a day goes past where I don’t think I am the luckiest mummy ever! So why is planning his birthday party so stressful?!

Firstly, my son’s birthday lies smack bang in the middle of all of the hype of Christmas. My son’s birthday is 10 days before the second biggest day of the year! But I wouldn’t have it any other way as Rory shares his birthday with another love of my life, my darling Godson Benjamin. I love the fact that my best friend and I had babies on the same day, all be it 10 years apart!

So planning a birthday party in the festive period is difficult. Venues are booked up in advance for Christmas parties. People are on their work Christmas do’s or away visiting family for their own pre-Christmas celebrations. And lets not forget the unpredictable winter weather that can almost prevent a party from taking place! Rory’s first year of life was traumatic and unsettling but I was determined to have a party to celebrate his first birthday. That was the year it snowed. It snowed a lot! Yes it was magical and all that, but it was a very big inconvenience!

I was also very determined to make my son’s first ever birthday cake. That was a complete disaster and every year since, the supermarket bought birthday cakes have never let me down! My attempt in delivering a beautifully decorated pastel blue number 1 cake, resulted in a pale grey, inedible, slab of steel decorated with chocolate buttons. Never again!

Birthday parties are expensive. I was hoping this year to get away with having his friends over to the house in stages, 3 at a time over a couple of weeks to play a few games and have a party tea. But 1, my house is tiny and 2, Rory wants a party. He deserves to have a party. And a party he shall have.

Last year, Rory started full time school. Friendships were still being made and although there are 30 children in his class I thought it was important to invite them all. By booking a venue in advance I was able to get an incredible offer to accommodate his class. As a parent, I found it difficult last year to see children coming out of Rory’s class with invitations in their hand only for Rory not to have one. I felt hurt for my child not to be included but angry with myself in case my social anxieties since cancer treatment have impacted our social interaction both in and out of school.

Once I get my ‘reality’ hat back on I understand that to be invited, or not invited to a birthday party is a harsh lesson in life for a small child. People have different budgets. Different friends. Some people just prefer a smaller celebration. People can do as they choose.

So over 3 months in advance, I have booked my son’s birthday party. An offer was just about to expire at a venue Rory loves to go to and he is so excited to know that he is having a party. It does make me feel uneasy that Rory can only invite less than half of his class from school but the bottom line comes down to individual financial circumstances. As a single mum, I am proud that I can offer my son a birthday celebration that he wants within my budget. It might be a smaller affair people wise, but the celebration of his birth will be ginormous. And I cannot wait!

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Summer Holiday Camp Finale!

The summer holidays were swiftly coming to an end. My baby would soon be starting Year 1! There was enough time for one last camping trip, just the two of us together.

I wanted somewhere fun and adventurous and after my friend posted pictures of her holiday at an adventure park in Devon, I knew that was where I wanted to take Rory. 3 nights of camping and it just so happened  that on these particular dates, the adventure park admission was free! Brilliant! Thank goodness for this small saving as 2 days before our trip my car broke down and needed costly repairs arghhhh! So after packing and repacking the now safe car, we were more than ready for our holiday.

Driving over the Seven Bridge I had one of those moments where everything was just perfect. My boy and I playing games in the car. So much laughter between us. And the sun was shinning! I couldn’t ask for anything more.

By now, Rory knows that mummy needs to work fast and concentrate on putting the tent up before we do anything else. Its exhausting but very rewarding to see the home that you have built single handedly in its entirety! Its during this period of erecting and stabilising our tent that my son knows he can eat his entire bag of treats in one go! Distracted by my need to provide us with shelter, his bombardment of questions during crucial securing tent moments means my answers inevitably sound like “yes have whatever you like my darling”! So now we have a lovely homely tent but a very hot, sweaty and tired mummy with a wannabe ninja high on skittles! Time to go to the adventure park!

First stop: Driving School! Similar to the one we queued for over an hour in LEGOLAND only to be turned away at the gate (someone didn’t read the age restriction oops). As it was late in the day Rory managed to have 3 consecutive goes and I was so impressed with his driving skills. He definitely takes after me! Then on to the pirate ship, swings, african safari and the water slide. Rory was so excited for this water ride as he got to go on a boat down a steep slide by himself and have his photo taken. I waited nervously for him at the bottom and he came speeding down like a pro. We immediately went to the photo kiosk to buy his memory photo to be told that his was not taken. My poor boy was in floods of tears bless him.

5.30pm and the park rides were closing. Time for dinner and then onto the evening entertainment. This is where I got totally confused and should have done my homework. I didn’t realise the actual park closed at 5.30pm and reopened at 6.30pm. We were both hungry! We went up to the food court and amusement arcade but even they were going to be closed for an hour. Just as we were going to walk back to the campsite we had a totally unexpected torrential downpour of rain. We stayed put in the arcade hoping it would subside. We came out in flip-flops and t-shirts! The rain was not going to stop though. Staff were looking at as strangely as we were the only members of the public left in the ‘closed’ park and we weren’t going anywhere! When you are clock watching, 60 minutes is a vey long time and to top it all, the entertainment area for the evening including the huge soft play and food court, began flooding. Water began pouring in everywhere and all of the electrics were turned off. A mop up operation began and I was just hoping the security team wouldn’t question us for being there etc.!

Finally, a little later than planned, the entertainment area was reopen, Rory could go off to play and I could order us some much needed food. Wherever we go, Rory always makes friends and joins in and I love nothing more than watching this beautiful little soul integrate himself into a variety of environments. But after a few games with the entertainment staff it was time to go back to the tent to make sure it hadn’t been washed away! What an interesting but fun filled day!

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By the early hours of the morning, my tummy pains started to intensify. I had that complete panic knowing I needed the toilet very quickly but didn’t have the time to get Rory from the bedroom and run to the toilet block. I was desperate and had no choice but to relieve the contents of my rectum into a bucket. Yes that’s right, I shat in a bucket in my tent.”Mummy what’s that smell? Is it poo? Oh my goodness I need an oxygen mask”! I replied “I’m so so sorry, mummy’s bottom is like an erupting volcano with gallons of lava pouring out of it”! This is the reality of single parenting.

Poorly in a tent on holiday with a 5 year old is not a good situation to be in so the show has to go on. Fluids replaced. Tent disinfected. Both of us showered. Rectum behaving.

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First stop of a new day: the aqua blasters. Bumper boats that spin around constantly whilst squirting everyone (perfect for those feeling nauseous!).  We got drenched. Rory loved it! Next, the grand prix driving experience. Rory loved it. Followed by the log flume. Rory loved it. I loved it because Rory loved it but I was constantly fighting the urge not to vomit. Luckily there was a brilliant outside show that caught Rory’s attention and we got to sit and catch our breath for a while.

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By mid afternoon, I could no longer do anymore and had to return a disappointed little boy back to the tent. I made a shaded area and set him up with his favourite horrid henry dvd (only for extreme emergencies!) and a few treats so that I could rest. Later that evening I was able to take him to the 2 little playgrounds on the campsite and as I sat on the grass watching him play, I reflected on our life together and how far we have come. Shitty bottom aside, I wouldn’t have missed this little holiday away together for the world! Even when it was bedtime and I apologised to Rory for not doing much that afternoon, he told me that I didn’t need to say sorry because he had the best day watching what he wanted and eating what he wanted! That’s what holidays are all about!

Day 3 and I woke up feeling much better. I managed to cook us the most amazing scrambled eggs and crumpets which set us up for our last day at the adventure park. Rollercoasters, pirate ship (again!), jeep safari, reptile show and much more kept us busy until we got tired and decided to call it a day. We headed back to the campsite and hired a buggy-go-cart thingy for an hour to explore and saw how the other half lived in lodges and medieval tents! After 3 days, my boy was tired. As I cooked dinner outside, he fought to stay awake whist relaxing on our beds. After a quick bite to eat he was out for the count! What a great time we have had.

At 3am the heavy rain and wind started. I lay there thinking would the tent survive the night but it did. Best £50 tent ever!!! Worst job ever is packing away a saturated, muddy tent and driving home soaking wet! The tent is now getting wetter but hopefully cleaner out in our garden, and the car still needs to be emptied but all of that can wait!

What a wonderful way to end the summer holidays. When Rory is older, I hope he can look back on all of these documented adventures and understand I did as much as I could with him. Went to places that I knew he would enjoy. Gave him life experiences. But most of all, we did all of these together. We may have had some unfortunate hiccups along the way, but they wouldn’t be our memorable adventures without them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Turn that frown upside down” Anxiously Anxious ……

I’ve lost my spark. The light hasn’t gone out but it has very much dimmed.

This is quite new territory for me as i’m very much the optimist. I love life. I have my gorgeous son and a wonderful family. I have things to look forward to. I love the adventures I always go on about! But still, I find myself feeling low and somewhat blue at the moment.

Ive talked openly about mental health issues following my cancer diagnosis especially adjusting to life post treatment. Im also pro active in promoting my mental health through exercise, healthy eating and not isolating myself. The support groups I am involved with offer a network of understanding, guidance and encouragement. So what is going on with me?!

Well there is no doubt that I have been through a lot of shit these past few years, but who hasn’t??  I try to focus on moving forward instead of living in the past. There are times when it has felt like three steps forward and five back but I am a strong advocate of “Its OK not to be OK”. Nobody can be happy clappy all of the time. Life is full of ups and downs and uncertainty.

Based on my symptoms of low mood, lethargy, tiredness and shortness of breath, the medical professional inside of me was convinced that a simple blood test would show that I was deficient in many essential vitamins and minerals. Problem solved. However, my results came back normal.

A weekend back in my hometown with my parents, celebrating my best friends 40th birthday celebration would be just the trick to get me out of this gloominess. As I drove up to the venue for an afternoon of birthday activities I burst into tears. I parked the car and had an anxiety attack. My heart was racing so fast. I just wanted to go home. I stayed in the car for half an hour convincing myself that I would be fine once I was inside. I have always been a confident people-person and love a party but I was literally trembling and unable to catch my breath at the thought of getting out of my car. Luckily I did get out of the car and was met inside by lovely friends and had a nice afternoon. But it has made me question why this happened?

It has crossed my mind several times whether I should try antidepressants. But am I depressed or just experiencing low mood? I asked Mr Google!

“A general low mood can include:

  • sadness
  • feeling anxious or panicky
  • worry
  • tiredness
  • low self-esteem
  • frustration
  • anger

A low mood will tend to lift after a few days or weeks. Making some changes in your life, such as resolving a difficult situation, talking about your problems or getting more sleep, can usually improve your mood” (www.nhs.uk)

I worked my way down the list. Am I sad? I have been incredibly sad in the past for obvious cancer related reasons. But the saddness was overcome by being well and healthy and finally being able to plan for the future. I don’t feel sad today. A cleverly timed email regarding Child Contact was received on the morning of the party. This parental contact always causes conflict which is my well known trigger for a demise in my mental health. I do panic and worry what his next move will be. It is always on my mind. I should have known better that there would be some kind of attempt to sabotage our holiday. More fool me for opening, reading and corresponding with the email.

I am always tired! Single parenting is tiring! However I have been more tired than usual. I know this is down to worry on all levels, being the school holidays and the energy required for a summer camping trip! Folding a tent back into its bag is frustrating to say the least! As far as low self-esteem goes, its a battle. At 41, I never thought I would be an unemployed single parent. I finally had a plan to return to Nursing in September. I was excited. Who would have thought that the biggest teaching hospital in Wales where they are crying out for Nurses, would scrap their September intake for the Return to Practice course. I never made a plan b. Am i frustrated and angry? Absolutely! Bad things happen to good people, to the people I love the most. So all things considered and by using this check list, its safe to say that my mood is low! Now, what to do about it?

The NHS says I should make changes in my life to resolve difficult situations. This I totally agree with. Protecting myself from unecessary conflict. Empowering myself. Removing the toxicity. Ive gone on vitamin overload and after 2 tablets I feel much better! I may not talk about my problems but writting them down is a form of therapy, hence why I blog.  And that leaves me with sleep! Must try harder to sleep!

Whenever my son is grumpy with me, I say “turn that frown upside down“. He instantly smiles. I apologised to him one morning when I was particularly grumpy and he said the same to me! It worked!

Anxiety is a dreadful thing to experience. It totally crept up on me and scared me. Im convinced a combination of factors resulted in this upsetting episode. It will no doubt happen again but I am now equiped with a bit more knowledge as to why it occured.

My low mood started a fortnight ago. Today my mind is a lot clearer. My fight is back. No one gets to scare or intimidate me. I had enough energy to move the living room around and sort out my son’s toys! And a lovely family holiday awaits us next week. As for the future, I am so lucky to have one and will never take it for granted. My plans are not going to be what I thought they would be for this year, but in a way that is exciting. I have an open book with pages to fill!