Here is why I am the worst, and best, mother around.

I haven’t spoken about my daughter too much on this blog. That is mostly to protect her. What I will say about her is that she is a dream child. I am genuinely both a dreadful mother and an amazing mother and I am going to tell you all why.

I am going to start by saying the area around my pregnancy was extremely traumatic, despite being blessed with a wonderful pregnancy. By the time she came into the world, I had buried the trauma as deep as I could. As many of you know, I was already messed up before the pregnancy, after suffering 7 years of abuse that started when I was 6. I tried to be supermum with her. When she was four weeks old, I sat my GCSE’s. Despite breastfeeding her, running in to do an exam and then running out to feed her again, then running back in for another exam all day, and despite VERY little sleep, I managed to get 1 A*, 1 A, 5 B’s, 6C’s and a D in Graphics. So I was pretty damn proud of myself. Then, after the summer holidays I went back to school as an A level student. I would drop her off at nursery at 8.30 in the morning, go to school and then pick her up in the evening. I was completely burnt out by the time she got to 9 months old though, so I ended up in a mental institution for adolescents. After my 2 week respite I went back home but I was still not coping so I had to tell a lie to be able to go back to the ward. I said that I had had thoughts of harming my daughter. It wasn’t true, but they were the words of someone at the end of their tether. So off I went back to the funny farm for 3 months.

By the time I came out of the funny farm, I had realised that living in the house where all that abuse happened was no longer an option. So after many phone calls my parents managed to find me a place in a hostel. From that hostel, I eventually moved to their sister hostel which was even more independent than the first hostel. One month after my 18th birthday I was lucky enough to be given a gorgeous flat from a housing association. If you had read this blog in the past you may remember the posts about my wacky neighbours… which is a shame but the flat itself is gorgeous.

The plan was always to get Mia back. Unfortunately my mental health has deteriorated over the years so it has never been possible.

Here is what makes me a great mother though. Despite the circumstances surrounding her, I have ALWAYS put her first. I looked at what I could give her verses what my parents could and I knew she would be happier with them than she ever could be with me. With my health problems I am often confined to the flat for weeks at a time. I don’t drive and I am terrified of busses so we wouldn’t be able to go to all the places I want her to see. My parents are able to do all those things with her. Just last week she got to ride in a stretch limo to go and see Disney On Ice in London. She adored it!

When I look at the incredible young lady before me, I knew I made the right choice. She is healthy, happy, hilarious, gorgeous, well-mannered, polite, respectful and kind to others. I couldn’t have wished for a better child, we really struck gold with her.

Admitting you can’t be a good parent is extremely difficult. The easiest thing in the world would be to have her here with my like I always wanted. But I had to admit that my parents could offer her more than I ever could, and she deserved her best chance.

If you take a glance at me without knowing the full story, I would be considered a deadbeat mum that doesn’t care about her child. The truth, however, is the complete opposite. I live with the pain of her not being here so that she can be happy.

I am lucky because I still get to see plenty of her and when I am feeling up to it I take her on days out. We have an amazing bond, which I am forever grateful for.

Despite everything, as I said above she is healthy and happy. I couldn’t ask for more! So before anybody calls me a bad mother, I would urge them to take a closer look. Sacrificing what you want so your child has their best chance in life is EXACTLY what a good parent does.  I simply adore my child.

If I have to spend every day for the rest of my life in pain so that she can be happy, I will do so without complaint. More than that though, I have spent every day since she was born trying to better myself for her so that I can be the mother she deserves.

Of course I am not the worlds best mum. But I am certainly not the worst mother on this planet either. I have never introduced her to a string of boyfriends, I have never gotten drunk around her, smoked drugs around her, hit her, called her names (aside from Mia Moo!), swore around her, introduced her to anyone I wasn’t 100% sure about, I have never put her in danger. I have always tried to be the best mother I can be, and in my case that meant letting her go so she could be happy.

I have had a few people decide to judge me on my parenting skills recently, which is what triggered this post. But the simple truth is that I try my best, and nobody can ask more of me than that. Look at this gorgeous young lady and tell me she is not well looked after.

Mia again

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Stop victim blaming!

 

So, I read this post today, and it really got my back up. It is about a Canadian Judge who asked a rape victim why she couldn’t just keep her knees together to avoid being raped. Not only is this disrespectful and upsetting in the extreme, but it is a prime example of a huge problem we have in today’s society. Our justice system is so geared up towards protecting the criminals, the victims are left hanging. It is disgusting. No wonder so many crimes go unreported, especially serious ones like rape, because people are too scared to come forward.

I once had a police officer tell me there was no point pursuing a prosecution because the lawyers would rip me apart due to my past, and he would very likely get away with it anyway. She suggested I save myself the pain. And before that, when I spoke up about the person that abused me as a child, for SEVEN YEARS starting when I was 6… the police spoke to him, gave him a caution and a few years on the sex offenders register… and just let him go. With ‘justice’ like that going on it is very easy to see why so few crimes are reported. It is also easy to see why vigilante behaviours start.

I understand that there are countless extremely dedicated and understanding police officers that do their best, but the justice system is stacked against them. Even the ones that are sent to prison get TV’s in their cells, 3 meals a day, access to a gym, plenty of social interaction with other inmates, a shop where they can buy anything from cigarettes to cards and sweets, clean clothes to wear etc etc. In my opinion, that is not a terrible life- in fact it is a far better life than many people are living. Sure, they might not get to see their friends and family much but aside from that they have got things easy!

Meanwhile, the victims have had their lives changed forever. For some of us, the trauma causes our minds to shatter and mental health problems like Depression, PTSD, BPD and anxiety disorders set in. And while the government are paying for TV’s for the inmates (and they get new ones if they get angry and smash the ones they have…), they are severely reducing vital funding for mental health services across the board. Leaving the victims of crime without much-needed help.

They face having their lives destroyed. And while all of that is going on, you have idiots like this judge. That poor lass, only 19 years old, was brave enough to report the crime, go through the whole prosecution service, relive the event over and over and over again, feeling the same fear and pain each time she has to go through it, then she went through cross-examination where her character was dragged through the mud… and after ALL that, she is asked, by the judge no less, why she didn’t simply close her legs. Wow… who knew rape could be eradicated all over the world if we simply close our legs?! Why didn’t these incredibly insightful men tell us this before?

This is a massive problem that needs to be addressed worldwide. YES, we can do things to help ourselves. Locking our front doors and securing our homes is a good idea. Not walking alone at night is a good idea. Not getting so drunk we make poor decisions we otherwise wouldn’t make is a good idea. But I don’t care if I was drunk, high, walking butt naked through a dark alley at 3 am on my own. NOBODY has the right to touch me without my consent. We need to be teaching our children to respect all other people from a very young age. We need to teach our children, by example, that stealing from other people is WRONG. That hitting anyone is WRONG. That trashing other people’s homes is WRONG. That hitting elderly ladies on the bus is WRONG. We need to show them that whatever language they speak is beautiful, and that they should use their words rather than their fists. The crazy thing is that all the parents too lazy to raise their children properly will be the one’s suffering when they are old and frail and their disrespectful children do nothing but steal their pension and refuse to help them out.

Victim blaming is NEVER okay. Every person on this planet has the right to live without fear… and bringing up our children properly is the only way we can improve the world.

And yes, I know that dream is unrealistic. But wouldn’t it be nice? We can make our own contributions to making the world a better place, and you never know how much a kind word and a hug could help someone. Not that long ago, I offered to help an elderly lady with her shopping bags… and had to convince her I wasn’t trying to rob her in the process!!! How sad is that? That you can’t even trust an offer of help these days. She was so grateful she kept trying to push money in my hands afterwards, which of course I refused. We need to be the best we can be and encourage our children to do the same. Only then can we tackle the bigger issues.

Have you ever been subjected to or witnessed victim blaming? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to use the comment box below or write a comment on the blog itself.. Your email address will never be disclosed to anyone else.

 

Is victim blaming ever okay? Share your thoughts below!

Mini-break Paradise!

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I am in a great mood at the moment, because I have just gotten back from an incredible 4 day holiday with my father and daughter. I worked it out and in the past 10 years I have had 15 days away (I mean out of the county, I have spent a few weeks with my grandma who lives less than a mile away but that doesn’t really count)… so this break was seriously needed.

What made it all the more special was that I got to share it with my daughter. Since she still lives with my parents getting the chance to go away with her for a few days is special. Though I must admit I am extremely lucky and my parents have never put any restrictions on me seeing her so I have always had plenty of access. I actually have an amazing kid… and I am very lucky to have her. She is smart, intelligent, funny, witty, gorgeous, probably a little sarcastic and she definitely has her mother’s temper… but I couldn’t be prouder!!! She is the one thing I did right and I know I made the world a better place by having her.

Spending time with my dad was pretty awesome too. We don’t get munch 1 on 1 time these days and we have always gotten along well so it was really nice to spend time together. The only person missing was my mum, who unfortunately had to work.

We went to North Norfolk, which is roughly a three-hour drive away. I know it isn’t going half way round the world but having a break from my crazy life is worth it wherever I go. It is a gorgeous area, with loads to do. The cottage we stayed in had acres of woodland around it that we could go exploring in, we had pretty good weather (despite torrential rain on the way up there), so spent some time on the beach, as well as going to a local horse sanctuary, the sea-life centre and an amazing boat ride to see seals in the wild. We saw an incredible variety show and had fish and chips by the sea.  It really was an incredible break.

The amazing thing is this holiday has made my depression feel lighter, my pain feel less consuming, and I feel better able to cope with the world. Even dealing with a particularly large spider was okay! Sometimes getting out of your life, even for a few days, can work wonders. I know I certainly feel a ton better.

Here are a couple of pictures I took. x

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You have to remember the good times to overcome the bad… so this is me, remembering the best of times! Having mental health problems is like swimming against a strong tide. Sometimes it feels impossible, you can get swept off course without really noticing and it is exhausting. A strong family and/ or support group, however, is the life boat. The one that pulls you back on track and is always there to rescue you. Well… I am lucky enough to have a whole fleet of life boats! I feel like this holiday readjusted my course properly though. So I am feeling pretty good at the moment which is why I wanted to share it with you all!

My Family, My Rocks.

 

As you travel though life, there is little as important as your family. Family doesn’t always mean genetically related, but whether you are lucky enough to have your own genes supporting you, or you are lucky enough to be able to have picked your own family (or variations thereof)… life would be almost impossible without them.

I have touched upon the support I get from my family quite a lot on this blog. That is for two reasons. Firstly to show how much I appreciate them and the love they show, but secondly and perhaps most importantly because I would never have been in a position to share my story without them.

My mental health issues can make me feel alone sometimes… and since I live on my own I do get lonely from time to time. But I am fortunate enough never to have been in a position where there was truly no one I could call for help, no matter how alone I felt. My crisis box has a big list of numbers of people who I can call on in a crisis. Family doesn’t mean never feeling alone, or never being lonely. Family means never *being* alone. Family is the people who support you no matter what, that offer their hands to help you get back up when you fall (even if they laugh first!) and who love you for who you are.

My family has been through a lot with me. They have seen me fall pretty hard. They have been frustrated beyond words with me, spent sleepless nights worrying about me, wasted petrol and time coming to help me out, or take me to appointments, or take me shopping. They have been genuinely scared by my actions, worried I wouldn’t be there the next morning. They have had to clean up my messes. They have had to offer me a shoulder to cry on even when they were angry with me. They have stood by me even when walking away would have been easier. And they love me despite knowing I will hurt them again. They have had to re-evaluate all their priorities and put their own lives on hold, at great personal cost. It certainly hasn’t been easy. But that is what true love is…. it is weathering the storms the best you can, because the rainbows and sunshine after it are worth it.

I have never been a perfect daughter, sister, mother, friend, niece or cousin. I never will be. And that is okay. Because the reward for dealing with me at my worst is seeing me at my best. I know my strength has carried people through difficult times. I know that I am 100% there for my family too. I know that the bad times are gradually becoming further apart and less severe. And that means the good times are coming. And most importantly I know I am capable of doing great things.

I have been feeling quite down recently. I have been having issues with my neighbours (I will post about that soon), my mental health hasn’t been great, and finding the right medication and therapy combination is proving particularly difficult right now. And then out of the blue a couple of weeks ago my dad asked me to go on a mini-holiday with him (and my daughter <3). He decided to take the time out and spend it with me. We are only going for a long weekend (in the week lol) because that is all the time he had spare. And despite that he chose to spend it with me. If that isn’t love, I am not sure what is. More than that, I was supposed to be doing something with my best friend on one of those days. When I talked to her about it she didn’t even hesitate for a second before telling me to go and have fun. That is despite the fact she could have used me there. Again, that is love.

Families don’t keep score. Don’t get me wrong, they will bring stuff up at the worst possible moments, they will laugh at you as well as cry with you and they don’t always make the right move… and they will bring up your past without question… but they don’t hold it against you.

You… you reading this. You have family. Probably a lot more family than you know really. Make sure you appreciate them, and thank them for being your Number 1 fans. They are special, and a little recognition is never a bad thing. Having family also means the tables are turned and you are their family too. So everything they do for you, you do for them.

They say love makes the world go round. Well of course it does! People stomping away after arguments with their loved ones make the Earth spin and so do all those doors that are slamming shut!

Stop wasting the time of the NHS!

I love the NHS. It is one of the finest institutions in the world, and it is so popular people come from all over the world to try to take advantage of it. Free at the point of use. Magic words! Unfortunately, we face losing our beloved institution. Unlike popular thinking, this is not just the fault of our government. It is OUR fault. It is astonishing how many people abuse the system.

A&E should NOT be the first port of call for every minor grievance. We complain of long queues in A&E, but that is because people go in with colds, mild headaches, splinters (that are easily removable), sore throats, bad period pains, because they are drunk, and with issues that have been going on for weeks.

A&E should be for EMERGENCIES only. You should only ever go to A&E if you feel your life is in danger or if you have had accidents that can’t be treated elsewhere, like broken bones. But even broken bones can be sorted in some walk-in clinics. It really should be for when you are at death’s door or fear you are becoming seriously ill.

There are many branches to the NHS, and some are underused. For mild conditions like athletes foot, thrush, the morning after pill etc. you can see any local pharmacist that is part of the minor ailments scheme. They are able to prescribe treatments for a number of illnesses (a list can be found on the NHS website). Your GP should be dealing with any ongoing issues, you shouldn’t just decide you have had enough of feeling under the weather and go to A&E.

However, the GP’s are overcrowded, again because people go in for silly reasons. If you have a cold, don’t spread your germs around, have some paracetamol and hot lemon then go to bed and rest it off. Doctors can’t give you antibiotics for a virus. Stop asking for it. They wont work, and in fact will do you more harm than good, because one day we will run out of antibiotics since their overuse has made bugs immune to them! That is why we have super bugs like MRSA. You don’t need to walk out of the office with a prescription every single time. Honest!

There is also your out of hours doctors for when symptoms worsen when your regular doctors is closed. They should be used before going to A&E if you don’t believe you are seriously ill and need to be admitted to hospital. They are there to help!

We also have 111. The new ‘NHS Direct’. This should be used when you have an urgent problem that doesn’t require a phone call to 999. They will help figure out where you need to be (out of hours doctors, A&E, in bed at home etc). They can provide advice to help make you more comfortable, and about how to treat at home if that is what’s best.

This is a decent website to look at and it covers more of what the NHS offers.

Not everything is simple, and I understand that. Sometimes a cold is pneumonia, a headache is a tumour and sore throats are throat cancer. Ultimately the choice of which service you pick is yours. Only you will know how bad you feel. I think many people who use A&E know whether they are there for the right or wrong reasons. We live in a world where people don’t expect to be unwell and when they are feel they should just get some tablets to feel better instantly. It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes we need to feel rough for a week or two while our bodies do their amazing thing and defeat the virus.

If people would only accept that, and accept we don’t have a cure for everything, perhaps there will be less stress on the NHS. We have the power to make the choices that are best for us. And the fact that it will benefit the NHS too is great!! When we pick the right service we are making sure we get the best possible care. If we all did it, it would reduce waiting times across the board and ensure we are getting the best possible care for our needs. Don’t forget, in A&E you often get trainee doctors that are trained in emergency medicine, not the more mundane ailments. You will find the service you receive is better when you pick the right place.

There are talks of making people pay to go to A&E to try to combat this problem. That goes against the very nature of the NHS but is a real possibility if we carry on abusing it. So I say now is the time to take action and think before you start that drive to the hospital.

Say you are having a heart attack, and you are waiting to be triaged. If the three people in front of you were all there for minor ailments that a pharmacist could have solved, would you be happy? Knowing that the damage from a heart attack gets greater the longer it is going on for? Or what if you were the patient going in with something minor and you find out the guy two people behind you in the queue just dropped dead and may have been saved if he hadn’t of had wait for you? These aren’t just theories. I was genuinely in a triage queue with a man having a heart attack… and the guy in front of us had a cold. Fortunately in this instance the man having the heart attack was fine. But it could have been worse.

To save our NHS, we need to change our behaviours before we start campaigning against the government.

The truth about: living in pain.

Pain can take many forms. Most people will be acquainted with physical pain, but there is mental pain too, and phantom pain. I am writing this because I live in pain. It is constant. I have both mental and physical pain.

The problem with pain is that it starts of a cycle. I am living in so much physical pain that it starts to hurt mentally. You start trying to find ways to cope with the pain… and when hot baths and morphine don’t help where can you turn? If you are me, you turn to cutting*. Mentally, you start to get really, really fed up with the pain. You ask “why me? What did I do?”. You wonder how you can cope with another day in so much pain. The physical pain makes the metal pain worse. The mental pain makes you less able to cope with the physical pain, which feels even worse.

The truth about chronic pain is that it destroys lives. I can’t do the things I want to with my daughter. I am confined to my bed often. I sit and cry because I don’t know what else I can do to cope. It is pushing me right to the edge and there is nothing I can do about it. The pain isn’t going to get better. There is no end in sight. THAT is what chronic pain does to someone.

So next time someone  you know lashes out a bit, next time you get fed up of someone moaning about pain yet again, please try to imagine what it is like to go through. Imagine how happy you would feel when you hurt constantly. In some people, the pain will be obvious. In others, they may look perfectly normal to you. But you don’t know the struggle they go through.

Friends and family of those with chronic pain can feel quite helpless… after all, there is no magic wand to make it all better. The truth is chronic pain isn’t something you can imagine easily. That makes it harder to empathise. We get that. The truth is if someone you love is struggling with pain, they need  you more than ever. Make the effort to give us a hug. Make the effort to go over and talk to us since we may not be able to get to you. Don’t abandon us because we never come out any more. You may never know just how close to the edge we are.. and your kind words may help us cope.

The truth is pain isolates you. You feel alone… like no one understands. We have more time than most to sit and think… which inevitably leads to us to hating ourselves for not being able to do much. There is nothing you could say to make us feel worse, so your opportunity is to make use feel better. It doesn’t take much, but a few kind words can mean the world.

 

*If you feel like self harming, please refer to my crisis box! xxx

 

You Learn Something New Every Day!

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So today I leaned another lesson. It is important that you never stop learning, especially when you have made a mistake. It is the only way to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Fortunately, we learn these lessons with every mistake we make, and in many cases they force us to be a better person as a result. I believe that is why people tend to get wiser as they get older… they have simply made more mistakes than us and learned from them.

It is because of past mistakes I can now warn my daughter against touching a hot iron, or going near the oven when it is on, and to remember to look both ways when we cross the street. Each mistake we make keeps us safer and turns us into better people… if we let it. Of course, we can (and often do, particularly when we are young) ignore those lessons, and go on to repeat the same mistakes time and time again. We eventually learn that the outcome is always the same, and that outcome usually isn’t good. So for those reasons, I am always looking for a chance to learn, and a chance to better myself.

An opportunity came up tonight that helped me do that. I was quick to pass judgement on something that I thought was wrong. Well, I say I thought it was wrong, it was definitely wrong, but I failed to look at the whole picture. I usually pride myself on hearing both sides of the story, but sometimes my BPD comes out and I make rash judgements. There is often lots going on in the background of a situation that we don’t know about. When we are faced with one side of a story, all we can do is comment on that side. But we shouldn’t forget there are three sides to every story… ‘yours, mine, and the truth’. When someone is giving a personal account of something, it is always biased. So when we talk about it, it is very easy to get caught up in what we have been told without thinking about the person on the other side- especially when what is being talked about is a pretty serious allegation.

Nevertheless, that conversation eventually yielded some great advice. It reminded me why I love debates so much. You can be passionate about something and still learn lots from someone else’s point of view.

Learning to deal with situations like this is important, and it is also an important reminder that my mental health problems never leave. They can rear their ugly heads at any time. Despite that, however, I was able to see where my opinion was wrong, and I was able to put across my view clearly and concisely. That is a reminder of just how far I have come, and also a reminder of how far I have yet to go. It is promising, however. It gives me hope that one day I will defeat these mental health problems and they will no longer have a hold over my life. I am getting better, I am getting stronger, and I am going to make it.

I may be still learning, but most importantly of all I WANT to learn. I want to be better. I consider myself a good person, who will do anything for others and who will always put others in front of herself. That makes me a good person. However, I am not perfect and I will make mistakes. The same as every single person on the planet. All I can say to you is that I hope you can take the mistakes as an opportunity for improvement, not an excuse for a downward spiral of bad behaviour.

Of course, to learn from a mistake, you first have to own it. This is me owning all of my mistakes. And all of the ones to come. You should try doing the same, it is rather liberating!