Anxiety, blogging, Depression, Family, happiness, life, living abroad, Love, Resilience

I feel so happy

It’s has been a little while but I have been so busy. The thing is I am feeling very happy at the moment. I thought I wouldn’t. I spent two weeks in Brazil with my Mother, niece, brother, cousins, aunties and friends and normally, when I come back to the UK, I have a down period. This is because it is hard to have your heart split between two places. I feel I can never have all my loved ones near me at once, in one place. But my mother said something to me that made a lot of sense, that I am lucky to have loved ones everywhere, and that is so true. I am feeling lucky.

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Also, in Brazil I went to my cousin’s wedding, which was beautiful and so happy. It was a resplendent sunny afternoon and there I was, able to be there, with family that I had not been with for years, and I felt so close to everyone. My cousin literally looked like a princess and had the biggest smile I had ever seen, and she is so in love! The happiness spilled out of that day and have stayed with me ever since.

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When I came back home, to my boys, my cats and my dog, I felt even luckier because it is a pretty damn good life. The next morning I was out in the park with Nina, my dog, and was greeted with hugs by my ‘dog friends’. They are a lovely bunch of women who I met because of Nina, and are now a very important part of my routine. We are all different and in our morning walks we talk about everything; we cry, we laugh and connect. More than I have connected with lots of people I tried to in this country.

My son is in a good place despite the teen tantrums. I am managing to help him with his school stuff. It’s hard work, but I think he really needed some help getting organised. Maybe I am ‘babying’ him a bit, but what does it matter if it works for our family? We are waiting for an assessment for Asperger’s, which is still a bit bizarre for me, but again, I decided to let it be. Some of his quirkiness would make sense if that is the case.

Anyway, I know I am rambling on, but I don’t care. I decided that this is a place to open my heart, and not to only go on about my depression and anxiety. If I look at the big picture, this is only a small part of who I am.

Love and hapiness.

 

blogging, life, Mental health, Motherhood

Dear Son

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Zanzibar 2016

Dear Son,

I would like to say that I love you and always will, no matter what.

It breaks my heart that you have no belief in yourself and no self-confidence. We really tried so hard for you to have these things. We moved you to different and better schools in the hope that they would help you. But it is not helping. It saddens me too to think that you may be a bit lazy and not have much drive. Am I wrong to think this of you? Maybe I am, but sometimes, like now, I get lost, and don’t know what to think.

Yesterday I received yet another email from your school letting me know that you are behind in two subjects and that you haven’t been handing in homework. I was furious because we have tried so many things: we had conversations, we have talked to the school, we have booked therapy sessions, we have left you alone, we have been been on top of your school work, we have shouted and we have cried. Nothing seems to work. I know it all sounds a bit melodramatic, but I constantly worry, because it goes beyond school work. It is about your attitude when facing adversity, you just say that you are never going to be good enough.

Maybe a lot of my feelings have to do with my expectations, but which parent doesn’t expect and want the best for their child? I am not sure what to do really. Is this all normal adolescent behaviour? Should I just give you bit more time to grow up?

I see your angry face when we argue about school and I hope that you don’t stop loving me.

 

 

 

Anxiety, blogging, Mental health

A farce?

10417747_10152898270620733_6991419322097820910_nSo, this morning, the next  day after writing this post, I thought it was really pants and disjointed, but I will publish anyway.

I started this blog and even though it hasn’t even been a week, I have been going through a journey in my mind. It is good sometimes and other times it is scary as I remember periods when I felt so unwell, that just the memory makes my heart skip a beat.

I also have been reading other blogs on mental health and they make me feel a little bit like a farce. Other people have been through so much shit in their lives, so it totally makes sense that they end up with mental health problems. I had and have a good life so don’t really think I have genuine reasons to have depression and anxiety. But maybe these conditions have no rhyme or reason? On the other hand, I personally know people who faced awful circumstances and still remained ‘sane’ and were not afflicted by mental health issues…

Not sure what is the point of this post really, It was just that I was thinking about all that and wanted to write it down. The other reason I feel a little bit like a farce is because I am not a very good writer, and the bloggers I read are just so good. English is not my first language (I now feel more comfortable writing in English than in Portuguese), and I know that despite reading and re-reading what I write, I still miss lots of mistakes and weird phrasing. But I won’t care about this, I will carry on writing and welcome suggestions on how to improve.

I guess I better stick to the story of my life and the times when depression and anxiety manifested themselves.

The last time I wrote how I first experiences anxiety when I was 16. After getting over that, even though I didn’t know what it was at the time, my Mum sent me to see a psychotherapist. She (the therapist, not my mother) wasn’t very helpful and I wasn’t mature enough. To be honest, it was a bit of a waste of time and money. A year later, when I was finishing my last year at school, I felt anxious again. I had a boyfriend in school and he and his family were from another country and were moving back there after the school year finished. I was quite upset by it all and wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. But every time I was with him I felt really nervous and sick. The impeding doom feeling was there the whole time and I just couldn’t concentrate in the present. I was constantly worrying about the imminent future. It was unpleasant but not as bad as the previous time, and to be honest I didn’t associate one feeling with the other. When I remember it now, they were very similar feelings and they can be easily identified as anxiety. Once again, no one mentioned anxiety or anything related at the time. There was a very clear reason why I was feeling that way, so I guess it just made sense.

He left, we carried on by having a long distance relationship for a while, but university was great and I decided to break up after one year. I was free from those horrible feelings and I was happy. I would be happy for a long time. My university years were truly brilliant. I spent four years there, not learning a lot, but making some of my life best friends.

Going back to the writing thing, I wish I could tell this story better, describe my feelings better. I am also unsure on how to carry on writing, should I do it in chronological order or just randomly? I will just see what happens as I go on writing.

See you soon.

 

 

Anxiety, Mental health

The first time

So, the first time I felt quite unwell I was 16. I had moved schools as my parents and I believed it was the best thing for me before I applied for universities. Basically, the new school just trained people on how to pass the exam, rather than teach the subjects properly. Before that I’ve been on the same school for 6 years, with the same friends etc. Suddenly I was in a sort of ‘factory’ for students to pass their exams, with 60 student classes, very impersonal …

I don’t remember when in that year but at some point I started to feel sick during classes. Eventually it became unbearable and I had to run to the loo to be sick, but nothing happened. I sort of dry heaved – yuk! I started feeling worried and scared. I also felt a bit detached of what was going on, sort of floating above it all.

My Mum, ironically a clinical psychologist, had her practice near my school and I started leaving school early and waiting for her break so that I could talk to her. I am not really sure what I was expecting to happen as a result. I would feel some relief once I saw and talked to her, but it was short lived, the horrible feelings would come back again.

I didn’t have much appetite and remember eating lots of apples at that time as they didn’t make me sick. It was all a long time ago. Now, in hindsight, I realise that it was my first experience with anxiety. Also in hindsight, it is obvious to see why I felt that way, but then, even though the reasons were under my nose, I didn’t see it. A dear friend from school had died a few months earlier, I had had a serious health scare the previous year and the school move was awful for me.

I lost weight, I felt constantly tired and basically fighting against thoughts in my head and the constant feeling of sickness. It lasted a few months, but it passed. I moved back to my old school and I completely forgot about it…it would be another year until I felt anything similar, but that is another story…