What you don’t see – Part One

This Tuesday was World Mental Health Day, and I guess I’ve been deciding whether or not I wanted to share my Mental Health Journey with so many!

I have thought long and hard about this and decided it can only be a good thing to show that you can hit rock bottom and you can come back from it, though when I went through it – I tried so hard to keep it from people around me.

Looking back I probably have had a touch of depression going right  back into my teenage years and then another spat around the time I was due to get married, I think then I put it down to stress, or I blamed my hormones, it was at this time, I tried medication which I think helped, but I remember not staying on it long as there was such a stigma attached to mental health that I think being a newly wed, buying and decorating a new house I put all of that behind me, I remember being really conscious that after having Maisy, that I didn’t want to show any signs of it coming back or even to allow it too, I had survived a horrendous birth with her – so I think I was just so grateful we were both alive that life was ok.

It was in 2010, three years after the birth of Ruby my second child, that my life took a downward spiral, to most I acted and looked like the same Kirsty.

Kirsty – Kevs wife (he’s been by my side through thick and thin), Kirsty – Maisy and Ruby’s Mummmy, Kirsty – Deputy Manager of a thriving Nursey Pre – School, Kirsty daughter to Guy and Mary (my absolute rocks throughout this time, and always). Kirsty – Michaels sister (poor boy lol).

I was trying to be all of those Kirsty’s and not show that inside I wasn’t coping, now if you have been kind enough to follow my blog you will know that Ruby was/is a poorly child, she took up a lot of my time and a lot of my focus, it was around this time that she received her diagnosis, this was such a relief to me because I had been so strong for so long pushing for someone to listen to me, though the diagnosis took the pressure off of me – it also left me exhausted, washed out and really really low, it had drained all life out of me.

I put on a brave front or what I thought was  a brave front did everything as normal, running a home, looking after my family, working and still doing social things. So many people will have a pre conceived image of someone with Mental Health issues, that we could be unwashed,unkept, we don’t leave our beds, we neglect those around us – and this simply isn’t the case.

Depression comes at you in so many various ways, it is more than just feeling sadness all the time, symptoms vary in type, duration, number and severity – you can feel sadness, lack of enjoyment, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, tiredness, change in eating habits, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, sucidal thoughts. 

I know how it is to feel all of this, and no I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, Each day would be as if I were on autopilot – get up, sort the children, go to work, cry with my mum before work started (we worked together), I would cry because I felt so sad, so tired, and like the whole world hated me, then work the day, then children, tea, be with Kevin.

I am the first to admit, I was a nightmare to live with, if you were close to me watch out,  my emotions were mixed, sad, happy, grumpy, irrational at this point I was still in denial that anything was wrong, so yes I would cry to Mum, she would constantly tell me that she thought I was unwell and maybe I needed to see a Doctor, to which she would of probably got a short, sharp reply.
I did not have Mental Health issues – I was just tired (well that’s what I was constantly telling myself )until …

We went away to Cornwall only for a couple of days –  Kev, the girls and my parents – I remember it as clear as day (sadly).

I had lost weight both my Parents and Kev were worried, My moods were up and down, more down but I remember us having a lovely few days the girls were happy, when I felt really low I only really wanted Kev or my parents, so this was perfect to me – I was always normal for my girls never shunning them and always giving love and affection to them – showing the world I wasn’t ill I was still a good Mum, no matter how unwell I felt in my mind I had to be a good Mummy as they deserved nothing less.

My parents had to leave a day early than us, and what’s the big deal in this? I would see them the next day as we lived next door so why was it breaking my heart? Why did I sob so hard on my Mum that I thought my heart would break, I literally didn’t want to let her go..it was because I had hit rock bottom – the lack of hope had become inescapable – all I could see was blackness.

Kev said we needed to go for a walk to blow away the cobwebs, it was a nice day, my parents had gone, so off we went it was a coastal walk, the girls chattering away – I was blessed I had a man who adored me, and two beautiful children, but in the moments that happened next I could not see that – all I could see or feel was that the world would be a better place without me.

I would hope no one ever has to feel that – I’m sorry if this upsets you for what I am about to write – some will say how selfish was she – how could she even think that – people who think like that are so selfish – by all means think what you like, but I was in a dark place I couldn’t see a way out of..

With Kev and the girls some way behind I walked towards the cliff edge, I then stood looking down at waves crashing onto the rocks and I thought if I just take one step out, I will not have to feel like this pain, this sadness, no one will have to put up with this disappointment of a person –  I felt like I had let every one down, I was so dispondant to life. 

Kevin took my hand – maybe he read my mind – and he led me away, he held me as sobs wracked through my body, there and then I promised to see a Doctor the very next day, and to admit to my Parents that they were right.

I have heard people say when someone has taken their own life – that it’s incrediably selfish but until you have been in that situation, where all you see is blackness and despair I would ask that we don’t judge. But I can also say that mental health problems make you incredibly self-absorbed (and I mean that in a non-value laden way, you literally become caught up in your own head and your own world and there is less space for others).

I can only imagine the hurt, the pain, the devastation that is caused by such an action such as taking your own life – but as that person who feels the world is better off without you, you are totally blinded by these overwhelming emotions that are in overdrive and you only have one focus.

My heart goes out to those families left behind, hearts breaking for their loss – never ever would I condone such an action, all that  I mean is we must take the time to look at the bigger picture.
So after agreeing that I would visit the Doctor to get help, in my mind – I thought the road to recovery would  be smoother than the path I had taken to get there.

How wrong could I be……

To be continued 

 

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Ruby’s Football trials (and tribulations!)

As some of you know, last week I took Ruby my youngest to her football trials, now Ruby started playing football about 2 years ago,  she just decided she would like to try it and started out in a local mixed team, she really enjoyed it but where she was new to the game she struggled, the other players had been playing for some time, the boys were really quite skilled and found Ruby just hampered their game, sadly people would make fun of her, either on the pitch or worse carry it on at School. 

We would say to her practice makes perfect Rubes, keep at it, but her confidence dwindled along with her passion of the game.  There was no changing the opinions of the boys, who would pass to one another,  and the other girls who could definately bend it like Beckham.  

I knew I had to do something, and via the internet I think it was,  I found an all girls development centre training under 10s held by Yeovil Town Ladies adult team, I emailed and explained Ruby’s situation and her capabilities, and was told to bring her along, the only drawback was it was held in Bridgwater (which is around an hour away from us) for us that was the best thing we could of done for her, she loved it it boosted her confidence, she made new friends and best of all she smiled throughout each hour and half training session, they could see she had potential and they built on it, we then became fans of Yeovil Town Ladies football team, attending each home game, Kev and I didnt even like football, however it would seem we do now,  Ruby has a definate soft spot for two players her coach Ellie Curson https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellie_Curson and another player Annie Heatherson https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann-Marie_Heatherson (more on her later).

We could see a definate change in her football skills, and in her confidence, and if she was happy, I was happy.   We moved her from the local team to an all girls team in a neighbouring town at around the same time, a recommendation from a girl from the development centre  who also attended and said it was a great team to play for. So Ruby began playing for Frome Town Youth girls team, again she loves this and tries her best, plays in tournaments or matches.

The development centre training ended at the end of the year and I will always be grateful for the kindness, care and enthausium they showed the Girls, it was definately the turning point for Ruby’s confidence, and the base of her football journey.

So back to the trial, I recieved an email about the under YTLFC 12 trials, I have and never would make Ruby do football, I always ask her if she would like to do it, I knew she would jump at the chance, but in the back of mind I did wonder if I should put her through that, no not because I don’t have faith in her or that I don’t think she is very good, but because I know that again some of these girls have been playing since they were 4/5 and plus Ruby is just 10 and the girls would be mixed ages up to 12, but nonetheless Ruby was determined to attend that trial, so I booked her in.

I mentioned earlier Ruby’s idol is a footballer called Annie Heatherson, Annie is good to Ruby, offering advice when needed, a hug,  or a photo opportunity, Ruby thinks of her as her friend, the evening before the trial, she offered Rubes a few words of advice and told her that even if she didn’t get it in it was good experience, I too had said that in this life if at first we don’t succeed then try and try again, which she seemed to understand.


The day of the trial, I literally felt sick to my stomach, not because of Ruby doing it, but because I wanted to protect her from the fear of rejection, she was my baby and I personally thought she was great lol,  I know we have to stand by and watch, knowing what we know inside ( I will never forget my Mum watching me do Hurdles in the rain for County I totally messed them up near the end slipping due to the rain I  ended up going over one and under another sliding the duration on my bum, but you know what aside from the humiliation I do remember her telling me how proud she was of me and how well I had done).  Ruby had a new found confidence where I think she thought she would get in, and as Mums we don’t want our child to feel the pain of not getting where they want to be, but at the same time you don’t want to knock their confidence or say I don’t think you good enough just yet.

Off she trotted a bit nervous, but not as nervous as her mother and played the best she could, she definately enjoyed it, and it was fun to watch,  there were all ages abilities and talents, from years 5/6 and I felt incrediably proud she was there.

Ruby came away from the trial full of excitement, and was looking forward to Fridays announcement of who would make the team, part of you hopes and prays that actually she was good enough and part of you knows she wouldn’t of made the grade, I did gently say to her, there were lots of girls there, you were all great, some looked older than you didn’t they?  To which she replied yes Mummy but I was thinking I’m going to be so upset if I don’t get in I think my heart will break! – and from that very moment I dreaded that email on Friday, I even discussed with Kev who would tell her, actually nominating him. 

The email came – and it was No she didn’t get in, I cannot tell you how much I dreaded her 3.30pm pick up, I collected her and she didn’t mention it, but I knew I would have too and when I told her  – I did watch her heart break a bit right there in front of me, she cried and cried, proper from the heart tears, I felt like the crappiest mother ever, every day I like to think I try the best for my girls and I felt like I had set her up for a fall, I could of prevented the upset and tears, by not entering her but she would go through life assuming that she could get into every team, the sadness showed that she was passionate about something, and that it was something she really wanted, we have all known what’s it like to not get where we wanted in life immediately, I reassured her it took me years to get into teams and then go further to County and Nationals with my various sporting achievements. 

The tears did flow for a while that evening as did mine in private  –  but after a pep talk face time from the Golden One Heatherson.  Ruby picked herself up and that smile was back, she said to Kev and I, if I don’t at first succeed then I will try and try again and Annie said as one door opens another one closes so you know what Mummy I WILL play for Yeovil Town Ladies one day.

That’s my girl 💕💪🏻 

ASIBTAF xxx

Morning Pain.

Last night my head felt a bit odd, not awful but not right, this morning I have awoken to a vice crushing my brain together whilst trying to push itself out of the front of my face, it’s not a feeling I’m unfamiliar with but it’s one I haven’t experienced for the past 6 weeks with such ferocity, I’ve had the odd light head pain as usual which you know you have but just go about your usual day, this is partially I think because I’m used to having it, I’m sure other sufferers can empathise with me on that, we all have headaches, mild or chronic, some we can manage, some we cannot.

This morning is one of those mornings where I can’t manage it, I don’t think I have moved from the same position for the past hour, if I move the pain just pulses with me, making me nauseous.

Headache tends to be the first symptom: generalised throbbing is worst first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It is relieved on standing (consistent with raised intracranial pressure). It is also aggravated by straining, coughing or a change in position.

Visual blurring can occur, as can obscuration’s such as blobs of black and smoke like wisps (known as floaters), I seem to have these pretty much all the time, There is also double vision, and in some cases sufferers experience visual loss in one eye or both, I experienced this a lot before I was actually diagnosed, I was at work and literally everything went black, as you can imagine this was so frightening, unfortunately this was put down to tiredness by A and E, I was sent on my way then my initial diagnosis was Labyrinthitis this is an inner ear infection. It causes a delicate structure deep inside your ear called the labyrinth to become inflamed, affecting your hearing and balance.

But I couldn’t understand why my head hurt so much if it was my ears, but took the medication which I think was SERC, it didn’t really help, and after a few more trips to  A and E, then a hospital stay I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension, “Idiopathic” means “of unknown etiology” “Intercranial”means within the skull, and “Hypertension”means abnormally high pressure.

And TODAY, IIH YOU HAVE TAKEN OVER MY HEAD WITH A VENGEANCE!

I’m hoping that a some point today you do one, as I have things to do, I’m still sat here wishing you away, Luckily my lovely oldest daughter has taken the smallest to school, I am better not talking or moving my head, and it’s literally taking me word from word to write this (thank god for spell check) but if I don’t explain the bad days, how will people gain a better understanding of this condition.

I’m hoping the pain will ease off at some point this morning, and that there won’t be a trip to my local A and E, I’m sure my back isn’t ready for a Lumbar Puncture just yet, I say I my back but it’s actually my mind, I need to be mentally prepared for one, but if needs be, I would.

So as I sit here feeling guilty that the dishwasher isn’t packed, the washing has not been hung up, that I didn’t take my smallest to school, that I had to cancel my plans with family and friends, I reflect on the fact that hopefully later in the day I will feel better and all those things will still be there, it’s no biggy they aren’t done, that my smallest had a treat with the oldest (they bonded not argued) and it makes me more determined to focus on my journey of getting better, but for now I’m going to try shut my eyes and sleep it off!

Have a lovely day 

Big love ASIBTAF ❤️