Monthly Archives: April 2014

I Choose Recovery

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A little update about my mental health progress for those following my journey…

I had a long talk with my CPN today (who is so wonderful that I’m almost embarrassed to tell her how ill I am) and it looks like my medication may increase when I visit the GP on Monday, from 20mg of Citalopram to either 30 or 40mg.

We discussed my ‘manic’ episodes, which she thinks may be being caused by me taking the Citalopram too late in the day. I often forget in the mornings so take it late in the afternoon, and sometimes before bed with the Mirtazapine. I’m going to order one of those fabulously chic pill organisers in the hopes that it’ll keep me on track, meds wise.

My referral for Talking Therapies won’t go through until I’m feeling more stable. I’m due to discuss my birth notes further with the psychiatric doctor in early May, although if I don’t find this helpful then I can be referred elsewhere. My wellness plan is almost complete, so that family, friends and professionals know the warning signs of me becoming ill and can support me best.

My CPN was concerned about my diet. I’m not really eating much and am developing anxieties around eating full meals. She also suggested some exercise might be helpful. I know that there are lots of things I need to do to help myself, but it’s often so exhausting just doing the day to day things that it doesn’t leave much mental or physical energy for anything else. I’m hoping the increase in meds might give me the strength to fight a bit harder.

I’ve been doing little things to help myself. Charting my moods so I can see improvement, listening to music, lighting candles and incense and reading a book to try to relax. I also need to make sure I don’t commit to too much when I’m feeling a little ‘high’ and then struggle to cope in fulfilling it all.

Yesterday I was frightened and agitated, but today I feel more focused on recovery. The way I see it, there are three options. The first is to stay as I am, wallowing in misery, vacantly parenting. The second is to kill myself, and not be here at all. The third is to do whatever it takes to beat this. I need to choose the third path, not for me, but for my Moo.

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The School Holidays Are Shit

Here’s why:

There are no groups running. I usually attend two or three of these ‘mother and toddler’ things a week. Mostly for the tepid coffee and occasional home made carrot cake. Moo mingles (I say ‘mingles’, I mean claws and scratches other children out of the way for the best toys) and I get to talk to a human being that can annunciate. During the breaks, I get none of this. Not a slab of sugary goodness in sight.

If you do decide to venture out, there are children everywhere. Public places are riddled with them. The pavement becomes an obstacle course of cape wearing speed demons on scooters and tweens looking at their shoes with iPods blaring. Soft play is a jungle and the queue for the swings is 100 yards long.

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An alternative is to stay in, and do the all round entertainer mummy thing. So much pressure. Pinterest provides a smorgasbord of arts and crafts and baking activities, all of which are entirely unachievable. The disappointment on your child’s face when their cake pops resemble turds will live with you forever.

I’m sure there are many mothers that relish the chance to spend a week or two with their darlings. Me? I’m filled with anxiety about the whole thing. I’ll do what I can to amuse Moo and make some happy memories, but the change in routine is an unavoidable mental health nightmare.

Bah, humbug.

Treat Or Trauma?

I don’t get primary school attendance rewards. Genuinely don’t understand it, my mind boggles. I can’t think of any logical reasoning behind it. I’m sure the idea is to give parents a kick up the arse. Perhaps their children crying in assembly because they didn’t get a laminated certificate and chocolate treats will encourage them to ensure their child attends daily without fail. There are very clear issues with this whole system. How the powers that be can’t recognise them is beyond me.

There will always be parents that just don’t give a shit. The reasons for their apathy towards parenting could produce many a blog post, now isn’t the time. But if we’re blunt about it, there are mothers and fathers that just aren’t that bothered if their child goes or not. No amount of little Johnny whining that he wants the end of term award will convince them to change their ways.

There are parents with health issues, mental illnesses, disabilities and generally a lot else going on. The impending divorce, the cancer scare, the appointment with the community psychiatric nurse; things that *probably* overshadowed the need to get Janey to school every single morning for the last six weeks. Again, not much the child can do about that.

Many children have complex needs. A five day school week may be too much for the child born prematurely that struggles to keep up. Paediatric appointments sixty miles away usually mean making the gate for 8.45am a little tricky. Children have nightmares, disturbed sleep, treatments and therapies. Cut them some slack, their lives are pretty tough right now.

Kids get ill. While you recover from the shock, here’s a rough break down: colds, flu, tummy bugs, chicken pox, broken bones, asthma, ear infections, tonsillitis…
I’d much rather Susan stayed at home when ill, tucked up warm with a tin of Heinz’ finest, than at school spreading it to a class of 30, thanks. But the child that snots on everything all day and falls asleep over her lunchbox is the one that gets the sticker.

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And it’s not just the attendance thing. Children miss out on edibles and a round of applause because mummy forgot the PE kit. No ingredients for cookery? Tough titties Declan, you’re sitting in the corner by yourself. Left your reading book in the car Jeremy? No lollipop for you.

It seems utterly cruel, to either give or take away rewards from children who have no control over the game. Where’s the inclusion? Stories of children on the ‘bad carpet’ or excluded from play break my heart. I know I’m not ok with the idea that my child might sit and watch her friends get chocolate when all she got this term was the norovirus.

I want children to *want* to go to school, no rewards involved. Maybe I’m being ridiculously naive and optimistic here, as a parent of a child not at school yet, but shouldn’t kids go to school because it’s fun? They skip with their friends, receive warm smiles from the teacher, get stuck in and find out some pretty cool stuff? And school should be awesome for *all* children, not just the gifted and talented ones, or the ones with the neatest hair and freshly polished shoes, or the ones that are the first through the gate. Every. Single. Day. When did school become about winning stuff? Are we preparing children for a future of rewards just for being on time? That’s not life.

These things are playing on my mind at the moment. I’m having to make decisions about Moos future. I think I’ve picked a wonderful pre school for her, nurturing, safe, fun – and not a bloody reward chart in sight. Whether I’ll find something similar for primary school in a years time is a little shaky. I have many dreams for her, but being subdued to silence by the threat of ‘being on amber’ is certainly not one of them. No child needs to see a sad face next to their name on the board. Primary school, all education, in fact, should be about building self esteem, enabling a child to develop into a well rounded human being, whilst discovering the world around them. It should not be about coercion, fear, embarrassment and disappointment.