Mental health awareness week

I wanted to talk about how PTSD affects me and why it can make relationships really difficult.

A child whines and my jaw clenches, my heart picking up speed just a little as I measure my breath to try to stay calm.  I try to handle whatever issue has caused the whining, it feels urgent.  She talks in a way that the words can’t be heard and I feel myself becoming quickly reactive whilst I beg her to speak clearly so I can understand her.  Whilst I’m still trying to find out what the problem is, he rushes into the room  throwing the door open in frustration. I flinch and shrink into myself as he raises his voice, demanding she stop the whining and talk properly. My breathing quickens, in my mind I’m trying to focus on my breath  I can feel my thoughts drifting to another time  another man, another place, I can almost smell him, the musty scent of his rage, I can already taste the coppery  blood in my mouth. Everything has gone quiet now and the only sound is the blood rushing in my ears as my body shrinks further into the safety of the corner of the sofa. I feel the soft leather around me as I bury into it and I take my head to another place, a warm place wrapped up and hidden away, I’m a little girl now, hiding under the bed, my quilt cocooned around me as I him and rock   I’m no longer in the room where there was loud noise or conflict.

Maybe minutes later or maybe hours  I don’t know because I no longer have any sense of time, I start to become aware of my surroundings again, and feel a rush of emotions overwhelm me, a deep heart wrenching sadness  and I finally let out a breath as I sob. I don’t want to be like this anymore  I don’t want to live in this fear that carries me away   And now I’m angry  – I’m angry at me, I angry at everything that brought me to this point, at the past, at all the men that hurt me, and I’m angry at him..for triggering me. I start saying awful things to him, I tell him he’s aggressive and I can’t handle it, he knows I have ptsd, he knows how it affects me. I tell him he’s just like them. I know he isn’t, I know this is me. I know he would never hurt any of us, but..I don’t want to be scared anymore, I don’t want to feel hurt anymore.

Later I apologise, he tells me it’s ok, but I can see the pain in his eyes. He tells me he’s sorry too.

Everything gets swept under the carpet as though nothing happened… Again.  I don’t get over it though, I feel insecure  anxious, I start worrying about our relationship and the damage I’m doing  how long he’ll be able to handle it for, how long until he breaks and dumps me. I get scared he’ll stop loving me or already has. It fester and plays on my mind as I try to control my insecurities  I tell myself this is me not him. I try not to look for reassurance or act needy. Sometimes I fail and other times I wonder if I’m coming across as cold and distant in my attempt not to seem so needy. I want him to hold me, to tell me it’s all OK, that he loves me, forgives me, that he will try not to do that again, and that most of all, I’m safe. I ache inside as he keeps his distance from me, giving me my ‘space’

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Dear abusers

I wanted to write a letter to my abusers, you know who you are

I want you to know what you did to my life and my inner being.  I’m 40 years old and I still can’t have a healthy lasting relationship with anybody.  I’ve lost everyone I ever cared about and loved.  They can’t handle the damaged pieces of my soul or the scared little girl that I still am.  I contemplate suicide every single day, I still wake up shaking every morning and fighting back the tears, so that I can get on with my day.

I imagine you all getting on with your lives, unaffected by what you did to me.

The pain inside gets so bad at times that it physically hurts my heart, I sob from the deepest parts of me but the tears never wash away the stains left behind by your hands.

Sometimes  I get flashbacks and memories flood in and I can smell you again, you now exist in every place that was meant to feel safe , I see you in the eyes of those I love  and I’m terrified

Then they leave me because they can’t handle it, they can’t cope with my fear, pain or reliance.

I want to die. You did this to me.

Vulnerability at our core

We’re all the same at our core being, from the kindest of humanity to the monsters, all scared to reveal that part of us that makes us the same, beautiful vulnerability… When we let someone touch that part of us, they have the ability to change our world, for better or worse.

The masks we wear is what makes us diverse, how we choose to react to protect the core. But when it’s stripped bare, we are one, connected.

Despite our belief that we need to protect that part of us, it can never be truly harmed, damaged or destroyed… We peel away layers, each of those parts can be destroyed, but they can be rebuilt, reformed.. The core exists beneath all of that in the deepest part of us, and only through laying it bare, facing our fear face on… Can we truly connect and be our authentic self. Even in death, that can never be taken away.

It can hurt when others hide their true self, when we see the pain behind their mask and we can’t reach inside, but the best we can do is stand naked in this world, free of our own masks and let them see that neither light can blind nor darkness shadow, that fire can not burn nor water dampen.. And when they see that, we can hope they find courage to reveal themselves too.

We live in fear created by establishments and the faith in the system be it religion or government, led to believe that everything will fall into chaos, mad max style if given true autonomy, though the more we try to control and create order,  the more destruction we create.  The tower topples.

To let go of our beliefs, of faith in the wrong things, of the illusion of control and of ownership and attachments, we find ourselves creating a peace from inside ourselves that emirates outwardly and envelopes one another.

Change and the unknown are scary, trust and faith in ourselves and each other, is terrifying, but through it, we can change the world. Through giving up control to the universe and faith in humanity and natural order rather than man made order, the old falls away leaving space for the new.

First we must face the pain and believe it will make us better.

Life, Love and Suicide

It dawns on me that writing here is for my own release, that I could give you answers, help you all understand.  Maybe something I say here will do that, but it’s not the objective.

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote but I’m not continuing from where I left off, I’m starting from the beginning and it might be long

I learnt recently that from a young age, around 3, after my parents separated, I was sexually abused by a babysitter and made to sexually torture my brother too.  I imagine this was why my brother then went on to sexually, emotionally and physically abuse me from around the age of 5 until I was 15.

It all came out when I told my best friend from school, Milly Reid.. Do you remember that night Milly? My life was thrown into chaos and disarray when you told my mum, and if life was awful before, it became pure hell after that.  Where before I had managed for years, to compartmentalise what was going on and keep order and normality in other areas of my life, that was no longer possible.  It now overshadowed everything.  My parents now knew and didn’t believe me and my relationship with them deteriorated rapidly, my friends knew and I no longer felt equal but less than, I couldn’t pretend to fit in anymore, I couldn’t connect, everything was broken. At school my focus lost  it was exam year and I dropped my good grades and flunked everything.  I failed all projections, all potential lost, I had been in all the top sets, expected a’s & b’s… I started truanting, I didn’t go to any lessons anymore.  I wanted to die and I started cutting my arms.

With the blade, there was relief.. And a sense of control, everything seemed to slow down and pause and for a brief time there was only that moment  removed from everything.  The noise stopped. Over the years, cutting my arms became my saviour.

But people judge, they judge my scars  I’m an attention seeker!  It’s a cry for help! I’m selfish..

They say, nothing is that bad  nothing is worth hurting yourself, only they don’t realise that it’s taking away the pain  it doesn’t hurt me at all!

So, anyway to fill out more of the story, I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, kept isolated from the world, fed lines to make me scared of the worldly people and turned against my mother. There were no birthdays, Christmas  Easter. I have so many hang ups because of the residual effects of brainwashing, like a deeper scar than those on my arms.

I ran away from home and was sold by the guys I was living with, I was fucked by several of them in that flat.  Claire and Tasha, you took me there knowing what you were taking me into!

Then I met a guy at a club and went home with him thinking I was escaping, but I wasn’t and he sold me too.. Only this time I managed to stop things before full blown intercourse and the guy dumped me at Kings Cross Station where I called my mum and was picked up by Lewisham police. I lied when they asked if anyone had hurt me.. And I drank tea and shut any emotions out, leaving myself numb waiting for my mum to arrive.

She ended up kicking me out not long after and I lived in an emergency bedsit. I was 18 and pregnant and went out to party just before Christmas 1996.  I got in a car with two guys and was taken to the woods and raped. Forced to choke.. I couldn’t move, my head pulled back right out the car door off the seat and stripped by the other guy. I couldn’t even see what was happening, just feeling it all..I tried to block it out but I can still hear the laughter as they mocked me about how easy I was and how they’d got lucky.

The police said at least I would learn my lesson now and a few days later I dropped the charges, deciding it was my own fault and wanting to forget it all.

After that though, I didn’t learn.. I wasn’t able to gain self control and acted out.  I took risks, associated with the wrong people and got in more and more trouble.  I was raped more times than I can count, by more men than I know. I was beaten, threatened, scared for my life so many times it became my normal.

Then I started seeing someone. I spent 6 years being beaten by him. Until he beat my daughter and I left. By then I was submissive sexually and I would just lay there silently as he fucked me, it wasn’t rape though, I never indicated I didn’t want to as I had lost all will in the years before I met him and just didn’t want to lose him and be alone and scared again. I wasn’t scared of the beatings, they were better than being alone. I didn’t fight back, I just let him.

I stopped seeing my mum because she didn’t like him and had attacked him in my grandads house. It was 6 years before I saw her again in the May and only a couple of months later she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia around the end of August I believe, by January she lost her fight and had quit the chemo just the day before she died

I never told her I loved her, I couldn’t and I thought she was going to get better

Whilst with my ex I had lost 2 babies, an early miscarriage and my stillborn daughter Poppy.

I met my husband really fast after ending things with the ex  and married just 6 weeks later. I spent the next 5 years being emotionally and mentally abused by him but again I just accepted it. I believed marriage was sacred and my vows were important to me  I had to keep trying to fix things, I still believed everything was my own fault, so if I was just a better wife, a better person, I could make him happy and he’d love me. Added to this was his desire to have a child, and even that I was a failure at. I lost 9 more babies with him including triplets.  With every loss I lost a piece of myself.  I became a shell that was filled with pain and grief and hopelessness.

Then I met Damon. I started to see something better in myself. I started to see myself through his eyes, this man who lifted me up.  There’s a lot of the story missing here but eventually things ended with my husband permanently and I ended up being with Damon for 2 years. I moved away from my home town to another county, but 3 hours from Damon too. I thought things couldn’t last from long distance ,but they did for a year  It was hard work but I was determined. I felt loved for the first time in my life and I loved him.  I even learnt to trust him, I had never trusted anybody.  We ended up having a bdsm relationship because I thought it was what I needed.  Someone to care for me and make decisions because I didn’t trust myself and my mental health seemed better that way.

Only, I had flashbacks during sex, and I dissociated. I would come round curled in a ball crying or hitting out. I felt like I was ruining everything  I hated myself and felt dirty, broken, disgusting and unworthy, sometimes it made me feel sick for him to touch me, thinking I would infect him.

And finally he text me and ended it

He won’t talk to me, I’ve destroyed him so much that he hates me.  Even when I tried to kill myself  he said he doesn’t care what I do..

I was found by the police 2 nights ago after taking an insulin overdose  and taken to hospital. In the moment that I decided to die I felt finally at peace without fear, the past didn’t matter  the pain didn’t matter, it was all about to be over.  I had no second thoughts  no doubts, no last second change of heart

I only wished I could have found a way to convince others that it was for the best, so they could be at peace with it too, to know I would no longer be in any pain. I still feel that way.  I feel like I’m hanging on to just build a few memories for my children before I finish things properly. The last time I was raped was August 2014. A guy I went to meet from a dating site, his name was Iain and from Lutterworth I think it was or Lemington, something like that.  I didn’t report it, I haven’t reported any of them since the first one.  My husband told me I deserved it when he found out  and I agree.

Though I’ve focused on things that happened to me, I haven’t talked about how I treat others.  So.. It can’t be said I haven’t hurt others or that I’m innocent.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn to love the dandelions (BPD)

A man bought a new house and decided that he was going to have a very beautiful lawn. He worked on it every week, doing everything the gardening books told him to do. His biggest problem was that the lawn always seemed to have dandelions growing where he didn’t want them. The first time he found dandelions he pulled them out. But, alas, they grew back. He went to his local gardening store and bought weed killer. This worked for some time, but after the summer rains, alas, he found dandelions again. He worked and pulled and killed dandelions all summer. The next summer he thought he would have no dandelions at all, since none grew over the winter. But, then, all of a sudden, he had dandelions all over again. This time he decided the problem was with the type of grass. So he spent a fortune and had all new sod put down. This worked for some time and he was very happy. Just as he started to relax, a dandelion came up. A friend told him it was due to the dandelions in the lawns of his neighbors. So he went on a campaign to get all his neighbors to kill all their dandelions. By the third year, he was exasperated. He still had dandelions. So, after consulting every local expert and garden book, he decided to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture for advice. Surely the government could help. After waiting several months, he finally got a letter back. He was so excited. Help at last! He tore open the letter and read the following: “Dear Sir: We have considered your problem and have consulted all of our experts. After careful consideration, we think we can give you very good advice. Sir, our advice is that you learn to love those dandelions.” ~ Marsha Linehan’s Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder (adapted from Anthony de Mello’s The Song of the Bird)

In this instance, the dandelions represent the intense emotions of the borderline personality.  We spend our lives trying to escape feeling, whether through dissociation or impulsive behaviours, both of which create more problems in our lives, and at some point we have to know when enough is enough.

Self harm, suicidal ideation, promiscuity and other risky behaviours are only ever a short fix, like drinking and taking drugs.  So how do you move past this?  You need to learn to love the emotions, bad or good.

Your pendulum of feelings are what make you so special and needed in this world, your motivation, enthusiasm, passion, let every emotion drive you to achieve.  You don’t need to hurt yourself.

I was told that anger is only a surface emotion hiding the pain and sadness beneath.

Observe and learn to recognise what you’re really feeling, do not be afraid to go beneath the surface, to your most vulnerable place.  Feel the sadness, the pain, it’s ok.  Recognise where it came from and validate it, nurture it.  You’re pain is valid, it is not an over reaction, you feel how you feel.  Sit with it, cry, scream, talk, write it down, describe it.

Notice how the pain affects you physically, mentally, don’t try to change it.  Breathe.

As long as you are breathing, you are alive and it’s ok.  Just keep breathing.

Eventually, when you have given the pain all it needs, let it go, let it drift away, say farewell.  You may revisit it later and that’s ok, but right now in this moment, it’s gone and you’re ok.

Remind yourself that you are an amazing person, you are unique and you bring so much to the universe, you wake us all up, you invite us into your sanctuary, into your deepest feelings and the depths of your soul.  We are honoured.

 

Home ed a year in

sdr

I spent four years thinking about home educating, joining groups, procrastinating.

What if I failed?  What if I couldn’t give the education my children need?  What if my house isn’t big enough?  I don’t have a set work space they can sit and study, like at school, what if I couldn’t afford it? I’m only on benefits, what if I couldn’t get up in the morning or couldn’t motivate myself to teach them every day?

I had so many questions, so many doubts and so many things in my head, stopping me from just taking a leap of faith and doing this thing my heart ached to do, my instincts felt was right to do, but my head kept telling me no.

There’s a lot of things that finally tipped the scales for me into finally making the decision to just do it, take that risk and if the worst happens, school isn’t going anywhere.

My eldest had been plagued with bullying and suffered years of distress caused by undiagnosed dyslexia.  She had felt inadequate and gone off the rails, but eventually, without much help from the schools, and at great cost and sacrifice, she pulled through, gained her qualifications and escaped the institution she’d attended only because she felt she had no choice.

My 14 (12/13 then in year 8 at school) on the other hand was identified as a gifted and talented student, she was popular, described as a key student, a leader, confident but yet, again she struggled, not fitting into the average expectations, not challenged within the classroom, she became disruptive, the joker of the class.  Buckling under the pressure of class restraints.  She started lacking socially where before she was popular, now she was the weirdo, the geek.  Oh gosh her interests were many, she wanted to attend every after school club and extra curricular activity, she couldn’t spread herself enough.  She wanted to swim, play hockey, rugby, play musical instruments, drama, dancing, army cadets, roller skating, rock climbing…we couldn’t keep up and meanwhile her grades were diminishing in school where she wasn’t challenged and was forced to take subjects she had no interest in.

My 9 yo (then 7/8 year old) was an average child, nobody gushed over her like they had her sisters who’d had special needs in one way or another.  But, she was treated differently instead, because her family came from a background of benefits and a history of domestic violence.  Violet was poor, sweet Violet, who needed a special school mummy, someone she could confide in, who could sit in assembly in front of the school and nitcomb her hair, who the school could regularly send home for having nits that she was getting from her upper class – class mates, whose parents weren’t patronized and told their children had nits, because their precious children couldn’t possibly be the root problem, it had to be my child, the deprived child.  One day she had a red mark on her arm and assuming it to be a burn (no longer in an abusive environment) they pulled her out of class, scaring and embarrassing her, and stripped her without my knowledge and without her permission, to check the rest of her body.  She was distressed when I collected her, still unaware of what had happened, and when they went to show me this ‘burn’ there was nothing to see, no pink or red mark, nothing, perfect skin…oh..a heat rash they declared it must have been!

They used to call social services over nits and lost shoes my daughter hid to get out of going to school, and we spent years hounded with a constant sense of threat hanging over us.

And 2015 was the year my youngest at the time was meant to start school, she was my precious miracle special care baby unit child, the one who had delayed development and was still the size of a 2-year-old and she just didn’t look ready to go to school.

As the new school year approached, so did the feeling of dread, the years of being let down, of fighting a system I felt I couldn’t beat, of my children being failed and an awakening of what the system was really all about.  Of a sense that the system creates perfect parcels to fit their agenda, 9-5 robots who’ll not question anything, but blindly follow and who lose their individuality, the weird that makes them…them

And it suddenly dawned on me…I don’t need a government led curriculum, we don’t need to sit around a table with workbooks, we didn’t even need to spend lots of money, and in fact would save money on uniforms, shoes, school trips that were always sprung on us last-minute, transport costs, all the latest charity fundraising days and discos and dress up days…

And here I am, a year on…And we’ve never sat at a table with workbooks, we’re free!

We get up when we want to, we decide day-to-day what we want to do, with only a limited number of events and activities planned in advance, and we jump in the car, the rabble, and we drive off into the mystery adventure that is now our lives.

We can point a finger at a map and let it take us where it will, we can see something in a book, magazine, online and go discover more, they can tell me something they would like to do.

My children have travelled the country, been to castles, museums, zoos, country parks, rivers, mountains, high and low.

My children have been on treasure hunts, explorations, volunteered, won scholarships, entered competitions, they’ve had poetry published and been taken on a university internship based on their artwork, the eldest in what would be year 9 achieved a city and guilds diploma and has been offered her first paid employment age 14.

We are closer as a family, with tight healthy bonds and boundaries, we know one another far better than ever before, and I thought I knew them so well.

We get to enjoy life, enjoy their childhoods, build memories, have quality time…

They are only children once, and finally, at long last, I can sit and really truly appreciate that sentiment, and watch them grow up, knowing I’m their main influence, my values, my beliefs…not being steered off course by trying to impress their peers, or by bullies, or judgements and expectations from outside forces, but instead, the freedom to mould themselves, to create themselves naturally and follow their own dreams, their own interests, not compared to their peers, not in competition, no end date or deadlines…learning is for life…We don’t stop learning at 16 or 18…We have the rest of our lives to learn what we want and need.

Don’t stop yourself, don’t hold back, don’t worry they won’t learn, or won’t want to learn…human nature is a thirst for knowledge, children have natural curiosity.  They may not learn in the styles you want them to, or what you want them to…but trust them…because they will learn.

Our milk sharing story update

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Just found my old post, to update Mitchell went back to 8oz about a week later and is still on 8 now, so perhaps a growth spurt, anyway, he’s still on the 75th percentile and still growing perfectly.

He’s now weaning but with advice he’s on mash and bits rather than puree, he’s doing fantastic, loves his food except carrot, he seems to have an aversion to carrot even though he loves all green vegetables…I thought babies were more likely to dislike the bitter taste of greens (my others were).

Anyway we’ve been told to stick to just one meal a day for now so he doesn’t drop any of his bottles so that’s what we’re sticking too although he can put away quite a bit in one meal, again something I’m not used to with my others.

He it’s definitely proving to be a hungry baby, although I don’t know if it’s more because he’s a sensory baby so enjoys the tastes for enjoyment rather than hunger?
He’s been diagnosed partially sighted and EVERYTHING goes straight into his mouth, toys, clothes, blanket lol

He’s still got his reflux but, touch wood, it seems to be heading toward settling down, don’t want to speak too soon though.

He had a little rash and tummy upset after trying strawberries a few days ago, rushed him to doctors in a panic and she said was a feeding rash and its trial and error but nothing to worry about.

Our latest project with friends and family is making sensory toys for him, so bright, reflective, noisy, different textures etc…

He really is the most delightful little boy, he’s always smiling and actually laughs at us when we say yuck and clean up his reflux lol.

Again thank you everyone who’s either donated to us or another family in need or offered advice and support and well wishes.

I originally said we would stop breast milk when he started weaning at 6 months but seeing him so healthy and content on real human milk is enough motivation to keep going as long as we can. It’s a hard journey but so rewarding.

I’ve been asked if it’s cheaper than formula and easier as you don’t have to make bottles up in the same way but I will say it hasn’t been easier but more worthwhile.

We always try out of courtesy to replace storage bags (one lady I need to still return bottles), and bags are £7+ a time. Normally one average collection lasts 3-4 days, so often we’ll set aside a weekend about one a fortnight to do several collections, that’s 4-6 boxes of replacement bags every two weeks approximately at £7 a box.

Then we travel anything from 40 minutes away to what turns into a 9 hour drive and possibly an overnight stay somewhere.

We’ve driven to Stamford, Kettering, Daventry, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Bedford, Buckingham, Milton Keynes, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, Norwich, Oxford, Gloucestershire and the Wye Valley and more!

Fuel costs ranging from £20-90 a fortnight, hotel stays, food costs as not at home to cook, childcare arrangements when we can’t take them with us and the storage bags. With Mitchell’s reflux we have to pack enough clothes for a week even for one of the shorter journeys lol, we have to take cooler bags with ice blocks to keep the milk frozen on long journeys, and of course once home we still have to sterilise bottles and equipment, defrost frozen milk for feeds etc…

There are times I’ve thought it might be easier to quit and just give him formula, but I just have to look at him to know I can’t do that yet.

Thank you, thank you and thank you again to all those who’ve been a part of our journey with our little miracle rainbow baby. Xxx

A special thank you and big shout out to human milk 4 human babies uk who can be found on Facebook.

 

Milk Sharing and our Journey

IMG-20160220-WA0002I’m 38 years old and have had 5 living children, my eldest being 18 and my youngest just 4 months old.  In all those years being a mum and struggling with tongue tie, latching problems and failure to thrive babies, even my youngest daughter who was NG tube fed for 16 months, until I had my youngest child, I had never heard of milk sharing.  I had heard stories of old about wet nursing, something I thought was no longer done unless from a third world under developed country, like a backward practice.  I had heard, when my daughter was in the special care baby unit, about breast milk banks and their purpose, but even this was something unheard of until my daughter was in special care.

Why is it that despite statements from the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), that breast milk is the safest and healthiest way to feed a baby, that in the event of being unable to breastfeed a baby with mothers own milk – having a healthy wet nurse is the next best recommended option, we still know so little about milk sharing?  And to many, it’s still a taboo or something to evoke strong negative reactions?

In the western world, how many mothers and fathers are aware of the high death toll in formula fed babies?  The death toll that is not only reflective of unsanitary conditions in third world countries or water conditions there, but a very real statistic that affects millions every year all over the world and is a direct result of feeding babies formula/artificial milk?  That these organisations state that 1.5 million babies die avoidable deaths each year if only they had access to human milk!

Not one baby’s death or serious illness has been linked to milk sharing, in either tested or untested, treated or untreated, pasteurized or raw human donated milk!  The CDC has a reason they haven’t investigated concerns raised about the increasing trend to milk share, and have a statement about that too.  They said that there were not enough risks posed, not cases brought to their attention, that would cause them a significant enough concern, to instigate any investigation.

Yet they do investigate formula milk, regularly.  They do research and log statistics on rates of illness, disease and death caused by formula feeding.  They give guidelines and rules and regulations about formula feeding and despite the worrying statistics, both the medical profession and the manufacturing companies ignore and break the guidelines, rules and regulations surrounding formula milk!

So, when it comes to being informed about the safest and healthiest way to feed the most precious and important thing in our life, the baby we would lay down our very lives for, most of us are left completely in the dark.

After losing 8 babies and risking my life to have my son, I was so determined to breastfeed.  I had failed with my other living children, I never got the chance with my dead babies, and I was not going to fail with Mitchell!

It was so hard from the beginning, with his tongue tie and I had an emergency c section.  Neither of us were comfortable or finding it easy, but I refused to give up.  My poor baby also suffered severe reflux, colic and stubborn wind on bottles and formula. Mitchell finally had his tongue tie cut at 6/7 weeks old and finally we were starting to get somewhere.  My supply was low, but I bought an Ameda double electric breast pump, lactation tea and fenugreek supplements and was feeling positive.  Then, just 2 weeks after Mitchell had his tongue tie cut, I had my second heart attack and my breastfeeding journey was over.  I felt destroyed, I grieved the loss, am still grieving, it’s so hard to accept I can’t do the one thing a mother normally, naturally, does for her child.  I can’t do the very basic job of feeding my own child.  My miracle baby who I was told I would never get, who I was advised to terminate, my world.

So at this time, a friend shared a link with me on Facebook for the page Human Milk 4 Human Babies UK and straight away it appealed to me.  I just needed to read their guidelines and FAQ, do some of my own independent research, decide how far to travel, look into correct handling, the risks and benefits, decide on pasteurization or raw etc…and then…anxiously make my first post.

At first I was fearful of what my friends and family would think of me, would they think I was weird?  Judge me? Tell me I’m putting my child at risk, would they think that I was disgusting? But I have received such a positive response from nearly everyone.  I think I had about 4 negative responses from strangers on my last post, but over 100 likes, hundreds of shares and I’ve lost count of the offers of support and donations.  Those who couldn’t help have reached out to me with their shared stories and comfort.  I have been inundated with private messages offering me milk for Mitchell by hundreds of women, and we’ve managed to maintain a constant supply of milk.  One woman even wet nursed Mitchell, something I certainly would be happy to continue if we found someone local to us who was willing.

The most important thing I’ve learned, is that all of us are different, both us and our children have different needs, and if I make an informed decision to do what I feel is best for my son, with the least risks, then I’m not doing anything wrong.  There is full, open and honest disclosure between ourselves and the ladies that donate milk to Mitchell. The best indication that the risks are minimal, is that as a mother we would never want to put our own child at risk, and the milk we collect is the same milk our donors are feeding their own babies, making them far more trust worthy, and secondly that the milk is free so they have no vested or financially driven interest to gain from what we are doing.  When we meet, talk to and see in the eyes the care, love and compassion from those who donate, we know in our hearts that they are giving generously from their hearts too.

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My story

I wouldn’t even know where to begin telling you everything, so I’ll start by just giving some background.  It’s going to sound tragic and full of doom and gloom, but I want to assure you that I’m a fighter, a survivor and a strong person, although admittedly, like most of us, I sometimes don’t see that.  in fact if you read the events that happen in my life, out of context, it might appear my life is awful.  It’s not.  Yes I have had to overcome struggles and obstacles and trauma, and many crisis, but of anything I cope better during the storm than after it.  Perhaps this is because when it’s happening I’m too busy solving, resolving, fixing and looking for solutions to really feel it at the time.  I mean for example, if a car is heading toward you at 90 mph, would you stand in the middle of the road, trying to think about how awful a situation your in?  Or would you simply jump out the way? If tied to a train track, would you waste time feeling sorry for yourself or focus on figuring out how to escape?  Later, when you’re safe, you might have a cry, the trauma might lead you to jump at fast movements, loud noises and you might get nightmares and other side effects of what you have been through, but those don’t happen until afterward.

Also, despite things that have happened in my life I am blessed with so much, far more than I deserve and far more than I have earned.

I have a husband that tolerates my crazy (he might even love me for it or despite it) and five beautiful and simply put, amazing children who so far have managed to turn out pretty well.  Ok I might be biased, but I’m not alone in thinking they are amazing, everyone that meets them enjoys their company and their personalities and wants to spend more time with them.  They have the usual moments of sibling conflict, delay tactics at bedtime and tantrums, but overall they are well mannered, compassionate, intelligent (including socially and emotionally), loving and affectionate, honest and a good moral compass.  They’ve all been described as tenacious, responsible and determined.  (Except the youngest, he’s only 15 weeks old).

I am financially secure although admittedly terrible with saving our money and do often pay bills late or borrow.  However we always have enough food in the house to feed an army (or to survive in the event of a natural disaster), appropriate clothes and fitting shoes, a warm and welcoming home, decorated to my taste and homely, electric, gas and all the appliances we could need.  I also have great friends and family, I feel well loved, cared about and respected, wanted and sometimes needed.  Really, what more could I ask for?  I’m happy.

The downside?  I suffer with both physical and mental health problems.  This means that despite my happiness with the life I have, sometimes I find it hard to enjoy those things, sometimes I can’t feel the happy, my emotional sensitivities can mean that I can have a negative reaction to even positive events and feelings.  Imagine an allergy to intense emotions.  If things are going really well I become overly anxious and fearful of what might go wrong to ruin it (and in being so fearful, interfere with my own ability to relax and enjoy the positive situation).  I can’t say I’m an optimist or a pessamist, in bad situations I am aware that things can only get better and I can look for solutions and improve the situation, which could be considered optimistic.  In really good situations, I’m aware that things rarely ever stay so good and so I feel it’s important to remain on guard, cautious in the hope that I can somehow foresee anything bad that might happen and prevent it.  I over think everything, my brain is so busy all the time analysing and assessing, so much so, that I tire easily.  Despite tiredness, my thoughts make it difficult to switch off and sleep.  Again, the busy brain syndrome as I like to call it, can be positive too.  I often find myself coming up with all sorts of ideas, to develop myself, to help others with problem solving, to build positive events as a family and for my children, fundraising ideas for charity, creative and crafting projects and many other lovely enjoyable thoughts.  Of course my mind being so busy is still tiring whether the thoughts are of a negative nature or positive nature, and being tired but restless or wired most of the time, isn’t conducive to good health.

As a result (I think) of the trauma I’ve experienced in my life, I suffer with social phobia.  Some use the term social anxiety, but when the level of fear is so great that the thought of talking about gong out alone causes panic attack….I can’t even continue this line of thought now…so we’ll leave that subject for another time when I feel better able.

Hah, I’m thinking, I bet you all want to know what happened that was so bad?  (And then my brain says…Really? You think you’re that important anyone cares?  My answer being that if I were the reader, I would want you to hurry up and get to the juicy bits – urgh I’m such a terrible person for considering someone’s misfortunes ‘juicy bits’, and also just felt a little disgust you might be thinking that about my misfortunes)

Have you figured out yet, why the url to my page is demented ramblings of a mad woman?

Anyway…My background now you have a little insight into why my life is not as bad as my background might have led you to believe.

My writing style might change now as I don’t want to get into an emotional monologue of every last detail (I’m tired and can fill in details of individual events in separate posts another time)

Parents divorced when I was young.  Back and forth between mum and dad until dad got custody. At some point (recently informed) abused (I’m not divulging by who yet – and I was too young to remember myself), then at an age I do remember, abused by someone else (again don’t wish to divulge this information as yet). Had live in nannies (3 over the years).  Dad remarried. Becomes Jehovah’s witness and raises us in the ‘troof’ – sorry I can’t use the word they use as I think it’s a load of bull and that they are a cult that made my childhood miserable, abuse continues through childhood. Bullied at school, miserable at home, life was crap. Still feel unable to go public on here with all that happened and too scared of repercussions if I say anything bad about anyone involved, but when I told about abuse, both parents insisted I said nothing to anyone. I got very angry, hurt and went off the rails when I had always been the well behaved child.

Anyway, I left home young age, worked with horses, ran away to London, bad shit happened, called mum who not seen for ages, she calls police and then they pick me up…get new jobs, get a boyfriend, fall pregnant, run a mile, quit jobs, dump boyfriend, get kicked out, in emergency accommodation, go out and got raped, drop charges before even investigated, self blame, still pregnant, have first child.

Suffer post natal psychosis, severely depressed and suicidal. Can’t tell anyone, end up on drugs, beaten, threatened and forced to commit first ever crime, get caught and eventually ask for help and sort myself out.  (Few gaps but that’s the essence)

Years of hell and frustration with daughters behavioural problems, get help, turns out I was just a really shit mum, sort myself out which had positive impact on daughter.  Daughter diagnosed with duplex kidney and refluxing uretur and has surgery. (I took her doctors for years being called neurotic mother when I was right all along)

Relationship with mum – on and off, turbulent and very painful.  Relationship with dad – very controlling and demoralizing.

Have an affair with the fiance of the lady (friend) who’s children I’m babysitting (lots more beating myself up on what an evil person I am) increase self harm (forgot to mention did that since age 15) as punishment (someone has to) until eventual suicide attempt.  Eventually all comes out, shit hits the fan.

Date a smack addict then another guy.  The new guy beats me up in front of daughter when she’s 3 and leaves me for dead, he then dates the lady (friend) I betrayed.  (Karma for me) he smashed up the car belonging to a gangster I once knew and in fear I’ll be blamed I start selling everything I own so I can run away.  Mum finds out, sends me to aunt in Yorkshire for 3 weeks then aunt in Norway for 5 weeks.  I find out from my dad on my return my mum had said she was going to try to get custody of my daughter whilst I was out the country (he advised get against it and she took the advice)

By this point you can imagine I feel completely alone.  Bleak.  Abused, raped, beaten, abandoned….alone

Desperate.

Anyway long story short (I’m tired now – 3:22 am here)

I had 4 more children, things were easier with them and I made many good friends on my journey who I would without hesitation trust with my life.

Eldest daughter has dyslexia and dyspraxia and a floating lower moiety (half a kidney detatched and floating not being used as too badly damaged), second and third daughters healthy, youngest daughter had problems in pregnancy and birth which I’ve talked about in another post (summed up, difficult pregnancy, failed placenta, feral hypoxia, died during birth, resuscitated, svt after birth, shocked and treated, 3 months in scbu, (during this partner removed from family home for domestic violence toward me for 6 years that spoiled over onto children the end of my pregnancy), ng tube fed for 16 months, hypotonia, hypermobility, severe oro motor dyspraxia, glue ear that cause severe hearing impairment, learnt bsl family sign, gromits) after lots of hard work with her she beat prognosis and wouldn’t even know there was ever anything wrong, youngest son awful pregnancy, they wanted me to terminate, specialist pregnancy care, fetal distress, emergency c section, tongue tie and Nystagmus.

Childhood abuser admits the abuse toward me from childhood when my son is a week old, moving toward closure, peaceful resolution and forgiveness.

Lost 8 babies after my youngest daughter and before my youngest son, recurrent. Poppy’s story is in another post and the poem I wrote for my triplets is in another post. No mother should have to bury her own children, this brings me so much sadness and I don’t think I can ever get over it or stop grieving.  I have to live with that always tainting moments of happiness.

Dotted in my story are fundraising for charities when I could and felt well enough.

2 heart attacks in one day that the hospital refused me pain relief then gave me gaviscon and tried to discharge me (2014) luckily I refused so was still there when I had second heart attack and was blue lighted to another hospital for emergency surgery.  A stroke February 2015 just a month before I fell pregnant with my son, a small heart attack Xmas day last year when my son was just a month old, heart failure after I had him, gall bladder stones, a leaky valve, arrhythmia, tachcardia, hypotension, left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, right ventricular abnormalities, enlarged left atrium, vit b12 deficiency, vit d deficiency, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, suspected rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, spd even when not pregnant, and a whole host of physical symptoms (pain).

Mum died jan 2014 just 6 months after I reconnected with her.

Oh and social services involvement on and off over the years but once lied to try to put the children in care, not during the times where that would have been appropriate possibly, but after I had my life together!!!!!

Luckily I keep evidence of everything and the social worker got caught out in the web of lies he created.

I now home educate my children.

My eldest is now 18 and never ceases to amaze me, she passed all her gcse’s grade c, achieved 2 diplomas before leaving school at 16, another diplomas on leaving school and now doing level 3 childcare and education apprenticeship, volunteering for young carers and idid charity, has st John’s ambulance first aid, safeguarding certificate and is so well balanced. My 14 year old is identified as a gifted and talented child, goes to college one day a week to study small animal care, heading toward level one diploma, received distinctions in complete work to date, been offered a fill time course next year and hopes to be a vet. She also volunteers at stables, sent a poem into a competition and received a certificate and offer to be published and been offered a part in a play she auditioned for, she’s also in army cadets.

My 8 year old is amazing me with her reading comprehension and spelling as well as her creativity and my 5 year old who would be in reception now, astonishes me with her math skill, she can add, subtract, multiply, read and understand math symbol and sums and both of them just show so much enthusiasm for learning (8 yr old says she’d like to be a teacher and 5 yr old says she wants to be a doctor)

I’m absolutely confident that my children will be whatever they decide to be.

Me?  I have some resentment at not being able to work, I get sorry for myself, beat myself up, punish myself…but I’m working on learning to accept the way things are and I have a new dream to one day live off grid and self sufficient, where I no longer have to rely on others or feel like a burden to society.

Time is so short and fast

So in my last update I had reconnected with my mum who was going through chemotherapy, lost my triplets, Rebecca had started secondary school and Tiegan college.

So much has happened since then, I separated from my husband for 8 months, Tiegan started her childcare course and then was rejected for her second year so is now doing a level 3 apprenticeship in childcare and has been doing week she’s already got a guaranteed permanent job at the nursery where she’s working after she finishes her apprenticeship.

I have taken all the children out of school to home educate them which we are all really enjoying and feel as though we are living life instead of just existing day to day.

I also have some amazing news, just after me and Barry got back together,I fell almost immediately pregnant and after losing 6 babies together we finally have a beautiful baby boy.

It was a rough pregnancy as I had a major heart attack in the November before I fell pregnant as well as a stroke in the February.  Since having him I’ve also suffered heart failure and a minor heart attack.  I am now struggling with many health issues including bone pain throughout my body.  This is being investigated but is suspected neuropathy or rheumatoid arthritis.

I have had to rely a lot on friends and family for help lately.  I have also reconnected with my brother and despite the past, this is going well.   I have had to spend a lot of time using mindfulness to make this possible and it hasn’t been easy.  I have had many demons to battle have felt very raw with a lot of triggers.

I hope my efforts will be worthwhile as I have yearned for a family I did not have for a long time.  Sadly mum died in the January after I reconnected but I have built a strong relationship with my stepdad since.

Unfortunately things with my dad went downhill and we are no longer on talking terms, I am handling this as well as I can however and have managed for the most part to maintain stability.  

Things with my husband are up and down although certainly improving.  I do fear that I will never be able to maintain a normal or at least stable relationship with a man.  I can’t really expand on that as even the thought of the subject upsets me so much.

I really feel I need to repeat dbt therapy and have a strong desire to do so, whether that will happen is to be seen.

I have made some strong friendships through therapy and particularly significant are Hayley and Ann who I feel are very much my chosen family.

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