Managing  Depression

Managing Depression

Today I want to talk to you all about managing depression. For those of you that don’t already know, I am diagnosed with “long term” depression. Basically meaning it’s is something I have been battling with for probably about 18 years now. I have learnt ways to manage it better, but it is always there. It’s an illness that I don’t see ever going away, maybe I’m wrong and it will. But I don’t see hoping for it too suddenly go away as helpful, I have to deal with the here and now. So managing depression is what I have to do.

I said I’ve had depression for 18 years, I came to that conclusion with a counsellor. After finally going to see a doctor 4 years ago, as for the previous 14 years my depression was hidden from the world. I hid it well. Looking back, there were definitely signs that people could have seen. Some ways that I acted at times, but when people did ask if I was alright. I was quick to say of course and put on a happy face.

Tell people you are struggling

That’s the reason I’m writing this post. Like a lot of men out there, I just don’t like talking about how I’m feeling. I think we should all know by now, that’s not a good things. If you are struggling, be it depression, stress, anxiety or anything your worried about. Finding someone to talk to is the best thing you can do. It’s a hell of a lot easier telling other people to do that, than doing it yourself though.

This is where I take a deep breath, and tell you I am really struggling at the moment. I’ve not used this platform for this before, and I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Or even if I will end up posting it. I’ve just picked up my phone and started typing, to get out of my own head for a bit. This isn’t a planned post, and I have no idea where it is going…

What depression means to me today

To this day, I still don’t talk about my depression a lot, and I still mostly hide it away. There are a few reasons for this. Probably at least once every day, even during the good times, a suicidal thought will appear. I don’t want to be telling people everyday, what’s going on in my head. I’d worry them to death. But I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on things, I’ve learnt to recognise when there’s a real problem forming, and I have strategies in place for “surviving depression”.

I use words like survive and battle, because to me that is what it feels like. My depression doesn’t come from a specific event or some trauma, for whatever reason it is just part of who I am. People have asked me in the past what depression is like, and to be honest I’ve always given a vague answer. Saying things I’ve heard other people say, rather than what it’s like for me. Things like being in permanent low mood, which isn’t true for me. Even at my lowest points, if I forced myself to do something I liked, I could be happy for an hour or 2.

Natalie was the first one to realise that, me acting in a hyperactive silly manner. Was a sure sign I was struggling, and that was my attempt at managing depression. It usually lead to making everyone around me getting angry, and was massively self destructive. I’m working on not letting things get that far, before talking to people. Managing depression for me is a constant work in progress, there is no super cute. There is no, I do this and then everything is better. But I have things in place that I would like to share with you now, I’m no doctor or expert, but this is what helps me.

My 5 tips for managing depression

  1. If you haven’t already, go see your doctor
  2. Build a support Network
  3. Try to improve your lifestyle
  4. Learn to manage negative thoughts
  5. Create a wellness toolbox

Point one is the obvious starting point, you need to seek help and any possible medication or counselling you might need. I take anti depressants, and have been through counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) all of which helped me get to where I am today.

Building a support network is the big one, when it comes to managing depression. You can not do it all on your own. You need the help of supportive people, whether that be your spouse, parents or friends. Or a support group, or even people you’ve met on social media, whoever you feel comfortable confiding in. Having someone to talk to, is probably the biggest thing that will stop you doing something stupid. I have my people now, and it is the most important thing in my life.

Improving your lifestyle is an obvious, eat better, sleep betters exercise regularly, and it’s likely you will feel better. It’s easier said, than done of course, but keep trying.

Learn to manage negative thoughts

Managing depression

This is going to be my favourite bit! I often read things about “stopping” negative thoughts, and that can “eliminate” your depression. Maybe that works for some people, I don’t know. I wish I could just stop the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m worthless, that I’m failing, that I should just look myself. I really do. Whilst I can’t do that, I can manage them, and that’s what CBT taught me. Not magic ways to stop everything, but how to manage them. So I can function somewhat normally.

Knowing the signs that I’m starting to slip, and I need to talk to someone in that support network. Before it’s got to a point that it’s too late, and I’ve shut myself away. Being proactive, and making sure I make time for self care, and doing things I enjoy. For me personally the science behind depression I learnt through CBT, was a comfort. One of my major frustrations was I didn’t see a reason for being depressed. I couldn’t say this event happened, and that’s why I’m depressed. Learning that it is an illness, and all I can do is manage it helped me come to terms with depression and move forward.

Finally, create a wellness tool box. Which is basically just making a list of the things that make you happy, then having it on hand when you are feeling down. So you can quickly look at it, and choose something of off the list to do. In an attempt to make yourself feel better. This feels like it’s been a long post, so I’ll leave it there and talk more about the wellness tool box another time. It deserves its own post to be looked at in more detail.

I’d just like to say, that I am okay. I don’t know what this post is like, and I don’t much fancy reading it back. But I feel better for emptying my thoughts like this, if I do decide to post this, as always, thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

What’s it like being an autism Dad?

What’s it like being an autism Dad?

I mostly like to talk about Jack & Lily when it comes to autism, but today I’m going to talk about myself. I will be answering the question what’s it like being an autism Dad? It’s not a term I generally use for myself. Going around saying I’m an autism dad (or mum/mom) is not for me. But I wanted to open up a bit, and show you what it’s like to be a parent to two autistic children. I don’t want it to come across as having a moan about what’s difficult either. Sure I will have a look at the difficult things, but I have plenty of reason to be happy too.

Before I get started, these are my experiences with my autistic children. Every autistic person is different, the experiences we’ve had as a family wont be the same for everyone.

What’s it like being an autism dad?
photo of me worn out by the kids

Family and Sacrifices

First of all, we have been pretty lucky to have an understanding and supportive family around us. This is not always the case. I’ve heard some absolute horror stories, of people being completely abandoned by their family. Just because their child is autistic, and that doesn’t fit with how they want to be perceived.

This has not been the case for us, but there have still been challenges, and sacrifices made. We have missed lots of family outings. This is due to Jack’s anxiety, we are always invited, but whether Jack will go depends on the situation. Where is it? Who’s going? And how busy will it be? The last major one was my brothers wedding. We tried to prepare Jack for it, the day before the wedding he tried his suit on and said he was looking forward to it. Then on the day of the wedding, he just flat out refused to go.

Having to split the family

I ending up going with Lily, who gets a bit anxious in busy places, but settles if she’s with people she knows. Ideally I wanted Natalie and Jack to be there, I was disappointed they weren’t. But you can’t let these things get to you, it’s part of being an autism dad. We have to do what’s right for Jack. I rang later to see if he would come to the evening part, but he still said no.

Several birthdays and celebrations have been missed, or one of us have taken Lily. It’s nobodies fault, that’s just how it is. They’ve not all been missed, Jack has been out for family meals at restaurants etc.. Why can he do it sometimes, but not others? My best guess is it depends where his anxiety is? If he’s been having a difficult time at school etc, he will be less tolerant.

Jack & Lily
Jack & Lily our for a walk

Going out

Some families have real trouble ever doing anything, so again we don’t have it so bad. What you do need though is a thick skin, and if you’re like me and don’t have that, you need to develop it. Natalie has been around disability her whole life, so she was somewhat used to it. I wasn’t ready for it at all.

When we go out, even on Jack’s best days he will have some little moments. We will have people stare at us. It’s happened every time up until now, and it will happen every time in the future. If Jack has a full on meltdown, then we will have people gawking at us, and no doubt some will be judging.

To give you an idea of a meltdown in public. Imagine being stood outside the giraffe pen at the zoo, trying to calm down a 6ft tall 13 stone child. Who is just growling, whilst kicking, punching, head butting and scratching you. Whilst people stop to have a look, and then if Jack’s catches someone looking at him, he will go for them. So I have the added stress of stopping him hurting other people.

Learning and improving

After many years of learning we are more prepared for things like days out, which can mean preparing weeks in advance for a trip out. A spur of the moment day trip is not on the agenda. Jack needs to be prepared for it well in advance, whilst Lily tends to be okay, she too is more comfortable with this approach.

We get social stories and PECS ready so Jack is fully aware of what to expect. Then whilst we are out, we have to really watch Jack’s anxiety and sensory input. Where necessary we will apply deep pressure to keep him modulated. This might involve holding his hand, whilst we walk around and squeezing his hand repetitively. Or stopping to squeeze his arms and legs, jumping up and down together. Holding each other’s hands and pushing into each other, or waving your arms around like some sort of demented jellyfish. Sounds fun right?

Like I Said you need a thick skin, and it’s no good being shy, or worrying about what other people think. Days out are always stressful, but we do enjoy ourselves. I certainly have no intention of hiding away, especially when the kids want to go out and explore as much as they can.

At a fireworks display

My own social life

Now I am going to talk about my own social life. To be honest I’ve barely had one, and that’s not completely down to the kids. I’ve had my own struggles with depression, and spent 10 years working full time. Then as soon as I’d come home Natalie would go to work, and I’d have the kids to look after. We basically had no money, so even if I felt like meeting up with friends, which wasn’t very often. I’d just wouldn’t be able too.

Due to circumstances, we’ve only ever really had my parents to call on as babysitters. Which we have done from time to time, and myself and Natalie have had opportunities to go out. I’ve never liked to ask too often though, as there have been stages where Jack has been a real handful. I’m in a better place now, and so is Jack so having a social life is a possibility, which again is more than some people have. Some have to do this all on their own.

Things to be proud of

Being an autism dad might mean you have to move the goalposts of what you hoped for your child, and that’s okay. Maybe you dreamed one day your son would play football for England, but it turns out them just being able to play with a group of other kids. Is something that can bring you just as much pride.

I have so many examples of these sort of things, that are simple everyday happenings for the average person. But mean the absolutely world to us. Things like Jack being able to walk into his school hall. Lily being able to walk into her classroom, with all her classmates. There are loads, but they can be for another post at another time.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and I just hope that it gives people a bit more awareness. Of what it’s like being an autism dad or mum, or autistic person.

Dad Does Autism

I’m feeling so tired

I’m feeling so tired

For the last 2 or 3 days I’ve been feeling so tired. Perhaps it’s a turn in the weather, we’ve had lots of lovely sunny spring days during this lockdown. This week however it’s been more like the British dull, grey and drizzly weather, us Brits know only too well.

Perhaps it’s the lack of Vitamin D, and not getting outside as much. Leading to an even greater feeling of isolation than previously, but I’ve been feeling so tired this week, and really struggled for motivation.

Annoyingly 3/4s of this post appears to have vanished, and I’ve not got it saved anywhere else 🤦‍♂️

Feeling so tired

There was at least another 7 paragraphs, talked about the difficulty and demands on parenting autistic children. I don’t think I can remember well enough to write it all out again, even if I wanted to. To be honest I don’t want to, the tiredness probably had something to do with me messing the post, and i’m feeling a bit dejected about it.

I’ll quickly say the two main points, that are proving difficult, and taking my energy. Jack’s routine. Dinner has to be at 12, and Tea has to be at 5. If it’s not he gets annoyed, sometimes angry. With Lily it is the demand for attention. All the jobs I would normally do when the kids are at school, I’m finding difficult to do, as Lily always wants you with her. I will just have to keep plugging away and do what I can.

I also went on to talk about playing in the rain, but I will now do that in a separate post tomorrow. As I have plans with Lily to get the waterproofs on and go for a long walk in the rain tomorrow. Assuming that it does actually rain that is.

Dad Does Autism

FGTeeV giant TeeV review

FGTeeV giant TeeV review

Something different today as I’m doing a FGTeeV giant TeeV review. I’ve been feeling much better since my last post. The weather has been decent, and a bit of time in the garden has been good. But today I want to talk about the fact that, Lily loves FGTeeV, if you don’t know what that is, it’s a channel on YouTube. As seems to be the way with kids these days, YouTube is where Lily finds her entertainment, and her favourite celebrities.

We decided at the weekend to get Jack & Lily a treat each to cheer them up. Like I’ve previously mentioned, we’ve all been finding it hard. So a little treat to boost morale, I felt was a good idea. For the record I treated myself to 3 bottles of beer. I don’t drink a lot, but I do enjoy an occasional beer.

FGTeeV giant TeeV

Jack chose some add on pack for a game on his Xbox. Lily wanted an FGTeeV giant TeeV set. She has wanted it since Christmas, but it wasn’t on sale in the UK at the time. So she had been saving a voucher she got for Christmas, which she used for this. As this was more expensive than what Jack got. The delivery man came calling this morning, a lot sooner than I expected. It’s safe to say Lily was super excited.

She finally calmed down to take that photo, at first she was running around shouting “oh my god, oh my god”. It’s safe to say that Lily loves FGTeeV! Next of course came opening it. As is the fashion at the moment, you open the big box to find lots of little surprises inside each in their own package to open. Lily has had similar things for Ryan’s World (also on YouTube), my initial reaction was you get more for your money with this one. This costs £39.99 in Smyths at the moment.

A review

As you can see above, you get a big figure, a smaller figure, a small plushie that makes a noise and a keychain plushie. You also get a little squishy , a little flashlight and some stickers. You get the TV box to keep the toys in, with the added aspect of the enjoyment of opening each one. There are different ones to collect, with smaller and cheaper option to get more figures.

Lily was over the moon with it. Which is the important thing. She needed cheering up and it certainly worked. This was a nice and quick little blog post to write. It’s not the easiest time to be doing this, but for my own sanity I’m desperate to keep writing. Finding the time has been challenging, but I’m just about managing. Even if this was not how I’d planned things originally. It’s important for everyone to find things to keep you going in these difficult times. Stay safe everybody.

Dad Does Autism

Anyone else starting to crack up?

Anyone else starting to crack up?

So it’s basically been 2 weeks of everyone being at home, and not being able to go out. So the question I want to ask is, anyone else starting to crack up? Or is it just me? I’ve got a lot of things I can be getting on with to pass the time, but for the last couple of days I’ve struggled for motivation.

What really hit home yesterday, was I saw it in Lily for the first time. She didn’t want to go outside, she didn’t want to do much of anything. She just sort of moped about, looking fed up. I was in a funny moody, Natalie and the kids would tell you I was being annoying. Basically I was making silly noises, and doing stupid things. It’s something I do quite a lot, I get a sort if release from it. Yesterday was over the top and I got on everyone’s nerves.

In the end we went for a little drive around locally. I’m not sure where you stand with just having a bit of a drive. We didn’t get out anywhere, we just had a bit of a drive. Is that ok? I’m not really sure, but I needed to see some different scenery for my sanity. Everyone else felt the same, and I personally felt much better when we got back. I think everyone did. Jack has started to get more and more agitated, by not being able to follow his normal routines. He’s become very argumentative, but we are just about keeping a lid on it. I just wish I had some answers for him, the uncertainty is the worst part for everybody. For Jack it is even more of a problem.

So is anyone else starting to crack up? Or are you doing ok so far? If you are starting to feel it, what are you doing to try and cope with it? Any ideas are welcome, please leave a comment below.

Dad Does Autism

Delayed processing as part of autism

Delayed processing as part of autism

So we are into the second week of the kids being at home. Since my last post things haven’t been going quite so well. Jack has delayed processing, understanding delayed processing as part of autism, and how it effects Jack, was something that took us a long time to get our heads around.

To put it in broad terms, an autistic person may experience a delayed response to sensory stimuli. What this means using Jack as an example. When I ask Jack a question, there is usually no response. It’s as if he hasn’t heard the question. I normally ask again, as Jack usually has a TV or some music on. Just in case he didn’t hear. But it is highly likely he did hear the first time.

Echolalia and learned responses

He just needs a lot more time to process what has been said, than you would typically expect from a child. Jack can give immediate responses, but these are what are called learned responses. Which is where his echolalia comes in. Jack can learn a conversation, and repeat it the next time the same situation comes up. But this is like someone on auto pilot. You are not getting his true thoughts and feelings. We have had many “disagreements” with “professionals” who have worked with Jack regarding this.

Getting Jack to express those true thoughts and feelings, hasn’t been an easy process. We are getting there slowly, and Jack is much better for it. Learning ourselves when to use social stories and PECS took time. They are so important and have been vital to Jack’s progress, and his ability to communicate.

Visual Aids - a picture exchange communication system folder
One of Jack’s PECS folders

As a parent it’s not easy to always remember this. Sometimes you can forget that a simple question like, what do you want for dinner? Is not so simple for an autistic child. Jack has to be given options to choose from, otherwise you just get a blank look and maybe a “don’t know”. Start with options of food he knows, even showing him the options, and he can give you an answer fairly quickly. Even in a situation of high anxiety or meltdown, though it’s likely he will respond with nods of the head rather than words.

Delayed response to situations

This delayed processing as part of autism, also comes into play, with situations that happen. Which is why it comes as no surprise to me, that Jack was fine with the sudden change last week. But this week he is finding it very difficult. His anxiety has gone through the roof, and he’s become tense and argumentative. It’s like it has taken him a week to process what is happening, and everything that has changed.

We are now prepared for this, and a week isn’t actually a long time. In the past Jack has had spikes of behaviours that stemmed from an incident that has happened months before. Which left us and everyone else baffled, until we finally worked it out with Jack. Knowing about the delayed processing, and just how long the delay can be has certainly been a great help. Now when Jack is unhappy, we know to trace back for months to find the solution if necessary.

What’s happening now?

Jack finding things difficult this week, in one sense can be a good thing. It’s only taken a week for him to start to process what’s going on. So we can now work on bringing his anxiety down, and getting him in a happy place. 

The one issue with that of course is these are unprecedented times. We don’t have the answers to the questions he wants answering. When can he go back to school? I don’t know. Will respite be back soon? I have no idea. When can we go and see his grandparents and their dog Mack? I don’t have clue. Just like I have no answers for him when he asks about going bowling, or to the cinema.

He is getting frustrated that I don’t have any answers for him, and he’s becoming very argumentative at times. To be honest I’m getting frustrated myself, the last two days have been hard work. There’s no break from it either, no chance to recharge. The outlook isn’t looking good for that break coming any time soon either.

Jack was fairly calm and relaxed Tuesday evening, so hopefully that’s a good sign. When his anxiety has been down he’s been really good. He’s been playing with Lily more than usual, and spending more time out of his room than usual. I guess being at home all the time, staying in your room all day gets a bit dull. One positive of this coronavirus stuff, is we are doing activities together more than we would usually, which is nice. 

Free sensory guide

Lastly I would like to point you in the direction of where you can currently get a free 12 page guide to “Meeting Sensory Needs” by clicking here.

It is aimed at teachers in the school environment, but having read it there is certainly value in it for parents as well. As we know only to well with Jack, and are beginning to learn with Lily. Meeting a child’s sensory needs is so important. Get that right, and everything else will start to fall into place.

There’s some great information and ideas in the guide, which is the first chapter of an upcoming book. Though it’s based in the classroom, you shouldn’t assume your child’s school is always aware and doing these things. So arm yourself with information to take to them, that’s what we have always done and will continue to do for Jack and Lily.

The first week at home with the kids

The first week at home with the kids

So how is everyone feeling after the first week at home with the kids? I know some might have had them home earlier, and some homeschool all the time. But I think for most of us, at least in England where I live, this was week 1. So how’s it been?

Still having problems with Lily’s ear

It’s gone fairly well for us. The only real problem we’ve had is Lily is still complaining of pain in her ear. She seems fine the majority of the day, but come night time it’s a different story. She has woken up crying every night this week. Jack has coped with it really well, a few times he seems to have slept hrough it. 

One time I went to check on Jack he was awake playing on his Nintendo Switch. It was around 4am. I asked him if Lily woke him up, he nodded yes. I asked him if he was alright, he nodded yes again. He was clearly tense, but he was managing to hold it together, which is really good.

Last night didn’t go so well. Lily woke up crying again, and this time I could hear straight away, Jack throwing things around his room. I went to check him and he had a real look of distress on his face and tears in his eyes. I tried to reassure him, but he just threw things at me, I told him Lily was ok, and left him for a few minutes. When I checked he had calmed down enough to be sat on his bed. It was just one disturbed nights sleep to far.

It’s a frustrating time, due to the situation getting a doctors appointment is near impossible, so you speak to one on the phone and they are guessing what’s wrong. She’s on her second antibiotic now. Fingers crossed this one works. The situation is difficult enough, without that added stress.

Things have generally been good

The day times have generally been good, during the first week at home with the kids. Jack and Lily both seem to be enjoying being at home. They’ve had some fun doing different activities. Jack has been a bit argumentative, which was to be expected, but has been calmer than he was during the recent school holidays. We’ve not pushed him with doing school work. He’s never had any homework, so he’s not understanding why he suddenly has to do work at home. So I’ve got a few ideas for him to learn using things he’s interested in.

Lily didn’t do any work the first few days, I thought it right to give her some time to adjust to what was going on. Then she started doing the work by herself. I’ve seen people trying to be teachers, and it’s almost like a competition with some people on social media. I don’t understand that way of thinking myself. I’m more interested in my children’s well being, than I am making sure they get all the work sheets done.

We are lucky to have a decent bit of garden space, so the kids can get out there for a bit of fresh air and some exercise. They’ve been out everyday, with the exception that Jack didn’t want to go outside yesterday. 

I’m doing ok

I’m holding up alright. I am concerned about the effect of a prolonged lockdown on my depression, but I’m doing fine. I’ve actually enjoyed having the kids home for the most part. Ask me if I still am in 3 or 4 weeks, then maybe my answer will be different, but so far I’m feeling good. I’ve been spending a lot of time at home anyway over the past year, so one week without going out doesn’t bother me. If it becomes 4, 5, 6 weeks, then it will be a different story.

The first week at home with the kids then, up to now it’s been pretty good, everyone’s fit and well, and as long as that’s the case I don’t want to complain about anything else. I hope it’s going as well for everyone else. Families living with autism have extra pressures, and this a really difficult time. But it is difficult for all families. So I say to everybody, stay safe and stay well.

A Difficult Few Days

A Difficult Few Days

It’s been a difficult few days. Lily has had an ear infection, which has involved a lot of crying and not much sleep. Lily has been sleeping in our room, as it’s further away from Jack. It seems to have worked as Jack’s sleep doesn’t seem to have been disturbed. 

On Saturday night Jack asked to go to his Grans with Natalie, while I helped Lily get to sleep. He said he wanted Lily to be able to cry without worrying about upsetting him. Bless him, it was such a nice thing to do. Jack is so kind and thoughtful, but in a meltdown situation that all goes out of the window.

For him to think ahead for the good of himself and others, is such a big step that he is starting to do. He’s had his moments over the last few days, he trashed his room once and has got upset a few times. But generally he has coped really well given the circumstances.

Isolation and routine change

Jacks at respite tonight, he definitely needs the break and so do I. I’m worried that the respite will end up stopping soon, or we end up having to self isolate. Which of course means no school, I’m surprised the schools are still open. I don’t think they will be for much longer.

All that means routine goes out of the window. Jack especially finds routine change extremely difficult, I’ve talked before about school holidays being a problem. So a sudden unexpected change is likely to be very problematic. Whatever happens we will just have to deal with it the best we can. It’s been a difficult few days, but we carry on.

Dad Does Autism

Feeling Humbled

Feeling Humbled

I’m happy to report I’m feeling better today. I haven’t completely shaken off the cold yet, but I’m getting there. I’m also feeling a bit more positive in general. In fact I’d say I’m feeling humbled.

Like I’ve said before. This blog was a long time in the making. I’ve wanted to do it for years. A decade ago I used to write a lot, including a lot of fiction, and I was happy putting it out there into the public domain. Somewhere along the way I lost my confidence, and my motivation.

Without trying to make a big deal of it, it was a big effort to get things thing started. To get myself in the frame of mind to do it, took a long time. But now I’ve started, the confidence and the motivation are back.

Feeling humbled

One thing I wasn’t thinking of when I started this, was the people I’d meet along the way. It’s only been a short time, but already I’ve come across some great people. Especially on twitter, where the “autism community” and the “writing community” are absolutely fantastic. If I hadn’t decided to do this, I probably wouldn’t have come across these great people.

The past 4 or 5 days have been pretty tough. Mentally & physically I had been worn down, then out came the cold, which was probably a factor in it all. But I have received some lovely comments and messages of support, both on here and on twitter. They really did have me feeling humbled.

Finding people you can relate too, isn’t always easy, but I’ve found a few in the past month or so. So to all those who had kind words to say, thank you. I am truly feeling humbled. I am really enjoying doing this, especially with Jack and Lily wanting to get involved themselves. That’s really helped with the creative side. I want this to be more than just day to day life and autism. This can be my creative outlet and encourage Jack and Lily to be creative also. I hope you continue to enjoy this as much as I do.

How To Get That Self Care Time You Need?

How To Get That Self Care Time You Need?

I’ve mentioned I’ve been struggling the last few days. Well, the last few years really, but the last few days have seen a drop in my mental well being. I took a bit of time out yesterday, which helped a bit. The biggest problem a lot of people have is, how to get that self care time that you need?

We are all busy, and leading hectic lifestyles in our own way. Whether it’s being a carer for children with “disabilities” like me. Or doing that whilst trying to work full time, which used to be me. Just looking after children, whilst juggling a career. Even if it’s just your career you’re focused on, and it’s taking up all your time. It doesn’t really matter. We all need to look after ourselves, and so many of us don’t.


I have been taking anti depressants for a long time now, at varying dosages. They keep me functioning, especially at the darkest times. But they are not a cure. Nothing has a positive effect like self care does, yet it is so easy to neglect when you are in a negative frame of mind.

So how to get that self care time that you need? I spent a long time prioritising everyone else’s well being. To the detriment of my own health. Last year I realised I can’t look after everyone else if I’m not well myself. I’ve made some progress on that front, but there’s still a long way to go.

Prioritise self care

The single biggest thing anyone can do, is make the decision to prioritise self care. There will be slips, there have been plenty for me. We are all human after all. But you have to keep reminding yourself, why you made it a priority in the first place. For me it was to be in the best possible place, to be able to look after and fight for the help my kids needed. Everyone has there own reasons, you just need to find it.

What you do in your self care time, is entirely up to the individual. There are the popular recommendations like go for a walk, listen to music, have a bubble bath etc…Whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed. Find the time for it.

Couple time on Tuesday

Tuesday was a rare occasion where myself and Natalie actually got to spend time together, and sort of go out. After taking lily to school, we had a spare hour before we had to go to an appointment. I lay on the bed and put my favourite meditation/stress relief video on YouTube. Click here to see it. I can’t relax in the quiet, my brain just refuses to switch off. Natalie was putting these types of video on, the we tried it for Jack.

He found the one I now use the majority of the time. He uses them occasionally, he has to be in the mood and want to. For me, I like to both close my eyes and listens, and also watch the video. It’s certainly helped me find that time to relax, and be able to just switch off. Which is so desperately needed.

The appointment was with Jacks doctor and CAMHS. It was basically just a check up appointment, and it went fairly well. Afterwards we went to the local shopping centre, to get Lily a costume for World Book Day. She wanted to go as a pirate, so that’s what we got.

Making the most of opportunities

We had enough time to get dinner out, which was nice. It’s something we try and do fairly regularly. Opportunities for nights out are few and far between. So dinner dates while the kids are at school is our social life, but it’s better than nothing. I also got some Krispy Kreme doughnuts to bring home, which made Jack & Lily happy.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a doughnut, so I was happy too. There’s lots of things for Natalie and I to be doing at the moment. There always is, but today we made the most of the time we had during school hours. The result is I feel much better for it.