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07 November 2019

My anxiety.

I often wonder how much I should share, or not in this blog. If you follow it, you might have or not, notice that I had a long period of silence. Yes, life happens, and time turns away from you,  but it was also more than that. I was unwell. To be quite honest, I am still unwell. I would prefer that my blog would remain lighthearted, that showed mostly the good times, also our ordinary times, that in the end are all that matter. But I also want it to be very real. This is my blog. It also is my voice, and today, not quite sure why, I need to share this. I need to write it down.  I need to share how difficult it is for me sometimes to leave the house. To get out of my bed. How my mind endures constant infighting.  This is my anxiety. This is how unwell I am.

I have always been a very anxious person. But, until two years back, I handled it. I recognised the specific situations that were causing it, whether a presentation, a report. Of course these specific situations would cause a normal degree of anxiety, it is normal until.... Until I could no longer handled it alone anymore. Until it prevented me to do normal tasks. After my young Baby boy was born, I endured one of the darkest moments of my life. I was diagnosed with post-natal depression and anxiety. I needed help to get on living a normal life. I experienced moments where I could not leave the house. I would not go into the supermarket. Spaces with more people where unbearable. I couldn't face anyone. 

Only specific tasks would force me out of the house, the pick up and drop off times from the nursery. I had to self refer myself to get help, and the NHS offered me sessions with a therapist, CBT. It helped me a lot then, helped me face some of the fears that I had, and mostly gave me techniques to resume a normal life. Unfortunately these sessions where limited, it as we all know in the UK the NHS has limited resources. And so, today, I am on my own facing my anxiety. Actually, this is not quite true, as I face my anxiety, so does my family. When I am enduring my hiding away periods, my family is also affected. I am quite aware of it: "Mummy what is wrong?" "Mummy has a pain in the chest and in the head" "Get well mummy". "I will." I am so very painful aware that I don't face this alone. 

In my past sessions I could face what was affecting me at that time, I could recognise what was triggering my anxiety at that the time, it  was very specific (however, I am not quite ready to share what was causing it). Today, I am noticing that my anxiety comes without warning. I don't recognise a specific trigger. My anxiety, my fast breathing, my chest pains come unannounced. I now become anxious about getting anxious. I am having panic attacks now, and I am anxious about having these panic attacks. Yes, my anxiety has grown in time. I still have the same techniques to face it, however as my anxiety now has grown more, I feel that my techniques and exercises  to help me coupe with it are insufficient. I have scheduled a meeting with my GP to get more help. In the mean time, let's just live one day at the time. Keep hoping that today I am stronger than my anxiety, and that it will not force me into a corner of my bedroom. Hoping that I will be able to walk out in the street and enjoy this day of sunshine without that pain in my chest. That is just a pain. No, it is not a heart attack. You had your electrocardiogram done and it was fine. 

My anxiety is crippling. It takes all inches of my racional thoughts and drowns you in seas of pure panic and fear. And you have to gather all rational thoughts inside you, one at the time, to erase this fear. It's a pure fight of two minds inside of me. My anxious mind, and me. I have to do all the time. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I hide in bed, the only safe place, and sleep, to free myself of my unwell ness. And with that I also free myself from the happiness the keeps happening downstairs. The laughs that I also am missing. Because when I revert to this half living state, at the same time my life is being stolen from me, and I hate it. I hate it that my anxiety is stealing me from playing with my children. I hate it that I can't regroup my thoughts and focus just on their laughs. In the past that was possible, now it isn't. I remember when my youngest was born and I struggled,  I could focus my mind on his breathing, and that would free my mind form my unhelpful thoughts. Now, these are stronger. Their voices are heightened. My voice appears to be weakened...

One day at the time. The sun is out and I can feel a gentle warmth in my body. Anxiety is at bay. Let's hope that today I don't have to hide from myself. I will pick my children up, and go play with them in the park. The sun is out, and we will enjoy this sun, and have fun. Today I will focus on that. Hopefully, anxiety today will not win.

01 November 2019

We went on a BIG ghost hunt!

I hope you are enjoying your half term break and had fun this Halloween! 

During this break I did struggle to have imagination and fill all this week with activities to do with with the kids.  Luckily, around Southampton  ' Go Southampton' is offering a city 'Ghost trail' for families to enjoy around the Old city centre. So, that was one morning sorted with more ghost hunting fun! You can enjoy this activity until the 3rd of November (find more here).

As Ghost hunting, or treasure hunting is indeed something that my kids really enjoy to do, I could not miss a ghost hunt  around Southampton. We packed a quick snack lunch bag and off we went, ghost hunting! Map on hands.... and lets explore the old city centre and find all the lost ghosts...

This Ghost hunting involved searching ghosts in several specific spots, 11 altogether and a mysterious last one. There are many venues collaborating with the trail, as the points where the ghost are hiding.   These are local pubs as the 'Duke of Wellington' and main touristic attractions in the city, as 'Tudor House'. The Tudor House was also the origin from where all the ghosts escaped...

We could easily find many families following this ghost trail.  At any given ghosts point children were searching and locating the  various 'lost ghost'.  These 'lost ghosts' are historical figures, which will not only teach the children interesting facts and also feature a letter which will be key to find a hidden clue that will show you  your final 'ghost point'. 

For the grown ups the trail is may not be as exciting as far as a ghost hunt goes, but it still can provide you with interesting sightseeing while rediscovering the local attractions.

The ghost trail took us all the morning to do and was enjoyable. After my children found the ghosts, all the little pieces of information about fun historical facts  were oddly  remembered! Also, if you love the city and know other facts you can also pitch in and teach them a little more!

At the end of the ghost trail you can also claim a prize. You just need to fill up and return the map in the last spot of the trail, which will be known once you are done collecting all the clues. 
All the search and ghost finding gave the kids a true sense of fulfilment  as they got a prize at the end! These were masks that they had fun scrapping and discovering different colours.

Now, this school break is almost over. Only one more weekend and school will resume. I know that once it starts I will miss the  kids, but not sure I will miss the stress of...what are we doing today???

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