Monday, 2 January 2012

Damn Sentimental Me.

Happy New Year one & all! Has 2012 been off to a good start for you this year? Or perhaps you are nonplussed - do you celebrate an alternative New Year? I'd love to hear.

For me, I don't find that I become overly reflective with the passing of a year but I always note how much has changed. This year, like many others has been a jam-packed one for me. It seems that I'm destined to live my life in the fast lane, as it were. So much happens from year to year I can hardly keep up.

I saw in 2011 in the company of some wonderful friends. I was single & surrounded by couples. I was pretty drunk & had a lot of fun dancing like an idiot on the 'slippy floor' of my favourite friend's dining room.

This year I was in the company of a wonderful friend, my other half & some of his lovely friends. I obviously am very un-single now, & furthermore, we have a gorgeous new addition to our family. We were all pretty sober & spent the evening eating crisps & chocolate in our living room.

I'm not one for resolutions - as I've mentioned in previous posts I'm bloody useless at keeping them - but I think that the beginning of a year offers the chance to plan ahead. This year I am looking forward to spending time with the children: watching them grow; enjoying our time (in between tellings-off & naughty-step placement) & most of all just being Mummy.

An important journey that I embarked upon last year & shall be continuing on this year is one regarding my mental health. I've been suffering from anxiety & the subsequent depression which has been ruling my life for the past year or so. It was only about half way through that I realised that it was a real problem. I thought for years that this feeling was just me being a fuck-up, not being able to be like other people. I just thought it was how I was, it never occurred to me that there may be help - a solution.

Since opening up, I've found that actually & quite sadly this is a common problem. A lot of people suffer & what is more, many suffer in silence. Like me, they think that is something they are just doing wrong or believe that there is shame to admit they feel so. When I decided it was time to start talking, as the depression was starting to rule my life, I initially did so to my partner & then explored some unofficial internet support groups, mainly on the website I sell crafts on. It took me a while to be able to open up to close friends & though I blog fairly openly about it I still haven't expressly told any of my wider circle of peers what I'm dealing with. This is mainly because it is not relevant, but is also due in part to fear of being judged. That is going to change. If relevant, then I shan't have any concerns about mentioning it in future, but the part I have struggled with the most is the scariest part of depression, which has only reared its head this year - at some extreme low points I have wondered what, exactly, is the point of pathetic me being here. That is to say I have felt suicidal. It sounds melodramatic & wholly ridiculous but it is damn scary. Thankfully, it is not something that I've felt since the birth of my second little girl & it is not something I ever want to feel again.

I was surprised to find that some too of my close friends have been struggling with such issues too, some for years. Like me, they hadn't really opened up but eventually I think we all just reached breaking point. We have always been close but much more so recently & though I would wish for no one to feel what I have been feeling, I have taken immense comfort in having somebody understanding to talk to & being able to support others when they're having a bad day & often when I feel I have been there for someone it makes me feel as though my life is not completely pointless. I love my friends, of course I always have, but this year all of them have been there for me when I really needed it & I couldn't have made it through without them. I am very lucky (& now I'm shedding a bit of a tear. Damn, sentimental me!).

With this in mind I have been wondering lately why there is no obvious support group for people tackling mental illness. I know that this is partly due to the stigma attached to all things brain-related & though there are some amazing people trying to wrestle this stereotype into submission it is still something that people feel uncomfortable with voicing & hearing. I feel that there needs to be something out there, with a big neon sign saying "Feeling mental? Come join the club - it's normal!".

People should have the right to voice their own feelings (should they choose to) without feeling labelled or diminished. They should also have the right to access support easily even out of 'office hours'.

So this year, in light of all I've said, I want to help myself & others. In fact I think that by helping others I probably would help myself too. All the bullshit around mental illness needs to be labelled as exactly that & I want to play a part in that.

Watch this space.

If you have any ideas, input, opinions, thoughts then please, please, get in touch. I would love to hear from anyone who has suggestions or experience in this field & details of how I can play a part in this, big or small.

You can email me at chloe.skinner@hotmail.co.uk
or find me on Twitter at @PeaGreenGwin
or even on Facebook by searching for Our Pea Green Pod

Wishing you all the best for 2012, I look forward to whatever this journey brings.

PS.

This year, I'd like to take part in the 366 day challenge, whereby you post a photo every day.

Don't ask me how I'm going to manage this, I'm flaky at the best of times, but it definitely sounds fun!

Today is just wanted to share with you some sumptuous roses which are sat on my desk. They were brought to me by a lovely, lovely lady. This is what makes friends so special - she is the best!



9 comments:

  1. This post is marvellous. Well done you. Knew you were a star but now you are a very bright one indeed.
    Hope you have linked it up to the #groovingmums linky thing from the other day as it fits so very well with that and I need all the help I can get lol.
    Check out the Black Dog Tribe I think it is called that Ruby Wax has set up. I think it is doing part of what you want to see.
    Proud to call you an online friend, very proud

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  2. Lovely post Chloe, can't have been easy to put all that down and press publish. I don't suffer myself but I know from reading around that a LOT of other people do. I'm sure you will find lots of people in a similar situation. So glad to hear your mood has improved since the birth of the second little one. I hope that is a turning point. Polly x

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  3. Its a funny old world chole. I can totaly relate to what you have written and would actualy like to chat proper sometime.
    Not sure if laura has ever mentioned any of my history to you but I do very much believe that people are attracted to others of a simular nature
    I look at you with much aderation and love reading your blog,it gives me hope! Danny x

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  4. Thanks for this post Chloe, it's great to read such an honest piece from someone who has experienced the downs and can also now see the up too. There's not much popular understanding of the link between anxiety and depression and it's helpful to see it articulated here. It's also very nice to see that you're proud of being an imperfect human like the rest of us - very inspiring! Mental ill-health can be very much like having a physical health scare, and it doesn't make us changed or different afterwards any more than having flu does. We recover, and often return stronger for the experience. So thank you for your words, and many good wishes to you on your wonderful journey.

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  5. Hi Chloe, such an honest,open and brave post to write and one which I know will inspire those who read it. Thank you for sharing xx

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  6. Chloe you are a marvellous human being. I love you more than words can ever say and I am filled with respect after reading this. It brought me to tears and it is so wonderful that you can help so many others get through the tough times and celebrate the good. After living far away from you for so long I have often felt that I haven't always let you know I care often enough, and in the new year one of my resoltions is to be less rubbish and contact relatives and friends more. Know this.... I love you, I always have and I always will. Laura xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  7. im enjoying your 366 postings..there is an outlet for yo...its us groovymums...here to listen anytime you need us

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  8. Have you tried looking at Black Dog Tribe by Ruby Wax - she is trying to open up this very subject for others to talk openly about. Mammasaurus has a lot about it on her blog. Will tweet this for you

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  9. Thank you for being brave & honest enough to write and publish this post. Because it will help others feel as though they have "permission" to do the same... and by talking about it then strategies can be trialled to combat it. The black dog scenario is an all to common one... and one that the whole community has a responsibility to fight together. It's just too big for any one person to fight alone. Keep fighting. xo

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I may often be pants at replying, but I always love your comments! You've just made my day!