Friday, 4 January 2019

What a Difference a Year Makes

I've not posted for a very, very long time and there's a reason for that, if you want to know why, please do read on and I will reveal all. As it happens, I've not posted for that long, I am amazed I even remembered my password. Trust me the fact I did, is a huge surprise to me because I generally walk into a room forget why I'm there only to remember when I return to the lounge...repeat three times and eventually I get there.

Anyway, where have I been, what have I been doing and what does the future hold? All very good questions. So without further ado, lets get on. I'll try and keep it brief, but you may want to grab yourself a cuppa and settle in, just in case I ramble on for longer than I intended.

This time last year, I was packing my bags (literally) and preparing to head to the Maytree. Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal. I've written about it before and I've said it before, but were it not for the Maytree, and the amazing people who work there, I may not be here now; such was the depth of the hole I had fallen into. However, their constant support, understanding and availability to talk and begin to make sense of the mess in my head (not to mention the constant supply of tea) was a turning point for me. It was the key to turning over the page and getting ready to start a new chapter.

It wasn't an easy ride. My mental illness meant that I was no longer able to work as a foster carer, a job that I loved, but I wasn't well enough to look after me, so looking after a young person was not even an option. As a result, I watched my savings dwindle and had to accept that I could no longer avoid the benefits system. 

Never having claimed benefits, it was a daunting and stressful time and my depression and anxiety took a huge dip, especially when I was called to attend a work assessment. I knew I couldn't cope with someone questioning my mental health, I knew it would break me again and I had only just started to mend. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I knew I wanted to help myself and others with mental illness, so I set about starting my own business. One that would, hopefully, provide an income for me, and others like me, as well as giving me the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues for sufferers, and carers. I cancelled my health assessment meeting, contacted my work coach at the Job Centre (she is a fabulous lady) and declared myself fit for work.

I felt scared and empowered at the same time. I spent hours and hours every single day, researching suppliers, competition and skills gaps. I got myself onto an electronic bookkeeping course through the Job Centre and now have my Level 1 and 2 Sage Qualifications.

During this time, I decided to close down my online dating account. I wasn't 100% sure I was ready and I didn't feel I had time with the business. What do you know, I met someone. Someone who has a similar MH background to myself. He supports and understands me. He also runs his own business and has been an amazing mentor in that area too. Oh, and he makes me laugh every single day. I really am very lucky, very happy and very much looking forward to marrying him (yes we're engaged already).

The business set up has been a lot of hard work, finally going live in October 2018, and so Hugs was born. Currently, we only have a small range of products, but all of our artists are amazing and all live with mental illness. It's a real honour to work with such talent, and to be able to show people how creative a messed up mind can be. Most of all, I hope that our products encourage people to visit a friend and share a cuppa with them, or write them a heartfelt note to tell them how important they are (hence why we sell mugs and cards). You see, people living with mental illness are often isolated and a friend can make a huge difference. That's why I set up Hugs to encourage people to support friends and loved ones who are finding it difficult to cope. 

So you see, a year really does make a huge difference. I have risen from the depths of despair to a life full of hope. It's not the life I would have chosen. I hate that I have to claim benefits, but I know it's not forever, that's why I'm working so hard now, to make sure it isn't. I still have bad days now and then, but I know I have people around me who care. I don't have many people around me, but those I do, are the absolute best of the best.

So here's to 2019 and new chapters. 

You can follow Hugs here:

If you need help with any of issues raised in this post, please see the links below:

Sunday, 25 March 2018

An Open Rant to the Powers That Be.

It's been a while since I last posted. People who know me well will have worked out that this is a good (or rather, bad) sign that my MH is not quite as it should be, and it's not. It hasn't been for a good while; since I was signed off, unfit for work, by my GP and had to apply for Universal Credits. Wow! That's a whole new world I never expected to end up in and as a reasonably intelligent adult, may I say, I am finding it difficult and stressful to navigate. As a result, of that and the battle I now have to get my youngest the help she needs with her MH, my anxiety has shot through the roof once again and I'm a bit of a blubbering mess (understatment of the year).

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Into Battle Once More

You may recall, I was a tad annoyed the other week when I received a written copy of my Mental Health assessment. It 's fair to say, it was absolutely appalling and I was left absolutely fuming and with little faith left in those who are supposed to care and help. If you missed that post, you can catch up with it here. I've not put that complaint in yet, but I am going to the hospital next week so will hand it in when I do.

However, today I find myself once again, channelling my inner Katniss Everdeen and entering the arena. The difference this time is I am also wearing my mumma bear hat, so I suggest anyone getting in my way, jolly well move themselves pretty darned quickly. This girl is well and truly on the warpath.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Celebrating Wednesday's #36

Hello everyone and welcome to the middle of February. Yes, I am fully aware of the date and, if you don't mind, I am going to ignore the obvious celebration and sit on my shelf with a cuppa. You see as well as it being 'that day,' it is also:
  • Ferris Wheel Day
  • Donor Day
  • Cream Filled Chocolates Day
  • Pet Theft Awareness Day
Personally, I think two of those are far more important than the very commercialised day everyone else is spending money on. That said, I would suggest not letting it slide if you have an other half who is a little sensitive about it, trust me, that's a can of worms you really don't want to open!

However, the day I have chosen for us to celebrate is one which kind of links back nicely to a post I wrote last week, Something for Tomorrow to encourage you all to take part in, Send a Card to a Friend Day.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

An Alarming Incident!

It's half term and I have to say, it's started off with a wee bit more excitement than I had anticipated. More's the point, it has started with excitement, which, quite frankly, I could have done without. Let me start at the beginning though, because some excitement was expected.

On Friday, I waved goodbye to my eldest daughter. Actually, I didn't, the coaches that were taking herself and her cohorts to Paris hadn't arrived on time (for a change) and so, parents were politely asked to leave so that the teachers and school buses could access the car park. Anyway, back to the story, Miss. D was off to Paris for a French trip. One day in Paris and one day in Disneyland Paris. Jealous? Yes, me too! Back home Monday afternoon. I know she wasn't gone long, but Miss. L and I missed her and were really looking forward to her arriving home.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Losing Faith

It's fair to say, I've been through the mill, as the saying goes, over the last few months. I've reached depths I never thought I would or, indeed, could. I've discovered that I am a natural born fighter; that even when I've wanted to give up, throw the towel in and just end it all, I wouldn't allow myself to, at least not all the time I still had some fight left. If I weren't such a fighter, I guarantee, I would not be here now. Thankfully, I'm a stubborn cow, so you're stuck with me. Sadly for you, I will fight against anything which I feel is wrong, unhelpful or unfair.

Thursday, 8 February 2018


If you've been reading the blog for a while, you may know I rather like dragonflies. Indeed, I have a dragonfly tattooed on my wrist, it's body is a semi colon, in honour of Project;. When I had my tattoo done, I had already suffered two 'episodes,' but never did I think that I would have one that would push me to want to end my own life.

When I was taking the full dose of my prescribed medication, I was literally bombarded by suicidal thoughts, every single minute of every single day. It was a terrifying experience. It was a lonely experience. I felt absolutely hopeless, and my much loved semi colon dragonfly became a huge irony to me. There I was wanting to die whilst carrying a symbol of hope on myself. At times, it felt as though my body were mocking me. Now I see that it was, in fact, my insane self mocking my sane self.