Letters of Hope – To My Fighting Butterfly.

To my butterfly who is fighting,

I see you fighting. When you wake up in the morning wash those dried tears from the night before.

I see you fighting. As you prepare yourself for the day ahead, gathering every ounce of energy you have just to get yourself ready to face the world.

I see you fighting. When you smile through the heartache, push through that headache, and force that meal down just to get you through the hours.

I see you fighting. As you courageously walk away from the conversations that are bringing back memories that continue to haunt you both through the night and day, so not to draw attention to yourself.

I see you fighting. As you bravely stand there and bare your soul in the bid to become that little bit stronger, that little bit tougher, that little bit happier within yourself.

I see you fighting. With every letter, email, or phone call you receive telling you that despite everything, this nightmare just isn’t over yet. That there is yet another hurdle to jump over, there is yet another end date in sight.

I see you fighting. Day after day to cling on, to whatever you can to be sure that whatever the day throws at you, you always have hope. Hope that it can and will get better. Hope that there will be a day in the future when clinging on won’t be so exhausting. Hope that your smile will return soon and this time it will be for good.

I see you fighting. When you finally sit down on your bed and take off your mask. When you can relax your shoulders and allow the muscles to relax a little bit more. The fight to remain strong enough to get through the day has finally been won.

I hear you fighting. Speaking the truth, though your voice is shaking, the fear is there yet you fight on. The strength you show to get yourself heard despite having a world against you is immense. You are winning.

I see you fighting. At the end of the day when you close your door and the tears a finally free to fall. I am with you when you when they just won’t stop. There to hold you, to stop you falling, to keep you feeling safe. To hear your thoughts and let you know that you are doing so good. The fight your are putting up is a hard one but you really are the best person for it, you are winning, and when you don’t think you are, that is when you’re furthest ahead.

So, to my fighting butterfly, I send you this. Your wings are getting stronger with every battle, when they feel heavy it’s ok to rest them. The time will come when all the fighting will mean you’re ready to fly high, to show the world the beauty in those wings. Never give up fighting because you always have someone right beside you, seeing your strength, hearing your worries, holding on to hope with you.

I believe in you,

Butterflies With Rainbows.

Believe in yourself and have hope.

Control.

What does this word mean to you? 

To be geeky about this specific word it has multiple meanings, why? Well as a noun it can mean that someone or something has the power to influence or direct the direction of events or even behaviour.  It can also mean to have a ‘control’ level to measure something against.  As a verb the word ‘control’ can be used to describe the behaviour of an individual in the supervising or running of something, or managing a situation. 

What else can it mean though? 

With personal experiences that we all have, one word can take on several different meanings based on memories, or events that have happened.  When I began writing this I had one thing in mind, but I wanted to see what the actual definitions were.  I was actually surprised when researching (yes I actually do research when I write these out) that every definition of the word ‘control’ was written in a positive light.  All the examples were of senior managers being in their roles, or large events taking place, organisers having to organise multiple things at the same time. 

Is it possible that ‘control’ is only used for good?  Now we all know that isn’t true.  There are many historical tales of dictatorship who have overused their power of control to the disadvantage of others.  So why do all the definitions depict positives?  

It was only when I started to look deeper and search for personal definitions of control I found what I feel is the truth.  What people really feel is the true meaning of control, how it can affect individuals, groups, families, and communities.  As I said, I had one type of ‘control’ in mind, this is due to experience, but I’m aware there are many others.  My own journey of control has changed, evolved.  The biggest thing being is I can now say the word, write it down, and talk about it.  

So what was it about that one single word that created a ripple effect through my entire world and for a long period of time effectively left me with no control at all? 

There was a time (and still occasionally now) when I could never say no.  I would find it impossible to explain that I wouldn’t have time to do something, or that I needed some help.  It was just something that couldn’t be done.  In my head, at the time it was something that shouldn’t be said or done.  I had always been surrounded by people who told me that I needed to do as I was told.  That no was never an option, and that asking for help was pathetic and weak.  So that was my mindset, I didn’t know any different.  To me that was the right thing to do and the only way to react, so I never thought much of it. 

At some point this completely took over, and me being the person who couldn’t say no, became the person who was afraid to say no.  The person who couldn’t make a decision for the fear of it being wrong.  I was a shell, a shadow of the person I once was and I hadn’t noticed.  I had become this person who was so focused on pleasing one individual all the time I had forgotten about everyone else, including myself.  I had become so tired with having to remember everything, that I wasn’t even noticing that the very things in front of me were getting damaged.  Family, friends, work, everything was becoming different.  

Now this wasn’t a quick process, this was a slow, painfully long journey.  It took a really long time and many tears, conversations with friends, even some arguments with them before I realised that this was also a form of control.  It took much longer before I eventually believed them too.  Up until that point I had only ever heard of the term Coercive Control in training or on awareness posters. It wasn’t something I had ever thought I would see, or experience.  At the time I didn’t see it, or believe it.  To this day I still sometimes think it was all a horrid nightmare, or someone else’s life, until reality hits. 

So what is it about this sort of control that makes it go unnoticed for so long? And why doesn’t it show up so easily under the definitions for the word? 

It isn’t instant, it is one of those things that chips away at someone piece by piece.  Slowly eroding away your character, your personality until you are no longer aware of who you’re staring at in the reflection of the mirror anymore.  The voice of doubt and criticism moves in and through this drip feeding it grows up, intertwining itself into your thought processes, disabling any possibility of being able to escape from it.  Igniting the anxiety and fear that we all have at time to time, leaving it burning at all times of day and night.  This leaving a different person to effectively control your thoughts, emotions, actions, feelings, beliefs, and ultimately, life.

Why isn’t this there in the forefront of definitions of control? Why are the impressive definitions always put first?  Well, lets be honest here.  Who wants to read or hear about all the negatives when you can learn about the successes of being in control?  There are positives, in moderation.  One lesson I have been learning is that not all control is bad.  Having to manage and control your own actions, thoughts and behaviours is a huge strength.  There are always going to be some elements of management and control in situations that you need to be able to take hold of.  This doesn’t need to be seen in a negative light, it is hard, and is very much like a yoyo at times.  One minute will be absolutely textbook, calm and impressive looking, the next minute it is like everything that has been learnt has been vacuumed out of my head, my voice has gone and the only two letters I can muster is OK.  Guess what?  That’s OK.

I can’t help but wonder though, if from the very beginning the knowledge was there, the understanding was there, and awareness was there, would I have experienced what I had?  But then would I be asking the questions I am now?  Welcome to the rollercoaster of recovery! 

Sugar coating everything so it always looks ‘normal’ doesn’t benefit anyone.  Only teaching the positives can blindsight so many individuals, however making it hard to find the alternative information can also be hard.  If you don’t know you’re experiencing coercive control, and you don’t know it is a form of domestic abuse you wouldn’t know to seek advice from the correct places.  You wouldn’t know where to look, what to be describing, because it is ‘your normal’ so why would you? 

Do you think there should be more awareness around coercive control, and the effect this has not only on other adults, but families, relationships, friendships, and life in general?  If there was more information around, and it was more accessible, not just to those who are aware this is classed as domestic abuse do you think there would be more people coming forward, more people willing to talk? 

Lastly, if you know something just ‘isn’t right’ but you aren’t sure what it is. Why would you search on a domestic abuse website for the definition of Coercive Control? That feeling of it ‘not being right’ can sometimes be the first inkling, so what can we do about it?

I have been slowly working at coming to terms of all that I have experienced, I can not say that if I could turn back time I would do things differently, because if I did I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have the experiences to share, I wouldn’t have the motivation to help and support those around me. I wouldn’t even know if this site would exist. I am not glad to have gone through all I have, but it is part of my journey and it is what I make of it now. There is support out there, and if anyone has questions, comments, or anything I am happy to respond. My contact me page has all my details on.

Mothers Love

Sometimes we question ourselves as a parent, that’s ok.  Why we do this could be for a number of reasons, each just as important as the other.  Every one of us has a story, has an experience, has a tale to tell.  Here is one part of one story.  One snippet in a big world.  The moral of the story?  Have a read and see if you can find it.  It may well be different for everyone. 

You are an amazing little human being.  Lifting the mood in any room you bound into, with that smile, big brown eyes and long eyelashes that every female is instantly jealous of from the moment they meet you. 

However, I’m your mummy and I’m finding it the hardest job of all.  I shouldn’t do, it should be easy, it should all come so naturally, so where is it? Where is this mother’s instinct? 

Was it ever there?  From the moment you were born and whisked away to the intensive care unit the dread set it.  Was I ever going to actually be your mummy? That whole week of doubt followed, the guilt of visiting you, of holding you, of leaving you, that when the day came that I was able to bring you home the joy was overtaken by every other emotion possible. 

Fear that I couldn’t love you, worry that you’d get sick, guilt that you’d feel left out, and panic that I just wasn’t going to be good enough. All of them stacking themselves on top of each other like a huge game of Jenga, as soon as one hurdle was beaten it just jumped to the top making the stack even higher.

“Sometimes it ends in hugs and tears, sometimes it ends in laughter and smiles.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

You were and still are my rainbow, I was never going to let that stack of negativity win though.  You started to grow, you became so infectious with love and laughter that despite that stack of blocks your smile and giggles were breaking through it.  Against all the odds, a season ticket in a hospital bed, and teaching me what worry really felt like you continued to not only grow, but you thrived.  You loved, you shared love and you cared.  

Then just like you were whisked away at the very beginning, you were gone again.  Only this time I didn’t know where you were.  Not to begin with.  I knew you were sad, and I couldn’t do anything about it.  I had to learn to trust the people who were looking after you to do it ‘right’ because after all you were still mine.  It hurt, so much more than the first time.  

I had spent the first two years of your life fighting to be your mum, begging to look after you, to read to you, to play games with you, and every fight I had lost.  You were this small baby who never spoke, but always smiled for me.  Who wouldn’t walk but always hugged.  Who loved a bottle and dummy, despite my best efforts to get you off them.  In the space on one day, you were gone. 

The silence was deafening, the endless echoes and emptiness around me resonated through every night.  It never got easier, over time the tears stopped, but the pain remained.  Can you imagine hurting every night and not being able to stop it?  This did come to an end, sort of.  After 444 nights the time came when I was allowed to be that mum again, and read that story, tuck the blankets in and give that kiss goodnight.

Happily ever after right? 

Wrong.

The baby that was whisked away all those days ago was no more.  I now had a child, who looked completely different.  Who spoke all of a sudden.  Who walked around, who asked questions, who had an opinion, who had likes and dislikes.  This child didn’t have the bottles and dummies that they left with, there was no more rocking them to sleep.  There weren’t even anymore nappies!  How was it possible for someone to change so much in 444 days?

How can I be a mum to a stranger? How do I do this? Can I do this?  Should I be doing this? What if I can’t do this? 

These were only a few of the questions that swamped my head and still do.  You see I got this little human being back after so long it was like being handed a rather large new baby. Only without the sleepless nights and 2 hourly feeds. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  I didn’t know how to start a conversation with you, to spark laughter, to brighten that smile with you.  I knew I had to learn, and I had to learn fast.

Learning all about you from strangers is one the weirdest things ever.  To admit I didn’t know what time you go to bed, or wake up is enough to torment me emotionally, when the truth is I hadn’t been there to learn them so of course I wouldn’t know these things.  To admit I needed to be taught all the ‘mum’ information just so I could meet your basics needs is embarrassing.  To admit defeat when I just can’t calm you down, when I can’t stop your tears from falling, when the only thing I can do is cry with you, hold you and hope someone tells me what to do. 

Yet there are times when I see you for the amazing child you now are.  Seeing all the new things you’ve learnt, and I now get to enjoy for the first time.  Watching you ride your trike, seeing your confidence grow as you learn to jump and climb.  Enjoying your smiles and laughter as we make a mess trying to bake cookies and cupcakes.  For the first time I’ve been able to read you stories, play games with you, and enjoy your company. There have been so many happy moments with you, proud moments, not to mention surprising moments.  These moments will stay with me, these moments are what will make me your mummy.  

One day I won’t have to try quite so hard, plan for so long, or ask for quite so much help. I’m not sure when that day will be.  In the meantime, we continue to take each little thing together.  Sometimes it ends in hugs and tears, sometimes it ends in laughter and smiles. There may be more times I need to ask for help, but that mother’s love is there, it always has been.  In amongst the chaos every mum has that mother’s instinct, with some hope and some belief it shows through.  The more you feed it the more it’ll grow, the key is to feed it with the right things.  What do you feed your Hope with? 

“I was allowed to be that mum again, and read that story, tuck the blankets in and give that kiss goodnight.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

Getting your child back from foster care is just as traumatic (in my opinion) as losing them into the system.  Listening to them asking to go ‘home’ when they are already home is heart-breaking, only you can’t show that.  You need to keep that strong face, that calm exterior which accepts that is ok.  You cover it all up by giving another big hug and kiss and simply saying ‘I love you so much’ in the hope that one day it’ll be believed. The day will come, the days do get better and brighter. The day will come when you can hear the word ‘mummy’ and you can respond without second guessing yourself, without stopping before you respond because you forget that it is you who mummy is.  Hold on to every little piece of hope and watch it grow along with your little ones. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Interview with @burstingmybubblesblog the fabulous Charlotte.

I had the opportunity to have an amazing conversation with the fabulous Charlotte, who is not only a fabulous mental health advocate on Instagram, but she also has her own blog page as well.  Charlotte is from Sheffield and loves to travel.  You can find much more information about her by checking out her blog right here, https://burstingmybubbles.com/worsbrough-reservoir/ Over on Instagram you will see a tonne of positivity, and an impressive layout of videos, reels, and don’t forget to take your morning brew and share this with her in the mornings.  One of my personal favourite activities.  When we met we had a talk about a few things, it was a very exciting time as Charlotte had just celebrated the release of her first product online as well.  Read on to see the conversation we had, and to check out the links where you can find more information about @burstingmybubblesblog

I have some questions, but in general it is more of a getting to know you and more about your page.

OK sweet

First of all, can you tell me about what was it that inspired you to start your page?

Do you want me to voice note or type lovely?

Up to you. if you can type it will be best for me for writing the blog but what is easier for you.

So, for me I’m incredibly scared of a lot of things. And I live in a little bubble. So, to push myself I sometimes have to pop that bubble I do have a blog post on it of that would help?

ooohhhh I can happily include the link to your blog that would be super useful.

Pushing ourselves out of the bubble is sometimes the hardest thing ever.

I’ll send you the post that addresses that at the end.

Amazing thank you.

It’s so hard to push ourselves sometimes and I’ve really had to work at it.

Which came first? your blog or your Instagram?

They came the exact same time as I joined a blogging programme.

ooohhhh interesting.

Yeah by @anitahendrieka!

How did you find that?

Instagram.

Cool.

May have a look.

Do she’s amazing.

How long have you been running your page for now?

I found her by choice, I was at that stage when I knew I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to do a travel blog but didn’t know how to do it.  I came across her and she has her own blogging course, honestly, she is that amazing, I have renewed my membership with her now for my fourth time, I have been working with her now for over a year. She’s amazing. Working with her for the past year I’ve got my own accommodation sponsorship, I’ve got my own products and stuff, it is really good.

That does sound amazing.

I will look her up.

Since you have had your page up and running what have you been pleased to see? What have been your wow moments?

I know one of them.

Getting accommodation and brand sponsorships, creating my own products, being able to help people!

They are all pretty big things, aren’t they?

Sooo what inspired the creation of your first products? The Travel Anxiety Kit.

It’s something me and my mum both suffer from and we couldn’t find any help so did it ourselves.

Amazing, so if there isn’t something that you need, then create it yourself.

With the creation of your posts, your blog, and obviously your products, how do you keep yourself motivated?

It can be hard, and I definitely have my bad MH days. My partner is incredibly supportive, I’m a coach myself so my clients keep me going, and my family!

A good support around you is always helpful, I was going to ask what do you do to help yourself on the bad days? How do you support your own mental health when you’re supporting so many other people online and in your role as a coach?

So, I create a personalised plan for myself and my clients. I give myself an attainable to do list so I feel successful.

I know you’ve kind of answered it with the having the support of your partner, but it is there anything else that you do?

I’ll go out even if it’s just on my doorstep
And I make sure I eat!

I am also really open about my MH, so I talk about how I’m feeling

Also, what are your hopes for the future of your blog and page?

I’m transferring it into being my full-time job.

That sounds so exciting.

Thank you!

You are so inspirational.

Those were all the actual questions I have, was there anything that you specifically wanted me to add into the blog for you?

If you send me the details for your blog, I will be sure to include that in

Thank you for inviting me!

Here is a link to my blog.

https://burstingmybubbles.com

Perfect thank you. Are you only on here? do you have a Facebook/twitter account that you post on

I do have a fb group.

Ahhhh amazing!

Eeek thank you so much!

What an inspirational young lady, who has taken strength from her own anxieties and used this to create something that can be used to help many others.  Using social media platforms to send positive messages and share hope to others around.  Having a blog page that is accessible and full of useful information that can be referred back to again and again.  Charlotte’s sense of humour, character, and quirkiness comes through in all that she does, and her willingness to support others is an inspiration to all.  Check out her socials here,  Mental Health & Travelling | By Charlotte Blackburn | Facebook for her Facebook page. 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫 | 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥 & 𝐌𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡 (@burstingmybubblesblog)  for Instagram, you can find her blog page here, Home – Bursting My Bubbles

Thank you for reading.

Photo by Rebecca Diack on Pexels.com

Letters of Hope – To The Mum Who Feels Like She’s Just Lost It All.

Remembering that sudden feeling of emptiness and loss, and knowing that families are still experiencing this now is horrid. There is so much I know now that I wish I had known at that time to get me through those first few weeks. It wouldn’t have made it hurt less, but knowing someone else knew what it felt like may have made a massive difference.

Dear the mum that feels she has just lost everything.

I am here for you. You are not on your own now, and you will never be on your own. I understand that you may feel like the whole world is against you at the moment. That no one is listening to you, and no one understands you. I hear your tears as they fall down your cheeks and soak into your pillow, as you lay there wondering what the point is in every passing minute. All I am asking of you at the moment though is to just keep breathing.

If you can do that, you are already managing something truly amazing. You are already keeping yourself going and preparing yourself for the journey ahead. The one you have not started to think about. Or maybe you have. The one where you have your goal in sight, when what you lost is ready to come back to you. For you to feel complete again, to feel stronger than you ever have before. It is possible, just keep breathing ok.

I know that the thought of moving, or having anything to drink is just too much at the moment, but what strength could you muster up if you don’t do these things? If you lay there and think about this for just a couple of minutes while we breathe together.

Do you think you can carry on reading? Just for a little bit longer? There are some things that I want to share with you. The fight you have ahead of you is going to be hard, but you can do this. You have it in you, I believe that whole heartedly. Why? Because I never thought I could do it, then I realised that there was someone that believed in me. Having someone beside you every step of the way will give you guidance, strength and help you hold onto hope. Every step you take, and they won’t always be forwards, sometimes they are backwards, or they can even be to the side of that is what helps at the time, will be a step. That is what will be important. Even on the days like today, always take a step if you can, they will get easier. You don’t have to walk this path alone.

How do you feel now you have had a cry? Did it help? When you wipe those tears which keep falling, remember to never hide them. It’s ok to cry, they aren’t a sign of weakness, but everyone overflows sometimes with emotions. It really is better to let them fall and wipe them, than flood yourself with them instead. You don’t have to cry on your own.

Every moment you have from now on that fills you with a small amount of happiness, that makes you smile, that gives you hope (and these moments will happen). These are going to be what you will need to remember, to fuel the coming days or weeks. That hope, it’ll grow the more you feed it, the more light you shine on it. As you get stronger you won’t have to remind yourself as often. You aren’t alone.

Have you managed to continue with those breaths? If so, I’m so proud of you, if not, I’m proud of you for trying. It can be tough to regulate those lungs when upset can’t it.

Any ideas for what you’re going to do now? I’m grabbing some water, you want to grab one too? Great.

No matter what, one step, one minute, one day, you are strong and I believe in you. The world may feel like it’s crumbled, but maybe you’ve outgrown the world you had and are now creating a new one.

Always with you

Butterflies with Rainbows