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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes we all need a little reminder that we are doing a good thing. That all the hard work and effort that we are putting in is actually worth it. There are times though that little annoying voice creeps in and ruins it, by making us think that no matter what, we will never be good enough. I have so much hate for that little voice, it really bugs me. I have had many fights with it, and still do. There are many of us who have these battles on a daily basis, and to all of you I want to say well done. You are doing fantastic. This is for everyone who hears that niggling doubt, whether is daily, monthly, or every now and then. Why? Because you are all doing brilliantly.
To the butterfly who is wondering if she is good enough,
I want you to know that those thoughts you’re having right now you aren’t imagining. I believe they are there. I am not going to tell you they are silly, or you’re overreacting because sometimes these thoughts really do seem to take over don’t they?
If you’re sitting there wondering, if you really are good enough, can I ask you to think about what is it that ‘good enough’ looks like to you? What would it take for you to stand in front of that mirror and be able to say to yourself “I am good enough.”
Who is it you are trying to prove yourself to? Are you trying to make yourself ‘good enough’ based on other people’s expectations that you think they have? Or is it on presumptions that have been made of your own view of them? Or do you have something to actually go by, an agreed description of what it is you need to be doing?
If you’re thinking at the moment ‘I don’t know’ (which if you are anything like me is highly possible) can you think about a time when you did something that you felt was good enough? How did you know it was good? Remember what that feeling felt like, the facial expressions it gave you, the hope it left in your heart. What have you done where this has been present recently? So, what does that tell you?
The thing about feeling like you’re ‘good enough’ is it is different for every one of us. What makes me good enough is different for you. It can change every single day. It can build over time, and the only expectations that truly matter are the ones that which you know of, for definite. The most important one is your own. What made you feel good enough yesterday may need a different approach today, tomorrow, or even next week.
It is easy to assume that people expect you to be able to this brilliant mum, or colleague, or auntie, or friend. Who is always smiling, never crying, always holding it together, but have those things been said to you? Are these your expectations? Would you have these expectations of others around you? Being enough for yourself may simply be to get through your day, remembering to eat, to drink, brush that hair, check in with a friend or two. It may mean you get up, do the school run, cook a meal, do the laundry, help with homework, and attend a fitness class. Either way, both are good enough for each person’s situation and scenario.
Now no one can instantly turn off all these thoughts, I’m not going to try too either. Redirecting their energy into something else though is always an option. So next time (or this time) you are thinking you just are not good enough, add on ‘at that’ then decide what you need to do to reach that image you pictured earlier of what that person looks like to you. That person that is good enough at what you are doing.
I do want to ask you though, to think back to all the things you’ve done today. Every little one of them and ask yourself that same question.
With everything that you are managing right now, all that you are working through, and all those things that you have achieved.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Heather. We had an amazing conversation about her role as a counsellor. Heather is the first person I have spoken to who has a professional qualification and is running a page to help spread some hope and inspire others. As you will see we had some common interests and discovered a shared love of books! Heather has an amazing page full of useful information and can also direct you to her professional services if needed. All of her details are available over on her page Compassionate_counselling_uk on Instagram. Heather specialises in counselling which is person-centred, so it is focused all on you, and she goes on to explain more about this as we spoke. Hope you enjoy reading our little chat, and please feel free to pop on over to her page to check out the content she is sharing.
Hi, and welcome. I think I explained previously why I was writing these blogs; did you have any questions before hand?
No, I don’t think so, I’m just grateful for the opportunity:)
I am grateful that you have given me your time, so thank you.
I have a few questions which I would like to ask, but it’s really just a bit of a chat, to get to know you, how you came about starting your page, and what your hopes are for the future is that ok?
Yes of course.
So, I know from your about me post you are a person-centred counsellor. How did you come about going into this field? What was it that drew you to this?
Well, I have always struggled with anxiety and during school my mental health gradually got worse. I was bullied a lot and lost a few close family members suddenly so it all took its toll I suppose you could say. I was diagnosed with depression and panic disorder and I used to self-harm, so I have been through a lot over the years. I have also seen a fair few counsellors in that time, and I didn’t feel the right connection with them, and I didn’t feel supported to be perfectly honest. So, I wanted to go into counselling to help and support people who are struggling, because I have been there too, and I know how much of a difference feeling listened to and supported can make. I wanted to be there for people and give them a different experience than I had.
The focus is on the working relationship between client and counsellor in person centred counselling, this is one of the main reasons why I decided to train in this field. Being able to be there and work with the client to help them to help themselves is very rewarding.
I like that you were able to take your own experience, despite it not being the most positive and turn it round to promote your own strengths.
As a result, you are where you are today, and that is amazing.
Thank you, I just wanted to be able to be that support for other people.
How long have you been a counsellor for?
I did 7 years of training, which included both a psychology degree and 2 counselling diplomas. I qualified fully in 2019 but I have been a volunteer counsellor whilst I have been training for the past 3 years now. I decided to try to set up my own private practice earlier this year.
I also used to be a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine which I loved.
That is a long training programme, and a lot of commitment. It definitely shows your passion for the role.
Yes, I am deeply passionate about counselling and raising awareness of mental health.
What was it that made you decide to start up your Instagram page?
Well, I had been thinking about it for a while as I was thinking about starting up my own private practice. Since I had a lot of free time during lockdown (as lots of people did!) I decided, with some encouragement from my sister, to do it and set up my Instagram page.
I wanted to promote mental health awareness, show people that it is ok to not be ok and that there is hope out there. As well as promote my private practice.
Your sister sounds like a good support.
Yes, she is, I do have a lot of support around me.
Since you have had your page going, have your views, or practices changed in anyway?
My practice is constantly developing and growing I would say, rather than changing. It is important to keep learning and keep developing yourself as a person as well as a counsellor.
I have learnt a lot from other counsellors and mental health pages on here, there are so many!
Yes, there are, it is amazing how many pages there are with experiences, and knowledge here.
Have there been any standout moments for you in your career that you can share?
I have been fortunate to work with lots of different people who have had a wide range of mental health problems but mostly I have worked with people suffering from anxiety. I had a client previously who was a single parent and was suffering with anxiety due to a past abusive relationship. I worked with her for a good few months, but her progress was inspiring, she was inspiring!
Hearing success stories is soooo nice.
I will never forget working with her, she wanted the support, she wanted to change, and she did it for herself and her child and she “found herself again”.
That is amazing,
Yes, I was so grateful to be a part of her journey.
I was going to ask what is it that keeps you motivated, but I feel like that is probably your answer.
Yes, definitely my clients are my motivation. I just want to be able to continue to support people through counselling for as long as I can.
That’s a rather good motivation.
I think so too 🙂
If you have the motivation to keep going, and you enjoy it then that’s an amazing recipe for success.
So, with your work, keeping your page up to date and active, how do you keep yourself balanced? After all it is all important, and so is your own mental health. So, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Oh, good question! For me, yoga really helps to keep my mind clear and focused. It helps me to destress.
I also try to get outside when I can for walks in nature, it helps even more when the sun is out, but as we know in the UK that isn’t always the case 🙂
I am also a book lover! Reading helps my mental health a lot actually, I love the escapism they bring.
Getting outside is great when we can.
oohhhh what are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished reading a book called “The Golden Sea” which is book 2 of a series called The Mapmaking Magicians by Emma Sterner-Radley. I am currently reading “Inhibited” which is a complex fantasy by Cerynn McCain.
I am a very eclectic reader.
ooohhh I’ve not read those; I may need to do some research. (when i have finished my course) I love reading and writing so I read literally anything.
Me too, my bookshelves are jam packed with books I still need to read, but i am always buying more!
Same here, I have an e-reader, but it is not the same as an actual book.
Oh no I completely agree! Although I do read some books on my phone through apple books, nothing beats the real thing 🙂
lol definitely. Literally the sofa, blanket, book, I am sorted. My kids can leave me there for hours.
I just need to get them to read, I have one reader so far. I guess it’s better than none.
You can do it! It is just a question of finding the right book! 🙂
Yes, I agree
I have a final couple of questions for you if that ok, then I will let you get on with your day.
Unfortunately, they are not about books or reading.
That can be for our next conversation.
What a great idea!
What are your best hopes for your page and even your having your own practice? For the future
My hopes are to be able to reach more people who are in need of counselling and mental health support. I want to spread more awareness of mental health and the message that there is always hope. I would also like my page to keep growing and for people to enjoy my posts.
I would like to keep learning, growing, and developing myself and my practice as well.
I love that, it is hard to get the support, and the fact that you want to be able to provide that support and make it reachable is amazing.
Literally would like nothing more.
what key message would you want all the readers to hold on too?
That there is always hope and support out there, it is just about holding on and finding it. You are loved, you are cared about, you are not alone ❤️
I love that. Thank you.
I do not have any other questions for you.
you are freeeeeeeeeeeee.
Thank you so much for inviting me for this chat.
I think a book talk definitely needs to happen!
And yes, a book talk most definitely has to be arranged.
Thank you so much x.
So, a massive thank you to Heather for sharing some inside information on herself and showing us the importance of having some down time, and also that we all have a story. Our own story doesn’t have to define us, it can build us and give us strength to help others and develop us in ways that at times we not imagine. Watch out for some joint book reviews, as I have a feeling, they may be coming this way soon, now we have discovered a shared love of books, I can’t help but wonder what the vast array of genres spread across our bookshelves, I am very much looking forward to that conversation. Don’t forget Compassionate_counselling_uk is only on Instagram, you can click on the link anywhere in this post or from my page. Thank you for reading.
I know you are feeling scared at the moment, you’re facing something that is completely unknown to you. I wanted to let you know that being scared is perfectly fine, don’t be afraid to share this with those around you, you definitely won’t be alone. You will be able to manage this because you are an amazing person with a wealth of knowledge and if you can believe in yourself just a small amount compared to the amount you believe in those around you, you will be just brilliant.
I know that you feel guilty, like you could have done better. Or even prevented this from happening. You always say that things happen sometimes that are completely out of our control. Do you think this was one of those things? You couldn’t have prevented it really could you? That guilt is natural, but what if you converted that guilt into another emotion? How would that feel? Try remorse? Try saying to yourself “I’m really sad that happened but I couldn’t change it, so instead I’m going to do this.” Remorse will lead you to recovery easier than guilt, it will lean you towards steps to change, encourage you to move forward. Feeling guilty about an event will keep you in that moment, for a long time. Being sad that something outside of your control has happened is alright, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you compassionate and caring. Qualities of an amazing individual.
I know you might be feeling lonely, like no one would truly understand the feelings and emotions that are going through your head. Those confused thoughts of anger but fear you have, of worry in case you say or do something wrong. The conflict between talking to seek advice and, talking and risk losing friends. Of being judged, labelled or excluded. The concern of having the reality check of having to re-prioritise some of the most important things in your life and not knowing if you have made the right decisions, never knowing if this is a risk that will be worthwhile. Please feel reassured that you aren’t alone, because whatever the time of day or night someone really is there for you, to listen to you, to hold your hand, to give you that much needed hug, supply you with a tea or coffee, and to just sit with you and listen to you. You really will never be alone.
That disappointed feeling you have, because you wanted to react in a different way that you felt was the right way. Those initial emotions and feelings that you allowed to surface, that you now regret. That you wish you never felt because you feel they were wrong. They weren’t wrong, they were all good, they were all the normal things that everyone feels and you managed everything so well. Your really should be proud of your skills. Look at how you took the next steps, how you looked at everything rationally, how you thought about everything slowly and calmly. Are these things to really feel disappointed about? I didn’t think so.
When all these feelings and emotions take over, overwhelm you, and are then mixed up with the addition of responsibility, love, respect for another, and experiences of others that you know it can create such a confusing atmosphere in your head. Sometimes it can seem more than a fog or a cloud. More like an electrical storm cloud, because unlike a normal cloud it’s not just blurry, it’s painful and can seem like the wrong turn will create a super charged ripple effect through the entire sky.
In order for a storm cloud to be so effective though it needs to have something to conduct the force behind it. By taking everything slowly, one step at a time, and having the realisation that you are the calm in that storm, you are in control of the direction of those lightening bolts, it will soon disperse. All storm clouds have one advantage that they don’t know about, they stop you seeing too far ahead. This means you can only ever focus on the step in front, so you see, that cloud is daft. It’s helping you to stay on track without even realising.
So, to my amazing butterfly who is reading this, I hope you can see the way through, because you really are beautiful and strong enough to face this. Remember to let that storm cloud help you, it will clear, but only if you can allow yourself you take it one step at a time.
On the 7th April I had the amazing pleasure of talking with Kate. Kate is the face and voice behind Creature_of_kindness on Instagram. We got talking about lots of different things, including managing our own mental health, while juggling studies and work. Kate has a passion for helping, and to spread kindness to all. As well as managing this page using her own experiences, she also has been studying law and working. I was so impressed at how Kate finds time for it all, plus finding time to have a chat with me, but she did and here is how it went.
First things first, when did you start your page? and how did you decide the name for it?
I started on the 13th of January this year. The name was probably the hardest part, especially to find something that’s not already in use. Creature of kindness just popped into my head and because my ethos being the page was really to spread a bit of kindness it just felt right.
I love the name, and that it feels right means it encourages motivation as well.
What was it that made you decide to start your page?
Honestly, it was quite spontaneous. I’d been thinking about doing something to keep me occupied during the third lockdown and it was actually my boyfriend that suggested making an Instagram page to share some of my experiences and lessons I’ve learned. After a few days of thinking about it I just decided to go for it. I guess it was kind of a gut feeling telling me to just go for it.
That is amazing. Your page has grown a lot since January, what is it that keeps you motivated?
The growth of the page has been so unexpected and I’m so grateful for all the support and positive feedback I’ve received for it. I have connected with some amazing people and pages on here and getting to know their stories has been incredible. I also find it quite therapeutic for me to share some of my experiences and thoughts and if it helps even one person or I can make someone smile then it makes it all worth it. Meeting with others and getting to know their stories has been a highlight for me as well, I have to admit.
Other than the sharing of experiences, what have you been pleased to see with your page? is there anything that stands out to you?
I love seeing so many people dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health and promoting a world where everyone is kinder to themselves and others. Especially during lockdown after what has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, it’s restored some of my faith in the world.
It is so nice to see, and you are playing a massive part in that as well with your input too.
Thank you, and likewise with your page!
Thank you. So, with the concept of your page being about promoting positive mental health, how do you manage on days which are difficult? we all have them after all,
I have found that deep breathing and grounding techniques work really well for me when I’m feeling particularly stressed or anxious. I’ve also been working hard on shifting my mindset and looking at things in a more realistic and helpful way, instead of listening to my anxious or negative thoughts. I also try and be proactive about my mental health and set myself up on the good days, so I’m better equipped to handle the bad ones.
That is really useful, and great that you have learnt what helps you. What are your best hopes for your page in the future? where would you like to see it going in the future?
Honestly when I started the page I never even imagined getting this far! I’d love to continue to make posts and build my page so that I can reach more people and spread some love and kindness. I’d love to collaborate more with other creators too.
That sounds like a great hope. collaborating with others is brilliant to help build stronger messages and spread awareness I find. how about you?
Yes definitely! Especially teaming up with someone who has a different experience or maybe knows more about a particular subject than me so we can share knowledge.
Definitely, sharing knowledge and experiences is so valuable. I was wondering, is your page your full-time role?
I’ve actually been doing it alongside university, but I finished uni last week so I’m going to have a bit more time to spend on it until I go back to work.
oh yes, I remember you said you were studying.
So, I’ve just finished studying law and my hope is to go into criminal law (a bit of a contrast from this page which may surprise people.
That sounds sooooooo interesting. Thank you so much for talking with me,
Lovely, thanks so much! I really appreciate you writing this about my page.
It has been so nice getting to know you, and more about your page. I am excited to write this up.
So Kate has a page full of inspiration, hope, and empowerment. You can take a look at her account here on Creature_of_kindness. You will find some self-care tips, along with some helpful words on mental wellbeing. I am so excited for the future of this page, and what posts are to come. I hope that you can all gain some strength from this page as I have done.
I was once asked the question “why do you apologise so much?” and I couldn’t answer it immediately. After a little while my response was simply “I’m sorry.”
It has taken me a long while to figure out how to write this blog, for a number of reasons. Some of which I will explain to you here. Some of which, I need to work on a little more before they can be spoken about. You will understand as you read on.
Why did I apologise after being asked that initial question? Well, the truth is I had no idea what else to say at the time. Saying sorry ended the conversation, it meant that I didn’t have to answer it anymore. It didn’t mean that I wouldn’t stop thinking about it though.
So, when I was recently asked a more specific question of “Women who have been victims of domestic abuse apologise so much, you used to do that too. Why is that?” I didn’t apologise (yay) but I wasn’t able to offer an answer. The response to this question I had, it was all in my head, but something was stopping me from speaking. However, I wanted to apologise (so so much) for not being able answer it, instead I managed to respond with; “I’ll write about it.” So that’s what I am doing.
I never really understood or recognised how often I apologised until I started to make an effort to stop. No one asked me to stop saying sorry, it did bug a few people, but no one ever made a big deal out of it. For me this was a good thing. I know not everyone is this lucky, and that can make it even harder to understand, because at the end of the day it is our natural instinct isn’t it, if someone is upset with us, we apologise. It is a vicious circle.
Let me start with why I am writing this, why was I the one being asked that question in the first place? One of the reasons of this is because (and admittedly for some of those reading this, it will be the first time they may see me ‘saying’ this) I can explain why victims of domestic abuse apologise an awful lot because I am one. I have lived that life, and those experiences. The feelings which boil up inside of you that can only be fixed by apologising can only be felt in those scary situations which not many people want to discuss.
What is it about the word sorry that provides someone like me with so much reassurance and safety? Well for starters it is just that. It is a safety word. In so many ways. The word sorry has provided a level of protection to me. In times of desperation, it has diffused arguments and ended conflict before it escalated. At the time I felt the need to apologise, it was my responsibility, and that there was no one else to blame. The only person who needed to say sorry was me, so I did. Before long I was apologising for everything. I was apologising to everyone. When I say everything and everyone, I mean it.
Stuck in traffic – I’m sorry. Even though there is nothing I can do about it, but I was sorry it was there. Going on a break at work – I’m sorry. Despite the fact that this is a requirement, a necessity and no one else had a problem with it, I was still apologising for going. Standing in front of someone else in a line – I’m sorry. It is a queue system, but I was still sorry that I was there first, and I would be served first despite the logic telling me otherwise.
I have many other examples which I am sure you have as well, these are just some of the simpler ones. It highlights the point though that after a while the need to apologise becomes so automated, that even when the logical part of your thinking is telling you there is no need for it, the emotional part of you takes over. It continues to tell you that you need to apologise, that you don’t deserve to have that break because it means other people have to cover you for the 30 minutes while you eat and pee. You are not entitled to be served first even if you did arrive earlier than others, and you caused that traffic because you didn’t really want to go to where you were heading anyway. This is what the abuse does to our brains, and it changes the way we think, the way we interpret our thoughts. Most of all it changes the way we feel.
You may be reading this and thinking ‘I don’t apologise that much’ but if you were to stop and think about it, and I mean really think hard, how often do you reckon you say the word sorry in a conversation? Or in a day? Before I wrote this, I had one conversation and it lasted 2 hours ok. I said sorry 8 times! That is an apology every 15 minutes! Apparently, I am not apologising as often as I used too, so I wonder how much I used to say it. I may quiz some of the people I speak with about this. Now this 8 times in 2 hours is 1.5 years after leaving the relationship I was in. I still hold onto my safety net now. I expect many others do as well.
When you have been made to feel like every wrongdoing in the world is your fault for any length of time, of course you are going to apologise. It is going to take time, sometimes before the word sorry comes out of my mouth I manage to ask myself what is it I am apologising for? That extra few seconds gives me the opportunity to decide is it in my control? Is it really something that I need to say sorry for? Did I cause that traffic jam? Did I make it rain on us on the school run? Do I really need to say, “sorry I am late”, or should I reword it to “thank you for waiting.” It isn’t always successful. It is a start, piece by piece my safety blanket will get smaller, and gradually that 8 times in 2 hours will become 6, then 4, then who knows.
Having a period of time when a different view on the world is forced upon you takes it toll. It can impact you in such a short space of time, yet the recovery from it can take much longer. That is ok, everyone is different, and their steps are different sizes and are taken at much different paces. If like me, you have learnt that saying sorry will give you time, and peace then that’s what you will remember. The trust needed to be able to retrain that thought has to be able to be built first, the feeling of stability and reliability to know that it is ok to not apologise.
Using the word sorry as a way of avoiding disappointment or criticism, then of course accepting praise, and compliments is going to be incredibly hard. Knowing that you don’t have to apologise before hand for ‘not being good enough’ when you really are much better than you realise will take time as well.
One of the hardest things to realise and understand to those that say sorry a lot, and those that hear it a lot from others is, do we really need to understand why it is that we apologise so much? No, not really because it isn’t going to change anything. We can’t stop it, there is no magic switch to turn off all those feelings and emotions. Do we need to be ‘fixed’? No, we are not broken, or damaged, so there is nothing there to fix. Have we recognised it within ourselves? Even if it’s just a small realisation then that is amazing.
We are all a work in progress.
The question we need to be asking ourselves is, how do we know we are progressing?
I had the amazing pleasure of meeting with the person behind a_ray_of_positivity the other week. She is a teacher, of the little cute reception children. Definitely not something that I could so but how amazing is she? In amongst all the time keeping little hands and minds occupied and educated a_ray_of_positivity is on a mission to create a space to help others through mental difficulties with her amazing words of wisdom and quotes. We spoke about a variety of subjects, and how having recently surpassed 1K followers how a_ray_of_positivity will continue her journey and what the future holds. Read on for more of what we spoke about.
Thank you for taking some time in your busy day to have a chat with me.
Ah that’s ok.
An amazing way to celebrate hitting 1k followers.
So I have some questions, but in general it is a bit of a chat about how your page came about, and things is that ok?
Yes of course.
Then I will get it written up, and will send you a copy before it goes live on my blog site.
That sounds amazing.
First of all, can you tell me about your page. When did you start it? and how did you come about the name for it?
I started it previously during May in lockdown last year as I decided to raise money for mind, and run and walk to start with 100 miles and then a week in up it to 200 miles- I ran 41 miles and Walked 159 and raised over £1000 🙂
That is an amazing achievement.
Thank you so much 🙂 I had been thinking for a while to start a positivity page but didn’t know how to go about it- a few of my friend refer to me as a ray of sunshine. and so, having read a card from a friend saying exactly that I started it in February:)
First using other quotes I’d found online and then after I found that a few people shared it and it had taken time with making it pretty for my page… my best friend said you are always sending me positive quotes and sharing them why not do your own and use your thoughts and so I did 🙂
I like that. Listening to what your friends are saying are your strengths.
Excuse the essay 🙂
I love essays, so don’t worry about it
And so, from that I created a logo that I placed on each post that I had taken the time to write myself :)You will see on my page where it started to be me 🙂
I took a look, they are lovely quotes, and I think it is nice when they become more unique and personal to the person who is running the page.
Thank you ☺️ that means a lot- I had a wobble about two weeks ago when I became quite vulnerable on here as I felt why would people want to listen to my thoughts and feelings you know and actually that’s when people became more aware and engaged with my page.
I would definitely agree- I think being honest and showing vulnerability allows people to relate to what you are posting and feel like their feelings at that time are also valid 🙂
I have battled depression and anxiety on and off since I was a teenager so wanted to try and create a page to be honest and open and allow people to relate to my thoughts- which they seem to which is amazing.
The wanting to create a safe place for others is a theme I am finding in speaking to others who have pages. I think it is an immensely powerful thing and instils a lot of hope when they can see the progress in others.
It’s really helped me mentally too ☺️
The reason for me wanting to create a safe space to direct and encourage people to look at accounts is for similar reasons. True experiences, real stories of hope, and encouragement are sometimes more valuable that people realise.
I totally agree- I think it’s a lot about having empathy and understanding for others who have been through similar things, that they aren’t alone- and during lockdown I feel like that’s been a very common theme for myself included.
I was going to ask why this page is important to you, but I think you have answered that. Is there anything you wish to add for the importance of keeping your page active?
It’s also for me to raise awareness that whatever you are feeling is ok to feel- not everyone is ok and not everyone is struggling you know 🙂
That is true, I also think it’s hard for people to admit they are struggling,
Ultimately, I’m just a woman sharing my thoughts and feelings and hoping that people can relate to me -you know.
I would like to think many people would say you were more than “just a woman”.
Thank you that means a lot- I’m also very good at not taking compliments.
Right now I’m in a very good headspace but I have battled in and off for years and special quotes have helped me throughout- ones that I’ve found or ones that I have been sent- and if my friends themselves are going through a hard time the first thing I will do is find a quit to help them get through the day and if a quote I have written can be that light- the ray as you will to get them through
It means the world just to know that people are ultimately relating to what I have to say and that I am helping people by what I am writing, for example being able to have a place on your blog 💛
Likewise. This is the reason I am using my blog, to allow people behind the images to have space to be related too.
Yeah no I totally get that- it’s such a fantastic thing to be doing and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and hear what I have to say.
While you have been keeping your page going would you say that keeps you motivated? Even through the difficult days?
Knowing that I can make someone’s day better with the things that I post- that means everything- I’m not just writing for me- you know, I’m writing for all the people who are struggling to express how they are feeling- but my post may well be the catalyst to help them to speak out.
Sometimes it’s just something small to make you think- but I always try and write how I was feeling below to help others to know what made me choose to post what I have posted. If that makes sense.
Yes that makes sense, I think it is a brilliant way to put it all into context and a spark of realism into what people are reading.
Thank you so much- sometimes I think I waffle too much, but I guess through that my followers get to know what makes me tick a bit more,
Waffling?? have you read my blogs??? Now that’s waffling!
Yes, they are beautiful written with how you feel in that moment 🙂
I over analyse myself constantly.
The fact that you recognise that you do that is a brilliant strength, the important thing is knowing what the next step is in managing it?
We are too harsh on ourselves at times, it’s how we react to that harshness that’s important.
Yes, definitely I think I’ve taken from my page- is that is ok to just be me- with no airs and graces- most of the time I am very bubbly and upbeat- but sometimes I do just need some time to myself and it’s realising that no the depression is not coming back but that I just need some time for myself 🙂
Definitely, and important lesson for all.
Talking of taking things from your page. What would you say are your best hopes for the future of your page?
Just to continue to help people with who are battling with mental health- who through reading my posts know that they can get through it and be all the stronger and more empathetic to others as they do, and like my favourite film- “pay it forward” share positivity and kindness with others around them to make the world a much more positive place xx
If that makes sense.
Yes, that does make sense. Paying it forward is a great concept to go by. I hope that it is something that you can continue to get across on your page.
I don’t think I have any other questions for you. Congratulations again on hitting 1K followers, I see you’ve flown past that now. I am sure it won’t be long before you hit another milestone and continue to spread your beautiful positive quote to many more followers.
Thank you so much! I know it’s madness. But so lovely.
‘Paying it forward’ what an amazing saying. It is something that I have heard before but never really considered in on a non-physical level before. Sure, I have heard of paying it forward when it comes to helping out the person in front of me in the supermarket when they need a hand, or paying it forward to help someone out when they need something practically doing for them. Paying it forward with support and kindness. It makes sense, being kind and supportive to others, passing that same level of kindness on that you would expect, one day if you needed it, someone would give back to you. All of the quotes on a_ray_of_positivity Instagram page are written by herself, so head over and get a glimpse into the wonderful work that has gone into this page. To take some time out and allow yourself to just think, and who knows, maybe just one or two of them may open that opportunity to reach out and ‘pay it forward’ to someone you know.
This blog is written with permission from my daughter, we have written this together as our way of raising awareness of the journey in getting her diagnosis, to raise awareness of the challenges a teenage girl faces but also to break down some of the stigmas surrounding young people with autism.
She was 11 years old when I first noticed things were getting difficult for her. Friendships were getting harder to maintain, every day seemed to be another drama. At first, I didn’t think much of it, I put it down to typical pre-teen hormones and a moody group of girls who just couldn’t get on. Then came the complaints, headaches, belly aches, every day there was another reason not to get up in the morning and not to go to school. Before long these aches and pains became so frequent and interrupting I had no option but to think that there was more going on than a girl avoiding school.
Fast forward 12 months and we start secondary school, brilliant right! No. That new start we were holding on to, clinging on for a new set of friends in the hope that it would help her settle down and want to be in school at last. All those excitements as a mum wanting to watch her daughter start secondary school came crashing down within a matter of days. We were still having headaches, belly aches, backaches, everything aches. Only now we were also accompanied with anxiety, crying, and sulking every morning before school. That was on the days we could get school uniform on and get to the school. Now these weren’t any typical ‘sulks’ as you could put it. When these happened, they were in one way scary, in another way sad. As a mum it felt like I was torturing my child every day, the screams were ear piercing. Hearing her shouting out, and not saying I don’t want to go in, it was “I can’t go in” and that was the worst. This was accompanied daily with multiple episodes of kicking, hitting, sometimes biting. This could have gone on for hours depending on the length of time taken to try to get her into school. It really was a battle of the wills.
Now we were really lucky, we had an amazing paediatrician who was monitoring her headaches and had also involved CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Services), so we felt like to some extent we were being listened too. Not everyone is this lucky, and getting that initial referral is a long process. However, if you stick with it, keep going and never give up you will get there. Remember as a parent your voice is your child’s voice. I had to be the voice for my daughter and at times that voice had to fight hard. Those days when we sat across the table to senior people in school being told to just bring her in and ‘let her get used to it’ and that she was just ‘being a disruptive teenager’ that voice became more determined than ever. You see deep down I knew my daughter, and I could see in her eyes that there were words she wanted to speak but couldn’t get out. As frustrating as that was for me, I still to this day cannot imagine the frustration she must have felt in those meetings.
Through all the persistence and patience waiting for appointments and assessments I continued to be the ‘good mum’ that everyone wanted me to be. I fought day after day to get my girl into that school. To no avail I may add. I learnt very quickly just how stubborn she can be, how adamant she is when she sets her mind to something and how strong she is, mentally and physically. I can honestly say now, looking back that those strengths in her are going to set her up for an amazing leadership role in the future. At times I wish she hadn’t demonstrated them quite when she did but then she wouldn’t be the person she is today.
When we finally received that letter giving us a date for her ADOS (assessment for autism) I was petrified. There was part of me that initially felt like I had let my daughter down, like I was admitting defeat, yet there was part of me that was relieved we were being listened too and someone didn’t think she was just being a ‘troublesome teenager’ who didn’t like her new school. It was at this point I remember sitting with her and talking to her all about autism. We spoke about how skilful and artistic people are, how talented and hardworking autistic individuals are, but also how sometimes they can need some extra help with school, and with learning how to understand things like friendships. That we were going for this assessment not because anything was wrong, but because if she is autistic it would mean we could arrange the extra help and support for her as she needs it rather than leave her to struggle. That night despite the usual bedtime difficulties I found a letter written to me,
“Mum, I want to do this assessment thing, I want to know if my brain is wired differently”.
I knew she understood, I knew then despite my initial mixed feelings I was doing the right thing.
In the run up to assessment day, school became non-existent. The fights in the morning were not productive or kind to anyone. We attempted some schoolwork from home, I faced the letters threatening court action for nonattendance, the importance was placed on keeping the peace and maintaining a safe place for my girl. I tried everything, learning all the little things that she found comforting, small spaces, the vibrations of the tumble drier, in particular under the dining table with a blanket. Using these to keep her calm and not stressed worked most of the time, but the thought of attending school still caused a great deal of stress and upset to her. All those that loved her did all they could to keep her in a routine, it all helped. Not everyone was that accommodating, and we had to make it work, I became not just a mum but her voice, her advocate, her biggest fan.
On ADOS day I do not know who was more nervous. Well actually I do, it was me. The questions running through my head constantly were, what if she masks amazingly and no one sees what I see? What if it’s all in my head and she really is just being naughty? What if she panics in the room without me and they don’t know how to calm her down? What if she doesn’t talk at all? What if?????? My daughter however, walked straight into the room with the staff members from the assessment team without even saying bye, or looking over her shoulder at me and that was that. Turns out I had nothing to worry about at all. She came out all smiles, telling me she got to draw, and they asked lots of pointless questions. I couldn’t help but hug her and laugh. That was my girl after all, blunt, straight to the point and honest. We knew we would have to wait a while for the report, I knew it would feel like forever, as for my daughter. She just wanted to get some food.
In the weeks to follow while we waited, we had the big change of starting a new school. After a year of school refusal this was a very scary thing to do, but also exciting. A new start, a school with set routines, and the preparation to get her into there had been pretty good. A phased return followed some home learning, regular meetings with the staff to check in and just the language used when speaking with us made a massive impact. I can’t tell you the difference it makes when you get your child into school, even though they are late and you are greeted with,
“It’s good to see you, I’m so proud of you for making it in today”.
Three years on I’m glad to say she’s still in school, it’s not all rosy and sparkly. In all honesty some days are tough, but I am glad for where we are now. Compared to where we were with regards to attendance and schooling. There are no more mornings with kicking and screaming, which we are all happy about. The “I can’t go to school” is now very much “I don’t want to go in today, but I’m going anyway” which we have learnt is now a routine phrase and to be honest if I don’t hear it in the morning, I wonder what is on her mind. I am so used to hearing it now.
My daughter received her autism diagnosis in December 2018, she was just about to turn 13 years old. We were also told she has ADHD and Dyslexia.
When people meet my daughter it’s easy to understand why we went so long without a diagnosis. My daughter can mask brilliantly. This means she can mimic the behaviour of others around her, like a mirror. She doesn’t necessarily understand the behaviours however as she sees others doing things the assumption that it is the correct and appropriate way to behave is made, therefore she will do the same.
This will never change, I don’t want it to, at times it is quite funny, and as my daughter has got older and become more aware of her surroundings, social groups and their behaviours, she is more receptive to times when we can say to her “do you understand what that phrase means that you said?”
Sometimes the ability to mask can come at a cost, because on the outside it looks like she is able to manage everything, understand all the comings and goings of the world around her it is easy to miss the signs of a sensory overload. Especially in larger groups such as school, or outings, or friendship gatherings. It will only be when she is back home in her ‘safe space’ when that overload can be released. Normally resulting in total shutdown and essentially having a brain break.
When we are out and about I will with confidence tell others to give my daughter some time because she is autistic. We will be looked at with quite shocked looks, at times comments have been said as “really, she doesn’t look autistic” or “but she talks so well and gives such good eye contact”. Well yes she does, but that doesn’t mean she finds it easy, or comfortable. It doesn’t mean that before she walked into that building, or that room she doesn’t do a mental checklist, ‘look at them when they are talking to me, don’t interrupt, try and listen for more than 2 minutes, don’t swear, be nice’. (this is one example)
Now the beauty of autism is that no two individuals are the same. So, although I’ve written this about our journey to a diagnosis, and some of the challenges we have faced and either overcome, or adapted too, it doesn’t mean it is the same for every family out there. In fact, it won’t be the same for any other family at all. That is okay, your family’s journey is going to be unique to you, it is going to take its own path depending on what you and your child need, and what you ask for.
Our journey is not over, not by a long shot. To be honest this part of our journey is only just beginning, I am learning more about my daughter’s little quirks every day, the whole family are, and so is she. She is now beginning to learn to use her own voice which I couldn’t be prouder of, this means that I can now step back a little with some of the battles for support and requests for help for her, instead I am now her biggest cheerleader. My main role now is help, support, and encourage her as she grows to embrace her individuality, her talents, her skills, her quirkiness, her totally bonkers moments (which are hilarious by the way) and to help her love herself just the way she is, (not to mention embarrassing her at any opportunity possible). In return I have a daughter who shows empathy, consideration for others, emotion, a wicked sense of humour, and who is embracing her differences and utilising them to help others.
I couldn’t be prouder of how she has faced each hurdle or overcome each challenge. I wouldn’t change her for the world.
If you are battling with school refusal, I know how disheartening and disappointing it can be, the constant battles, and never-ending fights with local authorities and schools. You are your child’s biggest advocate, they will remember what you say more than the schools, always think what message would you want them to hear you putting across for them, what words do they need to hear you say?
Finally, despite the challenges of the day, the words that are passed between people, even if you have one of those ones (teens) that stay in their room. They will always hear you tell them you love them and remember it. (Advice from my teen)
Our journey has not been easy, it has not been the hardest. It has however been our own journey. We are beginning to own it, and by writing this together we would like to let others know that there is hope. There is a light at the end, and it is journey you can travel along with the support of the right people around you.
More specifically from my teen, “Autism isn’t anything to be ashamed about, it makes me who I am, and no two days are the same. Some days can even be quite funny, especially those days when I am super sensory and I cant tolerate anything touching me, and I jump all the time.”