It’s (not) the most wonderful time of the year

This blog title is in no means a way of me coming across a scrooge. But living with anxiety and depression, I find Christmas so incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. 

It is nearly two years to the day that I was at such a low that I had to see my GP. He told me that I had anxiety and moderate depression. Maybe this plays a part in my view of Christmas. That Christmas two years ago was truly awful. I spent most of the day crying. I was very close to spending the entire day in bed. It took me hours to even get dressed, let alone leave the house. 

But it is not just that. Christmas brings so many expectations. Some of these are what society deems to be the perfect Christmas; spending lots of money, drinking copious amounts of alcohol are just some that spring to mind. 

But when you have anxiety and depression, social events bring a number of added pressures. For me, there are people I have to spend time with because that is what you do at Christmas. I honestly don’t know why. It all seems so fake and pointless. 

I have to spend Christmas Eve with Dave’s parents, sister, her husband and my nieces. I am totally dreading it. My in laws have always made me feel inadequate, make no time for Dave and I feel like I can’t be myself around them. My nieces are 3 and 1. They live hundreds of miles away. I have met the older one a handful of times. The one year old I have met once which was last Christmas. I love kids. But as I don’t feel comfortable with Dave’s family, I feel like they are judging how I am around the girls. It feels like an act. We pretend that we are this close family and it really gets to me. 

I experience anxiety every single day for a variety of reasons. My anxiety is heightened when things change. I am a creature of habit which is not necessarily a bad thing. It actually helps keep me feeling well. So the unknown of social situations that take place once a year cranks my anxiety to the max. 

The feelings of guilt I have for having anxiety and depression are overwhelming at times. This is even worse during the Christmas period. At times, I have to put on a front during social gatherings. I have no right to spoil other people’s Christmas just because I am really anxious or my mood is really low. 

One thing I need to keep well is down time; time for myself to fully relax and to do things that destress me. I find it hard to let people down. I am a people pleaser. I think that because I experience a lot of mental anquish I don’t want the people I care about to feel even a fraction of that. If friends want to spend time with me I will do my best to see them. 

Please know that I am so grateful that I have wonderful and supportive friends. I am not for one moment moaning about this. But in the back of my mind, I have a constant fear of having a major relapse if I have to mask how bad my mental state is. The vast majority of people in my life are completely unaware when I am struggling or going through a rough time. I don’t want people to worry. 

The funny thing is, I put on such a good front that I must come across as confident, outgoing and self assured in social situations. But for the most part, it is the complete opposite. 

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‘Just a dog’

For a number of reasons, I have had to stop working with Faith. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. In the back of my mind, since the incident that happened recently, I thought this was inevitable. For one thing, Faith’s mum is a heavy smoker. Dave and I had recently talked about when I became pregnant I would have to stop working with Faith because of this. 

For nearly a year, Walter came with me to Faith’s. I was told that he was more than welcome there. Faith’s family had got a kitten recently and I was told until the kitten and their dog had gotten totally used to each other that it would be best not to bring Walter. I totally understood this. I was under the impression that I would be able to bring Walter with me from the messages I received. 

I arranged for a friend to look after Walter while I worked. While trying to arrange this, messages were received saying a number of things that I perceived as hurtful. One being that Walter is ‘just a dog’ and I should be able to leave him for 5 hours for evenings four times each week. 

Things were said to me that couldn’t be unsaid. A lot of hurtful things.  As a result, I had to make a tough decision to stop working with Faith. It probably sounds like all I seem to do is quit when things are difficult. But, the past two years have taught me that I struggle to deal with conflict. I shouldn’t have to deal with conflict in a work setting on a regular basis. It has a negative impact on all other aspects of my life. 

It might seem silly that I have stopped working over ‘just a dog’. But Walter is far more than that to Dave and I. Before we decided to get Walter we read up a lot about dachshunds. They are prone to separation anxiety. That is not to say that Walter is never left and that I don’t go out. He is left when I go shopping and the gym. But 5 hours on his own? We didn’t get Walter to leave him for that long on his own.

Sometimes (such as at the moment) Walter is the only thing that makes me leave the house. I have only left the house the past three days because Walter has needed to go for a walk. He is my little buddy and keeps me going. He is always there no matter how low and anxious I am. 

So just a dog? No, he is a super dog to me. 

My hero

We all have people we look up to. People who inspire us and make us want to be better people. 

On 26th November 2006, my sister’s best friend and a friend of mine was murdered by her ex boyfriend and the father of their then one year old son. She was just 17 years old. 

Laura lived opposite where I grew up. I was lucky to have grown up in a quiet suburb with a number of children of a similar age. Laura had such a sense of fun. She was forever smiling and laughing. Laura was kind, caring and thoughtful. 

Even though it has been 10 years since Laura tragically died, a part of me still cannot believe I will never see her again. Sometimes when I go to see my parents, I picture her walking down the road with a big grin on her face. 

I thought I had known all the details surrounding Laura’s death. On Saturday, her younger brother did a Facebook live post at the place where she died. He wanted people to know that his sister is a hero. 

I was unaware that Laura’s ex boyfriend also tried to stab their one year old son. She suffered six stab wounds that should have killed her. Laura had the strength to protect her baby. She made sure that her son was given to a couple who happened to be nearby. The male tried to help save Laura as she was bleeding profusely. Laura calmly told the man the full name of her ex boyfriend who had stabbed her. While Laura was as I now know dying, she was still so caring and thoughtful. She asked the man trying to save her if he was ok. Eventually, Laura told the man she was going to go. She closed her eyes and died. 

Even though Laura probably knew she was dying and in a great deal of pain, her first thoughts were of others. For her little boy and a complete stranger. 

Some of your heroes might be footballers, singers or actors. But my hero is Laura Bailey. Her actions throughout her life were heroic. She always put other people first and paid the ultimate price for this. I am lucky to have known such a thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate and funny person. 

If you would like to see the live Facebook video that Laura’s brother did on Saturday, please click here.

Lovely friends, lovely moments

Sorry I have been so quiet on here. But it’s all for good reasons. I have been busy spending time with my favourite people.

I love my group of friends at the gym. They are so amazing, positive and encouraging. They have been there when I have been anxious or my mood has been low. I’ve had motivating messages and offers of phone calls during recent lows. They just totally understand my anxiety and depression. 

So my life recently has been dachshund meet ups, christmas coffees, party planning, cinema trips and it has been lovely. 

Walter and Poppy

Walter looking very handsome in his new red jumper

Salted cappuccino and honeycomb latte

Doggy selfie

Walter and Lola


I can’t take credit for the amazing birthday cake. My mate made this over the past two days. I made the cartoon words, zested some lemons, washed and dried a lot of dishes and kept my mate company. 

So this time in two weeks (hopefully), Dave, Walter and I will be in our very own house. Just need to get a move on with packing!