Chester Bennington

Like so many people, I was shocked and saddened to hear that Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide. 

For those who are into rock/metal music, we all have that one band that got you hooked. The band that opened your eyes and ears to music that completely speaks to you. For me, it was Linkin Park. 

When I first discovered Linkin Park they had only just released Hybrid Theory. At the time, I was a teenager. I was struggling back then with feeling of low confidence, doubts and anxiety. I know now it was more than your average teen angst. 

Finding Linkin Park helped me feel a sense of belonging; that other people felt like me, that someone could captivate perfectly my own thoughts and feelings. I was fortunate enough to have seen Linkin Park live on a number of occasions. It’s hard to describe what it was like singing your heart out with thousands of other people. It was beyond magical. 

I have been in that deep, dark place that Chester must have been. It feels neverending. At my worst, I would spend hours researching ways to kill myself including where I would do it. It was all consuming. I didn’t see a way that the darkness would leave. I really wanted it all to end as it was unbearable. 

I can’t remember how or when, but I decided that I couldn’t go on feeling like this. I felt I was just surviving, not living. Thanks to my amazing family and friends who supported me I got the help I needed. It was not easy. Addressing the deep rooted issues in my head is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. At times, I had to take myself out of my comfort zone and trust my therapist. It was scary and exhausting. 

I am not saying that life is now a bed of roses for me. It isn’t. But I can identify triggers or when I am starting to decline. I am more open with my family and friends when things are hard. For years, I hid my difficulties which I now know made things so much more worse for me. 

Things can get better. If someone had told me a few years ago how my life would be now, I would never have believed them. No one should feel like Chester, that suicide is the only option. Please find someone to talk to if you are struggling. 

I hope Chester is at peace now. My thoughts are with his family and friends. I am sure I am not the only one who is grateful to have found Linkin Park. Chester’s voice spoke to a generation and helped us during our worst moments. It is such a shame that he didn’t feel able to continue living when he had so much more to give. 


I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real. 
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along. 

Somewhere I belong 

Linkin Park, Somewhere I belong

Viability


Today marks 24 weeks pregnant which means from this point on, our little girl has a good chance of surviving if she were to be born. This made me smile immensely when it came up on Ovia, one of the pregnancy apps I use. 

For the most part, my morning sickness has gone. I have had the odd bout of it but nothing major. The recent hot weather has been horrible for me. I am finding it harder to get comfy in bed at night even with a pregnancy pillow. But it is so much worse when it is warm. As a result, my sleep has been terrible. I haven’t been the gym since Saturday and have needed to have naps on days when I am particularly tired. 

My bump is definitely more noticeable now. The past few weeks when I have had Dom, he has commented each week that my bump is bigger. 


Our little girl’s movements are becoming much more stronger. Dave, my mum, brother and best friend have all felt her which has been lovely. 

I had a recent spell of being super anxious about our baby. My biggest fear is something is wrong with her or will go wrong. I spoke to Dave and my Mum about it which helped a lot. It is nowhere near as bad now. 

We have booked a 4D scan for the end of August. We are going to where we went for the gender scan as they were brilliant. Plus, they had a great offer on and we couldn’t resist. We only have to wait another 6 weeks for it.

We have had so many lovely people giving us things for our baby. From clothes and books for her to maternity clothes for me. Our little girl is loved by so many already. 

Pregnancy aside, things are good. Spent lots of time with my family recently including a birthday meal for my Dad at the weekend. The times I have been able to go the gym I have thoroughly enjoyed it and kept up in classes. I am doing low impact moves/adaptations when needed. 

From tomorrow Walter’s BFF Lola is staying with us for just over 2 weeks. Dave and I are really looking forward to it. Walter enjoys having her here. Dave has some time off over the next few weeks which will be nice. 

Halfway there

I am now 21 weeks pregnant! So infact I am over the half way point. Yesterday Dave and I had our 20 week anatomy scan. I always feel a mixture of excitement and nerves before scans. 

Our little girl has grown so much since our private gender scan 5 weeks ago. I am so happy that she is healthy and well. She was checked thoroughly from head to toe which reassured Dave and I. Especially with the whole issue with my medication. I was so relieved when they checked her heart and it was fine. As per every scan, our little girl decided to be awkward during the scan. I was asked to go for a wee in the hopes that she would move position (which she did). It made me laugh as I have had to do this during each scan. 

I am feeling our baby girl move so often now. Dave has yet to feel her. She stops moving when he talks to or rub my bump. But it is just a matter of time before he does. I am still having morning sickness. I ended up throwing up outside the house when we got back from the scan yesterday. The majority of the time that I am not being sick I feel nauseous. It is hard at times. But, I know that all this will be worth it by the time our little girl arrives. 

A few weeks ago, we took Walter to Dogfest at Arley Hall for the second year in a row. This year we also went with our friend and her dog Lola. It happened to be unbelievably hot during the week we went to Dogfest. We were frequently putting the dogs into paddling pools, pouring water on them and getting them to drink. 

We made the decision to leave early for Dogfest this year. It was a good decision. We had to queue to get into it, but the queue moved constantly. We got to hear the amazing Noel Fitzpatrick talk this year. He is such an inspiration. 

Noel had this tshirt on during his talk and I couldn’t resist one for myself

Waiting in the queue

Walter all ready for Dogfest

Walter and I did a selfie haha!


How much does Walter suit this flatcap?! 


The main man; Noel Fitzpatrick!

I am planning on going back to the gym tomorrow. I haven’t been for nearly a month what with my asthma being bad and then morning sickness reappearing. I am going to do Zumba and I can’t wait. 

Our little girl already has some lovely clothes thanks to her auntie, Nan and Grandad and her great auntie and uncle in Australia. My Mum is in knitting heaven. The baby already has a matching hat, cardigan and blanket that are beautiful. I also couldn’t resist buying her some things for Father’s Day for Dave. 

These clothes are from my sister


Dave’s Father’s Day presents. The books are so sweet and made me cry reading them. 

Money can’t buy you happiness

As someone who works a handful of hours a week, I find it hard not to think about money and get stressed. I experience a lot of guilt about it. Dave works such long days and I barely work. 

Until this weekend, I never really appreciated that having loads of money doesn’t mean you are really happy. 

I have a wonderful group of friends that I met at the gym. I can’t express how grateful I am for them. They are my cheerleaders when I am struggling, massive amounts of fun to be around and bring out the best in me. 

As I have got to know my three gym friends, I have opened up to them individually about my struggles. Doing this has seen my other friends do the same. 

We have one guy in our group and he struggles massively with mental illness. He has a hugely complicated home life to contend with. He told me in a text message that he couldn’t do this anymore and was thinking of going to A&E as he felt like he was having a breakdown.

Dave and I went and picked him up on Saturday night and I dropped him back home today. He was in a bad way on Saturday night. But he has picked himself back up. I have told my friend that he can stay in our spare room whenever he needs to. 

My friend doesn’t have the luxury of a calm environment when things are too much for him. He gave up a high paid career in London 6 years ago when his Dad had a massive breakdown. His family all have their own issues and they all live under one roof. My friend doesn’t have a loving and supportive family that will always have his back. His family are quite the opposite. 

I am so glad that Dave and I were able to help a friend. My friend told me today that before Dave and I picked him up on Saturday, he was going through all the different ways he could kill himself. 

Although Dave and I might not be rich in terms of money, we are rich in so many other ways; love, family and friends but to name a few. 

Value the people in your life. We all have different struggles to face. You might not be able to be there with family or friends during particular struggles, but you can always be there for them to make those struggles easier to get through. 

Realities of anxiety

Oh anxiety. You love to lull me into a false sense of security. Then you pop up and make me feel miserable in the process. I don’t need you chipping away at me; telling me to stay in, not to go to things I have been invited to, making me compare myself to others and never feeling good enough. 

I experience anxiety every single day. I wish I didn’t, but anxiety is always going to be a part of my life. On a good day, I can ignore the anxiety and continue with every day things. But, there are days when it is so damn hard. Where it takes every ounce of my being to keep going. Anxiety and depression are a horrible combination. It feels like they fuel each other and that I am stuck in a vicious cycle; if I am highly anxious it has a negative impact on my mood and vice versa. 

I have got a lovely group of friends that I met at the gym. They are caring, supportive and so much fun to be around. I feel that they are too good to be my friends. Every time I open up I experience guilt and fear that I am pushing them away. 

It would be nice to be able to accept an invitation to a social event without experiencing anxiety. I would love to not feel paranoid and anxious whenever I am in the gym, walking Walter or anywhere else in public. But it isn’t realistic to expect these things. My anxiety is a part of me. It’s just hard to accept at times. 

Happily proven wrong

If you read my last post, I was struggling. I was utterly convinced that Christmas and everything associated with it would be terrible. 

I was proved wrong. 

Dave and I rushed round like headless chickens wrapping Christmas presents, packing our things to stay at my parents and making sure we had everything we would or might need for Walter. 

Dave drove us to his parents on Christmas Eve morning. The nearer we got there, the more anxious I felt. 

It turns out my nieces think Auntie Gemma is awesome. The day was spent playing duplo and playmobile and decorating a gingerbread house with my 3 year old niece and chasing after my one year old niece who has mastered the art of walking. I don’t really know my nieces. Dave and I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with them as they live hundreds of miles away. It was nice spending time with them. 

Christmas Day was spent with my family. It was a really relaxing day. Dave completely surprised me by giving me an Xbox One! 

Dave and I managed to sort out loads in our new house over the Christmas break. It feels so much more homely. We spent time with some friends and went on a big dog walk with my friends from the gym. 

Tomorrow Dave is back at work. It has been lovely having him home. We have lots of things planned for the house and the future. 

So here’s to 2017. Hope it’s a good one for all of you. 

A strange trigger

Since the house move, I had been coping (at least I thought I had) with the upset with handing my notice in. A friend messaged me as she found out about it through another friend. They are both aware of my anxiety and depression. My friends had talked about the issue I had to deal with in regards to work. 

A friend asking if I am ok has made my mood drop significantly lower. How messed up is that?! Mental illness is such a strange thing. 

Deep down, I know I did the right thing. But I guess I am still processing the whole thing. I have been doing an accredited online dog walking course which, so far, I am enjoying. A fresh start is always good. 

I talked with my lovely friend on here Vicky about how I was feeling. She is such a good person and gives great advice and support. Last night I looked after my friend’s two little girls while she was at college. They always make me smile and laugh. So all of this has helped. 

I’m chilling with two good friends later on today. Tomorrow Dave, Walter and I are up to Vicky’s to have a Christmas get together. Spending time with some of my favourite people is always good. Even when I don’t feel at my best.