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. 

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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. 

A world without Down’s Syndrome? No thanks!

This post is in relation to the recent documentary of the above title that was shown on the BBC last week. 

Is it really 2016? Do I really live in a country that sees difference as less? Apparently so…

Instead of seeing those with Down’s Syndrome as a burden, I wish the world could see the many positives and benefits. It is important to bear in mind that the physical health problems that can affect those with Down’s Syndrome can also be present in anyone of us. 

The information given to expectant mothers in this country does not help them make truly informed decisions. It appears that it is all doom and gloom if you have a child with Down’s Syndrome. How can any medical professional categorically say that a newborn baby with Down’s Syndrome will not meet particular milestones? We are living in a society that sees people in terms of how much they will cost, not their strengths or what they can offer their communities. 

I have worked with the most amazing teenager with Down’s Syndrome for a little over a year. It is not an exaggeration that she has helped me as much as I have helped her. 

September 2015 saw me at a low; I was under the crisis team and rarely leaving the house. My anxiety and depression had complete control of me. I started working with Faith mid September. She was like a ray of sunshine. She gave me a reason to leave the house. Faith genuinely misses me when I am unable to work with her. She cares about me so much and this was very much needed at my lowest. 

In the space of a year, Faith has developed her own self help skills. She can now fasten buttons, organise her belongings for school and tidy up after herself. Faith is an active member of her local guides group. She has friends there. When we first started going, Faith would be practically glued to me. Now, she will go over and sit with her friends and initiate conversations. She is so much more confident. Faith completed the summer reading challenge in her local library. She has gone up an entire level in her reading! Faith’s sense of humour has come on leaps and bounds. Her emotional understanding is always improving. She apologises when she is in the wrong and can explain why she is sorry. Faith is lovely with animals. She loves nothing more than walking round the park with Walter and Bella. Faith wants to learn new skills and to be as independent as possible. She just needs more help to show her how. 

I am fully aware that a child with Down’s Syndrome brings its own challenges. Faith can be incredible stubborn, easily distracted, bossy and can choose to do things how and when she wants. Not everyone feels they are able to have a child with Down’s Syndrome which is completely understandable. 

This post isn’t intended to shame those who feel unable to have a child with Down’s Syndrome. I am all for pro choice. But bear in mind that a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome is not necessarily a bad one. Working with a child with Down’s Syndrome has made me more patient, empathetic, caring, tolerant and understanding. I get to laugh, smile and enjoy life in so many ways thanks to Down’s Syndrome. 

I dread to think what my life would be like without the wonder that is Down’s Syndrome. 

Rock Bottom

Have you ever cried so much that your whole face hurts? Your eyes feel heavy and you feel exhausted from using up so much energy. This is my current state. 

After managing to spend the day with my friend, her little girl and our dogs, my mood had started to improve. But due to an incident at work, I am at rock bottom. I am now questioning myself in so many ways. 

I can’t go into detail about what happened, but I absolutely broke down in work. I tried incredibly hard not to get upset. But now I am home I think that my anxiety was so high that I was having a severe panic attack. When driving home from work (early I may add as my boss was so concerned for my emotional state) I spent the entire drive thinking of ways I wanted to hurt myself. I can safely say I didn’t act upon any of these. But it has left me scared and uneasy. 

This whole incident has me questioning  whether I can continue certain aspects of my jobs. I felt that I had done the right thing. But I was made to feel that I was in the wrong. I find the whole thing really sad. I feel that I go above and beyond in my jobs. I feel like it has all been thrown back in my face. 

Dave is unaware of anything about tonight. He is in work until 10pm and I felt it completely unfair on him to get in touch with him. It would only upset him and he wouldn’t be able to do anything to help. 

Part of me is embarassed that I reacted like this. It just highlights how unstable I am. I want to just hibernate for a while. It feels that there is one thing after another. I use so much energy to get through each day and for what?

A bump in the road

I have debated about whether I should write this post. Especially as things have been going so well for me. But I also think it is important that I acknowledge on here when things aren’t so great. 

The truth is, my mood has got progressively worse over the past few days. At the beginning of the week, I continued to push through it. But last night I came home from work and just cried. Everything feels overwhelming; work, the gym, even interacting with people. 

I am trying so hard to be kind to myself. My default mode whenever I am struggling is to chastise myself. I have done a 6km run with my friend, a PT session involving weights and boxing and a bodycombat class. I am still going to work even though it is taking every ounce of my being to be my usual self with Dom and Faith. But I can’t help repeatedly telling myself that I am just not good enough. 

I have decided to give Zumba and Bodysculpt a miss tomorrow. I am aching all over from going back to the gym. Particularly my thighs. I am struggling to get enough sleep so I could do with chilling out tomorrow during the day. On Friday, Walter and I are going to meet up with my mate, her dog and her nearly 4 year old for a dog walk. 

Dave and my mate know that I am struggling. They are both really worried. But they don’t know the full extent of how much I am struggling…

Depression likes to tell me that my life is worthless, that I don’t deserve to be happy, nobody likes me and that I am just an annoyance to those around me. So it is extremely hard to believe that this will eventually pass. 

What the mind believes…

Yesterday, I completed a 5km colour run. It might not seem like much to some of you, but for me it is an achievement. Running is not my thing. Give me boxing, weights, body exercises, rowing machine, pretty much anything else over running. 

When Dave and I went to meet our mortgage broker, there was an advertisement for the colour run. I decided I wanted to do it there and then. I spread the word about it and in the end, 4 of us did it together. 

Leading up to the run, my friend pushed me in the gym. I did interval running on a treadmill; increasing how fast I was running and shorting my resting period. It was hard and at times I wanted to give up. But I didn’t. 

The week before the run I got a cold. It became progressively worse; my head was constantly banging, my throat was red raw and my entire face felt like it had been kicked. I rested for the 3 days leading up to the run. I knew there was a possibility I would end up being more ill as a result of doing the run. But I took the chance. I didn’t want to quit. 

I surprised myself when doing the run. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. As a result, I am seriously considering doing a 10km with two of my friends from the gym. I am quite ill now. I feel like I have a chest infection; my chest hurts all the time, I have a painful cough and I am bringing up a lot of phlegm. But I am still so proud that I ran 5km. 


For all of us living with mental illness, we have to constantly push ourselves if we want to recover or continue to stay well. It isn’t always easy, especially when life decides to throw a curveball. But hard work and perseverance pays off. 

A year ago I was under the crisis team; I was suicidal, constantly anxious and saw no possible way that things could improve. At times, it would have been easier for me to not get help or gain an understanding of how anxiety and depression affect me. Like running, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to get out of the negative spiral I was in. This was extremely difficult at times. 

My life is better now and I am a happier person. Dave and I are in the process of buying our first house, I have an amazing family and fantastic friends, a lovely dog and a wonderful job. All of this can only help when life throws a curveball my way. 

In the summer time

During the school holidays, I work more. As a result, I have been slacking in regards to my blog. Thankfully, I have been feeling a lot better since I posted last. But if I feel like it again I will be going to see my GP. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Dom and Faith more than usual. The days fly by and we have been up to lots of things. I have shared a number of photos on my Instagram account (@originalgemskibob) if you would like to see them. 

Dom has enjoyed spending time with Walter. We have taken him for walks and all enjoyed some lovely ice cream. Dom, Walter and I visited my sister at work. Walter was fussed over and Dom made sure everyone was working! Tomorrow he wants to bake a cake for my birthday at the weekend. This is the first time Dom has asked to do anything like this for my birthday. 

Faith and I have done loads this summer; colouring in, played board games, dog walks in the park, watched DVDs, been the cinema, shopped, workshops at Pets At Home and started a reading challenge at the library. 

As I mentioned earlier, this weekend it will be my 31st birthday. Dave and I are having time off work and having some much needed time together. We are seeing a mortgage broker on as we are desperate to have our own house. We are also spending time with our friend and her two little girls and having a meal with family. 

In terms of my mental health, I am doing well. I still experience a dip in my mood and anxiety but I am able to deal with it. It helps that I have a really good support network around me. 

One way I know that I am in a good place is that I am really broody. Dave and I have talked about having children. Once we are settled in our own home, we are going to start trying for a baby. As excited as I am, I am also terrified about having a baby. A huge concern I have is my medication. I would not be able to take the anti depressant I am currently taking. I have had a long struggle to find the right medication for me so the thought of having to talk to my GP about this fills me with dread.