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. 

Mummy Guilt

How is possible that at 18 weeks pregnant I am already experiencing Mummy guilt? There are two reasons. The first came about at what I thought was going to be a routine asthma review. 

Last Friday afternoon, I had a routine asthma review. The day after my review, my asthma became worse due to a cold I had getting on to my chest which is just typical. When I arrived for my appointment, the receptionist told me that I needed a doctor’s appointment to discuss my recent blood tests. Luckily, I managed to get an appointment after my asthma review. 

I am taking folic acid and vitamin D and I was told that I needed blood tests in order to receive more. I was advised to take this while pregnant. My vitamin D levels are low. But is it any wonder when I live in the UK? We don’t get enough sun. 

When looking through my notes, the doctor found that I was on paroxetine. She said that I shouldn’t be taking this when pregnant. I felt so sick, anxious and let down. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I saw my GP so I could discuss my medication. I was told paroxetine would be fine to take. To then be told that fluoxetine is a safer SSRI  made me feel so guilty. I have been risking my baby’s health and it could have been avoided. Paroxetine has an associated risk of heart problems in babies during their first few months. The only reassurance I have is that each and every scan we have had, our little girl has had a strong, healthy heart. I have been taking fluoxetine since Sunday and I see my midwife a week today. I need to book an appointment to see the GP next week so they can see how I am doing. 

The other reason I feel guilty is my lack of appetite and nausea which seems to have got worse again rather than better. I have been making a conscious effort to eat healthy. Yet thanks to morning sickness (which by the way, happens any time of day) I threw up all the grapes I had managed to eat. I worry that my little girl isn’t getting enough nutrition to grow and be healthy. 

I think I am dwelling on things a lot more than I normally would. As I mentioned earlier, I have been physically unwell. I am finally starting to feel better. Although I don’t work much, I do have a routine; going the gym, seeing family and friends, walking Walter. All of this has gone out of the window. I have been stuck in the house. Thankfully, I have Dom in a few hours and the sun is shining. 

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. 

Hopes and Dreams

Living with mental illness has made me rethink my hopes and dreams. 

Before I became ill, I wanted a career. I worked full time after I graduated university, aged 21, until last year. I had dreams of being someone really high up and influential in the field of autism. I pushed myself so much. My job defined me. It was on my mind constantly. 

Before I became ill, I was always socialising. Weekends and evenings were filled with plans. I was a social butterfly; always arranging plans and spending loads of my time at different places. 

Before I became ill, I thought I would end up having children. From a young age I wanted my own children. I couldn’t envisage my life without them. 

I have had the title of this post saved in my drafts for the past few weeks. Over the past 24 hours, my sister in law gave birth to my second niece and a good friend had a little girl. It has made me think of how different things are in my life compared to a lot of other people. But I also realise that comparing my life to others is not productive or conducive in terms of my recovery. 

Living with mental illness has made me realise that I need to work to live and not live to work. Being in a highly pressurised and stressful work environment will only lead to high levels of anxiety and low moods. 

Living with mental illness makes socialising really difficult. It sometimes means passing on invites to social events that will be busy or have lots of people there. Quality over quantity; surrounding myself with a few good people rather than lots of people is better for my well being. 

Living with mental illness has made me rethink my view on having children. I would never want to have a child if they were to inherit my anxiety and depression. It is not something I would wish upon anyone, least of all my own child. I struggle almost every day with anxiety and depression. It would not be fair to bring children into the mix. I worry that I would be a terrible mother because of this. I will sound selfish now, but my anxiety and depression tell me how hideous I am; that I am fat, ugly and disgusting. Having a child may potentially make this worse. 

Living with mental illness makes me value the little things in life; health, love, family and friends. So my hopes and dreams are simply:

  • To be able to manage my anxiety and depression
  • To continue to have good relationships with my husband, immediate family and friends
  • To have a job that makes me feel worthwhile
  • To be happy

Enjoying life

Things are still going well. I am really enjoying working with little miss. Even when she is being cheeky. We have a right giggle and the time flies by. I am working more with her next week and I am looking forward to it. 

I’ve spent more time with my family recently. It has been great. My Dad and I took Walter to the park on Tuesday. Nosy Walter was going up to each and every dog we walked past. I also got my hair cut. 

  
It is getting shorter each time it gets cut. I love it. Although the left side of my head feels unusually lighter haha!

I decided that I wasn’t comfortable switching to Sertraline. I have continued to take the lower 20mg dose of Citalopram. I am managing well on it. I don’t think it is worth the potential risks that come with switching medication. I feel stable and I’m not overwhelmed with anxiety or low moods. I have an appointment with the crisis team on Tuesday afternoon so they can see how I’m doing. I plan on telling them all this. 

Tomorrow morning I am doing another Fit 4 5ive event at the gym. This time we are raising money for cancer research. 

  
I was full of apprehension before the last Fit 4 5ive in January. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Even though I am tired from the early get ups for work the past two days. 

My philosophy is still to take each day at a time. It is just nice to actually be enjoying life at the moment. I have little miss again later when she gets home from school. We are going to be making cakes with her mum if she has been good at school 🙂

Up and Down

I have continued to be up and down throughout this week. I don’t know which is worse; knowing why you are feeling anxious or unexplained bouts of anxiety. I’ve felt on edge a lot this weekend which has been frustrating. Especially when I have had such a chilled out time and managed to catch up on sleep. I have talked with Dave about it. I wonder if I am anticipating something going wrong and that’s why I am anxious if that makes sense. 

On Wednesday I have an interview for the job I applied for! I (well, my depression) convinced myself I wouldn’t be shortlisted. I have to travel to London for the interview. Dave has taken the day off work to come with me. I told him I would be ok but he insisted. He is so sweet. We are going to travel to London by train. My parents are going to have Walter for the day. I have sorted out all the documentation I need and what I will wear. It’s hard not to think about the interview. It is an amazing opportunity. All I can do is try my best. 

Walter continues to do well at puppy class. We did a recall exercise yesterday. One of the trainers kept hold of Walter’s lead. Dave and I were asked to stand opposite Walter some distance away. We then had to call Walter’s name. Our little dude did amazingly. As soon as he heard us shout he ran as fast as his little legs could carry him. This week I am going to work on teaching him to turn. 

   
   
Walter with his new teddy. We have to take a favourite toy of his to puppy class next week. I think this will be it!