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

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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. 

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. 

Christmas stress

I hope you all had a nice Christmas day. I had a lovely time with my family. I am so lucky that I am close to my parents and siblings. But the same cannot be said for Dave’s family. 

I have always struggled with where I stand with Dave’s Mum. Throughout my relationship with Dave, the few times we do actually see her, she spends most of the time bitching and moaning about other family members. Because of this, I worry what she says about me behind my back. She frequently bitches about Dave’s sister’s husband so why wouldn’t she do the same about me?

Dave’s sister has two little girls. Dave’s parents frequently travel hundreds of miles, to the other end of the country, to see Dave’s sister, her husband and the girls. Dave and I have lived in our current house for nearly four and a half years. Do you want to know how many times Dave’s parents have been to out house in that space of time?….Twice!

Things came to a head during August Bank Holiday weekend. Dave’s cousin was over from Brisbane so she came with us to lunch with Dave’s parents, sister, her husband and their little girl for her 2nd birthday. As soon as we arrived, there was a weird atmosphere. It had been my 30th birthday the week earlier and I hadn’t seen any of them since Christmas. No one asked how I was or if I had a nice birthday. I was really upset when we left. So much so I ended up in tears. 

To top it off, Dave’s parents have never met Walter. Dave’s Mum claims to be scared of dogs. Dave has offered countless times to come to ours to meet him so she can see that there is nothing to be scared of. I have witnessed firsthand the impact of a dog phobia. Dominic was terrified of them for years. Yet he has managed to get over his fear and loves dogs now. A fear in a child with autism is more heightened compared to a fear someone who is neurotypical may have. 

On Bank Holiday Monday, Dave and I are spending the day at his parents. As you can imagine, I am extremely anxious and dreading it. My parents are looking after Walter as we are not allowed to take him with us. This means we have to go out of our way to drop Walter off before driving to their house. 

I feel so bad on Dave. He doesn’t understand why things are so strained and hates the fact his parents haven’t even tried to meet Walter. 

Insomnia

Getting a good night’s sleep has been something I have struggled with for a number of months now. Initially, the issue I had was falling asleep. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I was able to fall asleep as soon as I got into bed even when I have felt like I was dropping on my feet. After hours of tossing and turning I would eventually fall asleep but wake up tired. 

Since switching to Citalopram my insomnia has become noticeably worse. As well as the struggle to fall asleep, I now wake up frequently throughout the night and I am waking up much earlier in the morning. Before taking Citalopram, I wouldn’t even know Dave had got up for work. At present, I am waking up when Dave is getting ready for work. Once I am awake I can’t fall back asleep. Even at weekends when Dave and I have a lie in at least one morning, I am waking up at around 7.30am. 

I only made the link between Citalopram and insomnia when I was driving home from the gym last night. I was being overly harsh on myself as I found the classes at the gym really hard. Yesterday afternoon I felt overwhelmingly tired. I made a conscious effort to eat enough and drink enough water. I ended up with a tired headache. This did go after I had a snack before the gym. Even before bodycombat, my favourite class, I felt spaced out and not totally with it. As the class went on I kept making mistakes that I don’t normally make. 

I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. I say my GP, but I am yet again seeing a random GP as the one I actually like isn’t working this week. This is the third time since being diagnosed that I have had to see a random GP. It is not helpful as I am already worried about what this doctor will be like. I have seen some extremely unsympathetic doctors. I am tired of going over the same things with different doctors. I am definitely mentioning the insomnia. I am open to suggestions as I am trying everything. I do not eat really late at night and I have tried getting baths at night. But, I am reluctant to start on sleeping tablets. 

My anxiety is bad at the moment which I think is linked to lack of sleep. The gym was busy at times last night. I felt on the verge of a panic attack as more people came into the studio. It felt like the walls were coming in on me. Dave and I have been invited to a 30th birthday party for someone from Dave’s work on Saturday. I have met the girl who’s party it is but I have told Dave that I am getting too worked up about it and don’t think it is a good idea that I go. I have told Dave that he should go without me but he is insisting he would rather spend time with me. 

Dave and I had a good time round at our friends on Saturday. We had a lovely Indian takeaway and watched the Lego Movie in 3D which we love. We had intended to watch Gravity as well but we were all too busy talking and catching up. Unfortunately when we got home I got upset. I have noticed that I feel extremely guilty whenever I have a good time. It’s like a part of me feels that I don’t deserve to have positive experiences. I didn’t let this guilt spill over into Sunday. I have recently started watching Pretty Little Liars and I continued with this on Sunday as well as playing some of The Wolf Among Us on the xbox.

This weekend Dave and I are planning on blitzing season 3 of House of Cards which comes out on Netflix. We are still making sure that we see our friends but we’ve agreed that this needs to be one set of friends per weekend. I am still finding it draining if we do too much.