Depression and Food – Breaking the Cycle, and the Taboo

I was sent this story about about someone wanting to share there experience with others about their battle with depression, I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did…

Depression has always been one of those taboo subjects and perhaps is why I haven’t spoken about it openly before.

Mental illness runs strong in my family, almost every maternal and paternal relative of mine has struggled with mental health issues at some point in their life. However, as a family, we never discussed these issues and they are simply swept under the carpet and left to fester.

My wake-up call came when a very close relative of mine attempted suicide twice.

Rather than speak to us about his feelings, he wrote them down in a suicide note minutes prior to his second suicide attempt.

This was the saddest thing I have ever read. He spoke about his utter desperation following the breakup of a relationship and how he simply could not climb out of the pit he had fallen into.

Loneliness, heart-ache and an inability to properly express his feelings were the main themes of the note.

He expressed his love to us all and left a heart-felt apology for the ultimate damage and destruction his actions would cause to those he was leaving behind.

Luckily, we found him just in time and an ambulance was called.

What followed in the days after the incident, as we sat around his hospital bed as he lay a wreck, a shadow of his former self was anger, regret, sadness but most of all, realisation.
Such a horrific incident made us all talk about our feelings.

As he slipped in and out of consciousness, as a family, we all discussed our emotions – not in relation to the incident, but how we were in life.

I was stunned to discover that all of us who sat around that bed had at some point seriously contemplated suicide.

A series of family events from long ago had affected us all in very different ways, however, the impact was the same. We all felt hurt, anger, hopelessness and utter devastation. Had we all come together, as a family to discuss these issues at the time, we may have all avoided the clutches of depression, or at least assisted each other through our individual long-standing mental illnesses.

We all made a pact that day to be more open, honest and supportive towards each other, and we did.

I decided that the best way to help myself (and to help my suicidal relative) was to face up to my own depression. I literally took a seriously long look in the mirror in a quest for answers.

The once happy, active, confident, outgoing woman I once was remained concealed under a large amount of baggy clothing.

The once well kempt face and manicured nails had been abandoned and the jewellery I had formerly so proudly worn was lost in the chaos of my bedroom. As I pondered, I felt sad, and so, I ate.

Eating gave me a boost!

That few moments of a tasty chocolate treat seemingly blocked out all the emotions I was feeling.

Food made me feel good!

Once this sensation had passed, the sadness, bitterness and anger returned. Returning to the mirror, I could see what I had become, and I hated it!

I was trapped in a cycle – I ate because I was depressed, but I was depressed because I ate.

My sense of self had diminished – I no longer wanted to look too long in the mirror, to wear the jewellery, to put on the make-up, to adorn the nice clothing. Instead, I chose to hide, disguise myself, to blend in, like a chameleon.

This realisation sounds so simple, how did I not know this before?

I had avoided looking at myself in the mirror, literally and metaphorically – I was not only hiding from the world but also from myself.

With this acknowledgement came a further flood of realisations – my health was suffering because I had become so unhealthy and inactive.

Once a keen walker, I had avoided taking a stroll uses excuses such as the weather, timing or a lack of well-fitting clothes.

I had stopped regularly taking my anti-depressants – each time I tried to swallow them, I regurgitated them, I felt sick and dizzy if I could swallow them.

These were all psychological illusions, not as I had thought in my depressive state, that the pills were bad for me.

Once I had acknowledged the problem – I had to figure out a way to break the cycle.

My first step was to regularly take my medication. After a few days, once they properly got into my system, the erratic emotions I had been experiencing, either extreme sadness or extreme happiness mellowed and a more chilled and level me returned.

My children took notice and commented on how happy I was around the home. The energy has changed, my husband told me, from feeling like an explosion was imminent to a tranquil, homely place.

My biggest challenge yet was to face my relationship with food.

Binge eating had to stop.

I made a little extra time to prepare and cook food. Rather than reaching for the sweet tasting chocolate treats, I had chopped vegetable sticks and had them on hand.

I left satsumas in the fruit bowl, these sweet, colourful and juicy fruits gave me the buzz I was looking for.

I love cooking, so I invested in a new cook book – it was a present to myself to encourage me to continue to the good work!

Best of all, I have started walking again!

Starting off with a determination to walk rather than take the car, I started off with a few small, simple walks to get me back into the swing of things.

I’m still working my way up to my former power-walking sessions, but I’m taking positive steps in the right direction!

I’m not even concerned about my weight loss – I haven’t even weighed myself. I’m focusing on how I feel in myself, in my own body and reclaiming it, for me!

I’m proud to report that my once suicidal relative accepted the counselling he was offered and is working through his issues.

As we talked more openly, he told me that he had in fact been struggling with an eating disorder for quite some time (something he too had only realised, or acknowledged, once he had starred into the mirror of self-reflection).

Rather than binge eat on fatty food as I had done, he had instead restricted his diet in an effort to loose weight.

Just as I felt that buzz when I ate junk food, he felt the same as he experienced hunger pains.

To him, this was a triumph.

If only we had felt able to talk more openly to each other about these experiences, we would have discovered we both had an unhealthy relationship with food.

We now work together and I’m extremely grateful for the support he has given me.

Being able to talk openly with my family has helped greatly.

Talking openly to people about my depression and anxiety more generally also helps and I can quite proudly say, ‘I’m recovering from depression’ and not feel as I once felt in my lowest moments. I have decided I no longer suffer with depression, it’s an illness I’m determined to fight, and I won’t let it get the better of me.

What an incredible story, if you would like to read more from this inspirational lady then you can on the links below.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lellaleeblog

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lellaleeblog

http://www.lellalee.com

Daddy Giraffe x

Anxiety the unwanted guest

We all have all had that nagging headache that wont go away, you take painkillers but it’s still there in the back ground so you have no choice to deal with it, well if you suffer with Anxiety then you know all about it being an unwanted guest and it lurking in the back ground.

If you look up Anxiety on the internet it will tell you that It is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear and can stem anything from mild to severe.

But if you suffer with Anxiety it means so much more and the symptoms you get is far worse than is described.

Generally Anxiety forms when we are tense, worried or afraid.

You worry about things that could happen and what could possibly happen in the future and with this you will go through many different scenarios in your head getting you more stressed in the process.

Anxiety
Anxiety

I suffer with a very mild case of Anxiety myself and I have been around a few people with very severe cases and I was shocked with how it affect you as a whole mentally and physically.

It can lead on to panic attacks, give you severe agoraphobia even symptoms of you feel so poorly that you need medical help because you fear something maybe happening to you.

Its drain you, deprives you of sleep because you never switch off and in turn you get poorly easier because your body is so run down and you just need a break.

When I did a bit of research online about this I was surprised at some of the stats I found such as

  • In 2013 there was 8.2 million cases of Anxiety in the UK (That was back in 2013 can you imagine what that would be like now and not to mention that is just in the UK alone.
  • Women in England are twice as likely to suffer from Anxiety than men

Although this can be treated with medication people are still suffering and it just masks the problem so please if you see someone suffering with Anxiety be a bit more understanding and patient.

Your impatience is just going to make the situation worse, there not being silly or will get over it once they just calm down they just need some care, understanding and time.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”

If anyone suffers reading this suffers with Anxiety I wish you all the best and hope it gets better for you and you get all the help you need.

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Coming together slowly but surely

Recently I have had a few targets and things I wanted to achieve or at least do well in and after sitting down now for a while and thinking about it I see that it’s coming together slowly but surely.

Blogging

I first got into this to put my thoughts out there to the world on what it was like to have Mental Health while trying to raise a family.

Truth be told it started out ok the ideas came flying out but then it starts to dry up and you have writers block on what people would actually want to read.

But over a year of writing and persistence im finally starting to get somewhere and within the year…

  • My views went up including people following me on social media
  • I’ve had lots of requests for reviews including children’s books, toys, drinks and trips out.
  • Inspired people to open up and not only talk about the own Mental Health but write their own blog about it.
  • Being named in the top 200 Parenting Bloggers in the UK (It was number 185 but still that counts right?)
Blog Award
Blog Award

 

Mental Health

This actually isn’t to bad at the moment despite being messed around with the MH Team for over a year with cancelled appointments, false promises and lack of care.

Lucky for me a have good caring people around me that will catch me when I fall, hopefully I wont fall anytime soon and im not in the state of not knowing if I was coming or going.

I’m taking my medication on time and when I should be which seems to be doing the trick we just have to see how it goes I don’t want to be heading back in hospital any time soon.

Mental Health
Mental Health

 

Family

I can’t complain about anything!

The kids are doing fantastic in and out of school, the little ones are setting inside there new schools and the big ones are getting good grades.

Things are going well between me and Cheryl, we are getting on and moving forward its been a long process but we have learned to talk and I’ve kinda learned to listen.

Big family events are coming up soon such as Halloween and of course Christmas as im very much looking forward to these and the excitement.

Family
Family

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Daddy and son lunch day

Today was the day Freddie was looking forward to in a while, it was the day where daddy came to his big boy school for lunch.

For lunch that day happened to be pizza which is always a bonus since the daddy daughter lunch I had with Annabelle was a horrible tasting Sunday dinner.

Pizza
Pizza

Cheryl had to help her dad out this morning so I was in charge of making sure the kiddies got to school on time, no problem right how hard can that be?

Until half way to school Freddie and Annabelle was playing a game where if you touch a lamppost you get points, now bear in mind this is my son so it wasn’t going to be as easy as that.

He runs full speed to tag this lamppost but forgot to put his arms out to stop his so BANG!, he hits the post face first causing a massive mark covering his eye so now I have to say you wont believe this but Freddie ran into a lamppost on the way here, luckily for me this teacher saw the funny side.

The time comes and im waiting at the school ready to go in and I can see how excited he is as he sees me through the glass, he takes my hand and guides me into the dinner hall for Daddy and Son lunch.

It is possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen watching him in the dinner Que waiting for his lunch and waiting for his turn.

Its Freddie’s turn and he orders Pizza, pasta and beans and tells the first dinner lady ” My names Freddie Hopkins” to which she responds ” I know Freddie you tell me every day darling”.

We get to the end to pay and Freddie looks at the lady and say ” This is my daddy his name is Gareth Hopkins”

The lady smiles as I pay and the big boy finds us somewhere to sit, Freddie ate his Pizza, my pizza, his pasta and ice cream to then tell me he thinks he’s full now.

He shows me how he cleans up after his meal and now I know he can do it with no problem the little rascal, he then takes my hand and shows me to the door to go home gives me a kiss and wanders off to his classroom.

I stand there for a moment and watch him walk away thinking where did my little baby boy go?

I really enjoyed Daddy and Son lunch and can’t wait for Freddie’s first parents evening, this could be interesting.

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to be a better me

How many of you reading this can honestly say that you feel like you are the best possible person you can be, now how many of you are trying to be better people day by day to try to make a difference?

In the past I have made my fair share of mistakes, bad choices and hurt people but does that mean it defines who I am right now as a person or who I could possibly be in the future?

Where I am at the moment is im at the stage of I want to be a better person not just for me but for my family and loved ones around me but is this too late is the damage done, there is second third chances what about 99th chances they have to exist right?

First and foremost I want to be a better person for my children, I feel my Mental Health has put them through so much already and added with the fact I was taken away for a short while didn’t help things but I want them to see me as a strong individual who has it all together, who doesn’t break or bend and that they can rely on in time that are both good and bad.

I want to mend bridges with people I have hurt in the past, I’ve hurt a lot of people and feelings, this is something that I can’t possibly mend but I feel that at least the effort can and should be made because it’s the right thing to do because sometimes sorry just isn’t enough.

In trying to be a better person I can make more of an effort with how I approach people and interact, I don’t generally like people or to be surrounded by people but im slowly learning that in this world unless you surround yourself with love and laughter that you don’t really have much else.

So if you see me in the street and I look like a have a face of thunder it’s just my face its stuck like that but just know I will take the time to talk to you, if ive hurt you in the past know that im truly sorry and I will make it up to you somewhere down the line.

Day by day im trying to be better just bear with me

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Taking a closer look

What a crazy year it has been so far and it’s not even over yet but will bound to be busy with the up and coming months ahead and as im thinking about the journey ive been on ive started taking a closer look and certain things pop up which I was blind too.

If you read my blog you will know a have been diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder which not only took its toll on me but my entire family with Cheryl taking the full force of it and handling it the best she could without turning to anyone as I kept my illness a secret.

Throughout the hardest times in our relationship and the battle with appointments I was to busy dwelling within myself and hating the rest of the world to see this woman, the mother of my children the person who stood not moving throughout it all was standing right in front of me.

We broke up I couldn’t take the arguing or what I though was arguing and despite the protests I walked away for what I thought was the right reasons and stuck to my decision then it struck me I was sectioned.

Despite the way she was treated and all the tears and heartbreak this woman went through she took me by the hand and helped me though it all, drove 2 hours a day to visit me when I was so alone in this world just to show me that someone cared but again I didn’t see this.

Again filled with low self pity and focusing on the fact that I was right and this was the right thing to do I pushed her away, said horrible things and wasn’t there in her own time of need with her health which to this day I will always carry with me, nobody should feel like they are alone despite what the reasons are.

Arguments and tears followed by more tears is how it goes and then I get the news that I get the news I may have something seriously wrong with me when test results come back abnormal but again like the rock she is she took my hand and told me it would be ok.

Talking to me and helping me throughout the whole ordeal she was selfless and a much much better person than ill ever be.

So after thinking and taking a hard look at things, the one thing in all this is Cheryl who is my guardian angel, my rock to this very day, without her god knows where I would be or even if i would be here at all.

But I couldn’t even return the favour, but I vow to make the change and show her that she does count in this life, she is loved, she is cared for and if it takes me a life time I will repay her and show her these things.

Theres not many people in this world you connect with or say that you love, throughout your good and bad times but this is someone I can say I love with all my heart and that it hurts my soul to think I caused them an ounce of pain.

The past doesn’t matter its the future and how you make it right that counts.

Dont believe in angels or good people….ladies and gentlemen I give you Cheryl!

 

 

 

 

 

Bethie enters the terrible twos

The time has come that I dreaded and that is my Bethie becoming 2, now this is for a number of reasons the first being I just don’t want her to grow up she’s my baby and I want her to stay like that.

The other reason is I didn’t want her entering the terrible twos, you know this im sure most people have experienced this where your 2-year-old wakes up and decides they are teenagers now and don’t have to listen to a word you say.

Bethie
Bethie

As soon as Bethie celebrated her 2nd birthday she must of unwrapped a gift that was attitude.

With being 2 we decided to put her into nursery, Freddie enjoyed it so of course Bethie would do right?

We couldn’t be further from the truth the second she got in the place she screamed blue murder, fighting the staff as they try to contain this tiny little hulk dressed in polka dots.

Every day we would take her and pick her up, leaving her screaming and picking her up screaming but you ask her if she had a good day and she would reply with yes!

Bethie caught chickenpox or we thought she did after a week of being there and so we had to stop her going as she was poorly and this angel slept you get that feeling every parent gets of awww there so cute…..crap there waking up!!!

After trips to the doctors we found out it wasn’t chickenpox and that she was allergic to everything so she could go back to school.

School time arrived and I walked her into class expecting this big scene but……nothing?

She walks in goes and plays in the sand not even a goodbye.

Oh I guess that’s a good thing as im stood on my own childless because my 2-year-old is to cool to be seen with daddy in front of her friends.

Among this new attitude come new eating habits out of nowhere and when I say habits I mean she has decided she doesn’t like food at all except if it looks like a crisp or tastes like cheese.

You would swear this girl sounds like she only dolphins can hear her, our poor neighbours must be sick of hearing her scream every dinner time or because she doesn’t want to watch Ryan on TV she wants to watch….Ryan.

So the next time you see my beautiful daughter in the street looking like butter wouldn’t melt just remember she’s not all sugar and spice.

Love you Bethie

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

 

Six weeks holidays from boy to man

When you were a kid the six-week holiday would seem forever and consisted of lie ins and going out with your friends do activity’s and causing trouble…or that was just me.

If anyone has read mine or Cheryl’s blogs you will know all about Harry our eldest son.

Harry isn’t your typical boy he is his own person, he like things clean and tidy, he likes to learn new things in and out of school and is very timid, shy, naive and was nervous about most things.

When Harry started senior school he had problem right of the bat, because he was so small and looked vulnerable people took advantage of that and he was an easy target for bullying.

We had changed his school a few times before we found the right on where he settled down, made some new good friends who all had the same interests and we started to see him grow.

He soon was winning awards and being picked for things like university.

The six weeks holiday was upon us a brand and with this brought a brand new Harry right before our eyes.

Now I don’t know what changed in him maybe its hormones or the alignment of the moon and stars or whatever but he changed and he changed fast.

The first thing was Harry seemed to lose all fear over night, now this is a boy who was scared of his own shadow at one point but now he’s looking after the babies more, clearing gardens, killing spiders even picking up dead mice for the neighbours when their cat brought in a lovely gift for them.

Who is this boy?

Nothing was too much for him, anything asked of him was done straight way with no questions asked.

Harry has always been into tech and was wanted to decorate his bedroom so like any normal teenager me and his mom was fully expecting not only to pay to do it but do all the work.

But that’s not how it played out at all!

He starts advertising on Facebook for work he can do to earn his own money at the age of 14 and the response he got was overwhelming about how he was doing this off his own back.

HE was offered some work helping redecorate a house and he worked his little socks off all day and was so pleased to have earned his own money at the end of the day to go towards his new room.

Now he is getting all sorts of offers for work for babysitting to dog watching and its all because he wants to be independent.

I’m so so proud to watch this young boy grow into a young man over the space of six weeks

As a parent you have proud moments and this is defiantly one of them, I have always said that young man will change the world and each and every day he just shows me that he’s more than capable of doing it.

Watch out world because here he comes!

Daddy Giraffe x 

 

 

 

My Big Tree Book Review

One of the main reviews that I do as a blogger is children’s books where Freddie has reviewed a fair few, now he gets to review a great book called My Big Tree.

This book is by Award Winning Author Maria Ashworth who has written many exciting books such as the Real Giraffes Wear High Heal Shoes.

With 5 kids in the house there is always children’s books lying around and every time Freddie goes to bed he has a story before he settles for the night.

This time he read My Big Tree.

This book is about a little blue bird who finds himself a tree to build a nest in but this tree very quickly gets filled with other animals who like this big tree.

That's a full tree
That’s a full tree

With every page there is different animals joining the tree from the usual squirrels to bears but Freddie’s favourites were the frogs because he says he has never seen a frog in a tree before.

“Ribbit Ribbit” said seven green frogs jumping”

seven green frogs
seven green frogs

This was an easy book for him to follow and understand, helping him to count and learning about other animals.

It made this little boy giggle and explain to me what all these animals are and that this was supposed to be the blue birds tree.

At the end of the story I asked Freddie how many out of 10 he would give this book and he scored it….

13 out of 10 

I asked him why and he just said because 13 is bigger than 10….cant argue with them maths skills right there.

Where to get this book

If you would like this book which I highly recommend then you can find it here https://www.amazon.com/My-Big-Tree-Maria-Ashworth/dp/0997437065/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535042789&sr=8-1&keywords=my+big+tree

or check out her many other books on her page http://www.bigbellybookco.com/

Shes a fantastic Author and well worth the read.

Daddy Giraffe.

*This book was gifted by the Author * 

Mental state update

Its been 3 months now since I was sectioned, so whats my mental state update?

The answer is I dont actually know!

Its a strange feeling being locked up in a place where you monitored all the 24/7 you get into a routine your own little world like a really crap version of Big Brother.

Then your released back into the real world and adapting back to normal isn’t as easy because you have to deal with real people and real situations on a daily basis.

Medication 

Firstly my medication way reviewed and of course tampered with, I was placed on…

Rispiridrone – Twice a day, side affects are they make me super sleepy so its a good job I dont drive.

Depakote – Twice a day, to balance out my moods which is good because nobody want to battle with 7 different people. 

Vitamin D – This is a new one they have added apparently I was lacking in this and this vitamin helps with mental health, I was a bit dubious at first but I have to say they have actually helped.

Whats next on the road to recovery?

This unfortunately is a life time thing and I just have to learn to deal with it.

The medication is there to just make it bearable its not a cure, I just need to deal with it and learn new techniques to manage it better.

So what did they come up with I hear you ask

ICT

I know I never hear of it before either but it stands for Intensive Cognitive Therapy.

Now this is supposed to be in a group but since I dont play well with others its now a one on one thing where they help me with ways to manage day to day living.

Its something new which im not used to but im more than willing to give it a go if it helps with getting better.

How am I feeling?

Tired, very very tired mentally.

I sleep a lot when im not seeing the children im not sure if thats because of the medication or just feeling down but I try to keep myself occupied.

Im getting better day by day and looking to the future, I dont want to end back in hospital where its like a different world and I want my children to see their happy daddy back once more not the daddy thats taking it day by day.

With the help and support around me im feeling positive for the future.

Daddy Giraffe x