Monday, December 19, 2016

A Christmas Tale- The Robin

I wanted to tell you a tale of Christmas past,
Of a memory I had that will always last,

It was the first Christmas Day in my own home with my husband and the third I'd spent without my Dad when he came to say hello. 

Me and my husband had woken up early and had breakfast together. My mum arrived and we opened our gifts and read our cards that came with them. I was so grateful and slightly overwhelmed, as I often get when I'm given gifts. I love Christmas and was full of joy and excitement but there's always a little grey cloud that appears on special occasions. You see as wonderful as presents are and heartfelt messages they don't distract from knowing that someone is missing.

I miss my dad all year round but some days it's more noticeable that he's not with us. He's with me always in heart and mind but if only he could have been with us for Christmas. There were three of us for Christmas lunch but I'd put out four chairs. Many people leave out a spare chair or set an extra place for loved ones who have passed to join them or as a memory of those who can't be there.

My husband and mum had sat at the table and I'd gone upstairs for some reason before serving up lunch. Out of the window my husband and mum saw a little robin looking at them from the kitchen window sill. They shouted for me to come see but thought the robin had flown away before I got a chance to see him. I had seen him though. I'd gone to the spare bedroom window and looked out just as the robin had landed on our garden wall. He tilted his head and looked straight at me for a moment. I had a surreal feeling that I'd felt a few times before and said "hi Dad." The little robin titled his head, chirped and flew away.

It was a lovely moment and made me feel bright for the rest of the day. You see some people believe that robins, feathers and butterflies are signs that an angel is near. I'm one of those people. I know some may not believe in this sort of thing but I like to. I often see rainbows on special occasions and when I need cheering up. Sometimes I find feathers in my home and it makes me smile. Crows fascinate me and the tale of them being the carriers of souls. The little robin really made my Christmas too.

I don't know whether there are angels or heaven or an afterlife. I don't know if we get signs from loved ones who have passed or whether they can communicate with us. I just know that sometimes I see little wonderful moments and feel that my Dad is with me. It's my thing. Maybe I look for these moments and presume it's a hello from my Dad when it's just coincidence. But even if it is it's still a beautiful feeling and whatever you believe in that can make you smile is worth believing in. These little moments make bereavement a little easier for me and I'm going to choose to believe in them. So to me that little robin was a little bit of Christmas magic and a message from my angel.

Much love,
Becky xx

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Mental Health Labels

Does anybody else feel as though they have been given a label? I really struggle with this topic. Through medical diagnoses I have been given the following labels...
  • bereavement
  • depression
  • anxiety disorder
  • chemical imbalance
  • mental break down
  • stressed

And through non professionals I have been labelled...
  • highly sensitive person
  • traits of bipolar disorder
  • weak and oversensitive
Now which of these do I agree with? I was bereaved but coping with it in my own way, I am quite a sensitive person and feel stress and pressure probably more than the majority, I have anxiety which I see as mild, I have had a mental break down, it felt as though something was imbalanced in both my mind and body. I am not 'weak' and never have been. But do these labels really matter?

For those seeking a medical diagnosis, treatment, therapy, counselling then yes you do need a label. To receive the best possible care and help you need an exact diagnoses, something more precise than anxiety such as social anxiety, therefore you need a correct and accurate label. So after the diagnosis and received treatment do we still need the label?

As you know I don't have a problem with telling anyone that I have anxiety and depression. I will talk about bereavement openly and admit I am highly sensitive sometimes. I have no problem explaining about how I felt during my breakdown and I know I am easily stressed out and overwhelmed at times. Sometimes these labels are useful. They have helped me make connections with people and can sometimes explain to others how or why I may do things. They also help me analysis myself and know my own needs better.

But labels can also be very misleading and misunderstood. 

I accept that I have depression but sometimes I speak to others who are in the same 'depressed' label group as me and see that we are very, very different. I often think I'm not as depressed as others or don't always relate to how others describe their depression. The same goes for anxiety. This can seem confusing and make me feel a bit of an outsider in my own 'group' at times.

And it's not just how I see myself. It's how others see me too. I have spoken to others about depression and they have linked it to meaning that I must have been suicidal. They have mistaken anxiety for phobias. They have often decided that bereavement and depression are the same and they are very different. They have compared me to a celeb or friend who also have a mental illness and presumed that I must be exactly the same. Even if it's a different mental illness. They have their own beliefs that dictates what my mental illness must say about me. The may class all mental illnesses as being the same or base them on something they have seen in a film.

It's this side of labels that are dangerous. Mental illness like all illnesses can fall onto a spectrum. People can have the same mental illness but be at a different stage of that illness, cope with it differently, have different feelings and attitudes towards it. We are still a person and that makes us very unique in all aspects of our lives. We are all different. There maybe similarities between one mentally ill person to the next with the same illness but they will never be identical.

Much love,
Becky xx