Edward, my seven year old, told me this morning he didn't want to go to school. I pointed out that today is Friday, his favourite day of the week, the day of the week with most school time dedicated to fun and play. To this he responded, 'well, I only want to go if it can be golden time and star of the week straight away.'I know how he feels.Can't we skip straight to the good bit?In The Rock that is Higher: Story as Truth, Madeleine L'Engle writes a somewhat surprising statement; "...

The second conversation I have recorded this week for Mental Health Awareness Week is with my husband.Matt and I met when I was 16. We started dating when I was 18 and got married when I was 20. This July we will have been married for 16 years.Being married is challenging. Being connected to another person in this deep, meaningful and mysterious way can be the most brilliant, supportive thing in the world. But when your partner is ill and you are the one who has to care for them, it can be tricky. We say 'in sickness and health'...

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, and the theme this year is relationships.So, I've been thinking about the people around me, those who have supported me and been there for me over the past few turbulent years. I have decided rather than writing for them and about them, I would let them speak for themselves. I have taken my trusty iPhone and recorded conversations with a select few.Firstly, my friend Sri.Sri and I met at sixth form. We were studying the same subjects. Our friendship was cemented through numerous conversations over tea and toast and many nights out. We...

Before anything else.Before you can get any help, or start working your way through a tricky situation or painful experience, you have to acknowledge it exists.The universe I inhabited before my thirties was a place where it was not the done thing to express discontent.We were loved by God and had everything we needed. We were not homeless, or learning to live with a critical illness. We were not cold or hungry. We did not have to walk miles every day to collect water. We were not alone and abandoned.Anything that did go wrong, or didn't turn out how we...

This is the fifth and final instalment in a series about my decision to begin taking anti-depressants again, you can read from the beginning of the series here.22nd FebruaryI am four weeks in. And I won't lie, it has not been straight forward. I wanted a magic pill, a tablet that would return me to the confident easy-going, keen to make plans, person I think I once was.But I can't go back, only forwards.And really, I am glad of this. The unknown future is scary, but it is also full of possibilities.Four weeks in, I have more peace. I no...

The first few weeks taking anti-depressants I was a mess of emotions; hope that this would be the start of a new season, fear that it wouldn't work, and anxiety about potential side-effects.Being physically ill has always been the focus of my anxiety, so taking any kind of chemicals, anything new and unknown into my body, was terrifying.  I think this was one of the reasons I had resisted anti-depressants for so long...

Once I had decided to take anti-depressants again, (read from the beginning of the series about this decision here) there was one other recurring thought I had to grapple with. This was it:That taking anti-depressants was something that weak people did because they weren't brave enough to face life on their own.It was cowardly. It was shirking the hard work. It was taking the easy option.Now I know in my heart of hearts this is a load of bollocks.But years ago, when I was still wearing the brittle shell of invincibility that youth gives you, this was what I thought. It...

At the beginning of this year I made a decision to start taking medication for my anxiety. This is part 2 in a series about making this decision and its impact.If you want to read this from the beginning, part one can be found here.The relief I felt about my decision to start taking anti-depressants again was sweet. Instantly my breathing regulated itself, I felt calm returning. Sometimes just the decision to do something practical about a problem can bring respite, as if one proactive action tricks us momentarily into thinking we are cured.But hot on the heels of this...

Okay.Deep breath.At the beginning of this year I made a decision to start taking medication for my anxiety again.Anti-depressants.This is part 1 in a series about making this decision and its impact. About mistaken beliefs and new starts. About shame and truth and hope.I started to write about this in January, but everything was too new and raw.It was too much to write about it, let alone share it.But I'm ready now.Last July I wrote a post (you can read it here) about a panic attack I experienced that was terrifying and humiliating and probably in my top 5 panic attacks...