I was in the garden the other Sunday, and as I began to tackle the enormous weeding task that lay ahead of me, I listened to Poetry Please.On this occasion, the Sunday morning quiet, the warmth of the sun behind the clouds and the gentle tones of Roger McGough, found me moved by the first poem I heard.I stopped, closed my eyes, and listened.It is called Now I Become Myself, and is by May SartonNow I become myself. It's taken Time, many years and places; I have been dissolved and shaken, Worn other people's faces, Run madly, as if Time were...

Today was one of those days. You know, nothing major, just nothing great either.It is the end of the Easter holidays and we have had fun and been busy, but today (and yesterday if I'm honest) I have felt tired, and bored.I have one child who is coming down with a fever, one who is a little over tired and one who hasn't stopped talking to (at) me for the last 36 hours, mainly about lego dimensions, of which I have no interest.My husband is well, but busy with work and distracted. And our house has been upside-down as we...

March has been a good month. A month where I have been able to get back out into the garden, and no one has had any sick days off school. As I walked along the beach in Anglesey this week I thought about what I have learnt this month.Criticism is hard. Public criticism is even harder. This month I set up a Facebook page for my blog and as a consequence I seem to be getting new readers, which is great. More people I don't know in real life are reading (hi!). This has been exciting and slightly nerve-wracking....

Mental illness isn't treated like other illnesses.I know this comes as no surprise to you.We talk about brave sufferers or survivors of physical illnesses. Those individuals enduring big-ticket diagnoses are (rightly) seen as heroic.We give them flowers and cook them meals. We look after their children and ask them how they are.However, when we discover a friend or colleague is suffering with a mental illness it is rarely the same. We don't know what to say. An invisible illness is harder to talk about, more complicated to recognise. Even if we ourselves have experienced this kind of struggle, we get...

Three years ago I was adamant I was not and would never be a writer. I told people on a regular basis, I am not a writer I am a director, I put other peoples' words and ideas on the stage.To anyone who asked, I said, I definitely couldn't, wouldn't, have-no-skills-in-this-area, and no desire to, write....

It is the shit in the soil that creates the best conditions for growth. "We asked, 'why is it that we learn from things that hurt us? Why do we need pain before we can grow?' There aren't any easy answers to this one, but all artists know the truth of it, and not only artists: it was Jung who said that there is no coming to life without pain."*When the shit hits the fan.When  we find ourselves 'up to ours ears' in it, or 'up that particular creek without a paddle'.When pain and destruction, and deliberate attack, or unpredicted misfortune fall on...

Yesterday evening I was making tea when I noticed the light had changed.Out of my window I could see the house on the opposite side of the road, and reflected on it's brick-work an orange glow. The quality of the reflected brilliance was so particular, so extraordinary, that I mentioned it to Maddy, my 9 year old, commenting on the sunset we couldn't quite see.At the same time (because I am nothing if not a multi-tasker) I was also in the midst of a text conversation with my friend Esther about, among other things, the brilliant play we had seen...

A while back, I heard Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown in conversation (online obviously, from the warmth of my kitchen, through my laptop). Elizabeth Gilbert said something that really jumped out at me.She talked about the narcissism of depression.I rarely think of depression as narcissistic.Elizabeth Gilbert went on to say depression is narcissistic because sufferers think they are special. (Stay with me)They think they are so special that they do not need compassion. So special that they do not need to offer themselves self-care. So special that they do not need looking after.One of the reasons I got into the...

I've decided that I am going to lower the bar.I'm lowering my expectations.Sounds bad doesn't it?Sounds like the words of someone who is depressed. Like the words of someone with low self-esteem and low self-regard. Like the words of someone who cannot believe for the best, who doesn't hope for the future.I'm not planing for the impossible.And I'm not shooting for the stars.I know,now you're really worried aren't you?But I'm lowering the bar. I'm doing it.Instead of expecting I can get through the exhausting to-do list, I'm taking things off it before I begin. I'm making the tasks easier. I'm...

On the way home from church today we found trees blown down across the road. Huge branches blocking our path, dangerous obstacles getting in our way, preventing us from continuing our journey.One kid is ill and the wind howls outside. And all the leaves that had hung on until now, swirl in the air.It is the first Sunday of Advent and the hope that is to come feels like a fairy tale.My stomach churns and I feel empty. The words I speak evaporate into the air, swallowed by uncertainty that lies just one breath away.Today, I need truth.I need someone...