Being too busy is, for me, often the first step on the path to deteriorating mental health.I have made many changes to build a life where I am mentally healthy.One of the most important disciplines I have started to build is the practice of less. Less I always associated the idea of less with things being worse: less money, less time, less opportunity. This is not surprising, the world continually tells us we need more. We are shown and told in every media outlet how to get more: 8 ways to get more out of your day, 5 days to maximise productivity,...

We have been in Anglesey for about 8 weeks now. It has been fantastic.As I write this I am outside sat at the table under the parasol. If I look up I can see the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance and the patchwork of fields, with the occasional house or farm dotted in between. The swallows that have nested in the outhouse where we keep the broken garden furniture and an impressive collection of cobwebs swoop in and out, dancing above me. All I can hear is birdsong, my fingers tapping on the the keys and a distant radio...

I had my first panic attack at 22.Except I didn't know that was what it was called, or that it was symptomatic of the fact I was suffering with a mental illness.Mental health was not on my radar.At all.I didn't think of my brain as being healthy or unhealthy. I didn't think about it having moving or corruptible parts. It just was. It existed and enabled me to get on with life.When I did allow myself to think about these panic attacks (mostly I liked to pretend I had imagined the whole thing) I believed these aberrations were caused by...

I find it hard to know how to relate to my body. There is a lot of conflicting information thrown at me.It should be strong and sporty because 'this girl can'. It should be thin and well-kept because why wouldn't you make the most of what you have got? I shouldn't give it a second thought because appearances don't matter.It is confusing.And I am 37. Surely I should have got this one sussed by now?I know how I look is not the be all and end all.  And most of my life I have used this as my reason for...

Two weeks ago I opened my notebook and wrote this to you:---"I'll level with you. I'm feeling anxious.Right now as I write this.I was fine and then all of a sudden I was aware of the tell-tale signs: the increase in temperature, the noise of my heart beating, my stomach bubbling.My anxiety manifests itself as illness.Or maybe I should say, it provokes the same symptoms as illness.I feel 'not quite right', 'not myself'.I feel I am slowly moving away from my body, like a camera panning out.I am dangerously aware of the ticks and whirrs of...

Maybe being broken is not the end of things, but the beginning When my son is at school I go into his bedroom to quietly throw some things away.Like my husband, my seven year old son is a hoarder. It doesnt occur to him to throw out the things that are broken or no longer fit for purpose. Why put them in the bin when you can keep them scattered across the floor?At least once a week I sneak in and gather a collection to be disposed of. These are not highly valued toys, but what I would refer to as 'junk'....

Anxiety is a beast and it has no manners.It never waited for me to get dressed or have my breakfast before it pounced.It sat on the end of my bed waiting for me to open my eyes, dictating to me how the day would start.As I lay in bed, adrenalin surged and I was instantly catapulted from peaceful sleep straight to panic-central.I awoke, heart-racing in terror.Before I had even begun, the day had slid out of control.This was my reality for a number of years. This fight defined most mornings.I was slowly changing my life from the inside out. I was putting in...

The storm that hit Liverpool a few weeks ago has left its mark.The tree that fell across our road has been removed, but as I walk around my front garden today I see the lawn strewn with debris. In the flower beds small plants have been crushed or entangled in the mess.In life when a storm hits our first priority is dealing with the crisis: the child in the sick bed, the diagnosis, or depression or divorce. Our attention is on the centre of the storm, the pivot in the middle on which the whole thing turns.As the weather settles and we...

Two weeks ago storm Doris battered the UK. Liverpool was hit hard. On our street, opposite our house a two hundred year old beech tree came down. It fell across the road, pulling with it our neighbour's fence and landing in our drive way at nine o' clock in the morning. The road was made impassable. It was a miracle no one was hurt and nothing seriously damaged.It would seem we were not the only ones who had experienced a tree blocking the road, stopping the traffic. Throughout Liverpool over one hundred and fifty trees were felled and even now, over a week...