Official Motherwell Cheshire Blog

4. Sep, 2019

Reading. Books. Where to start…at the beginning of the story perhaps? Books have always been a massive part of my life. My dad was a big reader and my mum even more so…I don’t ever remember a time she didn’t have one or 3 books on the go! I have so many book memories ranging from early childhood, right up to now. Beautiful memories of my father reading to me, books that got me through breakups, friendships, teenage angst. Books that have been a companion at 2am during the lonely breastfeeds and sleepless nights with my children. Making memories with my children, reading to them, looking at the pictures and listening to my 4-year-old “reading” to his 2-year-oldbrother in the morning (he narrates the bits he can remember). Reading has helped me through being bullied, boredom ( I was an only child), understanding my body (will never forget the look on my dad’s face when age 10/11 I used my Christmas book vouchers to buy “The Usborne Facts Of Life” 😲), teenage years (do you remember Judy Bloom’s “Forever”), happy times, grief and so much more. My son’s primary school head teacher, at the reception introduction, told us the best thing we can do for our kids over the summer is share and talk about books. It teaches children empathy and makes them think about the world around them. The books don’t even have to have words in it! For children, there are books like Nick Sharratt’s “You Choose” with minimal words where children make choices about what they would wear or where they could go. Another is Story Path by Kate Baker & Madalena Matoso – one of our favourite books. It’s like a picture maze of a story that you make up as you go along,and the children choose characters and storylines. 

But what is this magic effect that reading can have on us? How does it relieve stress and make us feel betterCan it really help our mental health?

Books are amazing and there’s a lot of positive studies to say that reading and bibliotherapy (using books as therapy) can relieve mild - moderate depression and anxiety, however it’s important to mention that it’s not always a cure-all and shouldn’t take place of medicine, so please consult your GP or other health professionals for advice.

I’m quite an emotional person and not always particularly rational. As an almost 40-year-oldI’m still learning to take a step back and admire friends that keep cool calm heads without unintentionally blurting things out. Reading gives me the space to do this. If I’m feeling upset or worried, I can pick up a good book read for a bit and then the problem doesn’t seem as huge. I often say things without thinking and am also fantastic at procrastinating. After numerous self-help books (some of which were very useful), I recently read the fictional book Meeting Mungo Thunk” by Keith A. Pearson. It was life changing. Also,hilarious. But I wasn’t expecting life changing – just thought the storyline sounded interesting “Adam Maxwell isn’t a bad man – he’s just a man who doesn’t stop and think….”. without giving the plot away, after I read it, I realised how much I was like the main character and it made me want to stop procrastinating and go and do stuff and achieve things. That’s the power of books. You can see things in them that reflect your life or open your mind to new ideas. It’s also relaxing to take a step back from all the technology we’re inundated with and switch off from social media. Reading is a wonderful form of escapism. In a second, you can be on a desert island, in a city, on a boat, in space…all at the touch of a book. As a mum of 2 young boys, it’s not always easy to find the time to read and as I have mild dyslexia, I sometimes need to read and re-read a page 3 times over but it’s blimmin’ well worth it.Apparently we should aim for 30 min a day – but honestly even if I can squeeze in just 15min I’m happy!

According to this article on the BBC website, reading can improve confidence, self-esteem, help us sleep (though if it’s a good book you might be up all night to finish it 😆) and reduce feelings of loneliness:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/why-is-reading-good-for-me/zmbtwty

And another article from in The Stylist mentions poetry being used in therapy:

The Stylist - This is the wonderful impact that reading can have on your mental health

 

Poetry is perfect for so many situations - some of my best comfort reads are poetry. Feeling hormonal, bit crap and slummy-mummyish?  “Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48985/phenomenal-woman

If I’m having a bad day then Spike Milligan’s “Have A Nice Day” always makes me laugh and cheers me up:

https://allpoetry.com/Have-A-Nice-day

Kids going nuts and driving me mad? Or just generally feeling a bit lost? No probs – then it’s “If” – by Rudyard Kipling:

If by Rudyard Kipling

The best bit is – it doesn’t matter what you read. If I’m totally honest, I don’t “get” reading Shakespeare – I’d rather just go and see it and even then, probably wouldn’t understand half the words and I’ve not read many classic literature books. It doesn’t matter whether its Jane Austen or Jilly Cooper. 50 Shades of Grey or The Picture of Dorian Grey (the first one I read, the latter I got bored part way through and gave up). Charles Dickens or…well you get the idea - the main thing is to just enjoy or get something out of what you’re reading. Reading doesn’t suddenly make a problem disappear, but it helps us look at things from another perspective or make us realise that we aren’t the only ones going through itIt’s so beneficial that The Reading Well programme has been set up by The Reading Agency. According to their website it’s a scheme to help you “use reading to understand and manage your health and wellbeing”. You can ask your GP or other health professional for a Reading Well Books on Prescription leaflet and books should be available from your library:

The Reading Agency - Reading Well Books on Prescription Leaflet

For more information please visit their website:

https://reading-well.org.uk/

Another great thing about books is that you can read themalmost anywhere…In a park, on the train or bus, at home, waiting rooms, in bed, I’ve even been known to get a book out while waiting in shop queues! Got the kids with you? Then maybe not quite as relaxing but have a kids’ book handy in your bag. Books are brilliant for a bit of quiet time. Even my bonkers and very lively 2 year old will occasionally sit still to flick through a book. Occasionally he lobs them at me, but he does have his favourite stories already.

Happy reading!

4. Sep, 2019
3. May, 2019

One thing I always struggle with online is when someone doesn’t accept a friend request or they remove me as a friend. I can obsess over it for days, wondering what I’ve done wrong? Did I say or do something to upset them?

Then my thoughts drift to all the previous people who have done the same. Is it just me? Am I unlikable? Am I unlovable? Is it because I am unfiltered and I am forever saying the wrong thing? Is there something wrong with me? In all honesty, these people probably aren’t even close to me, and not everyone likes the same things-otherwise the world would be boring (or so they say)

 

Why do we take it to heart so much? No one likes to be rejected. Perhaps because of my BPD I take it more personally. I worry more about what I say because I wonder if I am acting ‘normally’ or not. 

 

From now on, I will try really hard to let it go, and not allow it to overtake parts of my life, worrying about something that I can’t change. Social media can be a good resource tool, but at the same time it brings its own set of problems for those who already have mental health conditions, and it can actually be the fuel for starting them in some people.

 

So this weeks advice, try not to get too hung up on the online life and live in the real world a little bit more. Advice we could all take notice of, and care less what others think of us, especially those who we barely know.

26. Apr, 2019
I have suffered with my mental health since I was younger. I was bulllied in high school for being too fat, for being too smelly, for being a slut, because my face didnt fit and I wasn’t popular.  In fact, at times it was those meant to be my friends who were the bullies. 
 
I began self harming when I was 12 years old. I didnt know how to deal with these words that people said about me, and self harming was a distraction and made if a physical pain that I could control. Of course, this didnt tackle the problem, simply created something else I had to hide.  My self esteem and confidence took a blow. I wouldn’t go out if I knew the bullies would be there, and it could become isolating. 
 
I was bounced around CAMHS and my GP, but they didn’t have any advice to tackle the problems I was having, only the symptoms of self harm. 
 
I wish there had been more services around like ‘Inspire’ when I was growing up, because it could have given me more confirdence in myself and allowed me to take control of my own mental health. 
 
Life as a teenager is very different these days, with the introduction of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. This opens up more avenues for teens to be ‘shamed’ for how they look or how they act. I was mocked because I didnt have designer clothes and my favourite jumper had hippos on it. The transition from primary school to secondary school brings with it these new challenges on what is accepted as ‘cool’ or ‘on trend’ (I fear I am neither of these as I write this)
 
The pressures to conform as an adult can be overwhelming, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for adolescent girls to do this. Children have to grow up far too quickly, and deal with things we didnt have to until a much later age. 
 
I fear I am showing my age with what I write, but want to follow it up, that if youre aged between 14-19, and youre suffereing with mental health issues, then please get in touch with the Inspire team via referrals@motherwellcheshirecio.comor call 01606 557666
18. Apr, 2019
This day 3 years ago was very bitter sweet for me. 
 
My day started well and I woke to the great news that my son had got his first choice primary school. We were over the moon! We headed out to soft play to celebrate,,, only, which we were there I began to get abdominal cramps and heavy bleeding. I suppose I should have mentioned earlier, that I was 6 weeks pregnant at this point. Thoughts of the new school quickly vanished, and all I could think of was what was happening to me and my baby. I was terrified but the hospital couldnt do anything because of how early I was. I was left to deal with this alone, and to take a test again in a few days, and go back for blood tests if I was unsure, but it sounded like I was miscarrying. I was devastated that this was happening to me, to us, to our family. And there was nothing, nothing at all that I could do to stop this happening, nothing that ANYONE could do to stop this. I felt like it was all my fault. Had I lifted something too heavy? Had I not taken my folic acid religiously? What had I done to make this happen? In truth, there was nothing I had done to cause thiis, but it was MY body that let me down, MY body that lost this child, so I felt like it was MY fault. 
 
A test a few days later revealed I was no longer pregnant, and my periods returned as usual. There was no help or support offered to me, I was simply left to deal with it myself. I thought that was the end of it. That I could process the thoughts and feelings, and get past it on my own. That was until M started school in September, and there was another parent who was pregnant and due her baby just 2 weeks before I would have been due. Watching her bump grow, and her due date come and go, and she delivered just 5 days before my due date, I felt crushed all over again. Of course I was over the moon for my friend, her baby boy is gorgeous, but he reminds me of what I could, or should have. Even now, I look at him and I’m reminded I should have a toddler causing havoc in my house, but that one day 3 years ago changed all of that. 
 
1 in 4 women experience the loss of a child. This can happen without warning, whoithout a care for how long you’ve been trying, how wanted the baby is, or how many precasutions you take. 
 
If you’ve experienced the loss of a child and require more help and support to deal with this, then Motherwell can help you. Email us at referrals@motherwellcheshirecio.com or call 01606 557666 for further information.