Childhood Experiences ~ Sports Day


This is me at 8 years old, in my last year of ‘First School,’ the sports day experience I had 27 years ago I can remember vividly like it was only yesterday, this was the start of all sports days to come and I’ve never forgotten it. 

On Wednesday I read a post from Faithmummy What happened when a child refused to have my autistic daughter in her team which is a brilliant post written by Miriam Gwynne, who is also a member of a group of SEND Bloggers than I belong to. Reading this about Miriam’s daughter having to prep for her sports day, took me right back to how I felt on days like Sports Days whilst at school. I dreaded those times when it came to team games and picking team captains and team members, I struggled with co-ordination, I found any physical activity very difficult and I towered above my peers, at age 8 I was in age 11-12 clothing. I was the girl that nobody wanted in their team. 

Not every child likes Sports Day, in fact, I hated every minute! 

I hated the pressure of demands, “do this, do that, stand here, go and stop.” I hated team games, the hype and passing a ball to other team members and other kids getting angry if I wasn’t quick enough or dropped the ball. 

All those people watching, I hated drawing attention to myself and being ‘on show,’ I hated the noise of the crowds of spectators shouting “come on,” the metallic sound of the crowd, all their voices merging into one that noise that makes my ear vibrate and travels through the whole of my body, it feels like it’s bouncing off my bones, thinking to myself: “Please make the noise stop! I just want to go home.” When I dared to look into the crowd all I could see was a sea of eyes, staring and watching.

I was desperate not to be last, desperate not to be laughed at, and even more attention being drawn. In the sack race because I was so tall, my sack reached below my knees, when everyone else’s came above their waists, so of course I came last, I sat and I cried and cried I couldn’t stop, someone said “what are you crying for?” 

I copy and mimic what other people say, I even caught myself saying this to my child the other day:

“It’s not about the winning it’s about the taking part.” 

I stopped myself as I suddenly thought, what would my 8-year-old self have thought? 

“It’s not even about the taking part, what if I don’t even want to take part?” 

“I’d rather be reading a book like Matilda or  any other Roald Dahl.” 

So this year I won’t worry if my big girly finds it all too much to even take part, it goes back to trying to fit us ‘square pegs’ into those ’round holes.’ 

And please don’t pressure me into taking part in the all important ‘mums race!” That’s a whole other story ! 

We got out! (June’s Trip) 


This title may sound trivial! 

But I just wanted to share that we had a successful trip out as a family last weekend! 

I could write a whole blog post around the reasons why I don’t drive so I’ll save that for another time, but days out have to be planned with precision, I often just wish that I could have the ability to just jump into a car and whizz the kids off at any opportunity. But sadly not, we have to plan trips based around public transport and we are extremely luckily to live only a 5 minute walk from a train station. 

Lou is now getting quite accustomed to using the train now, and as long as she has something to ‘fidget’ such as her ‘fidget cube,’ then she’s normally ok on journeys lasting under 30 minutes. On Saturday June 10th we visited a local animal park, the weather wasn’t too bad and the rain held off but I was surprised actually how quiet it was which was only a good thing in our case as both Lou and myself don’t cope very well with crowds of people. On previous days out Lou had become overwhelmed and then has experienced a ‘sensory overload,’ sometimes resulting in us leaving earlier than planned. 



The girls enjoyed a quiet look around the animals and Lou was impressed with the parrot saying enthusiastically: “Mummy, quickly look, it’s Rio!” This was also our first proper trip to use the ‘Mountain Buggy’ for Lou and she had a perfect view! 


Trips out have to be carefully planned and we have to offer a lot of choices for Lou throughout the day, due to the fact that Lou displays traits of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA,) she prefers to dictate to us what she wants to do and where she wants to go, knowing that she would have happily stayed in the ‘soft play’ area the whole time, and that Moo was desperate to see the animals, we had to say things such as: “Now it is seeing the animals and then it is soft play.” As long as Lou feels that she has some sort of control over decisions she’s improved in public situations since this time last year. 


The girls enjoyed time sitting on machinery and Go Carts with Daddy. 


And to wind down after an exciting day, we ended in the sand pit area, which fills the whole room! With Lou doing her daredevil ‘Spider Girl’ swinging moves! 

Lou was understandably tired after such a busy day out and the train journey home wasn’t as straight forward as the way there! 

I often end up feeling guilty that my girls don’t experience days out like some other families do, but with money restrictions and the pace that our children are learning to cope with situations, we are learning that we can only do our best. We are now planning for a similar trip once a month, until the girls are familiar with the process, sticking to places that are a direct train journey away such as Worcester or Malvern. Then hopefully further a field eventually. 

Sometimes we just have to do things our own way and not worry about what other people are doing! 

Thanks for reading ! 

**Please note that this is not a specific review of the animal park we attended, the photos are my own and we paid full ticket price to get into the park, I wanted to share the details of taking our children on days out. 

For more information on the animal park we visited please visit: 

https://www.allthingswild.co.uk/

Or Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/allthingswild1/

Why I won’t be voting Blue on 8/6/17


I don’t have a very political brain, but I sure do have a very passionate one. I’m trying to learn more about politics and I’ve recently joined a local online Facebook politics group. 

My problem is that my views are very ‘tunnel visioned’ and I struggle to understand the opposing views as I feel uncomfortable and frustrated when someone hasn’t got the same view as mine! I even struggle to debate on politics with my own Father! I will back down if views become conflicting, in the past I’ve changed my views to match those of the opposing person in order to avoid confrontations at all costs! 

However, I want to explain why I won’t be voting for the ‘Blue Team’ (as Lou would describe it!) this Thursday 8th June in the 2017 General Election. The following post I wrote last year: 

https://sensorysensitivemummy2.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/even-though-i-didnt-attend/

Explains why I stood up at the local Council Scrutiny meeting and shared my family’s story of the vital service of ‘Family Support’ delivered via Family Support workers from the Children’s Centres in Worcestershire. To recap the local Conservative government cut vital services to children’s centres in the Worcestershire area and as a result we no longer qualified for a family support worker. The local Conservative government promised that “No Children’s Centres will close,” but we found this to be untrue for cases such as the ‘Orchard Vale’ centre in Evesham, where I visited 2 weeks ago, the sign covered over with a mass of leaves, and when peeping into the window where there was once an office with smiling faces there is now no one there, the room where I took my youngest child to see her Health Visitor is no longer in use, and the room where I once took her for the baby ‘stay and play,’ which used to be full of mothers and their babies is now an empty room. 

I wrote to Cllr Bayliss and he passed me onto his ‘officer’ who looked into my family’s case file without my consent and proceeded to tell me that “you’ve received your full package of support.” In the end I had to block Cllr Bayliss on Twitter as I couldn’t stand to hear any more excuses for the cuts to vital services, and his ‘but I’m ok’ general persona. When they told me that we “no longer qualified for support” my eldest child wasn’t under the Umbrella Pathway for Autism assessment, her behaviour at home wasn’t as extreme as it is now. I wasn’t under assessment for adult Autism, my youngest child, now 2 didn’t have a diagnosis or additional needs and now does and we hadn’t received the paperwork back clarifying that my partner of 7 years has moderate learning difficulties and requires literacy support. We now have triple the difficulties functioning as a family today than we did when we received family support back in 2015. But still no support. Parenting is hard in general but parenting 1 or more children with Special or Additonal Needs is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I truly believe that all families that identify as have a child or children with Additonal needs and wants support at home completely needs and deserves this support without any doubt. 

I’ve recently tried to re-refer back to the family support service but still do not hold out much hope, my eldest daughter’s school are also doing all they can to help and they are also aware how vital this support is for our family. 

But it’s not just us, I wanted to share our story as I know we are not the only ones in the same situation. And it’s not just the children and families service that has been cut, I recently rang adult social care and they cannot offer us any support either because my partners care needs are “not severe enough,” even though I’m supporting 2 children and an adult in the household I’m still just left to “work it out.” I’m firing on all cylinders and close to a complete shut down, yet we still don’t qualify for any help. 

I really do hope that something positive comes from the general election. 

All political parties have different campaign promises, but my vote will go towards one of the parties that supported the Worcestershire ‘Save Our Children’s Centres,’ campaign to the bitter end. 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

What worries me 


I’ve read a lot of articles and posts over the past year, most of which are helpful and informative, but once in a while I come across something that worries me and I have to avoid reading these type of articles to prevent further ‘overthinking.’  

I recent read such as article that talked about how Mothers on the Autistic Spectrum are more likely to be accused of fabricating their child’s difficulties. 

“The term used is ‘Fabricated and Induced Illness’ (FII), indicating that parents are thought to be embellishing a child’s symptoms because of anxiety, or for attention or financial gain.” Source: https://www.autismeye.com/parents-accused-of-fabricated-illness/ 

One further aspect I read about was that children’s services were known to have been investigating cases of fabricating a child’s Autism without parents having the knowledge that this was actually happening. I was so upset to read this, the day after I went into ‘shut-down’ mode, wondering if I should even carry on with Lou’s referral to the Autism assessment team. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the passion that drives me to fight for support for my daughter is to prevent her from suffering with mental health difficulties as I have. I want her to be supported in any way possible, as early as possible. 

The problems we face as a family in getting certain messages across to the appropriate sources, is that Lou ‘masks’ her difficulties, except at home where she is most comfortable and with the people who she feels unconditionally love her, us – her parents. We recently discussed that only myself and Lou’s dad have seen the true extent to her anxieties, frustration and anger and full traits of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA.) In the past I have videoed her ‘sensory overloads’ or ‘meltdowns’ and voice recorded in hope to actually be believed that these events are happening. I hate to see my child struggle and I struggle to comprehend why anyone would want to believe that this could be ‘made-up.’ I’ve also mentioned in previous posts that even though we have a low income we are desperate for recognition and support for our child, not for financial gain, again this upset me to think that people may think this of parents. We do not qualify for DLA, and, at the moment I’m too exhausted to try again, just looking at the form gives me a huge headache! If our children need any extra equipment we’ve provided it as they’ve needed it, even if it meant we have to scrimp and save for it.  

As her mother, I can sense when she is uncomfortable about something in terms of sensory issues, for example, I can tell if an item of clothing is bothering her just by knowing that I also experience irritability with seams and labels in clothing. I can also tell from a certain look on both of my children’s faces if they are about to hit out or throw something. I have tuned into their triggers and to an outsider this may not be seen.  

Ironically, the day after I read the article on fabricating I received a letter from our local assessment team stating that they will be sending out a professional from their Complex Communication Needs (CCN) Team to assess Lou in school. For this I am grateful that we have been listened to, but it also puts the doubt in my mind that they will actually see Lou’s full extent of traits in this environment, I can only hope that my views as a parent, and closest person to Lou are taken into account and believed.  

My next question for myself will come once we receive news if Lou will be kept on the assessment path or discharged, I hate to think of things too far before they happen, but I’ve made a mental note to myself not to appeal the decision made if it means that Lou is discharged from the service. And do I then use the pot of money that I’m continually saving for a Private Diagnosis or just leave it, but then have the worry of watching my child suffer further as the pressure continues to rise throughout school? There are so many people out there who cannot fund a private diagnosis so should why should the conventional route be this hard? Will girls who mask, and suffer in silence, such as I did as a child in the 1980s and 1990s, produce another generation of ‘Lost Girls,’ https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/the-lost-girls/  

I have, until recently, held back concerns I had regarding my youngest child’s sensory issues, I believed that it would be thought that if both children were presenting with difficulties, then it must be my parenting skills, even though the sensory issues she is displaying are different to those of her sister’s, such as wanting to chew and eat inedible objects such as sand, mud, stone and chalk. We recently found out that Moo is also Hypermobile, she has been referred to Orthotics and Physiotherapy and this being found has taught me that the sooner any difficulties are identified then we can hopefully try to gain support for her. After going through the system a 2nd time, I’m now more familiar with how things work and I’m hoping that things are put into place before Moo starts school. I’ve done things differently this time around, as I’m now more familiar with the services to access. I’m now taking Moo to a ‘Stay and Play’ session at a local Special Needs school, where I can ask the advice of staff. I have also contacted our local ‘Early Years Inclusion Team,’ at our local County Council and I have chosen an Early Year’s setting that I feel is the best place for Moo and where I feel there are good links with the local Special Needs school where an ‘outreach’ service is offered for those children who are identified to require this support. They also offer ‘split placements’ where a child can attend some sessions in a mainstream setting and the rest in the Special Needs School’s own Nursery. I found the staff here to be incredibly intuitive to spotting Moo’s triggers for identifying when she is about to hit out at other children, just from the look on her face! They also taught her a technique for placing her hands onto her knees when her hands go out to hit out.  

So for now I’ll just concentrate on what I’m doing, chasing up the appointments and test results and writing blog posts and updating my Facebook and Twitter blog pages and will try to put the worry of what other people think about me to the back of my mind.  

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Don’t say NO! Our experiences with PDA 


Last year I wrote 2 posts on PDA (Pathological Demand Aviodance,) 

https://sensorysensitivemummy2.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/pathological-demand-avoidance-pda

And: 

https://sensorysensitivemummy2.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/pda-part-2/

Both of which explain the main features or ‘traits’ of PDA, so for PDA Action day (15/05/17) I decided to share how PDA looks in our household. 

Avoiding negative phrases and ‘demands.’ 

The worst response I can give when my daughter, Lou (5) asks me a question is “No.” In our household saying “No” outright usually results in objects being thrown, shouting, screaming, hitting, kicking and could result in a total meltdown. 

From researching PDA over the past year, I realise how important it is to think carefully about how we word every phrase for our daughter, it’s taken so long to get used to and you have be quick-thinking and very often think ‘outside the box.’ Lou has a lot of obsessions around food, she repeatedly states to us that she’s hungry, she never feels full. If Lou asks for something to eat and she’s already had plenty to eat only minutes before, we simply cannot reply “No,” nor “not now,” as I discussed previously, this will result in a great deal of anger and frustration and things get thrown! We have to use a visual chart where we point to the meal and time of day, Lou removes the snack card and we point to the next meal, e.g lunch and say: “next time we have food is lunchtime.” We use minimal language and often have to repeat the same words to aid her understanding. Not saying “No” is a very difficult thing to do! Having to think of what to say before you say it every time takes a great deal of my ‘brain energy!’ 

Lou will avoid any demand put onto her, getting her dressed in the mornings often takes both myself and her Daddy, we cannot simply say “get dressed,” as the answer will always be “no,” or she will shout replies back such as: “No you silly Poo,” or “you’re a really silly woman,” she has even told me: “You’re an awful Mother,” (I have no idea where she’s heard this phrase!) It took me a while to get used to these ‘come-backs,’ but I do have to let these ‘outbursts’ go over the top of my head to avoid ‘fuelling her fire’ even more. We have to use choices for absolutely everything: 

“Trousers or T-Shirt” this often still results in “No, I’m not getting dressed today,” when we have to give the choice of: 

“You do it or Mummy/Daddy do it.”

It can often take over 30 mins for Lou to be fully dressed as she also likes to run around the house to see if we can catch her to get dressed! 

This is also the same when it comes to tidying up, we have to give a lot of praise when Lou does tidy up and in the last month I can only remember this happening once, we’ve modelling tidying, but the demand of doing it is just too much for Lou to cope with. We use visuals and ‘Sign-a-Long’ for ‘tidying,’ and other daily routines. These sometimes work with Lou, but also sometimes don’t! We also have to be careful with wording and giving praise as Lou doesn’t cope very well with actually receiving praise, will not know how to handle it and often do something like throw all of the toys around the room in response. 

Lou struggles with sudden or unexpected changes to her routine, even as an adult I am exactly the same! We recently had to leave our holiday 3 days early as Lou had got chicken pox, we had to get the train home 3 days early and we’d planned to take both girls to a theme park for the day, we had previously prepared Lou for this day out with talking through it and visuals of what would happen. When we had to tell her that she couldn’t go to the theme park as she had chicken pox it was like a volcano had erupted! Lou shouted all the way walking to the train station, “adventure park Mummy,” and repeated it and then would say things such as “this place is stupid,” “silly train, silly place.” She also refused to move and sat on the pavement in the middle of the town, in protest! This made me so disappointed for Lou, and the change in the plans had set me off and therefore Lou’s Daddy had to deal with us both all the way to the train station! It took both myself and Lou a good hour or so to finally calm down and adapt to the changes. 

I find it confusing as to how Lou cannot process demands yet she places a lot of demands onto myself as her mother and main care giver, and also her dad. She will say things like “get my snack now,” “I said get me it NOW.” I found this difficult to cope with at first but after reading up on PDA I realise that: 

“People with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) will avoid demands made by others, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control.” 

Source: http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/what-is-PDA/about-pda

I hadn’t pieced together that the anger and frustration I see in Lou is actually all down to anxiety and this manifests more when she doesn’t feel in control of situations. 

There are so many more things I could say about PDA, I’m still learning more every day. It’s exhausting and I feel it’s quite catastrophic, but what we have to do is take positive steps to ensure that our daughter is helped to cope in the best way possible. 

My hope is that PDA does become more widely recognised as I hear so many different experiences where PDA is recognised in certain counties in the UK and yet in others professionals refuse to recognise it. 

PDA certainly does exist, and we live it everyday! 
Brilliant sources of information on PDA: 

The PDA Society – http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/

The PDA Society has created the PDA Panda ambassador for PDA Action day on 15th May 2017. You can read more about it here: 

http://www.pdasociety.org.uk/blog/2017/05/pda-panda-ambassador

Steph’s Two Girls: Steph is a fellow SEND blogger 

http://www.stephstwogirls.co.uk/?m=1

PDA Hearts and Stars: 

https://www.facebook.com/PDAHeartsAndStars/

Riko’s PDA Page: 

https://www.facebook.com/RikosPDApage1/

Sally Cat’s PDA Page: 

https://www.facebook.com/SallyCatPDA/

PDA Soapbox: 

https://www.facebook.com/pdasoapbox/

Love PDA: 

https://lovepda.wordpress.com/

Life with ASD and the Rest:

http://www.lifewithasdandtherest.net/?m=1

Advocate4PDA: 

https://advocate4pda.wordpress.com/

Masking 


This morning a friend shared the following article with me: 

https://help4psychology.blogspoth.co.uk

‘Children who ‘mask’ or ‘camouflage’ their Autism.’ 

So much of this article relates to both my own and now my eldest child, Lou (5.) I was so grateful to my friend for sharing this as I’ve recently had ‘writers block,’ and whilst reading it sparked a whole blog post in my head! 

Here’s our experiences of ‘masking.’ 

Lou is now showing more signs of frustration via a refusal to do ‘work’ at school, on the whole she ‘complies’ and doesn’t display the ‘overloads’ or ‘meltdowns’ that we experience at home on a daily basis. It may be difficult for professionals to guage how a child can ‘switch’ it on and off and change so much and understand fully how a child can be so ‘Jekyll’ and ‘Hyde,’ but I’ve had first hand experience as I did exactly the same as a child, I can’t really remember even speaking at school, I followed the rules in fear of being ‘told off,’ and drawn attention to, I held in the frustrations and anger I felt all day, instead of punching the boy who called me names all day, I’d save it all up and then ‘explode’ at home. I was actually quite horrible to my mum particularly (so sorry mum!) The exact same thing that Lou does with me now! I would take it all out on my mum as she was the closest person to me. I could be winging away at her whilst walking down the street and if we turned a corner and saw someone else (someone we knew, or a stranger,) I’d immediately stop in fear (I think) of being rejected or thought of in a bad way. In fact, I still do this now, but it’s now directed at my partner, the person that I now ‘offload’ to the most, and no one else really gets to see that side of me. I have no idea why I do this, my brain just tells me to and it’s puzzling to me even at the age of 34! 

The quote from the article: ‘Children who ‘mask’ or ‘camouflage’ their Autism.’ About grown women in social situations rings so true to me: 

“I walk into the room and feel like people are looking at me.” 

“Everyone else seems to know what to do.” 

Source: https://help4psychology.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/children-who-mask-or-camouflage-their.html?m=1

I also relate so much to the section that talks about when: 

“Friendships become much more complex.” 

“What is said is not always meant, girls talk behind each other’s backs and make nasty and sarcastic remarks.” 

“For a girl on the spectrum, this is unbelievably difficult to negotiate.” 

I can remember being around 13/14 years old (a time where I was struggling with eating,) and the girls who I was friends with at the time were messing around trying to trip each other up, one of them said towards me: “don’t trip her up, she’ll snap in half,” a comment that has resonated with me my whole life, some people may have laughed it off, and just forgotten about it, for a girl on the spectrum, this simply isn’t forgotten. 


I recently spoke about friendships during my adult ASC assessment, friendships for me have always been tricky, never really feeling like I ‘fit in,’ it’s only today that I’ve finally learnt what true, and respectful friendship means. I stuck to one particular friend for the majority of my school life, to feel safe, I literally didn’t know who else to go to and I feared so much that I’d end up with no friends at all and just end up on my own. The result of this was years of going along with someone who did and said things that I really didn’t agree with, but couldn’t speak out in fear of confrontation. If this person told me to do something, I literally did it, I was a puppet on their string. I watched this ‘friend’ sneak make-up in their bag/coat in shops without paying, and as a strict follower of rules I’d find this so wrong and I’d then panic incase it was thought that I was doing the same. This person was rude to people and aggressive, everything opposite to me, there were so many ‘awkward’ moments I lost count! As I got into adulthood I came across other people who were connected to this friend and they all talked behind each other’s backs, their main topic of conversation was to ‘slag’ each other off, I got so confused around who I could actually trust and I became extremely stressed and just felt so uncomfortable around these people. In the end a confrontation occurred and I was called ‘nasty’ I’d never fallen out with anyone in my life, I became so stressed that I had to cease all contact to avoid having a complete breakdown. So in fact, masking the fact that you get on with people, when you really don’t does lead to mental health difficulties. In reflection these sorts of friendships were ‘toxic,’ I feel liberated and so much better for finally ‘breaking free’ of someone who I’ve come to realise, that I was actually quite scared of. 


The quote: 

“So many parents report of not being believed or being accused of poor parenting when in fact they are trying the best for their children.” 

Source: https://help4psychology.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/children-who-mask-or-camouflage-their.html?m=1

This has been the case for us now for over 3 years, as our child, on the whole, complies in an educational setting, how can we get professionals to realise that under the surface, she really is struggling and letting it all out in her safe, home environment? 

I have spoken to parents who have been accused of fabricating their child’s difficulties, and this makes me so upset as why would anyone actively want to make this up? I’ve even had the term ‘attachment disorder’ thrown at me as many other parents have. I’ve said this over and over again in many of my posts but all we want for our daughter is help and support, and I’m so passionate about this as I’m a prime example of what happens if girls on the spectrum slip through the net, and the result has been years and years of being misunderstood and various mental health difficulties, particularly from my teenager years onwards and it’s been heightened at times of great stress, such as relationship breakdowns. I do not want this for my child.

“The long term risks of not helping these children and young people are significant and real and many will go on to have relationship difficulties, problems holding down a job and significant mental health problems in adulthood.” 

Source: https://help4psychology.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/children-who-mask-or-camouflage-their.html?m=1

And I completely agree with the closing statement: 

“PDA and less obvious forms of Autism are not a new phenomenon – we just need to get better at identifying them early.” 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Spectrum Sunday

2nd Post for Maternal Mental Health Week ~ My Experiences of Anxiety 


This post was written last year, I’ve added some details for Maternal Mental Health Awareness. 

Anxiety has been with me since I can remember, I started biting my nails at 3 years old and can clearly remember points in my childhood where I feel most stressed about certain things, down to even my first days at starting a new school, even the smells and sounds I experienced and how nervous it made me feel. I have always tried to be everyone’s friend to keep everyone happy and to avoid disagreements and confrontations, but over the years this has become increasingly harder to do, since I’ve had children I’ve had to become braver to say what I think and really feel, especially if its related to their safety or best interests. 
The real me is very hard to get along with! I’ve had, for the first time in my life, had experiences in the past year where people have clearly expressed that they don’t like me, or what I believe in and this has been very difficult for me to accept, for the first time in my life I have been called “nasty.” My anxiety is made worse by the thought that people are talking about me behind my back and making disapproving comments. I wish I just simply didn’t care! I often find that people do not openly ask me about why I choose to do certain actions, often ending in them making the wrong assumptions and not receiving the clear picture. I’ve always described myself as a ‘pushover’ and if someone said “jump” I’d say “how high?!” I have always been easy to influence and manipulate. I’d go along with things and agree, even if deep down, I didn’t truly feel that it was necessarily a good thing to do. And these weren’t only small decisions, I’m talking about extremely important, life changing decisions. For the first time in my life I’ve had to make decisions without outside influences and therefore if these decisions turn out to be the wrong ones, I only have myself to blame! 

Since my second child was born in March 2015, my anxiety heightened, I was recovering from a caesarean section and living in a first floor flat at the time, I struggled to get down the stairs to the flat with a newborn in a car seat and a very lively 3-year-old who frequently ran off. Plus my eldest daughter felt deep jealously towards her new baby sister even before she was born. I was dealing with a lot of emotions after having a new baby and sleep-less nights again and at the same time battling for my daughter’s additional needs to be recognised. I was encouraged to go and seek advice from my GP in April 2015 and it took until August to actually find the time to go and see the GP on my own. I was then placed on medication to help with the anxiety.  

I’m always saying that I feel that I should be able to cope better with my daughter’s additional needs, especially the behaviour she displays, there are plenty of parents out there who are coping far better, but this is me, and unfortunately, I do have a lower coping threshold than some. I am often saying that “this is me, I simply cannot change who I am” unfortunately I can’t wave a magic wand and make myself cope with things better. 

I have been so grateful to recently talk to someone else, that for the first time in my life, that feels the same as I do. It was a massive relief to talk to someone who can understand what I’m going through. 
With my current anxiety demons to fight, I want to explain why anxiety isn’t my friend! 
Anxiety you’re not my friend… 

– You make me worry about absolutely everything, even the smallest things. 
– You make my chest tight and I feel so helpless and it’s difficult to make things better. 
– You make me paranoid, that people are dissing me behind my back. 
– You make me over-think and over-analyse everything and everything! 
– You make me focus on one thing and it’s difficult for me to think about anything else. 
– You make me worry about going into public places, especially if someone is there that doesn’t like me! 
– You make me on edge and my daughter plays on that as she’s so hypersensitive to my mood. 
– You make me sick of the sound of my own voice. 
– You make me question my every action. 

– You make me feel that I always get things wrong, 

– You even make me feel like I’m a bad mum. 

– Sometimes you make me feel claustrophobic in my own home, other times you make me feel like I can’t even go out and even the school runs a struggle.  

Anxiety, you’ve been there throughout most of my life… 

To this day you are still ‘hanging around’

… you’re definitely not my friend! 

But…

… there is a light at the end of the tunnel, 

If I talk about it and don’t bottle it up! 

N. Perrins. 


This time last year my GP referred me to the ‘Worcestershire Healthy Minds.’ 

Worcestershire Healthy Minds supports people, aged 16 and over, who are experiencing problems such as stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.”

http://www.hacw.nhs.uk/our-services/healthy-minds

Here I completed a questionnaire and then a follow-up phone call where I was matched with the appropriate service to help support the issues at that time. 

Recently I have used the online service for self-referral to this service, where it may be reading support guides, counselling or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT.) It helps to talk to someone who isn’t involved with the family or the situation. 

There was once a time where I didn’t discuss these type of things, I felt ashamed and alone and that I was at fault. I have come to realise, especially over the last year, that it’s necessary to talk about mental health and to #endthestigma 
Thanks for reading 🙂 

Spectrum Sunday

My birth trauma experience ~ written for Maternal Mental Health week ~ 1st – 7th May 2017. 

My birth trauma experience 


My eldest daughter was born in the spring of 2012, I had a fairly normal pregnancy and was still able to work full time with children, the job that I’d done for 8 years. We were excited as first time parents, and moved into a new family house complete with a nursery and a whole heap of equipment, toys and clothes ready for the babies’ arrival. I had prepared myself for a natural birth, being a naturally anxious person for the whole of my life, I found the technique of ‘Hypnobirthing’ very beneficial by reading the books and listening to the CDs. 

At 4am my water’s broke, I was calm and collected and I took everything in my stride. But then there was a problem, panic set in after building myself up to stay calm, I called my local hospital’s maternity triage department and I was told to “come straight here.” When arriving at the hospital there wasn’t too much of a panic and my labour was induced. This was a slow process and I was monitored very closely as the midwives were concerned about the baby’s heart rate, I was told that she had “Meconium in her waters.” After several pain killing methods I started to feel like this experience wasn’t happening to me, it was like I was on the celling, looking down on someone who was going through it all. I remember a yellow piece of paper and the words: “We need to deliver this baby right now,” then all I remember is the lights of the corridor as I was transported into surgery. My baby’s heart rate had reached a dangerously low level.  

I don’t remember a lot else at this point, except trying not to cry with the relief that she was here safely, and the relief that I felt once she let out that all important first cry! I struggled to contain my laughter when the surgeon urged me not to cry as he was completing the stiches after the C-Section, and as he said “Whoa Mamma” it made me chuckle and I moved more! I tried to contain a mixture of happy tears and laughter due to the situation. After the drama died down I was left looking very swollen from all of the painkillers and various drugs from the operation, I found the nights horrendous as I was in so much pain and the ward was very noisy at night, as I was used to sleeping in silence at home! I remember getting very upset and uncontrollably crying on the second night as I’d asked for assistance to help change my baby’s nappy and help didn’t surface for hours, once someone did arrive I got it in the neck and was ‘told off’ because the nappy had been left too long! All I could do was to protest was that I had been asking for help for a number of hours but nobody came, needless to say I was extremely relieved the next day when I was allowed to take her home to the comfort of our own house. I found that she would settle to sleep better if she was swaddled tightly in a blanket. 

Just 2 week’s under 3 years since the birth of my first child, my second daughter was born. I did have it always in my mind regarding the trauma of my first birth, I had a lot of motoring and scans the second time around as I had a anterior and low lying placenta. When I was given the option of trying for a natural birth with a low-lying placenta I thought back again to the trauma from the first time, I decided that I simply couldn’t go through another emergency caesarean if it got to that point and re-live the experience again and therefore I opted for a planned caesarean the 2nd time around. Which was a very straightforward and very well planned procedure and I found that my recovery time was better the second time around as I did know what to expect in terms of the length of recovery time and what I could and couldn’t do.  


Thanks for reading 🙂 

www.birthtraumatrust.org

The Birth Trauma Trust aims to raise awareness of birth trauma, its link to perinatal wellbeing and mental health and how women are cared for, they also have a Facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/birthtraumatrust/

Update on my assessment journey


So after having my initial adult ASD assessment on 13th April 2017 and it going to a panel to review, I had the feedback letter through the post today. 

On the day I filled out questionnaires whilst in the waiting room and then had a 1 hour and 15 minute discussion based on my answers. 

Firstly the report went through a lot about what I had discussed on the day in terms of my childhood, how I am socially and certain ‘traits’ such as ability to handle changes, collections of items and sensory difficulties. Many of these aspects I had included in the paperwork that I’d sent in to the practice because I knew that I was likely to freeze on the spot when being questioned directly. What this meant is that I was questioned and guided by what I had aleady shared before the day of the assessment. 

The main thing from this feedback report was reading the results of the ‘Adult Autism Quotient (AQ) questionnaire,’ which measures behaviours, feelings and experiences associated with potential ‘Autistic Spectrum Conditions.’ Individuals with ASC typically score 32 or higher and I scored 47. 

I then read that: 

“The AQ is a screening tool and does not provide enough information for you to be given a diagnosis, but a score of more than 32, then taken alongside the information discussed, suggests that further assessment of an ASC diagnosis is warranted at this stage.” 

These are the recommendations given in the report: 


One thing I have noticed is that the term ASC is now being used, when I originally received my referral letter it stated it was a referral for an adult assessment for ‘Asperger’s Syndrome. ‘ Since I began blogging in March 2016, I’ve used the term ‘Autisitc Spectrum Disorder’ (ASD) and reading this on a report does make me question if I’m now using the ‘correct’ terms! 

I’m fully expecting the journey to a possible diagnosis to take a while longer, I felt happy and sad yet again at the same time, but again a great sense of relief, all those years of doubting myself, questioning who I was, telling myself I was ‘different’ was for a huge reason and to be on the path to having this clarified for me is so liberating. 

It is sad though, that my process for adult assessment is so much more straightforward than my own daughter’s, since January ’17 I’ve not really known what is going on in term of Lou’s assessment, no word of any assessments happening in school, no information. And to think that without understanding and researching regarding my own child, I’d have never have found out about myself. 

My advice to anyone wondering about themselves being on the spectrum is that it’s never too late, try the AQ questionnaire and take it to your GP. 

I will now wait for my next appointment and continue to share my journey 🙂 

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Getting my motivation back! 


I’ve lost my motivation lately, with so much going on like the Easter holidays, going away and then coming back 3 days early due to Lou having Chicken Pox! And now wondering if and when Moo will get them! 

I’m struggling to find my next direction, Moo is going to take a bit longer than I first thought to settle into an early years setting and we’ve had a lot going on lately in terms of her being referred to the Paediatrician for her sensory issues and finding out that she too has Hypermobility and has been referred for Orthotic supports. I want to work for me, to get the old me back and give me a focus, but I have had to accept that my children, especially Moo, need me at home at the moment and then there’s the results of my initial Adult ASD assessment still to come and I’m confused as to whether I should return to the only career I’ve known for 13 years or try a new direction! In an ideal world I’d love to use the skills in researching, writing, blogging and social media that I’ve developed over the last year but finding it a struggle to find anything relevant. 

Today (23/04/17) I was inspired by a friend who ran the London Marathon to raise funds for Acorns Children’s Hospice, who have helped her family a great deal. I got emotional watching the coverage to think about what an amazing achievement it is to do something like this. I was also delighted to hear that this year’s charity of the year for the London Marathon was ‘Heads Together,’ a charity that was founded by the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. 

Read more here: www.headstogether.org.uk

Their aim is to end the stigma attached to mental health, which is something that I’m so pleased about. For many years I felt ashamed of having anxiety and depression, I didn’t openly talk about and try to hide how I was feeling, even from those closest to me. Even today I sometimes find that if I openly talk about mental health issues that people still tend to change the subject and I can tell (after years of teaching myself,) that this isn’t something that the person is comfortable talking about. 

This week I watched a BBC programme called ‘Mind over Marathon,’ and it reliterated to me that there are so many benefits of exercise for mental health issues, exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. 

“Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood.”

Source: www.helpguide.org


I’ve been struggling with my weight since 2009, when I had a severe bout of depression and ever since I took a certain sort of medication I’ve been struggling, after never going above a size 14 before the age of 27. 

Since July ’16 I have been struggling with back pain and I’ve recently had physio sessions as it was found that my pelvis had been out of line since having Moo in March 2015. I found it difficult to walk and therefore difficult to do any sort of exercise, I also struggle to find the time or money for gym sessions due to having 2 young children at home. I recently explained during my initial assessment for ASD that I often felt ‘silly’ doing exercise, this is probably due to being laughed at as a child, I was tall, un-coordinated and clumsy, I didn’t like looking silly or drawing attention to myself and therefore I’d avoid situations that didn’t make me feel comfortable. As an adult I haven’t stepped foot in a gym since my last experience where a gym member commented to the gym instructor: “you’ve got your work cut of there,” implying about myself which really hurt me and I never went back. 

I’m very much in the “I don’t care what people think” mode at the moment so I decided to download a walking app on my phone and I took a picture of how I currently look as a motivational tool, (as I hate having my photo taken!) 


We’re lucky to live in a village in the countryside where there are plenty of public right-of-way paths, so I set out after my girls were in bed and it was lucky that it was a lovely sunny evening. 

When you have sights such as these it’s a fantastic motivation: 


So I’m planning to try and get a walk in every evening now it’s lighter and keeping a track of my time so I can try and beat this the next day! 

I felt so motivated when I returned home after my walk and I’m hoping that it does eventually turn into a bit of a run! I don’t think I’ll be running the London Marathon any time soon, but I do hope to try and be involved with some sort of sponsored event next year. 

Thanks for reading 🙂