Helen’s Blog

Welcome to my blog. Please also click on my name above as that also has details of my work and related photographs.

The latest post will always be just under this one with preceding posts following on in date order. 

22 October 2019

Today we said goodbye to one of our old soldiers, Mick.  He was a lovely man who we’ve got to know well over the last 7 years.

His son lives in America and couldn’t get over for the funeral so Mick’s wife asked if we would video the funeral for her.

Seeing his wife cry broke my heart and started me crying.  I’m so emotional.  I come from a long line of emotional people.  My mum has a very hard outside but is very soft on the inside.  Trouble is it’s not always easy to get to that bit.

My maternal nan had a lot of mental problems.  I only remember her when she was much older and in a home.  She wasn’t in her right mind and didn’t really know who people were apart from my mum, dad and her other children.  One Christmas, probably mid 80’s she gave us £1 for Christmas.  That was for me and her 7 great-grandchildren!

My mum had my brother at 17, my sister at 19, my other brother at 21 (I came along when she was 30).  My dad worked hard and, in those days, the house and kids were the woman’s domain.  My mum was never diagnosed with depression but almost definitely had it.  My youngest brother was diagnosed with haemophilia aged 4.  The authorities thought she was hurting him because he was badly bruised.  It hadn’t been in our family line before. This then involved trips to St Thomas’s in London and Alex’s Hospital in Brighton.  My mum saw a lot of parents smacked of their heads on Valium. She then had a life long distrust of any antidepressant. When I got PND in 1997, my mum was right behind me but this was on the basis that I treated it with natural remedies such as St John’s Wort and lavender oil.  This worked to a certain extent.  In 2000, my husband moved out, my dad had throat cancer and I started having panic attacks.  The first one was in the middle of the night and I woke up and it happened.  I’ve never known fear like it.  I tried to tell my mum but she said she was dealing with my dad’s cancer, she couldn’t deal with my stuff too. I’ve never felt so lonely.  I would go to my mum’s after work because my panic happened in my flat.  One night my mum told me she was not cooking dinner for me one more time and to go home.

I was scared of not being able to look after my 4 year old son.  What if he woke up at night?  How would I cope? I wanted my sister to have him because he deserved a better mum than me. My son is now 23 and typing this still makes me cry.

When I was completely lost and not knowing where to turn next, I rang my Sue, my Health Visitor.  She was on leave and there was no-one else to talk to me.  Just after I put the phone down, it rang again.  Sue had just returned to the office by chance.  She came straight over to see me.  She stayed with me until I was feeling better.  She made an appointment with my GP the next day and came with me.  Anti-depressants were prescribed. This woman was my saviour.  I have recently caught up with her on Facebook and told her this.

21 October 2019

16 October 2019

I was asked what sort of photos I would be taking for my project, I said pictures of my medication, hair dye, damn spots (I’ve got more than I had as a teenager), rumpled bed – night sweats and selfies of me.  It was suggested that I use my phone to do this.  I hadn’t thought of it.  It was also suggested that I take a picture every day in the same place.  I started doing this but felt it didn’t really describe my day so decided to do them in different places with a description of what I was thinking/feeling/doing.

9 October 2019

My project proposoal presentation

Slide 1: Originally, I wanted to look at women approaching the menopause as this is a difficult stage in many women’s lives. However, having thought about it, I think I want to look at ageing and what it means to me.  How I felt about it through the years.  The positives and negatives of ageing.

Slide 2: Next year I will be the big 50.  It is an age that has crept up on me it seems.

I want to explore different ideas I had about the age I was at

Slide 3: How I thought I was fat and unattractive when I was 14 yet, looking back now, I was not at all and I wish I could be as fat and unattractive as that now! How people’s opinions and comments affected how I saw myself.

Slide 4: How a career was most important to me. And having fun with my friends.

Slide 5: Then marriage and children. My priorities changed.

Slide 6: Then came post natal depression, anxiety and panic attacks.  By 30 I was separated and a single mum.

Slide 7: Moving away from my hometown which was not the done thing in my family.  This caused a lot of upheaval and bad feeling with my lot.  Marrying again and being a mum again at 39.

Slide 8: Re-inventing myself career wise. Acceptance of medical conditions. More confident and acceptance of myself.

Slide 9: I am not very good at looking inwards. I’ll be looking at my past and my future so, as a very emotional person it will be very challenging for me. As you know, my love is animals and nature so doing something like this will stretch me.

Ideas for my project

These are some of the pictures I have taken and that lights my fire. Flora and fauna. This was the path I was planning on taking for my MA.

However, as a depression sufferer, I am interested in mental health and how we deal with it. But I didn’t want to talk to other people about depression.  I am an emotional sponge and I would take all their sadness on board. Selfish I know but I’ve learnt that sometimes I have to look after myself first.

I did joke with a friend that I was going to do something on the menopause as I am suffering with hot flushes. She didn’t laugh, she thought it was a good idea! So this became the road I was going down.

Then I thought that I could combine the two ideas.  I could look at ageing and how it’s affected my mental health and the way I think about myself.