Hopes for 2021

I’m very fortunate, in my 37 years thus far on this planet ive been very lucky and am so very grateful.

I travelled a lot as a child, lived in a foreign country and learnt another language. 

I collected along my way some of the best friends over the years and my amazing husband…….. life had been pretty sweet for a while.

I had so many high hopes for 2020 after 2019 had not been at all kind to me and my family.

This year though raised the bar; it has been mentally excruciating, I know it has for many and I don’t say that lightly.

As we entered lockdown in March, i’ll be the first to admit I was a little naïve and laughed at comments that this would be ongoing into winter. 

As I had started home-schooling, my husband was furloughed, and we were all in the house together all the time.

Those odd jobs that were built up around the house and never quite finished, were now being worked through and the glorious weather meant we could have evening in the garden. 

We spoke with our neighbours more and although there were difficult times – people were connecting and had a new appreciation for their home sand other people. 

We had our sons lockdown birthday and friends were dropping off lovely doorstep parcels and we became BBQ masters.

In May I found out after a long four years of trying for another child and a miscarriage the previous year that I was again pregnant, I laughed at the thought of announcing a “lockdown baby” but my joy again was short lived when I suffered an ectopic pregnancy that could have had potentially dire consequences.

Mentally this was even more difficult to go through being alone in the hospital during this time but I had a new found appreciation for our NHS staff and professionals.

I saw so many of my business owner friends and self-employed people struggle with the closures and having to stop working. 

My husband had been out of work himself for 10 weeks at one point and my son was in tears struggling with the subject matter in online work that he had not yet covered and could not get his head around. 

I was put at risk of redundancy for the second time in a 12 month period and the mood everywhere was generally just low.

Summer came and went, and we were fortunate that our summer staycation went ahead at the end of August although one of my best friend’s wedding was postponed, covid effects never really that far away from everything we did. 

I was frightful for my sons education and what his future now looked like from the after effects of this pandemic.

During work meetings we would start to say we were sick of having the same weary conversation and it was disheartening not having nice and positive news to share. 

Its now going on for nine months that I have not had any face to face interaction with my work colleagues and Secret Santa by post is just not the same! 

Not to mention my camera roll for 2020 was not pics of empty supermarket aisles and toilet roll shortage memes.

So I started to think about what I wish and hope for 2021 and to be honest, I feel like I can’t and actually don’t want to make any plans. 

My only true desire is to be ending 2021 with all the people I love and hold dear, then the same for the year after and year after that. 

Occasions may be cancelled, and holidays postponed. 

We may not be able to see people of often as we like in the surroundings that we want but the fact that we can look to be able too do these things, eventually – in the future should we all be alive and healthy to do so is the hope that will carry us all through.

COVID Christmas

We love Christmas in our house, Cameron is now 12 and it is his 3rd grown up Christmas in the sense that he knows “the truth”. 

Good job really as this year his big present isn’t obtainable, and we just had to have that honest and open frank conversation that this year as it has been up until this point…. Will just be a little different.

I remember when he was younger and we would do “The List”, the success rate of this varied and it took us a few years to get it right and to adapt to our sons ASD mind. 

One year I got everything on the list – AND MORE, imagine my horror Christmas morning as he declared to me and to family members “I didn’t ask for that, it wasn’t on my list”. 

Trying to explain that people will buy you gifts because they love you and its rude to seem ungrateful, his little face full of concern whilst he apologised and said “I’m not being rude mum I’m just saying I didn’t ask for it”. 

And in his mind, that’s perfectly logical.

So the year after we stuck to the list – I knew in advance we would be doing so and made sure he added everything he wanted. 

Our close family were happy to pick up some of the list items as gifts for him and that Christmas was……………. “THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER”!

So the year after I wanted to start preparing Cameron as he grew about the meaning of gifts and how people will buy you things that they think you would enjoy and appreciate. 

I said to him “how about this year, we don’t do a list and see what surprises Santa and everyone buys you”, this was no doubt quite a cautious ask and could literally go one way or another. 

It was though a resounding success and another “amazing Christmas”. 

I know it was the right choice as the year after Cameron asked, “can I have surprises again this year mum instead of doing a list”.

So back to this year; the unforgettable 2020, he’s basically a young grown man now. 

He is thoughtful and considerate and has so many of the decent qualities that I worried he would struggle to develop or understand. 

He grew so much during lockdown and whilst home schooling/working was stressful – I loved the time we all had indoors keeping safe. 

My anxiety has been through the roof when I had tried to get him this year’s latest gaming console and I might as well be trying to source him a real-life unicorn.

My husband said, “lets just explain it to him”. 

So we sat him down and said this year has been tough and at one point the whole world was shut doing manufacturing wise and so our plan to get you this gift so far has not been possible and its unlikely we will succeed. 

He said, “wow well that sucks but thank you, I understand, I can wait”.

We explained that we wouldn’t probably see all the family like we usually would and have the gathering/parties either but that once the world gets back to normality then we have the time to do all those things again.

This year……… will just be a little different.

The family we choose ourselves

I have a big biological family; I am the eldest of five and with us all having partners and children of our own you can imagine those multiplying figures. 

In a lot of my SEN blogs since the start I’ve spoke about their support over the years, how were a multiplex family and how we share our journeys to some extent. 

Without them we would not have been able to carry on being a full-time working parents; they supported, adapted and helped us thrive.

They mean the world to me.

This blog is dedicated to the family that I chose for myself.  My FR-AMILY.

We all know that family isn’t always blood relatives, it’s the people we choose to have in our lives who also want us in theirs. 

They are the ones that accept us for who we are, warts and all. 

The ones that would do anything to see us smile.

My what’s-app is an awash of different group chats.  I had to turn the vibration off for the constant bzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzz of an evening, whilst I chuckle away at the latest GIF or try to offer my pennies worth in a debate. 

I have the besties groups, the kebab girl’s area and prosecco queens to name a few. 

There are friends within these groups that I can see up to once a month or as little as a once a year, but the love remains strong and we can just pick up where we last left off.

It is within these safe spaces that we can share our happiest and or our deepest darkest moments with these people. 

Share burdens that you would not necessarily want to worry your parents/siblings with, or a risqué joke that would makes your mothers toes curl.

I’ve told my son as he entered high school this last year that it’s not about having a 100 people who you know’ but selecting the right handful that you can take forward for the rest of your life. 

Its these people for me; mainly from my childhood and high school years that are here by my side today – oh but not forgetting those kebab girls I picked up in work a few years ago, they are alright and worth keeping around.

The encouragement and love we receive from the people we choose to have around and to share our life journey with is the perfect life tonic. 

I love my fr-amily – thank you all.

Special Needs Parenting and Bullying

*Phone Rings*……………………… that moment we all hate when we read the screen “School” calling.

Although I knew my boy was physically ok as he had arrived home just five minutes earlier, he had told me his day was fine.

– Hello?

– Hi Mrs Kaye it’s the pastoral manager from School, I just wanted to check that Cameron is ok as there was an incident today?

– Well he’s home and not said anything?

– Ok that’s fine – its just that he was verbally abused today; it wasn’t very nice to witness, and I just wanted to check in.  The other child has been suspended and we are dealing with this separately.

I waited until my husband got home so we could address the issue; but when we confronted Cameron, he said he didn’t remember, and he was fine.  He hadn’t told me as he didn’t want me to worry.

Now this is a stark contrast to a couple of issues in primary school, when he couldn’t wait to tell you who had done him wrong and the ins and outs of events.

It worried me that high school now is a totally different ball game, he doesn’t want me causing a fuss.

Through the power of Facebook I managed to get in touch with the boys mum, we had a conversation and we agreed to get the boys to meet to see what was the issue and try to defuse this at the beginning so that it did not escalate and get out of hand.

We took the lad a Dairy Milk peace offering, chocolate is a great healer after all and he apologised. He now talks to Cameron when he sees him in school.

The following week I noticed a bruise on Cameron’s arm and asked him how it had happened; he told me that someone was messing around and pushed him, that he had fallen into a bench.

My heart broke again, I asked him who it was, and he said that he wasn’t going to tell me because he doesn’t want me doing anything and making him meet this person like I did in the other instance.

I realised in that moment that I need to back off, as painful and hard as that is – I need to let him grow and I need to do this so that he will trust to tell me and share things with me.

I have promised that I will not take action unless he is severely hurt, that he needs to understand this is not ok, but I respect what he is asking me.

These teenage years will be hard and different, I have two brothers and know they were always getting into scrapes and saw them around school messing and having “banter” with other lads.

Cameron is a timid lad, he carries himself in a shy manor and he is open and someone confident about his autism.

A friend of mine attends Krav Maga training and told me there was a teen session at weekends.

Krav Maga is a self defence system which focuses on defusing real life situations; I booked a session and explained to Cameron that I think it would be beneficial as well as good exercise and a chance to make some new friends.

He loved it, and as a kid that’s not overly keen on expressing enthusiasm he was positive and excited:

“They taught us what to do if someone tries to steal your mobile phone and also what to do if someone pushes you”

I can’t fix everything – he needs to learn the way of the world we live in; I understand that, but I can certainly try my best as his mother to give him the skills and knowledge in life to try and help him succeed and be confident.

Tic Disorders and Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness

This is new territory for us, well I thought so until we had our referral back to the hospital.  When we finally had our first video call appointment in this new look COVID-19 world of ours, the Dr quickly referred to previous notes and documents about me raising “tics” historically.  He had not seen Cameron since he was 8 and now 12 in his new high school setting the Dr said he was not surprised to see us referred back.

So up until late July there wasn’t any obvious concern, we were doing our daily home-schooling whilst I was juggling working from home and all was ok and normal, well as it could be.  We then went away for a staycation to Cornwall and whilst in close quarters of a caravan and no WIFI; which meant we spent a lot of family time together, started to notice that Cameron was doing like a head jolt –  a flicker of the neck and a grimace of the jaw.

It was a couple of days into the holiday and my husband noticed and asked me had I also picked up on this new activity.  I had but we reassured each other that it was probably just the new setting, coming away from home after being cooped up since March.  Any excuse really that would try and out that anxiousness at bay, whilst I then couldn’t sleep and turned to Google for answers – yes, I know, we all know this is the worst thing to do.

I was suddenly convinced that Cameron had some form or early onset Tourette’s.

I mean for years he use to have “vocal” tics in the style of train horns; yep you read that right, a train horn for every occasion weather he be worried or excited – he had a train horn noise for just that.  Fast-forward to the Drs appointment and was reminded of this by the Dr, you see I don’t remember when that actually stopped.  Just when we though that was it and this noise was here to stay – it would change, as many things with ASD.

So the Dr is telling me that Cameron has what appears to be a Tic Disorder.

Now Google tells me: Tic Disorders are defined in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) based on type (motor or phonic) and also the duration of the tics (sudden, rapid, nonrhythmic movements).

The Dr proceeded to explain that Tourettes is more well known, but because of the severity of people we see on TV that are at the extreme end of the scale and involuntary swear.  That’s like ASD though, Tourette’s is also a scaled spectrum and basically its Tourette’s when people have a combination of both the motor and vocal tics.  That these have started well before the age of 18; typically, between 4 & 6, that they increase in severity between and not limited to 10 & 12 and then hopefully decrease during adolescence in most cases.

The Dr reassured us that this is a worrying time and the last six months stress will not have helped matters; that anxiety, stress and adrenaline contribute to the daily management of tics but was also honest in that this is likely to get worse for us before it gets better.  That in fact the tics should reach their peak during the last year of high school around GCSE time and we may have to consider a short-term medical management depending in how Cameron is coping.

Our road has not been plain sailing, and this is just another obstacle.  Cameron is now armed with the knowledge of what is happening to him, how he can explain these things to people who ask and how to calm himself so that they can ease.  Knowledge always gives us power and allows us to be in control.

From Lockdown Back to Reality!

I remember having a conversation with my manager back in March, she told me to start working from home from Monday 16th full time until we knew what was happening with this virus.  Then we had an announcement re lockdown and from Monday 23rd March not only was I working from home full time, but I also became a home tutor to our son.

I was convinced it wouldn’t last long and Cameron would be back to school in no time – that wasn’t to happen for another five months. My husband was furloughed and for the first time we were all in the house ALL the time, together and we did not know for how long. This was our new normality.

I have kept a diary for Cameron for the last five years now, about memories and funny stories.  I have just had a look at some extracts over lockdown and it made me equally sad and happy:


I’m worried how this will affect your academically.

The number of UK deaths today was reported at 1789 – its accelerating quickly.  You are happy though and your greatest concern is when your magnums are running out.

People are panic buying, there are rows upon rows empty in the Supermarkets. We will be on toilet roll rations shortly!!


GCSE & A ‘Levels cancelled. Markings on the floor of all shops for distancing. Churches closed – graveyards shut. Government vital update letter in the post.

I am so proud of you Cameron – you have received some amazing feedback from your teachers and a school award for when you go back!!

Dad cut your hair today – you are not happy and heard you say to your friend online “yeah so my dad deleted half my fringe and now I look weird”


You asked me “what was life like in 1900, was it like this” – not quite sunshine, imagine not having internet or TV.

Letter from school “Cameron well done for engaging so well with your home learning during this extraordinary time. You have submitted some outstanding work”

Dad went back to work after 10 weeks off work, it was a sad time as we had all got use to just being together laughing and doing things around the house.  You went back to school early September into Year 8, after having only done just over five months of Year 7.  Your tic disorder has heightened through the stress and anxiety of the unknown, for the first time I have not been able to tell you how things will be –  all the uncertainty of masks and new group bubbles, I don’t know how this new school journey will be for you.

The house is quiet now, I miss you coming downstairs and asking me if I’m ok.

I miss you spending your mornings sat with me at the table whilst we both work.  I’m sad that you should be now getting into the year groups where you would possibly go on an abroad trip – I was always so excited and eager to encourage you to do this and take the learning opportunities but I fear that this probably wont happen at all the way things are.  That this is our new normality.

Winds of change

For a few weeks now, I’ve been having really bad anxiety. Struggling to breath, irrational thoughts and being constantly highly strung. My son was about to start high school and I was petrified.

We found out just before school finished for summer that Cameron had passed his SATs, and not just scraped through he had strong results.

I literally cried – you see we were told not to worry about the SATs and his performance in them, that he would try his best and will have the opportunity to work on the results once he goes to high school.

I felt that they expected him to fail, but he was changing.

We went to town celebrating the success and really made a big deal. I told him that this was an amazing opportunity and strong start to his high school life.

I set that expectation and understanding that by trying his best and getting remarkable results – we would reward him accordingly.

Yeah ok – we basically just told our kid were going to bribe him through high school but he was changing.

So; a mainstream high school setting it is and after literally two years of researching schools, having visits, checking Ofsted reports and bus routes it was all building up to this moment.

I was worried about him doing his school tie and the getting use to the feel of shirts, I was worried about him losing his bus pass that was literally a NIGHTMARE to obtain, I was worried about him getting the school bus, I was worried about him making his way around school, then I was worried about him and his fussy eating habits at lunch.

He was changing though.

He learnt to tie his tie within a couple of hours and we made a game of random “tie checks” where he would drop everything and tie his tie. Mastered it. He said the shirts felt nice but just the top button was a bit tricky, “don’t worry mum, I’m sure it will be fine”.

I would ask him “what would you do if the bus was late” and “what would you do if you missed the bus home”, bombarding him with, in my mine nightmare scenarios. He just looked at me and said, “just ring you or dad or nana” and I forget that the autism literally just provides him with black and white answers.

No overthinking, no what ifs – just matter of fact problem solving answers.

When he started school he was texting me telling me he was on the bus and he will see me soon, then at home time he was texting again to tell me he was on his way back.

He started showering every day upon his return and getting his bag ready for the following day before tea.

When I asked about what homework he had to do (although yes, I already knew with all these fancy pants apps school provide nowadays) he told me that he had been to the library at lunch and started/completed it so that he had more spare time in the evening.

He even had two lots of fish and chips on “chippy Friday”. He had changed.

I suddenly realised that in these last three weeks without realising it my breathing has returned to normal.

The anxious thoughts are few and far between. I’m not constantly checking “find my iPhone” in the morning or at home time because he has adapted so so quickly and amazingly as he has done so many times before over the years.

I feel guilty for not giving him anywhere near as much credit as he deserves and know that in fact we are doing a sterling job, he is a 100% rule follower and a respectful kid.

I know this because when he’s asking me “mum when might I be able to start to say a swear word, everyone swears on the school bus” and I have a conversation with him about how swearing isn’t nice and its most likely those kid’s parents don’t know they are acting in that way – but that if he wants to say the swear word for poo then me and dad don’t mind and he chuckles.

I know he won’t abuse this and absolutely follow the “but not in front of any teachers or grandma” rule attached to it.

He’s changed and now I need to change for us to get through the next stage.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

Out with 2018 and in with 2019, last year had been pretty good.

Family holidays, mini breaks with friends, camping and the arrival NYE of my niece Molly – perfect year end.

I thought that 2019 certainly had the potential to be an even better one; other holidays planned, home renovations, my little sister was expecting twin girls and maybe just maybe this would be the year that I went from a mother of 1 to a mother of 2.

We only made it through January unscathed. It was Sunday 3rd Feb and I had a message early in the morning from my mum to tell me my sister was in hospital as her waters had broken.

I was confused and dazed, she was only a few days off 24 weeks – what was happening?

My sister was transferred to Manchester St Marys Hospital and told that they were better equipped to help in this “Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes” (PPROM) situation.

My mum said how there was a lot of toing and froing of Drs but not much seemed to be happening and when my mum asked how they planned to help the twins they seemed hesitant and talked about how as the pregnancy was not quite 24 weeks there was a lot of risk.

My mum told them that she would be 24 weeks in two days, that a life is a life and she expected them to do anything they could to give the girls the best chance.

My sister was given magnesium and steroids whilst being told “we need this to be in your system for at least 48 hours before the birth for the best chance”.

Babies born at 23 weeks are always treated compassionately but are not always resuscitated, as the chances of survival are very low and the equipment invasive.

The decision to resuscitate depends upon each baby’s individual situations. This was the case for our beautiful Layla who was still born on Monday 4th Feb, she was held by her mother whilst we prayed as a family for a better chance for her sister.

Each passing hour was an extra hour that the medicines were working their way through Ruby and into her baby that was still alive and fighting strong in her own little amniotic sac.

The 5th of Feb came and went and although in labour Ruby continued to grieve for the loss of her daughter Layla but persevere and hope for her second daughter Ava.

Again; each passing hour was a better chance, Ava now has the full 48 hours behind her with the steroid medication to strengthen her weak organs, she was now over the 24 week mark and would have the best chance upon her arrival.

Ava was born on Tuesday 6th Feb at 6.51am in her amniotic sac, she was kicking away and breathing – they managed to get a tube into her and incubated her.

She was a good pink colour but was not out of the woods. For the next 24 hours we prayed and hoped as a family that through losing Layla we would at least get a chance with our beautiful Ava.

This was not to be the case and after a scan revealed a bleed to Ava’s brain and no kidney function, the decision was made that Ava would spend the last time she had in the arms of her parents. She passed away Weds 7th Feb early evening.

My sister went into hospital pregnant with twins and left less than a week later empty handed. She was not the only mother though to lose babies that week, the NICU staff talked about the girls being with other children at peace in the nursery.

As a family a go fund me was set up for friends and family to help towards a funeral – over £4000 was raised and we have never seen generosity like it. A small personal funeral was held and there is now a family grave where everyone can go and visit to help the healing process.

When you have a child; I feel that there is then going forward a certain expectation, that you will just have more.

I have five brothers and sisters and we literally are “My Big Fat Greek Family”. It’s natural that people would always ask “when are you having another” or comment “don’t leave it too long”.

My son turned 11 this year and although not common knowledge we have been trying to extend our family for almost four years now.

Cameron has autism and we always put all our time and energy into helping him and making sure he has the best start, as he grew and conformed and was in a good place academic wise we decided that actually now was a good time to add to our family.

Trying to conceive is a dark, painful cycle of temperature charts, peeing on sticks and literally sucking the life out of the romance you have to try and become this reproductive machine. I can’t tell you the amount of pregnancy tests I have taken over these last few years, the tears I have cried when celebrating other pregnancies and this is not malice or jealousy – I LOVE that my friends and family have had what their hearts desire.

I cry because I hurt for me.

After Ruby lost the girls and everyone tried to get back to some kind of normality, we were preparing for our family holiday, but something wasn’t quite right following a period where I did not stop bleeding and I made a doctors appointment.

A close friend suggested I take a pregnancy test to eliminate that before my appointment and I half-hearted agreed, why was this test going to be any different.

The seed was planted though and, on my way home I popped into the supermarket; bread, milk, Clear Blue tests. My hubby was confused as I was in the bathroom waiting for this stick and telling him that “my friends said do a test before I go to the doctors tomorrow”, not paying it any notice until I heard him gasp.

Pregnant 2-3 Weeks.

The doctor told me the following morning that we need to do a series of bloods with two days apart from each to see if the HCG levels were on the rise, but I could not have these done as we were going on holiday two days later.

He advised me to go and have a relaxing holiday, that this was the perfect opportunity for rest and booked me in for the day after my return.

I bought about five boxes of cheap tests and packed them into the suitcase, I thought that by testing every couple of days that would keep me sane/calm.

We set off on our family two-week holiday and I was literally the HAPPIEST I had ever felt.

I had a devoted husband and amazing son, life was good I was so so fortunate.

We told our nearest and dearest and we even narrowed down a baby name. We had an intimate meal as a family of three one evening and shared the news with our son.

We learnt early on with his autism not to pop surprises on him, so we always talked about maybe one day him having a brother or sister, this would be a big change for all of us and we wanted him to share in the experience and have that adjustment time.

We made it clear that it was very early days and how like when aunty Ruby was pregnant with the twins sometimes there are issues, another autistic trait is that he is very matter of fact.

My boy; my gorgeous, clever blue eyed boy was so so excited.

We got caught up in the moment, this was something we had dreamed of for so so very long and this was it now, it was happening.

I continued to test every couple of days and those little two lines kept popping up strong until a week into the holiday – the test was there, positive but very very faint.

I panicked; I knew I needed to go and find a chemist and get a digital, I needed to see the actual words. It was a Sunday though and all the chemists were closed on this little Greek island.

It was the worst 24 hours – inside my head that it. I put on a good show of it for the rest of the family and holiday, but I was on autopilot.

I went and paid 16 euros for a digital test and hurried back to the villa.

My heart knew – I knew that I had miscarried, but I wanted to see it confirmed.


I had by this point known about my pregnancy for just 10 days; 10 days literally on cloud 9 mapping out our new future of a family of four, how we would possibly have to move to a new house and thinking about childcare.

I came away on this perfect family holiday literally feeling the happiest I could ever remember, I was returning home broken.

I went to the doctors appointment as previously arranged and told him what had happened in the two weeks I had been away, he apologised and explained to me that this was likely to have been a chemical pregnancy and went on to explain what this was.

Of course; he didn’t need to explain, I know what a chemical pregnancy is and how many women go through this – I read this every month when I’m googling two week wait symptoms.

I was embarrassed now; this was a pregnancy that ended before it could be detected by any ultrasound.

All I had now was pictures of positive pregnancy tests and heartache. I had to suck it up though, play it down.

How could I even compare this to what my sister had gone through only three months earlier.

The thing is, it is incomparable but it’s a loss in its own merit.

With every positive pregnancy test there is an entire world of hope and desire and it doesn’t matter if you are pregnant for 1 week, 1 month or if you lose your child well into the pregnancy – your pain for that loss is real, you should not be embarrassed to mourn.

As my beautiful mum said – a life is a life.

Mental Health Awareness

Typically, and now a more well-known fact is that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health condition in a given year.

Between 25 & 40% of people with learning disabilities experience mental health problems.

Of young people and children, the rate of a diagnosable psychiatric disorder is 38% where there is a learning difficulty compared to 8% of those who don’t.

These children and young people are also 33 times more likely to be on the autistic spectrum.

Furthermore; lets not overlook carers who look after family members with a mental health condition, are likely to have an impact on their own mental health, some 71% of carers have poor physical or mental health.

Early intervention is paramount, not only this but normalising mental health early on and removing any stigma.

I have an autistic son and have experienced depression and anxiety myself in the past.

I never want my son to experience these emotions.

The statistics above tell me that he has a higher chance though than most people. The emotional wellbeing and mental health of young autistic people is often overlooked as many of their symptoms could appear “typical” of the condition itself.

For years I had anxiety but didn’t know what it was, didn’t know how to explain it to others. I remember telling my Dr “my chest is tight, and I feel like I can’t get my big breath, like I do a lot of yawning to try and draw breath” – this was about 12 years ago when I was pregnant, and he sent me to hospital to check my oxygen levels.

No one identified it as a mild anxiety attack – not one of the professionals.

Your bodies are very clever things, when you’re feeling anxious or stressed, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released.

These hormones cause the physical symptoms.

Other symptoms, that could easily be dismissed are:

• Feelings of worry or unease
• Insomnia
• Lack of concentration
• Feeling irritable
• Feeling on-edge
• The need of reassurance
• Tearfulness

I had the chance in my workplace to join a training programme to become a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and I leaped at the chance.

It was my own experiences of suffering with mental health and brining up a child with a disability that helped me get a place on the course.

The training covered the history of mental health and how the stigma originated from people who were placed in “mental institutions”.

I will never forget the first group task which was to write down on a piece of paper a list of negatives words linked to mental health and a list of positive, try it yourself.

We quickly reeled off all the negative associations but could not think of a single positive, it was very sad.

We completed this task at the end of the two-day course and we found that we actually filled up the positive list first with words like optimism, healing, recovery, support, truth, peace, courage, hope.

Its changing your mindset, imagine a world where people didn’t have the negative associations.

We have the power in schools and as parents to teach the next generations that its ok not to be ok and trying to find the positives first.

Please find below some government websites for advice and support:

Mind – for better mental health:


Carers Trust: