Tuesday, 20 May 2014

#DownSyndrome - It Just Takes Them A Little Bit Longer... (poem)

Poem, Down Syndrome, Special Needs, SEN, children, It just takes them a little bit longer, time, my life my son my way, mylifemysonmyway.com, Alice Hassall, Butterflies, Down Syndrome Poem, Team 21, trisomy 21,

*Just a little note from me*

I often get asked 'When will he...?' there is no answer to that question, Kyd works at his own pace and so do all kids especially those with Down Syndrome, it is what it is.
We have learnt that you just go with the flow in this life, live life as and when it happens, not as and when a book says it should.
I learnt not to look to the future too much, as if you don't expect it, they'll shock you with all they do.
They will ALWAYS achieve more than you had ever expected if you don't put a schedule to their development. If you dwell on what the future may bring and when it'll bring it, you'll only be disappointing your own expectations... and that is never fun.
Chill out, relax and enjoy the rollercoaster that is parenting a child with Down Syndrome.
Oh and don't forget...
Celebrate EVERYTHING, nothing is too small to celebrate with over exaggerated praise and a slice of cake!
(maybe a gin or two after they're in bed too... obviously)
Alice, Signiture, My Life My Son My Way, mylifemysonmyway.com,

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Down Syndrome – Inside Door 21

Door 21, Down Syndrome, drawing, sketch, My Life My Son My Way, Alice Hassall,
 Sometimes in life you take a chance and walk through the door at the end of a route you wouldn’t usually take. When it closes behind you, you realise it’s leading you to a place that you weren’t expecting, one that you’d never even dreamed of before…. a place in which, once there, your life will never be the same again.
They say ‘when one door closes another door opens’ but in some cases the hunt for that other door is never ending and that middle ground of unknown is fresh, fierce and full of crazy circumstance.
I walked through door 21 when I was 16 and I never looked back but realising that there wasn’t a door to open on the other side just many paths to walk down instead, was the scariest but most important lesson I ever learnt.
Some doors just open and shut behind you so that you can start a never ending journey in life, door 21 is one of those doors.
Life is a funny old game though and it really can throw you under a dark cloud on a sunny day, being pregnant at fifteen was definitely unexpected, what was to follow, that was a little bit more… well… off the wall.

Down Syndrome, Baby, Kyd, My Life My Son My Way, Some babies are born special…

After a blissful pregnancy and perfect scans, at 16, scared and completely unprepared mentally and physically, I gave birth to a 9lb bouncing baby boy..
He was beautiful, slightly bigger than I was expecting and with the biggest hamster cheeks I’d ever seen on a newborn but he really was perfect, I was instantly in love.
Twenty four hours later, I was called into the doctor’s office, with a weird feeling of dread in my stomach oddly knowing something had to be wrong, I sat down and took a deep breath. Then he spoke those words. The ones I’ll never forget.
‘Some babies are a little bit more special than others… some babies have Down Syndrome’
He stuttered and struggled to tell this fragile new sixteen year old mum that her world had just been turned upside down and that she had just walked through a door in which isn’t usually seen to be entered by one so young, but the path behind it was one so many had walked down before. He struggled to get his words out. He struggled to break my heart.

Down Syndrome, Mum, Parent, Son, Mother and Son, My Life My Son My Way, Happy, Smiles, My New Life…

Door 21 had just closed itself behind me and locked me out of my old world, throwing me into this brand new land of the unknown.
It was dark.
It was scary.
It was my new life.
The following years are a blurred memory of wrong turns and hospital stays but the journey was harder for me than my beautiful new creation it would seem, he just took it in his stride, fighting every battle with a smile.
With me failing to realise that by opening this door and not being able to run back through it with my hands in the air screaming, that it would lead to more than just being a mum, I battled both depression and motherhood behind a fake smile and practical parenting. Failing dramatically at a lot of things along the way, I muddled through and made Down Syndrome, and all that came with it, ‘the norm’ in our life.
He had his fair share of ‘the norm’ throughout his early years too, well ‘the norm’ for a child with Down Syndrome that is. He struggled with several medical issues that come with that extra chromosome, yet nothing as serious or dramatically life threatening, as I had first thought it would lead to when the news broke.

cheetahs in shos, rainbow, photography, my life my son my way, To find a rainbow there must first be rain...

When you read about children with Down Syndrome, you read about either the butterflies and rainbows of how amazing they are or the darker clouds that appear just before those rainbows grace us with their presence.
Those black clouds can represent the vast amount of medical issues that seem to ride alongside that extra chromosome 21. The heart issues. The mobility problems. The thousands of little things that go hand in hand with that tiny little thing that sets them aside from people who don’t have it.
He didn’t have any of the heart issues. He hasn’t developed any life limiting illnesses that are what scared me so much at the beginning.
He was just him and I was just me and WE were just we.
Life for us changed the day I realised that far in the distance of this dark and scary new world I now lived in, was a perfect blue sky filled with butterflies and a beautiful rainbow but that to get to it I had to make my way through the brambles and rain and even when I got there it would just be leading me to new and adventurous paths to walk down, a new rainbow in the distance as such.

Butterflies, drawing, sketch, my life my son my way, mother son, path, down syndrome, life, Following the butterflies…

The day I walked down the path towards the rainbow in the distance, hand in hand with my little creation, chasing the butterflies as they flew along the blue sky. I turned and looked back at the long and winding path and that door with the little number 21 on it seemed to be so far away now, hidden under that black cloud of the past. I gave it a little smile, after all it had taught me so much. That smile seemed to make the door and the black cloud above it, fade further into the distance and as I turned and glanced back, it had gone. The old life that I knew had led to the life I have yet to lead and I’m still on that path and learning every day. It still brings with it the odd black cloud and the odd shower but with the experiences of the path now behind me and the door I walked through all that time ago, it makes them much easier to deal with, like we’re holding an umbrella and a map as we walk.
That rainbow ahead makes for a much better view along the path as you walk too. It makes it a journey that I’m now excited to be on. A journey with no guaranteed path but with guaranteed great company.
There has been no map as to how to get to the rainbow on this parenting journey, nor has there been a clear view of what is ahead, whether it be dark clouds or butterflies. There is however, a wealth of information out there for those who are walking that path behind me and thanks to the journeys of others and the internet at our fingertips, many get to skip along their paths hand in hand from the very beginning.

The Future of Downs...

Future of Downs is an online support network made up of parents and run by parents. It has been the lifeline, getting so many down their path with a helping hand when needed and it has been a pleasure to watch and be involved with where I can. In the very short time it has been around, I’ve seen the lives of so many change for the better and the smiles of so many light the way for the future.
It has parents of all ages with children of all ages offering advice and knowledge about a subject we all have had a life crash course in. You see Down Syndrome has no specific journey route. It has no specific starting point or finish line either. It does however have a very specific extra chromosome which does make for a little extra work along the way.
Life has a funny way of creating dark clouds on what seems like a sunny day, especially when you walk through a new door… don’t let that cloud make the decisions for you, because if you just look behind it, you’ll find your rainbow.
Alice, Signiture, Pocket watch, Bird, My Life My Son My Way,
I've been shortlisted for this years Brilliance in Blogging awards alongside some amazing names and blogs.
If you like this post please vote for me, I'd really appreciate it and I may even share my gin if I get through to the final 6...
*disclaimer* may, I said 'may share my gin' #justsaying

Thursday, 8 May 2014

My baby has Pubic Hair... *dies a little inside*

Gin, mammasaurus, blog, mammasaurus blog, photography,
Photo by +Annie Spratt 
OK lets talk about the fact that Kyd has hit Puberty....
*grabs a large glass of gin*
How the hell do you deal with that???
I knew it was coming, it was inevitable and that in the case of a child with Down Syndrome, they can hit that stage running and early... as young as 10 or 11...
How do you explain to a child of that age that they will now get 'THOSE' feelings? Or 'THAT' hair?
Because I hadn't really thought about that. Kyd was my baby he was never going to get hair, you know, down there. He was never going to think about 'THAT' or be touching 'THAT' or do 'THAT'.
*I know you know what I mean with each 'THAT'*
So how do I have 'THAT' conversation with a child that has only really just come to terms with the fact he has one and I am not sure would fully understand what I was talking about.
He is only 11.
He is not ready...
OK, OK... I'm not ready!!
When the Paediatrician said to me last summer she thought  he was hitting puberty and does he have hair yet... I was sick in my mouth!
What do you mean PUBERTY?? He was only 10 and he'd started getting spots on his back and I asked what she thought it was...
'the start of Acne probably puberty' she said
'Has he got hair too?' she said
'WHAT?? I, ummm, I dunno, I haven't looked that closely for ages' I said dazed and in shock
'He's been a lot more modest recently, so I have no idea' I said
She chuckled and told me to just 'look out for it' next time I get a glimpse.
A little piece of me died inside in that moment.
Oh WOW, ummmmmm NO WAY!
My baby!
My teeny tiny baby!
He can't be growing up that quickly!
NOPE, I'm not having it!
He shouldn't be doing this for a few more years yet and so I am going to ignore it... FOREVER!
Denial is a great place *does a little denial dance whilst downing more gin*
Gin, www.cheetahsinmyshoes.com, fridge, gin, help,
Photo by +Jenny Smith 
I was actually sick a little more in my mouth the day I saw 'a hair' in fact there were a few.
I know, I know, TMI (too much info)
That was the day denial became reality and I had to come to terms with the fact he is growing up and is now a fully blown pubetic young man.
So how do I tell him that?
We have been through the 'Underwear Rule' but I'm not sure he understands it fully. I have made it clear nobody is to touch it apart from him and that he must tell me if they do...
What if he takes that literally and starts telling me if his 'girlfriend' touches him when he's older?! I don't want to know about that *shudders*
How do I distinguish between the two?
How do I explain sex?
Oh my god *gulps down a big mouthful of Gin* I want my baby back, it was much simpler then.
I need to explain his new hygiene routines, trimming *pukes in mouth again*, appropriate behaviour, times for touching and times to ignore that feeling.
Let alone the fact he is going to get erections
*gulps down more gin*
*takes a bigger mouthful of drink*
*starts crying a little whilst drinking a bit more* 
I know that school will do a lot of this during this year, but I need to prepare myself for the questions and actually have answers.
I think next week will be my week to read up on
'How to explain puberty to a child with Down Syndrome?'
I'm hoping that the Down Syndrome Association have some info for me to read.
I need all the help I can get...
*downs the last bit of gin and refills the glass*
Wish me luck!!
Signiture, Alice, My Life My Son My Way,

My mate Elizabeth.... Kicking Childhood Leukaemia's butt with sparkly pink nails

The word that I have been scared of since Kyd was born.
Kids with Down Syndrome have a higher chance of getting Leukaemia (I won't go into why, the science stuff will take too long, google it) and so it is one of the many things that have been floating around the paranoia level of my parenthood for what seems like forever.
I read posts around this subject a lot about children with and without Downs but non have hit home as much as Tired Mummy of Two's journey with her daughter Elizabeth. I think it is because in the past few months I have gotten to know Laura and her family really well but on Saturday I made a really special visit to the Manchester Children's Hospital (in between setting #BlogOnMOSI up that is).
Elizabeth, my life my son my way,
Elizabeth, 5, who has been fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia since 2012, is one of those children who never fail to fascinate me. She is upbeat and happy all the time. She is obsessed with princesses but not the spoilt ones. She laughs in the face of anything painful and she gives the Dr's hell.
She's my kind of girl.
Elizabeth has developed Shingles this week, with probably the most awkward timing ever, what with her mum and dad running a conference for 120 bloggers that weekend, she has been admitted into hospital for 5 days minimum. The thing is, if they'd caught it at the start on visit one not three, all she'd have needed was medication she could take at home, instead she's now hooked up to her 50 millionth IV drip and stuck in the four walls that she might as well call her second home.
This is normal for her though.
This is life for a cancer patient.
She just smiles on and jumps back on the bed... and when I say jump, I mean bounce.
That rash was so obviously giving her pain but she just said 'I'm fine I don't need any pain killers' as she bent over awkwardly with a wince on her face whilst picking something up avoiding the pain getting worse.
I looked at Laura and she looked at me, we knew it was something a little bit more but no, little miss princesspants just smiled and carried on with her princessness.
You don't know  how much pain a child that is used to being in pain is really in, until that pain is gone and you see them at full levels of themselves.
Elizabeth, my life my son my way, Alice, I get that.
Kyd, gets that.
Elizabeth is just 1 in millions of children, who GET that.
For these children, the small things matter the most.
Laura said that Elizabeth loved all things girly so I had an idea.
On Saturday, I made my way to the Hospital with Pink Sparkly nail varnish and make up in hand. I princessfied this little princess and put a bit of sparkle on that smile.
As I painted those teeny little nails, toes and all, my whole body filled up with an overwhelming emotion that I can't pinpoint, as I could see just how much she was loving the moment we were currently in. She was laughing and joking and talking all things Frozen and then blowing on her nails to get them dry and at that moment I had to take a deep breath not to cry.
She is so lovely and she has been, and is, going through so much.
I put some eye shadow on her and then found my fairy dust (a pot of sparkle body powder)... it went EVERYWHERE including all over Laura and Joy from Pink Oddy... they loved it! *whistles*.
She wasn't too impressed with my fake eyelashes though as they do look a little like spiders when they're not on my eyes and she asked a very good question...
'Why do you buy eyelashes when you already have them yourself?...'
Elizabeth, My Life My Son My Way, Alice, Pout, Pop art, Princess, I had no answer because trying to tell a girl who lost all her beautiful hair not so long ago through Chemotherapy that they were my way of hiding from the bits of me I don't like and my stupid anxiety... how stupid would that sound. How pathetic I should say.
She just laughed at me when I said
'do you know what?.... I have no idea'.
I left her my old lashes to play with whilst I sprayed her with my perfume and then made her monkey do the zip wire across the room... as you do!
She made my day, week, year just being herself that day. We've come to the conclusion that it might have a little to do with the fact I was desperate for a daughter so I could do that type of stuff with her. Elizabeth has agreed that I can borrow her for that stuff if I want because she loves it and mummy doesn't and I am 100% going to take her up on that.
Speaking of Mummy, do you know what the greatest part of that day was?
Seeing the smile on her face when she saw her mummy walk in the room just in front of us. She stopped mid bed bounce and glowed with love as she walked in the door it made me melt inside.
Oh and in joint best moment... when we walked in on Sunday evening and found Daddy picking glittery nail varnish off his nails!! #Priceless
Get Well Soon Elizabeth aka Princesspants
See You Soon

Alice, My Life My Son My Way, Pocket watch, signiture, bird,  
I've been shortlisted for this years Brilliance in Blogging awards alongside some amazing names and blogs.
If you like this post please vote for me, I'd really appreciate it and I may even share my gin if I get through to the final 6...
*disclaimer* may, I said 'may share my gin' #justsaying

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Brilliance in Blogging Awards - Inspire? Shortlisted? ME? Really?

Say what?, Alice in Wonderland, My Life, My Son, My Way, BiBs, Brilliance in Blogging, Britmums, BritmumsLive, Inspire, 2014, Awards, blogging, voting, shortlisted,
I tried my best to capture the look on my face when I read that I was shortlisted for the Inspire category in the BiBs... I don't think you can draw the 'You f-ing what??' look if I'm honest.

I've been SHORTLISTED for the

BiB's INSPIRE category.

I am still shocked at the fact that my name was on a list with so many amazing people and blogs all of whom are very worthy of being there.... then there's little (tall) old me.
I didn't put out a 'Nominate Me' post beforehand.
I didn't tweet that I wanted to be nominated.
I didn't facebook it either.
I did nominate several of my fellow bloggers however and I did discuss it a few times with others because I wanted to make sure people I believed deserved to be in there, were in there.
I didn't do any of the pre nominations stuff because I didn't think I was deserving of a nomination above so many who I admit to being inspired by daily...
I didn't think I was fit for such an amazing category.
So for whoever nominated me...
I am still shocked.
I struggled last month to even open my laptop because I was under a dark cloud, the past few weeks have seen me go from a dark cloud and heavy rain, to heat waves and light showers. I couldn't have gotten there without some of the bloggers also in these category's.
I couldn't have gotten there without YOU.
I don't have a niche as such. I flit from Special Needs to Lifestyle, Mental Health to Reviews, with the odd bit of Food and Fashion thrown in for good measure.
I really didn't think I had a category, but it seems I do.
So please raise a glass to myself and all the other amazing blogs shortlisted across the categories.


 AND if you have a spare few minutes and you enjoy reading my posts please take time out and place a vote for myself in the INSPIRE category and all the amazing other folk you love to read in the BiBs, I'm sure you'll recognise a few names on there to vote for.
6 blogs from each category will make it through to the final.
Voting Ends 23rd May
Click the badge to get to the voting form...
Thank You again for the nomination and in advance for the vote.
I really do appreciate it.

Monday, 5 May 2014

#MorrisonsMum - Welcome to your NEW cheaper Morrisons

Morrisons Sign, Morrison's, Shop, Supermarket, my life my son my way,
I was recently chosen as a #MorrisonsMum alongside some lovely other parent bloggers (Mums & Dads). We were sent £80 in Morrisons vouchers and asked to do a shop over the bank holiday... easy really as we shop in Morrisons anyway so we were happy to take this challenge on.

A bit about The New Cheaper Morrisons

Morrosons, Cheaper, Offers, Supermarket, Shop, my life my son my way,
From 1st May, Morrisons have cut the prices on over a thousand of your favourite products. Not temporary reductions or supermarket smoke and mirrors, these are new every day low prices on the things you buy every week. So you’ll notice the difference with every shop.

And although they’re cutting prices, they’re not cutting corners. You can check their pricing at

You’ll still get award-winning meat and fish, still get trained butchers and bakers, still get the best of fresh on Market Street and still get friendly Morrisons service.

Look out for the yellow markers when you shop in store and online at morrisons.com. If it says I’m cheaper you know it’s staying cheaper.
Morrisons, Shop, Money, Vouchers, my life my son my way,Morrisons, Shopping, Shop, Supermarket, Reading, my life my son my way,
So this morning we put our vouchers in our pocket and off we went.
As you walk into the store in Reading you are greeted by a very colourful  Market Street you'll find all the fresh fruit and veg you will ever need in the Greengrocer.

Morrisons, Greengrocers, vegetables, my life my son my way,Fruit, Fresh, Morrisons, supermarket, shop, my life my son my way,
Next door to the veg is the Fishmonger.
We love seafood. I am very much an 'it has to be fresh, not frozen' type of mum and so having a Fishmonger in store is perfect for our weekly shop.
my life my son my way, fish, fishmonger, supermarket, shop, fresh, my life my son my way, fish, fishmonger, supermarket, shop, fresh, food,

The fishmonger has a great selection of different seafood and always has some kind of  'Special Offer' on.
The Best Bit....
They can package your fish up in a 'ready to cook' packet with the seasoning of your choice,
Wait for it.... FOR NO EXTRA COST!!
Fishmonger, Morrisons, ready to cook, food, fresh, my life my son my way,fishmonger, morrisons, Kyd, ready to cook, food, fish, seafood,

A fillet of fish from the Morrisons Fishmonger with a knob of seasoned butter can cost under £2 each person, takes 15mins in the oven and is a perfect quick and healthy lunch for growing kids. We love it.
Then there's the Deli, Butcher and the Bakery... and lets face it, who can't resist the smell of freshly baked bread?!
Fresh, Bread, Morrisons, Bakery, smell, my life my son my way,

Value for money...

Pimms, Summer, Offers, supermarket, shop, alcohol, drink, Morrisons, my life my son my way,Morrisons, Beer, offers, supermarket, shop, money off, wold cup, my life my son my way

As you walk around the store there are so many offers on that it can be difficult to pick between which you actually need or which you just think 'oooooo that's a great offer I must have it' so you have to be quite strict with yourselves if you're on a budget. I'm like a child when shopping according to Hoff, so I have to be watched, I am known for randomly putting a packet of doughnuts or Mr Kippling's in the trolley when he's not looking.
Steak, Food, Offers, Morrisons, supermarket, shop, my life my son my way,Morrisons, Sticker, book, offers, World Cup, supermarket, shop, my life my son my way,

They have some fantastic offers on this Bank Holiday and actually we find that their weekly offers never fail to impress us so the news that they've marked down so many of our normal buys is brilliant for us. Check out the link at the top for more updates on their offers.

Our Buys...

I was so looking forward to lunch, Kyd wanted fish so we bought all this for just over £14...
(we won't use all of each item today and doing the rough maths makes this lunch £10.40 which is only £2.60 per head)
4x Seabass Fillets - £4
1x Vici Seafood Sticks - £1.29
1x Freshly cooked French Stick - 50p
1x Baby Potatoes - 99p
1x Spring Onions - 49p
1x pack of Peppers - 99p
1x Twin Pack Buttertip Salad - £1.29
1x Coleslaw - £1.59
1x Strawberries - £3.00
Fish, potato salad, salad, bread, food, my life my son my way,
and for today's Dinner we bought all this for £13.43
(minus the rest of the Balsamic bottle is only £3.17 per head)
4x Rump Steaks - £7.66 (1/2 price offer)
4x Sweet potatoes - £1.28
1x Morrison's Balsamic Vinegar - £2.99
1x Broccoli - 49p
4x Morrison's Mint Choc Ice Cream Cones - £1
For a bit of fun for tomorrow...
1x Gingerbread man kit - £1.69
1x Cookie Mix - 95p
shopping, supermarket, Kyd, Morrisons, my life my son my way,
We spent our £80 wisely, lots of fruit and veg, meat and fresh goods and it was definitely cheaper than our normal weekly shop even without really trying... Kyd even sneaked in a few treats, consisting of a Pannini World Cup sticker album and stickers, a Monsters Inc magazine for Rocky and some cat and dog treats for the Fur Babies.
We even snuck in a few treats for ourselves.... Welllllll, what is a Bank Holiday without a little Pimms?? (£13 was £20)
Pimms, alcohol, drink, strawberries, lemonade, garden, summer, my life my son my way,
Thanks Britmums for making me a #MorrisonsMum it has been tasty!
***Although I was compensated by Britmums and Morrisons for writing this review all opinions and experiences are my own.***
I've been shortlisted for this years Brilliance in Blogging awards alongside some amazing names and blogs.
If you like this post please vote for me, I'd really appreciate it and I may even share my gin if I get through to the final 6...
*disclaimer* may, I said 'may share my gin' #justsaying

Friday, 2 May 2014

Depression: Behind the masked smile...

Alice, Drawing, Art, Pencil, Alice in Wonderland, My Life My Son My Way, Depression, chesire cat mask,
Depression is one of those things that people pigeon hole, stereotype and think they know all about.
Most would say they are great at spotting when someone's sadness is turning into that little bit more.
When asked who they would say had depression, these were the most common responses...

The sad, crying, miserable one in the corner of a busy room (who may have lost a loved one) who obviously doesn't want to be there but has to be.
The addict.
The one that is harsh, rude and cold hearted because they are clinging on to the pain inside, who doesn't leave the house, cuts off all communication to people and speaks very little.
Are you nodding? would you say these were stereotypical signs of a person with depression?
Well you're not wrong, all those stereotypical symptoms are in fact relevant and very real and can definitely be put down to depression in most cases (remember, some people who are rude, are just rude and only karma can help them). The reason these are your common responses is because these things can also be easily spotted by your average caring eye...

But depression is so much more sneaky and conniving than that...

Depression comes in so many silent, secret and 'unknown to others' ways and these can often be the most severe cases of this horrible disease because they don't get the help they need and often when people work it out, it's too late.
You see, depression comes in all shapes and sizes, in lots of different forms and with lots of triggers and coping mechanisms. 
It is just like us humans really, every one is different in their own way.
Depression is a huge problem in the lives of so many and, scarily, to the majority it will go unnoticed and fester until it becomes more than just a sad, empty feeling inside.

Alice, My Life My Son My Way, Depression, Eyelashes, Girl, Head in hands, Depression went unnoticed in me for years.

It still does. 
I'm the girl with so much to say, always laughing, joking and playing the fool. 
I'm the girl with a smile on her face, who loves to meet new people and make sure everyone is put at ease.
I'm the girl who will help others before she would help herself, give up something so someone else could benefit from it.
I'm the girl who to so many has so much and who has the ability to stick two fingers up at all that is thrown at her and deal with it in her stride.
I'm the girl with depression
I'm also the girl who when the door closes and when alone, loses the ability to smile at all.
In fact, I often lose the ability to even move, speak or look at anything other than the floor.
Until someone walks in the door, that is.
Then I smile, laugh, joke and go about like everything is normal, like everything is as they'd expect.
My ability to hide behind a mask of a smile is incredible and I often shock myself, I can go from crying to bright eyes and laughter within one deep breath.
That has come with years of practice and fear of people's attitude towards depression and the ability to parent a child with it. 
It has also come from years of practice worrying about losing the people around me by depressing them with my depression, lets face it, it can get boring for those on the outside if you are constantly crying, that is never fun for anyone even the best of friends. Sad but sometimes all so very true.
You see, for years I've pasted this mask of a smile on my face when around others. I've shrugged it off and lied when asked if all is okay, when really, I'm struggling inside.
Sometimes my smile is quite genuine though on these occasions, sometimes I just can't help it, you know, like when you watch a funny cat video on youtube or your child's first steps. Genuine happiness shines through.
But sometimes even those times are tainted by a genuine rock bottom empty feeling in your heart, head and stomach and not even Ninja Cat can crack a smile on your face. I can't actually pin point where that emptiness feeling actually exists but it's there and it's real and it often physically hurts as well as mentally.

Anyone can get depression.

Even the people who have the most in life, actually ESPECIALLY those who have everything in life, like celebrities and professionals.
Money does not get you out of this one.
In fact it can taint it to the point of disaster.

In the few days before the death of Peaches Geldof she was seen to be 'happy and loving life' by those who surrounded her. She, like me, had perfected the painted smile mask and knew how to use it. In her case she had much greater demons than myself and she used her mask to defeat the worlds media and trick them into thinking she was back on track. She had that little extra hurdle in which I think I'd hate, having to front the people who could make or break you all day everyday and knowing they can make your life and demons so much worse in one headline. She was happy and loving being a parent, or so she would have had us believe. She was in fact crying inside, fighting for the life that everyone thought she had but not quite getting there. I see it in so many. I see it in myself.
This makes her no less of a good mum to those children whilst she was alive. You could see the love for them was stronger than ever and it makes her love for those children no less than any other parent with or without depression. It doesn't mean she didn't appreciate her life and what she had any less than what we would if we had all her riches and fame. It doesn't mean she was selfish and/or self absorbed.
It means she was ill and screaming inside for the help and understanding of what had taken over her mind.
There aren't very many differences between myself, Peaches and many others (apart from the obvious fame, fortune and obviously the heroin addiction) I and many other people have been battling our own fight inside for years and we battle everyday to have, and live, the life so many think we already have...
It's hard and I often find myself staring in a mirror wandering what I bring to this world and whether I'd be missed. Yep, it gets that bad quite regularly and I know I'm not on my own, actually I'm in good company as some of the worlds most amazing people have depression and often have suicidal thoughts on a daily basis but have learnt to deal with them in their own way. They have learnt the hard way. Sadly some don't make it through and they find that their way out of this pain is by leaving the mask behind them and letting themselves succumb to their demons.
Depression isn't something you just get and then fix and it's gone. It is an underlying problem that even when you think you're free, you're not and at some point it will show it's ugly fat head and you'll start that fight all over again.

Depression, sign, this way, tree, dark, moody, pencil, art, drawing,

Learning the signs of depression...

If you're lucky you can fight it early and it can become the norm to work out when and where the pain begins to set in and then getting the help you need.
It is all about learning YOUR signs and triggers not what google says they should be.
It is all about learning what YOU respond to and what YOU need to do when it strikes.
It is all about seeking help and believing that you can make it through
(harder than it sounds).
Your depression may not add up to those stereotypical symptoms but it does not mean it is any less important. It just means that your battle has it's own individuality and will take it's own path...
Just like you!
 I've been shortlisted for this years Brilliance in Blogging awards alongside some amazing names and blogs.
If you like this post please vote for me, I'd really appreciate it and I may even share my gin if I get through to the final 6... *disclaimer* may, I said 'may share my gin' #justsaying