If you follow my blog you will know that I have had a rather tough few months. This in turn has triggered my anxiety and depression off and I have had a few ups and downs with my mental health. Stephie over at Colitis To Ostomy has been an amazing support during this entire time, even when struggling herself. She sent me the following questionnaire which I have decided to fill out and post today for you all to see, and maybe try yourself. Visit Stephie’s blog to see her answers which she is also posting today too!
1 – What Are My Strengths?
I think my positive attitude. No matter how tough things get I rarely ever struggle to see the glass as anything other than half full. I try and see the good in every situation and I believe my positive attitude goes a long way in helping me fight my daily battles against chronic illness.
2 – What Are My Short Term Goals and Long Term Goals?
Short term I would like to make a good and positive start to my second year of university. After having to defer the previous two years due to ill health and my marriage breakdown, I feel like I really need to get back into the swing of this and build up my confidence with studying. I know planning my time will be important as I want to keep up my blogging work too so getting a schedule together is another goal. Enjoying and planning lots of fun things to do when we see the children is also high on the agenda at the moment. I plan to get my divorce sorted as soon as possible.
Long term I want to get my degree finished. I am planning to set up a network of contacts for people with the same conditions as me and also start an online magazine next year. Focusing on me and Ste and our relationship is important to me. I am so lucky to have such an amazing, supportive partner and want to make sure we continue to enjoy each other, especially after all we have been through this year. Marrying him will be a dream come true and is definitely on the list. I also want to do more travelling and explore lots of places I haven’t been to yet.
3 – Who Matters Most To Me?
The people who matter most are Ste, Leo, Riley, Layla and my family. Me and Ste both love being parents and adore our children so the time we get to spend with them is enjoyed and treasured. My family is also very important. My mum, dad, brothers and sister in law, niece and nephew, aunty and uncle, cousin’s and my grandparents are very special to me. They keep me going and support me through the tough times, make me laugh and there’s always someone there if needed. We are all very close and i don’t know what I would do without them.
4 – What Am I Ashamed Of?
I am ashamed to tell people that my children have been taken to live with their Dad. I feel like a terrible mother and completley let down by the court system. I played fairly, didn’t lie, admitted about my health problems but have shown this has very little impact on my ability to psarent (which the judge noted in his report, he said there was no question that my parenting was sound) yet they still felt they would be better off with their Dad. The only possible reason for this, although it was never said out loud, was my disability which truly sickens me. I feel ashamed when I tell people, I feel like they are judging me and make terrible assumptions about what I might have done wrong.
5 – What Do I Like To Do For Fun?
I enjoy visiting new places, shopping, reading, going to the cinema and eating out. I love to cook. Spending time with Ste, the children and my family is always something I enjoy too.
6 – What New Activities Am I Interested In Or Willing To Try?
I really want to start Pilates up again, and I’m trying to walk more (having the dog has made this easier). I want to learn sign language and have enrolled in an online course for this, which I need to start. I would love to start vlogging more too, to go alongside my blog.
7 – What Am I Worried About?
I am worried about Ste being poorly. He is in a flare of his Crohn’s at the minute and is about to start Stelara for this so really hoping that will help. He has spent lots of time in hospital previously and selfishly, I don’t know if I could cope with that.
When my depression and anxiety is bad I also know I start worrying more about our relationship. I feel more secure, content, connected and happy than I ever have with anyone before, but when my anxiety is bad, I start to think something will go wrong. I hate this, as I’ve said, I have no reason to think that way normally. I worry my anxiety will push Ste away.
8 – What Are My Values? What Do I Believe In?
I believe that you should treat people how you would like to be treated. I am naive and to avoid confrontation and to keep the peace I will generally just not say anything and carry on like nothing has happened. I know this isn’t always the best thing but I really don’t like people who take advantage of my nature, who know I do that and so use it against me for their own gain. I believe a positive attitude goes a long way in helping fight chronic illness. I like people to be honest but not use this as an excuse to be a bitch. I hate people who use their child as a weapon.
9 – If I Could Have One Wish It Would Be…
A lovely house in the countryside with me, Ste, our three kids and a whole host of pets. A simple life with no drama.
10 – Where Do I Feel Safest?
When Ste wraps his arms around me I feel safe. I know he will do his utmost to protect me and help me through whatever struggles I am facing. There is also no place like home!
11 – What Or Who Gives Me Comfort?
Ste. He is able to sense my mood, there’s no hiding anything from him. And you can’t beat a cuddle from your Mum! Or Dad!
12 – If I Wasn’t Afraid I Would…
Tell people how I really feel instead of always aiming to please. I don’t mean that I would like to be a bitch, but I so often hold my tongue and just keep playing nice to avoid confrontation and keep the peace. I feel it is a good trait but also can leave me anxious and unhappy. I am trying to make an effort to be more balanced, and think of my own self and feelings more.
13 – What Is My Proudest Accomplishment?
Completing my first year of university made me feel proud of myslef. Giving birth to two wonderful little boys. I am proud of my blog and the work I am trying to do to help in the IBD and Ostomy community, as well as with young people who have arthritis.
14 – What Is My Biggest Failure?
I feel that I failed my children by letting the court take them away from me. I do not feel it was in their best interests at all and that they will suffer becuase of that decidion. I was honest and open and was beaten by cruel tactics and lies. I will not forgive myself for that.
15 – Am I A Night Owl Or An Early Bird?
I used to be very much the night owl but am now often in bed by 9pm. I like to spend some time either watching Netflix or reading before settling down to sleep. I have strated setting my alarm for 7.30am to stay in some sort of routine and now make a cuppa in my travel mug and take Knox out first thing for his first walk.
16 – What Do I Like About My Job? What Do I Dislike?
I am unable to work currently due to my illnesses. I find this hard to deal with as I loved my work but know, in my current condition, that I would not be able to maintain a job, even part time.
17 – What Does My Inner Critic Tell Me?
Your writing is terrible and your blog is rubbish, you are fat and ugly, everyone hates you, your friends would rather not know you, you are a terrible mother, stepmother and girlfriend.
18 – What Do I Do To Show Myself Self Compassion And Self Care?
I like to have a bit of a pamper and do a face mask etc. I love make up and doing this daily makes me feel better and happier about myself so always try and do this every day if I am feeling up to it.
19 – Am I An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Introvert, definitely. My mum describes me as quietly confident because although I struggle in new situations where I don’t know people, she says I talk to doctors and healthcare professionals very well and with knowledge and confidence in what I know.
20 – What Am I Passionate About?
Raising awareness of arthritis in young people, helping celebrate ostomies and give people support and confidence following surgery, increasing awareness of invisible illnesses and supporting and advocating children with chronic conditions.
21 – What Is My Happiest Memory?
I have so many. Lots from my childhood – pizza Friday, watching The Goonies, Top Gun and Willow on repeat, Saturday night tea at Grandma and Grandads plus many more. Having my boys and so many adventures and highlights since they were born. Meeting Ste. We started just messaging as friends but gradually spent more and more time chatting and things fell into place.
22 – What Do My Dreams Tell Me?
I have alot of dreams about losing or breaking my teeth. Apparently this is supposed to indicate worry but I do have a phobia of losing or breaking my teeth!
23 – What Is My Favourite Book? Movie? Band? Food? Colour? Animal?
My favourite book is Little Women. I have read this more than once and absolutely love the original film too. I also love The Outsiders. This is the one thing I am grateful to my real Dad for. I haven’t spoken to him now for 8 years, but once when I stayed at his as a teenager and had forgotten my book, he gave me his copy of this to read. I am not sure what it is about it, but I just loved it and have also read this multiple times.
Picking one movie is really hard! A few of my favourites are West Side Story, Titanic, Willow, P.S. I Love You, Love Actually, The Goonies, Beauty and The Beast, Home Alone, Elf, The Sex and The City movies, The Notebook and Legally Blonde.
This is the same as the movies one! Again, I will tell you a few of my favourite bands and singers – Pink, Coldplay, Stereophonics, No Doubt, Blink 182, Lady GaGa and Little Mix to name a few but I like so many different genres of music so there are lots more!
I am a total foodie and love many different things but if I had to choose food from one country to be my favourite it would be Italy. Pizza, pasta and risotto – pure heaven!
My favourite colour is pink, could you not guess that from my blog?!
Again, I bet you never guessed?! I love flamingos and giraffes. I have also always wanted to swim with dolphins. If I had a house in the country and enough space I would love more dogs, guinea pigs, chickens, goats, a pig and some rabbits. And a tortoise called Tyrion.
24 – What Am I Grateful For?
Life. It can be incredibly difficult at times and the last two years have been especially hard but it is something to cherish. I am extremely grateful to have made the friends I have in the IBD community. I have been so lucky to get the chance to start my blog and then being asked to appear on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show has been fantastic. Not only are we reaching out to help and support people in the community, but I have made three amazing friends who i couldn’t be more grateful to have in my life.
25 – When I’m Feeling Down I Like To…
Sleep, read, watch Netflix, play with the children. I also like to clean when I am down, I focus on this and somehow this helps clear my head a little.
26 – I Know I’m Stressed When I…
I get terrible headaches, the arthritis in my jaw plays up as I am often clenching my teeth without realising it and I suffer with Crohns and Iritis flare ups when I am stressed. I tend to shut down and not go out or see anyone, although Ste has been really helping me with this and encouraging me to open up to him when I am struggling. I also don’t sleep well.