I started blogging a few years ago. However, I only started Double the Monkey Business in January this year. This…View Post
With the end of the 30 day blogging challenge in sight, I wanted to know what you wanted to read. The options were:
- Do the A to Z April Blogging Challenge
- Do the A to Z Blogging Challenge, along with picking up my HELLP syndrome story again
- Go back to my old style blogging (3 times a week)
It was a draw between the first two options. So I promptly signed Double the Monkey Business up for the A to Z Blogging challenge and… managed to spell Monkey wrong – whoops, good start!
For those that have not come across this challenge before, here is the deal. For every day in April I will do one post, except for Sundays, which is my day off. Each post has to start with a letter from the alphabet, 1 April = A, 2 April = B etc.
Some people go for a theme, but as this is my first time completing this challenge, I am going to stick with the random option.
There are 1,844 people signed up for this challenge so far. The idea is that bloggers comment on as many posts as they can manage. Spreading the commentary love and all that!
If you are a blogger and this challenge interests you, it is not to late. You can sign up until Monday 4th April.
I plan to approach this in the same way as my 30 day blogging challenge. Write posts in advance for the week ahead and schedule them for each day. With work commitments and the two monkeys to look after, this is the easiest way for me to manage my time. I can then work on commenting and engaging with other bloggers over the rest of the week once the monkeys are in bed.
I am currently working my way through the alphabet, looking for inspiration. If you have any ideas, or something specific you want me to write about or want to know about me, then please comment below.
So on with the letter of the day:
A = Anxiety
In my adult years, I have had to manage anxiety attacks.
They first crept up on me in my early twenties. I remember the first time I had an attack, it was incredibly frightening. I thought I was having a heart attack. The symptoms were that real.
I remember having to pace up and down my bedroom, trying my hardest to control them. I would open the window, breathing in the cold winter air, hoping it would open my airways.
I want to point out, that anxiety attacks are not just feeling ‘a little uneasy’. I was sometimes told by well-meaning people that they feel a little worried and anxious at times, so knew how I felt. Yet, what I was experiencing was so much more than this. Many people can’t understand what an anxiety attack is like, simply because they haven’t experienced them. Trust me, if you have had one, you will know. I realise that people were trying to empathise with me. But, in reality, it just wasn’t helpful at all.
So what does an anxiety attack feel like? I presume that they may feel different for different people. For me, anxiety attacks feel like you cannot breathe. It feels like my lungs are 1/10 of the normal size. A deep breath was out of the question. I would feel dizzy and light-headed. I would imagine passing out. Panic would increase as I tried desperately to take a breath. I would then start to get chest pains. My panic would increase. And so it would go on. It is a horrible vicious circle that is very hard to get out of.
At one point, I only had to think about an attack and it would bring one on. The attacks would happen at random times. I could be perfectly happy, watching a film and they would creep up on me from nowhere. I even woke up from sleep once having a panic attack.
I eventually went to the doctor. They prescribe anti-depressants. Nothing else. No counselling. No support. But I was not depressed. And I was wholly unconvinced this was the route that I wanted to go down. I wanted to manage it, not mask it.
I went back at a later date, after never cashing in my prescription. I saw a different doctor who referred me to group therapy. This was the best thing that could have happened.
I attended the six-week course with people who were facing similar challenges and understood. I mean properly understood. There was no frustrating conversation trying to explain or make them understand. They just ‘got it’.
The course gave us a chance to talk, but also armed us with coping techniques. I still use these techniques today.
After months of using these exercises, I started to realise that I could stop these attacks earlier than before. Eventually the attacks happened less frequently. It has been a few years since I have had a panic attack.
I constantly fear their return.
I am so glad I got the help I needed. I am forever grateful to the doctor that didn’t try to push me into taking medication. She helped me understand what was happening. She helped me face my demons. She helped me live a better life.
Day 29 – nearly there!
Who were your three celebrity crushes when you were a teenager?
Oh dear, it is all going to come out of the woodwork now! My teenage crushes. Here goes:
Michael J Fox
I was obsessed with the Back to the Future films. I especially loved Marty (my hubby was suitably horrified when he saw this was my first celebrity crush). Interestingly, I decided to look up Back to the Future 2’s Wiki page the other day. I wanted to see how much of what was predicted actually came true. Check it out, it is pretty interesting.
As my teenage years progressed, I became obsessed with little-known band Take That. Mark Owen was the one for me when I was 13 – sorry hubs! By now, anyone reading my blog will know about my Take That obsession, so I am not going to say much more on this.
Towards my late teenage years, I progressed to the more brooding type. Who better for an angst-ridden teenager to have as their heart-throb than a vampire with a heart? I loved watching Buffy when it started in 1997. In fact, I have to admit I am still partial to a bit of re-run watching when I get the chance. Angel was my pin-up of choice, that is for sure.
Day 28 (Nearly There!)
Three things you want to say to different people
I have spent a long time thinking about this one and this is the only post from the blogging challenge that I didn’t schedule this week. Mainly because I didn’t know what I was going to say. So here goes…
- My Parents
I have been incredibly lucky to have had a lovely, stable and fun childhood. I put this down to my parents. They are amazing people. Steadfast in their love for me, James and the boys. Always there with a helping hand when we need it and a shoulder to cry on when I need to let it all out.
When I was growing up, they supported me in everything I wanted to do. As it turns out, I wanted to try a new thing every six months, rarely sticking with anything for long. Over the course of my childhood, I had taken part in the following: dancing, ballet, guitar lessons, keyboard lessons, brownies, guides… the list goes on. Yet every time I turned to something new they encouraged me, making me even more enthusiastic. Never judging me – or at least not showing it – when six months later I wanted to throw in the towel.
Throughout my adulthood, they have always been there for me good times, as well as the tough ones. There have been more of these than any of us ever expected. I know if I needed them they would be on the first plane, train or automobile to be with us. Words can’t express how much I appreciate the comfort and knowledge of their unconditional love. Even the toughest of us need that emotional support from our parents and I know for some this is taken away too soon. I appreciate every phone call, cuddle and pep talk. I also appreciate that if I am being completely unreasonable, they will tell me!
So for my parents, the thing I want to say – on behalf of me, hubby and the monkeys – is… thank you.
2. My Papa
I am now at the stage in my life where I have no grandparents left. I would, of course, love to tell them all how much I love them one last time, if I could.
My papa, however, passed away when I was a little girl. I think I was eight. I was completely heartbroken. We were so very close. I fondly remember, during every school lunch-break, standing at the bus stop, waiting for him to arrive on his way back from town. We would walk hand-in-hand to his house, where my gran would be standing in the kitchen, having cooked a feast for lunch.
One of my earliest and fondest memories of him, was drawing a dog and a kennel for me. It is funny the little things we remember.
So what I would want to ask him is, “tell me about your life”.
Of course, I know a lot about him through my Gran, Dad and Mum. But, unlike with my other grandparents, I was never old enough to hear this from him direct. Or, indeed, old enough to realise that I would never get the chance to ask that question.
3. To my Monkeys
As previous readers will identify, I often talk about kindness to my boys. I would be horrified to hear if they were being unkind to others. I appreciate they are three, and they are no angels. Every day they are learning what is and is not acceptable in this world. Admittedly, sometimes they forget and make the same mistakes over and over again. That is part of growing up.
So, what I want to say to them, and what I actually do say to them every day is: “be kind, always be kind”.
Guest post for Parenting Pep Talk
I am thrilled to do a guest post for Parenting Pep Talk this week, run by the fabulous Louise at Little Hearts Big Love.
Louise is mummy to two wonderful and beautiful little girls, one of whom was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and as Louise says “is living proof that miracles do happen”.
Her blog posts cover congenital heart defects, parenting, reviews and creative writing. Please go to her blog ‘Little Hearts Big Love’ to find out more. You can also follow her gorgeous girls adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Louise says: “Parenting Pep Talk is a fortnightly series of guest posts all about encouraging other parents by sharing some of our happy moments, the advice that has worked for us and some positive words of encouragement”
So go and share some of the blogging love by visiting her blog and checking out my guest post.