My workload did not diminish in the run up to Christmas, but Emily's symptoms did, or certainly appeared to. She continued to be excited about the surprises in store for her and her mood seemed, on the whole, good. My Mother and I attended the school fair arranged by the unit. I shopped for last minute presents and food. It was a reasonably normal but hectic time.
In addition to the bought presents I had decided to make something for both of my children. Normally at this time of year I would have been busy making arty items for sale at Christmas events. Sadly, or maybe not so sadly, these are now a thing of the past. My crafty side was still looking for an outlet and making something for a specific person is much nicer. For Emily, I wanted to use her love of words to create something meaningful, uplifting and 'teenagery'.
This is what I came up with. the size is A3. In the centre I have drawn and coloured a heart in pastels. Her name goes across the middle (sadly omitted for the blog). Along one side of the heart is "Sign your name across our hearts" and all around the edge are references to the roles she plays and the names she is known by; Daughter, friend, cousin etc.
On Christmas morning I gave it to her last. She told me receiving this and some chocolate would have been all she needed for Christmas, she loved it so much.
For my son, even though he is 12, loves teddies and cuddly things to take to bed. Due to illness in the week before Christmas, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked. So this little guy (excuse the bad photo, my son took it on his phone!) was a bit of a rush job without the time for a pattern!
There have been times over the festive period when things have not gone to plan, we have fallen out, the kids have been yelling at each other, or we have actually been bored. There have also been times when my own depression has surfaced to such an extent I didn't know if I could keep going.
Despite this, after cooking a Christmas Day meal, sitting down with my husband, children and parents I was so very thankful. Thankful that we were all together, that for the moment both my kids were behaving as, well, kids. Grumpy and stroppy at times, but normal, something which has been lacking for some time.
I have no doubt as the school visits start to loom again we will see a return of some of the symptoms and worries. I can see it creeping in now, but I will be forever grateful that the festive period was full of love and something verging on normal.
- Mum of 2, suffering my own mental health issues, I began to write this blog as a way to release feelings and emotions. At 13 my daughter was terribly bullied which has led to her having serious mental health problems of her own. She is now 16. I wanted to document our journey and hopefully be able to look back and see how far we have come.