Tag Archives: blogging

Taking A Blogging Break Helped Me Get Over Depression

13 Aug

Usually you’ll find me saying that writing is the only thing that keeps me going, not this time! Blogging has been a big part of my life for the last five years or so, its provided me with a way to let it all out, acting as a type of therapeutic therapy. Suddenly all that changed!

Its no secret that the last couple of months (well 5 to be Precise) have seen me riddled with depression the way to deal with this type of hurdle has always been for me to write about any issues or problems weighing on my mind. But this time the thought of even sitting at the computer made me feel Physically sick. Everything seems a huge massive effort when your depressed, even the the most simplistic things like making a phone call or talking to friends. I noticed that this episode had me withdraw completely, even from my online existence, Twitter included! “Hell yer! Not tweeting! It’s gotta be bad.”

Slowly I’ve been getting back in there. I’ve been adding posts here and there instead of just going at it like a blogoholic! This hasn’t been easy for me! I’ve discovered that blogging isn’t like riding a bike. You do forget how its done! Well, the social media side of things at least! I’d forgotten that a tweet button and facebook share button was sat on my dashboard with the aim of getting me noticed, I’ve just been writing logging off and then going about my day.

I guess I did get to the point where blogging was no longer helping me but feeding a depressive episode that I was in denial about even experiencing. The things I loved about writing and blogging in particular, were slipping away from me! Looking back I realised that I was just going with it, blogging in zombie mood, doing it because its what I felt I had to do! After all I’d been blogging almost daily for years now.

Blogging is something I love dearly, something I enjoy doing and want to keep on doing. In order to be able to do so I needed to step away from the computer and deal with the crap clouding my mind. Only then would I be excited about the prospect of blogging once more.

At first things were strange, seeing my stats come crashing down was in all honesty somewhat frightening! I’d always proclaimed that I didn’t give a monkeys hoot about states but when you see them drastically plummeting you suddenly thing… “SHIT!” As you frantically make your way back to the computer to save your online identity. I didn’t though, I couldn’t, and that’s how I knew I had come to a point where I couldn’t even if I want to… I just simply couldn’t!

That didn’t mean to say I’d forgotten those who support me! My readers and of course other bloggers who I know consider friends.

Then there are the blogs I follow, and yes I may have been sat wallowing in self pity but I still read them I just couldn’t bring myself to comment as even that was a step to far for a girl on the edge! “Communication? No way! Say they replied back?” Yes, I really wasn’t quite myself.

So with two blogs on hold I went at fighting this crap head on! I don’t want to jinx things but hay I’m feel Ok.

Oh and guess what? I actually woke up and felt excited about blogging today.

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Shutting Down

22 May

I’ve been pretty silent, I know! Its not like me, not to blog for long periods of time, but these past few weeks have been different! I’ve actually been completely out the loop when it comes to social networking, my tweets have been few and far between and Facebook has been left unvisited.

I’m not to busy, I won’t lie! I’m not on holiday or having some girly time someplace fun. I’m at home, in pyjamas on the sofa mostly.

In my everyday life, my social commitments have suffered too. I’m not spending much time with friends, I’m not even answering my mobile or home phone when somebody calls. Its actually really stupid but I haven’t been able to complete the smallest of tasks. I dread having to do almost anything.

That’s how I knew…. The signs are all there, ones I’ve experienced before making them so apparent this time! Depression… I was depressed and knew I had to do something about it, and do so fast. But that was just it… I was lacking any get up and go which meant that the prospect of visiting a doctor or even booking an appointment to see one was all to much to bare.

Thankfully, I’m starting to feel myself again and though it will take some time to get on top of it all, I’ve started and that’s the hardest bit done.

So, why was she depressed, you may ask? Many assume its the pressures of parenting a child on the autism spectrum but for me that’s a little bit of a cop out. I’ve been parenting little man for almost 13 years. Since the age of 18 its been my life. I’ve since had two more children and being a mother to all three of my children has brought great joy into my life. Yes, when little man is refusing to get up from his bed or even leave the house of a morning I do feel a tad close to breaking point, but guess what? Its not made me depressed… I don’t think it has anyway!

The truth is, life can be a bit full on somedays and when all your problems collide that’s when things go a bit tits up. I can’t put my finger on just one thing and say its this whats caused this depressive period. That’s impossible!

With deadlines looming for reviews and guest post, I just shut off. This blog and that of my other were left at times for days without a post. With my hair thinning at age 31 years and my doctor telling me it was down to stress I just had to let go a little and remember what it was like to be me again.

I love blogging, that much I’m sure off. I just wanted to take a little me time in order to remember that.

So here’s to the continuation of blogging… Here’s to me smiling again.

Oh, and before I drop off, a message for the world! “If you ever feel like your slipping into a black hole of depression then act quickly to nip it in the bud! Many of us are not visiting our GPs, mainly due to the stigma associated with depression! Just remember its an illness and lucky enough its a fixable one too! To be the best we possible can we need to feel our best… Fact!

Words Written By Me

28 Oct

Wow… What an incredible week its been.

First off I discover I’m one of 10 finalist for the SavooSmartest Shopper Competition” then I go on to be interviewed by four great judges in London.

The competition has a great prize attached. The prize money is generous but you are also given the opportunity to write a “Money Saving Blog” with support from Savoo.

Did I feel incredibly shocked yet incredibly excited about getting this far in the competition? God, Yes…

No matter how far I get in any sort of writing related awards or competitions I still always find that need to pinch myself and pinch myself hard.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons for this but there is one that stands out particularly!

I could say that blogging has opened many doors for me, given me something to tell the grand children (in the FAR away future) but I won’t… Instead I will say how Writing has opened such doors for me instead.

Yes, without the blog how could I do the things I’m doing? But its what goes on the blog that should be noted, after all… What’s a blog without its content.

I wrote a post a while back that spoke about my writing and the reasons why I’d never imagined myself doing what I’m doing today. You see, writing was never my thing (just read this), if anything expressing myself through written content was something I struggled with and therefore disliked immensely! I remember my English teacher telling my mother how I had this amazingly creative mind that I was just wasting by not using it to reach my full potential! Once she started that if I could just put down on paper that creative vocabulary of mine, then we could sell books. I knew even at 12 that this was sarcasm. I’d been a bit of a diva and spoken back to the teacher who was simply not impressed with what I had to say (I had detention for weeks to follow). However, she was always impressed by whatever writing I’d reluctantly produce and she did think that by continuing to write I’d open up a whole new inner passion that I never knew I had.

“Blah blah blah…” I’d think to myself as I impatiently tapped my finger nails on the desk while yawning in an exaggerated manner. Teachers were never right, not by this girls knowledge anyway! I actually remember being sat thinking “Oh stop banging on about it miss… Its Not gonna happen!”

I often sit wondering what she would say if she see me now?

I’m not claiming I’m the best writer! I never read the stuff I’ve written and think to myself wow girl… You sound amazing, go write for a living!… Though I did actually make myself cry once when reading a post id written some months after I’d first published it! My point being, I’m always immensely humbled when I receive an email from a reader complimenting my writing style. I am used to getting emails from readers claiming that I’m an inspiration for sharing my life as a parent to a child with Aspergers and sen. I’d also get those thanking me when I would help them access educational services or advise them on the education laws surrounding their child’s special educational needs. And although i’m just about getting to grips with such words, its those emails and comments that claim my writing to be anything other than bog standard that leave me shocked yet amazed.

If you had asked me as a small primary child or even a raging mad hormone infused teen, if I’d ever see myself writing in the future, and more to the point… actually enjoying it , you can be bet your house on it that I’d quickly respond with with a swift “NO” followed by a burst of giggles (the type that implies you must be insane to even ask).

What I’ve leant is… Miss Whitehead, you were right! Yes, I love to write, I do express my feelings so much better on paper, and if I could chose to do anything during my “Me Time” I’d do exactly what I’m doing now… I’d write!

Did I want to grow up and find myself writing a blog? No!

Did I ever think I’d see any of my writing published in print? No!

Did I ever dream I’d be nominated for any type of blogging awards? No!

Did I ever once think Id go on to collect a Mad blog award (inspirational) in the name of my blog “A boy with Aspergers” for not one but two consecutive years? Whatever… This one is followed by that Swift burst of giggles that again imply your craziness.

Did I ever imagine that people would read about my little self and that blog of mine in the papers? Ha-Ha-Ha… Joker!

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I’ve learnt that by combining my passions with words and sharing them through written material in whatever format I choose, I’m able to gain something back that is incredibly rewarding! That something is the knowledge that by doing something I love I’m providing others with something they relate too, laugh at, learn from, take inspiration from or simply just enjoy!

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That is something wonderful… And Its something I’m not planning on stopping… Not for a very long time.

So, whether I’m blogging about the ups and downs of parenting a child on the autism spectrum, what I’m wearing, how to make your own face mask, sharing tips on how to get the most out of eBay or simply where to get the best shoes for the littlest price, it doesn’t matter… Why?

Because each would mean nothing without the passion I hold for the things I believe in, the things I enjoy and finally the desire to translate them into words, words written by me.

Every time something amazing comes from something I’ve typed on my Mac… I go through these same motions!

Its these motions that have inspired me to blog today… Who knows what tomorrow may bring.

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Awards, Flu, Birthdays And Financial Relief

28 Sep

This weeks been a really mixed bag, one of those up and down weeks.

I’ve been feeling a tad crap and it would seem that something’s going about as the Little man has been off school most of the week. Though its not only him… His entire form group and teacher have also been hit with a bug. OK, its not as extreme as I first make it sound! There are only 3-4 children in little mans class so I guess it’s easy to all come down with a sickness bug at the same time.

This means I’ve pretty much had the little guy under my feet all week and what better opportunity to bang on about your birthday! Seriously, I can’t wait for it to be over! I’m losing hair over this.

Little man hasn’t been dealing with the bug all that well. Having a blocked nose causes all kinds of sensory triggers and his been freaking out about not being able to breath and suffocating inside his own head. Needless to say we’ve gone through a hell of a lot of Vicks this past week.

Having children off school sick isn’t meant to be an easy ride. It Just doesn’t help when you have so much to do. Today is the Mad blog Awards and having had a dress disaster I had to do an emergency shop yesterday! As many know, shopping with a child on the autism spectrum (especially for yourself) is never fun nor easy. So, not wanting to spread his virus to my fellow shoppers and obviously wanting to avoid a meltdown I called his father in for babysitting duties. Thankfully, after what felt like hours I found a dress. I now have my outfit from head to toe sorted and enjoyed last nights stress free evening.

I still can’t believe today is the day for the awards. I’ve had little chance to focus on the event… Hence the reason all my organisation skills have been a little delayed. This time last year (that for the record only feels like yesterday) I was dead excited by this point! In all honesty I haven’t had much chance to get this way this year and I’m only just beginning to feel the waves of excitement run through me.

I’m now really looking forward to tonight’s awards. I’m not staying at the hotel this year which feels a little strange. Myself and the children have a date with London Zoo early tomorrow morning. But what I’m really looking forward to most is meeting up with my fellow bloggers. It’s lovely to meet up with those you talk to almost daily via social media. Getting to see some of the bloggers I met at last years awards and other blogging events throughout the year is really exciting within itself.

Other news this week, Little mans DLA renewal has now been processed which means we shouldn’t have any gaps in the payments he receives. He has again been reward the high rate and its not up for renewal for another 5 years so no more form filling (for now anyway). The fact we don’t have to do any type of battle to get him what his entitled to is a huge relief (I feel that we’ve done enough fighting to last me a lifetime)!

So, that’s about it! A week full of illness, fashion dilemmas, awards and financial relief. Here’s hoping that Little man is fit and well this Monday when he will be celebrating his 12th birthday… At last!

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Britmums Live The Highlights

26 Jun

OK, it’s fair to say that I have banged on about it a fair bit “Britmums Live” and why I was pretty dam excited to be attending.

Enough already I hear you scream.

But it’s done now! I attended and got high on the natural buzz of everything blogging, So… I guess it would be just plain rude of me if I didn’t tell you how it went!

Two entire days of workshops, inspiring talks, healthy debates, mingling, tea and a generous servings of cake (not forgetting the odd glass of wine and an awards party) is a lot to get through! So… As not to overload you, I’ll break this down into more manageable portions as to provide you with the highlights.

So here are my top 20… Enjoy!

Friday…

1) Arriving at 4.30 pm midway through a tea break. A cup of coffee and a slice of moist cake was just what this girl needed after the commute (god I loath the underground, though don’t tell the transport obsessed son I just said that)!

2) My first workshop of the weekend “The bloggers studio: The path to getting published, with bloggers who have done it” Having already started writing a book (see last post) this for me was need to know information. All speakers provided us listeners with some fantastic advice, especially “Emily Carlise” (More than just a mum) which meant that I left smiling.

3) I found that this year there was a much larger network of parent bloggers who’s main focus was on that of SEN, Autism, Aspergers and Disability. This meant that I finally got to meet some of the bloggers behind some of my favourite blogs. Tania from Special Needs Jungle has been a lady I’ve wanted to meet for some time. Finally getting to have a good old chin wag over a couple of glasses of wine was brilliant (Yes, we talked about everything from SEN provision to our boys unique and wonderful little ways).

4) The BIB Awards ceremony, Oh yes, did I forget to mention that an awards bash was merging into the agenda? OK, forget I did not but who can blame me, especially when this very blog was a finalist in the category Inspire! Ok, sadly I didn’t claim the title, but at least I lost out to the lovely talented “Mummy Whisper” Seriously it is impossible to hold any kind of blogger resentment, Lisa is just to bloody nice!

5) The fact that Special Needs Jungle did it for us SEN parents by bagging the Change Award! My fellow SEN blogger, activist, Aspergers Mum and now drinking buddy Tania was a little shocked by winning but still stepped on the stage and shared an important message with the 500+ bloggers, “Please do something to help looked after children in care as many of these children are not lucky to have dedicated parents” Please read and share her latest post.

6) The waiters at the BIBs party… I say no more!

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7) The after party drinks with some lovely bloggers.

Saturday…

8) Sarah Brown (wife to ex PM Gordon Brown and founder/president of Piggy Bank Kids) opening key note “Finding your Voice”

9) The Discussions Den, “Blogging for the greater good” A real inspiring discussion hosted by the lovely Kate (Kate on thin ice). Other speakers included Camila Batmanghelidjh (Kids Company) the inspiring Polly Gowers, (Give as you live) Claire from One and one of my favourite bloggers fellow finalist in both the Mads and the BIBs “Kylie Hodges” writer of the blog “Not even a bag of sugar” All gave some fantastic tips and advice on blogging for the greater good. This was by far one of my favourite discussions at Britmums Live.

10) The “Getting the most out of Google +” workshop as this meant that I now understand a little better on how to actually use it.

11) My one 2 one style consultancy with TK Maxx personal stylist “Claire” her suggestions surrounded me with doubt. However she knew her stuff and I left wanting to buy myself some peg trousers.

12) More Cake!

13) How great it was to never find myself stood awkwardly in a corner like a loner! Seriously, there was more than enough lovely bloggers to chat and mingle with.

14) Having a manicure at the Crocs stand! My nails looked lovely (keep an eye out for my lightweight crocs wellie review in August).

15) The display of fireworks right outside my hotel window.

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16) The talk by Cherry Healey… What a legend! A brilliant talk on how to combine social media, press and tv to help promote your blog and of course having the time to do so.

17) Acting like a bit of a tit in the Orlando photo booth.

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18) Chilling out at the Butlins stand with Laura (Tired mummy of two) it was lovely to catch up.

19) Getting to chat with some lovely bloggers and brands during the breaks including Romanian mum and Mum of three boys.

20) Lastly the amazing bloggers keynote. I cried and laughed out loud. I can’t recommend the following post enough!
Doing it all for Aleyna: Survivor
Down Side up: What to say when a baby is born with Down Syndrome
Dorky Mum: Twitter is like
Ministry of Mum: Seven days of special love

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Lastly I would like to thank the people at Orchard Toys for sponsoring my attendance. Of you haven’t checked them out then please do.

Writing a book on parenting a child with Aspergers

25 Jun

Yes, it’s official, the girl who declared in school that she would never acquire an interest or desire to write, has actually gone ahead and started writing her very own book!

It’s been on the agenda for sometime now and when asked the question of “Could you see yourself writing a book on parenting a child with Aspergers which has been inspired by your blog” during a press interview with the local paper as a result of winning a Mad blog award last September, I suddenly found myself saying “Yer, why the hell not”

Now, I don’t want to give to much away on here, after all I don’t want anyone running away with my story, but I will say its going to be me wearing my heart on my sleeve and telling it how it is.

It won’t be a “How To Book” and I hope it won’t be regarded as just another “Parenting a child with Aspergers book” my aim isn’t to make it a long winded story involving the ins and outs of symptoms and triggers, but more the affects ignorance can have and how it’s not only the child’s mental health that suffers as a result.

Having attended the brilliant Britmums Live parent bloggers confrence over the weekend (post on that to follow) I was able to obtain some tips and advice in the “The Path To Getting Published With Bloggers That Have Done It” workshop (which was most inspirational).

Yes, I had already started writing prior to the workshop so therefore had already obtain ideas on the style of writing I wanted for my book, the market I was aiming it at attracting and so forth, as for getting it published and how to go about doing so I had no idea!

In such a short space of time the speakers filled my brain with need to know info and It left me that bit more informed when it comes to the “Dos and Don’ts” when trying to get published.

As a result of this fabulous workshop I’ve since had plenty to occupy my mind! Yes, there’s the question of do I and should I be trying to get myself an agent? And if so where to start? I’ve also thought more about how I should approach publishers and agents to gain interest in my book and how this is done in a somewhat different way than that of the “Fiction book” There’s the important factor that actually I don’t have to have written my entire book to do so, a letter with my book proposal and showing how marketable I am is actually a more important factor at this stage! The fact that I have a good online presence is apparently a very good start and that of my blog is a massive added bonus. So basically showing I already have readership and I’m good at promoting myself, my blog and that of my interest, through social media (yes, twitter followers, Facebook page likes and blog subscribers) actually means I’m in a good position to go for it and start making it happen!

To think my writing could go beyond the reach of my blog is one exciting but also slightly nerve-wracking feeling!

If my story makes it onto paper which is encased within a front and back cover I’d have archived so much more than I first set out to! So much so, that thinking about it makes my tummy flip! Yer, what do you make of that misses disapproving head shaking English teacher?

My writing journey has been something of an incredible one. My first post almost 4 years ago, was my way of expressing the emotions I was experiencing during them very hard days pre-diagnosis. It was a release, despite it being there for the world to read it was for me! A way to let go of anger, unload my head and get through another day. Over time this changed, although the above reasons remained it also became my way of communicating with those who related to my story. I gained advice and as time passed by I began to realise that I had been providing comfort to others.

My writing helped me grow stronger, it helped me through hard times and importantly, it helped me find my voice. I wanted to help others, mainly I wanted to raise awareness for Autism and Aspergers (the later being the diagnosis my son had by now obtain).

The Internet is a powerful tool, but more powerful is that of ones voice, though not actually heard but read. My writing allows me to express myself much more than I would think possible if I was speaking out loud. My writing comes from my heart and I hope that will come through in my book.

So, there you have it! I’ve been inspired to get out there and make this really happen. Now I’ve just got to reach out and this post will be a start. So with that if anybody can help me, point me in the write direction, offer any tips, advice and so forth then I’m all ears!

Any agents out there… Well… HELLO do step forward, come on… Don’t be shy!

#Silent Sunday

24 Jun

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#HAWMC Day 29 – The six sentence blog post

6 May

Firstly I should state that the #HAWMC (Health Activist Writers Month Challenge) is well and truly over. Although I wrote my last two post at the end of April this is however the first real opportunity to post them.

Post 29/30: A six sentence blog post

Life can be difficult & tiresome, yet rewarding in many ways.

Using the power deep within, we somehow convert the difficulties into positives and with that we grow stronger.

When it comes to our children we’re fight you to the core.

We will climb up any Mountain, swim any Ocean.

We would go to the ends of the earth and back if we had to.

Because we love them and nothing will ever change that.

Post 29/30 in the #HAWMC set by Wego health

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#HAWMC DAY 26 – Health Tag Line

30 Apr

Challenge 26/30 in the #HAWMC is to create a tag line for your blog or health focus and to ensure it’s catchy.

I’ve already got a blog tag line, “A Boy With Asperger’s – The life of a mum of three one with Aspergers” This is perfectly suitable as it’s an accurate description of my blogs overall focus, it’s about a parents journey of discovery, a type of written documentary if you like. I want it to highlight that I’m a parent of three children all with different personalities, yet have this added focus on Aspergers as to bring some awareness and connect with those who can relate to our family situation.

If I was to create a tag line that solely focused on the health aspect it maybe a tad misleading, after all no two people with Aspergers are the same.

But then this blog isn’t about them, it’s about my son, my boy with aspergers….

So here it is! I could add a million and one adjectives for this tag line but keeping it short and sweet, here’s what I came up with…

A boy with Asperger’s
Unique yet quirky, driven & intelligent, wonderfully different

Post 26/30 in the wego health #HAWMC

A Mad Video Plea

16 Apr

Guess what? There really isn’t very long left till nominations close for the Mad blog awards 2012.

As many will already know, I was lucky to be nominated in two categories last year (blogger of the year & Most inspirational) and I was delighted to go on to win the title “Most Inspiring Mad blogger” 2011 back in September. 

Of course I’d love to be part of the Mad blog awards this year, not just because it was a lot of fun last year and I got a night off duty when attending a glitzy awards ceremony but it also helped me create lots of publicity for the blog and therefore the subject it’s built around, “Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome” It was truly rewarding being able to create lots of awareness for something I’m so very passionate about. 

I haven’t really done much in the way of drumming up nominations as I know the public can get a bit peed off with the constant “Vote for Me… Vote for Me” scenario!

So, I thought I’d hopefully come at it from another angle and share this video I created with you… After all its much nicer and I feel quite proud of it 🙂

Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy it and feel inspired to pop our blog on the nominations list. 

A boy with Aspergers would love to be nominated for blogger of the year and again most inspiring. It’s dead simple to nominate, just click HERE and enter our URL in the nomination box for blogger of the year (this is the only category you must nominate someone for! All other categories are optional). Click next and pop the URL in the most inspiring box. Only requirement is to include your name and email on the nomination form, though the Mads do not spam you so your safe. It really does take less than a minute to nominate and myself and the little man would really appreciate your support.

Thanks for reading and watching

Love

Claire and the one we refer to as the Little Man! xx 

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