‘Never cast a clout til May is out’ – an old English saying, meaning don’t go outdoors without your coat May is almost out now, and June heralds the arrival of the ’30 Days Wild’ challenge from the Wildlife Trust. I thought I’d take this opportunity to write down why I’ve signed up to take part.
2016 is whizzing by, but I really wish I could slow time down. I have 4 months of my maternity leave left (I know I am fortunate that I can take this long), and I’m just starting to enjoy my life again. I have suffered with postnatal depression and anxiety after the birth of both my children, and life has not been easy.
I usually describe my mental health issues as being like J.K Rowling’s ‘Dementors’. They have sucked all hope, happiness and joy out of life, and destroyed my sense of identity. On bad days I feel useless, a failure and have a constant feeling of despair and dread. My brain flits from one idea to the next, I start a million jobs but never feel like I finish any. I put all my energy into making sure my girls never, ever notice how I feel, which is exhausting to maintain. Over time I have stopped doing things that I enjoyed previously: reading, writing, hiking. Depression sucks the fun out of everything. I have hidden how I feel from everybody apart from my partner F. It took until my second child was 5 months old before I had enough strength to ask for ‘outside help’. 2 months later, and I am just starting to feel a little bit more like my old self again. I have gradually begun to do things for enjoyments sake, blogging and photographing nature being two of these things.
I guess blogging is my own version of J.K Rowling’s ‘patronus spell’ (for those of you unfamiliar with Harry Potter, these spells are performed by wizards and witches to defend themselves against evil). Immersing myself in nature, thinking about what I will write about tomorrow, being creative, getting out in the fresh air, walking, teaching my two wild spirits about the world they live in … all things that will help me fend off the ‘darkness’ . I am hoping that the ’30 Days wild’ challenge will give me something to focus my efforts on, and give me something to look forward to doing with my girls. If I’m having a bad day, I can try and achieve something small, even if it just means going outside to get a photo of the sparrows or check on the house martins nest. I also like the feeling of being part of an extended community, who are blogging and tweeting their way through their own 30 day challenge. This sense of belonging helps to chip away at the loneliness and isolation my PND causes. I really think the next month will be an enjoyable experience, and I’m looking forward to the adventures we are going to have .
If you feel like participating there is still time to sign up here. Come and join us!