We went to Michael Rosen's installation at Z-Arts and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. We had an 8th birthday and between them the boys lost 3 teeth. We went to the PLAY Expo and Disney On Ice and by crikey, we were even lucky enough to meet DanTDM.
We were also aware it was World Mental Health Day on 10th October. I didn't mark it on the blog, maybe another year. I did however play witness to some amazing friends and acquaintances who posted about their own battles - I salute you all. There are some fabulous posts out there, and some very brave people.
I almost feel it's too easy for me to have mental health problems. No-one expects me to be well, so I can admit it as unceremoniously as ask for a 'white coffee with none'. No-one minds if I start to cry randomly, or walk off mid-conversation. My ever-understanding friends make sure I have someone with me, because it's okay for me to be scared to go on my own. I can be snappy, tired and mardy, and I am forgiven.
Everyone asks how I am. And I don't feel I have to say 'fine'.
Life would be even harder if I felt I had to hide my weaknesses. That added pressure would be unbearable. I wear a mask but everyone sees it, so I can admit I'm done and remove it whenever I want. As long as I put it back on sometime later, that's good. It's like having a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Sometimes I'll even announce "I'm playing my card" and walk away.
I have mental health problems, but I am lucky. Because everyone expects me to struggle it is easier to admit it to myself when it gets too much, although it's still one of the hardest bits because it feels like you failed. But taking off that mask for even a moment, allowing yourself to admit you need a break, a hand, the relief is massive. And it means you can begin to ask for help...
Thanks to everyone who shared their smiles last month. It was great to see them, they truly brighten my day. You are welcome to share yours using the hashtag #TBCSmiles on Instagram or Twitter.
Here are the gorgeous smiles I've collected from my family over the last month. There are lots of beauties, partly because we've felt more able to go out and do stuff, and partly a shove and a handhold from a couple of good friends made it much harder for us to say no. They were right, and we'll be eternally grateful. Thank you.
If you can't find your smiles, keep looking because they are always there...
And the reaction of my young boys when they read the letter saying we had won a holiday with Canvas Holidays...
You have already proven you are stronger than you think.