Our first experience of CAMHS

Let’s park Bipolar Hub and all his current woes to one side for now, and concentrate on Little F’s mental state of mind. (As if i don’t have enough to contend with).

To give you a quick recap (If you know all this, scroll down a bit) – F has had probs with her ears since birth – infections, grommets, hearing tests. That’s all clear now (ish) and the Ear Nose and Throat consultant  discharged her and said we should see a Pediatrician in relation to the symptoms we struggle with. These are:

  • Explosive outbursts of anger
  • Inability to do as instructed
  • Utter defiance
  • Fidgety and LOUD
  • Self disciplining
  • Sometimes destructive
  • Emotional remorse

Ooooo, what a little scamp! But these can be on epic proportions which affect the household. Fast track to the Pediatrician who says F has Autism with Demand Avoidance (PDA) and possible ADHD. The Phycologist disagrees and thinks it’s more like Emotional Regularity Disorder (Bipolar). We went privately and we had our very expensive bits of paper, it turns out they’re not very useful at all. We hit a brick wall.

School got involved even though they do not see any symptoms at school – F hides it all well and saves it for me. Lucky me. So a few months on and we see the NHS’s Children And Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I hadn’t heard very good things about the service and was not expecting much.

 

The venue

Typical NHS. Vinyl floors, magnolia and pastel hues on the walls, light blue tired leather seats and lots of lego and colouring.

The nurse

Super duper lovely. Looked and sounded like she knew what she was on about. Gave F respect and encouragement and made us all feel at ease.

The assessment

This was a like a triage appointment, where she could assess the issues we’ve been having and point us in the right direction. Separately we voiced our concerns and medical and family history (for the umpteemth time it feels). We were there for over 2 hours going through the birth, F’s lumbar puncture at 2 days old and scare of Meningitis, the milestones, the house moves, the family mood, the depressive states etc etc. The ear infections, the tempers, the bed wetting, the nightmares, the fun, the strengths and the weaknesses.

The outcome

Well she definitely believed us. She could see the struggles we have. She asked the right questions and could see that both me and hub were saying the same things. She doesn’t think it sounds like Autism, or ADHD, and explained that the loudness and fidgeting is F’s way of filling a void with her crippling anxiety. It’s a flipping sign we hadn’t spotted before – argh!!! F’s not quite got her emotional suit of armour schizzle together. The lady explained that we need to work on ways to help F vent her emotions better and help her understand herself. She mentioned Bipolar but F is too little to be diagnosed with that. It maybe that it’s not a neurological problem, it may be learned behaviours from watching her Daddy eratically come to terms with his condition. Nothing is off the table in terms of diagnosis and we are to continue with our PDA strategies and support groups if they are working (which they are). What a pickle!

What next

It’s suggested that F has a series of psychotherapy sessions where she can talk about emotions and what’s going on through play. Of course there’s a waiting list, and it will probably be the Autumn before we get an appointment. But i’m not too down heartened, we’re moving forward all the time.

 

 

Coming out at #BML16

You’ll have gathered by now, that I don’t share photos of me or my family here. Instead it’s my trusty hand who’s the face of the blog.

But on Saturday I came out!

I’m not gay. But when I started my blog I wanted to be anonymous, partly because of the subject matter I talk about but also because I just wanted it to be my voice with no judgement from anyone on looks and locality.

I still have no plans to reveal myself on here, which is why all my competition entries were of my hand. I didn’t win any of them. A little left field maybe for the judges?

Friendly and not so friendly experiences at Brit Mums Live

On the whole Brit Mums was brilliantly inspiring and embracing. I loved chatting to people, finding out what we have in common, meeting bloggers who’d I’d been chatting to on Twitter and learning new stuff. One well known blogger was less than enchanting I found. She’s never replied to any tweets I’ve sent to her and  Trying to engage in conversation in real life was met with her back turned to me then pushed in front of me in a queue for the luggage. That was that then. And she has squillions of Twitter followers too.

I was not dejected though. I brushed myself down and found everyone else friendly. But for me, it wasn’t about the quantity of nice people, but the quality of nice people. Ive come away having made 2 great contacts with whom I  (and my blog) have lots in common.

My selfies from the day!….

 

ice cream liquid nitrog
loads of flavours to choose

img_0392

 

It was a great day, and I’d like to thank the organisers for creating a well thought out event.

Working at #BML15 vs Attending #BML16

Last year I went to Brit Mums Live with a client of mine. I’d worked on designing their stand, I was managing their Social Media accounts and our team were helping them launch  their product in the UK market.

It was fun and I absolutely loved meeting lots of bloggers and I even crept in to a couple of talks – in between making milk smoothies and giving out squidgy cows. I was in my comfort zone.

But this year i’m a blogger and out of my comfort zone, as it’s me on show this time. I was so inspired by the bloggers i met last year, that when life got tricky for our family in November, i turned to blogging. A real life blogger (albeit a very shiny new one).

So i’ve been on both sides of the fence, and here’s what I’ve learned:

From a brand perspective:

  • Brands are eager to make a good impression on YOU
  • Brands want you to come up, chat and ask buckets of questions
  • New brands will want your business cards
  • Stands are there for YOU, and want to catch your eye on the breaks
  • Good brands understand what you’re there for and the value you need
  • Brands will be looking for engaging bloggers who have similar values/followers to their product so find your common ground
  • People on the stands won’t always be THE people who make the decisions about whether to get a blogger on board
  • Brands are there for awareness, engagement and advertising – the terrific ones will have well thought out competitions

From a first time blogger perspective (even though i know the above):

  • I want to make a good impression
  • I feel nervy talking to brands and celeb bloggers
  • I’m conscious that there will be large groups of people who already know each other
  • My blog is so personal and now i will be coming ‘out’ – and you’ll see ME, not just pics of my hand and fingers!!
  • Despite working in advertising and marketing for over 13 years and creating campaigns you’ve seen in mags or on the TV, and even worked with bloggers who write for brands, this is a total different kettle of fish. A different way of writing.
  • My blog has been my freedom pass to talk to strangers about what goes on in my life. I’ve been so open, it’s been wonderful and i’ve made some great contacts in the last 6 months (*waves to Kathy in Oz*) who go through similar things to our family.

I’m hoping that this Saturday will be a good chance for me to meet like minded people, drink wine and be the real open person I am – a 37 year old girl living with a husband who has Bipolar and a child who displays signs of Autism with Demand Avoidance.

What a shame I can’t be this open with my friends and family. So maybe #BritMums16 will be my new family, accepting of honesty and avid wine companions!

 

 

Our Mentally Healthy holiday at Center Parcs

My mum and dad kindly treated us to a family break at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest a couple of weeks ago. In short, we had the BEST time and found everything about it relieved my hub of his, at times, gripping Bipolar and each activity unlocked a pocket of happiness and joy for us all. Here’s our review of a Mentally Healthy Break… Continue reading “Our Mentally Healthy holiday at Center Parcs”