Me and Mrs C

A little while ago I shared a blog called Dear Mrs C this post was about me using antidepressants to treat my Post Natal Depression (PND). Shortly after I wrote and shared the post, I made an appointment to see my GP to renew my prescription and to discuss reducing my current dose.

I had been thinking for a while about reducing the dose, I felt the time was right. I had been in a good place for several months and I know when I have my low moments that everything will be ok. I was also worried about any withdrawals I could possibly experience due to the decrease in dosage and I wanted to limit them as much as I could.

I still get overwhelmed at times, with parenting, work, being a wife but who doesn’t? I do however feel I am in a much better frame of mind these days, but I still have my ‘bad’ days. You can do it, Stacey I told myself.

When I saw my GP, I explained how I had been feeling and other things I was doing to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I told him how I like to go to work and feel like ‘Stacey’ and not just a ‘Mummy’. And I really enjoy my time with my children,  also I no longer have the overwhelming feelings of wanting to leave my husband and children. Anyone who has experienced this feeling or is feeling like this, it well and truly SUCKS! Feeling like a failure, and wanting to turn your back on your family you are a part of is very lonely, I never want to feel like that again. At the time I never realised how low I got, I think I hid it quite well at times.

My GP was really good and we both agreed that it was a good time to reduce my dose, by half a tablet. I now take 30mg, one and a half tablets once a day in the morning. My GP explained he would like me to continue on this reduced dose for six months before decreasing any further. I thought this was a really good plan, it would prevent any withdrawals and hopefully help me to remain in a good place.

I started writing this blog post at the end of March and now here I am almost at the end of May. I am due another trip to the doctors for a repeat prescription, it has almost been three months since I reduced my antidepressant and I can say it has been going really well. Phew!

It is so good to write about being in a good place, happy, calm (well relatively calm, my hubby tells me I worry too much!) and to feel like I enjoy my life. I love being a Mum and Wife and I hope I am a better friend and person to those people who know me.

I look back on last year and even the year before and I know now that I wasn’t always in the best frame of mind and I wasn’t really living, but existing.

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Me and Mr Happy April 2016

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Enjoying my children, something that had previously seemed so, so hard

 

It is so healing for me to look at these photos of myself with my children and know the smile is ‘real’ and not forced. Although like I said, there are some days when the smile is harder to achieve,but the good days are by far outweighing the bad days.

When I saw this ‘Winning’ tank avaliable through TheHood I just knew ut would be perfect for me. I love their collection of T Shirts and Sweaters which sum up Mum Life.

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Aus$ 34.99

'Winning'

‘Winning’

Thanks for reading and letting me share, take care xxx

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NB: I purchased the ‘Winning’ tank for myself and my opinion is all my own, I love it!

 

 

 

Dear Mrs C

Antidepressants, oh no she said that word! Yep that’s right, I said it, Antidepressants, (in case you didn’t catch it the first time). I take one daily, well actually I take two, (yep two!) in the morning with my breakfast. If my 3.5 year old asks me what I am taking I just reply ‘Mummy’s happy pills’. I don’t feel a girl of her age needs to be told antidepressant, to me they are my happy pills, they have made me genuinely happier. When my daughter is old enough I will explain to her a little more about them.

I thought I would write a letter to give others a little insight into what it has been like for me, over a year ago that I began taking anitdepressants for PND. I’m a big believer in removing the stigma around PND, I am not ashamed, I am proud to share my story.

 

Dear Mrs C

We had a love/hate relationship at the beginning, but now I write this letter to you, as a thank you.

I wasn’t very keen to introduce myself to you, I thought I could get better without you. But you have proven to me that I did indeed make the right decision.

At the beginning it was dreadful, I felt worse before I felt better. Was it worth it feeling the way I did? A few of the side effects I felt were nausea, increased anxiety, feeling disconnected to people around me and wanting to hide away from the world. Slowly but surely, over a month I felt better. I wanted to get out of bed in the morning, I wanted to see people and most importantly I wanted to be a mother to my kids and a wife to my husband again. Finally, we were getting along, you were helping me be me.

Yes our first month together was incredibly tough and I nearly told you to kindly F*** off as you weren’t working, but like most things that are tough and haven’t been done before, it will often seem worse before it gets better.

I knew the way I had been secretly feeling for months and months, no one else really knew, even I didn’t know as most days I put on my brave, happy smiley face, BUT anything had to be better than the way I was feeling. Thanks to you Mrs C, you helped me see through the fog that was distorting my vision and weighing down on my shoulders. Your support has given me the much needed clarity to see through that pesky fog and begin to bulid my life again.

We have been in an relationship for just over a year now, I’d hoped to have ended my relationship with you by now, but I’m not quite ready. And you know what, I think that is ok. I will ease out of my relationship with you when I feel ready, I will not be hasty, after all it was not an easy decision to make in the beginning.

So thanks Mrs C, you are pretty awesome!

Xxxxxx

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Little Miss

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Mr Happy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just my opinion on taking antidpressants. I feel my PND is currently managed and I am in control of it. Along with taking an antidepressant I have also sought help from a counsellor, friends and my parents as well as my incredibly patient and loving husband, and my beautiful children.

I have still had some bumps in the road, antidepressants are not a quick fix and not for everyone. I just wanted to share my own personal experience of taking one.

If you or someone you know is struggling please help them to seek help. Having PND or any form of depression is not shameful, please speak up there os plenty of help and support out there.

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Hubby and I

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I’m a #nofiltermum thanks to TheHood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#nofiltermum TheHood

Did you know that Postnatal Depression week has already been and gone for the year in New Zealand? It wasn’t that long ago,  31st October-8th November. I remember briefly seeing something about this, but am I right in thinking there wasn’t much awareness? Today is the last day of PND awareness week in Australia, 15th-21st November. As a big follower of Instagram and following other bloggers who write about their PND journey I have been made aware of TheHood. TheHood is an Australian website and they have designed some fab T shirts and sweaters, in conjunction with COPE- Centre Of Perinatal Excellence . From each sale of a T shirt and sweater a gold coin goes to COPE. The slogans on the clothing says #nofiltermum and #nofilter, check them out here.

TheHood

A little bit of information about TheHood has been put together by twin sisters, Rachel and Natasha Wells in July 2015. They are both mother, Rachel has a son and Natasha has three daughters. Since becoming Mothers they have realised that often its the little things, a text, a smile from a stranger that can really make a difference to a sleep deprived Mummy who is really struggling. Putting their skills and knowledge together, they have created some great tongue-in-cheek messages onto T shirts and sweaters. Rachel and Natasha feel that the motherhood journey should be shared, the good, the bad times and ugly bits.

I made contact with Rachel and shared with her my blog and my journey thought PND and how I found sharing has been helpful to me and hopefully others who read my posts. In her reply, Rachel gave me permission to share some information about TheHood in a blog post. Even though it has been PND awareness week in Australia, she like myself is passionate about sharing raising awareness of this illness.

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Raising awareness around PND is very important to me, I AM one of the statistics. I’m not afraid to say I am a #nofiltermum,  No one should ever have to suffer and be on their own with this illness, it is an illness. I did not choose to have it and I would not wish it on anybody. To feel so alone, have thoughts that go round and round in your head all day long, like the song you heard on the radio that you just can’t get out of your head. With no break from these thoughts is exhausting and debilitating.

To question why I wanted to be a Mother has been one of my biggest struggles, to wake up and want to have nothing to do with your children is devastating. They are MY children, part of me, I nurtured them and brought them into the world. “I didn’t sign up for this”, would often be the question I would ask myself the most and “why me?, haven’t I been through enough during my motherhood journey”. I must be the only woman and mother who feels this way.

But I’m not alone, mothers are speaking up and sharing their stories, thank you ladies for making me feel a little less on my own as I fight this illness.

The thoughts are constant, even when I close my eyes at the end of the day, they are still there, round and round they go and you know when you wake in the morning you have to get up and start another day. The dread in my stomach, would forever be present, meaning I didn’t want to eat. You tell yourself that you should eat, but it takes to much energy to prepare anything, you find yourself reaching for anything that is ‘quick and easy’ or skip the meal altogether. And the lack of motivation to enjoy anything in your life has completely vanished, you no longer feel yourself. You are barely existing.

Just the other week my three year old daughter, reminded me of a time earlier this year I thought she would of had no idea about…….

My three year old daughter, walked out to the lounge at bedtime, I presumed it was for a goodnight cuddle and a kiss. We had our cuddle and a kiss and then she asked me if I was still sad? This completely threw me, I wondered where this had come from “Are you sad Mummy? One day you were sad and crying, when you were talking to Daddy?” I quickly wrecked my brain trying to recall the time she was talking about and then she said “remember Mummy you broke the glass and it went ‘smash’ all over the floor”, I then remembered the time she was talking about…..

It had been earlier this year in January, it was when I realised things were not right, I wasn’t ok, I had reached breaking point. I quickly assured my beautiful, caring daughter I was feeling much better and that Mummy was feeling happy, I took her back to her bedroom and tucked her in bed for the night. This brief conversation I had with her, has stayed with me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forget it. I felt heartbroken that she remembered something that had happened over nine months ago, when she was still two. Have I messed this girl up, because she witnessed her Mummy having a breakdown. Thinking about it has made me realise my daughter and my son could remember things about their childhood. I would hate from them to remember their Mum being sad and crying all the time. But this is our reality as a family at the moment, but hopefully not forever.

Mr Happy

Mr Happy

Family picnic pf fish and chips

Family picnic pf fish and chips

Little Miss

Little Miss

 

I have been writing this post you have just read over several days this week and I have I been struggling. I have felt low and can not figure out why, a bump in the PND road I guess. Last night (Friday) was particularly bad. We were child free and decided on a movie night at home. Thoughts and feelings have been building up over gradually over the past week, but as usual I put on my happy face and face the world.  But last night, I exploded at my husband. I told him I was leaving, I needed to get away and it seemed the logical situation in my irrational brain. I was desperate, I had to get away quickly. I rang my Mum, I knew she would be wake in England, no reply, next my Dad. He answered the phone, I probably wasn’t making sense but he told me to skype him. I spent roughly about an hour talking to my Dad, he got it, he was there even though he was on the other side if the world. See my Dad has been married to my Mum for 36 years and he has lived through depression with her. Of course whilst I was growing up I was not aware of this, my parents did a damn good job at hiding Mum’s depression and Dad’s bankruptcy.

I went to bed last night feeling, a calmer, and so, so appreciative of my Dad, my Mum and my husband. I don’t want to leave my husband at all, and its awful when I feel that it is my only option. I also did something I have never been before. I took a selfie of me lying in bed, with puffy eyes from crying and I shared it on Instagram and this is what I said:

“This is me 5 mins ago about to go to sleep. I see on social media how brave people are about sharing their bad days, well this is me doing the same. It actually takes a lot of guts to do this. Sure I share on my blog about my pregnancy loss and PND journey but I don’t think I ever really show you the reality of it. This is me, blotchy eyes from crying for the past two hours, I told my husband I wanted to leave him. I thought I’d had enough of him but I’ve actually had enough of myself and my mind. I felt desperate and who did I call, my Dad. I spent a good while crying and chatting to him tonight. I now go to bed, feeling a lot of love for my Dad, my Mum and my husband who I do love and don’t want to leave. Thank you for letting me share, I hope to wake in the morning ready to face the day ahead”

November 20th 2015- Photo shared on Instagram

November 20th 2015- Photo shared on Instagram

 

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How I’m feeling

Sharing my journey with depression or what I refer to as ‘the fog’ several months ago, was incredibly hard. I debated sharing the post, how would people respond when I shared with friends, family and strangers how I had been feeling. I felt like I had let myself and those closest to me down. Would anyone want to read it? In the end, I did what felt right and I clicked on the ‘publish’ button.

The response was overwhelming and for that I am extremely grateful. Originally I wrote the post for me, I needed somewhere I could share my thoughts and feelings. But I found people sharing how they were and had been feeling too.

Generally life has been getting better and better, I feel most of the time I’m in a good place. I get out of bed in the morning and actually want to get up and I look forward to the day ahead (most of the time). My days with both my kids, (Little Miss and Mr Happy), can actually be fun, although we still have our challenging moments, I find I’m always looking for new and different things to do with them.

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Mr Happy 19 months

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Little Miss

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Mr Happy 19 months

Of course the fog is always there, I accept that. It will probably be always there, hanging around and most definitely not welcome. But that’s ok. I feel more confident that I know, (at times) how to deal with the hours or days where I feel like running away. I have still been seeing my counsellor and this time it is almost a year since I started seeing her again. I’m pretty sure my next appointment with her is my last, and I’m kinda freaking out about it. Will I cope not having her to talk to every few weeks, will it send me backwards. When I next see her I will be sure to share my concerns. Has anyone else ever felt like this????? When I finished seeing her other times, I always felt ready. Does the way I’m feeling now mean I’m not ready? Or has seeing her become a part of life I’m not ready to part with? Ahhhhhh!!!!

Even though I’m generally happier in myself I still have some shit moments and days, but I don’t seem to get as overwhelmed. It does of course depend on what is happening that day. I keep myself busy and work is always a good distraction for me. But I have been thinking lately if some of my friends feel pushed away? I never meant to do that, I don’t mean to isolate myself at all. I have felt at times that I wasn’t a good person to be around and I have probably distanced myself with knowing. If you are reading this and you feel I have pushed away, believe me it was intentional at all.

Do you have somewhere you like to go when you feel overwhelmed? For me it’s the cemetery, I visit Alex. I will sit with him and feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair and I’ll allow myself to be with my thoughts. It’s often quiet there and a good place to think and reflect.

So I think I’m done, I’ve put my thoughts out there. Thanks for reading.

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Being the Mum I want to be

We all have those nights where we are tired but can’t seem to fall asleep, right? But it’s been quite a few nights this week, in between the coughing, the blocked nose and my thoughts, ahhhhhh!
I’ve been incredibly thoughtful lately, but the other night was definitely an exception. In my attempt to off load my thoughts into my notebook, I found myself thinking more and more. I often find I will think of an idea to blog about right on bedtime,  I usually write things down and I’m done.

imageThis quote popped up on my Facebook recently and it got me thinking about the the kind of Mum I want to be, and my relationship with my Mum. We’ve had our moments when I was growing up when we didn’t get on, but now we are in a great place. I think living on the opposite side of world has helped, I don’t think we take each other for granted. Now I’m a Mum myself I understand a lot more of why my Mum thinks the way she does. When I think back, I remember all the good times with my Mum, more than the bad. I have always felt loved and know she has done the best for me, even when I couldn’t see it at the time.

I also found myself thinking about something someone said to me the other week when I was caught up in the fog. I know that I was not in a good place and I wasn’t able to think about things rationally and I understand it was not meant to upset me, but it did. I found it has played on my mind and I needed to write this blog to unload. I don’t know about you but I know that I’m a highly sensitive person and I can take things the wrong way. I’m terrible for subconsciously beating myself up if I’m having a bad day. I often describe myself as a ‘Bad Mum’, and think to myself, ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I should want to play with my kids’ and ‘Shouldn’t I be happy I have two beautiful children?’  Yes I know I am not a ‘Bad Mum’, but just lately I haven’t felt I have been a good enough Mum.

I know my kids will not be babies, toddlers or preschoolers for ever, but I don’t want to ‘force’ myself to play with them. In just under two years Little Miss will be at school (gulp), but she will be a different girl by then. I’m sure she will excited to share with me all the new skills she is learning at school. I also find as she is getting older there are different ways I can spend time with her. Such as shopping dates, movie dates, going for lunch and helping her with craft activities. I know one day she will have friends that she will want to play and spend time with, but I’m her Mum. I’m sure we will still have quality time together. Of course it won’t be the same as the things we do together now, but as I will watch her grow we have lots of Mum/Daughter time to look forward too.

image image imageThis of course applies to Mr Happy too. He is currently 16 months old but they grow quickly. It will be a little while yet until he will be school age. I know I have so much to watch him experience and seeing him reach his milestones is just as exciting as when Little Miss reached hers. Plus seeing him doing things in his own way and his personality developing all the time makes my heart swell.

I’m going to try not to give myself a hard time, my children are loved, happy and most importantly healthy. So what I don’t always want to play with them, but I am here. Plus I see it is as a good thing if they learn to play on their own. Isn’t that how imagination develops and builds social skills? I think it is rather healthy to enjoy time on your own and feel comfortable with your own company. I remember going to friends houses after school and having friends over. I would always enjoy spending time with my friends. But I reckon it’s always nice to go home to Mum and Dad.

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The Month of August

For me August will always be a month to remember. Firstly August 2008, this was the month I packed up my belongings and moved from Palmerston North to New Plymouth. I was nearing the end of my Nursing degree and I was moving to be with, my now hubby and to begin my final nursing placement. So today, the 25th August marks seven years since I made that move. One of the best moves I ever made. It resulted in me being able to live with the man I love and to get my first nursing job on the ward, where I did my final nursing placement.

I also subconsciously revisit August 2011, the 23rd was the due date of Alex. Of course I never carried him to this month as he passed away at the end of May 2011. The first year was extremely hard, I grieved all over again when we reached that date. I was heartbroken, all I wanted to be doing was complain about being overdue or being sleep deprived from a newborn. I dreaded his due date, but as soon as it had passed I was gutted it had gone. His time was officially over. I think the due date for every bereaved parent is different, you have to do what you feel is right for you. Of course I don’t feel the same about the due date as I did then, but to me it will be date I will always acknowledge to myself.

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Ready for work

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Happy Kids

The hubby and I escaped to Auckland for a few days, we both felt we had to had getaway and make the due date seem significant. The highlights of our trip was winning $250 in the casino, using Alex’s birth weight, time and date he was born were just some of the numbers that came up on the roulette. Our winnings were used to splash out by treating ourselves to dinner in the revolving restaurant. Getting away for a few days was definitely good for us. We ate out, went to the movies and did a bit of shopping. The distraction of something positive was definitely something we both needed.

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Wedding November 2010

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Wedding 2010

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November 2011 Giants Causeway, N Ireland

August this year 2015, if I’m being honest has been the pits. I was just recovering from surgery and BAM! I took a massive dive on the depression roller coaster. I am slowly on the up, but I’ve been hit with another cold so I’m a tad frustrated. I had been fighting and willing the recent return of the fog to bugger off and I was beginning to feel like myself again. I went to work on Sunday which was really good. All my work colleagues who I worked with were really supportive and were happy to see me back. I’m now sick on my days off which is annoying, I had plans which I have to cancel, yet again.
I had an outburst this morning, I thought I had seen the back of those. I made a frantic call to the crisis team asking for help, I just needed someone to talk too. My hubby is great, but he is struggling. He would never say it, but I know he is. Mr Happy has been a challenge at bedtime lately, ie not wanting to sleep. So my hubby has been up with him and letting me sleep. He feels I don’t appreciate him at times but I do, I really do. He is my rock, my best friend, my special someone and an amazing Dad to our children. For those of you who are reading this and know my hubby, you may think he is tough and can cope (yes someone said this to me recently). But he is a human being who at times needs support, he may not say it but August has been a tough month for him while I have been recovering.

I want to end of a positive note, I have shared more than I intended. Once again when I get writing the words just flow……. The beginning of August has seen us living in our current home, our first home for four years. This is the longest I have lived in one house, apart from my parents house of course. We have lived in this house as a couple, a family of three and now a family of four. We are definitely outgrowing our home, but it’s our home. Now bring on September!

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Seeing clearly through the fog

Ahhhh the sun is shining again today, and I’m smiling. The fog is definitely clearing, I can now see through it, I can see through the darkness. Each morning this week I have wanted to get out of a bed, its such a nice feeling compared to the past few weeks.

I even ventured out to town at the beginning of the week and did some jobs and a bit of shopping I needed to do. Whilst I was browsing in a shop did see someone I knew. I’ll admit it, I hid. I didn’t want anyone to see me or talk to me. It has been easy for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words but saying them aloud is not always the same. I was quite happy just looking around and wanted to be left alone with my own thoughts. I found it quite a challenge talking to the sales assistants when buying things, but it had to be done. When I got home, I felt relieved, I was home, I had survived and I had done the jobs I needed to do.

I caught up with my GP this week, we had a good chat. I shed a few tears when he brought up a particular issue and we both decided to keep me on the increased dosage of my antidepressants for now. After leaving the Doctor’s I went to visit a friend. She is someone I haven’t spent a lot of time with, but it was just what I needed. Someone else who knew how I had been feeling. That is the one of the big positives I have gotten from my recent experience living with the fog, I have made connections with a few new people via blogs and locally. Being honest and sharing my journey has definitely paid off. Hopefully here’s the start to some new friendships.

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Little Miss

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Playing Duplo with Little Miss

As the week has progressed I feel I have become stronger and even enjoyed doing some household tasks. I had plans to cook tea for us one night, but I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do so. I told my hubby I was feeling overwhelmed and thankfully, he got it. He stepped up and prepared us a meal. He is awesome!

One of the best things about the clearing fog is being able to enjoy Little Miss and Mr Happy again. I feel I have been able to rebuild my relationship with them and just having more patience to listen to Little Miss talk non-stop, makes me smile. As well as seeing what a cool little boy Mr Happy is becoming.

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Mr Happy before haircut

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Mr Happy before haircut

I spent one day this week with Mr Happy at home, we had a good day. I even took him for his first haircut. I had been putting it off, I just didn’t feels ready to cut my baby’s hair. But he isn’t so much a baby anymore, he’s 16 months old. He did really well, he sat on my knee for half an hour. He moved his head every now and again to check out what the hairdresser was doing, but no tears or tantrums, victory! I feel he needed more hair cut off, but after half an hour he had enough. The IPad was very good for distracting him, and of course I took him a treat. I just can’t believe how much hair he still has!

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Post haircut

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Post haircut

I also successfully took Little Miss and Mr Happy to music group, which was really good since we didn’t make it last week. Little Miss got to see one of her friends and Mr Happy cruised around the whole time. I also find it a bit of break, I get to socialise with other adults, the kids get to play with others and they provide yummy morning tea!

I am returning to work on Sunday morning and I feel ready. My work mates are lovely and supportive so I know I’ll be fine. Plus I know I am feeling brighter because I don’t want to hide away anymore, I want to see people and be me, Stacey.

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