The Couple Next Door – Review

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I have recently read the crime-thriller by Shari Lapena, and I will say that I absolutely loved it. I actually read it in one night!

A couple go to a dinner party next door and leave their six month old daughter, Cora, asleep upstairs. They take the baby monitor and they go and check on her every half hour. However, when they return, they find that their baby has been taken. Every parents worst nightmare. As a parent myself, I actually went and physically checked on my little boy while I was reading this.

The books scene was set very quickly and had me hooked immediately. The book is full of twists and turns, and I was always eager to find out what was going to happen next. I was trying to predict the whole way through yet another twist was soon added, which made for a very interesting and compelling read. The ending was fantastic. So I would definitely recommend this book!

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The Couple Next Door – Review

Aokigahara

So one thing that I’m passionate about is the paranormal, the unexplained, conspiracy theories, and I definitely have a weird fascination with anything creepy, dark or gory. It just fascinates me really.

I have recently come across a thread where people were discussing the forest, Aokigahara, located in Japan. I had never heard of it before, and what I have learnt has both upset me and fascinated me in simultaneously, and I’ll explain why now.

Aokigahara (otherwise known as the Suicide Forest) is the worlds second most popular suicide spot. It’s thought that approximately 100 people a year go here to end their lives, usually by hanging or by overdosing on pills. This forest and it’s history has actually inspired a film to be made, The Forest, which I watched last week. While I find it upsetting that so many people tragically decide to end their lives in this place, it holds a strange fascination for me to. This is because the forest is said to be incredibly haunted, filled with the souls of the people that have chosen to end their lives here, and also, it’s supposed to be host to demons, or yurei.

Even if the ghosts do not exist, it would still not be a pleasant place to visit, as you run the risk of coming across a body, and it is supposed to be a naturally eerie and quiet place, without much wildlife and dark due to the density of the trees. Then there is the fact that you are warned not to stray from the path, owing to the fact that you could indeed find a body, but also it is incredibly easy to get lost. I think I will give this location a miss from my travel plans…

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Aokigahara

A tough time for Lucas

These past 2 weeks have been particularly tough for Lucas. 2 weeks ago he had an operation where he had grommets inserted. He had Glue Ear for quite some time and multiple hearing tests had shown he had moderate hearing loss, so we decided that having grommets inserted would be the best course of action. I found it quite upsetting when they put him to sleep, partly because he looked so fragile and I felt so helpless, and I was also shocked at how quickly he fell asleep. He cried a lot for about 30 minutes after he woke up, but he soon perked up and had something to eat, and we had left the hospital less than 2 hours after!

And then this weekend he has been extremely poorly. He had a horrible cold all week which was bad enough and kept us up most of the night for a few nights running. On Saturday night we had the paramedics out after he was struggling with his breathing and his temperature was 39.7. I can’t fault the paramedics, they were there in under 5 minutes and were very good with him. His temperature rose to 40.5 while they were there, but came down to 38.9 with medication, so he was allowed to stay at home as long as his temperature stayed down with calpol. The next morning it had risen back up to 39.4, but again came down with calpol, and he seemed much better throughout the rest of the day. By evening he started getting fidgety and hot again, and when I took his temperature it was once again 39.4. The hospital asked me to bring him in to be seen, and he was diagnosed with a nasty chest infection and given antibiotics. He is definitely better today. He is still more grumpy and fidgety than normal, and he’s still off his food. But his temperature has remained down all day and he’s certainly brighter than he has been even though he is still grumpy.

I’m so proud of my little trooper. He normally would not tolerate a thermometer near him, but he will now let me do it, and he’s getting much better at having his medication. Last time we didn’t spill a drop (and it normally goes all over my hands!). I’m so looking forward to having my happy chappy back to normal.

A tough time for Lucas

End of an era

This last year has been a whirlwind. Both me and Josh had a struggle with our mental health & everything just kind of snowballed. I have been referring to THAT 6 months as the dark phase in our lives, but thankfully it started turning back around again at the start of this year – and now the future is very bright. I have also made some decisions about my future that were stressing me out. Best of all though, I have now been told that I no longer meet the criteria to have a diagnosis of BPD (I already knew I did not suffer from this anymore, but it was nice to hear off a professional). I also no longer suffer from panic disorder or depression. This is so huge for me, as I have struggled with my mental health for around 10 years now. Sure, I could relapse in the future, but me relapsing back into BPD seems quite unlikely, as I have now (through months of hard work) learnt to overcome the issues I had, had lots of therapy as well as medication reviews. I am finally no longer trapped in the past of my childhood trauma, something I couldn’t ever see me being free of.

8 months ago I felt like I would never be happy again. And I really do feel it now. I have been told by multiple people this week alone that I have never looked happier or healthier. I will be wrapping up my counselling and will be signed off from mental health services next month. It is definitely the end of an era for me.  Thanks to my wonderful fiance, my gorgeous son, friends and health professionals I now know what it feels like to enjoy my life, and to be free of my past. There will always be ups and downs, that’s just life. But now I feel like I can cope with whatever is thrown at me. Onward and upwards from here!

End of an era

Childhood trauma

A couple of nights ago I watched this talk, and it really hit home with me.

I grew up around abuse and neglect, with a parent who struggled with mental illness and with both parents who were alcoholics. My childhood and adolescence years were riddled with severe trauma and it certainly changed who I am. Because of all of this I then went on to be diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses myself – one of them (as mentioned previously) being Borderline Personality disorder. Luckily, my life now is a million miles away from what it was like growing up, and for that I am so, so grateful. 

I would have an ACE score of above 4 (see video) and the health statistics that come alongside this are scarily high. While depression is perhaps a more obvious illness to develop after childhood trauma, I was extremely surprised at the physical illness figures – and just how deeply that things like this can affect the brain. I already knew that my developing brain had been affected due to my BPD, but the depth at which it can affect the brain was something that I didn’t know.  I felt all sorts of emotions after watching  this talk; hurt, anger, frustration and disappointment. I was hurt, angry, frustrated and disappointed that I had been put through all of this by people that are supposed to protect me and love me.

I’m no longer massively affected by what happened. It’s a part of my past, and the pathway to where I am now. But it is deeply disappointing that other peoples poor actions can have such a devastating effect on someone else, devastating effects that can last a lifetime.

 

Childhood trauma

My fear of failure

My anxiety is causing me more problems recently than it ever has before. Don’t get me wrong, aside from the anxiety, life is pretty damn good at the moment and I’m the happiest I have been in a long, long time. Genuine happiness too, not the fake happiness that I had become so good at portraying, I even fooled myself.
But this anxiety recently has started to become debilitating, and so I’m still not as happy as I could be. And that’s part of life, I suppose. It’s rarely perfect and there are always highs and there are always lows.

My thoughts though have started being incredibly persistent. They circle in my mind constantly, they’re nagging. I’m near constantly obsessing over a scenario or a particular worry in my head, and my mind is always arguing with myself. I’m telling myself; “It’s fine” or “you don’t need to worry”but it’s like trying to tell a stubborn 2 year old they can’t do something (I’m looking at you, Lucas!). It doesn’t matter how many times these thoughts loop in my head, or how many times I justify it all to myself to make myself see that it’s fine, they won’t (permanently) go away. I may temporary be relieved, but then something will trigger it, a word for example, and it will start all over again.

I’ve realised that a huge part of this links to my fear of failure. I am so determined to successfully juggle my degree with motherhood, work and everything else that I’m terrified of not having enough time. Or having enough time but getting burnt out. And, consequently, an aspect of life suffering because of this. And so my mind circles, creating a time table where I can fit everything in, then being satisfied, then the loop starting again. It’s exhausting. And because of this I actually cried for the first time in a long time.

There are lots of things that I’m trying in order to help myself with this, such as mindfulness and distraction. Hopefully, with time, this area of my anxiety will at least calm down and become more manageable, or, at best disappear completely.

My fear of failure

Portage visit 

On Wednesday we had a visit by someone who works at Portage (Integrated Disability Service). They’re involved with us because Lucas has a significant delay with his speech and his social and communication skills. It’s likely it’s attributed to Autism as it runs in Josh’s side of the family. He’s been getting a lot better since starting nursery but he’s still very behind in these areas. 

The lady had an interactive puzzle board of animals (so when you put the animal in the right slot it makes a noise). She asked Lucas where the duck was and he pointed it out straight away and said “quack-quack”. He hasn’t done this before so this was huge. She then had picture cards and was doing sign language and asked him to pick out the correct item from 2, so “where is the ball?” Etc and he correctly chose the cat, dog, banana and car. 

Then she done pretend play with him. Lucas pretended to pour out tea. Then used a spoon to pretend to feed the baby and pretended to give her a drink from the cup. The lady then shown Lucas a blanket and said the baby wanted to go to sleep. So Lucas unprompted put the baby on its back and covered it with a blanket. And again unprompted stroked the baby’s tummy. This made me SO BROODY 😂😂. When baby “woke up” he pretended to clean the baby and then cleaned the floor. 

I was so massively proud of him. It may not seem like a lot to some people but this is a massive step for him. Every week now he is doing something new and I actually couldn’t be prouder! 

Portage visit