You Don't Know how Strong you Are, by the one and only Big Norm
Hi, my name is Norma, I’m Becky’s mom. Beck doesn’t go on a lot about her job in mental health, or her blog, but I know she’s very good at both, so I thought, if I said one, or two words, about the little bit I know about mental health and wellbeing it might show that I do care and do take it all in.
I have three very special people in my life, my husband Richard and my two daughters Becky and Mickey they are in my heart and mind where ever I go and they make me so happy.
I also have three very special friends, who are in my mind where ever I go, they are obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression, they make my life a complete misery.
I've had OCD since the age of 5 when I obsessively read books because I was worried to death that I wasn’t going to be able to read and would do badly at school. Checking, checking, checking, hand washing and even more checking. My hands were red raw at one point. My checking was so bad at another time, that I had to beg Richard to do all the locking up and turning off because I couldn’t stop checking.
"I'd endlessly count the books in my room to make sure I hadn't lost one"
I've had anxiety and depression since the age of 33 (I'm now 60), when I developed postnatal depression after Mickey was born, I went out of my mind, because I couldn’t sleep at all, so could no longer look after Mickey and Becky. I turned up at my doctor's and told him I didn't think I loved Mickey, l have never seen the NHS react so quickly, within 48 hours I had a psychiatrist at my house. I was convinced they would lock me up and I wouldn't see my girls, they never did, through counselling and medication, they brought me back from the brink. I’ve known desperation, isolation, despair and so many sleepless nights I really thought I would go mad. I know what it's like to no longer be able to trust my own mind. This is only a small sample of the madness that I have known.
"I turned up at my doctor's and told him I didn't think I loved Mickey"
But I'm not writing this blog to talk about the dark side of mental illness, I want you to know that you can achieve despite it and realise your dreams because I have.
You can achieve good exam results at school, get good jobs, have true friendships, fall in love, get married, raise two beautiful daughters, who've become two amazing, high achieving, women. You can go to college and obtain a distinction in graphic design, where I learnt that I had a love for art and it was very healing. Go to university, get a degree in illustration, move house 200 miles to a beautiful place called Seaford, walk along the beach every day, be half an hour away from Brighton, one of the most unique cities in the country. Still have the love of your gorgeous husband and beautiful daughters, who I have to thank so much for their continuous, support and belief in me, it can’t be easy living with a nutter!
"I learnt that I had a love for art and it was very healing"
If you're in a dark place today I want you to know, that there is help out there, through counselling, or medication, or from family and friends, who will listen and support you, or just let you cry. You can move on from this dark place, or like me make a life for yourself despite the dark days. I know the pain of mental illness can be worse than physical pain, but it doesn't have to destroy you.
"You are bigger and you are stronger than what it is doing to you."
All my love Norma x