Mental Health – How I Cope With The Pressures Of Everyday Life


In this day and age we tend to live very hectic lifestyles and that in itself is enough to take its toll. Add into that, a child with additional needs and you have an array of other problems and challenges to contend with.

I have always been as honest as I can around my own battles with stress and avoided labelling these difficult times, despite as a society the ever increasing need to name everything. That label doesn’t change the problem or the treatment in my particular case.

At the peak of my difficulties, I turned to counselling for help and on that occasion it worked. On later occasions when I have faced myself in a similar dark place, it hasn’t. Whether that’s because the counsellor and I didn’t gel or whether it was because counselling wasn’t the answer to my problem.

I’m lucky that I can now identify the warning signs and do everything within my remit to be able to adjust my lifestyle, when I recognise the triggers. Unfortunately, some of those things I would like to be able to change are beyond my gift and at those times I feel lost.

Parenting a child with additional needs, almost always means that you never have enough time for everything and self-care is usually the last in a long line of priorities. I’ve learnt that Joseph needs me fighting fit and as much as that also becomes a burden of responsibility, it’s the harsh truth of the matter. I need to be well physically and mentally to tend to his every need. I scrap around for every second of every minute to ensure I have time for me. Whether that’s chilling out watching TV, meeting up with friends or….running. Yes, that’s right.


Most people who know me, have known that I have had a love-hate relationship with running since God was a lad. I have the heart and desire to run like Mo Farah unfortunately the body doesn’t always agree.

Whether it’s the endorphins that are being released or the fact that it’s just me breathing in the fresh air, it generally makes me feel alive again. And I say that with a slight tongue in my cheek as there are many times that I fall through the front door, declaring myself a diabetic with low blood sugars and waiting for the offspring to dutifully pour me a large glass of water. At those times, I feel anything but alive.


There are times that I run and I want to think something over in my head with no distractions. There are times when I go out running and I want to hear the music through my overused earphones, drowning out my thoughts because I want to do anything but think. It allows me to push myself and prove that I can achieve. It allows me to slacken off because I have already been pushed in other ways and all I need is to feel the gentle soothing rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, over and over again.

It allows me to be me

When it gets to winter and the darker nights, I can feel myself working up into a panic, wondering how I will be able to self medicate when it’s too dangerous to run alone. I need the freedom that running brings so I have a safety net now in that I run with a group. It doesn’t satisfy my addiction, but it allows me to have time away from those who need me for most hours of every day.

I fall out with running usually every time I have participated in a race. I don’t feel I have achieved the right time and I want to be better. Despite that, I keep going back for more.

I need it more than it needs me.

There are some people who will be reading this and thinking that the idea of running is the absolute last thing in the world they’d like to do and that’s fine. Find your ‘thing’ that makes you feel alive. Find that ‘thing’ that enables you to breathe and relax and ensure you have time to do it.

Whatever it takes.


and in my spare time when I’m not writing about autism…I also write about…running.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. And there was me, thinking you and me could be great friends… 😀 😀 I’m not a runner. But I am totally with you on the finding your thing and your way of relaxing. Sometimes for me that is blogging. Most of the time if I’m honest! I do need to exercise more… hmmm. 😉

    1. Hahahaha! You never know! Someone I follow was overweight and hated exercise and now she runs marathons in super speedy times. Just published a book called Running For My Life.

  2. I loved this post, which is a great reminder of the care we need to take of ourselves when we spend so much time caring for others.

    The thing that makes me feel alive is my garden, which I can only do in the Summer …. so winter can feel like an age. Thankfully I get to have the occasional dance, whether that is out with friends or just in the living room with the kids (though my arthritic knees never thank me).

  3. I love that you have found something that works for you and can definitely see the attraction of running… I just wish it took a little less energy x

    1. It can take as much energy as you like. I was with a run coach yesterday and she was explaining about effort and not necessarily about how fast you are running!

  4. I used to do running and athletics as a kid/youngster, and can see the joy in it, though I don’t feel it’s for me now. Might rediscover it at some point, who knows. For me, I’d say music is my main ‘medicine’, like just having a bit of a dance while cooking etc ☺️
    Another thing I’ve done for my mental health (as well as for the best of other family members 😉) is leaving my job. I couldn’t have continued, I was tearing myself apart trying to do too much. Still working out how to manage our finances without that paycheck though… Life – always full of excitement, right? x

      1. That might be giving me too much credit lol, but thank you! x

  5. Wiki says:

    Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.


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