BritMums For The Anxious

I don’t really know where to start with this post.It’s one that’s been formulating over the last two weeks, actually that’s a lie it’s been a lot, lot longer than that.Once I got my BritMums Live! 2013 ticket, the panic attacks and anxiety became a regular occurrence, something that hasn’t happened since the night the ex went A.W.O.L for 18 hours nearly 3 years ago.

Since then I haven’t made many new friends and the new relationship with man friend last Summer that kind of stopped before it started (nothing to do with me) has left me a bit bitter I guess.I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact everyone only thinks about themselves and no matter how much you do you for someone they will shit on you from a great height.
So not wanting to tarnish everyone the same brush, I have become friends with a few people on line.Something that has always been a bit of an odd concept to try and explain but I realise that I am not alone in this way of making friends.Even my mum has made met and stayed with friends she met online and my brother married someone who he met online.
I have read lots of blog posts in the 4 1/2 years that I’ve been writing my blog, where there have been so many moving posts relating to their own personal crisis, whether it’s dealing with death, depression, over- eating etc and I have always admired their honesty and the need to reach out and say, “Help!”. It’s just something that I haven’t done since the 3 years (almost) that my marriage broke down due to my ex husband’s compulsive gambling and drinking.I guess I didn’t want the sympathy as it was my husband who needed help, help I couldn’t give and I felt at the time even though he had let myself, our children and our families down, it was me who could of stopped it in some way.There is only so much help and support you give someone and if they’re not willing to change or get help themselves, you still feel you’ve let them down.
In the time we’ve been separated, I went through a very dark period of depression and it was only because I realised how it was effecting my 3 children, then 2 and 1/2, 6 and 9 that I pulled myself out.I kept working from home for almost a year after our separation until the recession meant I had to give it up. I felt really out on a limb because here I was, a single mum of 3 kids living in social housing with no job and still with the debt that my husband had left behind.
I don’t go out much, the husband’s living arrangements as a lodger means I only have a few hours on a Saturday to go off and do something for myself.And yes, I still don’t work but I’m not in any position to take myself off for the day in case the kids fall ill at school and they need picking up.

I have in the last few months become even closer to a few other bloggers online, briefly met a few at Blog camps but I’ve never really had the chance to talk to them face to face with out all the social media we all hide behind.My chance came after a very short amount of time to organise myself for a weekend at BritMums Live! 2013.I was absolutely petrified, even though I ‘knew’ lots about those who were going and we had arranged to stick together, I still had this over bearing weight of someone or something would happen to me or my kids if I went.And there were a couple of times I so nearly wanted to make something up and say I’m not coming.

But I did go.The BritMums team and I don’t just mean Jennifer and Susannah but the BritMums butterflies were ever so organised and welcoming.The Facebook group was such a helpful way of introducing themselves to everyone who was going and I realised I wasn’t alone on being nervous.
I really needed to get a grip and just get on with it.
The lovely Caro from Mummy Alarm let me join her, her boyfriend and gorgeous daughter Amy for a road trip to London.Due to the heavy traffic from Bristol and going through London we arrived just 10 minutes before registration.It was odd having people that have lived in my lap top now standing in front of me and talking.I may have even enthusiastically hugged a few people.

Sorry about that.

When I was going around the stands in between sessions on Friday and Saturday I began formulating this post in head.It wasn’t meant to actual be here, just meandering around in my brain whilst I processed the whole, ” Oh my god! hello, it’s so nice to meet you!”  from the people who were looking at my boobs to see who I was (I had my hair cut short so I was unrecognisable from my avatar). I couldn’t understand why anyone would say that.Because here I was walking around on my own as Caro wanted to go to a different session than me.There were frequent pauses as I passed people and again the looking of my boobs as their eyes read my name badge.”Oh Aly! hello!” And more hugs and hysterical squeals.I offered chocolates as a kind of ice breaker.And to be honest I know people don’t remember me for my blog just for my social media presence.So if the chocolate entices them over to read now and then, the chocolate bribery worked.

And the hugging and squeals didn’t stop there. I’m still slightly freaked out at Sarah from  Grenenglish who came screaming over shouting “Aly Hodge!!!!” with Vanessa from HPMcQ when my Pizza ordered was called out.There was a meal of about 50 of us at Pizza Express.My face my have had the look of “Who the hell are you?” again.I was quite taken a back.After the meal I went from The Hoxton for a drink, too hot in there so we went back to the travel lodge where I was staying with my room mate Jenny from Mummy’s Musings ..We drank some more then heading off to bed about 1, and getting to sleep about 2.A very short sleep followed as we went back to The Hoxton for day two.
The following day I stuck to guns and attended the sessions I wanted to see.A couple were where I was on my own, and I was ok with that.I think the reassurance that even though I was sat on my own, I wasn’t alone.The evening followed and it was time to say goodbye.A few of gathered at All Bar One, and slowly the numbers dwindled and the intake of alcohol built up.We were all feeling emosh from the tribute for Kerry from Multiple Mummy who had died last year.So the tears began to flow from me when everyone said how they proud they were that I got here.

So there we have it.A view of BritMums Live! from someone who attended there first blogging conference and really was shitting themselves.

This has been a personal indulgent post, back to writing about the BritMums live! sessions in a few days time, along with my usual mix of recipes, reviews and beards.

40 thoughts on “BritMums For The Anxious

  1. I’m so glad you had such a lovely time and I’m gutted that I didn’t manage to meet you in person (I’d say how did I manage to miss you, but there were 500 of us and I did skip off early on Friday at like 5:20… I needed sleep!! lol) Maybe next year? xx

    • You only stayed a couple of hours? i had so many people to meet as well as the sessions i couldn’t keep track of everyone to be honest.

      • Sorry, I wasn’t very clear was I? I came back again for the whole of Saturday, but I wouldn’t have made it through Saturday had I not had an early night on Friday ;)

        • I was a dirty stop out.Stayed up until 2am Friday night.Up at 5am Saturday morning.Bed at 1;30am Saturday night.Proper tired for 3 days.

  2. Lovely post, I really must try and make it next year but for sure meet up with you before!!! x

  3. i love that you have written a more personal post (i remember you saying that you dont like to dicusss this type of stuff on here ) and i had no idea your hubby is your lodger eeek that must be stressful.
    anyway, i digress i think you did so well taking yourself to BML and you would neve rhave known you had been worried from meeting you. thanks for being a great roomie and for makign those yummy strawberry muffins and chocolates and for my gift and card. and i LOVE those wonder woman shoes – amazing! as you are x x

    • No, he lodges with a friend in a two bed house.You were a great roomie too :)

  4. Wow! Sounds like it was a huge experience on so many levels! You have followed my blog from day one, and I want to say thank you! Blogging is a double edged sword, it’s a commitment and its sharing your world with strangers. It’s nice to hear your thoughts and feelings!
    xo
    Karen @ thebakehouseblog

    • I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested but obviously I was wrong.

  5. It was so lovely to go on a road trip with you and share these two days with you. Going to a conference with 500 people is a very brave thing to do, even if you don’t suffer from anxiety. Knowing how much harder it must have been for you, make me feel so so proud of you. Massive hugs, Aly! Road trip buddies next year? ;)

    • I you’ll have me again I’d love another BML road trip.It was a very full on experience with so many people around.

  6. It was lovely to meet you finally. I loved the chocolates idea – I’m definitely doing that next conference I attend – although to be honest I would probably eat them on the way down through nerves!

    So glad you got the courage to go and had an epic time.

    • I did eat a few the day before just to make sure they were ok.It was good just to get it out of the way after putting it off for so long.

  7. oh my oh my Aly you did fantastically well. i am so so sorry for terrifying you at dinner we were so excited to see you sorry :-)

  8. I made you my NBF before we even met coz we’re both shorties but you were already taken by the time you got to me! Lovely choc btw. Super to meet you and to catch you at the Travelodge too. I love the personal nature of this post. xx

  9. Aly, I loved meeting you and would have visited even without the chocolate (although the chocs were bloody awesome)…so pleased you enjoyed it. x

  10. This is a lovely post. I love that you hugged me, I was nervous too and the hug and friendly smile was one of the first things that happened when I got there, it helped a lot. Plus who doesn’t love being given home made choccy. Looking forward to seeing you at the next one.

    • It was just so nice to meet people properly for the first time.nervous hugs seemed the way to go

  11. Well done Aly – I know it was hard for you to brave it, but brave it you did, and carried it off amazingly well! Lovely to have met you irl :)

    • Eeek! Having done G+ hang outs with you it was still awesome to have a proper face to face conversation with you.

  12. It was so so wonderful to meet you in the flesh – and the chocolates were absolutely divine! I’m really glad you didn’t find an excuse for not joining us and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself too. x

    • It was great meeting you too.I would of regretted not going and meeting so many epic bloggers :)

    • I only made 100.I should of kept some for the meal :/.I’ll must remember that next year.

  13. I am so glad you made the journey, I too was nervous, but I had an amazing time, loved meeting you, still plotting how to steal your shoes…. :) xx

    • Ha! I still think you should of had more floor space during your feminist talk.It was great to meet those bloggers I love reading.

  14. Oh my what a journey it’s been. I’m so glad that you managed to go and enjoyed the experience.
    Your chocolates were awesome, minty choc is the best type ever and that’s a fact, ok so I thought they were bum shaped till I turned them the right way up and saw a heart ;)

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