Blue skies behind big grey clouds.

It’s mental health week this week.

Anxiety rears its ugly head for both myself Buzz and R. It comes in waves triggered by a variety of different things.

For R it’s social anxiety mainly, a not so wonderful symptom of her Asperger’s. Although teenage anxiety in general seems to be on the rise what with all the pressure to look right, dress right, think the right thoughts, listen to the right music and watch the right films all the while maintaining above average grades. But they’re the best years of your life apparently. Ahem.

For myself and Buzz our anxiety is triggered by the state of the world around us, Trump, the refugee crisis, life in general and the added pressure of being the best parents we can be to two children with very different special needs. Writing that down has made my stomach tense.

I have done and will do more posts on the negative side of anxiety but I wanted to do a more positive post on what I find helpful and calms me. Also the things that make me feel that there’s a bit of blue sky peeping out from behind that big ads grey cloud.

One thing I’ve discovered recently is the book pictured above by Matt Haig. I’m not usually one for reading books about mental health as I tend to read as an escape from it. But in this case I can’t recommend it highly enough. It very open and honest about his own experiences but is neither maudlin or downhearted. It made my own thoughts clearer and I was able to approach my anxiety in a more rational way, if that’s even possible.

In the book he lists what makes him happy which then made me think about what contributes to my own happiness. Just listing it in my head made me realise that being alive is pretty great.

Here are some of the things that make me happy.

Wiggling my fingers with my husband’s when we’re watching TV, O’s smile (the best there is), being properly silly, Vic and Bob, unexpected cuddles from R, ticking jobs off a list, planning a party, spending time with my little (big) bros, walking in the woods, spotting the sea when you’re driving to the seaside, songs from This is Jinsy, listening to and singing super loudly to the Grease soundtrack, Gin, eating picnic food (inside or outside), an unexpectedly good film at the cinema, Richard Ayoade, making brownies, the reaction when people eat the brownies, stretching out my toes in clean sheets, Lush bath bombs, sitting in the sun with my besties, new sunglasses (even though I am basically blind and can’t actually see when I’m wearing them), wearing dungarees, chatting about nothing, chatting about anything, compliments (cringing on the outside loving it on the inside), eating pistachios, instagram (I unfollow people that make me feel shit), marmalade.

There’s loads more but I don’t want to bore on. What are the little things that make you happy? Things that you could do, see or feel right now.

Life can sometimes kick you in the privates but it can also be fucking awesome