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Why did I close again? When will I be back full time?

Beginning my business back in 2019 I filled myself with such hope for the future, that my

family had reached a position where we could finally move forward a little from the tragedy of my children's nanny dying in 2014, followed soon after by their dad, my hubby and soul mate in 2016 after a 4.5 year terrible health battle. The children were just 3 and 7 and my eldest basically had a breakdown within 6 months. I also received confirmation of her Autism and later understood her to have the rare profile of PDA (basically keeping it short, throw out everything you know about autism and start again!). Finally in 2019 I felt I had more time, with my youngest settled at school and then tutors secured for my daughter as she became Home Educated and her meltdowns eased.

Soon after in 2020 - Covid happened so I decided it was best to close. There is only me to care for my children and I couldn't risk catching the then unheard of virus, so we locked ourselves in. Unexpectedly it really helped the children to bond, using the game I now love and at the time had banned the children from by being completely and utterly misguided about its strengths in so many areas. Minecraft is now a release for me and once I can afford to replace my poor laptop, I will start live streaming again as I love to play - but need to play for a reason or I won't despite it being good for my mental health! The children learnt to enjoy each other's company whilst my eldest found ways to communicate with her brother, through the chat box, even though sat next to each other she would still remain mute.

During this time, I developed the dreaded migraines and continued to suffer for around 2 years, becoming deeply worried as to why I was in a constant migraine state. Some lasting for 3 weeks and the pain so horrendous, my head felt as though it could explode. Roll on a couple of years and after being prescribed Pizotifen I promptly gained 3 stone, after losing 2.5 before. Feeling even worse and between my allergies, asthma and migraines I could barely function. My daughter needed an allergy test and to help her I came off my medication for a week, and I also had persuaded the doctor to let me have another test confident food was the key to mine. So for two weeks I didn't have my Loratadine - turns out, I started to feel loads better with only a few mild migraines, my head clearer and less fuzzy. Next I checked the side effects on the Montelukast I have for my asthma and a side effect is headaches. This is where my luck began. These two together were the main triggers for my incessant migraines and over a few months I was able to return to my Fexofendaine 120 anti-histamine leaving me at a point to finally begin again.

But, once more, it was not to be. By November 2021, my poor little monkey, my youngest was mentally struggling so much with his own issues, he was continuously missing school. Stuck in the bathroom for hours at a time for many times a day, from early till midnight, even falling asleep in there one day as he was so tired! He required several tests from the hospital, although I suspected it was his mental health and always had been, but with it now affecting school so badly I had to be sure. By the November, he sat

on the sofa one morning and sobbed - he barely cries, let alone sobs. He was sobbing, begging me to Home Educate him like his sister. He reached his own breaking point and although I never wanted too, I found myself needing to Home Educate him also and once again closing my shop down. Sadly, I had tried to once more to obtain mental support for my boy - so far the children have been let down about 4 - 8 times each from various people, charities and CAMHS. The system is totally broken - preferring to wait for the children to reach a point of collapse, rather than help them early, or using the excuse of 'well she has Autism' so we can't help! It is infuriating and quite disgusting. But I will always soldier on for my children. They are my purpose in life and sole reason for living. CAMHS advised that he clearly needed help, but, he wasn't severe enough, so can't have any support - how is that fair? I know there are others worse, but something needs

to be fixed in the system somewhere. Help the children BEFORE it is too late. Anyway. Knowing I have a good setup for HE I took the step to do it and deregistered him. I can be clear, I did not want to. I knew it would be frightful as he hates learning at home, but I wanted to try, anything to help him. The idea being he may be home a month or two and recover, then go back. It did take longer than expected, but to give him all the credit. Finally in April - he asked me if he could go back. I cannot tell you how proud I am of him for making the choice. Thankfully, I managed to return him back to the same school and his friends were super excited to see him - mobbing him on our visit. Is it easy? No! Is it still a struggle - Definitely, every day, but he is trying, so I am trying and hopefully we will all make it in the end. Mental Health is serious and very difficult to manage, especially for your children when they cannot express what is going on, and when you have your own issues, it makes it even harder. But I will always fight for them and do all I can. Hopefully I will be taking a slow return to work, starting with my Redbubble shop and the photographs as we all settle down again.

I will be explaining more on my allergies in a sperate blog for those interested as I also improve my own health.

Thanks for reading and if you suspect your own mental health is suffering, please talk to a friend, ask someone, call Samaritans or your GP - don't let it fester.

We are now awaiting a review for my youngest as CAMHS think he may have ADHD. So I begin the process again, waiting for around 2 years to be able to discuss with someone as they are overrun. I will keep you updated.

As for when I will be back full time - to be honest I cannot answer that - what I can promise is I will continue to slowly work behind the scenes, monitoring my children and hoping they are both moving forward in their own slow recovery whilst I continue finding solutions to my migraines and allergies. If anybody is after a commission piece, or wants to message me, that is of course fine. Work is progressing slowly at the moment. But all commissions will be all be made and honoured, I just need longer than I would have liked. Again, I will keep you posted. When I go full time this time, I hope it will be permanent.

Carrie x

Photo shows my youngest throwing stones into the sea at Scratby. He has found the beach soothing and calming especially if I can incorporate it into and early morning sunrise!

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