Tag Archive for: emotions

Jim isn’t sat in his bed crying…

Hi everyone, how is this pandemic lockdown treating you? A bit shit? Yeah, me too. I have been watching A LOT of TV. And I happened upon Ben Fogle’s New Lives In the Wild on 5 on demand. It’s a show about people who have moved to and live in remote areas of the world. I saw an episode based in Australia (Series 6 episode 1) about a couple called Jim and Kim who live on their own island just of the coast of Australia. And it hit me hard.

Jim had a bad accident years ago that left him unable to walk and in a wheelchair for two years. He broke almost every bone in his body after an accident. He spoke very honestly about his recovery, and how the mental side of recovery and PTSD has been tougher than the physical side. He said he was in pain almost constantly. He was so down to earth and honest, he talked about how it had taken him years to get to the point he was at now. But how the experience made him decide to completely change his life and move to a deserted island. It was totally unoccupied and he even got to name it himself! He lives on Wilderness Island.

I cried as I watched the show. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it hit me in the gut hard. He was really open about the physical and mental side effects of his accident and I just felt really drawn to his story.

I had my first surgery in 2013 to remove my colon, since then I have had 10 major surgeries that have changed my life completely. Each one I think will be the leap home (90’s reference here! If you haven’t watched Quantum Leap, go do it immediately!) Every time, I think it is going to be the surgery that makes everything ok again, that I will be the same person I was before all these operations, that I will be ‘normal’.

And it is only all these years later that I am beginning to accept that life will never be the same. That this is probably something I will always have to live with. The chronic pain, the fatigue, the medications. This isn’t something I am finding easy to accept.

We are 10 months into this pandemic and lockdowns and the world is a very different place to what it was. We are all having a tough time. I am feeling so overwhelmed and unmotivated. My depression is back and Im taking antidepressants. And I am finding it so hard to just get out of bed in the morning.

Today, I had a couple of lectures and some work to do and I just didn’t want to get up. I laid in bed and sobbed. I just wanted to hide from the world. But I started thinking about Jim and said to myself ‘Jim isn’t sat in his bed crying. He is living his best life on Wilderness Island! If he can do it, then so can I.’

I got up and got dressed. This may not sound like a big deal but I literally live in jama bottoms and a dressing gown at the minute. If I do get dressed, its usually in joggers and a jumper. But I got dressed, I put on a lovely dress I bought ages ago and have never worn and I logged onto my computer and did my lectures. I made some art. I went for a walk. I filled my Pinterest board with pretty things I want to make in my garden. I made a nice tea for us. I changed my bedding.

I know these aren’t major accomplishments to most people. But today it felt like a real win!

Now I know some people are struggling so much and please don’t think for a second that I am belittling anyone or suggesting that a walk and some positive thinking can cure depression or solve all the world’s ills. I also know that some days, all you can manage is to get through that day by sitting in bed crying, and that is OK too. Today, I knew I needed more. I needed motivation, I needed inspiration and you take what inspiration and motivation you can. Today, I didn’t have any of my own, so I borrowed Jim’s.

Jim is living his best life even on the days where it is dark and painful and tough, and maybe I can too.

Peace and love

Sam xx

Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror

I watched the film Jojo Rabbit this week (I would highly recommend it!) and there is a part where the characters share part of a poem by Rilke called ‘Go to the limits of your longings’. Here is the verse.

Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Rainer Maria Rilke

It really struck me. It actually brought a tear to my eye. I am having a hard time at the minute. I am still in a lot of pain and still waiting for a CT scan. I am scared that the surgery hasn’t worked. I am scared that I will never live a pain free life and I am so, so tired.

Tough times

I also have lost work, my radio show is on hold for the foreseeable future. I left my main job in January, I think I was just so fed up and scared of letting my team down as I knew I was having yet another surgery. I was having issues with a manager and just felt so down about myself and my job. The job I was meant to start in April has faded away due to corona and now I have no work and I just don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I feel like someone has a voodoo doll of me. I keep trying so hard to overcome problems but every time I bat one away, another problem replaces it. It has been nearly 7 years since my first surgery. I thought it was going to solve all my health issues, and in many ways my ostomy did. It rid me of the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis that had ruined my life for years. But unfortunately for me, it also brought a new set of problems.

It is getting to me. My surgery recovery ran straight into corona lockdown and so it feels like I haven’t really been out or done anything since January. And now I live in constant fear that my hernia is back or that there are further complications. I am still taking pain killers every day, I am in so much pain and it is getting me down.

I just feel like I have lost all confidence. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I am or where my place in the world is. I feel so lost and adrift. It is scary, I can feel myself slipping backwards into that pit of despair. I am struggling to pull myself out of bed. Partly due to the pain, but also mentally. I have very little to actually get up for. No work, no social life, no certainty in anything.


And then this quote. “Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

It reminded me of another saying; “everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end”.

We have little control of some things in our lives, there are certain things that will happen to us that are completely beyond our control. And the only option we have is to let everything happen to you, to say yes to the opportunities that come to us. Some of those things will be beautiful, some will fill us with terror. All we can do is keep going.

No feeling is final

No feeling is final. This is such an important thing to remember. I had something happen this week. I was really embarrassed. I was called out on my reaction to something and it made me feel really stupid. In that moment, I felt so humiliated, my face was burning, I felt sick and silly. It felt HUGE. Like I wouldn’t get over it. It made me want to hide away. In reality, once I spoke to someone about it, it lost it’s power and I was reminded that my feelings were valid. That heavy weight of embarrassment lifted and drifted away, leaving me with an insight into the situation and myself.

Feelings are so powerful, whether positive or negative, they can be totally overwhelming. But no feeling is final. We just need to accept them in the moment, enjoy them or learn from them and move onto the next situation.

“Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Things may be overwhelming and difficult right now, but all I can do is to carry on living. Let everything happen to me, accept that things have and will continue to happen that I cannot control. And for all those things that bring me terror, I also have so much beauty in my life. It sometimes is really tough to find the silver linings when life feels shit. But they are there. In your friends, your family, the people you love.

Out of whack

My life is out of whack right now. No job, poor health, lockdown weirdness. I feel the nag of negativity. But lockdown has also meant that I have had 5 months of proper recovery after my surgery. My husband hasn’t been able to work either and we have had so much time together, proper quality time at home. We are getting the jobs down that maybe would have taken us a long time to get around to. I have the kids at home and I have the most wonderful friends. Even if we can’t see each other in real life, they are there. I am reading a lot, watching films and TV and I am doing a lot of art projects that make me happy.

And this whole experience has also made me and the husband reconsider what it is we want from life. What is missing from our lives and where we want to go. And we have both made a very big decision. But more about that in another blog!

Peace and love

Sam xx

“Oh, I don’t know how you cope!” (sad face)

I get this from time to time, the sad face, head tilted to one side, sometimes there are actually tears in the eyes.  The look of full on pity, perhaps a hint of ‘thank fuck it’s not me’ mixed with horror. 

“Ohhhh, I do t know how you cope!” 

I cope because I have no other choice.  I actually hate the word ‘cope’. It’s nonsense isn’t it?! Coping simply means getting through each day, each hour, each minute.  There’s no opt out in life (well, there is but let’s not go there), you can’t choose to not be ill one day, you can’t pop off your stoma and reattach your arsehole.  So asking me how I cope sometimes feels like you’re asking how I am still alive.  How I’ve chosen to live even with this disability. 

Perhaps I’m being over sensitive, but sometimes I can’t fucking stand the sad looks I get, the pity, the tilted headed frown.  

When I talk on here, in public, on social media, it’s not because I want your sympathy. I just want you to understand a little more. I don’t want to feel like you are appalled by the realities of my illness, I just want you to know what they are. 

I had a big leak recently and someone saw what had happened and the aftermath. They said with utter horror and sadness “ohhhh Sam, it’s just awful!!! I don’t know how you can live with this! How do you cope?! I couldn’t do this!”

I don’t think they meant to be hurtful, I don’t think they realised that their words hurt me far more than the blockage that had caused my bag to block up and push away from my skin.  

Perhaps I’m being unfair in expecting understanding without sympathy, care without pity.  After all it’s hard enough to understand my own feelings let alone expect others to know how I need them to react. 

Just remember for the future though that I really don’t want you to feel sorry for me.  We can talk about it, we can say that it’s shit (with every pun intended!), we can discuss how it’s sometimes really, really fucking hard to have a chronic illness and a disability. 

Take my lead, if I’m crying then please care for me and give me a hug. But if I’m just dealing with my usual day to day life, be aware that your pity can make me feel like I’m a second class citizen, it makes me question your thoughts on me and my life.  Your tilted head sad face may be well meaning but feels patronising as hell. 

✌️ & ❤️ 

Sam XX 

When you can’t breathe 

Sorry I’m not posting as much as usual right now. The thing is, I am really struggling. 
Sometimes, I can’t breathe. The tide of panic gets too high and fills my lungs. Sometimes, I feel numb. I can’t connect with people around me. Sometimes, it’s all too much. I want to hide from the world. 
Sometimes, I feel like an actress. I’m playing the role of human woman and making my actor face smile and speak. Inside I’m just watching. 
Watching my bad acting. Recognising when I spoke too loud, acted too jovial. I see the fakeness in my smiles and hear the insincerity in my laughter. 
Being with the kids helps, it makes me pull myself together and try really hard to be me. I don’t want to give them yet another thing to worry about me and so I need to just be ok, be me, be mum. 
I’m a week into meds, and to be honest I’m not feeling any better. If anything, I feel worse. I sway between manic anxiety and numbness and the guilt levels of feeling like this are sky high. 
I’m not sure any of this is making much sense, but I thought that writing it all down might help. I wish I were better at opening up to people, but I find it so difficult.  
It has shocked me to feel like this, after so many years of poor health and surgeries, I am so annoyed that now I am struggling emotionally! It’s really pissed me off, I want to be well. And healthy. And happy. So why am I screwing this up? 
Usually, I can talk sense to myself, I can assess my thoughts and feelings and reason with myself till I feel ok. I give myself therapy and thrash it out till I feel better. But this time, I can’t get to the root of it, I don’t know why I feel like this. So I’m not sure how to make myself feel better? 
What I do know, is that I should share this, that it’s ok to feel like this, I shouldn’t be ashamed. And nor should you. Thank you for all your messages, those telling me your stories of mental health and those thanking me for starting the conversation. As with the surgeries, if me talking about this can help, then it gives it reason and purpose. 
I know this is a depressing post. If you came here today for spirit lifting words or inspiration, then I apologise. I don’t have them in me today. 
Because I just can’t breathe. 

Sam xx 

Chronic Illness and mental health

I am very rarely lost for words, this blog is a stream of my internal thoughts and so I usually find it easy to empty my brain onto the page, but today I am struggling.  I am struggling because I find it really difficult to write about my own mental health.  I can share a million photos of me in my undies with my ostomy bag on show, yet when it comes to the health of inside my brain, it is tough.

I wrote recently about making the leap and asking for help and the response I got from you guys was overwhelming, so much love and support and people sharing their own mental health experiences, it made me realise that it is important to share these things along with the physical side of chronic illness.

The truth is that I am really struggling.  After 12 years of living with IBD and 4 surgeries in the past 2 1/2 years, my life has changed dramatically.  The past 3 years, things have moved quickly, surgery after surgery, change after change.  Each surgery, I thought would be my last but then problems arise and I find myself back under the knife.  I feel I haven’t had time to deal with these things, but just had to react to each event.  I think I went into survival mode.

Now, after my last surgery in January, I have 2 big hernias and know that the only treatment to get rid of them is more surgery and it has frazzled my brain.  It is the straw that broke the bad ass’s back and has crumpled me to the ground.

I went to see my GP last week to talk about it, I wound myself up all morning and was a shaking mess by the time I got there, I couldn’t breathe and felt like I would puke.  The idea of telling a stranger just how messed up the inside of my head feels right now was almost too much to bear but I did.  And she was wonderful.

She listened, questioned and encouraged.  We talked about just how huge the changes in my life had been and that it was understandable that I was having a bit of trouble in my head catching up with my body, we talked about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and how the brain reacts to traumatic events.  How people with chronic illness often have issues with mental health and how society doesn’t always think about healing the mind as well as the body.

chronic illness and mental health

We talked about my feelings of having another surgery and she suggested that we try and make me feel better in my self before making a decision on hernia surgery.  Her thinking being that if I can feel better in my head, that I am better placed to decide whether to have surgery immediately or to put it off for a while.

I am on the list to see a psychotherapist, but there is a 10-12 week wait and so we decided to try some medication to help calm my anxieties and lift my mood.  I hate having to take any medication to make me ‘normal’, 12 years of taking meds every day to stop you shitting yourself does that to a person.  But I had to think seriously about what is best for me right now.  And this is it.

I don’t feel depressed.  I don’t think I do.  When I speak to friends with depression, they talk of a lack of hope, of darkness and feeling stuck in a hole.  I don’t feel that.  I feel massively anxious.  I feel panicky and distressed.  I can’t sleep for the millions of thoughts of all the bad things that could happen to me or the people I love.  I check plug sockets a lot.  I feel I can’t breathe, that something is trapped in my chest.  My heart pounds.  My throat closes.

Not all the time, there are times when I feel ok, there are times when I am fine.  When I feel that things will get better, that it will all figure itself out.

Then BANG! It hits and I can’t breathe.  I walk down the stairs and see myself falling and breaking bones, I get on the train and imagine the carnage of a derailment, I go to events and think about how I would get my family out if there were an attack.  I look at my hernias and think that I have had my fill of surgical luck and what if, this time, I die.  I panic when Timm goes out, visualising the policemen coming to the door to tell me he has been in an accident.  I think about the kids getting snatched, or hit by a car, or falling and cracking their head open on a kerb and never getting up.

And then later I am fine again.  I cook tea, I write articles, I have meetings, I go for a drink, I speak to friends.  I make plans.

Then it is there again.  Terror, fear, panic.  I sit in the garden at 3am to get some air, to overcome the stifling thoughts.  Adrenaline surges through my body, and I can’t sit in bed.  It compels me to get up and wander through the house, checking.  Checking the kids, checking plugs, checking locks.

And on and on, the cycle goes.

Well, it is time for it to stop.  And so, though I find it very hard to talk about, I am putting it out there.  The events in our life have to have an effect on our mental and emotional health, I know there is no shame in admitting this, but it is still tough.

This isn’t me, I am not a worrier or a panicky person, I am ever an optimist and think things will be fine, so it is a shock to suddenly have these thoughts and anxieties.

I know I am not the only person going through this and I just hope that in writing about it, I can help someone else to speak out and get themselves help.  I am not an expert, I have little experience in mental health, but I do know that when I have written about my physical health, that it has benefitted others, so hopefully in writing about this new hurdle, I can help someone else too.


Sam xx

I am rubbish at sharing my feelings

You may read this title and laugh, after all this whole blog is filled with my feelings. I post a few times a week eloquently and whole heartedly sharing how I am feeling with the whole world.  If anything, I’m an over sharer! I tell you lot intimate and private parts of my life and chuck a few photos in to boot. 

So what am I talking about? Well, talking.  You see, as much as I can blurt out my inner demons on this page, and even when I do public speaking or media I am perfectly happy and able to speak out about all manner of feelings, emotions and experiences.  Yet, I find it ridiculously difficult to speak to the people I love. 

I told you all in my last blog post that I have two hernias and that I’m feeling terrible.  I’m scared, angry and really devastated.  This, of course, means that I’ve had real life friends and family reach out to me to help. To listen. To be there. 

Yet I just can’t open up. I gloss over, I make a joke, I change the subject.  If pushed, I will briefly say that I’m upset and unhappy but then I move on.  I just wonder why I’m like this when I can pour my heart out on this blog?  

I do speak to Timm. I am honest and allow him in.  We’ve talked all weekend about how I feel, how he feels, how he can help me.  He’s held me as I wept, listened to me rant and told me I’m a nobhead when I said that this wasn’t getting any easier and perhaps my life will now be filled with health complications so if he wanted to leave now, he could. 

I’ve got some wonderful friends and family, and it makes me sad that I struggle to reach out to them.  It’s not because of them, I love and trust them and know they want to help me.  I think there’s a big part of my personality that is a people pleaser, I want to make others happy and so I sometimes feel like I’m bringing others down if I tell them how I feel. 

I know this is cliched as hell but I think a big part of my issues go back to my father leaving and not giving a shit about me as a child.  I suppose I always worry that people will leave me, that I’m unlovable therefore I need to be as easy to be around as possible to make sure people stay. 

I do talk to friends, but I wish I could find it easier to open up and lay my feelings on the table. To ask for help and allow others to be there for me. It’s so important to talk to those closest to you, I say time and again in replies to messages I get, that we have to be open and let people in. Yet I’m probably not following that advice myself. 

And so I’m going to try and make an effort to speak out IRL (as the kids say… In Real Life for the oldies!) and not let the demons of my past affect my present and my future. 

Thank you for all the kind messages I’ve received in the past few days, you guys are awesome. 
Sam xx 

Please don’t stop inviting me

When you have a chronic illness, one of the things that cause guilt and stress is letting people down, I hate that I am sometimes so slack and have to say no to plans, often at the last minute.  To anyone I let down, I am sorry.

But please don’t stop inviting me…

I know it is frustrating when I call (or more likely do the cowardly text) at the last minute, I am sure you look down at your phone and roll your eyes and think ‘here we go again!’ I am sorry that I cancel on our plans, but I swear, in the cheesiest of lines, it’s not you, it’s me.

Whether it is last minute pain, fatigue or anxiety, whether it is physical or mental, I know that it can seem to you that I must not care.  I know that you may analyse my excuse and logically come up with an outcome where I could make it if I really wanted to.   I know that it makes you sad, or angry, or fed up.

But please don’t stop inviting me.

sam cleasby so bad ass IBD blogger and writer

I know you have been there for me and come to my events, my parties, my coffee breaks.  You make the effort to visit me and be an amazing friend.  You put yourself out and very rarely cancel and it must be so frustrating to have a friend who doesn’t return the favour.

It must be quite difficult having me as a friend, I don’t have a normal level of consistency in my life, it is one thing or another with my health and if it isn’t a physical thing, years of living with these issues have made me mad as a bag of frogs.

But please don’t stop inviting me.

I am sorry for that time I missed your child’s birthday party, I am sorry I didn’t come on your planned trek to the countryside, I am sorry I bailed on your last party, I am sorry I cancelled our brunch date, I apologise for saying I would definitely come to that yoga class with you then abandoning you to do it alone.

I feel terrible that I didn’t call you more regularly when my problems seem to fill my whole head space, it makes me sad to know that I am not the best friend in the world, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.

But please don’t stop inviting me.

I know I am sometimes slack and I cancel on you.  This illness of mine sometimes makes me selfish and clouds out everything else, but know this.  I may not be present, but you are always in my thoughts, I might miss your event but I love you dearly, I bailed on your party but I am loyal, caring and my friends mean everything to me.

Even when I don’t make it to your events, please know how much it means to be invited.  Your offers mean everything even if I know I can’t make it.  Thank you for making me feel normal, for not being put off by my illness, my cancelations, my issues.

Please don’t stop inviting me.

sam cleasby so bad ass IBD blogger and writer

It takes a very special person to be friends with someone with a chronic, life long illness.  You lose friends and family members along the way when you are ill, it is a time where you find out who is really there for you.  Some people can’t hack it, they walk away and don’t want to be part of your life because it isn’t all sweetness and light.  These fair-weather friends are only there for the good times, when the shit hits the bedpan, they are out of here!!!

But the people who stay are true gems, and I appreciate the friends and family who have stuck by my side throughout the terrible lows and been there to cheer for the amazing highs.

Thank you to my amazing friends.

Thank you for never stopping inviting me.


Sam xxx


I’m feeling pretty down today and it’s because I feel really disappointed. My mum said earlier something that struck me, “you throw yourself into things and people 100% and then you’re disappointed when others don’t do the same.”

I think she’s right and I think that’s my problem rather than other people’s. 

I am an enthusiastic person and I probably have too high expectations of others. I believe in people and then I feel let down when they aren’t what I thought.  

I get cancelled on a lot. And I do wonder whether it’s just coincidence or whether I’m doing something wrong? Am I over the top? Am I too open? I try and please a lot, I know that. I want people to like me and I feel sick to my stomach when I think someone doesn’t like me or when they walk away. 

A lot of it probably comes down to my dad leaving. I think I have abandonment issues, then in the past few months three close family members have decided they don’t want to be part of my life and that’s tough. 

I have been trying to arrange an event for Crohns and Colitis UK and have found myself overwhelmed with the work and lack of support.  Today we’ve had to cancel the event because we didn’t sell any where near enough tickets. I am absolutely gutted and feel I’ve let down the charity. But I also feel really disappointed that others didn’t really pull together to get it off the ground. 

This is probably unfair of me, again my expectations of others have led to my own disappointment. I have to take responsibility for this, no one else has the ability to make me feel disapointed, it’s my own ideals that have done it and I don’t have the right to put expectations on other people. 

I think I’m just feeling a bit sorry for myself, I know I am so lucky to have some wonderful friends and family and I think I need to focus more on the people who care about me than on those who don’t. 
Sam X 


It was 1995.  I was 14. I met him in Meadowhall, he called out to me and said I was beautiful.  I was flattered as he was older. If an older man thought I was attractive, then I must be pretty cool, right?

He caught my hand as I walked past him and his friends, pulling me towards him. I blushed and looked at the floor. He called me gorgeous and said all the things that men in movies say to women.

He asked for my number and I got flustered, I told him I was 14 and he couldn’t call my house as I’d get in bother with my mum and so he gave me his and told me to phone him.

I did phone him. That means I wanted it, doesn’t it? He said he was glad I called as he’d been thinking about me all day. I was flattered.

He asked me to his house, I asked if his mum would be in and he laughed and said he lived alone. He was 20, he said.  I told him again I was 14 and he laughed and said I was really mature. I felt proud.

I got dressed up. I wore a short skirt, a top and my denim jacket. I put on make up. I want to look pretty for my date.

I went to his house alone. I wasn’t dragged or threatened. I’m a stupid girl, aren’t I.  He had a room in a shared house and so we had to go to his bedroom. I thought we were going to talk.

He pushed me back on the bed, I panicked and tried to sit up.  He tells me that I’m gorgeous. He says I came for sex. I’ve never had sex before, I snogged a boy once.  I’m scared.  I try to act like a grown up in a film, I toss my hair over my shoulder and laugh. I say let’s take it slowly. Let’s go out.

He gets angry. He says I’ve led him on. What am I? A dick tease? He thought I was a proper woman, not a stupid little girl.  Why did I come there if it wasn’t for sex?

I’m scared. I start to cry and try to get off the bed but he pins me back. He says I’ll enjoy this. He is on top of me, pulling at his jeans as he pulls up my skirt. I freeze. I don’t fight.

Before anything else can happen, there’s a knock at his door, it opens and his housemate laughs and says he’s sorry to disturb us. I get up and run.

I run out of his room and down the stairs. I run out of the house and down the road. My chest hurts but I don’t stop running till I’m home.

I don’t tell anyone. I’m ashamed and blame myself.

I talked to a stranger. I phoned him. I wore a short skirt and lipstick. I went to his house. I went to his room. I didn’t fight.

I never knew I’d been sexually assaulted. Because I was taught that rape was a scary man in a mac who drags women off a street corner.  I always believed that I’d made a huge mistake, I blamed myself entirely.

It was only recently that I could actually accept that this man had deliberately used me as a young girl.  Isn’t that sad. I didn’t know.  I thought it was just a rubbish experience that I had put myself through.

I read about Adam Johnson and that he has been found guilty of sexual activity with a child and hear he will be imprisoned and I sigh, thankful that life is getting better.

Then I read the comments in the news and on social media.  That girl was asking for it. She got in his car because she wanted to. She was loving it. What was she wearing? What sort of girl is she? And I realise that we still live in a world where victims are blamed. Where children are used by adults yet we still look to the actions of the child.

Where thousands of girls in Rotherham were groomed and abused, brainwashed and hurt, yet society didn’t protect them because they weren’t women dragged off the street, screaming and fighting by a man in a dirty mac.

We need to open our eyes, see the many shades of assault, that it’s rarely black and white. That although no always means no, sometimes it’s too scary to utter that word because you’re frightened of what will happen.

For years, I carried this with me and always blamed myself for putting myself in that situation. I didn’t tell anyone as I was sure they’d say I was stupid.

Enough.  I wasn’t to blame. I was a child taken advantage of by an adult.

Let’s speak out and end the cycle.  Teach our children that they aren’t to blame and they can speak out.

No more silence.


If you need support, get in touch with The Survivors Trust.

Letter to my children

Hey bambinos,

It’s momma here, I thought I would pen you a note as you are all old enough to spend your days with your noses stuck to a phone/ipad/laptop and I know you sneak a peek at So Bad Ass from time to time.

Firstly (and always), mannnnn I love you guys so much.  Like, my heart swells and twists and pumps a little harder when I think about you.  You are my three proudest achievements, nothing I can do in my life will ever surpass the pride I feel when I know that a little bit of me and a little bit of dad managed to make these three human beings that are as mind blowingly awesome as you.

People talk about how I have coped with the past few years, all the surgeries, the hospital stays and the life changing additions and subtractions and I think they forget that you guys have been through it all too.  My heart breaks when I think about how my illness has hurt you all.  I am truly sorry that this has happened to us all, if I could have hidden it from you, I would.  I can never give you back the past few years and all the time we have lost with me in bed, I can’t replace the time you have spent visiting me in hospital, the hours that slipped away as I rest and heal and sleep.

sam cleasby family parent mother blogger

But I can thank you for it.  Bambinos, you are the best.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you for taking everything on board, for being accepting and loving and caring.

Thank you for asking hilariously awkward questions about my stoma and butt (never stop!)

Thank you for not being embarrassed of me (even when your friends saw a photo of me in my knickers on the internet)

Thank you for the endless cups of tea.

Thank you for the hugs.  Every one healed me a little faster.

Thank you for bringing your friends to see me in my sick bed at home and not being ashamed of me.

Thank you for giving up your free time to sit in bed with me watching terrible TV.

Thank you for making me laugh (even when it hurts my stitches) you three are the funniest human beings in the world.

Thank you for understanding.

Thank you for being you, you weird, bizarre, ridiculous, smart, funny, wonderful babies.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

I wish none of this had happened and that we could just be a normal, happy family, but I can’t change it and I just have to hope that we can gain some positive things from it all.  I know we are closer as a family, I know that your relationships with your dad have deepened so much and when I see you all together, it makes me smile.

I hope this situation has made you more open minded and accepting, I hope it has taught you patience and care and a knowledge to not judge a book by it’s cover.  I hope you are tougher for coming through the past few years and that you will learn to be more resilient, stronger and always try to find the silver lining in any situation.  (Even if that silver lining is a terrible joke, a meme about llamas or a memory of a good time).

It means so much to me that my bag doesn’t frighten or upset you, I know it was a shock in the early days, but I am so glad that you fully accept my ileostomy bag for what it is, a life saver.  After surgery, when you were all a little scared to come to close incase you hurt me, it shook me, I worried you would never want to hug me again, now I love the fact that you barely think about my bag and aren’t afraid to touch it, talk about it and even warm your hands on a very cold nighttime walk on it!! (Hahaha)

I want you to know that I am so proud of you all and the way that you have dealt with everything.  I know it was really scary that I had to go in to hospital again and it wasn’t nice to visit me and see all those tubes and wires everywhere, I know it was frightening when I wasn’t really with it because of all the medication.  You guys were awesome though, you made me laugh when you wore the sick bowls as hats and made me wear one too.  You brought me joy in those rubbish days when all I wanted was to be at home and every time I saw your faces, it reminded me to get strong quickly so I could get home to you all.

children and chronic illness ibd surgery

My bambinos, I know the past couple of months have been tough as hell.  Between my surgery and recovery, our bereavement, mine and dad’s work, your school life and the most stressful house move known to man (we’re nearly there, I promise!!!), it has been really hard and I know you have all been freaking out.  It makes me feel guilty to know you guys are stressed, I feel it is my job as a mum to protect you from stress, but unfortunately this is life and it’s a learning process for you to know that bad stuff happens, yup, even to good people.  But that’s ok.

You don’t appreciate the great times without lulls of crapness, we have had more than our fair share of crap times, I know.  But we also have something really special, we have us.  Our family is awesome, me, dad and you three flipping rock, we are just the best and we have to celebrate that.

Let’s hope that after a bad start to the year, 2016 will be beautiful.  I’m looking forward to our new home, to working in the allotment with you all, to parties and big dinners with the people we love, to your aunty, uncle and cousin visiting us from Australia, to a weekend in Manchester watching the Stone Roses, to visits to London, to galleries and exhibitions, walks in the park and cuddles on the sofa, to visits from nan and a house full of your friends, to hot tubs in the summer and ridiculous gatherings of our silly friends and especially to our family road trip to America!!

sam cleasby mum parent blogger

The thing I look forward to the most is seeing you lot grow and thrive, you are all getting so grown up and it is scary to think that you aren’t babies any more.  Two of you are teens and one will start secondary school this year!! You are all dealing with your own struggles, and bambinos, I know it is SO HARD! You are filled with hormones and emotion and are learning who you are as people, you are becoming the best young men and women that I have ever met.  Dad and I may be tough on you, we nag about work ethics and housework, manners and respect, it is only because we love you more than anything and we can see how close that horizon of adulthood is to you.  We can see it nearing day by day that in no time at all you will be leaving school, going to uni, travelling the world and leaving home.

But let’s not rush it eh? Let’s enjoy our time together because after all the s**t (yes, mum swore) we have been through, we deserve something good.

I love you bambinos


Mum x