allotment, Blog

Allotment Therapy

So I did it, I decided to write my first ever blog after posting an Instagram poll. It is something I have wanted to do but plucking up the courage is always difficult, so Instagram decided for me.

 Who is my little allotment? Hello I’m Kirsty, 28, wife, mummy of two daughters, and the owner of my little allotment plot 9A in Lincolnshire.

A lot of people have asked me why have I taken on an allotment or have passed comments about the fact that I have turned into an old lady and hit retirement early. So I can say that this is definitely now my hobby and it’s something I have always been interested in, but the Allotment came into my life at a point I needed it the most.

So this is the point where if you want to keep reading I hope you have your cuppa and biscuits at the ready. . .

In Jan 2016 I fell pregnant with my second daughter Mila and from the second the little lines appeared on that stick, she caused havoc! In my experience (everyone is different) but I had the worst pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience I could have ever expected. A mixture of going into premature labour, hyperemesis, possible ectopic, possible miscarriage, spending weeks in hospital, blood loss, emergency C-section, blood transfusion, Group b Strep, infections blah blah blah, the list could go on but you name it, it all seemed to happen. Pregnancy is a long slog anyway never mind when you are unwell and worrying about the safety of your baby. I can honestly say if I sat here and wrote a full on description of how it panned out step by step this blog would turn into a book so we will skip forward a little bit to when I finally made it home.

Both me and Mila got through it all and finally made it home safely. Once I was home and back to feeling like my ‘normal’ self again around 9 weeks postpartum, I was in good spirits and going about day to day life toddler and baby in tow, coping just fine. Then it all changed for me on March 6th 2017 definitely the worst day of my life. I honestly don’t really know how to describe it other than a breakdown of my mental health and I had no idea what was going on with me, or what had caused it, I just knew I wasn’t Kirsty anymore. I had become a person crippled with anxiety, panic, worry and sheer terror that something bad was about to happen to me, my husband and my daughters. I was 100 % sure in my mind that something awful was about to happen and that my family were all going to die, but I had no idea why? I spent the next two weeks confined to my bed, unable to eat, drink, sleep and communicate properly to my family. I was unable to look after myself and my daughters, so my husband took me to get medical help within the first days of it happening. I was suffering with major panic attacks every half an hour to an hour that left me unable to eat and drink at all and unable to fall to sleep. When I did finally fall asleep I would wake screaming, shouting, sweating and upset that during my sleep it was all nightmares about my pregnancy and birth. I was physically and mentally drained without moving from my bed, and the panic attacks were completely consuming me. Once we had finally been to see my GP who confirmed that I was having mental health problems, in relation to the birth of my daughter the advice was to see a counsellor for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) I knew that there would be a long wait with the NHS and at this point I was sat in the GP’s office feeling like I was scared that my mental health would deteriorate more, and that I might possibly start feeling as though I didn’t want to be here anymore. I still had a rational mind at this point and could understand that I was poorly and that I didn’t want to harm myself, but it made me fully aware how people can slip into such an awful place that they decide to end their lives. As a family we made a decision to see someone privately and within 4 days I had been for my first session of CBT, which confirmed that I was suffering with PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder surrounding the pregnancy and birth of my daughter Mila. I honestly at that point couldn’t understand why that was happening to me? I was completely convinced that this was something that only effected people who had been to war, so this is where I began to do some research into what PTSD is?

Has anyone forgot they are reading an allotment blog?

I didn’t understand PTSD so I spent a while reading books and researching articles into post-traumatic stress disorder, what it is and most importantly how the hell I could get better from it? Alongside spending hours reading up about it I was receiving Cognitive behavioural therapy with a counsellor as well as seeing my GP regularly. During the research the most common link I could find is that a lot of people who suffer with mental health problems or in particular PTSD use gardening and growing your own to help them improve their mental health.

About a month before the breakdown in my mental health had happened,  I had completed putting together a small veg patch in my garden. Growing your own food has always been something I was interested and I have many memories as a child being down at the allotment with my dad. The problem I had was the small raised beds I had in my veg patch were already full off seeds and waiting to grow, so what could I do next? This is when my husband mentioned to me about looking into getting my own allotment and honestly I didn’t think they still existed! The very next morning I contacted my local council, visited the plots, filed in the paperwork and was lucky enough to get the keys to plot 9A within a couple of weeks . Now I’m Kirsty, 28, proud owner of My Little Allotment!

I can safely say that since getting my allotment my mental health has improved massively and I think if my allotment hadn’t been part of my journey I would not be as well as I am today. I still have bad days and I am by no means fully better, but I am getting there step by step, seed by seed. There is something extremely therapeutic with gardening and growing your own. I don’t know if its being close to nature and being out in the fresh air, maybe its the reward of watching your vegetables grow from tiny seeds, or maybe its planting your favourite flowers and watching them bloom? Whatever it is, its addictive and I’m totally smitten with it! This is now not only been part of improving my mental health, it has become my hobby and my absolute passion.

I decided I wanted to be totally honest and open with my first blog post, I wanted to give everyone an insight into why I really started my allotment journey. I think it is massively important to speak out  about mental health but I can completely understand how hard it is for people to do. When this happened to me I was initially so embarrassed and scared to tell anyone, I thought my family and friends would disown me and that I would be left all alone (which is a common fear with PTSD) but the total opposite happened. I now feel more supported by my family and friends than I ever have and I feel that I’m starting to embrace this experience,  it’s made me a stronger person and has made me see a truer reflection of myself. If this didn’t happen to me I might never have even got my allotment, so I feel like somethings are supposed to happen for a reason. I hope that this blog post may reach out to people who are suffering with mental health problems, and if it means that one less person suffers because they decide to speak out I know I will have done the right thing by being honest.

You now have an insight into who owns my little allotment and why my journey began, but from here on out I promise the blogs will be more focused about growing your own and what I’m up to on the plot.

If there is anything in particular you want to know about me or about anything I have spoken about in this blog please contact me on here or direct message me on Instagram. Please also message me if there is anything you would like to see me write about on my blog, I look forward to hearing from you.

Next blog post- All about Plot 9A

Kirsty x

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29 thoughts on “Allotment Therapy”

  1. Loved reading this Hun – so sorry to hear you have been so poorly. Must have be hard to pull yourself through. I’m glad you’re feeling better – I’ve loved following your allotment journey. I’ll love it even more now I know the reason behind it. You’re very brave xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Kerri thank you so much ☺️ it’s been a tough time, things are heading in the right direction. So many wonderful supportive people around me. Glad you are enjoying it. I’m excited for next season 🌱 you will have to get the kids growing some bits in your garden 😁 xxx

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  2. Oh Kirsty, what a traumatic experience! I’m not a mother but I can’t bare to imagine what you’ve been through. I hope you see more of the brighter days now with the help of your allotment!

    Welcome to the WordPress club by the way 🙌🏻 I look forward to seeing your posts pop up on my reader ☺️ I didn’t realise we’re the same age! That’s pretty neat. I don’t feel like the only 28 year old pensioner now 😂

    Take care of yourself,
    Katrina

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Katrina!

      Thank you for reading my blog, its been a difficult time but I have my allotment to keep me occupied.

      yeah I’m trying to navigate my way around haha! Think I’m following you? yes were the same age and I’m from Nottingham too!!
      we can be old ladies together 😉

      speak soon 🙂
      Kirsty x

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  3. Ah I’m so glad you now have a blog! I was similar, I suffered with anxiety really bad about 2/3 years ago and was signed off work for a while, I struggled to do anything and eventually became house bound because I just couldn’t face going anywhere as I was too scared of having an attack. After about 1 month my step dad managed to take me to his allotment (for the first time) and i felt so peaceful being there, it suddenly became an addiction and the only way of me being outside without feeling panic. Fast forward 2/3 years and I have no travelled to New Zealand alone for 4 months and now own plot 7 in Nottingham and haven’t had an episode like that since I can remember! I honestly can’t express to people enough how much gardening helps with mental health and have now put so much effort into setting up a garden at our work place to help other people who maybe aren’t as open with their own issues as others! Welcome to the blogging world! Mine is my life , haven’t wrote in a while but is amazing for de stressing xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Danielle,

      thank you for reading my blog. it really is so scary isn’t it! I think its so hard to explain the feeling of anxiety and panic attacks. so glad you got down to an allotment and managed to find some peace. Oh wow that’s amazing to go from crippling anxiety to travelling alone! that’s amazing!
      Are you on Instagram with your allotment?
      will take a look at your blog 🙂

      Kirsty x

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  4. We don’t know each other but I feel so proud of you! I always tell that everything happens for a reason. Gardening is one of the best things in life. Even I didn’t have problems like you I feel better, stronger and happier everytime I work in my garden 😊 Hugs from Poland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helllo Anna,

      Thank you so much for reading my blog. oh I love how much pleasure a garden can bring to people it magical 🙂
      hugs from England
      Kirsty x

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  5. Kirsty, thanks for being bold enough to share your journey so far. By sharing you can be sure you’ve made a positive impact on somebody, somewhere and I hope on yourself too. I’ve experienced how gardening can have a therapeutic effect whether at the allotment or at home in the garden or looking after house plants. I look forward to stories from your plot as your IG blog is one of my faves and was part of the inspiration to start my own. Your musings over a cuppa in your shed might even prompt me to clean my shed out! Best wishes for your continued journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Lee, thank you for reading my blog I appreciate it.
      I really hope I have made a positive impact on someone! I have had so many nice messages its been lovely 🙂
      yes any form of gardening, house plants, allotment its all so therapeutic.
      am I following you on Instagram? its so hard to know names and Instagram names.
      haha get that shed cleared out and send me a picture 🙂 I was to see some tidy shelves haha!
      thank you so much!
      Kirsty x

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  6. Hi Kirsty, Motherhood can be a difficult hill to climb sometimes So good to hear you’re doing positive stuff with your allotment. I have loved following you on Instagram. You definitely have a talent for growing. If I didn’t have my time to do my running/fitness I know I would find life difficult. The secrecy is finding that thing that you love to do. Keep it up. Love the blog xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Miriam

      thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog 🙂

      it really can be a difficult task, but I’m getting there. the kids are running rings around me at the moment to be fair haha.

      oh yes its about finding something you love, having that time for ourselves to indulge in what we love.

      how is your ankle now?

      big hugs Kirsty x

      Like

  7. I’m so happy you’ve started your blog to post about your experiences. It sounds like what you’ve been through has been so very hard, and I’m really proud of you for putting it down and sharing it, because I absolutely think you’re helping others by doing so.

    Not only is your allotment an inspiration (those raised beds make me swoon) but you’re an inspiration too.

    It’s amazing how through sharing our gardening experiences we find so many people to share them with 🌱

    Can’t wait to read the next instalment 🧡

    Rach (thegoodlifeainteasy!) xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh hello ‘crazy chicken lady’ it ‘crazy allotment lady 😉

      Thank you for reading it, I really do hope it helps someone else. thank you for all of your kind words too!

      hoping to get over to your blog tonight and give it a read 🙂

      Kirsty xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kirsty thank you so much for posting this, I needed to read this. I’ve been suffering with post natal depression, I have started cbt now but started growing and my blog this summer to try to help me. It has been working, of course there are bad days, the last few weeks have been very hard and I’m so glad you have been brave enough to share your story. I’ve loved finding other gardeners on instagram to inspire me and help with the growing side of things. I look forward to reading more about your plot and journey.

    I know, from sharing my story, it has helped me, welcome to the blogging world!

    Big hugs

    Laura xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Laura

      How can I follow your blog?
      so we have spoke a few times now and never realised we were both suffering from similar problems! sorry to hear you have had a bad time, I had a big set back in October and I feel like I’m only getting over that recently so it can take a while to get back to where you was.

      cant wait to have a read of your blog 🙂 and of course following your polytunnel adventures on Instagram! cant wait to see what you grow.

      big hugs to you
      Kirsty xxx

      Like

    1. thank you so much harriet you beautiful lady 🙂

      thank you for reading my blog I really appreciate it and for all of your kind words xxx

      Like

  9. You have crawled through the hole of a needle. With your hands in the earth of your allotment, you have released all negative energy and recorded new positive energy.
    Kirsty, I love your comments and your pictures on Instagram and I wish you the best ! Continue like this !

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow what a powerful post & it certainly resignated with me in a lot of ways.
    Gardening certainly is good for the soul, there is just something about it that you can completely loose yourself in. I’m so happy you’re feeling better & I hope you can keep at it in the garden during winter, or at least have fun shopping for seeds!

    When I became pregnant last winter I was feeling utterly miserable & I made it my mission to build up a garden from the ground up…literally. At 28 weeks pregnant I was laying paving stones & at 33 weeks I was still out there in the summer heat (30+ degrees) laying down landscaping fabric & shovelling gravel 🤦🏼‍♀️ I know it was risky but at the time I was adamant to stay active & it was good for my mental health.
    I still have a long long way to go but this spring I can’t wait to get back out there building raised beds & planting with my son in tow.

    Keep up the amazing work! I love looking at your Instagram, what you have done is so inspiring & most importantly you look like you’re having lots of fun 👩🏻‍🌾

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As a mummy of three boys and a very traumatic birth of the third I can really understand where your coming from. I garden for me I have a little boy with asd and type 1 and the garden is my sanctuary. Look forward to your journey xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Kirsty,
    I have come to your blog via twitter, and have only just read this post. I just wanted to say how moving your story is, and I think it is amazing that you have started an allotment and blog with small children. My children are now in their early teens, and so gardening and blogging is easy, as they don’t demand much of my time. I’m grateful now, if they want to get involved!
    I too found gardening to be my therapy at the hardest time of my life (divorce and associated horrors). I am so glad you too have found this life-saver.
    I look forward to reading more, but just felt a need to comment on this post first.
    By the way, I too feel that look of pity from people who think gardening is for old people (I was 35 when I got hooked). Don’t you just wish they would discover the joy?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi this was great to read….more people need to speak out about mental health so help becomes more available well done.
    I am however sorry to hear you had to go through all that. I am a firm believer in garden therapy it feeds the soul in some way. Take care lovely

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kirsty,
      Lovely to read your blog. I feel so inspired every time I look at pictures of your allotment . My friend and I both have adult children with special needs mainly in the form of learning difficulties. We have an allotment that we all enjoy going to and for Jean and I it offers a huge amount of therapy. For the youngsters it has taught them so much and they are so proud of what they do. We take our packed lunches with us and enjoy the conversations with and advice of other allotment owners. We are gradually transforming the plot and have lots of plans. Can I ask you who designed the lovely water colour painting that comes up on your blog page? I love it and I am going to try and paint something to go with our plot.
      Best wishes
      Heather

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much Its great to hear from others in a similar situation. I painted the painting I try to dabble at bit when I get chance its another way of relaxing give it a go.
        Take care
        AJ

        Liked by 1 person

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