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