My Not So Secret Diary

Growing Up

Growing Up on holiday in Spain with my family and writing on my blog My Not So Secret Diary, by Claire Hatwell
Our four kids mean the world to me, but as they get older, I find it hard to know where the line is. We’ve always been close and I want to stay that way, but of course they’re finding their own paths, and they don’t always want to share it with me.

I don’t expect them to tell me everything but it’s nice to feel involved a little. At the moment I seem to be putting my foot in it more and more often, saying the wrong thing or choosing my time badly. I do it with all of the teenagers, but especially with one in particular. I feel like I’m pushing him away and it’s the last thing I want to do.

It’s weird, because I don’t think I’m judgemental or pushy. I’m just interested and want them to know that. I’ve never told them not to go anywhere or do anything and yet it’s like my eldest just wants to keep it to himself. It’s hard not to be involved and yet I understand his need for freedom. He works hard and so he should be able to go out and enjoy himself. It’s good for him to let off steam. I suppose it’s hard for him too. I don’t know any of his friends now, and I don’t want to embarrass him, and I don’t want him (or them) to think I’m judging them, so I’m careful about the comments I make. In fact, I’m careful not to say anything if it’s too sweeping, or could be seen as offensive or ‘labelling’. That in itself seems to annoy him too and that’s a shame because it only comes from a good place, because I care about him.

When I was his age, I was married with a little one on the way, so I try to remind myself that, as he should be allowed the same freedom as I had. I just liked being a friend I suppose, as well as his mum, and I miss him sometimes. Even though he still lives with us, I don’t see him that much. Lockdown was nice in some respects because it meant that I had all the kids at home with me. I know I can’t keep them forever but sometimes it would be nice to freeze time for a little bit. They grow so fast and they won’t need me for much longer.

Last weekend we saw Lee’s mum and dad for the first time out of work since before the lockdown. We stayed in the garden and socially distanced of course, but I watched them talk to the kids I saw that it’s the same for them, and for my parents. Once we’d been young and the centre of our parents world and now, while we’re still important, we aren’t as dependent as we once were. Things move on and people grow. We can’t stay the same forever, so I’ll try to let them go as they grow, and hope that one day, they’ll come back to me.

Much love,
Claire x



Some Positive Thoughts 💖

mind is a garden

In The Beginning

In the Beginning, sobriety and recovery blog, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
I didn’t write in the beginning. I wanted to, and I had so many ideas, so many thoughts and feelings but I just couldn’t bring myself to put pen to paper. Whatever I wrote, I felt was too much. Nothing made sense to me, from the way I felt to the way I reacted to things. Without wine in my life everything felt different. I didn’t like to write anything down, even when I wanted to, because I was scared it would make it more real, or worse, that someone would read it. I felt terrible about myself already and I was scared that if I admitted my honest thoughts, that it would be too much.

I wasn’t sure of anything for a long time after I stopped drinking. I felt nervous and shaky all the time. It was exhausting. My anxiety had hit an all time high and I was always on edge. I felt panicky at the best of times. The tiniest thing would set me off. I’d stopped going out much and when I did, I went by myself because it was easier than explaining my worries to anyone else. If I panicked I could run away home without having to tell anyone else. I worried that people were looking at me, talking about me or judging me. I was terrified of getting things wrong or looking like a fool. I knew my worries were out of proportion, but knowing that didn’t make them go away.

I know now that for me my mental health and my addiction to alcohol are completely intertwined. They’ve both been there a long time, each masking the other and making it far harder to really notice and to deal with. Using one to cover and cope with the other just made them both worse.

My anxiety was so bad that it had affected my self-confidence and the way I felt about myself. I was on edge all the time, except if I was drinking. So it was hard to see how it would be without wine and I couldn’t imagine life without it. I didn’t eat much towards the end. I could feel my tummy bubbling with nerves all the time, and I got more and more anxious about ‘normal’ things. The more anxious I got, the worse my nerves were. It was difficult to make myself do anything that I really couldn’t get out of. It was so hard to go out or to see anyone, to push myself out of my comfort zone. So I didn’t.

When I look back now, I feel like I’ve lost time. There are moments that are gone forever because I would rather have had a drink or because I was lost in my worries. I can’t get those times back, but having had them, I know I’d rather do anything than go back to where I was. I found the times so hard that I didn’t write. Looking back now I do sort of wish I had, but I don’t think it would have been very pleasant reading.

Recovery is hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It might not happen on the first go, or the second, but when it does, when you stay sober, you’ll realise how worthwhile that battle is. Stick with it if you can, and be kind to yourselves.

Take care.
Claire x


The Early Days

Covid Drinking Rises

Covid Drinking Rises in lockdown in the UK, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
This is an eye opener!

Almost half of those in the UK are drinking more due to the covid 19 pandemic.
I wish alcohol wasn’t seen as such a coping mechanism. Coming to rely on it really opens another can of worms in the long run!

All Lives Matter

All Lives Matter #blackouttuesday #justiceforgeorge something needs to change. My Not So Secret Diary blog by Claire Hatwell
I doubt there is a person in the world who hasn’t heard of the tragic passing of George Floyd. It is so terribly sad and I can’t believe we live in a world where such a thing could happen. I don’t know the full extent of the story, but truth be told, I’m not sure that anyone will know the truth except for those that were actually there at the time. From my understanding when Mr Floyd tried to buy something it was noticed that the money he was using was counterfeit. Did he know that? I’ve been given money once or twice that wasn’t real. If he didn’t know then this is an even worse injustice.

There are so many ifs and buts about the whole thing, and it makes me so sad to think about it. Did Mr Floyd do anything wrong intentionally? People are surely allowed to make mistakes? Did he resist arrest? From the sound of it, there is security footage to show that he didn’t. What about the fact that four men restrained him, even continuing after he became unresponsive. Was that really necessary? What if the police officers had been black? Or George white? Would the outcry be the same then? Given the amount concerned was $20, is the response that the poor man had even remotely justified? I don’t see how it can be right.

Wherever we look there is inequality in the world around us, and I just don’t understand it. The message of the day seems to be to turn the internet black with the hashtag #blackouttuesday, showing that black lives matter, and while I agree, I really think we should be remembering that all lives matter. No one should hold any more value than any one else, regardless of their colour, gender, race, sexual orientation or background. The fact that some are more privileged by something out of their control doesn’t sit well with me, and I don’t understand why it would be. We are all people after all.

I don’t think anyone really escapes prejudice. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, it could be you are a woman, or an ethnic minority, or have a disability, are overweight or underweight, or maybe a teenage mum like I was. There are plenty of people who will jump in and try to align you with others like you, even when you aren’t like them. We should see and be seen as individuals, the unique, amazing and interesting people we all are in some way or another.

The only problem I have is when someone tries to force their ideas or beliefs on to me. I’m generally curious of what and why and how people think and of why they do the things they do, and as long as it isn’t pushed on to me and doesn’t affect the way I live, I am happy for them to carry on. I think personally that diversity makes the world the colourful and interesting place it is. If we were all the same wouldn’t it just be boring?

I do feel that the tides have changed in some ways though. There are some who look for injustice where there is none, to get attention or cause a problem, maybe sometimes to incite acts of violence. But where does that violence get us? Surely when innocent people get caught in the crossfire, instead of making our point, we are instead just as bad as the ones who caused the problem in the first place?

It’s important to remember that, otherwise in all our attempts to make things fair instead we alienate other groups. It’s almost impossible for things to be balanced when those in power aren’t open minded, and I am pleased that Twitter has resorted to removing inappropriate comments, that do nothing but escalate the situation. We should all be working towards a fairer society for everyone.

Equality for all, fairness for all, justice for all. We all matter.

Much love to you all.
Claire x



Unloading my thoughts for mental health and sobriety me with my son during lockdown writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
Isn’t it funny how times change? At the beginning of the year we would never have dreamed that there would be a worldwide pandemic, that the majority of the world would be under lockdown and people would hardly leave their homes for months.

I had so many good intentions going into lockdown. I was really going to make the most of the time. I’d decided I’d run every morning, that I’d beat all my fitness targets and even Katie was keen to do some sort of fitness each day but to be honest, as time has gone on, we’ve gone out less and less. It’s hard to get motivated and safer to stay in. I don’t know where the time has gone.

The problem is, that I find it harder and harder to go out now. I’m not sure what it’ll be like when it’s time to go back to work properly! It’s just safe at home and I don’t just mean safe from the virus, I mean safe in my head. It’s easy not to push yourself and I guess at the moment, it’s easier to stay in. At least it is for me.

I’ve always found it hard to change my plans to cope with things being thrown at me unexpectedly. It’s a coping strategy but sometimes it probably doesn’t help. Lee calls me a creature of habit, but I know sometimes I can be a bit extreme. The other day was a prime example. After work I decided that the next day we’d go for a walk at a beach as we’re allowed a little further now. The weather was so nice and hot that I assumed it would be the following day, and it wasn’t. I suppose I romanticised the idea of the beach, going in the sea, being in the sun, and when the weather didn’t match up to that, it kind of ruined it. Instead of being fun like it was supposed to be, going out just felt like another thing to do. Then I received an email about something I needed to do for work by the next day and that just added to it. Putting on top of that all the things around the house that I feel need to be done, and the little three year old following me around because he won’t let me out of his sight in case I disappear and go to work again like I did the day before… it’s all a bit busy.

Sometimes my head feels full and it is really hard to think straight. It’s like I have so much much to think about that I can’t see the wood for the trees. It makes me feel so muddled that I don’t know where to start, and then I end up going around in circles and don’t really finish anything properly. The only thing that I find that helps me unload a little is to write everything down. It doesn’t get anything done but by having a list, or several post it notes, like I often have on my desk, gives me something visual to work through and to knock down. Seeing the list helps me notice what I have done, rather than just what I have to do, and it helps, although I’ll be honest having a busy brain is tiring.

Logically nothing is that bad or that demanding, I just feel it more sometimes, and it can be one extra thing that sends me spinning. Some days are harder than others with my anxiety and it can be the most stupid thing that upsets the balance. You’d think that at the moment with the removal of pressure for so many things due to the lockdown that I would be better. Some days I am, but I think structure helps me out a fair bit. The lack of it gives me more reason to worry, partly because I am out of routine. I find myself doing the same things, and I sometimes wonder what the point is, but without these little things, where would we be? At least, by writing myself notes, I make myself slow down, I keep myself focused for a minute and that helps calm me. I suppose, that’s another reason why writing helps!

While I’m enjoying having less demands on me, and on the kids, and being able to enjoy a slower pace of life, in some ways I think it’ll be nice when things get back to normal a little more. Routines help me keep things running smoothly. Is anyone else a creature of habit like me?

Take care.
Claire x