What Makes Me…


Porglet Maximus is working towards her first Brownie Badge. They’ve come a long way since my days in the Brownies (the uniforms are NICE for a start!). She hasn’t picked something easy – oh no – she’s going for her Science Investigator Badge!

I'm A Brownie

I’m A Brownie (Photo credit: Joybot)

I’ve spent quite some time with her over the past two weeks, performing experiments with magnetised needles, balloon powered cars and home-made pinhole viewers that wouldn’t look out of place on Blue Peter!

Now we’re into the learning phase. She has to learn how to navigate during the day using a map, and at night using the stars. I can see the night navigation taking a while, seeing as summer is approaching and it’s still daylight when she goes to bed!

Lego DNA

Lego DNA (Photo credit: mknowles)

But what she also has to learn is “What makes me, me?”. I got her a book from the library and she’s been suitably interested in such facts as: we make 2 million new blood cells every second; we contain such varied ingredients as carbon, sulphur, iodine and magnesium; and we have around 5 million hairs. We plan on putting together all this information into a PowerPoint presentation and then she’ll be all ready for her badge test.

It got me thinking, working with her on how to present all this information, that we sometimes miss out the fun stuff. The totally unique stuff. The stuff that makes her Porglet Maximus and not anybody else.

It got me thinking about all the things that make me, ME. And I’m not just talking mental health labels. I’m not just “someone with BPD” and “someone who hates driving in cities”.


Chocolates (Photo credit: J. Paxon Reyes)

I’m a wannabe knitter. I like taking photographs, even though I’m not very good. I sing; constantly. I like doing Sudoku. I write. I keep on writing even when nobody wants to publish my books. I’m a part-time Mum doing a fantastic job (a weekend away with the girls in a caravan just showed me how great they’re doing). I’m a chocoholic (that’s never going to change).  I’m sarcastic. I’m organised, but only up to a healthy point. I’m prepared to lead a music class when I don’t feel prepared. I’m a grower of cress in pots for my kids’ school projects. I’m independent. I do a “happy clappy” dance when I’m excited about something.


Unique (Photo credit: Ahmed Rabea)

I always remember dance steps (apart from when I forget them). I’m able to cook for 5 people using 3 saucepans and no oven in a caravan. I’m able to let my children take Mad Mutt for a walk at a strange caravan site and not panic when they take longer than expected (OK; Lovely Boyfriend and I started to get a little concerned, but then spotted them having a whale of a time and left them to it). I care. I cry. I love. I try not to hate.

So many things make me, me. So many things make you, you. Even if you can’t see them right now for the depression/anxiety/drink/drugs/paranoia/whatever. Your illness doesn’t define you. If you were split open, you wouldn’t have “mentally unwell” written through your core like a stick of rock. I know it’s hard, but try to remember all the wonderful, unique things that make you, YOU.

Rock Rock Not Arf

Rock Rock Not Arf (Photo credit: James Cridland)


2 thoughts on “What Makes Me…

  1. This reminds me of my late husband, who after he had a bad health diagnosis which eventually took his life, said, “I have this disease, but I am not this disease. It does not define me. It is not the whole of who I am.” I used that analogy with my daughter when she was wrestling through some very dark days.

    How awful it would be to reduce the memory of my husband to a mere diagnosis or disease. It’s the same with mental health as with physical. It’s one piece of a very large puzzle.

    Lovely post. 🙂


    • Thank you for sharing, Monica. It’s so easy to reduce people to labels in our minds. Friends become “the horsey one”, “the Vet”, “the one who likes singing”. Labels like that can be harmless enough, but where does it stop? this is where you start getting into the dodgy territory of “my Asian friend” or “the kid with red hair” and then the slippery slope of “the kid with leukemia” and “the woman with bipolar”. I might label my friends and family for the purposes of this blog, but I make an effort to see the whole person in real life, just the way I hope they see me.

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