Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival is a place like no other, sunny or muddy!  I heard people talk of ‘the magic of Glastonbury’ but only understood this when I got there. I first took Ellen to Glastonbury Festival on 23 June 2010. It was her 16th birthday, the last day of her GCSE’S. We had the best time! A magical week, a game changer. She was excited beyond belief! 

What we expected but we got sunshine!

I remember wanting to go there when I was pregnant with Ellen. The Levellers played that year who were to become one of Ellen’s favourite bands. I lived in Saltaire and was good friends with my lovely neighbour Kirsten one door down. She went and when she returned home my beautiful summer solstice baby had been born. I always called her that because of the date she was due. In fact she was two days late. My amazing girl. I remember the full moon shining as I drove myself to hospital in labour (yes I actually did and laughed to myself about the scenario of getting stopped by the police for speeding……). 

In 2011 we dragged Roger there with great excitement. The fear on his face was  intense! A festival? Are you crazy? Apparently not because he got the bug, who can resist a magical few days in some fields. Anything goes. It is amazing! There is something for everyone and I would be super surprised at anyone going there who came back hating it. We took a Barbie doll armed with a chainsaw in protest of Mattel destroying the rainforests for their packaging. We put it on a giant chair and watched the reactions from people. It made them think and it was fun! Eventually a little girl could cope no more about leaving it there and she walked away with the doll. This made us all smile, she could have been Ellen a few years back from then. For Ellen’s 17‘th birthday she couldn’t believe that we brought wrapped up presents, fresh food and even a birthday cake to a festival in a field. She was in her hippy heaven.

The family! Together at Glastonbury!
She made the BBC footage! ‘Sat on some randommer’s shoulders who was wearing fake breasts’ to quote Ellen exactly……
Chainsaw Barbie!

in 2013 we went again. Ellen was 30 weeks pregnant. She coped with sleeping in a tent and all that came with a festival. The Rolling Stones played and I got her safely back to our tents before the huge surge of the crowd. She insisted that her lovely baby bump was painted with face paints and she sang and danced her way around the festival as if she had come home. She bought her baby boy gifts for her favourite place and she was happy. She even came back to camp with us and gave the ‘Shangrila’ a miss.  Her friend on the other hand partied through the night and we laughed about how our ‘Wild Child’ was now going full circle on the child / parent thing and calling us party animals. 

Ellen and Rog, her amazing parent!

Glastonbury festival would be starting this Thursday the 25th June. This is three years since we lost Ellen. Strangely when we think about the Glastonbury moments we shared with her it does not provoke sadness. We will never go to Glastonbury with Ellen again but I will always remember our times there with so much happiness. The connection is strong because we had those amazing times there. 

A Very pregnant Ellen amused by the cafe name!

Three long years. Every day is a new day and I fill it with the hope that it will be ok. Sometimes the days are hard. So difficult. Losing your child to suicide is suffocating, crushing, devastating. So much pain.

People try to help by saying something kind and that is always appreciated but …. ‘Time. Does. Not. Heal!’ The pain stays the same. I am trapped on a treadmill of the same feelings every day despite the face that I put on a smile most days and summon all my strength to ‘get on with things’. 

‘Please do not be surprised that I have not taken my own life too!’. The people I have around me have been the best. Many of them are Ellen’s friends and I owe so much to them for the way they looked after Ellen and supported her through her darkest times. They have been there for me too and I am so grateful. They have also come together and helped each other. Such beautiful caring lovely humans. 

‘Don’t call me strong!’.  I had no choice. I was dealt a blow that I  never wanted. I want her back every moment of every day. As time goes on it feels as though there is an expectation to ‘get on with things’. To ‘move forward’. Ellen wrote a blog and I truly now understand what she wrote when she said “The most difficult thing about the situation is the pressure to now be well. It could be perceived as a positive thing but also terrifying negative”. I want to be well but the pressure can be huge because people hope that you will feel better. You can function, you can even laugh and smile but the pain refuses to leave.

Glastonbury Festival isn’t happening this year because of Covid-19. There will be so much about it on the tv and radio over the weekend so we will watch Or listen to that instead and be grateful that we can celebrate Ellen at the same time. We will remember with love the magical moments we spent there with our girl and stay up late drinking wine, being wild and dancing. She would expect us to! 

Ellen was not pleased, scared of trolls and pineapples!
A beautiful day!

Ellen’s 26th Birthday is tomorrow and we will celebrate it for her. My amazing sparkly  beautiful girl. I still love her with all my heart. I am excited for the future of her beautiful child who I also adore. We are with him every step of the way and will make sure he knows everything about his amazing mummy. Maybe one day we will share with him the magic of Glastonbury Festival………

Ellen’s Mum. XXX

Mother’s Day (UK)

It is Mother’s Day in the UK today. A day when we celebrate our Mums and our children celebrate us As their mothers. Our gorgeous girl is not here with us but I am sure she is here in spirit, especially for her beautiful boy.

When we moved all her things from her house we didn’t want to dig up her apple tree for fear of harming it. Instead we collected a few apples that had fallen from it and planted their seeds. One of them grew and the other day it sprouted it’s ‘grown up leaves’! I see this as a gift from Ellen, a beautiful thing. Who knows what she would have said this Mother’s Day or what gift she would have brought? I have my little baby apple tree and it is a blessing.

Corona virus is spreading and we are all trying to keep each other safe. It is very hard to see the positives sometimes when we are nailed further and further down because of it but those positives are still there. I spoke to my Mum today; I couldn’t see her but I left her a present and a card where she could collect it. I spoke with my Son and my gorgeous Grandson and am hoping to talk to my other Grandson this evening (My daughter’s ‘cub’). I feel blessed.

My daughter is gone physically but I will always be her mum. She will always be my special girl. A gift to her today was some beautiful roses. I gave her these on behalf of my grandson.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mum’s out there. Never past ~ always present. My family has changed beyond recognition and yours may have too. Your Mum might not be here anymore in person like my daughter but celebrate her still as best you can in these difficult times.

Sending love. Try to be positive as best you can. Let people help you. Stay safe.

3 generations ……..

Coronavirus

There’s no escaping the fact that this is happening around the world. The corona virus is here for a while longer. It is scaring us by changing our daily routines and altering our lives beyond what we have grown to be comfortable with. We are understandably anxious; things seem out of control and maybe our first instinct is to feel helpless, there is nothing we can do.

WRONG!!! We can do something, we can listen to the advice we are given, we can respond in positive ways, we can still help people and we can let people help us. We can still talk (Very important). We are lucky to have devices and social media to enable us to do this. We can still appreciate the small things just as our gorgeous girl always tried to do when she was going through bad times. When it seems like the virus is winning Mother Earth is healing. We are gathering strength within ourselves to survive, as is She. There are positives everywhere. You just sometimes have to look hard for them.

“In these undeniably scary times, I see beauty in the most profound places. Small acts of kindness and the strength of quality time with lovers can bring me to tears”. ~ https://emeraldcountess.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/struggle/

………… Ellen could see these positives and it shows through her amazing blog. Despite all the rotten cards that were dealt to her she learned to find a way through by looking for the good. She is still helping people just by having lived. Her writing lives on and we will carry on learning from her. We will get through this together. Take care of each other and look out for the most vulnerable. This means not just doing their shopping and checking in but going all out to stop this horrible virus spreading. Take care of yourself and if it helps to indulge in something then do ….. these are trying times….

Oh and I am only supposing but I think I may be correct in guessing that this is what she would be saying…….. “Fuck you Coronavirus”!

……. Ellen’s Mum

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. The campaign for 2020 is #EachforEqual and is about creating a gender equal world. “International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.“ – source http://www.internationalwomensday.com

We lost our beautiful Ellen to suicide in June 2017 at the age of 23. She had been fighting a battle in her mind for a long time. She was an amazing daughter, mother and friend to so many. Ellen believed so strongly in empowering women and equality for all whatever their gender. She had so much more to do………

I was and still am proud of my daughter. She is still teaching us through her writing. Such a wise young lady. On International Women’s Day we are especially remembering her and the powerful message she was sending us.

Ellen’s blog is http://www.ellenscott.co.uk – keep on reading it and listening to her.

#IWD2020 #EachforEqual

A poem about Mental Health

This is a photo of and a poem written by Abby Townson after the very sad death of Caroline Flack, a TV presenter in the UK. Abby is a relative of our lovely Ellen to whom this page is dedicated to. Sing this, rap this, say this, share this…..

Mental Health Awareness Poem

I can seem cool and calm and collected to your face

But I can’t face today

I can seem happy and I can seem great, but I don’t feel the love, I just feel the hate.

And I’m lonely today

Whenever I feel like I can’t speak my mind, in a world full of hatred, in a world full of crime- just say that you’ll hug me and always be kind..

Don’t wanna be a burden but I gotta speak out, gotta speak before it’s too late and I can’t find a way out…

You see it in the papers, you see it in the news
But what you really gotta know is that they don’t have a clue…

Cause when I open up about my feelings, I get told I’m too much

Too much for someone is enough for someone else…

If I don’t speak now, I won’t know how.
We gotta stick together in this world right now

Keep yourself surrounded by the ones who really care, the people who reach out and the ones who are there..

If you really feel like you can’t go on, like you ain’t got no-one…

Just know that the one is yourself and I need you to see, my star will shine so bright and we’ll put this world right…

They’ll see us in the papers, they’ll see us in the news..the ones who broke free from the rhythm of the blues..

This world’s gotta change, gotta change right now

A little bit of heaven got itself an angel, this angel lost her wings
But she’ll always be the one, the one who shone so brightly for everyone to see, the one who couldn’t help it, she really couldn’t be..

Think before you act and always be mindful of the people you can hurt
Those words can’t be erased from the mind of someone in pain

Tomorrow isn’t promised, so tell that one you love them..
This battle isn’t over, this battle is not done

By Abigail Townson

Abby Townson

It’s a wonderful life!

Christmas Day will mark 2 ½ years since we lost our beautiful girl. We had her for 23 years and we are grateful for that. Her life was longer than some and shorter than most but she filled those years with so much life, love and laughter. Ellen would come crashing into the house and whatever you were doing would be taken over by a new idea, a plan, a story. Always something new and exciting. She was such a shining light beaming brightly in all the people whose lives she touched.

Last weekend we watched the movie directed by Frank Capra ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. I have seen it before but this time I paid it more attention that usual. It tells the story of someone who is about to take their own life and of an Angel (Clarence) who is sent to save him by showing him the difference he made by having existed.

Ellen maybe didn’t realise the impact she made on people and the difference she made in their lives. I really wish she could have realised this in the moment that she chose to leave. I wish her angel had shown her what she had already done and what the world would look like if she had never existed. She had so much more to give. I wish she had waited for the morning…… there is new hope with every sunrise.

Whilst I always knew how brilliant my daughter was the last 2 ½ years have shown me just how brightly she really shone. She gave people confidence, hope, joy and always kindness. So many people have contacted me and shared their stories of how much of a difference Ellen made to their lives. Some have dedicated business ideas to her, some have told me that the direction of their lives changed beyond recognition from the path they thought they were going to follow before they spent time with her. This makes me so proud of my girl. I will never stop being proud of her and all that she did in those 23 years.

We all have a wonderful life and we all make a difference. Whatever you think about yourself there will always be someone somewhere to whom you have made a positive difference. I wish more than anything that my daughter was still here but she lives on in all the people whose lives she changed just by being here.

Reach out to someone you think may be struggling. It can be so hard to make that call. When you are in a dark place it can be so hard to reach out. …..

Problems can be solved. They are temporary. You are needed here! If you need help over the Christmas period reach out. Make a phone call, talk to a friend or a stranger.

Keep on going with your wonderful life!

We leave you tonight with one of Ellen’s favourite Christmas songs …….. Apologies in advance…….!

Anna … Ellen’s mum x

World Suicide Prevention Day

The photographs we are sharing with you today are of our beautiful girl Ellen. She took her own life on 25th June 2017, two days after her 23rd birthday.

There is always a sequence of events that lead to someone taking their own life and Ellen’s story was a rollercoaster one. She had been let down, manipulated, abused, used, even her mental health problems after all this were used against her in the most heartbreaking way. She was frightened but hopeful, sad but happy and living life to the max.

Ellen tells her own story about her struggles on http://www.ellenscott.co.uk

Nobody can blame Ellen for what she did that night. When someone dies this way they can see no other option. They do not want to die, they just want all the pain to stop. This is not selfish. If you had a headache you would take tablets to make it go away. Physical pain can be unbearable and so can mental pain so how do you make the mental pain go away? You might dive into bad habits like food or alcohol or too much of anything or drugs. You might then be labelled further – overweight, anorexic, alcoholic, obsessed with exercise or ‘druggie’. You almost can’t win. BUT!!! ‘There is help out there’!

From my own personal experience after losing my daughter this help is hard to find if you are looking for it through a ‘services’ route. I was offered antidepressants which I took for a while then stopped. These do have their place and they do work for some but they were not for me. You have to refer yourself for counselling then a person on the phone tells you there will be a long wait…… of months…….! This is terrible. There is no real assessment of what kind of counselling, just an assumption by the faceless person on the end of the phone. When we embarked on the making of the calendar and raising money for the charity ‘Mind’ in the forefront of our minds was how we felt the ‘system’ had not been enough to help our girl. ‘Mind’ in the UK are a charity that campaign for better services in Mental Health. They also work locally with people and you can reach out to them if you are struggling. I believe what they do is fulfill a shortfall in our health services (in the UK). This should not be the case – Mental health is so important. It affects our whole life, our perspective on life, our quality of life just as a physical illness does.

I believe that there would be less people taking their own lives if there were more access to better services. There is also still a stigma that people feel when asking for help. The phrase ‘stay strong’ may put an extra pressure on someone going through a tough time to be strong when they do not feel it. Or how about ‘Man up’? This is one of the most destructive phrases of modern culture.

There are also ‘danger places’. Hotels should be vigilant. If a phone rings they should always answer it or at the very least take a message. There should always be someone on hand to see that their guests are safe. It is their duty of care.

It is not the services available that have got us through the last two years, it is the people. There are people I have never even met who have been so kind and supportive. Our friends are brilliant but so are our strangers who become friends.

Wherever you are look out for each other, say hi to people, smile at them, help them. Those little gestures may change the course of their day. Let’s all do our bit for preventing suicide and alongside that keep campaigning for better services.

Anna Scott – Ellen’s Mum

These photos of Ellen are the ‘face of depression’.

I’m lucky to have got to the stage I’m at. I found acceptance through help, appreciation of beauty through the world around and meeting my soul mates. I’m teaching my mind to understand and control itself. Today has been a difficult day. I still thrive on them by creating, learning and dreaming. I can control it by taking each hour as it comes. It’s okay to not be able to get up – just try and have a shower, feel the soap lather your skin, wash the bad feeling away, lose yourself in the steam. If you can’t bare to see anyone, send a single text. When it is completely impossible to create, browse ideas. Let your mind wander. Take the first step. It’s always easier said than done but that one tiny everyday task can make your day a success.

Ellen Scott 3/3/17 ‘Difficult Days
Our beautiful Ellen

Fear and Bliss.

Love love love

Fascinating Occasions 🌙

12th October

‘Are you scared Mummy?’

His question stopped me in my tracks. A peculiar sentence to leave my three year old’s lips. He’s stopped playing and stares into my eyes. I tread carefully not to upset him.

‘Yes.. but it’s okay to be frightened.’

‘Why?’

‘Because all the bravest people are.’

It troubles me when people suggest he’s clueless to these changes. He may not fully understand but he’s intelligent. This ongoing feud has affected him in different ways and it breaks my heart that I can’t protect him. He craves control, plays people off against each other, packs a bag everywhere he goes and panics when I leave the room. If anything it makes me more determined to succeed. I am blessed and I have blossomed in ways I could not have imagined.

Becoming a Mother changed my fears. My earlier escapism through recklessness didn’t mean I wasn’t…

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25

We have always made a big thing of birthdays. Always a birthday cake with candles, always a big fuss and usually a birthday meal together. Ellen’s birthday parties were always huge events…… The LUAU party….. limbo dancing, palm trees, grass skirts and flower garlands. The KARAOKE party, The FAIRY party…… Moving on to 19 years old the indoor festival … ‘Please can I have a fantasy fairy forest’? We did it together with carpet roll tubes and ply wood, MDF and paper mache, rolls and rolls of organza fabric and a sprinkle of glitter. Often from a very young age it was a joint party with Caroline her lovely friend as your birthdays are a week apart. The 21st birthday party was legendary….. ‘Please can we have a MASQUERADE BALL’? There was a LOT of planning for this one including a meeting at a cafe in Saltaire. I had to remove little Noah from said meeting because of boredom issues but I did teach him to roar like a lion so all was not lost. There were cakes and all manner of food for the feast (Largely due to Mary, Caroline’s mum), magical touches made to the room, live music and a fabulous DJ. The perfect evening.

Today is our beautiful girl’s 25th birthday. Ellen was due on the Summer Solstice in the summer of 1994 but she was fashionably late and born on the 23 June. I can remember the fabulous full moon in all its glory as I drove myself to the hospital in the early hours of the morning. My magical little (summer solstice) moon baby.

I often wonder what you would be doing now. Where would you have travelled to over the last two years? What would your wedding have been like? Would you have been wearing one of those magical Rawrags dresses that I showed you that you loved so much? We would have planned your wedding together – huge plans involving lots of making, glitter (of course) and lots of nature. Roger and I would have been so proud as we ‘gave you away’ to one of the nicest people we know. I do also imagine the horror of you finding out that glitter is actually plastic and bad for the environment….

The last time we saw our daughter alive was on her 23rd birthday. I took her for lunch and bought her some plants. I noticed this week that the rose she chose was flowering a perfect orange and yellow flower. Noah and I made a red velvet cake (Betty Crocker of course) and we sang Happy Birthday. Noah delighted in helping to blow out the candles with his Mummy. We left Ellen at home happy and contented with her lovely little family – Her, Mikey and Noah. All was well……

All was well? It seemed that way. Ellen was much much better having survived the traumas that the previous few years had inflicted on her. She was succeeding at university with one more year to go. She had created balance in her life and had a bright future. Depression is a demon though. It lives inside you. It is not all tears and staying in bed. It lies behind that beaming smile and can eat at you from the inside. ‘You are strong’ ‘You are doing so well’ …….. Everything can seem so normal and ordinary and safe on the surface but underneath you can be fighting a war inside your mind. Overthinking, worrying, stressing, panicking…. constantly feeling fear but smiling through it. You go out of the house and try to act ‘normal’ but inside you are in turmoil. Traumatised by the past and frightened of the future.

When someone takes their own life they must think that it is the only answer to that insurmountable pain and fear in that moment. It is a desperate act to finally end the pain. In that moment they can not see that in the morning sun things will seem better, brighter, less huge and less terrifying. They can not see the pain that their leaving will cause to the people that love them and even those who don’t know them – how can they? The consequential ripples reach far and wide. I challenge anyone to say that suicide is selfish.

In the first year after Ellen died we produced our Mermen for Mind calendar to raise money for the wonderful ‘Mind’ the charity for better mental health. They campaign for better services as well as providing local care and support all over the country. Imagine being in A & E for three hours. Do you think that is bad? Now imagine having a mental health problem…… When you have finally summoned up the courage to ask for help you are then told it will be weeks before an assessment then you will go on a waiting list. The waiting list could be twelve weeks long….

The calendar kept our team of some of Ellen’s closest friends busy and gave us all something to focus on. We have had many days and nights where we have enjoyed each others company and laughed so much we cried. We have also been able to remember our gorgeous girl. It has been a lot of fun. I love to see the friendships between her friends grow and blossom. They have supported each other and us over the last two years amazingly. I know Ellen would be so proud.

Without all the planning and preparation for the calendar 2019 had been very different. It has really hit hard. Each day marches on without Ellen relentlessly. Some days are worse than others . I wanted time to stop. I never imagined I would be writing this two years on…. that wasn’t possible then but here we are. Time will not stop for anyone. The anniversary of Ellen’s birth is two days apart from the anniversary of her death. This is agony – how can we celebrate her birthday when we are so so sad? Facing a problem though is about looking at the alternatives for solving it. There are always options and opportunities in each problem to deal with it.

What we need to do is keep on celebrating Ellen’s life and her birthday. We will do this among her friends and family and all the lives that she touched. We will also do this by carrying on our campaign to raise money for this wonderful charity ‘Mind’ and continue the conversation about mental health that she started.

So please raise a glass to her today, smile and be happy that she was….. Our gorgeous girl…….

Guest Post: Alone We Are Strong

I spend my life caring for other people, I forgot to care for myself. I had been feeling strange for a while. Worrying about everything, having this awful dull ache in my chest every morning, waking up through the night, constantly feeling tired. At the time I just thought everyone must feel like I felt, I didn’t really acknowledge it as being an issue. It took a huge breakdown at work and my doctor sitting me down and spelling it out to my face that I suddenly realised I was seriously not ok.

I am a children’s cancer nurse, have been for 4 years. Almost everyone has the same response when the find out what my job is; ‘that must be so sad’, ‘you must be a strong person to do that’, ‘how do you do it’. Rightly so it is sad at times. But it’s such a happy environment to work in. I work with a team of heroes and look after heroes as well. It’s a privilege and I wouldn’t wish to do any other job.

There was a sad case that I was involved in at work that knocked me quite hard. I had a lot of guilt and sadness trapped inside me for a long time after that I didn’t speak about. I put on a brave face and just got on with it, forgetting that I am still a human. I work in an environment that can at times be heartbreaking and I forgot that it is ok to cry and to be mad at the world when not everything goes the way we want it to.

I cannot say for sure if this was the reason my mental health deteriorated, but I think it was definitely one of the triggers. About 3 months after, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

It took a while for me to come to terms with it all, I was unsure of how people would perceive me. I was unsure whether people would think I was too weak to do my job and I was worried that I would be branded pathetic. None of this was true. I am lucky enough to have an extremely supportive manager and network of friends at work that helped me understand what was going on and to accept it for what it was. And so I was able to start to piece myself back together. 1 in 10 nurse sick days are down to stress related illnesses. The thing with being a nurse is that you can’t do your job when only half of your body is working. Nursing is demanding, mentally physically and emotionally. We all know that the NHS is in a crisis. We are underpaid and overworked. We do long hours and we have to be alert for all 12 of them. I can’t look after anybody if I am struggling to look after myself and so I have had to have time off work which is hard. But self care is something I am teaching myself.

I vowed from the start that my experience would be something that I am always open about. Being open and talking has assisted with getting me out of hard days. I want to help people understand that mental health problems are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Especially in my line of work. I want to encourage people to talk. If I’d have got things off my chest sooner, I may not be in the position I am today. A problem shared is a problem halved and if I can promote just one person to say ‘hold on a minute, I think I might need a bit of help’ then my experience has been worth it. I can’t help having anxiety and depression in the same way that someone can’t help having diabetes. My mental health doesn’t define who I am, but it’s a part of me and I won’t hide it.

Alone we are strong. But Together we are stronger.

Children holding hands

Written by Danielle Knapper | 15.05.2019