Put up with Rain shares her experience of the 'Black Dog' returning - and the terror, paranoia and misery it brings
"What finally bounded out of the mist, smacked me over, and savaged my throat were the intrusive thoughts. Naturally cynical and pessimistic as a default, when the Black Dog takes over, my mind is set to catastrophe mode. It's not so much that I expect the worst - I suspect it, I imagine it, I believe it to be happening. So I behave as if it is. Even when the wafer thin mint of sanity that remains tries to reason with me."
Before having children, 2 Boys 1 Mum assumed that raising her sons free from gender stereotypes would be easy - but she's found barriers in the most unexpected places
"When our son was born my husband and I knew instantly that we would be raising our children with gender neutral values. What I didn't know was that this would be a challenge. I never dreamed I'd have to repeatedly and firmly remind people not to openly mock 'feminine' attributes in my toddler son. I didn't think anyone would bat an eyelid when my 2 year old boy chose a witches outfit for Halloween, but even people who I thought were totally with me raised their eyebrows when he put on a dress."
Despite making an effort with other people's children, Reprobate Mum has found that they aren't willing to reciprocate - we must recognise that children are people in their own right, she says
"I know my kids aren't always that up for chatting, but if you get down to their level, and don't pretend they're not there, they will find their feet with you. And I will do the same for yours, if you let me - even when they're at that really annoying toddler stage. Children are a part of life, not a brief anomaly in an otherwise self-involved existence, and the more we try and distance them as adults, the more we feel we need to do the same with our own when we become parents ourselves."
Bringing up children may bring with it a whirlwind of emotions, but it can also be intensely dull, writes Malcontented Mother - and there's no shame in saying so
"Picture the scene: It's mid-afternoon. A child, surrounded by an array of educational and expensive toys, sits playing with an egg carton. A few feet away his mother sits on the sofa. She is staring into the middle distance, her eyes are glazed over and her expression is lifeless. What is happening here? Perhaps she's got post-natal depression, or has she just received some bad news? Maybe she's just a neglectful mother. Erm, no. She's bored."
When she was diagnosed with brain cancer, Kat Mizouni thought her dating life was over - instead it has changed her perspective of men, and herself, for the better
"Not having hair actually helped my dating life in a way I never thought possible. It reminded me not to settle. Losing my hair also forced me to prioritise the qualities I'm looking for in a solid, dependable life partner who shares my interests, sense of humour and positive outlook on life. Finally, it reminded me of something important: as clichéd as it sounds, our time here is short so I no longer waste my time on drama or on analysing a man's actions, responses, (or lack thereof)."