I love my son, he is beautiful. He is excellent company and charming and funny. He is everything I love about me and my husband rolled into one, precious, much lovelier parcel. He is my world.

He is poorly, nothing serious, he’s 2 and there’s a plague of Croup going round nursery, he’s got a nasty, barking cough but he’s fine in himself and bouncing round the place, full of beans and twice as messy.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem. Normally I’d handle it, distract him, cuddle him, play with him but I’m selfish. I’m going through a period of anxiety and I’m bound up in myself, in my head, I can’t shake the feeling of doom and panic. The loss of control and the fear of spiralling, spiralling like I did a few weeks ago.

So as he bounced off the sofa, tipping toys everywhere, I sat cold, unfeeling, lost in my head and the dark, confidence ripping thoughts negatively running on a loop through my mind. Selfish. Selfish bloody woman.

He turned to me and saw the tears streaming down my numb face. He gazed for a moment and my heart broke as he said “What’s up Mamma?”. He climbed onto my knee and cuddled me, held me tight, my poorly baby comforting me. Selfish. Selfish bloody woman.

“What’s up Mamma?” His face full of concern.

I replied “Mamma doesn’t love herself as much as she loves you.”

There you have it, a lifetime of therapy and an endless prescription couldn’t have fathomed it out any quicker than a toddler with a cough.

I hate myself, my actions, my lack of control, my need for validation from other people. I hate the way I look, the way I sound, how I think, the things that I think. That I’m weak, that others take advantage of that. I hate that I’m like this, I hate that I’m in the grip of it. Because when I’m not I’m a great person, loving, funny, caring, wise. I wish I knew how to stop it, I wish I knew how to love myself. I wish I knew how to stop being a selfish, selfish bloody woman.