Monday, 22 December 2014

7 tips for surviving Christmas

In my last blog I had the idea of writing down a few of my tips to survive the festive season.... so lets see if I can come up with anything....

Take each day at a time, don't think about tomorrow.

This is one of my mantras that I try and say to myself all year round, but it seems to come in particularly useful at Christmas.

For example, if I let me brain spiral, I would begin to worry about work tomorrow, about cooking the Christmas dinner, and generally how on earth I'm going to get through the next week without smacking someone round the head with a Christmas cracker.

However, I have to build a wall in my mind, a huge blockade to stop those thoughts. Thinking about the next few days is detrimental to my mood, so I just have to fight against it, keep building the wall, and just get through each day at a time.

Try not to keep checking Facebook every five minutes.

This tip is equally tricky, especially if you're anything like me and you love being nosy and seeing what everyone else is getting up to.

But seeing peoples posts about what a wonderful time they're having isn't always going to make you feel marvelous. In fact, it will probably make you feel rather shitty. That is, if you feel a little bit shitty in the first place. If that makes sense. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against people posting about all the lovely things that they might be doing over the festive season, I just think its worth protecting yourself if your brain is feeling a little wonky.

And it leads me on to my next point....

Remember that other people are struggling too.

I touched on this in my last blog, but I must mention it again as its pretty darn important.

Don't forget that you're not the only one struggling with the festive season. There are hundreds of other people out there finding it hard, for a multitude of reasons. Even the people that seem like they are having a super duper time, may actually be screaming inside. You just never know.

Why not get in touch with someone else you know who is having a tough time? Give them a text and you can bitch about Christmas together. A good old moan always makes you feel a little better.

I probably shouldn't say this but....Take advantage of the fact that Christmas is the only time of year when its acceptable to drink alcohol any time of day, every day.

Obvs I'm not encouraging mass drinking, and alcohol shouldn't be relied upon in any way (believe me, I know) but having the odd cheeky drink may just relax you slightly.

Have a nap. Go for a walk. Take some time just for you.

We all need to have space, and at Christmas I think its even more important. 

Napping is also a very acceptable activity to do at Christmas. As is going for a walk....I would use the , "Oh I'm so full from all the turkey, I need some fresh air" excuse. Pop your headphones in and stomp round the block for half an hour.

Ask older relatives to tell you about Christmas during the war.

This is mainly a distraction technique to pass the time, as they will probably talk for hours telling you how things were so much simpler in 'their day'. However, it should also prove interesting and you might just learn a thing or two. 

Hit someone on the head with a Christmas cracker if they tell you to cheer up or count your blessings.

Not only will it teach them a lesson, it will also make you feel much better.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Fill in the blanks

I've noticed lately that I have a few new readers (hello to you!) So I thought it might be fitting to provide you with some very important (or not quite so important) information about moi.


I'm bored/fed of being coughing/thought it would be mildly amusing to steal Heat magazines celeb back page feature, 'fill in the blanks'.

This morning I woke up... had a coughing fit for half an hour, and then fell back to sleep.

The last time I got drunk... was a few weeks ago, but I wasn't really drunk. Just tipsy drunk. The last time I was drunk drunk was at a wedding in the summer. Too. Much. Rose.

The funniest text I ever received... was probably from my friend Fran. She's a pretty funny lady.

I'm not very good at... exercise. It makes me feel sick just thinking about going to the gym. Yuk.

I keep having dreams about... My gorgeous old dog Bella, she died 3 years ago but visits me in my dreams a couple of times a week. We have cuddles and run across a beach together.

When I look in the mirror, I see... a bland face that looks like a digestive biscuit.

One thing I've never admitted to anyone is... I enjoy listening to the travel reports on BBC2. I like to visualize a map of Britain in my head and think whether I've been to the places they mention. Actually, I did tell Mr B this once and he thought it was a little bit weird.

My worst habit is... smoking, amongst many many other things.

I mostly smell of... my lovely new Liz Earle perfume that I won in a Bridal competition, it smells like springtime. 

If I could eat one food for the rest of my life... it would have to be marmite on toast. I'm not that fussed about food, so I could definitely do this challenge!

My best friend thinks that I'm... a little bit of a fruitloop. 

The least 'me' song on one of my playlists is... non existent. My music taste is so eclectic and varied I cant think of anything on my ipod that isn't 'me'. 

The last thing that I Googled was... P L Travers. I watched 'Saving Mr Banks' yesterday, and I wanted to see how much of the film was true.

Well that was fun.
What next?
Maybe I'll go and listen to the travel report whilst eating some marmite on toast for tea....

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Its all codswallop

Joy of joys, once again I have been struck down with the lurgy. (Insert hacking cough and snot here.)

I wont bore you with the details, but the most annoying thing of all is that I couldnt go and visit my sister and my gorgeous nephews this weekend. 

Massive sad panda face.

It got me to thinking about when a couple of years ago, when I was in hermit mode. I hardly went out  of the house, and so I didnt get any colds or lurgy like illnesses. 

Although my brain was pretty poorly.

But because I didnt have much contact with actual real life humans, I didnt get contaminated with all their nasty germs.

 And now my brain is doing lots better, I'm out and about once again (hurrah for that.) My nose and  body just seem to be the place where all the germs like to come and visit. (My nostrils are pretty large, maybe thats the reason...)

Anyway.... enough snot stories.

How are we all finding the run up to Christmas?

Do you feel bombarded with cheerfulness at every turn? Do you think everyone else is going to have the perfect Christmas apart from you?

Well, if so, do not fear, for you are not alone.

Christmas is never my best time of year, I would quite like to hibernate for the majority of December (and wake up for a festive mulled wine or something.) Just the fact that I find it difficult makes me feel guilty. 

But knowing that I'm not the only person who finds it difficult makes me feel a little bit better about it. If that makes sense. 

Sure, people might be boasting on facebook about getting all their shopping done, how amazing their turkey cooking skills are, but I reckon, if you just scratch under the surface, they've got their own struggles and battles to fight too.

Do not believe all the codswallop that clogs up your newsfeed.

Perhaps I should make a list of my top tips for surviving christmas... that could be interesting...

But for now, I will make the most of feeling yukky, and climb into my bed for some well earned sleep. (Oooo maybe my wish has inadvertently come true, and its time for my hibernation!)


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Spin the wheel

Today has been a wonky brain day.

I could feel the greyness slowly creeping over me in the night, and as soon as I woke up I knew the black dog would be barking loudly.

I have battled through, resisting the urge to curl up in bed and go to sleep (although that will be happening soonish.)

Sometimes I think that my brain has one of those wheel of fortune spinners, it goes, click click click, deciding whether to land on 'bad depression day' or 'good depression day'. 

 At one point, my brain couldnt even spin the wheel, it was just stuck on bad, bad, baddest, worst.

Each day is a random spin, which can often be rather tricky. Particuarly as I like to plan things, get organised, and when I have a bad day, plans can just get thrown out of the window. Its frustrating.

Frustrating for me.

Frustrating for others.

Frustrating for you having to read this!



Tomorrow is a new day.

Thats what I have to hold on to.

(And the fact that I can have nice long lie in... HURRAH!)


P.S if you havent already heard it, check out my radio interview

Friday, 7 November 2014

Time to tune in

The place I would most like to be right now is snuggled up in my cosy bed....oh that old trusty friend is beckoning to me again...

But I must endeavor to resist and instead tell you all of some exciting news...(unless I have already told you, in which case, you will just have to get excited for the second time today...)

Tomorrow morning (10:10am to be precise) I will be on BBC radio Bristol having a little chinwag with Dr Phil Hammond about this very blog.

Fancy that.

If you want to tune in and hear my funny old voice then either tune into 94.9 fm if you're local or click on this link, and you should be able to listen online.

I'm trying to jot a few things down just incase my brain decides to shut down and forget everything...(how embarrassing would that be?!)

As unlikely as this is, I wanted to make sure now (incase I have a sudden bout of amnesia) that I say a big thank you to each and every one of you for reading this strange little blog of mine.

Its been almost four years now since I started writing (yes really, four, how scary is that?!) And your support and encouragement has kept me going through the darkest times.

I never imagined that this would be such a long running chapter of my life, but as ever, I'm overwhelmingly grateful to you all for continuing to follow this.

I can only hope that it has brought you some understanding, comfort, support, and maybe even the odd giggle. 

Oh and of course not forgetting my fav all time word/theme/obsession...that in some small way it has brought you HOPE.

Keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow!


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hold on to hope

Last night Mr B read me a blogpost I had written about 3 years ago. He wanted to remind of how far I can come. 

Hearing those words made me think about about all the little things that have helped in my recovery. It also made me wonder what would I say to my 25 year old self, drowning in the darkness. Would that girl listen to me? Or would she ignore me? Would she even believe me?

I know there are many people out there who are struggling with the black dog. The black dog tells you that you will never get better, that no-one cares, that there is no point in trying. But I want to tell you that the black dog is lying. His voice is strong, loud, and all consuming, but he's not telling you the truth.

In any kind of recovery, whether it be physical or mental, there is the age old saying that 'time is the greatest healer'. But when you have been struggling for so long, you cannot begin to imagine that this might be true. It seems like a cheesy line from a film, or a book, some kind of fantasy that doesnt sit anywhere in your own reality.

I never believed that time was a healer. I dismissed it as a fantasy. 

However, looking back over the past 4 years, I can say that time has been a healer. The many days, months and years that have gone by, have all contributed to my recovery. It didnt seem like it at the time. It seemed like an endless stretch of days full of numbing pain, but gradually, little by little, things changed, and the wounds in my mind began to heal.

Some people are against taking medication, I'm not one of them, but I remember the time when I was so fed up with my anti-depressants not working, that I began to lose my faith in them too.

When it comes to medication, I think the important thing to remember is that there are so many different kinds of anti-depressants, and it is your doctors job to find the right one for you. It took my doctors and psychiatrists over 12 months to find the right drug for me, and I had got to a point when I had nothing to lose. I said to myself, "well I may as well give it a try, whats the worst that can happen." I had to force myself to take a chance, a leap of faith, and luckily, it worked. 

I think it was in the film Shawshank Redemption when Red says to Andy Dufrane, "Hope is a dangerous thing." Well Red, you are wrong my friend. Oh so wrong. For hope is the only thing. 

Hope keeps us afloat. It keeps us from sinking into the darkness. 

Without hope I would not be here.

Hope is the light inside our soul that begs us to keep living.

Hope tells us not to give up.

Hope is tomorrow.

Hope is the voice in your head that can shout louder than the black dog, you just have to tune in.

Hope allows us to believe. 

Please hold on.



Monday, 13 October 2014

Don't forget, anticipate, defend.

Note to self: When you are physically unwell, your mental health often seems to follow the same path.

Why do I never remember this?

I dont know if this is the same for everyone or maybe its just me, but whenever I get some kind of disgusting virus, it seems to be the prime time for the black dog to pounce.

I've been poorly for almost a week now, and quite frankly, I am a more than a little bit fed up with it. Well, I should  say I do feel a tiny bit more human like today, but anyway, I had to miss a party on Saturday which was incredibly irksome.

Mr B had been a legendary nurse, putting up with my snotty snot rags and my gross hacking cough. And I will of course be recommending him for the Queens new years honours list (defo think he's got a chance of an MBE this year.)

And so, I've basically lost my thread entirely now....

Oh yes I remember.....

When I'm physically ill, it gives me too much time to think about things. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I over-think things anyway. So basically, its a double whammy over-thinking about things nightmare. Lets just say the phrase 'over thinking about things again'. I feel the more I write it, the more you will understand the spiralling confusion that happens in my brain.

(NB that paragraph was meant to confuse you. I'm not just shit at writing. Honestly.)

The black dog seems to sense that my defenses are down, that I dont have the usual things to distract me. 

I've been lying in my bed, trying to get well, yet my brain starts worrying, which turns to gettting anxious, and then turns into paranoia and feeling guilty.

Friday and Saturday were my first days off ill in over year, and I felt almost as sick with guilt for not being there as I did being actually unwell. Which is ridiuclous. I was ill, there was nothing I could do about it, these things happen, and there was no way I could work, but the black dog loves to pile guilt onto me, and I'm powerless to do anything.

HOWEVER, I am finally starting to feel a little better. Take that black dog. In your FACE

I just need to remember that next time I'm suffering physically, the black dog is more likely to come sniffing around. So I can be ready to punch him in the face. Or roll over and go back to sleep. Either option would work really.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Once again the world has shifted.

Its tilted.


And I cant write this blog without mentioning why.

Last week a friend of mine passed away.

She was young. She was beautiful. She always made me laugh. She was Rach.

And now I have to say was.

When anybody passes away its always distressing, but when someone so young leaves this world, I just cant get my head around it. It was only last year that my school friend Luke also tragically passed away. 

I wasn't best friends with either Luke or Rach, but they both touched my life in ways that I cant really begin to explain.

Perhaps that's what I find so hard to comprehend,  that neither will ever know the positive impact they made on the lives of so many people.

 Yet all I can do is pray for her family, pray for those closest to her, and hold on to my belief that she is in a better place. Whilst remembering that she will forever live on in the hearts and memories of so many people...

The past few days I've been spending with my bestie pal Laura, which have been really special.

 But today every dark and depressing feeling and thought seems to have crept up on me. 

It seems that the only thing to keep the black dog away is to keep on making pom poms (in an ever so slightly obsessive way.) And continue to watch episodes of Greys Anatomy. (Much easier to find comfort in imaginary drama, than to face the thoughts in my own head.)

I keep on writing words and deleting them now. My head is rather mushed up and unsure what to say... But I like this song, the words seem to fit, so lets listen to this instead...


Saturday, 13 September 2014


My mind is once again spiraling out of control, and I've found myself drawn towards my blog, in the hope of easing some of my anxiety.

I have various little tips and tricks that can help with my anxiety....

Trying not to think too much about the future (a toughie but a goody.)

Keeping my hands busy when trying to relax (knitting, loom bands, or even just playing good old fashioned solitaire.)

Writing things down (because I get anxious that I'm forgetting all the VERY IMPORTANT things I need to do.)

However, despite having these little tricks up my sleeve, that do help me from day to day, over the past few weeks my anxiety doesnt seem to be improving. 

Even as I write this, I can hear the voices of people saying to me, "Moving house is the most stressful thing you will ever do, you're not the only one."  Or, "Every bride feels anxious before their wedding, its completley normal." 

Much as these words are meant to reassure me and ease my state of anxiety, they just dont. Because actually, what I want is a magic wand to change my brain and make me a really totally chilled out person. Yes. Yes I do. 

I want to be like, "Dude, I'm moving house, but its so cool, I dont care if the walls aren't painted, its like whatever man. Lets just all chill out."

I really dont want to feel sick 90% of the time anymore either. Its not very fun. (And before you think it, no I'm not pregnant!) I either hold my anxiety in my stomach or my neck and jaw. The physical symptoms of anxiety love to make an apperance, and so I either feel like vomiting 24/7, or I have a permanent headache. Oh and my hands are stupidly shaky at the moment. Rather glad I'm not a waitress actually. That would be BAD.

I also have huge problems making very simple decisions. Such as, what meals shall I cook this week? This dilemma probably took me over an hour earlier. I sat with my pen, my paper and dithered around all over the place. I even went on food websites (that was a first,  but to be honest, it confused me even more.) And I still havent decided what to buy from the supermarket. Oh well. Maybe I should just throw together all the ingredients together from my cupboard and invent something new. That could have interesting results.

Anyway for now I'm going to go and have another fag. Yes yes, I know I shouldnt, but really, who would want to deprive an anxious wreck of a girl of her nicotine fix?? That would be a disaster! 


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

We must talk. We must change.

After a lovely relaxing week away, I thought I would be full of energy at work today. I had visions of myself bouncing around and everything. However, I seem to feel just as tired as before I went away....yawn.

How did that happen? (Answers on a postcard please.) 

Anyway..highlights of last week included...
  • Feeding a giraffe (yeah, my hand was covered in gooey giraffe slobber, but I didn't care!)
  • Seeing a baby elephant (I wanted to take it home but Mr B wouldn't let me.)
  • Facing my fears and riding a big scary ride called the BLACK FLY (I have to write it in capitals so you can grasp just how scary it was.)
  • Taking Mr B horse riding, and enjoying a lovely hack over the countryside together.
From these highlights you may think that we've been on a safari, or perhaps to Florida or some such exotic place, but no, we went to sunny Shropshire. And it was great. We also managed to spend some time with our extended families which was lots of fun.

Bit of a change of topic now, which hopefully wont be too controversial (just to keep you on your toes.)

Although I didn't get very much phone signal whilst away, I did hear the shocking news of Robin Williams' death.

My facebook news feed and twitter account were suddenly full of articles concerning suicide and mental health. 

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I didn't read any of them. (So really, I am making something of a contradiction in writing this, I do apologise.)

I feel like I should have.

But its just too hard. 

Because it takes me back to that place. To that day.


I'm so glad that people have been able to share articles concerning mental health, and that through the tragedy of Williams' death, perhaps others may be helped.

However, I want it to be known, to be remembered and realised, that every suicide is a tragedy.

It is not just the celebrated and awarded souls that are secretly tormented. Its also the people around you.

 One in four of you.

The guy in the office who finds it difficult to talk to others.

The girl at the bus stop with her sleeves covering the cuts she's been making on her arms.

Every suicide is one too many.

Every suicide is a tragedy.

Every suicide is an illness.

We must talk.

We must change.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Mantra time

I hate it when writers use cliched phrases, but I am just about to use one, so please forgive me....

The last few weeks have been something of a roller-coaster ride. (Oh I really do hate that cliche, but my brain is struggling to find another suitable phrase.)

There have been amazing ups.....Getting the keys to our new house, YIPPEE! And also spending time with my sister, bro in law and nephew (playing on the slippy side was such fun.)

But there have also been quite a lot of days when I've just been fighting to get through each hour.

Its like waking up in the morning and being surrounded by heavy dense fog. Its everywhere, you cant get away from it. All you can do is  desperately try and find your way out of it. 

You logically know that the fog will eventually disappear, but when you're surrounded by it, you feel lost. You have to keep telling yourself to reach out for things that will help you find your way back into the light. 

Those things might be listening to a certain song, going for a walk, texting a friend, telling someone your brain has gone a bit wonky, or maybe even just giving yourself a little bit of space.

Before I started working again, I used to have several mantras that would help me through those foggy days. 

Last week I realized that I hadn't looked at them for a long time, and so I decided to write some new ones.

Here are a few of them.....

Don't worry about tomorrow.

Concentrate on today.

You are valued.

Look after YOU.

Let any negativity wash over you.

It might seem silly, a bit daft and maybe cheesy, but I've found them a really helpful tool. And maybe you will too....


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Barking mad?

Well, I am currently lying on the floor as I type this. Reason being, my coccyx is still rather bruised, and I feel just cant seem to get comfy!

Anyway, just thought you should all know that...

Its also actually not that comfortable to type like this.

Hmm which is the lesser of the two evils, sore elbows or bruised bum? Tricky, very tricky.

Anyway (again, cant think of another word, my thesaurus seems to have disappeared tonight) I'm struggling with a few things at the mo, so thought I should get some of my thoughts on here and try to make sense of them....

The last few months have been pretty crazy, lots of fun and exciting things happening, which is lovely, but I've also been working extra hours at the salon, so I kind of feel overwhelmed. Yes, overwhelmed would be the right word.

I'm so mentally drained at the end of my week that on my days off, I'm a zombie who cant function.

I'm constantly fighting the black dog, and its exhausting.

I'm so terrified of sinking into the blackness, but there is nowhere to run to.

I think that's why I'm making so many flipping loom bands. Sounds silly, but those little elastic bands somehow seem to help my anxiety!

A lady at work today was asking me if I enjoyed being a hairdresser, and once I corrected her, and briefly filled her in on my life story (lucky thing), she told me that I still had so much time ahead of me to do whatever I wanted.

She was kind, thoughtful, and just lovely. But I couldn't help but feel that I had disappointed her. That I had somehow let her down. 

Which sounds ridiculous. 

And I don't even know her, so imagine how much I feel like I've let down and disappointed my friends and family.


The 'well' part of my brain tells me that I haven't wasted my twenties, and that good things have come out of my depression. That depression is an illness, that I take tablets for every day, and I will never be in exactly the same blackness again.

But the black dog tells me that I have wasted my university education, that I should have a proper 'career' by now, that I've failed by not doing so, and that I have made a mess of my life.

It gets even more confusing when I cant remember big chunks of the last 5 years, hell, I'm just going to call them the lost years.

The black dog tells me that I'm weak. Not capable. A loser. Nothing.

The black dog also tells me that I'm selfish and shouldn't even be writing this when there are real problems in the world.

I really want to hit the black dog.



Monday, 7 July 2014

In my life, I love you more

As you may have noticed, I haven't been so diligent with my blogging lately, but no matter, I'm here again tonight!

And it seems that I couldn't let this weekend pass by (well, I know its Monday now, but never mind), without writing about what a marvellous time I had.

On Saturday, one of my bestie friends got married.

It was super.

Super duper.

So super duper in fact, that I got a little bit excited, misjudged where the toilet was, and ended up with a very bruised coccyx. But again, never mind. It is my wedding wound, and I now wear it with pride.

When Fran first told me she was engaged, I cried.

When she walked down the aisle, I cried.

When she exchanged her vows with Chris, (you've guessed it) I cried.

Now, I wasn't weeping tears of sadness, I wasn't mourning for the loss of a loved one, nope, instead, they were tears of happiness.

Each tear was filled with love, joy, and pure happiness.

Years ago, I wasn't such a weepy girl. I somehow managed to keep my emotions under wraps. However, its now evident to me, that that wasn't the best plan.

To cry, is to release emotion. Whether it be sadness or gladness. (Just make sure you always have a snot rag handy.)

When the evening was coming to a close, and I was surrounded on the dance floor by so many of my friends, I looked around me and (one more time) I cried.

I cried for the memories we have. For everything we've been through. For the love we share. For the journey ahead. For the untouchable bond that has kept us together for the past 15 years.

It was rather overwhelming.

But in a marvellously good way.

Fran's brothers sang a poignant rendition of The Beatles classic, 'In my life' during the ceremony. I haven't been able to stop singing it since Saturday.
So now, I will share it with you. And once again, wish the new Mr and Mrs Sloley many congratulations!

Big love to all


Friday, 20 June 2014

A moment in time

This morning, as I sat waiting for the bus, I began thinking about moments.

Not just any old moments you understand, but moments in time that can dramatically change the course or direction of our lives.

Oh and not the kind of cheesy 'perfect moments' that Martine Mccutcheon once sang about. (Remember that? Yuksville.)

 definition : Moment (noun)

1. an indefinitely short period of time; instant: I'll be with you in a moment.
2. the present time or any other particular time (usually preceded by the  ): He is busy at the moment. 
3. a definite period or stage, as in a course of events; juncture: at this moment in history. 
4. importance or consequence: a decision of great moment. 
5. a particular time or period of success, excellence, fame, etc.: His big moment came in the final game.
There are several moments in my life that I can remember as clearly as if they happened yesterday.
When I was 13, my parents told me that we were moving to Warwickshire. We spent the day at 2 potential new schools, both very different, but academically, equally as good. However, the second school (called Trinity) that I visited, had a somewhat more liberal outlook. Students didn't have to wear uniform, teachers were on a first name basis, and students were encouraged to express their individuality. I remember looking round this school, and being amazed that the teacher in charge of the visit barely spoke to my parents, and instead talked to me as if I was the person that really mattered.
The next day, on a walk with my Mum, we sat on a bench and discussed the options. I vividly remember saying to her, "I have to go to Trinity Mum, I cant explain it, I just know its the right place." Luckily for me, my parents trusted my gut instinct, and I spent 5 happy years at Trinity.
That moment changed my life. It influenced my education, my outlook on life, my faith, beliefs, and also my friendships. If my Mum hadn't trusted me in that moment, things could have turned out so differently.
Another moment I remember well was over 6 years ago, when I was recovering from viral meningitis. I was lying out on the setee, feeling pretty miserable, when the idea came into my head to travel to America and work on a summer camp there. At the time it could have seemed like an impossible idea, I was really ill, and didn't have much money to my name, but in that moment, I knew it was going to be a good thing for me.
Again, how glad I am that I trusted my little old brain in that moment. I now look  back at that time I spent in America as one of the most important times in my life, and again, gained amazing friendships and experiences from it.
But what about the moments that I cant remember?
Where have they gone to?
And why cant I remember them?
This is what bothers me.
It feels good to think about moments in time when you feel loved, or happy, or you know that you have made a good decision, but what about all the other moments in your life, what happens to them?
I've been seeing a lot of 18 year olds on their way to A Level exams recently, and it makes me think back to when I was that age.
10 years ago.
I feel frustrated when I think about some of the decisions I made when I was 18. The main one being which university I went to.
I cannot remember any defining moment when I made that decision. Perhaps it doesn't even exist!
All I know is that I visited a friend a few times up at Loughborough University, had a great time, and before I knew it, I was going there too.
Looking back, I feel frustrated because I know that it wasn't the right choice for me. In fact, it couldn't have been more of a polar opposite to my school and my outlook on life. I felt like a fish out of water for much of the time I was there.
I never felt clever enough, or pretty enough, or rich enough, or sporty enough to be there.
Again, there is no defining moment that clarifies this in my memory, just a series of events that left me feeling on the outside.
Perhaps I feel annoyed with myself, because I know that the black dog started following me when I was at university. Maybe I think that if I could recall a moment when I made that decision, I could go back in time and erase the past. Erase the black dog.
A useless logic I know.
Because logically and biologically speaking, I know (and was told by my psychiatrist) that my depression is genetically inherited through different avenues in my family, and that if the depression hadn't started then, it would have at some point.
But when does my crazy brain ever take the logical route?!
I think this is something I need to think more about.
I feel there is definitely another post in the pipeline on this subject. But for now, I must depart from here as I'm feeling rather peckish....!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Thinking of you all

Today my Facebook news feed has been full of photographs of Dads. (Since its fathers day and everything...) Daughters and sons wanting their Dads to know how much they love them, and how super duper they are.

Its a lovely thing to do, and no part of me wants to take away anything from all the brilliant Dads out there.

However, as soon as I saw these posts this morning, my mind immediately went to my friends that have lost their Dads. How hard this day must be for them, I just cant imagine it.

I also thought of friends who haven't physically lost their fathers, but instead, they have a tough or non existent relationship with them. Again, this day must difficult.

Then I was reminded of Dads who wont be getting a card this year, as their son or daughter has passed away. What a cruel day.

I have neither a point or explanation to these musings.

But perhaps, I just want these friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers to know that I'm thinking of them.

And sending them a hug.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Stand up and be your awesome self.

So many of our days here on planet earth are filled with niggling little grievances.... Buses that are late. A long queue in Tesco. Forgetting your umbrella when its raining outside. Someone pushes past you on the street and doesn't apologise. You get the gist.

Then everyone (yes, I mean everyone, even Nuns) have all those little things at their workplaces that they get frustrated about. (Because I'm certain Nuns have arguments about who is going to ring the bells or something...)

 Small things can become huge things in a matter of minutes. I know when I used to work in retail, the tiniest thing, such as a shoe being positioned at the wrong angle could send me into a rage instantly. How ridiculous it seems when I look back now.

I also shouldn't forget all those annoying habits that your fellow family members (or house mates) have. Arguments about who is going to change the toilet roll springs to mind immediately. As does piles of manky washing up in the sink or emptying the smelly bins.

When we're tired, frustrated, or emotionally vunerable, all these annoying habits or mistakes that we ALL possess, can sometimes make a huge difference to our day.

Sometimes (like in my last blog post) I talked about the importance of detail in my life. The significance that the little things have. A fact that I still stand by. Because details do matter.

However, when you've had a day when the niggling little things have been getting to you, I think its important to take a step back.

Take a step back and look at the big picture.

Not just the big picture in your head.

But the big, BIG picture.

You know what I mean.

Whoa. You can see it now cant you?

Let the little irksome things wash over you, let them get lost in the waves, and instead be encompassed with the marvellous wonder of life.

Yes that's right, I did just say the marvellous wonder of life.

Be yourself and be dazzled by your awesomeness.

Its much more fun.

Because you are you. And there is no one like you. There never has been, and there never will be.

And when you're being encompassed in the marvellous wonder of life, you could perhaps listen to this song and think to yourself "Yeah! I will stand up and be me! I'm unique! None of these annoying little things matter in the grand scheme of life! Hurrah!"

Friday, 30 May 2014

In the details

Mmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I have just rediscovered my love of fizzy strawberry laces.

How did I ever forget about these wondrous delicacies?!

They are like a burst of fizzy juiciness in one amazing lace. AND if I concentrate v.v.hard, they take my mind off thinking that I would really enjoy a large glass of wine right about now.

Oh and they are only 40p a packet.


I used to always buy 3 packets for a £1 (good old Tesco), but today, as I had forgotten how delish they are, I only bought one pack.

Rooky mistake.

Just had to dash across the room and eat another. Thought that if I put them at the other side of the room then my cravings would stop....oh how wrong I was.....

When I was emerging out of the deepest darkness, and slowly venturing into the world above, strawberry laces would go everywhere with me. They were part of my little survival kit that I kept in my bag.

This survival kit also consisted of:

1.Headphones and fully charged ipod (to take me away from the world).
2.Knitting needles and wool (to put my anxious fingers to good use).
3.A shell I picked from the beach (to hold in my hand, to ground me, and help me focus.)
4.Strawberry laces (for an energy boost, and all the reasons listed above).
5. Bottle of water (for the dry throat moments.)
6. Phone (again, another distraction technique, games galore).

These 6 things helped me so much as I was gradually able to do more. Admittedly, I did get rather obsessive at times if I couldn't find one of them, but that's just me....

I still always have headphones, water, and my phone. They are my full proof survival items.

 The shell has gone, but I gradually replaced it with two smaller items. I began to put the shell in my pocket, instead of in my hand...then I wore rosary beads as a bracelet that I could always hold onto...then they went in my pocket...and now the beads are always in my bag. I don't have to hold them, or have them in my pocket, but knowing they are in my bag, just in case of a panic filled emergency, makes me feel so much better.

Its strange how a packet of strawberry laces have reminded me of these small obscure details. Details that have made a big difference in my journey with the black dog...!


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Open your eyes

Afternoon all, how are you doing today?

I have just had a major sort our of all my art and paint supplies. And boy was it satisfying. Like cleaning out your handbag, or rearranging your sock drawer. Major satisfaction levels achieved.


There has been a lot in the media recently about the European Elections (seeing as we voted last week and everything) and there has been something brewing in my mind that I need to write about.

So apologies if you're not in the mood for a political discussion, but this is my blog, and I can do what I want! (Insert cackle here....)

It saddens me greatly to know that UKIP have now got seats on the European parliament, and that also in France, the Front National party gained significant advances.

Both of these right wing political parties, have based their campaigns on anti-immigration. They have been scare-mongering people into believing that immigrants are not welcome in their country. That these immigrants will steal your jobs and your money. They are using propaganda to feed into peoples fear, insecurities and down right ignorance. They are manipulating the public at an increasingly fast rate.

Only this morning French riot police dismantled 3 migrant camps in Calais. They have given no indication as to where these hundreds of people will go. They are stranded. Many have fled from the horrific conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, hoping for a life away from war and fear.

Perhaps I am a tree hugging hippie, but I have always believed that the world we live in belongs to each one of us. And we have a responsibility for each other. I'm not precious about this little island called Britain, if people are desperate to come here, who am I to turn them away?

Imagine yourself in a similar position.

Imagine you're fleeing Syria. Your family is separated. Your parents have been murdered. You don't know who to turn to, or where to go to. You have hardly any money. But then someone tells you about England. A place where you will be safe, where there is no war. A democratic society. Freedom of speech. Peace.

So you begin your journey. The longest journey you've ever had to make.

But when you arrive, you're interrogated, questioned, discriminated against. This is not the England you've heard about.

We are the lucky ones. We were born here. By chance, this is where we ended up. But don't you ever wonder what your life would be like if you were born somewhere else on this planet? I think we can all forget just how blessed we are to live in a country where we can vote, practise religion, have free health care, get help finding a job, or a house, and not have a brutal dictator ruling over our lives.

In my own life, I have experienced people saying to me, "what have you got to be depressed about? Think about those poor children in Africa!" or "count your blessings, you should be happy!" These, of course, are some of the most unhelpful things to say to someone with depression. However, on a day when the black dog isn't barking so loudly, I am able to be grateful for many things in my life.

It is through being able to acknowledge this, that I was able to write this post.

I want people to open their eyes.

Step out of their box.

Remember that we are brothers and sisters on this planet.

No matter what our nationality, colour, race or religion, we should not turn our backs on each other.


Monday, 19 May 2014

Learning to juggle

Its taking a fair amount of my brain power to think what on earth I've been up to since my last post.

There's definitely been a hen weekend (muchos fun.)

And Dave and I have made progress buying a house (feeling very grown up.)

Oh and in between ticking items off my ever growing list of things to do, I've managed to catch some rays in the garden (rude not to.)

I do seem to be juggling quite a lot at the moment. So it does feel really good to just take a break, and just 'be'. I need that time to reboot my brain.

Annoyingly, as always I've had to fight the guilty feeling that I should be doing something more productive. Although, I guess if I didn't rest my brain, it would be detrimental to my mental health in the long maybe I am doing something productive after all....

I  haven't been doing any painting recently, which is frustrating. I've got the time, I'm just not feeling inspired...

Well, I kind of have an idea in the back of my head, but I'm scared its not going to work as well as some of my recent paintings. I know I just need to take a deep breath and have a go. But I'm a bit of a cowardy custard like that sometimes.

I probably just need to bite the bullet (as they say, although I've never really understood that phrase) and start painting again.


Monday, 12 May 2014

The perfect non-perfectionist

On a train ride home yesterday, I found a magazine that someone had kindly discarded and read an article that got me thinking...

It was entitled, 'Research suggests perfectionism could be as bad for health as smoking - so discover your perfection-ality type and learn to embrace the F word (that's failure FYI.)

Now, as a smoker, and a perfectionist, I kinda thought, well, I am officially screwed. And the article didn't really give me much hope for changing.

I am, it would appear, a 'self-orientated perfectionist'. Which means I never feel like I'm good enough, I often don't try things in case I fail, I'm my own worst critic, and I have an endless 'to do' list.

Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow shares these same personality flaws, so I'm not in entirely bad company. However, she is an Oscar winning actress, so I'm not entirely convinced this article is correct.

The other types of perfectionist are, an 'other-orientated perfectionist' and a 'socially prescribed perfectionist.'

The article then goes on to offer these wonderfully 'useful' bits of advice:

'Wear a top with a stain on it, when no-one notices, you will realise that other people aren't as aware of you as you think.' (Well, people probably would notice, but they would probably be too polite to say anything...)

'Write down the reason for your perfectionism' (If I knew that, I probably wouldn't be reading the article in the first place!)

It also states that perfectionists had a 51% greater risk of dying early, compared to non-perfectionist. Fantastic! What great news, thanks for telling me! I will now change my personality instantly overnight!

What the writer probably didn't consider when writing this tosh (oh I do love that word) is that all the perfectionists who read the article, probably now will be trying to be the worlds best non-perfectionist, and be perfect at doing that instead.

Which sounds a little confusing.

But being a self confessed perfectionist (although for years I didn't even realise that I was), I do know what I'm on about. Although this article hasn't practically helped me in any way, it has made me able to laugh at myself a little. And realise that I'm not the only control freak out there.....