We all must change sometimes

Change – The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as…….

Nah, enough of that crap. But it is a subject that has been playing on my mind over the last few days and something that has been bugging me if I am honest. Some of us love change, love that every week or even every day is different, a new adventure. The rest despise it. They like to live where they know the “plan”, whether it be Taco Tuesday, Dress down Friday or just what their TV schedule is going to be.

Me? Well I like to think in a lot of ways I am in that annoying grey area you get when the circles over lap. In some ways I crave control and order. I work well under pressure, I like to know what is needed and when and get antsy if there isnt a routine of sorts. School holidays throw me out of whack! If you ask me, kids should have the same annual leave as adults. Get them ready for the working world 😉 …………………………… for anyone who is easily offended, that was a joke. Kind of!

However, I do embrace change. I am fully aware that change has to occur for things to develop. You have to make decisions without knowing what the final outcome is actually going to be. I find that exciting! Scary as well, but mainly exciting. Look at me now compared to this time last year. Granted, my personal circumstances dont look great on paper but ultimately they were my choices. They will help me become a better person. In fact they were two of the most “selfish” things I have ever done BUT I HAD TO. For me.

Look beyond that and what you see, I hope, is a lass that this time last year was terrified of even staying alive. Now, she has made monumental decisons over the last few months that will shape the future. Volunteering, starting college, about to go to uni, starting her own peer support group, being vocal about her mental health issues, helping others, about to run a marathon, etc.

I have so much to look forward to, I have achieved so much, yet the last few weeks the thing that seems to have changed the most is…..ME! My emotions are all over the place, I am losing grasp of my motivation and drive, issues I thought had been put to bed are starting to raise their ugly heads again and I feel, quite frankly, shit! Yesterday was an eye opener to me. I am used to the feelings of blah and sadness. Depression is being a massive dick at the minute and not seeming to give me more than one good day in a row, two if he is feeling particularly generous. Yesterday though, I had a whole new emotion I normally keep a tight lid on. Anger.

I am scared of my angry side. I struggle to control it properly and when it goes off, people get hurt. Often, innocent people. People who have done nothing but be there for me and want the best for me. Yet, in that angry phase comes pure hatred. Very occasionally it can be aimed at someone who has hurt me but mainly, it is aimed at me. Yesterday, I hated me. I hated my stupid head that couldnt focus, I hated my injuries that are stopping me from doing what I need to do to get my motivation back, I hated the insecurities that were playing around in my brain, I hated the voices in my head telling me everything was my fault – I was weak, worthless, an idiot, ugly, nasty, selfish. Oh the whole lot came out. So along with anger, was genuine sadness. A feeling of defeat. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, just vicious name calling and deafening darkness. I still believe I am not as low as I was – I can honestly say I want to live, but I sure as hell didnt want to be here. I didnt want to be me. I wanted to scream, shout, throw stuff and push everyone away as they didnt deserve this absolute mess of a person dragging them down to her depths of despair. Why would anyone want to put up with this person?

My ability to catastrophise things was in full swing. I hurt my calf on my long marathon training run the other day. Nothing serious, but certainly enough to halt my running for a few days. Oh well, that meant in my head, no way can you run a marathon. In fact, why bother running at all? These few days will see you getting fat again. You might as well, your skin is shocking, you look like a scruff and so on and so on. How can your own mind be so horrible? How can your own eyes look in a mirror and make your mind see an image that makes you feel so horrendous!? The only thing I could see was my faults. It took away all feelings of achievement, success, satisfaction at how much I have changed over the years. I felt like my head was going to explode! I couldnt be this person. I AM NOT THIS PERSON!

You see, for those who dont understand, a mental illness has the power to fully control you. It takes over your mind, body and even at times, your soul. You know what is happening, a bit like a puppet on a string in those old fairground shows, but can you hell change anything! It is one of the biggest fights you will ever have, trying to break free of those strings. Of getting back control. I believe that every scar is a blessing, a sign that you survived and stepped forward stronger but I tell you what, it is exhausting!

So, there I was, in my little funk, Depression pulling my strings. I could have just succumbed to it. I suppose many people wouldnt blame me if I had. It’s been one shitter of a bloody year so far. Maybe I do deserve to sit and lick my wounds. You know what though, that is not who I am. Even with this hideous illness that seems to be really attached to me, I am not a sad, angry, negative person. I am CC. I see silver linings, I hunt for the positives in every negative, so much so I probably make people vomit in their gobs sometimes. I use every bad thing as a springboard on to the next amazing thing. I am a good friend, a good listener. I believe everything happens for a reason and I am starting to believe in myself! I was not going back in my hole for anything!

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So on to the last part, you can breathe a big sigh of relief, go on, I know you want to. Lent. Ok, I am the least religious person ever. Unless you want a massive explanation, to probably somehow be offended and a debate, I wouldnt ask me why. However I do see a purpose in Lent. It is the time where you give up something that is important to you, something that would be a huge struggle to survive without. The common ones – smoking booze (why, I have no idea), chocolate and other sweet stuff, bread etc.

I racked my brains yesterday as to what I could do, even posted a FB status, as you do these days. Yet nothing was clicking, nothing was what I wanted to do. I had sat stewing over all the above and more and I happened to glance at myself. That’s it – I would give up – ME! Not in all my entirity, obviously I am aware from what people tell me there are some pretty decent things about me. I wanted to draw a line though. To mark this as an official end to all the personal negativity, to stop letting the broken part of my mind win. Last time it did, it did nearly won physcially. Not on my watch Depression. So as I am all for symbolism, I gave up – my blonde hair! I have been blonde for over two years now. My hair is important to me, it is an extension of my personality. You could look back and probably see a pattern emerge. That miserable, angry, negative, blonde CC could do one! In her place, a new, determined, aware, brunette CC came forward. It was a shock to me, I went quite literally from one extreme to another but I think I needed to. I need to go forward  now onto my new adventure. I need this time to explore me, my needs, my wants. I need space, I need freedom and I need to come back fighting. The cracks in my brain may never be fully fixed, but if I can only keep them from opening more, that is a win in my eyes.

I wont be miraculously better any day soon but I sure as hell wont be the lass I was yesterday. I dont know who she was, where she came from or what but I tell you one thing, I kicked her arse!

To anyone struggling, you CAN and you WILL get through whatever it is. Please remember though, you dont have to do it alone.

Rant over

CC xx

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What doesn’t kill you….

I suppose the most positive thing about having the worst week of your adult life is the fact the phrase “things can only get better” seems to be a beacon of light. I tell you what, I hope so or they best get a room ready for me at Roseberry Park as I am really at the edge of the proverbial cliff right now. The floor beneath me is crumbling yet I cant seem to completely tear myself away from the edge. When I think it is sink or swim time I get scared as to be honest, swimming is not my thing!

I wish I could say I was just being dramtic, writing for creativity purposes but unfortunately this is my life at the moment. As much I have and continue to work my arse off for that bigger picture dream I have in my head, its seems the law of Sod is working against me. Depression has pulled out the big guns. He really doesnt like the fact that I have had the upper hand for the last few months. Or at least I thought I did. Right now I feel like it has all been one cruel joke. Dangling the carrot of the illusion that all my ducks were finally starting to get in a row, when one of the little buggars decided to do a flit and the rest just lost their head in a mass panic!

OK, what they hell am I babbling on about? I dont know. I just needed the soothing sound of the keys tapping under my fingers, I just need a form of release and after running, this is second best in the coping mechanisms I have to stop me losing my shit completely. I know bad stuff happens, I know I firmly believe everything happens for a reason but sometimes I really just think life likes to play you. To test you. To see if you are fit enough to take on the amazing things you keep telling everyone you are going to do.

So, what has happened to push me to my limits? What has occurred for me to honestly call this the “worst week”? Well lets put it plain and simply – my work life has gone tits up because I pushed myself too far and catapulted myself back over in my recovery process by trying to keep biting my lip and be a decent employee and then I broke my husbands heart by telling him our marriage wasnt working and we needed to be apart. To some it might seem like I am taking this all remarkably well, that it hasnt phased me, they may even believe it must have been easy for me. Easy? No. After nearly 8 years of marriage and 10 years of being together, with someone who has always been my best mate as well as my husband, easy is far from what it was. It was officially the hardest thing I have ever had to do and knowing that although it is the right thing to do for both of us, that I have caused so much pain to someone I love so very much, well lets just say, I have never felt pain like it. Yet I would hurt ten fold if I could take his pain away.

How do I know that I have done the right thing? Because we were becoming toxic for each other. Maybe it would make this easier if one of us had actually fallen out of love but we havent. In fact if anything I think we are probably guilty of loving each other too much, and not always in a healthy way. Thing is, for a strong, healthy relationship there has to be more than just love – you couldnt build a house with just one wall could you?

I am not going to go into detail about our relationship. That is private and out of respect of our vows I dont think it is necessary. What is to be said is we have agreed we both have issues that have just simply overtaken us too much to be able to focus on each other and our family. We need to be apart to start building ourselves to be stronger, happier, more balanced people. We deserve that and more importantly, our children deserve that. I grew up in a very unhappy home in a lot of ways and I truly believe that had a massive part to play in my issues, in fact in some areas I know for a damn fact it did! I do not want my children to struggle like I did. I want my daughter to grow confident and with a firm idea of what she deserves when it comes to being in a relationship. To know that if something isnt working, you try hard to find a solution but if you cant, it is nothing to be ahsamed of to admit that it isnt working. I want my son to grow up and know that he needs to be independant and strong and settle for nothing less than perfect for him yet know how to treat a girl properly. He should be making her cry tears of joy not tears of sadness.

My husband is a good person. One of the best I have ever met. Well I married him, so go figure!  I am a good person, or at least on my way to becoming one. Although heart breaking I am so happy I can still call him a friend, that we can support each other, that we still have the ability to talk about what we want, what we need, what we have done right and what we have done wrong. What we are doing is not giving up! No one who knows us can say we have not fought to keep our relationship going but what I hope people see is two people who have finally admitted there is a problem. It wont destroy us, it makes us more determined to go forward. It wont define us, it makes us fight harder to get better.

I know I hurt him by speaking the words out loud so soon, that I removed my wedding rings too. I can imagine that does put me in quite a bitchy light, but it was not aimed to be malicious or to cause any undue aggro, it was my logical side drawing a line. Trying to be strong and say right, this is it. Like tearing a plaster off. I have two sides to me, my logical side that enables me to get by day to day, to accept horrendous situations that have occurred, then I have my emotional side. The poor cow who I have constantly locked in a box. But this time, she broke free, and the arguments I have had in my head since Friday have been epic! I cant start to investigate how my heart really feels though until I have my head sorted. So for now, she can be out her box in the sense that I will let myself cry when I need to, but she is going to have to wait for the big indepth investigation of what the hell I am actually feeling, because right now, if I explore that avenue properly, being in the position I am on my MH scale, I am actually scared where my brain could take me. It is dangerous and it pains me to say that.

The thing is, I need to look at this all in as positive light as possible. If me and him can get better, can really address our issues, grow and become stronger, we will then in turn become better people; better partners and more importantly better parents. So that there is what reason I am going to take from this whole horrible situation. We are both looking forward now, not back. No papering over the cracks and slipping back into old ways which were slowly destroying us both.

In addition, I have had the decision made to take myself out of my work situation, for the forseeable future. I have been doing EVERYTHING I possibly can to help myself get better but when there are situations occuring that are just destroying you and your sanity, there has to be a time when you admit, enough is enough! Before I end up back where I was and thinking that there is only one way out of the misery and darkness. To be honest, I am way too close to that place than I care to admit and that is scary. I am lucky though, I have the strongest support network. Without them, I would be a shadow of myself. I know they wont let anything bad happen to me and they certainly wont let me become a victim of myself.

So for now, it is a case of taking each day as it comes, literally. Filling my days with positive things, working on the foundations I have already set; college, my volunteering, this blog, my social media campaigning and my getting myself physically fit. As I always say exercise is my therapy and I NEED those endorphins at the moment desperately. One other thing I am going to work on doing though is – resting. I need down time. I need to stop corkscrewing myself into the ground in a bid to make everything so fantastic that I cant see the bad things. I need time alone, I need quiet time, to rediscover who I am as an individual. I need to get better.

Wow! What a long blog! If you have actually got to this stage, I salute you!

Until the next time I need to type……..

CC xx

Is it YOUR #TimeToTalk ?

Another month and another much needed, in my opinion, day of awareness on how important mental health is. February 1st is Time To Change’s turn, with their Time To Talk campaign.

Talking. From the minute you are born it is something your parents are so eager for you to start doing. They wait patiently every day to hear a word, a phrase, your first full, normally nonsical, sentence. Then comes the toddler/early school years where the chatter becomes constant from the moment the day starts to the moment it ends and parents are going bald from incessant hair pulling at the repetition, wishing sometimes they could shove play doh in their ears and their mouth is constantly dry from the “ssshhhh” ing and the “2 minutes”. The thing is, the thing I love is, that despite all this, the child never stops. They are more than happy to get their thoughts, feelings, opinions and general nonsense across. Me? I envy them!

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there for which talking is not an issue. I dont mean general, gossip or whatever but those lucky people who can open up. Who if they have a problem, are worried, sad etc have a place or person where they can go and get it off their chest. For someone who is emotionally and verbally challenged, although working through it, I can honestly say, the power of speech, the power that releasing words can have, is seriously under rated!

I cant remember when I stopped talking about things of substance. I cant pinpoint the time that I decided it would be easier to keep my emotions within. Where my brain decided I would be a logical thinker instead of a emotional one. The weird part for me is I can sympathise and empathise with people because of certain events that have occured, yet I wont always make the conscious link that that is what is happening. If I had a penny for everytime someone asked if I was OK and I turned around and said yeah of course when in fact I was crippled with misery/fear/loneliness I would be rather rich and definitely own a pair of Loubotins! When did I decide my pain wasnt worthy of support? When did I start thinking that no one cared? When did I think that if I was to say what was going on in my mind people would laugh or tell me I was being silly?

This inability to vocalise my thoughts and feelings created an internal wall and a hard outer shell. I became a not very nice person in ways so that I could deflect my own misery. The thing is, I think I got so good at being this version of a person, I managed to fool everyone, myself included, that I was that person. People had no reason at all to think there was anything wrong with me, bar the obvious daftness. What I wish and what I have learnt though, is the power of those simple words – “How are you?” and “Are you OK?” Just because someone isnt necessarily showing obvious signs that there is an issue, doesnt mean they are not struggling. If they seem to be dealing with a difficult situation remarkably well, maybe that is the action that could trigger the whole, maybe I should pay a bit more attention? From the person who is struggling it is a tough ask but believe that those asking actually care, that they want to know.

A wall can only hold back so much, once one crack shows it isnt long before they start to spread, like a disease. The wall weakens, it even starts to crumble. The problem is, if you dont have the right support structure in place, when it falls it can cause A LOT of damage, to yourself but also to those in the “splash” area. That is the thing that many Screenshot_20180131-072541.jpgpeople forget with mental health problems, it is not always only the sufferer who could be struggling, it could be those around them. Those that feel they should be strong, that they should be able to make them better, that are so confused as they do not understand what is wrong. People fear the unknown and I believe that mental health awareness should be taught and talked about from as an early an age as physical biology. They are just as important as each other!

This Time to Talk day, it doesnt matter who or what or where, just ask the questions, “How are you?”, “Are you OK?”. Reach out to someone who seems to have drifted away, contact a relative that maybe you havent spoken to for a while, take a friend for a drink, have a quality conversation with your children – whatever they want to talk about! Kids have feelings and worries just the same as an adult. They should NEVER be made to feel that what they are thinking or worrying about is silly. That monster under their bed could be a whole lot more than just their imagination.

For those who feel they dont have a voice, start off small. You don’t need to offload in one conversation, but if someone gives you an in, and you feel you can use it, go for it. If talking to people you know seems scary or impossible, reach out to someone impartial. I will always have so much respect for my counsellor as she really did help me see. I could say things to her I still would never dream of saying to those I care about. She gave me my voice. My blog gives me a loud voice, but nothing compares to hearing yourself out loud, words spoken from your lips.

Your feelings are your feelings, your experiences are your experiences. Don’t ever feel ashamed or worthless. Everyone has their own battles. Your strength might be the thing that helps someone elses weakness.

It really is ok not to be ok, and it is DEFINITELY #TimeToTalk

CC xx

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Something Changed

“Something Changed – Stumbling through Divorce, Dating and Depression” by Matthew Williams.

I have been following Matthew on social media for a couple of months now, after he some how stumbled across my little old blog and shared his own with me. I absolutely love social media for this very reason – it enables you to connect with like minded people that maybe you would never have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise. From initial comments and finding out he is a fellow Teessider (I know I am not an official Teessider, being from Chester-Le-Street originally, but having lived here for over a third of my life now, I am going to assume I have been adopted!) it is clear we have a lot in common and quite a few of the same aims, namely, reducing stigma around mental health.

When I found out he had written a book, I was in awe. He started very much how I have (although much better with his words) with a blog (lovelaughtertruthblog.com for anyone interested, and you should be) and now is a fully fledged published author. For a little book worm like me, that was just a WOW moment! I spotted a post that was after people to review the book and I jumped at the chance. Not only did that mean I got to read the book, I got to blog about it. Win Win! So, here it is, my opinion, for what it might be worth anyway.

So, a book about Divorce, Dating and Depression. Maybe not a book you would automatically assume I would be interested in. I am not divorced, though truth be told, it has been very close on more occasions than I like to think about. Dating – thankfully never been involved in that area and if I am honest, if the worst was to happen and I found myself alone, I think I would become the ultimate cat lady. The prospect of “dating”, whatever that term really means these day, scares the bejesus out of me! Depression – ah, now this bit I know all too well about. I was intrigued to read it all, I am a very nosy person by nature and being able to read someone’s life on paper is like a dream, but in all seriousness, how people deal with things, especially mental health issues, fascinates me. So yesterday, although I had attempted to start it back in December when I received it, I picked it back up. From that moment I have barely been able to put it down! So much so, I finished it off today. What a read!

From the outset, what I was impressed with was the total honesty. Having not met Matthew yet, although hoping to sometime in the near future, it was like I could hear him telling his story. Like we were sat over a coffee chatting like friends do. I could pick up on the North East dialect, which I loved! A favourite line of mine being “it bloody knacked” in reference to when he dislocated his elbow. Writing styles like that keep it real, it kept me engaged, it helped me build more of a picture in my mind as I continued reading.  Although not the most uplifting title perhaps, the book it self is easy to read, easy to get involved with and bloody difficult to put down.

I believe it takes a very special, and in a way, brave person, to write down their inner most thoughts and feelings. I am not saying that because I do it myself, it is a genuine statement. Divorce is an extremely personal issue, something that people avoid talking about, it becomes the elephant in the room in some cases. To be able to write about it and then share with the world how it affected you, mixed in with your story of how Depression affected you too…… hats off Mr Williams! There is humour too, which to be able to bring humour into such a subject is a skill in itself.

As I was reading there was a lot I could relate too. It seems we have very similar experiences with our mate Depression and have a similar thought process. It always pains me to read someone’s struggle with mental health as I know first hand what a battle it is, how it feels to feel so low, so alone. I wouldn’t wish the misery it can bring on anyone. The sheer exhaustion it brings to sometimes just exist. But this book isn’t just about the bad times, it is about how he came back from that place, how, as I see it, everything happens for a reason. He might not be on the amazing path he is on now, doing the fab things he is doing, if it wasn’t for the experiences and troubles he has faced. It is a true story of a mental health fighter, a bad ass who didn’t let the lying little shit Depression win him over. He stared the Black Dog down and ultimately, won!

20180121_145958.jpgI don’t think there is a more apt phrase to end a book like this one. I love the feeling of positivity that runs throughout the whole book, even during the more sombre parts. I love that it has lit a fire in him and he wants to fight the fight for mental health understanding, to make mental health an every day subject. Suicide is the biggest killer amongst men under 45 as they don’t feel they can talk, that they should be able to cope with everything and be strong and not cry. Utter bull. It shouldn’t matter how biology defines you, I am pretty sure all brains are similar! Just because you have a penis does not mean that you have to not cry, or feel that you cant admit that you are struggling.

This book could and I have no doubt will be, the life line for so many men out there. If any part of the title jumps out at you, give it a read. In fact, just give it a read whoever you are because it is class. True fact! Because Matthew is doing what so many people wish they could but don’t quite have the ability to do yet, speaking out. He is being the voice of so many people, he will help so many people just by being himself. That, in my eyes, is just flipping amazing! Men and women alike, read it. From a lasses point of view it was really interesting to see things like divorce and dating from a male point of view. Without all the usual stereotypical bluffing and innuendos.

From a personal point of view, I think I best up my blogging game haha! But seriously, I am so glad to have “met” Matthew, to have been able to read his book and to be able to see where this crazy journey called life will take him. It’s all about the support and I have that to give by the bucket load!

Congratulations Matthew! You bloody deserve it! Keep going and I hope there is a book number 2 in the future. For now, this signed copy of book number 1 will take pride of place on my bookshelf. Thank you for sharing with me. I loved it!

Until next time!

CC xx

 

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Yep, a signed copy! *Fan girl moment*

 

#BlueMonday

Blue Monday. The most miserable day of the year, so the media and that will tell you any way. All started as a marketing ploy to separate people from their hard earned cash in a month where retail could potentially suffer losses due to the fact that, well, every one is skint after Christmas!

Thing is, these media ploys do have a habit of taking a hold and sucking you in and then you start to really believe in all the hype. Yes, stats show there is an element of truth to it; its been 3 weeks since Christmas (if Christmas is a happy, jolly time for you that is. I’ll say no more, apart from bah humbug!) it is another 2 weeks until pay day, the weather is cold and grey and it’s just basically a bit of a dud month, let’s be honest.

Maybe you are feeling blue, maybe for you it is just an utterly miserable day. For a start, it’s Monday! Maybe you can see a lot of sense in what the media and other people tell you. But I am going to say things from my point of view, from my situation. If you suffer from ill mental health any day of the year could be blue! There are 364 other days around this one, any of those could be a struggle. Not because some one has told you that it will be or that there are perfectly acceptable reasons for it, but because you simply have no control over it.

Everyone suffers in a different way regardless of what title their illness comes with. For me, as familiar readers to this blog will know, I suffer from Depression. It can be quite bad at times, but thankfully even my bad days are not as low as they were this time last year. I no longer have such intense dark thoughts about not wanting to be here any more, of thinking the world would be a much better place without me. However these thoughts can still flutter through my brain at times, more of a nuisance, like midgies in the summer. It is not me thinking of it though, like I say, I’m no longer in that place. I think it is more just my brain trying to play tricks on me and see how far it can push me. Maybe it is still my subconscious trying to process what happened and how I felt back then, as to be honest, I hit the ground running and have made sure I have been so busy that at times I have no idea how I feel or what I think. Comfortable, productive numbness I like to think of it as.

For me, over the last 4 weeks, about 80% of my days have been “blue”. I cant decide 100% if it is all my Depression but from the way I have been feeling I believe it is the main culprit. Apart from the odd good day, I have basically felt crap. I have so many exciting things going on in my life yet I have felt no excitement. For the most part I have felt sad. On some days I have felt so low I contemplated just sacking everything in and going back to that shell like form of myself. I knew how to protect myself in that form. I knew how to shut the voices out. But that is not me! You may see me struggle. I am a lot more open about it nowadays as I truly believe it is NOTHING to be ashamed of. I cant help who I am, how my mind works. I am chaos personified! However you will NEVER see me quit. That is not me. I have given myself a good talking to. I know I can’t just “get better”. How mint it would be if I could!! But I do know how I can cope better, how to manage my symptoms. I do know that I hate pity and the worst pity is self pity. Being in the dark place is what brought me to all the amazing things I have in my life at the moment, what has given me all the fabulous people and support I have.

So today, I am giving a massive middle finger to Depression, to Blue Monday, to self pity! I am going back to basics. I knocked out a 5km run this morning. I am not a failure. I am not letting any one down. I am not letting myself down. Those thoughts were Depression being an idiot! Trying to trick me. Quite clever is old Depression. I think he thought he had won. In fact I was starting to believe he had. I am coming back fighting though. I don’t lose! OK, 2018 has not started how I envisioned, how I hoped but that does not mean that my return won’t be EPIC! Just watch me!Screenshot_20180115-102024.jpg

Back to basics for me is a selection of different things. You will find that your points or list will be different, it is all about what works for you. Mine are as follows:

  • Routine and organisation. When things are messy or up in the air my head becomes messy. So that means, diary management, visual plans like Mind Maps, plans and schedules, filling in my variety of journals – Happy, Happiness Planner, Runner’s Planner etc.
  • Blog. I love to blog. It gets all the crap out my head onto the screen and everything seems a bit easier to manage. The sound of the keys typing is so therapeutic, even if what I end up writing makes no sense to anyone but me.
  • EXERCISE – whatever exercise that might be. Now my Achilles seems to be better, I can make sure my January targets get hit, no matter what. I only set realistic targets, I don’t set myself up to fail, ever. I may have to push a bit harder, but hard work never killed anyone. I know the sense of satisfaction will be amazing!
  • Finally, the one thing I struggle with. Honesty. I need to stop burying my head in the sand if I feel bad and just say. A bad day wont define me, nor will a bad week or a bad month.

For the rest of this month I am going to find daily positives. My silver linings that I pride myself on finding were starting to get lost in the fog. I have found my glasses again though, so things are literally clearer and I can start looking again. Blue Monday is just another Monday for me. In  fact it’s going to be a good day. I can feel it. I am wearing bright yellow to bring some sunny vibes into the day, my nails are RED in homage to RED January, which I got a lovely message to say that so far we have raised over £322,000 collectively for Mind. WOW! My smile might not fully be reaching my eyes yet, but it is a lot closer than it was yesterday.

If you are blue today, I am sending positive vibes and virtual hugs. Life is stressy, stuff can get in the way, circumstances can push you to your absolute limit! One thing I do know is, you are fabulous. Your health does not define you, it is part of your journey. If you are feeling bad, I challenge you, write just 3 things that are positive in your life today. Tomorrow is a new day, a blank canvas.

Until next time.

Love

CC xx

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Reflection!

Ideally I wanted to write and publish this blog on the 1st as a proper started to my year, but to be completely honest, I was loaded with cold and I simply could not be bothered. The fact I got out and jeffed my way round 2 miles for RED 2018 was a massive achievement on it’s own, although maybe not my best idea! When will I learn? Probably never but you know what, I think I am OK with that now.

Anyways, back to what I wanted this blog to be about, reflection. I know I have a tendency to reflect quite often and personally I think that is a useful quality to have, but being the end of the year, and having possibly the WORST December known in my small ish 33 years of life, I have probably reflected more than normal.

Now that isn’t to say it is all bad. I don’t necessarily want this to be a massively down post as today I feel pretty good. Physically I am back to about 80% health and managed a 2 mile run where I actually ran it, emotionally I am stable if not slightly annoyed about a few small things and mentally I am ready to get back to normality ie the crazy manic life I have taken on for myself. One thing I have definitely learnt is lack of routine, busy-ness and “healthy” stress does not agree with me!

2017 as whole? Where do I begin? Started fantastic with my first Run Every Day January, work life was a constant rollercoaster due to events occurring within the business itself, I have made some true forever friendships, lost some people I thought were close to me, had more than my fair share of marriage issues but what we are fighting our way through; but then I launched this blog, started volunteering for MIND, started college. applied for uni, completed a 10km and a HALF MARATHON!! Me!! Like, wow!! Basically it was a year of high highs and extreme lows. Lows that were circumstance based, lows thanks to my mate Depression, lows where I truly thought the world would be better off without me and I didn’t want to be here anymore. I cant express how much I am so very glad my attempts failed. I have so much to live for and I finally see that. I have goals, both short and long term. I have children who NEED me. I may not be mother of the year, far from it, I make mistakes constantly but what I lack in maternal instincts and the ability to get involved in activities that I see everywhere, I counter act with unconditional love.

My Depression has made me be a horrible person at times, over the years but certainly this last year. I have been moody, angry, negative, snappy and a basic pain in the arse to be honest. I have tried to push those closest to me away, I thought I was not worthy of love and respect. I would do things to hurt myself and inadvertently hurt others then feel an immense amount of guilt. Guilt is something that tends to stay with me, I have had it pretty much all my life but hopefully I am slowly managing to control it, to manage it. I look back over my old blog posts and I am so proud of my honesty, of letting what was pulling me down in my head go. I never expected anyone to really read it, I genuinely do it because for me it is therapy. I miss my counsellor quite a bit at times but I know that for now, that part of my recovery is over. She helped me discover ways that I could release what I need to and walk away from negative dramas. She made me see that I was a fighter, that I could use the negativity and spin it all into positives. I have always been very self aware, dealing with emotions has been what I struggled with, preferring to put a massive wall up and lock everything away apart from logical things. She, along with some very special friends have helped me realise that feeling is always a good thing.

Another thing that has been a slow realisation but one which is ultimately helping me unlock parts of myself is that I cant compare myself to others. I know I have touched on this in various ways before but it is very important if you want to become a stronger person. You have to have faith in your abilities, appreciate your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses, celebrate what others have that you don’t and help them build on what they struggle with. I have seen a few memes these last few days that really made me think. With everything you can be, with all the possibilities, BE KIND! Screenshot_20180102-051903.jpg

You really do not know what some one is fighting. Even the most vocal people can be suffering and you don’t know what could trigger them. I have been thinking the last few days that may be I am TOO positive at times. Maybe I come across as a brag? Maybe I post too much about my achievements and what I have done that is goes against the whole me helping people theme and actually makes them worse? Now this would really affect me if this was true as all I want to do is use what I have learnt to help others. Although I have had no negative feedback to me directly, I haven’t been strong enough to not let external issues affect me negatively too. This got me thinking, should I feel like I should hide away to make others better even at my own detriment? Is it selfish of me to keep posting what I post as it makes me feel good to see what I have done? That it keeps me accountable and I can see exactly how far I have come in a year?

Do you know what, no. I got myself into a bad place by putting EVERYONE before myself. I wouldn’t talk about my problems to anyone as no body deserved my crap, or so I thought. Yet I am always willing to be there for everyone else and always will be. That meant I was yet again putting myself down and believing I didn’t deserve back what I was giving out. We all deserve that. Being positive is my thing. There is so much negativity and stigma and just plain nastiness that if I can help even just myself smile that has to be a good thing right? Everyone deserves support, encouragement, a sounding board to shout about their successes where we all clap, cheer, whoop and just generally bask in their blatant awesomeness! Because, to me, we are all amazing in our own ways. Whether it is fitness related, professional achievements, family celebrations or just the fact that today you beat Depression by getting out of bed, by getting dressed and eating some food.

2018 is going to be my year. Just watch. I am going to run a full marathon, Red Balloons is going to grow, my volunteering will continue to bring me so much joy, my blog will continue, I will get into uni and FINALLY I will leave my job. There will be dark days, there will be low times and there will be times when I think, that’s it. But I wont give in. Because I finally believe in myself and I can see a future. A bright future at that.

Sometimes you have to stop avoiding that mirror. Your reflection can tell you so much more than you ever realised.

Much love and best wishes for 2018

CC xxSnapchat-1598745327.jpg

12 days of #ChristmasinMind

Yesterday saw Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind kick off their Christmas campaign #ChristmasinMind to help people see that even at the “happiest” time of the year it is OK to not feel OK. I personally think it is a fantastic campaign as being someone who is often called the Grinch for her dislike or at least her complete lack of interest in the festive season apart from the mulled wine and having a valid reason to be hungover (or still drunk) on a Tuesday, it is important that people can see behind the fairy lights, tinsel and brightly wrapped presents to what is a reality for so many people.

For those who love every bit about Christmas, I am not trying to be Debbie Downer. At the risk of sounding like a giant piece of Stilton I would LOVE it if everyone could have the same festive glow and happiness at this time of year, the same way I wish everyone had a warm, cosy home, food in their belly and the feeling of love and safety. But at the risk of sounding blunt, please, let’s get realistic. If you want to live in your little snow globe of candy canes, Christmas trees and mince pies, I urge you to stop reading now. Or at least invite us all in for a big piece of cake 🙂

Have you ever sat in a room full of people and felt utterly alone? What about at a works party, where you seem to be having the time of your life but where in fact you are drinking to numb the pain? You end up being the drunkest person this side of the equator and go down in “legend” or “joke” status for how the night ended, with your face down in your doner meat? Have you been that person that has craved attention, even of the sexual kind, and will take it from anyone, just to try and even temporarily cover the disgust you feel at yourself? ………….. I have.

Whatever it is that you are suffering from, be it an established mental health condition like me, a result of a terrible experience like bereavement or maybe having a stressful time in your current life where you just cant seem to get your head straight and have no Screenshot_20171213-074740.jpgidea whether you are coming or going, it can be really hard to admit to even yourself just how bad you feel. You might be one of those people who hide away from the world, you  may get up, slap on your game face and go about your day like you are not emotionally breaking inside as you just don’t have the time, you may go opposite end of the spectrum and get completely wrapped up (no pun intended) in the season and seem like Mary Christmas in the attempt to do anything to cover up how you are really feeling. I just want to say, all of these things are completely OK. However you cope with things to get you through the day is so very OK. You being here, with us, with those that care about you and love you is all that truly matters. Not how much you might have been able to spend, or how entertaining you have been, how big and bright your Christmas tree is or how many Christmas films you have managed to binge watch in one go.

Honesty I really believe is key. There is something to be said for the whole “fake it till you make it” scenario, sometimes you can even find yourself having an unexpectedly good time. At the same time though this can be completely exhausting and if it is what is making you feel worse, please, do not suffer in silence. It is good to talk. It may not be your nearest and dearest, it could be an online group (join Run Every Day January – what an amazing group of people) it could be your GP, your significant other, your best mate or just someone that you know might understand. I always have a listening ear if someone feels lost and not sure where to go. I cant offer professional advice or diagnosis or anything like that, but what I can offer is friendship and someone who genuinely cares.

It goes a different way too, you may be completely great and going about your day in your usual jolly way, but have you noticed someone round you has changed? Are they quieter than usual? Are they cancelling plans? Are they acting out of character? Are you worried or concerned about someone even though you cant quite put your finger on why? Then I ask you, please, give them the greatest gift you could – your time. It could be as simple as a “Are you OK?” message – they might not have been asked that little three word phrase yet it could be a lifeline for them to open up. If they are avoiding social gatherings, invite them out 1 on 1 or for a coffee at yours. If they really don’t want to talk, and some people, speaking from experience, simply wont until they are completely ready, just be there. Be their friend. Send them daft GIFS, meme’s, keep them included, let them know, no matter how low they are feeling, they are not alone.

Social media, although I am using it as a huge positive in campaigning and registering my achievements, unfortunately it can be used and seen in a negative fashion. Although you want to show the world you are having the biggest, best Christmas, do you need to show the world? One, is it the genuine truth? but please, think of the people who may be struggling – financially, emotionally, mentally. I am so not saying you should feel bad about what you post, it is your social media, your life, but maybe just stop, for one small moment and think, why am I doing this? If it is to show the massive pile of presents in comparison with others you have seen?

There is a lot of pressure put on us, commercials and shops start their Christmas messages and promotions earlier every year, but I think what we are starting to lose, is genuine Christmas spirit. It is becoming so much more materialistic year on year. Little Jimmy NEEDS the brand new games console, Jane MUST have the latest trainers etc. I was thinking about this the other day. If I look back over my Christmas’s, especially as a child, I can barely remember what I got, apart from a few things that stand out as I really wanted them, but they were little things, things that wouldn’t have cost much money but that my Mam realised how much I would appreciate. What I do remember though is family meals at my Nana’s. We might have had a small family but it was lovely to be all together. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect, there would be arguments, tears and the lot but we were together, Even my Grandad would come and sit at the table! That was like a MASSIVE deal. There was also a lot of love and laughter. I miss that, so much and I know now, I never appreciated it when I had it. Not really.

This Christmas, I want my children to appreciate not what has been bought for them, but how loved they are and for what they do have not what they might have wanted and didn’t get. I want them to feel safe, happy and content and I want to make memories that they wont forget when the latest model of whatever comes out next year. I want them to believe that they are worth it, that they are special in their own way.

Screenshot_20171213-074503.jpgFor myself, I am going to actually try and believe that I am worth it. That I don’t just have to be there and do everything for everyone else. That it isn’t selfish to want to do something for myself, whether it be an undisturbed bubble bath, a run or just going to the shop without my rabble so I can have a bit of space. That if I want to work on my college work or blog for a little while then that is OK. That will go such a long way in helping me overcome often negative feelings at this time of year. I am not going to stress that I haven’t been able to spend a fortune, or that I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet as I have been so ridiculously busy building a foundation for a potentially fantastic 2018. Christmas is one day and what I do promise, is to give me, my time, to those that I love.

I am lucky that I have battled a lot of demons this year and that Christmas is hopefully not going to be the emotional mess it has been in previous years for me internally. My journey is far from over but I am strong and I will keep fighting.

For those struggling, remember, it’s ok not to be ok, even at Christmas time.

CC xx

 

Battling demon’s you cant always see

Gutted! My run streak, although no where near as good as it was at the beginning of the year, was going well and for about 95% of the time I was genuinely enjoying every run! I am doing only about 2% treadmill runs  now, where it was the opposite way round in January. Then, SHOCK, I fell ill. Monday and Tuesday this week I have been so poorly even my eye balls hurt. The worst part wasn’t that I was in so much pain everywhere, it was that it stopped me in my tracks, literally. I was getting out of breScreenshot_20171205-140959.jpgath walking up the stairs! Now, I have had my little pity party, moaned like only I can, played myself mournful tunes on the worlds smallest violin even! The thing is, what do you do when you can’t do the only thing that you know will guarantee to make you feel better?! It was a tough one. Monday I pretty much just spent in bed as I couldn’t actually do anything else. Extra shame being added that even then I didn’t sleep as I couldn’t breath. But yesterday, I could move around so I was determined to get better! The thing is, once I stopped focusing on woe is me and being all pathetic, I got thinking. Oh dear!

The thing with me is I live life in the fast lane as much as I possibly can. Stopping is not an option for me; I don’t have hundreds of years on this planet so I need to move quick sharp to ensure the amazing things I want to achieve occur in my lifetime and while I still have at least a couple of my marbles left to enjoy the success. When I get forced to stop, like when I get ill, it gets my head all busy, in the wrong way. Sitting with my lemsip yesterday I got thinking about fear. What I am scared of and why. I try to stick a brave face on as much as possible, some of my fears are ridiculous but some are deeply ingrained in me and if I fall too far and feel too weak, these fears could hold me back from fighting and going forward.

Now I have the standard little fears that most people have; moths and butterflies for instance. Only in real life, I don’t like the way they fly at you and yes, even butterflies. They are basically just moths in HD! Ironically I do love the metaphors that come from them, a grub into a gorgeous creature etc and I do love pictures of them, as long as they are not gigantic. I even have a tattoo of one down my upper back. Weird – well that is me! It is the wings flapping and their deely bopper things. Give me goosebumps!

My most ridiculous fear? Gimps. They scare the bejesus out of me. All that leather, not being able to see their faces. Terrifying. If I ran into one I think I would melt into a puddle. To be fair to me though, it is the mask thing. I can’t stand not being able to see someone’s face. It is freaky! Halloween can be an interesting time for me. I beg you all, stick to the face paint!

As I have got older, heights slightly worry me, flying causes me anxiety and I doubt very much that I would get on the rides I used to love any more. You see, I worry more that something will happen and my kids will lose me. Sounds extreme. Again, that’s me. All or nothing!

But here are my personal fears, the thinking fears. The daft fears that I have no control over. I am scared that if I stop, I wont start again. That all the things I have started to build will come crumbling down around me. I am no quitter but I am absolutely terrified that if given a chance my brain will just go, erm, nahhhhhh. That I will give up. That the place of numbness and just existing will appeal again and I will just want a quiet life. Don’t get me wrong, my new found feelings scare me themselves! Some of them are very strong. The feelings of love I have mean I have the ability to feel loss and pain. Big style. But I now know that the feeling of love and happiness is worth that risk, that fear, of pain.

I am scared that I am completely kidding myself. I have such high hopes and grand plans for the future. Yet I feel a bit of a fraud. I know I put so much pressure on myself to do well that if I fail in anything the affect it has on me mentally can be quite brutal. I know this is what spurs me on but at the same time I don’t want it to be what destroys me if I don’t do as well as I think I should. It links to rejection I suppose. I know I have put weight on over the last few weeks so all I see in the mirror is the lass from this time last year. I know my fitness levels have peaked despite this but even the idea of not exercising scares me. The fact that I will lose what I have worked so hard to gain. I will lose my speed that has been amazing to be fair since my half marathon. I will lose my strength and muscle definition as I haven’t got a weights routine in place at the moment. I am utterly scared that I will lose my passion for it! If that was to happen I feel like everything would become meaningless. The foundations of my future and my principles are based on exercise and it’s benefits. I think it is because I don’t fit the stereotype of a person of fitness and I feel that even at 33 I don’t have age on my side.

So this is the thought spiral that occurs when CC cant run. Pretty shocking isn’t it?

Well today, today has kicked me up the bum and I can celebrate what I can and have achieved. I truly believe that facing your fears and going out your comfort zone is a compulsory part of self development and appreciation. If you don’t know what scares you, you cant really know what pushes you. I constantly keep surprising myself at the minute and I love that feeling. Feeling poorly for 2 days I expected the gym to be a bit of a disappointment and I was just going to get back in to the swing of things BUT

I RAN A SUB 25 MINUTE 5KM!!!! What the actual??

Go on CC!!

On top of that, yesterday I received an invite to my very first awards ceremony for my local MIND. Makes me so proud to be a volunteer and I am so excited to meet people and see what other amazing things happen across the charity and our local community. Our Christmas In Mind campaign kicks off on 12 December too. I have a little quote featured in the press release and I have written a Christmas Blog that will hopefully be featured on one of those days.

As well as this I have finished the assignments I had due and I am as prepared as I can be for a presentation I have to give tonight on social divisions – inequalities in gender, race and ethics within employment in modern society. Not even 50% I have a clue what I am babbling on about, but I keep thinking, it’s just one more assignment closer to Uni. So for 3 whole hours this afternoon I had the absolute luxury of doing……….. NOTHING! And for the very first time in forever, I could appreciate it, because I knew I deserved it. I wasn’t procrastinating, I wasn’t poorly, I wasn’t stressing or overthinking or beating myself up. I was just… ME.

So all in all, it’s been a sunshine and showers couple of days but I love the changing seasons in myself as it all just adds to the colourfulness that I like to think I have. Yes I have many fears, but I am not scared to admit them. That means they cant hold any power over me and Depression cant use them as weapons. I have never been more determined than I am right now, in this minute and the fact I have had a smile on my face all day – result! I do look so much better with a smile.

I believe I can so I shall!

Much Love

CC xx

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Self Care – but what does that mean?

OK, at this moment in time I am a mix of completely raging and on the verge of tears, I had pretty much finished this original blog but somehow I managed to wipe the whole lot off my screen! Now I could lose my head and toss this laptop across the room, but there are 3 things stopping me, 1) I need said laptop for my college work 2) It could have been a lot worse, it could have been said college work and 3) I shall make this new blog post insanely better. FML! *deep breaths*

Anyway, back to the point in question, self care. I have just completed day 13 in my self love  challenge. Self love challenge? What is that I hear you say? Well, glad you asked! During one of my regular social media scrolling sessions I came across the 30 day self love plan, every day it has a different thing in which you need to focus on in regards to yourself. I thought this was such a great idea! We spend so much time focusing on others or concentrating on our flaws we often overlook our elements of amazingness. The things that make us tick, make us thankful, make us feel good. We don’t always focus on what we could do to feel better, to enhance certain aspects of our life further or just to step back and see what a beautiful person we are. To further extend this challenge, I decided that each day, thIMG_20171116_173215_775.jpge particular answer to whatever question would be written on a coloured Post It note and stuck on a wall which I had no choice but to look at every day. Said wall being that to my “office” aka the sofa near the window that I am currently sat on surrounded by college work. I should be doing an assignment but I am procrastinating and doing this blog instead. If it counts, blogging is a necessity to me so I am not technically procrastinating. No? Not buying it? Was worth a try!

I wont lie, as much as I would class myself as a positive person, I really do try to find silver linings in every day, I fail miserably at looking at myself in a positive light and even worse at looking after myself. I know what I can do to make myself feel better and to feel good but more often than not I feel guilty and find something else that needs doing for someone else that is more important. I wont change wanting to do things for people and I love being busy with a lot on my plate but after a trip to the Doctor a few weeks ago due to my serious sleeping issues I have finally had a stark wake up call (no pun intended) that I MUST start looking after myself, properly! Currently I am rattling off the tablets I am taking, my skin is horrendous, I am putting weight back on because of the anti biotics I am on and I am mostly just feeling generally crappy. The irony that if I had just taken more time out for me, to look after myself, I wouldn’t be in this position, is not lost on me. A positive spin on this – I learn from my mistakes………..eventually! This is certainly one such occasion.

The thing is, I hate to be a hypocrite, so how can I expect to help people, motivate people and (in my dreams) inspire people if I do not practice what I preach? Simple answer, I wouldn’t be able to. I would theoretically be doing all this work and study for basically no reason as I wouldnt be in position to help anyone in any way. So, the purpose of this blog is to get down in writing the things I know will help me. Everyone will have their own things that help, it is certainly one of those things that you certainly cant compare with others, apart from to get ideas and tips maybe. I think it is important for me to take a step back and appreciate what coping techniques I actually do have in place that I probably don’t give myself credit for. To remember what makes me feel good and happy. The things that make me, well, me!

Here are my ways to self care:

  • A hot bubble bath – it has to have LOADS of bubbles, the water has to be hot, so hot in fact that I have to swing my legs over the side at random intervals to cool down. To make it absolutely perfect it has to be free of family distractions, candles lit, a playlist of my choice depending on my mood and a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Bliss!
  • Following on from the bath really but something I very rarely do – pamper myself. Lush smelling body lotion, sorting out my eyebrows, painting my nails and doing my hair. As a rule I am a shot hair up in a messy bun, slap some mascara on and go type of lass, but I love to do this and to be honest it feels so much more satisfactory when I am not going anywhere. When all I have planned is to chill in the house but I am doing this simply because it makes me feel good. I can remind myself that around being a Mam, Wife, Friend, Worker etc I am still a woman. Again, music features prominently, normally something I can sing along to.
  • Reading a book – for this to really work it has to be when I don’t have to keep an eye on the time for whatever reason . I like to get a drink, curl up on the sofa and just lose myself in a different world. Genre wise I am flexible but I wont lie, there is something so lush about a good love story!
  • Binge watching a TV series – this NEVER happens anymore. Mainly I just don’t have time and partly that the husband basically dislikes everything I suggest haha. So many things people rave about that I just haven’t even had a chance to look into. Currently I have season 6 of Scandal and basically all of the American Horror Stories to get my teeth into. Christmas holidays cant come quick enough! This binge watching comes with nice food and drink to make it really special
  • Blogging – I love blogging. I am never going to be one of those shiny professional bloggers, I am way too common! To be honest, as much as I always get a buzz when people read my random thoughts and I love seeing my stats climb, I genuinely blog as it helps empty my mind. I can rant, I can be sarcastic, I can chat absolute nonsense, it is a complete freedom that I had never discovered before. I actually enjoy reading them back and sometimes I feel like I am reading another persons story. The things I have learnt about myself since I started this in April is amazing!
  • Going for a child free drink with Darryl and/or friends. I love my children more than life but sometimes it is so good to remember who CC really is. I don’t even care if it is during the day or I have a curfew. An hour can have the same effect as a full on sesh. For those who don’t have kids, appreciate the freedom you have now, don’t take it for granted, trust me.
  • Little things like colouring in, baking muffins and cooking a new receipe from scratch. These just take me out of the here and now, stop me thinking about the gazillion things I MUST do and help me appreciate what I can do.
  • Finally, one that will start from 10th December, one that I am so excited for and that I believe will have a massively positive impact on my Depressio20171125_110609.jpgn – my new baby girl, Hope. I named her that as I wanted something meaningful from what I have learnt this year. I want to wake up every single morning with a guaranteed bit of Hope in my life. She is my self care saviour, she will look after me as much as I look after her. We connected instantly and I know she is my spirit animal. I can also guarantee one thing – she will be the fittest canine in Teesside! She is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Serbian Defence dog so she will grow to be a big girl! I cant wait for the cuddles, the laughs and seeing the unbreakable bond I know her and Noah will form.

So, that is my list in a nutshell. You may be wondering, but where is running on that list? Where is exercise? That is CC’s ultimate coping mechanism, the one that saved her life, in more ways than one. That there is the reason why it doesn’t feature on a list. It doesn’t as it is not something I can put off, it is something I have to do as a matter of necessity. Currently due to challenges I set myself I am not having any rest days (today was day 28 of #runeveryday November and saw me break through the 400 miles barrier for outside running miles this year!) but even when I do, the maximum I have, for my mental health is 1. Exercise and especially running keeps me balanced. If I have a bad day it keeps me from losing it completely, it gets my blood flowing, it makes me appreciate what my body can do despite me not liking what it looks like. I can celebrate my achievements and it makes me proud to be me. So yes it is self care, but for me, it is so so much more.

On a quick side note from this I need a mini rant. I saw an article on the benefits of running for physical and mental health and being the nosy cow I am I read the comments. Now, this article was featured on a mental health page and to be honest, although I completely understand that everyone is entitled to their opinions, some of these comments were disgusting and should have been monitored! I am aware I am very vocal about fitness and mental health being linked and it is where I want to end up. However I am well aware that it wont work for everyone. All I try to say is exercise comes in many forms, you never know what you might find that you like. For those people who say that if you can run you cant be suffering, well I am trying not to swear in my blogs anymore but F YOU!! Just because I am not taking anti depressants, just because I can motivate myself to do some sort of exercise everyday, just because I am working and going to college DOES NOT MEAN I AM ANY LESS OF A SUFFERER THAN YOU! I have tried everything, tablets (they just don’t work for me) counselling (my counsellor was an angel) and everything else I could think of, because I wanted to get better. I am determined that I will not let this horrible illness dictate my life. I have my bad days, bad weeks even but I fight them as hard as I possibly can. I have days where I want to give up, where I want to quit but I don’t. Exercise saved my life. It helps me clear my mind, it makes me happy. Here is an idea, how about we all support each other, try and fight these illnesses together instead of comparing! I don’t want to be better or worse than anyone. I want us all to be in a place where we can help each other. What works for one, wont work for another and that is completely fine, because we are all different. It is not a bad thing and NO ONE should feel bad for believing what they believe, in any form.

Rant over! I wont apologise as that needed to be said. None of us get out of here alive in the end, let’s enjoy what we can while we can not spend our time judging and bringing down others.

Ok, I think I have babbled on enough for today. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have genuinely enjoyed writing it.

Much Love

CC xxx

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My Personal Thank You to You

As you can probably tell, the mini series didn’t quite pan out as I intended, which in part is a shame but then again I think I knew it wouldn’t. However, I don’t think I expected it to be over 3 weeks until I wrote the blog to go alongside the aftermath of completing the single biggest achievement in my fitness journey, to date; a half marathon. But 3 weeks, and 1 day to be exact, is how long it has been, and not blogging has had much more of a negative effect on me than I ever thought possible!

It feels like there is so much to say and that so much has happened, but I am hoping to get those into blogs over the next week or so, this one is dedicated to my HM achievement, to blog the reasons that I did it, 13.1 very special reasons to me indeed. If I can try and get my emotions from it all onto this page too then that will be a massive bonus, but as I just type as I go, let’s see what happens.

Way back in April, when my lovely blogger friend twisted my arm into entering a HALF MARATHON when at that time I hadn’t even ran 10km, I never knew what a journey it would take me on. I have said a lot about it through all my blogs so I wont bore you all with my usual constant repetition. In a nutshell, the training was harder than I expected, holidays got in the way, I fell off the diet wagon, I was fighting larger than I care to admit mental health demons and I ended up with the biggest case of self doubt possible! So, I decided, in the week leading up to the run itself, that I couldn’t just do it because I was raising money, although amazing as that was, it wasn’t enough. Even the constant social media posts to keep myself accountable weren’t helping the overwhelming feeling that there was no way I could do it. The pressure I was putting on myself was unbelievable, I felt like I was setting myself up to be the biggest laughing stock going. I looked in the mirror and the two stone heavier, unfit lass from two year ago was staring back at me. What was I thinking?! I am no runner!

So, what made me do that 90 odd mile drive and subject myself to those 13.1 miles? It was YOU. You reading this, the people who support me, who believe in me, who knew when I didn’t that of course I could do it. I had trained (although I will hold my hands up, I will be much stricter and plan better when training for my marathon, more on that later) I was raising money but more importantly I was putting myself out there and raising awareness about mental health. I was publicly talking about my battles. I was shouting about mental health in a society where people still struggle to address it and approach it. I was fundraising and volunteering for such an amazing charity. They deserved this, the people who believed in me deserved this; therefore I decided I was going to do 1 mile for each person or group of people who have made such an impact in my life this year. Those that have been there, loved me, put up with me, not deleted me for being annoying and being “that” person who shares all their gym and running stuff on every social media platform going haha.

So here goes, my list of people, some of my most favourite people on this planet, in this universe in fact, and the reasons why. These people, these thoughts, this is what got me through that run. Through the easy bits, through the rough bits, through the bits where I honestly thought I was going to give up…………………………………….

Mile 1 – My gorgeous blogger friend Imani or Summer Shines to those in the blogging world. If it wasn’t for you Imani, half of the things I have going on in my life now would not be happening. Your constant belief in me, your love, your friendship, your gentle encouragement, you most definitely had to be mile 1 as if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have even signed up. Possibly a good thing I did wait to write this actually haha. I also wouldn’t have my blog and I wouldn’t be doing such amazing things as a volunteer for Mind. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart

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Mile 2 – My “words cant even begin to describe” RED family. If it wasn’t for you beautiful people being the outstanding, inspirational humans that you are, January wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun or as meaningful. You are like a true family to me, albeit a virtual one but who says that you have to be face to face to feel true love? You have cheered my highs, been there though my lows and I am so proud to be part of the RED community, this year, next year and every year into the future. Thank you so much Hannah Beecham for creating something so life changing.

Mile 3 – Jason, Mike & Billy – My closest RED males, the ones that make me laugh, that always check up on me when you know I am not doing so well, that acknowledge my training achievements with a like, love or comment. The one’s that although I know I hold my cards close to my chest, that I know I could trust with my life. You are true gentlemen. You have your own battles but you inspire me so much. You are so strong but caring and RED would not be the place it is without you. Thank you for being truly gorgeous humans and friends for life.

Mile 4 – Karen, Kirsty, Justine, Andrea & Liz – My closest RED females. There are so many words that I want to say to you girls; the strongest women I have ever had the privilege to get to know. What you women stand for, what you fight for, what you juggle and manage and do every day is just inspiring and I am a better person for knowing you. I love you all, so much. Thank you. Karen – truly OOTB, my fellow booze loving, naked man perving, dirty sense of humoured bad influence. Under that though is a lady with the biggest heart and just seeing your name makes me smile. Kirsty – my Scottish twin, I know you are not feeling great at the minute but you are smashing the hell out of life, you keep me going. Justine – my Yorkshire beauty, you have literally been there for me through some of the toughest times this year, you always say the right things and are so wise. I wish we lived closer as you give the lushest hugs.Andrea – my beautiful Southern Coyote, I really wish you could see what we see, you are wonderful and always there, no matter what you might have going on. Your determination is infectious and you post the BEST quotes. Plus you love Alice, tattoos and gin. It was always going to be a friendship made in heaven! Don’t ever stop saying it as it is! Liz – you are going to change the mental health world! And I get to say – “I know her!”. You are a running machine, always there with a supportive comment and much needed advice. You have a heart of gold.

Mile 5 – MB – Aw MB, my lush, random, Irish friend who can make me laugh even on my worse days. You deserved your own mile as you did the whole flipping Marathon, just because! I got to meet one of the most important people to enter my life this year. You are amazing and an absolute running legend! You always push me to be better but always celebrate what I do manage. You have kicked my arse, gave me words of encouragement and just generally been fabulous, even if you don’t like corned beef! You are stuck with me for life I am afraid. Mmmmmwwwwaaaahhhhhhh!

Mile 6 – Keith – You were legit one of the first people who took me under their wing when I moved to Stockton. I still haven’t decided if this was actually a good thing as I swear you were absolutely bonkers! Losing you was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. That I had no idea you were at that place, that you felt that that was the only way out will haunt me till my dying day but I am starting to understand more. I hope you are proud of what I am achieving. I think about you every day. The laughs we had, the crazy stuff you got up to, the dancing, everything. My life is so much better because you were in it and I miss you every day.

Mile 7 – My lucky number, had to be my beautiful children Bailey & Noah – There was a time in my life not so long ago where I thought the world would be better off without me. You two made me realise that that was so not right. If I could create two perfect monsters like you, the possibilities of what I can achieve are endless. I love you both with every fibre of my being. You are my reason for breathing, for fighting, for surviving and for making me want to make the world a better place in as much of a way as possible. You deserve the universe and I am going to work until I can work no longer to make sure you grow up and see how amazing you both are. You can and will be anything you want to be and I will be right there by your sides.

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Mile 8 – Nana – My number one heroine. My Wonder Woman. The lady that I would give next to anything to be able to spend just 1 more hour with you, to hear your voice again, for you to stroke my hair, for you to tell me everything is going to be OK. I miss you so very much and you are the one so far that has managed to make me cry. Life can be so unfair, you have missed out on so much but I hope you are looking down on all of us and are so proud. If I can be half as strong a lady as you were I will be happy. You were the true fighter. I think about you every single day and I hope you like Elma. I know you weren’t a fan of tattoo’s but it was the tribute I needed, just for you. A part of you is with me permanently. Love you Nan, with all my heart and soul.

Mile 9 – Faye – my best friend. Woman, you need a medal never mind a number on this list! The amount you have put up with is nothing short of ridiculous and I don’t think you really know how much I appreciate the fact that you haven’t ran away yet! You are my partner in crime, the one that gets me into trouble 😉 but the one who makes me wet my pants laughing, who is as daft as a brush and who I would trust with my entire life. I’d say you were one in a million but that wouldn’t do it justice. You are unique, one of a kind and I love you to pieces. Thank you. Always.

Mile 10 – Darryl – my husband, my reason for being as certifiably crazy as I am! haha! In all seriousness though, we have had one hell of a 9 and a half year. Lots of highs, lots of lows,; sometimes it feels like all we do is fight but we keep fighting together and we are still going. I love you babe. Thank you for trying to listen, for trying to understand, for letting Patricia shot stuff at you when she decided to make an appearance. For holding my hand through the bad times, for pouring my drinks through the good times, for making me laugh my boobs off every day and for trying to get me to see myself how you see me.  I really don’t give you enough credit but credit where credit is due. How you put up with me sometimes is beyond me!

Mile 11 – Mam – I wont lie, I have given you the most painful mile. We have had an interesting Mother Daughter relationship and that is saying something. The best thing I ever did was leave home at 18 as I think that helped us become as strong as we are. You have been there, when I stumbled and fell as a child, when I had nightmares and missed my Dad. I know I closed off a lot and I am sorry for that but thank you for never giving up on me. I know you worrying never stops and I have been worrying you a lot recently but I know I will be OK. You know how I know, because I am Josie’s daughter and my Mam is one of the strongest, kick ass women in the world! You have fought battles that some people could not even imagine. Not only that, you won! You survived and you are now a person that I know you never ever thought you would be. I know you are proud of me, but I am so very proud of you. I love you to pieces and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you. I may not always show my appreciation for what you do but it is there by the truck load. Thank you for being you. You are still nuts mind! 😉

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Mile 12 – My Crazy Lou – mad as a box of frogs, my skipping sexy crazy frog. You are one of my oldest Teesside friends and we have some stories to tell. The years we didn’t have together always make me sad but now I have you back in my life I am NEVER letting you disappear again. You are yet another fighter, a survivor, a strong woman who has suffered unquestionable horrors yet still bounce around with that amazing smile on your face. You have the biggest heart of any woman I have met. You are an amazing mother and friend and what you battle every single day mentally is beyond unbelievable. You wont ever let anything beat you. Thank you, for holding my hand, for wiping my tears, for making me laugh, for loving me and for always believing me, For giving me the hug I needed and crying with me when I crossed that line. It is memory that I will hold dear to me forever and always. I love the bones of you woman and I cant wait till 2018 and all the amazing things we will be do together! Here is to skipping sexy!

Mile 13 to the Finish Line – ME – I did it! When I crossed that line I cant begin to express the emotions and the thoughts that crossed my mind. I was in tears for ages and it took me a while to actually register anything. Everything hurt, I could barely breathe but I had done it! All those months since March, the hardest fight I have ever had to endure, it was like a finale. A massive fingers up to Depression. I won! I truly won and no one can ever take that away from me. I can do whatever I want to. Things may be scary, things will definitely be hard and I will have days where I will not believe in myself. But I can do it, I can do anything. I have never been so proud of myself, felt such a sense of pure confidence. It was amazing. It was everything I wanted it to be, everything I needed it to be and so much more. I have a new lease of life, a new sense of determination. #

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The people listed above were the people who kept me going and still continue to do so, daily. There are so many others that I need to thank though, my college family, my fellow MIND volunteers, my work colleagues, my family and the rest of my friends. You may not have been personally named but please do not think that you are no less important to me. You all are, so very much for so many different reasons.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

Here is to the next chapter in the crazy CC whirlwind. Onwards and upwards

Much love

CC xxxxxxxxxxx

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I’ve been waiting for this…… My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 3 & 4

Day 3 was yesterday and as a rule it was OK. As predicted I was busy and pretty word shy so that is that.

Day 4 – I actually don’t know how honest I dare be in my blog today. I can say right now that it isn’t going to be the positive. A bad day has sprang up and slapped me right across the face and it stings! Turn away now, close down the window and go back to whatever you were doing, have a fantastic day!

Ok, still reading? Well don’t say I didn’t warn you………………………………………..

I am going to chalk it all up to hormones and a mixture of severe lack of sleep alongside actually dreading going into work today that has me feeling so low that I want to sit under  a table like a small child and pretend I am not there. Not even 730am and I have cried, I have had (fleeting) darker than usual thoughts and I want to scream.

I should have went out for a run or to the gym, but even keeping my eyes open and focused is a massive chore. However I know if I tried, sleep would escape me. Where my mind normally runs a million times to the dozen, today it feels so slow. Like it is stuck in mud. Trying to grip the simplest thoughts and act on them is a challenge. I am going to have to use everything in my self help bank to keep me going today, one silver lining is at least hopefully for 3 magical hours I can lose myself in college as it is so full on I barely get a chance to think about anything else.

Today my mask will be firmly in place because it HAS to be. I still have to be a mother, my children can not see me like this, a wife, although probably a relief for him, Darryl wont see me today, a colleague, a student and a friend. Those are the labels I am proud of and ones I take very seriously , so today no matter how shite I feel in myself, that is what I will be doing. To the best of my ability.

Today I will be mostly introverted. My sentences might be shorter than normal, I may not even speak in some cases. I will be very much inside myself as inside myself I can keep myself safer. I wont unintentionally hurt anyone with what might come out of my mouth without me thinking. I wont be spouting shit that makes no sense because my vocal ability is all a bit mixed up and I cant quite make the connection between what is going on in my head and how to verbally express it.

Maybe caffeine will help? Maybe once I pull my arse off the sofa, make myself look presentable and get out the front door, this morning will feel like a distant memory. I can all but hope. I am trying. I am trying to act normal. I have music on, I am blogging, I am thinking of ways that I can help myself. Would the gym after college help? Never been later at night before. Will finally filling out my redundancy preference form and sending it straight back off marked VERY IMPORTANT whilst resisting typing at the bottom – please release me!! give me back that goofy, daft smile I have when I am not sticking my tongue out that is.

Personally I am hoping that Depression has just had a word in Mother Natures shell like and told her she has full reign to fuck with me this month. And of  course it would be this week, this weekend, because it is important to me. Fair play Mother Nature, fair play *applauds slowly and sarcastically*. I am hoping that this knot in my chest isn’t “Patricia” deciding that she needs to pay a little visit, because she is just evil. Maybe I will do some ball slams later and it will be enough to appease her and she will go back in her room. She is not a nice side of me. In fact she is bloody horrible. She holds my anger. The anger I spent many years trying to control. When she is let loose with it I lose all control of myself. All I am left with is the mess to clear up in her wake. She makes Ophelia look like a light breeze. She can do a lot of damage in a small space of time!

I think I have been using all my amazing things in my life as a plaster, covering a wound that really needs stitches. I am putting on a brave face and pretending it doesn’t hurt as much as it looks.  Mostly I have good days and it doesn’t seem to hurt but then again sometimes it fucking knacks. Yet I am making such a show of all these fabulous things I am doing and trying to do the absolute best I can with it all that I lose the ability to say, ouch ya buggar, that hurts!!

I don’t need to rest, I don’t need to give anything up. I can promise you that. I do get so many great things out of what I am doing. I just think I need to realise that I don’t always need to do things with such enthusiasm. I am allowed to have my resting bitch face on. I cant always find silver linings in every negative. Other people should have that ability. I cant keep ‘fixing’ things as it is just killing me! I feel like I am always the one that need to sort everything out.

Ok, rant and pity party over with. Although I have to accept this mood and go where it takes me, to a degree, I cant let it win.

3 days till Bamburgh!! The Finish line is actually in sight now! My energy levels are low now, I am physically, mentally and emotionally empty. I am going to think of this as a cleanse though. I am empty, to start filling back up with amazingness. Ready to run like I have never ran before.  I should be glad I have woke up at this stage like this and not Sunday morning. I can hopefully nip this is in the bud now!

I am OK, I promise. At least I will be. I have to expect these days and to be honest, I have been expecting it.

Sorry if I have bummed you out, but I cant always be sweetness, light, motivation and cheek. Sometimes I just have to be – this!

Love to all

For those struggling, big hugs. We can get through this together. There is always sunshine after the rain!

CC xx

And I’m feeling good…….. My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 2

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That’s this weeks important number. That is my official race number. Oh crap, shit has got real!

Received the official runners email today, advising of car parks and what not, starting up at the castle (stunning!) ending at the cricket green. Race starts 930am – result! Be in the pub with a strong alcohol beverage surrounded by some of my loved ones by 1230! Perfect! 😀

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So, the big question is, how I am feeling today? Well to be honest, pretty good. I went out before 6am today for a small just shy of 2 mile run. The 50 mph winds made it somewhat interesting I must admit. A new experience to add to my list! I made sure I let Darryl know the route I was taking and how long roughly I would be, you know, just in case I got knocked out by a flying wheelie bin or blown over to Kansas! I chose a route that was all near main roads so I could reduce risk of injury as much as possible and as a whole I actually really enjoyed it. Found myself laughing on more than one occasion. White van drivers must of thought I was off my tits. Can’t say I could disagree with them on the whole either! I loved how calm and quiet the streets were (sensible people!) compared to the brutish nature of the weather. Was a pretty amazing contrast. I never got my beloved sunrise as I was back before but all in all it was a successful effort. Decent pace and further than I expected to be able to do.

So what I have been doing today is breaking the run down into manageable little bubbles of thought. For instance, there are water stations every 3 mile, so that’s just 4 check points before the big Finish line.

20171017_182456.png As I have mentioned before I am doing every mile for a particular individual that mental health has affected in some way. For each of those miles I am going to think of good times we have had, things that make me laugh, songs that may remind me of them, how proud I am of how they have managed through any tough times in their life. I am hoping to have a little playlist to create at the end! As I am not going to be able to have my music on (daunting thought) I am going to practice a more mindful approach. Northumberland and Bamburgh are stunning! So this way, running on my own, I am going to really take notice of what is going on around me. One thing that surprised me but that I loved about the 10K in June was the atmosphere! I literally danced and skipped up to the finish line on that one, I felt like I could have kept going. Now I very much doubt I will have any desire to go any further than between public houses after this but you know, it would be amazing to have that same feeling!

Having looked at the map, planned my pre race morning , apart from food, that bit is throwing me slightly as I really do prefer to train fasted, I feel much more prepared. Much more in control. As we all know, I love a bit of control! I know what I am wearing, people may think, quite rightly, that I am bat shit crazy as it is end of October and I will be in shorts, but that is what I feel most comfortable in. Where I can channel my inner confidence with more ease. I will wear my Mind Middlesbrough & Stockton T shirt with genuine pride! And you never know, Elma might get her half marathon photo opportunity! (Elma is the rather large elephant I have tattooed on my thigh in memory of my Nana) . Dare I say it, I am feeling canny excited! 5 more sleeps!

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My food has been much better over the last couple of days and I am planning on training every day in the run up. I know people will have their own personal opinions on this, but it is what makes me feel in the best condition, which keeps Depression at bay. I don’t intend to train heavy. Run no more than 4 miles, although aiming for more 2 daily. I am doing yoga tomorrow with some weights thrown in before, but I am keeping weights down and missing my Body Pump class as I cant tempt getting serious DOMS where I either walk down the stairs like John Wayne or shuffle down on my arse!  I need to focus a bit harder on my core and make sure, one way or the other I drink loads of water. Keeping an eye on what I am eating until Sunday and not touching any alcohol until after I have collected my new bling, will hopefully ensure I will be in tip top condition. Lots of relaxing baths, lots of keeping busy which keeps me happy and hopefully lots of laughter. Just because I love to laugh.

So, now all I have to do is avoid injury and illness!! OK, pass the bubble wrap!!!

Until tomorrow comes, laters!

CC xx

 

 

If I can do it, you can! My Half Marathon Mini Series – Day 1

OK, so my new brainchild this morning, my new blog inspiration, is to do a 7 (ish) day series of blogs leading up to, including the and then the day after the Half Marathon. I have put the ish in there, just in case I get side tracked or swamped and I genuinely cant get one typed out. Why? You may ask. Well good question, are you comfortable? Then I shall begin………….

13.1 mile – 21.082km to be exact. This will be, up to this point, the longest I have ran, ever! I decided to do this little blog series to keep my mind off things, to try and control the anxiety and worry that I have over it. I know I can do it and I know I can do it well but that doesn’t mean I can just stop being me and catastrophising it all. What could go wrong? Oh so many things!

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I only started running with any genuine interest in January. I have ran or should I say “ran” on treadmills for a couple of year but never with any real motivation or drive. Just mainly to help whittle the fat and inches off my gut to be fair. Joining RED January saw me take the very tentative step into the great outdoors. It took a few weeks to really get my MOJO with it all, I was very obsessed with weights and HIIT up until this point, but the more I tried it, the more I started to enjoy it. Maybe it was the general mix up of my surroundings? Maybe it was going out with no clear plan of where I was going – just seeing where my feet took me? Whatever it was, that love started to grow, until I was signing up for an organised 10km race and before I had even done that, a bloody Half Marathon. Any one that knows me knows I don’t do things by halves. I just get swept up in it all. To add pressure to myself, as I so love to do, I decided I would do it for charity. Because running 13.1 mile isn’t a challenge unless you give yourself a generous fundraising target to obsess about – FML!

Now, 6 days until I go out there, the sudden realisation of what I have done is becoming clear. I am no athlete that is for sure. I am still the wrong side of 11 stone for my height and not even at my lightest this year. My training has been very hit and miss, with my longest distance ran so far only being 8.7 mile. Add into this lovely bowl of craziness, the fact my sleep patterns range from not enough to I need a caffeine IV and my Depression giving my brain good old daily left hooks and elbow drops – well it’s not really a recipe for the most successful or tastiest cake.

BUT

This is exactly why I want to go out and do this. I want to set myself a precedent. That despite all the things that I see as being against me, I can still go out there and do it! I have been fixating on times I think, a bit too much. Under 2.5 hours would be great but I wanted to aim for under 2. Now, I have had to begrudgingly remove those factors as they are starting to take over my life. Every run before today has seemed harder than usual as I was so fixated on my pace. Today, as I was poorly yesterday, I decided to take it easy and just get out there. I had no idea of how far I wanted to go or how long I would run for. I decided to just do what felt right. I smashed out a 5.5km in 31 minutes and I loved it! I had a genuine smile on my face all the way round. My playlist was freakishly motivating, like it knew I needed a little support. The air was calm, the streets were quiet and the colours around me were simply stunning. I do love the colours of Autumn, the reds, yellows and oranges. They remind me of fire, of strength and of life; which is pretty ironic as it is actually the leaves dying :-/

Anyway, I even managed to bang out a PB with my lap of my favourite park. This morning was good. The pain in my brain ceased as I was running, yes it came back when I stopped but it didn’t seem so annoying anymore. I had something positive to focus on. That is how I beat my Depression. How I manage to keep myself on an even keel. I look for the positives. Depression HATES positives. If I could have a chat with him I reckon it would go something like this:

D: You do know there is no point in you going out there? You messed up last week, you are just going to fail again!

CC: Nope. I am just going to go out and see what I can do. No pressure.

D: No pressure? Behave woman, pressure is all you know! Get another cup of coffee, curl up on the sofa and sit and feel sorry for yourself. You know you want to…….

CC: The appeal of a cup of coffee may be tempting but NO! I am lacing up my shoes and I am going for it. Starting my week right!

D: I’d say good luck but you need more than luck. Don’t know who you think you are? Thinking you can have it all. Get a grip! Get back to your little office job and no aspirations. You are getting on a bit now, what’s the point in starting again? 

CC: Fuck you Depression *slams front door – loudly!* 

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I truly believe that anyone can do whatever they want to do if they are willing to dig deep and just try. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and from my experience the best things in life hurt the most! Childbirth ladies?! It might happen successfully first time round, it might be something that takes a few attempts. I think it all depends on how much you genuinely want it. I wont let not being perfect stop me. I wont let my mental health issues have more control than is necessary. I can fight every bad day but if I get a few decent kidney jabs in on my good days I reckon I have a pretty decent chance of eventually winning the war. Because I want to. Because I need to.

So, today’s word of the week – FUN. This week I will have as much fun as I possibly can (without risking injury or illness). I want to wake up on Sunday morning simply bursting with motivation and happiness, because I have smashed this week! I may end up not being so much of a long distance runner, I may find that 10k’s are my limit. So I am treating this as a once in a lifetime experience, as who knows what state I will be in come dinner time Sunday. I tell you what though, there will be a massive smile and a thank fuck that is over as I cross that finish line!!

Until tomorrow lovely people.

CC xx

High highs – low lows

Relaxing has always been an issue with me. I just cant seem to be able to sit still for a decent period of time without feeling like I am wasting time or being lazy. When I am sat I am constantly thinking of what I have done and what I need to do, my brain seems to go in to overdrive. Unfortunately a lot of these thoughts aren’t always positive. I start to over analyse everything, I tell myself I could have done this and that better, I put pressure on myself by setting myself even more goals. I start to pick apart my diet and feeling like I haven’t trained well enough and I need to up my game. I start to feel fat and ugly and just generally minging. I don’t know why, it is just the way my brain works. The voices are starting to get quieter but they are there.

This week has had it’s fair share of highlights, World Mental Health Day was fantastic, the feedback I have had since has been lovely too. I passed my first assignment from college which was a massive relief, although to be fair it’s my level 3 assignment I am more concerned about. I am, as I do, aiming for distinctions, however at this moment in time a pass will do me! I also got my gorgeous new tattoo, well had the first sitting………….IMG_20171011_160445_704.jpgAs with all my tattoo’s, this holds significant meaning. The tree is the symbol of me this year, I started as a tiny seed, weak and small but I am growing into a big, strong person. It takes time, it might even take years but leaves are starting to blossom and my branches will continue to multiple. The branches are extensions of me, my exercise, my studies, my volunteer work etc. I had to incorporate my beloved balloons, these are not coloured yet, but after a little squabble with my tattooist, we decided to do them in different colours. I am not black and grey anymore, I am living in bright multi coloured glory. I have a firm grip on my balloons at the moment, the wind is blowing very strongly, a storm may be on its way, but I refuse to let go! It has taken me too long to get them all in one place. My 3 Red Balloons are there, pride of place at the top. A nod to my blog, to my future peer support group and my eventual empire. Those 3 Red Balloons mean more to me than I can ever really put into words. They are my future, my trophy for winning this fight. Finally, there will be one falling brown leaf. My dedication to Depression. I could and I do say a lot of bad things about Depression, it is a horrible illness that I spend my days fighting, every day. However, if it wasn’t for it, if things hadn’t panned out the way they did, I don’t think I would be on this path.

Mainly though, this week I just haven’t been myself at all. I have been very introverted. The noise in my head has been louder than the past few weeks but it just doesn’t make sense yet. Add in the excruciating headache I have now had for 4 days, well it hasn’t been the easiest time. I had planned to do my last long run before my HM next week, which I am starting to worry about to be honest, but I just cant. I know I need this time, I know I need to relax and self care, but for me, exercise IS my self care. I have had the worst week training wise since January and now it’s Sunday I am really feeling it. I feel like I need to pass the reset button. I cant keep dwelling on what I haven’t done, I need to look at all the things I have done, but when you feel so shitty it is so much easier to go into yourself and beat yourself up. Old habits die hard and all that jazz!

So, I have surrounded myself in planning tools and college work. I may not be able to get out there and run today, it would be too dangerous and far too risky being just 7 days away from the HM but that doesn’t mean I cant be productive. I can make sure that the unorganised messiness of this week is not repeated. I get a sense of relief in being able to see what I can do mapped out. As usual blogging is such an important tool for me and I love that I have discovered it. It just gives me that little outlet, to just, rant. Even though I have no idea what I am even ranting about. College is a fantastic addition at the moment as I am just so interested in what I am doing. I am actually looking forward to doing my assignment, which is so relevant to me – how mental health services, attitudes and treatments have changed over the last 100 years. I get so wrapped up in my research! I cant decide if I want to focus more on asylums or post natal depression. As it is an essay I am sure once I start writing, I will be pulled in a particular direction. My problem will be keeping to the word limit! I do get a bit carried away I must admit.

I am still sticking by my decision to not be on anti depressants but I realise that I definitely need to focus more on the things that help me. Yoga has become something I absolutely love. I cant quite explain how but it has such a powerful, positive effect on me. I am absolutely appalling at it and can I hell empty my head but it is just great. As a person who is naughty and doesn’t stretch nearly as much as she should for what she does, it is also physically beneficial.  I have so much on my shoulders now, I need to be strong enough to carry it all. I am only human, I know that but I also know that I work much better under pressure and I have taken on what I can manage, even if it does seem daunting. What I need to remember is not to lose out on fun, in whatever way that may occur. I cant believe that this time next week, my half marathon will be over and done with! Where is this year going??

One thing is for sure, I am determined to make sure that 2018 kicks 2017’s arse. Considering what I have achieved this year, it’s going to be one tough job, but if anyone can do it, I can.

Much Love

CC xx

 

#WorldMentalHealthDay

You may have seen this hashtag today. In fact if you haven’t you certainly can not be on any kind of social media platform. Although I haven’t been on I am pretty certain it’s even on Pinterest!

Maybe you have seen #WMHD or #oktosay or the simple but effect #mentalhealthawareness instead. Whatever it may be, did the post catch your eye? Did you read to see what it had to say? Or did you scroll past, assuming that it had nothing to do with you? It doesn’t affect you? Or maybe you are one of the people who follow me and you are just extremely sick of seeing or hearing the words – “Mental Health” 😉

Now yes, I have been like a record on repeat and yes, I am sure I have annoyed the life out of at least a couple of you, but for once, I’m not going to say sorry. The plain and simple truth is, I’m not. I will continue to stand on my soap box, spam your social media accounts, chew your ears off and do whatever I possibly can to keep getting the message across! The whole problem with starts with people not being able to talk. It could be fear of being judged, it could be not being able to vocalise what is the problem, it may be bad experiences with mental health services in the past, it may be that you just don’t believe in the whole aspect of mental illness. That is fine. No one, certainly not me, is here to force you, to goad you, to guilt you.  I will continue to be the voice until you feel strong enough to speak up. I will be the leader until you can come and walk beside me. I will show you, although it may be a scary place, there is a genuine comfort in numbers. There will be a lightness to your step when you unburden some of the weight from your shoulders.

I have had an very productive and satisfying day today although I will be honest, I haven’t quite caught up with my thought processes yet. I have a feeling it may take a few days for my already quite over worked brain to get around things properly so please, if this blog is even more random than normal, well you know why. My volunteer work for Mind Middlesbrough and Stockton has already given me so many chances to give back and be involved. They have really lit a fire in me and helped my passion for mental health and helping others grow. A couple of weeks a go I was filmed as part of an anti stigma film project – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ which gets premiered today at 530pm (I will be sure to share it once it has been released on social media) Mind were lucky enough to have the support of both Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Football Club. Alongside this I have been volunteering at a fantastic event in Stockton on Tees – Alright Teesside which has had stalls from organisations all over Teesside, workshops and guest speakers, all promoting ways to achieve good mental health, advice of where you can get advice and support as well as ideas on how you can help yourself, be it through Mindfulness, blogging or how a healthy diet coincides with a healthy mind.

With this event I was lucky enough to be chosen for a one to one interview with the lovely Rachel Bullock from ITV Tyne Tees. It may amuse you to know that despite all the selfies and stuff I post, I actually have quite massive self confidence issues. The publicity photo itself made me cringe and think, goodness I need to up my gym game!! However, just having watched it, and the anti stigma film, I just want to say, I am so bloody proud of myself!! Proud of what I said, proud of being open and honest, proud of putting myself out there, stepping way out my comfort zone and doing my bit, sharing a bit of my story. I will post the links at the bottom if I can, although there isn’t one yet for my news interview so I will try and attach the video to this blog. I am not the most tech savvy I must admit!

The one main thing I think that needs to be said, and what has been said by a few close friends of mine, is that mental health awareness cant just be about one day. The one’s who suffer wont stop suffering at the stroke of midnight when today has been and gone. For many, every day tasks are difficult to manage, sometimes even impossible. We have good days, even great days. Then we have bad days, bad weeks, bad months even. It is a constant battle that many of us will have for most, if not all, of our life. Some may suffer periodically, some may suffer due to a life event and then once that is dealt with they make a full recovery. Whatever mental health issue it may be, it’s important to know, you are not alone.

“LET’S MAKE MENTAL HEALTH AN EVERYDAY SUBJECT”

Lots of love and a massive thank you to all of you who support me, are there for me, believe in me and love me!

CC xx

In that moment

Quiet contemplation. Some honest reflection. Some pretty brutal crazy days that have had me actually genuinely questioning my sanity. That is what this week has been, especially this weekend. I have had so much to say, to scream, but the words completely escaped me. I knew I was struggling at times, I knew I wasn’t myself but for the life of me could I explain why. Now previously this wouldn’t have been an issue, in fact it would have been a much preferred option, but I have made so much “progress” that I know that this isn’t the way to go anymore. I know it eats away at me from the inside. It grows strength from taking my strength and I don’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late. So now I try to be open and honest about how I am feeling and what is bothering me. All fine and dandy, yes? Well no. Not all the time. As I am still very new to all this, when I am as tightly wound as I have been this week, well I just come across as a complete cow. Not to everyone I must stress, sure some of you reading this wont have even realised there was anything wrong. Ah the old, familiar feeling of that mask of mine. However, to those close to me, to ironically the one’s I love mainly, well you have had a very different experience with me. I am sorry!

I think it has a lot to do with that false sense of security I sometimes mention. I get swept so much up in what I have taken on, and for the majority of the time I am thoroughly enjoying it and I am thriving. The thing is, I get so wrapped up in wanting to do everything, make sure everything is done to the best of my ability and that the people around me are happy, I stop looking after myself. Although what I am doing is all my own choice, my decisions, my attempt at bettering my life and becoming the best version of myself I can be, I am so eager to please everyone else. Not so much that I care entirely what they think of me, generally I don’t, but because I want everyone to be happy. I live the dream that everyone can have a fairy tale Disney ending. Sounds pathetically sad, some may laugh, but I think it is a lush thought that keeps me wanting to aim high. I want to help people achieve as close to this Disney feeling as possible.

I cant decide if the way I have felt this week is a result of my Depression, a result of circumstances or a mixture of both. I woke up on Monday on top form, Tuesday was a fantastic day, I was truly loving life! I have been officially signed off from my counsellor and that was an amazing feeling. She believes I can go it alone and that I have the techniques and the drive to go far. Wow! What a feeling! I got so much college work done, I had a good run – everything was going great. Then Wednesday hit. No reason at all for it. I should have still been riding the buzz of the previous day! I woke up, angry. Angry, exhausted and flat. Two dimensional flat. What had happened in my sleep? I still have no idea! Where had this anger come from? Who was it aimed at? Most importantly, how do I release it? I didn’t know, so to a degree I haven’t. I wonder if it is still there? I had a few outbursts and I ran my fastest mile to date on Friday so channelling it into my training is beneficial. I just have this horrible feeling that I have buried it and not addressed it.

Yesterday I did my relay race for Mind which was a new event on it’s own. I ran the route with the organiser, then as he went onto the next section, I headed back on my own. The scenery was spectacular. Being so high up felt so refreshing. I felt free. I did something I never, ever do. I ran in silence. No music. Do you know what? I absolutely loved it! I don’t think it’s something I could do daily, the streets of Stockton are not exactly soul inspiring, but up there, on those cliffs, no one around me for miles, just the wind in my face, the rain on my skin, I felt completely me. All my stress, my misery, my anger, all the thoughts racing round in my head, they just simply did not matter. All my worries were as far away as the next person. I had a smile on my face, not my biggest but one of my most honest. I could see everything round me with so much clarity. I could appreciate just how beautiful things can be in their natural environment. How absolutely stunning our little corner of the world is. Yes I was proud of being out of my comfort zone, yes I did a decent pace considering it was trail running and me being clumsy, I had the added dramatic effect of wondering whether I would fall off the cliff edge. It all just added to the experience. Once I was finished I went for a walk down on the beach and just listened to the waves. It was cold but I couldn’t feel it. I got so lost in the peace. The sky might have been grey but for that moment, everything seemed so colourful.

In that moment I was doing nothing. I was being me. I was the only one in those brief minutes that mattered. I wasn’t thinking about what I had to do, or where I had to go or who needed what from me. I was just being. The stark realisation hit that I don’t think I have ever just ‘been’. I walked back to the car feeling that little bit lighter. A little bit more aware of myself. I have realised that I wont ever be the success I aim to be if I cant appreciate who I am now, this moment. I cant keep looking back at past CC, she has gone now. She has been so strong and taught me many lessons. I cant keep focusing on future CC though. If I can’t look after present CC, future CC will be just a dream, a figment of my imagination. I don’t want to keep living so much for the future that I cant enjoy and appreciate the here and now.

My children wont be little for long, I’m already getting told off by Noah for calling him a baby – he is a big boy now! Of course. Don’t I know it! I say little, Bailey is nearly a teenager! How did that happen?? I can honestly say though, what an absolutely amazing young lady she is becoming. I get more hugs now, so lush. She is more thoughtful and appreciative. She always takes things in her stride and up until recently I suppose I never gave her the benefit of the doubt. As she is so like me in some ways I assume I know what she is thinking. I don’t. Apart from my hideous moods and bad temper, she is nothing like me, she is her. I have two completely different relationships with my kids and I used to think that was a bad thing. I realise now it isn’t, it’s an amazing thing. They are two completely different individuals who need different things from me. But they know I am their Mam and that I will always be there. That what I am doing and what I am pushing myself through is for them as much as it is for myself. They deserve the sun, the moon and the stars and I am going to make sure they get them!

So my lessons from this week are;

  • Look after myself – I cant have it all if I don’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to say No.
  • Live for the moment
  • Plan my time so I don’t get so fixated on a massive pile of ‘To Do’s’
  • Be proud of what I have achieved so far, not what I haven’t managed yet.
  • Accept I am only human

My next big personal challenge is only 14 days away, or 336 hours. My Bamburgh Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. Each mile will represent a person in my life who is or has suffered from a mental health issue. Every footstep will filled with love, support and pride that they are in my life. The last mile, the hardest and most painful mile, that will be all for me. It will represent how hard things have been, how painful, lonely, impossible and emotional things have been. But I am going forward, I am breaking through barriers. I am winning! I cant wait to pass that Finish line, hopefully seeing faces of people I care the most about, hugs and a massive sense of self pride.

Training will hit it’s climax this week, then a week to taper off. I am as ready as I ever will be. Ready to show myself exactly what I can do when I believe in myself!

On that note, I am off to bake goodies I cant eat, run at some point and get stuck into some college work. Productive Sunday’s are becoming my most favourite time of the week. A day I dedicate pretty much all to myself now. Lush!

Love

CC xx

 

It’s only just the beginning!

**TW mentions of suicide**

Generally I am hoping that this is going to be a pretty positive post but let’s see how it goes. I love the feeling that tells me I am ready to start spouting the complete shite that goes on in my head but at the same time I am always a bit on edge about what I could potentially find out about myself. Often I have no idea what is bothering me exactly until my fingers start hitting the keys of  my laptop with the vigour of a man trying to the last of the tomato sauce out of the bottle.

One massive bonus about my college course, apart from the fact that so far I am loving it, is that it has got me thinking a lot. Not necessarily self dwelling although yes at times this does happen. I’m getting good at not burying my head in the sand and being more vocal about things. I mean it has got me thinking in a more academic, intelligent way. I feel like my brain is waking up. Although things are incredibly stressful and I nearly had a mini meltdown on Friday as I felt so overwhelmed with stuff, I also feel like I am finally winning my battle. Or at least I have crossed that line onto the good side. I wont get cocky and I am still realistic but what I also am is genuinely positive and wanting to enjoy the good days. I want to make the most of the good feeling, to laugh loudly, to dance crazily, to smile hugely and to be satisfied muchly with what I have, not what I want.

Over the weekend I have been thinking a lot about how I have felt over the last 7 month, especially back in March. The stage I am at now makes it difficult to comprehend that I was ever that low. Even during my bad days now, thoughts of self harm and of suicide do not even appear, at least not in a “I want to act on this” way. My fear of death has actually intensified. Is this normal? I have no idea. It feels so surreal that not long ago it was all I wanted. All I thought about for much of the day. Contemplating the best way to do it, wondering if I should leave letters, thinking about what my husband would tell my children, analysing what I thought would happen if I was successful. Would it be like going to sleep? Would it hurt but be like a satisfactory pain? The problem, if problem is what you can call it, is that being non religious I don’t know what I believe about what happens after. That thought now terrifies me to be honest, but less than 6 months ago, I didn’t care. I just wanted the pain to stop. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I wanted the voices to stop. I wanted to feel successful at something and for a very warped period of time, I thought if I could achieve death I would be hitting the ultimate goal. Seriously messed up way of thinking and to be honest, canny upsetting now I am where I am but even so, that is honestly where I was. Thank goodness I failed at that!!

What it did do is wake me up. So cliché but I actually feel alive now. I have put all the energy that was focused on the bad stuff and the past into the here and now, laying the foundations for what I intend on being a pretty epic future. I want to live a life worthy of a book of memoirs. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a shit tonne of material to write part 1 of the “Life of CC” but mostly that would be a pretty miserable and potentially pity inducing read and one thing I do not want from anyone is pity. Then again, I do have quite a few majorly humorous chapters courtesy of my fabulous friends and some of the weird and wonderful people I have encountered in my life. I have also got a couple Jeremy Kyle worthy chapters. My life certainly hasn’t been black and white that’s for sure. More like neon pink with luminous yellow stars!

One of things we are studying is the nature vs nurture debate. I popped a question up in my RED group as I am so fascinated with the different way people look at things and their opinions. It really is such a diverse subject and as I proudly class myself as open minded I can genuinely see why people think the way they do. For me, as a rule I do believe in the nurture argument. Yes there are certain fundamental areas that could determine your future, areas that could be chalked up to nature; your eye colour, your distinguishing features, your immune system, etc. However, I do genuinely believe that who you become as a person, your quirks, your personality, your resilience, comes from experiences and your environment during your crucial development stages. I use myself and my own personal experiences to base my opinion as what better evidence to help your argument than true fact. I am not saying I am right (for once 😉 ) there is of course no right or wrong answer and to be honest there never will be.

I believe I am product of my past and my experiences, not my parents DNA. Yes, I have my Mam’s nose, my Dad’s teeth and hair and yes, there is a long history of mental health illness on both sides of my family blood line, especially Depression. Do I think this made me more likely to suffer? No. However, I do believe that the effects of said ill health and how it made people in my life behave did have a profound effect. The thing that makes me laugh is when I look at me and my brother. We have the same parents so the same genetic factors. We (unfortunately) look very similar, although I am clearly the more attractive one! We grew up with the same experiences, under the same roof, yet ultimately you could not get two more different people! Although I am no longer close to my brother, it would not be fair on me to disclose certain things on here for the world to see, but I will say we were treated VERY differently as children. The funny thing is though, and my Mam has even admitted this, mine and M’s lives are the wrong way round. This just proves to me that you take what you need from a situation. I am a result of various occurrences but what I have done is made sure I rose above the bad shit. They have not defined me but they have moulded me. They have created a thicker skin, a passion to change my life, a drive to succeed and an overall more stronger woman.

It may seem quite contradictory but I am firm believer in fate and karma. Yes, I do believe that the path we follow depends on the choices you make but everything happens for a reason, off the back of choices we make and actions we take. I have people who have appeared in my life that mean the world to me, yes I believe it was meant to be, but then it is a result of who I am as a person and where my decisions have brought me. I could have used my Depression to sit back and make myself feel better about my pretty mundane life and the fact that I am pretty nuts when I want to be but I didn’t. I decided to take all my strength and focus and put it into new projects. Once I had decided that I was worth it, my life was not worth ending, I decided to myself that this was the time where I make it worth living. Where I decided right, let’s make it the best I can. Let’s achieve the impossible, let’s help others realise their potential, let’s put myself out there and be as honest as I can be in the hopes that I might help just 1 person who feels alone, that feels like they are not worth it, that feels like the world would be a better place without them. It wouldn’t. It never would.

I may miss the heartless bitch I once was, the discovery of feelings has been an emotional one in itself, but it has opened so many doors for me. I am so glad I sought help when I was rock bottom as now I am on steady incline to heady heights of awesomeness. I may miss a rung, I may sometimes take a step or few back down, sometimes I may even halt for a little while to catch my breath, but one thing I know for sure………………………………………………………………

MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET

Much love

 

CC xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Dog days are over………for now!

Before I start with what is really on my mind, let me just be clear. I know I am so far from the lass I was in March, so very far from the lass I was a year ago. I know what I have achieved and I know what I have to work for. I know pretty much who I have in my life now, I know who I have lost. I know who I can trust, I know who genuinely cares and I know the one’s that will use me and those that drain my energy. I know who I can embrace and those that I need to keep at arms length for my own sake. I know how lucky I am, I could be in a hell of a lot worse of a situation. There are people out there, some who I class as close to me, who have much bigger problems, who have suffered so much more pain, heartbreak and suffering. I am learning that when it comes to personal circumstances or the way that your mind decides to work, there are no comparisons. There can’t be. It’s the luxury and impressiveness of the human race – we are each completely individual, no two people are ever the same.

I’m not sure why, I haven’t quite put my finger on it, maybe it is the lack of routine in the long school holidays and the sheer overwhelming realisation of what I have coming up, but I have not been in a good place. This last week has been hard! One of the hardest since the beginning of this mental health journey I found myself on. In fact, if I am brutally honest with myself it started back in July but for the purposes of this blog we will focus on the last week. When to be honest, all I wanted to do was crawl back in my dark hole. The thing with my hole is I feel, safe, in there. It’s a lot quieter, people can’t get to me so their actions and words don’t affect me on a personal level, more on the level of a curious spectator. In my hole I know where I stand, I can close myself off, I embrace the darkness, the simplicity of it all, the way I can bury my feelings way down deep and refuse to acknowledge them. Those are the benefits of my hole.

For every positive list, there comes a negative list. Now that I can see a slight chink of light again on my horizon, after a week of the darkest storm clouds, I can see more clearly what these negatives would be. The main one – loneliness. It is so damn lonely being stuck in your head as it is, I know that if I had climbed back in that hole, the loneliness would have consumed me. The silence that I craved so badly would actually be deafening. The lack of love for myself would start to leave scars. The motivation and determination to beat this and better myself would dwindle like the flame on a candle that is about to burn out. I was so close. So close to giving up. Accepting that this is the life I am destined to live. Constant battles. Constant feelings of misery. Constant regrets. Constant what if’s.

Today though, no. I refuse to let this happen. First and foremost, to those people that know how low I have been, thank you for not letting me retreat. Thank you for hugging me. Thank you for not letting my stubbornness push you away. Thank you for accepting and even understanding why I am like this even when I haven’t really been able to explain. Thank you for listening. Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for filling in my hole (oh er 😉 ) so I had no choice but to stay above ground. You could see that there were better times ahead, you believed I would see it too and you kept me going. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I have woke up and all is fine and dandy, but it is a damn sight better than yesterday, and the day before and the day before that.

I feel like I have neglected my blog. I stopped doing the things that I know have the ability to help me. I just had no interest. No words to speak. I had feelings, a whole lot of feelings, but none I wanted to give the power to consume me. The thing with my blog is I literally just type whatever comes into my mind at the given moment, and when people hurt me I have an awful way of lashing out. Had I wrote things down, they would have been forever said, whether I published the blog or not and I am not willing to do that. I am not that person anymore. I don’t want to hurt people to protect myself. I don’t want to be full of negativity and I certainly don’t want to be full of self pity and oh woah is me. I am a damn sight stronger than that!

This blog, although I want it to be about fitness too, is very much a mental health blog now. It always has been. When I read back over them I can see my highs and my lows. It is actually quite therapeutic reading it back. Fascinating to see how my mind was working at that point in time. What was hurting me or bothering me or making me happy. One thing I like to see is my passion. My goals. My challenges. Yes, I have certainly failed at a few but you know what, I think that has just made me more determined to set more and to make damn sure I pass them. The thing that was different at the beginning was I was so determined not to let my mate Depression win, I pushed myself hard. I had steel like motivation. I think as I started accepting what was wrong, that in all intent and purpose I was ill, I started getting complacent. Depression saw a chink in my armour and started to work it’s way in. It had me starting to believe it was ok to give in. That I was doing too much. But I wasn’t. I can do it all, I can have it all and you know what, I’m going to!

1 week today and it is the start of a whole new life for me. I start college with the main aim to pass with the credits I need to go on to university to study Psychology. My eventual aim is to be an Exercise Psychologist and to run my own business. This empire I speak of is back on the burner now. Around studying I am determined to work until they make me redundant, raise my kids, look after my house, build my peer support group, volunteer for Mind and still find time to reach my own personal fitness and weight loss goals. Oh and have fun! Sounds busy, sounds a little bit impossible maybe, not enough hours in the day? Well I am well aware it is not going to be easy. In fact I am even more aware that sometimes I will be ready to give up. That I will believe I cant do it, my brain doesn’t work, etc. My biggest motivational quote at the moment;

“FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL”

So prep is key, being nice to myself is even more important. Asking for help is crucial. As independent as I am and as much as I don’t NEED anyone, I have to be honest and realise that it is ok to try and make things easier for yourself if you have people willing to help and support you. Tomorrow I can start to build a routine back, ready to start next week strong and focused. It’s a big week! My baby boy also starts primary school! I could not be more proud of my children and I want them to be proud of me. I want them to see me fight all the hard stuff and come out better and stronger than ever. They deserve the kick arse Wonder Woman Mam that I know I can be. Just need the costume now!

So today, now the light is starting to shine through, I can see the flowers blooming. It is going to be a day of genuine smiles. Of preparing and planning. Of dancing like a divvy to the music I love. Of big cuddles and laughter with my gorgeous boy. Of chatting to friends and just appreciating what I have in my life. The clouds can always come back, but there will ALWAYS be sunshine behind them. The hole is filled, I have put a lid on it. There is no going back!

CC xx

 

 

The Future is Bright. The Future is Red!

Although I always try be seem motivated I cant lie, over the last few weeks it has been a massive effort for me to get my head round what I have taken  on and what I need to get done in a short space of time.  I started to question myself, not like me I know lol, and wondered if my dreams and aspirations were a bit far fetched, especially considering my age. I wondered if what I wanted was possible, if it has a place in society and my community, if I was doing something that had already been done many times before and I just hadn’t done my research and so on and so forth.

I have been scared to engage properly in what I am doing as I was doubting my ability to actually do what I was saying I was going to do. But you know what, I can do it! Yes I am older but that means I have experience. Yes I have lumps and bumps but I am a working, married mother of 2 and yet I have still managed to massively transform how I look and increase my fitness levels ten fold. I run 5km’s for a laugh, that’s my general run distance on a regular day! This shows that anyone can do it and this will be one of my self promotion angles. You don’t need loads of money, you can get the body you are proud of and a healthy lifestyle no matter who you are or what your life involves.

I always felt self conscious working out with ripped Personal Trainers who you know have looked like that most of their life so I want to use the reality angle. I want people to feel comfortable with me and themselves. I understand on a realistic level those day to day struggles all too well – no time, no energy, no motivation, no confidence, no money. If all that wasn’t enough I can also engage on a mental level. I can understand people who get stuck in their own heads, I can understand negative emotions and how crippling they can be, I understand mental health issues, from what I suffer with, from what friends who have opened up to me suffer with and from what I am learning from my studies. All these are going to be the pillars of strength when I go forward into the big, wide world. I know patience is something I struggle with, but then again I have never had self belief. I may not be religious but I do have faith. Faith in me, faith in my ideas, faith in what I can help other people achieve. For those days where my faith waivers I have my children, my husband, some of my family and my friends who will fill in those holes and give me a firm but loving push. Luck isn’t winning the lottery, luck is having all of that.

Doing the 10km helped cement in my mind that my fitness levels are great! What has helped with setting my mind back on the wavelength it needed to be was my meeting yesterday. As I have said, my volunteering with Mind Middlesbrough & Stockton has started to open up more opportunities and information than I ever could have hoped for. I have featured on news segments on regional TV, I have now written two blogs for Mind themselves as well as one for a friends business and the 1 in 4 website. I also got mentioned on another Mental Health website due to them seeing my blogs on my Twitter account. I am part of the Anti-Stigma group which has lead me to be involved in the development team of a dvd that will be being made and released through our region to raise awareness of mental health problems. This meeting then lead on to a discussion of what I do and what I want to do which resulted in me attending a Peer Support Networking meeting yesterday.

This meeting has helped things make a bit more sense, I can see the puzzle and the pieces clearly now, I just need to set about putting them all together to create my bigger picture. They didn’t laugh at my ideas, they thought they were good! There is certainly scope for what I want to do. I can see where I need to start, what I need to get in place. I have been given so much information my head is spinning but in a fantastic way. I do need to go through and select what resonates with me but that is a task I am looking forward to. I know I will have the support of Mind, I could make applications for grants! My ideas can and will become a reality! Had you even suggested any of this to me back in January I think I would laughed in your face! I certainly wouldn’t have believed it. Now I feel that fire back in my belly. The embers have kept glowing but now the flames are growing again. I know it will be ALOT of hard work, the next 10 days alone will mostly be spent with my laptop and my head stuck in books. You know what though, I am no longer filled with dread. I know it is my own fault I have so much to do at this stage but I am excited to see how I work under pressure. It has been a very long time since I have had positive pressure on me. Pressure which will kick my arse and force me to get my head back where it needs to be to get the results I know I am more than capable of getting. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and that is fine with me. Easy is boring, easy is existing. I want to live!

I have my business name in mind, I have a vague idea of the foundations, all that is left for me to do is, crack on! I have done a basic survey that I hope as many people as possible will fill in. I wont publish the results, it is just for my own personal research so I can create a product that is needed and will work. I love writing my blogs as it clears up my mind and I can then focus my very ditzy brain in one place, at least for a while. So for now, I shall sign off, feeling positive, determined, motivated and……happy!

Laters

CC xx

Welcome back Claire, we have been expecting you……

I know I write my blogs as CC, that will never change, it is kind of like an new extension to my personality now. However, I have always had the “real me” and the me that Depression controlled. For the first time in a long time I look in the mirror and in my eyes I see the “real me”. The smile on my face is Claire. The motivation and drive isn’t there just because I need it to be, it is now there because I want it to be. I feel happy, driven and you know what, bloody proud of myself!

Quite a lot has happened since my last blog, which sounds mad as it was only last week. Firstly, I did my 10km….. AND I LOVED IT!!!!! Official time was 1 hour 3 minutes and 15 seconds. I was surprised how easy I found it. I was actually skipping along at certain points, quite literally. It was my first time doing an organised race but I have most definitely got the buzz. So much so that I am seeing how many more I can squeeze in around my holidays before my Half Marathon. I want to do loads around the country. What a way to see new places! Meet new people! Have new adventures! My Half Marathon doesn’t seem so scary and impossible any more either! I know with training, the continued amazing coaching advice I have been getting and faith in myself, it will be an amazing achievement! Considering this time last year I never would have considered myself a runner, now I feel like a fully fledged member of the gang. That feeling when I crossed over the Finish line was just unbelievable. I felt like I could have just kept going. It made me realise one thing, nothing and no one will take away my love for this. My belief and love faltered for a while because of the negative side of my personality. Now I know for sure that that little voice has been booted right to the back of the line!

Alongside that I am also starting a Gateway Certificate in Skills for Sport & Active Leisure (Level 3) through a course Mind has introduced me to. I went along yesterday to see what it was all about, and considering what I had done the day before I bloody loved it! We did circuit training and although I do think my legs are seriously pissed off with me, especially after Bring Sally Up squats (ouch!) I managed remarkably well. Getting praised for excellent squat technique and perfect planking really made my day! I was nervous to be honest when I went in as I put a lot of pressure on myself with me training to be a PT but they were great. I think I will learn a lot from them in way of how it works and new techniques, routines etc. I am very excited. As well as this I have a meeting with a peer support networking group tomorrow. They are interested in my ideas about using exercise and fitness alongside mental health! I cant believe it! I know it’s a tiny step and I have a hell of a long way to go, but slowly and surely little pieces of the jigsaw are starting to slot in. Instead of telling myself to get a grip and calm down and think of all the bad things, I am just enjoying all the positive things that seem to be coming my way. I feel like the foundations of my empire have finally started. Digging out to lay the cement that keeps it all in place.

For once I walked into my counsellor with my head held high and a genuine smile on my face. I feel strong, I feel capable, I feel like I can do whatever I need to do. I questioned the fact that really this has all happened quite quickly considering, but as she made me see, everyone is different. I wanted to get better so I have been doing everything in my power to make sure I do. I have engaged in my own recovery since that very first day, I didn’t want to be a sufferer or a victim of my own mind. I wanted to kick it’s arse and come out fighting and that is exactly what I am doing! What is has done is unlocked a passion deep within me and I have grabbed that with both hands and ran (no pun intended but hey, if it works!). For all the bad shit Depression has given me, I have to look at all the good it has encouraged me to achieve. Raising money for Mind, doing something I do everyday any way in a sense, getting involved in volunteering which is starting to open up other doors which is absolutely amazing! Then there is my blog, which I love doing. My Mental Health awareness course as it became obvious to me that this is an area I 100% want to be part of. My motivation to make sure I complete my PT course. I have grown closer to people I thought I had drifted away from, I have seen others for what they really are, I have made new friends who are just as important to me as some of my oldest. My children are seeing their Mam with life in her eyes again. With a smile that reaches those eyes. A spring in her step and a reason for living that goes beyond them. They are my world but I am also reaching out and grabbing things for myself. I don’t use the word selfish anymore as it is so negative, I am doing and going for what I deserve!

My next counselling session will be my last I think, for the foreseeable future any way. How do I feel? Nervous, scared even. I really value her, she has been remarkable and helped me more than I could ever describe. I also feel strong and capable. I have learnt things about myself and how I can deal with certain things. I am aware of things I wasn’t before so this means I can read between the lines. I am learning to value myself as an individual with my own needs not just there for everyone else or a scapegoat when needed. I wont back down from what I want, what I believe in, what I want to do. I will support anyone, I will hold your hand and hug you when it is needed. I wont ever not be there for the people who want me, but it wont ever be to my own detriment anymore. I know I deserve the same in return. Guilt may try to take over but I can put her back in her box when I need to. She wont drag me back with her. Any one is welcome on my journey, but please don’t expect me to change direction to suit you. I wont do that any more.

I have said it before and I do believe it, this is something I will have to battle with all my life. I am aware and ready for the fight. Having dumped a hell of a lot of baggage over the last 14 weeks I am lighter on my feet and I can stand tall. I also throw a mean right hook! If I have a bad day then I will explore why, what has started this? I know the ways in which to approach it to feel better. If that is whole hog and keep busy all day then so be it, but if that is just simply to sleep or sit and watch shite films or tv then so be it. I know a lazy day, no matter how hard it is for me to do, wont set me back. In fact sometimes it is very much needed.

I feel happy, I feel positive and I feel back in control. I will be going back to work soon which is great in one way but also a bit daunting. I wont lie, because of the situation there and knowing its not what I want it’s going to be hard. I am looking forward to being back with my team though. Even if I no doubt will have drove them batty by the end of week 1. However at the same time if it wasn’t for what has happened I wouldn’t be on this path now. So in a weird way I should thank them. Although I think I’ll say under my breath.

I am off to get these foundations started any way. I’m in for a long, busy few months and for once, I cant fucking wait!!

Much Love

CC xx

Warts and all

If you look at my Instagram you can see my photos are often very similar, I have positioned myself in certain ways, I have filtered some things, I make sure the best bits are highlighted and I have a way of making sure any bad bits, parts I don’t like, are either not in the shot or are strategically covered. It’s the same with my Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat can often see me taking several shots before I post one that I like for others to see. The amount of photo’s on my actual camera that do not make the cut is quite mental to be honest, unless I can pass them off as me being pissed in them, or actually posting them when I am pissed. Not that this occurs often of course……. hahahaha yeah, OK!

My Instagram is very much my story of my journey from fat to fit, of my most recent fight with Depression, of my fitness achievements, with the odd motivational quote and shots of friends and family. A lot do go unfiltered, a lot of my transformation pictures include pictures which I hate have seen the light of day, but that tell quite a story for me. I am flattered I have followers, I love to get likes – who doesn’t? I post them mainly for myself though. To be able to look back on my journey, to see my weak points, to see my high points, to see the good and the bad times. The thing is though, I am still always very careful what I post. I still subconsciously post for acknowledgement though. I would be completely lying if I said I didn’t. I like when I get praised and complimented for my achievements. I like to be told I look good, whether I believe it myself or not. I am completely shit at accepting compliments but doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me feel a teeny bit, OK a lot, good hearing them. Does this make me shallow? Vain? An attention seeker? I am sure many people are sitting there nodding their head. I am sure many of even my closest friends and family have said those exact things. But I ask you this, please introduce me to a single person in this world who does not need some sort of validation in some way. If you can, I toff my cap to you, but I’ll tell you it’s a pile of bullshit!

I follow A LOT of social media fitness pages, fitness models, PT’s and sports people as well as slimming pages. Women’s Health magazine is my new Bible, I read it cover to cover every month. I watch shite TV with “good looking” people, wishing I had their stomach, boobs, lips etc. You cant help it. That is the society we live in now. Plain and simple. However, I am starting to take much more interest in the story behind these photo’s, stories and people. As my daughter gets older I becoming much more aware of the pressures that are on her lovely shoulders. I know how conscious I was about how I looked when I was a teenager and all we had was peoples actual comments. I can not imagine being overtaken with dickhead hormones whilst looking at women with thigh gaps, an 8 pack, DD boobs with a 28 inch waist and hair that would put a genuine mermaid to shame! To be honest, I am 32 and these things put a lot of pressure on me! Especially with the likes of Davina McCall, Jennifer Aniston (I admit, I may have a MASSIVE crush on her) and as annoying as she is, Gwyneth Paltrow. These women are over 10 years older than me with the bodies of women 10 years younger!

Do you know what though? I wont take away how hard they work and how much they work out. I am sure a lot of what they have achieved is perfectly achievable for the average lass. I bet it is a damn sight easier with  lot of money, endless endorsement deals and some of the best people in the game wanting to help you.

What I want is my daughter, my children, to be fit and healthy. I don’t want them to focus on what they look like to the point that it is detrimental to their health. To the point that it is the main focus of their day to day life. To the point that their achievements are all rated against superficial ranking systems. I want them to be fit in a strong sense. I want them to exercise because it is good for their physical and mental health. I want them to enjoy doing it. I want them to eat good food, try new foods but I want them to have the knowledge of nutrition so they can enjoy everything they want to but have the awareness of what overeating the wrong choices can do.

My daughter has grown up watching me weigh myself daily, try new “fad” diets every other week, give up on exercise when things got too hard. She has seen me at my biggest and most miserable, she has seen me at my thinnest and most miserable. Now though, I am proud she is seeing what positive changes I am making and I am hoping I am starting to influence her in a good way instead of an obsessive, unhealthy way. She is one of the fussiest people I know when it comes to food so healthy eating will always be a bit of a task but I am proud that she has awareness of what is and isn’t good for her. I might have fucked up big style with myself but at least I have tried to get it right with her. She loves all fruit and veg, will pick yoghurts over sweets. I just hope what she has seen that I thought I was hiding well, does not have the adverse effect on her. I will do anything I can to ensure it hasn’t.

She has shown interest in running with me which made my day! We walked in the other day and she was doing yoga! I was so proud! She had got up and done this off her own back (thank you YouTube, you can be a massive plus point when you want!). So it shows me that I am starting to make a difference, one tiny step at a time. Being at senior school is also having its influences, but as long as they are positive ones I will encourage them as much as I possibly can.

I have agreed that when she turns 13 she can have social media like Facebook and Instagram. I wont lie, I am absolutely bricking it! I know I have been very strict about it and to a point she has been so accepting. I do get the odd comment or backlash from being so adamant but as a bit of a soft touch at times it was the one thing I refused to back down on. In these last few months before a part of me dies inside, I need to get my act together and make sure she knows how gorgeous she is and that she is clued up on all the reality of it. Today, I did a big thing, for me. I posted a true and honest picture of myself. Of the worst part in my opinion of me, which you can see attached to this blog post. My belly, stretch marks and rolls the lot. No filter, no camera angle magic, just me, sat normal in front of my mirror. I cringed like mad but at the same time I felt an air of brave for posting it. I have worked damn hard to get where I am, why the fuck should I not be happy with where I am? I have a way to go which I accept, but you know what, I am kind of looking forward to the rest of the journey. I want to bring my family along for the ride.

After all – STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY.

Now, on that note I’m off to the gym 😀

Laters

CC xx

A Different Approach

Ok, so as we have all established by now, I can definitely be my own worst enemy. I get in my head too much, I listen to the voices that are negative about myself, I beat myself up, tear myself down, lessen myself as a person to myself. These are things I have always done, change is not miraculous, I will always have a certain way of viewing myself. This does not mean I can not grow another side of me to walk alongside the pessimistic bitch. To give the miserable cow a much needed poke in the ribs when she starts getting her stress head on. To duct tape her mouth when enough is enough and I am standing on the edge. To speak sense when nothing seems to make any.

Todays blog is about me celebrating……..ME! It is about the things I am proud of about myself, what I like about myself, what I feel I have managed to successfully change about myself and the things I am simply not willing to change. I want to look back over this when I have a bad day and fall a little bit back in love with myself again. I want to stand tall not slumped over with a dodgy humpback. I want my frown lines to think again before they think they are getting any bloody deeper! I know a lot of how I am is to do with my issues and certain things are out of my control. I cant help having a bad day. This at the end of the day is an illness, not a state of mind. However, I can choose to fight it instead of succumbing to it. So that is what I am going to do!

For any of you who I might irritate, I’d stop reading now as this is going to be a little CC love in. I want to stress that these thoughts that follow are how I feel, what I see and what I think. It has nothing to do with anyone else, I may have had support and influences over time but these are my genuine words, from my heart. They are things I certainly never say out loud and I tend to not acknowledge in my head. It’s like I am ashamed or feel like a boaster if I say good things about myself. Fuck that for a laugh. I do deserve to feel these things. I have felt shit for long enough! I am also going to try not to counteract any positive thing I say about myself with a negative or by underplaying anything. You ready? This should be amusing! Let’s go…….

I’ll start with possibly the hardest section of this blog, my appearance. Not a negative but let’s face it, I will never be Jennifer Aniston, Megan Fox or Gigi Hadid. For a start, I am not wadded with a flurry of people to do everything for me, more’s the pity! However, I have definitely got better with age, like a fine wine. Mmmmmm, wine………… sorry, got a bit distracted there. As I have got older, although mainly self taught, I have learnt what works for me, make up wise and in dress sense. I have made many, many, MANY mistakes on both counts, all trial and error. I have listened and worried too much about what other people think, now I just do what makes me feel comfortable. I wear what I like, I wear a lot less make up but I have learnt to do what I do wear properly. I have always been low maintenance for a lass, probably a bit too low at times but I think that has served me well. As I get older I do take more care in how I appear, but for different reasons. I am not scared to stand out for being, just me. I can do the school run with a face devoid of all make up, I can do the shop in my joggers and vest top. I can walk out of the gym looking like I need to be mopped up! When it comes to a night out or special occasion I can take the time I need to make sure I feel good. I can wear an outfit that makes me feel amazing instead of hiding away. I can stand out in the right way instead of faking shit to stand out in the wrong way.

I love my eyes. Now that I have lost the weight they are not the piss holes in the snow they once were. When I am happy they go a lovely shade of green, when I am upset they can be blue or grey. They are definitely windows to my soul. If you actually took time to look into my eyes you would see a lot more truth than what my face, body language or words are telling you. I like my smile. It shapes my face and although I do do a good resting bitch face, and I have the sarcastic fuck you smile down to a T, my genuine smile lights up my face and to be honest, its the best accessory I own!  I do have a cheeky “Raptor” smile too. This is one of my favourites as I love to be cheeky. I love to have fun, to laugh, to have banter.

My legs have always been my favourite feature. They have shape, they are long but they are strong. They have and continue to serve me well. I am proud to say I am now a runner and my legs continue to surprise me. I have muscles in my arms now. MUSCLES! IN MY ARMS! One’s you can actually see and feel! All signs of my hard work. I have lost 9 inches from around my belly! It will always be covered in stretch marks and be lumpy and bumpy, but you know what, that belly was home to the two most precious people on the planet. It kept them safe and warm. It grew them to the perfect forms that they are.  How can I continue to hate something that did something so amazing?

That’s enough of how I look anyway. More than enough self praise to make me feel awkward as hell! Do you know what I truly love about myself? The ability to prove myself wrong. To fight back when the odds aren’t in my favour. To stand up and take any knocks that are coming without shying away. I have had a tonne of shit in my life, more than some, a lot less than others, but I have not let that define me. I have chose to make the best of a bad situation and turn as many dark clouds into big,white fluffy ones with shiny, silver linings. I can find at least one positive in any given day, even if I am having a standing on the edge ready to jump day.

I have the ability to make people smile, to make them laugh. I can detect emotions, even through text and I will do whatever I can to make someone’s bad day a tiny bit better. I love with all my heart. I will give whatever I can to those that I care for. I am here day or night, through the bad times as well as the good. I will look after anyone who needs TLC. If you reach out to me, I will be there. I may give shit advice, I may not know what to say, but what I do say will be genuine. Life is too short for pussy footing bullshit. I may be blunt at times and I definitely think before I speak but at least you can say you get what is going on in my head. If your arse looks fat in that, I am the friend that will tell you, but in a way that doesn’t hurt or offend.

I am actually quite clever, even though I am as ditsy as they come at times. I am proud of the way I write, of how easy I find it. I do need to work on the curse words but those are just part of what escapes my crazy brain at times. I find things easy to take on board, I learn quick and I have a passion for it. If I see or hear something I don’t understand or that intrigues me, I will use my own initiative to find out more. I am a fountain of useless facts, ask the people in my office, but I can come in handy in a pub quiz and has certainly given us a few laughs over the break table! Figging anyone??

I am not scared to look daft. I will stick my gigantic tongue out at any photo opportunity and the amount I cross my eyes there is no wonder I get headaches and need glasses now! I love a silly Snapchat session, to sing badly at the top of my lungs, especially in the car, much to my daughters anguish. I will dance around like an absolute loony, both in the house and when I am out. It just doesn’t bother me. If people are laughing at me, hey at least they are laughing! I drink like a fish, eat portions that could feed my son’s nursery class and watch the shittest TV programmes imaginable at times.

Do you know what I have learnt? I am far from perfect. I wont win any modelling competitions, I drive many people mad and some people just hate me, either on meeting me or when they get to know me. I can live with that. I am finally starting to learn, I cant please everyone. What I do promise though, is if you care for me I will be forever by your side. I am hard to push away. I can be like a complete limpet and just stick. Even if you are posh and shop at Tesco ;-). I am common as muck, Northern and proud with thick skin and the ability to laugh at myself. I am not easily offended and I have the ability to at least try and see an argument from both sides. I will always say sorry IF I am wrong.

Yes, for every plus point I have given myself I know I can counter act it, but I don’t want to. For once I want to just celebrate being me. All crazy, mixed up me. I have a big heart and if you want a piece of it you are more than welcome. Just do not hurt me.

I don’t expect people to be able to do what I have done. It is surprisingly hard to be nice about yourself! I cant quite get my head round it. But do, pick at least one thing you like about yourself, although the more the merrier. Celebrate being you. Every person on this planet is special in their own way. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Especially not yourself.

Love

CC xx

 

I’m so full of shit

Today, although I am generally pretty ok in myself, I feel like I need to give my head a wobble and probably need to give myself a brief but effective slap on the mush. I am feeling so pathetic and needy and to be honest, if people are not half as fed up with the shite that comes out my gob, or through my fingers to be more accurate on social media, as I am with what goes on in my head, well you are more patient and understanding than I am!

At the moment I feel like I talk a good talk, and lets face it, I can talk! But when it comes to walking the walk, I feel like a genuine phoney. I feel like I am proper winging it and hoping no one realises that really I am not meant to be here. I should be sat in my chair at work, keeping out of trouble, not complaining about feeling shit and miserable, no thoughts of grandeur or ideas above my station. I should be going about my everyday life as I always have done, not thinking I am someone special who is going to change the world one day. Who the hell do I think I am? Come on CC, please, get a grip!

I have all these ambitions, aspirations and ideas. All these things I want to do and achieve, all these things I want to see and places I want to visit. Yet, here I am, having just got dressed and brushed my hair a whole 3 hours AFTER I actually got out the bath because I just couldn’t be arsed to move. Yes, I have sorted the kids this morning, well Noah as Bailey is self sufficient, and when I say sorted I mean I got him dressed and took him to his childminders. Yes, I went to the gym and OK, yeah, my workout was good and I did push myself as I had a rest day yesterday, but since I got home, fuck all. That’s what I have done, sweet FA! I would love to say that yeah at least I feel better for it, sometimes I need to do this, blah blah blah, but no. No I don’t. I was just being completely and utterly lazy!

I feel all disconnected with myself again, I feel like sections of me are not on the same level as others and it is making me feel very mixed up. Yes I truly do want all these things I am aiming for, but no, I cant be arsed to do anything about it today. I should. I want to even, but I just don’t have the energy or motivation. My own fault as I know if I stop for those 5 minutes too long I go on the wrong side of myself and that is exactly what I have done. Talked myself into thinking that these extra 5 minutes are OK, when I know for a fact they are not.

I am fed up of being at war with myself now. Why wont the miserable pessimistic bitch side of me pipe the fuck down for a while and just let me enjoy what I am doing and what I have achieved so far? Why does she feel the need to get the Self Doubt train chugging in at every station so I cant even think about what I have done but instead thinking about what I surely cant possibly do? I KNOW I can do this 10k no problem, I know I will love it and enjoy it and feel mega proud of myself! Why am I seriously starting to believe otherwise? Why am I letting one unfortunate event, one which I managed to walk myself out of and get myself back in control I might add, knock my confidence so far down? Why is running  not working for me at the moment? Exercise is, but not running. Please Depression, I am begging on my knees here, do not take away the one true thing that has saved me this year. Do not do this to me. Do not bring your best bud Anxiety to the table. She is not welcome! I am a decent person who is working hard, please just Off You Fuck!!

The event in question isn’t a massive one by anyone’s standards but to me it really did knock me. I was on my second outside run since I got back off my holidays (I have been gyming it but not running apart from HIIT) and everything was going OK. I had found the day before difficult but that was to be expected, especially as I haven’t been outside for a while. I wanted to enjoy this one, go that little bit further, it is actually quite surprising how much your levels can dwindle even after a relatively small amount of time away from “training”. To begin with I was, my mind was starting to clear, my body wasn’t feeling so tight, but then for some reason I seemed to fall out of pace and I found I couldn’t catch my breath properly. My standard pace is quite quick so it seems and I am trying to slow things down a tad in order to be able to train more efficiently for my Half Marathon in October (which seems impossible right now!) so I dropped back a bit, yet I still couldn’t catch my breath. I started to panic! Now I know no one likes not being able to breath but I have quite a fear of it. I struggle to swim more than what would be required to save myself, I cant have things over my face, even for a brief moment, if I am in very confined spaces, especially with no windows I start to get edgy. So when I couldn’t catch my breath, for seemingly no reason, it scared the shit out of me! My chest started to tighten, my breath was shallow, I started to get light headed and tingly. I knew what was happening as I have had one before – I was starting to have a panic attack. Luckily I knew the signs, I was able to drop back to a slow walk, I steadied my walking pace and this helped steady my breathing. I started counting as I was inhaling and exhaling, managing longer each time until I could feel the tightness in my chest dwindle. I started to think more clear again and I managed to finish my distance. It sure as hell knocked me for 6 though. It was so unexpected and unexplainable.

This caused me a night of worry, of over thinking, of over analysing. A night of telling myself I was shit. Who did I think I was planning all these events when I couldn’t even run a 5km? I had to get up and go out the next morning straight away as I knew right there, right then that if I didn’t get out and prove to myself it was just a bad day, I would not get back out for a very long time, if ever again. So I got out and I did. I struggled a bit to begin with but I powered through. It wasn’t my longest, it wasn’t my fastest but I did what I needed to do. Then on Saturday I did it again, after a day of drinking for my cousins wedding. If I can do that after that then what the hell am I so worried about?

I need the positive, ambitious side of CC to prevail. I need her to fight, not back down to the sarcastic, dominant, over bearing side who has let mental ill health beat her. The reason I do these blogs is for personal gain. Writing all this shit down makes me see what I am doing, where I am going wrong. It helps bring a bit more clarity to the situation and gauge where I am. I can see which bits of me I need to work on, which bits I need to tone down, which bits of me are seeming to be dropping back into the shadows. It is all well and good getting compliments, praise, words of support – I love it and appreciate it all sooo much more than anyone can imagine. But I need to stop being such a whingey, needy bitch and actually start to believe what people are telling me! I don’t say things I don’t mean, I don’t give false praise, empty words of support or compliments I don’t mean so why do I think anyone else would? Seriously CC, get a grip!

I CAN AND I WILL, WATCH ME!

Those words are to me, myself and I!

Thank you to those that believe in me, have never ending patience with me when I know all you want to do is give me a shake and tell me to shut the fuck up! Thanks to those that support me, offer me words of encouragement and to those that love me. Just for being me. Even when Me is an absolute nightmare!

I love you all so much

CC xx

A Promise To My Children

Bailey and  Noah, my truly beautiful angels. You drive me completely insane most of the time, for very different reasons! Yet when I look at you both I know deep in my heart that despite all my many faults and issues, I got 2 things in my life completely right. I could not be more proud of the both of you and I feel so lucky every single day. Yep, even when I have turned into a screaming banshee and look like my head is going to explode.

Bailey, you are my quiet, thoughtful brainbox who unfortunately has her mothers temper and moods, sorry babes! You can be the sweetest girl this world has ever seen and you are truly beautiful. You try your best at everything you do, you work hard and have such an amazing imagination, especially now you have steered away from the songs about dead people walking up hills. That was a rather interesting stage of parenthood I must admit lol. I cant quite believe that it is only 6 month away until you are a fully fledged teenager! Watching you grow from a stunning little Maggie Simpson into such a lush young lady makes my heart explode with love. I know you will always be a Daddy’s girl, as long as you know how much I love you.

I am sorry I have had issues being close to you over the years. I know I don’t give out hugs willy nilly and can seem hard to approach sometimes. This has never ever been about you I swear, they are my issues and when you are older I will explain to you how I felt and a bit of why I am the way I am. I know you read these blogs occasionally (please do not copy my foul language! Be a lady!) so maybe you already have a slight understanding. For you to have turned out so amazingly with what you have had to deal with in your life so far, well it is a complete testament to what a strong, savyy, headstrong lass you are. You take things on the chin, you see things and form your own opinion and god help anyone who tries to change that opinion! You always see the bigger picture and you love with all your heart, deep and pure. You may have got my competitive streak, x10, but one thing you also got was never ending patience. You are just my perfect girl and I love you with every inch of my being, forever and always.

Noah, you are my crazy, hyper, chatty Wreck It Ralph. From the minute you open your eyes I swear you do not stop! Your passion for life, your interest in everything around you, your ability to be insane when the world is so serious, it is refreshing and  impossible not to get caught up in your infectious behaviour. Alongside this you are always a complete and utter sweetheart. You give the biggest sloppy kisses, the tightest cuddles and you make me feel whole. You squeeze together all of Mammy’s broken bits. I am sorry you have had to see me upset sometimes, I know how much it hurts you to see me cry, but please know that you never fail to make me smile and laugh. When you sit on my knee and wipe away my tears I swear my heart breaks.

I cant believe you are about to start school soon! Where has my cheeky little Noahski baby gone? Time really does fly. It seems like yesterday you were taking your first steps along the patio in Turkey. I wont lie, as much as I hate how quick time is going, I cant wait for you to start school! To start your new chapter of life, to watch you grow, learn and develop, and also in the hope that I may start drinking slightly less! lol You definitely keep me on my toes son but you are the sunshine on a rainy day. Those bright blue eyes have me wrapped around your little finger and you bloody know it! Don’t ever change Bot Bot, you are absolutely perfect in every way and I love you with all my heart and soul. You will always be Mammy’s boy.

I promise to you both that I will get through this dark time. I promise that it wont always be a house of wondering what mood Mam is in today. I promise that although I will never be a Mary Poppins type Mam, I will try my hardest to make every day special in some way, no matter how small. I promise to make sure you both know how absolutely amazing you are and how grateful I am that you are mine. I promise fun and laughter and memories. I promise I will get better!

I am sorry you have to see me cry, to see me at my worst, to hear me and your Dad argue. I am sorry for my  crazy moods and my shocking lack of patience as well as my complete lack of interest in things. I will fight every day to turn this round so you can see happy Mam, with a passion for what she does. I want to help you learn and develop and experience new places and adventures. I want to be by your side through every single important event and moment in your life. I want to be honest and open and a house of conversation. We wont always agree, you will hate my decisions sometimes but I swear they will always be in your best interests. I want you both to be able to talk to me about absolutely anything at all. I want you to know that there is nothing in this world that could ever stop me loving you.

I know this journey has been really tough and I thank you so much for never giving up on me. For loving me unconditionally. For allowing me to be your Mam. I promise our future looks bright. Mammy is building an empire and you are going to be so bloody proud of her. One thing though, you will never be as proud of her as she is of you!

Thank you my beautiful babies, for being absolutely perfect.

I love you

Mammy

 

My Head Is A Jungle

Another song that speaks to me. You’ll be able to make a CC playlist at this rate! I have had it in my head for days for some reason although I haven’t heard it for yonks. Today it seems like it makes perfect sense. My head IS a jungle. I find little bits of open space but ultimately it is still overgrown

My metaphor to describe it all would be a garden that has been neglected. Basically, you start tending to it, getting ready so you can chill out in it during nice weather. The thing is, life can get in the way and your garden becomes one of the things that can get left behind. It becomes messy and over grown and ugly looking. All it needs to keep it right is a bit of love and attention. The same goes for how I see myself at the moment. I don’t necessarily mean I need people to give me love and attention, although I cant lie and say it wouldn’t be nice, what I mean is I need to give ME love and attention. I need to stop putting myself down, beating myself up about shit, starting to bury my head in the sand about things again.

Since I broke my exercise streak and had my first rest day a few weeks a go I have felt like I have massively fallen back and undone all my hard work. I do know this is not possible, a few weeks of randomness wont undo over a year of dedication and hard work. I just cant seem to get my head right. I have been faking things in the hope that I will “catch up with myself” but I have to admit, the feeling I have previously got from things just hasn’t been there. I feel like a failure. I feel like my passion has disappeared and I am not quite sure how to get it back.

I went to bed last night feeling defeated but at the same time, bloody determined! I have got this far. I will not let the demons take me back over to the dark side. I am a fighter, a warrior. I have plans, goals, aims that I will hit! I deserve to and I know I will be damn fucking good at what I want to do if I can retrieve that passion back. I have to stop faking it completely. When will I learn that it does not work? If anything it sets me further back as I find it easier to talk myself out of things and pretend that my failings are OK. I have let 1 bad day turn into 3 weeks, 9 days in a row of which consisted of drinking alcohol, eating shite food and hiding from reality. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, I had fun, especially in Maga, but I have made a 4 day holiday an excuse to go off the rails. I can not afford to do that. So today, my train is getting back on its tracks!

Routine for me is key I have realised. I need to plan and structure. I need lists and to map my day out. I need to plan my meals again, I need to massively up my water intake. I need to get back outside running. Desperately. Before I lose all passion completely for the one thing that has kept me going. As a friend made me see yesterday, I have achieved so much in just 6 months. I cant help feeling a failure as that’s how Depression makes me feel when I know I am not on track, but I know deep down I am not one. I need to keep busy again, no excuses. Unfortunately, as much as I know I need to “rest” it is plain for me to see now that I am simply a person that needs to be busy. I can not disappear into my mind. It’s not a safe place in there. Too many holes to fall into and I know if I continue on the way I have been this past week I will find a hole that is simply too big for me to scramble out of. I need to have a purpose. I need a reason to be me. The me I want to be.

Thankfully today I see my counsellor again. It has been 3 weeks and although it may not sound like a long time it feels like forever. Once I have seen her I feel a sense of clarity. Like another piece of my jigsaw has been completed. She barely says anything to me, she just lets me rant but in that hour I discover stuff I never knew I felt. Things I may not have even thought about before come out. Sometimes it is painful, sometimes it is confusing, sometimes it makes me really mad. What is good though, although it can hurt like hell, is that I am finally learning to FEEL. I have genuine emotions. I cant say I always like this fact, I have done very well at being closed off. It keeps me safe. I do however know it is part of the journey.

My next step is to learn to let people in, properly. I am still really bad at this and whenever I am feeling vulnerable, instead of reaching out and admitting I am struggling I am retreating and pushing people away. I am fucking terrified of being hurt and I am simply not strong enough to cope with that so I am going the opposite way and being a bitch or just completely closing off and avoiding a situation. The stupid thing about it all is I know I will feel much better if I am just honest! My coping strategies are certainly a lot to be desired. I’m basically just a dick.

So, it is time to go back to setting myself monthly challenges. They will be fitness and exercise based but I need to recapture the passion and dedication I had on January 1st when I started RED January. My nature is competitive and I need to win. I need focus and I need achievements I can see and measure myself against. So, June:

  • Run 100 miles
  • Complete Core Challenge from the RED discussion
  • Lose 6lb
  • No bread

SMART targets. One’s I can certainly achieve. My 10km is a week Sunday and although I feel very nervous about it right now, I can not wait for that feeling when I cross the finishing line. I have raised £65 for Mind so far, not a great amount so PLEASE if you are reading this, donate, even just £1. Mind is a charity, they need help from others to be able to help others. You never know who you may be helping.

Today is a new day. I am going to kick todays arse! As cheesy as it sounds, I am going to find myself again.

To anyone who might be reading this and struggling too, I have your back. We can do this! Grab my hand, we can pull each other through. Strength in numbers.

Much Love

CC xx

Sleep, You Sexy Bastard You……

Sat in the garden with my laptop, spouting my usual utter bollocks no doubt, with a jug of my usual black coffee (it’s not 11am so it cant be my usual jug of wine) and the sun streaming down on my back, warming every part of me. Sounds utter bliss, and you know what, today, it really is!

I used to state the usual shit about sleep, “it’s for the weak” “I can sleep when I’m dead” “Sleep is soooo over rated” blah fucking blah. I tell you what, those lines are the biggest pile of cowpat! I apologise to anyone who cant sleep. I myself have quite bad sleeping issues generally, hence me being best mates with 2am, so I do understand completely why people come out with this nonsense. I do to make myself feel better. I am not in any way going to take away the seriousness and the sheer frustration of not being able to close your eyes and sail happily off to the land of Nod. What I will say though, after the best night sleep I can remember having in a very long time, is FUCK ME I NEEDED THAT! Come here Sleep, you sexy bastard, whilst I give you the biggest smacker right on the lips. I feel like a new woman!

For all you out there that don’t have issues generally, or those lucky fucks who can genuinely just shut their mind along with their eyes, I don’t suppose you will understand anything I am writing here, and not just because of my usual chavvy language. For those who like me are seriously sleep deprived on a regular basis, I know you will mostly be sat there nodding along.

My sleep issues go back to being a very young girl. I was the lightest sleeper anyway so any voice, argument etc would wake me instantly. One of earliest memories, before I was 3 year old, was sneaking downstairs and sitting on the bottom step listening to my Mam and Dad argue. As I got older and learnt to read I would disappear nightly into whatever book I was reading (I still have a tendency to do this actually) as you could be in any world you chose off the shelf. Alice in Wonderland was and still to this day is, one of my all time favourite stories. I wouldn’t realise what time it was and would often fall asleep with my book in my hand. The teenage years were spent listening to Alan Robson’s Night Owls on Metro Radio, with the sound turned down so my Mam couldn’t hear and tell me off. Those were the years where I had quite bad and recurring nightmares as a lot was going on in my personal and home life. I would avoid sleep wherever possible and I got that good at it that I think I chased it away completely! Then comes the starting to drink and having boyfriends years, no need to elaborate on them! My Mam reads this after all! By the time I had my daughter I was a pub manager working long shifts and sleep was a distance memory. I became Nap Queen. I could survive off stolen hours here and there. I would surround myself with people whenever possible so I didn’t have to go to bed. I completely and utterly fell out of love with knocking the z’s out and to be honest, apart from being a car crash, a person about to hit the big Red destruction button, I was surviving rather well.

All of this was until I had my little sleep thief Noah. Good job the boy is cute as he didn’t sleep until after he turned 3!! like he slept less than me. It was a tough time. I would lie on his bedroom floor crying my eyes out, willing him to sleep. Begging him. Telling him I would buy him a dinosaur if he only he would STOP CRYING!! That is when my appreciation of the good old full nights sleep started to come back. I was that exhausted that getting to sleep no longer became an issue, I could fall asleep at a click of a finger. I would go to bed at 730/8pm purely so I could maybe get 2-3 hours before he would start his nightly rendition of It’s My Party, I’ll Cry If I Want To. Unfortunately that bedtime is not too different now for me. Partly habit, but partly although Noah now is a lush little sleeper, I’m still not. Falling asleep is still not an issue. Staying asleep is.

This has been going on so long until this morning when the alarm went off and I realised I had slept all night. Like ALL NIGHT. Like 7 hours IN A ROW! I woke up feeling, relaxed, refreshed, lighter, happier. I was ready to start my day instead of getting up and doing it begrudgingly because I know I have to keep busy to keep my state of mind as even as possible. I pretty much always want to run or go the gym. Today I was gagging to get there! I had energy. Genuine energy not caffeine energy. I had a productive morning with a smile on my face before I even had a mouthful of coffee. No usual snarls and evil glares until after my first jug of the black stuff! I feel like I could take on the world today. I am looking forward to enjoying my day properly not having to force myself or fake it. I have actually done my hair and face before 10am and don’t completely hate what I see in the mirror!

Now I sound like I am getting cocky. Trust me, I know this will most probably not last beyond today. Tonight will most probably go back to normal, but what has changed is knowing what a difference sleep makes. I will never not appreciate it ever again! I am not scared of it, bored of it, I will never pretend that I don’t need it. I do. I really do!

I want to believe that I am finally starting to come out the dark tunnel now. I haven’t thought of hurting myself at all for over a week. I am eating again although not massive amounts but regularly. I am starting to enjoy things again. I am always a pretty positive person even in the worst situations, it’s my coping mechanism, but even my usual silver linings look super shiny today. I am embracing it!

On a side note, I do believe the sun helps me HUGE amounts so I am also planning to emigrate lol! All in the name of getting better of course, not just because I look so much better with a tan. Honest!

Hope whoever reads this has a super sexy amazing day! You deserve it!

Hugs

CC xx

It’s been a whirlwind week!!

It’s been nearly a week since I last blogged, and what a week it has been! Many highs, a few lows, but as I sit watching my beautiful boy play in the paddling pool whilst the sun beams down on us I genuinely realise just how lucky I am in many ways.

Magaluf was everything I needed it to be and more. I have met some of the nicest lasses you could ever hope to meet. They took me in and treated me as if I had always been one of the gang. Considering how sick with nerves I was at going, this really did touch my heart. It also proved to me how much people love the gorgeous Faye just as much as I do. How can you not? She is flipping lush!

As some one who has a serious lack of confidence and who has never had a big group of her own lass friends never mind been on a lasses holiday, it was an extremely daunting experience. Anxiety has never been something I have had to worry about but it was certainly an anxious time. At one point I did seriously wonder if I was going to be able to go through with it at all. Self doubt being it’s usual fuckwit self! I cant not express how happy I am at swallowing everything I was feeling and jumping in. Do you know what makes me even happier? I was completely 100% myself. I didn’t shy away, I got involved, I talked to everyone, and they still liked me! For being me. I didn’t have to fake anything, I didn’t have to watch what I said. I could fall asleep on the sunbed while they stacked whatever was around me on my head lol. I have never ever laughed as much as I have them 4 days I have to be honest. And that there was exactly what I needed! So thanks to you lasses, for being absolutely fucking awesome!! And downright fucking crazy too!

The other thing I did, that I genuinely needed to do, was left “me” at home. I left all the responsibilities, worries, stresses at the front door when I got into that taxi. Don’t get me wrong though, I do think I went overboard, probably far too overboard. I had very very little sleep, for over 24 hours the only thing I had had to eat was a snickers, and I partied like I was 23 not 32. I have to say, there is no party like a Blacko’s balcony party!

It did come with it’s downfalls though. My last night I had a wobble. We were in a bar when the horrific story of the MEN bombing was shown on the TV’s. I was tired any way but emotions just tuck over me. I had to leave early and go back and on my way back to the hotel I had a complete breakdown. It was scary and embarrassing but it had to be done, I couldn’t hold Depression back any more. He had picked the lock of his cage and escaped with a massive fucking attitude! I am so glad I could feel it happening. That despite the tiredness and the extreme amount of vodka flowing through my veins, I am becoming more tuned in to myself and how I am dealing with stuff. I managed to leave before I ruined Faye and the lasses night.

Do I acknowledge I went too far with the drinking and lack of sleep, especially considering my issues? – Yep. Do I regret any of it? Not one damn second! These, in my opinion, are the moments that stay with you. Where you learn the most about yourself. When you learn your limits. Would I do it again? There is a massive chance I will. I will be more conscious of how I am feeling though, and I think sleep is a compulsory, at least in some form!

We definitely brought the weather back with us! So the last 2 days has been spent recuperating and enjoying a chance to relax. Tomorrow I shall have to get back on the motivation train and continue with my empire building. I have a lot of plans for the future and I am more determined than ever to succeed in following them all through. The realisation that my Bamburgh 10km for Mind Middlesbrough & Stockton is only 2.5 weeks away made sure I had my tanned arse back in the gym first thing this morning. My new gym gear passed the test, I just nearly passed out but the point was I did it. 30 minute treadmill HIIT and a 15 minute skyscraper climb. As much as I struggled with my breathing I did enjoy every second. Honesty moment – I didn’t do any exercise whilst I was away (shocker I know! lol), apart from swimming and A LOT of questionable dancing! But the feeling I got today, during as well as after, really cemented why I do what I do, why I am doing what I am doing and why I want to be where I want to be.

I have decided that Depression can kiss my fucking arse. He can give me his best shot when he can get out his cage but I am going to live my life. I am going to visit places I have never been as well as those I love. I am going to meet new friends. I am going to have the best time ever with the friends and family I am so lucky to have in my life already. I am going to work so hard to make sure I achieve everything I want. I am going to help as many people as I can. I am going to leave a legacy.

Not a bad bit of contemplation after a crazy arse holiday I must admit! If anything is learnt from the horrible situations that are happening in our world at the moment it is life is far too short. Drink the drink, laugh, have fun, fall in love.

Life isn’t measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away!

CC xx

Sorry seems to be the hardest word!

Sorry is a necessary word to me. It is vital to maintain harmonies in personal relationships, professional circumstances and in general to show you are not a bad mannered ignoramus. You fuck up with your other half and you KNOW it is your fault, the adult thing to do is say sorry (even if you want to stick your tongue out at them and kick them in the shin for being a dick and making you do it. No? Just me?) You realise you have made a mistake at work, it effects more than just you, you hold your hands up, apologise and go about doing anything you can to remedy the situation and redeem yourself. You bump into someone in Asda and of course, you say sorry (and if you don’t you are the type of person I slag off! Rude twat. Manners cost nothing!)

So with all of this in mind, why cant I apologise to myself? Why cant I see what I have done to myself? What I can still do to myself. Why do I beat myself up about everything? Why do I question every decision, every action?

Now, bit of a downer of an intro, especially considering that today I actually feel more like myself than I have in, well, months! I have been in a positively daft arse mood all day, probably much to the dismay of anyone who has the unfortunate luck of conversing with me lol. It doesn’t stop me thinking about things though. In fact it actually helps as I can see things more for what they are as opposed to what my Depression wants me to see.

My most recent example being, as expected, my impending holiday with the lasses. I know I have changed a lot, especially since last time I went. Well actually, I am pretty much half the lass I was. I know I put myself out there with photos and I do get positive reactions. I wouldn’t say I do these things for active feedback, I am absolute nightmare when it comes to accepting praise and compliments! I do it because I am trying to build up my respect for myself. My confidence in myself, to see how others see me.

Time for some brutal honesty, the lack of appetite and interest in food has recently made me feel pretty good. I have not had to worry over every bit of food that goes in my gob. For a couple of weeks I haven’t had a stable routine fitness wise, having to squeeze in what I could when I had time, so it helped counter act the niggling voices that can take over. However, when I did eat, those familiar urges had started to return, quite strongly. One night I even tried to justify to Darryl that if he was smoking again he must understand the urge I am feeling. That if he can do that why cant I do what I needed to do. I feel very shameful admitting that but that is the way it was. I can hand on heart say that I have fought every urge, I have not once made myself sick, even when it was the only thing I could fixate on. The one thing I had in my head that if I did I would be able to shake the bad mood I had. But I cant begin to express how much I really fucking wanted to. Every bit of food I ate felt heavy in my stomach.

I am well aware I need to address these issues. I have started weighing myself several times a day, every day “just for experimental reasons” I say. Bullshit. I am keeping myself accountable! I am measuring my stomach every morning to make sure I haven’t went over a limit that I have given myself. I am not skipping meals, I am eating, that is the truth. Finally I have started to enjoy what I am eating again, my cooking has been therapeutic for me, however, with that comes a fresh new battle, not binging. As the switch in my appetite has suddenly occurred and all I want to do is eat. All I have thought about since this morning is food. It’s like a constant battle in my head! To counter act it I was debating starting a Slimming World food diary again so I would be accountable for everything that touched my lips.  I haven’t done that, however I caught myself earlier making a mental note and using this to decide what to have for my tea.

The one plus I have, which some may see as a negative but hear me out, is the running and exercise part of things. Because I have important things to train for, things I am actually fundraising for, I know that I can not starve myself, skip meals, make excuses etc. I have to have a balanced diet. I may struggle mentally with it, A LOT, but I am having to do it. Yet again, exercise is saving the day. Since Monday I have been back at the gym at 7am, and I do believe this has a lot to do with my massively positive mood today. I am able to stick to a routine I know works for my body, that I know is working what and where I need it to. However, packing for my holiday yesterday was particularly stressful for me and I believe that is why I have been putting it off. Normally I have packed in March for a holiday in May, no joke!

I have not missed the irony that when I was 2 stone heavier I seem to have had more confidence, I had packed very early, I had outfits sorted, bikinis, the lot. I looked in the mirror and from what I remember I just saw me. Yes, improvement needed but I had lost a couple of lbs back then so I was feeling pretty damn good. So, why the fuck now, 28lb lighter , am I seeing a completely different me to what my photos are showing. It’s such a head blag!

This is why I want to say sorry, to me. Sorry CC, for hating yourself. Sorry for beating yourself up when to be honest, you know that the pictures show what you look like. Depression has control over your eyes:mirror image. Sorry for having a constant battle with food, when ultimately you actually do love it! Sorry you cant ever enjoy it without guilt or urges you cant follow through with. Sorry for questioning and batting away peoples compliments when you should embrace them. What would people have to gain from lying to you? Sorry for never believing in you.

So CC, (so weird talking to myself through text. I only normally do this in my head) I am going to make a few promises to you. This wont happen over night, this is a lot of years of messed up ness in play at the moment, but here is what we are going to do short term at least. You are going to stick those bikinis on on holiday and you are going to flaunt what your mother gave you! You are going to hold your head high and whenever paranoia starts to strike, you are going to have a massive drink of your drink and give one of the other lasses a genuine compliment. You are going to eat and drink whatever the fuck you want because lets face it, 4 days is not going to completely unravel 18 months of hard fucking work. This lass climbs skyscrapers for fun for fuck sake! If you get a compliment you are going to enjoy it! You are not going to talk your way around it or deflect it but you’re going to believe it! You are going to wear the biggest, most genuine smile you can. It is, after all, a lasses best accessory, even before diamonds 😉

Guess what CC, your holiday is going to start at 7pm tonight, so get that rose wine poured, you deserve it!

Happy Fucking Holidays!

Cheers 😀

CC xx

If I Can Dream…….

“We’re lost in a cloud,

With too much rain

We’re trapped in a world

with too much pain

But as long as a man

has the strength to dream

He can redeem his soul and fly.

Deep in my heart there’s a trembling question

Still, I am sure that the answer gonna come somehow

Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle.

And while I can think, while I can talk,

While I can stand, while I can walk,

While I can dream, please let my dream come true right now……..”

Thank you Mr Elvis Presley, for having a song that I needed to hear very much today. The words spoke to me so clearly, they described pretty much exactly how I am feeling. I turned the music up loud and I sang. I sang my little heart out. Then I replayed it, and I sang again. And as dodgy as it probably sounded, it felt damn fucking amazing!

Music has the ability to get through to me like no one or any thing else can. It can touch emotions I don’t realise I am feeling, it can free my soul, it can make me laugh, it can make me cry, it can make me dance around like a fucking looney or it can make me close my eyes and transport me to another place. Somewhere far away from the chest crushing problems I am feeling at that time. It can help me breath easier as all other thoughts, for those 3 – 4 minutes, completely disappear. I have music for all different types of moods, every song I hear will remind me of some one or some where or a particular situation. Sometimes these memories can be hard to take, I am learning to leave certain burdens behind but it is still very much a work in progress. The one thing I don’t want to happen is to lose my association through music. Music keeps me sane. Music is always there for me. Music can help me feel when I feel so numb and empty that I think nothing will ever work. Someone like Elvis has the ability to get to me so much it gives me goose bumps in a warm room. I can feel every single word he says. I don’t just hear music, every sense is awoken.

Back to the reason why this particular song means so much. Before yesterday I had been feeling pretty good. Things were starting to make a little bit more sense, I was getting positive feedback and lovely messages in regards to my progress, my fitness, my recovery and my blogs. I felt I was finally starting to achieve what I wanted to. What I needed to. My fingers were pretty much on ground level, I could smell the fresh air, I was so close to freedom! Then yesterday, I woke to find someone had stomped on my fingers. I had let go. I was back in my hole. The fresh air, the sunlight, the feel of freedom felt so many miles away again. I felt empty. I just didn’t want to face the world. I wanted to hide again. I wanted to shut my eyes and just not exist until a better day came.  I felt weak.

With this, came an important decision, one that I know I had to make and now it is today I can see was completely essential, but one that made me feel like a failure. Like I was giving up on myself. The mind is one hell of a mind fuck! I decided to have a rest day. I just couldn’t run, I couldn’t do anything. Physically and mentally I was done. Completely and utterly done. My tank was beyond the red. Mix this in with the fact I was aware I hadn’t kept to my plan on blogging every day for MHAW, well I just felt completely and utterly wank! I seem to blab on about not letting anyone tell you you cant do something and blah blah blah, but yet here was me giving up. Falling at a hurdle.

I know today that that was just the self pity part of my amazingly diverse personality giving me a few kidney jabs. The negative parts of my mind do NOT like it when I don’t give them any attention, and for a good few days I seemed to have got them locked in their cage. They obviously needed a bit of revenge. Bravo you little fuckers, you got me good!

Today I have realised I am not back at the bottom of my hole. I didn’t want to hurt myself. I didn’t want to die. I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but when you are rock bottom, that is how you genuinely feel. Or at least I did. So not having these thoughts was a massive bonus for me! It was one of the first things I realised when I did my morning reflection of the day before. Yes I wanted to hide, yes I wanted to close my eyes and forget the world, but only until a new day came. Not permanently. I had put my phone away early yesterday and ignored it. I put my son to bed and then I went to bed. I left the world to keep turning and took time to just, exist. Nothing more, nothing less.

Waking up this morning I knew the worst had passed. The sigh of relief was immense I will be honest. With me, I can never tell how long my bad days will last. All I can do is hope that it is a brief spell. I cant say I am back to what I was Saturday but I know that will come soon. I have to just keep my arms inside until the ride comes to a complete stop. I know I am not a failure. Far from it. I came back from yesterday and smashed it in the gym today. No personal bests but one hell of a sense of accomplishment for doing it. Same with attending a meeting with my manager. I could have cancelled. I could have postponed, but I didn’t. I went into work, saw some of my lovely colleagues and had a meeting that afterwards I wondered why I was even arsed. My manager was as supportive as ever. She eased my mind when I was concerned about how much longer I am having to be off for. I am more adamant than ever that this time will be utilised in any way I can to make sure I get better. I deserve that. My family and friends deserve that.

So I didn’t hit rock bottom, I just fell onto a ledge but a bit further down. The journey up and out will resume. I am determined. I have dreams. These dreams will only come true if I give it my all. Without the guilt, without the personal mental beatings.

A new hair colour brings a new mentality. The bad days can give me what they have, they can push me as far as they like, but they want to beware. Because I will come back fighting! And I have one hell of kick!

Two steps forward – one step back. I will get there.

CC xx

Validation

The ironic thing about having a mental health issue of any kind is you do often wonder if it is all in your head. Funny eh? Well to be honest, no. It’s not.

The thing is, you spend so much time lying to yourself, hiding it, faking, pretending and all the rest that you get to the point where you genuinely don’t know what the fuck is real anymore. Until you hit that point where your whole world seems to just…. stop.

I have suffered depression now for over 12 year, most probably longer, but certainly from around the time my beautiful daughter was born. I’ll let you into a secret though, through all my previous lows, cutting my wrists and being a fraction away from being admitted, to taking my hands off the wheel of my car amongst other things,  I have never believed truly that there was anything that bad wrong with me. Until my meeting with an work appointed Occupational Health Therapist yesterday.

With doctors you give them an at that time recap of where you are in your life. So over time a lot of things build up that maybe you don’t realise or can forget. With the OH I had to go back over my past and fill in the gaps for him. This was fair enough, I could do that, matter of fact logical Claire came into play and reeled off what he needed to know. What got me was when he read back his findings into his Dictaphone while I was sat there, ready to do his report later. It made my blood run cold. What have I been doing to myself?!

Kind of along the same lines as yesterday’s Self Doubt, because mental illnesses have been around me my whole life through different people, some of quite serious levels, I have spent so much time comparing mine to theirs and thinking “shut the fuck up Claire, you’re just being a whingey bitch”. I know now, or at least I am starting to, that you can not compare your journey to anyone else’s. They are like finger prints, everyone has one completely unique to them. As we are all different people, we have different ways of coping with certain things. What I find easy or deal with well can be particularly hard for some one else. I will always remember my friend sharing her story with me, and I wont lie, it is extremely distressing. I cried. It is heart breaking to think such horrible things occur to such amazing people. She shared hers so I shared some of my history. She turned around, despite everything that had happened in her own life, and said I couldn’t have coped with what you have been through. You are so strong.

Like, what the actual fuck?!

I suppose I have always believed that what has happened over the years is normal. That it happens to loads of people. That there are people so much worse off than me. Therefore I just wouldn’t let myself admit that there was anything wrong. In my eyes there shouldn’t be. I would say this is the biggest mistake I could have made, and to a degree for the sake of my health I suppose it was, but then I do wonder if I would be on the path I am on now, if I had accepted I had problems and had got them sorted soon enough. To use the terms my OH used, I suppose my bathtub was just not quite that full to overflowing. I could just about keep mopping up the spillages without making so much of a mess. Dab hand with a mop me! Not that you would believe me if you could see my kitchen floor like lol.

The thing with the OH, who was a lovely man from Belfast, got to love the Irish, is that he had no links to me. He did not know me from Adam (who the hell is Adam by the way? That phrase always intrigues me), he didn’t have my medical notes, he had a very vague idea of my work situation and why I was there, yet within 1 hour he made me feel more accepting and aware of my situation than anyone else ever has. My counsellor is awesome, and I am making incredible progress between her and this blog, but he just got me. He made me believe for possibly the first time ever, that what was happening to me was not my fault. I am genuinely ill. I am not exaggerating. I am not faking. I am not skiving. I am not making a mountain out of a mole hill. It’s not all in my head.

He didn’t just assess me, he also tried to teach me and help me understand a bit more. I think I took up more of his time than I should of but I left that office with him shaking my hand and telling me I am strong and I am getting better. He actually made me believe I will get better. Considering it’s a life long, incurable disease, it does not have to be something that I suffer with. He assured me that I am doing everything right – the counselling, the anti depressants, although these need to be checked, and most relevant for me, my exercise. He was genuinely so supportive of what I was doing and how I was doing it. He admired my drive and determination despite all the stumbling blocks that are in front of me that could potentially de rail me. He knows I want to get better, that I do not want this to be a noose around my neck any longer than it needs to be and because of this he knows I can achieve what I need to.

I was thinking I would be back to work within the next week or so, I had got myself quite stressed over thinking I should be back now. That I was taking the piss. He has made me see that at this moment in time it is certainly not suitable for me. The bath water has not emptied to a safe level just yet BUT the end is in sight. The bubbles have gone and I can see the base of the bath. Work is a very small contributing factor to my circumstances but by no means the reason I am where I am. Until these issues have been addressed or unearthed completely, where I am and what I am doing now is what is important to me. I need to build myself back up. I need to work on my self esteem and my self confidence in order to be the kick ass bitch I know I can be.

I want to thank that OH for making me feel validated. For helping me clear the rubble and seeing things for what they are. I believe I am over the worst. The dark thoughts are getting fewer every day now. I know I will look back in a years time and appreciate what I have been through and how I have managed to come out the other side. I have not let me beat me. I am obviously meant to be here for a reason. Whatever that reason is, is not clear at the minute, but I know it will be in good time.

I am going to bed tonight with a genuine smile on my face. For what I have learnt, for what I have, for who I have on my side, for what I have achieved in such a small time already………. and for the proper mint base tan I have managed to put in place in my garden today.

Happy as the proverbial pig!!

Sweet dreams

CC xx