You’re more than a piece of paper!

It’s that time of year again, RESULTS DAY!

The day that students nationwide find out how they did over the last year. I can barely remember mine to be honest but then I suppose it was a century ago! No in all seriousness, I can’t but I’m not sure why. Maybe I was that anxious my brain has kind of deleted it, or maybe I was incredibly chilled as at that point I was an “adult” and it didn’t matter? I’d do what I wanted any way and I had found the joys of alcohol and boys! Nothing else really mattered now I finally had a taste of freedom that many of my friends had had for a couple of years before me.

If I look back, yes I know I could have done better. Up until the last year I suppose I have given myself a hard time for “messing up” and basically living my life arse over tit. But, and it is a Kim Kardashian of a but, I didn’t mess up! I know that now!

It can seem like those results on that sheet of paper are your whole existence, crammed into a few grades. Yes, I know that for certain courses and futures, grades are important, to a degree (pun not intended but suitably amusing). The thing is, that sheet of paper is just 1 tiny fraction of who you are. If you have got what you need, CONGRATULATIONS!! That is truly fantastic and I wish you all the luck and success in the future.

However, here is the important part. If you haven’t, it might seem like it, but it is NOT the end. You are NOT a failure. You are NOT a disappointment. You are you. And in the words of Dr Suess, no one can be youer than you! You have so much more to offer than a few grades. There are always other options. There is always an alternative route. There are always people who will love and support you for WHO you are, not what grades you got.

OK, I got decent grades. I just didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. Well except for have fun and do all the things that I felt I had missed out on growing up. So I basically just bumbled through life. Now I look back though and I think, these experiences, the job roles I have had, have all shaped me in some way. They have gave me skills that I may not have otherwise gained. My favourite part is the people who I have in my life though, because of these jobs. Hand on heart I am in touch with practically no one from school or college, apart from being “Facebook friends” maybe. Let’s be honest, I am certainly not the person they will have known either, looks wise and the rest (I like to think I have slightly improved with age!)

Bar Manager. Travel Agent. Business Support Officer. These are the roles I had. Good roles, for large organisations. I got there on my own merit and in some of them worked my way up from the bottom. I did that! NOT my grades at school. Me! Through hard work, through my personality, through wanting to do a good job and not letting anyone else in my team down.

But here is the best thing about my little education story, well in my opinion anyway. I am a 33 ( nearly 34) year old, I have a nearly 14 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. I have mental health problems – Depression and Anxiety mainly BUT I am about to embark on possibly the biggest educational challenge I have had to date. I am going to university! Yep, me!

Yeah I am concerned for various reasons but I have worked hard over the last year to get to this position. So what if I am in my 30’s? I think this actually gives me an edge. I have life experience. Jeez do I?! I am learning because I WANT to, not because my family or society EXPECT me to. I know exactly what I want the end result to be so I can focus and keep my eye om the prize. I know exactly what route I need to take. In fact I am as in control as I think anyone at this point could be.

Whatever happens at university though, I know now who I am. I am beginning to realise my self worth. All the things that have happened in my life have happened for a reason and I believe finally, despite all the pain, anger and suffering I have endured, I am on the right path.

You have to make mistakes sometimes to learn. You have to experience failure to really highlight to yourself what you want. Were you bothered that you failed at so and so? No? Then ask yourself if it was the right thing for you. Yes? Then you know that that is what you want and you start again! Life is not a computer game. There is no limit to the amounts of “Start Again”. Keep going until you get to where you WANT to be.

If you don’t know what you want yet, that is OK! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And certainly do not live your life for someone else. It is great that your Dad wants you to be a doctor, but, do you??

Age is but a number. Grades are but a letter/word. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to be happy.

You may not be feeling what I am saying right now, but please keep it in the back of your mind. If you feel down, hopeless, worthless or upset, if you feel anxious and scared for the future, reach out for help. There will always be someone there to listen.

If things haven’t gone the way you wanted today, there is always tomorrow. Always a blank page. Always a Plan B.

Love

CC xx

 

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Bucking the trend!

I was reading an article in Women’s Health while I was away about how we don’t “blow our own trumpet” enough and are more likely to dismiss our achievements in order to conform to what society expects us to be like.

I am here today, on this blog to say – sod that!!

If you read this and think I am so far up my own backside then fair enough. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I certainly don’t appeal to everyone! But today is about me celebrating me! I am my own worst enemy generally, I give myself way too hard a time, slag myself off, put myself down and just generally treat myself like crap 90% of the time. It’s sad but it is very true. I would NEVER treat another person the way I treat myself so why I think it is ok is a mystery to me. Maybe most of it is my mate Depression and his equally horrible bestie Anxiety. They really do have a sick ability to warp your mind! But then maybe a lot of it has been my past experiences and the way my brain has been “trained” to think over the years. I have never ever felt good enough in any aspect of my life. Never clever enough, never pretty enough, never nice enough, etc etc etc. I am sick to death of never being enough so today I am going to prove to MYSELF that I am enough. In fact, I can be pretty damn amazing at times!

So, it’s been 1 month since I last posted on here. I have missed the clicky clack of the keys way more than I realised. In that month, it has been a whirlwind! So, in no particular order, here are a few things I have achieved:

  • Passed my Access to Higher Education with a Merit overall! This means I am OFFICIALLY starting University to study Psychology next month! WOW!
  • I am meeting with the PR people of the Great North Run today as part of Red Balloons and Mind volunteer as they possibly want to use my story as promotional material! They will be filming and interviewing me and people who have kindly agreed to say a few nice things about what I am doing. Nervous as hell!
  • Red Balloons is sponsoring a match ball for the local football team
  • I pitched at Stockton Soup and managed to raise £160 from donations as well as gain some fantastic contacts.
  • Permission has been granted to run my Community Rounders Tournament on Bank Holiday and so far interest has been good!
  • I have been accepted onto a level 2 distance learning course in Counselling Skills
  • I have been chosen as a Mind Media Awards Shortlister for the Entertainment category! Not only do I get to read some simply inspirational stories, I get an opinion on who may win an award! I also get an invite to the awards themselves in November!

I look over that list and in one way I feel like I am reading about someone else. But no, that is all me! I have other projects in the pipeline too around helping mental health in my local area. I am so proud! I don’t do any of this for acknowledgement, but I deserve to be proud and feel comfortable shouting about what I am doing because I work damn hard! I FINALLY truly love what I do, and the fact that I can help others, well that alone is the biggest accomplishment I could ever ask for!

August is not going to be the quiet time that I was expecting and I am actually over the moon about that. I love being busy, I love being useful. I love brainstorming ideas, meeting people, discussing ideas and every single day growing a little bit more.

I have just come back from a 2 week unexpected holiday and for the first time in 2 years, I properly let myself go. I ate what I wanted, I drank enough to sink a fleet of ships and I didn’t really exercise at all. The thoughts were there but I just didn’t. Yes, yesterday had me feeling crappy especially as an epic headache put a pause on my first planned run. I was starting to slip into that place where I would wallow and this in turn would end up with me in a bad place. That I can spot these things now is an amazing thing for me. It shows I am finally getting the hang of controlling my thoughts a bit more (thank you CBT!) So, I made a plan! Not a detailed one as I realise I have been putting far too much pressure on myself.

I set my alarm for 430am and surprisingly got up without even snoozing my alarm once! I had my usual bucket of black coffee then laced up my trainers and got out for my first run in over 2 weeks. I was stiff, it was difficult but 2 miles later and I was done! Yes, I set off too fast but so what? Yes I ache now, but to me that is a pain of satisfaction! And I know what I need to work on. I was honestly beginning to think I had lost my love of running but I know now I had just dulled my spark. I was focusing on the wrong things and beating myself up every time I thought I had failed. There is no such thing as failure if you simply try! Sometimes trying is the hardest thing you will do in a day.

So there we go. CC’s trumpet has been well and truly blown today and I personally think it was a hell of a good tune! It does feel weird and I will no doubt feel like a self obsessed idiot when I publish this (Rome wasn’t built in a day after all) but I bucked the trend. I gave a proverbial finger to anyone who thinks it is wrong to shout about how awesome you are!

Thanks Depression, you are definitely changing me for the better! Whether you like it or not! Thank goodness for my stubborn streak  😉

Love

CC xx

I’m still here….

My poor blog. I really tend to neglect it a bit at the moment. I’d like to say that it’s because things are going amazingly but in reality, although there are some amazing things happening, a lot of it has been pretty crap.

OK, hands up, I decided after a mess up at the pharmacy and me spitting my dummy out, I would go cold turkey and stop my anti depressants. I always like to think I know better and blah blah blah, but lets face it, if that was the case I wouldn’t be the “unique” individual I am. I need my medication. There, I said it!

I am not saying I am ashamed of taking them, I have been vocal that I have been on them. I just didn’t want to actually take them. In typical CC style I rushed the whole thing and assumed I felt better when in actual fact I was very far from ok. The thing with the tablets is they work so well when I am taking them, they gave me a false sense of confidence. Well, I learnt the hard way!

I have been back on them over a week now and thankfully my mood seems to be restabilising so normal services shall resume shortly. Or as normal as they get for me anyway. I have managed to complete my nutrition course so all I have to do over the summer is finish my PT qualification and continue trying to grow Red Balloons, which incidentally is going slow but well! For me, that really is a small load and in a way I am wondering if I can cope with 6 weeks of complete wind down. I wonder what else I can add to my load 😉

I know I want to do more public speaking, I want people to see the passion and belief face to face in what I am doing and why. I want people to hear my story and see that I am a typical lass, who has unfortunately suffered over the course of her life but who has managed to (sometimes only just) cling onto life with her tips of her fingers. I want to go into schools and workplaces and spread the word.

It’s only a tiny blog today. I don’t even think I will publish it on social media. I have a lot to say but nothing all at the same time and it’s a weird feeling. I just wanted to do a tiny wave and say, I am still here. I still need this blog, I just don’t know how to approach it at the moment.

I hope if you are reading this, you are in an ok place. If you are not, don’t be afraid to reach out. The first step is always the scariest.

CC xx

“How are you?”

How are you? A compulsory day to day question! Everyone should ask at least one person a day this very question and actually MEAN IT! Then actually listen to the answer, don’t just hear the words though, look at the eyes, acknowledge the body language. See if the non verbal communication matches the verbal response.

But, and here is my conundrum,  what do you say when, to be completely honest, you don’t actually have any idea how you are?! That is where I am right now. Where I have been for much of this past week to be fair. I am not bad, I don’t think. I have loads going on and to be honest, a lot of it is incredibly positive! I am working hard, reaching out to people, being brave, or as I like to put it, not being a shy bairn. The worst thing that anyone can say is No. I can handle rejection, I’ve certainly had enough of it *ahem*.

But I feel, empty. Not sad, not angry, not confused (well no more than I usually am haha) but not particularly happy, relaxed or excited either. And I know I SHOULD be! I kind of just feel like I am existing at the moment. Which, don’t get me wrong, from some of the places I have been in my head, this is still a great thing! I want more than that! I want my moods to reflect what is going on in my life. What I am grafting my arse off to achieve!

Am I doing my whole self preservation thing again? Am I not so much expecting the worst at the forefront of my mind, but also not feeling very secure with where I am actually am? Thing is, and I know CBT is helping me slowly with this, but as I have said many times before *yawn* how the hell can I change 33 years of a certain way of thinking? Where, lets be honest, most things have fucked up!

The last few days I have been listening to more Elvis Presley again. Screenshot_20180615-123305.jpgStarted off by a programme I came across on TV. Thing is, I don’t always make the connection but after some reflecting in the bath this morning, I realise that when I am not feeling the best, or where I feel a bit lost with myself, I go back to him and his music. His voice, so familiar, so comforting. I may be a little raver girl, but Elvis is my one first, true love. Thing is, as much as he is a massive comfort, a massive musical hug, as much as he can make me feel safe and smile, he can also make me cry. Very much. There are a few songs that no matter what mood I am in, they reduce me to childlike sobbing. Yet, the pull of them, I cant resist. It’s like a compulsion, I HAVE to listen to them.

  • American Trilogy – absolute shoulder shaking sobbing
  • The Wonder of You – if you know, you know why. A VERY important song from my past.
  • Always on my Mind – love many versions of this song, but this one is the only one that brings the tears
  • Separate Ways – heart breaking. If you haven’t listened to it and actually HEARD the words, I urge you do!

There is an important day coming up this week, and to be honest I didn’t think I cared, although it seems maybe I do. Maybe after that day, the frustrating clouds will break again.

Fathers Day.

Now, I wrote a blog, a letter to my Dad last year. And I still stand by everything I wrote. I have drawn a line under that part of my life as much as I possibly can. And I have truly stopped blaming myself for all that. It was NOT my fault he was who he was, I was no less of a daughter just because I was not enough to be a choice over alcohol. But, hand on heart, I miss him. A lot. Not the greasy alcoholic he will no doubt be, if he is still alive. But my Daddy. The thing that pains me the most is, I never got to say goodbye. The last things I said to him were not very nice, yes he was being a dick, but I never knew that when  I walked away that day, I would never ever see or hear from him again. How do you honestly deal with that??

Yes, I miss my Nana more than words could EVER describe but I know I have somewhere I can go to feel close to her. I can talk to her when I need to (although I haven’t for a long time and I don’t know why 😦 ) and at times I can hear her voice, see her face as clear as the last time I saw her and feel her. With my Dad, I cant. As every day goes by, I lose a little bit more of him. It’s like my memories are starting to fade out, like that scene at the end of a film. I suppose that is why Elvis is so important to me and always will be. It is the only thing I have left of him.

Don’t get me wrong, it does help that Elvis was the most gorgeous man to ever walk this planet, with a voice like Galaxy chocolate! It’s certainly not like its a hardship loving him so much!

Ah there it is, my fail safe humour mechanism kicking in. The one I use every time I feel like I am getting too emotional. The thing is, it is one of my mind protecting qualities. I am not quite strong enough, even to this day. I think there are some things, some emotions I am just not ready to fully tackle. Just yet.

Maybe I just needed a bloody good cry. As much as you all know I hate it, sometimes it is like a cleansing thing. There is a lot in my life I cant change, many questions I have to accept I will never get answered. But I have to accept that I am allowed to feel this way. I am allowed to miss him, I am allowed to wonder what would have happened if things were different, I am allowed to feel that twinge of jealousy when I see ‘happy’ families. I am allowed to feel anger, hurt, disgust even.

I need to remember that I don’t have to pretend to always be the strong, independent one. It is ok to want my Dad, to want my Nana, to want a hug, to break down and cry and, yeah, as much as it sticks in my throat, to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want pity, I don’t deserve it. But I can have oh woah is me moments. It does not make me any less of a person, it doesn’t make me selfish or self indulgent. It makes me human. And I am, as much as I hate to admit it, I am human. I have feelings and emotions and I am fragile at times.

So, how am I? Well, I still don’t know to be fair. Crying, yes. Wanting a hug that will glue all my broken bits back together, oh yes please!

But yeah, I’m not bad.

Love

CC xx

Right now…

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This blog is inspired by the lovely FearneCotton. I am just on reading her book, Happy (having only had it nearly a year I am sure) and the part on being in the now really spoke to me. I am an absolute buggar for thinking of EVERYTHING, apart from the here and now. I can tell you how I used to think and what happened and I can tell you what I want to happen and how I feel about things that haven’t and might not even happen yet. But I am a nightmare at being able to vocalise how I am, right now, in a moment.

So, lets give it a go! As an added bonus, today has been a canny day so hopefully you wont get the spiel of whinge that you normally get when reading one of my blogs 😉 (and yes I am aware that was a derogative comment against myself, I need to give my wrist a slap!)

So, right now. Oooo this is already quite daunting! Lets start with the physical, the fact! I am sat in my little office space, in the what was once Noah’s bedroom before he became a man child and accrued more toys than the shelves of Toys r Us. We had to have a house swap around as a single bed wont fit for love nor money in this room, so I decided to nab it and make it my own little “safe space”. I have it all set up just how I like it, quirky but organised. Photos on the wall, evidence of stuff I am proud of scattered around, and let us not forget the rather large ‘To Do’ pile of work. This room wont be mine for long, we have a cunning plan in order to switch it back into a bedroom for my teenage daughter, so I have kind of neglected the room, along with really, the rest of the house and my sanity. Today I got a random spout of awesome motivation and decided to take back control of my house. I decided it was time I got a grip and made my house a home again. I needed to stop hiding the mess behind closed doors, kind of like the way I tend to hide myself. It was a massive chore, about 4 hours in all, and I think at one point I nearly drowned in paperwork, BUT the sense of satisfaction walking round the house when I was done was AMAZING!

To see the floor in Noah’ room, to see a space where I could be productive and call my own for a small while and be able to lock out the world, to have a bath in peace and not worry about a monstrous lego tower falling on my head or a toy car popping up out the bubbles, from where, who knows! To not have piles of clothes on every surface going, to be able to see my kitchen work tops and to notice the colour of my stair carpets now they have been hovered in the first time in more than I care to admit! Although I meant to be focusing on today, and I am, it took me back to when I was house proud and I was constantly on a mission, cleaning and sorting. Everything had its place and god forbid you didn’t put something back EXACTLY where it came from if you used it. I know now, I did this because I was floundering. I felt I had no control over anything in my life, apart from cleaning and binging and purging. I had no idea what I was here for, what purpose my life held. I was grasping at whatever I could as life passed me by.

Now, things are very different. Yes, my Depression is still an absolute ball ache and I still don’t know how I am going to be one day to the next BUT I have a reason. I have a purpose, a vision, a dream! Yet, because of this, the first thing that disappears when I hit a bad spell and the last thing to make an appearance when I am feeling well again, is my housewifely duties. I have NO excuse to have a messy house. I am on full time sick, my children are at school (when they are not on one of the MANY school holidays anyway), although I still have coursework for my PT course and Nutrition course and I still do as much as I can volunteering for MIND, basically, there is no reason why my house should EVER be messy. Yet I let it, because I get to the point where I just don’t care. I go through the bare minimum motions to not be a scruff, I do what needs to be done for my kids. I just get so exhausted with the whole adult thing as I feel like a complete fraud. Sometimes I think I do it to see if anyone notices.

So now, right in this very minute, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I feel content. My house is a home again, I can hear Noah laughing and singing along to the cartoons downstairs, the birds are singing outside even though it is raining. I can here and feel my fingers on the keys of the lap top, the carpet under my feet and the cold wood on the left side of thigh. I feel lighter than I have in months, I feel ready, although honestly, I am not entirely sure what I am ready for. I made more baby steps forward in other parts of my future today but by focusing on what I need to do NOW! There are still a lot of things swirling round my head, I keep flitting to one thing or another but that is me. That is what happens. What I am learning to do is decide which bit is worth my attention. I am studying on Silver Cloud, an online CBT tool and it is really good! I am learning more about myself and how my brain works. How I can spot a bad thought or feeling and how to address it proactively and positively.

I am very aware that tomorrow is a new day, that it could be a bad day but just as equally it could be a good day. Ultimately though, it is a day. Approximately 16 hours of awake time to do with what I want. Time I will never get back. Now, I realise how much time I have spent thinking I should have done things differently, thinking about time past. Depression has taken ALOT of my time as his own. It is now where I take it from here and have it to myself as much as possible. He will have his stronger days, but every day that I take even 5 minutes more for myself, it means I am getting that little bit stronger, that little bit better at coping.

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You cant change the past but you can learn from it. You CAN change the future but only if you embrace the now.

Love

CC xx

Loneliness is worse than the darkness!

It’s always harder to write a blog when I know I have put it off on purpose for a few days as I was scared of the emotions it would bring out. Since Friday I have been all over the place and seemingly on a downward spiral. It took me until Monday to work out exactly what was wrong with me.

I am lonely.

Now, I know I have friends, and I know to be fair they are the best friends I could actually ask for. I also have an amazing online support network. I am daily extremely grateful for all of people in my life. But certain events in my life recently have highlighted a few things that I suppose I was either trying to avoid or that have been brought to my attention and have got me thinking about other things. Confused? Yeah I suppose I am too.

Growing up, my family was very close but incredibly small. Two sisters had married two brothers so there were 2 grandparents and 5 kids, me and my brother and my 3 cousins. I say close, my Mam wont mind me saying that we had a very difficult relationship, as did me and my brother. My Dad was sporadic at best then nicked off and to be honest I spent most of my time either with my Nana or at my aunty and uncles house. My cousins were not my cousins, they were more like my siblings, we were, and despite the distance between us now, still are extremely close.

I know now that I don’t think I ever actually appreciated what I had in my family unit. We had our fair share of difficulties and dramas over the years and for most of my life I had craved a “normal” family. Now I laugh at myself. Firstly, what even is normal? And secondly, the more people I meet, the more stories I hear, the more situations I am aware of, the more I realise just how lucky I actually was! Don’t get me wrong, there was a hell of a lot of seriously bad times, for all of us. But I tell you one thing, one thing that was never ever missing was love.

It has been the first time in 13 year that I really miss not living near them. I took my family for granted. Plain and simple. I know I wasn’t escaping my Mam or my brother now, I was escaping my own personal demons. Things have happened recently that have really hurt me and it has made me realise that those who love me, who truly love me, would never ever do that to me. They love me through my mistakes and my moods and my general annoyingness. That is what a family is. They don’t push you out, they don’t ignore you, they don’t make you feel bad. They may  not always agree with you, how boring would that be for a start?! But they are there through thick and thin.

I play a very good cold hearted bitch. I think I have actually played that part too well for too long as people don’t realise just how much I actually do feel and how sensitive I am. To a degree I don’t give a crap what people think about me, but then there is always going to be an element of that craving of acceptance. In an ideal world, who would want everyone to love them? And don’t lie! Of course you would. I want to be the one that makes people smile, who people can come to talk to, who people want in their life and to be around. I want to be a positive in someone’s day. I understand that I cant please everyone, I understand all to well my faults, but when I lose people that I love, that have been in my life for what feels like forever, it hurts. Like hell. It brings back so much past pain and rejection. Things that I have to start getting over but I don’t even know where to begin with it sometimes.

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This weekend gone, I felt so incredibly lonely and isolated. I felt like life was passing me by, everyone had someone and was doing their own thing and I was just kind of stuck. I suppose this is where all this has came from. Too much time being lost in my own thoughts is no good, especially to an over thinking, catastrophizing head blag like me. I realised I didn’t have anywhere I could just “pop by”. I didn’t have any family I could go and annoy for a little while. The lack of car and money meant I felt absolutely stuck. If it wasn’t for Noah I actually do wonder what I would have been like and how worse things could have been. I realised I don’t really have a support network, in the sense that I cant just go for a run or pop to the shops or have a drink with a friend. I was Noah’s whole world. Now don’t get me wrong, what Mam doesn’t love being the centre of their kids universe. But sometimes I crave a bit of flexibility. Something I don’t feel I have. I feel like I have to plan anything ages in advance, I cant be spontaneous. Yet when I do plan, I struggle to get excited as 9 times out of 10 something comes up and plans fall through.

I don’t want to spend this whole blog whinging. It doesn’t get me anywhere but I do feel a bit better getting it off my chest. It might sound pathetic and non important to people but to me, these are my thoughts and feelings. I don’t like them either but I have to deal with them and ultimately face them. It’s a pain and I still try and run away from things but when I do that I just eventually end up taking out my emotions on someone or something else and making things times worse normally!

Look at me learning!

Loss doesn’t have to just be people who have died. You can “lose” people who live round the corner. Is the pain comparable? Suppose it depends on who you talk to and the situation. I don’t think anything is ever really comparable as everyone is different. One thing that all this is teaching me, is to REALLY appreciate the people in your life. I love my family very much, even if we are all completely bat shit crazy. It makes us the awesome people we are and I wouldn’t change any of them now for anything! We may not live as close anymore but I want this year to be the year where we connect again properly. We don’t have to see each other all the time like we did but I don’t want to miss out on my great cousins growing up and I want my kids to be part of the family and know who these amazing people are and how important they are, especially to making me the woman I am today.

My friends will always be my family, but I need to start remembering blood too.

Thanks for never giving up on me

Love you all the world

CC xx

(For my Mam, Aunty Lesley, Uncle Vaughan, Mickie, Steven, David)  Nana and Grandad *RIP*

Depression & Anxiety for Me.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will probably know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this week in particular is Mental Health Awareness Week. Personally, although I know everything has it’s own week, month, day etc, I really do believe these events are fantastic. And not just because I can be even more annoying and a social media nuisance more than normal. It really does make people sit back and think, It helps give those a tiny push to share their stories and get involved but most importantly, it sign posts people to where they can get help and support and ultimately, this can, and does, save a life!

Now, I cant talk for everyone, mental health affects everyone in its own unique way so these thoughts and feelings, as usual, are purely my own. What Depression and Anxiety are to me. You yourself may have different ways of perceiving them, or they may make you feel different but as with anything, we are unique to ourselves. It doesn’t mean we are suffering any more or less, it just means we are suffering in our own way. To add a positive spin to it too, we all cope and manage in our own way as well. As I have said before and I will always say, we are in this together. We are each others mutual support, we understand, we empathise and sympathise and ultimately, we are stronger together.

OK, so Depression. Firstly you may notice I spell them with capital letters, like names. This to me was my way of compartmentalising them. If I made them into “beings” it was easier for me to understand the effect they had over me, the control. It was easier to get my head round what was going on and easier to get things out of my head as I could, demonise them, I suppose is the best way to say it.

Depression hangs around me like a dark cloak that at times I find impossible to shake off. He (no offence to the male sex here, not saying you have any links, I just feel they are he’s) really likes to take full control. Of my mind, body and soul. If he manages to successfully infiltrate one of those three, it is VERY hard for me to stop him getting his dirty claws into the other two. He makes me feel worthless, he makes me feel ugly, he makes me feel stupid. He makes me think I am a burden to those around me, that I am just making peoples lives a misery and hanging onto them when I should be letting them drop me and go and make themselves happy. He makes me paranoid, like everyone is talking about me and judging me, that no one loves me and that they are all laughing at me behind my back. It is a horrible place to be. Everything loses it shine, goes dark and dull and even my favourite music can lose that spark it has to me when things are really bad. I listen to the words and hear an alternative, darker story than what I actually know it is saying.

Everything seems so difficult, from opening my eyes on a morning, to walking, to talking. I lose interest in pretty much everything. I get to the end of the day and I feel exhausted. Exhausted that I have had to survive another day. Not live, not when I feel at my lowest, but survive. I also feel anger and frustration. The anger scares me the most as when I lose it, I struggle to control it. In those moments, as brief as luckily they mainly are, I don’t care who I hurt. If I hurt this much, so should they. Horrible isn’t it? (disclaimer – I shouldn’t have to put this here but I think it is sensible that I do, I would NEVER physically harm my children, nor would I emotionally or mentally abuse them. They may see me mad or upset, that is a reality of suffering from a mental health issue. It is never directed at them. Fortunately I have that self control and maternal protection ingrained in me. Just saying. For the record!)

The thing is, Depression is a manipulator. He can get you truly believing these horrible things. He can give you the clarity to plan your own end of life with such terrifying detail and can have you act on it! He does not care, he plays to win. To him, with me, ultimately winning is death. My death. BUT, I have beat him back enough now that although I don’t and probably never will have ultimate control over him, I am using him against himself. All these feelings, all these actions I have done to myself are now my lived experience. My key to my future, to helping others understand, to helping others help themselves. I do very occasionally have fleeting thoughts now, but more about running away than dying. That is a massive relief to me!

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Now, Anxiety, Depressions annoying but equally as aggressive brother! He likes to play with your head in the other way, where Depression makes you not care, He makes you care too much. He makes you fear yourself, he makes you fear everything, he makes your head so busy that although Depression is exhausting you and all you want to do is sleep, you cant! He makes my heart beat faster, my palms itch and gives me the worst headaches where even my eye ball hurts. He makes it so I can enjoy the things I enjoy, if that makes sense? I cant relax. I can cant concentrate on reading, I cant sit still, my mind is whirring at the speed of a walzer and one fleeting worry escalates into one massive snowball of an issue! Yet at the same time, he also makes you feel stupid, but in the way that you believe no one would understand. Sleep becomes nigh on impossible for more than a few hours at a time as it is like a blind getting pulled open. A barrage of thoughts tumble into your dreams and before you know it you are watching the minutes pass by and the sun rise, wondering how the hell you are going to cope with what you have on that day. How will you face people? How will you get things done?

I have days where I am great, days where I am good, sometimes I am lucky where I have weeks, though months at a time seems a long way off at the moment. As an old manager used to say to me, I need to learn to walk before I can run. When you fall so far down the rabbit hole, you cant expect to be skipping in the meadow again within a certain time scale. Who knows how long it will take, but one thing is for sure, I will get there! That meadow has my name on it! There will be other rabbit holes scattered all over that meadow, I am intelligent and realistic enough to know I will probably never be able to not fall in one, life experiences and the way my brain functions put paid to that. You know what though, I think I am as OK with that as I can be.

For now, and hopefully for as long as I am trotting around on this earth, I will just continue to do what I can to spread the word and help whoever I can. I can certainly think of worse ways to live my life.

Love

CC xx