Be Kind (she says to herself)

You would think that with coming up to 8 weeks of lock down, I should have been spouting out blogs like I do swear words, but you know what? I just haven’t had the mental capacity. Words have failed me. Hard to believe I know! As the days and weeks have rolled on, talking about how I feel and where my head is at with everything has got increasingly harder and to be fair, it has been doing my tits in! Why does shit like this always happen when you are so close to that “breakthrough” moment?? It’s a piss take! Although let’s face it, I say shit like this, who the hell could have predicted that any of this would happen? And it’s not your bog standard shit either really, is it? So my point has therefore become somewhat moot. But hey ho! It’s my blog so I can say what I want.

Have I learnt a lot through these past 854238 days? Yep! Probably a bit too much, but how I am TRYING to see it, as with all other shite in my life, these days have been sent to test me, and as I am stubborn cow, the only thing they will do is make me stronger. Cringe alert, but it is true. I have realised that I am in fact quite the little house wife. I am the worlds WORST parent teacher, to the point that I hold my hands up and say I have done about 2%. But despite the guilt trip newsletters from the school (yeah, really!) I couldn’t give a flying fuck, as my 6 year old son, who suffers with anxiety at the best of times, has been happy and is healthy. He may have had way too much technology but he has also read, been out and about, played and more importantly, laughed. I have had so many lush kisses and cuddles. I want him to look back on this and see that although I am no Mary Poppins, that is for damn sure, that his Mam was there for him. I don’t want him to remember fear or uncertainty, just life as it was. A little bit different to normal. Whatever normal is!

My daughter, she has been my sidekick and an amazing form of comfort and support. I really don’t know what I would have done without her! But I hate to see her so stressed over her GCSE’s and all her school work. Missing her friends and whatever normality meant to her. She is the one I am most worried about but also the one I am most at awe of. Don’t get me wrong, she has her flaws and she knows it. She can be a right little git! But as with everything in her life, she just gets on with it. She might have a meltdown, but she rides it out and then starts again. I just wish she could see just how truly amazing she is. She is just mint at everything, and bloody drop dead gorgeous! I have learnt a massive amount of respect for her. I am and always will be her Mam and not her friend, but to have formed the relationship we have now, the one I honestly NEVER thought I would have, has meant everything.

I have learnt that if I thought juggling uni and running Red Balloons was hard before all this, when I was here, there and everywhere, it is nothing compared to how stressed I have been and how much I have struggled since all this CoVid crap. When I say struggled I mean really struggled. To the point that if, again, I wasn’t so bloody stubborn, I would have sacked it all in. I really would have. Because in my head, I just cant do it. I have never felt so thick in all my life. Things I know just wont come out right. Exams at home? What a fucking joke! I have so much respect for all my friends and anyone else out there who is in education, because fuck me, it is hard! We have earned this summer off that is all I can say! But to throw it at another angle, although I still have three pieces of work to submit before I can breathe again, I HAVE done it. I have muddled through. I may have done things arse over elbow, and there is always a chance I wont pass and will have to resit, but I have tried. When I really didn’t want to. I have learnt that passion will get you through the worst things. When you believe in what you are doing, it does help you along, even if you’re kicking and screaming!

I have learnt that there are people who are really going to boil your piss, more so than when we have freedom. People I know and people I don’t. I have also learnt that I really need to bite my tongue a bit more, or at least take a breath before I speak or type. But at the same time, I am nobody’s fool. I am not afraid to say what I think or what I see, even if the way I actually feel is a whole lot harder to vocalise. The way I feel, and the thoughts in my head have been absolutely horrible. Scary at times. And I have come so so close to the edge of my hole again, resorting back to old, familiar habits. But I got brave just in time, and have managed to open up just enough to take some power back. I have managed to start to explain to my other half just how fucked up I really am. He doesn’t pretend to understand it, but he does listen. He can’t make everything better and make me see what he sees, but he can make it all quiet when he hugs me and I know that he won’t let bad things happen to me. In general, or from myself. I am, after all, my own biggest enemy. We drive each other fucking mental, but at the same time we just get each other. And through these last 8 weeks he has kept me laughing. We have had so much random fun, the neighbours must think we are bat shit, but it doesn’t matter. To be fair, we completely are! And proud! And we are building a gorgeous home together. There are definitely silver linings!

So anyway, tomorrow starts 2020’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and this years theme is amazing – Be Kind. I have so much planned for Red Balloons. I really hope we can make a lasting impression and reach as many people as possible with even the littlest of things that we do. Look out for social media LIVE’s, virtual walks and runs, blogs, songs, quotes and whatever else I decide to throw into the mix! Recently I have done, and received little acts of kindness, and the difference they make is unreal. Yet the one promise I want to make to myself, starting from this week, is to BE KIND to myself. I have hated myself, abused myself, wanted to disappear and felt like a fraud, a failure, a bitch, worthless, fat, ugly and all the rest. I have felt like a burden to those I love and have doubted their love for me because I just cant see or believe what they tell me. BUT I know now, that they deserve to have a me that knows her worth, I might be needy, moany and a right crazy pain in the arse sometimes, but they still love me. They haven’t fucked off and left me. They are supporting me and encouraging me to be me. And as I think these people are all kinds of fucking amazing, and I would never question their opinions on anything else, I need to stop questioning their feelings and thoughts about me. I would NEVER let anyone talk to anyone else, and least of all themselves, the way I have been talking to me, so therefore I need to sit up and take note!

Do I have a plan of how I intend to be kind to me? To be fair, not really yet. I only decided to do a blog when I started typing, so apologies but I am incredibly under prepared. However, for the first time in what feels like forever, I have some time coming up where I will be completely alone for some hours during the day. I am scared shitless you know. I don’t tend to do well when I am left alone with myself. But I am determined to get to know myself again.  To spend some time figuring out what makes me tick. What triggers me. What makes me feel good. What do I want? What don’t I want? What can I do to make myself feel good?

I did a challenge a couple of years ago where I had to say one positive thing about myself every day. It was fucking hard! I struggled after declaring that my simply fan-fucking-tastic sense of humour was epic! *Insert that weird smug/sarcastic emoji here* but I think it did help. So for MHWA I am going to stick to the daily themes we have and do a post of one thing linked to that theme. Should be interesting!

Anyways, I think I have had enough keyboard therapy for one day, and bored the socks off you enough. Bet you’re glad it’s Sunday! So I shall leave this here. And go and do whatever else is on my list of To Do’s. As always, thanks for reading. Please, look after yourself, look after each other and BE KIND.

Claire xx

 

Meh!

I have started and trashed about three of these blogs. Some over 1000 words long. Why? I don’t know. It just didn’t feel right. Did it help getting the words out and not publishing them? Maybe it did, but not to the degree that it has stood out as something I should be doing actively at the moment.

You know what is frustrating me the most? I feel so fucking selfish! EVERYONE is in the same boat, we are all fighting the same crisis, worried about friends and loved ones, segregated etc. In fact, on paper, I should be laughing fucking tea cakes. I have had (until recently) both my children with me full time, I now live with my partner and I also have his youngest son with us, so the house is busy and full of noise. We are all in good health, well physically at least. He is a key worker so gets paid and I am a full time student so can work (in theory as let’s face it, up to this point, I have pretty much done jack shit!) on my uni work and work on building Red Balloons. I can do workouts at home. I can run as I have a treadmill. Etc. Etc. Etc. See, I am basically a giant bell-end for saying I am struggling.

But I am. Life has got to the point where it is really fucking scary, and if it wasn’t for me having Craig and the kids to look after (and them looking after me), I would feel really lost and bleak. They are actually keeping me sane! And let’s face it, anyone who knows me knows I am no Mary Poppins! I have developed a cleaning and tidying habit that is verging on neurotic. I have always been a secret worrier, but now I am just worried about everything. I think I am so tired all the time as I am constantly fighting the catastrophic habit I have. It just takes one tiny little thread of thought and I light up quicker than flash paper! I have cried so much the last 11 days and to be honest, half the time I couldn’t even tell you why?!

Every day I seem to have a new issue. Proper fun this Anxiety malarky – NOT! Today, I feel rotten. When people are dying, and feeling incredibly poorly and worrying about losing their homes and jobs etc, I am hating on myself because I feel fat and quite frankly, ugly as fuck! I dare ANYONE to tell me that that is not selfish. Because I know it is, and I am disgusted at myself. My brain is truly being the biggest cunt known to man at the moment, and anyone who knows me knows I absolute hate that word, so hopefully it kind of gleans a bit of emphasis on the thought process I have.

Do you know the worst part about it all, around it all, I am actually happy. Yeah, make sense of that if you can?! Madness isn’t it? Please, someone tell me they understand because I feel like I am driving myself absolutely bonkers!

I think the problem is, we are so used to a certain way of life. We never realised just how good we had it, how much freedom we had! There are so many things that I have taken for granted, that now you can’t help but wonder, are we going to get these things back? They no doubt wont be the same for a long long long time, if at all. So I want to make myself smile by remembering the important things, some I still have the luxury of having, but more to also make a pledge to myself to look back over this blog at random intervals in the future, to remind me just how fucking lucky I really am!

  • hugs
  • Seeing my friends whenever the hell I want, FACE TO FACE!
  • Going on mad little walks and adventures with Craig when the kids are at school
  • The kids being at school!
  • Being able to walk freely around a shop without having to queue, to avoid everyone and without the proper guilty feeling plus the sense that everyone who sees you is judging you.
  • Being able to pop out for, well anything! A coffee. A mooch into town. A pint.
  • Going to the gym. God I miss the gym!
  • Alone time. Up until this point, I have actively avoided alone time wherever physically possible, but now I know that everyone needs a little bit. And I mean alone time where you don’t have any agenda. Just to, be! To not have to think or worry about anything.
  • To be able to actually plan and look forward to the future! Holidays. Day trips. Dates.

So, I need to give my head a shake. I need to accept that it is OK to feel crappy. Let’s face it, I had my fair share of issues before all of this shit, so I would have incredibly stupid to think that something this massive would not effect me! Despite it feeling pretty impossible with all the uncertainty and mixed messages (yes you UK Government. About as clear as mud as per!) I need to practice a damn sight more gratitude and appreciation for what I have and my situation and also keep my usual annoying positivity! We live in a world where we can keep in contact in so many different ways. We can actually have Facetime conversations, virtual drinks, etc. It may last a long fucking time, and unfortunately there is going to be A LOT of heartbreak and pain for many, but this IS temporary.

I do however need to end on a bit of a soapbox rant, because lets face it, I am good at them and they do relieve a lot of stress. WILL PEOPLE STOP BEING DICKS!!! And I don’t mean like the pity rave I have just had for myself. That shit is ridiculous but to be fair, understandable. I mean DO AS YOU ARE FUCKING TOLD! Stop meeting friends and family when you know its fucking dangerous. And certainly stop bloody bragging about it! We all want to say fuck the system, but this is peoples lives we are talking about. You’s will be the first ones to moan when this goes to full lock down. Which it will now! And god forbid you lose anyone because of it all. As they keep saying, yes you are more likely to die if you are elderly or have health conditions, but as they have proved recently, this virus does not discriminate. Healthy adults, babies and children are dying! And these are just figures recorded from hospitals.

If you are in the shops, or work in shops, stop being so preoccupied with what everyone else is buying and doing and look after you and yours. So what if Sandra is buying paint with her pint of milk, or Ted has a crate of lager with his mince. Not all items are essential, but that may be their only trip this week. That paint might be the only thing stopping Sandra from spending all day in bed. That helps her mental state. That lager that Ted has, we all have a vice. Who are we to judge? These times are bloody hard. We can only hope that he drinks responsibly.  As long as all health and safety measures are being followed. Don’t argue with staff in supermarkets because your normally 30 min trip now takes about 60 minutes with all the queuing. They are trying to keep you, and themselves safe, whilst keeping you in things you need. Stop slagging people off for whatever reasons (a few I have seen that have proper boiled my piss are: how people look, what peoples idea of passing time consists of, that helping others was a smokescreen for personal gain?!) just because you are feeling shitty. We are all feeling shitty. If you cant be nice, shut the fuck up. Caroline Flack and what we supposedly learnt has been sharp forgotten hasn’t it?!!

This is far from a perfect situation. Let’s face it the whole bastard thing is a pile of wank and we are all fed up! And things will only get worse for a while, until they start to get better. So lets all just help each other out. It really isn’t hard. Is it? Once this is all over, let’s hope that whatever valuable lessons we have learnt throughout all this, we continue to remember. We continue to be grateful, to not take those we love for granted, and all the rest.

No idea if any of this has even made sense haha, but it’s helped me. And as it’s my blog, that is what matters. I hope it might bring a bit of solace to some. To help everyone remember, that despite being alone, we are never truly alone. We cant always be there for everyone all of the time, but if we can honestly say we are trying our best, then that is what matters. And please, please, look after yourself too. Massively hypocritical comment coming from me, but it really is so important. There will be loved ones that rely on you more than ever at the moment, it is important you are as strong as you can be.

Stay safe. Stay home. Don’t be a dick!

Claire xx

February Flop

You could be forgiven for thinking that this blog is going to turn into another angry/moany/miserable blog, and if I had written it earlier, to be fair it probably would have been! But I think I have successfully procrastinated long enough this time that it shouldnt be as bad as it could have been, but will hopefully still get my point across and have the desired personal effect. Win win! (She says with bated breath)

NB – what the hell is bated breath anyway? Answers on a postcard please!

Anyways, what’s the deal with the negative title? Well negative yeah, but also true, and honesty is what this is all about. I come across mostly (I think) as this highly motivated, hyper, smiley, Duracell Bunny of a lass that always seems to be doing something, hitting her goals, etc. But in all honesty, I think I miss more than I hit. Am I ok with that? Am I fuck! But it’s a fact of life, and it’s in own weirdly. wonderfully, warped way, it actually motivates me more! I continue to set goals, to beat myself up over my failings but it makes me want things more!!

My Fitness February goals were the start of my monthly Physical/Mental/Emotional game plan for 2020. Each month I will set one goal for each, February’s were:

  • run 1 mile OUTSIDE everyday
  • read at least 1 chapter of a book every day
  • write 3 things I am grateful for, you guessed it, every day!

I started off so well! Some canny fast miles, amongst gym workouts and such. I read 3 chapters in 1 day! I was going to bed and adding my 3 things to my little diary with my giraffe topped pencil that my daughter gave me. Then, I don’t know, I could come up with a whole load of excuses but basically, life got in the way and these little things, that all together would take up only around 30 minutes of my day, fell to the way side. And now, I am beyond frustrated with myself!

Now, for the mile a day I do have a genuine reason. Again, same as last year, around the same time to be fair as last year actually, I have knacked my calf! It had been niggling and I took the very unusually sensible decision to stop that mile challenge early on in the month. I thought it was ok again and had signed up for my first official race last Sunday, my first proper trail race, around Holme House Prison. Thought it would be a great way to restart my running off. I was feeling positive. T’other half took me, treated me to a Macdonalds breakfast, sat and had a laugh which calmed my usual nerves. Race started a bit late as it was actually really busy; muddy and soaking, it was loads of fun! On a decent pace, playlist was banging – then disaster! Half way through a muddy puddle, my calf just went! Agony to the point that for the first time since I started my running journey, I knew I couldn’t even drag myself around limping. It was my very first ever DNF (Did Not Finish).

On the day I was pissed off with myself, but I took it really well. I out-stubborned my stubbornness and knew I had done the right thing stopping (plus there was no medal so I was more OK than I usually would have been). I could have created an injury that would take months to heal if I had continued, even walking. Apart from being frustrated and hating on the runners on the treadmill at the gym (sorry guys, but we all know we do it!) I have been still training what I can, which has helped. But you ALWAYS want what you can’t have and I am literally craving a run. Complete weirdo I know! I would have been good, calf is starting to calm down and ease up a bit now, but Tuesday night, out of nowhere, for still no apparent reason, Anxiety decided to jump out and kick me right in the fanny! Queue dramatic overthinking, absolute self hatred and the most horrendous feeling in my gut that something horrible was going to happen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Depression is quite easy to deal with for me, I understand that side of me and what effect He has. Anxiety is whole different ball game and I fucking HATE him! He is the one that could completely fuck things up for me because I just become irrational. I am absolutely the Queen of self sabotage and if I press that BIG RED BUTTON, well let’s just say no one wants that!

I was literally just making the kids tea when I felt that feeling wash over me, my body go all tense, my stomach knot, twitchiness started and my brain lost the ability to think properly. I become even more random and zoned out than normal as my brain tries to race against Anxiety and find out what the fuck is going on. There was literally NO reason for it! All of a sudden I was thinking, “why am I at uni, I’m shit. They don’t want me there. Red Balloons doesn’t need me any more, my volunteers do a better job. I am of no use. I feel like a spare part. I feel like a fraud. My house is a disgrace. I’ve let myself down. My face is hideous. My belly is fat. My boyfriend is having second thoughts, I’m annoying him, he could do better.” Amongst many other crazy things. My mind when it is like this always reminds me of when a kid grabs a pen and just goes akka scribbling all over a blank bit of paper!

I was good this time though. Although I didn’t say exactly what I was thinking, I did open up that my Anxiety was high and I did express some of my concerns. Fos such a gobby person, I say it all the time, I never shut the fuck up, but what I say is often of no substance. As blunt as I am, with no filter, with every other aspect of life. when it comes to myself, I go round the houses until people either get confused or lose interest. It honestly works a treat! I am epic at avoidance, deflection and distraction. Too bloody good to be honest.

Maybe it is the time of year? 6 days until my “anniversary”. Maybe my mind is going into the good old psychological survival mode of fight/flight/freeze? Any and all of these are used depending on the circumstances. I can get incredibly defensive very easily when asked the simplest of questions. I feel like people are getting at me, that I am letting people down and being a complete head blag. Despite the many times my counsellor tells me off for being a dick (literally) I still feel like I shouldnt be putting shit on people. That I am responsible for my own issues, that I have spent 35 years dealing with them myself. The thing that upsets me the most, although fortunately for me, I seemed to have lost the ability to cry again, is how much the self hatred comes back. I never feel like I am good enough. If it wasnt for Red Balloons making me be “out there” I would retreat. And everyone who knows me knows that I should NEVER be left with my own head for too long. I am getting better at spending time with myself, but there is certainly still a limit!

Anyways, I am hoping this blog will kick my arse and when I read it back it will have the desired effect of making me realise that my thoughts are irrational and that I am doing my usual thing of catastrophising everything. Yeah I am aware that there will be hurdles. Nowt in life ever comes easy! But that I am more than capable, intelligent (hard to believe but really!) and strong enough to cope with shit. I may still have the occasional dark thoughts when I am mentally exhausted, and yes, I am possibly more vulnerable in ways I never have been before, which quite frankly scares the living shit out of me, but I know truly that everything happens for a reason. I dont know if  I will ever be able to accept that I NEED people, but I will admit I want to. It just feels really shit that every time I start to open up somehow, something happens that makes me quickly start putting bricks back in the wall. I can do all this alone if I need to, but yeah, I dont want to.

Hopefully after this week is over and done with, my moods should stabilise again. I hope the annoying thoughts and knot in my gut fucks off. For anyone that has to deal with me this week, sorry. I may blog more. I may be less around than normal. I’m not really sure how all this will be for me, but I will keep fighting. I promise.

Now, what should my March goals be??

Claire xx

 

 

Mind your own fucking business

Yeah, the title of this blog may give away that it wont be a happy, smiley. shiny, positive one this time. I have a lot of emotions but anger is certainly simmering away at the forefront of them all. Probably not the best one to end my writers block with, but then again, maybe it is!

Let’s get the important stuff out the way, there will certainly be a hell of a lot of swearing I am sure, these are MY opinions, MY thoughts, MY feelings. It is MY blog. I always encourage feedback and your thoughts and opinions, and in no way do I ever mean to cause pain or offence. And finally, the most important part – TRIGGER WARNING. There will be a lot of talk about suicide. So please, feel free to close down the blog now, no hard feelings. You need to protect you.

Another day, another new report about suicide from another “famous” person that felt like ending their own life was the only answer. RIP Caroline Flack.

It is one of many recently, certainly here in Teesside, of people who just feel like there is no other way out. It never gets any easier or less shocking to read, in fact for me I think it affects me more every time. I will never ever give up campaigning or talking about it. I will never stop hoping that my story could help one person. I always hope that Red Balloons can encourage just one conversation that could save a life. I will never give up hope that this horrific epidemic will reduce or end! I’m not naive to think it will ever go completely, but what is life anyway without a little bit of hope.

But let’s get things straight, if people were a lot fucking nicer, or at least kept their noses out of things that have fuck all to do with them, then maybe, just MAYBE, some of these heartbreaking incidents would not happen. It is is as simple as that! The newspapers reporting the tragic death of Caroline, are the ones dragging her name through the fucking dirt! Who are sending their “heartfelt” condolences when last week they were calling her all the names under the fucking sun. Who are sharing “Breaking News” stories but taking absolutely no fucking responsibility for the part they had to play!! The general public who were sharing these news stories and laughing and making jokes are now “shocked”, “saddened” etc. BULLSHIT!!!! Everyone seems to think they have a right to be involved in everyone else’s life, with no consideration to the consequences of their actions and words. Trust me, words hurt more than any fucking punch to the face, and I have had both!

Yes, she did wrong, if what is reported is true. Yet it has fuck all to do with any of us. It was the duty of the courts and our legal system to decide. What right do we or the newspapers have to spread absolute shit, to call names, to feel like we are superior? How are we any better than anyone else? We are not!! We are all individuals. With our own individual qualities and shit bits! Because, shocker alert, whether we have money or not, whether we choose a job in the public eye or hide away behind the curtains, we are all human and we need to start fucking acting like it!! If you cant be nice, say fuck all! And there is not one single person out there that can say they haven’t done something shit in their life! We all live in glass houses, no one should be throwing stones! We all make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences. But NO ONE has the right to make ANYONE feel like they are not worth it. That they should be dead!!

As you can tell, this has massively touched a nerve. Not just because of what I do now. Obviously mental health awareness and suicide prevention is my day to day work now. But because I know what it feels like to have been talked about and treated so badly that there seems to be no other way out. To have been made to feel like absolute scum of the earth. To have had to constantly defend myself. My actions. MY FUCKING LIFE. If my decisions and actions didn’t fit in a particular box that suited people, Jesus! How very fucking dare I? Ill mental health is a massive factor in suicide, but what people can’t always get their heads around, is there are also so many circumstances that can massively escalate these thoughts and feelings. There are people who have not suffered ill mental health at all and still feel like killing themselves is the only option. And 9 times out of 10 it is because of the actions of others!

We are ALL struggling with something. We all have things going on in our lives. And a lot of the time we all live a decent proportion of our life on social media. I still don’t think that gives anyone the right to be able to fixate on someone else, judge and sometimes tear them apart simply because they think differently. For the last however many months I know all too well how much this hurts. However, despite the low points, I am very lucky to be able to say I stuck by my decisions, my feelings and I stand tall. I am now happy and moving on with my life. I have been taken off the suicide “at risk” list which was a huge moment for me, although I am back in counselling and this time I am feeling empowered! I am stronger than I was before and I can actually see things, and people, for who they are.

I am choosing to share a lot less of my personal life online now. I want to still be able to blog, I am hoping this will end my writers block as I have struggled massively to be able to communicate in many ways. But the tide is changing.

I feel for one time only, I should clear a few things up though. Quickly and simply.

My marriage completely ended in 2019. My decision. I don’t need to go into details, me and him have talked (and talked and talked) and we both know the others thoughts and opinions. We are now working on building a friendship where we can work TOGETHER to make sure our son is happy and secure. That he feels loved and that he understands what is going on. Both my son and daughter are HAPPY! Doing well in school and life in general. I am very very proud of them and how they have dealt with the whole situation.

I am now in a relationship with a fantastic man, who I love very much. He has stuck by me when any sane person would have sacked me, my baggage and my insanity off a long time ago. But he stands by my side every day, makes me laugh every day, picks me up when I fall and makes me want to throw stuff at him every day too, but is quite simply one of the best people I have ever met. I just hope he can say the same about me. Even when I do his bonce in with all my PMA, positivity, it will be ok shit. Although, as he knows, i’m always right ;).

There has been a hell of a lot of people who feel that they were entitled to a say in this, and assume they know things. Things of which are utter bullshit I may add. So for the very last time, NO I DID NOT HAVE AN AFFAIR. The ex is now in a relationship with a proper lovely woman too. So if everyone could just draw a line under everything, and let the 4 of us get on with our lives, the way we want to, that would be great! He is happy. Let him be happy. Let us all be happy. Have your thoughts, have your opinions, but hey, here is a better idea, keep them in your head! Or even better, see the title of this blog. Thank you kindly!

So let’s end on a positive, now my anger has waned and I am feeling like I can breathe again. If you are reading this and feeling proper shitty, please believe me when I say, you are loved. You ARE worth it. There is a quote I love, that I know if you’re in a bad place you will roll your eyes at and tell me to fuck off BUT I swear it is true. You are only ever sent things that you are strong enough to deal with. You don’t have to deal with these things alone though. There may be a lot of people who say these things and they are empty gestures, bit harsh but let’s face it, true. But there is always at least one person. I promise.

Easier said then done, especially when it comes from people who are meant to love and care for you, but honestly, life gets easier when you stop giving a flying fuck what people think. Live YOUR life how you want to. Especially if you are going to be judged anyway. As I said to my daughter, if you are going through some drama or life issues at the moment and you feel like you have no control, remember, you will be tomorrows fish and chip newspaper. I know all too well how dark things can get, but please, please don’t give up.

If the media succeeds at anything, I hope it is raising more public conversations about suicide and mental health. My thoughts go out to ALL the families affected by suicide. I am so very thankful that nearly 3 years down the line, I am still sat here to piss you all of with my ramblings. So today, instead of, or as well as, sharing a news article, a meme or whatever, how about you drop someone an “are you ok?” message, give someone a call, give someone a hug. I bloody love hugs!!

Claire x

 

 

 

It’s good to talk, but it’s not always easy!

I make such a big deal about talking all the time, it is proven to be the best thing for people, to be able to get things from inside onto the outside. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that jazz. But what happens when you lose your ability to talk? Well about anything of any substance. What happens when you have so much going on in your head that you lose the ability to actually vocalise anything that you actually need to say? What happens when you genuinely start to think that you are losing your mind? What happens when the self doubt in you has sank in so deep it has started to rot your core and question everything you thought you did know about yourself?

I open my mouth to say things and it is like there is block. The words won’t come out. It’s like I am so fucking scared of what will happen when they get said, that they just sit, in the back of my throat, staring at sweet freedom. Not daring to leave the sanctuary that is me. The thing is, a lot of the words I need to say are not directly me. There are things that are going on around me that I don’t have any control over, they are not my stories to tell. Yet they are having a massive impact on me, and that is making me feel incredibly selfish.

It is such a viscous circle. Mental health is a fucking ball ache! I am sick as fuck – in probably every sense of the phrase. You know that saying “one step forward. two steps back”? Well I am living that very saying every single day at the moment. There are amazing things happening in my life that should have me bouncing all over the place. massive cheesy grin on my face and basically doing everyone’s tits in with the positive vibes. But everything just seems so dirty. Everything has a black tinge. It is like I have gone back over on myself and I keep thinking that all these bad things are happening because of me. It is my fault. These people wouldn’t be suffering if it wasn’t for me. I thought I had won these particular demons in counselling last time. But somehow the little fuckwits have managed to sneak back into my head, and they are pissed that I won last time so they doing all they can to take their revenge.

LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!

The dreams are the worst. Not just ones when I am sleeping. My day time ones when I haven’t realised but I have zoned out and my brain is playing horrific scenarios in my head. Where people I love are dead. All I can see is their pale skin, their haunting eyes. Their blood and their bruises. Read letters that they have wrote saying I have let them down, that I wasn’t there for them. That it shouldn’t have been them, it should have been me.

I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I have over the last 2 weeks. They say that crying is good, that it soothes the soul and all that shit. Well can I ask, how much do you need to do?? Reckon I have easily filled at least one bath, starting on the second one was I write this. I know this is because I hold so much back, keep so much to myself and tell myself that I can don’t need to burden anyone. I retreat because I feel so vulnerable. Those walls I used to have are starting to crumble and I am hugely exposed. I actually have to start to protect myself using other methods. I actually have to start asking for help from other people, and I hate that. I hate that I worry other people, feel like I am constantly seeking validation that I am not what my brain is telling me. That I am not a fraud, a failure, a bitch, an attention seeker, a bull shitter, a ruiner of lives, a hassle, a burden…………

Maybe this blog is exactly what I needed to do. As always the clattering of the keys is actually soothing me, but I am scared of what I am writing, of putting the words onto paper (well screen), of actually making the insanity reality. But those people closest to me deserve the best me. The me they know I can be, that they can see, while I can’t. They deserve to not have to worry about me, to be able to look after themselves. So as much as I want to just disappear, as much as sometimes I think that deleting me from their lives will be the best thing, I absolutely refuse to give in. I am not alone, no matter how lonely I might feel at at times. I have people who love me, all of me, even all the dark, rotten parts of me. And I want to beat this and come back stronger for them.

I owe these people my life. More importantly, I want to do this for me. Because I know I am a good person. I really am. I have a huge heart. Too fucking big at times, and I will forever put anyone before myself, but I just want people to be happy. To live lives that make them smile, that they wake up to every, or most, mornings wondering what the day has in store for them. What will make them laugh, what adventures they will have, big or small. Who will they meet, new and old. What will they achieve. What will they go to bed being grateful for.

So this World Mental Health Day, what am I doing or going to vow to do, to make positive steps forward?

I am thankfully back into counselling. There was some clarity given which I will be eternally grateful for, a straight talking, no shit attitude, that has encouraged me to look at things from a different angle. Not what I cant or haven’t done, but more what I CAN  and HAVE and WILL do. There are so many things I have no control over, but what I do have control over is how I respond, how I react, how I move forward and what I can put into place to ensure these things don’t happen again.

I have my coping strategies that I will be bringing back – my running first and foremost. I am currently blasting Florence and Machine at top volume as music always helps gain perspective. Writing things down that I can’t say.

I have my safe places. The places where calmness runs over me. Where I don’t have to be busy, where I don’t have to distract myself or pretend I am someone, or be someone else or what someone expects or needs me to be. I can just be me. Everything just slows down. Everything just makes sense. I can’t be in these places all the time, but what I can try and do is remember how I feel when I am there. The way my body relaxes. The way my mind just quietens down.

I am part way through the revamp on my house, turning it into a comfortable and relaxing home, instead of the cold and empty house it seemed to be, A place where I don’t want to avoid anymore. A place where there will be a lot of love and laughter. Where I am not ashamed to have people visit.

Most importantly. I vow to be the very best Mam I ever could be. I won’t lie about the fact that life is fucking hard, that I make mistakes, that the mess I make painting is a complete and utter metaphor for me as a person and my life! But I will show  my children that you should NEVER give up. That you should always know your worth, despite those that try and drag you down or tell you otherwise. I will never stop fighting for my children and what I believe in. More needs to be done, much much more, and I will do whatever I can.

So, yeah. Talking is fucking hard. But it DOES help.

Claire xx

 

Time to smell the coffee!!

First off, let’s just give a huge round of applause and cheer for Cara Lisette! The person that gave a massive middle finger to the latest bullshit and potentially, highly damaging comments made by none other than President Trump, in the media this week!

This blog is going to be a bit (probably a lot) ranty but I swear there will be a lot of positivity in it too. For a start, it’s Friday and at 830am, I have already had a canny little morning! Picture the scene, I am sat here at my desk at home, flowers from last week still going strong, emails caught up with, a GIANT mug of coffee because without coffee, adulting is just hard! Music is on in the background and at regular intervals I can hear the crazy laughter of my son, watching god knows what on his tablet, which ensures there is a big smile on my face!

So, lets jump right in to my main reason for this blog and the rant that has been boiling up in me since I first saw the news, and then subsequently all the social media feeds. I write my blog because mainly, it helps me get some of the demons out of my head and into reality, where their power diminishes and I can flick them away like an annoying ant. Yet, there is another reason, that is becoming equally important. I want to help get rid of the, quite frankly, SHIT opinions and stigma that goes with mental health illnesses. We are in 2019 for fucks sake, and yet there are some people still spouting utter crap about subjects they know fuck all about! Or maybe they do, and this is their way of trying to pretend that they are too good for this shit, that they are invincible, that mental health issues are not something that could EVER effect them.

Will people PLEASE start to realise that these conditions are illnesses! We who suffer with them have no choice in how we suffer, or with what conditions we get labelled with. Same as we don’t choose to actively go out and get a life threatening disease or break a bone! We don’t sit there thinking, “life has been a bit mundane at the moment, let’s go through a bout of severe Depression and plan how to end our life!”, or “oooo there is a party I really want to go to, all my friends will be there. But, wait! Feeling sick, having a bad headache and getting a panic attack at leaving the house, so bad that I think I am dying, sounds equally as fun!”, or even “I really love the taste of vomit and feeling of the shame spiral into darkness, so I’m going to knack a tub of ice cream, a parmo and whatever else I can get my hands on, and spend an hour in the bathroom, under the cover of complete secrecy, until I get rid of all this from my body. You know, for shits and giggles”.

Will people get a grip! The media needs to seriously sit up and take note of what campaigning is going on from mental health advocates and sufferers, not ignorant high profile figures, who would not have a fucking clue if it jumped up and twatted them on the nose. Listen to the REAL LIFE stories of people who suffer with these horrible illnesses. Listen to how people really FEEL. How isolating it can be, especially when ill mental health is, YET AGAIN, getting blamed for the absolutely horrific violence that is being carried out across the world! Pop over to the Time To Change website and check out FACTS! The majority of crime and violence is carried out by people WITHOUT a mental health condition.

  • In 2009, the total population in England and Wales was just over 43 million. It is estimated that about one in six of the adult population will have a significant mental health problem at any one time (more than 7 million people). Given this number and the 50–70 cases of homicide a year involving people known to have a mental health problem at the time of the murder, clearly the statistics data do not support the sensationalised media coverage about the danger that people with mental health problems present to the community. – Time To Change

90% of people who die through suicide are suffering from serious mental distress. I’m going to say this just once, so please listen – PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESSES ARE PROVEN TO BE MORE DANGEROUS TO THEMSELVES THAN ANYONE ELSE!

I can say this, because I know first hand that it is true! Any regular readers of this blog will know at least parts of my story. I was and never ever have been, a risk to ANYONE around me. Despite my alter ego “Patricia” being absolutely horrendous (I realise now, she is my protector, but that lady is scary!) I have never thought about hurting another person. Violence has never been on my agenda! The only person I have ever wanted to hurt was, *gasp* MYSELF!

Whether that be through planned and executed suicide attempts, off the cuff attempts like when I cut myself and ended up being taken to hospital in a police car, or when I would regularly make myself sick, several times a day. Yes, binging and purging was not only a way of trying to lose weight for me (which ironically never actually happened) but it was a way to control and punish myself. Being sick so much that I would get dizzy at times and think I was going to pass out. Binging that much that choking on my own vomit in the desperation to get the crap out my body was a strong possibility, and hand on heart I have had more than one scary moment where I thought, fuck I have gone too far this time! This is all violence, but every bit, every thought, every action was aimed at myself. I deserved the pain and torture. Those around me that I love so dearly didn’t, and still don’t, deserve any of this. The best way in my head to make it all better for them was to take me out of it, to either die or to disappear so far into my massive black hole that they would all think I had gone for good and therefore walk away and leave me there. Save themselves so to speak.

But you know what, yes my mental health is very severe at times and causes a lot of despair and pain BUT, it has also created a life that I could have only ever dreamed about. We who suffer from these vile illnesses are not victims. We are survivors. We don’t choose these things, but what we can do, is use them to our advantage. To take their power and use it for good NOT evil. From my experiences I have some amazing opportunities in my future.

I run my own charitable organisation, dedicated to using exercise and a healthier lifestyle in order to support those who suffer with their mental health and would like to learn new ways to help themselves, around professional services. I am soon to start my own radio show to promote this organisation, as well as other organisations. To help share as many REAL LIFE stories of mental health and how it affects a persons life. To encourage people and to help them realise their true worth. I am also soon to be trained as a Peer Support Facilitator Trainer through a side project from national Mind – Get Up Set Up. I will be travelling around the country, helping peer support groups set up in their local areas. I am also a full time university student. As well as being a mam, daughter, friend, boss…….

This, all of this, is because of where my circumstances have brought me. This is all because I got so very poorly, I tried to end my own life, and I NEVER want ANYONE to feel like that. No one deserves to feel like that. Everyone is on this planet for a reason. Everyone has self worth, whether they can see it themselves or not. I can. I can see it. And I will spend the rest of whatever life I have left, helping those that trust me to, to see it in themselves too.

As well as me, there are thousands of amazing mental health warriors out there, sharing their own story. Helping others just by being them. To name but a few, Stephanie Addison, Matthew Williams, Alessandra Botham, Coach Clair, Aiden Hatfield, Cara Lisette…….. I could go on. That doesn’t even hit on the famous people, A – Z, that also use their platforms to spread the word too.

There are also so many people that suffer but who aren’t ready yet to share so publicly, but do what they can to help too – volunteering, blog, share posts on community pages, regularly check in on their friends and family. But these people are just as amazing as us who are their mouth pieces.

So yeah, Donald Trump, Piers Morgan and anyone else who has such vastly INACCURATE views on mental health – either get clued up, listen to those that actually know what we are talking about, or shut the FUCK up, for the love of whoever is above! You really do not know how much damage you could be causing!

Phew, glad I got that off my chest. As always with posts like these, this blog is MY BLOG. I encourage people to feedback and to share their thoughts too. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But these are MY thoughts and feelings.

Thank You

CC xx

#JustSaying

I wasn’t really expecting to be blogging so soon after my last one. I just had an urge to start typing. I do hope this one holds more positivity and light than the last one, but at the same time, I do know the ones that are the hardest to read and write are often the ones that have the biggest impact on me.

In regards to the last blog, I just want to firstly say Thank You to those of you that took the time to read it. I know they can be quite lengthy, and that one was dark. I have had some truly lovely messages and comments, I feel very grateful that I have such an amazing support group behind me. I don’t often understand why people stand by me or want to be there for me, but I will never ever take it for granted. You are my lights in the dark. At the same time, I need to acknowledge those that were affected by the blog. I won’t apologise for it as this is about me and me being honest, but I truly never  meant to hurt anyone. I never want those that mean the world to me to ever think it was their fault. And I promise (I know I have already done it to your face, but here it is in print for future reference) that if I am ever sat in that place again, I will reach out. I understand.

So, what has changed then? Why am I blogging? Well, I think that getting that dark place out in the open did actually create a tiny chink of light for me. It helped spin me back round to at least facing in the right direction. The thing is, although I have my coping techniques and such, I have had to accept that this time, it is a very different situation. The twat Depression has tried a new angle, came back with a new identity and we are trying to suss each other out. The fat fuck feels like he is sat right on my chest, and I have times where I struggle to breathe (literally as well as figuratively)  but one thing you should NEVER do is under estimate me or my strength.

The last time things were this bad, yes, I did the exercise, I did counselling, I did blogging, I threw myself into anything and everything and basically became one of the busiest people in Teesside! I never sat still, I never stopped working, I added so many bloody balloons to my bunch that I was starting to resemble the cute little old man from UP! Although slightly less bloke like, I would hope! Thing is, despite all these things working for me on the surface, and helping me achieve some pretty fucking amazing things (did I ever mention I ran the London Marathon??) it was well and truly just a git big massive case of distraction techniques. I had kind of dabbled in the pond, caught a few little tiddlers, but I was nowhere near ready, or even properly equipped with that was lurking in the deep water. My monsters. I just had a little stick, some string and a bit of corned beef when I needed a big fuck off rod with all the bling and gadgets and shit that comes with it.

I have had to go out and buy a rod. These monsters need catching and they need destroying because I refuse point blank for them to destroy me. They have taken my pleasure for the things I love and care about, they have made me shut off from those that love me and want to be there for me, they have taken my sparkle and my witty personality and had me hiding away because I just haven’t had the ability to be able to “people”. Not to the extent that I do. I am an incredibly social person. I crave interaction and laughter and life. I love adventures and experiences and not giving a shit. I love fun. I love to crazy dance in public places, mime along really expressionfully to my music when I am out and about, pet dogs, stroke cats, say Hi to absolute strangers and just smile at those that don’t say anything. A smile is a powerful thing!

These things are Claire. These are the little quirks that make me me. Along with my absolute lack of common sense, ability to say the STUPIDEST of things as I don’t have a filter or think before I speak (guess who mistook a seagull for a fighter jet!) My absolutely filthy sense of humour, my lack of inhibitions when it comes to talking about subjects others may shy away from. My kind heart, my dirty laugh, my cheeky smile and the fact I would do anything for anyone if I thought I could help them.

These are the things I refuse to lose. Today, I have had a little spark back. A song came on and for the first time in over 3 weeks, I had a little dance round my living room. I came home from taking Noah to footy club and got straight on the treadmill and smashed out a HIIT workout that had me absolutely dripping! Is it even classed as a sweaty session of your wrists and calves aren’t soaking too? It felt fucking mint! I posted selfies again, I made a healthy breakfast and actually enjoyed it. I went back to bed,just because I could and felt no guilt. Now, I am ready to get sorted for tonights Run & Rant, come home to watch the final of Love Island and chill the fuck out! Yep, me – chill!

My moods may be up and down at the moment but I know that I can steady the ups and downs to more maintainable motions. I just need to make sure I take time for me and spend time with the people who make me smile and happy, whenever I can. Those that I love. I may have lost my way a bit with Red Balloons, but that is an internal thing, that is no reflection on how well RB is actually doing. Like I said in the last blog, I am stripping it back. Massively reducing my work load and taking it back to basics. I wanted to save the world so bad, I just added too much to my poor ass, and it collapsed. Red Balloons has a purpose, a reason, it is a service that is very much needed and I could not be more proud that it is my vision (with the support of my awesome volunteers and trustees) that have got us to this point. I no longer need to go to the opening of an envelope, I can be selective about what I choose to do. This way, not only do I end up with more time to actually live MY life, I also make sure that RB will never lose it’s way. It will never lose it’s passion and it’s honesty. It’s ability to believe in people, to encourage and support.

If you are a person or organisation that I have messed around recently or fucked off, I do sincerely apologise. That is on my head. Please do not judge the organisation itself and what we stand for, by the actions of this daft lass who was so busy avoiding the fact that she was falling too quick to save herself. Emails and messages will be getting replied to this week. If there is anything that I have left too late to be able to salvage, I just hope that there is another chance down the line. I do firmly believe that everything happens for a reason though, and if it was meant to be the right time for something, it would have happened.

My plan for the next 5 weeks? To restart my training, to set up a time table for RB, to plan future projects (got some exciting ones in the pipeline), to get organised and motivated ready for my second year at uni, but most importantly, to take time out to just be me. To get myself back to a physically, emotionally and mentally safe place, to be the fittest I can be and to hopefully inspire and motivate those around me. I no longer want to feel guilty for living the life I WANT and deserve. So if you’re with me, let’s do this. If you are against me, watch the door doesn’t get you on your way out.

CC xx

I was lost, but now…………….

Truthfully, I have been putting this blog off for ages. I actually have no idea what I am going to write to be honest, but I will say, there are some things in my head that are not good so there could be some triggering content. Please, if you are in a bad place, I urge you to consider whether this blog may be the best thing to read. You and your health is much more important than reading the random blabberings of this daft arse.

I feel like so much has happened over the last month or so, I have no idea where it all started. “It” being the current, horrendous bout of my arsehole mate Depression.  This time it is definitely on par with 2017, and in some ways, I actually feel worse. I feel like I have been emptied out. That I am a shell.  I have done the opposite of what I did last time and I have completely retreated. I am doing  the bare minimum. Breathing is proving to be a struggle. I have lost all desire to exercise, which I love and I know it makes me feel better. I feel like I have completely lost my way with Red Balloons and I have no idea what the fuck is happening with it all.  I feel like all I am doing is messing people around. Hurting those that mean the most to me, confusing them as they don’t know who this Claire is either. I have lost the complete ability to talk. To anyone. Properly. I feel like what I am feeling and what I have to say is utter shit and why the hell would anyone need this when they have their own issues?

The worst part is when I do start to open up, even just a tiny bit, I feel like I get shot back down. Or that I am saying the wrong thing and making things worse. I am so fucking confused that I really don’t know my arse from my elbow at the minute, which could make toilet time rather interesting! I think from how I come across, face to face, as a professional, in social situations, it can be very easy to forget and very difficult to understand that this is an illness. This isn’t me being a dickhead, just cos I can. You would know when that was occurring because quite frankly I am a GIANT dickhead. I don’t hide things on purpose, I don’t close off because I think it’s the best thing for me, I have just lost complete and utter control!

Let’s be honest, circumstances have in the past and still do have a lot to do with where my state of mind goes. I have people tell me I am strong, yet I have never felt more weak. I have had to make some very serious decisions recently, I have had to put me and my sanity (or what is left of it) first. And for someone who never does that, it has been a bloody horrible experience, as I can see first hand the pain that I am causing. I know 100% that walking away is the right thing to do, for both of us. If I have to be a bitch about things to get my point across, I will! Because when my Mam turned around and said, if you go back Claire, I will be forever worried and waiting for the call that you have killed yourself, I actually saw the genuine fear in her eyes. I saw just what my frame of mind is doing to other people. The thing is, she very nearly go that call a hell of a lot sooner.

The other Saturday it all became just too much to bear. I ended up in a place I swore that I wouldn’t be in again. I felt so desperate. So incredibly lonely. Those feelings of worthlessness and despair came back so strong, they took my breathe away. I was crying so much I thought my heart was actually breaking. All I could see was me being the common denominator in every thing that has happened. All the shit that has happened, I seem to be the centre of it. These people, through my life, they can’t all of been wrong? I am a bad person. I do bad things. I hurt people. I cause issues. I make messes. I am a fraud. A faker.

I don’t want to die. Truly I don’t. But at that moment in time, the only way I could see any way of making any of this better, to stop all the hurt, pain and confusion, was to take me out of the equation. I sat on my kitchen floor, all the medication I could find in front of me. I sat like that for hours. Willing myself to just take them. To just do what needed to be done.  I could see history repeating itself. My children thinking that certain ways of living are acceptable. I may be a certified psycho, there are people out there that would love to use my mental health issues against me and would be happy to take my children off me (never ever going to fucking happen) but one thing I know is I am the best Mam I can be. I wont ever be Mary fucking Poppins, or that lass from the old Bero cookbooks. I may not get all creative with them, making paper mache models or whatnot. I may not have the money to buy them loads of stuff, or take them all over. But what I do know is I would literally die for them. I have so much love to give them. I am so in awe of the two amazing people that they are growing up to be, despite the fact that, let’s face it, I have had my part to play in messing them up!

 

So, it is time to step up now. To show them what they deserve to see. What I deserve to feel. How, despite all odds, you can come back from the brink of despair, even if you were hanging on by your fingertips! I WILL be stronger. Everything happens for a reason and there is a reason I didn’t take all those tablets that night. There is a reason why I have done what I have done. Why I am feeling what I am feeling. I won’t have anyone make me feel bad for being me. There is a reason that certain people are in my life.

I am going to step back because I need to see just what I have achieved and built over the last 2 years. With Red Balloons, with friendships and relationships, with my children. These things are going to be the motivation I need. At the same time, I need to step back and really shine the spotlight on myself. I need to finally, really believe in myself as a person. I need to find me. I need to find my fun side. I need to learn to relax and to not put so much pressure on myself over everything.

As my very wise daughter said to me, I won’t let anyone love me the right way while I don’t love myself. I need to respect myself. To not accept anything less than I deserve. This is going to ruffle a hell of a lot of feathers. But I tell you what, I REFUSE point blank to be sat on that kitchen floor again. I am a good person. I have a huge heart. I deserve back what I give out. I want to feel safe, protected, understood, supported and the rest and I will not accept anything less. From myself and from anyone else. I won’t run on anyone else’s time scale. I won’t feel pressured or controlled. No one has control over my destiny apart from me. I will always fight for what I believe in. I am no quitter.

So yeah, watch out, because I’m coming back! And this comeback is going to fucking epic!

But first, time to relax and enjoy the summer. Hopefully with those that mean the world to me.

A massive THANK YOU to those people who haven’t given up on me recently. Who have just accepted me as I am. Who have just been there. Who have never given up on me, despite everything.

You’s are my light in the dark.

CC xx

The balloon is about to pop!

I was going to wait till I had calmed down a bit until I started this but you know what, fuck it. I need to say it now, while I can’t fluff it all up and attempt to keep everyone happy and hoping I don’t offend anyone, as I seem to spend about 99% of my fucking time doing. Again!

I doubt this is going to be the blog you are used to. Although I know I have an amazing and witty sense of humour, at this precise minute, I am right at the end of my tether. To the point that I have been in my office exactly 23 minutes and have already burst out crying once and debated throwing a cup as hard as I can off a wall. This would have not been my best idea and thankfully the knowledge that, knowing my luck, I would be blinded by ricochet from my cup stopped me.

It might be an angry blog, it might be an massive case of huge self pity but hey, its my blog, so if you don’t like it then click the X button and walk away. No one is forcing you to read it. And secondly if you don’t like what you read, tough. And if you think, is she talking about me, well I probably am! If you have to ask that question, then you know you’ve done something to warrant it.

At this moment in time, as a friend stated to me last night, let’s hope my holiday comes before my breakdown. Which seems to be looming very large, very quickly. I am the last person who wants this to happen. Last time it happened I nearly ended up dead. Blunt but completely true. The huge plus I have this time is I have my coping techniques. They aren’t always easy to implement. Despite opinions of the contrary I do still struggle with motivation. The thing is, some of the things I do to keep me ‘level’, like blogging, I have stopped doing. Sometimes because I can’t make sense of the shit going round in my head again, but mostly because I don’t want to upset anyone. Or annoy anyone. Or whatever. Seriously man, it’s pathetic. Although yeah I publish these blogs, more so only to help those that may need it realise they are not alone, but also to keep myself accountable. To keep myself in check. I shouldn’t be using this just as a last resort. Which I have been doing for ages now.

Anyway, my point, what is my point? It’s starting to wane a bit as the therapy that is the clicking of the keyboard starts to calm me down. My point is, I am absolutely sick as pig shit of the way I am treated sometimes. Of the things that people have to say behind my back but won’t actually talk to me about to my face. Of being used. Of being the shoulder to cry on and the one to be there when their life is a mess, but when I start to stumble under the weight of everyone else’s shit, they don’t hold me up and wait for me to catch my breathe and find a bit more strength. They run away. Or they get what they need and fuck off.

Now, I will say, there are some of you this does not apply to. In fact, there are a few of you that should have run away. Probably a long time ago. Those of you who have told me straight and given me advice and although I have listened, and I truly have, I go back and make the same bastard mistakes again. The ones that must be so sick of hearing me blabber on about myself, yet never actually get to the point of what is wrong. The ones that ask and actually care, yet I blatantly lie to and say yeah I’m great, I’m just tired, etc. To you’s, I can’t genuinely thank you enough!

But to the rest of you, I try to be a good person. I DO NOT think I am perfect. In fact I am so far away from fucking perfect, I am the Elephant Man of perfection. What makes this accusation worse and more painful, is there is NO ONE on this planet, or in this whole bastard universe that is more hard on me than me. I don’t brush off compliments because I think I’m great. I just simply do not believe them! I can not see what these people (the genuine ones, not the ones with ulterior motives) see. I am not doing it so we can have an argument. I just do not agree. And I won’t pretend ever that I do. I will of course be thankful and incredibly appreciative but I still won’t agree. Unless like I say, it’s about my shining personality and the fact I am quite frankly fucking hilarious!!

As for me thinking I am better than everyone else. Well, this insult actually made me laugh for a bit. A bit like when I was accused of being stuck up. Do you think I am doing what I do because I think I am better than you?! Do you think I am constantly on social media because I think I am amazing?! If you have answered yes to either of these questions, delete me right now. I want shit all else to do with you. I have made so many fucking mistakes, that when I write my book, it is probably going to be in that many parts, there will be more books to it than the Encyclopaedia sets we used to have back in the day (before Wikipedia for you Millennials). I have never tried to hide from my mistakes. I may not always make them all public, but that doesn’t mean I deny them. Some I keep quiet about because it isn’t just me affected by my actions. I still make mistakes and let’s face it, in a lot of ways I am thick as pig shit and will continue to make mistakes for the rest of my life. Some I make several times before I get burnt and actually flipping learn. This makes me human. I dare anyone to challenge me and say you are any different.

I live a lot of my life out on social media now, I may actually brag about myself and my achievements as well. How truly shocking of me!!!! How very un-British of me! But guess what, I work bloody hard. Whether it be Red Balloons stuff, which of course it usually is cos I pretty much breathe it at the moment. Or maybe uni stuff. Yes I had an absolutely pathetic meltdown last night over an assignment grade. But so what? I can be dramatic. Quite often. I am a legend in the drama queen circles. But so what? Was I hurting anyone? I just needed to get it out. Yes a pass is a pass but at that moment in time it was absolute shit for me. And I broke down. Again, a sign of my human side.

I post a shit load about my running and exercise. It may seem absolutely tedious and boring to many. Very self absorbed too. But again, am I hurting anyone? I just want to track my progress. I love things popping up on my memories and seeing how things have (or in some cases haven’t) changed. When you complete an absolutely brutal run that you hated every second of, it feels amazing and you do want to shout it out loud. I am no longer going to apologise or feel bad about sharing my stuff. If you aren’t interested or don’t want to see it, see advice above. Or just keep scrolling. It is that easy. Like when you don’t click on a news story that you aren’t interested in. How very simple!

I do what I do because I truly hate to think of ANYONE feeling as low as I did. I refuse to stop doing what I do in the chance that I may save even 1 life. That I maybe help 1 person realise that there is ALWAYS another way out. If this makes me seem like I think I am better than everyone, then so be it. I want to help people, that is all. I believe truly, madly, deeply in what I do. It wont work for everyone and I won’t force it on anyone. If what I offer doesn’t work for someone, I am incredibly lucky to be part of a community that works together, to support everyone. I can signpost people to more suitable avenues. Yes, I will eventually make money from Red Balloons, it will be my livelihood. That does not and never will take away the ethos of what I do and why.

Ok, lastly, for you’s that take and then fuck off. That pretend to give a fuck, while you are getting what you want or need. Well I can’t be doing that shit any more. I can’t continue to say, oh it’s ok, I understand, when to be honest, I don’t. I keep my mouth shut, I listen and I try to help. Yet if I need you, where are you? Everyone’s life is a mess in some way or other. That’s life. What a delight? If you want a friendship, then act like it. If you don’t, I refer you again to the point somewhere above, walk away and don’t look back. I wont stop being a good person, I won’t stop trying to save the world and his dog, but what I will stop doing is being a complete and utter mug. Self preservation. What a selfish bitch I am ey? Well I say, about time!!

Wow, the power of a full blown rant!!! Was some of that related to my shitty mental health? Probably. My balloon is on the verge of bursting that much is true. I may have been too ambitious too quickly, but I never expected it to be this way. So it’s time I take the cards I have been dealt and play the best game I can. But with a lot more breaks. If I ask for help, I need it! It would pay for a some of you who say you are there for me to take heed. It takes me a lot to ask so don’t make feel shit for doing so. Or just stop saying things you don’t mean.

How much easier would life be if we all did that?

Anyway, if you have read this, thank you. If I have upset you, well I did say. But hopefully the people who have needed this too, it may have helped. And ultimately, it has helped me. And that is what MY blog is all about.

And life goes go on…………

15 days and counting until IBIZA

CC xx

My marathon story, Part 1 – The Day itself

I cant really believe that firstly, this time last week I was sat on a train to London, just an average Jo and secondly, that it would take me this long to actually start writing/talking about it! It feels like just yesterday yet like it was months ago, all at the same time! Such a weird feeling.

But the feelings and how this week post marathon has been, will be in Part 2 of my mini marathon series, because let’s face it, I have a tendency to waffle on as it is and it could end up turning into a book!

I want to start off by saying that I am so incredibly fucking proud of myself!! Takes me a hell of a lot to say that, and some of you might think “did she really need to swear there?” But yes I did! I ran a marathon! I have no idea if that 1% statistic is accurate as I’ve said but come on, wow!! 26.2 miles!! Me!!!

As you all know, training went tits up and the only long run I did was one solitary 10 miler, about a month before the race itself. If not longer before actually. That is NOT what I would advise anyone to do. The training should be taken seriously, it should not be avoided and you should certainly NOT follow in this daft arses footsteps and assume you can wing it. You may pass the finish line but I tell you what, it fucking hurts!! Like, seriously knacks!! It hurts those that have trained for it properly, so come on, really, don’t risk it!

The day itself, well my morning is kind of a blur now. I had an unexpected sense of calmness about me, in fact, I shall call it numbness. I had literally done jack shit the day before apart from getting a bit lost on a walk to Shepherds Bush when I stupidly assumed I knew more than the mardy Google maps lady. I do not. I had sat on my bed watching shite tv and then binge watching Netflix while eating my body weight in food. Allllll the food! This I think certainly worked in my favour, as shit as I felt that day.

For about 2 weeks prior to the run, I truly questioned quite honestly if I would even get to the Start Line. I was so close to giving in and if it wasn’t for the support of some amazing friends and the generosity of those that donated to Red Balloons, I think I would have. I would have used my niggly calf as an excuse and deferred. If I had deferred though I know that I would never have ever got round to doing it.

I got up on Sunday morning about 530am. Staying over an hour away from the start line I wanted to give myself as much time as possible to get sorted. I am not a fan of the tube itself anyway, so I wanted to get out and get there as soon as possible to make sure it wasn’t crowded. That would have been hell on earth for my anxiety! I had already got all my gear sorted the night before, so was a case of shotting my clothes on, doing last minute checks that I had everything I could need for every possibility, then after a very wholesome breakfast of black coffee and 3 cereal bars, it was off out the door!

I met a lovely lady on the train who chatted to me all the way to Blackheath. She may not know it but I am incredibly grateful to her for being so chatty and friendly. It was at this point that the loneliness was starting to hit me. There was going to be no one cheering me on from the side lines. No one waiting for me at the end with a celebratory gin and hug! There was so many people there with so much support, it as kind of like a slap in the face. I am not ashamed to admit, I was incredibly jealous.

I got to Blackheath and already the amount of people making their way to the start line was crazy! And this was a tiny fraction. I met with the lovely Lee from Red January, finally! He came to meet me at the start area of the blue zone, and after a lush little hug and a chat, I felt a bit more relaxed. I may not have people physically there with me but I knew I had so much support. I had a magic banana and then it was off to soak in the atmosphere. Straight through security, straight to the loo then to drop my kit bag off. The energy in the air was electric. So many people from so many walks of life, different sizes, ages and all running for their own personal reasons. Some had ran stupid amounts of marathons, some were like me and it was their first. And what a first one! The bloody London Marathon for god’s sake!

The start zone was freezing! I don’t normally feel the cold but I am sure I must have burnt a good proportion of the 4056 calories that I apparently used up that day, just shivering them off! Not a great idea to wear shorts and t shirt! But as soon as we started to get in our huddles for the starting pen, it got warmer much quicker. My zone was due to cross the start line at 10:38 I think but it was just before 11am when I got there. Time seemed to have no meaning at that point though. For the first time in as long as I remember I just wanted to start running! I had started to come alive again. I was here, I was about to do it!! I had my playlist ready to go. All that was left now was to go and do the best I could. I had a dream that I would finish in the 5’s, expected 6’s but would have at that moment been happy with any time as long as it meant I finally got that medal round my neck!

So, we crossed the start line and the crowds were already amazing! When they say that the crowds carry you around London, they were not lying. The support and encouragement is something I believe would be incredibly hard to replicate! I managed to settle into my pace quite quickly and comfortably so I was already off to a really positive start. I had a flush of emotions but managed to keep them in check. The smile on my face was absolutely HUGE! All the love I have for running came flooding back. God I had missed it so much!!

The first three miles are really just around the housing estates, the “hump” volunteers made me laugh. Definitely part of the experience. Maybe not as exciting as they may sound haha but anyone or anything that makes me laugh is a winner to me. The thing that surprised me the most, is having done the Great North Run, I had expected and prepared myself for large crowds of runners and generally not being able to move very freely, but it was actually quite spacious! This was definitely a relief. Even when we joined the runners from the other start zones at around mile 3, it never got to the point where I felt I was tripping over anyone. I must say, the groups all coming together was an amazing feeling.

I keep going on about the atmosphere, and I kind of feel mean as I cant even begin it explain in enough detail that would ever give it justice! It is certainly a “you had to be there” thing. Anyway, the running was going well, decent pace, even speeding up around the 15km which was an unexpected surprise. The Cutty Sark was a mint section of the route and I realised I was getting to see the sights of London in one hell of a fab way! The songs on my playlist were really doing their job and all weekend I felt like someone had been watching over me, but the cherry on the top of that cake was when I got to Tower Bridge! The song that started playing as I took my first step onto it was ‘So Lonely’ by The Police. That is Noah’s favourite song ever and one that has became increasingly important to me over the years. I was beaming!

I crossed the half way point (4 minutes faster than the time I had completed the GNR in so I was buzzing my baps off at that!) and that is kind of when it went wrong in one aspect. My body just went, nah! I knew I couldn’t stop as I wouldn’t have started again and that is fact. Things hurt that I never knew could or would! No one warns you that your neck and shoulders ache like you have an Elma on top of them, and my god, the pain you get in your arse is something else!! There was no way I was giving up though. I thought my aim of a 5 finishing time was out the window, and I wont lie, if I had had the energy I would have been kicking myself as I didn’t want to walk but at the end of the day I listened to my body. And luckily, anyone that knows me knows I walk stupidly fast! Walking a marathon does not make you not a marathon runner. Unless you are an elite athlete it really does not matter what time you cross that finish line! Who gives a fuck what Sue from up the road thinks or what Bob from Accounts said he did in 2001? The fact that you even put yourself up for applying for a marathon just shows you how much progress you have made by having that self belief. It might be tiny, it might be a spark, but it is there! And I tell you what, NO ONE can take that away from you.

I got to my amazing friend Billy at Mile 19, who had a drink and some jelly beans for me, and I was still in one piece, starting to ache but was good. Another lush hug and meeting the amazing Pam was a great boost. Then about mile 22 hit and that was when the pain took over me like a steam roller. Fuck me, it hurt. I keep saying it but seriously, it did! I kept going though, down past the embankment, laughing at a lass stopping to nick a blokes alcoholic drink and walking down the road with her half glass of lager. So jealous! That was a genius move in my opinion! I got to see all the sights though, the Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben, etc. Yes the pain was tainting it slightly but still, I was there. I decided that yeah, ok I might be walking, but at least I was sightseeing. The final mile popped up. Thank fuck for that!! Yet this mile felt longer than all 25 miles before it. I was definitely reaching my physical limit. Anyone who has done it will tell you that as soon as that 800m to go sign pops up, 200m feels like 2 mile. I turned the corner to the last part, I so wanted to do a sprint finish but my legs were struggling to lift my feet off the floor in general, no way I could. But you know what, I crossed that finish line. In my 5 hour time goal at 5 hours 35 minutes and 8 seconds! I was a marathon runner!! I had fucking done it!!! Medal firmly round my neck. A friend asked me how I was still smiling after all that way but wow!! It was the hardest but without a doubt the BEST physical challenge I have done to date and all the stress and agony in the lead up to it disappeared.

Despite everything, despite all my worries and self doubt I had done it!!!

So what things have I learnt. Here are the main things:

– You will despise all jelly sweets for a good week after, and this starts from about mile 22

– Ice pops, grapes and cherry tomatoes taste like wizards piss!! Those cherry toms were seriously the best thing I have had in my mouth in a very long time!

– You will have so much respect for everyone around you and feel like you are in some kind of secret but obviously not so secret society

– There are so many charities out there! From the massive well known ones to the tiny ones you have never heard of.

– People in crazy fancy dress will run past you. And I mean Big Ben, Wooden spoons and Rhino’s.

– Take the Vaseline before you realise you need it, as soon as you know you need some, you wont find anyone with it!

– You will constantly worry about pissing or shitting yourself. I however surprised myself completely and didn’t go to the toilet once!! In 6 hours!!

– You will feel like an absolute hero at the end but unless you run them for fun, that post run beer and food is nowhere near as appealing as some sleep!

So, although I said over and over again, never again, well I am afraid I have changed my mind! Who knows what the future holds for crazy CC. I can see me losing a lot of friends if I drive them as bonkers as I have this time though haha haha but honestly, now I know what to expect, I am sure I will be much calmer!

So, part 2 will come towards the end of the weekend. That will be all the emotions and shit. As always I know this is a pretty random blog and I have no doubt missed loads of things out but I suppose I want to end on this:

The only person who can limit what you can achieve and do is YOU. I know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Whether it be a marathon, or something else. Take a leap of faith and prove to yourself what everyone else knows, you are AMAZING!

Thanks to those who supported me through the run itself, messaged me to keep me going and were just generally in my pocket the whole time. I can never thank you enough. You know who you are.

Love

(Marathon Runner) CC xx