Help Me!

Before anyone started to panic, I’m ok! I swear.

Help Me! Is in fact a book I came across online when ordering The Chimp Paradox and thought, yeah why not. Yet I have just finished it in less than 24 hours and it has made it’s mark by being the most relevant book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Marianne Power – I salute you!

I used to love reading, as a kid and up until my mid to late 20’s I would easily devour a book a week, if not more, always having a couple in my bag for holidays, bus journeys, doctors appointments etc. Then Depression decided to take that pleasure away from me. I struggle to concentrate for longer than 10 minutes at a time. I find I have read 5 pages and not actually taken in a single word, so I go back and repeat the process, often 3 or 4 times before I give up. This then frustrates me so much I don’t pick a book back up again for months.

Thing is, I also realise now, I am depriving myself of this pleasure. I am not letting myself do the things I enjoy because I don’t feel worthy, and this alone has hurt me deeper than I can describe.

So, what has this book got to do with this blog and why the sudden epiphany? I won’t go into much detail about the book as I thoroughly recommend EVERYONE reads it, women and men! In a nutshell, Marianne is a freelance journalist who feels something is missing in her life so she decides to take on a “Self Help” challenge, where she vows to read 1 self help book a month, for a year, and follow its advice to the T. Her journey takes her on one hell of a self discovery and there are parts where I laughed, but equally, there are parts where I cried my eyes out. Poor Noah, he could not understand why I was crying at a book, “but Mammy, there are no pictures. Is that why you are sad?”

Bless him. Oh to see the world through an innocent 5 years old eyes!

There are so many relevant quotes that I loved in the book, but one that really got me was:

“Remember, you have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

Right now, in this very moment, the thought of approving of myself feels absolutely bloody terrifying. My whole sense of humour is based on sex and self depreciation. What a woman ey?

See, there you go! I cant help it. It’s like a disease!

How do you even go about starting to like yourself? Why when someone gives me a compliment do I reflect it back on to them, say a quick thanks and change the subject or worst of all, react with at least 1 if not 2 things that I don’t like about myself? Why do I have these thoughts that people are just saying these things? Why do I not believe that they mean what they say? Why would they bloody say it??

If I start down a route of being proud, not minding my wonky nose or not being hugely upset over my battered, Pilsbury Doughman stomach, I instantly call myself up for being a self obsessed narcissist. How can I be thinking good things about myself when there are so many people struggling? With what I do now, I come across many people who aren’t in good places. I try where ever possible to help, but I know I cant help them all. I want them to see how amazing they are, how worth it they are, that they can do anything they set their mind to. Yet, I cant even tell myself these things! Is that not the biggest case of hypocrisy you have ever heard??

All I have ever wanted is to be happy. I’m not 100% sure how or what the happiness is that I want, but I am starting to realise that if I don’t open up and if I keep pushing people away or keeping those that care at arms length, how am I ever going to really know? I am a strong, independent woman and I know I am. I don’t NEED anyone, I can manage amazingly alone, but I don’t want to. Not anymore. I am terrified of being hurt, it is something I have felt many times in my life, but I suppose if you don’t take a risk, then how can you ever really know that you have what you want. And I don’t just mean on a “love” basis. I mean in all aspects of my life. Friends, family, career, fun. I can’t do any of them to the best of my ability if I keep trying to do everything alone. I open up in this blog, to a degree. More than I ever would face to face. But I never really show anyone it all. I have been told on more than one occasion that I keep my cards very close to my chest. I am very matter of fact about a lot of things but at the same time I am incredibly closed off. You can’t tell what I am thinking, and unless I am pissing my pants laughing or snotty nosed crying, two extreme emotions you cant ever really hide, you certainly never know how I am feeling!

I have to stop. I have to stop piling so much onto my plate in order to keep busy. I have to stop hiding from myself. I have to start listening to what is going on in my head, acknowledge it and then deal with it. I have the tools, and amazing people in my life, that will enable me to do this. But I have to start believing I am worth it. I have to stop thinking that every time something doesn’t go to plan, that I am a failure. I had to cancel my Red Balloons London Marathon Fundraiser and I was, and to a degree, still am, furious at myself. But it was a balloon that I had to let go, and not chase after.

Red Balloons won’t fail because I had to change plans. People won’t think I am a flake and that I don’t know what I am doing. Although in all fairness, I didn’t in that area. It was a risk, an excited moment of madness that I thought I could handle, that on paper looks like an amazing idea, but with family, uni, Red Balloons general work and the marathon itself, who was I kidding? I couldn’t give it the time and focus it needed. And because I didn’t want to put on anyone, I didn’t ask for help. I never ask for help.

I know more than most these days what can happen if you don’t ask for help. I am also a believer that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. Some people hate that phrase but I have always lived by it, more so since all this shit began. I also know that I can’t control the actions of other people. Some things that have happened in my past were not my fault. I let go of them balloons in counselling, to a degree, but I never let them properly float away, I kind of just tied them to a near by bench. They are there, I can see them, I don’t carry them around with me, but they are always there. When you start to self reflect, it is so easy to slide down into believing that it must be because of you that these things happen. Because looking at all the negatives is so much bloody easier than trying to accept the good things. I don’t think I am ever going to be capable of believing I am worthy of love until I learn to love myself. Well ok, I’m never going to be all hippy about it, but I do need to learn to accept myself for who I am.

So here goes, here is what I hope I am:

– a good Mam. Even if I am bat shit crazy. I hope my kids know just how much I love them.

– friendly

– easy to talk to

– a good listener

– funny. Even if it is at me cos I am a massive div, being able to put a smile on someone’s face and even better, to make them laugh, means the world to me

– understanding

– hard working

I want to stop thinking that I am not good enough. I may not have abs of steel but I have a kind heart. My teeth may be slightly horse like, but I like to smile. I may be absolutely crap at planning these days, but I get stuff done (eventually). I may not have money to go places and do things, but my door is always open. I pretty much live in gym gear, but I can scrub up if the occasion calls. I even wear dresses! I may have a seriously questionable sense of humour for a lass, but I am fun! I have no filter but that means what you see is what you get. I may not wear my heart on my sleeve, but if I care about you, I give you my all. Even if you can’t see it. I can have the patience of a saint when it’s needed but I wont bullshit you. I will say what I think if you ask, so if you don’t want to know, don’t ask. I am stubborn as fuck but it has got me this far. And it will get me to that start line on April 28th!

I have been questioning my future a little bit recently, talking myself out of what I am doing and what I have achieved already. I have kind of felt like a bit of a fraud because everything is, well, messy, at the moment. But I know now, that is normal. No organisation or business just slips into working like clock work. To see how much I have achieved in less that a year through sheer stubbornness and the absolute belief in what I am doing is fucking unreal. Because I do believe in it. It does work! I truly 100% believe that you can achieve your dreams. It might seem like a bloody nightmare in places, but realistically, I am! I was never destined to live a standard, 2.4 children life. Yes I am all for love and romance and all that shit, but there is so much more. I want fun and adventure and craziness. I want to dance around shops just cos I love a song I heard, I want to stand up and tell my story because I know that even one person in any given room may need to hear that is is ok not to be ok. I want to be living proof that you can live through some absolute shite situations, and still come out with some shiny bling! Scars aren’t there to make you look hideous, they are there to tell a story. I may never be happy with what I see in the mirror, but if at my funeral, in like 100 years time, someone can just say, “she was a good person. She really cared” then I will have succeeded.

I have more than my fair share of faults and I make many mistakes. I often don’t think before I speak, or act, and I don’t always think beyond that moment and therefore the repercussions of things, but life is for fucking up. Learning. Fucking up again. And then actually learning. I hear people say, “I cant” but you know what, yes you bloody can! If this daft lass, from a council estate in Chester-le-Street, with no aspirations during her teenage years apart from getting pissed and getting laid, sad but true, can now stand up and say; I am running my own organisation to help others, I am a full time university student as well as a mam of two, and in LESS THAN 3 weeks will be a bona ride marathon runner, how can you really say that you can’t?

Life is wank. It really is. It’s fucking brutal and hard at times, but you know what, you can never appreciate the good stuff without all that horrendous shit. And as I have said a million times over, nothing good ever comes easy. Never give up. If you want something enough, it will happen. Eventually. But don’t just settle. Unless just settling is what you want. Make those scary changes.

You’re worth it. And you know what? So am i!

Amazing what a day in your mamas can do for you! I am disgusted and delighted at myself all at the same time.

Thank you again Marianne Power! You’re mint!

CC xx

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Now then Anxiety, you absolute……..

So, I have had the idea of this blog in my head for a few days to be honest, but I am glad I have waited as I feel I can do it a lot more justice today, or at least hopefully do a better job of vocalising it than I would have.

I talk quite a lot, probably more than anyone wants to hear, about my mate Depression, and how he affects me. But I dont really talk much about the other aspects of my mental health, of which have been diagnosed, but for some reason, dont get the same air time. Yet, honestly I think sometimes actually affected me more. What am I talking about?

Anxiety.

Depressions dickhead best mate!

I feel like I couldn’t actually have one without the other these days, yet realistically Anxiety only joined the party while I was in my last job.

So, why today have I chose to write about this delightful mate of mine. Well to be frank, he has seemed to leave me a lone a bit recently so I believe he assumed he should have one hell of a welcome back party! What a delight that has been – NOT!

I am currently sat on the train back from London. I am very lucky to say that I have been down to meet the other fantastic members of the Get Up Set Up group, and have the first of at least three meetings this year. What is Get Up Set Up, I hear you say? Well you didn’t as you have absolutely no interest, but I shall tell you anyway! It is a group of fantastic individuals, who over the last few years have set up their own peer support groups around the country. We have people from Scotland, Manchester, Nottingham and everywhere else. Our job as a group is to meet and to come up with a brand spanking new network, that once developed, will support other peer support groups around the country. Whether it be an idea by someone who wants to start a group, an established group that needs a bit of advice and guidance or a group that wants to grow. Lots of great things discussed today so the future is mega exciting! I need a new table for all these pies!

But anyway, I digress. Anxiety. Anyone that knows me that I can never be on time, I HAVE to be early. And when I say early, I prefer a good 30 minutes breathing time before any meeting/appointment/travel planes etc. I used to think it was just a quirk, something I had developed because I would do anything to be out the house! So today, I was getting palpitations at 7am just assuming the taxi that was actually due at 720 would be late (he wasn’t). I have no idea why. There was no reason to believe that he would be late! He arrived on time, got me to the station on time, everything was going great. Then checked the signs, my train was delayed. But ok, 16 minutes. I could deal with that. I did my maths, worked it all, checked the walk to the meeting.

Thing is, from that moment, with all the planning and shit, unbeknown to me, I had unlocked the cage that I had managed to trap that twat Anxiety in! He didn’t make a full TA DA escape, oh no, he waited. He sneaked. A bit like I do when I am drunk. From getting on the train there. just seemed to be delay after delay. We had to go on the slow track (I didn’t even know there was such a thing!). We got into York over half an hour late. But it’s ok, the conductor said we could go back on the fast track. Ideal. Panic over (all of this occurring at 9am I might add for a 1130 meeting).

But no, the time on my phone decided to speed past, a lot quicker than the bloody train was going! We get to Peterborough station, good that I know I am only one stop away from Kings Cross, but it gives me shudders! You see, for those hat dont know me, I am hazard! How I get through life is a mystery and me and public transport DO NOT mix. I have got on wrong trains, wrong buses, got lost in places I really shouldn’t have, and trusted that sly cow Google Maps who basically just likes to piss about with me when I need her when I am walking!

The Peterborough story; last time I was in London, not for the first time, I got on the wrong train! I was sat on the floor, all by my lonesome, clearly a damsel in distress (HA!). The ticket person came by, took my ticket and literally looked at me like I was a bit of a shit on his shoe. You are on the wrong train Miss. Sorry I didn’t realise (gutted at this point that I didn’t have giant boobs or the ability to flutter my eye lashes without looking like I was having a fit). £88 or you have to get off at the next station. No chance was I paying £88! But had I know just what Peterborough station was like, in the dark when it was all shut and isolated, I would have! 90 minutes I was “stranded” on that platform, like an extra waiting to be eaten by a zombie or something!

So we get to Peterborough today, and I shuddered a bit. Looks as shite in the daytime as night time I might add (sorry any Peterborough readers, if there is any). This is when I realised what time it was, and I could feel the increase in my heart rate, feel the shallowness of my breathing. Tried the music distraction technique, focused on the outside etc but no. I thought I was doing ok though. Then the tannoy goes, we will be arriving in London at 1132. What?? My meeting starts at 1130, I have to get out of the station and walk a good 15 minutes to get to where I need to be!! That was it. My head went. To make matters worse, when we got nears to KX, we got stopped, in a bloody tunnel! Argh!!

For me Anxiety is, when it kicks in properly:

– itchy skin

– struggle to breathe properly

– very rapid heart beat

– I tap. For some reason it tends to be my lips. The more anxious I get the more I tap.

– My legs also start to proper go, like I am bouncing a classroom amount of babies on my knees!

– I cant concentrate on what is going on around me. I tunnel vision. Everything except for what I am worrying about fades away.

I just want to say a huge thank you to the man that was sat next to me. I dont know if he had any idea that I was struggling, maybe he was just a proper lovely man? But when we got into the station, he stood straight up and gave me space, he grabbed my coat down for me and stood back so no one could get past him as he let me out. I needed to get off the train before my chest and throat really closed up and I started to panic, so this man is literally my hero today!

It has been a great day, a great meeting, but all of that just left a sour taste in my mouth, and unfortunately with a headache from hell all day. One of the glorious side effects I get. A long with sickness and the want to just sleep.

I think I wanted to post a blog just to kind of highlight a bit about anxiety. Many people just assume you are being annoying/dramatic etc as the signs are so different to “standard” mental health issues, yet can be just as, if not more in some cases, rehabilitating. I can suffer for days from an episode of Anxiety, as I think it is more to do with the fact that Depression, I know how to kick his skinny arse. I know what the signs he is coming for a visit are, I know how to get him to go before he settles in and should be paying rent. With Anxiety, he confuses me. He is like a swift mental health Ninja! I dont like feeling out of control and that is what he does to me, he takes away control of the one thing I should always be able to control, ME!

That and I am also writing this as I am pretty sure the man next to me thinks I am trailer trash, sat here with my lager lol so if I looked busy, then surely it is more acceptable? No? Aw well. Shit happens!

So, again, a whole of of randomness, as per usual CC. But I hope maybe someone somewhere might take something from this blog, even if it is just a smile at me being a giant dick.

Until next time.

CC xx

These are MY thoughts and opinions.

I was going to do this as a vlog, maybe I will at some point, but as my emotions are quite mixed up with it all, I cant promise what will come out of my mouth. And let’s face it, more people are likely to watch something then make the effort to read something. Sorry, but it is a statistical fact.

I as always just want to say that these are MY opinions, my thoughts and my words. I am not trying and would hate to offend anyone with what I think and say but I wouldn’t be being genuine or true to myself if I was to only tell the truth, or my truth, when it suited. In a world where people are offended upon opening their eyes on a morning, this is certainly a whole new minefield.

Social media firstly. I have social media to thank for a lot of what I do and where I am now right now. Red Balloons is growing steadily, literally by the day! I can reach and talk to people I would never be able to in the ‘real world’, without using a shit load of petrol and having my kids think they had been abandoned anyways. Social media reaches billions of people, so of course it is used to spread news, good and bad, real and complete fallacy. It also gives those that wouldn’t say BOO to a goose (I wouldn’t either mind, those things are EVIL) a chance to actually verbalise what they have going on. This can be a truly amazing thing, but it can also be an absolute mare when the keyboard warrior trolls get on their high horse and think they know everything about everything and anyone, because they read the daily or weekly shit-rag.

You see, for me, these “professional” media people are very similar to healthcare professionals. They read something, maybe even do a bit of on top of the surface research, and think they have the answers to the meaning of life and all that shit. They don’t actually have a clue what they are talking about and in some cases, are doing a damn site more harm than good. Yet, they seem to get a lot more attention than those who are actually LIVING these things that are getting reported on. As much as I love Holly Willoughby, more news can be made from what she was wearing one day than the actual serious subjects that the programme discusses.

This is a proper random rant but I swear it has a meaning. Mike Thalassitis, the new famous face to become yet another statistic of this countries horrific suicide stats. Yet again, before he tragically thought that taking his own life was the only option left, what did we really know about him? What a prick he was on Love Island and Celebs Go Dating and whatever else. How absolutely flipping gorgeous he was! That he was a footballer. We didn’t know anything about him really. Nothing that was worth knowing. The media liked to portray him in a certain way as this is what sold stories and got “click bait” on their pages. Yet do they not think now, that they caused such an image that Mike himself couldn’t escape from. That he could have felt he had to play up to for his “fans”? Did we know that he was in a bad place? Do you think he had the courage to say “I am suffering, I need some help?” He clearly couldn’t, clearly didn’t and now look.

So, now we get round to the usual 5 days ish of social media wallpapering of stories from the media, of quotes with his face on etc. We get every man and his dog sharing them all over and urging that you “check on your strong friend”. Yet, hand on heart how many of you can actually say you have!? How many of you maybe did that day, asked once and if you got an OK, left it at that? Did you ask again the next day? Will you ask again next week? Next month? Or will it take another media story of a person no one ever expected to do such a thing before you actually take your head out of your arse and ask again?

How many of you, instead of just taking 2 seconds to click share, retweet’s, etc, are actually commenting on peoples posts when they are posting something about mental health or being in a bad place? Can you say you are starting a conversation that could ultimately save a life? Are you even reading what you are posting and sharing? Or are you being exactly what the media wants you to be and being a lemming. Following others.

It is EVERYONE’s job to make mental health an every day subject. I am in no way taking away from the fact that, yes, the message is starting to grow and more people are aware, more people are seeking professional help and that at least these kinds of stories are not getting swept under the carpet anymore. Hats off to Mikes family and friends who are being honest about what has happened, honest about the potential reasons of why, although no one will ever know what was really going on in his head.

I suppose what I am asking, is please, if you are going to make a deal about getting involved with all this on a social media or media platform, please take that vision and use it in every day life. Whether you are close to a person or it is someone you meet by chance. Let’s take our eyes off our screens for a while (yes I understand the irony of this as I am sharing this on social media) and actually look around and really see what is happening.

Suicide will happen to the people you least expect. To that one who is the constant life and soul of the party, to the person who’s abs you could wash clothes on because gym is life, to that big bloke who looks scary as hell and is terrified of nothing, to that policeman and fireman in the front line, protecting their community, to that student who is nailing their school work. These are also the people that feel like a burden if they talk so simply wont reach out, even when they know themselves that they need a life vest. Re posting a news story might help a few, but you can imagine the absolute power of a genuine, off the cuff conversation? Wow! Just imagine.

In fact no, don’t imagine, go on and do it! It takes 2 seconds, the same approximate time it takes to retweet, to type or say, “are you ok?”

I am far far from perfect. I do this whole mental health campaigning and shit a lot and I am sure the people that still bother to read my random ramblings are thinking, well do you ask me you hypocritical, gobby bitch? But one thing I am genuinely doing is trying. I may get it wrong, so very wrong, more times than I would care to admit, but I do, 100% just want to help. And one way that I can see that has helped, is me just being me. I understand that being so honest about my story, about my failed attempt, can be painful for those that care about me, but it needs to be said. I have no idea if I have saved an actual life and if I have who or even how many. The number to me is not important. It is knowing that I have started a conversation off. That people have being able to reach out to me because I genuinely understand. I am not reading from a textbook or reciting a quote I read online.

As I always say, if 10 people read this and think, Fuck off, but one person reads it and it helps, then I am doing what I am here to do.

Rant over……. for now

CC xx

49 days and counting!

So shit is getting real, real quick! My very first marathon, and what a one to start (and most likely end) with, the London Marathon.

I have mentioned it several times and of course, if you have me on social media you will have seen my not so subtle begging for fundraising posts, but I haven’t really yet talked about it in great detail and certainly haven’t blogged about it! I think in all honesty I have been burying my head in the sand with it all, because I am flipping petrified!

Never in a million years did I think I stood a chance when I entered the ballot of actually getting a place. It was only my second time of entering, the odds are ridiculously low and there are people who have been trying for 18 years and have still been unsuccessful!

Honestly, when that envelope was on my floor on the day the results were given, I had no idea how I really felt. I had had a nightmare day from Hell where everything that could go wrong did and Depression was being a prick. Was this the cherry on top of a shit cake? Or was it a silver lining on a dark, wank day? Do you know what, I still have no bloody idea!

The emotions going through me change constantly but the truth is, the biggest, most painful one is absolute fear. I am 100% shitting my pants and unfortunately I do not deal with fear very well. I hide. I close down and shut up shop. I do anything in my power to self sabotage because quite frankly those feelings of rejection and failure seem to take over me. Yet, I know I am not a quitter. There is no way I am NOT going to do this. I know I am stronger than I ever believe. I know my fitness levels are actually pretty decent considering I drink like a fish every weekend.

It’s not all bad. I am excited too. I LOVE London and what a way to see as much of it as possible in one go? One painful way like, but still. I am going down on the Friday morning as I want to take in as much of the atmosphere as possible. I think truly, apart from 30 mile trail ultra in September (that is a whole different story), that this will the one and only marathon I ever run. So I want it to be memorable, for the right reasons, not because I get crated off in an ambulance!

Let’s face facts, I am nowhere near where I should be in my training plan. The longest run I have done to date is only 6 mile. Yep, that’s right, I just have another 20.2 miles to find in me, in 7 weeks! Due to the aforementioned self sabotage I have also got a stone at least to lose to be back to my pre freak out weight! I certainly don’t make things easy for myself! But I know I can do it, because I have done it before. And weight loss is probably the hardest thing I have had to do, alongside parenting and opening up about my mental heath struggles. I am not where I need to be yet, but that is just because instead of following the path, I have went right round the houses, and ate all the pies! It is not a cul de sac though, there is no dead end. I a just counting it all A’s experience and time on feet. I am not one who learns from her mistakes, and I will continue to fuck up royally in all sorts of areas, but I will not give up until I am where I want and deserve to be. Even if to get me there you need to drag me kicking and screaming! Though I’d rather dance it if I am honest.

So, where do I go from here? How much can I get sorted in 49 days, with everything else I have on my plate? Well firstly I am not going to focus on a time for the run. When I do that it becomes very overwhelming and as I said, I shut down. So all I want, is to finish. Whether that be in 5 hours or 8 alongside the road sweepers. No matter what time I do do it in, it is my first so it is a guaranteed PB! Bonus or what? I will picture that finish line, with medal and GIANT gin on every run I do. I am not going to follow a strict plan, as then I beat myself up if I can’t do what is required or I fail. I am just going to do whatever I can, whenever I can. I intend to get out an walk 26.2 mile in one go over the next few weeks so at least I can see that one way or the other, I can do the distance. I am going to aim for one long run a week. But I will be doing a lot of cross training too. I have refound my love for weights (and ignited the passion for the DOMS pain again) so I will be doing that too. I aim to exercise for 6 days, with one “rest day” as such.

What other things can I do that will help myself? This challenge is going to be physical but emotional and mental too so I need to cover all bases. I have started a food diary as this way I can see when I am missing meals and when I am binging. This should help me spot any potential patterns but also helps keep me accountable. I wont be mindlessly eating if I have to think about what I am doing in order to write it down. Although the weight loss is important to me, I refuse to go back to that place where I binge and purge. The feelings can be strong at the moment when things feel out of my control but although I know it gives me a quick and effective release, I don’t want to be back there. For the sake of my poor teeth more than anything else!

Water consumption has always been a HUGE issue of mine. It is so easy to drink 26 cans of cider, but to even get 2 glasses of water in me can seem impossible. For this reason I have downloaded an app that shout acts me to have a drink and gets all arsey with me if I don’t! I’m hoping if I stick with it for a few weeks it will finally become a habit! So that is my diet plan really. Not to diet as I know they don’t work but to make necessary changes.

For the other parts, blogging will have to become a big part, as it is one way to get the shit out of my head. This will help keep Depression’s daft arse cousin Anxiety at bay, or at least calmed down. He only really comes into play at 2am ish but he deffo has a field day with me when I let him! So blogging should help with that. I also need to make sure I am making some more time for me. I know I love and need to be busy but in the lead up to this wrath on, it is vital I learn how to chill out. Even just a little bit. Netflix might have to become a close personal friend, since Depression has taken away the joy of reading for me.

What can others do to hep me? Well donate please!! That would give me a MASSIVE boost! All money gos into Red Balloons in order for us to grow and help more people across the Tees Valley area, and further afield! Humour me on my FB posts, sometimes I will be having a bitch and moan and no doubt you will get proper sick of me, but seriously, all your support and encouragement means the world to me and keeps me going on the proper cap days. There will no doubt be times when you need to talk me off the ledge! Not that I am dramatic or anything haha. And if any sports massagers out there want to help me by giving me a weekly rub down, that would be handy!!

OK, so that’s my random ramblings from today. Tomorrow is a new day and a new week. One hell of a busy one but it is right in my hands to control. It is down to me whether I have a good week or a bad week, and after how good I have been feeling the last few days (all the smiles!!) having a bad week is just not an option to me.

I can and I will!

CC xx

International Women’s Day

I could not let a day like today just go past without getting my type on. It has been playing on my mind today about certain things, that to be honest, have had me amused so what better way to get them out than to blog!

I have been sharing a load of good things over the last few days, and it became obvious to me that although I was sharing them, I was actually feeling guilty! Feeling guilty that I was doing well when some people are struggling. Feeling guilty that I seem like I am bragging. Don’t get me wrong, I am damn proud of what has happened, but there seemed to be a tarnish on that pride. As much as in many ways I don’t give a shit about what people think of me (miming along to my music in public, dancing around the aisles in Sainsbury’s – literally, walking around in the general public looking like something your dog dug up, I could go on but you get the point I’m sure) I do too. I don’t people thinking I am a glory whore. I just work damn hard and I do all I can to show that no matter who you are, where you came from and how big your dream is, it CAN happen!

Then I started thinking, Kim Kardashian. She is famous because she did a porn and leaked it. And now, her and all her family are EVERYWHERE. They endorse all sorts of shit and people fawn all over them. I am not saying they don’t do good things, I am certainly not judging them. Let’s face it, if I could make a few million off something so simple, I am sure I would be (have) been tempted! And even persuaded at one point! Although I am also extremely aware I don’t look like Kim, and no matter how many stairs I climb or squats I do, I ain’t ever going to have that arse!

But my point is, these random posts of them walking out of their local Walmart get like stupids of thousands of likes and shares. Yet those out there busting their balls to make a tiny bit of difference in someone else’s life, we feel guilty for bragging that we raised a bit of money at a local grassroots event.

Why are we so quick to talk down our own achievements? I constantly feel like people must be reading my posts, rolling their eyes and thinking, god woman, shut the fuck up, we get it! And that is people close to me I think that about. Madness. But you know what, this is what I know I signed up to. I certainly don’t want anyone to feel bad off what I am posting, like they are failing or whatever. I know I can seem so bloody motivated and that can put people off, but honestly, it’s not so much motivation as a fear of not being busy. If I am busy the intrusive thoughts that push me back into my hole can’t be heard.

All of this I know is a massive case of overthinking. Shock horror ey? So I am going to just attempt to be proud and roll with it. Those that know me will know why I am posting. Coming from literally bottom to be named one of the the Great North Runs 7 inspiring women is like, what the actual fuck?! Of course I deserve to shout that from the rooftops! I managed to raise £228 for Red balloons in a 4 minute babble to people who had no idea who the hell I was! Damn right I am going to post that shit! Because you know what, I work hard! Yes, I can’t say it is all selfless. Doing what I do and helping others helps me. What people don’t see is he amount of work that goes into what I and my RB volunteers do. But it doesn’t matter because if you are seeing what you need to see, being encouraged where you need to be encouraged, wanting to live a little bit more than you did before, every single second of what is done is more than deserved.

I truly, 100% believe in what I do and offer. As I have said countless amounts of times and will continue to say. The thing is, I now know that this passion and belief is spreading. I was invited to talk at a local event today for IWD for a “Celebration of Female Entrepreneurs”. I didn’t do my usual shy barons routine to get some free publicity, they approached me, they wanted me, because they believe in me. Proper warm fuzzy feeling off that.

So basically, I am buzzing my moderately sized baps off today!

This blog could not finish though before I gave a shout out to the amazing ladies in my life who help me be my best self. Who are there to give me a shake when I am being a dick. Who no doubt want to slap me a lot more than they’d ever admit. But for loving me, for supporting me, for believing in me, for making me laugh, for getting me drunk, for birthing me (Thanks Mam!) and all the rest.

There are many women in my life and each and everyone deserves a mention, and I know you know who you all are. But for the sake of not writing a modern day version of War and Peace, I shall focus on a select few. Please, if I don’t name you, do not think I love you any less. You are all a vital piece in my crazy life jigsaw.

1 – my daughter. You drive me bat shit crazy Bails and sometimes when you eye roll I want to lose my shit! But you are my number 1 and I love with every fibre of my being. You are strong and independent and crazy in your own right. You make me smile every day, even if you don’t know it. I know I can kick arse when I need to but you my love, people should be VERY afraid of.

2 – My mother. We haven’t always had the best relationship. In fact, I could not leave home quick enough at 18! But for both our sakes, it was the best thing I ever did. You are also flipping nuts! And I know we both have our own way of dealing with stuff, and sometimes the 40 odd miles between us is a good thing. But thank you for being you. I love you so much. And let’s face it, you created a legend!

3 – My Aunty Lesley. You have been a rock every day of my life. Although we see each other only at family dos, I know you always have my back. I have your fierceness, your stubbornness lol but you also made sure I grew up taking no shit from anyone. Thank you and I love you.

4 – Faye. No way this blog could EVER be published without mentioning my AMAZING best friend. Who sometimes must want to block me off everything and run away. She makes me laugh like no one else, gets me into sooooo much trouble hahaha but who I would go to the ends of the earth for. You have been there at my rock bottom and never gave up on me. Thank so very much. And roll on IBIZA!

5 – Lou. My crazy frog lady. You are the strongest, and legitimately craziest woman I know but you are a daily inspiration to me and I am mega bloody proud of you. You deserve the Number 1 Volunteer title because you fucking rock Mrs. Never ever change.

6 – My Nan. I miss you every second of every minute of every day. Everything I do and achieve I do with you in mind. I would give ANYTHING to hear your voice just one more time, to give you the biggest hug, and not just cos you made me feel really tall! You were one hell of a lady and if I can half the person you were, I will be a happy person. We all have our faults and I am sure you had some too, but for the life of me, and cos you put up with Grandad haha, I cant recall one. You will always be in my heart.

See, told you, babble babble babble. God can I talk! Sorry peeps. A special shout out to the in law lasses too. You have treat me as me of your own for over 10 year now.

To all you fantastic women out there, let us celebrate, being strong, being independent and having ovaries!!

In all seriousness, thank you all. I wouldn’t be me without you.

Love muchly

CC xx

Just saying

I have ummed and ahhhed over the last few days when I should write this blog. Maybe I should have done it after my Lived Experience talk on Tuesday when the emotion got to me so strong and unexpectedly that it floored me. Maybe I should have done it the last few days when my emotions have been all over the place? Or maybe I should do it on Sunday when it will be exactly 2 years to the day.

I decided no matter when I write this, it wont be easy, and for my own self care, I can not do it on Sunday. I have made a conscious decision that no matter what I do, it will not be letting those memories and that anniversary consume me. That day did NOT kill me, it only made me stronger, even if I don’t always feel it.

I am guessing that the majority of you have guessed what I am talking about. I wont go into detail as that wouldn’t be very safe for me or others and there is a blog post that explains in more detail a year ago, but just to touch on it, it was 2 years ago, on 3rd March 2017, where I attempted to take my own life.

I do mention it, quite often, but now it is more of a quick mention as it is vital to the story I always get asked about in regards to the creation of Red Balloons. However, although the actual incident is mentioned, it is the lead up to that date and the way I have been feeling ever since that is actually the important part. How I did it and what plans I put in place are no longer really important. They were in that moment, for me. For anyone following my story and journey, it is the fact of how low I got and that I actually survived to tell the tale that is what needs to be the focus. It is the whole mental health story NOT the suicide attempt itself that should be focused on. Because if we focus on the why’s, the what’s should NEVER have to occur.

I have talked about the why’s in detail over the last 2 year so maybe I don’t want to fixate too much on that in this blog. I am sure I will continue to revisit them as it is all still important and to be completely honest, still not out to bed in areas. Today though, this blog, I want it to be a positive one, a one that shows I am still very much human. That also shows that no matter how busy you are, no matter how many good things you have going on in your life, no matter how many selfies you post and how “happy” you seem to be, it should NOT take away the fact that underneath all this, you are still ill, still struggling, still hiding the truth in some aspects and just basically doing you’re damn best to make it through every day! A good day is a great day! But is doesn’t mean I am ok.

I hear it a lot. You are always so busy. You are doing so many great things. Your face (and tongue) is everywhere. Yeah I am. Yes it is lol. And I work damn bloody hard to make these things happen. Absolutely nothing has been handed to me. It never has through any of my life. Blood, sweat and a shit load of tears goes into me being the best person I can be. Nights of broken sleep. Days of binge eating and feeling shite but then realising I am who I am and if I want a burger I am going to have one. Days of constantly putting myself out there, open to judgement and maybe even ridicule yet none of that matters as for 10 people who I might piss off and bore with my story, there could be one person on a bridge, or with pills in their hand, that NEEDS to know they are not alone and that they are worthy of the life they are living. Talking to an amazing friend of mine this morning on the way to uni and on a completely different subject of his work, the ultimate line was said:

“Everyone has a right to life”

Yes, EVERYONE. You. You right there reading this thinking, well yeah she doesn’t mean me though. She doesn’t know what I have done/how I feel etc. yes I do know. And yes I do mean you. Please, get help. Tell someone. Right ow. Send that message. Make that phone call.

As for you reading this, you that is getting a gut feeling in the pit of your stomach about someone you know. Don’t ignore it. Reach out. As above, send that message, make that phone call, approach that member of staff.

As I said earlier, I did a lived experience talk for some university counselling students on Tuesday. I was nervous anyway as for the first time I was actually sharing my story as Claire, not CC or Claire from Red Balloons. I am used to sharing a lot through writing and social media but this felt very different. I was very aware that I was vulnerable. I felt like a dog with its belly out wanting a scratch. The group were lovely, the lecturer “interviewing” me about the suicide attempt and the therapy/treatment after was amazing. I cant fault them and their feedback was more than I ever could imagine. Truly overwhelming. What sticks with me the most from that day though is the pure, raw emotion. I don’t do crying at the best of times and especially not in public. I am rather bloody good at being able to control it, truth be told. Yet the wave of emotions I got as I started to properly vocalise what had happened, it took my breath away. I realised that apart from my own counsellor, I had never spoke about it like this. Not even to those closest to me. And I just could not stop that familiar quivery lip and the tears filling my eyes. It was like a massive realisation of just how close I got, just how lucky I am!

I am lucky in so many ways and I am not going to list them. But one thing that stuck with me from some of the feedback was how surprised people were with the after events of that day. Of how amazing my GP was, how quick I saw a counsellor (says a lot about my frame of mind if you know what the waiting lists are like round here), how my counsellor was quite simply a magical being who got things out of me that I have never been able to say out loud and probably never will again. How she made me feel listened to. How she made me feel like I am worth something. That these things that happened were not my fault. That I am not a bad person because of some of the decisions I have made and actions that I have taken. You hear so many negative stories of mental health treatment and professionals and what not, yet they are very few of the positive stories, the success stories.

The thing is, for many, myself included, despite therapy, medication, coping strategies and the rest, there is that chance that this, that mental ill health will always be part of you. The same where your hair colour is part of you. You might dye your hair to hide the truth colour, the same way you may hide your symptoms of whatever condition it is that you suffer from. It does not take away who you are ass a person. It is your body, your mind. YOU have control. You might not always feel like it. My mate Depression has a canny knack of making me feel like have lost all control, but he is just a lying shit.

If you are someone who doesn’t wash, stays in bed, doesn’t eat or over eats, exercises, keeps the self busy, smiles, cries or whatever else, then that is you. Do not let anyone tell you you should be doing it a different way. Don’t let anyone tell you you should be suffering a different way, that you can’t be feeling what you feel just because they don’t understand the way that you deal with things. That is on them, their own ignorance but also at the same time, their own experience. We may all say we understand, and we certainly do, to a certain degree, but at the end of the day, we are all different and no two people can experience the exact same thing.

I’m completely rambling now, I am just really enjoying the therapeutic taps on my keyboard, but I hope, if you are reading this madness, that it is bringing you some sort of comfort and hope. That even if it is just a tiny blink, that you feel worthy. I will never give up belief in anyone and I will be there cheering you on when you get out of that dark hole and come blinking like a mole into the light. The curtains may sometimes shut, but they can always be reopened.

CC xx

This is me!

Thought I might get your attention, purely of the not so subtle use of a The Greatest Showman quote. So now what? To be honest I have no idea! So this should be a fun, or incredibly painful read. Let me know, if you manage to finish it!

I am sat here in the office with a “To Do” list as long as my right leg, yet my Monday Motivation has took the hump and buggared off somewhere else in the building it seems. I am in a “fuck it” kind of mood, yet realistically, apart from a few things pissing me off (Yes, Student bloody Finance, I am mainly looking at you!) and the fact that Mother Nature likes to wind me up hormonally for at least a week before “party time”, I am actually not in a bad place.

Is this a bad day mental health wise or am I just have a bad day? Well you see, I don’t actually know! I think that gets to me more. Let’s look at the signs –

Am I tired? – Well yeah, when I am not!

Did I sleep? – Not well, until an hour before I had to get out of bed any way.

Have I eaten? – Oh yeah, a lovely healthy dinner. But then completely sabotaged that with cheesecake. I will say though, WOW! Taste sensation! Even if I do now want to be sick. Swings and Roundabouts.

Do I want to cry? – No thankfully. I could seriously do with punching the shit out out of something though.

Alongside these, my concentration levels are pretty much none existent, I keep zoning out and having to re read everything three times. I am antsy yet seem to have no energy and I just feel like shit, generally.

So, has that answered my mental health question? Has it shit! And yes, I am acutely aware that I am swearing a lot today but I really don’t give a toss. It is actually therapeutic. If you don’s swear I urge you to try on those particularly bad days. There is nothing quite like a well times, firm with meaning “Fuck”. Oh er……….

You see, circumstance wise, yeah I do have a lot to be narked about. I wont go into details as to be fair it’s boring and even more importantly, the majority of it is nothing that anyone else at any given time isn’t frustrated or worried about themselves. The worst part of this all is the thing that is pissing me off the most is………. ME!!

I can walk away from everything else but it’s not like I can get away from myself. Well not legally or safely anyway. I try to laugh and to make others laugh every day as humour is incredibly important to me, but I feel like my laugh (or laughs as I have one for each of my personalities *mental health joke at my own expense so it’s allowed*) is lost today. The worst part of it is, I was seemingly OK not even 2 hours ago. It still startles and fascinates me that my mood can change quicker than the good old English weather.

Now I could start spouting all the good stuff that is going on in my life, and indeed there is a lot. But today I would find that incredibly vulgar of myself and it would annoy me not amuse me. I KNOW I have good things in my life but right in this very moment I feel like a petulant toddler who just wants to throw herself on the floor and kick her legs and flail her arms in a the biggest paddy you have ever seen! And the one thing I know I can nail is a god awful strop! Just ask anyone that knows me!

Maybe this would help? I am not easily embarrassed but I feel I would look more like a beached whale trying to get back to the ocean than cute toddler spitting her dummy out. So yeah. Maybe not.

What can I do? What works for me? I like plans, plans have structure and structure calms me. I will soon admit defeat in the office and walk home. I should be a uni today but due to financial issues and a very knackered car, I haven’t been able to make it in. I cant say I am that disappointed though as one of my lectures probably would have reduced me to tears. Not of emotion but of sheer boredom!

I have done a very colourful mind map for my charity fundraiser. That didn’t help as much as a good old mind map normally does. I have arranged my diary for the next three weeks. Still didn’t help. I think what I need to do is actually write down this epic To Do list and see what is priority. I know I am incredibly overwhelmed with a shit tonne of things at the moment and keeping it all in my head just makes me feel like the Queen of Hearts off the new (er) Alice in Wonderland. Not a good look for anyone!

Main focuses are:

– Uni work

– Getting paperwork sorted for Red Balloons to be sent off to Charity Commissions

– Sorting (without violence!) things for Student Finance.

– Upping the mileage for my London Marathon training (blogs regarding this will be coming soon)

Once these main things are done, maybe, just maybe I can focus on the one thing I desperately need……………

FUN!!!!!!!

Ok, so I have had a rant. Really didn’t want to save it all until our “Run & Rant” session later as I think I would have scared off all my members. Has this blogged helped? Not yet but I did enjoy the angry tap tap tap of my typing today!! Silver linings.

I know deep down this is just a mood and I know why. I just needed to get it off my chest. I struggle to vocalise my emotions again these days so really, I should blog a lot more as it is often the only way I open up. I much prefer to surround myself with other people and help them than ever have to look at myself.

It really is nothing that a hug and a run and most probably a cheeky nap wont help with. I actually prefer this kind of “anger” than the sad, mopey days I have when all I want to do is cry. And god am I an ugly cryer! So hey it’s all good. Remind me why I am whinging again??

Oh yeah. Because I am damn good at it!

Here is to hoping the next blog is a happier one, but you know, we can never predict these things.

Loves

CC xx