What doesn’t kill you….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CC xx

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Is it YOUR #TimeToTalk ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CC xx

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Reflection!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love and best wishes for 2018

CC xxSnapchat-1598745327.jpg

12 days of #ChristmasinMind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CC xx

 

Self Care – but what does that mean?

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

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

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

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

Here are my ways to self care:

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

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

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

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

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

Much Love

CC xxx

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My Personal Thank You to You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love

CC xxxxxxxxxxx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love to all

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

CC xx