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

#WorldMentalHealthDay

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

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

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

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

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

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

“LET’S MAKE MENTAL HEALTH AN EVERYDAY SUBJECT”

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

CC xx

It’s only just the beginning!

**TW mentions of suicide**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET

Much love

 

CC xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bet even Wonder Woman has a “To DO” list!

So much for me not neglecting my beloved blog, but yet again a little thing called life got in the way. To be fair though, that little life of mine has become a whole lot bigger in a very short space of time!

My last blog touched on what I was going to be doing, now I am 2 weeks in the midst and ultimately, it is equal amounts of awesomeness and what the fuck am I doing to myself! I cant lie, not having my Depression completely under control yet is a big worry. Although I have had more good days than bad, it is always lurking in the background, like an annoying person who reads over your shoulder. To be honest the bad days haven’t been bad days as such, more bad episodes. So in that way I am counting myself incredibly lucky. Saying that, as I am having to schedule in breathing I suppose my brain hasn’t had much of a chance to have it’s wicked way with me!

College  – I LOVE IT! The course is so much more than I expected and I am only a week in, having missed a week to go away. It is everything I am interested in, the subjects are so involved and informative that I forget that it is a night and I would normally be tucked up in bed before the classes have even finished! I am soooo rock ‘n’ roll aren’t I? :’) Part of me wishes I had known back when I was younger what I wanted to do and had discovered this path. What I have realised though is, although I do worry age could be a negative, I have what I didn’t have all those years ago. Genuine life experience, and fuck has it been an experience to date! As well as knowledge and passion and a clear cut route of where I want to end up; with the added extra of knowing where to look to find out the best path to take. Yes it’s going to be a tough journey. I know I will laugh, cry, throw things (hide the Yankee Candles), feel amazing, feel like a failure and no doubt want to give up every other day, but I do know, deep deep, deep down that I more than have the ability to do this. I do have a brain, a pretty decent one at that. It just hasn’t had to be used for a long time. It needs its cobwebs blasting off, it needs a nudge awake, or a sledgehammer if that would be more beneficial. Actually, do you know what will make the biggest difference, believing in my potential. The reason I struggled with my PT work, apart from the lack of concentration and Depression stoving my head in at the critical time, is I didn’t honestly believe in myself. I was kidding myself at the time. I wanted it so bad in one way, in a massive way, but I just didn’t think anyone would take me seriously. It’s different to be the person living and breathing the gym and exercise and preaching it’s amazingness. It’s completely the other to have people actually wanting to use you and follow what you say and trust you can get them the results they need. It was hard for me to trust I have the ability to do it myself!

See, self doubt is never far from the front of my mind. Luckily, my passion and determination has won this time and I have secured extended time to complete. Yes, it adds yet more to my ever maddening work load, but in a few years time when I am doing what I love and reaping the benefits, I will look back on this time and be proud that it was another hard step in my life that helped build my character and become the strong, independent woman I will be. It also helps with the motivation to get the body I want. Yes, currently, and yes I sound like a broken record, I have let my own personal standards slip. My eating has fallen off, my exercise, well it is regular, it cant not be as I am training for my half marathon but I KNOW I can do better, push harder. To be honest I am seriously debating getting a PT for myself. One so they can push me, advise me and really open my potential, two as I can pick their brains, watch them work, live their methods. Nothing better than on the job experience in my opinion.

Anyway, I digress, as I do when I yabber on about something I love so much. Mind mapping my thoughts yesterday made me truly realise just what I have going on. There is a lot of guilt at the moment that there are parts of my life I feel I am letting down. My friends and my volunteer work with MIND being top of the list. However, the thing that works with me is getting it all out of my head and on to paper. This way I can see the crap that is swirling around in my head, I can take it and I can mould it into some sort of a plan. I love lists. I list about lists about lists, but to me, this visual helps calm the chaos in my head. I can see that yes there is a lot but it can all be achieved. As long as I prioritise and most importantly, as long as I keep an eye on myself. I know all too well how easy it is for me to lose control by needing to be in control. By keeping so busy I run myself round the pole until I end up choking. I think I am pretty confident at spotting my signs now, but if not, I am even more confident there are people in my life who can spot it for me. Who wont be scared to tell me to calm down. Who will quite happily take me away from something to help me see the bigger picture. Those who will simply give me a hug when I need it, some encouraging words or even just to make me laugh so much I nearly piss my pants. Yes, Faye, I am looking at you lol. Need a new autocorrect mishap actually!

I am doing incredibly well not being on my AD’s and I have no intention whatsoever at going back on them. I am currently doing my research into more natural sources although I am doing well managing it with exercise and keeping busy. I do realise I am starting to close up slightly, I think I knew that would happen as soon as I realised it was the end for me and my counsellors beautiful relationship. This is why I MUST keep up with this blog, even if I just do it weekly. Yes, I love that people take the time to read it and I would love it to spread further and help as many people as possible, but mostly I love the way the sounds of the keys clacking help soothe me, the way the words tumble out my fingers, even if they make no sense, it means there is a new bit space in my head. I know my spelling is sometimes out and grammar, well I must drive the grammar police frigging mental but what it means to me is, it is me. Raw, uncut, uncensored (literally). That is the best form of therapy for me, as often I am being whoever anyone else wants me to be. Here I am just CC, in all her disgraceful, bullshit, verbal diarrhoea glory!

Like the tag line says, even Wonder Woman must have a TO DO list and I bet it’s epic. Although hers is probably headed with save the world or some sort of shit so she wins in the importance stakes. Sometimes it helps to realise that even superheroes struggle, I bet they bash their head off a steering wheel in frustration and struggle to get out of bed some days. I bet Wonder Woman looks and sees flaws in her perfect figure, Batman feels too fat for his suit some days, Superman cant be arsed to fly at times and Hulk, well sometimes I bet he just wants to smash shit up to make himself feel better. We are all frigging awesome people, with amazing potential. We don’t need a cape, although lets face it, I’d look pretty fucking cool in one, what we do need is time, self love, support and awareness. What we definitely need is the ability to realise that we cant always be super and we do need help.

Ahhhhhhh, that feels better! Until next week 😀

Love

CCxx

 

Black Dog days are over………for now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL”

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

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

CC xx

 

 

Time to reset 

OK, so Depression is now like a close personal friend. One I cant stand I might add but anyway, we know each other pretty much inside out. We have a strong battle of wills going on and it is anyone’s guess who will win at any given time. I do think I am starting to take the lead and grab the reigns of what feels like a runaway horse drawn carriage that is my life though, more often than not.

However, it seems there has been an unwanted party guest who has completely gate crashed. Welcome…….. Anxiety! Now, Off You Fuck mate. You are as unwelcome as a bad case of genital herpes!

I write this blog today from Kusadasi, Turkey and I feel that some of you reading this will think, what an ungrateful bitch that CC is. I swear I am not. I am so very grateful for every opportunity I am given and the things I can give my children. I work very hard to make sure their childhood is the flipside of what mine was. I ask sincerely,  please try and read between the lines when it appears I am whinging, I am just being honest as I swore I would be when I started Red Balloons.

The thing with having mental health issues is, you cant just leave them at home. Just because I am on holiday, in glorious sunshine, beer in hand, in what feels like my home from home, does not mean Depression and now my new acquaintance Anxiety just decide to leave me be for 14 wonderful days. Nope, no Sir. This time they have packed their bags and joined in on the family fun. Bastards!

The lead up to holidays normally has me absolutely doing people’s tits in about 60 days before I go, counting down. I normally have holiday clothes packed and re packed a bout a billion times in the month before I go. Not this time. I feel really bad on my husband and kids as for the majority of the time I have had to fake being excited. I have a horrible habit of catastrophizing things at the moment, my mind gets completely carried away and goes off on a tangent. The feelings I was getting about flying, about being in Manchester airport, about coming to Turkey, a place I absolutely adore, were so exhaustingly scary. I had so many scenarios playing in my head that were completely ridiculous! I got myself into such a state that my run on Monday morning ended in having to walk off yet another panic attack that gripped my so hard I nearly threw up and had chest pains for most of the day. It got me so frustrated that I ended up crying on the plane. I really felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t cope with anything. Yet I had to be as strong as possible so as not to scare or upset Noah who still has trouble understanding things, like why we couldn’t just land the plane when he wanted to get off. This resulted in him having a massive melt down. Thank  goodness we were sitting around understanding and patient people!

It is now Wednesday and I feel physically and emotionally fucked! My body hurts yet I need to exercise as it is the one coping technique I have the luxury of being able to bring with me anywhere in the world. Tuesday I did my very first ever holiday workout. I ran 1km (laps of the sitesi) 1 minute plank, 20 press-ups which I am buzzing I am getting better at every time and 20 squats. Plus an absurd amount of walking. Today has had to be calmer as I just don’t have the energy, yet the feeling of success at swimming laps in the pool which I had the absolute luxury of having completely to myself this morning and then an underwater strength workout is really the best kind of medicine you could ask for. I feel more in control of things, although I hurt pretty much everywhere, feeling the sun on my skin and having 30 minutes of complete alone time to listen to my music was so very necessary.

I know I have to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be what I think everyone expects of me. I need to embrace the moods, good and bad and just be honest with my family. I am ok. I am so happy to be here. I cant wait to rub what will be an epic tan in my best friends face in 2 weeks time. Yet sometimes I will look like I am not. Sometimes I will zone out. Sometimes I will be sad for no reason whatsoever. It’s horrible, for me and for those around me, but what I am learning is, this is me. I cant help it but I can do whatever I can in my power to fight it daily. I wont lie, ice cold Efes really does take the edge off!

So, my plan for this holiday is to relax. To take notice of my body and mind while I don’t have the stresses of everyday life. I want to retune myself, to learn about myself, to be able to go home strong and fit. To fit into my bridesmaid dress and feel genuinely happy and confident in myself. To get myself to the place I need to be to start the next big chapter of  my life. I know it may take a few days for me to settle in and get over the last week but I will have fun, I will make the most if the precious memories I am making with my family.

So, now I will sign off and chill in the sun with yet another ice cold Efes, my version of the bible – Women’s Health magazine and Bakermat blasting in my ears. I will be planning this weeks workouts and giving myself a stern talking to about avoiding bread – bloat does not make a bikini flattering! The boys are asleep, the daughter has gone to the beach with the FIL. Yet another bit time to myself – bliss!

I do feel better getting this off my mind and onto paper, well screen. The joys of blogging, I don’t know what I would do without it to be honest.

Happy Hump Day

CC xx