Sunshine on a rainy day

This song has been on loop in my head all morning and to be honest I have no idea as I haven’t heard it for years, but it did get me thinking. It is actually quite appropriate. Not because of the good old English weather being as random as it is, but because it is actually a good metaphor for how I am feeling at the moment.

I know it’s been a while since my last blog post, I tend to neglect my blog a bit when I get busy, but it’s also because when I am in a better place, I tend to think that people don’t want to hear the random ramblings of what goes on in my head. I get concerned that although I am in a good place, others might not be and I don’t want to rub my ok’ness in their faces. Does that make sense? Probably not. It’s me. I think I know what I mean.

If I am honest it has been a bit of a crazy week or so. Pretty much all being good! Things seem to be falling slowly into place. Which if I am honest makes me a bit nervous. Like if I do something to upset the balance it will all come tumbling down around me. I hate the way that my brain works! I am trying so hard to appreciate the good days and it feels so good to really feel the smile on my face but why cant that be the end of it? Why do I have to think 5 steps ahead? It is so frustrating. I want to live in the moment but it really seems to piss off Depression and his new addition to the CC family, Anxiety.

Depression alone was a horrible place to be in. The feelings if worthlessness, misery, despair and hate BUT I knew where I was with it. Things made sense. I felt like I deserved to be there. Anxiety? That is a whole new experience, and if I am honest, what a shitter of one! I feel like I am walking on eggshells and I hate not understanding. Although I am notably very self aware with my issues, this is completely new water, and treacherous at that! It’s like Depression knew he was losing a grip on me so he called in for some back up. Sneaky bastard.

Now, like I say, I am actually in a good place. Sat in the garden, sun on my skin, birds singing, 90’s dance music on in the background and lot’s to look forward to. The familiar click click of the keys on my laptop are as soothing as ever. Something seems to be in the background though and I cant for the life of me put my finger on what it is. I know it isn’t good though. It seems dark, like a smudge on your sunglasses. Cold, like the random breeze that catches you and reminds you it is still actually only April. Like a warning that things can change in an instant. The thing that messes with my head is the not knowing. I can deal with stuff when I am in control, when I know the facts and I can plan. I am definitely a planner, even if I do catastrophize and plan for the worst, it’s still a plan. When I cant plan, I start to lose control a bit and then that is when Depression and Anxiety see a nick in my armour and start to pick.

Thing is, they don’t realise that I am on to them and like fuck am I going to let them drag me back to where they have had me most of this year. It has taken me a lot of blood, sweat, tears and broken nails to get myself out of my hole again. I’m currently in the process of cementing the buggar up! It used to be my safe place. Cool, dark, quiet and safe. I felt like no one could get me in there. The thing I have realised is, I was actually in the hole with the thing that could hurt me more than anyone or anything ever has. ME! Until I learn to love myself, truly and completely, I am not always going to be safe for myself.

So, along with all the other, more material things, like uni and my nutrition course and training for the Great North Run, I am now more determined than ever to sort out my head, once and for all. The distraction and avoidance techniques are fail safes and have helped me this far, but I cant keep relying on them long term. Not on their own. As the fear of failure is too strong. I am depending on my success too much and if something was to go wrong, something out of my control, it could potentially destroy me. I am more a straw house at the moment. I want to be made of bricks!

So, the antidepressants will be a main factor in my daily routine now, and I am OK with that. They work. I am also making the first tentative steps into the world of CBT. Counselling was very beneficial but I do believe I got what I needed out of that. I know now that bad things happened and they weren’t my fault. What I need to do now is retrain my brain. Although I do try to find positives, I want to change my negative thought processes. My overthinking needs to be addressed but most of all I want to understand me, as much as I possibly can. When I can understand myself, hopefully that will take me onto the next step of self appreciation and even self love.

Ultimately, if I cant love me, how can I expect anyone else too. And lets face it, as bat shit crazy as I actually am, I do tend to have some pretty awesome qualities…….. so I am told 😉

Ok lovely people, that is enough random crap from me. Off to enjoy the sun! While we still have it. Have a lush day wherever you are. If you are having a bad day, just have a day. Those dark clouds will move eventually

Love

CC xx

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Decisions

***Another guest blog from the provider who sent me Lighthouse. I think you will all agree, he is a great writer and he gives us a great insight into his bubble of mental health problems.

He would like to continue to stay anonymous, for now but please, help me support him and show him how great he is and how his words can touch others.

His blog is as follows:

The only thing worse than the wrong decision is making no decision at all. A good statement but not 100% accurate. I would suggest two amendments. 1. Being forced into a decision 2. Making a decision to make someone else happy.
Until recently I had never made my own decision because it was the right option for me, it was either the right option for someone else or it was my only option. I didn’t want to go to university. I wanted to be a soldier so at 17 I applied. I passed the fitness with ease but failed on my attitude. That’s my failing and ill own it. I had trained myself for years to get physically fit enough for the selection. When I was denied I stopped training all together and now need to prepare to jog up the stairs to bed. So, I failed, I didn’t have a back up plan. My friends did “we’re going to uni come with us” they said. So, I did. I didn’t choose the uni or the course. I went where they were going, and I was doing what they were doing. No passion for it, no commitment to it, just a lack of options and no reason to change.
3 years later I graduated with a degree and was working part time. It wasn’t the ideal job and prospects weren’t great, but it was spending money. I applied all over for graduate schemes, carefully selecting companies that I wanted to work for, doing my research, willing to move. I got zero replies, not a ‘no thanks’ or a ‘keep your chin up’ or even a ‘maybe next time’. I couldn’t sit at home 5 days a week. That finished with uni. I went full time where I already worked. The job I didn’t choose earned me enough money to start to pay the student debt I had accrued from the degree I didn’t want and wasn’t using. It’s hard to find the momentum to go to a job every day when you firmly believe you should be doing something more. I did find my motivation and I’m still with the company, working my way up. There’s a ray of light and possibly a motivational story for another time.
Around this time, I had to move out. Had too, my family home was lost due to bankruptcy, so I had to grow up quick. I was seeing someone at the time whose mother irritated her, she wanted out, I needed out, we moved in together. I hadn’t decided this, it was needs must. I don’t regret this happening. It was my first enchilada of freedom, I was young and happy and even if I could have moved in on my own I know I wouldn’t have. I’m not trying to say these are mistakes, just that the lack of options in my life became a pattern, a pattern that I didn’t try to break. I had issues and I accepted it was my lot in life.
The pattern continued. I was a being a spectator in my own life. I didn’t choose the holiday locations, I didn’t choose the house I eventually bought, I didn’t choose the decorating or what we ate. I just paid for most of it. It happened slowly but it happened none the less. I found myself hitting milestones and all I had to show for it was what other people I cared about had wanted. My wants had fallen by the way. I was fine with all this. I was fine when I could see how happy others were. I didn’t need the toys, or the driving lessons, or the nights out without an eye roll and a guilt trip. Because I was doing it for them. I was making decisions for them. But then I stopped seeing them, life happens and for most people who have a family and full time jobs you begin to see the people you love less. But what you don’t see less is the situation you have made for yourself, so you need to like where you are and what you have. It turns out I wasn’t.
If your reading this and you aren’t sure if it applies ask yourself one question. Am I selfish? Its ok to be selfish. Its fucking necessary. It’s a positively magnificent idea to say “sorry flower, no caravan holiday for us this year, we’ve already been abroad and now I’m skint.” “But I want to spend time together as a family” “well get the fuckin barbeque out cos I’m not going away again”. And don’t let people convince you what you want isn’t necessary. Take it from a guy who can’t drive at 30 because “you don’t really need to learn though do you?”. In a healthy relationship there has got to be give and take, there has got to be democracy. if your asked to do something, only do it if you want to do it. Don’t go on holiday if you don’t want to and can’t afford it and for the love of fucking God don’t take a loan to pay for one, max the credit card for another and live in an overdraft for the third. I made these mistakes. I made them because they deserved to be happy. “THEM” not me. Now that I’m on my own I don’t know how to make decisions to benefit me, I need someone to want something then ill aim for that. I’m getting better at it though. I’m going to buy what I want while I can and go where I’ve never been. I’m going to have guilt free nights out, I’m not asking permission to watch this, or play that or listen to these guys. Its not bad to want to make others happy, its bad if you don’t make yourself happy. So make a decision you miserable idiots.

(Prescription) Drugs DO work!

Since the beginning of being open and honest about my fight with Depression and more recently, anxiety, I was always determined to stay away from antidepressants or tried to believe that I didn’t need them and I could manage in other ways. I suppose partly I was hoping that I could believe I wasn’t as bad as I am but mostly it was actually just a genuine  fear of them. When I was younger they didn’t get a good hype and you were thought of as crazy if you took them, although I campaign constantly to try and erase stigma, it can still have an effect even 20 or so years later.

Now, that’s not to say I didn’t try some. It was one of the reasons my fear grew and my stubbornness kicked back in. Citalopram sent me, well manic is the only way I can describe it. I couldn’t sleep at all, even less than I do now, I felt constantly buzzed and could sit still even less than usual. Sertraline gave me the worst kidney pain imaginable and ruined my family holiday last year. I was in so much pain I was debating going to the hospital in Turkey! So although there are loads of SSRI’s, I believed that they  just weren’t for me. Until last month.

This year has been hard so far, to the point I was starting to worry about my state of mind again. I have cried so many tears, screamed, shouted, pushed people away and just generally been a mardy arse! Nothing was working, my motivation was drying up, my exercise has taken a step back as I just haven’t had the energy. The days have been dark most of the time where if I am honest, a lot of time I just wanted to give up. To just exist quietly. I have been “faking it” an awful lot but never seeming to quite “make it”. I had to admit defeat. I needed help. My coping techniques were just not working properly any more. So another trip back to the doctor, signed off sick long term as work was unfortunately a large stressor, I doubt I will ever be back in that office if I am to be completely honest. It’s just too dangerous for me. Another conversation with the doctor about antidepressants and this time, I gave in and accepted another chance at a different drug.

Hand on heart, the first 3 weeks were brutal. I didn’t get happier, in fact I think I actually dipped even lower. Dark thoughts and motives returned but thankfully more ideations than actual concrete plans this time. I was so prepared to just sack the drugs off. They clearly don’t work. I’m broken. Nothing will “fix me”.

But then, I woke up one day last week and I didn’t feel so down. I felt a flicker of hope. I smiled before 9am and even more sensational, before coffee!! I didn’t feel the tug of despair deep in my gut anymore, it was more just a gentle ache. The thing is, it literally changed that quick. Over night. My friend said it would and to be honest I thought she was mad to begin with, but it did! Like a finger snap. I’m not fixed, not by a long shot, but I feel a little less broken than I did. So, as painful as it is to admit, I was wrong. Drugs DO work!

A conversation I had on Friday has had me thinking about this more over the weekend. My friend had admitted they were trying to wean themselves off their tablets. I asked why. (By the way, before I go any further DO NOT TRY TO COME OFF ANTIDEPRESSANTS WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR! It is incredibly dangerous, even missing doses can have a huge impact!) If we were on medication for say, diabetes, we wouldn’t think about trying to skip doses and come off something that was helping us. Why do we feel like we can do that with antidepressants? Because we don’t feel they are “real” medication? Because we think once we feel better again we are better? Why do we struggle to admit that if they are working they must be a good thing? Stigma, judgement and opinions have a lot to answer for! I wonder how many people have put themselves back in their recovery or have suffered when they didn’t have to because of what they think others thought? Hands up please. I know both mine are in the air.

Having a look at statistics today, the amount of prescriptions for antidepressants and other mental health drugs has increased from 31 million in 2006 to over 65 million in 2016. They cost the NHS £780,000 a day in the UK. Perhaps more shockingly but interestingly, there has been a 54% increase in the number of children prescribed them. What do we think of that? Personally, although I hate to think of anyone suffering as it is truly horrible, it shows that more people are becoming aware of these issues. More people are willing to admit they are struggling and ask for help. I wouldn’t say medication is an “easy option” and it certainly isn’t for everyone. I believe other forms of help should be sourced before or alongside the medication route, like talking therapies, but they do hold their place in society and for a lot of people, they are a necessary part of day to day life. No one should feel ashamed for doing what will ultimately help them. They should be congratulated on taking themselves seriously and being a priority.

Life is stressful enough. Bad stuff happens and even the strongest of people can have days, weeks or even months where they struggle. If help is out there, whether in pill form or whatever, use it! We are lucky to have free health care, we are lucky to have so many options and having choices in our health and well being. A healthier lifestyle is ultimately a happier life and who doesn’t want to be happy?

So, my name is CC and I am on fluoxetine and for the first time in my life, I am OK with it, because it helps me be a better me!

CC xx

A letter to my past self……

Dear little CC,

I know sometimes you think that there is no point any more. I know since you were small you have often felt like you lived in the shadows. That to be brutally honest it was the safest place to be at times, out of the way. Making no noise, crying silently into your pillow wondering why all this was happening.

I know it can be scary, hearing things you cant see. Your imagination running riot and turning up the music as loud as you can without drawing attention to yourself. I know you think you should be able to do something to help, that in some ways you even think somehow it is all your fault. It was never your fault. None of it. You were just a child.

What you will learn is that life can be really cruel. It will shot a lot of awful stuff at you. People will hurt you. Physically, emotionally and mentally. You will retreat. You will numb yourself to save yourself from the pain. Yes, the physical pain hurts but the real pain is the emotional pain. This is what will make you who you become. It will shape your future as you will be able to use your experience, your empathy and your honesty to help others. You have to learn to talk first. This will be one of the hardest lessons that you ever have to learn. How to talk and to attach emotion to things in your life, things you spent so long detaching yourself from.

There will be people that you put your trust in, who you lean on and who you love, that will leave you. Some reasons will be easy to understand, some will be heart breaking, some will be frustrating and some you just need to blow a kiss to the door closing behind them as they don’t deserve to be in your life. Trust me, I know there will be times when you feel so lonely, that you feel like you have pushed people away but you will be left with the most amazing people in your life. The one’s who love and support you in every way. Who are with you through the good, the bad and the absolutely ugly. You will drive them batty in every way as you are a hormonal nightmare! A complete mardy mare! But not once, even the newest people to enter your life, not once will they even think about ditching you or walking away. These are the people that are worth their weight in saffron!

CC, you are not broken, you are not wired wrong, you didn’t do anything to deserve the cards that were dealt, it was just how life panned out for you. What is important to remember is, it is an illness. Depression, anxiety and all the others, they are illnesses. You couldn’t have prevented them any more than you could have stopped catching a cold. The thing that you will do different is you wont succumb. You nearly will. It will very nearly destroy you. You will feel like you have lost everything. But you will fight. You will change and grow and turn all the negatives into positives.

You will live your life completely arse over tit. First baby at 19, married at 25, baby number 2 at 27. Then after a pretty much complete depressive breakdown at 32, you will realise that it is time for YOU. You will realise just how much you have to live for. You will reach people through a blog, through your volunteer work, through TV and radio and social media. You will be honest and real including sweaty, crazy selfies that show just how much exercise helps you. This will be your calling, this will be your reason for being. You will start university, yes university, at the ripe age of 33 so that you can go on and help people who have suffered like you. You will achieve things you never thought possible. You will be win awards and run half marathons and fundraise for charity.

CC, bad days will always be there. There will be days where you feel fat, ugly, worthless, lonely, unloved, hurt and all the rest. Depression is a liar! It will trick you, it will make you tired, it will make you lose motivation, it will have you thinking you should quit what you are doing because you think you will fail. DONT QUIT! Every time a voice in your head tells you “you cant” do something, you will go ahead and do it! You will get called stubborn but let me tell you, that is one hell of a quality to have. It is what will keep you alive and keeping you fighting, not just you but for everyone else who suffers.

You will make a difference CC. You will help more people than you could ever realise because you will be you. In full, raw and uncut honesty. You don’t sugar-coat anything. You are straight to the point, no bushes beaten, you say what you think, sometimes before you actually think, but you are sincere. You love with all your heart and you will give everything your all. You will put yourself out there, you will receive criticism and everyone will have an opinion on you and your life but you can handle it. The good and the bad as it is all for a higher purpose. It is all in the hope that one small raindrop can eventually cause a tidal wave and mental health stigma will be fought.

Dry your eyes CC, put that cheeky smile on your face and remember, bad things happen to good people but those good people take them and use them. You are in charge of you and who you become. You are strong and you are independent and Depression will not define you.

You will be proud to be you one day CC!

Love

Today CC xx

 

Life is like a poker game

Do you ever feel like you have been giving a seriously crap hand? Like, you try to do your best, you haven’t committed any serious crimes, your drinking can still just about be classed as recreational and you do try and do your bit to help others, even if you do turn into some kind of crazed animal at certain times of the month (ladies, we all do it). Yet, someone, somewhere, depending on what you believe, sometimes seems to take great pleasure absolutely messing with you.

I was having a chat with a lovely man today, chatting about my story and Red Balloons and stuff and he asked me, “do you think these things in your life have been a test?” I suppose I never looked at it like that, but yes! And along the lines of a bloody hard maths test with like 75 questions to answer in 10 minutes with no calculator and a broken pen!

Do you know what, yeah, I have had a lot to deal with in my short 33 (yes, short!) years of life. I am starting to realise more and more that things like my life don’t happen much to “ordinary” people. Yet, to me, in my slightly warped little mind, these things obviously happened to everyone. I shouldn’t whinge as there are so many more people worse off than me. I don’t need to talk about things with people, they don’t need to listen to my crap. I just need to get on with things. Put that incident in a little box in my brain, not deal with it and my mind is of course so HUGE that those boxes will never effect me again. Can I say, what a load of…….. poo!

I am very aware that people have things a lot worse than me. But, those people aren’t me. Everyone copes with things in very different ways. I spent so much of my life losing myself so that things that had happened could mentally “unhappen” that I ended up losing myself and my self worth. I ended up losing the whole point. But it wasn’t a choice. This is what I want to stress to people today. I would NEVER choose to feel the way I do. I would never choose to be so exhausted. I would never choose to feel like such a burden. The very same way I would never choose to have the flu. Or a broken bone.

IT IS A ILLNESS!

Depression is a very real, and at times, very destroying illness. You basically rot away from the inside. The worst symptom, sometimes not even being aware until it is very nearly too late. Or in a shocking increase of scenario’s, until it actually is too late. It can kill you. Yet, people still struggle. People still play ignorant. People still judge. Ignorance is bliss and all that. If you don’t broach the subject, it’s not real. If I don’t ask how she is, she wont be able to tell me and I can still pretend everything is A OK.

Do you know what? I get it. I get the fear behind mental health. It’s a very scary subject for a lot of people. It is hard when you are reading stuff or listening to stuff to not start to psychoanalyse yourself to a certain degree. The way you do when you Google your symptoms as you have had a bad head for a week and it tells you, you have a brain tumour or something.

What we need in this country, somehow, is more knowledge. More information. More teaching. We need to start teaching primary school children the signs. We need to start teaching them that it is an illness. We need to stop the media sensationalising people negatively who suffer with mental health problems. Did you know, a schizophrenic is much more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else? Ask yourself, how much do you REALLY know about anxiety/depression/bipolar/PTSD etc. Did you know Alzheimer’s is classed as a mental health illness? Would you be able to spot the signs if someone around you was suffering in silence? If you thought someone was, what would you do? Honestly?

Ignorance is bliss. But ignorance also causes stigma. Ignorance can kill. There are so many stereotypes about mental illnesses, too many to list unfortunately but let’s take Depression. I don’t spend all day every day crying – although yes, when I am on a downer my chances of crying is greatly heightened. Something I hate as I hate crying. I don’t spend all day in bed with the curtains closed, although I do tend to have regular day time naps IF I can fit them in as I don’t sleep well at night. I do that as a form of helping myself NOT as a factor of my illness. I get washed and generally brush my hair. Or at least I try to make it semi presentable. I keep as clean a house as I can with a hyper 4 year old boy. I volunteer, I exercise, I go to college. Yet, I am a sufferer of severe depression. To look at me, or to read my more positives blogs, I am sure there are some cynics out there. But please, it is very real to me. It is very painful to me. It can be very destructive for me.

The difference for me, the same as for many others I know or have read about, is, we take the cards we have been dealt and we use them to our advantage. We might not win the game by obvious tactics, but we take what we have and we make it work for us. We have perfected our poker faces and it’s game on! We don’t let our circumstances make us a victim, it makes us a fighter. Although we have days where we feel very weak, what we are actually doing is becoming stronger. We want to get better. I want to get better. I will do anything I possibly can to get better or, probably more accurately as there is no standard cure, get to a place where the bad days are very few and far between. I use my bad things, my memories, my emotions and I place them in my passion to help others. I will talk honestly about my story because I don’t want anyone out there thinking they are alone.

If I can help the bloke on his way to work, if I can help the lass sitting at home with a cold cup of coffee, tears running down her face as the bairns run riot, if I can help the teenage beauty queen or the war veteran who believes in the British stiff upper lip; if I can help any of these people, nothing I have been through or felt will be in vain.

This is my path now. This is where I am meant to be, doing what I was put here to do. My age means nothing, but my experiences could do. My honesty and integrity are the cards I will use in this game. And I will never give up talking the talk. I will never give up being the voice of those who aren’t as able to be as vocal.

And I wont give up in general. No matter how impossible this “test” might seem at times.

CC xxScreenshot_20180315-164329.jpg

 

 

Barriers

Barriers are everywhere! They are a nuisance even if they are there for a reason. They stop you leaving a car park without faffing on having to pay, they stop you sneaking into your favourite places for free (I would assume, not that I have ever done that…… ahem), they stop you from getting close to Tom Hardy at public events! But the worse barriers are those that you put up yourself, in your mind. They stop you realising your full potential, they stop you trying new things, they delay spontaneity, they make you believe you are not worthy of what is on the other side. They are basically a pain in the backside!

Now there are loads of different barriers I could talk about, but as I am all about the healthy lifestyle and exercise I bet you know where I am going with this. Yep, the fact that so many people seem to actually FEAR physical activity. Setting up Red Balloons and it being what it is, I expected it to be a slow burner. The thing is, I believe 100% in what I am offering and I WILL make a difference. Red Balloons WILL be a success. I want to make exercise fun, easily accessible, something that people WANT to do, not just need to do. The benefits far outweigh any negatives.

So, lets look at the barriers that could be affecting people. I am one of these people, I have broke through many to get where I am, but let’s be honest, there will always be another one somewhere along the line. What changes is your ability to believe in how strong you are, the belief that you can smash through this barrier, like the others. Instead of looking and focusing on the problem, you will look for a solution. It is all a form of training your brain to access that confidence and motivation. It is not a quick journey and it sure as hell isn’t easy. I am over 2 years into mine and I still have so much else I need and want to do. They say patience is a virtue, it may well be, but it is a bloody hard skill to learn. Yes, a skill because without it life gets a lot more messy in my experience.

Barriers I have discovered/learnt:

  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Cost
  • Thinking your fitness levels aren’t up to scratch
  • Social anxiety
  • Physical ailments
  • Lack of access to facilities
  • Thinking that it will be like school (I HATED PE and all I would do is walk or dance like a tool)

There are many more than this, you may have your own and I know you will be aware of them. Some people may call them excuses, to a degree I would sometimes be inclined to agree in certain circumstances but they are your personal battle. No one has the right to belittle them, make you feel bad for thinking like that. No one knows what is going on in your mind or your life. I have learnt and proved that NO ONE knows what is going on behind closed doors. This is why I want to help, support and encourage. Yes these battles may seem completely impossible to win but I am here to say “Yes you can”. We can always find a way. Screenshot_20180310-091114.jpg

You don’t have to be a member of a gym or a running club, do you know what? You don’t even have to leave the house! Although I will say, I do strongly encourage even 5 minutes outside somehow for its other benefits, Vitamin D for example. The biggest part of this whole process is finding something that you enjoy. It may be yoga, it may be an aerobic video, it could be dancing round like a loony with the kids (one of my favourite things to do ever!), it could be walking the dog, going for a run or shotting weights around. In regards to gear, you don’t need fancy gym stuff in the house, you don’t need the latest Tikiboo leggings and whatever trainers are advertised as “the best”. Saying that though, I am craving the new Nike Reacts! But what I mean is, look around you and see what you could do. Try squats when waiting for the kettle to boil, lunges (are the devil) during an advert break, step ups on your stairs while the kids are brushing their teeth. All these little things add up and cost nothing, the added bonus, no one will even see you. But you will have that little feeling of, yes, I did that. Every day your confidence will grow a little bit more and something new could be added.

Another tip, what have you always wanted to do? Get back into swimming? Run 5km? Learn to lift weights? Go to a class? Learn a full dance routine to one song? Join a gym? Write it down. Somewhere you can see it pretty much every day. I am a fan of Post It notes for these kind of things as they are shiny and colourful. Having an ultimate goal, no matter how impossible it might seem at that moment in time, can be the ultimate motivation. Try and imagine how you will feel when you smash it. That sense of absolute euphoria, confidence, pride, general amazingness. On your bad days, try and focus on these feelings. The important thing is doing what you want to do, what you will enjoy. You cant do something because someone tells you it is good, or that it helped them, or that it is the newest trend. Enjoyment is key because then it isn’t scary any more, it isn’t a chore. That will be what reaps the biggest results. Trust me, I have been there.

Ok, let’s be honest. We all have bad days. Days where we barely want to open our eyes never mind do anything. What I need to say is, this is ok too. Have a bad day, embrace the bad day, do whatever it is that you need to do to self care. Rest is essential to a healthy lifestyle. I know to those that actually know me, I am being a huge hypocrite right now as I struggle massively with this part of my life, I actually need help to relax. I need people to pretty much force me to stop and even then I cant always enjoy it. My illness forces me to believe that if I stop I wont start again, so I go too far the other way and risk burning myself out. As horrible as it can be, sometimes you have to go in your head and listen to those voices that the louder voices try to continuously swamp. Those small voices are you! The loud voices are whatever issue you may be dealing with. Those loud voices WANT you to fail. They want you to believe you cant do this, that you are not worthy of trying to do something. I am telling you, you are!

The first step isn’t doing the moving or the exercise, or even believing you can. The first step is wanting to. Do you want to be fitter? Do you want to be stronger? Do you want to want to manage your weight and learn more about a healthier lifestyle? If you do, then you have started your journey. Well Done! That is the hard part over. Now, it’s time to start planning. This is where you may need help and support. This is where I, or your family and friends, or your GP or whoever is available in your area come in. I am here to help you believe in yourself, I am here to help shout the message of how exercise is essential for mental well being as much as it is for physical benefits. I am my own walking case study. I am doing this all from my own journey. I know the hard parts, the darkest days, the days where you feel a failure. But I also know the amazing days, where you beat your internal enemies, where the endorphins make you feel superhuman, when you hit a mini target you have set.

So, get that sledgehammer and SMASH that first wall. You CAN do this, you WILL do this and I cant wait to be on this journey with you. I have my cheerleader outfit and pom Screenshot_20180310-091022.jpgpoms at the ready! Woooo, go you!!

Hugs

CC xx

It’s time to talk about……… suicide.

**** TRIGGER WARNING****

This is going to be quite a painful blog to write I think but I feel it is time to be brutally honest with myself about certain events, well one in particular. Since my counselling I have tried to learn the tricky skill of not burying stuff so deep I can ignore it yet also not dwelling on things. Although I have touched on this several times in other blogs, I think I have avoided really examining it. Something that I know I need to do in order for it to be removed from the “crap” box in my head.

I suppose I never expected a memory to bring back such intense feelings, so when a post popped up on my Facebook memories that reminded me what today is, it has caught me off guard and I am struggling to process it. Hence the blog, getting the words and feelings out of my head, onto paper, well screen, always helps.

OK, what am I on about you must be thinking? Some of you might have guessed maybe, I suppose it depends how much you have read previously or in what way you know me. But this weekend marks 1 whole year since I decided to end my life. Obviously, I was unsuccessful, thankfully! But the whole range of emotions I was feeling at that time came flooding back this morning and if I am honest I am feeling quite overwhelmed. It terrifies me that firstly I was in that frame of mind, to the point I had it all planned out but secondly, that the emotions are still so raw.

I suppose amazes me is how very good I am at hiding how I really feel. No one, not even those closest to me had ANY idea of what was going through my head. No one knew I had pretty much every detail planned, so that it would look like an accident, so my kids wouldn’t know what their Mam had done, that the life insurance would still potentially pay out, so that my husband, kids, family and friends didn’t have to know exactly how much internal pain I was in. That way they wouldn’t dwell on how they could have helped me, they wouldn’t feel guilty that they should have seen the signs or should have known that I wasn’t right. I made sure that although it was obvious I was going through a bit of a bad time at work and I wasn’t in the greatest of moods most of the time, no one knew just how much I didn’t want to exist.

In one way it was pure fluke that what should have happened didn’t, yet in another, like I said in my blog the other day, I believe there is definitely a reason I didn’t die that day. I most most certainly have someone watching over me and to me, to help me feel better, I believe that that is my Nana. She couldn’t let me make such a massive mistake as she could see that there was light coming in my journey. That although my bad days can still be particularly bad, there is always at least some good, even if you have to look extra carefully to find it. That I am  not just a fighter, I am a survivor.

Suicide is something that people are still very careful with or even ignorant towards. You hear the usual “selfish” comments and I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I get that. I have even thought similar things myself in my life time. Before I understood. Before I had felt those controlling, mind consuming thoughts where all you can think about is how and when you can do it. If you have never felt such raw pain, if you have never had such loud white noise in your head of the crazy thoughts that just don’t make sense, if you haven’t felt so crushingly desperate to just not exist you cant possibly understand. I would not wish the feelings of loneliness, extreme sadness or even the anger on anyone, not even my worst enemy. The feelings of complete self hatred are brutal, they make you bitter, they twist your perception of reality, they make you honestly believe that the world would be a much happier place without you in it. All you want is silence, you want the pain to stop, the voices to be quiet. You crave nothingness, complete and utter emptiness. No one will help you with this, you believe no one understands you, you feel complete guilt that you are having these thoughts and that how you are as a person is messing up your kids and your family and your friends. You believe you are incapable of being loved. Why would anyone love such a broken shell of a person? How could they? All you bring is misery, bitchiness and anger. You feel like you are ruining peoples lives.

Today, those feelings feel more than just a memory. I am not in that place, I do want to live, I have big plans! But the memories of how I felt, just 365 days ago feel so very real. Like me but not me. I can still remember the determination I had, I can still remember the frustration when what I had planned didn’t happen. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t even get this right!  I can still remember going out the next day and getting so mind numbingly drunk I did not give a flying fig what could happen to me. If I numbed it all with booze I knew my mind wouldn’t be in any state to be think. Although I was with very good friends, I put myself into an incredibly dangerous position and I did not care, not one bit.

What I did do though, is be honest. I told my best friend what I had tried to do. Seeing the tears in her eyes really got me, the pleading that I get help and making me promise to NEVER do anything like that again. I pride myself on making promises I know I will keep, although in that moment I think I had kind of a fingers crossed moment going on. I didn’t mean what I said. It was so horrible to see that look in her eyes though and I am glad I told her as if I look back now, it was a turning point. As much pain as I was in, as much as I was hurting so much, I could not hurt those that love me. I may not always feel that I am capable of being loved but I do know I am. These people love me, unconditionally, even when I truly hate myself. I will do anything for those that I love, I couldn’t hurt them in that way.

I cant say the feelings, the thoughts or the desire to die went quickly. It didn’t. If I am honest it took months. But I don’t have them now. I do very occasionally have thoughts of wanting to disappear, but not to die. For me, that is a big improvement and it shows me that no matter how bad I feel on my bad days, I am not in that place anymore. No matter how exhausted I feel just existing, I know that exhaustion is a feeling of being alive. Truly, I am thankful to be alive.

If you are having these thoughts yourself, I ask you, no, I BEG you, to talk to someone. Everyone’s life is worth it. No matter how much you feel it isn’t. If someone talks to you about wanting to end their life, please resist expressing any feelings of disgust or contempt. Please just listen. Sometimes that is all anyone needs. An ear. I know it can feel impossible to understand, especially if the person has kids but I need you to realise, these feelings and thoughts are not a choice. It is a symptom of an illness. They will feel like it is their only way out. They need support and love not judgement. You might not agree, it might be frustrating when you believe they have a good life. They may have a good job, nice house, gorgeous children, lots of friends etc. That does not mean they are immune to ill mental health.

If people could just learn to listen I think a lot more people could be saved. This is my opinion. There may not be a cure for ill mental health as a whole, but I do believe there are ways that could enable a prevention.

Thank you for reading this. I know it wont necessarily have been a nice or easy read and if I have triggered anyone, I do apologise but this is a subject that NEEDS to be talked about. The statistics are becoming terrifying!

Much love

CC xx

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact:

Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

 

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm
Text 07786 209697
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

 

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill

 

The Silver Line – for older people
Call 0800 4 70 80 90