We all must change sometimes

Change – The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as…….

Nah, enough of that crap. But it is a subject that has been playing on my mind over the last few days and something that has been bugging me if I am honest. Some of us love change, love that every week or even every day is different, a new adventure. The rest despise it. They like to live where they know the “plan”, whether it be Taco Tuesday, Dress down Friday or just what their TV schedule is going to be.

Me? Well I like to think in a lot of ways I am in that annoying grey area you get when the circles over lap. In some ways I crave control and order. I work well under pressure, I like to know what is needed and when and get antsy if there isnt a routine of sorts. School holidays throw me out of whack! If you ask me, kids should have the same annual leave as adults. Get them ready for the working world 😉 …………………………… for anyone who is easily offended, that was a joke. Kind of!

However, I do embrace change. I am fully aware that change has to occur for things to develop. You have to make decisions without knowing what the final outcome is actually going to be. I find that exciting! Scary as well, but mainly exciting. Look at me now compared to this time last year. Granted, my personal circumstances dont look great on paper but ultimately they were my choices. They will help me become a better person. In fact they were two of the most “selfish” things I have ever done BUT I HAD TO. For me.

Look beyond that and what you see, I hope, is a lass that this time last year was terrified of even staying alive. Now, she has made monumental decisons over the last few months that will shape the future. Volunteering, starting college, about to go to uni, starting her own peer support group, being vocal about her mental health issues, helping others, about to run a marathon, etc.

I have so much to look forward to, I have achieved so much, yet the last few weeks the thing that seems to have changed the most is…..ME! My emotions are all over the place, I am losing grasp of my motivation and drive, issues I thought had been put to bed are starting to raise their ugly heads again and I feel, quite frankly, shit! Yesterday was an eye opener to me. I am used to the feelings of blah and sadness. Depression is being a massive dick at the minute and not seeming to give me more than one good day in a row, two if he is feeling particularly generous. Yesterday though, I had a whole new emotion I normally keep a tight lid on. Anger.

I am scared of my angry side. I struggle to control it properly and when it goes off, people get hurt. Often, innocent people. People who have done nothing but be there for me and want the best for me. Yet, in that angry phase comes pure hatred. Very occasionally it can be aimed at someone who has hurt me but mainly, it is aimed at me. Yesterday, I hated me. I hated my stupid head that couldnt focus, I hated my injuries that are stopping me from doing what I need to do to get my motivation back, I hated the insecurities that were playing around in my brain, I hated the voices in my head telling me everything was my fault – I was weak, worthless, an idiot, ugly, nasty, selfish. Oh the whole lot came out. So along with anger, was genuine sadness. A feeling of defeat. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, just vicious name calling and deafening darkness. I still believe I am not as low as I was – I can honestly say I want to live, but I sure as hell didnt want to be here. I didnt want to be me. I wanted to scream, shout, throw stuff and push everyone away as they didnt deserve this absolute mess of a person dragging them down to her depths of despair. Why would anyone want to put up with this person?

My ability to catastrophise things was in full swing. I hurt my calf on my long marathon training run the other day. Nothing serious, but certainly enough to halt my running for a few days. Oh well, that meant in my head, no way can you run a marathon. In fact, why bother running at all? These few days will see you getting fat again. You might as well, your skin is shocking, you look like a scruff and so on and so on. How can your own mind be so horrible? How can your own eyes look in a mirror and make your mind see an image that makes you feel so horrendous!? The only thing I could see was my faults. It took away all feelings of achievement, success, satisfaction at how much I have changed over the years. I felt like my head was going to explode! I couldnt be this person. I AM NOT THIS PERSON!

You see, for those who dont understand, a mental illness has the power to fully control you. It takes over your mind, body and even at times, your soul. You know what is happening, a bit like a puppet on a string in those old fairground shows, but can you hell change anything! It is one of the biggest fights you will ever have, trying to break free of those strings. Of getting back control. I believe that every scar is a blessing, a sign that you survived and stepped forward stronger but I tell you what, it is exhausting!

So, there I was, in my little funk, Depression pulling my strings. I could have just succumbed to it. I suppose many people wouldnt blame me if I had. It’s been one shitter of a bloody year so far. Maybe I do deserve to sit and lick my wounds. You know what though, that is not who I am. Even with this hideous illness that seems to be really attached to me, I am not a sad, angry, negative person. I am CC. I see silver linings, I hunt for the positives in every negative, so much so I probably make people vomit in their gobs sometimes. I use every bad thing as a springboard on to the next amazing thing. I am a good friend, a good listener. I believe everything happens for a reason and I am starting to believe in myself! I was not going back in my hole for anything!

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So on to the last part, you can breathe a big sigh of relief, go on, I know you want to. Lent. Ok, I am the least religious person ever. Unless you want a massive explanation, to probably somehow be offended and a debate, I wouldnt ask me why. However I do see a purpose in Lent. It is the time where you give up something that is important to you, something that would be a huge struggle to survive without. The common ones – smoking booze (why, I have no idea), chocolate and other sweet stuff, bread etc.

I racked my brains yesterday as to what I could do, even posted a FB status, as you do these days. Yet nothing was clicking, nothing was what I wanted to do. I had sat stewing over all the above and more and I happened to glance at myself. That’s it – I would give up – ME! Not in all my entirity, obviously I am aware from what people tell me there are some pretty decent things about me. I wanted to draw a line though. To mark this as an official end to all the personal negativity, to stop letting the broken part of my mind win. Last time it did, it did nearly won physcially. Not on my watch Depression. So as I am all for symbolism, I gave up – my blonde hair! I have been blonde for over two years now. My hair is important to me, it is an extension of my personality. You could look back and probably see a pattern emerge. That miserable, angry, negative, blonde CC could do one! In her place, a new, determined, aware, brunette CC came forward. It was a shock to me, I went quite literally from one extreme to another but I think I needed to. I need to go forward  now onto my new adventure. I need this time to explore me, my needs, my wants. I need space, I need freedom and I need to come back fighting. The cracks in my brain may never be fully fixed, but if I can only keep them from opening more, that is a win in my eyes.

I wont be miraculously better any day soon but I sure as hell wont be the lass I was yesterday. I dont know who she was, where she came from or what but I tell you one thing, I kicked her arse!

To anyone struggling, you CAN and you WILL get through whatever it is. Please remember though, you dont have to do it alone.

Rant over

CC xx

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What doesn’t kill you….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CC xx

Reflection!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love and best wishes for 2018

CC xxSnapchat-1598745327.jpg

12 days of #ChristmasinMind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CC xx

 

Battling demon’s you cant always see

Gutted! My run streak, although no where near as good as it was at the beginning of the year, was going well and for about 95% of the time I was genuinely enjoying every run! I am doing only about 2% treadmill runs  now, where it was the opposite way round in January. Then, SHOCK, I fell ill. Monday and Tuesday this week I have been so poorly even my eye balls hurt. The worst part wasn’t that I was in so much pain everywhere, it was that it stopped me in my tracks, literally. I was getting out of breScreenshot_20171205-140959.jpgath walking up the stairs! Now, I have had my little pity party, moaned like only I can, played myself mournful tunes on the worlds smallest violin even! The thing is, what do you do when you can’t do the only thing that you know will guarantee to make you feel better?! It was a tough one. Monday I pretty much just spent in bed as I couldn’t actually do anything else. Extra shame being added that even then I didn’t sleep as I couldn’t breath. But yesterday, I could move around so I was determined to get better! The thing is, once I stopped focusing on woe is me and being all pathetic, I got thinking. Oh dear!

The thing with me is I live life in the fast lane as much as I possibly can. Stopping is not an option for me; I don’t have hundreds of years on this planet so I need to move quick sharp to ensure the amazing things I want to achieve occur in my lifetime and while I still have at least a couple of my marbles left to enjoy the success. When I get forced to stop, like when I get ill, it gets my head all busy, in the wrong way. Sitting with my lemsip yesterday I got thinking about fear. What I am scared of and why. I try to stick a brave face on as much as possible, some of my fears are ridiculous but some are deeply ingrained in me and if I fall too far and feel too weak, these fears could hold me back from fighting and going forward.

Now I have the standard little fears that most people have; moths and butterflies for instance. Only in real life, I don’t like the way they fly at you and yes, even butterflies. They are basically just moths in HD! Ironically I do love the metaphors that come from them, a grub into a gorgeous creature etc and I do love pictures of them, as long as they are not gigantic. I even have a tattoo of one down my upper back. Weird – well that is me! It is the wings flapping and their deely bopper things. Give me goosebumps!

My most ridiculous fear? Gimps. They scare the bejesus out of me. All that leather, not being able to see their faces. Terrifying. If I ran into one I think I would melt into a puddle. To be fair to me though, it is the mask thing. I can’t stand not being able to see someone’s face. It is freaky! Halloween can be an interesting time for me. I beg you all, stick to the face paint!

As I have got older, heights slightly worry me, flying causes me anxiety and I doubt very much that I would get on the rides I used to love any more. You see, I worry more that something will happen and my kids will lose me. Sounds extreme. Again, that’s me. All or nothing!

But here are my personal fears, the thinking fears. The daft fears that I have no control over. I am scared that if I stop, I wont start again. That all the things I have started to build will come crumbling down around me. I am no quitter but I am absolutely terrified that if given a chance my brain will just go, erm, nahhhhhh. That I will give up. That the place of numbness and just existing will appeal again and I will just want a quiet life. Don’t get me wrong, my new found feelings scare me themselves! Some of them are very strong. The feelings of love I have mean I have the ability to feel loss and pain. Big style. But I now know that the feeling of love and happiness is worth that risk, that fear, of pain.

I am scared that I am completely kidding myself. I have such high hopes and grand plans for the future. Yet I feel a bit of a fraud. I know I put so much pressure on myself to do well that if I fail in anything the affect it has on me mentally can be quite brutal. I know this is what spurs me on but at the same time I don’t want it to be what destroys me if I don’t do as well as I think I should. It links to rejection I suppose. I know I have put weight on over the last few weeks so all I see in the mirror is the lass from this time last year. I know my fitness levels have peaked despite this but even the idea of not exercising scares me. The fact that I will lose what I have worked so hard to gain. I will lose my speed that has been amazing to be fair since my half marathon. I will lose my strength and muscle definition as I haven’t got a weights routine in place at the moment. I am utterly scared that I will lose my passion for it! If that was to happen I feel like everything would become meaningless. The foundations of my future and my principles are based on exercise and it’s benefits. I think it is because I don’t fit the stereotype of a person of fitness and I feel that even at 33 I don’t have age on my side.

So this is the thought spiral that occurs when CC cant run. Pretty shocking isn’t it?

Well today, today has kicked me up the bum and I can celebrate what I can and have achieved. I truly believe that facing your fears and going out your comfort zone is a compulsory part of self development and appreciation. If you don’t know what scares you, you cant really know what pushes you. I constantly keep surprising myself at the minute and I love that feeling. Feeling poorly for 2 days I expected the gym to be a bit of a disappointment and I was just going to get back in to the swing of things BUT

I RAN A SUB 25 MINUTE 5KM!!!! What the actual??

Go on CC!!

On top of that, yesterday I received an invite to my very first awards ceremony for my local MIND. Makes me so proud to be a volunteer and I am so excited to meet people and see what other amazing things happen across the charity and our local community. Our Christmas In Mind campaign kicks off on 12 December too. I have a little quote featured in the press release and I have written a Christmas Blog that will hopefully be featured on one of those days.

As well as this I have finished the assignments I had due and I am as prepared as I can be for a presentation I have to give tonight on social divisions – inequalities in gender, race and ethics within employment in modern society. Not even 50% I have a clue what I am babbling on about, but I keep thinking, it’s just one more assignment closer to Uni. So for 3 whole hours this afternoon I had the absolute luxury of doing……….. NOTHING! And for the very first time in forever, I could appreciate it, because I knew I deserved it. I wasn’t procrastinating, I wasn’t poorly, I wasn’t stressing or overthinking or beating myself up. I was just… ME.

So all in all, it’s been a sunshine and showers couple of days but I love the changing seasons in myself as it all just adds to the colourfulness that I like to think I have. Yes I have many fears, but I am not scared to admit them. That means they cant hold any power over me and Depression cant use them as weapons. I have never been more determined than I am right now, in this minute and the fact I have had a smile on my face all day – result! I do look so much better with a smile.

I believe I can so I shall!

Much Love

CC xx

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Self Care – but what does that mean?

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

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

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

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

Here are my ways to self care:

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

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

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

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

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

Much Love

CC xxx

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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