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It’s no secret that I’m a talker. I have been known like the sound of my own voice. I like attention, and to be honest would talk to a brick wall if it acknowledged me but I like to think that I know when to say certain things and when not too. I can be a little non PC at times, but only ever in a whimsical way, and only in the right crowd. However, I think there is a really solid thick line with regards to sharing your thoughts on 1. Religion, 2. Politics, and 3. new to the list, Mental Health. What’s that thing about arseholes and having them, but not needing to share them? Well, that.

You can never be too sure what’s going on in someones life. Normally there’s only a few people in that inner circle that know all the ins and out, ups and downs etc. One thing that is really hammered in is that you can never assume. I’ve learnt that lesson the hard way at work and at home, and I feel like it’s a lesson that surely everyone knows by at least the age of 30?

A few weeks ago I was part of a conversation where someone decided to share his views on the world. He shared that he thought that we’ve become a nation of pill-poppers. He suggested that the NHS should just prescribe a meditation app instead of anti-depressants and that people should just learn to cope. I sat there biting my tongue. In a world where mental health is spoken about so openly, I was in shock to see someone having such a narrow-minded view on the situation.

I guess I’m flattered that he thought I was “normal” and clearly didn’t look like someone with anxiety and depression – (whatever that looks like!) otherwise he wouldn’t be so brazen – surely?!

Interestingly this is wikipedia’s depiction of chronic anxiety. Poor woman.

I sat in amazement for a few minutes while the hole continued to be dug, and then had to fight my corner. SOMETIMES MEDITATION DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK!!! I mean, *cough*, *cough*, sometimes you can try the talking therapies, and the exercise, and the healthy diet, and the getting enough sleep, and the long hot bath, but you’re still crying because the sky box isn’t working. Sometimes the chemicals in your brain get confused, and you need some help to get the ducks back in line.

Since taking anti-depressants I’ve actually been quite reassured by how many other people take them as well, friends, and people around me, and maybe we should talk about it more openly to remove the stigma that they’re “crazy pills”.

Obviously they are just the scaffolding, they’re not a long term solution. But they’re a great comforter so that you can focus on the bigger things, and not waste time crying over the sky box.

So here’s my message to the world.

PLEASE don’t presume.

PLEASE don’t be so incredibly naive in the world we are currently living in.

PLEASE keep your opinions to yourself, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes.

And here’s me, surprisingly not looking like the photo above, just looking normal. Well, as normal as I ever will 🙂 xoxo

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January was a long year.

Everyone always bangs on about January and how long is it, and yes, we all know January is a long month, blah blah blah. But this year January has hit me harder than ever before!

We celebrated Danny’s birthday on the 17th and it feels so long ago already. We had the best day. There’s actually nothing I love more than day drinking and eating with my best pal.

But payday was just so far away for so long and all plans for 2019 were being made all around me and bit by bit my wage was disappearing before it even hit my account.

Weddings are like buses aren’t they. A few years ago, 2015, I had 3 weddings to attend, and 2016, I had 2. The last few years, nothing. This year, boom, 3 weddings. Along with this, I also have 3 hen dos to attend. With the 3rd hen actually being for a wedding next year.

Whilst I’m obviously super excited about these events I can’t help but feel a bit sad that it means I probably won’t get a holiday with my boyfriend this year. Reasons are 2-fold: We’ve both got various weekends away for pre-wedding/wedding activities spread right across the summer. And therefore we’ve both got no money. I’m holding onto the thought of a cheeky last minute all-inclusive getaway somewhere but I’m not convinced.

I’m still fighting my depression. Some days I feel so full of life, and others I just want to curl up in a ball. I sleep deeply but I dream excessively so I wake up feeling exhausted. It’s becoming relentless!

One of the things I learnt in therapy is that anxiety is basically just a sense of not feeling yourself. Something I’m guilty of doing is putting myself out for others. Going way over where I need to go to ensure that the other person is happy and content. I always thought it was a good thing, and a great quality to have, however in exchange this can often mean that I am left uncomfortable or stressed as I’m trying too hard. Sounds ridiculous until you break it down. The summary is essentially to be more selfish.

So on that basis I’m dedicating February to self care. I’m going to make sure I eat well. I’m gonna try my best to get to the gym. I’m booked in to have my hair cut and coloured. And to have my nails done. I’ve got a new bra on it’s way, and I’ve just ordered some new make-up. I want to feel good for myself.

I’ve also been really enjoying reading to care for my mind, and I’m currently reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s a little bit dark, but I’m finding it interesting. (Any other book recommendations welcome!) I loved Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love. It made me feel normal. A reminder that nobody is perfect, we just don’t tell each other that.

The last thing i’m focusing on at the moment is de-cluttering. Following the Marie Kondo trend. Everyday I seem to find a few more things that I don’t need or that no longer “spark joy” and so I’m getting rid. At the moment “getting rid” just means putting them in the boot of my car…! So I actually need to make the effort to go to the charity shop to complete the transaction. I will have done this by the end of February.

The first weekend of March is hen do number 1, and to be honest I cannot wait. I’m excited to spend the weekend with my best friend and celebrating that she has found her forever.

Until then… xoxo

It’s good to talk.

2018 was a rollercoaster.

For some reason I decided to spend 2018 punishing myself for not being where I had pre-determined a 31 year old should be. I don’t have any children, nor do I have a ring on my finger. I don’t earn much money, and I’m still in an entry level job. I let my anxiety get the better of me on more than one occasion, which resulted in arguments and upsets. I like to be in control, but I felt like I had no control over where I was going or who I should be. I spent way too much time comparing my life to others via social media.

On paper I had a nice year. I made it to Budapest, Madrid, and Andalucia. I wrote about Budapest here. Then in the summer we went to Mad Cool Festival in Madrid. I’ve never been abroad to a music festival before, it was a far cry from a rainy Leeds Festival circa 2006. Saw loads of amazing bands – in no particular order, QOTSA, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode, Tame Impala, NIN, Underworld, Justice, James Bay, to name a few! A vast amount of gin and Fanta lemon was consumed, all in 30 degree heat!

I started a new job in February. Marketing. An area I’d been looking to get into for a while, and working at Bupa I was able to move sideways, but only on a seconded basis, which meant no pay-rise. But it did enable me to escape the bear trap of my previous manager. It wasn’t until I moved that I realised just how difficult she was making my life. My IBS settled down, and my work life became a much simpler place. However there was a continual underlying anxiety about the secondment coming to an end and the fear of not being able to secure a permanent role in the department, and having to go backwards, and back into the bear trap.

I rejoined the gym in May – a birthday present to myself. I turned 31 and the wobbly bits just don’t go away on their own anymore. I needed to exercise more seriously.

The summer was all a bit of a blur, anxiety took over and I found it all really really stressful. Looking back I tried to cram too much in and put too much pressure on myself. We drove to London for British Summertime in Hyde Park for Interpol and The Cure. And then drove all the way up to Cumbria to surprise my Dad for his 60th birthday, and then down to Clacton-on-Sea for a long weekend. I was exhausted. I sat in my parents garden on my own with a glass of wine wondering why I was so stressed – not able to put my finger on what was causing it – I should’ve been having a nice time?! I cried over stupid things, like a belated birthday present failing to arrive, and receiving a hug.

Come late August and my gorgeous boyfriend got a promotion at work. Something he’d been working towards for the last year and a half and absolutely thoroughly deserved. All I did with the great news was punish myself some more. A Harriet-pity-parade coming right towards me, and plowing right through our relationship. Why was I not earning as much as he was? I’m 5 years older than he is, so I should be doing better than this? How is he doing this? Why is he doing this to me? Why could I not be happy for him?

The following week we went to the villa, somewhere we have been together twice before, so a nice, no-pressure break. I wasn’t in the mood for a holiday, but I assured myself a week in the sun would fix everything. It didn’t. I was an anxious wreck. It made me never want to get on a plane again, or go somewhere remote again. We got home, had no hot water, the sky box wasn’t working, and my car had a flat tyre. I cried, a lot. I took myself to the doctors and the doctor diagnosed me with depression. 2 days later my boyfriend moved out, and my heart fell out of my arse.

Depression was a diagnosis I never ever thought I would ever get. I’ve had a lot of friends deal with depression, but I’ve always ignorantly thought that I wouldn’t be affected. That whole “oh it won’t happen to me” card. At this stage given that I was already gymming it, already seeing a therapist, already walking lots, the only option was medication. I’ve always seen anti-depressants as a slippery slope, so I was nervous to take medication, but at this point it was my last resort. The chemical imbalance in my body needed correcting. By talking to quite a few friends, I begin to learn that anti-depressants seem to be almost the norm. A couple of my close friends take them, their boyfriends take them, a friend’s girlfriend takes them, a friend’s Dad takes them. Is this the world we’re living in now, that we need medication to just survive?

In hindsight my boyfriend moving out was probably a good thing. I was able to find myself again. Discover who I was and what I enjoyed doing. We worked on our relationship, I started seeing my friends again, I had my own plans, the pills were dramatically helping my mood and life started to become a better place again. I needed to teach myself the importance of doing things for me. Doing things I wanted to do, instead of permanently compromising to make others happy. Being selfish.

Fast forward to the new year, and I’ve been made permanent in my marketing job. There’s no longer that fear of heading backwards. I should’ve had more confidence in myself. My boyfriend and I are in the best place we’ve ever been. We laugh, we joke, we smile. Our home is my happy place, and my therapist signed me off.

This year we don’t have any plans. We now both have jobs that allow us to be able to take last minute holiday instead of having to request it 6 months in advance, so we’re going to live more day-to-day. It’s unusual for me to not have any holidays booked or in the pipeline but I’m looking forward to 2019. My best friend is getting married in June, followed by another close friend in August. I’m looking forward to crying happy tears.

And I’m looking forward to multiple impromptu pints with these two. The man on the left has listened to me moan all year, listened to my problems, offered advice, and amazingly still wants to hang out with me! The man in the middle is my world.

Onwards and upwards. Happy New Year. xoxo

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