Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Reflecting on 2013

What a year 2013 has been? I know I say it every year but how quickly did it whizz by? I have to say, unlike other years, I am quite happy to leave 2013 behind. It really has been an emotional year!!! So I am going to reflect on it to take in the highs and lows. 

1) What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

For me it was seeing my sister get married. I loved being her bridesmaid and I really loved that we got a holiday out of it too. Nicola and Robbie have been together 13 years so their wedding had been a long time in the waiting. But worth every minute.

2) What was the single most challenging thing that has happened?

Definitely going through my breakdown and being diagnosed with depression/anxiety in July. It's a time in my life I'd rather forget but I have learnt so much from it as well. The journey continues into next year and I hope I get better and better.

3) What was an unexpected joy this year?

Getting my promotion at work this month. I am now a fully fledge senior nurse on my team! With everything that has been going on the last 5 months, progress at work took a backseat. So to be offered a promotion and pay rise was totally unexpected!

4) Pick 3 words to describe 2013.

Challenging, tough and blessed.

5) What were the most entertaining things you have seen/done this year?

Where do I start? Visiting Florida and Cyprus! Trying my hand at rock climbing and jet skiing. Booking America 2014! Singing to Cohen turning 1. Seeing Matilda with Laurie and Ruth, Ghost with Emma and Becca and Jersey Nights in theatre. Standing next to space shuttles and rockets at Kennedy Space Centre. Meeting Dolphins! Holding a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan, visiting a chocolate factory, watching the horse racing at Ascot and going in a photo booth!

6) With whom were your most valuable relationships?

I'd have to say my online friendships. You know who you all are! After my breakdown people really rallied round in calling me, texting me, sending me cards, emails and messages. It was and still is invaluable! I cannot thank you all enough - from the bottom of my heart thank you.

7) What was the single biggest waste of your time this year?
My anxiety! The low mood I could understand but dealing with anxiety over such trivial things was such a waste of my time. I would get myself anxious over the smallest things and then when I started feeling better they seemed so minor to bigger things!!! 

8) What are you most proud of doing this past year?
I'm really proud for raising money for Macmillan cancer nursing this year. Here in the UK they hold a nationwide charity morning. We bring in cakes and prizes for competitions! It was so much fun to organise and set up. My work place raised £250 and I will definitely be doing it next year!!!

9) What was the most enjoyable aspect of this year for you?
I would have to say Florida! To travel over the state was so fun! Simon and I made some great memories that I will treasure for a lifetime. We visited Disneyworld, Miami and Florida Keys in two weeks. It was tiring but so worth it!!! 

10) How did you spend Christmas 2013?

For the first time in 8 years I had Christmas off. I worked a late shift Christmas Eve whether we exchanged our secret santas! Then on Christmas day my Gran, Nicola, Robbie and Cohen came over for lunch. We opened presents and played board games until the evening. It was quiet but really relaxed! 
11) What did you do in 2013 that you hadn't done before?
I turned 24 years old =]. And I tried Butterbeer!

                                                              Do you think I liked it?

12) Finally your plans for 2014, what are you most looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to changing shift next year. 2013 was a fun but mainly unexpected year all rolled into one. 2013 seems to be the year of concerts! I'm seeing Taylor Swift twice, Katy Perry, McBusted and Boyce Avenue (so far!) I'm excited for my trip around East USA and Canada in May as well! Also, Cohen turns two in April (i'd like Nicola to be pregnant #2 too!) I am aiming to hopefully be in a position to buy a house with my best friend mid summer! I will also be starting my counselling course in January which will be a massive blessing to my sanity.

However you're spending your last day/night in 2013. I really hope you all look back on 2013 with fondness with lots to look forward to next year. 

See you in 2014 everyone! Happy new year! 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Your Airmail Christmas Cards!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Thank you for taking part in Airmail Christmas this year in memory of Mama MB. Doria (Mama MB's daughter) posted a message of thanks over here, which you can check out. Below is the link to add your link to a picture of your card. Whether you do a blog post, link to instagram or Facebook etc please add the link below. This way we can all see whose post boxes our cards landed in!

My card came from America and I thought it really depicted the essence of Christmas. Thank you Cathy, I love it!!!

See you next year everyone!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Some words save you

The other day I talked about some of things not to say to someone, like me, who is feeling depressed. Like I said it is never because you're trying to intentionally upset them. In fact, you're doing quite the opposite when the wrong thing comes out. When you find out that someone close to you has low mood and anxiety it is easy to think of ways to make them happy again. You want to "fix" them and that's understandable! Below is a list of some of the most helpful words people said to me - and I cannot thank enough.

1) "What you're going through is horrid"

This may sound silly and some other people may not agree with me. But I found this helpful simply because it speaks the truth. One of my best friends said this and it was good to just have someone say to me exactly what I was feeling. What I went through was crap! Utter hell and it was good to have people say this instead of other mumbo jumbo.

2) "When all this is over, I'll still be here and so will you"

My Mum said this to me and I love her so much for it. When she said it I kept asking her "but when will it be over?" and even though she couldn't put a time frame on it - who can? It was good to know that she believed I would ride the storm and come through the other end. Belief is such an important thing!

3) "You're not alone in this"

Depression alienates you. It makes you think that the world doesn't care and goes on without you. It completely isolates you from normal living. So it is SO SO SO vital you say these words over and over. I remember in the beginning when I told some people about what I was going through. They all said they were 'here for me' but saying those words and acting them out is entirely different. One of my friends said she was 'here for me' but I never heard from her until weeks later to check in on me. But my best friend was over that evening with chocolate watching me cry into my tissues. See the difference?

4) "You don't need to say anything"

When I was at my sisters hen do I was having a low day. Nicola's best friend has been through something very similar and I felt like I could open up to her. She was a massive blessing that day! She said those words to me and I felt like a weight had lifted. When someone has depression they often feel like they have to justify their low moods and sadness. 'I am sad because….' was an everyday sentence for me. The thing is Carly was right - I don't need to say anything!!! Sometimes just having a dam good cry was all I needed or a good nights sleep. In a lot of cases actions speak much louder than words.

5) "I'm not going anywhere"

I think this speaks for itself.

6) "I don't understand what your are going through but I want to"

It is so easy to shut people out. I know I did on several occasions and the reason being is because people didn't understand. The thing is we want people to be mind readers to what we are going through but we're human at the end of the day. By telling someone you want to 'get it' and showing your compassion to their ordeal means they will open up. As soon as people told me they wanted to understand what I was feeling, I opened up to them a lot more easily.

I am still riding the storm but due to other people's words/advice and compassion I am still smiling.

I can only hope that this helps someone out there struggling.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Your favourite Christmas song?

One of the things I love about Christmas are the songs. I try not to listen to them too early in December otherwise I am sick of them by the time Christmas comes around. However, whenever I am driving in the car I am belting them out or humming to myself at the gym. There is one Christmas song that I love though…

It's so catchy and always makes me smile. Although the video is a little weird at times.

Whats yours?

Friday, 6 December 2013

Some things are better left unsaid

I realise that a lot of my blog has been taken up with my mental health problems. I am not sorry for it but I promise that this blog will brighten up some day. During my battle with low mood and anxiety I have had some wonderful people show their support. Their kind words, hugs and advice has really made me feel encouraged.

I understand that many people don't know what to say, so they say what they think is right and instead it ends up being the least helpful thing. I don't mean for this to sound off/ungrateful putting because at the end of the day, if you have a friend or loved one dealing with mental health issues, then just being there for them is enough. However, below is a list of some things said to me that have been of no help and in all honesty made me feel worse.

1) 'You're strong, Becca. You'll get through this'

It may be mean of me to say this but I do just roll my eyes at this sentence. It's such a nice thing for people to say but I don't think people realise that the reason I suffer from depression is because I am strong. I was strong for too long before the breakdown. So for someone to say this is just a reminder of why this all happened in the first place. They say depression and anxiety affects strong people and I totally see why!

2) 'Tomorrow will be a brighter/better day'

Will it? Many people suffering through a breakdown struggle to get through the present day anyway let alone having to focus on making it through to the next. I remember when people would say this to me and I would just think 'but I need to get through today first, just help me through today!'

3) ' There's a light at the end of the tunnel'

This kind of reiterates what I said in the last one. I was speaking to a girl at my therapy sessions who echoed my thoughts on people saying this. Tunnels don't give off the best picture anyway - it reminds you of darkness and not knowing where you are. I much prefer people saying things like 'the top of the staircase is there.' This is because it allows you to focus on steps to get there.

4) 'Think about all the things you have to be happy about'

I have said it before but depression lies to you. People suffering with depression are even more aware of what is good in their lives just their mind tells them it isn't worthy. With me I do realise the good fortunes in life, more than many people do, but they cannot outweigh my deeper issues.

5) 'There are people that have it so much worse than you'

I'd like to think you wouldn't say this at all unless someone is being selfish or unkind. I have had this said to me a few times and it makes my blood boil! It just makes me feel guilty for the way I am feeling and even more depressed! There are some days where I struggle to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. So for someone to say this opens up a new can of worms in trying to understand others perspectives too. I understand that the whole world has problems and some people absolutely do have it worse off!!! But it doesn't make what I am going through any less real or less hurtful.

6) 'You need to think positive and positive things will happen.'

Eh? I totally understand that positivity is a good thing in healing the brain. It allows us to retrain our minds to think more clearly. However, when people have said this to me it has just activated the anxiety button in my body.

I know this post comes across as ungrateful and that's why I will soon do a post on what I did find helpful for me. I just think it's important to remember that you don't have to say things because it sounds right. Say it because you mean it! The message will come across a lot more believable and will be invaluable to your loved one.

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