Thursday, 27 February 2014

If you do one thing this please!

My local police department have made this video and it got me scared. I have never looked at my privacy settings on my social networking sites and it was the first thing I did after watching this video.

If you do one thing today, then please watch this and take action.

It's quite alarming to think about right? Unseen criminals are about. Well done Surrey Police!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Auntyhood: Round 2

That's right!

I am going to be an aunty again. Nicola and Robbie are due in August and we are so pleased for them. It wasn't a surprise really because they always said they were going to try after the wedding. But it's great to know we will be welcoming another addition to the family.

We won't lie, we'd love for them to have a little girl. But after Nicola's rough start to her first pregnancy I'm just pleased that all tests have come back clear and the baby is healthy! They are keeping the sex a surprise which I LOVE!!! It makes you anticipate the birth so much more!!!

My only worry is that Nicola is due one week before I go on holiday and Cohen was a week late. So please baby, don't be late!

Otherwise we are all thrilled. Oh and also whilst I have mentioned Cohen he is growing into the cutest little man. He is starting to talk more and has the best facial expressions! He never fails to make my day.

I forgot to mention...he loves cake too!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Back on the bandwagon Hodgepodge!

I have yet to do Wednesday Hodgepodge this year! Due to being so busy and having my mind preoccupied I have not had a chance. Even though I may not do this every week I am pleased to be joining in today. So what questions are in store for me this week?

1) What's the biggest change since your childhood in the way people think/act?

I can think of several things but the one that really pops up in my mind is less people vote. I think it is sad but I remember in my younger days my school closing on election day to open up polls. I remember it being the talk of TV and seeing it slashed across newspapers. It may just be because I have become older and more accustomed to seeing it that I notice less. But voting doesn't seem as important as it did when back when I was younger.

2) The Olympic biathlon involves cross country skiing broken up with either two or four rounds of target shooting. Which part of that would stress you out more? Or would you love them both equally?

I think they both sound as bad as each other. I think I'd rather be a spectator.

3) February is national canned food month…what is your most often purchased canned food item? What was in the last can you opened?

In my family baked beans are something that we purchase on a regular basis. The last canned open good I opened was tuna (for my mum!)

4) What river (anywhere in the world) would you most like to cruise on?

River Nile - Egypt.

5) It's the middle of the night and you can't sleep…what do you do?

I tend to toss and turn. If I have someone in the bed with me I usually wake them up (yeah I know, I'm mean!) I try not to get up as I think that wakes me up more.

6) How important is keeping your cool?

I'd say in professional situations it is important. There's nothing worse than losing your rag at work! However, in family/friendship situations keeping your cool doesn't necessarily work. I think mainly because it can build up tension and cause more upset.

7) I've got white stuff on the brain so why not run with it? White lie, wave the white flag, white knuckle it, white wash a situation, or as white as a sheet…which phrase could you most recently apply to your own life in some way?

Haha! This is fun. I would say 'as white as a sheet' because last week I was driving back from a concert. The wind and rain was so so SO bad on the motorway. To the point my car kept veering to one side. Then all of a sudden my car aquaplaned into another lane and a car had to swerve to avoid me. It was so scary and the colour from my face just drained!

8) Insert your own random thought here.

Guess whose going to be an auntie again?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

All Too Well

Five weeks ago I started counselling. After the first session I came home and I cried my eyes out. In fact I cried the second I walked out of the counselling centre, to my car, during the drive home and through my front door.

It was so much tougher than I thought possible. I had so much I wanted to say. I was feeling so many things that I didn't want to feel. And I couldn't make any sense of any of it. I just felt messy! After my first session I had people question whether it was the right thing because of how down I was afterwards. If I was honest I dreaded the second session because I did not want to feel like a crazy mess again. I knew counselling wouldn't be easy. I knew I would have to talk about difficult things, ruminate on old feelings and come face to face with some harsh truths.

That doesn't mean because I expected it, made it any easier.

However, each week has become more - tolerable. I won't say I look forward to counselling but I am a lot more aware of it's importance for me to have it. From my first session 5 weeks ago to my session now I can certainly feel a difference. I feel like I have a lot more awareness of my thought processes. I am able to decipher things more clearly and I tend to filter negative thoughts better too. I also find that I am able to talk more openly about my issues than I did before. I don't feel as ashamed or as scared of what others may think right now.

Tonight I came away from my session with a smile on my face. I really felt like I didn't hit a brick wall this week and a lot of things made so much more sense to me. Hopefully in time I can share this with you all. But right now, I feel a little invigorated that I am starting to get things and work out this crazy brain of mine.

On the way home tonight I was listening to Taylor Swift (I have been to see her in concert twice this week) and this song came on. I cried happy tears. It just made me think of my journey with anxiety and depression. I know what it's like to run the storm of this illness but also to bask in its much more sunnier days…all too well.

I know that Swift wrote this as a love song. However, the fist few lines are sung so close to home with me. 

'I walked through the door with you, the air was cold, but something bout' it felt like home somehow.'

Since July I have battled with trying to accept my mental health problems but I have had them stagnated within me for years. Depression and anxiety has followed me through my front door, my exams, birthdays and education. It has befriended me in such a way that I became used to it and it was like the 'norm'. It has this 'sweet disposition' of polluting your mind with doubt, worry and negativity.

So then when you finally crumble, like I did last July, and realise you've had this ugly illness tripping you up on your heels. You decide to fight it.

But it's so hard and it's easy to go back to the way you were. Depression loves that. I remember all too well the amount of times I wanted to quit the battle and say 'you did it mentality - you win. I'm tired.'

'Running scared. I was there. I remember it all too well.'

So please if you have or are ever in a situation like mine. Please don't give in. There are people who want to listen and talk to you. There are people who want to send you an encouraging message, song or email. They exist.

Depression and anxiety exist too. But they don't sit there messaging/emailing/tweeting you words of encouragement. They don't tell you you can get through this. They don't let you get lost in translation.

I'm planning on killing them both with kindness. Because reaching the other side is a great feeling. And slowly I am having to accept that having depression is part of my life but it doesn't mean it takes over it.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

You don't need to see it, to believe it.

Today is 'Time to Talk' day via the Time to Change campaign on mental illness. Over the next few days I have my good friend Oli staying with me. I thought it would be a good chance for you guys to see what mental illness is like from a different perspective. Here's Oli's story...

Being told by one of your best friends that they have depression would be a big but also challenging moment in anyones life. But when Rebecca told me her news, I felt much more prepared and equipped not just to process this information and understand what was happening to her, but also to help and support her in the ways she felt she needed me to. For me this was only because it was the second occasion in my life that someone very close to me has had a mental illness (a family member of mine was diagnosed with depression about 10 years ago). Therefore I had the experience and knowledge of this illness. Unfortunately the general publics understanding of this illness is poor at best and in this day and age this is neither correct nor helpful to anyone.

Rebecca told me about how people around her were trying to be helpful in their own way, with little pep talks ('tomorrow will be a better day!') and motivational messages ('what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!') She told me how these kind of conversations, as well meaning as they were, were things you do not want to hear. She would reiterate to me that just understanding that today is a bad day and sympathising ('It must be horrible feeling this way') were actually much more helpful. This is exactly how myself and the rest of my family reacted 10 years ago. It took some adjusting to understand what depression was truly about and how it affects people. Sometimes trying to 'fix them' was doing more harm than good.

I think the reason for such misunderstanding and stigma from the public is this general idea of that the person is feeling low and should just 'perk up'. It also does not help that there is a general anxiety of having an open conversation with someone who is suffering from depression, in this case they ask the hard questions and have to hear the hard answers. I think Rebecca would agree with me in saying that asking these hard questions is significantly better than trying to sugar coat the situation! Only these hard questions will give you the information you need to sympathise with or help your friend or loved one.

Something I realised early on was that depression affects not just the individual but also the relationships around that person. As one of Rebecca's closest friends, I have always felt a level of trust with her that was unquestionable! Yet during some of her harder times, things were strained between us, in part because of a lack of open conversation that we usually maintained. I felt like she could not trust me with her personal problems and as two people who have shared pretty much every gory detail of our lives over the last decade, this was a dent in our friendship. However, through talking and understanding her illness we have got back to being as close and as trustworthy of each other as we have ever been.

When Rebecca told me about her diagnosis it was a shock, something she tells me some of her other friends have said. But I also understand that this is something that can affect anyone. There isn't one particular personality trait, age group, type of person or sex that this happens to exclusively. If more people understood this singular point, the answer to "How are things with you?" would be listened to much more carefully.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Room to breathe


I have the next week off work and I really cannot wait. I have noticed since Christmas that I am getting more ratty at work and pissed off more easily. To have a week of me time, seeing my friends, spending time with my nephew, going to see Taylor Swift and counting down to my birthday next week is just what I need.

Sometimes you just need some time out right?

Plus, I am seeing this guy for the first time in over a year. Oli has been travelling in Australia for year. He came back briefly but is going back again next weekend for another year. I cannot wait to see him!

This is a picture of us from 8 years ago…it's amazing how quickly time passes. Have a great week everyone!

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