Sense and Sensibility…and Shots

Happy Monday one and all. I hope you had fabulous weekends and managed to take some time for yourselves. In general, I had a lovely weekend but as the title suggests, I didn’t manage to weigh up being sensible with having tequila shots!

It’s on a very rare occasion these days that I actually drink alcohol. Years ago, I would be out all the time with my friends, being really boozy and trying to drink away the anxiety. However, and as many of you will probably know, it definitely doesn’t help. In fact, it makes things worse. Recently, because of my new diagnosis, Dad-stuff and studying stuff, I’ve been feeling really angry and anxious. I’m not entirely sure my anti-psychotic medication is helping as I’ve now started having chest pains which I’ve never had before and have lost the feeling in three of the toes on my left foot (odd I know).

Anyway, going off topic as per usual!

So I started my weekend out with my local Parkrun and 144 other enthusiastic runners at 9am on Saturday morning. I felt like a just needed to run the anxiety out of me. It was getting more and more pent-up. It was a good run and nearly had a PB.

Then there was shopping and spending time with my Mum and sister which was fun and cuddling the puppy later in the afternoon.

I got myself into an anxious and angry tizz before I even left the house as I couldn’t decide what to wear and could feel the rage building. Eventually (the pup had fallen asleep by the time I’d chosen what to wear), I left the house and my little sis ‘made me up’ for my evening out.

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Then there was gin. Then there was a Long Island Ice Tea. And then there was Tequila. The latter being all my undoing. I don’t think of how awful it makes me feel until it’s the day after and I actually want to die. The evening was amazing and there were conversations flowing about mental health and how we were all dealing with our problems. An alcohol fuelled therapy session.

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The day after. I felt OK, bit of a headache. By 10.30am, I was cleaning the house, stripping the beds and doing the washing. I then took the puppy on a long-ish walk, sorted and cleaned my wardrobe, did the food shopping, made dinner, and cleaned the kitchen (again). This might look like me being super productive but when I’m on the edge-of-my-seat anxious, I clean. Obsessively. I get angry and raging when things aren’t tidy or in their place. Luckily, my partner was out so didn’t get to see me throwing things about. THIS is the problem with alcohol.

Then came the chest pains, the rushing thoughts, the panic attack and my poor other half telling me I was going to hospital. I panicked about him leaving me and started ranting about my Dad. My partner insisted on hospital but I refused to go. There’s nothing they could do about it so I just sat and waited for the pains to settle. My lovely man sat and gave me hugs, made me laugh and helped to take my mind off things. I used the reliable co-codamol to knock me out and help the pains.

What I’m gathering from this is that common sense should’ve told me not to drink as much as I did. I should’ve had the intelligence and sensibility not to do that to myself but ultimately, the shots won. I was upset because having a drink for me is not the same as it is for the majority of people and it makes me sad.

Those of you who struggle with your mental health, have you given up drinking altogether? Is that the best way forward?

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Review: ‘Out of this World’ Launch

Bit of a different post from me today but quite a nice one. I was invited by Escentual and the Wales Blog Network to go along to an ‘Out of this World’ launch last night.

It was a blogger event aimed at telling us blogging folk about some awesome new products, mainly a brand new Benefit Cosmetics product. As someone who rarely wears make-up, I was pretty excited about this event as Benefit is the only make-up I wear on the few occasions I wear it.

I asked my little sister to come along with me for an hour and see what it was all about. Doing things with her is really calming and great fun. She’s such a good influence on my anxiety!

As we arrived, we were greeted with a ‘spaceship’ in the car park…

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…and some lovely ladies donning some rather snazzy spacesuits! These guys were the lovely staff from Escentual, an online retailer in all things fragrance, make-up and skincare set up in 2000 by Rakesh Aggarwal. The company is a great local success story and stocks over 9,500 products, so a little something for everyone.

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After chatting with some of the staff, we were taken up to Escentual HQ to hear a bit more about what they do and what sort of products they stock. We were treated to a cheeky Be At One cocktail (a Pornstar Martini on a Monday I hear you say!) and then got to go inside the Benefit spacecraft for some lessons on the new Benefit Cosmetics BadGal Bang mascara (RRP £21.50)

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As a MAJOR Benefit fan, I obviously loved this experience. Hearing all about the ‘gravity defying’ technology behind it all and getting to try it out was a treat. And wow…It was fair to say we were all impressed. My sister looked like she was wearing false eyelashes! See how awesome she looks?

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Me and my sister with our BadGal lashes!

It was such a lovely evening and we were spoiled rotten by the Escentual staff. We continued a tour of their new premises and were told all about the make-up and the Make Up Forever range that they stock.

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We got chatting to the Globetrotter GP who was there taking in the excitement of the evening and heard all about her awesome blog. (If you’re into your travel and some great advice, take a look!)

On leaving, we were presented with some lovely goodies from the ever smiley staff and my sister even got a little something too (which she was delighted about!). These were our happy faces on taking part in this event…

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A huge thank you for the invite Wales Blog Network and Escentual. It was a lovely night, we learned a lot and we’ll be looking at ordering our make-up from you guys in the future!

Being included in something a bit different and being able to blog about it, has been really good. I always felt a bit out of my depth at events like this before but it didn’t matter if you were full-on glam or just into the health and wellbeing side of it like me, you were made to feel really welcome.

The amazing power of storytelling

This week is National Storytelling Week, a time to appreciate the power of people’s experiences and the stories they tell.

Many of us as bloggers are digital storytellers. We do it to help other people, share information and make a difference. Are these the reasons you do it?

I share my story to:

  • Show I’m proud of who I am
  • Get advice and support from people going through similar things
  • Provide reassurance that if someone is feeling alone, that they’re not
  • Feel relieved, almost a cathartic experience

For these reasons, I decided to share my story with BBC for Time to Talk Day. I spoke to the journalist, gave her the ins and outs of my mental health experience and then she asked if I would be filmed. Bearing in mind I hate the sound of my own voice, I decided to do it anyway. And also, considering how much I bang on about how sharing is important, how talking is important and how you shouldn’t be scared to tell your story, I was petrified.

The night before it went out I couldn’t sleep, my anxiety was through the roof and I felt sick. But I knew that it was the right thing to do. I think when you tell the world about things that are so personal, it is really daunting.

The interview I did with BBC is here (‘Living with a personality disorder’)

Me BBC

The result

As soon as the interview went out, I knew I had to send to my folks as they didn’t know the extent of things. They were really supportive and for the first time, we really talked about it.

Friends that I haven’t spoken to in a while got in touch, and close friends were just amazing, sharing the link and showing support. It went down better than I thought (not hard really as I thought that everyone would disown me and I’d go into a deep sulk  – Good old mental health!)

People I don’t know have been in touch to say that they feel reassured that they’re not alone in their diagnosis and some have said they’ve opened up to people they know. The last point is amazing and what I was hoping might happen.

Being a Time to Change Champion lets me tell my story to people and hopefully helps employers and their employees see that taking mental health seriously is really important. Storytelling helps social change and that’s something truly awesome and something amazing to be a part of.

 

 

What is Borderline?

Since receiving my suspected diagnosis from the psychiatrist, there have been some interesting reactions when I tell people that I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)(sometimes known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder).

A couple of the best ones:

  • ‘Does that mean you’re on the border of personalities?’
  • ‘Oh, is that like Bipolar then?’
  • ‘Are you, like, more than one person?’
  • ‘On the borderline of what?’

I’m sure anyone with BPD/EUPD has had some of these things said to them more than once. Having just been diagnosed, I find these quite amusing. For those who don’t know what BPD is, Mind write that it’s “a type of personality disorder. You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result.”

Story of my life.

These are some of the things you can and I do experience:

  • Feeling very worried about being abandoned, and would do anything to stop that happening.
  • Having really intense emotions that last from a few hours to days and can change with a snap of the fingers (for example, from feeling very happy and confident to suddenly feeling low and sad).
  • Not having a real identity and not really knowing who you are
  • Finding it hard to have stable relationships and being reliable
  • Feeling empty
  • Acting impulsively (such as binge eating, drinking too much or driving dangerously).
  • Having suicidal feelings and thoughts.
  • Feeling really angry but not being able to or not sure how to deal with it.
  • Feeling so stressed that you experience paranoia or zone out completely.

For so long, I was telling my GP, mental health teams and other professionals that my moods were erratic and I was doing things to the extreme. I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, didn’t belong and didn’t really know who I was. I changed who I was according to who I was with.

Now, and quite recently, I’m feeling so angry at things. I say what I think, I don’t hold back and am openly passive aggressive to strangers (when I hold the door for them and they don’t say thanks, I’m there with the ‘Oh, don’t worry about it’ sarcasm). I almost chucked my Mum out of the car the other day after she commented on my driving. It feels like I can’t stop.

More recently, I’ve been feeling like I want to cry all of the time. I keep pushing the feeling down into my stomach because I’m almost searching for the right time to let it all out. Blogging and talking about it helps to an extent but there are always those nagging worries, the anger, the lack of identity, feeling like everyone wants to leave… It’s hard.

However, I’ve been told that there are things I can do to help myself.

Thank you for reading. I feel like it was a waffly post and I’m really grateful for you stopping by.

 

 

Time to Talk 2018

A week today, Time to Change is holding its annual ‘Time to Talk’ Day which encourages people to speak out about their mental health.

tttd-960-x-9602For so long, having a mental health problem was seen as something you should be ashamed to talk about. You would never have dreamed of telling your family, friends or colleagues about it because they would see it as a weakness. But actually, as the stigma is being broken down, we’re seeing that actually those of us who can’t quite deal with our mental health, are warriors in our own right. It’s great that charities like Time to Change, Mind, Hafal/Gofal (in Wales) etc are encouraging conversations.

I read an interesting article on the Huffington Post about how people who have anxiety ‘perceive the world in a fundamentally different way’  As the article says, you can’t argue with science can you?

Time to Talk Day is an awesome concept encouraging everyone, everywhere and anywhere to take five minutes and ask how someone’s doing. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate but it shows that you care.

Coming to terms with my Borderline diagnosis has been an interesting journey. I was told in November last year and have been mulling it over ever since. I still find it strange to say that’s what I have and I feel almost relieved. I offered to be a case study for BBC for Time to Talk Day and chatting through my experiences all over again was still scary and did affect me. I had to ring my partner for a chat afterwards because he always cheers me up. Immediately, he asked how I was. It was that simple and it made me feel better knowing I could tell him about it.

I know that it might be tough reading for my partner, friends and family and I hope they understand. I want to be able to say what happened and help someone who might be feeling the same way or need an extra push to talk to someone. It’s sort of therapeutic and anxiety-filled all at the same time.

Telling someone something that you’re worried about is a terrifying thing. It can take months, years even, to almost break the stigma in your own mind. But, it’s worth it if it means keeping yourself and your mental health safe.

Next Thursday (1st February), make sure you use your five minutes at work, at home, or at a local community group, to ask how someone is. That question might help to save someone’s life or just make someone’s day.

Maybe it’s borderline — Re-blog from to aspie or not to aspie

I imagine this headline sung to the same tune as that age old Maybelline advert. Although I’m writing a lot about autism on this blog, I haven’t had my assessment yet and I still sometimes find myself analysing my symptoms and the equation coming back with borderline personality disorder or bipolar. Sometimes I’m so, so […]

Such a relatable and interesting post from To Aspie or Not to Aspie. Give it a read and follow her too. (Post here Maybe it’s borderline — to aspie or not to aspie)

Shock, horror, it happened again

My poem about and ode to the Daily Prompt: Shock.

I hate it when the record gets stuck and it’s playing on repeat,
When I can hear it blaring the same old thing but I can’t get up out of my seat.
To turn the volume down or stop the noise from sounding,
I’m trying to catch my breath and trying to get my grounding.
While the anxious thoughts are busy whizzing around my brain,
Shock, horror, it’s all happening again.

I hate it when the record gets stuck and it’s playing over and over,
The frustrating sounds that it makes, my brain it runs for cover.
It’s the same old thing, on a different day,
What more can I do, what more can I say?
When it’s spluttering and aggravating my head,
Shock, horror, it’s happening again.

I pluck up the courage to move from my spot,
Turn the screech down and knock the thing off.
Its background noise still fills my mind,
And will continue to do so until I find
A way of drowning the repetition out when,
Shock, horror, it’s happening again.

How to look after your mental health this Blue Monday

The third Monday of January every year has been labelled as ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. That’s all well and good but what if you struggle for the 364 other days of the year?

There’s a great piece written by Anita Sethi on The Guardian Online who says:

“It’s important to acknowledge that, despite the PR over this particular date, depression can strike on any day, at any time of year.” And she’s right.

There’s no shame in it and as it stands, 1 in 4 people suffer with their mental health. So you’re in good company.

Some days, like so many, I find it hard to comprehend getting out of bed and starting the day. Talking to people seems like a mission, the head fog seems too much and the prospect of being productive while my head is elsewhere seems foreign. However, there are a few things that I do to help myself. These might help you too.

Breathing

OK, bit obvious, however sometimes I forget to take calm, deep breaths. Especially if my mind is playing tricks on me. Sometimes I’ll sit and take eight deep breaths in and out just to clear my mind. It helps me re-focus too.

Exercise

It might sound like a cliche but I’m a real advocate for it. If you’re feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you need some space, go for a walk. Take a stroll on your lunch break and listen to some of your favourite songs. Go to the gym (if you’re part of one), do a bit of yoga, go for a run, anything that will help you let off steam and get the endorphins going. I’m really bad for not getting my bum out of my office chair when I need to so I’m making an effort to do this more. It really helps.

Reading

Positive quotes or an uplifting article can make you feel a bit better. I love Pinterest so I’ll take a look at a few and when I crack a smile, I write down the quote in my notebook so I can look at it. My best friend bought me a book for Christmas that has lots of amazing quotes inside it. Whenever I feel down, I’ll go to this book first and see what it can do.

Listening

Whether you listen to an interesting podcast, your favourite album, an uplifting playlist or your favourite radio station, treat yourself to time alone in your mind with you. Surround your mind with something you really like and enjoy. I like listening to my London Marathon 2016 playlist because it reminds me of how awesome the experience was and the playlist was put together by lots of great friends.

Talking

You might not want to talk to anyone but it can really help. Whether it’s telling a friend, partner or colleague you’re not feeling too great, they might be able to help. Or, they might just leave you alone to have the space you need. Talking about what’s wrong over a cuppa can really help to take the weight off. Sometimes, I find, that what my mind is telling me, isn’t necessarily the truth. If you’re a writer, write how you’re feeling down. As a blogger, I definitely find this helps me.

Take a social media break

Social media is something I both love and hate. I work on it daily and try to keep up with what’s going on nightly. Sometimes, I see things that really put me on a downer. Whether it’s someone going on holiday, getting married, doing incredible things that I’m not doing, it gets me down. I do try to remember that the majority of what’s online is what people want you to see about them. But still, this sense can get lost in the depressed fog of the brain. Take a little break from it. I try really hard at night to put my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and not look at it. I also put it face down on the night stand. I then pick up my book and get engrossed.

You’re not alone. If you’re feeling really down and feel like you can’t cope, I’ve been there too. I know this might not help, but I’d like you to know. I posted a few weeks ago about having a complete meltdown and filmed what it was like. I also then rang my local GP and asked for help. But this was a big step and I was supported by my amazing partner.

Remember, you’re awesome and you can get through it.

Useful links

Mind

Samaritans

Mental Health Foundation

(In Wales)

CALL

Hafal

Gofal

The Awesome Blogger Award!

Wow, what a start to 2018! Thank you so much to The Girl With The Pawprint Tattoo for nominating me for The Awesome Blogger Award! Absolutely check out her blog. It’s really inspiring and very honest, which is something I respect in writers. From one blogger to another, thank you again for this! 🙂

So, in case you haven’t heard, The Awesome Blogger Award was started by Miss Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala:

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

The rules for this are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer
  • Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated

So, my questions from The Girl With The Pawprint Tattoo are:

  1. What do you hope to achieve in 2018? My CIPR Diploma and to blog about things people want to read about!
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Turning 35 and being happy with what I have.
  3. What is one thing you cannot live without? My partner and my pup!
  4. What is your favourite movie and why? Top Gun – Because who doesn’t love an 80’s classic?
  5. If you could go back in time to any era, where would you go and why? I would go back to the 1940’s – I love the whole wartime spirit and the fashion is pretty cool too!
  6. What is your favourite candle scent? Yankee Candle ‘Clean Linen’ 🙂
  7. What was the most recent thing you got excited about? This award!
  8. What are topics that appeal to you the most on the blogging community? Apart from this fab blog, mental health, running, reading and positivity
  9. Did you accomplish any goals you had for last year? Didn’t do too badly – Got a new job, bought a house with my partner and got a puppy!
  10. If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do and why? I’d probably panic about having that much money, have an anxiety attack and then take mine and my partner’s families on holiday!

The blogs I’ve chosen for the Awesome Blogger Award are unique in their subject matter but are equally open and honest too:

Psychogrok

The Fed Up Christian

Rude Girl – Living in an Aspie World

A Guy Called Bloke

Think Outside the Toaster

My questions for my nominees:

  1. Three words to describe your blog
  2. What would you name your boat if you had one?
  3. Five positive words to describe you
  4. The most interesting thing you’ve read/seen this week?
  5. Favourite joke/pun?
  6. They’re creating a film (movie) of your life, who plays you?
  7. Favourite blog post you’ve read today & would recommend?
  8. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  9. Positive motto for 2018?
  10. Your top tip for finding blog-spiration?

I can’t wait to see what you all come back with! A huge thanks to everyone nominated for writing such awesome posts and thank you to everyone who follows my little anxiety filled blog!

An undulating thing called ‘Life’

I would love to move through life much more smoothly,

Knowing for sure who I am & who I want to be.

Like anyone else moving patiently through life,

I’m always met with moments of heartache and strife.

The anxiety and depression, they come like waves,

They’re like taunting schoolchildren who will never behave.

The crashes of anger and the sadness it ripples.

These emotions tip up my scales and my balance, it falls.

The unknown of the tide is just one of the battles,

Once it takes hold it’s like nothing else matters.

And yet with the storm comes the surprising calm,

Which causes so many feelings of alarm.

For now, I’ll keep on fighting the continuous typhoon,

Hoping that the scales will rebalance out soon.

Thanks Daily Prompt: Undulate