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.

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!

There once was a girl allergic to life

When I told my partner the Daily Prompt was ‘Allergic’, he laughed wholeheartedly out loud. Here’s why…

I happen to have a lot of allergies & these sunnies are my besties all year round!

My family & friends think it’s quite funny. Even I think it’s pretty laughable to wear sunglasses in the dark & inside because my eyes are puffed up!

Anyways, always one to take advantage, here’s my little poem about it!

There once was a girl allergic to life,

Dust, pollen, feathers & even to wildlife.

It affected her face & made her sneeze,

Made her ears itch & made her wheeze.

She wore sunglasses in winter & in the rain,

To hide her puffy eyes again & again.

She had shares in Piriton & Benedryl too,

Every month buying 50 packets of tissues.

But still all year round she wears those sunnies inside,

Because she’s the girl who’s allergic to life!

😎🤧😂

Does identity stump diagnosis?

This has been circulating in my head. A lot. Ok obsessively. If you identify with something but you’re diagnosed otherwise, is this ok?

Some of you lovely bloggers might have seen my blog about the diagnosis I got from the psychologist when I went for the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment two weeks back. I was told I was on the border of Aspergers after getting 32/50 on the AQ test but that Alexithymia, Sensory Processing Disorder & severe Social Anxiety were prevalent. I’m basically on the border looking in.

However, thanks to amazing bloggers such as Everyday Aspie, To Aspie or Not to Aspie, Emerging From The Dark Night & That Aspie Lady, I realised I have so much in common with them and can relate to so much of what they blog about.

I chatted with my partner (for about the sixth time) who’s heard me obsess about this for weeks.

When I say ‘obsess’ I mean get upset, get angry, keep asking questions & become agitated that numbers mean I can’t be who I think I am. He said ‘What does it mean if you were? What can you do to help yourself? If you identify with it, it can’t be wrong’. He’s very wise.

He’s also right. If I need to use the same Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) tactics for myself anyway, surely identifying with ASD/Aspergers would be ok?

I agree with him but I don’t want people further along the Spectrum to think I’m just saying it. I really genuinely feel that the number on the test doesn’t truly show the extent of me.

I’m obsessing. I apologise. I know I am. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m reading up on ASD, finding variations of traits, writing examples & sending to the psychologist, Googling, buying lots of books (Amazon are lucky to have me as a customer) & telling my partner for the millionth time all about it, despite him knowing the ins & outs.

It’s like I’m looking for permission from someone to say ‘It’s ok, your 32 counts for something. You are on the Spectrum.’

So, identity vs diagnosis? What are the thoughts? 💭

Hygge, feeling cozy and puppy cuddles

So, I don’t know about you, but I love getting cozy on a cold winters night, armed with hot chocolate, my PJs and our puppy.

I also love the newish concept of ‘Hygge’.It hints at being able to relax and enjoy your own space & time. For someone with anxiety, this can be really hard. I’m constantly on the go. Reading To Aspie or Not to Aspie’s blog about behaving oneself and learning to chill out has made me see that I need to be cozy & cuddle the pup more often. I mean look at its little, furry 4 month old face…

This was our attempt at cozy with my partners sister Ellie, Dominos pizza & Mamma Mia… Except Maisey the fluffy whirlwind had other ideas!

Rules for coziness:

  1. PJs are a must
  2. A cheesy happy film is a goer
  3. Good company, be that your own or someone else’s
  4. Chocolate
  5. Plenty of blankets

We did pretty well tonight at cozy… when we weren’t outside in -1C waiting for our fluffy friend to ‘drop the kids off’!

Via Daily Prompt: Cozy

Proclivity for the mind

In truth, I did just have to Google what the Daily Prompt: Proclivity actually meant, but thought I’d give it a go.

I have a proclivity for talking about mental health. It’s something I feel passionately about, strongly about & having experience of it, it’s something I have tendency to talk about a lot.

However, since the update to my ‘diagnosis’, I feel a bit like a fraud. I don’t feel ok in my skin. My mind is an unsure, uneven, overwhelmed entity. I feel like I don’t fit into the world I do strongly associate with.

My proclivity for mental health also goes hand in hand with that of my other love, running. It helps clear the fog, gets me away from the annoyance of daily life & lets me breathe. I’ve run the stages (5k,10k, Half Marathon & Marathon), read so many books, have collected running tops, medals etc. It waned for a bit because I was injured but I’m getting back to it by taking part in RED January. ‘RED’ stands for ‘Run Every Day’ – and is to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind.

This will have my focus for the next month. I do have a tendency to launch full force into things & then give up so we’ll see!

What do you have a strong tendency to talk about? What gets you excited?

My best buddy Anger

During the process of trying to find out exactly what my issues are and how to deal with them, I’ve discovered I have a new best friend.

Someone that I’m drawing closer to, taking knowledge from, and someone who’s leading by example in my life at present. My good old buddy, Anger. This is how I think she’d look…

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Now, you might know Anger and be able to quieten her down when she gets too much. I can’t seem to do this. She’s the friend you don’t want.

You’re quite happily plodding along with your distant buddies ‘Calm’ and ‘In control’ when suddenly, Anger feels neglected and kicks off that you’re not paying her any attention. Then, ‘BAM!’ you’re on a one-woman trip to Regretsville with no way of getting off that train. Again, it’s what I imagine & I don’t actually look like that ⬇️


Anyone who struggles with their anger will know only too well what if feels like.

So, the other morning, I was trying to eat my breakfast and the puppy was being naughty. She was trying to eat the curtains, Christmas tree, my foot, digging the carpet and barking; basically anything to get my attention. I, thanks to various books and training advice, was ignoring her.

However, the surge of anger came. Now, the rational side of my brain said ‘She’s only a puppy’ and ‘You know she’s doing this for attention’, however the ir-rant-tional side is screaming ‘I can’t take it. She’s interrupting my routine and my time. She’s distracting me and being a nightmare’.

Physical feelingsBurning/fluttering in the pit of my stomach

  • Feeling hot
  • Feeling flush with rage
  • Getting the shakes
  • Getting hot sweats
  • Wanting to punch something
  • Wanting to scream

Mental feelingsRage

  • Stress
  • Irritability

Anger, of course, is there egging me on. It’s making me want to scream at the top of my lungs until I run out of air, cry hysterically, leave the house and runaway. Anger is basically taking over and kicking me out of my own skin. Since I’ve started on new medication (Quetiapine), it’s getting worse. I’m getting angry because I’m letting Anger get to me and spur me on.

If anyone has any tips of how they control their good friend Anger, I’m all ears.

I’m trying to move away from my intoxicating friend Anger & focus more on those true friends, Calm & In Control & Safe. The ones that keep me (half) sane and keep me out of trouble. The fluttery feelings will hopefully pass & I’m going to attempt to stay away from Anger & her train to Regretsville & maybe give Patience and Calm a try. I hear they’re lovely this time of year.

It’s been emotional, Anger buddy, but it’s time we parted ways. For now.

My true calling

If you can’t tell, I’m embracing the Daily Prompts these days. It lets you be so creative & explore new avenues of thought previously unknown. I love reading everyone else’s too! So, here’s my go at ‘Daily Prompt: Calling’

I sit alone awake at night & think of all the times,

My mind has been all a-flutter, a-whizz with lots of rhymes.

Sometimes my thoughts become too much floating in my head,

So I write them down or tap them out before I go to bed.

I feel like poetry is my calling & really helps me breathe,

But most of the time it lurks below the surface, safe & underneath.

Until a time when I let it out & it shows what it can do,

I get out my phone or my notepad & let the creativity sneak right through.

My true calling channels my emotions & helps me feel at ease,

It calms me & my fretting down so that no one ever sees.

What a swan-like person I really am with my faffing feet,

Hiding my anxious mind from most people that I meet.

Big thank you for reading & please post a link to your prompts below. I’d love to see your interpretation! ❤️ (Beautiful image from here)