A new meaning of The Suitcase Kid? 

So most of you know the reason for my blog being called “The Suitcase Kid”. It’s because as a child, I was pushed from pillar to post between my Dad and my Mum’s houses following their relationship breakdown. I never really knew who I was, or where I belonged. I never really had a chance to be me. Instead, I was living in the shadow of my parents decisions, constantly living out of a bag, happy at neither destination, not enjoying the journey and as a result, being a troubled, worried and distressed little girl. 

I’ve come a long way from that. I’ve moved on as an adult, moved home and no longer have to live my life based on what my parents want. And this is something I am finally coming to terms with. My parents mistakes are no longer to define my life and what my life is to be. I can finally be just me. And just me is enough. 

I have rooted myself in a lovely little home, with my two cats, dog and my partner. It’s a bit of a mad house, nothing really has its place, it’s all a mismatch of furniture thrown together from family members and lack of money to buy it from new. It’s small, but it’s happy and it’s home. And here is where I now set my roots. 

I suppose it’s just part of the progression of turning into an adult that means that you no longer have to live in your parents footsteps, or possibly even their shadow as I was, but for me, despite being nearly 25 years of age, I’ve still looked to my parents to validate me. 

I’ve spent years, after struggling with my parents decisions, never standing on my own two feet, and still looking to them to validate my feelings, my opinions and to make any decisions in my life. 

I feel like I’ve finally, at 24 years of age, made a step away from this. 

I no longer look to them for the validation to be me. I make decisions on my own, I celebrate my own successes as simply that, no longer waiting for acceptance and feeling insufficient. I am working on my resentment towards both my Mum and my Dad, for differing reasons, for making my life the way it has been…an uphill struggle. 

And so now, I’ve found a new me. The new me that is no longer bound by anxiety and depression that was born from my parents bad decisions and down falls. And in doing this, I’ve found a new meaning for the Suitcase kid. 

This suitcase kid, is now a traveller. I love to travel. But I do it my way. I get together with friends, plural or singular, or my partner, and go to places around the world that call to me. I throw myself into the whole experience, despite still at times being bound by anxiety. In the last 2 and a half years I have been to places I never thought I would go, done things I never thought I would do and made memories to last a lifetime. 

And now, my suitcase is not my enemy, it is my friend. I can truly, honestly say that I’m making the negatives of my past, a true positive. 

Sister sadness 

My younger sister, 5 years my junior, at 18 years old, has always been a bit of a cause for worry for me. Its a little hard to process my thoughts and to process them in a way that results in a blog post that makes sense, as her quirky character sometimes makes my brain feel like its about to spontaneously combust, however I shall try my best!

A couple of weeks ago, after years of turbulence, arguments, anger, attention-seeking, troublemaking and family destroying, I found out that my younger sister has been self harming. She’s been acting out for a long time, but this truly shocked me.

Despite always being a difficult child who loved attention, she began to struggle from the age of about 9 years old in school. She was bullied for being different, for being extrovert and immature for her age and as a result, my Dad and her mother moved her to 3 different schools across her school career to evade this. As a result, she never really faced these bullies, never dealt with it head on, never overcame it. She was moved away from the problem instead of the problem being fixed. This led to a lost of misunderstanding from her and a lack of actions-have-consequences ideology as these bullies had no comeuppance for their treatment of her, nor did she ever really understand what had gone wrong. When my Dad and her mother split up due to an affair her mother had, my sister was never the same. Her behaviour began to spiral out of control: causing arguments, shouting and swearing, falling out with family members, causing arguments between others, developing a deep seated hatred for my Dad’s new wife,  smoking, drinking, befriending 35 year old women, becoming obsessive about individuals…

The list truly goes on and on.

To say she has been difficult to be around and have in our lives would be an understatement. The truth is, she is lost in life, frankly still living in the past in the hope that her parents would eventually reconcile their differences. (something that simply is never going to happen). She is immensely immature for her age, has admitted to acting out for attention and has an intense bitterness for the world around her. She is obsessive to the point that I think she could be potentially dangerous. She is angry.

She makes me feel an intense sadness. Sadness over seeing myself in her, sadness that in her core she is genuinely a lovely girl with a heart of gold, but also sadness over not being able to fix her. And believe me, I have tried. I have spent hours fighting her corner, protecting her, talking her down, giving her advice. And all to no avail. To find out she has been self harming has really hurt me. I should have done something sooner. I have been watching her suffer, fall and break apart and maybe I haven’t tried enough to prevent her from entering this hole. Maybe I haven’t seen the warning signs, and how could I miss them seeing as I’ve been there myself? How could I not have seen this coming?

The thing is, its a cry for help with her. Self harm is not always for attention – I know this. Sometimes self harm is kept so secret that nobody ever knows. Sometimes its simply an attempt at relief from a life that is like a pressure cooker with no relief. Sometimes it isn’t so that someone comes to your rescue. With my sister, I know it was an attention seeking move. She wants someone to see her. She wants someone to look. She wants to be noticed. She wants the limelight. And this is why I need to do all I can to stop this from happening again. Self harm for this reason will never work. Self harming to get the attention of others is like screaming and screaming into the wind on top of a cliff where nobody can hear you. Hurting yourself will not get the attention you so crave. It will not fix your relationships with people; in fact, it will change the way people see you forever. Self harm for attention is not productive.

I only wish that she had a literate way of asking for help, for saying I’m lost in my life and I need help, direction and love. Because this is the truth of it.

How have I been helping her since finding out?

  • Trying to be there as much as possible
  • Making her aware I’m here
  • Pushing her to remember what is good in her life
  • Creating exciting things to do for the family to include her – making her feel there is a true support system in place
  • Brought her a little necklace to wear to think of happier times
  • Trying to encourage her to go and speak to someone – despite the fact that she point blank refuses at the moment
  • Speaking to other members of my family and ensuring that they are working with me to help her and get her better
  • My older sister sent her a box of “happy things” to include chocolate, relaxation bits and pieces and a photo book of happy memories
  • Regular contact, even if it is not reciprocated, to let her know we are here, even if we are in the background

One good thing about this situation is that it does make me remember my darkest times and be extremely proud of myself. Nobody knew about what I was doing, and nobody did find out. I pulled myself out of my own darkest hole. And for that I will always see myself as brave and capable.

Through going through it myself, I was able to both sympathise and empathise with my younger sister, whilst also remembering that I was not the easiest teenager to deal with, and that our actions are a direct reflection of our past experiences.

It is important to remember to always be kind to everyone you meet, as you simply do not know the internal battle they are facing to get up everyday. Treat everybody with kindess, patience and sensitivity.

 

Wedding worries

2 years ago my sister got engaged…and for 2 whole years, I have had anxiety about her wedding day. 

Knowing I would have bridesmaids duties to fulfil, and knowing that I would have to walk down the aisle to a sea of faces watching me, gave me panic that I simply haven’t felt in a long time. The panic of being watched, in a dress I may not feel comfortable in, in a body I definitely don’t feel comfortable in, and living for a day well outside the realms of my safety bubble was a prospect that was breaking down all the walls of great work I have done over the past 3-4 years. 

Isn’t it amazing how one day, one thought, one looming event, can break barriers within your brain, can make weak what was once strong, can challenge all you thought you had rid yourself of. I couldn’t believe I was stepping backwards again. I felt I was falling, back into the sea of anxiety that I pulled myself out of with moments of life to spare. I couldn’t breathe again. 

2 years of distractions in my own life (work, university, studying, exams, partner, friends etc) kept me relatively sane during all the planning stages. However there were certain moments that made me panic: hen party planning, wedding dress shopping, bridesmaid dress fittings…it was in these moments that I could not escape my own brain, my own panic, my irrational fears. 

And as time continues to move faster and faster as I grow older, 2 years came past like 2 minutes and it was wedding week. 

Anxiety building into pure panic for the week leading up to the wedding was truly horrible for me. Especially as my sister is someone who likes a big fuss. In fact, she’s the polar opposite to me. She likes attention, to be the centre of a big fuss and to make everything about her. As a result, she wanted to go out for 2 meals and have a big celebration at my dads house with family and bridesmaids. I had to show up, put on a smile and hide everything I was truly feeling. 

What was I even worried about? 

  • The way I look 
  • People looking at me 
  • Embarrassment 
  • That I would have a panic attack for all to see
  • I wouldn’t cope 
  • I would let people down 
  • I would feel body conscious 
  • I would trip/fall over 
  • People would notice me and laugh 
  • I wouldn’t be able to eat 
  • I would ruin the day 
  • I would be unhappy 

Battling not only with anxiety, I found myself battling the fact that I felt so selfish. It wasn’t my wedding, I was not the centre of attention – why should I allow this anxiety to make this day about me?! 

I surprised myself by actually enjoying the two different meals that we had in the run up to the big day. I’ve never “enjoyed” eating out before, I’ve never let myself. I’ve always had disordered eating leading to panic around people watching me and eating in public places. This was a great success for me and something I am so greatly proud of. I ate exactly what I wanted, finished the whole dish, and never even gave time to the niggling feeling at the back of my brain saying that I shouldn’t be able to do this. I conquered a fear! 

And this gave me a certain strength to cope with the wedding day itself. The evening before I found myself panicking, unable to sleep, sweating, deep breathing…you name it. 

The morning of the wedding arrived and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I vomited through pure panic. I was clammy, stressed, my heart was beating faster than a mouse, and I could not see how I was going to be able to cope. 

And then I stopped, and breathed, and took every moment as it came, second by second, minute by minute. I breathed. I remembered how much I have achieved recently and how much I did not want to let my sister down. I remembered that this wasn’t about me. I talked myself through every minute, telling myself I had my own back. 

All of a sudden everything felt calm.I walked down the aisle, I was in lots of photos, I stood strong, I ate all my dinner, I drank and I danced the night away. I didn’t panic. And most of all, I had fun. 

Memories were made, family was brought together, and I allowed myself to let go. I amazed myself 

I can do anything I set my mind to, and I am so, so proud of myself. 

Just be an adult already!! 

Something happened over the past few years. It happened when I wasn’t looking. I was no longer a child, I was no longer bound by the rules of my parents, with nobody to answer to. I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going, what I was doing or what time I would be back. I became an adult. 

What age does this even truly happen? Growing up, we seem to believe we’re “adults” by the time we’re 16, 18, 21. It’s a subjective theory in all honesty, something that is relative to life experience. I definitely remember feeling fairly adult at the age of 12, battling with what I saw to be “grown-up” depressive moods and thoughts, protecting myself from my aggressive step father and dealing with my ongoing internal monologue. That felt fairly adult to me. But in reality, it was a young girl, a very lost one at that, dealing with a world of adults who showcased very negative thoughts, emotions and relayed them onto my vulnerable brain. 

Now, at 23 years of age, I live in my own house with my partner, I’m studying for my degree, I’m learning to be my own person as I expect to do for the entirety of my life. I’m an enthusiast for the world, for travel, for work, for learning and for growth. I love to write. I love to walk. I am an adult. So why do I still feel as if those strings have not been cut from my childhood. I still feel like I need guidance, I still feel as if I need to answer to someone. And I still feel as if I need to cling to my childhood in order to be carefree. 

What I do that counteracts the fact that I’m an adult?

  • Everything I do I seek gratification from someone, somewhere 
  • If I have a sick day from work, I validate the fact that it is ok with a parent, my partner, or family and friends 
  • I explain every decision I make 
  • I justify myself constantly 
  • I live to please others 
  • I still feel unfulfilled, as if being a child allowed me to do more (that ironically I never seemed to take advantage of) and that adulthood results in not being able to really “live”
  • Living in a messy house – expecting someone else to clean it for me 

Why do I do this? 

  • Being an adult was always a negative thing in my younger life – adults were harsh and scary and violent and unpredictable 
  • I care what people think far too much 
  • I seek validation as I am still unsure in my own ability to decision make 
  • I have convinced myself that adult hood means working, paying bills and being unfulfilled 
  • I have a warped view of what being an independent truly means 

How could I step into my adulthood like I mean it? 

  • I need to consistently remind myself that adulthood is just a theory – it’s a concept that simply means I’m older. 
  • Remind myself that adulthood is not scary and it doesn’t mean that I have become a reflection of the adults I knew in my childhood 
  • Remember that it doesn’t change who I am – I’m still a big kid 
  • Don’t allow the concept of being grown up take away my dreams – it doesn’t mean the time frame has gone, it simply means I can choose when, where and why 
  • To learn that whilst pleasing people is ok, it shouldn’t be at the detriment of pleasing myself 
  • Remember that I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m my own person 
  • Believing in any decision that I make 
  • Keeping a tidy house in order to keep a tidy mind. 
  • Helping myself to help myself 
  • Staying in touch with my inner child and allowing myself to play and have fun 
  • Laugh more – laughing and being silly isn’t confined to being a child 
  • Working on my thoughts on what an adult is – not seeing adulthood as boring bill paying, as realistically, it changes nothing. 

I’ve got some great things to work on this summer! 

How do you live authentically in the concept of being an adult? 

5 days of positivity: day 1 

Today, I woke up and decided that I would be in a good mental place. I wanted to enjoy my day before I start a night shift this evening, and I really wanted to make sure I was in a positive mind set and make a start to eradicate the negativity of the last few weeks. 

So, I got up early and I wrote a list of things that I was grateful for: 

  • The roof over my head
  • My lovely dog and cats who always make me smile
  • My comfy bed 
  • The brilliant sleep id just had
  • My ability to get up and choose what I wanted to do 
  • My car to take me wherever I wanted to go 
  • My ability to choose to be happy 

I then took myself off to the beach, initially just with Millie, relaxing, thinking, walking and taking in the world. The fresh air helped to cleanse my brain and rejuvenate me, making me feel wonderful and healthy. I then met up with my best friend and my god daughter and splashed in puddles, built sand castles and chatted nonsense. Being a big kid puts me in touch with a happy, true version of myself and I laughed uncontrollably at my 3 year old god daughter who chatted for hours about a selection of topics. 
   
When coming home and getting ready for work after this wonderful, refreshing, positive morning, I realised something…

I realised that my brain is a wonderful thing. A stern talking to and I managed to positively set myself up for a day of happiness, laughter and light (and sunshine which helped). I may not be totally out of my dark place, but today was a step in the right direction towards the light, and that’s the direction I want to keep heading in to. I’ve been positive, thoughtful, in the moment and free on anxiety so far today and oh how wonderful it has felt. 

My mantra today is this: 

  
Day 1 of positivity down and I’m ready to face the next 4 head on, with a healthy, happy mindset because I can and I will. 

Happiness shouldn’t be hard

It seems, in my down days at the moment, that I have become aware of a new foible of mine: I spend far too much time thinking about what is wrong, and not nearly enough time thinking about what is right. 

Why is it easier to moan about what is wrong in our lives than it is to celebrate what is good? 

I have caught myself talking entirely negatively about my university course, my job, myself, my home life, my family…and painting a picture of entire negativity when actually, things are going very well in my life. Is it the case that I’m just not happy with anything? Or is it that old habits die hard? 

We are surrounded by negativity in the media, by others and in our own heads and when this is the whole encompassing image around us, it’s not easy to break the mould and be positive. 

Someone once told me that you have in excess of 60,000 thoughts a day…how many of mine are negative, destructive and self deprecating? Currently, well over half. This is simply not conducive to a healthy mind and it is most certainly not going to make me feel better about my life. 

Some of the thoughts I have been having recently include: am I doing the right course; am I following the right path; am I living life to the full; am I proud of myself; I feel ugly; I feel fat; I’m always lethargic; am I better than this? 

I can see simply from writing those few thoughts down how unhealthy this is. It simply cannot go on, as I’m never going to keep myself in a happy place if I play out old habits that feed my depression. These thoughts feed my anxiety and my low self worth and spur on anxiety attacks, as well as regret and unhappiness. I don’t want to go back to the person I once was, and I have fought so hard not to go back there.

Instead of 60,000 negative thoughts, I’m going to try my best to see the best in everything, or if not the best, then to consider what is the positive, what the lesson is, and how I can overcome any issues. 

Over the next 5 days I’m going to be trialling my new positivity on my blog, along with you guys, and I would love to hear your negative habits that you’re trying to break out of. 

Everything in life starts with a thought, and mine are going to be positive. How about yours? 

3 Days of Demons: Day 1

Happy Tuesday everybody. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks, with 14 days work and university making me feel extremely tired and out of touch with everyone in my life. With things that have been going on, I feel like I’m learning more about myself everyday, and I have decided to do another series of posts, much like my “5 ways” posts a few months ago.
Over the next 3 posts I will be opening up my scrutiny of myself and my behaviours and trying to get to grips with what is going on in my subconscious. In my “3 days of demons” posts, I will be choosing a different behaviour or thought process everyday, as I try and decipher why I behave in certain ways and how I can potentially grow to change them.
It’s, in my experience, vital to be able to accept and understand your subconscious behaviours and thought processes if you stand any chance of changing them and growing. And that’s what I want to do.

I no longer want to be stuck in old patterns and to be confined by the walls of my past. And this is my attempt to do so.
So welcome to my 3 days of demons posts, and welcome inside my brain.

I would love to hear back from you all, and to try and help you understand your demons and thought processes that you would like to change.

3 days of demons day 1: My own worst enemy.

I am my own worst enemy.

How do I know this?

  • I set ridiculously high expectations for myself, and then proceed to beat myself up and punish myself when I don’t reach them. For example, in my current degree, I want to achieve 100% on every piece of work I submit. Now for a degree, with a broad range of subjects covered and assignments that are open to interpretation, this is not always attainable. With every piece of work I submit I do work my hardest, I set aside a lot of time to complete them and I really do strive for the best. In one of my most recent pieces based on the anatomy and physiology of a dog, I got 68%. This is a pass..but not a distinction (It is 2% away in fact). And in my mind I had failed. I felt really disappointed in myself, and like a failure as I had set an expectation that I can be gaining the best of the best all the time.
  • I compare myself to others far too often – why don’t I go on as many holidays as they do? Why don’t I look like that? Why can’t I be good at that? Why can’t I have those clothes? Again, at university recently we had to sit an exam. When I got my results back I was thrilled to gain 94%…until I heard that someone else in the group got 99%. I was really upset with myself. At what stage is it acceptable to be upset with 94%??
  • I get irritable and frustrated and become aware that I need to be alone to wait it out…but I still surround myself with people I love and end up snapping at them.
  • I have far too much belief and hope that others will behave the way I would, and look to myself as the reason why they are not. I punish myself and question my own morals when people let me down. I don’t believe in who I am.
  • I often convince myself I am ugly, unattractive, over weight and that I hate my body – yet I do nothing to fix this.
  • I am often in fear of fear itself. I can be more than confident about going to an event, or doing something with my family etc, until I remember that I’m not a normal person in a normal brain. That negative voice in my head steps to centre stage and reminds me what a panic attack feels like, and I live in fear of having another one.

These are just a few examples of how I am, or can be, my own worst enemy. Particularly the events related to my degree have recently made me question why I beat myself up so often and am so quick to punish myself for not fulfilling the vision of perfection that I seem to want to be.

How can I fix this?

I definitely need to understand why I seek perfection all the time, perhaps due to the fact that I wanted attention from my parents at a younger age and as I was never sporty I needed to gain their acceptance through my grades and being perfectly behaved. I need to remind myself that others cannot be controlled and I am not responsible for their behaviour – if somebody upsets me or acts in a negative way towards me, this does not take away from me as a person, and it doesn’t change that I am a good person. I need to continually appreciate what I have in my own life, instead of looking at the things that others have, and wanting the things that I don’t need or that aren’t good for me, in the face of needing to be this perfect vision again. I need to learn that “stuff” does not define me. What others have does not mean they are happy. I do not need to be like anyone else, I just need to be me!

I need to reassure myself when I look in the mirror that I am beautiful, because I am me. And I shouldn’t need anyone else to tell me that in order for me to believe it. I shouldn’t seek acceptance for the way I look from anyone else other than the mirror. I should be happy that I have a body that works and functions, as many people don’t. I also need to remind myself that 9.5 stone is not overweight. Whilst I am bigger than I’ve ever been before, that is because I am in a good place with my eating disorders and manage to eat in 9.9 out of 10 situations now. My eating habits are better because I am happier and surely thats more important than a few extra pounds around the stomach?! And if I really want to make a change, I need to stop making excuses and get in the gym, get out in the fresh air or on my bike and get that weight off me!!

I need to spend more time reaffirming the positive voice in my head, and being able to quieten the negative one, before she takes her place in the drivers seat. I need to continue to choose to live a life of happiness and not slip back into old habits because they feel like comfortable old clothes, because the thing is they are not beneficial to me, and they lead me to unhappiness.I need to allow myself to be alone, and to take a breath before I snap at those around me who just want to show me love. I need to remember that at the end of the day, there is only me, I am the only person I can truly rely on, and therefore that person should be the best that she can be, not perfect, not a vision of a billboard or a perfectionist society, but the truest form of “me” that I can be, and someone who is truly happy in their own skin. That’s all I need. I need to support myself, congratulate myself on my successes and appreciate that a success is not defined by 100% perfectionism, but instead it is continuing to try, to use resources, to test yourself and to be better than the person I was yesterday.

As of today, I am my own best friend. Goodbye to enemies.

 

How to love someone who has depression 

“How to love someone who has depression” – There are a lot of posts going around about how to love someone who has depression and the allowances you have to make; the understanding you have to show, the hardships you have to go through etc. I have read some wonderful posts about how to be kind, how to be patient and how to cope when you love someone who possibly can’t show you love back.

Whilst I fully support that those who love us need some pep-talking sometimes about how to deal with the highs and the lows, I have’t read many posts about the real way to love someone who has depression. You. Yourself. You need to love yourself through your depression and all it throws at you. It’s about how you get to letting someone love you through your depression. You can’t let anyone in if you don’t love yourself, and if you’re consumed with your depression. And you can’t love anyone else properly if you don’t love number one. So this post isn’t about loving anyone else with depression. It’s about how to make it easier for yourself to love, and for others to love you: by taking care of number one.

It is so easy to punish yourself throughout depression and mental illness. Your brain is in a space that you don’t want it to be, you feel negative, you feel trapped and this opens itself up to self loathing. When you have no respect or love for yourself, you cannot let anyone else in, whether family, friends or all other loving relationships. When I was at my lowest point, I pushed away all those people who loved me. I wanted to be alone, I wanted to wallow, I didn’t feel worthy of being around them.

Now, I love being in the company of others. I love to laugh and I love to create memories. I can tell however, when I am in a darker place, or have dipped in terms of my mood and mental state, as I just want to be alone again. I want to spend time with myself, thinking or just being quiet. Don’t get me wrong, me time is great, however constant alone time and pushing away those that love you the most is not great. It is damaging to all involved. And this is why I felt it important to share my thoughts on how to love yourself through depression, as this is what builds the foundations for a positive relationship with not only yourself, but with others as well, in whatever calibre.

The common reasons why you don’t love yourself when you have depression… 

* You feel worthless

* You have low self esteem

* You don’t feel deserving

* You don’t see your own success

* You feel low

* You feel sad

* Your world has turned upside down

 

Reasons you should love yourself through your depression…

* If you broke your leg you wouldn’t hate yourself, you would nurse yourself, rest and make sure you were well rested. Depression is no less real than a broken bone….

* Self love improves your self esteem which can improve your mood

* Knowing you have your own back can increase your feeling of positivity and reduce anxiety

* You will feel more confident

* You are worth it

* You are enough, never believe anything different

* Being happy feels so much better

* Depression is horrendous and draining and evil and poisonous, give yourself a break and respect how much you’re dealing with. This can give you self respect and self love. You’re amazing.

* Look how much you cope with everyday

* Look at all your successes

* There are people who love you and need you

* You have skills that are unique to the world

 

Ways you can show self love through your depression…

* Going to therapy

*Write a list of all the things you love about yourself

*Believe in yourself

*Write a list of goals you want to achieve

* Reading a book

* You time

* Relaxation

* Writing a diary

* Allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, and then let go

* Meditation

* Exercise

* Spending time with friends

* Breathing

I have comprised a list of 10 things to remember to do when loving YOURSELF through your depression.

  1. Remember to let go – When you feel sad, lonely, emotional, tearful, angry, or any other plethora of emotions, let yourself feel them. And I mean really feel them. If you want to scream, go to the top of a rooftop or a cliff and scream, or scream into your pillow. If you want to cry, let it all go until there are no tears left. The important thing is to let go of things that are holding you back. Don’t bear grudges, don’t hold on to resentment and don’t wallow in your emotions. If you let them go you can move on, and the weight of your shoulders will feel make you feel 10 times lighter.
  2. Remember to give yourself a break -You’re fighting a battle every minute of every day which uses up reserves in your body that you didn’t even know were there. you’re arguing with yourself in your head with every decision you make.You’re going to therapy and laying yourself bare. You’re crying onto the shoulder of a loved on. Whatever state you’re in, you’re fighting. And that deserves a pat on the back. Give yourself a break…you’re trying your best and every positive step is a step further from the person you used to be.
  3. Remember it’s ok not to be ok – Jessie J said it herself. We are all human, we are all trying to find our way. We won’t always get it right. We won’t always know which way to turn. And this is ok. It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you just like the rest of us.
  4. Remember to be thankful for the good things – When I’m feeling particularly down, and trying to think of reasons why I am still fighting and trying not to lose my cool, I write a list, or comprise a mental note, of all the good things in my life. This is a constant reminder that not everything is negative, and not everything is bad. There are things worth fighting for.
  5. Remember to be patient with yourself – you’re learning new ways to grow and change and heal everyday. Be patient with yourself as you find out which ones work for you. There will be some days where its 2 steps forward and 3 steps back – but breathe in and out, and be patient for the days where it’s only forward. They will come. Nobody expects you to be “fixed” in a record time.
  6. Remember to talk about how you’re feeling – whether with a therapist, a friend, your mother, a boyfriend, it is so important to talk through what is going through your head. I cannot express how much talking through things and getting an insight into how others reason with themselves, as well as analysing how I behave together, has taught me to be a better person. Sometimes I have heard things I really haven’t wanted to hear – although that probably only means that it is true! It’s really helped me to grow and heal and get better, by simply getting my feelings out there. You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
  7. Remember that there is a community of people waiting to support, advise and listen to you – Throughout my younger days of dealing with depression, I wish I had known that there were communities of people who would understand me, listen to me moan and cry, share their stories with me, and generally make me feel more human and less like a monster in my own brain. For me, today, this community is my wordpress community, or family. I love reading blogs that inspire me, often I feel that some of you have taken the words right out of my mouth. When I feel down, this is the place I come to feel less alone. It is wonderful to be able to share, to not be judged and to have advice and understanding from those people who are dealing with their demons right alongside you.
  8. Remember to get outside into the fresh air – fresh air and exercise of some sort releases endorphins, makes you feel good, gives you space to breathe, gives you silence, gives you clarity. Fresh air can help you to breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.
  9. Remember to focus on self-care – Focus on yourself, focus on taking care of your mind, body and spirit. Remember to meditate, to exercise, to pamper yourself. Often, I have found when I have been at my lowest of low, my personal hygiene has gone down the pan (disgusting I know), and I have been less likely to shower everyday, less likely to wash my makeup off or wash my hair, less likely to bother with looking presentable or dressing up to make myself feel good. If you pamper yourself, and feel good on the outside, it will help to make those low days feel that bit better. And then when you are feeling good on the inside, it will resonate even louder all the way out for all to see. Self care is of great importance, it includes me time, relaxing, reading a book, taking a candle lit bath, meditating, and doing whatever it is that you love.
  10. Remember to set yourself realistic goals and celebrate when you meet them – at my lowest, my goals included just making it out of the house for 5 minutes, or calling the doctor, or getting out of bed. Now, my goals include exercising, going on holiday, writing, coming up with new ideas etc. Creating goals and having something to look forward to and celebrate is something that really keeps me going. Keeping a diary of all the little goals you set yourself, whether thats a to-do list that you tick off, or an extensive list of little things you achieve in a day or a week, from grocery shopping to climbing a mountain, can help you to see all the things that you are achieving, and to help you feel great about yourself.

I would love to hear your ideas on how to promote self-love and how to love yourself even through the hardest of days.

Friend or foe? 

Over the last few years of my life I’ve had to learn the hard way that not everybody is who you think they are. Not everybody is as kind and giving as you, and not every person will reflect back the kindness you show them. 

As a person I think I’m fairly transparent. Obviously my deep and darkest secrets or past memories are for myself only, but as a person, I think I’m easy to read, honest, reliable and will do absolutely anything, I mean really go above and beyond, for any of my friends. I’m really interested in humans and relationships and as a result I love to interact, I love to make friends and I always want people to like me (I’m sure everyone feels this way to a degree). 

My approach to creating new friendships is one of pure transparency and willingness. 

I believe myself to be a good hearted person who would never intentionally hurt another, a trusting and trustworthy friend, and someone who will always be at the end of the phone. 

However, as I find myself in another predicament whereby I have had the ultimate “friend rejection”, the dreaded block from Facebook, I sit here and wonder, is it me?! 

A friend who I have known for 5 years and who I considered to be a close friend whom although I didn’t see often, I could always chat to and this month I booked a flight to visit her in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstance, I was no longer able to go at this time, and instead of being an understanding friend, I was instead met with the dreaded block on Facebook and no response to my last 7 confused text messages and phone calls trying to understand what had gone wrong. In this situation, whilst it was rather frustrating that I was not able to go to Copenhagen, I don’t believe that warranted the abrupt end to a 5 year friendship based on laughs and trust. I’ve spent days trying to come up with a reasonable explanation in my head and I simply cannot. 
This isn’t the first time that a friend had turned on me either. 

Last year, in my previous workplace, a group of girls, whom I had become friendly with, began to bully me, put me down and in the end pushed me out of my job. Previously to this again, one friend who I had genuinely thought was like a sister to me, turned on me one day, for no apparent reason, and to the total disbelief of all my other friends and colleagues who knew her. This truly broke my heart. 

Now there could be a few things going on here: I could be completely choosing the wrong friends; people could be more odd and unpredictable than I ever gave them credit for; I am incredibly too nice and a pushover, or indeed I am not the person I think I am, and push people away myself, facilitating these odd behaviours.

I do think now that at 23 years of age I have gathered what kind of person I am. And that is not a person who is nasty or who would ever shut out a friend or cut off a friendship without just cause or opportunity for explanation. I judge others on my own virtues, and perhaps this is the mistake I make. Others do not have the same respect and love for friends or cherish friendships as I do. 

I have been very upset and hurt by people I thought were my friends, especially this week over something so petty as to not being able to make a flight out of the country. I have felt truly disheartened and negative about myself, not only because I’ve lost a friend, but because I’ve wondered whether I am unwillingly doing something that upsets people, or else so easy to drop, forget and “block” that these people don’t have space for me in their lives. 

I have spent 3 days feeling emotional on all ends of the spectrum about friendships past, present and future. I have felt like I don’t know my own head, can’t trust my own judgement and perhaps overall don’t know the affect that I , myself, have on others that may lead to their reactions to me. 

I need to learn to accept that not everybody lives to the standards I set myself. 

I need to remember that I have worked for years on becoming the person I want to be and to truly believe and focus on the fact that I am a kind, caring and giving friend who would never treat people the way I have been treated myself. 

I need to learn from other people’s actions.

I need to not jump so fast into new friendships and offer up everything I have to people I barely know.

I need to respect that people are all different and do not all behave in the way I expect them to. 

I need to not lose sight of who i am.

I need to be strong and happy and focuses and content in my own life. 

I need to value and cherish the friendships with those people that truly matter. 

I need to forgive and let go.

I need to not get caught up in analysing too hard. 

I need to give myself a break. 

I need to not let the opinions and behaviours of others allow me to feel insecure or change my positive frame of mind.

I need to remember that people do have dark sides and to try my best to avoid any further situations whereby I may come across them. 

I need to not take everything so personally. Not every fall out is a reflection of me as a person. 

And finally I need to remember that at the end of the day, I am not who other people say I am, I am who I want to be, surrounded by wonderful family and faithful friends…just not everyone makes it for the whole journey! 

The January blues

January blues? Is that even a thing? I know it’s only another month, and really it makes no difference, but this January I’ve really been struggling. 

Miserable weather, not enough sleep, not enough of doing what I want, too much college work, too many hours at work, tired, everybody passing around illness and infections, dark mornings and darker nights, coughs and splutters, and freezing cold mornings. 

I’ve been truly suffering with motivation… Or lack of. I have been feeling entirely lethargic and unenthusiastic about work, my university work and all general life. 

It’s not that I’ve been feeling down, I’ve not felt particularly low, just lazy and unenthused, in the mood to just sleep and rest..and eat. As a result I’ve put on half a stone, and this has only added to my severe January blues! 

This cannot go on. I won’t allow it. 

I won’t continue to allow myself to underachieve, to go back to a stage where life just passes me by and I don’t really FEEL what’s going on, to be lazy and to eat more than I can physically handle. 

I’ve concocted a plan: 

– More exercise: even though it is really the last thing I want to do, I aim to go running, get back in the gym and really start energising myself. They say that breaking the barrier is the hardest thing…ill let you know! 

– Healthier eating: no, this is not a new year, new me plan which will never work. I’m not eradicating chocolate or bread, I’m just going to cut down. More salad, more veg and more healthy snacks. But still the ability to enjoy my food 

– More dog walks 

– Me time – writing and blogging, long baths, face masks 

– Massage and relaxation time 

– Family and friends time: lately I haven’t had enough time to spend quality time with family or friends, and therefore I aim to spend more time with my loved ones, laughing joking and having fun 

Let’s hope as we move into February the blues will be replaced by a new vibrant shade of pink…reflecting happiness, vitality and energy!