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. 


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. 

To medicate or not to medicate?…that is the question

The topic of whether medication is the correct way to address depression is controversial. People seem to attach a negative stigma to seeking help through medication, as if by not tackling depression alone you are somehow weaker. This is simply not true. Whilst I agree that medication cannot be the sole treatment for any form of mental illness, there is absolute proof that it really can make a difference.

Of course, the use of medication really does need to go hand in hand with therapy, as mental illness is exactly what it says on the tin…within the mind. It is essential to get inside our own minds and really pick at what it means to be in our heads, what our flaws are, what drives us, and what needs to change in order to be positive and healthy. Whether this be in the form of meditation, CBT or simply talking and voicing your thoughts, therapy is healthy, it’s positive, and its a step towards a new mindset.

For me personally, I have done the therapies and used them to my advantage (not always, I resented talking and trying for a long time), ultimately leading me to be the person I am today. I have tried CBT, hypnotherapy, meditation, holistic therapists, healers, talkers, relationship counsellors…you name it. I’ve been helped of course by all of these individuals who have shared their advice with me, and now I am lucky enough to be in a place where I don’t feel I need to speak to anyone anymore. I do use this blog as a sort of therapist now, with freedom to express myself, my thoughts and feelings and the ability to read back on who I used to be yesterday, as I grow into the person I am supposed to be tomorrow.

Despite this, I possibly may not be here today without my medication. I do feel that there is such a negative attitude towards the use of antidepressants. The truth is, the use of a small white pill does not make you weak, it actually makes you strong. It means you stepped up and asked for help. It means you’re giving in to the fact that you can’t simply “fix” everything. It also is not a ball and chain attached to your ankle forever, it doesn’t mean that when you start you can’t stop. It’s an extra boost in your time of need.

The use of antidepressants doesn’t come without it’s negatives, and its a big decision to start taking them. Side effects, memory loss, weight gain…these are some of the negatives that people discuss in relation to these medications: Article regarding negatives of antidepressants. Will they help? Will they make things worse? The thing we need to remember, is that there are negatives in putting anything into your body – one week we’re told bananas are brilliant for you, the next they give you cancer, too much fat is bad for you, too much water can make you unwell etc etc. The other thing to remember is that the use of these medications is only appropriate when advised by your doctor, and should never be abused.

My personal experience is one of positivity. I have been on antidepressant medication since I was 15 years of age, and now being 23, I have been able to see objectively how they have changed my life over a period of time. How do I know they have made an impact? Well, I no longer want to end my life, which is a massive indication! I am less irritable, more out going, more positive, more able, I have more get up and go, I have more energy. I notice when I don’t take my meds for a few days, either through forgetting or through running out of my prescription. I become irritable, fidgety, lethargic, emotional, aware of a deep sense of sadness, lazy and uninterested. These are all the traits I used to have everyday prior to my medication. I find myself feeling more balanced on my medication and more able to face life. My antidepressants work on my mood and also my anxiety, allowing me to lead a more stress-free life, balancing me out to be a more capable individual.

Never be influenced by the stigma attached to taking medication for your mental illness. Remember it takes bravery to step up and ask for help in any form. Be brave. You are not confined by your illness, use every stepping stone available to get yourself back on track.

What are your experiences with antidepressants? Are you for or against? 

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? 

Noticing a change

How do we truly know when we’ve made progress? Not when people point out to us that we’ve changed, definitely not when we are trying too hard to make a change, but actually when all is stripped away, the trying stops and transforms into just being, and we notice a change for ourselves.

It’s exam season again. That dreaded time that for some is not a worry and just a time to test themselves, but for others is a constant pressure, stress and source of worry. I’m sure there are readers of my blog who have suffered the same exam stress as I have over the years. I am now at a stage where I am studying for my degree (yes I know, exams that I have fundamentally CHOSEN to take!!) and it’s time for me to showcase what I have learned about animal anatomy, behaviour and care over the last year.

Years ago, what actually feels like many moons ago, I studied for my GCSE’s. I was 16 years of age and at a stage in my life where my anxiety was at its worst. My panic attacks were sporadic, heart-wrenching, painful, scary and overwhelming. When I look back on myself, the age that I was and how much I dealt with and the fact that I have come through it, I am immensely proud for one, but extremely shocked too. I wish there were enough words in the dictionary to explain how low, how paralysed and how defeated I was by this mental illness that just enraptured my whole self. When it came to sitting my exams themselves, I would have full blown panic attacks, palpitations, sweating, vomiting, nausea, dizziness and I would even lose control of my lips and have facial muscle spasms. It was mortifying to not be able to hide something that I had kept so secret until this point, and it was so difficult to see how I could sit an exam in this state. I would work myself up, cry, physically tremble and worry that I was going to cause myself serious injury. The fear? I’m not sure I could explain. I remember thoughts of:

What if I’m sick in the exam?

What if I lose control of my bowels?

What if people notice and stare?

What if I have a panic attack in the middle of the room?

What if I vomit?

All these what if’s would go through my mind, paralysing me with fear and focussing me on the worst case scenario. It wasn’t even the exam, or the passing or failing. It was simply the sitting in a large room, the unknown, the what if.

I simply did not know how to handle myself or my emotions, fears or feelings. Worse than that, I didn’t know how to control my body. I had no way of controlling my mind, my sheer terror, the physical symptoms or the plethora of panicked thoughts that I was overcome with.

I was unable to eat the night before or the day of my exam. Nothing could pass my lips – as a control method, as a protective shield, as a preventative measure. There would be no sleep the night before. There would be various toilet trips for various eliminations.

I never thought I could get through it.

I did it though. I went through all of that 10 times. AND…I came out with brilliant grades that I was proud of. Something seemed to takeover once I sat down and immersed myself in the paper, and allowed myself to be distracted. My symptoms would be forgotten and my brain would be focussed on showcasing my knowledge. It’s just a shame that nothing could distract me during the panic attack before hand!

This week, I have sat my end of first year exams for my degree in Veterinary Nursing. This week, I know I’m a changed person. I’ve not felt anxious. If I’ve felt nervous, it’s healthy nerves that are more centred on apprehension. I have slept like a baby the night before, I have surrendered myself from the what if’s and accepted the letting go process of “I have done enough. I can only do my best”.

And today…I EVEN ATE BEFORE AN EXAM!! I have never done this in my life. I gave up the controlling, conscious thoughts that I am not allowed food or water in my belly before an exam in case something happens. I gave up the thoughts that it was too risky to eat. I gave up needing to control anything. I let go. I let the knowledge that I had worked hard, I was ok, and I have my own back take over. And it worked.

It’s not come without hard work. This is a reward for the work I have put into myself, finding myself, putting myself first, healing and being comfortable in my own skin. As a result of doing this, my depression and anxiety have waned, and I deserve that.

Whether my results are the best yet or not, whether I supersede my expectations or whether I am disappointed, I will never forget the euphoria of being absolutely ok with being me, exam or not. I was not threatened, or scared, nor on the verge of a panic attack. I was centred and content and ready for any eventuality.

And that, is how I know I have changed. Not just a little, but a lot. And I am proud.

To everybody that has exams this month and next, and is dreading them as much as the old me used to, let me first say that I wish you the best of luck. Secondly, it’s easy to say from where I’m sitting now, but anxiety and panic attacks didn’t get me anywhere, nor did they help my examinations in any way. Try your best to relax, to breathe, to look after yourself and to put yourself first. Remember you are safe in your own body. And you can only ever do your best.


3 Days of Demons: Day 2

Thank you to all that read my last post, in my first part of my trilogy: 3 days of demons! It’s no Lord of the rings, but it’s real, it’s true, and it’s me baring my soul and opening up in order to move past my problems and learn. 

Day 2’s post is a demon that I have posted about before, but it is something that I have a real ongoing struggle with and have yet to overcome. My 2nd demon is money! 

When I think about money, I think about a red devil pinching 20’s from my purse, or the shop declining my card or being minus in my account. I never associate money with positive things, and I never allow myself to have it. 

My problem with money started way back when I was a child, but in a totally different way…I was constantly hoarding and saving. Why? To have something for my own, that nobody else could have or take away from me. I suppose in the back of my mind I felt in control of something, and that I could leave my violent home at the drop of a hat if necessary. I had squirrelled away hundreds and hundreds of pounds in my wardrobe. Oh how I wish I had this habit now! 

Now, my habits include: blowing money, spending it when I know I shouldn’t, a heavy addiction to “things”, buying people presents or “things” in order to gain what I hope to be more valid friendships, never being able to say no to spending, having no limits. 

Why do I have such a problem with money? 

  •  No control as a child, needing something to control and have for my own. 
  • Now with the spending – my low opinion of myself meaning I don’t believe I deserve to save and to have and keep? 
  • The constant need to be liked and to have material things in order to gain that. 
  • To meet other people in their material possessions and to stop my jealousy. 
  • To buy clothes and makeup to feel nice about myself on the outside when I don’t feel good on the inside. 

This results in no savings for my future. Or for emergencies, or for a rainy day. 

What do I need to do to defeat my money demons?

  • Open a savings account that I do not have constant access to and cannot dip in to whenever I like. 
  • Treat myself less often, but still remember to allow myself to live and enjoy things. 
  • Remind myself that I am worthy and deserving to have and to save money, and that I deserve a future that this money can help me with
  • Work on my sense of worthiness and deservability 
  • Spend time making my internal me feel good, and not feeling the need t spend so much money making the external me paint a different image. 
  • Perhaps get someone else to be in control of my finances for a while – this could help me to see how much money I waste from week to week on things I don’t need. 
  • Learn the power of no. Even internally within my head – do I need this? NO. Should I spend my money on this? NO 

One positive? Despite it still being spent, in the last year or so I have focused on spending money on experiences rather than material things. I rarely buy new clothes, instead I spend my cash on holidays, memory making activities and weekends away. Whilst I am still spending money and not saving which is something I really need to focus on, I’m finally living my life! The girl who lived in a bubble and who had no new experiences, or any experiences at all really, has been exploring places, relaxing on beaches in Europe, and planning exciting trips to Thailand, Greece and Costa Rica. 

Yes, I may not be a millionaire, I may not have money to spare in fact, but I am choosing now to spend my money on things that regain back my life that I lost in so many years of being too afraid to step outside my bedroom in fear of what life may throw at me. And if I can save along side that? Well then that’s a balance I cannot wait to have. 

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.


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! 

You won’t…

You won’t just get over your depression You won’t find yourself feeling better miraculously one morning when you wake up. 

You won’t find a magical cure 
It will take work and dedication and tears and falls and get back ups. It will be peaks and troughs. It will be shit and it will be great. 

But when you come out the end you will be a much more well rounded person. A person who knows what it is like to have been lower than low. A person who understands the deepest parts of them self, and who can truly rely upon yourself. 
You won’t be able to reverse your past, erase the bad memories or get rid of the scars. But you will be fitted with reminders of what was and how far you have come. Everyday you will remember how hard your fought to just live, and that will be empowering. 
There will not be one medication that fixes you, but instead a combination of treatments, relaxation, you time, friends and family, memories etc that help you get back to who you are destined to be. And that’s much more meaningful than popping a magical pill. 
You will feel blessed with the amount of people who reached out a hand to help you in your darkest moments. You’ll remember all the lovely things people said. You’ll treasure the loving texts, the phone calls that stopped your tears, and the conversations that made you smile. And relationships will mean so much more to you. 
You will appreciate life and the world in a way you beer thought you would, noticing beauty that you never thought you would see. You will feel lucky to be on the earth, because for a moment back there you didn’t believe you would make it. You’ve known what it was like to be close to losing your life, and now you appreciate all it means to live. 
You will wake up in the morning knowing you are lucky. You’re lucky to have and be and feel. You’re lucky to be you, depression and all. 
So don’t see the journey as an uphill slog, it’s so much more than that. 

It’s growth. 

It’s self love. 

It’s deservability. 

It’s a roller coaster. 

And you’ll feel wonderful when things start looking up, and so much the better for the journey it took to get you there. 
And you will beat it. Simple as that.