Escaping

If your suffering with mental illness you will know how nice it can feel as though you can escape as it’s not always that easy when it’s inside your head! Well I have been able to escape in sunny Thailand while on holiday with my friend to celebrate her 30th. Not going to lie I […]

From me to all of you….

Get dressed, love.You’re going to be late.

You look at yourself in the mirror,

The one you really hate.
Put it down, love.

It’s caused you so much pain.

You’re going to do damage.

You don’t want to be called insane.
Stand up, love.

Your tears make you weak.

Wipe off that black mascara,

Proof of sadness upon your cheek.
Take your pills, love.

You must try your very best.

Forget about your dizzy spells,

The tightening in your chest.
Chin up, love.

No one can know your thoughts.

You must act like you’re happy

While your heart just sits and rots.
Smile a little, love.

Let me see those pearly whites.

No one has to know

What you thought about all those nights.
Breathe for me, love.

Your pain won’t be forever.

Take my hand, and I’ll take yours.

We’ll get through this together.

Holiday

I know I haven’t posted for a while but I am currently away on holiday for my best friends 30th having some time for myself. I will be posting soon!  I am sorry there hasn’t been any new posts recently. I will be back home on Saturday so not too long to wait. I am […]

Going on Holiday

Going on holiday during recovery? To most people I would say “Go ahead, it will do you the world of good.” but in the back of my mind I keep thinking am I going to be ok? What if I am going to be a boring sod! I just never know how I am going to be from day to day. If it was only a few hours on a flight I think I would be fine, but knowing I am going to be 15 hours away it is not having the same feeling. If any of you are wondering I am jetting off to Thailand to see the elephants and will be on my way when you will be reading this post! 

With sorting everything out and not long to go at this very moment the the anxiety has started to kick in with me thinking about every little thing, a few things I am worry about are;

  • Do I have all the documents I need?
  • Do I have all the clothes I need?
  • Is my travel card going to work?
  • Am I going to get lost?
  • Will I be safe?
  • Am I going to be able to cope on a 15 hour flight?
  • Will they let me take my medication on the flight?
  • Am I going to be able to find where to park?
  • Will I be able to drive to Manchester and not have a panic attack behind the wheel.

The list does go on.. but I do not want to bore you. I am sure some of you can relate to the worries I am having above. It is never easy going on holiday during your recovery and when dealing with mental illness alone. I have only just come out of crisis point and I don’t know if I am pushing my look.  I have a long way to go yet. I am not even back at work full time yet so the thought of being away from my dad for nearly 2 weeks is killing me at the moment.. I think he will be getting a phone call every day with the way I am feeling. I am such a home bird and of course a daddies girl.

There is so much to worry about when it comes to going on holiday for a standard person never mind those who are suffering with mental illness and I am struggling like hell at the moment. I am just trying to think about how relaxing it will be when I get there and just the thought of feeding the elephants is what is keeping me going! Sometimes the anxiety isn’t too bad as I am just thinking of the amazing opportunities I will get, the things I will be able to see…. I will be sharing photos when I come back of course! But it’s not long until I just think about the drive to the airport, it’s a long way and I am never sure of how it is going to go. Sometimes I’m fine driving no issues what so ever but then other times I can be having an anxiety attack behind the wheel… which is never a good thing! 

I just need some time in a beautiful place to clear my head! 

So back to the actual going on holiday when suffering with mental illness…. I think it is something which is very important and it is going to give me the time I need to just think and not have the day to day stresses, don’t get me wrong I am sure I will still find lots of things to start worrying about! There will be so many amazing things which you can do and see which are slightly out of your comfort zone but you never know what will happen and what you will overcome while your on holiday. As your slightly in a different frame of mind. Not sure that will make sense to everyone though. 

But most of all it gives me time to relax and allow me to be really be in touch with some of my thoughts. I am always 1000 miles per hour and not that holiday will help but it might just allow a little bit more breathing space! I think this is something which people should try as it allows you to switch off from the main world, you don’t have to go on holiday for this you can go to a spa, have a bath and put your phone on airplane mode… this is my favourite and a lot of my friends have started doing this aswell. Switching off from the world from time to time can be a good thing as it allows us to process things and really be in touch with everything we are going through. Holidays are brilliant for this as you are able to see other people going through hand times getting on with what they have, it can let us reflect on things we have been beating ourselves up about, you will more than likely realise that actually it’s not as bad as we think! 

I hope this has provided some inspiration to those thinking about going on holiday while suffering or going through the recovery stages. You can always do what you put your mind to! 

Have you done anything which has ever made you reflect and feel truly relaxed? 

Speak soon. 

Vx

Escape Rooms

So I thought this would be an interesting one to share with you. Work decided as a team building exercise we would go to the escape rooms in Nottingham and I for some reason decided to accept the offer to go. Not sure this was the best idea.

I am someone who suffers with severe anxiety and as a result controls a lot of what I do… this can be anything from wearing what I want or going out with the girls. So being locked up within a room and having to work my way out of it is not something I find ‘fun’  but I thought I would give it a shot. At least I wasn’t in the room on my own, I had a good few members of my team to help me work through the challenges. I can’t imagine my mind being the best with the anxiety juices flowing.

So anyways a night out had been planned with the work colleagues for a little bit of team building and I felt so anxious at work leading up to the night that I ended up having to go home and have a nap as I was in a right state… crying, shaking, not thinking straight etc! When I say nap it ended up being 4 and half hours… for someone who doesn’t normally sleep this was like a gift! So my friend was lovely enough to pick me up as I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive to Nottingham, just the thought of it my heart starts to race!

On the way I wasn’t too bad, I just felt a little sick which I could handle. Before I know it I was standing in the escape rooms front desk asking for water to ensure I took my tablets as I could feel the anxiety kicking in! I thought oh no what have I signed up to? Thinking I can’t even run because I haven’t drove and we are all in groups so I would be letting the team down. So I decided to take my tablets and just give it ago. So the lovely lady walked us to our room to explain all the normal health and safety information and what our room was all about… setting the scene! I didn’t take any of this in… apart from no licking wires which I don’t think I will ever forget! Next thing I know we are locked in a room with a van and ‘clues’. What’s a clue I had no idea. I just remember thinking I need to look for keys!

As soon as it started and the vault opened, all the anxiety was pushed to a side as I was able to be in control of the situation… either that or the tablets had kicked in! (I am not recommending that everyone takes tablets to get rid of anxiety, you will be advised by your doctors if you need these). I enjoyed everyone moment and is the best thing I have done in such a long time.

So back to the room… you have an hour to escape and have to work together to find clues and find al the information you need. We did very well for saying we had the 2nd hardest room there. We was able to get through the vault and use all the tools we had to get us through each step. We was even ahead at some times… one of my friends/colleagues had figured out one of the puzzles without the clue! Amazing I know. I wouldn’t have been able to it.

You can do whatever you set your mind to!

I can hear you all asking… so did you escape? The answer was no but we was very close towards the end we wasn’t in best form being all hot and sweaty and starting to get a little irritable. Maybe another 5 minutes and we would have been out.

But it made me realise that even when my anxiety is telling me to run for the hills, I need to try to push through these feelings. This goes to you all too, I really had such a good night and couldn’t have wished for a better evening and will for sure be doing it again! No one or nothing is stopping me from now. I will be going for the hardest room next time though… or maybe just try and complete the room I tried to do!

If you have any escape rooms near you I would recommend it highly for those who are wanting a good night out, a team building excercise etc. I know for a fact our team will be heading back out at some point to give it another go! I honestly had the best time, I laughed, I did get a little frustrated and not going to lie the anxiety was there for 10/15 minutes here and there but I could handle it. That is something I haven’t been able to do for such a long time and I can’t thank my colleagues enough for this, I felt human again for an hour!

What have you done where you have had to battle your anxiety?

Speak soon

Vx

Collateral Beauty

I don’t know if you have already heard of this film as it did come out in the cinema’s last year. As soon as I saw the trailer it was something I knew I had to watch.. I will explain a short while why. Will Smith is the main character who loses his little girl and he writes letters to death, love and time.

So before I go into details about the film I little bit more I will explain why I wanted to watch this. This isn’t so easy for me to write, even the thought of it I am fighting back the tears! So here it goes… I lost my mum when I was very young and never have been to accept this, after seeing many different specialists it came to the conclusion that I have never grieved for my mum. This film seemed right up my alley as it speaks about how death, love and time have an impact on everyones live. Will Smith’s character starts to resent them as a result of the loss of his daughter.

So he writes letters to these ‘things’ to explain why he is so upset and angry. The one that got me the most was love, as he made it very obvious that he doesn’t see any love in his life after his daughter was taken. Love explains that even in the pain she is still there and I didn’t really get this but after much thinking it came to me, that no matter how hurt or sad you are it is due to the passion inside you. You must of really loved something /someone in order for it to cause you so much pain.

Love is everywhere and we can’t escape this. I think this is something that we can all take when it comes to our mental health. No matter how much we are hurting it’t there due to the love inside us for something or someone. I think we need to remember this in the times of need, remember those loved ones we could be hurting as a result of harming ourselves.

This is a film I would highly recommend to most people, especially those who have lost loved ones and haven’t really even been able to understand why this happens to them. However, it might not be the best of ideas if this is still fresh… when I say fresh I mean within the last couple of months. But if you do decide then don’t forget the tissues.

I can hear you all now.. whats does Collateral Beauty mean?

The meaning is simple, the damage of a child’s death is so dark and severe that a parent cannot see the full picture because of the tragedy. It may take a lifetime to understand that within that dark and ugly place there was a beauty and love there so strong that not even death could dishevel it ….that in fact, the beauty is that love continues even after and through death and the impact of that trauma brings us closer to the love that we shared for that person and all the ways love of that individual has affected our lives and the lives of others. The secondary beauty that has an everlasting ripple effect on other peoples lives and through eternity is what living is truly about. All about the quality and not so much the quantity. Life is a teacher and Love is the reward in all its forms. When we can see love where darkness used to reside we can finally turn our lives and those around us into something glorious.

So I do think this is something we can all take away… maybe some of us haven’t lost a child but it still applies to those who have lost any loved ones.

Speak Soon

Vx

Sources of help

When your suffering you might think to yourself… who can help me? And a lot of the time you will be telling yourself no one! 

But I can say there is help out there, you might not think it and we tend to think it’s a battle we have to fight on our own, but that doesn’t have to be the way and here are some of the sources you can use.

Samaritans 

Samaritans are a good organisation to get in touch with when your feeling really low or having feelings of self harm! I would really recommend calling these as they are able to help talk you to a more stable state. The calls are normally completely confidential and you can convide in them 100%. They are open 24/7 so you can contact at anytime any day!

Local GP/doctor 

I highly recommend going to see your GP if your having any doubts with yourself and you are feeling low a lot of the time. Most people don’t like to go their GP as they feel as though they are just going to get pushed straight out of the door and I can tell you if it wasn’t for my GP I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing right now. They are able to chase appointments, put you in contact with organisations and even provide you with support if you need it such as the crisis team! They are able to make sure you have the medication and support you need to make each day more bearable. So please don’t suffer in silence. If you go to see a doctor and they don’t do anything to help just ask to see another doctor.

Family and friends

This is one most people forget about as you feel as though your a burden on them but trust me they are normally the ones who can help the most as they know you! You will find the ones who you can speak to and the ones who aren’t ever going to understand. If you are struggling to get your family to understand try to explain to them what it is like inside your head, they will listen if they do want to help. If your lucky like me I have a lot of friends who have and are going through a very similar situation so they are able to understand exactly what I mean but if not, then you can always source forums or even just sending an email to someone who has knows such as a blog writer or a organisation.

These are just a few of the sources out there that can help you. At the top of my page you will see ‘Support Contacts’ please click as there is more information on third party people you can speak to and know you will not be judged.

Speak Soon

Vx

Stress

Everyone suffers with stress and people who say that don’t are definitely lying. I suffer with stress a lot and almost everything stresses me… even writing this post! It’s not as easy as people think it is to cope with day-to-day stresses when you already have so much to deal with yourself. So to start off I am going to give some examples of things which cause me stress.

  • Being late
  • Waiting for a phone call
  • Not feeling well and not knowing why
  • Anniversary of a beloveds death
  • Saying ‘yes’ to too many things
  • Not being in control

These are just a few if I told you everything we would be here all day and the blog post would never end… I don’t want to bore you too much. Everyone has triggers which stress them out, if you are unsure of yours then there are things you can do to try to source the triggers. I can hear some of you now saying how can you not know what stresses you, well it’s very normally to feel stressed and not know why. I have it all the time! But one way to help with identifying the trigger is to start a Stress Journal. A stress journal can help you identify the regular stress triggers in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, write it down. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and may be very surprise at the triggers. I bet your asking me now well what do I put in this stress journal well below are the things I would recommend for you to write.

  • What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
  • How you felt, both physically and emotionally
  • How you acted in response
  • What you did to make yourself feel better (you may not be able to answer this but don’t feel like you have to if you can’t)

If your wondering.. how do I know if I’m stressed them here are some of the signs..

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Back and neck pain
  • Chest pains
  • Worrying or feeling anxious
  • Skin breakouts
  • Headaches

These are just some of the signs and if you are concerned then speak to the doctor. I have to say the best thing to do is to try and use coping skills to get you through this.

Give your stress wings and let it fly away.

Coping skills are what determine how we can deal with these stresses… there are good and bad coping skills though. Bad coping skills consist of smoking more, drinking more, taking drugs, sleeping too much, withdrawing from friends and family etc. I am guilty of bad coping skills so I can’t say that this doesn’t help as everyone has their own ways of coping… just make sure it doesn’t affect your health more!

There are so many ways to help relieve stress in a good way and these are;

  • Meditate
  • Window Shop…. this one always leaves to actually shopping for me! 
  • Take a walk in the rain
  • Light a candle
  • Reflect on the positives of your life
  • Blow bubbles
  • Sit under a tree and become one with nature.
  • Take some time for you… such as taking that bath you’ve always wanted but not had time too.
  • Listen to music
  • Speaking to friends and family about what is causing you stress

These are some of the things I do and trust me they can work but sometimes they don’t work the first time you use them, as they take practice. I’m inpatient so I like things to work like yesterday.  You never know what is going to work for you so always give things a try before ruling them out. 

Stress is a huge impact on everyone’s mental health and we just have to make sure that we keep on top of it where possible. I know this is not always the case as sometimes things can be too much but never forget your are NOT alone, there are thousands of people suffering and if you ever need support or guideance there are lots of places you can source this! 

Your mind is very powerful and it amazing how much you can come with just trying different coping strageries. 

Speak soon 

Vx

 

Staying afloat

I was going to name this post ‘staying positive’ but I don’t think this is something I could sit and write about in all honesty as this is something I struggle with day-to-day! But staying afloat is something I can help with as I find myself doing this most days until I’m back in my safe haven (my bedroom!).

Staying afloat can mean a lot to different people, for me it’s just getting through the day without anyone seeing the cracks I suppose! I know that I am not the same person I use to be and that I will be struggling for a long amount of time as of now. But I am able to try to get on with the day-to-day stresses and activities such as having a shower and going to work. Which sound simple to most people but I can tell you they are big challenges for me, it’s so big it’s like I’m walking to Scotland and back…… which is 100s of miles!

Looking from the outside you would think I am a happy bubbly person but it’s amazing what you can hide from the world, if you don’t want people to see this.

Staying afloat is a lot harder than it seems, sometimes it feels as though you’re in a boat sinking but your just chucking the water out with your bare hands trying to stop yourself from drowning. Something which isn’t so easy to do. But what most people don’t understand is that this is something we have to do all day every day, looking normal to the outside world. Don’t be fooled by our smiles and laughter, we are masters of masking the pain.

My silence is just another word for pain

You might be thinking well you don’t need to put a smile on just show us how your really feeling… it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But this isn’t really a choice it’s a must to be able to cope with everything we have going on. It can be anything from not feeling confident to hating yourself or just feeling out of control. For me I find pretending to be this happy person is something I am able to control….. I am such a control freak that’s for sure. Don’t ever be fooled by someone’s smile, it is so easy to fake after years of practice and most people suffering have suffered for years!

A good way to help yourself stay afloat is by setting yourself goals as this gives you something to work towards but don’t do anything too challenging as failing can make you feel worse…. trust me it’s not nice. When you fail you just beat yourself up and it becomes harder and you start to sink!

Depression feels like your drowning but you can see everyone around you breathing!

Try to stop the negative thinking… this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Plus it’s alright saying this when you haven’t got to do it yourself, but try to write down those negative thoughts and then burn or rip them up it will give you the feeling that your letting them go. If you don’t want to write then think of reasons why you should be grateful. I couldn’t do this easily and it allows you time to really think about your life! Just remember nothing lasts forever and the negative thought will pass and it just a negative thought! It will go just as quick as it came into your head.

So staying afloat is not something which is easy to be done but there are ways to try to help to stay afloat, don’t feel as though your on your own, there are thousands of people suffering with mental illness and they are still going and you can to!

Speak soon

Vx

Tossing and Turning? 

Sleep can be something a lot of people battle with especially those who suffer with mental illness, this can be for a number of reasons.

This is something I suffer with that’s for sure, not being able to sleep is something that can make your mental illness a lot worse. Sleep is hard when your mind is going 10000 miles per hour, not being able to truly relax. It can take hours for you even be able to get some sleep. Normally at around 3/4am I can finally get off to sleep, this only allows me a few hours before having to get up for work. Leaving me completely exhausted… which isn’t any good for anyone. The less sleep you get the more you become anxious and frustrated, but this is why you can’t sleep in the first place so it soon becomes a vicious circle!

For me I struggle to get to sleep but once I’m asleep I seem to be ok. I am always one for tossing and turning throughout the night, but I find that I can ‘normally’ go to sleep… however this is not always the case. So I try a number of things to help, this can be from having herbal tea to meditating.

One thing I do find which is a common occurrence for me when sleeping is hot sweats in the night, at first I thought it was something I was coming down with something (maybe a cold) but it soon came apparent this was something to do with my mental health and has now been identified as panic attacks in my sleep… something which isn’t so nice to experience.
Night terrors… these have got to be the worse part of depression and anxiety when it comes to sleeping. Not everyone experiences these but they may have heard or had them in the past. I find it terrifying I would wake up in tears and screaming waking up the house. I never really understand why until I started to remember what I was dreaming about… I will tell you now it was not pretty. I feel as thought I am not in control, being a control freak this is something which doesn’t help my mental state.

If you are struggling to get to sleep or even stay asleep I would recommend that you try what you think is best for you. Some of these include;

  • Not eating to close to bed time, so your last meal should be a few hours to allow time for your body to digest the food.
  • Trying herbal teas, my favourite is lavender teas. You could even try something like calms which can help to relax you before bed.
  • Relaxation/meditation this can be brilliant but doesn’t work straight away it takes a lot of practice but can come very in handy when it comes to not being able to switch off or in a middle of a panic attack. 100% worth a try. If you have a smart phone there are plenty of apps available such as headspace and simple habit.
  • Not having a shower just before bed.. this increases your body temperature and it takes a good few hours in order for your body to get back to normal temperature.
  • Lavender… whether it’s burning a candle (just make sure you don’t leave burning when going to sleep), essential oils you can put these on your pillow or on a hanky, plug-ins etc. There are plenty of ways to have lavender brought into your bedroom.
  • No television or electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Using an electronic tricks your brain to thinking it’s day time due to the blue light which is released. This will cause plenty of issues with you trying to sleep. So try this before anything.
  • No caffeine. Most people have a caffeine ban from 6pm this allows plenty of time for your body to get rid of the caffeine so your able to have a good nights sleep.
  • Writing… this may seem a little bit odd but it does help if you have a lot going through your mind. You could write how your feeling, a letter to someone or just what’s going through your mind.
  • Putting your phone on silent. This will allow you to get some rest without being disturbed by late phone calls/texts. It means you can try to get your full 7/8 hours of sleep a night like we all should. 

The best thing I would recommend in trying to get to sleep is just trying to get into a routine. Is there anything else you could recommend to people struggling with sleep? Even I still need help when it comes to sleeping.

If you have tried everything in your power to try to sleep then I would highly recommend that you go to see your local GP as they will be able to look into this. They may be able to see what is causing the issue and provide you with a solution.

Speak soon.

Vx

A ‘normal’ day

Suffering with mental health a normal day is completely different to those who don’t suffer with this. So I am going to walk through a good normal day for me. Other people who suffer might have a completely different day as everyone is different and has their own triggers.

Morning 

Starting the day I have to fight with my alarms and once I’ve decided to actually wake up the next challenge is getting out of bed this can vary from 30 mins to hours! It seems like the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced and I can tell you I’ve had some challenges in my life! Once I’ve dragged myself out of bed I then have to try to get myself ready this can vary… I tend to just throw on anything in front of me, not really caring what I look like or questioning everything I wear due to worrying what people might think. So this can take 1 minute or 1 hour. I use to be someone who loved makeup but now the thought of it makes me feel sick as I hate to even look at myself in the mirror. Once dressed no food for me just plenty of coffee to try to get me into a conscious state. Self care isn’t something I think much of so it can be a challenge to have a shower. I then have to make sure I take my medication so I can get through the day!

Afternoon 

This can be very different depending on my mood, so it could be that I am none stop looking after family and friends so I don’t have to think about what’s happening inside my head. On the other side I could be sat in my bedroom hiding from the world and this is a good day never mind. Anxiety kicks in when looking through Facebook wondering what everyone is thinking about me. I start to question my friends and whether I should even speak to my family as I know they will just be judging me and yes that’s the people who love me, never mind those who don’t even know me! I may be able to get a sandwich down me, if I try to force some food down me. Even on a good day I can’t face food much. If I’m at work it is putting on my fake ‘smile’ and trying to be the bubbly person everyone wants to see, inside I am beating myself up. Thinking people are watching my every move, panicking incase a mistake is made, wondering if people actually like me but the worst thing of all is when the thoughts of why do I even bother as these can lead to the most upsetting and disturbing thoughts. You won’t understand this if you have never had these thoughts before.

Evening 

So the evening is normally just me sat in front of the television watching but not watching television as I can’t concentrate on anything that is going off…. this is normally down to my mind racing and fighting not to do anything silly. Wondering what’s wrong with me! Thinking I am some crazy person. No dinner for me unless my friend has forced me to have something… there is no saying no to her that’s for sure. Then normally I will go to bed at around 9 and stay awake for several hours. Normally going to sleep at around 2/4 in the morning and then waking up early to go to work. If I am unable to get off to sleep I tend to sit and right down my feelings which can be a challenge within itself because as soon as one thought comes in, another is straight after (I am talking 0.00000002 seconds after). They are flying through as if they are running for their lives, which is how it feels for me sometimes, running away from my thoughts but this isn’t possible trust me!

This is just an idea of what a normal day for consists of on a good day. I have to say this doesn’t cover everything as this is just an average day. Each day can change due to the amount of sleep I’ve had, what I have dreamt about and even what I have coming up within the next couple of days/weeks.

I hope this has helped to see what a normal day can consist of for someone suffering with mental illness, as I have already mentioned this is a ‘good’ day. I will post soon all about what it is like on a bad day so keep your eyes pealed.If you have any ideas of something you would like me to post or any comments feel free to mention in the comments section.

Speak soon.

Vx