Enjoying Writing Again

Enjoying Writing Again

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll have noticed I didn’t post much in July…in fact I only posted 3 times. I got to a point where I felt like the blog was another pressure in my life, another thing I needed to do and that’s not what this blog is about.

My blog has always just been a place where I can write, get ideas down and create something that I’m proud of. So when it stopped being fun I took a step back. For me, there was never a question of me getting back to it but I didn’t know when. I thought maybe I’d take until September because I was just so overwhelmed and struggling with my mental health.

That is until today, when I could feel my fingers itching to get to the keyboard and write about things. I could feel ideas for posts forming in my brain without it feeling like a colossal effort. Despite the fact I’m absolutely exhausted today (gym workout felt great yesterday, less so today) I wanted to write again. Yippie!

So, I’m not planning on putting pressure on myself to post a certain number of times a week at the moment, or on the views because, really does it matter? I blog mostly for me, to write, to get better at my craft etc. I don’t rely on this blog for my income, it’s not something I have to do so I’m going to get back to writing what I want again…I hope you enjoy it!

It’s good to be back.

5 Things You Might Not Realise When You Start Therapy

5 Things You Might Not Realise When You Start Therapy

I’ve mentioned on my social media that I started therapy this year. I’d been on the waiting list for 11 months so I’d had a lot of time to think (read worry) about what was going to happen, if it was going to work, if it would ever happen.

Then I started and while I’m not going to go into detail, because therapy is private, I have had some realisations about therapy that I didn’t know I would. I’ve heard from a number of you guys about your own mental health, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learnt.

More people than you think will have gone through similar feelings

I was really open about going to therapy and so many people surprised me with their own stories. I was shocked by the number of people who had been to therapy, were currently going or hoping to start soon.

It was a real reminder that no matter how much our brains make us feel like we’re completely alone, we’re not.

You may turn into a human tap

I cried, oh man I cried. Not even about the things I was talking through. I’d watch a cute video about animal friends on Facebook and start blubbing like a baby.

After my first 2 sessions in particular I just kept crying. I think this is down to the fact that some of the things I’ve been going through I haven’t dealt with, I’ve pushed it aside because I didn’t have time to fall apart – shit needed to get done.

So, lifting the lid in the first session just opened up the part of my brain that makes the tears come. That was not so fun.

You can feel both heavier and lighter at the same time

This is a weird one to write about and to describe. In on sense just being able to talk about things makes me feel lighter. On the flip side after the sessions I was incredibly tired and my body felt heavy…hopefully that makes sense.

There may be trauma that you haven’t processed

Oof this is something that hit me harder than I thought. We realised in the first few sessions that a lot of what was going on was linked to the accident I had where I broke my spine and after.

Going back about 5 years and working through it is a lot but I’m glad I can finally deal with it.

You’re going to be ok

It might take a while, but you really, really will.

Being Kind To Myself During Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

At the start of the week I wrote my post to announce that it was Mental Health Awareness Week and my intention to publish a post every day…you might have noticed that it didn’t happen.

I spoke about the theme being kind to yourself and to others. In the end it was something that I needed to do for myself – which also meant not posting online. I was struck by a particularly nasty migraine earlier in the week and felt pretty rough physically and mentally for the rest of it.

One evening I was trying to write a post on ways to be kind to yourself and it just wasn’t working. Ali pointed out that I wasn’t being kind to myself – that quality was more important than quantity. I agreed and said I would take the time and see what happened. Today is the first time I’ve felt up to writing a new blog.

I had to remind myself that while I love writing the blog and interacting with people, if I’m not up to it nothing bad is going to happen. If I take time off, no one will hate me. It’s also part of the work I’ve been doing within therapy sessions – to be more compassionate to myself and mostly give myself a break.

Writing this is partially because I wanted to say what happened and to show that you need to practice what you preach.

Be kind to yourself.

Welcome To Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Writing about mental health isn’t anything new on this blog. While it may have changed in recent years to being about how I’m doing mentally in regards to chronic health conditions it’s still very important to me.

This years Mental Health Awareness week is very different and it’s likely that more people are aware of their mental health. We’re living through a time that none of us could imagine. As simple affection is limited or, for some, impossible I feel like now more than ever it’s important to discuss how we’re feeling.

This years theme is kindness, something we can all give but could all do with receiving too. While the world might seem like the most anxiety inducing place right now, and it is, there are also signs of hope and generosity.

During the last few weeks I’ve received messages, family members and neighbours have helped when we couldn’t go to the shops, strangers on the internet have sent me things from my amazon wish list and so have friends. I’ve tried to do things for others too in the ways I can.

I know that, for me, it’s felt at times like we’re stuck in a reoccurring nightmare. That it takes more effort than I have when things are hard. It’s normal to have days where it’s all too much, especially now. Taking it day by day, even hour by hour we can get through it together.

I’m going to be posting hopefully every day this week about mental health. Even though it’s a different kind of awareness week. I hope you find the posts helpful.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One - Getting Through Tough Days

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One – Getting Through Tough Days

I’m going to be honest with you all, I was dreading today. I’d been dreading it for a few weeks and until recently my plan was to spend the day hiding in my bed – I was in a much worse place mentally than I am right now.

Today marks 5 years since my life completely changed after a horse riding accident. If you’ve read my blogs for a while you’ll probably know quite a lot if not I started horse riding at university and loved it, 6 months into learning to ride I fell and broke part of my spine. It was a long recovery and I later developed Fibromyalgia.

Normally, I’d make sure I treated myself on the day. If I could help it I wouldn’t plan anything but I’d maybe go to my local shopping center and let myself buy a few things, go to a coffee shop and maybe see a friend or my family and get through the day. Obviously I couldn’t do that today.

I woke up and checked my social media and BAM Facebook memories, thank you very much for the picture of me riding. Thank you indeed. So I got up, got my cup of tea and let myself have some time to sit and think – feel how I needed to feel. I did get teary and emotional thinking about all the changes, everything that happened.

I’m working through the event, what happened after and my Fibromyalgia diagnosis in therapy. I do think that had helped this year. I let myself feel and then got up, got showered and dressed. I worked all morning and went out for a walk to feel the sun on my skin.

While I was walking I thought about how far I’ve come. Some days I can’t do that, other days (in non lockdown times) I can go to the gym. Each day is different but I think I’m doing well. Would I have got through today a few years ago? I don’t know.

It’s a bit of a rambly post, but I expected that. I’m proud of myself for where I am. Does that mean I don’t struggle? No. I struggle mentally and physically with the fact my life has changed forever and I’ve had to change the future I thought I would have.

That said I’m trying. I’m taking it day by day and I’m proud of myself for getting through today in a totally weird and stressful situation.

Peace out.

Anxiety is something that is floating around a lot right now and rightfully so. It’s incredibly normal to feel worried and feel anxious. But how about when you have anxiety? When you’re pretty used to your brain freaking out. I’ve lived with anxiety for a really long time now and have found ways in the normal way of life to cope with it but those aren’t quite working right now. So I thought I’d put down a few of the ways that I, and other people I know are feeling right now. You Don’t Want To Sound Dramatic, But You’re Absolutely Terrified Usually, any kind of anxiety or panic spiral that leads to catastrophising can be challenged with reason but when you look around and see other people who don’t have anxiety disorders getting worked up it sounds alarm bells. So it makes sense that your brain is on high alert and EVERYTHING feels like its on fire while you’re standing in the middle watching. Panic Attacks Feel A Lot More Scary Last week I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a long, long time. I was petrified that something was seriously wrong. Part of a panic attack for me includes a tight chest, trouble breathing and chest pain. Sound familiar? Exactly. Thankfully, I had Ali to help me with this one because it wasn’t going away on its own. In the moment logic went out of the window and it just overtook my brain. Afterwards I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. Regular Symptoms Are Harder To Deal With It’s kind of mentioned above but a lot of the symptoms of anxiety are similar to that of the virus. So your chest feels tight, then you worry, then you get anxious, then your chest gets more tight and so it carries on. You’re Not Quite Sure How To Manage Without A Lot Of Your Coping Strategies I spent years working on strategies to help me when I was feeling anxious, one of the easiest was going for a cup of tea and a hug with my Mum, which is out of the window. Borrowing a dog for a walk and play? Nope. Meeting a friend to get out of my own head and space? Also no. You Feel Alone I completely get this because it’s easy to feel alone in all this. BUT I can promise you that you’re not.

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Four – What It’s Like To Have Anxiety Right Now

Anxiety is something that is floating around a lot right now and rightfully so. It’s incredibly normal to feel worried and feel anxious. 

But how about when you have anxiety? When you’re pretty used to your brain freaking out. I’ve lived with anxiety for a really long time now and have found ways in the normal way of life to cope with it but those aren’t quite working right now. So I thought I’d put down a few of the ways that I, and other people I know are feeling right now. 

You Don’t Want To Sound Dramatic, But You’re Absolutely Terrified

Usually, any kind of anxiety or panic spiral that leads to catastrophising can be challenged with reason but when you look around and see other people who don’t have anxiety disorders getting worked up it sounds alarm bells. 

So it makes sense that your brain is on high alert and EVERYTHING feels like its on fire while you’re standing in the middle watching. 

Panic Attacks Feel A Lot More Scary 

Last week I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a long, long time. I was petrified that something was seriously wrong. Part of a panic attack for me includes a tight chest, trouble breathing and chest pain. Sound familiar? Exactly. 

Thankfully, I had Ali to help me with this one because it wasn’t going away on its own. In the moment logic went out of the window and it just overtook my brain. Afterwards I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. 

Regular Symptoms Are Harder To Deal With 

It’s kind of mentioned above but a lot of the symptoms of anxiety are similar to that of the virus. So your chest feels tight, then you worry, then you get anxious, then your chest gets more tight and so it carries on. 

You’re Not Quite Sure How To Manage Without A Lot Of Your Coping Strategies 

I spent years working on strategies to help me when I was feeling anxious, one of the easiest was going for a cup of tea and a hug with my Mum, which is out of the window. Borrowing a dog for a walk and play? Nope. Meeting a friend to get out of my own head and space? Also no. 

You Feel Alone 

I completely get this because it’s easy to feel alone in all this. BUT I can promise you that you’re not. 

You’re really, really not.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Seven - Little Wins

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Seven – Little Wins

Yesterday I fell asleep at 8.30pm, hence there lack of blog and I think I needed it. While I have been going to bed earlier I’ve felt absolutely exhausted and I think that’s to do with my mental health.

A lot of people are struggling mentally right now and it makes total sense as to why. Even people who don’t live with mental health difficulties are finding it tough right now, which is completely valid. That said, I’m fine to admit that I am mentally struggling, as I said before a lot of my mechanisms aren’t available right now.

It’s because of this that I’m focusing on the small wins every day. Today I’ve managed to get up, get showered, get dressed, eat fairly regularly and work. It might not sound like much but having some kind of motivation was great.

Getting big wins can feel pretty impossible for most of us right now. So by focusing on something as small as getting showered and dressed in the morning, getting a little work done or something that we enjoy should be enough.

I set out the 4 things that I want to do every day and I’m trying to stick to them as best I can it gives me something to aim for that doesn’t take much out of me. At the end of the say I’m still living with a chronic health condition and a mental illness. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not superhuman, that I have to do what I have to do.

What are your little wins?

How To Look After Your Mental Health When The World Isn't Helping

How To Look After Your Mental Health When The World Isn’t Helping

Watching the news can stress anyone out and when you’re already got a battle in your own head sometimes it can feel like too much – trust me I’ve been there.

When I was in my late teens I would wake up in the morning and over my cup of tea I’d scroll through the BBC News app to see what had happened overnight (so, painfully British I know). It was a simpler time where the news didn’t make me want to cry. I digress, kind of.

From around 2016 I couldn’t do it anymore because it was making me incredibly miserable, I’ll leave you to work out why. In the past 4 years, I haven’t seen much improvement BUT I have come up with ways to help when the world really, really isn’t.

Don’t be afraid to take time out.

I want to know what’s going on in the world, of course I do, but if I’m not feeling great I don’t mind not reading or watching the news. If I do want to know I will make it short.

Surround yourself with the good in your life and the world

I’ll seek out good news, see friends and family that make me feel happy or fall into a good book where I can get away from the real world. Trust me, it works wonders.

Be considerate of who you’re following and how they make you feel

I’m a big believer in filling my feed with positivity and people I find interesting or can look up to. I’m not switching off from reality but things I can control I will, including my Twitter and Instagram.

Find comedy about the situation – or let someone else do it for you

In the UK I love The Last Leg and Have I Got News For You. I also watch a LOT of the late-night hosts in the UK via YouTube, I love the Jimmy’s and my fave Stephen Colbert to see the news in an amusing but still intelligent way.

Talk about how you feel

I can guarantee that other people will feel the same; overwhelmed and more than likely fed up.

Remember, it may look bleak but it won’t always be

It’s called a news cycle for a reason, we’re going to get through it.

Book Review: It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies – Edited By Scarlett Curtis

It’s OK if everything might feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s OK to talk about it.
It’s OK to not want to talk about it.
It’s OK to find it funny.
It’s OK to be human.”

Back with another book of tackling taboos Scarlett Curtis is talking about mental health and she has even more people coming to write this time.

I pre-ordered this as soon as I found out about it because I absolutely adored the first book Scarlett put together Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies , it was a real eye opener and one of my favourites about Feminism. And while this collection is bigger, I can understand why – the topic is something that impacts everyone whether it’s you or someone close to you.

With names such as Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay, Matt Haig, Bryony Gordon, Emma Thompson and Naomi Campbell lending their personal stories and essays to the collection it was going to be interesting. We see these people on the TV, online, out in the world doing great things but knowing that even those who are great have struggled or continue to make people feel less alone.

This is definitely one to pick up and read as much as you can because there are some really heavy subjects in here, obviously, and I definitely think that you need to consider how you’re feeling before you read it. That said, there really is something for everyone in here, no matter what you’ve been through or felt.

About half way through the book I found myself struggling to differentiate between the stories so I switched to the audiobook and found it so much better. A mix of voice actors and those who could read their own stories were recorded. Personally, that made it for me and, stangely, made it more real.

I gave this 4.5 stars. This is the kind of book that we need more of in the world so we know that people are not alone and keep the conversation around mental health going. I think this will be impactful, partly because Scarlett has managed to get well known names that people look up to.

Looking After Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

Blogmas 2019: Looking After Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

Ah Christmas, jolliness, lights, and joy – right? But what if you’re not feeling like that during the holidays? It’s worth remembering that for a load of reasons this time of year can be tough for people. They may be living with depression, dealing with grief, not be able to celebrate or could be dealing with a mental health condition.

So here’s a few things to remember to look after your own mental health.

You’re allowed to take a break when you need one

The world might seem like it’s go, go, go over the break but that doesn’t mean you have to. Even if it’s a bath at night or having a cup of tea and 5 minutes to yourself – having a little me time is ok and should be encouraged!

Remember that your social media feeds aren’t always real life

Last New Years Eve I was really ill with a chest infection and while everyone else way partying I was in my PJs and asleep while Ali worked. Christmas is full of decorations, parties and Best 9’s most people aren’t sharing their hardest parts, the days where they cried, their break outs and break ups!

If you have toxic family members in your life you don’t have to spend it with them

I know a lot of people who have tense and sometimes unhealthy relationships with their family but still drag themselves to spend time with them because ‘Christmas is for family’. If it’s detrimental for your physical or mental health then you don’t need to go. If you can’t get out of it try to limit your time where possible – also bathrooms are great places to take a minute to yourself!

Know it’s ok to be sad or tired

This Christmas is going to be a tough one for me and I know there will be times when I’ll be sad. It’s my first Christmas in 12 years without my dog. I will have also worked 7 days straight before so I might not be as festive as I normally am but I’m working on not feeling guilty about it.

Only drink alcohol if you want to!

There’s a lot of pressure to drink around this time, you don’t want to? Then don’t! Also remember no one turns down a designated driver!

Know it’s okay if you need to just get through it

Take it one day at a time.

If anyone comments on your weight eat them

Yep, I know it’s an old joke but I hope it gave you a laugh.

Do you have anything you would add? Let me know below.