5 Things You Can Do To Make January A Bit Better

5 Things You Can Do To Make January A Little Better

Let’s face it, as a month, January is pretty rubbish. Christmas is done, it’s cold and pretty miserable – not to mention this feels like the LONGEST month ever. I for one don’t want to spend all month being completely miserable. 

With that in mind, I wanted to put together 5 things you can do to make January a little more bearable and a little less rubbish.  

Embrace the cosy life! 

Big jumpers, scarves, fluffy socks. Wrap yourself up to your hearts content and love it. It might be cold but you can still look cute…or just warm. I’ll go for warm. 

Try something new 

There’s a lot going on in January clubs start up, there’s those magazines to make or collect things for 99p (all the rest of the 5000 issues are £5.99 but you get my drift). It could be a great time to try something new, whatever it is you’re into. 

Crack out that boxset you’ve been meaning to watch or that book you’ve had for ages  and haven’t read yet

It’s not so great outside so why not have some fun with fictional friends? I mean, you could also have your real life friends over but that’s totally optional. 

I love to curl up with a blanket, big cup of tea and a book in the winter months. This year I’m planning on going on a bit of a fantasy binge so I can imagine I’m somewhere warmer. 

Plan your time 

This really helps me if I’m feeling down – I like to have a sense of purpose. That doesn’t mean you have to be doing something huge every weekend for me just knowing I want to curl up with a book, meet a friend for a hot drink etc. 

It can really break up your time and make it feel less lonely.  

Talk to someone if you’re really struggling

Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder is a very real thing. If you’re finding that this is more than just the average January blues talk to someone about it. 

It can be really scary to open up about how your feeling, particularly to a doctor but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

Is there anything you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments below! 

Feeling S.A.D

It’s dark, it’s raining and let’s be honest, pretty miserable outside. Since the clocks went back a few weeks ago I’ll be honest, it’s been a little bit more of a struggle. For many of us, it’s normal to feel a little bit blue in these months, but there are times when this goes deeper. During the winter months, there are many people who have to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.  But what is the difference between feeling down and having SAD.

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.

The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern. (NHS Website)

In my personal experience of living with depression since I was a teenager, the winter months can make depression worse in itself, particularly after the excitement of Christmas is over.

While some will just call it the ‘winter blues’ regardless of whether your depression is seasonal or throughout the year it is still depression and something that people need help with. I don’t agree that having SAD is any lesser a pain or struggle than other types of depression, hence why I wanted to start the conversation and talk more about this.

Mental health issues impact so many lives and it’s important to talk about different types and their causes to get help and beat stigma at the same time. If you feel like you are struggling, maybe it is sadness or perhaps you just don’t feel like yourself talk to someone.

If you see a doctor and feel like they aren’t listening go back and see another, write down how you are feeling and why you think that is. Our minds are both brilliant and confusing things but together we can make the world a little brighter and a little easier.

What are your experiences of SAD? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Smiling doesn’t mean someone is ok

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She’s fine, she’s always so happy, she achieves everything she wants. Blah, blah, blah. It’s all NOISE to someone with depression. The outside is a very superficial thing, I can’t even begin to count the amount of times in the last 6 years I’ve plastered on a smile or a look to make people think that I’m enjoying myself or that I’m mentally in the room. It really upsets me, especially when sometimes people who are close to me can’t tell the difference either.

In the past week I’ve had a lot to deal with trying to get back into work, my spine flat out freaking out and refusing to let me move, having to cancel a show, a close pet dying, handing in my notice to the society, more pain, having a leak in my ceiling, missing home and everything just got too much. I got to the point where I couldn’t go anywhere that wasn’t extremely important and I only just got there. I dragged myself to my physio session and hardly spoke to anyone because I was so much pain. I couldn’t face uni for the past week. No one really cared, I became invisible in all but one situation.

You learn a lot through this illness. You learn who understands, who pretends they do. You learn what the right ways to look after yourself are eventually and how to go about them. You learn who will just sit with you, saying nothing but just being there because that’s what you need on your lowest day. You learn who will write you off as wanting ‘attention’ or ‘being selfish’ and who is educated enough to know this isn’t something you want or can switch on and off.

I don’t even know if I’m making much sense in this post but I think that might be because my own head doesn’t make sense to me half the time. The same way other people don’t because I just have a different variation of what normal is. I finally feel on my feet again, inching towards my assignments, ready to go back to class tomorrow and work with kids who need their confidence boosted. I’m still struggling and I don’t know how to feel about the rest of the week but I’m getting there with Ali, my incredible family and one or two close friends making sure I don’t fall again.

I’ll get there, after all what they say is true you live, you learn.

Sometimes positivity isn’t that easy

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Sometimes trying to be endlessly positive is exhausting, right? There are days where no matter how hard you try you just feel like everything sucks and your best friend is your bed, your phone needs to be switched off so you can ignore EVERYONE and any chocolate that you can get your hands on is yours. Ok, that might sound like a PMS day, it probably is partly to do with hormones and stuff but today ended up like that.

I’ve been feeling down, I had another doctors appointment today and I’m not lowering my depression medication, my doctors not comfortable because of how much stress and pain I’m in, it’s not the right time. On top of that my pain levels have been pretty up and down too. Basically as soon as I left work this afternoon everything just splintered a little. I felt upset and angry about my spine, I noticed people staring at me again in town (you think I’d be used to it by now) and anything that is slightly said to me in the wrong way makes me feel useless. At the same time though I have laughed, I have smiled. Maybe this is what it feels like to go mad, I’m kidding.

When I’m around and talking to the people I love I’m happy. Usually I’ll pick myself up, go for a swim or a walk, go do some food shopping in the car or get on to some promoters about shows. My spines really limited me for the past 2 months and I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I don’t know how to handle it. So as much as I try sometimes I depression gets it’s own was over my positivity.

BUT this isn’t where I want the people I love to worry, after having my freak out I’ve calmed down, accepted things and I’m ok. I’m planning a few things I can do and have decided if I can’t swim I might as well go and get one of the tattoos I wanted as an early birthday present to myself. Just a small one, to remind me to keep smiling and I’ll be ok, all shall be revealed soonish! Sometimes you just need to let out all of the hurt, upset and frustration.

Tomorrow will be a better day, I’m going to make sure of it.

Wheelchairs, Goodbyes and Dinner along the river

girls!

Left to Right Alissa,Eleanor, Amy, Maisha, Dani, Me 

Yesterday marked the arrival of my wheelchair, which I’d been recommended to rent out, but it was more cost effective to buy it *sigh*. I hadn’t been looking forward to it but I wasn’t that anxious until they rang the doorbell to deliver it. It came in it’s big box while Ali unwrapped it for me. We both just kind of stared at it for a while. I could tell that something in him matched my uneasiness about it. I sat in it and got back out again trying not to cry before asking him to put it away, I can’t even push myself in it!  I didn’t want it, I hated it and I didn’t want to go anywhere.

Luckily I got to escape to my doctors appointment, determined to walk to the bus stop. I got given more pain medication, had been dealing with the lousy insurance company and had to call Orthopaedics about a mistake they had made in my appointments. To put it simply I was pretty low. It didn’t help that on the bus ride home there were no seats. Standing on a bus brings unbelievable pain and luckily a woman spotted my face and let me sit down and a man offered to help me get up again after, which being me I said no to. I met Laura quickly to pick up my new prescription and she cheered me up, but I was still uneasy about going out in the evening.

A thousand thoughts went through my head, what if people stare? What if I just become the wheelchair girl when I go out? What if people laugh? I didn’t have too long to think about it before Amy picked me up. From then on it was more trying to navigate the roads…they really aren’t that wheelchair friendly. Pavements to get across the road weren’t straight and we couldn’t pull my chair, horrendous pathways I feel for people who are wheelchair bound, it’s really not fair!

From then on we met the girls and I started to relax, nobody here treated me different that’s for sure! They all relaxed too after being a bit nervous themselves and we were ready to have a great last meal with Alissa before she headed back to the US *sniff* and before Dani and El caught their flight to Prague.We had a great time, good food and I laughed so much my face hurt. We were all laughing and screaming while Amy and Eleanor divided steering me and trying to avoid the river ;). 10521733_10153886855593206_6154522888338423380_n

Dinner along the Thames

Despite smiling so much I went home and cried, I cried because I was going to miss Alissa who has become such a big part of our lives, I cried because I wished more than anything that I was going to Prague with the girls and I partly cried with relief because none of them saw me any differently. I woke up with a funny picture of ‘stick chloe’ on the plane with El and Dani to make me smile. I carried on with the day going for my brace measurement appointment, having a coffee with Laura before picking up some drawing stuff on the way home as something to do.

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Last night when the girls had made me laugh so much the chair didn’t matter 🙂 

The closer I got to home the more pain I was in. I got so mad, I was trying to be positive and everything but WHY was I so frustrated and sad all the time? On top of that I was completely exhausted, fed up I took a lie down to rest again. It is hard, I didn’t think I’d mind as much as I do but I’m usually up and about all the time. I caught myself dreaming about going swimming again, or for an absent minded walk around Kingston and for the next 6 or so weeks I’m stuck not being able to do either. 11295569_10153888888068206_1153168637262698221_n

Being Supergirl for my brace measurements appointment

I’m both positive and sad at the same time. I know it won’t be forever but I think missing out on Prague has hit the hardest. I know I can go again, but I look at the girls pictures and love and miss them both so much. So all in all a confusing day and I’m just about ready to sleep after being cooked a lovely Steak by Ali tonight (to make up for the palm size excuse for one that had the girls wetting themselves last night!).

Tomorrow will be better, I’ll make sure of it. Night guys!

One of the hardest goodbyes

IMG_1646I’m writing this with a broken heart. Yesterday Rubey was sold and left the yard, I wasn’t able to say goodbye as it all happened so quickly. There’s something about a connection with animals that is so different than humans. When I first moved to Kingston, the hardest thing to adjust to was not having my dog at the end of my bed, even now she’s the hardest to leave after a weekend at home. Rubey kind of filled that need this year, not because of riding her because she was so affectionate.

Part of me doesn’t know how I’m going to go to the stables on Wednesday without seeing her and having a cuddle. A lot of people don’t understand, because she’s not mine, it’s hard to explain but I just had that bond with her and she was there for me all of this year. Her owner is heartbroken too because Rubey leaving was just so quick.

In my heart she’ll never be replaced, ever. She was the first horse I really connected with, even if I do love all of the others at the stables. I’ve just had an update though that she’s at her new stables being loved and cared for and is happy.

It’s one of the hardest points of this year but if she’s going to be loved I guess I can deal with it.

Music is my cure

This week has been a funny old week. It’s been full of ups and downs and being pulled all over the place and I’m just tired. Ok not just tired, I feel a bit drained. It’s been really busy, not necessarily in a bad way just loads of different things. I have been feeling really up and down over the last few days.

Tonight I just sort of caved. I’ve had a good day, working hard, seeing Eleanor and Wales even won the Rugby today (although England better tomorrow. I just felt sad when I got home, my thoughts caught up with me. Even snuggled up in my new onesie, thanks to Ali, I just couldn’t shake it. Yesterday I got like this too, right before a show and ended up having an anxiety attack before hand, which doesn’t happen anymore. So, yes, a little shook up over these sudden waves of horrible anxiety.

Music does something though, it is the release I need. It’s better than any negative coping strategy I’ve ever had, better than therapy, plans or medication. I don’t know but something about it just lifts me. When I lived alone I needed music filling my room because the silence was too much. So I resorted to YouTube tonight and found George Ezra. Of course I’d heard some of his other songs but I couldn’t stop and I’m more than a little bit in love with his music. It’s incredible.

So while last night was full of No People Club and other great musicians performing live, tonight was all about my headphones. Some Ed Sheeran and George Ezra to be precise because I just needed that kind of music tonight. Also the video to the above song? Could it GET any better?!?!

Why have I picked this song to share? Apart from the awesome video, the lyrics are pretty amazing too. It’s just what Ali’s been saying to me this week when I’ve been having an ‘oh my god, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, what is life, ARGH’ moment. They’re becoming a little bit more frequent but as the song says I need to listen to the man who’s loving me, because this time he’s got it right on. He’s just there, always.

The point of this blog wasn’t to do an ‘I love Ali’ fest. It was to talk about the power of music and how it’s always been there for me, I expect it always will and it’s the best depression beater ever. This song put such a smile on my face and I’m just in love with George’s voice, to the point I need tickets for when he’s next playing in the UK.