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Mental Health

Did I Succeed With My 2019 Mental Health Resolutions?

mental health resolutionsPhoto by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

This time last year I did a post setting some resolutions specifically for my mental health. I wanted to aim to try and improve it over that year and I figured this would kick my butt into gear. The question of the hour is did I succeed in completing any of my mental health resolutions.

I’m going to go through each and let you know how they went. I’ll warn you guys that this won’t be the longest post I’ve done, but this is handy for me to see! Any progress is better than none at all!

Take my medication on time

Yes!!

I’ve managed to take my anti-depressants every night with no issue. Have I seen an improvement in my mental health because of this? Not really. I still have quite a few rough days such as last Saturday. However, I’m still proud of myself for keeping on track with this particular med.

Now I just need to remember the meds for my migraines! That would be brilliant!

To not beat myself up if I don’t do something

Okay, this one was a no.

Realistically this probably wasn’t the best resolution to set myself before I start therapy. I’ve got a lot of negative thoughts about myself which lead to me beating myself up. They can be the tiniest thing such as forgetting to brush my teeth or not posting a blog post.

I’ve battled with this for so many years!

I did get a little better at trying to accept if things didn’t go exactly like I planned. Unfortunately there were more days that went sour such as not doing enough steps in my day. It’s such a stupid thing to worry myself over, but it happens. I’ve had to delete any pedometers that I had on my phone so that I wouldn’t trigger myself too much.

I will not listen to my inner voice

HAHAHA no.

If any of you suffer with a mental health issue, then you will know that the inner voice must come with an internal megaphone because it doesn’t shut the heck up! It must be like that annoying bully who keeps telling you all the nasty things it thinks about you and anything you do.

I definitely wish I could turn off that voice or swap it for a better one.

If we’re going to look at any sign of progress, it would have to be that I did have one day where I ignored it. It was when I was trying to walk a bit further and it was trying to say that I was super unfit. HA! I proved it wrong that day!

Learn to accept compliments

Another nope from me!

I try so hard to accept when someone compliments me on my look or my attitude, but it’s very difficult when I don’t feel it about myself. They say it and I just immediately shake my head. I do appreciate it deep down since even I like to hear nice things especially since I only hear negative thoughts coming from me.

If you happen to tell me something nice, thank you!

Stop myself feeling guilty from spending

This is something I did better at.

To be honest I didn’t really buy too much. When I did buy something it was usually an item that I’ve wanted to buy for a while. I’ve taken on the mentality that if I really want something, then I should wait a few months. If I still want it after that then I can buy it. This has worked with books, notebooks and other teeny things. I don’t like to spend money since I don’t have that much of it after bills.

That said I know that I do deserve to treat myself on occasion.

Instead of doing a new post chatting about my mental health resolutions, I’m just going to do a little list here of what I want to aim for during 2020!

  1. Be more positive about my achievements
  2. Reduce my medication dosage
  3. Successfully start therapy
  4. Try to counteract a negative with a positive

If you had any mental health resolutions, how did you do?

Lifestyle Mental Health

What Things Keep You Up At Night?

night

I would sit up at night reading books or magazines to try and get myself sleepy. Sometimes it worked and other times I ended up with nightmares.

My brain can be so weird sometimes. There are a number of things that keep me up so maybe we can be insomnia buddies.

If you do struggle a lot with sleepless nights, don’t be afraid to go and see your GP about it. There could be other reasons for it such as pain, mental health and more. You can get help! Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to look at certain things that might keep you up and try and come up with ways to overcome them. I’m definitely not a medical professional! Just a person whose body hates sleep!

Negative thoughts

Everyone suffers a form of these. You don’t have to suffer from mental health to have negative thoughts about something. It’s unfortunately what makes us human.

My mind never shuts up with all the negative things it believes I’ve done that day. Maybe I forgot to let an elderly lady onto the bus first, maybe I lied about feeling good, maybe I didn’t go out. It could be the littlest thing ever and you get made to go over that thought over and over and over.

You can tell why I don’t get a lot of sleep.

What I’ve recently done to try and combat this is to start both writing in my diary and jotting down anything positive that happens in my day. I have to accept that I will think negatively about things, but that doesn’t mean I have to let it control me.

Being on my phone before bed

Yeah…I’m one of those that brings their phone to bed and plays on it before they sleep. I know I shouldn’t have any electronics in bed and there is a whole scientific research saying that the blue light keeps you awake. I do have a method to my madness, I swear!

Some of the ways I fall asleep is by listening to music.

I can’t do with solid silence. My brain automatically tries to add different sounds into the silence and they are nightmare fuel! During my childhood I used to be terrified of a guy I would call ‘The Tamberine Man’. I would never see him but I would hear the sound of his tamberine and awful things would happen soon after. My adult brain now tries to undo all that conditioning by saying that the sound had actually been people outside my bedroom window making noise. I think my half-asleep brain just made it into something it wasn’t!

Still hate the sound though!

My iPhone has a setting where I can time it to turn the light from blue to red. The red helps make you tired so, between that and the music/Calm app, I would feel very sleepy. You’d think I would sleep after that but nope.

Pain

Enter the life of a chronic illness sufferer!

My fibromyalgia is such a party pooper when it comes to me trying to sleep. I’ve had so many nights when my legs have either be super painful or so restless. One of the reasons why I can’t go on coaches is the fact that their leg-space isn’t much. You used to have pitstops to service stations where you could stretch your legs but there isn’t anymore. At least on the coaches I go on. Sitting in your seat for 4 and a bit hours is not fun!

Back to sleepless nights!

My legs do the exact same thing they do on coaches. They become painful and very jumpy. You could be lying in bed and your leg suddenly jumps. I can usually feel it growing in my foot and then it travels up my leg. It has had me in tears on a few occassions.

Currently on medication (gabapentin and baclofen) to help combat the muscle spasms and the pain. Not perfect but better than agony!

Can’t get comfortable

There are other reasons other than pain that keep you up at night.

Apparently the top reason for not being able to sleep is because you can’t get comfortable in bed. The main cause for that? An out-of-date mattress. This isn’t a sponsored post (though I wouldn’t mind the opportunity! Haha!)…just passing on what I discovered from my local mattress man. He said that you have to change your mattress every 8 years since it can get out of shape after so many years.

It gets bumpy because of springs and it sags, doesn’t support you as well as it used to and might even make your allergies worse.

Noisy neighbours

Oh, do I have experience with this one!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably have heard that I’ve had quite a few problems with noisy neighbours. They would blare their loud music for hours! The longest was just over 6 hours! It’s bad enough when you have to deal with this music during the day, but when you have it at night? Ew. It doesn’t help that I’m sensitive to loud noises.

I’ve had to go down to talk to them at 11pm to tell them to turn it down! You can imagine how difficult it would be to sleep with something like a party happening down below you.

How do you cope with this?

You can either buy some ear-plugs to block out some of the noise or wear some noise-cancelling headphones. These are kind of more temporary options. You could report them for nuisance noise or let them know personally how the noise is affecting you!

What tends to keep you up at night and how do you deal with it?

Mental Health

How To Make Small Changes For A Happier 2020

small changesPhoto by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Something that I have started to understand in my old age (I’m almost 33!!) is that you’ll never succeed with unrealistic resolutions. I’ve spent so many years attempting your average choices: lose weight, go to the gym more, drink more water. You name it, I will have tried it over and over. My brain doesn’t seem to accept such big goals so I don’t even try anymore. I instead know that I need to make small changes to how I think for them to stick.

Am I making sense? Probably not but I’ll try to explain what I mean!

Say yes when you usually say no

I’m surprised that no wasn’t my first word as a baby because I say it way too often! I’ve missed out on a number of things by saying no. I’ve said no to going out with friends and even to going on a city break. If I have a solid reason, then I don’t feel so guilty, but most of the time I’m just scared.

Do you see why I’m not a Gryffindor?

I’m always going to have anxiety and feel nervous about new situations. That doesn’t mean I can’t start saying yes to opportunities. At least I’ll know I’ve tried if I get anxious!

Accept compliments

Okay…hands up if you’ve ever given me a compliment and I’ve not accepted it? I bet a lot of you will have both hands up! It’s an awful habit that I’ve developed. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate when someone gives me a compliment. I really do! I just don’t believe I deserve it. It’s really irritating to everyone, including myself.

If you give me a compliment, I’ll do my very best to try and accept it. Even if I just say thank you! It’s better than saying I don’t deserve it!

Love yourself more

Oof.

This is going to a major topic for me to focus on when therapy starts. The thing is this has been growing for decades and I’ve had many people telling me that I need to be nicer to myself. They’ve told me that I’m better than I think I am and that I have many great qualities.

Everyone deserves to love themselves a little more. Look into a mirror and compliment what you’re wearing today or how well you might have done your makeup. It will take time but that’s why these are small changes.

Don’t suppress your emotions

We all do this.

Whether it’s to protect our loved ones, our friends or because we’re afraid of what we’re feeling. I did this so many times to protect my mum. I didn’t want to worry or frighten her with all the thoughts that were going through my head. It even took me a while to tell someone that I didn’t understand something. I didn’t want my teachers to think I was dumb.

Suppressing how you feel only leads to more heartache and pain. No-one said that it would be easy to accept your emotions. You just have to acknowledge and take it from there.

Pretending to be someone you’re not

My whole life I’ve pretended to be someone I’m not. I’ve pretended to be fine when I’m sobbing inside, I’ve pretended to be chatty when I wish I could hide and I’ve pretended to be normal when I’m a little different. Acting is a great way to pretend to be someone but even then you have to have an element of you there!

Social media (especially Instagram) has people posting images of their lives and themselves looking gorgeous. It gives people a false idea of what real life is and you don’t see that someone is struggling. Not everything has to be posted online. You don’t have to let everyone see everything but just keep in mind what your audience might think. We’ve got teens seeing celebs who look stunning or super skinny and feel like they need to pretend to be like that to be popular or accepted.

Life really isn’t like that. I’m pretty sure my LGBTQ+ friends will agree with me. Don’t be afraid to be the person you know you are inside.

Understand when you need to step back

Sometimes life can be go, go, go! You’re trying to get as much work crammed into the day as you physically can and don’t always realise how thin you’re spreading yourself. Only when something gives do you suddenly discover what damage you’ve done. You need to recognise when you need to take a step back. If that means taking a day off from work to rest or if you need to give something up, do what you need to.

Forgive yourself and those around you

This is a tough one.

You know the saying ‘Forgive and forget’?

There are days when you need to be the bigger person and forgive yourself/someone else. It will hurt and, like a lot of things I’ve mentioned in this post, it will take time. It will happen though. It all depends on the circumstance, I think. If it’s a massive thing then it might not be possible to forget but you might forgive one day.

Don’t push aside your beliefs

It’s sad when people push aside what they believe in or someone doesn’t acknowledge it. Whether it’s your religion, your eating habits or your views on a subject. Not all beliefs should be accepted (such as racism, targeted abuse etc.) but you shouldn’t have to put your belief to the side. If you don’t believe in eating meat then that person should give you the courtesy of understanding.

I saw so many tweets from friends who had family members who refused to cook a meat-free meal for them!

What small changes do you think someone could make to feel happier?

 

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

Staying Safe During The Winter Season

staying safePhoto by Alex on Unsplash

Ughh! Today was the first day that it reached -1 degrees where I live and I hate it! I don’t do extremes in temperature. If it’s too warm or too cold, then I don’t function. Between dealing with my skin throwing a toddler tantrum and my sense of balance becoming non-existent, winter is dangerous! That’s why I want to look at staying safe during the winter season, especially pedestrians.

A lot of people tend to overlook what winter could throw at us.

I’m honestly not trying to put the fear of God into people. Just trying to make sure that anyone who reads this looks after themselves and others. I guess visiting the elderly with my Mum made me realise how deadly the cold can be. It looks gorgeous and like a picture on the outside but there is always more. I mean…does anyone else in the UK remember 2010 when the temperatures got down to -14?!

It was no fun wading through knee-high snow and hitting my frozen pipes!

It’s even worse for people with disabilities affected by the cold and trapped in their homes.

Wrap up warm

This is a massive one for those of us who walk or drive.

One of the few positives of winter is that you get to wrap up snug. You can throw on as many layers as you feel comfortable with! Hat, gloves, scarf, thermal socks and leggings! There is no reason to freeze just to look good. If you need to, think like a runner. Even though they don’t wear as many layers, they still make sure to protect themselves while they run.

If you drive and it snows, try to make sure to have emergency winter stuff in your boot. I hear this so often in the news when people get trapped in the snow. I might not drive but I did learn a few things from my parents. They always made sure to have extra warm clothes like jumpers and socks packed. Not only clothes but blankets, a sleeping bag, flasks of tea and food.

People forget how freezing cold a car can get when it’s not running!

Be seen

This is another tip I’ve picked up from a runner friend (hi Lisa!).

Now that the nights hit around 4pm and we have to leave work/school in the dark, we’ll be at more risk walking. What she does is wear a reflective armband so that any passing cars will see her. I reckon that’s great advice for anyone who is walking somewhere with less light.

You could attach a flashing light to your bag or even a reflective band. You don’t have to wear it all the time but there is no harm in staying safe just in case.

Don’t pull a Bambi

THIS!!

I, Daisy, have basophobia.

That’s a fear of slipping on ice and it’s real! I am a wuss when it comes to a lot of things, but ice literally has been frozen to the spot. No pun intended. I don’t even know what caused me to become so scared of falling but the fear is there. If I see that it’s icy outside, I refuse to out. I’ll re-schedule everything and stay in.

I’m not the best on my feet anyway because of legs giving out so add that to ice = Bambi!

Something I have learned from getting the odd concussion over the years is that you should never underestimate ice. It’s so tricky! You can see the obvious shine of ice spread over the pavements, but there is also black ice and freezing rain.

FREEZING RAIN IS A MENANCE!

Going back to 2010…I saw so many people falling over, cars and buses sliding everywhere! It was like I was watching an episode of Who’s Been Framed! That was the year I slipped over backwards twice and gave myself a severe concussion. That’s why I now refuse to leave my flat until I put on my Yaxtrax! They have me a literal godsend to me. They give me much more confidence walking outside when it’s icy.

If you don’t own something like this or shoes with a decent grip, take it easy! Make sure you have extra time to get to where you need to be. Another piece of advice I’ve picked up: walk like a penguin and use your arms to keep your balance.

Be prepared

Like Scar sings in The Lion King, be prepared!

The weatherperson does tend to be right more often than not so, if they say snow is immient, get ready!

Try to stock up on items that will last such as soups, frozen food and bread. They will help to keep you fed if you’re stuck indoors for a little while. If you take medication, make sure that you’ve gotten everything you need. Pharmacists are usually nice and will help you out if you’re worried.

If you have furry babies, they need help staying safe too! Get their food all sorted and, if you have a dog, time to get them dressed up! You can pop on a cute little coat and, depending on where you live, some boots. I’ve heard that grid and salt can really hurt their paws so let’s keep our babies safe!

Keep an eye out

Winter may be a nightmare for us but it can be horrendous for the disabled and the elderly.

I’ve heard so many stories from fellow disabled friends who dread the idea of heading out. Some of them are in wheelchairs and know that their chairs would stand a chance. I hate seeing ambulances being called out to the streets near me because an old dear has slipped. I live near a residential home and that always happens!

It can really strip the little independence they have away.

If it’s possible, check on any elderly neighbours to see if they need any help getting shopping. If they don’t, then just stay and chat. Loneliness can be even more deadly in the winter. I’ve recently started volunteering at a helpline where I talk to some elderly folks about whatever they want to. It’s amazing how much of a difference someone caring makes! It helps me too!

Listen to your body

If there is anything that winter is known for, it’s getting everybody sick.

People sneezing, coughing and slowly feeling like they’re dying on the way to work. I’ve already chatted in a post about how to try avoiding getting sick but it’s not always possible. You can be ill both physically and mentally. While it’s great that you’re pushing yourself to getting out of the house when you’re struggling, but your body is sobbing.

Don’t let life dictate what you should be doing winter.

Yes, there are probably a lot of getting their Christmas shopping done at the shops or going on winter breaks. That doesn’t mean everyone is. Comparison is so easy to fall into! Believe me, I know. Do what you feel you can right now and know that there are people there to help.

How do you usually stay safe during winter?

Mental Health

5 Simple Ways To Manage Anxiety Socially (Alone/With Friends)

manage anxiety

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while, you’ll know how bad anxiety can be for a sufferer. It can take over someone’s life and ruin a typical day, even if you had stuff to do. Admitting how you’re honestly feeling to someone you care about is difficult but we all need a friend.

Knowing that you have someone who can help a friend when anxiety hits makes you feel very safe. You obviously need someone you can really trust but, once you do, there are 5 simple ways to help manage anxiety socially.

1. Wait before you speak

This may sound condescending but it’s a vital way to help.

Whenever I have my anxiety peaking, I find it difficult to have someone immediately jump towards me and start asking if I’m okay. Obviously if it’s a stranger you can’t really blame them since they don’t know you. However, if you know someone who has anxiety, wait before you speak.

Everyone is different.

Take things slow and wait until you find a moment to say something. Sometimes all a person needs is to know that you’re there when they’re overwhelmed out and about.

 2. Find somewhere quiet

If you and your friend are out shopping, at a party or even out for a meal and something triggers their anxiety, you don’t need to immediately draw attention. If you’re with a group who might not know about anxiety, it can sometimes make it worse due to embarrassment or fear of what they might think.

It’s best to have a quick check of where you’re okay as a precaution.

That doesn’t mean anxiety will always get triggered. I’ve had occasions when mine has been absolutely fine in the noisiest of places which I feel a little crazy, but you know that’s me in a nutshell! However, if lots of things are happening at once like loud music, constant chatter or kids crying, anxiety takes no prisoners!

Find a quiet corner away from everyone or, if it’s not too cold, head outside with your friend for a bit. People may get a little claustraphobic and need some air.

3. Have a plan of action

Some people have an emergency kit for when their car breaks down or a first-aid kit for when someone is hurt. You can use something similiar to manage anxiety socially.

Whenever I’m out, I always carry a small kit of essential items that I know can help.

I have:

  • my anxiety medication (beta blockers to calm me)
  • my tangle (to distract myself)
  • some Bachs Rescue Remedy (to chew and release drops)
  • a small spray of Chanel No. 5 (my mum’s perfume always makes me feel relaxed)
  • headphones (to listen to music whenever things are too loud)

It’s a good idea to have one of these for yourself and to let a couple of close friends know. That way they can know to head for your kit and pull out items that will help ground you. Don’t feel that you’re being over-dramatic. You wouldn’t say the same to someone with diabetes so why say it for your mental health.

4. Avoid busy times

Whenever I’ve been into London to visit Ali (from AliCaitrin), we always say that I should make up an anxiety guide to surviving London. This city is a crazy, crazy place and even worse when it’s peak times on public transport. If you come from somewhere quieter such as the countryside or even a small town, London can be a real shock to the system.

If you live in the city and a friend is visiting you or you’ve been to London before, try to plot out times where everything gets horrendous. Ali taught me a tip of going to the ends of a tube platform as it seems quieter down there. Most people seem to go immediately for the middle so you might have a chance to sit down and breathe. If that isn’t possible, look at the peak times for the stations you’ll be going through. These seem to be around 7-9am and 5-7pm.

If the Underground is just too much (especially for those who can’t handle being crowded), grab a taxi/uber. It might be more expensive but you’ll have your own space together and can take your time.

5. Distraction

Sometimes breathing techniques can actually make someone feel worse so the next possible step to help manage anxiety is distraction.

If you’re on your own, use your kit to start your distraction and then come up with ideas in advance.

Not every distraction that has worked in the past will work every time. I’ve had a couple of occasions where reading or listening to music doesn’t work. It’s super annoying and triggering. Believe me, this happens to me most Sundays! Always have a backup for your backups.

If you’re with a friend, then go for a walk if the weather lets you, give your mind something else to focus on (5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste). That’s a great grounding technique if you’re panicking! Thomas Sanders even used it in his latest video!

What ways have you got created to help manage anxiety socially?

Mental Health

What Does Depression Feel Like? | Blogtober 2019

depression

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

One question I hear and see online is: what does depression feel like?

I bet you’ve had times when your loved ones and/or friends have seen that you’re not yourself or curious as to why you can’t go out. They try to help by saying that it’s just a bad day and to distract yourself, but it’s not as easy as that. I’ve seen comics raising this by saying you wouldn’t say that to someone with a physical illness or injury.

“Oh, it’s just a broken leg. Try to walk off.”

“Oh, you’re having a hypo? Don’t worry…just smile.”

It’s so silly but situations like this happen to anyone who suffers with a mental health illness. We shouldn’t be seen as ‘crazy’ people just because history deemed us as that.

You guys know I love my gifs and use them to communicate my feelings. I’ve honestly been horrified to see the gifs suggested on Twitter. Thankfully most of the triggering ones have been removed. I used to see people pretending to take their own life from TV shows and almost parodying someone with mental health.

Is this their answer to what depression feels like?

I’ll tell you what it feels like to me. (TRIGGER WARNING! SKIP THIS LITTLE SECTION IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING)

You know that moment when you were little when you lost your mum and panicked?

Imagine that panic in your chest and literally filling you all the way to the top, crushing you and leaving you unable to move. That’s only the start.

This morning I woke up crying. My body feel as it had the heaviest weight hanging off it and negative thoughts running through my head over and over: You’re fat! You can’t even get out of bed, you lazy cow! What’s the point in being alive? No-one would even miss me if I did die. You’re hopeless and worthless! You haven’t got a job, you keeping crying about how unfair your mind is and there are people really struggling.

My trigger was being weighed yesterday and finding that I’d put on 3lb.

For someone not struggling, they may a little put off or frustrated but would be able to carry on. As for me? I literally feel like a whale. I’m constantly prodding at the fat around my middle and my thighs. I can’t look in the mirror without seeing a double chin.

It’s an illness. It’s like you have the worst flu ever, causing you to ache, tremble, wish that there was someone there to hold you and say it’ll pass.

Depression affects people differently and it doesn’t mean that you’re struggling all the time. We can smile, we can laugh, we’re utterly normal. Please don’t doubt us or force us to move. Just sit there, listen and we’ll talk when we can.

Whatever you’re going through, call the samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.

What does depression feel like to you?

 

Mental Health

What Is On My Self-Care List During Autumn & Winter? | Blogtober 2019

self-care
Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash

Now that the days are getting colder and the nights are darker much too quickly, Autumn starts the time of year that I somewhat dread: SAD season. If you don’t know what SAD means, it stands for Season Affective Disorder. Basically a type of depression that comes and goes with the different seasons and pops up for me during Autumn and Winter. Got to love additional depression! That is why it’s very important to self-care during these seasons!

I should practice what I preach more often but I’ve still come up with a list of things that you could do every day to practice self-care and to help ease any symptoms. Not all of them will work since everyone is different but you know know!

Try using an SAD Light

One of the main reasons for this depression is basically because the days are much shorter and the weather is usually pretty shocking. That all means that we don’t get as much sun as we did in Spring and Summer. This is where an SAD Light (£37.45 – £101.45) comes in to give us an extra hand. It’s essentially our own little sun! Safer than a sun-bed since it doesn’t give off anything nasty but still tricks our mood into thinking we’re outside in the sun.

Buy something to make you embrace the season

You don’t have to go big with buying something. This is when you listen to your body and your mind. What makes you feel a little happier during Autumn and Winter? You could buy yourself a new pair of gloves, a scented candle or even a monthly subscription to help a charity! There are so many ways to help you feel.

Bring out your snuggly pyjamas

As soon as I notice how chilly it’s getting, I pull all of my warmer PJs to wear! These are something vital on my self-care list. There is something about getting into these (my favourite top is a scotty dog hoodie) that makes me feel safe and I can hide a way in them if I’m really struggling.

Bake/cook an autumn treat

This is for you, you little chefs and bakers out there! I’m actually planning to try baking something for the first time in my flat and I’m a little nervous! I do love the idea of baking but I’m not really good at it. They say practice makes perfect so what better time to try than when you’re hiding from the bad weather!

Go for a walk and take pictures

Autumn has to be one of the prettiest seasons! You get to see the leaves change from green to yellow to orange and even to red before falling! I guess that’s why Americans call it ‘Fall’…am I right, American friends? We bloggers never need an excuse to take photos of things and I love pictures like these! I even made a board about them!

Stay offline for a day

I’ll admit that this one might be a little tricky since we’re all a little addicted to being online. That sometimes is the problem. We need a chance to step back from the situation and do something else for the day. Whether that’s reading a book, going to the cinema or getting on with something that you’ve been putting off.

Get rid of things you don’t need

We might have cleaning in Spring so we can have decluttering in Autumn! Have a look at your outfits you wear during the warmer months, see what you’re not overly fussed on anymore and take to a charity shop. You can do the same with other items like books, shoes or other accessories. Once you’ve done that, you can tuck away the items you’ve kept until next year.

Decorate your home

If I had the money, I would decorate my flat like those pictures on Pinterest! They look like so much fun and obviously not just for people with kids. You can do as much or as little as you like to get you in the spirit. Part of me would love to get mustard-coloured and blood-orange cushions/blankets, put some pumpkins outside my front door or with an wreath on my door.

Have as many warm drinks as you like

No self-care list of mine would be anything without warm drinks somewhere! I love myself tea any time of the year but this is when I break out my chai tea and hot chocolate! At least I don’t melt drinking them now so woo!

What are you planning to help you practice self-care?

Lifestyle Mental Health

Thoughts I Had During My Mum’s Cancer Journey

cancer

While Mum was battling with cancer, I kept a diary of what was going on inside my head. You can imagine how many thoughts you can have when you’re not able to help your loved one. It was my mum’s oncologist that suggested that a diary would be a good idea for both of us. I’d already been writing diaries over the last 10 years but this one was very different.

I’m going to put a little trigger warning here. This post isn’t going to go too dark but I will chat about a couple of my negative thoughts and about terminal illness so just in case!

I’d already had this idea on my to-do list but I thought I would put it up today since it’s Macmillan Coffee Morning tomorrow! Buy cake, give a little to an incredible idea and help thousands of sufferers and their families!

why couldn’t i have had the cancer and not my mum?

This was a thought I had throughout my mum’s journey. It might be a little selfish since there are plenty of people who probably wish they never had cancer. I know but I hated seeing my mum suffering and watching her slowly becoming undone. I did imagine what life would have been like if I had had the brain tumour and Mum had to look after me. It’s that thought that has me shaking my head to get rid of it. She had already suffered after losing my dad so it would have been worse for her to see her daughter suffering.

why can people smoke and drink and be fine, but my mum gets the tumour

I still think along these lines whenever I see people being so careless with their life. She once told me she had thought the same thing when my dad had died. She heard cars going past and people heading to work and thought, ‘How can they be going to work when my husband has just died?’.

Now I know how she felt and it’s awful. I go past pubs on the bus and see men and women around my mum’s age and older who smoke heavily and drink lots. How can they do all that and live to a ripe old age when both my parents died young?

could i have helped her more?

I know I cared for her for many years but I always wonder if I could’ve helped her more. Could I have been helpful during our alone moments? Could I have studied more and done more with my life to make her proud? This is the way my mind goes. I know mum would have told me that I had done plenty to make her proud and her last sentence about me was when she looked at my graduation picture and said, ‘You know what? I’m really proud of our Daisy!’

That still makes me warm after these last two years!

am i playing the victim card too much online?

I constantly worry that I’m playing some kind of victim card to people and that I look like I’m crying out for sympathy on social media. I do write a lot about what I’m feeling there and then whether it’s positive or negative. I guess that I’m just trying to be honest and a little brave for those that are struggling too. There’s nothing worse than feeling alone with your thoughts.

If you have a spare moment tomorrow, please try to go to your local Coffee Morning and buy a cake. Every little penny really will help and get us one step closer to finding a possible cure to cancer.

Will you be going to a Coffee Morning?

Lifestyle Mental Health

3 mental health things to consider when moving to a property

property

Looking for any new property to call home is a daunting experience especially it’s your first house/flat away from your parents. Imagine adding to that feeling a whole bunch of anxiety. I felt so much anxiety when I was told I would have to move out of the house I’d loved in for 19 years (it was a council property).

It was such a weird jumble of emotions that I felt looking around different flats in my area. I was excited to be having a little place of my own where I could start afresh. It was also super sad because I’d moved into my old place with both my parents and cat and was the only one alive to move out.

If you suffer with anxiety then you know how many thoughts go through your head before you move:

What if moving is the wrong thing to do?
Is this new place safe?
What if my new neighbours are noisy/trouble?
How will I be able to move everything out and then in?
What happens if something needs repaired?

I know these questions could probably easily answered by someone but these still went through my head. This was the first place I’d move to on my own and, having no family or friends to help me, I had to move with the help of a tenancy support officer. Before I had to move, I was told to come up some things I wanted to consider before choosing a place to live.

check the crime around the area

This probably isn’t the best advice for anyone that is paranoid but sometimes checking the areas you’re wanting to move to helps give you peace of mind. I’ve used a site called Police UK to look at my local neighbourhoods and see what crime has been reported over the last few months. You can put in a postcode and it will give you the general area.

You can also see numbers on the map and see what types of crime are being committed. It’s not great some of the time when you see a thing like Violence/Sexual Offence because that’s terrifying! It’s more broader than that. It just gives you a idea!

make a list of everything you want to pack

When you’re moving to a new property, all hell breaks loose when everything is packed into boxes and you have no clue where all the basic essentials are. Before I moved, I started making a list of which box would contain what. I colour-coded too because I’m that weird and love colours. When I saw that colour on the box, I’d know what room to pop it into.

Think about making a first night box. In the box you can have all the small items you think you’ll need and don’t want to spend hours looking in boxes for. You could have medication, tea-bags/coffees, toothbrush and toothpaste, fresh pillow-case, knives and forks…whatever you think will be important!

If you know your mental health will be affected by the move, even keep some meds in your bag to take just in case.

Secure your new property before you move in

This was such a vital thing for me! I was so scared my first night because I heard some of my neighbours arguing and, a month later, another being attacked by her sister. If I hadn’t had some general bits to make me feel secure, I wouldn’t have moved in as quickly as I did. I’ve heard chain bars are great for some homes because a burglar wouldn’t find it as easy to cut like a door-chain.

I’m hoping to get a Ring doorbell and camera on my front door to help me feel safe. When someone rings it, you can see through the camera on your phone so you know who is there and talk to them. There are so many different things you can get with Ring like a spotlight with a camera and more. It’s a great company for anyone who finds it difficult to answer the front door especially if you’re expecting anyone.

What mental health things would you consider when moving to a new property?

 

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

What my life after university is really like

universityPhoto by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I graduated from university back in 2014 and I had a few ideas what I thought life was going to be like after I finished my course. I’d had friends telling me different things that had happened to them but different things happen to different people! I spent 3 years doing a Theatre course where I studied acting, stage management, script-writing, directing and theatre in education. In short…SUCH A GOOD COURSE!!

When I joined the course in 2011, I was the last year to pay £3700+ instead of £9000! I was so lucky to miss it but I knew that I would one day have to pay all the tuition fees that had built up. I only had a couple of people whose parents actually paid for their time at university but the majority were like me who would pay after.

It wasn’t a day after I graduated that I got a letter from Student Finance to say that I now had a bill of £21,000 to pay.

They clearly didn’t want to wait!

What I hadn’t expected after I finished was for my mental health to take a nose-dive. My depression was officially diagnosed in 2014 and I was really struggling. I did look at getting part-time jobs to start the ball rolling to pay back; however, I didn’t have to start making payments until I got a job with £21,000 a year wages. I couldn’t get a full-time one as I was also caring for my mum.

Regardless of my depression I was on a major high with my acting! I had graduated with a 2:1 (I got a 1st in my final acting assignment!) and was ready to take on the world!

As you can probably guess, that didn’t work out for me. Life happened in the form of Mum getting cancer, looking after her full-time, various health conditions being diagnosed and…yeah.

My newly fresh graduate life had ground to a halt.

The green-eyed monster kicked in when I went on my social media and saw people on my course going to drama school, taking part in professional projects such as UK tours and even going on TV!

I was at home and not even getting the chance to do any of what I had hoped I could do. I don’t blame my mum at all for what happened. She couldn’t help getting cancer and I couldn’t help my depression taking up a large part of my time. Life just happens sometimes!

My love for theatre was still there and that is why I started blogging at all! I started a blog called PromptsByDee where I could talk about my thoughts on theatre, Harry Potter and just life in general. Though life hasn’t gone the way I’d hoped, I can still take on the world like a fresh graduate would! I have life experience now which is completely different to some of my friends and I was able to learn new skills that might be helpful for me when I manage to find myself a job!

If you went to university, how has your life been since finishing?
Is what you expected it to be?