My second side

I realise through my blogs I have taken everyone through my mental illness with me but yet haven’t let any of you into my life .
There is more to me than just illness .

Where do I start ?

I’m 27 years young and I live in a small town in South West Wales, UK. 

My parents are happily married with over 40 years together .

I have 2 older brothers .

I have had 2 labradors over the past 20 years . Tess was my first , a golden lab. And Ellie my second, a black lab.
I have had 2 rabbits, Sooty and Flopsey.
A hamster , Yoda (Yoda was a girl haha)
And a budgie named Ben .

I adore animals !!

I used to work , from the age of 16 until I was 22 .

I studied Performing Arts for a year. 
Then went on to study Theatre Lighting for 3 years .
I also went to University and studied Theatre Design & Production but I didn’t finish my first year . (Illness)

Films are a passion of mine .

My hobbies are :

📚 Reading
📒 Writing books
✏ Art – Sketching & Painting
🎮 Gaming – Pc , PS4 , Xbox & Nintendo
🎀 Collect models / figures
🃏 Collect Pokémon cards

As I don’t work , I stay at home a lot . I very very rarely leave the house . So I have a lot of hobbies , along side blogging , to keep me entertained .
Although, I don’t get to do these daily .

I have 2 wonderful Nieces who I love spending time with, and my little cousin who lives with them . 

I basically live a very simple life .
I have a wonderful Fiancé who has supported me for over 6 years and honestly , I don’t know where I would be without him .

That’s basically me .
I don’t talk a lot about myself because I’m not that interesting haha .
But I thought I would give you a little info about me 🙂
I am more than my illnesses and I just wanted to point that out .
My whole point to blogging is to help end the stigma against Mental health . To do this people also need to know there are 2 sides to everyone.  The person & the illness .
We don’t choose this life,  Mental health is not a choice .
I wish it was .

image

Advertisements

Slowly breaking ….

Recently I’ve felt really lost.
I’m at that point where I don’t know which way my life is going to go .

I suffer with so many problems;
🎀 Ulcerative Colitis
🎀 Anxiety
🎀 Depression
🎀Panic Attacks
🎀 Broken Disc
🎀 Migraines
🎀 Food Allergies
🎀 Anemia

Just to name a few .
The chronic pain really gets me down on top of it all.
It makes it impossible for me to get through a day.

A lot of people don’t understand this . I don’t speak about my problems enough .
I get told I should get back to work, which I would love to, but they don’t get what my life is like .

Since I was 6 years old I have suffered with depression . This made me a school phobic .
I have social anxiety too .
I hate new circumstances. 
Meeting new people genuinely terrifies me.

Then, when I was 7 I was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis
— “Inflammation of bone or bone marrow, usually due to infection.”

I needed an operation but when I went for it they couldn’t find where it had gone .
The bone was hollow though so it had been there …. 
I have always been told I need to be extra careful as it’s still somewhere in my body , but they don’t know where. 
This has made my bones very weak.
And I bruise very easily.

Then came the panic attacks around age 9 .
I would get fits of anger too through these .
I had counselling for my whole school life . I had 5 different counsellors all in all .
They did nothing for me .

I went to work at age 16 .
I worked hard but my depression and anxiety got the best of me .
I went from job to job .
I got sacked from a few because I was always ill. 
I was known to collapse / faint .
People would say it was sugar levels but it was my blood / anemia . Which we found out only a year ago .
My iron levels were so low , I could have died at any point . And that’s no exaggeration!!

Between jobs I also went to college .
I studied Performing Arts for a year and passed with the highest grade .

During this time I thought I had broken my coccyx bone . I fell in the dance studio on the wooden floor .
The doctors told me I couldn’t have broken it and blamed my anxiety for years.
Recently, found out I have broken my disc in my back .

I then went on to theatre lighting and design for 3 years which I also passed with the highest grade .
I wouldn’t have passed it if it wasn’t for my tutor though . He is an incredible man and became like my best friend .

I was off for a few months due to illness .
I thought I had bowel cancer .
I was extremely ill.
I was able to work from home thanks to my tutor , while I was having tests and biopsies .
It turned out to be Ulcerative Colitis. 
I still don’t have it under control nearly 7 years on .
Not a day goes by without a flare up . Some are super bad and others are bareable .
This doesn’t help my anemia as I’m losing blood on a daily basis ( not nice I know but this is my life ) .

So whilst a lot of people are judging me because all they see is me smiling and very very rarely see me going out …. I’m going through hell .

When someone says I need a job . I can’t just brush it off .
More than anything I want to work .

I trained for a job that I have been dreaming about for as long as I can remember. 

But it is impossible for me to hold one down .

I have tried and tried and either end up having to leave or being sacked because I have too many sick days .

I don’t just sit around every day playing games or having a laugh .

Most days I can barely walk because of the chronic pain I am in .

The disc in my spine is leaning on the major nerve, causing pain in my spine , hips and knees .
My life is pretty difficult .

I am lost .
I want a future where I can work. 
But I can’t find a path to take ?

I have zero motivation because I barely sleep .
I’m exhausted . (It’s 5am now) .
I barely eat because of the pain .
I don’t leave the house because of it and the fact I have social anxiety. 

So what can I do? 

Even going to the doctors is terrifying for me . Let alone heading out to a job .

I’m currently attempting to write a book again .
I’m also painting as and when I can .
But it takes me about 3-6 months to finish one painting .
So it’s not like I’m not trying ….

My point to this blog, is that people really need to stop judging. 

I smile a lot, I do my best and I help people as and when I can .

I don’t talk to a lot of people about my problems because I know you have your own .

I don’t like being a burden .

But when people think I’m A ok and just lazy . It really annoys me .

I have fought a battle since age 6 .
It’s not something a child should do . 21 years on , I’m still fighting .
I don’t need judgemental people on my case on top of it all .
Life’s hard enough !!

There is one bit of credit I can give myself though , and others like me .
We are bloody strong .
Because , no matter how exhausted we are , we still keep fighting 🙂

4 simple & natural ways to help anxiety

image

Chamomile Tea

Just a few sips of Chamomile Tea can help relieve anxiety and stress . It’s a natural anti-anxiety medicine and has been proven to help reduce anxiety in just a few weeks .

image

Turkey

That tired feeling you feel after Christmas dinner .
It’s from the tryptophan in the turkey.

“Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm. Tryptophan in the form of meat, has been shown to reduce anxiety disorders!”

image

Turmeric

Known for its many uses .
It is excellent for anxiety and depression as it helps lift your moods .

image

Dark Chocolate

One for those with a sweet tooth . (Just like me) .
Dark Chocolate has been found to help relieve anxiety .
In a study they used it as placebo medication .
Scientists found that those on 1.5 ounces of Dark Chocolate per day felt calmer than those who weren’t.

What is a panic attack?

image

Everyone talks about having panic attacks . You’ve either seen someone have one , heard of someone having one or you have experienced one yourself .
But what is a panic attack ?

It’s a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms.
They can be very frightening and happen out of the blue, for no known reason .

They usually last between five and twenty minutes and although they’re horrible, they aren’t dangerous .

image

The physical symptoms of panic can be ;

A sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations)

Sweating 

Trembling

Shortness of breath (hyperventilation) 

A choking sensation

Chest pain 

Feeling sick 

These are caused by your body going into “fight or flight” mode .
Your body tends to think that you’re under threat , hense the sense of panic .

As your body tries to take in more oxygen your breathing gets faster. Your body releases hormones, like adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up.

image

How can you help relieve these symptoms ?

There are a few different things you can try .

To help slow down your breathing and heart rate . You could try these simple steps .

Breathe in deeply through your nose.

Breathe out slowly through your mouth. 

Focus your thinking on the word “calm”.

Keep calm and focus on your breathing .
As you slowly start to feel your breathing getting back to normal,  you can go to feel a little tired . This is normal though.  It means your carbon dioxide levels in your blood , have returned to normal. 

image

Should you see a doctor about panic attacks ?

Although panic attacks aren’t dangerous themselves . It is always a good idea to seek medical advice .
Panic attacks can be brought on due to an underlining issue .

**** Seek medical advice if:

Your panic attack continues after following these breathing techniques for 20 minutes.

You still feel unwell after your breathing returns to normal.

You still have a rapid or irregular heartbeat or chest pains after your panic attack. 

You regularly have panic attacks, as this could be a sign that you have panic disorder. ****

image

Can panic attacks be avoided ?

Some people find that relaxation techniques do help prevent panic attacks . Eg. Meditation , deep breathing , muscle stretches .

Eating regularly can help as it stabilises your blood sugars .

Avoiding alcohol,  caffeine and smoking can also help .

image

Seasonal affective disorder 

Seasonal affective disorder aka SAD .
A lesser known depression , or so I have found in my experience.

I personally don’t suffer from SAD but I do know a few people who do .

SAD doesn’t just mean you’re just sad in certain seasons . It genuinely means you get depressed as the darker seasons come in .

This is due to the change in weather .
SAD comes around when there is less sunlight .

Symptoms of SAD can include:

A persistent low mood

A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities

Irritability

Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the daysleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

Here’s a few little facts I have found about SAD and what causes it .

The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:

Production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels

Production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression

Body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) –your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD

It’s also possible that some people are more vulnerable to SAD as a result of their genes, as some cases appear to run in families.

So how can you treat SAD ?
There are many ways .

The main treatments are:

Lifestyle measures, including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels

Light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight

Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling , antidepressant medication, such asselective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Studies have also shown that upping your intake of vitamin D and Omega 3 can help you and SAD .

So salmon is highly recommended for Omega 3 🙂

Other foods like Berries are also recommended . They help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland.
When stressed, cortisol heads towards your hippocampus, a major portion of the brain that stores memories, provides emotional responses, and navigation. 

image

Folic Acid
Vitamin B12
Dark chocolate
Turkey
And Bananas are also recommended as a way to help SAD.

Although SAD is seasonal , it should still be treated like any other depression , when it comes to others .

Just because people don’t suffer with it for 12 months a year , does not mean that they don’t have depression , or that they don’t understand it .

I found it interesting reading up on SAD and learning a little about it .
I now know a little more about my friends illnesses .

I thought I would blog as I went along 🙂
I hope this is somewhat helpful to others too .

Thanks for reading !!

A surprise attack

Whilst I sat in the comfort of my own home . With a glass of water and a plate with some food on . Unwinding from a long , busy day of sorting . Putting my feet up and watching Grim .

A loud, droaning noise came from outside.

I turned the volume down on the laptop and listened for a minute or two .
The noise I could hear appeared to be voices, male voices . Aged 17/18 . At a guess .

I then heard the front door being tried .
I knew Rob was coming back from band practice, so I thought maybe it was him . But who would be with him ?
His band mates weren’t that loud and no one else would be with him.
I couldn’t hear Rob’s voice either.

After a few more minutes (and checking the door was locked) I decided to carry on watching Grim .

No sooner had I hit the play button , there was an almighty **BANG**

Someone had hit the window. 
It frightened me . So much so , I had to call my father. 
After he checked to make sure the coast was clear , I went back into the living room and …. broke down .
My whole body began to tremble and I couldn’t stop it .
I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself ;

“What’s wrong with me ?”

I never react this way . I am very rarely ever frightened .
But something had made me turn into this panicky mess .
I couldn’t believe it .

Through someone’s stupidity and probably thinking it was a funny idea to play ‘knock knock run’ . I had become a blubbering mess .

I managed to calm myself down by swilling my face with cold water , having a drink and a cigarette .
Once I had done this , Rob was back .
I felt safe now and managed to control my panic .
I spoke to Rob about how I felt .
It really did help .

The panic attack really had caught me off guard .
It’s never happened before .

I managed to get an early night (for the first time in over a year) and that has really helped.
I feel a lot more positive today .
It sounds stupid , but apart from that panic attack , I had a really good day yesterday .
To let that little down point take that away from me , well , that would be idiotic .

I’m not starting 2016 the way I did 2015 .
I’m starting to look for the positives rather than letting them find me 🙂

image

Cutting ties & moving forward.

Happy New Year everyone 🙂
I hope 2016 treats you well .

image

I wanted to write this blog as it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while .
I went through a lot in 2015 . The ups and the major downs.  It was a long roller coaster ride of emotions .
But one thing that has taken a while to click with me, is the loss of friends .

We all go through life meeting new people. We all lose someone in some way shape or form , but I’m not on about the ‘normal’ loss of friends through losing contact or just life getting in the way.  I’m on about losing someone who you considered to be a friend .
The fake friend.
Someone who you put your life on hold for , to meet up with.
Someone who you threw your problems aside for and tried to help them when they were at breaking point .
(But who wouldn’t do this for you .)

And then when their life starts to pick back up, they kick you to the curb .

It feels awful .
The feeling of being used .
No one deserves that .
I don’t understand how people can put someone through it .

Oh my life is hell , they’ll understand

– When you become good enough for them. –

Now my life is back on track, I don’t need that ‘negative’ friend who has helped me through it all, I’ll just kick them to the curb and move on with my life” .

– The part where they become too good for you and you become the negative one . Because they are on the slight “up” that life has given them . –

I’ve been thinking about it a lot . As I do over think things, that’s the whole thing about anxiety .
As much as it magnifies every emotion , it can , every once in a while , make you see things clearly .

I gave my time .
I gave up hours of my days .
I would drop everything for this friend .
I would push my problems aside and I would listen to them go on and on about theirs .
They would cry,  get angry and really vent .
They needed someone and I was willing to be that someone .
To be the shoulder .
I truly believed that they wanted to be friends .
That they were a nice person .
When really , they just saw me for the soft person that I am .
For the person who will do anything to see others happy .

As soon as I had done my work . They got their life back on track , for now. They have a job again , and I feel like they now think they’re better than me. 

I had tried to make contact with this person . But there was always some excuse .
I asked them if everything was ok between us .

They lied .

I then saw them when out and about and they ignored me but acknowledged my friend .

Then in passing conversation between said friends , they dropped the news in about a job .

And it all clicked .

Whilst they think they’re being clever . They’re actually showing their true self .

I was good enough when no one else would listen to them , but the minute they get a part of their life back , boom . I’m not good enough .

They only got their idea of said job , from me . Which is what I find amusing .

I’m better than her now , because I have the job she said would be perfect for me and pointed me in the right direction

But instead of a thank you , I just get tossed aside .

The best part to it all ?

They don’t realise that with depression , it’ll always come back .

The paranoir , the sleepless nights , Panic attacks , feeling ill , feeling unwanted , unloved . Etc .
It isn’t a once in a life time thing that just goes over night . Depression is always there . It just hides until you let your guard down , and then it jumps right back on .

image

2015 taught me a lot of hard lessons . The main one is having to let go .

So this blog , is me letting go .
It’s the final goodbye to a toxic relationship .
I may be unfit to work because of health issues , but that doesn’t give anyone the right to treat me like an underdog .
It doesn’t make you a better person because you can get up pain free every day . It doesn’t change who you are .
And nothing gives you the right to treat someone this way .

I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this .
So my advice to you is , cut them off .
Don’t let them get to you. 
They used you and yes it sucks .
They took your nice nature and used it to their advantage .
But that doesn’t make you a bad person , it makes them the bad person .
So instead of just dwelling on it , say your final goodbye , in what ever way you feel appropriate,  and cut all ties .

image

I feel good after venting all of this 🙂
Now I can move on to the next chapter of my life .
I hope you can too 🙂