Powerful Suggestion

Powerful Suggestion

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

Don’t worry about the past. It has already been written and the time machine hasn’t yet been invented so you can’t go back and change it.

Try not to worry about the future. Maybe your wildest dreams will come true. You never know or can predict what is just around the corner. Isn’t that exciting?!

Do the things that make you smile. Usually these are the little things. Joking around with your friends and being a little childish. You will come to realise it is the little moments that make life big.

Wear clothing that is comfortable or that makes you feel great. It doesn’t matter if it clashes or that it is just from a high street store. If you like it, then that is all that matter.

Spend time with the people you love. That can be family or friends. Sometimes your true family aren’t blood relations. They are just the people that light up your life and make it worth living.

If there are people in your life who suck the joy out of your day, spend less time with them or remove them from your inner circle. Don’t let them have a control over you.

Don’t change who your are or put your life on hold for others. If people can’t accept you for who you are and what you want to do, then that is their problem.

Learn to say no more. If you are already swamped with tasks, or have your own chores to be getting on with, then feel able to say no. You will only burn yourself out.

Learn to say yes more. If you are nervous about going to that drink with workmates just say yes. You will find they are actually fun people and you will enjoy yourself.

Just remember, this is your life and you get to live it the way you want to. Be kind, be grateful and have fun while you make mistakes and gain experiences. Sometimes things go well and other times it will go so badly that you can’t see the light. Keep your chin up and know that it is all worth it in the end. Difficult sometimes but worth it.

Caffeine and Anxiety

Recently, I have been wondering if I can correlate what I do, where I go and what I eat with how my emotions are.

When I go to the seaside am I calmer?
If I drink more than 3 cups of coffee a day am I more anxious?
Do I feel better when I have a small square of good quality chocolate every day?

I really try and drink plenty of water each day. It is good for my skin and obviously really good for my transplanted kidney! Often I try and replace my cup of tea or coffee with herbal teas. Nettle tea is meant to be wonderful for kidneys so I try and drink that once a day. I also really love camomile or fennel tea. There is just something so comforting about them. But as good as I try and be, there are times when I look at the range of teas I have and not a single one tempts me. I just look at them and think urgh and then reach for my jar of coffee.

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I think the issue is when I’m feeling low and a little off balance I can end up being a bit fussy and only wanting comfort foods. I’m sure there is no coincidence that a lot of comfort foods begin with the same letter – ‘C’. Chips, Crisps, Chocolate…
I don’t comfort eat to the extent that I have weight issues. But somehow I seem to achieve the opposite of comfort. I feel guilty, sluggish, tired and unhappy with myself after I reach for the less than healthy snacks.

Some people are morning people. Some people are night owls. I’m not really either. I seem to have the same low level of energy throughout the day. Having a coffee to wake me up doesn’t seem to do anything for me. I like to have a coffee after dinner to relax. On occasion where I have drank quite a lot of caffeine it seems to have the opposite effect on me. Instead of waking me up, it actually makes me sleepy.
In fact, I seem to have opposite reactions to a lot of things. Once I was given adrenaline as part of a check for my heart health. It made my blood pressure plummet and I went really dizzy. That is the opposite effect the nurse was expecting and a doctor had to be called and I was laid down on a bed with my knees up. Another time I was given antihistamine as a preventative measure as the next medication they were going to give me could cause unpleasant reactions. Very quickly my face went blotchy and I felt like my throat was starting to slightly swell…

But is there any evidence to link between anxiety and caffeine?

The effects of caffeine are highlighted below:

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One study carried out looked at if there was an Association Between A2a Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and
Caffeine-Induced Anxiety. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world: 82–92% of the adults in North America report regular consumption of caffeine-containing beverages. They used a total of 100 healthy, infrequent caffeine users, 54 men and 46 women. Essentially in the end they found that caffeine significantly increased scores on Stimulation, Anxiety and decreased scores on Depression and Fatigue.

This article says Consuming too much caffeine when you are already highly stressed is like adding fuel to the fire: you are simply revving up your body’s stress response. So we need to be wary of the link between caffeine and anxiety.

Coffee-induced anxiety <— This gives a lot of good advice and interesting glimpses into caffeine. If you go in complaining of panic attacks the first question they ask is do you drink coffee and how soon if your panic after your morning beverage.
The American Psychiatric Association has added three caffeine related disorders to its list of official diagnoses: caffeine intoxication, caffeine-related anxiety and caffeine-related sleep disorders. Caffeine is after all a psychoactive drug but it is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world. Caffeine generally gives a sense of energy, focus, alertness, concentration, and memory for the majority of people.
However people predisposed to anxiety disorders may find caffeine can trigger a spiral of sensations. It can make your heart beat faster, raise your blood pressure, cause headaches, nervousness and dizziness. As we associate these feelings with a panic attack our body can then go into panic mode. It can be our head misinterpreting what are actually just the effects of caffeine. Nothing bad has happened, your body is just physically reacting to coffee but you are now going through the fight of flight scenario.

Obviously there are a variety of triggers for anxiety. But I was just pondering if caffeine might not be helping me in finding the peace and calm I have been seeking.
It seems to be suggested you start to taper off your caffeine consumption. Remember caffeine is in many foods and drinks – coffee is just the first one you think of! Tea (even green tea), carbonated beverages, chocolate, cocoa… Lots of things!

So from this weekend I will be stocking up on herbal teas and having a proper go at reducing my caffeine intake. I read this blog post and she says that although she still has anxiety after cutting out coffee, it seems to be slightly better. She has spells of calm and the panics don’t last as long. If this is something I could potentially have then I will try anything – I will hold on to that hopeful thought!

Positive spin

It is funny how your emotions are very much swings and roundabouts.

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I woke up feeling low but okay. Knowing I wasn’t 100% I decided to have coco pops for breakfast to try and add a little boost to the start of my day! I even felt pretty confident and happy in myself after I had got ready. I’ve put my hair back today and it seems to just show off my face a little more. I will have to remember to do more with my hair now it is a little longer. It is a quick and simple trick to really make a ‘change’ to your appearance without blowing big budgets. Only issue is I’m rubbish at styling my hair. I usually end up hot and bothered with my hair looking a mess! But practise makes perfect. Plus the slightly ‘messy’ look seems to be in so I can only win.

It is a lovely day so sunnies it was for driving in to work. After putting my lunch in the fridge (something I’m making myself do now to ‘interact’ with my colleagues more) and making a cup of tea I walked into the office and settled at my desk…

How To Stop Panic Attacks

Seemingly seconds later my chest started to feel tight (like there is a strap around my chest and maybe someone trying to claw my ribs open with a crowbar) and my breathing a little elevated and quick. Why does this happen? What is causing it? There isn’t necessarily anything I can put my finger on in particular to explain why I’m feeling anxious. How come I managed to cope last week with more stresses but this week I’ve just been struggling.

I’m not sure if I mentioned, but I’m an orders coordinator at a data archive company. We store a lot of legacy data for clients in our warehouse and can send items next day back to the them on request. If they wish, we can scan the data and send the files digitally. We can also transcribe (copy) the data if it is on tape media to make it more accessible.

Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because literally as soon as I am sat down there are lots of emails that I have to flag on my to do list. Everything is always ‘priority’ and ‘urgent’ so you have to get your head around the whole picture and work out the best way to go about the tasks. But this just shows that I’m good at managing my time and juggling the tasks in hand to ensure everyone is happy.

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Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because my colleagues are at my desk asking me questions before I’ve even taken a sip of tea. But this just shows that I’m a fountain of knowledge and they just need my input into their tasks and appreciate my experience.

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Perhaps my anxiety is triggered because one of my colleagues that forms part of my team is off on holiday. I feel that everything now is falling at my door and I’m feeling swamped. But this just shows that I appreciate what others do and how they help me.

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So I’m just sat here doing deep breathing exercises and listing to the relaxing sounds on http://www.calm.com/. It all seems to help a little. Trying to put a positive spin on the things that are potentially making me anxious is also helping. I’m trying to tell that negative little voice in my head that it is wrong. It is taunting me. Repeating over and over ‘Nikki is going to cry’ in a way that only a horrid bully would do. I’m going to show it that although I have weak moments it doesn’t define me.
All this positivity is making me realise that I’m not just this useless ball of anxiety. I’m actually an essential cog in this machine!

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Escape at lunch

Everything seems to be getting the better of me today. I was sat at my desk in work feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

I decided to grab my sandwich and go for a walk during my lunch break. If I had just stayed in I would have festered in all the emotions I was experiencing. Better to try and do something to help myself than to let it consume me.
I’m so lucky that I am in such a beautiful area and that these are so close to my workplace!

The light shimmering on the estuary near Conwy was really lovely.
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Spring is definitely in bloom now.image

Conwy Castle and Conwy bridge in the distance.image

Obligatory selfie.image

Conwy Castle.image

The meandering pathway through the trees I took.image

Easter Weekend!

Long weekends are great. It gives you the time off you long for and is a chance to set new memories. But it can also give you too much time to think. More on that in a bit.

Caz knew he had to do some overtime at some point on the long weekend. The power was being switched off in one of the buildings at work. So to save the servers from kicking up errors or not being happy he would have to switch them off properly before the power went off and boot them up once the electricity was on again. It is probably only an hour of work and an hour of driving to and from the site but it can still potentially put a dampener on the weekend. Luckily though he was able to stay late on Thursday to switch things off. Plan is to put everything back on at 5pm on Monday ready for everyone coming in on Tuesday after the bank holiday. Looks like a lucky escape and we will have maximum time off to spend together doing nice things.

Friday

On the Friday we decided to visit our new house to see how the progress was panning out. We have quite a few decisions coming up soon about where to put light switches, sockets and other aspects. We will have to work out the layout for all the rooms to make sure we factor in enough plugs. Like will I be charging my phone by the side of the bed or maybe in the kitchen on the breakfast bar? Lots of little things to think about!

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For whatever reason we both found today quite draining and had a to have a nap in the afternoon! We have been quite busy lately with work and the house. When building a house you can’t ever really switch off. There are always bills to pay and decisions to make. Not that I’m not grateful for this opportunity, but I will be glad once it is over and I can think of nothing at all!

Saturday

Last year we went to a food, drink & lifestyle festival in Chester. When we heard it was on again this year at the Racecourse we booked ‘early bird’ tickets and couldn’t wait to go there!
http://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/
Due to pre-booking tickets, we were given preferential treatment and showed to a tarmacked area for parking. It had been quite wet for the last few days so any grass parking would have been pretty boggy. From what I understand though other visitors were being pointed in the direction of the nearest large car park and that the festival had stumped up the cost.

We had left home pretty early so I wanted breakfast!
First stop – I love crepes! We both had Nutella and banana crepes. Yummy!

Then we perused all the stalls, stands and marquees.
A lot of the vendors had such pretty and colourful products

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It can be a little difficult being a vegetarian at festivals. What can you eat?! There was pulled pork, sausages, burgers, meatballs… I was starting to feel I would have to go hungry! But then I came across a cute little Citroen Van with a wood burner installed which was selling fresh pizza! I always try and go for something a little different to what I normally would and had a garlic oil as the base (instead of tomato base) and cheese, wild mushrooms and wild garlic. It was really yummy and I don’t actually know how I wolfed it all down!
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There were also demonstrations by various celebrity and well known chefs. One of them was Simon Rimmer. I caught a sly shot of him in the picture above!
We went away with quite a lot of goodies! Cheese and onion twist, berry Danish pastry, cheesy loaf of bread, a selection of macaroons, brownies, cocoa flavoured popcorn, some very spicy veggie things, pies and some meat for Caz.
We also got a really lovely big serving bowl and a glass dragonfly ornament.

On our way back Caz had an appointment to test drive a Toyota Avensis. I was full of excitement about this prospect. Not. I generally see Toyotas as just boxes to get from A to B. Nothing interesting or unique about them. They just blend in and are silver 90% of the time.
Well, we spotted it and it was a really lovely dark grey. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a hankering towards a charcoal colour car. There is just something so classy and simple about it. We got in and I didn’t instantly fall asleep from boredom. It had a build in sat nav and rather funky sound system and the dashboard wasn’t made of recycled bin lids. It actually felt well made and designed with a bit of thought behind it.
We would be selling Caz’s current ‘commuter car’ to buy this – a Toyota Yaris.

We had such a lovely day out and about today so what I’m about to say makes me feel incredibly guilty. I feel rubbish. It is like the black cloud has just come over me and is trying to absorb me. I just don’t know how to shake it. My normal tricks to try and get out of this rut just aren’t even helping to take the edge off today. It feels like you are a bystander to your own life. You are there but aren’t partaking in anything that is going on. You don’t have input as to how you feel. You desperately don’t want to feel this way but don’t know how to get out of this zone. I end up mutely just holding myself while the world continues around me.

I think sometimes my mind needs a rest as much as my body does. When you have had to be strong for a while and keep going even though you just want to sit down cry can really leave you feeling drained. I should have at some point in this last week put my hands up at work and said I’m swamped, can someone give me a hand. But I didn’t. I just battled on regardless. I’m getting better at asking for help but for whatever reason I didn’t on this occasion. A combination of my colleague preparing to be off the following week, a couple difficult tasks from a client who doesn’t know the meaning of manners and just being pretty busy!

Late in the evening Caz said he was going to bed and did I want to go to. I said no. This was a mistake. I ended up searching for the most painless ways of killing myself. Apparently there isn’t really. Luckily the website I stumbled upon had a lot of advice. Talk to someone. Wait at least 3 days before carrying out any potential life ending plans.
http://lostallhope.com/

It isn’t that anything has gone catastrophically wrong but just I’ve felt so low and anxious for like a month now without any let up. I hear time and time again that depression is a treatable illness. But my experience of it is that it is never-ending and there is no way out. All I want is a brief rest-bite from this and to have a glimmer of hope and happiness for the future. I have been there, done that with counselling. It helped to a certain degree but I got to a point where it was more a nuisance than a help. I exercise, eat healthy, have a few hobbies and try and sound out my thoughts but I’ve been struggling with an inner voice that just won’t leave me alone. I don’t know if I should go back to my GP and ask about medications. I just want to find something to ease this.

Sunday

Sunday is probably going to be quite a lazy day. Besides, I don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything.

We sat in front of the TV and watched the first race of the season for British Touring cars. There have been lots of team changes, new faces, old faces, sponsor changes and different cars. I sat proudly wearing my Pirtek Tshirt and Fleece in support of Andrew Jordan now he has moved to MG from Honda.
We only got around to watching race 1 and 2 of the BTCC but it was such good fun! We shout at the telly at dodgy overtakes and cheer when our favourite teams or individuals win.

I mentioned about Caz potentially thinking about buying this car we test drove yesterday. Well, to afford the car we would probably have to sell the Scooby too. It would be a very reluctant sale on Caz’s part. We bought it in 2011 and it has been so good to us. Nothing has ever gone wrong on it or even hinted at wanting to fail. It is just such a good car! So fast too! I would desperately miss it too. I just feel so cool when driving it! But we have had it for quite a few years now and it is perhaps the time for Caz to try something new.

Well Caz ended up removing the fun decals we had put on the Subaru and then I gave it a good clean.
We took it up to an interesting spot and took the pictures for the ads.
If you want to share the link go ahead or if you know anyone that might be interested please let me know!

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http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/subaru/impreza-sti/subaru-impreza-wrx-sti-type-uk-widetrack-dccd/3881863

Monday

In a way, I feel I’ve not made the most of my long weekend.
Yes, we went to the Food & Drink festival but that is about it on the list of what I achieved.

So we booked tickets to go to the cinema to see the long awaited Fast & Furious 7.
I was curious as to how they would handle the fact that one of the main actors – Paul Walker – died during the filming. Without giving too much away, basically this film is a direct follow on from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (and we had a bit of a recap to Fast & Furious 6). The brother of one of the bad guys that the crew defeated is back to get revenge. They travel across a lot of the globe trying to stop the guy and use a load of technology to help them. They just don’t want to end up going to any more funerals for their crew members. Will they manage it?!
At the end is a montage in tribute to Paul Walker. There can’t have been a dry eye in the house after that. Too many feels.

I actually really enjoyed seeing the movie. Really Fast & Furious is a big budget film franchise with rubbish plots. But boy do Caz and I love it! We have seen all the movies together now and is just one of those funny traditions we will always do – go and see these crappy movies!

As it was a nice day, we decided to go out for lunch. We went to a local Water gardens that has a Dutch Pancake house attached. The restaurant was full when we arrived but they put our name down and told us to come back in a bit. We walked around the fishing lake, taking in the views and scenery as well as saying hello to the ducks and chickens that live at the water gardens.

What a view!

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Easter themed pancake!
I was sooo full afterwards!

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There are also tropical fish and other critters you can look at and purchase at the water gardens. They have reptiles and creepy crawlies too!

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When we got back home we had enough time to relax in the garden with a cup of tea before Caz had to go to work to finish his task of turning all the servers back on.

While he was gone I had cheese on toast for tea and decided to watch more of The Rock (you can never have enough of The Rock). I settled on watching Pain & Gain on netflix.
Based on a true story, 3 body builders decide that they deserve more. They kidnap and rob one of the clients at their gym and then realise they can’t just free him afterwards so they set about trying to kill him. They then decide that they didn’t get enough from that plan so want to do it again and accidentally kill two people. Their ways finally catch up with them and they get their comeuppance.
When the film finished I wasn’t sure if it was good or dire! It was meant to be a black comedy but felt like a bit of an endurance… It was over 2 hours! It had a pretty big cast in it with Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Ed Harris in it but for me that wasn’t enough. I often find these more dark tales fascinating and often watch documentaries taking a look into the minds of serial killers. But I think comedy wasn’t the way this film should have been portrayed. There has to be some respect and dignity towards the victims and that just wasn’t captured at all in this film.

This has been a long post! But then I guess I did quite a lot over the last 4 days.

I had better get an early night before work again tomorrow.
Today has been a better day but I never want to take these things for granted as I don’t know how fleeting these good moments might be.

10 positive things

I have accepted to do a challenge of writing 10 positive things about myself that has nothing to do with my mental health issues. This originated from https://bipolarwhispers.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/10-positive-things-a-challenge-to-my-readers-and-fellow-bloggers/ and then https://losttothedark.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/10-positive-things/ took on the challenge too, which inspired me to write my own list of 10 positive things.

I want you to write 10 positive things about you that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues. Post them on your blog and link the link in the comments. If you are not comfortable writing a blog post and linking it, you can write the 10 things in my comments section on this post.

10 positive things about me:

  1. My husband, Carwyn, is the greatest thing to have entered my life! He manages to make me smile even when I feel it is so impossible my body just won’t remember how to raise the corners of my mouth. Without him I feel certain I wouldn’t be here today. He has given me a reason to live. We love a lot of the same things and I’m sure we were actually created from the same mould as we are so similar it is sometimes scary! Caz adds a vibrancy to my life and takes it from black and white to full technicolour.
  2. Bear with my while I get to my point! In 2012 my Grandpa passed away. I found this time really difficult to cope with and it hit me hard. I didn’t see my Grandpa tonnes over the years, just at the big holiday occasions like Christmas and Easter. But there was something about him that was so recognisable in me. His humour was very similar to mine as well as a lot of his thoughts and ideas on life. My Grandpa decided to leave some money to me in his will. I desperately wanted to make the most of the money as well as hopefully knowing I would have made him proud. So my husband and I thought we would put it towards the property market. We looked at houses for sale but nothing felt right. Then we thought back to our chilled out evenings watching Grand Designs. We decided to properly look into it before we ruled it out. We went to an estate agent and asked to have all the pamphlets for plots of land within our chosen area and budget. We went out for a drive and visited every plot for sale and one stuck in our minds. It was perfect. It was also owned by friends of the family! So we booked an appointment with an architect, got our dream home drawn up and then proceeded with our plans. Today the main shell of the house is there and hopefully in the next couple of months we will be moving in! I will eternally be grateful to my Grandpa for thinking of me in his will. I obviously would rather he was still here and could see my house in person and spend many happy days with us but I will live knowing that I put his money to the best use in bettering my life and making my future more stable and comfortable.
  3. I have a crude humour! I greatly believe this is a gene I inherited from my Dad’s side of the family. Fart jokes, stupid noises, whoopie cushions, puns, witty one liners… All get me howling in hysterics!
  4. I live in a beautiful part of the world in North Wales and am so grateful for it. I live a 5 minute stroll from the beach, but am also within a short drive from the big mountains such as Snowdon. I regularly go past castles and constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be living in such an amazing area. I thrive in this part of the world. Spending time out in nature really seems to boost me and it also inspires me.
  5. Reading has to be one of my favourite past times. As a child my parents read to me quite a lot. The Hobbit was regularly read to me and perhaps developed the fantasy world that now resides in my head! I then got to a point where reading became difficult to me. I found it hard to concentrate enough to read and I would end up re-reading many sentences and almost have to say bits out loud just to be able to move on from it. Although I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia, I do think I might have it to some degree. When writing with pen and paper I merge words and often really have to think which way around a b or d goes – they often get muddled around with me. But now I have rediscovered the joy of losing myself in a book. I tend to just pick up easy to read ‘chick lit’ novels but occasionally I will find something that really challenges me. Books about the war or more memoir type books are appearing on my radar now and although they can be difficult reads it is so life enriching and rewarding. I’ve also ventured into my local library and that has opened up another realm of options to me!
  6. I contain spare parts! In March 2011 my Dad donated one of his kidneys to me. Health problems had plagued me ever since I was a young child. So now I’ve got this new lease of life I want to make the most of it. To mark my kidney donation I have a plush zombie kidney! Maybe one day I will get a tattoo to commemorate it – a butterfly with a green charity ribbon as its body (this is for organ transplant and donation awareness) or the date in my Dad’s handwriting just above the scar on my lower abdomen.
  7. With my health problems I had always found exercising difficult. I would end up out of breath very quickly and quickly feel demotivated and unwilling to continue. But now I have a new sense of determination because Caz and I are hoping to begin thinking about starting a family (once we are settled in the new house). I want to achieve all I can within my limits. I want to do all I can without being hard on myself. In January I started running. When I say running I do a bit of jogging and a lot of quick walking! It has given me a sense of freedom I had never experienced before. I’m not great at it, which is frustrating but it shows just what I can do when I put my mind to it.
  8. I love baking. Not just because of the yummy rewards at the end but because in a relatively short time you then have something to show for your efforts. If I know someone is coming over I will bake a chocolate layer cake or scones. But more often than not I will just bake because it is something I enjoy doing. Because there are just two of us we can’t eat everything I make ourselves! Caz takes a lot of it to work and comes home with the compliments people have given to the cakes or biscuits. I have even made things for Caz to take to work on request! It’s nice to be acknowledged for something you do well!
  9. Fairies are something I collect. I currently have 6 fairy ornaments displayed on my sideboard. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about them. There is just something that draws me to them and if I spot one when I’m out and about in the shops I will have to impulse buy! The fairies I collect are pretty sexy and ethereal. I particularly love the ones by ‘Nemesis Now’
  10. I am vegetarian and have been now for over 12 years. It all began when I was in college and applying for all the free things on the internet. One of these happened to be a ‘going vegetarian’ pack with leaflets and information. I was shocked at the conditions animals were generally kept in and especially sickened by the process from farm to table. I pretty much decided there and then to become vegetarian. I love animals. I grew up with a dog being my ‘sister’ and would love to one day be in a position where I can volunteer my time to a rescue centre. I think being a vegetarian has helped maintain my kidney function as too high an amount of protein can be difficult for your kidneys to process. It has also helped my figure as it is a low fat diet!

When negativity is second nature to you it can be very hard to come up with even one positive thing about yourself. I also wanted to try not to record anything physical, because beauty is generally within and around us. It actually took me a good two days to come up with this listing! It was quite therapeutic having to overrule the negative voices in my head. It definitely got me thinking and maybe, just maybe, gave me an insight into how I could one day become. It is possible to be kind to myself and with daily practice it will gradually become my way of thinking.

The misconceptions of depression

During one of my sessions trawling the tinternets to try and pick up my mood, I stumbled across this article.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/laurasilver/this-is-what-depression-really-looks-like#.saxL4G9Wl

It really struck a chord with me.
When you see anything about depression it will usually be accompanied by an image such as:

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Even a Google image search for depression confirmed this:

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But in reality you can’t even begin to second guess what someone is going through just by looking at them:

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Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

At work I am known to be smiley and happy. I greet everyone I bump into in the corridors and try and talk to others when I’m making myself a drink.

What I don’t show is that in the morning I was wondering if I could even make it to work. I burst into tears telling my husband how much I hate the negative monologue that is forever playing in my mind. It is telling me ‘what is even the point in putting make-up on as it will be like polishing a turd’ or perhaps ‘why bother turning up to work as I am completely replaceable and probably wont even notice my absence’. But I manage to go through the motions of crawling out of bed, getting showered and dressed and making myself eat breakfast before struggling in.

They also don’t know that I had a terrifying panic attack on the weekend that left my husband holding me and repeating over and over that I can breathe and it will be okay. It drains me and leaves me really low for quite a while afterwards. I find it can take as much as a week to even begin to find glimmers of happiness again after a panic attack. It saps my energy and all the hope from me and leaves me running on empty. You feel that things will never get better again. I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards to perhaps where I was 6 months ago. I’ve been left wondering if I should get back in touch with my clinical psychologist to try and make sense of the world again and try and continue the progress I had previously experienced. But it is just a blip. A small relapse. I am stronger than I used to be and I am getting there.

When I’m at work I feel a lot better. I don’t have time to think and dwell on my problems. If things start to get the better of me, I will take myself out of the situation and make myself a cup of tea.
At lunch I will lose myself in a book. It takes me away from my problems and completely submerses me in this other world.
Occasionally I will go for a quick walk at lunch to clear my head and freshen myself up with some big lungfuls of sea air.

When I get home I will try and do something active. I will go for a run or do some circuit training. Something to just clear my mind and give me the happy glow of having achieved what I set out to do.
But it is difficult. When it is quiet my mind starts to notch up a gear or two and is quite vocal again. I try and keep myself busy with hobbies.

Busy hands are happy hands

The devil finds work for idle hands

When I’m feeling stressed or anxious I need to keep reminding myself that this feeling will pass. I need to do something that keeps my hands busy and occupies my mind. I will pick up a colouring book and scrawl away until I’m feeling better. I might ‘play’ something on a piano app on my tablet to really tune into my concentration (my coordination is far from ideal!). I have been wanting to have a go at sewing or cross stitch lately but it is finding the time and motivation to jump in and try it out! I also need to make more time for baking. I really love creating yummy treats as it gives an excuse to invite people over for a cup of tea and a chat.

There are many other helpful and simple suggestions in this link about what you can try when you start to feel anxious. Some I hadn’t thought of and that seem so obvious now!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolynkylstra/anxiety-tips