Hello folks. This afternoon, I thought that I would take a moment to talk about mental health. We all have it, and we all experience it, good or bad. My own life’s experiences, quite scarily, amount to a quarter of a century’s worth. And when I look at my statistic in this way, it sounds extremely bleak. Whilst I can only comment in depth on my personal backstory, this doesn’t mean I don’t have the ability to listen to the backstories of others. I have oodles of empathy, and have often been a sounding board for others to share their innermost thoughts.
For those who don’t know me, my mental health deteriorated when I was 18. I had been at university for approximately two weeks, and I was completely unaware as to how my life was falling apart at the seams. And, sadly, my health had declined so much that it led to my first hospital admission. My friends rallied round, visiting me in hospital. My family was completely and utterly baffled as to why I had been diagnosed as having manic-depression, or, as it’s known today, having Bipolar Mood Affective Disorder. It took years for me to accept that I had this condition, which is, lifelong. And even longer to adjust to the fact that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. My ambitions of being a journalist were washed away with pills to cure my ills. I have regular flashbacks to my first episode, and of subsequent episodes, and they are not pleasant at all.
My life seemed to spontaneously combust whenever I started a new qualification or course. There were days when I thought that I would never hold down a full-time job, or move out of my parental home. Whilst my friends gained their degrees and went onto find their dream job roles, I had to forge a different path for myself and get qualified in other ways. I did this by volunteering for many different organisations, and taking advantage of free education whenever I could. I have completed many courses successfully, however, there are so many more that I had to give up.
At the age of 24, I started my first full-time job, and at the age of 37, I gave up full-time work. I was completely burnt out with the 9-5 regime; and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to my put my own needs first. It didn’t work out exactly as I planned. I lost a relationship, my home, and my dog in the space of a few short months. But more than that, I lost my sanity, again. Whilst I have had no manic relapses for over three years, I still suffer anxiety, low mood and depression. I have been in a secure and loving relationship for over two years now, but, it has been difficult for me to move on from the trauma I experienced and work through the trust issues that I was left with. Recovery has taken its time.
We all have our different coping mechanisms and strategies; for me, it’s in the form of counselling or group therapy. Last October, I finished a CBT workshop, that focused on anxiety and stress. It has helped enormously with the psychological issues I was trying to deal with on my own. I often return to its session handouts to work out things that are worrying me at the moment. Two weeks ago, I started taking a beta blocker, to help with the physical symptoms of anxiety. And, they have really made a difference. My insomnia has reduced and I feel calmer within myself.
Having a mental health issue, is like having a deep war wound or scar from life’s battles, which has to be cleansed regularly. The first step towards healing yourself, is to talk to someone about how you are feeling, allowing them to help you in the best way that they can. This may be a family member, close friend or a work colleague that you trust. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence, as it seriously isn’t worth it. Let the tears fall, but remember, that there will be happy times and laughter again. I guarantee it.
Take care tiddlypeeps x x x
So, here we are again, four days into a new month on this year’s calendar. Despite its online appearances, for me, January, quite frankly, dragged its behind. My days were interspersed with escaping to the cinema to make the most out of my Cineworld Unlimited card; and eating cheese and tomato toasties and building myself a blanket fort on my sofa.
I had one work trial/interview for a dog grooming position which hasn’t come to fruition. I wait with bated breath for the recruitment company at the end of my street to contact me with suitable job vacancies in admin/reception/secretarial – delete where applicable. In the meantime, I have been trawling through job search engines and there are jobs to be had, however, I need to start applying for them. My mission at the moment is to get a full-time job, so that I can start saving up gradually for my dog grooming equipment. A few of my fellow dog grooming friends have thrown me a lifeline, and have asked me to come on board with them, but I need magic pennies to do so…and I think Jack is all out of magic beans himself.
I have, however, started volunteering at a dog rescue shelter, as a receptionist. I did my first shift last week, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The role is extremely hands on, and will give me something to look forward to each week.
The delectable Mr B will be here on Friday. We are off to watch Count Arthur Strong on Sunday evening at the Liverpool Empire. On the Monday, I will be joining Mr B on the way back to Clacton, as I am having an extended break away, spending quality time with Mr B’s family and also dog sitting. And yes, I have indeed bought my canine companion a card for Valentine’s Day. I just couldn’t resist doing so whilst browsing in the Card Factory, which is my go-to shop for greeting cards.
Educational goals for this year, include the following: Level 2 Digital Marketing for Business, which is due to commence on 19 February, and is a four day workshop, delivered by Clickworks/Starting Point/St Helens Chamber. Since starting up my new dog blog, https://www.thedoggroomingphilosopher.co.uk – I am getting more into blogging from an entrepreneurial perspective. Plus, there’s no harm in adding yet another string to my long bow. Oops, just realised how rude that sounded when repeating it over in my head just then.
And talking of bombshells, I may be putting my OU studies on hold until October 2021. With the prospects of me relocating towards the end of the year, looking for a new job, as well as a new home together, is going to bring its own stresses. As much as I love David Hume et al., and their arguments for The Self, I need my full concentration for that. Although, you know me, and my itchy study fingers. Plus, if I defer for another year, that only means another student loan. Decisions, decisions.
Anyway, tiddlypeeps, I will leave you all here. Take care of you and I’ll take care of me xxx
When it comes to clothes, I have never really considered myself as a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’. Whilst I appreciate nice clothes, I am by no means addicted to designer labels. As a child, I was quite the tomboy, and always happy wearing tracksuits or t-shirts, jeans and trainers as opposed to dresses. With the exception of tracksuits, my clothes and shoes were usually bought from market stalls. In my college years, I had an eclectic dress sense, dressing differently to my friends. And during 1994-1996, New Look took the High Street by storm, and my girly friends and I, owned it.
As an Open University student, I still shop in New Look – usually because I can pick up a bargain with my NUS discount card. But more to the point, that I remain an 18 year old teenager inside, and this often reflects the way that I dress today. Over the years, I have advocated JD Williams, and its online stores such as Simply Be, Fashion World and Marisota; and more recently, Yours Clothing.
And, I have to say, that someone who loves to feel comfortable in their clothes, Yours has really come up top trumps. They are reasonably priced, cater for sizes 14 and above and I am more than happy to part with my cash whilst in my local shop.
Anyway, I digress. Slogan tops – I love them! And I would like to thank the designer brainchild out there who has brought them back into the foray of popular culture. As I sit in Costa Coffee right now, I am wearing a green sweater emblazoned in white writing ‘It is, what it is…’ Coincidentally, I am sipping a bottle of Diet Coke, which on the label reads ‘you do you’. Other slogan tops that I have purchased recently from Yours include a bright pink sweater embroidered in white with ‘Not my problem’; a black one with ‘Now or Never’ in pinkish purple writing; two in grey – the former with ‘Fierce and Fabulous’ in neon orange writing and the latter in block capitals; ‘I don’t sweat, I sparkle!’ I have three t-shirts as well – black with pink and white squirrely writing ‘You do You’, a grey one that reads ‘Perfectly Imperfect’, and a light grey one with ‘Sorry not Sorry’ across the front. They are sooooo comfortable, keeping me toasty warm on winter days like today.
Not just that, the slogan tops are a polite gesture to a certain small-minded and insignificant individual/co-worker who upset me in December, and caused me emotional distress. By way of cheering myself up, I wanted to go on a spending spree. However, with my OU studies on hold, I didn’t want to buy notebooks, pens or folders from Wilko’s or Ryman. So, by splurging on new clothes, I have a new wardrobe for 2020. This does mean that I will be clearing out other clothes that I no longer wear, and donating them to charity. But isn’t that what life is about? Letting go of the old to make space for the new?
Until next time, take care tiddlypeeps x x x