Behind a mask…

Just in case you missed my guest post on www.embracethoughts.com ! A Massive thank you to @embracethoughts for letting me post this! Please take a look !

We all wear mask on a daily basis, whether its smiling when you go into work, even though you want to yawn and go to bed, nodding your head when you actually have no idea what’s going on or even laughing when you know you should be laughing, but really, you’re thinking about what to have for dinner and you didn’t really hear what was even said.

Without masks, leaving the house sometimes wouldn’t be possible, and even more so for those who battle with mental illness. You can hide worry, fear, sadness, guilt, anxiety and anything that people want to hide behind a mask that makes our lives that slight bit easier. We hide from others but just as often we hide from ourselves, facing how you really feel can be terrifying and painful so you paint on a smile and tell everyone you’re ok, even though inside you’re crying.

We want to protect our friends and family and the outside world from the pain and distress of seeing us struggle as much as we protect ourselves. As a result, you sometimes hide your real feeling so much that it’s hard to uncover how you actually feel, like hiding your true self for so long that you wouldn’t even recognise yourself when you take the mask off.

Sometimes we wear a mask as we don’t accept ourselves for who we are and so we create someone we can accept. This could be consciously or subconsciously, but this often this feels like we are surviving rather than living, just getting through the day. We may be scared that people will find out the true us and not like us anymore, we could be holding onto the mask so strongly that we don’t know who we are and where to start with taking the mask off.

But as Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Wearing a mask can be exhausting, sometimes we just want to be honest with who we are and what we think and that’s perfectly ok, whatever version of you, however you feel, if it’s you then its more than enough!

 

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Autumn self-care!

 

Each season brings with its own set of difficulties, memories and battles that we have to face.  In the Autumn, we have the trouble of accepting the summer is over while the nights get draw in and colder, the mornings being darker creates less appeal to get out of bed and the pressure of various special days that are coming up over the next few months with the overwhelming urge to fit in as much as possible into the last few months of the year!

For me, this time of year is particularly difficult so I have to make a conscious effort to look after myself and take time out for self-care.

*Tea! It’s a very British thing to assume a nice cup of tea will fix anything, but when has a cup of tea ever made things worse? I love coming home, putting my slippers or comfy socks on and curling up with a nice hot drink. It can be so comforting in so many situations but I think mainly its being able to take yourself away from a situation for a few moments, making a drink and taking a few moments to sit, breathe and enjoy. After that, you can conquer anything!

*Blankets! As if we need any reason to buy more blankets, but feeling cosy and safe can be really important.

*Baths! Having a bath for me is my favourite self-care technique and not only because it means I can spend hours in Lush before hand! When its cold outside, climbing into wonderful warm bubbles, is just what you need. It’s time for you, time that you can’t do anything else and it pushes you to leave the world outside for 10 minutes and just look after you!

*Create more light! Of course, we can’t help the dark mornings and evenings, but we can create extra light once we are inside. This is the perfect excuse for candles, fairy lights and cosy lamps!

*Comfort food- as the nights get darker, we are more likely to want to skip the gym and instead, curl up in front of the TV with some warm comfort food! My personal favourite is my Nans homemade stew and dumplings. She insists we can only have it when it’s cold so the first sign of the temperature dropping and I will happily eat stew until we start seeing the new flowers and sunshine in Spring! Also, particularly wonderful to have lots of autumn veg to still make sure we have plenty of vitamins to get through and stay healthy at this time of year!

*Go outside. Put your Hat And scarf on and go outside! Breathe in the cold air and smell the autumn leaves, the smoky smell, the frosty grass! I think it’s so important to still make sure that you get out the house when it feels so much easier to stay inside. Me and my friend go on autumn walks and its one of the things I look forward to all year. Nothing better than being able to chat about anything and clear out the cobwebs! Not to mention how warm and cosy it feels to come back into the warm!

*My ultimate favourite, and something I keep as a real treat for myself is a White Hot Chocolate with cream, marshmallows and white chocolate stars! Yes I can feel the sugar on my teeth just thinking about it but to me it’s warm, comforting and something just for me. After a difficult day or just having something to look forward to, I have nothing but happy memories and for me that’s so unusual so ill hold onto this as long as I can!

autumn self care.jpgFeel free to use any of my Autumn self care tops, but also, please let me know of your own tips so we can hopefully work together and get through these cold autumn days!

Book review: The Cows

I have never written a review on a book before but I have just finished reading “The Cows” by @hotpatooties and I can’t help myself! I want to be careful not to give anything away as I think everyone should read it if they get the chance! I’ve been so torn between wanting to share my book with everyone as I simply think that everyone needs to read it, but on the other hand, I love it SO much that I want to hug my book as close to me as possible and not let it go! It almost feels that it’s comforting to have it with me even though I’ve finished it as it makes so much sense to me and offers a sense of comfort to me, which is crazy that a book can make you feel that way!

Dawn O’ Porter uses the idea that cows are a piece of Meat and born to breed to explain the stereotypes that men and women so easily fall into, but what if you are different? Society so often pushes towards a common stereotype that anything that strays from this view is seen as wrong to put it quite simply, and everyone tries to explain away the reasons why you may be feeling that way, rather than accepting that it is no less normal to feel any way you do!

The Cows is a well written, funny, emotional novel which follows the lives of three women as they face modern life, while judging not only each other but themselves. While something may be perfect for one person, it is not always what a second person would want, this doesn’t mean that either is wrong, one person’s nightmare, is another’s inspiration! I think that in some way that everyone can connect with this book as it discusses what society expects from us and the idea that we don’t fit in if we don’t conform, and that we are not “normal”.

The Cows is so honest, funny and a real page turner and I would highly recommend it to anyone! It took me only 48 hours to complete it from start to finish, and got completely lost in reading this book that I almost missed my train stop ( I would have been ok with me as the journey back would have just given me more time to read!). I was genuinely upset when it finished as these characters had started to feel like friends and I wasnt ready to end that!

It is so cleverly perceptive the way it looks into peoples lives and tells us that it is ok to not fit in to what people expect of us and to encourage that this is not wrong! We can learn from our mistakes, we can learn from others mistakes and still make the right decisions for us. When things aren’t going right, go left and ‘DON’T FOLLOW THE HERD”.

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This time of year…

This is usually my favourite time of the year.

The beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees just before they crisp up and fall to the ground, leaving me able to stomp around and collect the prettiest leaves which will sit on my window sill until my dad gets annoyed and throws them away ( I do however have a leaf I’ve managed to keep since 2015! And a drawer full of pine cones that he seems to have made peace with).

The cosy evenings as it gets darker which mean more fairy lights, candle and blankets watching films and tv series with seriously warm comfort food.

The gloriously cold mornings that smell like frost as you watch the squirrels running along fences which have cobwebs covered in dew while you have that first warm cup of tea of the day.

Walks with hot chocolates while you are covered up in your favourite coat and scarf, talking to your best friend about all the exciting things you are planning for Christmas.

Bonfire night, the best night of the year! The colours, the light, the smell of caramelised onions.  A chance to put my biggest coat and warmest boots on. The way the sky lights up the sky and the faces of people you are with.

What’s not to love!?

However, this time of year holds a lot of memories which are difficult for me to deal with so I don’t enjoy it like I used to. The happy memories now making me feel alone and empty.

I heard the first Christmas  song today in Costa, while I was sat with my first drink off the Christmas menu. I was sat in the corner surrounded by all the excited people that have also been waiting for this day. I can see stress on parents faces, excitement of faces of children and a gleamy in love look on the face of couples. I don’t know how I feel. I’m sad. I’m empty. I’m numb.

Bonfire night used to be my favourite night of the year, and now I lie in bed listening to them, just wishing they would stop. Seeing the lights flash through the curtains but not being able to open the blinds and see for myself.

Part of me thinks that I can’t let the memories and the thought of someone else ruin this time of year for me, but the other part of me feels a stabbing pain in my chest and it hurts to breathe just thinking about it. Why should I put my position that I know will upset me, that I know will make me upset?  I understand some people will think that I just need to go and it will be fine, or just try and not think of it but it isn’t that easy. I can’t fully explain the feeling to someone who hasn’t experienced but it’s a living hell. I can barely get through 10 minutes without crying, and if it was just that then I’d probably be ok! But it’s the tingly hands and arms that begin to hurt, it’s the chest pain and the pain in my throat when I breathe, it’s the nausea that feels like I’m going to be sick every time I open my mouth, it’s the empty feeling in my stomach that hurts like a hunger pain but is the emptiness of everything else.

Yes I get sad that I look up and the leaves have changed and mainly dropped off while I wasn’t even looking, yes I get upset sitting at home while all my friends are at bonfire events but I also cry in the bath as I can hear them so why would I go and ruin other people’s nights too?

its terrifying to feel so anxious and truly heart-breaking to feel so sad but I know I’ll be ok because simply, I have to be.

I don’t want this to seem negative or attention seeking, its simply how I’m feeling. I know I’m not the only person that will feel like this so I just want to say that whatever decision you make , is ok!

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Feeling Forgetful

The wonderful @embracethoughts has written a blog post for me on “feeling forgetful”. Please take a look and the blog http://www.embracethoughts.com!

You know, no matter how much you do to help others, you’re likely to forget about yourself in the process. Even when you are the crucial piece of the puzzle and the catalyst for positivity in your surroundings, it’s not always easy to prioritise your own thoughts and feelings as you don’t see as much value in that. We are naturally motivated to help others and this gives us a massive sense of accomplishment when we achieve results, but at what cost to our own health… who inspires you, just as you inspire others.

We all have different goals in life and some of us struggle to see any point in working to reach them, but we must work together in society to shun negative feelings whilst also removing any stigmas surrounding mental health. Everyone is different and we cannot judge them on our experiences around someone else.

Are you forgetful too? Are you forgetting about yourself and allowing yourself to spiral into a bad situation of which you feel you cannot escape? Well you’re not alone and never will be. Ask for help, reach out to others and fight together for everything worth fighting for.

The problem with being strong…

You wake up every day, ready to battle through another day. You lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and wonder if you even have the strength to get through another day, but you get up, like every day before and you get through, because you are stronger than you think.

To be honest I’m sat in a coffee shop right now writing this, and James Arthurs “say you won’t let go” is playing. There are couples all around me, families with children, and groups of friends and I could quite easily just burst into tears right now in the middle of everyone and accept this is me, I can’t or don’t want to carry on if I feel this way. But I fight back the tears, finish my hot chocolate (with the cream and marshmallows of course), and I carry on like I have done every day and will continue to do so. But sometimes you get tired of being Strong, sometimes you wish you didn’t have to and that everything didn’t have to be so difficult.

Sometimes it feels like it is coming full force, and pushing you down, but you get back up time after time and people wonder where you get your strength from. It doesn’t mean you always feel it and you certainly don’t believe it when others have it worse and you’re just trying to get through the day.

You get tired of being strong, of people taking what they need from you, you’re always more than happy to hep but sometimes you’re imply so exhausted that you don’t have anything left to give. You want someone to look after you and tell you it’s ok. You want to curl up in a ball in bed and cry. But you can’t because people expect you to be Strong.

You’ve been brave for so long because it’s the only option you have, you don’t have time to break down, and you really don’t have the energy to pick yourself up from rock bottom again, so you confront it, force a smile and fake it until you make it. You don’t want to show weakness because you don’t want everyone to worry, judge you and assume the worst. Simply you just don’t want to have to be your own rock all the time, you just want someone to understand and accept it’s a normal part of life to have a low day. This doesn’t mean I’m headed for a catastrophic melt down or hospital stay, it means I’m tired, it means I’m sad and I just want to be ok.

You’ve been there for everyone, friends, family, work colleagues even. You do your best to make things easier for them and just wish sometimes that people would do the same for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for someone to make it all go away and to fix everything, as I know that’s not possible, and I don’t want people to think I’m a burden or to be asking too much.  I recently heard the quote “you’re not looking for a knight or for someone to save you, you’re looking for your own sword” and that’s exactly right. I’m not looking for someone to swoop in and save the day, because only I can do that and I’m ok to be my own knight in shining armour most of the time. I want to show that I work for what I have, that I can prove my worth and that I deserve happiness, but deep down, although I don’t feel it, that’s what I want!

And I’ll get there because I’m strong , I can face my battles and show the world what m made of.

 

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An Open letter to the boy who broke my heart..

I want to start by saying this is incredibly difficult to write and however long it’s been I still don’t feel ready but I need to get some words out that I’ve had to battle through every day. I’ll never be able to completely put into words how I felt, but I want to try.

You will still blame me, you probably won’t see your part in it and you certainly didn’t see the pain you caused me when you ended it.

But I want you to know. Picture me on the floor, not having the energy to even sit up. Picture me crying so hard that I felt physically sick to my stomach, dry heaving at the thought of what has just happened. Picture me spending my nights crying myself to sleep and my days crying because I’d never see you again, I’d never see your name on my phone and the future we had planned, is now nothing more than fairy-tale dream being ruined by a terrifying nightmare.

I wasn’t good enough for you, as much as I tried to be perfect, my illness always got in the way and I know you couldn’t handle me. It could be that you couldn’t, or it could be that you didn’t want the hassle, I don’t know. I tried to over compensate for the illness, so you would still want to be with me but it wasn’t enough. I hate myself every single day for being the way I am but deep down, I know I can’t hate you for that. We both had things we needed to work through and I know we couldn’t be together because of that.

I have so much more that I could say and want to say, but it still hurts too much.

But part of me wants to thank you. I have become such a different, and I like to think much better person since you left. I just hope one day that maybe you can see that. But until then I’ll keep getting up every day and battling each day until the heartache starts to fade.

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