Self Care Gift Ideas And 5 Self Care Tips

Self care is something I have been saying I will put more effort into for ages now. Bit by bit I am learning to take care of myself a little bit more. It is hard as I am not used to it but I am making some time for me to relax.

 

Self Care Gift Ideas & 5 Self Care Tips

I have collaborated with a few lovely companies who focus on self care products. These are designed to help those of us who really need to put ourselves first. Self care helps us prevent a major crash and is so important for our minds and bodies. Perhaps you are looking at things to help you with your own self care or know a friend who could do with a little self care? These products and tips may help!

Self Care Notebook

Self Care Notebook Designed By Claire Sheehan

Claire Sheehan is an Artist from very close by in Southend-on-Sea who sells a beautiful range of products on Etsy designed to ‘soothe and feed the soul’. Self care is something that is easily forgotten when there is just so much to do, it can be hard to put yourself first.  Claire has designed this lovely A5 Self care notebook in grey, pink and white to help those focusing on self care.

This notebook is perfect for jotting down notes and reminders to help you plan your self-care. The notebook contains 48 blank pages of 80gsm recycled white paper for you to draw, doodle or write your plans. Available on Etsy for £5.50 plus shipping this notebook is a great treat for yourself or gift for someone who needs a little extra self-care inspiration. As you can see I have started putting mine to use already!

Self Care Notebook & Mantra's

Motivational Prints & Mantras

Claire also designed some fantastic motivational prints including the ‘I am strong and calm’ A6 mini print. This print is available on it’s own for £2.50 plus shipping or part of a pack of 5 mini prints for £10 plus shipping. Sometimes simple reminders like this can really help us feel a bit better about ourselves. Repeating them to ourselves or even just spotting them regularly help lift our mood and fill us with positivity.

Calming Scents

Help me have a mindful of calm spray from Help Me Organics

Help me Organics have an amazing range of organic products designed to help us relax. Everyone loves a gorgeous scent, it can really lift your mood. This is why Help Me Organics have created this fantastic ‘Help me have a mindful of calm’ range. This room spray is 40ml for £7.50. The scent was designed with a blend of essential oils to bring comfort to those who struggle with anxiety. They have combined Frankincense, geranium bourbon and lavender to work in conjunction with Mindful breathing techniques. Spraying 2-3 bursts in a room will help calm your mood and gently relax you. Help Me Organics also have massage oils and candles available in the Help me have a mindful of calm range. They also have several other ranges. I would definitely recommend browsing their site as they have some fantastic products!

5 Self Care Tips

It is so easy at times to forget about ourselves and worry about everyone else. Taking time out for yourself can make such a difference to your mood though. Those of us with anxiety and depression can really struggle to feel we are worth the time and effort. We know everyone deserves love and kindness but we often forget ourselves.

Be still

Do you find yourself constantly rushing around trying to finish all the never-ending jobs? STOP. Take a break, go for a walk in a beautiful park or along the river. Stop and simply enjoy your surroundings and the silence or sounds of nature. Take deep breaths and just be. I have to admit I underestimated the effects of this and am learning to do this more often.

Find an activity you enjoy

Especially as a parent I found I quickly gave up most things I used to enjoy to dedicate my time to my girls. Having a hobby/activity you enjoy and gives you a little you time is so important for self care. It really doesn’t matter what it is but spending even 20 minutes doing something you enjoy can change your entire day. I love to crochet and colour and have started picking up craft bits I have been wanting for years so I can do something for me. When you finish an activity for yourself it feels like a brilliant achievement. Even meeting up with a friend for a coffee counts!

Say ‘No’

Saying yes constantly leads to burn out. Remember we can’t please everyone. It’s ok to say ‘ No’ and put your health and well-being first. You are a priority, if you don’t take care of yourself how can you care for others? This is something I still struggle with daily BUT I have learnt to say No when it really matters and I have seen the difference it makes. Don’t feel guilty, we all matter! I love the saying ‘ You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first’.

Pamper yourself

I struggle badly with this one but it is so important to pamper yourself and feel good. Make time for that bath, light some candles, relax in the bubbles. Washing my hair is something I regularly put off as it literally takes hours to wash dry and straighten but when I make time for it I feel awesome afterwards. Visit a spa or invite a friend over for a pamper evening for a real boost!

Make notes

If like me you tend to forget about yourself then make notes, leave them where you are most likely to see them or in a notebook. Not only can jotting down reminders help but writing about our feelings can help us process our emotions too. The self care notebook is fantastic for this. Reading back through our writing can sometimes help us see solutions to our problems.

If you or a friend are lacking when it comes to self care then I help these products and tips are helpful!

 

The Purple Punch – Nurses Scolding Patients

Welcome to The Purple Punch! In life there are many people or organisations that annoy me. Ones who’s actions or lack of action cause unnecessary stress in what is for most people an already very stressful world.  This makes me want to punch people, preferably with words that will stick with them so as not to make the same mistake again!

 

The Purple Punch

The Purple Punch Story

The story behind the  Purple Punch series started with a typical afternoon on Twitter. It began with a discussion about a purple powered super hero going around defending other bloggers from people and organisations that cause unnecessary stress. This led to the idea that I could give other people a platform where they can call out shoddy workmanship, poor service or just poor examples of humanity.

This Weeks Purple Punch

The Purple Punch will be award this week by myself to the nurse who took it upon herself for scolding me for being a week late for my Depo-Provera  injection within seconds of me arriving. I already felt low after a week of being an hormonal wreck and with my anxiety I was dreading my appointment.

I sat there explaining that I had called well over a week ago and was stressed enough that there was such a long wait for my appointment knowing it would be overdue which was making my severe anxiety worse too, I didn’t need to be told off.

She went on to tell me she knew how I felt as her daughter broke her leg on holiday. It took 2 weeks to see a GP. I had to interrupt… I wasn’t on holiday, I booked in at my local GP and I didn’t expect to be told off bearing in mind the recent booking system changes I knew nothing about.

There has never been any changes in the booking system in the whole time she worked there apparently. The whole 6 months. I have been going for years and it started as a walk in surgery with appointments bookable on the day at 8am. They then removed the walk in service but continued appointments which could be booked at either 8am or 1pm. It then went back to 8am booking within a few days which was what I had to do for my previous appointment.

Stressed

Explaining with severe anxiety these changes are stressful enough without having her tell me off too I had hoped that would be that. But no, she proceeded to tell me to ‘calm down and stop worrying’. I’d just explained I have SEVERE ANXIETY! I couldn’t just calm down.

I almost ran out of there feeling like a failure. Instead I told her that a year ago I would have. A year ago I may well have run outside and done something stupid. I was in such a bad place then. Telling someone who is anxious or depressed to calm down or stop worrying are the 2 worst things you can say. Especially seconds after they explain their anxiety to you, it leaves us feeling much worse.

She then made me feel as if the whole issue was that I had to take a pregnancy test. Fuming isn’t the word. I’ve had Depo-Provera enough over the years to know the rules and was fine with that. Being told off like a child for being late and made to feel bad for it annoyed me. Having my anxiety brushed off got to me even more though. I think eventually she kind of got what I was saying as she tried to hug me.

Support

Only because I have a great support network now was I able to voice my opinion. Normally I wouldn’t.  I felt I had to because the next person to be scolded for a late appointment, something beyond their control they might not cope so well. They might not feel like they have support. I see so many people on twitter knocked down by situations like this. They may not feel strong enough to defend themselves and say something, they may well bottle it up and react later.

We shouldn’t feel we have to defend ourselves like this though. Especially in a place where appointments are hard to come by. We shouldn’t feel we have to defend ourselves to professionals who should know how to talk to patients. They should know how to respond to being told a patient has severe anxiety and depression. We shouldn’t have to dread booking that next appointment, facing those same people or organisations. A simple 5 minute appointment shouldn’t leave someone feeling stressed and anxious still a week later.

To the nurse I saw that day – Please, please read up on anxiety and depression. A large portion of your patients suffer these debilitating illnesses and your attitude is extremely unhelpful. Think before you speak. Don’t tell us to calm down, tell us you understand, tell us it’s ok. Don’t have a go at patients the second they arrive when you have no idea how they may be feeling.

Share your Purple Punch!

Purple Punch is here to give you a place to put these people/organisations straight and feel you have a voice too. Whether publicly or anonymously the purple punch is a place to rant and get it off your chest. Relentlessly Purple wants your guest posts with one Purple Punch featured every other Wednesday. Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email- relentlesslypurple@gmail.com to have your Purple Punch featured!

 

De-stressing With Thrive: Feel Stress Free

I’ve been de-stressing with the  Thrive : Feel Stress Free  app over the last fortnight. I introduced Thrive here, a fantastic app created for mental health conditions and designed to gradually build resilience to and manage stress, anxiety and mild depression. Using clinically proven techniques such as mindfulness and CBT over a few weeks can have huge benefits.

De-stressing with Thrive: feel stress free

De-stressing with Thrive

Me being me I haven’t managed to religiously use the app. I had hoped to use it much more. The Zen garden and Zen challenge does keep drawing me back in however and I feel it’s been beneficial for me. Most evenings I will sit and design a Zen garden or try one of the challenges. I can feel the stress disappearing as I rake and arrange my pretty little gardens. The challenges are simple, a little bit of thinking involved but it’s very enjoyable. With a star rating you can go back and try to think of better ways to solve the challenges too. It really does help me de-stress.

Zen Garden

Managing Better

Anyone who has seen my tweets this week will no doubt know we have had a stressful month which seems to be continuing. Normally these stresses would have me in tears, feeling helpless and useless.We had our washing machine breakdown the first week back at school. Although we managed to borrow money to replace it only for it 2 breakdown less than 2 weeks later.. with school uniform in.. AGAIN! Using the Zen garden each night seems to be helping me stay calmer. Whilst I am annoyed and frustrated I am managing to keep a hold on my temper and emotions much better. I’m not instantly reacting and being much more mindful.

Using Thrive

As mentioned in my previous post there are subscription costs for thrive, having used the app I feel they are actually very reasonable prices.

The Thrive app is available on all Android and Apple devices. 3 different subscription packages are available.

Monthly –  £5.99

Quarterly – £14.97 for 3months of unlimited access. That’s just £4.99 a month!

Yearly  – £47.88  a year brings the cost down to £3.99 a month.

For my readers however I have a special code to use through October so you can try out Thrive: Feel stress free for yourself and hopefully start de-stressing like I have! Use code FSFOCT300917.

 

 

 

Tackling My Mental Health With Thrive: Feel Stress Free

I’m tackling my mental health with Thrive: Feel Stress Free, an app created to help gradually build resilience to and manage stress. Something I am struggling with immensely lately. Thrive is also designed to help with anxiety and mild depression which I also struggle with.Thrive

 

I recently had a medication review which didn’t go too well. I saw Dr who clearly didn’t read my notes and his comments left me feeling rubbish. Because of this my mental health has spiralled out of control and I’ve struggled to cope lately. A Dr trying to change my medication without reading my notes ( I figured this as he asked as I was leaving if I’ve been to the pain clinic yet instead of ‘just taking medication’!) has left me feeling even more messed up than before! I avoided medication for a good 5 years when I obviously needed it, I’ve tried everything I can & given in and accepted medication just to get that kind of reaction. That’s probably a whole other post though!

I have decided I will try my best to take my mental health into my own hands and hopefully Thrive can help with that. I will be trying out the app and sharing how I get on with it in a few weeks time.

What Is Thrive?

Thrive teaches clinically proven techniques such as mindfulness and CBT. I will be trying the app out over the next month to try and manage my stress and anxiety as I am really struggling again lately. A confidential wellbeing app, Thrive helps build resilience, prevent and manage stress, anxiety and other common mental health conditions. Thrive is designed to help de-stress I just 5 minutes. I hope this is the case for me!

Subscription Costs

The Thrive app is available on all Android and Apple devices. 3 different subscription packages are available.

Monthly –  £5.99

Quarterly – £14.97 for 3months of unlimited access. That’s just £4.99 a month!

Yearly  – £47.88  a year brings the cost down to £3.99 a month.

How Does It Work?

There are several parts to the Thrive app. Each section focuses on one area but the app considers all area’s when processing results & giving advice. Thrive learns more about you as you use it which allows the app to give better suited advice.

Mood

Mood Meter

The Thrive app begins by asking questions and tracking them on the Mood Meter. Every day you answer the questions which allows the app to assess your current issues. With this information the app can provide useful results to help you work on those issues. Over time the app learns more about you allowing it to advise you better each time.

Thrive- Words of encouragement

Thought Trainer

The CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) based thought trainers is designed to help re-frame negative thoughts. This is something I really need to work on myself and I’m keen to see if I can see the positives in the negatives. The mood meter tracks everything and stores it in the Progress section of the app. The thought trainer slowly personalises itself to your

self suggestion

Relaxation Techniques

 Thrive uses four relaxation techniques – calm breathing, meditation, deep muscle relaxation and progressive relaxation. You may find certain techniques may work better for you than others. Try them all to see which works best for you. There’s a range of sessions varying in duration & situation. You can select what works best for you.

Wellbeing Guides

There’s a selection of wellbeing guides available on Thrive. The guides help understand and support you through situations like trouble sleeping, money worries, loss of a loved one, weight worries and more.

Zen Garden

This is my favourite part of the app already. The Zen garden allows you to get creative and design your own peaceful garden.  Creating a peaceful Zen garden helps keep your mind off stress. I’ve already found raking and making patterns quite peaceful.

Zen Garden

Message in a Bottle

Message in a bottle lets you share a completely confidential and anonymous message in a bottle with words of encouragement. Everyone needs a few words of encouragement at times!

Across all of these different area’s the app learns about you and can tell you where you need help. As you can see below my anxiety is the main issue which I’m hoping Thrive can help me with. Don’t forget to check back in a week or 2 to see how I get on!

Results

Have you used Thrive? Did you find it useful? Do you think it may be useful if you haven’t tried Thrive?

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek – Opening Up

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It’s that time of the year again, #WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek!

I decided to join in by opening up a bit more & sharing some resources too. My mental health is far from fantastic and I suffer from Anxiety & Depression. I recently started CBT to help me with this. In doing so I have discovered my problems are much more than Anxiety and depression. I panic over the smallest things, I have nightmares and flashbacks, constantly feel guilty for EVERYTHING and after my most recent CBT session I’m pretty sure I have PTSD too. I’ve highlighted a few issues and things I can do to help my mental health which may helps others too. *May contain triggers

Guilt

Along with chronic pain having a big effect on my mental health it turns out my childhood has had more of an effect than I realised. Discussing my issues with my therapist has made me realise so much that went on when I was growing up was wrong. I always tried to protect my ‘mother’ growing up. Knowing she’d had a rough childhood herself and moved down south to get away from it all, knowing my ‘father’ had beaten her, knowing she fought regularly with my brother’s dad and knowing she had mental health issues herself I always tried to defend her.

I always felt guilty somehow, my brother being in care felt like my fault, her struggling felt like my fault, her losing her temper felt like my fault. Surely I must have done something wrong to deserve it all? I’m starting to realise it wasn’t my fault how I was treated but I know it’s going to take a long time to get out of this way of thinking.

Shame

Explaining to other’s what that went on can be difficult, most of the time I’m convinced I won’t be believed. I mean come on! Seriously, who in their right mind lets their children know they are into BDSM. Who show’s off their ‘toy’s’ (whips, canes etc.) to their kid’s? I grew up thinking it was normal, at 14 I was learning to crack 6ft bullwhips. I won’t lie I thought it was cool, that part I still do! Trying to understand that lifestyle as a teen though obviously had some major effects.

Chatting to a few people about it this week has really helped me look at my childhood in a different way. I’ve felt ashamed opening up about my past but I’m beginning to see it isn’t me who should be ashamed! I didn’t ask to be brought up that way, I was a child who had no choice in what went on around me.

 

Loneliness

With my brother going into care & my ‘mother’ out most of the time at clubs of events, I spent a lot of time alone. I watched her go through so many relationships some ‘vanilla’ some very much not so. It’s only recently I have realised this had such an impact on my relationships.

I found it hard to trust, or feel and most of the time just became obsessed with an excuse to be out the house. Of course this meant I was selfish, didn’t care about her or the fact my brother was in care. I broke up with people simply because I couldn’t deal with the stress and moaning at home. It was easier to be lonely.. less stressful. I was always told no man would ever love me & they only wanted one thing. I couldn’t put my trust into anyone fully.

When a close family friend died the day before my 18th birthday my world literally fell apart. That man had stood by us through so many problems, he stood up for me on more than one occasion and I knew without him there things would spiral out of control at home. After this I tried to overdose several times. Luckily I failed, after the first 50 odd tablets I tried I kept throwing up and eventually I slept it off.

 

Friendships Growing Up

I struggled to make friends growing up always being the weirdo’s kid but I did at least make a few over the years. Some were disgusted by what my ‘mother’ got up to but chose to ignore it, other’s were slightly interested and thought it was ‘cool’. The kids in our street all knew quite young what she got up to and I can imagine their parents were horrified.

By the time I hit my teen years only one other parent would talk to her & I think that was more for us, she covered for me a few times saying I was sleeping over or having dinner with them so I could get out for a night. I remember one huge argument between my ‘mother’ and her boyfriend, freshly laid patio being smashed up, plants & pots flying everywhere, me & my brother were so upset and confused. I grabbed my bear ‘Bestie’ (The girls now have him!) and my brother and stood in the street crying, this friends mum took us in for a few hours to get us away from it.

Leaving Home

As a teen people thought my ‘mother’ was cool for a while but then they started to encourage me to leave home. Bit by bit people were seeing what she was like when we were home alone. The majority of people I knew all felt I needed to get out as soon as possible, part of me wishes I listened sooner but it’s difficult to believe you aren’t just an awful teen causing problems!

I guess I’m glad I stayed so long as I might not have got back with the Mr and have our gorgeous girls. The day I did get brave enough to leave we had an argument, I was pinned to the bed and when she raised her fist I got brave. ‘Go on fucking hit me!’ This made her back off physically and instead she started screaming at me how I was such a horrible person, how I hated her & my brother, I’d ruined their lives because I was so selfish. She got ready to leave for work screaming how she was going to go jump in front of the train and kill herself because that’s what I wanted.

Panicking I sat in my room sobbing until the front door shut. I couldn’t do it anymore, whether it was her or me causing these problems I just couldn’t carry on living that way. I called the council explained everything & was told I needed to head to Women’s aid as what had just gone on was classed as domestic abuse. Because of my age social services couldn’t help.

Still Apologising

Even after that call I still felt like everything was my fault. I thought I was causing her to have this temper and ruining everything for her. If I wasn’t there that solved the problem for her. I wrote a letter apologising for being such an awful daughter. Writing how I hoped me leaving would mean we could build a better relationship, not being on top of each other. I left my keys with the letter packed a bag with a few essentials & my birth certificate & headed to women’s aid.

As I got to the women’s aid centre I got a call which I was told to ignore as she would have just discovered I’d left and be angry. They were right and I quickly got a text saying if I couldn’t ‘be bothered’ to answer the phone not to bother her again. I didn’t contact her again after that and it took another 3 months before she discovered a diary of mine and called me. She had read a paragraph loosely mentioning I had been abused and she wanted to know what had gone on. I still felt guilty and told her nothing, I made out it was me being scared after we had been burgled.

Trying Again

I felt so guilty after that call that I agreed to meet up with her in London. We met and things were ok for almost a year, I fell pregnant with Eva and she showed interest & helped me out where she could. At this point my brother was in Northampton after several suicide attempts. It was difficult to visit him especially after a C-section with a new born to look. I had a chat with his social worker and we agreed on a home visit at our flat. We would have to be checked out by Social services and have the flat looked over for escape routes etc. I figured this would be better for him anyway, in a more comfortable setting.

Our ‘mother’ wasn’t allowed home visits, looking back it’s not surprising! I talked to the social worker and managed to get her to agree to our ‘mother’ being there too since it was supervised contact. We had a great day and took loads of pictures for us all to look back on. I had high hopes that this family setting would help us all be a little closer.

Giving Up For Good

I was asked to email over the photo’s to our ‘mother’ so I did. The next morning I got a rather aggressive text demanding I sent the photo’s. I replied to say I had sent them but would try again. She refused to believe I had sent them as she hadn’t received them. I sent screenshots of the sent messages & she blew up at me saying she had told me it needed to go to her work email not her personal one as she could only access her work one.

By this point I was in tear but sent the pictures to the correct account whilst still receiving abusive messages. I’d apparently not sent her the pictures because I hated her. Apparently I thought she was a shit mum and didn’t deserve pictures of her family. No matter how much I tried to explain I had sent them, I was wrong. Even when I realised she wanted them sent to her work email and did that it still wasn’t good enough.

The argument quickly took to Facebook where she tried to embarrass me which she seemed to enjoy doing. The Mr had had enough at this point. He’d seen what she was like when I was living with her. He had also seen how it affected me and how hard I tried to please her. He stepped in and told her to stay away from his family from now on. I haven’t spoken to her since and never want to again. I gave up for good on that day.

Relationships

The Mr has been absolutely amazing and helped me through a lot of issues. He has had to put up with so much because of my dysfunctional upbringing. When things started to get worse with chronic pain on top of everything else it caused a lot of problems. I reverted back to being extremely defensive and told him to leave far too many times. He shared this article with me the other day and I have to say it explains anxiety in relationships so well! I actually felt less guilty for reading it. He doesn’t deserve to go through it & it’s difficult for him just as it is for me but it can’t be helped. I can honestly say the Mr has had a great impact on my life though and has stuck by me through some of my biggest crashes. I have a lot of issues to continue working through which will take time. The Mr has already helped me massively, but it definitely hasn’t been the easiest ride.

Self care

Whilst CBT and the Mr are helping me I need to help myself too. Self care is majorly important for our mental health. Growing up to believe I was selfish means I struggle badly with self care. Usually I have to find ways to justify doing something for me. It has to somehow help someone else too or do some good. I’m slowly working on this though and trying not to feel guilty doing something for myself or something I enjoy. I’ve been conditioned to think nothing but negative thought’s about myself. I hope eventually I can kick these negative thoughts. I’m looking into mindfulness and ways to look after myself & have some me time to help.

Talk about it

Blogging has been a big help, somewhere to rant and ramble when I need to. Uplifting comments & people understanding what I’m going through has helped a lot. I’ve overcome a lot of the years and have a lot more to work through. I still have nightmares that wake the Mr, violently hitting out & screaming in my sleep. Explaining a lot of this and reading up on guilt, shame, anxiety has pointed me in the direction of PTSD. Due to my nightmares & flashbacks the Mr also seems to think I have PTSD.

I’m slowly beginning to realise none of it was my fault. I was a child and not in control at all. I’m beginning to realise it’s not normal for a child to find out about BDSM so young. Seeing people walk around dressed up (or not so dressed up!) and hearing/seeing people being beaten messes your head up. Regardless of the fact it was 2 consenting adults, a child shouldn’t be seeing that.

Positive’s

Growing up in a dysfunctional family  leaves it’s mark for the rest of your life. You are probably wondering how I’ve managed to find positives. I know it’s affected me negatively. I also like to think it’s made me a better person in some ways too though. I’m more open minded than a lot of people I know. I’m the first to admit when I mess something up. I love my girls to the moon & back and make sure I hug and kiss them always. Affection was something we lacked growing up. Cuddles were extremely awkward. We were told it made her feel ‘dirty’. I think I remember being hugged maybe 5 times growing up. I hate how that felt even now and I promised both my girls the day they were born I would smother them in love, hugs & kisses for the rest of their lives!

It was a struggle to believe for a long time the Mr loved me, I didn’t see how he could. Now I know that I’m extremely lucky. He DOES loves me & would do anything for me which he’s proven time after time over the last 8 years. He’s stuck by me and supported me through some rough times even when I’ve been a complete bitch.

Whilst I don’t have a lot of friends those I do have I would do ANYTHING for! I understand when friends are down and need to just be around people even if we don’t talk. I know sometimes people need to rant essays at me and don’t want a real response just something to let them know you are there, you are listening, you do understand they are struggling & they have somewhere to vent.

Getting Help

It’s taken a long time for me to finally reach out properly and get professional help. Always believing I’d be wasting their time! Now I realise just how messed up my head is and how important getting help is. Get a referral if you can. It may take a while but do what you can in the meantime to get help, take time out for you, there are online sites & telephone lines to help anyone struggling too.

If you need someone to talk to DM me on twitter (@lentlesslypurpl) or email me (Relentlesslypurple@gmail.com), I’m usually around somewhere and more than happy to chat. I’ve provided a few sites & numbers below for those in need of help.

If you or someone you know need a little help the numbers & sites below may be useful:

Womens Aid – 0808 2000 247 – Available 24/7

NSPCC – 0808 8005 000 – Available 24/7

Mind0300 123 3393 – Available 9am-6pm Mon-Fri

Heads Together Support – Contains A list of different services available

Sane – 0300 304 7000 – Available 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily

Find Mental Health Services in Your area using NHS Service search

It has taken me the entire week to write & rewrite this post. My anxiety made me worry for so many reasons, I wasn’t sure I was going to post this. Tmore we talk about these things though the easier it is for others to open up and get help too. I’m not hiding anymore.
This is my story in support of #worldmentalhealthawarenessweek

A Crazy Few Weeks

It’s been a crazy few weeks after I discovered last Wednesday I was entitled to PIP when I woke up and checked my bank account. A letter followed that afternoon. I didn’t quite know how to feel to be honest so I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog. I was quite relieved to have the back payment and be able to sort a few thing’s we needed but at the same time it made me feel quite low. My Anxiety & Depression have spiralled our of control because of Chronic Pain at the moment that I need this just to help me do simple things and make life a little less stressful!

I’ve found it hard to write or join in properly on twitter again which is quite frustrating but I’m feeling a little bit better about everything now and trying to focus on the positives.

It’s been a struggle to get out and about for month’s thanks to anxiety and pain making my life hell. I’ve been able to get taxi’s over the last week or so, something I usually avoid because of the cost. It’s been quite nice to go out and not hurt instantly from walking there or panicking about missing a bus or train. I have a lot of different appointments coming up with CBT, Psychology etc. It’s difficult having to go alone as the Mr has to look after the girls. Now I know it won’t be half as stressful going alone as I can take a taxi and not be late or stood waiting in the cold for up to 30 minutes!

I’ve been able to sort storage for the girls room so they have no excuse for it to be too messy. Hopefully saving my back from hours of tidying. Something I stress about regularly. I feel a bit guilty as I should have a quick tidy in there every day but I struggle to keep up with it all, hopefully now the girls will know where to put everything and keep it cleaner.

I decided to treat myself a little to try and make me feel a bit better about myself. I had my hair cut last week and then the Mr dyed it for me with my usual Schwarzkopf XXL Live Mystic Purple dye! He even did my brothers hair too which made Alex happy. It’s definitely made me feel a little less-self conscious being purple again.

a crazy few weeks

I bought a dinner table so we can eat properly at a table as a family, great for Family dinner’s! My brother Alex has found our family dinner’s give him a sense of normality and family life he missed out on growing up and he loves that. It’s nice for me too as I rarely see anyone these day’s, now it will be much easier so we can do it more often.

Although our day out this half term didn’t quite go as planned as 360 Play in Basildon were full and had to turn us away, the girls had fun in the arcades at Hollywood Bowl. I was a bit gutted but also quite grateful as the noise in the arcades was bad enough! I felt pretty anxious but with my brother there I managed to stick it out long enough for the girls to have fun.

Martyn & the boys came over this week too for a Greek day, it turned into a not so Greek day with only shields and swords being completed.. me playing with bubble wrap and paint may not have helped haha! It was a rather noisy busy day all round but it was nice to have a catch up and the girls obviously had lots of fun.

Today Eva is off at a Disney Princesses and Princes workshop at the Thameside Theatre run by Creative blast. I surprised her and kept the day a secret right up until the last minute when I pulled her Elsa dress out and explained what she would be doing. She was a little confused at first bless her as she thought I had something important to do haha! The lady at the desk explained what would happen across the day and Eva got excited, even more so when she had her dress on! At the end of the day they are putting on a show which we will go and watch 20 minutes before the end of the day at 4pm. The day only cost £22.50 and it was a fairly small group of kids so I’m sure Eva will have lots of fun getting involved with the others!

 

Lung Infection & Lupus – Worrying About My Baby Brother

I’ve been worrying about my baby brother over the weekend. Most of you will know from some of my posts and tweets Alex is a big part of my life so to get a panicky call from him on Saturday and hearing him seriously struggling to breath left me worrying, A LOT. As well as struggling to breath he’s had these strange ring rashes appear which look very much like Lupus.

Alex had tried and struggled to go to his nearest shop and rung me worried, he didn’t want to walk to the hospital ‘in case it was a waste of time’. He suggested waiting until the morning..  So I put my Mummy voice on and insisted at the very least he call 111 for some advice.

Panicking

As soon as I put my phone down I began to panic, Alex doesn’t have the greatest immune system and has weak lungs from being born prematurely, he also suffers from Asthma. Temperatures were below 0 and I was worried he would get worse but luckily he did what he was told and called 111. An ambulance was sent out to him and the paramedics decided he needed to go to hospital. His heart rate and irregular breathing was concerning them so they insisted he was wheeled to the ambulance instead of walking which he wasn’t too impressed with.

He text me to let me know he was waiting for the ambulance then understandably I didn’t hear from him for over an hour. I spent the entire time unable to concentrate on anything, constantly checking my phone for an update. Eventually Alex let me know he had bloods taken and had ‘things put all over his chest’ (ECG) and he was scared. I tried to distract him whilst he waited, chatting about a documentary I was watching on the London Graveyard’s by London Liverpool Street Station.

After some rambling back and forth he eventually got his results. It turned out Alex has a lung infection and suspected Lupus. He called me as he walked home, struggling to breathe. Hearing him so vulnerable, crying from the pain, being so scared alone was horrible, I just wanted to be there and give him a hug. He was given antibiotics for the lung infection and his NHS number (At last!!!!) so he can finally register with a GP and get a referral to a dermatologist to confirm the suspected lupus.

The two major symptoms are joint and muscle pain and an extreme tiredness that won’t go away no matter how much you rest.

Rashes, depression, anaemia, feverishness, headaches, possible hair loss and mouth ulcers may all be part of the pattern of lupus.

Noticeably, whilst the two major symptoms are invariably present, people with lupus can differ greatly in their symptoms and how the illness can affect them – life-threatening for a few, very mild for some.

We are all extremely worried about his health, he has had all the symptoms that point to lupus for a while now. This worried me just as much as the lung infection. He is my baby brother and I hate that I couldn’t be there with him. Not having a car is becoming more and more stressful, things like this happen and I’m left helplessly worrying instead of being there to look after him. I’ve always tried to look out for my baby brother, I remember holding his tiny little hand through the incubator for the first time. He was so tiny and fragile and spent a long time in NICU so when he finally came home I couldn’t leave him alone.

I fed him & changed him as a baby, I taught him his first words, how to read and write. He learnt his first colours from a song I made up with a row of coloured teddies over his bouncer. Red teddy, yellow teddy, green teddy, blue! He may be my baby brother but I guess in a way he’s always been my baby too which is why I’m so protective of him. To me he’s just like the girls, he’s a huge part of my world and I always feel the need to care for him so times like this are extremely tough.

Brother & Sister forever

Alex and I had an unusual childhood, he was in care from 7/8 years old but this has never stopped us having a strong relationship. We have only lost contact once for a few months when I left home and went into a women’s refuge, I didn’t have any contact details for him but eventually we sorted it and contact resumed. When I had Eva he had been sectioned and was in hospital after several suicide attempts. I knew I had to jump in some how and bring some normality back to his life so I arranged home visits, had visits from Social services etc. to ensure our flat was safe for him.

Since then we have kept in regular contact and gone through a lot together, I know he almost see’s me as a mum to him too and with him not talking to ‘her’ right now means I am pretty much all he has, knowing that and not being there was so difficult. We were brought up to avoid Dr’s and Hospital’s, terrified that anything and everything would end in needles.. no wonder I had a needle phobia! Knowing he was sat in the same A&E room where he sat as a child being told off for having a broken leg worried me, he’s also overdosed several times and ended up there too. He suffers from PTSD and I was terrified this would set him off but distracting him did seem to help.

Going forward

I’m hoping the antibiotics help and his lung infection goes away. I’ll be focusing on getting over to him as much as I possibly can over the next few weeks to help get him registered at a GP. We also need to get his referral for a dermatologist to find out if he does have Lupus and what we can do to keep him as healthy as possible. Lupus is extremely complicated and Alex is understandably terrified as he has no clue what’s going on. He’s had so many of the symptoms that it really is worrying but I intend to look after my baby brother as much as possible!

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you know anything about Lupus that may help? Please do leave a comment if you have any experience with Lupus.

My Medication Review

My medication review was this morning. Knowing I have pain clinic next week I decided I really needed to focus more in my mental health. My anxiety has been through the roof lately and I’ve struggled to brain.. a lot!

I was completely honest about how I’ve been feeling and I was basically given 2 options.

1. Be referred to a psychiatrist so I can be put in stronger medication as I’m already on such a low dose. (Something I’d prefer to avoid if possible)

2. Refer myself to the therapy centre above the surgery.

I decided to go upstairs and refer myself for therapy. I recieved a call later in the afternoon going over how I feel, my symptoms and my mental health history. Once I had finished the questionnaire the lady suggested referring me for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

I panicked but decided I need to do something because I hate struggling so much. I hate feeling like I can’t do anything right and I’m useless. I hate not being able to go out without panicking. I hate being invited somewhere and feeling like its just out of politeness. I want to enjoy things & believe in myself a little bit more. I know it may not help fully but if it can calm me down even slightly I might not be such an anti-social stresshead!

I spoke to my brother about it this evening and he told me he went through a CBT course and mentioned it made him feel patronised at first but after a few sessions it did help change his way of thinking. I’m hoping it can help me too and I’m also glad for the heads up as I think I might have struggled to continue if the first few sessions don’t seem to help.

I now have to wait for a call when an appointment is free to start the CBT. I’ve no idea how long that will be but I’m hoping it’s not too long.

As I said I have pain clinic on Tuesday too. Whilst the Gabapentin has helped massively I am still struggling. I’m still feeling those electric bolts through my legs, pain in my hips & back. Now it’s getting much colder my ribs hurt too so I need to bring all of this up and see if they can suggest anything that may help.

I’m quite exhausted after today but I’m glad in between all of it I still managed to join the Mr & Izzy at the pub. Our favourite pub is always quiet & we know the regulars. Sometimes I do mire than smile politely and say hi too. Today wasn’t one of those days but it was nice to be acknowledged and left alone to enjoy being outside of these walls.

I now want to hide away for a few days though. It’s been a very hectic, peopley, emotional day with too many phone calls & talking to ‘important people’. I’ve gone over a lot of my past in a 20 minute phone call which has left my head hurting a bit aswell as admitting my crazy is getting too crazy.

I decided to write and publish this before I decide it isn’t worth it as I usually do but now I’m off to curl up and feel sorry for myself because I hurt all over and feel so cold!

Have you tried CBT? Did it help at all? I’m honestly quite nervous about it all and would love some feedback!

I Just Can’t Brain Some Days

Do you ever have those ‘I can’t brain today’ days? I do quite regularly and it can be very stressful.

My mind wanders.. I’ve no idea where it wander’s to at times but I just can’t focus and feel useless. I find myself just staring blankly at things. Sometimes the smallest of things causes it, other times I just wake up like it.

I struggle to word, I struggle to write, I struggle to adult, I just can’t brain at all. I’m aware of what’s going on around me but struggle to interact. I’ll be scrolling through twitter but have absolutely no idea what to say or if it’s ‘ok’ to comment on something.

It’s frustrating and I get annoyed with myself but I just have to let it pass and try to ride it out. My chest hurts and I have awful dizzy spells. I struggle to interact with people and probably come across a bit moody at times because of it. Some days I just can’t brain and figure out what to say or do. I stress about having to do anything.

The last month or so has been full of ups and downs for me, as I’m sure it has for many others so I’ve been struggling to brain a little more than normal. Forgetting to go to my medication review and running out of tablets for a day or 2 knocked me a bit but luckily I braved a phone call to my GP surgery. I was quite distressed on the phone to my GP surgery where I had missed an appointment but the receptionist could obviously tell. An emergency prescription was arranged to be collected from the chemist around 11am which the Mr got for me. I was also booked in for my medication review which is tomorrow!

Even though I managed the call and everything turned out ok, my chest still hurt when I put the phone down. I still had to try and breathe slowly to try and keep myself calm and stop everything going fuzzy. I hate feeling like this and not being able to stop it.

I’m jumping at everything, something falling, loud noises, something moving near me unexpectedly. I feel stressed at the slightest of things, a mess, something I’ve forgotten, feeling lazy when I’m in so much pain I neglect the few things I need to get done around the flat. The worst part is knowing it is all so irrational. I get so frustrated with myself for it which just makes things even worse and I just can’t brain some days!

Do you struggle to brain some days too? How to you manage it?

 

I can't brain today

 

 

 

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealthDay

 

Today is of course #WorldMentalHealthDay. I wanted to join in and share a few things with you all to help raise awareness and help those struggling to see that they are not alone, such a huge percentage of the population struggle & feel so, so alone & that really needs to change. We need to reach out to one another & share our stories!

Mental Health is something I heard a lot about as a child as a lot of the adults I grew up knowing had depression, anxiety, bipolar & schizophrenia, so it is something I’ve learnt a fair bit about different issues over the years. I was going to look into statistics and figures but honestly I don’t feel there is any need, so many of us don’t say a word which leads me to believe the statistic’s are unrealistic.

I myself struggle with depression & anxiety and for quite some time I struggled massively with ED’s which I’ve slowly discovered has contributed to my Chronic pain which of course has caused me to feel quite depressed, I also struggle with how my Scoliosis makes my ribs stick out but sharing my stories in my blog has meant I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from other people and that has made such a difference!

I talk openly on my blog about all these things, NOT for sympathy but to connect with other’s who feel the same, it can be very lonely and stressful when you feel worthless & too scared to ask for a little help and I truly hope that the blogging community sharing their stories helps anyone struggling.

My brother has Aspergers & PTSD amongst other things & yes he can be difficult to be around at times but that ISN’T his fault. He had very little support growing up and felt very alone, being pushed from one foster home or care home to another as a child and being sectioned as a teen and then suddenly being all alone in a tiny bedsit has been very stressful and hard for him.

He spiralled out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain, he was EXTREMELY difficult to be around during that time BUT the Mr and I made it our mission to help him turn himself round. And you know what? With a bit of persistence, love and a little bit of a kick up the bum he has become a totally different person over the past year.

Now he is dealing with his issues and facing them in counselling he is coping much better. Knowing he IS part of our family & our home is his home has helped him relax and realise he is loved and cared for. He still has bad days especially because of his past but now instead of trying to numb the pain & destroy himself he picks up the phone and calls me or jumps on a train and distracts himself or talks his problems through and bit by bit he has turned his life round completely.

Talking about our problems can help us more than most things especially if we feel someone is actually listening, we know people may not fully understand but it’s nice to be heard and it makes us feel less alone.

What’s your story? What are you struggling with? What do you do to cope?

Image result for you are cared for

If you need to talk please do, my DM, email etc is always open to ANYONE that needs to talk, day or night! If you prefer there are plenty of charities to help, whether its over the phone, by email or on-line chat, whatever method you prefer there is ALWAYS someone waiting to help you and talk through your problems, PLEASE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!

If you do need to talk to someone here is a small list of contacts:

The Samaritans are a well known organisation who are always there for a chat whether your just having a low day or you feel thing’s are much worse, get in touch!

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

We’re here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.

Another brilliant organisation is Togetheruk.org although I have no personal experience myself they offer a range of services around the country .

Together is a national   charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulfilling lives.

MIND is an amazing organisation that offers counselling & they have helped both my and my brother. My brother still currently has counselling with them and I can honestly say that has played a HUGE part in his recovery. They offer a range of services and support too.

Contact us

Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Even if you find ways to cope and manage and feel you have recovered well there may still be days you need a little chat to help you keep on top, please do ask for help if you feel thing’s are slipping again.

If you know someone struggling, make them a cuppa & share some cake & just be there to listen when you know they are feeling low. Sometimes just being there can mean so much, we don’t need to be told what to do or to just cope we just need a little love & understanding to help us through the bad days so we can fully enjoy the good days.