Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Rustic By Marney was set up by Melissa Marney who crafts the most beautiful pens! Like many of us Melissa suffers anxiety and depression but found crafting and letting her creativity flow very therapeutic. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and images of a gorgeous purple flower pen she made for me, on the blog tomorrow! Keep an eye out! Until then here is Melissa’s story in her own words.

Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Looking back on my childhood I now realise that I’ve always suffered with anxiety and depression. At the time I didn’t know anything about mental health issues, and I just thought it was normal behaviour and everyone felt the same way, but I just struggled more with my emotions. I covered my emotions and symptoms well, and looking back had a number of coping strategies, which I wasn’t aware were helping me, to cope at the time.

Hobbies

My favourite hobby when I was younger was ballet. I used to attend two classes a week and looking back now it was a way to shut my mind off, detach myself from uncomfortable feelings and emotions and silence those scary, intrusive thoughts.

As the years went on and I grew older I stopped dancing and didn’t replace this with another hobby. Having nothing to focus my energy on, my negative thoughts became louder and more uncomfortable and my symptoms worsened. Dealing with day to day life – working, paying the bills, maintaining relationships etc. It all became so consuming, and I knew something wasn’t right at the time but tried my best to conceal it (and I did a fantastic job at it!). I didn’t want anyone to know how I was truly feeling or that I was struggling to cope. There were times where I just wanted to scream out for help, but always remained silent and carried on with life.

Shutting Down

It wasn’t until a year ago, Steve and I got married in Cyprus, (which was the best day of our lives, very cliché, I know!) things changed. I pretty much arranged the whole wedding myself and in the lead up to it was unaware of how much stress I was putting myself under. Having perfectionist tendencies I wanted everything to go well, and was deeply involved with the all or nothing thinking. I also wanted to ensure everyone was happy and was having a good time.

While I was busy thinking about everyone else and my ‘perfect’ day I neglected my own needs my health was suffering as a consequence. When Steve and I returned from our wedding I didn’t feel myself at all. I put it all down to the ‘come down’ from the high I had been on the past few weeks. Nevertheless, I powered on and tried to get back into the real world. Unfortunately my mind and body had other plans. Two weeks later I had a breakdown, I completely shut down physically and mentally, I became an empty shell, I was just existing and not living. I knew things weren’t right and something had to change.

Recovery

It took me a while to accept what was happening. It took approximately six months to dig myself out of that ‘hole’ and get myself back on the right track. I’m still in recovery now, but having the right support, and a change in my thinking and attitude has helped me to accept it’s now just a part of me, and adjust to living with anxiety and depression.

During my recovery I found a new love in crafting. Throughout the years I’ve always told myself I’m rubbish at arts and crafts, I can’t do it and I believed it! It wasn’t until I started crafting my own place cards, guest book pens and jars for my own wedding where I realised this was all total rubbish! Silencing that negative voice in my head was a great victory.

Crafting To Cope

I’ve always been ambitious and dreamt of owning my own little business, and finding a purpose in life. During my breakdown Steve had mentioned to me about crafting again, however at the time I didn’t have the energy. As I slowly started getting better I took his advice and I started making my flower pens again. Slowly in time my passion and creativity started coming back, I was starting to feel my bubbly, confident self again. Crafting has been my biggest inspiration and I truly believe it has helped me cope over the past few months. Crafting has refocused my attention and reignited my passion.

Now whenever I feel anxious or have a bad day, however hard it is I grab all my crafting gear, sit down and get stuck in. I’ve found crafting extremely therapeutic and a way to ‘shut off’ from the stressors in the world. Turning my hobby into a business has given me great comfort as I now believe in myself. Having a passion in crafting and weddings, and combining the two is the perfect combination and therapy for me! There’s also that extra bonus of helping other brides have the best day of their lives. When they do then my mission is accomplished!

I recently saw the quote below which sums up my whole experience and filled me with comfort:

 Rustic By Marney - How Creativity Helps Me Manage Anxiety & Depression

Rustic by Marney can be found over on Facebook & Twitter. Whilst she does focus on weddings her gorgeous pens will brighten up any desk. You can find out more about Rustic by Marney and see the gorgeous pen she sent me too!

Do you find crafting therapeutic too?

Burnished Chaos

Improve Finances And Reduce Stress Using Technology

Want to improve finances and reduce stress using technology? I love technology and always welcome anything that reduces stress and helps improve finances due to my own mental health. Here is some advice* to improve finances and reduce stress levels using technology.

Improve Finances Using Technology

 

Use Technology To Reduce Stress And Improve Finances

A recent study has revealed that 14 million people worry about their finances every day. A shocking statistic which rings true for many. Mental health concerns affect many Brits. Whilst you shouldn’t pin everything on how much money you have or haven’t got, it’s difficult not to get stressed about money when the cost of living continues to rise. However, there is good news for the millions of stressed Brits worried about their finances. The key to taking control of your money is to reduce your stress levels. Technology is a great tool to help alleviate stress and there are such great mental health apps available to help you achieve just that.

Utilising technology

Wherever you turn, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some form of technology. Your home is probably full of gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, voice-activated home assistants and game consoles. Whilst over-use and over-exposure to technology has been linked to stress, there are ways in which you can effectively use technology to boost your mental health and reduce your stress levels to allow you to make smart financial decisions.

When stressed, individuals often make poor financial choices, such as purchasing high priced goods to make themselves feel better, only to instantly regret it when the item arrives, thus increasing stress. However, technology can be utilised in these times. If you’re staring at your online bank account and are worried about the balance, ask your voice-activated home assistant to play some calming music, such as whale music which is known to reduce stress levels.

Reading technology

Reading has been proven to reduce stress levels. Before you make any spur of the moment purchases, grab your electronic reading device and lower your stress levels. You can reduce your stress levels by as much as 68% by taking time out and enjoying a couple of chapters of a good book. Just six minutes of reading can make you feel calmer and more relaxed. Be sure to carry reading material with you wherever you go.

Debt and technology

Gadgets allow individuals to check their bank balance wherever they are and at any time of the day. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Students are often knee deep in debt which can cause them much stress. If you’re a student looking to consolidate your student loan, be sure to use organisational software first to get everything in order. That way you can review your finances with a clear, stress-free head.

Stress is a factor which people across the UK and around the world contend with every day. We face a lot of stress especially when it comes to sorting out finances. However, technology is a great tool to use to stay calm, reduce stress levels and stay on top of your finances.

Do you think you could Improve Finances And Reduce Stress Using Technology to?

*In collaboration with Chrissy Gladstone.

 

Mental Health Apps – MentalSnapp

I’ve been looking at mental health apps that can help me cope better on bad days. Mental Snapp is an app designed to help you manage your mental health using private video diaries. I know 2 people who find recording videos of themselves really helpful and love the sound of Mental health apps such as Mental Snapp.

Mental Snapp App Screenshot

Mental Health Apps

Mental health apps are a great way to manage and monitor your mental health. 1 in 4 of us will have a mental health episode at some point and it can be so confusing. Using mental health apps like Mental Snapp to actively manage our mental health can make it much easier. If like me you hate appointments and struggle to ask for help, apps like these can help us get things off our chest when we really need to.

Hannah Chamberlain, co founder of the app and originator of the idea, says; “I came up with the idea for Mental Snapp having told my own mental health story on film and helped other people tell theirs. I’ve been managing my own condition and making films on mental health for twenty years, and seen how telling your own story on film really makes a difference to people. Mental Snapp is a way to make the therapeutic benefits of journalling, rating mood and naming feelings accessible – the camera on your phone can be the therapist in your pocket.”

Mental Snapp

This video recording mental health app, Mental Snapp is available free to download from the App Store and Google Play. This helpful mental health app has been designed to be a space for you to tell your story and gain confidence. You can record short video diaries, rate your mood and name your feelings when using Mental Snapp. Your videos aren’t watched by anyone else so you don’t need to worry about being judged. It’s your version of events, and telling them helps you reflect and get to know yourself better.

Costs

A free app is always a good start and Mental Snapp is available for free. If however you need extra space to save your videos and want to access extra features, you can. The app costs £4.49 per month. The Mental Snapp app has been featured in the London Evening Standard. The idea is welcomed by the DWP too.

The Office for Disability Issues, DWP, says; “We welcome Mental Snapp as an innovative idea to help people manage their mental health. People living with mental health and other long term health conditions have barriers to overcome in living independently. The Government has set out a commitment to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027 and technology has an important part to play in helping us achieve this goal.  Mental Snapp is an exciting example of how technology can help promote methods of recovery that help people to live fulfilling lives.”

Mental Snapp can help you find things out about yourself and learn your moods easily. You simply record your video clip, rate your mood, tag a feeling and that is it! Nice and simple yet very effective. The app organises your video diary clips so they are easily searchable. This fantastic app also provides you with prompts and allows you to see patterns over time using the insights page.

 

Mental Health Apps - Mental Snapp Screenshot

 

The team at Mental Snapp believe you already have the skills you need to manage your mental health. Using the app and recording regular video clips can help you draw out those skills. It can feel a little odd recording yourself at first. Stick with it though and I promise you will see the benefits.

 

Do you think you could benefit from using Mental Snapp?

DIY Daddy

 

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!

 

Travelling With Anxiety – 5 Tips

Travelling with anxiety can be so difficult, especially as Christmas approaches everywhere becomes noisier and busier. I don’t tend to travel much, especially alone as I panic quite often. We have found a few ways to manage my anxiety and make my journeys as easy as possible. I have one or 2 trips planned over the Christmas holidays and it got me thinking about others travelling with anxiety too.

Travelling With Anxiety - 5 Tips

It may seem obvious but planning ahead can make journeys much easier when travelling. Here are 5 ways to make your journey a little easier.

  1. Check your route – Google maps is your friend! Make sure you know exactly where you are going, using street view I can look at the front of the building and surrounding buildings. The area feels a little more familiar and I can find my way much easier knowing what to look out for.
  2. Check Travel Options – I tend to look for the quickest routes and the cheapest fares. If I am travelling by train I check to see the train before and after the one I am aiming for in case I arrive early or late. I also check to see what buses run too in case there are any issues getting the train.
  3. Book in advance – Booking tickets in advance make travelling a lot less stressful. Not having to queue up for you ticket can save a lot of time and panic. You can often save a little too by booking a week or so in advance. A lot of the buses now have apps so you can buy your ticket on the go. I love this as it stops me worrying about losing my ticket.
  4. Take a distraction – I find if I have nothing to do I become overly anxious when travelling. Crocheting, tweeting or reading an e-book really help distract and calm me down.
  5. Take a snack & drink – Again this may seem obvious but if there are delays being hungry and thirsty will make you feel much worse. Keeping hydrated and sugar levels up is important when travelling, especially on longer journeys.

C2C Digital Display Boards

I was really pleased this week when Your Thurrock announced C2C are currently installing new digital display boards at their stations which show how full each carriage is. This simple little thing has made me really happy as I struggle with crowded noisy carriages. I know plenty of others find it hard too and these displays can make travelling with anxiety easier. Being able to avoid overly crowded carriages will make travelling easier for so many people.

Travelling with anxiety can be really stressful, do you have any tips for easing anxiety whilst travelling?

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?

Social Anxiety – Struggling to get involved

I’ve been struggling with social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Whilst I am getting better at going out & socialising my anxiety still holds me back.

Recently I contacted my local community project to get involved. I figured I may be able to help spread the word about events & fundraising and maybe get to meet a few more people locally. Feeling brave I typed out a message & hit enter. I got a reply and we organised meeting up for a chat.

Izzy fell ill and I missed meeting the guy who runs the project. I contacted him to apologise and agreed to rearrange. My anxiety is preventing me from messaging again though. I’m just a small blogger who writes to pass the time especially when I’m in pain. How could I actually help?

I was also invited to the community house meetings which are on a Thursday evening. Of course I let everything get in the way so I was ‘too busy’ to go. This has annoyed me. I’m preventing myself from moving forward with the blog & getting to know more people in the community. Why? Because I’m scared. I’ve always been the weirdo’s kid, the outcast and I still feel that’s how people see me. 

Whilst my confidence has grown in some areas my personal confidence is still struggling. I know I can offer something to the community, I’m doing well with the blog but I don’t have the confidence I need to get that across. Getting to know people locally could be nice but at the same time I quite like being unnoticed. I guess I am a bit of a loner. Realistically though  I need to get out more, I need to meet more people, I need to have more confidence in myself and start getting involved more in the local community.

I’m determined to work on this but I know it’s going to be tough.

Do you have social anxiety? Do you have any confidence building tips? Has getting involved in a community project helped you overcome social anxiety?

 

#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

I’ve Crashed. I Need A Reboot Button.

I’ve crashed. I need a reboot button. My anxiety has hit me hard today. My brain is all messy and I need to write to get it out. I wasn’t going to post today but it feels like the only thing I can do right now.

Why have I crashed? A simple appointment. Contractors coming in to check the ventilation system. It wouldn’t have been a problem for most people but having yet more worker in set me off badly. We’ve had so many rude workers come in who act like I don’t exist. I know my flat is owned by the council but I do pay rent and service charges, surely that gives me some say in what goes on?

The worker’s who came in luckily were alright this time but the idea of the mess and having to repaint any damage etc. really got to me, If you have been following my blog for a while you may remember we had a Kitchen, Bathroom & Toilet refit. Well the places they needed access to was behind all the lovely freshly painted boards.

For almost a year now my flat has looked DREADFUL. I’m really struggling with it now. I just need everything finished. Luckily the workmen listened and seem to understand a little and worked with us to resolve the issues and get the job done. There was no mess or damage in the end thankfully. Once they left though I was almost in tears. The day has just been too much.

I’d waited since 8am and they finally turned up at 12.40pm then had to return an hour later with more parts. I panicked about when they would be back knowing the Mr was doing the afternoon school run as I’d already knackered myself out doing the morning. Being home on my own with work going on gives me panic attacks.

At our old house a worker decided to threaten to punch the Mr for pointing out his shabby work & requesting it to be redone. I ended up having to lock the doors when he went to his van because his threats & temper scared me so much. I really freaked out as he started banging the doors and shouting so I called the estate agents to get him to leave the property and eventually he did. With it just being me and a toddler Eva at the time I freaked out and locked us in the play room just in case whilst I made the calls & got the Mr to come home. Ever since I’ve panicked about workers coming in.

The Mr was just leaving when they came back so it was a little easier as he let them in when the knock made me jump. They got on with the work and were back out the door quite quickly but as soon as they were I almost cried. I felt dizzy and weak. A full on crash. I hate how anxiety leaves me so exhausted whilst my heart feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest.

I've crashedI’ve crashed

I really need this CBT to start. I’ve crashed again & it’s getting ridiculous. The most simplest stupidest things have me on edge worrying over a million possibilities and feeling ridiculous. It’s hard when you know you are worrying over thing’s that are absolutely ridiculous or impossible but can’t stop. I want my life back. I need to stop worrying about EVERYTHING and having these crashes.

The worst part is I’m finding it hard to chat to people again so I feel even worse. I only rant to 1 or 2 trusted people and over the last week or 2 I’ve even struggled to do that. I keep trying to jump in then panic and feel lost and don’t know what to say so I hide again. I’m sick of this. I am a lively hyper happy person usually but with chronic pain, anxiety & depression fucking me up I don’t feel like me anymore.

Other than waiting for CBT and Pain Psychologist appointment’s I don’t know what to do. I just want to feel like me, I’d like to wake up and make that important call. I want to wake up & not panic Eva will be late when she is NEVER late! I panic about so many stupid little things from the second I wake up & I just want my brain to shut up.

The worst part is today actually wasn’t that bad in the end yet I still feel so upset & drained. I feel ridiculous for getting so worked up over something so simple. I’ve probably left the blokes thinking I am a complete freak but I couldn’t stop my panic attacks. I really wish I could just hit reboot & be me again.

FUCK YOU ANXIETY.