Wednesday, 27 March 2019

As Time Goes By

Have you ever noticed that the older we get the faster time goes. When we were young time dragged on forever; the summer holidays lasted forever, Christmas and birthdays never came quick enough and rainy days were hell! Adulthood, now you can blink and miss half the year or take a nap and a whole year is gone.

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view original and licence here

So when you leave something as an adult even with the best of intentions to come back to it in a few minutes, the next day, the next week, it never quite works out like that. The next thing you know and a year has gone by and your blog hasn't had a post. A week turns into a month turns into year(s) and you haven't spoken to that friend that meant the world to you in so long that now it would seem strange to talk to them. Time makes some things harder. Harder to type the first few lines, harder to dial the number, harder to make that first move.

Yet they say 'time heals all wounds'. Maybe this is the ultimate time paradox?

After losing a dear friend recently the advice I got from his wife really struck a chord, 'you don't know how much time you have, tell the people around you what they mean to you'. So do it today folks, tell your people that they are your people, reconnect those friendships you miss, work hard not to lose those friendships that mean something to you...there may not always be time to do it tomorrow!

I'll leave you with an artist my daughter has introduced me to and this song just seems right.

Love and hugs from me.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Well it's been a while. Um, two years, oops. A lot can happen in two years.

The last episode of my life I was battling with Anxiety and Depression and I almost thought I had it licked for a while...if not defeated, in chains and under my command. I had taken up running. (I'll just give anyone who actually knows me to process that thought for a moment. Yes the girl who never completed a cross country run at school started to run.) I worked up slowly until I eventually started to comfortably run 10km. It felt good; a place where I could switch off, or a place where I could process, a place to dream, or a place just to breath. Then things started to go a bit wrong. A fall but carried on running. Things didn't quite feel right though and a  twinge in my back tured out to be a bulge in my spine. However that wasn't the causing the problem. My pain spread and a bone deep fatigue followed, plus other things much too boring to go into!

Fast forward six months and a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Great, I figured, I know what this is I can handle this. I thought I had Accepted the condition and what it meant going forward to live with chronic pain. Oh boy how foolish was I!


So, here we are again. My body and mind kicking me in the ass and making even the simplest of tasks hard and yet again signed off work.

Not one to just say, 'okey dokey, switch over to Jeremy Kyle'  (maybe there has been some Netflix and duvet time) I have been fairly proactive in trying to work out where I went wrong and how I managed to spiral so far so fast. Aside from generally not being nice to myself a common theme seems to be:

Image result for acceptance typography

Accept this is you. Accept the help. Accept you can't do things the way you used to. Accept the feelings of guilt, fear and loathing are normal...but they don't have to define you.

Accept the elephant in the room. Take him on as the new family pet, he is going to take a lot of your energy whether you ignore him or train him.

And accepting that all that is easier said than done. At the end of it all we are fairly understanding of our loved ones and our friends. If they are struggling with something, if they are gay, if they suddenly dye their hair blue we accept them for who they are. We don't guilt trip them or barrage them with the insults that rage though our heads when its something that relates to us. Hell if I did I think I'd have been punched a few times by now! Why is it then that as humans we find it almost impossible to be as kind to ourselves as we are to our friends?

Love yourself as much as others and remember that life is to be enjoyed not avoided.

Before I go to try and practice what I am spouting I'll leave you with a song, and seeing as I will be going to see the Dragons in a couple of weeks one of their songs seems mighty fitting, it has to get easier....right?!

So hit me,  how have y'all been? Did you miss me?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Mind is a Warzone! Always Keep Fighting

I have tried to write a post...this post...and then just any post, countless times over the last few months. So many of them I approached the subject sideways, with analogies and metaphors. Once I even used a sports metaphor complete with curve balls and getting hit straight on. The thing is none of them seemed to get across what I wanted to say, none of them conveyed what I was feeling. I kept hoping that writing would help me work through things, but every time I started it got more and more knotted up. In the end I had to step away for a while. Things are a little better now, so now is the time to get back on the horse, maybe this time without too many metaphors though, and add in this most recent chapter in the life of Sleepy Joe.

About three months ago I ended up off work having been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and getting to the point I could no longer cope with daily life. In all honesty it had been building up for a while; stress on stress on stress plus some changes and uncertainty equals the last straw on the camels back (see I can't help myself) and I broke. There were tears enough to fill an ocean and guilt like I have never felt because surely I was letting the world down if I stopped for a moment. But more, I was lost. I had no idea who idea who I was anymore.

I once thought of myself as strong and capable woman but I found myself scared and a wreck just going into a supermarket. There were days where I couldn't face leaving the house or answering the phone and the thought of going to work terrified me. I felt like a failure, like some weak thing that could no longer cope (sometimes I still do) and I think that horrified me even more. And tired, so so tired. Every day was (and sometimes is) a battle with my mind over which voice would win; the one telling me not to do something because I would get it wrong or the one telling me what a failure I was because I'd already messed up.

The first few panic attacks had scared me and my Other Half had seen me withdrawing so he 'encouraged' me to seek help and by the time I broke completely I had worked my way up the list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It sounds weird but I think the best way I can describe it is a healthy eating package for your mental health. The fabulous lady I have been seeing over twelve or so weeks has helped me to look at all the unhealthy ways I think about things, in particular with regard to my anxiety and panic attacks. She has helped me see that life is not black OR white - control OR out of control - strong OR weak. I have come to realise I don't hold others to the same standards I was holding myself to "be perfect or you've failed" "be in control or you're weak". It's a cliche but I now understand why I am the way I am, what experiences from my past have shaped me and reinforced my beliefs to mean I got stuck in a cycle of panic because at the end of the day being anxious sometimes is a normal human response, getting stuck in those feelings probably isn't so helpful.

I have made peace with the fact I am always going to feel like this; I am going to have low moments, I am going to over analyse, I will probably beat myself up about things that I cannot control, and I will probably panic. The difference now? I know how to handle it, it won't handle me!

When I started the therapy one of my goals was "to feel like me again" and it's strange because I don't feel like the me I used to be. I don't think that I will ever be that me again. For quite a while I have identified with a song (pinned in below) and a line in it says, "If I recover will you take me back again." I thought all this time that I needed to 'get well' and get back to being what I was because I was ill. I have come to realise now that yes anxiety and depression, like other mental health issues/illnesses, are illnesses. They are diseases of the mind. But they are ones from which you never fully recover, you just learn how to handle it, how to live a more mentally healthy life. I will never be that me again because that me never ran a day in her life, this me runs three times a week to get head space and stay calm/sane. I will never be that me because that me tried to write a journal every day but could never quite maintain it, this me has to to clear out the mental baggage and to see her achievements on a daily basis. There will be more differences because I'm still a little lost trying to figure out who I am in all this but I'll get there.

None of us have any issue talking about our latest healthy lifestyle craze do we?! Healthy eating; #leanin15, juices or 5:2 Fitness; spinning, burpees or the latest gym membership. Why then can we not feel free to chat about our mental health too? Why does that have to break down before we decide to take our mental well being for a healthy spin? One of my biggest fears at the peak of my problems was the social response I would get to having a panic attack in public. That people would think I was weak/stupid/silly, that I just needed to pull myself together when in fact I had little control over it at that point. And I know I am not the only person with fears of this nature. Would it be like this if we talked about it a bit more? If we talked Sinceriously.

From the Stephen Amell Represent campaign see here

I feel lucky. I have my family; my Other Half and my Munchkins and although it's been hard I have not seen the bottom, I know I didn't get that low and help was there when I needed it. There are people not so fortunate and that's where we fail as a society to look after each other. 

Finally in the words of Jared Padalecki, who has openly spoken about his fight with depression, 

Always Keep Fighting!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Let's get out of here!

I have to apologise to my very good friend Leah. I promised it wouldn't take so long to post the next part to Alistair and Frankie's story and it's been months. But it's here now! Catch up with the start here, continued here and the last installment was here. And the story continues...

Photo by Holmes Palaciosview original here on Flikr 

Leonard twirled Frankie out to the side as the song was coming to an end and pulled her in just in time to dip her backwards on the last note. Frankie’s breathing became deeper as he looked into her eyes. She would have done anything to get away from those eyes; they may be similar to Alistair’s but they made her feel totally different, like he was an insect crawling into her soul. At this little display of Leonard’s there was a round of applause rippling through the room. When he finally righted her she became aware of the number of eyes in their direction and that none of the staff were clapping. Will especially looked like he might grind his teeth down to nothing.

Taking his offered arm Frankie let him escort her back to Alistair, who hadn’t moved an inch since she left his side. If looks could kill Leonard would be six foot under by now, but the way Alistair gripped his folded arms let her know that it wouldn’t be that simple.

“ We are going to have so much more fun my dear. But for now I think you two lovebirds have some things to discuss.” Leonard sniggered as he turned and bowed to the audience of waiting men.

“Time to go.” Alistair said through gritted teeth grabbing hold of Frankie’s hand and pulling her toward the arch. Frankie had no objections at all, except that they didn’t seem to be stopping for her jacket. She liked that jacket too.

But the world didn’t tilt as the shimmer kicked in and walking forward only spat them back out into the club. Twice more Alistair dragged Frankie through, gaining speed with each attempt.

“You know that’s not how it works Alistair.” Trixie’s voice came from the corner. “If he has decided you’re not leaving then the arch will no longer work for you. I’m sorry.”

“Alistair, who is he?” Frankie asked, “Alistair.” She said grabbing his face and forcing him to look at her. His eyes were frantic, unlike anything she had ever seen in him before. “Ok, take a breath for a minute. We obviously aren’t going anywhere fast so let’s just sit down...”

“No! We have to go, now. Trixie, please?” Alistair pleaded, “This has to stop. Let us out.”

“You know I don’t have that kind of power. And before you ask Miss Taylor, no there isn’t an alternative exit. One way in. One way out.” Trixie replied and then disappeared, her position no longer needed at the front of house with the doorway sealed.
“Come on” Frankie said pulling Alistair with her as he looked back at where Trixie had been moments  before. She took them straight to the bar and slid onto two bar stools as far from everyone else as possible.

An uneasy silence hung between them sat there at the gloomy end of the bar, punctuated by the clunk of the ice rolling around in Alistair’s glass as he swirled his whiskey. Frankie was the first to break the impasse. “Ok, are you going to tell me what I’ve gotten into here?”

Alistair rubbed his hands through his perfect hair and pulled them down his face, letting out a long sigh. “I’m sorry, Frankie. If only we had met before.”

“Before what?”

“Before I ever started coming here,” he gestured to the club suddenly looking exhausted.

“Exactly how long have you been coming to the club Alistair?” Frankie asked warily.

Alistair let out a long breath. “Around three centuries.”

Frankie threw back her shot of tequila that had been sitting on the bar since they sat down. She savoured the burn as it slid down her throat and the sticky bitter smell of the alcohol while she composed herself. Three centuries! “Well no offense but I wasn’t around back then, I don’t think meeting would really have been an option.”

Alistair looked up from his down-ward gaze to meet Frankie’s eyes. As he did Frankie burst out laughing, straight delivery of comedic lines wasn’t something she was ever good at. I didn’t take long for her laughter to infect him too.

“ So,” Frankie began, gasping through the remnants of the hysteria, “exactly what is it you bring girls here for?”

“You have to understand Frankie that this started a long time ago when I was very young and very stupid.” He started, “I was from a rich family; thought I was entitled to the world and more . Why do we always want more? Anyway, I’d been coming to this club. Back then I lived in London and that’s where I was introduced. Drunk one night, sat at the bridge table, I stupidly said in front of the wrong person ‘all I want from life is to have a young woman on my arm.’ The next thing I know I am speaking with Leonard and signing my life away.” Alistair stared over toward the gambling tables lost in the memory for a moment.

“The deal was I would always have exactly what I wished for; never again would I grow old and I would always find young beautiful women attracted to me.”

“I’m sensing a ‘but’ here.” Frankie encouraged when he seemed unwilling to go on.

Alistair sighed, “Yes the but; there’s a catch that I didn’t care about back then. Every five years Leonard gets a young lady for the club.” His head in his hands, “God Frankie I used to justify it that they would get to live forever. Seriously I was condemning them to this hell-hole and they get to stay here forever, what a peachy life huh? I just couldn’t see a way out.”

“Really? Not one single way?” Frankie asked raising her left eyebrow for effect.

 “Yes I tried that and a few other ways too.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Alistair sat up and finally downed his whiskey; he’d give Will this one the guy knew his patron’s poisons. “I’ve been at this for three centuries Frankie. Once I finally grew up and realised what the Hell I’d gotten myself into, do you not think I tried every which way to break this or cheat it. It doesn’t work. He finds me every time, drags me back or revives me and then takes what is owed any way he can.”

“And I’m your five year payment?” Frankie said bluntly.

“Shit Frankie, I don’t want this. I love you. I wish you had never met me.” Alistair shouted throwing his empty glass at the wall.

Frankie smiled; watching him come apart was just a little bit satisfying. “Alistair,” Frankie said calmly composing herself, “tell me how it works.”

“What? How what works?”

“How Leonard gets me. How the club takes me. Tell me exactly how it happens.”

In hushed tones at the end of the bar Alistair told Frankie how the process starts when she puts the ring on but isn’t complete until vows are exchanged in a ceremony. He explained how the vows are the key, seemingly innocuous wedding vows but vows are a contract and a contract with Hell at that.

“So if I do this I’m what another waitress? I grow horns and a tail and wander round in my underwear?” Frankie spat the words at Alistair, the disgust now showing plainly on her face.

“If you are lucky.” Alistair replied, not bothering to hide the disgust from his voice.

The bar stool tumbled over when Frankie stood grabbing her purse to leave. Alistair grabbed her wrist.

“Please don’t. We’ll figure this out...I lo”

“Don’t.”  She cut him off before he could finish the word. “I will not be another Trixie in your world, watching you bring women into this club.”

Will appeared at the end of the bar, “Do you need anything down here? Is he bothering you Frankie?”

“No, I was just leaving.” Frankie yanked her arm free and for good measure slapped Alistair across the face with a satisfying crack.

Walking away from him and no longer having to pretend to like him felt good but this was far from over, she hadn’t gotten out of the place yet. And she still hadn’t found Mum. She was nearly to the end of the bar, though where exactly she thought she was going was a mystery. Leonard stepped into her path forcing her to stop just before colliding with him. Slowly having to adjust the angle of her head to look him in the eye, the smell of his colongne almost overpowering.

“Well my dear that chat didn’t seem to go at all as Alistair would have hoped, or I for that matter.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint.” Frankie replied belligerently.

“Come sit with me Frankie.” Leonard offered his arm, once again to take her away from Alistair and once again she could feel him seething behind her.

He guided Frankie across the club to his own private booth, set just away from the rest of the booths it offered the best view of the stage as well as the rest of the club. It was also more spacious with added velour throw cushions and a seat that you could sink into. There was no waiting for drinks a waitress was right behind them with glasses and a bottle of blood red wine.

“Tell me Frankie, what do you make of the entertainment here? What brings the young people into a club like this?” Leonard asked handing Frankie a rather large glass of Argentinean Malbec.

Frankie took a slow sip trying to work out how to answer this question, “To be honest I’m probably not the best person to ask. I think I live in the past sometimes.”

“Ahhhh, but life is ahead of you my dear. A very beautiful life”

Hope you are still enjoying this, the few of you that are still reading ;-) What has everyone been upto lately?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Laughter, Pebbles and Reminders

Sometimes you just need a little reminder to be mindful, to appreciate the good and beautiful things around you; the pebbles.

Laugh so hard it brings tears to your eyes,
Giggle so long your cheeks ache.
Laugh so often you've no idea the subject, 
But those you laughed with never forgotten.

view original here

This tune never fails to make me smile, I hope it does the same for you.

What things have been making you laugh, or just smile if that's all you can manage, recently?

Monday, 23 February 2015


Tears etched on my cheeks
You're tattooed on my heart
Always immortal in my soul

Friday, 20 February 2015

I'm a weirdo let me out of here!

I have lost count on how many times I've tried to start this post. But then it is never that easy to admit that something is not quite right with yourself. Though I don't understand why. I guess it comes from the social construct that we must all be "normal" and "perfect". I find this really irritating. One, who the heck can ever live up to those nondescript standards? And two it makes it really difficult for people with serious illnesses that need help to seek it for fear of the stigma that they will attract.

Mind, a charity that deals with mental heath issues in the UK, has had a campaign recently encouraging people to take five minutes to talk. It can be talking openly about mental health issues or just generally getting things off your chest because doing so is a bit like going to the gym for your mental health. If you don't currently have any problems you are making sure you have a fighting chance in the future just by having a chat, now that sounds like a work out I can handle!

Now, me? I don't suffer any mental health issues as such. I am most certainly a bit weird and not all there sometimes but nothing least not that I know of. How I feel it's not claustrophobia because I don't struggle in lifts and small spaces, however if I spend too long confined in one building I become agitated. I have a need to be out...doing...being elsewhere. I have no idea if there is a term for this, to me it's just another little way I am weird.

Let me out of here
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Just recently though I have discovered that it goes a little further. It is not only if I am in the same building for any length of time, which can be a couple of days to a few hours, this weirdness seems to extend to getting stuck in the same routine/rut. I found that I was getting agitated more easily, but also tired quicker my interest in things was slipping away too.

Are you ready for the light-bulb moment?

Getting this in my house. | Community Post: 18 GIFs That Prove Science Is The Coolest Subject Ever

view original here

I listened to a new album (track off said album coming up) this week and for the first time in ages I felt alive, I felt ready to go face what the world had for me and I wanted more. I realised that what drives me out of the house isn't just the need to be out it is the need for new and different. The easiest way for me to achieve this is to take a trip to the closest city and wander round for a couple of hours, it's a quick fix. When I was young and lived at home I used to move my bedroom round on a regular basis so that the furniture was in a different orientation. Only now after all this time am I discovering that there are other ways to alleviate the symptoms, or even keep the feelings at bay completely with a constant stream of new!

So I guess the key to staying happy, sane and motivated is to get up, get out and fill my life with new things (that don't take up precious writing time). Best learn to juggle then!

(gifset) Because Thomas William Hiddleston is in fact a five-year-old stuck in a 32-year-old body.
Awww, look at his happy face. 
Original here

For now sit back, relax and enjoy my favourite track so far off the Imagine Dragons new album. 

Lets not be afraid to be weird, we never know what awesome things we will discover along the way!