Smile, Love and be Kind x

I just wanted to do a little post to try and help direct people to these awesome books, written and illustrated by fabulous people who’s worlds were shattered far too early in life, but who continued to somehow remain positive, strong, kind and inspirational throughout.

I’ve bought both books so far for friends children, as well as copies for our house. They are such sweet, lovely, well written books with the strong message of kindness being magical and so, so important solid throughout them. The illustrations are also all hand drawn by Jake. The books don’t fail to make you smile.These books are incredible – don’t just take my word for it! You can purchase Tara & Tyrone books (currently two with a third on the way) written by the incredible Emmy and brilliantly illustrated by Jake through Etsy, or if you want a message from Jake and Molly dog 🐢, email ejtandem@hotmail.com – I’ve added my own message (see below) to the children we’ve bought them for too. I can’t credit Emmy and Jake enough for their constant positivity and kindness – and no, I don’t know them personally so there is no friendship bias here!

You can also read more about Emmy and the journey #EJTandem
Dear Ollie, Ellen (and Thomas*),
I am so sorry I didn’t get you this book earlier to enable it to be signed once again by the inspirational author as well as the wonderful illustrator, and the lovely Molly dog πŸΆπŸ˜‰.
Emmy sadly passed away on 16.06.17. She fought hard against an impossible battle. But she inspired the world. She taught us life is too short. She taught us to live life to the fullest. And most importantly, she taught us to “smile, love and be kind”.

I love you forever, your (fairy) godmother xx

*not Thomas’ godmother!

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LonelinessΒ 

Loneliness… it’s a real thing. Sometimes I think I struggle with that more than depression but then loneliness is probably an effect of the depression. I always thought I wanted to WFH/be a housewife/full time mum but the reality of not having a set “9-5” means I’m often super lonely and isolated and leach onto ANY social contact quite badly…! Soz all! Some days if I’ve somehow managed to not see or speak (in any form) to anyone I practically pounce on James when he gets home – you know like when you’ve been off sick for a day and then when you get to see someone you’re all crazy for conversation? That’s me… most days. Rufus probably helps… poor dog 🐢I’m not saying leaving Clarks wasn’t the right choice – it 100% was. I don’t miss the corporate BS or the fakery, and thanks to my addled brain [alongside my amazing husband] I won’t ever be going back: I find myself infuriated with myself because of the simple things I struggle to pick up as quick as I used to in the work I do for the business as it is, I honestly don’t believe I would ever get through an interview process again: I struggled as it was in the 6 months or so before I left Clarks.
So, obviously I’m not thrilled at the prospect of facing this weekend alone – James on a stag, 2 sets of cancelled and one failed set of plans for me – I don’t, of course, dispute him going – I want him to! He deserves a break (from me!!) and to have fun with his mates – plus I abandon him to go off with the girls enough – although I suspect {know} he also just enjoys the break from me and catches up on sleep πŸ™„πŸ€£. 

I just get so tired of being alone. I often make out I hate people – and general people I probably do, they’re often a pain in the ass 🀣 – but when it comes to my friends and family, I just want them around all the time (no, not you Dad.. haha love you x).
I have often found myself, when travelling or just out and about, looking at others who are alone and being super worried for them. Concerned that they aren’t happy. It’s absolutely insane and 99% of the time I suspect they are absolutely just fine. I’ve noticed it for as long as I can remember – since I was really young – a business man eating dinner alone; pretty average in the world and yet I’ve always wanted to invite them to join us (but never have… confidence lacker in being such a weirdo!) I end up just making myself feel awful in convincing myself they are sad and alone. I just seem to really FEEL and have all this emotion for others which is just seemingly totally random. I worry about June – who I dog walk for through The Cinnamon Trust – about her feeling lonely, and as such spend time attempting to make awkward conversation (I am sure I am the queen of awkward conversation, somehow) before I leave her because I’m so worried about leaving her alone. In reality she’s probably internally questioning when the weird dog walker who doesn’t seem to work is going to JUST LEAVE πŸ˜‚.
I did however read a pretty interesting blog this week on the time to change website that was written by someone else who seemed much better able than me to get her point across – I agree with having ALL THE EMOTION. I’m not just a spoilt brat (πŸ‘ΈπŸ») who strops when she doesn’t get her way (just mostly..!) but everything just seems to effect me much stronger and deeper than it seems to affect anyone else. A sad advert about dogs and I’m forcing Rufus to cuddle me whilst my paranoid brain panics about the day he’s no longer with us (we have an agreement that this will be never, we all go together… also never..!), but the simplest smile or sharing “knowing” eye contact from a stranger has me bouncing off the walls for joy. I feel it all, deeply, but particularly, I think, loneliness.
And so, with being alone I can’t really seem to adult… I’m not sure who let me solo adult.. I can’t even seem to figure out what I want to eat, but don’t worry, there’ll be no half stone weight loss this weekend because I’m so (pre-menstrually) hungry that I’m consuming EVERYTHING in site trying to placate whatever it is I really want but can’t figure out myself. Instead it’s Frosties and easy solo person meals for dinner because I have NO CLUE what I really want and can’t be bothered to cook to figure it out πŸ˜’. In positive news, I did just manage to be near a Sainsbury’s and NOT purchase jam doughnuts – mostly because at the time I wasn’t sure I wanted them… but now I think it’s a big regret…

Wild Friday nights at 30… bedtime (8.30pm: suspect I’ll be punished for that with a horribly early morning wake up!), night all x

I believe it’s called “brinner”…. “breakfast”, for dinner..

The best medicine πŸ’ŠπŸ’–

It is amazing how your mind can so easily “forget” and lie to you about how being surrounded by friends and family and love is really, truly, the best medicine. How connecting and engaging with others creates bonds and friendships, even seemingly in strangers. Last weekend, was my “secret surprise birthday weekend away” in the start of the (month long!!) “celebrations” of my turning 30. I had left the entire thing up to James to organise – because frankly, I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve dreaded birthdays for a fair few years now. Getting older isn’t cool with me. I’m like Peter Pan, except I’m not forever young, I just want/need to be. Getting older gets worse with the less I feel I achieve/the more I don’t have children, because of stupid numbers I stupidly set myself stupid years ago. So, obviously, this weekend – despite having been in the diary for months – unfortunately came upon us at quite literally one of the worst times (πŸ˜”) possible. I had been so hopeful that we would finally be pregnant that it all of a sudden made the world 100 million times worse when I wasn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to face anything. I really didn’t want to go.
I cried the entire journey to our surprise location. At one point my husband asked me if I “wanted to do this”. I didn’t. I really didn’t. It took absolutely everything within me to answer with a nod and not the honest no; I want to go home, curl up into a ball in our bed and keep crying, alone. I didn’t know for sure but I had suspicions friends were involved and I didn’t feel like I could face anyone still. After all, I’d spent 2 days at the start of that week ignoring absolutely everyone, the rest of the week still avoiding more local friends and wondering when I’d ever feel like I could face people [friends] properly again. I had asked him a few days before, tears still pouring down my soaked face if any babies were involved in the weekend.. this included anyone pregnant or any children but I couldn’t bring myself to say those words, I couldn’t choke them out – my speech was the bare minimum I could get away with to string a sentence together. I was worried, when we pulled off the M5 onto the M4 towards Wales that my godchildren (who I knew to be on holiday in Pembrokeshire) would be there – whom I love dearly but I didn’t feel like I could face, especially when I couldn’t stop the tears.

When we pulled up the only car I instantly recognised was my brothers, but I knew there were others and the tears came again. I couldn’t walk into the cottage first, I made Rufus and James lead the way – me trailing behind clutching James’ hand like a lost child. When we walked into the kitchen and my friends jumped out yelling “surprise!” I burst into more tears and cowered into James… I am sure this was exactly the reaction my friends, some of who had spent the best part of 6 hours travelling ~ for me ~ had hoped for…!! Not! Sorry guys. I just felt super heightened in terms of anxiety. 

I don’t know if it was because I’d actually bothered taking my mild dosed citalopram for two days in a row rather than the erratic form I had been taking it in the months previously. I remember when I first took it all those months ago, feeling a difference far quicker than I thought possible – but this could also have been aided by the decent weather, marathon, therapy, IUI progress (πŸ™„ irony), holidays, friends etc. I wouldn’t have believed it again having such a rapid affect until I properly read Deborah Orr‘s article last week of her heightened levels of disassociation almost immediately after beginning citalopram.
I have noticed myself on occasion – particularly looking back now – clinging to James like some sort of leach, unable to interact, engage or begin new friendships without him for support. I suspect it’s why a lot of his (old) “friends” don’t like me – anxiety winning yet again in making me socially unable to engage. Somehow, sometimes though I do manage on my own? I can certainly think of a few friends I have made in Somerset on my own.. but I appear to have developed a strong sense of separation anxiety to James.. and Rufus.. and we have the cheek to laugh at Rufus having separation anxiety – quite literally gets that one from his Mumma… as though I’ve passed it on within the air that we breathe and share.
A tangent – after all the tears, eventually followed by a lot of wonderful, supportive hugs from my [initially shocked!] friends I found myself quickly settling down. Tears stopping, an extent of happiness resuming within me. Despite my mind wanting to hide away from the world, what I really needed was exactly what I got – to be surrounded by loved ones, to be distracted and to have fun. 
It’s funny how easily you can “forget” this is what you need. How easy it is to withdraw and isolate yourself – only resulting in making you feel worse. In writing this, it reminds me of another friends 30th earlier in the year.. I hope she doesn’t mind me (and I think this is the second time I’ve done this to her!) referencing her – but she wasn’t in a good place at all. She had overdosed a few days prior to the weekend all her friends were due to descend for celebrations, and I remember thinking then – exactly what she needed was everyone around her to perk her up and show in plain sight how much she was – is – loved and needed. And yet I couldn’t see that for myself just last week. I couldn’t allow myself to have the support and love and care, the fun and distraction of friends and family to get me through how low I truly felt. And that is precisely what mental illness does to you. It shuts you down and locks you within yourself to make you feel dark and alone. And it is so, so impossible to pull yourself out of it.. so for those of you that have friends struggling – surprise them. Don’t stop loving and caring and being supportive and funny – even if it is endless funny texts that go seemingly ignored. Be prepared for melt downs and tears, for pain and for hopelessness; but your love does, eventually, make that difference.
Thank you, friends and family xx (ps. Pink glitter lipstick solves everything πŸ’„πŸ’‹)

July


It began in June. I felt it. I felt anxiety creeping in as I continuously worried about everything and anything and anyone. I felt myself loose hope once again of ever conceiving; because how can a body so riddled with worry ever have anything left to be able to carry a baby? I felt the tears of feeling lonely or depression hit me for no real reason. It began in June – this time of the year when I start to feel down. Depressed. Hopeless. As my birthday, and another year gone, “wasted” rapidly approaches..
This time two years ago was the lowest I’ve ever felt about my birthday. Ironically the big 3-0, although coming at me fast, didn’t, in May [when I started writing this blog(!)], feel yet quite as scary as I would have expected. Even now – 1 month to go – whilst willing time to slow and not exactly looking forward to it, I still feel calmer than I did two years ago. I hate getting older, and I especially hate doing it without children, but this year – somehow – feels much, much better than two years ago.
Two years ago I was ill. Seriously ill. I was terrified of my birthday approaching. I kept it quiet. I deleted myself off the team birthday calendar. I wanted no attention or fuss. I couldn’t look at people. I was anxious. I was scared. I was constantly hurting myself; even as simple as biting on my finger until I was forced not to, or drew blood. I wanted to kill myself. I couldn’t get another year older.
Two years ago I was told this “mood” I was in was seriously affecting and bringing down the entire team – a team that I had supposedly brought together with my “sparkly personality” (how on earth were they surviving before me?!) – a team though, which managed – despite me being the supposed glue – to simply ignore how ill I was.

Two years ago I wanted to kill myself.
I had no real concrete plans. Mostly only silly words that would come to mind about “driving off a cliff” or “slitting my wrists”… later on I became convinced that if I had access to a gun I would have done it that way.
It is bleak; to have to fight these thoughts. When underneath you know you are a happy, smiley person with a zest for life. When you know life is too short as it is and you just want to live it to the max and make the most of it. But within your own head is another voice telling you you no longer want to live, that you can’t live.
This year I welcome July with a little more excitement than usual. Today we go ahead with our first ever IUI procedure, having been cancelled last time due to hyper-stimulation [blog here: https://myblog010887.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/iui-cancelled/%5D. I am excited for the hope that comes with this; although struggling to find positivity for a BFP test in 2ish weeks..! Whilst hanging around waiting between appointments for the procedure I get to see my gorgeous goddaughter and her mother for the third time this week, my godson and his father (same family) for the second time this week. Spending time with friends makes me super happy. This evening, “grub club” with the girls visits another local restaurant for scrummy food {although, having been flat out asleep by the time James came to bed at 21:30 last night, I’m not sure how alert I’ll be girls!! Pre-going out so needed!!} Most weekends this month have some kind of plans or other – plans I know that I won’t – can’t – cancel no matter how much my mind betrays me and feels like I don’t want to attend them as the time draws nearer. I noticed recently that I seem to do that – fill my life with plans – because I can’t cancel – I will never cancel on anyone unless I am physically unable (🀒!!). I don’t say no and I don’t cancel on anyone no matter how anxious I might become. I think it means I can’t lock myself away from the world, thus making myself feel mentally worse.
July two years ago – you sucked. July last year – I barely remember πŸ˜•. July now… you know what you gotta do ☺️

xπŸ¦„x

[Mental] Health Crisis

Bit of a mush mash of words here.. but just wanted to write something(s!) down to go with my slightly scary discharge letter received last week.. And my brain isn’t working properly to make this blog better.. so I’m done with it in the mish mash that it is.. πŸ˜‚πŸ™„

πŸ˜”

We seem to be in quite the mental health crisis. Everyone knows the NHS is “always” suffering. But the mental health teams seem to be stretched beyond belief.

I waited 6 months for therapy. The therapy I have just undergone (CAT; Cognitive Analytical Therapy, which, btw, I loved and felt was massively helping) is recommended to take 1 hour for between 16-24 weeks. The NHS provides just 8 weeks of *not quite* 1 hour sessions..

How on earth are you supposed to make breakthroughs and adjust and be “fixed” in just 8 hours?! That’s a working day! And an average working day at Clarks is what tore me apart good and proper, forced me to leave the career that I loved, and put me in therapy in the end! 

The funny thing is – I(/we) could/would easily pay for me to have therapy 1,2,3 or even 4 weekly.. but I’m not sure it will ever truly make any difference anymore. This in itself is a huge improvement for me – I used to feel like I needed someone mental health trained to daily be by my side guiding me through life..!

I just seem to chop and change. For no apparent reason sometimes. Just like my eyes do – the other day for example, I felt like I could see clearer and further physically than most days. I only “need” glasses for driving but I often wear them just in places like the supermarket just to help me find my way round {quicker}.. but this was not needed the other day.. just like my PHQ/GAD scores… up and down up and down, better and worse, better and worse. Some days I find myself absorbed in this world of negativity and I cannot snap out of it; no matter how much I want or need to, it sticks with me until it is ready to shift on for a brief spell of time. Yet on others I seem to radiate excitement and zest for life; exactly who and what I want to be 24/7..

But this.. these scores.. they scared me a little. Whilst I agree, and I no longer feel like any amount of help/therapy is ever going to do anything; and I’m just going to have to thrive – as I do – on the good days (sprinkling glitter, kindness, care, love and smiles like the unicorn girl that I am), banking the memories and doing my best to plod through without hurting myself too badly on the bad days… the fact that a service happily discharges you when scores have not improved, and are still considered “severe”, I find quite scary.. 

They did improve, whilst I was undergoing therapy. They dropped a fair bit [“dropping” is good] and then slowly built again. It would seem the so many things that I felt were helping [therapy, running (VLM17), citalopram, holidays, fun, friends, sunshine, etc] really did make me “high” for a period of time and although many of these are still going on, my anxiety is back worsened beyond reasonable belief or expectation.. I don’t know why I am so badly over worrying about everyone and anyone, everything and anything, and why this huge sense of dread is sat so heavily on my shoulders right now. 

We agreed this, my therapist and I. Largely because all they now offered me was something I just cannot guarantee I will put the time and effort into it that it really needs. I always attended and engaged well with my therapist – but putting my mind to work is hard enough in therapy, let alone trying to make it work alone! This week I have been quite motivated to do everything and anything – but others I find myself exhausted not wanting to get out of bed and achieving seemingly nothing. Some say that’s ok – it’s ok to listen to what your body and mind must obviously need; but it never feels ok for me, especially whilst my darling husband is slogging through 50 hour + weeks.. but it means I cannot allow myself to commit to a new therapy that I may not always find the energy or motivation to put the effort into helping myself. And that’s part of the problem with mental health illnesses, isn’t it – you need to help yourself.. but that is always, always easier said than done.

I suspect part of the reason I have been motivated is because I few plans were cancelled (not by me; never by me; I cannot cancel… πŸ™„) at the end of last week which meant I actually had time to not do EVERYTHING and at 400mph as per usual Karen.. who then burns herself out from doing so..

I am incredibly grateful for the NHS and all the help we get, but with mental health in particular there just doesn’t not seem to be “enough” help. That age old problem of “enough”, rising its ugly head again..

Sometimes, I feel like, instead of having “one of those days” I’m having “one of those lives” where one thing after another just seems to go disasterously wrong and on, and on…

I guess I am just generally unsure what to make of it all. I could seek out therapy privately – but part of me can’t be bothered to start all over again somewhere else. Part of me doesn’t think I need/want to. Part of me thinks there’s no point. And part of me is shocked to still see those scores so worryingly high πŸ˜’

Worrying world of filters and edits…

Original image
Two things. Can we just 😍😍😍 how beautiful are these flowers?! πŸŒΊπŸ’

πŸ’–

But, importantly, this (yet another – spoilt this week!!) little blog, is about the situation with filters/no filters/edits/no edits which I noticed when posting “Cute Cottage” picture on Instagram earlier.. [see below] because it was something I had never really noticed before, and it alarmed me to see such a contrast on my camera roll from an “unfiltered” photo… I couldn’t help thinking to myself – no wonder we have generations of people desperate to change what they look like if others are constantly hash tagging “no filter” but editing TF out of their lives….

Original image…
#nofilter … but a tonne of “edits”!

So, with each picture here, the first one is unedited, the second swipe shows me playing around with the brightness/contrast/structure/warmth/colour/saturation/fade/highlights/shadows/vignette/tiltshift/sharpen… yet still enabling me to #nofilter … I used a few different images to “get the gist” across as such, although, ironically, the one with me in – which was my main point and worry about how people’s looks could be edited so far away from the truth – I think doesn’t actually look as dramatically altered (but it is!).

So this all got me thinking about how frequently we hear about boys and girls, men and women having {body} dysmorphic issues.. and I can’t help but feel, suddenly how obvious it is for some as to why.. I am willing to bet there are millions of people out there uploading seemingly perfect images to the internet every day, hashtagging them as “unfiltered” when in reality, all the filters or edit options have been applied. Now don’t get me wrong; I know I am not the only one noticing this lately, and there is definitely a lot of body empowerment and “owning” who you are going on with the use of the World Wide Web (you just gotta look for it, and once you’ve found one, you’ll find a load more) but I just kind of felt the need to write down a quick little blog for anyone out there thinking that their lives aren’t as perfect as “blah and blah” to say: noones life is perfect. Filters and edits exist, and sometimes – often – people only disclose what they want to disclose… I know I can be a bit of an oversharer at times (#understatement 😝) but, as with the main title of my page here – honesty is what you’ll get from me.. because I’m tired of fighting my perfectly unperfect life, mind, infertility, etc, on my own.. here you’ll find me: open, honest, filtered or unfiltered, edited or unedited – I’ll let you know – Karen. 😘 

Dear everyone – please bare in mind that what you see in an image may not be real life. Smile, love and be kind; that’s what makes you beautiful. πŸ’•

Original image

#nofilter … edited!!

P.S… I only discovered the “edit” options because I wanted a bluer sky behind the cottage like there’d been last week when I was too lazy to take the picture… πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

#nofilter but lots of edits!

An open letter to my therapist..

Today I had my last therapy with my current therapist. I won’t say what kind of therapy it is I’ve had – as knowing this would have put me off at the start and I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone, because it is worth it – but you are asked to write a letter to your therapist in the final session – and they write one to you too.. you can write anything – even just one line – but we all know I’m a writer…!

I was scared because you read the letters to each other (unless you really just can’t, somehow, through tears I managed it!) the writing wasn’t an issue, as usual. 

As I was writing it though, I thought about how it wasn’t necessarily just personal to him. A lot of it just makes sense. The Time to Change campaign are running a “what do you wish people knew about your mental health problem?” And whilst writing, re-writing, reading, and re-reading what I’d written to my therapist, I thought it fit in quite well.. so here it is.. my own words, to my therapist (with a couple of little bits just added)… but what I want you all to know..

Dear Richard,
Well, as per, I have no idea where to start, or end, or what to say full stop! If I’d have known this was coming I probably would have run a mile (or 26… did I mention I ran a marathon?!) 7 sessions ago! Even my husband came out with the understatement of the year in saying it sounded “scary”!
Writing isn’t really a problem for me… I can – and do – go on for hours! It’s more the speaking/saying it out loud. I don’t know if it’s even that I’m just scared/don’t want to/don’t like to – I just feel quite terrified.. but also perplexed – because at school I quite often wrote and did readings – sometimes with a friend, but also sometimes alone. I had forgotten I had ever even done this until going through boxes of my old school “stuff” recently. It highlighted to me, that at some point I must have had an element of self confidence within me, I guess, to have been able to do that.
I have enjoyed our sessions – and this therapy process in itself.

I don’t know whether “you therapists” (Rachael was the same!) “mimic” your patients – as such – but I always found it amusing/calming/warming how we would find the same things funny and despite my crazy mind we could still share a giggle over how much constant holiday you {never me πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚!} get!! It’s the daft little things I guess!!
I am surprised at myself too, because as I got utterly desperate for help in the months prior to me being offered therapy with you – I eliminated male therapists from my search. I am a real girly, girl’s girl and I was convinced I needed a female therapist again. They didn’t tell me when I was initially offered the appointment over the phone that my therapist would be male – it was only when I got the letter that I realised (panicked!) but I then figured that I may as well give you a chance! I am glad I did – proud of myself, if you like! – you gave me an unexpected, different and somewhat calming approach.. despite being male!! However, you, or I, should really write down my “homework” as I often forgot on my return home!
I like {this} therapy. I think it makes sense – I just think the time isn’t enough (or maybe I am just extra complex – I suspect so!) especially just 8 sessions on the NHS, although I appreciate the constraints! I kept meaning to ask you if you worked privately so I could at least get the longer (infinite!!) time I felt/feel I need(ed), but, I don’t think you do. I feel, perhaps, like I have wasted our sessions: they’ve gone so fast and yet I don’t feel like I’ve progressed. That’s not through fault of you though! I don’t know if it’s my “never good enough” talking, or because time has gone so fast, or even just from where I don’t feel as “high” at the moment. I seem to struggle to concentrate, take things in and remember anything whatsoever when my mind strays into that black hole of… literal emptiness!! I’ve felt the same from my CBT sessions – again, not through therapist fault, but just because my mind is a mess, I guess. 
I wasn’t consciously aware of being upset in our second to last session because I knew therapy was coming to an end – but perhaps subconsciously it was playing on my mind more than I realised. I’ve found myself thinking in the last couple of weeks that I just can’t do this “on my own” despite being surrounded by family and friends who love me unconditionally and just wish they could wave a magic wand to “fix” me.
I write down a tonne of thoughts and head to bed, yet everytime I put my head on the pillow, my mind starts spinning with more. It is never ending. How do I break that cycle? I can, sometimes – or at least “after” – identify rational and irrational thoughts. What is ridiculous and what is stupid. I know hurting myself in any way won’t help, and that, despite the feeling of being in control from doing so, that that couldn’t actually be any further from the truth: that by doing so I am letting my negative, irrational mind win. But I just can’t stop the thoughts or stop myself from “playing up to them”.
It feels impossible to change those age old habits – they are older than I am an adult. They feel like me – even though I am also conscious – to an extent – of not wanting to be like this. I feel like a child. I feel constantly like I have regressed. I feel like I need regular (an improvement from constant!) support and help to crack this. I guess I just feel I need a bit of aid and encouragement to get the old brain cogs working!

And I am scared, but, I think, most of all I am scared of how much this all, still, controls me – what I do and who I am, yet I cannot give it up. It is obsessive and a compulsion, and I am petrified of the “what if’s”!! After all – who am I outside of this crazy mind? Who is Karen underneath all these many years and layers of anxiety with depression? Without compulsively under-eating and overexercising, without having something I can “control”? I know what my friends and family – particularly my Mum and Dad – will say. They will say I am kind and caring, loving and loveable, a worshipper of the sun and warmer weather, a girl who lives and loves to travel and explore the world! They’d say I am a fighter and have been since day 1; be it fighting for myself, or for others who I feel have been subject to injustice. 

But what if I am not? What if this kindness and caring and excessive love I give off is actually a result of anxiety and depression? Of how I have been treated? A result of my many layers; because I know. I know what it feels to not be treated kindly, or be cared about or loved; even if my experience of that has come from someone (some people) who really, is (are) nothing to me. And what if I can’t keep fighting?
I feel like a hypocrite, as, just the other week, in light of all the terror attacks, I wrote a brief post about how we cannot and will not lock ourselves away “just in case” of the “what if’s” – and yet, really, here I am, locked away inside my own compulsive little (nasty!) habits, inside of my own head. Ruled by a negative mind.

I stole the quote “what if I fall? Oh my darling, but what if you fly?” yet, despite finding myself regularly suggesting/helping/being there for others struggling with their own [mental] health, I cannot completely help myself. And worst of all, I worry. I worry that what if I don’t really want to help myself? What if I don’t really – can’t – loose this controlled/controlling part of me? In which case, why am I even doing any of this?!
It’s *almost* funny- but if someone says something self depreciating/negative/I don’t like/feel is true about me, I won’t stand for it, I’ll fight it and be fuming – and yet I’m negative about and towards myself consistently! Nothing anyone ever says or does or writes to me resonates for long enough to remind myself that I am enough. And even as I read you this letter, and you waited for me to finish, you remembered – somehow – even what I had said right at the start in order to respond. Even I couldn’t have remembered what I had said – and I wrote it – yet I know you responded in a way in which to remind me once more that I am enough, but already I cannot remember how or what you said….
And now, I don’t know where, or how to end this. As appears to be my forte – I’ve gone on for quite a while. I’ve been writing this on and off for the last two weeks, the main bulk of it done immediately after our seventh session so I didn’t forget! I’m not sure if I have said everything I want or need to say, or, as usual, if it is “good enough”, but with less than an hour until our final session, I guess I need to end somewhere.. Although I do have a couple of unexpected pages left, so I expect I will have a “P.S” or two somewhere!!

I’m also unsure how to “sign off”. A “sincerely” feels too formal, and I am also used to signing cards and letters to friends and family with outpourings of “lots of love” etc, but that feels even weirder! So instead, the only option feels to me to be a great big thank you, for your understanding and help, and for making me less “wary” or whatever it is I’ve previously thought or felt towards male therapists.
Karen x

There was, in the end, no P.S. I think I said everything I had to say for now. The only thing I’d like to add to Richard now (though it unlikely he’d ever see it!), is how funny I found it when he accidentally let an “f-bomb” slip.. I can’t even remember what context he used it in – it was definitely appropriate, but beyond unexpected, but being that I constantly feel like I’m swearing unnecessarily (and I hate it!) it certainly made me feel better, and giggle. β˜ΊοΈπŸ˜‚

x