No. More. Presents!!

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. At least the last year. And a blog I have been meaning to write for the same amount of time. But it is only now, in my apparent new 3.30am-????!am wake up time, whilst flicking through an old Good Housekeeping magazine my mum left me at Christmas, looking at page upon page (20 pages worth in fact!! And then over the page there is then talk of online shopping “just after midnight to be first in the queue” on “Cyber Monday” also stating “you snooze, you lose!”!!!! ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ) of their “GH gift guide” that I feel beyond anxious and sick at the sheer amount of rubbish there is in this world that is often forced upon us until we feel like we “need” it and thus succumb to buying.

Really?! What are the chances of not already having salt and pepper shakers?!


Except that really, we probably don’t need much of it at all.

Christmas morning this year, as every year, I felt a little overwhelmed. I do find Christmas and (my own) birthdays overwhelming; part of the great joy of my own anxiety of the stark reminder of time passing all too fast. But I felt more so overwhelmed when I saw the huge pile of Christmas presents under the tree. Yes there was 6 of us at ours for Christmas this year – but fully grown adults, not a single child in sight – as you might have expected given the amount of presents under the tree!

Call me Scrooge if you like. I don’t care. I think it is utterly ridiculous.

For me, Christmas is about/for the children and the magic of it all (no, I’m not religious). Of course I will still continue to buy my godchildren (etc) Christmas and birthday presents – as children unable to buy what they want or need when they want, like adults, that is different! But what I will say is, ever since they were born I’ve often also wondered if buying them something they will soon grow out of is utterly pointless – I’d much rather put money in their savings accounts for when they will inevitably need it as adults starting out in this crazy world… that said, I know it makes them (as with all children!) happy now to receive presents, and that too is important.

So this year, I’m not doing it anymore. I’m not going to fall into the trap of buying presents for everyone and anyone I’ve ever met (ok slight exaggeration!). And in return I don’t want anything. In this 21st century world we are somewhat spoilt in that when we decide we need or want something, we buy it. There’s no such thing as having to wait until Christmas or birthdays, and if we don’t buy it for ourselves… do we really want or need it?!

I find it stressful. In the most grateful of senses. It is stressful receiving presents upon presents of things you don’t really want or need. Trying to find homes for things or feeling the need to have a mass clear out (which I desperately need to do but am far too exhausted to do it!). I find it stressful trying to think of what I could possibly buy for so-and-so, but often even the likes of my own Dad, or brother, etc. I find it stressful when then asked “what can we get James (etc)?” because, I don’t know! And very often he is there saying “nothing! I don’t want anything! I don’t need anything! I want nothing!” Sometimes, even when I do provide an idea it is then ignores – so what was even the point?! Don’t even get me started on the stress involved if something is faulty.

Last year, as every year, James had no idea what to buy his brother (or dad) for Christmas. Being male he typically left it until the last minute, but even so, in a world of practical 24hour delivery, that didn’t really matter. To this day I am fairly sure he hasn’t bought him anything, because he can’t think of anything. He doesn’t know what he might want or need (likely nothing!) and so (as far as I’m aware) he just hasn’t!! His mum only got something because I happened to spot something I thought she would like! Why are we buying presents for people when we don’t even know what to buy them? Or what they already have?! My dad at one point went and ordered an amazon Alexa for James which was returned because we already have one. One that we don’t use because we don’t have a smart home or much to connect it to or have even really had the time to figure out how best to use it, and in fact it is currently turned off because she kept responding whenever the tv advert came on!!

I totally appreciate there are occasions when you see something you know a loved one will love – and that’s fine, and something I too will continue to do, (although anxious that they may already have, however I guess one must assume you would already know if they had it because if it’s something they really love they are likely to have spoken about it…?!) but I am done with gifting for the sake of gifting. Buying for the sake of buying, and all the stress and waste that comes with it.

I also find it stressful that there are often hundreds and hundreds of options of the same thing. Trying to figure out which one is actually the best/cheapest/value for money or actually does what you need is something I often find confusing and stressful – even in trying to buy a blender for example. There often seems to be so many “new” (& old) businesses doing the same thing that we are flooded with multiple products making what should be simple decisions near impossible. Sometimes I feel like a new brand appears on a daily basis doing something that already exists tenfold..

For me, I much prefer to spend time with loved ones, doing, rather than having. If I see something I need or want (because yes I still fall into that consumer trap of desire for things I probably don’t need!), I’ll likely buy it! One of my best memories of 2017 is the Bombay Sapphire gin experience with my husband, parents, brother and his girlfriend. We “did” and spent time together and actually had genuine fun without being, or feeling forced. It was something different.

and looks like “doing” is better for our future mental health too!

I know โ€œdoing” often means spending money on this or that, but I would much rather spend time experiencing than not being able to see my friends, have fun and create memories because they are skint from spending money on gifts no one really wants or needs! I think we all know I would much rather travel and holiday – see the world – than have another thing.

(I had an “in sum” friendly end to this but a WordPress bug in the app has just deleted it ๐Ÿ˜ก)Xxx

 

Update!! Have moved onto the next month (December) issue of Good Housekeeping mag where they have yet another 10+ page โ€œultimate gift guideโ€ – plus separate pages for childrenโ€™s toys! I used to love this magazine as it focused less on fake โ€œcelebritiesโ€ and garbage and more on real, interesting and factual, proper journalism!!

Dirty Thirty

โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹As the final weekend of my month long birthday celebrations have drawn to an end, I felt the need to write a little blog..

My husband is a funny fcuker… ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚

It’s now been 21 yesterday’s ago since I was 29. And really, I guess I feel no different. I have so many friends spanning across so many different ages – some younger, plenty older than me. I know we are all the same in dreading another year passing and another year older. It doesn’t make it any easier, I really do simply just dread it. I look at others my age and constantly think they seem to have their lives much more “together”, are seemingly more mature and generally doing pretty well for themselves…  ok, in reality I know this isn’t really true, and actually I am basing this thought on a random couple I saw on “first dates” several months ago, who basically seemed worlds apart in maturity and having their “shit together” than me. I know many of my friends are just like me – muddling through life, having fun as much as possible, and probably think they don’t feel mature/30/they have their shit together, or should be adulting in general….

โ€‹  Dirty Thirty – well, you suck. You kind of were always going to, I guess, because I’m *almost* the real life version of Peter Pan; I don’t want to grow up. Only problem is, I am.

I think it could have been easier though. If you’d brought me at least one (or even 2, 3 or 4) happy healthy babies by now, I’d probably be coping better. Have my purpose. Be happier and marginally calmer (ok maybe not calmer or less anxious but I am sure happier). If I could run free and have little baby versions of us running around us freely too.

Maybe it’s going to come with my 30’s. I hope so as 40’s is definitely too late (and I can’t bare thinking about – where, how, is life going//so fast?!). In reality, I don’t feel any different to any other day. I’m just very aware that with ageing comes a life over and certain death – I like to think despite the best efforts of many drivers/my mental health/general life, I will make it to old age.

Some things I’m learning:

  1. Age really is, just a number. Fight it by staying young and having fun – life’s too short, it’s always playtime ๐Ÿ˜ˆ 
    “Never lose your sparkle”
  2. If you really do have to keep getting older – drag out the celebrations as long as physically possible. I’ve dragged mine out a month, 7 “official” birthday dinners “out” this year – I think one less than last year. Poor show! See all your friends and family – or as many as possible.
  3. Fit 2. Into your everyday life. See friends and family and have as much fun as possible – we all came into this world with nothing and are all going to be leaving with nothing – take pictures/make memories; objects will be left behind (although to be inherited ๐Ÿ˜‰ [been stealing my mums jewellery since 1987, she’s still happily alive and kicking and I’d like to keep it that way, whilst still “inheriting” {stealing} her jewellery!])
  4. Anxiety won’t lessen, if anything it seems to be getting worse. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better?
  5. You’d do better to not put yourself in situations that make you anxious, but you still have a determined belief that things should be right/fair/just and trying to bring that into the lives of morons often causes you anxiety you could avoid. 
  6. With that, depression won’t change either. Sadly, the world is still full of more a-holes than good people. It gets you down.
  7. It wouldn’t seem possible – given some of your previous responses… but alcohol will affect you even more and hangovers will be easier to come by ๐Ÿ™„

Here’s to the next 30 years! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

How to live life โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ’–

The best medicine ๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿ’–

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 (๐Ÿ˜”) 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 (๐Ÿ™„ 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 ๐Ÿ’„๐Ÿ’‹)