Therapy.. and why I’m done

Throughout our IUI/IVF TTC/Fertility journey, we (in particular, me) were encouraged several times – well meaningly – by some of our lovely nurses to see the therapist. And every time I refused. I just do not see the point.

Yes, I was often a crying mess. Frankly, I’m not sure I know many couples where at least one of them is not a crying mess to have gone through/be going through the hell that is infertility. But;

No therapist in the world was going to make me pregnant.

No therapist in the world is going to change my mindset. In my opinion, therapists help but no one can change you.

At the points in which I underwent counselling, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and CAT (Cognitive Analytical Therapy), I was just learning to talk about these things. These feelings and emotions and behaviours that had essentially been locked up for most of my life – ALL of my adult life! I had bottled them all up for so long that they caused huge breakdowns in me, and so talking to a therapist felt like the only option. At that point I couldn’t have discussed some of those things with anyone, and the leading questions you are offered from a mental-health trained therapist to get you talking are next to nothing expert level! At that point in my life, that’s what I needed. But now I’ve learnt to talk, and write openly. To not be ashamed or scared of what my mind is telling me. It’s still not always easy but I can discuss things far easier now with those around me, than ever before. But often because, everything I’ve been through is quite open, so everyone knows. Everyone else is now almost-expert at leading questions/being open and accepting of discussing subjects that may not have been discussed before! I’m definitely a pretty open book now – nothing is off limits for discussion here!

Don’t get me wrong, my therapists were great. And some time in the future I may need therapy again. But I’m quite picky about what I need from a therapist and wouldn’t just stick with anyone if it wasn’t right for me. But right now, I’m back to Karen. I’m pretty good at talking to anyone and everyone about anything and everything, so therapy is just not needed here. The question of “will our baby have a severely mentally ill mum?” Has crossed my mind. But for now, I’m good. I’m not worried about post-natal depression, but I know if it happens that support is out there.

A favourite extract from Matt Haig’s “How to Stop Time”. ❤️

Food/Eating Disorders/Pregnancy Cravings – we each know our own bodies better.

I was riled, a few months ago, watching a couple of programmes regarding eating disorders – something I always watch if I know it’s on, because I am simply fascinated, still. The first, was the “Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia.” And another with Louis Theroux. I remember, whilst watching, that both James and I were gobsmacked – and I have, from experience, a lot more understanding and knowledge of Anorexia.

What I will say from the offset, is that anyone that can be considered a role model should think very carefully about what they are saying/posting, although I believe if you are going to suffer with an eating disorder (or any other mental health issue), you will probably do so regardless of what you see/hear etc. I think you are pre-disposed within your genetic makeup in the same way some people get Cancer, and others don’t. However, I don’t believe the likes of Kim Kardashian (pains me to even write her name in one of my blogs 😫!) and the idiotic things she – or other similar individuals – say/do/post are going to cause eating disorders in young men/women, but I do think at times they are selling utter shite. If you are hungry, food or drink (not booze people🥂🍾!) will suppress your appetite, not a lollipop 🍭, ladies and gentlemen. In fact, I am currently eating a Chupa-Chups lollipop and am quite sure that once I’ve finished it, my appetite will no longer be suppressed and I’ll simply move onto another snack..

I seem to have this inbuilt part of me that has this need/want to help and support others, hence why I continue to write this blog.

Mark Austin and his daughter Maddy gave an incredibly open, and honest account of life with anorexia (Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia). Everything they both said is the exact kind of situation that happens with mental health illness and destroying families. The exact same happened in mine: anorexia isolates you, it makes you cunning and kuniving and it destroys relationships. Parents – or those that have no chance to understand – are angry, frustrated, exasperated. I hope history doesn’t repeat itself, and when I first started writing this – I was also still hoping anorexia hadn’t entirely destroyed my ability to have an embryo/blastocyst implant and carry a healthy pregnancy/birth/child. Thankfully, I have made it 25 weeks in and everything is healthy so far.

But it still hasn’t been easy. Whilst I am beyond in love with the ever-growing bump attached to the front of me, I am not thrilled with how I currently look overall. I stopped running in order to conceive – and anxiety meant I didn’t try again until we were 13 weeks, by which point, all fitness was lost and I was not in a position to push myself for fear of hurting our much-longed-for, unborn baby. Whilst I don’t doubt from other people’s comments that I perhaps still see myself as larger than I actually am (although believe me, I am heavy now!) my thighs, therefore {to me} are enormous. I have craved, and thus eaten non-stop carbs for the past 25 weeks; foods which I would normally reserve for never due to their ability to make me gain weight just thinking about them. I still live with mental health issues that I fight against daily, that no one can ever fully understand, and thus no one can ever fully have an input – especially if it is unasked for – thank you very much!

Recently, I’ve found people telling me what I should and shouldn’t be eating. People that will never be pregnant are included in this (aka men, or those older who have never wanted children) and I spent a drive home from an anxious hospital appointment a few weeks ago in tears, fuming and thinking about it, and the things I’ve done to my body over the years:

When I was 16, upon waking and realising no-one else was home, I leapt out of bed and ran through to my parents ensuite to weigh myself and see if the scales were acceptable to me yet.

I knocked myself out on a door frame/TV cabinet on the way through because I was so dizzy and fainting. In the 5 days prior to that morning, I had eaten just one apple. Nothing suppressed my appetite, I tried everything to be constantly thinner, and as a result of hunger, passed out.

In 2015, over ten years later, aged 26/27 I spent a month barely eating, and sneaking off to throw up everything I did consume. I taunted and teased myself by joining in with others and accepting free hot chocolate the work canteen was offering at the time – throwing it all up as soon as it was finished. Months later at 27/28 I struggled to push myself – desperately – through a 5 mile run because all I’d allowed myself for three days prior was “juice diet”. “Healthy” green liquid or water only. Less than a mile in I could feel my kidneys in pain, my muscles physically unable to run through a full 5 miles from lack of fuel. And yet mentally, I was livid with myself still. Angry at my body at having to run-walk-run as someone who knew they could usually run for miles on end and love it. You cannot function on nothing. Food, is fuel.

I remember lying to my friends that I’d already had dinner/was eating dinner at home later. Lying to my parents that I’d eaten out with my friends. I remember trying to throw up the smallest bit of cheese I’d sucumbed (BECAUSE SUPPRESSING YOUR APPETITE DOESN’T EXIST!!) to eating off my friends pizza, in the Pizza Hut toilets aged 15. I remember flushing food down the toilet or chucking it in the bin whilst exercising for a minimum of an hour every single day. I remember asking my parents for school dinner money rather than food so that at least I wouldn’t waste the food; because, whilst adamant I didn’t deserve food, I still felt a resounding guilt that I was simply throwing food away when there were – are – thousands of starving people in the world. I remember that I wasn’t kidding anyone. I remember it all too well, for someone who’s memory is largely shot to pieces. How can you forget such hideous self punishment?

Having been diagnosed “Anxiety with depression” aged 26, in 2015, I also honestly believe anorexia/eating disorders are a side effect, a symptom, a coping mechanism for wider issues. When I had my first mental health breakdown in March 2015 I had spent the previous 6+ weeks over exercising, marginally under eating and regularly throwing up everything I did eat. It was something I could control. It was a coping mechanism to deal with my heightened anxiety, my low self confidence and self esteem, it was an outlet, but it kills.

So what I don’t understand now, is how anyone thinks they have the right to tell someone – anyone – let alone someone who has been through what I have – what they should and shouldn’t be eating, when they’ve not asked, but particularly through pregnancy. I believe after all these years I am more than aware of what I should/should not eat in order to achieve weight gain/loss. I also instinctively believe I (we: baby and I!) will crave what we need. This pregnancy, that has NOT been salad. And I do love me a good salad. Maybe, if I’m lucky enough for a future pregnancy(/pregnancies?!) perhaps salad will be craved.

Yes – I am eating a lot of (ok ONLY!) carbs. Just because that isn’t considered an “odd” craving to many doesn’t mean it isn’t a craving, and is just an “excuse” to eat them. I have never eaten carbs like this before – I used to avoid them like the plague. I have never wanted or apparently needed carbs like this before. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself a jacket potato (rather than sweet potato), or white pasta (rather than spelt). Crisps used to make me feel uncomfortably bloated and thus I would still avoid them even at parties when they were laid out as nibbles. The last time I actually ATE a regular breakfast, rather than drinking a protein shake, or smoothie only, (and after running 3/5/7 miles), I was about 10 years old.

So yes, it’s a lot of carbs. Yes, I’ve gained a lot of weight, no, I am not thrilled about it: in fact if I could take scissors to my thighs to cut off the extra chub, I would. But I don’t think I am massively complaining about it – yes I’m calling myself “fat”, a “beached whale”; that’s how I feel right now, but I say it in jest! I am not going to do anything about it whilst I am carrying our miracle baby. I am not entirely stupid – enough so to think for a second all of this weight will just “fall off” the second the baby pops out. I will have to work at it, hard – but does anyone honestly think this is something I’m not prepared to do? Someone who, when working full time would get up at 5/5.30/6am to run, and spent most days ensuring she exercised twice? Someone who is known to have got up during worst bouts of insomnia and run for 5+ miles at 1am?? I am not prepared to risk something we have wanted, and tried for, for so long. I tried to run to keep off some weight, but it’s not for me – not this time, this pregnancy anyway; it’s too late, too hard and therefore too much of a worry to me to keep trying until the baby has arrived. I have never craved, or eaten, carbs like I am doing now, and so, I believe there must be a reason for this, and for once in my life, I am not going to deny what my body – our baby – is asking for.

I have said time and time again that unless you have physically experienced a mental health issue, you will never fully understand – no matter how much training you have had. I had two incredible (NHS) therapists providing me CBT and CAT over the last few years but for both of them I always felt (particularly the first) that you just don’t really get it until you’ve had it – and I wouldn’t wish anyone to have mental health illness. We all have mental health – some of us are just lucky enough not to have mental health illness.

HOW is it, that 23 years ago – yes, you read that right, TWENTY THREE – the incredible Princess Diana opened up and spoke about her mental health – her eating disorder, and yet here we still are in 2018 with still so much stigma, a distinct lack of understanding, and with idiotic products on the market promising suppressed appetites and “miracle” weight loss to those vulnerable and desperate enough to believe them?

Bigger arms, bigger thighs, bigger bum and bigger boobs. But a beautiful, beautiful, healthy baby bump. Oh, and my “appetite suppressant” lollipop.. which as it happens I’ve just finished… time for crisps!

ALSO:

  • Rufus
  • My husband
  • My health
  • My friends and family

xxx

EDIT – to add the below screen grabs that I’ve had saved on my phone since forever, because they make such valid points! Thanks to AliceLiveing for the words!

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!”!!!! 🤦🏽‍♀️) 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 “doing” 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 😡)Xxx

 

Update!! Have moved onto the next month (December) issue of Good Housekeeping mag where they have yet another 10+ page “ultimate gift guide” – plus separate pages for children’s toys! I used to love this magazine as it focused less on fake “celebrities” and garbage and more on real, interesting and factual, proper journalism!!

Work

I was faced today, with a question I think about quite a lot. As usual, it (along with most subjects!!) peaked some emotion… and got me thinking. Got me thinking because the answer I gave, didn’t entirely match with the zillions of thoughts flying around in my head when asked the question (and still now, several hours and distractions later);

Do I miss work?

Yes, is the short answer. But I never do short answers, do I?! I think that would surprise some, given the black hole of a person that I was at the time I finally quit. Given the seemingly careless “life of Riley” I mostly get to lead now (☺️😉😂)!

Yes, I miss work. Despite the nightmares and agony, I was faced with for [almost] a year whilst in my final job pre “retirement”, I still miss it. I had multiple daily panic attacks, I couldn’t think, eat, exercise or function straight. I was constantly terrified, increasingly isolated and always self-punishing, one hideous way or another… one of the final straws saw me collapse – and I am forever grateful to the GP that essentially saved my life and got me out of there as early as he could…

But, I still miss work.

I miss the routine. I miss the fast pace where I seemingly (used to) function at my best (Ok, this came more with Primark than Clarks!!) and the fashion, the retail and the numbers, the analysing and the forecasting and the sense of achievement when you cracked it. I miss the conversations with like-minded adults (even if we ever have kids, I had hoped to return part time). I miss the banter that at one point I had with my colleagues; the brother/sisterly relationship I had with a previous line manager, and I miss that if I needed a hug, one desk away was a so-called “best friend”… I miss being the heart, life and soul of the team {that’s not me being big-headed – far from it, (I don’t have that kind of self-confidence or belief) I was actually told this by my boss… as an almost-but-not-quite 🙄-sandwich style “compliment”; that ended with essentially the statement that my mental health was also now ripping the entire team apart (yeah, I know.. he was never a great people person!). At 25, when I’d joined a team that had been in existence for who-knows-how long, I was the one that brought it together. And at 27/28 when I was crippled with anxiety and depression, I alone “ripped” it apart}.

I miss the confidence I had – the knowledge that I knew what I was doing and that I was good at it. I was once good at my job. I fell into my career knowing I’d love it – and I did. I miss that I was “sparkly” karen. I had independence, a decent salary and didn’t constantly rely heavily on my husband – for everything. For money, for the mortgage, some days just for a conversation, for help to answer questions because I can’t just be asked a straight question anymore without often looking to him when I answer, rather than looking the person who asked straight in the eye (including today’s question). I don’t trust myself still to get the words out that I mean [largely why I write this blog!] without jumbling them up and making little to no sense (which often happens; I confuse myself!) Don’t get me wrong – James doesn’t begrudge me a single thing, he never has and never would, he’s happy I’m happy, and alive, and almost ~ sometimes ~ back to normal.

I miss it – I often wonder, if I could turn back the clock, could I have changed things? Could I have fought harder, persevered? Continued to make myself more and more ill? After all – who knows if the infertility is something I was born with, or due to the 20 odd years of on/off ongoing anorexia, or, simply, due to that one nightmare year when I crumbled into barely even a shell of my former self? And the struggles I still face with that now.

I thought leaving was my choice, finally, after several months of encouragement from my husband, my family, friends, and even my GP, I thought I had finally made my mind up… but just over a year on, I looked back and realised I was bullied out; rumours rife about me started by the most-evil of line managers I was unfortunately dumped with at a critical time, meant no one talked to me. I drove in, alone, often having panic attacks and our-of-body experiences whilst driving, unable for weeks to even walk into the building without her (line manager) walking me. I did what I could manage to focus on, keeping quiet and hidden, and forgotten. And I drove home again, with more panic attacks ensuing. I couldn’t eat at work, I couldn’t/didn’t before work, and I ran through my lunch breaks as well as before/after work.

Could I have remained bleak, despondent and that ill – with the occasional “I like it when you laugh again” comment from my long-suffering husband, who tried so, so hard, and yet those comments were so, so rare, and incredibly devastating to hear – all he wanted – all we all wanted and needed – was the “old” karen back. The one who “shone” and sparkled and who was constantly organising fun and keeping busy. The one who never missed out on trying anything once, who lived hard, because life is all too short.

So yes. I miss work. And I guess I miss it more because it wasn’t, really, entirely my choice to leave. Yes, I was the one that quietly went in as late as possible one day to hand in my notice and accompanying sick note for the notice period (to minimise the amount of people that would be around), wordlessly emptying my draws of personal belongings two nights before, so no-one would know, or suspect or be around; but I was left with no choice – I didn’t have another job to move into, and I still can’t now imagine going through an interview process ever again. I can barely focus enough some days to watch a TV programme that I WANT to watch, or read a book, let alone seriously considering the further studying (in almost literally EVERYTHING) I’d love to do, because I don’t have the concentration span, memory or functionality anymore… my previous employer stripped me of that, and I can’t ever see myself getting it back.

I still miss work, but I also know how incredibly fortunate I am that I could leave – that financially we could remain stable and not *need* my income. There aren’t many people lucky enough to be in that situation, and who have to battle through – and I guess I’m sorry to my family that I didn’t take it up sooner, instead leaving them crushed and completely at a loss as to how to help. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel lazy. Particularly with all the fertility hell – I wonder what on earth I can possibly be here, on this earth for? I don’t work and I’m not a Mother..

Clarks stripped me of my confidence that even the mere thought of a job interview fills me with dread. In the midst of my second breakdown I was attending job interviews left, right and centre but absolutely making myself look like an idiot that had never done the job before – I struggled to understand or answer questions or even think straight. My concentration remains poor at times. My vocabulary regressed and I find myself convinced I am stupid on many days. But, there are glimmers – we’ve shedded the friends-who-aren’t-really-friends, made new ones, and we help and support each other as much as possible.. I never thought we’d see the “old karen” again, but occasionally, I realise.. she’s right here.

💛

Loneliness 

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 🙄🤣. 

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 😂.
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 (👸🏻) 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 😒. 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 💊💖

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 (😔) 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 (🙄 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 💄💋)

Little ray of sunshine 🌤

Sunshine on a rainy day 🎶

One of my old Clarks colleagues (and I feel at some point soon there will be a blog about the whole horrendous Clarks experience, because; therapy.) suggested to me that he had had “depression for 8 weeks once” but “didn’t feel the need to write about it, let alone share it”. Admittedly this was said some time ago but it keeps popping into my head.. particularly after I’ve been forced to go through EVERYTHING on my phone and delete due to “lack of memory space” 😫.

Anyway – there’s a *few* (understatement of the year) things wrong with those words.

The first is that, you DO NOT just get depression for a mere 8 weeks, and then all is fine and la-de-da again forevermore. Nope, nuhuh, no way, soz 🤚🏾. Depression, or indeed, any mental health illness, lives within you forever. You either have it, or you don’t. You’ll have better spells; days, weeks, months, maybe even years (if you’re really lucky!), but it will always be there, lingering, ready to to come back and shatter your world. I suggest – ex colleague – that you were just a bit down in the dumps for a few weeks over something or other [dumped? Clarks being their usual selves?!], but, despite being no expert, I can confirm you most certainly were not “depressed” if that was your first and last lifetime experience of it. And if it is something you continue to struggle with, I encourage you to seek help.

Second/third/fourth issues are; well, that’s just mighty good for you not feeling the need to write or even “share” about your experience. Maybe you’re not a writer. Maybe you deal with things in other ways. Maybe you didn’t want to talk or share your experience; that’s all fine; as a human being in a free world that is your choice. As is my choice to write and share. Ta very much for your *unnecessary* opinion there regarding my choices. 👍🏾 [note; sarcasm.]

Little bit in love with Bryony Gordon ATM 😍

I feel the need to write. It’s part of my self-therapy, it’s part of getting it out of me and it’s part just what feels right for me; just like running (although I think I fancy a little break from running… 😬😱!!). And, somewhat most importantly to me; it’s often a little ray of sunshine for others. 🌥


Others who feel they can’t [yet; because I too was at that point, for a long, long time] talk or write about what they are going through. Others who are suffering in silence; which I don’t recommend but I 100% understand because I’ve been there, {and sometimes I continue to find myself there because it really is an absolute nightmare to tell the people you love the most, that despite your seemingly perfect life; you just aren’t ok.} Others who have been brave enough to tell me, in confidence, that they aren’t ok, and are kind enough to tell me they always read my blogs, and that sometimes my words are enough to remind them they are not alone.

I am not for a second big headed enough (although apparently I sometimes come across like this, and I’d like to remind you that not only did I A) go to drama school but that B) mental health battles are all about the hiding it and faking it and pretending you are “ok”) to think I’m all that: that my ramblings are enough; I am just merely repeating what others have told me. And I thank those people whole-heartedly, because as a typical “millennial” it makes me feel like I have a tiny, incey-wincey bit of purpose.

Biggest fair weather lover you’ll know – but this kind of has a point 🌈

Most of the time my mind wonders enough to form words to write when I am walking the dog. Let me tell you it is not easy to walk the dog across fields and write a blog… I wish my brain had the power to think this clearly and concisely when I was sat at a computer/laptop! More than once I have almost sprained my ankle falling down a rabbit hole [pun intended] whilst thinking and writing; and let me tell you all once and for all this is EXACTLY why I do not run cross country but instead stick to the knee-damaging tarmac of roads and pavements..!!
Anyway – as per usual karen tangent..

I don’t write for others. I write for me. I share for me because I’m tired of not sharing. I’m tired of fighting things alone, and I think we all know from my overgramming (📸😝) that frankly, I love to share! Sometimes I still find myself having those dark days alone, but sharing and being open and having support – no matter how difficult it is at the time – reminds me I can do this. As can you. ☀️

I know more than anyone it’s not this easy.. but dance freely and make friends ☺️

In other news – I am a fully grown-almost 30-year old adult who for the second day in a row has spilt food/drink down her top.. this is an improvement on in my hair.. and yet, on putting on a new top I have discovered a twig somehow entwined within the sleeves… 🙄 #ICantAdult