Light at the end of the tunnel. Battling depression and making it through the other side!

This is another long post but I would be extremely grateful if you could read it and any feedback would be appreciated. It explains more about my own battle with mental health issues and provides more of an insight into ‘me’ as a person. So for me my main demon was depression. Not just mild depression but the soul destroying kind. The kind that makes you want to end your own life.

Severe depression is like being trapped in a living hell. There is no joy, no hope, no positive thoughts for the future its just pure and utter agony and despair.

Depression changed my whole personality. I went from being happy, sociable and full of life and energy to someone who was a complete shell of a person. I never laughed or smiled. I became withdrawn and for me the most agonising part was the suicidal thoughts.

I had never been suicidal previously…the thought had quite simply never crossed my mind. I had a wonderful childhood. I was never bullied at school and I always had a great group of friends who would have done anything for me.

Severe depression made me want to die. I looked up methods daily, I planned it in my head. I wanted to die! I remember staring at train tracks longingly, telling my therapist that I dreamed of going to the beach late at night and throwing myself into the sea as I couldn’t swim. Suddenly the world becomes a place where suicide seems like the best option. Trees suddenly become things you could ‘hang yourself from’. The sea…now becomes someplace which could end your suffering. I came close. I wanted to do it but I couldn’t. Suicide may seem selfish but the reality is that when your in that much mental pain you would do anything for that pain to end.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m a survivor but so many others aren’t as fortunate. All it takes is one fleeting moment of madness or courage depending on how you look at it and life could be over! There is no coming back from suicide. Suicide is final. They say that suicide is a permanent decision to a temporary pain. That is so true. I never believed I would get better, but I did. For anyone that is feeling suicidal please get help it may just save your life. For those that know someone who is suicidal please listen to them. Take them seriously you might just help save that persons life. I am so grateful to be alive. I love my life and the people in it. I know a few people who have committed suicide recently and its heart breaking. Its heart-breaking for the ones left behind…the survivors of suicide…the friends and family! Imagine how you would feel if someone close to you chose to end your life. For me that is something which I don’t think id recover from. That was my protective factor….. that is what kept me alive. Knowing that I couldn’t put my family through that sheer devastation.

So SPEAK OUT. Tell people let them help you. Ring Samaritans, get in touch with MIND. Pick up that phone and confide in a friend or loved one. Do it now because you deserve to get better!

Telling your parents and brother…..the people that love you most in the world that you want to die is awful! I made my 6 foot 7 brother cry like a baby as he was terrified he was going to lose me. He begged me to get help…….he pleaded with me not to harm myself. I put them through hell! My family were in bits but I couldn’t have cared less.

I was angry at them for forcing me to be alive. I kept telling them that I never asked to be born and pleading with them to help end my suffering. I felt like a burden I thought they and everyone else would be better off without me.

When you are severely depressed you are selfish. I was incredibly selfish. I didn’t care about other people….I just wanted to be at peace. The ‘real me’ is very different. I care about people….even people I don’t know that well. I want to help people. The reason I’m still on my site is because I know what you are all going through. I know how hard it is but I also know that it can get better. Depression robbed me of that it turned me into a bitter, angry, jealous and miserable person.

Every thought I had was negative. ‘I’m ugly’, ‘worthless’, ‘I hate myself’, ‘I’m useless’, ‘a burden’….’a complete and utter waste of space’. I despised myself and the person I had become. As a result I isolated myself from friends and family I pushed everyone away.

For me depression was worse on the mornings. Id wake up in tears every single day. The amount of times I spent sobbing on my bedroom floor because I couldn’t bare to face the world was ridiculous. It took a monumental effort every morning to get out of bed. I had no pride in my appearance…I wore the same clothes every day and I didn’t care about anything. I also did very little. Everyday was the same. Like some god awful Groundhog day. I would sit in front of the TV (not even watching it) all day every day. I was emotionless (apart from the random outbursts of crying), lifeless and had essentially given up on life.

This went on for nearly a year. My family didn’t know how to help me. I quit counselling, I refused help and I stopped taking medication.

Depression exploits your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. For me it focused on work and relationships. I developed a fear of work. Having quite two jobs due to severe depression and anxiety I was terrified to re enter the workplace. I had no self esteem and no faith in my own abilities. I got better through volunteering and slowly building my confidence back up. I volunteered at Cancer Research and the people there saved my life. They were so kind and compassionate and they inspired me to be a better person. That led to me getting a job as Assistant Manager at Scope. Again I was fortunate to work with such lovely people and even though I became ill again they supported me. They really helped me and tried to help me get better. I can never repay that kindness.

As for relationships (in the romantic sense I didn’t have any). I thought I was unlovable, a freak…..abnormal. I believed that no man would ever love me. I thought I had nothing to offer and I resigned myself to being alone.

Its hard not to compare ourselves to others. We all do it, particularly in this modern age of social media (which there appears to be no escape from) its difficult not to think that everyone else’s lives are perfect. I never thought I would meet anyone, get married or start a family. I was desperately afraid of being alone but it seemed that…. that was my future. I’m still single but my attitude and perception has changed. I now believe that I will find someone, that I will one day get married and start a family if that is what I choose. I’m excited about the prospect of meeting someone special but also a little scared.

I’m very open when it comes to friendships but I’m a lot more guarded when it comes to romantic relationships. There always that fear ‘what if I get hurt’, ‘what if they reject me’, ‘what if they find someone better’. Life is full of ‘what ifs’. However things will never change if we don’t challenge those negative thoughts and strive to be better and take opportunities which could be a risk.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in life. In opening yourself up you may open yourself up to hurt but you also let in the good people the people that will have a positive impact on your life.

I’m very much of the opinion that positivity attracts positivity. The moment you start believing in yourself is the moment you can do anything. Self love is important. How can we expect anyone to love us if we don’t love ourselves? It saddens me when I see so many people on this site tearing themselves down. Those that hate their own appearance or hate everything about themselves. I’m not afraid to admit that I love myself. I’m proud of the fact that I’m still standing today. I’m proud of all I have accomplished and I’m proud that I’m the type of person that wants to help others and strives to make a difference.

For me I needed to change. All of a sudden one day I thought to myself ‘I cant live like this any longer’. I need to get better if not for myself then for my family. This life that I have created is no life at all. I thought about my life prior to my breakdown about all the happy memories I had and I thought to myself what’s stopping me from becoming that person again. I made a decision right there and then to get better.

Recovery is a long and agonising process. It isn’t easy but its worthwhile. It requires a lot of effort and perseverance but it is possible.

Everybody has a survival instinct buried inside. Even those that want to die, especially those that want to die have hidden strength inside which when push comes to shove gets them through it! We all want to survive, we all want to be happy, we all want to live a life that is worthwhile.

I would currently say I’m 100% recovered (although at times I worry I’m edging into mania). I feel very positive about the future and life feels great. My personality and sense of fun is back and my zest for life has returned.

I’m not naïve. I understand depression and anxiety could rear its ugly head again. There are no guarantees in life BUT I promise you this should it return I will fight it with every inch of my being. I will not allow it to destroy me and take over my life.

Id like to think I’m more equipped to deal with it and I’m aware of the things that could trigger me. I am an EXPERT in my OWN mental health issues. I can recognise the signs and patterns and ultimately I am the one that can save myself.

To all those fighting, never give up! There will be a day when you are in my position, when you have made it to the other side and let me tell you this, that feeling is incredible….euphoric even.

Take care and fight….fight with every inch of your being because you WILL GET BETTER. I truly believe that.

Lastly if you are depressed or suicidal or both get help. Do it now. Recovery is achievable but you need all the help you can get. Never be ashamed to speak out. Depression is not a sign of weakness its an illness. Its incredibly tough, but it can be managed. You wouldn’t judge someone with a physical illness so don’t  judge someone with mental health issues. Mental health is an epidemic. More and more people are struggling with a  wide range of issues. We can choose to ignore this or we can choose to fight, we can choose to make a difference we can choose to make our voice heard. I’m a huge advocate of speaking about mental health. Its important. I have never being ashamed and I refuse to be silenced about it. I am fortunate that I have received nothing but love and support from others…this is not the case for everyone. Some people have no one. No one to confide in. Those are the people that need help. Those are the people we should be listening too. Kindness costs nothing but it gives so much in return. So if someone tells you that they are feeling down or anxious then listen to them….be kind and don’t judge. All anybody needs in life is someone to confide in, someone who will listen without judgement. Take care and keep fighting.

Much Love

Laura xxx

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Diary Entry: Friday 11th August

WORST start to the day ever!!

Nearly sprained my ankle twice on the way to bus stop…..cue muttered swear words under my breath! Somehow managed to get ink on my new bag! Had a doctors appointment and was asked to provide a urine sample….so I had to piss in a tube (no easy feat when your a woman). Had my bloods done too….so now have a nice healthy bruise on my vein which makes me look like a crack addict 😛 hehe

Went to Starbucks to cheer myself up and ordered a mocha Frappuccino. Women behind till asked me for my name but wrote ‘Lauren’ on the cup! That is NOT my name!! Actually being called Lauren hits a nerve as for 3 years the guy who rang the pub quiz at the White Horse called me Lauren every week despite me telling him numerous times that its actually Laura. Even my Name badge (yes I made a name badge one week with my name on) didn’t seem to do the trick!!

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On the plus side I saw a guy with the most amazing bright green hair. I was tempted to ask him if he wanted to come to comic con with me on Sunday and be a fellow Joker! hehe

Again I got tempted by the shops and had a wander round. I found some real bargains which cheered me up immensely. Found this blue dress in warehouse….reduced to £18 from £79. I really like the colour and thought perhaps I could wear it too Ladies day with a fascinator. I then bought this dress/shorts combo which I LOVE…for a fiver in the sale in Primark! I’m sure shopping releases some kind of happy endorphins as after that happy Laura was back in business 😛

I also called in at Cancer Research where I used to volunteer and had a good old chinwag with Kevin who is the deputy manager. If you think I talk a lot…wait till you meet Kevin haha

Stay tuned for tomorrows instalment……(technically todays since I’m cheating and uploading them all at once)

Ciao!!

Diary Entry: Thursday 10th December

Met Adele in town to discuss Comic Con on Sunday. We got the bus to The Range as she wanted to get some fake Ivy for her Poison Ivy costume.

I LOVE The Range, aside from Primark its probably one of my favourite shops. I can spend hours in there (not even joking) and I very rarely leave the shop empty handed. Therefore I must have exerted some serious willpower as I didn’t spend a single penny! As a recovering shopaholic 😉 I think its a pretty outstanding achievement. *pats self on back and awards self gold star*

We then went for a drink and a bite to eat. It took me approximately 45 minutes to drink a can of coke as I have a tendency to talk too much. Note to self: Let others speak!!

We then caught the bus back to town and went our separate ways. I had intended to catch a bus home…but I failed epically! I wandered round the shops hunting for a bargain.

Found these postcards in Oxfam which I thought were quite cool. I have decided to randomly send them to some of my female friends so watch out one might be winging its way to you…..

I also popped into the Dogs Trust charity shop and got chatting to the manager. We bonded last year when I was working at Cancer Research (we were both bemoaning the fact that their are a lot of robbing bastards in town who steal from charity shops) and now I call in sporadically for a chat!

Eventually made it home under a pile of bags and learnt that Dan and Alan were going for tea at the White Horse. I decided to join them so quickly freshened up and headed to the pub. We had a meal and I ordered a dessert (massive ice cream, chocolate buttons, wafer, cream, brownie pieces and chocolate sauce). Yum!!

We got home and then set off to Springfield Pub. We go to quiz nights there on a Thursday and sometimes a Sunday. I like to think I’m reasonably good at pub quizzes although generally the more I drink (which is never a lot) the less helpful I become. I’m normally pretty good at the picture round and can come up with some valuable answers…however geography is not a strong point! Here’s some pictures…let me know how many you can get right….

Unfortunately after a strong start we were piss poor! The winners scored very highly…very very highly! CHEATS! (Not that I’m a sore loser or anything) hehe.

Laters…..Laura 🙂

Whitby Goth Festival

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I attended Whitby Goth Festival two years ago after hearing about it from a friend. I was slightly apprehensive as although I love fancy dress, I had never been to a goth weekend and wasn’t sure what to expect.

I needn’t have worried as it was brilliant fun and everyone was so friendly, in fact my nerves disappeared moments after getting out the car.  I managed to persuade my Dad to take me and after purchasing a top hat, cane and gown he transformed himself into a Victorian gentleman. I ended up being a corpse bride. I had scoured the charity shops for a Victorian style wedding dress but unfortunately had no luck so had to settle with a cheap outfit from B&M

I was worried that I would look out of place with my cheap dress and  over the top face paint as having seen photos from previous events I could see the vast amount of effort (and money) some people put into their costumes. However, moments after arriving I was put at ease by an elderly couple who said that I looked ‘fantastic’ and very politely asked if they could take my photo. The car journey was also incredibly fun. The amount of stares I got every time we pulled up at a red light was laughable. I’m just glad I didn’t cause any accidents…..

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Dad and I at Whitby Abbey

 

This set the tone for the rest of the day as I had a constant parade of people photographing me or wanting their pictures taken with me. At first it felt a bit surreal but soon I was in my element, happily posing for the masses haha. I now have a taste of what it fees like to be a celebrity and have paparazzi following your every move 😛 I’ve never felt so popular….not gonna lie kinda loved it haha

So what is Whitby Goth festival?

Whitby goth festival is an alternate music festival which attracts thousands of attendees from all over the UK and beyond. Up until 1997 it was held yearly but now it is held twice a year generally in April and October (although I have been informed that this years is in early November). During the festival a number of live  bands play in the Whitby spa pavilion. Tickets can be purchased but as the event is hugely popular it is best to book early to avoid disappointment. As we went for the day we didn’t see any bands but we enjoyed a walk round Whitby in our gothic attire. Thankfully we encountered lots of other people dressed up, particularly up at the Abbey, which is where the main photographic enthusiasts are ready too pounce 😛

Over the years the festival has attracted not only Goths but also other subcultures and now pretty much anything goes. Attendees can be seen wearing a variety of costumes eg horror, historical, Victorian, steampunk and sci fi and fantasy.

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Whitby Abbey

I of course took a fair amount of photos. This is one of my favourites, I turned it into a black and white photo to add to the gothic feel. Wouldn’t you love to bump into me on a dark night! 😛

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We met lots of fellow Whitby goth goers, all of whom were extremely friendly and happy to pose for photos. Here are a few my Dad took 🙂

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Whitby is a lovely place to visit and for anyone who likes dressing up and meeting new people then I would highly recommend attending the goth festival. I am hoping to go this year, who wants to join me?

I will leave you with a slideshow of some more images from the event.

Laura X

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Malta here I come…….

I thought I would write a quick blog about my upcoming holiday since I haven’t wrote anything in ages! Today I have a dreaded dentist appointment, then straight afterwards an interview and then tomorrow I am flying to Malta! Yay!! So excited!! I am sooooo in need of a holiday!

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Valetta

It is the first time we have been abroad as a family, as since the around the age of 20 I went with friends. My Dad is paying, so I didn’t really need to think twice about it. I just hope we don’t murder each other, we have a tendency to argue a lot. I have already threatened to chat the whole way to Malta! I think Alan is glad he is sat behind us on the aeroplane (more legroom and less annoying sisters).

I must admit I don’t know a great deal about Malta, but like I said its a free holiday and a week in the sun (hopefully). Actually Alan looked at the weather forecast next week and its meant to be sunny and warm every day! (Rushes off to pack sunnies, hat and factor 50 haha). Us gingers burn very easily, and the lobster look has never been in…….

A customer at the charity shop went last year and she said it was lovely apart from the stray cats! Apparently Malta is full of them! Great! I don’t like cats! Now if it was dogs, id be in my element! Hopefully I wont catch rabies and die!

We are staying in a place called Sliema which is a town in central Malta. Apparently Malta is quite a small Island so we intend to get round most of it by walking, bus and cycling (me and Alan). My Dad refuses to cycle after falling off and breaking his thumb! Talking of which it was wonky for a year and he couldn’t bend it, then he had another accident with his thumb and it corrected itself haha.

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Sliema

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Sliema

I may have gone holiday clothes crazy!” My excuse for the past 3 months has been ‘oh but this would be perfect for Malta’. I even bought a green bag yesterday which in my words ‘is what all the people in Malta wear’. I clearly made this up! In fact Alan reckons I should get a job on the QVC channel as in his words ‘I talk a lot of bullshit’. Rude!! But kind of true….

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My new bag

 

Apparently this is what the cool kids wear in Malta. Pretty snazzy huh? I could rock that all in red look! Oh god, what am I talking about! No I cant! *cries…

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Traditional dress

 

 

Ok best go, I will think of you all when I’m sipping cocktails on the beach…ok no I wont, I fully intend to post pictures to make you all ridiculously jealous!

 

Caw (Bye to me and you)

Have a nice day

X

Recovering from mental illness and the importance of talking about it!

 

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I thought I would write another blog on the importance of talking about mental illness and reducing stigma. I get the impression that people are getting sick of me banging about in on Facebook so instead thought I would write about it here and those who want to read it can.

Id like to emphasize that in my mind I’m 100% recovered but I will NEVER forget what it feels like to be severely depressed. The kind of depressed that makes you think about ending your life, the kind of depressed that makes you feel so ashamed and guilty for feeling that way! The kind of depressed that makes you hate everything about yourself. The kind of depressed that makes you think that you don’t deserve to be alive. The kind of depressed that convinces you that your are faking it for attention, that your depression isn’t real, that your problems aren’t real problems, that you are weak and pathetic!!

I am also aware that my mental health problems may resurface at some point in my life. I hope to god that they don’t, but I have to be realistic. However when I was at my lowest, having suicidal thought daily, unable to sleep, unable to function, receiving therapy, having the crisis team called out to my house, I never believed there was a way out. I vividly recall one night curled up on my bedroom floor, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down my face,  screaming ‘why me. I don’t want too die, don’t let me die!! I genuinely believed I would be dead by 30! There was no doubt in my mind that I was gonna end up dead. I was wrong!! Oh how glad I am I was wrong!!

Unfortunately its very hard to reason with someone who is severely depressed. My family and friends tried with me and I refused to listen. In my mind no one understood, I wasn’t going to get better, I was a loser, I was unworthy, Id ruined my life and I was a lost cause! I was my own worst enemy! I hated myself!! I was my own harshest critic! I couldn’t listen to reason, I was inconsolable.

My Auntie (who had her own history of anxiety) used to tell me over and over again that ‘Things would get better’. That everything that was happening inside me was going to make me ‘a stronger, more confident and happier person’. I hated it when she said that to me! I thought she was lying to me! But she couldn’t have been more right.

Although I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through what I did in these couple of years, In a weird way it has made me a better person. I’ve always been friendly and thoughtful but going through something as horrendous as depression really alters your perspective on life. I’m less judgemental of others, I’m more open and honest with people and I reach out whenever I can to those that are struggling. It has also toughened me up a hell of a lot!! I was never very good at standing up for myself and in the past have let people bully me and make me feel like crap. Not anymore!! I refuse to let anybody make me feel worthless! I know im a nice person and if someone goes out their way to be unkind to me I simply ignore them! I never rise to the bait! I may voice my opinion but I never let them know that they have gotten under my skin. The thing with bullies is they want a reaction. Give them a reaction and they have won.

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I am a huge believer in talking about your problems, actually talking in general haha….as some of you may have gathered!! 😛 I have never been ashamed of my depression and anxiety. At my worst I was ashamed of myself as I felt it was my fault that I was ill.

Depression makes you blame yourself. It messes with your mind. Prior to depression I would have described myself as level headed and rational. In the midst of my depression I was quite frankly out of my mind!! I was crazy!! That’s what’s so scary about it, it turns you into somebody completely unrecognisable. I was a complete shell of a person, I never laughed, I never smiled, I refused to leave the house, I isolated myself from my friends. I couldn’t remember what happiness felt like, even though for the majority of my life I was happy. It sucks the energy out of you, I had never been so tired. Getting up was a huge effort, I couldn’t have cared less about my appearance. I stopped sleeping, I stopped eating, I was completely apathetic about life.

My main demon was depression, the soul destroying kind. These are some of the thoughts I had:

 

 

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Now I am rational again and free of mental illness and I can see that none of the things I thought about myself were true! But at the time I believed every single one of them. Depression is not only hard for the person going through it, but for family and friends too. I put my family through hell. I don’t think they even believed I would get better. They felt completely helpless. Powerless, unsure of how best to help me.

My family are amazing! If it wasn’t for them and good friends I wouldn’t be here. Sadly not everyone has the same level of support that I had. I know of some people who have opened up too supposed friends only to be told ‘things could be worse’, ‘what have you got too be depressed about’, ‘you look fine too me’. Things like that shatter a person and make them less likely to speak about it. Even my friends who had no idea what to say to me, listened!! Sometimes that’s all I needed someone to listen, someone to show me that they cared!

So if anybody confides in you that they are suffering from depression or anxiety, listen to them. Let them know you care. No one expects you to know all the right things to say, but just by offering  to listen you are helping them more than you know.

Masking emotions

The worst thing you can say to someone who is going through mental illness is ‘but you look fine’ or ‘you were laughing yesterday’. Depression doesn’t mean sitting and crying in your room all day. For some, the only way they can deal with it is masking their true emotions. Appearances can be deceptive. Also depression affects everyone, men, women, old, young, black, white, rich, poor. It knows no barrier, it doesn’t discriminate! Its an ILLNESS!! Just like cancer is an illness so is depression and anxiety!!

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When I was severely depressed it was quite apparent I was ill to everyone but myself but as I became less depressed I became adept at hiding my true feelings. At giving the typical ‘I’m fine’ response when someone asked how I was. At smiling when I felt like I was dying inside. At putting on a brave face when inside I was miserable.

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People only show you what they want you to see!!

 

When I confided in my manager at the charity shop that I was recovering from a breakdown and that I suffered from anxiety she was shocked. She only saw the person who ‘smiled at all the customers’, ‘who was good at talking to people’, ‘who could act confident’. Appearances can be deceptive!

For me a huge part of my depression (aside from my eating problem) was I lacked confidence and self esteem. I compared myself to others and beat myself up when I had no reason too. I compared myself to the people I saw on the Facebook, the ones with a better job, a partner, their own house, the ones who were prettier, the ones who seemed to have it all together.

Im finally happy within myself and it makes a hell of a difference. I actually like myself. I don’t feel in competition with anyone other than myself. Once you stop comparing yourself to others it leaves you feeling much happier.

Tips for battling Depression

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What helped my recovery process was volunteering, meeting new people, learning new skills, exercising, helping others and doing my crafts. When your depressed you don’t want to see anyone, but isolating yourself only increases the problem. One of the worst symptoms of my depression was the feelings of loneliness. I felt alone. I was surrounded by people yet I was desperately alone. Involving myself in things, seeing friends, helping others, playing badminton all helped to get my self esteem and confidence back.

So if your experiencing mental health difficulties or know someone that is TELL SOMEONE. Anyone. A friend, a relative, a neighbour, your doctor, a teacher, anyone. Don’t suffer in silence!! You have nothing to be ashamed of! You are NOT your illness!! Recovery is possible.

I’m a huge advocate in talking about mental health, that’s what got me through it. I think its a great thing when celebrities talk about mental health as it lessens the stigma.

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Thanks for reading and remember that although things may be tough at the minute, everything will work out if you just believe that it can. Also reach out to those that need help, listen, be kind as one day you may be the one in need of support. Mental Health issues affect 1 in 4 people. No one is safe!

Take care and I will leave you with these quotes. Laura xx

Diary Entry 6: Thursday 21st January

Last week I went along to another badminton session held at the Dolphin Centre (10am-12). I really enjoyed it so went back. As the session lasts for 2 hours I feel that I get more of a work out and the players are of a good standard so I can challenge myself a bit more and play some good games! I seem to be playing a lot better recently (apart from my rubbish serve). I think its because I’m a lot more relaxed and try not to lose my temper. I’m quite competitive and used to get annoyed with myself if I missed shots, which made me worse.

After Badminton had finished I decided to go to Specsavers to choose some glasses. A really nice lady who worked there went through the pricing options and helped me decide on new frames. In the end I couldn’t find any glasses I liked more than the ones I already have. The style at the moment tends to be large thickset heavy frames (they look good on some people but not me). So I opted too keep my frames and just get the lenses altered. I also chose a pair of sunglasses (which I’m very happy with). It cost me £30 for new lenses in my glasses and the sunglasses as they gave me a voucher worth £38 off. Result!

Before heading home I had a quick wander around Primark! I need to stop going in that shop! I’m trying not to spend money. Its going well so far…..Not!!

To be fair I picked up a few bargains. I have a massive thing for jewellery at the minute and am getting some good pieces from the sales. I bought these rings and bracelets which were only £1 each 🙂

In also bought this ‘Little Mermaid’ make up bag. Ariel is one of my favourite Disney characters, possibly because of her red hair! haha. Since I don’t wear/own much make up I’m going to use it to store my nail polishes.

On the night I went to the quiz with Alan, Richard and Ian. We tend to go every Thursday night. The wine in The Springfield pub is lethal! I have a large glass every week and the lads always say im ‘pissed’ after about 5 sips! Cant even deny it…..

We did quite well (we came third) and I provided valuable answers! I guess that on the connections round that the thing that linked  all the answers was that they were all famous Keith’s! Keith (Lemon), Keith (Duffy) and Keith (Floyd). Go me!!

I’m also pretty good at the picture round. Here is this weeks if anyone is interested!

 

5 Things which made me smile

  • Getting two pairs of glasses for £30
  • Picking up some bargains at Primark
  • Coming third in the pub quiz
  • Being the best team member at the pub quiz 😉
  • Receiving great customer service at Specsavers

Positive quote of the day:

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Diary entry 5: Wednesday 20th January

So I have officially failed! I set myself the challenge of keeping a virtual diary for 7 days. The aim was to ensure I uploaded an entry every day. I thought this was an achievable goal, but it turns out it was harder than I thought.

So I am now having to resort to cheating, uploading Wednesdays and Thursdays entry today (Friday). Outrageous I know! 😉

So lets begin…….

Wednesday I had an opticians appointment at Specsavers. I hadn’t been in over 2 years so was due a check up. I had arranged an appointment last week but when the woman found out I was just about to sign up to job seekers allowance she told me to re schedule it so I could get a free eye test and money off my glasses. Not being one to turn down the opportunity of a freebie I agreed.

Thankfully my eyes were healthy and the optician told me that my eyes had actually strengthened since the last time I went. I found this hard to believe since I’m blind as a bat without my glasses, but who am I to argue with an experts opinion! haha. Whilst browsing waiting for my eye test I picked up this leaflet, which I think is a visual representation of myself. I should get royalties….

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Essentially me if I was a hippy living in the 70’s

 

I didn’t have time to select some new glasses as I was at the shop at 1pm. After my shift had finished I went to play badminton at the dolphin centre. I started going to No Strings badminton probably about 2 years ago however I hadn’t been for 6 or 7 months. I’ve just started going again and I really enjoy it. The session lasts from 5pm-6pm and players pay £2 to play. Its good as you are not committed to going every week, you just can pick and choose when you go and you can go on your own as you just play with the people that also go along to the session. Its good fun and good exercise. Everyone is really friendly and although we play matches we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Then after I got home from badminton I had a text from my brother (Alan) reminding me that I had promised to go to his house to watch Star Wars. After watching the latest one at the cinema he purchased all the original series on Blu ray. He is now forcing me to watch them every Wednesday. We ended up watching the second one ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. My Dad has been coming to watch them as well and he said that he thinks ‘yoda’ is essentially ‘Mr Miyagi’ from Karate kid, both in looks and character. Id never made the connection before but I see what he means………….

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The similarities are astounding

I’m possibly enjoying Star Wars more than I care to admit. Han Solo is my favourite (of the humans). This scene made me laugh, as after Princess Leia confesses her love for him, instead of saying it back he just replies ‘I know’. What a charmer! 😉

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5 things which made me Smile

  • Finding out my eyes were healthy and stronger than last time
  • Seeing the leaflet of ‘cartoon me’ in the store
  • Playing the best at badminton I have in a loonnnngggg time
  • Realising that ‘Yoda’ and ‘Miyagi’ are pretty much the same person
  • Finding out I had an interview for managers position at Barnados

Positive quote of the day

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Diary entry 4: Tuesday 19th January

Another busy day. I enjoy being busy and I’m feeling extremely motivated at the minute, however I do worry that I will eventually burn out. I’m finding it difficult to relax at the minute as I am involved in so many things and  I have a million ideas and thoughts running through my mind.

This morning I volunteered at Cancer Research UK (9am-1pm). If your ever in town on a Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon be sure to say Hi. I will provide you with excellent customer service and make sure you write nice comments about me in our customer feedback book haha. I have done this several times….shameless! In fact I am winning when it comes to receiving the most compliments. Although one of them was made by my Dad although I haven’t told my manager this. Shush! 😉

I was kept really busy serving customers, re pricing stock, doing displays, banking, accepting donations and re organising the store. I really enjoy being on my own in the shop as it makes me feel important and I get to control what music we play in the store! I mixed it up one day and played a 5ive cd, don’t think it went down to well with the customers. :{ Today I played a Bowie CD as a tribute to the late great Bowie. I think the customers personal fave is ‘The Beatles Greatest Hits’. Young and old alike cant resist humming, whistling and singing along….me included…except I always skip ‘yellow submarine’. That one grates on me! 😛 No hate please…..

I bought a wrist band today for £2 to support the charity and there is a day in February (need to check dates) where everyone is meant to wear the band to show their support. Wristbands come in the Cancer Research colours: Dark blue, Light Blue and Pink! Be sure to buy one and show your support! Cancer affects so many of us and having just lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman it seems even more poignant.

 

At 1.30pm I attended a group at the Dolphin Centre which is called ‘Darlington Women’s Haven’. Its mission statement is to ‘provide a safe and welcoming environment to every women from all walks of life. Ensuring a safe and friendly haven so no women need ever feel alone again’.

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The group meets every Tuesday 1.30-3.30pm in the Dolphin Centre, top floor towards the rear near the cluster of tables. Currently we only have on average 10 women that attend however our aim is to increase numbers through promoting the group in various ways. I have designed the logo and am in the process of designing a poster to be distributed around town. I have already been to talk to Darlington Library and they have agreed to put it on their notice board at both Tubwell Road and Cockerton. I am also looking into having business cards printed so we can hand them out at a Launch day we are holding at the Dolphin Centre on the 8th March (1.30-3.30pm). We will be telling people about the group and possibly handing out free goodie bags. Hopefully this will spread awareness and generate interest in the group. So if your free why not pop along? We would love to see you. All welcome 🙂

Then on the 1st April we are holding a fundraiser to raise money for the group. Currently we are situated in the corridor in the Dolphin Centre (first floor). Although its cordoned off its not ideal however the  Dolphin Centre are letting us meet there without charging us so we are saving costs whilst we establish the group. Each member pays a £1 and that money gets put in a kitty which we will then use to rent a room, get guest speakers, provide activities etc.

If anyone has any ideas on how to raise awareness of our group please get in touch. Also if you or indeed anyone you know would like to come please don’t hesitate in joining us. I am a relatively new member (I’ve only been 3 times) and I was made to feel so welcome. You can share as much or as little as you want. There is no pressure too attend every week and any ideas would be greatly received.

Having experienced mental health issues this is something I am hugely passionate about. However I must stress that the group is NOT just for women experiencing mental health difficulties past or present, rather it is a group where people can share common interests, be listened too without judgement and hopefully somewhere where people look forward to going each week.

Thanks for reading and hope to (possibly) see some of you there.

Look after yourselves, Laura x

5 things which made me smile

  • The customers at cancer research are always so friendly and like to have a chat
  • Feeling like we are getting somewhere with the womens group and I am excited to help ‘grow’ the group
  • Speaking to Darlington Library and getting them to put a poster advertising our group on the notice board
  • Having a 10 minute discussion in the charity shop with a fellow shopaholic!
  • Finding my diary 🙂

 

Positive quote of the day:

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Diary Entry 3: Monday 18th January

Today was the BEST day. I’m tired, I’m hungry, my feet ache, my nail is bleeding, my purse is considerably lighter but I’m feeling good.

I arranged to meet an old school friend (we have been friends since we were toddlers) in Sunderland. She now has two children (both girls) and due to both being busy I had never met the youngest. I got the train to Newcastle and then a metro to Sunderland. I know a lot of people aren’t massive fans of public transport, but I find it quite relaxing. Especially train journeys, I plug in my music and look out the window and the next thing I know I’ve arrived at my destination.

I had a really good journey through, no mishaps…which for me is quite an achievement. We met at Wilkinson’s Café and had lunch in there before heading to the Winter Gardens.

If you have never been, The Winter Gardens are definitely worth a look. Its free to enter and there is lots to see and do. Its particularly good to look round on a rainy day as it is all enclosed. In the museum  visitors can discover the history of the city from its prehistoric past to the present day.

We walked around the bottom of the botanical gardens and saw the koi carp, then me and my friends eldest daughter walked the rooftop trail. Not gonna lie I was slightly nervous, I’ve never been a massive fan of heights. Its nice to see the view from the top though.

The museum is very family friendly and has lots of interactive displays. It also has a café, plenty of toilets and a gift shop.

Here are some images from our trip in a slideshow format:

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It was so nice to catch up with my friend and although we don’t see much of each other anymore it was like we had never been apart. Her two children are an absolute pleasure to be around, polite, well behaved and an absolute joy!

Before meeting my friend I accidently walked into Primark 😉 This is always a mistake! I love Primark, if I go in Primark I will spend money! Its inevitable. I picked up some real bargains which I will share on my fashion page. When I die I hope I go to Primark heaven…….

The people of Sunderland were incredibly friendly I think I most of spoke to at least 20 different people if not more. I have this thing where I think everyone is my best friend, and feel the need to share my life story with them. I’m sure people must see me coming and walk the opposite way…..

Having left Sunderland I got the train back to Newcastle. Once in Newcastle I arranged to meet a friend from Uni (Kirsty). We went for a drink in John Lewis Café and it was really great to catch up! Kirsty told me she plans to go to London for a few days in April and I am planning on going with her (if she will let me)! I love London, I’ve been a few times and im always up for a visit!

I walked Kirsty to the bus station and then decided to use the toilets in M&S before heading to the train station. I was in the toilet when I discovered someone had left a pair of shoes in a bag. Being the good Samaritan that I am, I picked them up ready to hand in to a member of staff. At this point my nail was hanging off so I decided to gently rip it off! Big mistake! I started bleeding all over the place the very second the security guard came in the toilets telling me the store was now closed. I told him about the shoes and as he escorted me out the building he said ‘these are an old pair of shoes someone has stolen ours and left theirs’. It only dawned on me afterwards that he probably thought I was the culprit! Luckily he didn’t demand a strip search! 😛

As I was still bleeding and my nail was hanging off I asked if he or any department had a pair of scissors. He wasn’t too interested in my rapid blood loss (yes I am being melodramatic) and instead told me the shop was now shut! I went to a coffee shop next door and the lady who worked there very kindly got me some tissues to mop up the blood and provided me with a plaster. She apologised about the bright blue colour however I reassured her that it matched my coat perfectly, and I was in fact perfectly colour co ordinated haha.

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I finally arrived home at 10pm. I will sleep well tonight Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sweet Dreams, Laura 🙂

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5 things which made me smile:

  • Meeting an old friend and having a lovely catch up
  • Being introduced too her two gorgeous children both of which were so well behaved and lovely
  • Getting some bargains from Primarni
  • Meeting Kirsty for coffee and having a lovely catch up
  • Walking round with my bright blue plaster on my finger

Positive quote of the day:

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