Overcoming Mental Health – Booking my First Trip with Trek America

Hey Sweeties,

I want to tell you something really exciting that I did this weekend but first I need to provide you with some context to it so please read what I have to say and then hopefully join me in being really excited too!

Here goes.

Without deliberately jumping on the same bandwagon that it seems we’re all on, I have spoken about my experience with anxiety because it’s important you know me beyond what I wear on the outside, and also it’s because sufferers should hold their hands up and reveal how common something like anxiety and mental health is. The Incident of the Mr Whippy told you how certain -completely random- situations spark an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and exposure in me and I panic. I am also an over thinker and stress about things that haven’t even happened yet. I seem to overload myself with worry and this stress which unsurprisingly after a while breaks me and I find myself in tears, sometimes for the most trivial things.

The real thing I suffer with though, is depression. Not all the time and until recently I thought it was very much in the past but it never is only in the past. Mental health doesn’t just go away, instead it lingers under the surface, remaining dormant and poised ready to take hold when you weaken. The trick is to be able to know when you’re slipping and take measures to catch yourself from falling before you hit the ground.

So,

With all of the above in mind, lately I haven’t been feeling myself at all. I have become somewhat nervous in my person, I am having some stresses about work, about aspects of the future and I’ll be honest with you guys, also a battle with loneliness; this isn’t who I used to be. As you get older, once you’ve left school and University, meeting people and making friends is a real challenge, it doesn’t come easy. As I am sure I have mentioned before (?) I have moved twelve times and I attended five schools (4 primary, 1 secondary) therefore I have known no one my whole life. When I make friends I have ended up moving away. Until 2007 that was the fault of my parents, since then it has been my own doing. In finding out who I want to be and what I want to do, I have upped sticks and moved to new locations and jobs to find what it is I am looking for. So it should come as no surprise that my career is everything to me and being and becoming successful is crucial otherwise I would feel as though I sacrificed for nothing.

When I was surrounded by people, I adored my independence and the ability to go off and do things on my own. Now, except for when I am with Ian, I have no choice but to be on my own most of the time. Fortunately I don’t mind my own company and of course I do have several friends that have clung on while I have done my thing and when possible I go and visit them.  But something is missing; in me and in my life.

So I did something quite exciting this weekend.

Trek America

Yes Sweeties, I booked myself a trip with Trek America

I am now broke for the foreseeable future as it’s going to take a real commitment to save for but importantly, it gives me something to look forward to and in doing that, will keep myself afloat if you catch my drift. Next October I am flying out to LA and spending two weeks travelling up and back the west coast taking in places such as Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco to name just a few.

I. Can’t. Wait!

So why Trek America? Because I need to remember the person I used to be. I used to be so willingly independent and fearless. I also feel that I haven’t really had that travelling experience that I think everyone should have. I am also a couple of years away from properly committing myself to Ian and I think before that happens, I need to go and do something like this. Something on my own. Something with a totally new group of people that I have never met and share something totally unforgettable.

So guys, when I post about beauty and skincare a lot of you flock to those posts in your ‘likes’ which is great but you disappear somewhat when I post about other things (like this)… or you’re there, but you don’t let me know you’ve been. The blogging community should be about showing your support when it matters, not only when someone does a little haul purchasing the same things that so many others have. There are products out there that last all day and we applaud them, but what about those things that ingrain on someone a lifetime? No one is quick to applaud then. No one ‘likes’ depression or anxiety and so many I feel keep their blogs happy and fun places which they absolutely should be, but you’ll never truly know the person behind it all.

Some will criticise that I have been too honest with you, some will like that I have. But I am not all about the beauty, I like to talk about what is real, what is happening or things that have happened that I want to tell you guys about such as my trips to New York City. I want to attract those that can relate and allow me to follow and show my support back.

I love you guys!

Until next time x

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The Unfortunate Incident of the Mr Whippy

Hey Sweeties,

To be honest this wasn’t going to be something I blogged about but… I think not to acknowledge this recent ‘incident’ would be a missed opportunity and something I may later need to draw upon in the future by which I mean touching upon anxiety. I am very conscious that this is an issue that tons of people are discussing and I would hate to appear like I am jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of joining in on something topical. But then again on the other end of the spectrum, it’s good to know I am not alone and that what I am currently experiencing isn’t abnormal (far from it), and for you guys you can see how something like anxiety takes on many different forms with many different people in as many different situations.

So, let me explain the unfortunate incident of the Mr Whippy.

Icecream cone -melting

Last Friday it was the annual Hartley Wintney vs. Hampshire twenty-twenty match on the green and although Ian and I have now moved away from the area, we’re unlikely to not continue to go to this each year while we can.

Anyway.

We’re a couple of hours into the afternoon, the game is in full swing and Ian asks if I fancy an ice cream. To be honest I was prepared to wait another hour or so but if he was going to get one himself as well, then why not! A few minutes later he returns with one giant Mr Whippy (because for an extra 50p you could get an extra scoop –fair play). The additional factor I forgot to mention was that it was a hot afternoon but for some reason no sooner was the ice cream purchased, it began melting so by the time it got to me it was a dribbling mess.

*Let me just interrupt proceedings here and quickly highlight that what was to follow was by no means responsible of Ian, it was just an unfortunate outcome to what was otherwise a very innocent and well-intended situation and he knows this*

So why this became an unfortunate incident is because I went from happy and content (watching the cricket) to stressed, embarrassed and anxious instantly. Why? Because if it was just Ian and I it would have been ok but it wasn’t, we had a couple of acquaintances with us who (as anyone would) were laughing. If Ian had got an ice cream as well and it was also melting, then the situation would have been funny and shared. If the ice cream wasn’t a double scoop, then I wouldn’t be sat there noted for eating a big ice cream and wouldn’t have had to have dealt with the scale of melting that was happening. When you have something like an ice cream, or anything that you don’t have very often (if at all), you want to enjoy the experience and savour it, not have to rush it owing to things out of your control. The situation became quickly embarrassing for me which made me anxious as I had too much attention for the wrong reasons. Also, like thousands of other people, particularly women, I hate attention drawn to me when it concerns food. If people are commenting on something amazing I have ordered that’s fine. But if it’s because the portion is too big (or bigger than average) then that’s not good and it stresses me out quite understandably. So I am sat on the edge of the green trying to quickly devour a double Mr Whippy while it furiously melts and being laughed at… then I am afraid it was one drip too many and I threw the rest of the cone into an empty plastic beer cup and walked away, refusing the offer of tissues. Fortunately there was a pub just opposite so I headed there to wash my hands and get away from the situation but I was upset, I needed to get away and calm myself down and I went for a quick walk around the block afterwards before heading back but even when I sat back down I had to keep my sunglasses on to cover my tears. Silly isn’t it?

On reflection I can now see the funny side but I can also see how badly I am reacting to certain situations and environments right now. I say right now because I have only recently become really aware of it, I have always suffered with a bit of insecurity but on the whole I would say I am (was) a confident individual who actually quite enjoys my own company but lately not so. I find myself feeling nervous, mostly when I realise I am quite exposed and by exposed that could be me just walking to Asda and back on my own. I like anonymity; I like running my errands and having a coffee in Costa with a good book unnoticed and for the most part I am never disturbed or even seen by someone I might know. But sometimes, depending on where I am, the thought of being randomly pounced on gets the better of me and this can apply even to the phone. I hate unplanned conversation which sounds totally bizarre and to be honest it’s stupid but it’s how it is. If my Mum calls me out of the blue, absolutely fine but if someone says to me, “I’ll call you later” that freaks me out and puts me in a panic as no matter who it is, I worry about the conversation and struggling for things to say. How often though do I struggle for things to say, like really? I don’t.

So do I suffer with anxiety? I guess I do, but like I said earlier, anxiety affects many different people in many different ways for as many different reasons so although I don’t get panic attacks (yet), this condition still feels quite debilitating and something I have to learn to deal with and get over.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and your own experiences so please do share them.

Until next time x

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Anxiety & the Importance of Friendship

Hey Sweeties,

2014-03-09 13.52.44Apologies I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, I’ve been incredibly consumed with houses, work and just life really. But the sun is out, spring is here and I’ve just come back from a lovely long walk and ready to blog! Here goes…

So, what’s new? Well… house wise, we thought we found our dream house and over a period of 2.5 weeks we put down an offer, then upped it, and upped it and upped it again to at the last hour get rejected. Nothing more heart breaking! Then, we found another house a couple of days ago and we’ve placed an offer and hopefully we’ll find out the outcome tomorrow, fingers crossed sweeties! I have plans to dedicate a whole post to buying houses so I’ll leave all the juicy details for then 🙂

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Aside from the anxiety of knowing I have to relocate in a couple of months which for me really is a big deal, February marked 7 years since flying the comfy nest of my family home and going it alone and since then I have moved somewhere completely different every 2 ish years -London, Leeds, Bath, North Hampshire (where I am now) and true to form, I’ll have been here 2 years in May but will be off somewhere else come then… at the moment it looks like Slough! Anyone been or already live there? Advice? So yeah, aside from this moving anxiety, two great things have happened this year, one happened right at the beginning and the second one happened yesterday…

My Best Friend is getting married in 2015 (uber exciting!!) and just after Christmas (I think?) she asked me the most amazing thing a best friend could be asked… would I be Maid of Honour? Of course I would!! Prior to this I offered and commited to designing her Save the Date and wedding invites, partly as my contribution to the wedding (pre Maid of Honour) and partly so that I am building experience and my portfolio in design work (why not eh?). I can’t wait to help her create and bring to life her dream wedding and be right be her side at the alter as she becomes a married woman (wow, that actually sounds scary when you say it out loud!).

The second incredibly exciting thing is that another very close friend of mine who is otherwise affectionately known as ‘Wifey’, had an utterly gorgeous baby boy last summer. I have had a few friends give birth to bundles of joy in the last couple of years but (without offending the others) Wifey’s little boy is an amazing baby, he’s just so happy and cuddly and brilliant! So, quite out of the blue yesterday afternoon Wifey called me up and was like, “would you (me) be God Mother?” AHHHHHHHH, couldn’t be more honoured and I can’t believe that I have been so blessed with this responsibility! *Wipes away happy tear* Bring on the Christening and a lifetime of watching this little baby turn into a young man and beyond and being there to support him all the way!

One big thing that has really suffered or rather, I have had to sacrifice as part of moving around (did I mention pre flying the nest I had attended 4 Primary schools, 1 Secondary and lived in 6 houses across a variety of locations in the UK?!) is that I have made friends and then upped and left them time and time again. I am incredibly fortunate in that I have a small handful of very valued friendships but none of them know each other, and none of them live near me. This of course opens opportunity for fun days out and trips with each of them when we catch up but a quick drink down the pub or a nice dinner one evening is a no no which I desperately miss. It’s this lack of socialisation that brings me down some of the time as like I have said previously in an earlier post, Ian is great and the phone is always there but it’s not the same as regular face to face conversation. So, despite all this, to be in a position as I am today where I am Maid of Honour and a new God Mother is a tremendous feeling of love and emotion. It actually just shows that you don’t have to be living next door to your friends for them to still consider you so highly as to involve you so intimately with very important areas of their lives. I really do truly feel blessed.

Until next time, Sweeties xx

Friends forever

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