Thursday, 24 December 2015

It's the most...Wonderful? Difficult? Joyful? Stressful?...Time of the year!!

It's the festive season and shoppers are going mad, the christmas decorations and all the beautiful lights are up. It's the happiest time of the year... right?

Wrong. For some people this season brings mostly dread, stress and a whole range of negative emotions. Maybe not for the whole season, and maybe not visible to you and I on the outside but this time of year often holds more than just the joy of spending time with family, the excitement of exchanging gifts and the love of the christian Christmas story.

Wonderful; True, it is a wonderful time of year, for me I get to see my family who I hardly see throughout the year and spend precious moments with them!!

Difficult; Particularly those with mental health issues, the winter is a difficult period. The dark nights and colder weather brings a dullness, and sadness to their everyday. No bright sunshine to lift the mood, no warmth, just a load of negativity. For others, Christmas can be a reminder of those who aren't joining us at our dinner table this year, the loss of loved ones in a variety of ways is even more visible at this time as we get together.

Joyful; The joy on peoples faces as they open their gifts, as they spend time with family members and even just the joy and happiness of christmas parties, the christmas music and having fun with close friends and family in all the festivities!! How can you not feel at least a smidgen of joy in these activities? Some people struggle!! Although if you are someone who believes in the 'meaning of christmas' and the Christian story, surely there is some Joy in that message, that Jesus is born! Hard to not be happy when babies are involved!!

Stressful; Depending on your job, your financial status or even your ability to socialise can bring a huge amount of stress to your Christmas experience. Some people, especially those working in churches or The Salvation Army have a VERY busy time of year, helping those who are homeless, preparing christmas meals for christmas day or otherwise, playing carols in the streets and the list goes on and on!!!

So you may be a person who absolutely loves this time of year and feels nothing but Joy and Happiness, but don't forget that although some people may look as though they feel this, but in reality they may not be.

So from me, a very happy christmas to you all, I hope you all find some joy, wonder, peace and happiness in this festive season even if it also brings sadness, difficulty and stress!!

All the best for the New Year everyone!!!


Friday, 23 October 2015

Half Term Breather!!!

I'm well aware that I've left it far too long since my last post and I promised one about my new job! Well now it is half term I figured it's a good time to spend some time writing!

For those of you who don't know, I have recently started a job in a secondary school in Felixstowe!! (I know... me... in a high school?!).
Although I am now absolutely exhausted and so ready for half term I'm really enjoying it and love the team I work with and although very challenging at times, I love the young people I work with too!! Being my first full on job it really has given me a whole new perspective on life (although in relation to my last post, I still don't really know what I'm doing with my life in the long run!!) - But for now, I am content and so so happy this job was offered to me :) I have met some super lovely and fabulous people who I love working and socialising with!
As one of my colleagues always tells me 'subject to change'. I do love my job, and I love that each day is so so different and definitely subject to change!! Of course it is not without its ups and downs and some days I come home feeling physically and emotionally done in, but I will not give in!

In terms of more personal things, well I'm still trying to work that out but I refuse to let that affect how I work at school, and how I spend my spare time so I guess I'm still in the stage of brushing it under the carpet; hoping a good half term break will allow me to get my head together a little bit? Who knows!!!

But I now have a week to breath, recover, recuperate and spend my days sleeping, being lazy, being arty and visiting some special friends who I don't keep in contact with anywhere near as much as I should!! SO for those of you with a half term - have a fab one!! Everyone else; have an awesome weekend!!

- ttfn!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Doors of Purpose

For a long while after I graduated I was feeling a bit lost, I filled my time with seeing friends, music school and plenty of other things so I didn't have to think about the future because in all honesty - it terrifies me!!!!
I had a load of conversations with friends about this, how I still didn't have anything to do come September, I was waking up each day feeling my life was purpose-less, each day was the same; 'Just another useless day' I would tell myself. I had no job to go to, no tasks that I deemed useful and productive to keep me busy and it was really getting at me!! To top it all off, I was receiving job rejection, after rejection, after rejection. I felt useless and became hopeless!

The rest of this post will link what I've just said to the theme of our church service this morning; 'Open Doors'

A few things came up that got me thinking...

1. What is a doors purpose?
- This reminded me of my blog, because I guess it can depend on how positive a person you as to whether you view a door as something to be opened and to enter through, or something you use to close and shut the world out. In the past I've been guilty of the latter, of using doors, walls, and masks (metaphorically) to shut out the world and keep myself to myself. Through writing this blog I am learning to change that, to start breaking down the wall and taking off the mask to certain people, but I've still got a long way to go!

2. Multiple Doors...
- One point made was that sometimes we're are given multiple 'doors' to choose from, not to confuse us or trick us but to have faith in choosing the one we think is right for us. Recently I had a few too many doors opened to me and found myself in a bit of a pickle of knowing what to do!! How do you choose between unpaid internships, jobs with few hours and little pay, and waiting on something that you think is more appropriate to the 'experience' you need to gain as well as getting an income???
I really struggled with all these doors, which do I close? How?
Celebrations for my first Full Time job!!!
I struggled feeling I was letting close friends down, keeping other offers and retail employment on hold when really in my head they were 'last resort'.

UNTIL... I received a phone call!! A job, paid, working to support and guide young people with special needs through high school! I'll be a Learning Support Assistant and although I've got a
challenging task ahead, I'm excited, I already know I've got a great team to be working with and I'm determined to bring a positive influence and change to these young people's lives!!

sure it's not what I thought I would be doing straight after uni, I was all set for moving out of home, getting somewhere myself and going into the charity sector, doing international development... when I realised, I'm not supposed to have the plan for my life, it's not what I want to do but what I need to do...I have my whole life ahead of me to do International Development, why not gain some valuable experience along the way and see where it takes me!! I'm really excited about this opportunity and spending time with the kids I'll be working with, sure it's not going to be easy but I'm feeling positive about it!!

'Ready or not, here I come!' 


Friday, 21 August 2015

Spot The Difference... Part 2!!

As promised, part 2 of my last post is here!!! 

After returning home from TMS I had a serious case of the blues... so to combat this I was persuaded to make a last minute decision to go to Northern Summer School (NSS) - BEST decision 
(and thank you to all the persuaders!!! Although it was not lacking in drama!!)

Now I must admit, before going to NSS I already felt like a different person than I have been this past year, but what I didn't realise was how obvious this seemed to be to my friends around me!! Multiple people pointed out to me throughout the week how 'different' I was, that I had a 'glow' they'd never seen before, that I was so much happier and stronger than before! I didn't realise it was such a noticeable change, but I guess in hindsight I have come out of my shell at music schools this year, I've laughed until my stomach hurts, talked until I've practically lost my voice and stepped out of my comfort zone!!

Although deep down I guess I had noticed a difference this was a whole new level; being described as 'confident, calm and strong' was probably a first for me and came as a bit of a shock! 
So yes, spot the difference, it would seem I have changed if you knew me how I was the past few years but in all honesty it was such a horrible and dark place that I don't really fully remember it all and how it felt to feel that bad.
 (Probably, Definitely a good thing!!!)

The theme of both music schools was 'Open Your Eyes' and I can truthfully say that mine have been, to a person a never knew I could be, that always seemed too difficult to be. I'm still working on viewing my cup as half full but I'm definitely a huge step closer!!

NSS introduced me to a whole new me, a whole new kind of music school and a whole new wonderful bunch of people who I can't wait to see again very soon!!! :)



Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Spot The Difference - Part 1!!!

I feel so behind on my blogging!!! So the next few days will hold a few posts on various summer activities!! It's been another pretty mental year, and this time last year I was in Zambia!!! I can't quite believe how quickly this year has gone but maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing!

 The biggest memories that stand out to me this past year are;

  •  Handing in my dissertation
  •  Going to Croatia
  •  21st birthday party
  •  Graduating!!
  •  Boundless
  •  Music School!!  
There is so so much I could talk about in each of these events but the most surprising to myself has been Graduating - something I thought I would never do this time last year!! And the most recent and one of the most eventful has been music school; little did I know I would attend TWO this year!!!

Territorial Music School has got to be one of the highlights of my year, every year! A whole week I get to spend with my closest friends, having a laugh, growing spiritually and challenging ourselves!! This year had to be my most challenging one yet! I really impressed myself in what I was capable of, finding the bravery and strength to deal with certain situations that I always thought would just crush me!! At the end of that week, my eyes certainly were opened a little bit to sorting myself out and finding who I really am.
Embraced my crazy side in fancy dress with some fab gals!

One of the songs we sang with the Girls Chorus got me every time - Blessings.
So much love for this AMAZING group!!!! <3 

What if your blessings come through raindrops,
What if your healing comes through tears,
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near.
And what if trials of this life, are your mercies in disguise.

So what if everything I've been through so far has been to make me stronger? To be able to help others? To prove to myself what I'm capable of? ..... I think so. Because by the end of that week at TMS I felt like a weight had lifted from me, like my insides were made from cotton wool!! 

This isn't to say I have it all sorted and all together because I don't by any means, I've had my slip ups and my down days since that happened but the difference is how I deal with those down days and slip ups!! 

So I couldn't quite let go of my music school friends and the experience; so 2 days before it started I signed up to Northern Summer School (NSS) for another week of fun, challenge and friendship!! 

Stay tuned for 'Spot The Difference - Part 2!!' 


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

It's The Final Countdown!!!

4 exams. 8 hours. 8 questions. 1 bucket load of stress!!! 

In a matter of weeks my university undergraduate education will be completely finished and I'll be waiting for the dreaded results day!!! 

To think that just last year I was determined I was dropping out, transferring or anything to get away. I ended up back at home in second term of second year after just a week!! 

When I returned and had a meeting with my tutor I remember her saying to my parents as we left 'I hope to see you on graduation day'.  All I could think at that moment was how ridiculous that sounded, that there was no way I would last that long!! The fact it was a whole year away left a lot of doubt in my mind that I would graduate at all. 
But here I am, somehow, I've made it to my final term of university to sit my final exams. I say somehow, but I know I definitely couldn't have done it without my family and my friends sticking by me the whole time. 
I've handed in my dissertation and all going well I'll graduate in July. If that doesn't leave me with a half full cup at least temporarily then I don't know what will!! 

Watch this space for what's next!! 


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Better luck next time...

Tomorrow - thousands of professional athletes, casual runners, spectators and family members will fill the streets of London for one of the biggest events in a runners annual calendar...
That's right, it's the day I was meant to be running the London Marathon.

Due to multiple circumstances I'll be missing out this year :(. [Seeing adverts and stories about it all over the TV is rubbing salt in the wound a little bit!!]

In my last post I shared the good news that I've been able to defer to 2016!! This makes me super determined to not let down Rethink Mental Illness once again and to be super ready for it next year - knee injury or not!!
Because of my knee injury my running took a quick halt... meaning my long distance fitness also plummeted :(
Fear not, pessimism hasn't grasped me yet; i'm back out there! Lacing up my shoes and putting my earphones in to get it back in gear ready for my next half marathon!!

In distraction from missing the marathon this weekend...
 --> Today I got a 5k Personal Best!!! And have registered for Park Run!!
 --> I've been invited to a 90th birthday party tomorrow with a wonderfully lovely family! - Yes 90 years old!!! Incredible!! 4.5 times my age!
 --> I have plenty of revision to be doing!!!
 --> I'm working on a project to get my Dad to enter through the ballot for London Marathon 2016 too!!!

So I won't have a half empty cup!! I'll have a relatively sociable weekend and keep my hopes and spirits high to be fit enough to run 26.2 Miles next year!! I'll kickstart my fundraising again soon!!
(Only 366 Days to go!!! :P ) 


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Unexpected Tragedy!!

Though I may be smiling and having fun in the photos of me on crutches included in this post, I will be honest with you and say that it's far from a true representation of what I'm feeling on the inside!

As many of you know, I run for fun... at least I did until recently. I am now on a 'running ban' until my knee repairs itself after my half marathon :(

This of course has caused the unexpected tragedy, the unpredictable situation that I will now not be able to take part in the London Marathon 2015 (This is not a decision I have taken lightly!!!!)  It's fair to say I'm absolutely gutted, but in light of being in my third year and having an incredible amount of work to do; maybe this year wasn't the right timing, maybe just now I need to concentrate on getting my degree before embarking on such challenges that take so much time to prepare for!!

BUT - My glass is not yet half empty!! I'm determined to persevere and not have a bad knee in order to run the London Marathon 2016!! - that's right, I'm able to defer my place!! :D Thank you to those of you who have already donated through my online giving page, this will be carried forward to 2016!

A recent conversation with my housemate at uni made me realise a very bizarre coping mechanism that I've created for myself - Smiling. Even when I'm sad, angry or frustrated, for some unknown and very weird reason I find myself smiling!! - It seems I'm so used to putting on a smiley brave face in-front of people that I think I've forgotten how to show my real emotions and how to actually be sad?! In an attempt to combat this, we watched a very sad film together (My Girl), and I remembered how to cry!!!!! But it wasn't long before I was smiling again... that is why I chose these photographs for this post, they don't reflect truthfully on my feelings of being on crutches whatsoever!
Perhaps this blog has made me too positive, but only on the outside? Or perhaps I've lost all sense of emotion other than smiling? So now I'm trying to work at being more open, not only about positive things but about tough and trialling times too, and maybe my emotions will return with it?

Thankfully I'm now off the crutches and taking it slow so not to damage my knee further but still unable to run is doing horrible things for my mood and stress levels!! Especially a week before D-Day!!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A 'Mile' Stone

This weekend really does represent a mile stone - in more ways than one!!

This time last year, I was in one of my very lowest points with depression, my parents came to pick me up from University (yeah, a whole 5.5 hour car journey one way!!!) to take me home after an incident that left me feeling very vulnerable and very low, I won't go into the details but let's just say in hindsight I'm so so grateful for the friends and family and support I have that meant I did go home, when I did.

So...what's different this year? A whole lot!!
   --  Instead of feeling sorry for myself this past weekend and spending the time by myself contemplating life, I went on the longest run of my marathon training yet, a crazy 10 miles!!! Leaving me feeling refreshed (but exhausted!) , a sense of achievement and just generally buzzing!

  -- I have the most wonderful and supportive housemates everrrr!! Although living with a couple can have its disadvantages, I love them to bits and am SUPER excited to have been asked to be a bridesmaid at their wedding!!!!

  -- What's not different? I still have the same supportive friends that I had last year, looking out for me and reminding me that actually, I've made it!!! I've made it into my third and final year of university, basically my last term (except summer exams), which is something I never thought I'd do!! (another milestone??!)

The next milestone I'm aiming for is the Half Marathon in Old Deer Park, Richmond, on the 22nd February 2015, all in the plan for gearing up for the big London Marathon in April!!

So if you haven't already, please do support me by following the link below to my fundraising page!!
Thanks :)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Resolution or Ambition...?


I'm rubbish at making, even keeping, new years resolutions, they're a bit silly really. But this year is different, this year I have more ambitions than resolutions, one ambition I'm determined to achieve? - The Virgin London Marathon 2015!!!!

My running vest has arrived and I've invested in some new running shoes, the training has started and so has the fundraising!!
I'll be running the Marathon for 'Rethink Mental Illness', if you've read my earlier blog posts then you'll get an idea as to why and how this is a personal cause for me to support. My target is £2000 so any contributions would be really gratefully recieved! If you'd like to donate through my justgiving page, I've added the link to the bottom of this post.

In terms of the training, not only do I need to get my legs into gear and my fitness up to shape in order to tackle 26.2 miles but I also need to train my mind, my motivation that even when training gets tough I must push through!! There's still such a long way to go
Look out for me on Sunday 26th April
running in this vest in London!!
- I mean I like running but I think that may just change a little when my runs go over 10miles!!!
I'll be keeping my blog up to date with how the training is going up until 26th April 2015 so if you're interested then please do follow along :) (and any motivation and encouragement would be fab too!! :P )

- ttfn! And don't forget to DONATE to RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS following the link below!!