Everything I wish I knew about Mental Health…

well, it’s a ride – that’s for sure! it feels apt that i’m writing this one this week as we’ve just had World Mental Health day (n.b. this was when this was written in my notebook, not published online) and i’m in the middle of my fourth round in the ring with depression in 10 years.

my god, how am i still here?

there will be so many days that you think you can’t survive. there will be so many days when you think you don’t deserve to survive. you do. please stay.

your depression will give you ‘fake news’ – it will make you feel like a burden. it will make you question why people choose to have you in their lives. it will make you feel unworthy, unloved and alone. it will be painful. there will be many, many nights where you cry yourself to sleep and wonder when the pain will go, if there will ever be anyone that truly loves you, if there will ever be a day where you don’t feel such an incredible weight on your shoulders, tears in your eyes and pain in your heart.

you will fight with these intrusive thoughts, it will take all your energy to remember it is fake news. when you can’t, just focus on the next ten seconds. if you can get through those, you can get through anything.

accept help. and know that accepting help will look different on different days. there will be days when it looks like your sister brushing your hair for you because having a shower took all your energy, there will be days when it is someone sending you an instagram post reminding you that the sun will shine through the clouds again. there will be days you break down to your therapist. that’s okay. when you have calmed let him give you a new perspective. try. help is all around, accept it. on the days you feel like you don’t deserve help, accept it – that’s when you need it most.

when you are really poorly it will be, or feel, impossible not to let the dark thoughts eclipse the positive ones. you don’t want to die, you just don’t know how to live with ‘all this’. it will get better. you just need to hold on. don’t pay attention to those that tell you ‘you have nothing to be depressed about’ or ‘other people have it worse’ – these people, luckily for them, do not understand depression. it is a reflection of them, not you.

it will get better. you just need to hold on. there are so many things worth staying alive for. stay.

you are so much more than your worst days. so much more than the loneliness that eats you from the inside. you might feel lonely, but you are not alone.

stay to see your nephews born.

stay for all the places you are yet to travel too. for all the adventures that are waiting.

stay for all the cups of tea you’re yet to have with your best friend, whilst you nearly pee your pants laughing at something ridiculous.

stay to watch your friends become mamas.

stay to see you rediscover your love for education and working with children.

stay for all the songs you’re yet to sing.

stay. you won’t regret it. i promise. it won’t be easy but, like most things, the stuff that isn’t easy is always worth it.

stay for all the sunsets and sunrises you’re yet to see.
stay for all the flowers you’re yet to smell
stay for all the joy you’re yet to feel
all the coffee you’re yet to drink, the books you’re yet to read, the poetry you’re yet to inhale,
the minds you’re yet to touch.
the cuddles you’re yet to have from Mason.
the tickle fights with Oscar.
the shared laughs with Arlo.

the hard days will be hard but the good days will more than make up for it.
you’re stronger than you think.
you can do this.
stay.
you are not the titanic. yes, you will hit icebergs, but you won’t sink.
stay.

xoxo M

everything i wish i knew about…success

if you ask Siri what success means you get this response “success means the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”

i guess the thing, the biggest thing, i wish i knew about success is that it looks different to different people. i know that probably seems obvious to some but it’s taken me a minute to really let that sink in and i still have to remind myself of that regularly.

when you’re young and at school success and progress looks pretty much the same to everyone. it’s being smart enough to pass exams, cool enough to be in the ‘popular’ crowd (or at least cool enough to not get bullied), it’s having ‘cool’ labels in your clothes.

once you leave school the road to success looks different to everyone. it can be really hard not to compare yourself to everyone. you’ll get to 30 and wonder what you have achieved. it will seem like everyone else has all, or some, of the markers of a traditionally successful life. some will have kids, others will be married, own homes, have their dream job, found their forever person.

when you’re surrounded by these people it can be easy to feel like a failure. it can be easy to forget that success is different to everyone. if there is one thing i hope you remember it is that success really does look different to different people depending on their priorities. when you’re surrounded by people like this and fed this narrative of success by the media (especially the social kind) it is only natural to compare yourself and achievements. it is only natural to question your success and what it looks like.

success is personal, it can only line up with your own goals and aims. these will change over time. truly, being honest, your success is always under construction because of this. it can be hard but you need to get to a place where you can accept the pace of your own journey. it might take you ten more years to buy your own house or have a baby – that won’t dull your sense of accomplishment when you do it, when it finally happens. that’s if that is what success looks like to you, of course.

success is not a straight line or linear. there will be set-backs, road blocks and challenges. there will lessons of their own and, hopefully, you’ll consider the fact you’ve made it over these a success in itself.

you just need to stay focused and keep going. you will get there. i promise. it doesn’t come without effort and commitment but you can get there. think how different your life can look in 5 years. how your life feels to you is more important than how it looks to others.

once you’re happy with how it feels in your gut (or where you’re headed) then you’re finally on the path to success.

xoxo M

letters to younger me: everything i wish i knew about… grief

when you think about grief you think about death. well it’s where your mind goes generally. but there are so many more forms of grief that you will experience over the course of a lifetime. they won’t all hit the same, or take the same about of time to recover from, but they are all grief, they all hurt and will leave you feeling crippled.

the best piece of advice, well not advice but the biggest lesson learnt is probably that no one will tell you there is a limit they put on how long you can grieve. after a period of time be it a week, month, or year/s , all of a sudden everyone decides you should be ‘over it’ or ‘move on’.

the thing is, with any type of loss, you never really ‘get over it’. you simply learn to move forward, because you have to.

you learn, you will learn, to put your hurt and pain in a box, in the corner of your mind and heart. you’ll pull on it sometimes when you want to, or need to, remember what it is to feel on that level or that you deserve to be hurt again.

something to remember is this: we might lose people but we will never lose what they gave us. the memories. the love. the laughter. the lessons. this goes for every type of grief – including death and break-ups. the guy who told you you deserve the world – that he wanted to give it to you but couldn’t – he reminded you of what you deserve and that there are good guys out there. i know you still miss him – maybe you always will – but he reminded you of your worth. that can’t be a bad thing.

the thing with loss and grief is that it’s never going to be okay. it’s never going to be okay. it’s always going to hurt. your heart will always be broken but it just gets less debilitating. the cracks will heal but you’ll always feel the break. you’ll just learn to live with it. you learn to get out of bed, you can eat again but it’s always going to hurt.

somedays the heaviness will be unbearable. other days, you’ll remember little things about them that make you smile. like whenever you see a rainbow, you’ll think about grandad. it will be bittersweet; the happy memory of them tinged with sadness.

in the early days you’ll see them everywhere, hear them in every song on the radio. over time this will get easier but you’ll never be fully prepared for those moments where the grief hits you out of nowhere. when you think you see them in line at the supermarket just to realise that it is impossible or improbable. when the radio starts playing a song that reminds you of them the most, or that has a lot of memories attached to it. you’ll feel like the grief has hit you fresh all over again. the ground will feel like it’s opening up. it’s not. you’ll be okay. you made it through the first hour, first day and week. you’ll make it through this. if you need to run out the supermarket, that’s okay. if you need to excuse yourself and go to the toilet to cry, that’s okay too. crying yourself to sleep again is okay.

we all deal with grief in different ways; we all process it differently. we all have different timelines. when it really seems too tough just tell yourself ‘if you can get through the next 10 seconds, you can get through anything’. be kind to yourself through it. try not to isolate yourself too much; being around people can help. i say ‘can’ because some people are not going to be productive whilst you grieve and heal, whilst you get to a point where you can function day-to-day.

grief teaches you a lot about people. about yourself and those around you. your strength will surprise you. remember, as mr sheeran sings, ‘a heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved’ – and that ain’t a bad thing at all.

xoxo M

a letter to younger me – everything i wish i knew about…

life.

life is a funny thing, isn’t it. it’s frustrating, yet exhilarating. it’s simple, yet complex. it can’t really be planned but somehow also requires a plan. in a word: it’s complicated.

there are a million different cliches when it comes to talking about life. too many to write here. everyone has their own that, at some point, they repeat to their friends, family (and social media followers). one thing that we can say is true is “the only certainty in life is death”. everything in between when we are born and when we die… none of it is certain. (i feel this is taking a slightly depressive turn but bear with me, i’ll pick it back up).

life is brilliant in so many ways, there will be days where you feel light as a feather. there will be moments when you’ll sit with your best friend, watching your nephews play and think ‘life is great, how did i get so lucky?”. you’ll see friends marry the loves of their lives. you’ll have moments in your career, something you have always put 110% into (yes, you’re work pissed, the sooner you embrace that, the better), that you can’t quite believe happen – turnarounds in stores -that everyone had written off – and teams that you influenced and led. moments when you finally make a breakthrough with a child when teaching them and think YES they got it, finally and know that it was your teaching skills that got them there. there will be moments when you’re in love, or heading that way, where you feel so happy your heart could burst. a word of warning though – don’t be too smug. you know what comes next.

heartbreak. disappointment. confusion. you can’t always get what you want, you can plan for everything but then life will throw you a curveball, call your bluff and kick you in the gut. leaving you writhing around on the floor trying to catch your breath. it ain’t always gonna be pretty.

the disappointments will leave you aching for a time before, a time before life made you sore. before you had your heart broken by men who you thought could be the love of your life (spoiler alert: they’re not). before you were let down by friends. before you lost those you love. you’ll ache for a time before the disappointments. a time when life felt simple.

‘everything happens for a reason’ that’s a firm favourite. you’ll hear that a lot when you’re feeling shit, or trying to justify a disappointment. the worst thing, or maybe it’s the best, is that it does seem to be true. hindsight is 20:20 vision. it doesn’t help the stuff hurt any less in the moment but it is good to know and can be helpful to keep in mind whilst you heal.

no one makes it through life unscathed; without scars and heartbreak. all the paths in life you take in life, you gotta make sure some of them are dirt (whether you know it at the time or not). it’s where you figure out who you are and what you want from this life. it’s the curveballs that make life interesting and show us what we are made of. if we’re lucky, there’s a blessing waiting for us at the end of that dirt road.

the one other thing that i know to be true, that i have learnt about life is that, in three little words, it goes on. regardless of the hurt and heartache. life. goes. on. you will survive. you will get through 100% of your worst days. if you can find one small glimmer of hope on those bad days, you will survive.

it won’t always be easy, it will be hard. really fucking hard but, you’ll do it. best of all, best of ALL – it will be worth it. the good days will remind you why you fight. why you’re pleased to be alive and why you’re glad you continued and why you’re glad that life does, in fact, go on.

life is lived and created in the messy parts, it doesn’t always make sense but maybe there is something oddly beautiful about the confusion. maybe if you lean into it, it won’t seem so scary. or maybe i’m talking out my arse, who knows?

maybe one day it won’t all seem confusing, maybe one day it will all make sense. maybe one day, one day, we’ll understand the point of it all. until then, buckle up buttercup because life isn’t going to wait for you. try to enjoy the ride and bring tissues – you’re going to cry a lot!

xoxo M

Trust.

 

Listening to: Kelly Clarkson ‘Breakaway’ (what a banger of an album)

 

 Hi friends,

This week I have a question to ask you.

Can you still be friends with someone who you don’t trust?

You’ve probably heard the saying (or a version of it) that trust is like a mirror, once it is shattered it can be put back together but never truly repaired. Side note: I think my favourite version is Gaga in her ‘Telephone’ video –

 Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 20.54.03

 

The only problem I have with that explanation of trust/ broken trust is that it’s always led me to believe that, and expect that, my trust would always be shattered in a big way. Like the person would pick up our shared mirror and smash it like a plate at Greek wedding but that isn’t always what happens. Sometimes it’s little chips over time until one of these chips is so big that it causes a ripple effect and you find yourself unable to see your reflection in the mirror, or be able to trust the person who’s mirror it is.

Part of being friends with someone is being able to rely on each other; to trust them. You should know whole heartedly that they won’t run off and tell someone what you said, they should know you enough to know the things that shouldn’t be shared. You should be able to know that some things are only shared between you; some things aren’t meant to be shared. What is possibly even worse than sharing private thoughts and feelings is sharing thoughts and feelings with a twist – sharing a fabricated, sometimes exaggerated, version of the truth. You shouldn’t have to watch what you say to your friends, you shouldn’t have to have your guard up. Should you?

How can you be friends with someone you can’t trust?

Are we, or rather am I, too quick to call people my ‘friend’?

A couple of years ago someone who I definitely do trust called me out on how much I use the word ‘love’. I didn’t ever ‘like’ it, I always ‘loved’ it. It was a great observation, and made me realise that I DID use the word ‘love’ too much. Perhaps the same could be said of the word ‘friend’, perhaps I use it too freely, perhaps I use it too much, or too quickly.

Perhaps the word ‘friend’, like the word ‘love’, should be used sparingly.

xoxo

M

reflections on a younger self. 

last night i found myself looking through my old journals and diaries. i don’t know why but as i was placing a book on my bookshelf i saw them and decided to pull some out and relive what i’d lived. 

a lot of the entries are not dated so i don’t know the last time i wrote in them – i can only guess it was around this time 2 years ago because of what i’d written about in them, certain incidents in my life that happened then are the focus of my last scribbles.

what i do know reading them is that i’ve changed. i can see the change in myself through the words on the page. is that weird? life is the strangest thing – we don’t see that we’re moving forward day to day but when we look back so much has changed. so much has happened. 

i like this person i’m becoming.

even on the days when i can’t see through the fog, even on the days when i want the world to go away. i like the person i am becoming. 

i look back at my old entries and feel what i felt back then but i am also able to see it differently. i can see the heart and heartbreak i felt over the boy who didn’t love me enough to not hurt me, the boy i would have moved across oceans for had he asked me again and not only see my pain, but also his. who am i to say he didn’t love me enough just because he didn’t love me the way i wanted him to love me. i can see the good in that goodbye.

i read back through the confusion and see that i have gained clarity, not in everything, but in some things. and for now that is enough.

i look at the old entries and see someone who was fighting against herself but couldn’t see that’s what she was doing. who thought that emotions were a sign of weakness (especially the sad ones). i was so proud of being so guarded and so unfeeling to the world. i was so proud of never having shared my true self with anyone. 

i thought that made me strong.

in actual fact i think now it showed my weakness, my insecurity. the ability to feel, to show emotions – the good and the bad – is part of what makes us so wonderfully human. you can’t shut it out, you can’t shut yourself off from it. you can try, but it will catch  up with you eventually. everything you run from always does.

i know more about me now.

what i want

where i want to go

life makes it hard to remember those things  sometimes but that’s why i write. it reminds me who i am and what i want. it focuses me when i need direction. when i need to get stuff off my chest. when i need a friend. there’s always a piece of paper and a pen around, no matter what time of the day it is. 

when i get lost i can pick those friends up and draw myself a map back home. 

xoxo

micks.

pictures of me from 2008 to the present day. there is one every year from 2008 doing various things with various people. the only year missing is 2016 because it wouldn’t fit!

i am me.

Where I am: HOME

What I’m listening to: Acoustic Room playlist on Spotify.

 

Morning,

 I just wanted to start this by saying a big thank you. After my last post I received an influx of messages from various people telling me I was definitely ‘enough’ already. I know I can be my own worst enemy, I’m learning new things about myself everyday and I am learning to be OK with who I am – it’s something we work on everyday.

So to the following…

Julie, Gel, Nat, Briana, Mary Jane, Laura, Momma Sophs, Mr AND Mrs Taylor (who messaged me separately), Tom, Auntie P, Katie, Dalbs (Well done for not cutting anyone), Maureen, Michelle, Sammy, Dina, Mama Sewell, My sisters, Donna and everyone else… BIG LOVE. Thank you.

Also thank you to Megan – I’m so glad you understood what I meant, you made me feel less crazy about it!

 

I honestly didn’t expect the reaction I got, I was just simply sharing my thoughts as I always do.

 

Today is a new day. Today I am ok. Today I am ok with who I am.

 

Someone recently told me they think I am ‘authentic’ – for me that is a huge compliment; I strive to be a lot of things and authentic is one of them.

I am me. I am not perfect. I have my chaos. I am emotional. I cry over stupid things. I get angry. I withdraw into myself. I doubt myself. I love people but hate them as well. I love to laugh. If you’re important to me I will tell you. I can be moody. I sometimes need a hug or a pat on the head. I am loyal – probably blindly. I am an all -or – nothing type girl. I need looking after. I will never forget how you made me feel. I will always listen and try and help where I can. Music is my therapy. I am sarcastic. I am scatty. I love learning about people. I need reassurance from time to time. I can be insecure. I am sunshine and showers. I am a million and one different things; I can only hope to be good enough for you.

If I am not, there isn’t much I can do about it.

This is me.

Are you in? If you are, great.

If you’re not, that’s ok too.

I’ll miss you though.

 

xoxo Micks

 

how can I become less? 

Where I am: in bed, Montrose CA feeling like absolute rubbish (in case you wondered) 

What I’m listening to: La La Land is on in the background.

It’s my last night in CA until who knows when, I’ve had a ball these last couple weeks with one on my best friends (I apologise to my snapchat friends for the snaps you’ve had to endure). In my quieter moments on this trip, I’ve been thinking about stuff. In my quieter moments I’ve definitely been overthinking stuff. I’ve been thinking about myself and my behaviours, my character. 

Over the last few years I have been told that I am ‘a lot to handle’; that I am ‘too much’. Not just by one person, once. There have been a few different people on a few different occasions. Every time I’m told that it seems to stick in my memory more.

I’m not quite sure what they meant when they said it. I have never known whether to take it as a compliment or an insult; I tend to lean towards the latter.

“Too much” isn’t something that’s normally associated with positives, is it? Too much by definition is “an intolerable, implausible or exhausting situation or experience” (Google)  Not something I’d like to be known as really.

So my question is how do I make myself less? Is it possible to make myself just enough, just the right amount? Do I make myself smaller? My voice? My attitude? Do I have less opinions? Should I be quieter? Or laugh less? 

If you have the answers please let me know.

I don’t want to be ‘too much’. I’d like to be enough. 

xoxo Micks  

The one where I talk about toxic thinking. 

Now before I finish this post, I’d just like to say I am not posting this for any kind of validation. I am not posting this so people can say ‘oh, Michaela you’re so great’ I’m posting this because this is genuinely how I feel and it is where my head is at 75% of the time.

I have, historically, struggled to open up about how I feel. My mum is constantly telling me how guarded I am, how closed off I am. When I started writing I started writing for me and then when I started to share some of that with the world I said that I would do my best to share not just the light hearted stuff but also the stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, the stuff that people might read and say “WTF is wrong with her?”  

This is one of those posts and it is triggered by a couple of things that have been said to me in the last couple of weeks. 

The first was that I am, what is known as, a toxic thinker. I was talking to my boss about some stuff and this phrase came up. It’s really stuck with me. 

The second was that the world owes me some happiness. One of my friends said that to me; that I work really fucking hard, that Karma was the world’s energy and that when you are a nice person and always put everyone else first then yes karma should give you something back. 

I batted this back, naturally, by saying the world doesn’t owe me anything. I do believe this to be true, the world was here first. I’m lucky to just be living on it. 

I then thought back to the conversation about ‘toxic thinking’ and realised this reaction to someone saying something (that was actually really fucking nice) was proving the point. The thing is, until now I’d never thought of it as being a detriment to my own mental health and self worth. I never thought that me thinking that I didn’t deserve any kind of goodness wasn’t normal. I figured most people would react the same way as me if asked. Who knew I could be so dense? 

I was also so focused on wanting to be the best for other people, for wanting to cheerlead them in their lives that I always felt uncomfortable with people doing that for me. 

I never felt that I deserved anything that was out of this world in ways of praise, relationships, or love. People would tell me I deserved the best and I’d laugh. I never felt entitled. I have always viewed myself as mediocre at best.

“We often judge worthiness on what people contribute, and if you haven’t done much that is considered ‘valuable’ by society’s standards, you may not feel very worthy of any sort of rewards. You see how many people just get by, or live terrible lives, and you think what is so special about you..why do you deserve to get everything you want” – livelifemadetoorder.com

The standards I set myself are sooooo high and I might not meet them all the time. I can’t be the best at everything I do, I just need to learn to take the victories where I can. 

I need to remember that me having to bail on a friend doesn’t make me not worthy of their friendship. I need to remember that me not being able to split myself in 6 or achieve everything I want to at work doesn’t make me a bad manager (I am notorious for wanting everything done yesterday)

How can I have the life that I want if I don’t think I deserve it? The short answer is I can’t. Only I can change my perception of myself and in turn change my perception of what I think I deserve.

Is gonna be easy to change my thinking? I doubt it but I’ll give it a go.

Here’s to less toxic thoughts and more self love ❤️ 

Peace ✌🏼 

xoxo Micks 

I been runnin’

What I am listening to – Jack Garrett ‘Water’ and ‘Follow the sun’ by Caroline Pennell are currently on a loop.

HI FRIENDS,

I am currently sat in my bed, I’ve been here all-day, sleeping and thinking on and off. A rare day off when I have no plans I wasn’t really going to do much more. I have just had food shoved down my throat, as I hadn’t eaten all day today and most of yesterday and have just finished watching ‘To The Bone’ on Netflix.

The weather had also added to my want to not leave my house. You gotta love the great British summer. I feel I may be one of the weird ones though, I quite enjoy a heavy downpour; I find watching the rain calming.

Today I am thinking about running. Not as in the physical act of running – which I have not done for months (must.try.harder) and has contributed to my turning into a bigger lard than ever – but the running away we do in day-to-day life. Do you run away from stuff? I know I do, all the time. From people and problems. Uncomfortable situations. Embarrassing ones. It’s easier to be alone, it’s easier to keep to yourself. It’s easier to ignore things. It’s easier, but probably not particularly healthy.

I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that running away and avoidance doesn’t help anyone or anything. Running away is an escape mechanism we use because we think we’re protecting ourselves.

 

“Ignorance is bliss”

 

but is it?

The issue you’re avoiding will still be there until you deal with it. If you’re really lucky, like me, it will sit in your subconscious and you’ll dream about it. We end up backing ourselves into a corner until we have no choice but to deal with it. How many people do you know that are in relationships not because they’re in love with each other anymore but because it’s easier to stay as they are? It’s comfortable so why rock the boat? How many of us stay in jobs we hate because the fear of failing at what we really want to do is too embarrassing?

I guess what I’m trying to say, and remind myself, is that until we acknowledge what we’re running from, until we muster up the courage to deal with what we’re running from it isn’t going to go away. It will just be a continuous circle in our lives. Similar situations will crop up, we’ll think and feel the same things over, over, over and over again until the day we decide enough is enough. We need to consciously decide to break the habit.

Facing these issues, these fears will help us grow as people. It may not be comfortable, it may be scary but it is essential. We can’t keep running from our pain and hope that when we stop and look over our shoulders it will be gone.

I’m not saying that I have the answers to finding this bravery, I just know I need to find it. So if you have the answers, send them my way.

 

Cheers all the best,

 

Micks xoxo

 

You can’t run away from your problems. They will just chase you and get bigger and bigger. If you stand and face them, they will shrivel and disappear.” -W.H. Fordham