april, 2018

bonjour and hello to you, the reader of this post.

how are you? well i hope. is it just me or has april been another january? as in, it’s felt like it has lasted about 700 weeks. it is finally the end of the month which means i can use my favourite meme in this post because…

how am i? well, this month i’ve mainly spent it feeling like i’m in the way and a bit forgotten if i’m honest. which, i know sounds to most either

  1.  bratty
  2.  utterly ridiculous
  3.  a bit pathetic

the thing is, i know it is probably all of the above but it’s how i have been feeling. so shoot me, why don’t ya. it’s a feeling i’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to shake off. i know people are just very busy and that i am not the centre of their world. i know that cancelled plans and minimal communication is just a result of people being busy and having more important things taking up their time but it’s still how i’ve been feeling and i wont lie to you. and i wont apologise for it either because, as i’ve told many a person, you should never apologise for how you feel.

in a complete 180 i have also been feeling very inspired by all the marathon runners, both Brighton and London. how fantastic are they all? (answer: very)

our very own Teddy’s Tribe did it, raising a phenomenal amount of money in the process. the cheerleaders spent their time wandering around Brighton seafront (one of my favourite places in England, just FYI) sporting their Teddy’s Tribe Foundation T Shirts, and myself the chipped tooth and fat lip i gained courtesy of my nephew on the train down there.

hero of the month

celebrity

Jameela Jamil

i have followed Jameela for what feels like years now. i remember her presenting on T4 back in the day but i really started to love her when i started reading her columns in Glamour magazine. at least i think it was Glamour, it might have been Cosmo, it was one of them. i loved how ballsy she was, i loved that she didn’t hold any prisoners, i loved that she had fucking opinions like a real person and not some puppet created by a PR company to give the generally acceptable answers that didn’t differ from the status quo.

in more recent times people will know her as Tahani in NBC’s ‘The Good Place’. holy forking shirtballs it’s good. it’s one of those shows that are very easy to watch.

she also runs two Instagram accounts, one of which is the reason she is my celebrity hero this month.

‘I Weigh’ is a movement. a movement that encourages people to see themselves as more than the number on the scale because that is only part, a small part, of what we are. it’s bloody fantastic.

personal

there isn’t one this month. sorry, i just generally hate everyone this month sooooo

book of the month

giving myself a pat on the back because i read not one, not two but THREE books this month.

learning more about people April edition was : Patti Smith – Just Kids

what a story. a story of friendship, love and survival. a story based in one of the best cities in the world – NYC. a story that shows that success is not an overnight job for anyone. hard work is rewarded. a beautiful read that i would highly recommend.

Joanna Nadin – The Queen of Bloody Everything

a novel. this was sent to me for freee (i love it when that happens). i had to read it and then give my feedback on it. what i loved about this is that, whilst it was a love story, the main love story wasn’t based on romantic love but rather parental. the main relationship was between a mother and daughter – and we all know how complicated they can be.

Dolly Alderton – Everything I Know about Love

now this was supposed to be my ‘learn more about other people: May edition’ book but i read it in one day. so i need a new book for may, if you have any suggestions then send them to me.

my friend Amy, upon seeing i was reading this, said to me she wants to start a cult of dolly. well, Amy, sign me up. i devoured this book. every 20 something woman needs it.

i also realised after i finished that i always seem drawn to people and the stories of people that aren’t necessarily traditional. a lot of the biographies i read the people have made royal cock ups, or have had their hearts shattered, or have some form of mental illness. they’ve experienced the very worst of what life can give you, felt terribly alone, or like a failure, like they’ve been left behind but have lived to tell the tale. their stories fill me with hope and a sense of calm. they make me feel less alone, i guess.

soundtrack to the month.

there have been three songs on repeat for me across this month.

patti smith – because the night

anne-marie – 2002

chris lane – take back home girl.

bad joke of the month

this got me giggling this month

food of the month

i’ve been enjoying yoghurt pouches like the 5 year old i am and also, lots of tea and biscuits. as lent finished i’ve been making up for lost time. oh and MARMITE CHEESE. my mouth is watering just writing that. motherforking shirt balls, it’s delicious.

realisation of the month

i will always have a love-hate relationship with people. they fascinate me, but they also piss me right off.

april 2018

i’ve been thinking a lot about stories this month. everyone’s life is a story and we try to write it simply as beginning – middle – end but perhaps we have it wrong. perhaps our stories aren’t as simple as that. perhaps they are lots of little stories that each has their own beginning –middle – end. maybe the people we meet are who make up the chapters. maybe we need to let go of the role we think people play in our stories to see the role they really play. i’m sure i’ve played the heroine in some, the villain in others. i’m sure i have hurt people in ways i can never make up for even though it hurts to admit that. perhaps my ability to face the things i don’t want to, the things i convinced myself i wasn’t strong enough to make me the hero of some stories, perhaps it makes me the hero of my own story. the character i play in other people’s lives, the role i’m cast in is not mine to decide, really. some chapters, no matter how much time passes, will still be painful to revisit, as painful as they were when they came to an end. these chapters will mean we actively avoid things; places, foods, movies and music because they remind us of that pain and reliving some stories are too painful. at least for now. one day we’ll gain those things back – sure, deep down we’ll hear that song and remember that person that broke our heart, or that friend that let us down, but one day, we’ll be able to claim back those things and rewrite their meaning in our chapters, in our stories. at least that’s what i’m hoping.

happy may, friends.

be good. to yourselves and others.

xoxo micks

people need other people.

it’s 10pm on a wednesday night and here i am, just a while in from having dinner with someone very special and i’m sat in bed crying.

why you ask? or maybe you didn’t but either way you’re finding out.

the reason i’m crying is because i have just finished reading Bryony Gordon’s book ‘Mad Girl’. the book is Bryony sharing her story, her mental health story.

some of the parallels in our illnesses are scary but it made me realise that we, Bryony and I, are the lucky ones. we had people around us, both at home and at work, that cared. that care. that care enough to not give up on us when our demons get too much, that don’t run the other way saying ‘fuck this shit, you’re on your own’ but stand next to us, gently guiding us saying ‘you’ve got this’.

tonight when i was at dinner my friend told me about a colleague she had who had passed away recently, this colleague had struggled with his mental health (his death was unrelated to any mental health illnesses) in the past which eventually led to him leaving his position – by all accounts the management were not very supportive of the days out he needed to take.

(please note, needed is accurate. when you’re depressed you can’t simply say to depression ‘oh well today isn’t a very good day for me to be depressed, i’ve lots on. can you come back tomorrow?’ depression, in case you didn’t know, is a bit of an inconsiderate bastard).

at his funeral she learnt how much having that job meant to him. she said she never realised the impact their day to day jokes and interactions had on him, and on his life.

i’m crying because i realised that i was lucky, i was lucky that back in september i had someone who was able to notice i was poorly before i did – Momma Sophs, you recognised i was ill before i did, before anyone did. i don’t know how but thank you.

i was lucky that, when i was stood on a train platform a couple of weeks later listening to the voices in my head telling me to give up and that me dying would be for the benefit of everyone, that it would be better than the constant battle in my head, i had diane on the end of the phone telling me not to listen to the voice in my head that was telling me that. that it was lying to me.

i was lucky i had my sister to call and make the doctors appointment when i was too ill to myself.

i was lucky i had denise calling me every few hours just to check in, telling me to come to her house after work so she could feed me and let me get some of these thoughts out my head and feelings off my chest.

i had my boss – who i was super nervous to tell i was poorly because, well i was embarrassed, i was embarrassed of being ill again and of how bad it had gotten and what it might make him think of me – tell me that it was a tricky illness but that he knew i was more than capable. he understood why i text him to tell him and didn’t call and then spent time with me on the phone the next day trying to understand the illness, what it looked like for me and help me figure out what my triggers were.

now i have my new boss who was, as well, brilliant when he found out – as i’m still recovering i thought it wise to tell him and it came up very organically in conversation so i was comfortable telling him. parts of our conversation went like this…

me – i don’t run around screaming at everyone that i’m mad but it makes sense you should know.

him – you’re not mad because you’ve got depression…. you just need to make sure you tell me how you’re feeling, keep me in the loop.

(that’s what i needed to hear from him. it was a big weight off these shoulders, i tell ya. also, nb, i often tell people i’m ‘mad’ because i think i’m being funny and most people feel more comfortable when you joke about serious stuff)

i had steph, who always seems to message me at just the right time, who always makes me feel like a better human than i am.

i guess, the short version (i’ve never been very good at getting straight to the point), is that i was crying because i was grateful.

i was grateful for this year and for these people (and many more not listed here). i was grateful for the days when i thought i wouldn’t make it to the next one because, if nothing else, i’ve learnt the human spirit is made of strong bloody stuff.

2017 is the year i realised that i didn’t have to keep all my problems to myself. it was the year i learnt who my friends really were. i learnt i don’t have to keep my cards so close to my chest. i might be a burden sometimes, but then aren’t we all? the ones that think i’m worth it will stay. for the good and bad.

i learnt people need other people.

we really do.

people need other people.

and there’s nothing wrong with that. nothing at all.

xoxo M

p.s if you want to try to understand mental health illnesses and how they make you feel and think please read Bryony’s book. she words it so well, much better than i ever could.

World Mental Health Day

hi everyone,

i wasn’t going to post today. i wasn’t going to write. i was going to let the day pass and share this another time, perhaps when i was better. however, having seen so many of my friends (both real life and online), family and even celebrities, post about World Mental Health Day i feel like it would be insincere of me not to post.

as many of you know, mental health is something that is very close to my heart (and head). i posted before about my mental health battles, about dealing with anxiety and depression. i have been very vocal about not being ashamed of my sometimes chaotic mind. So, with that in mind, i have something to tell you.

i, michaela, am battling depression once again. third times the charm, ay.

when did I know it had come back, when did i suspect something was wrong again? that i needed help? well, it hit me like a sack of shit last week but the symptoms had been there for a while; i just ignored them, or rather blamed them on exhaustion from having worked continuously since may with no break, pulling at least 50hr work weeks.

so what finally made me admit that i wasn’t well and that i need a helping hand? it was number of things and they all came to head last week. i’ll tell you.

this next part some people may find difficult to read and so i apologise in advance if you makes you feel uncomfortable.

september 23rd. i was in montrose, ca visiting friends.  i took the following picture and uploaded it to my socials

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nothing weird about that, most people enjoy a quick selfie. the difference is, most people don’t follow posting a selfie on facebook with thoughts of “if i jumped off the balcony would it be high enough to kill me?” i pondered that for a good 5 minutes. then my friend Mark came along and distracted me enough for that thought to leave my mind. i slept more than normal on that holiday too – which is common sign of depression – but again i blamed it on exhaustion, all those long hours i’d done were catching up with me. or were they? Mark and my friends fed me up good and proper the whole holiday – i’d been going days without eating properly (eating too much/ loss of appetite – another sign of depression) before – but again i was just too busy to eat. i mean, a bag of popcorn and a breakfast bar is a normal amount of food to eat in a 48 hour period, right?

when i got home i was still exhausted, but blamed it on jetlag. getting up in the morning was harder than ever and i was extremely emotional but, hey, i had my period so it must have been that.

tuesday i was off. i shared my worries with one of my oldest friends, denise. i spent a couple of hours with her, her little one and the dog. it’ll do me good to get out the house, i thought. i thought i’d been ok but, turns out, i hadn’t. she told me on friday that she could tell i “wasn’t right”.

i was starting late on wednesday, it took me an hour to get out of bed. the negative thoughts had crept back in but again, i brushed it off. it took all the strength i had to get in the shower, i managed through and got out the shower but that’s where my energy left me. my sister had to pick me up off the floor. she had to help me get dressed. she had to dry my hair for me, all whilst i sat there in a daze. dentist happened and then i was away to work. i got to the train station and stood crying on the platform. i knew there was something wrong with me, i could barely keep my head up. my thoughts were along these lines… how long would i feel the pain if i stepped in the path of a train? do people ever survive being hit by a train? it would be over in seconds, i’m sure. the aim was not to die, the aim was to end the confusion. the aim was to clear the fog that had clouded my mind. the aim was peace.

i realise that this may seem dramatic to you. hell, it does to me. but it’s my truth and i won’t lie about it. i can’t sugar coat anything because to do that would be pointless.

clearly, as i am sat here writing this, i did not step in front of a train. i had a set of people around me that listened, that knew me well enough to make me get help. i shared that train thought with one of my best friends because, through all the fog, i had a small moment of clarity, i knew telling someone would help. and it did. once i had told her, the fog cleared slightly.

whilst this was happening my sisters had been talking, and my eldest sister called me and told me she was booking me doctors appointment – she got me one for the next day.

i went to the doctor. i’m getting help. this time around i have opted for no anti depressants, although i have some waiting for me if i change my mind. this time around i am trying counselling. i need to understand my triggers.

i had to cancel my trip to india to get better which broke my heart. my doctor deemed me too ‘high risk’ to travel so far with no treatment, so soon after diagnosis, “it’s definitely not advisable, michaela. india will always be there”.

i never thought i would be back at a point where i was having to tell people i was ill in this way again.  all i can ask at this time from those that are closest to me is their patience, please be patient with me. some days i will be ok. others i won’t. today was a good day – for the first time in 4 days i found the energy to get out of bed and shower (depression is not glamorous), it took everything out of me – my hair was knot city so that was a chore in itself. i also ask you to not edit yourselves around me – make jokes, talk to me like normal; i don’t need special treatment. i’m still me!!

i also need to say thank you. thank you to my sisters for looking out for me, my parents. thank you to diane who talked me down from that moment on the platform, who messaged me each morning and night to make sure i was safe. to denise, for checking in on me each day, for giving me an evening of distraction on friday – i felt normal for an evening, for putting food in front of me (even if i only ate half a plate), to my little sophia for being honest and saying that you didn’t know what to say but that you just wanted me better. to steph, you always know what to say, even when i don’t believe the nice things you say to me, you still say them. to the taylors, yesterday was a bad day but you took the time to find images and youtube videos of my favourite things to make me smile. it worked. rachel, for reminding me that it is all temporary, that there is no right or wrong way to live life and that i will get there eventually. byng, mark, ken, tom, rhirhi, mariana, emma, katie… anyone who has taken 5 minutes to just see how i am recently. thank you. i even have to shout out my boss because he was amazing when i told him – i’m very lucky to have a boss that doesn’t think less of me because of it – i know from other friends that this is, unfortunately, very rare.

i know you don’t all understand it, i don’t either sometimes but i am trying.

i’m learning to understand it. i’m learning how to keep trying. i’m learning to remind myself that i have survived 100% of my worse times and that no matter how many moments seem unbearable the darkness is temporary. i’m not afraid to put the work in to get better.

because that’s all i want.

to be better.

xoxo micks

 

p.s if anyone, no matter how well i know you, ever needs someone to talk to, if you ever feel this way, know you are not alone. i am here.

hope and faith.

It’s 6:30 on a Saturday. I’m sat in bed in my pants and a big wooly jumper (you’re welcome for that delightful visual). The last few days have been a bit up and down for me; quite emotional and, for whatever reason, quite paranoid. I mean, I cried at work approximately 3 times yesterday. Yes, I had to take myself to the loo on 3 separate occasions to have a cry.

 

I’ve spoken a lot about the battles within my own head, sometimes the noise is loud in there, other times it’s quiet. Recently it’s been particularly loud.

 

This week marks two key days for me in my mental health journey.

September 6, 2017 – marked a year since I took my last anti-depressant. A YEAR. 365 days. That alone is enough to make me cry I think. I remember being so so scared that I couldn’t feel happy without those little drugs – I even wrote about it at the time – but I’ve only bloody gone and done it. A YEAR.

There are things I have dealt with in that year that, looking back now, I can’t believe that I did without the help of those little pills.

September 10th, 2017 – this is World Suicide Prevention Day; a day that I always mark in my own little way. Why? I know that, had I not had people looking out for me in my darkest times I could have been a statistic. I could have been one of those 6000 people who take their own life in the UK and ROI a year. I would have been 1 of the 800,000 people that die by suicide worldwide each year. This year’s key message is “It’s OKAY to talk” – it really is. I will always have these two ears open for anyone that needs them.

My story may not be a remarkable one, but it still one of hope for anyone that is in that dark place now. I made it through the other side. I’m so glad I did. I have so much to live for, I have so much to hope for, I have so much to look forward to.

You never know what is going to happen in life but you have to learn to see the beauty in that.

“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human; you’re not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend”

The ‘Me’ last year was determined to leave the country, to go and start fresh somewhere else. To leave behind my broken heart and confused state of mind, to start fresh somewhere no one knew me. Clearly that didn’t happen, I came home. I can sit here now, and say (or type) hand on heart, it was the best decision I ever made.I know I am not perfect, and I am learning to be OK with that. I am realising that although I am independent, I still want to be looked after (and that there is no shame in that). I’m starting to be OK with who I am.  I do not know what the next six years, or even six months hold for me, but for now, yes I might be a bit down in this exact moment, but I am happy. I am happy with where my life is going, with the things I do have planned, with the people who I have around me, with the people I have in my life.

 

I. AM. HAPPY.

Hope allowed me to get to this point.

Blind faith of those around me got me to this point.

I am so glad it did.

 xoxo Micks

Why I won’t stop talking about Mental Health

 

My name is Michaela.

I have depression and anxiety.

I am also extremely logical.

This means my head is pretty much a constant battleground of irrational thought vs. logic trying to win.

Some days logic wins. Some days it doesn’t.

There has been a decent amount of coverage the last week or so about various mental health issues, thanks in large part to those dapper princes HRH Prince William, HRH Princess Catherine and (my personal fave) HRH Prince Henry and the work they are doing with the mental health charity ‘Heads Together’.

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My mental health battles are something that I have been quite honest about over the last year or so. I haven’t always been so open and honest about it but, being truthful, it took me a long time to realise that it was ok for me to have depression and anxiety. It didn’t make me a bad person; it didn’t mean I was damaged any more or less than the next person. I realised that, actually, being honest was the best way to be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t introduce myself with that as my ‘fun fact’, it is not something ALL my work colleagues know but it is something that, when asked, I will be honest about. I try very hard to not let it take over my life; I try very hard to not let it beat me.

Most days it doesn’t, some days it does.

My earliest memories of dealing with anxiety are from when I was around 8 years old. My dad used to ride his bike to work and, for whatever reason, I began to worry that he wouldn’t come home because something would happen. The hours he was gone on the days I was home to know he was gone I would be panic-stricken that I wouldn’t see my dad anymore. I would lie on the couch, eyes shut, reciting my times tables until he got home – it was my way of coping and trying to distract my mind from the worry. I always felt too nauseous to eat my dinner but I would force myself because I felt silly telling my mum and sisters what I was worrying about. I was 8.

 Fast forward to when I was about 12, my anxious self was petrified of power cuts. Lord knows why, I just was. We were all watching Titanic on the telly box and suddenly there was a power cut. I didn’t watch Titanic for almost 10 years because I convinced myself that there would be a power cut at the same part of the movie that there was when I was 12. I also developed distaste for cheese on toast because of power cuts – as we had a gas cooker my mum would always do us some cheese on toast by candlelight. To this day I can’t stomach cheese on toast.

 When I was in my final year at university I was living in a house my friend Steph nicknamed the Big Brother house because there was always something going on. There were various incidents that happened over the course of that year. I had so much anxiety being in that house – it was quite a toxic environment. Not the best place for anyone to be let alone someone who has depression and anxiety. That house and the events that took place there took its toll on all of us, I think. Back to the point… towards the end of that year I finally went back to the house after a few days away – I hadn’t been able to face being there – I borrowed Father of the Bride (banging film) from my pal, housemate, best thing to come out of that house – Mark and fell asleep watching it. I then watched it at bedtime everyday for a month, if not longer, because that first night I watched it nothing bad happened. That meant if I watched it on day 2, 3, 4 etc. that nothing bad would happen. It was only when Mark came in to my room and asked me how much I’d watched it that I realised it was a problem.

Welcome to my obsessive, anxious mind.

Back to the summer of 2010 – I was just back from falling in love with everything that life had to offer in Valencia. I was walking on cloud nine for those few months. Then back to earth with a bump. A dark cloud followed me for the rest of that year, a dark cloud called Depression. Hello, friend.

I had days where I would wake up, cry the whole day, and then fall into an exhausted sleep. I had days where I would sit in my bed, having not showered for days, just staring out the window. Being a student it was easy to hide – people almost expect you to be a big slob. They expect you to sleep lots, be lazy, eat poorly. Living away from home it was easy to hide. My sister’s knew something was up – to quote my eldest sister “I thought you’d gone mad”. My mum said I’d lost my sparkle. My best pal Dalbs knew I had to get out of the hole myself because I was too goddamn stubborn to accept help. The whole time she was my silent cheerleader.

I got there though. In my own time – I’ve never been one to be rushed.

Depression came a knocking again at the end of 2013. This time the symptoms were very different – I had a FT job so I couldn’t spend my days lying in bed and crying. I had to get up and go live because it was what was expected of me. Inside I remember feeling very numb though, I was existing. Not living. I didn’t care for most anyone or anything. For this reason I didn’t recognise I’d fallen back down the same hole I’d climbed out of just 3 years prior. I thought depression only had one face. It doesn’t.

A visit to my doctor in 2014 gave me the reassurance I needed that I wasn’t crazy and that it was simply an illness that I had. The sentence “it’s no different from a chest infection. You’d take medicine for a chest infection, why wouldn’t you for an illness in your brain?” was all it took for me to finally see things a bit clearer and to see that it wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. It was what it was.

Making the decision to get help and take antidepressants (or happy pills as I much prefer to call them) was one of the very best decisions I have ever made. In those first three months there was such a change in myself – I stopped hating the world, I stopped blaming it for everything that I thought was wrong. My ridiculous mood swings stopped. Sure I still get grumpy but hey, I’m only human. I was no longer going calm to crazy in the blink of an eye – now it takes at least two blinks.

Once I started to feel better, started to talk more and accept it, I started to open up about it. I realised that I am definitely not alone. Two of my very best friends in the world have also struggled with depression and anxiety; one of my Nan’s had it, one of my cousins. I am not naming them individually as I feel it is not my place to talk about their experiences but it just shows you that it affects so many people, from all over.

 I eventually got to a place where I felt strong enough to write about it. I was really frickin nervous posting it because the fear of being judged was so real. Some people see the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ and immediately paint a picture in their head of how they think you are, there are those that think we do it for attention, we imagine it all. Then there are those that don’t believe you because you ‘don’t seem the type to have that’ or ‘but you’re always smiling when I see you’… say hello to the person that has highly functioning depression.

After I posted it I had 3 people message me privately from my Facebook friends confessing that they had felt very low and were worried it was depression but were scared to go to the doctor. They didn’t want the doctor to think they were overreacting because they were stressed/ going through a break up etc. I told them if they were worried enough to reach out then go and talk to a medical professional – I am not one and would never diagnose someone but I can empathise with the symptoms that come with them.

All three of those people got back in touch to say they’d gotten help and were on the road to recovery. All because I’d taken the time to share my story and listen to theirs when they reached out.

I can’t tell you the pride I felt. I can’t tell you how, much more importantly, I was pleased they were going to get better. That’s why I won’t stop talking about mental health, and the importance of getting help if you feel it’s too much.

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I was recently out for a friend’s birthday and got talking to someone about my tattoos and they noticed my semi colon –which is a symbol of the mental health movement. It then came out that this person also had depression – having been off my happy pills since August last year I was able to sit there and tell her that it does get better. I’m living proof of that. All the fears of that any happiness you feel whilst taking the tablets is artificial is just that, a fear. Sometimes you just need a helping hand. I was so honoured that person felt they could talk to be about their experiences and that they were reassured about the future, if only for a moment, because of me.

Hope is always there. When you have anxiety and depression there are days when it is really hard to see, sometimes you believe it’s gone completely. Having people around you to not just tell you but also show you that hope is not gone; that it gets better is why I won’t stop talking about mental health.

There’s too much to lose if I do, if we do.

To anyone that is suffering, or thinks they might be. Know this, you are not alone. Help is out there. Hope is real. You matter. The world needs you.

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Some cool websites to check out if you want to learn more about mental illness of if you are struggling and need help –

You’re not scared of climbing mountains, you’re scared that you can’t make them move.

“Making a big life change is scary, but you know what is scarier?

REGRET”

 

 

This quote is so applicable to my life right now it is freaky. As my family and friends know I am currently working my notice period for a company I have worked at for (on and off) 10 years. I’ve worked my way up from a 6hr Sunday girl to store manager. The company has supported me completely throughout this time, providing me with a part-time job during university, a career after. They have allowed me to take sabbaticals to go off, explore the world and live my best life whilst providing me with a safety net to return to when I’m done. It’s been my comfort blanket for the last 10 years. On August 13th 2016 that comfort blanket is gone for good.

 

A change gon’ come.

 

Now, considering I was the one who made the decision to leave you’d think I’d be more excited about the new challenges that lay ahead with my new job and I am, to an extent, but I am also shitting my pants a bit. Why? Exactly as that quote says – change is a scary thing. I know my job I have now (after 10 years I’d be worried if I didn’t), I still love the company – I believe in where it is going and its vision for the future. Whilst it is not perfect (no business is), it’s determined to be the best in its category. I adore the (majority of) customers that come through the door; in fact I properly enjoy talking with the kids more than the adults! My favourite customers I have seen through numerous children, they have come back to see me time and again – one customer even followed me from my previous store to the one I’m currently in.

To think that will be gone is both sad and scary.

Some of my close friends have had the drama of me officially making this decision – when I handed my notice in my regional manager made it VERY hard to leave – so hard in fact that when I hung up the phone to him I promptly burst into tears through both confusion and because he was very nice to me and I wasn’t expecting it. I then called Den and Michelle straight away and they spoke whilst I cried a bit more, I then crazy messaged my friend in Weymouth shouting about needing her life coach advice (She’s yet to steer me wrong) and then starting harassing two people who’s opinions I value a lot through the mediums of Whatsapp and Snapchat. Ultimately the decision was mine and I decided to go ahead with the resignation because I have bigger, long-term plans and could never live with the ‘what if’ that I know I would end up with if I stayed.

 

Over the last week I have almost called my RM and retracted my notice on a couple of occasions because change is scary. Because I worry that I’ve made the wrong choice and the grass isn’t really greener. Because I worry about the people I’m leaving behind and that I’m somehow letting them down. Especially when you’re settled, change is scary. When you constantly worry about what could go wrong, and what if you feel that you are not strong enough, independent enough or lovable enough to succeed in getting through an important change?

Change is scary.

 

Now, some people embrace change as though it is nothing (I hate and admire those people in equal amounts), a smart man said once “change is the only constant thing in life” and we need to learn to embrace it, little by little to challenge ourselves and grow. If I was to let it, my imagination could come up with a million different worse case scenarios and terrible things that could happen as a result of this change I’m making. Thinking about it, if I can imagine the worst thing, why can’t imagine the best? It can only go one of two ways, right? Things can get better, or they can get worst. 50/50 chance of both.

 “the key to change…is to let go of fear” (Roseanne Cash)

and right now that is what I am deciding to do (at least for the next 5 minutes).

 

 

Yes, the change I am making is scary. Yes, it could go wrong. Right now though, I am deciding to take a leap of faith and trust in the magic of new beginnings. I have to live my life for me, and no one else.

Besides, who knows, give it a year and I might be back where I started, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.

Xoxo

Micks

P.S to all my work favourites… you’ll never really get rid of me. Like a fly to shit I’ll always be hovering around J Love yous xxx

To Write Love On Her Arms

“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road-trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs but people more than anything else. You will need other people, and you will need to be the other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe in better things” – Jamie Tworkowski

 

Jamie Tworkowski is not a name that many people know. I think it is a name that more people should know. He is the founder of a non-profit organisation, or charity if you will, based out of Melbourne, Florida, that focuses on giving hope and getting help for those struggling with issues such as depression and self-harm.

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source: twloha.com

 

 

The charity was founded in 2006, the name is a direct reference to the first person the organisation ever helped. A young addict who self-harmed – she wrote the word ‘fuck up’ on her arm with a razor blade. Jamie wrote an article hoping to help her get cleaned up and write ‘LOVE’ on her arms instead.

I first came across TWLOHA in, probably, 2010 around the first time I had depression. Back then, I thought it was a sign of weakness, I was in denial for a long time. I finally was diagnosed, and then – after refusing any help from the doctors – I started to look on the interweb for things that could support me and help me get better. TWLOHA came into my life then, and I have followed their journey ever since. September 2011 I was officially not depressed anymore but I still followed them because I believed in their work and what they were doing and trying to achieve. January 2014 came and I hit a downward spiral, and I was diagnosed with depression again. 2 years later I’m still on medication for it, this time around I am not ashamed to admit it, because TWLOHA have shown me that I am not alone; that there are millions of people the world over that struggle with it too. I am one of the lucky ones who got help in time, who got help before it got too bad.

 

Of course, being non-profit means they have to fundraise which they do in various ways such as by selling merch on their website; some of which you may have seen your favourite singer or celeb wearing because a lot of public names have recognised the incredible work they do and shown support for the organisation. They gain exposure through public talks, events, social media, they go on the road every year for the Vans Warped Tour in the states, and they really are helping people. There are countless people online who talk about how TWLOHA has helped them through personal struggles.

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Last year Jamie announced he would be releasing a book called “If You Feel Too Much; Thoughts on things found and lost and hoped for”; it would be a collection of his writings and blogs across the years. It was released in May but I never got around to buying it. I bought it just after Christmas. I have been slowly getting through it on my journeys to and from work and each day, Jamie gives me food for thought, makes me feel less alone and gives me hope. I would say I wished I bought it sooner, but I’m just glad I’ve got it now. I’m just over half way through now and I wanted to share some of the thoughts and things that have struck a chord with me the most in his writings, so here they are…

 

“…for love is a choice more than it is magic”

 

“I am less and less impressed by “impressive” things or people who are presented as having things figured out. I am impressed by people who are honest and kind. I am inspired by moments of vulnerability, moments of confession and compassion, moments where someone makes it clear that they are a person in need of other people and someone else makes it clear that the first person is not alone”

 

“…love is a choice as much as it is magic. Magic comes in moments, but choices stretch out over time. We make them each morning”

 

“After my first winter in NY, I learned that spring makes sense only because of winter. You notice the warm sun on your face because it hasn’t been there”

 

“I’ve become embarrassed by most things “Christian”, but I still believe in a God who loves people”

 

Be loved. Be known. Love people and know people. Be so brave as to raise a hand for help when you need it. Make friends and make sure they know they matter. Be loyal to them and fight for them. Remind them what’s true and invite them to do the same when you forget. If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.

In the event that we live to be old, I doubt our last days will find us aching for success or achievements. I doubt we’ll ask for bigger names or internet followers or virtual friends. If influence comes, then let it come, but it was never the point of the story. We will look back and smile on the moments that were real, the people who knew us and the people we knew, the relationships and conversations, the days we walked together, the story that we told. We will consider the moments when we were embraced by people who loved us even at our worst. And they simply loved us not for any sort of fame but simply because our stories had joined somehow and that miracle of friendship had taken place.”

 

“…There is a car in their driveway. There is a TWLOHA sticker on the back of that car.

We don’t know whose car it is or how the sticker got there.

But we know what that sticker means.

It means that millions of people struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. It means that the majority of those people never get the help they need and deserve. It means that what we do with our pain – how we respond to it – matters. It’s one of the biggest questions we get to answer in this life.

We believe it’s possible to change. We hear from people taking brave steps towards hope and help and healing. We hear from people sitting across from a counselor for the first time, people stepping into treatment and people picking up the phone to call a crisis hotline. We hear from people pursuing sobriety and stability. We believe that great help exists and we know the first step is often the hardest one to take.

If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. Its okay to ask for help. People need other people. If someone you care about is hurting, talk to them. We know it’s not always easy, but it could be the thing that changes everything.”

 

“I feel sad more than I feel happy.

I feel stuck more than I feel free.

I feel defeated more than I feel accomplished.

I feel I should have found love by now…

…so do not despair for there is more than what we feel.

There are things missing in every single room, but there is even more not missing.

So don’t be blinded by ghosts. Don’t let them glow brighter than your friends. Don’t let them glow brighter than your family. Be present. Fight to be present. Don’t live only in your head. It’s lonely and it’s dangerous.

Put your phone down for a few hours every day.

Talk to people. Look someone in the eyes and be honest and invite them to do the same.

Read a good book and watch a great film and put a song on repeat and remember who you are. Keep dreaming all your dreams. and perhaps as well some new ones.

Go to counseling if you need to go to counseling.

Take your own advice.

Take care of yourself.

Take care of the people you love.

Tell them that you love them.

 

There is much to be thankful for.”

 

 

I am thankful for Jamie. For TWLOHA. For all my family and friends that have never given up on me and that see me as I really am but love me and support me anyway. Someone who is not perfect, who struggles and stumbles through life day-to-day, who – on most days – doesn’t see the girl they think she is, who is learning to be happy in her own skin, who lives in her head more than she should, who overthinks, takes things to heart but can appear emotionally disconnected (although sometimes they do peak out from behind the wall that’s there). The girl who has no clue what she’s doing or where she’s going in life, but who is trying to have some fun along the way.

 

Lastly, if you’re struggling know that hope is real and help is real. You’re stronger than your demons; they are a part of you but they don’t define you. You’re not alone.

 

Xoxo

 

Micks