Denise aka Dennis the Menace

Hi Dennis,

As I sit down to write this I realised I don’t think I’ve ever written anything for you before… I find that odd.

Anyway, unimportant because tomorrow is your birthday!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDMA!!!

I thought I’d write you your letter for your birthday and then by the time I see you to celebrate on Wednesday evening we’ll both have forgotten about me being nice because we’re not really ever nice to each other like this, are we? It’s important to me that you do get a letter though and your birthday seemed a nice reason to write it.

Mate, I don’t even know where to start… perhaps at the beginning – I know you love ‘The Sound of Music’ as much as me and Maria said it’s a very good place to start sooo….

Sunday, September 3rd 2006 that was the day we met. Well, actually Tuesday, August 30th was the day we met because that was the day of my interview at MC and you were there but the Sunday was the first day we spoke (yes, I know I’m weird for remembering the day). I thought you were much older than me because of how you carried yourself and I remember everyone on that Sunday team telling me you were scary and I was like… what? Are you mad? She’s not scary!

And it’s true you’re not.

What you are though is a fantastic friend. Like, truly. I’ve spoken about it before with Diane – you are one of the best. Solid. You’re just great.

You are unwavering in your loyalty, you’re not hard work at all – you understand that people are weird and life is weird and don’t take offence if we don’t speak for a few weeks because I’ve spiralled into a hole of work and anxiety. You’re just there after to listen (with a cup of tea and biscuits, obvs) and give us a kick back in the right direction.

There was a couple of years ago when I was ill that you literally got me through the worst week. Calling me to make sure I was on my way to work, calling me to make sure I got to work, calling me after to make me come to your house so you could feed me and not letting me leave the table until I’d eaten half of what was on my plate after I’d confessed I’d gone about 3 days with no real food. You can’t buy friendship like that. I don’t know if I ever said thank you for it either, so thanks.

I also really respect that you don’t try to pretend to empathise with what I go through when I get ill but that you just try to understand and ask questions; anyone that has anxiety and depression will tell you it’s so hard to find people like that.

I love that you trust me to be in Charlie’s life. The older I get the more I understand how protective people need to be with who they let be around their children and you’ve let me be constantly in Bean’s. Which I’m glad for because I love that little bean. He’s a credit to you and Chris.

I love that you moved to the ghetto from the other ghetto (TH is BF, just be honest) to ten minutes away from me 😂 we’re not that bad here. Don’t go to the other side of the local shops though, that’s proper ghetto!

You’re the right balance of supportive and cautious. I have a lot of ideas that are great in theory but actually completely ridiculous in reality and you’re not scared to tell me that 👏🏼

You are that friend that says ‘we’ll just have one drink’ and then I leave your house at 4am, pissed with no door key and have to wake the house up to get in 🤷🏼‍♀️ oops. Or I end up throwing up everywhere (it was one time and I’m still embarrassed about it) … literally the worst drunk ever when I’m with you. I have my worst hangovers when I’ve been drinking with you 😂 Bad influence. Maybe this birthday I’ll get drunk and rap Eminem for you again.

You’re the best gym buddy because you know when we really need to work out and when to suggest we just sack it off and go for egg on toast at the local greasy spoon too. Balance is good for you. Obvs.

What is possibly my favourite thing about our friendship though is how much we laugh. At other people, each other, the world. I have never known anyone (and I mean ANYONE) to understand the quotes that I randomly slip into conversation… I miss working with you everyday purely for that 😂

Basically, I just wish everyone could have a friend like Dennis. They can’t actually have you though because you’re my friend.

So, Happy Birthday again. You’re great. Can’t wait for Cabaret on Wednesday. I’ll try not to sing too loudly in your ear.

See ya, pal! (please get that quote)

Micks.

• Diane Alice Lorraine •

Day 3. Letter 3.

Diane Alice (Lorraine) Dalby.

Well, this is an odd one to write because although I know you know how much you mean to me, I don’t think I’ve actually ever told you. What a dick.

If you’d have asked 17 year old me if my first ever manager would become one of the most important people in my life I’d have probably told you to fuck off but somehow it happened.

To think I hated you when we first met properly.

I remember leaving the interview at Mothercare and saying to my mum on the phone “I really hope I get that job” and then you called me 3 days later to offer me the job. Little did I know that I was signing up for 12 years of fun (there was a lot shit too but I choose to only remember the fun).

Then you fucked off to another store for a few months, came back and I hated you.

I remember being sat in the staff room on those god awful brown chairs opposite the white board and you asked me about my shifts… I thought “who’s this? She’s never here and she’s asking ME about MY shifts” Bit big for my boots really. The team always blame you for turning me into a monster but I think it was always there, you just bought it to the surface.

Slowly though, I realised you’re actually alright, a bit mad, but alright. This one’s a keeper. You took a chance on me and gave me my career. One that I actually love (we all know you have to love retail to work in it long term).

I don’t remember when you moved from boss to friend, it just feels like it’s always been that way now. It’s been nearly 13 years. I’m still waiting for my medal for putting up with you, Duncan did promise me one?!

Little known fact about you: you are pretty much the reason I’m alive now. I know that sounds dramatic but you’ve seen me through 3 depressive episodes and, unknown to some, the last one I was suicidal. You talked me down from that train platform, from afar. Without you on the end of the phone when I was stood on that platform I definitely wouldn’t be here. I literally owe you my life. I’m so glad you did that because I actually love my life and I wasn’t ready to die. I was just so ill I couldn’t remember that. You made me remember.

So cheers for that. Nice one.

Life coach. Therapist. Advice giver. Belly laugh inducer. You literally tick all the boxes of what it means to be a bloody brilliant friend. You’ve never tried to change me, ever. You just accepted me for the weirdo I am and honestly you probably know me better than anyone else in my life so that’s saying something.

You have played such an important part in my finding my voice and navigating this weird world and helping me realise that no one ever has it all figured out. I even like that you don’t always agree with me (you always point out when I’m wrong, not that it happens much, obvs 😉)

I don’t think there will ever be enough thank you’s really.

I’m so glad you’re off having your adventures with Dunc now, even if it means I don’t know when I’ll see you next. Though I do know that I can’t wait for the stories because there are bound to be some fucking brilliant ones 😂

I’m not sure anything will ever top the story of Andrea on the roof though!

Adventure is out there.

Love you, Dalby.

Mickey D’s xoxox

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.

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!

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.

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

 

feeling the love

oh hey.

it’s 6am in LA. I can’t sleep. so y’all are getting a post (2 in as many days #sorrynotsorry)

so, quick background on where i’m staying and who i’m staying with.

one of my best friends from university (hey, Jade) is from LA. Her mom (Momma Sophs) dad (Wilf) and god mom (Lisa) all live together in a beautiful house (her dad did a beaut of a job on it, he’s so talented). I’m staying with / visiting them. Jade isn’t here- she lives in Finland with her fella. My Irish pal is here too, though. I know, I know… it’s complicated.

i’ve know Jade for 9 years nearly, and her folks for maybe 6/7 of those. They have all known me during my struggles with depression and anxiety, they housed me for a summer so Jade and I could road trip west coast >> east, they housed me this January  when I had my breakdown over going to Australia or not. 

they know me well.

they know not to talk to me in the morning because I’m grumpy. They know I’m pretty laid back about most things – one of the reasons Jades mom likes to travel with me. They know I can be a sarcastic little shite. They know I’m obsessed with music; if I’m not listening to it, I’m reading about it. If I’m not reading about it, I’m singing. 

when I come here to visit it feels like a home from home. I feel so relaxed, there’s no pretense, no bullshit. 

they remind me that friends really are the family we choose for ourselves. I think to myself on every trip how did I luck out and meet Jade and then gain an extra family? a family that is genuinely concerned for my wellbeing.

yesterday morning I was in the kitchen and Momma Sophs and I had this conversation 

S “Oh I’m glad you’re here by yourself, I wanted to talk to you alone”

M “ok, whats up?”

S “are you ok, sweetie? You’re not feeling anxious, your depression hasn’t come back?”

M “no, I’m ok at the moment. Maybe a bit anxious with work but I’m fine”

S ” ok good, I just wanted to check because you’ve been really quiet this whole trip and I was really worried”

DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY AND LOVED I FELT WALKING AWAY FROM THAT CONVERSATION? 

Having conversations like that with anyone that has a history of mental illness is so, SO important. 

Knowing someone is looking out for you… priceless. 

This email from the universe is true 

I’m feeling the love 

Xoxo micks