Just like John, I’m so tired. 

where i am: Los Angeles with my American fam.

where my head is at: who bloody knows. when it stops spinning I’ll let you know. 

It’s happening, friends. I’m getting old. I can feel it in myself. I realise 28 isn’t really old in a numbers sense but I’m not talking about numbers and years. I’m talking about in my mindset, in my head. 

I’m feeling old. I’m feeling tired. I’m feeling the need to slow down and take some time for me, myself and I. I’m feeling like I want to start being selfish with my time. Since I was 20 or 21 every single holiday I took from work has been filled with trips here, there and everywhere. One of the first lines people say to me when they see me is ‘Where’s your next trip?’ Or ‘Where are you going to next?’. The self confessed free-spirit of my family, the traveller, the nomad I have always been the adventurer. I have loved it. I do love it, still, but I’m tired.

I have done some of the most incredible things on these holidays – I have had tomatoes thrown at my face during La Tomatina in Spain, seen the sunrise across Bryce Canyon in the US, got lost in the caves in Postonja, Slovenia. I’ve climbed Mount Vesuvius, sang and danced my way down the Champs Elysées, had my heart broken walking around Anne Frank House. I stayed out until the sun came up with friends I just made in NYC, felt the flames of Fallas on my face (not literally) in Valencia, visited Obama at the White House, swooned over the views at Giant’s Causeway… and so much more. 

But I’m tired.

I’m really fucking tired.

I was talking to one of my friends about this recently. I said that after my trip to India I have no trips planned. For the first time in a long time, I’m totally ok with that. It’s a very odd thing for me to say. I’m always looking ahead to the next holiday, the next adventure. Sure there are loose plans, but nothing confirmed.

My friend agreed it was odd and I said how tired I was. I said how I feel like I’m always travelling and that I have minimal time at home, to spend my time just being with the people I have in my life in England. My friend said to me that it’s ok to be selfish with my free time. That sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes, instead of flying off to visit someone when I have rare time off work, it’s ok to be selfish and say either ‘you come here’ or simply, ‘no’. I’m taking this time for me. I’m taking this time to be at home, to sleep in and see the people in this country. 

I realise this may post may rub people the wrong way, it may come across as ungrateful; you may be thinking I’m a brat. I promise you I’m not, that’s not my intention. I am aware how lucky I am to have travelled as I do, as I have. 

I’m also aware that I may change my mind on this (hello the sometimes fickle Gemini mind), perhaps I’m feeling this way as I’ve only had one week off since March. 

I’m just saying that right now, in this moment, I’m tired.

I’m currently visiting friends in the US. I go home, have 5 days at work and then fly to India for 2 weeks. After that, aside from work, my time is my own. 

I can’t fucking wait 

Xoxo Micks 

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

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

If I didn’t have anxiety.

“I don’t understand why you get like that”

“I don’t know how to act around you when you start behaving weird”

“Just cheer up”

 “Just think about something else”

These are just a few of the things that I have had said to me in recent weeks. Background: I’ve been really struggling with my mental health issues for a few weeks again. This week I had such a big panic attack that I had to leave somewhere to go home early which has not happened to me for years and it really, honestly scared me.

Anxiety is such a smart disorder and no matter how many times I have an attack, they still scare me. It isn’t something you ever get used to. The scariest part is feeling like you can’t breathe – your heart races but you can’t swallow oxygen at all. The thoughts that pop into your head take over and you can’t make them stop. They remind you of everything that is wrong with you – all the mistakes you’ve made and make you worry about the ones you know you will.

I should be celebrating my one year free of happy pills – it was a July 2016 that I took my last citalopram and I haven’t felt the need for them since. Until now. Living life with mental illness is not a smooth journey, there are always going to be bumps in the road. I can go months without any symptoms and go about my business happy as Larry. Then, just like lightning, it comes like a bolt out the blue; I can’t stop it and I cant control it.

It sounds crazy from the outside; I get it’s hard to understand. From the inside, it’s hard to explain. You just need to be patient with me.

When I am having a hard time in my head I very often get to questioning what life would be like without anxiety and depression.

What life would be like not having to feel like I have to explain myself to people I don’t know who think I am rude when I don’t talk to them – I’m not rude, I promise. I’m just socially anxious and don’t know what to say to people I don’t know. I envy those people who are able to talk to anyone, about anything. To whom conversations with strangers are easy.

If I didn’t have anxiety.

If I didn’t have anxiety I wouldn’t automatically go to the worst – I wouldn’t wake up in the morning worrying about the day ahead. I wouldn’t have to cancel plans and miss out on things that I had been so looking forward to.

If I didn’t have anxiety I wouldn’t question myself all the time. I would have better self-esteem. I wouldn’t question my abilities. I wouldn’t question my ability to love and be loved, I wouldn’t feel like I don’t deserve all the good that I have in my life. I would be more a more supportive friend, daughter, aunt, niece.

I would just be content with being me.

I would be able to breathe, really breathe.

As anyone that suffers with anxiety knows, it is not easy. It is a daily battle and we take the good with the bad. If I didn’t have anxiety maybe life would be easier, but then maybe I wouldn’t know how much I am able to overcome. My resilience might be lower.

Maybe my anxiety makes me, me?

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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 –

Suicide Prevention Month

I am going to start this post by sharing some very news… I HAVE JUST TAKEN MY LAST CRAZY PILL (or as normal people call them ,anti-depressant).

 

Yep, after 2 and a half years I am finally in a good enough place to feel confident enough to come off of them. It is a bit scary because, you know, part of me feels that they are the only reason I got over my depression this time, but mostly I’m proud. I’m proud I’ve got to a place that I feel strong enough to come off them and try life on my own for a while.

 

Depression can be a debilitating illness and it can be a hard thing for those that haven’t experienced to understand. When I went on to my anti-depressants a couple of years ago I was very lucky that my boss (wassup, Dennis) was someone I could be completely truthful with and we had a very honest conversation about how I was feeling after my diagnosis. In that conversation Den was also honest in that, having never suffered herself, it wasn’t something she understood and she did (and does) her best to ask questions to try and at least sympathise with what I was going through even if she couldn’t empathise. I was very lucky to have such an understanding boss and friend in her. I know friends that have not been so lucky with their line managers.

 

One of the more known commonly known symptoms of depression is having suicidal feelings / thoughts. Suicidal thoughts can completely consume you and it can feel like you have no control over anything. You get into the black hole and it can be hard to climb back out, especially without the right help. Suicide is something that has affected my family and my friends so Suicide Prevention is something that has always been close to my heart.

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

 

The latest statistics from The Samaritans show that suicide is still a very big problem in the UK. Female suicides are at their highest rate in the UK since 2011, in England since 2005. Female suicides have increased (by 8.3%) whilst Male suicides have decreased (by 5.6%). Having said that the highest suicide rate was still found in Men – those aged between 45 and 49.

 

These latest figures published are figures from 2014. It shows that, in the UK alone, 6581 people committed suicide. In my opinion, that is 6581 too many.

 

There is no overnight cure for depression and suicidal thoughts will not disappear overnight. It is important for anyone suffering to get help, there are various places you can get help, it can be anonymously too if that is what you’d rather.

 

There are various factors that will contribute to someone having these types of thoughts and, as I say, they won’t disappear overnight but we can all make small differences to people without realising, often through the little things.

This month I have pledged to actively do one ‘nice’ thing a day, to make a strangers day a little brighter and my contribution to the world a little better.

I would like to suggest you do the same, below are my suggestions for a doily dose of niceness. One thing for each day of September.

 

  1. Smile at a stranger
  2. Hold the door open for someone
  3. Help someone carrying a lot of things
  4. Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru
  5. Buy a suspended coffee
  6. Pay someone a compliment
  7. Give away clothes that you don’t need
  8. Donate items to a homeless shelter
  9. Tell someone why you love them
  10. Take some treats into work for your colleagues to share
  11. Let someone go in front of you in a queue
  12. Let someone overtake you in traffic
  13. Offer someone your seat on the tube/bus/train
  14. Leave an encouraging note for a stranger to find
  15. Call your best friend/ family member just to chat
  16. Buy someone flowers, just ‘cause
  17. Leave a used book in a café for someone else to enjoy
  18. Put £1 in the next charity pot you see
  19. Make someone a tea / coffee
  20. Feedback when you receive GOOD customer service
  21. Mail someone a letter – we all like post that isn’t bills, don’t we?
  22. Share an inspiring ‘thought of the day’
  23. Listen to someone going through a hard time
  24. Exercise patience
  25. Buy a homeless person lunch
  26. Leave behind a coupon that you are not going to use next to the product that it is for
  27. Donate your time/ money to a local cause
  28. Pick up some litter – it can just be one piece!
  29. Give someone a hug.
  30. Be the first to apologise

 

 

I am going to try to do these! One a day for September – as it is now the 6th clearly I have some catching up to do!

 

You can also show your support for Suicide Prevention by wearing something orange on 10th September and/or donate to a charity that works to provide support to those suffering suicidal thoughts and to survivors too. The work they do is so important in making sure that these people get well again.

 

Let me know your suggestions for your acts of niceness!

 

#ANDSOIKEPTLIVING

 

xoxo

 

Micks

 

 

UK charities

www.mind.org.uk

www.samaritans.org

 

These two charities provide support in the UK if you need it, or if you want to donate you can do so by clicking the links and following the instructions.

 

Other useful websites

 

www.twloha.com (featured image from their WSD campaign)

https://www.iasp.info/wspd

www.suicidepreventionapp.com