In honour of a lovely lady

This post is dedicated to a lovely lady who has been going through a horrific time of late. I am sure as she and some of my other friends read this they will know exactly who I am talking about. The lady in question is 30 and has a gorgeous son, a toddler and is fighting breast cancer. Sadly, I know too many people who have been struck by this evil disease which is why I check my breasts regularly, perhaps more often than I need to but that doesn’t do any harm. 

Anyway, this lady has just finished her last round of chemotherapy and through it with the exception of a few and well understood wobbles has retained her sense of humour. She will start blushing shortly as me and most of her friends think she is simply awesome. Not many people can joke about losing eyelashes or eyebrows but she did. I have become less moany (yes, really!) as a result of this woman’s strength. After all, how can I possibly moan about a lack of money or slipping off a step when this woman is going through one of the most gruelling treatments and still looking after her son? 

As a tiny show of solidarity I am dyeing my hair pink in an effort to raise money for Cancer Research and would ask, politely of course, that you donate even a small amount to the cause. I know that things are very tight financially at the moment but this is a cause that I have supported for many years. If you can’t donate anything, please share the link to my Justgiving page and share the word as widely as you can. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and please send all your positive vibes to my lovely friend.

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You know you have great friends when…

On Monday evening I was feeling a little low. No reason for it; I had handed in a particularly tricky and probably crap essay, it was the first day of the spring term at university and I’d had a late lunch with a friend. Great day right? Well, you’d think so but obviously my brain didn’t. As the evening wore on I’d started to feel a little down and lonely which is bizarre as nothing had changed from my normal evening routine and, living alone doesn’t mean I feel lonely but on this evening I did.

I posted a status on Facebook saying that I was feeling a little down and asked people to make me smile. This is when knowing that you have amazing friends is brilliant. Two jokes (clean ones!) were posted onto my status along with a couple of funny pictures and some cheery comments, I instantly felt better and less lonely.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I have been blessed with some great friends, some of which were a subject of a post I made about being thankful for http://wp.me/p1Hi8a-d3 and do see several people most days so finding myself feeling lonely was a shock. Add this into a month off university for the Christmas break and I sat wondering why I didn’t feel lonely then when I was alone a lot and wasn’t bothered at all.

I guess it shows that you really cannot control your brain or feelings but it also proves that any contact with others can help. For anyone who was worried about me, I am sorry, that was not my intention but it was a time when I was low and needed picking up and my friends are fantastic at that! I am feeling better now, still a little low but I can deal with that, although if you have a joke you just need to share, think of me, I love jokes especially ones that make most people groan!

These feelings I had are just one of the reasons why I think that the time to talk campaign is vital for everyone with a mental illness as talking, about anything, really does help. You don’t have to talk about my mood or how I’m feeling, in fact, there are times when I would rather not talk about it but any contact is welcomed. Unless, of course, you are just going to tell me to pull myself together, if I could, don’t you think I would have done it years ago? Ooh, that seems harsh but I am leaving it in, just as a gentle warning. I also don’t mind if you have a problem you want to talk about, it gives me something else to think about and won’t bring me down, especially if I am able to help. Being able to help someone makes me happy and makes me feel useful. I may have depression but that doesn’t mean I sit at home sobbing although the time, in fact, these days I am more likely to cry at happy or cute stuff, what a sap! lol

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Things I am thankful for…

It’s that time of year when everyone gets a bit slushy, me included, so this year I thought I would write it down and let everyone who sees this know what I am thankful for. If you look at my life from the outside you would probably feel sorry for me, divorced at 38, renting a tiny flat and on benefits as I am unable to work due to my depression brought on in part by the divorce but not entirely. I moved away from the town I lived in with my ex and started afresh.

All pretty pathetic sounding so far I bet but no, in just 2 years, I have found out who my real friends are, you know, the ones who have your back no matter what happens in your life? I have them and they are exceptionally special to me and I can never repay them for everything they’ve done for me. I am not going to name them here, they know already who they are. From the person who came and had dinner with me whilst I was living alone in the marital home to make sure I had eaten at least 1 decent meal. She also happens to be the same person who insisted I spend that first Christmas with her and her family and bought me the snuggliest duvet I have ever had. I love her, plain and simple but I don’t think I ever told her how much those simple acts meant to me. I couldn’t put it into words then and I still can’t but it made me stop feeling worthless.

Then I have a friend who I have known for hundreds of years, she was totally awesome. Thanks to her, besides the support and badmouthing of an ex that a true buddy always does, I have a washing machine and microwave in my kitchen and I had a sofa to go in my little flat. Sadly, that sofa has now gone to sofa heaven and I have a new one but the washing machine and microwave are still..well, I’ll leave that unwritten so as not to jinx them! She even insured me on her car so that I could borrow it as and when I need it and let me have it during last Christmas in case I got bored being on my own and wanted to join her and her family’s festivities. I almost felt guilty for not going over to them.

Then there’s my parents, they have been beyond awesome, last summer they drove almost 600 miles to bring me a dining table and chairs and other random goodies. They also took rubbish to the dump in their van for me as I had scrapped my car when I moved here. My mum is at the end of the phone for me when I need and we talk almost every day in fact, we’re getting on better now than we have done since I became a teenager and I was vile then, even I can’t deny that!

So those there are the people I have known for a long time and I can never tell them how much the small and not so small things they have done for me meant to me. I hint at it from time to time but can’t actually say it unless they want to be covered in tears and snot!

I have met some great people since moving here, from the ladies in my local petrol station; one in particular has become a good friend and more often than not I wander in there just to chat to her. We put the world to rights have a laugh and talk about all sorts of stuff. She even reassures me that things I wear look OK, like the short skirt I recently treated myself to. I also get accosted by the local butchers for a chat when I wander past and they’re standing by the door, they always ask how I am and then try to sell me more meat than my freezer has room for. That’s where I bought my duck from for this year’s Christmas dinner, I am really looking forward to eating it.

Last June I had to have my cat put to sleep, she’s the Gerry in Gerrysmum; I still miss her. However, I contacted a charity and now have Pete the cat. He’s with me as a permanent foster cat and as you may already know if you are a friend of mine on Facebook or follow me on Twitter you will know he is a cheeky thing who makes me laugh, a lot! He greets me when I come home and comes to bed with me at bedtime and as I type he is laying beside me on the back of the sofa, snoring.

I started some voluntary work last year as well and have met yet more great people through that. We have tricky situations to deal with on occasion but still pull together and get everyone through it. I can’t say I love them (sorry guys!) but then I haven’t really known them long enough for that, maybe they’ll get on my love list next year.

I also started University last year, on a part time basis. Unfortunately, I had a mental hiccup in the spring term and essentially stopped attending however, I did sit my only exam and passed it! I also applied for disabled students allowance and the assistance I got from that has helped me immensely so I am not worried about going back after my Christmas break even though that is 4 weeks away. Don’t get too jealous, I do have an essay to hand in on the first day back!

As a part time student, you don’t stick with the same students all the way through as they move on quicker but I have made some good friends this year, one in particular who I bonded with on a trip to the Old Bailey. We frequently go for a coffee after our Monday lecture, my shout next time chick!

I am enjoying the chance to study something I am really interested in and hope when I graduate in 2018 that there is still something left of the criminal justice system for me to work in.

My boyfriend has been fantastic too, from taking me out for a drive the first weekend I was alone to helping me with things round the flat that I tell him I am too girly to do. He is also learning what he can about my wheat allergy and making sure that if he takes me out to eat that I am not going to get poisoned by the food. I have known him almost half my life and he still makes me feel special, can’t ask for more than that really.

Lastly, I am thankful for my virtual friends, we all have them don’t we? The people that live in our computers, liking and commenting on things on Facebook and having random conversations with us on Twitter. Well I have some awesome people amongst them, several of them are inspirational and check I am OK if they haven’t “seen” me for a while. It still amuses me that I worry about these people too when they’re not online for a while and am then relieved to see them reappear. I have never met most of them but would really miss them if they suddenly disappeared.

If you have managed to get this far well done! In addition to these people or places I am most thankful that I am usually able to get up and get on with life. Some days the black dog bites me in the arse but I am learning to live with those bites and they don’t always hurt me that badly. At the ripe old age of 40, I am rediscovering myself and learning to accept myself as I am, flaws and all.

I am not as skinny or pretty as I would like to be but I am me and I make no apologies for that. Compared to some people my life must seem horrendous but not to me, I may not have much money, my brain may not work like it used to but I am happy to accept that. If I can live with myself as I am then I am halfway there in developing into the person I was clearly always meant to be. Having said that does not mean I have grown up, far from it, I still laugh at silly jokes and if I’m in the petrol station and someone says they’re paying for pump number 2, I still snigger.

So, these are the people and the things I am thankful for, what are you thankful for?

Pay it forward 2013

Ages ago now, I wrote a post about a hat I had made for a friend after both of us posting a commitment to “pay it forward”. Anyway, after an anxious wait thanks to Royal Mail, my friend’s gift to me arrived and I cried! She had made and painted a gorgeous cat figurine which I’m still trying to find the right place for. I wish I had that amount of creativity!

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This cute kit does need a name though, any ideas?

It’s nearly Christmas!

In a week’s time it’ll be Christmas Eve. I bet all of those of you out there with children will be going quietly demented by then with all the extra demands on your time that this time of year thrusts upon you.
I’m on my own for Christmas this year at my choice. And, despite what some people think I am really looking forward to it. Telly chefs are helping with my dinner and my sofa is helping with the rest! Here’s where I get a little serious. I have chosen this for myself, I haven’t been forced into it at all. However, there are people out there who are not lucky enough to make that decision for themselves. If you have a neighbour, friend or just a person that you walk past in the street that you know will be on their own, and lonely, this Christmas. Pop a card through their door or knock on the door and wish them a merry Christmas. You might be the only person they see over the festive season, maybe all month or year!
Have a great Christmas, I know I will and if you’re really unlucky I might post some pics of me in my pjs eating dinner lol

Reflecting

A year ago my life was all over the place. I was newly divorced, the marital home (which I was still living in) had been sold and I’d been signed off work with depression. I didn’t know where I was going to live, how I was going to afford it or what my future at work held for me. It was all too scary I tried to ignore it which, of course, didn’t work!

Now, I have a little rented place of my own which I am far more comfortable in than I ever was in the marital home. I am at university, something I never thought I’d achieve.
But, more importantly and somewhat sad is that I can count my true friends on one hand. I’m not that sad about it though as the friends I have are the ones I’m keeping a very tight hold of 🙂