Don’t Tell Me

There are two things in the world that my brain lets happen uncontrollably…

1. As soon as a newborn baby cries on One Born Every Minute something triggers in me and I cry hysterically even though I don’t feel any real emotion towards what I’m watching.

2. Having to ask a certain person to do something or for something causes my chest to hurt and I struggle to breathe.

The first is some kind of weird maternal thing that is ridiculous but quite funny. The second is anxiety.

I am lucky in the sense that there is now only one real trigger for my anxiety and generally I can keep myself distanced from it so therefore no longer consider myself as “having anxiety”. Some people aren’t so lucky.

Other people’s perceptions of your mental health can have a real impact and add to the struggle. Public opinion is always a huge factor in what my ladies worry about when I’m doing my mental health volunteer work. Friends and family think they are saying the right things but can often make you feel worse. Here is a list of what not to say.

Don’t tell me….

  • To Suck it up/cheer up/relax/calm down

The fact you think I aren’t currently trying to do all these things at once while everything else is whirring around in my brain shows you have no idea how I feel.

  • There are worse things going on in the world

I know! But that doesn’t make the way I am feeling any easier. A lot of my thoughts are irrational, things that you might think are mundane and trivial can feel like the end of the world to me. I know that what I am thinking or the way I’m acting isn’t normal yet that doesn’t mean I can rationalise my thoughts.

  • You can’t feel lonely, you have lots of friends

It is hard to connect to others while you are suffering. It is hard to gather the energy to meet with friends and do fun things. It is hard to talk about the way you are feeling. It is hard to explain that your friends haven’t done anything wrong but that they need to bear with you.

  • To go for a run/a drink/to try a new hobby

Yes for some people these things work but they aren’t the cure for everyone. Exercise can make you feel great but if you can’t muster the energy to lift your head off your pillow your hardly going to run a metre let alone a mile and I’ve gin cried plenty of times when I haven’t been depressed to know that it isn’t a great option.

  • But you managed to go to ????? the other day

Yes and I may go somewhere else tomorrow, but if at that time on that day my mind is telling me I can’t possibly go anywhere with whoever it’s practically impossible to do so.

  • What do you have to be anxious/depressed about?

The official measure of mental well-being has 51 different points and triggers of depression/anxiety. Each of these is a subsection leading to various aspects of each category meaning there can be thousands of triggers,fears and worries for each individual. Some of which could be seen as ridiculous to others. So the answer to the question is absolutely everything and nothing at all.

  • Oh I have that sometimes

Feeling a bit sad or anxious isn’t the same as the crippling reality of depression and anxiety. I get a nervous tummy before going to new places or doing new things, it’s not the same as the weeks/months of pure panic some people have. The fear of letting people down or missing out can take over their lives.

My only advice on what you can say is… “is there anything I can do to help you with this?” And not be offended if the answer is no. Be patient not pushy.

To my friends who are suffering at the moment…don’t be afraid to talk, not all the cures are in conversation but always know you don’t have to go through it alone

Colin the Caterpillar is getting married and I’m still single!

…EDIT…title change before someone has a coronary!!! Sorry!

My Sister got engaged to the love of her life at the weekend and I’ve had to bite my tongue every day since. Not because of their engagement of course, but because people are continually asking me if I’m upset by it.

My sister is 8 years younger than me, she is beautiful and has just settled into her first home. I am a 33 year old single mum who’s never been a homeowner or someone’s fiancé. Yet I have never been jealous of her one day of my life. I think being sisters the lines blur…if she’s happy I’m happy and if I’m happy then she’s happy.

Here are the reasons people assume I am unhappy about the engagement.

  1. I am lonely. What is that saying about being alone but not lonely. Yeah thats me. I don’t know how many times people need to hear that I do not need a boyfriend but it doesn’t seem to be going in.
  2. I thought I would get married first. To who??? My ex? a new love? The invisible f**king man?? I love a wedding (because I love fashion and flowers and food and making everything look fantastic) but I’ve never aspired to marriage. I’m not anti-getting hitched but I’ve never obsessed over it.
  3. I never wrote on my sisters engagement status on Facebook. Blah blah blah!!!! To the person who trawled through 111 comments to see if I’d wrote anything here’s your answer. I didn’t comment. I had spoke to her before it was Facebook announced. I’d already made it clear how excited I was. I was out partying, I had 25% battery left on my phone and didn’t want 111 notifications draining what was left! Haha
  4. I’ve been sad this week. Without too much detail, The end of August is tough for me. The anniversaries of losing 4 amazing people fall in the same week and I think that means I’m allowed to feel a little bit rubbish.

So here’s how I actually feel…. Nicole and Jamie, I am over the moon that you are now engaged. I am happy that you have found each other and are planning the most perfect life. I am excited to be part of a wedding (I can scan through 40,000 photos of wedding stationery now without feeling like a weirdo). I am sorry that I said “do I have to be a Bridesmaid?” as if it was the worst thing in the world. I promise not to take over but know that I will Instagram the fuck out of everything slightly wedding-y we do in the next 2 years and will tag you in every Rock-n-Roll bride post that I see before your wedding.

Congratulations on your engagement!

“Cause I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap”

Holding a Grudge 

I am a stubborn piece of shit. I will remember the smallest thing that has happened and hold onto it so tightly that it twists in my mind and grows. It gets uglier and more hurtful. 

There is a guy I hate called Dan. He once upset me on a night out, said something hurtful and mean………..ok, so I can’t actually remember what it was that he said or even what it was related to but I remember that I hate him and that’s stuck. That’s how petty I can be. 

I’ve said before that I have a little bit of a playground mentality when it comes to friendship, you have to pick sides, it’s them or me. 

Once upon a time I had a friend. At my lowest point I felt she picked the other side, went against me. She had to, blood is thicker than water and all that shit. I get that now. She didn’t understand my “pick a side” rule, she just wanted to be friends with everyone but I couldn’t deal with that. I was selfish but I had to be, it was the only way I could stop myself from becoming even more hurt. It didn’t matter how much we got along, how much we had in common, I cut her off completely. I sent blunt replies (with an awful lot of F words in) to her partner who messaged to tell me how upset she was. As I said this was my lowest point, I didn’t care how anyone else felt apart from me and my kids. 

As the years passed the hurt healed, the disappointed and embarrassment, the upset that changed our lives faded (and /or was replaced by more hate for other reasons) yet I still couldn’t speak to that friend. Sometimes you hold onto hurt so closely that it feels hard to let it go. 

Then for the first time in my life I felt it was time to forgive, the reason we spoke at first was for practically. There is a guy somewhere who had to transfer 4p into his exs bank account just so he could send her a message as she had blocked him on everything else. We were one step away from that, having to DM on twitter to make arrangements 

We will probably never be best friends, in fact she will probably never even read this as I’m pretty sure I still have her blocked on all social media (sorry!) but the feeling of forgiveness is amazing, it makes you feel light and happy and relieved, like a weight has been lifted. 

There are people who I will never forgive for what they have done, some people’s hurt and hatred have spiralled to the point where I cannot even slightly recognise them anymore and I wouldn’t grace them with the pleasure of forgiveness,  but others….

Sometimes it is easier to forgive than it is to hold the grudge. The playground friendship rules should be left right there…in the playground. I would recommend letting go, great things can come from forgiveness. There are people, ideas, experiences you could be missing out on *

*Unless it’s Dan, Dan can piss right off!

It Just Didn’t Work Out 

Warsan Shire is my favourite female poet. Her poems of nationality and family and struggles are loved by many. Even Beyoncé used Warsan’s words on her critically acclaimed Lemonade album. When Warsan talks about “why we failed at love” in the poem above, the list is heart wrenching and beautifuly sad. I find myself relating her “excuses” to my own breakups, that end of the world feeling that we have all had when a relationship breaks down. 

The classic words “it’s not you, it’s me!” always leave you with self doubt, reasons that make you know it is in fact you. Your fault, your issues, reasons why no one will ever love you again. 

Obviously time heals the most horrible of breakups. The truth is over time someone will love you and make the excuses/reasons from before seem crazy. 

I asked my friends for their breakup stories, reasons why they were dumped, why they left their ex’s, why love didn’t last. Instead of being poetic and life affirming and heartbreaking most are simply hilarious. Thanks for your contributions and thanks to a couple of my exs (numbers 1-4 belong to you, arseholes) 

34 “New” Excuses For Why We Failed at Love

  1. His Grandma died
  2. I was too boring 
  3. I wasn’t accepting of his choices (because I had an issue with him sharing a bed with his ex)
  4. I expected too much of him (when he wouldn’t celebrate my birthday) 
  5. He didn’t want to be with someone who had children
  6. He didn’t buy valentines presents 
  7. She had a huge Minnie Mouse tattoo
  8. He cried way too much
  9. He couldn’t celebrate our anniversary because his cow had been put down.
  10. “I don’t think I can stop myself from sleeping with pretty girls”
  11. He called me Hun
  12. I didn’t have the same hobbies (gambling and weight training)
  13. He liked his car more than me
  14. “Your soul is not good enough to be loved”
  15. Because my parents were divorced and he “just hated divorce”
  16. I was too tall
  17. She was the slowest eater ever
  18. He bragged he was a “compulsive masturbator” (his words)
  19. She said “Cold Slaw”
  20. I didn’t clean a dirty mark that the dog had made on the wall
  21. I cut my hair
  22. He liked my best friend more than me
  23. She said my head was too small for my body
  24. She smelt like my mum 
  25. He had a “micro-penis”
  26. He had an ex with the same name as me and couldnt get over that
  27. I was “too forward” for saying tit in front of her mum 
  28. He didn’t want a child (yet had a baby straight away with his next girlfriend) 
  29. A psychic told her to leave me
  30. Because I was sweaty on a date 
  31. He loved me but hated how I looked
  32. “My mum thinks you have a bitchy face”
  33. He bought himself an ice cream but didn’t offer to get me one
  34. He just left one day and I never heard from him again.

I can’t see us winning Young Poet Laureate from that beauty but it’s brilliantly funny

Long Live The Queen 

Apparently there are seven stages of grief. Seven steps to go through till you feel ok again, like some kind of recipe for the biggest shit storm your little life can handle. 

stage 1 is shock and denial. When I found out you had died I was taking a bath. It took approximately one minute for me to recognise David’s voice, 3 minutes to understand what he was saying to me and what seemed like 2 seconds to get dry, dressed and start pacing the floor wondering what to do (turns out there’s nothing you can do, fuck all, it’s already too late) 

Stage 2 is pain and guilt. Cue huge amount of crying. My guilt came from the fact I am sure you did not know what impact you had on my life. I felt guilty I had never told you that speaking to you every day calmed my anger, soothed my sadness and most importantly taught me to laugh again. I felt guilty that you never knew I loved you. 

Stage 3 – Anger! This ones for me! I’m good at angry. I was furious, everything was unfair. I was livid when people comforted me, furious if they didn’t know. Angry that I was expected to work, angry that you weren’t there with me (we joked that the only way you could have some proper time off was by pegging it) more than anything I was angry that life just carried on, continued without you being in it. I argued, fought and sulked. No one was having your stuff, no one was having your job, no one was even allowed the honour of your name on their tongue unless I okayed it. 

Stage 4 – Depression. The most obvious. I thought I would be awful. My history of depression trying desperately to force its way back out. I think you’d be proud of how I shoved it back in. I was sad but I functioned. 

Stages 5,6,7 – upward turn, reconstruction, acceptance and hope. Do they really truely exist? I know you have gone yet I still don’t accept it. Although I learn to live, love and laugh again the sadness still remains. 

So it’s as easy as that. Follow these 7 simple rules and everything will be ok again!  If only!! There are no rules to grief, no plan, pattern or recipe. 2 years have passed and some days can feel as sad as the first without you. Other days I smile because I am lucky. Lucky to have had you as my friend, as brief and intense as it was. The laughs we shared still there, the in jokes and hour long phone calls. You were the most private, hilarious, caring person I knew and equally as evil as I am. 

I miss you today as much as always and tonight I’ll dance for the two of us.  

                            R.I.P CMC        

Frank Turner-Long Live the Queen

The need to impress 

When do we grow out of the need to impress?

I love to get dolled up for a night out, I wear Tom Ford perfume that costs £100 a bottle, I like to take photos of no fat meals, add 3 filters and post them on Instagram. 

I am also very honest about the fact that my dress was £10 from Primark, the Tom Ford was a freebie and sometimes we eat Turkey Dinosaurs and potato waffles. 

I am a girl that will strut into a bar like I’m Gigi Hadid…yet still have to ask for my cocktail in a tumbler because I’m too clumsy for a martini glass. 

I also like to think I am honest with my friends and loved ones, as much as I can without being mean ( except for maybe the pink top/ 3 lots of boobs moment. Sorry Rachel, that was quite mean) 

I have noticed people will go against every friend, every opinion, every experience they have just to impress in THAT moment!

I have always said “if I hate someone I expect my friends to hate them too” which isn’t entirely true. What I mean is if I hate someone don’t talk to them about me, don’t tell them how I feel about them and especially don’t agree with them just to impress. 

It’s easy to get carried away in a situation, it’s easy to show off when you’ve had a drink or two. A case of falling in love with a moment and forgetting about consequences. 

Just don’t forget where your loyalties lie. You don’t need to impress everyone, you’re allowed to disagree, not everyone has to love you. Remember who was there when you had no one else to talk to, who stuck up for you even when you were a dick. Remember your friend. Your Turkey Dinosaur