I’ll keep it brief…

I am hoping that sharing my experiences with you will help you to open up about your own feelings, feel more at peace with them, or at least reassure you in some manner that you are not alone in how you feel.

That last part is something I have always struggled with and continue to do so.

Throughout the days, months or hopefully years that I update this blog, I am going to be sharing my thoughts and feelings on everyday events. As someone who has anxiety and depression I want to dive further into things that make life a little easier to deal with, things that make it a little harder, and try my best to be as clear and concise about my past and the events that have lead me to today.

I would love to hear from you, I think it is really important to share the things that make your life even the slightest bit easier (they could work for someone else too) and those times where it is harder (someone could help you ease those feelings maybe). 

No story is insignificant and no one is comparable to one another, you are justified in your feelings.
I will not have you believing otherwise.

Lets try and keep some love.
I look forward to sharing with you and hearing from you,
T xo

Blindness to the obvious…

My goodness I haven’t written in a while. I hope you are doing well reader, strangely (though loathe to admit it) I think the anti-depressants are helping, Brandy says they have seen me smile more, decisions feel easier to make and I think I am just generally more positive? Don’t get me wrong, things still knock me back and I am by no means perfect but it feels … alright?

Then this, this will be a short post, I think I just need to say and I think I would appreciate some help – if you can?

My Granddad is my world and I could not ever possibly love him more than I do, he has taught me so so much and loved me so unconditionally. I adore him. 

I learned today that the hero of my life has spent years dressing up as a woman in secret. I don’t know if he feels he should have always been a woman, or if he just enjoys the feeling of it? Or both?
I do not love him any less or view him any differently, he is still my hero, he is still this messy level of perfection that I couldn’t hope to achieve. But I am hurt that it is secret, that he seems to be hurting and that I can really see all of the signs I have missed.

I don’t know whether I should cry or laugh? I don’t know how to help and I don’t know how I didn’t see.

My Grandma has lived knowing for years and she remains unfussed and loves him, they laugh like they used to, I love seeing them hold hands and when they go on weekend visits to markets together. 

I am hurt that I could have only found this out after he had passed, looking through stocks of clothes and thinking that my Grandma just owned a lot of clothes? 

I think I am currently a little addled and confused, I am smiling that my wonderful granddad makes a little more sense, I have watery eyes because I don’t know how to help, and my heart is beating faster for my gorgeous incredible grandma who didn’t judge.

These amazing people are mine to love and I love them with all my heart, and it aches that I don’t know the first place to start.

What do I do to help? I know they would help me… they have done before…

T xo

Shadows from the past…

So I have been at work today and my company has a Netball league every Sunday where teams from across the county come to play! I haven’t worked this shift before so I was quite anxious about coming in, but my staff member Joe was incredible in assisting me and knew exactly what was going on. I succeeded in tidying our kitchen to an almost brand new level (it won’t stay like that long which is stressful but for now I love it).

However, I have spent a lot of my day held tense, rigid and stiff – I have been hugely anxious. Joe pointed out that I was jumpy, I kept forgetting words and making mistakes.

I moved back to my home town in September following an awful first year at university and I’m very wary of going outside… there are lots of bad memories here and thanks to social media *not* I know that the causes of those memories still linger, and that I could bump into them at any moment.

Today it hadn’t even occurred to me that I may bump in to one of those memories, the person in question is the wrong age for the league and wasn’t athletic in the slightest. Though, a number of the players had long blonde curly hair, blue eyes and glasses… and they were the age that we were at the time.

I believe that a lot of my mental health issues stem from 2 key events in my life, one is the relationship I have with my father and the other happened when I was 14 years old.

What I tell people when they ask:-

It was someone who wasn’t very kind to me, I had known them for years, they were older than me. They told me they loved me and because of that I had to take my clothes of for them, or that we wouldn’t be friends.

The truth:-

When I was 13 I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere, and along came this wonderful person who quickly became my best friend.

By the end of it I had probably known them for little over year but I trusted them whole heartedly. They made me laugh and we could still play silly imaginary game, we could sit and do nothing, we could sing badly together and eat rubbish food. They were the kind of person that would ask you at half past 4 if you wanted to come over for dinner and then you’d wind up staying over for 3 days in a row – and Visa Versa.

Both of our families were very welcoming of one another and despite our differences we almost became one single being – we used to have 3 hour phone calls and all sorts of random nonsense, it was like having a good old fashioned friend. I never felt the pressure to grow up when I was with them [which I have done throughout all of my life I have had to be older than my years], start wearing make up, what brand of clothes I wore or caring about how I styled my hair. We could play with dolls and pretend to be doctors and all that jazz, I thought I had found someone who I could be myself with?

Toward the end of our friendship they made friends with another person from our year – Emma – and were spending more time with them, they dated a person who was like a brother to me, and started wearing make up, styling their hair and caring about the brands of clothes they wore. I’m not a jealous person, I wasn’t fussed and I enjoyed hearing about it all, we still played games together and had sleepovers.

The weekend it all went wrong was the last weekend of July – my family and friends go camping every year to the same place. I had invited them to come along.

They came round to my house the night before as they had done countless times prior, then everyone went to bed. They told me of the time they had had with their new friend, they showed me a video of people having sex [not them, just what I imagine to be a regular piece of porngraphic film] and they said that they had done that with Emma, and did I want to do it.

When I hesitated to reply they told me that I didn’t have to but obviously they would then have to be best friends with Emma and not with me.

They made it into a game and wrote things like “finger the other person for 1 minute”, “kiss with tongues for 3o seconds”, “bite the other person where you like”, “remove a piece of the other person’s clothing”, “touch them over clothing”, “Touch them under clothing” etc. onto paper, they tore each action off and scrunched it into a ball and placed it on the floor in front of us. They picked the paper for me and handed it to me and I was frightened that if I didnt go along with it I’d be left on my own. I can vividly remember thinking that.

As time went on more strange requests were added and they got more invasive, messier and making me increasingly uncomfortable.

We had to be up at 4 am to go camping and time was creeping on… I offered suggestions: “let’s go to sleep now, I dont want to be tired tomorrow” and “Should we just do this another time? My family are sleeping and I dont want to wake them?”. Needless to say these options were overruled: “We can sleep on the car journey” and “I’ll just be quieter”.
I don’t know how long this game continued for, I managed to convince them that the light needed turning off and I was allowed eventually to put my nighty back on and keep it on [Though this permission was granted following a lie I had told them]. I spent the whole time convincing myself that this was fine, and it was what friends did, they had done it with Emma? So surely everyone does it?
… but it didn’t feel nice, it felt dirty, uncomfortable and wrong.

When they got bored and decided they were tired, that was when we went to bed. I didn’t understand at all at the time but I cried, I couldn’t breathe and I was in this strange space between wanting to laugh, wanting to run, to kick and scream and wanting to not exist.

The initial proposition was put to me so carefully – I feel like I could of but I wasn’t able to say “No”. I didn’t really know that “No” was an option.

It took me three years to realise that wasn’t normal. I had better friends then, kinder friends – Real Friends. A further 2 to tell my mum and a few select friends [no one knows the full story, and my friends have still all been told the lie and left at that, you know the truth. The actual truth. That’s it. Or at least what I can recall of it]. A lot of my family don’t know, I told my granddad recently and that was terrifying. I wish I had been able to seek out someone to help me earlier on, and I am trying to pluck up the courage to ask for help now. Its hard to but I am trying to remember that it wasn’t my fault.

You’ll notice that I frequently use they when referring to someone I am intimate with, I have struggled with my sexuality for years not that I am ashamed or anything like that and my family are incredibly understanding and open minded.

I just don’t want to be labelled as something, I just want to be me. I think a lot of that desire stems from this first encounter with sex and touching, amd because I use “they” to hide the fact that they were a girl.

People assume it’s a male and I just don’t correct them [Maybe that is wrong?], but the person who took advantage of me was a girl, she was younger than me [Only by a few months, but telling people they were older I think makes me feel a little less stupid, because if people thought they were older maybe they would have thought that I couldn’t possibly go against their words? When someone is younger than you, you should be the one in control right?], she was smaller than me, and it was my home, my room, my body.
I have spent years hating the fact that I didn’t say no, that I wasn’t firmer in my assertations of wanting to stop and that I was so afraid to be on my own that I let them do what they wanted.
Honestly I am not so good at saying no now, I try as hard as I can, yet always find myself in situations that I can’t easily get out of…

I think that as you go through life you find that maybe it isn’t about fixing yourself and then finding people to surround you. Its about finding the right people to have around you and asking them for help.

It’s easier to say to someone else and not so easy to do yourself, but if you’re reading this and you have ever found yourself in a similar situation, or if you know a friend who has been there:-

Talk and listen…

Ask for help, be the help or help them to find someone who can be…

Don’t push for information or give more than you are comfortable with…

Try your absolute best, your ABSOLUTE best to realise that it isn’t your fault…

I have to stop now. It has taken me 3 days to finish writing this and there is so much more to say. This will do for now…

Be brave, and as strong as you can be, that is more than enough.

Take care of yourself, and I’ll be here if you need anything.

T xo

A tub full of bubbles…

So today we finished the day in happy mode, work was slightly stressful (aided by an imbalance of hormones and vitamins/minerals), but we made it through! That is today’s first positive.

When you struggle with anxiety, depression, any level or type of mental illness, you should try your absolute best to count the positives. Even if they are seemingly tiny to you, they’re actually huge, skyscrapers! Maybe you didn’t get out of bed yesterday, but today you did, even if you just stood or swing your legs over the edge, that’s further than yesterday and that my friend is a huge achievement and a positive you should keep close and remember… if the day after you only manage to do the same and you get no further? Hey, that’s just as good, an incredible achievement, because once that was hard and now, now you do it because you know you can. [I want to highlight how important this is to me, if I was next to you I would be pointing our your huge positives all day, and soon, you’d get the idea.]

I am someone who is pessimistic, and I get easily knocked by the bad things, and when it comes to the end of the day, it’s the bad things I remember. I am setting myself a goal of one day a week to list at least three positives of the day and keep those at the front of my mind so that I can class it as a top day and finish the day on a high.

2nd positive of today is that I got to eat dinner with my family, this happens very rarely at the moment as my mum is very busy at work, myself and my older brother have started jobs at the opposite side of the county and my younger brother is at college and often out in the evenings with his girlfriend. So tonight we had take out and laughed the whole meal, and I don’t ever laugh so truly or hardly when I am with my siblings and my mum, whether we take the mick out of each other, play fight or one of us does something silly… we are quick to forgive and I am truly in love with them.

I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am, but actually if you have someone important to you, family, friend or even a stranger you met online, provide yourself time to spend with them – even looking back at memories together counts. Just because you’re busy and although you feel alone, you are never on your own. There are over 7 billion people in the world, not all of them speak your languages, some of them are unable to understand emotions and things which are non physical, but of those remaining, there will be at least one, if not more who have time to listen, who want to listen and who care so deeply for you that you couldn’t even comprehend! I promise you this.

I will listen to you, I will do my best to help and I care for you – I give you my word.

My 3rd and final positive point is a bubble bath, with candles and music!A nice warm bath can relax all of your muscles and open up your pores, and what is fantastic is because your hands are wet you have the perfect excuse not to do anything, AT ALL! Seriously, treat yourself to a little bit of time doing nothing, you deserve a few minutes to just shut down without being completely asleep. Pop on some music, whatever is your favourite. I recently read a study whereby psychologists found that your brain stimulates the glands that produce positive hormones, and releases positive neurotransmitters which relax your body when you sing. This is a result of your brain being excited about its ability to “predict the future” because it has remembered your favourite tune, melody or lyric and knows which part is coming next!? I think that is amazing, and if anything shows that music is key! I also like to add in a healthy dose of bubble bath [AKA too many bubbles] and light some candles. The candles I find provide an ambient light which is warm in colour and motion, a few candles give the whole room a different feel, and they’re very calming. It is not so dark as to wind up in sleep or anxiety and not so bright as to strain your eyes, and with just enough of a mood to doze off, only to wake when the water gets cold [I love the sound of running water, I find it hugely calming, I think this love has something to do with survival in that way back when running water was a sign it was safe to drink. This is only a guess however, if anyone knows of any truth or opposing truths to my theory I would love to know.].

What I have found from today’s positives is that time for yourself is important, REALLY important. If you are having an awful day, where you can’t find any positives … just stop … take a minute, an hour, the rest of the day for you.

It’s more than acceptable to be having a bad day, but you have done nothing to deserve it and if you continue down that path, tomorrow is likely to be a bad day too.

So please take a some grains of sand in the hourglass for yourself and dear lord don’t give them back. They are yours. You have earned them. And you should use them when you feel the need.

Take care of yourself, please? Take some time, and share your positives with me, with anyone, but say them out loud – it makes them all the more real.

T xo

P.S. Might be a few errors I am away from my laptop, so will double check on the grammar when I can.

Problem solved…

Following my post from yesterday about my ‘Weird Weekend’ I have had an emotional morning of just tears. Does this happen to anyone else? 

I find that some times I am capable of tears and immense sadness, or nothing, nada… no feelings at all. On days like those I find myself repeatedly saying that I am tired and I just want to sleep, in reality I want to sleep and pass time so that tomorrow can start quicker and hopefully be a better day. Sometimes this works … and sometimes it doesn’t, but actually it isn’t a good method of coping, not all the time anyway, sometimes emotions really do take it out of you and you just need to stop, relax, take some time and sleep. I’ll cover more of this in another post.

Today I had to avoid the ‘lets sleep all day and wait for it to end’ option as work was looming, so I had a chat with Brandy about some aspects of our relationship that I found to be troubling me at this point in time – they surprised me by taking it incredibly well.
 I will delve into relationships soon and explain things that help me handle them in good times and bad with relation to anxiety, stress and depression.
 I felt the conversation was productive and had gone well until we had to part ways, Brandy is heading back to University this evening and I feel awful that our last few hours together were spent with me in tears sharing doubts on their feelings towards me, the strength of our relationship and my feelings towards them. Then I had a spectacular moment of over thinking when Brandy left whereby I thought that maybe Brandy wasn’t showing their true feelings about my comments and was actually really upset with me and we were going to stop seeing each other, they hated me and were complaining about me to other people. I have spent most of my day trying to convince myself that this was not the case, and I think I a getting there. This incredibly stereotypical overreaction came from me seeing Brandy had been active on social media and not messaged to say they were home safe (something I ask all of my friends, family and loved ones to do). I am hoping still that it was just an overreaction; unfortunately work is not busy enough to take my mind off it completely.

I came up with a plan for the blog to cover as many possible avenues of concern and help the sections I have thought of covering so far are as follows:-
General Blogs = These will consist of day to day feelings and events, the funny, sad. normal and unuual.
Biological/Physiological = I will research into and outline the biological and physiological symptoms, causes and some treatments of Anxiety, Stress and Depression. Treatments will consist of prescribed and some that I have uncovered myself.
Happy page = I will be sharing events and situations where I find myself unable to control my emotions in a positive way. *I would especially love to hear from you on this page*
Problem Page = I will outline some problem situations that I have come across, in past and present and any future situations that I feel I will struggle with. *This is another page I would love to hear from you on, I will try to give trigger warnings and write in such a way as to not induce negative emotions onto you*
Relationships = Everything from Family and Friends to strangers and enemies, I will share what I love, what I struggle with and all that Jazz
[Note: These pages will be added and updated when I finally get to grips with websites and all, thank you for your patience]

Please let me know if you think of anything you may like to hear about, or wish to share yourself and if you can think of any better names for the above pages.

Thank you for reading… I’ll try and be more interesting tomorrow! 

T xo

Brandy’s Favourite piece of art, and it comes from Japan which is one of my most favourite cultures!

‘A weird weekend’…

You’ll notice that the title has quotation marks on, as my grandparents were driving me to work this morning [Yes I don’t yet know how to drive myself despite my age, be proud of yourself if you can drive!] they realised, as they always do, that I was not quite myself. The phrase ‘A weird weekend’ stems from the conversation that followed.

I have never been very good at talking about my feelings and I normally try to handle things myself and let them escalate to a point where I can no longer carry on alone and have to relent and the words tumble from my mouth explaining as quickly and incomprehensibly as possible a long period of struggling whereby I should have asked for help sooner. 
  I will often tell people that ‘I don’t feel very well’ when I am anxious, sad, stressed or angry. I find that it gives me the space to remove myself from a situation and actually people are less likely to fuss over you if they think it is a physical problem (likely because they don’t want to catch it). For my family it differs slightly and I tell them that I am feeling weird, strange, funny or jittery.

I think across a month I maybe have 2-3 ‘weird weekends’, though recently it has been a solid 4/4 in terms of weirdness. I also find that when I have a particularly good Friday or the weekend before has been a good one then the weekend that follows is more often than not a weird one. I think this is because the high of happiness that I have runs out and the fall to the sadness and anxiety is much harder, faster and deeper – it somehow always catches me off guard.

This weekend I thought I might share with you.

Friday Night: I was on the late shift at work and by all measures it was a good shift, I met a new colleague who I was training and their company was incredibly enjoyable and they helped me looking for a first car to buy!
I was supposed to be collected by my partner who is down from University in Hull to visit his family and myself, however as he had, had a long day followed by a long drive I offered to have my mum collect me as she had to pass by on her way home from work.
I think this was possibly the start.
I have no qualms with reasoning behind changes of plans but I do find it stresses me quite easily – it brings the same anxiety of running late or not being able to complete a task to the top standard. I think it is important to highlight that I am of course not annoyed at my partner for changing their mind, especially as I offered the choice, I just simply struggle with a quick turn around of a set plan. Of course you may think that it was foolish of me to offer if it causes me undue stress but actually I find it really difficult to say no to people when they ask me to do something and I worry that someone may have said yes to doing something just to appease me, I always offer someone a route out so that they don’t have to feel uncomfortable, I make sure they know it is okay to leave and that I wont be upset with them if they choose to do so. 
I visited my partner [For the purposes of the blog and a little joke of mine we will call them Brandy] and their family on my way home and we stayed at my house (which is a rarity as my room is small and until recently when I redecorated I only had a rather small single bed), we chatted to the early hours of the morning and I plucked up the courage to actually talk through 2 of the things that had been bothering me since our last meeting. Brandy was lovely in how they reacted, which honestly surprised me.

I was up early, as per, and spent the morning helping my mum prep for her mini weekend break to Croma, and felt happy to be chatting and helping (I hadn’t seen much of my family this week as all of our shifts kept clashing). I retrieved my mini suitcase for her and my Step-Dad to use and provided outfit advice and was given an awesome hug from my brother. My partner woke up and our plans of a breakfast out before I started work faded which knocked my mood slightly but all in all, a good start.
Brandy was driving me to work and we were collecting my Step-Dad’s work laundry on the way, this turned out to be a little further off the beaten track than we were prepared for, and my stress levels increased to the point that I was shutting down conversations because I couldn’t coordinate my thoughts. Their cousins were coming to town and arriving later that evening (I hadn’t met them before) and they were excited for me to get to know them. However, as I mentioned above I hadn’t seen my family properly for a week and as my mum was away my brothers would be home alone and I wanted to be with them. It was a difficult decision to make with numerous contributing factors and not aided by the time racing on making me anxious that I was to be late for work and Brandy wanted and answer from me there and then whether I would be over this evening to see their cousins.
I started my shift stressed, tired and anxious, I hadn’t eaten. It was a busy shift but with lots of team members on it passed quickly and I find that when I am distracted with little time to overthink I am in some strange sense happy. Unfortunately the customers that night were trying to say the least, one group were fabulous, polite and kind, but the following group would be rude and ungrateful so my mood fluctuated… a lot.
I was thankful for all of my team but especially one member in particular who kept me laughing with his lack of filter speech and strange thinkings. 
I was collected by my grandparents and dropped of at Brandy’s house to meet the cousins who had travelled from Bath, they were lovely people and it amused me how similar the two of them were to my partner, almost like siblings! My intention was to go and sleep at my house by myself so I could have the opportunity to see my sibling either late night or in the morning before this current shift, but I overheard Brandy talking to their dad and mention that they didn’t think they would do much driving for the rest of the weekend, as time crept on I felt less and less confident to ask for a lift home and I considered walking, but no decision felt like a good decision, to stay, go, order a taxi, walk, ask for a lift… my grandparents had offered to collect me but it was the early hours of the morning at this point and they live 20 minutes away in the opposite direction. I was finally left with no option but to stay over at Brandy’s and make my way home in the morning.

Sunday AKA Today:
Brandy was up late and they don’t like it when I walk myself home, especially when it is early. I am not a fan of waking people up before they do so naturally so I waited (increasingly anxiously) for them to wake up and took the opportunity to ask for a lift home, which came out a little more harshly than ever intended, due to the stress and bad nights sleep full of anxious dreams. 
I did eventually make it home with a little bit of time to spare, I fed my dog, let her out, and gave her her medication, all of which calmed me. My older brother heard me come in and we had breakfast together in the living room watching a rerun of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. 
My grandparents collected me a little later than I would like (but that is always to be expected and they are driving me to work so I wouldn’t dream of complaining) we chatted on the way over and they told me it was okay, asked what was wrong and hence I left them with the explanation of ‘A weird Weekened’.
It dawned on me before typing this how weird this weekend must be, because I actually went to message my biological father, something which I rarely do [we can get into that another time] but, when things are really weird and super strange and everything gets on top of me, I feel some peculiar need to message him? It never gets me anywhere, it nearly always makes me feel worse and yet I do it.

So I thought I would message you instead.

I promise for better and more interesting posts in the future – thank you for sticking through and reading all my nonsense! 
Please feel free to message or comment your weird days, I would love to hear.

All the best,
T xo