That Fri-Yay feeling

What do you think about the whole ‘Fri-Yay feeling’? Unless you work in a role that isn’t weekday specific, such as emergency services or retail, we’ve all pretty much had that Fri-Yay feeling. A feeling that brings us all together, a common emotion we can all share in ‘thank goodness that week is over’.

I always think it’s quite sad though that we’re often wishing our life away. I can’t wait for ‘the weekend’ ‘for a few days off’ ‘for a break’. But doesn’t that essentially mean that we’re only actually allowing ourselves to live 2 days out of 7. Of course we have our ups and downs in the week, happy and sad moments, but if we’re always only ever looking forward and waiting for what’s coming then are we ever really in the present? 

They say the people most satisfied with life on their death bed are those that have lived in the present the most. Those that feel they have absorbed and learnt from as many days as possible. Like now, you’re reading this but that means you’re not currently in the present. Your mind is focused on reading instead of what’s going on around you. Who are you with? What can you smell? Is it warm? Cold? What sounds can you hear, quiet and loud? What can you taste? What can you feel? 

People with anxiety are often taught these mindfulness exercises. Living in the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I like the saying ‘the past is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present!’ (Yes I did copy that from Kung Fu Panda). But it’s very true. No one knows if tomorrow will ever come for any of us and the past no longer exists. The only time that currently exists is now, and now, and now. We are always moving forward, never back and we are never guaranteed the next second.

What would you do if this was your last minute to live? Would you say ‘I can’t wait for Friday?’ Or would you make the most of every second you have right now? I’m not telling you to be extreme here like my OCD makes me when it comes to there being no tomorrow. What I am saying is to live in the present just a little bit more. 

What can you do today to make yourself happy TODAY of course remember the possible repercussions on tomorrow and the lessons you learnt from yesterday, but use that knowledge to make today better.

We will always be looking forward to that Fri-Yay feeling. That’s just human nature. But in the mean time, remember not to wish the present and your life away. After reading this look up and think about what is going on around you, get involved in the conversations, jump in the puddles, dance in the street. The only person that will be sad they didn’t is you. 

What is Friday actually going to do for you today?

The present, right now, really is a gift.

Living in the now

XxX

Ps. I know not everyday is fun and actually some are pretty awful, especially where our loved ones are unwell. And that’s why it’s so important to use the present more in the ordinary days so that our difficult days are more manageable. 

The Power of Positivity

Today I’m proud of myself for conquering my demons and one of my biggest fears – confrontation when I just want to be liked.

The thing about being assertive is that it doesn’t have to involve conflict or any negativity. If you prepare what you want to say, and really think about how it is going to land with the other person, then it can be quite beneficial for you both.

Yesterday I had to deliver a very personal and difficult message to someone. Explaining how their actions had affected me and how they could have acted more constructively, delivering the same message to me but in a positive manner.

Disney: where I feel most assertive and just like me!

I may have cried a little at one point, which I’m kind of annoyed at myself for, but I recovered very quickly and continued the conversation. I suppose this isn’t a negative and in some instances can be a positive. Showing people that you are human and have emotions can actually make you more credible as a person because people see you as ‘real’.

I stood my ground and politely put my point across, explaining my reasoning. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t have to be a negative experience. In fact, disagreeing with each other is the reason the world progresses and how we learn from each other. How boring would life be if we all thought exactly the same things at the same time. 

The moral of the story is to remember to step out of the stream sometimes and watch from the river bank. We’re always caught up in our own journey and emotions and often find it hard to have an objective view of our situations. By stepping out of the stream and watching the situation from the river bank I was able to think about the right questions to ask and how the other person may feel about them. 


Minnie Mouse understands the power of positivity! 

If I had just gone to this person with the attitude of ‘this is how it is and I’m upset and it’s your fault and you’re wrong’ then they would have instantly been defensive and my message would not have got through. Instead I went to them and asked them politely what their intention was for their actions. What did they hope to get from it, so that I can understand the reasoning a little better. Listening to understand instead of listening to respond is a great life skill and one that we could all be better at. 

So the next time you’re facing a difficult situation, before allowing your emotions to take over, just step out of the stream and on to the river bank. What is actually happening in this situation? What are the facts and not just the feelings? How would an outsider assess the situation? How can you think about it in a more positive light? 

Only when you think about a problem from all directions will you be able to fully understand how to get your message across and be understood. And once you’ve conquered that you’ll be master of your own universe! 

Feeling assertive 

XxX

Who are you Today?

I spoke to friends today about the reinvention of yourself. About how amazing the world and your life can be if you just take a step back to truly think about life.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

It took me allowing myself to fail and give up before I was able to see what I really truly want from life. I became unemployed for 4 months which was ridiculously scary. I have never been unemployed from the day that I was legally able to work. Never had a gap in employment even when studying full time or studying part time. Allowing and accepting myself to fall into the ‘unemployment category’ was an incredible learning journey and one that I never thought I would be brave enough to take.

We all have this inherent fear that we must always be working toward a purpose, in employment or looking for employment. Raising a family or looking for employment. Now I know it’s fundamental to secure your finances but what if you could just take a third of a year off to really think about who you are? Do you think you would want to keep doing what you’re doing? Considering you only get one shot in this life?

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

In those 4 months when I was unwell with my own mental health and then planning my wedding, I was for once in my life finally able to reflect. I had the freedom to completely reinvent myself. Was the career I’m working on truly one for me? Or should I go for something completely out of the box and new!

I’m back in employment now, not only for financial reasons but also to not become house bound and too dependent on others, staying away too long would have made my anxiety worse. But those 4 months of reflecting gave me the chance to think about something I never thought about before, who am I? And I don’t mean what do I do, what’s my background or my academics. But who am I?

Who would I have been back when we still lived in caves, what would I have been good at and what would I have enjoyed? Letting go of what I thought I wanted, but wasn’t making me happy, taught me to explore what I actually wanted.

And in honesty I don’t think most people in this world know what they want. And I mean what they really want, who they really are. And of course our wants and needs can change.

I’ve spent a career educating myself in the legal profession for 8 years and 5 years in Learning and Development teaching adults. But what really inspires me is the Stars. The science behind how we came to be and where we’re going. Inventing the next rocket to the moon or being instrumental in our journey to Mars. It’s something I was never conditioned to do and something school or education never opened the door for me on. 

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

By reflecting on who I truly am I’ve been able to learn more about who I want to be. 

I have to thank myself for being brave enough to let go of what I had and what I thought I wanted but that wasn’t making me happy. 

I’m currently in the process of obtaining student finance for an engineering degree. I want to be an engineer, a physicist, a designer and an innovator. I thought I was an extrovert and despite my bubbly and loud nature I learnt that in fact, I’m an introvert who enjoys socialising. I thought I enjoyed working in teams more but now I’ve learnt that I love personal challenges and leading teams.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

If there is one thing you do this year, 2017, take a step back. Take a moment to stop and think about who you are, not what you do. 

I really do live by the notion that sometimes you have to loose yourself to find your true self. 

Writing this blog has helped me to reflect on the thoughts and feelings I have each day and what causes me to feel that way. My advice to you is to find a way to express yourself. Whether it be writing, painting, drawing, dancing. Whatever works for you do it. Express how you feel and learn from it. 

Are you pleased with the way you have felt over the past week and would you be pleased to feel like that every week for the rest of your life? If the answer is yes then that’s amazing! But if the answer is no then you need to take action now, not tomorrow, not next week but now. No one is going to take action for you. No friend, psychic, coach or psychologist can do it for you. Only you can discover what makes you happy and you are the only one that can make things happen.

Picture by David Wilsher Instagram:DJWillox

Today I’m not who I was 8 years ago when I began my journey in the legal profession. Today I’m an aspiring physicist who wants to help develop the world. Today I’m me.

Who are you today?

XxX

Photo credit: Today I would like to thank my beautiful friend David Wilsher who has been an absolute rock to me, an inspiration and in many ways at many times my saviour. All of these beautiful pictures are his own and he has kindly shared them with me. You can find more on his Instagram: DJWillox


Why I hate myself today 

I’m trying to hate myself less today, for being a total muck up in everything I do. I was late this morning, went to the wrong office, forgot a colleagues laptop and handled a sensitive issue quite poorly which has upset a good friend.

I feel like I just need to run away and wipe the slate clean. Find a new role to start again. But running is the easiest thing. To be honest, it makes me so sad and anxious that if I was secure financially I would have run already.

I wonder if I will ever just be a ‘normal’ person that no one thinks badly of. My rational brain says that everyone can forget things from time to time and it’s really not a big deal or a judgement on your ability. And even my team responded in a way to show it was a total ‘non issue’.

Unfortunately my brain said that people must think I’m a total mess, a drain on the team, someone that brings no benefit at all and that just causes drama.

Today I hate HATE my depression and OCD. If I didn’t have it I wouldn’t have been late, if I wasn’t so anxious my brain would have functioned more and I would have remembered the laptop and which office to go to. If my OCD and depression didn’t exist then there would have been no sensitive situation for me to handle poorly. And if my OCD and depression didn’t exist I wouldn’t be so paranoid and anxious about being a burden. I’m still seeking reassurance by sending apology messages to my friend which is probably just making things 10 times worse!

Today I hate my OCD and depression for making me anxious about forgetting the laptop again tomorrow morning when that moment hasn’t even come yet. If I can forget it when I put it on top of my own bag which I didn’t forget then what more can I possibly do to make sure I take the damn thing!

Aside from just hating myself today, I hate my OCD and depression. I hate it for making me have to acknowledge that it’s there and tell employers, health professionals, friends and family. I hate that I have to tell them and wait to be judged which happens over 50% of the time.

Did you know that mental health is more common than cancer and heart disease. More common than arthritis and diabetes. The success rate for treating heart disease is more successful than treatment for mental health. I hate that I have to know this fact instead of some interesting fact about the stars.

I wish that people understood mental health more and knew that I have no choice but to be who I am. I hate that I feel the need to justify that sometimes I do struggle and it’s not my fault, I’m doing all I can.

I hate HATE my OCD and depression today for being so debilitating and making me hate myself.

I’m just grateful that my husband loves me and my craziness even when I can’t.

XxX

Update: I refuse to be beaten! I won’t forget the laptop if I can’t forget my shoes 😂🙈

I have a theory 

I have a theory that if the working world worked less hours we would actually be more productive and healthier. I’ve always wondered how the 5 day working week came about and who ever thought it would be a good idea. How have we all naturally accepted and migrated to this notion.

Imagine if everyone worked a 4 day week or even 3.5 day week. We would have more time for ourselves and our families. Enjoying and having more time for our personal life would make us resent our working life less.

I have previously worked compressed hours. Full time hours in a 4 day week. I always made a point to leave on time and I always took my full hour lunch. I was actually more productive in these 4 days than I was in 5 and I believe that if my hours were less I would be even more productive.

How many of us procrastinate on a daily basis? When you have a goal to focus on, a deadline each day to leave on time and go home, and your reward is just that ‘going home’ we can be so much more productive. If we go into work of the mind that ‘today is going to be a long day’ then it will be, you won’t send that email now because well you’re here all night and you have plenty of time!

Of course there are those of us that really are overworked. A very close friend of mine works extremely long hours and works incredibly hard with very little procrastination. I see the effect this has on her and the stress it causes not only mentally but physically too. How did she get to this point? And yet others of the same level and role of her, often paid more, are working less. It’s that old saying ‘victim of your own success’. We need to learn to put our work down and come back to it and if that means deadlines are missed then there is a problem with the process and organisation and not the person.

Sweden have recently wised up to this and reduced weekly working hours to increase productivity and well being.

Imagine if we all only worked 3 days. There would be more jobs available for others. Yes we would be paid less but everyone would be so the cost of living would go down. Everyone would be much healthier and would cost the health service less and the world would be a much happier place generally. 

People would have more time to learn and develop them selves. Time to give back and volunteer. Time to see their children.

I know my plan will be full of holes but it’s a nice thought isn’t it?

How did we get where we are and where are we going? 

In a few weeks I move to a 4 day week and I can’t wait. 

Feeling optimistic

XxX

The Carriage of Anxiety

Ergh, train time. One of the worst parts of my day is train time. I always get the same train at exactly the same time every day. The same carriage, the same door, the same seat. I time the train just right so that I get the empty one. If I’m there early I watch everyone running for the train packed out with people. Little do they know if they waited back a few moments an almost empty train would be right along.

Well today I’m late and I don’t know how it happened. Just by 7 minutes but that to me is super late. There is no way I’m going to make my usual train which I always ALWAYS get and I’m slightly terrified.

If I don’t get a seat on the train I often have panic attacks or have to get off to stop myself from fainting. If it’s a shorter journey and I’m with friends it’s not so bad but I still can’t shake that anxious dizzy feeling no matter what. I end up in cold sweats feeling sick and completely drained.

I get to the train platform and it’s relatively busy, not super busy but busy enough. I stand in my usual spot but there is a girl already there waiting. Perhaps this is her ‘usual spot’ at this time of day. I don’t know. I’m not used to this alien time. I would normally see the same families and individuals travelling to school and work every day and we all understand where each other stand and wait for that train. We don’t stand in each other’s space and we all know about the secret empty train.

In this alien time I don’t know who has right of way and who stands where. Anyone else would just find a darn spot to stand in and get on with it! I unfortunately have to stand as close to my spot as I can. This poor girl on the platform must think I’m such a weirdo. Of all the empty space on the platform I choose to come and stand right next to her. Yup I would think I was a bit strange too.


In the distance I see a scary sight, my ‘stalker’ a man who has been following me on the trains for the past year. Police have taken him off the train in the past and issued him a harassment warning. I haven’t seen him since that warning but now that I’m late he is here. Luckily he stays away. 

Many people don’t realise that people with mental health problems are much more likely to be victims of crime – people often think they’re the perpetrators! Well sadly I’m an easy target as it’s easy to figure out my routine. I’ll post another blog at some point about all 4 of my stalkers at different times of life.


A train arrives, it’s not empty (of course it’s not it’s rush hour and the secret train has gone). My brain is now having this crazy battle with itself. Do I get on? Do I wait and take a chance that the next one might be empty? Even though the closer we get to rush hour the more manic it will be?

The doors stop in front of me and I step on. I kind of have to as others are waiting behind me. I move down the carriage to stand by the seats. I always do my best to stand in an area with as many seats as possible. I figure there is more possibility of someone standing and me getting a seat if I’m next to a large number of them. 

I watch everyone’s moves discreetly. Who is folding up and putting their newspaper away ready to stand? Who is picking up their bags? There have been times where I have spent entire journeys on edge waiting for this to happen and not a single person has got up. In the past I have had to ask for a seat between stations before I fall down. 

So now I’m standing in the carriage, hoping, wishing someone gets off. I know the stations people are most likely to get off at so I’m hyper vigilant at these stations. All this hypersensitivity is really draining and heightens my anxiety.

And oh my goodness someone is getting off! Close to me is an older lady, not elderly but old enough. I worry if I should let her take the seat first. What kind of a complete bitch would people think I am if I sit down without giving her the option? But despite her age, what people don’t understand is that I’m so much less able to stand on this train than she is. (Presuming she doesn’t have a non visible disability too).

Luckily she doesn’t go for the seat, she’s not even interested. Now I’m sitting the fun begins. I’m relived I have a seat but I’m already feeling sick now and the motion of the train doesn’t help so this sickness is sadly going to stay for the entire journey.


I’m on edge now because every time a child gets on, or an elderly person or particularly a pregnant lady, I’m internally begging that they don’t stand near me. I literally could not stand up right now without fainting. This isn’t just a ‘mental’ thing but a physical thing. It’s incredible how much influence your mind has over the body.
So now I will spend the rest of my journey on edge hoping I don’t have to be the one that hides my face when they get on and wishing that someone else offers first. The sad thing is that my disability can’t be seen and it’s not obvious and unfortunately this world does judge people by the way they look and appear. 

‘You look absolutely fine’ I’ve heard in the past.

I’m glad I’m sitting now but I can’t wait for this journey to be over so that I can shake this sickness and not feel on edge every waking moment. But whatever happens I know I’ll make it through and that’s a positive start.

Hopeful on a Monday.

XxX

Update: in my haste this morning and panic I’ve actually gone to the wrong office. So after the embarrassment of logging on and suddenly realising I should be somewhere else, I’m now back on the trains again! Wish me luck!

The Last Breakfast

I’m so excited today and that doesn’t happen often, especially on a Sunday with Monday being so close. I’m on the way to meet a friend’s baby with mini teddy in tow to make him smile.

Going out on a Sunday is extremely hard for me. I often feel sick, anxious, sad and agitated. I’m continually watching the clock knowing the day will soon be over. Every moment I spend has to be accounted for. Am I being productive? And am I making the most of this day? I would put this more in my ‘depression box’ if I had to categorise it. Every second that passes is a second closer to my death or worse, the death of someone I love. Have I told them today that I love them? Have I seen there smile? Have I spent quality time with them?

Imagine living every day as if it’s your last. Sure it means I have some great relationships because I’m often investing time in them and of course it means I’m very productive trying to do everything before it’s too late. But imagine living every day like that and every day it’s real to you, it really is the last. Every time I hug or kiss someone I love, a part of my head tells me that it will be your last kiss, your last hug, your last smile. My mum and I actually have a ‘kiss ritual’ – left, right, middle. If I don’t say good bye in this way then for me I have unfinished business until we meet again, and that sits in a little corner in the back of my brain. I carry it everywhere I go.

Imagine you go for breakfast and it’s not ‘quite right’ if it was your last breakfast how would you feel? If you don’t get your favourite table how would you feel? For me everything I do is always the last so I’m having my last breakfast and I’m not having it in my usual seat ‘for old times sake’ it’s pretty scary.

Well today I feel pretty good. I’m a little anxious but I’m going to meet best friends and my husband is coming with me. Often if my husband is with me my anxiety is instantly halved because I’m not worried about not seeing him before he dies or before I die. It does make going to work and any separation incredibly hard, but each day I battle through some how. There are days when it’s too much and so I don’t make it out or to work but allowing myself those days without beating myself up is the best I can do.

The whole time I’m typing this I’m picking at my ear, I’ll put this in my ‘dermatillomania box’. Sadly the wound on my ear has been there for more than a year now because I can never seem to let it heal! The more restless or anxious I am the worse it is. And I’ve been pretty bad with it recently.

With all this in mind I’ve decided today is going to be a good day. Am I still anxious and a little sad? Yes of course but I’m also so excited and happy to be strong enough to meet friends and travel to them (something else I struggle with). I’m happy that I’m strong enough today to show them how much they mean to me and how much I love them. I also get breakfast in a new place which is always fun for me and quite liberating.

Fingers crossed today stays a happy one and who knows maybe it’s the start of a new era!

‘Mad’ as always

XxX

The Birth of Openness

This week has been pretty hellish for me, I suppose that’s what finally pushed me to start Diary of a ‘Mad’ girl. Over the past year I have learnt to become more and more open about my mental health, something that I have found to be particularly helpful when it comes to coping with any anxieties or depressive moments I may have. Being open about who you truly are and how you really feel can be completely liberating and quite inspiring. Strangely, I can often find more courage when opening up to strangers. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a ‘reputation’ to uphold or a ‘character’ to protect. What you see is what you get. If a stranger knows my darkest secrets I won’t have to see their eyes everyday looking at me and knowing my struggle. Of course family I see everyday so that’s a different story.

I’ve really come a long way in the past year, just being me. sadly this week I found myself being put back into my box, knocked back a century or two and silenced with gaffa tape. My ability to be open to the world was completely stripped from me and so too was one of my biggest coping mechanisms – openess. What do you do when your told you’re not allowed to discuss your mental health? And with no reason given for the need to be silent on the topic other than ‘not everyone is ready to hear about mental health’. Well excuse me whilst I ask all those with visible disabilities to cover themselves with blankets because people just aren’t ready to hear about disabilities. What outrage would ensue? So why then is mental health still treated so differently to physical health. My brain has an actual physical condition, a chemical imbalance and yet I must act as though this disability does not exist.

If I had a heart condition would you ask me to run up 5 flights of stairs to deliver a letter? Would you expect me to disclose my health difficulty to you so that I could take the lift instead? Or would you prefer I keep quiet and die of a heart attack? If the reasonable adjustments you make for someone with a physical disability allow them to function better, then what reasonable adjustments can you make for me when I’m suffering from a chronic illness that I’m unable to discuss?

With so much change going on in the world, both for the better and worse, I refuse to remain silent on the issue of mental health. If we campaign for cancer why is mental health any different? I will be regularly sharing my experiences with mental health, positive, negative, the wins and my struggles. I hope that Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl will help others that face mental health difficulties, friends and family and those that have no idea what it’s all about but are willing to learn more and spread the message.

I look forward to taking this journey of openness with you and will forever be grateful for the time you spend reading and sharing Diary of a ‘Mad’ Girl.

Thank you

XxX