What lasts forever?

I never know whether to put a warning at the start of some of these posts when they explore certain topics that may upset people. If you’re not in the right place to read about lack of control, lost relationships or the unknown then maybe this one isn’t for you. Or maybe it will help you to see that you’re not alone in your thinking and that there are others who understand.

I’ve had so many people come and go from my life, the strongest of relationships fade, to the point that I kind of feel that any relationship I have might not exist in 2, 5, 10 years. That’s not because I don’t want them to, but if the universe has taught me anything it’s that very few things are forever.

It can be a scary place to be. It’s quite worrying to think that my entire support network could be completely different or gone over the years. It’s quite an empty feeling to have. Knowing that your only guaranteed constant in your life is yourself. When something bad or upsetting happens I always think ‘I’m so glad I have X to help me through’ or ‘all that matters is that I have Y by my side’. But the scariest thought comes when my brain tells me ‘what makes you think they’re yours to keep’.

Thank goodness for puppies ๐Ÿ’•

I want to write something comforting about how as individuals we need to be OK with the unknown and trust in time. I want to write that the relationships that mean the most to us will always be there. But today OCD isn’t allowing me to. It’s telling me that no matter what I do, at some point it’s going to be just me on my own and that any relationship I ever make, no matter how deep it feels to me, really might not be that deep or meaningful to others. OCD makes me feel unstable with no solid platform or level of control.

I have incredible friendships with close friends that would give me the world and I could never explain to them what they mean to me. It’s just pretty shit that OCD has this way of convincing me that eventually I’ll be alone and left again by different people over the years. I remind myself of all the people who also come into my life in recent years and the new relationships that I create but that just leaves me wondering who will ever really know who I am? If all my relationship end up being transient and ever changing.

Fear of being alone isn’t just an OCD thing or necessarily a mental health thing. But OCD does make it more real for me. It doesn’t become an ‘if’ it becomes a ‘when’. And even if I know in my heart of hearts that my closest relationships are here to stay my brain does weird stuff that tells me to not be so ridiculous, of course I’ll eventually be alone. I feel pretty selfish saying that.

It takes me back to the day I brought my wedding dress. The second I put my card in the machine my brain said ‘what are you doing? Why are you doing all of this? You’ll be dead before then anyway. You’re not going to be alive in a year. Why are you bothering with any of this?’

It actually felt ridiculous to buy a dress I would never wear. The thought and feeling was so real to me that I almost told the sales person that I was being ridiculous because I was going to die soon. And in my mind that felt like a completely reasonable thing to say. I found it really hard to enter my pin in to that machine at the same time as being absolutely sure that I wouldn’t be here to wear my dress anyway. Not because I didn’t want to be here, but because I just genuinely believed I didn’t have a choice and that nothing lasts forever including me.

If you’re friends with someone that has OCD or poor mental health, know that they probably deeply care about you even if they are annoyingly always concerned that it’s all going to end soon.

If you’re friends with me then thank you. Thank you for dealing with my randomness, my sometimes anxious behaviour and my often fickleness. Sometimes there is method in the ‘madness’ or in this case, a reason.

If you’re in my life and you’re here to stay then thank you for being my rock, because as with any day living with poor mental health, I need you now more than ever and I appreciate you for everything you do for me. I’m so lucky to have an amazing husband and so many amazing friends that mean the world.

No matter how close or far from me you may be, I know you’re there and that to me is huge.

‘mad’ as always

XxXxX

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. ๐Ÿ’š

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. ๐Ÿ’š

So many of us are affected or know people that are affected by suicide. Sometimes we hear people refer to suicide as ‘selfish’ or people complain about ‘inconvenience’ when it means their trains don’t run. Just remember that someone was ill enough to end their own life and that’s a pretty awful place to be in. It is not selfish and it is not an inconvenience. Nobody wants to be ill and nobody ever wants to feel that it’s their only way out.

Usually people share posts and ask others to do the same. ‘share or post this so that others know you’re there’. They encourage you to reach out and ask how others are doing. But we often forget to ask ourselves how we are too. So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, reach out to others and encourage others to do the same. But don’t forget to reach out to yourself also because it’s not selfish to make sure that you’re OK too ๐Ÿ’š

Christmas OCD happy, sad, and everything in-between

Ok so I haven’t written in a while so this is long overdue. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right topic and other times I think of the perfect thing to say but just don’t get round to actually typing. So here I am actually typing.

With Christmas around the corner, people arguing about when the tree should actually go up and the fact that there are Christmas cards in the shop in October. I’ll be honest, as long as it makes people happy it doesn’t bother me that one person puts up a tree in October or another person December. What actually makes me sad at Christmas is happiness. All those that can’t relate right now are thinking ‘OK that’s a bit weird’. Hear me out.

It’s not the happiness of others that makes me sad, it’s my own happiness. It’s a really difficult one to explain really and I’ve spent years trying to understand it. Is it my OCD and being terrified of loosing what I have, maybe I feel I don’t deserve it when so many others struggle, maybe it’s unmet expectations of being able to be with all family members all the time, is it the break in routine and a fear that Christmas traditions won’t be kept? Or maybe it’s all of them put together.

For me, and many others I know with mental health difficulties it can be one thing or memory that brings on that emotion. I remember being about 17 maybe one evening late in December. My mum called me to say we’re going Hamleys today and to look at the Christmas lights in London (something we do together every year) this year it hadn’t been planned and my parents had decided at that moment that today was the day. They asked if I wanted them to pick me up from my boyfriend’s (now husband) house. I thought about it but answered too quickly perhaps.

I said No.

That year I missed the trip to Hamleys.

Even typing that makes me cry. Who says no to spending time with family at Christmas? Who says no to keeping a family tradition? In truth lots of people do and it doesn’t mean they don’t care about family it just means they have to skip this one event this year. Unfortunately many people like myself with OCD or other mental health difficulties will hate themselves forever. I’ve never gotten over that and I don’t think I ever will. From then on my feelings around Christmas time changed. To me it became a time of year where I let people down and don’t do enough to bring happiness. To me I broke my mum’s heart and to her she probably doesn’t even remember it and probably didn’t even mind. My mind tells me that it taught me I was capable of choosing doing something else over being with my family.

As a person who’s OCD tells them they are going to loose everything all the time and everyone is going to die, knowing that you just rejected your last trip to Hamleys with your family is like living in hell. I instantly knew I had made a mistake and spent most of the evening crying.

Top that off with the fact that emotionally I believe every Christmas is the last. And not my last. I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned if it were my last. It’s the belief that it could be my husband’s last, my mum’s last, my sisters last, etc. And because OCD tells you something WILL happen, not that it might, it means I’m already grieving for a loved one every Christmas. And how selfish is that? So many people actually ARE grieving for a loved one and here I am with mine unable to fully appreciate it – that makes me feel pretty selfish to top it all off. Sadly I can’t control my OCD or irrational thoughts because, well they’re irrational!

As I walk down the street I see people sleeping out in the cold and I wonder what I have to celebrate. How can I celebrate whilst there are people sleeping alone outside on Christmas day? Guilt. Again everything is about why I should feel bad and why I’m selfish for being happy.

It’s a difficult one to tackle because let’s be honest, feeling responsible for those less fortunate than us is not irrational and is actually very helpful in society because we should be caring for others. Unfortunately for me, coupled with everything else above, I spend an awful lot of time hating myself for any kind of happiness. When in reality I should be appreciating it.

It seems in life in general the happier I am or the better things become, the more terrified and ill I become inside, because now I have more to loose. The more in love I am the harder it will be when I fall, the better my relationship are with friends and family the more crushed I will be when that person’s gone. So what do you do? Hug less? Try to see things more rationally and less emotionally? All easier said than done and neither of them very healthy.

So I ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ I build every relationship, try to maintain every tradition and convince others to understand why it’s so important to put the time in, to make the effort, attend the family traditions because one day they will all be gone and all we’ll have left are our memories. Pretty awful outlook to have on Christmas I know. So this year, if you’re like me, try to be a bit more forgiving of yourself. Do the things you’ve always done, and spend time with the people you need to. But remember your life, love and relationships are not defined by that one moment, that one evening or even present. They’re defined by the small things, the Monday morning ‘how are you’ text and the Friday afternoon coffee, the ‘ill he right there’ when you’re needed. That’s what people remember and that’s what matters.

Buy breakfast for the person sleeping outside and give to those that need it most. Just remember that you do deserve some happiness. I’ll be honest I’m still working on taking my own advice but I’m sure I’ll get there.

For those friends and family that don’t experience Christmas the same way and that don’t suffer with mental health. Know that when I get upset that you don’t want to keep the tradition this year, or your too busy to come to Hamleys or to have Christmas dinner. When I get upset and probably come across as pushy and mean it’s because it means something more to me.

It means more to me than I could ever explain and more than you could ever understand.

XxXxX

What is strength?ย 


We talk about strength so often, ‘she’s so strong’ ‘he has such strength’ but what does it actually mean? And does it mean the same to you as it does your neighbour? 

A quick Google search will show you multiple definitions we have for the word.

 

I would say my husband is incredibly strong, he can bench 120kg and barely break a sweat but I would say that his mental strength far surpasses anything he can do physically. It would have to for him to survive me everyday!

In our family, and amongst friends, I have always been seen as strong, robust or a bouncy ball as they used to say ‘always bouncing back’. At some point in life, after so many bounces, you begin to loose your elasticity and your once bubbly and energetic bounce becomes more of a hauling yourself off the floor whilst trying to not cause further damage or sustain long term injury.

I really do feel like that bouncy ball, a year or 2 ago you could have kicked me down and pushed me round, you would have found that I still come back smiling. Today I’m a much more fragile kind of ball perhaps more glass than bounce. A pretty strong type of glass mind, just much more open/transparent and a little less bouncy.


So I fall harder and I recover slower. Does that make me ‘weak’ or any less strong? It all depends on your interpretation of strength. Before my mental health got really bad, bouncing back was part of my nature and not something I found so difficult. Now days I find myself taking the negative things in life much more to heart and they affect me more deeply. My mental health can be both my best friend and my bully. And there is no harder bully to battle than your own mind.

If somebody makes it into work when they really don’t want to but I only just make it to my living room, does that make them mentally stronger than I am? What most people fail to realise is that to some, making the smallest steps can be the biggest achievement. For me, getting on a bus or going to a social event is one the bravest things I can do and is a time where I show incredible strength. Because strength is relative. 


Lifting 120kg on the moon might not be all that impressive so it really depends upon which planet you’re starting from. To me the rest of the world experiences set backs, and life in general, relative to the gravity on the moon. I on the other hand can experience them relative to the gravity at the centre of the earth. It’s still the same amount of weight, technically, but our ability to hold the weight and the pressure it places upon us are very different depending on where we stand. 

Just because you might handle a situation different to someone else or because you can’t work 24 hours 7 days a week doesn’t mean that the person who can is stronger than you. 


The times when we are at our strongest are when we are most scared but continue anyway. When we ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’. 

We are all uniquely and independently strong. There is no such thing as that awful phrase ‘man up’ which disgusts me to my core. What does it even mean? The words ‘you hit like a girl’. Where does that even come from? They’re ‘weak’ or they ‘just can’t handle it’ you have no idea what that person is having to ‘handle’, not a clue.

The next time you feel the need to compare your ‘weakness’ to someone else’s strength, ask yourself, are we dealing with this problem under the same gravity? 


Yesterday I did something that made me terrified. I thought I was going to faint the whole way there. I even had a friend kindly come along to provide support. Part of me was kicking myself for not being ‘strong enough’ to not cry, to be head strong, to face the fear alone. But do you know what? I did it. I was strong not because I wasn’t scared when others might not be, not because I was ‘head strong’ or ‘determined’ but because I was absolutely and completely terrified and yet, I still did it. 

“I was powerful not because I was’t scared but because I went on so strongly, despite the fear.”

Never mistake your silence for weakness, your kindness for acceptance. Never believe you are not enough because today your head and mental health was just too much to fight. Today you are alive because you win your fight every day. And for that you are the strongest person I know. 

Do not be afraid to be afraid.

XxX

Should you expect the world?

My husband throughout his life has always prepared for failure. If he doesn’t get his hopes up then he won’t be so disappointed if he doesn’t get it. We couldn’t be more different on this front. When I prepare, I prepare for success. I literally pour my heart and soul in. If I’m unsuccessful yes it can be devastating but after lots of practice you learn to move on quickly to the next venture. I have failed in job applications, exams, friendships, love and life in general. But I have succeeded more times than I have lost.

In the words of Thomas Edison there really is no such thing as failure, only learning how not to do something. If you ‘fail’ 100 times you have really just learnt 100 ways not to do something.

My husband may have less disappointment in his life, but that can mean his victories aren’t quite as emotional. They are tarnished by anti disappointment methods. He reduces the suspense whereas I build mine up so that when I do finally succeed it’s a huge accomplishment.

So what is the right approach? There is no magical formula to protect ourself from disappointment or learning how not to do something. But I truly do believe that without knowing sadness you cannot experience true happiness. You have to accept the peaks and troughs. Protecting yourself all the time is denying yourself the right to actually live.

So I set my expectations high. My expectations of myself and of others. Yes this means I have further to fall but, when my hopes and dreams do come through, they’re pretty darn amazing.

Not everyone can live up to your hopes or expectations. So you do have to learn to let things go and to forgive, as I mentioned above, to a new venture. It can mean that I’m judged for expecting the best from people but that doesn’t make me a bad person or mean that I should be demoralised until my expectations are lowered.

One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from the film ‘Did you hear about the Morgan’s’. When trying to overcome divorce, our resident sex in the city gal, Sarah Jessica Parker, says that perhaps she needs to scale back her expectations, to not expect anything from him and for him to not expect from her to; make the marriage work. Just as she is about to accept a fate of low expectations and therefore a life without those highs and joys, a wise man (Sam Elliot one of my faves!) tells her:

‘you should expect everything from each other!’.


This quote really resonates with me. I am so passionate about making the people I love feel special and happy that I literally expect the world from myself to them. Of course I’m not perfect and I can royally screw up sometimes and also I can’t keep everyone ecstatically happy all of the time because there is only one of me. I also have arguments like other people and disagreements which detract from happiness from time to time. But the point is, my intention is there. Where I can and where I have the opportunity to make the people I love feel amazing I do.

In giving the world, do I expect it in return? Yes I do. Know that I don’t give the world to receive it, but as I am always preparing for the best and for success, I naturally expect and see the good in people. Unfortunately not everyone shares my passion. And as I mentioned about falling a long way before… If your expectations are high then your pain from the loss is even higher.

There are some things that you can’t just quickly move on from. My husband tells me that I should just stop expecting such high results and stop giving them so that I can’t get hurt. Just accept that’s the way it is and move on. You don’t have to give the world to them and they don’t to you. The problem is, I will never stop trying to give the world because it makes me happy to see others happy. It makes me happy to make someone smile, to create a happy tear, to give motivation, to empower, to push people to achieve, to push people to be the best they can be.

Not everyone wants the world from you. Some people would just rather a continent or a small island and they don’t want to give you the world. Sadly for me it’s all or nothing. I wish I could just give a piece of myself, to just be around from time to time and smile where necessary. But that’s not who I am and that’s who I will never be. Because the in between genuinely makes me miserable and depressed. Either you’re with me in my life through our individual ups and downs or you’re not. I was also not created just for the downs when you decide you want me, or for you to ride on the back of my ups. This is a mutual swapping of the earth here. 

Handing out planets on the corner.

XxX

Are you OK? Then I’m OK

Working in a learning environment I often use and teach a number of different psychology models. It’s always interesting to see how they work in practice and indeed if they work at all. I have seen people really succeed with them, change their careers and their lives. I’ve also seen them fall flat on their face with poor application and even with good application.

One of my favourites, that applies to us all, is transactional analysis. The notion that we all have the ability to respond in the parent, adult, child ego states. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this, but anyone who picks up a book on it can begin to develop a good understanding.

I was often told by my CBT therapist that I drove a lot of my life and emotions on the ‘you’re OK, I’m OK’ basis. (The child) my ability to be OK in myself rested solely on whether everyone else was OK with me. If they were not OK or were unhappy with something it would fill me with self doubt and total devaluation. Always wanting to make sure that people were and are happy with me.

‘Do not engage’ was something she would say often. You do not have to take someone else’s emotions on. Particularly when they are unnecessary and unhelpful. 

If you buy someone a gift and they do not accept it then that gift still belongs to you. If someone directs their anger at you or hurtful behaviours then you do not have to take that on, it will remain with them. 

So I’ve been learning how to respond as the ‘adult’, staying factual, not being personal and focusing on the issue at hand. It can be difficult and even harder when someone is being the ‘parent’ and you respond in the way that feels natural as the ‘child’. And sometimes you will slip.

A major hurdle is being able to remain the ‘adult’ when you are continually being pushed to be the ‘child’. I have experienced a lot of ‘parents’ in my life. Telling me which behaviours and beliefs of mine are wrong or right. Leaving me on the defensive and unable to actually assess whether what they say is right. It’s quite liberating when you step back into that ‘adult’ space. Realising that just because someone says X does not mean they are right. 

If someone refuses to be an ‘adult’ with you to resolve conflict you may eventually be led to leave the situation as it is. With no real resolution. You can continue on as the ‘adult’ with the notion of ‘do not engage’ in your mind. But doesn’t that mean that the issue is never truly resolved? And if you have an emotional connection with that person then it’s torn and never really healed. Sure it would have affect in a work environment. ‘It’s not personal, it’s business’. Does it really work in personal relationships though? We are humans with emotional memories and it’s not possible to swipe that memory clean by simply not talking about it. 

Taking the ‘I’m OK’ approach and the ‘do not engage’ approach may not actually solve anything. Instead you may be forced to continue your life as ‘normal’ knowing things won’t actually be the same. Your expectations of those relationships have dropped and so has your emotional attachment with them.

You can admit your own faults to find an amicable solution but if others are unwilling to move on their position and recognise their faults and hurtful behaviours, then we’re just playing the ‘parent’ blame game. And the ‘child’ ‘poor me’ card.

Just because that other person or people are now ‘OK’ to move on that doesn’t mean that you’re ‘OK’. You may be forced to pretend you are ‘OK’ and act as the ‘adult’. But in truth you will never be OK with that relationship again and things will never feel the same again. Because, as I said, we’re humans. And some hurtful things can’t be unsaid or forgotten.

Sometimes it’s OK to give the world and sometimes it’s OK to expect it.

XxX

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. 

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


I have a theoryย 

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 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

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