Saturday, 22 October 2016

50 Questions that will free your mind

Why hello poor neglected Blog! I have been away for far too long and sooo much has happened - but that's another post!
So, I have just finished my Day Zero Project (I completed 56/101 goals, which I didn't think was too bad!) I decided to make another one and put on the goals I didn't manage to achieve, plus some new ones. Whilst searching for inspiration, I came across this goal and decided that it looked good, so I am going to have a go at answering them all!
For a link to the original article written by Marc Chernoff  click here

Off we go then!
50 Questions that will free your mind:

1.    How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? I think probably around 65 - I have always felt older than I am, like I have an old soul! Plus my body is falling apart!
2.    Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying! You will never know what you can achieve unless you try. If you fail, you can always try again.
3.    If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? I think we get complacent about things. We think that we have all the time in the world, so will get around to those things we really want to do 'someday'. Also fear of the unknown or taking risks. People keep doing the same things over and over, even if they don't like doing them because they are known and therefore safe.
4.    When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Probably! I'm brilliant at making lists and setting personal goals, but actually doing these things is a lot more of a challenge for me, heehee!
5.    What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? Wow, such a tough choice as there are so many things I would like to see changed! I think if we were all a lot more tolerant of each other - of our differences in beliefs, religions etc then there would be a lot less conflict in the world. 
6.    If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Crafting, especially making jewellery - my new passion!
7.    Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? I settled for too many years in the past, so I am definitely doing what I believe in now :-)
8.    If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I would live each day as if it were my last! Take more risks, do more things I want to do, complete my 'bucket list' etc. 
9.    To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? Hardly at all! My life has unfortunately been completely led by my depression - it caused me to leave my dream job of teaching, it was the final nail in the coffin of my marriage, it has caused major disruption to my day-to-day life. But I will always be a lot stronger because of all the difficulties I have overcome!
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Tough question! I think doing the right things would worry me more, as I don't like the idea of doing wrong or breaking 'rules'
11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticising a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do? I listen quietly, but not agree at all. I will explain that they are talking about a close friend of mine and although they are entitled to their opinions, I would prefer to talk about something else. 
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Do what makes you happy - live the life you want, not what others expect from you
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Oh wow, I'm not sure! It would depend on what my loved one needs saving from! I would definitely want to help them, but staying within the law if possible.
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Nope, I tend to see creativity wherever I look
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? Roll my tongue in to 3! Silly I know, but most people I know can only roll their tongue so that both sides go up to make like a 'tongue tube'! I can make my tongue coil into 3 'bits' - I'm very weird!
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? Because we are all individuals. We have individual experiences in life and perceive things differently, which makes the world full of variety :-)
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back? Travel the world - I don't have the money! Heehee! Also I have my kids and am a single mum, so they always have to come first.
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Not anymore! Lots of therapy and self-discovery have allowed me to start letting go of old, negative beliefs. I am also getting better at letting go of kids things - like toys and only keeping truly sentimental things
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Ooooh, so many possibilities! I think I would love to live in Canada. I think that it is a beautiful country and the Canadians I have met, are just lovely!
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? No I don't and I don't think it would make a difference
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? I think joyful simpleton! I usual find more joy in the simple things in life anyway. Plus I'd rather be innocently joyful and happy then intelligent and worried all of the time ;-)
22. Why are you, you? Because of my genes, my experiences in life (good and bad) which have shaped my strong moral compass and beliefs, my loving and supportive friends and family and finally the faith that I'm on the path in life that God has helped me find.
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? Yes I think so. I am fiercely loyal and love all of my friends. I try to be supportive, to listen and help if I can. I don't have any expectations of my friends - I know that we all have busy lives and can't always find lots of spare time for a coffee and a catch-up, so I treasure any time they do have for me. I may not be good at calling friends, but I always try to message them frequently to see how they are. I hope that makes me a good friend to have. 
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? Losing touch with a friend who lives right near me. A lot of my closest friends live far away and I still manage to maintain good friendships. I have actually had a good friend who lives close to me who cut off our friendship and that was far worse. I have learnt though that we keep the friends we are supposed to keep, no matter the distance between us.
25. What are you most grateful for? My family. Without them, in particular my mum, I wouldn't be here today.
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? Wow, another really tough question! I already struggle a bit with my memory, but I think it would be far worse to never be able to make any new ones. 
27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Maybe. I think I tend to believe things as truth, as I trust that others are as truthful as I am. Perhaps I have become a little more gullible than I was previously, but I would always challenge something or investigate more if I wasn't convinced it was true.
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?  Yes. I feared not living the life I had always envisioned - being a teacher and having a happy marriage and family life. I am now a divorced, stay at home mum!
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now? No, memory isn't one of my strong points ;-)
30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special? Family Christmases because my grandparents always came to stay and it was even more special with them there.
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? When investigating which way to vote on Brexit!
32. If not now, then when? I don't know! How about tomorrow ;-)
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing :-)
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? No, not that I can think of - I like 'real' conversations much more!
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? Religions don't cause wars, people do. People with an agenda hurt others and say that it is in the name of their God. Intolerance causes wars. Greed causes wars. Religions can be used as a 'reason' to justify peoples hatred and intolerance of others. 
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? No. I think evil and good is impossible to ever really 'know' because it is subjective! What I think is evil may not be seen as evil to someone else.  
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? If I had a job I loved then no! As I am currently unemployed, I would find more charitable work to do instead of paid work.
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? More work I actually enjoy doing. I need to have goals to achieve, it helps my depression. Otherwise I drift from one day to the next without really doing anything.
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Yes! Today is one of a hundred days where I have no energy or motivation to do anything but play on my laptop with the TV on in the background! 
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? When I finally found myself again, after my divorce and last post-natal depression. I have finally decided where my life is going!
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? I would want to see everyone! Hold a massive party, so that I could be with them all one last time. I could never choose one person over another!
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? No! I hate being in the lime light! When I  played the viola, I preferred hiding in the back row of my section in the orchestra or playing in a quartet - never liked solos!! 
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? Being alive is just the physical aspects - breathing, eating, growing etc. Truly living requires much more! It requires experiences, choices, decisions, feeling emotions, interactions with others etc. 
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? Right away! I have lived too long worrying and stressing about things - what problems my decisions may cause, weighing up the pros and cons . Now if I know something is the right thing to do, I will just get on and do it!
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? I think some of us are braver than others! If you have always met with criticism when you make a mistake, you will eventually believe that all mistakes are bad and so you will fear them. If mistakes are just a part of your journey, like bumps in the road rather than huge valleys to cross, then you can get over them a lot easier. I love the saying that you are not making a mistake - you are doing a dance; one step back and two forwards ;-)
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I would wear my jammies all the time (even out in public) - they are just so comfy, heehee!
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? I learnt to focus on my breath when I took a mindful therapy course. I practised it the other day when having a floatation session :-)
48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I love my kids and I tell them so every day! I try to encourage and support them and spend as much quality time with them as I can - having fun and making memories :-)
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? Not a chance! My memory is awful - a not so great part of my depression :-(
50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I have found decision making very hard due to my depression, but I think that I have made a lot of progress recently! I am able to make the important decisions myself now - especially regarding my kids. Smaller, day-to-day decisions I hope are made together with my mum, not just always made for me, (since we all live together!)

Wow! If you made it this far, then thank you for sticking with me to then end! That was a really thought provoking process! 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

I want to live!

I am so fed up. Why do I have to be trapped in this endless cycle?
Once again, I am at the darkest part. I can see nothing but blackness. I am floating through each day, without out feeling any real connection to anything or anyone. Every day just blurs and passes on to the next and the next. There is no light on the horizon, no spark at the end of the tunnel, no silver lining, nothing. There is nothing beyond my own bubble of black misery.
How many times have I been here now? How many times have I dragged myself out of this place? How many times have I been doing really well, only to slip right down to the bottomless pit of depression? Again and again and again. What is the point?
Nothing seems to change, nothing makes a significant difference. No, that’s not right. Nothing makes a lasting difference. I have no energy or fight left in me. Yet I am desperate to have a life. I don’t want to be just existing, just this shell of a person drifting from day to day. I want to be the mum my kids deserve. Not this broken, useless thing that tries to be present to their wants and needs, but fails at every turn. I want to be the daughter my parents deserve, not this useless burden, relying on them for everything and not capable of helping or giving anything in return.
I want to be a useful person in society, not this benefit dependent leech, this drain on society, with no income of my own. Who would employ me? I certainly wouldn’t. Who would want such an unstable, unpredictable person who will always end up on sick notes and draining your profits, with nothing to show for it? I guess I’m afraid. Afraid of letting people down. Afraid of becoming a financial burden on a company paying me to be on permanent sick leave; where each of my jobs has always ended up.
The worst of this is that I am imprisoned in this horrendous place, not by society or family or friends. No, the only person I have to blame for my predicament, is myself. I am the one with such expectations of what I should be doing. I am the one who seems to ignite a self-destruct fuse every time it looks like I am anywhere near the verge of feeling content with my life. I am the one who puts up barriers to prevent me from doing things I should or want to be doing. Why though? When I wouldn’t dream of doing that to another living creature, is my subconscious content to allow me to inflict this on myself? Why do I seem to have no control? I have all of the tools, knowledge and understanding, learnt from years of 1:1 therapy, plus mentalization and mindfulness groups work, so why am I still stuck?
Why is it that all I can manage to do is wake up each day, eat, drink, have the TV on some show that I can’t concentrate on and then repeat the next day and the next. Is this what my life is going to be like from now on? I have so many ideas and hopes and dreams of things I could be doing; to earn money (making cards, jewellery, ‘the dummy fairy’ story, calligraphy) things I could be doing around the house to help my parents, or to be there for my kids. I have all the ideas, but none of the drive or motivation to achieve anything. It is pathetic to think that just having a shower and getting out of my pj’s at the moment is a humungous achievement. I look at other parents and families and I’m just so jealous. I’m jealous of all the school runs they do without thinking, when for me it is a massive deal to do one morning a week. I am envious of all the posts I read on facebook of parents having fun with their kids; at the park, baking cakes, anything really, when all I seem able to do is sit on the sofa and watch.
I grieve for the loss of myself! I once was a full time primary teacher. I had a house of my own, a husband and hobbies, that I actually did and enjoyed. Slowly over the years that person has been killed off, little by little with each turn in the depression cycle. I no longer recognise the person I have become as ‘me’. I just feel like an empty vessel; exhausted of all useful substance, completely barren and isolated from the world.

I pray so hard for a way forward. A way out of this endless misery. I crave that motivation and spark that I miss so much. I don’t want to just exist anymore. I want to live! But how?

Friday, 18 September 2015

P is for Purpose

Finally, finally after months and months of having absolutely no clue what I'm doing with my life and where it's headed, I have now found my new 'purpose'!
A while back, ok, so it was probably at least 3 years ago, (she admits sheepishly!) I wrote a little story for Little Man all about the dummy fairy, to help him through the process of letting go of his dummies for good. In the end, he was too young for the story, but I had great fun writing him letters from his dummy fairy and giving him a certificate and gift, in exchange for him filling up the special bag with his dummies for the fairy to take away (find out more here.) I shared the story with a few close family members who really liked it, but then I pretty much forgot all about it.
Anywho, following a lovely catch-up lunch last weekend with my family, I have now decided to re-focus on the story and a few other 'extras' that I have thought of to try and make it into a little business. My godmother (mum's cousin) has been on and on at me to do something with the story since I wrote it, but now I think I am finally in the right place to do something about it! Soo excited!!
I'm trying to think of a good, catchy name for the business (any suggestions most welcome!) and then look out world, here I come, heehee!
So,keep your fingers crossed for me, that it all starts to come together very soon!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Dear Little Man,
Where has that year gone?? I can't believe that today you celebrated your 6th birthday! You had a lovely bowling party yesterday, with some school friends and little miss and your cousins. Auntie Charlotte and Uncle Chris bought her new baby to meet you too. You had a really awesome cake; dinosaur of course!
thank you Dawn from dial a cake!

I am so proud of the little man you are growing into. You still give the best hugs ever - you seem to know just when I need one! You have a kind heart and are really generous! You are still a complete fruit-loop, which makes me feel much better, to know that you are just as silly as me! You have also unfortunately, inherited my clumsiness too - I have never seen anyone fall over or have as many accidents at school, as you do - sorry about that!
At the moment, you are really into power rangers action figures, guns, dinosaurs, jumping on the trampoline, scooting (mostly just to and from school) and you are just learning to ride the new bike that me, grannie and grandad got you for your birthday. The films of the moment that we watch again and again are How to Train Your Dragon (now you have the second one as well, thanks to grannie and grandad) Tinkerbell and Frozen (though I think those are more your sisters choices, heehee!)
You have done really well at school this year - especially with your reading and handwriting! I am so so proud of you! You still love drawing and have now started writing little stories with grandad! I think you are going to take after him with your creativity :-)

So, here are some of my favourite piccies of the last year:

We have had some brilliant times this year; playing at Dinton Pastures; bouncing on the trampoline; dressing up; our caravan holiday; Peppa Pig World; your sports day where you came 1st in the ball pick up, 2nd in the hurdles and 3rd in the sprint! My favourite was the 'dust fight' we had when we had been digging for dinosaurs - I don't know who ended up with the chalkiest face in the end ;-) heehee!
You have also had to cope with the past 2 1/2 months of chaos as the extension on the house has finally begun. It has been totally crazy; with builders, electricians and now our kitchen man, but it will all be worth it in the end when the house is wheelchair-friendly for grandad. I think my favourite moment was when you came home from school to find the microwave and kettle on a table in the living room! Our 'kitchen' for the past week and a half!
I love you to the moon and back little man!
mummy xxx

Monday, 12 January 2015

Three Principles for 2015

I have been one of those people who try to make a little difference to the world, by signing petitions for things that I believe in. I guess I figure that my voice can help to make changes, even if they are only small things.
One of the groups that I am a member of is called Avaaz. They have had many, many petitions that I have added my name to, but this one that arrived in my in-box today, was a little different and I felt that it would be good to share.
It's called the Three Principles for 2015. I thought, as I haven't made any New Years resolutions, that this would be something that I could strive for this year instead.

Three Principles for 2015

Show Kindness and Respect: We will show kindness and respect towards ourselves and others whenever possible. And it's always possible, because everyone we meet is fighting a battle we may know nothing about.Strive for Wisdom: We will seek to be wise in our decisions, listening deeply to ourselves and others, and balancing our heads, hearts and intuitions in a harmony that feels right.Cultivate Gratitude: We will regularly reflect on what we're grateful for, because it brings perspective, dissolves negativity, and grounds us in what's most important.
I have also decided to keep trying to teach my kids these same values, as I think that they are important for all ages to try and live by.
If you like the idea, then follow the link (here) and sign up yourself.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Happy 2nd birthday!!

Dear Little Miss,

Well, I can't believe that you are 2 today! Where has that time gone??
It still doesn't seem 5 minutes ago that you were a teeny tiny baby and now you are a proper mini girl, no more 'baby' left in you - so grown up!
Here are some of my favourite piccies of you this year:

All the way back in January - big girl walking!

I know there are soo many, but I just found so many that I really liked!
They start all the way back in January, where you are showing off your walking skills and then helping me to make your birthday 'thank you' cards!
Playing in the garden with Little Man pushing you in the car, followed by some very cute smiley piccies! Next up is more fun in the garden, and a special piccie with Auntie Charlotte, on one of her Tuesday visits. Funny faces at breakfast follows - you had me laughing soo hard when you did that! Next up is on the swing at the family day out in Dinton Pastures, sitting in the washing basket with Little Man and watching telly - as you do, then a brilliant piccie of you wearing your hat that shrunk - very Michael Jackson! Some family piccies next, I loved the one of us all in my bed, very nice way to wake up :-) Next we have cool shades, on the mobile and more cool shades! Finally exploring with homemade coconut playdoh, then the day you took all the drawers out of the tidy and got in yourself - my friend Ruth called it a 'child tidy' which did make me giggle! Last of all is you all grown up on the morning of your second birthday, very proud of your new scooter!

You have just changed soo soo much over the last year! You and Little Man seem to be consuming some kind of magical growth potion, as you've both shot up in the last few weeks!
You try really hard with your words now and babble away, which is just so cute! You are at the 'look at this mumma' stage, pointing out everything that you see, even though most of the time, I have no idea what you are saying ;-) You have the normal; yeh and nah, dadda, ada (Little Man), nanneee, ganeee, and FINALLY we have mumma and even mummeee! You don't know how long I have been waiting to not be called dadda! It now seems to be your favourite word as you say it over, and over, and over again! Add a whine and you'll be in training for grumpy teenager ;-) Also popular are; teddy, car, dog, there, here, and share - you want everyone to share with you, mostly food!! But the cutest at the moment is hot-hot, as you've learnt not to touch things that are hot :-)

Your favourite toys at the moment are all your cuddly teddies, that you have decided need to be wearing nappies! You love Happy Land and got 2 new sets to add to your fairy collection, also having tea parties with me and the singing teapots - great fun! You also love zooming cars around the house chasing Little Man. Singing is another favourite thing, with 'twinkle twinkle',  'wind the bobbin up', 'the hokey kokey', 'head shoulders knees and toes', the most popular.

At the moment, your week pans out as follows; Monday at Zoe's, Tuesday we go to Little Quavers music group and then you spend the rest of the day with daddy, Wednesday we are going to start going to ABC toddler group at St Mary's church, Thursday is with Zoe and then daddy again and then we have a rest day at home or with daddy depending on the week. You spend every other weekend at daddy's. When you're with me, we go often to church on Sundays. We are now looking at starting you in a nursery placement, and hopefully in September you might get a place at Pied Piper, where Little Man went.

I'm just so proud of how you have grown into such a lovely little miss! Your thirst for exploring and learning are just brilliant! Looking forward to what this year has for you!

Love you loads now and always!
Mummy xxxx

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

H is for Happy!

Well, hello my poor neglected little blog!
I am very sorry that I have not been here for quite a while now, but life has been just so hectic!
So, while I have a few quiet moments, actually to myself, I thought it was about time that I updated my latest news!


I know right?? I never thought I would be saying those words, so soon as this! But it's the truth!
There a few reasons for my new found happiness:

1) I am loving life and my place in it so much more now that I have placed my faith and trust in God. I pray more and try to stress less! I feel so loved and protected and it's just an amazing feeling!

2) I have the most amazing, supportive family! My kids might drive me nutts, but they are what my day revolves around! My dad might be a little demanding, but he can't help it with his MS. My mum might snap at others a little, but she is only human and very tired and over-worked! This whole new outlook has just made me try to be more understanding and patient - I don't manage it all the time, but I know that it is achievable!

3) I think I have met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with!! This is probably had the biggest impact on my happiness, if I'm honest!
I decided (with a little encouragement from my mum) to try out Classic FM Romance, to try and meet a nice man, seeing as I was well and truly over the Ex now. So, one evening I spent an age ticking all these boxes on the forms, placed a photo of myself (really hated that bit!) and the I uploaded it! I had interest from a couple of nice men, but nothing that seemed to instantly 'click' as the right person. Two days later and I log on to find that a man with the most gorgeous smile had sent me a message! We started to message on the site, then found each other on facebook and eventually exchanged phone numbers! Then I spoke to him on the phone! I know! Me, talking to a stranger on the phone, by choice!! Unheard of ;-) Then we were talking every night! He came to spend the night in a hotel near where I live. We went out to dinner and then to the cinema and it was just brilliant!
Then I went to see him for the weekend where he was working, but only ended up seeing him for an hour! He had booked me a hotel showing as being 6 miles away from where he was working, but it turned out that it had been calculated across the water! I was in fact 1 1/2 hours away! I still can't believe he got a taxi and came and surprised me for that hour - costing him £250!!! Crazy man ;-) I actually spent a beautiful weekend at Southend-on-Sea, exploring and having some 'me time'!
He has also met my kids and my mum and dad! The kids loved him, as he was on the floor being silly and playing with them! He even came with me to collect Little Man from school, which I hadn't expected him to do. My parents think he's great! He sat and spoke for a while with my dad and just loved my mum's cooking - all set the right impression, confirming for me that he is just amazing!
Since then he has been constantly working, but we still manage to message throughout the day and talk every night, unless one of us falls asleep ;-) I think that is one of the things I love the most about him, we talk! I never really had that with the Ex! We talk about everything! Religion, everyday things, family, past, future hopes and dreams, it's just brilliant!!
He is gorgeous, kind, caring and someone I can tell everything and anything to! He knows all about my depression and the fact that I can't work at the moment, and it doesn't bother him!
I told him I loved him the first night I met him in person and I truly meant it! He told me that he loved me too! We now tell each other how much we love each other, every single day! Oh, important information, his name is Michael and he is South African, so has a gorgeous accent too! I always knew I was going to fall for a tall, dark, handsome man ;-)
So, there we have it! My reasons for being happy!
I hope that in this hectic time of Christmas, you manage to find some time to sit back and look about you for your 'happiness' too!  xxx