Almost at the finish line

I’ve come to the end of my semester at uni. That’s almost three years down and one more to go. I say almost because I have my exams to get through first. I’m not going to lie, I’m feeling the stress! As usual, I’m trying to revise but feel like nothing is going in. When I go into panic mode, it just sets me off on my usual rants about examinations. I still do not see the benefit of exams as, in my opinion, it only proves you have a good working memory. To really see if someone has understood the content, assignments like essays and reports seem more beneficial to me. Maybe it’s just my learning style but I retain more information and can show my knowledge and understanding better that way. So as usual, I’ve started overanalysing everything about what’s going on (any reason to procrastinate really). Bare with me for this part because it’s quite a tangent from my usual things!

I was chatting to one of my best friends yesterday and we had one of those conversations where it felt like you were putting the world to rights (definitely my favourite kinds of chats!). I hate conflict. I think it is important that we disagree on certain areas as not everyone will see eye to eye. But lately, I feel like it’s gotten extreme! Pro-vax vs anti-vax, millennial vs boomers, indy vs union… it goes on! I personally feel that everyone is entitled to their opinions and no one should shove their agenda down the others’ throats. It bothers me that both sides are bad for this… that’s the one thing some of them have in common, ironically! Maybe it’s the pandemic that’s brought it all to the surface so it is infecting everything around us. It’s like you can’t be slightly on one side of the argument but you have to be 100% one side or the other.. and honestly.. it’s exhausting!

I am probably someone who likes to take in everything so I can look at the bigger picture so I don’t tend to take sides. I know this pisses off a lot of people sometimes but it’s no wonder anxiety is so strife! You’re wrong if you take a side and you’re wrong if you don’t take either side. Has anyone stopped to think how the media is actually encouraging this divide? They report on the extremists on both sides which causes a bigger divide! I know this is wishful thinking, but could we just chill out for a bit? Work together to move forward? Everyone’s opinion needs to be considered but arguing gets us nowhere.

Maybe it’s an ego thing. If we think our opinion matters more than others then we will only seek out evidence to back up our own beliefs. I think we can all be guilty of doing this as when someone comes along and shakes up our understanding, we get defensive. Which is totally understandable but if uni has taught me anything.. question everything! Even the things that support your ideas! In other words, take everything with a pinch of salt.. nothing is ever fully proven. But most importantly, don’t take everything so seriously!

I need humour in my life, it’s the way I deal with things. Those closest to me know how dark my sense of humour can be. I know it’s not for everyone which is why I only share it with those who are the same. I also have a dirty sense of humour too but that’s not what I’m talking about today! Sometimes laughing about something really dark puts things into perspective for me and reminds me to chill the fuck out! I would hate to offend anyone with it though so I tread very carefully. Right now, I really need a good laugh to forget about the stress of uni exams and life in general. Try and surround yourself with people who keep you laughing and make you feel good about yourself because it’s infectious (probably not the best word to use in current times)! Before you know it, you end up being the source of happiness for others around you. That’s my goal in life really. I don’t care if I become mega famous or mega rich, have a massively successful career (although that would make my life easier!), I’d rather be remembered for being a kind hearted person who kept everyone laughing and uplifted. I realise that this blog might beg to differ but it’s my own personal space to vent and get my thoughts in order so I can get on with real life.

As crazy as it sounds, I often find myself wondering what others think of me. Not for shallow reasons but I really hope that the important people in my life see me as a positive influence or funny in some way. In other words, I hope I bring some form of joy to them. That’s why it can be hard to open up when I’m not doing so well. This is why I like having this space, it means I can get it out without interruption. But does anyone else wonder what people would say about you after you’re gone? Or is that just my weird brain?!

Anyway… I think that’s enough procrastination for one day! I better get on with revising foraging behaviours in animals for my psychology exam ! But I will leave you with this..

Please remember that people are allowed to have a different opinion from yours. People are allowed not to have a fully formed opinion. Choose kindness over pettiness because you just don’t know what someone is going through. And mostly.. keep on laughing so hard until you cry laughing and/or stop making a noise but your whole body is still jerking about!

Much love,

Hez xx

Time to reflect

Yet again, it’s been a while since my last confess.. wait.. wrong line.. it’s been a while since my last blog post. We are into Feb 2021 now and the pandemic is still being a complete arsehole. I am trying desperately to stay positive in these times but I have to confess (guess that line earlier was right after all..) that I am extremely fatigued now. I’ve been so busy trying to convince other people to stay positive and I am desperate to believe that this pandemic will be a tiny blimp in my life eventually. But it is hard. To keep an eye on what’s to come and try to see the good instead of the bad. There will always be shitty things going on in the world but there’s also a lot of good and beautiful things too! So here I am, reflecting on how I feel just now. I’m writing this post in the hope that it brings me some comfort, maybe it can bring others something similar.

As I’m writing this, Valentine’s Day is drawing to a close. Yup, good ol Feb 14th. The holiday that always annoys me in general. I know it may sound bitter but I’ve always had a problem with this holiday, whether single or not. There’s this expectation thrust upon us one day out of the year, to prove we are loved. It’s understandably triggering for many people. For me personally, it gets me questioning many aspects of my life… am I happy? Am I okay with where I am in life right now? And when I start questioning myself I start turning negatively inward. I start to pull apart my character to the point I feel like I’m in pieces on the floor. Perhaps this is just the cherry on the top of a very emotional week for me. Monday started out well enough, couple things went wrong (snow storm securing me in the house.. washing machine broke) but I was still trudging on absolutely fine. The week went in pretty quickly, I was generally feeling okay. Then I had a couple hours between online meetings/lectures on Friday and it suddenly struck me. I’m fucking exhausted! I have no idea why I suddenly realised this but a wave of emotion hit me pretty hard. The realisation that I was completely burnt out made me feel weak. Academically, emotionally, physically, mentally, socially… my warning light came on and I wanted to hit the fuck it switch so bad.

I’ve been trying to stay positive for everybody else and it’s ran me right down. I’ve also been studying for the past 4years for my degree. I’ve been tearing my hair out over assignments and exams just to jump through the hoops I need to in order to get to where I want to be. My plan was to go on to a phd or masters once I’d graduated but knowing I still have another year left just made me want to cry. I’d had enough. Surely by now I have proven myself worthy? But all the universities see is the end results. They don’t see the stress, tears, and tantrums along the way. Sometimes I swear if they saw the state I’d get myself into sometimes they’d just give me the degree and back away slowly. But we are always taught that nothing worth having is ever easy. And I agree to an extent. But when does it go too far? How far are you willing to go to prove your intelligence, your ability, your worth? It’s no wonder so many people are depressed or anxious. We are constantly trying to prove we are the best in show. But it’s like trying to be the prettiest flower by blooming the brightest so you get picked which is actually counterintuitive. I guess what I’m trying to say is, being the best version of yourself is good but remember to consider what sacrifices are worth it.

I know I’m not alone when it comes to experiencing burn out. I know many people go through it and many don’t even realise they are suffering. I’m currently writing an essay about clinical psychology and the only reason I feel able to continue with it is because that’s the field I’m interested in. I am passionate about mental health and well-being. I believe everyone should get to know themselves and their limits. Be confident in knowing when to step back. I feel I am very much at that point lately. Being happy and positive all the time is draining, especially when you’re not actually feeling that way. I will put my hands up and openly admit that I am one of the worst for hiding my true feelings from others. I want to feel like I make people happy to see or talk to me. I want to bring light to those stuck in the dark but maybe I should accept help from others too when I need it, instead of stubbornly keeping my eyes closed and stumbling all over the place. Is it too much to ask for people to be happy? I am the sort of person that would sacrifice their own happiness to see someone they care about smile, even just for a short while. I make jokes and have a laugh about the shitshow that is going on in the world and in my own life. I swear I get by on memes these days.

I blame Valentine’s Day for making me write this blog! My brain is in overdrive, questioning everything around me and all my decisions. I feel my fuse getting shorter and shorter to the point I’m worried I’m gonna lose the rag with someone I care about. There’s that part of me that just wants to cry from feeling so overwhelmed right now and the other part of me that just can’t seem to allow that to happen. I’m not good at crying. I usually just hide away and feel numb a lot of the time. I know it’s not healthy and I’m trying to change that but I just can’t let go. I’m hoping this will pass soon. It usually does. The worst part is, I know exactly who I want to run to but my walls are so high that it prevents me from doing so. I’ve no idea if you’ll even read this, but we are the same in many ways. I can tell a good heart when I see one. We all have baggage and often feel like we could be poisonous for the other but right at this moment, I just want to live in the moment. No past, no worries about the future, just the here an now. That’s all I care about.

Every other aspect of my life is thinking about my future, I just want one thing which is just in the now. No expectations of one another. I can’t help but think that many people would benefit from living in the now. That’s why I’m not a fan of this commercial holiday. It adds to this expectation on our partners. While very sweet and lovely for some, it can have such a negative effect on relationships. That’s just my opinion though. I realise not everyone will agree with me and that’s entirely fine. Be kind, be considerate, be loving. And most importantly, be open… communication is key!

I feel like that was quite some rant I had there! Guess there was more bottled up than I realised! I’m gonna sign off now anyways, tomorrow (or today seeing as it’s 12:35am) is the start of a new week. There will be highs and lows. There will be good shit and there will be bad shit. I’m gonna try ride this rollercoaster of emotions like a pro (ahh remember theme parks? *sigh*). Anyway, look after yourselves and remember to always be kind.

Much love,

Hez xx

White noise

I don’t know what to write here. But I know I want to write something. I feel like I have a million things running through my head but I also feel very numb right now.

I’m currently coming to the end of my Autumn semester at uni, which usually brings a huge sigh of relief. But exams are looming on the horizon and I feel like I have mountains of revision to get through. My learning style is complicated in where I feel I need to write everything down but I can’t process it while listening to pre recordings at the same time. So I pause each time I write, meaning a 10min video takes me 20-30mins to get through at best. The stress right now of trying to force myself to absorb this information is taking its toll on me. I know I’m not looking after myself in the same way I would usually. I feel physically and mentally drained and I still have a long way to go. So I took a moment today where I just embraced the fact I was stressed and got angry. FUUUUUUCCCCKKKKKK!!! I screamed at the top of my lungs (sorry neighbours) and felt like having a little tantrum to myself. It definitely helped a little as I got through the rest of my revision I had planned for that day.

I then proceeded to go and do a workout to try and get away from my computer screen but felt so weak today. I had zero drive and I was being super hard on myself because I knew I could do better. This is the problem when you’re a perfectionist. When you know you are capable of more, even when you have nothing left to give. You focus on what you’re not doing rather than what you are still achieving or have achieved. I should be pleased with myself for just showing up to work out but I hate feeling weak.

As I drove home again I started thinking, maybe I just have so much pent up stress and anxiety, frustration and anger that I just need to get it out somehow. I am trying to learn not to get to that point but it’s hard just to “feel” and “embrace” the emotions as they come. I worry about people thinking less of me for showing I’m human and that I am just as vulnerable as anyone else. Honestly, as I am lying in my bed, I feel broken. I feel like I have so much trying to get out of me at once that my brain has just gone “nope!” This is that moment. The moment I need to pay attention to because if I don’t get back on track now then I know it can get so much worse.

I am terrified to admit this but I had such a low moment a few weeks ago that I wanted it to end. I sat and cried in the shower for about half an hour and everything just came pouring out. I eventually levelled myself again and just got on with the rest of my day. I went to my usual pole class that night and no one was any the wiser. And I’m sorry for those who will be shocked to hear this from me in this format. I wanted to tell you face to face (or virtually I guess) but I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words. I did seek help and I was able to get myself back on track.

So even though I feel overwhelmed right now, I know this will pass. I need to be okay with feeling grumpy, emotional, stressed, angry as I’m trying to study. I am at home so much of the time at the moment so I have peace to get it out my system but I need to start remembering to look after myself too. While family and friends have been an amazing support for me at the moment, I know it’s ultimately down to me to make me happy or at least content. I need to sort my sleeping pattern out first and foremost (she says writing this at 11:50pm!) as I know that will help too. And that’s the thing.. I know what I need to do to look after myself but something is stopping me from doing that.

Right now, I blame the stress of exam revision as it feels like I have no time to get my head around all the content before heading into my exams in a couple weeks time. Can I just set up camp in my living room and study non stop from now til then? Probably not a good idea! I need to give myself a break and do the best I can. But being a perfectionist and professional ‘stress head’ makes me constantly feel like I need to keep going. Just keep going, you’ll be free from this stress by the 18th and you’ll have a whole month off! This is the constant battle going on in my head more often than not. I am my worst critic, I always strive for perfection and usually it does me well in life. Although, right now, it is more of a hindrance than a help.

I usually try and finish my blogs off with a positive spin but I am struggling with it just now. All I want to say is please me kind to everyone you meet. We are all going through shit and even the people who you think are so strong and positive have struggles too. I hate letting people see that vulnerable side of me but I know it’s important to be open and honest. I get told I’m so strong and so confident but I feel I have just learned to mask my insecurities more. Although, maybe the whole “fake it till you become it” mantra is a better fit to me. I know I am strong and I know I’m confident and I hope being honest about my messed up brain helps people see me as just like any other human being on the planet. I strive for perfection but I know I’m not perfect. Or maybe I’m perfectly imperfect?

Anyway, I should probably sign off at this point. I hope whoever is reading this remembers to be kind, ALWAYS, and allow themselves to be human! You can’t pour from an empty cup! Look after yourselves, you beautiful souls!

Much love,

Hez xx

In hot pursuit…

My insomnia kicked in pretty bad last night. The worst it’s been for some time. Think I fell asleep about 5am (went to bed at 10pm) and I was up around 8am to get on with my day. I feel like my insomnia likes to remind me that I need to look after myself. So I’m writing this while I’m waiting for my console to do an update so I can chill out playing games on this horribly rainy day (very appropriate weather for how I’m feeling internally today).

I had a few things planned to do today but I just accepted the fact that my body is telling me to take time out for myself. I usually struggle to justify a reason to do this when I have a list of things to get through, and I still have a pang of guilt niggling at me, but here’s the thing… that list is never ending and sometimes it’s overwhelming to see and understand that. I’ve said recently to some close friends that it feels like I’ve walked in to a extreme hoarder’s house and I just don’t know where to start. The only thing we can do is start with whatever is right in front of us, whatever is manageable for the time being. We live in a world where everything has become instantaneous so our patience is often tested. We get caught up, and often obsessed, with our own ideologies in life. Where we should be, what we should be doing, etc. It’s easy to get lost in this web of ideals. We don’t take time out for ourselves because we need to constantly be pushing forward, on to the next thing. “Be successful!” “Be happy!” “Success = happiness.” I want to take this time to challenge this pursuit of happiness and what it means to me.

I’m sure many of us have heard this terminology before and the “take-home” message that success doesn’t necessarily mean eternal happiness. It depends on what you mean by success. Career success? Family/relationship success? This idea of “do what makes you happy” is a scary concept for many as we can often feel like it’s not possible. It always made me question my worthiness of happiness. Here’s my take on the concept.. to be happy 100% of the time is just not possible. I think we need to give some space for negative emotions too. I remember reading a phrase that said something like, “a piano has black and white keys but they all create wonderful music.” It resonated with me because our experiences (positive or negative) shapes who we are and how we are with others. I have always been drawn to people with a similar mindset and outlook on life as I do but we aren’t necessarily cut from the same cloth. Everyone has their own story to tell but many of us don’t realise how unique we are because it’s just our “normal”. I am passionate about getting to know people and what makes them tick and I am always truly touched when they feel they can open up and talk to me. The flood of emotion I get when I can see the weight lifting a little is so rewarding to me. If I can help make people feel a little lighter, or a little happier then it brings me such joy. I know I am very empathetic so I often feel strong emotions from other people. This, to me, is what makes me feel successful. Maybe it’s all in my head but helping others is where my passion lies. It can be a blessing and a curse though.

Forming friendships in adulthood is challenging as it can often be hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I am in no way saying that you should go out and tell everyone you meet your life story, that isn’t for everyone. Even I don’t open up that much from the get go! Being able to test the waters or recognise commonality within another person is what makes it difficult. We need to feel safe and trusting before we can really allow someone to see that side of us. However, on the flip side of that, the other person has their own story too. Expecting them to open up or fully understand is not fair on them. Empathy takes a lot of practice for some as we all want to protect the ones we love and allowing ourselves to care for someone, that could hurt us in some way, is the hardest challenge when you already feel like you’ve got enough on your plate. Sometimes it can take someone a while to process the information and perhaps, they need to speak to someone to gain an understanding as they do not want to hurt you. We can only see the world from our own perspective, and we can never truly put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. When someone reacts a certain way, that you’re not expecting, we instinctively think about the impact it has on us as an individual. It’s hard not to obsess over that if you’re an over-thinker like me. Taking a step back and realising that there’s more than meets the eye, will massively help you empathise. Once you realise there is a reason behind what they are saying/doing, then it becomes less about you and you see the bigger picture. Now I am in no way saying this is an easy thing to do as we are all human and we all have our own troubles. Being able to accept the fact that they upset you means you can start processing your emotions instead of acting like everything is fine. Otherwise, it can add to the mountain of unprocessed negative thoughts and feelings that bury us until we can no longer see the good. We are all entitled to our negativity and by embracing it a little more, perhaps we can keep it in a more manageable pile? Feeling lost, for example, is quite a common, overwhelming emotion for many.

When something throws us off balance, it can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet. When the image in our head is getting a little foggy or hasn’t yet formed, there’s a sense of panic or loss we can experience. I personally feel that this is one of the worst negative emotions to battle with. It goes back to my earlier mentioned metaphor about walking into a hoarder’s house. It is very overwhelming. Why wouldn’t it be? This societal pressure to have your whole life mapped out by 30 is just not realistic for most. If you focus too much on your end goal, you’ll forget to enjoy the little positives around you. You may also miss moments where you made a difference in someone else’s life. Sometimes seemingly small gestures of kindness to you may have made the difference in that persons life. That’s what I try and focus on. If something were to happen to me tomorrow, I would hope I’d leave having a positive influence on people around me. Even just a tiny ray of sunshine in someone’s dark and gloomy world.

Maybe it’s time we look at changing our priorities from our own happiness to the pursuit of kindness.

Much love,

Hez xx

Give me all the compliments

Some of you may already know this about me but I am not good at taking sincere compliments. I always appreciate them but I struggle to really accept them. I am getting better however, or at least I cringe inwardly so you can’t tell. I’ve learned to smile and say thank you. I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to why I, and I know many others, are like this.

For the last couple years, I have been making changes in my life that required confidence and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. My early 20s consisted of a long term relationship that was intense in the beginning but filtered out when we (mainly He) needed a new direction in life. Yes, I was heartbroken that it didn’t include me and I felt very much like an after thought. Like I didn’t matter.. unimportant… replaceable. The truth is, now I’m nearing 30, I realise that I decided to make a positive change. Almost instantly I changed my life and even hair colour! I started training as a hairdresser and that’s where I started to notice that compliments gave me a feeling of unease.

A major part of training is providing a good service and creating beautiful hairstyles for clients and I would worry if they were genuinely happy with my work. I had my lecturers and the clients themselves tell me I was very talented and such a lovely person but I just felt that it was what anybody would say so I didn’t truly believe it. However, due to my talent of hiding the anxiety, no one suspected the inner turmoil I felt whenever this happened.

I eventually dropped hairdressing as it didn’t work for me for various reasons. I went back to teaching swimming (something I had been involved in since I was a very young) and I felt like a failure. I was lucky enough to be working with amazing people (mostly) but I still felt very lost with what to do with my life.

I finally had a “Fuck it!” moment and pushed myself to apply to college so I could see if I was cut out for academia again (I happily left school at 17 to work full time). Before I knew it, I was asked to interview for the course and a hop, skip and jump later I was starting full time education again at college. The plan was to pursue a psychology degree, something I always wanted to do but never felt good enough or smart enough.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous posts about how amazing my class mates were and the support and confidence I gained from being around them. This is where things started accelerating for me.

It was a few months in that I was chatting to one particular class member and he told me that he had seen my confidence grow so much since we started. That really struck a chord with me. It was like something finally clicked in my head. I feel like myself again, my younger self who had a cheeky personality and who was confident. This was my turning point.

For the past few years I was barely existing, going one day to the next, year after year. I wasn’t looking after my mental or physical health. I weighed the most I had ever weighed and I was definitely aware that it wasn’t me anymore. So I started getting back into physical fitness and healthy eating. I knew it wasn’t a quick fix and it would take time to change my lifestyle. So over the last couple years, I’ve just been chipping away at that while getting into university to study psychology.

I’ve since grown very close to one of my college class mates who I call my uni wife as we are two peas in a pod. I think she made it her mission to compliment me and build me up so I got used to it. I certainly started taking compliments about my intelligence and friendly nature a lot more. She is exactly the kind of friend I needed during this journey into uni and I love her dearly.

Last year was the next big change for me. I grew close to another amazing woman in my life who I would never have met under different circumstances (we live 4 hours away) but none the less we met and we bonded (she is my English wife). I would describe her as my most outrageous friend with a gold heart! I could be super inappropriate and cheeky around her, laughing to the point of tears! We also had some very meaningful heart to hearts and I’m so glad I met her too. We ended up going to Amsterdam together on a whim and the confidence I gained from hanging out with her skyrocketed. So much, in fact, that I started putting myself out there to date again!

Don’t get me wrong, I had been dating on and off for the past few years but I was never myself and so guarded that it just didn’t go very far. But after our trip away I decided to embrace the person I am and see what happens.

There has been a lot of ups and downs, I’m not going to lie. I have had to relearn a lot as I went. My anxiety (who I refer to as Lloyd) liked to keep me company so it’s been a challenge. Dating is not why I am here though.. I’ll maybe save that for another blog post one day… got plenty of stories to share there!

Now where was I? … oh yeah!

A big part of dating, usually, is receiving compliments. Mainly physical compliments. I’ve learned to accept them as I don’t feel that it is always meant genuinely. Or there is underlying motivations at play!

The compliments I have been referring to from the beginning of this post, are from friends and family. Just before lockdown in March, I had a couple of people I hadn’t seen since November compliment me on how I was looking. I’d lost weight but I was looking fit and healthy (basically, I looked like I gave a shit about my wellbeing) and I was able to accept it as I had been working so hard for the past couple years to get to where I am. Thankfully, during lockdown, I’ve been able to maintain my weight and fitness but I’ve still had struggles mentally. My anxiety (Lloyd) has been around a lot because I’ve had no work or uni to focus on. My brain is a powerful tool that I need to use for good! Even exercising and keeping fit hasn’t really helped so I reckon some times I just need to embrace it as if I try and ignore Lloyd too much, then I have to deal with a longer period of depression (named Astaroth for those wondering!) which can mean me spending a few days in bed… Unmotivated and going to dark places in my head.

I feel like my mental health is like walking on a tight rope, especially during lockdown, it just needs one thing to tip me off balance and the downward spiral can feel like I’ve failed in some way. When I’m in this negative mindset, I still feel that inward awkwardness around compliments. Even when they are meant with genuine affection. That’s not to say they aren’t appreciated but I can guarantee you that I am now overthinking what you’ve said or it has reminded me of something someone else has said or done. I am guilty of doing this a lot and I am very talented at making myself feel guilty over everything I do. So while I seem pretty confident on the surface and in life, know that I still have my struggles. That doesn’t just immediately stop. I just have to learn to manage my mental health, keep Lloyd at bay so Astaroth doesn’t resurface (what a weird feckin thing to say, eh?!). I am someone who needs a lot of reassurance when I’m in this mind frame as that’s when I feel most vulnerable and fragile. So if I ever seem like I’m fishing for compliments or seeking reassurance (about anything I’m worrying over) then please know that I just need a bit of support from you in that moment. I do not need you to fix my problems as only I can do that.

One of the main things I am thankful for, is I have spent the last couple years increasing that supportive circle with people who keep me grounded. I’ve only mentioned a couple in this post but there are many out there who I feel I can trust and open up to and I am getting better at that. So thank you to all that have helped me in some way, shape, or form in the last few years. I am starting to see the best version of myself emerging out of the shadows that I have hidden in for the last 10 or so years. And hopefully I will start to accept compliments without internally squirming with awkwardness!

Much love,

Hez xx

Crazy times

Like many people, I’m finding the lockdown hard to get used to. Just when I think “I’ve totally got this!” I am hit with an impending doom that this will never end.

Today is one of those days. I’ve been pretty productive this past week and especially yesterday but I woke up this morning and just didn’t know what to do with my day so I fell back asleep and didn’t get up again until 2pm. I hate feeling like I’ve wasted my day but right now it’s hard to keep in step with “normal” life. I know sleeping most of the day is usually a sign that my depression is creeping in so I thought I’d write it down to see if it helps me to process it better.

Usually, when I’m starting to slip, I put off thinking or embracing it and choose to distract myself instead. This is especially hard during the lockdown and to be honest, I’m terrified to open Pandora’s box. I feel like there’s a lot going on inside my head lately and I’ve just been ignoring it. It’s gotten to the point where I’m overanalysing everything about me and blaming myself for things out with my control. I need to remind myself that others’ feelings and actions are not within my control.

My only issue is that I care deeply for people and I’m drawn to people similar to myself. Whether I like it or not, I care about people and want to see them happy and doing well. It’s just part of my nature. I’ve been feeling super guilty lately as I feel like there’s so many people I want to check in on during this lockdown but I can’t keep up. So if you’re reading this and I haven’t reached out yet then I deeply apologise. I promise I am thinking about you and hoping you’re doing well.

Overthinking during lockdown is definitely not fun whatsoever and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m reflecting on myself and things I’ve done with such a fine tooth comb that I feel like I’m tearing myself to shreds today. Today is a write off and I’m willing to accept that. I plan on just embracing that for the rest of the day so I hopefully wake up tomorrow feeling a little more in control and am kinder to myself.

Much love,

Hez xxx

Award winning overthinkiner

“You overthink too much” “You should just go with the flow” “Try not to worry so much” these are a few things people tell me when I open up about stuff that’s bothering me but you know what? I already know this! I need a solution and not a statement. The truth is, I talk to people because I know I’m overthinking and I just need a little reassurance.

Since my last post, things have been both amazing and dreadful. I’ve felt a lot more confident in myself and even in my appearance for the most part. I still struggle to see myself the way other people see me but I’m working on it. I have gotten to a point where I can admit to myself that I feel pretty lonely in the evenings. I was getting used to my own company but over the last few months I’ve gotten in to the habit of messaging people a lot to fill the silence. This is great but everyone has their own life to be getting on with so sometimes I don’t get an instant response and I feel it impacts me quite badly at times. This is where the overthinking comes in.. my brain can be very nasty when I let it run wild. And I don’t mean nasty to other people, I mean to myself. It’s hard to fight off the dark thoughts when you’ve nothing else to do.

I need human interaction. Even when I’m brain dead after a long day, I miss that lazy chat with someone while sitting in the living room. It actually makes me miss being in a relationship, which I never thought I’d admit to! It’s been a while since my last serious relationship and I feel like I’m more open minded now for the first time in ages. I’ve been dating and it’s been both amusing and tragic! Some of my friends get to enjoy the gossip first hand, and I love them for their jokes and support! I’m beginning to think that I should just get another dog for company instead (way less mind games) but uni work is keeping me busy and it is my priority right now. I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m not prepared to just let things slide because someone needs my attention 24/7.

I’m not sure where I was going with this blog today but apparently I’m having a rant about dating! I’ll get back on track….

Aside from dating, there’s been numerous occasions where I’ve found myself having obsessive thoughts and wishing that I could just go with the flow and not think about every little aspect of my life. It is so exhausting and overwhelming at the best of times. It’s hard to look after yourself when you feel this way and then it just becomes a vicious circle where you think “what’s the point of looking good?!” “Stop eating the creme eggs, Helen!” if I could switch it off then I would! … most of the time…. but to be honest, my overthinking can be a super power too…

I am a kind person who wants to help people where I can. I hate upsetting anyone so will always try and be nice (even when some folk don’t deserve it!) and I’ll always try and give people the benefit of the doubt. How many people can say they honestly give people that much of a chance? I need to remind myself that, I might not have the “perfect life” but at least I’m kind in a world that can chew you up and spit you out. It takes a lot for me to turn my back on anyone and this has helped me to surround myself with people who care deeply for me too. Yeah, there’s plenty of people out there who take advantage of that but most people are acting out from an insecure place. I pride myself on the fact that most people open up to me in conversation, even those I’ve just met. I have a need and a drive to help people and that’s what’s inspired me to pursue clinical psychology.

So yeah, my overthinking is hard work and leads to me needing reassurance but at least I’m not heartless and if I can make anyone feel better, even just a tiny smile inside or a burst of laughter, then damn right I’ll do my best! There’s not enough people out there who look out for others. We should always be kind to people because you just don’t know their story.

Much love,

Hez xx

How do I pull myself from the edge?

Since my last post, there’s been a massive change in my life. For many people, it may not seem that big a deal but right now I notice it more than anything. My beloved furry friend, Dilly, is no longer with me. Unfortunately she passed away in June and it’s been very strange not having her around. The last couple of days I’ve really struggled not having her here beside me. Doing silly things to keep me smiling and cuddling into me when she seemed to know I wasn’t feeling my best, even before I knew.

I’m having one of those moments where I feel like I have a million things going through my head, to the point where I can’t cope and just want to stay in my bed and hide from the world. My anxiety is in overdrive and I’m doubting every step I take. Many people won’t see that I am struggling but that’s because I’m very good at hiding behind a version of myself I wish others to perceive me as.

I know that I have to embrace the negative emotions at times as that is a part of life. And to be honest, I have gotten better at that but the one thing I can’t quite get my head around is loneliness. That point where you don’t want to reach out to other people because “why would they want to talk to you?” I know that isn’t necessarily true but I also think about how others have a life to lead and they aren’t just waiting to exist when I reach out to them.

I took some time off lately and I am struggling to get back into the mindset I need for work and uni. I realised how much I crave social interaction, especially from those I have a give and take with. I really enjoy chatting to people on a deep and personal level but I also miss being that comfortable with someone that you can sit in silence and just sort of melt into each other I guess. I struggle to be alone with my thoughts at times and I wish I could learn how to pull myself out of this funk by myself. The more I think about it though, the more I realise that when you feel like you’re in a deep, dark pit.. it’s a lot harder to climb out on your own. Accepting help from others is okay because you don’t know how much that person needs to help you. It would be nice to be able to pull yourself out but the motivation just isn’t the same. I have many amazing friends and family that do so much for me every day without realising it, especially on my worse days, and it’s so important to have them with you. I certainly took Dilly for granted and I need her now more than ever. That’s not to say that I need one perfect person to step into my life and be that beacon of light for me. One firefly can’t light up the sky alone.

Much love,

Hez xx

“So… how’s uni going?”

It’s been about 9 months since I last posted. Not sure why, probably seems like I’ve been all good this whole time. The truth is, I haven’t. I feel so silly not realising that for the past few months I’ve been slipping again.

I’ve been so busy at uni that I’ve not really taken much time to process what is going on around me and it’s definitely caught up to me now. I’ve done something that I constantly try and remind others not to do which is to keep pushing forward and not taking time out for yourself. I’m not sure how many people will have been aware that I’ve not been mentally strong for the past wee while and I don’t blame them if they haven’t noticed, I’m very good at this performance and seeming like everything is fine and dandy.

The last few months or so I’ve had about 7 panic attacks (all scheduled neatly into my timetable of course!). I’ve not really allowed my stress to wash over me and just kept myself busy and trying to fix everything and everyone around me. Any happiness I’ve experienced the last few months have been short lived. I can still have a laugh with people but I’m not still smiling or giggling about it hours later.

I’ve also had persistent neck pain that doesn’t seem to be going away. Now that could just be because I’m working at desks more than usual but it’s usually one of my signs that I have also ignored. The reason I bring this up is not for sympathy (although some love wouldn’t go a miss!) but to hopefully make more people aware of theirselves or others’ indicators. I’ve learned through CBT how to recognise my own and these are usually as follows:

  • I suffer from a physical pain of some sort that never goes away.
  • I start focusing on unimportant things like how messy I feel my house is and it distracts me from everything else.
  • I push important things to the back of my mind and convince myself that I’ll deal with it later.
  • I start feeling guilty about everything I do.
  • I start struggling to see beyond the dark clouds and positives don’t really come to me as easily as the negatives.
  • I start questioning how others see or feel about me so therefore feel the need to be reassured about everything I do (Pains me to admit it but that’s including fishing for compliments).
  • I start feeling constantly on edge and as if I am about to be attacked and need to defend myself.
  • I begin oversleeping and having no drive to do anything.
  • I feel helpless and useless.
  • I start having panic attacks again.
  • I just want to give up and sleep all the time.

I’m not sure how many people will relate to this. If you do then please know you’re not alone. We all have ways of dealing with things but for me I need to look out for these signs and not let it get passed the point of feeling guilty about everything. That’s when I should be taking time out for myself and getting back to me. It can be very hard with uni and work to fit this in but I’m determined to take the time I need. Unfortunately, due to the fact I have allowed myself to get this far, it will take me longer to get back on track again. But I know it will pass, probably like a kidney stone, but it will pass and I’ll be able to feel like my head is above water again.

As for uni, even though I’m dealing with this just now, I still enjoy it. It’s hard and it’s stressful but I will get through it all, even with my perfectionist nature!

Much love,

Hez x

Why pole fitness helps me…

I know there are some assumptions when it comes to pole fitness. No I don’t strut around in hot pants, a bra and stripper heals, so let’s get that out of the way. For me pole fitness concentrates on fine technique and strength that distracts me enough that I can switch off my over active brain. Some days I still struggle to do this and I used to take it so hard most of the time. I would compare myself with people who have been doing this way longer and expect myself to be at that standard by now but then someone new comes along and are in awe of you flipping upside down (something that most people get relatively quickly). It puts things into perspective as it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come when you feel like you have a long way still to go. This is much the case in life for many people, myself included. We take for granted all our achievements and not just academically but personal achievements. For some, being able to get out of bed and do something on a bad day is a huge achievement and for others perhaps being there for a friend in need is a big deal. We often don’t look at these “little things” as we concentrate on what’s ahead all the time.

I have been extremely lucky to have a good support network around me and part of that support network is the people I’ve met doing pole fitness. Everyone is so nice and helpful and don’t mind if you’re in a bit of a funk (although when you are in a funk you feel that everyone is getting annoyed at you for being miss doom and gloom in the corner, which isn’t actually the case). When you are in a better head space, you can see with fresh eyes what’s going on around you. I personally feel that I am starting to get back to the person I was years ago that I put to one side due to so much going on I my life at the time and not allowing myself to deal with it or talk about it.

I’m not saying pole fitness is for everybody, but finding some form of Hobby or fitness class with supportive people can definitely help you through the darker days. Even if you don’t feel like anything can help, I am so lucky to have these guys to keep me going and have something else to put my mind to.

So if anyone ever tells me that pole fitness is for wannabe strippers, I just turn around and say… go to one class and tell me how you feel after that first experience cuz you’ll change your mind for sure!

Much love,

Hez xx