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I’m Walking My Depression Away

Last week I wrote about how I want to start making more of an effort to lose weight, get healthy and manage my mental health so that I can start being myself again. I started walking again and I have to say that I am already starting to feel a lot better than I did two weeks ago. I’ve lost about 3kgs in the last week without dieting, counting calories or fasting. And that’s just by walking for at least 10km’s every day for four days. I’m also doing a bit of weight training when I get back home in order to tone the muscles. My aim is to keep doing this but over five days, not consecutively, because it is very hard on your feet and you need them to heal in between. My walks consist of walking to the park, walking around the park three times, and then walking back home. This usually comes to a total of about 13km. Sometimes I take a short cut here and there but it’s always more than 10km’s. To the average person it might seem like it isn’t a lot or a very long distance until they actually do it. Unfortunately it isn’t just flat ground but steep uphills, downhills, a bit of flat when you get to the lake part. After my four days last week my feet were extremely sore and I had a huge blister  under my right foot just under my big toe. I had to buy Compeed plasters which act as a layer of skin so that your blister can heal rapidly.

Anyway, what are the benefits of my two and a half hour walks? I’m sleeping a little better. I mean, this is worth it on its own. I feel a lot more confident in myself. I don’t have as much brain fog as I usually do and I am able to think more clearly. I’m also able to talk a bit more clearly, rather than scrambling to put a sentence together and sounding stupid because I keep stuttering etc. I feel almost depression free and I know that I am not out of the woods yet but what a feeling to have. I am really starting to love it, and yes I know its only been a week or so but I feel amazing and if I feel like this now imagine how I will feel months from now. I’m going to make sure that I have a set schedule in place and I am going to stick to it. I honestly hope that this is going to motivate someone else to do the same so that they can also feel ten times better, like I do. If I can help one person I will be completely happy.

The problem is that we don’t believe we can do it until we do it. You need to push yourself even if you don’t feel like doing it, even if you are too tired to do it, even if you are feeling too depressed to do it, because girl (or guy), when you get home you might be exhausted but your brain is pumping serotonin and endorphins and you are going to feel fantastic. You’re going to sleep so well that you wake up the next day wanting to do it all over again. Just make sure that you start off slow, you don’t have to walk for as long as I do as it’s extremely exhausting and most people don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands. I would suggest walking for an hour at least four days a week. Start by walking for two days, having a day’s rest then doing another two days.


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Random Thoughts

I am feeling abnormally positive and quite happy these days. Its funny how daily moderate exercise can make you feel better emotionally. I’m only on day three and I’m already feeling better. Let’s be clear, I don’t go for a five-minute stroll down the road and back. I’m walking about 13km (20000 steps) a day and then doing a bit of weight training after. So, I am not doing the bare minimum which is a huge mistake most people do and then give up because it’s not working. I am pushing myself. If I start to feel tired I visualize the outcome of my progress and I keep going. Listening to music does help a great deal and is very motivating. If you had to ask most people who saw me on my walk they would tell you that I seem to always be smiling while I’m walking. That is because of my heart rate is in fat-burning mode and the endorphins are making me feel fantastic. This is also a very good time to use the law of attraction because it’s mostly about how you feel. I use this time to visualize the things I want to draw into my life as if it were already happening.

I do feel a bit exhausted today because walking for two and a half hours mostly uphill can be extremely exhausting and my feet are aching but to me pain is a good sign that means I’m doing it right and I am super proud of myself for doing it. To be honest, I cannot wait for my walk later this afternoon. The reason I wait until later is because it’s just too hot during the day and I don’t think its good to dehydrate myself when I don’t need to. It’s also a good time for snapshots because that is when the swans and ducks get out of the water and they are so cute.

Have a wonderful day!

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It’s About To Get Real

So, I was going through my Instagram a couple of days ago and I came across a few pictures I took during my fitness days. There is about a three-year difference between then and now. It doesn’t seem like a very long time but a lot has happened since then. And those of you who have been following my blog and other social media know that I went through a really bad bout of depression and I couldn’t even get out of bed to take a shower. I have come a long way since then. I am most certainly doing a whole lot better but I am nowhere near where I should be. One thing that has always worked for me is fitness. Every time I have made a commitment to fitness my life seemed to change for the better. My mental health gets to a point where it is stable and I am able to function normally. My social anxiety is the most problematic of all and when I am focussing on fitness this seems to stabilize to a point where I can actually feel semi-normal around other people and I can actually start and maintain friendships and relationships. Now, when I was looking at these photos I remembered how I felt during this time. It had nothing to do with being skinny or wanting to look good to impress anyone else. It was about me. I felt absolutely fantastic. I was able to think clearly. My sleeping patterns were normal. I would always wake up feeling fresh and ready to start the day. I was full of energy. I was going out quite a lot rather than just wanting to stay at home all the time. I was socializing and going out on dates. I was confident, yes I still had anxiety and felt a bit self-conscious but it was good enough to feel like I was worth being around. I felt healthy body, mind and spirit. How I feel about myself right now is about enough to get me to motivate myself to get back to how I felt then. A year ago I just couldn’t even see any kind of future and that is what depression does to you. Nothing matters. Every time I make a commitment to fitness and go down a path of self-discovery and my self-confidence grows and keeps growing. People often ask me how things changed and why things ended up the way that they did. Well, things happened as they do, and I was severely depressed and didn’t care anymore. There was no point in me trying and even though I had not given up, emotionally I had. I am not someone who will accept when people tell me that medication is the only answer because even though a lot of people do need medication and cannot live without them, it is not always the answer to everyone’s problems and mental health recovery. People get upset when you tell them walking works. You’re right, going for a five-minute walk isn’t going to help, of course not. However, if you make an effort and walk for about two to three hours at least five days a week you are definitely going to make some kind of progress. For me, walking, jogging and weight training is the only thing that does work for me every time and I will never take medication again because it made everything ten times worse than it was and I will never apologize for doing what works for me. I’m done with saying that I will do it tomorrow or that I will start next week. Today is as good a day as anyone else. It can only get better from here. Il post the photos I was talking about below so that you can see what I am talking about.

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Letting Go Of Past Relationships

“Toxic people spread their toxin to you and then you, in turn, become a wasteland like they are” – Body Focus

Introduction


Let me start by saying that it’s not as easy as most people think it is to let go of past relationships, especially the most toxic ones. The most toxic relationship will be one between an empath and a narcissist. An empath will always look for the good in people even when they know there isn’t any. It is also damn near impossible to recognise a narcissist for who they truly are when you first meet them. In my case it took months before her true colours came through. I’ve mentioned this relationship in a previous blog post and I think this really affected me so badly that I was unable to really be in a relationship with anyone else for years after it ended. The narcissist is attracted to the empath because they know they can bend and break them for extended amounts of time before the empath gives up on them. They are an easy target from the start and once it’s all over the empath is emotionally battered and bruised for years to come. The fact that I didn’t get closure felt worse than how I had been treated during the whole relationship. I fell so deeply and always thought I was in the wrong. I always thought I was at fault. Of course it’s my fault she went looking elsewhere. Of course it was my fault she wanted to drive her car off a bridge with me in it. The breakup was extremely excruciating for me to endure. It took me four years to stop wearing my engagement ring.


Why I’ve Recently Made Contact


I’ve been struggling with all of my relationships in the last 13 years. Every single person I have been with since her I have pushed away. And it seems to happen right before we start getting close. Once again I am heartbroken because they can’t see any kind of future with me in it. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but my walls were built so high it became impossible for anyone to get to know me, the real me. Either that or I was attracting the wrong kind of women into my life. I always felt like this was my fault. Or that it was my social anxiety that was getting in my way. I wanted so badly to feel the kind of love that I knew I have always wanted. To have the kind of relationship where we are compatible in every way possible. The kind of relationship where you start out as best friends and fall completely in love once you really get to know them. The kind of relationship that lasts. The kind of relationship where you are supportive of each other no matter what you do in life. Like pieces of a puzzle that fit together so perfectly that you just know that it was meant to be. Through a lot of self-discovery and meditation I came to realise that the reason this wasn’t happening was because I had not fully let go of the toxic relationship that broke me years earlier. I am fully aware of the no contact rule when it comes to narcissists, however, for me the only way to let go and move on was to get the closure that I needed. So, I tried to contact her a few times over the last 13 years and it has always failed miserably because she would never answer any of the questions I asked her, one of them being why she left the way that she did. She would keep telling me that I was the one that left and she gave up on ever getting me back. What???? She would continuously try to make me think I was going crazy and that things didn’t happen the way I thought they did. I might be very socially awkward but I am most certainly not stupid and my memory of our entire relationship is as solid as a rock. I eventually came to the conclusion that I was never going to get an answer to that question and I was okay with that. I had let it go. But, I was still very uneasy about it all. And I know that in order to have any chance at a relationship in the future I need to do one thing, and that is to forgive her for everything she had ever put me through. The empath in me was coming out in full force. So, I messaged her on Whatsapp and I followed her on Instagram. We have spoken on and off a couple of times. And to be honest it has actually been very pleasant. Let me be clear, I do not in any way intend to ever go there again. But I have told her that I have forgiven her and we are not on bad terms anymore. She is in a new relationship and very happy and I wish her all the best with that. Afterall, we all deserve to be happy. I think my act of forgiveness has healed both of us. But I did it for me. I feel as though a mountain has been lifted off my shoulders and I am finally starting to feel like I am ready to meet my soulmate. She is out there and I cannot wait to meet her. As for my ex, I have completely let go of any need to have closure from her side. I have accepted things as they are and I know that I do not need to get her to say anything to make me feel better. I have done that all on my own.


Conclusion


You need to understand that it is okay to not get any answers or for them to have to explain to you why they did what they did. You can get closure by forgiving them and moving on with your life. This means that you have let go of the chains that are still tying you to them and they no longer have control over you. You win.


 

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Fragmented

“That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate” – Carl Jung


According to Carl Jung we all have a shadow side the portion of our personality which, through the course of our life, is relegated to the darkness of the unconscious.


Introduction


Just to be very clear, when I talk about fragmentation I am referring to soul fragmentation and not multiple personality disorder otherwise known as disassociated identity disorder. Soul fragmentation can be referred to as soul loss or loss of parts of your soul either in this life, past lives or within different dimensions. This is usually caused by trauma. The trauma can be too much of a burden to carry and parts of the soul end up fragmenting, breaking off and settles in realms where they feel safe. I have always felt like I was missing a soul, that I have no or very little sense of self, that I was and still am a hollow shell. This presents itself in what is known in psychology as social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, two major anxiety disorders. Until I started looking into shamanism I really never found anything that would explain why I am who I am and why I’m not able to be my true authentic self no matter how much therapy I get or how much medication I take. Soul fragmentation resonates with me in such a way that it has all become so clear to me. Imagine feeling like you have just won the lottery only it isn’t money but rather an understanding of the answer to a life long question of why do I feel like I have no soul. I have always felt the need to mimic other people rather than being myself. Because myself is something or someone unknown to me.


The Early Years


There are only a few things that really stand out when it comes to remembering my early years. One of those things being what I thought was normal at the time that I later understood to be very wrong and traumatic and would be one of the major contributing factors to my soul being shattered. And then there are the other things I remember. At a very young age I would have frequent lucid dreams, I would astro travel a lot, I would have memories of past lives. I never fully understood this until recently. I cannot for the life of me do any of those things now but I was doing them all the time at a very young age. This is why I sense the feeling that I was either had a shamanic past or that I was meant to have a shamanic existence in this life. I am meant to be some kind of spiritual healer? Is that meant to be my destiny? Has the trauma I have endured over and over in my life contributed to me never knowing my purpose in life? I know for certain that I am an empath. I have also always been drawn to the dark side. Not evil but the more spiritual side of darkness, if that makes sense. I must admit, feeling like you are in limbo is excruciatingly painful. A few dreams I had as a young child have stayed very fresh in my mind even through all the brain fog and depressive memory loss. I would have frequent dreams of me struggling financially as an adult. Finding a lot of money only to wake up and it was a dream. Only, I didn’t need that money as a young child as we were a middle class family earning enough to survive and I was a child being taken care of by my parents so I didn’t need to worry about paying rent or buying food. But the feeling I had when having those dreams, struggling to always have enough money was the worst feeling in the world. Why was I having these dreams? I know and understand why. Throughout my whole adult life I have struggled financially whether I was working or not. Always trying to make ends meet and to have enough for bills, food etc. I would go through stages and cycles where I would be okay for a few months and then things would get bad again. Things would always get in my way. My personality would make sure I get into trouble because I was not able to articulate properly or to socialise when needed. My fragmented soul was not able to keep up with it all and I would end up suffering. I would end up losing everything. This cycle has been going on for over twenty three years. Those dreams I was having as a child. That was either my spirit guide or another version of myself, my true authentic self, warning me about my future. Unfortunately I was not aware of this until now.


My First Shamanic Journey


A shamanic journey is usually done in order for you to connect with your spirit guides. This is done so that you can receive messages or guidance in order to move forward with your healing and to become your authentic self. You can either do this by going to an actual shamanic healer or you can do it in the comfort of your own home, or garden. I decided to do this because something was just pulling me in this direction and I know I just have to do it. I found a guided shamanic journey audio on YouTube and decided to give it a try. I put my earphones in while lying comfortably on my bed and started the audio. At the beginning I thought this wouldn’t work because I struggle to meditate for five minutes let along sit through a twenty-minute session. I listened to the voice telling me what to do, guiding me along the way, with shamanic drums beating in the background. It was very soothing and I felt calm. I found myself in an ancient forest and was met by three beings. One a tiger, the second some kind of mystical ghostly and almost see-through being, and the third was my authentic self or I guess my shadow self (I’m not really sure). I sat down facing her and she told me some things and we connected as if a part of my soul that was lost had rejoined the rest of me. I know this sounds weird but to me it made a lot of sense at the time. She was happy that I finally came to the Akashic field so that I could find myself and be guided on the right path. When it was over and I opened my eyes I immediately started crying. I have no idea why this happened but I felt an overwhelmingly large amount of emotion sweep over me but in a good way. I knew. I knew that this was the moment I had been waiting for my whole life. I feel slightly more heart centred and less confused. Obviously there is a lot of work to be done but I just feel an overall sense of relief. I honestly would recommend this to every person on the planet. Have I found my calling? I’m not sure. But I do know that I will be able to put myself back together again.


Conclusion


I know that I might lose friends and/or followers now that I have decided to come out with all of this because I don’t fit into the norm of believing in God and the bible. I have no issues with religion and I most certainly always support others in their beliefs. But I want to be whole and this is my way of doing that. If it works for me then I will be doing it with the utmost conviction and hopefully no one will judge me for it. We are all human beings and we are all on our own path. I know what I have to do and where I am going and I am willing to sacrifice toxic people in order to get there. I have a lot of research and learning to do about shamanic ways and the spiritual world. But, I know that I have a calling and that my purpose has something to do with this. I’ve never felt so clear about anything in my life.


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Time To Get Back On Track

It’s Time To Grab That Part Of Myself I Lost & Become My True Self


A year ago I could barely get out of bed. Depression had taken a hold of my soul and dragged it so far down the rabbit hole that I thought I had stopped breathing and was just waiting for it to end. I was on autopilot and at the time I couldn’t care less where my ship landed. The antidepressants I was put on caused a severe circadian rhythm sleep disorder, let’s just call it insomnia. But not the kind that people usually complain about. Mine was chronic. It became so bad that I could not function thus making my depression worse. When my depression got worse it made both of my anxiety disorders worse. When my anxiety gets worse it makes my insomnia worse. And so it goes full circle round and round like a Ferris wheel. At one point I almost burnt my house down with me in it. This was about a year ago. At present, I am doing a lot better, although I am nowhere near where I should be. But it is for this reason that I have realised that the small steps that we take to recover do make a difference. I could still be vegetating my life away and not knowing what month of the year it is but I can get a little sleep at night and get up in the morning. I don’t get up as early as I would like but I do it. I’m eating regularly and making sure I shower, brush my teeth, wash my hair, etc.


I Made A Decision To Work Hard To Get Where I Want To Be


One thing that has had a huge impact on my recovery is the fact that I have lost a part of myself and struggling to get her back is what has been getting in my way all this time. My personality changed quite a bit. I became bitter and angry. I stopped being interested in certain hobbies and interests. I started to become very passive-aggressive. I lost friends. But that part is probably a good thing. Letting go of toxic relationships and people is what helped me to heal to the point where I am today. I always had a difficult time attracting the right kind of people into my life and I am pretty sure this is because of the energy I was putting out into the world. In no way is this my own fault but rather it has taught me a valuable lesson. I need to heal and I need to heal properly. I need to make a concerted effort and work very hard to be the person I know I am. I just need to dive very deep into that rabbit hole to bring her back out again. She is in there and she is drowning. I need to save her. This is an extraction mission. Nothing is impossible to achieve if you want it badly enough. I always say I’m going to do it this time and I end up half-assing everything and getting nowhere. I’m nowhere near where I was a year ago but I can feel myself struggling very much. I feel like I have no purpose and that I will never be happy. No love life to speak of. No real friends to hang out with. No place of my own with my own furniture. I feel so fatigued and I am always so tired that it takes so much effort just to walk up the stairs. I’m overweight and feel so unhealthy. I used to be so fit and full of energy. My physical health is at risk and it worries me. My face looks terrible because I eat too many sugary foods, don’t drink enough water, and never exercise. I’ve been struggling with stomach issues for quite some time. The doctor was worried that I have a hiatal hernia and would need surgery. In 2017 I went to a specialist and had a full gastroscopy done. It was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced in the physical realm. According to the specialist, there was so hernia in sight and everything inside me looked completely normal. Except for one thing. My BMI suggests that I am clinically obese. The specialist told me something that knocked me for a six. I have so much fat intertwined in and around my internal organs that they are suffocating as a result. This is why I feel so tired and fatigued. This is why I am struggling to breathe. This is why I’m having heart palpitations. This is why I feel like something is poking through my ribcage when I lie down. Not only that but my self-confidence is nowhere to be found. Three years later and I still haven’t done anything about it. In fact, I have gotten worse with my sugary cravings and have put on even more weight. I need to change so many habits but it is going to be extremely hard to do and I know I can do it because I gave up smoking so I am sure this is possible too. The decision I made was to take certain steps and keep doing them until I feel better body, mind and soul. I am not doing it to impress anybody else but to rather get myself to a point where I feel like myself again. I need to force myself to give up certain types of food and drink. I plan on doing less time on social media and more time in nature and doing things like meditation and yoga. I want to start jogging again. This is something that has always helped me to lose weight in the past. It also has a profoundly positive effect on my mental health. So, why am I not doing it? Because I have become lazy and full of self-hatred. And when that happens you tend to keep telling yourself that there is no point in trying.


Why Have I Changed My Mind 


I’ve been doing a lot of visualizing. This is an action I use in manifesting things into my life by using the law of attraction. I have been seeing how I would like my future to look. Where I want to live. How I want my house to look. The kind of partner I want in my life. Finally making money from blogging etc. Whenever I do this regularly I get a feeling of love, contentment, excitement. And this makes me feel like it is possible to get there. The only problem is that I have not actively done anything to get it. I cannot settle for just being here and waiting to die. I want to live. To truly be myself and to accept who I am. I need to make changes. They have to be big changes and some of them permanent. I know where I want to be and I know what I need to do to get there. All I have to do now is to act.


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The Trend Of Cyber Bullying & How It Affects Us

I find it really sad that in this day and age we have to raise awareness for topics like this. The fact that this kind of thing just keeps getting worse by the minute makes me cringe to my core. We shouldn’t have to make space in our lives for bullying altogether nevermind cyber bullying. And yes it’s an actual thing. And it is something we need to talk about. Believe it or not there are people in this world who actually think that cyber bullying doesn’t exist and that people are just being snowflakes or that they can’t take a joke. I’m all for a joke and a good laugh, a bit or roasting here and there, making fun of certain silly things I do, it’s all a bit of fun. But then there is relentless bullying and harassment. People hide behind their computer screen or smartphone because they know no one can touch them and that they won’t get caught. There are many people who are insecure and who have been through a rough childhood, including me. And this is where we draw the line between being good and bad. The good ones are supportive of others in their journey, their bad times, their bouts of depression, trying to lose weight, their insecurities. The bad ones turn their frustrations toward making other people feel worse about themselves than they already do just so they can feel better about themselves. It’s all about power. They want to feel powerful and to have that hold over you makes them feel it.

As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have been bullied quite a lot in life. It started mostly in high school and carried on throughout my twenties right up until about the age of 30 or so. Having social anxiety disorder and being the quiet one seems to make people think you are weak and it opens up a wide door of opportunities for them to single you out as a target. The online bullying started more or less round the age of 24 or 25. I got the latest phone that was finally able to go on the internet and i started talking on a South African chat site called Mxit. It was very much like Whatsapp where you could add your friends and chat with them but with added chatrooms where you could meet other people. Being someone who is a part of the lgbtq community I was hoping to find and make friends and I did. I met a bunch of cool people who I ended up meeting in real life and we had some really great times together. But then came the mean girls. Yes, I was just as confused as you are when I found out that there is bullying within the lgbtq community. Lesbians bullying other lesbians. They were all just racing to be crowned top dog. Nice ego boost you see. I always pictured these bullies to be the type that would get physical with their partners. Maybe not. All talk and no action. Their bark bigger than their bite. When I met them in person they would have nothing bad to say to me but as soon as I was back on Mxit it would all start up again. My self worth has diminished over the years. So much so that I didn’t and still don’t feel worthy of any kind of relationship with anyone (i’m working on it). Cyber bullying can affect a person so badly that the effects are long lasting. In other words, it isn’t something you just get over. You feel all alone and don’t feel that there is anything you can do about it. Luckily I am a lot smarter than most people think I am and the one thing that can really help is to stop going online, stop going on social media.

It might seem like an impossible task to do because we need social media. We need it to keep in contact with our distant relatives and friends we have accumulated over the years, if any. We need it to feed our curiosity about the news and what goes on in the world. We need it to entertain ourselves when we are bored. It’s a part of who we are. The problem is that we become addicted to it and that we use social media a lot more than we need to. We try to post things that make us feel positive about ourselves because we are finally gaining our confidence back. Then it starts. Again. One person mentions how fat you are and that you won’t make it past the age of forty. Then someone else agrees with them. Then another tells you that being gay is a sin and that you need to be ****** by a man to show you a lesson. Believe me I have heard it all. I even got negative comments when I had lost weight and was looking and feeling fantastic. Not everyone is every happy with how you look or what you do in life no matter how hard you try.

The impact of cyber bullying can be severe. And when I say severe I mean it can affect a person so badly that it can cause them to want to commit suicide. And many have. For this reason. It is something taht is so unnecessary. What bugs me the most is that most of the online bullies right now are children under the age of 18. They have access to smartphones with apps like TikTok and the like. I am not saying that apps like this are bad because they are not. I use TikTok as a way to express myself and to gain more confidence. But while TikTok has an age rule of 13 upward, there are hundreds of thousands even millions I guess of kids between 5 and 13 using the app. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve witnessed online bullying by kids towards adults or even other kids in some cases. It’s all fun and games until someone ends their life. They don’t care because they don’t know the person and they haven’t begun to understand life and how it works yet. I even saw someone (an adult) post that being bullied should make you a better person and makes you stronger. I call bullshit. I have seen teenage boys tell plus sized women that they should jump off a bridge because they are a waste of air. Absolutely disgusting. It does make an impact but a negative one. It hurts people beyond repair. It makes people feel they are not worth anything.

But, I can honestly tell you that what these people are saying about you is not important and it means absolutely nothing. They forget about you just as quick and easy as it was for them to type their two cents worth. They are hiding behind a mask of pain and insecurities and most of the time they need to feel like they have power over you in order to feel something so that they can be someone. Your worth is not measured by some insignificant trolls comments or opinions of you. Your worth is measured by how you feel about yourself and what you put out into the world. We are all different and it is okay to be unique and it is okay to show the world that you love yourself no matter what others say or think about you.

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13 Reasons Why – An Honest Opinion

13-reasons

TRIGGER WARNING/CONTENT WARNING

This blog post may contain topics that are sensitive or distressing to some readers. The discussion may include talk of suicide, self-harm, sexual assault, and violence. If you are struggling with any of these issues yourself please speak to a member of your family or your mental health support team. 

CRISIS LINES WORLDWIDE

AustraliaBeyond Blue provides nationwide information and support regarding anxiety, depression, and suicide. It has a helpline that can be reached by calling 1300 22 4636. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Canada – The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (https://suicideprevention.ca) maintains a Canada-wide list of phone numbers and websites related to suicide prevention.

Hong Kong – The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong is available 24/7 at 23892222

South Africa Suicide Crisis Line: Call 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393

United Kingdom – Samaritans Helpline can be reached at 116 123

United States – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (ESP) can be reached at 1-888-628-9454


Introduction


13 Reasons Why was introduced to Netflix in early 2017 and soon became a very controversial and talked about topic. The story centers around the late Hannah Baker who sends out 13 tapes explaining to each individual she sent the tapes to how they were responsible for her ultimate demise and why she committed suicide. I heard people talking about it here and there and decided I needed to watch it at some point. I wasn’t fully aware at that stage what it was actually about and thought it was just another teen drama. So, there I was one winters evening bored out of my mind and scrolling through Netflix. And there it was luring me in as it had done with so many others. I decided to watch the first episode just to get a feel for what everyone is going on about. Needless to say, I couldn’t get my eyes off of it and I ended up binge-watching it over the space of two days.


The Controversy


Parents quickly took to social media to blast the popular series calling it dangerous because it glorifies suicide and would make teenagers want to do it to copy the same thing that Hannah did. Not only do they think it glorifies suicide but sexual assault and bullying too. They seem to be worried that it’s going to make them want to go out and do these things because the show makes it look cool. The topics of suicide, bullying and sexual assault are no laughing matter and should be taken seriously by anyone and every one, however, the show really aimed to focus on sending out a message that parents, teachers, and peers need to understand that things like this do happen in real life and raising awareness can prevent an outcome where someone like Hannah becomes too withdrawn and scared to tell her story in fear of not being believed and subject to even further bullying. It is meant to get people to be more understanding and open about what kids go through in high school and to take it more seriously. But, it also intends to make teenagers aware that there is hope and that they can reach out for help if they endure such pain and trauma thus preventing self-harm or suicide.


My Thoughts


Being somewhat of a mental health advocate myself I tend to look at things from all angles and not through blinkers as most people do. I am extremely open-minded when it comes to controversial topics and my views come from a place of love rather than hate. I do think that a lot of people just jump on the bandwagon when someone on social media has something negative to say about anything. And in this case parents especially were expressing their concerns about the show. From my perspective, I think that people can be a little sheep-like when on the internet. They tend to agree with whatever the popular opinion is at the time and they go with it. They follow the masses and dare not form their own opinion.

I agree that some of the scenes in the show were relatively graphic and could be triggering to some people. But then again they do that to show the seriousness of it using emotions to get the message across. Things like this do need to be talked about instead of just pushed aside in the hopes it goes away. We need to make teenagers understand that they can overcome trauma instead of feeling like they are alone and can’t express how much they are hurting because of what has been done to them. I get that it doesn’t happen to everyone and most have a normal childhood, however, it does happen to some and we cannot ignore that. We need to be more open about bullying, harassment, sexual assault and suicide because if we are not then it will continue to happen over and over again and no one will ever feel safe enough to start the healing process and go on to have a normal adulthood.

We see so much of the same thing on thousands of other movies, documentaries, series web series, etc yet we don’t seem to have any kind of opinion about that and continue to watch them because we find them entertaining. But, as soon as it involves a bunch of teenagers everyone gets their back up because they feel it will influence their kids into doing the same things. I can honestly tell you that if a teenager commits suicide that the thought has been in their mind whether they watched the show or not and there would be a valid reason behind it. Blaming a show for something like that is completely inappropriate and you need to start looking at the root of the problem rather than laying blame in places you shouldn’t even be looking. It’s the same as saying that violent video games make you violent. I am a gamer. I have been for the last 25 years. I enjoy playing violent video games and I am the kindest most heart-centered person you will ever meet. Am I getting my point across? We all have our own opinions and we all have a right to them. Just keep and open mind when it comes to mental health and trauma.


The End


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Why People With Social Anxiety Disorder Cancel Plans

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Our friends and family always get annoyed with us because we often tend to cancel plans and turn down invitations to go to family gatherings or  social events or we just don’t show up. Now for the average person that might seem like you’re being a bit of an asshole or that you just don’t care but they don’t actually understand why the person is doing that. 

I can assure you that it’s not because they don’t want to go and it’s not because they don’t want to spend time with you. It’s also not because they’re just  being an asshole or that they are being lazy. 

When I was younger I could control my social anxiety because I was very much an outside person. I grew up in Durban, South Africa and it was very warm most of the year round so I was always outside and of course, you know, being in the sun all the time and getting vitamin D does wonders for social anxiety. I had friends. I made friends at school. I always had friends growing up. I still had social anxiety and believe me every time I stood in a line at a grocery store I had panic attacks and I used to blush so much that I would get so embarrassed and almost walk out. 

But I didn’t know about this thing called depression so I was very happy. I mean I did experience trauma but I got through it. I used to surf. I used to skateboard. I used to climb trees. I was always at the beach. I was always at the gym. I was hardly ever inside the house unless it was a rainy day or if it was very cold or something like that. When I got to my late teens after leaving school I was going out with my friends all the time. I was going out with my brother and his friends. We would all go out together. I was always out at my friend’s house. I would sleep over there and they would come to mine. We would always have braais (BBQ) outside and spend  the day by the pool. We were always busy. But at this stage in my life and I would say for the last 10 years or so it’s been really difficult for me to get back into that kind of space where I want to go out and I want to be with people and it’s because I have depression and that makes my social anxiety a lot worse than what it is. 

Most people don’t realise that people that have social anxiety disorder really struggle with going out and socializing because they have such a low self-esteem and they are so scared that they are going to be judged. A lot of people with social anxiety struggle to go out into the world and work and it’s very hard for them. They’re so scared to get judged by other people because they don’t have the best job or they don’t have a car or they don’t have nice clothes. Even if they are working just think people are going to judge them for having a the job that they have. They tend to avoid going to family gatherings because it’s difficult for them to concentrate when someone speaking to them and it’s difficult to keep a conversation going. You struggle to focus on other people so you are always focusing on yourself.  So yes they will avoid going to parties and they will avoid going on dates. They will avoid going to family gatherings they will avoid going to office parties. It’s because they feel like they are not good enough. And they feel like other people won’t be accepting of them. They constantly feel judged.

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I know that even when I’m around family I always have anxiety around because I sometimes feel like I’ve done nothing with my life and that they judge me for that. I’m 40 years old and my depression is very very bad. I feel like people think that I have not done enough to try and make my my life better. And even if they don’t think that about me I’m still going to think that because that’s what my anxiety is telling me. 

I just wish people would be a bit more understanding as to why people with social anxiety struggle to go to family gatherings or to go out to bars and clubs altogether. You need to be compassionate. You can’t just push them into the deep end and expect them to swim. Believe me when I tell you that the tough love approach does not work. It does not work with depression. It does not work with social anxiety disorder. It does not work with generalized anxiety disorder. It does not work with any other mental health disorder.

 

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Why I Hate Telling People I’m Not Okay!

I honestly do not like telling people that I am going through a difficult time or that I’m not feeling well whether it’s being caused by my mental health or my physical health. I know that everyone always says that it makes you feel better when you talk about things with someone be it a friend, family member or co-worker. However, their robotic and cliche responses always make me want to pull my hair out, so for me, it is never a good thing to do. I would rather tell them I’m doing fine because it saves me so much anxiety and frustration. In my entire life of living on this green earth, there has been only one person that has been able to say the right things in order to get me to a better mental space and that was my mother (bless her). Unfortunately, she passed away just over five years ago so that can no longer serve me. I feel so detached from the world, society as a whole, myself and just everything in general. It’s almost as if all of that just left when my mom died. I can’t for the life of me get it back no matter how hard I try. I obviously have a lot of self-searching to do and finding myself is going to be a painstakingly difficult thing to do but I know that when I get to that point where I know who I am and where I am going in life I will thank myself for it.

Now, the thing that pisses me off about peoples crappy advice is that it doesn’t come from a place of pure love. Usually, they are just saying it so that you will shut up or go away. I mean, let’s face it, “normal” people hate having to deal with our mental health meltdowns. So, if it doesn’t come from a place of love then where does it come from? I’m assuming it’s a learned response, something they have heard other people say, the usual things that everybody always says because that’s “what works”. ERm, no!!! No, Brenda, just going for a walk isn’t going to fix years of trauma, emotional abuse and PTSD. Brenda FFS, yes other people might have it worse than I do BUT my depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD are still valid and hinder me from doing everyday normal adult things such as having a normal job, getting married, having lunch with friends (Wait, what friends?), starting a family, going shopping, driving a car, going out for drinks. These are such easy things that most people just grow into so excuse me for being upset when I struggle to do them while watching the world around me keep spinning.

THIS ONE IS MY FAVOURITE
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Every time someone says THIS ⇈ to me I achieve massive eye rolls. I swear I should be given an award for my talent in eye rolling! Firstly, if it were that easy for me I’m sure I would be doing it, wouldn’t I?

If only people would just not say anything rather than saying what they think you want to hear, am I right? How about giving someone the necessary tools in order to be able to have enough courage, motivation and self-confidence to leave the house, rather than just pushing them to leave the house. Teaching someone how to meditate so that their anxiety starts to melt away little by little. Showing someone some easy beginner yoga moves to release muscle tension and get the heart rate up. What about telling them that there’s this neat little trick called EFT (emotional freedom technique) tapping that they can do for 20minutes every morning in order to release negative emotions and intrusive thoughts? I have never had anyone advise me on how I can do anything to build a bridge in order to cross the water, all they do is skip to the standing on the other side of the water part.

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7 Years In The Making

I have struggled with social anxiety disorder my whole life. This has been the catalyst in my current situation. My current situation being complex ptsd, agoraphobia, sleep anxiety which is causing severe insomnia and clinical depression. I have been through a series of bad situations and stressful traumatic events which I think I could have handled better had I not had social anxiety disorder. These all happened over the time frame of the last seven years. I will explain all of this in more detail so that you can understand what has lead me to be where I am today.

My mom was first diagnosed with COPD (emphysema) and about a year later (give or take a month or two) she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her COPD would have been very managable and she would very well have still been alive had she not been diagnosed with RA. She passed away in August 2013 because her lungs just stopped working. Most people get confused and tell me it’s from the COPD, however, it was not the case. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that not only attacks the joints but the internal organs too. It causes widespread inflammation which can develop in other parts of the body such as the lungs. This caused her COPD to progress aggressively. She started to experience rapid weight loss, which could not be remedied with adding more protein to her diet or eating more carbs or sugars. She was in and out of hospitals with pneumonia. They kept having to put her on a drip because her blood pressure was dangerously low. I had eventually left the job that I had at the time to stay at home and take care of her. I had no help from any other family members or friends of the family. I knew that not working would cause a world of problems but I could not leave my mom to fend for herself being in the condition that she was in. My mom was getting a disability pension as she was unable to work so at least it was something. We had no car and it was difficult to find lifts to the hospital and back especially in an emergency, and in South Africa it’s not like in the UK where you can go stand across the road and take the bus. By this stage it started to take a toll on my mental health. I was so stressed and could barely handle all of this. Struggling and begging people for lifts. We were eventually kicked out because we were unable to keep up with our rent payments so we had to borrow a couch here and there and sleep in the car most of the time. Being homeless added to the stress I was already feeling. My poor mom. I got in contact with people who had known both of my parents when they were still married and they helped raise funds to pay for a deposit for a place to stay and for some groceries for the first month. I decided that I had to get another job in order to keep staying in the new place otherwise we would be out on the street again. I got an office job and was doing everything I could to get to work and back since I had no car or money for a taxi. So, basically I would either walk or hitch hike. On August 23rd 2013 I got a phonecall from the hospital asking me to please come to the hospital and that it was not good. I kept begging people on my facebook if someone could please give me a lift. No one even replied to my pleas for help. I got another phonecall to tell me she has passed away. I was unable to see her one last time. I was unable to say goodbye. I left my job because I couldn’t handle what I was going through at the time. I went back two months later because my rent was overdue by two months so I had to make some money, it was also to keep myself busy so that I could recover from all of this. I decided to get help and go see my doctor who referred me to a government hospital to see both a psychologist and psychiatrist. I went to see them once a month for the next three months and it was helping me alot. My psychologist was teaching me social skills and cognitive behavioural therapy. But, things at home were not so good. Because of those two months that I had missed work I was still behind on my rent and even more so now because some months I had to use some of my rent money to buy food and toiletries (my salary was only able to afford one or the other and not both). My landlord at the time started to threaten me and even tried his luck with me telling me to become his whore in order to pay my rent. All of this became unbearable for me and too stressful. Ofcourse, I said no, just incase you are wondering. He told me I had a few days to pack and move and with nowhere to go I was in a bind. On the last day that I had left a friends mum came to see me to see how she could help. She knew I had a british passport and asked me if I had the option to go to the UK to make a better life, would I do it. I said yes I wish I could. I was on a plane the very next day, bless her. She had organised me a place to stay with a friend of hers for the first couple months while I job search and sort myself out. I got a job at a local Subway withing two weeks which was great and I was very excited because I would be earning pounds and this is a fresh new start.

It went really great for a while, I had rented a room in someones house (it was the norm for starting out here), another South African lady. I had the house to my self every second week which was great. But then, my boss started making me work more hours with less breaks and I was slaving away on my feet for ten hours a day six days a week. I started going to the gym as a way to destress because I could feel I wanted to quit as it was all becoming too much. I was made to work opening shifts all six days, so was on my own in the mornings pretty much until my boss decided to show up which on most days was after ten (I started at 7). It was always very busy in the mornings and was quite stressful on my social anxiety. Asking for help didn’t work. Asking for less hours didn’t work. ASking for someone else to open the shop a couple days of the week didn’t work. Eventually it got to a stage where I had to work lunch shifts on my own, and before you say it couldn’t have been that bad, it was bad. Lunch time was our busiest time of day and I had to serve a line of people going out the door for more than an hour, sometimes longer. You can imagine how stressed I was by the end of the day, even after working out. After working there for two and a half years I hit burnout and couldn’t do it anymore. I was starting to lose it at the customers and I just quit. I know that it was a stupid thing to do because I should have stayed until I found another job but when you are in that kind of position and burnt out to the max, legs so sore, feet so sore, mentally and physically exhausted, so much so that you are crying every day then it’s time to quit in my books. Ofcourse, I did not think of the consequenses at the time because I had a little money saved and thought I would be okay for a while.

I ended up isolating myself and unable to find another job because I am so scared to go to interviews because I always hit a blank and never know what to say. I had to apply for universal credit and housing benefit. But, my landlady started spending more time at home because she and her boyfriend were having difficulties and she started getting annoyed with me being at home all the time and she started to lash out at me. Keep in mind that my rent was still being paid so it wasn’t like I was living there rent free or eating her food because I was still paying my own way. She started to do things like slamming doors really loudly and having two hour baths. If I needed the loo I had to wait. She stopped allowing her cat to visit me and got very possesive over him so if he was in my room she would get angry and would stand outside my door calling him for as long as it took for him to go to her. She became very nasty. By this stage I had already started feeling the depression grab a hold of me. I decided to sit down with her and tell her what I was feeling and what was going on with me so that maybe she could give me a break and stop being so nasty. I felt like it was a good thing but that just made things worse for me and she then started to tell me that everybody gets depressed sometimes and that I must just get on with things and get over it and that I am just making excuses to be lazy. I just thought what does it matter if I’m paying my rent and buying my own food and toiletries? But anyway, she eventually told me to move out because she couldn’t handle me not working and always being at home.

I was able to get a small studio flat with a housing association within the two weeks I had to move out (I was very lucky). When I moved my doctor had started me on antidepressants (citalopram) and I started to feel that I would be okay because I was in my own place and I would have the freedom to do what I wanted. The medication gave me such horrible side effects aside from the initial first two week side effects. I started to get really bad insomnia, and I mean severe. I could not sleep at might no matter how hard I tried of what I tried. And that meant that I would sleep during the day. I would also get night terrors and terrible vivid dreams. This only made my depression so much worse. I was unable to find a job because of this and it went on for months. I stopped taking my medication but guess what? I still have those side effects, they haven’t left me even after being off the medication for about three months now. My depression has got so severe that I have thought about suicide a few times. My social anxiety is no longer just social anxiety, its agoraphobia too.

I am still on universal credit and housing benefit but the money barely covers what I need and sometimes I have to use some of my rent money to make sure I can eat and not run out of toiletpaper which I have had to do a few times already. The depression has changed my personality, and i’m sure it has changed my brain chemistry so drastically that I forgot who I am. I no longer enjoy doing all of the things I used to. I can barely function as a human nevermind have a personality. My social anxiety causes me to feel like I have no sense of self, now add depression and agoraphobia to the mixture. Alot of people do not understand why I am not working currently and why I am struggling so much with my mental health. It has all just been one big snowball effect. Unfortunately here in the UK I cannot see a proper psychologist unless I pay for one. And the only help available to me with the NHS is an eight week CBT course which I have already done and my case closed. I have, however, made a promise to myself that I will do everything I can in order to recover from depression because my social anxiety is managable if there is no depression. I have also come out to my brother and sister as well as my dad and step mom about my depression and anxiety so I feel like I have love and support which is enough to keep me going and to have a reason to want to fight this and get better.

I have already started to do things that are making a slight difference in my mood such as yoga, meditation and EFT tapping. Thanks to these three things I am able to leave the house and go for a jog or a walk in the park. I have a very long way to go and I am very hopefull that recovery is possible and that I will eventually not have depression anymore.


NB: this blog post was written a few months ago and was posted to my previous blog(before my trip to Australia). I have been here for about 3 months now and will be returning to the UK next week. As mentioned in a previous post my depression has lifted somewhat and I am also sleeping a bit better which has helped a great deal. I am looking forward to starting a new life. As they say you are never too old.


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How I Intend To Use The Law Of Attraction To Create The Life That I Want

Law of Attraction

Introduction

A few years ago I heard a few people talk about a new book that had come out and everyone was fascinated by it. I wondered what was so special about this book so I started to look into it. Me being a complete nerd, had to find out what the fuss what all about. The book in question is called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I was struggling financially and knew I wanted to do something about it so took a long walk to the closest library. Luckily for me they had one copy of the book and it was available to take out. I walked home excited because everyone I had spoken to had told me that this book could change my life. What I learned from reading this book was that I could manifest anything into my life at will. This is known as the law of attraction. The law of attraction states that like attracts like. So, if you visualize positive things you will manifest positive things into your life, whereas, if you focus on the negative you will attract more of it. What a concept. I began to realise that I had used this method throughout my life and attracted certain things without even knowing that it was a universal law, and the strongest one at that. Over the last three years or so my manifesting skills were buried and gone forever. This is what depression does to you. When you are in that state of mind it is very difficult to focus on the positive and to visualize positive changes in your life. Have you ever noticed that when you are in a depressed state and you are staring directly into the abyss that you only attract negative situations, people and things into your life? Simply put, I was in a funk and I didn’t know how to get out of it.

How Did I Get Out Of That Funk?

I came to Australia for three months. What what? How is that possible? Let me just say that it is extremely hard to come out of a  depressive episode when you live in the UK because it can get pretty dark and gloomy for months and months at a time and you get seasonal effective disorder on top of your actual depression. My brother bought me a return ticket and we planned a sibling reunion (my sister joined us from South Africa). I knew my debts were piling up and that going away for three months would be running away from my problems and responsibilities, however, I had to do it for my mental well being. Australia is nice and hot this time of year so I would be getting plenty of fresh air and vitamin D. Being around family helps a whole bunch as well. I was starting to feel very very (did I say very) suicidal. Trust me it takes a motherfucking lot to get me to that point. So, I did it for my mental well being and to lift my depression enough to think with a rational mind. In the last three months I have been doing EFT Tapping in the mornings with the occasional visualization here and there and some mirror work to gain more confidence. I have also been going to the beach, swimming in the sea, socializing, listening to good music and generally having a good time. My depression has lifted enough for me to start thinking with a rational mind and I am finding it easier to visualize and work on my desires.

What Am I Going To Do Now?

So, how am I going to change things and turn my life around? Hard work and dedication of course. Is that it? No, there is more. I intend to use the law of attraction to raise my vibration and to manifest the life that I want even faster. Is this even possible? Yes, it is absolutely possible. I know this from past experience. I have manifested very specific things into my life and it usually happens withing weeks. Not years. Not months. Weeks. Believe me when I tell you that I was a skeptic too until it happened for me. I intend to continue to use EFT tapping every morning to keep myself focused and to keep my anxiety from rearing its ugly head round every corner. I have come up with a list of goals I would like to achieve by the end of the year and I intend to prove to myself that I can and will attain them. I have written down a law of attraction list with my goals on it and have made a vision board that I can look at every time I feel I am struggling to visualize. How do I make my vision boards? I made a tutorial video about it 👉👉👉👉HERE.

My Vision Board (1)This is just an example of one of my vision boards that I have created for myself. I will list the things on my vision board below:

  1. Weight loss and fitness.
  2. Camera for my social media videos.
  3. iMac.
  4. A relationship with my ideal partner (that’s a completely different set of vision board goals).
  5. My ideal house with garden.
  6. 25 thousand followers/likes on my Facebook page and blog.

How Am I Going To Use The Law Of Attraction To Achieve It

I find that the best technique that works for me is to visualize the things on my vision board for a few seconds numerous times throughout the day for a few weeks at a time. Usually, after a couple of weeks I start to see results no matter how big or small. It is not necessarily the actual thing itself but sometimes it will be a person, situation or job that will lead me to it. The trick is to remain consistent and to continue to stay focused on the results with as much positivity as possible even when some negativity seeps in. Lets face it, sometimes things happen, a person will be rude, you will drop something. I know how hard it is to remain in a positive space when something goes wrong. That’s usually when I give up and decide it’s not working. I will keep persisting and pushing on. I know I can do this!

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Growing Up In South Africa

 

Growing Up In South Africa

As you may have guessed from the title I grew up in South Africa. I moved to the UK at the end of 2014 on my own to try and make a better life for myself and to get away from all the my demons of the past. I was also grieving the loss of my mother and felt totally isolated. One day I took my british passport out and told myself that I would get to the UK somehow and the rest is history. 
 
I was born in Rosettenville which is also known as Jo’burg South. We lived on a house on the corner of a street who’s name I can’t remember. We had a big park across the road from us, which was wonderful for us kids. We used to love playing outside, especially in the Summer time. In those days it was safe to do so. We also had one of those backyard plastic pools similar to the one in the picture below.
We had a maid who lived in the outside room and she took care of us kids when my parents weren’t at home. She was fantastic. As far as I remember she was also a Sangoma, which is another name for a witch doctor, healer/herbalist. I was never scared of her though. She would protect us with her life. But one thing that bothered me was that one the odd occasion she would cook sheeps head outside of her room. We could smell it walking home from school sometimes. That smell is enough to put anyone off. Not my favourite memory but moving on. 

I remember when we used to go and play in the park on weekends and holidays. There was a huge willow tree right in front of our house. My dad used to make swings for us out of the vines. This was  a very long time before iPhones and PlayStation. I was very much an outdoors kid growing up even after I had discovered Nintendo. I was about 8 or so when we moved to Port Shepstone. Port Shepstone is a town situated on the mouth of the Mzimkhulu River, the largest river on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast of South Africa. The Mzimkulu River means ‘large place’ in isiXhosa and isiZulu. It is located halfway between Hibberdene and Margate and is located 120 km south of Durban. We lived in a huge house not far from the beach. We had a big front yard and an even bigger back yard. But, we had to be so careful in the summer because there were loads of snakes about. We found a green mamba in our back yard once. I loved this place. I made a best friend in school, despite me having an anxiety disorder. We were very close and we were always together. At the age of ten my dad got a better job so we moved to a town called Amanzimtoti. A lovely holiday destination South of Durban. We moved into a cute little three bedroom house with a granny flat, back yard, front yard, fantastic neighborhood.

There was a lot of bush and greenery, which was great for us kids. During the school holidays we would keep ourselves busy by exploring and hiking or as us Saffa’s like to call it, bundu bashing. We would pack lunches and water into backpacks and head out for the day. My parents knew we were safe if we were together. It was so much fun to do. At the end of the day we would get home starving and exhausted. I walked to school and back, infact, I walked everywhere. I started skateboarding and surfing later on at about the age of 13. Life was so good!

We would braai (bbq) on weekends. The weather was always warm, even the winters were nothing to write home about. My parents had loads of work friends they would invite over for braais. It was so much fun because we would swim and enjoy our time outside as much as we could. I don’t think I can remember any day that was sunny where we didn’t have a braai. My dad also built a bar in the house which was lovely for the adults. We did have rainy seasons and the odd few really cold days but overall it was usually quite summery and hot. My dad bought a beach buggy and we would go to the beach almost every weekend and ride up and down the sand dunes. The adults would sometimes do a bit of fishing on the side. In those days we were allowed to have beach bonfires and it was still quite safe. So, sometimes we would go in the late afternoon after a braai and start a bonfire on the beach and braai marshmallows. I guess it kinda feels like camping. Gosh do I miss all of that!

 

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Reflecting On 2019

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Introduction

This year definitely tested me in more ways than one. I can honestly say that it has been one of the worst years of my life. My depression was at its absolute worst and I was heading down a very dark road. Spiraling into the abyss is the most awful feeling you can feel. Those who have experienced depression know exactly what I’m talking about. I was put on antidepressants that caused a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (in layman’s terms this is very bad insomnia that is difficult to fix) which kept getting worse even after discontinuing the medication. I kept losing myself piece by piece everyday until I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I lost two really great friends. I lost a fantastic budding relationship. I lost everything. I lost faith in myself and did not think that change was possible. I felt defeated. I was KO’d by life. Never to get back up again. This was it. This was the end. Fortunately, coming to Australia and being around my family has given me a new found trust in the universe and I am starting to understand that anything is possible and I am starting to think more positively. I am excited about my future.

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What Have I Learned This Year?

  1. Friendships don’t last forever and people don’t always grow with you. This in no way implies that these are bad people. As the saying goes, each to their own. Some people come into our lives at the exact time that we need them to be there. We learn some kind of lesson from them or the friendship itself and then they move on and so do we. What I learned this year is that it is okay for friendships to end in order for me to grow as a person.
  2. I am far too nice to other people. It has taken me a very long time to realise that one. I am someone that is very likable and approachable. I have no idea why that is to be honest. And I am very down to earth and open minded when it comes to other peoples views and how they see and experience life. Unfortunately, people do tend to take advantage of that fact because they see me as weak. Why? Because i’m and empath and I can’t say no. Obviously I do have my limits but I find it very hard to set boundaries and people use me as a doormat. I have decided that it is time to change that.

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What Are My Goals For 2020?

  • I want to get back into shape. Yes, I understand that round is a shape and I am most certainly very very round. About three and a half to four years ago things were really good for me. I was working full time as well as overtime so had enough money to pay my bills and to save money to go on holidays. I decided to go back to the gym and get back to weight training. This was always something that made me feel alive and it also did wonders for my social anxiety. I was surrounded by like minded people and I was doing what I loved. I was obsessed with working out and sticking to a strict eating plan. I lost a bunch of weight and started toning up nicely. In fact, here are a few photos from that time:

I mean I have not changed as a person and I am most certainly not putting myself down because of my weight, however, I do not feel very healthy physically and want to get myself back to being confident and not depressed. So, I am going to do everything in my power to get back on track. I can’t afford to start of at the gym so will start by going for long walks, working out at home, doing yoga and eating healthy.

  • I want to achieve a higher following on my blog, YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have felt for a while now that my success will come at the right time and I feel like this is the year when all of that will happen. I have always wanted to work from home and have the freedom to come and go as I please. This sounds like everyone far fetched dream but in reality if it is what you want it is achievable. I tend to always give up on a project if I don’t see results in the beginning but I understand now that it takes time to build and online presence. There are thousands of people that make money blogging and I am going to stick to a schedule and maintain my blog no matter what the stats are. Positive thoughts always bring positive results.
  • I want to get out more and make more friends. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially in the UK. Being someone with two anxiety disorder doesn’t really help either. I read somewhere that your vibe attracts your tribe. So, I do believe that I can meet friends that I have alot in common with and who are on the same level as me. I just have to keep working on my self esteem and positivity and things will fall into place.

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  • I want to pay off all of my debt. This sounds like a monstrous task. Why? Because I am struggling financially and when you have depression you allow your debt to climb to crazy proportions because you don’t care anymore. I have been so low that I really did not give a rats butt what happened. Life was standing still and my thinking was nowhere near rational. I had two failed business ideas that flopped miserably and I couldn’t stand the idea of working for a boss again so I failed myself and put myself in a lot of debt. I am going to make it a priority to sort that out as fast as I can so that I can start living a better existence.
  • I am going to continue to recover from depression. I am doing really well at the moment. It has been to months since I came to Australia and I have a month left until I return to the UK. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity because it has taught me a lot and I have even started sleeping at night. And trust me, that is an enormous achievement. I have been doing a lot of visualization and EFT Tapping (I will go into more detail about this in another post) which helps with my anxiety and keeps my moods level. I am actually starting to think rationally and to see a future for myself rather than just a black void.

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“Thank you to every single one of my blog followers, to everyone reading my posts and a special thanks to my dear friend Claire (I know you’re reading this) for making me see that people other than myself believe in me and my abilities” – Sincerely, Janine from Nina’s Corner!

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10 Things I Learned Having Depression

I was one of those people that thought I would never experience depression and I never understood it. I was one of those  people that said that there is always a better way to deal with things and that people are just being lazy and need to get on with things. I was one of those people that never understood suicide and why people would do that to their loved ones. I thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did. It all became very clear to me and I understand every single tiny thing about depression that I never thought even possible before I had it. I swallowed all the stupid words that came out of my mouth when I thought I knew all the answers. I am now one of those people that has and has been struggling with depression. I am now one of those people saying they wish other people understood mental health issues and would be more open to learning more about it rather than making assumptions. I have become a lot more empathetic towards others and becoming a mental health advocate is the best thing I have ever done because my tough times are a stepping stone to helping others to recover and I am so happy that I get to do that!

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1. There Is No Quick Fix

Unfortunately there are some people on the other side (when I say this I mean people who have no idea what it’s like to have depression) who assume that depression can be cured by utilizing some kind of quick fix. This is very far from the truth. There is no quick fix for depression and in most cases you cannot completely cure depression but learn coping skills and use certain treatments to make you feel better. There are some cases where it can go away completely and this is usually when depression is a symptom of circumstance, for example, severe and prolonged financial difficulties and/or prolonged periods of stress resulting in complex ptsd. There is a very long road to recovery with depression and it takes a long time to heal.

2. Recovery Is Not Linear

Recovery seems pretty straight forward, right? Wrong. It is an exhausting and very long and windy road. There will be potholes, bumps, cracks and even mountains along the way. There will be ups and downs and sometimes you will take a few steps back. The important thing to remember is that this is okay. It is perfectly normal to go through all of this on the road to recovery. No one ever recovers on a clear and straight path and if they say they do I refuse to believe it. There are a lot of things to work through because sometimes we need to get to the root of the problem in order to deal with the symptom. 

3. Setbacks Are Inevitable

One thing that I have noticed is that people are really hard on themselves when they have setbacks or when they relapse. We are not perfect human beings. Not one person on this planet can say that they have had an absolutely perfect life because they would have at some point run into some kind of issues or hard times. When someone is recovering from depression there will sometimes be setbacks and that is absolutely okay. Anyone not suffering from depression that knows someone that is should be patient and understanding because it is very hard to stay on the right track. I can tell you this from my own experience. It is NOT easy at all. Depression will always find a way to suck you back in. And it does. And we get back up and keep going. Often there will be a lot of setbacks and we can go right back to sleeping all day every day. Just remember that everyone is trying the best that they possibly can.

4. People Will Change Towards You

This is not a very comforting thing to know or to put out there but it is true. You will have people that will stick by you and you will have people that will leave you. You will most certainly know who really cares about you when you are going through a very bad bout of depression because those who don’t won’t bother to be supportive in the ways that matter. They will give generic responses like “hang in there” or “this too shall pass” as if that ever solved anything. The ones that care about you will keep checking on you. They will keep asking if there is anything they can do for you. They will give you space when you ask for it. They will be there when you need them to be. Some people don’t want to hear about your depression because they feel it affects them negatively. So be it. Let them go about their lives because it is better to not have that kind of person in your life. It will get lonely at some point. I had a very close friend that ended our friendship because she couldn’t handle me not wanting to talk on the phone all the time even knowing I have social anxiety disorder. Me being the person I am offered to compromise and asked her if she would sometimes text and then I would be okay with sometimes talking on the phone. Needless to say she was too selfish to be supportive and to accept that. So, I ended up having no friends and I am okay with that.

5. It’s Okay To Say No

When you are recovering from depression people can put a lot of pressure on you. Why? Because they think it will help you to leave your house or to do this or that. Honestly, other people don’t always know what is best for us. We do. And we do these things when we feel ready to do them, not when we are forced to. It just makes us feel uncomfortable which makes it worse. You do not owe anything to anyone and you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. You are allowed to say no to things you do not want to do or to events you do not want to go to. People are more than welcome to have their opinions about it. Your mental well being is more important than someone elses ego.

6. Medication Isn’t For Everyone

I will never tell anyone to stop taking medication nor will I ever tell anyone that they should not start taking medication. I want to make that very clear right from the start. Medication helps a lot of people with their depression and that is great. But for some people medication is not the answer and it can sometimes make your symptoms worse or even cause a lot of other damage when it should be making you better. I do feel that everyone has a right to choose how they recover and should not be told what they should or should not be doing in order to get better. Medication has never worked for me and has only caused more harm than good. I find that for myself there are alternative therapies that help me and I am happy to stick with that. 

7. Your Perception Of Time Becomes Distorted

When you have depression you view time differently to everyone else. You can go through days and wonder where the time went. Months go by and you wonder how. Years go by and you can’t understand what you have been doing all this time. You can wake up and not know what month it is or which day of the week it is and honestly most of the time you don’t care. It can also feel like time is moving too slowly. It all just becomes one big blur. I actually tried to explain that to someone once that they couldn’t understand it. Surely time moves the same for everyone? ERm no…

8. Sleep Plays A Major Role In Depression

Sleep is very important in the recovery process. I was put on antidepressants that caused a severe sleep disorder. I thought going off the meds would make things go back to normal. I was wrong. The effects were long lasting and I was still struggling with a sleep disorder eight months after stopping the medication. When my sleeping patterns went tits up my depression flared up like it was nobodies business. The worse my insomnia got the worse my depression got and the worse my depression got the worse my insomnia got. It is a never ending cycle. I’m currently taking strong antihistamines at night to help me to sleep. Believe it or not it is the only thing that seems to work for me. I can now sleep at night and have a normal day. Believe me when I tell you that as long as you are not sleeping properly your depression will not get any better.

9. Things Can Change

When you are ready for a change then it can and will happen. When we have depression we can’t see a future for ourselves and it is very hard to even imagine any other kind of life because this is all we know now. The possibility is there and as long as there is hope then anything is possible. I have heard loads of people with depression tell me that there is no way things will change for them. It is so sad to hear someone say this. And I of all people do know how hard it is to continue to have a positive mindset. But, things can change. Believe me they can.

10. I Am Worth More Than I Think

I have realized that I am worth a lot more than I thought was. Depression gives you a very warped sense of reality and your mind plays tricks on you. Your self worth goes out the window because you think that if you have depression there must be a reason and you assume that reason is because you are not worth it. The thing is there comes a time when you know for certain that you are worth it because if you weren’t then you would not exist in the first place. Regardless of what other peoples opinions of you are, you know your own self worth. You do not need a lot of friends or a huge following on social media to prove that to yourself.

 

 

No Post Today!

Hey Everyone! Unfortunately I won’t be posting today as I’ve not slept. I had a terrible night so hopefully tomorrow is a better day 😊😊😊

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