Monthly Archives: September 2016

Happily Divorced

So I am writing this as the news have broken, although I don’t know what will change in the time between writing and publishing this blog.

**STOP THE PRESS ANGELINA AND BRAD TO DIVORCE**

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Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with the timing of this particular couple getting together, we all felt sorry for Jenn Aniston the poor wife tossed to the side when her husband’s eye was drawn by another. How we all felt for her, how we all identified with her, our own fears at being sidelined being realised and played out for all to see. But that always kinda bothered me. Mostly, because… Jenn is a gorgeous, sexy woman. The only difference between the women involved is their individual style. Where Angelina is dark and exudes exotic sexuality, Jenn has the strong lean yoga body with a laid back hippy attitude. Their sexuality is on a par, but very different. So really to suggest that he threw her aside just because something sexier came along? It is insulting to Jenn. 

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Now, I do, to a degree, understand why we are identifying with Jenn. I really do, it makes us feel like we are holding hands with one of our ‘sisters’ holding her close and saying, we understand. But really, all we are doing it pushing our own insecurities on her. We are not in the house, we don’t hear the conversations our own parents have so why would we feel that we have a better understanding of what is going on just because we see someone on screen? Are we really more emotionally invested? 

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But I would suggest that, there will have been more going on than a man, albeit a famous on, just thinking… hey my co worker is smoking hot. I have a boring wife at home, so lets just dump her and get with this. Nope. I really, really doubt that this was something that came out of nowhere. Remember that he was in a relationship with Jenn for a number of years, and had committed to becoming her husband. This wasn’t some casual affair that he dropped like a hot coal for a younger model.

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And could we, for a moment, take a look at this other argument. Angelina is younger than Jenn. Does this mean that she automatically becomes just another casualty of getting older? To be cast away when her husband realises that he is attractive to a younger woman? Again, this is questioning her sexuality, is she less of a woman because of her age? When does it kick in? When you hit 30, 40 ? When do you become less a woman, less desirable? Not a sexual being? Because again, we are harming and not helping the ‘sisterhood’ by consoling ourselves that Jenn has been dumped for a younger woman. We are enabling those excuses. For that is all they are. They are words we use when we don’t try, when we refuse to see that there isn’t a relationship. When one or both partners have checked out emotionally and now physically. When there is no love, no friendship. Nothing to keep you together. By saying, ‘oh he has a young girlfriend’ insults both parties. On the one hand we are saying, well, you get to a certain age and .. well it is obvious he is going to look elsewhere. And the younger woman? Well, obviously she is pretty and sexually available, because she is younger. 

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What this means, is that the woman (Jenn) being dumped is being freed of any guilt, of any cause for the break up. Because the ‘sisterhood’ is telling her, well, you know. Your getting on, your looks are fading, clearly you are no longer sexual so he looked elsewhere. There was nothing you could have done to stop it. Inevitable really. And the younger woman? Well she is an evil succubus that came in and broke up a perfectly good marriage but flashing her firm boobs, and being fresh and new, undiscovered. She is the rebound, it won’t last. He will grow bored of her. Hell he might even come back. Right? 

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NO! As much as it takes two to tango, I am sorry but marriages do not end because of a little indiscretion. Of course they might fracture, but the blame cannot be solely laid at the ‘uninjured’ party. Maybe it wasn’t the outcome anyone saw, or expected. It probably hurt, and sure moving on so quickly. But again, all this served is to cement Jenn’s image as the wronged bride. 

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But honestly, the amount of glee, and hand clapping and ‘won’t Jenn be laughing’ that is happening on my news feed this evening. Nope. Sorry. We don’t know what was going on behind closed doors as either marriage ended, and there are more than likely a lot of stories that will never see the light of day because it is no one’s business. But we should remain respectful of the fact that Brad and Jenn’s marriage ended and they both went on to find happiness. Brad married Angelina and has been with her for a number of years and have 6 children with her. So I really think that we need to get off the Jenn Pity Train and just respect the fact that a family is breaking up and everything that entails. Divorce is not easy on the family unit and money does not make it any easier. 

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A fresh Undead

Oh … right… that doesn’t sound right does it ? Well, I make no secret one most of my social media platforms that I have a deep love for zombies. They are fantastic. Kinda like, Vampires but without the snobbery. And glitter. I love glitter but the genre is far to … ‘glittery’ now. So of course, pretty much everyone has seen The Walking Dead. It is back in October. I am surprised by the timing as if they had left it another week it would be out for Halloween. But then I guess we are working with American Autumn schedules which are a little quirky.

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But believe it or not, this is not about TWD as much as I could talk your ear off about the show. And the show has been very influential. For a still relatively new show, it has spawned a great deal of interest in the genre, with new films, games, tv shows all cropping up. Hey I am not complaining!

The only thing that get to me, is I adore reading, and of course, zombies are a great subject. But TWD have infected (see what I did there) the genre to the extent that I would suggest that whole sections of dialogue were written while the author was watching the show. It isn’t always a bad thing. Some authors has used a degree of imagination in pushing through what the writers of TWD may have ignored, or glossed over. Going into more details of the hows, and whys. There are of course we have a variety of different types of zombies, some fast, some slow. Some remember, some are selective in their dinner – and there was one book that used cats in a really disturbing way.

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I would also hesitantly suggest that it is cultural, most of these authors are American. There is a sense of wanting to look at society, the breakdown thereof, what people must or chose to do to survive. British authors tend to be a little bleaker in this respect and not as hesitant to just kill people off, and do it in rather inventive ways. But there has always been something missing, I don’t always quite grasp the motivation of the character, or care. So, what I am trying to say, is that the Zombie genre is muddy at best as everyone fights to get a piece of TWD action.

So, when a friend suggested I read Tide of Souls by Simon Bestwick, I really was not sure what to expect. You see, zombie novels are comforting to me. I know what to expect, there is almost a formula to the story, drag it out over as many books as you like. I have to be honest, I didn’t read the synopsis, I just dove directly into the book. I figured it would be a tale as old as time, with a new finish.

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And boy was I wrong. I am at the edge of my seat reading this book. I won’t spoil it, I am not finished yet. But it is a rare thing for me to be so effected by a book. The language used is refreshing. It feels, real, there are colloquial terms thrown in and you feel as if you are transported. And don’t get me started on the descriptive narrative. I can still hear the flesh tearing from bone, much like our protagonist still does. The book just won’t let you relax. Often, when reading, I find myself skipping through pages as there seems to be filler. Unnecessary paragraphs thrown in, to help us better understand characters. Or as I cynically assume, to help with the word count. It does little or nothing for the word count, and in a book that falls somewhere between action and horror, you really shouldn’t need filler.

Tide of Souls doesn’t give you this option, there isn’t a simple or easy place to put the book down, stop reading … or … dare I say it… turn off the lights. Although I do suggest taking regular breaks because you may do yourself an injury! Somehow, the characters, as small as their part might seem, are so … real? So well written, that you get a feel for them. You can understand them. Maybe you see reflections of people you know, or can empathise with them. Simon shows a confidence in his writing, that he doesn’t need to spend a page or 5 describing a character’s background, upbringing or failed relationship. He is confident enough that he has used fairly recognisable archetypes in his book, while still maintaining their individual uniqueness. And as much as I want to shout from the roof tops (read the book, you will HATE me) he has also managed to tap into several fears, both real and imagined and weave them into a genre that, honestly I thought was over saturated. It isn’t since I read Girl with all the Gifts (seriously if you haven’t read this, do it … like after Tide of Souls, but do it) have I been so impressed with a genre book.

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Edit: since writing  this blog have finished the book, the pace does not let up, in the third part when you think thinks might settle down, be a little more subdued? Not at all, you are just waiting, you know something is going to happen. There is no breathing room. The idea behind it is pretty stark, it is bleak and sad. It is a very, very sad book. There is really little in the way of bright moments, there isn’t what I would call a happy ending .. this is all so very difficult to write without spoiling the book for you and I really do not want to do that. This book keeps you guessing, wondering, it keeps your adrenaline going. It is bleak, but in a way that takes away any distractions from the story, and the story telling. Please, please – go buy this book!

I thoroughly recommend this book, and author and hope you buy and enjoy his book(s) – please let me know if you have already read his books, or if you go on to read this book – let me know what you thought!

CLICK HERE for handy Amazon link to the book 😉

Game face

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This was posted in a group I belong to a few weeks ago and understandably riled me. Gaming is no different from any other hobby, your beau could be into Poker, Golf, Fishing, he could spend his weekends fixing up cars, or out with his friends. So why act as if gaming is so much more special. I mean the pop culture representation of male gaming isn’t any more flattering than the female. Male gamers are see as fat, reclusive and lacking social skills. Female gamers are seen as barely dressed liars, who bite their console controllers and are doing it for freebies. I mean a quick Google search gives you as much.

What makes gaming so different from other hobbies, why is it so important to want to have a girlfriend who shares your passion? I mean I understand wanting to have things in common, I really do, it is like men wanting to have a girl friend who also enjoys sports. And I imagine that finding someone who likes sports is a damned sight more easy to do than a gamer, because it is a traditionally solitary hobby – oh you might have plenty of people you communicate with in game, and you probably know a fair few outside the game, but getting to know new people?

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Now I have re started this blog numerous times because I end up getting side tracked, so let us try analysing each part of the lovers complaint instead..

Shakespeare said it best ..Thus merely with the garment of a Grace
The naked and concealed fiend he cover’d;
That th’ unexperient gave the tempter place,
Which like a cherubin above them hover’d.
Who, young and simple, would not be so lover’d?
Ay me! I fell; and yet do question make
What I should do again for such a sake.

Point one – girls who game as as rare as hens teeth. Are they? Are they really? I mean I have been playing since childhood, and I am can only imagine that with each new console more girls are exposed to gaming. So why are people still surprised? There are entire industries and gaming franchises aimed explicitly at games for girls. One thing to remember then, is the context. You are not meeting someone in person, you aren’t bumping in to them in a store, at the pub, at work. You are meeting them online. And as we all know, you can be anyone online. So there is a fear of Catfishing. But also a sense of wanting to protect yourself, I mean why would you announce to everyone you meet that you are female? Especially since the expectation seems to be that male players are …

Point 2 …going to find love in the game ? But it is a game, which by its very essence, does not require physical interaction with another human. The point is, that you genuinely be gaming against or in the same group at Deep Blue. Gaming, is like any other hobby in the respect that 99% of people do it for fun, in their free time, to relax, have fun. In this, it is no  different from having an interest in car racing, golf, or putting hours in on a car. The fact is, yes it is great to be able to share interests, gaming with your mate can also just imply laziness. If your girlfriend shares the same interests then you don’t have to go do something she might like. Of course if girl gamers are already off the market or *gasp* lesbians.. I guess the concern is also that you have additional competition? Which leads us to to … 

Point 3 – girls, girl gamers, may not find you attractive. They may not fall at your feet just because you have 4 capped level Alliance toons. They may not appreciate the hours of dedication you have put into your raiding guild, or care about the grinding that went into getting that epic mount. Whoa.. you mean… that girls are allowed to game and NOT FIND YOUR ATTRACTIVE! Holy crap! Isn’t that exactly the same as… oh I don’t know, finding out that the girl you have been talking to over Team Speak isn’t to your taste? Like… you actually have more requirements than capped level healer in X gear score to balance your raiding group? YOU CARE ABOUT HOW SHE LOOKS? Whoa…shocker!

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And the final point – if you game, you cannot meet a girl. Girls, how do you meet people? Oh… right… because outside gaming, as much as you might put the hours in.. you go out and … INTERACT WITH REAL PEOPLE OUT IN THE REAL WORLD. What an utterly shocking and novel idea. Yes, you go to school, you go to work, you go shopping, you go to the cinema, hell don’t you have ANY hobbies outside gaming? If you are that serious about finding a girlfriend, then you would have to invest time and energy before you are at the stage of just logging onto your #battlenet account and raiding. While I agree, it is fun, I just find myself coming back to the fact that wanting a gamer girlfriend has NOTHING to do with shared interests outside pure laziness. You meet a girl, she games, you meet a girl in game, fantastic. You don’t have to actually do that socially awkward dinner and a movie, nope.. in your idea world it will be soda and pizza while she games naked. SIGH. Oh do I sound like a sexually frustrated, male hating feminist (is that code for lesbian or do I tag that also). I am just reaching the point of oversaturation of men complaining about girls gaming, or not and where to find them. My only advice, if you want to have a real relationship, is go out, and invest.

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Heaven Sent

So, in between all my rants, I do like to give a heads up for great companies. We are all about supporting small business in this household! If I can get something locally, or made by an independent business I will do my best!

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Why buy independant? Have I covered this before? Because frankly, you are helping someone’s dream come alive. Without entrepreneurs we wouldn’t have many of the companies we know and love. While I agree that most companies won’t ever be the global behemoths that occasionally are created, it feels nicer to be able to help someone’s dream and vision. And often you get something completely unique. Are we all over the 3 for 2 offers on gifts yet? I know I am!

It is worth being a little opportunistic on social media, Twitter, with which I have a love/hate relationship, is one of the best. If you sign up to feeds that might be interesting to you, you might find a company, person, business being retweeted or referenced. It is a great marketing tool for business, big and small and often free. But that is for another blog! The reason I even mention it, is because a couple of months ago I saw a tweet about a small company and intrigued I had a little look at their website. Well… what can I say?

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Let me introduce you to Heavenly Marshmallows and if you Click Here you will be able to check out their website and all the delicious recipes. Now I will hold up my hands here and admit – I haven’t had the pleasure of trying them. YET. It is on the list.

And I suppose that doing a review of a product that I haven’t actually had a chance to try (yet) but I have to be honest, every single person I have ordered these for have been beyond positive in their reviews. The first order was delivered to my home and I was blown away with the packaging and attention to detail. I have ordered a handful more for people and am so pleased with the level of customer care that I receive each time. This includes offering small touches that makes these stand out.

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I remember getting a message after my second order as the lady behind HM realised that it was being sent to another address and asked if I would like a note included. Simple little things like this. This is a small company that truly offers those small touches that make small companies stand out in a way that larger companies often can’t compete with. But let’s get back to the subject in hand. Marshmallows. Not any marshmallows either, these are marshmallows in such a gorgeous selection of flavours. And I will repeat again, if you missed it. MARSHMALLOWS! Little clouds of heavenly flavours. Again, I am sorry I have no first hand knowledge but have reliable information informing me that they are indeed heaven sent. 

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I really cannot recommend this company more, the price point is fantastic, the variety of flavours will suit every taste. The customer service is incomparable. And the variety of sweet treats available? There are not only marshmallows, although, why would you be looking any further? If you have an event, corporate, personal, need party favours? I would certainly give this company a look out. And the great news is that they also attend local market days, so it is worth checking facebook or twitter to see where they will pop up next and you might even snag yourself a freebie to try before you buy (one of each flavour). 

As well as the website linked in the body of the text, you can find Heavenly Marshmallows here: 

Twitter

Facebook

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Jumping Blind

Backstory, always with the back story! As ways there is a reason for this, I have many times countered the comments and suggestion that being ‘two-faced’ is a bad thing. It isn’t, it keeps you sane. When I am at work, no matter which job, I am going to have a positive outlook at attitude. When I am at home, that is where I allow the shadows to creep up on me. So it might look to an outsider that I have my shit together, that I am always happy. That I might swear a little but it is all good, vent and done.

As I previously discussed, things had gotten pretty bad last year, to a point I really was struggling. And it was my main job that was a big cause of all of this. I have held off putting this down as I needed some distance and I needed time. It wasn’t the job as such, you see, I worked for the NHS for several years, 4 jobs over 2 trusts. And I don’t know that it would be fair to put the blame entirely at the feet of the NHS. There are many contributing factors at play. for example, it was my first proper job when I first moved here. I have no big support network, no close friends. I struggled when I first moved here with people I met, I just wanted to have friends. And most of my life, I have had male friends so the idea of female friends, and the social interaction was new to me. There were losses, and they have been hard no matter how I might suggest otherwise if asked. I was at my wits end when I left my first job and started my next. I was within the same trust, and there were teething problems, like my former manager signing me off from the trust. A slight oversight which I found (find) implausible as I had asked her to drop off my Occupational Health forms. And that meant I didn’t get paid my first months wages. (In my first job for the NHS I didn’t get paid for 3 months). The job wasn’t what I expected, and I have to be honest, it wasn’t made any easier by the environment.

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During this time, if you have caught my other blogs, you will know that I injured myself. I will just side bar a moment. One thing that my first job for the NHS did, was give me the opportunity to dance, I went Salsa dancing and Belly dancing – both of which I really enjoyed and it helped me lose weight. I was going to the gym, I lost weight, I was happy – exercise makes you happy! It does, dancing especially so. But I also managed to in injure both feet (separately) which has meant that dancing isn’t the best idea. Of course this has had a knock on effect, finding that people I would spend a lot of time drifting out of my life, not going out as much.. I won’t go on, you get the picture. But this is why blaming just my employer, job, place of work, isn’t justified.

Now back onto the job situation, I, as I am sure many, find looking for a new job difficult, when you can’t get out of work easily, and in my case don’t drive. This causes additional problems in time management. So when I found another job within the same hospital albeit another trust, I jumped at the chance. I have to be honest, shortest time in a job for a long time, I started just over a year ago, and was role switched at Christmas. I was bits by December, tears were shed at home, at work. It wasn’t pretty. So I started 2016 in a new role, new department, smaller. I thought it would be better, that it would be more comfortable. Small enough that you get to know everyone, not so small you spend your days dodging bullets. But no, it was a nasty place, in so many little ways that it took a long time to fully understand.

A signpost directing work life balance

BUT! STOP THE PRESS!

I DID THE THING! 

I left my job (the main, day job, paying one) and honestly… as terrifying as it was… it is done and as it was a couple of months ago, I can’t begin to properly explain what a difference it is. It is a massive adjustment and of course, money is tight. I was always wary when people would say, if you don’t like something, just change it. I always laughed it off as something that people with money could say. That giving up your job, when you have responsibilities is not something you should just do. That part of being an adult is dealing with things head on and not just running away. But I can say, a couple of months later, that it was the best decision that I have made. I took ownership at a time when I felt I was drowning. You see, we all work to live, that is a simple statement of fact. But we shouldn’t live to work. The moment that you realise that you are just your job, and nothing else, that you become a shadow of your former self, that your mental and or physical health is effected? That is when you need to take a moment to evaluate. 

I don’t want to be one of those people, who have a cushion to fall back on, and gasp at how easy taking a career break it, or finding a new direction. It isn’t. It isn’t easy and if you are starting over you may end up starting at the bottom again. You may have less money. You may need to rethink what you can afford. But really, your health genuinely is more important. You may even find that you aren’t needing to spend money on things to help you feel better. And having spoken to a couple of people, this is not isolated, and my leaping into oblivion is not all that unusual as much as I might have been met with shocked glances on giving my notice in at work. It is important to take a step back occasionally to evaluate where you are, what you are doing and if you are happy. And if needed, make a change. Remember, it is your life, and you need to make sure that within reason, you are able to be happy in it.

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Nice guys finish last

Do they? Do they really?

Is it really just the arseholes, dickheads, ‘bad boys’ that win at life? Are you actually going to suggest that you have to be a dick (or have one) to get anywhere in life? Nope, of course not, that would be silly.

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But then, then we come accross THE FRIEND ZONE which is something I have already discussed in Friend Zoning… – so just to be clear here. I HATE THE IDEA OF THE FRIEND ZONE. I know, I should probably have started this off with an ‘angry feminist’ alert. But the fact is, for whatever reason, it refuses to die. Why, why won’t it die.

Guys, do you actually have any idea how insulting it is to a woman that you are only interested in her for sex? Y’know we actually have value outside the bedroom? I mean, genuinely, we can make valuable contribution to society, we like being active, we enjo sports, cars, we can be interested in geeky stuff, we can have an interest in gaming be it tabletop or computer, we like walking, being outdoors, we enjoy movies, and they don’t always have to be a romcom, we are interested in current events, politics, are engaging and willing to be there, as friends, as interesting and diverse and any other of your friends.

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NO! I MEAN IT! A lack of penis does not exclude them from being a valued part of your social group. I am sorry, I am sure that you already realise this, speaking to your own relatives, co workers, various females that you come accross in your daily life. So why do you forget this when you start building a relationship with women. Is it really difficult to understand that women, also like companionship without any strings?

Now, I am going to be super controversial (so unlike me, I hear you say) and suggest that in my personal experience, a lot of men complaining about being a ‘nice guy’ are generally punching above their weight limit. I have lost count of men telling me how women don’t respect them, or are just using them. That they never get the girl, said girl only likes ‘insert stereotype’. So what if she does? Aren’t you also chasing a type?? Aren’t you only speaking to her because you want something?

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We all have a certain type, we all have fantasies, we all picture our perfect partner, we like long hair, short hair, straight hair, curly hair, light skin, dark skin, toned bodies, curvy bodies, we will petitte, we like tall, funny, quiet, loud, extrovert, gamers, athletes…. I won’t go on. What I am trying to say is that we all have things that we find attractive. Not just in a potential mate, but in anyone we build a relationship. I have picked outward and easily identifiable traits for my list. Because it is what we notice. It is what we base our social interactions on. But you know what, sometimes, you end up with someone who looks completely different from what you were expecting. Unlike the Hollywood ideal where the blinkers to a partner’s suitability fall off only when you see them in a LBD or a suit… it isn’t like that in real life. It is up to you, Mister ‘Nice Guy’ to be honest with people as to why you start an interaction with them. are you only pursuing them because you find them attractive and want to date them.

And I want to address the ‘gift giving’ in relationships, platonic or otherwise. Women, give gifts. They see something you said you needed/wanted, or that you might like? Or an early birthday present. They don’t give it a second thought and it is not done with an agenda. So sorry, if you are offering to pay for the movie tickets, or bought a present, she may genuinely not think it anything more than a natural transaction in a friendship.If you are only investing in order to get laid, be honest… or actually just hire a prostitute. Because financial transactions are always best done with some transparency. 

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Edit : Since writing this – or at least starting to write this, there was a post released and went viral regarding a ‘gentleman’ listing reasons why he wouldn’t date a feminist. I posted it to my page with the following comment :

More women are reporting they are unhappy. OMG FUCKING Feminists! How dare women realise that they don’t need to be in a situation that makes them unhappy. THE UTTER BASTARDS! Guess I am exactly the type this idiot is talking about because fuck me it has pissed me off. Hating men?! Sorry hating men due to experiences is exactly that, it doesn’t make you a feminist? It is not a precursor or an entry fee. You don’t have to be raped first by a privileged white athlete while at college to join the club. But according to this idiot, sexual assaults at college? Nah, just art part of the feminist agenda!

When he talks about feminists widening the gap, he really misses the point. We, feminists, women, men, activists, talking heads, random strangers sharing and shouting in social media platforms? We do this to stop the widening .. to move forward, closer, together. We highlight the ills, the wrongs, we highlight the problems, we should about them because we want to change things we want equality we want to make sure things aren’t ignored, brushed away, that we stop treating people in a certain way, that we have that conversation that normalises.

Let us be clear. We don’t hate people based on genitalia, their sex and we cannot afford to burn our bras (at least until the pay gap is closed..)

So there has been some backlash on this gentleman and the unfortunate supporting photo. I wanted to avoid hitting below the belt but frankly, it does feel as if this is merely a backlash from someone who got turned down, again. But to me, this just feels like the next excuse in a long line of excuses that men will use as reasons that they aren’t dating. And I won’t go on anymore. This is infuriating for me. Guys, if you are only looking for someone to ‘date’ and therefore, I am guessing, have sex with, possibly marry, you need to be honest. You need to be open about these things. I know it is difficult and you don’t do subtle. But if you are only pursuing a women for sex it isn’t fair to either of you to not be honest. It is hurtful for both parties, and wastes a lot of time. I guess for this reason, online dating maybe a good thing. At least you can be honest without actually having to look someone in the face. And to reiterate – women are fantastic buddies, not just fuck buddies! 

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Detri – mental health ?

So I have previously discussed my mental health on my blog, it is not something I talk about openly. I mostly use my social media platforms for photoshare, promotion, pictures of cats… it is almost as if, to a degree I have compartmentalised them all… which is something I have discussed previously. My habit (ability?) to compartmentalise. I am not sure if this is a skill that was learnt through necessity, or just something I have done naturally. Visible mental health is the post I have previously discussed my personal mental health. I guess you might be wondering why I put it in a blog and not anywhere else. Well, yes, I could mention it on facebook, but you see, facebook is a community, although I know many of the people on my friends list and call them friends… facebook has this ability to break down barriers. I may never meet many of these people. Others I know only socially, or through work. Some are networking, so you see, many people on my friends list won’t care. Or I should say, I would be unduly burdening them. And I compartmentalise! I can show whichever side I chose on there, on twitter I can vent, on IG I can share selfies.

Now all of that took a lot longer than I intended. I am so sorry, and thank you if you have managed to stick with me thus far! So what I wanted to say is that, mental health, can actually cause physical symptoms, I am sure that you have come accross this before? But it isn’t simply ‘my brain is hurt, so my body follows suit’. It is more complicated, but again not really.

I have high blood sugar, I have done for many years, and generally speaking I manage it well. It is one of those things that, well you can’t see it? It doesn’t really effect me in a way that makes anyone notice. But it is there and has some serious side effects as well. And of course, the longer I manage it well, the more complacent I can become. Like I said, I have had it for years. It comes down to diet, and I will freely admit mine is pretty bad. But I manage it and take queues from my body as to what it is and isn’t happy processing.

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A few years ago, while working in my first NHS job, I developed mild ME – this had for me, similar symptoms to the blood sugar issue when it was first diagnosed. I was always tired, but no matter how I slept, even if I felt I slept well. I would have severe lethargy, I would fall asleep at a moments notice – including trying to do floorwork/yoga, there were more symptoms but generally speaking it left me incredibly frustrated. More recently, in the last couple of years, I had a couple of episodes of stomach flu. Which for someone who doesn’t drink because her aversion to throwing up is so strong, is … challenging. And this escalated in this last year to pain in my lower back/kidneys, keeping me away, also throwing up and all that you would find involved with this. I won’t go into it, but it involved seeing a practise nurse, a misdiagnosis (I will stop and say, giving a  good medical history is KEY to a diagnosis. So when a medical professional refuses to listen. Stop. Stop everything and demand that they listen.) and resulted in the conclusion that my kidneys were not happy.

Now, often when you already feel that you are drowning, a little reflection and introspection is the last thing you will do, or think of doing. To keep going, I would treat myself, I would have that cocktail, that ice cream, I would use sugary drinks to keep me going (I can’t tolerate caffeine) during the day. I never sleep especially well and when your job is already taking a lot of energy you need that little boost. Picking up take away on the way home because it is quicker, rewarding yourself on Friday night because you managed to make it to the end of the week, eating snacks, biscuits, sweets that are lying around at work, that patient’s bought it, eating the cake from a birthday/leaving celebration. So frequently during the day, you forget to take a break because you aren’t hungry, and by the time you are hungry, you pick up another biscuit. Or when you are working overtime with such frequency, that you manage to make it home 2 hours after dinner. You end up picking up something entirely inappropriate and have another sugary drink, because it doesn’t matter how close it is to bedtime, you have only just got in and dammit if you aren’t going to enjoy your evening.

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And that, that is the problem – my physical health was being made worse by symptoms of my mental health. It is not a simple thing to separate these two things. When people say, hey go to the gym, it will make you feel better. Or stop eating all those cakes, you will feel better, or pick up a hobby, it will make you feel better…. yes, I entirely agree that it will make you feel better. You will feel great, eventually. But the problem is, again that the physical and the mental health symptoms are inherently intertwined and you can’t just tackle one. You need to look at both. You need to understand how one is effecting the other. And yes, while you are drowning it is extremely difficult to be able to do this. So I just want to say, you need to find someone to help work you through it. Speak to your GP surgery to see if there are GP specialists that would be more suited to your situation (most GPs do have a speciality) and see if you can book a double appointment with them. There are resources out there, but they aren’t always immediately accessible or clear. And you have to remember that most of the time you will be talking to people who are not medically trained or specialists. 

But please understand that while it might seem that you are being weighed down by so many little things, that it feels as if it is insurmountable, that you can’t see the stars… things are often linked. In most aspects of life, there is be a common cause, a thread that once you can untangle will help make sense of things. The best thing to do is keep a diary – if you noticed something is different, write it down. It might be that when you are called on to explain, it won’t be easily recalled. But keeping notes will help you figure out patterns of behaviour or when symptoms are worse. I am only using personal experience to try and help others. I understand that everyone has different experiences but one thing that is important, we need to break down the stigma, we need to talk. 

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