Anxiety, Acne, and Roaccutane! – Week 5

I know I said I would update after day 30, but, once I’d had my check up appointment with my dermatologist, they decided to up my dose from 20mg to 30mg. With this being done, I thought it best to hang off and see if there were any changes in the side effects, before I posted again.

Around week 3 I started to have more spots surface. I have some cystic ones around my jaw, that are quite small, not as sore as normal, but still a hard, red lump under the skin. I have then gotten quite a few whiteheads around my chin/lips & cheek bones. Having these surface was a little annoying, especially with how quickly my other spots had started to dry up within week 1/2. I had read online that you can get an initial break out, like your skin is fighting back, so I just attribute it to that.

When I entered my dermatologists office, the first thing he said was how great he thought my skin looked. Despite me having new spots, my skin is not nearly as red and aggravated. My complexion is a nice natural skin tone, just with some spots and hyperpigmentation, so this is really positive. I also have a lot of really dry patches all over my face and my body. I do have exceptionally dry skin, and I’m prone to patches of eczema (especially on my hands). My eczema can flare up with a change in products, hormones, stress etc, so it was no surprise it would be aggravated with Roaccutane, I was prepared for this.

I have been given some medicated gentle skin wash, as well as moisturiser & a steroid cream for my eczema. I find that this is really helping. I am also using Aveeno on my face, and this is an absolute godsend. This cream is just amazing, and it really calms my skin. It is a little bit pricey in comparison to other creams, but I highly recommend it. It’s suitable to use all over your body, it’s non-greasy, absorbs quickly, provides a barrier for your skin, and it really helps sooth my eczema.

When my dermatologist suggested I got up to 30mg, I had absolutely no concerns. Not even a single negative thought. I figure that if anything sinister was going to happen, it would have by now. I have been on the 30mg for just over a week, and the only thing I would say is my lips look awful. They are permanently dry, splitting and cracking. I lather lip balm on them, ones I’ve made myself  (beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter & orange essence), so I know they’re natural and nourishing, so I would hate to think how they would look if I wasn’t. I’m making a point of drinking as much water as I can, so as to keep myself hydrated, in the hopes this too will help my skin from being too dry.

The pores on my nose were starting to look really bad. Almost like they were opening up further? I made the mistake of exfoliating (against the advice of my dermatologist and every single site/forum for roaccutane) and I pretty much took the entire top layer of skin off my nose. This looked terrible. Although, my pores are actually looking better, but I still do not recommend  you do this at all. Thankfully, putting aveeno on my nose has helped it heal quickly, and it reduced the redness within 2 days.

With regards to my anxiety/depression, this has definitely not made it any worse. This was one of the biggest concerns for me (right up there with dying), and I’m happy to say, it’s not impacted my moods whatsoever. I’m just as moody/sad/anxious as I was before I started. All in all I’m very happy with the progress I’m making, despite my breakout. I understand that it will take time, and in the end I could potentially be spot free, making this 100% worth it.

The only thing I’m really not too happy about, is the fact I cannot have a glass of wine on a Friday night. I’m missing my Wineday 🙁 My Dermatologist has said, that with going to 30mg I could be off Roaccutane in 5 months, but, in 2 months if all is still going well, we will increase me to 40mg, so I may even get off these sooner. I could very well be sitting with a glass of wine in hand before the end of the summer months, all whilst being spot free. Now that is definitely a positive.

If you are reading this because you’re considering Roaccutane, I do hope that it’s helped. I will be sure and update again in the coming weeks. No news is good news in this instance, so if I don’t update again before my next appointment, all is going well.

What the actual f*ck is wrong with me?

Yesterday should have been a good day. One where I was happy, content, and proud of my efforts. Yet I managed to make myself feel the complete opposite.

Studying for an exam is always a bit meh. Finding time and peace to study is probably the hardest bit for me. Then there is the fact I’m a very visual and hands on kind of person. I honestly cannot just sit and read literature to take stuff in. I will read a paragraph and get to the end thinking “what the fuck did I even just read?”, then have to read it again and again. If I cannot envision something in my minds eye, I struggle to appreciate the concept, does that make sense?

Well, given all of this, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to not read the official books, and just watch training videos. I watched two sets of training videos over 8 weeks. I got to the day before my exam before I went back over the exam topics. I took each heading, googled it, and read the relating Cisco article/wiki page. It was at this point I realised that I didn’t know a lot of what I needed to know. There were nitty gritty bits I’d not even heard of, solutions that weren’t even touched on. Queue panic! I was awake until 11:30, trying to take in the information on these sites. It just wasn’t going in, mainly because I was reading tired, and in a bit of a panicked state.

I have then woken up at 3:30am, and convinced myself I have to study again. At first I tried some you tube videos, this was in vane. I then read back over my notes, just in case I had covered these things and just wasn’t remembering. Nope. No notes on them. I started to google things again, and go over the topics. Still feeling like I wasn’t taking anything in.

When I got to the test centre, I was so tired, but at the same time completely wired with nerves. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t even do my signature. As the test started, I had convinced myself I was going to fail. I hadn’t studied properly, I didn’t know everything I needed to know etc. First question came up on the screen and it was such an easy one. One I could have answered just from doing my day to day job. The rest of the questions felt much the same. None of them appeared to be on these topics I tried to panic study. I then got a question about a particular product, and only because of my panic studying, I was able to make an educated guess based on the multiple choice answers of what it must be. Then there were a few more questions like that.

When the test finished, I had passed with 93%. I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy. My shaking got worse but this was happy, excited shaking. I started to well up as I got back to the car. All that stressing and studying had paid off. Or had it?

I had about an hours drive to get back to work. I started to think about the exam. My last minute cramming. The fact there were a lot of questions where educated guesses were made. I started to dwell on these questions and realise that without the multiple choice, I wouldn’t have known the answer. So did I deserve to pass? No. That was my conclusion. My being totally elated with passing, was short lived. The whole way back, I beat myself up for being a charlatan. I’d felt like I’d cheated. Like I didn’t deserve the pass.

What did I do next? Yup, you guessed it. I Debbie Downered the shit out of it. With every congratulations I got, especially with my high score, I felt the need to explain that I didn’t feel it was deserved. I also felt the need to reiterate that I got lucky with the questions, had it been another set of questions it may be a different story all together. This really got me down. The more I thought, and explained it, the worse and worse I felt.

Someone told me to be happy with the result, and explained that I’m a high stress person, who’s too self critical and that can “stress out the most laid back of people”. Ummm, thanks? Naturally this has been dwelling on my mind and now I’m worried that my disdain for myself is pissing others off. Very good. I have had people accuse me of using online cheating material, in a banterous way, but still, as you can imagine that has sent the panic flying; “what if they think I have cheated?!? I have made educated guesses on a lot of the questions, I don’t actually know what I’m talking about without the help of multiple choice. I don’t fully understand”. I had torn myself into pieces, and left myself feeling really shit about the whole thing. My boss joked that I could go back and resit it again if I really wanted, and a part of me thought I should. I actually took that into serious consideration.

After a couple of hours I had well and truly convinced myself that I just didn’t deserve the pass, or people’s congratulations. This was until I spoke to my friends. The ones who help me see the rational side of things. I had one tell me, that a pass is a pass, I did it on my own and it was deserved. Then another quite rightly pointed out that exams are just to show that you understand the concepts, that you are yet to implement, like a driving test. You can demonstrate that you can manoeuvre the car safely, but you don’t actually learn how to drive and be confident with it, until you’ve been out driving on your own for a while. I see their point, and my colleagues points too, but I still don’t feel happy like I think I should. I don’t feel like I deserve it.

In my counselling sessions, it has been touched on that there is a definite pattern of me not allowing myself to be happy. I have to put myself down. That is exactly what I’ve done. Why?!? Why must I do this! I have been studying so much in the last few weeks that I’ve barely seen my kids. I’ve been so moody, stressed and highly strung about the whole thing. I have passed with 93%!! And yes, with educated guesses, but for fuck sake, I did it! Me! Last minute cramming or not, I did it. I also know the topics I’m not 100% on, and I can now work on those.

Despite me knowing that I should allow myself to be happy, I just can’t. I am now also worried about how others in my work perceive me! Do they think I’m a charlatan? Does my being a Debbie Downer piss them off? Do I just piss them off? Do they even like me at all? Oh my god, just stop!! Like seriously! I need this shit to stop! I’m driving myself to distraction!

One of my best friends popped over last night and I was able to chat with them. It was great to get it all out and have them understand and help me see sense. I do fully appreciate how I’m being, but it’s hard to break a habit of a lifetime.

Positives here? Well, I’m now recognising the negative patterns and seeing that I need to break the cycle. How I do that I’m not too sure yet, but I have my appointment on Tuesday, where I will discus this with them. They have said that they’re going to help me retrain my thoughts, so I can have a more positive view of myself.

Now to get up, and try to enjoy my weekend and realise that I’m a good person, who works bloody hard and deserves my pass and to be happy! Easier said than done right? But, I’m at least going to try.

Second Appointment

Today was my second assessment, as my doctor from last week wanted to discuss my past further. For those of you who have read my previous blogs, you’ll know why this wasn’t easy.

Unlike last week I tried not to dwell on the appointment. I knew now, that I was going to be asked a series of probing questions, and that trying to prepare for them was futile. Around 2:30am my husband woke up to leave for work, and I woke up with him. From then, I pretty much lay awake, unable to get back to sleep. I tried listening to Spotify’s sleep playlist, and whilst I found it very relaxing, it didn’t help.

My mind was racing, but not about my appointment, just about a series of other things going on in my life right now. My exam, work, my feeling inferior at work, going over conversations with colleagues and scrutinising them. I was driving myself around the bend, just laying there, listening to melodic piano music, whilst my thoughts went out of control, and before I knew it, my alarm was going off.

By the time I got to work, I was like a complete zombie. This made me feel quite anxious, as it can often feel similar to depersonalisation. Like I’m walking around in a hazy dream. It’s a horrible feeling. I worry that I’m losing control, and one day, I won’t snap out of it. Have you seen the move “Get Out”? If not, brilliant film! There is a scene whereby the main character is hypnotised and gets lost inside his own head. I relate to that scene on so many levels. I am so scared of getting lost inside my own head. It’s such a dark and cold place, one that I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy.

Fake smiles, laughter, menial conversations and work, is how I got through my morning. Anything to distract myself from how tired, and anxious I was feeling. What I really wanted to do was run home and curl up in bed and forget about everything. No work. No worries. No menial conversations. No having to paint a socially acceptable face on. Just to crawl into my nice, warm, non-judgemental, bed that expects nothing of me.

On my drive to my appointment, I put one of my metal playlists on. Cranked my music up as high as I could stand, so as to drown out the thoughts. I just needed peace until I got there. I find that loud music is about the only thing that stops it. It’s so loud, that the bass is literally vibrating through my teeth. The sensory overload helps to dull the madness.

My knees were barely bent, when my name was called. I still felt very disorientated at this point, but no longer as anxious. When I sat down on the couch, I was given a quick recap of what we had discussed last week and what they wanted to discuss with me this week. I was first asked to talk about my childhood. What was my childhood like? What are my parents like? Am I close with them? Do I have siblings? Am I close with them? If I could describe my childhood with one word…? Given the previous questions, she didn’t seem shocked when my one word for my childhood was “shit”.

We literally went from where I was born, until I met my husband. We spoke of my shit childhood, my not being academic at school, being bullied, abusive relationship, drinking, drugs, and finally when I turned my life around. It was going through all of this, answering her probing questions that a pattern of self loathing has emerged. This isn’t a new thing. I’ve never had anything nice to say about myself. I’ve always thought I was ugly, stupid, not good enough etc. This has been with me since I was a little girl, and the behaviour is so deeply ingrained.

It was another very emotional meeting. I was quite shocked that I’d cried, because a lot of what we spoke about isn’t exactly deep dark secrets, and is pretty much common knowledge for the most part. I think it was the way in which they ask the question, it makes you think about your answer and actually take the time to realise what you’re saying. To realise that my childhood was NOT ok! My abusive relationship was NOT ok! My sister (only 10 years my senior) raising me, was NOT ok. Not having parents who gave a fuck about me more than money and alcohol, was NOT ok! To tell myself consistently that I’m ugly & useless is NOT ok.

We discussed what we thought would be the biggest issue I have; is it my anxiety or my depression? It was agreed that I’m depressed because of my anxiety. It makes me miserable with all the negative feelings it causes me. It has been suggested that I no longer go for the 20 sessions, but rather go for 12 sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). They believe they can help me and give me exercises/homework to help me retrain my thoughts.

I’ve been left feeling quite sad after today’s appointment. It’s got me thinking about things, I haven’t thought about for years. This makes me both sad and angry. With my husband being away from home, this also means that I’m just sat here alone, playing the worlds smallest violin. Never a good thing!

I have chosen to write this blog now, as I knew that writing it all down would help. I’m certainly not feeling as bad as when I started. Now I think it’s time to try and switch off. I’m about to put a mindless TV show on, and hopefully just lose myself for an hour. No thinking, studying, or playing the violin.

The positives for me here, are that I’m making progress. That is my assessment done, and now I just need to wait for next weeks appointment when my CBT begins. Just think, in 12 weeks time, I could be starting to feel better? I could maybe have some positive feelings toward myself and my life? This is more than positive, that would be amazing.

I will be sure and update again next week, and hopefully will be able to share some techniques I’ve been given to work on.

First appointment – all over the place

When I woke up, I was in relatively good spirits. This was until I realised that I couldn’t have my morning ritual of a nice latte, thanks to getting bloods taken. It may seem menial to those of you reading, but my coffee is literally my only vice. It is also something that I like to enjoy in peace and quiet, sitting in the dark, in the kitchen, looking out the window, just relaxing. I’m fully aware of how that sounds, just putting that out there. It’s not as sad as it sounds. It’s the one time of the day I don’t have to moan, repeat myself, shout, argue, or be angry. It is a sacred time.

Given there would be no chilling out with my latte today, I just proceeded to get ready. As I stood in the shower, thinking about the conversation my husband I had just had, about growing up and all our old friends from when we were really young, you know, back when life was totally innocent? I was reminded that today is my old friend, Kelly’s, birthday. Kelly passed away 4 years ago. In the end we weren’t even all that close, however, she was one of my best friends during my darkest times. Since having my kids, we drifted further apart, only speaking on special occasions, or when she was wasted and emotional. In later years, I stopped answering the phone to Kelly as often, and I wouldn’t even feel guilty. I saw it as; I had moved on, she hadn’t, and I didn’t need that in my life! Not when I’d worked so hard to move on.

The day of Kelly’s funeral was a surreal day. I think because I’d not been close with her in the end, so it all didn’t feel real. When I arrived at the crematorium, other than my husband and an old mutual friend, I knew no-one. I looked around at this sea of strangers. A rather haunting, dubious looking bunch. All unsavoury, and I’m not even convinced they weren’t completely off their tits. In middle of this sea of strangers, was her Mum, Grace, who was completely unrecognisable. Aged terrible, and clearly off her face. When Grace saw me and came in for a big hug, telling me how much she’d missed me being around. All I could think was “Please get off me!”, how bad is that?  I didn’t even cry at the funeral. I just sat, scrutinising the song choice. Not a single song was something Kelly would have liked. We then ended up in the most horrific pub, where I had to sit on the edge of the seat because of the grime, there was no fizz in my drink and the glass was dirty. I sat in this pub, just looking around at this scaly bunch and all I could think was “This was very nearly my life”. Needless to say, we didn’t hang around and we were promptly out of there.

I spent the next few days thinking about Kelly, our fun times, our not so fun times, how differently our lives ended up being. Then the thoughts of “Could I have helped her?”, “Should I have tried to influence her more?”, “If I didn’t shut her out, and she had someone more stable to rely on, would she have ended up like this?” Again with the blaming myself. I drove to the crematorium gardens a few weeks after her funeral, and just sat in the garden, and it was at this point it hit me. I cried. I felt really bad for all the times I’d ignored my phone, for not being more constant in her life, for not trying to help her, for not being the friend she clearly needed, for being so incredibly selfish with my own needs, and that I left her behind.

When I was a teenager my Mum would throw my out on a whim. Seriously! Granted I wasn’t a nice kid. If I was my Mum, I’d have likely worn me like a shoe, but the fact is, she didn’t have that approach. My Mum didn’t parent, she just pushed problems away. Resulting in my being homeless, a lot! During these times, my friend was really there for me, making sure I had somewhere to go and that I wasn’t alone. Now, this was also what helped make me worse, don’t get me wrong. It pulled me deeper into a darker lifestyle, and was the root to all my addictions. Without my friend though, I honestly don’t know where I would have been, or how I would have coped.

Every year on her birthday, I get sad. I think of the age she would have been, had someone cared enough to help her. Had someone encouraged her to be more, and to want more from life? It also leads me to think of all the scenarios for my life. All the dark turns it could have taken. Would I have been dead by now? Quite possibly. It’s a dark train of thought to be caught in, and really, it needs to stop. Much like all my other dark thoughts.

By the time I got out of the shower today, I was feeling a bit meh. Although, I knew I had my meeting today, and this was something to be looking forward to, right? I would love to say I was keen, but I was nervous. The thought of having to tell a complete stranger what is going on with me, why do I feel I need to be there. How do you even begin to articulate something short and concise. Can you just blurt out “Because I’m a crazy, scatty bitch that needs to be happy”?

Once in work, I just couldn’t focus. I didn’t care to focus. My mind was on ways to tell this stranger what is going on. When it was time to leave for my appointment, I was so sure I knew how I was going to explain it all. Do you think that went to plan? Hells no. As I sat in the waiting room, on my own, I just scanned around looking anywhere, but the receptionist. The room was almost bare, bar a rack of leaflets for a series of mental health issues. I started to read the titles: Insomnia? Anxiety Disorder? Depression? Anger management?, do I just pick them all up? Fill my pockets for some reading material? I was ticking all of the boxes for these.

My name was called, and my palms started to sweat profusely. My mouth instantly dried up. I’d forgotten all of the words I’d thought up to say. The woman who came to get me, was a petite woman, softly spoken, and very pretty. Straight away I’m thinking she’s probably judging me for my unkempt appearance (jeans, boots, jumper, barely brushed hair, spots out). I’d say she was probably the same age as me, if not a little bit older. This leads me to start thinking that my telling her about my life, she’ll judge me for not having my shit together. All of this is before we’re half way up the corridor. I’m trying to fix my hair by running my fingers through it, and making attempts to catch a reflection in some glass panels on doors we’re walking past. All to no avail, we were walking too fast!

This first appointment was just an assessment. It was a lot of questions about my mood of late, when did I notice my moods changing, rating my happiness/agitation/anxiety etc. Given it was an assessment, I didn’t expect to cry. I did though. Quite a bit. I felt very vulnerable, telling a stranger my insecurities and how sad I’m feeling. Things I’d only been able to admit to my husband, and myself, only the day before. We spoke about my history with mental health, my attempted suicide, how I feel as a parent, my anxiety issues, health anxiety, the time I nearly died (the root of my health anxiety), it was just all over the place. So much to cover, and not enough time. I didn’t feel I explained myself well, although the therapist seemed happy with me, and confident they can help.

This doctor just sat opposite me, smiling when I was talking, making encouraging comments, trying to keep the flow on topic. The whole time my mind is racing as I’m talking, trying to think up the next thing to say.  This caused the conversation to ping pong around. Bouncing between present day, a couple of years ago, and then all the way back to the beginning. I was trying to let her understand where it comes from, or how it could be linked, or where my OCD’s come from. How on earth do you fit that into an 1 hour appointment? I was so nervous with every question asked. Like it was an exam and I could get them wrong. Or that I wasn’t getting what she was trying to get at. I’m shaking my head at myself as I write this, because I know how bonkers it sounds. I figure that her smiling the whole time, and being really encouraging is a good thing though.

I was feeling a bit down after my appointment. I think because it was just a little emotional talking about everything, and because of me thinking about Kelly. I am feeling a bit better now though, as I have my appointment for next week sorted, and I know that in 20 weeks time, I should feel better. That is all I want. I was asked at the end what I wanted from them. If they could wave a magic wand to help me, what would I want? My simple answer was “To be happy, less angry, and more confident”. If they can give me the tools I need to have these, I’d be eternally grateful.

Positives? Well, my first appointment/step is out of the way. I’ve started my journey on figuring out what my issues really are, where they stem from, and how I can work on living with them better, or even, being free of them altogether. I have been enrolled in a 20 week session, and I’ve been offered a group confidence thing, although I think I’ll swerve that. I’m all for having confidence, it is something I lack completely, but I’m not one for group sessions. I just envision some hippy bullshit. Yes, I know, that it incredibly pessimistic and it’s probably nothing like that. I’ll still be swerving it though. Who knows, I may be more open to it in the future.


Imma eat some worms

Not too sure about you, but I constantly think the world hates me. That everyone I talk to is fed up of me, that they just appease me because they’re too nice to tell me to do one. I genuinely do not believe that the people I interact with in a day (close friends aside), actually want anything to do with me. I leave every single conversation, scrutinising everything.

What is the deal? Why? Why must I do this to myself? Why must I care? O.o I’m cool with people not liking me, I get I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I think what gets me is they might be being nice to my face, but then not nice behind my back, or even just thinking to themselves that they want me to just f*ck off, but are too nice to say so.

As someone who is acutely self-aware, I pick holes in everything I do. It’s actually one of my obsessions. Myself. I am my own obsession. Not even in a good way. You know, not like I sit here thinking I’m da bomb, and marvel at how awesome I am. Instead, I sit and magnify all the negatives about myself. About how I look. How I sound (this is a new one, my voice, I now hate it), how I am as a person, my morals, how I live my life, am I a nice enough person?  I scrutinise it all, and I worry that if I see all these things, and it irritates me, how must I come across to others? What must they think when they see me? Do I repulse them, how I repulse myself? What about my acne? Do they think I’m not clean? It’s exhausting.

So what do I do? That’s right, I talk about myself, and all of my flaws, and short comings, quite publicly….a lot! Why? I think it’s because I want the world to know, I’m aware! I know I’m not good looking, I have skin issues, I’m fat, I’m not that clever, I know all the bad things about myself. More than anyone will ever appreciate, and I think I need the world to know, I know, so they don’t judge me and think I don’t.

Even writing that out, it sounds totally mental, but this is how I am. The very second I fuck up, I’m vocalising it to people. Otherwise I will worry someone will notice it and be all “Oh look, she fucked up again”, so I want to pip them all the post. How self-indulgent does that sound? This is me assuming that people care enough about my fuck ups to even have that reaction. I have convinced myself that everyone cares about all the things I self-obsess about. Then there is my appearance; as soon as I enter a conversation with someone I need to point out how crap my hair is, my new spots, my weight. As, again, I’ve convinced myself they’re judging me. Utterly self-indulgent. It’s so cringy.

Now I worry that I come across as narcissistic. This has been my new worry; “Here she is, talking about herself again”, is what I think they’re all thinking. Does this stop me talking about myself, laying it all bare, no? I need them to know, I know. It will then lead me into an anxious spiral, where I will replay everything I just said about myself, then think things like “Honestly, do you think they care? Get a grip and stop it”, followed by “You should have explained more, maybe they wouldn’t think you’re so self-obsessed … “. This then leads me to self-loath some more.

It is these thoughts, coupled with how a few people have been with me of late, that has lead me to the overall conclusion – No one likes me. That’s it. I have but a few friends. Other than this, the world just puts up with me, because they’re either too nice, or just two face – not made my mind up which yet. I’m sure I’ll overthink the shit out of this later, and categorise everyone into the group I think they best fit. Yes. I’m that sad.

Definitely not in a good place right now. My head is well and truly minced from all the thinking, self-loathing, obsessing, worrying, and stress. I’m feeling down and angry all the time. Taking it out on those closest to me, by being short and unreasonable. I know I’m doing it, but I can’t stop myself. I know I’m an absolute horror of a person. I watch it all play out, I hear myself, I cringe, and I hate it, yet I cannot stop it. The bubble of rage I feel about life in general just overwhelms me. So why rage? Why am I so angry? My life isn’t bad. I’m actually very lucky. I think it’s just certain situations, and some people, that I really let get to me.

I’m back to the whole, life is unfair, why me crap again. Add into that, the fact I’m now convinced that no-one likes me and their being nice is superficial, and my being self-obsessed, I’m absolutely wired with anxiety.

If I could honestly have anything in the world, just one wish, it would be simple. I just want to be happy. I’ve read so many self-help things, and they all say the same thing, that you need to learn to be happy with yourself and what you have. Why do I find this so difficult? Anyone looking at my life, would tell you, I have it pretty good.

So, what’s the plus side here? Where is my PMA? Have to admit, I’m bloody struggling to find any just now. About the only thing I can think of is, I have my psychology appointment next week. I’m both happy and nervous about it. This whole meeting a stranger, who I need to try and explain all the madness that is my thought process and try to make sense of it, so that they can tell me what is wrong with me, and how to make it kindly do one. I’m not naive enough to believe this appointment will be a magic wand, it’s just the first step of many. I just really want this to all go away L I’d even just settle for feeling content. I can forego happy for content. I just can’t deal with being this sad anymore.

Apologies for my PMA not quite being what it should be, but I cannot lie and be all upbeat when I’m really not feeling it. I will write again once I’ve had my appointment, as I’m sure I’ll have something to say – hopefully something more positive!

Anxiety, Acne & Roaccutane!

I have had acne for the better part of 7 years now. Started off as just a few spots, then the pores on my face started to widen, giving me black heads, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, I started to get cystic acne. I am honestly not sure why this started. Stress? Hormonal imbalance? Genetics? Who actually knows?

I have been to the doctor on and off now for the last 5 years. I have been put on the pill, antibiotics, and topical creams. I found the pill worked a bit, but they had to take me off it as it increases your chances of a stroke (quite significantly) and there is history of it in my family (Mum is on stroke 3 and my Gran died from a stroke). The antibiotics I took did help a bit, but being on antibiotics is just not good long term. As soon as I stopped them, my acne would flare up again with a passion. Topical creams are good at stopping a spot in its tracks, but you are then left with red, flaking, sore patches, so I am not really sure what is worse to look at!

For about a year I had been making my own facial soaps, cleansers, masks, face oils etc all in a bit to kill it naturally. Every time I found something that worked, my face would hit back at me tenfold. It was like the acne found a way to fight back.

Last year I was just totally fed up. I was sick to death of standing in front of the mirror every day, trying to conceal and paint my face to feel like I could leave the house with confidence. I tried my G.P once again, and this time, because of the scarring I have, I was referred to dermatology. It was a 6 month wait, that felt like it took forever. In my initial appointment, I was checked over, medical history discussed, and it was decided the best way forward was Roaccutane aka Isotronin. Due to my history of mental health, I was told to take a couple of weeks to think about it, and to read the 6 page, A4 booklet of possible side effects and warnings.

I was shaking as I left the office, just at the thought of this medication. When I got to the car, I phoned my husband sobbing. I was a mess. Just at the thought of it. By the time I got to work, I was completely spaced out. Hello depersonalisation. I found it so hard to concentrate that day, I just had the side effects whirling around in my head. Thinking things like “It would be just my luck to take this and drop down dead”, “Depression, anxiety & suicidal thoughts. Yes, because I need help there”, or “Potential balding, sudden loss of vision and seeping nails? Yup, that would be me. I bet ya!”.

That night I got home and I read umpteen forums online, most of which were on The amount of horror stories out there is crazy! You would have people posting things like:

“OMG don’t do it! It was the worst thing I ever did. I ended up with Crohn’s disease and my hair fell out”

“Don’t do it, people have committed suicide because of this”

“My twin and I took this, I’m fine, but they’ve been left with so many health complications”

Reading these sent my thoughts into overdrive. I was beside myself. What was I going to do? I have exhausted everything. My acne is depressing the life out of me, literally! Here I am, faced with a horrific solution that could either cure or kill me. Is it worth it?

During the 2 week cooling off period, I was up and down like a rollercoaster. Some days I would look in the mirror and be all “I look horrific, I don’t care about the side effects, I’m doing this”, and others were “You know what, I may be ugly and spotty, but it’s better than dead!”. By the time my next appointment came around, I was so nervous. I sat shaking in the waiting room. My mouth was dryer than Ghandi’s sandal. When I was called into the room, I felt myself about to bubble. I knew I had no time left and I just had to make the decision. I talked with my dermatologist about all of my concerns, and he took the time to really listen to me. I was assured, that out of the hundreds of patients he’s seen, and put on Roaccutane, only 2 have come off the treatment, and that was their own choice, due to side effects. He then went on to tell me that he’s even treated someone with schizophrenia, and they had no issues at all. He did tell me that he wouldn’t offer me something, if he didn’t think it was safe to do so, and if he didn’t believe it would work, however, it was completely my choice and we could revisit the possibility of more antibiotics.

I took a moment to think, and I came to realise that I could at least try it. If I don’t like how it’s making me feel I can come off it. He’s already told me this, more than once in fact. What if I walked out of the room, with more antibiotics, finding myself in the same situation a few months later, regretting having not tried? And with that thought, I told him I would take the prescription. I was given a prescription for 20mg, of which is the lowest dose you can be put on to see results. It is also the dose that has shown to give the least side effects. Usually people are put onto 60mg for 4 months, but these are the people who suffer the worst. On the 20mg dose, you take it for up to 10 months, but I don’t mind, assuming it clears my acne and gives me the least side effects.

As I took my prescription to the hospital pharmacy, I was still shaking. I did even debate as I waited for it, just leaving without it and not looking back. As I walked back to the car, I thought about going back to talk with my dermatologist again, to discuss (again) my alternatives. I was driving myself crazy. When I got back to work, I was completely detached. I felt awful, dizzy, sickly. I let all of the negative thoughts surround me like a blanket of doom. I convinced myself that I was going to die that night. That was it. This would be my last day. Dramatic? Fuck yeah!! But, this is how my brain works. I’m sure some of you reading this will get it.

When I got home, I knew I had to take it, as they are best taken at night, with food. I stood making dinner, reading the booklet of warnings once again, and reading all the forums again. I was looking at all the arguments for and against it, trying to be objective. All the while the dark voice in my head was telling me “You know you’re unlucky. You know all the bad things you’re reading about will happen to you. You will die!”. It’s at this moment my Dad walks into the kitchen, looks at the booklet briefly and goes on to plead a case as to why he doesn’t want me to take it. I barked at him. I didn’t need him telling me the concerns. I had read them. I had thought about them for 2 weeks. Constantly. It had quite literally taken over my entire life, affected my sleep, work, mood, etc. It had consumed me. So, hearing my Dad make a negative case, just caused me to take it all out on him. Not my finest hour, and I have since apologised.

I stood in the kitchen, bubbling, again. Trying to read some positive comments, with a glass of water poured and my tablet in my other hand. The level of fear I felt was unreal. I’ve not felt that scared to do something for many years. If I was to liken it to anything; it was a similar level of fear I felt about leaving the house when I was agoraphobic. I put the pill back in the box, and then I thought, “You will regret not even trying”, so I quickly grabbed it back out of the box, and swallowed it without a second thought. I had done it. That was it. No going back now. I started to sob again. What had I done?

My daughter was staying home that night, so I had asked if she would sit with me and watch a movie for a bit. I was too scared to be alone in case something really bad happened. Thankfully, my daughter knew this, and was happy to sit with me and make jokes to help lighten the mood. I was also messaging my sister, who, as always, managed to put things into perspective for me. Before I knew it, the movie was over. I was still alive. I hadn’t gone blind. There was no headache, Abdominal pain, breathlessness, sickness, stomach upset etc. I was absolutely fine.

The other day I was speaking quite openly with a friend about my being worried when I started Roaccutane, and someone else I know approached me and was all “Don’t do it! I’ve been refused it from dermatologists because it’s so bad for you”… essentially putting the absolute fear in me. The whole while they’re offering me this advice, my inner voice is screaming for them to just shut up! Go away!! Take your concern and direct it elsewhere, this lady right here doesn’t need any more fear instilled… I tried to politely explain to this person that more than a little thought had gone into this decision. It wasn’t on a whim. I’ve not bypassed all the good doctors and been given a shit one that wants to kill me. Yet they continued to offer ‘advice’. This sent my anxiety into overdrive once again. I sat at my desk, in bits, frantically messaging my sister and husband, who both managed to peel me off the ceiling. I know that this person didn’t mean to scare me. Their concern came from a good place, and they are a really lovely person. I just wish people wouldn’t offer medical advice so freely, especially when negative and not asked for.

Today I’m exactly 8 days from taking 20mg of Roaccutane nightly with my dinner. Other than dry skin, throat, &  some tightness around the forehead and cheeks, there is absolutely no side effects for me. I do appreciate that it needs to build up in my system, and my side effects may worsen, but for now? I’m all good. I have used my PMA every day to get me through being able to take my next tablet. Every day I recognise that this doctor has been practicing for a number of years, has successfully treated hundreds of happy/healthy patients, and I am but the next on his list. I also take the time to look in the mirror and marvel at how quickly my acne is starting to clear up. I had about 4 cystic lumps on my jawline just as I started treatment. They hadn’t quite surfaced yet, but they were sore, and you could feel them just waiting to appear. These have now gone. Completely. No red marks left behind. Just gone.

To anyone reading this, with anxiety issues, looking to start Roaccutane, I would say this to you:

There will always be scaremongers out there! Always. People love nothing more than to post doom and gloom. Someone on the site quite rightly pointed out, that people who have positive outcomes, tend to not need anymore, therefore their success stories are not there. People who have bad experiences however, need a platform to shout from, and that just so happens to be where we are finding our information.

It is not something to consider lightly. It is serious medication. My advice is this; read the leaflets you are given, talk in length with your dermatologist. Be prepared! You know that dry skin, throat, eyes, and peeling lips etc affect more than 1 in10 people, so keep your fluids up, buy eye drops, and invest in a good moisturiser and lip balm. Start from the moment you take your tablet to prevent, not treat, the side effects. Someone else said they started supplements like Vitamin D & Vitamin B6, and they found it helped. I discussed that with my dermatologist and his simple answer was “there is no evidence to support that supplements will help you when taking Roaccutane, but it cannot hurt if you want to”. So really, it may not help, but it won’t do you any harm.

As with all medication, possible side effects need to be listed. Take a moment to read a paracetamol packet for instance? They have a little list too. It’s not to say you’ll get any of them, they are just precautionary.

Do your own research, but take your findings to your G.P/Dermatologist, who can discuss them with you. Also, remember that you will have bloods taken at the start of treatment, and then again every 30 days.. This medication is not given out on a whim, and you are closely monitored. Just be sure that you’re informed from all the right sources, and try not to trust everything you read on forums. As whilst you can be sure some of the horror stories are true, don’t forget that the internet is full of trolls, and I don’t doubt for a second that some of those responses are just that. People trolling others, because why? Well they can, and unfortunately, there are some weird creatures out there that get off on it. We also need to consider, that whilst some people get terrible side effects, they may have underlying, or even existing, medical conditions that are affected by Roaccutane. We just don’t know. So don’t focus too much on others, focus on your medical history, how you feel, and what your doctors suggest for YOU.

I will look to do another post on this, at the end of my 30 days. I’ll give a full update on my moods, side effects (if any more appear), my skin and my anxiety.

I do hope that this helps you make your decision, whichever one is right for you!



New Year, New Me Bullshit…

So far, this year I’ve used up all of my holidays on moving to a new house (twice!). I’ve moaned about this fact, as I genuinely feel that I never actually get a break. The whole year has been really busy, with home life, work, being unwell, relationships etc it’s both physically and emotionally exhausting. Every day I’m a raging moaning bitch, who’s pissed off at having so much to do and not enough hours in the work week, then not enough time at the weekend to catch up on the house and definitely no time to spend on me, or relaxing.

Currently, I’m on my Christmas holidays and at the start it was full on, with all the shopping, cleaning, prepping, organising, and Christmas drama. Every day I get up, I feel like I must achieve something; cleaning, shopping, going somewhere etc. There always must be something, I can never ever let myself just chill. I know this is because I worry about the anxious thoughts getting time to creep in, and this fills me with enough dread to motivate me to always keep busy.

Now though? Well for the last two days, I’ve chosen to do absolute bare minimum. I woke up yesterday (New Years Eve) and I had an itinerary of the cleaning and prep I was going to do for last night. I quickly scrapped this when I realised that it was the last day of the year and there was no way I was spending it going 100 miles an hour.

I have spent the last day of 2017, doing some basic surface cleaning, some minimal food prep for some munchies to have last night, and then spending some time with the kids playing games. It was a stress-free day, one where I didn’t have to shout or moan. First day of 2017, that was completely stress free, and a little sad that it only happened on the last day. I have now woken up on the first day of 2018, and I have made the decision to have an equally chilled day. Again, today has consisted of some basic cleaning, but for the most part it has been chilled.

I have been very sad and stressed for a long time, I think these feeling start to feel ‘normal’. I’ve become accustom to always being wired, fuelled on little to no sleep, moody, stressed, and sad. It needs to stop. For my health, sanity and for the health and sanity of my children. The last 2 years, I have been so very unhappy. I’ve looked to those in my immediate life to help alleviate this feeling. I’ve looked for comfort, help, appreciation and the need to feel wanted. Like my life actually matters, and I’m not just a glorified housemate, maid, care giver, a friend that will do when you’ve naff all else better etc. This is definitely where I’m going wrong. No-one but me can help me.

My new year new me bullshit for this year, will in fact not be bullshit, for a nice change. I will endeavour to make more time for me! I fully intend to spend more time doing things that make me happy and with people who make me happy, and I them.

So, the negative here is that I neglect myself, I’m always stressed, and I upset myself about people in my life not giving a shit. However, the positive is so much better, because I recognise it all for what it is, I know what is wrong, and I will work on making a change. As with everything I do, I will make a list, or maybe even a spreadsheet? Lol. I will just take each day as it comes. No more spreading myself thin, trying to over achieve, spending longer hours at work, stressing over house work, hell, stuff being stressed period! I’ve had enough of it!!

Happy New Year Guys! Here is to 2018 being the year of moving forward, finding happiness, being less stressed, and surrounding ourselves with people who fill our lives with smiles and happy memories!

Jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse

Christmas is always a funny time of year for me. I love the idea of Christmas, and I love being able to spend some quiet time at home, with my family. What I don’t love? Is the copious amounts of money you need to spend, the amount of time/effort one day sucks out of your life, and the level of Christmas cheer I always feel I need to achieve. Also, it doesn’t help that my husband works away, and is away this Christmas, again!

Christmas is always so much hard work! I assume I’m not the only one who looks at Christmas as being much harder, than it really needs to be. I also hate that my family is sooooo far from what you see in the movies. Even the Griswold’s have their shit together more than us.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you’ll know that my Dad has been living with us for the last few months, due to ill health. I have always said, even from a young age, that I would look after my parents if they ever took unwell. I would hate to think of them being alone, or not being looked after properly. This has not been as smooth as I would have liked. I knew it would be hard, going back to living with a parent, but when this parent is one you’ve never actually lived with, and who is one of the most difficult people on the planet to get along with, that does pose a bit of a problem. There have been waaaaay more downs, than ups. Most days I wonder if it was a good idea, but then the guilt of telling him it’s not working and he needs his own place tears me up inside. Despite there being many downs, especially of late, it was Christmas. I was determined this was going to go well. Words had been had a few days earlier, where I’d asked if we could just get through Christmas and make it a good one for the kids. It was agreed we could do this.

Friday 22nd December, was my first day off for the holidays. I chose to spend this day cleaning, moving furniture, dancing to some radio station dedicated to Christmas songs, and wrapping presents. When I woke up in the morning I was really excited to get started, but, by the same token dreading the effort it was all going to take. I thought that I needed to just throw myself out of bed and hype myself up for the day ahead. What this really meant, was I went a bit manic for a couple of hours. I was dancing and singing around the house, being a little overzealous. Can’t be bad right? Well, it resulted in my pulling my back, and rendering me in quite a bit of pain. Also, I think my daughters were a little scared of just how ‘happy’ I had become, as they kept asking me if I was ok. I said I was, but I think even the level of manic happy I had reached, was beginning to scare even me. I needed it though, because I felt that if I let the ball drop, and I stopped smiling and singing, I’d lose it, and I’d just sink into myself and not bother. It was 21:45 before I turned the hoover off and that was my cleaning done. No time to wrap, as I was just so tired, so felt I could leave it until Saturday.

Saturday 23rd was my shopping day. This year, in my infinite wisdom, I had decided to leave the Christmas food shopping to last minute and not pre-order our Turkey Crown. Let’s just say, that 3hours of my life were lost in the supermarket, I spent nearly 3 times more than I had anticipated, and I left without a turkey crown. Gutted. Who in their right mind wants to pull giblets out of a turkey? Why do they leave them in? What is their purpose? Answers on a postcard. The whole shopping experience, quite nicely, popped a pin in my rather manic Christmas cheer bubble. I was now tired, drained, skint, and bemused at how food could cost so much? I did check, and double check our receipt to be sure that nothing was double scanned, but nope, it was correct.

My Dad had decided he was going out with friends, to do the rounds and have a few drinks. Fair enough, this was good for me, as it was one less person in the house to worry about. Being so ‘happy’ throughout Friday, and then 3 stressful hours lost in a supermarket, really took its toll in the evening. A good friend of mine popped over to have a drink with me whilst I wrapped the remaining presents, but she ended up leaving early, due to me now nodding off. I had literally exhausted myself, trying to be all happy and full of Christmas Cheer.

Sunday 24th, Christmas Eve, yaaaay. I woke up in the morning, feeling a sense of calm. It was nice. I knew that the last two days had been really busy, and stressful, but I had nothing left to do. My Dad was going to bring the remaining items I needed in with him, when he came back later in the day, the house was still all shiny and clean, and all I had to do was spend time with the kids. Time to set up the RetroPie, and play some retro games with the kids. All was going well. Too well you might say. I hadn’t had to shout at anyone, I wasn’t feeling stressed, we were laughing, having fun. It was great.  Then, my Dad rocks up, still drunk from the night before, none of the important items he was supposed to pick up, and a bit of an attitude. Fabulous.

I will not go into detail, but let’s just say, Christmas eve was completely ruined. I had plans to have friends over for present exchanges, and family, but I ended up having to scrap that due to me not wanting people to see him in this nick. The kids were now not happy, given his actions throughout the afternoon/evening. What had started off as a really good day, was now well and truly ruined. I tried my best to supress my feelings of complete and utter anger. I didn’t want to ruin it any further for the kids. All that was left, was for me to cry. This was tears of utter frustration. How can someone be so incredibly thoughtless and selfish? Is it because they’ve never had to consider life with children? Who actually knows. Either which way, I was furious. And for those of you that know me, or who read this blog, you know I cannot just be furious. Let’s add into the mix, my being completely upset, beside myself, feeling an overwhelming sense of failing my kids. Then the anxiety of worrying what they must think of me. Do they hate me for letting him live with us?

Growing up with alcoholic parents is hard going. To be fair, I didn’t even realise my Mum drank and smoked until I was a teenager. She concealed it well. Probably because she was never around. I guess that helps. My Dad on the other hand, has never been so subtle. My memories of spending time with him growing up always involves him being drunk. He took me to Butlins, we spent our evenings with him propping up the bar. When he took me to Blackpool, I remember us walking along the promenade looking for a pub that was suitable for kids. Even when I would visit him and we’d just stay at his, every evening he was drinking. If he had a girlfriend, I’d be left with them, whilst he went to the pub. When you’re a kid, you just assume that everyone’s parents are like this. It’s only as you get older you realise that this is not the norm. Seeing my Dad in the state he was in on Christmas Eve, just brought back all of the memories and anger I felt growing up. I will NOT have my children subjected to it. I just won’t.

I tried to redeem the day, but failed. I think the mood had gone too far south by this point, so we all resigned ourselves to giving up and going to bed. After all, it would soon be Christmas. When I went to bed, I felt hopeless. Like I’m unable to do this on my own. I started to really miss my husband, because I felt that things wouldn’t be nearly so bad if he were here. I don’t think my Dad would have behaved in this way if he was, as he never does. He’s only ever like this when he’s away. I then became bitter and resentful of the fact my husband chooses to work away. Then I started to think that I’m probably the reason. All the drama that comes with me, he’d probably rather be in the middle of the North Sea for half the year. I know I would. Well, I think we can guess how this mood turned out. It just sank me into a dark hole, of not being good enough, my life being terrible, and my kids probably hating me. What a great way to finish the evening.

Monday 25th, Christmas Day! This should be a yaaay to start with, but it wasn’t. Let’s just say my Dad had me and my eldest up from 4am with his antics. My son and I curled up in my bed watching assassins creed trying to dose back off, but we couldn’t. Then my youngest was up at 6am, so we just had to get up. We both knew this was going to make for a long day, but we put smiles on anyway. We did think about wakening my Dad up for him to see the kids opening their presents, but it was thought he’d be better to sleep it all off. Plus, if I’m honest, I could see the man far enough.

Once in the living room, we began opening our presents. The kids cried, laughed and hugged me for the presents they got, so this fair improved the overall mood. I then got to open my presents, and once I got to this painting my daughter did for me, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room:


Receiving this couldn’t have been better timed. It showed me that my kids don’t hate me like I thought. We hugged, had some happy tears, and then we cleared up all the paper and got settled in the living room watching TV and playing games. By the time my Mum popped over for the yearly ritual of a bacon roll and a cuppa after work, the mood in the house was good. We were all laughing, joking and singing. I then asked my Mum to help me with the giblets in the turkey, as they give me the absolute fear, and you know what? I’d actually picked up a prepared turkey, with stuffing, bacon & no giblets! How’s that for a bit of good luck! I get some of you reading this will be like “Settle down, it’s only giblets”, but seriously, I was so close to getting the kids to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who was taking them out.

My Dad woke up mid-afternoon, but decided to stay in his room until early evening when food was being dished up. I assume he was embarrassed? Or at least I hope he was. If not, I can safely assume he was feeling awful given the state he had been in.

I am definitely not the best cook. My husband loves to tell the story of the time I managed to burn a frozen pizza, yet keep it frozen in the centre. He tells that story like it’s a bad thing. I, however, see it as a talent! I’m sure that not many people could replicate it. When it came to cooking Christmas dinner, as with every year it’s up to me, I panic that it’s going to be awful. Well, this year? It was awesome. The turkey was perfect, nothing was burnt, everything was ready in time. There was enough food to feed half the street, so we’ve had plenty left overs for other meals. Everyone said they thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and all plates were cleaned. Even my youngest asked for more.

We sat around the table, pulling crackers, telling our awful jokes, laughing and just have a really good time. One of my daughters took it upon themselves to act out all of the charades, and this proved to be the most amusement our family had seen in a long time.

In spite of all the bad stuff, Christmas day for me was far better than expected. It has shown me that I have raised some of the best kids. They are amazing, loving, thoughtful, caring, funny and just all round good kids. They have absolutely made this Christmas what it is, and they have managed to turn my dark thoughts and feelings right around and bring me back to feeling happy and content. This is the PMA I’m taking away from this whole experience. I may not have the best parents, and I may not be the best myself, but I’ve clearly done something right.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Thank you for the kind messages I’ve received, and I wish you all the best for the New Year.

Enough of never being enough!

I am my own biggest critic. I’m sure I speak for nearly everyone when I say; nothing I do is good enough. I will always say that I could have done more. I will scrutinise my work/life, and strive for better.  Another thing I’m bad for, is beating myself up for how I am with others. I always scrutinise my social interactions and relationships. Wondering if what I said was offensive, doubting how people see me, not knowing how to deal with people, for fear of just getting it all wrong.

Well, let’s just say I’ve had an epiphany this week. You see, I am very much someone that has a black and white attitude toward people, as in; I either care about you, or I don’t. So, if you’re someone I respect/like, I would like to think you respect/like me back. If you didn’t, this would hurt me, because I like to think I’m a pretty nice person, so would assume it’s my actions that have made you not like me, thus leading me to over scrutinise our every interaction. However, if I don’t like/respect you, then what you think of me is neither here nor there. Does that make sense? I will not lose sleep over someone, I don’t care about. This even goes for work colleagues. I may not consider work colleagues to be friends, but if I like them and I respect them, I would be upset to think it wasn’t mutual. I am also a very firm believer that respect is earned, not commanded. People who insist on talking at people, rather than to them, really annoy me. I do not respond well to these people, and they definitely fall into the black.

I spend a lot of my life doing my best to appease those I like, for fear that my actions will cause them to dislike me somehow. Just another one of my stupid, time consuming, irrational fears. I will scrutinise our every interaction, sometimes even during the interaction, and I will beat myself up for things said, or even things that were unsaid. It’s exhausting. I will even look to message people, or talk to people after the fact and apologise, or say the things I think I should have said. Most of the time I get a rather meh response, because they genuinely didn’t notice, nor care. I often know this will be the response I’m met with, but I have to say something. Otherwise my brain will just continue to race about the situation, and it will drive me around the bend.

Lately I’ve had someone I class as a friend, just completely use me. The shit thing here is, I let them. I could see they were only out for their own selfish gain, and you know what, I let them do it anyway. I was so worried that I would lose them, I just let them treat me how they wanted. They are the kind of friend that is only ever interested in hearing from you when they’ve literally sod all else to do, or they want something. You know the ones? Completely selfish beyond all reason. They think nothing of you dropping what you’re doing to appease them, but would they so much as make a smidgen of effort for you? Would they hell. We all know someone like this. Now why, if I’m aware of how they are, have I even let them in close enough to use me? Well, after much thought (try a weekend of no sleep), I’ve come to the conclusion, that I like to jump through hoops for those that don’t care. I seem to have this deep seeded need to be enough for those, who will NEVER see me as enough. I work harder for these types of people. I do more. I need to be more. I need for them to like me. I need to be there for them, whenever they beckon. It’s sad, and it’s highly pathetic.

I may have had a little frustrated cry to myself on Friday. It wasn’t through being sad, it was 100% anger. The anger comes from me knowing this is completely my fault. I never listen to my inner rational voice, or those around me who see things for what they are. I always try to see good in people, when really the good is not there. I read a quote once, “You can’t stick a flower in an asshole and call it a vase”. I don’t know who said it, but it’s bloody good right? So true in this instance.

Not being good enough for my own standards, is tough going, but knowing that I’m not good enough for people I like/respect, definitely affects me more. I’m not letting toxic people affect me anymore. I am a good person, and I should be investing my time in the good people in my life. This ‘friend’, will definitely miss me before I miss them. I am so far removed from letting people use me. So, what is the positive here? I am reaffirming with myself that I am a good person, and I deserve to be treated with respect. From now on, I will not settle for any less. People will only treat you, how you allow yourself to be treated. Fact. From now on, I will not stand for being made a mug of, or being used. There is enough going on in my day-to-day life, without adding some Dawson Creek teenage drama to it. I’m sad/angry that someone has made me feel this way, but, also happy/relieved that I now see it for what it is, and can move forward.

If you have read this and think it may ring true for you, just get rid of the so-called ‘friend’. Cut them out, and if/when they ever try to weasel their way back in because they have nothing else doing, or they want something, take great pleasure in ignoring them. I would like to think this ‘friend’ is not stupid enough to attempt the latter with me, as they’ve been told directly to bore off. Although, I think I have to admit I clearly don’t know them that well, so you never know right? If/when they do, the pleasure of walking away will be all mine.

Steps in the right direction

If I was to describe the last 18 months as anything, other than the obvious word ‘sh!t’, I’d definitely say it’s been a wakeup call.

As someone who has high functioning anxiety, amongst some other issues, I have liked to pride myself on how I cope. I have my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) towards almost everything I do, of which helps me greatly, and I have my little quirks/ocds that get me through. Despite having these coping mechanisms, this last bout of heightened anxiety has lasted a long time and has shown me I clearly am not coping as well as I like to think.

I have written many blogs over the last few weeks, many of which I’ve just deleted. Why? Well, mainly because I’ve found them to be a bit ranty, and once it was off my chest I didn’t feel it worth sharing. I’d only have depressed every one of my readers, with my constant negativity. My blog is called ‘PMA Corner’, it’s supposed to be a place where people of similar situations can come, read about my journey, and leave with a positive message. I certainly do not intend for readers to leave feeling worse than when they came.

As most of you know, my life can be described as being like a really badly written EastEnders story line. I’ve been through things that people shouldn’t have to, I’ve seen things people shouldn’t have to, and I’ve done things I’m definitely not proud of. Now, I’ve got two choices; I can choose to be one of those people who wallow in self-pity and make excuses, or, I can woman up, and realise that good has come out of these bad situations. I much prefer the latter, but right now, that feels a little bit ‘easier said than done’. Until recent months, I have liked to think I’ve never been a ‘woe-is-me’ person. I’ve always been quite proud of the person I’ve become, I would have definitely described myself as a strong person, and one who just got up and got on. So, what changed in the last 18 months to make me doubt absolutely everything about myself? What is it that has made me dredge up old, hurtful memories and cause myself to be in a horrible heightened state of anxiety for a long period of time? In all honest, I don’t know. It could be a culmination of different things.

Little over 18 months ago, my Dad was diagnosed with Cancer. A little while after that my marriage started to breakdown and I separated from my husband. These two events were negative, and I didn’t see how my PMA could stop me worrying, or how it could benefit me in either of these situations. The day my Dad told me he had cancer, I just remember feeling so powerless to help. He lived so far away at the time, and between work/kids I had no spare time to spend taking care of him. He lived alone and I couldn’t be there. It was just horrible. I would worry about him all the time. He would tell me not to worry, as the hospital were taking care of him, who put him in touch with McMillan who were going to help etc. This didn’t stop me worrying and it didn’t stop the guilt of feeling like I should have been doing more. Looking back, I think I put myself into a negative place, with my worrying and putting myself down for something that really couldn’t be helped. Separating from my husband was hard, but I don’t regret it. It was what we needed at the time. I know he didn’t see it that way, but I couldn’t go on with the constant bickering over nothing. I had so much bigger things to worry about, that the pointless things we argued about just felt completely menial and I needed it to just stop. I needed quiet.

During all of this I found solace in work. My boss at the time was nothing short of amazing and understanding. He just let me get my headphones on, and plod on with my work. Some days were better than others, and some were really low. I did actually break down in tears at my desk one day, after speaking to my Dad, as he was at home, no way of getting out and about and I couldn’t do anything. I also had the prospect of going home, alone, with no-one to talk to or comfort me. Yes, this was my own doing, by separating with my husband, but it didn’t make it any easier knowing that little fact. For the first time in a very long time, I just wanted a hug and someone to tell me that everything was going to be OK and that I was doing all I could. This was when my best friend stepped in, and was nothing short of my rock. He watched me go through this manic rollercoaster of sobbing, to hysterical laughter. He listened to my incoherent ramblings, erratic thoughts, and the best bit? He just listened. No feedback, no ‘this is what I think you should do’, just listening was all I needed. I know that what I say doesn’t make sense 99% of the time, but sometimes I just need to say it. I need the words to be out in the ether, to lessen the stress I put on myself when they whirl around in my brain like cyclone of anarchy. Sometimes my thoughts get so loud, that even turning my music up as high as I can, cannot drown them out. It can feel like I’m suffocating any trace of positive under a dark blanket of depressed and angry thoughts, and I see no way to break the cycle. It’s like being a spectator in your own mind. You see it happening. You know it’s wrong & irrational, but you’re powerless to do anything to stop it. You must stand there, on the side-lines, watching it all unfold, waiting for the aftermath that you need to live in and deal with. Keeping all of it bottled up in side is tough going. Every day I get up, paint a smile on my face and I go out into the world as if everything is A-OK. I laugh and joke with those around me, I engage with people, when in reality, I’d rather not. If I didn’t make the effort socially though, I’d only worry that people would think I was rude and judge me, so I make myself most of the time.

In recent weeks, things have gone from pretty meh, to very sh!t very quickly. This is all due to my anxiety, and the stupid, irrational thoughts I have, of which lead to impulsive and reckless behaviour. Recently I made a decision, whereby I thought I was doing a good and honest thing. Well, this good/honest deed, only caused upset to all involved. In hindsight, I look back and I shake my head at myself. What on earth was I thinking? How did I possibly conceive that this was going to be a good deed? Or that it was going to end well? This has well and truly been the icing on the cake. I have had to admit to myself; I am not coping. Fact. I cannot do this by myself. I can feel myself, every day, becoming more and more emotional. I am not even finding solace in work anymore. I’m loathed to find/see the positives in anything. I feel so out of control with my own life and emotions, that it scares me. I scare me. How can I be this out of control. This is my life, my mind, I should have full control. Is this the problem? Is it my need to be in complete control of everything, to feel safe?

I realised last year that I wasn’t coping. I told myself that I was just being ‘pathetic’ and ‘weak’. I convinced myself to just woman up and get on. I’ve been trying to put paper stitches over a wound that is too big, and wonder why it keeps opening. I am sad. There, I said it. I’m sad, I’m scared, I feel alone, I cry most days and I don’t know why. I just want it to stop. I just want to be happy. Around a week or so ago, I got up and realised that doing this by myself just wasn’t cutting it. I called my G.P, made an appointment and I’m happy to say I’ve been referred to Psychology. I declined the offer of medication, as I explained that I’ve been on pretty much every single anxiety/depression medication out there, and they all make me a little foggy. With the job I do, I cannot afford to be foggy. The waiting list to be seen is about 6 months, of which I believe to be the national average for the U.K right now. Hearing this did make me a little sad, but, I’ve been like this for 18 months or so. I’m sure I can make it through another 6 months. I’m also not naive enough to believe that going to these appointments will be a magic wand, or they will be easy. It will be a long road, of hard work and change on my part. It’s a challenge I need and that I’m willing to take to feel better.

I am realising that there is no shame in saying I’m not coping. There is no shame in admitting I don’t have my sh!t together and I need help. If you have read this and can identify, then please be sure and get some help. We don’t have to struggle on our own, there is help out there. If you’re unsure about going to your G.P, that’s ok, it takes time/courage to do that. I had to build mine up over a year. If going to the doctors is not something that is right for you just now, then please talk to someone. Talk to a friend, family member, or even someone at Samaritans. Getting your thoughts out really can help. I would also suggest writing things down. Start a blog like me, or even just keep a diary of things that go on in your day, or even just write down some of your thoughts. You’d be surprised how therapeutic it can be.

The positives of this situation for me is the fact I’m taking my first steps toward help. It was by no means a small step, and it is definitely the right step towards better understanding what is wrong and how to feel better. I will document my journey when I start my sessions, keep you all posted on how things go, and hopefully it will help some of you too.

Thank you for reading guys, and thank you all for the messages and kind words. It really does mean a lot.

It’s so unfair

Children are stressful, but Teenagers are whole other ballgame..

To all the fellow parents out there, I’m sure you’ve all heard from your parents “I hope your child ends up half as bad as you were”. I know I have, many times. Well, did my parents get what they wanted or what? In the last 5 years, I’ve put up with so many things from my kids that I question my ability as a parent daily.

So far, my children have managed to have police at my house, more than once, social workers and I’ve nearly gone toe-to-toe with several Mum’s. I will do anything for my children, absolutely anything, to keep them safe, but this is all getting completely ridiculous now. When will it end? When will they realise that their behaviour is completely unacceptable? When they have their own kids and hear my words of “I hope your children are half as bad as you were” echo through their minds? I sincerely hope it doesn’t take that long.

I consider myself to be a strict parent. Things are very black & white in my house, as in, it’s either acceptable or it’s not. I don’t believe in having things be acceptable sometimes and not others, as this gives mixed messages. When I was growing up, I was blessed with a parent who personally did not give a flying hoot what I did, so long as it didn’t affect them in any way. If it did, however, that was a different story and usually resulted in me being thrown out. I swore, that my children would always know where they stand. Now, whilst I say I’m strict, I would also like to think I’m fair. Nothing I do or say should be a shock, as I will say things like “If you’re late home, I will take however long you’ve been late off you for tomorrow night”, or “I’m sick of the dishes either being left, or not being done correctly, so if it happens again, you’ll not be going out tomorrow”. I outline expectations and consequences quite clearly, yet, they still do as they damn well please. Not a single fuck is given in this house. This being said, they would describe as scary because I’m a shouter. Well, clearly, I’m not that scary, if I’m having to shout about the same old things, day in, day out, and they still do as they please.

All teenagers go through a rebellious stage, I know this. I of all people really do know this, but c’mon? 3 teenagers at once? All of them going through a Kevin, fuck you, I’m an adult, I know what the meaning of life is, bore off, phase. Can I just get a break? Completely exasperated over here.

I work full time, and when I’m not working I’m cleaning and spending time with the kids. They think the fact I ask them to do the dishes (we have a dishwasher, just thought I’d add that in), and clean their own bathroom, I’m being ‘unfair’. Then when I go to the cupboard to get something, I will spend the next 5 minutes essentially pulling the contents of it out, to wash it by hand, their excuse is “it’s the dishwashers fault, not mine, I did what I was told”. Shit you not. That is the excuse. Then there is their bathroom. A room you use to become clean, and I fear I’ll get hepatitis from just standing in it. Their excuse then? “Well they didn’t do it when it was their turn, so I didn’t do my turn”. What the actual…? What can you even say to that?  I don’t feel that I ask a lot of them, I just ask that they help me out. I don’t see why I should have to spend my days off cleaning, to then have to go back to work, so they can be lazy. How is that fair?

Totally at my wits end over here. Would be great to hear from other parents, to know If you have issues with your teenagers. What kind of discipline do you use? Do you feel it’s unfair to ask teenagers to do chores around the house? Do you think I give mine too much/little?


Adulting sucks

Adulting is tiring. Fact. We spend our whole youth willing mile stone birthdays. First we cannot wait to be 10, because this is double digits. Then we cannot wait to be 13, then 16, 18, and 21. We wish our youth away, as we’re so eager to grow and do as we please. Pffft how naive were we right? Adulting sucks!

I’m a married mother of 4 who works full time. Do I really need to elaborate much more than that? Every single waking moment of my life is busy. I’ve always got something going on, and for the most part I like it, as keeping busy distracts my anxious thoughts. Although I understand that being busy is good for me, It would just be nice to not have to adult some times.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m mentally mature for adulting. Do you know what I mean? Like, I look at others my age, or younger, and I think “wow, they really have their shit together” or “They are so much more mature than I am”. I still feel like I’m 18, and that every single day I wake up and just wing it. I often worry that I missed an invitation to ‘Adulting College’ , where people were educated and given tips on how to adult.

I have been on holiday for the last 2 weeks and I have to say, it’s been a pretty meh holiday. We have just moved house (again), so the first week was spent packing. Albeit very lazy packing. We just took it nice and easy over the week, given it was terrible weather and we knew we had a week to get it done. Then this week it’s been unpacking, and now I’m on my last couple of days before I’m back to the grind. Always the same; when you’re an adult, your holidays are used for appointments and other life commitments outside of work. It’s never actually a holiday, unless you’re flitting off somewhere with a suitcase.

I wish that someone else could carry the burden of adulting for me for a while. This someone could do the worrying, work, chores, kids etc. But then what would I do with myself? For a couple of weekends in a row, I refused to make plans or run about doing errands, unless absolutely necessary. Why? Well, I knew I had the move coming up and I wanted to chill. I found those weekends to be incredibly dull/boring and I found it gave me all the time in the world to overthink/analyse pointless things.

I want peace and I want to chill with no responsibilities, yet, when I try to take time off I find it makes my anxiety worse. I honestly cannot win. I’m very confident that I am not on my own here. Pretty sure that most adults, regardless if you have mental health issues or not, will be able to relate. My Dad is 66 and is sure he’s still 18, it’s just his body that’s failing him. Do any of us really know how to adult? Or are we all just winging it, with some of us better at faking it than others?

It would be good to know; Can you find the time to chill? If so, what do you do to relax and avoid adulting for a bit? I seriously need to find a way to escape adulting, that doesn’t involve too much downtime to over think and preferably not a hangover!

Reactions to mental illness

There are a few different reactions to expect when you tell someone about your mental illness, most of them I personally could live without. I have put these in order of what I feel is the most common reactions I face.

  1. Apathetic – I put this to the top of the list, as I find this to be the most common response. Most people I speak to, have no real comprehension. They presume my stories to be just that, ‘stories’, fiction, exaggerated, me being a hypochondriac, looking for attention etc. These people usually like to constantly compare what you’re going through, to their situations, to how they deal with them, or how they believe you should be dealing with them. They also find a way to make your issues appear menial, and yes to them they might be, but to us? Far from.
  2. Patronising – Usually coupled in with the same people above; They will like to talk to you as if you have no real understanding of what is happening to you, often trying to educate you on mental health, and the things you need to do to feel better i.e. “Well, have you ever thought about going to the doctor?”, “Maybe walking or something will make you feel better?”, “Just don’t think about it!”, “Just stop doing it, you know you’re your own worst enemy”, are just a few examples of actual things I’ve heard this past week alone.
  3. Empathetic – Now whilst a lot of my readers don’t have a mental illness themselves, they tell me they have family and friends who do, and that my blog helps. I’m told that they understand what I’m going through, as they witness it in those close to them. Then there are those of you who are like me, and message to say, “I could have written that myself”. It is these messages that make my blog feel worthwhile.
  4. Debater – Some people like to message/comment to debate with me, regarding my own thoughts and feelings. Say what now? Yup, you read right. You cannot tell someone they are not feeling how they’re feeling, or that they’re thoughts/opinions on a topic regarding their mental health is wrong. Everyone’s experience with depression and anxiety is not going to be the exact same, and neither will the road to feeling better. What works for one, will not necessarily work for all. This does not make my views wrong, it makes them different.
  5. Exasperated – Most people close to me are just sick of it all now. You can see it in their face, or hear it in their voice; they just want it to be over now. They’re bored hearing the same stuff from me all the time. I find I say the same things a lot, it’s like being on a really shitty merry-go-round. Just when I think I’m getting over something, it comes right back around. It is no more exasperating for you, than it is me. Believe me!


Doing this blog has allowed me to write about things, I don’t feel I can approach those closest to me with. That is not to say I don’t try, I do, it’s just they don’t understand. Some of them try to understand, but all they end up doing is imparting their wisdom of how to make it all go away and missing the point entirely. I’m not telling you what is wrong with me, so you can play doctor and make it all better. I’m telling you because I need to vent aloud. I need to get what’s in my head out into the ether and try to make sense of it all. Most of the time I’m not looking for any feedback, I’m just looking for a nod, or a friendly smile to assure me that I’m not totally crazy.  Unless you have an anxiety disorder, how could you possibly know what it’s like to live inside my head? You can’t know, and I don’t expect you to.

Recently I’ve divulged a helluva lot about myself. Some of my most personal memories, thoughts and struggles. I have done this for two reasons; The first reason is to vent, and the second reason, was that I hoped others would identify with me and I wouldn’t feel alone. I’m happy to say, I’ve had a great response to my blog. A lot of you who read this, message me to say you do in fact identify, or that you empathise with my situation. These messages really do help me to see that I’m not alone, and that people to get what it is that I’m trying to say, or know what I’m struggling with.

Now, this whole blog could be seen as attention seeking, and I guess in a way it is, but not in the way it can be implied. I do not put statuses on social media prompting PM’s of sympathy. I don’t want, need, nor care for anyone’s sympathy. Ever. Don’t ever pity me or feel bad for me.  A lot of people I know have no idea that I write this blog, or that I have a mental illness at all. I’ve only ever told those immediately close to me, and at that, I don’t tell them everything. Having this blog has allowed me to feel that I can divulge, without feeling too exposed. Every one of these I write makes me apprehensive, as I don’t know how it will be received, but if/when I receive a message from someone who gets it, or gets me, that makes me feel better. I think I speak for most people who suffer with a mental illness when I say; It’s the knowing you’re not alone that gets you through. You would never wish how you feel on anyone, but, it brings comfort to know you’re not in it alone.

As someone who suffers with G.A.D and on/off depression, I don’t want your pity, I just want an ear to bend occasionally. Sometimes just getting out what I’m thinking takes away a lot of the stress I’m causing myself. What I definitely don’t need is your curt comments, or essentially being told to ‘woman up’.

I recently wrote a ‘bare all’ blog about my past relationship. This was a very difficult blog to write, it took me days of debating about it, then I started it a few times, just to delete it, until I finally committed to 6hrs worth of writing. A lot of the blog was removed, and I left only the poignant parts. The response I got from this was overwhelming, and I would just like to say thank you to those of you who took the time to message me. It honestly meant a lot. I carry a lot of baggage from that relationship, and it does hinder me. I wrote that blog thinking if I vented, it would help, and I guess it did a little. My husband read it, and felt it was a good piece. He already knew all of it, especially the early years stuff as he was there, so none of this was a shock to him. I like that he gets it, that he knows what I’ve been through, as I feel it helps him to understand how I am.  Although, I know he gets more than a little exasperated with me at times.

When in Tesco the other night, I bumped into my ex partner’s brother. I was being told how my ex will be coming back home soon, how he’ll want to see me blah blah blah. Needless to say, this sent my anxiety into overdrive. My vision went blurry, my throat felt like it was closing up. My youngest actually took my hand and said “Mum you’re starting to panic, remember to breath, you’ll be ok”. He’s 9! I abandoned the rest of my shopping, and got back to the car. I felt fit to burst with emotion, as I was now scared, panicking, but had my son in the back of the car who was now really worried about me, and then I had to think about driving. I just took a moment to breath, and got home sharp. I needed to speak to someone, I needed to calm down, so I phoned a family member. Guess what the response was? An exasperated, patronising, apathetic one! I don’t even know why I let it upset me, or why I got angry with the response, as it’s always the same. They will compare what I went through, to what they have, and essentially tell me I need to get over it. I was then told that the threats I’ve received over the years, and what I worry about is just nonsense, but then in the same breath, was told that if it was going to happen, there was, and I quote, “no point worrying about the inevitable”. I mean really? Does this person know me at all? All I do is worry, and they think telling me not to is some form of magic wand?

I have worried and stressed myself out of late to the point of a massive breakout on my face, I’m not sleeping, my moods are erratic and I’m very emotional. I have then made the mistake of talking to the wrong people about how I’m feeling, and that has just made me feel worse. For those of you that know me; I do not need you to tell me to woman up, or that my over thinking is the root cause to how I am, or that I need to just get over things. I’m not a stupid woman. I know what is wrong, I also know what would fix it, but if it was that simple, and I could just get over it, I wouldn’t have G.A.D. An actual mental illness that causes anxieties for just about anything, as well as obsessive/compulsive thinking/habits. For just once, can you please just listen, without judgement, without a Dr. Phil response and without sounding like you’re bored? I don’t need to feel like I’m a burden, and you know what? see if I am, then please just tell me that my issues are not something you wish to talk about. I’d sooner just not talk to you at all, than leave the conversation feeling worse than when It started.

For the most part, people I have in my life are great. I’m very lucky to have the friends and support I do. Unfortunately, it’s the select few, the ones who I feel should be the most understanding and want to be there, that are not. All I can say is this; I hope that they never find themselves like me, having conversations telling them it’s all in their head and they need to get over it. Thankfully though, they’d have me for support, so they would actually be quite lucky.

If you’re friends with someone, or a family member to someone, suffering from anxiety/depression, I hope you are not guilty of the examples above. They don’t need you to have an answer to everything, and they don’t want you to fix them. Just listen. That’s it. Just listen and be there. Even if you’ve heard the story, or been in the same situation for the one hundredth time, and you’re getting bored of it, take a moment to think how it is for them. And yes, they probably should break the cycle, but do you think telling them in a matter of fact way will help? No. Most definitely not. If you see an unhealthy cycle happening, help them break it, don’t just tell them to. If they could do it themselves, trust me, they would have. We don’t choose to be this way, contrary to what some narrow-minded people think. We don’t sit at home and think, “oooh, I’ve not been anxious for a while, let’s give it a bash today”.

To those of you like me, dealing with reactions as mentioned, you’re not alone. Try not to let them upset you or make you feel worse. Even if you feel like no-one else in the world gets it, you know what? I do! I may just be one person, but it definitely means you’re not alone.

If I’m honest, I know where it all stems from…

It’s quite a read, best get a cuppa….


I met my ex-partner when I was just 11 years old. He was 14, bit of a lad, and in all honesty? I did not like him one bit. When I was 12, we started to hang around in the same social circle, and I still thought he was a tool. He was someone who was trying to date all the girls, someone who fancied themselves quite a bit, got into fights, into trouble with authorities, just a general menace. When I was 13 he pursued me when I was dating my now husband, and I wasn’t interested. He started to hang about my Mum’s house, offering to do jobs in her garden and around the house, of which she found to be great. My Mum always had a soft spot for Voldemort (this is not his real name, but fitting none the less, as he is someone who shall not be named), and would then make him cups of tea that would encourage him to stay. Voldemort was quite charming when he wanted to be, and actually quite funny. He managed to worm his way in, and eventually we started dating (if you can even call it that).

The way we got together isn’t exactly conventional; I had arrived at a mutual friend’s house to meet my boyfriend, and when I arrived I was being heckled for being a ‘slut’. Voldemort had told my ‘friends’ that he and I had done things (bearing in mind I’m 13 at this point) behind my boyfriend’s back. I tried to assure everyone that it was all lies, but this is when Voldemort smacked me in face. I remember my cheek feeling like it was on fire, and my jaw throbbed. I couldn’t even cry, although my eyes filled up and my vision was blurry. He did this to me, to show the room his frustration at me lying. My then boyfriend had turned his back on me and didn’t want to hear it. As I got my coat to leave, Voldemort followed me out the room, pulled me in for a hug and whispered in my ear “You know I did this for ‘us’ right?”. I honestly didn’t know how to react, so I just pulled away and I ran home.

I wanted to tell my Mum, but as someone who never believed a word I said, what was the point? I stopped going out for a while, just vegged at home watching movies feeling sorry for myself and doing my best to avoid those who chose to believe the lies about me. I was mortified and hurt that I genuinely didn’t have a single friend that thought better of me, to know it was rubbish. A few weeks went by and Voldemort started to come around by my Mum’s again, asking for me. I would just get her to say I wasn’t well, or I was out. This didn’t stop him. He’s one determined, relentless person when he wants something. He even started standing outside my bedroom window in the early hours throwing stones at my bedroom window. He then started turning up at my school at breaks/lunches, begging me to listen to him. Eventually I gave in. I just wanted him to go away and leave me alone.

He suggested that we go for a walk, as it was a sunny night. I went and dropped my school bag at home, and we set off toward one of the villages just outside our home town. We just talked and talked, and what started as a serious conversation, ended up a light hearted one. Turned out we had a lot in common, our love of 80’s action movies for one! We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company that much, that we ended up 3 villages away! And it was getting dark. With this being in the days before mobile phones, and us being so far away from home, we attempted to jog most of the way back. When I got home, my Mum was so angry with me. Given I’d gone out around 4pm and this was now 10pm. However, Voldemort turned on the charm and the apologised and I was off the hook. We started to spend all our time together. I could see another side to Voldemort, one that he didn’t show to many. The side of him that liked to goof off and have fun. I have so many fond and funny memories of us being together, some still make me laugh.

In our first 3 years together, it was bumpy. We were on again off again. We even saw other people in between our breakups, but we always ended up back together. I was often being told of him cheating on me, but I didn’t believe it. We spent so much of our time together, where was he finding the time? And why would he if he loved me? I lost a lot of friends over this time, due to him cheating and me not believing them. Or the fact he would try it on with them, they would say no, warn me, then I would refuse to believe it possible. He was quite a possessive guy, but I didn’t see it as possessive, I saw it as protective and for the fact that he loved me so much. He would tell me things about my friends, and I would believe him whole heartedly. He would ‘suggest’ that I don’t go to certain social occasions, or not be friends with certain people, and I would just follow his word. He was older, wiser, and loved me, he was only looking out for me. He would encourage me to not go to school, so that we could spend the day together. So, I would just go to his house and lounge around with him all day. I didn’t see it as a bad thing, as I was where I wanted to be, and that was with him. Needless to say, I was head over heels for this guy, and nothing and no-one was going to persuade me any different. Others could see how he was, my best friend tried to warn me relentlessly, but naturally she was just jealous. Perhaps she wanted him for herself?

Voldemort liked to drink. He had been drinking socially from a young age, as did most people my age. He would often have that one drink too many, where his whole demeaner would change. It was like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He could become nasty, saying horrible & hurtful things and often do his best to make me cry. Always, the next day, I’d be met with flowers, a hug and an apology. He’d always do his best to make up for it, and me being the doting girlfriend, I’d believe it and accept. I was no angel of course, I too had a bit of a sharp tongue on me and I could hold my own and retaliate. Often, he would win and I would be the one crying, but that’s not to say I didn’t try and hold my own. It was a volatile relationship to say the least, but hey, we loved each other. Right?



My life spiralled out of control when I was with him. I’d dropped out of school, my parents could see me far enough, I was homeless at 15 and my life was an utter mess. I had my boyfriend though and he loved me, so that’s all that mattered. I was homeless on my 16th Birthday, and my sister insisted that I stay at her house on the eve of it. I did, but I felt awkward in the morning. My baby niece woke up to get her breakfast and here is her waste of space aunt sleeping on the couch. I drank my cup of tea, opened my cards and got out of there sharp. My sister gave me money in a card, and the first thing I wanted to do, was go out and spend the day with my boyfriend.

When I got to his house, my ‘friend’, Lisa, opened the door wearing nothing but his T-Shirt. I just stood there, not knowing if I wanted to hit her or cry. He had then flown to the door when he realised it was me, with some bull excuse. All my ‘friend’ could do was smirk. Voldemort was tripping over his own lies at this point, and then shouted at me for being early. It was agreed I would go to his house for lunch time, not the morning. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. There definitely was no denying his cheating now. I hot footed it out of there and went to my friend, Gordon’s, house where I got very drunk and tried to forget how utterly shambolic my life had become. Gordon said I could stay on his couch that night, and I was glad, as I couldn’t face my sister and having to let her know she was right about him being a waste of space.

The next day, Voldemort found out I’d been staying at Gordon’s house, and he was not happy. Well actually that is an understatement. He was furious. He arrived at the door, causing a scene, shouting obscenities and threats to Gordon. He demanded that I leave with him right there and then, and I did. Gordon’s neighbours were now at their doors threatening to get the police involved if this didn’t stop, what else could I do? As we walked back to his house, I got some excuse about how Lisa had been at his house to see his older brother, not him, and that she only borrowed the T-shirt. He assured me that things looked way worse than they were, and that he loved me. Well, of course I believed him, and then I ended up apologising for running off and not letting him explain.

As the days went on, he kept making snarky comments about Gordon. He would rile himself up and I would try to calm him but he wasn’t for listening. He was telling me that Gordon wanted to sleep me with me, and then would ask me to look him in the eye and assure him I didn’t let anything happen when I stayed. It was continuous. Didn’t matter how much I assured him, he didn’t believe me and his hate for Gordon grew. He told me he didn’t want me to see him anymore. Well I told him no, I was going to keep being his friend. You see, Gordon was my best male friend. He wasn’t a guy that ever looked at me in that way, he was just a nice bloke, that I enjoyed spending time with. He too was older, but always had my back and would do his best to look out for me. He was the one person in my life at that time, I knew would believe me and wouldn’t be like my other so-called-friends. Telling Voldemort no just made him hate Gordon all the more.

The next weekend I popped down to Gordon’s, as I always did, and when I got there he told me about Voldemort paying a visit. He said he was quite threatening and told him to stay away from me, or else. When I asked him what he said to that, he told me “I told him that you were too good for him, and one day you’d see it”. Gordon then shut his door, for Voldemort to start kicking it before giving up and leaving in a rage. I was mortified. Why had he done this, I’d already told him I was going to be Gordon’s friend regardless of what he thought.

One evening, during the week after Christmas, before New Years Eve, Voldemort and I were babysitting for a neighbour of his. I have no idea why this woman let him babysit, as it was just an excuse for him to invite his friends over for a party. The house was jumping, drinks were flowing and the music was blaring. There was a younger girl, I think about 13, called Stacy. She had been acting weird all night and wasn’t very chatty to me. I kind of left her to it, perhaps she was just shy. Well no, as the night went on, she got more emotional, and left a letter for Voldemort in the kitchen. I walked in on him reading it and asked to see, he said no. Tore it into confetti and threw it out of the window. I was furious. As I looked out the kitchen window, I could see the girl now standing at the bus stop at the top of the road, just looking down, as if she were waiting. I said to him, “well if you won’t tell me what’s going on, she will”. I went for the front door, he chased me down and pushed me against it. He then forced me into the bathroom where he locked the door. He was telling me to stop being so nosey and just to leave it. I was then being shouted at for always trying to involve myself in things that don’t concern me. It was then I realised that I’d seen this defensive behaviour before. I felt my heart sink. I looked him right in the eye, and I asked him “Have you been doing anything with this girl?”, and instead of a flat no, I just got abuse back. Arguing got heated, we were now screaming at each other. He tried to grab me and move me out of the way of the door I was now trying to get out of. I slapped him. Hard. He didn’t even flinch. He shoved me again. So, I slapped him again. He then picked me up and threw me, and I mean literally threw me, into the bathtub. He held me by the scruff and repeatedly punched me in the head. He then opened the bathroom door and dragged me up the hall by my hair. People were  in the Livingroom playing the PlayStation with the music blaring, bar a few stood in the kitchen who watched this unfold. He threw me onto the bed and continued to punch me until I fell to the floor where he repeatedly kicked me until I was unconscious. I woke up to the boy who were supposed to be babysitting telling me the police were on their way. I don’t remember too much after the fact, just that I felt disoriented and really sore.

My friends Kerry & Lori had been phoned and they promptly marched up to see if I was ok. Lori helped me get myself sorted and got me some water. She also tried to help me get my shoes on, but my feet were so swollen from trying to defend myself that I couldn’t. When the police eventually arrived, I refused to give a statement, go to the hospital or press charges. I just wanted to know that he was ok. Can you actually believe that? I’m shaking my head at myself as I wrote that. My only concern was that he didn’t hate me, and that he wasn’t now with this girl Stacy. I told the police it was all my fault and that if I didn’t slap him, he wouldn’t have hit me. I told them that it was entirely instigated and deserved.

I stayed at Kerry’s that night, and when word got to Gordon of what had happened, he came up to visit me the next day. He couldn’t believe the state of me. I was a complete mess. Gordon tried to tell me that this was the wakeup call I needed, and that I needed to get out of the relationship, move back home and get my life in order. I assured him that this was a one off, that I deserved it and explained how I’d slapped him and instigated it all with my meddling.

Whilst we were talking in Kerry’s Livingroom, the door went and it was Voldemort. Kerry was refusing to let him in, and things were getting heated. I could hear him demanding to know if Gordon was in. I knew I had to go to the door to calm things down. When I got to there, he was so apologetic. He told me that he’d had too much to drink, and that he would never ever do that to me again. I didn’t want to bring any trouble to Kerry, or Gordon, so I quickly got my stuff and headed back to his house. My friends were so annoyed with me. After all that, I still went back. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see what I saw, that Voldemort was just misunderstood and the only one to get him was me. In fact, that was something he would say to me often, that I was the only one who truly got him and it made me feel special. Like I was the only one who ever truly knew him, and that helped me rationalise the way things were.

New Year’s Eve that year was explosive. Not because it was going to be the year 2000, and the world was predicted to end, but because he turned again. We were in his neighbour’s house for a party, and there were a few old female friends there, one of which he was getting very friendly with, despite me being stood right there. I sat there and took the flirting and the laughing, but when the touching started I said something. He and I started arguing, and he dragged me up the hall toward the bathroom again. I was scared, and still very much bruised from earlier in the week. I managed to push past him and get into the bathroom first, and I locked the door. He started kicking it and shouting abuse at. I had some credit in my phone so I texted my sister who was out for a new year’s eve party, told her I was trapped in a bathroom. I didn’t have much credit and back then, you know, not much characters. Needless to say, she phoned me quite frantically wanting to know what was going on. I explained the best I could and she told me she was coming to get me. I held tight in that bathroom, all the while I had Voldemort shouting through the door, his neighbour now shouting threats for me to get out her house. I would have gladly done so, if I didn’t fear him grabbing me on my way past. I’d seen this look in his eye before, and I wasn’t being subjected to that again.

A good while had gone by and I hear someone from the party shout “I think that’s her sister out there”, I was so relieved. Next thing I hear the front door open and my sister demand to know where I was. I felt safe enough to open up the bathroom room door at this point and I legged it toward her. I had completely ruined my sister’s night, as she was stood there with her best friend Cathy, my brother-in-law and Cathy’s partner. They’d all left a big party in town, to come and save me. I felt terrible, but also relieved that I’d gotten out of that house. Voldemort tried to follow us, as he wanted to talk to me, but my brother-in-law managed to politely persuade him to stay put. Once in my sisters, I went to lay down on my niece’s bed when I heard someone shouting my name outside. There was Voldemort, shouting threats up to the house. Demanding that I go outside and go home with him now. I was about to go, as I didn’t want the trouble, until my sister told me under no certain circumstances was that happening. The next day my Sister gave me a talking to, and begged me to get my life in order, she then phoned my Mum and asked her to please let me come home. I moved back home that afternoon and focused on the job I was starting in January.

I had only been home a day or so, when I got a phone call from Gordon. We hadn’t spoken since the day I left Kerry’s. He was telling me that he was surprised to have not heard from me, or had a visit. I explained that things had just been so up in the air, and given how Voldemort had felt about him, it was best to keep some distance. It was then Gordon dropped a bombshell on me. He was just out of hospital, having spent nearly a week in recovery. Voldemort had gone to his house late one night, kicked the door in, pinned him under his covers as he slept and proceeded to hit him in the face with his house phone. Now, back then, house phones were like bricks! He had broken Gordon’s cheek bone, and he’d had to have reconstructive surgery as his eye had been hanging out. How had I not known? How could this have happened to one of my bestest friends, and I not know? I tell you why, because Voldemort had kept me so wrapped up in him. I was so angry and upset for Gordon. He didn’t deserve this. All he had ever been was my friend. I offered to go up and visit him and apologised profusely, but he asked that I leave it that evening, as he was just so tired.

The very next day my Mum took me up with some stuff for his fridge and some goodies, you know, given he’d been in hospital I would have thought shopping was furthest from his list. I could tell he was thankful, but still annoyed at me for not knowing or visiting. I stayed with him all day, and put my mobile off to avoid an argument with Voldemort. I couldn’t stop looking at the stitches around Gordons eye. It looked so bad. I felt terrible.  I got so angry, I was determined to give Voldemort what for. The next day I marched to his house to demand answers. When I got there, he was so blasé, clearly thinking I still didn’t know. I just barked at him “What the **** did you do to Gordon?”, and you know what my response was? A smile! An actual smile. No words, just a smile that spoke a thousand words. He walked away from me, headed to his room and took a seat, then shouted “Well are you coming through?”. I was so angry, I marched through and just stood staring at him. He eventually looked up at me and said “Look, baby (yes this was my pet name), he had it coming. No-one gets to speak to me like that…”. Speak to him like that? What? When? What even is he on about? I took the time to remind him, rather angrily, that he was the one with the problem and that Gordon was nothing but good to me, and that’s what he didn’t like. That hit a nerve. Voldemort then shouted at me and told me that Gordon only wanted one thing from me, and that I was too stupid to see it, but that he’d now set him straight. He then demanded to know how I knew, so I told him, and that made him even more furious. He started shouting about how he’d clearly not learned his lesson. I couldn’t take his shouting at this point, I was too angry, and I couldn’t believe he could do such a thing. I went home and we didn’t speak for days, as I refused to turn my mobile on and listen to any more of his shouting. That was it, I was done.

When I started my first ever job as a tax paying adult I was excited. My excitement was short lived though, as I sat on the bus double checking that I had enough foundation on my hands to cover the bruises I still had. My lips were still sore, as was my nose and hands, but thankfully not as noticeable. At lunchtime, I went to head along to the shop for lunch, and who was waiting outside for me? Yup, Voldemort. Here he was, waiting to take me to lunch to celebrate my first day. He took me to a local pub, for a meal, where he slid a box over the table. Inside was a beautiful necklace, one I’d seen a few weeks before and said I liked. I knew this was his way of apologising, and I was quite taken with the fact he’d even remembered that I’d seen it and liked it. I didn’t even remember. By the time we left the pub, I’d almost forgotten why I was angry at him. Gordon was but a distant memory, and all I could see was the charming, funny guy, that had always been there for me. We kissed, we made up, and everything felt like it was going to be ok. I was back home, I had a job, things were better between me and my family, Voldemort was looking to be sincere, all was good. At the end of the week, I got my first pay packet. My first job paid me £60 a week, and gave me a monthly bus pass. At 16, and living at home, I felt pretty well off. I suggested that Voldemort and I go out, however, he’d already made plans to babysit for his neighbour. I can’t say I was thrilled, but I thought that a takeaway and a movie would suffice.

There was no party that night, just he and I watching 80’s action movies, and it was a great night. I started to dose off, until I felt him get up, and he told me that he needed to nip out for something, when I asked what, he came up with some lame reason of owing someone money. I had no reason to doubt him, so I told him it was fine, I’d stay awake and wait on him getting back. Over an hour went by and he still wasn’t back, I was worried that something was wrong. I wasn’t too sure what to do, should I go and get his parents and let them know? After a good while of pacing, and debating what to do, he came in the door looking like he’d been running. I asked him if everything was ok, and he assured me he was fine, he just got the address wrong and it was further than he thought, so he tried to run there and back. Again, no reason to doubt him, so I left it.

The next day, I got a call from Gordon’s flat mate, John, to say their house had been set on fire. John had been out at a party and had come home to the house being ablaze and the firemen putting it out. They lived in a block of flats, and they were two up, meaning that Gordon had to jump out of the Livingroom window to get out. The firemen had gone on to explain that the main gas pipes for the building ran along the back of their front door and the whole block was very lucky they got there when they did. I honestly couldn’t believe it. John then starts telling me he thinks it was Voldemort. I told him there was no way, as I was with him all night. Then it dawned on me. He left to go give someone money back, but did he? I had no idea what to think, but I didn’t want to let onto John that I wasn’t sure. I asked if Gordon was ok, and wanted to know what ward I could go and visit him in, but John said he wasn’t in the hospital long, as he had been sectioned, due to his ramblings of people wanting to kill him. It then transpired that Voldemort had been paying visits to their flat regularly and following Gordon when he was out and about, to tell him about all the things he was going to do to him if he had the chance. I found this to be farfetched. I mean seriously? I get that Voldemort didn’t like him, but stalking him? No way. I refused to believe it. I also refused to believe that he could torch a house. That is seriously ****ed up! No sooner did I put the phone down on John, I was on the phone to Voldemort. I didn’t let on about Gordon, I just asked what he was up to and could I pop round.

I got ready, headed over, and we just sat and chilled in his room. I wanted to gauge how he was. In all honesty, he was perfectly calm. He was laughing, joking, being his usual goofy self, and I just couldn’t believe he would do such thing. So, I decided to kind of dance around the subject, by asking about this place he had to go the night before. He was just being evasive and vague. He couldn’t just give me a street name, then he started to get quite curt with me, then he started shouting at me for not believing him, when at no point had I said I didn’t. We began arguing, and it was getting pretty heated, and I blurted out what had happened to Gordon’s house. Again, no denial. He just sat back down and shrugged, then looked at me as if to say “And?”.  It was then I knew it was him. I just asked him why, and he remained quiet. I started shouting at him to talk to me, to answer me, but still I got nothing. He proceeded to lay back on his bed and put on the TV, turning it up to drown me out. So, pulled the plug on the TV, and demanded that he answer me. He got up, and got right in my face, and calmly told me “The ****ard deserved it. If he knew how to take a telling…”, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He was a mad man, and felt justified. He then goes on to tell me how he did it; he had been wearing a jumper that night, that he’d taken off when we were cosied up watching the movie. When he told me he was leaving, he took this with him, but not before going into his own house and taking a canister of his Dad’s lighter fluid. He then went to Gordon’s house, stuffed the jumper in his letter box, soaked it in lighter fluid, set it on fire and ran. He then ran as far and as fast as he could, so as to get his face on the CCTV camera’s in another part of the neighbourhood, and then slowly walked back and thought up a lie to tell me. He then admitted to running the last bit, to make his story to me more believable. I honestly cannot put into words how I felt hearing all of this. It was a very surreal moment. This was the moment I knew, how utterly off the wall he was. A definite psychopath.

Now, you would think that after reading all of that, I would have left, right? Surely, I would have to be smart enough to know, that this is just not on? Well no, I didn’t leave at all. If anything, I felt he needed me more. His Mum and Dad were both drinkers. His Dad was verbally and physically abusive to everyone in the house. His Mum? Well if you ask me, she drank to get through a day. She was not without fault, but she was someone I had a lot of time for. She was a kind woman, who did a lot for me when I had nothing and no-one to lean on. She was always good at taking time to just talk to me and make sure I was ok. One night, she and I were watching whatever the made-for-tv movie  was on Channel 5, when she told me how good she thought I was for Voldemort. She felt that I brought out a happier side to him, and that she wanted me to look after him. I took this as the ramblings of a drunk woman, and just chose to nod and agree to appease her so we could get back to the movie. It was only when Voldemort was admitting the things he had done, that these words resonated with me. Did his Mum know he was a complete psycho? Did she honestly think that I could help? I made the decision to stand by him, but I made it more than clear I was less than happy with it.

Things were strained between us after this, as I found I doubted most of things he said to me. It also made me wary to make time for my friends, especially my male friends. He was relatively ok with me going to Kerry’s house, as she lived right next to him, and he would often just pop over or even call to speak to me. At the time, I thought this was him looking out for me. Looking back? I realise it was him keeping tabs on me. He always liked to know where I was, and to make sure that no guys were around.

A few weeks went by, and I eventually got the chance to visit Gordon in the hospital he’d been admitted to. I didn’t tell anyone I was going, not even Kerry, for fear it would get back to Voldemort. The hospital was very dated, with horrible 70’s style brown carpets, smoke stained looking walls and dated furniture. The place even had a horrible stale smell, almost like a charity shop kind of smell. I waited in this big room with lots of chairs, for a nurse to bring Gordon through. He was only in his Jeans & socks. They’d stripped him of anything he could harm himself with. He looked grey and very withdrawn. You see, Gordon had suffered with anxiety/depression prior to this, but the stress that Voldemort had put him under had broken him. He was almost unrecognisable. I didn’t know what else to do, I felt like I was going to cry, but then I felt like I had no right to cry, as this was all my fault. I just wrapped my arms around him and we hugged for quite some time. We just sat there, in silence, as I believe neither of us knew what to say. I broke the silence and told him how sorry I was, and he said that he didn’t blame me, that he knew it was all down to Voldemort. We talked about what happened, the ordeal he went through when Voldemort broke into his house, and then when his home was set on fire. Gordon also explained that he was now going to be pressing charges for the assault, and that Voldemort should be expecting the police. I knew that was the right thing to do, but I also worried about how Voldemort would react. This made me more concerned for Voldemort, and in turn Gordon. I tried to persuade Gordon not to, but his mind was made up. When I left the hospital that day, I promised we’d not lose touch, and we agreed to write to each other. We did for a short time, but eventually I just stopped writing, due to circumstance. I often think of Gordon, and I’ve tried to find him on social media and I can’t. I wonder if he’s better now, if he’s happy, and if he’s ever forgiven me for not being there. I know if I was him, I wouldn’t.

Soon after, Voldemort was arrested and put into the local cells overnight. As this was not his first offence, he was stood before a judge the next day and he was sentenced to 6 weeks remand until a further hearing could be had to set a court date.  He was furious, as were his parents. They looked at me, like this was my fault, as Gordon was my friend. It was as good as said, that I can’t be friends with Gordon, as how could he do this to Voldemort. I mean really? Did these people hear what was said  in the court room? what he was being accused of? As I did, and I could fully understand the reason. In the 6 weeks he was away, it was tough. I’d not been away from him this long. I would visit him twice a week with his Dad, and each time we went, Voldemort was more and more riled about the whole thing. The time in Jail wasn’t giving him time to reflect, it was giving him time to stew and plot.

With him away, I got my stuff in order at home, and my Dad had even talked me into applying for college in Glasgow, so I could live with him. I’d always wanted to live with my Dad growing up, you know, the grass is always greener kind of thing. This really did sound like a good idea, but I didn’t want to tell Voldemort. No point upsetting him if I didn’t get in. Everything was picking up momentum for me, and I was starting to find myself in a good place, and then he was home. Things just slipped back nicely into the old routine, and no longer was I considering college in Glasgow, but I didn’t dare tell my Dad. Not after all the talking we’d done about it.

On the day of my interview for the college, my Dad called to make sure I was up and ignored the call. He then kept calling and calling, so I had no choice but to answer. I quite abruptly told him that I wasn’t going. Well, if any of you reading this know my Dad, you’ll know that telling him what’s what, is never a good idea. He was furious with me. He told me he was coming to get me and not taking no for an answer. I thought he was joking, or just making an angry threat like parents do. Well, give it an hour, and here he was. He marched into the house, took the contents of my wardrobe, and a few other personal items and frog marched me into his car. Voldemort was there, and was trying to reason with my Dad. Never a good idea when he’s on a mission, best place is to be out of the way. I just did as I was told and I cried all the way to Glasgow. I didn’t want to leave Voldemort.

My Dad lived in a lovely house, with his then girlfriend Jennifer. I was brought into the house and had the lay of the land dictated to me. I was to find a job, get my life in order, and to forget Voldemort. I was even banned from using the phone. My Mum came home from work that night to find my room ransacked and me gone. My sister called the house and my Dad advised that he had me, not to worry, but that he was going to sort me out. My head was a mess, but I knew deep down my Dad was right and that I needed to get a grip, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Voldemort and how much he needed me. Yes, I was that delusional.

I wrote a letter to Voldemort explaining that things were over, that I needed to get my life in order, etc. I sent it, and within a couple of days I had a letter back, one that my Dad intercepted and decided to read out. He was furious that I’d put his address on the letter and that we were still in touch. He agreed to let me phone him, so long as he was in the room and I told Voldemort that enough was enough, we were through. I got a job as an Office Junior, within a large printing firm. It was a great job, and I even had my own customer. I was on really good money, and found that I was starting to make friends. I even met a guy, Shaun, who worked for BT as an engineer. He had a job, his own car, half a clue and was pretty cute. My Dad didn’t like him as he was 19 and I was only 16, but he was a lovely guy. When he would come to pick me up for a date, he would bring flowers for my ‘Mum’. I never explained that Jennifer wasn’t my Mum, as I just didn’t want to have to explain the meh parts of myself. When I went out with Shaun I was just me. I didn’t talk about things back home, he knew nothing of Voldemort, he just knew I was from out of town. We dated for a couple of months, going to the Cinema, Ice Skating, drives, walks, meals etc. It was lovely, and he was lovely, but, he wasn’t Voldemort.

I would think of Voldemort often, and wonder how he was doing. Was he getting in more trouble without me being there? These thoughts got the better of me, and one day when the office was quiet, I used my desk phone to call him. He sounded so happy to hear it was me. We talked for some time, but I explained that my Dad had taken away my mobile and that I wasn’t allowed to use the house phone, as they’d put a dial code on it. I would phone him most days from work, when I got the chance, and we would talk about missing each other. That was it, I had to go home. I couldn’t be this far away. One day when my Dad left for work, I would usually walk with him, but I told him I was running late so would catch him up. I threw all of my stuff into a bag, well the stuff I could manage, and I got a taxi to work. I then told my boss that my Mum had taken unwell so that day would be my last but I would work until lunch time. I did this, so that if my Dad wanted to meet for lunch, he wouldn’t be suspicious. I then got a taxi to the bus station and made my way home.

In our daily conversations, Voldemort and I had spoken about getting our own home together. We thought this would solve a lot of our problems, having our own space. His Mum and Dad knew I was coming back, and had agreed to let me stay with them until we got our own place. It wasn’t long, say, maybe 2 months of waiting. So here I am, 16, completely estranged from any kind of friends, my family are furious, but I’m now moved in with my boyfriend, so the world is rosy. I also had a new job, working as a telemarketer for a local computer peripherals company. Voldemort still didn’t have a job, but, I was confident he would at least try. He did a lot of on-the-side work, but nothing that warranted a national insurance stamp. For the first while, things were good. We had a home, we had parties, we went out to pubs, I mean, we didn’t have furniture, and we didn’t have food, but we partied. I thought this was how life was supposed to be for us. Work and live for the weekend. Voldemort started staying out a lot, not coming home for days at a time. Every time he’d come home he’d have another excuse as to why. I knew deep down he was cheating, but without proof? We argued a lot. He was always drinking, even from early hours some days. He was turning into his Dad. Our arguments would get heated a lot and would often turn violent. I could see when he had that face on him, and I knew he would just goad a fight. Sit and pick holes in nothing, to rile an argument so he could justify walking out for days at a time, or raising his hands. I became savvy to when he was going to hit me. You could see his eyes narrow and his jaw clench, it would be at that point I would prepare to hit back. For a time, I would take it, as if I didn’t hit back, I may only get a slap, or a shove, and he’d leave it, but then I decided to defend myself. Why should I be putting up with the occasional slap?

There was one time, we’d been decorating the Livingroom, so we had a pasting table up, with a hammer, pasting brush, rolls of paper etc. He’d gone out with his mates, came back in a bit of a state. I was annoyed because the decorating had been stopped, the paste had been left out and I’d been at work all day and here he was, in a state. The argument didn’t take long to turn nasty. I asked him to leave, and he wouldn’t. Told me it was his house too, and that he’ll do whatever he likes. So, he flipped the pasting table, everything went everywhere. I was furious. He lunged for me, but I picked up the hammer and held it out. Told him if he took another step toward me, I’d hit him with it. He didn’t believe me. He went to grab my hair, and I just went for it. I whacked him right in the ribs with it. He let out a yelp and shouted that I was a ‘crazy b****’. I then warned him to get out, before I hit him again, so he left. This didn’t stop him from coming back later that night with a friend of his, threatening to kick the door in, if I didn’t let him into his house. There was broken floor tile in the hall, just behind the front door, and a bit of skirting the council had left when they fixed my stairs, so I wedged that under the handle, then against the broken tile and I stayed awake all night for fear he’d get in.



Our first year living together was like something out a terrible soap opera. One minute we were the happy couple, the next ripping lumps out of each other. It was a very abusive and negative relationship, but despite all of this, I would still tell you I loved him. I now saw this as partly my fault, as I was now hitting back. I now saw myself to be as bad as him. Not long after our first Christmas living together, his Mum died. This hit him really hard, and for a while I thought he was going to go completely off the rails. He started drinking more, doing more drugs, showing absolutely no signs of wanting to build this life we talked about, get a job, or even try to become a better person. He had completely flipped. He was in trouble with the police more than ever, the violence between us had gotten worse, everything was just a mess. Then I found out I was pregnant. Voldemort was over the moon, he loved telling people how he was going to be a Dad. He would talk about all the things he was going to do, and what he was going to change, and I couldn’t have been happier. Maybe this was the incentive he needed?

The drinking curbed, he was getting more on-the-side work, he went on a decorating spree and finished all the jobs he’d been promising for months. He decorated the spare bedroom in preparation for being able to buy a cot. He was much nicer to me, there was no fighting, and he honestly couldn’t do enough for me. I could almost see a bit of the old, goofy Voldemort coming back. When he found out we were having a boy, he was elated. He was going to educate him in all things awesome like Rocky, Star Wars, Van damme, Queen, teach him boxing etc.

When I was about 6 months pregnant, we made the decision that I would quit my job, and that he would go out and work full time, so that I could be an at home Mum for the first few years. Check us out, being all adult. I could honestly see us being a great little family. This little bubble didn’t last long. He was arrested by the police for an outstanding warrant for something he’d done long before. This put him on remand for 2 months. In that time, I really struggled to get out to see him as often as I had before. Mainly due to being pregnant and out of work, and his Dad no longer fit to drive as much. By the time he got home, and was acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence, he wasn’t quite as happy as when he left. Understandable though, he’d just been in prison for 2 months. He started drinking again, but still wasn’t being horrible or violent. I just left him to it. He’d been through a lot in this past year.

On the day our son was born, he was distant. He’d had a lot of stuff going on within his family, mainly arguments regarding his Dad, that had set him off. So, what was supposed to be our happy day, had a big shadow over it. Even once we were up on the ward, I could see he was forcing the smiles. It didn’t take long for the snark comments to start. I was in hospital for 3 days, due to a C-Section, on the 3rd day he rushed the nurses to get a doctor to sign me out. He then left me to push the pram and to bump it up however many flights of stairs. He also insisted on walking ahead of me, rather than with me. I wasn’t even in the door an hour and my Mum appeared with her friend with lots of goodies and gifts. Voldemort didn’t even sit with us, he just went up the stairs to sleep, as it had been a long day for him. I was barely holding it together. Here I am, 18, new born, and what was supposed to be one of the happiest moments, just wasn’t. He was no help to me at all, and would often complain that I wasn’t ‘doing it right’ if I couldn’t calm our son straight away. We’d been home 2 weeks, when my Mum insisted on getting me out the house for a while, when I came back I had a note from Voldemort telling me he couldn’t do this anymore. He’d packed up all of his stuff and had left. To say I was beside myself, would be an understatement. Mum assured me all would be ok, and that she and my sister would look out for me. That made me feel ok, until she left and I realised how alone I was.

Voldemort came back a week or so later, it wasn’t too long, but he didn’t stay long either. My Dad then got involved and offered us to move into a flat he owned in another city, one where we could try to be a family. We agreed, and moved that month. It was honestly the worst decision of my life. All this did was put me into a city with nothing and no-one, where Voldemort could treat me as he pleased, and leave me on my own. He would often say he was going places, and just not come back for days/weeks at a time. The best one to date is when he said he was going to the doctors, and I didn’t see him for 3 weeks. That was some appointment. Or no, wait, the time he said he was nipping out for rice, came back with the rice but told me some guy was offering him a fight so he had to go. I think it was about 2 weeks that time. Every time he came back, I would have no rhyme or reason as to where he’d been.

When my eldest was 6 months old I found out I was 3 months pregnant with twins. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I was sobbing in the hospital after my scan. I was barely coping with one, never mind 3? What in the hell was I going to do? Voldemort thought this was great, another bragging topic. He certainly wasn’t over the moon at being a Dad. Not long before I had my twins, Voldemort’s Dad died. Well if I thought he’d been a psycho before, I’d seen nothing. He went well and truly off the rails. He’d gotten in with a really rough crowd, back to drinking and doing drugs all the time, the abuse started again. It was by far the most horrible time of my adult life.

He would ridicule me for getting fat, but in the same breath get angry at my Dad for pointing out the weight I’d gained. He would give me the occasional slap, shove, dig, for saying things he didn’t like, but tell me he loved me. He would manipulate the people around me to hate me, like friends I tried to make or my neighbours by telling them lies. He cheated on me profusely, lied to me constantly and was an all-round ***hole.

He once got a job in the local abattoir, but lost it soon after, didn’t tell me, and would proceed to get up and ‘go to work’ every day. To this day I still don’t know where he was going. It begs belief. He was just waiting until he couldn’t explain why he wasn’t being paid. There were times when I had to barricade the door and call the police, and then sit on the phone to my sister until they came. Thanks to Voldemort, his police record, and his violent tendencies toward me, we had social workers involved in our lives for a number of years. I know they meant the best, and they definitely helped me, but I still felt like my life was under a microscope whilst he got to do as he pleased.

I couldn’t afford to work and pay for childcare for 3 children, not with my education level that was for sure. I had done the calculations with the job centre and it just didn’t work out for me. So, I took on things like Kleeneze & Oriflame. When doing Oriflame I met a woman, Denise, who I became really quite friendly with. Her husband worked for a local cleaning group that had gotten a contract for the local shopping mall and he was looking for more workers, I mentioned Voldemort and he said that he’d give him a shot. Things were looking up. I had a steady job, that paid a little, but felt I was doing something, and now he had a job. He was put through training courses and appeared to be enjoying his job. This was until, he told me he was working overtime thanks to a BHS blue cross sale, that he wasn’t working at all. He had been sleeping with one of the young girls on his shift, and was caught in the public toilets.

He’d been planning to run away with her, but needed money. When he didn’t come home that night, I was worried something had happened as no-one knew where he was. Eventually, he came through the door, early hours, walked quite casually into the Livingroom, picked up the box we were saving the kids Christmas money in, took it all and left. Moved to Aberdeen. When I tried to call Denise to find out what had happened, she shouted at me on the phone, told me my family had done enough and to never speak to her again. So here I am, no friends again, no partner, no money and now with 3 kids to support. Later I found out from a neighbour, who was a mutual friend of Denise and I, that Voldemort had been telling the women he worked with that I’d left him on his own, and that he was without any money, food, furniture etc. This woman he worked with felt for him, and was bringing him in food and giving him money. This was until, he was caught for lying, and then it was thought I was in on this scam and that we were pocketing the money. I was honestly mortified. It was this money he used to take out his new bit of fluff.

Of all the things that man had ever did to me, and everyone else around me. All the violence, threats, verbal abuse, lies, stress etc, he had never ever made me feel as low as this whole situation. I was exactly 7 days from my birthday, I was 19 years old, and the arse had quite literally just fallen out of my world. I tried my best to sleep that night, but I just couldn’t. 101 worries racing through my head, all of which I couldn’t see solution for. I felt helpless and probably the loneliest I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t believe he would do this our kids. How could someone, do this to their own children??? The ones he claimed to love so dearly. The very children he bragged about. I felt my heart break that day. Not just for me, but for our children. What kind of life was I going to be able to provide? What kind of **** were they going to grow up in?

Voldemort would phone the house every day, to see how the kids were. He would also flaunt his new relationship down the line to me. Telling me how pretty and amazing Vicky was. How he’s finally found someone who makes him happy, and who he loves. Those words cut deeper than any words he’d ever spoken before. After all the **** I’d put up with? After all the times I’d stood by him, when I knew quite clearly how wrong he was? All the friends I’d lost, the bad decisions I’d made, the situation I was in, all because of him! Thankfully I did have help from social work, and they had this volunteer program where people would be assigned to come and help, even if that meant just watching over the kids whilst I went to the shop. I did my best to pull myself together, with their help, and get on.  When it got to my birthday, I got another call from Voldemort. He sang Happy Birthday down the phone to me, whilst laughing, with Vicky in the background. I just hung up, and he kept trying to ring back. I just pulled the phone from the wall. How horrible and callous is that? Why even bother?? He chose to leave me, so why flaunt it in my face? I will never understand that part of it. He was out to hurt me, and he succeeded.

Two days before Christmas I got a call from his brother, advising me that Voldemort was now at his house, as he’d managed to piss off the wrong people in Aberdeen and was now wanted. I’m sorry, and what would you like me to do about this? Well, it looks like his brother can’t put him up, and given it’s Christmas could I let him spend it with his kids? I said no, and hung up. Few hours later, I have his brother on my door step, just wanting to chat. He manages to talk me into feeling bad for Voldemort and agreeing to have him home for Christmas. Totally playing on the fact the kids miss him etc. I let him back in, another really bad decision by me. He came home for Christmas, full of apologies, saying that he wasn’t himself, that she brought out the worst in him blah blah blah. I let him stay, but he was on the couch. He was warned we were over, and that I’d had enough and should he ever feel he wants to leave again, to not let the door hit him on the way out. It was at this point he no longer had a hold over me. I could no longer say ‘but, I love him’. I didn’t. Quite the opposite, I hated him, with every fiber of my being.

Months went by, with him sleeping on the couch. We would just go about our own thing, and if he went out and didn’t come back, no longer was I staying up all night worrying. Instead, I was hoping he’d reconciled with Vicky. The fact I could see him far enough, he realised he no longer had the same hold over me. He knew things were now very different. He would try hard to goof of and be charming, but no longer did it work. No longer did I care. This just made him try harder, and one night he actually asked if we could try again, that he missed me, etc. I have no idea what on earth was going on my head, maybe he caught me off guard, but I agreed. Here we were, trying again.

He had yet another job, working for an antique furniture place, doing their removals and helping restore old furniture. He was no longer leaving for days/weeks at a time, and things were starting to settle. I didn’t have the same optimism I once had, and I no longer felt like we were going to be a happy family. I literally took each day at a time. Has he gone to work and came home? Yes. Very Good. We plodded on for a while, neither of us happy. I had honestly resolved myself to this being my life. Being stuck with an utter waste of space for the rest of my days.

One night our neighbour had invited us on a night out with a few friends. We’d never really been invited anywhere since moving there, so thought it a good idea to get a break. When we were out, he was keeping pace with the rest of men out, and I could see how the night was going. I was only having a small drink, as I wanted to keep my wits about me, just in case he kicked off.

I spent the whole night, not enjoying myself, as I was watching him. Looking for his face to change, or his mannerisms to become exaggerated. By the time we got to the night club, he was completely plastered, but for the most part still OK company. I was keeping an eye, but doing my best not to engage with him so as to not kick something off. When we were all inside, we all got a little lost from each other in the crowd. I eventually found my neighbour and her friends on the dancefloor, but no sign of Voldemort. I had a little walk about, only to find him, sitting with some girl, arm around her, looking very intimate. Not a girl we’d been out with, and not one I’d seen before. I couldn’t believe it. The man just cannot help how he’s wired. I about turned, and headed for the exit. He was coming after me, grabbing at me, trying to quite literally twist my arm up my back to stop me leaving. I managed to get the attention of the security, and I told them and I’d never met this man before and he’d been harassing me. They took care of him, whilst I ran off to a taxi with the only house key. When I got home, I packed up all his stuff, and left it at the front door. In the morning, I woke up my Mum and asked if I could move back with her, reluctantly she said yes. We packed up her Toyota Corolla with everything my kids owned, except for furniture, and I left. I managed to get some money together to put my kid’s furniture into storage and I signed our flat over to Voldemort. I’d had enough and I wished to god he’d stay where he was.

My Mum lives in a two-bedroom house, so it was a bit of squeeze having me and my 3 kids there. Me and the kids shared my old bedroom, so my eldest got my old bed, and the twins and I shared the sofa bed. I didn’t even care that we were all cramped in a small bedroom, I was just so relieved to be home. We hadn’t been home very long, when I got a call from Voldemort’s brother saying he was living with him. It wasn’t long after that, when Voldemort started coming around to my Mum’s, begging and pleading me to take him back. He was sorry. Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know. That man spends his life being sorry. He would then ask the kids if he should stay for a bit, well naturally they’re going to say yes! My Mum even started to fall for his bull, and was suggesting that I hear him out and take him back. He stayed for a couple of nights, but it wasn’t working. I made him go again, and he was less than happy. He started the whole “without you I have nothing”. I honestly didn’t care, I just wanted him gone. He left and we didn’t see him for a while.

Then, one night I woke up to him kissing my forehead. The room was dark, and I was trying to adjust my eyes, and all I could see was a figure standing over me. I lay there, unable to speak, just staring, wondering if I was still dreaming or not, that was until he said, “You know I love you?”. What the actual ****? I sat up and just took a moment to process. He then started to walk out of the room, but stumbled on something, he was quite clearly drunk. My Mum started to shout through, asking what was going on. Voldemort then tries to shush me, so she goes back to sleep, but I won’t be shushed, and not from him. I shouted back to her, that Voldemort was in the house. She darted through and asked him what he was playing at, and how he got in. He’d managed to get his arm in side my Mum’s Livingroom window (she keeps it open as she smokes), and push the little button to open it wider. When Mum had escorted him down the stairs, it had turned out he’d then got her shed key, and gotten my brother-in-law’s push bike out the shed and was planning on taking that with him. How long had he been in the house? How long had he been standing over me? We got him out of the house, and made sure that all doors and windows were fully locked.

Voldemort continued to call the house, turn up unannounced and was just generally a nuisance. Didn’t matter how many times I said no, he kept coming back like a boomerang. There was one day when I was playing with the kids in the paddling pool out in the front garden, he showed up, drunk and frantic. Demanding to know if I had money. I did, hidden in the back of a cupboard in my Mum’s kitchen, but this was for when we got a house of our own, to help with moving. I told him no, and he refused to believe me. He tried to push past me into the house and I tried to push him back out. The kids were now crying as Mum and Dad were fighting. I got them to run inside and head up the stairs, to be away from it. He made his way into the Livingroom, where he started to look for money by pulling the room apart. He was so sure that either me or my Mum would have money hidden. I remember thinking I should get the money out the kitchen cupboard before he found it. He grabbed me in the hallway and told me that if I was lying to him, he’d kill me. I just told him I wasn’t, and I ran up the stairs. I got the kids and put them into my Mum’s room, were we wedged her computer chair under the door handle. He then left, and stood out on the street and proceeded call the house. I stood at the window and watched him, but refused to answer the phone. He started to shout that he’d turned the gas on my Mum’s cooker and was going to throw in a match if I didn’t give him money. I went grey. I opened the bedroom window and shouted that I was going to phone the police. So, he ran back in the house and ripped the phone out of the wall. What he didn’t realise, is that my Mum had a separate, wired, phone in her bedroom. I called the police and explained what was happening. I cannot fault their response time, I’d say that within under 5 minutes I had 2 police cars outside the house. Voldemort ran off at the sound of the sirens, and I frantically ran down stairs to turn off the gas, that was indeed on. When the police were taking a statement, they could see that my Mum’s answering machine had picked up most of the threats, so I had proof of what had been said. This lead to me getting a restraining order against him.

Surely now, that is it? That is the end of it? No. Once I’d moved into our new home, and gotten settled, Voldemort found out where I was. He starts coming around a lot, hanging about outside, in the hopes to speak to me. Again, pleading with me to realise how sorry he is, that he really has changed this time. Eventually he wears me down, again it’s close to Christmas, he’s now homeless, how can I see my kids father homeless at Christmas? I let him back in. Not to be together, I made it very very clear that we were not a couple, and he did sleep on the couch. We were back to doing our own thing, and this suited me fine. He got a job with a local building firm, and things were going ok. Not long after Christmas, my new friends invited us out for a drink. We went, but not as a couple. He did his own thing, I did mine and it was fine. He spent the whole night with some other girl, and you know what? I didn’t even care. Seeing him with others, always gave me hope they’d take him on. He stayed out later than me, as I didn’t want to be too hungover for the kids coming home the next day. When I woke up in the morning, he wasn’t there, again I wasn’t too bothered. When he did come home, it has transpired that he’d gotten himself into some bother on the night out. Bother that would see him in jail for a year eventually. He very much became a wanted man around town, and had to move. He opted to moved closer to his little brother, way down south. This was how I got rid of him. Hallelujah. Not for why he was arrested, but just the fact that I was now rid!

Voldemort has contacted me several times over the years. Sometimes to tell me how much he loves me and misses me. Others to tell me how, if he can’t have me, no-one can. Sometimes he tells me he’s coming for me, and sometimes he’s coming for my husband. I have kept all the conversations via text/social media, should he ever turn up again, although I’m not sure how much help they’ll be. Even with a restraining order, he was still relentless. He’s a very unhinged human being, one of which that does not fear authority.

I was in this relationship for 10 years. 10 very long, very erratic, miserable years. He stole my youth, the very little confidence I ever had, and has made me the woman I am today. That relationship has caused me to hate so many things. I hate my birthday. I tell people it’s because I’m getting older, but it’s because he managed to ruin so many, and it is the anniversary of the saddest birthday I’ve ever had. The birthday when I sat by myself, no money, no hope, and 3 kids to be strong for. I hate my birthday, and refuse to celebrate it. I hate flowers, as he would always buy me them to say sorry. Yet I tell people it’s because I don’t see why we buy living things to watch them die. When really, it just reminds me of every ****ing sorry I ever got that wasn’t real. I hate hugs. Why? Because he’d always hug to make me calm down and defuse an argument. He knew a hug was a way to get around it when he knew he was wrong. I don’t trust what anyone says to me. I doubt everyone around me. Every time my husband tells me he loves me, I doubt it. I doubt that anyone loves me. How could they?

I have spent the last 11 years, trying to be a better person. I do my best to not let the past phase me, or give him the time of day, but I’ll be honest, he crosses my mind a lot. I can go long periods of time not thinking of him at all, but then something will happen that will dredge up a memory and there he is. Consuming my thoughts and my nightmares. I often worry that his threats will come to fruition, leading me to be more anxious. My sister tells me to not be so silly, as if he would actually do those things. Yeah, well, let’s look at Gordon?? There are also way more things that Voldemort has done, even this wall of text only shows the tip of the iceberg. I’ve just picked out, what I feel have been the most poignant things that he’s done.

I have spoken to people about my recent anxieties regarding Voldemort. I had a nightmare not so long ago, that he was back, and found out where we lived. It was so out of the blue, not like I’d been thinking about him prior to going to sleep, or even recently, so it shook me quite a bit. I’ve worried that he’s may be been back a while, and really, how would I know? I wouldn’t. I know it’s totally crazy to think this way, I mean, in all honesty, he’s probably down south, ruining someone else’s life. I know I really shouldn’t worry, but I do. It’s caused me to have restless nights, it’s caused my foul mood for the last fortnight, as I feel that my worrying is stupid, but also that no-one understands. It’s just put down to me having anxiety issues, it’s not taken seriously.



If you have managed to get to this part, well done you. That’s a helluva read eh? I wrote this as I felt that putting it down, would make me feel better. I cannot be sure that it has if I’m honest. Even just thinking about it, makes me upset and angry. The whole situation; The fact I was so stupid and naïve, the fact I still let him upset and scare me. 11 years is a long time, why am I not just over it? To have the one person you love, and who is supposed to love you, make you feel how he made me feel, is tough.

My Mum and my Sister have both been in abusive relationships, and they have quite a nonchalant attitude toward it. Like, you know, it’s happened, get over it. That is very much the attitude in this family for most things. With this though, I struggle. I often wonder if they really understand how bad it was for me, how lonely I truly was, how **** things essentially were? Do they think I’m lying, or exaggerating? Or they do know, and still carry the same opinion of ‘get up, and get on’. The three of us can be described as head strong women, that is for sure, but I wonder if I’m as strong as they are.

I remember being about my youngest sons age, and wakening up to a commotion in the livingroom. When I got up to see what was going on, there was stuff all over the hall, rubbish, pots, plates etc. I could hear my Mum shouting, and her boyfriend at the time, who was hitting her. The house phone had been pulled out of the wall, so I couldn’t call the police. My mum shouted at me to get my Sister (not the police?), who was staying at a friend’s house. I grabbed my mum’s  phone book, and ran. I had to run through the housing scheme, in my PJ’s, to find a phone box and make a collect call. I was 9! My mum remained in that relationship for years, and that was by no means the last time I had to deal with a situation like that, on my own. My sister has also been through some **** in her time, and she just seems to stride through it. Me? Well I develop an anxiety disorder and dwell on it for 11 years. What the **** Is that even about?

When I was in counselling, way back in the beginning of my diagnosis, we spoke at length about my relationship with Voldemort, and my childhood, although never in much detail. This blog is the most honest I’ve been regarding my previous relationship. My husband knows what I’ve been through, mainly through knowing me for 22 years, and being privy to some of the things I was subjected to. Really close friends know some things about my ex, but not a lot of the details.

Maybe doing this blog, and getting out what I’ve been thinking about, won’t help me to feel any better about it, but maybe someone else can relate? Maybe you have been me and have found a way to just get over it? To any of you who can relate, I hope you have seen the light and have left. To any of you who can relate, and still live through the nightmare, leave! It will be the hardest, but best decision you ever make.

Always angry!

I feel like I spend my life being frustrated, negative and angry! I honestly need to try and be positive. I work very hard daily to find at least one positive in every situation and you know what? It’s tiring.

Even growing up I was a very negative child. I saw the worst in everything/everyone, and in all honesty, was probably a nightmare to be around. I was angry when I was little because my parents were divorced, I was stuck in the middle, and I was being bullied. I was so frustrated and bitter about the whole thing, that it made me incredibly negative. There was a girl I went to school with, Janine, who was the happiest/bubbliest girl I think I’ve ever met. Just such a lovely, genuinely nice person too. I would look at her sometimes and think “how can someone be this happy all the time? Its not natural!”. In hindsight, Janine probably just wasn’t an angry, bitter girl. Makes sense really. Abraham Lincoln once said “You’re only as happy as you make your mind up to be”, and I believe he’s right. If we start something with negative thoughts, it will only ever be a negative experience.

You would think that as I’ve gotten older, I would have curbed this by now. I have managed to find a way to cope, by using PMA, but it’s so much effort and tiring that sometimes it annoys me and just contributes to my frustrations. Why do I have to find it so hard to be positive? To be happy? To not be angry/frustrated all the time?

I have things and people that make me happy, but it’s like my brain cannot see this as enough. I have had bad things happen, and that’s it. Arse has fallen out of my world, I hate everyone, everyone hates me, it’s all gone to shit and I’m gonna eat some worms. My mind races over the negative comments/situations and blows them all out of proportion. Then I need to sit, and painstakingly go over everything and find the positives. If I don’t do that, one negative thing will just snow ball into the next, and the next, and so on until I have the mood I’m in today.

I am currently sitting in my room, in the world’s worst mood and I’ve been very politely asked to just stay in here and chill. I’m not even mad at that. I get why my husband would rather not deal with it. I don’t want to deal with it either, but I’m stuck with me. I have let things this week get on top of me to the point of not being able to sleep (shock!), and having nightmares when I do sleep. I’ve let life and work just get on top of me, taking no time to do my PMA and this is where it’s gotten me. Grimacing at my phone as I type this blog.

This week I have managed to bark at everyone who has dared to give me a sideways glance, or heaven forbid, disagree. I also do this thing where I look to others to make me feel better, and when they dont, this makes me frustrated. What is that about? It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make me happy. It’s mine.

So here it is; I’m sat here, after a pretty meh week, feeling frustrated. I’m then feeling angry with myself for letting it get this out if hand and now being sat here in the world’s worst mood. I have spent the week feeling completely detached and it’s been horrible.

What now? I need to get a grip and focus on my PMA. I need to start looking at all the positives that have come out of this week, even if it’s only one. I need to look toward the weekend and week ahead and find the positives, so that I’m not taking this bad mood forward.

To all of you that have had to endure me this week, I’m sorry! Believe it or not, I do try to not be so angry, grumpy, negative, argumentative and just a general pain to be around.

This is why PMA is so important. Without it, I don’t cope. Yes this week is a bit of a write off, but tomorrow is a new day! It’s also Saturday, so a longer lie, no work and hopefully a chance to spend sometime with my family and enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Do any of you find it hard to see the positives? Do you feel angry/frustrated all the time?


Live and let live!


Well the gist of this entire blog can be summarised to this; Don’t be a dick!


World’s smallest violin….


When I was growing up I was bullied for being poor and ugly. I mean being one of them is bad enough, but both? Damn! I grew up in a single parent family, in a dingy wee scheme in Scotland, I’ve got a big nose, nothing special to look at, that is unless you think I’m a bit speshul – but that’s not quite the special you want to be now, is it? My mum couldn’t afford to kit me out like some of the kids I knew, nor did she have any taste, so the stuff I wore was something else to be mocked for. All in all, I’d describe my childhood as shit for the most part. I wasn’t alone through all this though, I did have my big sister, 10 years my senior and clearly the one who got all the genes for good looks. Not too sure what I was left with, perhaps a good sense of humour? My sister and I can tell stories of our childhood that would make most gasp in horror/disbelief, but thankfully we manage to laugh about it now. In fact, half the time when we reminisce we are kinked with laughter. I don’t know if that’s more a nervous thing, or if it’s just the fact the stories are bloody funny. Probably a bit of both.

If there is one thing that bullying teaches you, it’s to laugh at yourself. You have the privilege of letting others point out all the flaws you know about, and, to point out new ones. It’s great. Having this makes you acutely self-aware, meaning that as you grow older, you’re able to crack better jokes about yourself than others, leaving no room for the bullies. For a brief time during my late teens/early 20’s I cared not a single jot what others thought of me. That was a blissful time, as far as self-confidence went. As I’ve gotten older and anxiety/depression has been a part of my life, I’ve become more self-conscious now, than I think I was as a child. I’m over weight, more stripes than a tiger (kids have been worth every one), horrible skin, post teen acne, frizzy hair, still have a big nose, big squint eyes, a top lip that is not symmetrical (who knew that could even be a thing!!), a large forehead (well this was new to me over the last year, but hey, what is one more thing to add to my list right?), lines appearing around my eyes (hello crow’s feet), and horrible man hands. Yup, I have these horrible manly looking hands, but they’re like a midget version, so let’s just call them my ‘Trump hands’.

My daily wake up and get ready for the day routine goes like this:

  • Roll out of bed and marvel at my less than adequate physique in our full-length mirror. Convince myself today is the day I will diet (this has still not happened)
  • Go in the shower, and be grossed out by myself as I get washed and wonder how on earth someone like me can be married. Sometimes, just sometimes, I have a wee blub about this.
  • Whilst in the shower, I think of all the people I know that are pretty, skinny and don’t have stripes and spend a moment hating them and wondering if they even appreciate how lucky they actually are?
  • Get dressed as quickly as I can, but huff and haw about the fact it might be warm outside but I need to remain covered up ALL the time due to my skin, so I’ll just have to sweat like a Glaswegian watching Crime Watch (If you’re from the west coast it’s only a joke!).
  • Once dressed I’ll start to apply my makeup, but not before I scrutinise every square inch of my spots, uneven skin tone, pores and horrible facial features. Namely my nose! I mean this hooter is turning corners before me. I swear if I tilt my head up toward the sun, I’ll eclipse half the city. I wear more makeup now, than I ever have in my life. Why? Well, it helps me to feel better about how I look for one. Plus, I feel that If I was to wear a burka, as lets face it, they hide a multitude of sins, I may actually cause more offence, so makeup applied by catapult is the way to go for me.

By the time I leave the house I’m worried that the outfit I’ve picked isn’t flattering enough, that my makeup will look silly, that my hair is full of fly aways and probably now getting frizzy, do I have more spots? It’s completely exhausting to be this self-aware and indulgent in how you look, and not even for the good reasons. You know, if I looked like a model and I was just concerned with how I looked all the time, I doubt that would be as bad, as being concerned for the negative reasons. You know what I mean?

How do I feel better about myself?

Despite having these negative feelings and thoughts about myself, and a very clear deep self-loathing, I get up and put a smile on daily. I get showered, dressed and put my face on, quite literally. Once I’m out of the house, either for work, shopping, or doing something with the kids, I just get focused on the task in hand and having light hearted conversations with people to completely distract my thoughts, and for the most part, this works.

Until I got post teen acne, I didn’t wear makeup at all. So, the fact I wear it every day now is a chore, and one I definitely wish I didn’t have to do. I’m no makeup artist and with being so pale I struggle to get a foundation that completely matches, something I’m aware of. I do my best to cover my flaws, to not have people be grossed out by me, or to see how ugly I really am underneath all of this slap.

With regards to clothes, usual attire is a pair of skinny jeans, black vest with lumberjack shirt, or a band/movie tshirt and trainers. That’s it. Office attire is a basic dress from H&M with a shirt over the top, or a cardigan. Nothing outlandish or fashionable here. Just basic. Very very very rarely will you see me go out of my comfort zone to wear something different, as I always fear that I’ll look like mutton. So, I stick with what I know works and I’m usually happy.

I love Tattoo’s. If I had enough money I’d be covered head to toe. Why? Well I’ve got really horrible skin, so what better way to get body confidence than to have it coloured in and make it look pretty? My first Tattoo was when I was 16, my sister took me and bluffed that I was 18. My Tattooist was a drunk, who turned up late with a tin of Tennent’s lager in one hand and spliff in the other. I was undeterred as a badass little 16-year-old and I got it anyway. It’s not my nicest Tattoo,*inner voice* “no shit Sherlock!”, and I’ve considered covering it up, but you know what? It’s a memory, and a funny one at that, so it stays. I then have a few more on my lower arm, as I hate my skin there, and having my Tattoo’s makes me not care about having short sleeves.

So, c’mon,what’s the point to this blog?

We all know someone who likes to be sarky all the time, and someone who thinks they’re being discreet with their eye rolls, when really we all know they’re about as discreet as a brick in the face? Yup, we all do. As we know, I have anxiety and I’m a naturally a paranoid person, meaning I do doubt myself, and I doubt everyone and assume everyone is disingenuous until proven otherwise. This does make situations and making friends difficult, and is more than likely why all my close friends are the most honest people you’ll meet. No second guessing and that is just how I like it. Well, today I have been met head on by a situation that has made me doubt myself, and someone I know.

I have decided to wear something that I wouldn’t normally consider. Something that I saw in the shop and loved, but never envisioned myself having the courage to wear. Then a couple of weeks ago, we had gorgeous weather one weekend and I thought to myself “Stuff it, I’m buying it”, and I did. I came home, tried it on, and my husband told me I looked lovely in it. The next day it belted down with rain and I’ve not had a chance to wear it since trying it on. Typical. The past couple of days have been really warm/humid and I’ve been quite uncomfortable in work, done up like nanook of the north, so I thought “aha I have this top I bought, I’m going to wear that”.

When I was getting ready to leave this morning, I asked my husband and kids, “how do I look?”, and they all assured me I looked fine. I actually felt really good, like I had a little bit of confidence. When out, I had one friend lean in and say, “You’re looking really skinny today”, another asked me to walk around for a better look and told me I was looking really good. Ummm excuse me whilst my ego inflates. That really did make me feel good. I did actually start to think my choice was a goodun. This was until, someone I know walked past, and gave what can only be described as a grimace, a look toward someone else, then an eye roll. They must have thought they were being really subtle, OR, they figure they don’t  need to try and be subtle? Who knows, but, regardless that is what happened and I found myself thinking “WTF is your problem?”. I left it though, I kept smiling, figured it was maybe aimed at someone else. Kept telling myself that not everything is about me (I know right? Who knew the world didn’t revolve around me), and that this person could be having a bad day. So, I parked the negative thoughts, continued to feel good about myself, then went about my day. Later on I tried to speak to this person and I was met with a curt response. Again, I put this down to them having a bad day, so walked on and left it.

Thanks to having horrible skin, I also have a really oily T-Zone, meaning I feel compelled to constantly powder my nose. Otherwise it’s shiny, you can see all the pores and let’s face it, it’s my biggest (pun fully intended) complex. As soon as I feel my nose getting oily, I’ll pull out my foundation brush and just give a quick dust over. Nothing major, just enough to make me feel a bit better. Well today, it was a bit cooler and I hadn’t felt compelled to powder my T-Zone, that was until I got a text. As I raised my phone I caught my reflection and I was mortified. Without hesitation I got my brush and promptly powdered my face, thinking things like “OMG how long has it been like that for? Who has seen it?”, when all I hear from the side of me is a dry/sarky comment . Sorry? what? I looked around and this person wasn’t even looking at me when talking to me, just carrying on about their business, of which to me, is more than a little rude. So now I’m thinking, nope, this isn’t a bad day, clearly this is something personal. Why would me powdering my T-Zone warrant any comment? Or was this also a dig at the top I’m wearing? So, I bit back. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have. Why lower myself, but I was miffed. I’m not even sure of their retort, as I couldn’t hear them over my now descending red mist, but what I did see was the smirk at my reaction. Clearly my biting back, had been the reaction they were looking for. Well, colour me pissed.

I then proceed to carry on about my business, and just let myself calm down. I realised, that if this was the kind of reaction they were looking for, they won’t get it from me. They’re not a friend, haven’t been, never will be, and their opinion of me actually stands for nowt.  So, it was time to follow Mum’s advice “Smile and walk away, they hate that”. If they want to be sarky, let them, I will not lower myself to their level. I’m a good person and if I’m not your cup of tea, then you know what, your loss ?


No-one will EVER:

  • Think I’m uglier than I do
  • Hate me as much as I do
  • Doubt my ability as much as I do
  • Find me as annoying as I do myself

I am my own biggest critic, but you know what I am sure of, I’m a bloody good person. Those closest to me know this, and those that don’t take the time to see it, then that is their loss. I’m a very honest, straight talking person. If I don’t like you, I won’t go out of my way to be around you and be overly friendly, but by the same token I won’t be a dick. I would never ever belittle someone, or try to make a mug of them. Why? Well because I’m not an asshole, that’s why. I will never ever presume to think I’m better than anyone, as I’m a firm believer that we’re all equal, we just each have our own things that we excel at, doesn’t make us better than each other.

I have always raised my kids to be kind and see the good in people. I have raised them to be the kids I’d wished I’d known growing up, friends I’d wished I’d had, and I must say I’m damn proud of the young adults they’re becoming. They’re incredibly loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic and just all round good people. I will continue to lead by example, I will not be brought down to negative levels and I definitely won’t let anyone make me feel any worse about me than I already do. Believe it or not, despite everything that has been said, I do believe I’m worth something, and I’m definitely worth more than petty snipes.

If you’re like me, and self-loath, don’t let anyone else add to it. We exhaust ourselves daily overthinking everything as it is, why on earth should we let others steal more of our time/energy? Wear what you want, put makeup on if you want, put your hair how you want and live how you want, you know why? Your anxiety is always going to be there to beat you up anyways, so at least try and have a little fun and enjoy yourself along the way. Despite my snark comment/look today, I did get two compliments, of which totally top trumps the snark one, not just because they were nice, but because they’re from people I care about and whose opinions matter.


I went, I saw, I conquered

Thursday 8th June

The night before leaving for Download Music Festival, I was so tired and anxious beyond belief. I was thinking of all the horrible things that could go wrong; What if I go and it’s overcrowded and I feel claustrophobic? What if the people are horrible? What if the toilets are really bad and I cannot face going and I’m stuck out in a field with no alternative? What if I cannot cope and I want to run, but I’ve got nowhere to go? These thoughts raced and I was thinking up all kinds of scenarios as to how it might be and how I might feel. See the trend, a lot of ‘if’ and ‘might’ going on. I tore myself up really bad that I only got 4 hours sleep, and this only had a knock-on effect with my anxiety for the next day.

Friday 9th June

Today was the day! Even when getting dressed and checking our suitcases, I was worried. Getting in the car, I could feel the dread in my stomach. I couldn’t just get out the car. Think of the money we have spent and the effort we have gone through. I just had to woman up and get on with the drive. It was a long way to Donnington, of which gave me a lot of time to overthink. By the time we got to the hotel, my stomach was in knots. We got checked into our room, quickly changed into something more festival appropriate, and off we went to get our bus. I did the obligatory ‘my life is amazing’ post to facebook, of which was all smiles, but inside I was thinking “Lets just stay in the room. Lets just say we did, and don’t”. I couldn’t do that to my husband, here he was, at a festival he wasn’t all too bothered about, for me. I couldn’t just let him down, and what about the bands I really wanted to see? I would honestly hate myself if I just sat in the room, I had to go.

When we got on the bus and it was packed, I was already regretting leaving the hotel. The journey was only a few minutes, and on the approach, I could see the sheer size of Donnington, it was massive. I started to feel intimidated and scared for how lost I would feel once I was there. I was already anticipating how much I was going to hate it. Getting off the bus we were ushered through the campsite and I couldn’t believe how many tents there were. Seeing this brought home just how many people I was going to have to contend with. I could feel my stomach doing summersaults and my throat getting tight. We then had to stand in queues with security to get our bands checked, and I had to get my bag checked. The queue was quite long and for some reason, despite me having nothing to hide, my palms were now sweaty. I didn’t like this at all. By the time we got into the main arena, I just wanted to run. Why on earth did I not just stay in the hotel? I would at least feel safer there. My husband could see that I was uneasy and was doing everything to reassure me that I’ll be ok, and I was telling him I knew I would be and trying to smile it off.

My husband was getting hungry and offering to get us food, but eating was furthest from my mind. I honestly couldn’t stomach it. I also didn’t want him to go and stand in a queue and leave me, so I went with him, although I wasn’t getting anything. The smell of the food was even making me feel queasy. It was so sunny, noisy, crowded and I wasn’t having any fun at all. Again, why was I not just back in the hotel?

First band up was Five Finger Death Punch, one I really enjoy, but one of my daughters’ favourite. I couldn’t miss them, I’d promised my daughter video’s, pictures and a phone call when they were on. We walked down to the main stage, but not too close, we kept a bit of distance. When the music kicked in, I stood rigid holding my husband’s hand. I just kept telling myself I was going to be OK and to just enjoy the music. I called my daughter, who said that she could barely hear them (probably due to me being quite a bit back), so I focused on taking pictures and video’s. This meant we had to move a little bit closer. Every song they played, I knew, and I started to find myself getting lost in the moment. I was starting to sing along with them and the crowd. By the time they had finished their set, I was smiling, bopping (yes you read right) along with everyone, singing and having fun! I had just seen Five Finger Death Punch! For the whole time they were on stage I hadn’t had one single negative thought, I didn’t feel scared and I’d tuned out to how many people were around me. My anxious feelings hadn’t just magically gone, but I was definitely feeling better.

Next up Prophets of Rage, and my god were they good! My husband and I were chanting along to all their songs, taking a little trip down memory lane with tracks such a ‘Jump Around’ and ‘Insane in the membrane’. By now I was starting to enjoy myself, the music was great, the crowd seemed to be a friendly one and I was now feeling a bit more relaxed.

Finally, the big band of the night was System of a Down. What can I say? They were nothing short of amazing. I knew every song they played, I knew all the words, and I was in my element singing along and moving with the crowd. There were at least 100,000 fellow fans around us, all singing along in unison, and it felt amazing to be a part of it. There was no room for anxious thoughts, no time to be scared, and quite frankly, no f*%^$ given. All I was caring about was watching them absolutely kill it, and having the privilege to be part of it.

On our way back to the bus, I didn’t feel overwhelmed quite like I did when I arrived. The queue to go through security on the way out didn’t seem as bad this time either.

Saturday 10th June

Today’s set list wasn’t as good as Friday’s, and definitely not as awesome as Sunday’s, but I was still happy to go. We got up in the Morning, had breakfast, as I now had an appetite, then headed off for our bus. The queues going in appeared bigger, and the crowd in the main arena too. I could feel my stomach start to flutter, but I was no longer feeling the urge to run. I was happy to let the feeling wash over me and push through. When in the arena we decided to go and see a band we’d never heard before, Raveneye, who were actually really good. Whilst I knew none of their songs, and I couldn’t sing along, I still found myself being completely immersed in the moment. We moved round to the main stage where Alestorm were playing; they’re a good fun folk/pirate/rock band. I’d heard a few of their songs previously, but didn’t know them well enough to sing along, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying them. People in the crowd were dressed as pirates, fists pumping in the air, most chanting along, and everyone was having such a good time. It was just a happy, feel good atmosphere, that I was really thankful to be a part of. During the day I’d not thought about being anxious once. Not even a little bit. I thought nothing of just wandering into the crowds, throwing my hands into the air, cheering, dancing along, I was just really enjoying myself. I had even said before I left, that I wasn’t going to drink when there, as I wanted my wits about me. That got thrown out of the window, and eventually I was sitting with a pint of beer, on my newly purchased camping chair enjoying all of the new/unheard of bands with my husband. It was such a good day, despite not knowing many of the bands playing that well, so surely Sunday was going to kill it?

Sunday 11th June

AEROSMITH!! You never forget your firsts; your first friend, your first kiss, your first love etc. Well my first rock band was Aerosmith and they were Sunday’s main act. I woke up like a kid on Christmas, so excited to see them. I didn’t feel anxious, I didn’t even have the dull ache in the pit of my stomach, I was just thinking about the music. When we got to the site, I didn’t give a hoot about the crowds, the queues, I was too busy smiling and having a good time. We got in, got a pint, and made our way to our first band, Fozzy. We were sat, drinking and head bopping away when my husband points out that the lead singer is Chris Jericho, an ex-wrestler. This would definitely explain his good showmanship and his ability to get the crowd all worked up. Good start to what would be one of the most amazing days of my life, except for the day I become a Mum (obviously).

We killed the day by sitting with fellow rock fans, eating good food, drinking, and singing/bopping along to some fab rock bands. Steel Panther & Clutch were definitely a highlight of the day, although, they were virtually on at the same time, so we had to split our time between the two. This involved us having to be rushed, negate our way through the large crowds and try to find a good spot to see the bands. Did I care? Nope. Not a single bit. The crowds were filled with great people and the bands were worth the effort.

When it got to 20:30, we made our way to the main stage as Aerosmith were starting at 20:50. I knew I wanted to be at the front, but I get claustrophobic in crowds. What was I to do? My husband suggested that we at least try and get to the front, as I would be gutted to not be close to them. So, we made our way to the front right of the stage, near the portaloo’s. My rationale for this was; no-one would want to stand too close to them, meaning I would have an out if I was freaking out. When we got there, there was already a good bit of a crowd. We made our way as far forward as we could, meaning I was about 4/5 rows back. The closer it got to 20:50, the bigger the crowd got, and I kept looking over my shoulder for my way out. This was getting more and more packed, and becoming less and less of an out. My husband could see I was starting to get worked up, and that I looked like I wanted to run. He held my hand and told me I was fine, but if I really wanted to go, he’d get me out. I chose to stay, and I waited patiently for them to start. It got to 20:55, and there was no show and I now had a group of girls smoking to my right. So now, here I am, stood in a cloud of their smoke, feeling like I’m starting to get anxious at my lack of an out, and no Aerosmith. I then looked up to my left, and my god. There was just a sea of expectant faces. I reckon that all 300,000 were now there and from the main stage, right back to the Dog Tooth stage was filled. At this moment, I felt incredibly small and I started to feel bigger pangs of anxiety, then BOOM, the lights kicked in and the crowd started cheering. They were here! I’m not even going to lie, I cried. Nope, correction, I sobbed. My anxiety about being in a crowd, had been replaced with feelings of being utterly overwhelmed. Aerosmith went on to play all of their classics, and Joe Perry even did a blues cover, of which he rocked out of the park. I sobbed, sang and cheered with the masses. It was such an amazing feeling, that left no room what so ever for feeling scared. I no longer looked at the crowd as daunting, I looked at them as people who were just like me, who were just excited to be there and chanting along to some of the most iconic rock songs in rock history.

In the lead up to Aerosmith playing, I’d said that they would definitely have to play ‘Dream On’. This is their farewell tour, and Dream On to Aerosmith is like Bohemian Rhapsody (must mosh to this every time I’m in the car and it comes on. Thanks Wayne’s World) to Queen. It’s a must! Well, they finished  ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’ and just left the stage. Lights were out, and nothing was said. I was gutted. Where did they go? Were we not even going to get a thanks for turning up? I started to feel gutted. The crowd was now chanting ‘Aero-smith’ & ‘one-more-song’, but the lights were still out. Some of the crowd had started to walk away. Just as I was starting to lose hope of them coming back, the lights came back on and my husband leaned in with “He’s got his Piano!”, it was then I just knew it was going to be Dream On. Needless to say, I was a wreck for this song. They finished up with Walk This Way, and the crowd was jumping. I was singing along, fist in the air and not a care in the world. When they finished it was quite late and the crowds going back to the bus were huge. We were completely crammed and bottle knecked at the security gates, and you know what? Not a single f*%£ given once again. I was completely elated from what had been an awesome weekend and an utterly outstanding performance from my favourite band.


I have faced many of my fears this weekend, all in the name of music. As some will know, if you know me in person or have read my earlier blogs, music is my vice. I use it as a coping tool, and it really does work. There is nothing like getting lost in the moment of a song, or being taken back to a happy time/moment with the nostalgia due to a song that you’re listening to. So far this weekend I have:

  • Driven for 6 hours, over 300 miles, away from my comfort zone
  • Stood in multiple queues
  • Felt at ease in large crowds – biggest being 300,000 people. Say what now?
  • Drank beer out of a plastic cup I know wasn’t put through a dishwasher and one I’ve not been able to rinse 3 times. I also got a fly in my drink, used my finger to fish it out, and carried on. Yup, one badass mofo up in here.
  • I have eaten food from a stall, that I’m sure probably wasn’t up to my unrealistic standards, given it was in the middle of a field. Not only this, I tried Ostrich!

Nothing can/will ever top being able to see my favourite band for the first time, on their final tour within an amazing atmosphere. I am so very glad I didn’t give into my initial flight response, and that I stayed. Had I gone back to the hotel, I would hate myself right now. I have achieved so much and I have had the best weekend of my life. We’re now debating taking the kids, not next year as we have a holiday booked, but the year after. I have had such a good time, that I’m dying for my kids to experience it.

If you’re like me, and the thought of doing something like this fills you with dread, I say this; Do it anyway! Just push on through your stomach doing summersaults and keep going until you realise that you’re OK and you can enjoy yourself.


They don’t deserve our attention, and definitely not our fear!

Today is the day after the second London terror attack in less than 3 months. We’re not even 2 weeks from the Manchester attacks. Having this happen makes me realise how utterly trivial my anxiety disorder is, and that there are bigger issues going on the world to be worried about. Knowing this will not stop me from worrying relentlessly about social situations or my health, but it does give a lot of food for thought.

I have watched all the news correspondence and read the articles with regards to last night, and my heart is breaking for those affected by this latest cowardly attack. I also feel very angry to think that there are people out there, so incredibly warped, to think that taking lives is a means to an end. This is a horrible game of tit-for-tat that we, the general population, are paying the price for. The sister of Salman Abedi (Manchester bomber), said he wanted the UK to know what it was like to have innocent children blown up, so we’d know what Syria are going through. This is the level of mentality we’re working with here. The reasoning behind both attacks in London is unclear, although we can be sure that every attack on us, is directly related to our involvement in Syria. Why are we even involved in the war in Syria in the first place? I’m yet to actually hear a conclusive and honest answer to that question. The decisions that are made, with regards to our military and the bombs that are dropped, are not made by us, they are made by our government. Killing us doesn’t make them pay, they don’t care. Do these extremists’ honestly think that Theresa May will lose a single ounce of sleep tonight, as she hangs upside down in her cave? No! Why? Because her security team will always make sure she’s ok. We, the public, do NOT agree with what is happening in Syria. I for one, cannot even bring myself to watch any of the new correspondence from there any more, as it just breaks my heart. I also believe that we should be taking in every single Syrian refugee that comes to our borders, as they wouldn’t be in this situation without our shitty governments help. These extremists’ attempts are in vain, but this will not stop them. They’re out to make a point and instil fear, and really, for someone like me who’s already fearful, it’s working.

So here I am, worried about what might happen. Worried for my children, and the places they go. I’ve already asked them to avoid places that might be crowded, for example, there is a wee music festival taking place just down the road from where I live, and I’ve asked that when they’re out today, can they please avoid this at all costs. Now, even as I type this I feel ridiculous. Am I just instilling the fear into them, am I creating unnecessary worry for them, but then what if I don’t, what if I just let them go and do their thing and something was to happen? Would I ever forgive myself? Definitely not.

This time next week I’ll be at the Download Music Festival . This was something I was already worried about, as it’s putting me into a situation where I’ll be 300miles away from my comfort zone, I’ll be in large crowds, it will be sensory overload, but you know what, I was more than prepared to push through all of these factors, for the love I have for the bands I’m going to see. Now, given what has happened recently, I’m now worried about a potential terrorist attack. I’m worried that because it’s in Leicester and because it’s a particularly large gathering, that it may well be a target.  My eldest asked me today if I was still going, as he was worried because it was in England. Now I’m sure that not just England will be a target, I’m sure these extremists are plotting all over, but given recent events we cannot be blamed for being concerned. My mind already races constantly about all the things that could kill me from day to day, but now I have something more real, more tangible to be concerned about. Even as I type this blog, my palms are sweating and my heart is racing. I have worried myself to the point of actually feeling sick, and even considering selling my tickets. The tickets that have been bought for over 8months, for an event that I’ve been so excited about, more excited than anything else ever in my life, and I was about to just up and sell my chance to see Aerosmith on their farewell tour. This was, until I spoke with friends and my sister, who said:

You really want to willingly give up seeing Steve Tyler for those f******?!? I thought you were made of tougher stuff. Just keep thinking ….Steve Tyler!!
Isis today called for “all out war won the west” asking for attacks on ‘infidels’ in the streets, and in their homes. so to be fair, homes aren’t safe if they keep it up…you have to live your life…live it!

My sister, the voice of reason, as always. If we’re not even safe in our own homes, what is the point? What is the point in staying at home being fearful to live our lives, when they will seek out to do harm just about anywhere?

Also, a friend of mine on Facebook today said something very poignant;

I am a great believer that terrorism, as stated only exists because people believe it does. what is happening is dreadful, but the media make it powerful. I was brought up with the IRA, Badder Meinhof, Red Brigade, ETA, Chinese Red Brigade. [This] was a weekly occurrence, but was inevitably ignored from the news and they all disappeared.  It is a state of fear that I will not have any part of. Sorry, bit of a rant. And I am not afraid.

At first, I found myself thinking, “Well surely not watching it, and not keeping up to date, is just burying our heads in the sand? What good is that?”. Then, I’ve found myself realising that this could just be right. If we don’t feed the fear, and fuel the fire, perhaps they will stop, if the exposure they’re looking for, is not achieved.

So, given all I’ve said, what do I do? Do I give into my fear and stay home, where I think I will be safe? Or, do I choose to not let these cowardly extremists take more from me, than I already take from myself, and go for what will be an awesome weekend? Given everything, I believe it will have to be the latter. I will continue to be scared right up until the point of heading off on my long drive, I will no doubt be a wreck when standing in the large crowd/queue to get in, and even once there I will no doubt be extra vigilant, but you know what? I’ve already missed out on so much, due to being scared, and this festival is everything to me. I love music, as I’m sure all of you reading this can relate, but what is sad for me, is I’ve never seen a band I love live. I usually sit in the comfort of my own home at watch them on Sky Arts.

I’ve concluded that I’m already fearful enough. I already have enough day-to-day worries about everyone and everything, and I refuse to let these terrorists/extremists be added to it. I will look to not tune into the news, I will choose to be someone who will not add fuel to the fire, or give them the exposure they’re looking for. If you suffer from anxiety, and you too have found your anxiety has heightened due to the recent attacks, I hope you join me in not letting this be another matter to consume your daily life. I’m not suggesting it will be easy, I am still feeling the fear in the pit of my stomach. Speaking to my sister and my friends has not just been some magic wand that has made my initial fear of this entire situation go, but it has given me some much needed perspective and a way to tackle moving forward.

PMA Corner – 10 Illustrations that nicely sum up Anxiety!

Sometimes it’s difficult to put into words how the merry-go-round of  Anxiety & Depression can make you feel, so here are a few illustrations I’ve had shared and seen in recent years that I’ve found more than relatable, and even amusing. If you don’t laugh, you cry right?

We all have that one friend who thinks they just know…..

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Ahhh mornings, a time to reflect on the day ahead

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For days when you just feel scared and you don’t know why. Lets face it, they’re the worst! 

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Usually bedtime is a good time to reflect

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OMG my ultimate favourite pass time. Thinking about all the silly things I’ve done, ever! 

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For the days when you just can’t. We’ve all been there, when we’ve had plans with friends and we find any bull excuse to cancel. You want to be social, you want to have friends, but you don’t want to have to leave the house, be seen or have to talk to people. 

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Ahhh Calvin and Hobbs, a comic I read as a kid and loved. It does have a poignant message though. We spend all day every day worrying about what is going to happen, when really, all the planning in the world may not predict/change the destination. Will this stop my overthinking/worrying? Most definitely not…

You can all relate to this one. I will only ever take painkillers if I’m at a point where I cannot cope. The fact I take a multivitamin every day is huge, but for the first 3 hours of taking it I worry that I will keel over. Why specifically 3 hours I hear you say? I reckon if it was going to kill me, 3 hours is a good guestimate. Is that rational? Well, you’re reading a blog of a woman with an anxiety disorder, nothing here is rational.Yes, it’s as sad to type as it is to think, but also very very true. 

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And finally, never feeling good enough. I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m not interesting, no-one will like me, or want to be with me/be my friend and those that are around me only pity me. Ahhh good times Anxiety, good times…

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Alcohol is never the answer

My Dad once told me, “This is not a dress rehearsal, this is it! Make the most of it”. I was a teenager at the time, I felt I was infallible, and these words meant nothing to me. I’m now in my 30’s and these words mean everything to me. We only get one life, one chance to actually live, and I spend most of it over analysing the little things, and missing the big things because of it. When I was at my worst, and fearing that everything in this world was going to kill me, my Dad (again, a very wise man), told me this “Look darling, there is only one guarantee in life ‘no-one is getting out alive’”. That very statement shook me to my core, he was so right. No matter what I do, I’m going to die. Now, whilst this was said to be a little reality check and make me feel better, it did the opposite. This statement made me very fearful, that was until recently.

I am still very fearful of things, and sometimes I get worried that today will be my last. In fact, I dare to say that every single day of my life, I have at least one thought of that day being my last. It’s quite a depressing thought, but it’s true. I understand fully that we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, no-one is. I struggle to see my life in 10/20 years’ time, as I’m convinced my time is numbered. Having this feeling of impending doom, is probably one of the worst feelings I get from anxiety. All the other feelings I can just about manage, but this one, is different. My fear of crowds and being claustrophobic is something that can be avoided, but death? I can’t avoid that, it’s coming, and it scares me more than anything else in this world. I’m sure anyone reading this, anxiety disorder or not, can agree. Death is not a happy prospect and it will scare anyone, but to ‘normal’ people, they don’t think/dwell on it quite like we do.

Due to my fear of dying, and my social issues, I was living a very sheltered life for a long time. I was avoiding social situations, being very introvert, and in turn, not really living. I turned to alcohol to help me through. Now, I’m not saying I was an alcoholic, definitely not, but if I had a night out coming up, I would be sure and be half way gone before I left the house. I needed that Dutch courage to be able to get through it. I would then drink to forget, and when I was drunk it was great. I would be the life and soul, outgoing, ‘happy’, able to enjoy myself, no cares, no fear of dying, that was until the next day. Hang overs when you have anxiety, are nothing short of dire. It can bring on all the fears. You have heard of beer fear, right? Well this is beer fear magnified!  I also started to have my weekly bottle of wine at the weekend, as this was sure to let me have a full night’s sleep. It wasn’t a rested sleep though, it never is when you drink, but I’d convinced myself it was helping.

During my ‘mid 20’s crises’, when I was back at college, I was out drinking at least 3 times a week with my college friends. I felt I was doing great, I was out all the time, I had friends, I was ‘enjoying life’. Looking back now though, I wasn’t really. I was masking my fears with alcohol, and it wasn’t helping, even if it felt like it was at the time. All I was doing was masking the problem, and in turn, making it worse in the long run.

When I was at my Sister-in-laws wedding a couple of years ago, I drank a lot. I was really nervous about going, as I knew very little people there. I knew it was going to be busy, loud and no doubt something I couldn’t cope with. What did I do? Yup, I sought out to get drunk. I drank a large wine, to every one of my husband’s pints. I think over the course of 5 hours, I’d had 10 large glasses of wine, of which I think works out to be 3 – 4 bottles. Needless to say, I went home, and I was very very ill. It was at this point I realised I wasn’t coping, and things needed to change.

There are people close to me who drink a lot, pretty much every night. I could see that I wasn’t far from them, and did I really want to end up like them? Did I want to become reliant on something like alcohol to get me through a week? It was at the point where I was using a Friday as an excuse to ‘celebrate’, so would buy wine on my way home from work. Even typing that, it just sounds so ridiculous. I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want to rely on anything but myself to get through these difficult situations, and I certainly don’t want to end up like those close me either.

Since my sister-in-laws wedding, I have never really looked at alcohol the same. I barely drink at all now. I’ve even been called boring, and been told I’ve changed, by some of my friends. I’m ok with this, I’m glad to be boring and to have changed. I don’t go out as much socially anymore, this is a choice I’ve made, as I don’t want to feel like I must drink to get me through the night. I can, and have, been out for a little bit, where I’ve had maybe one or two drinks that I’ve nursed over the evening. It’s enough to make me feel like I’m being social when in a pub, but little enough for me to feel completely in control and to avoid the beer fear the next day.

Do you drink to forget? Have you been guilty of using alcohol or other substances to help you with your mental illness? I found an interesting article about the effects of alcohol on your moods and mental health that I think would be of benefit to some, it will help you see that whilst it may feel like it’s helping you in the moment, you’re actually doing more harm than good in the long run.

If you have a story similar to mine, would be good to hear from you and how you have dealt/dealing with it.