Category Archives: help

Reading and writing

Hi

I’ve been kept very busy recently with freelance work so thanks everyone, I think I’m becoming not quite expert in an expanding number of areas, but I love information and trivia so my brain is happy.

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Excellent news is that I’m still kicking OCD’s butt, THANK GOD! Had an appt. with my therapist last week for the first time in a while and (not to tempt fate) my brain is mending and it’s definitley more recovered than recovering.

Funny isn’t it, how when you’ve been ill for a long time that when you are reminded that you’re ill it is almost odd? As I’ve been focusing on other things the realisation that my brain is still a little bit poorly actually felt strange…I’m more normal these days and less beseiged by OCD rituals and safety behaviours!

Excellent book – and no, I don’t know him, owe him or get paid to say this! but Matt Haig’s book is brilliant. Titled, Reasons to Stay Alive, it is worth reading whether you’ve been through depression, are going through it or want to understand what someone goes through. It’s got a ton of celeb endorsements too if you like reading those!

My Mary Queen of Scots book is still a work in progress but it will be out before the next millenium, honest!

Have a fab week and please remember to be kind to yourself.

Joanne

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Celebrate!

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I was reminded this morning of how I used to be, people who know you “from before” a brain blip tend to send your mind right back, to “another” you.

I recalled how reluctant I was to say that I was ill, how I backpeddled from treatment, how I refused medication for my OCD/PTSD for around six months and how when it all looks gloomy the thought of defining the sadness with big medical terms is enough to depress you – when you’re already depressed!

Here’s a news flash for anyone who feels like this at the moment:

I only started to heal when I got treatment, accepted the diagnosis, cried my eyes out (I put them back in) and then took meds – only 60mg in my case – but my long suffering therapist thought she’d have trouble even getting me to take 5mg of anything!

Therapy does make you better, I know it’s a long road and sometimes it seems neverending, but enjoy the moments in which you claim YOU back and can review the past with a knowledgable smile and gratitude that thanks to experts and rebalancing a chemical imbalance your life is yours.

Sure, it will be different, you will be stronger – no one goes through a mental health crisis without learning who they truly are – but that, in its own way is empowering. Cool, huh?!

Don’t let the bad guys steal your life, get help and the future opens up like a rose bud.

If anyone is down today I recommend this: Thanks Jo:-)

 

 

Brain drain

Hi

It’s been a while, time flies! I hope you missed me…what? you didn’t notice I’d been away…Charming!!

thJ7EILSRXAnyhow, I’ve been a busy bod freelance writing a lot of diet, fitness, superfood, exercise blogs and lifestyle articles…it’s amazing how you think you know a subject fairly well but there’s always more to learn! I’ve switched white bread for wholemeal and increased almond eating…apparently they are very good for you. I live, I learn.

It’s lovely when you get good feedback too, thank you to anyone who gives me a fab review, I appreciate the compliment and I know that you don’t have to comment. It’s great for the soul though.

What’s not good is that I’ve been naughty…slapped wrists time…I worked without taking a day off for almost two weeks and guess what? My brain and body kicked my butt! As much as I love a searing headache, feeling overtired and wrung out like an old dish cloth (NOT) I have to remember that my OCD, anxiety brain needs a rest or I’m playing double jeopardy with my recovery which thankfully has been very good these last few weeks. I’m fine now and lesson learned – the hard way. Hmmm.

I’ve also been working on a new book for my series Royal Rifts, this one is on Mary Queen of Scots and her marriages. Stormy! It will be out in the spring. Publication date to follow.

Well, that’s me, and my brain and writing life for the last few weeks so take care and remember to rest your brain cells. They’ll be glad you did!

 

Joanne

So long stinking thinking!

Hi

Let’s talk brain trickery…it is so easy when you have mental illness (or in a rut) to get stuck with stinking thinking. Thank God I suffer from it less than I used to…helped by a brilliant counsellor and CBT but I still fall prey to the occasional (read daily) thought error.

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Like “I should have done this by now.”

“I’m taking too long loading the dishwasher, I have other stuff to do.”

“I must e-mail someone right now. They’ll be waiting.”

Really, the answer should be “why?” or “who said?” “what difference does it make?” “Is it a life of death importance?” BUT somehow the brain blip kicks in and two things happen in response to the stinking thinking:

You start to feel bad, like you’ve done something wrong and you tell yourself to do better, therefore demanding more of yourself which only adds pressure which exacerbates a stress related illness.

Anyone else seeing a vicious circle here?

Apparently it’s called the Demanding Thinking Error… It’s demanding and it’s a thought not a divine or true statement and it’s an error…so think of it as a number in place of a letter or a vegetable instead of a fruit. You don’t have to have it and use it just because it presents itself so if, like me, you have the demanding thinking error, don’t listen to that pesky inner voice, ignore it and remind yourself that life is to be enjoyed, it’s not a speed trial and you are a fabulous person doing just fine!

Happy rest of the day, smile, you’ve earned it. Have a slice of cream cake too, go on, you know you want to!

Joanne

Is the answer always out of reach?

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Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend, it’s almost here!!

I found myself wondering about something earlier…

Bearing in mind my experiences (ongoing) with depression and anxiety I was told about a friend of a friend who is going through a tough time and I’m going to be honest while I was sympathetic I wasn’t ready to feel sorry for her 100% as I can with other sufferers.

In brief: She is a twenty something single parent (the dad has custody every other weekend) and she never seems to be able to make ends meet, she works part time in a supermarket but doesn’t feel love for the job. Her doctor told her about 4 months ago that she was depressed and prescribed some meds to help.

OK, so far, so good – this is the stuff of life, I believe it’s called situational depression and it must be horrible or it wouldn’t be called depression. However, sympathy from those around her has diminished over the months and I can see why even though I know that depression can rob you of the concept of possibility and opportunity…

She doesn’t like her job – as she likes to tell any and everyone BUT she arrives late regularly, tries to leave early and isn’t keen to work so she often has to be reprimanded by her boss. We all know that the job market isn’t great so jumpin in to another job might not be possible but she won’t try because the present boss does nothing more than reprimand her verbally – water off the proverbial duck’s back.

She also stopped taking the meds but took another two months off work without any pay which wasn’t a popular course of action.

She doesn’t have enough money – this is a problem shared the world over and I can understand that money goes out the door as fast as it comes in. Children can’t live on fresh air and they are constantly growing BUT as soon as she can get a babysitter or the father has custody of her child she turns in to a party animal, gets totally wasted and spends far too much money on “having fun.” Everyone needs fun but every week???

A solution like going out less and saving some money doesn’t seem to have any weight in her mind – she wants to go out, get drunk and be a twenty something like her friends.

The general opinion is that she’s got in to a rut in which she is “happy” to tell everyone how miserable life is and how much she has to put up with but at the same time any help, constructive advice or offers of treatment are being refused or ignored.

So what is she going to do?

Is the answer really out of reach for her?

Does she simply have to face the fact that she can’t live the life her friends have because she’s got responsibilites? 

Is it the depression or her nature that’s costing her the chance of taking control of her life? 

Would “tough love” (NOT STIGMATISING!) help where indulgence hasn’t? 

Is it time to employ the adage “God helps those who help themselves?” 

Questions, questions!!

Interesting, isn’t it? Everyone’s walk with mental health is different, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’ll be a sufferer and there’s a 3 in 4 chance that you’ll have to be around to support that person…however long it takes.

We can all learn from another person no matter how many answers we think we have.

Now, in case this is all too serious, here’s a funny picture. Thanks for reading!

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Quick Plug!


Hi

I hope everyone is enjoying December, so far it’s been writing busy, fulfilling and with lovely surprises for me so that’s all good. Great start to the day, a Christmas story of mine will be used on Bedtime FM soon – thanks and Yay!

And this lovely tome went on sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle this morning too. Another Yay and a Thank God! Some people have already bought it!!! It can be borrowed too – shameless plug moment!!

CJ

Here’s a little present from me to you…a senryu poem! I wrote this last Christmas time but it’s just as, if not more so, needed this year…

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“Wrote to Santa Claus

Asked for wars and hate to cease

A gift of world peace.”

Have a great, safe and full of love and peace week,  Joanne

Bonus flippant Yay…I’m a Celebrity is OVER!!!! not a lover of it, as you can tell.

 

 

Reach out, make it a goal.

Hi

It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?

Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.

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I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.

She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.

In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”

Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”

Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”

Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.

Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”

Hmm, that’s not fair.

It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”

So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.

BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can I help?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”

“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”

“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.” 

As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.

So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains. 

Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.

We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.

THANK YOU!

Have a fab week.

Joanne

Wish I’d thought of it sooner:-)

Hiya

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I hope everyone is having a great Sunday a.k.a. Funday!

I’ve been editing like a ninja this week, less than 4500 words to go so take a guess what I’ll be doing Monday and Tuesday this week?! After this it’s back to childrens fiction. (Thanks to the lovely man that said yes to my pitch!)

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And now for something completely different…you know how on the news we keep seeing images, mainly tragic, of refugees fleeing from Syria and that area? Well, I, like most people I know, was whinging that the government needed to do more, that these people needed help. It was a couple of days before I realised that it’s fine to SAY that but 100% better to DO so I did something that I should have already done – I donated to a charity that is working on the ground with the refugees…so now I have helped in a tiny way instead of just decrying the powers that be from my nice warm and thankfully safe home.

While I know that my donation won’t make a miracle, if it gets added to another someone’s donation and then someone elses…and so on…just think what the human race could do for those that are suffering! Moreover, people find spare cash for a treat so why the heck shouldn’t they find cash to help repair a catastrophe?!

Life eh? It throws up some interesting questions.

Take care and remember to tickle your tum to make yourself laugh;-)

Joanne

 

Autism – On Trying to Understand Society

This is a phenomenal insight, I had to reblog it – Thanks to David Snape for reblogging it first:-)

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Yesterday I walked past my husband’s computer as he was checking his email. I noticed that his inbox was filled up with my blog posts, and wondered if I was possibly writing too often. He didn’t say anything, and I didn’t ask – that is usually how I am – but it did concern me.

These things make me anxious. How do I know if I am doing something too much or too little? How do I know when to stop, or when to keep going? The rules in this society are so difficult to figure out, and it seems that everyone makes up their own – but others don’t appear to be having these struggles that I am having.

Always I am analyzing the things I am doing, and comparing them to what others are doing – but I still can’t seem to fit in. I watch, and try…

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Election insanity!

Hi

The great news is that I am putting the finishing touches to my new e-book about Marie Antoinette of France which will be out on 4th May 2015.

As I finish one project my mind is pondering what or who the next one will be about or if I’ll change to fiction this time. Decisions, decisions!

PenguinMeanwhile, with less than three weeks to go until the General Election in the UK the politicians are promising the earth, the moon, the stars, the improbable and outright miracles to get votes.

Some are making themselves even more unpopular by the day, others seem to think that they can make or break a nation almost singlehandedly. BUT there is one aspiring political lady (who I won’t name) who really overstepped the line this week.

She suggested – and her political party worked quickly to detach her comments from their visions -that people with mental health issues should wear wristbands to indicate that they were suffering from an mental illness – apparently different colours for different mental conditions – this would help the authorities to know what they were dealing with.

WHHHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT was/is she thinking? Isn’t there enough stigma in the world already????

I wrote this to show my feelings on the subject:

 

Blooming hopping mad

Just read something truly bad

In the news a political type

I won’t say her name, I’ll simply gripe

Says mental health sufferers

Should wristbands gladly wear

So that everyone can know

That we’re not healthy, oh no

So, if I have to wear one

In her crazy world of stigmatised fun

What colours shall we choose

For coughs, colds and the flu? 

Oh dear, she didn’t suggest that too.

I’m still a human being – Surprise!

Her “good” idea is discrimination in disguise.

 

I’m so glad that not everyone thinks in the way that she does, with the anxiety disorders OCD and PTSD I’d presumably have to wear two “look at me” wristbands for all to see, hey, what a fashion statement.

Oh, and fair warning, the politician who suggests that mental health patients should

a. be poked with sticks and/or

b. made a spectacle of

will be cruising for a metaphorical bruising as this isn’t the dark ages they can join the 21st century rather than drag humanity backwards.

Have a great weekend.

Joanne.

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