Blog Archives

Mental health: Take time for YOU.

Hi

Spending time to make your brain feel more positive, rested and peaceful is not selfish, it’s wise. You need it.

If you live with mental illness, know this: You may not believe it but you’re a wonderful person and you are doing great. Each day you are getting from dawn to dusk and that takes energy and courage. (I know, I’ve been there.)

mhaw

 

Every day with mental health issues may feel like a year but it’s best to take one day at a time and try to enjoy the moment you’re in. Think of a hamster on a wheel, that’s your anxiety running at full speed. You’ll fall to the floor exhausted but you’ll have travelled nowhere.

This is difficult and there are no easy fixes or shortcuts – but if you can be strict with overactive overthinking brain and not permit yourself to play “what if? ” or think about anything except what you are doing then this significantly reduces anxiety and gives you fuller enjoyment. For example, engage in a film and invest 100% (or as as much as you can) to it. That leaves less room for the chatterbox in your head.

Listen to a piece of music and feel it, shut out the persistent “you should be doing this or that instead.” Why should you? Is it written in stone that you can’t take time for yourself? That you must work like a drudge, worry yourself in to a coma and feel bad for helping yourself feel better?

Sadly, this is tricky because so much of our lives is ruled by routine, work hours, deadlines and the amount of things we commit to from a sense of obligation, being seen to do the right thing and fitting in.

No is a tiny word but saying it (difficult again) can make a huge difference to how many demands are placed on your shoulders and how frazzled you are.

You have the right to be in charge of your day. If too much of it isn’t yours is there a way to find time for healing your mind, shutting off from stress and being you, in the moment?

Even two minutes spent visualising a tranquil scene has soothing effects…can you find two minutes a few times a day?  I really hope so, it helped and helps me SO MUCH to get through days when depression/anxiety tries to regain power.

 

Have the best day possible.X

 

 

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.

guardian-angel-674669_640

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

TTC_TTTDay1

 

 

Celebrate!

Hinew-year-152044_640

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.

emoticon-715805_640

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

2016 is here already – Don’t worry

Hiyanew-year-152044_640

I hope you have had a fabulous holiday time and I wish you a happy, peaceful, healthy, joyful new year!! (To those who overindulged, I hope your hangover has gone by now!)

thJ7EILSRX

 

Our Christmas decorations are coming down today:-( and the holidays seem to have passed by in the blink of an enjoyable eye – but here we are already on day 2 of 2016 with the rest of the year like a huge blank page ready to be written on.

My aims for this year, apart from – spreading joy, love, positivity and hopefully a bit of helpful wisdom while appreciating my blessings – are to build on the progress that I made last year, both in my writing career – thanks to anyone who’s bought/read any of my books – I officially LOVE YOU! and also with my OCD/PTSD/anxiety which has improved miraculously over the last couple of years. In fact, talk about Christmas miracles and I can tell you that an OCD habit (or ritual as it’s known) that I wasn’t able to shake off on several attempts just magically disappeared on Christmas morning, I simply wasn’t doing it. See, miracles do happen. THANK GOD!!!!:-)

As I couldn’t stop myself from writing completely over the Christmas holidays I have got about 9000 words of a book about the Hanoverians written. Call me crazy but if I don’t write for a couple of days (which is rare) I get what I call itchy fingers – in other words I need to write, my hands are ready to spill what’s jumping up and down creatively in my brain on to my laptop and they can’t wait!

I have also indulged in a bit of poetry – I hope you like this one, it’s a reminder to me but will work for all!

 

Don’t Worry

This today will soon be yesterday

Let’s make it the best we’ve ever written

For each tomorrow is a chapter away

We often forsake our now for it, bitten or smitten

 

Try to live in the moment, savour each one

That’s a hard lesson to learn and maintain

But your mind wants to be in the present, having fun

Smell the roses, see sunsets, feel gentle rain

 

It’s not easy to be in the here and now

There are many invitations to fret, false clues

Tomorrow is a mystery, a tremor or still, for now

It will explain itself soon but it isn’t motivated by the blues

 

Tomorrow’s blank page betrays invisible ink what if’s and when’s

Willed for answers won’t always be found in our today

Questions unanswered, we take up our mental pens

Where we normally write a far too dramatic play

 

For when the dreaded tomorrow morphs in to today

Our fears quite often are found to never have in truth lain

Yet for hours, our eyes off course, they’ll have led us astray

A new merry dance for us to review on memory lane

 

Plus, being human, we flick back to see our faults

Liberally douse our life tomes in inner critic stress

Instead try to live in the moment without thunderbolts

Read each word you write and enjoy the ink blots, they’re heaven blessed.

 

Have a wonderful 2016 and remember to treat yourself well and kindly – everyone should feel special!

thR35961T8

Joanne

 

 

 

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.

thQRAYI1MJ

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

Humanity

Hi

 

guardian-angel-674669_640

 

I wrote this poem a while ago, thought I’d post it…It was written as a response to stress I’d experienced thanks to another person who should have behaved better.  God bless therapy and therapists! Unsung heroes in the land of brain cells and emotions.

 

Respect

Love emboldens souls to be free

Or it creates dreams disappointing

Love is like blossom on the tree

It needs warmth to set forth flowering

 

Respect is to be earned not glibly spent

It’s not a silver spoon birthright

Respect is a given as a compliment

Not after a series of supremacy fights

 

Trust is peaceful but the preserve

Of those who’ve never been burned

The rest of us hold back, reserved

Until we’re sure our hearts to stone won’t turn

 

Forgiveness can prove difficult

But once accomplished it releases us to calm

We’re often too keen to assign fault

But that offers no one a healing balm

 

The heart and mind offer advice we eschew

However emotions will implode if your soul you defy

With experience we should learn that to ourselves be true

Isn’t blanket permission to injure, deride or despise.

 

On a graver note…

I hope that everyone is safe and well and that peace, love and empathy reign over the world.

The good guys must defeat the bad guys.

Only a joint effort can do it.th2KD3LEGV

Take care

Joanne

To be a Victim or, Victorious

This is such an inspirational and wise write. Victory is hard earned but so much more rewarding than victim status. Keep walking :0)X
Thanks to David Snape for reblogging this post.

Epi-Centered

Over the past few days I had many conversations with incredibly loving friends and family who are sothR35961T8 concerned about the news that Phillip’s company is being shut down by its parent company.  In a matter of days or weeks, Phillip will be without a job because someone, who doesn’t even know us, crunched numbers and determined he, his company and his fellow coworkers, aren’t valuable any more.  I’ve found these conversations very comforting.  This is tough though, and without the support of friends and family, getting through it would be so much harder.

I’ve been aware through these conversations though, that I have a choice to either be a victim of our circumstances or victorious over them.  I’ve fought this battle a few times before.

Many years ago, I attended a party with coworkers that I trusted.  A friend offered me a drink and within minutes the room was spinning.  I vaguely…

View original post 654 more words

Busy bee, that’s me

Hiya

honeybee-24633_640

Just so you know I’m a really really really really wonderfully fantabuously busy bee writing at the mo…thank you brilliant clients!! Yippee and double yippee!

I just have to remember that brain overload/stress/spontaneous combustion is sooooo last season. Thankfully, I have helpful (indispensible) anxiety disorder busting techniques in place so if you see a firework going off soon it won’t be a U.K based writer exploding into a gazillion sparkly pieces!!

new-year-152044_640

Here’s a tanka poem that I hope you enjoy…

 

Nature’s Hand

Sprinkled rain diamonds

On a web’s silvery base 

Adorn nature’s hand

So in glory she displays

Majesty of which she’s fond.

 

Happy rest of the weekend and remember there’s always time for a smile and to count your blessings.

Joanne :-)X