Saturday, 31 January 2015

Gluttons

Gluttons Cafe Tettenhall
Gluttons Cafe Tettenhall
Gluttons Cafe Tettenhall
Slush Puppie Top
Slush Puppie Top and Clear Rain Mac
Clear Rain Mac
Slush Puppie Top

Top - Asos
Jeans - Topshop
Clear Rain Mac- Primark
Alphabet Scarf - Matalan
Trainers - Primark
Pizza Necklace - eBay
Belt - Pull & Bear

Gluttons for Nourishment, Tettenhall Arcade, High Street, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8QS

I managed to find my memory card! It was on the floor on the other side of my bedroom, of all places. I really didn't feel great last night so sorry for that ranty post yesterday, but you do have to be really careful as some people will use you and drop you whenever it's convenient. But at the end of the day you don't need people like that in your life and as long as you have those genuine people that are always there for you, that is all that matters. And this morning I have realised that, so feel much better!

These photos are from yesterday, when I went to a cafe in Tettenhall called Gluttons with my mum for lunch. It's a lovely little place tucked inside a small arcade, which sells an extensive menu of food and drink (see for yourself - look at the menu!). They literally had about 20 different milkshake flavours, but I had to go for one nicknamed "The Elvis", containing peanut butter and banana (two of my favourite ingredients) - and it was glorious. Next time I go I will definitely try one of their hot chocolates with cream and marshmallows as they were huge! I ate a goats cheese and red pepper toasted sandwich, which came with salad, coleslaw and crisps, and Mum had a houmous platter. I would have loved to have tried their afternoon tea, which is reasonably priced at £15 per person, but you have to pre-book if you want it. If you wanted to go I would definitely recommend booking, as they were really busy and it took us about 10 minutes to get a table.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far! This evening I am having a games night with my family and our family friends, so I'm off now to put my competitive hat on and get ready to win.
Do what you can with what you have where you are.
                             - Theodore Roosevelt



Why am I not good enough?

I did have some photos for you all but I just dropped my memory card and cannot find it for the life of me... Today I travelled home, went out for lunch with Mum and then went out for a curry and a drink with my best friend Roxy.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm not good enough for anyone. I try my best to be nice and funny and supportive but most of the time that doesn't seem to be good enough. Some people will use you and toss you to the side without thinking and that really hurts. And maybe I'm not pretty and don't have the most amazing body in the world, but I'm intelligent and I can be downright funny when I'm comfortable with someone. But sometimes that's just not good enough. I hope that some people like me for who I am rather than what I can give to them - past experience and my depression sometimes makes me question relationships and why anyone would ever want to be around me. Society can be so superficial but you know what, I am a good person. I'm just not good enough for some people.

Hannah x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

How to get up in the mornings


 If you're anything like me, you'll struggle to get yourself up in the mornings. Due to my depression I am exhausted a lot of the time and find it really difficult to motivate myself to get out of bed, but here are a few tips I've tried that sometimes make it that little bit easier.


GIVE YOURSELF A TREAT
Something simple like your favourite breakfast cereal or a shower gel or moisturiser you enjoy using can make getting out of bed slightly more pleasurable as you have something to look forward to. I always choose to have crunchy nut cornflakes on days where I'm feeling a bit down (and Nutella with pancakes is always a good choice too if you have time). Even some make-up or an outfit that makes you feel a little bit special can really help to get you up.

TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
Focus only on what you have got to do next, rather than thinking about the day to come. Think, "right, I'll just get out of bed and get dressed/have a shower/get breakfast" - breaking it down can make it much less daunting and make the day seem slightly easier.

BE CLEVER WITH YOUR ALARM
Like listening to music? Get an alarm clock radio that you can listen to as you get out of bed. Or set multiple alarms to make sure you definitely get up. One trick I often use is setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier than I have to get up, whilst also setting an alarm for the time I should be getting up. I can then ignore the first alarm and it feels like I am getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep - which makes it easier when I eventually have to pull myself out of bed.

SUPPORT FROM LOVED ONES
My Mum often texts me in the morning to say she hopes I have a nice day and that she loves me, and that really helps me to face the day as I'm reminded that I'm not alone. You could ask someone to give you a brief call in the mornings to prepare for the day ahead, or just have someone there that you know you can turn to at any moment in the day if you need it. Knowing that you have some support if things get ugly can work wonders with depression.

DRINK WATER BEFORE BED
This may sound weird, but it will mean that you will need to go to the toilet when you wake up. And then you'll be out of bed already, so won't need to get back in again.

GO TO BED EARLIER
Perhaps one of the most obvious items on this list, but also one of the most important. Go to bed earlier and you will feel less tired in the morning, making it easier to get up. I am one of those people that needs at least 8 hours of sleep a night, so I work out what time I should go to sleep depending on when I have to be up, and try and be in bed at least half an hour before that so I can wind down with a good book.

I hope these tips help people drag themselves out of bed in the mornings! It's slightly ironic as I didn't manage to get up until 1pm today, but most of the time these tips work for me if I really try hard. If all else fails, don't beat yourself up about it - sometimes you just need a day to recover sleeping in bed.
For a brief moment in time, you were a moment in someone's life. A mere extra, passing through their thoughts in milliseconds, but milliseconds of their story nonetheless. For every person you've exchanged eye contact with, you have made a contribution to their existence, be it significant or not.
                       - MaleCra



Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#Take5ToBlog

Take 5 To Blog Time to Change

It's unusual for me to do two posts in one day, but as I mentioned earlier it is Time to Talk Day on 5th February and I really want to help to stigma around mental health. As part of the campaign, Time to Change want bloggers to share why they are taking part in the movement. Here are mine...

1) My name is Hannah and I have been diagnosed with depression.
2) My mental health condition has affected my life by making it so difficult to get out of bed in the mornings, and hard to find the strength to carry on each day. Depression has affected my relationships in the way that I have found out who is there to support me with my mental health, and who really matters in my life.
3) My greatest source of support has been my family, who have been there for me through everything and have stood by my side during all of my decisions. My friends have also been a huge support, and the girls I am living with this year have been so good for me.
4) My hope for the future is that everyone can openly talk about mental health and that the stigma around it will be non-existent. I hope to be able to call in sick on my bad days, and tell them it is due to my depression rather than feeling that I have to say it is a physical illness.
5) I'm taking 5 on Time to Talk day because I am passionate about changing mental health stigma, and it makes me feel privileged to be able to be part of a massive campaign that will make a big difference, and may help lots of people in the future.

You can write your own 5 sentences about why you are taking part in Time to Talk Day using their prompt above, and can post it on the Time to Talk Facebook page. Let's change the stigma around mental health together!
Rule your mind or it will rule you.
             - Buddha



Time to Talk Day: Get involved

Time to Talk Day

Time to Change is a programme created by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, designed to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. On 5th February they are hosting a day called 'Time to Talk Day', where they are asking people to chat to someone for at least 5 minutes about mental health during that day, and then log on their website how long they talked for. Time to Change's aim is to have a 24 hour conversation about mental health, to get people thinking and show that it is okay to talk about it.

You can choose to have your conversation with friends and family, at work, in the community, at school or university, or even online. I decided that I would talk to my friends and family about it (as well as online with my blog!), so I ordered their free pack for this purpose. I received it the other day (you can see it here): it includes leaflets, postcards, posters, fortune teller conversation starters, and 10 badges. I am planning to use the fortune teller conversation starter to decide what to start a conversation about, and will be handing out the leaflets and postcards to people at university during the day. I will also be proudly wearing my badge, which states "I've had my conversation. Have you?", and will be asking my friends to do the same (sorry guys!). You can also get free packs for work, the community, and school or university, but you can also have your conversation without receiving one of these. Just ask someone how they are feeling, or get your views across about mental health. We can all help to stop mental health discrimination - and on the 5th February all you need to do is chat for 5 minutes.

As well as talking on 5th February, you can help share the message with social media. Sign up to Time to Talk's Thunderclap here, and on the morning of Time to Talk Day a message will be posted to your social media account showing that you are supporting the movement.

You can also help Time to Change by adding your pledge to their pledge wall, to help end mental health stigma. Over 75,000 people have already signed up which is amazing - every person is helping and it shows how important the issue really is. Mental health will affect everyone at some point in their lives, whether it is them directly or someone they know, so it's incredibly important to stop it being a taboo. We should be able to talk about it freely without being judged as it's a completely normal part of life to suffer from a mental health illness, and talking about it is one of the things that really helps overcome it.

I am so passionate about this subject, and am proud that I will be a part of Time to Talk Day, helping to end mental health stigma. You can see my post with my views on it here.

Today has been a normal day spent on placement in hospital, and then doing a bit of work and relaxing when I got home. I've recently got into Pretty Little Liars, which is really bad as there are over 100 episodes and I often find myself binge-watching, distracting myself from work. Oops. I also had a hilarious discovery when I found that one of my top referring sites for my blog this week has been from "Rainwear Central" - you can tell that I'm really moving on up in the world.
Life is a never ending journey of discovery.
                - Gillian Roberts



Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Year of Happy: A love letter to myself

Year of Happy January love letter

For the first month of the Year of Happy, I am supposed to write a love letter to myself. I find this quite awkward as I don't usually think of myself in a good way (probably due to my depression), but at the same time I think people should start celebrating themselves more and write more love letters to themselves (but not necessarily post it on the internet) to help their self-esteem and mental health. This will also be very similar to my letter that I did to my 16 year old self a few weeks ago. Anyway here goes nothing...!


Dear Hannah,

2015 is going to be your year. It's going to be the year that you strive to be happy and enjoy life and everything it throws at you. You have been fighting so hard for happiness every day the last few months but you don't find that you need to fight so hard now. Look at how far you've come: in just over 6 months you have fought your depression with everything you have, all whilst helping others with mental health problems with your little corner of the internet. Just over 6 months ago you were in hospital and swore to yourself that you would never get that low again, and from there you have just gone from strength to strength. It's not been easy but I am so proud of you for getting to where you are now. We never even dared to dream half a year ago that we would feel this much better in such a short amount of time, did we?

You have learned to be almost grateful for what happened in 2014 and for your depression rearing its ugly head again, as it has taught you so many things. You have learnt how to pick yourself up on a down day; how to depend less on other people whilst still being able to open up about your mental health to the whole world; and you have learnt a lot about yourself. You are a strong woman that knows what she wants and what makes her happy, and you are less afraid to reach for that this year. Your depression has taught you that it is okay to be completely yourself around people, warts and all, and that they will like you for that. You know what is important in life and are more open to change and new opportunities, including taking on a sign language course and becoming a committee member for the university's mental health and GP societies.

I mean, look at what you have planned for this year. You are hoping to do a skydive in May for charity, you have booked two holidays already to fulfil your need to explore new places, and you have lots of little plans for things with friends and family. You have written your 2015 bucket list, of which one item is 'dance in the street' - heck, you cared too much about what other people think to achieve that last year. And you are determined to experience as much happiness as possible, surrounded by amazing people and seeing new things.

When I look at our progress I think that you are amazing. And if you don't believe me, sit and look through the comments on your blog and all of those lovely emails you have received from people (especially the comments on this post and this post). They didn't have to reach out to you, but they did, and that is because you have helped or inspired them in some little way. And that is incredible. Your depression has allowed you to achieve so much more than you would have done if you had carried on in your happy little bubble early last year, and you have almost come to see it like a friend that challenges you every day to make you a better person.

And all of this whilst being a medical student. You are so lucky to have found something you utterly love and can't wait to be a part of in the future - you get the privilege of learning far more about the human body than you could possibly even think of, and get to meet some amazing patients and health care staff along the way. Medicine is one of the things that really keeps you going and you managed to get through a really difficult time in the summer and become a third year student. Be proud of yourself for how committed and motivated you are, as it took a lot of strength to carry on when you were suffering so badly.

I want you to always remember that it is okay to be you - actually it's more than okay. You love photography, food, spending time with your dogs, and prefer a night slobbing in front of the TV than going out. You're a bit old before your time sometimes with your love of house programmes and a need for a blanket over your knees all the time, but that's okay. You're not afraid to wear whatever takes your fancy each day and sometimes you just love to lie in bed all day and watch films whilst pigging out. And sometimes you just have the need to be silly, but you've found people that you can be silly with. That's you and you should love that about yourself. Liking yourself hasn't always been easy, but I hope that when you read back through this letter in the future you will see how incredible you really are, and how much you have achieved.

This year you need to do what you enjoy. Say 'yes' to opportunities that excite you, 'no' to those that don't, and keep dreaming about that trip to Australia as it will happen. I have all the faith in the world that you will tick every item off your bucket list for this year, all whilst growing as a person and learning more about yourself. Spend those days in bed watching re-runs of Gossip Girl if you want to, but also take up opportunities that scare you, like skydiving. Go out with friends, have fun, build up those laughter lines and create some stories to tell your grandchildren.

This year will be fantastic. You're too determined not to let it be. Keep smiling, keep laughing and keep loving. And always remember to be a kid at heart and only let your life be ruled by you, along with people that make you happy and improve your life in some way.

Here's to 2015.

All my love,
The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.



Monday, 26 January 2015

Year of Happy


I found October June's post on Year of Happy and decided to join in with it. The idea is that every month there will be a new project or activity to take part in and blog about, to make your life generally more positive and hopefully lift your mood.

These are the projects for each month:

January - Write a love letter to yourself. Write all the reasons you're awesome, write down your hopes and dreams for the year ahead, any resolutions, heck, write what you had for  lunch. Share why you're grateful for 2014 and what you want to achieve in 2015. Share whatever you want - it's your letter.

February - Go to a thrift shop or dollar store and buy the weirdest, goofiest, strangest things you can find - anything that makes you happy! Then, make a haul post or (better yet) a video sharing what you bought. Don't spend more than $10 and remember to have fun!


March - Create an inspiration board using your favorite colors, images, or sayings. Haul out those old issues of Glamour and go to town! Hang it somewhere you will see it every day so that you can feel happy and inspired whenever you look at it.


April - Make something that you find beautiful - it could be anything! A decoration, a dress, a cake, hey, even a baby! Share what you made and why it is beautiful to you.


May - Have a dance party in your room to get those good endorphins flowing in time for finals week! Invite your roommates, your parents, your dog, or just go solo - then share your playlist!


June - Do something you always wanted to do as a kid, be it skydiving, dying your hair pink, or even just staying up past your bedtime to read a book. Share what you did and how you felt to have finally accomplished your childhood goal.


July - Make your favorite comfort food from scratch, then share your recipe.


August - Find a way to  compliment everyone you talk to for a whole day. You never know who might be in need of a kind word - and everyone could use a little reminder of how great they are. Report back on how they responded or how it made you feel.


September - Use feng shui to give your room, apartment, or dorm a facelift. Change furniture around, redecorate, put up lights - do whatever you need to make your space your own. You'll feel much more comfortable and happy, and it's always good to change things up once in a while.


October - Buy something just for yourself to enjoy - it could be a new book, something you've been wanting for a long time, or something as simple as a candy bar, but don't share it with friends, kids, significant others, or anyone else - treat yo'self.


November - Every day for the whole month, write down something you were thankful for that day. Sometimes it is hard to remember what you're grateful for - and some days it may feel like everything is going wrong. But there is always a reason to be grateful for something. At the end of the month, share how you felt after the exercise, and some things you're thankful for in time for Thanksgiving.


December - Remember that letter you wrote yourself way back in January? Well, I want you to go back and read it again. Read all the things you wanted to accomplish this year, read about the person you were 12 months ago. Does it seem like ages? Do you feel happier? Did you accomplish any goals from your letter or did life send you spinning off in a completely different direction?


I will be kicking off tomorrow with a love letter to myself. Let me know if you decide to join in too - I would love to read your responses!


Today has been a normal day of hospital, working and eating. I learnt how to catheterise someone earlier in the day, and had a curry for tea tonight. All very fun.

What defines us is how well we rise after falling.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

"We own a wall mop?!"

Clear rain mac
Clear rain mac
Clear rain mac
Clear rain mac
Clear rain mac

Jumper - New Look
Shirt - New Look
Rain Mac - Primark
Jeans - Topshop
Shoes - Primark

I feel like this outfit is the epitome of my style really; I quite often reach for a jumper and shirt to put underneath on a more lazy day. I like how this rain mac would protect you from the rain whilst still showing your clothes underneath - I get quite annoyed if I'm wearing a nice outfit and have to cover it up with a bulky coat.

So onto the name of this blog post... I got back to Liverpool today and whilst cleaning the bathroom we found that we have a huge leak going into a cupboard in the lounge. We had to clear out said cupboard, and found an item that my housemate described as a "wall mop". Apparently it's a mop that is supposed to be used to wipe walls. I now feel like a very grown up and civilised household. And who knew a wall mop existed?
Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn't think we needed to know.



Happy Birthday Mum!


The Dartmouth Arms, Snowdon Road, Burnhill Green, Wolverhampton, WV6 7HU

Jacket - Vintage
Top - Vintage
Jeans - Topshop
Necklaces - New Look

Today is my amazing mum's birthday, and I hope she's had a lovely day as she has been so incredible with me the past 6 months when I've needed her more than ever. I love you, Mum!! We went for a walk with the dogs, played a couple of board games and then went to The Dartmouth Arms in Burnhill Green for a meal. It is a pub turned into an Italian restaurant, and the food is delicious (plus there's 20% off food and drinks for the whole of January). I had bruschetta, broccoli pasta and white chocolate profiteroles.

This outfit is making me get excited for the Liverpool vintage fair in February. I love wearing vintage clothes as they are so individual and you know that you won't see anyone else wearing the same outfit as you. I have felt so good today and it's amazing to feel so happy and optimistic. I always know when I'm feeling good as I start loudly (and badly) singing and dancing around the house. This morning I was prancing around warbling along to Uptown Funk in my pyjamas. Well why not?
Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for everyone to see, it's just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly, "Keep going. You got this!"



Friday, 23 January 2015

What therapy is like

What therapy is like

It's amazing how much better an hour with my therapist can make me feel. I had the amazing news tonight when I saw her that I am going to be discharged and don't need to have any further sessions with her unless I feel like I need them - it's incredible as it makes me realise how far I've come in just over 6 months. Counselling has given me the skills to cope with my low mood whenever I need it, and has made me have a much more positive outlook on life, so I thought I would dedicate this post to what having therapy is like.


I started seeing my counsellor around July last year when I was really suffering with my depression. Since then we have met every few weeks to discuss how I am getting along, and each session she would listen to my concerns and give me advice and tips on how to improve my mood. These skills will be with me for life, which means that if I become more depressed again in the future I will be able to use them to combat it.

In our first sessions we started off by going over my circumstances and the reasons for my depression. She asked me a lot of questions about my social life, family history, childhood and any other personal situations that could have triggered a low mood. Each week after that we would discuss ways to lift my mood, such as challenging negative thoughts and practising meditation, whilst discussing any extra issues I had. 

My therapist decided that I needed talking therapy, to vent about my circumstances and work out any issues and confusions I had in my mind. Last summer was a very difficult time for me, and having a third party with no emotional involvement to talk to really seemed to help. We also did a bit of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps you to challenge any negative thoughts you have and change your way of thinking. In addition we discussed mindfulness, which is the practice of trying to stay in the present as much as possible, whether that is through meditation or focusing intently on something you are doing. She also gave me tips about how to sleep better, such as by imagining I'm on a beach to help me get off to sleep.

When you visit a counsellor they will discuss with you the different forms of therapy and which would be best for you. If you feel like you could benefit from talking to someone, it's worth going to see your GP and discussing it with them - they can give you a number to ring or refer you on to counselling services. It can take 6-8 weeks for an appointment to come through with the NHS, but you can always pay to receive private therapy if you would like, as you would get a session much quicker.

If you want therapy to work for you you have to be prepared to tell your therapist everything, as that is the only way they can help you. They will never judge you and will have heard some shocking stories - plus everything you tell them will be confidential (unless they think you are likely to hurt yourself or others). You will also have to work at helping yourself. Your therapist can only give you advice; they can't do everything for you and if you don't work at what they say you won't get any better. So in this case you need to really feel comfortable with the person you're talking to and be able to feel like you can trust them - you can request a specific gender or swap counsellors if one isn't working for you. They won't be offended!

If you would like to try and do some therapy sessions yourself, you can buy books that talk you through how to do it. I was recommended the Overcoming series; they are easy to read and work through, and can be used whenever you need them. You can get them for loads of different mental health problems, from depression to agoraphobia - check them out on Amazon here. You can just dip into them whenever you feel like you need a bit of a lift.

I hope this helps anyone that feels like they need someone to talk to - I've found that it has really helped me and I have a much more positive outlook because of it. I've learnt not to trust everything my brain tells me, and to stop all-or-nothing thinking (such as 'I will always be depressed' or 'I always think that I am fat' - you should try and stay somewhere in the area between all or nothing as it is unhealthy thinking). I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is struggling slightly; even a couple of sessions may help you out immensely!
When a woman becomes her own best friend, life is easier.
                                    - Diane Von Furstenberg