Mental Health Awareness Letters – 9th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 9 – To my dogs.

My little ‘Mexican Shits’ who like to go out and then come in and pee by the back door!!

You cuddle me and show affection. I talk to you and feel that you listen and understand. People may think I am crazy but if you have never owned a dog you wouldn’t understand (unless you do not like dogs, but you have an equally loving cat or another animal). Science proves that being near a pet can help your mental and physical health as well as helping the animals’ health.

I had dogs on and off growing up but for years I wanted a Chihuahua, they are small and cute and feisty little things, with their little tails and little ears and bubbly personality I loved them.

We got our first girl from Gumtree and whilst she had been with this family for a week or two she was still young, most probably too young to be away from her Mam, but I had to have her!! We now have another puppy, found on the internet from a breeder-they have a love hate relationship and love to wind each other up, but they do love each other and there is nothing I love more when I am having a bad day that cwtches from these two.

It may sound silly, but my dogs definitely have saved me!! I love them!!

People may call Chihuahuas ‘rats’ but they are one of the most loyal and loving breeds I have ever known.

The memory of a child and how it had an impact on my life.

I remember a lot from when I was younger, but there are two distinct memories that are embedded in my mind, I did not know it at the time, but these memories played a part in mapping out my future.

The first memory involves me being in a car, I was being told if I cried and said I did not want to go and see my dad just say so and I could go to McDonalds. I was young and did not understand what was going on- I thought my father was mean and that I shouldn’t go near him. I liked McDonalds, so I cried….

I do not remember if a mobile phone was involved or if I was taken into a building or left in the car, that part is a blank. I remember if I cried I got McDonalds.

The second memory I am a bit older and I remember being told I could not go to my father’s funeral because of a few reasons, one being “there will be too many men there” so I did not go to my father’s funeral. At that point in life I didn’t really know about cremation, I presumed everyone was buried-I had only been to one funeral before, my Grandads’ and he was buried. I presumed that if I had no choice over going to the funeral it would be ok because there would be a grave I could go to. It turns out this was not the case either as my father was cremated and his ashes scattered.

I have been told that I am a liar and these memories are imaginary because they did not happen, but I remember them clearly, I can see them if I close my eyes. I may forget what I went upstairs for but these two memories I remember clearly.

What I did not know was that me being in the car that day, was because I was due to see someone (I don’t know if it was a judge or social services) however I know that this one decision had an impact on who ‘won’ custody of me. Of course I had a lot of good things happen to me growing up, I have four younger siblings that I love, but if I could go back to this day I would not have cried for that McDonalds and I would have gone to my Dads’ funeral. Judge me if you want but I was young and knowing what I know now, my father was not “dirty”, “bad” or “nasty” – he was my dad and he loved me.

The same goes for the second memory, apparently it did not happen and I was given a choice, but if that as the case I would never have missed my father’s funeral. These days I get very emotional surrounding death that I believe comes from having a lack of control at a young age when I lost a parent. Yes, I did not see him for about 8 years until he was in hospice care and yes, the parent I lived with got remarried and I have an amazing step Dad, but I still had another father. I have two dads (not in the sense of same sex parents) but my biological dad and my step dad (although I do not like the phrase step dad, he is my dad too).

As a child/young person, we aren’t always given freedom or choice, perhaps it is for protection or to maintain our innocence, but I draw the line on decisions being made for a child on the opinions of the decision maker-they should be made for the best of the child.

My bereavement for the loss of my father has only just begun recently and it has been 15 years. I never grieved, I didn’t want to, I was scared and did not want to show emotion in front of a certain person.

I have not forgiven myself for not standing up for myself, for not giving evidence in a custody battle, or going to that funeral and I don’t think I ever will. My life would have been so different if I stood up for myself.

Update on my Running

Hi everyone!!

I have been quiet over the last few days and I do have a reason why.

I am so upset and sad with myself. I feel like I have let myself and several other people down. As you may be aware I was due to be in Manchester today, running my 10k for Mind. On a run a few days ago I felt so unwell and turned the workout into a short walk as I could not physically run (I could barely walk!!) By that afternoon I had seen the Doctor and had been sent straight to the hospital to see the surgical team.

I felt so unwell, but luckily I did not need to stay in hospital (plus they had no beds!!) and I went home in the early hours after waiting there for several hours. I am still not 100% now and am waiting for an emergency scan which will hopefully take place tomorrow. Due to the pain, fever and dizziness along with tachycardia (fast heart rate), it was not a good idea to run a 10k race, as well as travel the distance to take part. So I had to make the decision to not take part on this occasion.

I will still run a 10k to raise awareness for Mind, I am currently waiting to hear if I can take part later in the year at a different event or whether I will be deferred to next year. I am due to run both the 5k and 10k Race for Life runs in the next few months as well as other runs.

“I am not defeated, I am inspired!!”

I had to take some time away as I felt like such a failure, but like everyone else, sometimes we need to be reminded that failing to do something does not necessarily make us a failure – we learn from these events and it allows us to heal and build upon life experience.

So I need to take my own advice and not take the negatives from this experience but turn them into positives.

 

Reading – 2018 Book Challenge

So I said to myself I need to read more, the only reading I seem to do is online or study related. So I set myself a challenge:

To go through the alphabet and choose a book starting with each letter of the alphabet and read it. So we are 5 months into the year and I still have not started this. So I have sat down today and drawn up a little table on the computer to start this goal.

So here it is;

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 02.22.56

Nice and simple?

I will start filling in the letters with pictures of front covers and will review the books that I feel stand out or I truly recommend and have something to say!!

With only 229 days left of the year I better hurry up. Wish me luck!!

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 8th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 8 – To those of you that support me.

This is a letter to those have had the most positive effect on my Mental Health in recent months. YOU!! You my readers.

I am part of an amazing online community of people with both physical and mental health struggles, as well as University Students with the same difficulties – I have never met any of you but you have been so supportive. There are also an amazing group of you that have no struggles, yet empathise so much with my journey.

 

Thank You So much xxxx

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 7th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 7 – To the colleagues that laughed about mental health.

Now if you have read my previous letters in this series over #mentalhealthweek / #mentalhealthmonth you will see that I have covered this subject, however, I believe it does need a couple of sentences to clear this up;

Firstly,

“Screw You??”

and

“I hope you never feel as bad as myself or others have felt, especially the ones you laugh at – I hope you never feel so bad you want to die.”

That is all. #Shortandsweet

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 6th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 6 – To the Teacher that changed my life.

Not many people say they loved ‘Religious’ classes at school, but I did – actually I Loved them!! Apart from the negative aspects of secondary school like bullying, I loved going to school. Many of my teachers I looked up to but there was one teacher that really inspired and helped me –  if that teacher was still here today I would thank her for saving my life.

If you spoke to anyone that knew Miss Bedwyr they would say she was an amazing and inspiring person and that she was a great teacher who really loved helping others, as well as keeping fit running, skiing and I believe she did marathons also. There was also many fantastic outfits and several brightly coloured and patterned pairs of tights.

Not many people, if anyone, knew about the help I received from Miss Bedwyr. Miss Bedwyr knew about my bullies, my eating disorders and knew about some of the events and abuse that I had been through in my life. Even though I denied self-harm, she knew I had self-harmed in the past (cannot really hide scars!!) and knew what to say. Miss B (as we called her) provided advice, guidance and support as well as giving me career advice and suggested reading for pursuing Religious Education. I remember visiting the University in West Wales and listening to stories about where Miss B lived during her studies and spending the day on campus discussing Religious and Theological Studies.

Unfortunately, Miss Bedwyr passed away on August 4th, 2009 due to an accident in Cardiff. I think I would have pursued my career in Religious Education if this had not happened, although I do still enjoy learning about Religion, it hurt too much to actually study and pursue full time. Miss Bedwyr was the type of person that would be proud and enthusiastic, no matter the outcome.

It has been nearly 9 years since Miss B’s passing but thank you for helping me and giving me life-changing support and guidance. Thank You for helping me to see me and look past my circumstances. Thank You for being that person to speak to, even if it meant us eating lunch in your classroom or skipping lunch all together!! You were such a kind and inspiring person. Without your support I may have ended my life before the age of 18.

Diolch / Thank You

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 5th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 5 – To the ex boyfriend who told me to leave at 03:30AM.

I was 17 when we first met, my first love. He was a colleague, who was a University Student and owned a flat in Cardiff Bay, his parents were lovely and treated me amazingly. I dreamed of our marriage, children and future homes.

Like everyone, we had our little couple arguments, our fun times and sad times. I got to visit Portugal and revisit New York (Business Class!!) as well having supportive ‘in-laws’.

I remember there being an event and the brake lights on the car not working, so I could not pick my boyfriend up from wherever he was (possibly a University event) and he had to take the bus home. I felt terrible but legally I could not drive without any brake lights and being young and a fairly new driver, it would have cost me a lot if I got caught or had an accident. It turns out that the lights were fine but it was the sensor under the brake pedal- it had been forced down during an emergency stop earlier that day and once it is pushed down it to a certain extent it does not rise, meaning the brake lights do not get activated.

Anyway, that night brought an argument followed by a few days of not speaking and a tense atmosphere. In bed at 03:30am I stupidly rolled over and said something silly about me not being spoken to and all I remember being told at the end of that conversation was to “get out” – I was hurt and angry so I got up and started packing ( in my mind it was not my house so if I was being told to go I had to go) I thought by the next day after being up all night packing that it would end with an apology, kiss and makeup situation. But it didn’t, I left.

This was the first impulsive decision I remember making, this was nearly 3 years into my first serious relationship. Bringing many firsts and came to an abrupt end.

Within 6 months I had left the country, changed my hair colour, got more tattoos and had to move back into my parents’ house and I was devastated. My life did perk up when we met for a coffee, I was still naive and thought we would get back together, but we never did. Meanwhile, I was being told he was sleeping with someone else within 3 weeks of me leaving- obviously this was never confirmed by him but judging by her behaviour I think that was the case.

Why am I telling this story? I have never written about it before and maybe it helps me to heal those permanent wounds. Perhaps it could be because it helps me identify when things really started changing for me, when I first started to make impulsive decisions.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have moved on. I am married, with dogs and a house. I have a rough plan drafted out for my future and I am happy with my life. But naturally you can’t help but wonder. You may never read this but I think if you do, you will know it is our story and you may understand how you made me feel, both during the happy times and our ending.

I still cannot listen to this song without feeling sad;

Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they’re not shinin’
Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful and I tell her everyday
Yeah, I know, I know when I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me “Do I look okay?”
I say
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change ’cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are
Yeah
Her lips, her lips, I could kiss them all day if she’d let me
Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it’s so sexy
She’s so beautiful, and I tell her everyday
Oh you know, you know, you know I’d never ask you to change
If perfect’s what you’re searching for then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay, you know I’ll say
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are
The way you are
The way you are
Girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are
Yeah

 

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 4th May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 4 – To the Doctor who looked at me and said to your colleague “She has Polycystic Ovaries and Abdo Pain- just send her to gynae and they can discharge her”.

Physical health and Mental Health go hand in hand. Several years ago during my first ‘appendix scare’, I ended up in a bed in University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the consultant surgeon came to see me (along with at least 10 Junior Doctors!!) for an assessment. Now by this point, I was already very hungry and thirsty, alone and in pain. But when the surgeon came and told me to lift my shirt up and before saying anything useful she proceeded to point and say what are these marks you have done to yourself? and of course I had no idea what she was talking about, looked down and was like “what these, they are stretch marks!!” and she looked back at them, actually lifted her eyebrow and rolled her eyes, used the hand sanitiser and bend down to stare at them again before touching me for an abdominal exam.

I must have been no older than 21 but had already battled anorexia and at the time really hated my body. This Doctor made me feel fat, ugly and worthless- yes I was curvy but by no means overweight, my stretch marks came from my weight loss rather than gain and I hated myself. You did not help!!

If you are in the healthcare field and you are reading this, please be a bit more mindful of your body language and comments. Patients are not stupid!! We all go through tough times and the marks on our body usually tell a different story rather than a persons first judgement and opinion.

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 3rd May 2018

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 3 – To the people who thought I was ‘Pulling a fast one’ being off work for months because of my appendix.

You may already know that in 2016 my physical health took a turn downhill. Long story short I could have died and felt at my weakest.

Now I heard a lot of gossip (also witnessed it once, unknowingly to them!) and people thought I was pulling a ‘fast one’ to get paid time off.

Luckily where I lived at the time had a downstairs toilet because I literally had to drag myself up and down the stairs if I needed something, I even wet myself once trying to get downstairs to the toilet. I had the district nurse visit me to tend to my infections in my surgical sites (quite common with keyhole surgeries apparently) I cried most days and felt ugly, fat, bloated, worthless and mentally drained.

But people thought I was pulling a fast one because their relative was in and out of hospital and back to work quickly with their appendix. I was back to work 2 weeks after my first keyhole surgery (big mistake and pushed myself too far) but having had a good few weeks of fatigue, infection and illness even before having the appendix removed, the surgeon advised it would not be a quick recovery-my body was physically and mentally drained. When I managed to walk a few doors up to the doctor’s surgery a few weeks after surgery, almost passing out in the front entrance the nurse had to get the doctor to come and “tell me off” for doing too much because I vacuumed once when I spilled a pot of glitter on the carpet.

So to those ‘people’ who thought I was taking advantage of my employer by taking sick pay and sitting at home “doing nothing and making money” – I didn’t see you sending flowers, cards or even popping in to say hi. Your comments really hurt me and coming back to work to face you every day was so difficult, I almost didn’t come back. Then again that wouldn’t have bothered you because you don’t like me anyway.

Think before you make remarks!!