Happy pancake day!

Couldn’t really leave the day without blogging about food and mood!

It is pancake day and nice to have a treat from time to time. After all, eating pancakes inspired me to come up with a title for this blog. I suppose as time as gone and depending on how I feel, I don’t eat well and often can’t afford the range of foods we are meant to eat to stay healthy. I do quite well but I am always anxious about making sure I have healthy food in and we are always hearing so much about ‘mood boosting’ foods. I haven’t been able to gain much weight in a while due to over active thyroid as I have a fast metabolism. This may sound a bit weird, but I would prefer to have the choice to gain weight even though I know many complain about being overweight. I suppose it is how you feel rather than what size you are.

These are the following ‘eat well’ messages we are bombarded with:

Ensure your family eat their five a day (fruit and vegetables)

Avoid too much caffeine if you have mood problems such as anxiety issues and depressive mood

Don’t have too much sugar or caffine – especially if you have bladder illness

Drink 2 litres of water today

Eat at regular times and avoid snacking – if only!

Guten free products are better for you – and very limited and costly!

 

But I have found it hard to know whats best with various health conditions and often feel confused and deprived of what I should or shouldn’t eat. Not everyone can afford a nutritionist either.

It would be interesting for you to share what works for you and if you are on a budget, how do you eat well for less. (or so Sainsburys say!)

Here is link to a healthy, balanced diet 

Anyway enjoy your pancakes, including all the sugar and toppings you like!

 

 

 

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Outlook on life

Are you a planner or do you like to go with the flow of life to get what you want out of life? Do you expect the worst to happen or are you happy to look on the bright side? Negative thoughts can make this difficult.

I believe that there is a higher power, guiding us in a certain direction and although difficulties and suffering may happen to us, we are in position to learn from the situation and become empowered from it. Depression has a harsh way of asking us to look at our life and make some changes. It can be a turning point for many.

You could call it destiny or fate! If we leave our options open and try different things, we may become connected to certain people who will take us on a path that is meant for us. I like being around new people but in the past social anxiety as made me feel overwhelmed or feel like I may not fit in to a certain group of people. I still have very difficult days where I feel unable to cope.

Mental health challenges, sometimes make it hard to differentiate between what are ‘normal’ feelings and what is a a health issue. I think today’s fast paced society has made it difficult for function and cope with different stressors. For me, there is no such thing as normal. Making comparisons to others and putting unrealistic expectations, is one of the reasons why we get depressed and anxious.

How about having some alone time and switching your phone off? In relation to our mental health, sometimes we try so much to ‘feel better’ and be around people and avoid feeling lonely when sometimes, we may be running from ourselves and not enjoying our own company.

Looking at the relationship we have with our self before we look at the relationships we have with others is a good starting point.  I wish I had this wisdom when I was younger. It is guidance that I can now pass on to my son and other children to increase their self-esteem.

When we don’t have self-love and compassion, we end up forming unhealthy relationships and going down the path that may not be right for us. Something to think about ………………….

‘What is meant for you, won’t go past you’

RIP Pepa 2000 – 2017

After nearly 17 years together, I said my final goodbyes to my boy Pepa or ‘Peps’ that we liked to name him. He was the last of four cats I looked after since 1997. Part of the family for such a long time with no health issues. He had such a gentle nature and was always there for me, giving me comfort when I needed it, especially during the very difficult days of depression and stressful life events. He was very good at flexing his claws into my leg when he wanted to help eat my food!

I was heart broke when he became ill quite suddenly over the last few months. I made the choice to take him to the vets yesterday. Part of me didn’t want to say goodbye but I knew it was the kindest thing to do in the situation. I have his collar and cuttings from his fur for a keepsake box. He can now be reunited with Tara and Bobby in cat heaven to eat endless tuna!

A few months before he passed, we decided to rehome a kitten so we now have Shire to keep us company.

 

yyyyyy

 

 

I’m getting married!

Feels unreal when I say I am now a fiancee! I had a lovely weekend visiting my partners family in Kent. On a visit to Leeds Castle, Jason proposed to me! On one knee, in the castle grounds, Jason asked me to marry him. At first I thought he was joking! I replied ‘are you having a laugh?’. Then I realised he wasn’t joling and I thought “this is it – I am going to be married!” It was a beautiful moment. We haven’t decided on a year and a venue as yet. Today we are went to the jewelers to have the ring adjusted as it was 2 sizes too large. It is a family heirloom and exactly the style of ring I would have chosen.

Today we have started to make a list of ideas and guest we want for the wedding and hoping everyone that is invited can make it.

 

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Accepting the ‘negative’ thoughts….

I’ve tried lots of therapies via the NHS, mainly CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and counselling. Although I can see the rational and logical way that cognitive behavioural therapy can work and be helpful in some situations, particulary the here and now, I have also struggled to implement it in my daily life and see it of any benefit to me as it also works on the principle of changing what you are thinking rather than accepting the thought and looking deeper into why you would think that way in the first place (the route cause). Because my condition began from a difficult childhood and a history of serious health problems which affected my self worth and distorted my core beliefs, I needed to revist my past and talk about long term trauma I had experienced. I was always surrounded by people and social constructs that appeared to be ‘strong and resilient’ and appeared to be coping with whatever life threw at them. It can make you feel pretty crap over time when you think you are constantly at odds with the world. Depression distorts your view and makes you feel like a different person. I suppose you could say you have an angry or wounded child inside. This is why I do my best with parenting now as I know how different things could be for my son. School is one of the first environments that challenges you in many ways. Bullying, the stress of being absent due to illness and the social pressures of living in a deprived family with mental ‘illness’. When I look back on my childhood now, it made me realise how much I endured and how proud I should be of being here today and surviving what life has thrown my way. I take responsibility of where I am and where I will get to. Does it really matter if my hairs a mess or I have acne..no!

Often there would be no obvious triggers for my low mood, some days I may have poor sleep and wake upset or drained even before the day began. Even though sleep hygiene is important, if you need to nap in the daytime, do it. Dont deprive yourself of sleep. Get sleep when you can, especially if you are suffering from insomnia at night. Mornings are particularly problematic for me, which is common with depression. I think you get into a thought habit of telling yourself that there is no point in sticking to plans as ‘things will go wrong’ or ‘you need to stay at home and rest today’. It is incredibly hard to know what to do for the best some days. Today was a great day. I accepted my negative thoughts and set out to go to work as planned. I was nervous as hell, convinced the day would not go well and got stressed out with the motorway queuing but I managed to report I was running late and that took the pressure off getting to my meeting on time. I really hate being late, always like to punctual or I’m always early. Slight ‘obsession’ but a useful one because they say its good manners to be on time!

One of the things I aim to do now, is be mindful with the way I think, when I can and not get swept into the ocean of deeply distressing thoughts and get used to concentrating on my breathing more to ground me. If we are anxious we often don’t learn to breathe from our belly (like babies do), we have very shallow breathing. It is automatic and feeds into the horrible cycle of anxiety, negative thoughts and avoidance behaviour. Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word in mental health at the moment. Like I said, you can choose bits of everything that suits you on different days. Getting to a place of complete stillness and peace is hard to do during meditation practise, especially if you are a creative thinker as I am as you are always coming up with ideas in your mind or problem solving.

I am trying to not be too hard on myself, to be kind and nurturing to myself and have a future of more helpful thoughts.