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It’s been a year since I last blogged. I like to think of myself as a writer but never write, what a loser!

Well, I now have this blog on my iPhone in an app, so now I really have no excuse not to keep regular posts going up. I just need to find something interesting to write about.

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As today is World Food Day, I’ve decided to write a post as part of blog action day and dedicate it to this worthwhile issue. Here is some information about food instability that may help you understand the problems with food globally.

Lardy, but lovely, Welsh Cakes

The thing about food is, we do not miss it until it is gone. I, like many others, have struggled over the years with my weight, bingeing on fatty or super-sweet, no good for you rubbish, that only adds inches to your size and little nutritional value whatsoever. I also believe that my weight is an insight into my inner wellbeing, nothing to do with size, but I know I often overeat when depressed. This overeating of the wrong foods then feeds my insecurities about the way I look, putting me into the ongoing cycle of thinking I am fat and ugly, which then makes me feel more depressed… leaving the inevitable side effect of eating more to make myself feel better, which then sends me back to the start of the cycle and so on…

I have, over the last year, slowly lost about a stone and a half, maybe 15 KG or so… and I have done this by generally exercising more. I have now finished the councelling I was having, which has helped me to see this ongoing cycle of perpetrating my own low self esteem for what it was. I can now believe in myself in a way I could not do before, which is now allowing me to have an altogether more healthy approach to food. I now enjoy all things about food, choosing all food groups, preparing it, cooking it… although, I still do not cook very much! I now enjoy it more.

This is a blog video from Bodyrock.tv, which is a home workout site that I have now started using, as well as going to the gym. I love how Zuzana is obviously very confident in her appearance, she knows she is sexy and is blatant about it… while at the same time, she has a very nurturing attitude towards new folks who will be watching her videos and are not as fit as she is. I suppose I just like her and the fact that the workouts on there are very short, just maybe 20 mins long, you can do them anytime really.

I have also joined Zumba classes, which is also something I probably would never have had the confidence to do before… or no, not the confidence to do, but I simply would not have done it for fear of getting the steps wrong… well, Zumba is fast, I always get the steps wrong, but now I am fine with it, if I don’t know the steps then I don’t know the steps, we all get it wrong at some point, so why worry about it, its just a bit of fun! For anyone who fancies trying it, but isn’t sure what it’s all about, heres a demo of Zumba… it’s great fun!

So, if you’re at a loose end this World Food Day, you could try to raise awareness of food insecurity with the people you know… and if, like me, you often hate the way you look, then GET OUT THERE AND SHAKE YOUR SEXY BOOTY!!! haha, have a good World Food Day all xxx

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March… that’s the last time I wrote anything on here… March… I’ve been keeping busy with work as usual. Also getting more of a social life, which those who know me will know can only be a good thing. I will find something worthy to write about soon, just wanted to make my confession x

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Please answer this poll before you read my blog entry below:  

Creativity is something we all have, whether we are aware of it is another thing. Expressing ourselves is something we all do, every day of our lives… we all fill out random forms, make choices about whether to do the ironing right now or not, choosing whether to shop here or there and what items we buy… then whether to put our small change in the charity collection box they hold on the till.

These, however small and apparently mundane are what keep us sane… that freedom to choose is something we all take forgranted and think very little of… I do too, I’ll admit it. Yet, without these choices, the need for expression is then oppressed in individuals until, like the rumblings of a volcano, their emotions can erupt… and can lead to those violent acts we have all become immune to on the TV news. Imagine having no choice, about anything, everything you have to do is dictated by a need for survival… so, although it may seem hard, we should not be so quick to judge if people take action violently. They may not believe they have any other way out.

These ramblings are inspired by a documentary I watched yesterday, which is a film of hope and inspiration. One which shows us it is possible for a person to express themselves, even in the most dire of circumstances… it shows us the fabulous way in which a group of artists have chosen to express themselves. Imagine a world where everyone is encouraged to express how they feel in this way, however much money they happen to have or earn, or regardless of what jobs they may be forced to do. I believe that if all humans had a means to express their feelings and release their tentions in a safe and positive way, we may just see a little less violence in the world… even if it is just a little. Sometimes all people really need, is to be allowed to feel alive… allowed to feel human.

Now, go back to your response to the poll, what was your answer.  Be honest, when we watch refugees fleeing a conflict, people living in extreme poverty or other such individuals on the news… do you ask yourself what music they may like to listen to?  Or, I wonder if they prefer to write or draw?

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Blast from the past!

This weekend has been a weekend of flashbacks… which considering my last post, may sound bad… but actually, it’s not. I have been tracked down by a number of friends from my youth, all because of a photograph!  A few friends from primary school had already tracked me down on facebook, so when 2 photos from that time were posted, I was tagged… which led to more friend requests and hey presto… it’s a bloody class reunion!

My last post told you about some mental health issues I have had because of my childhood, so you would have thought this ‘photo’ may have been distressing… but it has just reminded me of some of the good times as a kid. We all have them, out playing up the mountain, riding bikes and of course, you simply cannot forget the 1980’s fantastic tunes and silly hairdo’s we all had back then!   And we all thought we were so cool… dear oh dear 😉

My old friend Natalie thinks I have done so much… and in some ways, I have done a lot in my life, moved from Wales, got a degree, travelled to Italy and, of course, been on stage with U2 as a ONE volunteer (that one really impresses, but it was only 2 nights almost 2 years ago… you still need a real life). However, I haven’t really achieved that much in the grand scheme of things. We all have a destiny, whether it is being a parent, partner, improve your career… just because someone is not in the same geographical place they started from doesnt mean they have automatically achieved, just like staying in the same geographical place doesnt mean you have automatically failed…anyone can achieve great things, anywhere… if we just work at it… nothing is handed to any of us on a plate.

Chatting to a friend from the Pakistan Red Crescent has also helped me put my work life in perspective… in Pakistan, most of the children do not have access to education… so his country doesn’t have the same service that I work in here in the UK (running Red Cross workshops in schools)… there, the Red Crescent is always dealing with crisis, making sure children get food, water, shelter or schooling. It somehow makes my work worries seem silly and irrelevant… which really, I guess they are in a way.

Also, another facebook friend Simone in Sweden has given me a virtual ass kicking for not going to the gym… so I better start listening!  I may not have any friends living locally to socialise with, but I still do have friends… friends who I should be listening to.

Anyway, I guess this blog entry has been about me realising whatever shit has happened in the past, what happens next is down to me… and if I don’t want to sit about complaining about how shit everything is, then I’d better get off my fat ass and do something about it!!!

(In case you are wondering in the photo, I’m sitting 2nd row from the front, 2nd one in from the left… next to new found facebook friend Natalie with her hand on her chin because she was bored LOL)

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It’s a funny thing, mental health… what most of us do not want to admit, is that fluctuations in your general mental wellbeing is completely the norm from what I can see. The stigma that has been generated by society can be found in the day to day use of terms like ‘nutter’ or ‘mental’… we are still far from the acceptance that at some point in their lives, everyone is going to get anxious about something, depressed about something or maybe even a little paranoid, if the circumstances arise.

Clinical depression, which is what I have had, is basically anyone who has felt depressed for longer than 2 weeks… did you know that? I learnt that on a course I did once called ‘Mental Health First Aid’… which is aptly named considering my line of work. It was a course that Northumberland Council ran for those who were involved in assisting people after the Morpeth Floods of 2009. I was surprised to learn that tho, just 2 weeks. It is widely accepted that everyone gets depressed, it only spills over into the diagnosis catagory if it lasts an extended period of time… 2 weeks. How many people are out there who have never been diagnosed, but are actually clinically depressed? There is a fear of getting help for ‘mental’ issues, the fear that it somehow makes us stark raving mad… when actually, we are just normal people who need some help to cope. We label things to make them easier to deal with, like saying ‘look at that nutter’ will somehow distract from ourselves and keep our own mental issues somehow at bay.

Circumstances beyond my control as a child are the main reason for my mental issues now… I am about to start something my therapist calls ‘Compassionate Mind’ therapy. To be honest, for all it sounds artsy fartsy (and believe me when he said it, I nearly laughed in his face), the theory behind it kinda makes sense. What was the example he used? Oh yeah… see what you think… when we are a child, a young child, and you fall over and scrape your knee, it hurts, you bleed, the shock scares you, so the way you are nurtured then, kinda sets you up for life… by a good parent/guardian picking you up, treating your wound, kissing it better if you like, we learn 3 key things… 1) That I am valued, that somebody cares; 2) That this is real, that it is really happening; 3) That the hurt has an end, that you will be allright, that everything will be ok. So, if, like me, you didn’t really get that as a child, you then lack the ability to nurture yourself properly, that you do not learn you are valued, therefore do not value yourself. You can’t console yourself that everything will be ok… hence, the anxiety and depression.

Also, if your childhood was bad, it is not so easy to talk about it either. I had built into me as a child a fear of small talk, because in making general conversation, people talk about themselves don’t they, their homes, their cars, their holidays, nights out, etc… if your parents actively discourage you from telling anyone what is happening to you at home, that simple small talk can become the scariest thing in the world. So, without the prior knowledge that you are actually a person who is suffering, what is society meant to think? That you are anti-social, that you are weird, arrogant maybe (if thats what people are like at home)… a nutter?

Anyway, I think 2011 is the time where I will actually be writing meaningful stuff on this blog, stuff that might just help me or someone else… not random shit about my work that, lets face it, is a bit dull 😉

My compassionate mind starts here… I’m allright me, I’m getting there.

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2011

There’s been lots happening in my life since I last wrote. I’ve lost lots of weight and am now back down to a size 14, I haven’t been this small in years. I’ve been to Milan to stay with one of my Red Cross friends Lorena and ended up making lots of new friends, who are not in Red Cross… which can only be good for me. I’ve cut out some friends, who were not really friends at all.

I think the main difference has been in my mental state of mind. I feel a lot better in myself. As someone who suffers with depression and anxiety, it is easy to get bogged down in the bad stuff… but with some help, I can now see the triggers before they emerge and can put in steps to prevent myself feeling or behaving badly. 2011 will be the year I change my life for the better, something good has to happen this year… the only question is what will it be? How can I make it happen?

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