Another cup of Anxietea

Lovelies! I sincerely hope you have your beverage of choice at hand; a cup of tea, maybe an Earl Grey or perhaps a hot chocolate with marshmallows as it’s now beginning to feel cosy and autumnal.

Now whenever I take any kind of break from blogging, even if it’s just for a week I tend to apologise profusely and will sit at home wondering why I didn’t post that week… However today is a day close to a lot of our hearts (especially at the moment), World Mental Health Day. The truth is m’dears lately my absence has been due to my fluctuating mental health and I’m not embarrassed to say it; I’ve always tried to do my best not to bring the dreaded C word into the sanctuary that is my website but I think it’s absolutely fair to say that there’s a lot going on in people’s lives right now brought on by this, including my own.

Back in 2018, when my mental health truly began to affect my life “It’s ok, not to be ok” were words that I felt I needed to hear on a daily basis. Having someone to hold my hand and look me in the eye (whenever I could muster the strength to give someone eye contact, that is) tell me that it’s absolutely ok to feel the way I do and to know my feelings were valid, this may seem so simple to do and say these things and it is! When your mind feels like mush and is constantly going through so much turmoil, I can say hand on heart that it’s the littlest things that can honestly have the biggest impact on someone who is deeply struggling.

But no matter what you might be battling through, you never have to apologise and especially right now, in this moment. It’s ok.

Carrie Fisher (someone I’ve idolised for a very long time) never once shied away from the fact she suffered with mental health issues, she wore it proudly like a t-shirt and I always found this immensely courageous. It made me feel like I have never have to be ashamed or apologise, that I have struggles now and have had major struggles in the past. When you go through something that affects your mental health the way it does it’s truly life changing and it will always be a part of your story.

I had to learn and accept that my anxiety does not define who I am and allow it to be a part of the person I wanted to become, but to try and not give it the opportunity to take over my life anymore.

For me, reading Carrie Fisher’s extraordinary book Wishful Drinking was one of the most cathartic experiences I’d ever had reading an autobiography, when I’d initially read it back in 2015 it hadn’t really hit me that for most of my life I’d already been face to face with a series of mental health issues. But when things eventually came to a head for me a few years later I was brought back to that book and her immense words. In some of my darkest days, if I wasn’t brave enough to speak out to anyone I knew I could pop into that book and talk to Carrie. She was there. To quote one of her many immortal lines she tells us, “In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls”, yes Carrie it does! I eventually got to tell her just before she passed exactly what this book means to me and how her words made such an impression; that even the thought of not getting out of bed or showering was ok, because at some point in this journey I would get through what I’m going through and it would be ok.

Darling people, if you know someone who is struggling please just be your lovely caring self and offer your support. Don’t think too hard about what to say to them; if you have no idea what to say and I understand it’s difficult being on this side of things too just message them and offer to talk, or even call them and please respect their boundaries. If it’s yourself that’s struggling and you’re reading this, I know that it’s extremely hard to reach out initially about how your feeling and it can all feel like a bit of a blur or an outer body experience, but please reach out to someone around you or contact your GP for a chat.

You are loved.

My messages are always wide open, I’m here to talk and I’m with you. It’s going to be ok.

Wardrobe Woes

Well my friends it’s that time of the month. Oh my goodness, no! Not that!

…That was a stellar introduction to 2020 on my blog wasn’t it? Ta-dar! You’re welcome!

The time of the month I’m referring to being “it’s January – time to have that break up chat with your clothes again”.

Basically around this time of the year, every year (without fail) I have my annual ‘try it and style it’ routine; taking my entire wardrobe and trying literally everything on. Now I don’t ever go in with the notion that I have to get rid of something, it just always works out that way! My main rule (that I try and stick to as much as possible) is – that if I’ve not worn an item of clothing in the last year then there’s no doubt that it has to go, again it’s not attempting to get rid of stuff, but if I’ve not worn it a year am I going to wear it in the next? Probably not! (Hence the “sorry we have to break up” part)  

Doing this allows me to rediscover my love for items of clothing I might have forgotten about, or maybe my body had decided it was going to grow out of it for a time and now miraculously it fits again!

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Just me then…

Now I know I may sound like a neat freak by saying this (and that’s because I am, and proud!) But I actually love having a wardrobe clear out! Although it can be a lengthy process; in helping to make way for space in my wardrobe it also makes way for space in my mind. I find it extremely therapeutic and calming; I’ve always felt that way about cleaning and tidying though. How about you lovelies? Am I alone on that one too?

If you’re wondering by the way I filled two shopping bags! A good mixture of blouses, dresses and even a ballet skirt (yes, you read right). These I will split between the charity shops in my area and (an attempt to) sell some pieces and I’ve never tried selling my garments before, so this for sure will be an interesting experiment.  

But being among chums I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been noticing my anxiety has been on a downward spiral over the last few months, slowly beginning to channel depression-like symptoms. However last month I decided enough was enough and I made the decision to go back to therapy. It’s making a massive difference and I can already tell the leaps taking to get myself back to where I should be; which is good that I can notice that. Normally I’d be so quick to judge myself, doubts would instantly set in and I’d feel completely hopeless. So channeling my negative energy into activities such as this I find really help and also helps my creative soul when putting new ensembles together.

My anxiety will always be a part of me, I may as well style it out the best that I can!

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Can I have a cup of Anxietea please?

My lovelies I have something to tell you!

In a mere few months I’ll be going on an adventure, doing something I’ve never done before and possibly overcoming a fear at the same time.

I’ll be venturing on a cruise! Sounds exciting right?  

You’d think so, but here’s the thing… I actually have a fear of boats.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself “Wait. Hang on. Quinn… What are you thinking hun!?” (Or words to that effect) and quite frankly, I don’t blame you. I’ve been thinking it myself, don’t worry! However, the best thing about this scenario is that I’m not going alone (I’m not that crazy!) I’ll be going on this adventure with my best friend aka my mum. My mum went on her first cruise with my dad back in 2012, a celebration for their 25th wedding anniversary and they were hooked! They fell in love with the concept of having little samples of different places without the fuss of flight connections; especially since some cruises can journey to a lot of remote places. Although my parents have usually opted for self-catering holidays in the past, I think they rather enjoyed that feeling of being well and truly looked after and that touch of luxury. Now I’m going to experience all this first-hand, which I find both exciting and a little daunting at the same time! Is that normal?  

So let’s rewind a bit. I just told you all I have a fear of boats. Now (if you’re dying to know) this began at a very young age! Basically it was around the age of 3 (I think, correct me if I’m wrong here mum!!) and I got taken on what I can remember as a mini fishing boat. My parents clearly thought it would be a gentle ride along the sea…. Alas, no. Quite the opposite! All I can remember is screaming and crying the entire length of the trip. Yes. I was quite the theatrical child. But either way the experience stayed with me for a long time and I haven’t really been on a boat since. Somehow I don’t think an excursion on a replica of the Endeavour in Whitby for half an hour counts.

But this holiday symbolises a lot more than simply conquering my fear of boats and trying to re-enact a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.      

Over the last year I have been suffering with severe anxiety and symptoms of agoraphobia, and within the last month have started to take action with the help of counselling to overcome things once and for all.

It’s something I’ve felt I’ve been dealing with for more than just a couple of years, but within the last year it really started to take its toll. Now m’dears first and foremost- I have absolutely no shame in telling you this! It’s something that I’m dealing with, but the important factor here is I’m getting the help I need! For those of you out there who might be going through a similar battle, whether that’s dealing with mental health yourself or have a friend/loved one who are fighting right now- know from me personally that there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, I’m in the process of healing but I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without the support system I have around me. They’re helping me fight this battle. I know in my heart that I wouldn’t be able to conquer this without them. To put all this in nerd terms? It’s like Lord of the Rings! I’m like Frodo carrying the ring to Mount Doom, but yet Frodo didn’t do it alone. He had the help of the Fellowship. That’s what Mr Lee, my mum and Dad and my friends are to me. If you are going through a lot right now, even if it isn’t you personally going through mental health problems, but are connected to someone who is- remember you need support too!! Please speak to someone. Will you all (whoever you lovelies are reading this) do that for me? Even if professional help isn’t the first step you take (Believe me, I know it’s scary), that’s ok. But please speak to a friend, a teacher, a relative or even your hairdresser! Also, I have a contact me page- send me a message if you’d like. Don’t underestimate the power of speech! I know it’s not easy but you can get there. I may not believe in myself just yet (that’ll come with time), but I believe in all of you!

And breathe.

That’s a just brief history lesson of Quinn!

So right now I’m trying to get myself to a position where I know this cruise is going to be a piece of cake, without the heart palpitations or the panic attacks- unless those heart palpitations are from looking at pieces of cake…