Mini-Series: Sharing Our Stories to Stop the Stigma #4

This week’s story is one that I personally really identified with. The person who wrote this accurately described what it can feel like when you are living with depression. I have to say that after reading this story and seeing how great this person is doing now it helped me turn a corner in my own life. My stronger self is starting fight back against depression now and I hope that this story can help others too.

My battle with depression seemed to hit me very suddenly. In reality, it was a long time coming.

My struggle started around the time of my 19th birthday, in the summer between my first and second year at university. After arriving at uni with some mild, but controllable acne, I went to see the doctor to get a repeat prescription. The doctor decided to put me on some different drugs, one of which ruined the skin on my body, turning me into a sore, red mess. Fortunately, as this was always hidden by clothes, I was able to hide my skin and with it my feelings. I felt bad about how I looked, and it affected my confidence quite badly, but I still felt like I was doing ok.

Then, after returning home for the summer, things got out of control. My body had improved slightly over the spring, but another failed trial on a different cream had meant my face was starting to go the same way as my body. An attempt to curb this with cocoa butter oil (which had helped the skin on my body recover) made things much, much worse, and within weeks I had become a complete mess. Not only was I now suffering from severe acne, but I was now an emotional wreck.

I reached a low point a few weeks later, when on a family holiday. My face was sore and I was utterly distraught as to how I had ended up in such a mess over such a short period of time. I was very embarrassed about the state of my skin. I didn’t want to go out with my family. When I did I moped and almost immediately wanted to come home. I felt twice as awful for making the holiday suck for my parents and two sisters, but I couldn’t control my mood. To this day I feel atrocious about the way I behaved.

Part of the problem was a lack of understanding from my Mum. Her attempts to tell me to “cheer up” and “it might help if I thought more positively” were counter-intuitive due to the fact that I was trying to do that anyway. I tried my hardest to be happy for my Mum, and I couldn’t. It was heart-breaking for both of us.

The problem was that I had become a guy who was solely focused on his skin. I was convinced that if my skin got better, I’d feel better too, but I couldn’t see how that was going to happen. I couldn’t get the thought of how bad I looked out of my mind. It made me feel awful about myself, and regretful as to how I’d got into such a situation. Anyone who has been in a similar position (not necessarily about their skin) will know the feeling. It’s almost like you’re at the bottom of a pit that you can’t get out of, and the more you try to escape, by trying to socialise and interact, the deeper the hole gets.

The holiday ended, and after a couple of weeks at home I returned to university. I had told a couple of my friends what had happened over the summer, and had convinced myself that seeing them again would reverse my feelings as my skin got better.

It was a nice thought, but it wasn’t long after returning that I realised how fanciful that idea was, and how dire a situation I was now in. Forgetting my friends had their own lives, I almost returned expecting a 24 hour counselling service. It was not the case, and I began to grow resentful of my friends for the time they weren’t devoting towards me and my problems. This then spilled over when I was with them, meaning that almost every single attempt at conversation I had with anyone ended up with me feeling like I’d been victimised or people were taking the mickey out of me. I thought coming back to university would sort my problems. In fact, they just got worse for the first month or so, and I felt like I’d alienated all of my closest friends.

I had an appointment booked with the dermatologist for the end of October, but before that I had decided to use the university counselling service. They offered 5 sessions for free, but I was initially reluctant to go due to the stigma attached. I didn’t want to be the guy who had depression and had to go to counselling about it. I wanted to be carefree and normal. I decided to give it a go because I had run out of obvious ways to get out of the funk I was in. I was sceptical, but I gave it a go.

Walking through the door for my first session was the best thing I ever did. I told my counsellor about how I was feeling, and she listened expertly and provided comforting advice. We delved deeper into my life. I told her about my Dad’s cancer diagnosis in 2012, how close I came to losing him and the role I had to play in keeping my Dad (and also my Mum) as happy as possible as Dad fought this horrible disease. At the time, I had told myself I was lucky, due to the fact that one of my best friends lost his Mum to cancer whilst my Dad got better. Only after seeing the counsellor did I realise that I had gone through a pretty tough time as well.

Each session with the counsellor was tough, and I felt drained straight after, but soon my mood began to pick up. She taught me some ways to meditate and encouraged me to find my own ways to find a calmer place if I ever felt bad. I began writing things down when they upset me. I created playlists of sad music on Spotify and then listened through them until I felt better. I would do everything in my power to calm myself down and recover my senses if I was sad.

By the time I had finished my counselling I was a much happier person. I was facing a long road ahead with a nasty treatment plan for my skin, but now had a way to look forward at the improvements that lay ahead rather than looking back at the misfortune that got me into the mess I was in. I learnt to try and find a positive light on any event, and that the scars (literal and metaphorical) are just a sign that you’ve had a tough time but they each represent a lesson learned.

Now I’m 20, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. I appreciate I’m exceptionally lucky to have received some excellent counselling that got me over the first few tricky hurdles, and some people will not get the same benefit. My advice would be to try and walk down every single avenue of potential help. They may not all be for you, but some will make a difference, and it might be the difference you need to make progress, no matter how minor that progress may seem.

Even now, when I’m in a good place, I still have to calm down occasionally and fight off any demons that chose to emerge on a down day. You learn how to deal with things, and you learn more about yourself. It was a horrible time in my life, and whilst I’d rather it hadn’t had happened, it was not wasted time. In fact it was possibly the most important year of my life.

If you would like to share your story please contact me by email (completelyrambling@gmail.com). I would also like to say that even if you do not want your story posted, my email is open for anyone that needs to just vent how they feel. I’ve had a few people do that already and sometimes it is nice just to share it with someone and take some weight off. I will not post your story without consent.

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Mini-series: Sharing Our Stories to Stop the Stigma #3

Welcome back to my mini-series that aims to tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health and provide support for everyone effected by them.  This week I have had messages from several different people who wanted to provide some tips for anyone who may need them. They all come from people suffering with different types of anxiety & I have definitely used some of these tips before!

Tips & Tricks for helping to ease your anxiety

  • ANIMALS. If you own a pet or know someone who will lend you one for a few hours, spend some time with them. Animals will listen to you, they won’t judge you, they’ll probably enjoy some playtime with you and they are great for making you feel calmer. I personally find having a cuddle with my dogs or taking them for a walk can really relax me when I’m not feeling so great.
  • MUSIC. Whether its listening to it, playing it, or just singing along in the car music is a great way to help you feel less tense. I don’t know about you but I have always felt better after a solo dance party to ‘Shake It Off’. One person messaged me saying that they try to ease their anxiety by meeting up with a friend and jamming out together. So if you play a musical instrument/sing and you have another friend who does this could be something worth trying.
    • I will also be posting my Monthly Music Favourites featuring songs I have been belting out this month. The November edition is already up so feel free to have a look.
  • COLOURING. Scientists have proven that adults who coloured felt more relaxed afterwards and this is something I whole-heartedly support. I have a children’s colouring book that I bought when I hurt my back and had to lie on the sofa for a week and I LOVE it. Recently I have invested in an adult colouring book that is designed to relax you which I bring out whenever I need some headspace. I know so many people my age who colour now and I am so glad this is something that people are starting to encourage. I highly recommend it to everyone.
  • EXERCISE. I can already hear some people groaning after reading that word. I know you have all heard it a million times before but it really is a great way to get some time away from your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be three hours in a gym pumping iron, it could be a gentle stroll round the block, a zumba class, anything you want it to be! Personally I do yoga and circuit classes, go to the gym (especially when I feel a bit rubbish) and go running. I find sticking my headphones in and working out is a great way to give myself some time away from everything. I definitely had some anxiety about going to bigger classes. The worries of not knowing what I was doing, looking stupid or people judging me – but none of that happened and I love the classes I go to now.

Of course these are just a few things you can do and I included ones that I had personal experience with so that I could provide some insight too. It is so so important to find someone you can talk to and please go to a doctor if you are worried. I know you have all heard that before but it is repeated for a reason. YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

If you would like to share your story please contact me by email (completelyrambling@gmail.com). I would also like to say that even if you do not want your story posted, my email is open for anyone that needs to just vent how they feel. I’ve had a few people do that already and sometimes it is nice just to share it with someone and take some weight off. I will not post your story without consent. 

Thank you for reading and be sure to check back soon for another episode of this mini-series.

Little Changes I’m Trying To Make

Hi again!

Recently, I’ve decided that it’s time to make a few small changes in my life. It’s nothing drastic but I thought I would write them down here in case they inspired anyone else to do the same. Whether this be making the same changes as me, or making other ones, I think it is important to shake things up a bit every once in a while. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut, following the same routine which makes us feel a bit rubbish at the end of the day. Here are a few examples of what I have been doing to alleviate this problem.

1. A Digital Detox. 

I know this sounds a bit extreme seeing as in this day and age we are surrounded by technology all the time. However, I recently watched a video by Estée Lalonde, (essiebutton on Youtube), where she did a 48 hour digital detox. No television, no internet & no phone (apart from replying to important texts). I thought she was crazy, I really did, but watching the video changed my mind. She got out and did things during the weekend, she read books, she walked her dog and generally just shook things up from the usual routine of watching tv and wasting hours on the internet. Whilst 48 hours may be a little too long for me at the moment, I’m trying to take time out of my day to completely free myself from my phone and the internet. It feels good to get a bit of distance from the world of social media and just be in the moment.

I’ll leave the link to Estée’s video here if you would like to take a look. 

2.Reading

This is one thing I have told myself to do every year since I was about fifteen. Reading more is always one of my top resolutions and until recently its not been one I have really stuck to. My university course requires A LOT of reading so when I get time to chill out, the last thing I want to do is pick up a book. 2015 has definitely been the year I have made more of an effort to read but I still feel like I could make more time for it in my daily routine. At the moment what tends to happen is I’ll start reading a book, really get into it and do nothing else but read for a few days until its finished and then not pick up another book for a few weeks. So my aim is to read more regularly, which fits in well with trying to spend less time on the internet. I highly recommend the book ‘The Novel Cure’ if you are looking for book recommendations on a certain topic. http://thenovelcure.com/ They have books for everything from anxiety to boredom to not wanting to get out of bed! If anyone has any book recommendations, please let me know!

3. Meditation

It has been said so many times before that mindfulness & meditation are really helpful for those with mental health issues. I bought an app called ‘Buddify’ recently which has different meditations for different scenarios. Some are 5 minutes long others are 20 minutes long, you can pick whatever suits you. It is a great app that has been used twice and has sat there on my phone ever since. So I wanted to try and make more time for meditation too. For something that doesn’t involve a lot of movement or effort I don’t really know why I have avoided doing it. I think as humans we sometimes don’t allow ourselves a few moments to stop and reflect. I want to give myself that time.

4. Veganism 

Don’t click off this screen because you’ve seen the word veganism!! I am not going to preach to you about it because its a decision people should make for themselves. When I cook for myself at university I eat a vegetarian diet. I’m picky about meat and Quorn products are less expensive and tastier in my opinion. I will occasionally eat chicken or fish if someone has prepared it for me because I don’t want to be rude (I’m extremely British in that way!). I have also had weak moments in restaurants when the vegetarian options are a bit questionable but generally I try to eat vegetarian. I’ve been doing some research about veganism recently purely out of interest and I can see the benefits of it. I am a complete animal lover and the cruelty many of them face in order to produce dairy products makes my heart hurt. As I said, I am not going to preach about veganism here but its something worth thinking about so I am trying to slowly introduce a vegan diet into my lifestyle. I can already tell you now that I will never be a complete vegan because my local supermarket does not sell vegan chocolate and I am a complete chocaholic (hehe!). Joking aside,even reducing my consumption of meat and dairy products seems to be a positive thing to me.

5. Positivity

Having depression can make everything seem awful. I have days where I cannot seem to find any goodness in this life and that is a heavy feeling to carry. I want to try to document the happy / positive / good moments in my day so when I next have one of my really dark days I can look back on what I’ve written and hopefully feel a little uplifted. Even if you don’t have depression I think this is something everyone should try to do as we all have down days.

Thank you for reading this post, I hope it has inspired you to shake up your own routine! Remember if anyone would like to submit a story (can be done anonymously) for ‘Sharing Our Stories to Stop The Stigma’, feel free to get in touch. I am available at all these different places:

Email: completelyrambling@gmail.com

Twitter & Snapchat: @sophrambling

Instagram: @completelyrambling

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXm6l2emoqudw6B4jYk77TQ

** none of the photos used are owned by me, they are all on google images **

Mini-Series: Sharing Our Stories to Stop The Stigma #2

Welcome back to my mini-series that focuses on sharing stories of mental health issues to try to stop the stigma that surrounds talking about them. I had a different blog post scheduled for today but I thought that this story needed to be told more urgently. The post that was scheduled will be up this Friday instead. This is a pretty long entry but as I have said to several people who have sent me messages, I am not going to edit your stories. It is yours to tell, I am not the one to decide what should be left out. This is Shama’s story:

I guess I should add that I was really content and so, so happy with my crazy, dramatic, weird life at university and I could easily drink four times a week and do what I wanted without a care. I was really happy. And It wasn’t until I got harassed over a social media site for two weeks with 15 comments about me saying things like I have ‘an acidic vagina’ or that I am a ‘slut’ for everyone to see, that I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wanted to become invisible and disappear. And I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t want to leave my bed or look at my phone. And I started to feel really alone and scared and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t breathe and all of a sudden I’d get so light headed I’d need to call my house mate into my room because I was going to faint. Or I’d be shaking so hard my body would feel tingly after a while. I’d get sleep paralysis and start hallucinating most nights. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a lot of shit in the past. Ranging from messages asking me to kill myself to being pushed into a railing and asked if I was a slut. But these were different because I lost control.

I couldn’t enter the library without my heart racing so hard that the pulse on my neck hurt and I couldn’t walk on my own because I was suddenly self-conscious people were talking about me. And all I wanted to do was cry and cry and cry. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe and I would almost pass out of exhaustion. I don’t think I’d ever cried more in my life than that month. And even as I write this I’m crying because I don’t think I ever felt such a dull aching pain in my whole life or knew it was possible to have so much fear inside me that stopped me from wanting to live. And I didn’t know it was a feeling I was ever going to have. And I didn’t want to eat or wake up in the morning. Every social gathering was an effort, every night was a nightmare of dreading sleeping because of sleep paralysis. And looking back it was a really sad, scary month because I lost control of everything and I never let anyone know how much I was suffering. I remember wanting everything to stop, the comments, the messages, the world to just stop. And all the time I played this really happy, controlled girl who still wanted to go out and have fun because that’s who I was before but inside I was dying from fear and sadness. And it’s funny because I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anyone in the whole entire world about that month unless it was a passing comment until now.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The truth is I wish it had made me stronger, I wish I’d come out of it all being a stronger women. Or to be able to forget the whole incident and carry on with my life like how I left it before this all happened. I wish I learnt how to handle people being mean to me. I wish when people made comments to me I could ignore them or not feel like I couldn’t breathe and that my heart was going to explode. I wish I wasn’t so sensitive. I wish my brain was back to normal. But it didn’t and I couldn’t. I just developed really, really severe anxiety that only got worse. And in September after a summer of traveling and being away from university I went to the doctors because I started getting small pains in my chest, like a needle pin prick that would stay there and felt like it was getting deeper and deeper. And I started to develop palpitations and fasciculations particularly at night. They were the worst because they’d wake me up in my sleep and I’d be up the whole night. Eventually I started suffering real panic attacks where my heart would feel like it was about to explode and my pulse would be on 140bpm. And because I didn’t know what was happening I would start to panic more. My pulse would race so fast and my chest would ache so much I would have to double over. For two months doctors referred me for an echocardiogram, blood tests, a 24 hour ECG, put me on citalopram and referred me to a psychiatrist, a therapist and a counsellor straight away.

Anxiety is really scary. NO ONE chooses to have anxiety and no one who has anxiety ever asked to have it. It is a MEDICAL CONDITION. It isn’t fun and it’s not attention seeking. Anxiety is CHEMICALS inside your brain that are instructing parts of your body to react. Anxiety causes PAINS inside your heart. It feels like a claw is crushing your HEART and pressing it so hard. Anxiety is not being able to BREATHE. It is waking up in the middle of the night to a pounding heart and sitting in your bed for three hours awake and waiting for it to be over. It is being so in control and happy and confident but with an underlying terror behind all that. It is sleep paralysis and hallucinations and tiredness that comes from too much missed sleeps. It’s blaming yourself for everything and anything and apologising too much. It is muscle spasms and dull aching pains across your chest. It is so many WHAT IFS. It is so much paranoia and feeling so LONELY. It is your mind constantly overthinking everything. It is so much crying and so much fear. ANXIETY is NOT ATTENTION SEEKING. Nobody wants to have anxiety.

I should mention my doctor said my anxiety is on the very severe scale and the more I talk to other sufferers I realise it is…  my symptoms don’t need a trigger anymore, for example most people with anxiety will suffer panic attacks when they’re nervous or scared but mine just come whenever. I wake up in the morning with a pounding heart or eat lunch with crushing pains on my heart when I’m at my happiest or in bed about to sleep. I lose my breath when I start to have an attack, the pounding comes and goes at random times but mostly at night and are worst after drinking. I tire myself out in the daytime so I can try and sleep through a night. I don’t drink caffeine anymore and avoid stressful situations. Anxiety is a killer. The hardest part is trying to explain to people who don’t suffer from it that you somehow get such horrific pains on your most delicate organ. Also it’s hard because sometimes you can have really good days and ignore the pounding heart and then other days my anxiety is so bad I have to just walk around for 3 hours to calm my heart down or sleep in my friends bed to relax my heart and make a distraction so I don’t freak myself out more. Or not attend hockey training or social gatherings because my heart area is in too much pain. And it’s tiring. You get so tired and worn out of constant doctors trips and hospital appointments. You get tired of feeling pain most days or having to avoid things that are normal. Or asking some god to get you back to who you were before. You get tired of trying to explain to people what you’re going through and trying to act normal. And people are dismissive or they don’t understand and some people never will. They’ll never understand how someone can feel so scared and alone and anxious or paranoid. They’ll question you and judge you for your actions because they can’t get the brains to work any other way.

I wish people took time to stop and think. I wish those boys hadn’t written those comments or made me feel so low and sad I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wish that people understood mental health more. I wish people took time to ask people how they’re doing. I wish that was a question that was asked 30 times a day and the answer was listened to. I wish people didn’t go out their way to be mean or hurt people or make unnecessary comments. I wish people took the time to understand each other.

In all honesty though I’m really happy at the moment. I have ups and down days and waves of depression have definitely hit me and anxiety is always there lingering. I’m good at hiding it and getting on with my life. I’m on sertraline at the moment and dealing with all the wonderful side effects and still waiting for my 24 hour ECG (echo has come back all fine) and I have a psychiatrist appointment booked for March. I’ve got the most beautiful best friends in the world and it makes my heart melt that they are happy to see me at my worst and help me through every step. My twin sister has been my lifeline since day 1 and I guess we take it in turns to help each other out. So I’ve got all the support I need.

I guess I decided to write this little piece because like I said I never ever told anyone what I went through or how I felt I just plastered on this happy face and it tended to come out when I was drunk or when I wasn’t in control and I spent lots of drunk nights crying and the next day I would become anxious about it so it became a horrible cycle. And I want people to be aware and know about what people with anxiety suffer with. Everyone is fighting a battle and you never know who you can hurt with careless cruel words. I let the pain build up inside of me for so long and even now I have a tendency of doing that because it’s hard to ask people for help or for people to try and understand and I guess it’s because I was really embarrassed too – I didn’t want to go from being so confident and happy to suddenly looking so scared and sad.

The truth is there’s nothing embarrassing about any single mental health illness. The more I talk to people the more I realise it’s so common, there are so many people who want to help other people and most of those people are the kindest most genuine people you’ll meet.  When I’m older I want to work with people with eating disorders. I think it’s more embarrassing for people who judge it, it’s embarrassing for people who are too stupid to ever understand or try to understand. Mental illness is an attack on the most important, delicate organ in your entire body: your brain. How can that not be real? It’s not an age thing or a gender thing. It’s a people thing. It’s just that some people operate on a lower scale.

Anyway thanks for reading and probably boring you to death, and to anyone suffering: don’t feel like you’re ever, ever alone. You’re not. Drop me a message if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to or any advice. (Shama has said to add her on facebook – ‘Shama Johns’ & send her a message there). I’ve seen people at their lowest suffering from depression and manic episodes of bipolar and then myself with anorexia and anxiety. Things do get better and it’s 100% possible to beat. And anyone who suffers from any kind of mental health it’s never ever a sign of being weak it’s just a sign of being strong for too long.

If you would like to share your story please contact me by email (completelyrambling@gmail.com). I would also like to say that even if you do not want your story posted, my email is open for anyone that needs to just vent how they feel. I’ve had a few people do that already and sometimes it is nice just to share it with someone and take some weight off. I will not post your story without consent. 

Mini-series: Sharing Our Stories to Stop the Stigma

When I posted a status on my personal facebook reaching out for people to share their stories of mental illness I expected one response at most. Instead my phone was buzzing all night as people were keen to share their stories. It was eye opening to see how many people who I know in real life are suffering in silence and how many were willing to share my status with their friends and encourage them to speak out too. Honestly I feel overwhelmed by the whole thing and it has made me feel so positive about this new project I want to start.

My aim for this mini-series is to educate people who have never experienced mental health issues so that they can understand how to support their friends. I also want to stop this stigma that surrounds talking about mental health issues. I feel like it is something that people should feel comfortable talking about without the fear of being judged or accused of attention seeking / being dramatic. So many people suffer and you may never know because they feel like they are unable to talk about it openly. Over the next few months I aim to post at least two stories a month (maybe more if the volume of people messaging me increases!) from people who have contacted me. Some have faced or are facing mental health issues whilst others have experienced helping a friend / family member. They will be talking about their experiences, the stigmas they have faced and the ways in which they try to help themselves.

Just to make this clear to everyone, anyone who I feature has contacted me personally and has consented to me posting their story on here. Some have asked to remain anonymous whilst others have said they are happy to be identified. 

So without further ado, here is the first story for this mini-series to #StopTheStigma. It comes from Pollyanna who was the first to share her story with me:

So, I always knew I had something, but I’m stubborn and hate criticism. My parents had a horrific divorce when I was young and I ended up living with a very emotionally abusive father since the age of 11. The constant battling and early disappointments basically ensured that I grew up wanting to do better and prove my dad wrong and so that’s where the stubbornness is, but the criticism is something that I don’t like because of how much I was criticised as a child. So when I got to about 16/17 and started feeling really down to the point where I didn’t go to school for a few days here and there and then lashing out at people who I cared about to then quite literally cutting people out of my life I knew something needed to change. Years of counsellors and psychiatrists during school and uni have done nothing of any help. Relationships are hard, and I didn’t tell anybody I was with about them I’d just disappear when it got too much. It was only when I told my best friend a year ago how much shit I was in. I could barely make it to a lecture a week without wanting to crawl back into my room and shake with anger. My anger would stem from even someone just moving my milk in the fridge and then after a wave of anger I’d be hit with total numbness and that would linger for sometimes days at a time before it finally felt like I’d woken up. However the anger I’d say it’s been a positive because my motivation to succeed is driven by my ‘off days’, I work overtime and juggle multiple positions and hobbies to ensure that I don’t waste a day. Everyday life hasn’t been so much affected apart from I don’t drink since being on medication, and opened up to more friends since my best friend ensured me that people wouldn’t run away so they’re supportive. Biggest hit has got to be that my only two big long term relationships took so long to cultivate and work at to prove I wasn’t just an angry bitch both ended because they couldn’t handle it anymore. That’s really broken me in terms of will I be single forever, and I look forward to the day I work up the courage to see a therapist for CBT and I stop relying on pills to chill me out. To others with mental illness it is shit, it’s 100% shit. But you can’t do it alone, because you will sit in your hole and that’s when you spiral. You take those days off that you need but you cultivate another hobby, you listen to podcasts and make lists of places you want to go when you’re happy. It won’t cure you, but it’s a good distraction until you’re brave enough to try help, at least that’s what I’m doing for now.
Oh and for medication, I’m on 20mg of Citalopram, going up to 30mg in a couple of weeks to stop me dipping so frequently. The first couple of months you will feel suicidal, nauseous, fatigued and even worse than usual. But the other side is much more chill.

If you wanna see how Pollyanna is bossing it you can head over to her instagram (@pollage) for the most amazing pictures of food & coffee & social media related coolness. She really is doing some great things with her life & I hope for anyone who is feeling similar to Pollyanna you have gained some reassurance in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That is the aim here, to provide reassurance and encouragement to do what is best for you and your mental health.

If you would like to share your story please contact me by email (completelyrambling@gmail.com). I would also like to say that even if you do not want your story posted, my email is open for anyone that needs to just vent how they feel. I’ve had a few people do that already and sometimes it is nice just to share it with someone and take some weight off. I will not post your story without consent. 

Thanks for reading this first story! Be sure to check back soon for another installment 🙂

A fabulous weekend away

Last week I spent four fabulous days in Newcastle visiting one of my oldest friends. We have both been out of the country at different times since June so we were both very excited to catch up again. Whilst I have visited Scotland several times I have never really visited any of the cities in the North of England. My only point of reference was Geordie Shore which is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I am now aware that it is not a particularly accurate representation of how gorgeous the city is.

After an early start and several trains I arrived at the station and was greeted by big hugs. We made our way back to Emily’s flat where I met her housemates who were all lovely. She spoilt me with a breakfast of eggs, smoked salmon and bagels – who says students can’t be classy! After this I was given a tour of the city and we mooched about in our favourite shop, Urban Outfitters. In the evening we went to a lovely little bar and indulged in some flavoured mojitos, a perfect end to the day!


On the Friday Emily showed me round the student areas and we went for a walk around Jesmond Dean, a big park filled with tall trees and autumn leaves. There was even a little petting zoo filled with sheep, ducks, chickens and rabbits. It was nice to get a bit of fresh air before an afternoon of chilling out at the flat. In the evening we went out for dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant and then went to a bar for drinks. Not paying attention and chatting away led to us putting away two bottles of wine and it’s safe to say we were a little bit more drunk than we had intended. Nevertheless, it was a fun evening taking in the sights of the city.


Saturday greeted us with a bit of a hangover so we decided to mooch about the shops before getting ready for a Halloween party. We had decided to go as deer and the makeup was actually trickier than we had imagined. Unfortunately, at the moment I get exhausted very easily and after three very full on days I had my reservations about the party. Reservations turned into worry which eventually turned into a panic attack. So my Halloween night was spent listening to everyone have fun whilst I stayed in and watched the X Factor.

I am one of these people that never likes to dwell on things or stooge about. I like to get on and do things. The way my mental health is at the moment, sometimes I’m not able to do this. Sometimes I have to give myself time – not something I’m used to. For anyone who is suffering, go out and do things whenever you can because it’s so good to take a break from day to day life. However, it’s important to remember it’s okay that you are not always able to pick yourself back up straight away. Just do what you think is best for yourself.

Nevertheless, I had a wonderful weekend away and I will definitely be going back to a city I’ve now got a bit of a soft spot for.

Look out on my YouTube channel in the next few days as I will be uploading my first monthly vlog which will include some footage from this weekend away.

YouTube: completelyrambling

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