Monday, December 19, 2016

A Christmas Tale- The Robin

I wanted to tell you a tale of Christmas past,
Of a memory I had that will always last,

It was the first Christmas Day in my own home with my husband and the third I'd spent without my Dad when he came to say hello. 

Me and my husband had woken up early and had breakfast together. My mum arrived and we opened our gifts and read our cards that came with them. I was so grateful and slightly overwhelmed, as I often get when I'm given gifts. I love Christmas and was full of joy and excitement but there's always a little grey cloud that appears on special occasions. You see as wonderful as presents are and heartfelt messages they don't distract from knowing that someone is missing.

I miss my dad all year round but some days it's more noticeable that he's not with us. He's with me always in heart and mind but if only he could have been with us for Christmas. There were three of us for Christmas lunch but I'd put out four chairs. Many people leave out a spare chair or set an extra place for loved ones who have passed to join them or as a memory of those who can't be there.

My husband and mum had sat at the table and I'd gone upstairs for some reason before serving up lunch. Out of the window my husband and mum saw a little robin looking at them from the kitchen window sill. They shouted for me to come see but thought the robin had flown away before I got a chance to see him. I had seen him though. I'd gone to the spare bedroom window and looked out just as the robin had landed on our garden wall. He tilted his head and looked straight at me for a moment. I had a surreal feeling that I'd felt a few times before and said "hi Dad." The little robin titled his head, chirped and flew away.

It was a lovely moment and made me feel bright for the rest of the day. You see some people believe that robins, feathers and butterflies are signs that an angel is near. I'm one of those people. I know some may not believe in this sort of thing but I like to. I often see rainbows on special occasions and when I need cheering up. Sometimes I find feathers in my home and it makes me smile. Crows fascinate me and the tale of them being the carriers of souls. The little robin really made my Christmas too.

I don't know whether there are angels or heaven or an afterlife. I don't know if we get signs from loved ones who have passed or whether they can communicate with us. I just know that sometimes I see little wonderful moments and feel that my Dad is with me. It's my thing. Maybe I look for these moments and presume it's a hello from my Dad when it's just coincidence. But even if it is it's still a beautiful feeling and whatever you believe in that can make you smile is worth believing in. These little moments make bereavement a little easier for me and I'm going to choose to believe in them. So to me that little robin was a little bit of Christmas magic and a message from my angel.

Much love,
Becky xx

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Mental Health Labels

Does anybody else feel as though they have been given a label? I really struggle with this topic. Through medical diagnoses I have been given the following labels...
  • bereavement
  • depression
  • anxiety disorder
  • chemical imbalance
  • mental break down
  • stressed

And through non professionals I have been labelled...
  • highly sensitive person
  • traits of bipolar disorder
  • weak and oversensitive
Now which of these do I agree with? I was bereaved but coping with it in my own way, I am quite a sensitive person and feel stress and pressure probably more than the majority, I have anxiety which I see as mild, I have had a mental break down, it felt as though something was imbalanced in both my mind and body. I am not 'weak' and never have been. But do these labels really matter?

For those seeking a medical diagnosis, treatment, therapy, counselling then yes you do need a label. To receive the best possible care and help you need an exact diagnoses, something more precise than anxiety such as social anxiety, therefore you need a correct and accurate label. So after the diagnosis and received treatment do we still need the label?

As you know I don't have a problem with telling anyone that I have anxiety and depression. I will talk about bereavement openly and admit I am highly sensitive sometimes. I have no problem explaining about how I felt during my breakdown and I know I am easily stressed out and overwhelmed at times. Sometimes these labels are useful. They have helped me make connections with people and can sometimes explain to others how or why I may do things. They also help me analysis myself and know my own needs better.

But labels can also be very misleading and misunderstood. 

I accept that I have depression but sometimes I speak to others who are in the same 'depressed' label group as me and see that we are very, very different. I often think I'm not as depressed as others or don't always relate to how others describe their depression. The same goes for anxiety. This can seem confusing and make me feel a bit of an outsider in my own 'group' at times.

And it's not just how I see myself. It's how others see me too. I have spoken to others about depression and they have linked it to meaning that I must have been suicidal. They have mistaken anxiety for phobias. They have often decided that bereavement and depression are the same and they are very different. They have compared me to a celeb or friend who also have a mental illness and presumed that I must be exactly the same. Even if it's a different mental illness. They have their own beliefs that dictates what my mental illness must say about me. The may class all mental illnesses as being the same or base them on something they have seen in a film.

It's this side of labels that are dangerous. Mental illness like all illnesses can fall onto a spectrum. People can have the same mental illness but be at a different stage of that illness, cope with it differently, have different feelings and attitudes towards it. We are still a person and that makes us very unique in all aspects of our lives. We are all different. There maybe similarities between one mentally ill person to the next with the same illness but they will never be identical.

Much love,
Becky xx

Friday, November 25, 2016

A War Before Breakfast

It's exhausting being me sometimes... as much as I love being me I find myself very hard to live with! 

My mood swings and emotions are all over the place sometimes. Within an hour I can feel so exhausted I find it hard to speak, get annoyed over little things, perk up a little, become quite hyper and bubbly then a little confused and all this repeats and shuffles and intensifies and crashes within a matter of minutes. All for no reason or explanation. Although I act this way I may have no idea why I'm annoyed or why I'm hyper. There is still a numbness and void of internal emotions but the outside is doing it's own thing. There's no connection between feelings, emotions and expression. Yet I have moments where the numbness and emotional void leave me feeling empty and it shows on the outside. I do nothing. I look sad. I have no energy.

I've found ways of coping with this and putting up with it. I've found a way of hiding it too. I'm an incredible actress sometimes, through no choice of my own. It's as though my mind overcompensates. Sometimes I can be overly happy and hyper because I'm feeling upset, lost or anxious. Other times I seem quiet and calm but inside I'm crumbling under the pressure. Yet when I wake up the mornings are hard. This seems to be the time of day when I can't act. I can get to work full of anxiety and feel an angsty misery but as soon as I get going I'm OK.

I think that's the thing that people forget sometimes though. They see me working, being in a crowd, out at events, even performing on stage and presume I must be OK now. But have no idea how hard it can be to get out of bed and leave my home. Waking up from a bad night's sleep with nearly every night involving nightmares. The anxiety and panic I have over the day ahead. The upset of having to see myself in the mirror. Choking whilst brushing my teeth because of the sickness I feel. The fact I check my door handle over and over then have to talk myself out of driving back home to check it again. They see me turn up, smile and get on with my day but I've already fought a war before breakfast.

Much love,
Becky xx

Monday, November 21, 2016

Give Me 'The Answer'

Once again I’ve been to my version of music therapy... a live gig. We got to the front and waited for the band to come on; one that holds memories of my dad and whenever I listen to ‘dads’ music played live I feel a connection to him. I know that mum and I are at gigs as a three and it’s also a way I challenge myself as I now find it nerve wracking in large crowds. It’s worth it for the experience because once my favourite bands start playing it’s like a musical hug. You get wrapped up in it. Especially with The Answer. Their albums are technically perfect for me; vocals, instruments, lyrics, genre, sound, even the album artwork but live they are on a totally different level. It’s not just that I prefer live music it’s their performance.

They aren’t performing music, they are the music. They are every note and lyric amplified, especially with this new album. I purposely hadn’t listened to the new album as I like to hear it live first. I’m used to the energetic rocky blues style of The Answer but this new album was something different. They constantly evolve and this album still has their sound but it’s deeper and the bands Irish routes shine through. You could hear and see the depth of meaning in the tracks played and certain lyrics and riffs screamed out at me. Before the last track was played they announced that this song summed up their album which was made after they had gone through a really dark time. I’m not claiming that dark time was mental health related but for me some of the album relates to going through a struggle which many of us know all too well.

To finish the last track the singer, Cormac Neeson, made his way through the crowd to the merchandise stand where he thanked people for coming. I was so happy to meet Cormac and asked if I could give him a hug! It felt appropriate because I knew what I’d just heard and seen was probably their version of ‘music therapy’. I felt it and related to it. For me, a band who has been going 10 years and had success, don’t tend to greet people like that but I’m guessing it means the world to them to have the support from fans that they do. The rest of the members, Paul Mahon, Micky Waters and James Heatley, came after they had made it off the stage to meet fans and the albums for sale had been signed by each member on the cover, another personal touch that will have made many people’s day. By giving fans the chance to meet them and tell them they enjoyed the performance will have meant the world to some. I think a lot of fans just want to say thank you or tell a band they’ve followed them from the start or they played one of their songs at their wedding or in my case “my dad was a huge fan”. One of their albums, Everyday Demons, in particular sticks with me as a memory of dad because he loved it and listened to it a lot before he passed away. He played certain songs on repeat and played along on his guitar. When I listen to those songs and know his story I know why they were on repeat. They hit home with him.

For a band it’s a brave thing to do to put down your thoughts and experiences into lyrics. It will be judged by critics, magazines, radio hosts, fans, new listeners and their own friends and family will know what the lyrics relate to. It might ‘give away clue’s’ of what they’ve been through. So why don’t they write something less personal... because you need to write from the heart to make music believable. This isn’t a factory made band told what to sing, what to wear, how to perform and given a track to play. It is four musicians. In fact it’s four guys on stage in front of a lot of people saying this is us and that’s what fans relate to.

I hope the message they receive back from fans is thank you. Thank you for speaking for millions of people who relate to your lyrics and don’t know how to put them into words. Thank you for your insight and for sharing your thoughts so openly. Thank you for another amazing album that I can enjoy and a gig I’ll remember. Thank you to each one of you.

It rocked!

Much love,
Becky xx

Songs I related to the most with my depression:
  • ·         Tunnel
  • ·         Battle Cry
  • ·         Demon Driven Man
  • ·         Solas
The new album Solas is definitely worth a listen along with their previous albums.
The Answer Official Facebook Page:
The Answer Twitter Account:

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Bonfire Night Battle

With November 5th being Bonfire Night here in the UK we celebrate by lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks. Many organised events take place around the country on large and smaller scales. These are licensed events but fireworks are available from most convenience stores and supermarkets too for the general public to buy. 

The sky really is a light on this night with continuous explosions, flashes, bangs, crackles and squeals. So much so that the sky can become smokey during the peek times of fireworks being set off.

There are some amazing displays but consider the impact that fireworks can have. They are loud, sudden noise that can be hard far and wide. If your neighbour sets off a large rocket it can even make your windows rattle and echo through your house. You can see the flashes of light through windows when you are nearby. There is no warning noise with some fireworks just a loud bang. Some whistle which makes you anticipate the bang, which some will explode loudly and others won't.

Many people don't like fireworks and become anxious when they hear them. They can be stressful and make you jump when you don't expect them, for anybody. Now imagine Bonfire Night for war veterans or others who have experienced a traumatic explosion and are suffering with PTSD. The explosive bang can trigger flashbacks of war zones or cause intrusive thoughts. This isn't the case for every veteran but for a large amount with PTSD it is.

So how can we help? Preferably by attending an organised event. As these are advertised with a date and time it gives anyone who struggles the chance to anticipate and prepare for the noise and if they wish to remove themselves from the area they can do. Some veterans prefer to leave their homes and go to a more secluded area for the night around Bonfire Night, July 4th, New Years Eve, etc... If you are setting off fireworks let your neighbours know the date and time, where you will be setting them off from on your property and stick to those plans.

Stay safe and be considerate. It's not all ooh's and aah's.

Much love,
Becky xx

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fight Night- Becky vs Depression

After a David and Goliath battle it appears the giant has fallen after going a full 12 rounds. The heavyweight Depression dominated in previous rounds but laid defeated by the underdog. The winner, in their debut fight, is featherweight Becky.

Here's what they have to say about the fight...

Depression: "I was in control for the majority of the fight. I got in her mind and knew I had her rumbled. She lost her head and at one point I thought I'd get a knockout within the first few rounds."

Becky he says he got in your mind but there was some tremendously heavy blows too.

Becky: "I thought there was no chance for me. I was exhausted mentally but physically too I didn't expect that. I begged my corner to throw in the towel after round 2 but they saw something in me and by round 5 I got a second wind out of nowhere. Now I feel fine, there's not a mark on me."

Depression: "You'll always remember those blows though Becky, I promise you that. I think I'd got cocky and when she started to fight back it shocked me. I changed tactic with smaller blows hoping to pick her off slowly but she just took it. I didn't have any big hits left in me."

Becky: "I knew I could keep taking those last few shots but I was slipping what little blows Depression had left. I was surprised I could because before the fight I'd had hardly any training and thought I was going to fight a different opponent, then out walked Depression into the ring." 

That's true Depression. The bookies say you were unevenly matched with Becky the David to Goliath. Do you agree?

Depression: "I misjudged Becky. She seemed an easy fight at the beginning but she really stood her ground in the end. She must have had training, you can't be naturally that tough. That girl can take a hit."

Becky: "I suppose I have had some practise I just saw them as easier fights and I was in better shape for those. Depression was an excellent opponent at first but by the end it was as if he gave up. When he went down in round 12 I braced myself in case he got back up, but he just laid there."

And will there be a rematch?

Depression: "Possibly."

Becky: "I'm going to watch the fight back and see what moves worked best for me to improve my tactics. I'm going to stay in training if Depression calls me out."

Well there you have it folks. Depression may have lost this time but is already saying he may challenge Becky in the future. Our views on the fight? We believe the next bout won't last the full 12 rounds. We think Becky will take him down by round 6.

Much love,
Becky xx

Dedicated to my husband and corner man.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Country Escape- 5 Benefits

Many people's natural reaction to stress or a mental illness is the feeling that you need to run away. You're not safe in the here and now and somewhere else will be better. Although I don't advise disappearing into the wilderness I do advise getting away from it all every now and then.

I don't tend to go on long holidays or go abroad since I became too anxious to fly but we do go on a number of short breaks throughout the year. We tend to go glamping and stay in huts or pods in rural locations or near the sea. We stay in caravans or our tent sometimes too. We've even camped less than a 20 minute drive from home before just to get away.

There are many reasons I think this has helped me recover from my depression and anxiety and here's my top 5 reasons why...
  1. fresh air- being able to breathe in fresh air that smells amazingly clean, it helps wake me up on a morning and feel fresh through the day but makes me tired by the evening and then helps me sleep a lot better than I ever do in a building
  2. peace and quiet- being able to listen to natural sounds, having no phone signal and no television available, not hearing the noise of neighbours and the city life
  3. change of scene- getting away from your 'everyday life' can make it feel as though you have escaped, it gives you new sensory experiences- sound, sight, smell and can bring back memories of places you love and can revisit
  4. quality time- I go away with my husband, my dog and sometimes my mum and her dog come too, we get to spend time together doing nothing much, we can talk or just all sit enjoying the view or take a walk, there's no pressure to do anything except relax
  5. It's all good!- good night's sleep, good views, good company, good mood, good experience, good to challenge yourself, good for photography, good for relaxation, good for readers, good for daydreamers, good for walking/hiking, good for your health and your happiness
Whether you take a day out or just have a day sat in your garden or local park you can feel the benefits. But if you can try a short break then it can do wonders. The fact that you know you have something booked gives you something to look forward to too or you may just decide to go away on a whim. Here's some idea's you could try...
  • camping/ glamping no matter what the weather
  • hang out your washing to dry
  • jog or walk around the park with your dog
  • going to farms, the countryside, the beach and forests
  • walking instead of taking the car for short journeys
  • walking barefoot on sand, grass, in streams and in the sea
  • having a picnic with friends
  • read, paint, colour in or write in the garden/outdoors
  • al fresco cafes and sitting in the garden for meals
  • open your windows to let fresh air in
  • book a boat trip or hire a canoe, pedalo or rowing boat
  • outdoor assault courses
  • build a snowman
  • have a water fight
  • join an outdoor sports club
  • join a Nordic walking group or go on a hike
Be careful that you can get to your destination or complete your activity safely and you aren't driving if you don't feel able or feel drowsy, tired, unwell. Ensure you aren't alone in vulnerable places or out at night alone. Let your loved ones know where you are and when you should return or even better take them with you. You don't have to talk just walk or sit and watch the world go by together. Even better still hold hands or cuddle up in the outdoors to enjoy the weather or keep cosy. 

Always remember: appropriate clothing and footwear, sunscreen, let someone know where you are, water and a charged mobile phone for big outings :) Keep safe!

Much love,
Becky xx

Saturday, October 08, 2016

10 Things I Wish I Knew Pre-Breakdown

In all aspects of our lives there are things that we look back on and wish we could change. We see things in a different light once we have been through them and fantasise about how much better we could have done it knowing what we know now. 

So if I could go back in time and give myself some advice what would it have been?

1. Live it- don't try and suppress anything, it will be hard but you can't stop or ignore what is happening in your body or mind, let it come and it will go, listen to what your body is telling you and try to go with the flow and control what you can

2. Rest- work, DIY, housework, projects can all wait. You won't get anything done if you are not functioning properly and your health is more important than any job

3. Get out- sit in the garden, open a window and let some fresh air in, go for a short walk

4. Water- keep hydrated, you're going to do very little including very little to look after yourself and dehydration does not help anything

5. Eat- even if you pick at food just keep eating small amounts and build it up, keep it nutritious

6. Bad social media and negative television- the upsetting social experiments, eery shows, horrible news stories, distressing images, other people's dramas are all going to do you no good and some will make you paranoid and bring nightmares

7. Sleep- try your best to be in bed on a night and out of it through the day, you'll seriously struggle to sleep but you need some sort of routine

8. Dance- you love to dance and the exercise will do you good, don't give up what you love, you might not be able to get to a class but there's always your kitchen!

9. Cuddle- it's easier to push people away and you'll become irritated sometimes by contact but there really is some truth in hugging it out and you need to keep the good relationships you have

10. Medication?- I now believe my medication gave me many side effects that were very hard to live with at the time and that possibly 6 weeks away from work without them might have been enough. I can't say for sure but I think if there is a next time I will be less willing to start medication and try the healthy living approach and rest first

It may seem as though this advice is wasted as I can't go back in time BUT if I do have another breakdown I have this knowledge. I can look back at this list and know what worked and what didn't. I can try it and if it's different next time at least I tried something I had a little faith in. I lived and I learnt and used my lessons to get ahead.

What would you tell your past self?

Much love,
Becky xx

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Cold Water- 5 Benefits

Last night I watched a TV program that looked at how people can treat depression, pain and other illness without medication. 

One of the patients had been taking anti-depressants for years on end and still didn't feel herself. The doctor advised cold water swimming and once she began to regularly swim her anti-depressant dosage was halved and she said she felt more like herself again. She found it hard to get going and on her first solo swim had a panic attack. The doctor found her a swimming instructor and this really helped her to get into the swimming and be safe during.

So what are the benefits to cold water swimming...

5 Health benefits of cold water swimming:

  • Boosts Your Immune System- cold water swims boost your white blood cell count and force your body to react to the changing conditions
  • Endorphin Highs- when your body releases endorphins you feel happier and more alert. Cold water swimming does this by being a form of exercise and because your body comes close to the pain barrier which also releases endorphins
  • Enhanced Circulation- by exposing yourself to these conditions your body learns to cope with cold and the cold water forces your blood to the surface of your skin to help warm you which increases blood flow
  • It's Sexy- cold water has been shown to higher your libido which is often affected by mental illnesses
  • Stress Buster- cold water swimming puts physical and mental stress on the swimmer, which is why people can suffer from panic attacks during an open water swim. BUT with regular exposure this fades and you learn to be calm in the water and relaxed
If you would like to try cold water swimming here are a few things to consider:
  • consult your doctor first, especially if you have other underlying health issues
  • find your local outdoor swimming club, you could visit
  • never swim alone
  • only swim in areas that are safe and legal for you to do so, you can find these cold water spots at
  • wear the right gear, internet search for 'outdoor swimming gear' prices range greatly but there's no need to spend a small fortune and some clubs may let you hire
  • know your limits and abilities and remember that swimming in a pool is very different to a wild swim
Much love,
Becky xx

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Guest Post from Non BPD Spouse

Borderline Personality Disorder is a scary thing for everyone involved; for the loved one suffering, for spouses, for children, for family members, and for friends. 

Unfortunately “BPD” still has a strong stigma attached to it. Sadly the stigma comes from everywhere. BPD is even scarier when you’re afraid to accept the diagnosis.
I don’t know the feeling of having BPD, but I’m pretty certain accepting such a diagnosis is one of the biggest hurdles one will ever face. But even when that huge mountain has been climbed most know that is merely the beginning. It’s a long road to recovery. 

Once Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is started (individual and group), one won’t see many significant changes until a year has passed. For some it is far sooner, for others maybe longer than a year. Successful DBT is tricky because many say they know DBT, however few truly “know” it. Ask for references and really question them. Otherwise the journey will be exponentially longer and you will waste time and money if you do not partner with the right person. While one can never rid themselves of BPD, you can recover. It is possible. But the journey is yours.

The journey does not belong to the spouse; or the kids, or the boyfriend or girlfriend, or the dad or mom, or the aunt or uncle, or the closest friend. The journey is yours. Make no mistake – just because the journey is yours does not mean having BPD is your fault, far from it. You did nothing because of it. You did not start this, or even accentuate its growth over the years. However blaming others merely delays the healing process. This is all about choosing recovery and about accepting responsibility for the recovery process. It’s about taking on a battle that you didn’t ask for and facing the past.

To me, that’s heroic. To me, that’s success. While the journey is yours, it doesn’t mean you’re on an island. Surround yourself with people who lovingly stand with you, and walk with you during the battle. I have talked with people at every stage, from those who refuse to accept their BPD, to those beginning the process of accepting it, to those merely looking for a strong, knowledgeable therapist, to eventually those actually “graduating” from DBT with a huge, huge smile on their face that is permanent. It’ll be the biggest challenge you will ever face. But the bigger the challenge also means the bigger the reward.

Start recovery now, and don’t worry if you take 1, 5, 10, or even 50 years to accept your BPD. A Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plan a tree was 20 years ago; the 2nd best time is now.”

Twitter account:

Thank you for your words Non BPD Spouse. Whether someone has BPD or any other mental illness these wise words apply. The journey is yours but you did not cause your mental illness. It's never too late to start accepting and recovering from a mental illness and it doesn't matter how long it takes you to do this. 

It's important to remember that you have people with you, people who love you, people who want to help and although they may not be able to do anything at all, it's knowing they are with you. They don't want you to get better for their sake, the ones who love you want you to recover for yourself and that is love.

For the spouses, family members and friends of anyone with a mental illness for you also it's going to be a tough journey. Not only will you see someone you love struggling but you may get pushed away. You may have your love questioned or rejected. You may be told you're not listening, you don't understand or you're not helping and that will hurt. But these words, the majority of the time, are the illness talking. They come from paranoia, from worry, from fright and from emotional pain. I salute you for standing by and waiting for the storm to pass. Please know you are doing a good job by being there and not arguing back or giving in on us. Your patience is amazing. Just hold on. Remember that famous saying "if you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." You've proven a 1000 times you deserve us at our best so don't leave before the best comes, you've earnt it.

Much love,

Becky xx

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rune Readings

Before I begin I should say that I'm not religious, I'm not a Pagan and I don't practise witchcraft but I am quite in touch with my spiritual side. I find Pagan rituals, celebrations and traditions fascinating. I love its connection to nature and its positivity and I'm open to others beliefs. I have many beliefs similar to those of Pagans but this is by me picking and choosing throughout my life what I believe to be true or special to myself. I remember my dad having a set of rune stones and tarot cards when I was younger and I was always interested in them and his views of spirituality which we talked about from me being a very young child. Now very recently I have been in touch with my spiritual side again and had a rune reading.

I've been in the beautiful town of Whitby, UK. The place itself is very special to me for many different reasons. On a trip there with my friend we visited a witchcraft store for the first time where we had a rune reading. 

The reading really connected with me at the time. I found something really soothing about it, as though it was a personal message for me from the spirit world by what was said. It related to my current situation and gave me faith in my abilities to make changes that have made me happier.

On this visit I had my second rune reading and again it really rung true to me and a current worry I had. The main message being that I hold onto my past even though I can't change it, whereas my future I can shape into anything I want. I was told I don't change for anyone and have a stubbornness that I use in a positive way to help others. This made me think of my blog and how I have no problems talking about my mental illness and will keep going until the message gets out that I want to tell others. 

You may say that the rune readings didn't DO anything but for me they did. Whether you believe in rune readings or not they give you something to think about. They may make you focus on a worry or question you have. They may give you a little encouragement or hope. You may even disagree with them and think about what it should of said, therefore taking time to analysis yourself which is always good to do. They may just be entertaining for you or interesting to listen to.

Personally I do trust my readings and think I had a reading from someone with a real gift and connection. You would have to see him do a reading to understand just how good he is. He brought me calm and answers as well as making me think. I will be returning for more readings and probably end up shopping in the store too! 

So thank you Spiritual Connections, Whitby. I know many others will have benefitted from their readings as I have. You are a true ray of light.

You can find out more about Spiritual Connections at: 

Much love,
Becky xx

Friday, September 16, 2016

Is Stress Getting Under Your Skin?

Stress not only affects our bodies mentally but it can show on our skin.

I have a very sensitive scalp but as long as I don't use certain products or catch the sun it doesn't cause a problem. Yet when I suffer from stress it becomes tender, itchy and feels like it's burning.

As a teen whenever I was worried or upset I would wake up the next day with a spot and as an adult my skin can feel itchy when I am nervous such as before a job interview.

My scalp was very sensitive during my breakdown and the skin all over my body felt sensitive and irritated. The medication for my depression had a few side effects related to my skin such as sensitivity, skin rash, itching and dry mouth. At times it felt like my skin was crawling.

There are a few reasons why skin problems can occur with stress...

  1. side effects from medication
  2. there is research into psychological links involved in some skin problems such as acne, eczema, hives, rosacea, psoriasis, alopecia, vitiligo and hair pulling/self mutilation- scratching, picking, biting
  3. when you release the stress hormone cortisol it can increase the skin's oil production which may cause spots
  4. stress can worsen pre-existing skin problems making them more prominent
  5. during times of stress we often neglect ourselves and may skip on our usual skin creams, skin care regimes, personal hygiene routines
  6. biting your nails, picking your nails/skin, itching, hair pulling and scratching the backs of your hands are quite common responses to stress for a lot of people
  7. stress can cause excess sweat which adds bacteria to the skin's surface- this may cause dark patches or sweat rashes
  8. stress and lack of sleep can cause premature aging which can include skin looking grey or washed out, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes
  9. when we are under a large amount of stress it can affect our lifestyle- less sleep, not exercising, working overtime when exhausted, eating unhealthily, increased alcohol intake, increased smoking... all are terrible for the condition of our hair, skin and nails
Do I have any tips?
  1. try to keep a healthy lifestyle and upkeep skin regimes
  2. avoid alcohol and cut down on smoking
  3. speak to your doctor about alternative medications and if a skin condition is new to you
  4. I use a maximum strength roll on deodorant that is kind to skin
  5. I use an itchy scalp shampoo even when my scalp is ok
  6. Avoid perfumed products and use skin products marked for sensitive skin
  7. Having something to hand such as a worry stone, stress ball or 'fidget puzzle' can stop you from itching, picking, scratching, pulling hair

And most importantly....Treating the stress will help your skin. So take care of yourself and combat the stress to see a difference in stress related skin problems.

Much love,
Becky xx

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stress Pounds and Inches

Times of great stress can cause havoc with your waistline. Stress can cause you to feel nauseous, unable to eat and lose weight. It can cause you to comfort eat. have cravings and gain weight.

From my personal experience my relationship with food isn't the best. When I'm upset, stressed, run down, even daily I tend not to eat enough. In times of extreme stress and sadness I don't eat a lot at all and still don't feel hungry. My weight has been pretty constant in my adult life but only since meeting my husband have I stayed a healthy weight. In my teen years it was quite low. Not to the point of being dangerously unhealthy but still underweight. 

This post is not about eating disorders but about weight loss and gain due to stress and why it happens. So here's the science part...

Weight Loss and Stress

  • factors linked with weight loss include depression, stress, anxiety, alcohol misuse, drug misuse, eating disorders
  • these factors including life changing events can cause a person to lose weight
  • stress hormones are stimulants which speed up metabolism, fuel consumption and lower our ability to absorb nutrients
  • If we lose sleep to stress it also increases the stimulating hormones
  • Nervous energy can make us fidgety and more active which burns more energy
  • Stress can cause stomach and digestive problems giving you feelings of nausea and making you not want to eat or associate eating with pain and discomfort

Weight Gain and Stress

  • factors linked with weight gain include depression, eating to feel numb, eating disorders, stress, frustration
  • these factors can cause a person to gain weight by giving in to cravings and comfort eating
  • once the adrenaline related to a stressful event wears off the stress hormone cortisol tells your body to replenish its fuel supply
  • the anxiety linked to stress and the adrenaline can lead our body to crave food and trigger emotional eating to make the stress go away
  • If you lose sleep to stress your body craves carbs as a way to stay awake and gain energy
  • stress hormones cause your body to be less sensitive to insulin which means you have more glucose in your blood which can lead to weight gain
Now that's the science part and hopefully it helps explain what is happening if you are experiencing this. If you have a sudden or significant weight loss or gain it is best to speak to your GP to make sure it is not linked to an underlying medical issue or illness. Once the stressful situation ends you should find it easier to get back to your normal weight. The important thing to remember is that an ideal weight isn't a certain look, clothes size or a certain number but the weight that is healthy for your height, sex, age and build.

Much love,
Becky xx

Friday, September 09, 2016

You Never Know What Is Waiting- Guest Post

I have had trouble with depression for most of my life. The first time I was really, truly aware of it was in middle school.  I had always had problems with attendance but didn't know why. I just didn't want to go. 

I had been fine at sticking up for myself until I was sent to see a psychologist once a week in school, he made me talk about things and make a bigger deal of them than I felt they had been.  He made me see that I was being bullied where before I had not noticed and just gave back as much as I got.  But after then I felt like the victim and became very withdrawn.  I stopped standing up to anyone and accepted that everyone else was better than me.  From then on I have always struggled to feel like a valid person and constantly think I am not wanted and am in people’s way, an inconvenience. 

When I got to high school it became worse over time until eventually I would not leave the house without my mum.  I could not speak to anyone or use the phone.  I became afraid of mass destruction for some reason and the thought of it consumed me 24/7.  I was a child of the 80's so nuclear war was in the air when I was younger but the fear came out as a teenager.  I was awake at night crippled with fear of hearing the air raid siren.  I was also afraid that the nearby chemical plant would explode as it was said that if it went up at full force it could leave a crater a mile wide. 

I had no friends at all, I never saw anyone but I did have penpals, about 30 of them at one point.  I could write about music and how I was feeling but couldn't talk about it and a lot of my penpals were going through similar things.  It was around this time that I started to have suicidal thoughts.  I was miserable and lonely.  I was convinced no one would ever be interested in me for any kind of relationship or friendship.  I knew I was going to be unable to work: what job can you possibly get if you can't even face speaking to anyone?  You can't go out of the front door?  I wanted to do something memorable and be well known for something, be on stage, but there was just no way it would ever happen.  So what was the point of existence?  I couldn't do the thing I wanted to do, I couldn't have any sort of life or make a living. I was just sitting at home feeling useless and pointless all the time.  I seriously contemplated suicide for about six months.  I couldn't make up my mind if it really was the right thing to do so I was sat up at night thinking of the pros and cons of it.  I was just continuously terrified and exhausted.

Eventually I decided that suicide was not a good option.  I knew it would have been really bad for my mum and my grandparents but mostly I couldn't help but think that there was a slight chance things might get better over time, I might miss out on something good.  It was all so bad I couldn't really picture it getting much worse so it would either stay the same or improve.  I wanted to stick around and see if it got better later.  And it did.

It took a long time and a very bad five year relationship full of emotional abuse, but things slowly crept up.  The depression was always there and the fear of things, people and situations but I started to come out of my shell.  I worked in a charity shop and soon got some confidence with speaking to humans and before long I was even working on the till with the public.  I met the man who is now my husband who is the most wonderful, supportive guy ever.  Since I have been with him (over 13 years now) I have just grown and grown.  I am still amazed when I think back to how I was to how I am now.  Before I could not even contemplate the idea of getting a bus in to town alone, that was a living nightmare and would set me into fits of tears and heart palpitations, now I can drive my car alone for miles without even having done the route before or knowing my way around the destination.  I still need the satnav because I am rubbish at directions but I will happily just follow along and go where she tells me without having a fit of panic over it. 

We also have a wonderful little boy who is now three and a half. I never thought it would be possible for me to be a mum with how I was.  I have been on stage as well doing burlesque of all things, not just going up on stage and saying look at me but getting up on stage and saying look at my butt!  I do seem to have become quite known locally for my burlesque ventures so I am happy with that.

I still have a long road ahead, I have bad days and good days, I have spells of depression and anxiety that take over but I battle through them and always come out fine on the other side.  I still have a lot of things I want to try and do that I have still had trouble accomplishing, but I will get there in time.

If you ever find yourself thinking about ending it all DON'T!  You never know what is waiting at the other side.

I couldn't have put it any better how it feels to want to give in but know there is something worth holding on to. What an inspirational story of a very hard journey. I can tell you that this lovely friend has always made me feel welcome and included. She's always smiling when I see her and very creative with oodles of talent. I'm just so proud that she has written this for you all and know how many people will relate to this. I certainly can and I know at my darkest hour this would have helped me. So thank you lovely glittery one.

Much love,
Becky xx

Thursday, August 25, 2016

3 Reasons Stress is a Pain in the Neck

Stress is a literal pain in the neck! When I go through stressful situations or feel anxious it comes with neck pain, always on the right side. It feels as though a vice is around the outside of my neck between my collar bone to the point just under my right ear. So why does stress come with a physical pain linked to a specific place?

1. Stress can cause muscle tension which tends to target muscles in the shoulders, back and neck. Stress can often cause neck pains and even cause a spasm or a tic. If this occurs you must seek medical advice as neck spasms can be related to other illnesses.

2. Fatigue- with many mental illnesses can come lethargy and fatigue which can lead to you tending to stay in bed or curled up on the sofa, usually in a position that is not the best for your posture. This can cause your joints to feel stiff, your muscles to ache and your skin to feel sore in places. Whenever you can and even if you have to consciously force yourself try to get up, move around and stretch. Build this up to light exercise and keep going.

3. High anxiety levels during a panic attack can cause blood-vessels and nerves to become restricted which can give you pain, numbness and tingling feelings in your head and face including your neck.

So how can we help this:

  • keep moving: don't sit too long, get out of bed, take a walk, stretch
  • take a hot bath to ease pain or apply a heat pack to the area
  • some people prefer applying something cold to the area rather than heat
  • check your posture is correct to help you feel comfortable and avoid further pains
  • sleep on a thin pillow rather than a large pile
  • a firm mattress can help with your sleeping posture
  • ibuprofen gel (if you can use it) can help relieve pain
  • massage can help relieve muscle tension
  • relaxation techniques and stress reduction minimise the cause of your neck pain
  • if your pain is persistent or unbearable speak to your GP and seek medical advice

Much love,
Becky xx