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