Monday, 29 February 2016

Brighton Half Marathon

Hi again,

I feel so brilliant at the moment!  Yesterday I completed the Brighton Half Marathon in 2hrs 4mins.  I feel elated to have achieved this after the few months I've had.  This is a clear example of when I haven't let depression dictate my life!  I was close to not running at all.  running-from-depression
During  the race, in the last 3 miles, I wanted to give up but my resilient nature refused to quit.

At mile 11, I hit my wall, started to doubt myself and I seriously slowed down to almost a walk.  The crowd cheered me on and a complete stranger coaxed me forward and helped me to get back on track.  Thank you whoever you are!  The kindness of strangers always surprises me and you do feel a unique special bond when running together.

My legs are extremely sore and tight and I have been like a complete zombie all day, but my suffering has all been worth it.  When I began to struggle, I thought of my blog, the readers and how I could not bare the thought of having to write that I'd given up.  I am a strong person, even if my mental health can make me feel very weak at times.  Completing this run has boosted my confidence and I feel fantastic!  It really is amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Thank you for all the supportive tweets and kind messages.

Won't be beaten
Twitter: @honestly83

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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Running from Depression

Hello again readers,

I am completely overwhelmed by all the support this blog has received since my first post: thank you!

This week, I have been filling my body with as much carbs and protein as I can take.  The reason for the increase in chicken, fish, eggs, rice and beans is because on Sunday, I am running the Brighton Half Marathon!  I am extremely nervous because training has not gone well.  As usual, I have been very stressed at work, which I think has triggered depression.  I have persevered though and with my past experiences under my belt, (2 Marathons and 1 half) I have finally decided that I am not pulling out! depression-and-daily-stress-of-life 
 teaching and depression the perfect team

On Monday, I went for my longest run this year of 8.15 miles.  I was slow but I did it and I could have carried on.  I am so pleased I forced myself out because it boosted my confidence.  The moon was out and shone down on me as I ran along the atmospheric sea front and there were lots of other runners out too.  It was great to secretly compete with them to try to pick up my pace. 

However, the best thing about the run wasn't the fresh air, beautiful scenery or the interactions with complete strangers and that sense of community; it was that my mind was calm, peaceful and I was lost in the moment.  All of my anxieties and stresses vanished as I was transfixed on what I was doing - running.  I felt like the pure version of me, without the dramas, negativity and doubt that the world forces you to deal with.  It was extremely liberating!  depression-its-not-all-bad

Don't get me wrong, most of the time, the idea of changing into my running gear, braving the cold and exercising when I'm tired and hungry seems horrific, but when I'm actually out there doing it, I feel fantastic and completely positive.  One of the main reasons why I am not cancelling the Half Marathon this Sunday is because I remember the rush of excitement, pride and happiness I feel when I pass that finish line!  It really is the best feeling!

So, tomorrow after approximately 2 hours of running, when I will be cold, exhausted, starving and my legs are tight and screaming out in pain, I will remember that I didn't let work control my life and I didn't let stress and depression stop me from achieving something important to me.  These positive thoughts will support me through my tough times when depression seems to be winning!

I'm not saying that running is for everyone but any form of exercise where you can lose yourself for those few minutes is something worth trying.  I think we are at our happiest when we are living in the moment and not worrying about the past or contemplating the future...

Wish me luck for tomorrow

Won't be beaten

Read my complete blog here:


I will not spend my half-term depressed on social media

Happy Birthday dad - how past can affect us

The power of music on the mind

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Half term depressed on social media

Hello again,

It's been a week or so since I wrote anything new because I've been trying to live my life as opposed to write about it.  I also became a little addicted to Google+, Twitter and Tumblr when initially trying to promote the blog.  Thankfully, I'm over that now and will not be spending most of the day posting links! Phew!

It was Valentine's Day last weekend and now it's half term, and for once I'm truly appreciating it.  Usually, my week off arrives and my boyfriend hides away because I am a complete nightmare.  I get so bored because all my friends are at work or busy and I find myself alone; this is not good for me because I start thinking too much and feel low and frustrated.  I spend the week focused on Facebook, getting jealous of all the amazing places people visit and things they do - social media really isn't good for the soul sometimes!  depression-its-not-all-bad

However, this half term feels different.  I think it's because I have really been struggling at work recently and have been desperate not to go in.  There was a time a week or so ago when depression really made it's presence felt and I wasn't sure if I could carry on with school.  Half term this time round feels like a complete blessing! is-it-time-to-see-my-doctor?


Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I bought plants and bulbs for the garden and I loved getting lost in my own world as I sowed seeds, dug holes and delicately placed bulbs the correct depth and distance apart - it was completely therapeutic!  I can't wait for the sunshine and warmth to arrive so I can sit out in the garden and potter.  I can get a tad obsessed with the garden, ensuring everything is happy and well looked after but I think this is a good kind of obsession.

Last night, as no one was free, I went to a Gabrielle Aplin concert on my own.  I'm so glad I went because she was absolutely wonderful.  I arrived early, enjoyed the support acts and took in the positive atmosphere and beautiful music, which made me smile inside and out.  I nearly didn't go because nerves took over and I became very self conscious. I started to imagine strangers staring at me and judging me but then I told myself to get over it and I went.  In the past, I have gone on my own to the theatre and cinema.  I don't think there is any shame in going solo.  If you really want to see something and no one else is bothered, then why should you miss out?  the-power-of-music

Today I am off to the gym after I write this (I will discuss the gym soon) and then I am being picked up by a friend of mine and we are heading to the countryside for lunch.  I'm really trying to make the most of my time away from the many stresses of teaching.

It's something I always say to myself and then forget; I must be grateful for all I have and not compare myself to others - especially on social media!

Hope you're week is a positive one.

Won't be beaten

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Monday, 8 February 2016

Never feel guilty about depression

Hello all,

I hope you all had a positive weekend?

I had a complete melt down this weekend.  I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday (until 6pm) in bed on my own.  I kept sobbing and did not want to join the world outside my bedroom.  My boyfriend tried so hard to help but when I'm in that state, there's nothing he can do. (is-it-time-to-see-my-doctor?)

I would like to focus more on the important moment when things changed.  It was about 6pm and my boyfriend had reluctantly gone out for the night.  I told him that there was no point in both of us ruining our weekend and he went, probably secretly pleased to be escaping the doom and gloom.

Here is the conversation with myself that followed:

'Come on now, this is ridiculous!  Just get out of bed.  You've already wasted your whole Saturday!"

I slowly pulled myself out of bed, my muscles groaning with every movement.  I put on my slippers and shuffled to the bathroom.  I looked in the mirror - I looked dreadful.

"Just brush your teeth.  You can do that.  Come on!"

I brushed whilst studying the frown lines, tear stained eyes and messy bed hair.

"Well done!  you did it!"

I said this sarcastically but the words of encouragement were actually helping.

"Next you need to shave.  You can manage that."

I shaved.  After that,  I showered and managed to go downstairs and cook a pasta meal.  I congratulated myself each step of the way.  However, the most important thing I told myself was this:

"You can't change what has happened today.  It's done.  You must not feel guilty but feel proud of all you have achieved.   You have had a bad day and that's ok.  We all have them and it probably won't be your last.  You just have to manage it as best you can."

For the rest of the evening, I drank water - not alcohol (alcohol-causes-depression). I started the fire and watched 'The Voice' (I love Paloma Faith) (the-power-of-music) and then I found a great, uplifting film on Netflix called 'Hector and the Search for Happiness', which I highly recommend.

At about midnight, I went to bed feeling absolutely exhausted but more positive.  Even though, compared to my 'normal' standards I had achieved nothing, I felt like I had pretty much conquered the world!

In future, I will try to remember to celebrate every achievement and to never feel guilty about being depressed.

Won't be beaten

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Friday, 5 February 2016

Is it time to see my Doctor?


I'm really not in the mood to be writing but I'm forcing myself with the hope that it will help me to feel better.  I'm so fed up of feeling miserable.  I'm starting to get worried as I seem to be spiralling further into a deep, dark pit.  I  think the main contributor is work as I'm finding school extremely difficult; there's so much pressure all the time.  I also think, even after so long, I still get upset around my dad's birthday as I'm reminded of what I wanted so badly growing up.
happy birthday dad-how past can affect us

Tears keep falling with no warning and I get so anxious over nothing.  Yesterday I couldn't even respond to texts from my friends because my head was too cloudy and I was becoming very overwhelmed- my boyfriend had to respond on my behalf.  How ridiculous is that?  I am so grateful I'm able to keep up the act at work.  I'm abit grumpy but colleagues just think I'm stressed.  They'd be shocked if I told them how I really feel.
teaching and depression the perfect team.

Why can't I fight my depression and win once and for all?  I hate the way it creeps up every winter.  I'm in bed at the moment, listening to music, trying to relax before my boyfriend gets home.
He doesn't really get my depression and he doesn't have much patience for it; this puts more pressure on me to perform but sometimes I just can't at home.  I wish he knew how to fix me.  I wish I knew how to fix myself.

Perhaps I need to admit defeat and go back on medication.  I always feel like a failure when I have to go back to the doctors- I shouldn't but I do.  The medication I've been on before makes me feel ill in the mornings and causes me to behave like a sleepy robot - I lose my personality.

I'll monitor myself closely over the weekend and if I'm not coping I'll make an appointment.

Won't be beaten

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The power of music on the mind

Hello readers,

Thank you for sharing my experiences so far.  Please feel free to share yours.

This evening, I am sat at home by my lovely log fire and I'm listening to Sia's new album: This is Acting.  I listen to music a lot and it has always been there during my low points.  I remember being at home alone when I briefly dropped out of A levels due to depression.  I used to lay in bed playing CDs on repeat.  It was as if the music gave me the right to cry, to let out my emotions.  It was ok to sob along to Mariah or Whitney and I felt a great sense of release and power doing it.

I also remember playing Florence and the Machine's 'Shake It Off' constantly when trying to get over an unhealthy relationship.  I felt dreadful because we were punishing each other and playing intricate mind games which I couldn't handle.  When feeling completely crazy, I would holler each word out loud and proud and I could almost feel the devil lifting from my back.  Nothing had changed but I was building my strength through song.

Music can heighten the mood I already have or it can drag me out of a pit.  One of the best cures for my depression is a good old fashioned sing song.  Singing just seems to make me smile inside and out, even though I am terrible.  My favourite sing-a-long song has to be the completely dramatic 'Chandelier' by Sia.  You have to prance about as soon as it starts!

I also love songs that take over your body and force you to dance.  Songs like: Whitney, 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'; Taylor Swift, 'Shake It Off' and dare I say it, Justin Bieber's, 'Sorry'.  They have this magnetic force which my hips can't resist!!  My favourite thing is going all out on the dance floor and feeling completely alive and care free.

Have you ever been walking along a busy street when your favourite song comes on your headphones and before you know it, your screaming out the words, only to find passers by staring and taking the mick?  I love those 'music video' moments when you get completely engrossed in the lyrics and imagine yourself pouting or crying into the camera!

Today (my dad's birthday - see yesterday's blog entry) I have played Kelly Clarkson's 'Piece by Piece' several times because it reminds me of my dad and the mistakes I won't make.  It makes me feel strong.  I picture myself saying the words to my dad.

Try it...whether you have records, CDs or I tunes, blast out a song that allows you to cry, sing, dance or laugh.  Any response is a good one.

Won't be beaten.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Happy Birthday dad - how the past can affect us.

Good evening all,

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday and I often find myself feeling low and reflective at this time.  I'd love to say that this year, I was treating him to dinner or buying him the most amazing present but I don't know what he likes to eat and would have no idea for a present.  I haven't spent time with him since I was about 13 - I'm now 32.  Well, I did meet him a few years ago...

It was the holidays and when I'm not at school, I think too much and thinking always leads me to my dad.  I arranged to meet him, to talk to him, to get my childhood off of my chest.  I had to contact him because since my parent's divorced, he has made no effort to see me. 

We met at a local pub and I offloaded.  I told him that I was terrified of him growing up and that I used to hide in my room when he returned from work.  I recalled how he used to belittle me for studying and told me I should find something better to do.  I told him how afraid I felt when he used to pin my head down against a wall to assert his dominance and reminded him of the time he spat in my face and demanded that I stayed in my room until he returned.  He was gone for hours and when he got back, he shouted at me for doing as he had demanded.  In his head, my actions had made him look bad in front of my aunty, who had been visiting at the time and who had tried to coax me out.  I used the word reminded earlier because he had forgotten these memories.  These memories that have haunted me my whole life and have affected me in ways I still probably now don't realise; he had forgotten. 

My dad was a bully.  He bullied my mum and his children because he had to feel in control.  He would shout, stomp around the house and make me feel stressed and nervous.  I was an extremely quiet, anxious child because I was too afraid to say anything in case he would get angry.  My dad's temper stifled me and I never really expressed myself until he was gone.  After he left, he tried to hurt my mum in any way possible, blaming her for the breakup.  She should have left a long time earlier but she was controlled and afraid more than any of us.  I remember at the age of 14 desperately trying to push my dad away from our house as he attempted to grab my mum.  He used to just laugh at me. 

I finally decided last year, after the odd card from him for my birthday, that I didn't want a relationship with my dad.  He had abandoned me as a child when I needed him (I have needed him on many occasions) and now a relationship with him seems pointless or even damaging.  I don't like him or respect him as a person.  I should make it clear that my dad was abused by his father so there are reasons for his behaviour but this does not justify it - not in my eyes anyway.  The only saving grace was that during our encounter, he did apologize and showed some remorse, although he made no effort with me after.

I don't have a dad and never really have but I wish I did.  I'm a sensitive and emotional person and having that support and love would have been life changing.  Knowing my dad still lives but that we don't have a relationship often makes me sad.  I am however extremely lucky to have an amazing mum who has always been there and has shown me more love than I could ever imagine. 

Happy birthday dad - I wish things could have been different.

Won't be beaten

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Depression and the daily stress of life

Hello there,

Before I begin, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is reading so far and for all the words of encouragement! 

My last entry mentioned that I was heading to the country for a relaxing weekend; it was wonderful:  good food, calm, beautiful surroundings and above all, fantastic company.  I returned home feeling like a new person entirely! I am so pleased that I pushed myself to go.  Then Monday arrived...

I woke up and from 6.30am, when I am told that a member of staff is off sick, to 6pm, when I eventually sneak out of school, I don't stop - barely finding time to wee!  I find myself darting around the school, making sure that everything goes smoothly and the year group (I'm a year leader) is not crumbling around me.  Finally, the working day is done and I have survived.  Then I make my way home...

The one single thing I managed to do for myself today was to buy Sia's new album.  I'm a massive fan; I love the drama and my body tingles to her emotive lyrics.   Before you judge me, yes I still buy CDs.  Its a my guilty pleasure!  Anyway, I rush from school to the shop (arriving just in time) then frantically hot step it to the busy supermarket to buy dinner.  I grab a few bits as I can't cope with the people who have no social awareness and I just want my slippers on at this point.  I pay for the items and am judged because I forgot to bring reusable bags with me and have to buy more!  The scandal!

  Next, I arrive home, take out the bins, which have somehow managed to ooze a vinegar-like substance all over the kitchen floor so I mop that up too.  I remember to put on the dinner and then I unload and load the dishwasher which hasn't been done in a week because I struggled to do anything last week and my boyfriend works long hours and is barely home some weekdays.  In truth, it is my job.

Finally, at 7.30pm, I sit down to a curry dinner and I can write my blog (the second thing today that I want to do for myself).  No wonder I suffer from depression - daily living in the modern world is unsustainable and far too hectic and stressful!

I urge you to be better than me, take a stand and try to slow down once in a while.  Go buy a CD.  Listen to it.  Do one or two things each day simply because you want to.  I need to take my own advice more than anyone.  Sometimes I worry the stress will cause me to have a heart attack.  I need to watch my stress levels because it's not good for anyone.

I love doing so many things but never seem to have time for any of them.  I think I need to stop complaining, take responsibility for my own actions and force myself to do the things I enjoy more often - it can only have a positive affect!

I hope your Monday was not as manic as mine felt.

We won't be beaten

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