Sunday, 26 April 2015

Dealing With Depression// A Personal Story.

You may or may not be aware that this is the final day of mental health awareness week. Honestly, in my opinion, dedicating a week to awareness probably does more to highlight the stigma rather than actually raise awareness and support but hey, if by talking about it we can all be more open, upfront and understanding then it's all worth it surely? So get a cup of tea and maybe a small/large cake and let's get honest.

I've briefly spoken here before about my mental health; I've actually thought about writing this for a while and what's stopped me? Fear maybe? Lack of confidence? Stigma? Or maybe it's just that nagging worrying voice that's plagued me for years telling me "people will think differently of you."
I wanted to hopefully share with you all some tips I've picked up over the years, some experiences or some knowledge and maybe if helping at least one person can get passed down the line it's worth it? 

*Read the self doubt all over this post already- I actually started this on Tuesday.*

Depression and anxiety are like my lurking friends. I've been in control of my depression (give or take) for about two years now. Getting engaged was a big boost for me, not only from a romantic perspective but for me it stemmed something much more. Security. The reassurance that somebody understands and even more so accepts how I am, my past and my struggles. Knowledge. That someone would be there in the darkest hours (and truth be told there have been a few in the last 6 years we've been together.) It was, for me, a little glimmer of self acceptance and assurance that I am actually a pretty great person!

My story with actually starts about eleven years ago (diagnosis date) when I was about 11 or 12 years old. Diagnosed with anxiety I was offered support though therapy. At the time, my situation was a little different. At 12 I wrote a letter to my birth father cutting off contact with him until he dealt with his alcohol addiction- 11 years later and still no contact, I've learned through dealing with my own problems quite a lot about that too (but that's another post for another day.) I was recommended by both my GP and my school to start seeing someone. Over the years I've seen so many therapists that they all sort of merge into one (but then therapists have that about them anyway.) Many times they've helped, though rarely at the time I needed it. Sometimes hindsight is the biggest insight out there. That's probably my first real piece of advice. It can be hard opening up to a stranger, their questions can seem intrusive and obvious and a whole running of 'if I knew that answer I wouldn't be here' may go through your head. Even if you don't say as much as maybe you could, do try and listen. One day you might just look back and recognise the help you were given.

Years ticked on, therapists came and went and still there was a constant cloud. Over the last few years there has been a bit of a bandwagon with the term 'depression'. I find this hard to comment on because depression is the bottom of the hole. There have been weeks, months even, where paranoia and self doubt have plagued me so much that I haven't left the house. There have been times where I've wanted to push the people I love as far away as possible, to be left to self destruct. There have been days that have passed where I've planned to the detail how I'll leave this world and be better for it, only to be riddled by guilt that I'm not only mostly too cowardly to actually do it but also at the mess I'd leave behind. There have been hours where I've stared at walls and tried to measure the feeling of loss and the blank space in my head.

Eventually my diagnosis developed to depression and medication was the next step. Trying to balance life and the beginnings of medication is probably the toughest of all. I suffered pretty badly from side effects- a sponge like mouth and constant drowsiness. It's important to have a GP you can trust and I have had to see various GP's before I found one that understood well enough and guided me through the right course, dosage and support during my time on medication. Remember that you have a right to request to see another doctor, you are entitled to find the right person to help you in the way you need them to. 

Most depression medications are made to neutralise the chemicals in your brain and relieve the symptoms of depression. It's recommended that during this time you also find somebody that you trust to talk through how you feel. Whether it be a professional, friend or family member- somebody that you know has your best interests at heart. 

Time passed and I've built on my own experiences and the knowledge I've obtained can be applied much more easily than before. As I said earlier, I came off my medication about two years ago now. From personal experience I very much *read in stern Sophie voice* urge you not to just stop taking your tablets. There were a good few times where I felt better, stopped and immediately the 'come-down' was hard, heavy and the cycle began almost all over again. Coming off your medication is something that should be discussed with your doctor and followed properly.

Most recently I discovered 'mindfulness'. This is a practice of recognising your thoughts logically and  has had quite the press coverage recently with many comparing it as better than medication for tackling depression. It's something that I'm taking time to practice and for about a year now it's helped me understand myself better than I ever have before. I can recognise the doubt, self consciousness and fear. I accept myself on the less great days and instead of beating myself up about the little things, I'm admiring the bigger picture. In my opinion (and of course this whole post really is just my experiences and opinions) my depression isn't something I've been cured of of has ever fully left me, but that's actually really ok with me. It reminds me that for me, I have to take the time to find those things that I love,  it inspires me to treat myself better and that working on yourself is the best job you can do because anything to stay out of the bottom of that hole again is worth it.

Like I said at the beginning, if this were to help just one person keep going, keep listening to that little fighting voice that tells you to keep trying, then it'll be totally worth it. If anyone wants to chat about anything you've read do drop me a message on any social networking thingy or email me at (That's my subscriptions/blogging email by the way, I do have an actual adult email address too!)

Love Sophie Xx

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Ring-A Ring O' Roses...(my first bbq of the year)

There are no pretty maids all in a row here. Just thought I'd get that out of the way incase you mis-clicked...It's basically a fancy title for what I've been up to the last week. Haven't we had glorious sunshine?! I've been racing outside at every given opportunity but surprisingly my area manager didn't agree that a bank-on-a-beach is quite what the company needs. He'll regret it I'm sure. 
Oh and I'd just like to make a note that the grass photographed above is most certainly NOT my garden! Harps is obsessed with our lawn, funnily I spoke with Michelle about this and we decided that all manly men are the same when it comes to lawn care- do you have an obsessive lawn man? 

I had to go to a meeting sit in an office for hours on end whilst sunshine mocked me on Wednesday and had absolutely no option but to treat myself to a mini haul at The Body Shop. I saw Rosie post about their banana shampoo the other week and just had to get some. It's amazing of course. I also find that their hemp hand moisturiser is just the best ever for my dry little paws (oh and it's buy one get one half price so I had no choice really but to get a couple of other bits!) Whilst we're on the subject can we just talk about how fucking amazing Rosie looked at her wedding? Congratulations beautiful lady and I hope you both have a fabulous month in Bali- that's a couple of blog posts I can't wait to read! 

I had Friday off and my mum needed a bit of adult time. I've got a little post coming up about caring for someone full time and I think you'll all agree that carers do not get any where near as much praise as they deserve! We headed to Charlies Boathouse (see previous posts here) and scoffed ourselves silly whilst putting the world to right. 

The day after I may or may not have had this delicious hot dog from Bangers With a Twist in Falmouth- it'd been such a busy Saturday at work that I hadn't had the chance to escape for some lunch. Luckily, on my way to the station, this little restaurant/cafe shouted to me from across the street where I was met by such lovely staff that understood my lunch woes and packed me on my way with this beauty! I'd definitely recommend popping in!

SUNDAY! THE DAY OF REST! I pottered around in the garden; pruning, weeding and planting to my little heart's content. Seriously, if my garden doesn't look like the bleeds Eden Project by the end of this summer there will be war. Harps whispered sweet nothings to his lawn (or something like that) and though there was a bit of a chilly wind, only gale force winds would have kept me inside.

Late afternoon we changed out of gardening gear and headed over to my parents for THE FIRST OFFICIAL BBQ OF THE YEAR! Isn't potato salad just delicious? Do any of you ever read these posts and wonder why I'm not 50st? Me too...

Back at work and swan watching on my lunch break. Like I said every second in the sun counts! 

And here's a farewell photo from Batman. He's been pretty grumpy because he's malting but on Sunday evening he slept most of it off in the cutest way ever. 

Love Sophie Xx

Friday, 17 April 2015

Simple Things...

Fresh flowers
Pretty fruit displays
Hazy sunshine hours
Walks in the woods
Smiling spaniels
Crisp yet sunny mornings
Reading at lunchtime by the sea
Surprises from friends
Feeling positive
Morning song
Sunflowers growing
Soul cleansing

Love Sophie Xx

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

S/S Inspiration// Stripes & Trailer Park Boys

You know when you've watched so much Netflix that your wardrobe becomes a sort of homage? That's pretty much what happened when I clicked 'order' on Sheinside a couple of days ago. Too much of a wedding saving push and too much of a spending ban makes Sophie a grumpy terrapin (that's an actual known comparison to me when I'm grumpy!) And hey what's wrong with stripes on every outfit and a 90's nostalgia t-shirt with some Trailer Park Boys shorts? Summer here I come. 

Oh and the thing that encouraged me even more was a discount code on instagram for 33% off using INST33.

Happy not supposed to be shopping, shopping!

Love Sophie Xx

                                                 Liquor & Whores by Bubbles And The Shit Rockers on Grooveshark

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lately I've Been...

Good evening you crazy cats, how in the world are you all? It's been beautiful spring weather hasn't it? It's strange though how a shorter week can feel like an even longer one. Probably from having too much of a nice time, resulting in a pretty sleepy Sunday. Doesn't Easter mark the beginning of the best parts of the year? I feel so homely and productive despite still adapting to my new routine! So what have I been up to I hear you cry? Well quite a bit I'll have you know...

  • Finishing one Hornby and starting another. Actually there's been another Hornby in-between these two- super book reader. Batman loves the smell of fresh books almost as much as I do!
  • Waking up late and giving my face a break from make up.
  • Eating picnmix. Seriously do I ever post something that doesn't include food?
  • Re-potting my forget-me-not and getting some bulbs planted ready for summer! I spent a lot of time in the garden over the last few days off (and most of Easter weekend). Such a therapeutic way to spend a sunny day.
  • Drinking FAR too much caffeine, something I'm VERY aware of but not quite ready to curb just yet...
  • Being spoilt with such majestic views whilst having my lunch at work. My Instagram has been full of nose-rubbing shots all week.
  • Getting sweaty and jolly raising money for charity. Last weekend I had the pleasure of donning the master of all mascot suits in aid of Tanya's Courage Trust; a very local charity founded by the family of a wonderful girl named Tanya after she sadly passed away from cancer at the age of 17. This fabulous organisation helps support young people with cancer and I was all too excited to get dressed up as Mickey mouse and help bucket collect in the town centre! Plus I got to bust out some of my best moves in a crowd FULL of people and everyone just cheered me on because they didn't know that in-fact a 23 year old girl was showcasing her best dancing. I broke it on down. *read that in an 80's voice will you?*

Are you all insanely jealous of my Mickey antics? I knew it...

Love Sophie XX

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thankful Thursday// March.

How can we be almost a quarter of the way through the year?! Raise your hand if you've barely stopped writing 2014? Me too. Anyway, March has been a rather elusive month. I travelled to the big cities and have been mostly found nose in a book somewhere. It's been a month of planning and now things are starting to fall into place I'm feeling much more settled and much more excited about the rest of the year! Here's a few things I've been grateful for in March...

  • Lighter evenings.
  • Carby dinners with best friends.
  • Starting my new job and the future it brings.
  • Never-ending support from my dear Harps.
  • Honest talks with my parents and honest thoughts with myself.
  • Being appreciated.
  • Sharing a vanilla NY cheesecake with Harps that's meant for six people.
  • My favourite flowers filling the house.
  • Fresh scents. I've recently bought two of The Library of Fragrance range- fresh linen and mango. They're perfect for everyday wear and it's nice to have a single scent sometimes! (Currently 2 for £25 in Boots!)
  • Wedding planning. Marquees here we come!
  • Hot cross buns
  • The not so great eclipse. It still got me excited! And blurry vision for a few hours!
  • Terry Pratchett enriching my life.
  • Three (almost four) new books ticked off the o'l To Read list!
  • The four day weekend that starts tomorrow

What have you all been thankful for in March? April is here and it brings us hopes of warmer weather again! High five to the long weekend and Easter treats!

Love Sophie Xx

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

On A New Start...

Panic growing-up face/
Panic at how drunk I was going to get face.

I've taken a step towards growing up. More like a fucking leap really. I've finally finished working in the same town that I've worked in since I moved to Cornwall/left school/weekend job in school. I've flown the coop so to speak. And I've left behind a fabulous group of people. Do you ever sit and think about the fact that if you're working full time you're spending more of the week with the people you work with then anyone else? I've been lucky to have the best work family a girl could ask for since I started working at Santander and four years later they gave me the best send off I could have wished for. It probably explains my absence in these parts for a couple of weeks- here's some snaps of my last day, my leaving party* and my new fresh start. I know you'll love it you nosey buggers.

* The only photo taken by me at my leaving party was the one of cake. Obviously. I was far too busy trying not to cry to think about photo taking! 

Harps came to hold my tissues! Haha!

I had the most wonderful send off, some perfect gifts (seriously TWO unicorn themed pieces of jewellery and a high tea voucher for Harps and I to enjoy at the fanciest hotel for miles!) AS WELL AS THIS AMAZING CAKE! LOOK AT THIS CAKE GUYS! The lady pictured above on the right is Laura and I've worked closely with her for the entire time I've worked at Santander. She iced this fancy fellow and did such a fantastic job! Many cocktails were drunk (another reason I didn't take any photos!) and Harps and I returned home smiling but with a heavy heart. Thank you to everyone that came and made my evening a perfect time to end my St Austell reign...(I definitely reigned St Austell by the way; I'd worked in two other shops in the rather small town over the last 9 years!)

Oh and the clocks changed just as Harps went for a bedtime wee which meant his wee took one hour and three minutes. That was funny.

Roll on Monday morning. Fresh starts and new beginnings. I've started my new job in a brand new town. I've got to say, Falmouth couldn't be a more beautiful place to work. Up at the crack of dawn, flask in hand, I've been crawling to the station with a rather blank expression like the one below. Shuffling onto the train and half reading/ half gazing sleepily at the beautiful morning sights of Cornwall in spring. And hey, having the last of your morning tea with a sea view isn't half bad. Give it a week or so and I'm not sure I'll be quite so positive about the earlier starts but for now- it feels right. I'm ready for a new challenge and I'm ready to take that massive fucking leap into adulthood.

Love Sophie Xx