A Journey to a New Life

16 October 2020

Writing my book 'Carrie in Love'

Carrie is a young woman who suffers from mental health problems due to a past trauma in relationships. It is based on a true life experience of which I xperienced in my own relationships. Carrie is nervous and she thinks that she is unlovable because of her past trauma. She suffers from anxiety and nervousness, and she has become relationship avoident. Her best friend Laura is always trying to set her up; she can't understand why Carrie can't leave her past behind and doesn't understand why Carrie can not just settle down. Carrie feels very protective of herself, and has built up many walls. She is always desperate to avoid intimate contact until she meets Julian who she really likes. Julian falls in love with Carrie, but he has mental health problems himself. He is desperate to hide these, because he feels if Carrie knows the truth, she won't like him in the same way he likes her. Both have to learn to accept each other and work through their issues if they are going to make it, however they are faced with stigma and discrimination from family, friends, professionals and themselves. They have to come together and face many issues if they are ever to be a couple. I chose to write this book, because my experience of mental health and relationships was a very painful journey, even before my own mental health problems were recognised. I was faced with discrimination both from the professional system, friends, family, within my relationships and outsiders to a point where I couldn't recognise love when it was in front of me. Carrie faces similar difficulties, and like myself, is very untrusting of people. She cannot tell when someone genuinely likes her and she struggles to maintain physical intimacy. Writing my book can be a painful, but thought-provoking journey. Sometimes it can evoke many painful memories of past events while writing it. However, after many years of trauma, I found love and finally married. The road was a rocky path for a very long time, but today we are stable and very secure. My husband also has experience with his own mental health problems, and we were often told we 'shouldn't be together' because we are 'emotionally unhealthy' by many. On a positive note, we are still together after our 20 plus year journey, and we have endured many hardships along the way. However, when two people come together and are prepared to work through the mental health journey and the issues that come with it, a relationship where both partners have mental health problems can work. My book doesn't hold anything back. Both Carrie and Julian are faced with much interference that leads to other problems, and I show how professional discrimination can make this harder. I show both Carrie and Julian initially deny the problems they face, and I show the professionals mispercieve them as a couple. I will later turn this book into a series of books as they both turn new chapters and work through different issues on their journey to achieve stability and create a healthy relationship. I am enjoying my journey writing this book which is my first book, though it isn't without pain as I have to write about the issues realistically and honestly while reflecting on my own issues from the past. This makes my book positive while also talking about the setbacks and many issues that two people with mental health problems face as their relationship develops further. If you are interested in finding out more about my book which hopefully will be published next year. You can visit my author page here:

11 October 2020

Talking about Mental Health through Difficult Times

Look at my picture attached to this blog. Like on many pictures I post, I am smiling; however, this picture was taken on a day when I was feeling depressed and stressed out. I am smiling in the picture only because I wanted my picture to be happy and not sad, and this isn't just a problem I have when taking photographs, it is a problem I face every day. When you see me in person, you wouldn't know that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, unless I had a panic attack or flashback in-front of you. In fact, unless you've read the many articles I have posted on the web, you wouldn't know anything about my past diagnosis or history which includes EUPD, Depression, Anxiety, and you wouldn't know about the abusive history I faced in my past of which I have written about a lot in previous articles elsewhere on the web. As it stands at the moment, to many, I have come across as happy and confident. Indeed I am happier and more confident than I have ever been since the start of my problems in the 90's which led to my admission to a psychiatric ward of which I was facing the worst trauma of my life. However, I have also been down, cried alone, worried, anxious and stressed out. The recent event triggering this was Covid-19 and the shock of the severe disabilities it has left someone I deeply love with, and the fact that I could have lost him to it. That someone is my husband of whom I have been with for over 20 plus years. When I met him, he had mental health problems and was an in-patient on the ward where I was in the 90's. Despite these problems, he reached out to support me through the trauma, and he saved my life. He was strong, athletic, energetic, and he also went back to nursing despite any obstacles life threw our way. He helped me through so many traumatic events in my life, even after everything had fallen apart, and because of that support, I continue to speak out about mental health, write my book, maintain my home, look after myself and I have learned to use my voice. I am much more stable than I have ever been, however being 'stable' does not mean being 'super-strong' all the time. I still need someone to talk to every now and then, and I won't be the only one. In fact, life can be stressful even if you do not have a mental health problem, and at a time like this, we all need to be sure we have someone to talk to. For me, it was a shock seeing my husband so ill. He had brain-surgery when he was young, however the complications that left him with were mild compared to the complications that Covid-19 left him with, after it attacked his right-sided weakness left by the operation, and the chronic pain left behind by his car-crash many years ago. His pain-levels are now constant and severe, and sometimes, even the medication he is on doesn't help. His right-sided weakness is weaker when he is in pain causing him to fall, he has to use a walking stick including other aids to help him, ofteand he now relies on me to help him do the things that he can no longer do. He has spent 31 years caring for others, so these problems can often make him feel really down because he is now the one being cared for. He often feels guilty for not being at work because of this, and sometimes he will attempt to do things he cannot do because of the pain, because he feels he should. As you can see, these things can take a toll on mental health, however I want to tell everyone going through similar problems, those who are caring for someone through covid-19, those going through the virus, those who have lost loved ones and those who miss seeing their loved ones, that no matter what, 'it is ok not to be ok' and it is ok and not shameful to talk about mental health, even at a time like this. You will probably understand that this with my own vulnerabilities can take its toll on my own mental health. In fact, I haven't seen one of my daughters for months because of it, and that makes me feel down too. I also have other sons and family members who live elsewhere, some quite far away, who I haven't seen for a while either. It can be hard not being able to reach out to your loved ones or support network, but please do not suffer in silence. Call, text, video-chat, write, send cards and do whatever helps you stay in touch with loved ones at this time. I know some of you may not be able to do this with loved ones because of your loved ones situation, it is still important to talk, and many charities and helplines such as The Samaritans, Mind, Rethink are there for you. Remember, your GP can still be a good support network, even if you can only chat on the phone or through e-consultation. No matter how small or minor, it is ok to talk about mental health, and you should never have to feel ashamed for doing it.

08 October 2020

A New Life with Mindfulness

I look at these pictures and I think to myself, "Is that really me? It is really me, though my hair is a different colour to when these pictures were taken. Many years ago, due to my complicated experience with PTSD, I wouldn't have been able to step foot outside. However, I have done therapy since then; some with a therapist in the form of DBT, and some by myself. These pictures were taken on a day when I decided to take 'mindfulness' out doors. I named this 'sensory therapy' because it uses the senses, i.e. sight, sound, touch and smell. This is a fantastic way to use mindfulness and you can bring it indoors by using photographs, plants, fragrance and many other things. I wrote an article about this called 'Mindfulness in Nature' of which I will include the link at the end of my post. Mindfulness is all about being aware of your surroundings and how you feel. It can help you to relax, relieve stress and just breathe, even on your worst days. It can be as simple as smelling flowers, watching a stream, touching leaves and getting creative. My favourite ways to get creative are by using nature in which I like scenic places like gardens and commons, reading, using incense, creating art, baking, walking and many more. When out and about I like to observe the sound of running water, colours and scents of flowers, the shapes of trees and the feeling of the leaves in my hands. However bad weather can make it really hard to get out, as can my anxiety. When it is raining, it really gets me down, because I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I struggle with all-year-round hayfever too. On these days I bring nature indoors, by using plants and flowers of different varities, and photographs of streams, commons, gardens and beaches. I combine these with my favourite smells, usually inscence because I can recreate lavendar and woody smells like sandal wood which remind me of the outdoors. Meditation music combined with nature such as birds singing or waves on the sea can also be a good way to do this. Mindfulness is not just about bubble baths and self care. To be mindful, means to take care of your mind. Exercise whether inside or out is good for your mind too. If you prefer nature like myself, there are many yoga dvd's that can incorporate that too. You could also burn a woody inscence using a burner, cones, candles and sticks, and you could add nature murials to your decorating to bring nature indoors. . These methods gave me the confidence to step outside and feel safe again, after spending from 18 years old to my 30's (I am now 44), being unable to do so. Mindfulness can change the way you think and feel about things. It can help to bring back confidence and strength too. You can also be mindful when cleaning and cooking, by focusing on the moment and enjoying it. However, to get started with mindfulness in nature, read this article: ,

Writing my book 'Carrie in Love'

Carrie is a young woman who suffers from mental health problems due to a past trauma in relationships. It is based on a true life experienc...

A Journey to a New Life