25

On Friday the fourth of May I turned twenty five. Some people regard it as a bit of a landmark birthday and some don’t. I was a little worried as it’s almost regarded as the social norm to have your shit together by 25, the house and car, career paved out and a long term relationship with all the trimmings.

But life doesn’t really work like that. There is no cast iron plan, no set route for everyone to go down. Some people have the world as their oyster at 25. Some have a cat a reasonably paid job and still live with their mother. In fact I’m starting to think most are the latter now that the economy is not overly 90s baby friendly (85-99 to be specific… I suppose…) and is making it oh so bloody difficult to get a decent phone contract let alone a mortgage.

I’d like to think I’m in the ~semi shit together~ phase and I’ll probably stay there until I’m 30 if I’m honest. I moved back home to save for a mortgage and help my mum out a little. After about two months I met my now boyfriend and after 4 he moved in. Pretty fast I know but the circumstances surrounding us at the time pulled it all together. Along with him came his dog, a chest of drawers and a new bed. Shifting around the bedroom, fitting everything in, changing MY car into OUR car and MY home into OUR home. It somehow seemed to fit and fast forward 8 months and like an old couple watching telly in bed at night with the dog by my side and a cup of tea!

As expected I spent my birthday with my boyfriend and family. I went to lakeside shopping centre, which if you haven’t been, is huge and has a cinema and 4 storey Primark for starters. It’s situated in Thurrock, Essex and from where I live on the south coast it’s journey to it consists of going through the Dartford Crossing (a tunnel going under the Thames river) and on the ghastly M25 but it makes up for it when you can spend an entire day there and have lunch on the lake in the sunshine.

I also had a meal with my family and my boyfriends family which was lovely and thankfully I had wonderful weather for the entire weekend of my birthday. As English people do when it’s sunny we had a family BBQ and got out the paddling pool for the little ones.

I suppose most of this post is really me just verifying to myself that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t got the money for a mortgage yet, that we aren’t engaged to be wed or pregnant. Everyone has there own time for things in life and mine is perhaps slower than some but equally as important and maybe even faster than others. It’s entirely personalised to each individual. As you get older I think your birthday is less about celebrations and more about the next upcoming year of your life. What you might achieve, memories and experiences. Having a good knees up helps to go through those though!

I guess what I’m saying is just do you. The only person that matters in your past, present and future is yourself. Without you there is none of those nice things or experiences. Your twenties are about finding yourself and learning the world. Learning what suits you, what doesn’t, compromising and how to walk away from things that don’t benefit you. It doesn’t matter if your shit isn’t quite together. Nobody should judge you so don’t judge yourself.

My first 25 was eventful. I’m sure the next will be even more so.

CA x

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Q & A

Check out this interview I did with Louise over on her blog – how about answering the questions yourself or asking your followers? CA x

LouiseBarnardxo

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Hello My Lovely Lot,

Yes its been a while but I took a break to try a different blogging platform and found out that it just wasn’t for me so have come back to my lovely followers on here.

With that being said I agreed a while back to take part in a Q&A with the awesome @charlottexamy but of course me being me and finding my feet I let her down and took a lifetime to sit down and do it. But here we are 🙂 I hope you guys get just as much enjoyment our of it as I’m sure Charlotte will.

  1. Introduce yourself:  Louise Anne Barnard, 24 years old, from Horsham West Sussex. I am currently a Front Of House Manager at a gym.
  2. Do you have a 5 year plan if so what is it?: I mean what I want and what happens lets…

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The one where… she gets a new job!

So I’ve had a little gap since I last posted, sorry in advance for that! But I have been a very busy bee!

Since I last posted I have left my job, had some time out for myself and secured and started a new job. I realised that sometimes it is perfectly okay to be selfish and that I needed to step back from jobs that encompassed me giving 110% of myself for other people. I decided that I wanted to work in an office environment and be part of a close team, and thankfully for me, I managed to land on my feet pretty quickly and secure a new job in just that!

I started on the Monday just gone, and despite the brain numbing from all the learning I have been doing I am so so happy I made the transition into a different sector.

I’ve figured that sometimes in life you just have to take a plunge and go for it, not worry about how you’re gonna make the bills or whatever, there can always be a friend or relative to help carry you until you find your feet, but it’s important that you strive for what YOU want, and you don’t just slip into the system of working 9-5 in a sleepy town, comatosed on your commute to work, surviving on coffee and working to live. Life needs more excitement than that, it needs a job you love, for money you deserve, and goals you can reach. And that doesn’t happen remaining in comfortable environments or being part of something just because you know it’s safer for you and you don’t need to use your brain as much.

 

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So now my plan going forward is to focus more on myself. What I want, what I need and if I want to spend my money on something I will, if I want to go out partying, then I will, I was so consumed in my work that I forgot to look after myself, and it’s so important to look after yourself and do whatever you wanna do to make yourself feel happy and wholesome. I’ve got a job I enjoy, and I’m saving for a mortgage, looking for holidays with my boyfriend, and spending more time with my friends and family. And that’s all that’s really important.

Always put yourself first, regardless of what anyone says, you are the most important thing, no company is worth more than your physical or mental health. Never sideline your social life, or personal life, for your professional life. It really isn’t worth it.

 

 

CA x

A very honest letter to my younger self.

Hello sweet,

So you’re a teenager and you’re full of hormones. You don’t know much about me, but I know you so well. You’re very different to me but also very much the same. Most people would think you were an extrovert as you’re always in the conversation, never giving a damn, always pulling a prank or being a clown. But that will change, you’ll go through secondary school with the belief that in order to be someone you need to be popular and conform. You’ll be bullied by a girl so incredibly insecure about herself that she’ll make you hate your appearance, but you will get over it when you leave school. When you leave school you’ll realise that everyone ends up the same way in the end and that popularity doesn’t equal friendship, and so will she, so don’t hate her for what she’s done, she’s learning too.

Boys are like yo-yos to you for a bit. They bring you up and they drop you down. Yeah our first relationship is completely fake, I’m really sorry for the pain you’ll go through. Your whole relationship was a lie and I wish you knew so you could have saved your virginity for someone who cares about you more. Mainly because of this you brush the good ones away for a bit and you lose someone really great. Luckily for you he’s a top man and he stays your friend for the foreseeable future, he helps you through some seriously dark times and he truly is your counterpart, just not romantically.

I hate to break it to you but you really cocked up college. You did two years of AS because you messed around in the first year and then you gave up and went into the world of work. It’s a good job you love to work. You work more and more and move from jobs roughly each year and a half until you find something new that excites you and can’t wait to get stuck in.

Don’t believe what people say. You’re very naive to things and you subject yourself to other people’s opinions so often that they start to forge your opinions too. You will lose a lot of friends when you find yourself and you’ll be distraught that people don’t stick around and spend time with you on birthdays but you will realise that unfortunately that’s becoming an adult and you will meet people that will stick by you. I promise.

There’s some big events that happen too. You find out you have another half brother and half sister. You spend some time with them a couple of times a year for a few years, but now you’ve grown and you don’t stand for 80/20 relationships, it needs to be equal effort. So for now you’ll wait to see if they come to you.

You’ll meet your dad. The man you thought abandoned you and never wanted you. Well, he does want you. He’s just a scared man that thinks you will reject him. But you don’t, because growing up with just your mum you’ve learnt to appreciate family and embrace anyone that wants to be part of that. Along with your dad you’ll meet his side of the family, auntie, cousins, nan, step mum and step sisters and it will completely overwhelm you. Don’t worry there is no rush. Just enjoy the small things.

You find love. The kind of love you have dreamed of, and you move back home after leaving at 17. You’re saving for a mortgage and you’ve got a wonderful man and extended family. Shit gets really bad for them but you stay close and you give all you can because that’s what families do. Who knows if you will be with him forever but it’s been almost a year here now and that will astound you. Again, enjoy the small things.

Your anxiety and depression will go up and down and you’ll realise that it’s not something you will remove. It’s part of you and that’s not always a bad thing. It builds your character. Sometimes it will kick you and knock you down but you will always stand up straighter and stronger with the love you have around you. You get rid of your terror nightmares. Yes, really. You only have nightmares when you’re stressed. You’re learning to love yourself properly. Fully. Every part.

This letter isn’t to scare you about the bad things. You do so well, you drive and you know who you are. You have wonderful friends and family and despite the death, trauma and permanent damage from things you will always fight.

Because you are a fighter.

And there is always happiness.

Remember what Dumbledore says in Harry Potter, you will love by it.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Take care. Love yourself. You’re doing so well. CA x

A couple of things about me…

I recently read an about me post on someone else’s blog and I liked the idea of doing a quick fire Q and A. So here is mine!

  • What are some things that most people don’t know about you?

I had teenage epilepsy with no actual cause.

  • What are your favourite movies?

13 going on 30, The Lost Boys, The Breakfast Club, most 80s films.

  • What is your favourite childhood memory?

My Timon and Pumba anorak, walking in the woods, spending time at my aunties with my cousins.

  • Do you have an embarrassing story?

I had a seizure in the middle of a town square… that was pretty embarrassing.

  • What has been your greatest success in life so far?

Passing my driving test.

  • What are your most epic failures (and how did you overcome them)?

I try not to remember failures as I think that it’s part of human nature and that we should embrace things for as they are and move forward. Does that make any sense?

  • What would you say to a younger version of yourself?

Don’t listen to the people that discredit you, adore yourself, do what you want. If you want to be an internet personality, do it. If you want to be a scientist, do it. You make your life, not the girls in your year group.

  • What does a typical day in your life look like?

At the moment, I’m not doing much, my life has kind of halted due to my MH, but I am getting back on the horse and going for things, slowly. I am becoming more proactive though now so each morning i am getting up and planning blog posts!

  • What is your idea of the “perfect” day?

A warm sunny day, near the beach, sea food dinner with my loved ones.

  • If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be?

MJ or Barack Obama.

  • What things make you happy?

Food, cuddles, waking up early and realising that you can go back to sleep, a good tv series, seeing the world, being loved.

  • What things have you learned from your parents?

How to value money and what it’s worth, budgeting, self respect and self confidence, how to run a home and still be a career boss.

  • What is an important lesson you learned recently?

To accept things for what they are and to not worry about the future as it changes every second.

  • What is your favourite restaurant?

TGI Fridays / Hard Rock Cafe / Five Guys

  • What is your fitness routine?

I tend to do 10 mins cardio to warm up, cross country cycle, core work outs, rowing and then cardio for 10 mins to cool down.

  • What is your makeup routine?

Moisturise, prime, foundation, eyebrows, eyeshadow if I’m wearing it, mascara, highlighter and contour, and then lippie last.

  • What things can’t you live without?

Mascara, foundation, Netflix, my boyfriend and my mum.

  • Do you have any music you’re obsessed with at the moment?

I adore The Greatest Showman soundtrack and the GOTG soundtracks at the moment.

  • What books are on your shelf?

The Harry Potter collection, CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, countless non-fiction books about child abuse/crimes/things that shocked the nation. A variety!

  • What podcasts do you listen to?

I actually don’t listen to podcasts, but I have thought about getting into them, I’ve been told that there’s a few to help with mental mindfulness and  anxiety relief.

  • What is in your bag?

My phone, my purse, my car keys, so? fresh melon body spray, and ALWAYS one of the NYX lip creams.

  • What is your morning routine?

I usually wash my face in the morning, get dressed and then moisturise, prime and do my make up. Nothing exciting.

  • What is your bedtime routine?

I will either wipe my make up off with my wipes (I use modelsown) or I use my w7 make up cloth, and then use Mario Badescu products on this post.

  • How do you relax after a long day?

I tend to go straight home and put my pjs on in fairness! I’m pretty lazy if I’m not gyming or running errands.

  • Can you share pictures of your workplace?

No,  I don’t discuss my professional life on the internet.

  • What are your hobbies?

Obviously I like to blog, I also enjoy the gym and I often go to the beach at night to relax.

  • What are your favourite YouTube channels?

NikkieTutorialsCC Clarke Beauty 

I have recently got into beauty so these are my current favourites.

  • What is your most commonly used swear word?

I try not to swear in fairness, but I do have a tendency to say sh*t a fair bit.

  • What is your star sign/moon sign?

Taurus is my star sign, libra is my moon sign.

  • What is the last book you read?

I’m currently reading a book on serial killers dating from around 1800 – present day and the police enquiries relating to them.

 

 

Tag me if you do these questions yourself it’d be cool to see some of your answers.

 

 

CA x

“Am I Crazy?” II

So I published the first chronicle. What did you think? A brief introduction into what on Earth is going on in my little bean head. To be fair to you, I’m still not fully sure. All I know is that my brain isn’t coping quite as well as I’d wanted it to right now so I’m being brave and seeking help (again).

I wanted to blog every step because I think it’s important. I think it’s really important that regardless of my gender, age, ethnicity and whatever other features they want to base mental health stats on, people can read something and think “yeah I agree” or “I had that feeling earlier” or better yet, sees that it is a struggle for someone else but that you can get help, and does so.

Let’s start with the obviously big elephant in the room, depression. Some throw the word like it’s the same as being sad, and it used to infuriate me until I realised that it’s by no fault of their own that they have never understood what depression is and the fact that it’s not just one emotion and definitely not just being sad. I’ve watched videos about how depression is a black dog that follows you around like your shadow or a big black cloud that follows you around. That’s not my interpretation though.

I think it is whatever the hell it wants to be. Sometimes I forget I have it. That sounds crazy in itself right? The medical definition of depression is “prolonged low mood for a period of two weeks or more” so naturally you’d be right to think you kind of have to be sad 24/7? Right? Not always. Depression is different for each person.

It’s smiling and joining in, hiding away and declining contact.

It’s eating very little if at all and it’s eating so much you make yourself nauseous or physically sick.

It’s not getting out of bed for days on end and it’s bounding our straight away just to make someone else happy.

Depression manifests itself in many ways and we can’t always prevent the illness. But we can show people we love them. We can hug and talk and laugh and all those things we find so trivial on a day to day basis. Because those things are the things that might bring someone away from the edge, further from the trigger, you get where I’m going with this…

My depression is up and down. Some days I hate everything and I starve (unintentionally) myself and stay in bed. Other days I’m happy to do everything for everyone else, some days I’m strong and I think “I’m gonna be selfish today like all my doctors have always told me” and then I feel guilty. Food can be a curse as your appetite is like a yo-yo so you never know where you stand.

My other pain in the ass attribute to my depression is insomnia. Isn’t insomnia a b*tch?! I mean seriously, who invited her to the party.

Insomnia is my worst friend. I say friend because she’s incredibly loyal to me and she rarely lets me down. But she is a complete nightmare and I severely dislike her presence. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for David Attenborough, that’s all I can say.

Like a perfect set of twins, depression has a sibling that likes to pop in every now and again. You’ll find that a fair few people who have depression also have anxiety. Anxiety has a whole umbrella of different types and I couldn’t possibly speak for those who have different types of anxiety to myself. I have mixed anxiety and usually I am trigger by crowds, waiting, confrontation, shouting and clinical spaces (to name a few). My hands are pretty much permanently clammy and I have headaches quite a lot. One of my main physical symptoms is a wonderful stammer and I live up to the phrase “cat got your tongue”. As many do, I’ll get the knotting in my stomach, sweats, hot and cold flushes and fight or flight response when entering an anxiety attack, if I don’t respond to my body then I hyperventilate and enter panic.

Despite having regular anxiety attacks I have only had one panic in three weeks (woo!) and I’m pretty good at hiding things in public or removing myself/avoidance. But I realised that doing that can’t always be the answer and so I’m going back for help.

Due to recent events I believe my PTSD has flared resulting in the anxiety and depression being bad. Talking therapies help me to process and programme my brain (talk therapies are brilliant if you’re an analytical person) so fingers crossed when I see the team in March I can have another referral to a higher level MH practitioner and have this as my last stay in the system.

I will update further once I have attended an appointment but until then, “Am I Crazy?” Chronicles part II is complete.

CA x

“Am I Crazy?” The one where I introduce it all…

What do you think when someone says Mental Health?

I can guarantee it’s something negative.

We have this assumption that the term Mental Health means crazy, unstable, psycho, and a million other derogatory adjectives. Mental Health is exactly the same as Physical Health, but instead of your body being impaired, your brain is. It can occur from stress, hereditary genes, trauma, love, work, medication, physical injury, pretty much anything can cause a change in your Mental Health.

How does this tie to me? Well, I (like many others) have had to spend a fair while reminding myself of this factor. If I had a physical injury such as a sprained ankle or broken arm, I would seek medical attention to be checked over, scanned, plastered up, whatever the professionals deemed necessary. When it comes to Mental Health I was a little less proactive. I have a tendency to “put up and shut up”, meaning that quite often I will experience a situation and completely internalize it. Not helpful at the best of times, but especially if you are a character like myself that suffers from mixed anxiety and depression and is extremely analytical at the best of times.

I started having anxiety around the age of 12-13. There were issues in my childhood and post traumatic stress that wasn’t ever attended to by professionals. This created terror nightmares and severe anger and outbursts towards males. Then you hit school and if you’re a little bit out there or different like I was, you’re bullied. I was also blessed with teenage epilepsy which started around 14/15 and continued through my GCSE’s and up until I was 19.

I visited CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) when I was 17/18. I personally didn’t find much help from this and continued to fight my battle alone. I encountered the world of tumblr and became a bit of a hit, reaching 40,000 followers and posting a video about my “secrets” (basically explaining my anxiety and normalizing the condition). This then led me to travelling around the country, meeting new people and in turn helped my anxiety. But as the followers continued to grow, the anxiety came back with a vengeance. People were trolling me via the internet messaging forums, sending me anonymous message or messages from fake accounts etc. I was even temporarily famous on 4chan.

When I was 22 I decided to try again and sought advice from my GP, who gave me medication and referred me to Time to Talk West Sussex. I was referred to an assessor within the Mental Health team who diagnosed the anxiety and depression and taught me coping techniques and the hot cross bun diagram. I was taught mindfulness and self-love, and a whole manner of techniques to manage the disorders and bounced back a bit. This worked for a little while and I managed to pass my driving test. I then worked in a job where myself and my colleagues ended up micro managed by managers that were overworked and stressed, emotionally manipulated by customers and regularly upset due to the line of work that it was. This had a huge detrimental effect on my mental health, and forced me to look for a new job. I went back to therapy and was reassessed. I was tested for PTSD and finally diagnosed with it. I then went to EMDR (eye movement, desensitization, reprocessing) treatment to remove all emotion from my subconscious flashbacks, which in turn removed my terror nightmares. I can never explain to someone who has always had a good relationship with sleep just how magical it is to sleep through the night…

I was discharged Feb 2017 and was in a new job. Fast forward to Feb 2018 and I have handed in my resignation at my job due to several events at work and home and I am looking for work that means I can step back and look after my mental health and still have the money to live! I’m currently on medication and awaiting a psychiatrist appointment to assess actions going forward, as being in and out of the system isn’t helping and I need a more permanent plan for this permanent problem.

I stumbled upon blogging from watching other people and reading online magazine articles and thought I would give it a whirl. I found that I got so immersed in the colours, and planning and organising that I wasn’t anxious at all, my brain was busy and I was being productive. It also keeps my hands busy so, no nervous hand fidgeting, hair playing, clothes tugging etc. I’m hoping in that sharing my story and keeping you all updated with my experiences it may help those that need help but are afraid, because we all have to jump in at the deep end when it comes to getting help.

 

Below is my favourite quote at the moment and perfect for anxiety, depression and mood affecting disorders.

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Further additions to “Am I Crazy?” will be coming soon.

 

CA x