Depression CAN be beaten ~ my first steps

Depression Can Be Beaten - My First Steps. I Tell You How I Took The First Small steps To Overcome the Depression By Self-help

 Depression CAN be beaten…

Around 10 years ago, a sequence of events in my life resulted in me becoming anxious and it wasn’t too long before I felt unable to cope.  A relationship breakdown, 2 bereavements in quick succession and finally, work was the final straw.  My wonderful doctor listened patiently and diagnosed me with depression.

After a week off work, I was referred to an occupational counsellor.  I had a chat on the Friday and by the following Monday I had ‘jumped’ the NHS waiting list and was talking to a counsellor.  I say ‘jumped’ because the counsellor that I saw was likely the very same one that you would see from a doctor’s waiting list.

Now I’ve never been one to criticise the NHS.  Quite the opposite.  I’ve got nothing but praise for them.  They saw me through a complicated pregnancy and have given my family and friends excellent service, against the odds of low funding and low staffing.

So yes, I will defend the NHS to the hilt but the waiting lists were (and possibly still are) very long for people diagnosed with depression.  ‘Fortunately’, the depression I had was very mild.  If I’d had it more severe, I would’ve been waiting much, much longer to be seen.  And this is dangerous.

Depression Can Be Beaten - My First Steps. I Tell You How I Took The First Small steps To Overcome the Depression By Self-help

Finding the right help

Because once depression gets its claws in and takes hold, it’s hard to bring yourself out.  Very hard.

My doctor was wonderful, advised me to book double slots because he wanted to help… properly.

He told me right from the start that he’d prefer not to give me medication and I will be forever grateful for that.  I didn’t want drugs either but was in such a fog that I’d probably have taken them.

I know there’s a place for them but in my situation, they weren’t the answer.  There are other ways to dig yourself out of the ‘black hole’.

I would never claim that it’s easy to climb out, or even that it’s easy not to slip back in.

Because once you’ve experienced depression, it’s my opinion that you never fully recover.

But you can be aware of your triggers and deal with them swiftly to stop that spiral…

No-one’s immune

What’s important to remember about mental health is that anyone of any age can experience it, at any time.  Put simply – no one, but no one is immune.

And that includes children.  Emily Palmer has produced a great little book called ‘Scrambled Heads’ aimed at guiding children through mental health.  You can read the review of ‘Scrambled Heads’ here.

When I was going through it and recovering, I used a great book that for me at the time was indispensable – 50 Things You Can Do Today To Beat Depression
by Paul Vincent.   There will be a review coming soon.

My point is

My point is that there’s help out there.  Help that gives your brain a long-term chance, rather than a cheap plaster that keeps coming off.

If I may add that if you’re reading and you’re on medication for depression, and if it works for you – well that’s great for you.

However, my personal experience has taught me that a natural, self-help approach works best (or at least it did for me).  I will cover these methods in my series ‘Depression CAN be beaten…’ – subscribe so that you don’t miss it… use the opt-in form below or in the sidebar.

 

How do you deal with depression?  Or how do you help someone you know to deal with depression?  I’d love to hear from you.  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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How I turned a complicated pregnancy into a positive campaign

How I Turned A Complicated Pregnancy Into A Positive Campaign HELLP Syndrome Pre-eclampsia

How I turned a complicated pregnancy into a positive campaign

First up, let’s get something out of the way, and then let’s get onto the positive.  When I see pregnancy announcements or perfect birth stories, I often make a conscious decision not to read.  If it’s a blog post linked up in the same linky, I may have a skim read and then I often ‘just’ share the post.

It’s because I struggle to read ‘perfect’ pregnancy and perfect birth stories.  The reason being that I had a Complicated Pregnancy
which involved a low placenta and resulted in pre-eclampsia, an emergency c-section and HELLP syndrome (which saw me in intensive care for a week).

I realise that people go through far more than that in pregnancy and I’ll always be grateful for having a healthy daughter.

Everything’s relative

I understand that people can’t wait to share their news and they have every right to (just like I have every right to choose not to read something that is likely to upset and frustrate me.).

What I really struggle to understand is why women choose to have a home birth.  There, I’ve said it.

Things can go wrong very quickly during labour.  Why risk not having the top consultants and surgeons literally scrubbed up in a theatre for you and your baby?

I’m getting a little ranty, I know.

And that’s not really my style.

Yet it seems that I’m harbouring frustration towards home births.  Some may say it’s  jealousy.  Well, I say not – I never wanted a home birth.  Just a healthy baby.  And I was happy to have a section, more than happy to be ‘scheduled in’!

In an age where you have the best medical staff and equipment that a developed country can offer, why be so naive to think that everything will carry on hunky dory?

The serene dream

Yes, it’s lovely to have that serene dream of a home birth, of course it is.

but let’s get real here.

This is pregnancy.

Things can and do go very wrong.  A sad fact.

Although a *little* ranty, this post actually serves to illustrate that I’m grateful for being healthy, for being here with my little family, for having a healthy daughter… when things could have been so very different.  And undoubtedly would have been if I’d been insistent on having a home birth or at least sticking to any other birth plan.

How I Turned A Complicated Pregnancy Into A Positive Campaign HELLP Syndrome Pre-eclampsia

When things had settled into newborn life, I started to post a few updates on facebook about how we were both very lucky to be here.  And one night, a good friend said, “wow, you should turn this into a book.”

So I did.  An ebook to be precise.  An ebook that I published to ‘hellp’ raise awareness of HELLP syndrome.  Because it’s more common than you think, yet the healthcare professionals often don’t treat it with the urgency that it needs or just plain don’t recognise it for what it is in the first place.  Then I decided that as well my letter to the NHS, another way to giving something back when I got so much care, would be to give half of the proceeds to the charity Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC).

And that’s what this post is for

 

It’s not for a rant so much as to tell you how I turned my complicated pregnancy into a positive campaign.  (I didn’t mean to rant quite so much by the way, but it did feel good…)

If I’ve caused anyone an offence on their past, present or future birth plan that may include a home birth, that wasn’t my intention.  This is my little corner of the internet and I wanted to show how I turned a trauma into a positive project.

Thanks for reading and I’ve hope I’ve raised some awareness.

Have you turned an unpleasant experience into something positive?  (pregnancy-related or otherwise.)  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Caffeine ~ how you can get off it too

How I Got Off Caffeine And How You Can Too For Your Wellbeing

The story of how I got off caffeine

Once upon a time, I used to drink my fair share of caffeine, in the form of coffee.  My morning used to start with a good-size bowl of cereal (I’ve got to have my breakfast!) followed swiftly by a cup of caffeinated coffee.

Then, apparently out of the blue, I got the usual symptoms of a water infection (urinary tract infection).  The frequency, the burning, the back ache…

I took myself off to the doctor’s and was very surprised when my sample showed no infection.  Literally a day later, I was in so much pain and feverish that I was on the verge of going to A&E because I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment.  However, I settled for the walk-in centre and lo and behold, I had an acute UTI.

Questions and answers

“How could that be?”  I asked the nurse.  One day I was clear and the next, I was close to going to A&E.  They suggested that it could be triggered by fizzy drink. “I don’t ‘do’ fizzy drinks,” was my reply.

“Caffeine can irritate the lining of the bladder.”

That was enough for me.  I was prepared to try anything to avoid this pain again and decided to go ‘cold turkey’ on the coffee.

How I Got Off Caffeine And How You Can Too For Your Wellbeing VirtuallyAllSorts main and pin

Decision time

“I don’t drink alcohol anymore, I don’t smoke, and now I don’t drink coffee; chocolate and candles it is then!” I decided.

Over the next 3 days, I had a headache and I was tired… beyond tired.  I mean way more than the tiredness of having a 1 year old baby.  Way beyond THAT tired…

But by day 4 of no caffeinated drinks, I was feeling like I’d broken through the barrier.  My caffeine craving was easing and I was breaking the habit loop.

Because it’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation isn’t it?  It’s a habit and mild form of addiction that you crave.

Fast forward to present day and I haven’t had a caffeinated drink since the day I felt pain from that UTI.

I’m not suggesting the UTI was caused by caffeine irritation alone but from that day on I never wanted to experience such pain again.

Ride the storm

Yes, there are days I really need a pick-me-up but I just ride through it.

And now I reach for a Redbush (Roobois) Tea or a herbal tea.  Or simply a hot water instead.

I see people, especially young people, gulping down the energy drinks and my heart palpitates for them!  Do they seriously know or understand what that stuff does and how strong it is??  Clearly not.  Anyhow, that could well be another blogpost…

One reason for telling my non-caffeine story is to demonstrate willpower.

When I experienced pain like I did that day, I was prepared to avoid that level of pain at all costs.

Breaking the habit loop

Yes, I love chocolate and yes, that contains caffeine (and of course sugar) which has the same effect, but I don’t rely on chocolate in the morning.  Chocolate is not part of a daily habit loop.  And it’s not *quite* an addiction!

I do love the taste of coffee though and regularly need the comfort of a hot drink with a bitter taste… so I have de-caff coffee.

The purpose of this post is not to say ‘go me’ (well, maybe a little bit!) but to say that if you really put your mind to something, you can do it. You can break a habit, you can change a thought pattern.  You can break through barriers to achieve something.  You need grit, determination and your ‘why’!

I’ve recently started to drink Thyme tea and you can read the review soon.  (Opt-in below or in my sidebar to make sure you don’t miss that one!)

Have you got off caffeine?  How did you do it?  Have you got big plans to get off caffeine? I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  
And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

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5 ways to ground yourself and control anxiety

Do you or someone you know experience anxiety?  Then you need 

5 ways to ground yourself and control anxiety…

5 ways full to ground yourself and control anxiety virtually all sorts wellbeing

Look at happy pictures.  My ‘Smile, give your face a work-out’ pinterest board never fails to, well make me smile!  There are quite a few cute cat ones on there but the rest are just random ones that I’m sure will make you laugh from the belly.  You’re welcome 🙂

 

Surround yourself with positive people.  And if you’re limited to social contact for whatever reason (due to sleeping children at night-time or isolation perhaps due to illness), then you can join in with forums or even pinterest boards.  My ‘Just Wow’ board may literally take your breath away.  When I’m pinning away, I’m saying ‘wow’ and bam, it ends up on my board.  The beauty will at least help you forget your anxiety for a while.

 

Read positive things ~ blogs, books, inspirational quotes, the Positive Moment Project pinterest board.

This picture from Two Tiny Hands was taken from there 5 ways to ground yourself and control anxiety virtually all sorts wellbeing…and don’t you just love it?!

 

Breathe ‘properly’ ~ meditate, practice yoga, use crystals.

 

Use a grounding rock ~ Mine is called my ‘gratitude rock’ and it works really well for me.  It’s whichever crystal I have on my person on any given day.  By physically touching it, I’m reminded of why it’s there, which helps to ground me.  I always make sure I’m using the right one for me on any given day.

 

Have you got any other ways to ground yourself?  All positive thoughts are welcome!  Share them in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere 🙂

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‘Scrambled Heads: A Children’s Guide to Mental Health’ ~ Review

Mental health.  It can be a very sensitive subject to approach.  Taboo even.
And it can be especially tricky to talk to our children about.
If you let it.

 

But here’s a helping hand because Emily Palmer has written ‘Scrambled Heads: A Children’s Guide to Mental Health
which was inspired after her own struggles with her mental health as a child and young adult.
For a start, what a great title!  It sums up very well the subject matter, I feel.
And with simple, colourful pictures, it’s such an easy read – a coffee table book that you can read in one sitting when the moment or need arises.Scrambled heads white childrens guide to mental health wellbeing book review young minds virtually all sorts
Apart from the simple illustrations, what really grabs me about this book is that it’s engaging.  It’s reassuring.  It gives useful advice in a non-aggressive and non-patronising way (very important for children, especially young adults).
‘Scrambled Heads’ normalises mental health, which is vital for everyone.

 

I say everyone, because when you first read the sub-title ‘A Children’s Guide to Mental Health’, you might think, as I did, that it’s aimed purely at children.  But when you consider that this book can be read by anyone of any age, so children, their siblings, their relatives, their friends and their parents, that covers a lot of ground!

 

What’s worth remembering is that many, many children have parents who have mental health issues and this book could help them to understand their situation better.   This would have been a very handy book when I had depression.  Books are one of 5 ways you beat depression.
The length of the book is just right for picking up off the coffee table, bedside cabinet, shelf or wherever and having a quick recap as the need arises.

 

The price is very reasonable too at £5.99.  And with 10% of the profits of the first edition being donated to ‘Young Minds’, it’s even more reasonable and a small price to pay, I’d say.

 

If I could change one thing, I would put a little less emphasis on visits to hospital and medication, and more emphasis on cognitive therapy.

 

Although it doesn’t actually refer directly to medication it has pictures that are open to interpretation.  And when it comes to mental health, I suppose it’s heavily open to interpretation on all levels.  Such as how someone looks compared to how they’re feeling.  And that’s just for starters.

 

Overall, given the complexity of the subject of mental health, I do think that this book does an extremely good job of not alienating anyone, not patronising anyone, not making anyone feel ‘odd’ and above all, not being flippant about what is a very serious subject.

 

I would encourage our 7 year old to read this at some point as and when the need may arise, as a useful aide to understanding mental health.

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I was sent this book at a discount for the purpose of a review but all words and opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliates links which means that if you purchase something from this page, I get a little happiness too.  At no extra cost to you.  Thank you.

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Here’s a past-time for all seasons

Have you ever thought that you need to have a perfect blue sky dotted with clouds in order to cloud watch?

 

Well think again…

It’s a past-time for all seasons!

 

Take this picture that I shared on instagram.  Though there’s not much blue sky, isn’t it beautifully atmospheric and zen-like? (if I say so myself!!)

past time for all seasons cloud watching meditation clouds relaxing wellbeing relaxation

 

Granted, I’m not suggesting that you lay on your back on some sodden, cold grass and cloud watch, but just stop a moment.

 

Be in the moment.

 

Take in the clouds as they swirl by… Follow that swirl as it changes form…

 

Although you haven’t got your eyes closed, it’s a great way to slow down and it actually might just be a form of meditation.

 

So, my message to you is ‘do yourself a favour’ and gaze up at the sky; lose yourself in those swirly wirly clouds; relax and be grateful 🙂

 

Why not make it a habit?

past time for all seasons pin 2 c cloud watching meditation clouds relaxing wellbeing relaxation

 

And when you do it, let me know how you got on!

 

 

Do you like cloud watching?  What else do you like to do that relaxes you and is a great past-time to adopt?   I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

Thank you 🙂

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5 ways to be more healthy and stay that way

So, have you got a plan to improve your fitness?

Maybe you’ve joined a gym?

Perhaps you’ve got kitted out for running or swimming?

If you have, great!  Good for you!

Or maybe you’ve got yourself a yoga mat or a meditation app.

A step in the right direction…

 

All of the above exercises and activities improve our mental health as well as our physical health, of course.  Those wonderful endorphins that are released in exercise… ooh yeah, give me some of those!

And it sounds pretty obvious that a consistent approach is best and that it gives you the best chance of success.  Taking up and continuing with exercise or a beneficial activity is a bit of a mind-game.  Particularly in the early days, getting into your exercise kit is half the battle. We know we’re going to feel great during and after exercise but resisting the sofa, TV and treats can be a huge battle.

As I’ve already touched on, once those addictive endorphins start pumping, it’s like a good habit and you just want to keep going back for more.

5 ways stones pin 1 be more healthy and stay that way wellbeing exercise goals plans fitness mental health physical virtually all sorts swimming gym running yoga meditation

To help you on your way, here are 5 ways you increase your chances of success to be more healthy… and stay that way (be it physical or mental, or both!):

  1. Why wait until new year?  If you’ve decided to take action, do it!  Right now!  Seize the day…
  2. Do the exercise or activity at the same time or times each day/week.  Pretty quickly, you’ll see a habit forming.  A good habit! I’m no psychologist but why would you go back to bad habits when good habits make you feel so gooood?…
  3. Accept that you’re going to come across obstacles.  If the exercise is to lose weight, but you fancy a chocolate bar or piece of cake… have it!  And then get back on the plan straight away.  Likewise, if you fancy skipping a session of yoga or meditation, chill our with friends instead (non-toxic ones!), read a book, light some candles, got for a walk to your favourite cafe or have a de-clutter instead.  And then get back on to the plan straight away.
  4. Tell your friends about your plan.  Providing they’re of a positive, non-toxic nature, they’ll support you and encourage you along the way.
  5. Consider that going cold turkey is often the best way.  Years ago (around 6 year to be precise), I experienced issues which led to a suggestion from the doctor to cut out fizzy drinks and caffeine.  I didn’t ‘do’ fizzy and so cut the caffeine.  My several cups a day went to zero cups, just like that.  I’m not saying it was easy to do.  I had a stonking headaches for days but I pushed through.  And I haven’t done do caffeine in drinks since (please don’t take my chocolate away from me!…)  Going cold turkey was the best action to take.  You might say that I was desperate to stop the issues.  I’m not saying they cleared up completely just because of cutting the caffeine but often, going cold turkey is less painful than weaning yourself off.

There you have it then, 5 ways to be more healthy and stay that way!

 

Have you got a plan?  What will you be doing?  Have you stuck to a plan?  How did you do it?  Did you follow any of the suggestions above?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

Thank you 🙂

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Share your zen with #TheZenZing blog linky ~ it’s easy!

#TheZenZing zen zing energy revitaise health wellbeing blog linky blog hop blog party

Welcome to #TheZenZing blog linky where I share how you can put the energy back into your life and I invite you to share your blog posts on anything ‘positive, happy and full of zing’ by linking up.  A new linky opens on the 1st of each month and stays open until the 1st of the following month, so you can always share you zen.  Here’s the link to #TheZenZing page where there’s a link to the latest post…

I’ll share each post across my social media.

So get involved!  Spread #TheZenZing positive vibe !

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While you’re here, pop over to ‘My Zen’ pinterest board…

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Be positive, be happy, be full of zing!

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One good reason for the lousy British Summer !…

As I write this where I am in the UK, it’s Summer and the clouds are, well, cloudy.  But not just cloudy, they are storm cloudy!  And I may have had a hand in this!

Why?

why blame me for lousy british summer pic3 rain thunderstorms thunder suncream allergy allergic reaction sunsense cloudy drizzle summer holidays weather

I got prepared and stocked up on sun cream for our little girl.  Not from a special offer on the High Street.  Nope, from an online store.  Amazon to be precise.

Because our little girl is allergic to ‘regular’ sun cream.  I wanted to be prepared.

Oops!!

Rewind 2 years ago – our little girl’s skin started to come out in small raised bumps, very similar to heat rash.  The bumps were itchy and disappeared within a day or 2 of the last application of sun cream.

Last year was the same.  So we went back to our trusted brand of sun cream.

And then this year, we had a weekend of glorious sunshine.  I suddenly realised we had just about enough Sunsense sun cream for a day’s application!

So I ordered a couple more bottles on Amazon Prime to keep us going.

A couple of days in the week that followed were still glorious sunshine.  But since then we’ve had scattered showers – some of them thundery…

Sorry about that!

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Have you been prepared, only for it to backfire?  Does your little one have a skin allergy, particularly with sun cream.  I’d love to know!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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This is not a collaborative or sponsored post.  I’m simply letting you now what a fab sun cream Sunsense is!
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The benefits of aloe vera … relax with #TheZenZing

Welcome back to #TheZenZing, where I help you put the

zing back into your life.

This time I’m going to talk about how I did this with the help of aloe vera.

#TheZenZing aloe vera energy energising natural plant rejuvinate products benefits health wellbeing
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You know how you might have to go to a shop (or several) to get a multitude of things to keep you ticking you over and make you feel better?
That was me once upon a time.  Not so any longer because I’ve experienced the benefits of aloe vera for myself and have seen the benefits in my family too.  Thanks to lovely folk like my friend Zoe’s Forever Living business, getting your hands on aloe products is easy peasy…
The benefits are amazing.
  • Take, for example, the shot of aloe I had daily when I found out I was pregnant with our little girl…  It was a complicated pregnancy and our little girl was born at 37+1 weeks, just one day shy of being classed ‘premature’.  While I’m not claiming that aloe is necessarily a miracle worker, I’m absolutely convinced that my drinking aloe every single day throughout my pregnancy made me and therefore our growing baby girl stronger and healthier…
  • Take another shot of the cranberry aloe that we all continue to have daily and the physical strength and visible health that our little (getting-bigger-by-the-day) girl has…
  • Add the fluoride free toothpaste that we use as a family, safe in the knowledge that what we are ingesting is aloe, not harmful fluoride…
  • Pucker up for the aloe lips that I feel lost without.  This is no ordinary lip balm and my lips feel genuinely softer than anything I’ve ever used before.  I don’t do lippy as a rule but aloe lips, I do…
  • Using a dollop of aloe gelly worked wonders on my c-section scar ~ soothing it and helping it to fade.  And our cats have the glossiest coats in the neighbourhood, thanks for the dab on their paws once a week.  Their natural instinct is to lick it off!  Genius…
  • Another handbag essential for me is the pleasant smelling, non-sticky hand sanitiser gel.  Always handy…
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The great thing about aloe is that it can benefit anyone of any age, including pets.
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Do you use aloe?  Which are your favourite products?
Which ones have you found to benefit yourself?
I’d love to hear from you by way of comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere and use the #TheZenZing hashtag.
Thank you 🙂
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This post is not sponsored or affilliated… I simply love aloe and wanted to share the love 🙂

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