Quick check in: I’m still alive!

Just to say that I’m still alive and I’m OK, I’ve a lot on my plate but I’m doing well. I just haven’t had the¬†spoons to blog. I have tried and there are a couple of drafts in progress.

All being well, I will return over the weekend with lots of news.

Happy Friday folks.

Heart x

Too much? Too bad!

If you read this post I hope that you’ll forgive me the cheeky title :).

I’m aware that I’m suddenly posting very frequently, and apologise if you’re trying and struggling to keep up but I can’t stop just now because it’s doing me good. 

I don’t know how long it will continue. I’ve often aimed to post daily but have rarely managed to post even weekly. The last thing I expected this week was to suddenly find myself posting several times a day!

It is really helping me, by providing me with an outlet, giving me a sense of connection, and it’s also helping me to celebrate my achievements and keep motivated. 


Hello, hello, hello – it’s good to see you!

Goodness me, this year is moving on at speed! It’s March … already.

Was it really over a month since my last post here?? My apologies dear readers, I have missed you ūüôā . I haven’t been idle. Much has been happening as I continue to recover and build a better life – ¬†one in which I thrive.

I’m now writing for Depression Army on a monthly basis. I do it as a volunteer; it’s a vitaLpart of my ‘rehabilitation’ and my life-rebuilding efforts! My first post, The Spade List, is all about digging back into life, tentatively or with vigour, after life is interrupted by serious illness or trauma. My second, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, is ¬†… I hope … a powerful piece about the stigma that still persists around depression and other mental illnesses. I even wrote a rap song to accompany it, which is waaaaay out of the comfort zone of this forty-something. Write a rap? Me? Oh look, I did!

Please do visit the Depression Army website and let me know your thoughts, if you have any, about my articles. You can do that over there, on this blog or tweet me @heartsetonlivin.

Look out for my Depression Army avatar, created for me by Lauren Stormclouds

My third piece, Depression and Creativity, has been submitted and will be published in due course. This month, I’ll be writing about themes of power in relation to depression and mental illness in general.

All this does not mean that I’ve deserted this blog, although it may have seemed so, that’s far from the truth. I’m working on new content, which will appear soon.


hsol x

Back from the brink

TW: This post discusses depression and suicidal intent.

It’s been almost two months since my last post, so much for my daily blogging plans ūüėÄ !

I laugh, but in truth I have been very ill.

There is a lot that I’d like¬†to say and I hope to do this in a series of bite-sized posts, rather than in one overwhelmingly massive missive! These posts may appear daily, weekly, alone or in clusters. Who knows? I’m taking life one day at a time, and doing what I can each day. All I can say for sure is that I will be blogging, now that I’m able to function again.

I am happy that my capacity to function is restored to me and to be making progress, slowly but surely.

It was a strange feeling as I started to come out of the depths of the depression, to be able to feel something other than that I had to die.

I have a lot of knowledge about mental health and mental illness and I’m very self aware, but I became so ill that I lost all perspective.¬†I am naturally relentlessly positive and have boundless enthusiasm. I’ve previously described myself as ‘a bit¬†Tigger. Depression takes that from me. At its worst, it strips me of all¬†capacity to function and to see anything other than suicide as a realistic option for me.

Glad though I was to emerge from those terrible depths, as the days progressed and my mood began to improve, I became aware just how bad things had been and I had to start to process the knowledge that I’d been dangerously ill. I hadn’t been able to¬†wash, dress myself or clean my teeth. I either barely ate or ate poorly. I struggled to¬†engage with anyone or anything. I couldn’t engage with my crisis plan or crisis support, for to do so seemed utterly futile. I experienced¬†feelings of self loathing that I had thought were long behind me. I could see only that I had to die.

Indeed I did plan to die. I am immensely grateful that one friend became¬†worried enough to contact my GP … on the day I planned to make a suicide attempt, although she wasn’t aware of that. It took persistence on the part of my doctor, repeated telephone¬†calls and voice mail, before I could find the capacity to answer the phone to her¬†that day, but all that¬†gave me pause. Our eventual conversation was difficult but helpful and led to her visiting me at home the next day, as I was unable to get to the surgery. A new path unfurled before me. Things were going to change.





The good, the bad and the downright lovely

Hello hello hello … ūüôā

Considering today has been rather trying to say the least, and the weekend was a bloomin’ write-off, I’m feeling quite chipper just now.

It takes a lot to really wind me up and make me feel so angry I can feel it in every fibre.¬†I have a lot of patience and I’m fairly laid back. However, someone’s insensitivity, ignorance and lack of respect towards to disability, illness and a host of other stuff, really upset and angered me this afternoon. My heart was racing as I reflected on it and I became increasingly wound up as a result. I’d given this person the benefit of the doubt several times, thinking that perhaps a bit of ‘awareness raising’ would sort them out. I’m afraid I’m now left thinking that there are some for whom all the world of awareness raising could make no difference, since they are so resolutely determined not to see past the ends of their own noses!

I have to thank two pals – one who let me rant vociferously by email and text and the other who speedily responded to a text plea for chat because I was in need of a¬†pick-me-up, and let me waffle and gave me a giggle. I don’t think the latter realised it but I was very close to a messy meltdown because I was so upset. I’m pretty isolated in terms of having very few people I can count on to be there for me. It felt good to risk reaching out today and receive helpful, supportive responses. I’m very grateful. Twitter folks too have given me some smiles and giggles this evening. I do follow some downright lovelies!

I haven’t managed to blog since Wednesday, first time was against me and then over the weekend I was very unwell and hadn’t the wherewithal.

This is going to be brief, I am mindful of the time and the need to try to unwind before getting to bed, in order that I don’t then lie awake with my mind buzzing. I just wanted to check in and sate my writing brain at least a little. After two days in the doldrums it seems it is again raring to go …


Operation Self Care

Regular readers may remember Operation Fight Back ¬†– my action plan of early 2014 to help me to cope following the breakdown of my marriage and subsequent illness – here’s a sample. I needed to be as well as I could be¬†in order to cope with the impending search for, and move to, a new home, in addition to my continuing efforts to rebuild my life – studying, plans for self employment etc. As it turned out, there was much more with which I¬†was going to have to cope.

My health, which is already an issue, has suffered greatly because of all of that and particularly the ‘straw and camel event’ of Spring 2015. You can read more about that here and here.

I’ve written about self care on several occasions – you can find those posts, should you wish, by clicking on ‘self care’ in the tag cloud on my homepage. Self care was once anathema to me. My experiences of abuse led me to believe¬†that self care was self-indulgent and that to indulge oneself was very wrong – certainly, at least, it was very wrong to indulge MYself in any way. I learned that I should …¬†must, flog myself, metaphorically speaking, until I bled.

I’ve undergone¬†several periods of counselling in the years since my abuse was disclosed and I cut myself off from what remained of my family. In the early days of counselling I learned to do away with the word should, replacing it instead with could. I also learned to have compassion for myself and that self care is an essential part of life. I learned that I am worthy of care. I also learned, after years of giving from an ’empty place’, that you cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself. I do have a tendency to forget the latter, and need to be reminded of it!

I know that self care is key to my being able to keep going … and ultimately to fulfil that dream of truly living. (I also know that I can’t do this alone and will need the help of others, but that is for another post.) There is much to say about self care and I know I will return to it. For now here are the basic tenets of¬†Operation Self Care:

  • I will take care of myself physically – that includes showering regularly and brushing my teeth (depression can make you smelly!)
  • I will not withdraw but will connect with others as far as possible – using Twitter and my blog to supplement RL contact
  • I will write, write and WRITE some more¬†– you can read here why writing is so important to me. I realise now that I have been continuing to let it fall off the bottom of my to do lists and how unhappy that has made me. I can still struggle to prioritise my needs, but I am determined from now on to always prioritise my writing. For starters, that means blogging daily, as far as is humanly possible.
  • I will do all I can to nourish myself with home-cooked food, despite my lack of money. You can read more about my new found connection with food and cooking – after abuse disconnected me from it – here.
  • I will always PACE MYSELF, I will acknowledge that I am a #spoonie, and that I am facing really challenging circumstances that would challenge anyone.
  • I will try not to fear judgement and will remember to tell myself that if someone thinks they could do better, that I’d like to see them try ūüėČ
  • In addition to writing, I will consider other ways to incorporate things that make me happy into my life.
  • Exercise will form part of Operation Self Care, as it did Operation Fight Back, more about that in a future post.

As I have been writing. a veggie chilli has been simmering nicely in the kitchen and a second load of laundry is doing its thing. I have twenty more minutes on the clock* before I know I must stop,¬†take time to eat and make every effort to¬†unwind (it doesn’t come easy), before an early night. My¬†housing support officer, newly appointed in light of the ‘straw and camel event’ and my subsequent decline, is visiting me tomorrow morning and I need to be in reasonable shape to best cope with that. She will be bringing me my first food parcel, after referring me to a local food bank; I’m still trying to process that.

*I can feel my #spoonie symptoms starting to make more of a nuisance of themselves. I hope to publish this post, send a tweet or two and rustle up a quick email reply to a pal, before the sands run out…


Updated content and new blog posts

I’ve given my web site a bit of a makeover in recent days – changing the theme, updating all the existing pages and adding new content to them. I’ve written several new blog posts too – some ‘massive missives’, some short and sweet.

Now that I’ve started writing again, I don’t want to stop, but I must for now as I’m being bothered quite a bit today by symptoms of chronic health issues – and as I’ve learned to my cost, it’s vital to pace myself.

You can expect to hear much more from me. I expect there are people who long ago subscribed to this blog, forgot all about it and are now wondering who the devil I am and what this is all about. You can find out more by visiting¬†my About and Dreams, Goals, Passions … Hope pages :).

For now, I must away to rest …

Next up: Operation Self Care

Call me contrary …

I know what I said in¬†Necessary Changes Afoot, but I’ve changed my mind. ’tis a woman’s prerogative, so they say.

To be honest, I wasn’t in much of a state to be making any sort of decision last time I was here as a blogger (I’m here every day as a blog reader). Nor was I in a place to continue writing or to reply to the messages I received by email in response to that post. They were welcome, I appreciate them very much and I do plan to reply.

So yes, for the foreseeable future as things stands now, I’m staying public.

I hope you’ll be around to partake of the posts to follow and will like, comment or share if that suits you ūüôā .

By the way, I’ve just changed my blog’s wordpress theme from a more stark black and white to a softer hue. Let me know if you like it. I’m also planning one or two other updates to this site.


Operation Fight Back: Day 7

The last 24 hours or so have, I think, been my most challenging since Operation Fight Back began.

I’m still sleeping badly and that’s making things difficult. I’ve woken each day feeling progressively more awful as the week has worn on. I’m tired of nightmares and waking feeling wretched. Despite that I’ve stuck to my O-F-B routine; it feels like a lifeline… an anchor, a tether to the right side of the tracks.

Getting through my exercises yesterday and this morning was hard. I find the treadmill easier than 30 reps of each of four exercises and as many as I can manage of the fifth, only attempted for the first time this week; today I managed 15.

Today’s treadmill stats: 12 mins 32 including 10 minute run = 0.65 distance and 60.5 cals.

I ate badly yesterday, not ‘bad’ stuff just too much. Tiredness leaves me at risk of overeating.

Today’s main further aim is to get out. I need some groceries. I’m also supposed to be meeting someone for coffee later, I’m just waiting for confirmation. I know it will be restorative.

Other aims for the rest of the day: Write an email and a letter (both have been on my list for three days, both are pretty important), clean the bathroom and cook something for dinner.

I have many scribbled notes in my notebook for potential blog posts. I hope soon to make the time to write them.

Operation Fight Back: Day 6

I’m feeling a bit grey and limp but with occasional bright patches, rather like the weather I’m seeing through the windows of my flat. Actually, the weather does seem to be improving as the day goes on; perhaps I’ll follow suit!

I’m tired, that’s the crux of it. I didn’t sleep well or long and I was woken by infernal drilling or some such by builders renovating a neighbouring property. I could’ve cried. The work has now been going on for a year. Mercifully this morning’s racket was short-lived and I’m hoping the rest of the day will be peaceful.

I’m late coming to the blog today and haven’t yet showered (1pm) but I have got through the rest of my morning routine.

Today’s treadmill stats: 12mins 46 ¬†= 0.65 distance and 61.7cals including a 10 minute run. I realised this morning that I was running, It may not be the fastest run in the world but it is a run and I don’t have to keep apologising for calling it that. It was a more challenging run this morning because I was so tired, before it I’d had to practically drag myself through my four physio exercises and my stomach crunches. Despite this, I chose this morning to up from 25 to 30 reps of each exercise, while thinking that I must be some sort of sadist … Actually I think my reasoning was if it’s going to be this difficult I may as well make it count as much as I can. It made sense to me at the time ūüôā !

Now to shower and take off the conditioning treatment that’s been sitting on my hair for about two hours.

I did very well with yesterday’s further aims – having a very productive day overall – although I don’t think I blogged about what they were. Given that I’m so tired today and vulnerable because of it, the chief further of aim of today will be to stay on track and stable mood-wise. Anything above and beyond that will be a bonus. I do hope to blog more later.