Posted in About today

World Mental Health Day (and some sleep deprivation delirium for good measure)

The first thing to say, I guess, is that it’s pretty late here in WeeGee land. The second thing to say is that I apologise in advance for any typos, grammatical errors, or nonsensical nonsense. It’s just that I’m currently functioning* on two hours sleep and my typing, grammar, and sensible skills aren’t at their sharpest…..

It’s alright though, no need to worry because I’m not going to bore you with the boring story of why WeeGee isn’t sleeping at the moment . I’m not even going to fill you on the hilarious (and disastrous) hilarity that befalls a WeeGee when she is experiencing sleep deprivation delirium. Don’t get me wrong, if today was any other day that’s probably exactly what you’d get but today is World Mental Health Day, so I’m going to make some noise about that instead. What else is a mental, sleep deprived girl to do?

This year, the focus of World Mental Health day is on older people – in particular the mental health of the over 55s, because apparently, the statistics would have it that the over 55s are considerably ‘happier’ than 24-54 year olds. I guess that in itself is interesting enough to cue one of my little thinks** but what really struck me about this year’s theme is that the focus is on actual ‘healthy’ mental health.

A great many of the narratives on mental health are about what happens when things go wrong – I for one have managed to fill a whole blog with my own experiences of living with mental health difficulties. The tendency, I think, is to relate the term ‘mental health’ with poor mental health and this (or so it seems to me) is one of the things that marks sufferers out as ‘different’ in some way.

I’m blogging today to state the bleedin’ obvious, as it were, and to point out that EACH AND EVERY ONE of us has mental health. For some of us it’s good, and for some of us it’s not so good but we very definitely have it in common. I can’t help thinking, when you look at it that way, that if only we would talk to one another we’d learn an awful lot, and end up all the richer for it whichever side of the divide we tend to sit.

Right now, I’m not too sure which side of the line I’m sitting, but I’ve come to an understanding with myself: it really doesn’t matter. When I was depressed I thought that everyone who wasn’t depressed was happy. Now I’m not depressed I realise that was the depression doing my thinking. Now I’m not depressed I just sort of am. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, and sometimes I’m million different kinds of feelings (occasionally all at the same time) I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve had to learn a lot about not being depressed and I’ve mostly learned that by paying attention to the people in my life who were taking care of their mental health.

I’m much better at taking care of my mental health than I used to be. I know that I need to keep myself fed, and watered and rested. I know that I need to make time to exercise, and get fresh air, and laugh at myself when I get obsessive about whatever my latest minor obsession is*** I need to read books, and take photographs and spend time with the people who matter to me. Most of all I know that sometimes I need to be brave enough to sit with myself and feel the feelings. It took me a long time to realise that those were the sort of things that other people had been doing all along – taking care of their mental health without even realising it.

I’m not over 55 and I wouldn’t describe myself as happy**** so I’m not too sure what I can contribute to spreading the word about that. What I can say is that it’s World Mental Health Day. And mental health, whether it’s good or bad, is something we should all keep talking about.

A serious one from me today. But even the WeeGee is serious once in a while. But then again, look at this photo it proper made me laugh:

20131010-234406.jpg
Love you lots like jelly tots

WeeGee xxxxx

Ps. I’ve got a new blogging and blog reading plan so hopefully I’m back in the game after my recent spell of ‘I don’t know what to say/I’ve run out of time’

*I use the word in the loosest possible fashion
** If nothing else I thought hey, that’s a reason to be cheerful because I’m not 55 yet so it can only get better
*** currently a fairly even mix of Breaking Bad, collecting conkers***** and pickled onions
****Primarily because I’m functioning on two hours sleep and I’m really rather ANXIOUS
*****You may know them as horse chestnuts.

Posted in Recovery?

Regeneration. Phase one.

This post is either very brave or very stupid. Come to think of it, it’s more likely a bit of both because let’s face it, brave needs a bit of stupid just as much as stupid needs a bit of brave. I don’t suppose I’m making much sense yet…….

A couple of things have happened recently that got me thinking. I thought for quite a long time and eventually my thinking turned into one of my infamous little thinks and before I knew it I’d come up with this blog post which is where the whole brave/stupid thing comes into it. If you’re new to WeeGee land don’t worry about it – it’ll all be as clear as mud by the time we get to the end, assuming we get that far together, of course. I’ve never taken my readers for granted.

So. I’ve been blogging for seventeen months now. Some people in the ‘real world’ know about my blog but not too many. I blog as WeeGee but my real name as Gail and the bottom line of it is that WeeGee and Gail are EXACTLY the same person, even though I’ve tried very hard to keep the two entirely separate. Why keep them separate? Well, because WeeGee blogs about Gail’s experiences with mental health difficulties and out there in the real world Gail still tries to keep these experiences a secret, even from some people who know me really, really well.

If you’re reading this and you know me as Gail you perhaps don’t know that I am recovered* from an eating disorder and that I experience both depression and anxiety. Sometimes I’m completely well, sometimes I’m not so well but functioning, and sometimes – well sometimes, I don’t function too well at all, although that’s quite rare nowadays. All of that said, whichever state I’m in I’m still WeeGee, or Gail, or in other words I’m still a human being just like everybody else on the planet.

Mental health difficulties aren’t rare at all, in fact one in five of us will experience them at some point in our lives** but hardly any of us talk about it. Why? Maybe because we’re ashamed, or because we think people won’t understand, or because we think it’s just none of anybody’s business. Or perhaps, and I think this is more likely, we’re still not past the stigma associated with poor mental health and we can’t just come right out and admit that we’re one of those mental people.

A few days ago I recorded a video for a fantastic project called Faces of mental illness. You can see my video here. Shortly after the video went live I panicked. I was suddenly terrified that WeeGee would be ‘outed’ as Gail and that my dirty little secret would be known. And then I realised that even I, who thought she knew better, was missing the point. I don’t believe there should be any stigma associated with poor mental health – that’s why I made the video. And that doesn’t square up with hiding.

So I’m not going to hide:

My name is Gail, but you can call me WeeGee if you prefer. I love my cat, and Frank Turner, and I’m obsessed with Breaking Bad. I like taking pictures of dudes in red trousers and I’m a budding masterchef contestant***. Once upon a time, I starved myself within an inch of my life but I’m better now. Sometimes the darkness creeps in and I get depressed. Sometimes I worry so much that I think I’m going to explode. I take medication to regulate my mood and occasionally I don’t sleep for days at a time. I’m a total geek when it comes to politics and grammar and if I ever grow up I’m going to live in a cottage in Oxfordshire and grow pink roses in the garden.

I’m one of those mental people. It’s important that I say it, but it isn’t even nearly the most important thing about me.

In a moment I’m going to share this little post on Facebook and then my secret will be well and truly out for the people who only know Gail. Some people might think it’s brave. Some people might think it’s stupid. Like I said I think it’s more likely a bit of both. It’s also a small offering from my corner of the world: one of these days, we really will stamp out stigma.

A while ago I posted that I wasn’t sure what would come next for How do you eat an elephant? I think this might be it: a brave new world and all that. What can I say? Wish me luck. I’ll see you on the other side.

I end, as is traditional, with a song. It’s a special little song to me. Enjoy:

Love you all lots, like jelly tots.

WeeGee xxxxx

And

Gail xxxxx

Ps. Thanks to the trusted few for their words of advice and encouragement. I love you guys even more than jelly tots but not quite as much as Frank Turner, but that’s still a very, very lot.

*or maybe I’m recovering.
**so the often quoted statistic goes
***although I’m going to need a bigger and better kitchen if I’m going to hope to win. Oh. And I’ll need to get better at sauces too….

Posted in Welcome to my world

Boo fucking hoo

I’m just going to have to face up to it. You know that birthday post I’ve been promising? Well I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen. The birthday in itself was completely AWESOME, full of Mr Awesome Thing Number Five, and a sleepy little English town, and feeding baby penguins which shat in my shoe, and a visit from my parents and…… AWESOME birthday. The thing is, my birthday was a long time ago, and since then I’ve been feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS and the recent past isn’t really something that I feel much like blogging about because I’m a bit lost in the here and now, which – let’s be honest – is a little better that being lost in the then and gone or the still to come and unknown. Am I sounding a little manic to you? I’m feeling a little turbo charged so I wouldn’t be surprised…..

I woke up this morning feeling a little bit disjointed, you know? Like my brain wasn’t attached to my body anymore. I used to get that all the time – that feeling that my brain was a completely separate entity from ‘me’. Experiencing it now, for the first time in a while, I’m struck by how little sense it makes. I’m inextricably connected to my brain so how come it sometimes feels so ‘other’ every once in a while? The answer used to be ALIEN but that feels a bit unsatisfactory today. I believe myself to be lots of things but I don’t really believe myself to be an alien. I mean, it would be convenient, and it would explain an awful lot but being an alien would surely throw up even more questions than answers so it can’t possibly be the answer. Then again maybe I need to work through all of the questions and maybe being an alien isn’t as daft as it first sounds.

Still a bit turbo charged but not exactly AWESOME here. Alien brain strikes again?

I know that I’m not AWESOME because I don’t want to talk to most people. I don’t mind talking to some people but when I’m AWESOME I want to talk to everybody and as far as I’m concerned everybody can fuck right off. I can’t figure myself out right now so other people are a HUGE step too far. World. Shut. Your. Mouth.

I’ve written this post as it comes to me – stream of consciousness style. I’m just glad Mr Clever doesn’t get to read what I have to say here because I fear I’d wind up in trouble…..
WeeGee is not a happy WeeGee. Not at all. The brain is all broken and I’m a little bit angry and a little bit STOP because I’ve had enough…… Time for a song:

Booooo.

Love you lots like lovely jelly tots xxx

Posted in Some thoughts about my journey

Birthday blues

Before I get to today’s update I have a couple of those points of order that pop up every so often to take care of…..

Point of order number one: I officially suck at reading blogs at the moment and I’m sorry about that. I love you all lots, and I miss you more, but my time is all filled up with grown up ‘need to do’ stuff and reading your blogs has fallen down towards the bottom of the pile. I promise I’ll be back shortly but in the meantime will you forgive me?

Point of order number two: Does everybody know that ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ has a Facebook page? No? Well it does. You can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/HungryElephant

I’m one follower short of 30, and apparently when you get to 30 magic things start happening…… Go on – it will surely improve your life ☺

The End of the point of order section.

Since I last blogged I’ve been a busy little WeeGee. I’ve been getting myself all sorted out, and organised and back on track. I’ve also been having one of my (fairly extended) little thinks. After all, what would the WeeGee be without one of her little thinks?

In five days time I’m going to be having a birthday. Having a birthday shouldn’t be a big deal because everybody has one, like once a year and stuff, but it feels like a pretty big deal to me right now. I spent my last birthday hiding in my little hidey hole*, pacing about, and being TOTALLY MENTAL before doing myself a small mischief and presenting myself at A&E because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. It was whatever the opposite of tremendous fun is.

Birthdays bring out The Dreaded Jitters in me. I don’t really know why, except that maybe it’s the one day of the year when people seem to want you to be the centre of attention which actually only really means that they want you to be ‘happy’ even if you don’t feel much like being happy. Maybe I don’t like the ‘expectations’ that are associated with birthdays? Maybe I’ve had enough miserable birthdays to last me a lifetime? Maybe this is just WeeGee being an idiot and it’s about time she POKED HERSELF IN THE EYE?

If I shut out the anxiety** my upcoming birthday is looking pretty peachy. I’ve got a few days away with Mr Awesome Thing Number Five to look forward to. AND I’m going to spend a morning feeding some penguins***. AND mum and dad are coming to visit. AND I’m off work. AND I’ve got a very exciting new birthday handbag.

It’s all a bit ‘what’s not to like’ and I really wish I could shake this weird ‘I don’t like birthdays because they make me a bit mental’ thing. But hey – you know me and my brain. It doesn’t always make sense…..

Aside from all that WeeGee is doing pretty good. I’ve got a fantabulous ‘how far I’ve come’ post lined up for you but I’m going to take my time writing it because it’s an important one.

Meanwhile in other news here’s a lovely little Frank Turner song for you. I might have shared it before but what’s a bit of repetition amongst friends?

Nothing else to report today save that I love you all loads and loads like……. Roman roads???

WeeGee xoxox

*Rhio – TOTALLY tongue in cheek xoxox
** Just like that!
***Which is AS COOL AS PENGUINS

Posted in Some thoughts about my journey

Thus the sky has nothing to scatter but red….

It’s pretty late. As in well past WeeGee’s bed time pretty late. The thing is my brain is not going to consent to going to sleep and I don’t have the energy to have that particular argument with myslef so I’m going to go right ahead and blog instead.

Hello! Welcome to my insomniac, wibbly wobbly wobbling post 🙂 I might as well tell you the short story because the long story is, well, long…..

So – I had a date. Third date actually with a total sweetie. And I had a lovely time. And that ought to be all you need to know. But then WeeGee did a WeeGee and pushed the infamous self sabotage button….

‘Dear Mr Awesome Thing Number Five,

Oh, you’re not thinking of running a mile? Let me behave like a weirdo until you do

Love, WeeGee’

Why can’t I just take nice and enjoy it? What on earth is the matter with me?

If I’m lost tonight, it’s only because I lost myself. And, as Mr Wise quite rightly pointed out – I seem to be doing this on purpose. How many more inappropriate guys am I going to fall in love with? Do I even want someone to care let alone love me? Do you like this song? It’s AWESOME:

Oh – and as for the title of my post? I went to the Science Museum on Saturday and a little person had drawn an awesome picture and explained some science that was beyond me and ended by pointing out that the sky had nothing else to scatter but red. I liked it.

Love you with all of my heart xoxoxo

Posted in About today

Topsy turvy, wobble wobble

Well. It’s all been a bit topsy turvey, wobble wobble, WeeGee has a little think of late hasn’t it? Thanks for sticking by me and for putting up with me – I really appreciate that.

There’s been a lot going on, and I’ve kinda been skirting around it on my blog. I figured I might as well do a bit of a fill in the gaps post so that you all know where I’m at and so that I’ve taken the time to explain it all. It’s either that or do the whole ostrich routine. Which is boring……

I’m wobbling because I can’t control what’s going to happen and if ever anything is going to make me wobble it’s not being in charge of the future. A while ago, I decided I needed a break from dating because, you know, there was some thinking to do, and lessons to learn. And then Mr Awesome Thing Number Five turned up. Which wasn’t supposed to happen and which challenged the whole take a break thing.

So – why did I want to take a dating break?:

• Because I’m still, however well I’m doing, mental
• Because I actually like being alone
• Because I keep (quite deliberately) hooking up with inappropriate blokes – which proves the last two points
• Because everything ends and I can’t stand endings

Why don’t I want to take a break anymore?:

• Mental isn’t the end of the world
• Being alone isn’t exclusive to spending time with people
• Mr Awesome Thing Number Five isn’t inappropriate in anyway
• You have to do the thing before you get to the ending…..

Hmmm.

I guess I just have to wait and see don’t I?

Whilst we’re sort of on the subject I want to wrap Mr X up. He feels a long time ago, and I know he was inappropriate. If you ‘separate’ from your spouse but find yourself living with said spouse seven months later then you are clearly not ready to date. I knew that at the time, in my head at least. I’m not sad that things didn’t work out between Mr X and I, because they were never going to. I’m just sad I lost a friend, and I don’t really understand why meeting up for a cup of tea is so unspeakably impossible. Then again, as Mr Wise pointed out – that’s a useful lesson in how other people don’t always behave like WeeGee.

But back to Mr Awesome Thing Number Five. Well he’s sweet. And he’s lovely. And I think he’s going to tell me the truth.

And I’m terrified.

But I’m not going to hide.

Love you all lots and lots. Like jelly tots and tots.

Posted in About today

Because it was there

Today I have mostly been thinking about how far I’ve come since this time last year. When I think back to how I felt, and I how ill I actually was in March 2012 it’s tempting to come to the conclusion that I’m a different person altogether…

It was a fairly standard Sunday in WeeGee land – brunch with Mr Brave, a good long run, a chit chat with Mrs Sparkle, and making French onion soup with a bit of soccer ball in the background for good measure. It’s hardly rock and roll but when you compare it to curling up in a teeny tiny ball wishing you were dead you have to admit it’s a pretty damn sweet life I’ve got going on for myself now.

Even the setbacks don’t feel too much like setbacks anymore. When rubbish things happen now I recognise that although they might make me feel sad they are little more than the ‘contingencies of life’ and that whatever you think, or however you feel, life will keep going on so long as you’re prepared to let it. I wish I could pinpoint the moment when I decided that all this living stuff was for me, but I can’t; it just kind of crept up on me.

This week has been and gone now. It was a fairly solemn week what with one thing and another but IT WASN’T THE END OF THE WORLD. This week was just another week where things, and stuff and what not happened and where WeeGee faced up to it all and said I STILL WANT TO BE ALIVE THANKS ALL THE SAME.

More than anything this week I feel like I’ve suddenly realised that this is what recovery feels like. It isn’t perfect – sometimes I get sad, sometimes I cry until I can’t cry anymore, sometimes I wish there was a stop button and sometimes I just want to hide. But most of the time I’m still out there, doing my little thing and climbing that impossibly tall mountain that goes by the name of life.

WeeGee: intrepid and fearless mountaineer.

HUGE ginormous hugs from WeeGee xoxoxox

Posted in Moving forwards

Getting better

This isn’t the first time that I’ve started a blog entry by saying ‘I don’t know where to start’ but today it’s different because the only problem I have is deciding which AWESOME thing to tell you about first*

I think I’ll start with two apologies because I definitely owe them:

  • Apology number one: I’m sorry that I’ve been a bit irregular about blogging this week
  • Apology number two: I’m sorry that I forgot about The Depressed Moose’s birthday and therefore didn’t make a fuss of him on the day

Then I’ll do a bit of a thank you:

  • A great big thank you to my bestest blogging buddies** who noted my absence and got in touch to make sure I was okay*** Love you guys gazillions xoxoxox

Now all that’s out of the way I suppose it’s time for a little bit of an update from WeeGee land….

Ages ago, when I was all woe is me and I want to die I heard somebody**** saying ‘when things in your life are good, good things happen’ I remember it because it made me feel even more bleak than I already did because things in my life were bad and it felt like they would never get any better and it just hammered home that ‘what’s the effing point’ feeling that creeps in so regularly when you’re mental.

But somehow (and very slowly) things started to get better. They got so much better that eventually I had my ‘holy swearword moment’ and realised what the effing point was. And from that moment on things in my life have been good and getting better all the time. As I write this I can say genuinely that I am happy, that I’m enjoying life and that I can’t wait to find out what comes next. I’ve always liked adventures – it’s just that I’ve usually been too scared to go on them. Not anymore.

Meanwhile in other news I would like to make it known that there is ABSOLUTELY no way to get in or out of a Porsche wearing a skirt with any dignity whatsoever. Nothing else to report save that Gryff is getting a bit fed up with all this WeeGee having a social life stuff so a night in with the cat is very definitely in order.

I leave you today with an AWESOME (if a little old) song which sums up my life quite neatly at the moment:

Lots and lots and lots of love and a few hugs for good measure, WeeGee xoxoxoxo

PS – I promise to catch up on your lovely blogs this week. I’ve been missing you all

*I’ve had my fair share of problems and this is officially my favourite problem of all time

**You know who you are

***I wondered if you thought I was a) heartbroken because it had all gone tits up or b) murdered because Mr Magic turned out to be a serial killer…..

****I can’t remember who – some kinda celebrity

Posted in About today

Hilarity, hiding and the best chat up line in the world EVER (if you are WeeGee)

It all started with a rather hilarious evening with Mrs Sparkle. Between us we had a super duper girly evening and made every effort possible to put the world to rights. We had a good old chit chat about how different WeeGee is when she’s not off her rocker, and how much of a ginormous arsehole Mrs Sparkles ex husband actually is and how James Arthur is NOT appropriate crush material We also came up with a famed WeeGee list containing the things that WeeGee is, and isn’t looking for in a man:

Things WeeGee is definitely not looking for in a man

  • Height (I’m quite small enough without people looking down their noses at me thank you very much)
  • A ridiculous online user name (because a ridiculous online user name is the virtual equivalent of a ‘novelty tie’)
  • A desire to fix WeeGee (because of that thing I have about being independent)
  • A desire to ‘need’ WeeGee (because of that same thing I have about being independent)
  • An unhealthy relationship with a football team (been there, done that – it’s boring)

Things WeeGee is definitely looking for in a man

  • A kind heart
  • Hilarious jokes (hilarity in general will suffice)
  • A healthy dose of cheeky
  • A fantabulous hug
  • A small hint of geekiness

He’s out there somewhere, right?

And then I went to bed and discovered that I was having my first major bout of insomnia for as long as I can remember. You forget how rubbish insomnia is way too quickly. It’s piggin’ awful to be awake when the only thing in the world you want to be is ASLEEP. It’s equally awful when you remember that the only thing insomnia is good for is stirring up all the crap that you thought you had left behind. ROAR.

Anyway – the upshot of insomnia is that I’ve been having a hide today. It was only a small hide, and on reflection I think it was long overdue because there were one or two things that I needed to figure out and sometimes you can only figure things out if you pretend the world isn’t actually happening round you…..

I’ve pretty much figured it all out, but for tonight I just wanted to admit that a hide had occurred. Not only that – I have survived it and reached the conclusion that it’s perfectly NORMAL to have a bad day, where you mostly want to keep yourself to yourself and that you can do that without doing a quick recce of the light fittings.

Meanwhile in other news today I heard the best chat up line in the world EVER….. ‘is it acceptable to use a semi-colon after a question mark?’ Be still my beating heart! Nothing else to report today save that I went for a run this morning despite the self imposed running ban and it was pretty damn fine.

Lots of love from WeeeeeeeGeeeeeee xoxoxoxo

Posted in About today

All of the feelings

I’m finding being me quite interesting at the moment. I’ve been so used to feeling nothing but misery and now I have all of the feelings at my disposal and I’m feeling them all, often at the same time. Feeling all of the feelings at the same time is a little bit confusing but it’s also pretty damn AWESOME because there’s no room for extremities when the opposite feeling is swimming around at the same time – it’s like a natural mood stabiliser which comes in pretty handy when you’re mental and prone to being ‘a bit all over the place’

Perhaps you will have noticed that I’ve had several of my little thinks over the past week or so. I think my favourite bit about recovery is finally having the freedom to think about things without fear that I’m going to think myself to the edge of a cliff. I’m starting to figure things out – like who I’ve been and who I am and who I want to be.

I’m also starting to really understand what went wrong between Mr Friendly and I and have accepted that he didn’t make me any more happy than I made him but that I was too scared to admit that on account of black and white thinking and a strong emotional attachment. I also realise that an awful lot of that feeling small and insignificant thing I do lies firmly at the door of our relationship, because it wasn’t a relationship that made me feel valued, or loved, or remotely attractive. I think my brief encounter with Mr Smiley reminded me that there are all kinds of other guys out there, and all kinds of other relationships and it isn’t worth having a relationship that makes you feel the way I used to feel about myself.

I’ve also been having a rethink about online dating because I worked something out. I worked out what I’m looking for and what I’m looking for isn’t just someone to share my life with, or someone who will hold my hand and make me think I never want them to let go or even somebody who will have the patience to get to know me slowly and surely. What I really want is to meet my best friend and then fall in love with him in the fullness of time. And that realisation changes the way I go about things.

Anyway – that’s no matter. My lovely friend Mrs Sparkle is here again, because we had such a lovely girly Saturday last week that we decided to do it again. We have a lot of things to gossip about including:

  • Whether WeeGee dares to phone Mr I’m Quite Handsome and ask if he’d like to update her on the web portal over a glass of wine
  • Whether WeeGee can really go on a date with a guy who is younger than her brother who she refers to as her ‘little’ brother
  • Whether it is a good idea for WeeGee to go on a date with a psychologist who specialises in eating disorders

I know I moaned on about watching X Factor last week, but I’m looking forward to it tonight because it’s quite entertaining poking fun at Mrs Sparkle who is simultaneously cool enough to list stiff little fingers as her favourite band and tragic enough to be a little bit in love with James Arthur.

Meanwhile in other news, I have spent the last two months perfecting a risotto recipe but what’s the betting I don’t do it perfectly when I try to cook it for someone else? Nothing else to report today save that WeeGee is all back and bouncy and excitable again.

Lots of love, WeeGeeeeeeeee xxxx