Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

Depression

Sometimes people ask me what depression feels like, and this is what I say.

Depression is like a cat burglar – it creeps up behind ready to steal your most precious things, and although you see the shadow from behind it doesn’t occur to you that it might leap. And yet when it does you realise it’s been behind you for weeks. You started off running away from it, but as time goes on you get tired and can’t run as fast, and it catches up, jumps and covers you completely.

Depression doesn’t make me sad. I cry a lot more and at much smaller things – and at nothing. I cry a lot in self-pity – if only I were good at something, talented in some way. I wanted to do so much with my life – depression makes me think nothing I do is worth anything. But sadness isn’t the main character in my depression drama.

I spend hours asking myself what the point is of anything. The lethargy of inaction, giving up aiming to do anything productive because it won’t do anything anyway. When I’m ok I can see the ripples of my actions spread across the water of my everyday being. When I’m depressed there are no ripples. Every activity drops dead in the water, and I wonder why I bother doing it in the first place.

Depression makes me nearly scared. If I had the mental energy I’d be scared of everything, but as it is I don’t have the energy of thought to get properly frightened about the state of the world, because I know if I do it’ll be overwhelming.

The main fear of my depression is the fear of being found out. I feel the dread of having done something wrong, but I have no idea what it is. I feel like an imposter in my own life. A phoney, pretending to be normal when I’m not, but also knowing that I’m actually making a big fuss about nothing – why do I give my experience such gravity when everyone else has just as hard a time of it?

I feel guilty all the time – I have no good reason for feeling the way I do. So many people have so much more reason to be depressed.

None of this is really a response to real life. I can see that it’s not reactive. I know it’s my brain going screwy again, and that I need to do something about it, but I just don’t want to. I don’t want to admit that it’s managed to engulf me again. If I pretend it’s not there it might go away…

Will it…?

 

 

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Dealing with Diagnosis

I have had a little hiatus from blogging. But I am now dipping my toes in, with the intention of being fully immersed before too long.

To start, here is a post I wrote for a wonderful site, ThinkTwice.

Dealing with Diagnosis

However you look at it, receiving a diagnosis of a long term health condition is life changing. The words “You have…” can turn a world upside down.

And yet, when I was told I had bipolar disorder, my first emotion was relief. Finally, I had an answer for the questions I’d been asking myself for so long. I finally understood why the antidepressants I’d been taking on and off for years didn’t work, and made sense of why I was sometimes the complete opposite of depressed – filled with energy, hugely productive, and able to do more than my friends with no grasp of how on earth they could be tired. It was as if a breath I’d been holding for years could finally be let out.

That day set in motion a process that will probably be lifelong. Looking back I would say that there were three processes I went through.

Accepting

Despite the diagnosis being a relief it was still a shock, and accepting it didn’t happen overnight. In fact it’s a journey I’m still on. Bipolar disorder can be a serious illness, and every so often something comes along again that brings home the fact that, even when I’m well, I still have a condition that needs managing and careful observation of how I’m feeling.

Acceptance means fighting denial. For a long time I struggled to believe it. I couldn’t decide who was making too much fuss – me, or the doctors, friends and family who tried to persuade me. There have been times when I’ve stopped taking medication because I refused to believe it. Fortunately I’m past that stage now, but I still question it every so often, suddenly unconvinced – accepting is a process.

Adapting

After the earthquake of diagnosis and the aftershocks of denial came a period of adapting. The main plus side of being diagnosed was that, once I knew what it was, I knew what I was fighting and could start to put specific things in place to make it better – self-management is easier when you know what you’re managing.

Adapting happened in stages. At first it was forced – I had to set alarms to remind me to take my tablets, and get used to the side effects that come and go. I even set an alarm to go to sleep! I also had to get used to the fact that people who knew often saw me differently once they knew about the diagnosis, and adjust to losing friends who weren’t willing to understand.

Now most of those things come naturally. I make sure I get into the fresh air every day, even if it’s just a short walk. I try and eat better. I don’t drink alcohol other than the odd glass of wine. I go to bed at roughly the same time each night. When I’m well I can be a bit less rigid about it, but if I begin to feel down (or my friends tell me I’m ‘up’) I get strict with myself again.

Advancing

Having bipolar has changed from being an enormous battle to an ongoing walk beyond enemy lines. Accepting was a stationary phase, Adapting was a preparation phase and Advancing is just that – stepping forward into the unknown.

Despite being on medication that seems to work for me, I still have pop-up symptoms that need dealing with, and every change in mood brings fear that I’m heading back into a major episode.

But the only way to deal with those fears is to keep moving on, brandishing the weapons I have – an amazing husband, a few good, strong friends who tell me the truth, and a supportive doctor with an artillery of medications and a willingness to listen to my concerns. And actually, I’m always going forwards, it just that the hills are sometimes steeper than other times.

The outlook is clear – I know what I’m dealing with. I have a condition that will forever need managing, but I can live with it, as so many do. Diagnosis went from being a thing to be feared to my biggest weapon – I know its name, and a known enemy can be tamed.

ThinkTwice, founded by Rachael Newham, was borne out of a personal struggle with mental illness. It exists to assist others in their own struggles, and aims to increase awareness and decrease stigma so that people are as able to be open about their mental health condition as they are about having the ‘flu.

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Scared of the Sun

This post is related to my previous post Fear of the Fog. I realise that the titles may now come across as slightly cheesy, but what can I say – I’m an alliteration junkie (please comment below with other words for ‘junkie’ that start with ‘a’…)

This past weekend I have had the joy of going away on our church’s women’s weekend. We had 70 women all in one place, being challenged by some amazing talks and taking part in some inspiring worship.

I also managed to have some relaxed and elongated time with my best friends, Beauty ICE and Lawyer ICE. Our normal prayer times are odd hours, grabbed from between jobs and school runs, so it was lovely to have some proper conversations, intense sharing, and laid back company with colouring books, knitting, and large bars of Galaxy chocolate.

On the Saturday, Beauty ICE and I went for a walk around the grounds of the conference centre, chatting and reminiscing. During our last women’s weekend away I was in the middle of a full blown nervous breakdown as I swung quickly and wildly from hypomania to depression. Beauty ICE (who from now on I’m just going to refer to as Natalya because it’s easy and there’s now no reason not to) was the person who bore the brunt of supporting me at that point, and I can categorically state that I was not fun to be with. My brain had suddenly swung into a major low before getting over the high – the result was all the negative self talk that comes with depression, but at four times the speed. It was hideous.

So this time, I had huge reason to be thankful for my stable state of mind. We walked, thanked God for the change, and had fun whilst we walked. We laughed and we yelled and we let our hair down with gay abandon, and arrived for dinner rosy cheeked and giggly, ready to eat, drink (juice) and be merry. For the first time in a long time I felt more than ok – I felt good.

But bipolar is never far away. I can never forget that it’s there, and it’s still not been long enough for me to relax and let my guard down. By the time we got to the evening meeting I was in panic mode. What if this was hypomania? Playing on swings, running through puddles and throwing snowballs isn’t exactly normal behaviour for me, and I didn’t even notice. The more I thought about it, the more frightened I became. I was on the verge of phoning every medic I knew just to check whether I should be doubling my medication, getting to A&E, checking myself in somewhere. Somewhere along the line, bipolar stole the fun.

Fortunately, sitting between my ICE ladies is the safest place to be. I can stress, I can cry, I can talk about the same things over and over again, and they never get stressed out about “what it might mean”. By the end of the session I was fine, and headed off to the team quiz in my normal, fiercely competitive way.

But it never goes. I like to think that one day I’ll be able to stop that level of overreaction and get to the stage where I can enjoy the good days and sit through the bad days without panic of relapse. But there is a fine line between self-awareness and paranoia, and whilst the former is sensible and necessary for continued health, the latter steals the joy, reminding me that I will never be normal again.

This post doesn’t have quite the happy ending I’d hoped, but it’s real. I’m coming to terms with the idea that this is what life is like now.

scared by the sun

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Fear of the fog

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It doesn’t take much to worry me when it comes to my mental health.

Today I feel low. I feel unmotivated, unable to concentrate, like I’ll never manage to achieve anything that’s of worth, and altogether too exhausted to go up to bed. Staying awake into the night and writing long diatribes is a key sign that Churchill’s famous black dog might be following close behind me. I find myself too scared to stop writing and go to bed, because then I might think, and that could lead anywhere. Or I might find myself completely unable to think, which is even worse.

The thing is, the fear of it can be just as bad as the actual thing. The memory of having been so ill not all that long ago (eighteen months can feel like forever or yesterday) makes me hyper alert to any possible symptom. The thought of being that unwell again induces a level of anxiety I normally only experience in an episode of depression, so I end up on a roundabout of doubt – am I anxious about becoming depressed, or anxious because I’m depressed?

As is always my key tactic, I try and work my way back to see if there is an actual cause for feeling low. I search the calendar for hormone surges or forgotten traumatic anniversaries. I look back over Facebook and Twitter to see what might have nudged me off kilter – social media can be cruel in its reminders of what I haven’t done or become. If I can find a solid reason why I might feel like mud, then there’s more of a hope that it will pass without effect, that it is just a normal bad day, like normal people have.

There’s nothing like experiencing what normal people experience to remind you that you’re not actually normal. In a bad few days a normal person can curl up, eat chocolate, and watch a movie that provides an excuse for a good cry. For me, any longer than a couple of days and I start getting antsy.

So, I start putting things in place. I stop listening to the news, and exchange sad Joni Mitchell music for something brighter. I make sure I go out, even if it’s just to the supermarket cafe, so that my four walls don’t become overbearing. I get up, I get dressed, I eat – I make myself do all the things that most days I hardly notice myself doing. I talk to friends – if my best friends don’t hear from me for a day, they come knocking.

It’s an effort trying not to get depressed when depression is one of the things you most fear.

But who knows, it might all be better tomorrow.

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Gone are the Words

I’m having a hard time writing. Depression makes my brain feel like fudge. CableGuy’s response to this was “yummy.” Me – not so much. It feels like everything is moving slower than it should. Unless it is a word or sentence that I want – then is slips away into the shadows, impossible to trace through the dense sludge.

I really wish that I could take my depression and describe it in writing. In my head it’s a piece that is, in turns, heart-breaking and heart-warming, with a trace of cynicism and a soupçon of humour at my own expense. But it seems impossible at the moment, and – even worse – like it will never be possible again. And somewhere under the lack of motivation resides a fear, that I might never be able to write again, and therefore lose a part of myself that I might never get back.

One of my biggest vices is jealousy of other writers. I spend most days wishing I had written things by other writers who say things better than me. Or (an even less attractive trait) have more readers than me. Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery fame has a good rule of thumb – if I’m jealous of another person’s writing, take a moment to feel it, but then share it. Because jealousy is just love in disguise. Jealousy is loving but then wanting. Generosity is than loving and then giving.

So, I now share part of one of Glennon’s descriptions of depression and how it affects her life and her writing. I chose it partly because her experience is so like my own, but mainly because she said it better and I am jealous. She writes about it in exactly the way I would like to be able to. So rather than loving and wanting it, I’ve decided to love it and share it. Here is a small section of her masterpiece, but please do read the entire essay here.

About depression…

“Every once in awhile – something scary happens to me. A black, heavy, murky fog sets in over my heart and my head. When this happens, I do not alternate between super high and super low. During these awful times I alternate between super low and super numb. The fog is so thick that even when I get still and try to find my way home to myself – I can’t. During these times, none of my usual tricks….quiet time, sunshine, exercise, friends, prayer . . .none of them help me find my way through the fog. I can go through the motions of the day . . . I remember what to do – pack the lunches, smile at the kids, sweep the floor, hug my husband….repeat. I just can’t remember why any of these things matter. The love, the life that usually infuses each of these tasks with meaning is gone. I become like a robot. I have completely lost myself. All I want is to disappear into a dark room. Gone is the joy, the drama, even the suffering that makes me, me. This state of mind has nothing to do with my dramatic personality. It is more like a complete loss of my personality. I’ve suffered this loss three times in my life. Once when I was much younger and suffering from bulimia and alcoholism. Once after my second child was born, and again about a month ago. I have come to believe that this loss of myself is what is commonly accepted as depression.”

About writing…

“I’m hesitant to medicate away my depression because I worry that my depression fuels my writing. What medicine does for me is help me to relax into life a bit. Craig’s perspective is that when I’m on it, I am the same Glennon, I just “struggle a little less.” I agree. I struggle a little less. And I also lose the feeling that if I don’t write I will die. This is how I feel when I’m depressed. Since I lose my joy and meaning, I come to the blank page to create meaning and joy, to get it back. Because I become desperate to make sense of things. And that desperation, I’m afraid, is what makes my writing good. So it scares me, I guess, not to be depressed. A lot of really good writers are depressed. But, as Craig says – “Honey, don’t a lot of good writers also kill themselves?”

The fact that Glennon can take the meds and still write like this gives me hope. Please, please, do visit Momastery. And please do read the whole of Home To Myself – much of what she writes about earlier in the article describes bipolar life to a tee.

Even though she doesn’t have it. Sickening.

I won’t be jealous, I won’t be jealous, I won’t be jealous….. Loving and sharing, not loving and wanting.

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Roller Coaster

I’ve not been here for a couple of weeks. This is mainly because I have been doing this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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It has to be said, I’ve never really been a fan of roller coasters. I like keeping my lunch in my stomach too much. But I am married to a thrill seeking husband and we seem to have spawned two children who take after him in that department. And the ‘family holiday where we do things together’ (which I, now to some chagrin, wish I hadn’t constantly insisted upon) apparently extends to fairground rides.

But, to be fair, I spend most of my time on a roller coaster, albeit in a slightly less joint straining, child restraining way.

Lots of people liken having bipolar disorder to being on a constant roller coaster. It’s a very good analogy – getting higher and higher, and more and more excited as you reach the top, only to lose the exhilaration all too quickly as you plummet towards the concrete of a seaside palisade. Fortunately, with a roller coaster, there is at least a little warning of what is to come. My experience of bipolar is that of blind corners, often unrecognised rises, and largely unexpected and unstoppable falls. 

The most analogous thing about this roller coaster for me was that when on on the pleasantly undulating slopes rather than extreme and invigorating climbs and drops, the car spun around. There was never a point at which you could just relax and enjoy the views, because you never knew which way you would be facing when the exaggerated excitement began again.

That’s my life. I have to be constantly aware, never losing concentration, trying to track every little twist and turn for fear of what might come next. I would like to be one of those sufferers who can see what’s going on with my moods, and predict their arrival based on minuscule changes of demeanour or the rolling of seasons of the year. Perhaps that comes with experience, with years of watching and waiting and willingness to record every mood change that comes to call. Perhaps if I was further on with that process they call ‘acceptance’ I would be doing likewise, rather than just being tossed to and fro, riding the tides as they come. That’s what you’re supposed to do, as a sufferer. It’s what all the blog posts and medical journals and self help group aficionados advise – the better you know yourself, the better your health can be.

Is it wrong not to want to have to do this? I feel like a stubborn little girl, stamping my feet at the idea that the rest of my life might have to be consumed by note taking, mood tracking and medication management.

I’m fairly well aware right now that the closer I move towards acceptance, the more I realise I’m not there yet. Each time I deal well with whatever mood change comes to call, I become more aware of coping mechanisms that need instigating and thought processes that need changing. Eighteen months down the road from diagnosis, I’m only just beginning to own the fact that I suffer from an essentially permanent mental illness (which for some sufferers becomes terminal) that will need long term (if not life long) medicating, and constant acknowledgment, awareness and observation. It’s only recently that I’ve actually been able to say with certainly that I have bipolar disorder rather than, “I kind of have bipolar,” or, “I had a sort of breakdown.” Many years of experience have helped me to use terms like, “I suffer from depression,” but I still don’t find myself able to say, “I was hypomanic,” or use the word ‘episode’ with regards to depression or mania – it is just too close to admitting I have this illness that comes in waves, like chapters of a book, with a cliffhanger at the end of each one. It’s hard to know how to end a post like this. Do I try and think of some witty comment, dramatic climax, piece of wisdom for others following the same path? Do I falter, writing on and on with ever more obscure simile? A roller coaster finishes it’s adrenaline fuelled circuit and comes to a stop, and a family stumbles out, all ready for the next party to clamber in.

Stop the ride, I want to get off.

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Storm Inside – Heartbroken

“Just because something is true doesn’t mean you should voice that truth in all circumstances” (The Storm Inside, p8)

I don’t know about you, but I think the Christian Church should be purveyors of Biblical truth. God’s Word should be the basis of everything we do and say, because it’s only through His word that any of us can learn how truly loved and valued and treasured we are. I say this at the beginning of this post because I don’t want what comes next to be taken wrongly.

Sometimes, although the Bible is full of truth and love, the way we use it is not. We take verses and throw them at struggling people because we think that it will somehow help them out of their situation, and turn them into the Christians and church goers that we think they should be.

“God didn’t give us His Word to use like a weapon or some kind of Hallmark card we can pass across the fence and keep some distance. It is meant for encouragement, not pat answers in the midst of pain.” (p8)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all sorts of verses thrown at me out of context, that have been supposed to encourage me but instead just made me feel worse. As a bipolar sufferer, this is my favourite: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:6, italics mine). I’ve had this one trotted out to me in all guises, from the well meaning church elder to widely distributed books and courses.

I’m not quite sure what my response to this should be. Perhaps people are expecting me to jump up and shout: “Hurrah! The Bible says God gives me a sound mind! Now I know that, I’ll no longer have bipolar! I shall stop all my meds and give up therapy and frolic in daisies for the rest of my life!” Is it any wonder that our churches have a far lower ratio of mentally ill to mentally well people than the rest of the population?

Shelia Walsh’s example of what she calls ‘arrow verses’ is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). It gets trotted out whenever anyone puts their hand up to say that life is hard and it gets them down and they just wish it would stop, and it hits like a poison arrow into their pain, implying that if you’re not being or feeling strong, then you obviously aren’t relying on Christ’s strength. That can hurt almost as much as the original pain, and make us feel isolated and misunderstood by those closest to us – exactly how the enemy wants us to feel.

So how about we stop throwing out-of-context verses at our struggling brothers and sisters, and just agree with them that life is hard sometimes? How about we stop trying to make each other feel better and just allow one another to feel?

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The Storm Inside – trading the chaos…?

20140120-131612.jpg“Here is the Hope that you’re looking for. Here is the Truth you need” promises author Liz Curtis Higgs.

Quite a promise for a book I haven’t started yet. The praise for Sheila Walsh’s newest book goes on for three pages at the front, with names as big as Amy Grant and Joni Eareckson Tada applauding it. Even Kay Warren, who lost her son to suicide last year, says “Sheila understands.”

I’ve been given the privilege to be a part of the launch team for Shelia’s latest book: The Storm Inside: Trade the chaos of how you feel for the truth of who you are. Part of this privilege is the opportunity to read the book earlier than everyone else and let other people know what I think of it.

I’m a huge fan of Sheila Walsh, but even I wasn’t sure that she could achieve what the cover claimed. So much of my life is dictated by chaos – the chaos of bipolar, of managing and preventing mood episodes, and the frustration of being told that God has a plan for my life that must include this illness I struggle with.

And yet, as early as the introduction I am somehow convinced. In her intro, Sheila writes about a speaking event that saw her talking to a group of women in full time Christian ministry. Many of us would be intimidated by such a group of women – I speak to groups fairly frequently, and this certainly isn’t a gig I envy. And yet Sheila’s perception was not of a group of totally sorted women:

“I thought of the women I would speak to in just a short while and wondered if Christ’s promised gift of peace was tangible to them today or if they were facing such devastating storms that peace felt like a distant dream.” (p.xii)

A ‘devastating storm’ is exactly how I have described having bipolar disorder to people with little or no understanding of what it’s like to live a life dictated by moods that blow in unexpectedly, wreaking havoc and leaving confusion and desolation in their wake. From the first few pages this seems like a book I can get on with, written by a woman who understands what it’s like to have your world turned upside down by mental illness (Walsh spent a period in a psychiatric ward when ill with severe depression, and is open about still taking medication). I am left feeling understood by someone I’ve never met.

On the first page, before Sheila’s writing even makes an appearance, Christine Caine, founder of A21, tells me to “read it as soon as you can.”

That’s me told then. In I delve….

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Back in the world….

So, I disappeared.

Not so much disappeared, as fell into an enormous hole that was so dark I couldn’t see the footholds to get out.

October started off so well. I actually thought I was doing okay, and took my eye off the ball, and once I stopped thinking about bipolar, even for a moment, symptoms crept up and caught me by surprise.

Even reading my last post on this blog, I can see how much I was kidding myself at the time. For me, a week of hypomania felt great in so many ways, but looking back – and talking it over with those around me – I was not as fun to be with as I thought I was. I was childish, petulant, and thoroughly teenager-ish when told I wasn’t allowed to go out in my car and find a bar at 5pm on a Saturday evening. I apparently sulked. So it seems that the high wasn’t all high.

For a week or so, I thought I’d got away with it, that there would be no repurcussions, but then the depression set in, and literally sucked the life out of everything. I cried for Britain, slept for Europe, and became blind to the sparkle in my children’s eyes. A season of numbness came in with the cold, sad weather, and lifting my fingers to type was as impossible as lifting my feet to walk or my mind to hope.

So, I disappeared.

But I’m back! And hopefully to stay – not hypomanically overdoing it with eighty four posts a day as I find my fingers and start to craft sentences again, but as my normal self, as I start to find out again what that is. I’ve taken up again the things I lost in the fog – like singing, guitar playing, socialising, knitting – and am starting to enjoy life again.

I’m also heading back into work. My main job, which I was never able to give up, and was probably the one thing that kept me from giving up, is parenting MiniMe and MicroBob. They are as awesome as ever, surprising me every day with something new they do. All of a sudden, MiniMe can read. And MicroBob is doing sums like they’re going out of fashion. They are amazing – despite their mother and her crazy moods.

My other work is all writing and book related. I have a new book coming out this month, which I will be saying more about as the days go on. The launch of my new website was supposed to coincide with the book release, but depression stole so many weeks that I fear the website work will fall behind. Still, I am writing copy whenever I can, and The Cable Guy will be doing the restyling as we go along. Adullam Ministries has always had a place in my heart, but has been let go of over the past few years of having children. Hopefully, MicroBob starting nursery will give me more time to work on this area of my calling, and give me the opportunity to bring Adullam up to date with all that social media can do to further the cause of raising awareness of self-harm.

I’ve also been given the special opportunity of being part of the launch team for a new book by Shelia Walsh. The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are acknowledges and speaks against the wrong things we believe about ourselves – and our life experiences – with the irrefutable Word of God. I’m so excited to be part of the team, and looking forward to sharing some of the life lessons as I read – giving a sneaky peek into what the final copy will contain! This is what Shelia says about her latest offering:

It’s clear that as women we all face storms so I’ve poured the last two years of my life into asking the question-how do we handle these storms and navigate the tough seasons in life? If we rely on our emotions alone we are in danger of serious shipwreck but I know that God’s Word is like a lighthouse on the darkest night that will guide us safely to shore. So that’s my prayer for each one of you.

So, exciting times! I pray for everyone reading that this coming year will be one of blessing and truth, that you will know God and see his unique plans for and that your mental and physical health would be stable and less burdensome than before.

I’m so thankful to be back in the world.

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Nominated!

Tony Roberts, who blogs at A Way With Words has nominated me for a Liebster Award. I have absolutely no idea what this means, and don’t think I need to be dusting off the Oscar acceptance speech I’ve been polishing since I was ten, but I am grateful nonetheless.

As far as I can work out, I need to copy and paste the award guidelines (check) and then think up ten insightful but humourous questions (slightly harder).

So here goes…..

The rules:

  • Each nominee must link back to the person who nominated them
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

My Answers to Tony’s Questions

  • What is your favorite punctuation mark?

So many to choose from and so little space! I’m tempted by the apostrophe just as a point of pride – it makes me feel good and somewhat smug that I am able to use it correctly when so many falter. That said, the punctuation mark I really can’t live without is the exclamation mark – who can be manic without them?!

  • Do you really believe man walked on the moon or have you come to accept the reality that it was a very elaborate Hollywood hoax?

I’m afraid I’m a believer. Film producers are too proud for one of them not to have laid claim to their work…

  • What brand of toothpaste do you use and why?

Sensodyne Rapide, because my dentist told me too. Because there’s not much that’s more important than dental hygiene.

  • Can you listen to John Prine (above) without smiling and/or Zoe Muth (above) without crying in your beer? (If yes) Are you human?

Leaving out the fact that I don’t drink beer (I realise I may be losing many followers as a result if that admission), it would seem I have some YouTube searching to do. It may be because I’m British,  but I’ve never heard of either of them….

  • Do you prefer print books or e-readers?

I’m all about the paper. I am aware that ebooks are more ecologically sound, take up less luggage allowance and normally cost considerably less, but until they can replicate the smell of faded paper I won’t be dissuaded.

  • Share a quote that you find inspiring.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” – Maya Angelou
OR
“You have brains in your head,
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself any direction you choose” – Dr Seuss
Please don’t make me choose….

  • If you write, what is the title of your work in progress? If not, what book are you currently reading?

The proofs for ‘Insight Into Self Harm” went to the publishers yesterday, so I don’t have a work in progress, which is such a relief! I’m currently reading An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamieson.

  • Favourite Beatle? (John, Paul, George, or Ringo) Why?

George. To be honest, I’m not really bothered, but no one ever says George, and I always go with the underdog.

  • What group of workers do you believe actually deserves to make what top entertainers and athletes make?

Teachers. In the UK we entrust our children to them thirty hours a week for twelve years and yet pay them a pittance. And you may think they get long holidays, but both my parents spent most of them working. I’d better stop there, before I can’t be removed from my soapbox…

  • Name one poster you put on your wall growing up.

Fox Mulder: “I Want To Believe”. I didn’t really, but I thought David Duchovny was hot…

My Nominated Blogs

This is really difficult, as most of the blogs I currently follow have between 200 and 300 followers. However, there are a couple who don’t reach the two hundred mark who thoroughly deserve to, and some new blogs that I’ve pledged allegiance to in the process of searching for nominees:

That’s ten, right? To be honest, I’m not always sure how to find out exactly how many followers each blogger has. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not (at least to me). Please forgive me if I’ve got it wrong….

My Questions, should you choose to accept them…..

  1. If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why? Feel free to make one up…..
  2. If you were a colour, what colour would you be? (I should probably admit to stealing this one, but it appeals to me, especially with the number of knitters/crafters on my nomination list…)
  3. If you won the lottery (those who don’t play, humour me), what would you do with the money?
  4. Can you name three books or movies that taught you something about life?
  5. When I was nineteen I had a Sliding Doors moment, where I could clearly see two different paths before me – university or mental hospital. Have you ever had one of these moments, and if so, which path did you take?
  6. How would you sum up mental illness in three words?
  7. The classic fantasy dinner party question – which three people would you invite? And, out of interest, what would be on the menu?
  8. What is your favourite place in the world?
  9. If you could speak to your twenty-one year old self, what advice would you give?
  10. Why did you start blogging and what keeps you doing it?

I think, I think, I am the proud recipient of a Liebster Award! Thank you, one and all.

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