Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June Favourites

Here are a few of my favourite things from this month:

My Jurassic World poster to mark the most epic film of the year.

I've been living on this Sanctuary Spa hand cream all month. The result: smoother and softer hands!

My new Mid-Year Academic Diary to keep myself organised and to-schedule all year!

My new stack of books for summer reading! 

Walks around campus as the sun sets.

Very frequents baths. They're just so relaxing, how could you not treat yourself?

My new window seat for all the summer reading I have to do.

My new favourite nail varnish is this Max Factor colour. 

And it's sunglasses season (finally)!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

What Connecting for Life really means

The morning Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Junior Minister for Health Kathleen Lynch launched a new national suicide prevention strategy – Connecting for Life.

The document has been welcomed by mental health organisations and campaigners across the country. And it does contain a lot of positive rhetoric. But what does it really mean for those of us who are fighting against stigma, working in the mental health sector, or us with our own history of mental illness, self harm and suicide? 

The strategy acknowledges the effectiveness of stigma reducing initiatives, such as Please Talk and the work of See Change, since the Reach Out report.

The next 5 years need a renewed focus on those vulnerable groups – young men, LGBT community, Travellers – and it’s recognised that a lot of work still needs to be done to address mental health in a proactive way with these groups. And the strategy aims to do this on a community level – with increased focus on training entire communities in SafeTALK, and the importance of the connections with family, friends and communities being emphasised. 

But there is no specific reference to one area that I am particularly worried about; the farming community (middle aged men are mentioned yes and people who work in isolation, but the farming community is particularly struggling with the affects of suicide, loneliness and isolation, and I would have liked to seen a stronger emphasis on them and specific measures to be taken to help a group that can be very much of the 'What will the neighbours think?').

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Weekend I Forgot My Phone In Work

I had a semi heart attack on Friday evening. At least that's how it felt. I was due on a bus back to Monaghan in 5 minutes and I couldn't find my phone. I was stuck somewhere between 'Maybe I left it in work..' and 'Did someone steal it?'

Normally I'd exit the building with it in my hand and I'd use it on the Luas. Not this day, only noticing when I got to the bus stop that there was no phone. Not in my jacket pockets. Not in the bag that I practically emptied on a shop floor in search. I just stopped short of opening my suitcase that I'd fully packed and zipped up the previous night.

And there was initial panic of 'What have I done?' and then freaking out about 'How will my parents know when/where to collect me?' and 'How did people cope just 15 years earlier without mobile phones?' (and a special shout out to the exceedingly nice gentleman who didn't hesitate to offer me his phone so I could call the one number I knew - my Dad's)

But after that, the weekend suddenly became a lot more freeing. No social media checks. No Pinterest-ing through a film. No contact outside of who was in the house. (Ok, ok, I did have access to the family laptop, but I think we can all agree that the smaller the screen, the more likely you are to be sitting with it in your hand).

I read the whole way home on the bus. I read every night until I fell asleep. I scrapbooked. I played fetch with the dog. I did my grocery shopping. I took the dog to the lake. I fed some baby calves. I drank a lot of coffee and tea. I helped my Dad fix the van. I tidied my wardrobe. I made my kitten go down a slide. I planned my outfits for the week.

It was kind of glorious.

I don't want to NOT have my phone with me in future. But I'm certainly not against using it less.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Luxury of Feeling Unmotivated

Here's the thing. When I felt low, down, crap, or even worse than crap in college, I could pull the duvet covers back up over my head and give up on the day.

It was freedom in a sense. Sure I had classes, but those were optional. And if attendance counted, they were only a minor few marks. You could easily convince yourself they didn't matter for the moment. Technically I had no commitments, no responsibilities. And I MISS THAT.

Being all grown up is fantastic. But this is one thing I definitely miss.

You see, there have been days when I have felt that 'even worse than crap' feeling. There are less of them now that it's summer. But they still come.

And no matter how awful I feel, I can't pull those duvet covers back up.

Sure I could call a sick day. One of those infamous 'mental health' days. But that would mean getting out of bed, getting a doctor's note and PROVING I am ill. That's a lot of effort for a depressive to muster.

I don't have the luxury of feeling unmotivated anymore.
I actually used that phrase to somebody recently. They were feeling unmotivated and I replied with 'I don't have the luxury of feeling unmotivated'. It was quite harsh. And not the rallying support I'd usually respond with. But the truth is that I needed to vent. I wished I could have been at home that day. I wished I could have pulled those covers back up.

For me, feeling unmotivated seemed like a luxury. Let me be clear, it's not. It's a symptom of depression. But being able to give in to a lack of motivation is a luxury I miss from my student days.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Questions I still don't know the answer to...

Why the weather forecast is so often wrong (and why do people hear different forecasts)?

Whether my cat actually likes me or not?

Why the 'new' guy in Insomnia still couldn't make a mocha after 3 weeks?

How anyone not British and bound by national patriotism could like and support Andy Murray?

Why Facebook has to notify me three times when it's someone's birthday?

What the REAL reason is for my dog sitting on my bed when I'm not around?

What the point of Sin, Cos and Tan actually is?

Whether Buffy really did fall in love with Spike in the end?

Why Denny had to die in Greys Anatomy (and why is he still the most attractive TV character I've ever known)?

What on earth went wrong for Molly Ringwald?

How does one get asked on a date?

Why so serious?

What do I do with all the ribbon I bought?

Will pharmacies ever stock foundation light enough for my skin tone?

How to be motivated when packing?

Will the 12 books I bought be enough for my summer reading?

Is there even a right way to pronounce 'quinoa'?

Do you tell someone when you don't want to be their friend anymore?

Will I ever own enough fox themed decor?

How to fain confidence?

How to actually BE confident?

How I've been so blessed with friends, work and life in Dublin?

Why my best friend and family have put up with me for so long?

Why is it so hard to stick up for yourself, but easy to stand up for those you love?

Ah life's endless riddles. Will we ever know the answers?

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

You Need to Feel Life's Terror

Something that's been a under-rated help for me over the years is reading about depression.
Learning about other people's experiences normalises it. It helps you feel so much less alone. And it's allowed me to grow with my mental illness and better understand it.

Matt Haig has become the latest in a line of authors to write about their experiences with mental illness. His book 'Reasons to Stay Alive' is a small little hard-backed book full of recollections, lists and surprisingly for a book about depression and anxiety - humour.

Whether it's those things your depression tells you, or what it's like to go to the shop in the height of your low, Haig doesn't ignore the fact that the behaviour of a depressive is highly irrational. By looking at irrational actions and thought patterns from a distance, they are funny, because it's strange to look back at how it effected your behaviour and how  far you've come.

He talks about the gulf between what you feel and what you're expected to feel. How you can have everything going for you and still fall apart. He points out how we should say 'because of my depression', rather than 'in spite of'. I am happy now BECAUSE of my depression, not in spite of it. I found what my true passions were BECAUSE of my depression, not in spite of it.

It can be tough reading books like this. They always remind you of  part of your mental illness that you'd forgotten.
"Oh, my brain felt fuzzy a lot of the time back then, just like how Matt describes it." "I remember always feeling clammy too."
It brings back repressed moments, emotions, and pain. But again, you must tell yourself that it is just a reminder of how far you have come.

One of my favourite parts of the book is Haig's list of celebrities. Rather than repeating those lists of dead celebrities, those who took their own lives in lost battles with the 'black dog', Haig celebrates those who made it through. Over two pages he names famous people who chose to live, who continued and continue to fight the 'black dog', who overcome mental illness on a daily basis.

Haig says;
"You need to feel life's terror to feel its wonder."
and I completely agree. I feel and experience true happiness every day now because I have come from something so awful. This book is a must read.

"The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we aren't able to see it."

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


I've got a little anecdote for you all today. One filled with realisations and life lessons for everyone.

I started off my bank holiday weekend with dinner and cocktails last Friday. This inevitably brought me to a bar. I say inevitably because where else would one get cocktails? And when you're 22, single, and at a bar there is an expectation to meet someone you are attracted to.

Maybe that expectation comes from friends, pop culture, family who are holding out hope for a wedding soon, or just from yourself. Sometimes we get sick of being single and lonely and tthat's okay too.
And I'm not overly fussy. I don't mean that in a bad way. Just give me a beard and a nice dresser and I'll swoon.
So I spotted myself a Glen Hansard lookalike. Now I don't know about you, but I'd never say Glen is the best looking guy in the world. Which is important to note for this story.
Hey Glen
I sent my wing-woman over. To her credit, she did amazing work, and to his credit, he came over to our table. But he took one look at me and shook his head. And it hurt like hell.

Monday, 1 June 2015

May Round-Up

This month was amazing, and full of so many little memories that I wanted to share with you all. Here's my Round-Up of what's been keeping me going for the past 4 weeks.

My favourite new Rimmel goodies. From foundation to primer to powder and lippie. Really loving the primer for a perfect look.

The month of May was metal health awareness month with the Green Ribbon campaign from See Change.

Wearing this with pride during the first 3 weeks of May as Ireland became an island of pride.

My darling friend gave me a little mini Iron Man.

My first ever Glossy Box this month was full of wonderful goodies; 

I wrote Good Luck Cards for my Junior Cert year group.

I bought this book, 'Reasons to Stay Alive' by Matt Haig, with an Easons voucher I had, and it was my best purchase of the month by far. 

Getting back into the crafting spirit by starting with my own card making station.

It's the little things like these that are so important to our mental health. Take care.