Life

Just Another Statistic

Disclaimer: I’m quite an open person these days but this is a subject I have only spoken about with my closest friends. It is something that has ruined my outlook on relationships and caused me to sabotage the majority of recent ones.

Many people, if not all, look back on their younger selves with a sense of nostalgia and cringe. From hairstyles to partners to the Facebook statuses that Time Hop insists you look at, we all look back on these things and wonder how we actually had friends.

I look back on my younger self with regret. I don’t understand how I could be so naive, so trusting and so dense in one go.

I trusted too freely and I loved too hard.

When I was younger, I classed rape as something that happened to people walking alone in dark allies by strangers.

I saw it as something that was violent and dangerous. It was something that would never happen to me because I was smarter than to go off alone and walk in the dark,

I was wrong.

90% of people know their rapist.

45% are committed by a partner.

And that is a statistic that I wish I didn’t fall into.

It took me years, literally, to understand it. I didn’t believe that someone I was dating could rape me. It didn’t make sense.

But unwanted, non-consensual sex is still rape.

Call me what you want. A liar, a drama queen. Say that I’m over reacting but I know what it was.

I didn’t want it.

‘If you loved me you would.’ A phrase that was often used when I said no.  We’re together and it’s what he wants so I should do as I’m told. Shouldn’t I? How else am I going to keep him happy?

I would feel guilty and I would give in because I loved him. It wasn’t what I wanted and I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d lie there, wishing it was over, wanting to be anywhere but where I was which just made the guilt even worse.

Nights out were the worst. Predrinking and then going out. I would always end up too drunk. Vulnerable. I would say no but that wouldn’t matter because you don’t know what you’re talking about when you’re drunk, right?

I don’t like to go into details, I just don’t want to really.

Our relationship was volatile but it wasn’t violent. My emotional and psychological state was shattered, beaten down into submission and I was so very unhappy but I didn’t understand why.

I look back now I’m older and I’m quite frankly disgusted in my naivety.

I can’t say I’m stronger for it. Hell, it has ruined my outlook on relationships. I’ve had nightmares about it but it’s over and I’m still rebuilding myself from it years later.

If you take anything from this post, take this. Rape in relationships is a thing. It is not acceptable and it is still rape even if they are your partner.

 

It’s not just women who are raped, men are also effected.

5% of reported rapes have male victims but this statistic doesn’t represent the real number as, commonly, men are less inclined to report their attacks.

I wish I had spoken to someone. God’s honest truth. It’s something that I wish I had addressed and understood at a younger age.

Sorry if this has caused anyone any upset. That was not my intention.

If you have been affected by it and need some help. Organisations such as Rape Crisis offer a lot of advice for both male and female victims.

Hopefully, I will be back with something more positive in the near futures.

For now, take these word from me.

One day, you will find someone that pushes the bad memories to the back and fills your life with joy. It may be a lover, it may be a friend. One day though, you will love and be loved so fiercely and your past will seem like a bad dream!

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Life

Dear Mum…

Dear mum,

Where do I start?

You’re my harshest critic. The one that knows which buttons to press to really anger me.

You never approve of my decisions: my make up is too much, my dress is too revealing, I drink too much, I spend money on crap, my taste in men is terrible.

You judge me harshly.

But you do it for all the right reasons.

My revealing dress nearly got me attacked one New Year.

My excessive drinking left me stranded 8 miles from home at 4am.

My taste in men leaves me pulling my hair out, crying and trying to make myself what they want.

Your seemingly harsh judgements are meant out of love. 

You worry about me. 

My dress and makeup give off the wrong impression.

My drinking and taste in men leave me vulnerable and easily exploited.

You’ve seen the best and worst moments of my life.

You’ve comforted me through the death of 3 friends, picking me up off the bathroom floor when I couldn’t move for crying.

You’ve bathed my cuts and sat by my hospital bed when I wanted to die.

You’ve been my rock and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for puking in your car when I got drunk underage (x10).

I’m sorry for ringing you to rescue me when I tried to walk the 10 miles home at 4am.

I’m sorry for the heartache and worry I’ve caused you. The fact you’ve never forgiven yourself for leaving me at the hospital *don’t worry, I forgive you*.

I promise you will always be my number 1.

I promise I will ring you everyday when I move away so you ‘don’t end up dead for days being eaten by the cat’ *her words, not mine*

I promise I’ll bring my future children to see you often and let you pick what they call you. Nan? Granny? *this is weird

I promise to always discuss a new Jonathan Creek episode with you and recommend you my latest good reads.

You’re my harshest critic and my biggest fan. I know you still have the bowl I made you when I was 8 *it’s lopsided and crudely painted. Please get rid*.

You made me the strong person I am today and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for all your love and nurturing over the years.

Love,

Josie

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Every parent/child relationship is different. You may be closer to one parent than the other. You may be from a single parent home/have guardians. Give them some love this Mothers day. A cuppa, a thank you, a smile. The little gestures.

Life

Second Date, Maybe?

People overestimate how many dates I go on. In my entire 23 years, I’ve been on 4 so I’m not exactly very knowledgeable about this malarkey.

I like the idea of the traditional dates but I’m easily bored so, after sifting through my own little brain, I came up with some date ideas that would guarantee I would be wanting a second.

*All of these ideas are my personal preference because, obviously, I can only write from my own point of view*

Zoo Dates

Okay, this would probably be the best and worst idea for a date for people like me. There would be a high chance that you wouldn’t be spoken to for long periods of time while I ran off to squeal at different animals. Ask yourself this though, if you got to watch this person you kinda/sorta like, wandering around, all shiny eyes and ear to ear smiles, how could you not decide then and there if you wanted a second date? It’s different. It’s special. It’s romantic and relaxing. It’s minimal effort really but with an outstanding effect.

Adventure Dates

Adrenaline rush with a side of hottie, anyone? Ultimate date goals. It takes into account your date’s interests and shows that you have actually listened to them…

Go Ape isn’t everyone’s cup of tea for a date. All that sweating and tomato face-ness isn’t exactly attractive but COME ON! Live a little. It’s so much fun plus one wrong move and your date will have to catch you when you fall.

Traditional Dates

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Right. Well. Admittedly, Alnwick Treehouse Restaurant isn’t your traditional date but it is a restaurant so I’m counting it, kinda. Traditional with a twist would be a better take on this. Restaurants and bars with some personality such as The Alchemist in Leeds are perfect settings for dates. They add character and stops your dates from blurring into the rest of the ‘let’s go for food/drinks and chat’ dates that are ever so popular.

 

I’m aware that not everyone will share my views on this. I just like a little more excitement in my life than the stereotypical drinks and a chat or cinema dates. I’d rather someone make an effort to do something that they know I will really enjoy.

Be original. Be unique. Step outside your comfort zone and you may be rewarded.

Until next time…

Toodles!

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Life

Embracing your Inner Ninja

Depression is both a selfish and selfless illness.

A never ending pit you’re desperately trying to climb out of without pulling anyone else in with you.

It’s a taboo subject. Rarely spoken about because of the stigma attached to having a mental illness.

Stefani Caminiti of The Inner Ninja Foundation is aiming to encourage those who are effected by mental health disorders to seek help by sharing her own experiences.

As a Formula 1 fan, I  was only made aware of The Inner Ninja Foundation when an interview with Daniel Ricciardo, notorious smiler and world’s fastest honey badger, became a supporter of the foundation.

I was amazed by how open and honest his interview with Fox was, stating that his ‘eyes had been opened’ and he had a ‘new understanding’ for depression and other mental illnesses.

Ricciardo became an ambassador for The Inner Ninja Foundation due to both his relationship with Caminiti *both are lifelong friends* and his belief that mental health wellbeing is a ‘fundamental aspect of keeping racing fit, successful and being able to tackle every day life’.

The Inner Ninja Foundation may be an Australian based support foundation but the principles are universal for both those suffering from mental illness as well as those who support those suffering.

It’s hard, near impossible, to see how those who love and try to support you are being effected by your struggle.

I asked some of my friends and family for their experiences of dealing with my depression.

‘I stay awake at night, worrying about you. I never know if you’re lying about being alright or if you’re fine. I feel sick with worry that one day I’m going to get a phone call saying you’re back in hospital. The worst thing I’ve ever done is leave you in hospital by yourself’ – a phrase I’ve heard my mother say many times. A regret she’s had since the day I attempted to kill myself at 16 *I have never held it against her*

My best friend will always be the one that has endured the worst; the mood swings, isolation, the razor blade to the wrist, sobbing until I can’t breathe.

I have never once asked any of my friends or loved ones how it’s affected their lives and, for that, I am truly sorry.

It takes strength to battle mental illness publicly or privately like Stefani Caminiti but it also takes strength to support those battling their demons, if you are educated about the illness or not.

Release your Inner Ninja and fight your demons or help those around you fight them. Everyone has their own Inner Ninja!

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Live. Breathe. Embrace.

For now,

Toodles!

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Life

Suicide Watch

7:17pm. I’ve not long got out of the shower, Blink 182’s ‘Adam’s Song’ is playing on shuffle and I’m completing my prework nightly routine of sorting my uniform out when I catch my reflection in the mirror.

Christmas has been kind to my heart, my waistline? Not so much. That’s not what has caught my attention.

Friday 13th January marks my 23rd birthday. A birthday I should technically not be here to see.

The white/silver slashes around my hips and the carvings on my wrists tell a story of a past I’ve learnt to embrace and grow from. They serve as a reminder of what I’ve been through.

The large white ones I remember well. I remember the tears when submersing them in the water in our bath, the sheer pain that made me want to scream.

It’s been nearly 7 years since I hit rock bottom. The poignant words in Adam’s Song have brought back a wave of memories I had once locked away.

Suicide is a difficult thing to address and talk about for anyone.

At 16, I had given up all hope. I was suffocating. I was miserable with my entire life. Tears no longer helped and I remember being numb beyond belief.

It was the day before my GCSE Chemistry exam but that was the last thing on my mind. I’d cried so hard I was verging on throwing up. I was inconsolable. Life was too much and there was no up, no light, I just wanted to sleep.

I was sitting in my pyjamas on my bed, my antidepressants in one hand and water in the other. It was the only option. In my mind at least.

30 tablets gone. I felt…relieved. Soon it would be over and everyone would be happy that I wasn’t there or so my thought was.

20 minutes later, I was sitting on my bedroom floor. Should I write a note? Should I tell someone why I did it? Will my mam blame herself?

That’s what got me. My mam.

I’m the youngest and her only girl. The thought of her finding my lifeless body brought me to my senses. She loved me no matter what. I was her baby *still am*.

It took more courage to walk down those 15 stairs than it did to swallow 30 tablets.

The look on her face. The crumbling, distraught look.

‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! WE NEED TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL’

I spent 4 hours in the hospital waiting room. Apparently, it’s very difficult to actually kill yourself with my antidepressants which, in hindsight, is a Godsend.

Hours of blood tests marked the beginning on my night.

‘Do you know how stupid you were? You could have killed yourself?’

‘I know. That was the point’

I was too emotionally and physically drained to be dealing with the doctor’s ‘tough love’ approach to be anything other than a snarky bitch.

I spent the night in hospital. Hourly blood tests to check my liver *no permanent damage*.

My mam didn’t stay the night. A decision she says she will regret for the rest of her life, she would have been watching me sleep and have my bloods taken constantly so I never held a grudge.

It’s a long time ago now, almost another lifetime ago. I’m a different person, a more positive person *not that I could have been anymore negative*.

If you hold on and decide you need to live, if you’re determined, you will get better.

It’s hard. Hell, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Living when I didn’t want to but, bloody hell, it has been worth it.  Every birthday is a gift I don’t deserve.

If in doubt, if you ever need to laugh or smile, google Chicken in Pants.

YOU’RE WELCOME!

Hopefully, real smiles will soon be gracing your face.

Toodles!

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Life · Me

Is it all cuddling cute animals?

It’s 11:30 pm.

I’m cold, exhausted and I think something has peed on me. I’m trudging across the ice covered car park and I’ve not long woken up 2 owners to give them updates about their pets.

My shift was supposed to end at 7 pm but I didn’t leave till near 8, knowing I would have to be back for last checks at 11 so a nap was pretty out of the question.

This is a small snapshot of life as a veterinary nurse.

Veterinary nursing is tough. It’s several years worth of training, constant exams (depending on the route you take), a progress log that you complete in your own time to show that you’re ‘competent’ at certain skills and finally, you have your OSCEs or practical exams which consist of completing 12 different stations that you have to complete in 6 minutes. I’m still a SVN (student vet nurse) because my OSCEs are my downfall.

Update: I have now actually passed my OSCE exams and am finally a qualified VN.

It’s a career you go in to for the love of animals, not for the money.

On average, a vet nurse earns 18 grand a year, not taking into account that you have to pay to be held on a register so you’re able to call yourself an RVN or registered veterinary nurse, you also have to complete 30 hours of CPD. It is not a career you get into on a whim that’s for sure.

Veterinary nurses are ‘jokingly’ referred to as glorified cleaners. We spend an exceptional amount of time cleaning. However, we also do a hell of a lot more.

We monitor anaesthetics, XRay nose to tail, carry out blood tests and microscopy, run nursing consults for a variety of things (where do you think all the fat labradors go to lose their podge?), we’re the first port of call for advice, the blur of colour in the background as we run from one end of the practice to the other, we’re the one’s holding your pets paw for the scary bit, the list is endless really. We do the nitty, gritty, shitty jobs that people don’t take into account.

General day to day life depends on the environment you work in. I work in a small animal, first opinion practice. Anything specialised will get referred but that doesn’t stop our days being busy.

Christmas in the veterinary world is manic and, to be brutally honest, depressing. November and the start of December mark the ‘Christmas clear out’ where the amount of euthanasia appointments increase ten fold. It’s a harsh and sad truth about how some people view their animals, possessions and not family.

I remember discussing this with a vet during one such appointment. The owner had opted not to stay, a very common outcome as only 1 in 3 will stay for the entire thing. The dog was old, 14 if I remember rightly, she was scared and wriggly. The fear in her eyes was heartbreaking and I asked the vet ‘Can you imagine how scary this must be? You’ve been left by a family you’ve been with since you were 8 weeks to be wrestled by strangers as they stab you with needles’.

Many want to remember the good and just don’t want their last memory to be of their friend in such a poor condition but some, the minority, won’t care.

We cry with you. The job is sad, beyond sad sometimes. Don’t think we just forget about your pets! We carry them with us. We seek out their lab results, their referral histories. We check their records and the appointment lists to see how they’re getting on. It’s not something that is left at the door and forgotten about.

We’re bitten, scratched, scarred by your pets. We go home covered in vomit, urine, faeces, food, blood because of your pets.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are many highs after lows. You build friendships with owners and pets alike. If I see on the appointment list that one of my favourite patients and/or clients is coming in then I’ll wait around for a cuddle and a catch up. You get to see the knocking on death’s door cases come bouncing back in like nothing has ever happened. Now THAT makes the hours of stress, tears and intensive nursing worth your while.

You develop a somewhat dark, inappropriate humour. You will laugh at the stupidest things and swap stories about what the strangest foreign body you’ve seen is or weirdest thing a clients ever said to you. Or, in my case, your most awkward/embarrassing nursing consult moment was.

My crowning moment is during a first vaccination check when I was attempting to see if the pup in question had both testicles descended and I casually twirled him round, saying ‘Okay sweets, let’s have a check of your bits’ only for his owner to reply with ‘I wish all women were that keen the first time they met me’. Hello me turning a beautiful shade of lobster red.

Or a time an owner told me to be careful of her male dog because he pees when he’s excited and, without thinking *surprise surprise* responded with ‘not a good quality in a man’.

It’s rewarding, not financially but intellectually as well as socially. You meet some amazing people, you learn new things every day (I’m constantly being taught about orthopaedic implants and new surgical techniques, I don’t need to know about them but it’s interesting). Your regular clients end up seeing you as one of their own.

Not every reward should be of monetary value. Veterinary staff are often told we’re ‘only in it for the money’ if you saw how hard we all work then you would understand that that is a load of BS! I am 23 with scarred arms and hands from bites and scratches, a bad back from the constant heavy lifting as well as being stood in the same position for hours during anaesthetics and a body clock which has no idea when it’s supposed to be alert or asleep.

The best things in life as worked for. The harder the work, the more rewarding the outcome and I like to think that I work pretty damn hard!

So, next time you take your pet in for something; an operation, a blood test, something that requires your pet to be ‘taken out the back’ *normally a prep room to find a multitasking nurse to hold your pet*, thank all staff. Nurses work as hard as vets but are often overlooked and forgotten about because we’re in the background and our job is ‘easy’.

Anyway.

Here’s some lovely pictures of the one little life that we saved after he crashed on the table 3 times having a snooze on my bed/me because he needed all night observations so home he came.

And here is one of my favourite ladies looking rather scared and deciding my knee was the perfect place to go for comfort. Cuddles are the perfect thing to make any little or big one feel better.

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Hope you all enjoyed a brief run through of what life as a VN is like.

 

Toodles!

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Life

What Do You Have To Be Depressed About?

‘What do you have to be depressed about? You have family, friends, looks, health, a job. It’s the perfect existence.’

A question I and many others that suffer from depression are routinely asked.

Why do we have to justify our reasons behind this crippling mental illness?

My life has not been, nor is it, picture perfect.

If you look through my social media from my younger years, and once you’ve filtered through the cringe, pointlessness and general crap, you will see the depressing statuses. The cries for help. Or the cries for attention as everyone would tell me.

‘If you were really depressed then you wouldn’t want anyone to know’

‘It’s pathetic how far you will go for the attention’

As I’ve stated in previous posts, my depression stems from self esteem issues and bullying so my looks have been a personal sore spot for me. Hey, they still are. But when I was younger, stupider you could say, more influenced by others opinions and comments about my looks and weight, then it was far worse.

 

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This is me at 16. I’d already been diagnosed with depression, was trying to play off the fact I was alright before going home and cutting myself. I’d been hospitalized after one failed suicide attempt and had lost 3 stone because I didn’t think I deserved food so I wouldn’t eat unless it was with the family (my mam was hawk eyes when it came to me eating dinner). I wasn’t anorexic, I did eat, it was just once daily. I survived on chewing gum, diet coke and an extreme smoking habit. 90% of my weekly calorie intake was the alcohol I would binge on on a Friday night after being dragged out the house to keep up appearances that I was getting better.

229581_10150578592515323_4442606_n Also me at 16. Comfort eating had replaced cutting. Still binge drinking. Completely hating myself. My weight had sky rocketed. I was pushing size 16/12st. I felt vile. I looked vile but food was my main comfort.

All this happened within a few months. This was my depression taking over my life, my mind, my body. Ruining me slowly until I decided to take control.

I got help. The NHS counselling is good if you’re willing to open up and let yourself be vulnerable. I wasn’t. The thought of telling another person, out loud, that I hated my own body because others had made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be happy because I  was fat.

I spoke to friends. I was on medication. My weight stayed high. I was still fat but I was happier. My relationship ended. A new one began and I was happy for a few years.

But things change. That small voice in the back of your head gets louder one day, when you’re tired, drained, feeling down and out.

‘Would everyone else not just be happier if you weren’t here?’

‘You know that you’re just the last resort when they don’t have anyone else to go to’

The stupid, irrational thoughts aren’t irrational anymore and you believe that, yea actually, maybe everyone would be happier without me here. You think of the bad, the times you’ve made people upset or angry and the next thing you know, you’re crying and there’s blood running through your fingers. You don’t really remember where you got your blade from, that stash you kept ‘for emergencies’ (seriously man, what rational person has an emergency stash of razor blades? Hi, I did). You’re bleeding but you don’t really know what the damage is. How deep have I gone? Am I actually going to have to dress this or will pressure be alright?

It’s not even an addiction. It’s not the thrill of pain, it’s not perverse. It’s the need to feel and pain is the strongest feeling you can cause yourself. An escape from the numbness.

I got help. Again. I didn’t want to go back to that place. That vicious circle of tears, blood and suicidal thoughts.

I’ve been back on medication for several months now and I’m pretty happy. Antidepressants aren’t the be all and end all. You have to put in the work yourself. Change your outlook on life, want to get better, want to improve.

That’s what I did. I did CCBT (computerized cognitive behaviour therapy for those who don’t know the psychology lingo), I took up running and general exercise, I tried to look for the positives and I got rid of the negatives.

I discovered Headspace. LIFE SAVER! 10 minutes out of your day to just sit and breath. Their depression and self esteem sessions are actual life savers and I would sing their praises from the roof tops if I could climb on my roof.

I got more involved socially…. Well, on Twitter and I’ve met some amazing people who have changed my life.

I’ve changed because I was willing to do anything to get better.

I look better. I feel better. I am better. I owe my happiness, my genuine smiles to some of the people in these pictures. To the mother who texts me most day to see if I’m alright and checks my arms if they’re covered up. To the two girls I’ve known for only a few months but have turned my world on it’s head and had me smiling day in/day out. And to the  old friends who have stuck by me through tears, mental breakdowns, self isolation and all the other shit I’ve put you through.

Just because my social media looks fine. Looks happy. Does not mean for one second you can judge my past and my reasons for my depression. Self esteem is just the tip of a very big iceberg but it is the most visual one to write about.

Anyway!

Thanks for putting up with my extremely depressing posts recently. I will move on to some more cheery stuff in the New Year.

But for now…. Have a very Merry Christmas and a drunken New Year. I pray your hangovers pass quickly and, if you work in retail, a massive good luck!

Toodles!

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