Its been a while lads n lasses, for which I can only apologise…..

My heads bin in a shed for a few months, we all know by now I’ve got bipolar, well it hit me pretty hard at the start of last year and I’ve spent a few months getting my act together and working on a separate project to try and give my head a break…. I think its working…. We’ll I’m ‘ere so something must have changed.

I know loads of people who are suffering with the January blues… My marra reckons its summa to do wid the eclipse or summat…. Which I think is a load of tosh…. But I wrote something similar in a blog I did last year for a magazine… so maybe it isn’t?

January Blues though…. Like as much as I love the festive season, there has got to be a way for us to make the January blues a little easier on ourselves….. today is officially blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year. Peoples Christmas Credit card bills have been sent out. Its still 2 weeks to payday for most people…. And it feels likes years since we were last paid.

Its something silly like 349,360 people will call in sick today, just because they feel like “bleurgh” and Northumbria police have released a statement stating that they put safeguards in place as they expect to receive more calls tomorrow in regards to mental health that any other day……I am not kidding…. click the link….

As a society I genuinely think we need to do more to stop this from happening. Like it has a name…. the depressed feeling of tomorrow has a name, we’re calling it blue Monday… if we can give it a name and have these stats about it, then surely we can sit down and work out a way to make it easier on ourselves?

Less pressure at Christmas to spend so much money? Lets stop comparing our lives on social media to such a point that everyone is walking around like an anxiety ridden mess?

We buy into the whole “New Year, New Me” Rubbish, and by this point we’ve made 75 New Years Resolutions and we’ve no been able to keep one, so now we sit and berate ourselves for being such a failure…. We just crash and burn.

For the past 2 days I have hidden in my house and I can honestly say all I’ve done is sleep and binge watched loads rubbish on Netflix. I’m struggling to prioritise things and my pile of paperwork is getting bigger and bigger.

So for all of you who are perhaps feeling the same way, or just need a little nudge in the right direction. Here are my top tips on getting yourself together and back on the productive path (no moon worshipping required)

  • Breathe.
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There’s a lot to be said for ten minutes alone in your room with a bit of breathing space. My advice is to take to your bedroom and have a moment, breathe deeply and concentrate on the feeling of your belly going in and out. Sounds daft, but it works, well it does for me.

  • Prioritise.

This always something I struggle with. When I get overwhelmed with work and blogs and paying bills, sorting paperwork planning etc. My brain just shuts down and I can’t concentrate on anything, I can’t make decisions, I lose my nerve to phone people I literally don’t do anything, everything comes to a standstill. But that’s not how real life works, the bills still need to be paid, my work still needs to be done and if I don’t get to grips with it, I end up in a right mess. So I do the one thing that most people won’t….Ask for help!

Yes, these are the things that we are supposed to be able to do, sorting car insurance, and paying rent, paying bills, doing a planning session for work. Seems fairly straightforward to most people, for those of us with issues, it’s hard, and no one admits it! Well I’m admitting it. Sometimes, I need someone to help me write a list of priorities and help me work through them and tick them off.

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  • Make time for friends and family

This seems fairly obvious. But to me, it can honestly be the hardest thing in the world. Like, when I start going downhill, I struggle to clean the house, do the washing…do all the menial tasks that need doing. Then I become ashamed of my house and I don’t invite anyone round. I can’t be on with doing my make up, so I stop going out, sorting my hair out becomes a massive challenge so eventually my social life stops and I making crap excuses to my friends and family as to why I can’t meet them, or go to events. The best one, is the last minute “crisis” that I must deal with when in actual fact, I’m lying in bed, with minging hair, smelling like a badger’s armpit wishing someone would come and save me.

So… how do we sort this one out….  dya know what, my answer is simple. Your friends are your friends because they like you for who you are, swallow your pride and ask people to come see you, your real friends won’t care about the pile of dishes, or the greasy mop on your heed. Yeah folk can be judgemental, and if they are then they’re not your real friends. Having a mental health issue soon teaches you who your real friends are, and this is one of those occasions when it shows. If you reach out for help, those who care will help, those who care will come to you and make an effort to understand what you’re going through.

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  • Acceptance.

Accepting how you feel is something that you think you do, but you don’t really and often you don’t realise it. That voice in the back of your head that tells you that you’re a failure for not being able to keep on top of the housework, that voice that tells you that you’ve failed because paying the bills has overwhelmed you, the voice that tells you that you’ve failed your family, the voice that tells you that you’re worthless. Would you speak to your friends the way that voice speaks to you? No… didn’t think so.

So, the house is a tip, you smell like a dustpan and you could fry chips in your hair… but…. What can you do? I find that when I feel this way out I can get quite creative, so I write, I write blogs, I do research, I make lists of how I’m going to pull myself out of this whole. And although it doesn’t solve all of the problems I think I have, at least its doing something productive. A couple of my friends I know knit or do crochet, my fella creates music, my friends mum creates mosaics, and I recently took to colouring in…. yes you heard me right, I’ve gone right back to my childhood I’m working my way through a Harry Potter colouring book made for adults. Positivity really does start with the smallest of things, if you can accomplish something, anything… then the next accomplishment will be a further step in the right direction to getting your life back together.

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  • Be Selfish

Yep, go against everything that’s been drummed into you about caring for others and treat others how you want to be treated. If you have mental health issues, you will automatically want to save the world and everyone in it….. Because you know from personal experience just how bad it can get, and you absolutely do not want it to happen to anyone else. But listen, all that energy you’re putting into helping everyone else should be saved to help you climb out of your hole. No one is going to die if you can’t help others. No one is going to die if you ask work to lighten the load a little for a while, Sandra at the office will cope if you aren’t able to organise he charity gig, Michelle from round the corner will be fine if you can’t watch her kids for a couple of weeks. As much as it might hurt, everybody else’s world does not revolve around you. They will survive for a while whilst you take some time out to regroup. And if someone takes the hump coz you’ve had to back off the volunteering then they’re not interested in your wellbeing and you as a person, they’re using you.

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So, Lads and Lasses…. Onwards through January. Be bit kinder to yourself, ask for help and be a little selfish. The feeling won’t last forever and if it starts becoming a real problem then seek help, get yourself to the GPs surgery, look up First Steps and give them a call, there’s also Mind who have a scheme called the Lighthouse, they have trained volunteers who can help you get your head straight, no judgements.

If you’re struggling an want more information on what help there is, feel free to drop me an email and I can point you in the right direction, similarly if any of this was of any use to you, let me know… sometimes it’s nice to know my ramblings are useful!

All my Love

CL xx

PS. My email is: info@cumbrianlass.com

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