Category Archives: Personal

Time To Talk 2016

Has it been a year already since my last Time to Talk post?! That is terrifying.

What I want to share this time is the truth as I see it. When someone tells you they have a mental illness what do you think? Will it change your view of that person? Will it change your relationship with that person? Will you have to act differently around that person?

The answer to all of these things is no. The person is no different than they were before they told you. In fact it is rare that people with mental illness open up with people about how they are actually feeling.

If anything you should have positive thoughts about the person trusting you so much that they can talk to you about their mental health.

As someone with mental health issues – I am very open about my conditions and actively try to start useful discussion on the subject as well as support others with similar issues. One of the best yet hardest lessons to learn with mental illness is you are not alone. However, I also know from experience that every single persons mental health is 100% unique to them. My anxiety will not be the same as every other person with anxiety. Similar traits and physical symptoms, yes, but identical no.

I, like many other people with mental health issues, spend a lot of effort trying to be “normal” and to cope internally. We disguise ourselves so well that no one notices we are ill. We go about our day and no one would know that inside we are at war – with out own minds.

I wrote the rest of this article specifically to illustrate what it’s like in my little unique head sometimes. During a panic attack. It wasn’t easy to do but it’s the most honest I could be. So, here goes:

Right here, right now. I am in the midst of what I call a functional panic attack. I’m not sitting hyperventilating into a bag just yet, I’m functioning; I look normal or even relaxed on the outside but inside I’m panicking.

What are you panicking about? I hear you ask. Nothing I don’t think – I woke up like this for some reason.

What are you thinking? Normal thoughts and questions but FAST everything is like constantly going downhill on a rollercoaster. This is my inner monologue:

“You should sort out James’ lunch”
“You need to take out the bins NOW!”
“Empty the dishwasher – there are too many dishes on show!”
“Now take your meds”
“You have a cold, make a hot drink”
“You should have something to eat – why haven’t you eaten yet?”
” Why haven’t you taken out the bins yet? – You should have done that by now”
“My god my back is sore”
“There are too many papers on the table sort that”
“But wait you haven’t had breakfast yet”
“You should do that article now that you said you would write during your next attack – if you don’t whats the point in your blog?”
“Don’t panic too much you’ll have a seizure”
“That breakfast isn’t very healthy”
“You haven’t taken your meds yet”

And so on.

While this is all going on – my autonomic nervous system has kicked in – this is the fight or flight side of the nervous system. The side that works when someone attacks you or you need to run away from a lion – this makes my heart go at 124 beats per minute (I measured it on S Health on my phone) as well as this my hormone control has released adrenaline (what they inject into people having in anaphalactic shock) and a whole cocktail of other wonderful stuff. Just to perpetuate the feeling that all these tasks are actually life or death situations and not just tasks.

I’m now going to go sit and try to calm my panic a little.

So there you have it. Nobody could tell if they looked at me. Neither the physical or the mental stress shows on the outside.

Mental illness is exhausting but it’s part of who I am. I just need to learn to control it and accept it.

One of the best ways you can help all the people you know who have mental illness, or even someone who you just think needs a little extra support is to talk to them. Let them  know you are there, you will not judge and you care about them. It will help. Maybe not immediately, but it will in the long run.

It’s time to change, it’s time to talk.

GFG x

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RIP Lemmy and Bowie

bow1Music has been my main source of comfort, escape and expression since I can remember. When I’m happy I listen to music, when I’m nervous I listen to music, when I have pain I use music to transport me away from the situation – to escape.

When I was about 7 in primary school we done a project on space where we were to bring something about space to show and talk about. I brought in my mums cassette dutifully placed at the beginning of Space Odyssey. The musical adventure of a astronaut called Major Tom talking to Ground Control. A song that I listened to over and over again as a child and still do.

When I was around 10 I was given a compilation cassette with among other awesome songs “Ace of Spaces” by Motorhead. I would listen to this CD over and over and I remember jumping up and down on my bed air guitaring thinking I was an epic rock star.

As a teenager I was privileged enough to see Lemmy perform in Motorhead in Glasgow at what was then the Carling Academy. It was an amazing gig and I adored every second of it – they rocked my little world and their stage presence was astounding. It was so good that I could not hear in my lectures and labs for three days – they definitely turned it up to 11!

All the way up to now and I’m sure in the future I will turn to these great men’s creations for an emotional outlet. They’re songs are amazing and they will live on through their musical legacy.

If there is an afterlife then it just got a whole lot cooler to be there!

GFG x

 

 

 

Possibly TMI…

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Hello everyone,

I haven’t shared what I am about to tell you all with anyone outside of my family till now but I am so excited about this new treatment that I want to shout it from the rooftops. So I will start at the beginning.

As you know I have severe food intolerances but what I haven’t shared is that my intestines and colon don’t work properly since I got my appendix removed 2 years ago. It’s called “chronic slow transit”. From when I eat food till I see it again in the bathroom can take anything up to 28 days according to a test I had last year where I took x-ray detectable tablets and then got regular x-rays to trace their progress.

I also have epic chronic constipation (here comes the TMI part). I have gone for 32 days without any bowel movement at all. During this I was given every treatment possible, including the powders that are normally exclusive to pre colonoscopy preparation. To have a movement at all I take laxatives morning and night (ducosate sodium or bicosadyl) and I have tried various weird and wonderful herbal remedies, I will try mostly anything once…

…Nothing worked, until an emergency appointment with a local doctor when I was on holiday in Kent (32 days of no movement and on holiday, it wasn’t fun) I was prescribed suppositories. After a few days of using them morning and night I finally went. When I returned home from my holiday I visited my GP and cried. I was sick (and still am) of being bloated, uncomfortable, looking heavily pregnant and being generally miserable. He re-referred me to my gastroenterology nurse that I had seen post appendectomy to see if she had any ideas. She did.

When I visited her we chatted about how I was managing my stomach and she told me there is only one treatment method left before I need to be referred to the surgical team – to discuss the possibility of a stoma. A stoma – the words I had been dreading but prepared for – my anxiety always thinks the worst case scenario and here I was – living it.

So the last thing we could try before I need to be referred to a surgeon was a little device called the Qufora Mini System. It’s a self irrigation system. Yess – self irrigating – me, who has self cleanliness OCD. However, I am willing to try anything with the prospect of some semblance of normality with my toilet visiting time.

I’m not going to go into details because that really would be TMI, however, I have now been using the Qufora Mini System for a week now (4 times in total) and I have to say – it is like I have someone else’s colon! It is fast (by comparison to the suppositories which can take up to 4 hours to work, if at all), reliable (I haven’t not been successful in it’s use yet and I am much more comfortable in myself. It is a little sore inside my abdomen but that will be my colon returning to a normal size. I am impressed and so, so happy with this system. Even although it is likely to be a life long situation, I am so pleased that I have found something that is so almost normal in terms of time it takes and success rate.

If you have any questions feel free to ask – I will answer them as soon as possible.

GFG x

My brain

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I have the full results of my EEG.

I don’t have epilepsy – hooray!

It’s not my heart – hooray!

I’m having “Non Epileptic Attacks” – to me that’s not really a diagnosis. It’s more a statement of what it’s not.

My brain is so wired about something that it is choosing to literally shut me down. Sometimes by just to a staring blankly into space and shutting out reality and othertimes, the scariest times, by making me totally unconscious.

Obviously my brain can’t cope with whatever it is… now all I need to do is work out what it is, work through it and deal with it then the attacks should stop… Easy right?

TL:DR – Mental illness strikes again in the form of “non epileptic attacks”- it maybe all in my head but that’s where my brain is.

GFG x

World Mental Health Day 2015

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Hello everyone,

It seems fitting that I should come back to my little corner of the web today on World Mental Health Day as the main reason for my absence is just that; my mental health hasn’t been that great. As some of you know from my Time to Talk post on the 5th of February I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive and Depressive episodes.

Right now, I am in the midst of a bit of a heady mix of them all although the good news is after waiting quite a while (my phone assessment was on the 8th of June!) I have finally been placed with a psychologist and we had our first session. She seems knowledgeable and I think we will work well together. So here’s hoping this is the start of recovery for me… or at least a little closer to living “normally”.

Recently I was asked where there any good points to my mental illnesses and if offered, would I get rid of my mental illness if I could?  So I thought I would share my answer with you here today. My answer is in reference to when my mental illness is under control and not as volatile as it is at the moment (aka “a good day”)

So the good bits:

1. I can actually work really well under pressure as I am more or less constantly under pressure in my mnd so external pressure doesn’t really phase me too much usually.

2. People find me very open and non judgemental as I know all too well how hurtful judgement can be.

3. My experience has given me the drive to help others in the situations I have been in and to battle against all mental health stigma.

4. I am very emotionally in tune with others.

5. I am an excellent at seeing all possible outcomes of any risk quickly as my brain is wired to see all problems far ahead of time.

6. When I’m not full blown OCD and I’ll I’m actually just really neat and organised.

7. I am humbled that my openess about my mental health has led other people to come to me in their darkest hour and ask to talk. This is what everyone with a mental illness needs. To talk. It really does save lives.

8. I think that when timed correctly aspects of mental illness are strength. Caring for an ill relative through the night? – insomnia. Need to work out all possible outcomes for your hypothesis for a lab report? – What if anxiety. Making your final draft of your PhD poster to present at a conference? – perfectionism.

Sometimes our greatest weaknesses are also our strength.

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people. Next time you are out and about look around you. For every 4 you count one is likely to be just like me. We hide it well. So well we often joke to each other about it. But inside our heads behind our smiles we need someone to say it’s OK I’m here you can talk to me.

So talk to someone today. Have a cuppa and a chat. It’s good to chat.

Love, GFG x

The Orange Headband

2 weeks ago I took part in Tough Mudder Scotland in support of Scottish Spina Bifida Association. I managed to raise £115 for them which is awesome and I earned my headband! Yey! I hobbled clambered and carefully climbed my way round the course, completed all the obstacles except 2 (although it did take a lot of assistance and encouragement from the staff and my team <3) The staff were wonderful and helped a little with movement when it got a bit tough and extra water. I cannot thank them enough – they were amazing!

James was an amazing support as always I wouldn’t have signed up or crossed the finish line.

Without further ado, here are a few photos of us getting muddy.

inthistogetherJames looking ever so dainty in the mud

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Me looking happy yet terrified at the first obstacle.

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The Arctic Enema is a tad cold!

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Our team mate Tony – hopping mud mile

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My adopted team mate and fellow hobbler Louise

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My super hero James doing the Funky Monkey

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Yes that is my bare hands touching mud 🙂

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Team Eeboo – together there is no can’t.

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Together we can accomplish anything.

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We just might need a lie down after.

It took me a while to recover – I still am in bits of me. But that orange headband is mine and boy did I earn it.

Is Mud Gluten and Wheat Free?

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Tough Mudder Scotland is tomorrow.

Arrrrgggggghhhhhh!

If you don’t know what tough mudder is… here is a link to a video

Yeah.

That.

Hahaha.

I’m doing THAT.

TOMORROW.

Have I trained?

Physically – kind of as much as is humanly possible in the house when my back and shoulders are the way they are and I have a current allergy to… something unknown. I know my physical limitations – they are many and despite being a sports person I get sore just standing more of the time. Tomorrow is going to hurt. I know it is. Not only tomorrow for probably for a good while after. I just need to pray for no migraines from too much sugar/ excitement and not eat in the morning in the lead up. I have a plan I made for the physical side I made with my GP involving super anti histamines and gel glucose sachet things to carry in my little pocket in my running trousers, lots of recovery time and most importantly TAKING IT AS SLOWLY AS I NEED TO.

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Mentally on the other hand – I have trained like an Olympic athlete. I am ready for this beast. I have been challenging my cleanliness side of my OCD by gardening WITH NO GLOVES. Fair enough it’s only a little bit of mud and I cleaned thoroughly after but still. It is a major leap. One of my anxieties is perfection and being the best – so the bar I am setting myself is “dead last beats did not start” as only 78% of entrants earn that orange headband at the end. Yup 78%. So even if I have to mantra and walk/ hobble all the way if I earn an orange headband – I will have achieved my goal.

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Image: pinterest.com

Plus I will have my James there as he always is by my side every step of the way as I am his, supporting each other to get to where we want to be successfully.

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If you have made it this far awesome! Thank you for reading! I am actually now going to ask you for a little favour. I am putting myself through this not only for some hopeful self growth but also in support the Scottish Spina Bifida Association. They are a fabulous charity in Scotland who support all those affected by Spina Bifida throughout their lives with not only medical advice and assistance but also companionship, a sense of belonging and support.

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I have Spina Bifida Occulta and the Scottish Spina Bifida Association have been a wonderful source of information, support and assistance when I have needed it most. Please take a second and donate whatever you can below. Even £1 will make a massive difference.

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Support Gluten Free Girlie doing Tough Mudder in aid of SSBA on Just Giving

Thanks ever so much!

GFG x

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