New year, same fabulous me!

Last night I was having a fun night in with my friends, some food and some drinks having a great time. One of them had joined a dating app recently and I ended up making a profile for a laugh. When setting up my profile I discovered I don’t have any photos of myself since about June and even then it’s one selfie that isn’t horrendous but I’m not overly thrilled about it.

I knew I had been feeling down about myself recently but I had no idea how long it’s been since I thought of myself worthy enough to take photographic evidence of how I looked.

The past couple of months I’ve been working as a Christmas Temp in a well known, mainly womens, clothing shop. Every single day I’m working in the fitting room there is AT LEAST two separate women who take a pile of clothes in to try and leave with nothing but guilt and self hatred. It is heartbreaking to watch and no matter how honest I am with them about how amazing I think they look or how envious I am of their bodies, style etc they still leave empty handed and probably feeling worse.

Most of us believe the real time to beat the body blues is summer because of going on holiday and needing to wear bikinis or swimsuits so you don’t melt in the sun. In reality we fight this every single day. If its not a holiday, it is a night out, Christmas and New Year parties, weddings, work nights out, going for dinner… We are constantly fighting this and assuming everyone sees all the negatives we see in the mirror.

So from today I am going to make a concious effort to do something to feel good about myself as much as I can.

I want YOU to go buy that outfit you think you can’t pull off, don’t try it on cause we all know fitting room lighting is horrendous…buy it, go home and get done up then try it on and take alllllllllll the selfies and post that shit all over the Internet! Most importantly, feel good about yourself, you are not alone in how you feel about your body but the only people who can fix how we feel about ourselves is us.

Happy New Year when it comes but there won’t be a new me, I’m good as I am and so are you…

Happy Anniversary to me!

Happy Anniversary to Me!

In January, I will have reached a significant single girl milestone; I will have been single for a full year.

This is the longest I’ve EVER been single, since boys first came into the radar back when I was a teenager.

Dating nowadays seems like an impossibility.

Literally all of the seemingly ‘good ones’ have already been snapped up, and us single gals are left with, what seems like, the dregs of society.

In the past year, I’ve been on some pretty awesome dates, and some equally terrible ones. I’ve met incredible humans and true scumbags in, unfortunately, equal measures and have some hilarious stories that I share with the coupled up friends who are living their single lives vicariously through me.

I had that one date that was so bad I left after 33 mins. This swiftly became the measure that ALL other future dates would be measured against. A bar set so low that I may as well have put it on the ground.

I had that one date with a Navy Officer who made me laugh so much that I nearly peed a little.

I had that one date with the intelligent physicist that I thought went so well, but he never contacted me again.

I’ve not felt the ‘vibes’, I’ve been weirded out, I’ve laughed until I cried, I cried, I’ve had some fascinating conversations, some extremely dull conversations, I’ve flirted, failed to flirt and shared some excellent kisses. I’ve been ghosted, mildly harassed, and complimented.

It’s been a great year, and despite all the ups and downs, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

My advice to singletons reading:

– open yourself up to stepping out of your comfort zone
– Don’t take any bullshit from anyone
– Be the most authentic version of yourself
– Be kind, always

Lots of love,
Amy @TEWP

Dear Dad…

This is an open letter from a 20-something female to her dad. A letter I’m only ready to write now. But an important and hugely valid one no less.

I felt obliged and ready to write this because I haven’t heard any similar stories and I think putting this out there is going to be important to someone.

I still don’t know, Dad, if you realise that you are the root cause of my mental health issues. I don’t really know if you can even see to this day that how you treated me was wrong. By anyone’s standards.

As far as you were concerned, you were doing nothing wrong.

I mean, I’m yours after all, right?

It took me until I was in the (most stable) relationship in my adult life to realise that the way you treated me while I was growing up was totally inappropriate. The problem with growing up in the environment I did is that, you have no context to anyone else’s normality. Your environment is your environment and so it’s all you know.

The reason I want to write about the psychological abuse I endured at the hands of my dad while growing up is that I feel like the only stories I’ve heard or read are those of physical abuse. My experience never got physical… although that’s not to say I don’t believe it could’ve gone that way had the circumstances been right for him.

Looking back, from the age of about 5, it was clear to me and the rest of the family (I’m one of a few siblings) that I was the favourite. This was shown through excessive praise, grooming and extravagant gifts that my siblings weren’t to know about.

From as young as 5, I can recall my dad using inappropriate language to describe my appearance and the appearance of others to me. It was embedded in me from a young age that beauty was important.

I can recall my dad shutting me away with him separate to the rest of he family while he got progressively drunk, using adult language and preventing me from going to bed at a decent time when I had school the next day.

I even remember vividly my Mum popping her head round the door in tears and pleading with my Dad to let me go.

But it was Dad’s way or the highway.

This language and I guess “grooming” continued into my early teens and beyond.

I remember when I first got blonde streaks in my hair at about age 14 and he compared me to “Jenifer Anniston when she looks hot”. I remember trying to continually meet this standard. At that age, all I wanted to do was keep up the high standard and continue to impress. I craved his attention and validation. Looking back, he created that in me but like I said earlier, I didn’t know this was not normal because it’s all I’d known.

I remember when I was 11, we heard the song “She’s the one” by Robbie Williams and he talked about how that would be his song about me.

He managed, throughout my early teens to continue this sort of control and exercised it in all manner of ways to suit himself. My most vivid memory is getting my first boyfriend at age 16. I couldn’t have been more excited to introduce this special person to my family… but telling my Dad is something which I’ll stick with my forever.

I said:

“Dad, I’ve met a guy! He’s 17 and he’s so lovely”

His response was:

“I just can’t get over the thought of his rat claws being all over my daughter’s body”…

In that response alone, you can almost hear the control. Or at least the emotional control. I also remember telling my Mum I’d lost my virginity and Dad sitting perched on the end of my bed that night sobbing and explaining that he’d lost his girl.

I felt like I was no longer of any use to him. I felt like I’d never impress him in the way I used to.

My Dad left my Mum for a younger woman when I was 18 and we’ve had a strange relationship ever since, really. Throughout the years since I turned 18, I’ve felt intense rejection over and over. Even the odd time when I have gone to meet him, I’ve made sure I got really dressed up but would go home to my husband upset and feeling inadequate.

To this day, the relationship is strained. I don’t know if he even realised that the ways he treated me would be classed as abuse. They are what have led to me having mental health difficulties and I know that because I explored all of this intensetly via regression when I spent some time in a psychiatric ward earlier this year.

Fact is, my Dad is a loner. And a narcissist.  Having his first daughter gave him something to really craft and take ownership of. I’ll never forgive him for tainting my childhood but I don’t think I’ll ever stop seeking his approval no matter how bad that persistence is for my mental health.

He’s blood and, it’s just the way I was conditioned.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience at the hands of a “loved one”. This has been extemely therapeutic and I hope that if you relate to any of the things I covered, you don’t hesitate to explore these things further.

Anon @ TEWP x

 

Life with an invisible illness.

So…

Living with something that people can’t physically see is very difficult as people who look at you will think ‘she looks fine, what is the problem?’
Sometimes I know people think I am lying, especially in past jobs where people comment ‘you were fine yesterday and now you are suddenly poorly, you just look tired’… I used to get a lot of eye rolls when I say I’m not feeling well. One employer didn’t even believe I was in hospital when I was taken unwell after a rapid change in my health because I had been in the day before and was happy and smiling, just because I look that way does not mean I am not in pain and seriously tired. My invisible illness is Cystic Fibrosis, this means I can be taken poorly suddenly, CF is unpredictable and means I am always pretty tired and I can be in pain a lot along with many other things that people can’t see.
However, people with invisible illnesses ignore symptoms and tell themselves they are totally fine because society has made us believe if you physically cannot see what is happening then no one will ever believe us, why would they when they cannot see how we feel and could never understand unless they have physically experienced it themselves. I turn to telling my fellow cfers how i feel because honestly that is the only people who will ever understand.
My tired is different to the average persons tired, so when you tell someone you are knackered the response you will probably receive is ‘same’ which is frustrating!
Having an invisible illness has affected my anxiety, it honesty blows it through the roof knowing no one gets it and most of the time no one really believes you.
My pain isn’t the same as a headache that a paracetamol will fix but with pain, unless you can see blood everywhere or a dislocated joint it’s not taken seriously in everyday life.

Living with something people can’t see is one of the most frustrating things to live with, even more frustrating than the actual illness itself sometimes.

Sometimes, I want to sleep for days but because you cant see how I feel and how my body works overtime I get labelled lazy and no fun.
Sometimes, I want to hide away from the world because I feel genuinely alone and judged.

I don’t know what it is like to feel ‘normal’ just like most people don’t know what it’s like the be ‘different’

Take the time to listen to what people with an invisible illness are telling you and how they feel, because it’s super hard to talk about without feeling judged, being questioned and being disbelieved.
Imagine shouting something from the rooftop you had to deal with but no one quiet understood and you can’t even show them or compare it to something they may know.

CF is like having a hangover and the flu, constantly… just without the stale booze scent.
It still doesn’t make total sense in your head right? It’s not right and like ‘oh yeah suuuuure’
Imagine having the flu and no one believed you so you HAD to continue your day like normal and not rest? How frustrating is that? You just would not want to do it at all.
That’s mine and many others daily struggles.
I used to not talk about it at all because if the fear of people not believing me and people not inviting me out anymore or not wanting me around them because they just didn’t understand.
That is such a lonely feeling, make everyone around you feel welcomed and let them know you’re willing to learn and listen.

If someone has an invisible illness, chances are they barely talk about it so if they do , it’s kind of a big deal.
It’s like that saying don’t judge a book by its cover.

If you suffer with an invisible illness, please never feel disbelieved and don’t ever feel upset or stressed about it – explain to work, your friends and your family your frustrations and ask them to ask you any questions, don’t feel shut out and like it’s pointless because your health needs to be understood. If the person you are explaining it to isn’t willing to listen or give you what you need then it’s THEIR problem, they are ignorant. It is not your fault.

It’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay to help others and it’s okay to talk about what is going on.
Most invisible illnesses come as a package of serious pain, tiredness, sickness & plenty more! So don’t question if someone is lying or make a comment that may hurt them because it’s already stressful enough.
Mental health is also invisible as well, so LISTEN and BE THERE for people.

I have learnt to cope with any negative comments people may have or people upsetting me by cancelling what they say out with a positive thought and also telling myself ‘it’s okay, they just don’t quiet understand yet! the important people in my life understand and are there for me, there is’t enough space in my life for ignorant people’
Always remember your health comes before ANYTHING. DO NOT PRESSURE YOURSELF TO STRESS OVER ANYTHING OR ANYONE especially those who do not listen.
TALK ABOUT IT!
It helps and you feel better when you talk about it to the right people.
Remember, empower each other always, support everyone in your life and help them talk openly about things, don’t be one of the people that ignored it so people talking openly hide away from talking about it.
You never know what anyone is truly going through, it’s free to be kind.

I hope this blog post has helped people understand and helped others cope, my inbox on insta/email is always open for listening and helping no matter who you may be!

Ells xx
@thelifeofellie.blog – instagram
https://www.instagram.com/thelifeofellie.blog/

Post Natal Depression and me. You are not alone.

2014 – the year my partner and I decided we would try for out first baby. I had always wanted to be a mum so this was the most exciting time for me and at the end of October 2014 a pregnancy test was positive. We were both over the moon, I could not believe I was going to be a Mum! In July 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. It was the best feeling in the world.

6 days after giving birth, I woke up with a horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and I started to cry and could not stop. I felt awful. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, i’d just had a baby so why was I feeling so sad? I rang my mum who came over to my house more or less straight away. I called my midwife who came over too. She said lack of sleep and being a new mum was the cause and that it would get better. The doctor said it was ‘new mum syndrome’ and that it would settle down.

I felt like an awful Mum. I found it hard when my baby cried. I felt like I didn’t love my baby enough.

Where was this instant bond everyone talked about?

Every morning I was woken up with this horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and uncontrollable crying. I had my midwife/health visitor round everyday as I knew there was something wrong with me. I went back to the doctor who said it sounded like Post Natal Depression which I think I already knew. I was given Citalopram and told that it would take 3+ weeks to start to take effect.

I also started seeing a psychologist but this didn’t seem to help me as I didn’t have the answers to their questions. They asked ‘why do you think you feel like this’ but I did not have an answer. I did not really know why – I could not think of anything that had triggered it, it would have been easier if I could have.
By May 2017 we decided to try for another baby. I weaned off my citalopram as I had been feeling ok for a while so I thought I was ready. End of August 2017 another positive pregnancy test once again brought excitement.

A week later the horrible anxious feelings and endless crying returned. I didn’t want my partner to leave to go to work. He said I should go see my mum so I wasn’t sitting on my own. I remember getting ready to leave and standing at the back door of my house crying cos I didn’t know how I was going to go outside. I eventually went out but I think I was struggling not to cry most of the way. I was off work for 12 weeks. This was prenatal anxiety.

I got put back on Citalopram throughout my pregnancy and am still on it today.

My advice to any mums feeling like I did is to seek help as soon as you feel something is wrong. Go out for walks even of its a short one. Talk to someone – your partner, your family, a doctor – anyone.

You are not alone.

The not so subtle art of “Ghosting”…

Dating… I really find it such a minefield these days and call me old school if you like but I’m learning all the fricken time about new age dating and the do’s and don’t’s and everything in between.

I’ve dabbled in a few relationships and dates since my divorce but as I get older and my values and goals solidify, my fear of dating just kinda grows!

Something which has happened to me a few times throughout my journey of singledom which is pretty damaging to my confidence and self worth is “Ghosting”… so naturally, I’m going to write about it on my platform.

So you go on a date… they are very charming and attractive to you and even treat you to lunch and the chat is flowing like nobody’s business. They’ve made you laugh, they like the same stuff as you and your mind’s already reeling thinking about date number 2 with this awesome human…

When the date comes to an end, you give them a hug or maybe even a passionate kiss if it’s went that way and you really look forward to seeing them again.

But there’s a problem… radio silence from their end.

They ignore your messages, unfollow your social media and seem to disappear completely off your radar.

Has anyone experienced this before?

It’s very disheartening and can leave you with so many questions about yourself and your worth, no matter how confident you think you are. I would say I’m a pretty positive and upbeat individual, so I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve frequently asked myself the following questions following being ghosted recently:

1. Am I not attractive enough?

2. Was my chat rubbish?

3. What’s wrong with me?

4. I wonder what I could do to get them to like me more?

These are a tiny selection of genuine feelings and reactions I’ve had to being somewhat ignored after what was, in my opinion, a really great date.

I think a few things to remember just to keep you SANE if nothing else is, none of this is your fault. In fact, someone else’s actions and responses are none of your business and outwith your realm of control.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed with the details on your end but let’s face it, you don’t really know what’s going on at their end! Maybe they’re taken, maybe they think you deserve BETTER, maybe they don’t want to waste your time! Maybe, just maybe, they had your best interests at heart?

Something I’ve found useful to apply to all aspects of my life is to challenge any negative thought which enters me head with:

“What evidence do I have to support that?”

I guarantee that, with time, questioning your own inner voice with this will really help you to realise you make negative decisions on situations and people all the time but most of this is just you projecting your self doubt and insecurities onto someone or something else.

Let me know what your stories are with regards dating and ghosting!

Mandy @ TEWP x

But… you don’t even know me?

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post!

But it doesn’t mean that I don’t always have lots of ideas floating around for topics I’d quite like to highlight (if they don’t crop up already that is!) but there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

This is something that I’ve become very aware of recently.

So, as you all know, I am an extremely multi faceted person. Whether this is due to my Borderline Personality Disorder or whether I am just wired this way… well, I’m not too sure.

This project’s whole purpose has been to explore who I am and to get to know myself on a deeper level through sharing experiences and connecting with others who are on similar journey’s.

Some parts of myself I’ve found, I’m extremely proud of and some parts: not so much. But it’s all about understanding what and who amplify the good bits and what reinforces the bits you’re not quite so fond of and then exploring those.

If this year has taught me anything, it’s that there is SO much to a person.

Especially me!

Recently, as my profile online has increased a little, I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous messages from strange men on the internet saying things like “I’ve liked you for a while” or “I can just tell we’d be great together”… but how can someone be so sure?

All that person has seen is a few pictures where I’m probably putting my best self forward more often than not. Full face of makeup on, at a moment where I wasn’t harassed or upset or having some kind of meltdown and probably feeling positive about life which, if you know me on a more intimate level, can be pretty fleeting.

This got me to thinking… there is literally so much more to a person than meets the eye.

Particularly on Social Media.

It’s so easy and flippant for someone to say or type that they like you. They are basing that comment on a moment when a few things were aligned in a positive manner… but it’s not easy for someone to show up, like all of the other facets which are good, bad and ugly and choose to stay.

There aren’t many people who would see the image I portray online and then also manage to cope with all of the intricacies in between.

When I’m anxious, I pick my skin.

When I’m unpacking and repacking a bag, it takes me twice as long as anyone else because I have to arrange everything in a particular way. A way I’ve reasoned with myself during the process is organised.

When im anxious, I have meltdowns.

When im really happy, I sing random songs at the top of my lungs and perform random dance moves to support the song…

When I’m anxious, I can’t breathe and decide everyone must hate me.

When I have to leave the house, I have to go through rigorous health and safety checks which take about an hour to ensure there won’t be a fire while I’m away. This is because I was involved in an Arson attack last year. So even although the fire wasn’t my fault, I still panic that it will happen again and that it will be due to my carelessness.

When I’m anxious, I can’t decide who I want to be that day. Is it an 80’s chick with a trucker jacket on? Is it a 90’s vibe? Is it wearing your brother’s Tshirt and then cutting in your own fringe?

So these are just a select few of my intricacies or ‘behind the scenes’… interested now? I know a fair few of you won’t be. But my point is, there is SO much more to any person than meets the eye.

Whatever you’ve based your comment on is literally 5% of that person or if it’s me, probably 2%.

Next time I say, “But you don’t even know me?!”, refer to this post. By all means, get to know me and hang around… but seeing a nice picture doesn’t mean you know me and certainly doesn’t mean you like me.

Mandy @ TEWP x