Writing ‘My Story’! Intro week of ‘Get Excited About Your Life’

blackboard chalk chalkboard concept
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week I started my Introduction or ‘On Boarding’ for my new course ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  This is a course which will help me to look at key points of my life and help me to move my mindset to a positive place which will inevitably help my business.

We’ve had a few actions to take on for this introduction week – one being to do a Facebook Live to our group.  Now, for me it was fine as I’m a complete show off, but for some of the ladies in my group it was a real baptism of fire… and they all nailed it!

The other big task for the week was to write ‘My Story’.  No rules, no template to follow… just write my story as I ‘feel it’.  This will be used as the basis of my 1:1 sessions with my mentor Andrea.

Jeeez! Where to start with that! How long should I make it?  How much detail is required?

I decided that I would tackle this after a meeting on Thursday.  I stayed on at the venue and made the most of the unlimited coffee and continental breakfast bar!   I powered up the laptop and started to type away.

Two hours later and I’d covered a lot of ground, revisiting lots of events in my life that I hadn’t thought about for a while, stuff to be proud about, stuff that I learned from and other situations in my life that still affect how I deal with situations today.

There was a point that I found incredibly hard to type about.  The experience losing Mum.  It’s amazing how my brain has managed to cope these last two and half years and almost put a lot of the feelings into a little filing cabinet so that I am able to function on a daily basis. Now and again though, the filing cabinet is opened and the documents come falling out… or the tears come falling down.

Being sat in the middle of a Brewsters crying at a laptop is not a good look so I made a hasty exit.

When I got home I managed to finish my story, warts and all and submitted it to Andrea.

After putting it all out there I thought I would feel like a weight had been lifted, but for a little while, the opposite happened.  I felt heavy and filled with anxiety! The following day I couldn’t catch my breath and just felt generally shitty!  Was this meant to happen after baring all in a word document?

That night I was due to go out with hubby for the night, and whilst I really just wanted to join my son and put my pj’s on at 6pm, but instead I got dolled up and went out.  I’m so glad I did.  Spending some much overdue time with my man was just the tonic (with Gin) that I needed!

Since then I have felt much better and I’m really looking forward to working through all the aspects that make me who I am and turning it into positive mindset.

The course is all about putting yourself out there, having belief in what you’re doing and owning it. I have no doubt that by the end of the 13 weeks we will all be nailing it and completely owning it!

I hope you will follow along with me on the journey!

Until next time,

 

Love and hugs,

TOMD xxx

 

 

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My Mental Health Story – Part 1

Awareness of mental health in the current day is more prevalent than ever. We have so much discussion around it now with World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Self Care Sunday and people in the public eye speaking openly about their struggles.

My mental health story starts way back in 1995 when I was 19 years old (totally given my age away now!).  This was long before the days when everyone had a mobile phone (unless you were a ‘yuppy’ from the city), let alone all the social media apps and the stress they bring, but at 19 years old, I suffered with anxiety and depression.

I remember at the time, people made comments on why I could possibly have anxiety and depression.  At 19, what on earth would I have to be depressed about?  No mortgage, no money worries, happy family life, but here I was.

There was one specific night where it all came crashing down.  I remember it so vividly.  It was August and I was at a house party with my school friends – the ‘Butch Girls’ (if you’ve read an earlier blog you’ll know who they are).  You remember those parties… parents are away, house full of friends, bowl of disgusting concoction of alcohol and playing daft games and talking shit!

As I sat there within a circle with a post-it note on my head I felt a strange sensation… like I wasn’t really there.  I felt like I was actually above, looking down over us all.  As my heart started to quicken, I felt more and more panicked. I got myself outside for some air… I just had to get myself out of that room.

The next thing I remember is that I was driving home crying my eyes out.  When I got home I sat with mum and dad for a couple of hours and just balled.  I couldn’t say why I was feeling like this, but I just couldn’t stop the crying.

Unbelievably, the next day I managed to get in to see my own doctor (it was 1995 don’t forget!).  I wrote down how I was feeling… the tightness in my chest, unable to catch my breath, this dark cloud that quickly descended over me.  I was so glad I’d written it down as when I got in there I just couldn’t get the words out.

Rightly or wrongly, my GP prescribed me Prozac.  Now, I’m not about to start a whole medication vs natural remedies/talking therapies debate – but in my case, that’s what happened.  I do believe, however, that if you need a little help down the medication route then why not?  If my leg was broken I’d be given crutches and in this case my mental health was broken and I need some help to fix it.

I was immediately signed off work for two weeks.  I remember my head being a complete blur, the ability to think clearly was so difficult.  Just counting money was a struggle and I remember taking my brother to the local shop if I fancied bar of chocolate as I just couldn’t do it.   That was, of course, when I felt like eating! I found the whole process of eating meals too much bother… which for me was unheard of!   I used to constantly think about food in my teens!

Two weeks off work turned into four weeks and during that time, I was happiest driving around town in my little car on my own. Nobody to make conversation with – just to drive and listen to my music. I also remember sitting in my room watching old videos of myself, trying to recall how I used to be.

Friends used to call up (on the landline!) to speak to me and I would tell Mum to say I wasn’t home or couldn’t talk right now. It felt too difficult.

After the four weeks, I went back to work… very unsuccessfully.  I remember walking into the office which I shared with three other girls. My line manager walked in with me and nobody said a word… nothing.  As I sat at my desk I could see that my audio machine was unplugged.  It sent my heart panicking, racing, thumping in my chest. My brain couldn’t work out how to plug the bloody thing in.  Still nobody in the office said anything.  I was suddenly engulfed with feelings of not being able to cope – all because my equipment to do my job wasn’t plugged in!

I ran into another office and called my line manager.  I needed to go home. I couldn’t do it.

Another three weeks off and I was given a gradual return back to work, first doing a couple of half days increasing slowly to full time. This was much better this time as I was able to ease myself back.  My colleagues however couldn’t understand why I was depressed with one quoting “you’re 19, what have you got to be depressed about?”.

By the Christmas I was starting to feel much more like myself.  I’d lost some weight (every cloud eh!) and was feeling a lot better about myself.  Over the festive season I forgot many times to take my tablets and by the January I’d stopped.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be feeling the same again by June.  I had to go back on the tablets as the anxiety was returning.

I hadn’t addressed the issues that had got me feeling like this in the first place.

The previous eighteen months had been quite a traumatic one when I looked back.  My mum had been in hospital in Bristol for five weeks following three lots of surgery and the complications of a blood clot.  All of this was going on as I was completing my exams at college and subsequently starting as a trainee medical secretary at the local hospital covering summer annual leave!

Then six months into my employment I got a permanent job with a consultant… who I didn’t gel with. That affected me more than I realised.  During these months I thought I was ok and carried on.   However, lots of little anxieties had piled up and up until one day, one tiny thing sent my world crashing down.  That was the night at the house party.

I did get better though.  I had some counselling through work and gave myself longer on the tablets and came off them slower than I had before. I did get back to my old self and felt the stronger for it.

Over the years, as with everyone, life throws you some curve balls… and I’ve had a couple of massive ones. But this experience of having depression at at a young age has helped me to look for the signs that things are right and make sure I take on board some self care and not bottle things up.

I’m thankful for the doctor for giving me those tablets. The crutch I needed to help get me back on track.  There are lots of therapies out there, and if you’re feeling like you need some help, you need to pick the one that is best for you… with no judgements.

It’s ok to talk about mental health. The stigma each year diminishes a little more. Don’t bottle feelings up, talk to someone, because small feelings can soon turn into big black feelings, until they pile up and topple you over.

Until next time,

Love and hugs from TOMD xxx

It’s time to get excited about my life!

As I write this post, I’m not exactly in the most excited mood.  I’ve been suffering literally all day with a hangover from hell which I can only put down to the fact that I’ve had two unscathed weekends away and my night out last night with hubby was my major payback.  Better to have happened here at home rather than at Center Parcs or beautiful Barcelona!

So why am I getting excited about my life?

Well, if you’ve been following my blogs, you would have read about how three women changed my life at a workshop I attended in Bristol.  One of those women was a lady called Andrea Callanan.  She made such huge impression on me (read the blog Yesterday Three Women Change My Life) and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a free webinar she was offering a couple of weeks ago.

So, I attended the webinar with a group of around 20 women, listening to Andrea talk through my laptop screen.  She spoke about all the of kinds of insecurities and fears we face as women in business (saying that out loud is still weird for me!) and life in general.  Talking about why we put things off, why we doubt ourselves and how it stops us moving forward.

At the end of the webinar, Andrea explained that she was about to run a new 12 week programme called ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  It covers;

Week 1 – Get Present  Week 2 – Own Your Story  Week 3 – Healing Week 4 – Acceptance Week 5 – Self Worth   Week 6 – Self Care  Week 7 – Kick Ass Mindset  Week 8 – Desire  Week 9 – Intention  Week 10 – Vision  Week 11 – Planning  Week 12 – Execute, Achieve, Celebrate.

Whilst this looks like it will be quite intensive and Andrea has already warned us that it will take a places emotionally that we probably won’t want to go (I’m sure the loss of Mum will come up more than once) I am genuinely excited about changing my current mindset.

I literally find myself constantly swinging from a kick-ass attitude of ‘I can do this’ to self doubting thoughts of ‘I’m gonna fuck this up’! I’m forever playing the following questions over in my mind;

Can I really make a go of this blogging and working with companies in the well woman arena?

Will they want to work with me?

Can I work with companies and help them with their Social Media?

Do I know enough?

It’s true,  I didn’t jump in straight away. Why?  The fear. That bloody fear and self doubt of course.  Will I have the time?  Can I afford it?  After having a night to sleep on it, I decided that it was well worth investing in myself and took the plunge and signed up!

Over these next 12 weeks this course will help me get over these insecurities which in turn will help me to plan and building my brand ‘Tales of a Mother’s Daughter’ and also my social media training business ‘Social in Somerset’.

I really look forward in sharing this journey with you and passing on the things that I have learnt… and it all starts tomorrow!

Until next time,

Love and hugs from TOMD xxx

Barcelona with ‘The Butch Girls’!

I know, you’re thinking who on earth are the ‘Butch Girls’? It sounds like it could be some female wrestling tag-team (might have to Google that!).

Let me explain. ‘The Butch Girls’ are my wonderful group of school friends that still keep in touch and do stuff together 31 years after first meeting at secondary school.

I’ve come to learn that this is actually quite unusual, to still be in touch with girls from secondary school. And whilst it’s true that we have been in and out of each other’s lives, especially during our 20s, these girls will undoubtedly always be in my life.

So, why are we called ‘The Butch Girls’?  We can’t really remember where it came from. None of us are particularly masculine or as the name may suggest, that we might bat for the other side (or is that the same side?!).  I remember the reference ‘Butch Girl’ first came up at my 18th birthday party… a long, long time ago!  It seemed to stick and we’ve been ‘The Butch Girls’, ever since!  I suppose if you happen to see us strut our stuff to Tina Turner’s ‘Nutbush’ it might explain it! It really is something to behold!

Anyway, this weekend was time for our annual getaway.  I worked out that it’s our eighth year now of doing something together.  It started when three of us went to visit one of the ‘Butches’ who now lives in Germany back in 2011 and it carried on from there. We still make Germany a bi-annual thing and visit somewhere different in between – this year it was Barcelona.

Now, I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account of what we got up to in Barcelona – most of it is the classic ‘you had to be there moments’ and we certainly had plenty of those; I’m certainly not going to try and recreate them on a blog.  However, I did want to share with you my thoughts on this Spanish city.

We stayed in the Gothic quarter of the city in an apartment which was a stone’s throw away from Dr Stravinsky’s Cocktail bar  (just for reference), which actually took us three nights to find as it was so well hidden!  It was a perfect location and I recommend staying in this part of the city if you can.  Lovely bars and restaurants are close by along with the wonders of the food market and great shopping.

What can I say about Barcelona. It’s so colourful and beautiful… and crazy-full of little streets that you can get lost in.  It’s literally like something out of Harry Potter – you get easily get lost in these interconnecting alleys within the Gothic quarter and with my hideous sense of direction, I was just glad there were five others with me who knew their way better than I did!

If you go to Barcelona, I totally recommend grabbing a bike from one of the many hire shops as a way to see the city.  We took ourselves down to the beach and cycled along the promenade stopping at a couple of bars for food and drinks, and then more drinks.  The sense of freedom felt amazing and so much fun… once you get out of the crazy streets and are able to use the cycle lanes without the fear of crashing into someone!

We learnt during the weekend, whilst sitting with a man in a cafe (we don’t normally sit with men in cafes, but there was only one table left and we kind of gatecrashed it!) that the beach in Barcelona was man made before the Olympics in 1992 to make the city more interesting.  They certainly succeeded – it doesn’t feel like you’re in a major European city when you can you cycle to sea and sand just 10 minutes from the city centre. So, if you like sea, sand and sun with your city break, this ticks all the boxes!

You can’t go to Barcelona without visiting the famous Gaudi Cathedral.  I have to admit, I’d never heard of it before (architecture isn’t exactly my forte) but this ‘wonder’ of a cathedral is mind blowing! You could literally look at it all day and still find new things. There are mixtures of so many different styles, some beautiful, others odd and some bordering on ‘Vegas’!  It has never been finished, but when it is (somewhere around 2026), it will be the tallest of its kind.

Barcelona shopping certainly has something for everyone.  If you’re after department stores, you can find them down on the rowdier Las Ramblas, or you can take in the beautiful boutiques which are found in abundance in the Gothic quarter.

On Las Ramblas you will find plenty of tat and weird stuff if that’s what takes your fancy. My particular favourite was packets of plants and flowers that will grow to look like genitalia! Nice!  Whereas if you fancy a little accessory treat, like a new bag or scarf (like I did!) then you won’t go far wrong with the little shops that can be found in many of the winding alleys through the city centre. I’m actually a really lazy shopper but even I managed to pick up a couple of pretty little things over the weekend.

With restaurants and bars a plenty, along with shopping, beaches, culture and plenty of red wine and Sangria, I’m pretty sure I will see you again soon Barcelona!

Until next time,

Love & hugs from TOMD xx