Here is the link to a blog I have written for my work concerning gaming addiction in young people and what parents can do to combat it.
So I have decided to embark on a mission to get more organised, declutter and try to achieve some different goals for myself.
I have reached a point where my illness seems to be more manageable and I want to take this opportunity to grab life and do the things I want to do. I have several things I would like to achieve in my personal and professional life and I’m going to create a bullet journal as a creative and visual way to help me.
Has anyone else read ‘Spark Joy’? The book about tidying and decluttering that has prompted so many people to refine their material possessions. I’m hoping it will help me as I’m terrible for holding on to all sorts of nonsense. Have you had any experiences with it? Any advice?
Im going to try and record how it goes – that will be part of my goals… 😊
My wonderful friend and her journey to completing the marathon for the second time. So much has happened for her since 10 years ago, when she last ran it, I hope that this will be like the other bookend to those times – looking forward to reading about her journey 👍🏼😊
I last ran London in 2007, at the age of 40. It was on my bucket list, and I ticked it off the list. But it seems that once wasn’t enough! Next year, 10 years on, I’ll be running it at 50 … and until a month ago, I hadn’t run a step since the last time!!
And so, it’s back to training!
While running today, I had an idea to write a blog about my training as I inch towards London. Why? Good question! In part, to keep myself motivated, but also maybe to inspire and motivate others …
I hope my blog will provide an honest, warts-and-all account of my training – the ups and the downs, my thoughts and observations on the challenges ahead, why I’m doing it, info on my training plans, things I come…
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It’s funny… the minute my life began to gain momentum – I started to dream about all the possibilities and the good things I could do for others – was the moment I was interrupted.
And not in that brief way that you get interrupted by a car horn or a low flying bird, a gradual interruption that demands to be noticed.
It happened in two ways. Two ways that are so different from each other that it seems unbelievable that they could have a similar effect. Both have helped me and one has hindered me and I don’t know what I would be without them.
To me, they are both male, but one is beautiful and easy and steady and the other is tumultuous and demands to be attended to in every way.
They are both constant and cannot be escaped – one I would like to and the other I would never dream of it.
They both inspire me to be a better person, in more ways than one. But one does that in spite of its constant need for attention, adjustment, discipline and correction.
One takes me away from toxic substances and one inextricably links me to them.
One I have chosen to be with forever and both have chosen that of me.
Sometimes I wonder if I could have had one without the other, whether I would still be wishing I could do more in life if your limitations had never been placed on me. And if they suddenly disappeared would I actually achieve it all. Maybe one day we will find out. 🙂
One interruption was perfect and rebuilds me every day and the other slowly continues to chip away – I just hope we can keep up 🙂
This was my first day of this kind – obviously, as my diagnosis was so recent – and I didn’t really know what to expect or what I wanted to get out of it, just that I wanted to see what it was all about.
Our lovely friends, Dee and Tucker, had invited us to go a few months before and offered to drive us down – it seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend some time with them and get some more information around Multiple Sclerosis.
I didn’t know how it would feel to be around lots of people with the same disease as me. Previously I had only ever knowingly been in a room with one other person at a time with MS, so it intrigued me as to how it would feel knowing that most of the people there would have been through, or are currently going through, similar issues to me. Obviously it effects everyone in it’s own unique way but there are, ofcourse, similar threads of themes weaved in to each person’s story.
It actually felt really good knowing that everyone there would just get it. If I got an attack of the shakes or fatigue, nobody would wonder what is wrong with me, they would understand. That felt pretty cool actually. 🙂
The talks were really interesting and informative and delivered by people who were very passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of sufferers. Either by researching different ways of managing the symptoms or treating the disease itself. It felt good to know that masses of work is going on all over the country trying to expand on the very limited knowledge that we already have about it.
The talk about mood & cognition was especially good for me. It was great to hear an obviously very qualifed and experienced psychologist stand up and confirm that actually I’m not going mad, MS is not just a physical thing – it can play havoc with the signals and chemistry of the brain. I mean, I already knew this, but seeing someone actually say it out loud in those terms made me feel better about it – It’s not just me then…
They provided a lovely lunch, all free, with so many choices! There were also refreshments after each talk, giving people an opportunity to meet others and network.
We were told about all the new treatments that are in the trial stages right now. There are quite a few exciting things that should be cropping up in the next few years, including the stem cell stuff that was covered in the Panorama program a few months ago.
They had a fantastic amount of free literature available, every kind of booklet you could ever need! Even a free MS Exercising DVD with Sally Gunnall. I mean, what more could you ask for?? 🙂
All in all, I would highly reccomend these MS Society days – if you have MS or know someone who does it will definitely be very informative and give you the chance to meet other people in similar situations. This can be a great way to get advice on all sorts of things surrounding venturing into the world of MS, and a great support when needed.
If you would like to find out about events near you, head over to www.mssociety.org.uk
Please get in touch if you have any comments or experiences to share 🙂
This is a great blog post by my partner talking about all the great positive things he gets out of volunteering. Well worth a read – follow the link below! 🙂
By definition a volunteer is “a person who freely offers their time to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task”, now take a moment , read it again, let it sink in and now forget about it because it’s wrong. And the reason that it is wrong is because of the use of […]
I always thought when I had a relapse of my ms it would be so clear and obvious that there would be no question around it. But I have realised that isn’t the case – for me at least.
When I was diagnosed I had it in my head that things would die down to a low, manageable level and then stay there until some large event of pain or numbness etc. would signify that I’d had a relapse and needed to look at reviewing my medication. The thing is, with regards to symptoms, I have found them to be pretty much ongoing. I have just found ways of managing them and managing my life around them. They do fluctuate, week by week, day by day, but they don’t seem to really ‘get better’. Not yet anyway. Obviously it’s only been 7 months since I was diagnosed so this could all change.
So relapse (at the moment) for me is about new pain or symptoms that last more than 48hrs. Over the weekend and the beginning of this week I had new pain and loud noises in my head and some pretty heavy duty fatigue – this has been considered, by my ms team, as a suspected relapse. It certainly felt like one.
Another thing that puts a question mark over it is the fact that if you have even the slightest sign of infection in your body or you have a big change in hormones it can cause unbelievable havoc with ms symptoms. If something causes your immune system to increase its activity, even slightly, it increases the number of those troublesome cells that attack the nervous system – causing the increase of problems. For example if my bowel disease acts up I can almost guarantee I’m going to have a tricky time with me.
I am learning all of the time about my ms and the way it affects me day to day – and mainly how changeable it is! I am endlessly fascinated by my mind and body’s ability to heal and bounce back from all the stuff it has to deal with.
Will I ever have a week with no fatigue or pain again? Who knows – I think it’s far too early to tell. I know I’m doing everything I can to help it so just got to try and keep the positive thought processes going and allow myself time and space to feel all the emotions that go with it. Always trying to be kind to myself and shrug off the highly ignorant judgement of others!
Would love to hear if anyone else has experiences with chronic illness they would like to share and please get in touch if you need someone to talk to about stuff – I know it can be difficult to share with the people you love.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
I am playing about with some writing at the moment. I want to intertwine the stories of 4 young women and include an element of mental health. Aimed at anyone really, but leaning towards a young adult audience. I started writing and have put together a passage of about 1000 words and thought I would post it on here to see if anyone has any feedback or comments. I know it’s not much to go on but it shoul give an idea of my writing style and the type of content. Let me know your thoughts 🙂
Have you ever felt like you could be an outsider in your own life? Like a guest in someone else’s home, too uncomfortable to make yourself a drink or help yourself to a sandwich? That was how it started.
There wasn’t some big event that kicked it all off – no defining moment of grief or melodrama – it just seemed to seep into the cracks of my personality and wash over me, with very little warning.
The loneliness didn’t help. That year it felt like I was always alone, just me and MTV and a confusing phone relationship with a boy who seemed to be as interested in getting to know me as he was avoiding any kind of communication with me in public.
Don’t get me wrong, there were parties and beach visits with friends, the usual social stuff that centred around the people that I managed to hide just enough of my personality to be associated with. Everything was the same but completely different somehow.
I don’t feel like I’m explaining myself very well.
All I can say is that I don’t remember where one version of me ended and the other began, but I do know that I started to feel different, like I had lost control over my life and was just a helpless bystander in it – hoping that someone else in the crowd was better qualified to deal with situation that was unfolding.
One of the main things I remember about my childhood was people telling me how pretty I was. People would often say to my mum, ‘Oh isn’t Ivy such a pretty girl’ or ‘She will be a heartbreaker when she grows up.’ These are, in fact, some of my earliest memories. I remember how proud mum would look as she bent down to stroke my shiny blonde curls, ‘You’re my beautiful girl, aren’t you?’ I would always smile and feel slightly awkward; I was terrible at receiving praise even then.
The more I heard it, the more it became part of the list of qualities that I learnt to attribute to myself as time went by. In my pre-teens, that list also included qualities like ‘clever’ and ‘talented’, but these swiftly faded and were replaced by ‘lazy’ and ‘overweight’ by the time I was about 12. And suddenly ‘pretty’ was all I cared about. It was like I felt it was the only one left so I better work really hard at it. I used to spend ages fantasising about being the most beautiful girl in the world, like a modern day Frankenstein’s monster, body parts of various popular culture goddesses sewn together and coated with a perfectly airbrushed finish. But, at some point, a ‘harmless’ yet constant stream of daydreams started to take their toll – around that time, the bingeing began, and I started to panic.
As I scanned the room, I realised I had been stood there on my own for, what felt like, at least half an hour. If you multiplied that by how much of an idiot I looked and then a bit more for the awkwardness of it all, I had probably been standing here for about 7 days straight. I had also become incredibly aware of how short and uncomfortable my dress was and the fact that my cheap, knock off ‘Spanx’ kept rolling in all the wrong directions, every time I moved – even if that was just to move from one foot to the other to stop the excruciating pain from my ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.
I checked my phone again. I have no idea why as I only had one bar of signal that kept fluctuating up and down, so it was unlikely to be of any use to me. Looking around I could see the problem. Apart from where the staircase came down in the middle, the room was completely enclosed and had no windows, due to it being situated a few meters underneath street level.
I looked over to the direction he had walked in – hoping to see him walking back towards me with two drinks in his hand and an apologetic look on his face. But all I saw were men in blue jeans with white shirts talking to pretty women with orange skin, with varying degrees of success.
It must have been about 20 minutes now. I stood on one foot like a flamingo and rotated my ankle. I didn’t know whether to stay put or go and have a look for him. Maybe he was in trouble or had been chucked out? As I released my foot back down and took a step forward, I felt my phone vibrate. It was a text from Ryan.
‘Where are you going?’
OK, I thought, trying to be funny and pull a prank on me. I looked around in a circle from where I was stood, but still couldn’t see him. I wasn’t amused, but I wouldn’t let on, I didn’t want him to think I was as boring as all of his previous girlfriends.
‘Haha you got me! Where are you?xx ’ It took a few attempts to send, but when it did I still wasn’t sure, as I didn’t get a reply. It was really starting to piss me off now. I walked over to a nearby sofa and sat down on the cold leather, avoiding the hole where the Gaffer tape had been vandalised, leaving the sticky side exposed and grubby.
As I sat and rubbed my calves, I remembered that we had sat here the first time I had come up to visit Ryan. We had spent the night drinking way too much vodka and laughing until we cried. I smiled as I remembered the way we danced and shouted to each other over the invasive thud, thud, thud of the bass. The way his gaze was permanently blinkered in my direction – I had the reigns and I knew it.
So let’s talk about airbrushing and photo editing. I think by now most people know that photo editing is EVERYWHERE. From the Amaro filter on your Instagram selfie to the photo shop experts giving people face lifts from the comfort of their office chairs.
And why is this? First and foremost these images are always selling something. Whether it’s a product, a person or a concept they are always trying to make us buy into it. And by choosing not to use real images of real people they are telling us that real people are not good enough to sell their products. They are selling an unrealistic and unobtainable image of perfection.
Editors can change images until the subject is completely unrecognisable. It starts with deleting a blemish or two and finishes with elongating the limbs and changing the colour of someone’s skin.
The recent ‘scandal’ was the leaking of some photos of Beyoncé – before they had gone through the digital ‘perfecting’ process.
I really don’t see what all the fuss is about. ‘Oh my god! Beyoncé is a real person with normal skin!’. This is the kind of species we have become. We build human beings up to God like proportions and then we dig away at them until we can bare their imperfections. But the media has made us this way. Before we were constantly bombarded by an incessant stream of millions of these so called ‘perfect’ images of beauty, there were only a few of these big stars and their beauty was considered to be out of the ordinary, special. You can liken it to exams at school. Before the media took over our lives a select few people were achieving an A* in the physical beauty stakes. But now, due to editing, everyone is expected to achieve an A* at all times. Even the so called ‘real people’ in magazines are airbrushed. But now, people want to walk around as a photoshop version of themselves, bathed in photographic spotlight and blurred with a subtle but noticeable filter.
We are consistently told that we are not good enough. But they do this to make us want the products they are peddling. The beauty industry, in particular, wouldn’t survive without an unhealthy dollop of human self-loathing.
“You have terrible skin so you need to cover it up with our new foundation!”
“You’re thighs are far too big, we will slim them down with Photoshop!”
“your face has too many wrinkles, buy these poisonous injections to get rid of them!”
“The model in this advert is beautiful, you will look like her if you buy this!”
I am happy to admit that I love make up and Instagram filters. I enjoy the whole process from purchase to application to selfie. But do I really enjoy it or is the brainwashing so deeply embedded into me that it has become a part of who I am?
Extreme use of image editing makes the world a very confusing place, especially when you are growing up. I remember ploughing through endless glossy magazines and comparing my weight and looks to each one. I knew they had all been edited but it didn’t seem to matter. I would spend entire days looking up what the weight and height of celebrities are and then comparing myself to images I could find of them on the internet. I would vow that in 6 months time I would look like them – but that is not physically possible.
I find this subject really interesting and I could write for hours about it, but I just wanted to get this out there, in case there are girls and boys reading this that are taking drastic measures to look like the images they see in magazines. They are basically just artistic portrayals of what the editor has been brainwashed to think is a beautiful human.
Would love to hear what your comments are on this subject below