This is depression and anxiety…

When I started this blog nearly 4 months ago I wanted to remain completely anonymous. If someone had told me back then that I would be posting photos of myself on here I would never have believed them. Back then, I was embarassed that I was struggling so much with mental illness. 

One of the reasons I want to post these particular photos of me is to show that people with depression and anxiety don’t spend their days looking miserable. When I decided to tell family members in Australia that I have depression and anxiety, they were genuinely shocked. They said that they had no idea or didn’t suspect anything. 

I am now able to talk more openly and honestly about how I am with the people in my life I trust. My view is that if being mentally ill makes others uncomfortable it is their issue not mine. 

These are some photos of me during our time in Australia…
   
With the lifeguards at Surfer’s Paradise

  
  

With some police at Surfer’s Paradise

  

Chilling with Pilot, Emma’s Shar Pei

  

At Australia Zoo

In Sydney near the Harbour Bridge  

  
   

Dave took these straight after my Meet the Dolphins experience

  
I couldn’t resist doing this when I came across it at Australia Zoo

 
Enjoying the sun by the Batmobile at Movieworld. 

I still have days when I find it hard. When I would rather stay in bed all day or not bother seeing people. Little things can require a lot of energy. But I refuse to let anxiety and depression define me. 

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Australia – Part 2

Apologies that this post has taken longer then I anticipated. Things have been hectic since we decided to get Walter. Just when I feel that we have bought everything we need for him we find out that we have forgotten something. 

Brisbane

Our family lived about 45 minutes drive away from Brisbane city centre. We were given the opportunity to explore it   

We drove up to Mount Coottha Summit Lookout. The views over Brisbane were spectacular

  

We then went into Brisbane. We got on the seacat and had a mooch around too.   

     

Australia Zoo

We had a fantastic day at the zoo. Steve Irwin has left such an amazing legacy. Highlights included the show at the crocoseum, holding a koala and baby alligator and getting to feed and stroke kangaroos. The staff were so passionate about their jobs and enjoyed talking to visitors to the zoo. 

   
             

Sydney

During the first few days with our family they completely surprised us. The original plan was that we would go to Sydney with Chris and Shelby. Instead we were treated to our flights and hotel for three nights in Sydney!!! The added surprise was that we would get to spend time with Emma each night in Sydney as she was due to be there for work when we were there. The flights each way were about an hour and a half. Our hotel was in Darling Harbour. This was our incredible view:

   

I really loved Sydney. It was a lot busier than Brisbane. The atmosphere there was great. We saw and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had concerns that I would chicken out of the Bridge Climb. But it was a fantastic experience. It was so exhilarating and the views were spectacular. We also saw the Opera House and took a ferry over to Manley. 

   

  

  

  

  

  

 

Sydney brought some really nice food too including a trip to Hard Rock Cafe. 

 

Starbucks had dark chocolate moccha fraps. They were lovely!

  

My delicious hotdog and chips on our first night.   

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Icecream

Salted Caramel Macaroons  

 

Dark chocolate churros

  
Dave’s dark chocolate icecream sundae. I ended up finishing it!

The night before our flight home I was given this pandora charm:

   
 

It was such a lovely charm. If you can’t tell it says ‘love’ and ‘family’. I was nearly in tears at how thoughtful it was. 

Dave and I have been talking about possibly emigrating to Australia in the future. We want to go out again and explore the country more ourselves to give us a more realistic view of living in Australia. I know it will be very different being there when you have to go about your normal day compared to being there on holiday. 

  

Eventful Weekend

For a long time Dave and I have contemplated getting a dog. We both love dogs. We know that it is such a big decision. After weighing it up for a long time we decided that we really wanted a dog. 

Our landlord was round on Saturday. We used the opportunity to ask him if we would be able to get a dog. He was happy with it as we expressed our interest in getting a dachshund. 

We found an advert for a gorgeous litter of puppies during this week. Dave and I decided to phone the breeders. We arranged to go and see the puppies this afternoon. 

It was totally worth the hour and a half drive each way. The litter consisted of four boys and a girl. We were both incredibly happy with the breeder. The parents of the puppies were there and were also lovely.

This little guy is Walter and we can’t wait to bring him home:

  

We are picking Walter up next Saturday. Walter’s brothers and sister were equally as gorgeous as him. This meant it wasn’t an easy decision which one to choose. But I am happy with our decision. Walter seemed more chilled out compared to his brothers but was still a cute bundle of energy. It just felt like he was the right dog for us. 

I think this week is going to drag. But it will definitely be worth the wait. 

Australia – Part One

So where to begin about my time in Australia? First of all I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family. Dave’s auntie Shelby, uncle Chris and his cousins Emma and Sam are truly amazing and lovely people. Although they are family through marriage I see them all as my auntie, uncle and cousins. 

Our flights to Australia were fine. Dave and I worked out when we would attempt to sleep in order to get on Australian time (Australia is currently 9 hours ahead). We slept between Singapore and Brisbane. 

We were picked up by the airport from Dave’s family. It was lovely to see them again. When we were driving back to their house Dave gave me this charm for my pandora bracelet:

  
I’m not sure if I have mentioned before but as a wedding present I was given a Pandora charm present. Dave had given me a charm for each year we had been together. Each charm represented something important to me. It is one of my favourite possessions. 

Our family have the most incredible house. They have a deck and a swimming pool. Combine that with lovely weather and this is where we got to relax: 

   

  

    

On our second day we went to Redcliff. It was so nice to be out in the sunshine and walking along the beach:

  
 

Bank Holiday Monday was spent in Seaworld and Movieworld. We ended up in Movieworld for most of the day. Dave booked me on a meet the dolphin experience for two days later as it was all booked up on the day. 

I don’t like rollercoasters but Movieworld was brilliant to walk round. Dave and Emma went on the Superman ride twice and Chris went on Arkham Asylum with them. We all went on the Wild, Wild West ride which was fun. 

   

 

Superman Escape

   

  
  

This is the Wild, Wild West ride

   

Surfer’s Paradise

The beach here was awesome.   

           Chris, Shelby, Dave and I had lunch in this Irish pub. I couldn’t believe that a girl behind the bar was a fellow scouser!

Seaworld/Meet the Dolphin

Seaworld was brilliant. The aquarium was out of this world. I loved the miniature penguins too! I was so excited about the dolphin experience. It was totally worth it. I had to stand on a platform in the water and I got to feed, stroke and shake fins with a dolphin. There are photos of me that Dave took straight afterwards and you can see how happy I am. 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

I will write another post about my time in Australia. I have loads of photos of me from the holiday. I am unsure whether I am comfortable in posting them. Part of me wants to. You can see how happy I am and enjoying myself. It will help to dispel the myth that everyone with depression and anxiety constantly look unhappy. I don’t even know what I am scared of happening if I do post photos of myself on here. 

   

“I’ve missed you”

These three words overwhelmed me today. In a nice way. 

Naturally after a holiday you feel down. I could feel myself slipping back into the darkness of depression and anxiety. There were times when I was away that I had low moments. Maybe I was naive to think that this wouldn’t happen. 

There was a recurring thought that I looked fat and stupid throughout the holiday. It was constantly at the back of my mind whenever I ate. The constant fear about putting on weight chipping away in my head. 

Dave’s auntie turned 50 when we were there. She had a party at the house to celebrate. My anxiety was quite high. I felt out of my depth and that people wouldn’t want to talk to me. I made the stupid decision to have more than one drink. Earlier in the holiday I had drank the odd beer or cider and felt fine. The alcohol heightened my paranoia and subsequently my mood plummeted. I’ve now made the decision to go tee total. I didn’t like the effect alcohol on me. I felt out of control. 

I did have an amazing time in Australia which I will get round to posting about. But being there has opened my eyes to how ill I am. I was experiencing intense hopelessness, anxiety and negativity during one of the best experiences of my life. Depression and anxiety were always there. Waiting for the perfect opportunity to dig their claws in. 

Yesterday Dom’s dad text me to check that I would be taking Dom out this afternoon. He went on to say that he has been bursting with things to tell me. 

So when I get to Dom’s this afternoon he was waiting outside the house for me. The first thing he said was, “Gemma, I’ve missed you!”

Dom has never said anything like this in regard to me EVER! It is a really big deal that he said this. I didn’t expect it at all and it kind of threw me. Other people have told me countless times how much I mean to Dom. I never believed them. 

If only we all had our very own Dominic. Someone to remind you that you are important and valued. Who genuinely misses you when you are not there. 

Liebster Award

During my time in Australia I received a lovely notification that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award. A massive thank you to Tadgh for nominating me for this award. 

  

In order to complete the Liebster Award, I have to list 11 facts about myself, answer Tadgh‘s 11 questions and pose my own new 11 questions to 11 other bloggers. They then, in turn, repeat the process (it’s important to remember to credit the person who nominated you.)

  1. I have an older brother and a younger sister, making me a middle child. 
  2. I have 5 tattoos. 
  3. I absolutely love peanut butter – on toast, in icecream, in chocolate. 
  4. I’m an atheist but a massive believer in karma. 
  5. My memory for song lyrics is pretty good. I only have to listen to a song a few times before I can remember all the lyrics. 
  6. I am ridiculously competitive to the point that I hate losing. 
  7. I frequently talk in my sleep and also experience night terrors at times of stress or if I am over tired. 
  8. I find it extremely hard to forgive people who have wronged me.
  9. My skin is really sensitive. I suffer from eczema and prone to mosquito bites when on holiday in hot countries. I have been known to have allergic reactions to mosquito bites. 
  10. I read books quickly and read every day. 
  11. I am most comfortable in jeans, band tshirts, trainers/converse and hoodies. If I don’t have to get dressed up for a social event I won’t. 

Tadgh’s questions and my answers:

1. What was the best positive thing that occurred to you in your life or just recently? Meeting Dave my husband was probably the best positive thing in my life. My holiday to Australia has been my most recent positive thing.

2. Do you have any tips or strategies you’ve found in your personal experience to cope with stress and/or sensory overload (if applicable)? In terms of stress, talking to people I trust can help me as does any forms of distraction – exercise, reading, watching a film. 

3. What people (famous or otherwise) really inspire in your daily life? My husband really inspires me in my daily life. He makes me want to keep going. 

4. Think back to a life struggle you overcame, what helped you? Or alternatively, a struggle you’re going through now and what is helping. The support of my family and friends is helping me with my depression and anxiety. Regular CBT sessions are helping me understand myself more. Exercising is a huge help. 

5. Where was the most amazing place you’ve ever been? Australia (lookout for future posts on this)

6. Would you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Pessimist

7. What was the best, inspirational quote you’ve heard recently. “Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated” 

8. What was the greatest book you’ve ever read? I have read far too many amazing books to choose one

9. How has your faith (if applicable)or understanding of faith, developed or changed if at all since when you were younger to the present day? ( For example, if it were me, I could say I was raised in the Catholic tradition but identify as non-denominational now.) I was Church of England as a child. I don’t have a faith at all now due to a number of personal experiences. 

10. If you could live in any other historical era, simply based on culture, customs, fashion etc, for a day, what would it be? I would love to experience Tudor England. I studied History up until A-Level and I still have an interest in it. 

11. How did you come across my blog? I work with autistic children and so one of the tags I follow on here is autism. Your blog came up when browsing through blogs tagged in autism

The blogs I nominate are:

The Happy Healthy Kiwi

The Rabbit Hole

My Aspie Wife

Faith Mummy

The Pebble In My Shoe

Take It Easy

For Elysium

Bipolar Whispers

Voyaging Voyager

Our Journey With Jake

Pieces Of Raymond

Here are my questions:

  1. Which super power would you choose if you could have one?
  2. If you could have a dinner party with three famous people (dead or alive) who would you pick?
  3. What made you start your blog?
  4. If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you bought?
  5. What is the best thing that has happened to you in 2015 so far?
  6. What is your favourite place you have travelled to?
  7. What is your proudest moment?
  8. How is your relationship with your family?
  9. What is something you are passionate about?
  10. When you go out for a meal do you prefer to get a starter or a dessert (if you can only pick one)?
  11. If you have a free day what would be the perfect way to spend it?