Happily proven wrong

If you read my last post, I was struggling. I was utterly convinced that Christmas and everything associated with it would be terrible. 

I was proved wrong. 

Dave and I rushed round like headless chickens wrapping Christmas presents, packing our things to stay at my parents and making sure we had everything we would or might need for Walter. 

Dave drove us to his parents on Christmas Eve morning. The nearer we got there, the more anxious I felt. 

It turns out my nieces think Auntie Gemma is awesome. The day was spent playing duplo and playmobile and decorating a gingerbread house with my 3 year old niece and chasing after my one year old niece who has mastered the art of walking. I don’t really know my nieces. Dave and I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with them as they live hundreds of miles away. It was nice spending time with them. 

Christmas Day was spent with my family. It was a really relaxing day. Dave completely surprised me by giving me an Xbox One! 

Dave and I managed to sort out loads in our new house over the Christmas break. It feels so much more homely. We spent time with some friends and went on a big dog walk with my friends from the gym. 

Tomorrow Dave is back at work. It has been lovely having him home. We have lots of things planned for the house and the future. 

So here’s to 2017. Hope it’s a good one for all of you. 

A strange trigger

Since the house move, I had been coping (at least I thought I had) with the upset with handing my notice in. A friend messaged me as she found out about it through another friend. They are both aware of my anxiety and depression. My friends had talked about the issue I had to deal with in regards to work. 

A friend asking if I am ok has made my mood drop significantly lower. How messed up is that?! Mental illness is such a strange thing. 

Deep down, I know I did the right thing. But I guess I am still processing the whole thing. I have been doing an accredited online dog walking course which, so far, I am enjoying. A fresh start is always good. 

I talked with my lovely friend on here Vicky about how I was feeling. She is such a good person and gives great advice and support. Last night I looked after my friend’s two little girls while she was at college. They always make me smile and laugh. So all of this has helped. 

I’m chilling with two good friends later on today. Tomorrow Dave, Walter and I are up to Vicky’s to have a Christmas get together. Spending time with some of my favourite people is always good. Even when I don’t feel at my best. 

It’s (not) the most wonderful time of the year

This blog title is in no means a way of me coming across a scrooge. But living with anxiety and depression, I find Christmas so incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. 

It is nearly two years to the day that I was at such a low that I had to see my GP. He told me that I had anxiety and moderate depression. Maybe this plays a part in my view of Christmas. That Christmas two years ago was truly awful. I spent most of the day crying. I was very close to spending the entire day in bed. It took me hours to even get dressed, let alone leave the house. 

But it is not just that. Christmas brings so many expectations. Some of these are what society deems to be the perfect Christmas; spending lots of money, drinking copious amounts of alcohol are just some that spring to mind. 

But when you have anxiety and depression, social events bring a number of added pressures. For me, there are people I have to spend time with because that is what you do at Christmas. I honestly don’t know why. It all seems so fake and pointless. 

I have to spend Christmas Eve with Dave’s parents, sister, her husband and my nieces. I am totally dreading it. My in laws have always made me feel inadequate, make no time for Dave and I feel like I can’t be myself around them. My nieces are 3 and 1. They live hundreds of miles away. I have met the older one a handful of times. The one year old I have met once which was last Christmas. I love kids. But as I don’t feel comfortable with Dave’s family, I feel like they are judging how I am around the girls. It feels like an act. We pretend that we are this close family and it really gets to me. 

I experience anxiety every single day for a variety of reasons. My anxiety is heightened when things change. I am a creature of habit which is not necessarily a bad thing. It actually helps keep me feeling well. So the unknown of social situations that take place once a year cranks my anxiety to the max. 

The feelings of guilt I have for having anxiety and depression are overwhelming at times. This is even worse during the Christmas period. At times, I have to put on a front during social gatherings. I have no right to spoil other people’s Christmas just because I am really anxious or my mood is really low. 

One thing I need to keep well is down time; time for myself to fully relax and to do things that destress me. I find it hard to let people down. I am a people pleaser. I think that because I experience a lot of mental anquish I don’t want the people I care about to feel even a fraction of that. If friends want to spend time with me I will do my best to see them. 

Please know that I am so grateful that I have wonderful and supportive friends. I am not for one moment moaning about this. But in the back of my mind, I have a constant fear of having a major relapse if I have to mask how bad my mental state is. The vast majority of people in my life are completely unaware when I am struggling or going through a rough time. I don’t want people to worry. 

The funny thing is, I put on such a good front that I must come across as confident, outgoing and self assured in social situations. But for the most part, it is the complete opposite. 

Lovely friends, lovely moments

Sorry I have been so quiet on here. But it’s all for good reasons. I have been busy spending time with my favourite people.

I love my group of friends at the gym. They are so amazing, positive and encouraging. They have been there when I have been anxious or my mood has been low. I’ve had motivating messages and offers of phone calls during recent lows. They just totally understand my anxiety and depression. 

So my life recently has been dachshund meet ups, christmas coffees, party planning, cinema trips and it has been lovely. 

Walter and Poppy

Walter looking very handsome in his new red jumper

Salted cappuccino and honeycomb latte

Doggy selfie

Walter and Lola


I can’t take credit for the amazing birthday cake. My mate made this over the past two days. I made the cartoon words, zested some lemons, washed and dried a lot of dishes and kept my mate company. 

So this time in two weeks (hopefully), Dave, Walter and I will be in our very own house. Just need to get a move on with packing!

What the mind believes…

Yesterday, I completed a 5km colour run. It might not seem like much to some of you, but for me it is an achievement. Running is not my thing. Give me boxing, weights, body exercises, rowing machine, pretty much anything else over running. 

When Dave and I went to meet our mortgage broker, there was an advertisement for the colour run. I decided I wanted to do it there and then. I spread the word about it and in the end, 4 of us did it together. 

Leading up to the run, my friend pushed me in the gym. I did interval running on a treadmill; increasing how fast I was running and shorting my resting period. It was hard and at times I wanted to give up. But I didn’t. 

The week before the run I got a cold. It became progressively worse; my head was constantly banging, my throat was red raw and my entire face felt like it had been kicked. I rested for the 3 days leading up to the run. I knew there was a possibility I would end up being more ill as a result of doing the run. But I took the chance. I didn’t want to quit. 

I surprised myself when doing the run. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. As a result, I am seriously considering doing a 10km with two of my friends from the gym. I am quite ill now. I feel like I have a chest infection; my chest hurts all the time, I have a painful cough and I am bringing up a lot of phlegm. But I am still so proud that I ran 5km. 


For all of us living with mental illness, we have to constantly push ourselves if we want to recover or continue to stay well. It isn’t always easy, especially when life decides to throw a curveball. But hard work and perseverance pays off. 

A year ago I was under the crisis team; I was suicidal, constantly anxious and saw no possible way that things could improve. At times, it would have been easier for me to not get help or gain an understanding of how anxiety and depression affect me. Like running, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to get out of the negative spiral I was in. This was extremely difficult at times. 

My life is better now and I am a happier person. Dave and I are in the process of buying our first house, I have an amazing family and fantastic friends, a lovely dog and a wonderful job. All of this can only help when life throws a curveball my way. 

In the summer time

During the school holidays, I work more. As a result, I have been slacking in regards to my blog. Thankfully, I have been feeling a lot better since I posted last. But if I feel like it again I will be going to see my GP. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Dom and Faith more than usual. The days fly by and we have been up to lots of things. I have shared a number of photos on my Instagram account (@originalgemskibob) if you would like to see them. 

Dom has enjoyed spending time with Walter. We have taken him for walks and all enjoyed some lovely ice cream. Dom, Walter and I visited my sister at work. Walter was fussed over and Dom made sure everyone was working! Tomorrow he wants to bake a cake for my birthday at the weekend. This is the first time Dom has asked to do anything like this for my birthday. 

Faith and I have done loads this summer; colouring in, played board games, dog walks in the park, watched DVDs, been the cinema, shopped, workshops at Pets At Home and started a reading challenge at the library. 

As I mentioned earlier, this weekend it will be my 31st birthday. Dave and I are having time off work and having some much needed time together. We are seeing a mortgage broker on as we are desperate to have our own house. We are also spending time with our friend and her two little girls and having a meal with family. 

In terms of my mental health, I am doing well. I still experience a dip in my mood and anxiety but I am able to deal with it. It helps that I have a really good support network around me. 

One way I know that I am in a good place is that I am really broody. Dave and I have talked about having children. Once we are settled in our own home, we are going to start trying for a baby. As excited as I am, I am also terrified about having a baby. A huge concern I have is my medication. I would not be able to take the anti depressant I am currently taking. I have had a long struggle to find the right medication for me so the thought of having to talk to my GP about this fills me with dread. 

Honesty and Illness

I decided to let myself calm down before addressing the situation with Samantha. A week after she sent me the baby photo, she messaged me to ask if I was ok and if I had upset her. 

So you know what I did? I told her that I wasn’t ok and she had upset me. Previously, I would have reacted in an angry manner to a situation similar to this. But, I was honest without being hurtful or rude. This resulted in Samantha apologising and making an effort with me. 

I’m proud that I dealt with this situation in such a positive way. I saw Samantha yesterday and actually enjoyed spending time with her. 

Walter has been unwell. At first, Dave and I put it down to the heat that we had. But on the second day of his lethargy, not wanting to do anything but sleep we became more worried. Firstly, all he did was cuddle next to Dom when he came round on Wednesday. There was no excited Walter who couldn’t wait to greet Dom. Then on Thursday we had the same again when I brought Bella home from work with me (Faith has gone away with her family for a week so we are looking after her) Walter was the same; not bothered in the slightest about seeing Bella but with the worst runny poo we had ever seen. When the runny poo had blood in it we knew Walter needed to see a vet. 

At this point it was evening, so our vet was closed. We ended up going to see an emergency vet. It was a good job we went the vets when we did. Walter’s temperature was high and he was dehydrated. As he hadn’t been sick the vet didn’t feel Walter needed to stay in to be put on fluids. This was a huge relief. Walter was given an antibiotic injection and we were told he needed to see a vet again in the morning. 

Luckily, Walter’s temperature was down on Friday morning by the time Dave took him the vets. He is on antibiotics for the next few days and we have been told to give him food such as rice, chicken and scrambled eggs. 

Walter is back to his usual lovely, happy, playful self. He is thoroughly enjoying getting to have rice, chicken and scrambled eggs. So much so, he licks his food bowl clean!

My grandad is really unwell. He has had his first lot of chemotherapy and ended up having bad side effects to it. At the moment he is in hospital. They think he has a bleed in his stomach and he is really dehydrated. He is unable to keep food down so is on anti sickness medication via a drip. It’s hard to be positive about my grandad when he seems to be getting worse 😦

Letting Go

I struggle massively with moving on from bad experiences. It’s like my brain can’t process what has happened. 

I decided to post about this as a ‘friend’ (we will call her Samantha) has upset me this week. In January 2015 I stopped speaking to a friend (we will call her Sandra) due to her unreasonable behaviour. At this time, I was trying to deal with severe anxiety and depression. This friend made me feel bad for being ill and bullied me into coming round to my house. 

On Wednesday Samantha sent me a photo of a baby. No explanation, no message with it at all. After me responding with just a ? she said that this was Sandra’s baby. 

Why would Samantha think I would want to see this photo? I have not spoken to Sandra in 18 months. In all honesty, I felt that it was a really nasty thing to do. Samantha knows that I have been struggling recently with my mental health and that my Grandad has cancer. I really don’t need this kind of nonsense. She only got in touch to send the photo as she didn’t have the decency to say Hi or How are you?

Thinking about it, Samantha brings up Sandra in conversation frequently. During CBT, I actually brought up Samantha. I find her draining and can only spend time with her in small doses. She is in her mid 30s with a young son but is extremely immature. She revels in drama and her ‘best friend’ changes frequently. I feel that she only wants to spend time with me when she wants to offload or if her other friends are busy or doing her head in. 

I am still furious about the whole thing. I came off Facebook to avoid negative situations such as this. 

If anyone has any tips, strategies or advice on me dealing with this please let me know. Depression and anxiety make me over analyse everything. My mood has been noticeably lower for two days now. I don’t want to experience a massive dip again. 

The black clouds have lifted

On Tuesday I managed to go back to the gym. I did bodycombat and bodypump. It was noticeable that I had a break from the gym. But even going to the gym was an achievement in itself. I was really sore for a good few days this week. 

I also managed to do a proper food shop. When my anxiety and depression are bad, I tend to eat whatever I can grab. I bought some veg, fruit and generally healthy food. I managed to start cooking healthy, filling meals too. 

Last weekend I couldn’t even face leaving the house at all. Today, I was able to take Walter for a walk with Dave. Tomorrow afternoon we are going round to our friend’s house. 

When depression rears its ugly head it robs me of all interest in anything. It’s like the world is bleak and grey.  Through this recent low, I had support from Dave and two awesome friends. They kept checking up on me, reassuring me and letting me know that they were there for me. I am so appreciative for them being there for me. 

Let people in

If there was one thing I would tell anyone who has anxiety or depression it is the three words above. 

I had such a good day with my friend yesterday. We shopped, we had coffee, we ate good food and we talked. Conversations were about everything and anything from the mundane to the serious.  At one point I briefly mentioned how ill I have been; not working, struggling to get out of bed each morning, being under the crisis team etc. 

My friend said she would never let me get to that point again. She used the phrase, “I would kick your arse if that happened again”.  This is exactly what I need. A friend who won’t let me stay at rock bottom but instead will listen and encourage me to keep going. 

It has taken me a long time to see the importance of letting people in. I was a firm believer in shutting myself off and not allowing others to know I was struggling. It was a sign of weakness to tell others that I wasn’t coping. But this doesn’t help. It just prolongs my mental suffering.

It’s important to know who you can let in. Mental illness can bring out the best and worst in those around you. I was convinced that I would never have good friends again. But I have some amazing friends. All because I opened up and let them in.