Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Trying to be happy makes you unhappy.....

Now I was going to write a humorous blog this time round but instead I have opted for a topic I find very interesting and one that seems to have a lot of attention at the moment………happiness J What does happy feel like? What does happy mean? How do you know when you are happy? Can someone make you happy? Or maybe happiness is a state of mind? These are just some of the questions that pop into my head when I think of the term. Now having been on an emotional roller-coaster myself the past few years and also suffering with a form of depression, I found myself always trying to find a way to be happy! In fact I think it is fair to say I would go to any length to make this happen. I managed to convince myself that certain factors were contributing to my unhappiness, such as not having a partner to share my life with! I labelled myself unhappy. I would set myself high targets of things to achieve in the hope that once I reached them I would be happy……..however I managed to reach them and still felt half empty. This is when I started to think, are we all too caught up trying to be happy without realising we already are? And by setting ourselves unrealistic targets in order to achieve happiness are we therefore just making ourselves unhappy?

I think the realisation came one day when I decided that maybe I should pretend to be happy for a day and see how it goes! Kind of like a spot of acting I suppose. Well I soon discovered that it was actually quite easy and something I did not have to pretend to do. In fact it was so easy that I realised I was not acting but just being myself and that I had tricked my mind and almost convinced myself I was unhappy…….I had learned this behavior all by myself! No self- help book, counselor  life style coach was going to help me, all I needed to do was accept I was happy and live positively with gratitude for all that was in my life. As Buddha says “No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” The path I have now been walking and continue to walk.

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, it is in the air we breathe, we can feel it through touch, we can taste it, we can smell it and through our senses we can create memories that we remember from sound, such as music, or smells such as perfumes, now how awesome is that! I am actually listening to a track right now that takes me back to a particular moment in my life, I feel, visualise and even smell the memories this song represent for me and in my gut I feel happy. Finer details of things that truly matter in life are sometimes pushed to one side as we all seem to live in a society where everyone is operating at 100 miles an hour, we are so busy and stressed out that we don’t notice or appreciate our surroundings and take time to absorb all that is around us. Let me ask you a couple of questions, when was the last time you walked down the street and said hello to the random person walking their dog? When was the last time you went into a restaurant with a massive smile on your face, bursting of energy? When was the last time you stopped just to talk to a passer-by? I bet you can’t remember, in fact I bet you probably never have! And the reason for this is because if you did there would be a group of people laughing and waiting to call you strange or weird, because today society seems to identify and accept a far more miserable or rude person than someone who is bubbly and full of enthusiasm……..now how sad is that!

My point is this, no one but yourself can make you happy and everyone has bad days J So wear a big smile on your face, make friends, take exercise regularly, have a healthy diet, get enough sleep, find a job you love doing and embrace every opportunity you get in life. If something is bringing you down or not flowing naturally then have the strength to free yourself and concentrate on the things which bring positivity to your life. I would much rather lead a happy life than a miserable one. Trust your gut instinct as this is always right.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Inside out, outside in life of me……

Almost 4 years ago I found myself in a situation that I would consider my worst nightmare and one I never envisaged myself being in! I was 8 weeks pregnant and the biological father was about to walk out of my flat to never be seen again! This was the man who stole my heart, faith, trust and crushed me in one single act. I was scared, frightened and my body was changing every second of every minute and I had no control over it. I felt like my life had ended yet I was developing another human being inside me, this battle between my emotions and staying positive and healthy was extremely hard. So many thoughts were running through my head…..”Why and how can he just leave?” “How am I going to cope?” “I will never get over this!” all of these questions were in my mind all day every day and I had to deal with these on a daily basis, whilst my hormones were at an all-time high and my body was stretching and expanding and changing in ways only mothers understand.

As the nine months of my pregnancy developed I had to go through the grieving process for the father of my child, and whilst his cruel act is enough to put anyone off their food, he was the love of my life and I was carrying his daughter. Each day during my pregnancy it would become a bit easier and my feelings would change from hurt to anger and back again. On the 8th April 2010 Isla-Mae Olivia Young was born in Essex weighing an ironic 8lb 4oz! My feelings of love, happiness and relief all came crashing down on me the minute I saw her little face, this was it I thought, now the baby had been born I could move on and build our lives, however I was not prepared for what was about to hit me…….Postnatal Depression! I don’t think you ever realise how deep in depression you are until someone tells you they are worried about you or you do something stupid. Shame, guilt, sadness, anger, sleep deprivation are just some of the symptoms that come hand in hand with this health issue. I think the turning point for me came when one evening I drove to my local supermarket to do my weekly shop and instead of parking I drove straight into the car park and back out again without stopping! The sheer panic of getting out of the car hit me, and I got home and broke down. There is no shame in admitting you are suffering, there is no shame in admitting you have Postnatal Depression, and there is no shame in seeking help.

If I look back now on this period in my life it is like a foggy haze. I think it is fair to say I was so deep in my emotions that I now have no memory of the state of mind I was then in. Once I realised I needed help I did the obvious and spoke to my GP who I must say is an amazing Doctor. I did what most women do and started on a course of anti-depressants which at first really helped. The issue with these are that they don’t target the issue that is causing the depression in the first place. So I then started reading self-help books, I read positive quotes, saw mediums, looked at different religions…….I guess I was desperate to heal. I then started to look at my life; I started backwards at all I had lost and all I had gained along the way and at what I wanted to achieve. It then dawned on me that no pills, self-help books or words of wisdom were going to cure me, I was! Ever wondered how certain people make such a success of their life?! Well they did so because they believed in themselves, they trusted their instincts and they believed in their dream. It was then that I stopped taking anti-depressants, I binned the books and I set a goal…….the goal was to be back in employment earning a good wage doing a job I loved, which in turn could support me and my daughter. 1.5 years on I am now joint partner with an amazing lady called Tanya and we run a successful Social Media company. I have started my dream project called Dream Bear which supports single parents, I have a lovely home that me and my daughter feel very content in and I have an amazing support network of family and friends. I have achieved and excelled in certain work projects which have not only given me a great deal of confidence and a sense of achievement but have helped me find myself again. So I guess my message is this……..when and if you are feeling down, believe in yourself, throw away any negatives around you, set a goal and go and get it, because the only person that is stopping you and who will help you is yourself!

I hope you enjoyed my blog, please visit and like my page http://www.facebook.com/Isladreambear?ref=hl

Friday, 3 May 2013

Patrick Star Shape

Early mornings have become the norm to me these days! In fact waking up after 6am is now considered a luxury in my house! Weekends spent in bed recovering from a hangover whilst munching on a McDonalds to boost my energy levels are something of a vague memory. Instead I am now woken to the piercing sound of the word "JUICE"!! Now to some this may sound familiar, however to me this is like a jolt from the blue.......and so my day begins.

As a single mother who works full time, an early routine is a must and can be easily disrupted by the slightest interruption. My normal routine is to give my daughter a drink and put her favorite selection of TV programmes on whilst I try to get myself sorted and ready for the day. This once used to take me hours but now takes me a spritely 30 minutes, an art I have down to a tee. However it seems no matter how quickly I get myself ready I am never prepared for the curve ball that is thrown in by my 3 year old daughter. The first task and I say task as this is not a simple nor calm transaction, is asking my daughter to get dressed. You would have thought I had asked her to do Algebra by her reaction of "NO" and the stamping of feet! This then soon turns into a full blown wrestling match whilst I build up a sweat of frustration transferring me into a female version of Lee Evans! This is not the executive look I was going for. Once the situation has calmed and we have one dressed little lady and one electrocuted mad woman the second task is upon me of brushing her hair! Now I must say this is starting to get better, and with a few "naughty" bribes I manage to comb her hair into a ponytail......happy days.

So we are set and ready to leave and whilst I grab all the necessities needed for the day and load up the car I then have to scrape my daughter off the television which then again turns into a protest of "it's not finished yet Mummy". By the time we walk out the door and with my child wanting to run half way down the street I am just about ready for A) Bed and B) a Nervous Breakdown! Now at this point you must be thinking "she is over the worst" and yes if I was reading this then I would probably be thinking the same, however the finale is about to come......So I ask my daughter to get into her car seat "No Mummy" she says! We then stand there having a Mexican stand off for the next ten minutes until I am forced to pick her up and put her into the seat, now this is when I learnt what the "Patrick Star Shape" was! and boy does it take all your force and patience to deal with it. As I put my daughter into her seat she does exactly the title of this blog. I never knew such a small young child could be so strong and so determined but yet she proves me wrong every time.

These early morning routines are just part of the norm for single parents yet can have such a huge impact on a you're working day. I often sit down after a hard day wondering "am I the only one who does this?" and is it all worth it, then I go upstairs to see my sleeping beauty and with a melting heart I realise it is. So, who else has experienced the "Patrick Star Shape?" Do you have mornings filled of stress and shouting? Maybe you have a great morning routine you would like to share......If so I would love to hear. To all you single parent's out there, you are not alone and never will be! Reach out, there is always someone out there who shares the same experiences as you.