I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

Wasn’t There Supposed to Be Cake?

Hey Hey Guys!!

Cake is a curious thing.

It’s something that is expected in certain situations, can have strong connotations and memories associated with it, the taste, the texture, the scent, the colour. Where you had a certain piece and how it made you feel.

Then there is cake in a general sense. It appears in certain situations; birthdays, weddings, anniversaries… funerals.

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Have you ever noticed (well, you will have, even if you don’t immediately realise it) that cake is often present to sweeten the pill in horrible situations?

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Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg...

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg…

Now, I’m going togeneralise here and cast the same net over certain biscuits as well as cakes. In fancy waiting rooms, there is often a sweet “treat”. You might be offered a slice of battenburgh with a beverage, or a very British, Victoria Sponge, if you are particularly fortunate (and so help you god if you mention the fact that you recognise that cheap, dry sponge and overly sweet, grainy filling as the £1 round you get from the co-op when you are absolutely desperate for a favour to take to the neighbours’ BBQ).

homemade cupcakes

homemade cupcakes

**As a wee aside, I actually hate Battenberg cake and am always bitterly disappointed to see it in a selection. Marzipan is the devil. It is always a bad omen.**

I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

I absolutely HATE Battenberg…

The thing is, there are some situations where cake is a terrible omen. Whether you are presented with a stale selection of sponges that might be the same ones you declined from your elderly neighbour, or strike gold with one of those pick ‘n mix boxes of biscuits, the result is always the same and always two-fold; the custard creams, jammy ones, cookies and anything containing chocolate are snapped up as soon as the seal is broken and the Garibaldis’ and those weird little wrinkly edged ones that taste like cardboard and aren’t quite a tea biscuit, nor a shortbread, are always left neglected. And you are in for some serious news. Generally, bad.

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See, these are the sweets and semi-sweets that are broken in places like hospitals, doctors surgeries, lawyers offices. Places where there is a 50/50 chance you were to nervous to have lunch before you went there so just swigged from the open wine bottle in the fridge, put on you best “I’m totally in control” mask and walk in there like you’re heading to the gallows. Those who run these establishments know this and it means all sort of paper work for them if they have a client pass out on them, so they try to gently pump you full of sugar.

But when I got my bad news today, it was over the phone. I was on my way back to my (soon to be vacated) flat. I was outside. So I ask you;

Wasn’t there supposed to be cake?

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SSDD

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Blame It On The Weather. No, Seriously, Blame It On The Weather #depression

Hey Hey Guys!!

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Depression is something that can change like the weather. Think I’m joking?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a genuine illness. Not gonna lie, I’m not an expert, so I’m not sure if you would class it as a mental illness or a mood disorder, but it is classified as a varied form of depression.

So what actually is it. Well, the NHS UK website says this:

Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it’s not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

  • production of the hormone melatonin

  • production of the hormone serotonin

  • body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)

It affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK, commonly affecting people between the ages of 18-30 and, like other forms of depression, is more common in women than in men. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the condition, mainly because it can be difficult to understand how someone can feel depressed simply because of the weather. It’s one thing to say that you change your mind like the wind, another to say that you can’t face getting out of bed because it’s raining.

Symptoms include lethargy, insomnia, poor concentration, negative thoughts and mood, unwillingness to socialise, decreased libido and weight gain.

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This is what 12 million people across Europe are facing. Again, I’m not an expert, but as a sufferer, there are a few words I can impart on the subject.

There are days when the thought of having to choose one pair of socks over another seems like an insurmountable problem. Can you imagine the implications of going outside when it is anything less than radiant out there? As if were not bad enough that the world already seems like one of the blackest corners of hell; what if it’s raining as well!? The fact that the weather reflects damp, cold in your soul, preventing you from feeling the glow of all the good things in around you is just confirmation to the depressed side of your brain that there is nothing good out there to admire. That everything really is as horrible and out to get you as you suspect.

But if the sun is out…

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I’m a total fire baby. I was predisposed, being a Leo (m’on the August-born troops!!) and if it is anything short of swelteringly roasty toasty, then I am inconsolably miserable. I’m talking, in tears, shaking, terrified of even the slightest baby’s breath of a draft. Lemme put this into context for you; I was in Ibiza during a heatwave and wore a cardigan. Yeah. So the fact that I live in BLOODY SCOTLAND, one of the coldest places South of the Arctic, is a hellish situation to be in. I don’t think people realise quite how many layers I wear on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a useful thing that I’m so skinny; all those layers don’t look so thick on a skelatal frame.

The past few days we have been experiencing a random heat wave and I know several people with varying forms of depression and anxiety who have (seemingly inexplicably) seen a lift in their mood. I swear, Blame It On the Weather! Being in the sun can literally feel like bands are being removed from your chest and you can breathe and in hail the sweet scent of real oxygen. Not just tolerate the stale air you’ve tasted recently.

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However you want to call it, Sunny Side Up, Everything’s Better on the Other Side, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Mr Sunshine, Light of My Life, Build Me Up Buttercup, Mr Golden Sun; attribute any cheesy song lyric you like, the summary is still the same – EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN THE GODDAMN SUNSHINE!!!!!

The irritating thing, is that it has not been sunny all day. It comes and goes. The problem with this is that my mood has been going up and down as well. Literally, the sun being out one minute means I’m relatively happy, not too bad, occasionally I’ll giggle. Then it goes behind a cloud. Maybe there is a smattering of rain. And suddenly that cloud burst seems more like hell is spitting like icy shards of glass at me, determined to extinguish that ember of happiness fighting to burn hot enough to light so much as a candle. It’s exhausting.

Here is a link to treatment advice on SAD as well as some lovely handy dandy websites for mental health issues. Seriously, i have used some of them and even the info you can get online these days isn’t half bad.

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Remember though; the sun can be thought of in the same was as those middle aged women/students think of booze – if it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s mid day somewhere else! The sun is always up somewhere, even if it isn’t where you are. If you are a sufferer of depression or SAD, do the daytime version of what Oscar Wilde liked to do; instead of looking at the stars, look to the sky. See the sun, love the light, feel the glow.

Mind.org

NHS treatment of SAD

Samaritans

SSDD

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Letting Go… and Holding On

Hey hey guys!!

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So I have majorly let this blog slide. I really shouldn’t have, given how much I love blogging. But you know, life and all…

Actually that is what I was wanting to blog about. That’s what I’ve always wanted to blog about. Life.

It’s something I’ve been having a bit of an issue with, not just now, but for a few years. I can’t decide whether it’s the thing we should all endeavor to protect and cherish the most, or whether it’s something I wish could just be eradicated. Certainly where people are concerned.

I’m not saying all people are evil, or that there are not wonderful things out there, happening every day. Just that, in seemingly greater amounts, there are are truly horrific things happening as well. And when pain outweighs pleasure, it sits badly with me.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people who are deeply affected by the shit storm of life. I’m one of those people, the pessimists, the sceptics. Call it what you like, but I tend to disasterise before I see the silver lining. It’s a curse, but I know I’m not the only one to think like this.

See, to quote Young Guns (a British rock band, look ’em up)

The weight of the world is a burden I can’t bare

The crappy thing is, it’s a burden I tend to try my damnedest to bare, regardless of how difficult it is, no matter how impractical, no matter how insensible. I would rather take everyone I care about’s problems and add them to the pack on my back than watch them do anything other than sail through life.

Yet I’m reaching the end of my ability to do this, it seems. I’m holding on… but only just. It’s time to let go… I just don’t quite know just yet what to let go of.

Life is the sort of concept that is too big for me. I love all the existential, interesting questions hat challenge human behaviour, but as for actually dealing with it myself? Not so much something I’m really great at. As much as I love adventuring, experiencing things I’ve never seen before or done, there are days when even the thought of leaving my bed, let alone my flat or my parents house is a challenge in itself. The thought and effort that it takes to so much as visualise doing anything other than taking my next breath can be staggeringly exhausting and actually making moves to get up can be something so far outside my abilities that it’s not even worth considering!

I’m skirting around the issue here, but if you have half a brain you will understand why all this is. I want to link you to something that will explain this better than I ever will be able to. HERE you go.

“Getting better” isn’t even something I’m all that interested in, most of the time. If the idea of “life” is exhausting, simply opening my eyes and being aware that there is something outside the disembodied sounds in my head, then having an exterior that reflects wellness just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s juxtaposition in the truest sense.

I have little motivation to eat and at present I am eating just enough to keep me round about alive, but not really living. It’s not a long term plan. I went to a family party and some sort of primal instinct kicked in and I ate more in one afternoon that I have collectively in weeks. This actually make me really annoyed. The extra vitamins are going to be reflected in my appearance tomorrow when in reality I am going to be feeling a dreadful as ever, if not more so, owing to the fact that the extra nourishment is one step back from the brink that I’m teetering, tempted, over.

Where I go from here is right now a fluid concept. I am very much in flux. Right now I don’t even have a definitive address. I get up every day because I have more than one illness of the mind. One conflicts with the other and it’s an exhaustive concept and it means I sleep very little, think a lot and worry and feel stressed and sad and hopeless and conflicted and… well, a cocktail of terrible things, most of the time. There is a cacophony of sound in my head, all the god damn time and I hate it, I hate it so so much. I’m in constant pain and i can’t concentrate. University is getting so hard when these voices and sounds get so loud.

Imagine it like this; you’re trying to read something, that is what your goal is. But you are listening to a really angry podcast in headphones in one ear, with someone yelling at you in one of those little in-ear, spy gear things in the other. There is also a conversation happening nearby that you should be paying attention to you, so you are trying really hard to listen in, but it’s hard to hear because there is a conversation between a bunch of people happening in your head as well and there are some really difficult to ignore voices in that conversation. Those voices are the worst because all of them are so angry and saying some truly horrible things. You kind of feel like your bones are being squeezed really hard and that your lungs are half the size they should be. These is also this blackness creeping over you. Even if it’s sunny, you feel cold, desolate, like you are sitting on a block of ice in a dark room.

This might not be the best description but you will have to forgive me; I can’t quite form a reasonable line of thought over all the white noise and voices… I wish they wouldn’t quiet down a little… I’m really, really tired…

Anyway, I thought I would check in. I might post a few more like this, we will see. I’m somehow simultaneously super busy and have nothing to do. Life, eh??

SSDD