Radio Show Glasgow Adventure Time

Hey Hey Guys!!

Today has been a good day.

I had my first ever Radio Show, What’s Up With Gem?, on www.radiocaley.com, I got some life changing news and I saw (potentially) the love of my life. Yeah, y’all heard it! I’m making it  more than FBO; I’m taking that s**t to the BLOG!!

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

So today I have a lot to be thankful for. It all started this morning, early (too early for my student brain to get it’s tiny little temperament around, if I’m honest). My doctor gave me the news I’ve waited 106 days to hear. I literally skipped down the corridor from his office with glee that would make McKinley High School proud.

Then I got an email from Scotcampus (shout out, by the way!! Follow them dudes on twitter!!) saying that they would like to meet me for an interview for an internship! At a magazine! A real one, not just one that is online! I was about this excited last time this happened, with Source Magazine pity that one didn’t quite go as planned…

Then I had my first show on Radio Caley! Well wasn’t that something! Honestly, it was great. I’ve been on the radio before but I have never hosted my own show. Now, I have one every Tuesday! On my way to Uni (where the studio is) I passed by a girl busking. But she wasn’t just busking. Oh no, she was busking my first song!! FLEETWOOD MAC, GO YOUR OWN WAY!! This lovely lady was playing it 🙂

Lovely Busking Lady

Lovely Busking Lady

I saw a man playing a violin while on a tightrope… so that was a thing… (see above) Pretty standard practice on Buchannan Street, to be fair…

I bumped into an old friend on my way to the studio (which was lovely) then I got to present my show with one of my best friends as a guest, which was such a relief! He’s far more technically minded than me and fixed all my little (*ahem* potentially disastrous *ahem)* technical hitches without a thought. Which I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do without him. Because I am so technically challenged it’s legendary. ( The tech guys in uni won’t let me borrow equipment without a tutors’ say… I try, guys, I really do…)

On the show there was a major topic I wanted to discuss. For the past 4 years I’ve been heavily involved in the Mental Health services of Scotland, mainly as a patient, but also as a volunteer. It’s a subject close to my heart because it’s affected not only me, but my family and friends, as an extension. I’ve been going through what my dad describes as “a little blip”, but what my psychiatrist would probably call “the reason he has a job“.

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I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable revealing exactly what I’ve been going through, but I’ve hinted at it in previous posts. My point is, though, that this is Mental Health Awareness Month an I am a survivor. I’ve been through the worst (twice) and now, look. I survived. I’m back at Uni. I’m (hopefully) going to be interning at a magazine. I’m on the radio. There were only 5 listeners but still! That’s 5 people who I hope have been enlightened a little bit, amused, heartened or even just mildly entertained. If one of those 5 got any kind of enjoyment or education from my heartfelt statistics, then I consider that, job done.

What could have, and with my luck might well have, been a catastrophic black hole of a day, was actually something rather wonderful. I’m cherishing this day because there are so few like it for me. There are so few days when things actually go relatively to plan. So often there is something that plagues me, that s**ts all over everything, no matter how hard I try. I neglect self care because if I don’t love myself, then I can’t be disappointed when I receive no love in return.

Keeping it real

Keeping it real

I don’t seek attention, I seek to attend to others. But now, maybe it’s my turn. Maybe I will get the chance to be happy. So I’m going to work hard to make that happen.

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

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

The Yellow House By The Sea

Hey Hey Guys!!

Inverclyde Council have passed a motion to have a bright yellow house re-painted, citing it as being “too bold” for the local area.

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The Varese family have spent £3,000 painting the front of their house yellow, making it a ray of sunshine on an otherwise grey, waterfront street.

The decision to force the family to cover the yellow is based on an that is almost as archaic as the idea of paying for produce with buttons; an official statement in the initial planning report said:

The bright yellow and gold tones of the dwelling are not colours which would traditionally have been used on a house of this period style or have been found within this part of the Greenock West End Conservation Area.

“The colours form an intrusive feature within the streetscape and are therefore not appropriate.

“There is no objection to the use of colour on The Esplanade to add variety to the appearance.

“However, the shades would require to be derived from soft, pastel hues found in traditional limewashing which are appropriate to the period of the buildings.”

Basically, in keeping with traditionalism, the house shouldn’t be that colour.

Let us ask ourselves; who is this hurting? Laws have been passed recently that “break from tradition” as they have been seen as outdated and irrelevant – allowing gay people to legally marry, for instance, women being Bishops (because being a woman totally makes you less holy and connected to God, of course, because that makes perfect sense…)

If a mans home is his castle, why shouldn’t that castle be any colour you want it to be? Why should a persons vision of ideal and happiness be limited to the imagination of the few who dictate the norm?

Some people live in Mansions, others cottages. Yet, do the walls around them decide how satisfied the occupant is to live there? Does the colour on the outside reflect the worth of the dweller within?

Of course not. We all have the right to live where and how we wish. So the wall is yellow. So is the sun. So are buttercups. So are bananas. Are the council now going to pass a motion that nothing yellow can be seen for fear of being seemed too obnoxious?

So, the current occupants say they will not re-paint the house unless the council come in with a bull-dozer. Personally, I’m on their side. Lighten up, Inverclyde!

SSDD

The World’s Largest Ball of Wool and Getting Crafty

Hey Hey Guys!

I took a little trip this afternoon with a friend of mine, her mum, gran and pup pup (miniature schnowzer, Kiwi; I hate dogs but that little thing is a darling). We just got in the car and said, “So, where do you want to go today?”

The fact that we just took off, drove in a direction with the vague intention of locating a coffee somewhere picturesque was so… freeing.

I’m usually that super uptight cretin that has to know exactly when we are meeting and exactly who will be there and exactly how close a blood relative of yours was dying that meant that you were 6 and a half minutes late… Sorry, friends… But it was a lazy Saturday. Sure it was grey outside but we had 4 wheels and a radio. The country roads of coastal Scotland are a heaven for those with itchy feet but no intention of really going anywhere. One of the things I love about where I live is that you can simply drive to the middle of nowhere, take in the scenery and call it being somewhere.

We ended up in a little pocket of creativity known as West Kilbride; a hub of arts and crafts and apparently Scotlands’s official craft town! Who knew! We’re all knitters and chrocheters, but now we have been inspired to take up peddaling and spinning yarn on looms and… pretending to be Sleeping Beauty or something… I dunno, but it was a lovely place anyway.

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

There was a gorgeous wool shop in town. We were drawn to it by the MASSIVE BALL OF COLOURED WOOL hanging outside the door. It was just… interesting, and a little bizarre. It tickled my funny bone so I took a pic and inside, was greeted with some of the softest wool I’ve ever felt, made from Alpaca! Can you say luxurious!? Clothing made out of that would be like getting stroked by… well, I’ll let you fill in the blank there 😉

Georgeous Antique clock

Georgeous Antique clock

Eventually we found our coffee and cakes in a cafe in Sea Mill. It seemed to literally pop up at the side of a road with nothing for miles in any direction. It simply seemed to be there and expect people to find it. Which they did. Considering we never passed any houses, the place was a pleasantly bustling little heaven from the biting cold wind blowing off the salty Clyde. Nothing like a crisp breeze and the lure of mediocre coffee to drive you off the road.

Well, that was my Saturday. Til next week! (When I am predicting I’m going to need a serious sleep coz it will be at the end of my first week back at Uni…)

Follow me in Instagram!

SSDD

Reconnecting With the People That Matter

Hey Hey Guys!

Travel is exciting. But it has a down side.

my parents and I

my parents and I in Barcelona

It’s been 4 months since I saw one of my best friends. Since I came home just over 2 weeks ago I have tried my best to get back in touch with all the people I’ve missed most since I left, which hasn’t been easy given, you know, people having lives and all that.

And one of my lovely ladies has been particularly elusive given that she works every hour of the day and never takes a break. But today, we had a wee lunch date! As soppy as it might sound, but when i say that 4 foot 10 little lady walking towards me, I really felt happy. I have felt this way another three times since I landed back in Scotland. The first time was when I saw my parents coming towards me as I waited in the airport lounge. Granted, my grin was likely to have been marred somewhat by the frigid air blowing in from outside, but the sentiment was the same.

The second time was when the knock, knock, knocking on my door, a week after I got home, announced the arrival of two of my other best friends. I was dressed in all my glamour, bobbin’ robin pyjama bottoms, no make-up and messy bun, of course. 😉 When you see friends like that, you cannot fake the grin that pastes itself on your face, nor the rosy glow that flushes your cheeks.

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The third was when my best friend at uni and I caught up. The first thing I did was laugh at how much I missed her Northern accent and, other when she broke the news that her radio show was being cut (R.I.P Fred McCauley show!!!!!) I didn’t stop laughing til I realised I wouldn’t be getting another hug from her til after the New year! Noooooooooo!! (Love you Lambie 😛 )

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So when I saw said friend today, it was much the same feeling. I knew she has been working hard, knew her beloved dog had been sick, yet here she was, with me, and it was lovely.

Super thoughtful Christmas present!

Super thoughtful Christmas present!

Ew, whipped cream... dat Carrot Cake though!

Ew, whipped cream… dat Carrot Cake though!

Present exchanges and several hours of gabbing and puppy adoration later (her dog was sick but is back being a bundle of joy again! This coming from someone who hates dogs…) and we both had other places to be. Life is a pain sometimes.

But seeing her today made me realise something. That is me, now. I have seen everyone I care most about since my return home. I have reconnected with the people who have stayed in touch with me, despite the ocean of distance that separated us for so many months. Just in time for the new year.

I hope that this is a sign. I hope that this is a symbol that these are the people I am going to travel into 2015 with, hand in metaphorical hand, no matter whether we bring in the bells on Hogmanay together or apart. I’m not really one for the whole, new year, new me, business, but I’m hoping that it’s going to be a new year, same people to share it with, kind of deal.

I have made so many new friends this past few months and I hope that I will encounter many of them again in the future. But I have also missed the connection I have with those I left at home. I have been with my best friends since I was 5. They are a stirling group of gals and I wouldn’t replace them for the world.

We have seen each other through the elated highs and most proud successes. We have stressed over every exam and bitched about every teacher. We got drunk together for the first time and held back hair when the times that came after went a little too far. Boys had no secrets and every outfit for first dates was a group decision.

They held my hand when I literally thought I was going to die and we have no secrets. I want to share the rest of my life with them because they have saved me and brought me back from the brink when I was on the verge of my sanity. It’s a bigamist marriage, of sorts. Each one of them is a gem and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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Love you ladies.

SSDD

It’s All in the Packaging

Linda Macdonald sent me another package!

PACKAGE!! :D

PACKAGE!! 😀

This time of year is all about the wrapping paper, the bows the bells and whistles. Whether you are receiving or giving, it’s all in the way it arrives. Everyone likes a nicely wrapped little something, no matter that that little something is.

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Gifts are ubiquitous at this time of year. “Christmas is the time of giving after all. And this one is a super special example of how some people put in just that bit extra effort.

Victoria's Secret Bag

Victoria’s Secret Bag

Some businesses at Christmas stuff things in a bag, scrunch a receipt in your hand along with a glum Ho Ho Ho“, and send you on your not-so-merry way. But then there are places like Victoria’s Secret. The fancy little stripey bag, the pink, the box, the intimations of contents a little more than ordinary.

Linda Macdonald is one of those places. And aside from her usual lovely packaging she is providing a special extra addition. Everyone loves a little indulgence at the festive time of year, writing it off as “It doesn’t count, it’s Christmas! (what kind of an excuse is that, by the way, exactly what difference to your metabolism is there during this particular stretch of the year that makes it better equipped to handle extreme amounts of rich and sugar laden foods, alcoholic beverages and cold weather??).

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Anyway, Linda has played into the hands of deliciousness and decadence and every order includes a lovely Lindt chocolate treat to please the tongue as well as the person.

package and CHOCOLATE!!

package and CHOCOLATE!!

Nestled inside my little pink organza bag was a ring that has been custom made to order for me. A gold heart set in a spotted silver band, on top of a solid one. Stunning!

RING!!

RING!!

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Even better, there is a sale! Lots of items under £50. Snap them up before your heart snaps in sadness at having not snapped them up!

Do you think they’re busy?? 😀

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SSDD