6 Minutes.

I suppose when you put your mind to it, in the space of 6 minutes you can do quite a bit.  For example

  • Do 15 push ups
  • Write a letter to a friend/family member
  • Make your bed
  • Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee
  • Put the laundry on
  • Meditation

A lot of other things can happen in the space of 6 minutes too.  Sometimes that time goes by ever so fast, sometimes though it seems to drip by slowly.  The most fascinating times is when two people are sharing this time and both experience two completely different things.  Two separate things that were learnt from this time, both just as important and relevant as each other. 

So for this blog I have enlisted the help of Ayse. Ayse is a solution focused therapist from London specialising in domestic abuse recovery.

The reason being is quite simply because I made Ayse wait that 6 minutes.

I didn’t know it at the time, I wasn’t timing it (she was) but to me that 6 minutes didn’t feel that long.  For me 6 minutes was something else, and for us that 6 minutes gets referred back to time and time again. 

Ayse, what was it that made you stay silent and wait for me to reply to your question in that day?

When I initially called you to book in our first session you said, ‘What’s the point? No one ever listens to me. People make up their own minds like I don’t have a voice’. I wanted to support you in finding your voice. I wanted you to know that you matter. 

For me It didn’t feel that long to me, to be honest it literally seemed like 1 or 2 minutes because I couldn’t think of what to say.  I remember having a million different answers in my head, so it wasn’t really not knowing what to say, but not knowing how to say it.  I was desperate to respond with ‘I don’t know.’

Ayse, did you know that when I look back now I have so much respect for you waiting that length of time, just sitting there waiting for me to answer.

What difference did it make you having been giving time to think without being rushed?

This is a good question, to be given the time to think, and allowed to answer in my own time meant I was able to process my own thoughts.  At the time my thoughts were so jumbled it was always easy to respond with ‘I don’t know’ or ‘it doesn’t matter’ because to me that was simply how it felt.  However, sitting there being given the time on that day planted the seed, which has then slowly grown into trust.

What difference did those 6 minutes make to you and your practice?

It taught me patience!! I am not the most patient person but it was not about me. It was about you. My practice has changed significantly since then. I invite clients to ‘think’ and not have the assumption that they have the answers, they just need the space to think. 

I had spent so long not being able to answer with the words that I had wanted to, being able to have that opportunity was scary.  I couldn’t understand why it was important for someone to want to know what it was I wanted to say.  Let alone what I was thinking and feeling.  I had gotten used to saying what other people wanted to hear.  This was unknown territory to me.  This initial conversation was an eye opener that’s for sure.

So what was it that sparked this long wait?  What was it that I was asked?

The question was a follow up question. My initial question was, ‘What are your best hopes?” It took a few minutes for you to answer, but you did. The actual question I asked that resulted in me waiting six minutes was, “Imagine your best hopes were met, what difference might that make to you?” You rolled your eyes a few times and changed your seating position. Not because you were upset by the question but because you allowed yourself time to think of the answer. I had no idea what was going on in your head but I could see you were working hard. I was not going to interrupt your thought. Then there was a eureka moment. You hesitated by shared your thoughts with me. You described what life would might look like for you once you met your best hopes.

Best hopes, this was the hardest question ever, although now this is one my favourite questions to be asked, because I always have best hopes, in every day.  Out of every conversation, out of every situation.  Sometimes even if that is just to be heard.

Now writing this, looking back it is easier to reflect on that moment.  This is because I am so much further along in my own journey.  Over a year further along.  There have been many moments when I have sat in silence following being asked questions, for a multitude of reasons.  The feeling of being allowed to have a voice, an opinion is one thing.  The understanding that it your voice is wanted, and respected, and liked is something different altogether.

There are many more people who cannot be heard.  Or feel that being heard is not important.  Part of this is being able to learn that you are important, and your voice is important.  In many different aspects.

Being heard by yourself is just as valuable as being heard by others.  This is something that Ayse has helped me with on may occasions.  Hearing yourself, and what you are telling yourself that you need.  That little voice in your head.  You know the one, the one that tells you that you need a break, that you need to take it easy for the day.  That you just need to slow down or take some time out.  When you need to remember the things that ground you, the breathing, the colouring, the crafts, the writing.  Voicing the times that you have managed to do things that you are proud of.  Even if it is going into a coffee shop and ordering a coffee, making that phone call which you know will be answered by a total stranger.  Small steps lead onto greater leaps at some point when you are ready. 

If you have never experienced a period of time where you aren’t able to be heard, or to speak out.  Try for a short time, take 6 minutes; and watch the world go by.  Listening to your own voice in your head with all the things that you are wanting to say, but not able to speak them.  Feel the frustrations, the torment, just for that short moment, so that next time you are speaking with someone, and you notice that they are finding it hard to figure out the words you may understand and some of the frustrations they are experiencing.

Ayse is taking this one very large step further, and is staying silent for much longer. In order to feel what it is like to be a victim of domestic abuse, this may only give her a snippet of what it is like but it is an experience every time she does this. (she has no idea I am writing this by the way guys) Ayse spends her days listening to others, listening to how other people experience days, weeks, months where they spend their lives not being able to have a voice, or be heard. So for a day or two Ayse goes quiet, and listens to the conversation around her, not being able to speak, watching the world carry on around her, and not being able to do anything about it; let alone have a say in what is happening around her. I mentioned above about you trying it for 6 minutes. This year Ayse is being silent for the 6th and 7th September, all monies raised will be going to the charity Family Based Solutions to keep supporting families where they are recovering from domestic abuse. The donation page can be found here Two Days Silence – Online Social Fundraising Donation Platform | Givey and if you want to learn more about Family Based Solutions then check out their website here Child to parent abuse adolescent Parent support groups (familybasedsolutions.org.uk)

Just as an added note, if you’re wondering how long 6 minutes is, if you read at an average pace, this blog post should take you about 6 minutes to read.

A little something to think about.

Letters of Hope – To My Fighting Butterfly.

To my butterfly who is fighting,

I see you fighting. When you wake up in the morning wash those dried tears from the night before.

I see you fighting. As you prepare yourself for the day ahead, gathering every ounce of energy you have just to get yourself ready to face the world.

I see you fighting. When you smile through the heartache, push through that headache, and force that meal down just to get you through the hours.

I see you fighting. As you courageously walk away from the conversations that are bringing back memories that continue to haunt you both through the night and day, so not to draw attention to yourself.

I see you fighting. As you bravely stand there and bare your soul in the bid to become that little bit stronger, that little bit tougher, that little bit happier within yourself.

I see you fighting. With every letter, email, or phone call you receive telling you that despite everything, this nightmare just isn’t over yet. That there is yet another hurdle to jump over, there is yet another end date in sight.

I see you fighting. Day after day to cling on, to whatever you can to be sure that whatever the day throws at you, you always have hope. Hope that it can and will get better. Hope that there will be a day in the future when clinging on won’t be so exhausting. Hope that your smile will return soon and this time it will be for good.

I see you fighting. When you finally sit down on your bed and take off your mask. When you can relax your shoulders and allow the muscles to relax a little bit more. The fight to remain strong enough to get through the day has finally been won.

I hear you fighting. Speaking the truth, though your voice is shaking, the fear is there yet you fight on. The strength you show to get yourself heard despite having a world against you is immense. You are winning.

I see you fighting. At the end of the day when you close your door and the tears a finally free to fall. I am with you when you when they just won’t stop. There to hold you, to stop you falling, to keep you feeling safe. To hear your thoughts and let you know that you are doing so good. The fight your are putting up is a hard one but you really are the best person for it, you are winning, and when you don’t think you are, that is when you’re furthest ahead.

So, to my fighting butterfly, I send you this. Your wings are getting stronger with every battle, when they feel heavy it’s ok to rest them. The time will come when all the fighting will mean you’re ready to fly high, to show the world the beauty in those wings. Never give up fighting because you always have someone right beside you, seeing your strength, hearing your worries, holding on to hope with you.

I believe in you,

Butterflies With Rainbows.

Believe in yourself and have hope.

Mothers Love

Sometimes we question ourselves as a parent, that’s ok.  Why we do this could be for a number of reasons, each just as important as the other.  Every one of us has a story, has an experience, has a tale to tell.  Here is one part of one story.  One snippet in a big world.  The moral of the story?  Have a read and see if you can find it.  It may well be different for everyone. 

You are an amazing little human being.  Lifting the mood in any room you bound into, with that smile, big brown eyes and long eyelashes that every female is instantly jealous of from the moment they meet you. 

However, I’m your mummy and I’m finding it the hardest job of all.  I shouldn’t do, it should be easy, it should all come so naturally, so where is it? Where is this mother’s instinct? 

Was it ever there?  From the moment you were born and whisked away to the intensive care unit the dread set it.  Was I ever going to actually be your mummy? That whole week of doubt followed, the guilt of visiting you, of holding you, of leaving you, that when the day came that I was able to bring you home the joy was overtaken by every other emotion possible. 

Fear that I couldn’t love you, worry that you’d get sick, guilt that you’d feel left out, and panic that I just wasn’t going to be good enough. All of them stacking themselves on top of each other like a huge game of Jenga, as soon as one hurdle was beaten it just jumped to the top making the stack even higher.

“Sometimes it ends in hugs and tears, sometimes it ends in laughter and smiles.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

You were and still are my rainbow, I was never going to let that stack of negativity win though.  You started to grow, you became so infectious with love and laughter that despite that stack of blocks your smile and giggles were breaking through it.  Against all the odds, a season ticket in a hospital bed, and teaching me what worry really felt like you continued to not only grow, but you thrived.  You loved, you shared love and you cared.  

Then just like you were whisked away at the very beginning, you were gone again.  Only this time I didn’t know where you were.  Not to begin with.  I knew you were sad, and I couldn’t do anything about it.  I had to learn to trust the people who were looking after you to do it ‘right’ because after all you were still mine.  It hurt, so much more than the first time.  

I had spent the first two years of your life fighting to be your mum, begging to look after you, to read to you, to play games with you, and every fight I had lost.  You were this small baby who never spoke, but always smiled for me.  Who wouldn’t walk but always hugged.  Who loved a bottle and dummy, despite my best efforts to get you off them.  In the space on one day, you were gone. 

The silence was deafening, the endless echoes and emptiness around me resonated through every night.  It never got easier, over time the tears stopped, but the pain remained.  Can you imagine hurting every night and not being able to stop it?  This did come to an end, sort of.  After 444 nights the time came when I was allowed to be that mum again, and read that story, tuck the blankets in and give that kiss goodnight.

Happily ever after right? 

Wrong.

The baby that was whisked away all those days ago was no more.  I now had a child, who looked completely different.  Who spoke all of a sudden.  Who walked around, who asked questions, who had an opinion, who had likes and dislikes.  This child didn’t have the bottles and dummies that they left with, there was no more rocking them to sleep.  There weren’t even anymore nappies!  How was it possible for someone to change so much in 444 days?

How can I be a mum to a stranger? How do I do this? Can I do this?  Should I be doing this? What if I can’t do this? 

These were only a few of the questions that swamped my head and still do.  You see I got this little human being back after so long it was like being handed a rather large new baby. Only without the sleepless nights and 2 hourly feeds. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  I didn’t know how to start a conversation with you, to spark laughter, to brighten that smile with you.  I knew I had to learn, and I had to learn fast.

Learning all about you from strangers is one the weirdest things ever.  To admit I didn’t know what time you go to bed, or wake up is enough to torment me emotionally, when the truth is I hadn’t been there to learn them so of course I wouldn’t know these things.  To admit I needed to be taught all the ‘mum’ information just so I could meet your basics needs is embarrassing.  To admit defeat when I just can’t calm you down, when I can’t stop your tears from falling, when the only thing I can do is cry with you, hold you and hope someone tells me what to do. 

Yet there are times when I see you for the amazing child you now are.  Seeing all the new things you’ve learnt, and I now get to enjoy for the first time.  Watching you ride your trike, seeing your confidence grow as you learn to jump and climb.  Enjoying your smiles and laughter as we make a mess trying to bake cookies and cupcakes.  For the first time I’ve been able to read you stories, play games with you, and enjoy your company. There have been so many happy moments with you, proud moments, not to mention surprising moments.  These moments will stay with me, these moments are what will make me your mummy.  

One day I won’t have to try quite so hard, plan for so long, or ask for quite so much help. I’m not sure when that day will be.  In the meantime, we continue to take each little thing together.  Sometimes it ends in hugs and tears, sometimes it ends in laughter and smiles. There may be more times I need to ask for help, but that mother’s love is there, it always has been.  In amongst the chaos every mum has that mother’s instinct, with some hope and some belief it shows through.  The more you feed it the more it’ll grow, the key is to feed it with the right things.  What do you feed your Hope with? 

“I was allowed to be that mum again, and read that story, tuck the blankets in and give that kiss goodnight.”

@butterflieswithrainbows

Getting your child back from foster care is just as traumatic (in my opinion) as losing them into the system.  Listening to them asking to go ‘home’ when they are already home is heart-breaking, only you can’t show that.  You need to keep that strong face, that calm exterior which accepts that is ok.  You cover it all up by giving another big hug and kiss and simply saying ‘I love you so much’ in the hope that one day it’ll be believed. The day will come, the days do get better and brighter. The day will come when you can hear the word ‘mummy’ and you can respond without second guessing yourself, without stopping before you respond because you forget that it is you who mummy is.  Hold on to every little piece of hope and watch it grow along with your little ones. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Interview with @burstingmybubblesblog the fabulous Charlotte.

I had the opportunity to have an amazing conversation with the fabulous Charlotte, who is not only a fabulous mental health advocate on Instagram, but she also has her own blog page as well.  Charlotte is from Sheffield and loves to travel.  You can find much more information about her by checking out her blog right here, https://burstingmybubbles.com/worsbrough-reservoir/ Over on Instagram you will see a tonne of positivity, and an impressive layout of videos, reels, and don’t forget to take your morning brew and share this with her in the mornings.  One of my personal favourite activities.  When we met we had a talk about a few things, it was a very exciting time as Charlotte had just celebrated the release of her first product online as well.  Read on to see the conversation we had, and to check out the links where you can find more information about @burstingmybubblesblog

I have some questions, but in general it is more of a getting to know you and more about your page.

OK sweet

First of all, can you tell me about what was it that inspired you to start your page?

Do you want me to voice note or type lovely?

Up to you. if you can type it will be best for me for writing the blog but what is easier for you.

So, for me I’m incredibly scared of a lot of things. And I live in a little bubble. So, to push myself I sometimes have to pop that bubble I do have a blog post on it of that would help?

ooohhhh I can happily include the link to your blog that would be super useful.

Pushing ourselves out of the bubble is sometimes the hardest thing ever.

I’ll send you the post that addresses that at the end.

Amazing thank you.

It’s so hard to push ourselves sometimes and I’ve really had to work at it.

Which came first? your blog or your Instagram?

They came the exact same time as I joined a blogging programme.

ooohhhh interesting.

Yeah by @anitahendrieka!

How did you find that?

Instagram.

Cool.

May have a look.

Do she’s amazing.

How long have you been running your page for now?

I found her by choice, I was at that stage when I knew I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to do a travel blog but didn’t know how to do it.  I came across her and she has her own blogging course, honestly, she is that amazing, I have renewed my membership with her now for my fourth time, I have been working with her now for over a year. She’s amazing. Working with her for the past year I’ve got my own accommodation sponsorship, I’ve got my own products and stuff, it is really good.

That does sound amazing.

I will look her up.

Since you have had your page up and running what have you been pleased to see? What have been your wow moments?

I know one of them.

Getting accommodation and brand sponsorships, creating my own products, being able to help people!

They are all pretty big things, aren’t they?

Sooo what inspired the creation of your first products? The Travel Anxiety Kit.

It’s something me and my mum both suffer from and we couldn’t find any help so did it ourselves.

Amazing, so if there isn’t something that you need, then create it yourself.

With the creation of your posts, your blog, and obviously your products, how do you keep yourself motivated?

It can be hard, and I definitely have my bad MH days. My partner is incredibly supportive, I’m a coach myself so my clients keep me going, and my family!

A good support around you is always helpful, I was going to ask what do you do to help yourself on the bad days? How do you support your own mental health when you’re supporting so many other people online and in your role as a coach?

So, I create a personalised plan for myself and my clients. I give myself an attainable to do list so I feel successful.

I know you’ve kind of answered it with the having the support of your partner, but it is there anything else that you do?

I’ll go out even if it’s just on my doorstep
And I make sure I eat!

I am also really open about my MH, so I talk about how I’m feeling

Also, what are your hopes for the future of your blog and page?

I’m transferring it into being my full-time job.

That sounds so exciting.

Thank you!

You are so inspirational.

Those were all the actual questions I have, was there anything that you specifically wanted me to add into the blog for you?

If you send me the details for your blog, I will be sure to include that in

Thank you for inviting me!

Here is a link to my blog.

https://burstingmybubbles.com

Perfect thank you. Are you only on here? do you have a Facebook/twitter account that you post on

I do have a fb group.

Ahhhh amazing!

Eeek thank you so much!

What an inspirational young lady, who has taken strength from her own anxieties and used this to create something that can be used to help many others.  Using social media platforms to send positive messages and share hope to others around.  Having a blog page that is accessible and full of useful information that can be referred back to again and again.  Charlotte’s sense of humour, character, and quirkiness comes through in all that she does, and her willingness to support others is an inspiration to all.  Check out her socials here,  Mental Health & Travelling | By Charlotte Blackburn | Facebook for her Facebook page. 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫 | 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥 & 𝐌𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡 (@burstingmybubblesblog)  for Instagram, you can find her blog page here, Home – Bursting My Bubbles

Thank you for reading.

Photo by Rebecca Diack on Pexels.com

My Scared Butterfly.

To my amazing butterfly,

I know you are feeling scared at the moment, you’re facing something that is completely unknown to you.  I wanted to let you know that being scared is perfectly fine, don’t be afraid to share this with those around you, you definitely won’t be alone.  You will be able to manage this because you are an amazing person with a wealth of knowledge and if you can believe in yourself just a small amount compared to the amount you believe in those around you, you will be just brilliant.

I know that you feel guilty, like you could have done better.  Or even prevented this from happening.  You always say that things happen sometimes that are completely out of our control.  Do you think this was one of those things?  You couldn’t have prevented it really could you?  That guilt is natural, but what if you converted that guilt into another emotion?  How would that feel?  Try remorse? Try saying to yourself “I’m really sad that happened but I couldn’t change it, so instead I’m going to do this.”  Remorse will lead you to recovery easier than guilt, it will lean you towards steps to change, encourage you to move forward.  Feeling guilty about an event will keep you in that moment, for a long time.  Being sad that something outside of your control has happened is alright, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you compassionate and caring.  Qualities of an amazing individual. 

I know you might be feeling lonely, like no one would truly understand the feelings and emotions that are going through your head.  Those confused thoughts of anger but fear you have, of worry in case you say or do something wrong.  The conflict between talking to seek advice and, talking and risk losing friends.  Of being judged, labelled or excluded.  The concern of having the reality check of having to re-prioritise some of the most important things in your life and not knowing if you have made the right decisions, never knowing if this is a risk that will be worthwhile.  Please feel reassured that you aren’t alone, because whatever the time of day or night someone really is there for you, to listen to you, to hold your hand, to give you that much needed hug, supply you with a tea or coffee, and to just sit with you and listen to you.  You really will never be alone.

That disappointed feeling you have, because you wanted to react in a different way that you felt was the right way.  Those initial emotions and feelings that you allowed to surface, that you now regret. That you wish you never felt because you feel they were wrong.  They weren’t wrong, they were all good, they were all the normal things that everyone feels and you managed everything so well.  Your really should be proud of your skills.  Look at how you took the next steps, how you looked at everything rationally, how you thought about everything slowly and calmly.  Are these things to really feel disappointed about?  I didn’t think so. 

When all these feelings and emotions take over, overwhelm you, and are then mixed up with the addition of responsibility, love, respect for another, and experiences of others that you know it can create such a confusing atmosphere in your head.  Sometimes it can seem more than a fog or a cloud.  More like an electrical storm cloud, because unlike a normal cloud it’s not just blurry, it’s painful and can seem like the wrong turn will create a super charged ripple effect through the entire sky.  

In order for a storm cloud to be so effective though it needs to have something to conduct the force behind it.  By taking everything slowly, one step at a time, and having the realisation that you are the calm in that storm, you are in control of the direction of those lightening bolts, it will soon disperse.  All storm clouds have one advantage that they don’t know about, they stop you seeing too far ahead.  This means you can only ever focus on the step in front, so you see, that cloud is daft.  It’s helping you to stay on track without even realising.

So, to my amazing butterfly who is reading this, I hope you can see the way through, because you really are beautiful and strong enough to face this.  Remember to let that storm cloud help you, it will clear, but only if you can allow yourself you take it one step at a time.

I believe in you. 

Butterflies With Rainbows

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

No More Fight Left?

I try to keep this website as real as possible.  In order to do that it is important to understand that not every day is good.  Not every day following weeks/months/years of mental torture is day full of smiles, and positivity.  Sometimes it is more than a day.  These slums can last days, sometimes a week or so.  They are exhausting, but they are the reality of life.  This is the life I have to live and manage on a daily basis, as hard as it is there are times when I want to say enough.  There are days when I am great, and confident enough to shout from the rooftops.  Although the slums are what many people struggle with.  Over time there are ways to light the way out of them, they become easier to come out of, which is why now I can share this.

“I’m done fighting, fighting with everyone around me to be heard, fighting with the people who care because I want to be understood, fighting with myself because I don’t want to be the person I am. I have no strength left to fight these battles anymore, someone needs to hear me now.”

This is something I’m finding myself saying more and more these days.  Despite using all the techniques and coping strategies I have been taught through the numerous therapy sessions I have attended I can’t understand why I am finding myself saying this.  

“What do you need?” Is something that I get asked quite frequently and the only answer I can give is “I don’t actually think I know.”  When the reality is, I do.  I need time, and patience.  Someone who is able to sit with me without a time restriction, who can just listen and help figure out the spaghetti junction of words, feelings and emotions that have tangled themselves up in my head.  Someone who can just sit there and hold me while the tears fall and not feel uncomfortable, or the need to try and ‘fix’ them.  Just to understand that they need to fall at that moment.  The need to be held, comforted, and feel not completely alone at that moment, that despite the words ‘you are not alone’ being heard, for someone to understand that the feeling of loneliness outweighs those words on a daily basis.  

To allow myself to be able to turn that phrase around from “no fight” to “willing to fight”

The true facts are though, this isn’t a reality that can happen.  I do actually understand that, despite the understanding being there doesn’t mean my head can accept it.  Unfortunately for me my head still says, ‘I’m not ok, why can’t anyone see that?’  This then gets followed up with ‘why am I bothering if no one else is?’ Yet the truth is, I know people are bothered.  I’d give anything for someone to truly understand what is going on in my head. So that then I might begin to understand it better. At the same time, I wouldn’t wish anyone to experience it, because it is scary and lonely.  There is no happy medium here. 

So why am I feeling like I have no fight anymore?  Why are these feelings all coming flooding back like a tsunami when on the outside I am so close the end of one step of this journey?  Fear?  Is it the fear that it’ll all get taken away again? Maybe. Fear that I’ll be more alone? Maybe.  Fear that if it goes wrong again this time it will be all on me? Maybe.  Fear that I have been fighting all this time for the wrong reasons? Maybe.  Fear of being forced to live this life when there’s still part of me that doesn’t want to? Maybe.  Fear is a big part. 

Exhaustion?  Mentally exhausted from all the realisations of how much the last few years have damaged everyone. The exhaustion from trying to please every single person around me all the time.  The exhaustion from trying to figure out who I am and the realisation that I still don’t understand, and will disappoint those I’ve learnt to care about? Not to mention the physical exhaustion of trying to create this person, to be the person I want to be, to do the right things, to push back the bad person I really am and develop this nice person I want people to see.  The physical burnout from forcing myself to be at all the places I need to be and make sure I am mentally present despite knowing I need to take some time away.  

There are parts that don’t go to plan, that don’t resolve the way you wanted.  That change your future and turn your world upside down

When everyday becomes a constant battle, a constant fight, and then a constant reminder of a life that was, it becomes a constant nightmare that never ends.  It chips away at the reflection and before long that’s all I am able to see in the mirror.  A nightmare, that has nothing left, that knows what she needs but knows she needs to find an alternative before she gives in.

But when the cracks seem too wide, and it feels like the reflection is falling into them, quicker than any alternative can be found. 

So, what do I do?  What can be done to beat this, to close the cracks before it’s too late?  To re-establish that level of control which will allow the functionality of everyday life.  To allow myself to be able to turn that phrase around from “no fight” to “willing to fight” and stand up long enough to say it out loud.

Well first things first, I do what I do best.  I write, write down the things that are going well.  It isn’t always nothing, it is a case of stopping and thinking hard.  Ultimately when I am writing I will eventually get to the point when I write “I am still here fighting.”  See the hypocrisy there? 

Every slum comes to an end, eventually.  That I do know.  Managing it, figuring it out, I haven’t quite solved yet.  One day I might have a better understanding, in the meantime I rely on hope, virtual hugs from those that do care, my reliant on being able to write (even badly) and a cosy blanket.

Asking myself one question, “If you heard about someone else dealing with all you are, what do you imagine you would think of them?”

You see, the bad days do happen to everyone.  They can creep up when we least expect it, or they can begin to build over a while.  They happen because they are part of every single person’s life.  No one on this planet has a good day every single day.  There are parts that don’t go to plan, that don’t resolve the way you wanted.  That change your future and turn your world upside down.  The realisation comes when you learn how to refocus, grow, and learn from these changes.  Hope is a powerful thing, and the hope that when these low days happen that you have the strength, motivation and will power to keep getting up and to keep moving forward.  Even if it is at a slower pace than other days.

Shooting Stars.

Shooting stars are hard to come by. When you eventually see one it’s so quick and short lived, that by the time you pull your camera out or called someone else to come see it, well, it’s all over. In order to get others to believe you saw it you rely on trust. Trust that your eyesight didn’t let you down, that you didn’t imagine it. That when you re-tell the details of that amazing moment when the light darted across the night sky before your very eyes that others will listen in awe. They will imagine they had been with you, standing there seeing with their own eyes the magic unveil in the sky above.

The magic of a shooting star happening when you least expect it, when you are just looking up for whatever reason, is something quite special. It can leave you feeling so unique and special, like no one else in the world experienced that moment other than you. Igniting that spark inside to lift you up, to give you some passion, motivation and hope to keep going. It somehow magically makes a smile appear on your face regardless of how you feel inside, yet you have no idea why. Despite all these amazing powers a single shooting star can have, how often do you see them?

If only there was a way to encompass these powers, package them up so you can let them out on those dark nights when you look up and see no stars to guide you on your way. Carry them around with you and share them with your closest friends and loved ones when you see they need them more than you do. Those magical powers from one small natural phenomenon would be worth holding on to forever, and be so valuable wouldn’t they?

The thing with shooting stars is this, you have to get to know them, to understand them. If you take some time to learn more about them, then you will find out that shooting stars actually can be seen more often than we all think. By taking some time to look longer, taking the time to use the right tools, and look in the right places, you can see a shooting star every ten to fifteen minutes. Can you imagine feeling that internal rush? of energy that often? Can you even imagine being able to feel the smile across your face every time you see see what you you’re searching for?

“You already have the tools to see it, because to them, you may be that shooting star.”

That natural phenomenon, travelling through the sky at thousands and thousands of miles per hour, leaving a trail of light behind it, has the power to restore hope in many. Yet no one knows quite how, and that’s ok.

You see, the shooting stars you can only see if you have all the right tools. So if you don’t have everything you need to see those shooting stars tonight does it mean those stars aren’t there? Does it mean you can’t look up and smile? They are still there, shooting their way across that sky, you can still look up, you can still smile.

You can still share with your friends and loved ones your hope, because you know it is there. You already have the tools to see it, because to them, you may be that shooting star. Passing on the tools to others for them to be able to see clearly enough, so they in turn can be a star for someone else.

Shooting stars are very much like some of the closest people you will ever get to meet, they shine brightly in the darkness to shine your path, yet never seek attention. Only when you know them do you really see them.

Shooting stars may be a natural phenomenon, but they will always be there, just look up.

We are 2 months live!

Hello everyone.

It has been a busy few weeks, as you have seen by some of my posts on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages I have been writing lots of little quotes and phrases.  I have been enjoying doing these, sharing the little phrases that have been helping me through the difficult days, or even the good days when I think its just all too good to be true! (we all get moments like that right?)

I have started to have some virtual conversations with some amazing people who are running pages over on Instagram, these people are posting positivity quotes, promoting healthy self-care tips, and wanting to share their own experiences of managing their own wellbeing during difficult times.  Many of these pages are run by individuals, and I couldn’t help but wonder what their story behind their page is?  So, I asked, like I do.  Sometimes.  Actually, to be fair it took a lot to send those first few messages, but I did, and I am so glad I did. 

When I get an idea, I think things over, and I keep thinking until I convince myself it isn’t going to work.  Some of the brilliant people I have been talking to over the last year have been helping me to have the confidence to follow my dreams, and to aim for my best hopes.  So that’s what I did.  (I need to write about their impact on the path my life has taken, and how much it has changed.  See another idea!!!!!)  As a result of this I have spoken to some of the kindest people, who like me, want to share kindness, empower others to have hope, and encourage people to never give up.

My hope is to be able to create a safe place online, using Butterflies with Rainbows to accumulate these interviews so that everyone can see these accounts, why they were created without having to go trawling through the internet.  To boost mood, self-confidence, encouraging people to be proud of themselves, and their achievements.

Now there are hundreds of people sharing their experiences out there and I am only one person, so this will grow over time, but it will be fun to watch it grow, and exciting to carry on meeting (virtually of course) all the new people from all over the world.

Other news – I think there will be a small number of items available soon from the Butterflies with Rainbows store.  I think I am going to be using Etsy for the time being anyway, if anyone has any suggestions PLEASE contact me.  These will include postcards (using the quotes which have been written by ME), letters of hope, plus more.  Over time content will increase, but it’s still early days.

Finally – One of my other Rainbows came home, That’s 3 of them home.  One more to go!  I can’t tell you how good this is.  There will be more on this VERY SOON!!!!!!

So, as we creep up to Butterflies with Rainbows being live for 2 months, I can honestly say it has been an amazing whirlwind, and so exciting.  To read the messages from people, they are truly touching, and I love every single one.  I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to sharing the journey with everyone.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

My Interview With Khadijah

On the 18th February I had the pleasure of chatting with Khadijah.  She keeps her Instagram page @journalwithkhadijah up to date with some great content.  Promoting positive mental health, general wellbeing, and there are even some delicious recipes on there.

I invited Khadijah to have a conversation with me because of the broadness of information she shares.  To begin to learn and listen to others who are promoting for positive mental health and positive wellbeing.

Khadijah is from Toronto in Canada, and her page @journalwithkhadijah was started in December 2020.

Here is how the conversation went, it was an amazing chat, and I loved (virtually) meeting her.

Thank you for agreeing to do this. I am very excited to write about other people who are spreading a positive word.

It’s such a great idea and lovely way to spread a positive message.

I kind of want you to let me know more about you, and your page.  Starting with, what inspired you to start your page?

Well, I’ve always been really passionate about mental health especially because a lot of people close to me have struggled with issues of their own. I feel like I started to get good at understanding mental health issues and the importance of bringing awareness to it- obviously, I still have so much to learn!! But I created the account as a way of advocating for general wellness and keeping me accountable for taking care of myself.

Usually, I post what I feel like I need to hear in the moment. And I feel like this account just helps me stay on track of taking care of myself.

I love that, keeping you accountable for taking care of yourself. 

That is so important.

So, with the experiences you have with those that have been close to you, has it changed your perceptions, and your views on how mental health is perceived on social media platforms?

Yes, for sure- it has made me so much more understanding and compassionate with these kinds of issues and I feel like social media & the constant conversation around mental health has helped me understand how to help my loved ones.

I hear you on that one.

Yeah, for sure! Social media is such a powerful tool for this.

So, with your page at the moment, and what you are currently doing with it, what are your best hopes for the future, with mental health perceptions and social media

Well, I hope to inspire my audience to be able to be comfortable discussing mental health/depression/anxiety. I really want to normalize things like “having a bad mental health day” for example…

The need to normalise a bad mental health day would be amazing wouldn’t it?

Also, in my country there are not a lot of resources for mental health to help people who are struggling. I really want to help out with that in some sort of way- even if it’s just using my little corner of the internet.

What are resources like there?

Here there are lots of helplines, but they are no good because it’s not trained professionals on the phone. Also access to therapy can be kind of expensive, especially for students who can’t afford it. Overall mental health resources lack a lot of funding and attention from the government/society. But it is slowly getting better as the awareness & movement increases.

So online is easy access.

In the past I’ve called helplines for my friends & they don’t really provide any advice for people who are struggling. Rather, it’s there for people in extreme crisis but there is nothing to stop people from reaching this crisis, If that makes sense.

That makes so much sense. It is similar here. A crisis line will tell you unless you are going to do some serious damage then they can’t help you.  It is a shame, because the help and intervention needs to be earlier.

Yes, exactly which is so frustrating.

So, can I ask, what keeps you motivated? what keeps you positing content, and not giving up?

Honestly, there are some days where I feel down and I might be having a bad mental health day so that’s when I create my content because I always post the things I need to hear in that moment.

Also I don’t really create my content for followers or attentions, I create it for the small amount of people that do need it and need a little boost throughout the day and that’s the thought that keeps me going with this

Posting what you need to hear.

Yeah, exactly and I think that’s what Keeps my content authentic.

It is authentic, that’s what I love about it.

Aww thank you so much 🙂

I think if it is true from the heart, it speaks volumes.

Some of the most powerful things that I have taken from this conversation that I feel are such valuable lessons to learn and share with others are “Keeping me accountable for taking care of myself” This is such a key message, to be able to recognise what will be helpful, beneficial to others but also keeping yourself grounded and in check as well. 

On speaking with Khadijah, it is clear that it doesn’t take someone with heaps of qualifications in mental health, or self-care to be able to spread the message of hope.  To share some kindness and show compassion to those around you at difficult times.  As Khadijah explained in Canada the helplines are useful for those in extreme crisis, but what about those who aren’t there.  By doing her little bit to provide encouraging words, tips and tricks that she finds helpful and useful to her followers’ people are able to develop the tools they already have, to try and manage, and hopefully prevent that crisis escalating. 

“need to normalise a bad mental health day”

 Having the hope to normalise a bad mental health day, is something that resonates a lot with me.  There remains a lot of stigma related to mental health, and needing to take a day to slow down, rest, recharge yourself.  Despite it being recognised that at times it is just needed, yet it still seems to a grey area in many places.

If you want to go along to check out @journalwithKhadijah on Instagram just click on the link.  I am sure she would love to see you over there.

This has been lovely, Come back soon to see who I am speaking to next!

“keeping me accountable for taking care of myself”

@JournalwithKhadijah
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Do We Need To Be So Harsh On Ourselves?

So this is a bit controversial but do you think we need to be less harsh on ourselves?  I mean in all senses!  Physically, mentally, emotionally, literally!

              There is a saying that we are our own worst critics.  How true do you think this is?  What are your own expectations of yourself compared to the expectations you have of other people around you?  Do you have higher standards for yourself?  Have you ever wondered why?  To this day I have never asked why I set myself such high standards, until recently that is.  Now I question myself why we are all so much harder on ourselves on numerous occasions.

              I can only personally vouch for females (because hey, that’s me) but I am pretty sure I speak for everyone, including men, teens, young adults, basically everyone!  DO WE NEED TO BE SO HARSH ON OURSELVES?

              I sit sometimes and wonder if my son or daughter, or a friend came up to me and repeated some of the things I tell myself I’d be horrified.  I’d be defending them, telling them they are overthinking things, and that they are perfect just the way they are.  So why is it so hard to believe it of ourselves.  What would you do if it were one of your friends or family members coming to you saying the things that you tell yourself in the mirror?  What response would you give to them?

“If you are able to find positivity and hope within yourself, and find focus on your own achievements, then it’ll be possible to encourage those around you to do the same.”

              Now I am going to pick on the girls a bit here (sorry about that) but we put ourselves through a lot.  Literally!  To be fair some of it is quite disgusting too.  If we stop for a moment and think about it, we have to deal with the upheaval of our emotions on a monthly basis (if we are lucky to get that long) with our periods and let’s not even start with the level of anxiety around that dreaded letter landing through your door for that ever anticipate (whispering) smear! So why the heck do we then beat ourselves up for spending an extra 10 minutes in the bath, or eating that extra scoop of ice cream? (cookie dough, vanilla, or strawberry cheesecake – the votes are open)

              We push ourselves to be the best we can be all the time.  Yet when we feel like we fall short of that mark we think it over and ask ourselves why didn’t we do better?  We look at all the things we didn’t finish, or we had to leave for another day.  Instead of looking at all the things we achieved, and feeling proud, telling ourselves that we actually achieved a lot today we choose to focus on the negatives.  Yet automatically we encourage those around us to stay positive.

              How often have we individually sat and mulled over a piece of work because its just not good enough, a blog post because it isn’t reading quite right (me! me! me!), sat down in the evening looking at the pile of ironing that needs to be done but just don’t have the motivation to do it.

              Yet what did you do instead?  That one piece of work may not have been completed, but the other three or four pieces were completed, or the research and the planning for it were done in preparation.  That blog post isn’t reading right, but the ideas are there, and it has a really good basis laid down.  The ironing might not be done, but for the first time the laundry basket is empty, and you are actually sitting down with a drink that you desperately deserve.  These are all amazing achievements.

              It isn’t just us girls that do this, everyone does this at some point.  What would the benefits be if we all ended the day thinking about what we have done well, looking at the things we have completed in the day, rather than the things we didn’t finish.  What differences do you think that would make?  With trying to change a mindset it can change your perspective.  There are many advantages to this.  If you are able to find positivity and hope within yourself, and find focus on your own achievements, then it’ll be possible to encourage those around you to do the same.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the impact you can have on those around you by taken a small step on your own journey.

              A change in perspective on anything can give you a different view, a bigger view, and something that looks much brighter, positive, and more hopeful.  So, if at the end of today you were to sit and ask yourselves, “what have I done today that I am proud of” how many things could you think of?  If you can only think of one small thing, that’s amazing, keep asking it every day, and you will find something daily, eventually it will get easier.  Then see if you notice how those conversations in the mirror change.  Will you continue to be so harsh on yourself?