Pink Pyjamas…..

Since I encountered my first bout of depression about 25 years ago, my life has been characterised by the wearing of pyjamas, particularly those of the pink variety. The accessories of scruffy, towelling wrap and fluffy slippers (of various colours over the years) seem to suit the scenario very well. I am starting this blog today to write about some of the experiences I have had over the years and how they have affected my life. It is an attempt to try to rid myself of the stigma of having mental health problems and to start to feeling better. Hopefully, I can help others too, in the process.

I seem to have been in ‘pyjama mode’ quite a lot over the past few months probably because of the short days and long nights. Why bother getting dressed when you only decided to try to encounter life an hour before it goes dark? When I wake up and realise that I feel like a lump of lead, my brain immediately goes into overdrive trying to re-arrange my day along the easiest lines possible. Yes, you can perform a few household chores and answer the door when the postman rings the bell, but I suppose it’s not very good for your self-esteem. (Nor the postman’s, poor fellow!!) For this reason I have joined ‘The Black Dog Tribe’ http:/ and am hoping to have contact with the ‘can’t-get-out-of-bed’ and the creative tribes to reassure myself that there ARE others who find getting up and started so difficult.

Thank you if you have read thus far! Calendula x

Myth or fact? 10 on the 10th.

Yesterday, I signed a pledge to say that I would open conversations with friends and family about mental illness, to try and end the stigma and discrimination associated with the subject. My 10 things today are conversation starters that we can use to engage people in this important topic. They come from the website of the charity Time for Change who support people suffering from mental health problems. There were only 9 myths published so I added number 10 from my own experience of living with anxiety and depression! Hope Time for Change don’t mind!!!! 🙂

Challenging the myths about mental illness can be a good way to get people thinking and talking…

1 Myth: People with mental illness can’t work.

Fact: Chances are, you probably work with someone with mental illness

2 Myth: Mental health problems are very rare

Fact: Mental health problems affect one in four people

3 Myth: People with mental illness never recover

Fact: People with mental illness can and do recover.

4 Myth: People with mental health problems are different from normal people:

Fact: We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health.

5 Myth: After experiencing a mental health problem, people are weaker.

Fact: Many people who have gone through this actually feel stronger

6 Myth: People with mental illnesses are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: People with mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence

7 Myth: It’s best to leave people alone if they develop a mental health problem.

Fact: Most people with mental health problems want to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues, it can be a great help in their recovery.

8 Myth: I don’t know anyone with a mental illness

Fact: Someone you know or love has experienced a mental illness

9 Myth: People aren’t discriminated against because of mental health problems

Fact: Nine out of ten people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.

10 Myth: People who suffer from mental illness are not suitable as friends.
Fact: People who struggle with depression, as I do, often possess deep reserves of loyalty, love and kindness that would remain ‘untapped’ if it weren’t for our dear friends.
Thank you for reading this and I do hope you will start a conversation with family and friends just by asking ‘ How do you feel today?’

You will find lots more lists at

Email to ‘Life Squared’ re: Buy Nothing Day.

Being a pensioner, I don’t have to go shopping on Saturdays. The trauma of trying to get a loaded supermarket trolley around the crowded aisles when ‘the world and his wife’ have come out to shop, is still fresh in my mind. In fact, suffering from depression means that I hate jostling through crowds and therefore I don’t go shopping very often….it’s just not really a hobby for me as it is for many people.

“What do you do then?” and “How do you shop?”, you may ask.
My absolute downfall is ONLINE SHOPPING and I do as much as I can within my income! I buy art and craft materials, presents, books, clothes, music and even groceries online. It’s just SO EASY especially with that little plastic, flexible friend and the payment service that starts with the letters PP! So you see, I’m just as adept at being one of the 20% of people who consume 80% of the worlds’ resources as any seasoned habitue of the High Street!
“What are you doing for Buy Nothing Day, then?”
•Go through my inbox and delete all the *special offer* adverts that we are bombarded with at this time of year and then ‘recycle’ the ‘snail mail’ when that clatters through the letter box later on.
•Contact and interact with family and friends on facebook and twitter ie. all those who are not trying to sell me something.
•Chat with DH over soup and sandwiches for lunch. NB we didn’t have to queue up with our tray in a crowded, bustling cafe!
•Chores 😦
•Write an email to ‘Life Squared’ about what I’m doing today and post it on my blog.
•Make sure I DON’T SPEND ANYTHING ONLINE….pure willpower, of course!
•Catch up on some of my art and scrapbooking projects ie play around with paper and paint!
•Make Chicken Dopiaza for tea and drink ice-cold beer with DH.
•Watch TV…’Dads’ Army’, ‘Casualty’ and ‘QIXL’ are my favourites on Saturday night.
•Go to bed with a good book…..and DH of course!
So, not a very exciting day, but one I was able to enjoy without having to battle to the shops with other consumers ready to buy things they can’t afford but feel they must have! Maybe next year we should have a GIVE SOMETHING DAY where one could give time or money or hold events for projects that matter to us in our own community?
“What do you think?”
PS. I’ve also been able to *think* proper thoughts today too….most refreshing! 🙂

You can find the ‘Life Squared’ website here.

BPS Research Digest: How walking through a doorway increases forgetting

BPS Research Digest: How walking through a doorway increases forgetting

10 things. World Mental Health Day.

A scrapbook page I made about some of my favourite things 🙂

It is nearly five years now since I retired from teaching on ill-health grounds because of anxiety and depression. Since that time I have received help from various places and managed to claw my way back to being able to function normally, but it hasn’t always been easy. The public view of mental health is still not all that enlightened so I decided that my ’10 on the 10th’ would be 10 ways to improve your mental health. They may seem simple to you, but believe me from the point of view of someone with depression, they may seem really difficult to achieve and the person might also feel unworthy of help.
The Mental Health Foundation has designated today for’ Tea and Talk’ and tea parties will be going on all over the country. Even if it’s coffee you love, sitting, chatting and interacting with others is a good way to boost your mood! If you are able to organise a tea party this week, then visit the tea and talk page or if not, donate here.

Anyone can make simple changes that have a huge impact on their mental health and wellbeing. We’ve come up with ten practical ways to take care of yourself and get the most from life.
Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. Anyone can follow our advice.

1.Talk About Your Feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

2. Eat Well

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.

3. Keep in Touch

Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

4. Take a Break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you.

5. Accept Who You Are

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.

6. Keep Active

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

7. Drink Sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

8. Ask for Help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

9. Do Something You’re Good At

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

10. Care for Others

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

You can download a printable version of these hints and there is extra help at The Mental Health Foundation website.

10 things blogged on the 10th of every month.

I’ve recently been renewing my garden and have created a little, cool, shady place to sit when I need to calm down or just enjoy the garden on a hot day. I often refer to my “Little Book of Calm” by Paul Wilson to help me to gather my thoughts. I hope you will find the following 10 thoughts from the book helpful and I’ve also included a photo of my shady place to help you get in the mood.

10 thoughts by Paul Wilson to inspire you:-
  1. GROW YOUR OWN- Gardeners are among the most calm and relaxed people (while they’re gardening) you’ll find.
  2. PAINT THE TOWN GREEN- Keep plants where you work, sleep and live and you’ll enjoy more oxygen. The more oxygen you can get, the calmer you will become.
  3. THINK CALM- Have calm thoughts, picture calm scenes, recall calm sounds.
  4. SMELL THE BLOOMS- Certain scents stimulate the production of the relaxing chemical, serotonin, in the brain.Among the most effective of these scents are lavender and chamomile.
  5. USE A SOFT VOICE- Have you ever noticed a calm person with a loud voice?
  7. REST IN A TUB- A leisurely, warm bath soothes like no other method. Lower the lights, add a few drops of your favourite oil, and you’ll be transported.
  8. GO ON, SMILE- A smile relaxes all the major facial muscles. It also sets off an emotional chain reaction that invariably helps you feel good.
  10. GAZE ON SOMETHING BLUE- Or pink. Sometimes green. Each of these colours- one warm, two cool- has the ability to instil calm in a troubled mind.
There are LOADS more in the book and if you would like to leave a comment either just say ‘Hello’ 🙂 or share something you do to help you stay calm. Lots of Love, Irene x.

Words to live by

I found this lovely poster on the blog Shrimp Salad Circus.You can download it HERE. Enjoy!