Anxiety, Excitement and Looking For My Knickers.

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Anxiety … It starts with butterflies, then the clammy hands, tingling feet, dizziness and nausea, until finally in order to prevent passing out I have to either lie down or somehow get my head lower than my heart. Usually this involves bending over so far that it looks as though I am interested in looking at my knickers.

These deeply unpleasant sensations also occur if I am too hot, dehydrated and/or haven’t eaten enough.

Embarrassingly this happened on my second date with The Colonel. I had been a teensy bit overexcited, had forgotten to eat all day and was wearing a rather natty little dress of the faintly Grecian variety with lots of lengths of fabric wrapped round me. Alas, I think I had bound myself up slightly too tightly, and promptly had a little fainting episode. Not awfully sexy having your not-quite-boyfriend shove your head between your thighs, but I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t give me a fireman’s lift and douse me in cold water.

I digress … my point here is this. Apart from the dehydration and lack of food causes for these symptoms, I have found that more often than not, my brain is confusing anxiety, with excitement.

Now this anxiety is really just a way of my body and brain recognising that there is a potential danger. It is simply preparing for fight or flight. As we know, in times gone by, the Sabre-toothed tiger approaching the entrance to the cave required some serious action. A delicate fainting, reaching for the smelling salts or practicing my breathing techniques would probably have resulted in ‘Kitty’s lunchtime’.

However, it’s perhaps a little unnecessary to have these rather extreme reactions when I am standing on a chair to change a lightbulb, or kneeling on the kitchen unit trying to reach the top cupboard. It can be a fairly long winded task to change a lightbulb if every few minutes as the adrenaline starts racing through my body, I have to be upended and forced to look at my knickers again.

So I have taken to changing my thought process.

Each time I feel those dizzying, clammy, nauseous feelings of anxiety I say (out loud) …

“Oooh! I am so excited! What fun I am having!” several times and then repeat, and again …

Now slightly simple, unhinged and odd I may well be, but slap me down with a feather, it jolly well does the trick. And dare I say it, on a par with, if not better than, my previous deep breathing exercises.

It appears that by forcibly telling myself that I am excited rather than fearful repeatedly whilst doing the stressful and loathsome task, I can overcome the need for a little lie down or reach for the sick bucket.

So I shall persevere with this and fingers crossed it could be the way forward … I suppose the only worry is if I try to incorporate both past and previous remedies. I suspect that by saying, “Oooh! I am so excited! What fun I am having!” whilst my head is up my skirt and I am heavy breathing, I may well be sectioned or frankly, arrested.

Katie x

How does your anxiety manifest itself? And what do you do?



What do you do to Combat Depression and/or Anxiety?


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Having written and read endlessly about depression and anxiety it seems to me that depending on where we are on the spectrum of this disease, we all follow pretty much the same routines. However what I’ve noticed is that the higher we are on said spectrum the less we are able to do, thereby the situation consequently becomes worse in that repetitively circular cycle. So what is this routine that we are all doing?

We all know that exercise raising the heart rate, yoga/Pilates or a breathing controlled form of exercise, CBT or other forms of therapy, healthy diet etc etc all make the sort of difference that medication alone cannot achieve. No shit Sherlock. But do we do this on a regular daily basis or do we wait until we’re at the stage whereby we’re hiding in the cupboard under the stairs with only a duvet, multi-pack of crisps and the spiders to keep us company? Do we wait until we are in this commonly-known place as rock bottom, before we head off to the doctors and/or contemplate whether sitting in our pyjamas and not having left the house for a month perhaps hasn’t been altogether conducive to a healthy mind and body? After all, aren’t physical and mental health intimately connected? Isn’t there a correlation between the two?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am barely on the spectrum; I, like billions of others have my moments of utter despair and given half a chance, I’d be climbing into that cupboard. So my question is this:

Do we all, most of the time, have some semblance of a routine? A routine that includes all of the above which give or take a few blips, that being simply life, keeps us roughly on the straight and narrow. Surely however it would be abnormal not to have moments of sadness, lethargy and downwardly spiralling thoughts, wouldn’t it?

What I think I’m also rather ineloquently trying to say is that for me, if I keep on top of my mental and physical health then I am at least somewhat better prepared for when troubles arise (which is again, simply a part of life) and I feel more able to not only cope with them, but to resolve them and not only to minimise the detrimental mental effects of said troubles but in a far shorter time.

I personally compare my efforts to a vacuum cleaner. As in, if I don’t empty the dust and debris each and every time that my hoover (mental stability) is required to deal with biscuit crumbs and dirt (the rubbish that life consistently throws at us), then it becomes clogged up and is more difficult to reach into the depths of the machine (brain) to remove all the muck, dust and dog hairs (negative thoughts) and of course thereby takes considerably more effort and of course longer to clean out. So for me, a little bit of work every day works a treat. I’m not perfect and I’m certainly no saint, but as a friend once said to me,

“Lots of nothing adds up to nothing, but a little bit and a little bit adds up to a lot.”

Katie xx

What do you do? Do you empty your vacuum cleaner regularly? Do you have a routine? What works for you?

Sorry For Disappearing …

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I’ve been offline for a couple of weeks. The reason, my husband’s ex wife found my blog and has been using it against me as regards her children.

At first I was angry with her for her unutterably foul and patronising words about me. Then I was sad, not for me, but for her children. Her children who have no escape. We all know how damaging a person can be to an innocent child as they are growing up if they are constantly drip-fed hatred, bitterness and incessant lies.

She has tried again to cause a rift, but of late, for all sorts of reasons, the Colonel and I have become even closer and stronger. We are indeed a team.

Whilst I cannot protect her children, I can protect myself and as for the Colonel, we now laugh together each and every time when she once again spits out her venom at us. Her bitterness, hatred and narcissism no longer affect us and it is a relief, a relief to be free of her. The opposite of love I used to believe, was hatred. I now believe that it’s not, it’s apathy. I feel no emotion for her whatsoever. I will not allow her to speak to me again or contact me in any way.

So, forgive me, but I shall continue writing my drivel to you all because I’ve missed you and I’ve missed reading your posts. So please forgive me for abandoning ship for a fortnight – I simply needed to make the choice … would I stop writing and leave you all and let her win, or would I extract myself from her completely and get on with my life and be with you, my friends. I’ve chosen the latter and it was the right choice.

Sometimes life has a bit of a hiccup, but everything is now back in order. I just needed to hold my breath and count to ten rather than impulsively reacting to her foulness, and now I can breathe normally again. All is well.

Katie xx

Anxiety and … Painting!

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I’m used to bringing up little boys. I love the black and white simplicity of how they view the world. I like the straightforward feed, water, love, exercise, boundaries and sleep way of bringing them up. Forget one of those necessities however and World War 3 is on the doorstep, but generally, I stuck to those guidelines with consistent regularity and they appeared to thrive.

It’s a noisy existence however bringing up boys. No such thing as a quiet bath on your own. Honestly whoever writes these ridiculous articles about candles and bubble baths and a good book …. For God’s sakes! I tried that many a time. In fact the boys even once made a bath for me, how sweet they were. It was only when I was lying there admiring my perfect children and wondering how they they had managed to get quite so many bubbles not just in the bath, but exploding out onto the floor and beyond onto the landing outside that they happily told me that they had used Fairy Liquid. Nice.

And as for candles in the bathroom … Pah! Boys appear to have a fascination with fire. Do you know how difficult it is to put out a burning loo roll which your youngest has been playing with whilst yours truly lies in the bath oblivious. Oh yes, you just throw it in the bath with me. Of course.

And in fact more often than not, I’d have ended up with two little boys joining me plus the contents of the Lego basket and their grubby little knees as we’d squeeze in together. But we laughed, oh how we laughed.

Girls however I’m not used to. Less black and white, more grey, mauve and yellow and every shade in between.

I took them (and the Colonel, poor bloke) shopping yesterday to spend some holiday money. I managed to escape briefly as I found a wonderful little shop with mainly men’s socks, ties, and sarongs etc in. The elderly couple who were in charge of it whilst their son was busy in the stock room, were chatting very easily and I mentioned that I’d momentarily escaped.

“Stepchildren?” she asked.

“Girls?” she asked. She sucked through her teeth and then simply said, “They’ll hate you!”

We then both gaffawed loudly together with interestingly her husband nodding rather enthusiastically as well. She explained that in order to be liked by a) the stepchildren and b) the ex-wife, you have to be a minimum of 4 stone overweight, have very deep pockets and the ability to spend 2 hours looking around one shop for a specific type of hair clip that is to go with a certain outfit otherwise the world is going to end.

Well, if I continue eating my ginger nuts at the rate of … well let’s just say the Colonel had to wrestle them off me last night … then I shall indeed manage to enhance the old muffin tops which my delightful boys pointed out a few weeks ago. I don’t have very deep pockets, but am good at improvising and as for looking for hair clips? No, I’d have to compromise there and keep it to within one hour.

So, after a rather unsuccessful shopping trip yesterday, I engaged them in painting. I found an old tin of watercolour paints, some paper and pencils and together we set to. We sat in the shade in the garden, sipping on orange squash and nibbling (a few) ginger nuts whilst they dipped brushes in colour and enjoyed a few hours of complete tranquility. Honestly, it was bliss. I did a pencil drawing of a robin and was completely immersed.

I know that it is often suggested to those who suffer from anxiety to try drawing or painting and now I get it. It’s like complete therapy. I wasn’t even irritated that I had forfeited watching Nadal at Wimbledon! The girls and I were happy. There’s a lot to be said for this simple activity.

So next time you’re trying to have a peaceful little tiddle on the loo without a plastic machine gun peeking round the door of the bathroom and you’re being riddled with open fire of spongy bullets and your nerves are in shreds, panic not! You can get out the paint pots. Of course with boys, you might end up with more paint around the house than you’d bargained for, but it will make wonderful and unforgettable memories. Heaven, complete and utter heaven.

Katie x

When you’re feeling anxious what do you do? Have you tried this painting lark??

Ps Pls forgive any typos, am typing in haste as Westfield Shopping Centre is beckoning … only a couple of hair clips to search for …

Back to Basics

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Having recently uprooted to London with the Colonel in a new job, one teenager on his ‘Gap Yaaah’ on an island somewhere in the South China Sea, one recovering rather too slowly after the horrors of A levels, two step daughters visiting from South Africa and yours truly is perhaps just a little frazzled … And what happens? “Ding Dong!” Anxiety and stress have paid me a visit and are ringing the bell at the door. “Ding bloody Dong”. Actually less of the “ding” and practically no “dong” as the bell is semi broken. It’s starts with gusto and peters out with exhaustion very quickly. A bit like me then.

I sense that sometimes I simply take my eye off the ball. And I think this is what happened over the weekend. I battle on regardless and forget that in order for me to function at my peak (I now sound like a finely tuned athlete … oooh, let’s run with that, I rather like it … Katie the international shot-putter, no, something more, feminine, Katie the top seeded tennis star. No, too sweaty … Katie the ballerina. Perfect.). Sorry, relief at having a moments peace and quiet is seeing me become unhinged.

So, taking my eye off the ball and I forget my needs. I forget that Betty (the Depressive Demon) is only a few steps away and care must be taken at all times, not just when I hear her starting to cackle and shake her chains, but always. A bit like constantly eating the good stuff so as to build up the immune system. No use eating one solitary orange when you’ve got double pneumonia. Something about horses and stable door springs to mind …

Yes, I need to find a few moments every day to get back to basics, have a bit of the old me time and remember that even though today is my birthday (yup .. flippin’ 49) there will still be hormones raging around this house, particularly mine if what the Colonel says between clenched teeth is true about the menopause, there will still be mouths to feed, including my lovely in laws who arrive imminently and there will undoubtedly be a very overly passionate game of Monopoly with much shrieking and not just from the children. All of this, I shall endeavour to take in my stride with the grace of Katie the ballerina.

So, with this newly acquired enthusiasm for keeping a lid on the nerves, you won’t find me frazzled in the kitchen, consoling one child who’s lost the game, lost the plot or just plain lost, I won’t be found with my head in the washing machine and/or laundry baskets trying to find some peace. I shall be floating ballerina-style in a chic cloud of linen and large floppy hat handing out gin and tonics to the in-laws, multitudinous meals to the growth-spurting and therefore endlessly hungry children and ready with a kiss for the handsome Colonel at the end of the day when he walks through the door. All will be calm (ish), the monopoly hidden at the back of the cupboard and I’ll have the Bach’s Rescue Remedy close at hand.

I need to look after myself not just occasionally, but always. There’s only one of me, thank God for you all, but if I wasn’t here, there’d be no one to feed, water and entertain the troops. I can’t afford to end up like my doorbell again. Full of gusto to start, and then fizzling out with a little bottom-burping exhausted wheeze to end. Wish me luck.

Katie xx

How do you cope when the stresses start appearing? Are you consistent in you self-care or do you sometimes forget?

Are You a “Yes” or a “No” Person? Part II.

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Like the rest of us, I sometimes daydream about winning the lottery … Errrr, don’t we all?

The thought of spending summers on a boat floating around tropical islands whilst a wonderful lady paints my nails as I stand at the wheel with The Colonel beside me sipping champagne gazing adoringly up at me. (Actually the wonderful lady shouldn’t be overly wonderful or beautiful for that matter, let’s not give the Colonel too much to gaze at … let’s give her facial hair, spots and an unusual dental arrangement for starters) … The winters, spent sitting beside a roaring fire writing best-selling books in a huge chalet in Verbier with yet more champagne, a year’s supply of ginger nuts and enough fit (male) ski instructors to get even me looking vaguely elegant on the slopes. (In retrospect, make that two years’ supply of ginger nuts) … Ahhh, what a glorious life it would be!

They say money isn’t everything (Pah! Ok, it’s true) but they also say it’s easier to cry in the back of a Mercedes than on a bicycle and that I do agree with.

So back to reality with a backbreaking thump …. what do we all wish for that will give us happiness?

Life has a funny old way of throwing things in our paths however, determined to try to floor us, or at least postpone our progress, and often just when things are tootling along on their merry way, something is tossed with force unexpectedly before us.

Sadly, for me, it is rarely a lottery win. In fact, the little ‘presents’ that appear tend to be the bad stuff. Usually related to health and death. And we grieve and we struggle and then when it starts to vaguely diminish, we find that in actual fact, “normal” is good. Normal is ok. Normal, our natural default setting, is actually fine, anything rather than being in the depths of despair and depression, is frankly fine.

But, if we wanted more than just normal, more of the good things from life, how do we go about it? I don’t mean to sound overly greedy and it is inevitable that bad things will happen from time to time, but what about having some good things to help counteract them. To act as a balance. To fall back on when the ‘shit hits the fan’.

How do we persuade “life” to throw us a few good packages? Well, we could spend all our hard earned cash on lottery tickets. We could also just sit and gaze out of the window and dream a lot and hope that Prince Charming himself will appear up the stairs of our top floor one bedroom flat on his gallant steed, but the likelihood of that is slim at best, even in my unhinged, erratic mind. So, what to do?

In my mind, the best way forward is to be a “Yes” person rather than a “No” person (kindly read Are You a “Yes” or a “No” Person? for further details!). By this, what I mean is that I for one, have to resist daily the temptation to sit and gaze out of the window and find excuses not to do something, (oh, believe you me, I can find an excuse for everything!) and be proactive (ghastly word, apologies) and get off my wobbly skinny arse, say “Yes!” and actually do something!

Those two words always remind me of Dick Dastardly shouting at his dog Muttley, (if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about then you’re too young you lucky thing so you have that advantage over me already!) “MUTTLEY!! DO SOMETHING!!” he would shout, although Muttley usually demanded a medal for doing so … Now chances are, you won’t receive a medal this time, or even next, but it’s odd isn’t it how those people who are successful in life tend to be the ones who it turns out have been trying and practising their craft for years upon years and yet we had never heard of them until ooooh I don’t know, a character called Harry Potter suddenly becomes a worldwide phenomenon. Funny that.

So my point is this, surely if we believe that mathematical formula relating to probability, if we keep trying, keep learning, keep working, keep being a “Yes” person and giving it our all, eventually good will come of it.

In fairness, this may not result in a yacht in the Bahamas or a chalet in Verbier. It may however result in an alcoholic giving up the booze once and for all, a sufferer of depression finding a way of living in peace, a lover of flowers owning his or her own flower shop, a blogger having his book published or an idiot like me simply bicycling from the top to the (not quite) bottom of France on a bike called Claude. It won’t earn me a medal like Muttley, or a chalet in Verbier, but it’s a personal challenge and might improve the old muscles in the thigh and bottom region …

Whatever the goal, whatever the dream, and despite whatever is thrown in our paths, let’s be a “Yes” person, make the dream a reality and attack life with gusto, passion and a smattering of hope. Try, try and try again. After all, with any experience that we undertake, if we succeed, we will gain confidence and go on to even greater things, and if we fail, then we gain that wonderful quality, wisdom.

And in my mind there are worse things in life than being a wise old bird with a wobbly arse and a twin pack of ginger nuts in her bicycle basket.

Katie xx

Are You a “Yes” or a “No” person? What is your dream, your goal in your life?

What Has “The Wedding” Made You Ponder on?

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Joining our wonderfully stuffy and rigid royal family comes a woman of substance. A woman with a mission using her status to make the world a better place and yet somehow she manages this with grace, dignity and incredible likability. She says we all have a voice, we just have to use it. And of course, she’s right.

And after it all, after the last people have gone back to their real lives, after the shops, bars and restaurants of Windsor have cleaned their tables and closed their doors to count the weekends takings, and the street cleaners have filled yet more bags and are starting to get everything shipshape once again, what are we left with?

A wonderful piece of history that’s for sure. But what else? For me, I feel inspired. I feel inspired by a woman, a woman who gets on with life, works like a trooper and fights for what she believes in, in a feminine, graceful manner. She ticks every box and frankly Harry has done very, very well.

So it’s time to get on, stop worrying and attack life and the things I want to do and achieve. Dare I say that I think we could all take a leaf out of Meghan’s book. I know that I will. Enough dramas about the minutiae of life, I need to crack on and not let any more anxiety or depression stop me from living the life that I want.

Let’s run that marathon, write that book and cycle to the south of France …. the clock is ticking, and sure as eggs is eggs, I ain’t gonna want to run out of time!

Katie xx

Are you joining me?!

Are you inspired and if so by whom?