How to survive the festive period with depression 

opinion piece

It was at that moment that time stood still. Laying limply in a bath full of water which had long gone cold, still. Physically weakened by your own mental state, moving is not an option. Staring blankly at a blank wall, thoughts full of angst and pain. Angst and pain. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell

If you battle depression or anxiety; you will be familiar with this situation, and these bleak feelings. The bad periods come and go, but I have noticed the festive period can be particularly challenging. 

Photography Credit: Nikita Campbell

It’s a time of year where we are expected to be appreciative, grateful and ‘happy’. What if we can’t keep up the pretence? What if we truly aren’t happy? Society at large and the media don’t cover this. This Christmas I found myself at an all time low, I can’t quite distinguish what was the root cause. I fear it may be a build up from what I can only describe as a very harrowing year. 

How can you make it through the period of happiness when you feel like utter rubbish? 

Don’t get caught up in the hype. I think one great tip is not to get caught up in the hype surrounding Christmas. We must remember it is a commercial holiday, with targeted advertising to sell products. It’s almost too easy to browse social media, or any media advertising and see these perfectly constructed images of how Christmas should be. Whether you are religious or not, we can all agree it is a good opportunity to be grateful for what we do have. And not think about what we don’t. 

Don’t suffer in silence. I believe that loneliness is a silent killer; and anyone who will be alone on Christmas (unless it’s by choice), should try their hardest not to be. You can also help relatives who will be alone by visiting, picking them up or even a simple phone call – it can make someone’s day, contributing to their overall mood. If family are too far away, talk to friends. Failing that, if you get into a real depressive mood you can always call the Samaritans suicide helpline at any time on 116 123. 

Don’t overthink. I have recently come to the realisation that my own brain is my worst enemy. I over think absolutely everything, and work my mind into a stage of anxiousness. I think this can be the case for a majority of people who have any type of mental health battle. Although it’s easier said than done, I always advice finding a release. For example, for me writing is a therapeutic activity that I enjoy. It keeps me busy and inspired. Find your activity and revert to that at times of need. 

Finally, I just wanted to make the effort to say that if anyone is reading this and is having a rough time; I would be happy to talk to you if you need. Don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch. Together we can raise awareness of mental health issues, one case at a time. 


How the Foo Fighters helped me overcome depression 

opinion piece

Yesterday I read an article on post graduate depression; which I have briefly mentioned in previous blog posts (how to deal with rejection), and it is definetly a thing. Infact, it’s a big thing that needs to be recognised. Once you graduate you are thrown into the big wide world, with the expectation that getting a job is not so difficult. And it isn’t really, if you want a job. If you want a career in something you studied – that may be slightly trickier. 

I went through this awful depression, and I know other people that have experienced the same. You feel down, powerless, useless. I got that dark feeling a few months ago. I had just got what sounded like my dream job after graduating – a marketing executive for an educational institution. It wasn’t journalism which I studied, but I vowed to keep my freelance work on the side and save up to enable me to complete internships for journalism. 

I won’t go into extreme detail as I would quite like to leave this subject to a forthcoming blog post; but this new ‘job’ turned out to be a complete and utter facade. The company was built upon lies – I had left my long term loyal job to work for a scandalous agency! I felt so betrayed that I had been manipulated and indoctrinated into thinking I was entering a completely different type of company, compared to the bleak reality. The only way I can describe this place (I refuse to refer to it as a workplace because it is NOT), it was like being in what I would imagine WW2 East Germany to be like. We were in a room with no natural light, in a cellar type environment. Our ‘manager’ watched us like a hawk throughout the day, talking was not allowed. We had cameras everywhere (the reason for this was never confirmed), and we were all pretty much convinced that these cameras had sound. It was terrifying to me that this type of work place exists – continues to exist and that individuals are subjected to these unhealthy working conditions. 

This ‘job’ came to an end after just two months and I was left with nothing. 

This is when it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Waking up at 5am daily, shaking and sweating in pure angst. My anxiety had reached new levels. I knew what was causing it but I had zero control over the situation. It was the lack of structure to my day, the innate fear that I would never find a job. The utter self depreciation of consistently telling myself I was no good, useless. You will never get a decent job repeated in my mind like a choir hymn. 

There came a point one random monday I was getting ready to attend a job interview, I put my iTunes on shuffle. Foo Fighters came on, I remember the moment so vividly. Because it was the pivotal moment where my attitude took a turn for the better. It was their song ‘The Pretender’ which had been playing. So much feeling within the song, and the lyrics at that point in time meant the world to me. ‘What if I say that I’ll never surrender?’ 

I continued to listen to the band for the rest of the day, their uplifting, reflective lyrics helped me remember why I even started trying in the first place. And why I would never give up. 

The Foo Fighters are a great example of why you should never give up. Dave Grohl started out his music career in Nirvana, after Kurts death he was traumatised – but made the controversial decision to start another band. For which he received a lot of criticism for. The band went through numerous members, and numerous dramas. But they ploughed through, Dave never gave up. 

Eventually their efforts and talents were recognised. But if they would have gone and got a day job and given up on the music dream – they wouldn’t be where they are today. And that’s just it, despite my self depreciation and anxious thoughts ripping at my inner confidence – I won’t give up. I really no longer care how long it takes me to get where I want to be. I know that I will be there one day, and that is comforting enough. It’s enough, you are enough. 

How you can help friends who suffer with depression, MHAW 17 

top tips

Depression is much like drowning. You are laying in a full bath of luke warm water, staring aimlessly at the ceiling. You don’t see the ceiling, you see nothing but blankness. You know you need to move, but all energy, all motivation has miraculously escaped your cold, fatigued body. You are cold. Depression is that point where you can’t move, you aren’t even mentally in the room. You are consumed by your own intruding dark thoughts. 

 I imagine depression as long black cloak, which is invisible for the most part. But when it wants to make itself known. It will make your entire world fall apart around you. 

Seeing as it’s mental health awareness week, and I have been viewing in the media that more and more young people are being diagnosed with depression / depressive disorders. I thought it was mandatory to try and help others understand what we go through, and how they can potentially help. Of course when it comes to mental health, there is no secret tablet that cures your condition. Because more often than not, there is external factors which alleviate the condition. 

For me, being a naturally bubbly person and suffering with depression on and off; It’s even more difficult because everyone always assumes you are fine. Oh you are strong and loud, you’ll get on with it. 

This isn’t always the case. 

Here are some tips to help if you have a friend who suffers; 

1. Check on them 

The one thing that really matters when someone is depressed is the feeling of isolation. Just messaging someone asking how they are can literally make their day. To you it’s a short message, to the disaffected person that can be seen as someone caring, reaching out. So do check up on your friends as regularly as you can. It helps. 

2. Patience is a virtue 

Be patient with depressed people. If they are having a bad day, they may not want to talk to you – don’t take anything personally. They may need time to get their thoughts together. 

3. Be there 

It sounds really patronising and obvious, but if any of your friends ever tell you they are depressed. Don’t assume it’s a one day thing and they will be fine next week. It could be potentially something they suffer with, on and off, for the rest of their lives. So try your hardest to be there for them as much as you can. Whether it be days out to distract them and get them out of the house – or phone calls where you just listen. It all helps in the grand scheme of things. 

Please like and share this to raise awareness. We don’t need to suffer in silence #Mentalhealthawarenessweek 

Looks can be deceiving – living with OAB syndrome 


The reason I chose a selfie of myself as the cover shot for this post is not because I’m just a narcissistic bitch and want everyone to look at my filtered face; it’s because I look ‘fine’ and therefore everyone always assumes I am. But you never really know the state of someone’s health just by looking at them. So many detrimental conditions are invisible. 

I didn’t really want to talk about this, it has made me rather depressed for a while, I’ve been so down and I don’t feel like myself. I’m drained into exhaustion. I felt like an evil force is taking over my body and all of a sudden I have no control over it. You just start questioning, why me? Why now? Why why why can’t it go away? 

Recently I was diagnosed by my gp with overactive bladder syndrome. I didn’t really know what this meant, and I am still struggling to really understand the long term implications. 

So you just need the toilet a lot right? 

Well it’s actually so much more than that, before I started medication to relax my bladder muscles; I had constant pressure on my bladder, how I would imagine it feels to be heavily pregnant. And I was going to the toilet around 40 times a day, which is SO intrusive. It makes simple tasks very difficult, as you have a consistent discomfort which does not go away (plus you have to keep going to the toilet every 10 minutes, I’m sure my colleagues at work are convinced I’m sniffing cocaine in there). Oh and this also includes during the night, throughout my sleep I can get up between 3-5 times. This means you are constantly tired and drained as sleep is always disturbed. I also lost quite a bit of weight as the constant pressure on my bladder made it difficult to sit, relax and eat. It ruined my appetite. (Those who know me will know how much of a big deal this is, my favourite past time is to eat). 

I urge anyone to go to their gp if they have any unusual symptoms – and just for your info you can urinate between 8-10 times a day and still be considered normal. The beauty of health is that everyone is different, but anymore than 10 times is considered abnormal – and you should get checked out asap. 

I want to raise awareness for this condition, as it can happen to anyone. At any age any gender. It doesn’t discriminate, and doctors are unsure what causes it. It can however be regulated with the correct medication. Whether this is a long term solution I am unsure? But it has made me realise you cannot take anything for granted in life, because at any point it can be taken away with you. Whether this is your bladder function or anything else. Every curse is a lesson. 

Feeling fruitful: 5 easy steps to improve your diet 

top tips

”I’m not on a diet, I’m just trying to be healthier…”

This has been my (sad) life mantra for about the last year; safe to say alot of the time I fail miserably at it. But, there are some simple ways of improving your diet and general health – that I have discovered and reluctantly taken on board. Which can be implemented fairly easily, and don’t cost bundles either.

1). Zero tolerance policy on caffeine

If, like me, your lifestyle is a hectic re-enactment of Wolf on Wall Street; and you really believe you couldn’t survive daily work life without the (legal) drugs. You can do it.

Yes caffeine is a drug, a highly addictive one at that. You don’t need coffee. That boost of energy it gives you can be obtained from other drinks. Herbal teas are brilliant for detoxing, and you can find some lovely flavours. My current fave is organic green tea with manuka honey, from Heath & Heather, 20 tea bags for £2.49. Or switch your morning coffee for coconut water – much healthier and gives you a natural boost. If you feel you can’t go cold turkey right away try de-caf, or using brown sugar instead of white (or better still no sugar at all).

2). Skip the sugar

It is difficult to avoid sugar, it’s in almost everything we consume. But what you can do is avoid adding extra sugar to food (e.g on your cereal). And in terms of snacking and desserts – look for sugar free alternatives, or items with much less sugar.

For example, if you usually have a chocolate bar everyday with your lunch; why not swap that with a banana? Or nuts?

My top low sugar snacks are:

  • Nuts/seeds (can be added into fruit bowls or eaten alone)
  • Rice cakes – savoury or sweet
  • Belvita biscuits
  • Fruit (which has natural sugar, so not too much of this either)
  • Dark chocolate as a treat – only a few squares
  • Sugar free sweets – available from Holland & Baratt

3). Fizzy pop out the window

One can of coca cola contains 7 cubes of sugar. It is disgusting! Whether we like it or not the fizzy drinks we buy are packed full of sugar, just imagine what that is doing to our teeth (believe me root canal ain’t pretty, or cheap, IT’S TRAUMATISING) – and the insides of our bodies.

If you can’t give up totally try to stick to diet versions, or sugar-free fizzy drinks. Which actually taste just as sweet.

Tasty alternatives to fizzy drinks include:

  • Home-made smoothies
  • Water, water and more water
  • Soya milkshakes (banana one is soooo yum)
  • Sugar-free squash with carbonated mineral water
  • Fruit infused water (marinate the night before for ultimate flavour)
  • Coconut water

Just take into consideration the fact that fruit has alot of natural sugars also, so eat fruit in moderation too. These natural sugars in excess can be harmful to teeth. Ideally, stick to drinking water, and have other drinks as a treat.

4). How to avoid fat

We’ve talked about sugar intake regarding snacks, desserts and drinks. What about main meals though? How do you avoid processed junk and fat?

One major trick is to be organised. Instead of being out, getting hangry and grabbing a Big Mac because it’s convenient – if you already made a packed lunch the night before this wouldn’t happen.

But, of course, you won’t eat packed lunches everyday. If eating out with friends – or preparing meals at home,

Stick to these top tips:

  • Stick to grilled meat, rather than fried
  • Increase your Omega-3 intake, fish is very good for you
  • Try to eat healthier carbs; sweet potato, wholemeal bread/rice and Ryvita
  • Stock up on fresh veg and do not overcook
  • If you do occasionally treat yourself to something ‘naughty’, try to limit portion amount

5). No deprivation

No-one in this entire world is ever going to be motivated to do anything if they constantly feel deprived. It is difficult to eat healthier, especially with so many temptations surrounding us. The trick is to not deprive yourself. For example if you love pizza, why not try to make a fresh one yourself? Or search for a weight watchers one which is low calorie? OR, treat yourself to one maybe once a week, on the weekend, and eat healthily during the week. Then you have something to look forward to – and eventually you may not even crave it any more; you might find healthier meals which you prefer.


Stay motivated guys!