alarm clock on quilt

Hypothyroidism Could Be the Answer!

I haven’t wrote a blog post for over a month now. So, I thought one thing I could talk about is health because there a few things that have been going on recently. I realise now that in the past, I might have brushed a lot of things off, or related a certain feeling to something which wasn’t actually the cause. It wasn’t until this week when I received my latest blood test results that the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together. My recent blood tests have come back and the GP suspects hypothyroidism. I just need one more test and to discuss medication.

Considering the thyroid is only a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, it can affect more parts of your body over the years than you would think. Anyone who has hypothyroidism will know the symptoms inside out. Here are most of the common signs:

  • Always feeling tired
  • Gaining weight – for me, I put on a significant amount in a short period of time, which so unusual for my body. Nobody notices but it doesn’t help how you feel about yourself.
  • Heavier or irregular periods
  • Dry/scaly skin
  • Tingling sensation
  • Constipation
  • Being sensitive to cold
  • Having sad thoughts (now I get why my emotional side is triggered)
  • Excessive hair growth on your body
  • Brittle hair on your head

Over the years I have experienced all of these symptoms. I have also suffered with migraines and I have high blood pressure but I have never known why. Could this be the root of it all? There are still a few things which need explaining but I do think it could be part of the answer.

2011

It was around half way through my first year of college when I experienced a major health change. I was suffering with headaches, an awful lot of them. I was nauseous and had a pins and needles feeling in my fingers, arms, and legs (I still do). This was occurring pretty much every day along with dizziness and losing balance. So, I spoke to the doctor, made sure I wasn’t dehydrated, created a food diary etc. After a short while, I was prescribed Propranolol beta blockers and was told I was having migraines. The only cause they figured back then was visual disturbances like bright or flashing lights. I was sent for a CT scan on my brain and my medication was upped. This helped to reduce the frequency of the migraines but not so much the severity. A dark room and sleep is what I would recommend to anyone is starting to experience migraines.

2016/2017

It might not be the nicest of things to talk about but if I’m going to share an honest experience, it needs to be included. I have suffered with constipation for around the last 3-4 years. Let me tell you, if you haven’t had constipation, don’t presume it’s just ‘constipation’. It starts off bearable. Then over the years it can cause other complications. I have tried over 6 different laxatives, a tablet from the GP, ate different seeds and foods that help you to go to the toilet, the list goes on.

My body always reverts back to normal and the above have only ever worked as a temporary measure. My stomach swells making it look like I have been carrying a food baby! The flare ups can be triggered by certain foods or emotions like stress. You can feel fed up more often than not and feel very negatively about yourself. Later, I had a colonic transit study at the hospital. I remember seeing the x-ray on screen to be told that almost all of the markers were collected on the left side and didn’t come out. I was diagnosed with slow transit constipation, leaning towards IBS.

2018

The year I was given the news I have high blood pressure. After loads of tests including an ECG, 24-hour monitor machine x2 ocassions, I remember being given the news because the appointment with my GP was on my birthday. Diet and lifestyle changes didn’t make a difference and there any other clear reasons for the cause, other than it possibly being a hereditary condition. Other than the blood pressure readings, other signs were: a difference in the blood vessels in my eyes and my heart was beating faster than usual.

Some would worry at a young age but I felt lucky to know and I was put on Ramipril to keep it controlled. There’s been no long-term damage to my eyes now other than slight reduced vision in my left eye. Also, I have worn glasses with antiglare ever since I was told I was having migraines.

2019/2020

After a long think, I decided to stop taking Propranolol, once I had spoke to the GP of course. This was obviously something I had to wean off. The migraines were not happening as frequently. Were things getting better? Not really…

Things have started to worsen. I feel exhausted. Sometimes, I feel so tired that I can’t be bothered talking or doing life’s day-to-day tasks or tasks at work. I brush my hair to find so much more hair malting than usual. The rash on my chest returns again and again. I am bleeding, which I won’t go into too much detail about but I have been referred to gastro and I’m being sent for a sigmoidoscopy. I also have a consultation with gynaecology coming up due to cervical eclroption (common with women where cells from inside the cervix go onto the outside of the cervix).

I’m lucky if I can go a week without being or feeling sick, and going to the toilet more than once every 2 weeks. In between all of this, I have been prescribed some iron tablets. I am not anaemic but due to the blood loss, my iron count is a little low. This is a win-lose situation because they help the iron count but not the bowel issue so, I have decided to take one every other day.

This brings me to today. Okay, I am finally getting somewhere. This might only answer part of what I have been experiencing over the years but I am relieved to know that I haven’t been going crazy. I feel quite annoyed that it’s took so long for things to happen before I was listened to but I like to see the positives.

There are many people out there with other chronic illnesses but I just wanted to share my story in the hope that it will help someone who is experiencing similar symptoms. Don’t be afraid to speak to your GP, no matter how many times you have repeated yourself. Keep fighting to get answers. And remember, your health always come first.

The NHS and Thyroid UK have some useful links on hypothyroidism:

dandelion blowing with a breeze

The Challenging Road to Confidence

Sometimes people can lower your confidence, why is that? The simple answer is, they can only affect your confidence if you allow them to. Recently I’ve learnt the key for this is how you react to scenarios. Building your confidence is a longer road for some than it is for others.

Looking after you includes looking after your mind so don’t neglect it

If your mind tends to be anything like mine, it’s a sensitive one and more powerful than you think. It’s not only the heart that makes you feel. I think the mind plays a part. Don’t look at what they’re doing, focus on you. When someone undermines you, speak up. Some people find it so easy to belittle others and you find it so difficult to stand up for yourself. That needs to change. Sitting in a corner isolating yourself will only put you into a dark place.

It’s a strange one because people perceive you as a naturally confident and smiley person 24/7. We all have low periods in our life. You can feel so low that you feel like giving up but there’s always a way to get around such situations. Talk to someone, you’ll be surprised who will listen. And you’ll realise that there are people who care more than you think.

How you think others see you can knock your confidence

Don’t let tough or challenging experiences make you feel ‘weak’ or like you’re a failure. It’s down to you to control how you let your mind think. You can have the kindest of things said to you like, “You’re amazing! Don’t let anyone get you down.” But your mind is only going to consider your own thoughts. So why don’t you change your perspective?

Take out of your mind the idea that pleasing others is the best option. Think about it, are they considering the pressure they’re putting on you? Probably not. Learn to say no. Sometimes you can feel nervous approaching new situations, places or people. Try not to lose your confidence if you feel overpowered by somebody or if you think you’re less ‘important’.

You deserve to be valued. There’s always something special that only you have and no one else does. Even if there are similarities, it doesn’t become close because it’s yours.

You don’t need to fight hard times on your own

You can still be the strong, independent person that you are. Remember, it’s okay to ask for guidance or support when needed. Visualise the person you know you really are and stop doubting yourself, you have so much potential, much more than you think. Life can throw all sorts at you, fight back, you’re stronger than you think.

Mental health is such a popular topic at the moment, it’s something we all have and more people need to realise that. Time to Talk Day 2020 is coming up on 6th February. Find out more on the awareness day website: www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day.

metal chain at a port during sunset

Having Strength Through the Good and Bad Days

For weeks now, I’ve had this blog post pending. When I say ‘blog post’ I mean a blank screen with question marks as the title. The truth is, I’ve been having a serious case of writer’s block and this has got to be about the fifth time I’ve revisited this post. Music and reflection have got to be my biggest motivators though. So, right now it’s a bit of soul music and thinking about where I am today to get me through.

You can’t predict the future

As someone who loves to be organised and plan things in advance, the future is unknown. That’s something I have to remember every day. You never know what’s going to happen. You might have an idea of how something’s going to play out. However, the unexpected can happen at any time.

Take these two examples – one for the better and one which posed much hurt in our family this year. Not too long ago I was promoted to marketing manager at work. I couldn’t quite believe it but I had to because there’s a great deal of work involved and it’s important to get stuck in put ideas together. Some could say that this is the light at the end of a sad situation. Although age is no barrier, it’s a huge accomplishment for my age, I think?

Putting everything into perspective

In June we lost a family member to neuroendocrine cancer, our uncle Dom. Losing someone makes you crumble. You retaliate with anger, question everything and think of all the ways to have it together. But the truth is, you don’t have to be the one who’s always strong. Being perceived as ‘the strong one’ holds so much pressure. And being on that end of the picture, remember that tears don’t make you weak.

The same goes for anything, you don’t always have to have all of the answers. You can be good at something but no one’s perfect. And as much as it might seem that others ‘know it all’, they don’t. No one does. I honestly think that as prepared as you might be, life can throw all kind of things in your way. Don’t let hurdles get the best of you. Jump over them as high as you can and believe that you will always aim for bigger things. Whenever you think you’re having a ‘bad day’, think about the hardest times you’ve got through before.

You’re stronger than you think

I can’t say it enough because it’s so true. It’s always taken someone else to show me this but it’s something I truly believe in. Strength is down to you build and your mind is the most powerful part. Until you put doubts aside and not let giving up be an option, you’ll find a new perspective. Seeming powerful on the outside is one thing, but until you discover what’s inside, is when you’ll be the best version of you.

It’s amazing to see how much your confidence can develop. There might still be scenarios when you don’t see it yourself but for the most part you can be amazed at the things you never thought you’d be able to do. For example, speaking in front of a large audience, one a speech about grief at a funeral and the other about love at a wedding. Both hold such different emotions but I presented the both of them. I think you never know until you try. Maybe public speaking at events will be a new thing… who knows?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. When it comes to the negativity, ignore what others might think and focus on what being happy means to you.

girl jumping in the sky

What Makes You The Person You Are Today

I’m very much a ‘whatever will be will be’ kind of person but I think that, in terms of achieving more, it takes a lot of hard work. You might look around and think that some people get a lot of things handed to them. It could be the case but you also don’t know their backstory. It might be that at the eye, they look as though things in life come ‘easy’ to them. But you don’t always know. This post is about the person I am today through my challenges in the education and employment world.

Going back to your roots

Looking back at your roots is important and it’s something I for one, never forget. No matter the number of accomplishments, it’s your background that has a huge impact on you. You can keep it with you or look towards what could be in the future. It’s down to you to decide what you want to do when you become an adult. And as tough as it is, it’s a road you have to take. Everything you experience shapes you into the person you are today e.g. friendships, bullies, childhood, employment etc. You can be influenced from what others have done around you or you can do something different.

Education after education

Take your childhood years, what kind of kid was you at school? In primary school I was probably referred to as let’s say ‘a geek’. But I have always enjoyed learning. Writing and creativity along with numbers here and there has always been my thing.

In high school I worked even harder and my grades shown that.

College is where it became difficult. There were 1 or 2 subjects where I wasn’t performing as high as I wanted to be when it came to exams. Isn’t it funny, when you think if you sat those exams today you’d understand them a whole lot better?

Still, I made it into university. It wasn’t through clearance but through them taking a nerve-wracking 2 weeks on my side of waiting to see if they saw potential. I count my lucky stars that they got to meet me in an interview when applying and they looked over my application again and seen something in me. I didn’t love university but I didn’t hate it. Graduating though, is one of my proudest moments. Just like my school and colleges years, I wasn’t the most popular person in the room but the love from my family in the crowd and a couple of classmates did it for me.

Employment in the big wide world

As much as you think the above are going to be the biggest challenges in your life, you soon realise how wrong you was. Securing a full-time permanent position was one of my biggest struggles. It took a massive toll on me mentally and I believe it played a part of the many times of worry I had. Constant doubts in myself whilst telling myself something good would happen… a bit of an uneven field really.

After high school I went to my first ever interview and secured a casual/part-time job in a retail store for a football club.

I gained a lot of recognition there and experienced many different aspects that there was to offer. But there comes a time when you need to think about your future – where do you want to be? Even if you don’t quite know what.

I took a part-time (temporary) job working in the learning support department at a college.

Although it was only for a short period of time, I gained more professional day-to-day experience of an education environment from the other side, rather than the student perspective. Again, I was highly respected and thanked for repetitively for my contributions.

Luckily, during my time here, I submitted voluntary writing to their marketing department which led to a marketing assistant (maternity cover) role.

The problem – it was another temporary job and the environment wasn’t as it seemed. It was very patronising and I felt down most of the time.

How many interviews later?

You start to question if all of your education was worth it, if you should settle for something in the meantime? But that’s where my stubborn nature kicked in. I went against what the majority of people around me said.

I fought harder and harder. Giving up was never an option and I knew that too well. Having faith in myself to travel on my own path through all of the hurdles I faced has been one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done. Including the two roles above it took 25 interviews to land my dream role.

I found my match in the employment world

I’ve volunteered and fundraised for charities since the age of 15 years old. So the news that I was joining a charity as an employee was amazing. In the last two and half  years I’ve grown so much. My confidence and strength has massively improved. The old me who would worry and stress, way more than necessary, if even necessary at all, sees a new light. And that’s on a personal and professional level. Maybe becoming a homeowner with Danny has also helped? Whichever way I look at it, I’m much stronger than the person I used to be.

And today I’ve reached a bigger place than I ever thought I would – becoming a marketing manager. My mum melts my heart with the messages she’s been sending me since receiving the news. Danny smiles even more than ever. And out of anyone they both continue to tell me how proud they are of me.

Don’t be scared to share your journey

Whether you put pen to paper or type online in the digital world – if you have a story to tell, share it. You will honestly be amazed to see who reads it, who cheers you on and those who learn that there is more to you than they thought. It also helps you, to see how far you’ve come.

What makes you the person you are today?

young man walking over the bridge

You Shouldn’t Hold Your Feelings Inside

Why do so many of us hold our feelings inside? A lot of people think we feel with our hearts and think with our minds which is true for the most part. But what about when you let your mind control how you feel? We are so quick to judge someone before we know what they are going through – perhaps they don’t ever tell you. Is this why we can refuse to open up about our own feelings?

I think we need a world with more empathy. People should be able to speak up about what they’re experiencing with the thought of them not having it has hard as somebody else. We all suffer in some kind of way at least once in our life whether it be grief, relationships, battling your own mind just to name a few.

So why shouldn’t you hold your feelings inside?

When you think about how of us are on the planet, don’t you think it’s shame we live in a world where people can’t open up, to share experiences, understand each other, and most of all to try and help each other or be there for one another?

When I cry, there’s only a handful of people that know what to do. Most expect me to be smiley all the time because I don’t overly share what’s going on, only when it gets tough. And for me that’s works. For others too, privacy is important and only letting people in when they let you in, works fair in my eyes. But it’s so important that when someone is there for you 1000% not to shut them out. Especially when they’re always making an effort with you. Otherwise you’ll only end up pushing them away and loneliness is the last thing you want.

No matter how perfect you might think someone’s got it, the likeliness is that, they will continue to be there for you. They might have or might not have experienced the same thing. But it doesn’t mean they can’t listen. If something is dragging you down more than it ever has before or more than it should, speak to someone. Whoever that person might be – your friend, parent, grandparent, work colleague, doctor, counsellor – talk to them.

You’ll be surprised how often people underestimate the power of a small chat. It’s not supposed to ‘fix’ things magically but it helps. If gives you a sense of acceptance and gives you an insight that you never seen before to deal with the pain you’re feeling.

You, me, the queen, celebrities, all of us, are human.

Listening to someone is one of the kindest things you can do. And for people on the other side, don’t sit there and think, “They don’t want to or won’t listen to this.” There are people in the world with a heart you know. When they realise that you’ve been battling your own thoughts so much is something that would probably hurt them too.

The reality is some days/weeks/months/years will be tougher than others. When you lose someone close to you, the healing process isn’t something that can be measured for each person. We’re all different and cope in our own ways. Memories are so precious. Always hold onto them.

The other day I visited my granny and grandad at the cemetery and I cried for the first time in years. Getting older can make you stronger, it doesn’t mean to say that because you cry you’re weak. Others might ask themselves why I cried when it’s been over 17 years for one of them. That’s because your heart never lets go of love. I wouldn’t just shut off my feelings towards them because they’re not here, it’s not how life works. I like to know that I can talk about them any time I want with my boyfriend and talk about memories with mum, dad and my brothers.

There will be times when everything will get on top of each other.

When a certain amount of time passes by you’ve started to learn how to deal with a situation… then life happens. Since my uncle passed away this year I’ve realised that losing another family member doesn’t make it easier. You still grieve. You’ll cry when you don’t want to. But you soon realise that it’s okay and that you shouldn’t apologise when these things happen in front of people. If we held those feelings inside we would have an outburst one day and it’s a whole lot healthier to let your tears out.

If you’re someone who is going through some stuff right now that doesn’t seem ‘serious enough’ to talk about, if it’s getting you down then it’s important. Don’t think you’re going to be a burden to someone. Open up to someone and you might just see a new perspective.

girl looking out to the sea during sunset

The Idea of Perfection

Perfection doesn’t exist? Of course it does – we live in a world where there’s crisps, chocolate fudge cake and pizza! That sounds pretty perfect to me. But now, to more serious talk, the idea of perfection in ourselves.

Some of us are happy with the bodies we are in, some aren’t.

Many of us feel the need to wear makeup to cover up, to wear certain clothes to hide our imperfections etc. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this. Spots, dry skin, bad hair day – you name it. But when anyone else experiences either of those things I honestly think they look fine.

In the gym, do I see sweaty red-faced girls? Nope, unless you rephrase that to girl (myself). I see girls who look amazing considering they’ve just completed a fitness workout. Then there’s that girl over there (me) who’s dying for a bottle of water and to get home quick before someone sees me looking the way I do. Stupid, right? But it’s true.

I have come to the terms with the fact that no matter how perfect you might think someone looks, they don’t live for their ‘perfect appearance’ as much as it might be perceived on the outside. They’re just doing their thing. For some it’s lots of makeup, for others its au natural.

Let’s take work as another example. I wear bare to little makeup – lucky if I put mascara on now and again. I used to love wearing eyeshadow and mascara. But now, when I wear it occasionally, it makes me feel more towards some kind of beautiful. And it makes me feel good about myself.

Don’t let the bullies who called you ugly in high school make you think you’re ugly. Don’t allow the girls who told you that you hadn’t had enough boyfriends make you feel unattractive. Most of all, stop seeking for a more ‘perfect’ you.  There’s this idea that someone is ‘prettier’ than another. Embrace your beauty; don’t spend time trying to mimic someone else. I’ve already spoke about how social media affects how you feel and look.

Personality reveals all

There’s no one better than the person who you are deep inside. Personalities have so much power but the first thing you probably judge from someone is how they look. You haven’t had a conversation with them so appearance is the first thing you see.

A quick chat can reveal so much. The ‘prettiest person in the room’ could be feeling the lowest and steer away from conversation. Yet, the person who you haven’t paid much attention to could be one of the sweetest and bubbliest people you will ever meet. I like the quote “don’t judge a book by its cover”. I can’t reiterate enough how there’s always more to a person that what meets the eye. Yet people are so quick to judge.

Regardless of what someone looks like or if they seem more powerful, whether it be achievements, possessions etc. be kind. Everybody’s idea of perfection is different. And attributes of happiness vary from one person to another.

I have days where I feel so low about myself. Someone can take a look at me and not understand what reason I have to be down. They see a smiley person that’s always so positive. I see a girl who just wants to look and be better. But to be honest, in more recent months that feeling is starting to fade (I think and hope). I’m learning to embrace every single piece of me that makes me who I am, flaws and all.

You and I are here to be happy, not to be perfect.