Sometimes, Opposites really do attract.

Sometimes, Opposites really do attract.

I’m not sure how I, the shy, antisocial bookworm ended up with my Fiancé Johnny who is outgoing, sociable and ambitious.  We are opposites in every way, he enjoys going out with friends, meeting new people, keeping fit.  He is positive and ambitious, always looks on the bright side of things and keeps himself motivated.  I on the other hand hate socialising, I always see the negative in a situation, I prefer staying in to going out, reading to socialising and my expectations of life are low.  Despite this, we seem to work.

I met Johnny online shortly after my third suicide attempt.  My family had encouraged me to join online dating sites because my anxiety and depression really limited my abilities to meet people and I’ve always been extremely shy.  I’d had a couple of bad experiences with online dating before meeting Johnny and I wasn’t really looking or hoping for anything.  I was in a really bad place, I’d attempted suicide a month before and as a result had to give up my job.  His message was straight forward and simple, he started off commenting on how we both had an interest in the WWE, it was innocent and not at all like some of the inappropriate cheesy messages I’d received before. Talking to him made me forget what was going on around me and I felt like a normal 20 year old.  It wasn’t long before he asked to meet me and he lived half an hour away so it was perfect.  I almost didn’t agree to that meeting, I was struggling with depression and I didn’t want anyone being dragged down by me, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  It was my Mum who pushed me to meet him, she told me that sometimes we have to take a leap in life, and if it didn’t work out then at least I gave it a go.  It was at this point I told Johnny about my anxiety, I couldn’t just go out to dinner like normal people and for the first time, it didn’t put someone off and we agreed to meet at a park which was quiet and pretty.  My mum drove me and I begged her to turn around and take me home, my anxiety was crippling me and I didn’t think I would be able to go through with it but my mum pushed me and dropped me off.  I’ll never be able to thank my Mum enough for pushing me that day.

Three years later and we’re engaged.  Johnny came into my life at an extremely tough time and sometimes I think he was meant to find me then because he saved me.  I had resigned myself to being alone, depression is a hard illness to cope with and it takes it’s toll on the people around you.  Johnny never swayed though, he remained patient and understanding.  He came to my doctors appointments and learned about my medication, eventually taking over the responsibility of making sure I took my medication and keeping it locked away so there was no risk of me overdosing again during low periods.  There is a six year age gap between us and he’d experienced a lot more of life than I had, he’d been through all the partying and dating, he’d had lots of girlfriends.  I’d never been to a club, never really drank alcohol and had one relationship in my life.  We couldn’t have been more different but it worked because he pushed me and encouraged me to do things I’d been too scared to do.  He took me shopping and to the cinema, he pushed me to go out for a meal with him and to stay at his place at weekends.  It seemed like nothing to other people but my anxiety had stopped me doing these things for so long and he pushed but never forced me to try new things and he never left my side doing them.

Johnny is the most amazing man I’ve ever met, he’s been through his own share of troubles but he’s always made sure I was okay first, he’s done everything he can to support me and help me recover.  Depression is a terrible illness and it doesn’t work on a schedule, I’ll have good months and bad but Johnny never gives up and he reminds me every day that he’s not going anywhere.  For the first time I feel comfortable being who I am in front of someone, I don’t have to put on an act or pretend to be anything I’m not.  Johnny continues to be this upbeat, positive and ambitious person who encourages and motivates me.  He may be my opposite but I’m thankful for that because If i’d ended up with someone just like me, I’d never have had the courage or motivation to be better, I’d never have experienced some of the things my anxiety prevented me from doing.  It works both ways too, being with me has calmed him down, he’s not the same party animal who enjoyed drinking too much alcohol and being an idiot. Johnny helped me recover and heal and I helped him settle down and realise what he wanted.  We may clash and argue about the little things, he may listen to his dance music too loud and bore me with his football talk and war movies but I’d never want to be with anyone else.  He is my soulmate and no matter what comes at me, I know he’ll be there to help me through it.

So sometimes, opposites really do attract.

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My Name’s Heather and I’m a book hoarder……

My Name’s Heather and I’m a book hoarder……

I’m pretty sure if there was a book addiction/hoarding group then my Fiancé would send me off there with no hesitation.  I am a complete book addict, I have two full size bookcases crammed with books and a kindle which is also full.  I’ve been a complete book addict all my life, as a child I had a wardrobe that was filled with books instead of clothes and all my pocket money went on books instead of sweets and toys.

As I’ve grown older, my love of books has grown.  Books are my oldest and best friend,, they’ve been with me through all my struggles, they’ve offered me guidance, confidence and taken me to a completely different world when my reality has been tough.  As a result of my love for books, I’ve built up quite the collection, my favourites being my huge leather bound collection of classics which weigh a ton and take up a lot of space.  There is nothing better though, than looking at a bookshelf full of books and running your fingers over them, knowing that each book is filled with a different adventure.

Unfortunately my love of books has led to a huge issue with giving them up.  I’m sure most people will read a book and then lose the connection to it, it will be donated to a charity shop or thrown away.  I cannot bear to give books away, it’s like sending away a part of my heart.  I’ve gone through my collection many times and made a pile of books which I would consider giving away….and then a day later, they are all back on the bookshelf.  It would be okay if I resisted buying more books, but any chance I have to buy a book I take and then I come home and my Fiancé gives me an exasperated look and says “Where are you going to put that?”.

I tend to read multiple books at once so each night I’ll bring a different book to the sofa and read away till bed, the next night I’ll bring another book to the sofa and so on.  By the end of the week, there is a pile of books by the sofa and on the coffee table, and my Fiancé is wondering why I bother having a bookcase in the first place.

I also have a crazy OCD attitude towards my book case, my Fiancé will put books back in an attempt to tidy up and I’ll go crazy because he’s put it back in the wrong place.  I order each shelf of my bookcase and split up genres and topics so I know where to find everything and I get a little insane if people move books around.

On top of my huge collection of books, I have a kindle full and the one click buying option on Amazon will be the death of me.  My bank statements are just full of tiny amounts going out on random books I’ve downloaded and I also have an aversion to getting rid of kindle books, I keep them all in my cloud storage and can rest well knowing they are all in this invisible place waiting for me.

I am a book hoarder, a book addict and I wouldn’t change it.  Books are so underrated, so much new technology comes out these days and young people don’t want to bother with boring books when they can be playing all the latest games or chatting online.  It’s a shame because my childhood was filled with books and I’ve been on so many adventures through them, I’ve learned so much.  When I have a child of my own, I’ll treasure the times I get to read fairy tales to them and introduce them to all the fictional worlds I love, I’ll give them the same experiences I had and hope that books bring them the same support they’ve brought me.

Money can’t buy Happiness

Money can’t buy Happiness

At some point I’m sure everyone experiences financial difficulty and it’s a stressful place to be.  That gut wrenching feeling every time you have to spend money, knowing that it’s less in your bank account.  At the minute I’m dealing with money stress and it’s really been lowering my mood and letting my depression take over.  Which is why I wanted to write a post to remind myself and anyone else reading that money doesn’t buy happiness and there are more important things in life than money.

I’ve been with my Fiancé for over two years and in that time, we’ve never been well off.  I can’t work because of my health and he found it really hard after being in the Army to find a normal job.  We’ve struggled but always found the money to get, we had a good period where I got accepted for benefits and my fiancé was working full time, we could treat ourselves to little things.  Unfortunately I was turned down a few months ago for benefits and my Fiancé lost his job so now we’re back to stressing and trying to live on as little as possible.  It’s made me think though, some of my happiest memories with my Fiancé are when we had no money and we were struggling to provide.

My Fiancé lived in a bedsit after being homeless and I used to go over and he lived in this small room which was freezing, but I never had a bad time there.  In fact, the memories I have of that time are fond ones of having to put two duvets on the bed to keep warm and going to the shops with £5 and buying the cheapest thing we could find for dinner.  My Fiancé would make me beans on toast and we’d eat it on his bed because there was no where else to sit, and it was good.  He worried that he couldn’t afford a nice meal or little presents but I just loved spending time with him, we could have eaten beans on toast everyday in that freezing room, but I’d still laugh and smile because it wasn’t about the money, it was about being with the person who made me laugh and brought me happiness.

We couldn’t date like some people, neither of us had money to go out for meals or go to the cinema so we had to make do with other activities.  He’d come to mine and teach me how to play games on his Xbox, I would go to his and watch films and it never got boring. Neither of us could drive and when there was no money for a bus or taxi, he’d walk 6 miles to see me for a couple of hours and it was the most amazing thing anyone had ever done for me.  I’ve had money spend on me in other relationships but it never made me feel as good as knowing, someone would walk 6 miles to see me.

Moving in together finally, we got as much as we could second hand.  We couldn’t afford fancy furniture or expensive technology but we made a home for ourselves with what we could find and even though, the furniture didn’t match and colours clashed, it was the best feeling to wake up to the person I loved every morning.

Stress over money has been a big source of most of our arguments and at times, it frustrates us to the point we fall out and don’t talk to each other for hours.  It’s been hard and sad at times, seeing other people living so easily and spending money like it doesn’t matter. Having little or no money is a horrible place to be but it also makes you realise what’s important, it makes you appreciate the small things, it makes you thankful for everything you do have and stops you taking things for granted.  Money would make life easier and I’m sure buying myself things would make me happy but I’d rather be poor and have love than be rich and lonely.  It doesn’t matter that I can’t afford luxuries or treats because everyday, I have someone here who will make me laugh and make me forget about my worries.  I have love and acceptance, which to me is way more important than money.

Suicide: It’s complicated

Suicide: It’s complicated

Suicide isn’t an easy thing to talk about and I find it really hard to explain my motives behind attempting suicide in the past. A lot of people view suicide as the cowards way out, because you’re choosing to give up instead of keep fighting through whatever it is you’re going through. Suicide isn’t an easy decision to make, it’s the hardest thing I ever did.  The first time, I sat for hours staring at the bottle of alcohol and pills, trying to get the courage up to just do it.  It wasn’t the right decision, I’m not advertising suicide as the way to go because it’s a horrible way to go and it will effect so many people around you, there is always another way.

Suicide is selfish.  All I remember my Mum saying was “Why would you do this?” “Why would you be so stupid?” “How do you think this affects me, how do you think I would have felt if you’d died?” and my Mum is now left with this lifelong worry and doubt, because I made a decision based only on my own feelings.  When those suicidal thoughts hit, no one else mattered to me, I just wanted it to end, I wanted to stop feeling so down and hopeless, I felt useless and like people would be better off without me anyway.  I didn’t think about how my family would feel if it worked, I definitely didn’t think about how it would affect them if I lived through it.  But that is what happened and now my family always have that worry in the back of their minds.

Despite this, I went on to attempt suicide twice more and even now, when I see a box of tablets, the thought enters my mind to take them.  I wish I knew why this was, why does suicide take over my life, why do I keep coming back to it as an option.  It took nearly dying to make me realise I wanted to live but when my depression takes over, I don’t remember that.  I don’t remember that my family love me, or that I have things to look forward too.  All I can think of is the peace death would bring, no more medication or feeling so ill and hopeless everyday, no more doctors trying to work out why my brain is making me feel this way, no more pain, no more struggling.  But what about the people who love me? My suicide would break their hearts, am I not then subjecting them to the depression and feeling of hopelessness that I feel everyday?  Why can’t I see that when I’m feeling at my lowest, why can’t I see that suicide isn’t the way.

It’s because suicide isn’t rational or logical, it isn’t a decision made based on knowledge or rational thinking.  It’s a decision based on emotion and emotions are extremely hard to ignore.  The reason I attempted suicide is because at the time and in that moment, it seemed like the better option, it seemed like the only way to end the pain because living with depression is so hard, it’s tiring and it wears you down.  On a better day like today, I can think properly, my mind isn’t filled with that little voice that is depression, telling me to give up.  On a day like today, I see that suicide is not a decision I should make, it’s selfish and I have a lot to live for.  I have a loving and supportive family, I have a fiancé who loves me and tries his hardest to make me happy.  I am a young woman who has depression but it doesn’t define me, I can fight and I will fight through it.  I have to hope that one day it won’t affect me so badly, one day I will be better and it will be worth the struggle.

Suicide is an issue that is ignored because it’s easier to do so.  Suicide is an issue which needs to be addressed because no one should ever have to feel like they would rather be dead.  No one should have to feel that feeling just before they attempt to kill themselves.  For anyone reading this who thinks suicide is the only way to find peace, it isn’t.  I don’t know you or your situation but life is precious, it can be so short and taken so easily.  Life is a chance to do something and be someone, it’s a chance to find happiness and even though it seems like you never be happy, you will.  It may take a while and at times feel pointless but you have to fight and you can’t let depression win because I really believe we’re all put on this earth for a reason.  Think of he people who love you, think of what you’d be giving up, think of how it would affect people around you and fight.  It will get better one day, hope is a powerful thing.

 

A Familiar Stranger

A Familiar Stranger

It’s the strangest feeling to look at someone who gave you life, who shares your genes and resemblance but is a stranger to you. My Dad is a stranger to me.  In five years, I’ve seen him once, tomorrow will be the second time.  After my Mum and Dad separated, my Dad became distant, I tried and tried to keep the relationship strong but eventually it became to hard.  My Dad moved as far away from me as he could, to get away from my Mum and it seemed like the easiest decision for him to leave me.

For the first sixteen years of my life, I had the perfect Dad.  He was my best friend, my role model.  I was a complete Daddy’s girl!  I was a tom boy and I liked working on cars with him and working at his garage during the summer.  He was everything I could have asked for in a father and I look back at that man fondly and also sadly because that man doesn’t exist anymore.

Separation is hard and I understand that he needed time after the divorce but his children should have been his focus, instead he decided to run away from everything and move hundreds of miles away.  It was shortly after this I was diagnosed with depression, maybe his actions triggered it, or maybe it was a long time coming.  It was difficult losing my best friend and feeling like I had done something wrong.  I took his side in everything, I was terrible to my Mum in the hopes that he would see I loved him and if he had asked me to move away with him, I would have done.  Instead, he just left and did nothing to stay in contact, like he wanted to forget I existed.  It’s a horrible feeling to be rejected by your own father, and I live with that rejection every day.

My first suicide attempt was traumatic and shameful and I wanted my Dad, but despite the hospital and family contacting him, I heard nothing from him.  How can a parent learn that their child has tried to take their own life and do nothing?  How can a parent not care that their child wants to die?  My second and third suicide attempts brought no more than a text and the knowledge that my Dad didn’t care that I was suffering and dying inside breaks my heart.  I went four years without seeing my Dad, and having no contact apart from the occasional birthday text to him coming to visit for three days.  I remember being so nervous about seeing him, and wondering if I was better of just not seeing him but I still have this urge to please him, and to make him proud so I met him.  It was awkward and surreal seeing the man who for sixteen years was my world, he looked like me and he sounded like he always did but he was a complete stranger.  He knew nothing about my life, nothing about the person I had become.  He made apologies and promises to be better, to talk to me every week and visit more often and I believed him because I wanted him to be that person.  A year has passed and for the first two weeks, he kept it up and then it was like before, he lost interest and the disappointments kept coming.

Now he’s here again, wanting to see me for just a few hours and again, I’m too weak and hopeful to say no, even though it would save me the hurt and pain that is bound to come when he lets me down again.  Tomorrow I see him once more and the anxiety I feel is the same I feel when confronted with a stranger on the street.  My depression is looming in the background waiting for him to let me down so it can take advantage.  But somewhere inside me is that five year old girl who thought her Daddy was a hero, who would have done anything to make him proud and that little girl makes me risk my own heart to give him another chance.

Parents are supposed to be everything for their children.  I will never understand parents who abandon their children, a person that they brought into this world and had a responsibility to care for.  I’m lucky to have one amazing parent in my Mum and I know that she’ll always be there for me, but it’s not quite the same as having two parents who love and support me through life.  When my Dad was amazing for the first 16 years of my life, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer that man, no longer that great Dad who I loved.  He’s just a stranger now, a stranger that gave me life and looks just like me.