Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tuesday Treat

I am off on a Monday but generally busy but I am officially back at my NHS job on a Tuesday.  So Tuesday feels like Monday & the whole week just gets a bit skew.

Usually what happens is I get in & switch the tv on & that's me.  Tonight instead I went to supermarket got myself a great uplifting magazine (not gossip or dieting) and choose to have a quick easy dinner of bagels & cream cheese, yummy! I'm just new to bagels & seem to have developed a little bit of an addiction!

My hubby was a witness at court today, we've never been involved with police so we had a good natter about his day & how it was nothing like what you see on the telly & all the hanging about he had to do.

I must admit my magazine & my doughnut have done me the world of good I feel like I've had a proper Tuesday Treat!! I'm nice & relaxed & may even manage a reasonable bed time, so I can carry my cheery mood into hump day!

Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, 30 July 2012

Monday for Part Timers

So the August Break photo posts starts on Wednesday but I thought I would crack out another post describing a typical Monday for Mrs Brown.

Well Monday has changed for me recently as I have now become part time.  I have a Monday & a Friday off my NHS job.  Which for me was a choice I made because of my previous failed return to work last year following depression.  When I was off work I was able to commit to CBT groups, the gym and generally a structured week which didn't involve too much time living in my head.  On returning to work last year I quickly fell back into the routine of taking work home, staying a little extra just generally letting things get on top of me.  As a result I pushed group work to the side and my activity levels decreased and then began the rapid decline in my mood.

So having learned from my last return to work, this time I was keen to have some breathing space where I could continue my group work & gym & hobbies etc to try keep my mind on an even keel.  So having 4 days not in the office seemed like a plan.

I have to say, I was worried I would still try to fit full time work into part time hours, but so far (fingers crossed) I do manage to get my 4 days to myself.  Everyone knows that Monday feeling, well I don't have that & I am still enjoying that novelty.

I do run a weight loss group on a Monday night, the Change Challenge so most Mondays I am sorting myself out for that.  This monday involved just that, bringing my session together and not much time for anything else.

So as Monday draws to a close I start to think of work.  But tonight instead of that sinking feeling, I must admit I am a little excited, after all I do get to introduce Bluey to my work!

Night, Love Mrs Brown xx

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Picking up the pace with a project

So I started this blog with the idea after reading some inspiring blogs.  I didn't want to write about a passion or a hobby but I wanted to write.  As I recover from depression I find my mind never stops thinking.  A blog would be a way to get my thoughts and feelings out without the fear of saying the actual words.

So I blindly blundered around Blogger and managed to put out a few posts.  But it was feeling like a real effort, I was struggling with my own comparisons and trying to make every post deep or meaningful.  Then today I stumbled upon Blogging from the Heart and Susannah Conway's video was great.  She said to write for you and not to compare yourself with others who may have been writing for years.  It struck a cord with me.

Then as I moved around her site I find out she's starting a project.  The August Break, 2012!

So I haven't been posting long so do I really deserve a break? (that's how my mind started racing) well, probably not but if I'm not going to compare myself then why not?

I think the project will get me used to writing and doing what I originally set out to do.  To get my thoughts out my head in a creative way.

So the August Break, 2012 seems a perfect project for me (and there is such a cute badge!).  How could I resist?

A picture a day, a blog about my day to day.  The good, the bad, a glimpse into the life of me in August.  As you may be able to tell, I am a little excited so with a bright shiny badge (which I don't quite know what to do with) and my renewed enthusiasm I leave to go add my blog to the list and take a look at all the other interesting links.

Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, 28 July 2012

New Car equals Road Trip!

I have a new car!

Last week I set out to do my research on what would be my next car.  It wasn't due for a change until September, but I was trying to be organised.

What size? What model? What spec? Don't forget mpg, bph, ABS, ESP, airbags, safety rating, MP3 connection, bluetooth the list goes on!  So we set out on our fact finding mission and within a few hours I had bought a car!!

The logical me, loves researching and finding the best deal, the best spec, the right rating, and reading the reviews.  But what usually happens is that I get so weighed down on covering all possible options, consequences and solutions it becomes very overwhelming.

This time last year I couldn't decide what to have for my breakfast or what clothes to wear as my mind was just too full & this week here I am choosing a new car!

So without further ado I introduce you to Bluey, my wee Ford Fiesta Titanium.  (Sorry bout pic was trying to crop reg. plate out) It has all the nifty gadgets a girl could need & I am very happy!  I must be I even allowed myself to be in the picture!

You can just see me if you squint through the heated front windscreen or the privacy window in the back ;-)

New Car = Road Trip!

Most of my cars have had names and they've all been male.  Bluey is a wee cheeky chappy.  Not really original but I think it suits him.  Do you name your cars?

Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Finding the strength to swim against the troubles of depression

This week I found myself drifting back to that place where everything is a struggle.
You know the place, the feeling your just about treading water then out of no where comes a wave, a surge so strong you get battered about, all you can do is cling onto something, and hope your not going to be swept away.

(the waves at Buckie, just reminds of how hard it can be to be a lone rock standing your ground)

I get easily sucked in to the troubles, I care about my patients, the service, my reputation, and the people I work with.  So when I make a simple request you don't expect it to start a spiral of upset and angst.

I'm being vague on the details because in all honestly this happens to me in too many situations, the details don't actually matter.  What happened was one email request, followed by a blunt response, which escalated to a miffed tone, then instead of getting together and discussing things like adults, we went home & stewed on it & emotions started to get the better of me.

Luckily instead of allowing myself to get swept away in the situation, I reached out for a life line.  I took to twitter & got the perfect response  "you made a reasonable request and she chose to be pissed off" This was just what I needed, I took a deep breath and remembered no-one can make you feel something unless you let them.
I also get to choose how I handle the situation
So out of the whirl pool of emotions I was lifted and there was my bridge.  To let go of the baggage I was attaching to the situation and see a way out the other side, where I don't feel I have been drained of energy & effort.

So I went to bed in a better frame of mind, I slept (normally would have tossed & turned all night about the situation) and when I arrived in the office I went to my colleague and said "Good morning"

Now wouldn't it be lovely if this was the end of the story.  I rose above it all and let it all go.  Well I did, but in the real world this situation involved another person, who didn't quite have the same idea.

So my "Good morning" wasn't greeted with the same pleasant response.  As the conversation progressed I kept reminding myself of this A-ha moment from twitter and that I have a choice in how I respond.  Also my assertiveness stuff was creeping in so I let her say her piece and let me air my views and my response and left her to respond in any way she felt necessary.

Amazingly by allowing each party to air their thoughts and feelings (over a very trivial thing I may add) the situation resolved itself so very easily.

So what did I learn

1.  Twitter can be great sounding board, I enjoy putting my queries out there & getting another person's perspective on the matter.  Twitter does have some wise words out there!

2. Never go to bed with on an argument, even if the argument is with yourself! ( I slept much more soundly knowing I resolved my own issues, in my own head)

3. You get to choose your response, but not any one else's.  Be happy with your choice and let others worry about theirs!

I made a bridge instead of swimming against the current.  It takes too much effort to get caught up in the pulls of emotions and arguments & I just don't have the strength for it right now (nor is it necessary).

Life can be easy if you just let it!

So I'll end with a beautiful pic, from picturesque Luss in Scotland.  This is how I would like to keep my world right now, calm and easy.  I can but try and do my best to keep it that way.

Love Mrs Brown xx

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Over thinking my unhelpful thinking styles

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) gets you to look at the thinking behind your behaviours and I am finding this useful as I tackle my depression.

I am becoming more aware of my thinking styles.  The more aware I become of my own thinking, the more I can challenge the unhelpful stuff.

I am very much a thinker, analytical, logical and have a massive case of over thinking and catastrophising to make matters worse.  

Nerdy science bit coming up.

So it appears I am a leftie thinker! 

I use the strategies and thought patterns that come from the left side of the brain.  I am all about the logics, the specifics, the details, I like to plan and organise and list things.  

This kind of thinking has it's obvious advantages, like being well prepared for an interview or problem solving or making informed choices.

Like most things though there is two sides to this story.  Relying solely on this type of thinking has it's disadvantages the main one I notice is that I can think and reason and plan so much that I actually don't take any action.  

I can write to-do lists all day but never actually score anything off as all my time and effort went into the listing stage.  For me this can be very draining, I have actually been over the tasks of the day several thousand times in my head before my feet touch the floor on my way out of bed.  You think about doing your day over and over and over in the same 24hours, it's exhausting.

My therapy is teaching me to branch out, to go over to the dark side or at least the right side of my brain.  I need a little more spontaneity, a bit more get up & go about me.  A bit more 'Just Do It!'  

So I decided to try this on a walk round the park with Bailey.

I do this walk (or a similar walk, everyday) yet I still can feel overwhelmed with all the thoughts and thinking I put into this simple everyday task.  

Instead of debating which way to go?, how long to be out?, what we will do when we finish?, what I will say if I meet someone?, what do I need to take? what will I do if the dog hurts himself? what will I do if they close the park gates early for some reason? What if, what if happens???? - I just started walking.

When I came to a turn I didn't think about it, I just made a split second decision based on how I felt there and then.  It felt great!!  

Sounds simple enough but it was a change from the racing thoughts that usually dominated the walk.

All enthusiastic and remembering Gretchin Ruben's commandment from the Happiness Project and her 'one minute rule' (to never postpone any task that takes less than a minute) I set about DOING things.  In no order, with no plan, just what ever popped up that would take less than a minute - I Just Did it!

I tidied, I made dinner and extra for lunch, I rearranged stuff in the kitchen, I ticked off a few things that had been on my list for ages!

Then forgetting all my CBT stuff about praising achievements and pacing myself I sat down to write this post to share my new found energy from this side of my brain and then it happened.
The switch back, the old habits, the old neural pathways
I went into my usual logical mode (because that is what a task like this requires) I trolled through references on logical thinking and then searched endless images for the 'perfect' picture for the post and hours later I realised how much I was over thinking again.

I was over thinking a post on over thinking!!  Then I found this
Luckily I did because it made me stop myself again and ponder on my learning rather than the post.

My conclusions for my 'right side' experience, well I am learning more about me.  I am testing the waters, gathering my own evidence.  Thats what CBT is all about, challenging the unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and behaviours.  I must be on the right track.

I now know more about my the thoughts behind my behaviours and in trying out new strategies to use in different situations, I will one day be able to use my thoughts to my advantage.   I had great success in switching over to the dark side.  But this is not a 'one side or the other' thing.   It is not right or wrong , black or white.  I need to be able to use the right strategy for the task at hand.

As with all my learning I am at the beginning of a journey, a path that will keep me well and yes I'll have set backs along the way but I proved I can
Just Do It!
Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, 13 July 2012

I swallowed a fly!

I swallowed a fly today out on a walk with the dog and immediately this rhyme came into my head!
They just don't make nursery rhymes like this any more, probably a good thing as my 2nd thoughts after the rhyme was "I'm not swallowing a spider" and then Dietitian head kicked in "Mmm does that count as protein or maybe mineral, it definitely will add to unhealthy gut bacteria!"
Just a sneaky peek into my exciting life!
Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

The power of a link

As you will see I started off all enthusiastic like I do most things, then my motivation starts to drop a little and then I start to worry, then procrastinate, then add it to my to-do list, then give up.  I have come to realise I am a serial trier, but struggling to find the push to keep things going.

Well ...... I have persevered with social media and although I do go through times where I shy away from it, I usually find myself coming back pretty quick.  One of the amazing things about the internet is that one link leads to another an so on and so on.  You can sit in your living room and be transported with only a few clicks.

There is so much negative media out there, I have found myself in the past being pulled into my negative thought patterns but luckily I have been finding that there is also just as many positive people in the world of media, you just have to click the right link.

I hope all you inspiring people out there know how much it means to be able to open up my Mac, click on that little compass and escape from the confines of my head.  One click can take you anywhere, to any type of page, to read what ever you fancy.  

My strength was wavering, I could feel my mood dipping, I could feel the guilty tones whispering in my ear, when I clicked a link in a tweet.  So a mighty thanks to @IdentityMag for the original tweet and post and then to @SavorTheSuccess for the retweet that took it into my  timeline for me to read, and then finally to I AM THAT GIRL (www.iamthatgirl.com

You see, every single person has a part to play in the social media world.  Every link, every like, every tweet passes this information along.  There is power in a link.  A connection, a tie, a join, a relationship and as we all engage in these links we feel part of something other than ourselves.

The I am that girl site and inspirational page (have a look on this LINK is something to lift everyone on there!) just helped me break out the cycle of my mood dipping and feeling guilty about not being able to "pick myself up" and get on with it. Despite this tactic NEVER having worked in the past, I still insist that I SHOULD be able to do it, and through therapy I know it's the whole SHOULD thing about expectations of myself etc.etc but it's damn hard to break out this cycle!

I have been writing my own restrictive rules for years to keep myself in my little uncomfy/unhappy box.  And I've stuck to the rules rigidly, hence the need for meds and therapy! But I have been trying to change and yes I do well for a little while then even the slightest blip can knock me back into my old habits, but by clicking on a link it took me out of my head and stopped my thought racing and getting all carried away in the woe is me.

So with a little help from the world wide web I am back on track, I write this post and I hope that should you have clicked on a link to here, I hope it in some small way can inspire you and lift.  

So in the philosophy of I am that girl choose to consume healthy media and as you read this do a half smile, not a fake smile, but a wee curling of the edges of your lips, Go on! Because a half smile uses the same muscles as a real smile and tells your brain your happy! Be happy, I dare you!

(found on IAMTHATGIRL inspiration)
Who can resist a kitten? 

Love Mrs Brown xx

PS. I am only connected to the site through clicked links and was so inspired I had to write about them, all their own work, I am just happy to provide another link in the world of media


Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, 7 July 2012

I have a choice


I am currently attending a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) group as part of my treatment for depression.  I have completed a few groups now and as many of my issues are interlinked as are many of the learning points from the groups.

The group is on Assertiveness.

So two sessions in, what have I learned?

  • There are 7.1 billion people in the world according to National Geographic and we all behave similarly
  • There are 4 main behaviours Assertive, Passive, In direct and Aggressive
  • I frequent to the Passive group, I think.  
Especially round my family, a perfect example is taking on everyone's worries and problems.  This group was described as similar to Doormats - everyone just walks all over them.  It's funny though how you accept certain demands/behaviour from family but would be damned if you would take it from others!

Guilt was touched upon again in group. Guilt is a major driving force for me, it lurks around every corner, every thought and decision, guilt is there waiting to pounce.  So if I am ever going to change things I need to work on this guilt I carry around with me.

But my massive break through, my Aha moment was
I have a choice in every situation.  
Every situation can be managed very simply by either Accepting, or Changing.  Easy right?
Well they aren't that silly, life can be hard going but you can learn to accept it or you can change it.  A good philosophy I say!

So ACCEPT or CHANGE - what would you choose?

Love Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow

As part of my treatment for depression I attend groups based on CBT. They always make me take a look at myself but it varies what I take on board at the time.

I've just started another group and I have noticed that each time a group begins I feel I need to make a change.

One of the things I love about your hair is that it can be changed so very easy and can make a massive difference on the outside, which can only be a good thing on the inside.

I grew my hair for the wedding and played safe with my natural colour so not long after (on starting a group, of course!) I got it cropped and went a bit darker with a flash of purple in the front. This picture was my inspiration, loved the dark sultry look

It did the trick, I loved it! The change on the outside was the catalyst for change on the inside.  I had instant new found confidence.  A few hours in the salon, was like flicking a switch to a new Mrs Brown.

Everyone could see the difference, I mean they would be blind not to notice, but I didn't mind people commenting, I liked my new style.  It always surprises me when people say "oh, you soo brave to get it that short" or "I'm too scared to go that bold with colour".  It's painless, really! (unless bleach is involved sometimes there has to be some scalp pain involved in achieving that perfect style!)

I then decided to go darker and change to the red flash at the front.  On looking back now again this change also coincided with a new group!  Again, the new colour was an instant boost to my mood.  My new found confidence even saw me book a place at an evening vintage styling event at Miss DixieBelle's in Edinburgh!! Was a brilliant wee evening, I was quiet as usual, but fizz in a vintage tea-cup and how to do flicks on my tiny eyes was great! You should check out the Styling Parlour and boutique at www.missdixiebelle.co.uk

Yes, this is me! My hair not looking great and I seem to have crazy eyes as I was so impressed with my flicks but gives you an idea, cringe!

Since then really jus been maintaining the dark and red and growing down the sides with the thought of going back to my inverted bob (my fail safe hair do!) but .......... I've just started a new group and guess what the googling hair pictures has started again!!

So I'm thinking a dark red all over, like burgundy or mahogany and thinking bout a chop again.  I really love Frankie Sandford's style - very similar to what I did the last time but thinking of not getting the right side shaped in as much.

So what does starting a group go to do with my hair?

Your hair is part of your identity and many people go to the salon when they want to change something in their life.  Where else can you be completely transformed in a few hours?

My hairdresser can't fit me in till next Friday so I have a whole week to decide who I want to be and what I want to change.

This time, now that I am aware these hair changes are linked to my group attendance I am going to make a conscious effort to ensure my hair change isn't a replacement for the changes I want to make on the inside.  Your hair can be a quick fix but true confidence comes from more than your hair.

What does your hair say about you?  Do you fancy a change?

Any suggestions welcomed!

Love, Mrs Brown xx

p.s. I am not a hair dresser or sponsored by any colorants, just a girl who likes to shake things up in the hair department.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Soap Opera Syndrome

I have been tested and tried most of my life and I had been really good at covering up the cracks and very good at 'Just get on with it' mode, until the day I realised everything was actually fine!

I had a good permanent job, mum was coping well, brother was living with his girlfriend and I had a brilliant new man then suddenly I fell to pieces. Now counselling told me that this was because I had been jumping from crisis to crisis that I had no time to think about each situation or myself. Soo when I finally took the time to look back or concentrate on me and my future it all just caught up with me.

I won't go into details today (I am just getting the hang of this being "open" thing, bear with me!) but I have been through a lot shall we say. I grew up very fast and don't have a typical relationship with my family - I was always the sensible one, the one that sorted everything and kept all the plates spinning.

So why when everything is actually "fine" did it shake me? I was so used to pretending everything was fine, why not just be happy for a change everything was going my way?

I still have doubts as to why this stable period of my life had a big effect on me, but what I do know is that lemons are very acidic and there is must be a limited amount of lemonade you can make before you feel sick!

I recently read though that some of us think our lives should reflect the soap operas, going from one drama to another. I can tell you I am glad I've been written out the plot for a while!

Although it's only Wednesday, this week I feel like I could possibly be leading up to a new storyline. You know the the storyline you can see a mile coming when watching a soap but everyone else seems oblivious.

My dog, had a wee sore paw that had been niggling all week, but it started to swell on Monday so took him to the vets, luckily it's the animal hospital so checks and X-rays later he has a broken toe!! Felt really bad for making him walk on it all week but it's a non weight bearing toe so not painfully all the time, so just rest, TLC and anti inflammatories for him.

Then last night after walking the dog (short walk of course, you try telling a lab he can't go for a walk, broken toe or not!) my hubby thought something was in his eye. Within minutes it was massively swollen and his face puffy. I'm not squeamish but eyes get me! The white part was bubbling up with fluid, thought it may pop out! Anyways it happened so fast I wasn't taken any chances so gets him in the car & on the way to A&E.

Cut a long story short they think it was an allergen of some sort & got anti histamines, steroid drops and ointment and he's looking vaguely normal again (sorry honey, still love you dearly tho!)

It wasn't until this morning I realised how much I relish these situations. This is where I come into my own. I am well practiced in A&E trips, within minutes I had a bag packed with juice, money for the vending machine and a magazine! How strange my default setting is "Drama"??

So what have I learnt this week, well I have come so far, this time last year I would have been a wreck & no support to my two boys. I have an inner strength and drive to get things sorted - I need to embrace this more and use it in other situations not just chaos!

And just writing this has allowed me time to centre myself again and realise my life maybe like a soap opera but I am not just the main character I can be the writer too and I can and have been taking control for past few months.

Just can't resist adding a picture of my beautiful boy, Bailey

and a pic of the swollen eye!

What's your story? How would you rewrite it?

Mrs Brown xx
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, 1 July 2012

What's in a name?

I have noticed a change in me since becoming Mrs Brown. 

Now granted getting married changes more than just my name yet at the same time in some ways changes not a thing.  We've lived together for 3years and been engaged for 2years, so the commitment and sharing of things has not changed.  But yet I somehow feel there has been a change in me and I do feel that having a new name has played a part in this.

Your forename is given to you at birth and many believe that it can shape your identity and personality.  Many parents choose popular names, or names with great meaning but does this really impact on how your child will grow up?

Was I named Clare because of the meaning clear and bright, Or Clare after a county in Ireland, Or after Saint Clare of Assisi with the hope I would follow in these footsteps?

As I look up meaning of Clare I find myself seeing parts of 'me' in other people's suggestions.  Could there be something in my name that makes me behave like every other Clare in the world??

In getting married I am still Clare all this may meant me, but I have change my surname.

Surname - the name that attaches you to a family.  

This is the part of your name that does link you with other people.  It western culture this is known as the 'family name' and comes after your 'given name'.  When I look up Brown (Wikipedia - the font of all knowledge, not!) says it is of Scottish origin.  This pleases me as I am very proud to be Scottish and live in Scotland so maybe this somehow anchors me, makes me feel part of something.  It also says it is one of the most common family names in English speaking countries, I found this out when I changed my name at work on the computer system and went from being the only one with my maiden name to One of 55 Clare Browns!!

But what I truly believe the name change has done for me, is that it has allowed me to choose who I want to be.  To choose to let go of certain things in my past and look to the future.  It has allowed me to become part of a new family, and also to look forward to making my own family.  I have used Mrs Brown on twitter and my blog as it gives me some anonymity but at the same time it is my name!  This allows me to be the Mrs Brown I want to be.

Also knowing that I have this Mrs Brown to be compared to helps lighten my character!

What does your name mean to you?  Please feel free to comment

Mrs Brown xx

Enhanced by Zemanta