Last Week I Lost my Best Friend: Losing Pets

Last week I had to say goodbye to my best friend Sweep. If you have been a follower of this blog or my YouTube channel in the past, then you will no doubt know all about my fluffy little man. We have had Sweep as a huge part of our family for the past fifteen years, and got him when he was just two years old! Losing such a huge part of my life has been horrific, and as someone who has been lucky enough to never have really experienced grief of anyone in my immediate family, I must say that I have not really been sure how to deal with it. Because that is exactly how I considered Sweep, he was more than just an animal, he was one of our family and gave us all so much joy simply by being a part of it.

Over the past fifteen years things have changed massively, and Sweep was even around before I stopped having contact with my biological father – something that most people cannot claim as that was an awfully long time ago! He never liked my Dad, and would always growl and back away from him. I swear that dog was like a personal sensor for douchebags – we could’ve rented him out to single ladies on the pull and made a fortune!

But I digress, point being he was the most loving and well natured dog I have ever encountered in my life. He was tolerant of children – no matter how hyper or annoying they could be. Which was extremely lucky for me as child Emmie used to enjoy putting his fur into ponytails and dressing him up like a baby! But he never snapped or growled, he was just happy to be spending time with you and was more than happy to do whatever, as long as he was nearby.

I suffer with bipolar disorder and the highs and lows that come with it. Remember those annoyingly hyper children I was just talking about? Unluckily for Sweep, that meant that this was a personality trait for me way up into my late teens and even early twenties. But he was still more than happy to be held as we danced around the living room, or I climbed a climbing rope with him under one arm as he looked on confused. I loved that little dog, and I know that he loved us all equally in return.

The depression that comes with bipolar disorder is crippling. It is more than just sadness, it is more than just hopelessness, it feels like there is nothing. Nothing left in the entire world, and that even taking your next breath is pointless. I feel alone. I feel broken. I feel worthless. And I feel unlovable. Sweep could always see these moods coming on even before I did somehow, and would always be sure to position himself close to me so that he would be nearby if I needed him. Sometimes just having someone with you is enough to get you through the next minute, and through to the next. Talking isn’t necessary sometimes, and having him there to cuddle up to me made me feel like at least somebody needed me.

Things often took a much darker turn when my moods plummeted like this and when I was (mainly) in my late teens, I would often engage in self harm to help myself to cope with everything going on inside my head. I never, ever performed any of this behaviour in front of anyone else as it was an extremely personal experience to me, one in which I felt like I had failed in my life by having to rely upon it in the first place.

However, I recall one time when I had come home for the holidays from university, my then boyfriend had travelled home to see his family and I was home alone while my parents were out at work. Sweep was in another room, and I had taken the opportunity of being alone like this to get some of the pain out. I began my ritual of unpacking my “tools” from the box I always kept nearby carefully selecting the items I felt that I needed.  When I finally had everything laid out in front of me neatly as I always did and took the deconstructed razor in my hand, all I remember seeing through the tears was that white fluffy figure jump up onto my knee and start licking the tears from my cheeks. He wouldn’t move and just waited until I stopped sobbing, when he eventually curled up next to me and we both fell asleep. I’m not suggesting that anything more severe would have happened that day, but thanks to my little guy, I have a few less scars on my body than I would have had if he had not been there that day.

As he came to the end of his life, Sweep had really started to show the signs of old age. He never suffered, don’t get me wrong, but he could no longer see or hear and he was struggling to stand up for long periods of time. His sense of smell had all but gone and we practically had to hand feed him so he could find his food bowl. It was a shame, but he gave everyone so much joy that they were more than happy to help him in any way that they could. Sweep always went everywhere with my Mum, after I moved out and she would come to visit me in my new place, Sweep would always be in the car with her whether she had just been out running errands or had been to work.

By the end, it was the nicest thing we could do to give our Sweepie a peaceful and painless end and as he drifted off to sleep in our arms I could see the stress and pain leave his face. He looked so peaceful and happy as he lay there. Although he may not be here physically, I always carry his collar around with me and cuddle up with his blanket at night while I watch the television when I get home from work – as well as greeting his box of ashes on the table when I go to visit my mum. It may seem silly to some people, but it’s how I can cope with losing my best friend. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven, but I do believe that wherever my little Sweepie is now, he isn’t struggling anymore. So thank you Sweep, for the best fifteen years of my life. You saved me in so many ways and stayed by my side when most people deserted me. I hope you are happy and free wherever you may be, and I’ll see you soon little man. I promise, I’ll bring you some chicken up with me when I get there!

 

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin!

It is human nature to want to take advantage of every single exciting opportunity that comes our way. After all, you’re a long time dead aren’t you so you might as well make the most of your one shot at existence right? Well yeah, and that’s a good attitude to have…most of the time. The important thing to remember is that we are only human and we need to remember that we actually have limits! As much as I like to convince myself I am Wonder Woman…sadly I am not – I don’t look half as good in Lycra!

woman

I know that most of my audience, especially on my YouTube channel, are a lot younger than me and so I think that you maybe might have the same attitude towards education as me. When I was at school, more was always better! Academically, I did quite well but this was in no means a natural thing – I worked my arse off to get the A’s and A*’s that I left with. But I almost killed myself trying!

icpiowd

I took on extra subjects and extracurricular activities that I thought would help me be better wherever I could, despite the warnings of my teachers that I might be taking on too much. Just to give you an example of my stupidity in this way – I was advised to take three A Levels at sixth form, I came out with 7 qualifications. Fucking 7!! I took on Theatre Studies, Performing Arts, Sociology, Psychology, English Language, Critical Thinking and an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). I mean really? Was there any need?

tumblr_mx9dcsnz9u1rs4naxo1_500

Now, of course I am proud of myself and I guess it looks good on the CV however I put myself in a very vulnerable and stressful position when I was only 17. I should have put my mental health first and learnt to set realistic goals for myself to achieve. I have always craved affirmation that what I am doing is the right thing, and that has meant that age has meant authority to me – which is a load of crap but this is how my mind has worked.

giphy-7

I would love to say that I have completely gotten over this obsession to be perfect and take on everything and anything that comes my way, but of course I would be lying to your faces! However! I have gotten better, a lot better actually. My diary has really helped me, actually my diaries have really helped me – I have so many. I use my main one which I carry around everywhere with me in my handbag, my phone, my mini organiser and several planners and calendars dotted around my house – my bedroom, living room even the kitchen on the fridge.

timetable

It may seem a little overkill, however it is all to help me to remember all that I have already taken on so that I can see what I can realistically complete. I still suck at saying no to things, but now I’m getting a little better at managing my time so that everything that I want to do actually gets done….eventually.

giphy-8

Unhelpful Festive Social Comparisons

It is officially Christmas in less than a week and so we are officially in the full swing of things now as we count down the days. Christmas comes with many things, sending Christmas cards and gifts (often to people you never say two words to at any other time of the year!), carolling, and more importantly to this blog – comparing ourselves to everyone who matters!

giphy-6

During Christmas time being with lots of people is inevitable and so it is human nature that we are going to start to compare ourselves and our achievements to those of those people around us. There are of course those lovely people (usually older family members, or the less sympathetic parents) that feel it is their duty to highlight just how well our second cousin Ginny is doing in her new six figure jet setting career on the other side of the world… But I think that we can all agree, that this kind of social comparison is just simply not helpful nor healthy!

tumblr_ng0ir0tktl1tvgf3ro2_500

As much as I would love to have the perfect life that I have spent my life dreaming up and concocting inside my head, simply put I don’t. I definitely do not have that perfect life. If six year old Emmie were to look at my life now then she would sit and sob for hours after locking herself in the bathroom….(I did that a lot, sorry Mum!). But that doesn’t mean that my life isn’t a happy one!

9049491

Sure, there are down sides (lots) and there are always going to be negative periods and people in my life that only want to bring me down or make me miserable (plenty this year thank you very much 2016!) but I am proud of the life I am living. This time last year, thanks to my anxiety I could not be left alone in a room for more than a few minutes without panicking and either reaching for the phone or going to find someone to sit with me. I was stuck in relationships and friendships that were doing nothing but drain me and was generally miserable.

http-%2f%2fmashable-com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2013%2f01%2fannehathawaycrying

But now? I am living alone and renting my own place where I pay my own bills. I have my own car and have a gorgeous bunny called Gimli and adorable little tortoise called Flash to take care of. Point is, life is what you make it and despite the shit storm of naff-ness that has descended my life in 2016 I have certainly made the best of it which I something that I am keeping in mind when others start to make these pesky comparisons.

tumblr_n6ecmtxvso1rzgy8no1_500

No matter what people tell you about other people in your life remember this, you have a long and unpredictable life ahead of you and this is certainly not “it” for you! There is plenty of time left for you to do whatever you want to do. As cringey and cliché as it may appear there is an awful lot of truth in it! As long as you have a goal of what you want to achieve, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed if you aren’t already there. So hey, when good old Granny is boasting about your lovely older cousin Jeff, why not be happy for him and raise a glass? After all, it could be your successes that she’s doing everybody’s tits in with next year…

yxprgkj

Blogmas 2: 8 Gift Ideas for Someone with Depression

As someone who suffers with depression myself, I have a few ideas when it comes to gift giving to us black dog owners! Although they will not, of course, apply to everyone, I think that these are my list of ideas that I think could be the most beneficial and enjoyable by the larger portion of people. Hope you like them!

41399xqzgel-_sx346_bo1204203200_

  1. Happiness Journal/Record Book
    Over the years I have found that journaling can be oh so beneficial, and being able to vent is great when you are having a crappy day. Also, when you are having a good day then it is awesome to have a record of that for you to look back on in the future. I recommend this One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book, it pretty much does what it says on the tin and is an awesome way of remembering the important moments of your life – even if you do have to learn to keep it brief! Get yours here.51fq-w9eq7l-_ac_us160_
  1. Photo Album/Frame
    This is a great way to immortalise your memories together which can help your loved one to deal with their lower moods by having something to remember that someone loves them a lot. Having a tool to force you to remember the happy times can be really useful. Get this super cute one here.41iq6ksqsdl-_ac_us160_
  2. Scented oils or sleep mist
    Depression can often make sleep very unlikely or at least difficult to achieve! I have found essential oils or sleep mists so useful in helping me finally get some rest. Personally, I think that this sleep oil roller is a life saver. I use it throughout the night, and it really helps me if I am struggling to keep me calm meaning that I get slowly closer to sleep before I actually get into bed. Click here to find yours.buddybox-ad-4
  3. Buddy Box – individual or subscription
    I used to do unboxing videos for my Buddy Box subscription on my YouTube channel so if you are interested in looking into what is in some of them then feel free to take a look. A buddy box can be bought as a subscription or as a lone item for someone in your life who is struggling. It was designed to be a cheer up tool to help people who are struggling with depression. Here is where you can find your own.51csqi4opl-_sr100100_
  4. Huge fluffy blanket or dressing gown
    Nothing feels as bad when you are wrapped up in a warm and fluffy burrito of fluffy contentness which comes alongside a dressing gown or blanket. The colour will obviously changeable with the preferences of the individual but the fluffier the better. I have a mermaid blanket myself in blue which is just perfect for a cosy night in with a cup of tea. Get yours here. 

    365-reasons-i-love-you-jar-jwb-595

  5. Encouragement/Why I Love You Jar Happy Box
    This will require a little DIY but if you fancy putting in the effort to make your gift extra special this Christmas then an encouragement or why I love you jar is perfect! All you need to do is get an empty cookie jar and fill it with encouraging statements or reasons that you love the person which you can fold up and place inside. When they are feeling sad and lonely, then can open a few of your suggestions and always have a smile at their fingertips! Try a jar like this.61fo4navn-l-_sl150_
  6. A pretty notebook with awesome stationary
    There is nothing better than new pretty stationary. It gives you the freedom to create something, whether that is by writing down your thoughts, a story, drawing or simply creating lists to make your day easier – as we all know by now, I LOVE a good list! Whatever your reasoning, stationary is undeniably awesome! I found this paper chase notebook with all kinds of awesome vintage style things on the cover which I absolutely adore!410guwy48ll-_ac_sr160160_
  7. Good slippers!
    Now I have these exact slippers and so can personally assure you that they are the cosiest damn things on the planet. I absolutely love them and taking care of your feet always makes you feel extra special. It’s far too easy to forget about your feet, but your tootsies need some love too! Treat them to these beauties here

 

Blogmas 1: Christmas – Planning is Everything!

Recently I have come to the realisation that I can no longer deny that Christmas is only around the corner. The festive favourites have been playing at work for a few weeks now, but seeing as I opened the first door of my advent calendar today, I guess it’s time to accept it for what it is – it’s nearly Christmas whether we like it or not! Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, the only thing I resent is when Christmas starts in shops as soon as Halloween ends. Just no! There is an entire month in between that I refuse to forget about – what’s wrong with November!?

tnrcdp6

Christmas can be a terrifying and overwhelming at the best of times for a variety of reasons – it’s a period of forced reflection, forced socialisation and trawling your way through packed out shops and streets. But planning is everything to give yourself a stress free festive period! Remember, nowadays you don’t even need to leave the house if you don’t want to!

giphy-5

Planning is everything! Make all of the lists and trust me, you will thank me later. First of all, take a look at your finances and make a note of how much that you can realistically afford to spend. Create a list  of all of the people that you need to buy a present for and allocate a part of your budget to each of these people so that you don’t end up overspending! Can you tell that I like lists?! Lists are your friends! I mean Santa has his list – you aren’t questioning the big man himself are you!?

tumblr_ny4q8vq13o1qgf1i8o1_500

Don’t get me wrong, I can admit there is a certain magic about wandering round town, clutching a hot chocolate as you trot around your local centre during late night shopping. However, a lot of people will also inevitably have the same idea and so chances are, those streets are going to be rammed! That kind of destroys the relaxed and festive atmosphere and just kind of turns your evening into a predicted panic attack.

kevinhomealone

To avoid such a fate, my recommendation would be to scour the internet for anything that you can buy online without having to leave the comfort of your sofa with a glass of red wine. I mean who wants to go outside and actually speak to other humans am I right?! Yet another list can help you here, if you just spend a few minutes having a think about what people might be interested in and create a few gift ideas before you hit the shops. There is nothing worse than leaving everything till the last minute and still having no idea what you are going to get for your Auntie Debbie (it seems everybody has an Auntie Debbie don’t you think?) Make a plan of action so you don’t go in and flail around like a headless chicken.

anigif_enhanced-21977-1419332363-2_preview

Thanks for reading this little post, I know that it was a lot shorter than usual however I am going to be (trying to) do blog/vlogmas where I will be posting a blog post or video on my YouTube channel every single day in the lead up to Christmas. Because of the new high volume of posts, I will be keeping them a little shorter than usual to give me the best chance of actually following through with this idea and avoiding burnout prematurely! Hope you have a lovely day – oh, and happy December!

grumpy-cat-christmas-meme