Dear Diary: Pushing Out and Pulling Myself Up

Anxiety. What does that word mean to you?

The text book definition:

Noun
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome

If I were to unpick that definition, I could tell you, broadly, it’s spot on.

Now, I can’t talk for anyone else who suffers with an anxiety disorder because everyone who suffers has different triggers and there are just so many different categories of anxiety; you’ve got OCD, GAD, Specific phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, situational anxiety, social anxiety… there is a whole load of anxiety disorders that can be listed and maybe even some that have not been categorised yet.

I personally don’t fall into one particular category. My anxiety has been caused by several different life events leading up to here and now. One reoccurring factor though, is this life-altering thing we all experience at least once in our lifetime, this is a term known as grief.

Anxiety is not a common symptom of grieving, but many people experience and develop symptoms of anxiety because of a loss. I’ve mentioned grieving in several blog posts on here and in a way, it’s because I find blogging some sort of inner relief. That and I just don’t talk about the deepest parts of my life anywhere else.
It’s been said that when a person doesn’t allow themselves to feel grief or go through the process of mourning their loved ones, they can become depressed, or anxiety can occur.

Just recently, I’ve learned of this term known as ‘Complicated grief’ or as it is now categorised in the DSM-IV and ICD-10 ‘Prolonged grief disorder’. Apparently only about 10% of people who have been affected by bereavement suffer from this syndrome. This is because to be diagnosed officially with this disorder, a person must be completed incapacitated by grief, so focused on the loss that it is difficult to care about much else.

What makes it so different from the norm of grieving? Well, grief is a normal human process – accommodating to a new life without a loved one is tough and often, sometimes unbearable. However, as time goes on, most bereaved survivors manage to find new meaning in their lives. Although normal grief remains far into the future, its ability to disrupt the survivor’s life dissipates with time. Insert time heals all wounds crap(!)

Whereas, with Prolonged grief disorder, an individual has an intense, persistent, disabling and life-altering issue with the loss of someone. This grief can then become somewhat of a threat to the survivor’s identity, sense of self-worth, feeling of security, safety or hopes for future happiness.

Prigerson et al. proposed a handy little criteria for PGD featured below:

After doing some more research on this relatively new concept, I came across certain risk factors and clinical correlations that link to PDG and surprise surprise, little old me could tick off a number of them.

Since researching into this a little more, I’ve decided it might be helpful for others to be aware of it because information, I feel, isn’t widely available. I didn’t have any idea of what it was or if it was even a real thing, but it is very real. Painfully so.

The point of this blog was to shed some light on a certain concept that I’ve recently been made aware of, and to also reiterate to myself in particular, that the battle is hard. The battle doesn’t get easier but you can get stronger.

I’ve been neglecting a few of my loved ones as of late. I know I have and I’ve been a really shitty person. Unfortunately its because I’ve been dragged down by intrusive thoughts of guilt and my old friend grief. But I am working on it. I’m pushing out and pulling myself up. Slowly and surely. We can all get there.

It’s okay NOT to be okay

I woke up today feeling great. I was like yeah it’s Monday but whatever. It;s a four day week and Easter is approaching and yes boy give me all the chocolate.

It’s also good because I’m going home for Easter, which means I get to spend some time with my mum and my fur babies who I am missing incredible amounts right now. The weekend was such nice weather and sunshine makes everyone so happy and smiley. So yeah, I woke up with the ‘I’ma boss Monday’ feeling.

Of course, one thing happened and it affected my mood quite heavily and I know blah blah you can either let it dampen your whole day or you can just brush it off, forget about it and move on.

Sometimes that’s easy enough and as the morning is progressing, I’m realising that, that little thing has set off a roller coaster of feelings that are certainly not feelings of being okay.

I’m feeling a little anxious, a little sad and I think even a little bit mad and I can’t quite place the reason why.

And you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay to not understand how you’re feeling or why you’re feeling the way you are all the damn time. The world’s a mess and we’re just living in it. Some days are going to be better than others and that is just life.

It’s also okay to not be okay 100% of the time but it’s definitely good to voice out that you’re not okay. You don’t have to talk about why you’re not feeling okay, because in some cases you just don’t know WHY, but don’t suffer in silence.

Find your nearest pal and get giggling. Maybe curl up in your duvet, cuddle your fave stuffed animal and watch feel good Disney (I SO WISH I could be doing that right now)

I’m going to go and stuff my face with food this lunch time and hopefully have someone crack a joke that will ease my mind.

But you know what, it really is okay not to be okay, and I’m okay with that.

How do you know when you know?

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A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Today’s post is quite a personally opinionated one – so before I delve into the depths of writing, I’ll state that you do not have to agree with what I’m saying and no harm is meant to those that read….

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The Hidden Legacy by G J Minett: Book Review

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Once you know, you can’t forget

1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.

2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .

First word: Wow. Last word: WOOOOW.

I can’t quite praise this book enough. What an amazing debut by G J Minett; it will definitely be a hard one to follow (I type this as I eagerly await the publication of his second novel Lie In Wait. March 9th guys. Note it.)

So I finished The Hidden Legacy Saturday night after being on my ‘to read’ list for quite some time. To be completely honesty I was utterly lost for words when I closed the book on the last page. I couldn’t form a sentence to express how I was feeling (in a 100% good way!) The novel is a definite page turner, that much I can tell you.

Minett has a gift. He is no doubt a writer who can do what some may think  impossible. He can split the plot in different directions yet somehow cross stitch all the pieces back together, ensuring that all the loose ends have been tied. The final twist of the novel itself had me holding my breath and it was only when I got to part four, did I actually breathe again.

The book opens with the narration of a lone young boy. It becomes increasingly obvious as the pacing of the writing quickens that this young boy is about to do something unforgettable. This is the immediate draw. For in 1966. this young boy, John Michael Adams walks into his school grounds and sets fire to two young girls. One dies, the other is scarred for life. My mouth was hanging open at the end of the prologue. I remember my eyes popping.

Flash forward to 2008 when Ellen Sutherland, a recently divorced mother of two, receives a letter from a solicitor urging her to make contact regarding the last will and testimony of one Eudora Nash. At first, Ellen believes they have the wrong person, for the name Eduora Nash means absolutely nothing to her.

Not knowing what possesses her and after a strange phone call with the Solicitor, Ellen decides to trust fate and makes a six-hour trip to the Cotswolds. And low and behold, nestled a few miles from Cheltenham, Ellen comes face to face with a picturesque cottage that, once all necessary paperwork have been signed, will belong solely to her.

Naturally, Ellen is shocked, in disbelief and most importantly, confused as to why this cottage has been left to her by someone she has never heard of. And thus, the long road to discovering answers, begins. Going back and forth between her mother whose memory has deteriorated rapidly and her boss whose like a father, the list of questions gets longer and responses are far too evasive.

The deeper Ellen digs, the more confused she becomes. The spider web continues to tangle with more questions emerging at every turn, until a faithful Reverend of the village hands her two very important letters. Letters that hold all the answers she’s been searching for. It’s just whether she is receptive to learn.

A powerful debut, Minett uses the novel to portray a number of different characters and we have the pleasure of seeing the development in the timeline through one character in particular, who manages to lace together the entirety of the plot. There are so many emotional responses to the characters and what they endure in order to hide and search and uncover the secrets from the past, that it is really hard not to sympathise with all of them.

What really grasped my heartstrings though was the concluding connection between Eudora and Ellen – something that I did not see coming and something Minett handles with easy grace. In my mind, The Hidden Legacy is not what I’d class the usual psychological thriller, but it is no doubt, undeniably one of the best of the genre from an incredible writer. It is well worth the read.

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So I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Graham and it was clear from the go, his passion for writing and for his audience is outstanding. I’m eagerly anticipating his next book, Lie In Wait. I am still so gutted I didn’t have his book on me when meeting him. It would have been an honour to have it signed!

Holiday Wish List

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Hello fellow bloggers,

So as I mentioned in the previous post about coming into 2017 with an open mind, I can now confirm a fair few exciting things are happening. As I’ve briefly mentioned, at the end of March, which is next month because this year is going by really fast already and omfg the next thing I know, I’m going to be twenty five – a quarter of a fricking century, excuse me whilst I cry but back on point – at the end of March, I’m going to Dublin with two of my favourite people. That is going to be ever so excited. A city break will be just what the doctor orders by the time we get there.

But another exciting thing is, on Sunday, payment was confirmed and holy moly, Conner’s family and I will be flying to Crete for a week in May for Conner’s birthday. YIPEEEEE.

Sun, sea, sand and relaxation is something that everyone is crying out for by the time the fifth month of the year hits home. I’m just so happy that things are actually happening this year. I’m actually doing things, going places, affording things!

So in all this excitement, I thought I’d do a pre-holiday browse for all things HOLIDAY and low and behold, here’s a little wish list composed by moi. Head inside for a sneak peak of things “to buy” (for myself) for a little sunnin’ on the beach in Crete.

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2017: Open Mind

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I have been up and down about posting on this blog. I go through stages of major interest in writing a blog but then months will pass and I’ll forget all about the Ramblings of this Little Country Gal.

I am taking motivation to write when I can, because I think that’s just the way my mind is working. Maybe it’s because I’ve started enjoying reading again (you can read about that little baby here). They say reading helps motivate the writing so to speak. Maybe I am just going through one of those phases where I’m just really into blogging. Whatever it is, I won’t knock it.

Anyway to get back on track…

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Getting back into Old Habits

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

Many years ago when I had nothing to fear, with my life still a flutter away, I was thoroughly addicted to buying books. I was addicted to reading, I was addicted to the mere sight of a bookstore. I would be unable to control this desperate urge to avoid the warm smell of Waterstones; the books called to me and I would spend hours memorised by the sheer volume of books that I had yet to experience. Even if I left with a number of new books, there would still be this lingering longing for wanting to buy more.

I was also one of those skillful people who could read two books at one time; I would be able to constantly flick between pages and still recall exactly where I left off in the other one. My sister was envious as I was also quite the speed reader. I wasn’t a speed reader in the sense of training myself to be one, I just simply enjoyed reading so much that I was captivated and would cease to end a chapter unless it was the last page of the book. There is truth in the wise words of Stephen King when he expresses that books are a uniquely portable magic.

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