I’m Helen, I live in Leeds. I grew up in County Durham and moved to Leeds to study and never left. I love photography, reading, drawing, being outside. I'm always looking for new adventures and projects.
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Tomorrow is a week to celebrate coming off antidepressants, which I have been taking for 3-4 years. I made the decision at the beginning of the year after feeling really numb. I couldn’t work out if it was the contraceptive pill or the anti-depressant making me feel the way I do. So in March I sought advice and came off the pill first to see if it was a hormone imbalance then the next step would be to reduce the antidepressants. So this all started in March, by May I was ready to start reducing the anti-depressant and by July I was taking them every other day reducing it from 10mg to 5mg a day. Last Thursday was a review and the Doctor decided after all the hard work I had put in, with diet and exercise and seeing a councillor, it was time to stop the tablets. It’s not been easy. I realise now my brain has been adjusting to the chemical balance and that’s why I’ve suffered from paranoia, the odd anxiety/panic attack. That and coping with long shifts at work, which meant lack of energy meant I havent been able to do some of the things I love. Even washing up (a chore everyone has to do) was difficult. I let it build up so much I end up with no clean pots or cups. Training for races went out the window as all I wanted to do was sleep. I would wake up but not have had the best of sleeps and then want to turn over and fall back asleep. By the time I woke up it was time or work. Even food shopping was ignored at one point and I had no bread or milk. I really don’t want that to happen again.
So last week was meant to be a week off work and instead of being able to go away, or go to the cinema, meet friends I had caught the lurgy and spent four days in bed mostly asleep. It was not nice. I went to bed on the friday at 7:30 and slept on and off until 10am. It was horrible. Luckily I could make smoothies, and eat soup but I was trapped. And that’s what hit me the most. Sometimes I really struggle on my own and it’s when I’m ill it scares me the most. I know it was down to the four ten-hour shifts in a row that did it, I know it’s because of the chemical imbalance and the travel, but sometimes I just want to scream ‘give me a bloody break!’ but as I keep saying ‘It is what it is’ and I’ll find a way around it. Like this week I’m lucky to have some late shifts so I get most the day to get my head around things and go off for a run, because next week it’s back to the long shifts and I probably won’t see anyone all week.
So to the last few months of 2017, where the hell is it going. The challenge is to take it one day at a time, to plan meals, buy a freezer, new running trainers, a watch, new leggings and base layers, to buy new clothes, tops, trousers and shoes, to do some decorating in the house. Visit Fenwicks window in Newcastle.
But most of all try to see the people I love who i havem’t seen in ages. It’s going to be a busy time.
World Mental Health Day, hosted by the World Federation of Mental Health, is on 10 October each year. To help mark the occasion, we’re raising awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health problems can live with dignity.
One in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year. This can have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in the UK, and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day.
I’ve had depression or a form of it for as long as I remember, I’ve just never admitted it. I’ve grown up with a negative parent and carried that on through into my adult life. Now at 37 a few job changes, a few health issues, I’m now at the point where I’m actually questioning myself and who I am. This year I took the big decision to come off antidepressants. These I started taking almost 4 years ago (I think) when I found myself constantly getting angry or bursting into tears over the slightest thing. I felt no one understood me and everyone and thing was against me. My life wasn’t what I wanted. I always thought I would have my own house, car, career (not sure what in) and family by this point. It was the only thing I thought I would be good at is if I had my own family and these materialistic things. Those that know me know my journey has been quite different. Last year I took a job with a pay cut just to be able to pay the bills. Along the way I have made decisions I regret and managed to find myself skint halfway through each month with not knowing how. But I know how. I’ve gon back to my old habits of emotionally spending. Buying coffees when not needed, getting stressed at work and going buying bottles of Lucozades because it’s only 50p a bottle’ but those 50p’s build up.
The one or two decisions this year I don’t regret regard my health. I decided at the beginning of the year after constantly feeling numb, like I wasn’t ‘Helen’ anymore that I was not enjoying things anymore and that I was just living for the sake of it. I had an hour commute everyday to and from work everyday, sometimes longer on an evening if I missed the connection and when I did get to work it just felt full of negativity, nobody was happy and this started to become draining, in the end I moved shops and things are no better. But as I keep saying lately ‘It is what it is’. Back to the big decisions. I took this job to be able to focus on myself. At least I hoped that until I started doing long 10 hour shifts nearly every other day or several in a row. In the beginning of the year I decided it was time to come off my antidepressants to see what was wrong. But as that was such a big decision I thought, the best thing to do was to come off the pill first as it could just be my hormones playing up and perhaps needed to rebalance.
And that was the beginning of my journey, within a couple of months I felt like I was starting to become ‘normal’ the PMT set in and I started feeling like a stroppy teenager again, that was when I knew I had to see about coming off the antidepressants, so in July I went back to the doctor, I explained that I was having issues, that I had taken up running again, and at this point completed the Leeds 10k, I had changed my diet completely and I was looking to take the next big step.
So here we are, or here I am. I looked into counselling, and go when money allows. This has made a big difference. Along with reconnecting with lost family. Apart from this I have my running, when my brain allows it. I say that as I seem to have talked myself out of it lately. I don’t seem to be doing well on my own in motivating myself. Partly due to the late nights I work it’s become a routine of work, sleep, eat, work and not much else. Just getting out of bed is an achievement lately. When I do get some spare time I’m so exhausted physically and mentally and then there’s the food shopping to sort and the housework to do. For two weeks runing I almost didn’t have a clean uniform. That I hated.
I’ve also not seen friends and family these last few months, only in brief moments or when I’ve managed to book things in advance or on two occasions by sheer luck and plans changing. The weirdest thing is I belong among people, I live on my own and thrive better around people, because that how it’s always been. Although 7 years of being on my own has changed that I suppose something inside is trying to tell me things need to change. And perhaps that’s why I’ve been making the effort to get to my local parkrun before work, because I have that brief hour of feeling normal. I can run or volunteer or both and achieve something to set me up for the day, for the rest of the week.
So as we celebrate something vastly important which we rarely talk about through embarrassment, shame or because it is seen as a failure, I just want you to know, I have been struggling these last few months, I know why, I know what I need to do. And perhaps this virus I have caught, although a mild cold has floored me and I have missed out on going out with friends on my week off, I’m grateful. I’m grateful I can sleep for almost 5 days straight, I’m grateful to have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head.
These last few months may not have been easy but I’ve achieved so much, but struggled to believe how good most of it has been. I mean I’ve run a 10k and a half marathon, I’ve started reading again and I’m not sat here writing a blog. How time heals things. And now my journey continues and I need to let go of my hang up with money and stop getting myself into debt or not having spare cash. I need to get out more and run, not just because I have to but because I need/want to and to stop putting pressure on myself when I can’t get past 3 miles. To read and write more but most of all to remind myself of my new motto ‘It is what it is’ and deal with things. I need to stop putting pressure on myself full stop and most of all let go of the past. I need to focus on me and my journey. Who am I? Who have I become? How lucky I am to be where I am and to have what I have.
Today is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day to focus on what’s making us tick, and whether that ticking is working properly, or maybe it needs a bit of adjustment. It’s a powerful thing, the mind, great when it’s working well, debilitating when it’s not.
I love the NHS, I’ve worked in it for many years, I’ve been a patient all my life, it serves us well, particularly in emergencies and when there’s serious physical illness. But, and you know what they say, ignore everything before the ‘but’, when it comes to mental health services, the NHS is playing catch-up.
According to the Kings Fund, an excellent heath and social care think tank, three in four people with a mental health problem receive little or no treatment for their problem. If they are severely affected, they die up to 20…
Do you feel stuck and wish you were living in another story? You know the one, the story filled with happy relationships, where you love your career, and have a sense of purpose as you make a life filled with meaning!
StoryJacking is a seven-step guide to help you reclaim a fundamental truth: You are whole, capable, resourceful, and creative.
It explores the choices you make, the reactions and responses you have to the life you are living, and how the very way you view your life experiences, comes directly from the stories you are telling yourself.
Are you ready to get curious? What is your relationship to the stories you are telling yourself? StoryJacking offers a practical road map to the personal power that is yours to claim. It is your doorway into insightful self-awareness. Just by getting curious, you can shift your brain from fear into learning and create the life you want.
If you’re ready to tell yourself a new story, start here!”
About the Author
Lyssa Danehy deHart, MSW, LISCW, PCC is an author and transformational coach. With over 20 years of experience as a Therapist and a Coach.
Lyssa inspires her clients as she supports their personal and professional transformations. StoryJacking is about learning to grow yourself as a person of self-mastery by exploring your relationship to the stories you tell yourself.
Lyssa produces and hosts the StoryJacker podcast, available on all podcast services for mobile devices. Lyssa lives on Bainbridge Island in WA with her husband and their dog Duffy.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed (98and3/4 percent guaranteed.)” Be a hero of your story!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book, there are so many self-help books out there now but this one really stood out for me. I’ve coped with depression for as long as I remember and in the last few years have used medication, tried CBT and I’m currently thinking Counselling. The one thing I find very strange about the human being is our thought process. We never truly know what someone is thinking. We become confused when one task to us is simple and yet others can find it difficult. We each respond to events/situations differently and yet the solution is sometimes the same.
This little book is great for helping you decide what is best for you. Packed with quotes,tips and stories of what we can do and what can help provides a lovely little book that you can go back to time and time again. I read this straight through making notes to what I wanted to go back to. The bit I loved most was the exercises, soon to be available in pdf’s on the website, the book guides you through each exercise one step at a time.
So much pressure is put on us these days we forget the ability of just being still and this book reminds us of that. Not only the exercises mentioned above there is the act of mindfulness brought in. Again broken down to be able to fit into our busy lifestyles, to help us when we feel it’s all too much.
“My ability to work through my depression and anxiety will help other people.” Having a clear goal of where she was and where she was going and the work to get there”
Plot twist! how do you want to change your story?
This book is full of helpful advice. How to go on your own journey and explore who you are, looking at all the parts of you and either developing them or releasing them and becoming someone you love rather than hate/dislike as in most cases we do.
As the author says – ‘You are the key, your are the map and you are also the compass taking personal responsibilities of your feelings learning to be brave enough to love yourself and also calling yourself out on your nonsense is what it’s all about’
So go be Alice and start a new adventure and don’t forget to take this book with you.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”
― Lewis Carroll,
And before I forget, my favourite quote of the book that stood out the most for me was this, it really fits with how I feel at this moment in time……
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
“It was the first full moon since that night. She waited and watched by moonlight, as she had promised …”
When her life in London falls apart, Elodie Bright returns to Suffolk and to Hartsford Hall, the home of her childhood friend Alexander Aldrich, now the Earl of Hartsford. There, she throws herself into helping Alex bring a new lease of life to the old house and its grounds.
After a freak storm damages the Hall chapel and destroys the tomb of Georgiana Kerridge, one of Alex’s eighteenth-century relatives, Elodie and Alex find a reconnection in the shocking discovery brought to light by the damaged tomb.
Through a series of strange flashbacks and uncanny incidents, they begin to piece together Georgiana’s secret past involving a highwayman, a sister’s betrayal and a forbidden love so strong that it echoes through the ages …
Kirsty Ferry is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Her storytelling is just fantastic. Her writing just sucks you into another world and holds you there until the story ends. I absolutely devoured this book from beginning to end. I fell in love with all of the characters and felt I was right there in there with them.
This is a great book to curl up with on them long dark winter nights with the heating on and candles lit or anytime you wish to sit and curl up with a good book and get lost in another world. This book has a bit of everything running through it, the characters are so well-rounded that your drawn into their world and every so often you step back out and realise how deep you have become absorbed.
Watch for me by Moonlight is a story about a homecoming and not just for one character but a few which intertwine their lives together both past and present bringing with it a trail of mystery, love, intrigue, wrongs put right and perhaps a lesson in chances and when to take them.
*spoiler alert* Oh and those who know me and my love of Colin Firth will know how I reacted with the wet shirt scene! Oh boy! You’re just going to have to read it to find out.
I was going to post this Friday morning but I woke up with a sore throat and a heavy chest. My cold/virus had actually took hold and I felt rubbish. I had started coughing on Tuesday and felt ok, then as I wound down to the weekend it gradually took hold. However Thursday I felt fit enough to go into town and do my first artrun on Lightnight organised by Veggie Runners. What is it I here you say…..
“150 active people will dazzle Leeds on
Light Night 2017 and you can be one of them!A spectacular 5km run around the stunning Light Night art installationsLight Night Art Runs are dazzling, friendly and loads of fun!”
And what with me being a creative sort I thought why not, and even better it’s free! And you got to wear glow sticks and dress up really bright so out came the tutu and this time the leg warmers and added to that loads of glow sticks and face paints. What was even better I could wear a top I had printed. I had been needing a high vis of sorts to be able to run in the evening whether with a run club or on my own and I wanted to get some new tops, and I was so lucky to land on some illuminous vest tops via my old workplace and get them printed with some of my favourite mottos at the moment, and what do you know I have lost a bit of weight so it was even more perfect when I could wear a layer underneath. It was like it was meant to be. So that all sorted I headed to the starting point, as usual way to early but I was so excited.
So I wandered around town for a bit and then as I headed back the scenic route, a couple asked if I was involved in the run and where to go. Explaining I was early and heading to the loo I ended up staying with the lovely young lady on the run and had a good chat about running and how life can get in the way.
The event was very well organised. It was split into several groups, set off at intervals just so there wasn’t a big rush of people at anyone time. I absolutely loved every minute of it. Yes it was cold, but I didn’t notice it until nearer the end when I think everything started catching up with me.
I am so proud to call Leeds my home. The events the city holds have so much to offer people, not just Light night but the German Market, parkruns, music festivals and to think most of them are free!!! Lightnight is an amazing event. It had everything from shadow puppets to giant lampstands on Briggate, to the moon in the Leeds Dock. All this and we could do a run through the city and make some noise! It was just amazing, even if I did aggravate my already sore throat. Roll on Light Night 2018 I would love to do this again!
I recently read a book called –The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo. I was told about it by a friend and I was quite interested to see what it was about. I loved everything about it, once Ifinished it I couldn’t pick up another book and settle. I had to start on the tidying and sorting. Within a few hours I had got rid of two boxes. Amazing.
‘The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard.’
I’ve been trying to clear out for a couple of years now. I’ve got so much stuff in this…