I came to you because I’d become scared of the world around me.

Working from home, I’d started to isolate myself, closing off from friends and family.  I was crippled by OCD and an overwhelming fear of vomiting that had me going to new and increasingly extreme lengths to ‘protect myself.’

Sometimes I would go a week at a time without leaving the house.  I would wash myself compulsively because I never felt clean.  I never felt at ease.  Simple, everyday decisions reduced me to tears, or led to a panic attack, and I had moments so low that I simply couldn’t see how I’d ever be happy again.

My family was going through a difficult time, and I knew things would get much worse before they got better.  For the first time in my life I was faced with a loss I didn’t know how to prepare myself for.  Things are still hard, but they are getting better each day.

Issues from my past were resurfacing, and my relationships with those close to me were suffering.  I remember confessing to you that I was afraid I was ‘unfixable.’  I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I used to be afraid of everything, and I hated how weak that made me feel.

Once spontaneous, adventurous and full of energy, I was now a shell of my former self.  Thanks to you I know now that I’m not weak.  Thanks to you I’m starting to feel positive about my future again.

CBT trains you to approach things differently and become your own counsellor, but you’ve taught me so much more than that.  I’ve learned to value and look after myself, and make my needs known to others.  You’ve given me a voice again.

You’ve made me braver than I ever thought possible, and given me the courage to tackle things I never thought I could.  You’ve given me the insight to understand myself, question my thought processes, and challenge my own negative thoughts.  I still have my problems, but you’ve equipped me with the tools to tackle them better myself.  I’m a million miles away from the person I was eight months ago.

Before, I couldn’t wait to see you because I desperately needed an outlet.

I needed to vent, I needed you to help me organise my muddled thoughts.  I needed to cry freely, without judgement.

Now I can’t wait to see you because I want to tell you about a fear I conquered, or a new personal milestone I’ve achieved.  No matter how tiny, you are always proud of me.

I couldn’t stop smiling during my last session because I started to feel like the pieces of my life are finally coming together.  What we have worked through together has brought me a sense of direction again.  It’s brought me closure, vindication.  It’s shown me how to feel joy again.

I’ve never been suicidal, but there have been times when I’ve wished I could simply stop existing, just for a little while.  Because no matter how much I shut myself away, turned off my phone, or ignored others, there would always come a point where I’d have to face it all again.  I switched wildly between shaking with nervous energy and feeling so drained I couldn’t move.  I didn’t care about sleeping, eating, or looking after myself.  Nothing excited me anymore; I felt numb.  That was the worst part; in the moments I didn’t feel overwhelmed by fear or sadness, I longed to feel something but couldn’t.

But there was a moment when it was like you helped me flick a switch.

Suddenly I felt alive again.  Suddenly I felt fired up.  I had goals, things to look forward to.  I left that session full of hope and on my way home stopped to look out at the sea.  I felt an incredible sense of calm and clarity.

BEACH

I don’t quite know how you do it, but you help me make sense of things.  Sometimes the answer might be so obvious I can’t believe I didn’t see it myself.  You help me realise that my needs and feelings are valid.  You give me the confidence to ask for what I want, and the strength to make things happen for myself.

There’s so much more I want to say, but no words can adequately sum up just how much you mean to me, or the impact you’ve had on my life in such a short space of time.  You’ve helped me in more ways than I can count.

You’ve helped me to be me again.

We’ve laughed together, cried together, and I will never look at a bag of Mini Cheddars in the same way again.  It’s my last session with you soon, and I find it hard to think about my life without you in it.  It’s going to be a difficult goodbye, but I finally feel ready for it.

I hope you feel proud of the work you do, because you’re amazing at it.  It takes a truly special person to show someone the level of kindness, understanding and compassion that you’ve shown me.  I will never stop being thankful for everything you’ve done for me.

I will miss you, but I will never forget what you’ve taught me, or all the incredible things you’ve helped me to achieve.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you.

X

Talking about depression and anxiety might seem overwhelming, but if you’re struggling, please reach out to someone.

Talk to your friends, GP, partner or family.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re feeling alone and like you can’t carry on, The Samaritans are reachable 24/7 and offer free, confidential support.  Contact them on 116 123 (UK), or 116 123 (ROI), or visit their website.

There are many different types of therapy, so it’s worth doing some research to find out what’s right for you.  If you’re interested in CBT, visit the BABCP website to learn more, and find an accredited CBT practitioner in your area.

 

  1. New friends will look at you with a mix of bewilderment and fear when you tell them about your hometown customs. Yet, even when people repeat it back, you still don’t see what sounds crazy about it.For example, Jack in the Green: “So you’re telling me everyone dresses in green, covers themselves in leaves and gets drunk in the Old Town?”  Yes, but you left out the Morris Dancing in the streets.what
    Or: “People march through the streets carrying burning torches, which they use to set fire to a huge effigy on the beach.”  Yes, and that’s how we do Bonfire Night in Sussex, bitches!  FYI, you haven’t done bonfire night until you’ve done it Sussex-style.  An amazing procession, followed by incredible fireworks.  Well worth the trip.
  2. Seagulls run the town. They are the apex predator, the top of the food chain.  You will stop your car to let them cross the road, and yes, you sure as hell will give them your sandwich should they desire it for their lunch.
    seagull

    Actual CCTV footage*

     

  3. People always assume you spent your days swanning around on a fabulous beach, basically in manner of The O.C (or, y’know, a more current reference). Except that you didn’t.  The beaches are pebble, the smell of fish and chips and sound of the nearby amusement arcade fill the air.  But you wouldn’t have it any other way.beach
  4. Except on the odd occasion when you fancy a bit of sand, so head to Camber. Where it is always guaranteed to be windy as hell, ensuring sand in your picnic/eyes/underwear within seconds.eyes
  5. You feel a strange sense of pride when you bring your other half to Hastings for the first time and he spots the cricketer’s ball in Priory Meadow within seconds. This one’s a keeper, for sure.
  6. On that note, no-one will understand why you’re so sad that the famous cricketer statue is now gone. Where will you arrange to meet your friends in town now?!
  7. Talking about P.E lessons, aside from bringing up the usual borrowed kit flashbacks and rope climbing nightmares, leads to yet more bewilderment. Stoolball?!  A strange but wonderful hybrid mix of cricket and baseball, and yet none of your friends outside of Sussex will have ever heard of it.confusion
  8. To this day you can’t work out whether amusement arcades are delightfully quaint, or hideously tacky. Either way you will still spend many a drunken evening in them, dominating the air hockey tables and cleaning up on the 2p machines, for sure.money dance
  9. The enjoyment you derive from correcting everyone you meet about the Battle of Hastings. “Ah, but you know, it didn’t actually take place in Hastings, it happened in” *dramatic pause* “…Battle!”  Cue everyone’s minds being blown.
  10. Yet you still have to suppress an eye-roll when you tell someone you’re from anywhere near Hastings and they start reciting their year 9 History lessons.eye roll
  11. Chortling every time you drive past the sign near Chichester that prohibits all racing by “horse drawn vehicles.”
  12. This frustrating conversation. “I’m from East Sussex.”  “Oh, Essex?” “No, East Sussex”.  “But that’s Essex right?” *Speaking slow and deliberately* “Eeeeast Susssssex.  Different place.”  (That being said, they should totally make ‘The Only Way is East Sussex.’)
  13. The pride you felt when you heard about the men who stole a swan pedalo and attempted to sail to France in it. Not all heroes wear capes people.applause
    Only in Sussex…*Just kidding. Probably.

 

 

If, like me you’re not a morning person (apologies, that sound you just heard was my husband snorting into his drink), the transition into something resembling an actual, like-able human being is likely to be long, painful (for all involved), and dependent on large amounts of caffeine.

I’ve learned over the years however, that there are a few simple ways to make the process of getting up in the morning more bearable, and dare I say it, even enjoyable?  No, I know that sounds ridiculous, but just bear with me here.

pillow

Be organised

Decision-making when you have the motor skills of a zombie is no easy task, so I like to get everything ready the night before.  Lay out your clothes for the following day, wash up your dishes from dinner, pack your bag etc.   Knowing all I have to worry about is literally doing the bare minimum required to keep myself alive, and that I’ll maybe even have time to enjoy myself while doing it, makes all the difference.

sleepy

Start your day with a glass of water

This one doesn’t need much explaining really.  We all know water is amazing for us, and that we should be drinking more of it, but starting your day with a nice big glass really is the best way to kick your system into gear and get things moving.

Make a morning playlist

Without a doubt, my mornings are so much better with music.  Make yourself a playlist of feel-good, up-tempo tunes to jazz up your breakfast, and make shower-time more fun (hairbrush sing-along optional).

My current favourites are:

Hello by Cat Empire
You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon/Hot Club de Paris
Jump by Van Halen
Gone in the Morning by Newton Faulkner
Good Feelin’ by Flo Rida

shower time

Set your alarm at a reasonable time

Let’s be honest here, that 5:30am alarm you’ve set in the hopes that you’ll leap out of bed and check off half of your to-do list before everyone else has had their first cup of coffee is NOT going to wake you up.  It will wake up your partner, who will obviously chuckle and fondly roll their eyes as you continue to drool onto your pillow (um…), but it will have no effect on you until much nearer the time you actually need to be awake.  So do everyone a favour, be honest with yourself, and set your alarm for a reasonable hour.

alarm clock

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Food is about the only thing I love more than being snuggled up in bed, so naturally the thought of a delicious breakfast is often enough to coax me out of my nice warm cocoon (and yes, it did literally just take me three attempts to spell cocoon.  Damn that’s a ridiculous word).

A nice healthy and super easy option is berries with low-fat Greek yoghurt.  Sweetened with a little honey and a sprinkle of metabolism-boosting cinnamon, it’s a delicious way to start the day.  Eggs and soldiers are great if you have a bit more time, and for truly horrendous mornings maybe treat yourself to some pastries and coffee.  Because mornings are hard, and girl, you deserve it.

I’ve recently jumped on the smoothie band-wagon, though I try to use mainly vegetables to limit the sugar content.  Nowhere near as delicious as fruit, and often disgustingly snot-like in colour and consistency, they have the upside of making you feel so virtuous you don’t feel guilty about that mid-morning chocolate bar.  Almost.

Coffee

Or you could just sod all the above, and drink a nice big vat of coffee. Job done.

Coffee

 

 

You may have gathered by now that I’m a huge TV lover, given that it’s what I mostly tweet about.  So I thought I’d do a round-up of everything that’s been floating my boat in the world of television.

Mr Robot

This absolutely had to be the first one on my list, as it’s quite simply phenomenal.  I won’t say too much, but basically the series follows Elliot, a cyber-security engineer by day, and vigilante hacker by night.  Sam Esmail has created a gripping drama filled with complex characters whose motives, for the most part, remain a mystery to the viewer.

Filled with clever nods to iconic movies and enough twists and turns to leave you breathless, this is truly unmissable television.  It’s also worth noting that this show has been widely praised for its accurate portrayal of hacking/programming, but at the same time it’s not so technical that it will alienate any not-so-technologically-inclined viewers.

I could literally talk about this show for hours.  Fantastic writing (in particular Elliot’s inner monologues), striking cinematography, and Mac Quayle’s dark and atmospheric score create a captivating, thrilling world that will suck you in and refuse to let go.

The whole experience is rounded off by an incredible cast who add depth and dimension to the host of intriguing characters Esmail has created.  Special mentions go to Rami Malek (Elliot), who brings so much to his character – vulnerability, intensity, and humour – and Swedish actor, Martin Wallström, who plays ‘villain’ Tyrell Wellick.  To call him a villain would be too black and white, and that’s what also makes this show so intriguing; even by the end of the series we still know so little about each character and their motivations that it’s hard to actually label anyone good or bad.

Wallström is a strange mix of charming and unsettling, threatening and child-like.  Watching his character unravel is fascinating, and it’s oddly difficult not to feel sympathy for him as, unhinged and desperate, he tries to claw his way back to the top.

Season one is on DVD now.  Season two starts 13th July.  If you watch just one show on my list, make it this one.

Elliot

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

It’s impossible not to love this feel-good offering from Tina Fey.  The show follows Kimmy, who is adjusting to life in New York City after being rescued from 15 years spent in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult.  Doesn’t exactly sound cheery, but cheery it is, and ridiculously so.  Ellie Kemper is wonderful as the relentlessly optimistic Kimmy, and Jane Krakowski is as fantastically self-absorbed and altogether ridiculous as she was in 30 Rock.

If you haven’t watched this show already, where have you been?  Watch both seasons now on Netflix.
 kimmy

The Bridge

I’m a little bit obsessed with Nordic Noir, and for me The Bridge is crime drama at its absolute finest.  Well-crafted and perfectly-paced, each ten episode season follows one case, and guarantees a dizzying, emotional climax.

Season one begins with a body found on the Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, and the bridge remains a pivotal part of the show throughout, symbolising the relationship not only between the two countries, but our two lead detectives, Martin and Saga.

It really is their chemistry that makes the show great.  He is the classic maverick cop, likeable yet flawed, while she is blunt, uptight and a stickler for the rules.  While their clashing personalities and resulting disagreements could easily seem contrived, instead it feels natural as we watch them grow together, and better each other.

I’m very much hoping for a fourth season, but in the meantime there’s certainly no shortage of Scandinavian crime shows that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.  Next up will probably be The Killing, or Blue Eyes, which I’ve recently had highly recommended.

A big fan of Kenneth Brannagh’s Wallander (rumoured to be returning for a new season soon, hurrah!), I’m keen to check out the original.

And one to look forward to…

…Gilmore girls!

I couldn’t exactly write this post without mentioning the upcoming Gilmore Girls reunion.  If you’re a die-hard Gilly (a term coined by the awesome Gilmore Guys – seriously, check out their podcast if you haven’t already) like me, you’ll already know what’s being planned.  Four 90 minute episodes set during and named after each season.

No news on a release date yet, though rumour has it we will get our first installment late 2016/early 2017.  I’m literally bursting with excitement, and not at all ashamed to admit I wept with joy when the official announcement was made.  Finally we will get the ending (and those infamous final four words) that Amy Sherman-Palladino had planned for us, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be everything we hoped for and more.

gilmore girls

 

Liebster

I was very excited to be nominated for this by the lovely Hannah Leanne (find her blog here!)
I’m still a blogging newbie, and this sort of thing was a first for me, so thank you very much for including me!

The whole idea is to discover new blogs and spread the word about your favourite bloggers. Plus, you’ll get to learn a bit more about me in the process (you lucky things!)

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Thank the blogger for your nomination and include a link to their page.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that have been provided by the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 of your own bloggers to take part.
  4. Ask them 11 of your own questions.

Here we go!

1. What is your most prized possession?

It’s so hard to choose, so I’ve listed a few:

  • A beautiful framed photo of my grandparents when they were young. They look like the stars of an old black and white movie, and I’ve loved that picture since I was a little girl. Now it sits proudly in my living room.
  • A heart necklace my grandmother made.
  • My engagement and wedding rings.
  • My laptop as it houses all of my photos.

I sort of cheated a bit there didn’t I?

2. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always loved writing, and have blogged in various forms since I was a teenager, originally on Livejournal, followed by a brief but shameful foray into the emo world of Myspace blogs. Seriously, I’m truly embarrassed by the things I used to not only write, but publish for all the world to see. I have all the original blogs saved on an old hard drive, maybe one day I’ll dig back through the archives and do a little nostalgia post! Now though, blogging for me is less about dumping every ‘profound’ thought onto a page and hitting publish, and more about building my brand (pardon the slightly douchey turn of phrase!), and having my own little place on the internet. I want it to be fun, but I also want to talk about the things that are important to me, and hopefully meet interesting people along the way.

3. How long have you been blogging for?

I started Geek Magnifique in May 2015, but see above for a more detailed history of my blogging exploits!

4. What is your favourite film?

How can I even answer this? I’m obsessed with films, and I find it impossible to narrow it down to just one favourite. So you’re getting another list (sorry).

The Parent Trap (remake). Hands down my favourite movie as a kid, it still has a special place in my heart.

The Dark Knight. The day I told my husband this was in my top-five films of all time was probably the day he decided he was going to marry me. Not even joking. Christopher Nolan can basically do no wrong in my book, but this is, IMO, his best film. Visually it’s incredible, the sound design and Hans Zimmer’s score are perfect (something which can be said of all Nolan’s films), and while the acting all-round is amazing, Heath Ledger was nothing short of spectacular as the Joker. I could write an entire essay on this movie, but I won’t. I can practically hear your sigh of relief. 10/10 and all the gold stars for this one.

The Social Network. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. David Fincher. Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp screenplay. Jesse Eisenberg (so good in this movie he gets a second mention). Whether or not the film is entirely factually accurate, it adds real human drama and depth to arguably one of the most incredible success stories of our generation. Captivating, entertaining, and set to a fantastic soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I obviously had to include a Star Trek film, and this one has always been my favourite.

– I had to include a girly film in this list, and it’s a real toss-up between Notting Hill, 13 Going On 30, and Morning Glory (an unfortunately named and sadly underrated Rachel McAdams film – definitely worth a watch!)

Once again I cheated terribly at this question, I apologise.

5. How old are you?

28, aka a reluctant member of the ‘late-twenties’ club. Genuinely had a little cry in Costa on my birthday. So that’s where I’m at with this adulting malarkey.

6. What is your most treasured memory?

My wedding day.

7. Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

Writing a book and visiting Scandinavia.

8. What was your last purchase?

Disclaimer by Renée Knight. I haven’t started reading it yet, but it has an intriguing premise.

9. Do you have any pets?

Sadly no, but I desperately want a kitten.

10. What is your favourite type of blog to read?

Lifestyle.

11. What is your favourite season?

SUMMER!

So now I have to pick my own questions…

  1. Which country would you most like to visit and why?
  2. What has been the biggest challenge for your blog so far?
  3. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  4. If you could keep any animal as a pet, which would you choose?
  5. What is your favourite TV show?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. Would you rather be covered in hair all over, or feathers?
  8. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
  9. What’s your worst writing habit? (eg. overusing exclamation marks -guilty!)
  10. If you could speak another language fluently which would it be and why?
  11. If you could be exceptional at one other thing, what would be it?

I nominate:

Dollface Blogs
Being Heather
Ella Renee
Little Thoughts
The Creative Geek
Almost Chic
Emily’s Recipes and Reviews
Issy Belle Fox
Christopher George
Cate in the Kitchen
Jess and Josh Cook