Posted in Gigs, Han, Mental Health, Ramblings

Helen Bamber Foundation, the Conversation: Creative Survival @HelenBamber @stephenfry

Helen Bamber Foundation, the Conversation: Creative Survival


Opening Speech
I can now say that I have had a rare opportunity to see Emma Thompson in her true form. Shed of her acting skin, she is warm, candid, beautiful and extremely funny.
She spoke with passion, authority and grace, ensuring we all knew why we were there; to listen to the stories of people who had survived, creatively. Something Emma explains is the opposite of the Darwinian concept, but instead the survival of the kindest and most humane.

Emma Thompson in conversation with Lyse Doucet, TJ Birdi and Ceilia
Emma went on to host a wonderful and heart warming conversation about the work of HBF and how it has improved the life of Ceilia; a refugee seeking nothing more than somewhere she felt safe.
It broke my heart that she was explaining her plight to the wrong people; I know that people fleeing war torn countries are not here to ‘steal’ jobs or abuse the benefit system. Those who do need to hear this, would not have attended such an event and would not believe that people’s motives are altruistic. They would not believe her when she explains that she didn’t even know about the benefits on offer for over a decade living in England.
I wish I could have hugged her and make all the pain she suffered go away, tell her that she was loved. It’s something I have in bucket loads and she informed us she had to be taught to love.
The conversation ended with her informing us that she has a child and, through the support of HBF, is able to live a fulfilled and healthy life.

Stephen Fry with Humera
This conversation opened with Stephen narrating the beginnings of Humera’s story. Abused by men she trusted, robbed of her virginity and left to feel like she didn’t belong. Her community and faith meant that her marriage would lead to her death, knowing that her husband would deem her an adulterer.
Her only chance of freedom was to flee her country and attend university in the UK. Again, it was noted about the often mentioned ‘foreigners coming to steal the jobs.’ It angers me that someone who is having to escape an abusive home is then expected to defend themselves against the prejudice and stereotypes small minded people put out into the world.
There were issues along the way; visa denial and sexual harassment in the workplace before finding HBF. They helped her apply for asylum as well as give her one to one support with a counsellor.
When Humera joins Stephen on the stage, she catches us up on the successes within her life; managerial position, love away from abuse and the freedom, confidence and support to proudly declare ‘I am gay.’

The evening drew to a close with three musical pieces and the HBF choir were joined on stage by musician; Nerina Pallot.
Through the music, clients of HBF humbled us with their expressions of culture, identity and belonging. They got the crowd onto their feet for the final number; despite the harrowing stories, it ended on a blissful note.


Of course, this was all for a cause. The HBF relies on generosity and funding to continue to help make changes in people’s lives. Only, I don’t think this foundation just needs money, it needs love and support; things people can give for free.

helen bamber 2

How can you help?

  • Head over to the website
  • Follow @HelenBamber and keep up to date with their events and requests
  • Help a stranger (you never know what it might mean)… Many of the clients who spoke talked about how a simple smile was able to make them feel like they belong.
  • Consider a one off, or monthly, donation
  • In the new year, I will be completing a sponsored reading/ viewing marathon and all proceeds will go to the Helen Bamber Foundation. Details will come in due course, but please promote if you can and get sponsoring when the page is up and running.
Posted in Han, Mental Health, Ramblings

Mental Health- Isolation and the Monster within

Mental Health- Isolation
Trigger warnings- depression, sexual abuse, PTSD


Some of you are aware, I have been avoiding social media for the last few days. Few of you know what caused it. There is a list of 2 people that knew I intended to leave social media for good and leave the world of YA literature; something that all know has caused me some comfort following the escape from Dick.

Luckily, those two beautiful souls were able to make me see sense and open up to other people, who made me rethink my stance. You see, as I pushed them away, they pulled me back. These two wonderful people are very new to my life. They don’t know my fucked up nature or that I don’t respond like a ‘normal’ person.

So, when I perceive that I am being considered by other people as a nasty person, a bitch, enemy or even, as I felt in this case, a monster; I will punish myself. I unravel and lose all composure. I do so in the worst possible way, as it does incredible damage to my mental health; I isolate myself and it hurts.

So, on Wednesday evening upon returning home and having a panic attack I decided I had to hide away. Despite attending an event I was looking forward to and meeting Holly Bourne, a highly regarded author I’ve waited 3 years to meet I was painfully and unbelievably broken. I broke hard and fast and I cried until I fell asleep. I cried until my eyes were puffy and the eyelids were translucent. I hadn’t even cried like this about Dick; probably because deep down I knew him being removed from my life was a blessing and despite there being a connection to him within the YA community, I saw it as a lotus blooming out of the murky pond. How wrong I was.

I don’t know how I got up that morning and couldn’t bring myself to see people in work. I cried even more whenever I had 5 minutes or more alone. It was a busy day and this was the last thing I needed. I felt like my world was falling, crumbling around me; people who didn’t even know me had made a judgement that I was no good. Perhaps a bully, perhaps evil; I guess I will never know but I know I’d been feeling ostracised and it was confirmed on Tuesday. These were people I thought were part of a safe place, free of judgement or prejudice. It sucks that my joining the community coincided with my leaving Dick, but I was forbidden by him. Not that it matters; it was about me, not him. I never brought him up, she did. Talking about him was the last thing I wanted.  I just wanted a home and a welcome. It didn’t even have to be from her. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what parts are true. I don’t know how many of the community she’s told, or even what. Just that from some of the treatment, it wasn’t exactly positive. I’m not even angry, I don’t blame her; I’m just so very sad that without any communication I’m the one who gave up the community. I’ve made a sacrifice for her, yet I’ll still be seen as the bitch to them all. It’s how I feel, and that’s all that matters to me right now.

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I went to my counselling session on Thursday having cried all day, cut myself off from Facebook, Twitter and even my phone. I couldn’t tell him why this had happened; all I could say was that I’d been ignored by an individual since YALC and now others felt I was the one causing pain and suffering. He knew it all; my first ever session was all about Dick; how he had led me down this path, how he’d given me permission to contact his ex (he didn’t care and thought it would help me.) then screamed in my face that I was a ‘fucking freak’ when he found out I had.
All I could tell my counsellor was that it hurt that it had gone so badly, that I’d regretted approaching her before hand, but knew it would have been worse if I hadn’t we’d made friends and she eventually found out. I also informed him, in a pitch that only dogs could hear, that the community’s actions reinforced an idea that I deserved this treatment; that they’d seen the monster within me I’ve tried so hard to hide. That I’m of no value.

I do it all the time.

I run away, or people tell me I’m a bitch and I go into my punishment of solitude. Usually this is a result of one thing; I get tired of being walked all over. I find it hard to express my frustration and I walk away, or I speak my mind and I become the bitch.

I actually asked him if it was possible that I was a victim of some Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde. That perhaps that I black out and act like a heinous bitch without me knowing. That maybe I had done something wrong. That I do all my selfless acts and never waver because I am that horrible person deep inside.

You’re probably thinking, what the hell? Why, if it’s clear I’m not in the wrong, or even if there is NO ONE to blame (other than Dick, because God knows what he’s said to her) like with this week’s conflict that resulted in my diminished mental health, do I punish myself?

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The reason is this; even when I’m right, I’m wrong. It’s something that have followed me through life from one extremely traumatic event from my childhood.

I was sexually assaulted when I was 8 years old. It would have been so simple had it been an adult that had inflicted the act. My life would have been different had the attacker been male and of any age. But my assault was not that simple. It was not that clean; and therefore, not seen as an assault.

Instead, it was a girl who was only a year older than myself. I was seen as complicit; a consentual act but not something innocent or playful. Except it wasn’t consentual, it wasn’t something innocent and it wasn’t the first time. It was just the time that someone saw and told.

I was never asked to explain what happened and once I was punished it was never spoken of again. I was placed in my room and not allowed to speak to anyone; summer holidays were spent away from people my own age. All because of fear and an act of homophobia. I hadn’t known or understood what happened to me and it was only about 2 years ago I registered the incident as sexual assault.

If you went to school with me, you’ll have thought I was always stand offish and a little dreamy. However, between this incident and being told any boy you brought home was dead meat; it was easier to just keep to myself. I didn’t want to be punished again and I didn’t want any boys to be killed.

So, whenever I’m treated badly, or as if I’m the bad guy (no matter how big or small); I assume it’s because I deserve it. It hurts and the part of me that’s screaming ‘fuck this shit, you’ve done nothing wrong, you’re a fucking peach. Get a grip and throw them the finger.’ Is so unbelievably confused that it draws me into my depression. I hate that people do often believe so easily that I can be so horrible. I say sorry if someone barges into ME for Christs sake! It’s exhausting, it’s lonely and it’s heart-breaking. My answer is often to be nicer, kinder and more generous yet it doesn’t work.

Especially when I opened up to Dick and told him all this. I told him everything; yet he’s not only abandoned me, turned one person against me, but his actions and lies have probably turned a whole community against me.

The biggest part I gained out of my counselling session was that I was perhaps right going forward to avoid any connection to Dick, but I should not delete my blog or shut myself off from the people who have been reaching out. That if any further attempt is made to smear my name, I have every right to stand up for myself. We both agreed that wouldn’t happen until I’m stronger though and start to gain some self-worth.

On top of that, the remainder of my sessions will be considering why I don’t see any value in myself. Why I considered answering the twitter plea of a spare ticket to the event and give the Holly Bourne ticket to a random person I’d never met with no benefit to myself other than I knew it would make her happy (and that I was already feeling uncomfortable going because o); why I would keep a relative stranger (she’s now one of my closest friends) company while she waited in A and E one Friday evening after meeting her for only an hour and why I would not put myself forward for a job promotion so that the man I had a crush on would be guaranteed it then complete all the work for him, getting nothing for it.
Yet, when it comes down to it, I feel like the best gift I could give everyone would be not to exist at all. Yet, the selfless part of me stops me from doing anything that would take my life. Mainly because I’d only do it is God would give my remaining days to someone much loved and missed from heaven.

I don’t know how this article will be met. Please respect the fact that I don’t want my treatment on Wednesday explored or the people involved identified. I have come to a point where I certainly don’t want anything to do with Dick’s ex. I have no energy to ‘clear the air’ or listen to why she so clearly hates me. I have no respect for anyone who would not wait to get to know me before making any judgement and constructively making me feel excluded.

Most importantly, I don’t want the same thing to be done to them. I don’t know them well enough to identify most people in the community as nice or nasty; I’m not Santa and I don’t have a list. I will never name them and those who do know, respect me enough not to discuss it.

You will find my presence much more infrequent over the next month. This is quite a revealing post and has come at a great cost to myself. I’m now in need of an evening to myself, good book in hand and a cuppa on my bedside table. I have allowed Dick to take the joy of films away from me, I will not let him take reading away from me by proxy.


Posted in Han, Mental Health, Ramblings

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part TWO: Advice for identifying and dealing with a sociopath

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part TWO: Advice for identifying and dealing with a sociopath


I’m sorry this has taken so long to write. The previous post took a hell of a lot out of me emotionally; it led to a week of panic attacks and a rather violent nightmare. Once again, there will be some candid insights that you may not be comfortable reading.

First few dates/ getting to know them

Don’t be so open about yourself; don’t let your date know everything. It’s a hard thing to do, I’m sure… You’re learning things about each other and if you’re anything like me; you’ll want to be truthful.

Don’t text every day. This may be a routine s/he sets up and it’s set up for the final stages when they’re moving on to a new victim (horrible word, but as this whole relationship will be built up to make it look like YOU’RE to blame, OWN that word)

Don’t open up a conversation about previous relationships, especially if you were badly treated (*waves* this isn’t my first sociopath); they’ll use it against you.

When it progresses

Have an open and frank conversation about what the relationship if you feel it’s progressing (Dick’s profile said ‘l’m looking for casual relationships’- yes, the plural should have given it away. However, meeting him, he was giving off a vibe of anti-casual. In hindsight, he engineered it that way. All other women were ‘friends’ from work he was having dinner with, when he spent weekends with them; he was going to spend time with his dad. These were not lies either… omissions, I should not feel like it’s cheating. By comparison, I was communicating with Bob a little time before I met Dick. Bob was very clear and open about it being casual. Most people looking for casual will set that early on)

If you’re sexually active, ensure you BOTH get what you need. Hint: alarm bells if the first time he is due to stay over you’re on your period and he still intends to come. It’s a set up to ensure you become the ‘selfless lover’ in his stack of girls. It’ll seem sweet and that he just wants to look after you, but believe me he’s only after his own end here.

Don’t compromise your wants for his; especially if there is no return. I agreed to no children, no marriage and him sleeping with many women. He gave nothing but challenges in return.

If you suspect

Talk to people, your friends; you are compromised and your voice will be going ‘but he’s so lovely; you’re just being paranoid’. And, I cannot STRESS this enough LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t be like me and tell him because you know what comes next?! This man (or woman), will sow seeds of doubt and convince you that the reason you’re not working is because people know about ‘us’. You’ll shut down and lie to your friends. Go on, tell yourself you wouldn’t do that! Before Dick, I’d have said the same.

If you start getting ‘that’s not what I said’, ‘I didn’t mean it that way’ or the Dick classic ‘I was drunk, you can’t hold it against me’ it’s time to get out. This is gaslighting (look it up) and it will destroy you to your core; he’ll use these phrases with such confidence that you will start to doubt yourself.

When you know

Get out! Get out! Get out! When you get that momentary strength to block his number; do it. You’ll have that break up feeling and want to make things right. Don’t… just run with that feeling and let him go.

The fallout

Music is your friend- Taylor Swift (Yes, Tay Tay) has become my girl. Whatever your music, keep it on, keep it loud… it’ll blast your memories. It’s important, so important that you distract yourself.

Personal one for me- don’t reach out to the ex of the ex. It’ll stop you from moving on and chances are he’s lied to her. (Yep, I reached out. It was stupid; but I wanted a survivor who understood. She didn’t. I’ve got to admit though, I’ve been feeling so much better since I blocked her on twitter, having discovered her co-blogger who I’d not even spoken to had blocked me and I was gaining the passive aggressive silent treatment. To be fair, I’d started to feel guilty for feeling this pain; she was with him longer. I felt bad for dating him so soon after they split, but I didn’t know until a good few months in)

Even if he blocks you, block him back. He’ll come crawling back when you least suspect it and you’ll be right back where you started.

If you’re feeling vulnerable; avoid alcohol at all costs. It will make you weak and you could do things you regret.

Pinterest- this is a double-edged sword; it’s a vast wealth of information that will help you understand that what happened to you, however, your ‘suggested’ pins do soon become filled with ‘how to recognise a sociopath’ if you’re not careful.

Do not allow anything you love to be taken away from you. Don’t avoid places or watching things because you associate them with him; I guarantee he doesn’t think twice about taking him to somewhere you considered special to the both of you (NY Fold and Prince Charles Cinema. Hell, Dick took me to Jamie’s Italian to inform me that he could never see me again because he’d ‘fallen in love’ with his crush from ten years’ previous and it reminded him how little he liked me now. He dumped me in my favourite restaurant. He also showed Leon, my favourite film, to one of his conquests after a conversation we had about it being one of my favourite films.

Don’t expect it to be a normal breakup; you may even suffer PTSD. You are grieving the loss of a relationship, the ‘death’ of a person that never existed and most importantly, the pain of knowing you were duped.

Personal one for me- Have a crush on someone. They’re sweet, they’re safe and they ease the pain, even if it’s just a little. It’s not perfect, but having those little butterflies for a beautiful man out of my league have given me a little bit of a boost. Knowing I have no chance helps keep me grounded and prevent me from making an ass of myself.

Remember- You are amazing, wonderful and better than the treatment you accepted. He will never know the love you gave him, he’ll never feel it. However, you will find someone who will love you, cherish you and, most importantly, the perfect person will be your equal.

Posted in Han, Mental Health, Ramblings

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE #mentalhealth

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE
Trigger warning- emotional abuse, depression, anxiety
*names have been changed for obvious reasons.

I met Dick through a dating site. It wasn’t until after our first date I found out the name I knew him by was false. About a month in, he told me he was in love with me. A little too quick for my liking, but as he was the first bloke to ever use those words, I went with it.  By January, he’d informed me that he no longer loved me. That he’d ‘trained’ himself not to love me anymore. Strangely, that didn’t make me walk away; it made me try harder. It was my fault after all, right?

The man who showered me with affection, who insisted on going out on our 2nd month ‘anniversary’ and proudly wore a matching t shirt for our Christmas was a fake. At the time I didn’t know what a sociopath was, or how they worked through a relationship. I was the proverbial frog in the pan, rising my temperature until I was compromised. It led to my darkest rabbit hole journey.

Before you read any further, please understand that this will not be an easy read. I do not mean to offend, upset or anger anyone. This is not attention seeking or story writing. Everything you read here is the truth, as I saw it. I wasn’t perfect and my actions towards the end of the relationship were desperate and certainly not something I am proud of.
This candid look at a sociopathic/narcissistic relationship is perhaps a little selfish. While part of me is putting it out there so that other people will recognise traits in this man and save themselves from the pain I endured, there is a bigger part of me having to put this out there so that it never happens to me again.


Why am I doing this? Firstly, I had a heart to heart with my best friend and admitted to her (and social media), that I’m still very much broken over Dick. I don’t want him in my life, I want my memory wiped of him. Secondly, while searching for a photo for a blog post I found this:



I look like shit. But what struck me most about this photo was how miserable I looked. My eyes are dead, when they normally have that little bit of a sparkle. Even I can tell that my smile is fake. It’s a portrait of pain and abuse. Scars I’m worried that will never heal.

To give you an idea of what was going on in my head within 12 hours of this photo being taken I have found notes I’d made on my way to Copenhagen with a friend. Someone who didn’t know I was still with Dick. The secret was taking its toll, because I trust these people who I kept it from. I knew what they’d said in the past was the truth; there was something fundamentally wrong with the man.

He’d gone away on a business trip and he’d pulled out a trick from the Sociopath’s bible: ghosting. At this point we’d known each other 5 months, and I’d had a text from him EVERY SINGLE DAY. Good morning, good evening, even a ‘meep’ when I hadn’t text in a while. However, this week was strained and cold. Rather than annoy him with my thoughts about what was going on, I wrote this out;

Han’s Heart – I miss Dick, I want to text him… just because. (Well… no. Like a muppet, I want him to text me)

Han’s logic brain- but he’s not text you first in weeks. You need to back off so he can miss you. You can do it. Just don’t text him till he texts you.

Han’s Gollum brain- but… but… but… what if he doesn’t text back, ever because he thinks you not texting is actually a good thing and feels relieved that he’s not hearing from you. He just doesn’t know how to tell you that you’re horrible and repulsive.

Han’s logic brain- you know he doesn’t love you any more so he doesn’t think about you as much; it’s normal for him. Stop poisoning me Gollum.

Han’s Heart- but I want to be normal. Normal for me is texting him when I want to and not caring if he texts back.

Gollum brain- but he wishes your texts were from someone else. ANYONE else but you.  No one likes you. You can’t keep the weight off. You’re shit in bed and he never wants to touch you. He doesn’t care if you get off.

Logic brain- it doesn’t matter. He’s a good person. He likes you.

Gollum- he lies

Logic- for good reason

Gollum- I bet he uses the condoms you buy on other girls. He won’t even think about it. You gave him a great out as well when you brought the new ones. 

Heart- why hasn’t he text?! He must be waiting for his plane now. What did you do wrong Hunter?!

Gollum- you’re being punished because you’re evil and horrible. I bet he doesn’t even smile when he sees your name any more. He groans and puts his phone away. He wishes he could have the orgasms you give him without seeing you. I bet he’d rather Nel was the one he fell for. That’s if he ever loved you.


He text just before I got on the plane. It didn’t make me feel any better. Not too long after that, I found this in the Notes section of my phone. I don’t think this is one I’d sent to him.

So…. I think I know what it is that’s putting me on edge. I don’t want to lose you. The man you were right at the beginning (bringing sushi randomly to mine was WAAAAAAAY better than any rose), the things you said (why am I so lucky to have you?)… I couldn’t want for anything more and the best thing; I don’t think any of that was an act. I literally thought I’d found my dream man and in all honesty?! I still think I have.

At the start, you were doing things that came naturally to you. Now you second guess everything and while I know you’re doing it to ‘protect’ me and keeping me at arm’s length, it’s coming across as apathy and almost like I’m a chore that is making you miserable.

If you want to spend time with me, just do it. Stop thinking about this stupid ‘once/twice a week rule). You want to stop worrying about me being hurt; start inviting me to things yourself. Not leaving it me to ask and get the response that you’re with someone else. (Yes, I know you’ve said it’s always her that asks and you just say yes… but I’m not part of it. I don’t know. I am always worrying about whether I’m asking too soon, too late or worse, if I don’t ask I won’t see you at all. It’s exhausting.) you have ideas, you just need to go ‘Hey Han, can I see you Wednesday this week. Meet me in Ealing and we’ll go for food.’ You can’t tell me that’s not something you can do; because it’s EXACTLY what you ARE doing by being on the dating apps. You’re actively seeking company.

Honestly. I think you want me more than you’re letting on and what is stopping you is the fear of being alone. The fear that we won’t work and that you might lose me. I think you’re scared of your feelings.


It’s making me feel so ill reading these. Even at his cruelest, I was making excuses for him and trying to massage his ego. The sad thing, I think I believed all of this.

Any normal person would feel some sort of remorse for knowing the pain they were causing someone. Nope. It made him angry. It bored him and made him want to be with one of the other girls. How do I know? He told me! Said I was the better girl, the best girl… but I just didn’t behave right.

Why wasn’t I behaving? Because I didn’t know all the rules. Not one for failing, I tried to learn the rules. Please believe me, I tried. So hard. However, the rules would change and I’d be punished. To be clear, I did tell Dick at the beginning that I take things literally.

I’d not been in a relationship for a long time, so I thought telling Dick things like this would make things easier. What I hadn’t realised though, was I was giving him a blue print to my undoing; I handed him his gaslighting road map on a plate.

Posted in Mental Health, Ramblings

Mental Health: Know Thy Self

I found these 25 questions for personal growth. I figured it was a good way to spend some time reflecting upon myself. I think I intended to answer them with a comedian’s mind-set. However, I don’t think I’ve been all that successful.


  1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would involve starting the day by sitting and reading in a comfy chair with a good cuppa. The rest of the day would involve a mixture of walking alongside a canal (ideally not one strewn with rubbish), stroking any passing dogs, cats or even cows before having an afternoon in a nearby pub where I could work on my writing.

(side note- I spent a week last summer in the Outer Hebrides and I became adamant I was going to stroke a cow. Alas, they gave me the eyes and got away as fast as they could. Some even turned their rears and emptied their bowels in protest. I wondered why I was ensuring cows joined the ranks of cats in the fight to give me a complex about my self-worth. I recently realised why I’d come to my conclusion that they were more like large dogs; Jurassic Park. “Just think of it as a big cow,” Encourages Grant. “I like cows.” Lex goes in to stroke the dinosaur. Damn!

I’d end the day with a good film, good company and an excellent bottle of wine. Or two.

  1. What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an author, a chef or a dinosaur tamer (that was back when I thought the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park were really and needed taming. I’m sensing a theme here). When I was 8 though, I knew I was destined to be a teacher. I didn’t know what subject, or even which level. I just knew I would spend some time the other side of the classroom desks.

I had hoped that teaching would enable me to write during the holidays. As half of my holidays are now expired, I can quite clearly say that it’s not quite working out as I hoped.

  1. Who are you most inspired by? Explain.

29thu2web-master768Carrie Fisher.

She’s a new inspiration to me, but because of her battle with depression I have found her openness and honesty refreshing and needed in the current social climate. If everyone had the attitude that she had about accepting that people need help for his or her chemical imbalance, those affected wouldn’t feel so ashamed and, as a result, have one less battle to face.

Carrie faced her demons, she did it with charm, with clout and with a little bit of bite. She didn’t make any apologises for her mental health or behaviour as a result.

Considering she was acting royalty, she’s carved out her own mark in the industry. Carrie raised her daughter as a single parent and she whipped the arses of trolls when Force Awakens came out. She was beautiful, inside and out. I only wish I’d gotten the chance to have said that to her face.

  1. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?



I would love to meet Richard Schiff, again. Properly. I’d love to sit in a quiet coffee shop and set the world to rights with him. I’d ask, if he was open to it, about his faith and its impact upon the roles he’s picked and his participation within politics.


  1. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

Break- my love and addiction for cheese and bread. They both keeps me from losing weight and don’t make me very happy. Start- I’d love to enjoy going to the gym, or running. I was at the gym about a month ago and I realised, I want a partner who’ll be my gym buddy.  

  1. Think about a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

They are funny, honest and well balanced in their happiness. They can be sad, and they are not ashamed to cry. As someone who finds it difficult to hide my emotions, it’s good to see someone embrace them.

  1. How do you like to relax?

I read or watch a tv show. Fresh pyjamas, fresh bedding and a good cuppa after a shower. It’s why autumn is my favourite season; it’s the perfect time for nesting.

  1. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

When I came home to Liverpool last week. I left my socks off, revealing my tattoos to my father. I was petrified of his response thinking he would get in a mood, shout, then give me the silent treatment.

  1. What are you most proud of?

Getting around 30 year 10 students through their RE GCSE in one year, after school and with no support. While a lot of it was the student’s motivation and ability to work independently I was also able to prove something to myself and many others; I’m amazing at my job and I know what I’m doing… Right before the government decided to change the blasted rules and playing field.

  1. What are you most afraid of?

Finding out I’m evil. Sometimes, when people turn on me I wonder if I blackout and do or say things to them that cause it. It’s probably just that I’m a nice person with a shelf life and they’ve bled me for all they can.
I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. Not in the romantic sense; I think people mistake that with me. I mean in the physical sense. I hate spending time with myself, so I assume others think the same.

  1. If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Flirting more and telling men when I fancy them. I learnt from getting my courage up with one person that if they mean anything to you, things won’t be awkward. It’s a good way of weeding out the genuine people, I guess. Plus, what if I go ‘Hey, you’re cute, I like you… let’s get a coffee?” and they say yes? It uncomplicates things.

  1. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

I don’t think there is anyone. I’ve either made connections, they have, or I’m feeling much better without them in my life. I think because I give people so many chances before I break the communication, I don’t think there is anything to be gained.

  1. What qualities do you admire in others?

Honesty, transparency, creativity and humbleness. I admire intelligence too, so long as it’s not used to put others down.

  1. What practical skills do you wish you had?

The ability to make origami and to drive. Both of which an intelligent person should be able to master. Alas not me; I can understand, just not execute.

  1. Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?

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I’d like to be able to bore my grandchildren with all the celebrities I’ve met. Some will mean nothing to them, others they’ll have a vague recollection. But Alexander Sidding? Oh, they will love that story and know exactly who he is, mainly because they’ll have watched lots of Star Trek with me.

  1. What is your favourite book/movie/song?

Book- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Movie- Jurassic Park. It’s by no means, not the best made film but it’s my favourite film, now and forever.

Song- The Man Who Sold the World- David Bowie

That’s not to say there are more! This was probably the hardest question of the lot.

  1. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?

I can’t answer this question. It’s too hard and from watching/ reading 22.11.63 it makes me wonder what the impact would be.

  1. What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object- something from you personally)?

I love cooking, good homely and filling food. A little selfish, but it’s something I don’t enjoy doing just for myself (something I need to work on).

  1. What excites you?

New films, books and being creative. People often talk about me ‘lighting up’ when I’m talking about films they need to see.

  1. What do you wish you had more of?

Gut instinct. Or at least the ability to reflect on it and follow it. Self-control when it comes to food.

  1. Pretend money is no object? What would you do?

I would have a Central London apartment with a library and gym. I’d have a chauffeur to take me to work (yes, I’d still work, but probably part time). I would input money into the World Book Night fund so they can return to the old way of giving out the books. I would also start up a podcast and buy a slot at the Prince Charles Cinema in order to film it live after a screening of the film or TV show I’d be talking about.

  1. What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?

Best- reading for pleasure. Having time to decompress after a difficult school year and traumatic time in my personal life.

Worst- anxiety. It stops me from enjoying certain things, going to certain events and sometimes traps me inside my own head.

  1. Let’s jump forward a year, what would you like to have achieved in the past year?

I would like to have gone on a date. A date! That’s it, not looking for a relationship here. Nothing too… filled with expectations. Ideally without using a dating app. I don’t want to stay in this state of picking the same sort of men.
I want a successful year in my job, where my anxiety and depression are managed and don’t make me struggle.


  1. What piece of advice would you give to five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Right now?

5- You are not a monster. Something is going to happen in a few years, it’s going to change the rest of your life because you will always blame yourself. Just remember, you are not the monster. Try not to take things so literally.

Keep talking to people. You’re a bubbly person and people like you; don’t hide away because of this.

16- Please get help; open up to someone, anyone. These feelings are normal, but they don’t have to be there. Learn to be okay alone; it’s not a punishment. It’s freedom; start seeing it like that and it’s half the battle.

Now- That’ll do pig!1341691745346_5804709

  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?

Kind, fun and eccentrically beautiful; at least on the inside.

Posted in Mental Health

Mental Health- Weight and Depression

Firstly, I want to say thank you to those of you who took the time to read the previous mental health post; I am moved by those of you who reached out and spoke to me about it. The main aim of this is, first and foremost, about helping others and I certainly seem to be doing that.


Mental Health- Weight and Depression

I’m what society would deem fat. The doctors tell me I’m morbidly obese. I have been for as long as I can remember. Few of you may remember the skeleton girl of nursery and primary school. I’ll let you into a secret; that girl didn’t eat. Literally. Mum would buy me sweets and I would play with them.

What changed? Our doctors. After years of being a very sickly child we were told on our first visit I had something wrong with my ears and I needed an operation. Everything changed. I wasn’t so sick any more. I ate more, and more, and more. I blew up like a balloon. There are very few pictures of me at that time.

By high school I’d resided myself to being fat. I didn’t enjoy it. I could see my mother’s disappointment. I earned the name ‘double boobs’ by the boys. Those of you who’ve seen Total Recall are now thinking “they meant it as a compliment, right?” No, no they did not. You see, they were commenting on the roll of fat that was so massive, it came out to the same extent of my ample size breasts.

Continue reading “Mental Health- Weight and Depression”

Posted in Mental Health, Ramblings

Mental Health- The Rabbit Hole and the App that saved me #mentalhealthmatterso


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I suffer from depression. I’m medicated for it and I’m happy to say that. Now! I never used to be. When I first started dating my ex, I had been on my medication for about 6 months. I’d been following my 3 positives a day for about 2 of those months and I felt fabulous.
The weekend I met him, I was meant to have 4 dates. It was the first time in my life I’d had dates with multiple people without about 6 months between them. However, in hindsight, I misread the signs (I didn’t, but owing to him being a massive sociopath, he convinced me I did) and thought we were heading for a relationship. (And we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend for about 12 hours until he told me he couldn’t bring himself to stop sleeping with the other women in his life; ones up until this point I had no knowledge of)

I digress. One of the things I stupidly did was I discontinued my medication. He was staying over most nights (hence it being a total shock when he informed me of two other lovers) and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I was on anti-depressants. My anxiety kicked in and told me if he knew, he’d run a mile. It was okay at the start; we were in the honeymoon stage and I was blissfully happy.

By Christmas though, I was having massive side effects to not taking my medication. (Side rant- why don’t GPs set up alerts for when patients don’t return for anti-depressants. I’m not saying I need them to be concerned, or remember themselves, these are volatile drugs that can lead to serious consequences if not taken properly.)  Upon having a fake Christmas weekend as we couldn’t spend the holidays together (We were in an Open Relationship at this point. One that was never actually followed properly) I was told ‘You’re making me feel weird about sleeping with other people, so I can’t see you as much anymore.’ I had a meltdown. I returned to the doctors and I got some medication.

The anti-depressants didn’t quite work as well as they should have. On top of this the GP encouraged me to go back onto the contraceptive pill. FUCKER! Despite asking about its impact upon my mental health, I was told it would be fine. Word of warning to anyone out there; avoid microgynon at all costs, never mind if you’re being treated for depression. It is notorious for increasing depression in women. I felt like I was going insane.

Yes, I was still seeing my ex. No one knew except my house mate. Why didn’t I tell anyone? Because I knew he was bad for me. He was like a drug though. When I was with him, things were okay. So long as he didn’t bring up the others. At this point, he’d also started gaslighting me; “That’s not what I said.”, “I was drunk, I didn’t mean it. You can’t hold it against me.”, “We didn’t set that in stone. I can’t cancel on B.” so that didn’t help with my mental health.

I guess at a certain point, I wanted out but I didn’t know how. Cutting someone like that off is always the best move. However, every time I’d distance myself he’d become more affectionate and loving. I felt like a failure, unlovable (literally, he told me he no longer loved me after being the first one to say it) and trapped. It led to hospitalisation. That prompted a month-long silence from him. “I’ve dealt with girls like you before. You all do it to me.” He told me.

He got back in touch, told me he missed me that I was beautiful. I fell for it.

Within a month, there was a new girl on the scene. Someone from his past. I was told not to worry, she was just a friend. A fight ensued when he sent me away for the first time ever after telling me about her when we were at the cinema. He couldn’t be bothered with me told me sometimes and he wouldn’t want to see me. I just had to accept that. Being one of my strong moments I questioned the arrangement “So we only meet if YOU want me?” Apparently, that wasn’t fair and it wasn’t my fault that I always wanted him. I felt so cheap. Dirty. I knew it was because he’d seen her that day, and arrived to me late. It was actually my mum’s birthday (death, issues… another post) and he actually got angry with me for being upset about this. I hadn’t told him for this very reason.

A week later, he’d slept with her, loved her and was probably going to be his girlfriend so he couldn’t talk to me anymore. The crushing blow, I don’t know what made me ask but his response to ‘am I not beautiful anymore?’ was “you have always been ordinary looking.”

Now, any normal, well-adjusted person would have ditched him back in October when all her friends were screaming there was something off about the situation. They certainly would have walked away when the efforts of creating an awesome Christmas knowing he’d be alone on Christmas Day was essentially ‘fuck off while I bang other women without feeling guilt’.

Back down the rabbit hole I went. I thought I was certifiable. Doctors claim not. Just a bit of sleep is needed; medication change and sleeping pills rammed down my throat. This wasn’t what helped me move on. Hell, even now if I’m drunk I miss him. Not him really. The idea of the romantic man from the start who said ALL the things I’d never heard or believed would be said to me.


What helped me was an online community. An app called LYF.

I’ve been reluctant to share this, because I like the anonymity of the site. I had hidden my identity completely, as the app gives this option. However, the stronger I’ve gotten the less I’ve wanted to hide. This is MY journey, MY pain and I must embrace it. I went through most of it alone. So me publishing it here opens me up to you all finding me and reading my story. I must be okay with that. (The biggest fear is not being believed)

Now, what is amazing about this app is what the anonymity brings with it. You can be truthful and candid. There are things posted there that I would never tell my friends and I’d certainly not post here.
It also helped me reach out in times of weakness. For example, I was petrified that last weekend, at my brother’s wedding he would get in touch. Mainly because it was the ONE TIME I didn’t want him to. The last time I felt okay about not hearing from him a box of my things arrived at my door with a formal typed out note. Set me back, I can tell you.

I also told the community who were following my journey when I’d have a slip and try and reach out. (Hello! I’m fucked up. Drunk me makes stupid, crafty choice… such as signing up to a postcard app and sending him a qwerty tee. I was very pissed with myself the morning after I did that because I WANTED THAT tee!) They remind me that’s part of the process and to be kinder to myself. I try.

There’s a discover section if you’re not quite ready to delve into your own journey. You’ll very quickly see that you’re not alone. Sometimes that’s all people need. When you’re ready, it’s painless to follow and I’ve yet to have any trolls. (When I posted an eye infection, someone did unhelpfully tell me they thought it was a tumour but I put that down to individual eccentricities rather than a deliberate attempt to upset or cause me stress)

It does seem to be a new app, and therefore there are some teething problems. For example, I’ve not been able to access the app for the last few days while at home with my father. It does need wi-fi to access the content. I’m not sure if this is to do with data protection.
Also, I’m often finding that because of its layout people give me advice based upon the one post. They don’t go back to read the whole story; mainly because it is hard to reach those early posts. There’s not page jumps but a reach the bottom of the page and more uploads.
For me, now being of sound mind and strong resilience (I only get a pang when I see something Rick and Morty related) when someone responds with ‘reach out to him, tell him this.’ My voice is able to go ‘fuck that. It’s a bad idea AND you don’t WANT that.’

Thanks to this app, I’ve now blocked him from everything I can. It doesn’t matter that he blocked me first, he’d have gotten back in touch eventually once the novelty of this new girl had worn off. I have deleted that pesky postcard app (drunk Hannah is a menace) and I’m making a conscious effort to drink less. Aside from last weekend, at my brother’s wedding. Only, that was the first time I didn’t attempt to contact him.
I also left at a decent hour, knowing I had enough to drink, and watched a film at his house with one of his friends. I had a bad hangover the next day but it still didn’t stop me being happy that I’m now free to have what my brother has; love, family, respect, partnership and trust. All things I threw out the window, along with a part of myself I’m building back up; my self esteem.

Until then, I will still be seeking the support of the community of LYF and I hope, should you need it, they’ll be there for you.

Be strong, be happy. You are loved!