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Why did I start my Blog? Part 2

Continued from my previous post-Why did I start my Blog-Part 1

Following on quickly from the cathartic exercise of writing to JSP, a strange thing happened. At 4am on Wednesday 26 May, I woke up with the sole intention that day to tell some of my closest friends and colleagues that I have depression and to commit to helping eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness. I have no idea why I woke up on that particular morning with that particular goal in mind but I was obsessed. At this point, only 2 or 3 people were aware of my struggles.

I wrote my email and by 5am, it was ready to send to approximately 30 people at work. My finger hovered over the “send” button but for a millisecond before I launched my confession into cyberspace. At the time I felt a mixture of dread, relief, anticipation but most importantly I felt clean. I could be who I am. No more acting or pretence which is exhausting and whatever the outcome, I sensed that I had done the right thing at the right time.

It didn’t take long for the responses to come flooding back and the comments I received were overwhelmingly positive. I don’t use that word lightly. It was simply overwhelming.

“Well done, I think your strength and generosity is incredible”

“What an incredibly positive thing you are doing”

“I have always thought highly of you but this surpasses that by a mile”

“very inspiring”

“I am so proud and impressed. You are indeed an inspiration”

What followed on from this email has been nothing short of amazing and I am not going to go through the detail here but will list some events briefly so that you get an idea of how big this topic has become in my life since last May.

  • June 2010- I was interviewed by Clive Cookson the Chief Science Editor of the Financial Times for his article “No Room For Gloom” which was published on 14 June.
  • July 2010- I was invited to sit on the KPMG Disability Steering Group and Mental Health Champion.
  • October 2010- I attended the launch of the Depression, Disability and Employment report compiled by the Depression Alliance and RADAR, sponsored by Priory Clinics at the House of Commons.
  • November 2010- I started to help organise a corporate seminar about depression in the City taking place in March. This is a high profile event with well-known speakers.
  • November/December 2010-  I joined the Aspire Heroines Quest.

My Campaign is:

To eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness in general and depression in particular.


Everyone deserves a chance.

Why should you care?

Because depression is non-discriminatory. Tomorrow it could be you or someone you care about.

Call to action:

I would like everyone to start talking openly and honestly about mental health issues and experiences of depression. Only in this way will we effect change.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”-Mahatma Gandhi

  • December 2010- I registered as a Time To Change Champion and a Rethink Activist.

As you can see, events have rather taken over and as I have tried to combine all this with a full-time job which involves travelling the length and breadth of the UK  I am paying the price now. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.

I was so worn down at the beginning of November that I was advised to take some time off work to recuperate.  I didn’t want to speak to anyone, go out anywhere or do anything. I wanted to be left alone, in peace and quiet with just my thoughts. That didn’t work completely as I still had lots that I needed to say. Unable to converse without bursting into tears I began to write more and more. I filled notebooks and journals with poems, stories and experiences. All my pent up emotions from the last 30 years were being poured out onto paper.

Then I decided to create a Blog for me. Like many people, I didn’t expect anyone to read my posts. Why would they? And so it began. I’m not terribly clever with IT, but I have managed to create a Blogging environment which I am happy with. I chose the name Poppyposts as the flowers in my garden last year were so beautiful, and the photos I had of the poppies were my favourite. The bright orange showy blooms symbolise the vibrant person inside waiting to escape, but they are also some of the most fragile flowers in the border. A sharp gust of wind, or heavy rain shower  can soon put paid to the petals so I try and protect and shield them by surrounding them with stronger more resilient shrubs. The shrubs may not be so colourful but they work hard and are a constant support for these delicate plants.

Poppyposts is therefore part of me and I am nurturing it as best I can with the much welcomed support of anyone who cares to provide it. For everyone who has so far connected with me and left their kind words for me to read, I am most grateful. Although I don’t expect people to read my witterings, it’s undoubtedly nice when they do.

For anyone who cares to join me and my friends for the journey, you are more than welcome.

In a nutshell (!), that is why I started my Blog.

Thank you for making it to the end-you must have one of the many of the attributes I lack. Patience.


If the cap fits (2)

My previous post outlined my responses to some of the traits which are common to Empaths. Here is the second part of that response as promised.

Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for Empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

My garden is my pride and joy.

I love being outdoors in open space and fresh air. I hate being cooped up all day and this particularly cold and drab winter has been very difficult to cope with on occasions. Golf is great for me as long as I keep it non-competitive. It combines the outdoors, mastery of new skills and gentle exercise. I only wish I had more time for golf.

I have always had pets and can’t imagine a house without them, even if it’s a hamster sleeping away in the corner all day and only coming to life when I’m off to bed! Our pets give us an immense amount of pleasure and they are totally spoiled. If I won the lottery, my first purchase would be a nice house, with a huge garden and paddocks for lots of animals.

 Need for solitude

An absolute necessity and this is the main reason I am unable to work long hours. I need time to myself every day and if I don’t get this time, my mental health deteriorates very quickly. The consequences can be devastating. Getting home late from work, eating, then going straight to bed, having to get up again at 5am the following morning is not sustainable as there is no “me” time built-in for recovery. Some people can do this day in day out and take their mental health for granted. Sadly I can’t and without doubt, my career progress has suffered greatly over the years as I am limited to the amount of working hours I can do. This is something that has caused me much upset in the past but I am now reconciled to under-performing and not reaching my potential despite my best efforts. As someone once told me, sometimes doing just enough has to be enough.

Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated

Oh yes! I have a very low boredom threshold and love learning new skills. I have many and varied interests and those who read my blog regularly will know that this year I decided I wanted to learn to ice-skate at the tender age of 50!

Caroline finally masters backwards lemons

Intolerance to narcissism

I have no time for these people.

Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own

The killer blow and something I was not aware of until 3 years ago.

It was in May 2010 that I admitted publicly that I suffer with depression and have done for many many years.

Why did I start my Blog-Part 1

Why did I start my Blog-Part 2

Following my admission and for the next 6 months I was inundated with people wanting to talk to me about their experiences of depression and I was only too pleased to be able to help. The only problem was that it wasn’t helping me and I didn’t realise that I was unconsciously absorbing much of their distress and taking it on board. This affected my mood badly and in November 2010 I was advised to take time off work to redress the balance. I quickly learned that if I wanted to keep helping others with depression, I needed to become more remote and detached from their feelings and whilst I could offer practical suggestions and advice how to cope, I couldn’t fight their battles for them.

Good advice but difficult to do if your natural instinct is telling you otherwise.

There are a good many other indicators to Empath “status” but they will have to wait until another day.

In the meantime I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and comments. This is new but fascinating territory for me and any and all views are welcome 🙂

Lifting the lid on depression-my personal story

“Lifting the lid on depression” was an event put on jointly by KPMG and Citigroup in Canary Wharf last Thursday. As the title suggests, the aim of the evening was to raise the issue of depression as a topic that can be discussed openly and to provide a forum of support and information for anyone touched by this illness.

The event was well attended, we had to close the registration process 2 days before the seminar, and was a huge success. I will publish a write up of the evening and it’s content, format and impact soon as other organisations may wish to follow suit and provide this sort of evening for their employees and management. In the meantime, here is a short version of my speech, my personal story, which I know from emails I have already received resonated with so many and encouraged them to take their first steps to recovery.

I could have said a lot more about how I actually deal with my depression on a day to day basis now, the meds I take, the impact it has on friends and family but I wanted to focus on the more positive aspects of my experience. That doesn’t mean that I am not open to questions.

Lifting the lid on depression 10 March 2011-My personal story

Here we are today 150 of us lifting the lid on depression.

This is fantastic and I hope that with your help and more importantly with your participation this afternoon we do just that for everyone here. Whether you have depression yourself, have a friend or relative with depression or have to manage and support someone at work let’s deal with this illness.

Before I go any further I just want to say a few words about my depression and how I feel today.

This time last week I wasn’t bouncing around like Tigger on speed which can often be the case but life was OK.

This week however it’s a very different story. Low mood and despair hit me like a train at the weekend and now I feel more like Eeyore; Glum and pessimistic at best and downright miserable at worst. Monday morning I went into meltdown. I withdrew from my family and colleagues and it was only with the support provided by my best buddy that I was able to carry on and get through the day. He deserves a 10/10 for effort, persistence and the encouragement that he gave me. Thank you. I wouldn’t be here today without it.

But that’s what depression does to a person and today, instead of feeling confident and assured I am finding this experience quite overwhelming and worrying. At times like this, I can get tearful and a little shaky so if I have to stop for a while and take a few deep breaths to compose myself please bear with me.

I’m happy to be here talking about my experiences and hope that I will get through the next 5 minutes or so without the tears. But if it happens, it happens. That’s just how it is and I imagine that many of you out there will know how it feels.

Up until last year I made sure that I kept my depression well and truly hidden. I did this for thirty years.

Why did I do this?

Mainly because I was ashamed of myself and the perceived weakness associated with this illness and because of the stigma and discrimination I thought would adversely affect my career. That has all changed for me now, but I will come on to that later.

I grew up as a young child in a household where depression was a beast. My mother was a depressive and was admitted as in-patient to a local psychiatric hospital. I’m sure that some of you here today are wondering how to deal with depression and what, when and how to tell children about it.

I can only say from my experience as a mature and intelligent child that I believe that more honesty and openness would have helped me cope much better with the implications of depressive illness not just as a child but as a teenager and adult. That said, I also appreciate the difficulties that need to be considered and every case will be different.

Like much about depression, it’s debatable.

Roll-back to last year and lifting the lid on my depression.

I was fed up, tired and totally drained after 30 years of pretending everything was “Ok”, “Fine” and “Hunky Dory”  when I decided that the time was right to lift the lid on my depression and admit to my family, friends and colleagues that I have repeated and often very debilitating bouts of depression.

Most people were totally unaware of my continued battle against this illness and that depression was the reason behind frequent and sometimes prolonged absences from work. You could regularly find me camping out in my bedroom with only my TV, kettle and toaster for company weeks on end. I waited to do my shopping until the middle of the night at the 24 hour Tesco round the corner to make sure I didn’t meet anyone who might talk to me and even now I can find myself full of envy for grizzly bears that can hibernate without recrimination for months on end. How lovely that must be.

I was determined to put an end to the pretence and deception I felt I was inflicting on myself and others and so on the 26th May 2010 I sent what was to become a bombshell of an email to 30 of my friends and colleagues telling them my story.

This was not a spur of the moment action. It was a considered decision on my part and it felt the right thing to do at the time.

I was fully prepared for the consequences.

Or so I thought.

I actually got it very wrong. I completely misjudged the reaction of every single person. Whereas I had in fact geared myself up for negative responses and reproach what I received instead without exception were many words of support, understanding and kindness.

This very positive response took me completely by surprise and I found it totally overwhelming. These are just a few of the comments I received that day.

A very brave step indeed to publicly ‘out’ yourself, but well done for doing so.  If no ones does, there will be no improvements!

I think depression is hugely misunderstood and I think its great that it gets a no-nonsense representative like you!

Well done Caroline, what an incredibly positive thing you are doing xx”

Your insight and honesty is going to resonate with so many and give them comfort 🙂

It’s my pleasure to support the fight against the stigma towards mental illness

It’s like Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world” so with more people like you around we’ll get there.”

The Depression Alliance’s motto is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. I think that my own personal journey began with a giant leap into the unknown but I have no regrets so far.

What followed on from my email has been nothing short of astonishing and my day to day life has changed dramatically as a result. These are just a few of the things that I have been involved in.

June 2010- I was featured in the Financial Times article called No Room for Gloom written by Clive Cookson.

I was invited to sit on the KPMG Disability Steering group as champion for mental health and I am now in a position to help and advise KPMG on a number of initiatives which will benefit our employees.

Emer from the Depression Alliance who is here today  kindly invited me to the House of Commons launch of the report Depression, Disability and Employment compiled jointly by the Depression Alliance & RADAR and sponsored by the Priory Clinics.

Professor Chris Thompson from The Priory is here on our panel today. Together with Jonathan from Stand to Reason, these people are at the cutting edge of depression and its impact upon individuals, friends and family. Try and get to speak with them if you can. You will learn a lot.

I am a registered Rethink activist and Time to Change campaigner.

I also write a daily Blog which provides others with my personal insight on living with depression, and includes handy tips and importantly acts as a forum for others struggling with depression to come together and feel they are not alone with this illness.

What is in store for 2011 and beyond?

My focus for this year centres very much on the stigma associated with depression and issues like;

Why should people with mental illness and depression be pilloried and discriminated against because of their illness?

Why are there still so many un-busted myths about depression and anxiety?

What can we all do to help eradicate the stigma?

I’m no longer ashamed of my illness. It is part of me and who I am and I believe that I am a better person for the experience. One of the most humbling lessons in life that having depression has taught me is to never judge a person. There is a saying.

“To write a person off as worthless is an act of great violence-Don’t do it.”

2011-My Mission

This year I am on a mission and my aim is to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and depression in particular.


Because everyone deserves a chance.

Why should you and I care?

You and I should care because depression is non-discriminatory and unpredictable. Tomorrow it could descend on you or someone you care about.

To help me in my quest I have a call to action for you:

Going away from here today I would like everyone here to start talking openly and honestly about mental health issues and your experiences of depression. Only in this way will we effect change.

I’m not saying its going to be easy but I am telling you it will be worth it.

Thank you for listening.

Why did I start my Blog?-Part 1

I wasn’t going to bore any more people by retelling my battles fought with depression over the last 30 years or how my life has changed dramatically in the last 8-9 months but, when confronted with this Blog topic suggested by WordPress and with my readership increasing daily, I feel it is time to put it all together so that you understand how it all started.  I hope it makes sense.

“From little acorns mighty oaks grow”

Apologies for the length of this post but if I’m going to tell you how Poppyposts was born needs must. I created Poppyposts as a result of everything that has happened in the last few months and the build-up is critical to understanding the initial purpose of my Blog.

My experience with depression started more than 30 years ago but my story doesn’t kick-off until Spring 2010 as you will see.

Last April I was lucky enough to attend a course for “talented women” run by Aspire. The course was an intensive experience and I spent two days with 19 of my colleagues being inspired, motivated and encouraged to fulfil my potential regardless of the barriers, real or perceived I felt were in my way.  Unlike some others I have never felt that being a woman, working part-time, or having children has been a barrier to my career progression. My biggest enemy was and is depression. I didn’t feel able to communicate this during the two days but I left the course with an amazing feeling of being freshly empowered with the endorsements of both the tutors and my colleagues ringing in my ears. I was truly humbled by their appraisal of me. I went into that course wondering what was missing from my life and how little me could possibly make a difference and I came out thinking I could rule the world!

To give you an idea how humbled I was here are some of the words spoken about me on the course.

Focussed, determined, driven, confident, open, strong, enthusiastic, energetic, committed, intuitive, giving, generous, a leader and a role model with a pioneering spirit.

I was advised to put all my previous concerns aside and to “Be who I am” and “Go for it”.

Having been emotionally repressed out of self-preservation for so many years I found this public outpouring of openness a little unsettling. Unbeknown to me at the time a chink had appeared in my armour and the floodgates were about to open. My defences were breached and I had no control over what was about to happen.

Soon after the course came a public holiday and I remember thinking that I was going to use that extra time to reconnect with old friends and focus on my relationships. Relationships and a strong support network are key to a happy life and I had neglected them for too many years.

Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are

Suffering with bouts of depression with mood swings, periods of self-induced solitary confinement, unpredictable behaviour and general lack of energy and interest resulted in a drop-off in the number of people I could truly call my friend. I must emphasise that this was at no time their fault or their responsibility. More, it was me feeling that I was an inadequate friend. I hadn’t the energy to help others with their problems. I couldn’t be bothered to make an effort. Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning was a major achievement.  If I couldn’t reciprocate or learn to live with my guilt therefore, then friends had to go. Some faded away gradually and some remained, understanding my quirks and foibles completely and accepting that I would help out and turn up when I felt well enough, but respected my condition so as not to put any pressure on me at times when I was more withdrawn.

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be

That weekend along with others,  I traced an old school friend Colleen Henderson-Heywood who I first met when we were ten years old  trying to find our feet at boarding school. It is probably one of the most significant things I have ever done. You can find out more about Colleen here, but suffice to say she is an amazing person, inspirational, creative and ready to “kick-ass” at any given opportunity! I would not be doing this today if Colleen hadn’t challenged me to get off my arse and fight back like she has done against the Parkinson’s Disease that struck 6 years ago.

Cue Janet Street-Porter (JSP). I have often admired JSP for her outspoken approach and even if I disagreed with her opinions she was at least making an impact and stimulating debate about any number of important topics. That was until she wrote her incredibly insulting article about depression in her Daily Mail column. Her article was called ” Depression? It’s just the new trendy illness!” and you can read it here although I warn you that your blood pressure may rise as a result just as mine did.

After a few days of ranting and raving to anyone who would listen, Colleen suggested that instead of wasting my energy moaning and complaining, I might care to do something more proactive.

Aha! Why didn’t I think of that?

So, after work one evening I explained to my husband that I was taking my glass of wine upstairs to write my response to JSPs article-I remember saying that “I may be gone for sometime”. Unlike Captain Oates however, I was back within 20 minutes, article written. It was there composed in my subconscious just waiting for me to put pen to paper. I didn’t have to make any amendments. It appeared as if from a magic article-writing pen.

Unfortunately, I was too late to publish my response on-line as so many complaints were received that the Daily Mail had to close their in-box. But the process of purging my thoughts onto paper had been therapeutic and calming and since then I haven’t stopped.

That was only the start of my journey culminating in Poppyposts in November  but 8 months on, I still feel like a volcano that has erupted after laying dormant for hundreds of years with an unending flow of larva pouring from my core.

Will it ever stop?

To be continued.

Week 3-“hiding”

It’s too easy to hide.

I need to make more of an effort to get out and meet people, communicate and take in some of the Spring sunshine. Sadly, I had enough to keep me busy indoors last week to provide my semi-guilty conscience with sufficient excuses to avoid people and continue my isolation indoors. Naughty.

Too peoply

So what did I do?

Quilting of course- I finished my scrappy mug-rugs. Another sign of a restless mind is focussing on smaller projects which can be completed quickly and without too much concentration involved. I enjoyed putting together these mats with scraps from previous projects and it gave me a chance to practice a new quilting pattern (braiding) and to use my freebie quilting templates which I’ve had for a few weeks-see, I’m pretty good at justifying my lack of socialising by making something 1) out of scraps which otherwise wouldn’t be used; music to my frugal husband’s ears and 2) something practical.

I spent two days during the week sorting out my sewing kit and stash and my office so that everything is now in its place ready to use without rummaging through countless plastic boxes for just the right piece of fabric. Now I am not the tidiest person around, preferring to keep moving and leaving a trail of destruction behind me instead of being organised and tidy. This again is a sign that sitting on my bed folding small pieces of fabric into colour-coded bags was far more appealing than venturing outdoors.

I may have had to speak to someone. Horrors!

Whilst scouring Pinterest for mini-quilt ideas however, I did stumble across a fantastic Yahoo Group called “Smallquilttalk.” This is a mini-quilting group run and moderated by the “Sentimental Quilter” Kath Tracy. I found some of her free patterns on Pinterest, loved them and followed the links so that I finally came to the group. Most members are based in the US, but there are international quilters too. Kath’s blog describes the group as somewhere where you can “meet new quilting friends from around the world, share tips and show off your quilts.” All without leaving home- Perfect!

Being very self-critical it’s an easy option and a bit of a cheat but it’s a start. I have only been a contributing and active member of this group for two days but I have already found a new “tribe” of like-minded fellow-quilters who all seem incredibly friendly and helpful. It all seems so easy online. Why can’t I feel this comfortable in the actual presence of people? Strange and as yet, unexplained for me.

I’m trying to be kind to myself and am sure that this low-mood will lift in due course. In the meantime, I am participating in the “Mystery Quilt” challenge and the “Small-quilt 2017 swap.”

For the Mystery challenge, Kath gives the group instructions for a patchwork quilt Block every few weeks. The finished quilt won’t be complete and the mystery revealed until the last Block is made. This is good fun and although the challenge has been running for a few weeks now, I have managed to catch up;



Mystery Quilt 2017-Block 1


Mystery Quilt challenge- “square-in-a-square” blocks for later on

The quilt swap hasn’t been sorted out yet but I have listed my interest and am waiting for my “swap partner” to be allocated to me. I understand that we then correspond with each other regarding the quilts in order to find out favourite colours and patterns in the hope that the quilt I make for my swap partner and the quilt I receive is, at least, something that will be treasured.

Interestingly this is when the differences between quilts produced in the US and my quilts come to the fore. I have had a good look through the photos on the group pages and the different preferences and fabrics used are a lot more muted (in general). I understand that, having done some research, many of the fabrics and quilt patterns used relate back to the American Civil War  which clearly doesn’t impact us in the UK in the same way as in the US. I find this very interesting and with a passion for social history, I am already interested in finding out more of the history behind quilting both in the US and the UK.

Am I a nerd? (rhetorical)

So the end of week 3 leaves me with a new tribe, some interesting quilting tasks and an intention to make more of an effort to get out and about.

Let’s hope I can force myself past the front door and into the big wide-world.

happiness outside



Liebster award

A big “THANK YOU” to Megan’s Miscellaneous Menagerie for nominating me for the Liebster Award. It really made my day 🙂


I will now answer the 10 questions that Megan has asked, and very good questions they are too!

  • Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I’m very happy where I live at the moment but given the choice I would have to take up dual-residence in Swanage, Dorset and Esfahan, Iran. We have had some amazing holidays in Swanage and it is a place I feel very close to. By the sea, unpretentious and beautiful in a natural way.

Esfahan, my husband’s home city is so beautiful and full of history and culture. I think I must have been a Persian in a previous life as I feel so very comfortable in the country and am perfectly at home with their customs and attitudes.

  • What is your favourite pet that you have ever owned? (that is cat, dog, horse etc.)

This is a difficult one to choose as I’ve had many pets and they are all lovely. I guess my two cats Tom and Tess are my favourites, especially Tom (close your ears Tess) as he stays with me, by my side, whenever I am poorly. He senses when I’m ill and looks after me.

  • How would you describe your fashion style?

Ha! ha! What’s fashion? At work, smart. At home, my son calls me a hippy! I love bright colours and funky shoes (I even tried to turn up to work in 1 red shoe and 1 purple shoe last week!). I guess if I had to describe it, “Young at Heart”!

  • Are you a spring, fall/autumn, winter or summer person? (that is which season do you prefer)

Apart from my flowers in the summer, I’m not great in the high season. I get very out of routine and agitated and love it when autumn comes around and everything settles down again. Born in February 1963, winter snow is always welcome and there’s nothing like yellow daffodils in the spring.

  • What is the one thing you wish you were good at that you currently struggle with?


  • Would you prefer to work, or go to school as a student?

Without doubt I would be a perpetual student. The first thing I would do if I came into some money is chose a University course and start over. That’s my dream. My son is looking to start University next year and I’m so jealous! I’d swap tomorrow.

  • What is one thing you haven’t tried that you would like to have a go at?

Driving a steam train.

  • If you had a million dollars to donate to a charity, which on would you choose?

Oooo, a difficult one but most likely a charity that supports young people with mental health conditions and M.E/ CFS get qualifications and into employment.

    1. If you were to open a business, what product or service would you offer?
    1. I would offer to go and talk to businesses and employers about employing more people with disabilities, especially mental health conditions.
  • What 3 things would you change in your local community if you were elected mayor?

Firstly I would make sure to open the old railway line between our village and Market Harborough for walkers and cyclists to travel safely. AdamSmile.

Secondly I would veto the building of any more houses within a 5 mile radius of our village.

Thirdly I would try and encourage someone to open a village shop!

The bloggers receiving this reward today are;

The Project: Me, by Judy-great inspiration and support always.

We Are One-by Ruth- My journey out of the darkness of depression. How I changed from not just surviving but thriving.

Roots To Blossom-I am living proof that you can in fact return from the point of no return.

My Fibrotastic Life– The journey of hidden blessings

Leanne is learning to Drum-It’s nice to know I’m not the only nutcase!

My ten questions for you all are these;

1) What is your greatest achievement or proudest moment and why?

2) What was your favourite subject at school and can you remember a particular lesson?

3) If you could have fresh flowers delivered every day, which would you chose?

4) If you could employ ONE of the following, which would you have? A chef, a massuer/euse, a chauffeur, a gardener or a personal shopper?

5) What is you favourite book or story?

6) What was the last song or piece of music you listed to?

7) What makes you laugh?

8) When and what was the last thing you did for YOU?

9) If you could do anything you want today, what would you do?

10) If you were an animal, what would you be?

Have fun!



Addicted to drums

No, that’s not a typo. I am seriously addicted to drumming and that’s after only one lesson. If you read my last post about drumming back in July, you will know that it is Colleen’s fault, so you can blame her if my future posts become one-dimensional and boring for all those non-drummers among you.

I had my first drumming lesson last Tuesday and I was hooked from my first “bang”. I was more than a little apprehensive on the way over to my lesson and started to wonder what on earth I was doing at 50 years old to start drumming. I tried not to think about it too much, knowing that if I did, I was in danger of doing a U-turn and returning home. Apart from the purported health benefits of learning to drum, taking the step to arrange a lesson and start something new is, for me, more a challenge to my low confidence and desire to stay at home safe and secure talking to my hubby and cats rather than get out and enjoy learning a new skill and, shock horror, meeting new people.

I have to constantly challenge myself to do things and meet people otherwise I would withdraw both at home and at work and that is not healthy. Most people don’t notice that this is a daily struggle for me as I have become extremely proficient at acting my way through the day but I keep trying to increase my confidence and create a more positive attitude by doing things rather than staying put.

I arrived for my lesson in good time, and was incredibly lucky that Nick made me feel at ease straight away. I sat behind the drum set, learned what each drum and cymbal is called, how to hold the drum sticks and to my biggest surprise, learned that drums have “music”.

Thinking about it now, I don’t know how I thought people learned to play the drums without music but I assumed that being a percussion instrument with no “notes”, no music would be needed! How wrong I was, but I was pleased to find out that my previous musical experiences have not been wasted. Whilst there are no “musical notes” as such, the notes in drum music represent the beats and which drum/cymbal you strike, with which hand. Easy!

All I have to do now is work both hands and feet in a set order as per the music and I will have it licked! Easier said than done of course and I found out quite quickly that the connections between brain and hands/feet are not so responsive as they should be……not bad but plenty of scope for improvement.

The hour flew by and I was so disappointed when it came to an end. Nick asked me whether I would be coming again (try keeping me away) and when I said yes, he told me which drum sticks and music book I will need for my future lessons and practice.

My new drum sticks

My new drum sticks

Drums Easy

Drums Easy

I had actually progressed quite a long way in my first lesson, my previous experience with piano, clarinet and guitar clearly helping with reading the music and keeping the rhythm going. I felt pleased with myself for making the effort, enjoying the experience and there is no doubt that drumming had definitely made me feel good about myself without expending too much physical energy. This is important when fighting M.E/ CFS and if this continues, I would recommend that everyone should try it! Here is a link to an article giving you ten reasons why drumming is good for your health 🙂

If you struggle with loud noises you can be comforted that when learning to play, the drums are covered in foam to reduce the noise effectively, and if you want a drum set at home, you can get an electronic set which has headphones and volume control.


My practice drum set

My practice drum set

Fear of Flying

To say that I don’t like flying is an understatement. It terrifies me to the point of panic attacks and aggression, cold sweats, dizzy spells and paralysis. On one 45 minute flight into Dublin I hyperventilated so much that I lost all feeling in my arms and legs. I couldn’t get off the plane for 20 minutes after landing  when the feeling returned and I could stand up albeit supported on both sides by understanding stewards. I fully understand why the Pope kisses the ground when he gets off a plane now (!). I felt like doing the same thing.

So with my 6 hour flight to Iran tomorrow approaching all too rapidly I have tried to keep myself occupied in the hope that I can stop thinking about it. I have been rushing around like a Dervish. I started off at the golf range hitting a few balls. I moved on to cleaning the car inside and out. Finished my packing. Cleaned and hoovered upstairs. Found 3 loads of washing. Watched the footie at lunchtime, did some crosswords, did the lottery and now all that’s left is Blogging!

So I apologise in advance. Nervous energy may prompt me to focus on catching up with the Postaday topics to keep my mind off the inevitable and I hope that I don’t bore you to death.

By blogging all night I hope to avoid re-living my previous experiences like;

Refusing to board a BA Fokker 100 to Stuttgart because it was “too small”


Asking a pilot, non too politely, to “Hurry up and land this f*****g plane”


Hyperventilating during a panic attack


Experiencing an engine failure at 3,000ft on the way to Berlin and having to make an “unscheduled” landing back at Heathrow Terminal 5 with emergency vehicles in attendance 😦

Happy Flighting!

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