Tag Archive | Facebook

The good old days

Some of you may have seen this doing the rounds on Facebook but I love it (even though it makes me feel very old)

As a child I saw Tarzan almost naked, Cinderella arrived home after midnight, Pinocchio told lies, Aladdin was a thief, Batman drove over 200 miles an hour, Snow White lived in a house with 7 men, Popeye smoked a pipe and had tattoos, Pac Man ran around to digital music while eating pills that enhanced his performance, and Shaggy and Scooby were mystery solving hippies that always had the munchies.

Those were the days!



Beware the saboteur…..

Losing weight is hard enough, but to have a saboteur waiting in the wings is rather galling. Especially when it’s my husband who has promised his support in my quest to be a little slimmer. 

Mmmmm….it didn’t last long.

Inspired by my Facebook friend who will soon  be half the woman she was by the time I next meet her for lunch, I forced myself to change into my new (bigger) running shorts and trainers and headed for the treadmill in the garage armed with bottle of water and sweat towel. (It made me feel good even if I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do much first time out.)

I struggled to remember where the “on” switch is 😦 but managed to sort myself out with a suitable speed (not very fast) and incline (not very steep) and a quiz programme to watch on the TV so I could get going.

I had only walked for 2 minutes when I realised that hubby, bless him, had come into the garage and lit up a cigarette! I don’t like smoke at the best of times, but after psyching myself up to start exercising, I didn’t need to be running through a fog of nicotine and my clothes to smell of smoke. So, I stopped. And I swore. And I shouted. And I stormed off in a sulk.

I’m still sulking but sanguine. Hubby’s still hiding in the Doghouse (local pub).

Tomorrow’s another day.

Facebook Friends

There has been a lot of criticism about Facebook and its use. Are “friends” really friends? How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met? Facebook friendships are shallow and meaningless and people should get a life instead of spending all their time on the computer.

Ha! Ha!

I have just spent a couple of days with a Facebook Friend and his family in the depths of sunny Wiltshire and my son and I had a great time! Now we are all Facebook Friends and shall be for a long time I suspect.

I have “known” Andrew for almost a year, and in that time we have become good friends helping each other through the dark and often lonely times of depression and anxiety. However much one’s friends and family are there to support, it helps to have a friend who knows what it feels like to have the world pressing down on your chest and shoulders squeezing out every morsel of sensible reason and hope instead giving you a feeling of panic and fear. Someone who can rationalise the thought-patterns and turn negatives into positives; someone who won’t and can’t judge you, recognising the causes and symptoms of the extreme emotions as one’s own.

I have met Andrew during the year, and heard about his lovely family. His two sons are clearly his pride and joy and he is very proud of them both. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew’s wife and youngest son at the weekend and they couldn’t have made us more welcome. It is fortunate that my son and Andrew’s son are the same age (only 17 days difference) and they share a love of sports and just being 16. The 9 holes of golf played yesterday afternoon was a source of much hilarity and we certainly got to know each other much better on the rather chilly fairways and fast-running greens. Dad even turned up at the 6th tee with a flask and chocolate! Could it get any better than that?

Actually yes it did as we also met the two Springer Spaniel puppies, at 12 weeks a recent addition to the Cooper-fold and simply adorable. Andrew did tell me pointedly this morning just before we left that he had padlocked them in their enclosure…….I wonder why! It was very tempting to stage a kidnap attempt of Rosy and Lily but I dug deep and resisted the temptation. In addition we were treated to some lovely meals and expert baking (Domestic Goddess in residence) so I was perfectly content!

Thank goodness for Facebook Friends! I am lucky that my Facebook Friends really are friends and I appreciate that.

Anyone who tells me otherwise clearly don’t know what they are on about!

A bucket full of Haribo!

Take two crazy chicks, one much zanier than the other,  a hotel in Edinburgh and an ice bucket full of Haribo and what do you get?

A fun “Tangfastic” evening of chatter, inspiration and laughs for my bestest mate Colleen and me. Two friends intrinsically  linked by a shared boarding school past, common goals and a desperate desire to heal the world.

When I say “dress down”for dinner, she dresses up. Apparently she is dressed down as she has boots on but it’s irksome to see her looking so bloody glam in her dressed-down state. When I leave her in my hotel room, she threatens to trash the place, strip the mini bar and jump on my bed. To cope with the long/short-sightedness problem she wears one contact lens and takes the other out.  Her earrings resemble  the chandeliers in the best Russian palaces and the hair is a mahogany red. A change from the auburn when we last met, and no doubt this is the tenth shade in the last month. Her purple tights match her purple velvet jacket perfectly. What will she wear when she gets old? [Refer to Jenny Joseph poem] She looks impossibly young and discussions centered around a joint 50th Birthday Ball in two years time leave me wondering whether to partake of major plastic surgery just to catch up with her.

She is funny, elegant, inspirational, quirky, generous and has an unusual awe of experienced-innocence.

And this is a woman who is in her 8th year of living with Parkinson’s Disease.



Depression is miserable, and the chances are that if your family and friends have not encountered someone with depression or low moods before, they will have little idea how to help you. They may be embarrassed, feel awkward and frustrated with your continued apathy and apparent hostiity and often they drift away on a wave of helplessness.

It need not be so however, and with a little help from your friends, things can start to improve very quickly. So what can be done to help your friends understand and support you when in the depths of despair, or maybe feeling just a little low?  Here are a few tips from someone who has benefited from the much needed strength and enduring patience of her wonderful friends and family, without whom I would have self-destructed years ago.

“A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway” (Christi May Warner)

Firstly, it’s good to talk.  In my book, a friend is someone you can talk to without fearing reprisals or judgement and who can share your concerns with compassion and impartiality. If you can talk to your friend, you should be able to overcome the barriers of embarassment and stigma surrounding depression quite quickly and discover that a problem shared feels infinitely much better than a problem stewing away inside, draining you of the energy and resolve to find a solution. So next time you get invited round for a cup of tea and a chat, go.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down” (Oprah Wnfrey)

Moodscope.com-A really useful on-line interactive tool for helping you and your friends to monitor your moods and provide support when needed.  Each day you can track your mood by answering a few questions and will  receive your Moodscope score, a percentage between 0 and 100, indicating how happy or sad you are. You can also nominate a “buddy or buddies” to receive the results so they can monitor your moods and ascertain the level of support you may find useful on any particular day. A great way to keep in touch and prevent withdrawal, a common sympton of depression.

What does depression feel like?

A difficult emotion to explain and an almost impossible one to understand, depression comes in many different guises and is complex and unpredictible. It is crucial however that friends try to understand how depression may affect a person, and the symptoms it can produce. This poem tries to explain to non-sufferers what it feels like.

Caroline’s Poem

Learn to accept help-a friend in need is a friend indeed

Remember, a friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself. They are precious. Don’t lose them.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept help when you are depressed and not in a position to reciprocate whether it be emotional or practical support that is needed. “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” (Bernard Mettzer) and will come to your aid regardless by not necessarily taking “No thank you” or “I’m fine” as your final answer. Clearly everyone will be different and have to be treated sensitively but often friends can be more firm than they think without causing distress or offence to the person depressed. Kid-gloves are often required, but some cajoling and persistence will also be appreciated on occasions.

Top-Tips for friends


Be patient and understanding. Make it clear that it is not the person you are frustrated with, just the illness.

Keep in touch either by visits, phone calls, emails or texts. Facebook and email can be useful if leaving the house is a problem.

Encourage healthy eating and exercise habits

Show that you care by learning about depression, it’s symptoms and impact.

Offer practical as well as emotional support. This often frees up much needed “me” time

Expect the unexpected. It’s a rocky road and a rollercoaster ride for everyone. Be prepared.


Tell your friend to “pull yourself together”-they are not curtains.

Expect too much.  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Encourage the consumption of alcohol. It doesn’t solve underlying issues and is a depressant.

Remember, a real best friend is someone who can see the truth and pain in you while you are fooling the rest.

That’s what a friend means to me.

Daily communion-a Sunday reflection

Finding my “tribe” over the last 9 months has been the highlight of the last few years spent in the wilderness trying but being unable to connect emotionally and spiritually with those I met. There have been a few exceptions, and they know who they are, and to them I am eternally grateful for sticking by me and accepting me for who I am. Thank you.

I am emerging from that wilderness day by day and since being open and honest about my depression I have come to meet and speak with and write to many, many like-minded people I never knew existed.  I was too afraid to seek them out for fear of rejection and there are very few people who are prepared to stand up and wave a red flag to advertise that they have mental illness. So where do we all hide and where can we be found?

Through a new role at work, Facebook, Blogging and working with mental health organisations I have come to enjoy a daily commune with my new friends, most of whom suffer with depression and are at various stages of recovery. I can’t remember what I used to do with the time now spent in helping and encouraging others to get through the day, hopefully showing them that there is a good, worthwhile life that can be had even if it means taking the “Black Dog” along for the ride. But what I do know is that it is time well spent. The rewards are beyond my expectations and if one person has a better day because of what I have written, I’m happy.

Talk, text or other?

Now then. What an interesting topic for an oft-depressed people-person blogger. Normally I would say that face-to-face communication, conversation and discussion is a must. This is when I’m feeling confident, strong and happy with myself and life. It’s a very different story however when depression strikes and confidence is low and all you want to do is crawl back under the duvet.

At which point it is all I can do to communicate by text or email, but it is far more comfortable than talking to someone. What’s that all about?

Perhaps that is why I love Facebook and Blogging so much. I can do it in my own time, with whom I choose to interact and I don’t even have to venture outside my front door. I am in total control. Some may consider this a dangerous sign of withdrawing from society and self-indulgence. I like to think of it as a well-deserved respite from the mad, bad, crazy, busy world I inhabit.

So who will deny me my pleasures of text, email and blogging? Shall we talk about it?

Lesson (1) to be learned

I’ve had a strange couple of days. Not at all unpleasant, and in fact better than I anticipated and therein lies the clue to the first lesson learned. I should really say lesson reinforced rather than learned as nothing that I have experienced over the past two days is anything new but it has been an opportunity to bring certain things to the forefront of my thinking and with a little self-awareness realise that old habits die-hard.

Lesson 1-The negative vicious circle of depression

Like many others, negative thinking is a real threat to my well-being and general outlook on life. Most of the time I manage to control those demon thoughts and they rebound immediately from my conscious the moment they fly in. A skill I have learned to execute perfectly over the years.  This week however, with a new lap-top scheduled at work, I let all those fears and dreaded predictions of disaster take hold so that I was not looking forward to this morning one bit. My mind was racing with thoughts about the loss of data, scrambling of documents, eradication of my contacts, and having to spend hours on the phone to our in-house Helpline to retrieve it all. I have little patience with IT equipment and gadgets and my philosophy is that if it comes with a manual, it’s too complicated. I want to get-and-go and from listening to others with their new laptops, that wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know whether my subconscious was also working overtime but I was awake and up at 04.00am this morning preparing for battle.

Needless to say, after all this energy and effort spent in worrying about something I had no control over it all went rather well and took much less time than anticipated. I still have all my contacts intact, no email derail, and even Facebook is better! (Ssshhhh!)

So next time you are tempted to look on the black side of everything, see the worst in yourself  or view the future as bleak, don’t.  Challenge those thoughts and put an end to those thinking errors.

You might save yourself a lot of heartache.