Author Archives: Gemma

About Gemma

Hi, I am a bit of a rambler, love a good game of rugby, baking and a great cup of tea. Oh, I am also a self confessed beauty addict!

Numbness

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I apologise for the lack of blogging on this blog.  There’s various reasons, I have been super busy with uni being the main one but I was also reluctant to write this down as I know a lot of people will find it hard to read.

I am on anti depressants.  The Dr seems to have found the right ones for me, they SEEM to be working, I haven’t spent days crying, I manage to get out of bed every day and I am getting through the day without wanting to crawl into a den and never come out.  BUT I still have my bad days, the tablets level me out, they don’t make me happy, they make me “normal”.  Honestly, I haven’t felt TRUE happiness in a long time.  I want to but I just can’t.

My mum thinks I am delaying getting help because I don’t want to get better.  That’s not true, I really do but I am scared.  Scared of getting worse.   Scared of having to bring up memories that I have locked away in a box so they don’t hurt any more. Scared of letting things go that I am not ready to let go of yet.  I desperately want to stop feeling so average.  I want to feel a range of emotions not just flat or a deep seeded sadness.  So mum (I know you are reading this) I am going to get help I just need encouragement and a bit of patience.

One of the other things I wanted to share (well, wanted to may be pushing it!) I now finally know why people self harm.  I never really understood it before but this experience has changed that.  Over Christmas, I had a BAD moment, I don’t really know what bought it on but it broke me.  I sat in my room, in the dark, weeping.  I felt so numb.  Nothing could have penetrated that numbness.  I started to run my finger nail across my wrist, absent minded at first. Totally unconscious of what I was doing.  Until I pressed a little harder and I felt something.  Something that reminded me I was human, something that broke the numbness, something that made me stop.  Now, I am not saying I would ever self harm in the usual sense of the word; it has never got that bad.  What I am saying is that it took me pressing my nail hard into my arm, so hard that I had red marks there for hours, and could still feel it the next day, for me to feel anything other than numbness.  This just shows me how very easy it would be for someone without a support network like mine (my mum is my rock and can bring me back from the brink), someone who feels like they have nothing in their life but the numb feeling which depression leaves you with, how easy it would be for them to start hurting themselves.

I know what it feels like to be on the brink, to feel like you are about to fall into blackness and never come back.  But do you know what…This experience has made me realise that I do not want to fall.  I WANT to fight,  I WANT to get better.  I know it is a long road and I know that I have to expect relapses (yea that is a whole other blog…they suck!) but my word do I want to feel “normal” again!

If ANY of you are feeling like you are about to fall PLEASE talk to someone.  Don’t let it get to the point where you need to do something drastic to feel something other than emptiness.

Love

xxx

One Day…

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I wasn’t sure it was possible for one person to cry so much!

I feel so pathetic today.  Mum just asked what I wanted to do on Christmas day…stay at home with the family or go somewhere else.  The thought of having to pretend to be ok at someone else’s house made me feel so nervous I burst into tears! That isn’t normal.

All I want is to feel normal. To not burst into tears at the tiniest thing, to not feel sick due to a Facebook update or a tweet, to sleep properly, to not cry when someone is nice to me. Is that too much to ask??

I wish there was a way that I could click my fingers and everything would be ok.  One day I know it will be.  One day I will get up in the morning and not have to find the energy to put on a smile and pretend that I am ok because I wont need to pretend any more.  Until that day I guess I just have to accept that there will be days when my mascara gets ruined, my heart hurts and my sleep pattern is just none existent!

I say this every post but I am so thankful for my amazing friends and family for getting me through the bad days. Your support means the world to me.

What is going on?!

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My last post was a bit of a gamble.  I wasn’t sure how people would react; it kind of made me anxious just posting it but wow….I was so wrong to think that!

I have been overwhelmed by your support, your positive comments and honesty.  I am so pleased that by writing what I did, so many of you felt empowered to talk about your own battles.  That is all I wanted.

I have been called brave by so many people, honestly, I am not! I just wanted to set some things straight, get my story out there and I am so pleased I have done.

Since posting, a few things have happened.  The tablets I am on are MEANT to be working but I am not 100% sure they are.  I sometimes feel almost normal but a lot of the time I spend feeling down, emotional or just drained.  I am not really sleeping properly, I have the shakes from the medication and my ability to concentrate on anything is terrible, as is my memory.  I don’t know if this is the meds making me worse before I am better or if they are simply not the right ones for me but wow is it draining!  I went to see the Dr for a meds check and he seems to think I am doing better and wants to keep me on them for a few more months before assessing me again.  One positive, I cry less! When I first saw him I spent at least part of EVERY day in tears, sometimes for no reason.  Now, I can go a few days without shedding a tear.  I will admit that I have cried myself to sleep a good few times, had mini breakdowns over stupid things and burst into tears for no apparent reason but all in all, I am less teary!

I have had a “pre counselling assessment” by the university team and I spent the ENTIRE session in tears.  Even filling out the forms was too much.  I was shaking like a leaf and felt sick the whole time.  The lady I saw took 1 look at me and said, it is clear that you need counselling but we have to go through this session.  Then proceeded to tell me there was a 6 week wait and I should look elsewhere if possible… I sat in my car in tears, all I wanted was someone to wave a magic wand and make me feel normal.  I know I need to sort myself out and I know that talking to someone SHOULD help, or getting SOME sort of therapy should get me a little closer to feeling normal but I am not sure I can wait 6 weeks to even start this!

Uni wise, I have actually managed to get my assessments in on time! I can’t say how good they were (I had a breakdown half way through one of them) but they are in! I have an exam next week so am revising pretty hard but that is taking it out of me.  Early mornings and late nights make me worse. I REFUSE to let this ruin my course but it is a bloody tough fight!

Do you know what gets me through most days?  When I feel like giving up, spending my time in bed and just hiding away from the world?  You lot! There are some incredibly amazing people in my life and I am SO thankful for you all.

And just because I am fighting this battle does not mean I am not there for you guys! Don’t think you can’t talk to me about stuff because you bleeding well can!

Love you all xxx

My Fight

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I was going to wait until I had won this battle to tell my story but recent events have forced my hand.

 

I have recently been diagnosed with depression.  It has been a long overdue diagnosis.  Why do I say that?  Well, I have been showing signs of this horrible illness for years but have ignored them, or have had things in my life that acted as a plaster, holding off the darkness.

On the day I decided that I couldn’t ignore the signs for any longer, I booked a drs appointment and went to my 1st lecture of the day.  That happened to be a Mental Health lecture, focussing on Depression and its symptoms.  I sat listening in tears, mentally ticking off every single “common” sign.  It was at that point that I knew I had made the right decision and that I needed to see someone.

Luckily, I have SUPER supportive friends at uni who got me through the rest of the day and a tutor who was amazing and offered me all the help I could ask for.

As I sat in the doctors waiting room, I looked around, everyone there looked ill, I felt like an imposter.  I had nothing PHYSICALLY wrong, why was I wasting the doctor’s time? I began to cry again.  At that moment the Dr called my name.  I went through, sat down (I had stopped crying by this point).  He said “so, why are you here today?” and before I could get any words out of my mouth the tears started.  I was terrified. Scared that he would think I was being stupid, scared that he would think it was just “break up emotion” (I had recently gone through a break up) but he didn’t, he listened. He got me to fill out a questionnaire, asked if I had ever had suicidal thoughts (I hadn’t) and asked all the “right” questions.  His diagnosis…depression.  Full blown depression.  Not just a bad day, not just feeling sad but a chemical in-balance in my brain which was affecting my mood.  He sent me away with a prescription, information about local counselling sessions and another appointment a month later.

Since then, I have tried to live a “normal” life.  I have tried to keep it off twitter, there are a few people I have told and they have been supportive and amazing. On the days I HAVE mentioned things again, I have mainly received a positive, supportive reply.

Not everyone handles depression in the same way.  I personally only mention something when I am having a super bad day or when it affects my life in a way that is really rather annoying.  Yes, it probably is a moan but do you know what…if I had broken my leg, or had the flu and was moaning would you say anything? No I don’t think you would! Why then do people think it is OK to have a go when someone moans about a bad day? Why is it ok for them to suggest I don’t know what I am talking about and that taking to social media isn’t the way to deal with it?!  Do you know what….It bloody hurts!!!! I am battling this awful illness, one that affects me EVERY DAY, I don’t know if I am going to wake up and be ok, if the meds will work, if something TINY will send me into a downward spiral. I try not to let the bad days win but sometimes they do.  Sometimes all I want to do is spend the day in bed where no one can find me, no one can tell me to “try harder” no one can say “oh but you can’t feel like that because you are acting like x”. Most days I have to get up, crack on and just push those feelings aside.  I have good days and bad days like any “normal” person but it just so happens that the bad days knock me sideways.

I hope that anyone reading this now knows they are not alone. It is a horrible thing to fight, even worse when people think you are faking it. Do you know what?  Stuff em! Remove them from your life. Don’t allow them back because no one needs that shit!

Sponsor a Child at Shikamana School

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Hi,

For those of you who have been reading my blog for 2 years + (wow) you will know all about the amazing school I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks working at in February 2012.  For those of you who are new to this blog, please take a read through all the posts in the “Kenya Adventure” section of this blog.

When my mum (Jan Prince for those of you who don’t know the connection) called me asking for advice on her trip to Kenya, my 1st thought was “you HAVE to visit Shikamana School”, it was mainly so she could see for herself what an amazing place it is but I also wanted her to bring me back an update on what was happening there and how the lovely children were doing.  So in November, her and her wonderful partner Heinz made the trip and out of it came more than I could ever have dreamed.

She managed to have a catch up with Jackson (the schools director) and take some more pictures:

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She also arranged the most AMAZING surprise for me for Christmas.  I opened the most beautiful envelope to reveal the statement “For a special gift  Sponsorship of a child from Shikamana School” naturally I became a blubbering mess for about 30 minutes when I eventually managed to mutter “thank you”!

Now, the main reason for this post is that not only has mum arranged sponsorship for Ruwa (yep, this little angel is now sponsored by me)

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and the sponsorship of another little boy for my sister, she has been sent a further 10 profiles in the hope that we can find sponsors for them.

This is where you lovely lot come in.  If you are interested in helping one of these amazing kids though school for a year (or more) then please get in touch.  The child you sponsor will write and send pictures and if you are lucky things they have done at school.  You can write, and send pictures yourself too!

The 10 children who have had their profiles sent to us are:

Name Age Class Interests Issues Ambition
Macdonald (m) 4 KG1 Number work, creative, football Lacks basic needs pilot
Twaa (F) 9 3 Maths, English, skipping Poverty pilot
Said (M) 4 KG1 Maths, english and football Lacks basics at home pilot
Melickzedeck 8 Std 1 Maths, English, Science Dental issues and poverty pilot
Joseph 5 KG1 Creative, maths and football Poverty teacher
Mazoea 6 KG1 English, Kiswahili and football Parents cannot provide basic needs doctor
Vincent 4 KG1 Number work and art Lack of basic needs doctor
Juma 7 KG2 Number work and creative Poverty teacher
Mwanarusi (F) 7 Std1 Maths, Engosh, Science and skipping Hardship at home nurse
Zulfa (f) 6 KG2 Maths, science, English and playing hide and seek Parents cannot provide basic needs doctor

Out of these, I worked with 4 of them directly (Macdonald, Said, Zulfa, Juma,0 and they are all AMAZING kids who want to be in school because they somehow know that it will make their lives better.

For more info please comment and either Jan or myself will send you as much info as we can.

We are also trying to collect books, old computers, basic school items etc so if you can help in any way at all please pop me a comment below and we can have a chat.

Thanks for reading.

Much love

Gemma (and Janet) xxxx

It’s been a while

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So, it has been almost a YEAR since I updated this blog.  That is silly.  I suppose I havent had anything to write about/havent needed the catharsis that blog writing offers.  I am not saying the last year hasn’t had its rough points but all in all, I have had a wonderful year.  I met a man (woo hoo), got myself an amazing job (after a bit of unemployment) and have moved out of London after 8 years!

I am a happy happy lady and to top it all off, I managed to introduce my mum to Shikamana School in Kenya.  The next post will outline more on this but I wanted to give you a bit of an update on my life!

Much Love

xxx

Expect the unexpected

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This year was meant to mark a turning point in my life but if I’m honest January has been pretty rotten.

I’m still unemployed, I’ve had a bit of a crisis of self confidence brought on by a horrible incident with a boy & a friend (no I’m not divulging details so don’t ask for them) and I’ve spent a lot of this month in floods of tears.
It’s been horrible.

I have however cemented new friendships and developed old ones, learnt a lot about myself & some people around me, including who I can turn to in times of need, for that I want to thank you all. I’ve also lost half a stone (woo hoo) but that’s a different point all together. I am very lucky to have an amazingly supportive family & church family, without them I am not sure I would have coped.

I suppose there is no real point to this blog. Nothing works out as expected I guess. True friendships last a life time and not all friends you make will last. But I guess what I want to say is don’t kid yourself that you are ok when deep down you are not. It will just make everything harder until a great friend comes along and puts things in perspective. It may not be the person you expect, hell, it definitely wasn’t for me, but it will be the perfect person for the job.

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Out with the old…

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So I haven’t blogged for quite a while. Not through lack of trying, but through lack of the words to say. Its 2013 and I have been lovingly added to the “blogs I love page” of the beautiful curvyguruceri’s blog so I have decided that I need to FIND the words!

There are a million topics I could blog on, ranging from my horrendous job hunt to my disastrous luck with men. I have decided that none of these topics are happy enough for my first post of the New Year so I will focus on the year ahead.

2012 kind of sucked…mental health issues, unemployment (twice), watching my best friends leave the country, house hunting, man disasters (too many to list and going right up to New Year’s Eve) and generally being poor. But through all of that there have been some MASSIVE high points. Kenya is the obvious one. I have met some amazing people who have become some of my closest friends, I have a fab new house, I have FINALLY realised what I want to do with my life and am taking the steps to go there, I am learning Swahili and, slowly learning to accept my body for what it is!

In 2013 I have sworn to only surround myself with positive people. My current favourite phrase for those not so useful people is ‘toxic’. Positivity breeds positivity remember. No more rotten men, no more “fake” friends, no unhelpful “acquaintances” I only have space in my life for the types of people who inspire me to be better, those who make my life full.

I have also vowed to make 2013 the year of ME. I will get an awesome job. I will finally get myself fit (yes I say this every year but I actually WANT to this year, it’s all part of accepting myself). I will get back to Kenya and help transform those children’s lives. I will put God first in my life. I may not find the man of my dreams but I promise to get rid of the ones of the past.

So here’s to an amazing 2013! Let it be a year to remember, a year to cherish, a year of great victory & even greater blessings. I read on twitter (via @MOMXW) a crafty little thing I am going to do this year: Start 2013 off with an empty jar. As the year goes on fill it with notes about all the good things that happen. On New Year’s Eve, empty the jar & see what awesome stuff happened that year!

Much love people!

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Some things are worth sticking around for!

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Those of you who have been reading my blog since day dot will have been through all my life drama with me, all the James stuff, all the Kenya excitement and even my little mini breakdown around Easter….how many of you remember my post about a new craze running through Twitter? You know that hash tag….what was it? Oh yea….#rugbyunited. Back then it seemed like a phase that would eventually fade away.

It didn’t!

In fact it has now been going strong and steadily gaining influence over my entire twitter feed for the past 27 weeks!

Now, in my last post about #rugbyunited I spoke about how the idea was flawed. The ethos was I’ll follow you and you have to follow me back or I’ll get cross with you. This didn’t wash with me. I do not use twitter to follow people I don’t engage with. I use it for news, work and more recently to raise awareness of my charity stuff. you can read my views on the whole thing in THIS post)

I have to say however that what started off as a bit of a fad has blossomed into something truly great. Not only had it gained me some great friends some of which have offered better advice than anyone else I know.  I am naming no names here, they know who they are.  I have watched as #rugbyqa has developed, a predictions game has started (#rugbyrekon), and now, the first ever rugby united charity fixture has been arranged!  They even have staff in Ireland and South Africa!!

Rugby united has come a long way from the days of being too easily comparable to #teamfollowback and that is through the tireless work of Trevor Large and his team, of which I am now officially a part and will be heading up the first ever #RugbyUnited game on the North West.  (Dates to be confirmed as soon as the venue is definite, Caldy is looking likely so please, if you know someone there put us in touch!!!)

Not only has Trev managed to unite fans across the world who share a common interest in an awesome sport, he has managed to get players engaging even more with their fans. The q&a sessions have had everyone from Glaws fave @Eliota_Sapolu to one of my childhood heroes Will Carling, and a current love Mark Cueto.  I know that Lisa Wadey has even more famous names up her sleeve and will be bringing them to the Q&A session soon.

I would like to thank Trev for everything he has done for the world of rugby, and for me personally. You have, possibly without knowing, introduced me to some amazing people all of whom have had a massive impact on the way my life over the past 6 months has panned out!  Now, can you please start making some serious cash from RU and give me a job?

Aside

 

Huge apologies for the gigantic delay in this blog post.  Too much has been going on and not enough brain capacity to stop and write.  I am going to write a number of posts over the next few days/weeks that will hopefully catch you up on my life….

The first will be dedicated to my changing feelings on #rugbyunited, followed by a Kenya update (its a big un) and then an update on gemma life….There is also a possibility I will be starting a new blog which will be life in London related…… Keep your eyes peeled!

coming soon……