Category Archives: My life, loves and trials

All my none Kenya related posts that keep you up to date with what’s going on in the life of Gemma!

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.

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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!

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……

Broken is not a way of life…It is a stage in the cycle!

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Today I am catching up on a none Kenya related post (maybe I should start a 2nd blog for this type of post) but I need to write this as its kind of cool, heartfelt and has been waiting to be typed up for a while. When I say a while….I wrote it on Tuesday 17th April so things have changed….

Today at Church (yes church on a Tuesday…crazy huh?) we were talking about the cycle of multiplication and how there are 4 major stages you go through in the cycle…

  • Being ‘taken’ by God – wanting to go deeper in your relationship with Him, giving everything over to Him.
  • Being blessed by God – This one is kind of obvious.
  • Being Broken by God – yep, this is what you are thinking, going through HARD times, breaking down the bad things, breaking off the negatives.
  • Finally, distribution – this is like evangelism almost, using what God has done in your life to improve not only your life but hopefully the lives of those around you.

If you are a none Christian reading this, which I know many of you are, then you may not think these stages apply to your life. You would be partly correct… but please read one!

If you have given your life to God then I know you, just like me are sitting in AT LEAST one of these stages. Have a think; you may be surprised as to where you do fall.

I gave my heart to God almost 3 years ago after a REALLY broken past (at the time I didn’t realise quite how broken, it is only looking back I can see it) and a pretty serious life event which I won’t go into. It was the best thing I have ever done.

I have been round this cycle a few times, giving my all to God, being blessed, broken and then using the lessons learned to help others.

I am currently sat in the very much broken camp. I was blessed in a few ways and now have a pretty huge hunk of breakdown happening. And weirdly, it doesn’t scare me. It did, believe me it did. No one wants to feel like their life is falling apart around them, and boy do I know how that feels (and no I am not being over dramatic….I have been there!) But despite the fact that someone I care about is currently in hospital not doing so well and on & off suicide watch, my job doesn’t challenge me any more, I don’t really have any money to enjoy the amazing city I live in, my best friends are HUNDREDS of miles away, my current living situation will be over in July and I am still trying to battle with some deep-rooted personal issues (wow that is a LONG list) I know this period is something that will set me up for something amazing. I am being moulded for greatness, and that can ONLY be a good thing.

Yes…I want to shout at God sometimes, more than sometimes to be honest. When I get a message that James has got worse not better, when my job makes me want to scream, when I see bad things happen to good people…I often get cross with Him. But I think this is healthy. Find me a HAPPY relationship that has been going for 2 years or more that has NEVER had an argument and I will give you a million pounds. I gave this advice to a friend of mine, get emotional with God, cry out to him, be cross, God will probably go…GOOD, I am pleased you are getting emotional at me, it shows you care!!! And guess what…she got cross, and God answered her!!

For anyone who is struggling with the concept of God…and I have done in the past. Being broken hurts like HECK, sometimes it is hard to see how there can be a God if this is happening to you. I get that. No, really I do. But try handing that pain back to God. Say a prayer. Yep, you may feel stupid, that is normal but you will see (it may take time….a long time sometimes, which is often disheartening) that you come out of the other side, stronger, more faithful, more equipped for life and definitely more blessed.

Thanks for reading, I hope this has had some effect on your way of thinking today, feel free to ask me questions on it and I will answer.

Gemma
xx

Now…I wrote this a month ago almost – things have changed a little since then. I was 100% broken, not handling the whole James thing very well, not handling my job at all and really wanting to quit, feeling very lonely in London… Since then I have quit my job (a HUGE faith step) AND dealt with the James situation quite well to the point that I feel at peace with it all. I definitely feel like I am moving out of the broken camp and into the next stage. This has come through some serious prayer and being surrounded by some amazing people who all know who they are. I want to thank you all for being there in ways that some of you don’t even realise and as I continue on this next step I continue to pray that you all remain in my life. #Iamthankful

A brief break from Kenya to help clear my head!!

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So I’ve had a pretty terrible few days to be honest with you all. 

Wednesday arrived and for the 1st time ever I was not looking forward to email time. I was dreading it to be honest! I had no idea what to say, how to say it or even if he was going to read it!

I got so stressed out about it it made me feel guilty and that made me upset! I was sat crying my eyes out over it. How can I not know what to say to a guy I have such strong feelings for?! How can I NOT want to email him?! I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Had I gotten to the end of my patience? Was this my heart telling me it was over? Or my head telling me to walk away? Or was it just my hormones getting the better of me?!

After my little mini break down and a cup of tea or 2 I finally found the words to tell him I was thinking of him and hopefully put a smile on his face. And I chose my words wisely. Reminding him of our 1st date and how happy he made me. Hoping it would bring a smile to his face. I THINK it worked, an hour or so later I get a text message saying thank you and that he wants to tell me he was thinking of me! Queue more tears!

Then after such an emotional disaster of an evening, I get some other pretty crappy info!

Turns out woman’s intuition is rarely wrong. I can’t expand on this story it’s not fair on those involved but I can tell you my reaction.  

I pretty much screwed it all up! I may have lost a good friend through taking out my frustration about the whole James situation on him. I want to explain what’s going on in the little messed up place that is my mind but I just can’t find the words. I want to pick up the phone and call him and tell him I’m not mad and I totally understand the situation but I’m scared I’ll cry. My reaction was completely excessive and uncalled for. It was not the time to try and explain feelings, especially not the way I did!

So if you are reading this….I’m sorry. I hope it can all be sorted and will go back to our version of “normal”.