Friday, 29 January 2016

To blog or not to blog?

Recently I have been seeing a lot of post about how blogging is now a waste of time for writers. I pretty sure everyone had mixed opinions about this, but I am starting to feel personally that perhaps it is. 

I can't honestly say that my blog has ever attracted anyone other than other writers and the word counts I put out on my blog, especially this month, while I have been really putting my all in to it, are extremely high. In fact higher than the word counts I have achieved on my current work in progress.

And there is a very obvious pattern too. I comment on others blogs, I get comments back, but how many of these people are reading your blog because they actually want to and not just because they feel duty bound. 

Join hope and you get lots of comments but again it's all people doing that hop. I know myself that I often read so many posts on others blogs, simply just so I can leave a comment in hopes that they might return the favour and it just seems like a waste of time. Do I rush out and buy their books, honestly, no. Not unless it really speaks to me. Do I remember what they said on their blog a few days later. Rarely! 

So are we just blogging for bloggings sake? I'm starting to feel that way. 

Wouldn't it be better to put all those words into my current work in progress instead? Probably. 

So round and round I have gone over this. To blog or not to blog? 

Even now I'm not sure, but is it really worth continuing something that seem so pointless. Maybe it's time to just let our work speak for itself through the pages of our books. 

I am really struggling to see the point of this right now and so for that reason, I am seriously considering waving goodbye to blogging for good. 

So I have no week in review post for you today, instead I have just this post. Which maybe my very last. Who knows? What I do know is this weekend, I am going to be doing a lot of thinking and I won't lie, this may very well be the end of my blog. 

Love and hugs 
Joss xx

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My life in books

It's Wednesday and that means it's time for another, My life in books. 

I have some great and not so great books for you today. From a whole range of genres. So hopefully, you find something that you or your child will enjoy! All of the books in this post were given to me for free by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

The silk merchants daughter by Dinah Jefferies. 

 Back cover blurb:

War, secrets and an unbearable choice; your sister or your lover?

1952, French Indochina. Since her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule – and her own family’s involvement shocks her to the core…
Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she’s always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial-era Vietnam.

My thoughts

Nicole, the lead character in this story, was an interesting person whose life in 
1952 French Indochina very quickly drew my attention.

I particularly liked how Dinah gently guides you through Nicole's world, with little snippets of everyday life for both the poor of Indonesia and those higher up in society. It was such a gentle process that I often didn't realize it was happening until I suddenly found myself searching google images, for photo's from this period and longing for a little silk purse, just like the one Nicole discovers in the story. 

I became so enthralled by the imagery of this book, that I began doodling little Indonesian girls and pretty flowers in my bullet journal. Desperate to capture a memory of the book that I could look back on in the future and smile about. 

I love books that absorb you in this way, as they really help you to step out of reality and into a whole exciting, new world.

Nicole was a great character to help you with this process also because she was perfectly flawed. Let me explain, though pretty, Nicole believes that she is not, this isn't just a play at modesty, Nicole truly believes it. She's grown up in a world where her sister has always seemed more favoured, a sister who despite also being a Metisse, looks decidedly French in appearance, whereas, Nicole does not. She's inherited her mother's Indonesian features and her lack of confidence in her own beauty is further enhanced by the way she is treated by both the French and Indonesian people, who due to rising tensions and the threat of war between the two races, have both become incredibly distrusting of those who are mixed race. 

These problems combined with some pretty big family secrets and some decidedly shady behavior from those Nicole comes into contact with, throughout the story, helps you to, not only, build a strong affection for Nicole, but also ensure that you are constantly left guessing at just where the story will go. 

Dinah has constructed this story so well, that I often found it as difficult to decide on the best course of actions, as Nicola herself did. 

Which meant when her choices proved to be bad, I would admonish myself just as Nicole did. While also feeling proud when we got it right. An experience that only further succeeded in bonding me with this character and her story. 

My favourite part of this book was its ability to draw me in. Often making it incredibly easy to shut out the real world and its many distractions.

Dinah is brilliant at creating realistic emotions and reactions. Her understanding of the human thought process was amazing.

The only area where this book left me a little disappointed was the speed with which it sometimes dealt with the darker aspects of Nicoles world. In particular, her brief visit to the re-education camp. I really would have liked to know more about what took place in these camps and why? And although Dinah did cover this briefly, I think a little bit more of a tour of the site, would have been good.  

That said, when it comes to the unpleasantries of war, I do prefer it when there is a little less information than I would like, over there being a lot more information than I would like. 

I have read books that deal with a period of time and setting where war was occurring in the past that have left me bored to tears with their long drawn out explanations, that often deviate away from the story itself and can really cause you to lose interest. 

Dinah doesn't do this, everything she writes is relevant and to the point and I did appreciate that as a reader. 

If you're a fan of historical fiction with fabulously believable characters and gripping imagery that has the ability to really make you feel as if you are stepping back in time. Then this is the book for you. 

If you like books that deal with difficult choices, hard realities, and family lies and secrets, then again this is a book for you

In reality, I think there is a vast range of people who would enjoy this book. Even those who like a little bit of romance, because Dinah really is a talented author, who has already made it onto the Sunday times #1 bestseller list with her book "The planter's wife." 

Which I've just purchased along with another book by Dinah called "The superstition."

Yep, I liked this book that much. :) 

The silk Merchants Daughter isn't due for release until 25th of February 2016, but you can  pre-order it from Amazon, as I've just done. (I have to have a hard copy of this one for my shelves, plus I think it's important to show authors your appreciation when you do like their work, especially if they've been kind enough to allow you to read an ARC of their book.)

A big thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book for free, in exchange for an honest review.

Stanley at school by Linda Bailey

Back cover blurb:

Stanley knows school is for kids, not dogs. But every day he grows more and more curious. What did the kids do in that school all day? Stanley rounds up his pals from the dog park to take a closer look. Will they find the answers they're looking for? One thing is for certain: School + Stanley = TROUBLE!

My thoughts 

I love dogs and so any book that has dogs on the cover is going to attract my attention. Beyond that and the fact that it's obviously to do with a school, I really wasn't sure what to expect with this one. 

The dogs were brilliant, especially Nutsy and Gassy Jack. It wasn't so much that they did more than the other characters, they were just so darn cute! Some of the poses and facial expressions nutsy pulls had me giggling like a little school girl. I particularly liked his yoga-esk pose in the school hallway. (Whispers to the powers that be, "Can I please, have a whole book of Nutsy picture.")

Bill Slavin has illustrated this book beautifully. The pictures often fill the whole page and have so much going on you could just sit there and stare for a few minutes, if it weren't for the story enticing you forwards. (Helpful tip: read through the story then nip back through the book a second time to fully appreciate the illustrations.)

And here's what is really great about this book the illustrations and story work so well together. Both are fun and joyful and just when you think "Awww no." Linda hits you with a brilliant ending. 

This is a book your kids will love and which you'll adore sharing with them. 

I know I'll be doodling pictures of these cute dogs all over my bullet journal for weeks to come. 

So buy it, share it and enjoy it with all the kids you know. You won't regret it. 

Doodle adventures: The search for the Slimy Space Slugs! By Mike lowery. 

Back cover blurb:

Pick up a pencil or pen. Sharpen your imagination! Here's an adventure story where you, the reader, directly participate. DOODLE ADVENTURES: THE SEARCH FOR SLIMY SPACE SLUGS! marries the pleasures of doodling and drawing with the fun of a ripping good story. Like a visual Mad Libs chapter book, or a graphic novel where the reader gets to help with the graphics, it celebrates engaging, gamelike, fill-in fun for middle-grade readers.

Mike Lowery brings the fresh lively look of his Kid's Awesome Activity Calendar, with more than 65,000 copies in print, to the first in a series of DOODLE ADVENTURES—lighthearted fantasy stories where the reader first draws him- or herself into the story, and then continues by following prompts and adding more illustrations and doodles. The full-color book is sturdy paper over board with beautiful cream paper—perfect for defacing! Page after page mixes Lowery's hand-lettered text with illustrations and then lots of room for the reader's contributions.

Set in space, the book invites the reader to join Carl, a duck and member of a super-secret international group of explorers, on a journey in search of a very important grail-like object—a jar with an artifact that's gone missing. By the end of the adventure, you'll have co-written a tale you can read again and again and show off to family and friends.

My thoughts 

This is a brilliant idea for a kids book and a great way for kids, to not only get involved with the story but to unleash their creativity. 

The book has a great plot, that is funny and engaging while also providing plenty of opportunities for kids to make choices which they're then encouraged to sketch into the book. 

My eight-year-old son would absolutely love this book and it is definitely one I will be purchasing for him in the future. 

Your child gets to play the part of a secret agent, coming up with solutions and drawing them into the book in order to complete their mission. 

Not only can kids have fun reading and interacting with this book, but they can show it off to their friends and compare. (Assuming, of course, their friend has the book, which I think if they didn't they soon would.) 

The illustrations already done in the book are great, not overly detailed, so as to give your kid a complex, but nice, simple, yet brilliant illustrations that will amuse and entice your child along with the story. 

I don't think there are many kids that wouldn't enjoy this book unless I guess they absolutely loathe drawing, but I have yet to meet a child like that. 

I really can't recommend this book enough it's such a clever idea and a great way to get reluctant readers, to put down their computer controller and dive into a great book. 

A must buy, for every parent. 

Risuko by David Kudler

Back cover blurb: 

Can One Girl Win A War? My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls meRisuko. Squirrel. I am from Serenity Province though I was not born there. My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack and my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman. All I want to do is climb. My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel. Risuko. ~*~ Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan - or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems. Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is. Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn't possible have the power to change the outcome. Or could she? YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL ADVENTURE COMING JUNE, 2016!

My thoughts

First of all, I need to talk about the cover. It's such a simple design and yet so beautiful. If you're anything like me, you'll be snapping this one up, based on the cover alone and if you do you won't be disappointed.

Risuko is the tale of a young girl who is suddenly sold by her mother to a somewhat strange old woman and marched off to become part of a school, that you very quickly begin to discover is not all that it seems.

The book starts at a fast pace, giving you very little time to actually bond with Risuko and this is actually a very clever move by David because her plight itself is what really draws the reader to her.

Thrust into a strange band of people and told very little, you travel with Risuko steadily learning along with her just what her future holds. Only to discover that every time you think you've got it sussed you're wrong. 

 The first part of the book centers around Riskuo's journey to her new school, David crafts this story in such a way that even before Risuko makes it to her new home your aware that this school is not as simple as it first appeared to be. 

The story is set in a period when Japan is at war. As they travel you learn not only about Japanese culture, but the war itself. 

The journey also allows for you to be introduced to a part of the large group of characters in this book, at a slow and steady pace, making the process of getting to know them all much easier. 

On reaching the school, the pace begins to slow down, while still managing to keep you engaged, as you watch the children slowly begin to learn in, at times, very baffling ways, that often leave you smiling, or scratching your head in confusion. 

David is a master not only of words but of plotting. His book is so well crafted and laid out, that you'd be hard pressed to find anything that doesn't work. From the second I picked this book up, I was entranced by Risuko's world and its heady mixture of fun and unusual characters. So much so, that I read the book through in one go, then admonished myself for it, because it was done and I couldn't make it go on, not right then and there at any rate. 

But go on it will because Risuko is the first in what is to be a series of books. ( beaming over here.)

Now for the sad part, Risuko isn't due for release until 15th of June. Which means we're really going to have to wait a little while for the next book in the series. That said, you can pre-order Risuko now, and read and re-read to your hearts content once it arrives. 

I know I'll be reading this one again and again, in fact, I'm even tempted to pick it up and start reading again right now, and I'm not joking. 

This is an amazing book, that along with its author, deserves to go far. 

Well, that's it for me again this week, apologies this one is coming so late in the day, powercuts dictated the schedule :) 

Love and hugs
Joss xx

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Too much!

I've been talking to my husband tonight, mainly about the fact that I am constantly exhausted, from working from 7 in the morning to 10:30 at night everyday of the week. The reason I have been doing this, is because I have been reading, reviewing, blogging, writing a novel and of course homeeducstion my son, like crazy. 

This month I have read and reviewed 28 books. Written around 13 blog posts, which combined totals around 24,043 words. Created three blog post banners, written 22,822 words on my current novel and of course spent quite a lot of time blog commenting, lesson planning for my son and of course working with him on his lessons. 

I'm shattered and I think something has to give because my poor hubby is barely getting any attention, and I've badly strained my neck an injury the doctor says I need to rest but which I have been unable to do, due to constantly being on the computer, which seems to be what makes the pain worse.

So, I have been talking about what I can cut back with my husband and we both feel that I need to cut out some of the blog posts. For this reason I will be cutting out the news in review posts and only be reviewing on my blog, the books that I have enjoyed. Shorter reviews will be done for those I haven't enjoyed on goodreads. The this day in history post will also be being axed. 

My blog as a result will only have two planned posts a week, those being, my life in books on a Wednesday, reviewing, of course, only he books I have enjoyed and the my week in review posts on a Friday. 

I will of course still be doing the Insecure writers support group posts on the first Wednesday of every month, as well as random posts whenever I feel I have something of worth to post about. 

Hopefully by doing this I will have shorter more easy to manage days. 

Well that's it from me, for now. 

Love and hugs all 
Joss xx

Friday, 22 January 2016

My week in review

There hasn't been a whole lot going on for me this week, besides work, work and more work.

My life is filled with reading reviewing, writing and of course home educating my son. As a result it's been difficult to get much time to just relax. 

That said I don't mind too much, I find I feel better about myself at the end of the day when I known I've worked hard and I am also privledge to be doing things I love, when it comes to work. 

It's people like my hubby I feel sorry for, who have to go out and do a job that is hard work and in no way fun, especially when it is outdoors in all kinds of horrible weather. 

What free time I have had, I've spend doodling in my bullet journal and planner, or fretting about my sisters upcoming wedding, this weekend. (Congratulations Tasha.)

Some of you may have seen my plea for help regarding whether or not I should try to attend her wedding. Naturally she wants her whole family there on the day. My anxiety disorder makes gatherings, like weddings, impossible for me to attend and so as much as I would like to go, I just don't feel I've got my anxiety under control enough at this point.

I will of course be thinking of her and hope that she has an amazing day, which I'm sure she will. Weddings can be tricky things especially as you are often gathering together a lot of relatives that aren't particularly fond of each other. 

I know Tash will have a few like that their tomorrow, but I am sure they will all behave for her sake. You see Tasha is one of the more sensible, well rounded members of our family. She has certainly always been an inspiration to me, because she has always been incredibly determined, ambitious and sure of what she wants in life and has worked really hard to achieve that. Which is why, if anyone deserves a great day on their wedding day, it's her. 

My husband is also a very well rounded person. Sometimes he is so quite, not the biggest conversationalist, but insanely smart. He made me a cute mini bowl and plate at the weekend as well as a little case, that I am going to paint when I get the chance. He made them out of wood on his lathe and it amazes me the things he can do on that machine, but he is not just clever with his hand, he's one of those people that never seems to put his foot in his mouth and doesn't really react to people's idiocy. Just rises above it. I wish I had his skills lol. 

You may remember me mentioning that Dan accidentally broke my iPad last week. Oh the despair! Thankfully, this highlights another upside to having a handy husband. My iPad is now fixed, (I'm actually using it to type this post,) and like new. Now, Dan fixed it himself, meaning we only had to pay for the parts and not labour. What shocked me, was the discovery, through one of the forums I like to frequent, that others who had broken the LCD screen on their iPads, had either paid a small fortune to get it repaired, or just binned it!


I mean, that's a 400 odd quid piece of kit, New. It's not a cheap item to replace. So, why in the hell would you just bin it when it can be fix. Especially, when there are YouTube videos that talk you through it. Okay, so not everyone is confident to have a go at fixing something like an IPad, but surely if your already thinking just bin it and get new, it's gotta be worth a try, getting it fixed. 

For a new LCD screen and glass screen, my hubby paid about £50. That came with all the tools you need to do the job, bar your heat source, which can come from something as basic as a hairdryer, which most people have anyway and if not you can always grab one from Argos for as little as £7.99.
(I know because believe it or not we don't have a hair dryer, I've heard bad things about them drying out your hair and slowly wrecking it over time and so I much prefer to towel dry.)

It wasn't an easy job by any means getting the glass screen off was really tough and ours actually shattered in the process, but it was only about £10 pound to replace that. Our final bill would have only been around £40 if it wasn't for that. 

At any rate, the point I am trying to make here, is that we seem to have turned into a throw away society. When it used to be a case of if it break fix it, now we don't even try and instead just fork out 400 quid when we could have just paid £50 or maybe a little more if hiring someone to do it for you. 

Companies of course don't want you to fix things and often make it quite tough to do so, but that doesn't mean things can't be fixed and YouTube is a great place to find instructional videos teaching you how. 

Laptops in particular, tend to be something most people end up replacing a lot, and I actually have a handy tip for you here. I used to go through a laptop every 2 to 3 years. They would just suddenly start over heating, keep shutting down without warning and eventually stop working altogether. 

I was lucky to talk to a guy who specialises in fixing laptops, and one who was very honest with me, which to be fair they normally tend not to be, because there job is fixing them and they don't really want to lose their business, but this guy was a friend and also retired, so filled me in. 

Every laptop will suck in dust overtime, I think most of us know that, and the more dust, pet hair and junk they suck in the harder the fans have to work to cool your laptop down until eventually, no matter how hard your fans work they just aren't up to the task, it's all just to clogged and the over heating happens.

Now if you don't deal with this problem and just keep using your laptop eventually it will get all burned up and be scrap. Unless someone's willing to put in a new motherboard or something. (Hey! I'm not an expert.) 

The companies who make laptops, they want this to happen, because of course they want your business so if you throw your laptop out, maybe you'll come buy another from them, but this doesn't need to happen, you see there are two things you can do to save your laptop. 

The first is to clear it of dust regularly. I was recommended to do this every six months, but tend to do it once a year. You can get someone to do this for you for not all that much, as it's simply a case of  getting all the dust and crud out. My hubby does this for me and if you have a handy hubby the. Utilise them and save yourself some pennies, because if you can do this yourself, it will cost nothing. 

The second thing, that most people don't know is that there is something called heat sync gel or thermal paste, that is applied to your CPU by the manufactorers of laptops when they are built. Now here's the sneaky part. This stuff helps to stop your computer overheating. (you're not gonna get all the technical info here, I'm not a computer whizz, but it is easy to find it you search YouTube, this is just the basics that I was told.) now, manufactures will purposely put this stuff on pretty sparingly, as well as not using very good quality stuff, because they want the computer to have a shorter life span, by all accounts. Overtime this stuff starts drying out and causes overheating if the laptop, but, if when you clean your laptop out you check this gel and find it has dried out, you can actually buy more thermal paste/heat sync gel and clean of the old and apply new, thus extending the life of your laptop for another few years. 

Since learning this trick, which my husband has only had to do once so far, where as he's cleaned my laptop out loads, my current laptop has not only outlived all my others by several years, but still runs like it did when new, no problems at all. So yeah, don't fork out a small fortune for a new laptop every few years, get some one to clean it out and re-apply the gel/paste as and when needed. It really is the best laptop tip I've ever had and even if you are hiring someone to do it for you, it's way cheaper than a whole new laptop and a lot less hassle and stress. I hate trying to transfer all my stuff. 

Any who, got a little of topic there, but hey hoe, it's my blog and I'll ramble if I want to. :) might as well as there hasn't been a whole lot going on this week. :) 

So what about you, how have your weeks been? Is there anything you are looking forward to doing this weekend or perhaps dreading? Let me know in the comments.

That's it from me for now, I haven't got time to take any pictures at the mo and post them up but if I get some time later I might pop back and  dot some pictures around of my doodles from my bullet journal. There not great but they brighten it up a bit and make me smile when I look back through my journals at a later date. 

Do you keep a bullet journal, or some other record of life? If so what?

I may even include a snap of my dodo pad, where I doodle in pictures to represent the books I've read each week. It's works as a nice visial reminder, especially when I am drawing some of the really cute kid book characters. 

Well love and hugs all
And have a great weekend 
Joss xx

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Anxiety disorder explained

Yesterday, my anxiety disorder really put me through the ringer. As many of you know, I make no secret of the fact that I have an anxiety disorder.

My anxiety disorder stems from a lot of bad experiences in my childhood, including both physical and sexual abuse.

As a result, I struggle with social situations, as well as a lot of phobia and irrational fear based anxieties.

Now, not everyone who has an anxiety disorder has had a difficult childhood. Anxiety can affect anyone and at any age.

My social anxiety disorder started when I was in my teens, but never really felt unmanageable to me then. It was only when my son was born that my anxiety really took a hard grip on my life and started to really have a detrimental effect.

I'm not sure why this was, therapists have suggested that it was my need to protect my son. A fear that some of the things I had experienced as a child might happen to him and that I would fail to protect him.

Now let me explain as best I can, how anxiety works.

Ordinarily, if someone thinks about going somewhere, to a party, for example. They will generally consider things like. "Do I feel like going? What should I wear? I wonder who will be there?" Just normal healthy thought patterns. They might feel a small amount of anxiety around what to wear or maybe who will be there, but it's not a huge deal.

When you have and anxiety disorder it doesn't work like that. If for example I was asked to a party, this would be my thought process:

"Who will be there? What if they don't like me? What if people stare at me? What if people start talking about me behind my back? What if I say or do something wrong? What if I have a panic attack? What if I can't go in? What if it's hard to leave when I need too? What if I don't know anyone and am left sitting in a corner by myself? What if there are younger people there who will make rude comments or be unpleasant to me? What if I am left on my own while we are there? What if I want to leave and my husband/ friends don't? I don't want to spoil anyone else's night because of my anxiety. What if my back gets too painful? What if I can't hide the pain? What if people think my pain is due to my weight and judge me badly because of it? What if someone has a go at me for being a drain on the NHS because of my weight and the fact that I am in a wheelchair?

I could go on and on. It wouldn't just be the party itself that would make me anxious. I would also get anxious about the weather because the weather affects the journey there and I struggle to cope with traveling in the car in wet, icy or snowy weather.

I'll also worry about the car. Constantly tense as I try to listen for any noises that don't seem quite right and then working myself into a state about what will happen if it breaks down. Let me show you a bit of that though process.

"What's that noise? Is that normal? I don't think that's normal. It sounds like it's coming from the wheel. Omg! is the wheel going to come off? What will happen if the wheel comes off? Will we crash into another car, wall, hedge? Omg! we're going over a bridge, what if it tire goes while we are on this bridge? What if we go through the wall and into the water? What do I do? Will I be able to get Kye out, with my bad back?  What if I can't get my seatbelt off? I'm a better swimmer than Dan, so it will have to be me who gets them out." Of course, we can be long over the bridge, but it won't matter because there are always more bridges. And therein lies the problem, There are always more things my brain can find to focus on and freak out about and when this happens, which is pretty much every day and in anything I do, it can be debilitating.

My anxiety affects me most when it comes to visiting doctors or dentist, being involved in new social situations, having to go places where I might bump into people who I haven't seen in a long time, going out in the car, going anywhere new, where I don't know what disabled access is like, or when dealing with people I see as official.

Now anxiety can be managed with a lot of hard work, but it is a very long process and it is also an illness that can return again and again, even after you have worked hard to fix it.

There is also medication that is meant to help; however, my experience with anxiety medication so far has not been good. In fact, both types that my doctor has tried, have done little to effect the anxiety, but given me a whole lot of unpleasant side effects.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is supposed to be great at battling the anxiety and I use a little bit of that and also have started to force myself to deal with situations that I am not comfortable with, slowly and surely, little by little, because of this, I am now able to do some things that I never thought I would find possible.

So what happens when I find myself in a situation I can't cope with?

Well, very quickly I'll become over emotional, breathing will become difficult, my mouth will become incredibly, dry, I will get stomach cramps and churning that can make me feel that everything inside my tummy has instantly turned to mush. My thoughts will race out of control so it can be hard for me to focus on any one thing and I will get chest pains and heart palpitations.

How do I stop a panic attack?

Well, that depends on if it is an attack that gradually builds or not.

If it is a gradually building attack there are ways my husband can distract me from it, such as asking me questions about my day and pushing for an answer. Yes, he has to push, because if he doesn't I tend to just remain focused on the fears. This works because it is difficult for me to focus and respond to what he is saying while allowing the fear thoughts to roll.

There are also ways I can help myself once in the panic attack, sometimes too. Such as looking around me and thinking about what I am seeing and simply saying what that is. So see a tree, say "Tree." see a sign say "Sign." and it is amazing how well this can work.

If things escalate too far, say when we are in the car in bad weather, pulling over for a while can sometimes help, even if it is just into a layby. The fear will, of course, build again as soon as we start moving, but if you have got past the point when distractions can be used, this can bring you down enough to start the journey again, using the distraction techniques, mentioned above and thus, keeping the anxiety at a manageable level.

What it is important to remember, is that anxiety affects everyone differently, all I can tell you is how it affects me and what helps me.

Some people may try these methods and find that they have no effect for them, whatsoever. It's really just a case of trial an error.

I am working hard to beat my anxiety, but I am also aware that even once I think, I have it beaten, there is still a good chance it could come back at a later date.

Before I end this post I want to look at a few things, I think everyone should know about anxiety.

You shouldn't get mad at  people when they are having an attack. They don't have control of what is happening to them, and it will only make things worse.

Don't stop asking them to come out with you. Okay so they will probably say no, and that's okay and you should let them know that's okay, but not asking them at all can make them feel left out and only further enforce their anxieties about how people perceive them.

Make an effort to go and spend time with them, where they do feel comfortable, the more excluded and alone we feel, the worse the anxiety seems to get.

Try to learn a little bit about their anxiety disorder. Not so that you can quote suggestions and ideas at them, but so that you can understand what they are going through.

If you do find things that people have found to help with anxiety, such as asking the person questions in an attempt to break their thoughts away from the fear. Try it without telling them what you are doing. If it seems to help, then talk to them about it, ask questions like "Do you think that me asking you questions like that, help? Is it something you would like me to try again in the future?" as this will help them to feel they can trust in you and that you won't push them when they don't want to be pushed.

when someone has anxiety remember to take things slowly. Don't judge or try to push them and definitely don't tell them that it's silly and their fears are irrational. We're not stupid, we already know this. We just can't help it.

Well, I hope this helps people to understand this disorder a little better. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

love and hugs all

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Giant dilemma / life crisis HELP!!!!!!!!!!

This weekend my sister is getting married and she has asked for the whole family to attend. The problem is, one of those family members is, of course, me!!!

Now I have been working really, really hard to overcome my anxiety disorder, but this just seem like a step way to far for me. 

There will be loads of people there I haven't seen for years, not since I was a teenager, and who have certainly not seen me in the flesh, since way before, I gained all my weight and ended up in a frigging wheelchair. 

The though of going to her wedding, in my wheelchair, is making my anxiety go through the roof. 

Heart palpitations anyone?

I don't want to ruin her day, but I honestly don't know if I can cope with a day that essentially throws all of my biggest fears at me, all at once. 

I have considered every possible way round it from...

Dosing up on pain meds and trying to use only my crutches. (Which I know will work for all of 5 seconds before I am a ca lapsed heap on the floor.)


Suddenly becoming a devout Muslim so I can wear a burka. 

I also tried to convince Sammy, to pretend to be me for the day, (free food and drink right!) but she didn't think that would work. I guess it probably wouldn't help that a fair few of those attending A) know Sam, and B) saw me recently enough to know there's and obvious size difference. 

So what do I do? Do I force myself to go and end up an emotional, wreck, sitting outside, unable to go in, became I'm having the mother of all Anxiety attacks which I can pretty much guarantee you, will be the case, or do I not go and feel like a horrible person, whose really let my sister down. 

I really don't know what to do peeps, so I'm calling on all you lovelies out there in blog land for advice. 

So in the words of the beetles...

Alternatively you, you could all just harass Sammy Bell into submission. Well it was worth a try. 

Love and hugs all
Joss xx