I am loathe to do this so early on in the project but the fact of the matter is that I did a bit of a shoe audit the other day and things are looking sparse. In order for the project to continue I am going to have to be a pain and ask for assistance. If anyone has any shoes that they no longer want or even that they could just loan for a few days that would be fantastic.
There are still many shoes ready and waiting for your eyes only but I will soon be getting to the stage where I may be having to wear the highest of high heels to work. My job at times requires me to run around and go up and down the stairs at pace and wearing four and a half inch heels I may struggle to do this.
I am a size seven and will wear literally anything, even Uggs. If you do have any let me know and I will send you my address by return.
Thanks guys, Ellie x
It is my best friend’s birthday tomorrow and so tonight the boy and I go round to see her and have a Chinese take away. As we are going away tomorrow I decide to drive and therefore do not drink. The night is lovely, one of my oldest friends also comes over to join us and the conversation is light and humorous but also full of house talk. I haven’t seen my friend since I put in a bid for the house and everyone is quite amused at the fact that I went for the house before anyone else had seen it.
All is well and I am feeling good during the day apart from needing a bit of a disco nap to set me up for the evening ahead. We look at old photos and laugh about how young we look and the night when I decided to prove that I can in-fact get my leg over my head. Not one of my proudest moments I admit but it was inspired by a bottle of red wine which can clearly be seen etched around my mouth in the photo.
On the drive home however things begin to go wrong. I feel low and even listening to the boys latest singles fails to rouse me from the depths. I am paranoid of the fog and my head is full of negative thought. I worry we will career off the road and that my present and company this evening was just not good enough.
When I was in hospital one of the questions I would torture myself with day in day out, was what is wrong with me? I would ask the staff, my parents, friends and the boy this question in utter desperation and every time the same answer would come back at me. You’re ill they would say, but this did not seem enough of a reason to explain the utter despair I was living with every day.
Tonight when we get home my mother sees it in me straight away and all of us are looking for a reason as to what is wrong and as to how I have gone from whiling the day away happily with the boy to feeling utterly crushed.
The boy puts me to bed in a hooded top and an old pair of joggers. I do not look terribly attractive but still he lies with me and strokes my hair and does his best to soothe my worries away.
“What’s wrong with me?” I ask.
“You’ve got bipolar.” He replied.
“I hate it.” I said.
“I know you do Ellie. We all do.” He said.
When I was undertaking the bipolar awareness course in Harborough one of the strategies we came up with as a way of protecting oneself against depression was a survival kit. This would be a box, as small or as large as you choose, that will protect you when you are seriously down.
In this box you can keep anything you want, so long as it doesn’t make you sad. This last part is the hard bit as often I have found that when I am down the most innocuousness object can cause me to cry.
We discussed at the meeting what we would put in the box and people came up with various suggestions including pictures, fabric, essential oils, sentimental stones and music.
Because I am afraid, and indeed know, that one day the depression will return I have been trying to think of what to put in my own memory box so that when the day comes I shall be ready for it, armed with a box to fight it off.
I have decided that what I will put in my box is a photo of a friend and I which was taken while we were in one of the Greek Isles. I am wearing an old favorite dress by Miss Sixty which I no longer own as it became so worn and my eyes are lined like a cat and I just look so utterly content. It is a memory that I treasure and there were no regrets at all from that holiday and the night that I wore the dress I remember doing karaoke in a bar to Bohemian Rhapsody and then drinking cocktails and shots all night. I was still young enough not to have a hangover the next day and it was just a great night.
The second thing I shall put in my box is some rescue remedy. I have no idea if this stuff works but my mother always gives it to me when I am in a tizz and it seems to calm me although maybe it is the fact that it is neat brandy that does the job.
I also believe that there is a scent that brings me back to happy times. It is Aroma Tonic by Lancome which comes in a vivid green bottle and smells like my sister, which is sad but in some ways happy to have something to help me remember all the good times together.
There is also a book that I have of positive comments on me that were written while I was on retreat when I was 17. It was such a wonderful experience and everyone was at their best at the camp where teachers and pupils just came together and were entirely themselves. We went on walks where we spoke to people about anything and everything. The comments are so wonderful and even though they are from people who knew me for a short time they are all glowing and give me such a positive feeling.
The other thing I will include is all of the Harry Potter series. Time and time again I find that even when I am going through a particularly bad depression if I read the series it lifts me and means I can escape into fantasy.
Lastly I would put in there a collection of photos of the people who have loved me and stood by me unconditionally in the past through all of the highs and the lows. As always there are too many to name but what I might do is to ask them if they would put a message on the back, just a sentence, or a few words of encouragement to keep me going.
What would you put in your box?
They are without a doubt one of the best organisations out there for helping to prevent suicide in people who are vulnerable. They guided me through nights when I couldn’t sleep and when all I could think of was the end. At the time I had hoped that I could turn to the Crisis Team in Leicestershire but when I phoned I was not registered and I found that they could not help me.
The Samaritans however had no rules and regulations about who was in their remit and they were there for me the whole time with unconditional support. I rang them on several occasions, usually within the small hours of the morning when I could not sleep and had no hope left.
I had brought myself to the edge. I had taken an overdose, not the kind that is a cry for help, but the kind that is a genuine attempt to meet one’s maker. My kidneys were failing me, they had reduced to a functioning rate of just a quarter of what they had been. I admit it, I was scared, terrified in fact but The Samaritans helped me through.
Although i did not say I was a Christian or had ever donated to their cause they offered me all the comfort they could. I had tried to kill myself but they still wanted to help to make sure I never did it again. They listened to my ills, they heard all of my sins and they did not judge.
I recommend them to anyone who is thinking of ending their life. They offer a friendly ear at the end of a phone that is impartial. When you fear that you cannot turn to family for fear of upsetting them with your dark thoughts they are there to light the way.
If you are feeling blue or in any way suicidal ring them now on 08457 90 90 90. They are open 24 hours a day and they will not judge you, no matter how dark your thoughts.
Having a carer is something I never thought I would have need of until old age or disability struck. It seems that while old age is still some time away, although my aging face may tell a different tale, disability has come early to me.
When Jon Pollard and I decided to do guest blogs for one another, him on his role as a carer for his mum, and my on my own experiences of being cared for, I had to think twice. In a way although I have accepted my illness there is an incredibly strong part of me, a fighting independent, that likes to think that I have no need for a carer.
This however upon reflection is not true. When I was first admitted to hospital in Manchester many years ago the psychiatrist on call asked me who my carer was and whether my illness was being managed at all. My partner answered crossly, ‘she doesn’t need a carer, I look after her.’ It was such a sweet thing to say because although he did care for me deeply he did do even then in such a way that he didn’t even think it amounted to his being a carer.
Now, living back home with my parents, the focus of my care has shifted to my mother. When I was given leave from the depths of despair in the hospital it was to my mother that I would go. Even when she could not care for me and watch over me in my most suicidal state she ensured that there were others who would pick up the slack. My sister, my father, my brother and friends of the family would all take it in turns to keep watch. They would talk to me and they would listen to my tales of woe and do their best to distract me and keep me from the darkness.
My mother, friends and family have all played a huge part in keeping me well and out of hospital but when I was in hospital it was often they who would keep me going as well. They would bring me tales of the outside world, freshly laundered clothes and sweets and treats to keep my spirits up.
I think the hardest part of being cared for is that sometimes you just want everyone to back off and leave you to curl up in a hole and die. It is not fair to ask this of anyone and yet you cannot but hope that they will allow you to.
When I am high I can be a pain to care for. I do not listen well to suggestion and am bad-tempered and often out of sorts. My mother has tried on occasion as has the boy to look after my debit card until I come down. But I become crafty and take to withdrawing cash so as to maintain my independence and have a little fun with my mood.
There is a care plan that I have that reminds me of all the people I need to offer thanks to once I have recovered and so often the list is endless. To be cared for and indeed to admit to being cared for feels like a loss of something deep inside, a proud sense of independence, but at the same time it is this care that has stopped me from succumbing to suicidal urges, taking flight to Paris or coming in harm’s way.
When I am really ill I do not take care of myself and things like cooking or drinking go out the window and all I have time for is to become lost in my thoughts. Having a carer who is unobtrusive when times are good but there as soon as times are bad is invaluable for me and there is not time or the words to thank them all for what they do. But I do thank them from the bottom of my bipolar heart I really and truly do.
Today’s shoes are a pair of Kurt Geiger wonders which I bought from Ebay for a pretty price. They are not the most practical shoes to walk in but they are so pretty and I love the perspex heel on them and the leather front are lovely and comfy on my tootsies.
When I was a little girl and for even longer than that I resisted new things with vigor. My mother once tried to take me to an orchestra to help me embrace my skills as a flautist but I refused point-blank to go and even when she left to check it out I instead chose to sit on the pavement in the car park.
Things did not improve much as I grew older and every time I went to a new group or new lecture I felt the familiar dread and wished that I could hide at home instead.
What is strange is that when I am high I love new things. I will go to anything with anyone and will love every minute be it paintball, archery or even clay pigeon shooting. I embrace everything as an opportunity to meet new people and experience new things and have no fear at all.
This year I am determined that even if I am on a level, even if I am depressed, I will seek to embrace change and try new things. A few weeks ago Jon Pollard, a Harborough blogger sent out a tweet about a book club that would meet in a pub. Aha! I thought. This could be my chance to try something new again.
I cannot pretend that I didn’t resist at first. I had a busy day at work and the club was on my mind all day namely in the form of excuses I could use to get out of it. Although I finished work late and had the perfect excuse not to go I remembered my resolution and set off to the pub with a grave face.
All of the familiar feelings arose as I set off. Maybe there would be nobody there, perhaps I had the wrong date, maybe I’d get drunk and embarrass myself or maybe they’d all realise I was a crazy and not even want me in their normal people group. All perfectly rational thinking you understand.
When I arrived as I feared there was nobody there and I took shelter in my phone while I wondered what to do. Luckily however, before I’d had a chance to make haste and do a runner the leader of the group spotted me and welcomed me over. Everyone seemed nice and friendly and there was no immediate question on my sanity.
We managed to get a separate room so there felt less pressure to drink and with the music turned off we got to work on the book. There were introductions that were largely initiated by me as I love them; I am afraid of new things but never afraid to speak out.
There are to be it seems no rules to the book club and the conversation as such flows nicely with diversions about films, travels and how we all came to live in Harborough. There are people from Leeds, London and even as far away as Melton Mowbray. It feels like rather a jolly little group and my fears about getting far too tipsy are reassured when a man says he does not drink. There is something about this that makes it feel okay that I only have a glass of wine rather than a bottle.
The book that has been chosen for us to read is Bill Bryson, At Home and considering that I am soon to have a home I am excited. The reason I wanted to join a book club is because although I studied English and American Literature at University I’ve never discussed a book purely for pleasure and it seems that a book club is the place to do this.
It would seem from tonight that embracing the new is a good thing to do. Even though I am worrying about mortgages and weight issues all of these worries are taken away for two hours of my day and it feels great to be in a club and not have hidden in a car park to escape it. Progress indeed!
I am full of sunshine! Yesterday’s blues have faded away and I find myself delighted at the smallest thing. I stride to work in the morning promising before I go to make dinner for everyone for two nights running.
At work I get to use a new piece of stationary for the first time and I am so happy that I insist on telling everyone. My positive attitude continues through the day and stories I had worried were too complex come easily on to the page.
I have another meeting with a mortgage provider and am happy because she seems just as delighted as me at the fact that this will be my first real home. My sister drops the monster off, otherwise known as the baby, so she can go shopping and even his bad temper fails to erase my good cheer to the world at large. I smile at people in the streets even when they look like they want to kill me for polluting their air with my smoke.
Instead of sneaking off to bed when I return home I make the dinner, go for a little walk with my mother and even avoid turning to the fridge for comfort. In a mood of creativity I learn how to knit a basic stitch out of sky blue wool and although it is hard I feel as though I have really achieved something.
Knitting is meant to be quite a therapeutic past time and I am hoping that this new skill will help me through both the highs and lows by giving me something to focus upon. Perhaps I will knit myself a pair of shoes or even a scarf although at the rate I am going it will be next winter before I feel the benefit.
Feeling great and full of sunshine and depression is well and truly at bay.
I am in today what can only be described as a bit of a grump. Admittedly it did not help that I drank last night the best part of a bottle of red wine and topped it all off with a Gin and Tonic but even still I am miserable and what’s worse is I know it’s all my own fault.
I wake early with a little bit of a hangover and the day just sort of goes down hill from there. I do all the things I can to try and keep the blues away. I have a good breakfast, get dressed and put on the new shoes for the start of this week and even much to my mother’s amusement take the dog for a walk. I never actually ever do this.
The boy leaves and I am left in a bit of a state because I don’t want him to go. The poor sod is probably glad to leave considering how much of a grump I am in. I yelled at him for daring to suggest the floor of our house was anything but wood – it turned out it is not.
I take to my room by 8pm bringing with me a Mars bar and the weight of the world. Even looking at a home magazine does me no good and that is saying something as I was delighted when the boy bought it for me.
I am fed up of the boots, the project and fear that I will never receive donations of shoes and that it will all fall flat and I will fail to make any money at all for charity. This saddens me and I find myself willfully escaping into Wolf Hall and the court of King Henry VIII.
My poor mother comes in to see if I am okay and my father attempts to talk to me about mortgages but my head is a mess and I take so little of it in that he ends up having to write it all down for fear I will forget.
I hate days like these and can only hope tomorrow will bring brighter times.
This week’s shoes are a pair of boots by Fly. In one of the pictures my mother has taken my head off but I cannot blame her as I took hers off on several occasions throughout the day.
I am drunk. It is rare these days that I become so as I tend to drink a lot less but nevertheless I have accidentally ended up really rather drunk this evening. We go out to a sweet little place in Burton Overy and although the food is spectacular and the atmosphere ever so nice the food takes quite a while to come.
After a gin and tonic that I polish off for old times sake me and the boy move on to our bottle of wine. I drink slowly but it’s ever so strong and the food is taking ever so long and before I know it I’m more than just a little bit tipsy.
Alcohol does not always suit me. I get louder than usual, forget that I can’t sing and yet all my troubles fade away. Before the start of the meal I am fretting about mortgages and house prices but by the end of it I have forgotten all of this and my only thought is of chocolate and sweet things and listening to more Ed Sheeran something the boy seems delighted about.
I worry about getting drunk because it is not so much my tendency to be a bit of a lark when la la, it is how I tend to feel the next day. Alcohol is not exactly the best thing to mix with tablets and a hangover can even send you on a low. However it is not often that I find myself so merry and so even if there is a little bit of pay back tomorrow I’ve had a wonderful evening and when the food finally came it was luscious.
Today’s outfit is that which I wore on the day I did The Sun photo shoot. The bag is my new knitting bag with which I am really rather taken with which may well be evident here.
I went to see the CPN today for a check up. Two weeks ago I was not doing so well but I now feel as though I am back on track. The CPN agrees and she has been keeping an eye on the blog to monitor my crazy and is pleased with my progress.
A while ago, just before Christmas I took a Bipolar Awareness Course which was designed in Wales. On the first day I went I had to be practically dragged there kicking and screaming and it was only because my mum dropped me off and promised to pick me up that I went.
The course turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. As a result of it I have learned so much more about my illness and now finally accept the fact that I am bipolar and that I do need to take medication to manage it.
When I was first diagnosed I didn’t really believe that I needed to take the medication to control the highs as I wasn’t entirely convinced that I really experienced them, although everyone else would have disagreed. Following the course I understand so much more about my illness and how to manage it. I also now believe that it is something that can be managed and because of this control I have never considered suicide since.
The CPN is proud of me as she sees a change in me too. She says that I have matured with my illness. I no longer fluctuate in mood so severely and even though I had a high during the course I was able to control it and even managed to avoid the subsequent crippling low.
Today’s outfit was chosen because the boy is coming down. Both he and the CPN worry that I have been buying more shoes but these are just a pair that I had kept in hiding. The dress is by Calvin Klein and was one that I couldn’t bear to part with at the dress sale. I bought it while I was in the States and went without food for a day just to have it. The tights are a pair that my mum got me from a charity shop. They are white and I think that they really show off the shoes with their gold platform and fine buckles really well.