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Changes

My old medication zombified me, I was on it for ~ 10 years and although it helped the extreme anxiety and depression by dampening feelings, it also meant that happiness and joy were dampened too.

There comes a huge pressure along with not being able to laugh so easily. Sometimes it would come naturally, other times I would think “this is funny, I should be laughing” but nothing would come out; I would attempt an awkward ‘ha’ and I would spend the rest of the day and night worrying that I had probably offended that person by not laughing enough.

I didn’t really cry so much, unless I was really unwell. Sadness just felt like emptiness, grief, heartbreak. And I would dissociate.

I changed to another medication this year, because I finally have a doctor who really listens and genuinely cares about trying to improve my life. I didn’t really want to change. I thought, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; but I really trust him and the thought of it helping my nerve pain was worth a try.

Well, I hated this new stuff. I actually feel things. I cry ALL the time. I feel deep pain, sadness and grief, but I also feel happiness. In the beginning, the happiness wasn’t worth it. And it’s still hard, I feel it so strongly that I often cry when people show kindness.

But I’m finally realising that this pain is a blessing and it is a way for me to finally learn to sit with my feelings, and to stop being afraid of them.

So, I’m sorry for all the tears, but they’re not all so bad.

The law of attraction can be toxic

For some, the law of attraction is a very motivating and exciting factor in getting to where they want to be, in their career, personal or social life. When I was trying to conceive, after years of trying I was given ‘the secret’ on dvd and told to hang up a small item of baby clothing in my room to ‘put my wishes out into the universe’. What you ask for, you will get, I was told.

But for someone with OCD this can be a dangerous affirmation that our intrusive thoughts will indeed come true. The more you try and stop intrusive thoughts and images the more likely you are to get them, and the more often. And the more you have them, the more likely it will be, following the logic of the law of attraction that they will come true. Compulsions become even more important in trying to counteract this.

I have many different intrusive thoughts, but I will give a few examples.

  • When my heart beats fast my health anxiety insists that it is a heart attack. My compulsions are to body check, feel my heartbeat and pulse, check my temperature with my hand on my forehead and cheeks, try to cool myself down, sip water and seek reassurance. According to the law of attraction, I am attracting the event of a heart attack.
  • When I travel by car I am convinced we will crash and compulsions include praying, begging for a safe journey repeatedly and opening and closing my jaw in line with the road markings. According to the law of attraction, I am attracting a car accident.
  • When I am apart from my husband or daughter I have intrusive thoughts and images about them getting hurt or never returning. Compulsions include reassurance by text, self reassurance, rumination, avoidance. This is the worst one, because if my worry about this happening attracts it happening, like the secret suggests, it will all be my fault if something happens.

If the law of attraction works for you with no adverse effects, that’s great. But it’s important to realise it’s not going to help everyone.

Louise x

Credit: jplenio

Autumn

I find autumn the easiest time of the year to get back into mindfulness. It’s easy to leave autopilot when there is so much obvious change around you, leaves are turning their beautiful colours, crunching underfoot. The cold seeps in through the wind and your nose begins to freeze. The frost makes the most incredible patterns and the sky is a different colour every day. Soon it will be dark for most of the day so it’s important to take in as much light as we can now.

As the animals get ready for the big sleep, I’m getting ready for winter; cosy blankets, apple and cinnamon tea & candles everywhere…

Fabalulu’s

This week as part of my #supportsmallbusinesses project I’m interviewing the wonderful Lucy from Fabalulu’s.

Let’s get to know you, tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi I’m Lucy I’m a nurse, and Fabalulu’s is something that I do with my fiancé James. We 24 and 25 and we started this as a hobby.

It’s so nice that you do something that you love. What do you sell?

Resin gifts; we make pendants that can be key rings or necklaces. We also make artisan keycaps and some other products. We decorate our stuff with glitter, beads, real flowers, seashells, gold leaf and anything fun really.

They really are beautiful. Are you looking forward to Christmas?

Yes, James and I are in the process of buying a house and we should be moving in and having our first Christmas together in our own home by then.

That’s so exciting! What is your favourite time of year?

I love spring, but all my important events are in winter. So spring for the flowers and winter for the memories💜

I love spring too. That’s such a nice way to think of winter though. Do you have any tips on how to relax?

That’s one of the reasons I got into resin craft because I find crafting very relaxing. Although the mess is no fun! I also love baths 🙂 James enjoys gaming to relax.

I’m so glad you’ve found things to help you feel good. If you could go back and meet your teenage self what advice would you give?

I don’t think I would I’m trying to live in the moment these days and I honestly can’t remember anything specific 😂 so I guess keep doing what you’re doing?

I think that’s great advice. Thanks Lucy!

For a chance to win a gorgeous keyring go to my Instagram page or Facebook page

Things I need to know

My new book arrived this week and I’m so happy with it. I got inspiration to write this book to try and encourage teens to read, but I just know that my adult friends will love it too.

I was in a huge dilemma because after carefully choosing the illustrations and formatting when publishing I found out it would be really expensive to print. I went back and forth trying to decide what to do. In the end i decided to just go with it after I had spent so many hours getting it perfect. I’m so happy I did, it’s come out beautifully.

So many wonderful people helped me to create this book and you can tell that so much love and care has gone into it. Here are some pictures, I basically want to show you every page but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I’ll share some others another day 😊

New book release

I was going to release this book around August in time for the new school year, but honestly I feel like we need it right now, more than ever.

Not only has coronavirus brought restrictions, devastation and anxiety to us adults, but it has turned our children’s worlds upside down too.

No one knows what is going to happen with schools re-opening but judging by how anxious the teachers I know are about it, the children are going to find it difficult too.

So here is my attempt to hopefully help ease a little anxiety and open up the conversation. To get children talking about their feelings and anxieties.

My new book:

Available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1913396045

Contact me for a signed addition (£10 including postage)

Love Louise x

Real People

I’m working hard on my next books – Real People.

I had this idea that children and young people should all realize how much potential they have, and that it doesn’t take winning a Nobel prize or becoming famous to mean you’re successful.

I’ve interviewed quite a few people about their lives and asked for honest answers about their childhood dreams, their life now, their strengths, fears and what they have overcome in life.

I really hope that these books will help young people to understand that they are not alone and that they can achieve incredible things in life just by being themselves.

The plan is to release a picture book for children with a kind of fact file and a chapter book for young adults/teens.

So excited to show you them.

Louise x

Interviewing Anna Kirs

Getting to know the talented Pilates instructor Anna Kirs. Once a dancer, now specialising in Body Control Pilates she is an interesting lady indeed.

Anna KirsHey Anna, tell me a little about yourself.

Hi there! My name is Anna Kirs. I am born and raised in beautiful Estonia, lived in Denmark for the past 6 years where I got my education in Global Nutrition and Health to become a health coach and my certification in Body Control Pilates. Now, based in Stockholm.

I have a long background in ballet and contemporary dance, so a lot of my knowledge and practice comes from personal experience in dealing with stress, burn-out, anxiety, depression, nutrition-related issues and physical injuries. Now, I am just really eager to share that knowledge and help people to feel good about themselves and like they’re on top of their game – to enjoy life, instead of struggling constantly!
I feel most alive when I am being able to be creative.
I am a big animal lover, and like to advocate for sustainability and climate change.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

There is no place like home. A few years ago, I took a road trip on an Estonian island called Saaremaa with my mother. We listened to Estonian folk music and just took in the vastness of the nature there. Spontaneously spent the night in an old windmill by the sea side with dozens of swallows waking us up in early morning. I really connected to my home country again, after being away for a long time. So, I’d say Estonian forests, moors. But my heart is also really full when I am at the sea side.

How important is self-care for you?

I have learnt my lessons the hard way – my health and my body are really my compass when it comes to being satisfied and happy. So, I’d say it’s very very important. I still have a long way to go though getting my own habits on the right track and developing healthy routines – old habits die hard, as they say. But as an advocate to healthy lifestyle it’s very important for me to ‘practice what I preach’. That said, I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack every once in a while and not take life all that seriously all the time.

What kind of Pilates do you teach?

I teach Body Control Pilates. It belongs to the biggest and renowned Pilates Associations in Europe and I am very very proud to be representing Body Control as the first instructor in Sweden.

I consider this style very suitable to a very wide range of people with different backgrounds and physical abilities – the exercises and techniques are very easily modifiable to the client’s needs. The aim is to work towards knowledge and habits that are sustainable, something that one could practice in their everyday life – I’ve had many of my clients say that they have become much more aware of their “harmful” habits when it comes to sitting and standing, breastfeeding positions.

This style works with concentration, relaxation, alignment, breathing, centering, co-ordination, flowing movement and stamina. I would have a lot more to say about Body Control and my practice, so if you’d like to know more, feel free to check out my website: annakirs.voog.com .

What made you choose it?

I had a lower back trauma that was unbearable. I was taking a lot of pain medication and didn’t really have a way to take care of myself. I have a really close friend Teele Ude who is also a dancer and a Body Control Pilates teacher, an amazing one at that, and she gave me a quick session during our rehearsal one day when she saw me in pain. Despite my scepticism about Pilates (an unsuitable teacher can do a lot of damage), I was blown away. She helped me release tension in just 10 minutes and the pain was gone. After that she told me about the teacher training in Copenhagen at ROH Studio and I am just so grateful for her guidance!

When is your next course?

I am just starting a new open-level Pilates course at Studio Yogansa. It is taking place every Thursday at 17:00 – 17:50 from 7/2 till 25/4. More info can be found here. I also have a postpartum Pilates class on Thursdays at 11:00 – 12:00 from 7/2 till 25/4. More info can be found here.
In addition to that I teach private classes, duets and closed groups – some people require for me to work with them on a bit more deeper and personal level.

Do you have a Facebook page?

I sure do: Anna Kirs Pilates

Thanks! Xoxo

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you

Well, I was so shocked by this news that I didn’t really believe the email I got, I thought it must have been spam, so I actually waited until I got paid to check if it was true… and IT WAS!

In October 2018 I got this email…

kjh

I was a little confused because surely my book couldn’t have been one of the most popular so I looked up how they are chosen and found here, and it says: “The top 100 most read illustrated kids’ books in the U.S. and the top 25 in the U.K. will receive Illustrated Kids’ Book bonuses. Kids’ Book bonuses will be awarded based on total KU and KOLL pages read for the first time by KU and KOLL customers during the month.”

KU means Kindle Unlimited and KOLL means Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

I was gobsmacked. Mindful Millie was in the TOP 25!!!!!

It might never happen again but oh my goodness I am still (4 months later, seriously, how did I forget to tell you?!) over the moon.

So, when you read on Kindle Unlimited, every page counts! Thank you all so much for your support it really means the world to me.

Louise x

 

Scottish life

This post was kindly written by L from One more light LB

The Three Sisters of Glencoe 

I get the feeling that when people think of Scotland they have one of two extremes in mind. The first is of a lone woman in tartan dress (extra points if her hair is red and curly) standing on an ethereal backdrop in soft light, wild heather on a mountain and the soft wail of bagpipes as her hair whips in the wind. The second, is of a deprived country full of yobs that fight, and cities rife with vandalism and poverty and a steady diet of deep fried anything. 

You might think I’m exaggerating, but on my first adult holiday abroad I had an English couple ask if we had Tesco in Scotland, like we all live in the wilderness and hunt our own haggis. 

So I’m here to tell you what life is really like in Scotland – although my view is limited to life in the “central belt” – to try and dispel any myths or confusion. 

General Life 

The truth is that Scotland is a mix of the two extremes painted above. We do boast some of the most amazing landscapes in the world (I may be biased but prove me wrong) and you can see some of them on my post Seeing Scotland: There’s No Place Like Home. We also do have our fair share of deprived areas and violence like any country around the world. Glasgow in particular gets a bad reputation, with a lower life expectancy than the national average, and a history of violence that saw it named the “murder capital of Europe” some years ago. Nowadays, Glasgow has had a lot of investment and work thrown into it, both in terms of infrastructure, and tackling violence – the Scottish government treated knife crime like a health epidemic, and succeeded in dramatically reducing violence in the city, and Glasgow is quickly becoming a hotspot for tourism, business, and art/music (and is my favourite city in the world). 

In Scotland our university/college education is free at point of access (paid for by tax) as is our healthcare (including medication). This is amazing because it means that nobody is barred from higher education due to their financial situation, and in all honesty I think paying tax and National Insurance is well worth a society that values the health and education of its citizens. 

Wondering about kilts and haggis? Yes, Scottish men do wear kilts in formal occasions, but this is mainly reserved for weddings, and haggis is absolutely delicious, (vegetarian for me nowadays).

For such a small country, there is a lot of regional variation when it comes to politics and culture. Glasgow and Edinburgh are less than an hour away from each other but are considerably different in many aspects despite being in what is known as the “central belt” of Scotland. Then there are the highlands and islands, and down at the border (with England) all with their own rich histories and traditions. 

Politics 

There are multiple structures to Scottish politics; we do come under the general UK Westminster government, and our representatives for this are MPs (members of Parliament). But Scotland is somewhat economically and politically devolved too, and we have the Scottish parliament, and our representatives here are called MSPs (members of Scottish Parliament). 

It’s thanks to the Scottish parliament that our university education is free whilst English universities can charge up to £9000 per year, and why our prescriptions are free. It also means that our school system and school exams are different from the rest of the UK –  our summer holidays start and end at a different time and we sit different exams than our counterparts in rUK.

In the Brexit referendum, Scotland voted quite prominently in favour of remaining part of the European Union (along with Northern Ireland), but as our population is drastically dwarfed by England and Wales, they got the deciding vote, and this has caused a lot of tension.

This is particularly tense, because in 2014, Scotland voted by a fairly slim margin (55% to 45%) to remain part of the UK, and a huge factor in this was the uncertainty that independence would cast on Scotland’s EU membership. As such, the independence movement is still growing, and there are talks of a second independence referendum. This is a highly divisive issue in Scotland with strong opinions on both sides – the ins and outs of this could be a blog post on its own, but if you have any questions then sound off in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

We are generally more left-leaning than our counterparts in England (I confess I don’t know a lot about Welsh politics and despite having a Northern Irish fiance their politics still remains a mystery to me). The current party in the Scottish Parliament – the SNP (Scottish National Party) – are generally in favour of renewable energy, environmentalism, immigration/refugees, and champions socially progressive politics for women, religious groups, LGBTQ+ etc. 

Technology and Science 

Whilst it’s commonly known that Scotland has oil, our economy is far more than that, and we have been, and continue to be, a huge driving force in the world of science and technology.

The first mammal ever cloned – Dolly the sheep – was done so in Scotland, and the majority of reagents used in blood transfusion globally originate in Scotland. We also gave the world penicillin, refrigerators,  the television, and other technological advancements (as well as James McAvoy and Gerard Butler…you’re welcome).

For such a small country, we are a wonderfully diverse and productive nation with so much to offer the world, and despite the constant rain and the fact we are terrible at most sports (thank you, Andy Murray for offering us some pride in this respect) I absolutely adore this country and wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else.  

This brief post isn’t nearly enough to capture the vast history and culture across Scotland, but I hope it’s done a little bit to give you an insight into life in Scotland!