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Film: The Aftermath (2019) – Not Just Another Film About An Affair

Pardon the pun but this has became a piece of writing akin to that of “War & Peace” (eye rolls) as its taken me down various topical avenues & forever to write. Finally, I am blogging about the film ‘The Aftermath’ that I saw at the cinema last year. Its loosely based on the novel of the same name written by Rhidian Brook based upon his grandfather’s real experiences. Rhidian was also one of the screenwriters involved with working on the script for this period drama.

Its set in Hamburg, Germany in 1946 during the aftermath of World War II bombings by the British & USA airforces (and other allies). This was also known as Operation Gomorroh – the firestorm bombings over Hamburg. As the story begins we are introduced to the English colonel Lewis Morgan (played by Jason Clarke) who is charged with the clearing up of the destroyed German city of Hamburg. Lewis is a focused & conscientious man. Well he’d have to be in his position. His wife Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) travels from Britain to be reunited with him. They take up residence in the requistioned mansion of a german widower & architect herr Stephen Lubert (Alex Skarsgaard) and his daughter Freda Lubert (Flora Thiemann). Lewis prefers to live in the Lubert’s property with them instead of sending them to a refugee camp which was common practice at the time. The Luberts adapt by living in their smaller makeshift quarters in the loft, with the Morgans having free reign over the rest of the house. Bearing in mind this is a difficult situation as a now shared residence of two very recent enemies of war, the British and the Germans.

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight; From left to right: Alexander Skarsgaard (Stephen), Jason Clarke (Lewis) and Keira Knightley (Rachael) in the film ‘The Aftermath’.

In actual fact the shared residence element was a true part of the story for Rhidian’s grandfather British colonel Walter Brook, he was stationed there with his family including his son Kim – Rhidian’s father. According to Rhidian, Walter said “We’ll share – the house its big enough”. This was gesture in itself depicts one of significant humanitarian shift towards a progressive modern Europe albeit in its infancy & not clear cut! After all the British and their allies whom “brought Germany to its knees” to denazify it were now present to help clear and rebuild it.

Slight ‘gear shift’ now. What makes the film aesthetically interesting is the locations used (filmed in Prague & Hamburg) during winter time. This makes for a colour palette of snowy winter hues ‘sprinkled over the buildings and forests of the rural landscape juxtaposed with the darkness of blackened decimated city.

Now back to the dramatisation ‘the new lady of the house’ Rachael is left spending more time in the mansion whilst Lewis’ is pouring himself any chance he gets into carrying out his professional duties. So what transpires is gradual development from hostility to that of human connection (irrespective of nationality & allegiance) to that of friendship between Rachael and the Luberts. She finds herself drawn to the handsome Stephen who shares her a love of music. He is gentle and very polite in nature. Stephen is a proud, magnanimous and gracious man who’s trying to keep it together as actor Alex Skarsgaard himself described .

Production wise the film this is a handsomely made & rich in colour from the opulent interior of the mansion to the glamorous fashion of the 1940s. The costume designs were on point! With the right lighting and scene sets the clothes were done justice on the big screen. I loved Racheal’s wardrobe, it screamed period drama with its formal tailored wear, coordinating twin sets, knitted jumpers and skimming a-line skirts to the stunning evening gowns. Kiera’s svelte figure perfectly suited the style as she wore gowns so effortlessly (otherwise not so forgiving to us curvier gals with our lumps and bumps). The gold satin/ silk gown was one of my fav’s. The colours of the pieces were gorgeous, the fabrics and the accompanying accessories all divine. Kudos to costume designer Bojana Nikitovic! As a women and lover of clothes & fashion per se, I simply could not not comment on this! Gear Change…

Talking now of Frida, Stephen’s daughter she is a temperamental girl who manages to express her perpetual frustrations and inner turmoil in a ‘silent’ yet compelling manner. It becomes apparent that she has lost her mother in the bombings and is struggling with her grief and struggling to cope with the new occupiers of her home. Watching another woman taking up the matriarchal role, who is also forming a bond with her father Stephen is fuelling her ‘pain’ & resentment further. Stephen is also trying to cope with his loss of his wife and Freda’s lack of or little communication is driving a wedge between them. Before long Frida begins to actively rebel by sneaking out and befriending Bertie (Jack Laskey) who as things unfold is a member of the Werwolf (Nazi) resistance movement. She doesn’t realise she is being used as a pawn for Bertie’s hidden agenda. He manipulates her by tapping into her girlish naivety, teenage angst & grief so that she begins to get swept up in his plans of revenge on the British.

Rachael and Lewis are also both grieving their deceased young son Michael who died in the war from a german bomb. However Lewis has closed himself off and doesn’t discuss it or feel it around Rachael, this has created a distance between them as a couple in the way they manage their grief. They begin to drift further as Lewis conveniently throws himself into his increasingly demanding job to avoid his personal problems. He’s “a man’s man” and shields his sensitivity behind his professional facade who when off duty he is a sensitive and pained man with loving tenderness and intimacy towards Rachael. Before long Rachael begins a passionate affair with Stephen. Like a ‘band aid’ she try’s to fill the gap in missing her deceased son by ‘breaking the ice’ with Frida and spending time with her. So much so that the three almost become like a little family unit to which Lewis is not privy.

Then during off duty socialising within the british army and their wives rumours of an affair surface as one of the wives warns Rachael of this knowledge. This brings me to some of the side characters that deserve a mention such as Burnham a nasty intelligence officer played impeccably by Martin Compston (Line of Duty star). Burnham I felt resembled a ‘yapping dog clipping at the colonel’s heels’. His overt contempt for anything non – british exudes cockiness including revelling in whispering “in Lewis’ ear” with the rumours about Rachael. As Pies Marchant writes in his article in Arkansas Democratic Gazette this is shown “to display the smug arrogance of the victorious military, contrasting against the Colonel’s vastly more progressive ways”. Barker (Fiona O’Shea) also deserves a mention, he is one of the young soldiers that Lewis takes under his wing. Fionn gives a great acting performance, as I found myself really rooting for the lad through the tale.

As everything unravels in the Morgan’s world, the unspoken depth of the couple’s grief over their son’s death is brought out from ‘under the rug’. By this point Rachael is considering a future with Stephen. He has visions of a future that include building a new home – a new start. I won’t say anymore so as not to give away the ending as I’ve said enough about the story already, Eek!

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight; The Lubert – Morgan Residence.

I’ve realised that infidelity seems to be the common topic in many a period drama & yes to be fair this is another film about an illicit love affair but it is also much more. The Aftermath looks at the impact of war on civilisation. It addresses hostility, forgiveness and reconciliation amongst people who have gone through conflict & tragedy. Above all it addresses the sheer power of grief and how this deep consuming emotion affects people differently and the repercussions of their reactions to it, that’s what underpins this story!

Ps. The Brook’s family’s story is fascinating and you can find out more about it by reading the online BBC Wales article “The Aftermath: The Story behind Kiera Knightley’s WW2 Film”.

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47406419

A recent film seen & recommended is Collette funnily enough also starring Kiera Knightley. I’m so glad I gave that film a chance as it’s based on a fascinating true story about a groundbreaking female writer.

Healthier Eating Choices to Reduce Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Image Credit Hina Singh: Pumpkin Seeds, Apple & Almonds

Don’t get me wrong I have not converted to a full healthy eating plan but having suffered debilitating high anxiety and horrid panic disorder that knocked me sideways from 2017 onwards its made daily living extremely hard. It was triggered by a medication change and life events and other trauma! Imagine living 24/7 with ‘through the roof’ panic and anxiety from the moment you woke up to the moment you wanted to go to sleep. What made it all a hundred times worse was the attached symptoms of extreme OCD & sensory sensitivity and a whole host of other shitty symptoms not visible to those around me. Basically, I was unable to relax and just be, barely living but existing, literally fighting to get through my days!! This led to utter breakdown last year, 2018 making all the fore-mentioned difficulties sky-rocket to another level!

Fast Forward to the present 2019 and making lots of tiny therapeutic efforts to manage my complex disorder and all of the related frightening experiences. I began finding a bit of strength in working on my gradual recovery, to seek some ways to get control back over the panic and anxiety! I was already gradually using guided meditations and other self-help tools again.

I found an article online on ‘Medical News Today’, which mentions how certain foods can reduce anxiety and help with producing feel good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and calming ones such as tryptophan. Including magnesium and potassium found in fruits, nuts & other foods can reduce anxiety. Also protein laden foods too can help keep you fuller, reduce anxiety & improve mood & with anti inflammatory, antioxidant properties.

Examples:

Oats, almonds and other nuts, pumpkin and other seeds, green tea, dark chocolate, cheese, turkey & other lean meats.

I knew too much sugar wasn’t good for you but like most of us I love chocolate and other processed snacks and personally these have been ‘my crutch’ for a lifetime. So many of us per se struggle with our unhealthy eating habits; comfort eating and it varies as to what level this is from person to person. So learning added sugar in processed foods is a major culprit in heightened anxiety & keeping it raised within the body I am trying to improve on my food choices.

Choosing fruits over added sugar processed foods to quench that sugar fix can help with improved mood and nutrition. Bananas & apples & strawberries are my ‘go to fruits’ du jour & there’s a whole array of choices in this department!

So I’m trying to make healthier snacking choices & I’ve noticed in moments of despair and urge to buy more than a bar of chocolate when out shopping, I have tried to gauge if I could control devouring it all or ration it. To my strength I have been making better choices when out food shopping, even when in hormonal and mental chaos. As we all know when we’re highly stressed its easier to reach for the junk food. For me food is not only hard to manage due to my own relationship with it but I have ongoing medications to take which also cause hunger side effects especially at night! So it can be a vicious circle in trying to control my eating but alas something I can keep trying to get some control over.

So clearly I am in no way a purist and will still have challenging times but the more I am choosing healthier options, it’s helping me get some control over the crap food eating. Its paying dividends in not only my overall health but increasing my self-confidence as I am practicing self-care for what I am putting into my body when I can.

Hey let’s be real the emotional and mental shit storms are still gonna happen but toughing them out a bit, accepting, releasing & redirecting unhelpful emotions that have accumulated due to shitty past experiences by looking at my eating habits can only be a significant positive step forward!

Peace, Light & Gratitude

Hina xo

Full article:
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652.php

Lisa Invites Hilda to a Picnic with her Family

It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Lisa had invited her best friend Hilda to go to a picnic there, that she was having with a family. They were going to watch the horse driving show from a perfect spot outside of the show grounds in Windsor Great Park.

Hilda was excited to be going to the picnic and to get to know Lisa’s family more. She had only met some of them once before. So she decided to get a big box of chocolate doughnuts from her beloved local supermarket Asda to share with them all.Whilst Lisa’s family had already settled onto their picnic spot.

Lisa and her boyfriend David drove over to pick up Hilda and were running a bit late. When they finally arrived at the park, they all gathered there things from the car and began to make their way over to the picnic spot. Hilda had a lot to carry. She had a bag with her lunch in it in one hand, her handbag draped across her body and most importantly the doughnuts in her other hand!

It didn’t help that the field was very uneven. They had only got halfway across and just as David says “Mind the…”, Hilda has already lost her footing and not seen the steep slope into a little ditch and she’s fallen down in to it with her hands full! She is literally on all fours in a dry ditch. Much to Lisa’s amusement (her best friend I might add) who was chuckling away.

Hilda then attempts to get up and make a recovery and pops her head up, only to see that Lisa’s family on the other side are laughing at what they are witnessing. Hilda then does a 90 degree turn and falls down again and as she raises her head up again a nearby picnic party have seen the goings on and are also laughing! Needless to say Lisa is now beside herself in fits of laughter. Friends huh!

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However most importantly Hilda was more concerned with not damaging the doughnuts and they were all in one piece – That women’s got skills!

Eventually she manages to get onto her feet and climb out of the blooming ditch, “Phew” she gasped, thinking to herself thank god it she hadn’t fallen into loads of wet mud. A bemused David then quips “Well I did try to warn you Hilda!!”. Yup he sure did.

The three of them were then met with lots of laughter and Hilda was welcomed into their circle who were still processing how she had ‘travelled’ across to them in that moment. This was the first time she had properly met all of them together and in such an animated fashion.

Ever since then the story has become a funny anecdote they all would fondly recollect with Hilda at gatherings.

What a way to introduce yourself to your friend’s family, it’s definitely gone down in history!!

Hahaxhaha

~Dedicated to my best friend and partner in crime Lucy, Love you lots my darling! XO~

Singing for Health & Much More!

Inside St Mary’s Church. Photo credit: Hina Singh

Singing for Health is a short course  that is offered by Slough CMHT’s Hope College to it’s service users. It was set up to promote mental health recovery, psycho-education and access to activities and support within the community.  

From my own experience I know just how vital this is.  The mental health sevices available have enabled the service user to build upon regain and strengthen self-autonomy and in tandem helping them to reduce the stigma. As a therapist said many a time we all have mental health not just those attending the CMHT with a diagnosis. Fortunately for us locals the Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust is a tour de force in the diverse mental health services it provides in the community not just in the clinical setting. We truly are blessed.

Now for my experience attending ‘the Singing for Health’ Workshop. I missed the first session but still wanted to try to get there, to help me rebuild on my lost; confidence, resilience assertiveness and its accompanied increased isolation. I needed an activity that allowed me to be sociable without too much politics & unnecessary competition. I just needed a place where I could go and leave my troubles at the door and upon leaving feel lighter for having attended.

So, on the morning of my first time attending the group I was very anxious , equally excited and exhausted due to minimal sleep. Nothing new there – moan, groan, moan, groan! Then I arrived at the venue, St Mary’s Church in Slough. I actually did a whole lap of the church trying to find the entrance. Finally inside, I found the group and a few familiar faces hoorah and some! Everyone seemed so warm and friendly & as a newbie I felt very welcome. The group consisted of 4 singing teachers, support workers and us service users. To be honest I was very distracted by church interior with it’s stunning stain glass windows, high ceilings and ornamental details scattered about!

I’m a huge music lover but also naturally very shy so I never had much confidence to sing growing up, except for at home! In particular much to the annoyance of my younger siblings, who would get fed up of their elder sister’s dulcet tones (hahaha). To the point whereby they laid down the ground rule that I wasn’t allowed to sing when ‘Top of The Pops’ was on the tele! If I sang along they would ‘mute the fudgin TV’! This would be preceded by all of us madly scrambling to hog the blessed remote control – that we lovingly nicknamed ‘the remo’ – just before the show began, Arghhh!!! Not that that stopped me singing at home at other times or whilst Top of The Pops or any other music show was on [insert Muttly’s mischievous laugh here]. I am sure most siblings in those days and now can relate to this madness of bickering!

Oops I digress.

As a group we start with some warm up exercises and then split off into three sub – groups to practice our specific parts of the songs du jour; the tune, the harmonies and the low tones. Before I knew it I had embraced singing with full gusto with the first song which was ‘Lollipop’ oh my god, I was in heaven (pun central oops). Suffice to say, I felt at home being a big kid and being reminded of classical films such ‘Stand by Me’. You know! That infamous scene when the 4 teenage boys go off on their secret adventure walking across the train track singing this song

Film: Standy By Me. Photo credit: Pinterest 

Also the brilliant film ‘Corrina Corrina’ came to mind when, Molly and her friend have a spat in kids gospel choir scene, they then hug it out and Molly comes to life as she throws herself completely into singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’. “Another classic TUNE”!

Image result for what era is the film corrina corrina set in?

Film: Corrina Corrina. Photo credit: Wikipedia

I cannot help film referencing as you can see, sorry.

So back to my singing experience by now I was grinning from ear to ear, as I sang my heart out and happy childhood memories ensued. Memories of attending my beloved St Laurence C of E primary school, yonks ago. For this reason I feel somewhat of an affinity to Christianity even though I am Hindu. Ah my little hymn book and saying the Lords Prayer every morning in assembly came flooding back to me standing in front of the stained glass windows you can see in the picture above.

Everytime we reconvened to sing as a collective something beautiful happened, hearing the harmonies subgroup as we all sang I ‘drank in’ the whole exponential spiritually uplifting experience, finding that inner voice and being totally in the moment totally present and mindful. Priceless.

Finally, I recall talking to the support worker and saying “Why did it take me so long to come to this group?! She knew exactly what I meant and remarked “It’s hard to put it into words, right! When trying to encourage a person to attend, words alone cannot explain this, you really have to come along and experience it for yourself.

She was so spot on! – (You know who you are).

~Blessings to you all,  Hina xo ~

Why Don’t Women Cheerlead Each Other Enough?

When I’m amongst a group of female friends; socially or in a therapeutic support setting, why is there always so much ‘beef’ amongst the women towards each other? From my experience women seem to cope better when talking one to one. In a duo combo we seem to be able to cut down the barriers and trust, laugh with and be real with one another.  However throw us into a group of women and we can’t seem to embrace each other so easily. It’s all about tactical sharing, not sharing, being ‘quiet’ when you really have a lot to say but don’t want to be an easy target, the alpha female who has to be better than her peers, the attention seeker, the people pleaser, the dopey one, the flamboyant one and so on. My particularly least favorite: The nosey beyond friendly type who’s interest boils down to insecurity and the need to point out others shortcomings to validate their grandiose worth. We women can be an amalgamation of these subtypes of personas or fit into one of the subtypes quite innocuously.

Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest can be applied to how women behave amongst one and another. I’m no less guilty of the way I behave and communicate within a female group setting. I just wish as women we could embrace each other more as equals and cheer leading was more so the attitude amongst us.

It’s funny how this type of behaviour can be related back to the playground. Where girls learn to jostle or accept or fight for ‘top dog’ or follower or confident floater who is independent and can traverse through various groups.

As much as I have my own views ideas and feel I am quite independent an individual who will stand up for myself and my individual views, I hate the competitiveness which you shouldn’t mistake for light – hearted banter amongst friends. The kind I’m talking about is that masquerades as friendly banter but is really bitchy and competitive where such women need to point out or prove inadequacies in their peers to feel superior and ‘ten steps ahead in life’. This type of personality is so irritating and quite sad because fundamentally such women have deep seated insecurities that they display as arrogance.

Within mental health therapeutic support groups I can understand and digest this  more albeit its nonetheless frustrating this lack of group dynamic amongst women. Why? I hear you ask. Well, because of mental health and environmental issues in the present or during individual upbringings. It’s almost like the women have got this preset behaviour for vying for attention, validation or ‘top of the class’ spot (the validating term my psychologist uses in a sweeping manner to inspire confidence amongst us).  It’s still harder because for example if you have a group with various personality or mood disorders that’s a very complex mix of individuals add to that the natural dynamics that exist amongst said group and all wanting to feel heard and able to contribute to the group aim it’s a lot to contend with for each member participating.

I subscribe to receiving social media updates from II Superwoman II aka Lilly Singh who has become a huge You Tube and other social media star whose regularly posts vlogs on all musings on life. One aspect of her highly entertaining campaign is to promote female solidarity; working together and championing each other as strong independent women. She is against the bitching, infighting lack of cheerleading that exists amongst women in general.  I love her zest for life and how she uses her celebrity platform as a way to inspire love and support amongst women.

The ‘I am that Girl’ campaign also does what Lilly and I care about passionately. The campaign is promoting sisterhood, collaboration and joy in celebrating ourselves with our female peers. Embracing one another and ‘having each other’s backs and embracing each other’s individuality  not devaluing each other

So let’s move forward and celebrate being part of a sisterhood, working with one another and empowering each other to grow and flourish in this ‘dog eat dog’ world we all live in.

Thank you for reading this blog and I would love to hear your comments,

Peace and Light, Hina xo

Ps. This is going viral online and I had to share it:

 

 

 

 

Do You Want a Coffee?

So, I’ve just arrived at the GP sister surgery that I rarely visit so I’m fairly unfamiliar with its layout & what not.

I walk in to their reception area to find heaps of info stuck to the walls! I mean zillions of notices of info for us patients. The mind boggled.

In front of me was a man on crutches at the counter being seen by the receptionist.

I try with minimal patience & a very scatty racing mind to sign into the self sign in screen.

I then over hear the receptionist say ” Do you want a coffee?”.

The man says “yes, please” & she goes off to another room to get what I think is a cup of coffee.

I then wondered, since when did you get offered a cup of coffee by the reception staff? – my gp surgery doesn’t offer me this?!

The receptionist then returns with a piece of paper!

The ‘penny then dropped’. “Ohhhh” I think to myself.

Then it’s my turn in the queue.

I then remark to the young lady behind the counter “Erm I couldn’t help over hearing you talking to that man… funny thing is, I thought you’d asked if he wanted a coffee”. To then realise you said a “copy (photocopy)!”

To which she laughingly replied “Er no, we’re not that advanced to offer people refreshments”.

“Precisely, the staff have enough to do & that it would be some service if they had time to make patients refreshments!” I thought.

Walking My Imaginary Dog

I was out walking and got to the little green which is a little oasis tucked away amongst a built up residential area of roads and houses.

Instead of my usual walk through towards the path, I decided to keep to the grass & take in the autumn landscape.

Coming towards me was a guy having a cigarette whilst his tiny dog was having a run around. He paused & looked amusingly at me as I passed him by still walking a lot further on the grass.

Which led me to wonder “perhaps it’s because I’m not walking a pet?”.

I then mentioned this to a lady that I know.

She said “perhaps he looked at you strangely because you were walking your imaginary dog but with just a lead?”.

Image Credit: Hina Singh

“Don’t give me ideas or I’ll really have something to worry about!” I replied. My imagination was now going off at tangents.

The lady then mentioned having seen people pushing a pram with their shopping in & I recalled a lady who has a big minion soft toy strapped into the back of her car that she said gets lots of admirers when she’s at traffic lights and such. Which made us chuckle.

I imagined my friends & family’s responses if I were to take ‘my imaginary dog’ for a walk; “Hina REALLY isn’t well!”.

Perhaps I could take my dearest stuffed toy turtle Cuthbert aka Cuthby for a walk? I thought.

What d’ya reckon? Although I’d have to lug the lump about as Cuthby is not so light. It could have its very own the category on for The World’s Strongest Man (ahem Woman) the possibilities are endless? Haha!

Perhaps then If I bumped into that guy again, “it would really give him something to think about. Eh?”, I thought grinning ear to ear.

~ Thank you (A.N) for inspiring me to create this blog! ~ Hina ~

Poem: Supportive Friends

When I am struggling or need to have a moan
I have learned I don’t have to feel so alone
You see, I have precious friends
Who pick me up and stand by my side

They give me strength by being caring
Especially listening with a compassionate ear
They really know how much I struggle
And will try to go the extra mile

Our friendships, the laughter
From which we become smarter
The cups of tea, lunch and a good chat
There is thankfully no denying that!

To sum it up we really are true wise warriors
Who feel each others woes
Whereby over time the pain goes

Mental & Physical scars may remain but can gradually fade
For us true friends our bonds are firmly made.

By Hina Singh

On-Off Healthy Snacking to Help My PCOS Issues.

I love crisps & chocolate both my big time weaknesses so trying to get back to eating more protein with my snacking with some protein; low-fat & cheese and nuts. Although I don’t have diabetes I have an insulin resistance problem due to PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome) which I haven’t banged on about for a while online. Lots of women have this hormonal and insulin related condition. You collect weight around your middle, struggle with your weight but not all women do. Your hair thins and you can get male patterned baldness, high or low testosterone levels, crave carbs but your body can’t break them down. So if necessary you have to take medication to breakdown the carbs that are prescribed for diabetics. It sucks for me having it alongside other diagnoses as it’s mental, emotional & physical overload. Many women are able to take control of it but it’s extremely difficult with other mental health issues to do so. Also long-term mental health medication can cause PCOS due to the side effects of extreme hunger especially at night. PCOS can go undiagnosed for years as in my case even when I was sent for tests by the doctors it wasn’t fully diagnosed and didn’t show up on the scan until a few years back.

When Basic Self Care is A Monumental & Frightening Effort

Just a cuppa and some toast BUT it’s a major part of self care that can become extremely hard to do when you’re in mental health crisis or depressed. My mind struggles to do the basics at these times as the tasks get so broken down microscopically that doing them is sooo hard! But no one can see this as its invisible in my mind.
So, I’m proud of myself to be able to do this in the day time yesterday after a while of not being able to eat or drink. Nutrition is so important for mood & blood sugar levels.

Readjusting to Home Life After Being in Hospital & Reigniting my Tenacity & Goofball Humour

Reaadjusting to Home Life After Being in Hospital & Reigniting my Tenacity & Goofball Humour

Shortly after catching up with a dear friend for a overdue coffee and some much needed real talk and coping with being hyper alert and hypersensitive to the outdoor environment not longout of hospital (a few weeks) from a horrid anxiety & depressive relapse.

So it was a lot to refamiliarise myself with high sensory overload so I felt like an imposter sitting outside the coffee shop with my buddy, having a anxiety ridden fag and it being too “peopley”. People just going about their day to day business. All I could think was I’ve been in Mental hell, dragged my precious friends through it with me. had a short stay in hospital (fortunately a very good one) and I’m trying not to wallow in the shame I feel about the whole thing.

What transpired was a good old catch up with one of my Bessie’s, a rant here a vent there, some humour chucked in, tears trying not to turn into wails and a pinch of belly laughing for good measure!

So then we went our separate ways I did a quick bit of shopping before going to the bus stop to wait for my bus home.

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Photo credit: Hina Singh -Just me sitting at a bus stop with my new super cool mop gadget.

Now I bet your dying to read about me discussing my mop? Go on you know you want to…🤓 [Insert The A-Team Theme Tune or their instrumental “when they feel a plan coming on!………… Da da da, da da da……] 😂😎

Project: Cleaning Bathroom Ceiling, Problem Solving Attempt 3

My bathroom doesn’t have a window in it just an extractor fan. So periodically I have to clean mould off the airtex ceiling and wall. First try was by hand with cleaning wipes stood precariously on a little stool: risk of falls and slips.

2nd attempt: Bought a window cleaning kit pole with cloth cover that I soaked with water & sprayed demould spray on it. Did the job but the cleaning head needs to be spongier to get inbetween the airtex nooks & crannies. Only just used this method again yesterday.

Now for the exciting bit when the bloody mould builds up again in the future with attempt no.3.

Seriously, What’s wrong with me? I’m getting excited about this ceiling issue that’s been so annoying. I just walked past my brand new mop standing their in my hallway and am thinking it might be a secret transformer you know like bumble bee. 😉😁😂🤣🤗

It’s nice to be bringing back the humour to my life, the LIGHT and the shade instead of just the latter.

It’s comforting and grounding to be thinking of things to be doing at home after a tough time with OCD that it became somewhere I couldn’t cope with.

Who would’ve thought a mop could help with that. Lol

#house #problemsolving #mop #excited #bathroomceilingmould #orange #hinathebuilder #transformers #bumblebee #independantwoman

Human Energy Outtage Solution 

Imagine if we humans could be plugged into power points to recharge, like the way we plug our devices into electrical points? More specifically the super advanced hybrid part fuel/ electrical recharging technology of vehicles and beyond!!

Life would be that much easier. Simply recharge and continue.

Or would it? Hmmmm.

Change is Hard & So is Acceptance

The garden outside.

Found this photo I had taken a while back! This photo is so symbolic to me for so many reasons.
This is the garden area outside where I use to attend a support group, that was a major part of my life for so long. Change is incredibly hard and so is acceptance. As the saying goes ‘we fight to hold on and we fight to let go!’. Unfortunately for me, it went from being developmental and a place of belonging, to something that was not helping me thrive and feel safe – for complex reasons I shall not go into.
However I do appreciate how much I tried to make the therapeutic community approach work. I got some amazing support from some amazing people prior to it becoming unhelpful to being there. But in the end it was no longer the right form of support to help my recovery from some tough years of severe frequent relapses. It is bittersweet as I was priviledged to be a founding member of the group so it’s a huge loss.
In the end I had to accept that a social setting can become toxic and unhelpful even with the best of intentions by a few & myself. So as I continue to grieve the loss of this and other supportive therapy I use the photo above as a metaphor to aid acceptance.
Just like the garden goes through the changing seasons of nature so do we humans who interact with it.
It helped ground me when I needed something to do so, it soothed me when I needed to have a cry or get some support from a group member.

Many a word was spoken, a tear expressed, a laugh was had, a fag smoked and a cuppa had. So, just like the saying goes ‘if only these walls could talk, what if this garden could talk?
Nature is life’s silent power. Helping us and indeed me to keep accepting, grieving and recovering through a forgotten travelled path of applying my skills and regaining my confidence & self belief daily.
Om Namah Ganesha.

The Abyss: It Lurks

Each time I slip into the abyss
I fear my mind
The demons
The chatter, the dark
Overwhemled by over analysis
Distortions & mental bullies
Coursing Adrenaline
Will it seap out?
How would they know?
It isn’t visible
My medicated state & fear sedate it.

Climb out of the Abyss AGAIN
Challenge every single cell
To cope, to pace, to survive
To proverbiably chuck ‘them’ out of my mind

No! No! No! There I go Again!
The abyss it calls me
To the prison of my mind
Will THEY catch me?
Will I be respected & respect them?

The Abyss it lurks

I still fight its power

I catch myself more

I respect myself more

I love myself more

I strengthen myself more

Let the Abyss Lurk as I regain my power.

Dedicated to Craig. Thank you my friend. Lots of love Hina

Film: Shohreh Aghdashloo Shines in Septembers of Shiraz

Having noticed I have a penchant for films set in the Middle East whilst scrolling through Netflix I could not, not watch this film.

However as I was going through some tough times personally, I was vulnerable to being triggered by topics of conflict, unfairness and distress it wasn’t the best timing to escape into a movie. So ignoring the mental alarm bell- to not give in to the action urge I pressed ‘play’…

I am transported to 1970s Iran which was a cultural melting pot of social acceptance and diversity until it was turned on its head by the overthrow of the monarch; the Shah Mohammed Renez Palahvi –  by the political and religious leader the Ayatollah Khomeini. As the proletariat backlash to capitalist Iran gathers pace so do the hostilities.

 Shown through the looking glass of a successful and progressive Jewish family are the reverberations of the revolution on them and those connected to them. Adrien Brody plays Isaac and Salam Hayek his free thinking wife Farnez. Big actors in their own rights. I was quickly drawn into the couple’s way of life, their own inner drives and forward thinking juxtaposed with the rich tapestry of their life in Iran with Jewish heritage. The hip western influences and sass displayed in Farnez’ glamourous fashion style,  to what she reads to how she ‘walks her walk’ as the gutsy matriarch of a ‘world’.

 Adrien delivers a masterpiece of a performance, in my humble opinion, as Isaac the self – made businessman with a conscience, some may say exploiter depending on what side of the fence you are sitting on; as he employed Israelies on his way up only to feel the sheer detest of said employees once the rebels takeover. What ensues and is communicated so brilliantly to the viewer, is the the utter pain and torture Isaac experiences as the story takes pace and his world is turned on its head as he becomes broken.

So, this brings me to the reason why I simply had to write this blog…I will get there I promise!

 Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays a supporting role but I believe she is the central character of Septembers of Shiraz. Shohreh plays Habibeh, Isaac and Farnez’ loyal and dedicated servant. I feel that Habibeh’s story is integral in showing the disparity and inner turmoil of a woman who serves her ’employees’ and is also a key part of the family. She is a confidant; sister, a mother and a hardworking woman, an important part of the family’s fabric. 

Without giving too much away Shohreh delivers a blinding performance in this particular scene.

You might recognise the actress, I recalled her from the film she co-stars with Ben Kingsley in the ‘House of Sand and Fog’ another brilliant film! 

Finally a nod to Aloun Aboutboul as Mohsen the head honcho of the guards who orders the arrest of Isaac,  with his no nonsense attitude which he’d be expected to have of course , captivated me with the internal conflict he showed with his expressive eyes.

Portraying that not all is black and white, in love and war we at our core complex beings.


Ps. What did think of film? 🤓

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You Cannot Pour From An Empty Cup

Just last Saturday over the May bank holiday weekend, I was having a self prescribed REST DAY to recover from the impact of new add – on meds I had started taking a few days ago. So I was dealing with additional side effects including extreme tiredness but positively finding a big improvment cognitively; fine motor skills, concentration & motivation!

So all though I was ‘housebound’ whilst adjusting to the meds I was very productive at home, daily functioning had improved greatly allowing for self care and goal focused activity! So it had been an equally tiring and productive week – on a par to over two years ago when I was packing a hell of a lot into my week.

It was the 6th day of being on new meds to to help this lapse and coping with a loss of support that had been so vital to my recovery in so many ways. The change of a very physically busy week. So I was chilling on the sofa and doodling in my note pad – which is my saviour during overwhelming times of being lost in a mental maze of high anxiety and depression and severe disorganised thinking.

Anyways I wasn’t feeling that ‘lost’ but I was just relaxing without ‘beating myself up’ and I doodled this picture that speaks volumes internally for me and perhaps you might need a reminder too.

Giving ourselves permission to rest and recover from illness or tough days, crises and medication changes or ongoing meds side effects is so important.

Hey whether you have an illness or not modern life is full of demands juggling one million things. So although looking after YOURSELF should be the priority we can subconsciously neglect ourselves. Thus the saying ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’ was never a truer word spoken!

Balance is so important as we are continually told, so if we can just ‘cut ourselves some slack’ and ‘kick back’ we can get some inner equilibrium. Inner Peace is not really a corny destination but a mindful way of being in the present that is unique to each of us. Once you tap into that you begin to feel a real sense self – soothed calm. Its a spiritual gift.

I am Love: Film Review

I am Love directed by Luca Guadagnino.

A little film review by Hina Singh. Just my thoughts on a film that made an impression on me. Not an acadaemic critique. I simply just love a good film as much as a really bad (good) film! Confused? Good, cos I usually am! 🙄 🤓

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Marisa Berenson, Pippo Delbono, Tilda Swinton, Alba Rohrwacher, Mattia Zaccaro, Flavio Parenti and Maria Paiato in I AM LOVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

I love a good art house film, you know the type that screams ‘refreshing & geographical escapism’ that has you gripped and is more than ‘just something to watch’ unlike the huge hollywood production movie machine.

Set in Italy in the year 2000, with cinematography that screams out to me “A story wrapped in glossy sophisticated chic” from the home that the family reside in, through to the suits & dresses. Tilda Swinton plays Emma Recci a high society matriarch; a russian woman married into a wealthy Italian family. To be honest I love Tilda Swinton as an actress. She is so versatile in chameleon – esque like proportions. Her muses are usually unconventional too, making her film performances the more appealing.

Tilda’s wardrobe captures my attention from the get go, she is ‘dressed’ by Raf Simons for Jil Sanders and Fendi specifically for the film’s collection – which she wears effortlessly. I particularly love the reddish orange dress with the square back and the light blue shirt and relaxed trousers ensemble that her character Emma wears. These particular pieces are worn when Emma has her passionate and illicit encounters with Antonio.

Antonia being her son Edo’s close friend and business partner. She is initially attracted to Antonio after visiting his and Edo’s newly established restaurant and she becomes enchanted with Antonio, his young looks and passion for cooking. It’s not long before Emma becomes led by her curiosity and internal longing to know more about this young man. Then ensues Emma and Antonio’s chance meeting when their love affair begins.

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch this film and just that I was in need of mental escape into a film selection on Netflix when I played ‘I am Love’, I definitely wasn’t expecting such raw love scenes. However said scenes did compliment the story telling beautifully. I did find one scene a tad ‘clinical’, when Emma is undressed by her lover but that was what was being conveyed, he wanted to ‘take off’ her life: her marriage everything that represented her identity that didn’t include him; essentially her life without him. Tilda managed to non – verbally convey her vulnerability amidst their lustful trists.

Tilda portrayed Emma’s matriarchal role with steadfast ease from the touching moments with her children across the dinner table, mother – daughter time right through to quieter moments where Emma spends time just being accompanied by her trusty housekeeper in her bedroom. Where there exists an intimate maternal protectiveness that the maid showers upon Emma. I found this to be a poignant part of ‘I am Love’ in that it further showed Emma’s vulnerability and trust in her maid that surpassed the class system and was simply about a real historical bond between two like – minded women.

Once again Tilda Swinton brings a strong woman to life on screen and she takes you on a journey of a woman who is strong yet flawed. Caught in the luxurious trappings of the high life and internally compelled to follow a simpler yet passionate existence!

Let me know what your thoughts are on this film, if you do decide to watch it.

Major Stress vs Minor Stress: Its All Valid

As I was making myself a cuppa prior to my support group the other day, I ‘stumbled’ across this striking picture in all its simplicity and as you can see I had to take a photo of it. 🤓

You see both bowls are full albiet one is taller and full, the other is shorter and full.

Metaphorically I likened this image to a person’s own ‘stress glass’.

One person may have major life events raising their stress levels and affect their ability to cope.

On the otherhand, another person may have a plethora of stressors; big small & inbetween which overwhelms them which limits their capacity to cope.

What’s the difference?

Its all a matter of perspective and both are equally valid.

C’est Moi 🙄

It can be damn hard to get through alot of days and amazingly wonderful others. Plodding on, fighting; the internal emotional conflict, sky high anxiety, hormonal spikes, frightening anger, fluctuating high sensitivity, hyper mind, distortions percieved, threats real and imagined. Adrenal fatigue and despair. 

One step forward, ten back and then throw different variables of this theory in there and what have you got: A Beautifully Complex Mind and Soul fighting some of the hardest days and flipping it around to some of the best. In Crisis to Recovery to Stability and Repeat. Mental illness.

Chicken Noodle Soup

 by Hina Singh

Chicken Noodle Soup

It looked like gloop

Sat in the cupboard

Waiting to be uncovered

Pick it up

Look at the ingredients

Put it back

It doesn’t look appealing

Then the day finally comes

It’s out of the cupboard

Opened and put in a bowl

That chicken noodle soup

Heat it up

Smell it

Stir up the gloop

Taste a bit and conclude

“What tasty chicken noodle soup!”

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Mikado & The Game of Life

 MIKADO spiel (The game Mikado) aka Pick – Up Sticks

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At one of my weekly support groups we play a game in the activity section at the end of each session. The games range from; Rapidough, Up a Bit and Mikado to name a few. This helps us to experience fun by participating in a playful game whilst socialising with others. As our facilitator and the highly esteemed Psychologist N.B reminds us that play also helps to promote happy memories from all the things that we did as kids and to remind ourselves of some of the stuff we can still do ‘as big kids’.

Great, no? Hell yeah, especially as in our demanding daily lives we can forget the simple ways to experience joy, laughter and being apart of a group. Fundamentally reducing isolation and stigma and feeling apart of the community.

So, we decided to play Mikado (aka pick up sticks) at the end of one session recently: it’s generally a very popular choice of ours and we all strive to win the highly valuable stick with the turquoise spiral pattern. Geek fact in the times gone by this particular stick was made out of Walnut wood. I know someone who loves wood or geeky facts or both will be impressed with that little bit of trivia. The turquoise stick is the highest and prettiest valued stick (well to us its THE stick) and is called Mikado as per its game namesake. Mikado the English term for the Emperor of Japan.

Those who know me I get a bit fed up with extremely competitive peeps, I mean to the point no one’s having fun as someone is purely there to WIN. Argghhhh. I’m not saying I can’t be competitive but seriously when its obvious someone is giving off aggressive, impatient and peed off vibes and forgets its meant to be fun and it’s really not that important: I lose interest, patience and think to myself “Er, hello its meant to be FUN”. Okay now I have gotten that annoying ‘bee out of my invisible bonnet’…

We keep it simple and keep it to the winner is the one who ends up picking up the most sticks. So as we begin to take turns picking up the sticks and we’re say two-thirds of the way through the game, N.B comes to the realisation that this game is an analogy for life. The random structure of the sticks represent life’s problems. She describes to us how every time we pick up a stick, another perspective, layer, obstacle is removed providing mental clarity.

I would go on further to say picking away the sticks, using powers of deduction, physical analysis and close monitoring of our ego self  enables us to manage with problems; minor, mediocre or major.

One of those light bulb moments that made us all gasp!

So props to our facilitator N.B (you know who you are) what a great little vignette born out of simple game of Mikado.

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The Process of Catharsis

cathartic
kəˈθɑːtɪk/
adjective
adjective: cathartic
  1. 1.
    providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis.
    “crying is a cathartic release”
    synonyms: purgative, purging, purifying, cleansing, cleaning, releasing, relieving, freeing, delivering, exorcising, ridding; More

    abreactive;
    raredepurative, lustral
    “writing my first book was a very cathartic experience for me”
    antonyms: repressive
  2. 2.
    Medicine
    purgative.

noun

Medicine
noun: cathartic; plural noun: cathartic
a purgative drug.

Okay, So I love the word ‘cathartic’ and the healing benefits of catharsis as a very helpful healing tool emotionally.

In my psycho – educational and support groups I use this word frequently to express my own realisation of an event or action which has provided me with soulful healing. Talking about your struggles and more specifically how you have overcome them is what I refer to when I use the powerful words “it’s so cathartic, when….”.

Having to deal with fluctuating high anxiety and depressive phases which can be so debilitating and self-perpetuating that it can be a hard task to either slow the mind down or to motivate one’s self. A very cathartic tool for me is listening to music especially when I am alone and need something to; lift me, ground me, cry, heal, feel the repressed emotion or to be soothed. As at the loneliest of times we are most vulnerable to the ‘demons in our minds, the ghosts of old and such. These days I rarely cry unless its hormone related or a very hellish time that has sent me into floods of tears. I wish I could activate crying to enable the process of catharsis as I know it helps, as it makes ‘your mind body and soul lighter’. If ever there was a healing release it is that of having a good sob. We are told growing up its weak to cry, and if you are naturally sensitive like moi, you would easily well up and feel the need to cry. This is what it was like for me growing up through childhood and adolescence! It was embarrassing and humiliating to have to manage that growing up. Being told to not be so ‘soft’ and ‘stop crying’ you need to be tougher. Its funny now after a very tough few years and a lot of soul-searching I have toughened up a bit and can seem a bit indifferent when really I am being super guarded and stuck with the inability to cry so easily. It makes me feel heartless although I know that I am definitely not. Nowadays it gets stored up ‘drop by emotional drop in my mind’s stress glass until it’s about to overflow and whoosh ‘the heavens open….and as its ‘wahhhhh’s ville’.

I have to make a little light of it with humour as this is also such a great way to release pent-up stress and emotions letting them out in a positive way. A good belly laugh can work wonders and give those hidden abs a little workout tee hee!

Crying is sign of being strong for too long – this is a phrase I have come across over the ‘net’ and what I perceive and apply to the act of crying now.

On a last note, the word itself demands respect and has a power in itself and requires correct pronunciation. Okay yes this word “is all that and a bag of chips” in my humble opinion…………..stepping away from this blog post now!

World Bipolar Day

Bipolar is an illness or condition (when stable) its tough but we can all live full lives whether they be high functioning or to the best of our ability bearing in mind, meds and side effects. Thank god I live in a world that is continually evolving where being bipolar is not as isolating as it once was. Respect to all my fellow bipolar friends out there and to our families, loved ones and friends who accept us beyond diagnoses and labels! ~ Hina 2015.
Om Namah Ganesha ~ ‪#‎fightingthepositivefight‬

"It's World Bipolar Day! To find out more about what it's like to live with a diagnosis of bipolar, check our our 30 Years booklet and website: http://bit.ly/17zvlxE #WBD15"

It’s World Bipolar Day! To find out more about what it’s like to live with a diagnosis of bipolar, check our our 30 Years booklet and website: http://bit.ly/17zvlxE ‪#‎WBD15‬

Wonder Woman’s Lasso Makes Men Tell The Truth!

WW8

Before I go any further, I have to give props to my dear boyfriend for the title of this blog. It came about after I mentioned my love for the superheroes depicted in TV and Film during my childhood in the 1970s-1980s. Yes this is a parallel to all those fairy tales that we grew up care of the ‘Disney’ machine, which just gathered pace as the years went on. That’s a whole other blog that I don’t have the inclination to write about!

It was all about Good vs Evil where until circa 2000 and beyond the superhero was generally male and seldom an amazing female. Yes, the one and only Wonder Woman is who I am referring to, who I grew up loving alongside the duo ‘Batman and Robin’ and ‘Spiderman’. Diana Prince (played by Lynda Carter) aka the super heroine, Wonder Woman. A beautiful and tender-hearted woman who save’s the day by catching crooks in an effortless way with her ‘golden lasso’. The Golden Lasso a very important part of her arsenal of crime fighting weapons used to catch crooks, that wields the power to demand the captured ‘obeys her and tells the truth!’.

WW


Imagine that such a tool exisited in our super advanced technological age? Wonder Woman, the Amazonian, strong, undeterred warrior princess (the character’s historical roots) was able to extract ‘THE TRUTH’ from men. Well, C’mon she does portray a heroine fighting for ‘justice, love, peace and sexual equality thus being a popular feminist icon. Imagine if she was able to ‘pick out’ all the guys out there who were no good, liars, cheaters and abusers. Yes, I’m going there. If ever there was a fictitious role model for us women growing up in the 70s onwards it was Wonder Woman. Then my objectivity ‘kicks in’ and I know women can be as notorious and untrusting as men and it shouldn’t be all directed to them.
In this modern age it’s all about the ‘alpha female’ the ice queen within the corporate pack who is firm, articulate and focused on what she wants and how to get it. I wouldn’t call myself an alpha female but I would stand my ground with one. I remember working with a few and secretly admiring their ‘go getting and on the ball’ attitudes. Loving the moments when they would let that frosty guard down and show their sensibilities even with the odd relaxed smile, attempt at chit-chat or sharing a light-hearted joke. Smiling to myself and thinking I knew there was a human being in there!
See at the end of the day whether you are the sensitive and assertive type of women, passive, or the said alpha female, don’t all of us women just want the same basic things from life? Well as society regardless of sex or gender, we all intrinsically want the same things; to be happy, successful, reach our long or short-term goals, have a handful of reliable close friends and family.Don’t we?

Now, on a pragmatic level Wonder Woman’s garb isn’t the exactly the most functional – I mean a bustier and some star-spangled knickers although these do have the ‘firm control pant factor’ ala Bridget Jones Diary! – but hey Wonder Women is a sexy heroine! Why can’t a women be beautiful, proud of her curves and be a kick ass kind of women too?. Lynda Carter had the gift for portraying this heroine with a real innocence and with a gutsy edge.

Today, in this world of retail , the phenomenon that is Wonder Woman, is consistently available in clothing and accessory aisles with the her red, white and blue themed attire and her logo on a vast array of articles. As m

actionfig-190lay boyfriend continually likes to reaffirm that it’s all about ‘Advertising in the end’ period! I’m personally not complaining about this little beauty I picked up… However this pop driven culture of kitsch commerce has been diluted by us to the point that the enigma the awe and goddess-like aura that surrounded this great icon has evaporated!

Now where did I put that Wonder Woman onesie?

Poetry is Carthatic

by William Henry Davies, a Welsh poet [1871-1940].

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Albeit not an obsessive poetry fan I have over years written poetry or prose to vent, express or understand my troubles.

I have also used some well-known poetry or quotations as my own personal mantra to get me through hard times by providing me with some inner wisdom and solace.

Today a lovely lady mentioned the above poem by W. H. Davies and she only uttered a line or two from it and immediately I was captured by the words and eager to find the full version.

My anxiety has been very high today and I have given myself a hard time for not completing tasks like other folk due to a person’s flippant comments. In reality the comment shouldn’t affect me but having health problems and being a perfectionist in some areas it has done nothing but sit with me mentally, being obsessed. No amount of psycho-educational tools have helped dissipate it. I really shouldn’t give two flying figs about somebody’s flippant words but being sensitive and at times struggling to ‘be good enough’ it has totally consumed me.

So here I say ‘ I PACE MYSELF’ I read the poem above and again ‘I PACE MYSELF’ with my choices and my timeframes – not anyone else’s concern.

So via the internet et voila!

– Hina

When I loved myself enough by Kim McMillan with Alison McMillan

Book Corner: When I loved myself enough By Kim McMillan with Alison McMillan

When I loved myself enough by Kim McMillen
This is not your regular read, in that it’s not a book you have to read from cover to cover, rather its a book you can ‘dip into’ on any page and you will hopefully find some words of support, wisdom or perhaps enlightenment.
Every page begins with the premise of the book, ‘When I loved myself enough’ …followed by a positive affirmation, life experience or some precious pearls of wisdom. These nuggets of self-expression have been wrapped up into this handy little book by Kim McMillan. Kim shares her late mother, Alison McMillan’s lessons and observations through life.
I have recommended this book to my friends who love it for the nice little package its been made into 😀
Personally I have found the book a true blessing as a source of support especially in times where I am having to dig deep to get through life. It really is worth having a look at ….who knows it might help you too!
– Hina

Accepting my Mental Health Disorder and Accepting Myself

I may not have my own little family with children and I may never have this (I would not want a child to endure such a complex Mental Health disorder as I have to manage with) but what I do have is myself, my own identity – no longer hiding a mental health disorder that a lot of people would not be able to handle or keep positively fighting against. As I am proud to be me, for all my strengths and weaknesses (as we all have) I will not give in to my MH disorder which causes me extreme physical pain when I am drained/constantly stressed that nearly ‘signed me and my mind off’ a few times.
Hence I have distanced myself from superficial culture, community and toxic or manipulative people and tried to stay in touch even at distance with those I hold dear but due to ‘societal ignorance not theirs’ reconnecting with would cause my mind and my health severe consequences.
None of this is narcissistic, aggressive, or self pitiful its ‘being REAL’ saying I am blessed/cursed with two cultural backgrounds, an intelligent mind that struggles and is continually implementing some amazing therapy, has emotional scars, had amazing life events, and the saddest life event that caused the most frightening depressive relapse (the worst) a few years back that I didn’t think I was going to survive or if I did be banished to insanity for the foreseeable.
Luckily some really amazing friends (you know who you are) kept me fighting and forging through it all even when I had no hope, you never lost faith in me and the inner grit I had but that I just didn’t know how to reach! You are my family!
Now if anyone thinks my comments upon sharing the original first MIND campaign photo with my comments, was catty, or me ‘having my fifteen minutes of fame, read the above!
Being selected to take part in the MIND Campaign was the first step on the path I was born to tread ….raising awareness and unashamedly fighting stigma on Mental Illness within Society!
*speakupwhileyouarehere*

OFFICIAL MIND Campaign Photo went live on MIND FB 24022014

Impromptu Day Out to Bournemouth!

Okay…. So Michaela aka affectionately called M by me, rings me on Tuesday whilst I’m heading off to my weekly gym session. She and James have decided to go to Bournemouth Beach for the day tomorrow, and they’re inviting me along!! 😀

After having a little think about it, post gym workout I decided it’s probably just what I need to help me relax and ground myself by joining them on their trip to the coast. So after buying some snacks and sorting out what I will need to pack for the day out I tried to get some much-needed rest. Due to lack of sleep (probably due to excitement among other things) I woke up early 6am in fact an hour earlier than I had planned to. I then text M to see if she’s awake and funnily enough she too was ‘up at the crack of dawn’ too, both of us anticipating a text from James to find out if we were still going. He was not feeling too good – he’d come down with a sore throat the poor thing.

Then I get the ‘ding’ text to say we are going ahead. I haven’t been to the beach for a year and the last time I was lucky enough to go was by coach with the ‘Malaap’ group that the local CMHT organised as their last outing and last group meet up. That too was to Bournemouth! Alas I digress…..

So today, Wednesday 16th April 2014 was bright and sunny albeit a bit chilly out. I managed to be ready to leave by 9am. M and James were prompt in arriving and James, upon my enquiring, said he was still feeling ill with the sore throat but as a star trooper was still fixed on our day trip to the sea! A tad hesitant we set off James driving. I was feeling good but physically exhausted due to lack of sleep wasn’t helping my anxiety levels.

We then arrived at ‘destination beach’ at  about 11am and the sea looked amazing with the suns rays reflecting off the choppy waves. We headed off to the souvenir shop where M fell in love with a small brimmed straw hat that she plonked on my head and insisted it looked fab on me. As I looked at my reflection in the over head mirror on the wall of the shop it was quite cool but I felt I looked quite haggard and ‘tres old’ in it and I personally felt it suited M heaps more especially with her fab head of hair.

 Moi inside M’s childhood tent sneaking in a selfie.

We then decided to get our bearings and over a drink, we took a pew on the promenade and took in the sea air and contemplated whether or not to run for the sea for a much-anticipated dunk in the cold choppy waves. All agreed Nooooo! There was a chilly wind that was hampering the suns brightness, we hoped it would get warmer later.
We then headed off to grab our bags and put up M’s ‘childhood tent’ that she geniously packed. It was a slick team effort with the tent up and anchored in a matter of minutes as our base and windbreaker. Team work at its finest ‘Oh Yeahhhh! Fortunately for us it was a kids tent cos I could see us ‘being all over the shop’ much like a twister game floor sheet if it had been an adult sized tent.

Team slick yes thats us! lol

We stayed on the beach the whole day and then went for a cool walk in the nearby public gardens before making our way back home. 

All in all it was a lovely day out besides the sea side besides the sea! 


Myself (Hina), M (Michaela) & James on our return from our lovely day at the beach!