Thursday, 21 June 2018

Just the facts, ma'am

I started a post yesterday and saved it as a draft. Reading it back today it was a world a way from how I'm feeling now so I scrapped it. I find it fascinating that my mood can shift so drastically from one day to the next... Fascinating and a little bit shit, obviously. 

Over the past week or so, I've found myself waking each day unsure of which version of Kati I'll be spending the day with. As I'm not overly keen on most of the potential variations this is not an ideal way to start the day. The fact that three to four mornings a week I also wake up on an airbed certainly doesn't help matters but we'll come to that shortly. 

So my mood has been all over the shop and I was starting to wonder if perhaps my medication needed adjusting. I don't necessarily want to be on a higher dose but after reading a brilliant article on the Blurt Foundation website this week about the stigma surrounding medication and mental health, I decided to just go with it. Appointment is booked for after work tomorrow to see my GP. Today however, I feel better. Massive overshare: my period arrived today. Yay! I mean, not yay because I feel like I've been hit by a bus and I'm roughly the size of a small shed but at least my mood has levelled out and I've got an explanation of sorts for my escalated sugar consumption just lately. 

As my head is the clearest it's been all week, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to bosh out a blog post and get a bit of perspective. The more I add to this little blog o' mine, the more it helps me to understand my own head and thought processes. 

Over the last few days I've described my life as an "utter shit show" in conversation with others. I did it earlier today when talking with my (now ex) accountant. On the one hand, I like the way it sounds and it packs a certain comedic punch but on the other hand, I actually feel like it's a fairly accurate description. 

Let's look at the facts, shall we...? 

I am 36 years old. Single. A mother of two. I am currently living in a friend's spare room. My whole world in one place. Of course I still have a heap of stuff at my ex-partner's house and thankfully he's okay with it staying there for now. When the children stay over with me (three nights a week), they get my bed and I sleep on a single air bed on the floor. When my mood is low (as it has been several times this week), I find myself lying there wondering how the actual F this is my life?! I mean, for reals. I have a degree. I'm reasonably intelligent (but admittedly somewhat lacking in basic common sense). I ran my own business for almost four years. I had a mortgage (albeit briefly) twelve years ago!! And now... Air bed on the floor. 

I must at this point state that I am insanely grateful to my lovely friend for letting me and my small humans invade her home, life and space for a few months. It's a temporary measure and I long for my own home but I will miss living here when I'm gone. Living with your ex is not ideal and she offered me a little bit of space to call my own. I won't ever forget that. 

Back to the facts though... I'm in horrendous debt and my credit score is dog shit. If I'm lucky, I might be debt-free (ish) by the time I'm 40. I haven't left the UK since 2006 and my passport expired in 2009. I won't even bother delving in to the great big bag of unrelenting crazy that is my mental health or the pain I still feel at the loss of my dad.

Shit show, right? Fact. Here's the thing... I'm okay with it. I mean, I'm not really obviously because no sane person would be but here and now, I'm kinda at peace with it all. I won't say "I don't care!" because that would be utter bullshit but I can see things to be grateful for. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes the pit is so friggin deep, I can't see light at all. Right now... I see stars. 

Here are some more facts... I am healthy. Not so much, mentally but physically I'm in reasonable nick, rampant sugar addiction aside of course. I can run and yesterday I did five miles. My children are healthy and clever and funny. I have not one but two jobs I enjoy. Nothing will compare with the honour and the joy of running my SW groups and helping people transform their lives but sometimes it's okay to have a clock in/ clock out job you can walk away from at the end of your shift. I have a roof over my head. It's not my roof but it's a very nice roof over a very nice house that I'm lucky to live in for a spell. Is it a squash and a squeeze trying to fit everything I need in to one room? Of course it is and I'm not the tidiest individual but when I look round my room I see pictures of my daddy (not to mention one of me, Eva and Tom Fletcher!) and cards my awesome friends have sent me. I have amazing friends: Fact! The Holy Trinity of Chrissy, Jenny and Tracey. My birthday twin, Sam. Beth. Caroline. Jo. Katy. Rachael. Amy. My Bosworths. EB. Lynney. Katie. Me Little Gem. And that's just off the top of my head. 

The single thing. That's a sore point, I'm not gonna lie. I know I shouldn't be hung up on it. I know I need to learn to "love myself" first (vom!) before I can let anyone else love me but honestly...? I just miss kisses. I miss coming home to someone. I miss that solid feeling of a proper hug from a bloke that loves me. Even with a reasonably chipper outlook tonight I still struggle to believe that anyone is ever going to look at me and see anything worth loving. I'm chaotic and noisy and insecure... oh yeah, and officially NUTS. Whatsapping with a male friend (who must remain nameless) I listed all the things I want in a partner... He needs to be funny and patient and kind. He must look past all of my ludicrousness and see magic! He must be willing to kiss away my tears, hold me tight and protect me when everything gets too much for me. I poured it all out. Painted a picture of all the things my man must be. The reply? "Christ, that's a really big ad to put in the paper!" I had to laugh. I'm asking a lot, I know. And what does the poor bugger get in return? Me. 

At sports day today one of the other parents told me that my writing is "brilliant". I didn't even mention my blog when we were chatting and I had no clue she'd read it. Between us we mused that I should perhaps write a novel..? YA fiction seemed the right fit. I later Googled "creative writing courses" and found one on Groupon for £19. Until my cheque clears, I've got £3 in my bank account but maybe when I'm done being dirt poor, I'll look in to it further. 

Could things be better? Fuck, yeah. Could they be worse? Abso-frigging-lutely. When faced with an incurable cancer diagnosis, an incredible woman said to her mother "It's the card I have been dealt and I’m going to get on with it. I’ll just put my lipstick on and face the world". Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me. I hope that this is one of these posts I'll look back on and feel inspired. Next time I'm at the bottom of the pit, I'll read this one back and hope that I can maybe see the stars again. 

One more thing while I'm on a positivity roll... My hair is amazing. I mean, seriously. It's the dogs ding dongs #justsayin. Shout out to my hairdresser, Beth Sando for giving me four years of great hair after 30ish years of many a dodgy do. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Take care, Kati pet!

Note: This post was started (and almost finished) on Friday, early evening. I added the last two paragraphs now - Sunday afternoon - and I'm now gonna hit 'Publish'. The only reason I'm mentioning this is coz I may well write another post shortly about Father's Day. So here, first of all are Friday's musings... a reflection on a very 'mixed bag' week.

I seem to start a lot of posts with an observation about how long it’s been since I last updated the blog. “Why break with tradition then…?” I hear you say. I shan’t. A month. Last post was mid-May and I did two then in fairly quick succession. And then, silence. I just don’t feel like I had much to say. Now however, after a deeply odd week, I am once again ready to empty my brain in to my blog… Not the whole thing, you understand. Blimey, what a terrifying thought. There’s all sorts in there. Film trivia, lines from Shakespeare, the date Wannabe was released in the UK, poetry I memorised when I was seven and Macaulay Culkin’s date of birth to name but a handful of things pinging around my cranium. July 8, 1996 and August 26, 1980 respectively, just FYI.

So what went down this week that’s so blog-worthy? Well, it all started with a night out last Saturday. Fear not, dear reader, I have no tawdry tales to tell of night club snogging or one night stands… But my goodness me, it was a ruddy corker of a night. I’ve been working as part of the Primark Supply Chain at the vast distribution centre in Islip since early February. Initially I wasn’t sure if I’d take to warehouse work or if I’d bond with my co-workers but I am delighted to report that I bloody love it. I’ve made good friends, met people from all across the world and the predictable nature of the work is good for my head. A social gathering was organised for Saturday night and having missed the last one (it snowed so y’know, sod that!) I decided I would attend. It helped that Natalie, a lovely colleague of mine offered me a lift. Ridiculously at the grand old age of 36, I still hate walking in to a pub alone but with Nat as my wing-woman, I felt confident!

I won’t go in to detail on the events of the evening because I was informed by one of the Team Managers that the old “…what goes on tour, stays on tour…” also applies to work nights out but I can report that there was gin, my first (and second) ever Jager Bombs and my first vodka Red Bull in EIGHTEEN years. Yes, really. The highlight for me, as is always the case when I’m out out, was singing and dancing like a mad thing on the light up dance floor in Pop Central. I had the sense to stop drinking at midnight and by the time I climbed in to bed at 2am, I wasn’t feeling too bad at all.

Remarkably, I dodged a hangover and by 9am Sunday morning I was showered, dressed and receiving the children from Pete. So far, so good. In the afternoon, I attended a… wait for it, Yin Yoga and Gong Bath workshop at an amazing local studio, LW Dance and Fitness. My gorgeous friend (and birthday twin) Sam paid for me to go as a gift and what a gift it was. An hour of deep stretching followed by a sound bath which, if you’re unfamiliar, is lying under a quilt on your mat while the instructor (in this case, gorgeous Kanti) plays gongs and bowls and all manner of other wonderful things around you. It is essentially a very fabulous public nap with a great soundtrack and I loved every minute of it.

A sensible soul would have thanked the gods for the lack of hangover and popped off to bed at 8pm on Sunday night but not I. No, at 8pm I was arriving at a mate’s flat for a horror movie double bill. Another night out meant another missed dose of Quetiapine. While I don’t need to take it every day, I was soon about to find out what would happen when I mixed a boozy night, missed medication and not enough sleep. Let me assure you, it wasn’t pretty.

Monday morning arrived as it inevitably does and when I woke around 7am I found myself completely incapable of getting out of bed. Of course, I wasn’t physically paralysed but the notion of leaving the safety of my bed and having to interact with other humans was just too much for me to cope with. Sitting here now, it seems even to me like I must be exaggerating but I know in that moment and indeed for most of Monday, I just couldn’t. Couldn’t what? Couldn’t anything. I felt broken.

Since my diagnosis earlier this year, I’m starting to realise the impact that my disorder has on me and also, I’m coming to understand the consequences of straying from my routine, such as it is. I do not have OCD or a similar condition that enslaves me to doing certain things a certain way each day but if I do not take care of myself adequately (sleep, food, meds) then my body and my brain will go on strike. My ability to function like a normal (ish) human being will desert me.

A good sleep on Monday night meant I was able to return to work on Tuesday but I still couldn’t ‘people’. I was very much in my head. I have days like that where I power down and keep social interactions to an absolute minimum. Luckily for me, the nature of my job means that I can actually get away with being a bit of a moody witch without it affecting anyone else’s day! When I want to be sociable at work, there is scope for that but when I just want to get on with things and do some thinking (and inevitably some over-thinking too) I can. Another reason why the job is so ideal for me in my current mental state.

By Wednesday I was feeling a bit more ‘me’, whatever that looks like but I did something very un-Kati when I got in from work. There is never a time when I don’t have ‘stuff’ I could and should be getting on with but I made a spur of the moment decision to ignore all of it and start ‘The Staircase’ on Netflix. Cuppa, blanket, TV show. Boom! It’s my understanding that normal folks do this sort of thing quite often. Of course I felt a bit guilty and twitchy about it but the world continued to turn so I figured I hadn’t done too much damage to the balance of the universe.

On Thursday I had a bit of an epiphany so took to Instagram’s live feature to share it. Quite simply put, this is what occurred to me: doing nothing is good for you. I’ve been so focused this year on doing things to get better (meditating, exercising, writing etc) that I’ve completely overlooked the very necessary and simple practise of sitting the fuck down and just watching something. It was only after I posted a pic of me on Wednesday doing my relaxing with a caption about “there are thing I should be doing…” and my lush friend, Katie commented “This is what you SHOULD be doing” that I realised she was right. I really hardly ever just sit down and watch a TV show or a film… Or if I do, I’m always doing something else as well. The most common thing would be twatting about on my phone but I could also be writing or making lists or just actively fretting about all the jobs I’m neglecting by having the audacity to sit down!! No more. Just being is as important as all the doing in the world and I intend to do much more of it.

Self-care is important. Eat right, sleep well, create some Headspace, exercise… and occasionally (or maybe even semi-frequently), just do absolutely SOD ALL!

[If you're local to Kettering and you're interested in the Yin Yoga experience or in the other fantastic and varied classes on offer at Louise's amazing studio, check out]

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Fog

It's almost 5pm on a Wednesday. I've been home from work over two hours and what I haven't achieved in that time is frankly staggering. Oh, wait! I tell a lie... I've managed a fair bit of unnecessary and unprovoked emotional eating. Dear me... I've been in a weird mood all day and rather than let it continue I thought I'd try and write my way out of it.

Ever had one of those days when you just can't seem to wake up properly? I don't just mean a day when you're particularly tired but more when you feel foggy, like you're going in slo-mo. It isn't my medication doing it as I deliberately take my Quetiapine at 8pm so it doesn't slow me down the next day. I just feel a bit off today.

I shouldn't have even been at work today. It's my rest day as I have to work this coming Saturday. Part of the deal when the 9-2 shift became a permanent thing was working one in every six Saturdays. This will be my first. When there's plenty of work on, you're permitted to work your rest day as overtime so I did just that. I took my running gear with grand plans of driving to Pitsford to do a long run after work. After sleepwalking through a five hour shift, that plan got shelved but I toyed with the idea of popping upstairs to the gym. Yes, we have a staff gym at work! Free to use and open 24/7. All I had to do was go upstairs and I'd be there... Next thing I know, I'm swiping out of the building and walking to my car.

Within seconds of walking through the door at home, the kettle was on and I was rummaging in the cupboards. One Soreen bar was followed by a bag of salted popcorn then came half a roll with ham and a packet of crisps. Why stop there? Devour some left over Easter Eggs why dontcha? (Sorry kids!) I feel sick now... Didn't stop me having a cinnamon and raisin bagel with another cuppa just now. I Googled 'emotional eating' and read up on it. Diagnosed myself there and then. Yup! That's me. The website was very informative but offered no solution or ideas to combat the problem. Great! Thanks for that...

Part of the reason I wanted to write now was to help me understand what's going on right at this moment. I found when I looked back at posts from earlier in the year, it was comforting to see that I have made progress since then. What I'm feeling now is very familiar and also unpleasant. It's a feeling of "I have so much to do... I don't know where to start. There's too much to do... I might as well not try." I genuinely don't see myself as a lazy person but I get easily overwhelmed and I guess that's part of what I'm feeling now.

Faced with the rest of the day to myself (the children are with their dad) rather than feel excited at the prospect, I felt faintly panicked so I ate.

AHA!!! Fucking hell! I didn't even realise that's what was going on until now. Wowsers! A genuine light bulb moment. What else can I learn from this exercise? Let's backtrack and see...

I got home and thought "Well I have grown up crap to do... Or I could go and see Infinity War again... Or maybe I'll start season 2 of The Newsroom? What's on Netflix at the mo..? I've got more ironing to do. I need to call Center Parcs and where's that bit of paper with that thing to do with my tax that I need..." OVERLOAD!! Solution: foodfoodfoodfood. Eat the food and don't think. Eat the food and don't think. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. What a bloody revelation and all because I decided to avoid my life admin and blog instead.

Back when I first started counselling at the age of 14, I used to find that I'd say things to the psychologist that I didn't even know I was thinking or feeling. I believe so absolutely in the power of talking about your problems which is why I'm desperate to start my therapy. The waiting list is long however and all I can do is just that: wait.

For now, I guess I just proved that this blogging malarkey is helpful. I know some see it as a vanity project and I can't deny that it's fuels that part of my (unstable) personality (disorder) but it can get so cluttered inside my head. This is my way of filtering through the noise and the chaos and at least trying to understand it.

So what do I do now...? I'm actually feeling slightly better than when I started. I still feel a bit sick from overeating and the associated shame will niggle at me for the rest of the day. A To Do list would seem a good place to start. I learned a tip from a pithy little book called Eat That Frog. It's about how to manage your time better in business but the skills are certainly transferable to every day life. You make your list and then rank each task, making sure you do the most heinous job on there FIRST. I mean... If you have to eat a frog (do an undesirable thing) then you don't want it staring at you for hours, do you? You'll never eat it if you have hours to mull it over. So just fucking do it, eh? Makes sense! Another book (perhaps the same one?) suggested allocating time to each item on the list as, Grade A avoiderers like me will make a five minute job last an hour if it means I'll run out of time and not get round to the worst job/ ugliest frog.

A list of tasks. A time in which to complete said task assigned to each item on the list. No faffing. No more procrastinating (I've done at least a week's worth already today!). The fog has lifted (just about), time to get shit done, Katherine Emily.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Third Time Lucky

This is the third time since Monday that I've attempted to post an update. Often an idea will roll round inside my head for a few days before it makes it on to here. Sometimes ideas come and go. The post I attempted to write this week was to be entitled 'Breakthrough' and the gist was the notion that "Hey, I might actually win this battle against my crappy mental health!" While I still believe that to be true, a few instances in the last few days have served to remind me of just how fragile and fleeting a positive mindset can be.

My last proper post was all about a magnificent Saturday I'd spent in London town in the company of Christopher Moyles and Team Dubland. It was most certainly not an average Saturday. Last Saturday was equally wonderful but in a completely different way. It certainly wasn't a run-of-the-mill Saturday by any stretch of the imagination but it was a little lighter on celebs!

Myself and my small humans spent last Saturday hanging out on Baggers & Bling - the narrowboat owned by my lovely friend Sophie and her family. It was a Bank Holiday weekend and for once the weather played ball. I mean it really, really did! Blue skies, glorious sunshine and all the optimism and joy that comes with a sunny UK Bank Holiday. The Smith's boat was moored at Foxton Locks and the whole place was a-buzz. Families and friends enjoying a beer or an ice cream in the sun with no work until Tuesday. Marvellous! It was one of those days that if you'd tried to plan it, it would all have gone to shit but our visit was spontaneous, the stars aligned and everyone had a jolly lovely time.

Driving back from Foxton with two tired, happy children in the car - sun still shining, music on - I had the first flicker of "Maybe, just maybe I could beat this thing..."

Sunday only served to cement the idea. I returned the children to their dad and borrowed his lawn mower while I was there. The grass needed doing and despite the ridiculous heat and the fact that I've never mowed a lawn in all my 36 years, I decided I was just the woman for the job! Once the lawn was cut I tackled the house, cleaning it from top to bottom. Mundane? A waste of a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday? Perhaps but I was so filled with energy, positivity and determination that it seemed like absolute the right thing for me to do.

The biggest achievement of Sunday wasn't the lawn mowing however, it was the fact that I spent pretty much the whole day alone and I coped. Not only did I cope, I actually enjoyed time by myself. Un-fucking-believable. Unheard of! Kati does not enjoy time with Kati. Kati doesn't like Kati! Ah but this Kati is positive and focused and a joy to be around...

Bank Holiday Monday morning I made my first attempt at a blog post, rattling on about how positive I was feeling and how I was maybe, kinda, sorta starting to believe that I was going to be okay... Maybe even better than okay. Saved it as a draft, went to work. My intention was to return to it that evening but Eva and her current allergy to sleeping gave me the evening from hell and the blog remained unfinished. 

[Sidebar - I considered an entirely different blog post while working on Tuesday entitled 'My 9 year old is trying to kill me'. It was a shade dramatic and Daily Mail-esque but felt entirely justified after the umpteenth night of Bedtime Wars with my beloved first born!]

A few days later, I had another stab at getting the post out in to the blogosphere, taking bits I liked from my previous draft but it still never got as far as me hitting publish. I was so determined to record the monumental occurrence of self-belief as so much of my blog has been doom and gloom but it just never felt ready to share.

And then two things happened - my grief roundhouse kicked me in the face and my positivity packed a bag and fucked right off.

In the spirit of honesty and self disclosure, it is partly my fault this happened. I ran out of Sertraline mid-week and while I knew I needed to get myself to the pharmacy to collect my tablets, I didn't prioritise it. Why would I? I was feeling tip top. Until I wasn't. In short, I grossly underestimated just how much my medication helps to keep me functioning as a normal-ish member of society. The tablets help to keep me level so I experience less of the high highs but I'm also spared the lowest lows. Had I been taking my meds daily, I could perhaps of coped better with what happened on Thursday afternoon...

Innocently clearing out my 'other' inbox on Messenger where all the strange messages from foreign men reside (You know the ones "Hello. U luck beeutiful lady. Lets chat") I stumbled across a handful of messages sent in the wake of my dad's death. They'd sat there because they'd been sent by people who I know but aren't Facebook friends of mine. Reading these messages - kind words from kind souls saying wonderful things about my wonderful dad - took me back to the first few days after he died when a wave of similar messages arrived hourly via email, text and Facebook. I miss my dad every day but on Thursday the bear was back and it just crushed me. I cried like I might never stop.

And so to yesterday when I got further proof of just how much I need to be medicated. I arrived at work with my usual happy swagger but as the hours passed I could just feel myself shutting down. I avoided eye contact, not feeling capable of the banter I usually share with my colleagues. I just couldn't face it. I could feel myself getting wound up and, suspecting tears were nigh, I removed myself from the warehouse for a bit.

Alas, the tears came later. Along with a row with Pete. I could hear myself spitting words at him, hating myself for not being able to control my emotions. The added frustration of knowing that all of this could have been avoided if I'd just taken my feckin tablets made the whole situation worse. I eventually got a grip and apologised to Pete but collecting myself felt like trying to squeeze one of those daft pop out snakes back in to the can.

It's Saturday morning now. I collected my prescription yesterday and there's now Sertraline back in my system. I'm tired having worked at my new casual bar job until almost midnight and then waking up at 6am (SAKE!) but I feel like I might just be okay today. One day at a time, right?

I know that everything I was feeling was real. I can get better. I am already getting better! I'm finally losing weight. I've started running again (despite giving it up last year!). I've taken on a second job so I can be less skint. I'll get there. Wherever there is? If I could I'd add the "I dunno!" shrug emoji lady here as she is my current favourite and most used.

Until next time kids...

Sunday, 29 April 2018

My mate, Chris

Sunday night and I'm already tucked up in bed. I was going to just read my book until sleepy time but I just made a dash downstairs to grab two things: my laptop and the last bag of mini Party Rings from the cupboard. The first item I needed as I felt the urge to blog was upon me and the second I didn't need at all - I'd just eaten a piece of homemade birthday cake - but I'm a greedy bitch with emotional eating tendencies. Don't judge me!

Many a week has passed since I last threw open the windows and invited you all (all?! who am I kidding?) to peer inside my funny little world and there are a whole host of reasons why I haven't blogged in a while. I shan't go in to them. I'm back now.

While I don't feel it necessary to explain my extended absence from blogsville, I do feel compelled to tell you that my soundtrack to this evening's proceedings is Smooth radio. It's entirely possible that anything played on Smooth on a Sunday night could tip me over the edge and have me weeping openly. I will do my best to keep my shit together.

I had a rather smashing day yesterday and I wanted to reflect on it a bit for a few reasons. First and foremost, I don't want to forget it! It was almost definitely a once in a lifetime kind of a day. Secondly, I'm trying to appreciate moments - both the big and spectacular like yesterday but also the more simple and sweet.

Yesterday's events need a bit of backstory/ build up so just bare with me...

Back in 2012, when DJ Chris Moyles ended his (as yet unbeaten) run as the host of the Radio 1 breakfast show I was gutted. Yes it was just a radio show and he was just a DJ but I'd been listening to Chris on Radio 1 since he'd hosted the afternoon show back in 2001! During his eight and a half year stint on Breakfast I tuned in most days and suddenly not having him there to listen to left me feeling a bit adrift. Silly but true.

I defected briefly to BBC Radio 2 as I've always liked Chris Evans on the radio but the music choices of that station felt too old for me. In the end, I returned to Radio 1 and the shouty nonsense of Nick Grimshaw's presenting style. By now I was in my 30s, a mother of two, and a world away from R1's target audience.

September 2015 and somehow - although I honestly don't remember how - I heard that Chris Moyles was back on the radio. I was familiar with XFM but had never listened to it. Now it was the all-new Radio X and Chris Moyles was their brand new breakfast show host. I tuned in immediately and I haven't tuned out since. I already knew Dominic Byrne from the old place and I quickly warmed to newcomers Pippa and Dave. All was well! I had Chris and Dom back in my morning routine and the sensibilities of Radio X were much better suited to Chris' style. They talked, they joked, they laughed... I laughed, a lot. Marvellous!

October 18, 2015. My beloved dad is gone and the world no longer makes sense. After a few weeks of chaos, back and forth to the North East, I returned home to Kettering and 'normality'. Dad was laid to rest and I was expected to continue living my life. What I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep for as long as was necessary for this nightmare to be over and for my dad to be returned to us. What I had to do was keep going. My children, though sad at the loss of their Geordie Grandad, needed their mummy to keep doing her job. Shutting down was not an option. So every day, I got up and I put the radio on. As long as I had Chris, Dom, Pippa and Dave for company, I could cope. Not only did they help me cope, they made me laugh. Every single day without fail, I would laugh out loud at the show.

Days, weeks and months passed. Monday to Saturday I would listen live to Radio X via my DAB or the app if I was in the car and on a Sunday morning, I'd listen to the Chris Moyles show podcast. Even when I was hearing highlights from the show that I'd actually heard live, I'd still laugh.

A few months back I wrote a letter in to Radio X for Dom's letters feature. In the letter I did my best to explain everything I've written about here - how much the show meant to me and how it helped me function in the mornings after losing my dad. My letter was read out by Dom and Chris thanked me on air saying what a lovely letter it was. Thankfully, I was in the car driving the children to school at the time and we all heard it.

Chris made references all the time on air to his cousin Suzanne's podcast and in January 2016 I listened to Dubland for the first time. I was hooked. In a nutshell, Dubland is two Dubliners - broadcaster, blogger and mammy, Suzanne Kane (Chris' cousin) and broadcaster, actor and comedian, PJ Gallagher in a room talking about anything and everything for about an hour. It is sweary, honest and fucking hilarious. No topic is off limits - everything from blow jobs from toothless koala bears to how far back men should shave their bollocks gets discussed. Politics, religion, sex, childbirth, food, exercise... you name it, Suzi and PJ have probably talked about it. One story in particular told by PJ made my sister laugh so much while driving that she had to pull over. Clare FaceTimed me with tears streaming down her face. "GET THE HEART MACHINE!" we shouted at each other while both laughing hysterically. Like the breakfast show, Dubland has been such a blessing. A guaranteed laugh every time I listen.

When I heard that Suzi and PJ were planning to come to London to record the podcast with a live audience I knew I had to be there... Not only be there but if possible, get a chance to speak to them both and tell them how much I enjoy what they do. Chris has been plugging the event on his show for weeks and confirmed last week that he would be in attendance.

So there we all were yesterday in The Boogaloo pub in North London. Chris introduced Suzi and PJ and Dubland Live was underway. It was amazing to watch them just chat and swear and do what they do right there in front of me! When Chris vanished briefly I wagered he'd gone for a cig and popped out the back of the pub to find him. I didn't want to miss the show but I also knew I'd probably never get a chance like that again.

Sure enough, he was smoking outside. I admitted to following him but assured him I wasn't crackers. As calmly as I could I explained about the letter, about my dad and told him how much I love what they do on the show every day. He gave me a massive hug and thanked me genuinely. "We're staying for a few drinks after the show finishes," said Chris, "Come and have a drink with us." Erm, yeah okay Chris Moyles, I'll do that.

Once the show ended, PJ, Suzi and Chris were mobbed. I'd already had my moment with Chris so I just watched as he greeted the queue of fans waiting for a selfie. The atmosphere was so relaxed, it just felt like the most normal thing in the world to be stood in a pub with Chris Moyles, his cousin and her mate, the stand up comic.

When the queue finally dwindled and Chris escaped to the smoking area, I unashamedly followed him again. This time we sat on a bench and chatted like old friends. Inside I'd seen him be polite and jovial with all the folks waiting for a handshake and a pic with him but we sat together and discussed Avengers: Infinity War, the show, my dad... I'm not an idiot. I know that we are not friends. I know he will eventually forget me but we had a bit of a moment in that pub's back yard. His lovely friend Megan took pictures for me of Chris and I together. I later got a pic with both Chris and Suzi.

It was a surreal and wonderful experience that I never want to forget. I know many people aren't keen on Chris, presuming that the loutish persona he played up to back in the day is really him. It's not. The man I chatted to yesterday was geeky, kind and funny.

As the time came for Chris, Suzi and Megan to move on to a birthday party they were all going to, I admitted to Suzi that I'd missed my train home. Of course there would be other trains (it wasn't that late) but my ticket was specifically for one at 18.54. She went in to a panic, making me promise to let her know that I'd got home safely! Saying goodbye to Chris I got another hug and a kiss on the hand. "I've missed my train!" I told him. "Will you let Suzi know that you've got home safe?" What a family!

The journey home was eventful to say the least but that's another story for another day. I did as I said and let Suzanne know I was back safe.

This blog post may come across as a little smug and I realise it doesn't pack the emotional punch of some of my other entries. Perhaps it reads a little more like a diary entry but feck it! My blog, my rules. I had a great day yesterday and I wanted to document that. When you have Mental Health problems as I do (did you think I was going to manage a whole blog post without wheeling out my crazy?! No chance!) and the days often seem long and dark, you have to celebrate the moments of joy and nonsense. Yesterday was both glorious and ridiculous in equal measure.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

WARNING: May contain poetry!

Not a single post in the whole of February. Trust me, it's not a bad thing. For the most part, the second month of the year was a bit of a write off for me. I ended January feeling like I hadn't achieved much but on reflection and in contrast with what followed it, January was a massive win.

February was ROUGH. I mean really, really bastard hard. My mood plummeted and, as I tried to get to grips with my new job, all thoughts of walking for my wellbeing fell by the wayside. I didn't blog at all so all the crap in my brain that I usually decant on to here for the whole world to see just stayed in my head. In short, my PMA went AWOL!

I'm happy to report that just this week, I've started to claw it back. I've been for a couple of walks and I've taken control of my food. I even rejoined my beloved Wednesday morning Slimming World group in Corby this morning! 9lbs is all I have to lose but I know I can't do it alone.

Even with my positivity restored, I  myself wondering why it's so hard to establish good habits but so insanely easy to break them? I saw an amazing counsellor through the charity Cruse after I lost my dad [sidebar - I hate that expression! Lost my dad... I didn't misplace him! He's not keys or an umbrella!! I guess we just don't like talking about death and dying... Understandably so I suppose but anyway, I digress] and she told me that it takes three weeks to establish a habit and only three days to break it. True dat!

I actually wanted to blog when I got in from work last night but common sense prevailed. It may be a little after 9pm now but nine at night Kati is a very different beast from the creature that emerges after 10! Oh she's an unpredictable minx that one, quite angsty and a bit woeful. Case in point, she wrote poetry the other night. Poetry!! We haven't done that since the late 90s.

We... She... Sweet Christ, I really do sound utterly mental. Thankfully, I do not suffer from a split personality but I do recognise that there are many different versions of me and which version appears at any given time can vary wildly and change rapidly depending on the wind speed, the time of day and whether or not I have swift and immediate access to Moam Pinballs should I need them, to name but a few factors.

While we're on the subject I've been thinking a lot about my diagnosis just lately. Last night, while wandering the warehouse (and working, obvs!) I got to thinking about what it all means. Initially I was thrilled to have a diagnosis. It felt like a massive relief after years of wondering why I behaved so erratically and often, so destructively. But now the dust has settled and the feeling that's left behind is shame.

We're hearing more and more often now that "It's okay not to be okay" and I love that the message is getting out there. It's okay to struggle, ask for help, you are not alone etc. I myself have hashtagged that very phrase countless times when posting on Instagram about mental health problems but here's the thing... What if I'm not okay with not being okay? What if I'm sick of feeling this way? What if, quite frankly, I do not want a mental illness, thank you very much?!

Since I posted back in January about my assessment by the mental health team at St Mary's, I have seen the team psychiatrist and she was looking more at a diagnosis of Unstable Personality Disorder. Certainly I demonstrate many traits of BPD but there are other behaviours that, thank Christ, I do not present with. Whichever way you slice it, I'm not a mentally well woman and I wonder about the impact on my future happiness.

I've may have sworn off men and relationships this year while I try to fix myself but last night and now (as it's almost 11pm and the woe is creeping in) I see myself standing before a man, holding the broken pieces of who I am and asking him to love me anyway. Take me, all of me, and love me. I am unpredictable and disorganised. I have a temper I sometimes can't control. In many ways, I'm a bit of a nightmare but if you could just overlook all of that, that'd be grand!

Shit man.

A relationship isn't the be all and end all, I get that. I know I must learn to love myself and treat myself with kindness before I can expect anyone to do the same but there's that fear... that malicious voice whispering in my ear "No one will want you. Who would love you? You're a monster!"

I start twenty weeks of group therapy soon once the referral is sorted. I've already started new medication to work alongside my existing anti-depressants. And I must get back to walking. One step at a time, right? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and I'll get there, wherever the fuck there may be, eventually.

One more thing... I'm going to share the poem I wrote last week. I churned out quite the collection of verse back when I was at school. The majority of it was self absorbed, angsty nonsense BUT I can think of one or two that I wrote that I remain proud of to this day. Here's my first attempt at poetry in about eighteen years. It came about when I was drafting my wedding vows in my head despite not being engaged or indeed in a relationship of any sort. I mean, if that doesn't have the men queuing up at my door, I don't know what will! Jesus, I terrify myself. It doesn't have a title. (Annnnnd, it's probably terrible)

Accept that I am chaos.
Accept that I am noise.

Know that at times I will rage and scream like an angry toddler.
Frustrated, you'll exclaim "It's like having an extra child!"

I know that I am not easy to love.

Please believe me when I say that it's when I am at my least loveable that I need you to love me most.

I do not mean to be this way.
I do not enjoy the loss of control or the temper tantrums.

My emotions are at times a beast, ferocious and wild.
I am asking you to love me when I am tooth and claw, venom and bile.

Love me then.

In return I promise to love you with all that I am. My love for you will burn as fiercely as my temper.

Accept that I am chaos and noise.
Love me as I am, as I was and as I will be.

Just love me please.

I think that's quite enough from me for now. It's late and I need sleep. I may wake up tomorrow and take this down after reading it back and realising it's dreadful or just a little bit too honest but for now, Midnight Kati says "Hit publish! What's the worst that can happen?!" Until next time...

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Adios January!

I started a blog post earlier today with the intention of reflecting on the month that had been and looking ahead at what's to come... As I'd been dancing around in my joggers to the mighty Puff Daddy/ Jimmy Page collaboration 'Come With Me' (Godzilla soundtrack, 1999. Great soundtrack, shit film. True story) only moments before sitting down to commence writing, I ended up rattling on about music instead. I guess that's the thing with writing, sometimes it takes you in an unexpected direction. I saved my update as a draft and went off to work. Now, I feel like I want to write about my original topic so you may never know what prompted me to crank up that retro tune and get as gangster as a white chick from Denton Burn possibly can at 10:15 on a Wednesday morning...

My January began with grand plans for change and progress... and it then sort of became just about surviving. I was right all along when I said January was a daft time to try and undertake big lifestyle changes! It's just such a rough month.

I've had a few appointments and assessments this month so progress has been made on Operation: Get Well Kati... Or Operation: Be Less Crackers to be slightly less PC about it! It still feels like I haven't really started yet though if I'm honest. I baked cakes today for the staff at school because Friday is my last day. I went way overboard and when Pete asked me why I said "Because I want everyone to like me!" He reminded me that it's up to me to start rallying against feelings like these but sometimes I just can't be arsed so I make enough Mars Crispy Cakes to induce a diabetic coma.

One thing I am proud of this month is how much I've walked. I didn't quite manage one purposeful walk a day which was my aim but in total I clocked up over seventy miles including one 10 miler with my amazing mate Rachael and a solo 8 miler too. I've used walking as therapy and a coping mechanism. Last Thursday being a prime example: everything got too much for me, I cried until I actually felt sick... Then I laced up my trainers and walked 5 miles. Admittedly they were slow, weepy miles but there's no denying I felt better afterwards.

I have managed to bag myself a job at last. I wrote earlier this month about crying in the car when I couldn't find the office I needed on a huge site BUT I did eventually find it and my induction is next week. This does mean however that I have to say goodbye to my little day job as a lunchtime supervisor at my children's school. When I joined the school in November 2016 I never imagined how much joy it would bring me. It's cutting up Yorkshire puddings, mopping up spillages, refereeing playground disagreements but it's somehow glorious and it makes my heart happy. Our school has some utterly wonderful, hilarious children as pupils and I have adored getting to know them. They enjoy my nonsense and my funny accent and I enjoy their bluntness and their innocence. It has been a pleasure to clean up their peas and open their yogurts. Thankfully, as I'm still a parent with children in the school and will be until 2023 (when obviously I'll be taking Hal to school by hover car or wearing matching Mummy and Son jet packs!) I will still see those gorgeous, cheeky faces on a regular basis.

On top of my walking, I've done a few exercise classes this month too. Another positive to focus on! One Clubbercise class which I loved (but haven't managed to do since due to other plans on Tuesday evenings!) and a regular Friday morning Pilates class too.

The guided meditation fell by the wayside a bit if I'm honest but once I'm more financially stable (I'm prioritising things like rent and food at the mo) I will subscribe to the Headspace app. I would also ideally like a subscription to Audible as I adore being read to and I'd also love an Odeon Limitless card too. Thank you please. None of these things are necessities but they're all things which are investments in me in a roundabout way. I so badly want to get mentally better this year and all of those things as well as the more obvious treatments like therapies and drugs, will help me achieve that.

This month I've seen four new films on the big screen and watched a few older films I'd missed at home too. Film has always been my passion and once upon a time it was the thing I knew most about. Over time, as is inevitable when you become a parent, I've visited the cinema less and swapped encyclopedic film knowledge for the names of Pokemon and Descendants characters. I'm determined to reclaim my status as a film buff among my friends and family and it feels like I got off to a good start.

The whole weight loss thing was a bit of a disaster with me ending January as heavy as I was at the start of the month, if not a few pounds heavier. I've been quite open both here on the blog and on my Instagram account about my emotional eating. Many times I have climbed inside a gigantic bag of sweets and challenged myself to eat my way to freedom. Sweet stuff is my comfort, my distraction from my pain and feelings of hopelessness. It is a safer crutch than a bottle of vodka or a crack pipe but it is still a crutch that I need to learn to cope without. I am hoping (nay, praying) that the routine of my new job and the fact that I can't just nip off to Morrisons to buy and annihilate eight (FUCKING EIGHT, MAN!) Malteaser Reindeers in the middle of the day will help with the awful cycle I find myself trapped in. I'm not trapped of course. It is 100% within my power to break free, I just need to be ready to do it. And yes, I did really eat eight chocolate reindeer yesterday. They were my main course after a starter of a whole pack (that's five just FYI) of mini banana Soreen loaves. Christ on a bike...

Tomorrow marks the beginning at a new month and we're all saying "So long!" to the utter crap fest that is January. I'm adding a "Don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out!" to mine too. Sod that actually! Let's try "Screw you January, I hope the door knocks you on your arse as you leave!" I'm planning to embrace the cliche and go for a fresh start from February 1st... For now there's a cup of decaf and a Mars Crispy Cake with my name on it!

Thanks for reading my blog this month. I hope you'll stick with me for many more months to come.