My Journey to Facial Happiness

Hi everyone,

So recently I’ve been looking at surgical procedures (if you read my Suicide and Me post you will see I mentioned it, briefly). Before you judge, say I don’t need it, troll me, call me shallow and vain or whatever else you think of, “hear” (read, obviously, unless your blind and are listening, if so I apologise!!) me out.

I was born in 1987, yes, I’m a 30-year-old woman, 30, I remember being 18 like 2 days ago, I digress I am yet again getting off topic. When I was born we didn’t have the surgical skills or advancements that we do now, we had medical tape, stitches and a whole lot of people just trying their best.

I can’t remember if I mentioned in my previous blog about my mother’s alcoholism and the fact that part of the reason I was born with what I was is down to that. I was born with a harelip/cleft palate, they usually come hand in hand, but some people are fortunate or should I say misfortunate enough to have one or the other.

A hair lip or “hare” lip, also known as a cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip that can extend to the base of the nostril. The cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth where there shouldn’t be one, I have some pretty funny, but gnarly stories about foods I’ve managed to get stuck in my “hole”, don’t be filthy I wouldn’t waste food shoving it up my butt. I am talking about the hole which is my cleft palate. However, my husband always gives a belly laugh when he hears me say those words. Getting food up there is painful AF, especially mashed potato (yes I’m from Northern Ireland and I love potatoes, get over it).

I’m not going to give you a warning for these photos because they aren’t disgusting, it’s a birth defect, it happens, it’s not gross or disgusting, it’s something that people and animals can have when they are born and thankfully can be corrected with surgery. This is one example of a harelip, some babies are born with a harelip on both sides of their lip, but they usually don’t go all the way up to the nostril (I’m not a surgeon or medical expert, I’m just someone who was born with one, so don’t come for me).

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The image above is similar to mine, however, mine was slightly worse as for whatever reason my nose was bent to one side, whether it be the pressure from birth or because my lip was attached to my nose or whatever, I don’t know. So the difference in this photo is that you can’t see the lip clearly, but usually the lip is there and it’s attached somewhere like to the nose or cheek (google it if you are interested).

My cleft palate was the same as the one in this picture. I haven’t used my pictures because my mother destroyed the majority of baby pictures there were of me, I don’t know if she spilt something on them or there was a leak, but they’re unfortunately gone. I wouldn’t use pictures of actual babies as I don’t know them and that’s wrong.

My daddy tells me I was a gorgeous baby, of course, he would, he’s biased and I’m his absolute double anyway. I don’t know what age I was when I had the surgery, but I wasn’t breastfed (thankfully or I’d probably have been drunk as fuck) as I needed special teets given my birth defect. I do know I was a sick wee baby, often having a lot of ear infections, colds, that sort of thing. ENT (Ears, nose, throat) are all connected so it could be why.

I have in my head that I was 18 months old, so let’s say I was 18 months old when I had the surgery, although, I feel I was probably younger. I was extremely lucky to have one of the best children’s plastic surgeon’s in Northern Ireland fix my cleft palate and harelip, he retired not long after and passed away not long after that. His protegee, Mr Chris Hill then took over and was also present in my surgery. I mention Chris because he became a big part of my life.

Throughout the years I’d more surgeries just mostly to fix my cleft palate as I grew, I used to joke with my husband when I was 23 that I’d basically had a surgery for every year of my life. I can’t say that anymore as we’ve established I’m an old-timer.

I mentioned earlier I had a lot of ear infections, when I was around 7 (ish….daddy correct me if I am wrong) I had grommets or as we call them in Northern Ireland “vents”. Not a lot of people know what these are, basically, they are tiny tubes that can be inserted into the eardrums to treat conditions that affect the middle ear, so glue ear for example. Glue ear, also known as otitis media with effusion (why those medical names gotta be so fancy, though?) Is a persistent build-up of fluid (usually runny, smelly wax) in the middle ear that can cause hearing problems.

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So as you can see the grommet is pretty small, sort of reminds me of the tip of a pin used to cork boards. This is where my nightmare of hearing loss truly began… I had this surgery, my infections didn’t clear up, in fact in my left ear the pain got worse. I don’t know when my parents decided to take me back like if it was for a checkup or I don’t know. They went back, I was allergic to the material the grommet was made from and it had burnt a HUGE hole (what is it with me and holes…) in my eardrum to the point where you can actually see right through my eardrum (I shit you not). One ENT Specialist said he hadn’t seen anything like it in his entire life, I felt blessed but also worried he hadn’t been doing his job for very long and was in charge of looking at my ear. My dad wanted to sue, my mum didn’t…I could have been SO rich.

My parents were given drops to put in my ear, I screamed so much due to the pain, then the blood started. My parents never put drops in my ear, again. I was made to wear a hearing aid in my left ear. So here I am 6 or 7 years old, just started primary school, I have a funny looking nose, a funny shaped mouth with a scar on it, a fucking hearing aid and to top it all off I was blessed with long-sightedness so I had glasses. FUCKING GORGEOUS. Here is where my body image problems began, at 6 or 7 years old, not even old enough to know what body image meant.

I still say that my primary school friends were the best people I ever met because they never bullied me for how I looked, I was also very small for my age which could have led to bullying, but I was never bullied. I was accepted and had a great group of friends, some of whom I am still in contact with now.

Very few people have ever mentioned my lip or nose, in fact the only person I remember mentioning it before I did (as I was always quick to point it out and explain before someone said something to me) was my close friend Sarah B, she wasn’t rude, she just asked if that was what I had (a harelip) and I said yes, she was fascinated by knowing more so I told her. We had known each other for a week and have been close friends since then.

High school was hard for me, not because I was bullied although, I did get the piss taken out of me for my forehead….millennium dome was a term used or ‘Nicole do you know that PlayStation advert with the weird chinky eyed girl and massive forehead, that looks like you!’. Chinky is not a term I would use, I’m repeating what they said to me. I do have very oriental shaped eyes that I am immensely proud of, so they were referring to those too. The joke was on Nichola Blair (yes I’m fucking naming and shaming) and William Garrett as I’ve seen both recently and let’s just say… I’ve grown into my looks and have a good head of hair, whereas Nichola hasn’t and William… well… William doesn’t have any hair, because he’s lost it all.

My teeth, due to my harelip I am assuming as my parents’ teeth were both beautifully straight and white (until they started smoking) were crooked and horrible. My mother did say she thought once I’d lost my baby teeth that my adult teeth would grow in straight, my mother was delusional. My adult teeth grew in bigger, bolder and more crooked than my baby teeth. I was then blessed with good ol’ braces.

It got too much for me, I had too much ugly shit going on that I just didn’t want to be bullied for, so I lost it. When I say I lost it I mean I threw my hearing aid and glasses in the bin and pretended I’d lost them. I got new glasses, but would never wear them to school and keep to being a specky bastard at home (I’m allowed to say that because I’m still a specky bastard). So all that was left was my crooked teeth, weird shaped body and my “apparent” massive forehead. I’d no issue with my forehead so I didn’t have a fringe cut in (apart from that one time when I was 15 and it ended up…see an example below).

Okay, so I couldn’t find an example so I’ll try to describe it. Fringe was like the picture below, but instead of being straight down (my hair is naturally very, very wavy) it was like a Ɔ shape on the left and C shape on the right. I also thought by keeping it wet it would keep it down to my eyebrows, as when it was dry it tended to ride up my forehead…. we’ve all had “WTF” hair moments.

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So, all this was going on and I was also growing into a woman. I began my period when I was 9 so I started “blossoming” early. By the time I started secondary school I had pubes, hairy and I mean hairy like dog hairy legs, arms and armpits (that I shaved, cos…duh I ain’t going to look like a Yeti). Teenagers reading this, never, ever, EVER SHAVE YOUR ARMS OR EYEBROWS, EVER or your 9 o’clock shadow (i.e. the hair on your top lip) trust me, I’m an adult, I did it and….well…. just don’t be a weirdo.

I had quite large boobs for my age, the problem was my mother wouldn’t take me bra shopping. In fact, I had to take myself and I ended up having a hand me down bra from my cousin’s friend because it was too big for her. That was my black bra, I’d also a white sports type bra that my mother dyed grey because she was an adult, yet didn’t know how to separate whites and colours in the wash… I learned to do my own clothes washing after that.

So yeah, I was awkward, I probably didn’t help myself with the fringe or the bras, but I was a kid, I couldn’t do normal bra shopping because my relationship with my mother wasn’t normal (I’ll talk about it one day). I remember being curious about other girls bodies and just remember thinking how pretty the majority of my friends were and that I was the “ugly, smart one” in the group. I was pasty white, skinny as hell with these big boobs, one boob was hugely bigger than the other, which is actually very common ladies, nothing wrong with it and mine are still the same, although the little one has caught up with the bigger one so it isn’t as noticeable.

I’d always been so self-conscious about my face and in my teenage years I wore a shit tonne of hats to hide it, but now my body had started acting up. I was a huge WWE fan and remembered watching Lita, Sable, Trish Stratus and even Chyna after her surgery and thinking “I was I was that beautiful, I wish my boobs were like that, I wish my butt wasn’t as big and my legs weren’t like weird tree trunks”. I was BRUTAL about myself, now you have probably guessed from reading my posts I’ve a wicked sense of humour, I’d make jokes about myself which I honestly feel saved me from bullying. I was a good kid, got A’s and B’s, did well in my GCSE’s and left high school because I hated it and went to college.

I never, ever wore make-up, again because I didn’t have that relationship with my mother it wasn’t like I could borrow hers. I remember just going and buying some with my pocket money from my dad and not having the slightest idea what I was doing. I also dyed my hair for the first time and thought blonde streaks on my gorgeous black/brown hair was a good look for me, I didn’t have straighteners and hadn’t heard of frizz ease, but I did iron my hair with an actual IRON. Don’t do that, don’t be a dickhead like me.

I thought I was the dogs’ bollocks, I felt so confident for the first time and because I was at college boys were taking notice, not of my looks, but of my huge boobs. At this point, I was a 32F (UK size) and I was 5 feet tall and a dress size 4-6 (UK). I looked ridiculous and family and friends often said because of my boobs I looked like I was about to fall forward at any minute. However, when I got home and the makeup came off the issues came back. I hated my face, but there was nothing I could do or so I thought. I also still had braces.

I was lucky enough that I got really good at makeup so it hid a lot. I had one or two boyfriends, nothing to write home about and nowhere near as much as the average pretty girl. I was more the serious relationship type, I was 17 when I met my husband and we are still together 14 years later.

My view of myself was so bad I wouldn’t even eat in front of my husband, if I had to I’d hide behind him or hide my mouth. I was so conscious of my braces and my smile. I got my braces off when I was 18 and I was delighted, but I still wasn’t happy. I think the first proper plastic surgery that I remember was when I was 15, I had bone taken from my hip, put down the bottom of my eye and into my cheeks to help build more structure. That was the start of my love for morphine.

The next big facial surgery I had was when I was… 16? I had a rhinoplasty and fat put into my lips from my stomach (of which there was very little fat). Things improved slightly for me, but I still hated my face. The next time I had surgery I had more fat taken from my stomach and put into my face, I was awake this time on local anaesthetic listening to Snow Patrol and Oasis while Chris did mini-liposuction on me to get the very little fat out by cutting a hole in my bellybutton and scraping it out, omg I will never forget the scraping.

This was my one and only time with problems when I say problems, I mean…Chris said I could have died. At this point I was slightly older, I think 19 and was with my husband. He didn’t understand why I felt I needed this, but as always and being the sweetheart that he is, he was supportive if it made me feel better, but stressed he thought I was gorgeous and didn’t need it.

So…I went out with my friend Laura G, husband and I were living together this point and I was working 3 jobs so a night out was a bit of a rare occasion. I was in the Bureau in Jordanstown, catching up with Laura who I’d met working in the M&S warehouse (also where I met Sarah B) and because I was a cider drinker and like a true alcoholics daughter could drink like a fish, I needed a wee. I remember going to the loo, now my stomach was still healing internally from the surgery (bear this in mind) there was one of those big round toilet roll holders. Again, remember, I’m a short shit so this would have been around my stomach area to probably the top of my tatas.

All was going well, I’d had a wee, was zipping up my pants all that jazz and I spun round to open the door and BAM! Smack right where the fat had been taken I hit myself against that toilet roll holder, now these are metal, not plastic M.E.T.AL. (insert gif Manny MUA or James Charles’ clapping when they are making a specific point, here) I’m not a screamer (that’s what she said) when I am in pain I go white as fuck, or should I say whiter as fuck.

I composed myself and went back out, but my stomach was killing me. I laughed it off with my friend and continued my night. I don’t remember when the swelling started, or when I noticed the clots that eventually also turned into cellulitis. I do remember I also ended up with a big ass clot on my right side of my lip, though at the same time.

It was my husband that sounded the alarm to get me to the hospital, we were lying in bed and I was in so much pain I was punching the wall, I don’t mean when you stub your toe on the coffee table and you punch the nearest cushion. I mean properly punching my bedroom wall to the point where my husband thought I was going to break my hand.

The next thing I remember is being bundled into my dad’s car in absolute agony at stupid o’clock in the morning (it probably wasn’t it was probably like 7am, what can I say I’m a storyteller). We arrived at the Ulster and I was in pain, the cellulitis was BAD at this point and they had to drain it with a big ass needle. I’m scared of needles, but it was fucking BIG. Like I’m pretty sure they borrowed it from a vet, BIG.

It took two male attendings, two nurses and my dad to hold me down and I STILL managed to kick one of the attendings. It was honestly a jerk reaction to someone hurting me, at this point in my life my mother had stopped beating me because she realised I’d gotten strong, so anytime anyone hit me (including her) I hit back, hard.

I was hospitalised, now, I can’t remember if they didn’t drain all of it or that this happened to me twice, because I then remember a separate draining incident where an Indian doctor drained it with the same big ass needle and I nearly broke a female nurses hand from squeezing it so tight.

It was a long time ago, so it’s foggy, but I was hospitalised, for five whole days. During those five whole days, I was on the emergency list for surgery, so obviously I was being fasted (aka starved). I was happy as a pig in shit on morphine, but my stomach was an absolute mess. My dad visited often, as did my husband (who just to be clear was my boyfriend until I was 21, then we married), my auntie who was suffering from cancer also visited me, it was her that I told about the fasting, I was a teenager I ate EVERYTHING and was always hungry. By this point, I had been in 4 days and felt like I was being starved to death.

My auntie, being the absolute LEGEND (RIP Auntie Penny) that she was, went and demanded to know why her niece was being fasted and then pushed down the list for emergency surgery. I don’t remember if she got answers or not, but I do remember calling Michelle, she was Chris Hill’s secretary, asking her when exactly Chris was going to come and see me as he was based on the ward and I felt it should be his decision whether surgery was necessary or not. Michelle couldn’t believe it and came round to me herself when she saw how unwell I looked she text Chris right away and I want to say within hours Chris was there.

He told me he had no idea I’d been there for four days, said I didn’t need emergency surgery and had a look at my wounds. By this point the morphine, antibiotics and drainage with the needle had been done, I was also on warfarin (for those of you who don’t know that’s a blood thinner, I’m prone to clots so should have had it before) so the clots had pretty much dispersed. He told me he would check on me the next day about going home, he looked so angry so I’m pretty sure the attendings got in some shit for it.

I was finally allowed to eat, all I wanted was a salad or something light as I knew I’d not be able to keep anything heavy down since I hadn’t eaten in four days. The only thing the nurse could get me was an egg sandwich… a fucking egg sandwich. You bet your ass I threw that up and made a point of throwing up on my bed, too because nurse should know better than to give someone bread after they haven’t eaten in four days. Chris was informed of that the next day and again, I think I got someone in the shit.

I’ve been left with HORRENDOUS scarring from the needles that drained my stomach and even a portion of my stomach sticks out, I don’t know why. The tissue is still extremely hard and it’s been years, no amount of massaging will take it away. Dopey dick here STILL wasn’t done even after that experience. I went back to Chris AGAIN for the same type of surgery, this time I was put to sleep and it ended a whole lot better. Chris told me that was it then, no more surgery.

Years passed and I was still devastated, the fat transfer hadn’t worked in my eyes, I hated my lips and how they were shaped. In 2017 I had my first round of lip fillers, 6 months later I had another round of lip fillers. Again, I felt they didn’t do what they were supposed to, in early 2018 I went to a lovely lady based on Stranmillis Road named Rasa who was a facial tattooist. She did microblading and lip tattooing.

I wish I still had the photo of when they were first done, they were swollen and gorgeous. I have included a photo below of what they look like, now. One thing I will say is my family all have big lips, not like Angelina Jolie lips (well my cousin Jamie does and it’s just not natural for a man to have lips like that).

I’ve been back to Chris, he’s offered more fillers, still waiting on that. You can see my Harry Potter scar (as I call it) and the way my lips are misshapen. If you look close enough you can see my nose is also still slightly tilted and one nostril is smaller than the other.

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I’m still so unhappy to the point where I have done research ongoing abroad (Poland) to have a lip reconstruction as I genuinely feel that is the only thing that is going to fix it, they also remove scarring so I might be able to get rid of the scar on my upper lip and my stomach scars (which I won’t gross you out with a photo of that, my husband is the only one that is unfortunate enough to see it).

I’ve also set up a Go Fund Me page for people to help me raise money to do this as there is no way at the moment I’d be able to afford it myself.

This blog is purely to explain my journey from being born with a birth defect, to the dozens of surgeries, to present day. Before anyone starts, I’m doing this for me, I know when to quit, I don’t have any sort of body dysmorphia, but I do associate my birth defect with the childhood abuse I suffered and therefore want to do what I can so I don’t have to wake up every morning and see it. I’m sure even the trolls can appreciate that.

I’d be really grateful if you could check out my Go Fund Me page which is:

Donate to me here

As always thanks for the love and support, the beauty blogs will be back as soon as my domain finishes transferring.

N  xoxo

 

 

Suicide and Me

“Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.” – Unknown

This is a hard topic to talk about, mainly because one day my dad might stumble across this blog post. There are five people that know about this my husband, my mentor and close friend, my best friend, my little cousin/sister, my counsellor and one of my closest friends.

I don’t talk about this, ever. Why? Because why draw attention to yourself N? What’s the sense in that? You hate attention…(me talking to myself, apparently, that’s a sign of intelligence or is it insanity *shrug*).

My childhood wasn’t what it should have been, by age 7 I had to grow up and be a parent. My dad and mum had separated at this point (I can touch on this if it’s requested) and I was left in the care of my mum who was an alcoholic. I won’t go into detail in this blog about what I dealt with in childhood because it’s still too hard, but one day I promise I’ll share my story with you.

I was born with a hairlip/cleft palate this is important because it affected me massively in later life. I also suffered from extremely bad ear infections, I had grommets (or vents for you young, hip, cool kids) put in when I was young and they blew a hole in my eardrum. My parents should have sued, they didn’t, but they should have. I know dad would have wanted to, but mum, no, money wasn’t going to her, so why bother.

I grew up very quickly, I don’t remember having a normal childhood, but I do remember that the only time I was able to be a proper child was when I was around my friends at school or with my cousins. I was an only child until the age of 10. I’m giving you a brief backstory because it links to my suicide attempt story.

When I was 16 I had enough, I hated school because I was an ugly duckling that would get the piss taken out of her on a regular basis, but laughed it off as I was one of the gang. Inside though, inside I wished I could be beautiful like the girls in the year above me, to have perfectly straight teeth, good hearing, no glasses and just be normal. I wasn’t normal, I was a freak (in my eyes).

My mum’s alcoholism was close to reaching its peak at this point, she didn’t hide the bottles of empty vodka anymore. The house had food, but I couldn’t touch it as it was there for “show”. I didn’t see a future for myself, I didn’t think I’d do well in my GCSE’s, I used to beg my dead relatives to get me through things like my GCSE’s or after my attempt, get me to a certain age like 18 or 21 that sort of thing. I digress…

Anyways, I was 16 I was a quiet, moody teenager who spent a lot of time online chatting with friends I’d met online and my actual schoolfriends. I’d never let people see a picture of me because I felt like I was so ugly that they wouldn’t want to be my friend, anymore.

I remember one night after a particularly bad fight with my mum I thought “fuck it, why am I still here, I have nothing going for me, I hate my life, I hate my mum, I never see my dad, I have nothing to live for.” So I took what I thought was a sharp knife from the drawer and began to saw at my wrists with it, I look back now and number one know I was doing it the wrong way and number two know my guardian angel was preventing me from doing it because no matter how much I sawed at my wrists nothing was happening. I mean it was getting red, but no blood, more like…you know when you lean on your leg too hard and there’s a red mark where you’ve leaned on it? A bit like that…

I remember mum saying “You can’t even do that fucking right”. I can’t remember if she took the knife from me or I threw the knife, either way, it ended up in the kitchen sink and I ended up in a clump on the floor crying and asking why, why couldn’t someone just kill me. I couldn’t understand my point in being here, I couldn’t understand why it hadn’t worked.

She didn’t come back in the kitchen until I picked myself up and took myself to my room. I don’t remember the rest of the night other than I remember crying more and listening to music that reminded me of dead family members, morbid, I know. I guess that was my way of coping, was to listen and cry. Something you should know about me, I don’t cry, EVER. Or I didn’t cry, EVER. Crying was a sign of weakness, she knew she had won if I cried and I never let her know she had won and she’d gotten to me, ever. When she was drunk she got some sort of sadistic joy out of it.

Fast forward to 2016, I’m 29 at this point, it’s October and I’m working in a town an hour away from Belfast in my day career (is that the way to put it?) Something had happened with me and a colleague, we’d had a disagreement and she had spoken to me like my mum used to when I was a kid, my mum was dead at this point (again another blog post for you). I don’t know why, but this triggered the biggest fucking flashback I have ever had in my entire life. I drove home crying and the next day I called in sick, that was me until December 2016. I snapped, that’s how I put it when I am asked. I just snapped.

I was overweight at this point, probably by a good 5 – 6 stone and because I’m so short I looked HUGE, in some pictures I even looked pregnant, because I’m unfortunate enough to carry my beer belly like a baby belly. I’m telling you this because this was something I feel also contributed to how low I felt.

My other half sometimes works away, he was working away at this point in another country. I spent the first week I want to say in bed, well I spent a lot of weeks in bed, but I slept most of that week. The second week the suicidal thoughts were back, they kicked in like a kick in the vagina (or balls, both are equally painful or so I’ve heard).

I don’t know how far into my illness that I managed to get my other half home, I just remember the huge panic attacks, the huge waves of sadness and low mood. Not even having the energy to feed me and barely having the energy to get up and let my dogs out. One thing I do is block things out, so when I have a bad experience it’s blocked out and I only remember bits and pieces, a bit like I’ll close my eyes for half of the memory then open them again at a certain point, I hope that makes sense.

The suicidal thoughts were horrendous, the feelings of not being good enough at my job, of being overweight, of being a terrible wife, of not being able to birth a child (I’ll talk about my miscarriage, soon), of being a horrible dog mum, a terrible daughter, friend, cousin, sister and so on. The panic attacks were constant, the feeling of anxiety was constant and it’s something that to this day has still not left me.

For anyone who has felt the feeling of anxiety you’ll know what I mean when I say the thought of leaving my house or getting out of bed filled me with this absolute dread, I feel this huge knot in the pit of my stomach, I feel like I can’t breathe and I get so shaky and fearful.

My husband would try and get me out of bed, it made me worse. Again, for anyone who has been depressed they’ll know how I was feeling, that it made me worse. I couldn’t even get out of bed, what type of loser was I? The thoughts of suicide were constant, my husband’s work was kind enough to give him a few months off, he had a good EAP (Employee Assistance Program) with his work which is where I met my counsellor, to protect her privacy and mine, let’s call her Katie. I know this blog post is sort of all over the show in terms of memories etc. but that’s how I’m remembering it, bear with me.

I tried to commit suicide before my husband came home, I’d swallowed enough tablets that it should have done the job. This might seem completely stupid to some people, but I remember lying in bed waiting for it all to kick in and I turned and looked at my 14-year-old dog who had been by my side since I was 15 and my other 7-year-old dog both staring at me, both looked so sad that I burst into tears and ran to the toilet and shoved my hands down my throat until I vomited. I kept going until there was nothing but bile coming out. I still felt really sick and nauseous but I didn’t go to A&E.

The next few days I felt so unwell, which is completely my own fault. I’m not in any way saying suicide is a good idea. If you have read my blog from 29/03/18 you will know the impact that the suicide of my cousin has had on my life. I’m telling you this because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

After my suicide attempt, the husband got home, I met my counsellor, Katie and Katie helped me to realise that what happened to me as a child wasn’t my fault and it wasn’t right. I wasn’t just a child stuck with a strict parent, I was a child of abuse. There’s a picture online of the signs of abuse I remember seeing it on Linkedin and circling the picture with everything I’d suffered, it was then that it truly hit me. I’ve included the picture here.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-21 at 00.03.02.jpegScary, right? Yeah…

I got better, in December 2016 after sharing what had happened with my amazing boss, who cried, I’m still so sorry for that if you’re reading this. I returned to work where I remained until I took a leap of faith and decided to move on in May 2017.

Fast forward again to December 2017, the Depression and Anxiety was back this time it was worse than ever. I had lost the majority of the weight during my previous bout of Depression and the months thereafter so at this point I was 3 stone under my “BMI” weight (BMI = Bullshit Measurement Indicator, please never, ever, ever follow your BMI any good GP will tell you it’s bullshit). I stopped eating in this bout of Depression, I survived on tea, diet coke and water. Did I have an eating disorder? No, I don’t think I can say I did. I think I was struggling having no control over my life and this was something I could control, if it does sound like an eating disorder then forgive me for my ignorance.

I didn’t attempt suicide this time, but my God was the feeling STRONG. I mean OVERWHELMING STRONG. Again, my two dogs stopped me, it’s like they knew. They stuck to me like glue. I was going through a tough time in my new job, I’d been accused of stuff I should never have been accused of by an absolute sociopath (I hope she reads this and figures out I’m talking about her, if you are reading this, FUCK YOU). I’d taken a massive panic attack and ended up off sick, AGAIN. I had never been sick in my whole career and this was now the second time in the space of a year I’d been off.

I won’t go into detail about the work thing, but I didn’t get the support I needed, I was so low, I still felt so ugly even after all the surgery I had. I still do and I still hope for the day I’m debt free and able to go to a surgeon and say “I want the face I should have been born with, I want the scar free, normal lips, normal nose face I should have had”. That’s a story for another time. I was still having night terrors, flashbacks, memories and just having a horrible, horrible time. I just wanted to die.

I’d lost my baby, my then 15-year-old dog who had been my rock, the love of my life. I’m crying as I write this as I’ll never get over this, she was old, she was in pain and she looked at me one day and I just knew it was time. I think that’s what started it all, to be honest, I didn’t get time to grieve, I scream cry a lot even now because I miss her. I wouldn’t wish my pain on anyone, she was the first living thing that I ever truly loved with all my heart. Mummy loves you, my baby.

Since this has happened and upon talking to my GP and my Counsellor we have came to the conclusion that I am suffering from PTSD. It took me so many chats, so much working on myself, so many Podcasts, music, reading and trying to fight for a normal life to beat it this time, but I didn’t give in. I still have really bad days, I still struggle. I’ve since left the job, the sociopath left first after being outed for the liar they were. I have started a new job which is so boring, but stable and brings money in. It’s giving me more time to think, but also more time to heal. I, unfortunately, can’t give you a magic wand to take your pain away, but I can be there for you.

I’m not going to recommend the Samaritan’s to you because, to be honest, I’ve been there and they can’t do anything, but continue to ask you to keep talking to them. I know from my personal experience that’s not what you need, you need someone to tell you that you mean something, that you are worth it, that no matter what happens or what has happened, you are beautiful, amazing, you are worth being here and life is sent to try us, trust and believe it’s fucking sent to try us, but it makes us stronger.

At present, I’m doing okay, I’m not 100% and I don’t know if I will ever be, but I’m me, I’m here and I’m taking each day as it comes. I still don’t know what my future holds and I still don’t have full control over the anxiety and Depression, but I’m eating properly again, I’m healthy and have kept the weight off and despite losing my baby dog, my would be now 15-year-old dog who I’d had since she was 2 weeks old, I’m still here.

I hope you read my story and realise it’s not worth it, don’t put your family through it. Come to me if you need help, let me talk you through, please just talk to someone. I truly believe if I hadn’t met Katie I don’t think I’d be here. You are never alone, there is always someone going through something similar or has gone through something similar and gotten through it.

If you are feeling suicidal please contact the following charities:

UK

Mind
MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393

Campaign Against Living Miserably
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58

Papyrus
Papyrus HOPElineUK – 0800 068 41 41

YoungMinds (ages 13 – 25)
Helpline: 0808 802 5544

The Mix (ages 13 – 25)
Helpline: 0808 808 4994

ChildLine
Helpline: 0808 11 11

Lifeline
Lifeline Suicide Prevention

USA Suicide Prevention Helplines Please go to this site and you will find a list of organisations to help you.

Or please, please message me. I can’t do much, but I can be the person at the other end of the computer or the phone to talk to you, to make you realise you are stronger than what you are feeling. Don’t let the Depression demon win.

I love you all.

Be safe and think before you act.

N  xox

“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.” – Unknown

The New Journey Begins

Well, guys & gals,

Here we are again, I decided to take the advice of some really amazing bloggers and leave Squarespace and come to WordPress and I have to say I am so much happier than I was.

I thought it was time for a change and I have done a lot of thinking about my blog and what I want it to be, I feel it was too focused on makeup and beauty reviews when I have so much more I want to share with you. I chose to do a personal blog on Wix, but why not incorporate everything here, isn’t that what blogs are for?

As you will see there is a bit of a new outlook on my blog, but the white roses are still there as I feel they symbolize everything I want to be, beautiful, elegant, soft, but thorny lol (not horny…that’s a whole other blog post).

I have so many ideas and experiences to share with you all and I’m so excited to get started.

I want to say a big thank you to all of my loyal readers, I got your messages and if I haven’t replied to you I am so sorry.  Let me know and I’ll reply back.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this new look and you are as excited as I am for this new journey.

Love you all,

N

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

 

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She would have been 54, today…

 

She would be 54 today and I often wonder if she would have changed like does getting older always change you? I know it’s changed me, I’ve changed more in the past 6 months than I think I ever have in my 30 years on this earth. It’s weird, most days I hate her, or I don’t even think of her unless I see something that reminds me of back then, but on days like today, I miss her. I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome and I’m not completely nuts, I am a daughter.  My mother wasn’t the mother she should have been or possibly even the mother she was supposed to be, but she was my mother.

I’m sometimes asked “But why do you care? She hurt you, why are you upset over her, she’s dead?” Other people think I’m seeking attention, I’m not, I honestly can’t think of anything worse than being the centre of attention. Of course I care she is gone, of course, I’m upset, I’m upset because she hurt me, I’m upset because she was my mother and I loved her, I’m upset that I never got the chance to ask her “why?” or “what happened in your family or your life to make you so fucked in the head?” I’ll never get that chance…

She seems to be invading my dreams a lot more recently, so I know she is on my mind, more. Things are going how I want them to in my life and I suppose I wish she was here as a proper mother to give advice. I don’t know why I dream up she would be like that, as the woman I knew always seemed to have an alterative motive when advice was given or she would have a secret agenda. No wonder I’m so suspicious of everything and everyone.

 I’ve stopped the posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram wishing her a Happy Birthday and telling her she is loved and missed, I don’t feel I need to write that on there to remind people. I don’t want to remind myself, either. I used to take the day off work, but I didn’t today. I wish I had, but I didn’t. I can’t even leave early as it’s not that type of job. Maybe next year, maybe next year…

 I seem to only post when it’s an occasion, I hope to change that. I can’t tell you guys how to move on from the loss of your mother, as I don’t know. I cried because I had to, not because I felt like it or because I wanted to. I did it so I looked “normal”, but what even is normal? I’m not a crier, I was never a crier and I never wanted to be a crier.  I have shed tears over her, though. When I thought back to the beatings, to the drunken stupors and to the old memories that haunt me deep inside my mind. I can’t let her go, cos’ she’s my mum, she birthed me, she when sober supported me and she raised me to whatever I am today.

I never speak of them, I can never get the words out, I’ve managed a few memories, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say it all out loud. I’m not even sure what the purpose of me posting this was…I think just to try and keep my mind active. I’m shockingly tired today and I still have 3 1/2 hours of work to go.

I’m feeling very lost about everything at the moment, I have been doing so well, but now I just feel lost. I can’t make decisions, I can’t be pragmatic about things, I can’t even muster up the energy to make my own dinner. I just keep thinking that if she hadn’t birthed me, if I had been born differently, would it be better? I don’t regret much in my life as I believe in learning from mistakes, but I do wonder if she hadn’t had her own demons what would life be like for us? Would it be different?

We’ll never know and I’ll have to just continue down the path I am on…

Today was tough, I miss you

 

Today is a tough day for me, but I thought what a better way to distract myself than to start this mental health blog. I have wanted to do this for some time, but haven’t been mentally prepared enough. Its time stigma is stamped out and more people are able to speak out about their mental health, not be afraid to disclose it on an application form and for people to understand, “I’m not socially awkward, I have crippling anxiety”.

 This post isn’t going to focus on anxiety, it’s going to focus on loss. I recently started to look into my family tree, again. What shocked me more than anything was the number of loved ones I have lost in such a short time. I remember being 9 years old when I suffered my first loss. My uncle who was a high ranking individual in the Army took his own left via gunshot.

 I remember waking up to my mother screaming, running into the living room to see the TV just on static, my other uncle was with my mother and I ran up to her. She started screaming “he’s dead, uncle ***** is dead!” I was  9, I hadn’t suffered a loss before, but I remember the feeling, it was as if someone had punched me in the face, stomach and back all at the same time. I remember beginning to cry and hugging my mother, not fully understanding what had happened or what was going on. The rest of that night was a blur, in fact, I only remember small snippets of what happened in his funeral, what happened when we tried to lay him to rest and that it was a sunny day. Fast forward to 2018, I have lost a total of around 12 family members and 8 friends in the 21 years’ since my first loss.

 My most recent lost happened this time in 2017. My beautiful, funny, loving, caring and amazing cousin took her own life via overdose. I will never know what went through her mind in her loss moments, but I have witnessed what has been left behind, I thought I’d be angry, I was original, that she could do this on a family that has already lost so much, but now I’m just heartbroken.  She was a mother, a daughter, a partner, a friend, a sister, a granddaughter, an auntie, and a cousin. She had so much to live for, I won’t name names or go into too much detail on what happened in an attempt to keep my family protected, but I remember taking the call from my aunt, we don’t talk often, we are more texters.

 She had immediately thought someone had to let me know as I’m usually one of the last to find out. I remember saying to my boss “Someone must have died, she never calls me.” She called me and told my cousin was already dead, I asked her if she was joking and told her what I’d said. She started to cry and said she was gone, I asked her how, how had this happened, I’d spoken to her via Facebook not that long ago. I got details from my aunt on what hospital she was in, I told my boss I had to go, I collected my stuff, ran out of the building whilst trying to ring my partner to tell him. Again, the rest of the drive home was a  blur. I remember picking up my little cousin (my cousin’s sister), who is more like my little sister. We went up to the hospital, I don’t remember what was going through my mind until I got to where we were supposed to be,  I remember entering the room to go find where my cousin was, a girl I didn’t like asked me how I was, I remember thinking “are you fucking serious? My cousin is lying dead behind that door and you just asked me how I was?!” I went into the room, I saw my cousin’s mother, her brother (my cousin), my cousin who had passed partner, and my aunt (my cousin’s mum).

 My little cousin ran to her mum and started to cry, I looked at my cousin, she was so pale, bloated and not at all like her usual swarthy skin. I think I was in shock, I hugged my aunt, I remember speaking to her and her speaking to me, I seem to have blocked out what was said, but I just couldn’t believe it. The rest of the day was a blur. Something you should know about me, I don’t do grief the way others do, this is due to a childhood trauma I probably won’t discuss on this blog. However, the day of the funeral arrived, my partner was by my side, I remember I’d kept telling my cousin how sorry I was I wasn’t there for her, that I would look after her mum, sister, brothers and her daughter who was only 8. I remember just wanting to make sure my cousins were okay, whilst my other cousin who had come from England (his mother was the aunt that called me) was squeezing my and hugging me, as was my partner, just letting me know they were there. We left the house and walked down the side towards the car park, I spotted the funeral car and my emotions took over. She couldn’t be gone, she couldn’t be, she was 32.

 The funeral was unbelievably sad and there were a lot of people there and at the wake. This seems to be the only times we see our family that are from England. Is anyone else’s family like that? I ended up taking a week off work, I just couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it, why did she do it? She wrote a letter to my aunt and her partner, but I would never ask them as it’s still so fresh. Although it’s been a year to the day we lost her, I often cry when I think of her or my cousins. I see the pain in my little cousin’s face and just know by her body language she’s not in a great place. I do what I can to support her, but what can I do when it’s still so fresh for me? I do what I always do, I act like nothing phases me, I don’t cry or scream, but inside I’m doing both.

 So how do you deal with grief? Is time a healer?

 I can tell you how I have dealt with it, I’ve blocked it out until something happens to trigger it and then I scream cry when I am on my own, I sleep a lot and I cry some more. People deal with grief in different ways, some with food, some like me, some with alcohol or drugs, some with sex (yes, sex. Don’t judge others until you have walked a mile in their shoes – Emo Phillips) Time isn’t a healer, I feel like as time goes by you become used to them not being around, but the pain of the loss never leaves you.

 I have been asked in the past “How do you get back to normal?” “How long did it take you to just carry on?” I for one, am not normal so I don’t know what normal means. I carry on because I have to, I have responsibilities, I made my cousin a promise and I intend to keep it. I have been very low, I have felt suicidal, but I hear her in my ear when I need advice or if I am going to do something to hurt myself an others (such as commit suicide) telling me what to do, telling me not to do what I planned to do.  Nothing and no-one will replace her. I don’t believe in God, but I do believe that wherever she is, she’s with the other’s that we have lost and they’re living a happy, peaceful mind with no demons haunting them anymore.

 I’m not a professional grief counsellor, although I have done a Diploma in Counselling and CBT, I am still a “normal” person and I still lose people and don’t understand why. Things that seem to help me are: –

 – Reading (wellbeing books or just a normal book)

– Writing

– Listening to podcasts on grief and mental wellbeing

– Listening to music

– Having a good cry

– Going for a walk or drive somewhere to clear my head

– Sleeping ( I like sleeping because I fully escape my mind for a few hours)

 I’m interested to hear what others have to say about grief and how they deal with it so we can give others some ideas. I think that’s enough for now, thanks for reading.

N – The Beauty Viewer xox