Adult ADHD

So the other day I tumbled down a bit of a rabbit hole and it ended up being a bit of a revelation for me.  Whilst doing a bit of research into kids yoga I stumbled across some information on ADHD and how it presents in adults.  

In the past – whether rightly or wrongly so – I’d always associated ADHD with kids bouncing off the walls. Even though I was a very active kid I wouldn’t of said I was anything on the extreme side but now I look back I can see signs of it from when I was younger; inability to concentrate or sit still, bad short term memory, constant fiddling with hair and anxiety to name just a couple of examples.

Then I started to look at the adult list;

  • Lack of focus
  • Disorganisation
  • procrastination
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impulsivity
  • Intolerance of small frustrations
  • Depression
  • Emotional issues
  • Poor self images – mostly as a result of the above
  • Lack of motivation
  • Neglecting health
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Tendency for addiction
  • Sensitivity to sugar
  • Higher risk of other mental health issues
  • Inability to stick to a project/task

Golly it was like looking in a mirror!  The only other time I’d really felt the same way was when I found out what OCD was and it was like ‘Wow, yep that’s me!’.

Obviously to a certain extent this is just new information and doesn’t change anything, but it does help me to understand myself better and it gives me a few more tools to throw into the mix to help.  It also allows me to put it up here in case there’s anyone else like me who’s going to read this and think, ‘wait a minute…’, I hope it does help someone!  

As with OCD one of the best things we can do is look after ourselves. Exercise seems to be right up there at the top of the list along with a clean and healthy diet which is rich in protein. Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine into the brain which help to regulate mood and improve attention. I’m also going to start looking into some memory improvement options too and work harder on my meditation as I’m terrible at getting myself to sit still, but I need it so badly!  

Once I have some more information I hope to write a follow up post but for now I just wanted to share what I have discovered.

As always,

Stay Strong xxx

Mental Health after pregnancy

So I’ve just checked and it’s been a fair old while since I’ve posted on here.  I’m disappointed because this blog is really important to me but I’ve decided to be kind and forgive myself as the reason is I’ve just had no time to focus on it.  I have a newborn who seems to be allergic to sleep and therefore I’m trying to catch up with that in any free time I get!  My sleep is really important to my mental well being and therefore it comes first.

So shes currently having nap so I thought I’d go for it and see if I can manage to get to the end of a post.

So newborns and mental health, where to start?  This is my second child and so I knew a little of what to expect this time around but it still takes a massive toll on your mental and physical health no matter who you are and so if you’re someone already suffering from a mental health issue then it can really throw you off track.

I’ve found control and structure to be so important in my mental health recovery, things such as: eating well, getting enough sleep, socialising, exercise and routine are so important to incorporate into my daily life and when you have a newborn (and in my case a toddler as well) your self care can really go out of the window.  Some things for me have slipped this time around (this blog included) and at times it has been tough.  She still wakes up 3/4 times a night (at 7 months!) and an extended period of time with broken sleep can really takes it’s toll on, well, pretty much everything.  I am lucky that I have a lot of support from family but even so there have been days where I’ve just had to push myself through with will power.

There is a good side to all the madness though (and this is something I would never have believed prior to having children) and that is that I’m so busy that I don’t have time to dwell on OCD thoughts at all.  They come into my head and I honestly don’t think of them again, there just isn’t time.  I have never known anything better at grounding me then my children.  Yes there are other mental issues I am processing such as my anxiety and worry but I almost feel like they are slightly more ‘normal’, everyone seems to have some sort of worry/anxiety and so I don’t feel quite as abnormal for having them.  They’re still completely rubbish but I find other people are able to relate more easily to them and so when you’re chatting about them you don’t get the blank faces where someone is trying to understand why you think you ran over something on the way to meet them and have then completely forgotten about it, stupid intrusive thoughts!

Anyway, I have still been noting a few ideas down over the last few months so hopefully I can manage to write a bit more regularly now.  If anyone has any requests for information on coping strategies or OCD topics or pregnancy or post natal related OCD then I am more then happy to share my experiences so just say in the comments.

but for now,

Stay Strong xxx



OCD – Coping Strategies

So this appears to be one of the main searches that brings people to my site – not too surprising I suppose – so because of this I felt like it deserved it’s own post.  It does feel like a pretty big topic to be honest and I guess for everyone the answers will be slightly different.  There are a few different types of OCD and what will be a trigger for some people won’t be for others.  I guess ultimately none of us want to just cope with OCD we want to conquer it but for now here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way.

Lets start with a few facts

  • Believe and know that EVERYONE has intrusive thoughts.
  • People with OCD intrusive thoughts do not act on them EVER!
  • You are not a bad person for having these thoughts, the fact that they repulse you/that you fear them actually means completely the opposite – that you are a good person.
  • A thought cannot hurt you

1. Talk to someone, anyone (even if it’s yourself initially)

Counselling was so useful to me, talking through my intrusive thoughts and realising just by saying them out loud that they lost some power straight away.  Saying them to someone else and expecting a huge reaction only to be met with a normal expression was a complete revelation to me, what had I been worrying about all those years?  Medical professionals have seen it all before, you might think you’re the only one having these OCD thoughts but I promise you you’re not.

It can take some time to build up the courage to seek medical help, for me it took over 10 years but the sooner you go for it, the sooner your recovery can start.

2. Take one day at a time

Unfortunately OCD recovery is not a quick fix, you will need to take it one day at a time and it won’t be a straight line, there will be set backs but each time it will be a little easier to get back to where you were, always be kind to yourself, you’re only human after all.

3. Be mindful

Mindfulness is something which is fantastic for grounding you.  When you feel the anxiety starting to build and you feel trapped in a thought try to take yourself out of the situation (if you can safely) and breathe deeply, focus on something in the room and try to describe it to yourself, what does it look like, feel like, smell like etc

4.  Don’t spend time alone

One of the worst things you can do is sit in on your own trying to diffuse the thought.  Don’t even think about touching google, giving the thought time will only give it more power over you.  The best thing you can do is give your mate a call and get out the house.  Unable to do that then put a movie on, sing to a favourite piece of music, just don’t give that thought anymore of your time, I promise you, it won’t help!

5. Don’t be self destructive 

It’s very easy when you have a mental illness to want to try and escape it in any way you can. For most people this will mean alcohol, drugs, sex – anything really that gives you some short term relief.  Unfortunately these activities will not make the problem go away and in fact will probably make them worse.

6. Look after yourself

Eat well and exercise when you can, the body is a machine and you need to take care of it for it to work properly.  If you have a bad day then let it go and don’t allow yourself to spiral, no body is perfect.

7. Stop looking for normal

I really hate the word normal, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist to be honest.  Stop striving for something that is not achievable and just aim for the things that make you feel happy and content, this is your normal.

8. Be careful what you watch

This can be anything from the news to social media.  If you are someone who’s mood is massively affected by watching the news – I know mine is – or by looking at other peoples ‘perfect lives’ on Instagram or Facebook then don’t look, or give yourself a cut off – no social media after 9pm.  Most of it isn’t real anyway and they could be just as unhappy as you are.

Wow I really could rant on and on I think but unfortunately I’m out of time!  It really is tricky to find half an hour at the moment with looking after a baby (who’s currently sleeping) but I hope the above list can be of some help to you, perhaps I’ll try and do a part two next month if there’s enough interest but for now

Stay Strong xxx



Brain Fog

This is so interesting and something I’ve only become really aware of very recently.  I have suffered with ‘brain fog’ my whole life and I still get it pretty much daily now.  It’s normally worse in the mornings but I can suffer from it all day.  It makes concentrating on anything stupidly difficult and it makes me very unproductive which is incredibly frustrating and can make me very irritable.  I procrastinate for hours at work, I find it hard to get into hobbies such as piano, sewing, reading, even having a productive conversation is difficult at times because I am so restless and unable to focus.

I found this brilliant article this week which really explains a lot about brain fog and the links to diet and mental health disorders.  It also highlights a link between inflammation (which I personally have because of my ulcerative colitis) and food intolerance (which I also have as I’m lactose intolerant).  It really has revolutionised how I’m thinking about what I put into my body and how that is affecting my mental and physical health.  This line in particular

“Nearly every cell, tissue and system in the body, especially the gut-brain connection, suffers from an unresolved sensitivity”

in regard to food intolerance’s is just staggering for me.  The body is such a well balanced machine and I’m basically messing up that balance constantly and then wondering why I don’t feel great.

Something else mentioned in the article is the link back to hormone balance and  serotonin which I’ve mentioned in my previous posts.

I would be interested to know if anyone else suffers from ‘brain fog’ and what they do to help alleviate the symptoms.  I don’t suppose it will be a quick process to completely change my diet but I am definitely going to start trying.

The more I put names to my symptoms and research these things I’ve been experiencing for years and years the more I am starting to understand my mental health and how it all fits together.  It’s just a shame it has taken me so long to get to this stage.

Has this shed any light for anyone else?  It would be so interesting to hear.  I will report back on any progress I make and if I find any effective ways of combating ‘brain fog’ I will of course share.

As always, Stay Strong xxx


Pure O

So here we are with another OCD classification, there really are a whole world of subcategories aren’t there but you know when you’re suffering from OCD you probably have no idea about which subcategory you fall under and actually it’s not hugely important.  OCD can actually morph as well, when I was younger I had a lot of physical compulsions but nowadays 99% of my OCD would be classed as ‘Pure O’ I guess.

Pure O is when your OCD is internalised and you don’t really have any compulsions.  I would guess it’s more common in adults (though I have no evidence to support this) than children as I would say adults are generally more socially aware and better at hiding things, especially over time.

It’s also potentially a more dangerous form of the disorder as well, as if someone is particularly practised at hiding it, you can have no idea they have it and that person can suffer in silence for years and probably will, as if they’ve gone to such extreme levels to hide the thoughts then they’re probably ashamed of them.

So how can you tell if someone is suffering from ‘Pure O’?  I think my biggest tell was always mood swings, if a thought hit me that I couldn’t shake I would become quite withdrawn but if this wasn’t possible for a some reason then I would get very touchy as trying to rationalise a thought while trying to behave ‘normally’ is well, impossible to be honest.

People will not want to just open up and tell you what they’re thinking if it’s already causing a massive level of distress.  To get someone out of one of these episodes is tough.  Thoughts can take hold for days, weeks, months sometimes.  I’ve had to  come home from holidays in the past because I just can’t break out of the spiral and have been unable to go out or do anything,

OCD can be so terrifying and at times like these suicidal thoughts are not far from your mind, anything to stop the thoughts and associated anxiety!

So that was all a bit dark, sorry about that but I wanted to try and get across to anyone reading this who’s not suffering from OCD how scary it can be.  I’ve purposefully not put any of my personal thoughts in there so as not to trigger anything for anyone.

Different people find different ways of breaking out of ‘Pure O’, for me it has been a mixture of things.  Something that really helped me initially was talking to my CBT councillor.  Just by voicing the thoughts out loud and to see her completely non judgemental face sitting opposite me was amazing.  Thoughts I couldn’t even bear to think of, she just confirmed were completely normal – what a revelation!

I had a course of CBT therapy, I haven’t spoken much about CBT on this blog so far, personally for me it didn’t work.  Now I don’t want to bad mouth it in any way as I know it’s helped a huge amount of people but for me it just wasn’t the right method.

Some things that have helped me are:

  • Mindfulness, amazing!  Not the deep meditation sort but the bringing your mind back to the present moment sort.
  • Distraction – best thing ever
  • Structure, work and routine – has saved me on numerous occasions.
  • Socialising – interacting with others and not being stuck in your own thoughts, never underestimate how important this is.
  • The knowledge that the thought will eventually pass – even though sometimes it feels like it will never, ever go and actually the thought itself may not but your anxiety levels will.  I still get intrusive thoughts daily but everyone does – it is ‘normal’, never forget that, they’re not going to disappear you will just be able to dismiss them more easily.
  • Take good care of yourself and like yourself – I seem to say this one a lot but it’s so true and I seem to constantly need reminding of it myself!
  • Don’t drink the thoughts anyway, this is a short term fix which DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!
  • Talk to someone!  Remember you are not alone, someone else is probably having the same thought as you right this second and suffering in silence as well – how annoying is that – if only you knew and you could reach out to them, you could both laugh about it together, please talk to someone if you can.


Opening a conversion with someone who has OCD

If you think you know someone who may be suffering and you’re not sure how to start a conversion with them then offer them an indirect opportunity to talk, sometimes this can be easier for people, something like:

  • ‘I’ve been reading this amazing blog/book/article recently about OCD……….’
  • ‘Have you seen that celebrity_________ she/he has been talking about their OCD………’
  • ‘My ______ has recently told me they’ve been suffering from OCD, I’m so glad they opened up to me, now they’re getting help’

All these approaches are not direct and allow the person to open up a conversion more easily if they feel they want to talk.  Speaking from experience if someone says to me, ‘how are you?’ the automatic response is normally ‘I’m fine’, when sometimes that’s not the case.

Sending love to all today, I know it can be so tough

Stay Strong xxx


OCD – Week of Action

So this week has been OCD week of action in the UK.  I always wish I could do more to spread the word but I can be a bit hopeless at times.

This year I used the OCD week of action as an opportunity to finally tell all of my friends and family about my OCD.  My close friends and family have known for a little while but I’ve found it hard to tell everyone I know as people just don’t talk about mental health,  conversions just never go there.

I used social media to do this and I’ve got to say, what a relief, after the initial rush of fear/Adrenalin and nerves about what kind of a reaction I would get I then found myself feeling surprisingly free, like a massive weight had finally been lifted off my back after over 20 years!  In addition to this, I’ve actually received nothing but positive feedback so far, I’m not really sure what I was expecting but the positive response has been pretty encouraging.

It just demonstrates again how much of a bully OCD is, telling you constantly that people won’t understand and that there is something wrong with you, it’s just so important to talk.

So this is the message from today’s blog, to talk to someone if you are feeling troubled, I really can’t say it enough.  A problem shared is a definitely a problem halved.  The weight of hiding a mental illness can make you unwell in itself and I don’t think I even realised how heavy that weight was until this week.

Stay Strong xxx

OCD – Coming out of the Lows

Nowadays this is something I’m finding a little easier.  As you get stronger and better at dealing with your OCD you also start to know that the low days will pass and that you will feel happier again.  It’s not always easy to believe it when you’re in the depths of a low, I know that for sure but I also know it to be true.

Over the years I’ve had long periods where I’ve felt I’ll never feel happy again, I couldn’t see ways out of the thoughts and when I’d get over one another would come swooping in and take me down again.  How I got through this part I’m really not sure, I think I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties in quite a depressed state which I self medicated myself through with alcohol.  I had rubbish job after rubbish job which I didn’t seem to be able to lift myself out of and I just didn’t look after myself in anyway.  In fact I am sitting here now thinking; how did I pull myself up and out?

It definitely wasn’t an overnight fix and I definitely think it coincided with meeting my now husband.  He gave me something worth fighting for (might sound a bit lame but in all honesty it’s true).  He valued me and so I started to value myself more, no one else had ever done that in the same way.  I have to say this was only the starting point though, I still got a lot of dark periods.  When you’re feeling low the world can feel pointless, everything can feel dark and you just want to curl up and block out everything.

So how do I pull myself out now?  I have to say I don’t have the massive lows as often anymore but when they do come it’s always good to have a go to plan, so here’s my attempt at one, which can hopefully help you guy’s too.

So depending on how low you feel the options may vary a bit but here goes:

  • If you can get out of the house – fresh air and socialising are really important
  • If that’s too much write a list of all the things you have to be grateful for; health, family, friends, the roof over your head, food in your stomach, re-read it whenever you feel low.
  • Watch a feel good movie
  • Talk to a close friend/family member, if they’re free see if they can come over
  • Find someone who will give you a hug – this always feels good
  • If you have an animal pet it, this I am told helps to release feel good hormones and reduce stress
  • If this isn’t the first time you’ve experienced a low then remember that you do come out of these periods.  If it is your first one, trust that it does pass.
  • If you’re feeling like you can’t cope, talk to a medical professional.
  • Treat yourself to something you enjoy, always treat yourself with compassion.

If you are a friend or family member looking for advice on how to support someone going through a low this can be tough but always persevere they need you so much, even if they’re not showing it (which they probably won’t be).

I hope some of these things can help, they’re just my personal list and like I have said before I am not a medical professional, just someone recovering and trying to share something that may help someone else.

Stay Strong, you are not alone xxx


OCD – Unexpected Events

So these are always fun.  You’ve been coping nicely with your OCD and you think you have everything under control and then bam, out of nowhere, something unexpected happens.

This happened to me this week, it snowed and we got loads of the stuff.  Normally this would be an event for celebration as it would mean, time off work, lots of fun to be had, perfect bliss but when you have a 1 year old who has only just learnt to walk and isn’t terribly keen on walking in 6 plus inches of snow and you can’t get your car off the drive then you are faced with a potentially stressful situation.

Most people who have suffered from some sort of mental health issue will know that getting out, even if it’s just for a walk is very important.  Being stuck in with only 4 walls as your friends can be unwise and so I’ve got to say the last 5 days have really tested me.

My normal routine (something that helps keep me grounded) was thrown out of the window.  My food shopping delivery was cancelled twice and so I’ve had to improvise there as well, working on limited supplies and having to adapt to new food brands and shops (as anyone with OCD will know familiar things bring calmness).

You know what though, I have survived and I have been able to adapt and so what I should draw from the last 5 days is that I am more adaptable now then I have ever been.  Even by writing that statement I am now looking back more positively on the last 5 days.  My perspective has been changed and so maybe this is the lesson I should pull from this experience.

Everything we go through teaches us something.   If we can look back on past events and try and find a positive lesson from the experience rather then a negative one, then maybe our memories will be more positive and we will look back happily instead of negatively.  I personally don’t have many good memories, most of them are tainted by OCD but perhaps I can now reflect back and see if I can put a positive slant on them?

Hopefully this can help you too, try and see the positive lesson from a bad OCD experience/memory.

Stay Strong xxx


So I’ve been writing this blog for 6 months now.  This for me is a massive achievement as I find it incredibly hard to concentrate on anything for a sustained period of time.  I get terribly excited about the idea of things but when I realise I’m going to have to apply myself and my mind fully, often I find myself unable to.  Focusing my mind on something, really concentrating, has always been difficult for me, my mind is quite often off, distracted, somewhere else.

There have been many reasons for this over the years, at times my OCD would apply fears/thoughts to actions.  I can remember practising my piano when I was younger and having to keep playing the same piece until I’d managed to get through the whole thing without a bad thought entering my head.  Sometimes I would have to play the piece four times because that’s how many members of my family there were at the time and if I didn’t then something bad would happen to one of them.

I like baking but if I am making a cake and I see a little mark in one of the eggs or perhaps a crumb gets into the mixture then the whole activity can become hugely stressful.  I don’t know how many cake mixes I’ve thrown away over the years through fear of them being contaminated.

The list goes on and on, I find it so hard to get my head into an activity and apply myself  without having to deal with some sort of OCD thought along the way.  I am guessing this is quite common for people with OCD?

OCD makes everything more difficult, cooking, relaxing, driving, decorating, seeing people, going places, work, relationships, pregnancy, events, absolutely everything I do is just a bit harder and over the years I’ve just had to get stronger and stronger to deal with it.

So how have I dealt with it?   

  1. I’ve talked to people
  2. I’ve had CBT therapy
  3. I’ve faced it head on
  4. I’ve learnt to control my thoughts better (most of the time)
  5. I distract myself
  6. I breath through the anxiety when it hits.
  7. I remove myself from stressful situations (when I can)
  8. I’ve read blogs
  9. I’ve started to practice mindfulness
  10. I’ve read books
  11. I’ve learnt what my triggers are
  12. I’ve learnt what relaxes me
  13. I’ve learnt to appreciate what I have
  14. I understand that the thoughts and anxiety will pass in time
  15. I’ve learnt to like myself more
  16. I’ve learnt to be kinder to myself
  17. I’ve educated myself

To be honest this list could probably go on and on.  It makes me realise how far I have come since I was 11, scared, not knowing what was happening to me, completely alone, feeling out of control and upset.  This was the reason I started this blog, no one should have to feel the way I did, ever!

Actually this blog has been very cathartic as well – which I didn’t see coming – so I would probably add ‘write’ to the list above.

I hope by sharing what I am learning and what I have learnt I will be of some help to others.  Life can be pretty tough at times and we all need to talk more to each other about whats going on inside our minds.

I feel like OCD in particular is a hard one for people to talk about as there’s normally an element of being ashamed of or embarrassed by the thoughts.  I guess if they were ‘normal’ thoughts there wouldn’t be an issue.

We must remember that everyone has intrusive thoughts, most people are just able to dismiss them straight away and so they never take hold.  As soon as you notice the thought and give it some time it makes the thought stronger and then if you keep thinking back to it, even if it’s only to think ‘why have I had that thought’ then it will get stronger and stronger and so the viscous cycle continues.

So to sum up the last six months have been a huge learning curve for me, thanks for everyone who’s followed so far, I really hope it’s been of some use.  Here’s to the next six.

Stay Strong xxx


OCD – Looking on the Bright Side

OCD can feel very oppressive at times, so I realise the thought of looking on the bright side could be laughable at times.  However the further I travel along my OCD journey the more I see that there are aspects of OCD which you could look on positively.

Here are some of the brighter aspects of my OCD:

I feel like I appreciate things more

It’s very easy day to day to forget about how lucky we are.  A lot of the time OCD intrusive thoughts are born out of the fear of loosing what we have, whether that’s your lifestyle, freedom, the people you love, your health, the list goes on.  I think my OCD makes me appreciate what I have much more than I otherwise would. 

I care about others more

I feel like I have more compassion for others and a bit more insight when trying to understand peoples actions.  As we are all well aware, you don’t always know whats going on in someones mind.  

I am more active

Anyone recovering from mental illness should know the benefits of exercising.  There’s no better motivator then the possibility of feeling better. 

I am more social 

For me being in the house, on my own, for long periods of time, is very detrimental and so my OCD has pushed me to take part in activities, interact with people more and get out as much as I can.  It definitely stops me being lazy and as a result I do more and have more friendships and fun.  

I am becoming calmer (slowly!)

OCD recovery is a slow process and it’s not normally all in one direction unfortunately but every time I fall back, I also come back a little bit stronger and I know one day I will get there.  OCD has taught me patience, it’s making me calmer and more peaceful.  It’s taught me mindfulness and allowed me to understand myself better.

Yes, I still battle daily and it’s worth it because all the good things that have come out of my OCD have all come from the recovery I’m currently wading through.  So if you’ve happened upon this blog and you’ve just been diagnosed or you’re having a bad day and finding your recovery hard, I urge you to write down all the good things you’ve discovered about yourself as a result of your OCD.  Know that when you come out the other side you will be stronger, happier and more at peace.

I hope this has helped to throw some light onto what can so often be a very dark place.

OCD after all is all about thinking about things differently, is it not?

Stay strong xxx