Living with a Mental Illness – Q&A

I have been thinking about how to approach the subject of my mental illness on my blog for a while now and I’ve seen a few mental health tags doing the round online so I decided to combine a few of them to bring you this Mental Health Q&A

What Mental Illness do you suffer from?
I have been diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, which means that without treatment my moods cycle rapidly – sometimes several times a day from Mania (elation) to Depression.

When were you diagnosed?
I was first diagnosed at 25 years old in July of 2007 so this year will be my 11th year managing my Bipolar.

How were you diagnosed?
It was a long process for me. I was misdiagnosed with depression for four years and then I happened to have a doctors appointment at a time when I was manic and the doctor referred me to a psychiatrist the very next day who referred me to the Early Intervention Service – who diagnosed me as Bipolar. So I had to see one doctor, one mental health team, and two psychiatrists before I got my diagnosis.

Were you given any Medication?
Yes but again finding the right medication was a long process for me as I had a lot of issue with side effects but eventually I was prescribed a mood stabilizer for my mania and an anti-depressant for my depression. I have been on this combination for 10 years now and have no side effects and my mania is fully controlled – it is so important to take your medication correctly as prescribed.

Were you given any other treatment?
I’ve had CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and talking therapies, which in the beginning really helped me to get a handle on my condition by making sure I recognize the signs that I’m becoming ill, I no longer have or need these treatments.

Do your friends and family know about your condition?
Most definitely. Right from the beginning, I wanted to be open about my condition, I believe that talking about mental illness informs people and breaks down any stigma attached. I also let my boyfriend know when we first got together as I believe he had a right to know before we became serious.

What impact did your diagnosis have on your life?
Before I was diagnosed I was working a good job that I enjoyed but unfortunately, my behavior was erratic and I was unable to carry out my job, as such I lost that job. I had to be on benefits for the next three years as I was unable to work which really broke my spirit and I was embarrassed by the fact that I couldn’t hold a job down.

Does your mental illness still impact your life?
Of course, but only minimally so. I am aware that I have to be kinder to myself. I’m aware that maybe I am not able to take on as much as someone without my diagnosis could. I have to make sure I give myself down time and don’t get too stressed as stress can still trigger my depression. I run my own business now and that is something I never thought I’d be able to do.

What advice would you give to someone else suffering from your condition?
If you’ve been prescribed medication – take it!! It may make you feel bad in the beginning but persevere it will be worth it. Don’t self-medicate with drugs and alcohol – I don’t really drink alcohol except for a glass of Prosecco at celebrations because I know it can impact my mood.
Be open about how you are feeling, if you’re depressed don’t hide it, tell someone so they can try to help you.

Main Misconceptions you have heard about your condition?
That we are all like TV characters with Bipolar. The media tend to only portray extreme cases of bipolar because it makes good television – we are not all homicidal maniacs and we are definitely not Psycho!
I hope this has given a little insight into what it’s like living with a mental illness.
Did I answer all the questions you may have about Bipolar? If not, leave a question below and I’ll answer it in a future post.
The Secret Girly Girl
xxxxx

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Book Review – The Venetian by Shani Struthers

I first heard of British based Author Shani Struthers when I read ‘The Haunting of Highdown Hall’ the first book in her Psychic Surveys series and really enjoyed it.

I automatically downloaded other books in the series but came upon ‘The Venetian’ when looking for books in my Kindle unlimited subscription.

the ventianAs the title would suggest, this book is set in Venice.

The book starts by introducing us to Rob & Louise, a married couple visiting Venice for a romantic weekend away.

While exploring the city one night they go for a meal, only to meet another couple.

The couple offers to take them over to Poveglia a small island off of Venice said to have a haunting history of plague victims and an Asylum for the Mentally ill, but does this mysterious couple have an ulterior motive?

The book then takes you back in time to 1938 to Charlotte, an English woman who has moved to Venice to be at the side of her husband Doctor Enrico.

When Enrico is offered a work placement working with his Uncle at the Mental Asylum on Poveglia, the couple moves to the island to take care of the patients and start married life together.

Soon Charlotte begins to suspect that the treatments being carried out on their patients may be more sinister than she first thought.

The book flips between the years but soon their fates collide with malevolent repercussions.

This book had me on the edge of my seat throughout I couldn’t put it down.

While reading the book I did a little research and found that Poveglia does in fact exist and that it was a place of quarantine to plague victims in 1805 and that in 1922 an Asylum for the mentally ill was opened on the island but the asylum shut it’s doors in 1968 (although the Asylum still remains standing).

The fact that this book is so richly woven in fact just made it all the more spooky.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great ghost story!

I gave this book 5/5 – It was fantastic!

What books are you currently reading? Let me know!

The Secret Girly Girl

xxx

Happy Cutie Studios – Mini Planner Sticker Order

As I have mentioned in the past I love my Happy Planners and all the amazing accessories that go with them. I adore scrolling through Etsy to find the perfect weekly kits and stickers that help me keep on track with all my tasks.
Around six months ago I stumbled across the ‘Happy Cutie Studio’ sticker shop on etsy and I am obsessed. Any task or activity you can think of, they have a sticker for it. The stickers are all in a Kawaii style with cute animals and characters.
If I need stickers I will always go to this shop first. The items arrive nicely packaged and are dispatched quickly.
This post is not sponsored in any way I just want to share a great shop with you
 
So I recently placed an order and I figured I’d let you guys see what I purchased.
 

Work Hours: My Work planner is the Big Happy Planner so these cute boxes fit perfectly in the side bar. The eight boxes come in pastel pink and blue with cute faces on them. I like that they run Monday-Sunday as they are perfect for people that work weekends or have shift work. They are adorable.
 

5-a-Day Tracker: I recently decided to take the plunge and go Vegan and these cute daily trackers help me ensure that I’m getting all the vitamins and nutrients by tracking my veg/fruit intake. These stickers are so sweet the sheet consists of watermelon, apples, orange wedges, strawberries and pineapples, there are five of each and 25 stickers in total.
 

Laptop stickers: I love these stickers, depicting a Koala Bear wearing glasses sitting at a laptop. I love how versatile they are. I use them for depicting work assignments and also for writing blog posts. There are 35 stickers per sheet.
 

PayPal Stickers: These stickers are for my business. I use them to record bill payments, payments received and loan payments. They depict a koala bear hugging a PayPal symbol. There are 36 symbols on this sheet.
 

TV Stickers: I use these TV stickers to record my favourite TV series so I don’t have to miss an episode. This sheet has 42 stickers.
 

Shave Legs stickers: Depicting a koala bear shaving it’s legs these stickers are pretty self explanatory. I use these to depict when I’ve shaved my legs, underarms and Bikini line. There are 36 stickers to a sheet.
 

YouTube: I am a little bit of a YouTube addict so I use these stickers to depict when I’ve had a video binge! 36 stickers to a sheet.
 

Online Order Tracker: I really like these stickers and I use them both in my personal planner and my work planner. Each sheet contains 12 mini boxes.
The thing I like about these stickers is that there is place to record the store, the cost and also tick boxes for when the item has been shipped and then when the order arrives.
 

Halloween Countdown Stickers 2017: As I may have mentioned in the past we run a charity home haunt over the Halloween Season at our home and Halloween is the busiest period for my business so Halloween is a big deal in our household.
As soon as I saw these stickers I ordered them. Depicting little pumpkins with cute faces they countdown to Halloween, ending in a Koala Bear jumping out of a pumpkin – super cute. There is also a little kawaii ghost and spider sticker. I think I may order another two sheets of these so I can have them in all of my planners! I love them!
 
If you are a planner or just love cute little stickers I highly recommend this shop they are amazing. The owner is super friendly and very approachable not to mention very talented. I always look to see if there are any new designs available as I just want to collect them all! I will certainly be placing a new order soon.
Happy Cutie Studio store can be found linked below:
 
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HappyCutieStudio?ref=l2-shopheader-name
 
 
Let me know if there are any Etsy planner stores that I need to check out.
 
The Secret Girly Girl
xxxxx
 
 
 
 

Let your books do the talking!

As you have probably seen on my blog I am an avid reader. But when I’m busy with work I don’t always have time to sit down for a couple of hours and read a book. So in February I decided to sign up to Audible so that I could listen to books while I commute to work and also while I’m working.
Audiobooks by nature are pretty expensive, and you are normally looking at paying around £19.99 for a recent audiobook in the current book chart.
Audible offer a monthly subscription service where you pay £7.99 for one book a month. This may seem like not that much but many books can have a listening time of 45 hours while others are just 5 hours so it is worth having a look and trying to get a book that gives you value for money.
Also Audible often offers you the chance to buy 3 extra credits (that’s 3 books) for £18.00.
Audible is also owned by Amazon so you often find that if you have the Kindle book then Audible will offer you the Audiobook version for even cheaper.
I have signed up to www.bookbub.com and they send you emails everyday letting you know what books are either on offer or are free on the kindle store.
So I’ll get the book for free on kindle and then just buy the Audiobook for a couple of pounds – there are plenty of ways to get cheaper audiobooks, they also offer a 30 Day free trial too so you get your first book for free and only get charged for your second book after 30 days.
I am really enjoying listening to a variety of books while on the go and it helps the work day pass quicker. I wanted to let you know what I’ve been listening to for the last few months so here are my top picks…

 
The Bride of Casa Dracula – Book 3 of The Casa Dracula Series
Length: 8hrs 1min
Plot: Milagro de los Santos is marrying the man of her dreams – he just happens to be a vampire. As the plans for the wedding are coming together Milagro has to navigate various obstacles from an over zealous friend to the ancient vampire council – will she ever get to marry Oswald?
Thoughts: I have read the first two books on Kindle and really enjoyed them. I had this on kindle but decided to get the audio version and really enjoyed it. I would say this is supernatural chick-lit but is lighthearted and well written.
Rating: 7/10

 
Ellie Jordan Ghost Trapper: Ellie Jordan Book 1
Length: 8hrs 19mins
Plot: Ellie Jordan is a paranormal exterminator, her job is to release earthbound spirits into the hereafter. She comes across an evil ghost and soon realizes maybe she has bitten off more than she can chew.
Thoughts: This is a great book for fans of the paranormal. I liked this book so much that I have already purchased the Audio Book for book 2.
Rating: 8/10
 

The Housewife Assassin’s Hand Book – Book 1.
Length: 5hrs 59mins
Plot: Donna stones husband is killed in cold blood hours after she has given birth.
Donna becomes an undercover (assassin) housewife hell bent on avenging her dead husband.
Plot: This book was so well written, I enjoyed the mix of comedic moments with tense situations. I will definitely be getting more books in this series.
Rating: 8/10
 

Rosecliff Manor Haunting – Addison Lockhart: Book 2
Length: 5hrs 1min
Plot: Addison is a paranormal investigator with a sixth sense. When she becomes haunted by dreams of Vivian & Grace, twin girls who met their demise nearly 40 years earlier, Addison becomes embroiled in the mysteries of Rosecliff Manor.
Addison comes face to face with something much darker than she could have ever expected, can she save the souls of the little girls?
Thoughts: I had read Book 1 in this series and loved it so I knew that there was a high chance I’d enjoy this too. I loved it. I will be getting more in this series in the near future.
Rating: 9/10
 

Single Woman Seeks Revenge – By Tracy Bloom
Length: 8hrs 36mins
Plot: Suzie is an Agony aunt for a magazine, when she is cruelly dumped by text.
She decides to tell the women who write to her exactly what they should be doing to those who treat them mean. Soon Suzie is on a mission to take her revenge against her old flames that have done her wrong. But will she get so caught up in revenge that she won’t see that true love has been right in front of her all along?
Thoughts: I loved this book. It’s a must for any fan of Bridget Jones.  A funny rollercoaster that leaves you with the warm fuzzies.
Rating: 9/10
 

My Not so perfect life – Sophie Kinsella
Length: 11hrs 58mins
Plot: Katie moves to London to become a highflying executive only to find that once she gets there London isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Working for Demeter the boss who has everything. Style, a high powered job, a loving family and the respect of her peers. Suddenly Katie is fired and she has to go back home, her tail between her legs. She begins working for her father on his Glamping venture. When Demeter comes to stay Katie disguises herself to get close to her, But is Demeter’s life really all that wonderful?
Thoughts: Written by the woman who brought us Confessions of a shopaholic this was everything I hoped it would be. Funny, cringe worthy and heart warming in equal measure. I couldn’t turn it off!
Rating: 10/10
 
I am loving listening to books I wouldn’t necessarily read, but are great for getting through the work week! I have downloaded a number of other audiobooks so I will do a Part two soon. What books are you currently reading?  Let me know!
 
The Secret Girly Girl
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