Mindfulness, Share Your Story, Uncategorized, Writing

‘That’ Interview

Hi Everyone, hope you are well šŸ™‚

So, I have decided to incorporate a social media post I wrote into blog post form, in case someone who doesn’t follow my social media accounts might find it helpful…

Rarely does a news story interest me enough to comment upon, though Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah has shed light on the fact that there are still those who give fellow human beings cause not to speak about whatever struggles they are facing because of how those struggles may be perceived.

This is the twenty-first century not the Middle Ages – humanity is now aware that mental health issues are a form of illness, and that mental health is as significant as physical health in terms of maintaining the human body in a healthy state.

Whether or not you believe that Meghan struggled with suicidal thoughts, at least she has spoken about them on a highly public platform – that action in itself will hopefully be enough to encourage others to find the courage to reach out for help.

We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented situation that our generation has never known the like of before. This pandemic has forced many of us to spend a heck of a lot of time in our own company, and as such, should have taught humanity the importance of acting responsibly and respectfully in order to save our loved ones from an illness that has proven devastating for so many. I have seen countless examples of the kindness this bizarre situation has been catalyst for, and long may that continue once this pandemic is over – though it has also revealed the ugly side of humanity, the selfish and the judgemental, for which there should be no tolerance this day and age. Had every person on the planet acted with consideration for others, this pandemic would likely have ceased to be a long time ago.

It’s time to talk about taboo topics. It’s time to make a difference for the better. It’s time we stopped tolerating trolls and dishonesty. It’s time to stop snap judgements and stop comparing ourselves to others as if we’re all in some sort of ridiculous competition.

The orchid is beautiful, as is the rose – in fact, there are thousands upon thousands of beautiful flowers in existence on our glorious planet; not everyone will agree that the orchid is beautiful, just as others might not consider the rose beautiful – yet those differences of opinion do not take away from the fact that in their own way, every individual flower has a beauty and significance that cannot be compared to another – after all, the sun still shines upon every one, irrespective of their differences šŸŒ·šŸŒ»šŸ€ā˜€ļø

Please, for the love of goodness, stop comparing everyone and everything to everyone and everything else!

You are unique: your body is capable of incredible power and your mind is without limitation thanks to human sentience. Though absolutely none of that wonderfulness is lessened by the fact that you have difficult days sometimes – we all do.

If you are struggling in any way, please reach out for help.

We’re continuously being bombarded with messages, both subliminal and direct, that anything less than ‘perfection’ is unworthy – yet by our very nature humans are, in fact, imperfect. It is our imperfections that define us and shape who we are as we strive to become a better version of ourselves – so why are we allowing those messages to prevent us from appreciating our-awesome-selves wholeheartedly?

Instead of being made to feel insignificant or inferior by the media in order to fuel their greed through conflict – whether that conflict is within ourselves or with others – let’s remove everything from our social media feeds that perpetuate misery, and instead celebrate all that makes humanity wonderful šŸŽ‰

You matter. They matter. I matter.

No-matter our race, beliefs, sexual orientation, interests, jobs, or mental health situation, we all ought to treat fellow humans with kindness and respect – and should expect nothing less than to be treated with kindness and respect by fellow humans in return; that is a basic human right not a privilege.

We’re in this together ā¤

#mentalhealthawareness#reachout#talk#youarenotalone#wegotthis#writer#literary#shareyourstory#inspire#itsoknottobeok#bekind#strongertogether#makeadifference

I am here if you need someone to talk to <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Uncategorized, Writing

Moment.

Heyy,

I suppose this is a bizarre way to find out whether those close to me read my blog; if you’re a relative or friend of mine ‘in real life’, I’m so sorry you’re discovering this experience here – though please know that I chose not to tell you because I believed that you didn’t need to share in the sadness too, there’s already enough of us upset by this without extending that beyond our parents and siblings. Besides, everyone seems to have more than enough on their plate right now, so it’s no use causing further distress about something nobody could do anything about. (If you’d like to speak to me about it, please send a private message as opposed to broadcasting anything publicly on my social media accounts – I certainly don’t want my grandparents finding out, as due to lockdown I haven’t seen them for a long time and this would only upset them unnecessarily!) I’m writing about my experience because I find writing cathartic, and I long to help others who have experienced/are experiencing/will experience similar situations – it’s so important that nobody feels alone, especially going through something like this.

** Warning: there may be content some might find upsetting – read at your own risk! **

Before I share my experiences, I send my sincerest condolences to anyone who has ever experienced pregnancy loss, miscarriage and stillbirth. Unfortunately, I am now a member of the (sadly) not-so-exclusive miscarriage club.

I understand that there are those who have had more traumatic experiences than I have, for which I am truly devastated and my thoughts go out to every one of you. Though I’d like to remind anyone grieving that your experience is not lessened by the perception that someone else’s experience seems worse than yours for whatever reason. The loss of a baby is devastating, irrespective of their stage of development – they still had a life, however briefly; they will always be part of you, and it’s important to remember that they existed, you created them, and it’s perfectly acceptable to mourn their passing.

My story is an unusual one, however, because my boyfriend and I didn’t know that I was pregnant. We believed I might have been for a couple of weeks, though at-home tests returned negative for pregnancy and although the GP claimed there was no need to test for pregnancy through blood tests because at-home tests would’ve ruled out pregnancy, the results of routine blood tests I had indicated that my hormone levels were all fine, aside progesterone being a little low (it’s normally high in a healthy pregnancy), so the GP believed I was likely to have an ovarian cyst that was stopping my menstrual cycle from happening for 15 weeks. As I write this, I’m still awaiting an ultrasound appointment to assess whether I had or have an ovarian cyst or something similar – though my body seems to be healing, so I imagine my issues were, in fact, pregnancy related. The symptoms I had were obviously pregnancy related, though I had no choice but to explain them away with whatever excuses I could think of at the time, since tests told me I wasn’t pregnant and I was made to feel it would be foolish to believe what my body was telling me.

I started getting menstrual-like cramping to the point I felt faint one night, so I assumed it was the long-awaited return of my menstrual cycle, which happened to be attacking with a vengeance after being MIA for so long. A week of mild cramping then became a week of ‘spotting’ and back ache following all forms of exercise. Then, 2:25am on 4th March 2021, I experienced the most severe menstrual cramps I had ever had in my entire life, accompanied by heavy bleeding. That excruciating pain continued in waves over the course of the day and night, to the point I could barely move off the sofa and struggled to get comfortable. Finally, at 1am on 5th March 2021, I managed to fall asleep. When I woke with one last wave of cramping at 7:30am 5th March 2021, I rushed into the bathroom, after feeling the strangest sensation I’ve ever experienced, to discover I had miscarried something that appeared to resemble part of a fetus and accompanying ‘mass’ whose development must have ceased between 8 and 9 weeks according to my own research; after which the relief was almost instantaneous – all the cramping, heavy bleeding, and uncertainty had gone. I took a photograph in case the GP might need to see it to check it was all there or whatever they do in such situations, though I couldn’t bring myself to investigate the ‘mass’ to check what the complete (that’s if it was indeed ‘complete’) fetus looked like and my boyfriend agreed that it could prove more traumatic and wouldn’t help wrap my head around it anyway. I called the GP surgery at 8:30am, having composed myself after an hour of sobbing; the receptionist was lovely and checked that I had someone with me – though I didn’t receive a call back until around 2:30pm. There was absolutely nothing the GP could do apparently (it wasn’t the GP I’d been dealing with throughout all this) – though they informed it was more than likely a miscarriage despite negative pregnancy test results, I was shocked that they didn’t advise of any organisations I could contact for further support, advice, or comfort; in fact, they were keen to rush off the phone. At least all the pain, discomfort, and confusion I’d experienced for the last few months had suddenly disappeared.

I realise that, for whatever reason, my pregnancy wasn’t viable because there must have been some chromosomal abnormality that meant the fetus couldn’t develop. Without any medical advice, from what I can fathom, the negative tests meant that there wasn’t enough pregnancy hormone in my body to sustain a full-term, healthy pregnancy – which was more than likely due to the fact that the fetus simply wasn’t viable. As for the reason my body held onto the fetus for weeks after it ceased to be, I could only hazard a guess that because my body wasn’t 100% certain of the pregnancy in the first place, there was no way of realising the pregnancy needed to end until my body came to terms with the fact that there was definitely no live fetus to care for anymore, instead there was an ‘alien-like mass’ that needed to be expelled before it caused a problem. I do take comfort in the fact that even for a short time that fetus was alive and growing – which is why I have decided to refer to them as ‘Moment’. I know it would be ridiculous to give a name to an undeveloped fetus whose existence I didn’t truly know about until they were no longer connected with me, though I feel it important to recognise their existence whilst simultaneously acknowledging my experience of losing them.

It seems that everyone around me are able to have happy, healthy babies and share with the world the wonders – as well as the stresses and pressures – that accompany their adventure into parenthood. I truly am delighted for every one of them, and wish them well – but it certainly doesn’t help the grieving process I’m having to endure that I hadn’t prepared for in any way, shape, or form.

Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to become a mother – though maybe I’ll never have the chance to embark on the adventure of motherhood due to circumstances out of my control; who knows?

What I do know is that this devastating, excruciating, shocking experience has brought my boyfriend and I closer together. We both believe that everything happens for a reason, we’re infinitely grateful for all the wonderfulness we already have in our life together, and we know how lucky we are to have one another <3

I haven’t sought professional support for my experiences (primarily because I keep pondering whether this experience is less valid because the pregnancy was never detected let alone viable), although I may choose to sometime in the near future – however, just in case you’re in need of support, here’s a list of organisations I’ve been assured are amazing at helping people through any form of pregnancy loss, miscarriage, or stillbirth:

* https://www.tommys.org/about-us/contact-us

* https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/about-us/

* https://www.sands.org.uk/contact-us

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes,
Dannika

Author, Uncategorized, Writing

About Finding Self-Confidence

Hi Everyone, hope all is well šŸ™‚

I’ve just seen a post on Facebook by one of my friends and I suddenly felt compelled to write this blog post. I honestly have no idea where I’m going with this, but I have had enough of feeling inadequate and I’m fed up of seeing those around me feel less than good enough too.

The post read: When I say “please don’t take a picture of me” it’s not because I’m being bitchy and stubborn, it’s because if I see that picture I will seriously feel so bad about myself and think I am the ugliest thing on earth and sink a little deeper into self consciousness and hatred.

First of all, now I am totally guilty of this, we *must* learn to stop comparing ourselves to others.

Each and every one of us are unique. We are the only one of ourselves in existence. At this very moment in time, we are the only person living our life. You are the only one reading this post, my words, from your perspective. When we consider our existence from such a profound viewpoint, we realise just how precious we are.

How devastating that we spend so much of our time – that should be filled with happiness, contentment and joy – allowing our own image to be destroyed upon the judgements others make of other people. Since if we think about it, we are our own worst enemy as far as self image is concerned – when was the last time anyone said you didn’t look nice?

Even though my family are brutally honest about my appearance (which is wonderful), I cannot remember the last time any of them said I look awful, or fat, or a mess (in fact, they constantly reassure me I do not) – nor have any of my friends ever said anything derogatory about my appearance, unless perhaps those times I slipped in sheep turd whilst helping out with shearing, or when I’ve fallen off my horse and landed in a muddy puddle; after which we all had a great laugh! I can, however, remember that when I looked in the mirror five minutes ago that I acknowledged how bloated I am, how I really need to lose at least a stone in weight because I dislike the fat blobbed over the back of my bra and want to be lighter for my horses to carry, as well as frustratingly sighing at the vision of spots appearing along my jawline. What I absolutely failed to notice was how amazing my body is for reaching almost 29 years so far, being able to write/ride/drive/do everything I do, coping daily with crippling anxiety caused by emetophobia, still managing to get on with everything despite a severe hand injury (that may never heal), still being able to breathe despite having a broken nose, and being recipient of some fortunate genetic attributes as gifted by generations of my ancestors. I forget to be thankful that when I do have a set routine allowing for time to ride my horses and take my dog on rambling adventures, I do get fit, tone up and lose weight relatively swiftly. I am grateful to be in love and whilst I do feel encompassed by every moment I’m able to spend with him, I have to remind myself that he wouldn’t be with me if I wasn’t remotely attractive. I have always had a dream to write for a living, this year I finally found the courage to take a leap of faith and I’m delighted to be able to write for a living, study, and pursue all of my dreams. I am beyond lucky to be loved, and be able to love, so many inspiring, wondrous people.

So, next time you look in the mirror, please cast aside any negative, self-deprecating thoughts. Look through them and see yourself. Appreciate absolutely every positive attribute you have, because I guarantee there will be too many for you to note in one staring-at-yourself-in-the-mirror session!

Secondly, after some lovely long chats with friends, I realised that it is likely one of the reasons I am feeling so negative about my body image is because I am subconsciously being bombarded with images of women with perfectly toned bodies and flawless skin, unlikely to have ever had an unflattering photograph taken of them in their entire lives, their routines in order and achievements projected from social media accounts saturated with followers telling them every day how great they are. It’s like some unspoken competition has been developed, whereby women have to be seen to support one another, whilst behind the scenes setting up images to share that show their lives only from an idyllic angle, as if in some subconscious form of one-upmanship with all other women. I’ve made a conscious effort to try follow more accounts that promote positive relationships with individuality in its natural form.

The truth is, the people behind those accounts that make us feel crappy about ourselves are unlikely to have it all together and probably have brilliant photography or photoshop skills. Because we are all human, there is absolutely no way on Earth anybody has their lives entirely together 100% of the time. We all have low moments. Unfortunately, at some point in our lives we all suffer pain, and loss, and grief, and have to face adversity. But, when we go through something terrible, we are never alone. And all of us possess the power to overcome, the strength to survive, and the ability to help others using our experiences.

Finally, perfection in its purest, true form *is* attainable, because it is subjective. What I perceive as perfect someone else will not. Therefore, those aspects of our self we see as imperfect are exactly what make us perfect in another’s eyes.

I’m not there yet. I wholeheartedly admit that I have a llooonnngg way to go to feel truly self-confident. And whilst I’ll still refrain from posting super unflattering images in which I believe I look disgusting (mainly to save your sight but also to avoid embarrassing myself), I am going to continue to encourage self-confidence in others.

Being a good person is awesome, but remember, in order to be selfless self-care is vital.

Having a goal to become physically healthier is amazing, but please do so to fulfil your own happiness – not to fulfil a vision of yourself you believe others would rather see.

Lifestyle choices involving exercise and diet should bring you joy, not feel like torture. Find activities you enjoy, eat what makes you feel fantastic, and make the most of every moment instead of punishing yourself for not being the size you were when you were a teenager. Our bodies evolve as our lives move along at their natural pace. We should buy clothes to fit us, not change our bodies to make ourselves fit into clothes (after all, sizes are different depending on their manufacture and materials). When photographs are taken of us during good times, we ought to cherish the moment we were captured within, as opposed to regretting having that photograph taken – I’m sure older generations would give anything to have treasured memories captured forever in a timeless form.

Some days you’ll feel positive and productive, you will complete your to-do list then go on to accomplish everything extra you set out to. Other days, you may feel too exhausted to do much more than wear your scruffiest clothes, eat chocolate and simply survive. Do you know what? That is ok. In fact, we all need a rest sometimes – it’s ideal that is enjoyed before our bodies tire.

Despite what you tell yourself at times, you are beautiful.

Embrace who you are and celebrate your self.

We are all doing our best, let’s give ourselves some long overdue credit.

Anyways, that’s it from me for now; my apologies for the essay! Haha.

Sending lots of love and positivity your way right now <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Author, Uncategorized

Pros & Cons of Lock-down

Hellooo šŸ™‚

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well <3

So, my lovely boyfriend gave me the idea to write this blog post.

People around the world are feeling the effects of lock-down. Currently, here in the UK, we’re at the beginning of week 3 in lock-down; which for us involves home-working where possible, restaurants/non-essential shops/pubs/clubs/leisure centres/sporting facilities/event venues etc. closed temporarily, all sporting/entertainment events cancelled for the foreseeable future, non-essential travel stopped, and one form of outdoor exercise a day is allowed with your household only.

There are positives and negatives to be taken from this situation. From my perspective, these are in a kind of balance – with a leaning toward the negative end of the spectrum.

In keeping myself busy I’ve been completing ghostwriting projects, studying toward my university assignments, achieving CPD certificates from online courses, caring for my dog and horses, as well as reading more.

Basically, I’m trying to accomplish inspiration from isolation.

I will share with you a Facebook post I added to my own page (as opposed to my author page) yesterday, which I believe clarifies that the stupidity of a large section of the general public are the reason this pandemic is still in full force…

“** Public Announcement **

LOCKDOWN IS NOT AN EXTENDED BANK HOLIDAY!!!! STAY IN!!!

From Cai and Iā€¦.

We were quietly enjoying our one form of outdoor exercise for today, Cai remaining on a lead so as to avoid risk of contact with anyone else, though our efforts to keep ourselves, our loved ones and others safe were in vain.

On our very brisk walk (because there was nowhere to go without being within 2 metres of people!) we encountered:

  • A drunk guy downing cans, then peeing in a hedge.
  • Plethora of dog-walkers with every dog – aside one – off their leads.
  • Countless numbers of people, in groups, hanging around the local lake (I understand families will be exercising together, but from what I could see, there wasn’t much social distancing going on between these households).
  • People who had travelled by car to walk around the area (one particular dog walker I’ve spoken to a while ago and know for a fact lives in St Fagans – come on, there’s no way she can claim there’s nowhere to walk around St Fagans!!!).

I am staying away from loved ones, such as my Grandparents and Gareth, to protect them and everyone else around both them and myself. The sacrifices we are being asked to make are challenging, but not as challenging as having to hide in Anderson Shelters, fearing for our lives because of deadly bombing raids.

Come the f*ck on – please Please PLEASE, stop being selfish. All you’re being asked to do is stay in, chilling out on the sofa, to watch Netflix. It’s not difficult. Every person I know is sticking to the instructions given, to them I say – wholeheartedly – thank you. To every person putting thousands of loved ones at risk because they can’t follow simple rules I say, take a good look at yourself. Stay the heck in!!! Read books written by survivors of Auschwitz, study what life was like living in the trenches experiencing untold horrors to protect your loved ones, find out the stories of immigrants going through hellish situations whilst escaping war-torn countries to save their children.

Please, stay in, stay healthy, stay safe. Remain positive and consider others; if you cannot consider others, realise that you are at as much risk from COVID-19 as anyone else.

Rant over! Haha.

Infinite thanks to all who are following instructions and all those working tirelessly to keep us safe, fed and well ā¤”

As you can see, my tone was pretty frustrated. I do understand the challenges of not being able to enjoy being outdoors and spending quality time with loved ones, but it is incredibly important that directives are followed, else we are all at risk of losing loved ones.

Sacrifices made during the darkness of today will ensure a brighter, safer tomorrow.

Distancing from loved ones is the aspect of lock-down I am struggling with most. I haven’t seen my amazing grandparents or brilliant niece, nor have I seen any of my other great relatives, let alone any of my fantastic friends. Though, the person I have become closest to, who I am feeling deeply the effects of distance from, is my wonderful boyfriend. We’ve been keeping in touch by telephone and Skype; however, I don’t have to tell anyone going through this that it just isn’t the same. I’d love a good cwtch with him right about now…

However, I saw on a news program last week an interview the UK’s eldest gentleman, who told his story. Having lived in 11 decades, he said the greatest moment of his life was meeting the lady who was to be his wife. They only met briefly, as she was travelling to be a volunteer nurse in Ghana, whilst he was destined for Taiwan to become a volunteer teacher. He told their story of a relationship maintained by the written word, with letters taking as much as 8 weeks to arrive. They maintained this for 4 years, before getting married and enjoying over 60 years of joyful marriage. Having lived through wars and financial disasters, this inspirational gentleman was so full of resolve that humanity will make it through this pandemic by working together, that one couldn’t help but feel inspired.

The Queen’s address to the nation yesterday was poignant, yet empowering.

It seems sometimes, distance gives us opportunity to gain a thankful perspective. Despite the fact I make efforts to be grateful every day for all I am fortunate to have, I for one know that I am going to emerge from this lock-down with a brand new appreciation for absolutely every aspect of awesomeness in my life.

If you’re struggling with lock-down at the moment, here’s a list of resources you can contact, as shared by South Wales Police on Facebook yesterday:

ā˜Žļø Mind Cymru 0300 1233393
ā˜Žļø Samaritans 116123
ā˜Žļø Anxiety UK 03444 775774
ā˜Žļø Live Fear Free 0808 8010800
ā˜Žļø Age UK 0800 0556112

There’s also a useful list of mental health support services on the NHS website.

Should a telephone call not be your ideal form of accessing help, here are some other ideas for accessing online help:

And for meditation, the NHS provides some useful information, or, you could always try any of the following apps:

Don’t forget to keep in touch with family and friends through FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc. – isolation doesn’t have to equal loneliness.

And, as always, please feel free to send me an email at d.e.kendall@outlook.com should you wish šŸ™‚

Please keep washing your hands and staying home as much as possible, follow guidance and we’ll get through this all the stronger, sooner.

You are not alone.

Best wishes,

Dannika