Mental Health Update: I’m Actually Doing Okay (Honestly)

Mental Health Update: I'm Actually Doing Okay (Honestly) / over 40 blogger Not Dressed As lamb AKA Catherine Summers wearing a camel bucket hat, square sunglasses with orange lenses, camo jacket and patterned scarf

My first blog post in two months went out on Friday and in that I promised I would write a follow up to my mental health post published all those weeks ago… here it is.

This week (ending today) has been Mental Health Awareness Week so it seems only fitting to write this now. In fact, it got my arse in gear in terms of when I should write this. It gave me a little bit of focus and helped give me a “deadline”.

And focus is what helped me pull myself out of the huge funk I found myself in at the beginning of the year. Whereas everything was blurry, confusing and (gird your loins for a metaphor or two here) hard to read before, I finally managed to find the skills and foresight I needed to bring it all into focus and start sorting myself out.

Long story short: I am SO much better. Things aren’t perfect – I still need my metaphorical glasses to help me see things clearly – but I’m now coping in ways I really wasn’t before.

 

[Reading time: 10 mins]

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Which brings me to the big question… how did I do it? And what did I think were the actual root causes? (Okay, TWO big questions.)

First of all, considering all the amazing/kind/thoughtful comments left on and stories told in the blog post I wrote in March, I think the main cause of my spell of intense sadness (for reasons which shall become clear I feel depression is too strong a word for what I was experiencing) was being physically unwell. To the point of one ailment after the other dragging me down to the point where I simply gave up trying to enjoy life in any way shape or form.

All I can remember over that autumn/winter period is either having a stinking cold [not Covid], headache after headache, my tennis elbow continuing to give me pain, onset arthritis in my fingers (made worse by the cold) and the pain from the minor surgery I had to remove a mole*. After getting better physically and finally being clear of all these ailments, I’ve now realised that I’m a pretty strong person mentally who is able to cope really well in a crisis; in the various times in my life where drama has happened, I seem to be able to find a complete calm and ability to cope and help others.

*You can read more about all of those things in March’s post

That mental ability to cope with all the sh*t I was dealing with seemed to disappear with my lack of physical strength and chutzpah. I found myself literally curling up into a ball [on the sofa] and wanting to shut the world out day, after day, after day, after day. I just “gave up”.

And in hindsight, I can safely say that I’m not someone who is predisposed to depression. The other day I thought about how I’ve coped with all the major decisions in my life: by being pretty easygoing. I’ve sort of “floated” through life a little (in a good/positive way, not in a naive way). I’m an eternal optimist, and nearly always have faith that things will work out in the end, even if the road to get there is somewhat rocky. I don’t get worked up or super major stressed when drama is happening – that’s the “can cope in a crisis” coming out in me.

I have two great examples of times in my life that should have stressed me out but didn’t:

When finishing primary school (age 11) and deciding which secondary school to go to, my teacher suggested to my parents that I enter the exam for a (very good) independent girls’ school 15 miles away. They asked me if I actually wanted to go to that school, stressing the fact that I wouldn’t be going to my local secondary up the road and would, therefore, be leaving my friends. My response? Apparently, I shrugged my shoulders and said “Yeah fine, I’m happy to do that”. And my memory of it at the time was that it didn’t seem at all scary or something to worry about. I was quite looking forward to the challenge and something different. Just… easygoing about it all.

The other example is when I lost a job many years ago when working in retail. I was effectively sacked for reporting the store (a very small upmarket homewares store in London’s Chelsea) for not having any fire extinguishers and locking fire exits to prevent shoplifters from making a quick escape. This was despite me repeatedly telling them they were breaking a dozen Health & Safety rules (in my previous job I did the staff H&S training so knew what I was talking about). I pretty much welcomed getting the sack, because they obviously didn’t value the safety of their staff. I also turned up for work the next day just to put the sh*ts up them, because they KNEW it was unfair dismissal and didn’t have a leg to stand on. Long story short: they had to sort out their shop floor H&S within 24 hours or face a fine (which was, therefore, safer for the staff who worked there) and I found another job in a week. I remember feeling perfectly calm and only too pleased to get out of that place.

So yeah – calm in a crisis. I’m an organiser, I like a challenge, I like to sort things out, to make things good again. I like to think I’m good at helping others (especially in said crises).

I guess that the first part of this year – and all the lockdown months that led up to it – were the biggest test my strength of character has ever been put through (major life event or tragedies aside). Normally it’d be a lot to cope with. But add physical debilitation into the mix and it broke me.

But I’m glad to say: It was temporary.

 

Self-care – and how it helped me

Thankfully, I had an army of friends – both IRL and online – who rallied round to help. (You all know who you are… I can’t thank you enough.) Even the brief messages of “thinking of you” helped. Slowly but surely I started to feel better. But what I also ensured I did (and I can’t emphasise this enough) was to make myself LOOK better.

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Now I KNOW that seems superficial. Really, Catherine? You concentrated on your appearance to pull yourself out of your intense sadness? Isn’t that a little… self indulgent?!

Well in a word, no. I can honestly say that if you’re feeling a little blue, or very sad, or depressed, having a tired, miserable face look back at you in the mirror isn’t going to do anything to help you feel joy. By February this year I HATED the way I looked. I was finding photo shoots almost impossible to find any sort of enthusiasm for. The last thing I wanted to do was look at photos of (or even a reflection of) myself.

The crunch came one day when an old friend paid me a compliment about my appearance. It came out of the blue, when I was feeling just about at my worst, and it was a really, really nice, unexpected compliment. In fact I was so taken aback that I immediately went and put on some makeup and brushed my hair (I think it was the afternoon and I was still – surprise surprise – in my onesie and looking like I was auditioning for The Great Unwashed). I felt so ashamed that they’d paid me that compliment and my appearance that day was responding with a bag-lady-on-a-duvet-day look that it made me spring into action.

I got dressed, put on some makeup and brushed my hair. Once I’d done that, and although I was still looking somewhat washed out and tired, a tiny bit of sparkle had returned to my eyes. And from then on, each day got a little better in terms of the effort I wanted to make. The ailments came to an almighty end after a three-day blinding headache finally dissipated and I started to feel like myself again. I was able to put makeup on every day. I dyed my hair. I craved having long nails again (I missed them and haven’t had them long-long in about four years). In fact I went to town with the personal appearance thing, because with each thing I did to make myself LOOK better, I FELT better.

Over time – and up to this point now – these are all the things I did in terms of self-care:

 

Things I did to help me feel better about the way I looked

 

  • Started the fake tan early rather than waiting for beach weather (see the photo below)
  • Gave myself a full mani-pedi, including creating my own nail extensions at home (I’d missed my long nails)
  • Finally dyed my hair and got it trimmed when salons opened again
  • Undertook a major hair removal session by epilating everywhere(!) and even invested in a home laser hair removal device
  • Continued with my daily Revitalash and Revitabrow serum applications to get INSANE natural eyelashes and hugely-improved eyebrows
  • Had botox injections (I hadn’t had any for 18 months) to take away my “11s” frown lines and a few forehead lines
  • Put on at least a little makeup every morning
  • Put on jewellery every day, even if it was just an earring stack and ear cuffs (I always feel prettier when wearing earrings)
  • Moisturised my legs and feet every evening before bed to prevent dry skin
  • Used a jade face roller to massage my face every evening
  • Used semi permanent makeup regularly to recreate my long since-disappeared freckles (not just every now and then) to create a sunkissed look without the sun
  • Used my LED light therapy mask more regularly to improve the texture of my skin
  • Bought a lip plumping enhancer/light therapy tool and lip gloss plumper (I don’t want fillers but the former boosts collagen and helps with fine lines)
  • Reviewed the supplements I was taking and made sure I was taking the right ones for hair, skin and nails (as well as ones for general health)
  • Whitened my teeth again (the last time I had them whitened was professionally four years ago, I’m still finishing the current course)

 

Wow… I didn’t realise I’d actually done so much until I typed it all out. That’s a pretty impressive list! I set myself a goal of getting a new look, and I decided to go for sunkissed, beach babe goddess with long golden hair (with a touch of my usual pink). A somewhat tall order considering I’m naturally a pale, curvy, greying nearly 50-year-old woman, but WHO CARES? I switch up my look regularly anyway, and in the true spirit of #IWillWearWhatILike, I can do the whole beach babe look if I want (without the actual sun, of course). If it makes me happy, that’s all that matters.

And next on the list – and more importantly – being ailment-free for more than five minutes meant I could get on with the health and fitness side of things:

 

Things I did to help me feel physically better

 

  • As soon as I was able, I ensured I walked every morning again
  • As soon as I was able, I got back into my routine of doing 45-60 minutes of weight training every morning after my walk
  • As soon as I was able, I returned to running again, building up distance and frequency each week
  • I forced myself to get up at the same time every morning and stopped the random lie-ins, meaning I got more done in a day
  • I cut out the booze, pizzas and chocolate
  • I concentrated on having three square meals a day and not skipping any

Mental Health Update: I'm Actually Doing Okay (Honestly) / over 40 blogger Not Dressed As lamb AKA Catherine Summers doing a mirror selfie wearing a sports bra and leggings

The diet and exercise are going well (you can see the results so far in the photo above). I don’t do “fad diets” – I just do the moderation thing, with a ton of fresh veg, a good amount of protein, a little fruit and a few carbs. I don’t deny myself sweet treats but I HAVE to keep them to a minimum by simply not buying them. The pounds that I piled on over Christmas and winter are coming off, slowly but surely, but it’s all about FEELING better and knowing that I’m not sabotaging my body for later life.

And as well as the self-indulgent appearance improvements and the all-important health and fitness aspects, I knew I had to change my thinking to get myself out of the hideous rut and negative thoughts processes that took over my life the last few months. These next few things didn’t come easy – please don’t think I just thought one day, ‘Oh I’m okay now, I can do x, y and z to help me feel better!’ – believe me, they took a while:

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Things I did to help me feel better mentally

 

  • I decided I’d set myself a mental/partly physical challenge – one that I became almost a little obsessed with (but in a good way): I decided to memorise and learn to sing the lyrics to the 90s song “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies. If you’ve never heard it, it’s basically a three-minute tongue-twister sung at record speed (I’m 95% there and still practise every day… let’s just say ‘poor Keith’, having to listen to it sooooooo much)
  • I stopped worrying about when I was ever going to publish on the blog again. I simply had to “let it go” and come back to it when I was ready
  • I decided that the blog is going to have to be more organic in terms of what and when I post (I’ve had to let go of the Tuesday link up, for example)
  • I did A LOT of clearing up in the house – decluttering is an incredible mood booster
  • I finally managed to tackle my Inbox which was overflowing to the point of insanity
  • I made a massive effort with the friend I felt I’d neglected last year when they desperately needed someone (I didn’t check on them enough and finding out what they went through devastated me). I now make contact far more often, I sent a care package, I message most days to make sure they’re okay, etc., etc. I started checking in on other friends more often too, using the #TwoOkRule to ask a second time if they’re really coping and not just saying “Yeah I’m fine” on autopilot like I was
  • I learned to be honest about what I could and couldn’t cope with, take on, help out with, etc. Saying ‘no’ is something that we all know we should do but all too often we feel guilty saying it. I didn’t say yes to anything (whether that be work-related, for friends and family, etc.) I felt I couldn’t take on and do to the best of my ability

 

There we have it – that’s all the things I did (that I can think of) that helped me get out of the horrible sadness I found myself in. It was definitely temporary. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I sat down and cried for seemingly no reason. If that’s not a sign of getting better, I don’t know what is.

I know I’ll still have the challenges of whatever life throws at me to come, not least menopause… I mean, the night sweats are getting ridiculous, I go to bed cold so pile on the blankets, only to wake up at 3am in a pool of sweat. My periods barely last two days. How bad full menopause will be for me I don’t know, but I know for a fact I’ll be straight onto the doc for HRT if I feel I need it*.

*If you didn’t watch the Channel 4 documentary Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause then you MUST watch it on All4 catch up if you can. That 20-year-old women’s health report about HRT causing breast cancer (the reason why SO many women won’t go on HRT) gets blown out the water. But that’s a blog post for another time.

And what I had was extreme, intense sadness, not depression – I’m sure there are some who may disagree with me, but I feel I know myself best – because it only took a few factors for me to rise out of it. I’m actually enjoying the self-indulgence of improving my appearance (it’s a crazy-good mood booster). I’m feeling more energised from the regular exercise. I’m smugly euphoric at being able to sing along to One Week” like a boss.

So if I’ve gone from sitting on the sofa every day in a onesie, crying my eyes out and looking like sh*t to feeling and looking a little bit badass almost every day just within the space of a few weeks, then I know that with support, the want to improve your situation and a little determination I’m sure there’s hope for everyone – even if it takes time.

Because even things improving a TINY bit every day over a long period of time is something to hold onto and strive for, are they not?

The questions I’d like to ask you are:

~ Have you had a similar experience with being able to pull yourself out of an intense sadness?
~ Do you think that your own personality has defined the way you cope with life?
~ Would you like to read a more in-depth blog post about any of things I’ve mentioned (from getting insanely long eyelashes to the lip-plumping tool to thoughts on menopause)?

Tell me in the comments…

 

Stay safe XOXO

Catherine signature

P.S. Once again I want to thank everyone who sent me texts, left comments, called me or left voicemail messages. Every single message meant the world to me.

★ THANK YOU THANK YOU ★

 

I always add this: a final note on getting help…

If you’re having the sh*ttiest time in life then please, please, please reach out to someone. Whether it be a friend, a relative or a professional, just reach out and ask for help. Things can get better… just don’t try and get through it alone. There will always be someone who can help you.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of these issues, please seek help or simply talk to someone. If you are in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or go to their website https://www.samaritans.org. As their website says, Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.

If you’re in the US, call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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Linking up to… Monday: Inspire Me Monday, Ageless Style Linkup (first Monday of the month), My Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Spread the Kindness, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: Style Me Wednesday, WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish || Friday: Fancy Friday, On the Edge, Fabulous Friday, Fabulous Friday’s Link Up

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54 Comments

  1. Emerald
    22 July 2021 / 10:33 pm

    I’m having a little catch-up on reading through your posts. I’m so sorry to hear that you were feeling rubbish and glad to find out you’ve perked up. And I doubt you’ve ever looked anything other than fab! But I hear you about looking good giving you a little boost. It shouldn’t have to be that way (I’ve yet to hear my other half say *he* feels happy because he’s looking good – but it really does do something for confidence.

    Yes, please write about this ridiculous nonsense about HRT. I am taking it because it keeps my metabolism speedy and my bones strong, which as a vegetarian I need to be careful with. And I had a lecture from a very likeable male GP at my surgery when I moved back here to Scotland and asked him to continue with my HRT prescription. He told me lots of things that could go wrong, but I pointed out that he was never going to need it and to his credit he put a sock in it! Can you imagine if men needed it…?

    I have actually been very lucky and not had any menopausal symptoms, except that I did put on a bit of weight, hence the HRT. But it did coincide with when I broke my collarbone and couldn’t do all my super fast yoga (and I was far more concerned about my bone density than a few extra kilos!).

    • Catherine
      Author
      29 July 2021 / 8:54 pm

      I totally agree about the way you look affecting your confidence, Emerald… it made ALL the difference to me. Looking in the mirror at a sad, pale, tired face just made the feelings of despair worse!

      I’m appalled to hear about your GP and his attitude to HRT – what is WITH these doctors?! And yes, I also agree about the few pounds of weight being okay – I’ve accepted I’m never going to be as slim as I once was, but I know that I’m doing my best in terms of regular exercise and good food and keeping my weight at a reasonable level (so I still have energy and am avoiding the lethargy)… that’s what’s important 😀

      Thank you for sharing your experiences…!

  2. 7 June 2021 / 2:06 am

    Very happy that you are finally feeling fine and getting towards betterment.

    With lots of love and hugs <3

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:18 pm

      Elaine thank you!! Things are so much better xx

  3. delta
    2 June 2021 / 1:39 pm

    Hello! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I myself am at the stage when I need to do something to get out of a depressive state, sports have always helped me in this case, but unfortunately, because of my health, I cannot afford long runs or strength exercises. But thanks to your post, I realized that not only physical exercises but also basic self-care and health care can help. I hope my husband will help me cope with it and not get worse the situation

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 11:59 am

      Delta I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through a rough time – I hope you’ve managed to start the self-care to some extent already…? I can thoroughly recommend something mentally challenging as well, I’m almost a little bit obsessed with my lyrics learning, it pulled me off the sofa and stopped me mindlessly watching Netflix and overeating!

      I hope you get some support soon and that your husband is on board as well, sending much love xx

  4. 22 May 2021 / 9:52 am

    It is all about taking the time that we need to ensure that we are operating at our best!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 11:59 am

      You couldn’t be more right, Danielle! xx

  5. 20 May 2021 / 3:08 pm

    Great to read, and good tips for all, no matter how we’re feeling. I think you may have broken the internet with the lash and brow serums – the prices seem to have shot up?!! Would be very interested to read more about the different aspects of your beauty regime….your nails are also looking great!

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 12:00 pm

      Thank you so much Gail – I’m so crazy over my eyelashes, I can’t quite believe that they’re mine (and that they’re natural)!! I’ll definitely be writing a blog post about them and the serums, don’t worry 🙂

  6. Sue Dunlop
    18 May 2021 / 5:18 pm

    I loved this post. Down to earth, honest as always, and also full of practical suggestions for feeling better. I’ve heard this saying before: “Action is the antidote to anxiety” and your post reminds a bit of this. Starting small and working up while doing things daily is such a key point. Even if it’s the tiniest thing.

    I am so glad that we are talking about menopause more in a real way – too long women have been suffering and dealing with incorrect information. Glad you’re shining a light on it too.

    I would love to hear about any of your beauty steps – have often wondered if some of the things you mention actually make any more difference than a good cleansing and moisturizing routine with daily sunscreen and retinol a few times a week. (injectables excluded – I understand how that works and people see visible results)

    As always, looks forward to your posts no matter how often they appear. Thank you!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 12:02 pm

      “Action is the antidote to anxiety” – that’s absolutely brilliant, Sue… and couldn’t be truer than it was in my case! And yes, tiny things made a difference. A HUGE difference.

      YES to talking about menopause more. And YES to more beauty posts, I’ll be starting with my eyelash/brows serum… watch this space!

      Thank you so much for your love and support xx

  7. 18 May 2021 / 10:36 am

    Catherine, thank you for sharing your journey through your period of sadness and the things that helped pull you out of it. It is so important to share these things because they not only help us process our own experiences and feelings, but they help so many who may be traveling a similar course. I applaud you, my friend!

    Shelbee

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 12:03 pm

      That’s so kind of you, thanks Shelbee- and yes I agree, reading about this more and more is very helpful and gives us a feeling of not being alone. It’s good to talk as they say 😀

  8. Liz P.
    18 May 2021 / 3:25 am

    You wook mahvelus! (Billy Crystal) I think you’ve handled things well. I know it takes a lot of effort to muster the energy and get cracking trying to get one’s routines back to normal after the difficult year we’ve all endured. Menopause is a huge hormonal shift and my guess is it’s the real culprit. I’m about 8 years older than you. Menopause started at 48 with hot flashes, night sweats (big time, it bleached my nightgowns) and weight gain. I didn’t do HRT, but cut out all alcohol. It only lasted about 2 years for me, then I never had any more symptoms. It is harder to keep weight off though because my metabolism really slowed. You’re good to exercise and take supplements, which I try to do. The upside is I feel very good emotionally post-menopausal. Better than I did getting periods. I do embrace being in my 50’s, and try to “age gracefully”.
    I always enjoy reading whatever you write, Catherine. Glad you got your chutzpah back.

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 12:06 pm

      Ughhhh you’re right about trying to make the effort to get back into a routine, Liz!! Your menopause experience is very interesting – funnily enough my night sweats have reduced drastically since getting fitter again. I did have one but I left the window closed by accident, I always sleep with it open and that night I think I simply overheated in bed!

      Thank you for your input and the love x

  9. 17 May 2021 / 10:08 pm

    Those are really comprehensive lists. Am so impressed by them. Very inspiring. I find that looking nice each day makes me happier. And that exercise is one of the best tension relievers. Although I’m a long time yoga and meditation teacher, honestly both of these are not for everyone, some people (like yourself) need more physical exercise. Nonstop lack of sleep, and an overly stressful life with no time for exercise, rest, or decent food – I get sick. And then, I hit The Downs. P.S. I’d love it if you would do a post on how to use revitalash properly – application, etc.

    • Catherine
      Author
      4 June 2021 / 12:08 pm

      Looking nice each day DOES make a difference to your mood, doesn’t it Ratnamurti?!! I know it’s helped me massively. Thank you for the insight on how exercise needs are different for everyone, but definitely needed in some or another by everyone!

      Expect a blog post on the Revitalash serum soon… watch this space! Much love xx

  10. 17 May 2021 / 9:46 pm

    This is such a wonderful read, Catherine. Firstly, I’m so happy that you’ve managed to pull yourself out of the shitty funk you were in, and secondly, that you’ve listed all the things you’ve done that helped you. This is going to help so many people in the same situation, I’m sure of it. And yes! Please do tell us more about all the things you did!! Especially interested to hear about how your hair removal home kit works!!
    Big hugs
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:20 pm

      Ughhhh shitty funk is right, Suzy… I’m so glad that it’s behind me! I’ve yet to really get to grips with the hair removal kit thing, but when I see results (you have to use it for about 12 weeks before it really works) I’ll share them here. Thank you gorgeous xx

  11. 17 May 2021 / 3:36 pm

    So happy to read this and celebrate your progress! <3 I love these tips – an excellent list for you and anyone to come back to. When I hit my sads it's usually because of a combination of my work tasks piling up far too high and feeling underappreciated by my superiors. I have some long-term personal projects like trying to redefine my sense of self and success so that work stress doesn't spill out of work hours and affect the rest of my life. But smaller, more concrete things that start to pull me out of the sads are 1) advocating for myself. I've had a couple instances now where reaching out to a superior to stick up for myself was received well, for example, to say that a deadline just really won't work, or even to say that the way feedback was conveyed had a negative effect on my motivation rather than a positive. And something that always works for me is to carve out teeny tasks. Maybe a giant project feels insurmountable but I can set a to-do list for the day of tiny tasks like sending 1 email, reading 1 source, etc. and mentally separate that tiny task from the overwhelming giant project. 🙂 The tiny tasks eventually add up!

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:22 pm

      So glad you liked the list, Bethanne – thank you! And gosh yes, your tip for teeny tasks is SO good. I work so much better if I carve out small tasks as you described… they do add up, and you get that feeling of accomplishment which makes a huge difference to your mental health. Thanks so much for sharing xx

  12. Ruth
    17 May 2021 / 3:30 pm

    Catherine – lovely to have you back and firing on all cylinders.

    You mentioned HRT – could I gently suggest that if you are already experiencing night sweats that you’ve already reached a point where you might benefit from it. I’d also, if you have not already done so, urge you to consult a list of perimenopause symptoms – there are the ones we all know about but there is a long list of others that are not well known and I’ve recently had cause to view them in retrospect and was surprised to discover that several of the supposedly random and unexplained health niggles that I’d experienced over a period of about 5 years were on the list. Lightbulb moment!

    We need to be better informed and we need to inform ourselves – talking openly is a great help. I’d love to see you cover it more on the blog but thank you for the work you are already doing.

    • Kate R
      25 May 2021 / 5:05 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking! Perimenopause (can) = intense moods and physical symptoms that make a person feel unwell and like you are trapped in an unfamiliar body. Menopause itself is a relief.

      • Catherine
        Author
        21 June 2021 / 1:28 pm

        I’ve heard a lot of people say that menopause is sometimes a relief, Kate – thank you for sharing that! x

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:27 pm

      Thanks Ruth – the night sweats are very random… for example I haven’t had one in weeks! I’ve checked the list again in case there was anything I’d missed and I’m suffering from almost none of the symptoms, so at the moment I don’t think I’m in any need of HRT. The exercise and better eating have done wonders for me, I wanted to sort that out first to see if there was anything else that needed attention. So thankfully I’m good for now, but I’ll be straight onto the doctor if at any time I feel like HRT would help me! When I have more experience I’m sure I’ll be covering it more on the blog, at the moment I don’t have enough to say on the matter (thank you so much for sharing your experiences though) xx

  13. Katherine
    17 May 2021 / 3:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey. You are a survivor and to be admired that you pulled
    through.
    Take tender, loving care of your self.

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:28 pm

      Gosh that’s so lovely of you to say – thank you Katherine…!! x

  14. 17 May 2021 / 2:06 am

    Welcome back, you badass Queen! Thanks for all the honesty. SOOO happy to hear you’re on the upswing- and golly, you look amazing! I’d love to hear more about resurrecting eyebrows and lashes. I’ve been on HRT for 10 years and love it- rock on , sister!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:29 pm

      Thank you MK my lovely! I’m definitely going to doing a post about Revitalsh and the amazing results I’ve had. And it’s good to hear you’ve been on HRT and get on with it – it needs some positive PR after all the negativity that’s surrounded it for so many years! x

  15. Erika
    16 May 2021 / 10:04 pm

    Thank you for this honest in-depth post and it’s great to hear you’re finding ways of making life better again. I think self-care and some pampering shows we are connecting positively with ourselves. and that can only be a good thing. Lots of different ways of doing that, as you’ve shown so well. After many wretched years of endometriosis, the menopause was a welcome thing that passed by almost unnoticed, apart from feeling hot a lot. So no HRT, and I don’t know if that was a good or a bad decision for my body…. ! Definitely would enjoy in-depth blog posts on things like techniques/treatments…your Revitalash results look incredible…also love your posts on gifts for specific occasions. Continue to take care xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:32 pm

      Thank you Erika – yes I can now say (looking back) that the self care thing helped enormously. Seeing a fresher, less tired and “battered” face and body in the mirror has been the boost I needed to help me in other areas.

      I’m sorry to hear you had a terrible time with endometriosis, thank goodness menopause didn’t make things worse for you where that was concerned. And yes to the lash and brow posts, they’re coming soon! x

  16. Clare
    16 May 2021 / 9:26 pm

    I’ve only just started following your blog so this is actually only the second post I’ve read of yours but yes I was nodding along to a lot of it Picked up some good tips and it reminded me of some self care I could be doing to spur my along. Thank you for sharing. It’s so important we share how we feel but still feels somewhat difficult (I feel) to be open and honest and not just give the ‘I’m fine’ response. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Thank again! X

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:33 pm

      Welcome Clare – I hope you find lots of other posts that resonate with you! You’re absolutely right about the sharing thing, I swear I only got myself sorted because I said out loud that I was struggling. Thank you my lovely xx

  17. 16 May 2021 / 7:54 pm

    So great to see you and more importantly that you are ok. You are so right our well-being is so dependant on being fit and healthy. I started to do daily walks around a year ago and feel so much better when I do it – though I did let it slip here and there in this last lockdown, so easily done. It’s a new habit which I intend to keep up. I think everyone has found this the toughest six months. I’m going to work through your treatments and fancy giving the “lip pumper” a go. I have used Revitalash for a good while, it’s a tad expensive but worth it as I wouldn’t have any brows or lashes without it
    Alison xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      16 May 2021 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you Alison! I think walking has been the no.1 new thing that people have taken up since lockdown… it’s been part of my daily routine for about 15 years so when I wasn’t able to go because of too many ailments and feeling like crap it really affected me mentally. And YES to the Revitalash… isn’t it INCREDIBLE?!! And like you said, expensive but worth it. My eyelashes without mascara are better than they were before WITH mascara…!

  18. Dianne Reeks
    16 May 2021 / 7:31 pm

    Hello Catherine. Thank you so much for your honesty. Glad you’re feeling better

    • Catherine
      Author
      16 May 2021 / 7:37 pm

      I really, really am Dianne – thank you so much!

  19. Lynn Jones
    16 May 2021 / 7:18 pm

    Congratulations on all that you’ve done to help yourself feel better. IMO, no it’s not iffy to focus on your image to give you something to aim for. Appearance, fitness, being in touch with yourself, or the modern word of ‘wellness’ – whatever that is – so long as it gets your away from your troubles, they sound like a good thing. Well done you!

    So, to your questions….

    Yes, more on the treatments and techniques, please.

    Re pulling yourself out: no, I needed help. Not just from a medical professional, but my lovely partner too, and I found that once I was ‘out’ about my mental health, others shared & confided in me. It’s been a long time since that period, and I think it’s possible to fall back if you don’t keep on top of things.

    As to personality and coping: absolutely, yes. I think how you decide to look at life, let alone approach it affects you. I think it’s about finding the things – as you did – that work for you. If that’s exercise, style, pretty nails, long walks with a dog, a gratitude diary (would recommend, BTW ♥️): then that’s all good stuff. Plus, letting go of the I Should can be freeing too.

    • Catherine
      Author
      16 May 2021 / 7:41 pm

      Lynn thank you for those words of support – I’m so glad that the self-care where my appearance is concerned is something that’s shared by everyone in terms of the right thing to do! It’s lovely to hear that you’re so much better yourself, and that’s wonderful that you went and got the help you needed.

      I love the idea of a gratitude diary (may well start that ASAP…) and I’m also glad to hear you’d be interested in blog posts about the different beauty treatments and techniques. You’re a star, thanks so much my lovely x

  20. Michelle Springer
    16 May 2021 / 5:20 pm

    Yeah… Perimenopause is doing a number on me too.
    I’ve also set myself a beauty challenge for the year- I want to see if I can grow my hair long and keep my nails looking nice. I’ve always wanted long hair and no time like the present.
    And I’ve started being more aware of what I put in my body as well- Mom has a thing about cheeseburgers right now, but I think if I eat one more myself, I’m going to scream. To that end, I’m trying to find ways to get more vegetables into both of us.
    I have found that the fact that we’re starting to open up things at the library a little more has definitely helped my mood- being back at my smaller branch and seeing familiar patrons again has made me happier than I thought it would.
    As I keep saying, you’ll always have support across the pond and seeing you feel better makes me happy too! ❤

    • Catherine
      Author
      16 May 2021 / 7:45 pm

      Michelle my lovely I’m really glad to hear you’re back on full steam at the library, it must help you a great deal when you have so much to cope with where your mother’s concerned…! The vegetables is a VERY good idea, even if she doesn’t go for them!!

      Good luck with the hair growing – I’m doing the same. Nice nails make ALL the difference too – there’s something about looking down and seeing nice nails that makes me more expressive with my hands. And do take care where perimenopause is concerned – make sure you seek help with that as and when you feel you need it! Thinking of you, thank you gorgeous xx

  21. Kelly Glen
    16 May 2021 / 4:55 pm

    I had been wondering how you were getting on, I’m glad to hear that with a few adjustments to your life that you are feeling brighter and ready to face the world again. I think sometimes we all need to reevaluate our lives and what is important to us. I hope you continue to feel better and happy again.
    Take care and all the best.

    • Catherine
      Author
      16 May 2021 / 7:46 pm

      Kelly that is SO kind and thoughtful of you, thank you ever so much! Reevaluation is really important, you’re right xx

  22. Sue
    16 May 2021 / 4:53 pm

    Hi Catherine, so glad to hear you are feeling better and see you blogging again! I suffer with anxiety and anxiety induced depression. Whilst I still take medication I know that if I make an effort – clean hair, make up, an ‘outfit’ – then I feel better about myself. All through lockdown I put make up on, wore proper clothes and made sure that i looked after myself. It’s not self indulgent, it is absolutely essential. If I feel I look ok, then I am more able to cope with the stresses and strains of life xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:35 pm

      Hi Sue – so sorry to hear you suffer with your mental health, but wow to looking after yourself through lockdown… that’s a whole lot more than I did!! You’re 100% right about being able to cope if you’re looking good – thank you for the validation! x

  23. PGordon
    16 May 2021 / 4:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing this difficult time with everyone. It is helpful, I’m sure, to others, even if their triggers or experiences are different. I appreciate knowing that others have found their way back to themselves.

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:36 pm

      That’ so nice of you to say, hon – thank you!

  24. Helen
    16 May 2021 / 4:44 pm

    So glad you are ok. Miss your fabulous blogs which always lift my spirits and give me focus.
    You always look so glam – an inspiration, keep safe and On It! Xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:36 pm

      Aww Helen I’m so glad my posts have helped you, thank you!! You’re a star x

  25. Caroline
    16 May 2021 / 4:07 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes. Perimenopause kicked it off for me. I needed hrt to get me feeling normal. Even then it has to be monitored as our bodies change and if I neglect self care (including not eating well, not enough exercise and too much booze), it all comes back. I have a demanding job and family and can’t afford to sit back, so self care is a necessity and not an indulgence. I’ve put on a stone and would be happier for losing it though! Thank you for sharing your post xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:40 pm

      Thanks Caroline for sharing your experiences… it’s a lot more work at this age to keep yourself looking and feeling good, isn’t it: it was so much easier for me at 22, I ate and drink what I liked and was as slim and energetic as could be!!!! #eyeroll

      You’re absolutely right about self-care not being an indulgence, I’ve come to realise that now that my funk is well behind me. But all the time we’re aware of it it makes it less of a battle I find, we know what we have to do…! 😉

  26. 16 May 2021 / 4:01 pm

    Oh Catherine, it’s so good to read and to see that you have your sparkle back. Well done you. And I agree wholeheartedly that making oneself look better makes one feel better too.

    Take care lovely xxxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      21 June 2021 / 1:41 pm

      Lizzy my darling thank you! The appearance thing has made a HUGE difference to me, I’m not sure I’d be feeling this much better if I’d stayed looking like a bag lady… LOL 😉

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