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To my first, and forever love

A letter to my first and forever love.

I call myself a blogger and yet here I am at a loss of how to put pen to paper so-to-speak.

There is no-one quite like you; fiercely loyal, utterly stubborn and hungry for knowledge.

It’s you Harry Potter.

You have been in my life for 20 years now and I know we will be friends until my dying day. The story may be about you, but it’s your journey of friendship, family, faith and hope that i’ve fallen in love with.

I’ve been a reader my entire life but no other story can intrigue, enthral and enrage me quite like you.
I remember the day I was introduced to your world.
At first a world of loneliness and resentment, and gradually a world full of warmth, happiness and comfort.
There were dark and terrible times ahead, just like life itself, but through compassion, solidarity, kindness and courage you fought your way through and came out triumphant.
You have taught me to appreciate who I am, and to ignore the negativity that comes with staying true to yourself.
You’ve taught me that looks can be deceiving and to never judge a book by it’s cover.
You’ve taught me that being bookish and brainy is the new beautiful.

Harry potter books in Order from left to right

You’ve taught me that being courageous doesn’t always mean fighting the biggest battles sometimes it’s about standing up for what is right.
I’ve learned that making mistakes is apart of life, but we have to learn to forgive others as quickly as we forgive ourselves.
I’ve learned that true friendship is worth more than what money could ever buy.
I’ve learnt that heartbreak is torturous and that loss is inevitable. But what i’ve learned the most is that love will always prevail. There is room in our hearts to love as many as we can, yet that love will never be lost just because someone is gone.

Harry's Wand infront of two candles and a wax melter

Harry Potter, you’ve been a source of comfort in the lonely days, a place where I can escape to, and a gentle reminder that hope can always be found.

7 books, 8 films and 20 years of my life that i’ve learnt, grown, adapted and survived:with you by my side.
My first, and forever love.

“Even after all this time?”

“Always,”




Adventures at Butlin’s Bognor Regis

Butlin’s

Billy Butlin’s was an entrepreneur who created the British iconic holiday parks for family’s to have an affordable UK break, now commonly known as a staycation .
Butlin’s Skegness opened on the 11th April 1936 and was officially opened by Amy Johnson; the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
Billy’s dream was to create a place for family’s to eat, sleep and be entertained which was also situated close to a beach.
There are now 3 sites: Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead, welcoming millions of families each year.
Some of the most widely known comedians, actors, singers, dancers and double acts have found fame because of Butlin’s.
Laurel and Hardy, The Drifters, The Foundations,Dez o’Connor, Cliff Richard and Ringo Star to name but a few!

A group of us had booked our 4 night stay months in advance, and having never been to Butlin’s before I was really keen to go.

A few days before we left I went on the website to see what we could do when we were there.
Clearly geared towards family I was blown over by the sheer amount of activities there were to do, which were all included as part of your holiday costs!
I was also happy with the accessibility of the website. The mobile version is not very compatible with screen readers, but after switching to desktop mode, I had no further issues. I flicked through page after page with ease and eager anticipation for the Butlin’s holiday ahead!

Our destination was Bognor Regis in West Sussex, situated between Brighton and Portsmouth. This was ideal for us as it was only a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.

Arrival.

The first thing Gary noticed was the giant millennium dome, meaning everything was under cover. Perfect for the unpredictable British weather!
The majority of our friends were there already and had checked in, so we headed to the Oyster Bay reception to ask for directions.
The staff were friendly and extremely helpful, and ended up giving us verbal directions to our chalet as they had run out of maps.

Our Chalet.

Being visually impaired and having a Guide Dog, we were given a ground floor chalet which conveniently had a large grass area, and bins right outside our door.
The chalet itself had a living room area complete with two sofas, a television and coffee table.
A dinning table and chairs were immediately on our right as we entered.

4 person table, two leather two seater sofas and a small tv

The kitchen was fitted with a fridge freezer, cooker, microwave and kettle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that tea, coffee and sugar had been provided along with cutlery and crockery; perfect for a group who wanted to self cater.

Kitchen with microwave, kettle, toaster and cooker

Our bedroom was a decent size; homing a double bed, 2 bedside tables, a set of drawers, wardrobe and a desk and chair with a mirror above it.
The only criticism i would have would be for the bathroom, the toilet cistern took about 10 minutes to fill up, the shower cubicle was quite small, and didn’t drain quick enough so your feet would be in a bath of water, and having no window meant that the bathroom would be completely steamed up. On day 3 Gary found an extractor fan but it didn’t really live up to it’s name.
Possibly the most annoying of all was that there was no bathmat, meaning that the floor became soaked as you exited the shower or you had to use your own towel to mop up the mess.

A double Bed with white bed sheets and green feature wall

Wardrobe and window with the bed at the bottom

Dressing table and the door

Food.

As we wanted our holiday to be as easy-going as possible we paid for breakfast and dinner buffet style as part of our package.

After dropping our bags off we headed down to dinner to meet up with the rest of the party.
Not before going to the wrong restaurant and getting turned away because we hadn’t paid for that meal package!

We opted for the cheap and cheerful option and we dinned in the Coral Beach restaurant for the entirety of our stay.

As it is a buffet style food court you can go up as many times as you wanted.
I was very happy to find out that hot and cold drinks were part of the package and unlimited, the only drinks you would have to pay for would be fizzy drinks or alcohol.
Because the food court was so busy Gary offered to go up and get me an assortment of foods : chicken, new potatoes, veg, gammon and minted beef, not forgetting the lovely slice of cake for pudding.

Entertainment.

There are 2 main stages at Bognor Regis Butlin’s:Reds and Center Stage.
On our first evening the entertainment on the center stage would be Whitney Houston in concert, Ive always loved Whitney Houston so I was keen to go along. According to our brochure we got with our check n details it said that the performer would not be on stage until 21:45 meaning we had plenty of time to have a wander around.

We went into the local shop which was full of everything you could need for a self catered holiday.
However having the luxury of Gary driving we decided to head off to the local supermarket, less than a mile away.
We stocked up on the essentials; alcohol and coconut scented toilet roll!

Arriving back on to the parks premises Gary noticed that there was a closer entrance to our chalet, so we politely asked if he could drop myself, Ida, Lenny and Dillon off and then park the car back in the Oyster Bay car park.
The man on the gate was very accommodating, letting us through and saying he would give the heads up to his colleague on the other gate.

2 blind people, 2 Guide Dogs, a crate of beer, box of wine and a carrier bag full of other things made the much shorter walk a whole lot easier… See having a disability has it’s perks! 😉




By the time we got back to the chalet it was time to head off for the evening entertainment.
By this point neither Gary nor Lenny fancied it, so we headed next door to Lenny’s chalet for a quiet night.
Phyllis, Lenny’s chalet mate had returned from the entertainment saying she wasn’t in the mood.
The 4 of us stayed in chatting, drinking and laughing until 2Am in the morning!

You can find part 2 here.

Review: we all deserve to look and feel LUSHcious

I’m a big fan of Lush; their products and ethicacy is the reason I return time and time again.
Not so much of the scent of the shop; it assaults your nostrils even when you are in a 3 metre radius of the place…
But individually I love the products. I have received many a product as birthday/ Christmas gifts, over the years and given them out in return!
Lush is a firm favourite of mine and my friends. And i’m excited to say I have some lovely products ahead that I have reviewed. 🙂

*Disclosure: I apologise for the photos.. I got far too excited about trying out the products that I forgot to take pictures beforehand… I’m a terrible blogger!
Lush Review.

Godiva Shampoo Bar.

Lush Description: “There’s no need to be modest about having great hair once you’ve used this – you’ll want to parade around town. Godiva cleans and conditions with a host of nut oils and butters, and then leaves a heady, lingering scent of jasmine on your newly-glossy tresses. It’s stuffed with butters and oils to condition, moisturise and soften the hair: cocoa butter, cupuaçu butter, shea butter, camellia oil, organic macadamia nut oil and extra virgin coconut oil”

Looking at the bar you don’t expect it to be as half as good as it is.
When I was at the Lush shop the fabulous manager explained the shampoo bar’s properties and how well it cleaned and nourished your hair.
I was skeptical at first, mostly because i’m a liquid shampoo kinda girl, but I gave it a go and I was happily surprised.
The bar lathers well and you only need to roll it around in your hand once or twice to get a decent amount for shoulder length hair.
I left it in my hair for a good 5 minutes while I continued the rest of my shower routine. By the time I rinsed it off my hair was already feeling silky ; the oils and butters in the bar is what conditions your hair. The after affect was even better, once I had combed and blow dried my hair.
The scent of the jasmine isn’t too powerful, which is good for me as it’s not my favourite scent.
The bar will last around 6 months and in my opinion its great for when you are travelling because you don’t have to worry about liquid luggage restrictions. 🙂

Round shaped bar,in banana yellow colour palm sized.

 

Tender Is The Night Massage Bar.

Lush Description: “A sensual massage bar filled with romantic essential oils. Shea and murumuru butters are specially blended to melt easily onto the skin to allow a smooth massage. As well as helping the bar glide, they also help to lock in moisture. As the bar warms and softens, it releases the heady blend of ylang ylang oil, Fair Trade vanilla absolute, and jasmine absolute.”

I’m a big fan of this massage bar, not only the does it smell great, but with it having a tactile flower o the right hand side of the bar, being blind I love distinguishable features, and a pretty pink flower does the trick.
I used the massage bar like a solid lotion applying it directly to my skin with a few firm strokes, and rubbing the residue into my skin.
As I was rubbing it in I could feel my skin getting smoother. I was also happy to discover that I didn’t need to apply moisturiser to my body after the shower because the butter within the bar had done it for me!

At a separate time I chose to break some of the bar up and crumble it into my bath, it took a long time to dissolve, which is a good thing as it’s not made as a bath bomb, but again I left the bath feeling soft and moisturised all over. 🙂

Oval shaped bar, cream coloured with barbie pink flower on right hand side,this is also tactile.. It is Palm with but height just larger than palm size.

Maypole Soap.

Lush Description: “If this soap had feathers and smelled like painted canvas, then we’d suggest you only use it to wash your favourite ice cream. Sometimes things don’t need to make sense; like this addictive peppermint soap, threaded with our own soap noodles to create a stick of whimsy. Support Keep It In The Ground with this MPG free soap base created from glycerine and sorbitol whilst you dance around the Maypole and enter a surreal world of nutty mintitude.”

This is possibly one of my favourite Lush items. I have a major love for the smell of mint, and adding in the sticky sweetness of the maple syrup it gives the air a minty sweet kick. It smells so good, I just want to eat it!
The soap itself creates lots of lather and leaves my skin feeling soft and not dry, which unfortunately is the case with my skin and most soaps.
If you are a fan of mint, I would highly suggest you go out and buy some!

Slightly larger than palm size, shrimp pink colour outer rim with lime green marble effect centre.

Salted Coconut Hand Scrub.

Lush Description: “Superbly soft skin and scrubbing go hand in hand. This creamy coconut and sea salt exfoliator is the perfect way to keep your paws in tiptop condition. Apply a generous dollop to wet hands and scrub all over or use when your hands are dry for a rougher cleanse. Sea salt is a wonderful natural exfoliant, packed full of restorative minerals to cleanse and treat the skin, whilst coconut oil deeply hydrates without making your hands sticky. Those who love the sweet smell of the outdoors will love to get stuck into this scrub – fragranced with the smell of sweet gorse.”

I will admit that when I first had a nosey at the coconut hand scrub, i wasn’t particularly keen on the sea salt part. I have a weird thing about my hands being dirty, the feeling of applying suncream when you are on the beach and all the sand gets scrubbed into your skin makes me very unhappy and uneasy, and this was exactly what came to mind when I applied a little bit to the back of my hand.
I have since used it when I am near a sink so I can give my hands a thorough wash after application.
I use the coconut scrub when my hands need a proper pick-me-up or when my hands get overly dry. Having eczema and seasonal changes means this happens frequently.
The scrub definitely does what it says on the tin and i’m always left stroking my wonderfully soft baby smooth hands every time i use it.

Palm sized black pot light beige colour cream.
Rough to the touch because of the salts.

Left hand pot is salted Coconut hand scrub, Centre pot Love and Light Hand Cream, Right pot African Paradise Body Conditioner. Lush Description:

African Paradise Body Conditioner

Black palm sized pot with light chocolate coloured cream.

Love And Light Hand Cream.

lush description: “I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
To hydrate the hand I love so well.”
If the washing up is making you consider extreme hand preservation measures, let a little Love And Light into your life. This softening neroli and Fair Trade organic cocoa butter cream will make light work of moisturising your hands, so keep it within reach when dryness strikes.

I’ve never been one for hand cream, I have always felt that they have left my hands greasy and sticky, or sometimes both. So I did think that the Love and Light hand cream would be the same. But boy I was surprised; not only is the cream thick that you only need a minimal amount, but it soaks into my hands beautifully leaving them baby soft, delicate and smelling gorgeous!
I am happy to say I am now a hand cream convert! 🙂

Black palm sized pot with cream coloured cream.

9-5 Cleansing Lotion.

Lush Description: “Take the day off and brighten the skin with this almond oil and dove orchid cleansing milk, to soothe and moisturise. This is a loose emulsion with an exquisite blend of floral essential oils to brighten the skin, removing all dirt and makeup. We use dove orchid for its soothing properties, and almond oil to make your skin feel refreshed after a hard day.”

I’ve always been a make up wipe remover type so I was concerned about the time and effort I would have to go to to remove my make-up and then having to wash my face 2 or 3 times just to get rid of the remaining make up/ greasy feeling.
Although it was a lot to do with laziness on my part, I was also concerned about the cream irritating my eyes or face, as mentioned above I have eczema, and I also have very sensitive skin, so I was dubious I would wake up with a blotchy face the next again morning.
Imagine my surprise when not only did 9-5 cleanser removed my make up without the need for a facecloth or water but it left my skin feeling hydrated and clear the next again day.
Of course i’m no dermatologist but if like me you have dry and sensitive skin, this is definitely the cleanser for you. Even better is that a little. goes a long way! 🙂

The one thing I would say is that although I was wearing a full face of make up, I am not one to apply it heavily, and i also do not use waterproof mascara. So for those of you that do, you may need to apply more cleanser, or use the assistance of a facecloth and warm water.

Left bottle shows comforter shower cream pink liquid in a bottle, Middle bottle Beautiful shower gel with honey coloured cream, 9-5 Cleansing lotion with white coloured cream

The Comforter Shower Cream.

Lush Description: “This berrylicious, reassuring shower cream brings to mind warm, familiar memories. The blend of sweet cassis absolute, uplifting bergamot and assuring cypress essential oils create a blackcurranty aroma that’s like being wrapped in a snug hug.”

What can I say about the comforter shower cream? Firstly it smells absolutely delicious! It almost makes my mouth water every time i smell it, yes, I am a weirdo!
I wouldn’t exactly say that it feels like I was wrapped in a snug hug after I used it, but I definitely felt fresh and energised to start the day after my shower. And technically that could be a lot to do with the shower itself, but hey, the comforter is great and I smell frutilicious for the rest of the morning. So really, what’s not to love? 🙂

95g bottle in raspberry pink colour cream.

 

 

 

beautiful Shower Gel.

 

Lush Description:

“If you feel anything less than a vision of loveliness in the morning, this peachy keen shower gel is the one for you. A blend of warming and exotic myrrh resinoid brings a sensual musk to the sunny perfume of fresh peach juice and dried apricots, and feels sensationally soft on the skin. Adorn yourself in the rich, creamy lather of this warm, floral tonic to feel gorgeous, inside and out. 1000 kisses from us to you…”

The first thing I noticed with Beautiful is how thick it’s consistency is compared to other Lush shower gels I have used.It was kind of gloopy to apply but thankfully it lathered up and soaked into the skin nicely.From the second you open the bottle the sweetness hits you, the blend of peach and apricot is a scent I have not come across before but I was pleasantly surprised.
Although I could still smell Beautiful on my skin if I lifted my hand to my nose, it’s not an overly powerful scent. Personally for me because of the sweetness I prefer it that way.

100g bottle with honey coloured cream

Gorgeous Moisturiser.

Lush Description: “A light but highly effective face cream. We’ve filled this with freshly-juiced fruits, cold-pressed and organic oils to leave your skin feeling like velvet. Made fresh in small batches, we’ve used fresh pineapples, which contain enzymes to refine pores, fresh organic lemon and orange juices encouraging the skin to stay matte and to help remove dead skin cells, and orange blossom honey water to soothe and moisturise.”

Gorgeous definitely lives up to it’s name in the way it makes your face feel and look. Since using Gorgeous my dry skin has improved dramatically and it leaves my face with a healthy glow.
I’ve been using the sample pot daily since I opened it, and feel it’s perfect for on-the-go moisturising as well as a great matte base for your foundation.
I’m glad I got a sample of this because at the price of £42.50 for 45g, I wouldn’t have given it a second look.
My skin is very important to me, and I love that Lush use natural products that are then handmade, but i’ve picked up moisturisers over the years for a quarter of the price and less, that have made my skin feel just as great.
However it is definitely an extravagant purchase I would consider buying if ever I wanted to treat myself.

Solid Sample Perfumes.

These are metal pots containing 10g of the solid perfume each.

Kerbside Violet.

 

Lush Description: “Soft, green shoots entwined with heavy concrete – a romance of earth and stone imagined in sweet, green hues. Sweet violets border the kerbs; tenacious in their delicacy, earnest little faces fragile enough to crush underfoot. Look closer. See how the petals flush with colour and dew hangs at the throat of each bud. See how the violets spread, mycellium-like, through an urban jungle, adorning avenues of gravel and brick with purple plumage. A tentative springtime imagined in perfume, still tempered by morning frosts, but with the promise of summer to come.”

Opening the metal pot I was transported back to my childhood and eating the palma violet sweets. Although I enjoyed the journey the scent took me on, I found it far too sweet and overpowering to actually wear.
Maybe if I tried the spray perfume I may feel differently, but for me it’s not a perfume I would wear again.
10g sized metal pot with violet coloured wax.

Sun.

Lush Description: “A simple, optimistic citrus cologne-strength fragrance. A ray of sunshine in the depths of winter. Fizzy sweet orange and mimosa burst over sandalwood to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. For those moments when you need to lift your spirits.”

The fresh citrus scent hits you as you first open the metal lid which I loved, however after applying it I found the spiciness of the sandalwood overpowering, and made me feel like i was a man in his 70’s recapturing his youth.
I would like to test the spray on my skin to see if the aroma of orange counteracts the spiced notes.
I gave this to a friend who fell in love with the scent immediately, it’s true that we all have different tastes. 🙂

10g metal pot dull pineapple coloured wax.

Vanillary.

 

Lush Description: “A sweet, yet sophisticated vanilla fragrance. A blend of vanilla absolute with tonka and added a hint of jasmine for a reassuring, powdered caramel perfume. Vanillary settles on the skin for a long-lasting warmth that is difficult to resist.”

For a perfume, and a solid one at that, vanillary was definitely my favourite perfume out of the 3. I’m a big fan of vanilla, whether that be a candle, cake or perfume, and i’m happy to say it smelt good on my skin and was long lasting, I even received a few compliments wearing it.
This would definitely be a spray perfume I would purchase in the future.

Vanillary is a 10g metal pot with light coffee coloured wax.

Are you a keen Lush buyer?
Have you bought or used any of the products i’ve listed? If so, what were your thoughts?

Leave me a comment, i’d love to know! 🙂

***I was gifted these products for my honest review. All thoughts, opinions and dodgy photography is all my own!

Much love, Sassy x

Sightloss stress and depression

Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness?
Were you aware that there is a positive correlation between sight loss and depression?
I’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed since 2015
Through the support of my partner Gary and my GP, I sat and talked candidly about my erratic mood swings, lack of energy, motivation and my constant exhaustion.
We talked at length about my symptoms and the options available to me.
I opted to go on antidepressants as I have previously had counseling.

Antidepressants aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. However for me they have been invaluable; they have improved all the symptoms I mentioned above, and most importantly for me it’s helped me focus on the bigger picture.

My deterioration in vision since the age of 14 has been a source of vexation and frustration for me.
I hated relinquishing control, having to ask friends and family for help, needing things like worksheets adapted and continuous hospital appointments.

I just wanted to be normal.

But I wasn’t.

I walked into people and inanimate objects, I would knock things over, not be able to read anything without a magnifying glass and so many other things.

I’ve always been a perfectionist so asking for help or embarrassing myself publicly always sent me into a spiral of stress.

Over the years this stress manifested into rage and because of this I pushed people away, or, pushed them to their breaking point.

At the time I genuinely believed my outbursts were justified and acceptable. I believed I had to fight: fight for support, fight to be heard and fight to prove myself.

There was always a reason, an excuse, a situation. I couldn’t see that my behavior, thought processes and even actions were out of control.

It wasn’t until I was at University studying psychology and having a truly fantastic network of friends around me that i recognised all of my grievances and anger were due to me losing my sight.
I still had my moments but they were few and far between..I would get riled up by the little things; dropping something on the floor and spending 5 minutes looking for it, tripping up kerbs or spilling my drink. everywhere.

I learned to laugh it off. Reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things they really weren’t such a big deal.

Yet as my sight deteriorated further and these menial things seemed to happen more frequently I realised I needed some support.

And that’s when I rang the RNIB counseling support line, and registered myself on the waiting list.

I wanted to talk through my problems, how to acknowledge my frustrations but not let it control me.
I wanted to know how I would manage with my impending sight loss and what techniques I could use to make my life and mental state healthier.

The waiting list was so long that by the time my first counseling session happened, I had already lost my remaining vision.

My counselor was fantastic,although I had lost my sight, and the worst had happened to me, she listened, emmpathised and talked through my anxieties and frustrations with me.

The counseling was invaluable to me and it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 Depression decided to rear it’s ugly head again.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I was changing and becoming angry all over again. It was always the small things: walking into doorways, pouring the kettle and missing my cup, dirty dishes and not noticing I wasn’t holding my cup straight so hot tea spilled over me and my interiors.

All those little things added up to one big thing: dealing with my sight loss.
This is why I started antidepressants,I was chemically imbalanced, so why not try chemicals to restore my balance?

I still have my down days, and that’s ok. It’s about acknowledging my stress levels and doing something about it.

Here are some ways I cope with stress:

  • Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts.
  • Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.
  • Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts.
  • Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.
  • Read up on mindfulness, and try putting it into practice.
  • Listen to music. Blast out one of your happy songs,
  • Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something small.
  • Exercise, it releases endorphins.
  • Text/ call someone. you care about.
  • Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂
  • Watch something funny.
  • Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.
  • Think of something positive. What are you proud of?
  • What are your passions? Find them and emerge yourself within them.
  • Smile! Yes, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.

Constant stress can lead to depression so make sure self care is at the top of your priority list.
Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Establish your stressors and find a way to combat them.Only you know your triggers and only you can save yourself from stress.

Think positive, stay positive! 🙂

Sorry For My Absence

I’m sorry for my absence. I’ve been contemplating writing this for a while now. But i’ve been holding back.
The reason for this is that i’ve begun overcomplicating things in my own mind.

I started this blog to share with you the rollercoaster ride that seems to be my life. I wanted to share everything from the highs to the lows hopefully attempting to show that although having a disability sucks sometimes, there’s a lot in life for us all to be grateful for, and in my case, find the funny side of it all.

As more time went on I realised I didn’t just want to share my story but share other people’s stories too.
I wanted to be a platform for people to learn something new, become more open minded and even to be a resource to for those who may be seeking it.

I have a thirst for knowledge and a passion to educate and support others.I put my energy into creating content that I hoped would be of use to others, and put my own thoughts and stories on the back burner, until I thought they would be of use.
I’m open and honest on this blog and fingers crossed it’s somewhat entertaining…

But i’ve been overcomplicating things… I wanted my blog to be a resource, a platform, a network and a home to share it all.
I started my campaigns in the hopes of creating a community. I wanted to be inclusive of everyone; fromAutism to arthritis or cystic fibrosis to depression, right through to those that care for people with a disability.

My #DisabilityQ&A took off, and I was excited to be sharing peoples’ stories, and i’m extremely grateful for those of you who got involved!

I tried my best to create the same enthusiasm with my other campaigns, as well as trying to encourage those with any #Disability to get on board with no avail.
I was disheartened somewhat but I had a million and one other ideas for blog posts that I thought would be interesting and useful. So I kept going.

Blogging not only became my passion, but it became an obsession. If I wasn’t writing content I was thinking of what material to use and researched it to make sure my facts were correct.
I joined in fabulous linkys, I had a tribe and I spent all my spare time talking to bloggers, reading their awesome blogs and promoting as much as I could.

I was having the best time, I was making new friends around the globe, learning new things and achieving what I hoped with my little corner of the internet.

But then I began to overcomplicate everything.

I was in a tribe that were all on a similar level to each other, constantly supporting one another and giving continuous encouragement and praise.
It was fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and kind bunch of people to be around.

But the further I delved into the blogging world the more I realised how technical things got.
I was knee deep in blog posts or conversations that revolved around stats, branding and monitisation.

I became interested in raising my stats; the prospect of working with brands who could help further my campaigns, give my blog exposure and in turn become the platform I hoped it could be.I thought I could really make a difference; doing reviews, giving talks and getting more people to share their trials and triumphs.

I was eager and excited at the prospect of doing something good: exposing other campaigners and my little blog being recognised for creating a community of support and resources.

So I joined blogging groups, blogging platforms that would connect brands with bloggers and even emailed PR’s and organisations to introduce myself and explained my ambitions for the blog.

And that’s where things became complicated.

I quickly realised that I was too niche for brands, PR’s and even organisations to want to work with me.
Review opportunities came in the form of fashion, kids accessories, beauty or luxury jewellery.
These reviews were not quite what I was looking for, and the odd time I thought I could work with a brand to review things from a disability standpoint I was stopped at the first hurdle.
“5000 followers minimum to apply”

I appreciate each and every follower and reader of my blog.I want people to follow me because they have a genuine interest in my blog and my campaigns.
I’m not a parent blogger, fashion or beauty blogger.
Although I have interest in fashion and beauty i’m not going to pretend I follow the latest trends… I have little to no knowledge of these things to even warrant blogging about them.

I was also getting nowhere with contacting PR’s/ organisations via email. The few times I was lucky to get a response I was congratulated for what I was trying to achieve but ultimately they did not have the time or budget to work with me.

At this point I was surrounded by fabulous bloggers acing it with stats, brand work and even getting paid work! I couldn’t be happier for my friends,but I found it increasingly overwhelming and at points unworthy to be in their company.

I wasn’t achieving what they were.

Even the bloggers I was reaching out to for my campaigns seemed no longer interested in joining them.

I became deflated and even at times frustrated… I was trying to make my blog into a place that was more about the community than it was about me.

Even though I had blog post ideas zooming around my mind and cluttering up my drafts; I started posting less and focused more on promoting the blogs myself and others had already taken the time to write.
After a while I slowed down on the amount of linkys I joined too.
I began to notice that unless I was one of the first people to link up, my posts I pretty much got ignored.
I used to spend hours reading and commenting on blogs and even sharing them over my social media, but the less often I shared or commented I began realising that people clearly weren’t interested in my blog.
It had become a: you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours mentality…

Aside from the few people that genuinely enjoyed reading my blog, left me meaningful comments or shared my posts my stats dropped faster than an avalanche.

At this point I was done with spreading the blog love. I put 100% effort into my posts, and I wanted nothing more than to educate people who had little to no knowledge of disabilities and be a place for those with disabilities to find support and even new ideas.

By the time I had been in hospital for a week: after breaking my leg I wasn’t even sure if I should blog about it.
I’d become so wrapped up in wanting to be a space to share knowledge, ideas and experiences I thought people wouldn’t be interested in hearing my holiday dramas.

I began my blog to share my story, yet in my mind I feel it’s become something bigger than that.
I guess that it’s because I wonder often, what makes me so special that I should spend day after day talking about myself.
What is it that makes me more interesting than any other blind or disabled person out there?

And the answer is, there isn’t.

I’m just another blind person talking about their disability.

But it’s my space.

If my little corner of the internet can educate one person or give another disabled person a someone to relate to then i’ve done my job.

Stats, brands and opportunities are great, but this is no longer my focus.
Of course if a worthwhile opportunity were to come knocking, I would grab it with both hands.
But most importantly i’m grateful for my lot, and anything else is a bonus.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
– Theodore Roosevelt.

Me, My Operation and I

I had a call Tuesday morning to let me know that my surgery would be the next day, no eating or drinking anything after midnight, I needed to arrive by 07:00 and I would be told where on the list I was for my operation.

Gary and I managed to get lost; we rocked up to the reception desk to ask for directions, unfortunately the lady sent us off in the completely wrong direction and we ended up on the surgical ward… Through the use of a map and correct directions from the nurses we finally found the right building!

We were told that I was the first patient on the surgery list, woohoo! We filled out the last remaining paperwork, and I got dressed into my gown and stockings, I looked very fetching I must say!
I was wheeled into a waiting area and left their for about 5 minutes before the anaesthetist came to get me. Gary came in with me and we met Mr Khan, the surgeon doing my operation.
It was the first time since my accident that i fully knew what had happened: I had a displaced fracture of my Tibia and Fibula; they had crossed over each other, and my Patella had shattered and fragments were floating about in my knee.
Mr Khan would be putting in metal plates, screws, rods and wires along with artificial bone to reconstruct the knee. Without complications this would take around 3 hours.

He explained that this was a very serious fracture and a complex operation; I tried to crack a joke but he just stayed stoney faced, awkward turtle moment right there!
Mr Khan also stressed to me that because of the trauma to my leg I would now have OsteoArthritis in the knee for the rest of my life.
*Lucky me; now i’ll have 2 types of Arthritis! I don’t do things in halves do i?* 😉
The anaesthetist was very chirpy and friendly, we were cracking jokes while i asked him how long he’d been an anaesthetist?

Ct scan of a fractured Knee, the knee is displaced and splintered into 3 parts.

Gary was very nervous and worried as this was the first time he has ever been to theatre before, I could tell, and tried to be enthusiastic and show I was relaxed.
I told him to give me a kiss and that I loved him, then I settled and said it’s fuzzy i’ll be asleep any second.

The anaesthetist was very kind, taking my oxygen mask off so Gary could kiss me one more time, at this point i’d already drifted off…

*****

I came round from the anaesthetic in the recovery suite, The room was big, bright, air-conditioned and I had a monitor strapped to me checking my OBs. There was the hum of the machines and the bubble of nurses chattering.
I started to wave my arm; being blind and having a dry throat it was the most logical way to get their attention. A second or so later, a nurse came across and asked how I was? There was a lot of head nodding and thumbs up, I was too woozy to talk.

And then the pain hit… *Wow this is really uncomfortable! But I guess this is normal?*
“Could I have some painkillers please?”
“Yes of course, what’s your pain-scale like, 1 being good and 10 being awful?”
“7,,71/2”

The more time passed, the more and more uncomfortable I became. It didn’t help that I was getting hot and sweaty and my nose was extremely itchy, I kept having to take my oxygen mask off, itch my nose and fiddle about with it to try and put it back over my face.Finally the nurse noticed the muddle I was getting myself in trying to put my mask back on and offer to put the line up my nose instead. The relief was almost instant, I started to cool down and my nose was less itchy!

I kept asking for more and more painkillers, each time my ranking rating higher than the last time.
“The pain really should be subsiding by now, where is the pain?”
“My leg.” “It’s like I can’t feel the circulation, my leg feels like it has 3 blood pressure cuffs on it at the same time.”
“It is normal to have leg pain after surgery, and they do tend to wrap it quite tight to stop swelling.”
“But this doesn’t feel normal.”
“Wiggle your toes for me,can you feel me touching your foot?”
“Yes.
“You’ve got full circulation, your leg should settle down soon, i’ll give you a little bit more morphine before we take you upstairs.”
“Yes please.””Can you call Gary please?”
*I need a wee, i’ll just think of that instead of the pain…*

***

“OK Sassy we’re ready to take you to the ward now.”
“OK good, is Gary there?”
“Yes he’ll be waiting for you on the ward.”
“Thanks for your help, bye, have a good day.
“You’re very cheery for someone who is recovering from surgery!”
“Am I, hmmm maybeI am!”

I just laid back and tried to relax and the porters took me to the ward.

“Sorry, she can’t be on this ward, we’re full.”
“Oh, they told us to bring her here.”
“Well i’m sorry, I don’t know why they would, they know we are full.”
Sorry about this Sassy.”
*Oh but I need a wee*
Hey, I have a bed, i’m fine.”

Back to the recovery suite…

“We have to wait here until they have a space for her on another ward.”
“Oh right, let me ring around and find out what’s happening.”
“How long am I staying here for? Can I have some more painkillers?”
“I’m not sure Sassy it shouldn’t be too long. And we can’t give you any more i’m afraid.”
*It’ll be good to finally be on a ward so I can go for a wee*

I didn’t have to wait too long.

“OK Sassy, you’ve got a space on the ward now.”
“Yay, is Gary there?”
“Yes he should be.”
“Oh good!”

***
X-ray of fractured knee in which you can see the bone cracked and displaced.

Small talk between Gary and I and the nurse introducing herself to me…

“On a scale of 1-10 how much pain are you in?”
“9, 91/2.”
“That’s pretty high…”
“Yes it’s been getting worse as time passes.” “Can I have some morphine please.”
“You’ll have to wait a while, we don’t have your notes yet.”
“Oh god I really need painkillers! I need to stretch my leg”
“I’m sorry there isn’t anything I can do until your notes arrive.”
“Oh my god! It’s like 3 blood pressure cuffs on my leg at once! This is agony!!”
“I need to stand up.”
“No you can’t stand up.”
“NO I NEED to stand up!.”
“No sorry I can’t let you do that i’m sorry, you’ve just had major surgery and I need to look after you.”
“Well let me stand up, it’s the only thing that helps, i’ve been having this pain at home but it’s intensified!”
“You’re not allowed to stand up and i’m not going to let you.”
*OK I officially dislike this woman, get her out my face*
“Can you go see if i’m allowed morphine yet?”
“Yes, I can go do that “

“Right she’s gone, help me get out of this bed.”
Long pause…

“Sassy you heard what she said.”
“Get me out of this bed now!!
*Gary doesn’t move but I do*
“I need to stand up, just for a minute. It’ll help release the pain, I know it will.”
“I’ve been explaining this pain to you over the last few days, and it’s completely intensified,why aren’t you listening to me?”
“I don’t want you to get hurt, or damage your leg.”
“I’m not going to get hurt, I just need to sit in the chair and pull myself up, and I won’t be putting weight on my leg.”
*Gary helps me get into the chair.
As I stand up, i’m in absolute agony, and have to breathe hard to not cry out.
Although it’s agony, it’s doing what I thought it would, and pushes the blood around my leg. The pain although intense starts to steady itself.
Once i’ve done all I can to release the pressure I move back onto the bed*
“I’ve got some morphine for you.”
“Thanks, can I go to the toilet please?
“You’re not allowed to weight-bare, but i’ll get you a bedpan.”
“What if you push me in a wheelchair?”
“”No, i’m not allowed to do that.”
“OK, i’ll have a bedpan then.”
At least 5 minutes pass…”I really need a wee, where is she?”
“I don’t know…”
“Can you check?”
“She’s with someone else at the moment.”
“Oh great, I hope I don’t wee myself!”
“OK, I have the bed pan, if you could just roll onto your side.”

I had already lifted my backside up and started pulling at y gown.
“Just lie down for me.”
“Oh, this is how i was doing it in the other hospital it’s easier for me.”

Fumbling with gown and getting frustrated

“Gary take this stupid gown off me.”
“Let me lower the bed for you.”
“No I don’t need it lowered?”

Gary undoing gown.

“Here, let me help you.”
“Please can you just leave us to it, I want this gown off and don’t feel comfortable getting naked in front of you.”
“It’s OK i’m here to help you.”
“Well I don’t want your help, can you leave please?””

She reluctantly exits the cubicle but constantly sticks her head in.

“Can you just leave me to it, you’re distracting me and I can’t concentrate”
“I need to make sure you’re OK.”
“My partner is with me, i’m OK.”

*This woman is absolutely useless, I don’t like her*

Even though i’m ready to burst, I sit there and, nothing…

“Have you gone yet?”
“No.”

Still nothing…

“How are you getting on?”
“I can’t wee…”
“Can I come in?”
“No.”

She comes in anyway…

“So you still haven’t been? You’ve been sat there over 10 minutes…”
“Can you just get out please?
“I just want to help you.”
“Just get out!!”
“There’s no need to be so rude!”
“Well you asked if you could come in and I said no! I need to do this in my own time stop hovering over me.”

Finally she leaves…

Still nothing…

Nope, nothing.
I try everything pushing, prodding, wiggling, and even getting Gary to rub my back with no avail.

Finally an hour later…

The tiniest trickle happens!!

“What?! I’ve been waiting all that time for that??”

But the relief is insurmountable.
*****

Right leg in a white cast from ankle to thigh

Lots of love, medication and a sandwich later, i’m finally relaxing as best I can.

The nurses do a change over, and it’s time for Gary to leave.
We say our goodnights and he helps me settle for the evening. I apologise for the outbursts and severe grumpiness, he accepts my apology and says he can tell how much pain i am in.

I didn’t get much sleep that night, mostly to do with the pain, but mores because my bladder decided to kick in and I couldn’t stop peeing like a racehorse until breakfast the next morning!




Please stay tuned for the final instalment of my accident and the chaos that ensues… 😉

Join My Campaign: Think of The Carers

Think of the carers.
We all know that carers are the unsung heroes of today society! They look after their loved ones with no thought of themselves, no rest bite, and very little recognition for all their hard work and effort.
Most people would say it’s all in a days work, especially if it is their child that they care for. But I believe they deserve recognition for what they do.
If you are a parent/carer of an unwell/ chronically ill/ sensory impaired or disabled person I would love to hear from you.

I would like to hear your side of the story; how the diagnosis made you feel, what it means for you as a person, and tasks you have to do on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis just to support a person you love
This guest series is about hearing disability from the carers perspective, and I hope to raise awareness and understanding of all that you do.

If you would like to participate, I would love to have you! Please contact me on the following:
Email:
SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter:http://www.Twitter.com/@SassyPant6
FaceBook: https://m.facebook.com/Thinking-Out-Loud-Blog-525815087584791

Much love, Sassy X

Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




My BML Experience Part 2

My BML Experience Part 2.

Saturday 25th June was the day of the BritMum’s conference a jam packed day full of talks, networking and seminars.

I set off nice and early to get into London for 08:20 plenty of time to get to the Brewery and meet the Tribesters before the talks began,

Or so I thought…

The guy who came to assist us stood there chatting for a good 5 minutes about getting the bus, because he used to live in Shoreditch… yet had never heard of the Brewery. I told him we weren’t interested in the bus he eventually took us down to the Circle Line; which just happened to be closed! Leaving us with no other choice but to get the bus…

When we eventually got off the bus, Google Maps decided to take us around in a bloody square before heading in the right direction.

Finally we reached the Brewery and registered. Ellie and I grabbed a drink and stood at the very back having a cuppa before attempting to find the Tribe.

They waved at us, but as a talk was going on I didn’t want to head into the crowd to get to them, so we waited until the lady had finished.

We sat down and the entire hall played pass the parcel; I won some chocolate buttons yay!

And this is when the chaos descended; it was all stations go, and apart from Plan The Happy, Ellie and I hadn’t spoken to or been properly introduced to the Tribe.

The Hub was brimming with people and walking into the space was like hitting a wall of noise; very disorientating to me. Very quickly after we entered the hub Nadia came over and said hello, and reintroduced herself, saying just to shout if we needed any assistance.
As we walked around Ellie told me the Brands and what she could see. – This is where I have to point out that Ellie too is Visually Impaired, she hadn’t been to the building before and hadn’t ever been to a conference either, so it was a learning curve and a shock to the system for both of us.

Ellie and I wondered around the stalls, and found other conference rooms: Vlogging and The Big Little Tent Festival, both rooms were busy but the staff were extremely friendly and explaining what their seminars would be about/ what they had to offer.

They certainly were interesting; having interactive games and equipment.

Our first seminar was SEO rub by Judith Lewis who has been using and lecturing about SEO over the past 20 years! She was very informative and quirky; unfortunately because there was so many questions she ran out of time but I will be reading the Powerpoint she created for the lecture.

A few things I learned:

The difference between follow and no follow links
* Too many bloggers are not using the Alt Text description properly, and essentially breaking the law (so I will be rewriting a blog post explaining this)
* SEO is great but a human perspective is always better
The next seminar we headed to was; how to moneitise your blog.
3 experts were there including Vicky from Honest Mum.
Personally I found the talk overwhelming, I thought we were going to learn the basics but Vicky gave too many stats instead of how to do things, in my opinion anyway.

A few things I learned:

On average gaining 10,000 page views per month is when brands/ sponsorships start to approach you.
* There is not set rule on how often you should blog. Write what you like, when you like.
* Be unique and authentic
* If you have worked with brands before, don’t be afraid to contact them to see if they have any other opportunities.
So although this isn’t the path i’m on with my blog, it was definitely interesting 🙂

We adjourned in the hub for lunch and managed to meet and catch up with: Dr Mummykins, Cuddle Fairy and Just Saying Mum. Unfortunately it was quite brief chatting to Dr Mummykins and Cuddle Fairy, but it was great to finally meet Just Saying Mum and have a chit chat; she is as gorgeous in person as she is in real life! Thank you also for seeking us out, and giving us a hand when we looked like lost souls!

After lunch we headed to the last session; How to work smart with PR, run by Alexandra Delf and Susan L. Schwartz.
This talk was extremely informative and very interesting;it was good to get the perspective of a successful blogger (Susan) as well as what to do and not do from the PR perspective (Alexandra).

A few things I learned:

Make each email personal and not blanket = it was interesting to hear the PR had never received a personalised email before!- Surely that’s just polite email etiquette? Apparently not!
* Don’ be afraid to contact PR’s but build a relationship first! Don’t just jump in asking for what you want! – Again, this baffles me as to why people think this is OK and not just rude?
* Your blog is your brand, if you want to make it so every little detail should support it as so.
*Gmail/ Hotmail accounts are seen as unprofessional. Oops!

after the seminar was over, Ellie and I went up to to ask a few questions. Who knows I may have some future collaborations on the cards! 🙂

Ellie and i met Inside Martin’s Thoughts; and Carla which I was really happy about! It was a chance meeting 🙂 so that made it all the better! I think between the 4 of us; we managed to put the world to rights a little bit! 😉
The keynote speeches were a mix of humour, sadness and thoughtfulness. There was definitely an eclectic bunch of bloggers 🙂
The party was held after the keynote speeches and Ellie and I found a few Tribal members; BeTA Mummy, Occupation:(m)other and Phil.

Last but not least was the BiB Awards 🙂 The Tribe managed to grab a few tables together 🙂 We screamed like banshee’s when Island Living 365 won the award for Fresh Voice!
I think we raised the roof! 😉
And if you are wondering; no I did not win the Inspire award, but I never expected to! I lost to the deserving: The Joy Chaser 🙂 it’s just a shame I didn’t get to meet you!

In my eyes we are all winners, being alongside such amazing writers who brings light into the darkness and educating others with their stories, and getting as far as we did; is just spectacular!
Big love to Cuddle Fairy, Steph’s 2 Girls and Downside Up! If you haven’t already checked out their blogs, please do!

Highs:

Meeting some of my favourite bloggers in person over the course of the weekend
* learning new techniques/ ideas
* Networking with PR’s
* The cake/ alcohol
* The company of my best friend all day 🙂
Lows:

Turning up late
Constantly losing the Tribe
* Half of them not introducing themselves to Ellie or I
* The wall of noise
* Missed opportunity to talk to bloggers I would have liked to.
Was it accessible to disabled people?
Yes if your issue is mobility based as there was plenty of seats and lifts.
Not if you have sensory impairments such as sight or hearing loss.

Would I go again?
At this present moment in time no.
I found 2 out of the 3 seminars worthwhile, and the staff / PR’s extremely friendly. But I went there to socialise; meet my Tribe and hopefully catch up with bloggers. Too many times it was just Ellie and I on our own surrounded by hundreds of people, with no one saying hello unless they already knew you by face/blog. I felt lonely and isolated from the Tribe and the people I hoped to spend time with

Thank you for the experience Brit Mums and for making me a finalist :))

If you went to BML16, i’d love to hear your experiences 🙂




Pandora’s Box

Standing on the precipice of existence ,
wondering if I can claw myself back from the abyss..
Emotions enveloping me,,
Thoughts and feelings suffocating my happiness, my love, my hope,.

Engulfed in the frustration and desperation
To be free, to b better, to be whole.

Each day brings a thicker layer of despair,
Zapping all energy
Stealing my smile, stealing my laughter, stealing my joy.

As a ray of sunshine breaks through the darkest cloud,,
The light penetrates the fog of my mind.

The tide begins to turn,
The pressure released.

I smile, I laugh, I am joyful
I feel happiness, I feel love;
I have hope.