Try to comprehend that which you’ll never comprehend…

In the midst of a wonderful weekend at the Edinburgh Fringe I had two really inspiring experiences. Both of which fuelled in me a desire to share some writing that hasn’t seen the light in quite some time. On Sunday I saw Neil Holborn perform his stunning poetry. He is very open about his struggles with mental illness & includes his own experiences in much of his work. The power of his honesty & the emotional response he received to some of his pieces really struck me. He reminded me of the power of sharing the dark reality of mental illness. Later that day I was introduced to a friend of my boyfriend who also talked openly about his past mental health struggles. This led to a discussion of how helpful it is to talk about these issues; how more often than not other people will then share their own experiences of mental illness. We talked a little about how that realisation that mental illness is actually really common relieved so much shame. It reminded me how important it is to talk frankly about my experiences, so that those in the depths of illness can see that they are not alone. Equally important is to reach those who have never been touched by mental health problems. Letting people see that this can happen to anyone, that the pain is intense, debilitating & uncontrollable lifts stigma. I really believe that the way to fight ignorance is information. Not just statistics, but brutal insights into conditions often misunderstood. It is so much harder to dismiss mental illness when you have been confronted with it’s reality. 

With this in mind I decided to review work I produced in my darker days. For those unaware I have battled with PTSD, depression & self harm for most of my adult life. Although my mental health is much improved from the time of this piece, it remains a daily struggle. One is never cured. The best I can do is learn to live with what I cannot change & fight for what makes my life beautiful. I am profoundly grateful to no longer be actively self harming. I am also aware that urges still exist. It takes work to maintain my current life. I make a daily decision to keep fighting & I am far from alone. 

I know these words may be disturbing to some, but I ask you to read them anyway. I share this because I passionately believe that a deeper understanding defeats stigma & grows compassion. 

i had another little crisis

despite a transfusion in late december,

my haemoglobin had again dropped to 6.6

causing doctor’s to get jumpy

&

prompting talk of another transfusion.

this fuelled  a panic in me

i do not like having blood transfusions

i feel incredible guilt.

other people are more deserving of this blood

someone selflessly gave of themselves.

i will waste it

i know it will feel horrendous inside me

i do not want it.

i don’t really have the option of

saying

no

they will call in a psych consult

which could lead down a road

i can’t

even

think about

my first stupid reaction

is

i must cut

whilst the dr’s decide

i will blood let

i know it doesn’t make sense

to most

but

there is method in the madness

my hb is already low

i may as well be hung for sheep as a lamb

i will hate myself less for shedding my own blood

if i lose enough blood

do enough damage

i may feel sated for a while

with this in mind i set to work

after two disappointing nights

of

slicing

&

producing inadequate wounds

i got angry.

on the third day,

the gp called to say they had decided to go with an iron infusion the following week.

i considered myself free

to

paint the town RED

i felt it couldn’t be that bad

if i didn’t need a transfusion

i had still better fit in as much damage

before treatment

&

truthfully

after two pitiful nights

i needed it

so,

feeling enraged with myself

i set to work

i chose a spot on my slightly less scarred right forearm

i cut vertically

downwards

towards my wrist

everytime i reached a depth i could live with

i elongated the cut

&

started to work down into it again

i got into the most dangerous mindset

where

i just can’t resist

a little

bit

more

i ploughed through the layers of my flesh

fascinated

with what lay beneath

i watched three distinct fountains of blood

flow into one

sticky

hot

pool

i pulled the wound apart to make the blood spurt higher

i sawed through

some

tough,unknown inner material

and

thrilled

as the spray soared out

and hit my face

when i was finished

i watched

for

i don’t know how long

long enough to become dazed

i had created a gaping trench

the entire length of my foream

that continuosly filled with blood

and

spilled over, flooding the floor.

i could not stop the blood

nor, could i think straight

i wrapped a towel around my arm

put a huge jumper on top

and

took the bus.

yes,

the bus

to a&e

i trailed blood into reception

& collapsed in the triage room

i was so ashamed

dreaded trying to explain myself

lay in a cubicle

crying

i had done this many times before

but somehow

i couldn’t control my fear or self loathing.

i received 21 stitches

a transfusion

and

was hospitlised again for three days the following week with chest pains & breathing difficulty 

requiring

another

two units

&

suffering from severe pain

i spent those 3 days in & out of a morphine

induced altered reality

Junior dr’s were too scared to take blood from my arms

apparently experience is required

to find a vein in this network of scar tissue

the consultant was overly kind

fellow patients

stared & whispered

i lay there in

shame

pain

fear

all of which added up to

another attempt

to stop.

11 days

and counting……

20/03/2012

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Treat me right…

I had a few hours to kill on Tuesday. Well, I was actually putting off going home & doing the housework. In any case I ended up with an accidental mini haul.  

I have had a bit of scent anxiety of late as I was down to my last bottle of Issey. I am a very loyal when it comes to perfume. I’ve been wearing Issey Miyake since I was a teenager. It is my smell & I love it. So, when I saw this summer edition of Issey on sale I couldn’t resist. It is my familiar floral scent with a hint of rose. The pink bottle is pretty too.

I saw this unicorn bag & had to have it. Not only is it very cute, but I needed it for all my purchases. The next of which was these very cool little lenses for my phone camera. I have only had a wee play with them so far, but I’m really liking the results. This set includes a fish eye, macro & wide angle lens. They come with a handy clip, so it’s incredibly easy to whip them on & off of my phone. Look out for improved pictures. The toy boy was at a festival last weekend & brought me home those amazing wooden beads. He is so good at picking little treats for me, I love them. 


I wanted to return the favour with a wee surprise for him. I searched for ages before finding this dancing baby Groot. We both love Guardians of the Galaxy & who can resist a wee Groot. In the same shop I spotted this amazing cup that allows you to make your own slushies. I am so excited about this because now I can make frozen Coke! Long time readers will know that I fell in love with frozen Coke in Australia & have been pining for it ever since. I can now be reunited with my one true love. 


My final stop was Superdrug to pick up some skincare treats. I really love these 7th Heaven face masks. The are completely vegan & cruelty free with the bonus of leaving my skin feeling great. Obviously I aim to be beautiful top to toe so these foot mask booties are ideal. Everyone  loves soft tootsies, right? They are of course also cruelty free. 


Black seaweed mask was both effective & very enjoyable. 

A dignified period…

Simon Community Scotland are a wonderful organisation who provide support & services for people experiencing homelessness. Every year they help over 500 women dealing with being homeless, offering gendering specfic services through their street teams. 

The traumatic histories of homeless women create a need for multiple branches of support. Often issues beginning in childhood can lead a woman to the streets. Childhood abuse or neglect can be replayed through domestic violence & exploitation, which can result in substance abuse, mental & physical health problems. All of which add up to a shocking low life expectancy of 43. The Simon Community aim to help women rebuild their lives by providing emergency accommodation & a variety of tailored services. This month they add to their excellent support portfolio with a Period Friendly programme. 

The programme will be comprised of education, communication & making sanitary itemsessily available. Simon Community have found that homeless women often lack basic knowledge about their menstrual cycle. Growing up in care or a troubled home can mean that they never had a chance to learn about periods. homeless women can feel particularly embarrassed or ashamed about their periods. As a result they may struggle to talk about their periods and lack opportunities to seek advice. On top of this the hardships of living on the street can lead to irregular cycles, infections & other problems. 

The Simon Community hope to tackle these issues with the launch of Period Friendly Points (PFP). Intially the points will be located at places specifically catering to homeless people, with they hope they may spread to include other sites. PFPs will provide free access to products required for a period; wipes, tampons, towels, pants, disposable bags along with information on how to use the sanitary products. Pregnancy & infection tests will also be available. These offer reassurance for women who experience irregular periods. They are also essential for women who have been victims of sexual violence. The Simon Community street teams will also be giving out Period Paxs comprising Period essentials, which can be refilled st PFPs


The PFPs will also give homeless women the chance the speak to staff about any queries or problems they are having. A study of homeless women undertaken by Simon Community discovered that,

78% didn’t know how long a tampon should be kept in.

61% had to go without sanitary products on multiple occasions – instead using rags or newspapers. 

70% had never spoken to anyone about their period & didn’t even know what a period is. 

These fact underline how important Period Friendly Points are. There is a desperate need for not only access to necessary products, but also a someone to listen & offer reliable advice. 

No women should ever have to make her own tampons or wear the same pants for a week. This goes beyond personal hygien, it is about dignity & respect. 

As a charitable organisation The Simon Community is always on need of donations & support. You can help grow this new intiative in a number of ways. If you have some time to volunteer you can become a Period Friendly Pal. 

P.F.Pals will :

Restock PFPs.

Collect & sort donations into Pax at SC warehouse in Glasgow.

Help raise funds & products to maintain PFPs.

Support, promote & raise awareness of issues that homeless women experience. 

Be a listening ear to the women SC reach out to. 

You can also donate by texting PFPR28 to 70070 staying your donation amount – £5 or £10.

My week in pictures…

I am currently an utterly exhausted mess, but for once it’s for good reasons. Last week was busy & wonderful. Comprised of friends, little ones & spontaneous fun. Plus some stunning sights. I have been snapping away like crazy. 

After many calendar conflicts I finally got through to Musselburgh to see friends. Lisa has been enducing hilarity & giving me heart warming hugs for over ten years now. She now comes with the added bonuses of a lovely husband & beautiful son. It doesn’t do any harm that she lives minutes away from this most amazing beaches either. Anyway, I always have the best time when I visit & this trip was no different. 

We went to the most picturesque village for lunch. It had a very Austen vibe & the tea shop served me a delicious vegan sandwich, top marks. Next stop was the perfect beach at Tynningham. Accessed by a short walk through a scenic forresr, I fell in love the moment I saw the sea. Once little James had terrified me with a crab a shell, we settled on a rock to watch the tide come in. I don’t know why, but the sea always soothes me. I left the sunny east coast feeling revitilised & full of love. 

I caught up with my bestie & got to hear all her latest pregnancy news. I also got a wee feel of her bump. I am bursting to meet her little one. I already have so many fun ideas for when this bundle arrives. 

I finished up the week chilling with the toy boy. Or trying to chill until he marched me all over town, I made the worst sushi in the history of the world & we embarked on a spontaneous day at The Fringe.


Highlights of our flying festival visit were Suky Goodfellow’s spoken word show, Political Acid Trip. She blew me away. Her fringe run is finished, but check her Facebook for more events. You will not be disappointed. 


Last stop was high above Princes Street. After years of wanting to take a ride on the Giant Wheel, I finally made it. It exceeded expectations. The views up there are startling. ​​

Words are flowing…

Words have always been my religion. Wether my love of the beauty you can create with words made me a writer or what I could say when I wrote made me love words is my own personal chicken & egg. Regardless, the fact remains, I worship words. In that adoration lies a certain obsession; from worrying over a sentence for an hour to finding affinity in a someone  else’s perfect phrase. Which, is exactly what I want to tell you about. 

In the past week I’ve come across two such phrases that at different points in my life seemed made for me. Across the Universe is one of The Beatles songs I immersed myself in as a teen. I still love it, but the words have become so familiar that they often just wash over me. Well, on bus last week for some reason I was really listening. When I reached the chorus, one line flooded me with feeelings from times gone:

‘Nothing’s gonna change my world’ 

I vividly recalled being 15 & completely believing that nothing could shake me. I had at that point lived a charmed life. A life of love & safety & competence that had formed a girl confident she could take on the world. And win. 

I look back on that version of me with such mixed feelings. I’m proud of her; she was the weird girl that managed to be popular. The smart girl that partied. Even at 15 she knew her convictions mattered & those who felt threatened by that could fuck off. It takes a specfic kind of teenage courage to own that you are different & to celebrate it. Oh, the plans she had. It never once occurred to her that anything could knock her down. 

I’m welling up writing this because I know what happened next. It took years of therapy, but I can finally feel compassion for that cocksure girl that fucked it all up. Now, after years blame, I want to protect her. A story of my history & evolution in 5 words. 

A few days later, in a fit of insomnia, I was flicking through tv channels & found Girl Interrupted. The first time I saw this the description of suicidal thoughts clicked. 

‘Once you’ve posed that question, it won’t go away’

I hadn’t heard anyone else voice this cold fact before, but it was true. Once I had seriously considered suicide, it never really went away. Killing myself became the solution to every problem. So many of Susanna Kaysen’s words rang true. Hearing my terrifying feelings expresssed out loud somehow justified my pain. 

All I ever heard about suicide or self harm was don’t do it. People often talk in well meaning platitudes. They’ll tell you that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life will get better, they insist. It’s all meaningless. When you are in that hole, getting out doesn’t seem possible. More over, even if you believe that someday, you might be happier, it does nothing to assuage your current pain. Severe depression is torturous. There is a comfort in knowing an escape hatch exists. For a long time the knowledge that if I couldn’t take anymore of life I didn’t have to was the one thing that kept me alive. 

Watching that film again brought back those dark times. More than that, Kaysen’s words brought a sense of peace. In my suicidal days, having my daily struggle with those thoughts acknowledged was powerful. Now, realising that suicide is no longer my default trouble shooter is compelling. 

Sometimes it takes a glance at the past to see how far I’ve come. I know those feelings can return. Which is why these words still resonate. Another example of a handful of words spelling out the story of life. 

Everybody wants to be a cat…

I had a lunch date with my Mum & sis on Saturday, which seemed liked a good opportunity for an over due outfit post. It turned out to be a day of surprises, but very nice ones.

Anyway, back to the fashion. I combined my love of cats with my fondness  for swing skirts & donned this kitch beauty. 



Skirt – Lindy Bop

Vest – Forever21

Cardi – John Lewis 

Necklace – Gift

It wouldn’t be a ly outfit without an injection of colour, a box my Pom poms perfectly ticked. Oh & my eye make up helped too.



The food was yum, the news was good & my mum even treated me to a colourful new skirt. Saturday win.

I ain’t buying it…

I was planning a wish list post when it dawned on me that I had already procured most of the things I had been wishing for. It has been an accidentally/couldn’t help myself spendy few weeks. So, instead I thought I’d knock up a list of the over hyped things that I just don’t want. The things blogs & insta are packed with that I just can’t get excited about. 

I am totally used to being the odd one out, but I’m thinking there must be even one other person out there as puzzled as I am. 

1. Highlighter for yourVulva 

The Perfect V is a company who make beauty products for your vulva. Their line includes, yes, highligter. Listen to me, your genitals do not need make up. Nor does your vulva require exfoliation rejuvenating serums or specialised cleansers. Your bits look exactly as the should. Please do not succumb to this internalised misogyny. Shades of V is a £35 yeast infection. Your lily does not need gilded. 

2. Urban Decay Heat Palette

I’ve never been a massive make up girl. Don’t get me wrong I love my slap, but I don’t wear it everyday. In fact, most days I wear none at all. So, new make up releases do not generally excite me. However, the hype on this palette was massive. Everyone was talking about it before it was released & i’m still seeing exhilarated blogs, weeks later. Here’s the thing, it is a collection of warm neutral eyeshadows.  You know, like almost every other palette you see these days. Is there a make up wearing person left on earth who does not already have some shimmery brown eyeshadow? Maybe it’s me, but I don’t get it & I definitely don’t want. 

3. Matcha 

It is in everything & I don’t like it. The tea tastes yuck so I don’t want it in my cakes, ice cream, toothpaste, lip balm or bloody cocktails. Bye matcha. 

4. Bralettes

Suddenly no one wears a bra.  It’s all slivers of lace & whispers of sexy fabric. All prettier than most clothes & encasing beautiful pert breast.  Ok, truth, I only hate bralettes because my tits damn near need the finnieston crane to hold them up. They do sell bralettes for big boobs, but they are LIES & I am BITTER. 


5. Mac, Avon, Nars…

and every other brand that caved to China’s brutal animal testing policies. In case you aren’t aware, china requires products sold there to be tested on animals. For some big name cosmetic companies that means going back on their word to ditch animal testing. Profit is more important than ethics for some brands. As far as I’m concerned cruelty is for cunts. 


You can find cruelty free alternatives here.

6. Gin

I have a pathological hatred of the stuff & it’s everywhere. A couple of years ago folk cottoned onto how cheap & easy it is to make gin. Then PR people went mental. Now I have to wade through swamps of gin everytime I want a drink. I know it’s being marketed as coolest tipple, but I’m not buying it.