January Blues

January blues…a term flung around so often, and unfortunately so flippantly. Growing up, I was ignorantly unaware of the significance and sheer weight of the term’s meaning and the inner struggle it truly represents. Over the past couple of years more notably, I have noticed January’s eerie presence. A sudden realization of pressure. Pressure of upcoming university deadlines. The draining of finances mounting up to cause the collapsing pressure of your lungs; the shortening of your breath and sometimes more damaging the quick fire of your nerve, your patience. All building up to the melting of your character and the whimpering residue left behind of your spirit and soul.

The New Year so often not the song and dance it is built up to be. How do I deal with it? Unfortunately, I don’t. The turning of the year often tumbles down on me and sets off a spiral of anxiety and internal panic that rips me from inside out. Second guessing every decision, every thought and every impulse. I’m trying to say that I am just like you. I worry about the most insignificant and irrelevant things, building them up in my mind to the most monumental and unreachable summits. Try and breathe. Step back. Open up and talk to a loved one. Share that weight upon your shoulders. Take each day as it comes. The soothing sun of February along with its crisp cool air shall soon grace it presence upon your face and give you a new lease of life. Keep pushing. Keep fighting. Keep breaking down barriers and telling yourself you can do this, you will get better and you are never alone. I know this helps and this is true because this is what I tell myself every single day. A down day will pass. A new day will come and I count myself lucky for all the love in my life and support.

Followers of Finding Heather may have noticed recently I have been M.I.A. It is not because I don’t love writing and sharing my experience and struggles because I do, it is all a healing process for me. But, unfortunately recently I have myself been in a deep dark, lung squeezing battle with the January Blues. Fighting through each day and putting it into perspective. Please if you are struggling yourself this January, or any time or year, any stage of your life, do one thing. Open up, share your worries, your fears and your insecurities. It will help more than you think, it certainly has for me, I don’t want to hide in a box any longer.

Struggling to Breathe

An eerie sensation I can tell you. Staring into limitless horizons, surrounded by a bustling lively crowd. Yet still…struggling to breathe. Feeling your lungs begin to collapse, your muscles tense up, your body slip into overdrive. All these things happen to me on a daily, if not hourly basis. Anxiety is much more harmful and nullifying than most realize. For me, it optimizes my struggle. No matter how much I try to calm myself, dismiss my worries and think clearly; I am swallowed by a thick mist of angst – setting my whole being on edge. Lately, I won’t lie, this unwelcome closing of the walls in my chest has become a regular squatter in the deep depths my soul. I cannot help but fail to dismiss the negative feeling that there are some things you can’t shake, some habits and patterns of thoughts are ingrained in my very nature, intrinsic to my material makeup. This damaging thought, I know not to be true but so often it clouds my vision and creates havoc in my brain, alarm bells ringing, panic mode sets in.

Worries swallowing me whole. In that moment I feel completely dissipated into thin air, erased from existence, hollow inside and a mere puppet to the dark depressive demons pulling the strings on my soul – yanking it into an explosive lava pit, burning. Scorning any sense of self-esteem, obliterating any ounce of confidence. Anxiety completely consumes my life, I always have to check myself before getting carried away, too ambitious, too starstruck with possibilities. Why? Simple. I can’t control my nerves, my worries and my irrational instinct to self-destruct, sabotage and scupper any chances of complete fulfillment. I must admit I am pretty close now but that has been a long time coming; through pain, grief and quivering self-hatred, I can finally fully embrace me.

However, I must admit that even just trying to write this post is making my heart thump, my head spin and this sickening feeling stir in the pit of my stomach; causing such a simple act of breathing to become exhaustive, stressing and asphyxiating. The dizziness is dreaded with every thought, every action and every sentiment passing through me each day. Such tightness on my windpipe is honestly the worst feeling I have ever encountered. Nothing enhances this crippling, demeaning sensation as much as expectation. Expectation is the bane of my life. My biggest worry is letting people down. Not being good enough. Falling short. The walls of my lungs tighten, beginning to close in, trap me in a claustrophobic state of wheezy closeted panic, overdrive if you will – rushing to please, fix myself to fit the criteria of who ever is in front of me, rather than just relaxing and being un-apologetically Heather.

I wish I could be that free. That care free. Let my soul truly roam free. Be unleashed to accomplish whatever I put my mind to; not to please, to constantly second guess each action, movement, sentence or word choice. So, I think heading into 2020 I shall do my upmost to put the fear of letting loved ones down on the back burners and concentrate on pleasing me and letting that be enough. One day I aspire to be that strong woman that I know I am and brandish that empowering strength all women harbor within. But at the moment I know I am not quite there yet. Unfortunately, still feeling the wrongly-placed shame of being on antidepressant and anxiety meds, being self-deprecating and worrying others viewing it as a crutch. Nevertheless, racing into the new year I want us all to discard the stereotype and sometimes taboo nature of antidepressants. For me, I would not have made such transformative progress without them and I am truly in a much better place for them. So, I want people to increase awareness for the understanding of the place and importance of antidepressants.

If anything in this blog post or any previous posts has hit home and you are yet to have reached out, then please know there are people who love you, people who want to listen and your local GP is always a trusted point of call. This Christmas try to relax, break free from that struggle and loosen the chains grappled tight across your lungs. I am, so you should too!


I have alluded to such bulldozing force of ‘self-sabotage’ in previous blog posts to spread mental health awareness and promote visibility of such a dilapidating illness. I now would like to share a poem I wrote 1 year and a half ago and the words flooded out of me. I have never shared this before because I truly feel like I am bearing my darkest moment of my soul for all to see. But, with all the support I have received from previous posts I feel like now is the right time to publish this poem for all to see, and hopefully people will begin to truly grasp the seriousness of mental health.


Nothing great lasts too long
Such things are tampered with
But by what you may ask?
Or maybe the more poignant question, by who?
Well that remains to be seen
Before I ever recognise any sign of fulfillment I am always greeted by the awareness of its absence
Dampened by the sodden tears of loneliness
Drowning in the she absence of joy

Maybe there is some truth with such wives tale
You never know what is good until it is gone
But what is the cause of such vanishing act of contentment

I have a persistent stomach churning itch of a monster lurking in the shadows
Again…only becoming aware of its actions after the fact
When the arms of havoc let emptiness embrace me
Gaining a tight suffocating grasp upon ME…the real me
Is this monster the cause of such depression?
Like an old friend it greets me with a certain familiarity
A friend it is not
As with is it, it brings unerring unpleasantness
And unwelcome attendance

With one set in stone intention
To break the status quo and sabotage
Sabotage any flickering light of hope
Sabotage any chance of redemption
Sabotage any chance of recovery
And finally sabotage any chance of peace my soul is yearning to find

It’s come the time where this unrelenting sabotage has caused me to feel an unbridgeable void to happiness
An unbridgeable void to belonging
An unbridgeable void to the old me, the best version of me

I crave to unmask such monster
Expose the true agent to this devastating sickness
However it clings to me
Torments me
Controls me
Possesses me
And inconceivably and senselessly crushes my soul

What is left is I in anguish
I in irreparable despair
I in unimaginable rage
Despite all that is left it is the monster whom is responsible for the actions of unrelenting disparity and sabotage
So why is it I who is left with a lump in my throat
Tears gushing down my face
Drowning me with guilt

Because after such devastation every time the monster is unmasked
All I can see is a reflection
Adjoined with the realization that I am the monster of my own demons
I am the chains that bind me to this sickness
I am the master and deceiver of such demoralizing soul sucking self-sabotage
I find it unstoppable but unbearable
Fully aware of its deafening presence yet having no choice but to obey the laws of physics
Move out of the unstoppable forces way because that’s what makes it an unstoppable force

I am, however, aware that I have given it omnipotence in my mind
The destroyer or savior of my life is embedded in my mind
To save my soul I must save my mind
I must abuse this self-sabotage how it did to me
Bludgeon this self-sabotage how it did to me
Asphyxiate this self-sabotage how it did to me
Erase this self-sabotage how it did to me

All I have to remember is that my mind is my phoenix
My sickness is my flames
And one day I shall rise

Finding The Will To Carry On

Sometimes life can really feel like you are grasping at straws, never coming up trumps; or even grasping at the mere illusion of straws – false opportunities, any tiny sense of fulfillment to make all the ‘BS’ seem bearable. This is only a mere surface scratch to relate to how I have felt in the past and often felt completely lost in a sense of despair and drifting. I don’t know if everyone experiences the same struggles and manage to ‘fake it’ much more convincingly. But, to me, it felt like I was alone. Failing at life. Disappointing everyone and ruining everything. This feeling and almost deep-rooted belief became second nature, an embedded act of cynical thinking if you will. And so often I found myself falling, and falling, and falling; further and further into the dark, never-ending abyss of depression and scarring of my soul – my intrinsic being – with an emotional crater, creating a seemingly unbridgeable void to my former self. Honestly, looking back I have to count myself lucky. Lucky that I never let go of the most minuscule sense of hope. Lucky, that I battled against my demons. And most of all, lucky that I repeatedly found the will to carry on and stand back up fighting every time I knocked myself down.

For years, I found myself dumbfounded and completely puzzled at what destroying force could possibly have the heart – thereby lack of – to cause such consuming, callous thoughts. I realize for many, the source of depression and mental health struggles can be the result of a capitulation of multiple events, circumstances and issues. But for me, everything boiled down to one thing. Underneath my own reckless, demonizing and persecuting mask of emotional trauma was me. All my pain, suffering, self-hating and down right self-torturing was all from my own internalized shame of self-identification and latent self-worth. Years of self-hating and shaming myself due to my sexuality and own image; years of self-abusing verbally and physically due to my own inability to accept myself and have trust in my peers, my family and wider society to welcome me in; and years of mental scrutiny and distress due to my own self-defense mechanism being in overdrive. I worried about my worries, almost a sense of heightened anxiety, described by doctors as severe anxiety. Such feeling, I fear I could never truly bottle the essence of sheer panic in overdrive. I can only attempt to reach a mere abstract comparison from my own experience of anxiety and the mental toll it takes out of you; triggering depression and ultimately, for me, mental relapse.

The feel of being a claustrophobic asthmatic in a tightly enclosed space. The walls pushing in, closer and closer. Squeezing each last molecule of oxygen out of your lungs and the tightening of your chest begins. A haunted hand grappled around your throat. Every sense draining out of your body, until you feel like an empty vessel of nothingness, only harboring one thing – panic, terror and pure unfiltered anxiety. That feeling of confinement, asphyxiation and complete hopelessness is what drives the monster; is what tightens the noose around your neck and amplifies the unwanted benefactor, which for me was depression of the darkest of sorts.

As highlighted in previous posts, I am still recovering and still receiving treatment and on medication. But, I can truly say that I am not the blank canvass I used to envisage, I am a fully grown independent woman, living with my beloved girlfriend and studying a university course I am fully invested in. So what changed? How did I find that will to carry on? I’d like to think in some enchanted, fairy-tale mythological sense that it found me but in truth I don’t think I ever truly let go of hope. Buried deep it may have been but I protected it, I nurtured it and when the time eventually came I trusted myself in it. For me the magic in that moment, when you pick yourself up in midst of such a depressive cyclone of raw emotional release, you don’t give up, you stand back up to take another hit , to go the full 10 rounds and escape the KO. That magic, shows you that you believe in yourself, have faith in yourself and one day will return to yourself.

I cannot emphasize enough how often I wanted to throw in the towel, let down my defences and take that final KO punch. However, that is not what happened. Call it persistence, call it inner strength, or even call it a miracle; I never let go and neither should you. Believe me when I say, the hardest thing to do is to keep on standing, keeping on fighting and to keep on believing. Once, you accomplish that, you can do whatever you set your mind to. So, ultimately, it’s not about finding that will to carry on but instead, always holding onto it because deep down you hold the keys to your own power, your own tenacity, you own dedication, every little attribute that protects that fostering of hope and manufactures the will to fight.

Please know that you are not alone. Keep on fighting, Keep on willing. Keep on surviving.

The Long Road To Recovery

A road which at some points in my depressive, destructive struggle would have seemed alien to me. Unreachable. Unattainable. But by some near miracle I have made it to that road; the road full of hope and promise and I am recovering. Even uttering those three words now almost brings me to tears. To have finally, after all these years reach a point where I can wholeheartedly stand up and announce I can see the end of the tunnel and I will get there.

Recovery is different for everyone. For me, it was about accepting myself and admitting to myself and the world that I needed help. Above all, it was coming to terms with my inner demons and learning to cope with the bullying trolls of my subconscious. And by long road, I mean grueling emotional torture, with the walls of anxiety and isolation moving closer and closer in, pressing down on my soul, breaking my being and suffocating me into a state of absolute despair. It was only once I got to that breaking point, a fork in the road, if you will, presented itself and in order to take one step towards and onto my road to recovery I had to first of all admit. Admit the root cause and issue of my pain, the identity of the megaphone which was amplifying my deafening cries of self-hatred and disarray. Still to this day I would argue that the hardest thing I have ever done is to face myself, look at my reflection, with my insecurities , vulnerabilities and all my sickness spreading demons glaring back at me and saying to myself: this is me. Who I am will never change and I should have never have tried to hide that or change it. What needs to change is my outlook, my perception of myself and my judgement of the weight outside/societal social perception should bear in my life and in my mind.

Once I faced myself, faced my demons and finally began to fight to break the chains that bound me to my mental illness, I found, looking back now that I was already half way on the road to recovery. To announce to myself and truly make Heather hear that I am gay and I am proud. I am weird, quirky and unpredictable and that is ok, in fact that is great. I am slightly funny looking and was 15 stone. All of these things are me and make me Heather. To think, I ever wanted to change that, hide Heather and lock her in a closet in a state of claustrophobic anxious depressive panic, completely floods the very depths of my soul with sadness. But in this sadness, which I can’t lie I do still feel and struggle with as I am still recovering, I have found immense strength, immense pride in my identity and family for accepting me as simply Heather and I have found immense comfort in the realization that you do not have to be thin, aesthetically perfect, overwhelmingly popular to be loved. Because overall, it is in love I have found my true beauty, my true confidence and self-acceptance of who I am. Through meeting my girlfriend, sharing every breath of bliss and every gleaming smile of happiness with her, I have learned to heal; I have learned to open up and most of all I have learned to love myself again and see the value in true, binding friendships and everlasting connections of love between family, friends and partners.

Now, you must not fall into the trap of thinking recovery is easy, comes natural or even is speedy. No, unfortunately it is not. But, by god can I tell you how much stronger, resilient and sensitive to those around you, you are afterwards. As I said it’s not simple. Personally, after breaking the deafening silence of depression and bearing the stifling stage of coming out, I was in disillusion, making false promises to myself and my loved ones that I was better, I was ok, I was healed just because I had admitted it. Yes, it is a gigantic step, which I personally view as the most essential and life-changing. However, by admitting my problems and struggles that had only permitted me to take that step onto my recovery journey, a great deal more work and self-reflection needed to be done. It was at this stage that I regrettably faltered. As I say, I was disillusioned and believed I was now ‘fixed’. I could scream at myself now because I had it all wrong I did not need ‘fixing’, I simply needed to accept myself and welcome the Heather that I had admitted I had been suppressing in. For some that may be easy but for me it came with more struggles.

My struggles and personal battles were buried so deeply in my subconscious that their surface manifestations were unrecognizable to me as problems of concern. The constant putting off of sharing my sexuality with my friends and family, suppressing my overwhelming fear of rejection, loss and even being ostracized by those I consider my nearest and dearest. But it was the moments that I was at my most vulnerable and filled with raw honesty and heartfelt emotion that I grew and blossomed into the seedling Heather that had always been hiding in the deepest chasm of my soul, stowed safely away until the day I was brave enough to bear my soul to another for all to see. Nevertheless, my self-sabotage as I call it (my demons of destruction and seething self-hatred), still consumed my everyday life and shamefully sent me into a vicious, binge cycle of drinking, fostering the unhealthiest relationship between me and alcohol. A subject which I find very difficult to talk about because it still to this day and forever will haunt me and disgust me at how I let myself become a dependent too such a life destructive substance. Thankfully, my saving grace managed to pull me out of the wreckage of my life and managed to make me see the light of day, the beaming hope and excitement for my future and our future together. She taught me to love myself, accept myself for who I really am, no need to force myself into a unhealthy binge culture to fit in, to be liked or to have friends because if they don’t cherish me for who I truly am they are not true friends anyway.

Through never-ending self-sabotage and subconscious self-depressive manipulation forging self-hatred and distraught, I couldn’t be happier to say I am ok. I am in recovery. I am strong. I am proud. And I am loved. If my long journey of self-exploration and recovery has taught me anything it is to be true to yourself, never compromise your identity and inner being. Above all, please, just listen to yourself, accept yourself and love yourself and you will be ok because you are not alone – keep fighting.

I am Heather, once lost, now found, still recovering and still learning each day but I am stronger and prouder than ever. And you can be too, just take that step…