PMT chat and stats

TMI Warning : pissing, pooing and bleeding

I just finished my 10,000th wee and third poo of the day and remembered how much of a cunt pregnancy is.

I feel a bit guilty using cunt as an insult. Vaginas are wonderful things so why do we use them as the worst insult ever? But it does have a bit of gravitas ‘dick’ doesn’t quite manage. Dicks are basic. Whereas vaginas are wonderful and interesting things so I am going to share some vagina and vagina related information for anyone who doesn’t spend their time reading vagina books and watching vagina youtube videos and generally googling vagina & co information.

Fact one : PMT is shit

Back to my many wees today, this isn’t the weirdest pregnancy announcement ever, I’m not pregnant…at least I bloody hope I’m not. I am pre-menstrual, I was sat on the toilet thinking this must mean my period is coming (my friend google confirms this is a thing). Excellent news.

I really enjoy my period arriving, I’m not generally an enthusiastic person but I am a (menstrual) cup half full kind of person. Literally half full – which is probably why I don’t mind it as it isn’t too heavy or painful. However what I do dislike is being pre-menstrual for the following reasons:

  • Bloaty mc-bloat tum. This isn’t a vain complaint, we are on kind of lockdown still – I don’t care what I look like. What I do care about is the limited amount of food I can comfortably fit in my stomach as it is too full of air. This also means constipation for 22% of us folk who menstruate.
  • Grumpiness. The cats meowed one too many times today and I genuinely wanted to kick them (but refrained).
  • Spotty face – 50% of us. Not this month though, thanks Caroline Hirons and salicylic acid.
  • ‘mega ceebs’ (term not my own, but I think it is good) total can’t be arsed-ness. Kind of me all the time, but I reach new levels of introversion when I am pre-menstrual.

And I don’t really get these but there is also the:

  • Crying (unless of course you put Little Women on, two hours solid tears when I went to the cinema pre-menstrual one time)
  • Sore breasts
  • Tiredness for 40% of us (obviously have this, unfortunately all month long)
  • Increased appetite (see above)
  • Headaches for 49% of us

(percentages from a survey that Clue App did with 4,000 people who menstruate. I use the app, it is free and good)

Sounds a whole lot like the absolute joys of pregnancy right? There is a reason for that, your body knows ovulation is done for the month so why go out and be friendly when there is no chance of getting impregnated – so it makes you hate people and want to stay home, on the sofa, in ugly pyjamas.

If the ugly pyjamas, foul mood and big tummy aren’t enough to stop you getting laid then it kind of fucks you over by reducing your vaginal lubrication. Your uterus is such an optimist it doesn’t want to waste fluid on frivolous things like sex for fun in case it already has a tiny little fertilised egg to look after. This is also why you might be constipated, it doesn’t want to let you poo, it wants to hang on for food as long as possible to get every last bit of nutrition out to look after that maybe baby.

Entering ‘Autumn’

Maisie Hill in Period Power calls this your ‘autumn’ a much nicer way of describing the winding down, taking it easy and eating comfort food most of us do at that time of year. She recommends bearing it in mind when you plan your month out, not over committing, trying to work from home a bit more and if you’ve planned to meet friends have something easy to cook at home rather than a big night out.

She also recommends using this quiet time for introspection and creativity. Reduced desire to socialise and be active often means greater focus and awareness of your emotions. Yes you might be grumpier during autumn but is it exacerbated by a dickhead in the vicinity? Have a proper think about that now before ovulation rolls round and your brain gets swayed by an overwhelming desire to fuck them.

One interesting thing I learnt from Period Power is that a tiny bit of blood for the first couple of days of your period is not in fact your period. It is classed as breakthrough bleeding and can be a sign of progesterone deficiency, along with other symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Clumsiness
  • Cysts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swollen breasts

Potential ways to fix it include lowering stress, addressing hyperthyroidism, and consuming more magnesium, zinc and vitamins A, B6 and C. Also seed cycling can help, which involves consuming more sunflower and sesame seeds (2-4 tbsps a day) during the second half of your cycle (the bit this blog is about) and in the first half of your cycle (first day of your period and two weeks after) including the same quantities of flax and pumpkin. To be honest it sounds like a whole lot of seeds to me, but if you are a organised and healthy individual it is worth a google.

Maisie also draws parallels between PMT and symptoms of low blood sugar and says how important it is to eat regular and healthy snacks. Seems sensible and easy and, in my case, completely unattainable.

The Pill is progesterone which is PMT

In other words – proper shit.

All the shitty stuff I’ve been ranting about can be blamed on progesterone, the shittiest of the shit hormones that dominates in the ‘autumn’ between ovulation and your period. As you aren’t fertile during this period the pill mimics this with the synthetic copycat hormone progestin to make sure a little dose every day stops you being fertile all month long. It isn’t exactly the same so you might not go full PMT, and it might not be obvious straight away as the effects can increase over time – but you are slowly filling your body with the shit hormone which is often at the expense of oestrogen, literally referred to as THE BEYONCE of hormones (Maisie Hill again).

They normally add synthetic oestrogen to the pill to stop you feeling quite so shit but I think we can all agree there is only one Beyonce.

Now I’m recycling old stats here but they are good stats so if you haven’t already been convinced that the pill is shit and genuine oestrogen is the bomb then digest these stripper facts:

  • non pill taking strippers earn an average of $35 an hour when menstruating
  • strippers who are enjoying all that fake oestrogen on the pill earn a marginal $2 more, taking in $37 an hour on average (all month long)
  • ovulating (and therefore non-pill taking) strippers are absolutely smashing it with all that genuine oestrogen with a crazy $70 an hour

(Pill facts and stripper facts courtesy of How The Pill Changes Everything by Dr Sarah Hill which is super super interesting and I massively recommend)

Now by this point it makes sense to move onto your ‘winter’ (your period), but Maisie told me to take it easy and I’ve already got both my favourite stripper facts and Beyonce down so I feel I have done enough for now.

ps if any real life friends are wondering how i have managed to write a full blog and yet not respond to a basic whatsapp message then please see above. It isn’t my fault it is my menstrual cycle’s fault. Also sorry.

What my cervix has been up to this week

As I have no social life after 7pm I tend to spend my evenings binge eating and reading. At the moment I’m really enjoying How the Pill Changes Everything by Dr Sarah Hill. It’s full of interesting facts and she’s quite funny too.

She is basically saying that the pill affects all kinds of things and I could try and summarise it but I’m actually quite tired so here is a a Guardian article which is much better.

Here is my one little nugget of information for any aspiring strippers in my subscribers list who can’t decide on contraception. The pill makes you less sexy. Strippers know it. At least the ones that compare tips do anyway.

  • Strippers on the pill earn an average of $37 per hour all month long
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $35 an hour when menstruating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn $50 an hour when not menstruating or ovulating
  • Non pill taking strippers earn a whopping $70 an hour when ovulating

Very interesting points! And I may not be a stripper but it’s still nice to feel a be a bit sexy.

(ps it’s not just sexiness it’s immune system, libido, personal grooming, appetite, energy, choice of partner and general joie de vivre among many many other things I don’t even know yet because I’m only 45% in)

So long introduction over and the point I was getting to is that I decided on the copper coil.

Scary, yes, scary.

Or so I thought but I now am I fully fledged COIL FAN.

So this may or may not be relevant to my own life experience of the coil but an interesting point is that it is a very effective emergency contraception. Whereas the morning after pill which we all think of as being the go to choice is in my (not at all expert) opinion actually fairly shit.

If 1000 women had a shag 55 would get pregnant

If 1000 women had a shag then took the morning after pill then 22 would still get pregnant

I don’t feel that those stats are all too reassuring.

So that’s 5.5% chance in general, 2.2% chance on the morning after pill or less than 1% chance with the coil. And BONUS that the coil lasts between five and ten years depending on how brave you are feeling at the fitting (apparently ten year coil is a little bigger).

I’ll run you through my copper coil journey

Where I live in North Yorkshire you need a preliminary appointment to discuss before you can book in for a fitting. And by discuss I mean horrify you. Perhaps the nurse would describe this as providing you with all the information but if I’m completely honest I wanted to be sick / have a little cry to myself.

In her defence she was lovely (as are 99% of the nurses I meet) and she was telling me relevant and important facts. She even had a miniature coil and womb/cervix model.

The two take home facts I got from the appointment were that around 4 in 1000 women will have perforation of the uterus. Basically as horrifying as it sounds – coil jabs into your uterus hard damaging it and requiring surgery. But this sounds less scary as a 0.4% risk factor.

But then if you times it by 6 to adjust for the fact you have a softer womb when breastfeeding it becomes scary again at 2.4%.

Bring it back to the 5.5% chance of pregnancy (and resulting childbirth and unlimited sleep deprivation) and a bit of minor surgery ain’t so bad.

I therefore booked myself in. And didn’t sleep that night because of the words ‘perforation of the uterus’. Horrifying.

Fast forward two days of me spamming my doctor friend with a thousand stupid questions and I was on my way to York Sexual Health Clinic.

A little nervous, big pack of sanitary pads in my bag. Already dosed up on paracetamol with a full tummy to avoid getting all fainty (as instructed).

As with any medical procedure I always announce my anxiety on arrival. I was optimistic there would be a little of my favourite pain relief, gas and air, somewhere on the premises that she would wheel out. No such luck.

I got up on the bed, legs in stirrups, vag ready. The doctor was doing the fitting with the help of a nurse. Lovely nurse was up for a chat to keep me company so obviously I dropped in the ‘my husband left me’ thing so we could spend the time slagging off men. Seemed appropriate to the venue. I didn’t see any men going through awkward discomfort for the sake of contraception. Standard.

Anyway first up is the speculum, standard smear test issue plastic spy hole thing. Then a funny little womb measuring device. Now it probably verged on pain but I would actually describe it more as discomfort.

I know that doctors describe everything as ‘a little uncomfortable’ and you think yeah yeah shut up this is going to fucking hurt.

I would describe it more as… very weird, do not like.

Once your womb is fully confirmed as being coil suitable then up she goes. And IT WASN’T THAT BAD.

Maybe 3 or 4 minutes from speculum in to speculum out. However as my nurse did say I was getting looked after by the dream team and I completely agree. Absolute five star service thanks ladies.

I wholly recommend going to a sexual health clinic where they are regular coil inserters. No chance of me having a GP who does it every now and again having a go on my cervix. I want the most efficient service going. But I will say a huge well done to those ladies that let student nurses / student doctors have a go, you are braver women than me.

Now at this point a lot of women may feel woozy and stay laid down for a while. Some may need to call someone to collect them. Not me (shockingly) I was absolutely buzzing on life, astounded by my pain threshold. Off I strolled into the York sunshine, not even a stomach cramp to complain of (which is common). Lovely big sanitary towel in my pants for any bleeding – which I didn’t even have.

And now my womb is an inhospitable environment for sperm to survive in, hurray that sperm hate copper. Theoretically it works straight away but it only works if it stays in place and you need to check the little threads are in the right place through your cervix so a lot of women go back after a few weeks to have it checked.

Other than that (and regular checks to ensure the little threads haven’t shifted) you’re good for between five and ten years with no artificial hormones. Wowser.

Anyway as I’m a big oversharer do send me a message if you have any questions. Always happy for some vag chat gals.

(ps some kind of generic disclaimer type thing here. I’m not a medical professional, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about I’m just a cervix owner with a bit of copper in her womb. Do talk to someone who is an actual medical professional if you want advice.)

Less bullshit more books

If you know me then you’ll know I’ve had a crappy couple of weeks…wedding anniversary blaaahh.

So I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating and something I read during the shittest weeks at the start of the year was:

My happiness does not depend on other people’s decisions

And I’m trying to live by that. No point wallowing, you’re allowed a little cry but it’s best to stop there.

I’m trying to stay cheery and positive, but sometimes things get on top of me. I ended up having a heart to heart with someone at work last week and cried at my desk. And because it was 4.30 and a Friday I thought fuck it, I’m going to treat myself to a proper sob. I took myself off for a ten minute proper crying session in the shower room.

YOLO

If you have read pretty much anything I’ve done you’ll know I’m really into the self care (generally food based). But somehow stuffing my face with multiple McDonald’s per week isn’t completely safeguarding my wellbeing and mental stability. So odd.

So fresh from my crying fest I rang my acupuncturist. Because everyone loves Adam I couldn’t get in until next Tuesday. Damn I’m looking forward to that acupuncture session.

I’m not sure if I give off the impression that I am mentally stable but I feel almost crazy most of the time. My heart rate is ridiculous…always over 100BPM when I measure it. This must be boosting my metabolism as I’m eating ridiculous quantities of food but I’m borderline underweight. My poor body is running on adrenaline with barely any sleep to recover.

So I’m a quite optimistic that acupuncture will slow me down a bit and chill me out.

But also I’m slipping into bad habits. I’ve given up on Tinder and Bumble as I was matching with people, maybe sending one message and then wanting to keep chatting but generally being too much of a tired woman / lazy procrastinator to continue. So no point really. Goodbye dating apps.

I’ve got a couple of people on WhatsApp still…who I’ve met in real life. But I’m finding myself checking to see if if I have messages a lot. I think I have some sad trying to feel validated by male attention thing going on. It’s not feminist, it’s not living by my happiness not depending on other people’s decisions mantra. It’s not on.

My happiness will not depend on WhatsApp notifications.

I am more than my phone 💪🏻

So anyway…back to my earlier point.

BOOKS

I’m always reading but lately I’ve been reading a lot of sex psychology / anthropology type stuff. At first it started off super interesting (read Sex at Dawn right now…after this blog I mean). But then I was like ah damn I wish I had sex on tap. Damn all these married women I know with access to whenever they want it sex DAMN THEM. But also I got a bit annoyed at men. Many, many different statistics pointing out the fact that men just want young, attractive, big boobed, small waisted, big hipped women with beautiful clear skin and good muscle tone. For fucks sake.

One of the books I read said that when women say they like a man with a good sense of humour they mean he makes them laugh. Whereas men say the same but really mean they want a woman who laughs at their jokes. I feel the exemplifies what irritates me about men.

And back to my main point. I’m not feeling great. Not terrible but not as good as I could be feeling. Because I’m binge eating and checking messages too often.

Do I want to be fat and disappointed and needy?

Nope.

So I’m going to read novels. This will fix EVERYTHING I’m sure.

It also goes towards ticking off one of my 40 before 40 goals

I nearly went with the BBC book challenge that was going around a few years ago. But that had the bloody bible on it. There’s no chance I’m sitting down cover to cover reading the bible. Or the complete works of Shakespeare for that matter.

So I found this Penguin reader inspired list that I’m going for. First up is Great Gatsby which I’ve read (and you should too) but next is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez which I haven’t actually heard of but I am optimistic will tip me out of this mood and get me off being such a needy person.

Also if you see me in real life and I’m walking around clasping a McDonald’s coffee cup checking my phone do please tell me I’m a twat. I need to mend my ways big time. Thanks pals.

Why Fifty Shades of Grey is bullshit bullshit bullshit

NB : This photo has almost no relevance to the article. But when I typed ‘sex’ into the search bar he was the only man and why not?

As babies offer very low quality chat I always do a lot of reading. At the moment I’m on Come As You Are : the surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Obviously this is HIGHLY relevant to my currently very active sex life. But I was a good Brownie, always be prepared etc. It is written by a sex therapist and it’s quite interesting.

Anyway apparently noncorcordance isn’t very well known outside of psychology / sex therapist land so I’ll share a fact with you.

Fifty Shades of Grey was bullshit. ‘Of course it was’ you’re thinking. No woman says ‘holy cow’ when turned on and yes this is correct, that is one it many reasons why it is bullshit.

But also in one of the early scenes Christian gets all spanky and whippy on Ana.

He asks how she feels and does she say ‘aroused’?

No she bloody does not. She says ‘demeaned, debased and abused’.

Does that sound fun? No it does not.

But Christian then says AH-HA but I note that your vagina is wet. Therefore I am the all knowing sexual master I presume myself to be despite you categorically telling me you are not enjoying this I can say I know better.

Because… MEN.

So the science is that if you show a woman anything sexually relevant her genitals will frequently respond, but if you ask her if she is aroused then there will only be a 10% overlap for what she says she likes and what she is physically responding to.

So if you show a woman who isn’t into watching bonobos have sex (and who is) a video of bonobos having sex she will probably have increased bloodflow to her genitals. But if you ask her if she is aroused she will probably say ‘nah, these are apes and I’m not into ape sex’. But women are very organised, very prepared people. The female body says ‘ah, I recognise that this is sex and I shall make preparations just in case’.

This physical reaction without a mental agreement is called noncorcordance.

Whereas men have a 50% overlap between having both a sexual reaction and a mental note that it is arousing. It’s not 100% but it’s a lot more than women have. So basically men are less responsive to things that are sexual, but are not their sexual cup of tea. They can’t be bothered getting hard unless they want it to end in sex. Some might say efficient, and they’d be right. But I say lazy because men are annoying and I have a pessimistic view of males.

Luckily for Christian Grey twat face, Emily (the author of Come As You Are) has re-written the dialogue:

Grey says to Ana, “Feel this. See how sexually relevant your body considers physical contact with your buttocks and genitals, Anastasia. That gives me no information about whether or not you liked it. Did you like it? No? Double crap, let me make it up to you by reading Emily Nagoski’s book about women’s sexual wellbeing, so that I have a clue next time.”

It’s also true that women can be really into it without showing any physical signs. Perhaps because it’s nowhere near ovulation so her body thinks – why waste resources? Perhaps she is dehydrated and her body thinks – why waste resources? Perhaps she has given birth and her hormones are still saying WHY THE FUCK WOULD I DO THAT AGAIN? Female bodies = very sensible.

So in case there are any men reading this (which I highly doubt there are). How do you know if she is into it?

Just talk to her, watch her body language. Good life advice in general really.

Pure, spiky vulnerability. Or…are you basically three today?

Bit of a lazy post, 90% copied from a book. I’m reading I’m absolutely fine: A Manual for imperfect women pretty much because Claudia Winkleman said it was brilliant and I like her. I’m not even through the free sample yet but I’m feeling generally a bit mental at the moment and it’s always fun to have someone tell you they are a bit mental too. So here’s an excerpt:

Someone has hurt my feelings and I am holding a massive grudge. I only refer to them by their full name and I do not wish them well. I need my hand held. Metaphorically. I do not know that I need my hand held but then someone –metaphorically –DARES to hold my hand and I feel a bit less at sea. I can’t do anything. I just can’t, I just can’t, I just can’t. I’m hungry and I can’t concentrate, I don’t know what I want to eat and I might not eat just to make it worse. Today, I am basically three. I have no emotional regulation, no ability to self-soothe, I am low-level vengeful and not to be trusted. I am not able to properly look after myself and I might cry, hit or slightly wet myself at any point. I am hot. I am cold. I like you. I hate you. I am JEALOUS. Everyone has better toys. My inner maniac has taken hold of the wheel and put her tiny foot down and God knows what is going to happen next. I am a liability but it really isn’t hormonal. For once. Or tiredness. For twice. It just is what it is. Pure, spiky vulnerability. Maybe we should add this to our support-arsenal? What about a simple, ‘So, are you basically three today?’YES YES YES. Thank God someone understands.

NB: I had to pause writing the tiny amount I actually wrote because I couldn’t spell excerpt without getting on Google. I hate baby brain / sleep deprivation brain.

11th June: Painty little feet

Do you see this dog? This dog looks like a dog who isn’t allowed in a cafe. I knew that from its optimistic little face as I opened the floor, but the cafe was empty when I arrived so of course I let my new friend take shelter from the rain with us.

Unfortunately the cafe owner soon arrived and sent doggo back out to wander the garden centre. Mean.

I was supposed to be meeting a friend in the afternoon but she was poorly so we didn’t have any plans. I had meant to rush out in the morning to get baby hand and foot prints on pottery for a (grand) fathers day present. But now we had a free schedule we had a chilled out morning and wandered off at lunchtime.

We went to The Potting Shed and had a little jug made with hand and footprints for my Dad. As I was feeling kind I made a mug for my ex as well with a hand and footprint that said Daddy. Not entirely selfless, I’m mostly hoping he remembers this when it rolls around to mothers day next year. But obviously he is a man so it’s fairly unlikely.

Anyway here are some photos I took before the cafe was bombarded with a coach load of pensioners shouting ‘Joan can you believe it’s £2.30 just for a cup of tea?!’ and lots of ‘look at that little boy’ (Emily)

I didn’t take this until the cafe was full and more than one person made a point of the fact I was taking a photo of a wall:

They have a good outside play are and plenty of tables so it would be a good place when Emily is toddling around:

(as an aside those pink cars were my ultimate goal when I was little. A goal I never achieved)

So if you’re interested in the pottery there is a studio fee of £3.50 plus the cost of the pottery. A mug was £9 and I think the jug was £15. It will take four days to be available as once they are painted they go on the kiln. I got onto kiln chat with the lady and it gets to 1000 degrees and she has to leave them a full day to cool before she takes them out.

She helped out (pretty much did) the foot and hand prints and then gave me a box of letter stamps to do the writing. You can always freestyle but if you’ve ever received a card from me you will understand why I did not.

Then we went home, I was absolutely exhausted after all the stress of the weekend and babywearing all over York on Monday (I’m a cheapskate and park by the racecourse for free which extends the effort). Emily is fairly good at amusing herself at home as the living / dining room is quite baby safe and full of toys so I just let her get on with it and drank tea and read It’s called a breakup because its broken. My friend recommended this and it’s a nice easy read. These things do really help keep my mind on the right side of sanity. A regular reminder not to be a crazy ex wife.

And then the baby sensed my tiredness and went to bed at 8pm without starting a fight with the bedroom blind. Win win win.

Books for a divorcing single mum

Here are a few books that I’ve enjoyed since finding out that ’till death do us part’ actually meant 2.5 years and a baby. I’m not bitter, I’m not bitter at all.

(I’ve actually read way way more as I’m constantly reading but not constantly reading about divorce, do message me if you like a bit of book chat)

Split, a story of love betrayal and divorce. Suzanne Finnamore

I so enjoyed this book, it was both funny and heartbreaking but always honest. The woman is a gorgeous media type living in California, she is well off with a beautiful home and friends to casually drink champagne with over brunch. You wouldn’t think it would be relatable but the lines like this one you realise we all have the same struggles:

“I am drunk in front of the television, chain-smoking. I have not bathed in two days.”

(before the mum shamers see this – as a breastfeeding non smoking woman I substitute alcohol and cigarettes for donuts and cake. Not ideal but not worth calling social services for)

But it isn’t all stark truth bombs on falling apart, there are some inspirational parts and it really ends on a high:

“You learn that it can be a life-enhancing gift, and not just a wound taken in a heart-game called marriage. Finally, you understand that the game isn’t to get your husband back, or to get a new one. The game is to get free”

She is also very amusing, I would like to have her as my friend.

The Kick Ass Single Mom, Emma Johnson

I don’t think I would like Emma as my friend. I think she would judge me and my pessimism. She is one of those people Americans would call a Type A personality. The book is quite money focused which is fair enough, money makes the world go round and all that, but I think she is absolutely coming from a place of priveledge which we can’t all tap into.

Her general view is that children should spend their time 50/50 between their parents and as such there is no need for child maintenance to be paid. She also thinks that if you work hard enough you can absolutely make enough money to be very successful in life to support yourself and your children easily and well without any help. My view is that my little baby should have one primary carer and spend the majority of time with me so that she feels settled and attached. Also my soon to be ex husband planned this family with me and is the only father she has so he can bloody well pay child support.

“A Kickass Single Mom never plays victim. You are responsible for your life. You are not allowed to blame your ex… when times get tough. You are never, ever, ever entitled.”

I however do agree with her views on dating and sex. Pretty much go out and have sex and have fun. No reason to pretend to your children that you aren’t dating as they aren’t stupid and will see through it. Just don’t introduce a man to them until you know its serious. Don’t date twats; you are better off single. Don’t waste time being self conscious, there are probably less attractive women than you out there dating and having sex and a fabulous time – think like them. Fair enough.

“If a person does not add to your life and bring you joy when you are together, he or she must go.”

Playgroups and Prosecco

This is funny, I was enjoying it when I thought it was her own real life story and then I thought hang on there are too many funny goings on here and I googled it and it’s basically chick lit. But the author is a good blogger (Slummy Single Mummy) so at least she has experienced being a single mum.

She doesn’t know, but I once saw her crouched behind the sand table, eating loose Wotsits out her handbag, so I recognised a kindred spirit.”

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Now this one isn’t specifically about divorce and she isn’t a single mother. BUT her life was at a very low point after a divorce but she picked herself up and did an insane cross country hike up the west coast mountain range in the US.

I think she is pretty inspirational. After reading this you will be like YEAH I CAN DO ANYTHING. And maybe want to buy some hiking boots and get walking.

I feel like this quote is pretty symbolic for life in general:

“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”

It was, however, written about a lost hiking boot (this book will ring a bell if you’ve seen the Gilmore Girls Netflix reboot when Lorelai almost did the hike but couldn’t pack her bag).

Confessions of a Single Mum, Amy Nickel

No divorce here, just a twatty boyfriend type person who dumped her when he found out she was pregnant. It is a funny personal account of her life:

I totally excuse them for not being mega turned on by swollen everything (and I mean EVERYTHING – thanks to my waxer for letting me know that little titbit)

The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

The woman who wrote this writes for cosmopolitan and uses that amusing glossy magazine style writing. However it is jam packed with psychological input, various studies and links to many other experts and books so you can absolutely go off on a tangent on whatever takes your fancy like I did here.

There are loads of interesting facts like this:

“experts at Rutgers University said that a break-up causes an incredibly similar reaction to drug withdrawal. Brain-imaging scans showed similarities between romantic rejection and cocaine craving

“Ingrained neural pathways are the route of least resistance” so basically your stupid brain just goes off towards your ex not because he was the love of your life but because its used to going off that way

But she also has some funny anecdotes of her dating past, such as this text she once received:

‘You’re undeniably lovely, but crazy. Goodbye. P.S. Please stop calling me.’

If you’re only going to read one book I say read this one because it’s brilliant.

The Cool Girl Monologue

I know this is SUPER famous but I’m reading a book that referenced it and I just remembered what absolute literary gold this passage is so I have to share it on the off chance that someone hasn’t read it before (because of course it is brilliant). And if you don’t like it then GO AHEAD SHIT ON ME.

It does however make me want to eat a chilli dog whilst hating men for the shallow and predictable creatures that they are. I know that sounds horrifically sexist but read this passage and tell me the average man doesn’t want Cool Girl.

It’s from Gone Girl, if you haven’t watched / read this then I recommend you do so in your preferred medium right now.

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

What kind of ‘Attached’ are you?

NB : The photo has nothing to do with the article. I searched ‘Mental Health’ in the WordPress gallery and this inexplicably came up and I liked it.

One of my close friends is like a self help / psychology / counselling book expert now. She mentioned the theory of attachment styles to me and it really helped to contextualise what happened in my relationship and what I need to look for in future.

Also if you have dated an Anxiously Attached / Avoidant Attached person before this may help you to get your head around their behaviour and realise that old cliche might be true (it’s not you, it’s them).

So anyway here are the three attachment styles:

  • Secure attached. You’re normal. Well done. 50% of the population are secure attached. My very bad summary is that you don’t have any weird issues in relationships. You don’t push people away for no reason, you don’t cling to them desperately and need unnecessary reassurance. You’re not bad, you.
  • Anxious attached. You’re a bit annoying. You are 20% of people. Sorry but you are. You might be paranoid if your partner comes home late. You might need them to repeatedly tell you they love you or you freak out. I’ll bet you’re a proper diva come valentines day. You’re a bit tiring to be with.
  • Avoidant attached. Ooph you’re a frustrating one. You are 25% of people. Do you like to ghost people? I bet you freak out about the prospect of the words ’till death do us part’. Do your eyes drift to your phone if your partner says they need to talk to you about something? I think you could drive people crazy.
  • Avoidant and Attached. Jesus Christ. You are 5% of people. Please don’t date me.

I’ve read the (sample of the) book on this called Attached: Identity your attachment style and find your perfect match available here. But to be honest…it’s a bit long.

I find quizzes are a bit more fun so I suggest using this site which is by the woman who wrote The Unexpected Joys of Being Single (really good). And there is a real life example using 500 Days of Summer.

So I did the quiz and got a high score on Secure Attached, a really low score on Anxious Attached and nothing on Avoidant Attached. So as I’m a top class kind of girl to be attaching onto I’m not arsed to read the big long attachment book. But if you score high on Anxious or Avoidant you might want to have a look as it provides strategies to become more Secure Attached.

But anyway, click on the quiz link!! Quizzes are fun and she goes in way more detail on Attachement styles than I can be arsed with. Here’s that link again so go click on it why don’t ya.

How to feel a little bit better when you’re feeling really shit

Note that I put ‘a little’, if you read a few posts you’ll find I’m not overly qualified for feeling ‘a lot’ better…but here are my two cents anyway:

Put your phone down

…not this second. Read my blog first please. Then put the phone down. For lots of reasons you should put your phone down. The blue light makes you feel stressed and stops you sleeping, the notifications distract you, the social media makes you feel less. I KNOW it’s not easy so if you can’t quite put your phone down I suggest you:

  • download Twilight app to filter out the blue light to help your eyes and your sleep
  • download Offtime app to assist your willpower (it basically locks down your phone apart from selected apps for a specified time)
  • unfollow any perfect dickheads on social media who make you feel like you or your life isn’t enough. Fuck them
  • use apps that make you feel good such as Headspace or Calm
  • follow lovely people on social media who cheer you up (I follow a lot of accounts with landscapes and nature, plus one or two inspirational quote type people)

Pick a book up

Speaking of quotes I really like:

“reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are” Mason Cooley

I spent many (many, many, many) hours laid with a sleeping baby in a dark room, unable to move without waking her. After my husband left me I could have gone completely insane with all the thoughts whizzing around my head. Instead I used my Kindle app to take me somewhere else where I wasn’t a scared, anxious and angry single mother.

I know some people prefer TV and movies but I find you can watch them passively and drift into your own world whereas reading a good book is all encompassing. Even if you’re not a reader now I think you should start. Kindle does £1 daily deals and older books can be downloaded for free. Also charity shops sell a lot of books for 50p each and you know…libraries are still a thing. No excuses now.

Put your shoes on and get outside

Even better, if you live somewhere it is possible to then walk up a mountain or hill. The sense of achievement is wonderful, the fresh air clears your head, you don’t feel like a disgusting sofa dwelling animal anymore and… something about endorphins? I don’t know. Just get outside and get walking (or running or cycling or whatever your thing is). Breathe in the fresh air, look around you, notice things you don’t normally see and be mindful.

I’m also going to tell you to take a flask of tea with you. No scientific reason. Just that I think a hot cup of something when you are sat outside mid walk is just a lovely feeling so give it a go.

Pick up a pillow and punch it

Then chill out and get on with your day like a sane person. This is Rita wisdom (my counsellor, and not her exact phrasing). I told her I was struggling with a lot of anger and resentment and she told me I needed to let it out (with the pillow technique) or it would become habitual. If it becomes habitual you will basically become an angry person. You don’t want to be an angry person and no one wants to be around an angry person. Give it to that pillow. As an aside I got angry in the car the other day, I didn’t have a pillow. I punched my hand as an alternative to a pillow and learnt I am better at punching than I anticipated, so I recommend you just wait for a pillow to be available.

The same goes for crying, you can’t just push your feelings away. You need to get them out but once they are out and you’ve had a good cry think fuck that, that’s me done for the day. If I want to have another cry tomorrow I will but now I get on with my life (hopefully by reading or walking 👍).

Prioritise your pals

If there is one thing I learnt from About a Boy it is that no one is an island. Not even Will / Hugh Grant. (I love that movie. SINGLE PARENTS ALONE TOGETHER yeeaah)

Seriously though sometimes you just need to talk to someone. But try to pick the person wisely. Some people are happy to talk but can subtly encourage you to feel sorry for yourself or angry at others. Be conscious of how you feel after you speak to that person (both immediately and in the days and weeks that follow). If they aren’t uplifting then don’t go to them in a crisis.

Pull out a drawer and sort it out

I remember years ago reading an article by a divorce lawyer who deals with high profile Hollywood splits. She said her clients would often call her having a complete meltdown and she never knew how to help them (divorce lawyer…not counsellor) then she started telling them to find a messy drawer, tip it out and tidy it. That small distraction / achievement is often enough to take a person away from a bad mental space.

P P P Pick up a Penguin

Ah Penguins, remember those chocolatey biscuits with their little jokes on the wrapper?! Fond packed lunch memories 🙂

You probably don’t have any Penguins and I know people say have something healthy blah blah blah but I feel better after a treat. I don’t feel better after binge eating so maybe just have the one Penguin / donut / cinnamon bun or whatever takes your fancy. But hell so what if you do inhale an entire Terry’s Chocolate Orange and packet of Percy Pigs in one sitting at 11pm next to a sleeping baby. It’s probably not a habit you will continue every night for the rest of your life so don’t waste your energy feeling guilty about it. Rita informs me that secret eating is far more common than anyone realises so don’t feel bad about being as greedy as the rest of us.

Positively Perky People

I didn’t intend to do self help via subtitles starting with P but that is where it took me. Anyway I hope my plog may help you get out of a grumpy funk at some point.