Getting real about Depression

Today I am going to talk about depression. The truth behind what goes on in my head, honest look into my triggers, and advice on how to tackle it head on.

I’ve been lying a lot.

I hate lying, I’m a terrible liar, I don’t have a poker face so people always can tell when I’m lying. But that’s with verbal lies. Face to face lies are tricky. But lying through your personality and your online profile is a piece of piss.

I have been battling with depression on and off since around my early 20’s; I guess having anxiety from an even younger age just made my brain sad. I have no control over it. I take 100mg of Sertraline every evening at around 7pm which is supposed to do something but it doesn’t. It stopped working ages ago I think… or maybe it is working and I would have been so much worse if I wasn’t on it? Who knows.

This pandemic has literally tore me apart. Not just for the obvious reasons of losing people, risks of spreading or catching etc etc. Being stuck in my house and not being able to go out and meet people or just go out and lead a normal life has really fucked me up.

I know I’m not the only one, everyone is feeling it. I’m nothing special. But writing is my outlet and I need to get the things damaging my mentality out and expressed if I am ever going to progress and somehow encounter and fulfil the impossible task of loving myself and believing I deserve happiness.

I have always been made to feel like my depression isn’t real or understood. There are multiple reasons in my overloaded ADHD-anxious-depressed brain that spiral round and round and make me sad but I need people to acknowledge that I’m sick. Not weak.

I remember the first time I acknowledged I had issues and I wasn’t sleeping properly etc. Think I was around 17, I went to GP’s and all I got was ‘yeah you’re quite young, try to not drink caffeine after 7pm and see how you get on’. Hey, don’t drink coke at night and it’ll all go away right?

Then, When things got really bad, in my early to mid 20’s, I went to the doctors again.. got asked to fill in the questionnaire form, you know the one where you fill in how you feel and they score you on how depressed you really are?. Well, my score was pretty high. The doctor prescribed me some anti-depressants and then said ‘what have you got to be depressed about, you’re only 24?’. A qualified medical professional who should fucking understand mental illnesses said that to me.

This comment encouraged me to keep the noise down about my feelings. Not the anxious over dramatic ones of course, I can’t help those outbursts, but the depressive thoughts. The thoughts where I would lay down on my bed staring at the ceiling letting tears roll down either side of my face and constantly telling myself:

“You’re never not going to be the ugly one”

“You’re so stupid.”

“Why can’t you just be someone else?”

“They wouldn’t miss you anyway.”

Pretty dark shit isn’t it? But again, it’s not something I can control. It’s the way my brain is programmed. I have the permanent reminder in my head that I do not deserve to be happy. This is my main depression trigger I believe. This constant ongoing message in my head that I am set for failure because I quite frankly do not deserve a happy ending.

That particular reminder is in my head for a number of reasons…

One of them is that I always had a bit of a bad string of luck in all areas. I have had second best syndrome since as far as I can remember, probably because I’ve never actually come first in anything really. I always seemed to fail at things and have the worst luck with men.

Men are another big trigger in this for me. I guess it’s because of having people around me constantly implying that you’re nothing until a man wants you. And I struggle to find a man I want to ever want me back. When it seems like I have found one, it’s great to start with, it’s always the overly nice ones or ones who seem great, caring and ‘so me’ but then they treat me like crap with some petty excuse. For example, I once had a guy text me nonstop for days and arrange a date with me, didn’t text me for 2 days and then a few hours before the ‘date’ told me his car had been broken into that evening and he didn’t know what to do, literally a week later he was in a relationship on Facebook. (Men: it’s important to take note here- stop being cowards, the truth will set you free, literally!) I get the guys who do the talks about not wanting a relationship or anything serious but then a few weeks after breaking things off with me oh look, they’ve found the love of their life. Funny that.

I’ve learned though, that the harsh reality is, I am just not likeable enough to men I’d like to be attracted to me. I’m always the hilarious friend or the fun little hook up but there’s always something about me that makes guys just get bored of me super, super fast. And I am so fed up of trying to pretend that it doesn’t kill me every day. I hide behind jokes about being single and having a ‘tragic love life’ because it is legitimately the only way I know how to react to stuff. I have grown up in an environment where you have to try and see the funny side to pain. It’s the only way to not show people that I cry every time I even remotely like a guy in some way; Because then I get attached, he seems great but then he slowly dispatched himself from me until he finally leaves then I have an ugly cry over WhatsApp to my girlfriends asking them what is wrong with me!

It’s obviously affected the way I am with anyone I get attracted to now. Every guy I’ve got with always seemed perfect for me. Says the right things, does the right things, makes the effort, friends like them, all the boxes are ticked. But they always find something better than me, and leave. The problem this then entails is that I just get overly paranoid whenever I meet a new guy I like. I stress about how they don’t openly like pictures of my face – because that has to mean they don’t find me attractive, right?. Constant overthinking, questioning everything and of course, waiting for the moment that they prove me right and turn out to not be that into me. it’s a vicious circle (the more you make a part of yourself with your paranoia, the further they shall run).

Obviously there’s other triggers that add in to my issues with depression, my body never looks how I want it to (who’s does right?), I set myself targets and goals and then beat myself up about how I will never meet them or be a writer.

I have had issues with friendships, I always feel like I don’t fit in; I’m terrified that I’ll never have a family of my own, I feel like everybody secretly slags me off and thinks I’m the most annoying person they ever met (I mean, I probably am to be fair). I have this image in my head of people seeing me and thinking why can’t she just not be here.

Lockdown has also contributed to making me feel worse, because I can’t do certain things that I wanna do day to day.

Like the fact that whenever I went to work, I’d always try and do silly little dances or whatever in the smoking shelter to make people laugh; Making other people laugh and also just being my hyper stupid self makes me feel super happy. It distracts me from that dark lurking in the corner of my head. Being funny and silly is something I’ve always been good at. The overthinking and grey clouds can distract me later, right now I’m making a tit of myself and having fun. This is of course before my overthinking hits later and says you probably made everyone hate you more.

I am doing my absolute best to not let things get to me too much when I’m alone. To work on not being a needy mess all the time – but I don’t blame me for that, I blame the guys who always made me feel like they were honest and would tell me if things were wrong but they never had the balls to be upfront and just slowly pied me off instead. Once you’ve been through over a dozen of those, you’re programmed to just feel like every single guy you meet and connect with is a liar or keeping something from you, or would just rather you fuck off. Or in some cases, all three.

I’m doing my best to let myself cry things out whenever I need to instead of bottling it all in. Even if it is over the dumbest things in my head. I’ve learned that crying is a really big part of self-care, you have to let those emotions out. I also sometimes just allow myself to indulge in chocolate, or sleep for a day because my mental health has worn me out.

The annoying thing is, throughout the pandemic it’s been so up and down. I will have a chunk of days or weeks where I’ll just be working away and things are neutral and I feel like I’ve forgotten that I have depression. Those are the better times. Then other times, it’s like I wake up one morning and it’s like ‘hey bitch, guess who’s back?’.

I can only describe it as having like a really bad migraine that you just cannot get rid of, no matter how many tablets you take or water you drink. It’s just always there. The doctors can’t get rid of it, you can’t get rid of it, so you just find different ways to handle it as best you can.

I’m now going through a point where I’m trying to expressively look for positives in each day to try and battle out the playing field a bit. Let depression just F off.

Writing is the best thing ever for me right now, and getting indulged in that is really helping me and my GOSH have I got loads and loads of ideas and plans in the pipeline. I think not only does writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction etc help me, but journaling has been so good for me too because I don’t have anyone to talk to honestly and openly about my feelings properly.

This isn’t meant to be a dig at any of my friends in the slightest, but I have to be real here: it’s a lot easier for us to post stories and tweets about how we’re always going to be there for someone, if they wanna message us about anything or feel depressed but it’s not really that easy to keep up with it is it?. Every one has their own lives. All of my friends are busy. Quite a lot. And it’s not their fault, they genuinely do not have the time that I need them to have. Because it’s not just a little text message here and there for me that’ll fix it. I want to have a proper intense and deep conversation about what goes on in my head sometimes and not feel like I’m pulling someone away from more important things.

It’s also one of those things as well where there’s certain things you can’t say to certain people. Like I’m not going to have a deep conversation with a guy that I fancy and tell him about how needy I am. That’s just basic common sense. I’d want the guy to want me not be like well good job we’re platonic, this bitch be crazy.

And I’m not going to talk about my body issues to people who might have body hang ups of their own and make them feel like it’s a competition. It’s hard. I need a therapist ideally don’t I?

But hey, I can’t do zoom appointments in my very small not-private home so for now it’s just writing shit down in blog posts, or poetry etc to let the darkness out a little bit. To anyone who buys my books in the future, (that I will have published one day, just you wait and see) I apologise in advance for how deep some of what you read might be.

So how do we overcome depression when things are seeming pretty negative? Here’s a few things that I have started doing that I hope may help anyone reading this:

1. Writing that shit out; I mean, I’m someone who’s aiming to be a full-blown writer so it’s easy for me to say. But even before my courses, I always used to write things out. I still keep a journal. It’s really good therapy and self-care for ourselves to express how we’re feeling in writing. If you don’t wanna keep a journal, maybe write letters to either yourself or someone who hurt you. Sometimes letting out your feelings in a letter that you throw away after can make a big difference.

2. Make practicing Gratitude an every day part of your life; No matter how up or down you are, take a deep breath at the end of each day before you sleep and express gratitude for the things you do have. Your home, friends, just making it through the day without a breakdown. Anything that you’re glad you have.

3. Get medical advice; Depression is an illness. It’s as simple as that. When we’re very ill, we speak to the doctors. I know in the pandemic it is really hard, but we can still get the right help where needed if things are getting a bit too much for us.

4. Find a new interesting hobby; You don’t have to be amazing at it. Just find something new to learn and focus a bit of time on and enjoy doing it. Who knows what you might learn?

5. Put your phone away for a few hours; This one is a tough one. We are now in a world where a social media platform breaks and we have a meltdown. The first thing we grab when we wake is our phones. It’s also really, really bad for our health – physically and mentally. Put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off for a while at some regular intervals and focus on other things. It’s amazing the things you notice and pick up on when you’ve not got your eyes glued to a screen.

6. Get into new exercises; I am struggling a bit with this one myself. Especially when my black cloud is really, really hovering over me, but exercise really does release some good energy. Whether it’s just a few stretches a day, a YouTube kettlebell video or a yoga app, try and keep your body moving.

7. Do good things for the environment; if anything can make us feel good, it’s having a mission to protect our environment. Climate change is real, it’s happening. The future children and children’s children can really suffer if we don’t do something about it. I’m not saying you have to automatically become a vegan tomorrow or you’re never allowed to throw rubbish in the wrong bin again; there are many things we can do to help prevent the environmental struggle: eat less meat, don’t wash clothes too frequently, get rid of plastic straws, don’t throw away clothes – donate to charities instead etc.

8. Turn your mind away from the pressures of social media; Again, I struggle with this too. I’m not perfect. But social media is always going to be telling us to look slim, that our eyebrows aren’t right, we need to shave constantly etc etc. But it’s all money for them. They don’t give a shit about what you really look like or do. Also, and I cannot stress this enough: your body and mind is YOURS. If you don’t want to have Botox, or you like your curves or body frame as it is, if you want to keep a bush between your legs and not shave your legs for a month then you do you.

(I mean, I personally don’t want a bush but I also don’t appreciate that a few decades ago we weren’t women unless we had bundles of pubes but now men want us to have a fanny like children. What the fuck? Again, it’s us being forced to do things we don’t want to necessarily do, but we feel we have to. Particularly for women. No wait, especially for women. I don’t see a lot of men being told their private area needs to be shaved or trimmed to a certain degree but we still have to put it in our mouths!)

9. Have a selfcare day once a month, at least!; Whatever your idea of self-care is, whether it is sleeping for the whole day, doing endless workouts, a nice long hot bath, ALL the chocolate, or just reading books and wearing face masks, OR a mixture of all those things. Make sure you try and have days set aside for you to do those things. It’s amazing how different you can feel.

10. Self-Help/Anti-Guru/Guidance Books or Spiritual; I LOVE a good non-fiction help book or biography or memoir of how people have overcome things. Or spiritual guidance. There are so many out there. Giving yourself time to read books like this can really give you some good stern life-changing advice or help to go forward. If you haven’t read stuff like this before I would recommend the likes of Vex King, Jay Shetty & Matt Haig. Women: read Chidera Eggerue’s books – they are incredible.

I have now done a typical Zoë and waffled on for way too long. But, I do feel better now I’ve said all of this. I hope some of the above ideas also help anyone who might need it.

Catch up soon. Keep your head up everyone xxx

I shall leave you on this comical note. 😉

A little pick me up poem for Saturday morning ✨

Its the weekend!

I’m going to be taking part in a writing for wellbeing workshop today to hopefully learn some new tricks 😉 but to brighten up your Saturday for now. Here is a little cute poem I wrote.

Do you believe in magic?

I don’t believe I do,

It’s hard to believe any magic

They talk about is true

But with a little sparkle

That outshone all the rest,

I saw your eyes meet mine

And I knew it was for the best.

Do you believe in magic?

I didn’t, but now I do

As I knew that there was magic,

The moment I saw you.

(It always tickles me that I can write a lot of lovely poems about love with a complete lack of knowledge in that area 😛)

Have a beautiful weekend people!

A compassionate letter from an imaginary friend.

Evening everyone, I realise it’s been a week since I last posted. Things got a bit overwhelming in the last week and I had a lot going on so didn’t really get round to the whole blogging thing. But I’m back now and tonight I wanted to share with you a compassionate letter I wrote to myself…

Sounds weird doesn’t it? So let me just explain, over the last few months I have been reading a lot about self-compassion. A lot of people think it’s something that requires you being big-headed, but it’s not that at all. It is actually a fine line sometimes between being compassionate towards yourself and being ‘up yourself’. Self-compassion is more about knowing that you aren’t perfect, but loving yourself for it anyway.

While reading through different self-compassion books and articles to overcome my internal battles with myself, I came across a lot of things about writing a letter to yourself as if you were your own imaginary friend. Reason being, that a lot of self-compassion techniques require you to look at yourself as if it were in someone else’s eyes. It’s like they say, you wouldn’t talk to your best friend so badly, so why talk to yourself like that?

So over a month ago, I wrote a compassionate letter to myself as if I were my own imaginary friend. Today was quite good timing that I came back to look at it. I definitely needed to read this today, I thought I would share the letter with you today too. I would highly recommend this exercise if you’re ever feeling a bit down about yourself or need a pick-me-up, write a letter to yourself as if you were someone else or someone imaginary. Keep it to one side somewhere safe, and look back on it once a month for inspiration.

Hope everyone has a good week, and keep being kind to yourself as well as others xx

Playing around with Haikus

Last night, I had a massive surge of inspiration. I don’t know what came over me, but some positive conversation and contemplating over feelings and thoughts made me start experimenting and writing down a lot of haikus.

I learned about Haikus in my poetry workshop last weekend. I’d never written one before. The concept is that they are a form of poetry but they are written as 3 lines with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, then again 5 on the 3rd. Although I was advised that there are some haikus that bend it a little bit with an extra syllable here and there 😉

I was awake until 2.30am writing loads of Haikus.

In total, I had written about 25. Then I was so inspired today that I wrote another 5. I have decided to share these Haikus with you. Along with these Haikus I also decided to make them unique and my own so I went through my photo album on my phone and just used Instagram story filters to tweak the photos a little bit and then type on my Haiku text.

My favourites that I’ve done are below and I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my post 🙂 plenty more haiku and spoken word to come in the future xx

Why I am no longer holding those grudges.

(oracle from Amanda Lovelace’s ‘believe in your own magic’ deck.

Is it just me, or do we seem to find ourselves experiencing hatred, anger and negative worries a lot easier than love, kindness, respect etc? This is something that I have really struggled with over the years. I realised that I had a very very long list of grudges.

If you would have asked me a couple of years back how many people I had an issue with or a grudge against, I could have very easily, in a matter of minutes written up a note pad worth of names. If you were to do the same thing right now, it actually might surprise you how many people you have negative feelings towards, and just how unhealthy that is.

In our lives we always find ourselves getting hurt, quite frequently. We also (even though we may not be aware of it) can frequently hurt other people by our words, behaviours, or even just simple reactions to what they did that hurt us. Hurt is sadly a very vicious circle. It is also a circle which, we genuinely have zero control over. It is part of life.

I spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks thinking about the grudges that I had, towards various people from my experiences in dating/relationships and friendships, I learned a lot about myself and what the grudges and negative feelings had taught me to do. So this blog post is all about the reflection and lessons from this and why I am refusing to hold grudges anymore.

Dating and relationships

I have had many struggles with different men for different reasons over the years. I have been misled and hurt over and over again. I tend to always be this ‘second best’ placing in a lot of my relationships. Quite a majority of my earlier relationships were literally guys who were getting over someone else or just using me because they couldn’t get the one they wanted.

I heard a song this week called ‘drivers licence’ by Olivia Rodrigo which has a part in the lyrics which says:

“And you’re probably with that blonde girl
Who always made me doubt
She’s so much older than me
She’s everything I’m insecure about”

I literally am pretty sure I’ve written poems in the past with very similar context to the above. I have spent many, many times dating someone and feeling threatened by someone else the guy is close to or friends with, constantly told there’s nothing to worry about and then somehow, by sheer coincidence, we stop seeing each other and oh, they’re now in a relationship with ‘nothing to worry about’ according to Facebook. I know this is a common thing for a lot of people out there so don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to make out I am the only person this has happened to. I’ve also had men engage in full on conversations with me and acknowledge that I’m attracted to them and play along with it all even though they’re taken, then claim that they never specifically stated they were single (even though their behaviour would give that impression) and I was being unreasonable for reacting the way I did. And then, there’s the whole ‘always being the rebound chick’ thing. I don’t know what it is or why it always happens to me, but most of my relationships are always rebounds on the guy’s part and I’m always the one who ends up broken hearted. Or that’s what I thought anyway. Truth be told, as I’ve grown I realised that I haven’t actually really experienced true love with anyone. With each of my exes regardless of whatever happened, I had good memories and bad. I don’t actually hate any of my exes, I hope they’re all doing okay actually (yes even some of the nasty ones from 10+ years back). They each taught me something about myself or what I didn’t want. Or things about my behaviours. They also taught me what love isn’t.

(I swear the universe knew what I was planning to write about today and all the right quotes just seemed to come up on my feed.)

Although I don’t hate exes etc. The things that have happened to me referenced above have made me a different person when it comes to dating or even communicating with the opposite sex. I am a version of myself that frustrates me. It is of course all down to what’s happened to me before; because of the fact I have always tended to end up being misled by people and going through the whole they express interest and regular communication for a while then suddenly they’re quiet for hours on end, then days and the messages are shorter. You then address it and get given the ‘nothing to worry about’ message but really there was something to worry about, because they were done with your shit. You know how it is, we’ve all been there.

The issue with this was that it has now made me terrified of getting close to someone, and as a result I overthink a lot of situations and panic about how I’m coming across. It’s a vicious circle really, I say something that I worry is off putting, I then apologise for saying something because I’m worried it’s off putting, but they end up being put off by the fact I keep apologising or my constant paranoia that somethings wrong. It is a trait that I try really hard to work on but I can’t help the way my life has turned out and how my brain works.

I tend to now permanently have this paranoid mentality in my head that tells me if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Then I just expect it all to go wrong, sometimes I cause it to go wrong myself from my behaviours. Others the guy is just genuinely an arsehole.

I always hate myself a little bit when I get excited about someone. I can’t help it. I am one of those people who loves the idea of connecting with someone on that level, but I’m constantly worried that I’m not good enough and there’s always that other option. You know, that ‘her’ who’s better then me. I’m a very sensitive person and I get worried about rejection very easily which has unfortunately resulted in me leading my own self to be rejected on a regular basis because of my behaviours through fear. I do try now to keep it to myself when the worries happen, and instead of doing what I always used to do and message and be like ‘is everything okay, you’ve been really quiet today’ or ‘are you mad at me’ which is what normally resulted in me being pushed out of the equation, I try and distract myself and focus on other things until I think there is genuinely some major change or negative behaviour. It is very hard to get into that routine when you are so used to being a pain in the ass but I’m working on it. In fact, a few of my best friends will happily tell you in the past that there’s been times where they’ve advised me to lock my phone away for a few hours because my paranoia was getting too much, I was always one of those anticipating hearing from someone types. And of course, my natural presumption was always that when they were going quiet they weren’t busy, they just didn’t like me anymore. Sometimes my paranoia was correct mind you. But a lot of the time it wasn’t. And I made it worse for myself.

But as I have learned all this about myself, it also made me both learn and appreciate that although I can’t help the way that I am, the fears that I have, the way I’ve been treated, that I always seem to find men who lie to me. I can help how I address the situation and how I feel about it.

I can’t keep being mad at men for not loving me.


Friendships fall apart. That’s life, sadly. Over my 34 years of life I have been through many, many different friendship groups. I have thankfully been blessed with some of the closest friends ever who have been around for more than seven years now – which is something I never thought would happen. Reason being because I always used to have this thing where I would go from friendship group to friendship group. Sometimes it would be a drift apart situation, sometimes major fallout. A lot of ex-friends from years back would probably tell you I’m a spiteful mean person, and truth be told I can be. But in general, if you’ve ever had a spiteful response from me or I’ve reacted to something in a bad way, it’s because you’ve hurt me. I’m not justifying the spite here, I’m just putting across what my reasoning is (doesn’t mean it’s right).

There’s been many mean things done between me and friends: spiteful comments, I’ve slagged friends off, friends have slagged me off, I’ve hooked up with a friends ex, a friend has hooked up with my ex (and ironically of course I got annoyed about it even though I’d done it to a different friend myself) and it’s just all things that for whatever reason, justified or not, we simply can’t control.

The thing is, we can’t control our feelings for a start. If you fall for someone or you feel a strong connection with someone there isn’t a lot you can do about it. It doesn’t mean it’s justified at all. But back to my comment at the start of this, being hurt is inevitable.

The thing I’ve addressed this year is that it’s not about what happens to you. It’s how you react to what happens. And believe me when I tell you that from personal experience…

Grudges. Are. Fucking. Exhausting.

The problem with you personally holding on to grudges is that you are allowing so much negative emotion to take control of you, in mind, body and soul. Have you not ever noticed that when you hate someone and someone mentions that one girl that stabbed you in the back or that ex of yours you get filled with this horrible negative emotion, anger, and before you know it, you’ve actually gone from being happy hunky dory about your day to suddenly getting pissed off and ranting about someone who upset you. Half the time you’re angry about something they did five years ago and let me tell you, it’s not worth it.

I am not saying that everything a person does to you is okay, or that you have to go around messaging everyone you hated to say you love them now (because that would be weird and also they might still be holding grudges against you so let’s not make it worse), but what I am saying is that in a majority of cases; when it is silly little things, you can use what’s happened as a learning curve. Accept that what happened is absolutely shit and move on. Because no one is worth your negative energy really. There are better things we can all focus on with more positive emotions. There are way too many bullies, trolls and keyboard warriors in this world, don’t become one too just because of some grudge against the guy who was a dickhead or the friend who called you a slut in front of your mates back in 2005.

We have to move on. We have to forgive ourselves for our reactions to things and just release that negative energy.

A lot of this came to mind to me in the last week, because of the unfortunate loss of my friend Jason. His death got me to thinking about how short life really is. How we don’t actually know what is going to happen to us at any time, we don’t have control over when our time is up. I ended up sitting there thinking about that over and over again, for a whole weekend. I then realised that if Life is really that short and unpredictable, why am I spending all of my time being suffocated by anxiety and negative emotions about people and past experiences that I cannot change. It is too much energy. Rethinking how much people have hurt me and getting angry about it or emotional just wears me out. I’ve had times where I have actually felt violently sick, just because I was upset over a guy who text me non-stop and acted keen for weeks to only then die down the conversation and make out I was being crazy for being upset about his lack of chat etc.

My body and it’s health is really important to me. So why am I allowing grudges to fuck it up and make it feel unhealthy. Is the girl that I only ever really disliked because I was threatened by her beauty really worth another migraine? No. Not one bit.

I have spent way too much time focusing on so much negative energy that I am actually exhausted from it. Even just writing this blog post tore a lot of emotions out of me and it is just an exhausting experience to say the least. I need to spend more time focusing on kindness, on people that care about me, the friends that always leave me fun voice notes about silly things on WhatsApp, the best friends who send me presents to cheer me up and always have my back on everything (even when I probably am in the wrong), the experiences I’m going to have in the future, the amazing people I am going to meet along the way. That’s what I am going to be excited about and focusing my energy towards. Not silly little things from the past, we’re all entitled to change and grow after all. Who’s to say the people that did me wrong haven’t changed?

I may not be able to just stop worrying about things going wrong, and apologising for silly worries, and I may still have my dark days and angry moments. I will always be just a little bit paranoid.. But my focus going forward is to express myself positively as much as I can. To smile more (even if I do think my smile is a bit weird looking), support my friends, think positive.

People are still going to hurt me time to time, but now I have learned how to take my time to react to what’s happened, express my emotions – have a little cry maybe and then when the heartache and pain is over, I will find ways to learn from it; reflect on the situation as is and move on in a more happy way.

I want to experience love a lot more than hatred. And that’s my mission in life going forward.

Post rant over. Have a fantastic weekend. also if you do like my blog posts and want to keep up to date with them, feel free to click the follow button and you will then get an email every time I post something 🙂

A poem in the wake of my late friend ✨

I did a poetry workshop today where I wrote a lot of poems about various subjects. This poem I wrote in relation to losing one of my friends to Covid earlier this week.

This poem is written in memory of my friend Jason Pendred, I’m sorry you didn’t get to see us all again and you probably didn’t realise how much you meant to me, in hindsight neither did I until you were gone….

We never know when time is up

We pretend the worlds not cruel

I believed we had forever

Guess I was a fool..

Our lives all have a timeline

Yet we fall into this curse

Where we think we’re all immortal

Until it all gets worse

So make sure that you’re happy

And your friends are never sad

Live a life worth living

That will make our angels glad.

A Challenge For Happiness..

I don’t know about everybody else but, I am finding lockdown 3.0 very difficult. Maybe it’s because this time around it’s more difficult to go out for walks etc because it’s freezing. Or maybe it’s the fact that we keep ending up in more lockdown’s every time we think things are looking up. Who knows. All I do know is, I have found myself struggling.

The world is so uncertain right now and it’s taking a toll on all of us in many different ways. I sometimes struggle to actually get up and get out of bed – if it wasn’t for my full-time job I probably never would. I’ve spent many mornings slowly dragging myself out of bed to go to the laptop in the next room and start work while still wearing my PJs.

The mad thing is, before Covid-19 I was such an early person. I used to get up around 6am every day, get up, get dressed.. most of the time I am in the office hours earlier than I need to be, or on the days where I decide to actually not overwork I would always be commuting by 8.15. On average I would do about an hours worth of walking a day to and from work alone.

Now, I am lucky if I take a five minute walk round the block once a week and I’m tired all the time. Obviously, having conditions like anxiety and ADHD can make these things ten times worse. Doing general day to day movements seems like a chore and I need to snap out of it.

Because I don’t like the person I’m being right now, lazy and miserable. I’ve decided to motivate myself a bit more and challenge myself to be happy every day.

I am doing this using a few different methods…

100 Happy Days Challenge – as of last weekend I started getting involved in the 100 Happy Days challenge on my Instagram account (zoeallard86), I post a picture every day for 100 days of something that has made me happy out of the day. The thing I love about this is, to do this you are forced to sit there and think about the good things that came out of the day. Not the bad things. we’re so used to thinking about how shit the days been that we sometimes can ignore very positive things.

Keeping busy, and educated – as I’ve already mentioned before, I am an aspiring writer and am currently doing a comprehensive writing course – I love it, but on certain modules it can be a bit demotivating because story writing is ultimately what I’d love to do. But that being said, I have quite enjoyed writing nonfiction pieces and also who knows what else I might find a talent for while going through it? Also, with the same college I’m studying with I am doing a weekly Wednesday night work shop with a couple of tutors and a few other students about the 3-stage plot of writing stories, I absolutely love it. It’s so educating and I’ve learned so much so far and I’ve only been doing it for two weeks 😀 I have also recently enrolled to do a days workshop on Poetry, and am also considering a palmistry workshop too as that sort of thing interests me. I am constantly looking for different workshops and lessons I can use to keep me busy but also give me that ‘learning satisfaction’.

Reading books instead of online bio’s – I’m doing a reading challenge to try and read 100 books this year. Any type of book is fine, non-fiction, young adult, biography, poetry, short books, long books etc etc so far I’ve read 12 books of various lengths so I’m doing pretty well. But my main challenge for myself is to spend more time with my hands holding a book to read then holding my phone scrolling through pointless social media stuff (it’s a very bad habit of mine that I am trying so hard to break).

Block apps in certain time frames – in light of what I’ve just said about social media.. and also learning from my iPhone settings that on average I can spend up to 6 hours in one day on social media apps etc. I have now put in some blockage screen time settings. Now, if I hit 4 hours on my phone on any social app, they become blocked from use until the next day. I’ve also set a timer on my phone to block me being able to use any of these apps between around 10.30pm and 6.30am. Hopefully this will help me condense down my time and spend more time on things that are important.

Spiritual awareness – I have got really into the spiritual side of things lately, I’ve always been fascinated by things like manifestations, universe, spirits, palmistry, horoscopes, oracles etc. So in the last couple of months I’ve spent a lot more time looking into that side of things. I’ve got some new crystals and subscribed to some good magazines in this area to help me with my journey. I’m also currently reading ‘think like a monk’ by Jay Shetty and so far it has some amazing techniques on your mindset so I’m slowly but surely working on some breath work and meditation etc to get my mindset in the right direction. But this isn’t going to be an overnight thing, it’s going to take some time.

Affirmations/Mantras – I’ve read a lot about these in my spiritual magazines and admittedly, I always wanna do them but my lazy brain tells me I don’t have the time and I forget or crack on with work etc but this is something I am working on. It is honestly amazing how affirmations or mantras to yourself are a good way to reframe your mindset.

My previous psychotherapist actually told me to try on a daily basis, to look at my reflection in the mirror and say all the things I like about myself. This is something I find personally very hard to do and I know a lot of you probably feel the same too. But honestly, your mindset can change so much if you do this sort of technique.

It’s not about being up yourself or bit headed, it’s about being compassionate towards yourself.

I’m also getting stuck in my writing a lot more which I LOVE doing. I’m working on short stories, poems, and planning out my novels. It’s all work in progress but my dream in the future is to have a few things published: a poetry book, some short stories, at least 3 novels and a nonfiction book about my personal experiences.

I just need the confidence in myself to do it all now.

Anyway, that’s my Monday post for you. Just wanted to check in and say I’m still alive and this is what I’m going through, hope everyone is staying safe and happy in these uncertain times…

A mid-week poem ✨

She’s Lost by Zoë Allard

She’s lost, she won’t admit it

She hopes she’ll find her way

She wishes she could turn back time

She wished that they would stay.

She’s lost, she won’t admit it

She will refuse your hand

She won’t share her dark memories

She buries them in the sand

She’s lost, she won’t admit it

She can’t find the right way to go

She knows the time is coming when,

She’ll find love and then, she’ll know.

How “The Midnight Library” changed everything for me.

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while is aware from some of my previous posts that I have a fair few mental health problems: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and then of course my other life-long commitments: ADHD and Hypothyroidism. My daily life is a constant little game of ‘which one is in control today’. And like a lot of people who have experienced depression, over the last almost 20 years I have had dark thoughts. I used to think of ways of harming myself and although I never wanted to kill myself, my thing was always wishing I could wake up as another person or another version of me.

Now: how it took me so long to get my hands on and read The Midnight Library I don’t know but I am kicking myself for not grabbing it sooner. And below I am going to give some examples and a brief review as to how and why reading this fictional masterpiece completely changed things for me mentally.

If you haven’t read the book don’t worry I’m not going to post loads of spoilers about it and ruin the entire story for you, I’m not that mean. But there’s a couple of things that stood out for me in this book that I wanted to share with you all and also, I think everyone should read this book!

Matt Haig has a big social media following and regularly posts a lot of things about mental health and anxiety and has even written books about it (I highly recommend his book Reasons To Stay Alive by the way). I knew when I kept seeing all these tweets about The Midnight Library and how it moved people to tears that I needed to get my hands on this book.

This is the first book in quite a while that I physically could not put down. I opened the book yesterday – I finished it yesterday. But why was that? What made this such a big deal to finish in one sitting?

Personally, I knew that this story would potentially be something I enjoyed or related to but I did not expect to connect with it half as much as I did.

From the moment I read the first few pages, I immediately connected with Nora. In as many ways as possible. She was 35 (the age I’ll be turning in a few months) who basically seems to be having bad luck all the time it seems, no husband, no children etc (same as me), she’s on sertraline (just like me – there’s a poem about it in one of my earlier posts) and she’s getting to the point where the sertraline doesn’t seem to be working anymore and she wants her life to end.

The concept of The Midnight Library is that there is a place in between life and death where there are infinite possibilities of various lives she can go into where certain regrets that she has never happened and she can see how different her life could have turned out.

This whole concept was something that literally put a twinge in my stomach (a good twinge mind you), as parallel universes and alternate realities is something that goes on in my head a lot. Particularly when my anxiety and depression is really bad or my PTSD – I always think to myself, ‘I wonder if this didn’t happen or I didn’t do this, how differently would my life be.’.

With my life, I have always sat there and thought to myself that if there are these parallel universes and lives and I am just one of me, that I am definitely the worst version. No one wants to be a thirty-five year old woman who lives in a box room at her parents house, trying to pay off debts (and stop herself compulsively buying stuff she doesn’t need for the sake of her own insecurities about how she looks), never having a successful loving relationship with a man, various mental health issues & PTSD that effects her love life. So I sit there, very often, and think to myself: I wonder how lovely the other Zoë’s life is. I wish I could be her instead of me.

There’s a particular statement about Nora in the book that I thought could have very well been something I wrote about myself in my journal: “Nora had always had a problem accepting herself. From as far back as she could remember, she’d had the sense that she wasn’t enough.”

I genuinely cannot describe to you the overwhelming feelings that I felt from just reading these two sentences. This was me. Through and through. I can’t actually remember a time when I felt like I was good enough. I don’t know how or why this ever happened, maybe silly little school bullying chants that stick with you, rejection over and over again in love and friendships, or maybe just not being ‘wired right’?

All I know, is as far as I remember, I have never been fully accepting of who I am. Never loved myself enough. I always did multiple things to impress others or change who I was as a person to impress someone else – it was a constant voice in my head always saying to me ‘you suck’ ‘everyone hates you’ ‘you’ll never have a happy ending’ ‘you’re going to die alone’ etc. You get the idea. I won’t bore you with every single thought, but they’re not very nice.

Anyway, back to the story: the story goes through different lives and the regrets that Nora has and how changing one little thing can make a big difference. For me, I think this is something I take for granted, and many other people probably do too. We never actually think about the fact that just one small decision can actually change an entire course of our lives, but not just our lives… other people’s too.

At first I was a little cynical about this (as I already am about everything), but then I put the book down for a second and thought about this thoroughly. I realised there were a lot of decisions that didn’t seem big but wow they would have made a massive difference to my life, for example: (& please note these are assumptions not facts- some things could’ve still turned out the same, I’ll never know)

If I didn’t make that choice at 18 to go home with a guy I barely knew I would probably not have PTSD and relationship issues

If I hadn’t decided to quit college I could have had a completely different career and colleagues

If I hadn’t moved out and rented for years, how would my life had played out?

These decisions, for me at the time of making them I never even considered them being anything drastic. They were literally as far as I was concerned, random impulse decisions. (Impulsiveness is sadly something very common with ADHD and it’s unlikely I’ll ever grow out of that) but these random impulse decisions led me to a totally different life.

I probably wouldn’t have even known half the friends I have now if I had just stuck with college and got a different career altogether. I might not even live in Watford. It’s the constant what-if process isn’t it? We don’t realise how these little decisions that we make shape the course of our lives.

I am a very strong believer in fate. Even though sometimes I get sulky and depressed and question why fate is giving me such bad luck in life, I still believe everything happens for a reason. But I loved having a little fantasy about what-ifs and how different things could be if I stayed with an ex, if I had quit my job years ago etc.

The point is, and the point I got from reading this (not sure if it was Matt’s intention but we can all interpret things in different ways) is that it’s not about wishing your life could be different or thinking you could do better if you could turn back the clock.

We all make mistakes and most of all every single one of us has regrets. Big or small, we have endless amounts of regrets – probably more regrets then we realise, but we can’t let the regrets forever control our thought process. Use regrets as a learning curve and forgive yourself for them.

I am quite a hypocrite at times and I always give people advice that I don’t take. Particularly with life choices or how we feel about ourselves, but I’m glad that as an aspiring writer I grabbed a whole bunch of different genre books to research and decided to add this one to my basket.

If you are ever feeling low or at a point of no return with your life and think that you could do better if you were someone else, don’t. You are unique as you are and everything you do will lead you to something positive, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Learn to love and learn from everything that happens to you. And live as much as you can.

Most importantly of all, Matt Haig taught me not to wish to be out of my own life, and embrace my life for what it is. It might not be my idea of a perfect life right now, but I am still here, I’m still alive and although my disorders will probably always be a part of me, they make me who I am and that’s not always a bad thing.

This book showed me the beauty of really putting things into perspective and embracing life as we know it. After all, we might not ever come across our parallel lives – so this is all we have got. Let’s live it.

•Emotional Exhaustion in Lockdown•

It’s very easy to experience a lack of motivation in our current situation. No-one thought in March-April time last year when the first lockdown hit that this would go on as long as it did. But here we are, confined in our homes again, wondering when it’s all going to end…

“Emotional exhaustion is a state of feeling emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of accumulated stress from your personal or work lives, or a combination of both. Emotional exhaustion is one of the signs of burnout.

People experiencing emotional exhaustion often feel like they have no power or control over what happens in life. They may feel “stuck” or “trapped” in a situation. 

Lack of energy, poor sleep, and decreased motivation can make it difficult to overcome emotional exhaustion. Over time, this chronic, stressed-out state can cause permanent damage to your health.” From

In the first few months of 2020’s first lockdown I ended up suffering from emotional exhaustion. I didn’t know what was wrong with me at first, I had not set foot out of my front or back door in about a week, I had no idea what the temperatures were like outside, I was tired all the time. It was a horrible experience for me, I can only describe it all as complete numbness.

A permanent sensation of heavy eyes, ‘blank brain’ and not feeling any motivation to do anything. After about a week I took a walk in the woods by my house to try and get passed it all – I knew that I was damaging my own health because of the fact I’d walked for five minutes and my legs were in pain. Like severe muscle pains, the kind of leg pains you get when you run a marathon… not walk for five minutes.

The fresh air and the walk did me some good I admit. And after this I tried my best to take regular walks every day to clear my head and help me feel better. And for a brief few months, lockdown relaxed a bit, we got to go and see friends again, go to the cinema, visit the workplace, socially interact… but then it got to winter, more spreads and a new variant that seems to spread a lot faster than the last and it is so much easier to get back in to the emotional exhaustion phase again.

I have felt myself over the last week or so, feeling the same emotional exhaustion experiences that I did last year. I find it harder this time around. I think more so because I have more goals and tasks in front of me now, I’m doing a writing courses, I’m trying out new things, I have ambitions. Yet I feel worse now, because there’s this pressure over me that is making me feel demotivated to complete things and then I get miserable because I feel like I am a failure and I won’t make it. It’s also harder to do regular walks when it’s dark by about 3.30pm every night.

(Pic is from the mini affirmation book “YOU ROCK” a Xmas gift from my brothers wonderful partner).

So in light of all this, I have devised some plans on what I can do to beat the exhaustion this time around and also might help some other people out there who may be experiencing the same things to try and overcome the dark tiring feelings that come about. So below is a few ideas and suggestions that I’m currently working on to keep me going. You don’t have to do all of these if you don’t want to, or do one or two if you wish. Just some ideas really 🙂

Set yourself daily goals to achieve: it doesn’t have to be anything massive, but if you give yourself a small realistic goal each day, you will feel great when you achieved it.

Go outside for a walk. Daily!: Nature is beautiful, fresh air is good for you, it may be harder in winter with the air being so ice cold and less natural vitamin D, but try and put some wooly items on and have a little stroll. Even if it’s just for five minutes round the block.

Read a Self-Help/Motivation book: I am an absolute sucker for self-help books or motivational books. It’s amazing what they can do for your mental health. If you’re not sure what ones to go for, I suggest these as a good start point:

What a time to be alone by Chidera Eggerue

Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

I have received one today by Anna Lou Walker called “Find Your Shine, how to go from self-conscious to self-confident” so I will let you know how that goes and I can already tell it is going to be good.

Also, getting lost in books in general is a really therapeutic way to escape things. If you like to write, find time each day to express your feelings in your writing. Or write a new story or poem.

I have recently started looking into spiritual well-being and purchasing things like crystals and oracle cards and learning about all that is helping me to react positively to 2021.

Hopefully I will be able to follow the above and feel a lot more refreshed and happier in the coming weeks. Hopefully, all of us are going to be seeing light at the end of the tunnel very soon. And will be able to feel positive energy and motivation all round.

Stay Safe Everybody!