Figuratively and literally, this past summer has felt like a tropical storm that will never cease. Even when I have screamed into the skies, the downpour has not seemed to falter. When one good thing happens, two bad things come to follow. The downpour, it seems to follow me when I am the most vulnerable and the most weak of all seasons. Even in the sunshine, I feel it looming over me when I am heading to work, trying to focus on watching a documentary, and 1 o'clock in the morning when my eyes are plastered to the wall contemplating how I cannot go to sleep. It presses heavy on my heart even when I am surrounded by my loved one or friends, by the people I absolutely love the most.

Those important people in my life ask me: - Why don't you just make it stop?

The sadness, the way it tears my insides apart and tells me I can’t possibly make it without it, how come I can’t let go of it? These are the questions they would have. The encouraging advice of others did not seem to matter because the rain, even if it was simply a drizzle, was present in my life and I made it an idol. Something many can’t understand is that the rain is not the issue, it is the cloud that constantly follows me. That very same cloud was the one who told me at six years old that I was never going to be good enough. The cloud dampened my spirits in every single way that it could. It seemed to be the only thing I could fall back on in my life.

But there is also a fire in me. It’s shy, it’s weak, and it is not as cunning as I want it to be but it exists. No matter how much the cloud or the rain tries to stop it from burning, it burns inside of me. That fire has made me realise that I am worthy and I deserve far more than the dreary and dampened clouds has given me. I have decided that I DESERVE to know who I am and what I want for once in my life. The point of this post I am writing is that everyone has that cloud and everyone is distracted by the rain but throughout our lives we tend to forget the light that is present inside of us. It would be a travesty to live without that light because that is our soul.

Ever noticed how one spot of darkness in a room full of light does not stand out? In a room full of darkness however, one light will always stand out. Let that one light be you.

xxx

Michelle

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I sit here, writing coming down from my most recent panic attack. Trying to type through my tears because I feel so lost and scared. Panic attacks drain me. To the point where no one understands how low I feel. People will say they have them "sometimes too," but you're convinced they've never felt as alone as you have on the damned bathroom floor.

They are not something to be joked about. Not something you can say in passing or through a Facebook comment. When someone casually jokes they are "panicking" or they use that term instead of them saying they are only "freaking out," which is more than likely the case.

Panic attacks aren't something that just happens to you when one thing goes awry — they happen consistently. They are when you're crying on your bathroom floor in the dark for fifteen minutes, thinking your heart is going to beat out of your chest.

It's your family asking you why you keep crying for hours afterward because the worst part is over. But it isn't. Feeling so desperately alone and scared over something that would only make the next person blink. They are struggling to breathe because you can't grasp the air hard enough.

They are 3 pills into your anxiety medication, hoping that can bring some relief to blood pressure that keeps raising. They are sitting alone by yourself, while no one wants to help you.

A panic attack makes you feel incredibly alone in your own body. Bringing in self-awareness that only you can attend to. You can feel the hum of your heart as the beats start to level out and your breathing becomes regular.

But you cannot forget the fact the air left your system because of something you had no control over, so why did you worry in the first place?

These thoughts rustle around in my mind as I try to comprehend why I feel the way I do. The world goes on. It's not the end of the world. Just get through the next 10 seconds.

Just breathe.

Just breathe.

Just breathe.


It's all you can tell yourself.

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There seems to be some sort of pandemic that has arisen involving mass media and its glamorisation of numerous types of mental disorders, everything from depression to bulimia. To those who struggle day in and day out with such diseases, there is nothing more exacerbating. There is so much that is misunderstood about mental illness, so much stigma, that it really is difficult to decipher what is accurate and what is fictitious. It is imperative that some light is shed on this situation, because all too often modern media promotes slews of erroneous information, mostly to adolescents and young adults.

If I could get one point across, it would be that there is nothing glamorous or appealing about any sort of mental illness. Anorexia isn't bashfully refusing a cookie to stay slim, it's obsessively starving yourself to the point where your body is malnourished, weak, and brittle. An anxiety attack isn't getting a little nervous before giving a speech; it's blacking out on public transportation, your head pounding, your entire body shaking uncontrollably, feeling like your heart is going to explode from beating so hard, and feeling everything go numb like you've lost all control of yourself. Depression isn't feeling a little down here and there. It's being physically unable to get out of bed, it's having no motivation to even shower or feed yourself, it's feeling like you're constantly in the dark with no way to turn on the light, like each day is more exhausting than the day before it, and like any sort of happiness has been permanently stripped from your world.

I could go on and on, but the point I'm trying to get across is that none of these disorders should be taken lightly. None of these should be advocated for or romanticised about. They can truly be a living hell and anyone who's experienced any sort of mental disorder knows this. Most who suffer with such things do so silently, in fear that those around them will see them as unstable or fragile and will treat them as such. A majority of sufferers are those whom you would least expect; people who are ambitious and outgoing, people who are leaders and trailblazers, people who are talented and creative, people who would watch hell freeze over before letting their illness hinder them from living their lives. Maybe that's why mental illnesses are so romanticised, because many who are truly suffering with them are not quick to let on when they're struggling. We should all keep in mind, however, that many do wrestle with these issues daily, which is why it is so important to be kind to everyone. You never know what battles they're braving each and every day just to survive.


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I have depression. Depression doesn't have me. This distinction may seem to some like a simple rearrangement of words, but those who truly understand this disease know that the wording is everything. It's important to clarify who is really in control, meaning that I have say over my disease, never vice versa. It's imperative that I distinguish who holds power over who. The answer to this question lies solely in my hands. If I choose to feed into the constant tormenting thoughts, I'm playing right into their hands. I'm facilitating the disease's power over me. If I choose, however, to empower myself with positive self-talk and mindfulness then I can assert full power over it.

This is not to say that I am able to combat these thoughts all the time, because that would be a lie. Having to be constantly vigilant is tiring, and when I let myself slip that's when those negative thoughts engulf my mind and exhibit their effects on my physical and mental health. Knowing how to shut these thoughts down in a healthy manner is the key to asserting dominance over them. Having the motivation to consistently regulate what is going on in my mind is what keeps me from allowing exhaustion (and therefore negativity) to take over. I can attribute this drive to my job, my future career, my loved ones, and my hobbies. Completely delving into each aspect of my life despite sometimes not feeling up to it is what truly warrants me to maintain control over the disease. I know now that if I allow myself to become disengaged it will only perpetuate my feelings of lethargy and disinterest.

Keeping my mind and body busy while allotting time for rejuvenation (an important balance to strike!) is the optimal way to care for and strengthen my entire being. Each person is different, but finding a way to keep yourself going day in and day out is vital when living with depression. Coming from someone who knows what it's like to feel like you have no control over your thoughts or the detrimental effects they have on your entire body. Coming from somebody who has an extensive understanding of the temperamental nature of depressive disorders, I know how difficult finding your motivation can be. But keep searching, because it is you that is the master of your mind and body. The fight to garner that control can be an uphill battle, but one that is so worth it. You and only you have the ability to demand authority over your depression. Remember, you have depression. But depression sure as hell doesn't have you.

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If I could describe my life in a word right now, it would be "complicated." According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word complicated means "consisting of parts intricately combined." That speaks true for my life, but I know it speaks to others, too.

Some of what the complication has arisen from rests in the fact that I am a perfectionist. I tend to want everything, from the wrinkles in my shirt, to how I do my job to be perfect. Reality keeps giving me a slap when I realise that I'm not perfect, but that has yet to stop me from wishing and hoping to be just that.

I am also, as recent memory and blow ups show, a hypocrite. There are times when I say one thing and do the exact opposite. It is a shot to my ego to admit that. Yes, I try to come off as having my life together, but that can be hard when life is plastic and I am a natural force. Sometimes, in a joking fashion, I do go against the grain that makes up my belief system. The jokes, though, are a way for me to escape my own demons inside of me.

My anxiety, too, shuns people and things that have the capabilities to be something special, away. I don't mean to push people away, it, like a thunderstorm, just happens. I am like most women and want to see myself conquer certain aspects of the world, but anxiety puts a significant limit on me and what I can conquer. I would love to sit here and say that I am "more than my anxiety," but I am not. Seeing that in writing is quite scary.

My life is complicated, and honestly, the things that I listed above are self reflections that I sort of hate about myself. While it is a daily struggle for me to accept these things, I work hard to try to avoid them. For the people that have stayed with me, though, you mean the world. I can honestly say that I would not be the woman I am today without your constant love.

I am proud of the person that I have become, but to the people who I lost along the way, I am so sorry. I know that I can sometimes burden you with my complicated life. I know that I am a handful, a bunch of daisies that are bound to die off. But my guilt, my sorrow, and my hope that I will one day find peace never cease. Saying that I "don't have anything" makes my heart cry. But I am always willing to forgive, just as long as those that I do burden don't forget.

This complicated life can sometimes be hard to find something to find solace in. The thing that always does it for me is music. Lately, it's Biffy Clyro that does it for me. That is especially the song Machines. Simon Neil sings:

"Crazy as it sounds you wont feel as low as you feel right now
At least that’s what I've been told by everyone
I whisper empty sounds in your ear and hope that you won’t let go
Take the pieces and build them skywards"

In this complicated life, I not only find my own bliss with solitude, but in knowing that I am never truly alone with music. The complicated stories that I sometimes feel are too complicated to exist, do in songs. Reality is complicated. However, knowing that someone, be it a musician, "gets it" is truly something magical.

Life sucks. Listen to music more.

xxx

Michelle Forde

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“I realised that when you look at you mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”- Mitch Albom


Dear Mum,

I want to start by telling you how much I love you. I know I don’t always show it and I know I’m not around these days and honestly, I don't even say it that often, but I do. You are the most important woman in my life, and you will always be. Ever since I was little you have been my hero and someone I have always looked up to. I know life has been hard for you, and I haven't always done much to make it easier, but you have sacrificed so much in your life just to raise me and it means more to me than I’ll ever be able to express in this letter. You are the strongest person I know, full of love and motivation, and I’m incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to have that all my life. So, mum, I love you so much, to the ends of the earth and until the day I’m no longer walking on it.

Next comes me telling you, thank you. Two words that means so little when comparing them to every little thing it is that you do for me. Thank you for the countless hugs. Thank you for working ungodly hours just to buy me that something I really wanted for Christmas. Thank you for the laughter, the smiles, the lessons, and reminding me that I’ll always have somebody who loves me for who I am, flaws and all. You have shown me that it is okay to make mistakes, it's okay to cry, and it’s okay to be who I am.

Lastly mum, I want to tell you how I am sorry. I’m sorry for all the times I fought with you, for the times I’ve let you down, and for the times I chose friends and other things over you. Sometimes I tend to lose sight of the things that are most important to me. I never meant to fight with you when you told me I couldn't go out on that one night because you just wanted to sit and watch a movie together. You truly mean so much to me and I don’t express it enough. A lot of the time, especially lately, you deserve someone who pays more attention to the things that you do. I hope that by the time I’m older you can someday forgive me for this.

All in all, I love you to death mum. You are my entire world, whether you know that or not. Thank you for being everything to me, always.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays.

xxx

Your daughter Michelle

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There is a quote that I see all the time. It says, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I always appreciated these words but did not truly grasp the meaning of them until recent years. Now that I do, I believe this is one of the most powerful pieces of advice out there.

You do not need to be an English professor to understand the importance of these words. This quote does not need to be broken down and analysed to find a deeper meaning below the surface. The message does not need to be manipulated. In 11 words, it articulates the importance of one of the most simple yet often forgotten acts. It is blunt and straightforward: Just be kind.

Every day, you pass by hundreds, if not on some days, thousands of your peers. Some may be smiling and laughing, some may look distraught. While a person's expression does give insight into their immediate mood, moods are dependent on a multitude of internal and external events and, therefore, change all the time. We often make the mistake of judging a person's overall state based on very specific moments in time. A cursory judgment like this does not give us the whole picture. There is no possible way for you to know what someone might be going through or what their past may hold just by looking at them. If we relied on this logic, we would be forever making wrong assumptions. Someone might appear to have their whole life figured out, while in reality they are struggling. Someone might seem like their family is the image of perfection when it actually could not be farther from it. I could go into so many hypotheticals like these, but you get my point.

Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Everyone has hardships of different shapes and sizes. Everyone has a history, a story, an experience that made them who they are today. Life is not all sunshine and roses, and it is wrong of us to assume that anyone has lived a fairy tale. Smiles can hide so much, and you never know what someone might be dealing with underneath theirs.

Knowing this, making an effort to be kind, always, should be a no-brainer. Kindness is one of the most powerful things and can have a colossal impact on people. It is better to be kind and unknowingly brighten someone's day than to be needlessly rude and accidentally make a situation even worse for someone.

We get so wrapped up in our own lives and fail to notice when others need a little kindness. Take the time to think for a moment before you act. Think about how your small actions might mean a lot more to someone. Words and actions are powerful.

Be careful, respectful, and above all be kind with yours.

xxx

Michelle


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No matter how softly I gaze upon the rough edges of a days weight full of past regrets, I still manage to plunder in a moment of weakness. 5,478. That is how many days I've lost my life to the soul sucking slips of an unquenchable sadness. A desert storm has brewed within, quivering behind shutters with each eye's wink. Maybe today, I always declare, will be the day that I stray away from this familiar discomfort. And if I am not one to brave the beast within, maybe today will be somebody else's day to win. It's a reckless sin, an abject tragedy, that all this time has just ceaselessly caressed itself against the iron rusted clock. Wasted? Maybe, but time just keeps ticking, entrapping all its victims in immobile spaces. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew and for that, I ache in woes. But for as much as this sadness has taken from me, I've taken from it too, just enough to keep me going, just enough to keep me idling passing by. And with all my sorrows thoroughly rooted in the unkept promise of yet another tomorrow, I pray that maybe today will be the day.

We are always here, vying in life or death, forever within this moment for as much as we can feel without it. The sun keeps us all spinning, yet even the biggest star in our universe has its days to hide behind the clouds. When I was younger, I believed that whenever it rained it meant that God and its angels were crying. I learned that tears contained magical-like healing properties that washed away all the bad to make the next day better. Now I don't know what to believe because the possibilities are endless. We all face our inevitability, but in some other universe, immortality does exist. With life everlasting, what ceases to be exceptional in spite of all its wondrous beauties is our tireless experience. And as the tears fall down from the sky, I may cry with the angels up above so that tomorrow may be better, if not for me than maybe for you! The sadness never really goes away, you just get "better" at dealing with it. There is never enough time to count up the moments lost, for it is worthier to have hope for the moments that have yet to come. A quick embrace might be all we really need to help us make it through. They say the grass is not always greener on the other side. But if you are in between, you get the best of both worlds.

Life is full of many meanings, even if you are blind to them. It is in your interpretation of whatever this experience means to you that will hopefully power you enough to keep going. Even if you are unable to make amends with yourself, you are the only one with the power to make a change, the main difference between the here and the now. The best part is that you get to choose, so choose wisely.

xxx

Michelle Forde

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I'm so tired.

I'm tired of injustice. I'm tired from being anxious and how useless it makes me feel. I'm tired of having to take medicine every day and am still plagued with panic attacks and unprovoked emptiness. I'm tired of people arguing with me about stuff like how people who are attracted to the same gender shouldn't get married. I'm tired of people arguing in favour of fucking assault rifles. I'm tired of people reaching out to me for help, but not being able to help me in the rare occasions I ask for anything. I'm tired of people telling me I have nothing to be upset about.

In the eyes of others I have a great life. I have a loving partner. I have support from my parents. I have reliable friends. I have a great job. I have a precious stepdaughter. I get to go places.

I'm exhausted with people telling me to just suck it up and deal with the problems my generation has to face caused by the generations before mine.

Don't message me telling me to suck it up. Don't message me telling me you had it harder growing up. Don't message me saying that I'm spoilt. Don't message anyone in my family saying you're worried about me. Don't message me saying that you're sorry.

I'm tired.

I'm tired of people being fake on social media. I'm tired of people being fake in real life. Say what you mean. Stop saying things you don't. Stop saying things you've read somewhere and saying that you're right because you can trace it back to a Wikipedia article or an ancient book. You're not always right. I'm sure as hell not always right, either. But I work every day to be more educated and more prepared.

I'll suck it up when you do.

I'll suck it up when innocent people stop being murdered. I'll suck it up when people stop cheating on their partner. I'll suck it up when women don't fear their lives in a fucking parking lot. I'll suck it up when we can all collectively agree that people like Donald Trump and Theresa May are both jokes.

Until then, I'll have my opinion.

And you will have your opinion, which will likely not change my opinion. And I will continue to write and try and do my part to make things change. What can you do today to make us less tired of injustice and immaturity?

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On my walk to work and back today I decided to listen to Biffy Clyro's Ellipsis. It’s the follow up album to 2013 Opposites (my favourite Biffy album) that fans had been waiting 3 years for. Biffy Clyro for me definitely stepped outside the box with this album more in a totally new and exciting way for them. Ellipsis has that signature Biffy Clyro sound but almost revamped. I think I worried what Biffy were going to do next after such a successful Opposites campaign but they somehow managed to make an album that sums up the uniqueness of the band. There is quite simply no other band making music like Biffy and that’s quite an achievement to have and statement to make. Some songs like Animal Style are in your faces which Biffy have nailed but then you’ve also got songs like Re-arrange that showcases the sentimental and versatility of Simon’s song writing and the bands musical ability. Ellipsis is an album I probably wouldn’t put in my top 3 favourite Biffy albums of all time but it is an album that has shown that the band isn’t afraid of mixing their sound up and being creative enough not to get comfortable with a sound that became so successful.

Go have a listen,

xxx Michelle

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