You came into my life years and years ago now. Since then there are times we have been very close and there are times when you have taken a backseat, leaving me to get on and concentrate on the things that are really important. You were always lurking though, waiting for an opportunity to come back to me. When you have been present in my life, you have controlled everything, from how I feel, to what I do, to how I perceive and react to situations. You affect my relationships with other people and I think that the time has now come for us to part ways.

Some days you make it almost impossible for me to get out of bed, I can’t think straight or find the motivation to do things, even the things I would once enjoy and look forward to. I am exhausted by you, I feel drained by you. So from now on, rather than just accepting you as the big black cloud that always brings me down, I am going to stand up and fight you. I know you will fight back and I know it won’t be easy, but I don’t want you here anymore tainting my life, which is actually pretty amazing. I don’t want you casting shadows over what should be a lovely time for me and the people I love. I want to embrace life and all it stands for, I want to make the most of what I have, however little that may be, because it is mine and I have worked hard for it. I want to cherish every day spent, without feeling the familiar tinge of sadness, because it’s just not how I expected I would feel – but it’s not me doing that – it is you.

It's been a long time since I recognised myself, so long that in fact I have almost forgotten who I was, but there are times when I get a glimpse of myself, and I want more of that. I want to feel at peace and content, rather than anxious and worried. I don’t like the person you have turned me into, with no confidence and self belief. I want to walk out of my front door and hold my head high, I want to not care what other people think. I want to be the person I once was. To laugh, to love and know that life can’t get any better than this – and the only way I can do that is to put you behind me – and believe me I will, I owe it to the people who have stood by me. I owe it to my family and friends, to be the best I can for them, but above all I owe it to myself.

So depression, this is goodbye, it’s not see you later, it is our final farewell. You are no longer welcome in my life. I am taking back what's mine.

xxx Michelle

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Do you ever have one of those days where it almost hurts to be inside your outsides?
Where your skin feels like it's one size too small, and the seams are rubbing in all the wrong places, and you just know there are blisters forming in very inconvenient places, but there's nothing you can do about it?
And that makes it even more frustrating and annoying.

Do you ever have one of those days where every word you speak is just shy of conveying the point you are trying to make?
Where the descriptive terms you need have not yet been created, or you can't locate them in your cluttered mind, or even if you can, nobody seems to understand what you're trying to say?
And you're sure what you want to say is not worth hearing anyway, because every word out of your mouth makes you cringe with disgust and self-loathing.

Do you ever have one of those days where you want to shred your constricting, ugly skin and strangle your whiny, irritating voice?
Where you want to run and hide from the ugliness that is you because one more moment of that you is going to make you puke, or scream, or homicidal...

Do you ever have one of those days?
Or even one of those moments?
I did. I do.
All day yesterday. And it is continuing today.

It needs to stop. I'm going for a walk.

X Michelle

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Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat and any other platform that you use to broadcast your life to your friends; is notreal life.

We know this.

We know that likes, follows, unfriending or blocking someone, aren’t real social movements. They don’t prove that someone is loved, hated or liked. 1 million followers doesn’t mean your beautiful, nor does 1 follower mean that you are ugly.

We understand that seeking validation from social media is like earning monopoly money. It isn’t real.

We know this.

But if we are to be honest with ourselves, why are we denying the power of likes?

Come on – who doesn’t love it when you reach over 25 likes on your selfie? Who doesn’t pull a smile when you read lovely comments under your Facebook status? Who doesn’t know how many followers they have on instagram? I bet you do!

I know some of you may think that the idea of seeking affirmation online is ridiculous and sharing personal information across digital platforms is fake communication, but there is no denying that this is how most of us socialise today.

The Like, Follow, Block and Unfriend button is powerful!

So powerful, that it might also be the main reason as to why online bullying and ostracism is prominent throughout most of our social media apps.

Long gone are the days of playground bullying and office bitching, this digital age has found a new form of social exclusion. Rejection that isn’t entirely obvious to the majority of people, but is very obvious when it’s aimed at you. Think about it – two of your friends are chatting over Facebook about their plans for this weekend. Plans that you are not invited to. They could have text, called or sent each other a letter! But instead they put it on Facebook for you to see and even worse, for everyone else to see. Public humiliation at it’s best! Another example of social media rejection, is when someone blocks or unfriends you, and you can’t help but think: Am I annoying? Was my political tweet too much? Is my Map My Run app pissing everyone off?  

Social media is highlighting that our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), isn’t all in our heads; it actually is happening, for real.

And before you roll your eyes at how pathetic our society has become, you should know that cyber rejection is now being citied in courtrooms all over the world. Last year, an Australian woman won a case in which it was accepted that her colleague’s ‘unfriending’ of her on Facebook constituted as ‘workplace bullying’.

Regardless of new laws taking place, I still think we’re a long way off from the day when people finally stop writing cryptic statuses and uploading quotes which dig at people they dislike.

Sadly, there will always be someone out there, who will try to make you feel excluded online. Whether that’s not liking your photo or removing you from a WhatsApp group. One thing to keep in mind, for when you next feel left out online, is social media is simply the icing on the cake when it comes to true friendships, but it certainly is not what sustains them.

At the end of the day, your real friends will never need to press a button to show that they actually like you!

xxx Michelle Forde

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The 13th of November I expressed shock and sadness about the news from Paris. At least 129 people died and dozens more were injured. It saddened me because I stand for peace. Though I can never right the horrific wrongs of terrorism, or stop the devastation felt by people who have lost loved ones, I can show them that I stand with them.

Across Europe and the rest of the world, people keep adding their names to a message of condolence to all victims of terrorism at the hands of ISIS. It's so scary, that the world we live in is such a cruel and cold place at times. It is scary because those people were just out and enjoying their Friday night and then the world was turned upside down. It is scary because people start reacting in the wrong way.

My heart goes out to ALL victims of terror all over the world, including those in Paris. I can't believe these horrible acts are still played out. I have been pausing every now and then since Friday to think about Paris. I have also been thinking of those lives lost in Lebanon where 43 people were killed the day before, and not to forget Syria where hundreds of people are killed in terrorist attacks every day.

We can't give up hope though, as this world is also full of far more good things than there are evil. Stay strong, stay human, and I'd like to finish this post with a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

xxx

~ Michelle

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... And then it happened. My little sister Sharon turned 18 and became an adult, and I find it hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. It feels like yesterday when you climbed the bookshelves or stood by the baby gate clapping your hands to let us know you wanted to be picked up. But you are 18 now.

I will always remember all that we have been through. Sorrow, happiness, tears and laughter. I will always treasure how you used to be one of the few people in my messy teenage years that could make me feel better, even though I did not show it to you.

Being 9 years apart I still don't know if I ever taught you anything out of use, but we have a whole future in front of us and I'd like to say one thing to you, sissy. I have made many mistakes in my life and I don't want for you to go through all the pain I have been through, so if you ever feel sad or low, call me and we shall talk about it. Being quiet is the worse thing possible.

But hey, you are 18! You probably know all of this already.

You are now free as a bird, allowed to fly anywhere or everywhere, and since you are one  of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out, I know you will make the most out of your future. I'm so proud of you and I love you more than words can describe.

Stay wild at heart and always be you, because you are amazing.

I love you,

Happy 18th birthday,

xxx

- Your sister Michelle

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​I am having a break from the internet. I have realised lately how much time I spend checking my Facebook, uploading pictures on Instagram and so on, so I decided to give myself a break from it all. I need to focus more on feeling better within myself and doing more of my other hobbies, such as seeing friends, playing my guitar and read a good book. So far I have felt a big difference. My mind is clearer and I have slept better. I will be back in a few days though, and when that finally happens some good blog posts are coming up.

We consume so much time online these days that we forget how to live without it, and being born in an era where internet barely existed I should be able to lead a life just fine on my own and not through staring at screens. I'm bringing back peace into my life.

See you in a few days!

​xxx

~Michelle

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I'm sorry for not posting much on here lately but working and trying to stay alive is taking up most of my time. I have been so busy and it's not doing my mental health any good. Or maybe it is doing me a lot of good but I just can't feel it.

It's difficult to imagine feeling much worse. My body aches with emotional pain. Depression--thick and heavy--has a stranglehold on my soul. It takes all my energy to move within my home from one room to the next. Laundry, my task for today, will be an all day affair. It hurts to breathe.

It hurts to breathe. If I wasn't experiencing it myself, I wouldn't believe it possible. It's difficult to imagine feeling much worse. It's also hard to imagine feeling more debilitated by this illness. I feel like I am useless, hopeless, and I'm definitely discouraged.

I am at a loss as to what to do next. It's hard to think when expending so much energy just staying alive. I am literally living one moment to the next here. This is not how I want to live, but this is what I've got right now. I'm tired, but I'll stay strong. Tomorrow is a new day and I'm hoping it will be a lot better. I will never give up. I will never let this disease get the best of me, even if it at times feels like it's over.

I CAN DO THIS.

xxx

~Michelle


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So excited to have found this in my local Tesco. I can't wait to start making some scrambled eggs and healthier omelettes.

Let's get cooking!

xxx
~Michelle Forde

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My depression is a multifaceted illness. Emotions run the gamut from hopelessness to irritation to numbness. The overriding emotion over the past 4-5 days, however, has been unrelenting, discouraging and debilitating sadness. I am just sad. I've been sad all weekend. I can't shake the sadness.

I continue to take my medication. I take my 5 pills a day. Yet here I sit, sad as ever. The sadness permeates through me and from me. It feels like it fills my soul. Sadness makes my movements slow, my speech limited, and my processing of information stunted. It's a little unreal. The world is moving about me, but I'm existing in a weird state of suspended animation within it.

I'm praying for a lift in my mood. I'm praying for some light to pierce the darkness. I'm praying the interventions we're employing make a difference soon. I'm tired. I'm tired of feeling slow and sad. I'm tired of living in this artificial environment. I'm tired of battling this illness with little to show for the fight. Success would be a nice change of pace. Eventually, the sadness must abate. I'd like the sadness to abate.

I want to be an example of healthy living, resilience, and perseverance through the difficult times. But lately my resilience has been put to the test. This has been a rough ride.

Generally I like rides, but this one has tested my limits. I'm praying for relief soon. In the meantime I'll continue to do the best I can. I'll keep forcing myself to get out, to move, to exercise. It feels impossible at times, but I know I have to hang on. If not for me, than I at least must hang on for everyone else.

It must get better soon. Until then, I'll just keep on breathing.

xxx

~ Michelle Forde

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STEP ONE - How to Freeze Your Bananas

... Do not - I repeat, do NOT freeze the bananas with the skin on. It will not come off again! Even if you hack it with a knife and almost lose a finger. Freeze them for 24 hours.

... Don't freeze them when they aren't ripe either. They have to be brown or spotty or you should just leave it. Green or yellow bananas aren't ready yet and won't be nearly as sweet or creamy. Not to mention they might give you some digestive issues. Ain't nobody got time for that.

...If you want to make blending really easy, then break your bananas in to chunks before putting them in the freezer. No need to cut them nicely with a knife (again - ain't nobody got time for that!), I just roughly break them up with my hands.

... Try not to have your freezer on the coldest setting - yes, you want them frozen, but you don't want one huge solid ice sculpture banana! That will just end up with you not being able to break them apart.

STEP TWO - You Need Decent Equipment

... Sorry to spring this on you now, but you will not be able to make nice cream unless you have a decent food processor or a good blender. A cheap, weak one isn't going to do the job I'm afraid. If you don't have a really strong blender then a food processor is the way to go - do try and get one with a strong motor and as far as I know, they are not that expensive.

... Never fear though - if you can't afford the best thing out there, then there are ways to help things along.

STEP THREE - Get Blending

... Remove your banana chunks from the freezer and if you are confident your food processor can do the job, throw a handful in there and start blending. You may need to pulse a few times to get things moving or scrape around the sides with a spoon every now and again.

... If that doesn't work I'd suggest you leave the bananas out for a little while to soften slightly before blending.

... Once things get moving, add in more banana chunks gradually and blend until they form a sort of creamy consistency which is nice and smooth with no chunks left.

... If this isn't happening for you and your food processor is just making a loud noise and nothing is actually moving, then it's time to accept that your equipment might need a helping hand. Try adding coconut water or almond milk, a little at the time - you don't want the whole thing to turn in to liquid. Just add enough to help everything blend more easily.

... Hopefully now things should be progressing. If not, you are doomed and I can no longer help you. You shall never experience the wonder of nice cream.

STEP FOUR - Add Stuff to Your Nice Cream!

... When you feel you have accomplished this creamy mixture you can start adding other ingredients to your nice cream, and this is my favourite part. Try adding other fruit or berries for different flavours - blueberries and mango are my personal favourites but hey, each to their own. You can also add carob or cacao for a chocolate twist, or vanilla bean for a classic vanilla style nice cream.

... Scoop your finished product into a bowl, or if it is nice and stiff (you splashed out on a great blender), then you can pile it up in a jar.

... If you are feeling really creative, then top your nice cream with whatever comes to mind - more berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, maple syrup, coconut sugar or vegan chocolate; or anything else you may fancy!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have not yet managed to perfect the art of re-freezing the nice cream for later - it doesn't seem to stay in that nice creamy consistency once it's been back in the freezer. If you have any ideas of how to get this part right, do let me know!

... Also, always make sure you freeze more bananas than you think you will need. You always want more and as it takes so bloody long for them to freeze, a load of them is your best bet!

I hope you enjoyed this and untill I post again, be a nice human!

xxx
~ Michelle Forde

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