i'd like a large box of happiness, please

Can I have the largest size? I said,

Pointing to the boxes on the shelves.

I was often glad that I could buy my happiness

In the form of tablets,

Purchased from the chemist.

But the woman raised her eyebrows,

As though anyone asking for a large

Deserved her judgement heaped on thick.

Read the information leaflet carefully,

She said, handing over a box.

Only eight to be taken,

In any twenty four hour period.

An overdose on happiness is quite a dangerous thing.

And no more than three days,

She added rather sternly.

Otherwise you could become dependent.

I nodded as I paid, pocketing the pills.

The woman knew me well,

She knew I was addicted

And yet she still allowed the sale.

The shame I felt was great, reddening my face.

To struggle to get through a day

Without a bump of chemical

Was almost more than I could bear.

But still I bought and still I swallowed

In the hope that one day I

Would live a life where joy

Was something that I didn’t need to buy.

If you have ever suffered with any form of addiction I think you will be able to identify with the shame that is felt when you have to go into the shop and buy that thing that you are dependent on. I remember going to a different shop each time I had to buy, in the hope that the shop assistants wouldn’t recognise me. My worst fear was that they would eventually start to refuse selling to me.

The shame becomes so great that you are sure they are looking at you in disgust. You are sure that any health warnings they are giving you are a dig rather than just being something they have to say as part of their job. You become paranoid.

It is horrible, but as I was writing this, I realised that everybody has these addictions that make us feel better even though we wish they didn’t. For some it might be something as simple as a love of expensive makeup. It may feel harmless, but wouldn’t it be nice to live a life where happiness came from within and didn’t need to be bought?

If you are struggling with addiction, please do reach out for help. It can be deadly and there is so much support out there. And if you are just struggling to find some happiness in life, don’t think that buying something is going to fix it. You need to start loving yourself because no amount of makeup or clothes or cars or furniture will fill the hole that is causing you so much pain.

Take care of yourselves.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

don't burn out like me!

My hands are red raw and starting to bleed

And yet the shoreline is no closer to me.

I wish that I’d let you into my boat,

Before I began to paddle my way out.

Now that I know the way this could end

It feels like stupidity, what I have done.

If I had just been a little less cocky,

If I’d taken a break,

It could all have been different.

But I chose to row out, without any help,

Without any person to take off the strain.

And now I am floundering,

I’ll never get back.

I wish I had listened, but now it’s too late.

I feel like I’ve reached a point of burn out and I know that I am the only person to blame. I have been signed off work this week because I just buckled under the pressure. However, looking back, I have done all the overtime that has been pushed my way and I haven’t had a holiday since August. I didn’t even realise this and it’s just all caught up with me.

I actually feel a bit stupid now because I can see exactly why I’ve ended up in the situation that I have. I wish that I had asked for help and maybe said ‘no’ to the odd bit of overtime.

For now, I feel a little bit like I’m stranded out there in a rowing boat. I desperately want to get back to the shore but I’ve completely run out of energy and the tide is against me.

If you can feel yourself slipping, do ask for help, even if it’s just a day or two off. I think that most managers would be happier with you if you did that rather than need weeks off to nurse yourself back to health.

Burnout is a really horrible thing to go through because it’s so preventable and you feel so helpless. I hope that you are all staying strong while we are powering through these horrible winter months. Don’t push too hard and make sure to give yourself a little bit of TLC every now and then.

Love and Light

Rachel xx

one tiny blissful moment

It’s important to carve

Out the space to reflect

On the fact that you may

Not be so perfect

*

Go out in the world

And stretch out your arms

Breathe in great lungfuls air

And marvel at all of the stars.

*

You’ll rise up above

The person you started to hate,

So go out and live

Before you realise it’s too late.

When I was going through a really confusing time I took some time out and went running in the Scottish Highlands. If you have never been there, it is the most beautiful place you can imagine.

I spent about twelve hours a day running. I was away from internet connection and people and buildings and I was just left with nature. And there was a moment when it was dark that I just stopped. I looked up at the sky and there were stars in every direction that I looked.

I suddenly had clarity, which probably sounds really cheesy, but it’s true. I had the space to really take a look at myself and my place in the world. It was both scary and freeing.

If you are feeling a bit lost in the world, go out into nature and enjoy the freedom. Take the time to look at the stars and realise how fucking small we are. We have this massive world to love and care for and there are seven billion people out there who we could potentially meet and love and influence and have a positive impact on.

My moment in Scotland, when I stopped running will be something that I remember for the rest of my life. I’m lucky to have a really active lifestyle so I have several of these moments but I wanted to share this because I feel like it’s a place I want to go to in my mind at the moment. It was pure bliss and I wish that for everyone.

Love and Light,

Rachel xx

the angel on the bus

He was dressed all in white

Which was quite a curious thing.

She prayed that he wouldn’t sit down

On the seat next to her on the bus.

He did stop beside her and she shuffled along,

Hoping that at least he’d stay quiet.

It’s going to be OK, he said after a mile or two.

She looked at him properly for the very first time,

The sun filtered through windows to blind her with light.

I haven’t a clue what you mean, she muttered,

But way deep down in the pit of her stomach

She knew that he knew.

There was something extraordinary

About the man dressed in white.

He smiled and he stroked at her face

And everything melted away.

He was gone by the time they reached the next stop,

But he saved her that day.

She had been travelling to the place where she planned to jump,

Feeling empty and dark, a weight on the world.

It only took one person to shine in a light.

Whether he was real or an angel on the bus,

It really didn’t matter,

He quietened the chatter inside of her head,

For just long enough

To pull her away from the edge.

I feel like everyone needs an angel at some point in their life. And I like to believe that sometimes we get one sent down. There has been a lot of talk about suicide in the UK over this weekend and the need to reach out and talk when things are difficult. But this is a bloody scary thing to do when you already feel crappy, and sometimes it needs to be the other way round.

The brilliant book The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin is a perfect example of this. When somebody is right there on the edge, it can be a stranger who makes all the difference. I know that everyone hates the person who comes and sits next to them on the bus and starts having a conversation when all you want to do is read, but we are a social species and surely the world would be a better place if we all connected a little bit more.

I really do believe in angels, whether they be normal people put in a certain place at just the right time, or some sort of messenger sent straight from God Himself, I really think they are out there. Perhaps we should all aim to be a little bit more like the angel on the bridge. You never know what awful set of events you might stop from happening.

Much Love

Rachel xx

He had vanished before they reached the next stop,

And she

fit in or f**k off

You do as I say or I’ll cancel you out,

I’ll delete you with the stroke of a key.

Fit in this box I made for you all,

Or I’ll make your life hell.

This box is a shape that we’ve fashioned to fit

The most average of Joe’s

We found wandering the street.

You’ll fit in this box because we’re scared of what happens

When a person breaks out.

You can fit in the box

Or you can fuck off for good,

Because keeping in line is vital to me,

So I can hold onto power

And keep you in the place that you’re meant to be.

Why do we live in a world where we are all supposed to fit into the same mould? We are all supposed to get an education, get a career, find a partner and get married, buy a house and then have a few kids. And if you don’t achieve all of these things, you are a failure.

But what if you want to forgo one of these milestones? What if I want to build a cob house and live in a woodland. What if I want to work in a shop and just have next to no stress? Does this mean that I’m not successful, or that I haven’t had a meaningful life?

I have had so much success in other areas of my life but I have to endure people turning their noses up at me when I tell them that I work in a petrol station. Maybe we should stop making all of these standard sized boxes and let people be whatever shape they want to be. It would be ludicrous to go into business as a clothes retailer and only sell size 10 because everyone is a different size, so why must we all fit the same size and shape box in the rest of our lives?

If you feel like you are lagging behind, or that you don’t fit in, don’t worry about it. We don’t move forward as a species without the visionaries and the people who are a little quirky. So spread your wings and go be your fabulous self. I heard someone say that we need to fit on or fuck off the other day and it inspired this post and made me think that maybe a new job is on the cards. I just can’t tolerate that kind of mentality.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sweet caroline

I stood staring at the rack of magazines,

Scuffing my toes on the dusty floor.

She’s a whore, whispered a man in my ear.

He pointed to the woman on the cover,

That poor, unfortunate soul

Who thought that all her dreams came true

When she found her fame.

She’s not, I sighed underneath my breath.

The man shrugged and sneered, moving on.

Everyone has an opinion

About that woman on the cover;

The one whose dream turned sour.

She may as well be fucking Minnie Mouse,

A character to entertain us when we’re bored,

No longer human in our eyes.

But underneath she’s slowly dying,

And when we’ve snuffed that final little ember,

We’ll all cry out that life’s unfair

And warn that nastiness can kill.

But by tomorrow someone else will be fair game,

Another girl, another circumstance,

But a story that always ends the same.

There was some very sad news in the UK today as it was reported that Caroline Flack took her own life. Caroline was hugely successful but hit some hard times when there was an altercation with her boyfriend just before Christmas. She was arrested and so the press went to town with her.

The story is so sad because she was such a talented lady and it was the press and trolls on social media that have evidently pushed her. It’s just really opened my eyes to the fact that no matter where you are in your life, you are still open to the same pain as anyone else.

While I was drinking I genuinely thought that my pain was greater than anyone else’s and when I got rich or famous that pain would just go away. Now that I’m a little more aware of what is going on around me I can see that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It was only the other day that I looked at the cover of one of these magazines and saw a picture of Caroline. My heart actually broke for her because I realised that her pain was greater than mine at the moment. That was quite a moment, and so I’m crushed to see how it has all ended.

It goes without saying that if you are struggling, talk to someone! Try and stay off social media because it drains the life out of humans. I hope that Caroline stays in our thoughts for a long time so that we don’t move onto the next girl (or guy) in a matter of weeks. Things need to change, and sharpish!

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Homeland's Carrie

That episode of Homeland

When Carrie goes bat shit;

She wants a green pen and they only have blue.

I get that on a cellular level.

I don’t think I’m bipolar,

But I know that desperation.

The scrabbling at the surface of the slippery wall,

In a scary attempt to escape the hell

That is inflicted on me,

While everyone else is left scratching heads

And wondering where things

Took a horrible turn.

I was actually off work when I watched the episode where Carrie totally lost it at the end of the first series. I had had another funny turn at work and the doctor had given me some time to sort my head out.

My heart went out to her as I watched because I could totally understand how something so little can set you off when you’re feeling frantic and fragile anyway. It was also lovely to see Saul being so understanding.

I have always found it hard because I always smile and joke all the way up until the time I crack. And it can often be something weird that does set me off. It’s really easy for people around me to think I’m still joking and to poke fun at me which obviously makes things even worse.

I just wanted to write this post to remind people that it can be scary to go down that rabbit hole. If somebody you know suddenly starts acting very strangely, don’t make fun of them. Be a little bit more compassionate and maybe pull them to one side and ask them if everything is OK.

And if you can feel yourself becoming a bit wobbly, let someone know before it becomes a big problem and you snap over something small. It can be terrifying because it can feel like life and death, so I understand the fear that you feel. You will not die, though, and you WILL get through it. And most importantly, you will learn from it so that next time around it is easier for you.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the day the princess had a breakdown

Once upon a time there was a baby born

And before she could walk

There was a spell that was cast;

A curse of sorts.

For although she could feel with impeccable ease,

Her boundaries were stolen

And so her freedom was ceased.

She couldn’t say ‘no’ to a single soul

And soon she was lost,

In a swirling black vortex, in a bottomless hole.

She hoped that one day she’d be given a rope

To help her begin to claw her way out.

But for now she feels hopeless

With no dashing young prince

Galloping through forests

To save her from death.

The curse of no boundaries isn’t fixed by such notions.

A kiss or a pill or a magical potion

Won’t help her to grow a skin that is thick.

The rope that you throw her

Will find its way round her beautiful neck,

Because this dear damsel is really just sick.

I’ve pushed it too far and now I am suffering. I know that I’ have trouble saying no because I think that people will hate me if I do. I think it comes from my days as a child where I was told by my mother that if I didn’t live up to expectations then she would stop talking to me. When I was a teenager she once stopped talking to me for a month. I had blocked a lot of these memories out but during therapy I was told that this is neglect and is most definitely behind some of my weird behaviours as an adult.

This week I said yes to overtime when I knew that it was too much and now I have crumbled and let everyone down. It’s a familiar cycle that I want to break and I feel a bit pathetic in not being able to do so. I have turned off my phone so that the world can’t reach me and all I want to do is hide in my flat.

I empathise with you if you are struggling to say no. Don’t be an idiot like me because now I’m in a bit of hot water. Look after yourself and set boundaries that will protect you from going through this. It’s something that I’m going to have to work on, but at least I have an awareness now. I just have to grow a pair and do the painful bit of the process.

Love and light,

Rachel xx

meet my alter ego, betty

The door reverberated in its frame,

As Prosecco bubbles dribbled down

Like a washed up, washed out sky full of stars.

My anger had been so immense,

To throw, to slam, to punch all came naturally.

The thing that scares me most is that

The anger was so undeserved.

I couldn’t even tell you what he did.

But somewhere deep inside my brain

A switch was flicked and Betty came alive.

She’s the alter ego that I always try to hide,

(Not always as successfully as one would hope, may I add).

I’m told that Betty didn’t see our childhood quite the way I did,

She clung to fights and threats of suicide,

Like a person clawing at the edges of their burning building,

Unwilling to let possessions perish in the flames.

These threats are not the things that kids should see or hear (or so the therapist says).

She rears her head every time those words appear,

She doesn’t care a jot about intent,

And she never bothers with the context.

She stomps around in a hissy fit

Until they all apologise for what they’ve done to her.

It’s Betty against the world

And God help anyone who stands in her way.

I’m learning to soothe her, though.

I used to buy her loads of shit

In the hope that that would make the tantrums go away.

But love and patience were really want she wants.

She’ll never go away for good,

Popping out at random times,

But now I have control.

It’s fine to throw a glass or plate every now and then,

We’re human and anger’s always on the stove,

Always ready to bubble over and cause a scene.

But don’t you ever let that Betty girl

Take you peace away.

I’ve been feeling some unwanted anger recently. It’s been about several different things and none of it is really any of my business so I shouldn’t allow myself to get angry about it.

But I’m human and so it’s in my nature to get angry about stuff that doesn’t concern me. Through therapy and reading a lot of books, I’ve come to realise that a lot of these unwanted and negative emotions are hard to control because they are wired into us from a young age and they are working at a subconscious level.

I know that my Betty is a part of me that suffered some trauma as a little person and every time something stokes that fire she will appear. Since giving up drinking I haven’t been able to ease the pain that she brings with her but I have been able to control my behaviour so that I don’t lash out. I hope that with more time and patience I will be able to lessen the pain too.

If you are struggling with anger issues then I feel your pain. It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings and it’s right up there with jealousy and grief. Just remember that every time you feel that twinge in your heart that you recognise as anger, it’s not because you are really angry. That twinge is a sign that you are hurting and you have just learnt that lashing out can make it feel a bit more comfortable. I pray that you find a healthy outlet and that you can begin to unpick your past and see why your Betty gets let out when you don’t want her there.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

a power cut in my brain

My light went out a while ago.

Some say they fade so gradually,

But I could name the day.

For me it was a lot like when

There is the popping of a fuse.

The switch flicked down

And darkness bathed my inner world.

But this thing, it can be fixed,

Just a simple call for help

And light can be restored at once.

Power flowing through my veins,

My brain on fire with pharma joy.

The lights will flicker once again

But next time it won’t trip me up,

A flicker’s all that it will be.

Depression can feel like your brain has had it’s own little power cut. It feels like all the lights have gone out and there’s no way of fixing it. Some people say that depression creeps up on them, but for me, it’s sudden and shocking. It’s just like the fuse popping and plunging a home into darkness.

Fortunately, we live in a world where it’s OK to talk about mental health issues and there are really good medications available to help. This help is kind of similar to calling on the electrician. It just takes someone who knows what they are doing and everything can go back to normal. I don’t know about you, but I find this thought really comforting.

If you are struggling under your own dark cloud then do reach out for help. Talking about things helps immensely and there is no shame in relying on medication to help you through the difficult times. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I know that you can make it through.

Much Love

Rachel x x