Fill your cup – make time to recharge

You can noT pour from an empty cup

I came across this picture a few hours ago and it really resonated with me. Sometimes I do not have enough time during the day to do what I need to, I find myself working into the early hours of morning and being completely tired the next day.

Have you ever given so much of yourself that you run out of time for tasks, leaving them for the next day and then doing it all over again?

Perhaps you have a full time job, juggling child care and school runs, bringing work home, taking care of sick relatives and running a household. Maybe you are studying and have assignment deadlines to meet.

How many of us make the time to just breathe, have a lie in on weekends and days off and not worry about what tasks they haven’t completed? Some do not sleep more than 5 hours a night and some people actually feel guilty for admitting that they are tired and they want to rest.

It’s important not to overwork and try to get enough sleep in order to maintain a high level of productivity. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, weight loss or weight gain and it can make you really grumpy.

Most people go to back to work after days off or holidays more tired than they were before they went away because they don’t rest during that time.

Think about this, when you are driving  – you stop for fuel when you realise you are running low and not leave it until your reserve has run empty that the vehicle wont move. It is common practice to replenish other resources and the same should be applied to our lives.

Most of us panic when our phone batteries are low and can not function when we do not have our phones or mobile devices until they are fully charged or have enough power on them.

The bottom line is, that device is not going to work when its been depleted of power and will be redundant. That is the same as our bodies when we have overworked and under slept.

We need to rest and recharge so that we may be productive in our jobs and day to day routines. We can not constantly run on empty and expect our bodies not to pack up.

It is not a weakness to see the doctor if you feel pain in your body, its better than finding out there is a problem when an illness has progressed beyond treatment. Do not feel guilty when you are tired or under the weather. Sometimes its natures way of forcing us to slow down.

It is fine to rest when you are tired, if you keep going without a break, you will eventually break. When you have reached that point you will have nothing left to give and what good is that to you, your family, your job or whatever else you are doing?


You can’t pour from an empty cup, you can not drink from an empty cup!

Take a step back every now and then and have that relaxing bath, listen to some music that you like as you unwind or meditate, watch that movie that you have been meaning to  catch up on for weeks.

Doing relaxing things doesn’t have to cost you money, it is about just making a bit of time to yourself so that you can be able to to function at your best and continue to ‘pour from that cup’.



Dear Family


My first thought was to say I am sorry for disgracing you by addressing my depression publicly, but after giving it some thought, I feel I owe you no apologies.

I am not sorry for realising that something was going on in my life and I could not get out a depressive mode.

I am not sorry that I accepted my diagnosis and got the help that I needed. No, I am not crazy, in fact I can focus a lot more clearly now that I understand what is happening.

I am tired of being sorry that I can not please you and I can finally take the time that I need to look after my self.

I am tired of picking up your pieces and being asked to be the mediator in your fights only to be blamed for things later.

I am tired of being the person you guilt trip into babysitting, running your errands and lending you money that never gets repaid.

I am tired of being afraid to say I just need time out today or have a lie in for fear of being called lazy.

I am tired of being validated by what I do for you. It will never be enough, the more I do the more the demands get.

I am fed up of your constant opinions that hinder me from using my ideas and moving on with my life. Why do you feel the need to bring me down all the time?

I am learning to be brave enough to say no when I can not do something for you whether it pleases you or not.

I am learning to rest when my body needs it and do things on my terms.

I am learning to embark on projects that I want and let you know  about them later, I do not need permission to do what I want but you have made me feel like that for as long as I can remember.

I am learning that though I may be far from perfect, I can strive be the best person that i can be.

I am learning that you and I can have a relationship without me being, your fixer, your cashpoint, your  driver, your maid and your punchbag.

Finally I feel a release, a strong sense of freedom that I can focus on myself for a change, put myself first for a change.

That is not to say that I will not help when you are in need but I need to be comfortable and want to help and not feel under pressure to do something for you because you need me to.

Depression: Supporting loved ones

Experiencing depression can be very overwhelming to the sufferer and to close family and friends.

We all have moments of feeling down or sad but if these emotions persist over a long period of time or become severe, it may be a sign that someone may be suffering from depression.

It is important to support loved ones by encouraging that they seek help and reassure them that it is Ok to ask for help.

Encourage them to talk about how they feel as it may sometimes be hard for them to express themselves. Some people feel that it is a sign of weakness to share their feelings.


Sometimes its good to just listen, having someone to talk to and not be judged about how you feel or be told to ‘get over it and ‘we all go through it’ does not help the person experiencing depression. In fact, it forces them to shut down and be more private about their situation leading them to suffer in silence.

If you do not live with them, try to keep in touch more often. Sometimes they may not even have the energy to keep up with day to day things like making phone calls or leaving the house.

It may be hard to understand why your friend or family member is depressed especially if you have not experienced it yourself. Please try not to be judgemental or find blame as to why the person is suffering from depression. It is not easy to snap out of it, there is no magic button to switch off depression. Do not be critical of their situation or make it about yourself and say,  “we all get depressed, I have it but I manage, stop thinking too much”.

If they have been prescribed medication, support them to continue with their medication especially in the first few weeks while they adjust to the medication and experience some unpleasant side effects.

Encourage them to see their doctor if they feel worse with their medication or the side effects are continuous.

While it is tempting to help them with everything, it is important to encourage them to undertake their day to day tasks like cooking, cleaning and going to do their food shopping.

It is also important to look after yourself so that you have the energy to support your friend or family member. If you feel that you can not help them it is Ok to be honest and say that you can’t help and suggest that they seek help of professionals if they need to.


Don’t wait until I am gone to bring me flowers



In our everyday lives we take so many things for granted.

We storm off to work after an argument, ignore text messages from loved ones, hold grudges and don’t make up after disagreements because tomorrow is another day.

However, our tomorrows have no guarantees and when we lose a loved one without making peace with them it causes much more grief than saying I am sorry, I miss you or I love you to their face.

We then spend a long time after the loss of a loved one asking “what if ‘ and ‘if only I had taken that call, if only I had popped in to see him or if only I had been more patient with her’, but it will be too late to make amends.

Take time to celebrate your children, your parents, friends and spouses now and deal with the issues at hand while you can still have a dialogue and things can be worked out.

There are many instances where in death a lot of issues in a family have not been resolved then it is difficult to have an opinion or express yourself for fear of speaking ill of the dead especially in certain cultures.

It is important to live wisely, love kindly and care deeply for the people around us. Send the messages, make amends and show appreciation to people when they are still alive as they will not see the effort you will make when they are gone.


Happy New Year


As the clocks struck at midnight and we joined hands to sing Auld Lang Syne, I took a moment to reflect on my year.

2017 was a year of highs and lows for me but mainly lows. It was an eye opener which helped me to look at the world differently.

It was the year I learnt that I have to value my loved ones everyday and not leave apologies and making up until the next time.

It was the year that I lost my father shortly after he had just come back into our lives.

It was the year that my only son turned 21 and started to make real decisions about what he wanted to do with his life.

It was the year that I learnt who my real friends are and that I do not need that many people in my life.

It was the year that I learned the power of ‘No’, and that it was okay to put myself first for a change and not lose sleep over it.

It was my last year in my 30’s and I look forward to turning 40 in May.

I had spent the last few days of 2017 saying I cant wait for this year to end, but I woke up today feeling the same as everyday.

I know that I can not magic away the negative events that happened in 2017 but I can choose to leave some things behind and try to continue looking forward not backward.

I just want to thank all my friends and family that were with me through my trying times for all their support and patience.

May 2018 bring you all that you wish for and more.

Lots of love,


Depression – Breaking the Stigma


Depression does not discriminate against race, gender, religious beliefs, financial status, age, and gender. As a black African woman that has experienced depression both personally and professionally, it has not been an easy topic to talk about with family, friends and acquaintances.

There are a lot of myths about depression and anxiety that cause a lot of confusion which can keep people from reaching out for help. Most people are afraid to ask for help among their peers, as they would be considered to be lazy or crazy.

Many people see mental illness as a weakness or personal failure and the following statements are usually made;

“Depression does not affect black people, its something the white privileged suffer from.”

“You need to get over it, find a hobby, take a walk.”

“Oh, stop being so sensitive!”

“Don’t take the medication, it will only make you worse.”

This makes people who are struggling with depression hold back on sharing how they feel.

Culturally we are taught to keep our feelings to ourselves. If you find yourself struggling at school, college or work, you cannot complain openly about things, as you feel conscious that you may be seen as being entitled, weak or merely just using it as an excuse for your laziness. Some depression is attributed to witchcraft or attention seeking and guilt.

We are conditioned from an early age to look out for others, help as much as we can, give as much as we can but it is not easy to say no, not today, I am tired, I need a break and just need to rest or have time to myself for fear of being seen as selfish.

We are constantly reminded that our lives are better than others who are living in impoverished countries. What have you got to be depressed about? You live in England; you have a job and a partner, think of people struggling back home or the ones in Ethiopia and Somalia who have no food or clean water.

The only time people cry openly is usually when there is a death of a loved one. Generally, crying is seen as a weakness and people tend to suffer in silence. We are supposed to be able to make it through anything. Our ancestors made it through slavery, we can make it through all the hard times, we have to keep going, and we have to be strong.

But what happens then when you have been too strong for too long? When you are tired of carrying other people’s problems and need time out? When you feel overwhelmed and need to find refuge in someone or somewhere?

While spiritual support is an important part of healing, the care of a qualified mental health professional is very important as with any other medical condition. Treatment should be sought earlier for it to be more effective.

We cannot simply ‘pray away’ depression or any form of mental illness. Why is it set apart from illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure where one can get medication to help with their symptoms and be open about it?

The stigma surrounding antidepressants causes some people to accept their diagnosis but not share and not take their medication. They will be feeling worse each day, picking up their prescription every month after telling their doctor that they are no better and just stacking the medication in the drawer.

There is very little sympathy in some communities in relation to depression as people do not know how to handle it or what to say to someone suffering from depression. It is important that we come together to address mental illnesses and break the stigma attached to it because it can affect anyone.

If you start to feel like your life isn’t worth living or you want to harm yourself, get help straight away.

Either see your GP or call NHS 111. You can also call Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

See some other organisations that can help with mental health issues.


I Want To Be Free…

Dear friend

The last few months have been a roller coaster, constantly turning and not stopping.

I watched my days turn into nights, nights back into days – a walking zombie, doing so much yet achieving so little.

All the time you asked how I was, I said I was fine. All the jokes I received from you I responded with a laughing emoji or just an ‘LOL’.

What you don’t know was that there were days that I could not even summon the strength to get out of the bed or even take a phone call. I had no energy or motivation to feel happy for myself or anyone for that matter even if they had shared good news.

I would drift in an out of sleep and hate myself for being so lazy. I took some time off work because I was struggling with day-to-day tasks and I thought a break would do me good.

I would wait until it was dark to go to the convenience store and by then it would be too late to cook so I would buy myself a packet of  chocolate digestive biscuits to have with a cup of tea before bed. But I wouldn’t have 2 or 4 or 6, I would gradually eat all the biscuits and wonder where they all went.

I would lie awake till the early hours of morning then I would sleep until lunchtime feeling guilty for my laziness, hating myself for not training and binge eating. I would be snappy and burst into tears for the most trivial things.

I would look at my reflection in the mirror and not recognise the person staring back at me. I would just feel so tired, not motivated to do anything at all.

I would lie in bed for hours watching the news but if you asked me what was happening around the world, I would not know. I was absent from my own existence most of the time.

Each night I would make a list of things to do the next day, but each morning I woke up, I struggled with the smallest of tasks.

I pushed myself to do a course that I wanted to do as I had free time. I almost did not make it to the exam as the anxiety kicked in and I had a million and one excuses in my head why it was probably a better idea to postpone to another day.

It was one of those exams centres where you get your results printed straight away. I got my results slip and just put in my handbag and left the exam centre. I got home, looked at the results slip .. ‘I had passed’.

There was no elation, no happiness, just relief that I would not have to do it again. I changed into my pyjamas, got into bed and forgot all about it for a few days.

One morning I woke up supercharged and felt like I could take on the world. I cleaned and decluttered the house and started sending out applications for new jobs.

My CV was received well. My phone was ringing with recruiters wanting to chat about roles they could offer but I just could not muster the strength to take the calls. I didn’t feel good enough for the roles, I just wanted to curl up and hide.

What if they interview me and they don’t like me? What if I don’t hear from them? And with the calls that I took, I would obsess about my responses, did I say the right thing, should I have said this instead of that?

I would then be back on that roller coaster again. I felt like I was constantly running but not reaching my destination, I was just getting more and more exhausted.

Images that show what it feels like to suffer from mental illness. Bringing the inside to the outside.

Days rolled into nights, nights turned into days and quickly into weeks and months. I lost track of time.

Social events became a chore. I made every excuse possible to not go anywhere and if I plucked up the courage to go, I would be late because of procrastinating, should I shouldn’t I? Will I look silly in this outfit? Will I be comfortable with the people around me? Things that never used to bother me were starting to bother me.

Driving became a challenge, stopping for petrol became a challenge, getting out of bed was nearly impossible. I just could not understand what was going on.

I totally lost the zest for life, didn’t have the energy to exercise or even leave the house. I was tired and aching but I could not understand what was going on. I was getting used to being confined to the bubble that I had created, I would imagine myself dead after a road accident while I was driving. If I was at a strain station, I would fantasise about standing at the edge of a platform while a fast train passed.

Photo by Pexels

It got to a point that my thinking was so irrational and I would get upset by the smallest things. I just could not stop it, I wished it would stop, I prayed it would stop but I just continued in my never-ending burnt out state.

I knew I couldn’t continue feeling that way and I made an appointment to see the doctor. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after an hours consultation of describing how I felt.

I was given treatment options but none were forced on me. It was entirely up to me to make the decision which I made in a few days.

I will not lie and say it was easy, but knowing that what I was going through had a name, that I was not the only one going through it and that I could get better gave me a better outlook to life.

I am recovering, I know it will take a while to heal but I am getting better everyday.

I am taking things slowly, one day at a time in order to find stability and improve my well-being.

I do not feel like I am running to an unreachable destination.

I am not afraid of the future. I am facing my fears one by one. I still have bad days, but my good days are better.

I am sharing because I want to be free.

I want to be free to tell you that I really feel like ‘crap’ if you talk to me when I am having a bad day.

I am learning to say no when I feel like I have overcommitted myself.

I am learning that my strength and resilience is what will see me through.

I am learning to to love myself, put my needs first as I cannot help others if I am unwell.

I have decided that depression will not define me. I do not want to conform to a label.

I have control of my life and I will fight everyday to overcome this and encourage other people not to hide how they are feeling.

I know that I will be learning for a long time, but I am excited at a future where I can have control of my life and not hide behind a label.

Staying silent is not being strong. Speaking out is!


Uncovering Depression — Barely Paper

Depression: Is it Treatable? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression every year. However, less than 25% have access to effective treatment. Some of the most successful people in the world, including Winston Churchill, Buzz Aldrin, Isaac Asimov, Jim Carrey, Ingmar Bergman, Bob Dylan, Anthony Hopkins, […]

via Uncovering Depression — Barely Paper

Depression is Real!

Depression is a mood disorder depicted by low mood and a wide range of other possible symptoms, which will vary from person to person. It is an illness that can develop progressively or rapidly and can be brought on by life events and changes in body chemistry.

It is not a fancy illness that only affects people of a certain creed, race, gender, marital status, financial status or age. It can affect anybody and it is treatable. It is one of those things that you will not understand until it happens to you or someone close to you.

Depression is a condition that is difficult to talk about. You can call work to request time off with a cold or a broken arm and it is acceptable, but when you have depression you’re seen as lazy, weak, selfish and attention seeking.

Depression is not the same as a physical illness but it can be even more serious because when you are severely depressed you can feel like giving up on life itself.

Depression can affect different people in various ways, for instance;

Mild Depression,

Major Depression,

Bipolar Depression,

Postnatal Depression and

Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD).

It can be difficult to distinguish between grief and depression. They share many of the same characteristics, but there are important differences between them. Grief is an entirely natural response to a loss, while depression is an illness. People who are grieving find their feelings of sadness and loss come and go, but they’re still able to enjoy things and look forward to the future.

In contrast, people who are depressed constantly feel sad. They don’t enjoy anything and find it difficult to be positive about the future. However, depression is more than just sadness and you can not ‘just snap out of it”, or will yourself out of it any more than you could snap out of a cold, broken arm or any other ailment. Just like all other illnesses, it takes a while to recover.

Peoples experiences with depression vary, but they might include:

  • low mood lasting two weeks or more
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling hopeless
  • feeling tired or lacking energy
  • not being able to concentrate on everyday things like reading the paper or watching television
  • comfort eating or losing your appetite
  • sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • low sex drive (loss of libido)
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
  • not doing well at work
  • avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life

Depression is hard to ignore at its worst but at the same time we don’t want to admit it. Sometimes we don’t notice it creeping up on us. Many people try to cope with their symptoms without realising that they are unwell. It can sometimes take a friend or family member to suggest something is wrong.

Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:

  • mild depression  which has some impact on your daily life
  • moderate depression which has a significant impact on your daily life
  • severe depression which makes it almost impossible to get through daily life; a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms

People suffering from depression should never hesitate to seek help. There is no reason to suffer in silence, when there are treatments available.

Whatever the cause, if negative feelings don’t go away, are too much for you to cope with, or are stopping you from carrying on with your normal life, you may need to make some changes and get some extra support.

If you’re still feeling down after a couple of weeks, talk to your GP or call NHS 111. Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and make a diagnosis.

If you’re diagnosed with depression, your GP will discuss all of the available treatment options with you, including self-help, talking therapies and antidepressants.

Whether you have depression or just find yourself feeling down for a while, it could be worth trying some self-help techniques.

Life changes, such as getting a regular good night’s sleep, keeping to a healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake and getting regular exercise, can help you feel more in control and more able to cope.

Self-help techniques can include activities such as meditation, breathing exercises and learning ways to think about problems differently. Tools such as self-help books and online counselling can be very effective.

If your GP has prescribed antidepressants, it’s important that you carry on taking them.

There are lots of different types of talking therapies available. To help you decide which one would most suit you, talk to your GP or read about the different types of talking therapies. In some areas, you can refer yourself directly to your local psychological therapies service.

If you start to feel like your life isn’t worth living or you want to harm yourself, get help straight away.

Either see your GP or call NHS 111. You can also call Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.

See some other organisations that can help with mental health issues.


Being silent is not being strong, speaking out is!


Inspiration Video

This is one of my favourite songs when I am having a bad day.
Beautiful vocals from Casting Crowns.
Enjoy …x

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart?
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again?
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
Not because of who I am
But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who you are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I’m calling
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am
I am yours
I am yours
I am yours
Whom shall I fear, whom shall I fear?
‘Cause I am yours
I am yours
Songwriters: John Mark Hall
Who Am I lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Capitol Christian Music Group