shabby background

Friday, 22 April 2011

Is It Really a Good Friday?

Its generally regarded as bad practice to discuss matters involving religion, politics or sex.

Today religion is at the fore of my mind. The calender tells us that it is Good Friday, the start of the Easter Weekend.

I was raised within the Church of England branch of Christianity. My family weren't huge church goers but were very moral and religious. So I was brought up with very black and white definitions of right and wrong.

Following my heart I was confirmed into the Church on my 17th birthday. Since then many things have made me question my faith.

I feel that this weekend is another example of how, on a whole, the Christian faith isn't so much a belief as an expectation.

The country seemingly grinds to a halt and the shops alter their trading hours. So you are affected whether or not you believe that Jesus died for our salvation or this this religions festival (much like Christmas) is imposed on you.

Officially Good Friday is a Bank Holiday in the UK, its a day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Easter Week draws to a close with Easter Sunday. The day when Jesus rose from the dead. This is a time of joy and celebration, and Easter Eggs.  As a parent the issue of Easter eggs makes me quiet uncomfortable.

I do not wish to be a hypocrite, I have some problems with this:

Why if I don't believe in 'God' do I celebrate Easter?
Why do I abstain from eating flesh on Good Friday?
Why do I feel the need to share Easter Eggs?
Do I teach my boys that Easter is about celebrating the life, death and Ascension of Jesus, when my brain is thinking 'really? Like that could happen!'

I am not dismissing religion, it is a fantastic tool that helps many people cope and offers guidelines on how to live a moral life. Religion is a belief that connect people across ages and races. However, religion is also the crux behind all major conflicts. Just look at the battles in Gaze, and the Muslim/Christian divides (which in my opinion shouldn't exist as for the main part Christians and Muslims share the same basic code and religious texts).

Then again way back when Christianity hadn't yet arrived in Britain the main belief was Paganism (not just one religion but a heading for many) the egg was seen as a symbol of the rebirth of the Earth. Spring was the time when the day's were longer and lighter, we could work on the land and the vegetation around us were coming back to life.

Tradition, dating back to then observes eggs - often chicken - dyed or panted being gifted as a celebration of this new beginning. This has been replace more recently by chocolate eggs in colourful wrappings. So really I shouldn't have problem with this as it pre-dates Christianity.

So Easter time is also a period of 'rebirth' be it for the seasons or of Jesus for his followers.

Eggs are a symbol of this 'rebirth' adopted by the church from more ancient beliefs.

I have no problems with my children learning about the Christian believes (just as well as they will attend C of E school until secondary school. it is my role to introduce them to other religions too. If they choose to believe it will be their choice. I have a mish mash of a belief system. I er towards karma and being a 'good' person as what you put out there comes back three fold. I also find myself drawn to the 'new age' ideals of The Secret and other similar movements which are heading back towards pre-Christian 'Pagan' beliefs.

But overall I believe that is my role to be the best me I can be and to Glitter and Sparkle.

For those of you who celebrate: Happy Easter x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Anxiety and Depression

I attempt to not be down in my blog posts. But this is an issue I couldn't keep quiet about any longer.

There is nothing abnormal or sub par about being anxious and on many occasions this is a useful feature. However, in some cases it is detrimental. Being overly introspective can lead to other apprehensions (including mixing with others) it affects so many other parts of life, including reducing attention and overall performance in everyday activities.

Usually the feeling of anxiety and stress are a response to pressure of some sort. The worse the pressure - the worse the anxiety felt. It can just be one problem or, as is often very common, an accumulation of things.

This is my own personal battle. In my case it’s often brought about by secrets. I tend not to deal well when I have too many details that I can’t act on. I am a person who troubleshoots. Action keeps my anxiety at bay (with the help of medication - but that is a topic for another day). I am currently in the middle of a process that I am not in control of and really can’t talk about openly and will not until I have all the facts.

Depression on the other hand can sneak upon a person without formally introducing itself. Unless you have suffered it is also very hard to describe the feeling it manifests to an outsider. It takes a certain amount of acceptance to be able to see there is a problem and move on. Not always medicated and often misdiagnosed between 5% and 10% of the population suffer from a version of depression that needs support, and at some point in our lifetime 20% of us will have a depressive episode of some description.

Being depressed is not a person being weak. It also rarely occurs alone. As they say misery loves company, and frequently depression arrives part and parcel with other problems, for example an anxiety disorder.

After many years of self doubt and pondering, also after suffering with post natal depression I went to see my GP again. This time I was taken seriously, and instead of being sent off to a counsellor (as I was after my mother died) I was given support. I filled out a form about how I how feeling and how my feelings were affecting my day to day life. We discovered that I need routine, I don’t cope well if there is no structure to my day. I completed the PHQ-9 which pin pointed how I felt and if I was classed as suicidal. At times, yes I was. At times, I still am. But, I fight on for my children. They do not deserve the pain that a flash of a dark idea would forever leave them with.

I was lucky, I was given anti-anxiety medication. It worked first time. The same dose still works now. I sometimes think I’m ‘better’ and stop taking the tablets. Then the tricky times come back. They affect me severely, and everyone around me too. I can be self destructive and secretive about this. It is no way to live. I have a chemical imbalance. It’s not my fault. It is how I am wired.

Right now I am fighting a desire to hide from the world, to live in a small box where no one and nothing can hurt me or my family. This is not practical. I have small children, a job and other roles dependant on me.  I have to remember why I started my Glitter and Sparkle project for this year.

We (fellow sufferers) fight on through our desires to keep on living with these disorders day to day. Many will not share with those around them that they are suffering. These are often the people who need the most help. But talking about a situation or what they are thinking can also be counter productive. Writing this and putting my beliefs out in the blog sphere is right for me. It will not be right for everyone.

If you know someone who suffers. Take it one day at a time. Let them dictate the pace. However, if you believe that this person is unaware of their suffering, please at least try and let them know. There are many people out there who can help and systems in place.

This is treatable, and we don’t have to suffer in silence.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Bright and Sunny

It's been fabulously sunny here in the Princess Garden, my lawn is trimmed, my new bushes are sprouting leaves, and I have a little greenhouse with it's first inhabitants. It's all rather exciting.

As I type this we are having a couple of April showers which I fully welcome as we needed to freshen up a bit.

Why is the sun such a powerful drug? People seem happier, moods are brighter, being outside seems a better option to couching in front of the television. Inhibitions drop and generally the world seems a better place to live. 

Often short lived, we need to remember it is still only April. A month of beginnings, it kicks off with April Fools Day, the echo of the Cuckoo returns to the trees until mid June when it flies off to other climes. Easter is late this year, just after my Wedding Anniversary (8 years and still counting), swiftly followed by the Royal Wedding and May Day. This month is all about new beginnings, folklore speaks of April fondly:

April shower bring May flowers

If early April is foggy
Rain in June
Makes fields boggy.

When April blows it's horn
'Tis good for hay and corn.

April wet - good wheat.

Till April dead, change not a thread.

I look forward to summer this year, spending time with the LBs kicking about in the garden, visiting local beaches and duck ponds. Lots of picnics and crafts. This week we are going to be decorating their Easter 'bonnets'. So it could be interesting to say the least.

I also have a new baking obsession evolving. Quiet by accident I discovered this book on Amazon and then her fantastically cute and gorgeous candy coloured blog bakerella I just adore it and can't wait to try out some of the cakes.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April Fools

So it's a new month, which means new picture of me time, are you sure you are ready for this one? Taken at 5.30am no make up on just before leaving for work.

And as for the office the less I say about that the better right now! All I can say is on April Fool's Day and everything! Was never a good sign.

Anyway, today has been one of those days, the whole house has a lurgy to varying degrees, so we are all ratty, tired and generally grating on each other. So roll on bedtime!

So for other passions of this week, I'm loving my coffee. Courtesy of @coffeetoatea some amazing flavoured ground coffee flavours (I chose cinnamon and hazelnut, sticky toffee and french vanilla) and some equally great instant blends (this time I had Amaretto and Chocolate Caramel) so good. And syn free, which is even better! So when it was delivered on Monday by my faithful goth postie the smell from the package was sublime and just to make the day even better, my new cafetiere mug was in the other package! A fresh brew was made in an instant!

The vegetable endeavour is starting to take shape too! With my pots up on pots of seeds in old tubs are now little plants in their own right! Look they are fab! And the bean stalks are only a week old but they are reaching so high I'm going to keep an eye out for giants soon.

Now all I need is some space for them to move to for bringing on further, and the odd nice day for hardening off in the garden.
Click here for today's recipe of the day