Saturday, 11 May 2013

It's May already!!

And I struggle to identify what I have achieved.

I'm still unemployed, but managing to keep hold of my flat. And yes it's stressful. In my last post at the start of the year I said that I was coping well, almost enjoying having normal worries. And all in all this is still true. Being unemployed is very tough, but part of life. I have worked with young people who are unemployed a lot in my past, and of course have had sympathy for their situation. Unfortunately a lot of people who are unemployed find themselves in that position through no fault of their own, like myself. The system in place to help us can also destroy us. It's frustrating. I feel like the government now own me. They certainly don't trust me. And staff are not always helpful. Yes we are lucky to have a benefits system, but due to the minority who set out to cheat the system, it is a complicated system where you are constantly checked for cheating it.
I have applied for at least 300 jobs since becoming unemployed, yet I still don't have a job. So how am I so unemployable?? What is wrong with me? That's tough. Very tough. The constant knock backs or lack of reply at all make it so difficult to keep trying. I now see how people get stuck and become depressed. It's very difficult.
Yet I haven't sunk back into a depression. Much to everyone's surprise, including my own. I have had the odd bad day, or bad period, life has felt very unstable, and that can sometimes become too much to bare. Yes if I didn't have the flat to pay for it wouldn't be a problem. But if I lost the flat I think I would feel I had lost everything. So not an option.
Today for example, woke up, got a bit of a cold but could not face the job centre today, not at all. Punishment for my illness? They want proof I'm ill. Now I feel stupid saying my illness is a cold, feeling low. But I wasn't leaving bed today. And I haven't. It's been nearly 6 months. It's hard not to want to fall apart.
What's keeping me going then?
Well firstly, I have two interviews next week and potential agency work. In a week, this may all be over. I'm trying not to get my hopes up but it's steps in the right direction.
Secondly, I have a boyfriend. Someone I really have fallen for very fast, Ali. He's gorgeous, inside and out, he has the biggest heart and he makes me smile. He's become a stability in my life, and something to smile about. And when things are really a struggle, it's nice to have someone there.

And that's the funny thing about depression. I don't suffer when I can identify what's making me feel low or upset. I suffer when I want to fall apart for no reason whatsoever. It defies logic.

Saturday, 5 January 2013


So it's been a while since I've written on here. Why? I guess for two reasons:
1) life has been busy, getting myself back on my feet, starting anew - it can be exhausting stuff! I''ve now got my own flat and have normal worries like how am I going to pay the bills? and running out of milk! I'm getting involved with youth ministry in the archdiocese and other churchy stuff, which I'm loving. I've started my youth work degree- very exciting! I do it all in my own time through the Open University, and I'm really enjoying it. Work wise I'm doing bits and bobs to pay the bills. For someone who said I would never do a mundane 9-5 job to pay the bills, right now that is exactly what I'm looking for. And I don't mind. Because it's life. Normal life. That's what you have to do sometimes to get by. And I'm not worried that I'm going through this phase in life, normality, normal problems, being a normal 21 year old. If anything it's quite nice. And somehow, although I'm unemployed and struggling to pay the rent, searching for whatever job I can get, I feel the most stable in life I have ever felt. Don't get me wrong, it's stressful, but it's normal stress that everyone has to face in life. And so I strangely feel stable. It's a nice feeling.
2) I don't need this blog as much as I used to. For the very reason that I feel stable. I created this blog for a few reasons - I wanted to document my life. I still do, but it's not as interesting now! I wanted somewhere to vent, to express thoughts and feelings. I still do, but I don't need to vent as often. I want to write a book one day. I still do I guess, but I may never find the time!

I met up with a friend who I know through YCW. He has known me since I was 17. We lived together in my first year in London. He was in complete shock at how well I was doing. This is the best place I've been in in years, if ever. I don't want to jinx it, or get too excited. I know there will still be really tough days, I'm certain I will be on medication for the rest of my life and depression may once again encompass me one day. But for now, things are good. When I look back at the year I have had, I have complete faith that no matter how tough things get, I will get through somehow, because you have to.

I look back at what I wrote on here a year ago. Full of hope, excitement and joy for what 2012 had in store. Oh how differently it turned out. And now I know, I have to take each day as it comes. We can plan ahead, but plans don't always work out how we think. When I was 15 I said that by this age I'd be graduating from university in the summer with a degree in social work and a social work job lined up. And look at where I am. And that's how I know and believe so strongly that it's all in God's hands, he will make the plan, He has made the plan, long before I was conceived. Where will I be in 6 months time? Not a clue! I'd love to be diocesan youth officer for Cardiff Archdiocese. But who knows? But I don't mind not knowing the exact details anymore.

I always think I'm so mature, grounded and know so much about life, myself and my illness. I always think I can't get any stronger or wiser. What I now know is that infact I am growing and learning more and more each day. I'm sure life will throw more and more challenges at me as life continues, because that's what life is about. And I will only grow in strength, maturity and wisdom.

And I'm only 21. Still so young.

So all in all. I'm excited!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Another story must begin

Last week I think I faced my biggest fear... it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do and I came out the other side pretty much in one piece.
It was the closing ceremony of YCWs congress. The last 2 weeks, knowing it was going on, seeing it all over facebook and twitter, constantly in my face, has been agonising. I so desperately wish I had been there.

Running parallel to this, I made a decision to resign as National Secretary of YCW. For the last three years, YCW has been my life. I have been 'Anna from YCW'. And over the past 6 years YCW has given me so much and fed me so much and I have so much to be thankful for. In return I gave the movement my heart and soul for the last three years. And I no longer have anything to give. Making the decision was so incredibly difficult, but the sense of relief when I had made it reassured me it was the right thing to do. I need to have a life without YCW. I don't remember what it was like before YCW became my life. I don't remember who I was before I became 'Anna from YCW'. Resigning is the first step towards a fresh start, one I desperately need.
I do not for one minute blame YCW for anything to do with my illness. Quite the opposite. I have so much to thank them for. And I think ti will always be in my heart. And I am not bitter. I just know I need to walk away.

So at the ceremony I wasn't just coming face to face with a reality that has caused me so much pain - the congress I coordinated for a year going ahead without me there, but also with the need for closure and to say goodbye to a chapter in my life.

It was so incredibly tough, I cannot lie. I was anxious, quiet and tearful. But I'm glad I went. The most amazing thing happened. Two people who I respect greatly and mean a lot to me but not in my immediate work, just associated, and who I see as good friends, both felt it important for me to see the congress as a fruit of my labour. I found that hard. I don't think anyone else did. I left at the crucial stages, how could it be my labour? But indeed they assured me that I worked for a year towards this congress, which is true.
They also both understood how hard it was for me to have been there, something I really didn't think anyone would understand, but they did and not only did they understand but were able to say it to me. And both felt so passionate about it that they were brought to tears. I must have made an impact in their eyes. And their small gesture of reassurance gave me even more courage to walk away with my head held high. And my heart stone that I have carried with me every single day since the month I was commissioned to work full time  for YCW was left behind at the church, because that journey is over. It is time for me to face a new path.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Worst fears recognised

So it is 16th August 2012.
6 months ago, if you had asked me where I would be my answer would have been in London working my socks off with the biggest event of my life starting in just over a weeks time- YCW's International Congress. After two years of preparation and work we would be in the final build up to what is going to be a historic occasion for the movement I have given my life to and love so dearly and one of the greatest achievements in my life.
But today I sit here, it is 6am and I am at home in Cardiff. 7 weeks ago I left YCW to move back to Cardiff for good as I felt I was no longer well enough to stay in London. Depression has hit me in it's fullest sense. I always said that seeing as I could not consider suicide due to a promise I made 7 years ago, having to give up my job would be the equivalent. Leaving my job, a job that became my life for two years, a job that I love so much, would mean loosing everything. It feels like my life has fallen to pieces and I can't explain the pain it causes.
Did I give up? No. I gave up on myself 2 months ago. I realised I was not going to get better whilst living and working in London. However, I made a concious decision to stay and complete the work I had started, regardless on the devastating effects this may have on my health. I gave up on myself, on my life, on my value and my own well-being. And not just because I didn't want to let others down- although this was a large part of it. But I did this because I did not know what I would do without my work. I knew going back home would not make me magically better, so could not see what I was gaining by leaving. Then I saw a psychiatrist who assessed me and after knowing me an hour felt the only way I could get better was if I left London and my job. Yes I already knew that, but for a doctor, a professional, to see me as a hopeless case for as long as I remained in London, made me think. All he could offer was to increase my medication. A medication we didn't even believe to be working. And so where did that leave me? And I knew in my heart what I needed to do for myself. But I could not shake a feeling of letting my colleagues down when I was needed most. But my line manager asked to meet me. My colleagues were worried about me. And they did not feel comfortable with me staying in the state I was in. We could also not see a way of making life in London and work any easier for me, there was no more anyone could do. And so it was the fairest decision for all involved that I leave.
Was it a relief? Yes. But overpowering the relief was a devastation that I have never known. A pain that was so deep. It broke my heart.
And so here I am. 7 weeks later, sat in Cardiff, having been awake all night. A week ago I dramatically deteriorated and after seeing a doctor on an emergency appointment, was facing a hospital admission. How did it come to this? Ever since I have been in and out of doctor appointments. The one positive- a crisis sprung the docs into action! I am on countless medication. I am not to be alone with friends and family being amazing to care for me. My parents are away, I miss them so much.
So I won't be travelling to the congress next week. I am still National Secretary of YCW and I really hoped that going home would strengthen me enough to feel able to play some sort of active role in the congress. However, any visit to work or London has been incredibly painful. And now I'm completely unable to take part in what was gonna be one of the greatest events of my life. I can only hope I can manage the closing ceremony so I can at least say I saw some of it. But right now I have to take each day as it comes.
I don't know how long it will take before I am strong enough to go back into the real world. I don't know who I am anymore. Who is Anna Morris in the youth ministry world without YCW? Who is Anna Morris without the strength to get out of bed in the morning? Who is Anna Morris who is even unable to write a simple email or make a quick phone call?
I was lucky enough to go to Lourdes a few weeks ago, in the midst of change in my life. I went praying to God that the pain may end soon, that things get better fast. I was able to leave with more acceptance of the situation. Does it make it less painful? I'm not sure.

Yes a terribly honest and depressing post. And unless you know what it feels like to lie in bed in the morning and have something inside you physically making you unable to leave bed whilst telling you how worthless, pathetic and stupid you are, then understandably you may not understand what I am going through. But this post should hopefully express the intense pain that I feel inside about what has happened.

And now I take one day at a time.It is the best way. The only way. It will get easier, of course it will. And I'm lucky to have good healthcare. If you are reading this I can only ask for your prayers.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Don't be mad at people when they don't understand

A great blog post on Mind's website:

It's hard to help people understand what’s going on inside your head when you have such a limited understanding of it yourself.

I have always tried to come up with analogies or examples to try and paint a picture for people when words fail me. I only have two people who truly understand how I feel when I’m at a low point; but that’s two more people than some people have.

I have always struggled to explain my illness to my friends. I even hate calling it an illness. To me it’s not worthy of any kind of recognition; anything that makes people feel worthless and unable to smile should not be given any more attention that it deserves.

But friends and family (if they’re good people) will want to get a handle on what’s buzzing around that brain of yours. At one point in my late teens, my depression manifested itself in an all-consuming cycle of ‘get ready to go out; psych oneself up so much that the prospect of social interaction makes you shake and feel sick; accept defeat, send the cancellation text and crawl back into the safety of one’s bed’.

This carried on for quite a while, and still occurs now (far less frequently, thankfully). Trying to explain this to my friends was hard, and has not gotten any easier; luckily for me, the ones that were worth hanging on to stuck around and know it’s nothing personal when I fail to show up.

I did have to contend with a bit of teasing and several arguments with friends who tried to prescribe help. ‘Amateur shrinks, who do they think they are?’ I angrily mused as I once again batted away suggestions of counselling and doctors’ appointments.

One of the hardest things about depression is that it removes most if not all motivation, and it is all too easy to get stuck in a cycle which becomes decreasingly difficult to get out of. I have lashed out at friends and family more times than I can accurately recall; it’s only on reading a fellow blogger’s story about writing as a means of coping with depression that I felt I should say something.

Don’t be mad at people when they don’t understand. The fact that they have tried to understand is commendable in itself. And chances are they don’t see you as ‘that person with depression’. They see you as you; depression and all. And it’s the ‘all’ that you have to try and focus on. Because depression doesn’t, and shouldn’t, define you.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

In case nobody told you

This very closely linked to my previous post 'You are God's Work of Art' where I talked about the HCPT theme this year. Love it.

You are not a statistic,
You are not stupid,
You are not “just like your sister”
You are not average,
You are not ugly,
You are not worthless,
You are not perfect,
You are not a subject grade,
You are not a failure,
You are not like all the others,
You are not here to prove yourself,
You are not “the best”
You are not a loser,
You are not “bottom set”
You are not a problem to be solved,
You are not a comparison,
You are not “trouble”
You are not uninvited,
You are not on your own….
In case no-one told you, you are God’s work of art, wonderfully made, knit together by the
almighty, anticipated since the beginning of time, worth more than all the sparrows, every
detail of you is known and loved, you are worth dying for, you are called to a unique and
specific purpose, and you will inherit an eternal destiny.  You are not rubbish, and you
never were, because God does not make rubbish. It is time…. to be fearfully and
wonderfully you! You are…. Fantastic!

David Wells
March 24th
Flame Event 2012

2012 So far....

So what was meant to be the most amazing year yet with so many amazing events to look forward to, has so far been far from amazing.
However, with the horrible time I have been having, the few events that I've been to have been glimmers of light in what has otherwise been a dark dark light. Unfortunately, depression has struck badly and it's been a real struggle for the last 4 months. It also led to me having to have a break from work up to the end of my contract. All in all things have not been easy. Thank God for the following:
- Steps @ 02

- Westlife Farewell Tour in Cardiff:

- Westlife's last ever show, Croke Park, Dublin

- Lourdes with HCPT:

And all the support from my amazing family and friends:

I''m now working towards getting better. I have another Lourdes trip coming up, I'm still able to take part in the international congress this summer, my 21st celebrations, my mum and sisters bdays and family celebrations and fingers crossed a holiday and possibly a new job, my own place and a new start! Take each day as it comes!

Friday, 1 June 2012

You are God's work of art

HCPT's Easter week theme this year was 'We are God's Work of Art' and for the trust mass they had a gorgeous hymn written especially, called 'You are God's Work of Art'. The chorus is beautiful enough but the verses were also stunning. Unfortunately I can't find the lyrics for those anywhere. But the chorus went like this:

You are God's work of art
You are God's work of art
Created in the image of His Son, Jesus Christ

He has called you by name
He has made you his own
To spread the good news message now to all those who live

If I abide in stillness, my troubled yearnings cease

A young person who was taken to Lourdes with a HCPT group wrote the following prayer. He is 20 years old.

Whenever I am troubled
Or lost in deep despair
I bundle all my troubles up
And go to bed in prayer.
I tell him I am heartsick
And lost and lonely too
That my heart is deeply burdened
And I don't know what to do.
I know he stilled the waters
And calmed the angry sea
And I humbly ask if in his love
He'll do the same for me.
And then I just keep quiet
And think only thoughts of peace
And if I abide in stillness
My troubled yearnings cease.