Confirmation Anniversery

04c492b2bed108134e54f339b61d031aWith my first year anniversary of being confirmed upon me, I have been looking to how my faith has changed over the years. I have also been thinking a lot about my faith in general, which for me can be a good or bad thing.

To say that my relationship with God has been tumultuous would be an understatement. I have always believed that God existed from the earliest I can remember, but, I haven’t always wanted to follow him. Like many people I guess, it can be easy to blame God for the things that go wrong instead of looking towards yourself, and I have done my share of blame in the past.

With age, hopefully, comes wisdom and the understanding that only you can make things happen and only you are responsible for your mistakes. It has led me to think of my religion as a support, a way of learning to accept who I am and what I can give to others. When I went to the confirmation celebration at Canterbury Cathedral, I was struck by the number of people who have found peace and happiness from discovering their faith.

Everyone who attended looked so happy and confident in their belief that I have to admit I was a little jealous. I haven’t reached that level in my own journey yet, and I’m not sure I ever will. My anxiety on some days is such that simply getting through the day is an achievement. It can sometimes make me solitary, which is a little at odds with an active church life. Although I do what I can, it is one of the more frustrating things about anxiety. Trying to muster the will to do anything, even something I know I will love because I also know I will have to deal with a battle inside my head.

It is a cruel irony that my favorite time of year, both in the church calendar and at home is Christmas. I love the build-up and the services that happen, the old-fashioned Christmas movies, the carols and of course, Christmas TV. I also love the meaning of Christmas, and the message it sends to everyone, but it is also the worst time of year for my anxiety. It makes going to these amazing events and services all the more difficult and frustrating.

Maybe it is my faith along with my family that has kept me going, maybe without it, I would have given up long ago. Perhaps God does more for me than I realise?


Why do we Have Pets?

This was a question that my wife and I have been pondering over the past week or so. Mainly because one of our youngest cats Ebony has gone missing. She is not quite a year old and is the most gentle and loving cat we have ever had. She never ventured outside the garden, yet one night she went out and never returned.

My daughter was, as you can imagine, enormously upset. She went around our village with her friends trying to find her and we also put up posters on every tree in the area. Unfortunately, there was still no sign and things seem final.

Every time we have lost a pet, through old age or illness, or loss, we have always asked the question, ‘why do we do it?’ Maybe it’s because that apart from our dog, all of our animals have been rescued. Even our disabled rabbit was saved from an animal auction when my wife couldn’t bear the thought of it going somewhere bad. We can’t let an animal that is going to suffer, stay where it is, we have to give it a good home.

However, we still go through all of the upset and pain of losing them, yet we go through it all again the next time. We open up our hearts to those that depend on us for food and shelter, knowing that they will almost certainly die before us and leave us heartbroken. Maybe it’s because we as humans are sociable animals at heart, we hate the thought of being on our own. If we were pets in a shop window, there would be a sign next to us saying ‘Must be kept in groups.’

Whatever the reason, Ebony will not be the last to join our family, and she won’t be the last that we lose. However, for us, the companionship and love that they give us outweighs the sadness to come. After all, if we stopped doing something because we knew it would eventually end, we wouldn’t do anything at all.



A Barbeque You Can Eat Off

It suddenly occurred to me as I was scrubbing our barbeque, just how many people actually clean theirs? I know at least one person who doesn’t and they are still alive, so I wondered if I was just being over cautious.

I know being over cautious is in my blood, but maybe I am taking things a bit too far. I always scrub the grill on the barbeque and today I even scrubbed the burner covers even though they get nowhere near the food. I’m pretty sure soon I will be scrubbing the whole thing including the wheels.

I have always had a thing about eating from barbeques, not so much my own because I have control of that, but anyone else’s and I get anxious. I think part of it was that advert many years ago when the food standards agency showed someone eating a raw sausage and said something like you will die!

Actually, I’m pretty sure they didn’t say that, but my anxious shadow translates it as such. In fact, it is fair to say that my anxious shadow translates pretty much everything into you will die! Like that game where you have to get from one celebrity to another by logical steps. Only the last step is always you will die!

I guess at least it means I have a clean barbeque.

One Tablet or Two?

pharmacy tablets

Over the past year or so, I have found that my medication has, for the most part, kept me on an even keel. So much so, that I have been fooled into thinking that I am ok without them.

I went to see my doctor to discuss my lowering my dose, to which she was a little surprised. I don’t really like having to rely on medication, so the sooner I can come off them, the better for me.

She told me to start lowering my medication for two weeks to see how it went. I started to lower it a little for a few days, thinking that everything would be ok. However, this was far from the truth.

As it turned out, my anxiety came back with a vengeance. I know that there are side effects to coming off such medicines, but I wasn’t prepared for the backlash. I had to put my dose back to normal so that I could feel better again

To say that it knocked me for six would be an understatement. It made me realise just how dependent I am on these tablets, which makes me a little unhappy.

I guess I just wanted things to be back to normal, however, I think my normal isn’t what I was hoping it would be.


5 Things Someone With Health Anxiety Worries About a Stomach Bug

This particular devil has descended upon our house. So far it has only hit my wife, but just the fact that it is within these four walls is enough to start my health anxiety rising.
1. No Touch Policy
This is one of the first things that goes into action when a bug hits the household. There is an immediate no touch policy and this doesn’t just affect the person. I also enforce no touch of any part of the bathroom, bed or any possible surface that may have been touched. This can be quite a large area, but my super alert mind can remember the exact location of every place my wife has touched.
2. Quarantine
Of course, there is an immediate quarantine area that anyone not affected must not enter. This area usually includes the bedroom, bathroom and the hallway in between. It means I spend the contagious days in the spare room wearing a gas mask and chanting against evil spirits. I also anoint myself with hand gel.
3. Decontamination
The level that this goes to is only limited by what I can get away with. In an ideal world, every plate, glass, bedding, clothing, and bathroom visited by the ill person would be placed into a sealed container and dropped into the nearest active volcano. What actually happens is the clothes and bedding go on a boil wash (there is no volcano setting on our washing machine). The plates and glasses go on an extra long dishwasher setting, and anything eaten by the person 24 hours before is tested and analysed.
4. The Mind Goes into Overdrive
All of a sudden, I become not only a leading forensic detective, but I also develop an amazing sense of self-preservation. I liken it to the 70’s show Joe 90, it’s as if I put on glasses and I suddenly know the incubation period of any bug ever discovered. I also overthink any possible contamination or infection. I worry for the whole period of quarantine as well as a good three days after.
5. Guilt
This is a big part for me because I feel very guilty for these feelings and coping strategies. I know that my wife understands, but I feel as though I should be helping. I do all the housework and looking after Bea of course, but It still feels like it’s not enough.
I have actually been very good for writing this as I usually can’t type or mention that which can’t be mentioned (no, not Voldemort).

24# – Coughing Around The Christmas Tree


This week has had its share of good and bad points I have to say. My wife has had a bad cold over the past few days which has led to a lot of days in bed resting. Despite this, however, we managed to attend a Christmas party at church yesterday as well as the annual festive meal today.

The party was good although there weren’t as many people there as we expected. There was a lot of sticking and glueing as well as glitter, paint and all kinds of mess. Everyone seemed to have a good time and the buffet lunch went down well.

Sunday was the annual Christmas lunch at church. This year’s mean was sausage with mash and cheesy leeks. Not what you would call traditional, but certainly yummy. However, there were crackers and lots of good company thrown in to round off an upbeat week. It actually put me in a bit of festive spirit which has been lacking this year.

I also had some nice news from the Wisdom Hospice that my daughter and I helped to raise money for. They want to put our efforts in their newsletter which is amazing. It was a modest effort, but am effort none the less. The Just Giving page is still open for anyone who might want to help those in need of care.

My anxiety was a little high today, mainly because of being in such a close social situation at the dinner. But it was manageable which was a nice change from other episodes lately.

Anxiety Level 5



23# – Another Mince Pie You Say?


I must admit that at this time of year, a lot of my favourite foods are available. This includes mince pies, Christmas pudding, Roses, Quality Street (other makes of chocolates are available).

My main weakness is mince pies, I think that I have sampled all of the shop brands so far. I do this every year in the name of research you see. It is quite amazing how they can differ between them and from year to year. I might even have to write a book about it one!

Of course, some supermarkets are selling them all year round now, although I never eat them except at Christmas time. That’s just as well because I would really have to watch the waistline if I did.

I already have to limit myself to one per day, after an unfortunate incident when I ate a whole box of ASDA Extra Special mince pies in one day.

That said, with a Christmas party and meal coming up this weekend at church, I am sure that I will be able to help clear the plates.

My Favorite YouTube Channels – [1] The Great War

I watch a lot of YouTube, mainly because I have a 10 year old daughter that loves Minecraft and all things associated with it.

But, occasionally, I get to watch a few of my own things, and I thought why not spread the love and recommend a few channels that I enjoy.

There are a few, and I don’t have them in any particular order, but I am starting with a channel called The Great War

It deals with the issues in World War One in an imaginative and unique way. They produce a weekly episode in which they tell you about what happened the corresponding week during the first world war.

I love all things history, and I like the way they give you all the facts in nice easy, digestible pieces. They also have other episodes where they concentrate in a particular individual or event during the war.

They are currently up to week 124 (as of writing) so there is plenty of content for the history buff. I have been an avid watcher since the beginning, and it will be a shame when they get to the end of this amazing journey.

#22 – 12+1 Sleeps to go Till Santa


As I wrote that title, I got the overwhelming feeling that I didn’t want to put the number that makes 12+1. I’m not overly superstitious as a rule, but it was a feeling I just had to go with.

In essence though, I am not ready for Christmas this year. It isn’t just a matter of getting presents or sending Christmas cards, it’s a distinct lack of holiday spirit.

Of course, this is understandable given the year we have had so far, but this year, I am really craving a curl up on the sofa with cliche Christmas telly and snacks. I am normally fairly easy when it comes to where I spend my holiday period, but this year, my own four walls would be perfect.

I am finding myself feeling a little militant about the traditional things as well. I sat in front of the TV the other day, thinking that maybe as a change, we should just have a nice piece of gammon instead of turkey. I have never entertained such ideas before, but thankfully, my feelings toward Quality Street and Roses haven’t changed. (though don’t get me started on the size of the tins!)

The odd thing for someone like me who always likes the status quo, is that I am feeling a sense of liberation from wanting to do things differently this year. Is it any coincidence that my anxiety levels have been low as well?

I will sit here and ponder that as a kitten tries to ab sail down my leg!