December 31st 2014 – The end of an epic year

Hey folks,

I thought I would do a round-up of the year to see out 2014 and get ready for 2015!! I’m going to focus on just the positive things, taken from my positives book and my blog (it’s taken a couple of days to get it done!!) 🙂

So, here goes!!

January –

  • 2nd – Started seeing my Employment Advisor
  • 3rd – Had first stage of Faith the Phoenix tattoo done
  • 4th – 1 year sober-versary
  • 5th – Set up my very own art business
  • 7th – 1st Psychiatrist appointment
  • 9th – Achieved target weight at Slimming World
  • 14th – Attempted to quit smoking
  • 22nd – Started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

February –

  • 4th – 2nd Psychiatrist appointment
  • 7th – Submitted my blog into “Blog for mental health project 2014”
  • 17th – My 29th birthday
  • 18th – Had 2nd stage of Faith the Phoenix tattoo done
  • 20th – Received a job offer for temp work

March –

  • 4th – 3rd Psychiatrist appointment
  • 6th – Resisted some severe self harm urges
  • 7th – Started new medication #1
  • 16th – 50th blog post!
  • 17th – My Facebook page (Sara Phoenix Blog) was born
  • 18th – Guest blog post published on Red Falcon Project website
  • 27th – 4 year wedding anniversary

April –

  • 1st – Psychiatrist appointment – Diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • 3rd – Started new medication #2
  • 9th – Created my mantra:
    As hard as it may be, I refuse to sink; instead I’ll learn to fly.
    One thing I know for sure, is that on a daily basis I feel and struggle with pain and distress, that weighs be down like an anchor. The negative thoughts often outweighing and overwhelming the positive; but it won’t be that way forever.
    I can’t see or feel my wings right now, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Every day I’ll do my best and what I need to do to get through the bad days and struggles, as I battle against me, myself and I.
    Because every day is different and I can’t control how I’ll feel, I’m taking it slowly at my own pace. One day at a time is the only way I can do this.
    But one day, I’ll release that anchor, to the depths of the deep blue sea forever, spread my wings and soar to victory over my condition. I will learn to manage it, in a positive way and take back control.
    I am not my condition; I am me with a condition.
    I will win; maybe not immediately, but eventually.
  • 30th – Completed the 12 weeks of CBT

May –

  • 4th – Ate a McDonalds without obsessing over using hand gel first!! (a big thing for me!)
  • 19th – Husbands birthday!
  • 31st – 52 days self harm free

June –

  • 6th – Took the positivity pledge:
    I shall no longer allow negative thoughts or feelings drain me of my energy. Instead I shall focus on all that is good in my life. I will think it, feel it, and speak it. By doing so I will send out vibes of positive energy into the world and I shall be grateful for all the wonderful things it will attract into my life.
  • 11th – Felt good about myself for the first time all year
  • 16th –  1 year, 5 months and 12 days sober
  • 20th – Had 3rd and final stage of Faith the Phoenix tattoo done!!!!
  • 28th – Rock Choir show!
  • 30th – 82 days self harm free!

July –

  • 1st – Offered a part-time job in a nursery school
  • 4th – First day at the nursery
  • 6th – 88 days self harm free and 1 year, 6 months and 2 days sober!
  • 7th – Watched Le Tour De France pass through Cambridge
  • 18th – 100 DAYS SELF HARM FREE!!!

August –

  • 10th – 123 days/4 months self harm free!!
  • 23rd – Had my butterfly tattoo done to represent my struggles with self harm (The butterfly project)
  • 25th – Went to Harry Potter world!!!!!!!
  • 31st – 144 days self harm free 🙂

September –

  • 1st – Discharged from Psychiatric care
  • 6th – Took part in the Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s Society
  • 16th – Offered a new job, left the nursery
  • 18th – 162 days/5 months 10 days self harm free
  • 29th – First day at new job
  • 30th – 174 days self harm free

October –

  • 5th – 11 year anniversary of getting together with my lovely husband
  • 11th – Took part in the Stand Up To Cancer March for Cancer Research
  • 14th – 1 year, 9 months, 10 day sober
  • 16th – Resigned from my job to ease anxiety
  • 18th – Offered another new job!
  • 23rd – First day at new job!
  • 26th – 200 DAYS SELF HARM FREE!!!!

November –

  • 20th – Resigned from my job and came to the realisation that my Pdoc was right about how I’d find it hard to hold down a job. Put my health first and became unemployed for the foreseeable future
  • 29th – Reached 100 followers on my blog
  • 30th – 235 days self harm free

December –

  • 5th – Medication increased
  • 24th – Reached 140 followers on my blog
  • 25th – CHRISTMAS!!! 260 DAYS SELF HARM FREE!!!!
  • 29th – Reached over 6000 views on my blog!
  • 31st – Made it to the end of the year! 266 days self harm free!!!! 🙂 and 1 year birthday of this blog!!!!!

So to sum up this year: Up and down! It started off pretty low and tough going, but looking back through my positives book has shown me how many things I’ve achieved and overcome. Of course there were going to be setbacks along the way, I anticipated that. But the main thing is, I came out the other side and am still here to tell my story.

As for the goals I set myself, well let’s see what I achieved from those!!

  1. Get to target weight before my birthday – I DID IT! However, thanks to my medication have put on 3 stone since then…
  2. Get back into exercise, even if it’s just walking – I sort of did that… on and off!!
  3. Take control of my mental health; fight for recovery! – I DEFINITELY HAVE DONE THAT!
  4. Quit smoking – Attempted a few times, but sadly didn’t succeed.

So, goals for 2015? Oh yes!

  1. Quit smoking! I’ll do it when I’m ready though. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I WILL do it in 2015!
  2. Get back to target weight – Rejoining Slimming World on January 8th!
  3. Get back into fitness – Starting the 30 Day Shred on January 2nd!
  4. Stay strong and keep fighting!

There is a 5th, which is the same as this years, but I won’t reveal it on my blog! Those of you close to me know what it is 😉

I feel really content and accomplished right now; I’ve come so far and I can recognise that now. I’m 266 days self harm free, approaching my 2 year sober-versary in January and have my Bipolar under control (well, mostly!). I’m really hopeful about what 2015 may hold for me. Aside from the fact that I turn 30 years old, I’m looking forward to it! Bring it on!!!

Thank you all for your support over this past year; it’s truly meant a lot to me, and has made my journey a lot more tolerable. I won’t ever be able to thank you all enough, but I want you all to know how I appreciate each and every one of you, and always will!

Anyway, that’s all for this year folks! and what a year it has been eh?! Here’s to a great 2015, all the best to you all and I hope the new year brings you lots of good things! I wish you all health, wealth and happiness!! 🙂

Until next year…..!!

x Sara Phoenix x

December 30th – Meh

Hey lovely folks,

I’m not feeling so good today; rather low and just generally meh! Have just chilled out and listened to music for most of the day. Had my eyebrows waxed too, the highlight of my day! It’s amazing how something so small can change how you feel about yourself; I instantly felt quite good and actually like my face a little bit now.

Also whilst browsing Facebook, I came across a really good thought provoking quote on one of the pages I like, so thought I would share it with you; I don’t have much else to say anyway…

Don’t forget through your daily travels that we are spiritual beings on a human journey and most don’t even realise. So the human part of us are the ones that make the mistakes. You have to remember we are all learning as we grow. 
Each one of us will have our own trials to go through. So will make mistakes over and over, and some will go through the same test over and over, because they still have something to learn that they didn’t get from the first time. 
We are all far from being perfect. 
For that person that yelled at you, maybe they were hurt by someone they loved earlier that day.
For that person who pulled out in-front of you at the lights, maybe they were in a hurry to get to the hospital to see a loved one. For that teenager behind the counter waiting on you, that seems like their mind is someplace else and not doing their job, maybe they are abused at home. 
Keep an open mind when dealing with other people. We are all dealing with challenges, just on different levels. A little kindness goes a long way, just remember how a little patience and kindness feels when you’re having a rough day. 

It really made me think; You never know what the strangers you pass on the street have got going on in their lives. Things like mental illness are in most cases, invisible to those who don’t know you. But yet, we still hide away as if the whole world knows and are going to judge us for it. We shouldn’t have to be like that. I’ve gotten to the point now, where I’m almost proud of my diagnosis. It’s what makes me who I am, and if someone doesn’t like it then that’s their problem. Have lost a few ‘friends’ this year, and whilst it does sadden me at first, I then come to the conclusion that they weren’t meant to be a part of my life anyway. I’m still a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, including when people walk out of your life for seemingly no reason at all. Sometimes we don’t always know the reasoning for why something happens, and that’s okay too. Treat it as a lesson anyway, and just move on. There’s no point having people in your life that don’t really want to be there, they don’t deserve to be there in that case anyhow.

Hmm, that was a little ramble. Hope it made sense! I just wrote what came to mind. As I said, that quote got me thinking a lot about everything I’ve faced this year. All the people I’ve met, all the things I’ve battled and won against, and how I’ve changed as a person. I’ve grown in strength and learnt a lot about myself too. It’s not been an easy year, and no doubt 2015 will have it’s rough patches as well, but I’m prepared for that and will tackle them when they happen. One day at a time, that’s how I roll these days.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today, hubby will be home in just over an hour so I best get things ready for dinner. Thanks as always for reading; take care and stay strong.

Until next time…..

x Sara Phoenix x

December 29th – Music

Hey folks,

Today has been a productive although somewhat dull day!! Hubby went back to work, so I had the lovely task of cleaning up the house after the Christmas holidays! Didn’t take me long, but was rather boring!

For the rest of the day I just played games on my chromebook and listened to music; had a Green Day marathon of all their CD’s! (Yes I own them all haha). Literally listened to them one after the other, loudly. So good. Blows the cobwebs out of my brain!


It’s been scientifically researched to show, that making or listening to music can lift peoples mood when feeling depressed. It allows people to get in touch with their emotions on a more deeper level.

The following is from http://www.livescience.com:

Music is known to have a strong effect on the human psyche. Learning to play an instrument boosts the brain’s auditory ability and even makes it easier to learn foreign languages, studies show. Music can also trigger memories by activating the medial prefrontal cortex, which sits in the brain just behind the forehead. This region is one of the last areas of the brain to atrophy during Alzheimer’s, explaining why many Alzheimer’s patients can recall songs from the distant past.

These emotional and communicative effects may explain the mood-boosted effect found in the new study.

The researchers recruited 79 people with a diagnosis of depression. Thirty-three were randomly assigned to three months of regular therapy plus up to 20 biweekly sessions with a music therapist. The rest of the participants attended regular therapy alone.

In music therapy sessions, patients improvised on African drums and a digital mallet instrument, the synthesized version of something like a vibraphone or marimba.

After three months of therapy, patients who had gone to music sessions showed fewer depression and anxiety symptoms and higher functioning in their daily lives than people who went to talk therapy alone.

The researchers followed up again three months after the study ended, and found that the benefits persisted, although the music therapy group was no longer statistically different than the talk-therapy-only group.


Music is really important to me; it helps me to function! Currently got my earphones in listening to Black Veil Brides, as hubby is playing on the Xbox! We’re so anti-social sometimes haha. He just pokes me if he wants me 😛

I can’t wait to get back to Rock Choir in January, this break has been torturous! Just as I got my mojo back, term ended! So, am seriously eager to get back and start learning new songs. It’s definitely helped my recovery this year, and I’d be lost without it I think.

I think that’s all I’ve really got to write about today, am so boring!! Mood wise I’m doing good though at the moment, quite up and chirpy most of the time, although physically feel knackered! Could easily sleep for a week or more right now!!

Anyway, thanks as always for reading, and I still can’t believe I’ve had over 6000 views on my little blog! Thank you again for that, it’s amazing!!

Until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

December 28th – Transformers

Hey folks,

Have had a really lush, relaxing day, with my lovely hubby. We’ve just chilled out, in our PJ’s, watching the Transformers movies, all 4 of them! Currently on the last one now whilst I’m typing this!

Have also taken down all the Christmas decorations and put the tree away. Sad times! Still got cards up all over the place, but wanted the bulk of it done and dusted really. The lounge looks weird now haha. Had the decs up since December 1st, so had gotten used to them I suppose.

I do feel a little sad that Christmas is over; as for the first time I was really happy and enjoyed it. I’ve not felt that content and lucky in a long time. I was truly spoilt by my husband, friends and family! But at the same time, I’m looking forward to the new year and all the chaos that it may bring! It’s a fresh new start and I’m going to make the most of it.

I’m still in a fair amount of pain, which is frustrating me. 2 more days to get through and then I can see the doctor about it. It’s not just my hips any more either; it’s now in my knees, ankles and wrists. Just a really dull ache and I feel really stiff if I sit still for too long. It’s horrible. I’m totally wiped out exhausted as well, despite resting all day!!! I feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds with a boxer! 😦

I’ve been thinking about my new year resolutions a lot today too… one of which is to quit smoking! My aim is to do it before I’m 30, but I’m scared to be honest. I don’t know if I’m really ready to do it just yet either. Will think on it some more and make my decision!

Anyway, don’t think there’s really much else to report tonight, have told you all of what I’ve done today already! So, thanks for reading as always, take care and stay strong!

Until next time…..

Showing my face

Hey again folks,

I had to share this photo because I absolutely love it for some reason! Which is unusual for me! It’s a big step in my recovery considering my body image issues!

image

I love black and white photography. Something classic and timeless about it. And for once I like how I look in it!

That is all.

Until next time…

December 27th – Pain and frustration

Hey folks,

I’m in a good mood, but….
…also in pain and frustrated by it. My hips, knees and ankles really hurt and I don’t know why. It’s mostly my hips that are the most bothersome. I feel like an old woman! I’m going to ask the doc when I see her on the 31st. I’ve been looking into it (a very bad thing to do is google stuff, but hey ho!), and from my symptoms it’s either fibromyalgia or arthritis. Either of which I don’t really want to be honest, but there must be some sort of reason for it. I’ve suffered with painful hips for a few months now, but only in the right hip mostly. Now it’s moved to the left as well. Sometimes I struggle to walk because it’s so painful.

Another thing frustrating me, is my weight. I’ve put on over 3 stone since achieving target weight back in January. I know why though, damn medication. One of them in particular is known for it’s weight gain side effect. I’m hoping that I can get myself back on track in the new year with Slimming World. I may have to rejoin a group to really give myself a kick up the butt. I did so well with it last time, so I know I can do it. Apparently there’s a new plan to follow coming in the new year as well, so am intrigued what that’s all about. I’ve got to do something, it’s getting ridiculous. I may also speak to the doc about it and see if there’s an alternative med that doesn’t cause weight gain.

I’m not sure whether the weight gain and the hip pain may be linked… but even when I was a really big girl I never had this pain…so I’m a tad confused by it. Oh well, will see what the doc says.


For those of you who don’t know what fibromyalgia is, here’s a little bit of info for you:

From nhs.uk

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.

As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating

If you think you have fibromyalgia, visit your GP. Treatment is available to ease some of its symptoms, although they are unlikely to disappear completely.

Read more about the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.

It’s also suggested that some people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia because of genes inherited from their parents.

In many cases, the condition appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as:

  • an injury or infection
  • giving birth
  • having an operation
  • the breakdown of a relationship
  • the death of a loved one

Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around seven times as many women as men. The condition typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50, but can occur in people of any age, including children and the elderly.

It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected by fibromyalgia, although research has suggested that it could be a relatively common condition. Some estimates suggest nearly 1 in 20 people may be affected by fibromyalgia to some degree.

One of the main reasons it’s not clear how many people are affected is because fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose. There is no specific test for the condition, and the symptoms can be similar to a number of other conditions.

There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with.

Treatment tends to be a combination of:

  • medication – such as antidepressants and painkillers
  • talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)and counselling
  • lifestyle changes – such as exercise programmes and relaxation techniques

Exercise in particular has been found to have a number of important benefits for people with fibromyalgia, including helping to reduce pain.


In the new year I’m intending to get back into my fitness as well as Slimming World. It’s definitely on my list of goals for 2015!

Today was mostly spent in town shopping with our Christmas money; didn’t buy a great deal, just some jeans and leggings, which I’m hoping in a way will soon be too big!!!!! I bought them from Primark to avoid spending loads on bigger clothes (which is depressing!!). I really want to get back down to a size 10-12 to be honest. I loved being a skinny minny (as my sister-in-law called me!). Size 16 just won’t do for me!

So as one journey is coming to an end (my mental health), well, sort of!…. a new one will be beginning (my weightloss)! At least I’ll have something else to write about in my blog!

Anyway, that’s me done for today, going to relax with my two favourite boys (the hubby and the cat!)…

Thanks as always for reading folks, take care and stay strong! So, until next time…….