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Invitation to view photos from ‘All Photographs’

12 Jul

Hello,

I’d like to share photographs with you from my ‘All Photographs’ group.

http://saradunn.zenfolio.com/f525688558

Enjoy!

Toxic People

21 Apr

“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go.

Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make yourself a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend , or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful – you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

Daniell Koepke

F-E-A-R – FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE.

19 Apr

‘Forget everything and run’

‘Face everything and rise’

“A comfort place is a beautiful thing, but nothing ever grows there”.

Anxiety can be crippling. It has can hold us back from the big things and the little things in our life. It is natural everyone suffers from some anxiety in their lives, if you are in a stressful situation or worried about something. However chronic anxiety is when this starts to enter every part of your life. From the moment, you wake up until the moment you sleep.

I first experienced crippling anxiety when I had a bad experience on a missionary trip to Africa. Although perfectly innocent it was my first trip so far from home in a totally different surrounding. I had suffered no anxiety or nerves leading up to this trip, but after arriving in Namibia my friends who I was with got directed to the exit in the airport and I was diverted to a tiny room unable to alert them. There security guards in rubber gloves made me open my case and went through my entire belongings I had on me. Although they obviously did these as random checks to many people and I was allowed, to go straight after, something in my head exploded. I felt in great danger. I was very homesick the few weeks I was away and was absolutely convinced I would not make it home. Either someone would plant something in my case and set me up.  The paranoia was intense. It made me sick, I got ill, and lost lots of weight. Of course, I made it home and thought great I am safe.

But this anxiety followed to me. It kept me awake at night, exhausted me. Something terrible was going to happen. I went from a confident outgoing person to a crippling mess. If I drove I was convinced I had hit someone, or hurt them. In my job, I was worried what I was feeling would end up in the letters I typed, that I would make a grave error. It led to catastrophic thinking in thinking the worst that could happen in any situation. In 2010, 4 years since I had travelled I had the opportunity to go to Florida and decided to take it. I was with two of my sisters and two friends. I was nervous about going but as soon as I arrived I knew it was a mistake. Panic set in, I felt trapped like I couldn’t’ breathe. I was on the holiday of a lifetime year every part was torture to me.

I knew something had to change. I felt I had no quality of life. I had lost all my confidence and became deeply depressed. To be blunt life didn’t feel worth living and the thought of ending it all seemed very appealing. A way out from the permanent darkness I was in.

“Anxiety is the most silently painful experience. It makes no sense and you sit there alone and suffer for an unknown reason. You can’t explain it. You can’t stop it. It’s horrible”.

After visiting the GP who was very understanding, he set me up to have six sessions of CBT. I felt quite sceptical that NOTHING or NO ONE could ever help me live a ‘normal’ anxiety-free life. It was the best decision I ever made. To sit and talk to someone and literally spill out all the scariest thoughts that I had built up and know I wouldn’t be judged was such a relief, to untangle the wires in my brain that had become so tied up, so many knots. I learnt anxiety is simply just fear. My brain giving me the wrong signals. I had got used to thinking this way all the time.

I set myself goals including going on a cruise for a week and for the first time in a long time I felt I enjoyed it. I then changed jobs as my currently job was not helping my mental health and situation.

“Fear… is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story … I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brace”.

I am not saying I don’t ever suffer from, or get anxiety at all. It is always there but I now have a good quality of life. I can generally talk sense into myself when it gets too much although there have been times since I have had moments of relapses. I never thought I would get up day-to-day and not feel crippled the moment I started my day.

There are many people out there suffering anxiety right now and not living a good quality of life, unable to reach their potential. I would strongly recommend CBT. I have also learnt that anxiety is a liar.

FEAR

When we avoid situations, we are confirming in our mind that our anxiety is true. It is small steps. However, in order to conquer our fears, we have to face them. I don’t know what your situation may be, there are so many different things that affect us as individuals. I still really dislike travelling, I really don’t like it however I do it, it’s not necessarily an enjoyment but I will never recover or put my anxiety to bed unless I push myself.

“You gain strength, courage & confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Some day your pain will become the source of your strength. Face it. Brave it. YOU WILL MAKE IT”.

 

International Women’s Day

8 Mar

Today is a celebration for women all around the world,
Ladies who’ve dared to dream big, ever since they were little girls.
For the diversity and talent that lie within a feminine heart,
For the courage and determination that prevents us falling apart.

 

We can raise families and build businesses and be proud of all we’ve achieved
Where once over, visions of that scale, could never have been believed.
Ladies, stand up and be counted, smile at how far we have come
And Cherish every single day, as daughter, wife, companions or mum.

 

Don’t let anybody tell you that there are set paths for you to follow
As a little girl with a passion, is an inspiring woman of tomorrow.
So celebrate all women, and acknowledge the great things they do
And tell a lady close to your heart, just how much she means to you.

 

Unbroken

7 Mar

I absolutely love this motivational video my Mateusz M. When I am feeling tired and weary I listen to this and it gives me hope. If you need inspiration and motivation watch this video. I have also written the words because sometimes it’s really great to just read things as well to help spur us on. Enjoy.
You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life, don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for your love life. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow truly know what you want to become.

You’re gonna have some ups and you’re gonna have some downs. Most people give up on themselves easily. You know the human spirit is powerful. There is nothing this powerful. It is hard to kill the human spirit. Anyone can feel good when they have their health, their bills paid, they have happy relationships, anyone can be positive then, anyone can have a larger vision then, anyone can have faith under those types of circumstances. The real challenge of growth mentally, emotionally and spiritually comes when you get knocked down. It takes courage to act, part of being hungry when you’ve been defeated. It takes courage to start over again.

Fear kills dreams, fear kills hope, fear put people in the hospital, fear can age you. It can hold you back from doing something that you know within yourself that you are capable of doing, but it will paralyze you, at the end of your feelings is nothing but at the end of every principle is a promise. Some of you in your life the reason you are not at your goal right now is all a bunch of feelings. You are all on your feelings, you don’t feel like waking up, who does?! Every day you say no to your dreams you might be pushing your dreams back a whole six months, a whole year, that one single day, that one day you didn’t get up, could have pushed yourself back I don’t know how long.

 Don’t allow your emotions to control you, we are emotional but you want to be able to discipline your emotions. If you don’t discipline and contain your emotions, they will use you. You want it and you’re gonna go all out to have it. I tell ya it’s not going to be easy. When you want to change it’s not easy. If it were in fact easy everybody would do it, but if your serious you’ll go all out. I’m in control here. I’m not gonna let this get me now, I’m not gonna let this destroy me, I’m coming back and I’ll be stronger and better because of it. You have got to make a declaration that this is what you stand for. You’re standing up for your dreams, you’re standing up for peace of mind, you’re standing up for health. You’re taking responsibility for your life. Accept where you are and the responsibility that you’re gonna take yourself where you want to go. You can decide to live each day as if it were my last. Live your life with passion, with some drive, desire that you’re going to push yourself. The last chapter to your life has not been written yet and it doesn’t matter about what happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, it matters, what are you going to do about it. This year I will make this goal become a reality. I won’t’ talk about it anymore.

I CAN I CAN I CAN!!!

 

Why we must stand together

31 Jan

“Remember it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs them’. It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye”.

I think majority of people across the world must be shocked by the actions of the new President Donald Trump. He has wasted no time in what he said he was going to do, building a wall, banning certain Islamic countries from entering the US. I  feel we have gone back to the dark ages, and it brings a deep sadness. Just as we have marked Holocaust Memorial Day, where millions across the globe mark this day. We stand and say ‘never again’. But here before our very eyes we have a man who is supposed to be a leader spreading racial hatred.

Trump seems to think that Muslims make up the majority of terrorists in the United States, however research shows otherwise. “According to the FBI 94% of terrorist attacks are carried out in the United States from 1980 to 2005 have been by non-Muslims. This means that an American terrorist suspect is over nine times more likely to be a non-Muslim than a Muslim.

I’d say there are many more attacks and massacres through gun violence than worrying about Muslims and terrorism.

“In Obama’s eight years in office, he formally addressed the nation on the subject of gun violence 25 times: on average ever 112 days but in 2015 he made statements regarding gun violence roughly every 36 days. However for every one American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns. Also the number of US citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2014 was 369”.

With the statistics above maybe Trump should focus on the real terror of the modern culture in the US – GUNS, rather than discriminating against innocent people. People who have worked hard for a number of year’s and brought a lot of skills now deported.

Surprisingly out of the number of countries he has ordered this ban on, he has failed to make this apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt which seems very odd.

Elie Wiesel a Holocaust survivor put’s it perfectly with this quote:

“There may be times, when we are powerless to prevent injustice. But there must NEVER be a time when we fail to protest”.

Whether we are black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Straight, Gay, Bisexual. We should be able to accept one another rather than stereotyping one another. As Jackie Robinson once said:

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking of me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being”.

Only time will tell where Trump will go next or what effect this ban will have but whatever happens those against these actions, in whatever country you may be, we must stand together, to those suffering as consequence of this executive order please know you are wanted, you are valuable and your rights and your lives matter and finally as Martin Luther King, JR once said:

One has moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Journey With Pemphigus

22 Mar

It was September 2014 when I woke up one day and noticed a deep type cut on my lower back, it was so odd I remembered showing close friends who thought it was very odd. I thought I must have cut myself somehow or scraped it and not realised. However as time went on I kept noticing more of these lesions, mainly over my back appearing, I would feel my skin disappeared as I rubbed an irritation on my back, this soon spread to my front. I had no idea what it could be, I had never seen anything like it. I was googling and nothing was coming up with my symptoms.

Eventually I decided to see my GP to try and find out what was going on. My GP first thought it was a staph infection and prescribed lots of different creams yet nothing worked. I went back time and time again and got different treatments but again nothing was working. By this point I was covered in burn type wounds all over my torso front and back. I was beginning to worry that something serious was going on. After spending a lot of money on various prescriptions, the GP decided to do some swabs. Unfortunately with a new system in place at my local hospital, two lots of swabs went missing. Unable to cope much longer I decided to get a private appointment just to find out what was happening. I was seen by a lovely Dermatologist who first introduced me to a word I had never heard ‘Pemphigus’. She was certain this is what I had and said I needed to be seen urgently for a diagnosis.

I want to take a break just there in my story and introduce you all to Pemphigus. Here is what this strange word to many means:

Pemphigus is a rare autoimmune disease that causes blistering of the skin. The blisters have thin roofs and break easily to leave raw areas (erosions) that can be extensive and painful. Pemphigus does not go away by itself, and always needs treatment by a specialist.

The skin:

  • The skin lesions start as thin-walled blisters (collections of clear fluid within the skin), arising on a background of normal-looking skin. Because they are so fragile, pemphigus blisters break very easily, leaving raw areas known as erosions. 

  • Erosions are areas of skin (or mucous membrane), which lack its top (outer) layer. They look raw and feel sore – like a burn. Erosions can join together to create larger areas of raw skin that look as if the top layer has been scraped off. 

  • Erosions can become crusty and scabbed. When they heal, those on the skin may leave discoloured marks. 

I was told only 1 in 300,000 suffer from this rare disease. I thought how on earth had i ended up with this. It is still unknown as to why people suffer with this disease.

It was January 2015 8 weeks after seeing a private consultant i finally saw an NHS Dermatologist. Although i had waited a long time I could not fault this team. Less than a week later i had the well needed biopsy to determine the diagnosis and this is unfortunately what the results showed. When doing biopsies for this condition, Dermatologists quite like a whole blister, but because blisters that form are so fragile, they very quickly turn into a wound. It was only after my diagnosis i actually fully researched a lot about what pemphigus meant. I have always been a very well so it was a bit of a shock. I was under attack from my own body.

In order to gain control i needed my immune system to be suppressed to stop it from attacking itself. I was started on a very high dose of 75mg of steroids. This was tough, not only was i dealing with the diagnosis, my wounds which by this point had spread to my face, arms, legs and scalp, i was dealing with the psychological affect of how much weight the steroids made me gain. My face bloated hugely into what is called a ‘moon face’. I ended up feeling horrid. I was then started on other meds alongside the steroids. Unforunately the first set made me violently ill. I was starting to find the treatment aspect a lot worse than being covered in blisters. I felt tired, emotional, sick, and many other side effects from these drugs. I then one day found a blister on my ankle which i wanted to cover because it was scared of it rubbing so i put a plaster over it to protect it. It was one evening at home i decided to take the plaster off, as i ripped the plaster off it peel a huge chunk of skin off my ankle, the pain was indescribable, i had never felt anything so horrendous. I look down just to see a whole strip of skin hanging off the plaster. I could barely walk and had to have it bandaged for more than 3 weeks, including a trip to A&E for IV antibiotics.

IMG_20150101_130545DSC_4238DSC_3502

I was then started on a new drug called Mycophenolate, this is normally used on transplant patients to lower their immunity before having a new organ. It was increased every couple of weeks and i soon started to get headaches, numbness, tingling and very little sleep. I have never suffered insomnia and i never want to again. I went days without sleep, it didn’t matter what i tried i was wide awake and mentally i was starting to suffer. I became a shell of who i was, the steroids altered my mood, i felt at war with my own body. Someone suggested lowering them again and trying again but extremely slowly to increase so my body had more time. Thankfully this worked and I have now been on this drug over a year.

After much of my life being spent at hospital in 2015 for various appointments, scans and other tests i am pleased to say that March 2016 feels positive. I have no more wounds, apart from the occasional blister and my scars are healing well. I am now off steroids after around 16 months, losing weight and the other drug is taking over. Pemphigus is not a curable disease, i can go into remission and it could last my whole life or i could relapse at anytime but hopefully i will never be as bad as i was. I have joined some social network groups supported by the pemphigus foundation. Sadly most sufferers live in America and a few in the UK but the support group has been invaluable. Picking eachother up and encouraging one another when we feel the battle is too hard to face. I have met some amazing people in the care working team, from Dermatologists and Nurses etc who all made my journey a little lighter as well as my amazing family and close friends who stood by me every step of the way.

This has been an interesting journey, not one i would have necessarily wanted to have faced but it is funny how life directs you and changes you through the tough times. My journey isn’t over it is a continuing one but I know one thing and that is that Pemphigus cannot beat me!!!

Steroid reductions