Posted in Blog, Mental Health

It’s the Most Wonderfully Difficult Time of the Year

Christmas has been extremely difficult for me.

Filled with sadness, anger, violence, disappointment, and desperation.

This year I spent it with my girlfriend, just the two of us in our flat.

My fourth Xmas without my mother and sister. I tried really hard to get into the spirit of it all, wrapping presents, spending more than I could afford on food to cook a great (vegan) Xmas dinner, decorating the tree, obsessively buying more and more “little things” to make the flat more Xmas-sy. 

This year, I’ve also been volunteering with the recovery centre of a local mental health charity. I started a couple of months ago and it’s been an amazing experience. However, talking to the service users about their feelings towards Xmas is difficult.

A couple of weeks ago, a tweet by Sonaska a writer and designer fell into my timeline, retweeted by someone I follow:

You can also follow her on Instagram.

It was retweeted in relation to mental health at Xmas.

It’s tough being without family, watching everybody else excited to spend the holidays with family, eagerly buying loads of presents for everybody. It’s also tough when people send you messages hoping you have a great xmas with your family, unintentionally sending you back into that black hole of loneliness. 

Considering Xmas with my family was always so unbearable, if you think about it really, I’ve had a lucky escape. There’s no pressure for me to be anything other than myself, I’m spending it with somebody who genuinely cares about me and I don’t have to anticipate having a breakdown.

I also have to consider that I am blessed to have at least somebody to spend it with. Although the charity will be hosting a Xmas dinner at the day centre for the service users (and also arranging transport to the centre and back home), so that they won’t have to spend the day alone, it is still a reminder that there is no alternative for them (other than spending it alone), which is heartbreaking.

Therefore, although I spent most of Xmas eve sobbing into my pillow with multiple glasses of Bailey’s (yes I know you shouldn’t drink while on medication!), I worked to be thankful for what I do have: A home, a partner, friends, a career-plan and my sense of self. 


If you are still finding it difficult to cope, please reach out. The Samaritans are great listeners. With 1 in 3 people contacting them on Xmas Day alone you’ll be in good hands.

Posted in Poetry

Lost Your Mind

You call me angry

When I am actually inconsolable

Broken, inside my heart is crying,

Crying out for love.

You call me aggressive,

When I am actually desperate,

Begging to be heard.

You call me loud,

But you don’t hear my cries of pain,

The agony of my mind breaking into two.

You call me unpredictable,

While others have the luxury

Of bad days and good.

How can I possibly predict

What each day will bring?

You call me fine

And capable of life without support.

Yet, inside I’m already dead,

Because what is living

When you have lost your mind?

© Cece Noel, 2018
Posted in Poetry

Grievance

Grieve for my former self

No tears every day

But grieve

Yes grieving

Every day

No more early mornings

Or “Ms Noel

Holocene walks

Teaching plans

But now so much time….

Tick… tock… tick… tick…

Miss running

To Kanye’s Workout Plan

Miss running

Feel it in my gut

Wish to run away

Grieving

For my consciousness

So vivid, so lucid

Sometimes it’s mine

Sometimes it’s where? 

Posted in Blog

Parental Rejection

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/10/rejection-parent-personality.php

I came across this article tonight after reading on Twitter that a friend of mine had finally been rejected by her father. I say finally, because it’s been a slow, drawn out process. The rest of her family have turned their backs on her following her transition (she’s transgender) and at first, her father was the bridge of support, claimed to attempt to support, to reach out to the other party, etc., etc. But then she had fears that he was pulling away – we didn’t want to believe it, especially me, having experienced it myself, but he was acting super sketchy and no longer being as supportive as he once was. 

Then tonight, he was no longer taking her calls. He’d cut her off. 

HIS OWN DAUGHTER. 

What kind of parents have children, only to reject them? Let’s forget that we’re adults, we’re still your children. Professor Ronald, co-author of the study in the article, says that it doesn’t matter what culture, race or class you come from (surprisingly, considering we’re talking about Psychology here!) rejection from a parental figure has a significant effect upon the development of your personality. Rejected children tend to be more anxious and insecure; it also makes us aggressive and angry – who do we trust? And why should we trust people? What if you let us down? 

Rohner then goes on to say:

“Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”

According to the article, empirical research claims that the same parts of the brain activated for physical pain, are also activated for emotional pain. 

There are still days when I can’t breathe because the pain of separation is unbearable. 

I’m also finally coming to terms with being an orphan, because I never thought of my father rejecting me before. I’ve never had to deal with him walking out because I’ve always been so consumed with my mother’s failings, which the article discusses. 

Why do people even bother to have children? 

I’m sorry that this isn’t an uplifting post; I just can’t even…

I spent three days in bed with a post-stictal migraine, feeling like I’d had a stroke and not knowing what was going on, not knowing who I am, barely able to speak and the only thing I was sure of was that my parents didn’t love me. Because I get to relive that over and over again, especially when I’m too sick to escape my insecurities.  

Posted in Blog

Bitch, I Ain’t Fat!

If you remember on Thursday, the reason why I decided to treat myself to some new make up was because I had such an awful day. It began with the trolls on Twitter, followed by a New Patient Healthcheck with the Practice Nurse at my new GP Surgery.

I hate these appointments; I hate throwing shade at Practice Nurses because I’ve worked at GP Surgeries and I’ve worked, with some highly qualified and educated Nurses. However, the ones who work in the surgeries I’m always registered, at always seem to be dumb and prejudiced towards Epilepsy and people of colour.

My appointment was at 11am – I stupidly rolled out of bed and straight into the Surgery, without having anything to eat even though the week before, my partner had told me that he had had to wait over half an hour for his own appointment because the same nurse was running late. I ended up waiting over half an hour. The receptionist apologetically informed me that the nurse had struggled with some baby immunisations earlier in the morning.

The nurse finally called me almost forty minutes after my appointment time, offering no apology for running late. Then she saw a patient she knew and left me in her room to take this other patient to another room. I could hear them chatting, she was offering him a newspaper to make him more comfortable while he waited. I even heard her offering to make him a cup of tea! All while I was standing in her doorway, waiting for her. By this point I was furious and close to passing out.

The Nurse finally returned, still didn’t apologise but came in and sat straight down. I informed her that I she was running late, she had offered no apology, that I had Epilepsy, had not eaten and was extremely upset. Instead of apologising, she replied: “oh were you told to fast? You didn’t need to”. I then informed her that my medication makes it did difficult to wake in the mornings and that it also makes me sick, however that doesn’t excuse her lateness. She then told me that I could cancel (!) At this point, I’m ready to smack her, just apologise! And get on with the appointment. I had to explain to her that this was my second attempt to see her, as the last time I booked an appointment, I had a seizure and was rudely told by the receptionist that if I miss another New Patient Healthcheck I won’t be registered with the Surgery.

She then apologised.

Now, the reason why I keep making a big deal about her failure to apologise straightaway, is because when I told my partner (who is white, and so is the Nurse) what happened , he told me that the Nurse apologised straightaway and couldn’t apologise enough.

Yet I had to beg for mine. Because I’m Black, right?

She then took my height, weight and blood pressure.

She didn’t say anything about my weight, but I knew a lecture was coming…..

She told me that my blood pressure was high – no shit. We’ve just been arguing! However, she tried to convince me that I had high blood pressure because “people like you do”. And there we go, health professionals making assumptions. Instead of taking into account the fact that she had kept me waiting for over 30 minutes for an appointment, without any food and then provoked me into an argument, she instead diagnosed me as having a high blood pressure problem. She ordered me to come back and see her in two weeks time. I immediately refused and ordered her to read through my medical file, to which she will find that I have never had a high blood pressure issue.

Lion

(Image source)

Which of course was confirmed in my records.

As for my Epilepsy, she told me that she has a patient who also has Epilepsy and can talk themselves out of their seizures. I told her that was a lie, and I am under the care of a great team. She disregarded that, and recommended that I try Tai Chi for my seizures, “just like her patient who can talk herself out of her seizures”. 

As people of colour, we need to educate ourselves. This same dumb woman who is telling me this shit about my epilepsy, was also trying to diagnose me with a blood pressure condition I know for a fact that I don’t have and also told me that I have a weight problem.

I’m not skinny, but I’m not fucking obese either. Since I had to stop working and my seizures became worse, I’m not as active as I was and I’ve noticed a little weight gain around my middle, however I’m nowhere near as heavy as I was 2 years ago.

Last year I went to see a Psychiatrist, and when I told him I was a UK size 12-14, he looked at my like I was lying, and in the clinical letter, he actually wrote that I was “clearly lying.” This was actually one of the reasons why he also believed that I was lying about having Epilepsy and therefore diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anyway, the point I’m making is  *breath* as women of colour, especially in the U.K. we need to challenge Primary Care clinicians more, because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, especially when it comes to our health. The BMI calculator in particularly, was not created for us! I’ve weighed my boobs and each one weighs 1.5kg! Our body fat is distributed differently in comparison to White women, which the BMI calculator doesn’t take into account. We have booty and also a higher bone density: physiologically we are completely different to the White European “ideals” that the BMI calculator was created from. When you go on the NHS Choice website to check your BMI, all you see are White women telling you how to be like them. Eurocentric standards healthcare are one of the reasons why so many women of colour have eating disorders. It was one of the reasons why I spent most of adolescent years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

I found this great article by Linda Lowen about Black BMI, which is a great starting point. I’m definitely going to stay healthy, but I’m also going to be doing my own research.

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Inspirational U – Natural Care: Hair, Mind and Body

Hey! 

My second beauty blog post of the week! Well, it’s also a natural health post too.

Yesterday I went to a Natural Hair Talk, run by Inspirational U:

The panel was made of all beautiful black ladies (and one man) with natural hair, including the Editor from Natural Hair Weekly

I was so inspired (haha see what I did there) that I went out and bought some stuff online straight away. The main message was what you put into your hair should be as natural and healthy as what you put into your body. 

I’ve been really bad at looking after myself lately, but particularly with looking after my hair. I once was into healthy eating and healthy living, but only because I thought that it would help my seizures and when it didn’t I just gave up. It never occurred to me that 

(a) healthy eating can do wonders for my hair! And 

(b) I am more than my Epilepsy. Why does everything have to be about Epilepsy? Why can’t I just eat healthily because I enjoy it? 

I used to drink tonnes of water, so much so that I would dry up like a raisin if I didn’t get any and one of the women on the panel actually said that yesterday and I thought, why don’t I do that anymore? I just couldn’t be bothered to look after myself. It just became a chore.

I did used to straighten my hair obsessively when I was younger. As Black women we are told that have to look a certain way to conform, otherwise we won’t get a man, get a job. This is especially so when you grow up around white people. White boys didn’t like me with plaits, so I had to straighten my hair every day. Then at the beginning of the year I started going to the hair salon to have Keratin treatment which has done wonders to my hair’s health, however I very rarely use products in my hair. 

Another message I took away from yesterday’s talk was what you put in your hair affects your mind. What chemicals are we putting in our hair? 

Most of the products with the most harmful chemicals are directed towards the black community.

 The ladies on the panel advised us to buy things for our hair that we would either eat or use on our skin. Therefore, I bought avocado butter, castor oil and a blend of plant oils (almond, argan, macadamia, sesame, lavender, rose and ylang-ylang). All of these products I bought on Amazon 🤘🏾 

I applied the avocado butter immediately to my hair and my hands! 

My hair and hands feel lush already! (I have eczema so anything natural that I can apply to my skin too is a bonus.)

As for my body and mind, I’ll be hydrating myself too. I’m not shallow, but my looks are important to me, therefore keeping healthy and losing weight is important. Not being able to be as active as I used to be, is having an extremely negative impact upon my mental health, which is why things like looking after my hair, mind and body in little ways that I can are empowering. 

Posted in Blog

Fenty

I don’t usually do beauty posts however yesterday, I had such an awful day mentally, that I decided to finally treat myself to Rihanna’s Fenty make up range.

At £25 for foundation that actually matches your complexion, that’s not asking for much!

Fenty.jpg

I did queue outside Harvey Nicol’s in Knightsbridge for almost 2 hours in the rain though….. but do you know what? It was totes worth it.

I was telling my partner about buying make up as a teenager from Afro-Caribbean hairshops in Peckham, South-East London and how you dare not touch your face because that stuff would transfer onto your hands and then onto your exercise book. Plus my complexion is an in-betweeny colour – I’m neither light-light-skinned, nor dark-skinned, therefore I could never get the right shade to match my skin. And forget about buying anything in Superdrug or Boots, because the high street only sell make up for Lady Casper and her friends.

So I’d never had the whole make up experience before either, until yesterday.

The girl sat me on the stool and tried three different shades and the third one was the hit, and it was like rubbing chocolate onto my skin…. beautiful.

They didn’t have the shade in stock for the Pro Filt’r soft matte Foundation, so I just took down the shade number and bought it online when I got home. But before I left, my eye caught the Match Stix Matte Skinstick concealer. So, I’ve never tried concealer either, because again, I’ve never found concealer in a shade darker than a milky bar LOL. Until yesterday. The girl took this stick, rubbed it under my eye and it was like magic. As you can see from the picture below, the coverage is immaculate:

IMG_20170921_205714

So I bought that and some Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. And when I got home, I also bought some Killawatte Freestyle highlighter (blusher).

Over the last year I’ve barely worn make up and I know some girls of colour who like me, have just kind of given up on make up. However, when we knew Fenty was coming out we just had to get behind it because this is the first time anybody has done anything for us. There was a girl in the queue in front of me who said to me: “it’s weird how she’s done so many shades right?” My reply: “that’s because it’s needed!” Desperately needed! The girl was white Columbian so she didn’t get it. In the queue with us were so many young girls! I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be valued like that in your teens. I cannot tell you how shitty it felt to have to make up your own colour of foundation for so many years, because there just wasn’t any thing on the market for you. Boots No7 came close – that’s the last foundation I bought 2 years ago, however even that was too dark for my complexion.

Yesterday was glorious, to look in the mirror, and finally see my melanin face made up how it should be.

Rihanna has created a brand for us and shown us that we are valued and appreciated, because black is fucking beautiful baby. Finally.

Thank you.

XOXO