Does He Have OCD? #mentalhealth

I recently read a blog post from a man who talks about his mental health, and what it means to have OCD. Like many people, I have made flippant remarks in the past about my OCD tendencies. I try not to nowadays, because I recognise just how serious and debilitating this illness can be.

OCD almost destroyed my marriage. My husband has not received an official diagnosis because he will not visit the doctor. He worries that they will try to sign him off work, which means he can’t support his family, which means we will lose our home, go bankrupt, etc. These destructive thoughts are a constant monster inside my husband’s mind, and this is only the bit that he has shared with me. I don’t know the half of what he suffers at the hands of his demons.

What exactly is it that makes me believe my husband has a mental illness? Lots of things. We have been together since we were teenagers. In the early days, he concealed his emotions and we sailed through our early twenties with only the occasional flare-up here and there. He was never what my friends considered a “good boyfriend.” He doesn’t believe in old-fashioned romance. We don’t have shared interests (other than our children). We rarely speak to each other on the phone.

These days he won’t even take his paid annual leave from work. That is how bad his illness is. He has become obsessed with work, and even when he is at home, he is constantly checking his phone for emails and messages, he will speak to his colleagues before and after his shifts, and on his Sundays off. There are other tell-tale signs that I have learned when his OCD is especially bad. He becomes irritable, ridiculously tired, he can’t sleep, he is jittery, he won’t talk to me. I must step in and try to shield our children, explaining that Daddy just had a rough day at work, or that he needs a break. He doesn’t see what he is doing until I tell him, and even then, sometimes he can manipulate me into believing that I am in the wrong, that I’m being unreasonable.

I know that some people who read this may believe what I used to, that my husband doesn’t care about us, that I should wise up, separate from him, and start afresh. Believe me, I have seriously considered it. But I know how much he loves me, and how much he dotes on his children. And truthfully, I am afraid that if we were not here, at home, he would have a complete breakdown. He needs us, and we need him. Our love remains strong and unwavering, even when daily aggravations interfere. I will not back down.

True Love SpookyMrsGreen

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Special Offers on Wine and Chutney

Sometimes, we need to stop worrying about all of the terrible and stressful events that are happening around us, take a step back, and indulge in some self-care. We cannot help others if we do not help ourselves. Personally, I like to sample a few foodie treats and a nice bottle of wine when I am feeling down.

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This weekend you can receive free standard delivery when you spend £50 or more at the English Heritage online shop. Use code 50FS.

Free Jute Jar Bag worth £3 when you buy any 3 English Heritage or Stonehenge preserves or chutneys. Use code JUTEJAM.

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Free Jute Bottle Bag worth £4.99 when you buy any 3 English Heritage or Stonehenge wines or meads. Use code JUTEWINE.

Stonehenge Ginger Wine

These offers expire on 28th May. Have a lovely weekend!

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My Manchester #WeStandTogether

This is a very sad week as we process our grief and shock from yet another terrorist attack. Only now it is different. Now it is right on my doorstep. In my city. My Manchester. OK, I don’t live in Manchester any more, but I spent most of my twenties in that beautiful place, enjoying the social life, the atmosphere, the energy and the life. We only moved away for purposes of work, family and economic circumstances.

My Manchester SpookyMrsGreen

My Manchester. Our Manchester. And those poor families, lives ripped apart so horrifically. I know that these attacks have been taking place for many years all around the world. And I cried each time I heard about them on the news. But they were not my places. I hadn’t visited them. I had no physical link to them. Well, now I do. Manchester was home to my husband while he studied at university, and subsequently I made my way there as well to be with him. We worked in Manchester, lived in Manchester, and loved in Manchester for many years.

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My visits to the city are less frequent these days, although I was there very recently with my children when we visited Legoland Discovery at the Trafford Centre. And we had an Easter outing to Dunham Massey on the outskirts of the city. So, I suppose we do visit more often than we think. I am a long-term patient at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, we have friends that still live in the city, it is our home. Our Manchester. And I cried so much when I heard the tragic news. Now all I can do is send loving, healing, supporting energy to those in need. It helps, even if we don’t see it. We stand strong together. We will not back down. We are Manchester.

Sunset over Salford Quays SpookyMrsGreen

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Half Term Holiday Ideas – Days Out with the Children

We have almost reached the May half-term holiday at school, and our thoughts are turning towards fun activities, days out with the children, and maybe even getting away from it all with a family holiday. If, like us, you need to be mindful of your spending this year, here are a few not-too-expensive treats to consider:

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Recently I took my 3 and 6-year-old daughters to Beeston Castle. English Heritage have several visitor sites that now include play areas and activities for younger children. My 3-year-old had fun colouring and crafting at Beeston while my older daughter looked at the museum displays.

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Another favourite day out is a trip on a heritage steam railway. We have ridden the Thomas train and the Peppa Pig Express in recent years and both experiences were lots of fun. Churnet Valley railway in Staffordshire did activities and outdoor games at each station on the route, and there was plenty of entertainment for the youngsters.

Peppa Pig Express Churnet Valley Railway SpookyMrsGreen

And for a Big Day Out I recommend Peppa Pig World at Paulton’s Theme Park. Even the grown-ups had fun at this one!

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Celebrate our National Treasures with John Lewis

I love the idea of celebrating our national treasures. The phrase itself makes me feel nostalgic and warm, harking back to my carefree childhood days, when my summers involved trips to the seaside, caravan holidays, ice-creams and picnics in the car. It rained a lot in North Wales! But they were my happiest holidays, staying in my grandparents’ caravan with my mum and dad, riding bikes with my brother, and visiting the local funfair.

John Lewis National Treasures

What does this have to do with John Lewis? Well, they have created a summer schedule that offers a bit of something for everyone, and it even includes suggestions for a rainy day. For example, they will run instore events where you can meet an expert from The Gardening Society for tips on sprucing up your outdoor living space. You can try out an alternative, exotic Afternoon Tea. And, my personal favourite, you can book a yoga class when you purchase selected daily skin care products. You also receive free gifts, to compliment the holistic healing experience. After my recent adventures in reiki and facial massage, I can recommend this to any stressed-out Mum during the school holidays!

Womenswear Offers John Lewis

You might wonder why I support John Lewis on my pagan blog? Well, I like the sense of community, nostalgia, and good old-fashioned warmth that the brand brings. It is a shop that I have grown up with, along with many of my friends, and we trust their products to be ethical, affordable, and excellent quality. Those values are important to me, because let’s face it, we cannot avoid shopping in the 21st century. The least we can do is shop mindfully. Happy shopping!

Price Match John Lewis SpookyMrsGreen

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My Spiritual Journey: Reiki and Distance Healing

At this stage in my spiritual journey, I am exploring the possibilities of distance healing with reiki. Last week I completed part two of the classroom training for Reiki 2nd Degree, Okuden. Now I must take time to complete the coursework element. This involves recording the results of self-healing sessions, hands-on healing sessions with other people, and distance healing sessions. I am excited to get started, but at the same time I don’t want to rush this very sensitive and magical process.

Enchanted Woodland Path SpookyMrsGreen

I have worked with energy for over ten years now. My first proper explorations would have been my interactions with a practising witch when I was in my early twenties. Back then I admit I was a little sceptical when he demonstrated some of what he did. My upbringing was one where we were encouraged to accept things as they were, and not necessarily seek out the mysterious forces and hidden parts of our lives. Eventually I couldn’t ignore the urge to explore, and I finally accepted magic and mystery. It is a part of me, as it is a part of all of us, this mystical energy force that we call life.

Sunset on Beach SpookyMrsGreen

Anyway, reiki healing was something else. I avoided it even after my sister did her training and excitedly tried to introduce me to it. I wasn’t ready. Now I am. I have already explored distance healing under the guidance of my reiki teacher, and I have performed several healing sessions on family and friends. They all reported back positively, and even I was surprised to be honest, because I am still accepting my place as a conductor for reiki energy healing. I feel the energy, no doubt about it. Now I want to share it with other people. Do you want some distance healing?

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Losing a Family Pet

Today I am looking for a fresh start as we begin the working week full of optimism and high hopes. Last week was not the best for me, for various reasons. My pet turtle died, and I am grieving for him.

It is very different for me losing a turtle, to losing a dog. I have been processing my feelings over the weekend. I am sad, but I haven’t cried anywhere near as much as I did when my beloved Toby died. I suppose it is because the turtles are sort of distant. They live in a tank, they don’t speak, and they don’t like to be handled. They still communicate, however, in their own little way, and for that I will miss Duck (I also had a turtle called Crispin once upon a time – can you see the joke?!).

2 Pet Turtles SpookyMrsGreen

Tiny baby turtles 

What cheered me up was the outpouring of support from my friends on Instagram when I posted a photo at the weekend. We all make connections to our pets, whatever species, and we all recognise that special bond when we lose the pet. I still have one more turtle remaining, Ashton, although he really does not like to be handled and would rather be left alone. Let’s hope he stays around for a while longer. Have a happy week, my friends. Make it a good one!

Duck the Pet Turtle SpookyMrsGreen

Big, grumpy turtle!

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Quirky Tea Cups #FoundinOxfam

I have a confession to make: I love collecting trinkets! One of the reasons I so desperately want to move house, is so I may have room to store these beautiful items that I see when I am out and about. Take these tea sets found in the Oxfam online shop, for example:

 

 

Oxfam Whittard Garden Tea Set

Japanese Cups and Saucers Oxfam

 

Opole Tea Cups Oxfam

I have a dream where I invite my friends round for tea, and I can serve it up in quirky, cute cups and saucers with all the additional accessories that you find. It turns a casual drink into more of a social ceremony, and I can incorporate my reiki energy healing into it… Aha, now that got you thinking, didn’t it? Have a good weekend, my friends.

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#MHAW17 Get Back Up Again

This is proving to be a very tough week for me personally. How is it for you? I thought that once the retrograde planets starting moving again, we would be able to put an end to our current drama. Well, as it turns out, there are a few more twists and turns awaiting me and my family. One of those involves our (non) house move. Another involves a recent court case that I am not at liberty to discuss.

Suffice to say, today I feel very emotional. I have worked hard on my reiki during the past few weeks, and tomorrow I have the second day of my classroom training for Reiki 2nd Degree, Okuden. That will be fun, and the healing is needed. I have coursework to do, but that is less urgent and I will take time to do it properly. But for today, well, I can’t really face anything. I tried to unpack a box of groceries earlier, and I gave up, because I simply did not have the strength to move things in the cupboards and make room for the food. In fact, I almost cried, but the tears are not quite ready to fall.

Catherine the Empath

That’s the nature of mental health, isn’t it? I do not have anxiety or depression, but I am a highly sensitive individual, and I pick up feelings and emotions from those around me. Spending the afternoon in a city magistrates court building has taken it out me, I can tell you. Being around my family members that do have anxiety and depression also proves stressful for me, because I must work extra hard to accommodate for their illness. It really is a challenge.

Today my message is simple: we all have our problems. We all have a story. Try not to judge. Give yourself time to rest when you need to, and then you can get back up again (yes, we love the Trolls movie!) Flower Moon blessings to you all, my friends.

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A Daytrip to Beeston Castle @EnglishHeritage

I had been meaning to visit Beeston Castle for a long time. It is only about half an hour away from home, and yet we never quite found time to stop on our travels. Finally, we had a free Bank Holiday Monday, and we went for it, making the most of our English Heritage membership card. My girls were very excited to visit a medieval castle, since they love tales of princesses and knights, and they recently discovered the fun of playing with pretend swords and crossbows. Well, who am I to deny them their warrior heritage?!

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It took a while for us to leave the house since I was on my own while their dad was at work. We reluctantly left the dog at home, even though it had turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon. I simply couldn’t fathom managing an excited Staffie X with a preschooler and an adventurous six-year-old by myself. We will take him with us next time, when my husband is at home. I was pleased to see that Beeston Castle is dog friendly, which is always important for our family outings.

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I expected to find some sort of May Day activity at Beeston Castle, but I hadn’t checked specifically what was on. We soon discovered a local church fete and a dog show from the K9 2000 team, whom I had never previously heard about. They were very impressive, and very entertaining, and now my elder daughter fancies her chances at training our dog to do some of those display stunts. I very much doubt that will happen!

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We ventured up the steep hillside climb to explore the old castle building. My younger daughter was a little tired at this point, having just had a massive tantrum when I tried to make her walk for a bit after we queued for 45 minutes for them to have their faces painted. Not to be deterred, I alternated between carrying her, and coaxing her, while my elder daughter raced on ahead and shouted encouragingly to her sister. It was worth the stress, because the view from the top is incredible. We didn’t explore fully because of our tired, grumpy preschooler, but we saw enough to satisfy the senses, and I really cannot wait to return.

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In fact, we saw a poster advertising the next English Heritage event at Beeston Castle on the weekend of the 28th– 29th May. There will be jousting and knights on horseback, so I have to take my girls for that. Perhaps we will see you there?

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