Recently, Pampers UK have been running an advertising campaign entitled #ThankYouMidwife, part of this campaign was the one Christmas advert that managed to set me off everytime it popped up on my TV this Christmas, and at first I wasn’t sure why – but now I think I’ve cracked it.

Before you have a child, you think that the midwife is just someone who will help you along the way and be there when you eventually bring your little pink bundle into this world, well, that’s at least what I thought.

The truth is, in my case at least, there will be more than one midwife during your pregnant journey. You’ll bond with some of them, and some of them you may not click with, thankfully however I seemed to gel well with every midwife who cared for me throughout my pregnancy.

From Lindsey who was there for me when I had a breakdown about the complete and utter fear of the chances of miscarriage and the pregnancy friendly honeymoon tips, to the countless midwives at Forth Valley Royal Hospital who reassured me that my pregnancy was progressing perfectly and took pity on me being very pregnant in the height of summer – they all made my pregnancy that bit more special.

There are however three people that I want to thank. The three people who were there during my labour (not including Andrew and my mum who were the best birthing partners I could’ve wished for and I will never be able to thank them enough). Those three people are Lindsey, Nadine and one more student member of staff who I can’t for the life of me remember her name. These three woman made my birthing experience as positive as possible.

Their professionalism and friendliness was second-to-none and I can’t explain how thankful I am to them for helping me bring my little girl into this world.

Thank you to Lindsey for firstly putting me at ease when I was six months pregnant and ended up in triage as I was showing signs of preeclampsia – thankfully, it was nothing to worry about and I was just dehydrated and being visited by the swollen ankle fairy. There are two funny stories about this visit to triage one of which was bumping into Andrew’s old friend whilst she was in labour and him thinking it was the perfect time to say hello and the second being that Lindsey confused me with another patient and said ‘Well, with two of them in there, it’s going to be a bit of a squeeze’, I don’t think Andrew and I have ever recovered from the fear that induced. The second thing I want to thank Lindsey for is being the calm force that greeted me when I entered triage three months later in labour, ten days overdue and in more pain than I can describe. Thank you for calming me down, for explaining what was happening, for making me feel safe and for admitting me and handing me over to your colleagues – and then checking on us the following morning when you came back on shift.

Thank you to the student member of staff who reassured me that everything would be fine and that I could get through it. Thank you for holding my hand and guiding my husband as he wheeled me to the delivery suite. Thank you for making me laugh through contractions, and helping me not to panic when my waters finally broke. Thank you for showing the care and professionalism of a fully fledged member of staff – I hope you have the best experiences throughout your education and take them with you into your career. You’re made for this job and everyone who encounters you will be lucky to.

And lastly, thank you to Nadine. Thank you for spending the majority of my labour in my room with me. Thank you for your quick thinking and acting when Hallie’s heart rate dropped during labour. Thank you for giving me the numerous kicks up the butt that I needed to get through. Thank you for the diamorphine, and for telling me that I would maybe get an epidural – even though we both knew it wasn’t going to happen. Thank you for looking after my mum and my husband as well as me. Thank you for the laughter and the radio. Thank you for not mentioning the you-know-what that happens to most people during labour. Mainly however, thank you for delivering my beautiful baby. Thank you for giving us the best gift we could ever ask for, thank you for her smiles, her laugh and her daily milestones that astound us. Thank you for coming in to see us before you went home after a long shift to make sure we were getting on okay. Thank you for everything – especially the tea and toast.

I am so eternally grateful to live in a country where the NHS is a thing. The staff of the NHS are incredible and I know that during the time I delivered Hallie, the maternity unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital was stretched to its limits – so much so that my induction two days prior had to be cancelled as it wouldve been dangerous to induce me due to staffing levels.

Thank you to all of you midwives for choosing midwifery. Thank you for the things you do for families every day up and down the country and around the world. Thank you for changing lives and bringing them into this world – your hard work does not go unnoticed.

Love x

Chrisselle Who?

Hello strangers, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

What a whirlwind these past four years have been. Moving to glasgow, completing my HND in photography and taking a ‘gap year’.

Or rather, that was the plan. What actually happened was the best year of my life. I got a promotion at the job I’d done for three summers, a promotion that will hopefully help lead me to my dream of being a teacher. I got married – MARRIED! An actual adult, you could say. And then something really surprised us – we became parents to a beautiful little girl named Hallie. She astounds me every day with something new that she does, or what she smiles at.

Right now, I’m having the first bath I’ve had in four years. I promise I’ve showered in between, but our boiler wasn’t great when we moved in and we couldn’t run a bath because of it – we got it fixed when I was pregnant, but I was too pregnant to trust my ability to get in or out of the bath and since Hallie’s came along, time to myself is something that rarely happens. Right now, for example I’m listening to her cry from the other room and I’m fighting every urge in me to go to her and just take this time for me. (She’s perfectly fine, her daddy is feeding her but she’s a greedy baby and doesn’t like having to stop for burps)

Out of all of these changes, I’d say that parenthood is definitely the hardest – for a good few reasons. Don’t get me wrong, that little face makes me happier than anyone on this planet could, but I kind of miss being ‘Chrisselle’, as much as I love being ‘Mummy’.

A funny thing happens the moment you become pregnant. People start treating you differently, they ask you questions that are far too personal – “will you breastfeed?” was a favourite for those around me – they treat you like you’re about to break at any moment, they stop inviting you to things because you’ll most likely be too tired to go to them (but hey, an invite is always nice), and they will comment on your body for nine whole months. “Oh you’ve not gained much weight!”, “You don’t even look pregnant” or “Jeez, your bump has grown!” All become things you hear daily. Suddenly you aren’t just you anymore. You’re you plus bump.

And don’t get me wrong, I loved being pregnant. Hallie gave me a fairly easy time of it with no morning sickness and no weird cravings, but it was during my pregnancy that I started losing myself. I’m positive I’m not the only Mum who feels that way, but it’s true and scary. You’ve spent your life becoming this person, and suddenly you’re no longer them.

Then baby comes along, and suddenly you’re responsible for this tiny little human who depends on you for everything – even though you’re in such a blur that you’re not sure if you even remembered to bring the correct baby home from the hospital.

Hallie is 12 weeks old now – almost three months and this is the first time I’m taking time for me, for my head. My head struggles with normal life – as most of you who have read this blog before will know, but it’s been struggling a bit more since all of these changes and I need to start taking time for myself to make sure I’m looking after it.

(A fantastic quote from the ever fabulous Rae Earl and her book It’s All in Your Head – which I will hopefully review soon!)

This quote is something I need to remember. I need to remember that to be the best mummy, wife, friend, sister or daughter then I need to be the best version of me. There’s a few things that I want to do to make time for my head. I want to learn to drive (finally!), I want to get back into exercise and I want to blog. I want to be able to write again, and have those quiet moments of just my music and my keyboard as I empty my head.

I guess this post is a quick update, and a public promise to myself to stick to these things. Even if I only stick to one of them, and even if that’s just blogging, I feel like it may just make my head that little bit clearer.

I hope that you guys will join me on these new blogs, and that the life of a mummy and wife doesn’t prove boring for you. I hope you’re all well, and that this shiny new year holds everything you could hope for.

For now though, my bath is getting cold and I think I’d much rather be wrapped in a blanket, cup of tea in one hand and baby in the other.


Chrisselle Douglas x

Heroes Never Die

Hello there, I know it’s been a long time since I blogged, but 2014 so far has been crazy. So far this year I have completed college with an A grade, been accepted to my dream college, celebrated one year together with Andrew and started house hunting in Glasgow. So, as you can imagine life has pretty much been going at 210mph and it’s been hard to catch a breath – never mind catch a moment to blog.

However, one month ago today I got the phone call that I have been dreading for some time now. On the 8th of July 2014 at 5.15pm, my father passed away. The past month has been an absolute roller-coaster. As much as I had prepared myself for that call, it did not make it any easier. It didn’t mean that I magically knew how to cope. It didn’t mean that I was fully ready to say goodbye to the man that I looked up to for 22yrs. It still, somehow, hit me like a train. My hero, my inspiration, my daddy was gone.

I’ve finally managed to wrap my head around this enough to be able to talk about it openly, and that’s what I plan to do in this blog. I plan to get all of these feelings that have been rushing through my mind for the past month down in black and white so that I can attempt to make sense of them, so that I can free up some space in my head for the very huge things in life that are coming my way over the next few months.

It’s hard to process that he’s gone, that I’m never going to see his eyes light up when he laughs, feel his arms hug me like nobody else can, hear his voice or simply be in his company again. It’s hard to believe that I have so much life ahead of me, yet I don’t get to share it with one of the people who gave me life.

People keep telling me that I have so much to look forward to, and I do, but the fact that my dad isn’t going to see me achieve these things and share the joy of them with me makes them seem that little bit less exciting. I mean, what girl doesn’t want her daddy to walk her down the aisle? Play the same practical jokes on her children as he did on her? Be there when she’s awarded the degree that she’s spent so long telling him she was going to get? It’s hard, and it’s never going to get easier. It’s just going to become part of life.

My father was the first person that encouraged me with computers and cameras, he was the person that taught me how to tie my shoes, taught me not to care what other people thought. He was the person that gave me the strength during the hardest times, and yet here I am facing the toughest thing I’ve ever faced and he’s not here. He’s not here to hold my hand and tell me it’ll be okay. He’s not here to hug me and tell me he loves me. He’s simply not here.

I like to believe that the loved ones we lose, never really go away, but this is such a huge loss that I’m having trouble holding on to that belief. I’m having trouble with everything really. It’s hard to deal with the pressures of normal life. Little things just don’t matter at the moment – I can’t find space in my head for them.

The hardest part of all of this was the funeral. It made it real. For the week between dad passing and his funeral I was somehow kidding myself that it was all just a misunderstanding and that my dad was lying in hospital wondering why everyone was so upset. Sadly that wasn’t the case, and this hit me like a ton of bricks as soon as I saw his coffin. He was gone, and this was goodbye. The final farewell, if you will.

I’m writing these words and it still doesn’t feel real. The day I got my exam results my first thought was ‘I need to call dad and tell him. He’ll be so happy’ and then it hit me, that I can’t just pick up the phone and speak to him. I can’t share these things with him, I just have to have faith that he is there and knows. And that’s really, really hard.

It’s been one whole month, and it’s always at the forefront of my mind. Every little thing reminds me of him – for example I started crying at an Irish scone one day, just because they were his favourite.

I guess, as well as trying to help me process this, I also wanted to share this with you guys in order to remind you that life isn’t permanent. It’s not something that’s always going to be there. Your parents will not be there forever, so use your time with them fully. Don’t let stupid things cause arguments. Don’t take them for granted. Call your parents and tell them you love them. Become friends with your parents, get to know them for the person they are instead of just as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’.

Embrace life – the good and the bad. Embrace the people you love whenever you see them, don’t worry about seeming needy or lame. Embrace them for the people they are – flaws and all. Embrace yourself for everything you are and everything you’re not.

Life is fragile. The people closest to you are the people that matter. I could not have got through the past month without some of my best friends, my wonderful partner and my close family. They have made every day worth waking up for. They’ve given me the drive to get up, dressed and off to work. They’ve made me see that the only way I can get through this is by making my dad proud and by focusing on the good – however hard it may be.

I guess, I’m still not ready to say goodbye to my daddy. I don’t think I ever will be. He wasn’t an angel, but he was the best he could be. He was the best dad I could have asked for and I wouldn’t change a day that I spent with him – because no matter the circumstance, I was with him.

But, like I’ve mentioned – there are lots of great things happening just now and I hope he sees them. I hope he’s proud of the decisions I’m making and the life I’m living. I hope he’s up there, with the glint in his eye and the smile ear to ear that I know him for.

This month marks the beginning of a new chapter of my life – upping sticks and moving my life to Glasgow. I’m terrified, but exciting. There’s this safety I feel in Glasgow. And that’s because of dad. Glasgow is home, and that’s because of dad and his stories. Now it’s time for Andrew and I to make our own home together, and I could not be happier at the prospect of waking up to Andrew’s face every day. He’s kept me sane the past month, and I’ll never be able to thank him enough. I can’t wait for our new life together, it’s going to be wonderful, terrifying and beautiful.

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

It’s time for me to grow. It’s time for me to live. I just have to have faith in my daddy being by my side every step of the way.

Thank you for reading,
Chrisselle xo

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Hello strangers!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I’ve been so busy with life in the real world that I’ve been struggling to keep my poor little blog updated. But here I am two days before Christmas holed up in my boyfriend’s bedroom and making sure that I have some time to up date you all as we come to the end of another roller coaster of a year!

2013 has definitely been a roller coaster, but thankfully with more ups than downs. This is the first year where I have felt that I’ve definitely figured out who I am and where I want to go in life, and that is honestly the best feeling in the world. I know who I am and for once I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in life. I’ve never had that before, I’ve never felt so settled and comfortable in my own skin, and I guess you could say that is down to a few factors. Let’s see what those factors are, shall we?

1. Confidence – This year I made a resolution to myself that I was going to try and be more confident in my appearance and start wearing clothes that I would normally lust after but never actually purchase. I’ve always hidden behind the fact that I’m not really a girly girl in order to get away with not wearing pretty dresses or short skirts, but this year I promised myself that I was going to start wearing whatever the hell I liked, and if people had an issue with that then that was there problem. It’s been a year of bright colours, short skirts, dresses and no shame. It has been such a liberating feeling to go out wearing clothes that I like and not feel bad for wearing them. Sure, now and then I’ll get a comment or a stare, but I don’t care about those anymore. They would have destroyed me a while ago, but now I know that it’s their issue; not mine. I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m happy in my life and what I wear does not define me as a person.

2. People – Being surrounded by loving and supportive people has helped greatly in my journey to self acceptance. I’ve got great friends, a wonderful close family who support me no matter what, a fantastic college class full of a mixture of the most talented and odd people that I’ve ever met – they’ve definitely got me through the first term of college, but more on that later!- and of course, last but not least, I have the love of a good man to get me through even my darkest moments. He makes everything seem safe and that is a wonderful feeling. He’s been in my life for six months now, but it feels like he’s always been there. We’re just two matching pieces of a puzzle, and it feels absolutely lovely to share that bond with someone.

3. Belief – As you all know, I’m not the religious type. But that does not mean that I don’t have a belief system, it simply means that I believe in something a little different from the majority of today’s society. I believe in people, and I think that if more people did then the world would be a much nicer place. I believe that no matter how anxious I feel about something, it will no be the end of the world. I believe that every little thing that happens in our lives happens for a reason. I believe that what is for us will not pass us by, and I believe that it is our duty to grab those things with both hands and make the moments perfect instead of waiting for the perfect moments.

So there, the three things that have made this year my most self-confident year yet. I’m so content with life right now that there are only a few things that could knock me off of this cloud; but I’m not going to discuss them in this post. This post is a yearly roundup and I’m hoping to leave it on a positive note!

So, top ten things that happened this year?

  •  Deciding that life isn’t about what other people think
  • Interviewing one of my idols, Rae Earl
  • Being given my own column in the Konect Directory
  • Landing a job as a photography intern
  • Starting college and learning more and more about photography
  • Meeting Andrew and finding the wonderful love that we share
  • Coffee mornings for DLYG
  • Hitting 5,000 followers on the Don’t Lose Your Grip twitter account!
  • Reconnecting with my oldest niece, Chloe
  • Being proud of the person that I am today

It may not be the longest list in the world, but if I were to go through every great thing that happened this year then I would be here all day.

Over the years I’ve learned that life isn’t about physical things, but in the moments that surround you every day. This year has been full of wonderful moments that I will never forget, and the majority of those would not have happened had it not been for the people that are in my life. The people who are by my side no matter what.

As we come close to the end of the year, my head is full of ideas and hope for 2014. There are a lot of people out there who can’t wait for this year to be over, but to be honest I’m sitting here daring next year to try and be better than this year, and I’m sure it will be.

I want to wish all of you a magical Christmas and wonderful new year when it comes. Keep your eyes peeled for a more in depth update in the new year that will include a run-down of our hopes for Don’t Lose Your Grip and Chrisselle.com in 2014. Things are getting exciting, and I’m so glad that I get to share this journey with you all.

Much love,

Chrisselle xox

Family of The Twenty-First Century

Society changes every generation it seems, and it would look like not only our society, but also our needs and wants as humans are changing. Family used to be what the world revolved around, but with more and more families breaking up and us becoming more and more reliant on our friends – be them best friends from school, family friends or even friends we have met online, there is definitely substance to the saying.

“The family of the 21st century is made up of friends, and not relatives.”

In my case, this is extremely true. Although I may come from a large family, we aren’t the closest bunch in the world. This does not mean that I care for them any less than anyone else cares for their family, it simply means that to me, family simply means that you’re related and share some traits and genes. I, however, am a firm believer in nurture over nature.

I share very few personality traits with my family – and that isn’t a bad thing. It means that I’ve always been known for my individuality and for my ability to think independently, even from a young age. If it wasn’t for my ability to do this, then I wouldn’t have the courage to pursue the things that I do, and always have done. I’ve always thought differently from the rest of my family, and I’d say that this is a sign of nurture over nature.

I was brought up to believe in myself and supported to do what I wanted to do with my life. Whether it was my dreams of being a teacher up until I turned 11, my urge to move to America as soon as I turned 16 or my hopes and dreams of being a writer and a photographer – the dreams that I’m living just now – then I knew that I could always count on my immediate family to back me up.

But, as I grew up and started taking full control of my own life, and the people that I share it with, then that ‘immediate’ family has grown – and not because my parents had more children, but simply because I had this beautiful ability to choose the people that I got to share my life with. I think the best example of this is my relationship with my oldest best friend, Danielle.

Danielle and I have been best friends since we (ironically) met at a youth group for people who couldn’t make friends easily. We hit it off straight away with a day full of laughing and general loveliness and ten years down the line I’m extremely proud to be able to call her my best friend.

The thing is, she’s more than a best friend – she’s a sister. Now, I’m not one for clichés but there is genuinely no better way to describe our relationship. No matter how bad things have got in my life, she’s been one of the constant things there to pick me up and dust me off when I’ve needed it, and she’s not afraid to point out when I’m wrong or being simply ridiculous either, because she knows that I appreciate her honesty and more importantly, the fact that she cares enough to be honest with me, no matter how lovely or brutal that honesty may be.

She’s never once got fed up of my dreaming, and if anything she’s been the biggest support of it. If at any point I start to doubt myself, then she is right by my side to remind me why I’m doing this and the things I have already accomplished. She’s my right arm, and I would be lost without her. She isn’t just my family though, she’s part of my family. She’s been accepted as part of my family by my immediate family, and that makes it even better.

“Blood makes you related. Loyality makes you family.”

Sharing genes does not necessarily make you family; the ability to love and support each other is the thing that makes you family.

I’m lucky enough to be blessed with an immediate family who I love to pieces, but I know that it’s not just because we share the same DNA; it’s because as well as being related, we are friends and we choose to be loyal to each other. My mother and big sister will always be my two biggest inspirations, and that isn’t because I happen to have the same blood as them. No, that’s completely irrelevant. The reason they inspire me is because they are both strong women who have overcome hardship and came out on the brighter side. And, they’re my friends.

Life is too short to spend it waiting on people accepting you for whom you are, or for trying to get on with people that you simply don’t get on with. Spend your life with the people you love, and the people who love you for being who you are.

Nobody should ever feel the need to change any part of themselves for the happiness of other people, the only thing you can do is be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be, and the most important part about being that, is that you make sure you’re being the best version of yourself for you and not anyone else.

Thanks for reading,
C xo

The Power of Words

Want to know the one thing that I’ve noticed these past few weeks, other than the fabulous weather that the UK has been having? Just how angry it makes me that larger people feel the need to cover up an uncomfortable amount during the heatwave in fear of being taunted or offending someone for what they are wearing.

I recently seen a girl wearing jogging bottoms, two t-shirts and a hoody in 28C heat, she looked uncomfortably warm and exhausted from the heat. There is no logic in wearing so many layers in a heat like that other than being too scared to show your body – I’ve been there, and some days I’m still there.

I remember dreading summer because I knew that I was going to be hot and sweaty and want to be covered up to avoid stares and comments being made about how I ‘shouldn’t’ wear certain things just because they came in my size.

The question is who gives society the right to dictate what people should and shouldn’t wear? The answer is the individual themselves. If you don’t let people get to you with their stares and comments, then there is no power in their words. You are the only person who can decide if what someone says is going to affect you, and more importantly how it will affect you. For example, if someone said to me that I ‘look like that girl from My Mad Fat Diary’ then I would be flattered, because Sharon Rooney is gorgeous, but some people may see that as an insult purely because of the word ‘fat’. Now, let’s just take a look at the word fat.



Noun: a natural oily or greasy substance occurring in animal bodies, esp. when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.

Adjective: (of a person or animal) Having a large amount of excess flesh.

So, looking at the official definition of the word, there isn’t really anything insulting about it, is there? I mean yes, I do have excess flesh, but the majority of that is from losing weight – and I could get that removed, but the truth is I value my life more than my body and I would much rather live a life with some extra flesh than increase my chance of death my voluntarily putting myself through a dangerous procedure.

Now, if we looked at the Urban Dictionary definition of ’fat’ then that would be a different story, but the thing is; there is no power in words unless you put that power there. If you were to read through the dictionary, you would simply see words with no power other than the power to create sentences and stories with them, so why can’t we see words like that all of the time?

Just because a word can have venom behind it, does not make it important. Live life the way YOU want to, and don’t pay attention to those people who feel the need to pass their own insecurities onto you!

I wore a dress without tights this week. Guess what? The world did not end! I then wore shorts, and I didn’t cause the zombie apocalypse! And more importantly, I enjoyed the heat instead of suffering in it.

All I’m saying is that you should wear what you are comfortable in, and what you like. Not what society says is socially acceptable for you to wear. Love that new dress? Wear it! Don’t leave it stored away for the moths to enjoy.

I know from personal experience that this can be hard, and it can be hard to find clothes that you feel comfortable in and enjoy from a fashion point of view, but you are not alone in the big beautiful world and you can find inspiration and tips from some fabulous people out there.

Tess Munster (@TessMunster) is a beautiful lady who is encouraging people on (and off of) Instagram to #effyourbeautystandards and accept yourself for who you are. Following this lady has given me the confidence to say #effyourbeautystandards and enjoy the clothes that I would have previously hidden away from.

Honor Curves (@HonorCurves) is another of my body acceptance idols. You can find her and her #honormycurves movement on Instagram and on Twitter. She’s out there making sure that women of all shapes and sizes remember to honour their bodies instead of judging them. We only get one body, and there is no point in going through life hating the shell you are in. Honor is a great inspiration for those looking for tips on how to accept your body.

There is also a HUGE network of plus-size beauty bloggers out there for you to find inspiration from. Don’t give up, and remember to stay fatulous!

Thanks for reading,
Chrisselle xo

Everything Happens For a Reason

We’ve all been told at some point in our lives that ”Everything happens for a reason.” or that ”What’s for you won’t go by you.” but just how often do you actually take those words on board and see the positives in the negative things that you experience?
I know more than anyone that the negatives of life can sometimes trick our brains into think that the positives don’t outweigh the negatives, but if you sit down and really think about it – and I mean really think about it, you’ll realise that they do.

If you were to write down a list of everything good that has happened in your life, and just how momentus they were to your life then I think you would be shocked by just how much positivity surrounds every single one of us. Whether it’s a smile from a stranger, or graduating from University with the grade you’ve worked hard for; all of these can change our perspectives and I think it’s time that we started focusing more on them as a society than focusing on the negativity that comes to play every day of our lives.
It’s time for us to wake up in the morning with excitement in our hearts instead of fear.

Think of the scariest thing you have ever done, and how absolutely terrified you were to do it – now, no matter the outcome, be it the one you hoped for or the one you dreaded – are you still here? Did the world end? Did it destroy you? The answer is you’re still here, ready for more and you just have to get your brain into thinking the same as your heart and courage.
I remember being terrified to leave the house most days – and I still have those days when my head is really bad, but you know what? I get up, and I go out. Even if it’s just to the shop. I just need to show myself that I can do it, and that nobody – not even myself is going to stop me from doing it.
Since realising this I have made so many of my own dreams come true, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m not cured – not by any means, but I’m in control of my anxiety instead of it being in control of me.
I’ve realised that every little thing that has ever happened in my life has brought me to this exact moment in time, with the people I have around me and the things that I am achieving being results of every bad experience, and more importantly, every good experience. We can’t go forward before going backwards, and there’s no light without darkness. You just need to try and stay positive and you will achieve the things you want to.

It sounds a lot easier than it is, I’m not going to deny that, but what I’m trying to say is that at the end of the day, every single minute of your life is worth it!
Never, ever think that it’s not, and if you ever do, then I have a challenge for you – ask your closest friend three things that they love about you. Then, when you know them write them on some sticky notes and put them on your mirror. Now, anytime that you have a negative thought or experience I want you to replace the negative words with one of these (or all three) and hopefully that will make you realise that what you see in yourself isn’t what everyone else sees – everyone else sees the beautiful, brave and wonderful human being that you are.

Thank you for reading,
Chrisselle xo

Interview With Rae Earl


If you haven’t seen or read My Mad Fat Diary recently then you have been living under a rock. There’s a fabulous woman from Lincolnshire named Rachel Earl who now lives in Tasmania; now along with being wonderful and inspirational – she also suffers from mental health issues that she kindly took the time out  to speak to me about a little while ago. This interview has been one of my most favourite pieces to ever work on and I do hope you enjoy it!

Hi Rae! The first question we have for you today is how are you feeling about the reaction that My Mad Fat Diary has got from the general public?

I have to say it’s incredible. I am so proud of the series. It’s just wonderful – the writing, the acting, the team behind it all – there is NOTHING I would change. The reaction on Twitter – I’m absolutely blown away. Obviously when something goes on TV you know it’s going to get attention, but the amount of reaction is just fantastic. Being far away in Tasmania you think I’d be kind of buffered from it. But, because of the joy of the internet and the people working on it and the joy of Sharon who is utterly marvelous who plays me and keeps me totally in the loop, I’m blown away by it.

I’m just thrilled that some of the reactions are genuinely moving, y’know? People are saying “I wish this had been out when I was seventeen.”, “I felt exactly the same way as you did”, ”Oh god, this is getting me through a hard time” – I mean, really, you’d be a bloody tit if you weren’t moved by the reaction that it’s getting and it’s just blown me away really, it’s unbelievable.

But yes, I’m genuinely touched. It’s doing everything that I ever wanted it to and more. I mean, it’s entertaining people but it’s making people think as well and that’s just the most brilliant thing.

People are sharing not easy stuff, and I think that’s the amazing thing. Even if it happened to you twenty years ago, or ten years ago, or five years ago the pain is still there.

How does it feel to know that the book and the TV series are helping people through the issues that you yourself went through?

Oh god, it’s wonderful. It is wonderful. I mean you write a book you have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s like having a child and sending- That’s a shit analogy, Chrisselle (laughs), I’m absolutely known for my shit analogies, you can put that in, it’ll make all my friends laugh, Rae and her shit analogies that make people go “whaaaaat?!”.

You know, the reaction to the book was great but the reaction to the TV series has been WOW! And yeah, to think that one person might be feeling better or comforted because of it is a lovely thing, that’s a bloody lovely thing to me.

It can be quite overwhelming, because you think “Well ,y’know what, I’m actually – and you can print this – I’m actually a bit of a tit”. I don’t get things right all of the time. I can tell you now, I don’t get things right, I don’t get things right all of the time and I still have struggles from time to time.

I think that’s important, that people don’t think that I’m some kind of ‘I’ve got it all right and I’ve got it all sorted’, ‘cause I can assure I bloody haven’t. But, I think having the ability to go out there and say that is a really important one, because I think many of us are trying to be ‘perfect’ and it just doesn’t bloody exist.

Both the book and the show have proven to a lot of people that they’re not alone, but how does it feel knowing that you weren’t alone in what you went through?

Well the weirdest thing for me, and it relates back to what you just said about people that you’ve known for years getting in touch, I’m really lucky, I went to school with a phenomenal bunch of people, I mean I really did and from that time I’m basically friends with – and great friends with, all of them now and that in many cases has been made stronger by the book. The weird thing though was that loads of them, and I’m talking loads, have got in touch and said “Oh god, I had no idea you were going through this. I felt exactly the same way.” And this was from women that I thought had it completely bloody sorted! They were gorgeous; they seemed to be going through life like a swan, gliding along like – they seemed to be everything I wasn’t, but they got in touch with me and said “Oh, y’know, I was feeling exactly the same way.

So I think, I think the message there is even if you think people have got it sussed around you, the chances are that they just bloody haven’t.  – I say ‘bloody’ a lot, you might want to edit the ‘bloody’ down. – But no, even people you think have got it sussed haven’t, and I think there’s a real solidarity in that, because none of us have got it sussed at seventeen.

The saddest thing is that a lot of people feel guilty, and they write to me from that time and say “I should have realised, I should have known.” But there’s no way they could have done! It’s like Sharon’s portrayal of me, why it’s so spot on, is because you wouldn’t know that I was going through all this stuff because I looked like this fun, brilliant, ‘Hahaha!’, y’know? Very few people knew, and again I think that’s the important thing that a lot of mental illness is hidden.

Do you think it would have made a difference to your teen years if you had had the chance to read someone else’s memoirs of going through what you went through?

Yes, I tell you what I wish I did have, I wish I’d had the Wikipedia page about OCD, and I really mean that, because people think that OCD is ‘Oh, I’m gonna check the gas is off 25 times’ – which it partly is, but then there’s also intrusive thought OCD which is just the most horrible thing to have, and something that I did and do still suffer from and I wish I’d had that and then I wouldn’t have felt so terrible.

I remember seeing, and I don’t know when it was, but it was an Oprah I think in the early 90s, and it was with a famous American actor who basically talked about OCD and I thought “Oh my god, that’s me! That’s me! I might be mad, but there are other people that are mad too!” So, that would have been an enormous help because I just thought I was the devil – literally. I thought I was evil, and I was too frightened, even with psychiatrists, it was easier to go along with what they thought was wrong, than actually saying “You know what? I think I control everything. I think I’m even controlling whether or not your car crashes tonight.” I think that was too terrifying to say to anybody and was too terrifying until I was about 29, and that’s the truth. So, y’know, I did touch on it, but I didn’t really get the therapy I needed until my late twenties.

The next question is quite an intrusive question, and if you don’t want to answer it you’re more than welcome not to –

Go for it!

What do you think triggered it all? What do you think caused your nervous breakdown?

Well, it’s funny. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have OCD. My personal feeling is that I think I was born with it. I think just like the Victorians had a view of mental illness, I think as much as our medical science is moving forward, the mental health medical science just isn’t moving forward at the same pace because the brain is a hard thing. I think I was born with it, I think I was born with this thing. And, I think certain situations exacerbated it, but I think I was born with this brain. There is a history of mental health issues in the family; my mum is a manic depressive – now I’m not a manic depressive, I have lived with a manic depressive and I know what depression is and I don’t suffer with depression. I am an anxiety and OCD sufferer and those are different things.

I think I’m wired wrong, I think I’m wired wrong, and just like people have holes in their heart or arthritis in their leg. I just think that’s my lot and it’s my job to manage it.  I mean, that may be a load of all bollocks, and a psychiatrist might say I’m in denial, but I genuinely do not remember a time where I didn’t feel terrible anxiety for at least some of the time.

How do you manage your OCD and anxiety?

Ehmm, my anxiety and OCD is managed by distraction. I enjoy writing, still. Music has saved me, and continues to save me on a daily basis. I’m a great walker, I’m a great doer, I’m a great writer, I’m a great crafter – My craft’s friggin’ awful, you couldn’t sell it on Etsy but it gets me through! (laughs)

But when it gets bad, and situations trigger it, I go and see a councillor. I will go and see one, and I have no problem in doing that. I will go to a doctor and I will say “Look, all of my methods of coping are not working; I’ve reached a level that I can’t cope any more, what do you suggest?” I have got no problem doing that.

I find that CBT therapy works very, very well, and I really benefit from sitting down and talking- because my brain will go into a spiral that I can’t get out of. I can’t manage it. I will find a councillor. I won’t necessarily have to go every week, or every month, I’ll just need to go when it’s bad and I will go, and we will talk, and that really helps me.

I see it as it’s no different than going to the gym. I see seeing my councillor like going to the gym; it keeps my head healthy just like getting on a treadmill keeps my body healthy. There’s no difference.

Do you think it’s important for people to know when they’ve reached that limit where they need professional help?

Yes. Absolutely, because I think – this is where we get into a really tough area – I think that adults, not children and not adolescents, and I want to make that quite clear because they’re not capable. I think that adults have a responsibility to themselves and the people they love to go and get help. As much as they can, because obviously if you’re very, very poorly that’s not going to be something that you can do.

The thing is, there’s such a stigma. And this is where I understand that people are terrified of going (to get help). And also, some doctors are bollocks! (laughs) Some doctors are still saying shit like “pull yourself together”. So I realise that it’s not as easy as that and it’s not as easy as just saying “Go to the doctor and everything will be fine.” I know it’s not as easy as that, but yes you have to, you have to go and get help. It’s a fundamental. There’s only so much that nonprofessionals can help you – however much they want to..

How would you describe your experience of mental health care?

As an adolescent it was not good. But – and this is very important – the mental healthcare professionals were, first of all, dealing with somebody who wasn’t being honest with them; like I said to you, I wasn’t telling them how bad I was. In terms of living where I lived in Lincolnshire in the 1980’s I think the facilities were limited.

Putting me in an adult psychiatric ward was not a good decision. It was not a good place. It was a very scary place for a 16 year old with anxiety, but I understand that nobody quite- as an adult I can see that nobody knew quite what to do. I mean, I’d had a breakdown and the truth is that I was extremely difficult to deal with. I think the healthcare professionals did what they could in the remit in what they had to offer me and because I wasn’t really telling them just how bad I was, they could only work with what I’d open up to.

However, the mental healthcare I got in my twenties was life changing. It really was life changing and allowed me to live the life I lead today and do this basically.

What do you think needs to be done to break the stigma surrounding mental health?

That’s a really tough one because, I think when you’ve got people like – and I use the obvious example, but I think he’s a great example because he is a national treasure – when you’ve got people like Stephen Fry being absolutely open, completely open and making series about their struggles you think “Well what bloody more can be done?”

It comes down to us as individuals, I think. It comes down to our whole society’s attitude changing towards people who are ill, so that we’re not frightened by it anymore. It’s certainly partly to do with talking about it more, I think the more we talk about something the less frightening it is. It’s as simple as that. It’s the same with everything; the more you talk about something the less frightening it is. It’s important to talk about it, it’s important to keep talking about it.

I’ll tell you what’s important – It’s important that employers and the law changes so that people who have had a mental health problems aren’t stigmatised; because at the moment, society at its most fundamental level, AKA the law and businesses, I think if you’ve been sectioned then you can’t do certain things. Now, you may have been sectioned in 1990 and be perfectly fine in 1994 yet – you’ll have to check up on this*- there are certain things that you’re not allowed to do. Now,at a very fundamental level, society needs to change there. The law needs to change, ‘cause the law leads the way, it sets the agenda, if that changes then I think that will make a huge difference because at the moment it’s like “You know what? If you’re mad, you’re always gonna be mad and really you can’t contribute in a sensible way,” Well that’s bloody awful! That’s a bloody terrible thing to say! That’s outrageous!!

That discrimination goes on day after day and consequently people who are really suffering do not feel that they can go and get the help they need and because of their suffering, their family suffers, their friends suffer, society suffers. There are people not working because they can’t get the help they need to get back into work, because they can’t get the mental health support they need. Well, that’s fucking bullshit! Y’know? We don’t let people on the NHS walk around with a broken leg for you know, six weeks, it’s frickin’ sorted! So why is the same thing not happening for mental health? – IT’S BULLSHIT!

(coughs) I’ve made myself cough from ranting. That’s not good.

What was the initial reaction to publishing the diaries?

Well, the initial reaction very much mirrored the reaction I got with the TV show albeit on a smaller scale. It’s very rude book, with rude things in it. God, I sound like my Nan! – (C: It’s an amazing book!). What surprised me was the amount of teenagers that came forward and said “OH MY GOD. THIS IS MY LIFE! Oh my god, you are describing my life right now!”  That was the astounding thing on top of people going “This described my life x amount of years ago” I suppose because I’ve put things out there that is embarrassing – like ‘cardboard cock’ – I think that because I shared that I used to pretend I had a cock made out of cardboard, that people think they can share stuff with me which is lovely and I really appreciate that.

And I don’t really give a shit that people know I made a cardboard cock. Who gives a fuck? ‘Cause I guarantee that all of us, perhaps not as bad as cardboard cock, have all done things that are embarrassing and so fucking what, who gives a shit? Life goes on. So much of what we obsess about is actually bollocks.

Have you noticed that I swear a lot? I’ve got an English degree, my mum shouts at me “Rachel, you’ve got an English degree, can’t you find words that are more appropriate?” “NO!”(laughs)

Was it scary to let the diaries out to the public eye, knowing that everyone you knew would know what you had been through?

I can’t lie. No, not really. I didn’t care. I think when you’re loved, and I am so lucky I have a fantastic husband, a lovely mum, a brilliant brother, the best best friend in the world and the most fantastic group of friends – I think it gives you a confidence to share, because you know that certainly gives me the confidence to share and I feel like I can go out there and say that.

To be fair to my mum, bless her, she is the one who’s had to have the bravery because we talk about – if you’ve read the diary – we talk about stuff in there that is immensely personal to the both of us and she’s very brave in letting me let that out there and I am bloody proud of her, and I am bloody delighted to have a mother that is like that. I love the relationship we have now, she comes out here for three months at Christmas and I hate when she goes home – it’s horrible.

But, no, I wasn’t scared. People can think what they like. And you know what? I’ve been proven right, because people have been lovely. Nobody has said “You shouldn’t have shared this” nobody has said “You freak.” – well, they have said that, they’ve said “We’re freaks together” which I think is a lovely thing. So, no, no problem sharing it.

I’m not sure if this question is still relevant after that, but, has opening up with the diaries changed your relationship with anyone?

No, because the people that I’m very close to already knew. As I say, referring back to the school friends, there were school friends who had no clue and they got in touch and said “Oh my god, I’m sorry.” And I said “No, no, no, no, no, no. No! If I’d told you then fair enough, but I didn’t tell you.And even if I had told you, what could you have done? The point is nothing. This is something that needed professional help!” It needed a professional. They got me through by just being lovely and being wonderful distractions and having a laugh.

So, no it hasn’t is the answer to that.

In the book you talk about the people that taunted you, and in the show as well there’s the Green Lane Gang. Have any of those people been in touch?

(laughs) Green Lane Twats.

But, no, ‘cause they were inconsequential, they were different groups of people.  I mean, that was the sad thing, some of them were the same people and I know who they are but I doubt they’d even recognise themselves, y’know? That’s just what they did, they were bullies and it wasn’t just to me; they did it to everybody a bit different. They did it to everybody smaller than them, or everybody of a different colour, or everybody fatter. It was personal, but it wasn’t personal. They were bullies. They were bullies in the proper sense, and I can still see them sitting on that wall. There was a wall near Green Lane shops, it’s still there, and funny enough when I go down that passage I still feel tense. I mean it’s insane.

But it wasn’t just them, I’d get spat at on the way to school and people would just call me things, it was just horrible. I can’t quite get my head round it because I have never looked at someone in the street and thought I needed to tell them that they looked bad or, in fact I tell people that they look good!

There was this woman in the shop yesterday, she was about fifty and she was wearing this bloody amazing kaftan thing and she looked like she should be married to Picasso or something. Yellow, red and tie-dyed, who looks good in that? But she did!

But no, none of them, and as I say I doubt they would recognise themselves, that’s just what they did. I think people can be horrible for a number of reasons, I think very few people are horrible without a reason, y’know? You get people who are horrible because their home life is horrible and I think we have to have forgiveness for that. I mean, how do I know? These people could have been bullied at home, you just don’t know. I mean it was a pretty grim area that I lived in.

If you had the chance to go back and relive life without your issues, would you take that chance?

Ohhh, what a great question. That’s a bloody great one. Uhm, I don’t know. I think that – Oh god, that’s a great question! That’s a magnificent question! Do, do I? The short answer is yes and no. Yeah, that’s a really bollocks answer. (laughter)

Let me give you a better one if I just have a think for a minute.

I wonder what it must be like to not have the issues. Sometimes, when I’m really, really, really bad, in the past, I’ve gone to the doctor and they’ve given me a tablet that has taken off the anxiety and you think “FUCK. This is how normal people feel!” (laughter) They don’t feel like the world’s going to end in the next five minutes! But then at the same time, I don’t think so creatively. So, the same things that give me problems are the things that I think are the things that let me do the things that I think are good. I think it comes from exactly the same place.

I would go back and I would, I’d be a lot, I’d just enjoy- But y’know what? Teenage life is always messed up! What am I talking about?! You’ve confused me woman, I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore! –NO. I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING. BALLS. (laughs)

Do you still keep a diary or was that something that was better left to your younger self?

Do you know what? I never used to, and then I had a baby. I didn’t think I could have kids, and I’ve never been a child person at all. Never, never, never! I’ve never found babies cute, never. I got here, to Tasmania and didn’t think I could have kids – as detailed in the diary I’ve had various gynae problems all my life – so I got here, and I was feeling a bit weird and I thought “Oh, I’ll just do a pregnancy test.- FUCKING HELL I’M PREGNANT.” (laughs) Made my husband come home from work and everything. (laughs)

But anyway, I was pregnant which I was excited about but terrified about at the same time because I thought “Oh my god, what kind of mother am I going to be? I’ve never liked kids” I was very lucky, it was literally the cliché; out he comes and they pass him to me and it’s like “OH MY GOD, I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE THE BEST THING!” And I realised, that really, I just wanted to keep a note of everything.

Once the initial nuclear bomb of having  a baby had passed – at around month three – I started to keep a diary, and it’s only one of those five year ones so you literally have four lines a day, it’s not one for meandering.

But, then, I enjoyed it so much that it spiralled out of control. So now, I have; a book, I bought a diary this year to just record everything that happens with the TV show ‘cause it’s a special time. I have a gratitude journal, which I write in every day, and you just write everything you’re thankful for.  I have a Q&A which is this brilliant five year journal that just asks you a question every day that you answer. So I’ve got 1,2,3,4 and I’ve got the fable poetry diary which I’m writing haiku in every day, ‘cause I’m a twat, which I’m really enjoying. One, two, three… I’ve got FIVE diaries!

I’ve always ranted on A4 though!

Well, the diaries themselves, I mean I’ve got nine volumes of diaries, but I’ve also got paper, A4 rants, honestly, I’ve got that much from that time and it’s unbelievable. The thing I can’t find, and I wish I could, is I had this enormous art folder full of letters, post cards and I can’t find where the hell that is. If I could find that, my life would be complete.

But yeah, to answer your question, yeah, I keep five now and it’s all my sons fault.

What would you say had the most positive effect on you while you were growing up?

Well, I didn’t realise it at the time because I didn’t know my mum was a manic depressive, but, my mum. She was absolutely inspirational – obviously her depressions were dreadful and she hid them very well but now I realise when she had them and they were awful – but she’s the most quick witted, fantastic person on earth. She thinks everything is possible. So she’d say to me “Rachel, you could be prime minister, if you work hard enough you could be prime minister.” And we were from a shitty council estate in Lincolnshire. “There’s no reason you can’t be prime minister.”

“Mum, I want to be a three day eventer.” “Well, there’s no reason you can’t be a three day eventer, just start mucking out stables and…” Y’know? There was the absolute atmosphere of ‘You can!’

And I think, she’s tough and she comes across as tough in the book but I think she had to be, because I think she realised that I was smart and if I didn’t get my shit together then I could’ve been stuck in a small town for the rest of my life and that would’ve been death for me, because like I said my mental health issues need distraction and school, university, writing, friends were big distractions. And work, in fact I dreaded going to work but work was wonderful, it was oh my god, wonderful. So, y’know, any sort of thing like that has really really helped me, so yes, I’d say my mum.

But the thing that really changed me, and really started me on the road to real recovery was I went to work abroad in Poland for a few years with my best friend… I can’t give too much away because it’ll give too much away for the next book so I’ll just leave it at that.

I’d say that those two things have been the big things in my life; the pivotal points.

What’s been your greatest achievement in your life from your perspective?

Obviously I’m thrilled with the TV series and I love writing. They are big achievements. In other parts of my life it was finishing the London Marathon. I did the London Marathon in 2006 and I think genuinely – this is quite serious – if you’ve got a mental health problem, do a marathon or train and do a half marathon/marathon. People were saying to me “You’ll get to mile 18 and you’ll feel like giving up.” And I went “Nahhhh, I won’t. Don’t be silly!” I was sobbing at mile 18 and then out of nowhere, this little boy appeared with a bag of Mint Humbugs – I swear to you this happened! I’d just been overtaken by a Dalek, a guy dressed as a Dalek and I was like “I can’t do another eight miles, I’m gonna die.” My toenail had come off.

And then the most brilliant thing happened at mile six, because you know, there’s so many people at it that you never get seen but Sir Steve Redgrave was being interviewed by the BBC and I overtook him so I was on telly. So I’ve overtaken, Steve Redgrave, a five time Olympian – it was a magical moment. But yeah, I have to say I think doing that marathon, because I’m the most un-bloody-sporty person in the world,y’know writing books is something I love doing, and this is going to sound ridiculous but the two things that I’ve managed to stick at that I’m crap at.

So, Marathon and passing my driving test! It took me six years. It’s because my brain does not work in a logical function and I’m terrified of it as well, I’ve only driven about four times in eleven years; that’s absolute fact, my husband does all the driving.

So, that may seem like pathetic things but it’s overcoming things I’m terrified of, those are the things I’m really proud of. Now if I can just pass Maths GCSE then that would be wonderful, ‘cause I haven’t. I’ll never forget they changed the rules about getting into university the year before I went, you used to have to have Maths GCSE and they changed it – yes!

What advice would you give to any readers out there who are currently in the place that you were when you wrote the diaries?

Talk to somebody. There is no shame. You need help. Talk to somebody professional, go and see your doctor. We’ve discussed that doctors aren’t always great, but I tell you what, if your first doctor you see doesn’t help you; go to another one. If that one doesn’t help you; go to another one. Find somebody who can help you because with the right help you can have a great life.

And that odd brain that you have, absolutely might be- if you can just flip it and change your thinking, that odd brain you have might bring you real happiness, make you a millionaire – anything. It’s no surprise or shock that there are so many famous people and entrepreneurial people and business people that suffer from mental illness. They’ve had to cope with their brain, they’ve got strength from doing that and their brain works in a way that makes them think differently and thinking differently is brilliant, thinking differently is good, but you just need help to help you train it.

I think it’s a case of, when you’ve overcame your own demons then nothing else seems quite as scary.

Well, I’d say my daily life is still lived in some degree of terror, but you’re absolutely right; I accept my anxiety and OCD as part of my life and another terrible Rae analogy is the alcoholic analogy in the way that it’s always there, but it just has to be managed.

But, yes, because I’m frightened of opening my front door some days, well if you’re frightened of opening your front door, you might as well move abroad for a few years, you might as well do a marathon because you’re terrified of everything anyway, you may as well be terrified of something good; legitimate. It’s just flipping your thinking, but it’s very hard to do that when you’re on your own and you’re in a spiral of doom, or, worst of all, and I’m not going to pretend that I understand it because I haven’t suffered from it, but manic, terrible depression is another thing all together but that certainly needs intervention and that certainly needs help. Go and talk to someone is the advice.

What’s the best advice that you yourself has ever received?

…Thinking. Skype’s not gone dead. (Laughs)

You’ve got to love yourself before you can be loved. You can crystallise it like that. You’ve got to love yourself before anybody else can love you. I’d give that advice for adults rather than teenagers and children. I think we really need to differentiate between what you’d say to and adult and what you’d say to a teenager or child because teenagers and children are in a completely different mind-set and have different needs, and I’d hate to give that advice to them because they need completely different specialist treatment.

But, to adults, that would be my thing;

You’ve got to love yourself.

How’s the no-hugging policy going?

I’m still bad with hugs! (Laughs)

I’m much, much better. I have these awful times; I had a magazine come to do a photo-shoot with me and at the end the photographer, lovely French guy, and he went to hug me and we ended up just like in a chest-slap. (Laughs) It was so embarrassing, ‘cause I’m still really funny with it! But I’m much better, much, much better.

It’s weird, when I meet strangers, sometimes I feel I can hug them and I can really give them a big hug and be fine with it, but sometimes I really get this vibe that I can’t. And it’s not because they’re bad or good people, I just really get this vibe that I don’t wanna touch them, so I end up, I’m frozen and they’re hugging me – I mean in episode four  where Rae pats Finn on the back, that’s just like me! I thought ‘My god, Sharon has got me so right! That’s the best portrayal of a crap Rae hug that I have ever seen!’ (Laughs)

If my best friend walked in just now I’d squeeze her and not let her go for about ten minutes, y’know? Living abroad I think you think “When I see that person again I just wanna bloody squeeze them!”

Sometimes I actually warn people now, I say “Oh, don’t hug me.” And I’ve got a lovely friend and I would hug her but she used to stroke my arm and I’d stroke her arm and that was our kind of hug. I’m just not that huggy person. Like I say, I’m much, much better, but there’s other times where people will run up to me and hug me and I’m fine. And I’m very huggy with my little boy, that’s the weird thing. I hug him all the time.

The hugging policy has mellowed, but it’s still quite staunch!

The next few questions were asked by some of our lovely Twitter followers:

Do you believe that you are ‘cured’ or does mental health stay with us forever? – @misslolitalove

I think some people can be completely cured, I think some people can be completely cured of it. I think for lots of us it’s like having a sixth finger, that’s a crap analogy again(Laughs). My point is, it’s the alcoholic analogy; it’s always there and you just have to manage it. Now, you can get pissed off about that or you can accept it, as I say, that’s easy for me to say – and I keep having to say this because it’s something I feel quite strongly about – depression can be a far more debilitating thing than anxiety, so I don’t want any depressives out there to say “Well, that’s easy for you to say…” Well, they’re absolutely bloody right, because having lived with somebody who has terrible depression, my mum, I can just see how it would be the most friggin’ awful thing on earth.

I think it can be cured, but for a lot of us it’s about managing it and finding ways to manage it, whether that be by medical or a mixture of medical and our own ways of managing it.

Being an open music lover, which songs in particular got you through the hardest of times? – @daaaani_ellee

Oh my god!!! That’s a great question! Uhm, I’ll give you a list. But, the trouble is they’ll sound quite miserable. As a teenager when I was feeling really pissed off I’d listen to How Soon is Now by The Smiths ‘cause it said how I felt better than anything.

A song that I adore, because I really struggle with change, and I struggle saying goodbye to things and I hate having to admit that things are over and things like that because obviously for an anxiety sufferer change is horrible; Walk Away by Cast is just beautiful!

I’m just gonna go random, from across the years. D’ya know what I’m gonna do? I’m going to look at my iPod, I’ve got this playlist called Pop Prozac, I’m gonna look at my Pop Prozac list. (Laughs)

Party Fears Two by The Associates that used to sum up how I felt a lot. Oh, do you know what? A song that I love and it’s how I’ve interpreted it, and it might not be what it’s about at all! The Universal by Blur. They talk about “When the days they seem to fall through you, well just let them go.” in other words; when you’re having a bad day, fuck it, just let it go and it sounds like the most beautiful song ever.

There’s a beautiful old soul record called Rainy Night in Georgia by Brooke Benton and he’s in a train, he’s pissed off, he’s knackered, he’s had enough and he just says “No matter how you look at it, or think of it, it’s life and you’ve just got to play the game.” And I listen to that and I could just sob; I could sob now.

We need something more cheerful, don’t we? OHHHH! No, no. Going Back by Dusty Springfield! Which is a song about how, y’know, you’ve just gotta get in touch with your inner kid to feel good again. That’s brilliant.

When I need a song just to get me going, The Bitch is Back by Elton John! I don’t think I am a bitch, I just love that song!

Ohhh, god! Any Frankie Goes to Hollywood! Sorry, I’ve gone now, you’ve got me on music. (Laughs) The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I think it’s probably the most perfect pop record ever made. That’s a big claim, but I really do.

Now, this sounds awful, but, a song that’s got me through many a bad moment is this absolute bit of German cheese called Keeping the Dream Alive by Freiheit. It’s this beautiful song and it came out, I think, just after my breakdown and it sounds Christmassy and it just talks about “The hopes we had are much too high, way out of reach but we had to try, ‘cause we’re keeping the dream alive.” And I love that. I love that.

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and The Blockheads, I can just listen to that on the worst day and feel fantastic.

I love Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, I have to say. If you’re having a bad day and you hate politicians and you hate the world and you think it’s not fair, listen to Running the World by Jarvis Cocker and you’ll feel better about everything.

Ohhhh! A Bad Dream by Keane, that sometimes sums up a day for me. Oh, that’s a great song.

I would urge anybody who isn’t into Mama Cass to get into Mama Cass, who was the singer with The Mamas and The Papas. Forget what she did with The Mamas and The Papas, go to her solo career. New World Coming by Mama Cass is beautiful as is The Good Times Are Coming by Mama Cass.

Oh god. Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise; completely unrepentant about that.

I’ll tell you what my favourite Oasis track is. Stand By Me. I’ve got a real thing about that. “Nobody knows the way it’s going to be. Stand by me.” Love it.

Right. My brother went through a bit of a mod phase. If you want a song to just lift you up try My World by Secret Affair. Devotion by Nomad. I Wanna Give You Devotion by Nomad, that’s bloody brilliant. Uhm, If Only I Could by Sydney Youngblood, Miracle by Tom Baxter.

If you’re getting done over at work and you’re pissed off, listen to Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who.

And then, just finally, The Theme from The Flumps. (Laughs) I dare you not to feel happy when you listen to theme from The Flumps! And also, Theme from Black Beauty.

And that’s it. I’ve given you a sprinkle of songs. We could be here all bloody night frankly, and all day, whoever asked that question shall now regret it. (Laughs)


(**Note: You can listen to all of the tracks listed by Rae over on our Youtube Channel here:  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIeDr6hpxLArrp8U3xPVR5Z-aFiLt6JN9**)

Are you into the same music as Rae is? If so, are any that stand out from what’s been played in the show? – @jjevison

Yeah, you see I don’t really go out of music until about 2005, that’s when I give up (laughs). Not give up, but I get increasingly jaded by bollocks, and uhm, I love that era (that is covered in the show). I have to say, I was a Blur girl, but most of all I was a Pulp girl. The best night of my life, bar my wedding day and the birth of my child, was seeing Pulp in 1995 in December at Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Jarvis, the guys, it was just brilliant. I do absolutely love Pulp.

There’s been so many great tunes been used in the show! Ohhh, I know what was used in the show and it was from episode 4 and I just couldn’t believe it because I didn’t suggest it but it’s one of my favourite songs and it’s from one of my favourite albums, it’s Bad Head by Blur from the Park Life album. Bad Head is my leaving university song and it just summed it up so much.

So yeah, Rae (in the show), Rae’s music taste absolutely does mirror mine. Any era, any era, Pulp are my favourite band of all time.

 Ehm, I think this is our last question. I’m not sure, I’ll have to check but –

That’s good ‘cause I can get the half ten bus into town (laughs) and get my child a milkshake. That’s worked out brilliantly! Go on darling, sorry. (laughs)

When did you decide to publish the diary and why? – @ClaireBabesKen

Well, it had been a radio feature, I used to do a breakfast show with my husband and it had been a radio feature and we’d had a great reaction to that but obviously the radio feature was very different because it was sanitised, because what you can say at ten past eight in the morning is completely different from what actually goes on in real life. Off of the back of that I wrote it up and that’s how it happened basically. I knew from the radio reaction that I had something that people related to and I knew that if I really put what happened with everything, then we could, you know, really – I didn’t think there was anything else out there that talked about teenage life like the diary did at the time. Put it like that. So, that’s why.

I think that’s us!

Ohh! You’ve timed that brilliantly lady! Excuse me for rushing off, I wouldn’t normally but I can literally go and get the 10:25am bus. (laughs)

So, you are lovely. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you so, so much. Do send me a copy of it or whatever, and, and, go to bed. (laughs) Okay darling, thank you, thank you, bye,bye!

The real thanks of this goes to Rae, for without people like her who are brave enough to be outspoken about their own issues then we wouldn’t have the driving force to open up about ours and to encourage you guys to open up about yours. They say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, and although it was via Skype I can definitely disagree with this. Rae Earl is my hero, and speaking to her about things that are so close to my heart made it that bit more important to me. If you can dream it, you can do it.

You can find Rae on Twitter at @RaeEarl.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you guys enjoyed this just as much as I did.

Much love, C xx

This is No Miraculous Life

Hi. I’m Chrisselle Mowatt, a 21 year old girl from a town in Scotland. It’s not a special town, or anything like that; the homes here were made for the masses and we’re all ridiculously overcrowded as a town and there isn’t really a sense of community. It’s any modern suburbia, really. There’s teens who loiter everywhere, there’s graffiti on nearly every surface possible, there’s cigarette butts and chewing gum all over the pavements, but there’s something that Livingston has brought me; It’s brought me life.

When I first moved to Livingston I was a confused 11 year old who had been taken from the only town she’d ever known, where everyone knew each other and you could walk down the street and see at least five people that you knew, or the neighbours would pop round for a coffee and keeping your door locked was something that was only done at night. Ten years, two breakdowns, three relationships, countless friendships made and lost and here I am; a 21 year old girl, living life to the full and starting the path to having the two careers of my dreams.

How it happened, I’ll never know. Some people say hard work, others say talent, but I say luck and support from those who matter. I honestly don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for any of them, they all mean the world to me and they all know who they are. Sometimes I think about how different my path would have been had I not moved to Livingston all those years ago, and it terrifies me.

Just the other week there I was given the chance to write for the local Livingston magazine; The Konect Directory and it made me realise that although I’ve never really felt like a Livingston resident in all senses of the word, I do have so many ties here that I would never change for the world. I have my best friends, my wonderful family and jobs that I love. Not only am I now writing for Konect, but I’ve also been given an apprenticeship at Livingston based photographic studio itsPhotographic and I couldn’t be more overjoyed at that. I get on with everyone I work with and I class each of them as a friend instead of a colleague.

My friends have managed to put up with my dreaming since I left highschool; first I was going to move to America and become a journalist, then I was going to be a fashion designer, then I was going to be a teacher, then I was going to be a nursery nurse and now I’m going to be a writer, author, photographer and save the world- Not too much pressure then , eh? I honestly don’t know how they do it, but they believe in me and hold my hand each step of the way. They celebrate the highs with me and help me fix they lows; they’re the best kind of people you could ever wish for in life and I just hope that they’re in mine for good.

My family are another bunch of people who have patience that only a family could have. I’ve been resisting their “Why not be a carer?” “What about college?” enquiries for six years now, and it’s finally starting to pay off. The thing that is most rewarding though isn’t finally getting my dream jobs, it is seeing my parents proud of me and excited for my future; that’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do with my life was to make my parents proud and as long as I’m doing that then I’ll be happy.

Another, extremely special person that has the patience of a saint is my wonderful partner Anthony. He’s been there for me through some of the hardest times of my life, and yet somehow he’s  still here. He manages to deal with me better than even I do. He knows how to make me laugh when I feel like crying and he knows just what to say when I need that extra push of motivation to get something done. He keeps telling me that he’s proud of me, but here’s the truth; I’m proud of him. I’m proud to be able to call such a wonderful human being my partner and I cannot wait for what the future holds for us. I can’t thank him enough for all that he does for me, or for just how much he supports me. He’s the most wonderful person I’ve ever met, and that will never change.

I guess you could say that life is pretty perfect right now, well, as perfect as it can be for a depression and anxiety sufferer; I have my bad days, but so does everyone and right now there is a lot less bad days than there is good. I’m taking my meds, I’m sleeping more than I used to and I’m talking to people when I need to instead of letting everything build up like I used to. Life is great, and I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere instead of being stuck in a dead-end town with no prospects. The truth is that where you’re from doesn’t determine the person you are or the things that you will achieve in life. If you believe and work hard at making your dreams a reality then slowly but surely it will happen.

Don’t Lose Your Grip is also coming on leaps and bounds which is intensely exciting and rewarding. We have provisionally booked the Regal Theatre in Bathgate, West Lothian in order for us to put on a charity concert in July 2013 to raise money for SAMH (Scottish Association of Mental Health.) We are also going to be holding regular coffee mornings, bag packing days and other fundraising activities in order to raise the money to have to hold the main event. As soon as we have more plans set in stone, I will let you all know!

Once again I’d just like to thank you all so much for everything – whether it’s for supporting me or putting me down because you’ve both played a role in getting me to the place I am today. Life wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for everything I have been through and for the first time in my life, I can safely say that I don’t want to be anyone but me.

Thank you for reading, have a great week!
C xx

Highschool Never Ends

In today’s society it seem that, while we’re fighting discrimination against some people, we’re almost encouraging it against others. Since when was it society’s place to decide how one singular person should live their life? Since when did it become acceptable to treat people differently, as long as it was seen ‘okay’ by the majority of people, or more importantly by the people in the big chairs with the wads of cash? The truth it, it isn’t, and it should never be. As human beings we’re always comparing ourselves to others, wishing that we had the lives of other people, wishing we had better jobs, better homes, better bodies and better everything. But when does the time come that we accept what we are given and let other people get on with the lives they have chosen?

It is illegal to call someone of another race a racial slur, and rightly so – but when did it then become okay to call someone of a different body type unacceptable? When did it become one person’s decision to tell someone that they looked bad, or that they should give up the bad habit that they themselves have never dealt with? It isn’t acceptable, and the reaction to any form of discrimination should be the same. It should not be accepted under any circumstance.

Calling someone out for being gay, being of different ethnicity or having a physical disability makes you look like you’re stuck in the dark ages. So why is it not the same for people who are mentally ill, overweight, underweight or any different from you? It’s not. It’s discrimination and the person doing it is a bully who should have learned to grow up in the playground instead of being halfway through adult life, still dragging their knuckles behind them. I genuinely pity people who feel like they have to go through life telling other people how to live theirs. It must be so draining to have so much hatred seeping through your body that you feel the need to let everyone know about it. It must be tiring not being able to walk down the street without having to tell at least one person what you think of the way they look or the life choices they make. It must be absolutely mind-numbing to only be able to have a social circle of people as cynical and as caveman as yourself.

I have never once had the uncontrollable urge to tell a strange that the skirt they’re wearing shows off more of their flabby legs than is deemed socially acceptable, I’ve never once felt the need to condemn someone for liking food or for enjoying a cigarette or an alcoholic beverage – and I don’t understand how someone could be so full of rage that they would feel the need to tell someone how they should live their life. What other people think of us is none of our business, and if only the people thinking these awful things would realise this then I think the world would be a much more acceptable place.

Instead of the government reprimanding overweight people, smokers, drinkers, disabled people etc. why are they not putting more effort into stopping the things that are actually ruining our country? Like vandalism, murderers, rapists, NHS cuts, job cuts, the recession? It’s perfectly okay to blame the general public for the downfall of society, apparently. But without a respectable government, who are we supposed to look to for hope? Everywhere in the UK is being hit by crippling recession. Everyone wants a job, but there are simply no jobs around. For example, for every retail position available in Scotland it is estimated that at least 500 people apply for each position. You don’t have to be Carol Vordaman to be able to do the maths on that one. Create jobs and it will stop unemployment. Put money into businesses instead of into your pockets. There is no cure for ignorance, and even the government seems to suffer from that.

So, my solution is this- If someone is happy then who are you to tell them how to live their life? If they know the risks of binge drinking, over eating or smoking then why should you be the one arrogant enough to point out their own ignorance? People have the right to make their own choices in this life, and I say that it’s about time they were allowed to. If they’re not harming anyone but themselves then why should it concern a stranger? Why should someone feel so important that they think that them calling someone ‘fat’ is going to make that person change their lifestyle?

The progress our society has made concerning the equal rights of women, homosexuals and different races is staggering – but we’re a long way off being sorted. There has to be an end to this before we raise more and more generations of cavemen and women. Leave them in the dark ages along with their views, and educate yourself and your children that people of all creeds and colours are going through difficult times in their own life, and it is not – in any shape or form – acceptable or healthy for you to take your own misfortunes out on others. If you’re unhappy with your own life, making someone else miserable isn’t going to fix it, the only thing you can do is find your own piece of happiness and let other people find theirs too.


Thanks for reading this long and very overdue rant! Much love!

C xx