Category Archives: Uncategorized

All the thoughts

Well this post will look at maybe a couple of thoughts whirling around in my head.

It’s been a while since I posted and last week I talked things through with my therapist and realised, pretty rapidly, my health had been on a downward spiral because part of my coping involves writing. Admittedly not very well and not for people to read but for myself. Although you’re very welcome to read my musings.

There are many things I’ve seen on Twitter over the past few weeks that I have felt I need to comment on but I like to think that I consider and process thoughts and then unleash.

Recently I saw posts about conversion therapy and my first thought was…isn’t this illegal already? Turns out it isn’t.

Firstly I want to mention I’m well aware of my privilege. I am a cis hetero white female and if you’re reading this and rolling your eyes…well this post probably isn’t for you.

I’m also training to be a therapist and the concept of conversion therapy really upsets me. Therapy to me is about helping somebody to work out what is within them which they can bring out to enable them to be happy. To take a stuck moment and help them to move on and create change. Happiness and a content life is the key. Conversion therapy seems to suggest that a person comes along and a therapist tells someone that they shouldn’t be feeling a certain way, regardless of whether that way will enable them to be happy or not. I find it hard to understand how conversion therapy sits well with my thoughts about therapy.

I don’t pretend to understand what it is like to feel like I’m born in the wrong body. Yet I think back to my uni last year. Someone mentioned having an issue with something saying ‘mate’. I say ‘mate’ a lot. Yet if I had to say something else, like ‘woman’ or ‘man’, it really wouldn’t matter so, because I care about this uni friend, I’ll stop saying mate and start saying…well probably not woman, maybe lady. It makes no difference to me but it made a lot of difference to her.

So if someone wants to be recognised as a woman when they may be transitioning from male to female….I will call them a female. Because it means literally nothing to me but it means everything to them. And I’ll ask questions and I’ll be curious and I’ll probably get things wrong but I want to learn. And the more that people start accepting, it becomes less about political correctness and more about just humanity and happiness.

This post was prompted by @MunroeBergdorf because she made me think I need to speak out. I love the world that JK Rowling created. I am so sad she experienced the abuse she experienced. I don’t agree with what she has said in the past around transitioning. I don’t have the platform or reach to really make a difference but I have spoken out. Someone once suggested I don’t speak out against bigotry (another blog post) but I have.

Another post

I haven’t blogged in a while. It seemed difficult to blog without mentioning the current situation and yet there is so much information about what is going on. I almost felt like I didn’t want to add to it. Then I got over myself and realised I was assuming people read my blog. Which is lovely if you do but it was always meant to be a space for me to dump all my thoughts in my head out there.

Life has changed. There is some element of trauma. I read a piece recently saying trauma is a distortion of everyday life and everyday life is being distorted. Are we all on some level being traumatised?

I’m scared. Not solely of the virus but of the impact on humanity because, to be blunt, life will be different.

I acknowledge the fact that every dark has light, every happiness has sadness. The virus has slowed life down. It has made people look at their individual life and assess it. For me, and that is the only life I can truly comment on, I realise that I have been packing too much in. I plan and pack events in because I want to be visible and important because I lost an important person in my life and I feel a responsibility to live my life to the max.

I love being at home. I love my husband being there when I wake up and when I’m working. We have rarely argued. It’s a surprise to me but it’s almost like the enforced stay at home is making me realise I don’t have to pack it all in and I can just be at home.

I miss people. I miss my parents and family. I missed my dad the other day as things have changed with his condition and I just wanted to drive there. I miss my friends. I’m worried about my friend who is a paramedic. About my other friend who is out there on the frontline supporting young people.

Yet this virus is making me reach out. Where once a whole conversation would be by text message, I’m phoning, I’m whatsapping, I’m video calling. I’m connecting.

And you may read this thinking I’m coping. I am. Sometimes. But I’m worried about what will come after. I’m lucky I’m in a safe environment at home. I have a stable income and an understanding landlord. Many don’t. I am but one person. I feel the work will really start when things resume to ‘normality’. Because it is truly a different normal. And I don’t know how I feel about that.

Therapy and me

As some of you may know, I’ve recently started studying for my Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy. It’s been a very long journey and I’m still not convinced I will actually make it but I’m going to give it a good go!

Part of the course requires me to attend therapy, pretty much weekly. I was really scared to sign up for therapy because it meant I would have actually had to face all that stuff I’ve locked in very secure boxes over the years. I feared for my relationships, friendships, marriage and just general sanity.

I’m about 8 sessions in and here is what I have learned.

Therapy isn’t about changing me. It’s about taking all the stuff out of the boxes, cleaning it, thinking about it and then deciding how to cope with it. I’ve learned that the death of my mum at a young age has had an impact. I’ve spent years pretending that I have coped and her death hasn’t had an impact on me but it has. Even coming to that realisation has been a massive thing for me. And now I can just miss her.

I’ve learnt that I’m in the career I’m in not because law didn’t want me but because I didn’t want the law enough.

I’ve learnt that injustice really makes me angry and that it’s not change that I don’t like but that I don’t like not being able to control certain changes. Mainly because a big thing happened to change my life that I couldn’t control.

I like working in small teams. They might be in a big organisations but I like small teams. I might seem to be a social person but I’m always assessing how close I can let you get to me.

I have lots of friends. I have a small number of friends who are on the inner circle close to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all my friends. I do.

I struggle to let friendships go because I see it as a failure on my part that I can’t make a friendship work. I’m getting better at this though.

I cry as a form of protection because I don’t want you to continue talking to me about the thing that made me cry.

My dad has been a massive influence on me. More than I ever realised. He influenced my work ethic, my views and my ability to articulate those views.

I get scared about the depth of my feeling towards my husband because I’m a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man. Yet I need my husband. He’s my balance.

Roll on the next 3 years!

Marriage and me

Yesterday I went for an interview at a university for a place on a counselling and psychotherapy course. It kinda blew my mind a little bi, particularly the group exercise and thankfully I met with one of my best friends after for tea so she helped me to process a little bit by talking about it.

The group exercise involved ‘an empty chair’ exercise. I think this is probably well known amongst counselling circles but I’d never heard of it. It involves an element of psychodrama so I had to pretend to be someone who knew me and talk about me. Confused? Yep me too!

I chose to be my husband as he’s probably the one person who knows me the best. I spoke about how I loved my family and friends, maybe gives too much to some things and struggles with the concept of failure. One of the fellow students said, what does your husband give to your marriage and you…did I mention this exercise blew my mind?

Thinking about it…my husband is my constant. He is the one I go to in order to retain balance and become more grounded and present in the moment. When he is away (as he is at the moment and has been for 3 weeks), my mind is more erratic, my thoughts become overwhelming, although thankfully not harmful, and I find it difficult to focus on anything.

I’ve always been very aware of sharing my time between my friends and family and not prioritising my husband. I’m frightened of being one of ‘those friends’ who cancel plans because their partner offers them a better opportunity. I’m frightened of admitting exactly how much I depend on my husband and how much my mental health relies on my husband.

It’s really made me think because actually why do I feel bad about prioritising my husband and saying exactly how much he means to me? I’m not saying I will turn into one of ‘those friends’ but I’m determined when he comes back that I’ll say all of this to him. I’ll spend more time with him. Because he’s pretty awesome and he makes me feel like my moods and thoughts can be controlled. I’m still the only one who can physically control them but he’s the one who empowers and facilitates that happening. Oh, and my friends and family are still amazing and supportive and I don’t think I’ll ever be the type to rock up to every occasion with my husband. But if I did…it would be okay.


This may be a rambly post so I apologise in advance.

Some weeks ago I attended a training day in Yorkshire. During the break I got talking to one of the other attendees who spoke a bit about the migration into her area and how she felt that integration, put simply, ‘wasn’t working’.
Her reasons at first were the ones that I’ve heard too many times before. That a Muslim family had moved in and made no attempt to communicate in English. They communicated only in their own language.

I guess I could have reacted angrily but instead I spoke to the lady about what integration meant to her and what evidence could she produce that the family were not demonstrating integration. At that point her true feelings were that the council had placed the family in that home when she knew others were on the waiting list. That was the underlying reason for her comments.

As I explained to her, I felt her anger was misguided. She directed her anger towards the family when really her anger and her desire to change should be on those in power, those who placed the family.

Also integration isn’t one sided. The community needs to help those new to the community to integrate. When asking her whether she had gone around to say hello, she said no.

Integration doesn’t override the fact that people can choose not to communicate with neighbours. Not every neighbour is going to be liked because nobody is liked by everybody. I know my neighbour opposite but that is about it. Am I off the hook to integrate into my community because I am White British?

It’s made me think about what is integration. How would you know that you were integrated into your community? Because someone smiles at you? Knocks on your door?

I feel like Brexit is now being used as a smokescreen for other issues. Now everything is the fault of Brexit. However much I wish Brexit was not voted for, some of the issues have been around in the UK for much longer than the Brexit vote. Blaming Brexit allows people in power to not act on those issues. Just because we give international aid does not mean that we should not give aid to those UK citizens who need it. We should do both because we are human. Because it’s the right thing to do.

The process of grief

It’s been a while since I last wrote. To be truthful, which I nearly always am, things haven’t been too great for me. At least in terms of my mental health.

On the surface things have been going well. I took the plunge at Christmas to move jobs and take the next step by applying for a counselling course. Work wise, things have been going okay. Usual doubts of feeling like I’m not good enough and things are not going smoothly but those are feelings that I’ve lived with for most of my life and I’ve learnt how to cope and manage those feelings. Going home and not thinking constantly about work is a new and welcome feeling. Surrounding myself with positive encouraging people is also a welcome experience. Picking my next (and hopefully final!) career has been both scary and exhilarating.

The trouble is grief and the fact it isn’t constant or consistent. Normally I experience a down dip around July/August time. July because of my nan/grandma and August because of the anniversary of my mum’s death. I dread that approach into summer but luckily it is usually counteracted with sunny weather which always improves my mood (although not too sunny!).

This year grief crept up on me about the beginning of March. Mothers Day seemed to be literally everywhere. Social media has been the worst with photos of people together with their mums on the day. I expect it but dread it. People should celebrate their mums and celebrate being a mum. Yet I have neither experience and the feelings still hurt. Although it’s lovely people post that they are thinking of those without a mum, it doesn’t help. Partially because I don’t think anybody could understand anything remotely about what it is like until they have been through something similar. I gravitate at Mothers Day to those who don’t have mums around or who knew my mum.

Grief is a funny thing. There is no process, people process in different ways and, contrary to what people sometimes say, I don’t feel the process is easier in that the feelings of sadness are still there, you just add in positive happy feelings about the person you’re missing.

To me, grief is that constant state of flux. You fear that you are forgetting people if you don’t think of them every day. You feel angry that life is going on around you so you feel obligated to try to ‘move on’ and not think of the person everyday. There is so much emphasis to be happy in society when in reality, how do you know happiness if you don’t know sadness?

My first experience of death was my guinea pig. I think I was about 8. He died of pneumonia and I remember crying for days. Then getting a mouse.

My second experience was my mum aged 9. I cried for one day and then intermittently without any pattern or even an identified trigger since then.

Then followed by my two granddads within 3 years and then one of my closest childhood friends who died in a car accident aged 16.

Other deaths have happened since then. Yet each death has provoked a different process of grief and it’s made me realise. Grief has no process. It just is.

This feeling will go or be hidden, crushed between all the other happy memories that come along. Until something else triggers and then I’ll be writing this again.

Reflection on 2018

It’s not quite 2019 yet but I feel in a reflective mood tonight so thought it was time for me to take stock of 2018 and look ahead to 2019.

2018 saw the start of a new job and also the end of the same job. I’m so glad I took the job opportunity as it taught me a lot and also helped me to meet some of the most amazing people I now have the pleasure of calling my friends. It also helped me to realise that my true passion of counselling is something that I now need to focus on and invest in.

2018 also saw a return to a previous job role. I struggled with the decision at first as I felt like I was a failure by quitting my job and also unsure about whether I should return. On the first day though all my fears left me and I’m excited about the next few years which will also enable me to study.

Friendship wise, I made some new friends and have kept friends close to me. I met with a couple of friends during my trip to Yorkshire this week and, despite the fact we hadn’t met in a while, it emphasised how true the friendships are because we were chatting like old times in no time.

After a slightly rocky few months with my husband, this year has made our marriage enter into a more consistently happy period which is nice. He still makes me smile every time he walks into a room and the fact he didn’t question when I made the decision to go part time, just shows that I am the person I am because he empowers me to be that person.

Family wise, things always happen to make me realise how lucky I am to have supportive family around me. Despite shortly embarking on my fourth career, my family have always been there for me and I know that if things go wrong they will continue to be there.

Looking ahead I hope I can make my counselling degree work. I want to reconnect with more friends who I have lost touch with whilst keeping in touch with those who have always been there.

2018 has been a good year, stressful and tense but good because it’s helped me to move along onto the next phase of my career. Happy 2019

Another year older

It’s my birthday today. I’ve reached the ripe old age of 36. Age has never really meant a massive amount to me. Losing my mum when she was 38 probably has an impact as I know that people die when they are young, old, everything in between.

Yet birthdays do make me reflect. I have been really struggling at work recently. Although I think I made the right move, I am not convinced it is the right job for me. In reality I know it is not the right job for me, yet I’m so stubborn I don’t actually want to admit it.

It’s made me look back at my previous role and recognise the value of that role and it’s helped me to identify what I want in my career. It’s made me more ambitious and for that, I’m thankful.

I’ve given myself until Christmas to allow time for change but ultimately to work out what I want to do. I’ve started that plan already as I’m halfway through my counselling course and I know that counselling is for me. I struggle to say I’m good at something but I know I would be good at counselling. So that’s my plan. To find a role where I can study and long term to set up my own counselling business.

This weekend made me face up to my dad not being very well. My dad and stepmum visited and it was hard to see my dad. I always thought he was invincible but this weekend has made me realise he’s not. I’ve shed masses of tears in the past 4 days and I think there will be plenty more.

On the flip side, work helped me come into contact with some of the most beautiful caring people I’ve ever met in my life. Birthday messages (and presents!) have reinforced what I already know, I have people around me who make me feel truly blessed and fortunate. Counselling last night made me realise how much I truly hide behind my calm exterior. Sometimes calm people are paddling the most but they also have people around them to come and rescue them.

To my 18 year old self

Dear 18 year old Cherry,

I’m writing this letter to you after reading about a project led by @TheEmpWomanProj on Twitter about writing a letter to your 18 year old self.

I’m approaching the age of 36 and I’m imagining that I’m writing this on your 18th birthday. At this time you won’t know a lot of stuff that will happen. You won’t know that you will actually pass your A Levels including that AS Level you didn’t actually mean to take as you assumed it was an option within your existing module.

You will also be under the mistaken assumption that you are dealing quite well with the death of your mum and you won’t be anticipating that you will, at some stage, need some support which will be completely okay.

You are also thinking about going travelling before starting your career as a lawyer (more about that later!). You will do that mainly because your mum, unlike you, was a planner and left you an amount of money to do what you wanted to do. Like travelling across the US for 5 weeks in a camper van.

At this stage you’re uncertain and shy about everything. Don’t worry so much, you’ll get there. You are worrying about meeting someone. Unbeknown to you, that person will dance themselves into your life in 4 years time and never leave. You won’t have achieved the 2.4 children ‘norm’ but you will be with someone who loves you.

You won’t be perfect during the next few years and that will hurt. You will constantly be worrying about whether you’re ‘good enough’ but you will be able to have some days where you won’t care about being good enough and that will be enough.

You will lose both your nan and grandma and auntie to cancer and you will learn that grief is constant and expected.

You will learn that building a family of trusted friends is important. Friends who are so different but so worthwhile and genuine. You will learn that marriage is hard and difficult but ultimately worth it. You will find friends who get you and who will always be there.

Don’t avoid anything in the next few years. Don’t avoid the career change (twice) because work is something that you need to be happy in. You can only control your own feelings and behaviours. Everything else shapes the person you have become and, even if some days it is really hard to believe, you’re okay. Not brilliant, not perfect but definitely okay.


Contentment is an emotion that comes and goes for me. Contentment indicates good mental health and that is something that sometimes eludes me.

This week there has been moments of contentment. I am a fully fledged staff member after passing my probation and I had some good moments this week at work.

Last night I spoke to my dad and stepmum, again provoking contentment. My relationship with my husband is good, we have acknowledge we need to get back to being silly and that has happened, culminating in a tic tac catching contest earlier tonight.

Volunteering today helped as well. I can’t go into it because of confidentiality but the moment when I said something which provoked a different way of thinking for a young person in a bad place made me truly content. I hope that young person knows they have helped me as much as I have helped them.

Good mental health isn’t easy to maintain when you have had periods of bad mental health. I look back to a month again and I can barely recognise that person. It’s hard to maintain the consistency but the difference is I know consistency and good mental health can be achieved and that is the main thing.