The Unmarked Road

Life On The Other Side Of Mental Illness

Month: January 2016

How To Deal With Life Changes

Last week I wrote about how my life changing news threw me into disarray. This got me thinking about big life changes in general and how many of us, not just those suffering with anxiety, find it difficult to cope with being thrown into the abyss of the unknown. But should we avoid change because of fear of failure? Is it really better the devil you know or is there a way we could learn to deal with life changes in a more constructive manner than our minds often revert to?

life changes

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How My Big News Threw Me Into Disarray

I am working on a more general article on how to deal with huge life altering changes, but for today I thought I’d share some of my own personal feelings.

On Wednesday I shared with you all some of the best news of my life. After 12 long weeks, the emotions of finally being able to see that little face on the ultrasound and meeting our baby for the first time, were truly beautiful and overwhelming. But it doesn’t always start off that way.

Before the scan you don’t have much in the way of proof that there’s an actual baby growing inside of you, and there is this huge part of you that, despite all the sickness and mood-swings and weight gain, is terrified that you’ve made it all up in your head! It is an agonising nearly 3 months, and it is usually during the first trimester that you feel your worst, so not being able to tell everyone to explain why you’re being a tired, temperamental and pretty pathetic lunatic is pretty hard.

On top of that, it doesn’t really sink in that you’re having baby because, as mentioned above, there’s no proof: there’s no bump and you just feel rubbish. It can create an array of mixed emotions and fears.


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Huge Announcement!

Dear followers, dear friends.

I would like to share with you today some very exciting person news.


Needless to say this is so ridiculously exciting (and it might explain why I’ve been a little more quiet on the blog front).

The Unmarked Road is truly an exciting journey to be on!

Dani xx

I’d Rather Make A Thousand Mistakes

It is hard breaking away from the masses. It is even harder to find your own way when there isn’t a marked out path. I have the utmost respect for those who try to follow a passion or dream in the face of criticism.

It seems, however, that when those traveling on the unmarked road are unsuccessful at something, those sitting comfortable in their golden cages feel smug with an air of ‘I told you so’ about them. Like their own restrictive lives have been vindicated. But ALL successful people have failed. Simon Cowell, Stan Lee and even Walt Disney were all bankrupt before becoming a success. 

A successful person is NOT someone who never fails. A successful person fails many times and instead sees this as feedback on how to do something differently. Failure is just a word, a state of mind and can be the beginning of something new. Something better.

I use failure as a sign that something isn’t right for me or isn’t align with my true purpose in life. So I move on to the next idea. My only failure would be if I gave up. If I went back to a life that was governed by someone else instead of me.

So don’t let an unsuccessful venture or a dead-end idea put you off. Don’t feel ashamed for having tried. It takes courage to swim against the grain, and even more courage to step away from something that isn’t working and admit that it’s time to move on to something else.

Certainly never let people who are stuck in their own unhappy existence, judge yours. You only ever need answer to yourself.

Love, Dani xx


Why You Must Never Give Up On Life – By A Man Who Nearly Did

Today I have read by far one of the best accounts on depression and anxiety I have every read. Whether you are looking to understand it more, or you have suffered/are suffering now, this article my Matt Haig is beautifully written and brings hope to anyone struggling to see light at the end of the long dark tunnel:

Suicide kills more people than most other forms of violence – warfare, terrorism, domestic abuse, assault, gun crime – put together. This makes depression one of the deadliest diseases.

Yet people still don’t think depression really is that bad. If they did, they wouldn’t say the things they say. Here are the things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations:

  • ‘Come on, I know you’ve got tuberculosis but it could be worse. At least no one’s died.’
  • ‘Yes, I know, colon cancer is hard, but you want to try living with someone who has got it. Sheesh. Nightmare.’
  • ‘Oh, Alzheimer’s, you say? Oh, tell me about it – I get that all the time.’
  • ‘Ah, meningitis. Come on, mind over matter.’
  • ‘Yes, yes, your leg is on fire. But talking about it all the time isn’t going to help things, is it?’

Read more:

When Was The Last Time You Said Thank You Just Because?

When was the last time you said thank you for no reason other than to appreciate what you already have?

We are all, including me, very good at seeing what’s LACKING in our life – what somebody hasn’t DONE for us, what we haven’t ACHIEVED, what we don’t yet OWN – so that we forget how fortunate we actually are. When we stop and actually take the time to look at what we have instead of haven’t got, the list is usually much longer than the one of things we think we are missing from our lives.

I struggle at this time of year to consistently feel happy and at peace. Every year I go through the same, and every year I feel ashamed for feeling like I’ve become this miserable, ungrateful person who just feels down all the time. Just one day of sunshine and I sigh a huge sigh of relief because I realise that’s not the ‘real’ me. Like this massive weight just lifts as the grey clouds are physically pushing down on me. But it isn’t good enough to wait for these clear days. I can’t spend the rest of my life dreading winter or hormonal changes.

We all have down days and that’s ok. Some days we just want to curl up in a ball because we can’t cope with the world and all its inspirational memes that seem to have saturated social media lately (a new years resolution of mine is to stop posting so many of these pictures as I feel the effect of them has sadly worn off). Days like this I feel are important to right off;

The world won’t stop if you stop for a day or two.

Of course if you feel you are able to tackle simple tasks like the washing – things that require little thought – these can help ease the guilt and feeling of hopelessness. But if you don’t feel up to it, that’s ok too! [It is worth noting that weeks of feelings like this may be an indication that something more serious is going, which may need to be looked at by a professional. This something I am not able to advise on.]

For those days where we feel as though we want to pull ourselves out of that foggy funk however, simply listing all we have can help us to get a grip on the truth, instead of believing the lie: that we’re failing, that everyone else seems to be happy and moving on with their life, that we are lacking.

Sometimes just saying thank you to the people in your life can have a huge positive effect, not just on you but also those around you. Be it to your friends, your partner, your family, even just to your God or the Universe or life. Because we all have something to be grateful for and in a perfect world it’s these things that we would be concentrating on every day.

So today I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to:

  • My friends who’ve stuck by me, even when I haven’t been the best friend I could be.
  • My parents and family who shaped the person I am today. Each of you have impacted my life in so many positive ways.
  • My husband who only ever sees the good in me and who believes in me more than anyone else in the world, even when I don’t believe in myself.
  • My new family in law who have accepted me so open heartedly into their lives.
  • God, the Universe, life; you have given me opportunities and opened doors for me to make my own way and taught me lessons I didn’t always want to learn, but had to. You have given me a roof over my head, food to eat and people to care about. I am rich indeed.
  • Those who have done me wrong; you made room for better things in my life and taught me how to let go of hate and anger.
  • And lastly a thank you to all of you. You who have joined me on this journey and have taken the time to support it.

I appreciate every single one of you  and am grateful for so much love and blessings that are available to me in my life.

So what are you thankful for today? It can be big, it can be small, it can be something you’re looking froward to. What is the first thing that comes into your head? And what after that? Now watch it snowball.

Back Online! But Am I Completely Happy About It?

It’s finally happened. We are back online! Back to being connected. I nearly cried with joy… Well not quite. But working from home is isolating enough, add no internet or phone data to the mix and well, it’s downright depressing at times. Especially over Christmas where really, there’s nothing else to do but sit inside and enjoy the warmth of your slanket whilst watching Netflix. Oh wait…no we couldn’t do that either! And not having TV; well let’s just say I became very well acquainted with the world of Game of Thrones – which I’d never really been interested in watching – and have watched all 4 seasons thanks to someone lending us the box sets. By the way, it’s well worth a watch. Not really as mind-blowing as I thought it would be through all the hype; I thought there’d be oscar worthy performances, scripting and such, but it’s never the less very entertaining. Like an Eastenders of a Lord of the Rings/Gladiator type world.

So, during this month offline, it very much shocked me just how dependent we are on the internet. A lot of the times whilst travelling we of course were not able to go online, and honestly we didn’t miss it. But even then it was still a necessity in order to book hostels and flights for example. We were just so busy living out the experience; meeting new people, exploring new places, that was more of a nuisance to planning than it was to connecting to the world. I don’t know which of my readers are from the UK, but over the past few months there have probably been about 2 days where it hasn’t been completely miserable weather wise, so you’re literally stuck indoors, and if you try to talk to strangers you’re in serious danger of becoming that weirdo on the street in the middle of town with mental health problems. Now wouldn’t that be ironic 😉

The few times I have been online after purchasing new data on my phone, I’ve actually been incredibly bored by the internet. Social media in particular. After going through all the notifications and messages from people and feeling a bit less of a hermit, I logged off. I realised that there was something kind of freeing about not being able to be at everyone’s beck and call. If it wasn’t for the necessity of publicising my blog, for which the majority of leads come from Facebook currently, I would come off all together and go back to a simpler time where the internet was used purely for information gathering, for which it still is an invaluable tool.

Taking away the social media aspect and it’s insistent on you being connected at all times, the sad truth dawned almost daily on me that without internet there is a lot you can’t do. Mainly FaceTime/Skyping my family in Germany on Christmas eve. That was truly heartbreaking. But simple things such as booking appointments, finding out contact information, blogging; none of them were possible. The ultimate joke came when on the phone to Sky about the problem, during which they asked us to email them a picture across to them of the set up…they just assumed we had smart phones and data. And luckily one of us did but have we as a society really become that hopelessly reliant on the web? If I wasn’t able to call someone, I was royally screwed. And so being reconnected has come as a relief more than anything. Life just is that much simpler with it.

So what have I been doing? Well apart from the fact we’ve just had Christmas and I had two (outwardly) growing boys to contend with – we’ve just moved in with my brother-in-law – I’ve been writing my novel. It’s not been easy. I’m more brain dumping at the moment. Generally my best writing comes from how I’m feeling and when I suddenly get the urge, like if I’m hungry, to write what’s going on inside my head. So forcing myself to sit and write every day, as much as I am enjoying the development of the characters and the story, the writing itself is, well, it’s crap. It’s like reading 50 Shades of Grey without all the sex. You’re basically just left with…well if you’ve read it you know.

But I keep going and use this just as an exercise to get the basis of the story together. Once the very rough first brain-dump draft has been done, I can go through the entire thing and really think about the writing. That’s how I work best I think. If I sat there I tried to make every paragraph worthy of publishing, I’d never finish the book. And I’m planning a trilogy!

So what am I up to today? I’m off outside! The sun is shining and I need my vitamin Ds! So I’ll love you and leave you with this short little ‘I’m back’ post and look forward to reconnecting with you all!

All my love,

Dani xx

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