My Planet

Posted in Language

“They’re”, “There”, “Their”

I am not a native speaker of the English language, I have studied English in my home country, the sunny Portugal, since the age of eleven and have improved it greatly since living in the UK since 2002. Therefore, I will every now and then write an awkward sentence or even a made up word; but there are a few common errors English speakers make that make me cringe. Please forgive me if this sounds snob coming from a foreigner, but this is only out of respect for the language we use to communicate.

One of the most common errors I don’t get is the misuse of “they’re“, “there” and “their“. To me, this seems so simple. I’m sure everyone knows that there means place, as in ‘over there‘ as opposed to ‘over here‘. For example, if I ask: ‘Have you seen my keys? I’m sure I left them here.’ I might get for an answer: ‘No, they’re over there.’ Of course, “they’re” refer to the keys, meaning “they are” and could be replaced by “the keys are“; and “there” refers to the place where the keys are. Now, if I was talking about my children’s keys, I would say: ‘Their keys are over there.’ Their means that the keys belong to my children, it is being used instead of saying: ‘my children’s ‘.

So, in summary:

  • They’re means – they are
  • There means – place
  • Their means – belonging

Very straight forward, isn’t it? I don’t understand why so many people make this mistake, I’m sure this is one of primary school teachers’ everywhere biggest frustrations. There are issues in the English language that may be difficult to learn, but this isn’t one of them and yet I have seen it everywhere, from professional emails to social media statuses. And I just don’t see why is it so complicated. Could anyone shed a light on this for me?

Posted in My Planet

How to identify the first signs of depression

I started writing this post a week ago, but I was then too tired and maybe too confused to complete it. So I’m going to do it now because I have been thinking about this problem for a while. When I talk about the beginning of my depression, I never know when the first signs began and I always talk about the time when I was diagnosed. So instead of saying that I have suffered from depression since 2010, I say that I was diagnosed in 2010. February 2010 was when I started to break down at work and my manager suggested that I went to see my GP, he said that he’d been observing me and noticed a change; he suspected that I had depression and that my GP would sign me off work for a while. I confess that at that moment, I had no idea what depression was, I had heard about it, but the concept was very abstract in my mind. I don’t think anyone who has suffered from depression can accurately say when it exactly started. We don’t know because we don’t know the signs and more often than not, we don’t even know what depression is in fact. Depression is one of those things that is very difficult to understand when we haven’t experienced it. And despite all the efforts to bring awareness to the general public these days, there is still a lot of stigma to it.

Lately, I have been trying to draw a picture of my early stage of depression, I look back on time and try to find the first symptoms. I can’t say if it was the permanent tiredness, frequent insomnia, lack of pleasure in activities that I used to enjoy, the feeling that there was no point in going to the gym or in wearing make up – just to mention two examples – the thoughts that I was a failure and a burden and so on. I don’t know what started first or when it started. All I can say is one minute I have a job I love doing and feel very grateful for, I go to the gym every morning before work, enjoy the journey to work listening to the radio, and my life seems to be going better than it has ever been. Everything seems to be working ok, my daughter is in college and has a job, my boys are doing well in school and I have friends with whom I share good times; my life is good for the first time in a very long time. Next minute, I feel tired all the time, can’t sleep, stop going to the gym, start to isolate myself, nothing gives me pleasure anymore and I think no one wants my company, I feel like a failure, a bad mother, a bad friend, I am making mistakes at work and I feel inadequate.

One of the things I remember just before the diagnosis was the disconnection between body and mind. Your mind knows what you should be doing, but the body just doesn’t follow. Like when you know you need a shower, but your body refuses to follow instructions. Sometimes you might be having a conversation and say something really stupid, that you know doesn’t make sense, but you just can’t help it. I was making mistakes at work and I knew it, but I couldn’t help it. To this day, I still can’t explain it. And this still happens when I have my low moments, the difference is now I know why it happens and I am not so hard on myself – most times.

Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments if you ever felt this way xxx

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (5)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Panic Attack

 

I

It can happen out of the blue, during a date or

a work meeting; no common sense. Unexpectedly.

 

II

When you’re away from home, or snuggling, cosy

watching a film. Even in your sleep. Disturbingly.

 

III

Could be the fear of the unknown, or a visit

from sweet grandma. Unreasonably.

 

IV

Might cause you to hide under the blankets or bury

your head in the sand out of anxiety. Bitchy!

 

V

Inability to breathe like you’re drowning or losing

the plot like dad’s auntie Angela. Overwhelming.

 

VI

Your heart pounding out of your chest,

like a wild horse needing taming. Scary.

 

VII

Nausea and an upset stomach without

a crazy night out as an excuse. Embarrassing.

 

 

 

VIII

As well as numbness, tingling sensations,

a choking feeling or dizziness. Uncomfortable.

 

IX

Palpitations and a racing heart, like mum on a bad

Day, but it won’t kill you, for it’s not a heart attack. Relax!

 

X

Rarely goes on for longer than the BBC news, usually

lasts as long as the adverts or an episode of Eastenders. Unworthy!

 

XI

Just remember to breathe slowly, you’re not on

Jeremy Kyle. You’re safe. Respectable.

 

XII

It’s nothing more than instinct learned from primitive

Times – you wouldn’t remember. Don’t fight it!

 

XIII

It might look like a gigantic terror, or a naughty

Gremlin, but you can beat it. Easily.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (4)

For Once

 

The weight of eyelids

is overwhelming. Legs

refuse to move. Mind

has no willpower

while body stays still

under the covers.

I won’t make it to the gym,

who cares? What’s the point?

 

Today is the day I will get up,

shower, clean the kitchen,

make important phone calls

and tackle the ironing.

Today is the day I lie in bed,

feeling exhausted, without shower.

Just a little longer, the bones plead.

Why not, agrees the mind, for once.

 

This poem is about the battle I fought so many times with my body, for little things like getting out of bed in the morning, for example. Not so often anymore, yet sometimes I still get these struggles. But that’s ok, it makes me appreciate even more my successes. If you face the same challenges, be kind to yourself and celebrate the good days!

Posted in Reviews

The month of July

Today I thought I’d review my first month taking this blog seriously. The month of July saw me organising a schedule for my posts and this is the third week in a row that I fulfill this schedule, which is an achievement. I have started the blog just over a year ago, full of ideas and enthusiasm. However, the last twelve months were not easy for me, with my parents’ health, my studies, trying to organise a wedding. It has been a little chaotic – to put it lightly.

So, this Summer started with my fun Hen do in the Algarve at the end of May. The weeks coming up to it saw me running like crazy, spending long periods at the library in the university, trying to cramp up the work of a whole semester into some four or five weeks, including a job and family and house commitments. There was no way I could have succeeded, and from the beginning, I was a fool to think I was in with the slightest of the chances. But, I guess I had to try and I gave it my best shot. At least I managed to complete my creative project and reflective commentary and I got part of my dissertation done. It is something! However, a moment of realisation came when I knew I would not be able to graduate this Summer with all the workload I still had to do and I thought I’d better go back and do it all over again. I won’t be able to repeat the modules I have completed again, but there is a chance I can go back to do the ones I have not submitted any work for and I have written to the course leaders to ask for that opportunity. I am still waiting to hear from them, but I’m hopeful!

Therefore, I decided to dedicate my time to the blog and make it the best I can. So in these last three weeks, I have posted three poems from my mental health collection; “Mask” on 17th July, “Guilt” on 24th July and “Grief” this week on 31st July. These three poems have been workshopped and edited many times and are very close to my heart because they refer to very personal and intimate experiences. I feel very proud for having shared them here on my blog and I hope that they can reach others who have gone through similar emotions and help them feel less isolated, this is the reason why I wrote them in the first place. So far I have mainly opened up about my struggles with mental health because recently that old friend has come to visit again. Pretty soon I hope I’ll start writing about how true friends, family, hope and will power have helped to come a long way since the moment it all started.

I also shared three different quotes with related photo collages. This is the fun part for me to find inspirational quotes and photos that relate to them. I wrote about the English language and I am finding it fun to explore a different word each week. I intend to explore more serious grammatical issues in the future, maybe when I am more settled into this new habit of writing regularly.

In these three weeks, I had a go at translating a Portuguese poem by Fernando Pessoa into English and I shared section one of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” last week. It was only a cheeky dip into two of my favourite and inspirational poets, more to follow on them.

In conclusion, I would say the month of July has been like a sneak preview of what’s to come. The posts have not been too long and the themes approached could have been developed in more depth, but that will come in due course, slowly but surely!

Thanks for reading xxx

 

Posted in Language

Word of the Day

Edacious

Having just watched a couple of episodes of Friends, I decide to chose the word edacious for this week’s word of the day. No prizes for guessing which character inspired me to chose an adjective related to eating and meaning a huge appetite. This word descends from the Latin edax, relating to the Latin verb edere, which means to eat.  The adjective edible has its origin here too. Latin poet Ovid’s famous quote: “Tempus edax rerum”, translates into “Time, the devourer of all things.” Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish historian and essayist also used it referring to Time in “swallowed in the depths of edacious Time”.

Synonyms: voracious, insatiable, ravenous.

 

Posted in My Planet

The story behind the poem I posted this week ‘Grief’, refers to the worst type of grief – or one of the worst – the loss of a child. No human being is programmed to outlive a child and this kind of loss is against nature. When I got pregnant, it wasn’t planned and the timing was so wrong; the relationship I had with her father was wrong, everything was wrong and at first, I was terribly disappointed in myself, angry even. It was a dark period of my life. Besides, I had a daughter and a son that was enough for me, they were all I ever wanted and I felt complete in our little family.

However, as the pregnancy progressed I started to love the baby very much and I was really looking forward to meeting her. She was a girl and I called her Sara. Everyone was looking forward to meeting her. At week twenty-two I woke up in the morning covered in blood and when I went to the hospital, they took me in and put me on bed rest, I was losing risk and the baby was at risk of being born prematurely; which wasn’t good at that stage of the pregnancy.

But after two weeks the liquid was very little for the baby and she had to come out only at twenty-three weeks and a half. She was so tiny but so perfect and still so vulnerable. She only lived three days, she would have been sixteen years old now and I think of her every single day.