Treading Water – my attempt to explain my mental health

You know when you go swimming with school and there’s that lesson where you have to swim with pyjamas on? The lesson where you learn to tread water and not die until help comes in case you fall in a canal or something? Picture this…

I feel like I’m constantly treading water. I mean life is a bit like that anyway isn’t it? Always a bit of effort. Though, where some people are in boats, I’m in the water. Always. Now if the water is calm, it’s fine. Takes minimal effort to keep my head above water, and feel the sun and interact with other people swimming or in boats.

Then storms hit. You can’t see anyone else, or the boats, or the sun, or anything. All you’re aware of is you and the fight you have. Riptides drag you around, pull you under, waves crash down on top of you and you struggle for breathe. To stay alive you constantly exert effort, kicking, fighting, just to to the same things you’ve been doing for weeks. Forget trying to do anything else. All your energy just goes on surviving.

Drowning is a slow death, apparently. A dragged out period of pure panic, with seemingly no way out, until eventually your body can’t take it anymore. So when I say I feel like I’m drowning, this is what I mean. I’m filled with panic, and dread, and can’t see a way out. A terrifying experience that I really don’t know if I’m going to survive. The fact I’ve survived previous times is little comfort, this is going to be the time. I’m exhausted.

Then for no reason the storm stops. You take what you think it going to be your final breathe and…you’re able to take another, and another.  You survived. God knows how but you did.

And just that like you’re pretty much fine again. Bit bruised and battered, most likely, but overall fine. Then over time you start to forget exactly how the storm felt. It’s not so much you forget about the storms, you’re just surprised every time they hit. Every. Single. Time. Similar to storms, they can come with little to no warning. Little hints here and there of the oncoming front,  but can often be missed, or mistaken as something else. Unlike storms, however, these aren’t quick intense flashes in the pan. They can last for weeks.

So that’s how it feel for me.

Remember, you’re worth the effort. We’re all mad here.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

Sewing Machine TLC

Heyyy Youu Guyyyyys!

I have encountered another first fellow crafters- the sewing machine service!

Now obviously my machine decided to shout at me slap bang in the middle of a big project for my good friend Emma at My Vintage, so I was a tad frightened! I couldn’t afford to send my machine away to be fixed, let alone buy a new one if it was truly dead. So, I took to Google and low and behold I found the answer, and like a good blogger and Pinterest ADDICT I pinned it and read it. This is an eBay post from a sewing machine specialist/wizard who decided to write a helpful guide as to what to do if your machine stops working, as more often than not it just needs a good clean! So I duly headed to my Dad’s cellar and hunted around. From my time in the Army Cadets I knew a brush would be needed and some oil! Anything with moving parts needs dusting and anywhere where metal brushes against metal needs oiling. Simple Fact. I also grabbed some long nose pliers (tweezers would work just as well) just in case I needed to pick dirt out, and I grabbed a flat head screwdriver, some WD40 (life-saving oil 101!) and a torch! I then went to my tutorial and got quite scared. Like I said before I couldn’t afford to replace my machine, so I didn’t want to begger it up using the wrong tools! And it stressed to refer to your manual (which I didn’t have), and NOT to use ANY other oil other than Sewing Machine Oil. Now, I’m very lucky as I work in a haberdashers so I was able to pick up a maintenance kit and sewing machine oil pretty sharpish for £3.19 and £1.79 respectively. HOWEVER! I happen to know that Sewing machine oil is in most Pound Shops around here (or Dollar Stores for our cousins over the pond) and in my maintenance kit I got two screwdrivers and a nylon brush. Now, the nylon brush is handy as it is the BEST for picking up dust and dirt but you could use a simple paintbrush if you wanted. As far as the screwdrivers go, it turned out that I had a tool in my sewing machine’s secret compartment! After returning to my tutorial it turned out I would have been OK with what I already had in my house, except the machine oil which needed to be bought… *facepalm*. (Oh, and I managed to download my machine’s manual for FREE!)

I consoled myself slowly, “Of course the maintenance kit is going to be good as it’s what it’s designed for” la de da, so if you do have the extra pennies it’s a good investment, and for £3.19 it wasn’t too bad 😉 however it isn’t 100% necessary.

The tutorial really covers most things, as will your manual if you have it/can download it. Rule of thumb is: Dust down first, especially around the dog feeders (the little teeth that move your fabric). If metal is rubbing against metal, oil it! Not too much, you’ll only need a drop (or two at most!).  I was certain my machine was truly broken, but it turned out the it just needed a spring clean, and a new needle.

I feel silly for panicking,I should have put my thinking cap on and thought logically and thriftily, but for £5 worth of stuff I saved a £150 service bill. Looking at those figures… I ain’t even mad!

Stay tuned for a lovely Minerva Post hitting the KB Blog this Friday! This will DEFINITELY make up for any thrift-faux pas I made this week!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B xo