Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lost in the dark...

This year is almost a third through and so far has not been a good year, in fact one of my worst.  I am having a very difficult time and nothing seems to go in our favour or as we expect, leaving me struggling.

This week is Depression Awareness Week, and although I have never been diagnosed with depression, I know it is something I have been affected with.  Depression is a crippling illness which can lead to death (through suicide).  Unfortunately for too long it is something that people have been ashamed to admit, dont recognise or just overlook as 'normal' blues.  Many people expect that they should be able to cope with everything all the time, and to be depressed is a sign of weakness, but it is not.  It is an illness like any other that needs treatment.

Of course, everyone gets down sometimes, especially when life is challenging but depression is something much worse that lasts longer, probably gradually getting worse.  Sometimes, it can come in bouts, which can last for weeks, months or years.

Common signs of depression are:

Feelings of despair and failure
Lack of appetite and weight less
Trouble sleeping and tiredness
Concentration problems
Nausea and other physical problems

If you think you or someone you know is suffering with depression, you must get help.  There is no shame in asking for help.  Everyone needs help from time to time.

A good source of help and information is Black Dog Tribe, a new resource started by Ruby Wax to provide support and information.  They have a good facebook page

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring time in the Algarve

One thing that I love and that really interests me here in the Algarve where I live are the plants and flowers.  Still after several years of living here, I am amazed by the beauty of the surroundings.  Every day I drive past palm trees, orange groves, fig, carob and olive trees to name a few.  things that growing up would be things in movies, books and seen on our yearly family foreign holidays.  I never imagined it would be part of my daily life, but I never tire of seeing them.

This time of year brings the wild flowers, fields full of red, yellow, blue and pinks.  Everywhere I look I see colour, so beautiful.  They grow everywhere and anywhere.

Unfortunately the photos are not great and do not show the true depths of colour, but I hope you still enjoy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter in Portugal

Here in Portugal, Easter is quite popular being a strong Catholic country.  They celebrate as most modernised countries with chocolate eggs and sugared almonds, which are almost as popular as chocolate.

On Good Friday, they eat fish, normally Cod, prepared in one of the many, many different ways.  On Easter sunday, they go to Mass and then have a meal of Lamb.  It is a big family day with many families getting together for the meal.

Here in the Algarve, there is a traditional cake prepared at this time of year called a 'Folar', which is a heavy kind of cinnamon cake, normally cooked with an egg in the middle.  Many of them have a cross design, signifying the religious connection, as we do with hot cross buns in the UK.

Many towns through the country have religious processions, which are quite interesting to see.

There are several spots which are popular to visit.  The most famous being Braga which is known for its amount of churches and religious connections as the Archbishop of Portugal is based there.

So wishing all a Happy Easter, wherever you are, however you celebrate.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Computer games

I am not a person to play computer games, of any kind except solitaire or the like.  I learned very early on that I suck at them and they really dont interest me.  Whatever time I have left after taking care of my children I really dont want to spend playing games.

I think in my mind I want to get the best 'value' for my time, which is usually a couple of hours after bedtime or some time during school days, so the thought of playing games is a waste of that time.  I dont read books, I would rather read a magazine, I dont watch movies, because they are too long, I would rather watch several shows in the time I could watch a movie.  To me that is making better use of my time, getting more into it or 'out of it' if you like.

My husband on the other hand loves playing games, all kinds of games, especially strategy games.  Lately he has been playing several different games on facebook, which is something that I watch him do from time to time but never really wanted to try.  Usually I find it boring and its a 'sleep tonic' for me.

But for whatever reason, the other day I started playing one of them and now I am totally hooked.  Im not very good at them and it takes me ages to move along, effectively making me play the same thing over and over, but its so addictive!  And so frustrating at the same time.  But its that need to improve and be better at something. because I know if I keep doing it, I will get it.  And to be honest, Im not a person who likes to fail at things and then keep repeating the same thing, I am more of a giver-upper, so in a way I think this is good behaviour to hone.   And somehow feels good, or maybe thats just the feeding of the addiction!

How long this behaviour will last who knows, but I hope this new determined, mindful behaviour will continue. But along side of this 'need' to play, of course comes 'the guilt' that almost every mother feels, usually on a regular basis for not devoting every second to their family and doing something for themselves.