Mental Health Days

And why it’s okay to take them…

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Over the last few days, I have been struggling with a particularly bad patch of depression. It has been one of those times when it has even been a struggle to get out of bed, and all I’ve really wanted to do is curl up in a ball and read, because when I read, I can escape into another world that isn’t mine.

The thing is that I had to decide which battles were worth fighting. I could have dragged myself up and forced myself to persevere with what I ‘should’ have been doing, and would have probably got none of it done, or at least, done it very badly.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything much at all, and every time I tried to think, I just kept falling back into that black hole.

This is when I knew that I needed to make the decision on whether I carried on throwing myself against a brick wall, or whether I just decide to practice self care, and give my body and mind what it wants.

That’s the thing with depression, or any other kind of invisible illness. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles; and sometimes, it’s okay to accept that you need to take a minute, or an hour, or a day.

My usual limit on mental health days is three. If I need to, I will allow myself three days off, but after that, I try and get back into some kind of routine. Although I still try to practice self care.

There are several ways of self care, and they can range from simply watching a favourite movie or tv show, or reading a favourite book, to taking a bath, or giving yourself a manicure, or even taking the dog for a walk.

The thing to remember, no matter how guilty you feel is that the world won’t stop turning just because you need to take some time to look after your own mental health.

It’s a battle sometimes; I know that, but it’s really important that you learn to accept your limitations and that you listen to your body and mind, because, when it comes down to it, if you’re not going to listen, then who wil



Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Chronic Illness

And Why Flares Are A Pain In The A**

Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

Anyone with a chronic illness will say that they live with a certain level of that illness every single day. They could live with pain, overwhelming exhaustion, brain fog, migraines, and any number of other things.

The thing is that there are times when these illnesses flare up, and these are the times when the symptoms of these illnesses seem to double, both in intensity and in frequency.

As I have said before, I suffer with TMJD (Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction). Lately, I have been going through a flare. For me, this looks like:

· Extremely limited opening

· Cracking jaw

· Severe pain

· Mouth ulcers

· Migraines

· Neck Ache

· Tooth Ache

· Ear Ache

· Dizziness

· Disturbed sleep

The thing is that a lot of these symptoms sound fairly minor, and if it were one thing on its own, then it would be manageable, but when all of these things happen at the same time, it makes life pretty much unbearable.

Most of these symptoms are not necessarily visible, which can make it even more difficult, as people may tend to think that I’m overreacting, or being a drama queen, but I challenge them to live a day in my life when I’m going through a flare.

So, what is a flare?

Basically, a flare is a time when all of these symptoms are further intensified, and often occur simultaneously. This, coupled with the pressure that I often put on myself to try and push through, can leave me feeling despair. A flair means that doing ordinary activities, and basically living my life can become an almost impossible task. To put it bluntly, a flare is a big pain. We don’t want to be dealing with this, but the fact is that we are, and we have very little choice in the matter.

I know many people with other chronic conditions, for whom this is also true.

The thing is that when going through a flare, the best thing we can do for ourselves, is to try and practice self care. We need to listen to our bodies, regardless of others’ opinions that we might be ‘malingering’, ‘a drama queen’, or ‘lazy’.

If you are going through a flare, remember to try and be kind to yourself. If you need to take a duvet day, then it’s okay to do just that. If you need to just be by yourself, and sleep all day, then that’s okay too. Basically, the best thing that you can do if you’re having a flare is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

So, be kind to yourself. Listen to your body, and give it what it needs, because, remember, no one else can do it for you and it is okay to give yourself permission to practice self care, even though the flare you’re going through might feel like a big pain in the a**!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Piling On The Pressure

Piling on the pressure

And why I’ve decided to give myself a break.

Photo by Lysander Yuen on Unsplash

Being a carer, there is a LOT of extreme and constant pressure on you. Your life becomes something that is not about you at all. Your entire existence becomes wrapped up in looking after the person that you care for.

A large number of these carers will, at some time or the other, experience burnout. They will get to the point where, no matter how much they want to, they literally cannot physically or emotionally, give any more.

I know this feeling, and it isn’t a nice one. Dependent on the needs of the person that you’re caring for, there can be immense pressure:

“If I’m not there when they need me, will they hurt themselves?”

These thoughts can go round and round in the mind of a carer, until the fear is almost crippling. I know it was for me.

Carers very rarely put themselves first. They always come second, never will they put their own needs above their loved one.

I can remember days when I was so exhausted, and had the beginnings of a migraine, and even then, I made sure that my sister was okay and that she had everything that she needed before I actually took the painkillers I needed and took myself to bed.

Since my sister passed away in 2017, I have been struggling to adjust to a life where I am not a carer. The habits I learnt back then have taken a long time to break. For example, I used to try and cram as much of my writing and art and craft into the morning as I possibly could, because I knew that the minute that midday came, I would be needed to fulfil my carer duties.

Although this has not been the case for more than a year now, I have only just been able to allow myself time in the mornings in order to relax, in the knowledge that I can now, also work in the afternoon.

It sounds so simple and so stupid, and yet, it has been a real issue for me.

This week, I have, rather than giving myself daily schedules, simply set out the minimum number of hours I wish to spend on each thing (writing, studying, artwork, crafting). I haven’t really looked at whether I am on track or not. I am just simply allowing myself to spend the time working on these things, but the targets being there helps my badly behaved brain to not panic about not achieving enough.

Through this process, I am giving myself permission to have some breathing room, and so far, my productivity has flourished because of it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Self Care

Self Care

A Haiku-ish

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Difficult practice,
But it’s one that must be learned,
If we ever want…

Peace…


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

It’s that time of year again…

It’s that time of year again…

Why we should maybe look at giving ourselves a spiritual and emotional MOT…

by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

We all know that time… the dreaded day when we have to take our car in to the garage for it’s annual MOT. The time when we sit, waiting tensely, desperately hoping that it will pass and not cost us too much.

The thing is, we spend a lot of time worrying about it, and yet, we can go from year to year to year, without even considering giving our minds an MOT. We only ever seem to think about our minds, when something has gone wrong. We only ever really look at how we’re feeling if we actually need to. If you think about it, we actually give more attention to our cars than we do to our own minds.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I brush aside concerns, and chastise myself, insisting that I should be stronger, and that I should be able to hold things together, when, in truth, it is a sign of strength to be able to really look at yourself and assess how you’re dealing with things.

Sometimes, there might be small things that need adjustment; the odd tweak here and there… but sometimes, we might just uncover what could potentially be an unexploded bomb in our minds, which, if caught soon enough, can be safely disarmed without any major upsets.

The key here, is that we must not be afraid to give ourselves this check over. We check our cars, we even check our bodies, booking ourselves in for an annual check up, so why are we so reluctant to check our minds.

This is something that I’m only just beginning to learn, but already, it’s made a huge difference to me. The truth is, we can only put out fires that we know are there, so we really need to be checking for them on a regular basis.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.