Posted in citizenship, Ireland, social justice, Uncategorized

Ireland is My Home – My Story

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Today I wanted to share my memories of growing up in Ireland. The topic of gaining Irish citizenship is something that I have been discussing a lot recently. For those who don’t know, I was not born in Ireland but moved here when I was six years old and have been here ever since (21 years). I have tried to gain Irish citizenship as I see Ireland as my home and I identify as both Irish and Scottish, Scottish by birth but Irish by culture.

Unfortunately, I cannot gain citizenship without paying the huge fee of 1,200 euro, something I just cannot afford and feel is unfair to pay when I came to the country as a child. There are lots of people in Ireland in a similar situation and I am in the process of trying to fight the cost of citizenship for adults who came to the country as children and were raised here. At the end of the day, I feel that people like me prove they are Irish in their upbringing and their day to day lives and not by their ability to pay a a huge fee. To show this, I thought I would share my memories, the good and bad, of being raised in Ireland.

I would really appreciate it if you would sign my petition to support this cause and to join my facebook page and share your story if you are in, or know someone in, a similar situation.



My first memories of Ireland are looking out at the river Shannon from the house we were living in in Ballina, Co. Tipperary. A family friend took my mother, brother and I in when we fled from domestic abuse in Scotland and we lived with him while we got back on our feet. I loved being so close to the water and having ducks sometimes wondering around on the balcony.

I went to the local national school and remember being completely lost when, on my first day, a teacher supervising the school yard said I had to ask her ‘As Gaeilge’ to go the bathroom. I remember being confused by people calling trainers ‘runners’ and their school trousers ‘pants’ but I soon settled in an made friends. I was given the option to be exempt from Irish due to coming to the country late but I chose to give it ago and was soon telling my mother new words I had learned, the first of which being ‘bruscar bruscair’, a term my mother still remembers to this day. I remember having to write down in Irish what the weather was like everyday and on a Monday having to write down as Gaeilge, what we did at the weekend. I was never very good at Irish but I stuck with it and managed to get through secondary school without failing it. Now I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the language with my Spanish partner and am surprised by how much I still remember.

We moved into our first home, across the bridge to Killaloe in Co. Clare and I shared a room with my younger brother. My mother juggled looking after us with working as a housekeeper in a local hotel and doing odd jobs for friends she had made in the town. Looking back, I don’t think I appreciated how the community rallied around us and tried to help when we were struggling. My Mum would starve herself to make sure my brother and I ate but things started to improve and we moved into another place in the town in front of a stud farm. I loved going into the field and trying to make friends with the horses, my favourite being a small brown horse that I called ‘Gypsy’. I spent my days in that field with the horses or running across to my friend’s house across the road. I remember having to cross the bridge (with no footpath at the time) back to Ballina every day in wind, rain, or sunshine to go to school. If we were lucky and my Mum could afford it, we would get a 99 ice-cream cone from the local shop on our way home.

Eventually my Mum met my Godfather which led us to moving to Ennis in Co. Clare. My mother had some trouble getting us into a school as it was still a time in Ireland where divorced parents were looked down upon but, she eventually found us a place. I was nervous starting at a new school, one much bigger than my small school in Ballina, but I settled in as always and made some friends. I started there in second class so as you can imagine, Holy Communions took center stage. My mother decided to have myself and my brother baptized so we wouldn’t feel left out of the festivities and the school/town community. I remember picking out my communion dress from a local shop. I loved the lace and the fact it came with a little white jacket. My Mum went in every week to pay it off little by little until we could take it home. It still hangs in my wardrobe today, a reminder of how hard my Mum worked to get it for me. I was chosen to read one of the Prayers of the Faithful on the big day, something I was very proud of. I remember how packed the cathedral was but how lucky I felt that I got to sit near the front because I was doing a reading. It was a special day for me and family, we really felt part of the community and made a point of trying to go to mass every Sunday during my primary school years.

School had its ups and downs. I loved to learn and was always trying to get more of my teacher’s sparkly reward stickers for my homework journal. I enjoyed playing hurling every Wednesday with the school’s hurling coach and found myself being a decent goal keeper. I was part of the school choir and even got a solo during the choir’s performance at my brother’s communion, something my mother said made her cry. My brother was bullied a lot, being a bit more sensitive than the other boys, and I would run to his defense in the school yard. The principle at the time decided to put down the dreaded yellow lines separating the different years but this rarely stopped me. The bullying would go on for a few years but they eventually left him alone. He soon got into hurling and soccer as well as athletics and became a force to be reckoned with.

Weekends were spent playing outside with the neighbor’s kids or watching Socky and Dustin on the Den. I remember always rushing to watch the Simpsons at 6pm on RTE 2 and hoping it would be a double bill. Pokémon was a firm favourite in the mornings and the whole school became obsessed with collecting the stickers and cards. The next fad was always around the corner, marbles and Yu-gi-oh cards being two that stand out for me.

Before I knew it my confirmation came along and I was back at the front of the church, this time doing the full reading for the presentation of the gifts. I remember being nervous about the two paragraphs that were in Irish, mainly because my teacher wanted me to say the word ‘sliotar’ like ‘shliothar’ and I was struggling the pronunciation. In the end I managed to say it her way. I still have the photo of my family standing with the bishop outside the cathedral and I cringe at the hairstyle I had that I thought was “cool” at the time.

Next it was on to the big wide world of secondary school. I remember when we first moved to Ennis, driving passed St. Flannan’s and thinking it looked liked something from a story book. I pointed to it through the car window and said ‘I want to go there’. It was a boy’s school at the time but luckily they had started to let girls in a few years before I started secondary school so managed to fulfill that little dream of mine. I had kept my love of learning and loved my new school and teachers. Friends came and went as did boyfriends and trends but overall I loved school. I remember the giant, back-breaking school bags, making scoobies key chains and the constant announcements that yet another black sporthouse bag had gone missing. I remember the fear of getting a mark next to your name if you were bad, three marks meaning you got detention. I remember being given out to if you didn’t wear 100% black shoes, if your skirt was rolled up too short or if you wore hoodies in class. I also remember everyone waiting in line at the shop across the road for a chicken roll and eating them at the steps outside the school church.

Being a teenager meant begging to spend Saturday’s in town with my friends, meeting at O’Connell’s statue and usually loitering about at the giant rocks by Dunnes Stores. If it was raining we would all buy a bag of chips so we could sit in the local Supermac’s to keep dry. Saturday’s were taken over by work when I got a job at the local pub/restaurant near my house at 16. I’d buy phone credit and cinema tickets with the money for the weekends I did spend with my friends, or sneakily get pizza delivered for myself and my brother.

I remember around then I went through a tough time in my life and my mental health suffered because of it. I remember the therapist I was referred to saying I was ‘too young to be depressed’ and making me feel more worthless. I remember my first panic attack but not knowing there was a name for it. I remember thinking something was wrong with me and pushing the negativity deep down and replacing it with a suffering smile and the catchphrase ‘I’ll survive’.

Things slowly improved and the dreaded Leaving Cert eventually came by. I did mine the year English Paper 2 was accidentally given out instead of Paper 1. I remember my brother shouting upstairs where I was studying that my exam had been cancelled and thinking it was a joke. It turned out to be true so I had to go in on a Saturday to do the back-up Paper 2 exam. I was just happy that I had an extra half a day to study for maths!

I remember exam weather being in full force through the full two weeks of the exams and the sun beating in on my back as I tried to remember the midpoint formula. I remember the sheer terror of opening the envelope with my results and the joy of passing. I remember getting up at 6am to see my CAO offers and how hard it was to hold in the news while waiting for everyone to wake up. I was finally on my way to becoming a teacher, my career of choice, and I was excited to start this next chapter of my life.

I remember my first day of college, how grown up and independent I felt being out in the world on my own. Moving to Galway with no parents to watch me was freeing and intimidating all at the same time. I wasn’t much of a party goer, much preferring to play games or watch anime with the new friends I had made. I remember us starting our own Anime and Manga convention and feeling like we really achieved something. I remember helping to run the Presidential Award: GAISCE Society and being amazed at the dedication and work people put into achieving the award. I remember living off pasta and praying that my grant money would come in before rent was due and the lines to pick up the cheques when they finally came. I remember avoiding RAG week like the plague and the anger I felt when people said all students were to blame for the destruction that came with it.

It was in college that I first looked into applying for Irish citizenship but, seeing the fee alongside my empty student bank account, it felt hopeless. I remember thinking that there must be some mistake but discovering to to be correct. I remember thinking how unfair it was that I couldn’t be called Irish without paying for the privilege, despite living here almost my entire life.

Soon I had another disappointment that took over. I remember the heartbreak I felt after the government announcement that post-graduate maintenance grants would be taken away. My parents (my Mum and her partner) were both unable to work due to injury and my waitressing job had been lost due to the recession. My dreams, my plans for the future were taken away. All the work I had put into my education was now for nothing, my degree worthless without further study. I remember feeling lost and betrayed and then embarrassed when I had to join the dole queue. I remember how taken advantage of I felt when doing a JobsBridge, working full-time and not having the money to show for it. I wasn’t alone though and that brought a small amount of comfort. Most people my age were in the same position and at least I had a roof over my head.

I remember how bad my mental health was at this point, the depression and anxiety overwhelming me at times. I remember not wanting to ask for help, not wanting to be any more vulnerable than I already was. I remember not being able to go a day without a panic attack and breaking down in front of my doctor who had been waiting for this day to come. I remember the wonderful people at Jigsaw who helped me to keep going and who gave me direction again.

I remember being like everyone else and struggling step by step to get my life back together and how amazing it felt to sign off from the dole. I remember the little spark of hope returning and how tightly I held onto it.

I remember the pride I felt when Ireland, our little country, showed the world the meaning of acceptance, openness and kindness when the gay marriage referendum was passed. I remember crying for those affected by the Cervical Cancer scandal, sypathising with the families affected by the Buncrana pier tragedy, and feeling fear for those living in Dublin when the gang violence led to deaths. Most of all, I remember the 1916 commemoration and celebrating it in Dublin alongside my parent’s wedding. I remember shedding a tear at the speeches given at the Garden of Remembrance and the overwhelming emotion that went through me as I stood in the crowds watching the big screen of the parade through O’Connell Street. I’d never felt so proud of what Ireland fought for, it still brings a tear to my eye as I type this. You could feel the sense of loss and pride in the air and it is a feeling I will never forget.

Now I sit here, writing a brief outline of my memories of living in this beautiful country I call my home and I cant help but feel mixed emotions. I feel pride for my country, in all the difficulties it has faced and overcome and all it has achieved. I feel the happiness in remembering my childhood here and pride for surviving my own personal battles. However, I also feel rejected, hurt and outraged. I have been in Ireland through the good times and the bad. I have stuck by my country through the times it built me up and the times it knocked me down. I stayed though the recession though many others emigrated for better opportunities, I struggled with everyone when times were bad, celebrated our achievements and cried for our failures. Now you tell me that none of that counts, what really counts is a fee you say I should pay for a piece of paper that tells me something I already know: I am Irish.

In my Ireland it is about the community you are part of, your friends and family, your shared memories, your cultural identity, your spirit and your actions that make you Irish. It is also in the small things like debating over Barry’s vs Lyons tea, proudly wearing your Irish rugby jersey, complaining about the weather, saying hello and smiling to people as you pass them, having potatoes with almost every meal and panic buying bread and milk when a storm is due, all our little quirks that make us Irish.

My identity is not something that can be bought. It is a gift that was given to me by all of the people I have met and have influenced me throughout my life. In true Irish fashion, I will not back down, I will fight for what I believe in and I won’t let a government tell me who I am.


Posted in change, depression, Health and Wellbeing, hopeless, mental health, Needs, Psychotherapy, Self-reflection, Uncategorized

10 Myths About Psychotherapy

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Hello everyone and Happy Halloweeeeeen!

I have been discussing my own psychotherapy and how it has been helping me for a little while now but I still notice that a lot of people are afraid to try it for themselves. Though therapy might not be for everyone, a lot of the old misconceptions about it still hang about to this day. I feel that some of these ‘myths’ are the reasons some people don’t want to consider psychotherapy as an option for themselves. Today I hope I can help by debunking some of the myths you might have heard about psychotherapy that might be holding you back from giving it a go!


1. You’ll be lying on a chair, looking up at the ceiling and talking about your mother.

I think a lot of of people picture this image when they think about therapy. It is what we have seen in old movies and read about in old books but in truth, this is not how therapy works these days. This type of therapy is an old version of what is called ‘psychoanalysis’; a type of therapy made popular by the likes of Sigmund Freud. Though you can still find a lot of psychoanalytical therapists around today, most therapists have moved away from this type of therapy or have at least integrated it with other types. Psychoanalysis is seen as the starting point of modern therapy and a lot of therapists that use this method are very good, but they wont make you lie down on a brown leather couch in a mahogany filled office filled with intimidatingly titled books. Though maternal relationships are often discussed in all types of therapy, it certainly doesn’t have to take center stage. No one will try to tell you that you have an Oedipus complex either, unless of course Freud comes back as a ghost this Halloween….




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2. There is only one type of psychotherapy.

One thing I know I didn’t realise before deciding to study in this area is that there are many different types of psychotherapy. We have already skimmed the first type; Psychoanalysis, but there are two other main divisions of therapy: Humanistic and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Humanistic is the more commonly used type of therapy today and has slowly been replacing psychoanalysis. It is what is called a holistic, client/person-centered approach. It generally consists of building a therapeutic client-therapist relationship and allowing the client to realise their own capabilities and creativity. There are many different sub-types of humanistic psychotherapy such as Gestalt Therapy, which focuses on thoughts and emotions in the here and now, and person-centered which is very much about creating a supportive environment for the client to establish their own identity.

CBT is commonly used today for targeting specific behaviors that a client wants to change. It often consists of written exercises like journaling which helps the client to realise certain triggers and patterns that are causing some of the distress in their lives. It is usually used for short term therapy instead of  long-term.

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You can also have Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Body Psychotherapy, Jungian Therapy, Existential Therapy and many, MANY, more. Then you have Integrated Psychotherapy which is a method used a lot today in which a therapist may use a variety of different approaches that they feel may help the client depending on the issues they bring to a session. For example, a humanistic psychotherapist may suggest a CBT exercise to a client if they feel that it may be helpful for them to identify certain triggers for panic attacks.


At the end of the day it is about what feels right for you, so look up some of the different approaches and see if any jump out at you! Then shop around for a therapist who uses that method and see if it is a good fit. If you are a bit overwhelmed about all the different choices then it might help to consult your doctor to see if they have any recommendations. Make sure the therapist you choose has the appropriate accreditation for your country. For Ireland it is best if they are accredited by the IACP, IAHIP or IAPPC. I will leave links to their sites at the end!

3. Your issues aren’t “serious” or “bad” enough for therapy.

You don’t have to have been abused as a child, witness a death, be a victim of domestic violence or rape or anything else you think you need to be “qualified” to see a therapist. You also don’t have to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, clinical depression, psychopathy or any psychological condition to benefit from therapy. If you are feeling sad or down, anxious or scared, but don’t think you have a reason for it, or if you are grieving for something or someone or just struggling with life in general, there is no issue that is “too small” for therapy. If something is affecting you and you can’t seem to get past it psychotherapy may be able to help. I promise you that no good therapist will turn you away for not having a “serious enough issue” or for not being “crazy enough”.

4. You will be asked ‘and how does that make you feel?’ every 5 seconds.

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Yes, therapy is focused on your thoughts and feelings most of the time, but for the most part the therapist doesn’t talk that much! Roughly 90% of the talking in a therapy session comes from the client. In psychoanalysis the therapist usually doesn’t talk at all! Humanistic types of therapy are where therapists will do a bit more of the talking but even then, it is usually just to make an observation or to ask you what is going on in the moment. CBT therapists often only talk to discuss the things that have come up as a result of one of the exercises you have done the previous week, and to help you to notice patterns from it. Therapy is about you so you are the one who does the talking!


5. A therapist will tell you what to do to be happy.

If only it was that simple! Therapists do not have all the answers to our problems. They are there to help us find our own answers because at the end of the day, the only person that can tell you what is best for you is YOU! No-one will ever know you better than yourself, so unless therapists suddenly develop mind-reading powers we have to try and figure it out. They might not be able to give you all the answers but they are there to support you in finding the strength and confidence to make the choices that are best for you.

6. You are paying them huge money to sit in a room and listen to you complain aka to do nothing.

Because of point number 4 this often becomes and issue for people. Therapists don’t give you the golden ticket to life or a book that will tell you how to be happy forever or have a secret potion that will make all your problems go away. So why bother with them? Like I said, therapists are there to support you. Their job is to provide a safe place for you to express what is troubling you in your life and to help you to discover what is holding you back from being happy. They can help you to unlock feelings and thoughts that might be unhealthily buried deep within but are holding you back from having a full life, they can help you to come to terms with a traumatic event or they can just be someone that listens to you when you feel like no-one else will. People go to therapy for many different reasons which is why it is important that you trust the therapeutic process but also speak up if you feel it isn’t helping. Tell your therapist if you feel like it isn’t working, they wont be hurt or insulted. Maybe they need to try a different approach with you or maybe they just aren’t the right fit for you. In that case they will be more than happy to recommend someone else who might be better suited to you.

7. You are just a paycheck to a therapist.

Gregory Reid; prop styling by Renee Flugge

Though therapists obviously need money to pay the bills and fund their own life, don’t think that they see you as a just a quick buck. Most people (remember, they are people too!) who become therapists have done so because they want to help people, or have had to have therapy themselves and want to give back. They have been trained to leave their work in the workplace just like everyone else but trust me, they will think about you and your situation sometimes outside of work. Therapists are human beings and they have been successful in their career because they are good at feeling empathy towards others. They may be holding a straight face in a session but sometimes what you say will really emotionally affect them. It is however, their job to be their for you and not the other way around  so they just wont show how much it affects them in front of you. That is for their own therapist to deal with!

8. They will just try to fill you with drugs.

Psychotherapists are not medically trained so they are not qualified to give you any sort of medication. They can of course recommend discussing the idea of medication with your GP or psychiatrist (if you have one) but they are there to listen, not to dose you up. Medication can be very helpful in some situations and can actually allow you to get the most out of therapy. It might be worth chatting to your GP about it but as for your psychotherapist they won’t be prescribing anything but mindfulness, exercise and self-care!

9. You will feel better straight away.

Unfortunately this is not usually the case. You will have some sessions where you come out feeling amazing but other sessions you will feel worse than when you went in. For those just starting therapy, this is’t very motivating to go back, which is understandable; why pay to go somewhere where you leave crying your eyes out? Therapy can bring out some very deep rooted emotions and issues that you could have been unknowingly carrying around for a long time. Uprooting these emotions can be painful and make you feel worse at the start but by exploring them you can begin to properly heal by accepting these feelings. Therapy is not easy but I advise you to stick with it! If you really feel that you are just getting worse instead of better, discuss this with your therapist and doctor and see if they can help to make the process more easy for you.

10. Therapists have it all figured out.

Though therapists are trained in how to help people cope with all the things life throws at them, that does not mean they are happy, content and fulfilled 100% of the time. It can be hard to practice what you preach so don’t think that your therapist’s life is perfect. They have their own issues too and could also be seeing a therapist! They just generally won’t disclose any personal issues to you because it is seen as bad practice and they are there to support you, not the other way around!


I hope this little myth-busting blog has been helpful to calm some people’s fears around the idea of going to s psychotherapist. It can be a scary decision to make but for some it can be completely life changing!

I hope you all have a fun, safe Halloween! Try not to eat too many sweets!


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Posted in depression, Health and Wellbeing, hopeless, mental health, Needs, Psychotherapy, Relationships, Self-reflection, Uncategorized

Tainted Happiness

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Happy October everyone! Today’s blog is going to be about something that has been annoying me about myself for the last week or two. I think a lot of people can go through something similar from time to time so I hope some of you can relate to it.

Have you ever had one of those blessed times in your life where everything seems to be going your way? Your career is going in the right direction, your surrounded by friends and family that love and care about you and you’re in an honest and loving relationship with a partner that supports you? A lot of us spend countless days wishing to be in this exact situation. Sure, maybe not everything is 100% perfect, but for the most part we are happy and fulfilled with our life in moments like these.

I am lucky enough to be in a moment like this in my life right now. I start my masters in psychotherapy in just over a week; a career step I have been wanting to take for years. I live in a house with my brother and friends who care about me and get on well together (for the most part!). I’m being more social and seeing more people I like to spend time with, and I have been in a relationship for about a month now with a wonderful guy that is very loving and supportive and who I can be totally honest with. To a lot of people I am living the dream.

So why am I terrified?

Sometimes there is a little voice at the back of my head that reminds me that all of this could fall apart at any moment. I might not be smart enough for my masters. Everyone in the house could start fighting or decide I don’t belong there. My depression could hit and ruin any motivation I have to be social. My boyfriend could suddenly get bored of me and leave. I have spent so long wanting all of the things that I now have but I’m constantly anxious about trying to make sure that I get to keep them. After all the time and work I have put into myself over the last few years to try and find what makes me happy, I’m still not allowing myself to be happy because I’m afraid of losing it all now that I have it.

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It is frustrating to watch myself be like this. I feel I should be able to sit back and enjoy what I have, but instead I’m living in constant fear. Why I am doing this? Why am I waiting for it to all fall apart instead of enjoying it while I have it? Am I that ungrateful? Is it just impossible for me to happy? Some of the answers came in the form of my most recent therapy session.

I have had issues with rejection and abandonment for many years. It is something I’m aware of but didn’t realise just how badly these issues can affect me in my daily life. While having another talk about my needs (see my previous blog post about ‘Needs’ here for some context) it hit me that I won’t accept the happiness in my life because I am in a constant state of anticipating rejection. I can’t ask other people for some of my needs to be met because I feel like I don’t deserve to ask that of anyone. Then, when people are trying to meet my needs without me even asking by giving me things such as love and support, I can’t truly accept it because I expect it to be taken away. So what do I do? I reject them and myself before they have the chance to reject me. I tell myself (sometimes without realising it) that what they are trying to give me is temporary and that I shouldn’t get used to it. I reject the idea that they want to give me these things simply because they want to, and don’t have any intention of taking it away. I reject the idea that I am deserving enough for them to want to do that for me.

Though it is not impossible for the things going well in my life to suddenly go wrong, I will never truly be able to be happy if I live in constant fear of this small possibility. I am spending all of my energy focusing on something that may never happen. How long am I going to allow myself to stand around anticipating the worst case scenario instead of enjoying the happy scenario that I’m already in? They say that worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. I can’t see the future so why am I trying to? I can see what is happening right now, so I should be focusing on something I can do, instead of something I can’t.

Happiness shouldn’t be scary, it should be happy. Happiness is happy, it is me that is tainting it with fear. I think it is time to get out of the rocking chair…..


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Posted in change, depression, Health and Wellbeing, mental health, Needs, Psychotherapy, Self-reflection, Uncategorized

The “Nice Girl” Problem

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A lot of people think that when you go to therapy all you do is sit there and complain about your life, how horrible it was or is, and your therapist will tell you how to fix it. Unfortunately that is not the case. Psychotherapy is a journey you and your therapist take together. Only you have the map to go where you want to go, but the therapist can help you to understand the map when you are struggling to read it.

Sometimes therapy can bring something to light that makes your entire belief system quiver. It can challenge your morals and question the way you think. I personally find that one of the hardest things to get through is questioning something about your personality that you always thought was a good thing. Now that doesn’t mean that this good thing isn’t good, (or that it is actually bad) but maybe it’s not as good as you once thought. I had one of these moments in therapy recently so I thought I would share it with you to show a side of therapy that maybe you haven’t experienced before.

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I see myself as a nice person. Generally most people will say they same, especially when I meet new people. Just this weekend I was told by a new acquaintance that I’m a ‘really nice, lovely girl’. I went through a period in my early 20’s where I was surrounded by friends that would gossip behind each others back. I was also very guilty of this and decided I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I decided to distance myself from these people for my own well being, not that they were awful people, just not the people I needed around me at that time. Ever since I have been especially careful to be nice to people and not gossip or say mean things behind anyone’s back.

Overall being nice to people is a great thing. Trying to see things from their point of view and not judging them is an excellent skill to have and I pride myself on being a nice, understanding person. However, sometimes I can take this too far. It was pointed out to me in therapy that though being like this is wonderful, sometimes it makes us push down our actual feelings about people.

Recently I have had a very strong feeling of disgust towards someone. I would tell myself that I was being mean and horrible for feeling this way about the person. They didn’t deserve such a strong feeling from me, they aren’t a bad person and I was being a less than nice person for feeling this way. I should be more understanding of this person and not judge them so much for the bad choices (in my opinion) they are making. I told my therapist about this and she was delighted that I had brought a negative feeling about someone to the session. She had asked me in previous sessions where “dark Valerie” is, as even when I tell her something negative someone may have done that hurt me/affected me in some way, I always had a justification of why they aren’t bad people. I will always try to explain that they are great people and though they may have done this one bad thing they have done these twenty good things or had these thirty bad things happen to them that made them do this one bad thing to me. I always have to justify why I shouldn’t feel anything negative towards people.

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It doesn’t have to be someone close to me, I do this almost every time I have a negative thought or feeling about someone. I could be walking down the street and see a girl wearing an outfit that I immediately think is hideous. Instead of just letting myself have that thought and carrying on with my day I will start to justify them and berate myself. I will think things like ‘but she might really like the outfit and feel really confident and pretty in it. I’m no fashion expert so who am I to say her outfit is awful? I shouldn’t be so quick to judge something like that, I need to stop doing that‘.

It is a good thing to try understand things from all sides, don’t get me wrong, but by trying to justify why this person doesn’t deserve my negative feeling towards them, I am in turn rejecting my own feelings. I am telling myself that having a negative feeling towards someone is not allowed, that it makes me a bad person, that it means I’m not a “nice girl”. In truth it doesn’t. We all have negative feelings or thoughts towards people at some stage and that is ok. These feelings are just as legitimate as positive feelings and shouldn’t be ignored. Feeling disgust for someone doesn’t make me a bad person. I’m not going around screaming at this person that they are disgusting or lazy just like I’m not chasing the girl down the street to tell her that her outfit is hideous. I’m not hurting their feelings by allowing myself to feel negatively about them.

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When first confronted by the idea that I’m justifying my negative feelings away I felt quite frustrated. I felt like I was being accused of being a fake, that I wasn’t actually a nice girl, I was just pretending to be. The more I think about it though the more I know that it’s not true. I still find  it hard to wrap my head around the fact that thinking/feeling negatively about someone doesn’t equate to me being mean to them. To be honest I am still finding it hard to separate the two. My ability to understand where people might be coming from and seeing their point of view is one of the biggest things I take pride in. One of the ways this understanding manifests is my constant justification of other people’s actions. I need to work on finding the balance between being an understanding person or “nice girl” and allowing myself to feel negative emotions and have negative thoughts without the immediate need to justify them away and berating myself for having them. 

I hope this little story gave you something to think about. I am constantly reminded how amazingly complex our minds are and how good we are at finding ways to make us feel bad about ourselves. Remember to be kind to yourself and not just to others!


Until next time!



Posted in depression, Health and Wellbeing, hopeless, mental health, Suicide, Uncategorized

Darkness Into Light

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Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about an amazing event that I and thousands of others are taking part in on the 12th of May 2018. Darkness Into Light is a fundraising walk that takes place every year to promote suicide awareness and raise much needed funds for Pieta House, a charity that provides free supports for people who are contemplating suicide, have attempted suicide or have engaged in self harm. If you would like more information about this wonderful organisation or the Darkness Into Light events being held around the world, I will leave the links to their websites below.

Pieta House:

Darkness Into Light:

If you are familiar with my blog you will know that I am very passionate about promoting mental health awareness, so it is a privilege to be able to participate in such

Image result for together in darknessan amazing event. To put things in perspective, Ireland is currently ranked 4th in the world for suicide rates among young men aged 18-24 (, and Galway City was the 7th highest ranked area  in Ireland for female suicides between 2014-2016 (Central Statistics Office). In 2016 alone, there were 399 confirmed suicides in Ireland. Those were 399 human lives tragically cut short. 399 families who lost someone they loved. 399 people who the world didn’t get to help. 399 futures lost. For most of us, even 1 is too many.

Darkness Into Light is one of the small ways we can help to raise awareness, show our support and try to save lives. If you would like to help too but can’t take part in the walk yourself, I would appreciate it if you could sponsor my walk by donating whatever you can to Pieta House via the link here. Every cent counts and your donation will go towards saving lives and preventing suicide.

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Depression, self harm and suicide can affect anyone at anytime. It could be yourself, a friend, a colleague or even a family member, so please do what you can to keep services like Pieta House available to those who need it.

If you suffer from depression or have thought about harming yourself, I have left some links below with information that can help you. You are not alone and help is out there. Please reach out to services like Pieta House, they care about you and will do everything they can to help you.


Thank you in advance to everyone who donates, takes part, or just generally supports services like Pieta House. Slowly, we are all working towards a world without suicide.

I hope you all enjoy your bank holiday weekend! Please don’t forget to donate by following the link below!

Link to my Darkness Into Light fundraising page:


Services if you are contemplating suicide or self harm:



Posted in depression, Health and Wellbeing, Needs, Uncategorized

8 Things I Do To Spring Clean My Body

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No, I’m not talking about intensely scrubbing myself down in the shower!

I’m talking about a few things I have been doing recently to help boost my body internally. I always find that I feel a lot better within myself when I’m eating food that is good for me and treating my body well. I very much believe in the saying ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’ so I wanted to share some of the things I do to try and have a healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy!

1. Try to get at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.

I’m not a believer in crash diets or juice cleanses. I think that just eating the right foods is enough to lose weight (if that is your aim) or to help your body to stay healthy. A big part of this is making sure you get your daily intake of fruit and veg. It is easier than you think to sneak in fruit and vegetables to your daily routine. I love taking chopped carrot and cucumber to work as a snack to munch on during my tea break. Recently though I have been making an easy, healthy breakfast smoothie that I have fallen in love with. I’ll leave the recipe below!

Breakfast Smoothie Recipe (1 serving)

1 large ripe banana

1 ripe pear

1 generous handful of spinach (fresh or frozen)

2 teaspoons of hemp protein powder

1-1 1/2 glasses of water

2. Turmeric Shots

If you are like me and get bloated easily, finding something natural to help aid in digestion can make you feel a lot better. I try to start the morning with my anti-bloating immunity shot. This thing packs a punch and is not meant to taste good! If you haven’t tried a turmeric shot before beware that your bowl movements can be affected for the first few days while your body gets used to it. I will leave my recipe for it below but there are loads online. Simply heat the water, add the ingredients and let them blend together. Once cool you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

Turmeric Shot

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1 tablespoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 table spoon of honey

Juice of 1 orange

1/4 of a cup of apple cider vinegar

4 cups of filtered water


3. Drinking lots of water

This is one you hear all the time but it really does make you feel better. It helps to clear up my troublesome skin and I’m less hungry because I’m properly hydrated. If you think water tastes too plain try to add some lemon, lime, cucumbers, berries, whatever you like to give your water some added flavor.

4. Cutting out the added sugar

My skin is very reactive to sugar. If I eat too much added sugar I will break out almost immediately, not to mention I will feel sluggish after the sugar high. It is not easy to stay away from added sugar. Alcohol, fizzy drinks, sauces, salad dressings, sweets, yogurts, takeaways, they all have  a lot of hidden sugars in them! Every so often I try to go a full week (or more) with no added sugars just to give my body a bit of a break. Fruit can be a life saver for sugar cravings!

5. Cutting out the caffeine

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I’ve never been a crazy caffeine addict but I do enjoy my two cups of coffee a day and I am a big fan of green tea. When I do my week or two of cutting out added sugar I also cut all caffeine out of my diet. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of caffeine they drink can be harming them, and that is before you take into account extras like whipped cream, sugar and syrups. The equivalent of three cups of coffee is the recommended maximum amount of caffeine you should have per day. If you can’t cut it out, at least try to reduce the amount you consume. Remember, caffeine isn’t just in coffee! It is in regular tea, green tea, energy drinks and a lot of fizzy drinks.

6. Exercise 

This is by far the hardest thing for me. I can be quite lazy and unmotivated to do intense exercise so I at least try to get in a long walk or two during the day. Try not to sit or lie down for longer than an hour. Even if you get up and stretch every hour it will help. Maybe throw in some jumping jacks!

7. Yoga

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This is a new thing I have just started. The type I am doing is more meditative and stretching based which is why I didn’t put it under exercise. It is an hour and a half of pure me time that is also great for my body and mind. I always feel great after it and my body gets a good stretching out which feels amazing afterwards. I also find that I have a good nights sleep after it too!

8. Less stress more sleep!

Stress can harm you in so many ways, mind and body. Personally my anxiety isn’t great in times of stress and my neck, shoulders and lower back become tense and painful. I try my best to stay away from stressful situations or at least try to tackle them as best as I can when they can’t be avoided. Stress often affects our sleep which can put a lot of pressure on our bodies to perform without proper rest. So try to stay away from stress and get your 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Being well rested can make a huge difference!

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So those are some of the things I have been doing to try and keep myself healthy. Most of them are ones you hear all the time so I would be interested in any ideas you have for me to try!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Posted in depression, Needs, Psychotherapy

10 Things That Help My Depression

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Hello everyone, I hope you enjoyed your Easter! Sorry I have been absent but I was off work for two weeks and wanted to try and spend the time relaxing.

So we can all agree that depression is the worst but I am always really interested to hear the things that people find helps them cope with it. As much as I find reading studies about the topic and what statistically has been found to help useful, I love hearing the different things the actual people suffering from depression do to help them feel better. Not only does it give me ideas for things to try but it also reminds me that there are things that help and that I will feel better.

So today I thought I would share 10 things that help me with my depression. Hopefully it will give you some things to try, though some of them I’m sure you have heard before and are sick of hearing about!

1. Exercise

Ok, so I know you have probably heard this one a lot. I know when my doctors and therapists have said this in the past I was like ‘Yeah sure it does, you just want me to be healthy and blah blah blah‘ but it honestly does work. It helps you to feel a sense of achievement and releases those happy hormones we so desperately need. When your mood is very low it can be really hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed, never mind getting yourself to the gym or out for a walk. I have gone weeks, even months finding excuses not to exercise when my depression was bad. It helps to start small. Try going for a short walk in the fresh air and work your way up. The more you do the more you will find your motivation return and your mood improve.

2. Clean and Organized Surroundings

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It can be hard to quiet your mind when your surroundings are messy and unorganized. I am a bit of a clean freak and I find that I feel better when my apartment (especially my bedroom) is clean and clutter free. I’m not saying you have to get a toothbrush and scrub every inch of your house, but simply making your bed can make your space feel more organized. The actual task of tidying up can also be a good distraction from negative thoughts and like the exercise, gives you a sense of achievement.

3. A Good Shower/Bath

If I picture myself when my depression is bad, the image I see is of me in bed, in my pajamas, surrounded by takeaway not moving until work forces me to. I feel sweaty and disgusting and hate myself for ordering pizza when I have good food in the fridge. I find a good shower not only re-energizes me, but helps me to “wash away” the depression. I clean myself up, brush my very tangled bed head hair, put on clean clothes and feel ready to try tackle the world again.

4. My Evening Routine 

When I feel anxious or not very happy with myself I do two very simple things in the evening that help to calm me down. I light my lemon and lavender candle and drink chamomile (or any non-caffeinated) tea. I owe this to my Mum who gave me the idea and still tells me to ‘go light your candle and make yourself some sleepy tea (as she calls it)’ when she calls.

5. Calling My Mum

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When I’m feeling down, sometimes just calling my Mum and hearing her voice makes me feel better. I don’t always tell her I’m feeling down as I don’t want to worry her, but just listening to her talk about her day and the news from where she lives in enough to take my mind off of things.


6. Mindfulness

I’m not always in the mood for it but I do find taking 10 minutes out to breathe and relax can help refocus my mind. I do a weekly mindfulness session at work and have the head space app on my phone for when I need it. Any sort of guided meditation can be helpful when trying to quiet out all the negativity in my head.

7. Psychotherapy

So it is no secret that I am a big advocate for psychotherapy. I see my therapist every couple of weeks to talk through whatever I want to talk about in that session. I will say that sometimes, depending on the topic, my depression may worsen afterwards as issues rise to the surface. I believe that sometimes you have to get worse to get better.

8. Medication

This is one thing I wish I didn’t have to do but know that I need to do. I was very reluctant to go on medication as I always thought it would make me numb or turn me into a zombie. I was glad to learn it isn’t like that in the slightest. All it does is help me to level my mood so I can focus on working though my issues as best as I can. It isn’t for everyone but if you are struggling, I suggest talking about your options with your doctor.

9. Being Near Water

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Whether it be the beach, a pond or a river, being next to water seems to help me for some reason. I like to listen to the waves, the water hitting the rocks or the movement of water flowing in a river. The sound really soothes me and I always find myself drawn to water when my mood is low. Try reconnecting with nature in some way like going to the beach, walking in the woods or just watching the neighborhood birds.

10. Asking Myself Why I’m Depressed and Accepting My Feelings. 

When I say this I don’t mean saying something like ‘What have you got to be depressed about?‘ or ‘You are being stupid, you have nothing to be sad about‘. I’m talking about trying to find out what triggered your low mood. I gently ask myself ‘What is wrong?’ or ‘Do you know why you feel low right now?’. Sometimes I don’t have an answer and that is ok too. A lot of the time you can’t figure out what made you depressed that day so don’t beat yourself up if you cant work it out. Just accept what you are feeling and let yourself feel it. Even though you don’t want to feel this way, sometimes just accepting yourself and your feelings is enough. Cry if you feel like crying, scream if you feel like screaming. It takes a lot more energy to keep the feeling in than to let it out.

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Those are some of the things I do to try and help me cope with my depression. I would be really interested in some of the things you do or someone you know does. It is always good to share ideas!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!


Posted in depression, hopeless, Psychotherapy, Relationships, Self-reflection


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Happy Tuesday everyone! The sun has started shining once more and the temperatures are slowly beginning to rise. I am cautiously optimistic that Spring might finally be showing up!

Today I’m going to do a bit of reflection about something I have learned about myself recently. I would be interested in people’s thoughts about it if you would like to share them. So here it goes….

I was at therapy on Thursday and a topic that comes up a lot whether you are studying some form of therapy, or if you are in therapy yourself, is the idea of ‘needs’. When you think of what you need your mind may jump to the things our body needs to live such as food and water, or maybe you will think of things you want such as love or family or even material things like a house and money. Sometimes it is hard to decipher between a need or a want or to realise that what we want can actually be a need.

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I have come learn that I myself don’t like the term ‘need’ when it comes to my own needs. I care a lot about the needs of others and like to give them what they need, but turn that around and I hate the idea of ‘needing’ something from someone else. I don’t like relying on other people because I have it ingrained into my brain that they will just let me down. It is easy to come to this assumption when you have been hurt or disappointed by others in the past, but it dangerous when this assumption becomes fact to your brain. Asking for help, asking for the things that you need from someone else can become terrifying or just something you think is pointless. It can make you isolated and fearful of forming a relationship with others, not wanting them to get close enough to let you down.

Not only do I not like to ‘need’ things from others, but I also often don’t know what my needs are. My therapist often asks me ‘What do you need right now?’. Nine times out of ten I have no idea. My needs don’t enter my head. I could tell you what my brother needs or my mother or my stepdad, or my friends, but I have no idea what I need, because I don’t see my needs as important. You may think that makes me a selfless person which it doesn’t. I have selfish wants all the time, but not needs.

Not acknowledging my needs is a behavior I have picked up over time. I don’t blame anyone else for this behavior but I can see where it started and how  it continued to the point that I no longer see what I need. I need food, water, money to pay rent and bills, basic things to survive, I can acknowledge those things. Anything else like emotional needs are lost to me for now.

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Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs from

To come to this realisation was quite painful in a way. To acknowledge that I don’t think enough of myself to know what my needs are seems very sad to me. I suppose it gave me a sense of hopelessness. If I do not know what I need to be happy then how can I ever achieve happiness? That is when I found my first and second need. I need to accept I have needs and that they are important. I need to find out what those needs are.

I think it is a good thing to sit down every now and then and ask ourselves what we need. Even if it isn’t obvious straight away, it is a good habit to think about it until we come up with an answer. To fulfill our needs is one of the basic steps we take to achieve happiness, but taking those steps are so important.

I think it will take me a while to dig down into myself and discover what my needs are. I think it will take even longer to accept that I may need other people to help me fulfill some of those needs. For now I am happy that I have taken the first few steps towards figuring it all out.

I guess what I wanted people to take from this week’s blog is that it is ok to need. It is a normal part of life and your needs are just as important as everyone else’s.  It can be hard to see that sometimes but you are much better off acknowledging your needs so you can do something about them, than to hide them away and let them build up. If we are to help the people we care about with their needs then we must make sure we are taking care of ourselves first.

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I hope my little self-reflection gave you a little something to think about over the next few days.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and take care of yourself!






Posted in Psychotherapy

Our Fear of Freedom

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

I hope everyone being affected by the cold, snowy weather is keeping safe today. I am lucky to just be getting a few bouts of snow, enough to have that childlike wonder and excitement, but not enough to have the adult fear of the consequences of the weather.

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I have been getting back into reading recently and found myself finally picking up Irvin D. Yalom’s Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy. I have been thoroughly enjoying it and have found myself looking into his theories of existential psychotherapy. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to the individual’s confrontation with the “givens” of existence’ (Yalom 1980). According to Yalom, these “givens” are the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation and meaninglessness. 

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That might all sound like complete gibberish to anyone who doesn’t have an interest in psychotherapy, but I wanted to talk about one aspect of it that I find particularly interesting. The fear of freedom and responsibility is something I think should be talked about more in society as many don’t realise that it is a fear that we all share. We may think we crave freedom, and on some level we do, but it is also a huge fear in our lives because of the responsibility that comes with it.

Have you ever noticed how often we start a sentence with ‘I have to’? I have to do the dishes, I have to go to work, I have to take the kids to school. These statements often end with ‘I have no choice’, but that is where we are wrong. We always have a choice. Yes, if we want money to pay bills we can go to work and earn money, but we don’t have to. We make that choice to go to work to earn money and pay our bills. We make the choice to find employment, to rent or buy a home, to have electricity and internet, to have children, to get married. These are all choices. Now you may say that you don’t have a choice, that if you don’t work you will become homeless and freeze to death. That is a possibility, but you are choosing the other option, the choice of not being homeless when you have the means to achieve an alternative, is still a choice.

We tell ourselves all the time that we don’t have a choice. ‘Oh I’d love to change jobs but I have to put a roof over my kids head so I can’t, I don’t have a choice’. ‘I want to leave my husband but I have no money so I don’t have a choice, I have to stay with him’. ‘I want to move to America but I can’t leave my parents so I have no other choice but to stay’. We all say that the choice, the freedom to choose is out of our own control but it’s not. We shift this responsibility to someone else, or even to the universe itself, because we are afraid of the responsibility for our own lives, our own choices. We want freedom but we are afraid of it because with freedom comes the realisation that we are responsible for our own lives, no one else. No one is forcing us to make the choices we make but we are too afraid to acknowledge this.

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It is a very tough thing to accept, this responsibility for ourselves. We love to blame other people for our circumstances, to shift the responsibility so we feel that it isn’t our fault. You may argue that there are some people who have their choices taken away. You may say for example, what about people who are born into a society that will kill them for being gay? They have no choice but to hide their true selves for fear of their lives. Though that is indeed a cruel and horrible situation, that person still has choices. They can choose to be open about their sexuality and face the consequence, in this case death. They can choose to hide their sexuality and conform to the social norm to avoid death. In many tough and horrendous situations the options are often not good, but they are still options. The choices are still there and the only person who can make that choice for us is us. We fight against this fact of life, against the responsibility for ourselves, to soothe our anxiety over our responsibility for our circumstances.

No one, not even Yalom himself, can truly and fully accept this fact 100% of the time. It is in our nature to deny it, but taking responsibility for the choices we have made and accepting that our circumstances have come from those choices, can be very healing. We all make mistakes, we may think that the choices we have made in the past were not the right ones, but we made them and here we are.

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Accepting our freedom does not mean judging ourselves or critizising ourselves, it means accepting ourselves and our past choices, the good ones and the bad ones. It means accepting where we are now and trying our best to take responsibility for ourselves going forward. It is a difficult thing to do but I think we would all gain a lot by trying it. The only person that can make me happy is me. The only person that can make you happy is you. There is freedom in that responsibility, we just have to choose to accept it.

I hope that wasn’t too deep and head wrecking for you all! Let me know what you think of this topic, I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on it!

Enjoy making snowmen and drinking hot chocolate in the snow!


Posted in Relationships

10 Reasons I Find Online Dating Annoying

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Happy Valentine’s/Singles Awareness Day!

I hope you are all having a great week whether you are loved up in a relationship or, like me, being thankful for being single so you don’t have to rush around trying to shop for heart-themed gifts. In the spirit of the day I thought I would talk about the modern worlds take on dating. So grab some chocolate and be prepared for a bit of a rant!

So with the internet’s successful attempt at world domination, it is no surprise that almost everything we do these days requires us to go online. Though I have previously approved of my newfound ruler due to my love of social media, there is one aspect of this age of technology I find myself struggling to adapt to; online dating.

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I took a break from the dating scene about a year ago for the whole self growth and learning to be happy by myself thing. Though I was on dating sites during that time I wouldn’t say I was actively seeking a relationship and so wasn’t really using them properly. I have been wrestling with the idea of maybe trying to pursue a romantic relationship in 2018, but, the world of online dating is making me consider just becoming a crazy cat lady instead. These days dating apps seem to be the only way to meet a romantic interest. Long gone are the days of a person walking up to someone that they like the look of and starting up a conversation.

I was brought up during a time when online dating was seen as a desperate attempt for middle aged women to find a man, men to have casual sex behind their wives backs, and a way for scammers to trick people into giving them their life savings (thanks Dr. Phil). Though these may be unfair stereotypes, it was what I was brought up believing, so you can forgive me for feeling a bit nervous when the likes of Tinder, eHarmony and OkCupid started to come on the scene. I have been a serial “relationshiper” since my primary school days, when I would date boys and MAYBE hold hands with them if they were lucky. Casual dating has never really appealed to me, so I was very reluctant to go on these dating apps as I thought the majority of people who used them were looking for casual hook ups.  Though that may be true depending on what site you use, I found I was mostly able to sort through those looking for sex and those looking for something a bit more. Needless to say I appreciated sites like Plenty of Fish where you could actually state what type of relationship you are looking for.

I wouldn’t call myself an online dating expert by any means, but I think I have enough experience using these sites to know that I am not a fan online dating. Though I have accepted that I will probably have to keep using these blasted sites, I have also accepted that I will probably never like the experience (though it isn’t really the sites fault, more the process of using it). So here are the ’10 Reasons I Find Online Dating Annoying’

1. Using them makes me feel shallow.

With the way most dating sites are set up, it is very hard not to judge someone completely on their appearance. I know there are probably a load of nice guys with great personalities that I’m swiping no to, simply because I am not instantly attracted to them by the one or two photos they have put up. I could be passing up on a great person because their selfie skills are sub-par!

2. The “Popular” People.

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Image from the movie Mean Girls

This is something I know annoys other people. Your main photo should be of JUST YOU. I don’t have time to spend an extra five minutes trying to figure out which person you are amongst a group of 20 GAA players, or a group photo of you and your 10 closest pals who all look weirdly the same. You have friends, awesome! Throw in a pic of you and your mates as well as some solo pics and I’m sure I’ll be impressed at your social skills, instead of frustrated trying to figure out who I’m talking to.

3. The ‘Lone Photo’ People.

Everyone has that one photo that they think they look a million bucks in. Maybe you are right and you should definitely include it in your profile but don’t let it be your only photo. Sure, I’m guilty of putting up a few photos with a few filters on them but I always make sure to have at least one photo of me as my usual not filtered self, so you have an idea of what you’re actually getting. First dates are awkward enough without showing up and realising your date’s profile photo was probably taken 5 years ago and they have shaved their head and grown a beard down to their knees in the meantime.

4. The people who don’t fill out their bio/profile.

Look, I’m not expecting you to give me your life story but please show some signs that you have a personality! The only thing saving me from my first complaint is the opportunity to read a bit about you. Don’t just put your snapchat ID (I will assume you are looking to send dick pics and want “sexy” pics back) or a one liner that says something along the lines of ‘just ask!’ or ‘not sure what to put here’. I’ll let you in on a secret….NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO PUT THERE. Just show you put in a little effort and tell me a bit about what you do and what you are interested in. I am waaaaaay more likely to message you if I can talk about something I found interesting on your bio/profile.

5. The Posers.

Yes you have a nice body, maybe even a six pack, good for you. This doesn’t mean your profile pics should just be photos of you half naked and trying to attempt the “smoulder look”. Now if you are just looking for a hook up sure, go right ahead, but if you want something else then put a shirt on, this is not a Twilight film and you are not Taylor Lautner. If I see this I automatically assume you are just looking for something casual.  Being happy in your own skin is a great but maybe show it off in another format….

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Image of Taylor Lautner from the film Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

6. The ‘Hi/Hey’ People.

So you want to send someone a message, great! I know it takes a lot of courage sometimes to message someone you are attracted to. Your courage will go to waste 9/10 times if all you send is ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’. ‘Hi how are you?’ is slightly better but still not great. Most of the girls I have talked to about this will get at least ten ‘Hi’s’ in a day. Unless we are really attracted to you we are most likely going to ignore it. No effort has been put in. If we have filled out our profile (and shame on us if we haven’t) pick something you find interesting and find a way to work it into your first message. Even something as simple as someone mentioning on their profile that they like rugby, you could say: ‘Hey I really liked your profile, what rugby team do you support?’ or if they mention they like movies you could say ‘Hi I see you like movies, what are your top five? Seen any good ones recently?’ BAM a conversation has begun!

7. Dick Pics EVERYWHERE!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Put it back in your pants.

8. The Rules of the Game.

Don’t reply straight away, talk for a while then disappear for days, only reply as quickly as they reply, don’t let them know you are really interested, since when does dating have so many rules! Ghosting, fishing, whatever you want to call it, it is so annoying! I never liked the fact that some people treat dating like a game, but with the introduction of online dating it seems to have gotten even worse. If you are busy just say so! If you are attracted to the person, tell them! If you want to reply, just reply! I’m all for a bit of a chasing but come on. In my opinion, honesty is the best policy when it comes to relationships so starting one off by abiding by all these rules is a waste of time and silly!

9. The First Date.

Why First Dates & Marketing Are A Lot Alike, Betsy Kent, Be Visible
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As far as I’m aware, no one likes first dates. They are nerve wracking and awkward and can often become a disaster. If you are one of the lucky ones, sparks will fly and it will lead to a second date. A mediocre result is that the date was nice but you didn’t find yourself attracted to the person so you awkwardly part ways and wish each other the best of luck (and maybe make the false promise that you will stay friends). One of the worst outcomes is of course you land up on a date with a psycho but that is a whole other blog. No matter what outcome you get, that first 15-20 minutes can be brutal. The worst part of getting result 2 or 3 is that you know you will have to go through it all over again…….

10. The people who say ‘you are too picky’.

Yes there are lads and ladies out there that have impossible standards when it comes to online dating, but I really don’t think I’m one of them. I have four main things on my checklist for a potential match:


  1. I have to be somewhat physically attracted to them.
  2. We have to have a few things in common.
  3. They have to have a job or be in fulltime education.
  4. They have to want a relationship.


To be honest I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Some might judge me for the third one but I think it is a reasonable request for people in my age group (25-35). As for the others, there is no point in wasting both of our time if I’m not going to be physically attracted to you. If I get on well with someone and am not 100% sure if I’m attracted to them, I’ll at least go on the first date to check as sometimes you need to meet the person to really know.  I think the others are pretty self explanatory.

So those are the things that annoy me about online dating. Do you agree? What annoys you about online dating? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know!