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Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Coffee Break With.... Ashley from #ImNotDrunk

This week for our coffee break guest I have the lovely Ashley who blogs at #ImNotDrunk which is a really inspiring and unique blog about Huntington's disease. It really taught me a few things and made me question my assumptions so it would be great if you could read it too. I hope you enjoy it.

Firstly, we cant have a good chat without a cuppa, Do you drink tea or coffee? Biscuit? What's your favourite?

I am slightly odd and do not drink tea or coffee, my boyfriends mother thinks I'm slightly odd and need some help, ill always take some sweet stuff though if you've got some biscuits going.

Your blog is about your dads diagnosis of Huntington's and how this affects him and you as a family. Before I read your blog I am ashamed to say I didn't know much about Huntington's at all can you tell me and my readers a little about it?

Huntington's disease is known as a neurodegenerative disorder, which means Huntington's affects the nervous system and will gradually gets worse over time. Huntington's disease affects the cells of the brain and will continue to cause damage over time, which means the body and mind doesn't work like it should. The main symptoms of Huntington's are involuntary movements, cognitive and behavioural, but not every one gets these, everyone is different and not every one will have the same style of Huntington's. This paragraph can be summed up to this, imagine someone having Parkinson and Alzheimer at the same time, you loose control of your mind and your body.

Ashley's dad before he developed Huntingtons

I first came across your blog on a group of other bloggers and was immediately drawn to have a look as #ImNotDrunk is a very powerful title isn't it. Can you tell my readers a little bit about why you chose this title/hashtag?

In the summer of 2016 my brother and I took my father away for the day, during this day away someone called my father drunk and said it was a disgrace, it was 12 midday! I was mortified and felt so bad for dad, I'm not sure if dad heard the woman. This is nothing new I have had people staring at dad for years and making comments, I went home from our day away and was tired and fed up! I went to facebook for support from friends and family, and to thank people who had been with us for their help and support hat day. At the end of the facebook status I put #imnotdrunk and it just stuck! I cant believe how much it has taken off! So many people comment and like my page and blog its truly overwhelming! 

Why did you decide to start a blog and campaign to raise awareness? Was there one particular incident that led to this?

As I said before, the day away with dad when he was called drunk, gave me the push to start the blog, I also had been thinking about it for sometime because there is very little in Northern Ireland, apart from the charity. When dad was first diagnosed I took to google, there was nothing but scare munger stories, the charity has grown since then and we also have the Huntington's Youth organisation which began in 2009, it provides information and support worldwide. I should have started it sooner to be honest.  The main reason for starting it is to help people going through the same or similar situations, and ensure no child goes through what my brother and I have. When people find out Huntington's is in there family and take to google I hope my pages shows up and lets them know there not alone and itll be ok. 

Ashley's dad more recently

Do you as a family have much support with the diagnosis of Huntington's and the issues it brings?

There is support from the local charity here in Northern Ireland, they have a support worker and support groups through out Northern Ireland, so I attend the Armagh support group with my dad and some friends. 

From dad got his diagnosis the charity have been there and always happy to help, I attend the conference every year where I can build the information I have on Huntington's Disease and also interact with others in the same situation.

As I am now a board member for the charity I have had other opportunities also. The charity provides a lot of support and have helped a lot of people! I am honoured to be on the board and continue to improve what the charity can provide to people dealing with Huntington's. 

When it comes to medical professionals there is very little support, i have sat in more doctor meetings and had to explain the illness, or i have had what i do questioned. Dad will tell the Doctors one thing (pretending everything is ok or down playing major issues) i then have to tell them what really happens day to day, and they tend not to believe me, i don't think they understand the implications Huntington's has on dads mind. As i have always said, if you want to get to know the patient get to know the carer. 

How can people help to spread the word and be more aware of the #imNotDrunk campaign?

Like the facebook page and share any statuses that you think might help people, if you ever hear of anyone in a similar situation let people know about my blog and what im trying to do. People can also purchase a #imotdrunk t-shirt, there are people in Canada, Australia, America and through out the UK with t-shirts. 

Ashley and her dad

Do you feel that raising awareness helps you and your family to cope with the issues you are facing?

This is a tough one to answer, I don't know if it helps my family, but it makes me feel better hoping people wont be going through the same as me blind. When people are experiecing things I may have already been through reading the blog might help them, like a do and dont of dealing with Huntingtons and the emotional strains it can cause. 

If my readers want to read your blog and find out more about #ImNotDrunk how can they do this?

The inspirational Ashley
If you have enjoyed reading this coffee break post please take a look at my other coffee break mini interviews and see what you can find that may interest you. Click here to go to my coffee break section.

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

20 dieting mistakes we've all made

We have all made mistakes in dieting that seemed to make sense at the time but didn't help us at all, here is a light hearted list of 20 for you to giggle at and realise you're not alone! We all make the same sort of mistakes and we laugh about them too so give this a share and see how many friends also recognise themselves in these!

1. I bought something whilst shopping and ate it before I got home - if no one saw it then it doesn't count right?

2. I did a little bit of exercise so I can eat 6 bars of chocolate and a family size bag of crisps! I deserve it!

3. I pinched a bite of the kids food but it doesn't count because I was stopping it being wasted!

4. The bread had todays date on so I had a bit extra because it is better than throwing it away!

5. While the car was being serviced they had a coffee machine, there was no sweetener so I had sugar, it doesn't count though because I needed a coffee or two (or three)!

6. The supermarket had my favourite pastry on reduced to 5p as it was the end of the day, its only 5p so it doesn't matter does it.

7. I had a salad with my burger at the take away so it is ok isn't it, its better than just the burger and fries!

8. I ate out and didn't ask for the salad without dressing but I am sure it will be fat free dressing so wont worry about that.

9. I can't start a diet again today, its the weekend, I will start Monday!

10. Everyone else is having a dessert so I will too, it wont hurt and it would be rude not to!

11. I bought a packet of biscuits because I felt naughty but then I felt guilty so instead of having small bits occasionally I ate the lot so I wouldn't have to keep being tempted!

12. Pepsi, diet Pepsi, what's the difference it wont hurt this once! 

13. If I drink lots of wine and then forget about it tomorrow it wont matter because I wont remember what I drunk!

14. Banoffee Pie has bananas in so it can't be too unhealthy, I will just have it without cream!

15. Raisins and wine are both made from grapes so we will pretend they are healthy!

16. My friend/partner is eating it so I can too, they always have it and are so thin so it can't be too bad!

17. If its healthy when it's home made then its fine just this once from the take away it surely can not possibly be that bad.

18. I didn't plan my meals so I just grabbed a few bits at the shop, I am in a rush so haven't got time to work out what is good for me and what isn't, meal planning isn't important.

19. I am starting my diet tomorrow so I may as well use up all this bad stuff now!

20. It is just a few nibbles on a buffet, I will eat my healthy meal later so this doesn't count!

I hope you all loved reading these and can see yourself in them too and know you are not alone. My son Ben helped me with these offering his suggestions of ones he knows he has done that aren't healthy but he has pretended they are! We all do it don't we, we all try to cheat but the reality is we are only cheating ourselves! Please do share with your groups and friends.

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