Tuesday, 22 August 2017

SLEEP PARALYSIS - Awake In A Nightmare

I'm a Christian - this has some relevance with the post that you will see further down. It's also relevant that for me being a Christian took a long time of sitting on a fence, needing proof that Jesus existed, as in my mind I reason there is a scientific explanation for everything. So when around 9 years ago I started seeing and feeling a dark presence in my room, whilst awake hearing voices and feeling someone breathing and crushing me, I put it down to watching films, the moon causing shadows and well frankly any logical explanation that could help me stop these episodes, which I now know as Sleep Paralaysis.

My first encounter was when I was married, it's odd how I cannot remember what I did yesterday yet these lets call them 'visions' are so vivid in my memory.  My first encounter that happened in sequence of about 3 times a week always began with a dark, cloaked shadow at the end of my bed. I would look to my right and see my husband asleep trying my hardest to communicate with him, trying in vain to reach out to him with just my foot or anything so I could wake up - but I couldn't as I was completely paralysed. The shadow would then move on top of me, crushing me and I could feel it's breathing on top of me and all I could do was wait. Nothing happened and I would then be able to move, I would 'wake up' and would do all I could do not go back to sleep, but then the shadow would still be there and I realised I'd already gone back into that deep REM state of where your mind is awake, but your muscles are completely paralysed and it would start again.

I had these episodes with the same shadow on and off for a few years, until I went through my divorce and then they took on a much scarier turn. This time I tried to reason it was stress, but fact was nothing could prepare me for the 'red eyed demon' on top of me in the night, as I looked down and saw it's claws scratching my legs and sick as this sounds, trying to have sex with me. I thought I was finally losing the plot until I 'Googled' and realised I wasn't alone in these nightmares, and that these 'demons' even had a name Incubus or something like that (apparently there is one who has sex with females and another one has sex with males).

I saw my GP who told me I was suffering with Sleep Paralysis, took her advice of turning off any blue light, not eating before bed, not reading the news or watching any scary movies (although in fairness I didn't do this anyway). Still I had this visitor that would leave me so scared, that when I woke up I would do all that I could to not fall asleep. Eventually only one thing worked. I said the Lord's Prayer and looked it straight in the eye and said 'I'm not afraid of you anymore'. It vanished and I thought that was the end of it.

Sadly my next episodes were even more scary. One point I woke up to see my son getting in my bed, the duvet lifted up in the air and I said 'Freddie please go back to your bed', only then did I realise that it wasn't my son, but the black shadow was back - as it started leaning over me, crushing me and I felt it's breathing, and once again I said the Lord's Prayer and it vanished.

Another vision, hearing voices on my landing convinced I was being burgled I got my self defence weapon of a baseball bat, which I keep next to my bed and bravely got up and went onto the landing. I checked the children were safe and then went downstairs, hearing these voices in my house. As I walked back to my bedroom I noticed my dog was fast asleep - it was then I realised I was asleep - my dog would've by now be tearing into and barking at any intruder. I got back into bed and cuddled my dog. The next morning the bat was at the end of my bed. This one threw me as I was awake, had slept walked but wasn't like the others paralysed.

I searched for answers on the internet, befriended fellow Tweeters, I've tried everything but after last nights episode I've sat down and cried and cried asking God to help me. Last night I had 2 episodes that resulted in me waking my 9 year old son to sleep with him (usually it's the other way around), too scared to go back to sleep. As a single mum with 2 kids I'm exhausted enough as it is. I figure all I can do is ask God for help and this is what he told me.

My question of 'is this scientific or is it something else', he wouldn't answer purely because if he said if scientific I wouldn't stop looking for answers and if 'something else' it would freak me out and he doesn't want me delving into the world of the unknown. What he said was to simply ask him for help, even if I can't speak and he will help me.

You may think this sounds completely nuts, but when you look at all the fellow sufferers out there, many aren't Christians and yet all of them say the only way they can get out of this is to ask God for help. Oddly each time I do, I feel a tingle like pins and needles start at my feet and go through my body and then wake up.

To get a picture of me I'm not a 'wacky-backy' Christian, I believe, pray but I sin often like humans do. I rarely go to Church due to time and the kids but my faith is incredibly strong. I pray every day and have absolute certainty in my mind that Jesus exists. It's incredibly personal to me and I don't like to talk about it, so putting this out there is incredibly hard for me.

I guess the reason why I'm doing this is to get answers still, feedback from anyone else who has this. As I said there's tons of info on the internet, documentaries have been made however, what I can't understand is why we all have the same dream, the same demonic nightmare and we all get out of it the same way as I do.

Anyway on a lighter note, I'm going to sleeping with a poster of Chace Crawford above my bed tonight - will pin it on my ceiling (albeit he is rather young for me…), still a girl can dream hey!

Monday, 12 June 2017

What does his text mean…online dating

Tinder, POF, Match, E-Harmony you name it, I've tried them.  Jumping into the minefield of what can only be described as a 'minefield' of online dating a few years back was a huge shock for me, someone married for over 20 years. Yet there I was 43 about to start again and I won't lie, it was one hell of a roller coaster and tested my friends' patience to the limit.

A couple of years on, lots of dates and finally being in one for the last year and a half I can now offer to give my advice back to my friends who've found themselves in the same position as myself.  The biggest hurdle of online dating has to be 'texting'. When I was younger we didn't even have mobile phones and so communication was in the form of 'face to face, handwritten letters (I miss those) or a huge telephone bill, we didn't even have e-mail!

Texting is by far the worst form of communication. It can be misread in so many ways and yet us women put so much emphasis on how a man texts. We analyse and go over and over the same words, giving them countless possible meanings, which is ironic as men just don't give anywhere near as much thought.

So if you're waiting for those 3 dots on their phone to appear, check out a round-up of what I've learnt.

  • You may think that men are chatting to more than one girl at a time, and yes this could be true however, it is normally just one or two. Men simply just don't have the time (assuming you are chatting to someone with a job), to put their energy into chatting up several women.
  • Men are simple and logical. When you write an 'essay' to him on text he will just take one look and his eyes will blur over. He will, of course pick up words such as 'lick, taste, beer etc', and anything that involves an innuendo of sex or alcohol. 
  • As men are simple don't be put off when you write 'a lot of blue' and only one line of 'grey' appears back. They are busy, they have to focus and then cannot at any time multi-task (well again depending on the innuendo text talk, then they can always multi-task….).
  • Men like to do the chasing. It's far better for a woman to hold herself back a little. If you just want a one night stand then fine, but most of my friends would like a relationship. This is when you need to know just how much to give. Take it SLOWLY.
  • Suggestion is far more erotic than full on 'take me now'. You want him to meet you and be interested in you. Not what he thinks he is going to get.
  • I dislike games, but at the beginning it's always best holding off before texting him right back. If he texts you in the morning, then say a 'hello - I'll text later but busy atm', this gives off the vibes that you are interesting and not waiting for those 3 dots to appear. At the same time, it comes across that you don't play games and you're acknowledging his text. 
  • Saying that, it's always important to ask about them - so when you are in throes of text conversation, make sure you ask questions about their day, hobbies etc. Men do like to talk about themselves (known fact). 
  • Those 3 dots, don't just hang around for them - send a text and get on with whatever you are doing, don't make it into a big deal as it's just getting to know each other.
  • WhatsApp - oh I hate WhatsApp, looking at when he was last online, who was he texting at midnight and why has he read your text and not answered. Well here's a surprise. His WhatsApp maybe on in the background, so unless he closes it he will still be online. He may have read your text then had an urgent need for the loo (albeit most men text on the loo) or he may be married and calling out to his wife that 'he's put the bins out'. Regardless try not to read into WhatsApp, it will drive you crazy, like it did me. If however, he is 'typing' at 2am then it's probably an intimate conversation with another woman, unless he has relatives in America. 
  • IMessage - it's a personal choice with the 'read' button. Personally I don't like it, as I don't want someone to know when I've read the text, bit of mystery is always good. Also and again similar to WhatsApp if you don't reply then it can come across as 'playing games'. 
  • When he first texts you after you've both swiped right, and mentions you 'look sexy', calls you 'baby' or anything else personal and IMO cringe then he is only after one thing. He should have enough respect to ask about your day and be interested in what you have done.
  • If you've sat around all day, stroking the cat, watching Come Dine With Me then it's perfectly acceptable to lie. Something along the lines of 'gym (he'll think your healthy), cooking a home-made curry (he'll think your marriage material) and upgrading your Sky to Sky Sports (he'll come right over). All these are good. Failing that keep it interesting with banter and play the 'would you rather a) or b) game i.e. would you rather swim in the sea or pool, eat Thai or Chinese - as you get to know each other this game can be taken up a notch or two and then the fun really begins.
  • If you've not got a specific first meet up date, there is nothing wrong in you suggesting it, as he could simply be shy. However, if he is evasive then give him a couple of days to choose from and leave it to him. If he doesn't come back within 24 hours then leave it. A man who decides an hour before Saturday night that he can see you, usually has been stood up by someone else - you don't want to be second best. 
  • If he wants to see you he will - there will be no excuses and he will set a date. If he carries on just texting without making a definite date, then he is either with someone else or keeping you as a back up - neither are acceptable. 
  • Finally my last piece of advice. Never analyse a man's text or decipher and de-code every word, as mentioned above they don't write the 'in-between' stuff, us women do. Just remember 'simple' (I've used that word a lot in this blog) creatures who have fat fingers - and often make typos - this is why the majority of them like to use Emojis. Also fat fingers are not necessarily drunk fingers! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Before I start this, let me explain that I have tried Botulinum Injections (Botox), in the past for a feature, but this was a few years ago and I was interested to see if there have been any developments or techniques in this procedure.

I was invited to the Court House Clinic www.courthouseclinics.com to meet with Dr Kishan, a very highly qualified skin doctor with a decade of experience in anti-ageing injections, to find out the latest news in aesthetics.

I was given the opportunity to try out 'Baby Botox', ideal for someone who just wanted a natural, refreshed look without any risk of look 'frozen'. Whilst, some people actively seek the mirrored effect on a forehead that can be achieved with Botox, for me I prefer to be able to have full movement of my face and most specifically, when I cry or laugh that my whole face moves and not just my nose.  It's common to see in the press, celebrities who prefer this look and as such come with headlines such as 'what has he/she done to her face'.  A good indication of successful Botox is one where you wouldn't even know that it's been injected, simply that the person looks like they've taken care of their well-being.

Dr Kishan shared my view, that not only less is more but that Baby Botox (or 'sprinkles' as some clinics call it), was by far the most attractive way to achieve the 'few years younger' look I wanted to achieve.

When I visited the Court House in Brentwood, I was impressed that only doctors were allowed to give the injections. As I mentioned in my previous feature, Botox is a prescription only medicine, thus meaning that whomever administers must hold a license to be able to give out prescriptions, so usually falls under a doctor or a dentist. However, many clinics and salons then follow guidelines (at this present time this is under review and likely to change), that once the prescriber has written out the prescription then a nurse or therapist can administer these injections.  Most concerning should anything go wrong, then insurance companies do not hold the 'injector' responsible rather the 'prescriber', and that current guidelines state that the prescriber must always be present and this is why the Court House will only use doctors to give Botox.

After reading all of Dr Kishans credentials (see below), I was more than confident to go ahead and more so with his holistic approach, encouraged he would be 'gentle' with me. My consultation was over an hour long, and required me to fill out a detailed medical history including any medications I was currently taking. We then studied my face and the outcome I hoped to achieve.

One of the areas I pointed out were lines down by the side of my cheeks however, he explained that for this he would have to use 'Fillers' as these are what fills in lines, whereas Botox relaxes the muscle. I'm not a fan of the look of Fillers and so we agreed, that we would just do a small amount of Botox on my forehead and around my eyes.

He also made sure I was fully aware of any possible side effects such as bruising and 'droopy lid' that can happen if the wrong area is injected. This is incredibly rare and can be rectified as Botox is not permanent.

After lying me down, my face was thoroughly doubled cleansed with antiseptic to make sure there was no bacteria on the skin. He advised that patients should never wear make-up on the day as even the tiniest particles can seep into the injection site and possibly cause infection. Again another reason why he double cleanses the skin.

After marking with a pencil the areas he was going to inject, he then coaxed me through some deep breathing exercises as I'm quite needle phobic. Not that I needed to have worried, as I can honestly say that I didn't feel a thing, in fact I felt the marking of the pencil more than the actual injections. Possibly this is the result of using micro fine needles.

Botox takes up to 2 weeks to achieve its full effect and so I was invited back for an out-patient appointment, so that Dr Kishan could see if I was happy or if more was needed, then this would be injected (this is included in the initial cost).

You can see with the before and after photos the results and I have to say I'm absolutely delighted with the outcome. I didn't need any further treatment and whilst my skin was in quite good shape before, there is a gentle improvement to the extent, even my mother just said I looked healthy. There is no sign of a 'frozen face' and for those that don't know I've had it done, I've received compliments of 'you look well' and 'your skin is amazing, it must be all those products you test'. I have full movement in my face and so my kids know from my expressions, when they've pushed me to my limit.
I was talking about my experience on the radio, and you can listen to the link here. http://www.phoenixfm.com/2017/04/28/molly-miller-botox/. In addition I also sent some questions to Dr Kishan in advance for the radio prep.

Please could you give a short paragraph on your biography i.e. where you studied, qualifications etc, as well as a small paragraph on Court House Clinics?

Dr Kishan: Qualifications:
MBChB – Medicine and Surgery
BDS – Dental Surgery
BSc – Experimental Pathology
Dr Kishan is an Aesthetic Doctor from qualifying from Leeds Medical School and also the Royal London Hospital, he began his career in anti-ageing injections and fillers for surgical applications in 2003 and has spent many years since working in Maxillofacial surgery across the UK before developing his expertise in Aesthetic Medicine. He is passionate about treating cosmetic concerns and believes in natural-looking results. He is renowned for his gentle manner and skillful technique as well as his holistic approach to treating his patients.

Dr Kishan has a keen interest in post-graduate education and has undertaken numerous academic and practical studies in order to continue providing his patients with the best possible care. He has been awarded full membership of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

Courthouse Clinics is the UK's most trusted and Doctor led chain of anti - ageing clinics where the full range of facial and body rejuvenation treatments are offered. Treatments include wrinkle smoothing injections, advanced skin rejuvenation, laser and light therapies, body contouring and nutritional programs as well as intravenous vitamin infusion services. Courthouse Clinic Doctors and Medical Aestheticians are all highly trained and required to regularly update their knowledge and skills to offer the same excellent standards of care in whichever clinic our patients choose to attend for treatment.

Many people contact me as they approach their 40s, as they would like to look 'refreshed', but are scared by the images of celebrity frozen faces, what would you suggest for them?

The frozen look can be avoided by seeking out a doctor who is able to give you a thorough clinical assessment and consultation at the first appointment and working with them to create a treatment plan that you are both in agreement with. This is a key step in achieving great, natural looking results. Botox is the best known format of the Botulinum protein which we use at Courthouse Clinic. It works by reducing the contraction of the specific facial muscles it is injected into which reduces "mimic" moment of the skin overlying them. Results can look overdone or frozen if the injection doses are too high for a patient's muscles so great care needs to be taken at the initial appointment to give the minimal doses expected to give the desired result. Then, if necessary, the treatment can be adjusted further with additional doses at a follow up appointment 2-3 weeks later after the initial appointment. My techniques involve giving very small doses in a specific way to give the most natural looking effect, a look that doesn’t look unnatural or frozen.

Are there any treatments for 2017 and upcoming that will replace Botox?

I'm aware of a "freezing" treatment which lowers the temperature of the facial muscles to bring about a similar type of relaxation to wrinkle smoothing injections. However I understand it cannot be used in all the muscles that Botulinum is used in, and I can’t comment on the results as I have not had experience in it yet. One exciting treatment that we do offer at Courthouse Clinics is the skin remodelling injection treatment known as Profhilo which addresses fine lines and crepiness of mature skin by hydrating the tissues from within. This is achieving great results in areas of the face that we do not use Botulinum in.

If I have a needle phobia, is there anything that can be used as an alternative?

Apart from the Frotox treatment, there are no injection free treatments that achieve the same reduction in mimic lines, that rival the results of Botulinum, and this probably why Botox remains one of the most popular cosmetic procedures globally.

Does Botox hurt, will I bruise?

At Courthouse Clinic doctors use extremely fine needles to carry out the treatment and many of my patients remark that they have almost no pain if not completely pain-free injections with me.  With any injectable medical treatment there is a possibility that a bruise may develop afterwards and we cannot guarantee that it won't happen. However because of our technique, experience and the fine needles that we use, this risks of pain and bruising are significantly minimised.

How long does Botox last?

The real effect of Botox depends on several variables e.g. the pre-existing strength of the muscles, and the anatomy of each individual face. This leads to a wide variation in duration of effect - between 2-6 months.

How safe is Botox, there have been cases of eyelid drooping and so what can be done to prevent this?

Eyelid and brow dropping is a recognised complication of wrinkle smoothing injections and while we can't promise it will not happen, the risk is low and largely minimised by using safe techniques and a good understanding of anatomy from the injector.

I don't want to change the shape of my face, does Botox change the shape of your face?

Botox is active on mimic lines, and therefore can really only affect the surface skin that it is injected under. It does not change the volume or contours of the face unless it is injected into the jaw muscles for a very different indication.

Do I need to prepare for Botox treatments?

It is best to avoid alcohol and blood thinning medications (if not necessary for medical conditions) prior to being injected because the risk of bleeding is higher.

It is important to inject into very clean skin and I take precautions to deeply clean and disinfect the skin prior to the treatment. If possible, avoid wearing make up before the appointment.

What is the after-care for Botox? Can I exercise, drink alcohol, wear make-up etc?

Avoid exercise, hot baths, saunas, steam rooms and drinking alcohol after treatments as complications such as bruising may be more likely. Make up can worn once the needle entry points have started to heal but best to leave the skin clean for as long as possible immediately after injection.

There are many salons and in-house therapists, which offer Botox - is this advisable even if my friend's results look good?

Ultimately patients choose where to treatments based on their own decisions. I personally believe that Botulinum injections are medical treatments best delivered by medical doctors for reasons of safety, after care and of course optimal results.

I would actually advise people to look for 5 important things when considering Aesthetic Medical treatments:

1.             Feeling confident in your doctor is vital, for example, are they well qualified and suitably experienced to treat you? Do they have a good standard of knowledge about facial anatomy and skin? Do they spend time studying your unique anatomy and do they seem reassuring to you? Do they explain the treatments carefully to you? Lastly they should never make you uncomfortable or feel pressured into having a treatment.

2.             Are they carrying out these treatments regularly and do they devote time and energy in keeping current and offering you the best standards in practice?

3.             Is the treatment being offered in a clinical, safe and hygienic environment that is subjected to regular checks from patient protecting bodies such as the Care Quality Commission?

4.             Has the doctor been recommended to you from reviews or have you seen positive reviews from other patient experiences?

5.             Are the outcomes of the practitioner you choose regulated by an external standards body that is protecting patients, such as the General Medical Council?

What are the advantages aside from looking younger with Botox?

Some of the features we address with Botulinum are less about looking older, more about looking fresher and "softer". For example the furrows that develop between the brows can give rise to a 'concentrating' or even 'angry' facial expression. Relaxing these particular wrinkles gives a softer, more relaxed facial expression. Botox treatments should leave you looking like yourself, just more refreshed and softly rejuvenated.

People get confused with Botox and Fillers, please could you explain the difference?

Botox works by softening surface wrinkles that lie on overly active facial muscles, whereas dermal fillers are different formulations of hyaluronate gel which has a wide range of applications. Depending on their viscosity, dermal fillers can be used to ‘fill’ facial lines, recontour facial features, augment lip shape, give the appearance of a straighter nose, and even give glow to the skin in ‘skinbooster’ treatments. Dermal fillers are very popular because of their multiple applications and formulations.

Often people are scared the Botox is 'leaked' into their bodies and can cause side effects, is this true?

Botulinum protein needs to be injected within specific muscles to carry out its effect and only act locally.  It is a very safe protein that has been used for years in other numerous medical applications including migraine, excessive sweating, abnormal muscle and bladder function with very low risk of side effects or toxicity.

Is Botox regulated, if so by whom?

Botox is a prescription only medicine, and therefore can only be procured by a prescription from an appropriately qualified medical person. Doctors in aesthetic medicine are not only regulated by the General Medical Council for carrying out these procedures, but also, as part of the mandatory appraisal process, they have to annually demonstrate commitment to maintaining standards and improving practice by studying and updating knowledge. I personally submitted my log of 201 hours spent in educating myself this year (around four times the recommended amount)!

Is there anyone who shouldn't have Botox or who could be taking medicine that could contraindicate with the treatment?

Pregnant patients and individuals with active skin infections, and specific neurological conditions should not be treated with Botulinum.  This should be looked into carefully as part of the consultation process.

What is the cost of Botox?

£200-£400 depending on the doses required and the areas selected for treatments.