Friday, 4 May 2012

real life.


• PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS A BLOG POST ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES, THE ADVICE GIVEN SPECIFICALLY FOR ME, AND WHAT WORKS FOR ME. IF YOU THINK YOU MAY BE SUFFERING IN YOUR BRAINBOX, PLEASE GO TO SEE YOUR GP • 

Okay guys, I'm going to get serious for a minute or two. The weepy face above has been staring back at me in the mirror far too often recently, so I wanted to take this moment to talk about mental health. It's something that affects so many of us, and yet we still keep it behind closed doors.

Although I don't talk about it often, it's no secret that I have suffered with anxiety and depression for a number of years. During my teens I experienced a lot of stress, including seeing people close to me enduring serious illnesses, losing loved ones, and my parents divorcing.

These things on top of the general torture of being a teenager caused me to get Glandular Fever, and subsequently be diagnosed with ME/CFS and hypothyroidism. The main things that cause my anxiety/low moods are the fear that I'm going to lose the people close to me, and the feeling that I'm not good enough.

I struggled through many years, trying to cope on my own, and surprise surprise, I didn't do so well. I'm not going to go into details, but there were a lot of dark and scary times. The point of all this isn't for sympathy at all, I just want anyone who has felt similar to GET HELP, and know that, although it feels like it, it really isn't the end of the world.

I've never spoken to a medical professional extensively enough to be diagnosed with any sort of mood disorder, but just over a year ago I finally realised I needed help with my anxiety (if nothing else) and agreed to start Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. These sessions help me enormously, and I really recommend them to anyone who feels their anxiety is holding them back in life.




• me being a messy grump in bed with the thing that fixes almost anything - the humble cup of tea •

More recently, I plucked up the courage to go and talk to my GP about my worringly low moods (using a poorly ear as an excuse to get myself there). Just telling someone how I was feeling was a huge weight off my shoulders, and he made me feel like I wasn't going mad.

He gave me a couple of possible solutions - upping my dose of thyroxine (low energy can often result in low moods) and making plans and goals for my life.

Having something to aim for in life, something you'd really like to do, is so important. When you live with a long-term illness, everything can feel a bit hopeless sometimes. You will have days when you can't get out of bed, and you believe that you'll never be well enough to live like a "normal" person - whatever that is. You need to set yourself realistic goals, and that's what I'm trying to do.

I know that it is an on-going battle, and that I will still have days when I want to stay in bed in a snuggly jumper and a cuppa, and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, but equally I know that I will have some incredible days when I feel like I can do anything! And luckily, I have an amazing boyfriend, friends, and family who will do their best to understand and support me.

Everyone has times in their life when they feel a little lost and hopeless, but if it's been going on for a while or you're scaring yourself with your own thoughts, please please talk to someone. And if you're worried about a loved one, try broaching the subject quietly and sensitively. Remember, there is a solution for pretty much every scenario. I'm no expert, but you can even email me if you like. You can find my email address here.

If you want to read some actual proper information about mental health, you can visit the Mind website, or the NHS Live Well website. There are some really great words of advice and links to other resources!

60 comments:

  1. Great post Lyzi, I hope it inspires people to get help and speak up. I can highly recommend http://www.gofal.org.uk/ for people living in Wales, great organisation xx

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  2. Thank you for writing this Lyzi it's incredibly brave. So many people struggle with anxiety and other mental illness but it's so hard to pluck up the courage and speak to someone. There's no shame in asking for help, I really hope this encourages people to get the help they need. I'm so happy for you that the cognitive therapy is working and I wish you all the best
    xxx

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  3. Well put, I think many people who are feeling bad also feel that that is normal, the way things are supposed to be.

    / Avy
    http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



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  4. Thanks for this post Lyze, so many of us suffer this in silence, myself included. I'm really trying to overcome it as these days it is leading to me becoming more & more introverted and closed off. Being honest with the people around me has been a big help.
    I hope you're feeling better for sharing with us.

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  5. This is such a refreshingly honest post. I'm sorry you've had hard times, but I'm so glad the therapy is working for you & that you have loads of support. <3

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  6. Beautiful post Lyzi, so many people suffer in silence and you put it so delicately into words.

    I adore each and every one of your heart felt posts, they are truly inspirational. I wish you all the best,

    Amanda

    XOXO.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this with us, you're right, it is something which a lot more people suffer from without admitting to. This is why I love blogging so much, because there are elements of a magazine or whatever, but then there are truly personal and inpsiring posts, just like this one. Thank you again. Louise xo

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  8. Great post and i just have to say how much I agree with you about talking to someone. My dad suffered from depression and he never told anyone and was unwilling to accept help which eventually lead to his suicide four months ago. After this I started to fell depressed myself but after talking to the doctors and letting people in rather than shutting myslef away from everyone I began to feel better. I'm sure that there are some people reading this post right now that feel the same as you and I hope that they now realise that there is hope and there is help out there. And whatever you are going through you do not need to suffer alone. Mental health and depression are still pretty much taboo subjects and it is definetly time we started talking about them more.
    Cara x

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  9. It makes me sad that so many people seem to struggle with things like this, but then I guess it's re-assuring to know that you're not alone in it. This is a really great inspiring post, and I'm sure you've helped some people to take those first little steps into getting themselves back on track. I'm glad you have such wonderful people to support you, and hopefully in time you'll find it easier to cope :) I think it's great to give people an insight into something that typically is seen as taboo; I agree with the comment above me from Cara on that.

    Lou xx
    Bits & Bobs

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  10. This is a lovely post, and very brave of you to put it all out there. I can't pretend to know anything about mental illness because I don't so keep your chin up, remember that you are a very inspiring person. If I could get my blog half as successful as yours it would make me a very happy person.
    Remember the important people around you and keep smiling :)

    xx

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  11. This was a really good post, I don't really know what else to say but I hope you get more good days and less bad.

    I'm glad you've got a great support network and you have your blog readers too, I find you very inspirational and want to be like you when I grow up! (We'll pretend that I'm not already grown up, shsss!)

    Lisamello xx

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  12. It's so refreshing to see someone openly talk about mental illness, I've suffered from extreme depression and anxiety since the age of 16 and i'm 20 now. It's horrible that friends and family don't know how to take it and i hate how taboo it seems. Here's hoping things get better for us both and everyone else suffering from it

    XOXO Sade

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  13. I really appreciate people speaking out about these kinds of things.

    I wrote a similar post a few weeks back (http://peaas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/anxiety.html) and although I took time out pretty recently, I think the triggers are/were the same as yours (divorces, illnesses and my grandma dying suddenly, on top of being a teen). You summed up wonderfully how to get through the down days. Setting goals/ground rules, however small and insignificant to anyone else help me so much.

    Chin up pet! We're both as normal as the next girl :)

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  14. I love this!!! :) I suffer from anxiety problems and have done since I was very young.I struggled for years with forming relationships with people because I found it hard to trust them.I really want people to know that there are more people than you think that are out there going through the same thing and this post really reassured me of this.It's not something to be ashamed of at all and it's something within us that we can't change.Thanks for sharing!! :)

    Nomi.x

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  15. I have been following for your blog for a very, very long while. It is my favorite blog that I read. You are extremely real, and it is even more refreshing to see you post about something as real as this. I have tremendous respect for you. My mother also has suffered from severe anxiety all of her life, and it even from the outside I can tell that it must be extremely hard. You are such a strong woman, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck with everything, it's wonderful to hear that you are feeling better. You will continue on this journey and make some great strides.

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  16. great post babe, i was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a fews years ago after my son, so i know where your coming from ;]
    brilliant post xx

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  17. You're completely right with the stigma/taboo nature of mental illnesses. That's why I feel it's so important that anyone suffering with mental health issues that feels capable of talking about them does so. I think bloggers could have a real impact on this, because of their open-ness about their personal lives a lot of the time. People need to know these kinds of things happen to many people and it's in no way something to be ashamed of.
    As for me, I've suffered with severe depression and somatization disorder (which is associated with mental health issues) from around the age of 12, and because I grew up with it I almost felt this was 'just how I was'. In a way, it was, as my illness is a brain chemistry issue, but that didn't mean I was stuck with it! It's important that people know that you DON'T have to feel that way, and no one deserves to. I'm happy to talk to anyone about it, just to reassure people that it's not a strange thing that only happens to loonies!
    Thank you for being open and talking about it, this was a great post. xx

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  18. Such an amazing post, and such a good thing to talk about in a public space. I think everybody feels down every now and then and it is so easy to let it take over, I would know. You talking about this has made me think that maybe talking to somebody would be a great thing to do in such a scary time in my life, so thank you so much for making it seem like a less scary prospect. Happy hopes and love to you x

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  19. Really admire you for making this post. Despite the fact that mood disorders and mental illnesses are legitimate and debilitating, there's still such a stigma attached to them, and it's so great to see people like yourself speaking honestly and openly about them. I've also suffered from depression and anxiety since adolescence, and now I'm on medication to deal with the worst of it. There are so many of us out there who suffer from chemical imbalances in our brain, or other disorders that result in our moods being affected, and it's so wonderful to know that some of us are brave enough to talk about it so we can feel connected, even over the internet. xx

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  20. Such a good thing that you're talking about this, and making people aware that they can get help. I was diagnosed with anxiety depression a couple of years ago after struggling for years to cope on my own. At first I was taking anti depressants but I've been doing EFT for a while now and find it's such a great help. It's difficult how many people there are who still think that you can 'snap out of it' and that depression isn't an actual illness.

    Chloe x
    chloehford.com

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  21. I feel as if my anixety gets the better of me most days. Even walking down the street I get stressed out and paranoid. I think working in a busy atmosphere has forced me to socialise and deal with situations that I shyed away from before, but I still get incredibly nervous. It's good to know you're not a lone!

    Hope you feel better and having goals helps me stay posistive. :)

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  22. I've just recently started suffering with anxiety after a bad break up, and had a panic attack yesterday. Luckily, I was with someone who was amazing and sat me down and talked to me about it and then showed me some amazing websites. Just seeing those and knowing other people feel the same way is a big help x

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  23. Thank you for posting this :)
    Knowing that other people have illnesses too, even though they're horrible, makes it feel a lot more normal and a lot less lonely! I hope you are feeling better soon lovely :) xx

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  24. Great post, you should be really proud of yourself because it's guaranteed to have made a difference to at least SOMEONE reading this who is feeling low. I hope you're feeling better soon and good luck with your goals :-)

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  25. This is great post. I'm having problems and I go to therapist. It really does make a difference, you feel so much more free even though your problems don't go away. It's amazing to have someone who can hear you and not judge. You are beautiful blogger and this was very brave of you.:)xx

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  26. This is a great post hun. I have struggled with mental illness for 20 years, but now my life is so, so different. For the first time I can finally say 'You know what? I'm doing ok!'

    Never give up hun. I can honestly say things will get better. I've been as low as you can get, but I'm doing ok & I hope that can give others strength xxx

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  27. Amazing, brave post Lyzi. I too have anxiety and have spent years of my life being told to simply snap out of it. If only it was that simple though?

    Sadly CBT did nothing for me, however it greatly helps my sister who has suffered from Emetophobia since she was 5. :)

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  28. Such a brave girl! I do not have the courage to post something so closed within me. Inspiring!

    Great post! Be happy!

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  29. Really great post of you to share, I suffer from the same too and it can be really difficult at times, but I'm getting there!

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  30. Thank you for writing this.

    I'm also doing CBT at the moment, and although it's very difficult at times, I do think that it's helping me.

    I think that it's very difficult for people who haven't experienced depression to truly understand it; it goes far beyond sadness, it feels like your brain is broken and nothing good will ever exist again. But it does get easier, eventually. It's just difficult (actually, nearly impossible sometimes) to get through the dark times.

    I really admire you for being able to write this post, and for being able to take the step to get help.

    You seem like a lovely girl (and you're super-talented), so I for one believe that the future will be great for you.

    Sorry for all the cheese.

    xx

    P.S. Tea is the way forward. I've never met an unhelpful meg if tea.

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  31. Fab post - I suffer with depression too and am having some CBT sessions. It can be a very lonely and scary place esp if you don;t know anyone who feels the same as you or who understands you. x

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  32. I don't usually comment on blog posts but...this has really captured my heart. I've read your blog for a long time, and you're one of the reasons I have decided to start up my own. I love your style of writing, what you write about and the way you photograph.
    And now I truly respect you for gaining the courage to change your life and to try to get out of your dark phase.
    If it's any consolation, I had always pictured you as the most happiest bubbliest character. But learning that at times you're not makes you even more lovable because you're clearly an amazing person for doing what you do. You are an inspiration, keep going. xxxx

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  33. Well done for being open about your mental health - so many people struggle but i think we all feel like we're alone. I have severe depression, BPD, anxiety disorder, and am recovering from eating disorders and severe self-harm, as well as having ME/CFS too.

    Look after yourself and I hope things seem brighter soon xxx

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  34. I've suffered from depression for a few years now, and have recently been dealing with some anxiety issues as well. But I have recently opened up pretty much fully with my boyfriend and to some degree, my friends, and your post has helped me see that I'm doing the right thing for myself by talking about it. You should be really proud of yourself for not only seeking help but being open about it on your blog, as its an illness, and nothing to be ashamed of. So thank you for speaking up, it really helps :)

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  35. This post is so well written lyzi, and so brave. I have a friend with depression, which stems from some horrible childhood abuse. She finally got the courage to go and see the dr about it & he told her to just 'get over it'! Now she is too scared to see anyone else. Your dr sounds so understanding, it proves there are people out there who do want to help! I'm going to show her this post. Thank you :) x x x

    p.s: your new hair is amazing! You look so so pretty :)

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  36. you are so brave for writing this :) you know how much i love you sweet <3 its great that you are sharing your experience with others so that incase they are feeling the same why they don't feel so alone you are a wonderful woman i am always here if you want to talk love you millions xxxxxxxxxxx

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  37. Well done for posting this, it couldn't have been easy. Really inspirational to read :)
    Kaz x

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  38. This is a really great post, really relevant as its something that affects everyone in one way or another and all too often people suffering with depression/mental illness however severe are either seen as weird or as wimps, which you evidently are not :) XXX

    la dulcie vita

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  39. I'm so sorry to read you're struggling at the moment <3 i hope you feel better really soon Lyzi .

    Rose
    x

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  40. It was very brave of you to write a post like this and I think people should be a lot more open about things like this because far too many people suffer in silence. I hope you feel better soon and thank you for sharing. x

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  41. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Lyzi ♥

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  42. thank you for writing this <3

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  43. Thank you so much for this Lyzi.This is an immensely brave post Lyzi! It's so sad that mental health is still so stigmatized. Ive had a history of anxiety and depression and those pits of black dispair are just horrid and feel impossible to get out of, no matter how lucky your situation may seem to others. I found my way out by finding my focus (career) in life and cutting out the negatives in my life. Unfortunately for me, a lot of my friends actually really struggled to be understanding and actually seemed to back away. Lucky for me I have an amazing boyfriend who helped me through (even after the crap I threw at him during the depths!). It just goes to show that persistence does pay off, there IS a way through, you just have to keep pushing. xxxx

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  44. It's so brave of you to talk about this, Lyzi. I struggle with depression as well and and I find that having people around to help cope, speaking to someone and having proper realistic goals is perfect advice and really works. Thank you for writing this XO

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  45. This is beautifully honest and well written.
    I have also suffered with hypothyroidism and depression since my teens, so I am familiar with the trials it presents.
    You seem like a genuinely lovely person and I really enjoy reading your blog.
    I'm always interested and keen to chat with others who suffer with mental health problems, to offer mutual support. If you ever need to, feel free to email me.
    Love Betty,
    betty_leopard@hotmail.co.uk
    x

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  46. I have to admit I neve comment on blogs. But this post really hits close to home. I've been battling depression for the last few months, trying to get through it by myself and sometimes it just feels like you're the only person going through it and even talking about it is too difficult because then you feel like nobody will understand, so to have someone like you write about their own experience is amazing because it makes me think that there's something I can actually do to cope with it. Thanks you so much for writing this.

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  47. It's lovely to see people open up about things like this, because for some reason it's often seen as a taboo subject, but the best thing people can do is speak about their problems. My best friend has been suffering with anxiety for almost four years now and its heartbreaking to see somebody feel as though they are worthless when they actually aren't and they're an amazing person. I often have those days where I feel incredibly low and worthless, and it even affects my relationship sometimes, so I guess I know where you're coming from. Reading your blog shows that you're such a lovely girl and you're definitely not hopeless. I admire you for posting this because it must take real courage to do so.
    Lovely blog. :)

    http://http://t0astandtea.blogspot.co.uk/ x

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  48. Great post, its so brave and kind of you to share your experiences in order to help others xx

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  49. Though I have never been medically depressed, I have experienced some awful times, horrible family times, and had a lot of insecurities about my body confidence. Like you I finally decided to talk to someone, and now I am so much better for it. Thank you for highlighting to others that you can start on the path to recognising and beating these issues xo

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  50. My sister has experienced a similar thing - GF followed by CFS and depression/anxiety. The Lightning Process was a great help with the CFS (http://www.lightningprocess.com/CFS-ME-Home/ - it's an unfortunately cheesy website though!), although it does contain some CBT-style things so it probably overlaps with what you're doing at the moment at bit.

    Tea is always a winner.

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  51. As a mental health nurse I know how devastating depression and anxiety can be. Life is hard enough for anyone without personal issues holding you back. I'm so glad you posted this. It's about time the world started talking about mental wellness and reducing the stigma attached. We'd all be a lot better off for it. It's incredibly brave of you to post such intimacies and I'm sure people will appreciate your honesty. If this helps other make that GP visit and get their lives back on track away from the fear of mental instability you'll have done an even better job than merely conquering your own demons. I wish you the best of luck, and hope others find courage to do the same.

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  52. You're amazing for sharing this, I commend you xx

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  53. I'm really chuffed that you did a post about this. So often bloggers go around posting about their seemingly perfect lives but, I love the fact that you're not afraid to share the more unpleasant side of your life. It helps me feel like it's ok to be human.
    I suffered massively with depression and anxiety while I was in Uni, and by my final year I would have a panic attack atleast once a week. It was horrendous.
    Thanks for posting about this babe. It's nice to be able to relate to you that little bit more...and more importantly encourage others to get help if they're struggling with mental health issues because so many people these days arent willing to admit it for fear of appearing week.
    Nice one love! You really are an inspiration!

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  54. This is an amazing blog post and I commend you for being so brave as to talk about it..I know it will help someone somewhere :-)

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  55. we seem to be health twins! love your blog xx

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  56. Wonderful post!
    I can really relate to your experiences... I have an anxiety disorder, and it really sucks sometimes... medication has really helped though! I try to stay positive, set goals for myself, and sometimes I too simply snuggle in bed with a hot cuppa tea, and pretend the world doesn't exist. :)

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  57. Excellent post, and vey real.Thanks. Just being able to talk to someone or record the feelings helps. I use Moodpik (www.moodpik.com) to do so with support from loved ones.

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  58. this is very inspiring. i hope youre doing better now, you've encouraged me to do something for myself now too, so i'm really grateful that you linked to this in your round-up post (as i hadn't read it before) much love to you xxx

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