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Overwhelmed with EVERYTHING

Hey everyone,

I’ve not really been great with typing recently, between beginning a new job and trying to make progress with my dissertation I’ve cried most days in the past month. My brain is working overtime just to make sure I get my stuff done as quick as possible, and as good as I know it can be. To be completely honest I’m burnt out, I have been for a while, and it’s been incredibly difficult to work through it as I am well aware I do not have time to not do my work.

 I missed the one-year anniversary of this blog; it came up on my phone, but I was so busy I didn’t have time to put anything out. I just want to quickly reflect on my biggest achievements this year- 

  • I moved twice, including once to live completely alone (though even when I had a flatmate I basically lived alone).
  • I returned to therapy, and though it wasn’t long I officially asked for specialist help and as I begin to move my medical records up to Dundee, I intend on re-joining the wait list for that help that I know I desperately need. 
  • I acknowledged my trauma, something I had been putting off for so long in an attempt to pretend it never happened. Acknowledging brought me both a lot of pain and peace, I’m still working through my fears, and I expect to be for a long time to come but I’m fortunate enough that I’m not doing it alone.
  • I’ve admitted my mistakes, this past year has brought me so much closure and I’ve been able to fully close the book on so many chapters of my life, whether it be where I call home or friendships. 

To be honest the past year has been incredible for me, whilst the struggles I’ve gone through have been some of the worst I’ve ever had I’ve also proven time and time again my strength and resilience. I doubt myself so often, but the reality is I’m utterly incredible. I went from being completely co-dependent to being able to do almost everything alone without a panic attack, I went for dinner by myself, and it was liberating. I spent so long building up this ideology that being spotted by myself would lead to judgements and looks but the reality is no one gives a sh*t. 

I can’t ignore the bad moments; however, I’ve never felt so anxious and menial tasks like dishes and taking bins out have often taken several days or even a week to psych myself up for. It’s been utterly exhausting, and I don’t even think I’m through the brunt of it now. I still struggle a ridiculous amount and every day I get more and more dubious about the progress I’m making and whether I’m making the right decisions. 

Recently I’ve had a lot of decisions to make, decisions about my own body which have consumed me. I’ve wrote about my weight gain, about the impact my PCOS has had on my weight and how draining it has been- Thursday saw a new challenge and more unanswered questions regarding my fertility were answered. I’ve got a lot riding on losing the weight, my periods need to return, or I could lose any small chance of naturally conceiving.

I’ve had moments of extreme low, I’ve been out of therapy and haven’t had professionals to speak to and the whole time I’ve had my trauma sat on a plate in front of me. I released a metaphoric can of worms without an assessed plan in front of me and I’m paying for it massively. There are some things I’ve never spoken about and though I’m sure I will someday it won’t be till I’ve received the help I so rightfully need. 

Beginning this blog was the biggest risk I could’ve taken; I didn’t think anyone would read let alone the numbers I see. I never thought there’d be people worldwide reading about my silly life rants, or my mental health journey and yet I’m shocked to see viewers in several countries for every post. I’ve spoken, granted uncomfortably, about mental health for most of my adult life- I’ve rallied for a change, and I’ve stood up for what I believe into the point of death threats. I believe in a change of attitude and quite frankly I would love to see it in my lifetime- I went from being a suicidal teen to the woman I am now, fighting for a greater future. 

This change hasn’t come without its costs however, I’ve lost more people in my life than I ever expected, and though I’ve gained a lot of acceptance I have waves where all the negativity that was thrown in my face at the end of friendships consumes me, and I view myself based on those opinions. It’s so silly but words do continue to hurt me, I’ve dealt with so much worse than someone attacking the woman I’ve worked so hard to become and yet it breaks me every time it happens. 

In the past year I’ve regretted a lot of decisions I’ve made, none more so than falling again. I’m overwhelmed with my emotions currently and the path I’m on and I’m reminded every day that I’ve been through far worse. I know I’ll get through these moments; I know my dissertation will be sent off on time and I’ll be kinder to my soul as time goes on. However, right now I just want to settle. I don’t care enough to fight how I’m feeling, and I really don’t have the energy to work through it also. Between completing my dissertation, working four days a week, volunteering once a week, driving lessons and the smallest social life I am wiped out. I need to add working out and time for a good diet to that list and I’m already exhausted thinking about the lack of sleep I’m expecting.

The thing is the older you get the more life feels like a chore, every day is the same and I’m moving further and further away from my goal of being content. I don’t believe real happiness genuinely exists, but I hope even for a day I feel it once, this realisation (though sad to others) is the most important distinction I’ve made this year. Striving towards something which is both unattainable and probably not even real almost broke me- I believed it was the only goal and chasing it was a NEED not a WANT.

I’m happy with the woman I am now, I’d love less stress and some time to relax so I don’t completely burn out but I’m also in a really good place. I struggle most days and emotionally I’m a mess, but I wake up every day and eat three meals. I wake up every day and get out of bed rather than sitting in it all day, I wake up every day and speak to my family/friends. The progress I’ve made is incredible, and yet it’s still not enough. Taking it one day at a time is the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s more important than people realise. Hopefully August brings clarity and strength, because after the past few months that’s all I really need. I’ll try to write more; I’m going to begin organising my hours better meaning I have time to relax also. 

Thank you as always, remember to be kind to your mind and body today and always xxxx

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I’m back

Heyyy

I’ve started writing this so many times, I don’t know where to start or what to say. I want to apologise for being gone for a while, I’ll try to explain but I don’t know how well it’s going to go…

In April I dropped horrifically, my mental health was at the lowest it’s been in a long time, and I didn’t know why. I started going through everything that was going on and the further I delved into my emotions the more unstable I became. Everything I did was making me cry and I was unable to focus on everything that was going on because all I wanted to do was eat and cry. I didn’t want to be here anymore, and I remember hysterically crying to my dad that I had no meaning anymore- everyone in my life is thriving so why do I need to be here anymore.

Time hasn’t exactly been kind and in the last month I’ve been in a slum like no other, I love my life and I love this new adventure I’m on, but I can’t help but feel guilty for everything that has happened. I live in a gorgeous flat with two kittens and a future which is bright and yet I feel so terrible all the time. I know I shouldn’t feel like this, I’m incredibly lucky and spoilt for my life the way it is. But I still feel terrible. 

This week I submitted my PhD application after months of debating whether I am genuinely clever enough, I still don’t believe I am. I’m very behind on my dissertation, I actually thought I’d be done with it by now but unfortunately, I was wrong. I’m really struggling with writing because I know that when my dissertation is done, I then begin my PhD- an assignment I’ve waited a long time to do. I still don’t think I’m clever enough. I hope one day that changes but at this rate I’m probably going to end up thinking I’m dumb at the end of the six years.

I saw a tiktok this week which solidifies how I feel, it was a girl explaining how one boy called her fat when she was nine and she’s had an eating disorder since. My whole life has been belittled by comments people made when I was young, I developed my eating disorder because someone said my legs were fat. I believe I’m dumb despite having almost two degrees because everyone told me I was. It was conditioned into me. I spent years hiding my feelings because it was conditioned that we should be quiet about our feelings. 

I’m sorry I’ve been quiet but alongside doubting my ability, I’ve been focusing on a stressful doctor’s appointment I have at the end of this month. When I say I’ve been focusing it’s been consuming everything I do- hopefully at the end of this month I’ll be able to focus on other things but at the moment I’m barely able to focus on other things. 

I want to write more and I’m hoping that over the next few weeks more posts will be uploaded but I don’t want to promise because the way my moods switch at the moment is terrifying. I’m optimistic though, and I hope that as days go on, I’ll feel better about life.

Thank you for baring with me, I’ve seen all the notifications of the followers and likes on my old posts, and I couldn’t be more thankful of the support you all give me. 

Lots of love as always, I’ll be back soon xxxx

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Dark Thoughts

TW: Suicidal thoughts, Self-harm, General Mental Illness Talk.

Hi everyone, long time I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long.

My last post spoke about hitting 100 days sober and since I’m happy to announce I’ve been able to have a drink. I’ve not overdone it or felt the need to have a drink every night and for that I’m so grateful. I continued to miss my April recap and I promise my May one is coming soon- I’ve spent a lot of the last month in tears and have been in a constant state of breakdown for so long that I sometimes disassociate from reality and I’ve really struggled to keep myself sane.

In April I had a blip, I sat on my bedroom floor at home and told my dad I don’t want to be alive anymore, that I’d done all I was around for and I had no good reason to continue to stay. I was terrified of the future and didn’t want to see it through despite being so excited for it. The problem with going to that dark place is you can no longer control your thoughts or what you say, though I continue to be honest to my family I hoped I’d never admit that to them. The people who put me on this earth, the people who helped me become the woman I am now and continue to support me in every way possible. They didn’t deserve to hear or know how I felt, my parents shouldn’t have to live in fear that one day my mental health will consume me, yet they do. I think sometimes they think I don’t notice; they call and check I’m doing okay and eating. Check I’ve been sleeping, going outside occasionally, that I’m not too lonely. But I see it and I’m beyond grateful, even in the height of a mental breakdown I continue to push myself through because I want to do it for them, and myself. 

When I moved out at 18 to begin university my parents were blissfully unaware of my mental health, I’d shut them out because I was ashamed. They gave me the most incredible life, I had everything I could ever imagine as a child and I continue to. How do you explain to the people who more than provided for you that you don’t know what it’s like to live? To be happy? That you are slowly losing your memory and beginning to forget who you used to be? You don’t. I’m done hiding the fact that my mental health isn’t a rainbow affair, people think depression is the occasional cry and not feeling good enough. That anxiety stops you from social occasions and talking up. 

The reality, my reality is I’ll cry until I can’t breathe anymore. I force myself to throw up from crying, I work myself to a point that I can’t calm down. My tears are silent yet rage down my face, my heart clenches and I feel as though it’s the end. My body goes into shut down and all I can focus on is the pain I’m in. I force my nails into my skin, scratching and pinching to feel something other than my heart and head exploding. I get my body to a place it swells from the immense pressure I’ve put on it, I can’t stop though. If I let go I lose the only stability I have through these breakdowns/anxiety attacks. My breathing is far from stable and I see in blotches, not because of the tears but more my vision becomes blurry. 

It isn’t pretty. It isn’t ‘instagrammable’ nor something I’d ever be proud to watch or post. It’s the reality of living with severe mental illnesses. It’s not knowing who or what could trigger my emotions, not knowing how to fight or flight and instead enduring hell on a frequent basis. My mental health isn’t a trend, it never will be. I get taken for a joke; ‘bipolar acting up again’, ‘you weren’t anxious yesterday, why now?’, ‘if you really care about your anxiety, you wouldn’t go out and see your friends’. How about everyone stops telling me how to deal with something they know nothing about? The world would be a greater place if we stopped assuming how people fight to stay alive. Making a joke out of a mental illness which is literally draining my personality from my body isn’t funny. 

My blip was months in motion, I moved to Dundee last weekend and since Monday when my family left, I’ve felt strangely okay. It took me years to know who my true friends were, I feel like I’ve gotten to know thousands of people and yet I remain with three main friends. These people I trust with my life, they are there night or day, rain or shine always. I’m moving away from them. Leaving them in a different country even, and I don’t know how things will play out. We aren’t children anymore, it’s not like I can just walk into school and make 15 new friends (2 of which will remain in my life)- the reality is far from that. If they are truly my friends, they’ll continue to be in my life though, they won’t leave. I’m dealing with realities about my infertility, in fact I’m choosing to ignore it. I’m 22 I shouldn’t be making decisions which could impact my entire life and yet here I am ignoring the weight on my shoulders.

I went to a job interview and spent the whole hour after crying, I can’t speak to a room full of people. I used to give talks on my mental health, to a crowd who had bullied, teased and tormented me. I sit in a room with three people, and I stutter, slur my words and forget how to conjure up a sentence. This pandemic has played with my mental health more than I care to admit, in ways I’ve worked on myself and figured out more than I ever expected and yet I feel 10 steps behind. I still don’t know what I want to be, other than a mother, and I struggle more now than ever to hold a conversation with someone I do not know. I still struggle with opening up, though I’ve gotten much better, I continue to self-sabotage and make myself miserable although I know I could be happy.

I want to quickly point out I am not in danger; I am not in a bad state but instead content enough to speak and tell you all my truths. We don’t speak about the darkness we all feel enough, and the following is not going to be light. Please do not think that I am doing something stupid because I am not, I love my life and I’m excited for my future. I have big plans which I intend on seeing through. 

I’ve never really considered my thoughts as dark until I spoke to a therapist about how I’ve been feeling. The truth is I know if I died today though people would be sad, they’d understand I lost my battle. I know my friends would cope because they always stood by me and they wouldn’t think I was selfish. They’d be happy to know me, darkness and all- because without sounding too cocky I came into their lives and helped them. My family is who I worry about, they would forgive me eventually, but I don’t know if I’d forgive myself for putting them through that. When I was 14, we went to Switzerland with the scouts at my school and as I stood on the top of a glacier in the Alps I considered just letting go- I haven’t told anyone this before. The only thing that kept me walking and going was my sister was waiting for me to return from that walk. She doesn’t know that. 

Growing up I felt guilted out of wanting to die, everywhere you look people are trying to force an image on you on how it’s selfish and how could you put your loved ones through that. I remember a therapist once telling me that I was a horrific daughter for wanting to die, she compared her youth to me and said over and over again about how I had it all. All the material possessions you could want, I was given freedom as a teen and stretched my parents thin by bunking school, getting in trouble and just being an overall nuisance. The whole time however I felt misunderstood and at fault for feeling like that, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve been called ‘spoilt’ and a ‘princess’ and though I understand the privileged position I’m in I can’t ignore how it makes me feel. It’s almost as if just by being physically spoilt mentally I should be on top of the world when that is far from a reality. 

I saw a tiktok this morning that said, “you’re a cis-white woman- what do you have to be depressed about?” – we live in a world where the stigma continues to be real surrounding mental health problems and rather than forcing the world to be a more accepting place for all beings, we continue to form divisions and belittle others. A person’s mental health isn’t subject to their wealth, social status, race or sexuality, though it’s proven that some of those can alleviate the problem it doesn’t mean they are the only ones subjected to being mentally ill. Let’s stop trying to divide and maybe make the world a better place so it’s not such a prevailing and overwhelming problem that most people face. 

I’m going to end this here because quite frankly I’ve lost the point I intended on making, I’m not going to promise to be more active because I’m really struggling to keep on top of all of my university work at the moment whilst working through the trauma, I promised myself I’d resolve. It isn’t going to be a quick fix and the unfortunate thing is I could spend the next five, six years trying to force myself into learning and understanding my past and it wouldn’t be enough. I’ll still post, I just can’t make any promises on the consistency for the following weeks. 

Thank you, love you all. See you soon (hopefully) xxx

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100 days sober

Heyyyy

I hope you’ve all been doing well; I’ve had the strangest few days seeing different members of family and a job interview up in Dundee. I’m writing this on route to London where I’m finally getting my Coronavirus vaccine, I can’t wait to finally be a bit safer from this virus after this long year. My anxiety has been going mad for so long and even though I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with being outside and seeing people I still struggle with large groups, though after over a year of being in some form of isolation I’ve become somewhat used to not being around a lot of people.

Onto today’s subject, I’ve been so busy and I’m also a little behind on my university work and so I didn’t really think I’d have time to do this post but due to my train down and my lack of interest in doing my literature for my dissertation I’ve been able to dedicate time to writing the post I feel proudest about. Today I hit 100 days sober, that’s 100 days of no hangovers, no binge drinks and no poorly made decisions based off of being drunk- it’s been amazing.

I’ve spoken about this in the past, but for anyone reading who hasn’t read the one before. After years of binge drinking and abusing my body and brain with alcohol in January, I made the first official step to not drinking every day and looking after my mind. I feel like alcohol abuse is rarely taken serious especially through university as the norm is to do 3–4-day stints on the drink recovering from hangovers by continuing to poison the body. For me it wasn’t just drinking a lot, when explaining myself sometimes people have shrugged off my problems on the basis, I’m young and not watching my life and future fall apart through being dependent on drink. I’ve heard everything over the past 100 days, how my battle and pain is irrelevant as others have known people be out of work/homeless etc. Just because my battle is different to those you have experienced doesn’t mean it’s any less or especially any easier. 

I’ve spoken quite openly through this past year about my battles and whilst I haven’t explored or explained everything, I think I’ve made it clear I battle with horrific trauma, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and though I’ve been working very hard with therapists to contain and resolve some of it I know it’s a marathon and not a sprint. I used alcohol as a quick fix, in 2019 I went through some dark stuff and I spent majority of the year wanting to leave the world for good. I stopped caring for myself and started eating horrifically, I began drinking most days and would always find an excuse to go to a Wetherspoons for a cocktail jug or two. 

I’ve not touched alcohol in 100 days with my last drink being a 50ml bottle of pink mermaid gin and a lemonade after a stressful day sorting a presentation. I remember that day as if it was yesterday so to know that it’s 100 days ago is so strange to me. 100 days is a long time to drastically change something about yourself especially alcohol addiction and yet I managed it. I took time out to realise what was not only bringing me down but also keeping me there and when I found it, I just stopped. 

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t times, I’ve considered just pouring myself a drink. If I’m really struggling and my mental state is terribly low, I’ll even put off food shops just so I don’t pick up a bottle of my favourite rosé. When I went sober, I told my therapists and one told me it takes three weeks to kick a habit, after three weeks the pain and withdrawal will get less. 100 days have gone and the withdrawal though now minimal is not gone, I know now that I could have a drink on occasion without it becoming my personality again.

I used to be known for drinking, friends would be shocked if I hadn’t drunk all week and was sober instead. I wasn’t called out though, apart from my parents-to which I was never going to listen as I actively believed I knew best. It seems so wild to me now that I would be proud for going five days sober after a three-day stint, like how is that normal? I believed I was looking after myself and the truth is I was using drink to cover my pain and insecurities. I still struggle day-to-day with my confidence and insecure nature, but at least I don’t use alcohol as a cover-up for my genuine personality anymore.

In the last 100 days I:

  • Finally had my graduation ceremony and put Plymouth behind me.
  • Found my dream flat in Dundee.
  • Finished my last lecture after four years at university.
  • Finished all my assignments on time leaving me with just my dissertation to go.
  • Finalised my PhD thesis proposal (I just need to write it up over the next week or so).
  • Packed up everything, all of my belongings and prepared my mental state for the biggest move I’ve ever endured.
  • Finally got specialist help for my biggest traumas.
  • Began looking after my body and lost some weight.
  • Had doctor’s appointments after doctor’s appointments to deal with ear infections, an injured foot, my recent outbreak of acne and my PCOS (to which I’m getting specialist help for).

I did all of this without touching alcohol.

I went through the scariest moment of my adult life when I woke up unable to breathe in an allergic reaction whilst living alone and having to call an ambulance out. I sat with ECGs on my chest and had a heart rate double my normal for an hour straight due to my anxiety. I visited friends and family and sat with a Pepsi max rather than wine; I proved to myself that people do enjoy spending time with me even if I’ve not had a drink or am able to have a drink. I’ve done things that make me anxious, I’ve collected parcels and even dropped off parcels (something I have horrific fears about). I’ve tripped over my feet in public and instead of turning into a side road and finding my way home I’ve continued to walk to where I’m going, sometimes even without crying of embarrassment.

I’ve made so much progress and I will continue to whether I treat myself to a glass of wine or not. The woman I am now is not the same as the one I was 100 days ago, I’m not a confident person but I know I’ve done well. I don’t like myself, but I know that I am incredible for making the progress I have, I have admiration for the woman I have become because though it may seem I’ve been at home often through 2021 I spent a lot of time alone. I lived alone and didn’t break down; I didn’t question my abilities daily. I knew and trusted that I’d get there whether it took all year or not.

What I’m trying to say and what I hope I’ve conveyed is; life is difficult, and we often come up with coping mechanisms and majority of the time they are unhealthy. I used to bottle everything up and try to cry once a month and let it all out, now I’ll happily cry a few times a week because I know it’s cathartic. We need to stop pretending that coping with terrible trauma deserves stigma, there is nothing embarrassing about needing help, about needing to look after yourself and yet every time I take time to myself, I second guess my abilities as a woman.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I hope now that I’ve hit this milestone it continues. I’m happy to have my first drink upon moving into my new flat in a few weeks to begin my new venture. The beginning of the rest of my life, and I’m happy to be entering it trusting and knowing that whilst I know I’m not cured of alcohol misuse for life- it is indeed possible. I hope I never fall victim to my old ways again because I deserve better than that. If you are struggling with a similar thing, please feel welcome to reach out to me, I’m always here to listen.

Thank you, see you all soon

Byeeee

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Emotional Hoarding ruined my week

Hiiyaaa

I hope everyone has had a good week; it’s been so surreal returning to shops after so long. I didn’t realise how much I missed the concept of walking into a shop and being able to look and feel clothes rather than ordering some VERY hit and miss clothes online. Monday I finally got my acrylics back which has made me feel complete once again, it’s been a long few months; hopefully we don’t have to endure another lockdown though even whilst writing I’m concerned we will. 

As I’ve explained before I’m moving my whole life up to Scotland in May, in around a month. Unfortunately moving consists of packing, something I despise with all of my being. Last week I had a really big breakdown and I want to unpick it with you all.

I’m not shy around sharing parts of my life, but my triggers are very private. In the past I’ve been burnt out by ones I’ve loved, and my own triggers, trauma and pain has been used as leeway to hurt me. I’m not great at change, I prefer things to stay as I’m used to, and I think that’s why I fight for things even when I know they are hurting me. I’ve ran myself into the ground multiple times trying to keep friendships alive because I never knew who I was without them. How do you lose friendships with people who six years prior were unintentionally saving your life? I’ve never been good at just leaving people who I have emotional attachment too, a lot of my friends were around in my hardest days and continued to be around to 2019 the hardest year of my life. How do you lose people like that?

I’m an emotional hoarder, my closest friends are aware of this. I like to keep hold of cards, presents, even pieces of paper signatured with singers who I’m sure have left the profession since. Whilst packing up my stuff, I’ve come across all my memories. I’ve found birthday cards from as far back as my 12th birthday and found cards where my friends would make fun of me liking boys who I can’t even remember what they look like. It’s bittersweet having these memories, reading cards and knowing the love I have for these people even the ones out of my life is what makes me weaker. I live in the past because despite not being the girl I was 10 years prior I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing.

Would 12-year-old Emily be proud of 22-year-old Emily? To be honest I don’t know. I had big plans for my future when I was younger and the older, I got the less likely those plans became, I’m finally achieving them, but I still question everything I do. Do I know what’s best for me when just over two years ago I was actively trying to end my life? I always look back on my youth and I see hate, and pain. I remember missing school for concerts, meet-ups. Even when I was at school my mind was elsewhere, I was a terrible student because I didn’t care. Once my teachers had made it abundantly clear that I was too dumb to make it I’d given up on myself, others would use that as motivation, but I was using every bit of effort I had on finding a reason to stay alive and grades were not my priority.

I found old certificates from when I was in primary school, for outstanding work etc. I found dance certificates, and swimming competition certificates. I couldn’t remember ever getting them, depression took that from me. I completely forgot there was a time where I didn’t have to motivate myself to live. A time where I would live freely and love the world that I was in. 

My fangirl phase was exceptional, I made so many memories and friends. I still speak to some of them, and the others I hope they are doing well. I was in a fandom for a band called Stereo Kicks, a lot of people won’t remember them. I was 15 and despite the fact life was kicking me in the teeth, it was the best days. I was attached to this idea of online friendships and nothing was going to change how much love I had for those, people always used to shun me for having them- that their fake friendships were somehow worth more. I always felt quite alone through school, I have two amazing best friends that I met there and a few other friends I barely speak to or see. Having the platform, I had on social media helped me through more than I can ever explain, I had quite a lot of followers and especially when I met the boys for the first time the love, I got moved me to tears. There were tens of other accounts tweeting about me meeting Reece Bibby and the love and support was incredible, I’ve never felt as loved as then. Of course, it comes to an end and after all these years it’d be a lie to say I remember them all but the truth is much different. 

I still have all of the leaflets, CDs, etc., many of which are signed and looking through them all is overwhelming. My mental health was horrific, I didn’t care about living and I was pretty sure I’d kill myself before I would complete my GCSEs so what difference would spending the summer at concerts rather than studying for the exams. It was one of the best summers of my life, I made so many memories and when I see photos, I’m taken straight back to them with a huge smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

The problem with having depression through your youth is the more time you spend fighting to stay alive than living and reminiscing on the good times. The harsh truth is I can clearly remember when people did me wrong, when things got tough or when someone said something which dramatically changed how I viewed myself; but I’m incapable of remembering the laughs I had without looking back at photos. My friends always used to love my memory, I’d always know everyone’s birthdays and random facts about people. I still have a lot of space in my head taken up by that and yet I feel like I’ve lost everything. My photos are all I have, and it sucks that me and my friends rarely took photos, growing up. My body image was horrific and so photos were rarely taken, it’s only since I’ve gained a bit more confidence that I’ve began to take photos and it’s genuinely the only way I remember certain things. 

To be honest I don’t know how much I’d want my memory back, there are things and days where I know that if I began to remember them, I’d hate myself even more. I’ve never really been well-liked as a human, I guess I’m like a ‘marmite’ human- some people love me, and others hate me. I’m strongly opinionated and despite having crippling anxiety in most cases I have no trouble saying what I want. Through school I got called petty a lot and described as a psycho, but the truth is, half the people there blindly went along with friendships, relationships and conversations because they valued popularity over having a personality. It’s harsh but true. 

I found a lot of birthday cards; from people I’ve not seen or spoken to since leaving school and from friends I no longer have. It was emotional reading how much these people loved me, yet just years later they are no longer in my life. The type of people who never checked in, who were another viewer on a story of me crying and didn’t take five seconds to check I was okay. The funny thing is when they had something to brag about, they’d come running to me or one of my close friends knowing the news would hit me, that was the problem with our school- no one cared about each other they just wanted to beat everyone. 

I found the only birthday card I have saved from my Mormor and Morfar, the last letter I have with her handwriting. You never realise how much you are still hurting till you find something like that, I’m still a wreck and it won’t take me back. You can cry and cry till you feel numb, but the truth is nothing’s going to change the outcome. Sometimes I hate the fact that I can’t get rid of things, that I have such emotional attachment to cards and pieces of paper, etc., but then I find stuff like that. Stuff I didn’t realise I had and I’m just so grateful to have found- nothing compares to knowing I have those memories and I’ll have them through the rest of my life.

So, packing as I’m sure you’ve guessed has been an emotional rollercoaster. I’m still unsure about how I’m feeling and so I’m taking one step at a time, but the next month I’m sure my anxiety will continue to harass me. I hope that next month once the initial stress of unpacking everything I own and making the flat my home I’m met with the happiness I deserve. 

Thank you for listening as always, there *might* be a small break before the next post as I am approximately 3 weeks behind on university work and according to my well-thought schedule, I am beginning writing my dissertation on May 1st and should have all my data ready before which is a far overreach from where I am right now. 

Stay safe and I’ll be back as soon as I can put some time aside to write. 

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Lessons I needed to learn before I turned 20…

Heyyy

I’m back! I’ve been at home packing for the past week or so, it’s been so stressful and tiring. I hate packing, it’s the thing I hate most in life and yet I find myself packing so frequently whether that be for a quick weekend home or the biggest move of my life so far. I’m working really hard to get a lot done in a short amount of time, between sourcing literature, finding furniture and keeping my mental health in check I’ve found myself quite tired.

In the past when life has given me a lesson, I’ve often shrugged it off, accepted that not only is it unimportant but also the lesson will never occur again for me to need to act in a different way. If there’s something I’ve learnt in the past few months, young me was so obtuse to learning. My stubborn nature has left me repeating my mistakes more times than I’d prefer to admit, and I’m on a mission to change that. Here are the lessons I needed to learn (and listen to) before I turned 20:

  • Not everyone who celebrates you at your highest will be there to lift you up at your lowest – though quite self-explanatory it’s very easy to be around someone who is constantly on a high, who has reason to be elated, but when you drop, and moods are barely there who’s around. Who continues to be there through the down periods as well as the up? 
  • You do not need to have the same opinions as everyone – there’s no need to pretend to like something for the greater population, life’s too short to pretend to be someone you aren’t. I spent too many years, and I’m sure there’s many like me, pretending to like things and losing parts of my personality just so I fit in that now I’m not even sure what I truly love. Is my personality an infringement of the environment I grew up in or is it the real me? I’m still on a journey to find out. 
  • Avoid people with toxic mindsets – I’ve often found myself being strung along by people in the hope I can change their behaviours. People who have strong opinions which differ completely from my own, people who are incapable of accepting that their opinions are bigoted and in many cases offensive to members of society. The many times I’ve been able to rid myself of individuals who have spoken ill of women, sexuality, race, etc., only strengthens the point that people like that will never see themselves as being in the wrong. It’s always the “I’ve got a right to an opinion” and never anything different. Ridding my life of people like that has time-and-time again proven how the ‘right’ people in your life can really make it worthwhile. 
  • Being mentally ill isn’t an excuse – if you are a terrible person, you cannot use your mental health as an excuse. I’ve had to make some pretty hard apologies over the years, I’ve said and done some disgusting things over the years and though at the time I can guarantee my mental health wasn’t in shape it doesn’t excuse what I have done. Real growth is knowing that you are still at fault for your actions if they offend or hurt someone.
  • It’s never too late to apologise – Sometimes in the moment you don’t see how your own behaviours impact others, and sometimes it takes years to admit and acknowledge that you were at fault. An apology isn’t invalid just because it comes years after, many would say it’s not needed but I disagree. I personally wouldn’t be able to live with myself if words went unsaid and I know a lot of people feel exactly the same. 
  • Time doesn’t slow down, don’t take it for granted – it’s very easy to beg to be older than you are, the closer you get to 18 you may spend throwing days away until you are legal to drink, etc. Or leaving school, if like me you had a particularly negative time in education you may beg for the end of school, to never see those who annoy you on a daily basis again. You’ll regret wishing away your youth, they weren’t the best years of your life but had you lived them in a better way then perhaps you’d have made more memories than the consistent moaning to finally leave. It’s not all about the necessary moving through stages of life, but also the longer spent trying to rid yourself of your youth the more you wish away what could end up being your final years with certain family/friends. You aren’t the only one growing up, love every second you have with those around you. One day you’ll beg to have them back for another second. 
  • YOLO (you only live once) – although even I am having second-hand embarrassment from typing that, I’m pretty certain I’ve never non-sarcastically wrote it. But the sentiment is true, we only have one life as far as we know. Girl Meets World taught me the secret to life is ‘people change people: what us does for them’; daily we are faced with negativity through the media, news, etc. and yet instead of doing anything to make the world a more positive place we allow this hatred and negativity to not only intrude our lives but take over. I used to have a negative mindset whereby I didn’t care about anyone because no one cared about me when I was at my lowest. You can’t expect the world to stop for you, no one is going to come to your aid and that’s a harsh life lesson to learn but it’s something I think we all need to hear. You have to be your own lifeline first. 
  • Therapy doesn’t make you weak – if anything it should be compulsory. I’m yet to speak to someone who wouldn’t benefit from receiving help from a trained psychiatrist. Speaking about things, even slowly, helps make it better. I’m not going to lie to you all and tell you it’s a quick fix because when it comes to mental health nothing is a quick fix. Every day comes past, and you hope it’s all gone, and you are happy, but that day doesn’t come. You become more and more content; therapy helps. Without my therapy sessions I don’t think I would be able to speak about half the things I’ve publicly told you all. This blog is like a secret diary to me, it’s where I can come and let out my frustrations and my pain and you don’t have to read it. My therapist is forced to listen to this and more, all of my therapists over the years are the reason I’m still able to fight my brain.  
  • Self-care isn’t just a facemask and bubble bath – Wednesdays at university used to be for my facemask and time to myself. During the first lockdown I’d have a bubble bath, do a hair mask and a clay mask every Wednesday. I spent years wondering why I would still be so restless after giving myself this hour or so weekly to unwind and be within myself. I wasn’t looking after myself; my skin was so clogged with fake tan and makeup, my body altered through my addiction to alcohol and my unresolved problems with food. I was giving myself an hour a week where I’d still scroll through social media, I’d facetime my friends or watch a show I’d watch through the rest of the week also. I never took time out of my busy schedule to work on myself, I didn’t take myself on walks or ask myself if I’m okay. I’m twenty-two years old and I’ve only just began asking MYSELF if I’m okay, I can’t rely on others to ask me and so I have to check on my own feelings. Self-care is understanding your feelings and emotions before they make you physically and mentally burst, self-care is about becoming your best you. 
  • Alcohol doesn’t fix anything, it prolongs the pain – I’ve had a rough day today, I’ve also told most the people who’ve seen me that I’m desperate for a bottle of wine. I’m fighting my brain daily and today it’s too much. I could end my almost 3 months of sobriety today and I wouldn’t even care, I’ve done so well. When I began my journey, I knew it wasn’t a forever fix, I just wanted to be able to drink from a healthier place. I hope I’ve done that; I hope I’ve proven to myself that alcohol isn’t my puppet master no longer and instead I am in control. I drank from a negative place for so long, I would wake up in a bad place and know the only thing that would fix my mood was a bottle of wine and so I’d go and get it. Until you realise you have a problem it’s very easy to ignore it and to continue on your path of destruction, but I promise you it’s worth getting out of it. 

I could go on and on about the lessons I’ve learnt but to be honest I’m on a brink of a mental breakdown. Live everyday as if it is your last, never have any regrets and the best bit of advice I could ever give is be happy. Life doesn’t get better overnight; I’m still waiting for the better. I’ve been lucky to pick up some good advice, some good friends and some good memories along the way. I hope that continues.

Love you all, thank you for being here. You all make me want to be a better me. 

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March

Heyyy

Long-time no see, enjoy this look back on the most stressful month I’ve had in ages. 

University – Wow compared to my look back on February I’ve had such a different month. I’ve been working at the university, though not often it’s been nice to occasionally get out the house. I’ve had continuous deadlines through the month and found it difficult to convey how I’ve been feeling. I began with a reflection piece, which really made me think about events which I assumed didn’t bother me. Following that just a few days later I handed in my dissertation proposal which has been approved!! So, I can finally begin my work on that, something which I am terrified but excited for. I’ve also handed in a 4000-word essay on Sex Education which I did in the space of 4 days after a month of procrastinating on my project on Subscription Porn. The following two months are going to be dedicated to my dissertation and whilst I can’t wait, I also know it’s going to be a lot of hard work. 

Family – I’m very grateful for the family I have, it’s been an incredible month and my parents have supported me through it all whether that be furniture shopping or waking up through the night to my phone calls from the hospital/ambulance. Truly grateful.

Diet – After having a really bad foot injury I’ve really struggled to do exercise which in a way has really affected how I’ve been eating. I’ve eaten more takeaways due to stress and the inability to stand up. Around the time of my severe allergic reaction, I struggled to eat and that didn’t help the whole situation, I felt more tired and restless which made me feel worse for not eating but I physically couldn’t. I’ve not gained weight, though I’ve not lost weight unfortunately. Hopefully soon though. 

Friends – I miss my friends; I miss seeing them so much. Soon though! (Hopefully)

Health – Last month I spoke about how I had a lot of health problems. I didn’t think it’d get worse. My ultrasound scan found that I still have eggs, though not a lot. I’m hoping to get an appointment with a gynaecologist soon where I can discuss freezing my eggs and the potential of going on tablets to help losing weight with PCOS. I’m now on tablets for my acne, and I’ve seen such a difference in how my skin is looking. Long may it continue. I’ve recently found out I have a Vitamin D deficiency and so I’ve been on booster tablets for that ahead of beginning to take supplements daily for that. I had an allergic reaction a few weeks ago where I ended up calling an ambulance out as I was unable to breathe, I’d had a reaction to UTI tablets and I’m still in shock how that night worked out for me. It was scary to go through that alone, even though I had friends and family down the phone all night. 

Miscellaneous – We got the flat, I’m so excited to move to Dundee and begin the next aspect of my life! It’s been incredible to work through a lot of my problems and yesterday I actually finished my therapy sessions with the university. I’ve grown a lot since I began university in Carlisle and it’s evident through how I hold myself and the confidence I’ve recently started showing in both myself and my work. 

I’m proud of the woman I am, and this month has been both mentally and physically challenging and yet I haven’t had any alcohol or done anything typically toxic (though I’m sure my mum would class my desire for new clothes toxic). I’m learning to deal with things in a mentally better way and I hope it continues because I deserve this. I wasted too much time being in pain, hating myself and not living my life how I wanted. Hopefully that’s over and I can look after myself more. 

Also, I can’t believe tomorrow is April. This year is going so fast, I’m happy, but still a bit scared. 

See you in April.

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What does it mean to be ‘clever’?

Heyyy

Last week was possibly the most stressful week of my time at university, despite only having one deadline, and I’m wiped out. I know we are almost at the end of March and my monthly update is not out, it will be out tomorrow I promise. This month has been mad for me with health and life problems, so I haven’t had the time to really motivate my time to reflecting. 

I was always the token ‘dumb’ friend, I don’t think people realised I noticed how they’d speak down to me. I don’t think they still realise; I’d make one mistake and rarely live it down in people’s eyes. Someone genuinely made a deal with me that every time I used a ‘long-word’ correctly they’d give me 5p, how did I let that slide? I did some stupid things, and my grades were terrible, but I was also in an environment which was fuelled by those with higher average grades than most. 

I noticed how teachers would give up on me during lessons and then conveniently conjure up enough belief in me at parent’s evenings that would belittle my obvious struggles whilst saying I should do more work as I was full of potential. They didn’t believe that though, I was their anomaly, and they didn’t know how to manage it. I still don’t know how I got to where I am today, I was told frequently I’d never make it anywhere. I believed them too.

Before I joined my secondary school, I had one of the best grades in my primary school, I had one of the highest SAT scores in both Maths and English. My science grades lacked, but that’s not a shock considering how terrible I still am at science. I truly believed I was gifted before secondary school; I was amazing at tests and rarely felt pressure. The only time I can remember pressure was doing the entry exams to the private schools in the area, around the same time my mental health was lacking, and I was struggling to concentrate and motivate myself to get into a school that I knew none of my ‘friends’ would be going to. I still got into all the schools despite it all, those tests were the first ones I ever struggled with. The first time I cried because of an exam I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know how to deal with it, unfortunately it went downhill from that day.

Since then, I would revise and if I was quizzed before an exam by my friends, I knew the stuff, then I’d get into the exam hall sit down and my brain would wipe. I couldn’t remember facts, quotes, statistics, etc. my brain would reset. I always thought I just wasn’t capable, because that’s what I was told. However, it was my anxiety and for the longest time I let people trick me into thinking I was a waste of potential and instead I would flourish in a non-academic position. 

When it came to applying for university, I was a mess, I wasn’t sure it was the perfect route for me and then my predicted grades felt like it cemented I was never going to get in. I remember crying over and over again, especially when certain teachers told me I’d be better off not going to university and continuing in my job at McDonalds. Yes, that really did happen. I put all the negativity to the back of my mind and applied for Sociology at four universities and Social Work at one; within 10 days I had acceptance from four and an interview invite from the other. Even with my terrible grades. 

Then came the confidence, I knew I’d still have to get the grades they were offering, and my teachers reminded me continuously I wasn’t clever enough to do so. I didn’t feel like it was a problem however, and the closer it got to the real exams the more stressed I became. I wasn’t doing any better, and I was still struggling to manage my anxiety surrounding exams and tests. Then one day I got a letter from the University of Plymouth, it gave me an unconditional and meant that my work was no longer a worry. I’m so relieved that happened, because truly I wouldn’t be in this position had it not been for that letter. No one could believe it and teachers were so shocked they stopped talking to me and actively avoided bumping into me.

I left school with two A Levels, I barely studied and didn’t particularly care what happened. I was working most days and others drinking away my depressive moods. I didn’t really focus much, and the further I got into the exams the less I seemed to care. So, when it came to results day the only tears, I was seen with were over the fact my best friend didn’t get into Plymouth with me. (I know she’s reading this and scowling so I’ll put the records straight- she did get in just not for the course she wanted and ended up elsewhere instead). 

I was nervous though; through school I was always the dumb child. People spoke down to me and made me feel inferior just because my intelligence wasn’t measured by the same standards as them. I didn’t care about grades, I had real life experiences and to be completely honest I was just happy and proud to be alive. I went to university thinking I was stupid and was shocked when my grades started coming back well, I wasn’t failing and till second year’s exam I wasn’t even getting close to the failing mark. I’d put bare minimum effort into modules I found less interesting and still do decently, I was in utter shock.

The problem is, I wasn’t confident within myself. I’d write my assignments how I’d speak, never using long words as I was scared, I’d use them wrong, or someone would see past this façade I believed I was putting on. The number of times I had ‘academic tone’ sprawled over my essays is evidence of this. I love writing, but I’m unsure how to sound clever as I spent so many years living up to this ideology that I was not just inadequate but entirely useless. I still struggle with this today, I actually voiced my issues to my PhD supervisors telling them I was terrified that the way I was writing my proposal was making me sound dumb as I was using ‘short words’ and they told me I was overthinking. The problem is, when you’ve spent your whole life trying to prove your worth you get into a nasty headspace. 

The truth is I was never dumb, no matter what people said about me I wasn’t dumb. I didn’t need ten people to explain the simplest of things like people thought, I just didn’t enjoy the subjects. Education isn’t linear and I’m proof that just because I went to a ‘good’ school and had ‘support’ and ‘opportunities’ doesn’t mean that I am well educated. I didn’t learn anything about life, about living or progression past our bubble. I barely understood how university worked, educationally I didn’t understand my own mental health problems and I definitely didn’t understand how to project a future which wasn’t your typical STEM, medical or economics route. 

I was an anomaly, my time at school taught me to appreciate the social skills I have been blessed with. I struggle to speak and give opinions in groups of people, but I more than make up for it with my ability to listen and comprehend what is being said to me. If I’d been listened to by my teachers when I’d said I didn’t want to go to university and that my future wasn’t dependent on some letters on a piece of paper, then perhaps I wouldn’t be in the position I am now. With my dream of being a doctorate around the corner (a six-year corner but still close) it’s very difficult not to reflect on what would’ve been had I been listened to and understood back in school. 

I spent every day struggling to fit in with a group of people who are academically excellent. Trust me- I’ve been friends with them, I’ve lived in shadow of my YOUNGER sister my whole life and I’ve never forgotten the comments on my academics I’ve endured over the years. I’m not an A* student, in fact I rarely saw one through my time in education and when I was lucky to it was usually out of pity and not related to my exams. Grades don’t define you; you aren’t worth the same as some letters on a piece of paper. That being said, grades help you get where you want to be. I can’t deny that I’ve not sat and cried when applying for my masters that my A Level grades were not even sub-par and had potential to completely derail the future, I’m currently in. I also know that I’m at a point in my academic life that my qualifications post-school will end up outweighing any grades I had previously and shouldn’t hinder my future opportunities.

To anyone out there like me, you are worth so much. You are not worthless, useless, ‘going nowhere’. Our education system survives on those with good memories, we reward those who can memorise and string together responses and look down on those who mentally don’t have the capacity to do so. Hopefully one day that changes, I know that I would’ve benefitted from that and maybe one day we’ll stop forcing competition between peers over trivial problems like Pythagoras or the dates that specific events happened in WW2. I look forward to a day where hopefully my children don’t feel pressured to conform to typical academic standards. 

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Life got better, didn’t it?

Heyyy

Sorry for being MIA again, I’ve had deadlines all week and I really should be working on instead of typing this, but I’ve been really low, and I finally understand how I’m feeling enough to write about it. The upcoming weeks are full of hand-ins/finding literature and meetings which is exciting, but also means I’m barely getting time to do things I enjoy including writing these posts for you all. 

I’m a very private person, I know it doesn’t seem like it and sometimes I sit and think that I’ve shown you all too much of me, but I really haven’t. My journey isn’t sunshine and rainbows, it’s not all dark and gloomy either. I’ve been up and down more times than I can even explain and yet I’ve never been in the current state I’m in. I’m happy.

Pre high school I was clever, I had really high marks in most tests and I excelled around the clock in subjects. The shift into year 7 had an incredible effect on me, I lost all my confidence and didn’t know who or what I was. I’ve spent the last 10 years working out who I am and for the first time I think I know.

I’m a woman whose life has never been easy, things don’t come easy to me and they probably never will. My brain struggles to understand and retain information, I find pleasure in learning until I’m tested and then I crumble. I’ve been given so much opportunity and been so spoilt that I’ll struggle in the future to live up to my own expectations. I have so much love and strength surrounding me and yet I prefer to fight my own battles and struggle alone and silent. I’ve spent so many years silently crying I struggle to emote in a normal fashion. I cry to TV shows I’ve seen thousands of times not only for relevance, but the opportunity to relive a moment that hurt which isn’t my own pain. I watch shows over and over again because I despise surprises, I ruin things before they get good, so I don’t get hurt. I have ridiculously high expectations for myself, for my future and when change comes along, I cower and decline. 

Two years ago, I was struggling with everything. I was alone. I had friends, but I was alone. Today, now- I’m struggling with everything and I’m not alone. I have friends and they remind me continuously that I need them to get through this. Three years ago, I spoke about getting re-diagnosed with depression, I didn’t have the energy to fight it and though there is always light at the end of the tunnel I was barely crawling and wasn’t going to make it just yet. Three years later and though I am clearly very depressed I’m walking to the end of that tunnel; the problem is I have so many obstacles in my way.

A few weeks back I had a huge breakdown which changed everything for me, some random guy from tinder spoke to me nastily. Belittling me and questioning me, we spoke about religion and I spoke about my beliefs and in that time, I realised I wasn’t okay. I never was going to be okay because I couldn’t talk about what had happened to me. I couldn’t explain how I felt because I’ve never had to before. I go to therapy and I trick myself into thinking everything’s perfect, but it isn’t. 

I’m moving away from London because my memories of the place are not good. I feel claustrophobic and running into people from my past stops me from being able to move on with my future. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to leave London and a lot including myself didn’t think it’d ever be a reality. So, this comes to my predicament- how can I really want to leave if packing everything up is making me so depressed? I’ve lived there my whole life, minus for university and though I’ve always spoken about hating London it is home. It’s where my friends are and my family and my cats- but it’s not where I thrive.

I’ve been struggling for the past month with a lot, my depression has thrived, and I’ve really struggled with day-to-day tasks even if I’ve seemed to be in a good place. I’ve put off a lot of my uni work and been focused on Netflix, something I don’t typically put a lot of time into. I’ve rested and yet I’m still restless, having messed my sleep schedule and only recently sorting it out. I’ve cried most nights, mainly to my TV shows but also at the pure incompetence of my motivation at the moment. I’ve cried over and over again looking at the list of uni work I have left to do before the end of my masters, and I’ve cried knowing I’m basically at the end. 

I’ve been back and forth between Carlisle and London for multiple medical appointments and in the last month had an ear infection, sprained foot, multiple PCOS appointments, acne appointments, a UTI and an allergic reaction to medication. I’m shattered, I feel like people think I’m ridiculously dramatic especially around my health, but the truth is I do have bad health and even if I look after myself, I still end up stuck in this state where I can’t even look after myself. 

Mentally I’ve been low, and I’ve tried to work through it, in every way possible. I’ve been to therapy and recently just joined a waiting list for CBT therapy with all sorts of hope that it helps. I’m really trying hard, without pushing myself, to better my mental state and it’s been so difficult. I’ve had to deal with the mental strain of more PCOS appointments and knowing I’m getting closer to ages where I’d love a child and I’m having to consider freezing eggs is really difficult for me. I don’t know what the upcoming months have planned for me, hopefully a dissertation which goes to my detailed plan and a move into my new flat which also goes to plan. But mentally I don’t know.

At what point do we stop being hopeful that better days exist? I’ve waited years to be in a good place, to be not only dreaming about my future but living in it. I’m sitting applying for a PhD which I never thought would be possible and I’m moving to a city which I have loved (on my two visits), I’m stronger than ever because I can do things independently. I’m able to walk into the hospital alone, I’m able to go food shopping alone, I’m able to live alone. Things I wasn’t sure I’d ever manage I’m now capable of and I’m not sure what this means for my future, but long may it continue. I deserve it to continue. 

I’ve tried, and succeeded in many ways, to be off social media over the past weeks with everything that’s happened in the media to women. One day I’ll be able to speak freely about my own experiences but it’s not now and I’ve struggled to keep myself sane in such a triggering time. Does it get easier over time? That’s a genuine question because so far, I’m not convinced. 

I’m going to attempt to be more productive on here, I’ve got a lot to say, and this is my only outlet without burdening my friends and family. I love you all, thank you for sticking this out. I’ve seen all the views in the 3 weeks I’ve been MIA, I’ve seen the new followers. I appreciate you all. 

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February

Heyyyy everyone

I’m so sorry that I’ve had a small break, I’ve had multiple things going on over the past two weeks and haven’t been as focused as I wanted to be. 

University – I’ve been strangely unmotivated over the course of February, once my January coursework was in I just sort of fell off the side of the world. I woke up craving Netflix and wasn’t focusing on my work at all. It’s only in the past few days that I’ve began to realise how terrible it would be for me to fall behind. I can only explain it in one way- last year I was striving ahead, I had all my dissertation research completed and I had a lot of research complete ready for my write up. February 2020 my brain went into breakdown as I was on tablets dealing with UTI’s and then tonsillitis for the entire month. That isn’t an over-exaggeration I was on tablets from the 31st of January to the 1st of March; it was terrible. I fell so behind with university as I was so drained from the side effects of the tablets, my depression plummeted, and a lot of life problems threw me into a huge pit- I didn’t go into university for the month and despite how anxious I was about falling behind I was too anxious to begin doing the work also. I feel like this year, I’ve been trying to pretend that everything is good, but the truth is I’m terrified that something is going to turn up and stop me from doing how well I have. 

So, this year I have been unmotivated. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, especially when so far this year has been quite good for me. I’ve been looking after myself, I’ve had breakdowns, but I’ve dealt with them immediately rather than putting them off, so I don’t do anything stupid. I’ve rebegan doing work and I’ve realised how much I love education; how much I love what I study. I am incredibly passionate about society and I don’t think that’ll ever change- I want to learn and make society a greater place for everyone. I’ve never been so driven in my life. In relation to this I’ve been working hard on my PhD application and hopefully by the end of March it’ll be in making it completely official. I’m truly so excited. 

Family – I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been able to see my parents through this lockdown, I’ve been living alone and when things have been tough, I’ve been able to see them which has made everything so much better. Most of my family have managed to get their vaccinations which has definitely helped me feel better, at least they have some level of protection from coronavirus. 

Diet – beginning February I started intermittent fasting, I was only eating between 11 and 7 and to be honest that’s probably why my university work started to suffer. I’d wake up and go for a walk or stay in bed and watch tiktok till 11 and then eat before going on a 5k walk. Come back eat lunch and then have an hour lie down before doing 2 hours of working out and eating dinner. It stopped me from being able to study and I felt rushed in all forms. I had to change this and I’m glad that whilst I now eat throughout the day, I’m still eating on a calorie deficit. 

Friends – It has been almost a year since I last saw my friends in Plymouth, and it’s been almost 6 months since I saw one of my best friends. I’m very fortunate that I have incredible friends, but with life sometimes it’s difficult to keep on top of each other and keep in contact as much as I’d love us to. It’s a two-way street and there have been times when I know that I should just pick up the phone and give them a call but instead have watched Netflix. I hope my friends know I love them always. I did manage to see one even if it was for a second when I dropped a Wagamama’s takeaway to her front door on Valentine’s weekend and I think it was in that moment I realised how badly I needed to see my friends. 

Health – I thank life every day I wake up with good health. I’m typically ill around this time of the year, and this year I’ve been very lucky to stay healthy. Partly, I reckon, because I’ve not seen anyone and been holed up inside most the time. I think that being out clubbing a lot and celebrating my birthday etc. in the past has left me terribly ill (my own fault- I don’t wear enough clothes out). I’ve not been completely isolated from the doctors though and I’ve got a scan this weekend to work out why my period has been absent for almost half a year again; I also had an ear infection last week which was horrific as I literally couldn’t hear out of one ear and my head was ringing from morning to evening. It truly made me appreciate my hearing, even if I do have horrific hearing in general. My skin is clearing up and whilst I’ve had a few allergic reactions to hand sanitiser they’ve not been as bad as before so that’s always a plus. When I was 11, I fell over walking and fractured my left foot and unfortunately falling off a curb last week has left me for the past week with a swollen/painful foot- something I hope to also get checked out over the next few days. 

Miscellaneous – I’ve lost weight. Not as much as I’d have hoped but I’ve found myself spotting changes when I look in the mirror. My curves are coming back and some of my clothes are already starting to get too big- I’m genuinely so pleased. I’ve started to find joy in the smaller things and though I’ve been on my phone more it’s been on a game which challenges my brain so I’m not that mad about it. I’ve worked out my limits and over the past few weeks I’ve been pushed there a lot. 

Whilst writing this I cried for the second time since 2021 began. I was speaking about some things and for the first time in an awful long time I’d said things out loud which even I wasn’t ready to hear. I’ve been trying to face my fears, progress and be the woman I’ve always dreamt about being, but it wasn’t till today I realised the power my past still has over me. I owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people and I hope I get those apologies out because they deserve to hear it. Even if it is too late. Thank you for baring with me on this journey, it’s still so new to me that I have support and I’m truly grateful.

I love you all. I’ll be more active I promise!!

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One year free from sex…

Hey everyone!!!

Hope you are all doing good, despite a few injuries I’ve never felt so good with everything. I’m losing weight and I’m eating less meat which is helping me feel better. I’ve been stressed with all the university work and been dealing with the pain of working through a lot of trauma I’d supressed. 2021 for me is about making light of things that have pained, stressed and hurt me; I’ve been keeping so much hidden for so long I didn’t know if it’d ever get better. It’s finally being relieved though, I’ve done a lot of healing and talking about things I’ve barely told anyone- though I’m not ready to share I feel like this is the start of sharing a journey I’m lowkey proud of. 

I’d just like to put a disclaimer out there to my family, and family friends…and anyone really. This might be TMI but it’s part of my journey and I feel like I’m too often positive on this blog and you all deserve to see the rawness of my journey. So today we talk about all things SEX… and wow I apologise to my family members for this one. I know you read my blog, and this isn’t going to paint a lovely picture.

First of all, I want to STRESS this point, virginity doesn’t mean anything. The whole concept of virginity is a way of making a woman feel as if they are giving something up, something away. It’s not real. Your hymen can be broken from a number of things, virginity doesn’t even depend on a literal thing- it is a mental concept used to hold women to their body counts. 

Second of all, let me stress on body counts for a second. A lot of you reading will be wondering what a body count is, and it’s simply the number of people you sleep with. It’s not important, if you think reading this will give you an insight into my number you have another thing coming. I’m not here to give an insight into my sexual experiences but instead explore how it’s impacted my mental and physical health. 

PLEASE DON’T LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY TILL YOU ARE READY. Please don’t let anyone ever force you, guilt you or trick you into sex. You will most likely regret it if you do. 

I lost my virginity when I was 19, which for some reason is deemed late. I was ready before but wasn’t fussed, then the longer I left it the more anxious I got. I lost it when I was drunk, which considering most of my time at university it’s not a shock that that happened. It didn’t feel like a loss or a gain, I didn’t lose a part of me and I didn’t give up a part of me either. 

After I lost it, every time I saw a guy, for a date or whatever, people would assume I was sleeping with them. I don’t have a high sex drive; I never have and so I wasn’t sleeping around. I didn’t care and the first time I stupidly ended up having to take the morning after pill that changed a lot for me. The symptoms terrified me and as I had no care for myself, I went out drinking just hours after I’d taken the tablet leaving me with horrific side effects including dizziness, nausea and feeling light-headed. After that I’ve never not used protection, I don’t plan on taking that pill again unless I absolutely have to.

My experiences varied and majority of the time I was drunk, and I feel like that changes your experience dramatically. I ended up with terrible UTI’s even if I peed after sex and was on antibiotics every time, I slept with a guy to cure that. Then September 2019 I had an experience I’m not ready to talk about, but it changed the game. My body was changing, and I was gaining weight horrifically. I no longer felt confident in a lot of my clothes and it didn’t help that all of my friends were gorgeous; being wanted even for 15 minutes helped me. I didn’t notice how bad it got, I was doing it for the sake of it and not enjoying any part of it. 

January 31st 2020, I got very drunk and took someone home, I forced him to leave after 5 minutes as he was annoying me and as I fell asleep wearing the outfit I’d worn out with my makeup intact I remember thinking this is the end now. Considering the state, I woke up in the following morning I promised myself that I was going to take a break. I wasn’t going to continue sleeping with guys to help boost my confidence, or my image of myself because that release is worth 20 seconds. It’s not worth it at all. 

So, I began, and I won’t lie there has been times when I came very close to ending my year, but I made it. I realised that a lot of people are only talking to me for sex, and when you say a sentence like ‘I’m on a year without sex’ it’s often that it’s followed with – ‘when does that end then?’ ‘why do you need to do that?’. I’ve not often explained myself, but when I have explained my reasoning it’s often been met with resistance ‘I wouldn’t treat you like that’ ‘well we’ll just have to when your year is over’- how about no. 

I took a year off to help myself, and I feel like I spent most of it explaining to idiots why I wouldn’t sleep with them. I didn’t work through everything I needed to; I don’t feel like if I was to start to have sex today, I’d be in any better mental state than when I challenged myself to this. I’m 22 years old and I have a horrific relationship with myself, I’m often allowing myself to be pressured into situations that I have no want for. I let myself get broken down and end up guilted into things I don’t want to do, that changes. 

I’ve completed a year of no sex and barely anything has changed. The little control I lost of my body when I had casual sex has been regained but I haven’t learnt why things happened the way they did, I haven’t learnt anything from the whole experience. It’s been exactly 9 days since I realised how much of an impact this all had on me. How can I expect to better my mindset, body and health if I can’t even accept what has happened in the past?

So, by writing this I hope to move on. I wrote this on my year anniversary, but I couldn’t post it and so my drinking post went up instead. I know there will be a lot of judgement on this and to be honest I don’t know how I’ll cope with that, but I’m here to open up for my own sake and not yours. Writing my feelings helps share the load, and quite frankly I haven’t felt so light in a very long time. Here is a very honest post, I hope you enjoy reading it and if you need to hear it today then here it is. You are incredible, you’re worth so much more than you believe. Love you all lots, see you soon.

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My drinking problem…

Heyyyy

I’m so sorry I’ve been so silent; I’ve been swamped with coursework and then I’ve been a bit unmotivated to do anything- I’ve literally spent the past week watching Netflix and ignoring all of my responsibilities. I’ve also just got a new job which I can’t wait to begin as a Coronavirus tester at the university, I begin that next week and I’m so excited as I’ve missed working so much. 

I want to begin this blog post with an apology, to my family and my closest friends many of you didn’t know about what I was going through much less so how I was coping and what I weas using as a vice. This isn’t an easy post for me to write and I know for sure it won’t be easy to read back, but I want to show you all how easy it is to get caught up in something that could potentially ruin your life. 

I first drank alcohol outside of my house when I was about 13. To a lot of people that doesn’t seem like a shock and to others it’s mad. I never really saw the hype and I was always terrified I’d get in trouble with my parents if I was to come home drunk. I didn’t really drink through my time at school, it was definitely for the best as I already dealt with that quite badly and having gone through that time suicidal, I don’t think I ever would’ve recovered had I been drinking then.

A month before I turned 18 was the first time, I ever got drunk, I was horrific. I don’t remember anything about that night and only know what I’ve been told by others. I remember hearing that my friend had had to carry me to my car to which my father looked ridiculously disappointed. I remember going into work at 7am the next morning and lasting an hour before the smell of McDonalds breakfast led me to throwing up my insides and having to leave work early. I was so embarrassed and knew I’d get in trouble so rather than going home I trekked to my friend’s house and stayed until what would’ve been the end of my shift before making my way home pretending, I had worked through the pain. 

The rest of my final year in school I realised my full potential as a lightweight, I’d go out with my friends and I began finding new alcohols I loved. I began drinking more cocktails and realised how much I detested shots. I hated clubbing in London, it was expensive and the nights you got for the cost you paid wasn’t even slightly worth it. When I moved to university, I never thought I’d enjoy clubbing, I never thought I’d enjoy drinking either. Then it began… 

When I moved to university in 2017, I was actually in a really good mental state, I’d recovered from a lot and though my bipolar diagnosis was quite new I’d began to understand it and was learning how to control it. In my first week, as a fresher, I didn’t go out too much. My first night out I’d set the tone for the whole week having thrown up on my flatmate after two Jagerbombs. Never again. The rest of the week we had the occasional night out every other day and this turned slowly to a weekly night out. I drank more casually, having some wine occasionally or a malibu and coke whilst I did work in the evening. In the second half of that year, I went out more with a different group of people, and considering that I was just rediagnosed with depression and my PCOS diagnosis had come in I was in a vulnerable state. I shouldn’t have been drinking, especially to the amount I was. 

That summer I began working at concerts and festivals, and I truly thought that maybe I’d stop drinking so much because of it but I never did. I remember one night going out after working at British Summertime festival all day and going to one spoons before making our way to another- wearing our work uniforms and smelling of sweat and pints. I was in a bad way that night and so was my bank account as I regretfully looked at it the next morning, I’d been in an utter state. I’m not going to explain the story of that night because I am so embarrassed that I did what I did and if anything, it taught me that tiredness and alcohol doesn’t mix at all. Just a month later I began working at a tourist destination in London and at the start I thought that it was going to be really good for me to not be able to drink, it was in our contract that we’d be tested regularly. This quickly seemed to fade as I was invited for drinks most nights, celebrating people or just erasing the day that had just passed. I’d be in central London over an hour away from home at midnight knowing I was trekking the same journey back to work at 6 the next morning.

When I began second year, I didn’t expect what happened, I’m truly horrified how it played out. A few days into fresher’s week I was spiked on a night out and having spent the following day half spent throwing my guts up and half sleeping I still went out the following night. Granted I did it sober, and for almost a year past that date I refused to drink VKs remembering the state I’d been in that night. I began going for drinks in the evenings more and found myself often on cocktail bar crawls with friends not realising I’d been drinking day in day out for weeks. The night after I’d attempted on my life, I was in pryzm drinking all of the pain away with triple vodka cokes, they were the rough days. 

Then my 20th birthday came, and I spent the day drinking around family and friends, quickly followed by my trip to Amsterdam another trip I drank my way through. Then I returned to Plymouth and not only did I go straight back into going out every night, but I also began drinking through the days. Me and my course mate would go to 9am lectures knowing that at 12 we’d leave and head straight to the bar then drink ourselves blind before I went home ate and carried on drinking for a night out. I did a whole month of continuously drinking, and then March hit and I was vulnerable again. I’d had my heart broken and I was trying not to completely lose myself, so I did just that. I should’ve noticed myself hitting rock bottom when I got so drunk, I may as well have not gone to the Post Malone concert I’d been buzzing to go to for the past 5 months. 

I had complete FOMO though, and it was obvious by the number of times I’d planned to skip a night out and ended up out instead. I had severe attachment issues which led to high anxiety thinking if I missed out, I’d be left behind.  It was silly, but I couldn’t afford for it to happen like that. Summer 2019 I drank a lot again, I was dealing with a lot of pain and couldn’t deal with it alone like I was having to. I tried to stop drinking, but the feelings of loneliness were only growing and therefore drinking was really the only option I had. 

Freshers 2019 I went in with a new mindset, I knew that I had begun to use alcohol in the wrong way and was determined to change things. I didn’t realise that I wouldn’t be able to and I think that was one of the hardest things. I continued drinking a lot and made some terrible decisions, many of which I’m not ready to talk about yet. I hope one day I’ll be stable enough to explore them and let them be part of my history, but they are still part of my present state and I can’t change that. I was drinking a lot again; I’d often go out one night and without even recovering make my way to the pub for the following night. I began to plan my schedule around night outs and pub trips, around drinking and being hungover. It was disgusting how I’d began to live my life, but I couldn’t stop it and I also didn’t want to.

Being drunk was a way of releasing myself from the pain I was feeling. I felt untouchable like nothing could ruin me as long as I was drunk. It was so toxic. Over the course of lockdown, I began to see how I’d let alcohol influence me, I felt like I needed a drink every day. It wasn’t a want anymore it had become a need and it was draining to keep fighting my head when it was tempted by a gin or cider. My family noticed and tried to ban me from drinking every night but that only spurred me on more, it was as if drinking it would annoy people and that was what I wanted to happen. It became so toxic. 

When I moved to Carlisle, I began by drinking wine once a week as a treat, having the occasional malibu as well. Then things got difficult and I was more tempted leading me to drinking bottles of wine regularly in large masses, I was escaping a dark place and didn’t know any other route. My sleeping pattern was ruined and my 9pm bedtimes and 5am wakeups stopped me from being able to socialise, I’d stopped watching Netflix and spent my days doing work before drinking myself to sleep. There was nothing to look forward to when I woke up. 

Stepping into 2021 I knew things had to change. Alcohol wasn’t just a treat anymore but a vice. Ahead of my birthday I’d been sober for a week and since the 15th of January I’ve had one gin and lemonade after a stressful day to settle my nerves. Tomorrow I am 3 weeks sober, the longest I’ve been since I began university. I can’t lie to you all and tell you I haven’t craved it. I’ve sat and stared at my bottle of malibu and contemplated how risky having just one would be but each time I’ve managed to talk myself out of it. Something I never thought I’d be able to do.

The hardest part about facing your demons is you realise what your vices are, I spent years thinking I was drinking because of university culture but the truth is it was a form of escape. It was the only way I could be happy, and I didn’t know anything different, so I let it continue till now. 

I’ve been dreading writing this post, not only because I knew it’d be long, but also because this is me admitting my deepest shame. I hope if you read this far you don’t sit and think how someone could let it get out of control like that but notice how easy it is for it to get out of control. To my friends and family, I’m on the road to being healthier and I won’t be having a drink until I feel strong enough to only have one without slipping again. I’m sorry it took me so long to notice, you’ve all been telling me something I didn’t want to hear for years. 

If you feel like you need help or are on a similar journey yourself, please message me. We are stronger together always. 

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January

Heyyy

January, my birthday month, usually one of my worst months of the year. This year it’s been different, I’m strangely content. 

University – The past week has been breakdown-fuelled. We had two group presentations this week and it has led me to countless breakdowns. I was having a chat with someone who despite never meeting has known me since I was 17/18 WHICH IS MAD, and I was explaining how infuriating it is to me that people assume I’m never busy. I work hard on my university work from 9/10 depending on when I wake up till 5/6 especially when close to a deadline when sometimes I don’t finish till 9/10 at night. I’m a massive procrastinator so I will still reply to messages occasionally, and for some reason people think that means I don’t do anything. Probably the case during my undergraduate but definitely not in my masters unfortunately. The following weeks is preparation for my dissertation and getting my PhD proposal ready for application- I’ve had to put that all on hold whilst I’ve been sorting out these presentations so I’m looking forward to researching and putting together something I’m genuinely interested in.

Family – I began 2021 in a panic attack over a huge firework display in our area, yes, I’m 22 and fireworks terrify me. I was very lucky to spend the first few days of the new year at home with my family and even celebrating my birthday early with them. On my birthday I was overwhelmed at the love my family and friends gave to me, and it was lovely to catch up with the whole of my family doing my annual rounds of thank you phone calls. I’m very grateful I have a family who almost always pick up the phone to me and will help motivate me to do work, to go on a walk or to cook. I’m definitely blessed. 

Diet – I’ve actually stuck to a diet; it isn’t strict and I’ve explained it more in my previous post. I’m starting to see changes in my body and I’m beginning to crave foods less but I’m not restricting myself. I’m losing weight because I want to, I’m not losing weight because I need to. Though how I’ve let myself go does often depress me, I’m secure in myself enough that if I wasn’t in a good enough mental position to be losing weight I wouldn’t. It’s about knowing your limits, the past days I’ve had breakdown after breakdown over university work and so I knew it would be stupid to work out meaning I didn’t. Losing weight isn’t about making your body happy but your mind sad; if you don’t keep yourself content it won’t matter how many kilos you lose. That was what I needed to hear when I began my workout journey last summer, I wasn’t in a mental state where I could focus and be happy to lose weight. I wanted to do it for the body, not for myself and I’m so glad I grew out of that toxic mindset. I’m doing it for me and that body now. 

Friends – I have the most amazing friends in the world, in a way I feel bad for others because they don’t have what I have. I know that my friends have my back always, and my birthday was a perfect example of this. I cried on my birthday and for once it wasn’t because I felt terrible but instead, I felt loved. My journey to finding the most amazing friends was long and there was plenty of blips along the way but I’m so grateful to have made it this far. One of my friends ordered my favourite milka chocolate for me, which trust me it has been difficult to limit myself with it in accordance with my calorie deficit and another got me a self-care box with a book in there to write my goals, bucket list and journal how I’m feeling. Not every day is guaranteed and so I hope my friends know no matter what I love them now, and every day till the end.

Health – I’ve been trying to get rid of my spots, but obviously being stressed kind of cancels out the medication I’ve been on to get rid of stress spots. I’m sure it’ll go away soon. I haven’t had my period since September and whilst it’s not something I’m massively worried about I’m starting to grow a bit of concern. If this continues till March, then I’ll be trying to sort something with the GP. 

Miscellaneous – I’ve really been looking after myself this month and on the one day I did begin to break I took myself out of the situation and went on a therapeutic B&M trip in the rain which automatically made me feel so much better. I’ve been trying to get out the house more which I think is so important in keeping myself fit, healthy and well. I’ve been giving myself breaks in the evening to watch shows that make me happy and enjoyed spending time by myself which is something I’ve never managed to do. We’ve been in lockdown for two weeks now and I’m still going, something that after the lockdown in November and me fleeing after one week I didn’t think would be possible. 

Happy January kiddos, it’s been a lengthy month. Everyone always says January takes its’ time, but I’ve never noticed before this year. I hope you all had and continue to have a lovely month.  

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Weight Loss Journey Update!!

Heyyy

I posted on my Instagram asking if people would like an update and I was shocked at the people who said yes, so I felt it’s only right to do this. This is also my most viewed “series” on my blog for some reason so hopefully you enjoy this little update. It comes at a quite pivotal part of my diet journey, where I’m actually putting it into practice unlike before.

I just want to say that this isn’t the same for everyone and if you have not read my previous parts you may be very confused as to what is going on. I have something called PCOS, it means I struggle to lose weight and unfortunately my body clings onto the fat I’ve stored over the years.

Working out – Since 2021 began I’ve set myself some really good goals. I’ve been trying to work out for an hour plus a day and get myself out on walks a few times a week, it’s taken me a while to find workout videos I enjoy, and I often feel terrible when I can’t do moves but making moderations has definitely helped. There are often times of weakness when we are doing an exercise which consists of a lot of jumping and my boobs are whacking my chin and I feel weighted and, in those moments, I feel so insecure and I begin to debate whether this is genuinely worth it. I’ve realised that this isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix, it’s going to take me months to lose weight at the level I want to and especially when I’m having to carefully change moves as to not aggravate my already injured joints. I’ve learnt that whilst my wrists are not strong enough to hold my body in push ups, I am able to do wall push ups, and a lot of them which is a shock. I’ve began to incorporate more cardio into my workouts by playing just dance on my switch daily, it’s a shock how much I love it and how fun I find it. I genuinely recommend using just dance or other dance workouts, they are so much fun, and you forget that you are doing it to lose weight.

General exercise – I’ve been going on walks more frequently and tracking them, I’ve actually found myself frustrated when I haven’t done the full 5k as the walk into town and back is 4.7k. I find myself needing taxis and other modes of transport much less and I genuinely enjoy getting the fresh air, even when the temperature is ridiculously low. Maybe without the ice as the bruise on my knee from my fall on the ice is still purple. I’ve not been able to go swimming and whilst I still want to get back into that, I think to make myself comfortable that is going to be a long-term goal. I need to feel comfortable enough to get into a swimming costume before I actually get in one unfortunately. I think that’s a Dundee goal, when I’m finally settled in maybe I can make my way back into a leisure centre without being terrified that people are going to judge me. 

Diet – In my last post I told you that I stopped dieting and the truth is I thought that would bring me happiness but instead I felt worse watching my figure maintain/balloon. Since 2021 began I’ve been trying to keep an eye on my diet, I’ve been eating a lot of vegetables. My fridge is literally full of vegetables, something that through my course of university has never happened before. I’m finally understanding the point of calorie deficits and understanding that to lose weight I don’t need to restrict myself. I don’t need to not eat sugars, or anything unhealthy I just need to moderate those that I put into my body. I don’t eat perfectly, for instance my breakfast was 600 calories today, but it was a healthy fry up. I’ve swapped bacon for turkey bacon; I’ve swapped my favourite pork and apple sausages for skinless ones and I’ve began adding vegetables to balance the plate out and keep me full for longer. I fill up on a good hearty breakfast and find myself needing smaller lunches and dinners, it has its benefits. If I want an ice cream in the evening, I allow myself to have one, dieting shouldn’t be able making yourself miserable. I’m making slow changes and beginning to cut a lot of meat out of my diet, I’ve began finding alternatives which are both tasty but also filling which is my biggest problem finding foods that stop me from wanting snacks. So, it is official that I’ll be attempting to become pescatarian in February, though I don’t believe it’ll stick I’ll be proud of myself to cut meat for a full month and hopefully it’ll introduce me to a lot of different types of food I don’t necessarily grab in the shops. 

Alcohol – I didn’t write this in my previous post. I’ve been trying to find the words to write a post on alcohol for so long and I hope that by writing a short paragraph on it that I can find the truth to write the post. I had my first drink away from my parents when I was 13 or 14 and I remember hating it. I thought there is no way I will ever be one of those people who relies on alcohol and yet 8/9 years later here we are. I used alcohol as a coping mechanism especially through university, it gave me confidence and if I was slightly upset, I knew I’d find happiness in the bottom of a bottle of malibu. I’m so sorry to my family especially my parents for having to read this, my parents spotted it getting out of hand and it did. Now I don’t want to go into too much detail because this post isn’t about this but I’m on a journey to enjoying life without alcohol. It’s scary because it’s the only coping mechanism I have had through my post-18 years, but I genuinely know how it is affecting my body and once you know that there’s no looking back. I was so proud of myself for doing a week without alcohol and when I told someone they laughed, the thing is though I don’t think anyone knew how bad it got. Without the mental problems that alcohol has cost me, it’s also highly calorific and I’ve seen the change in my body since I began binge-drinking. I used to have a flat stomach; I’d bloat but that would be after a huge meal. Now I wouldn’t know what bloating was, I’m constantly bloated. Like a whale. 2021 is the year I get my alcohol usage sorted; I don’t want to binge drink. I don’t want to cut alcohol for good because in some circumstances it is harmless but if I keep continuing the way I am I will have to go fully sober for the rest of my life. 

Weight loss for me has always seemed like a chore, I began trying to lose weight at a time in my life when I was already quite skinny and so I wasn’t seeing any benefits. I believe had I began using weights I would’ve been in a position to tone up and perhaps I would’ve been too proud to have gained the weight the way I have. We’ll never know though; I hate the fact that I look back on photos from when I was 18 and at the time, I thought I looked so obese and my ribs poked through my skin. I don’t want to lose weight to get back to feeling fat in a body which definitely isn’t. I want to feel comfortable and happy in the body I have and own. 

I’ve recently accepted that to be at a happy weight I would have to lose 25/30 kilos in a very short amount of time, but I want to do this healthily. I know the methods of doing it unhealthily and I was terrified that when I saw the weight not dramatically decrease quickly, I’d go back to old ‘friends’, but so far so good. Last week I lost 3 kilos something that I wasn’t necessarily proud of until someone told me that losing that sort of weight in a week isn’t completely natural. I’ve been making changes to my diet and working out, being more active and I’m definitely seeing a change in my mindset. I wake up in a much happier mood and though I’m stressed and shattered that is the fault of my university work. I finally feel like I’m doing something good for myself and not for someone else- something I’ve recently felt like a lot of decisions I’ve made have been about.

My whole youth went to making decisions that would benefit someone other than myself, it was always how could I please them and never will I be happy. I’ve seen a lot of TikTok’s of people debunking weight loss and explaining that it won’t make you happy and at times I feel that really impacts me. Then I remember how depressed my body makes me, how losing weight will allow me to wear clothes I want to and hopefully will shrink my boobs. HOPEFULLY. Not everyone needs to be slim to feel happy and I understand that, personally I need it. I’ve let myself go and I’m terrified of the health impact in later life if I don’t start working this out now. I want to be in a position where I can fit into clothes that I never thought would fit me again, I want to be able to lose weight love my body and then eventually (sorry parents) get my skin tattooed. 

My weight loss journey is not going to be short; I’ve set myself short term goals which I am definitely too insecure to write on here as it includes the current weight I am. I’ll do it though, writing my goals and journey has made sure of one thing- I can’t chicken out. I can’t though because each of these posts gets enough views to force me into continuing, and it is of course a good point to say that I want to continue so that does in fact help. 

I’ve noticed this post is getting quite long and so I’m going to swiftly conclude with the following sentences. Losing weight isn’t a fix, it isn’t going to make you happy. Happiness isn’t consistent, no one is happy all the time. I could end up losing all that weight and continuing to be depressed and miserable, however that would be my own fault. The next 6-12 months it takes me to get to my weight goal is ridiculously important, it’s not only about losing the weight but losing the negative mindset. Looking after myself, promising myself better, being the best version of myself. I tend to hold myself back, this is going to teach me not to. I deserve to be happy.

I don’t have any photos to post here like I usually would because the last video I took of my body genuinely broke me. I’ve got the photos to watch my progress, I hope that you enjoyed todays post because I enjoyed writing it. Look after yourself kiddos.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Heyyyy

Here is my first post of 2021, I’m sorry it took so long. I’ve been trying to get the posts sorted but it’s been so difficult to write down how I’ve been feeling. I’m furious how long it’s taken to sit down and write this, even more so that I’m currently writing this four hours before I turn twenty-two- here we go…

Birthdays are so important to me, I guess that’s something I never really talk about or explain. Around my 11th birthday my anorexia was pretty rough, I was breaking, and my therapist and doctor sat me down and told me about the long-term consequences. I was struggling to gain energy and my days were occupied revising for private school 11+ exams, I kept how I was a secret. I got told at the age of 11 that I might never have children, there is nothing I ever expected to hear especially not at such a young age.

Since my eleventh birthday I’ve spent every year trying to make up for that one day. Every year I cry on my birthday, it’s become a perfect tradition and I’m wondering if my 22nd will be the year to break it. (I’m writing this the night before my birthday- so really, it’s anyone’s guess to what happened). I always spend my birthday with my friends or family, ever since I was born and for the first year, I won’t be doing that, and it feels like I’m cheating the whole system. It’s almost as if I am trying to speed up the process of growing up so it’s over quicker.

I spent my whole youth trying to grow up, get out of the metaphoric hell that was high school and by the time I’d become an adult most of my memory had faded and I struggled to remember anything but the memories that still keep me up at night. Every birthday to me was another step towards being old enough to live my life by myself, how I wanted, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. My 19th birthday was the first year I did my birthday away from my family, I was in Plymouth at university and I remember genuinely missing our family traditions- I didn’t get to sit at the bottom of my parents’ bed and open all my cards and presents surrounded by the cats and my family. I spent my 20th and 21st birthday at home with them to make up for my 19th.

The problem with getting older is you drift, and tradition loses its power- things that were so important become mediocre and you get on with what’s going on in your own life forgetting how things were when you grew up. I’m cautious of the fact that I’m on the border of full-adulthood, I’m getting closer and closer to finding a career that will drive me to being the woman I’ve dreamt of and I’m getting closer and closer to moving away from my hometown- to leaving London and to being happy to do so.

I wasted my teenage years growing old, despite what people say I matured before I left school. I’ve not matured since I left high school and began university because I had no reason to mature, life knocked me about since and I’ve learnt a lot, but nothing has forced me to grow up. I always find it quite ironic that after trying to kill myself five times I can have such a fear of death but in a way, it explains why I never succeeded, part of growing old is accepting that death could be on your doorstep at any point. I don’t want to look back on my life and think I wasted years growing up so I could live to be terrified to live for fear of death. Every experience I have, everything that has happened to me has happened for a reason and without all of it, including the trauma, I don’t think I will have become the woman I am now. The incredible woman I am now.

I always had some huge plan for my life, I expected by this age I’d be in a relationship getting engaged. Planning some sort of future with a house in the near future and kids. Life had different plans for me; I am happy though. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a relationship person, perhaps the right person will come along but if it doesn’t, I’m okay. Before I turn 23, I will be living in a different country (Scotland but still), I’ll be living alone, hopefully working and a masters graduate working on her PhD. This is my future; my future isn’t some make believe fairy tale where you find your prince charming and spend the rest of your life being mediocre. My future is big, and it includes adopting (I will be joining the adoption list before I turn 25 and I can’t wait to be a mum), owning my own house before 30 (doing a PhD for the following 6 years has pushed that back from the goal of 25) and maybe some surprises along the way. 

Most importantly though I beg the following years bring mental wellness. I’m sure that my luck isn’t going to magically change and that things won’t continue to cloud me and my life, but I don’t want to spend my time dwelling on it anymore. I spent so many years depressed, and I still am. I can’t even explain how infuriating it is to be consistently drained with yourself and your mind, I just want it gone. I want to be some miracle recovery story but it’s not as easy as that. There is no miracle recovery story, you get one life and I’m not planning on losing it to my depression. 

I hope in my clouded brain I managed to portray how my growing older isn’t terrifying, the more you spend thinking about how terrible it’ll be the more it’ll become. In times of harshness and especially through coronavirus I’ve often found it calming to remember that we are on this earth to die, we are not living but mere waiting to die. It’s how we choose to spend that time that makes our life complete, me I choose to spend it making memories with my friends and family. I choose to make something of the trauma I’ve put up with and allowed to swallow me whole. 

So, with that complete here is my birthday post. In the words of Taylor Swift – I don’t know about you, but I am feeling 22. 

Also, quick edit before posting, we cried on our 22nd birthday. It was a positive cry though, I’m so grateful for my friends and family making today my favourite birthday in a long time. 

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Welcome to 2021…

Heyyy

This is my last post in 2020 and I’m incredibly shocked and proud. I’ve had this blog for five months now and all I’ve shared has meant so much. I’ve had a few bits of negativity from this, but it’s mainly been positive, I’m so grateful for both the negative and the positive, it’s not the negative which motivate me but make me remember how far I’ve come. I had people, mainly teachers, who told me I’d never make it. They told me not to bother applying for a degree as I wasn’t worth their time, I’d end up working in McDonalds for the rest of my life (nothing against McDonalds- I was working there in my final year).

I spoke in an earlier post how 2021 for me isn’t about setting unrealistic resolutions, I want to make goals that’ll make me happy and I’m almost certain this is the year I finally manage that.  

Every year I have a great resolution about doctor’s appointments, it’s one that I regularly get made fun of for. I promise myself only five appointments a year and most the time I feel like a failure for not managing it. That doesn’t make sense those, looking after my health and being on top of everything that happens to my body has helped me massively. There are countless times when I’ve ignored aspects of pain or swelling and ended up on tablets for weeks. This year that changes, if I need an appointment, I will make one. My health is one of the most important things, both mental and physical and as I get older and older that’s the thing, I need to remember the most. This year is about keeping myself safe and at a time of a global pandemic health is such an important thing to remember. I wish nothing but safety and health for all of you and myself, keep yourselves safe.

I promise myself yearly I’ll make a show of turning up to therapy weekly/bi-weekly but I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t need to be at therapy often. I still need therapy and I probably always will, I’m dealing with a lot of unspoken trauma and one day I’m sure it’ll all come out and I’ll have to deal with it. But I don’t need to speak weekly, I don’t need to set little goals like talking about my feelings because I do. I don’t shy away from my feelings anymore and I don’t hide them from those I love- my mental health is no longer a solo-problem and for the first time in my life I’m genuinely pleased to have people along for the journey. 

This year I haven’t seen my friends often, my hope for 2021 is a lot more time with them and maybe even a holiday alongside them. When I begin my PhD that’ll be my first step to adulthood including a job and moving out properly, and the truth is that means I’m leaving London and though I’m sure I won’t lose them I’ll be miles away from my friends. Even in a different country to them all. 2021 is about keeping my friends, letting them know they are loved and appreciated. I don’t get to speak to my friends daily, we are all very busy people, but I appreciate every second I get with them. They are the most incredible beings ever. 

I want to travel, I always put it on my resolutions and as I get closer and closer to my goal of 30 countries before 30, I need to learn how to manage things alone. I would love to see a lot of places and at one point that is going to mean me travelling alone. I need to get more comfortable with eating alone and looking after myself. That’s not a goal for this year but more something long-term, I’ve never really had to do things by myself as I’m continuously around people but I’m getting to the point in my life where I will have to learn to spend time by myself without it making me depressed.

This year I want to laugh, I want to watch more shows and films that will make me laugh. I want to feel continuous joy and not have to force myself to feel positivity. I want to read and learn how to knit; I never get a chance to read but I love it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit also but never went through with learning as I was too busy. I want to sit and write a CV which lists why I am a perfect candidate for a job without feeling like I’m scamming someone- I want to know and believe that I am worthy of success. I want to pass my masters; I want to write an amazing dissertation with a much more successful organisation schedule than my previous dissertation.

I want to go back to the Åland islands this summer and make some memories, see my family, eat some amazing food and experience a world other than the one I live in. I obviously won’t be going if it is not safe to do so, because I truly couldn’t deal with the stress of hurting anyone especially my family. But if I learnt anything from my six-week stint there this summer I missed out a lot on not appreciating it; growing up I was so obsessed with social media and life that the idea of spending time in the middle of nowhere didn’t appeal to me at all. The older I got the more I loved the isolation that the island gave me and once again- I LOVE THE FOOD. I could eat my bodyweight in cinnamon buns and it still wouldn’t be enough. 

Summer 2021 is the start of my future, I will be moving to Dundee and starting the future I’ve always dreamt of. A future of getting my doctorate and working a job that’ll make me incredibly happy. When I failed at dying, I used to sit there and wonder why I am still here, like why didn’t it work. I’m not a religious person, at all, but I like to think that it’s because I’m meant to be here. There’s something that I’m supposed to do, to manage before I pass and hopefully as the years follow, I’ll find my purpose. 

This blog has helped me incredibly amounts; I’m putting across feelings just short of 2 to 3 years ago barely ten people knew about. My pain and trauma for all those years has barely been touched on but I have so much more to touch on over time and I can’t wait to share it with you all. I feel like just having the viewers I have each post is an achievement as to begin with I truly believed the only purpose of me doing this blog was to read it myself and remember how far I’ve come. I’m almost twenty-two and I’ve been battling my mental health since I was eight, this isn’t the start or the end of my journey but the start of my life. I wasted my teenage years being depressed, I spent so much time hiding and pretending to be someone I wasn’t and now I just want to be me. I won’t apologise for being who I am, for being open about my mental health or looking out for myself, my friends and my family over anyone else. I appreciate what I have and no longer put so much into forcing myself into someone I am not and instead become the person I am meant to be. 

So, here’s to 2021, a year I find a home and pursue something I dreamt of since I was a stupid child. I hope you all have a lovely New Years, see you in the New Year.

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December

Heyyyy

It’s a bit late again, I’ve been so busy as most people are around December, but it’s been such a good month I can’t wait to update you all. It is also the last month of 2020, which is incredible- I am so excited for it to be over. 

This month has been about Christmas, which coincidentally is my favourite time of the year. My anxiety does usually heighten, and seasonal depression does hit HARD however, I love Christmas food and I love the family time. This year has been a bit more difficult as since moving to Carlisle I’ve been desperate to see my bestfriends and tier 4 has made that incredibly difficult to do so, other than for a walk of course. I go back to Carlisle in a week and I’ve seen one friend for about an hour, and it truly isn’t helping my mental health. It’s not their faults, or mine, just life isn’t working at the moment. 

University – I got my first grade back and despite having a breakdown as I assumed, I’d failed I did really well. It’s a miracle. I’ve just finalised my dissertation topic too which I’m so excited to write. Group projects are often difficult and there was slight friction which led to some anxiety-fuelled breakdowns as I blamed myself for everything that happens. I wasn’t to blame and I’m still not, but I can’t help myself from overthinking everything that happens. I’ve been smashing through my PhD proposal also, and it’s incredible to think that in less than a year I’ll be beginning something I’ve spent my whole life waiting for. 

Family – I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my family recently and it’s been incredible. Though my sister drives me insane, it’s so nice to spend some time together. I’m definitely grateful to have this time together, more than ever this year has been so important to be grateful for not only what was under the tree but the people around. I wanted to be away on the island but for the safety of both us and family I’m happy to wait till it’s safe enough to do so. 

Diet – I’ve lost some weight. I’ve also probably put it back on over Christmas. I’ve made some plans for losing weight in the New Years and truly I’m going to stick to them because I’m ready to lose it again. I’ve got some big challenges ahead and 2021 will be the year for me, I promise myself that. Even if my mental health flares again I’m working on myself this upcoming year. 

Friends – as aforementioned I miss my friends a lot. They know I love them though, and I’m grateful for them always. It’s also nice as I celebrate Christmas a day early and when my friends wish me early, I just get these insane amounts of love and I can’t explain it in other ways. They truly are incredible people. 

Health – I’ve finally got a cream for my spots but as they are stress spots, I don’t see them fully going anytime soon. I had a terrible allergic reaction yesterday and I’m still confused as to what it was, but we’ll work it out. I’m still due a period as well, I don’t know when it will come to be completely honest. It’s been a few months but I’ve only had 3 periods this month so it’s nothing uncommon. 

Miscellaneous – I’m starting my volunteering in January and I’m so excited, this is so different to what I’ve ever done. It’s been so difficult finding something that makes me feel complete, I really feel like I can get so much out of this whilst helping someone else. I’ve dyed my hair blue too so that’s fun, I’ve really been enjoying all the colours and I’m ready now after this to go back to a natural brown and maybe get another piercing- sorry mum. 

2021 begins in 3-ish days, 2021 is about a fresh start. I’ve been so lucky that in a year where completely horrific things could’ve happened; I still had a half decent year. I worked out my future and it has been over a month since my last therapy session and I’ve been doing alright even without. I can’t wait to share the progress I’ve made even if it is slow progress. I visited Dundee and I can genuinely say that I’ve made the completely correct decision for my future, this is my future. I’ll be 22 by the time my January recap comes out and this year I’ll be celebrating my birthday in a completely different way. It’ll be difficult but I need to get prepared and used to being alone. 

Thank you for the support. I love you all. 

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Why 2020 has been terrible…

Heyyy everyone

I began writing this post a week ago then I fell into a state of anxiety and couldn’t finish it. I wanted to but I truly didn’t know how to even put together this year.

I began my year in pain, a week prior having had a two-day stint in A&E with a whole cloud of worries and being placed on the biggest tablets I’ve ever seen I was in a particularly rough place when a trip I’d spent years planning came along. I hadn’t drunk alcohol throughout the week on the tablets, mainly because I was terrified, I’d die I did but also because I was strictly told not to. I flew to Berlin with three friends, I was already dealing with a lot and having just come off a terribly painful time I didn’t particularly know how I was going to cope with what was happening. I love Berlin, it’s my favourite European city and as always it didn’t disappoint. I entered 2020 tipsy sitting on the steps outside our hotel petrified of the fireworks, I entered 2020 in tears wishing for a better year, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. 

Just after I got back it was my 21st birthday, a pretty important one. My goal was not to cry, I shouldn’t have had that expectation. On my actual birthday I went out and got drunk, I ended up in fits of tears at the end and was doubled by the guy I was speaking to telling me to ‘f*ck off as I’m a mess’ when I rang him. ON MY BIRTHDAY. I travelled down to Plymouth, my then university, and got ready for a party I was not mentally prepared to host. My anxiety was heightened to the point that I couldn’t get drunk, I was stone cold sober. I’m not going to talk about the events of that night because they don’t need to be mentioned, but it was the worst birthday of my life. The following night we doubled the celebrations and ended up out, I got so drunk that everything that happened the night before no longer bothered me. It was obviously the wrong decision on my part. The following weeks were horrific. I spent so much time overthinking things, believing that I was a toxic and horrible person. I believed everything that was said, as it’s known drunk words are sober thoughts. I revisited every part of trauma in the space of two weeks and then I wiped the slate clean. I moved on.

I got a job, it kept me busy and in turn helped me get through the days. I dropped out of the masters I had my heart set on and I decided I wasn’t staying in Plymouth. I went on tablets and then more tablets for UTI’s. I had my last sexual encounter in almost a year, yes you heard that correct my year of ‘celibacy’ is almost over. Then I had to explain myself and things ended, I got behind on university work and there were times when I thought I’d have to re-sit my final year. It got that rough. I had an allergic reaction after being horrifically ill and ended up with tonsillitis. I stopped going to university, I didn’t contact friends and I didn’t contact my therapists. I went to the GP and got signed up to begin trauma therapy and speak to a life coach. I applied for Carlisle, still didn’t know where it was and never fully believed I’d end up there.

I spent a lot of time re-watching shows that made me happy, I cried a lot, and my breakdowns were more impressive than before. Then the 7th of March happened, when my mum rang me and told me to sit down, I knew what she was about to say. I went numb, I was weeks behind on uni work and I’d barely recovered from my month-long stint on tablets. There are times in life where time stops and that phone call was one of them, my Mormor the strongest woman I knew lost her battle. She went peacefully and not in pain, which is all we could’ve wanted but I wanted more time. No amount of time can prepare yourself for it, I had years to prepare and it caught me off guard. I think a part of me thought that she’d be alive forever, that an incurable illness would reverse, and she’d see me watch the graduation stage three times, she’d see me walk down the aisle and she’d cook my kids her incredible pancakes one day. I think the worst part of getting older is everyone around you gets older, something I am not prepared for at all. 

I finished my degree and dedicated my dissertation to her, if anything her passing was the only thing that motivated me to actually do the work. I know how proud she was of me and I needed to do it for her. March, I came home for a week and that was the first time I had come into contact with the real world, I didn’t know what everyone was on about regarding coronavirus. My mind had been clouded, I went to a concert and Magic Mike in London that week, the following week university shut and then lockdown came. I was on the tube having packed as much of my flat as possible in the space of 4 hours and that was it. I didn’t realise that apart from the two trips down to pick up stuff that was my time in Plymouth done. Three years of my life, so many good and bad memories all come to an end.

I went from living predominantly alone to sharing my space with four cats and three other adults, I drank an abundance of alcohol to get me through. It was a rough time for me. I’ve previously mentioned about the fact that there was a point when I realised how bad the drinking had gotten, I woke up one Sunday morning with a hangover having spent a quiet evening in with my family. I didn’t eat till like 4pm as I was so ill, that was the turning point. My lockdown consisted of a lot of breakdowns, I slowly came to terms with my losses both friendships and my Mormor and found who I am. I applied for a masters at Plymouth University and remembered my offer from Carlisle- I decided that I was off to make a fresh start and so I got prepared for Carlisle. I’m very lucky I managed to escape England in the pandemic, I looked like a hypocrite but at the same time I fled to an island where things were more normal and spent two weeks hidden in isolation having seen no one. I got to visit my Mormor’s grave finally and at her memorial I began to let go. I dealt with my mental health and used isolation to realise what was important to me. 

I moved to Carlisle and began that journey, I’ve hated it so far but at the same time the woman I have become is the same woman 15-year-old me dreamt of. I have my own voice, I’m finally confident enough to do every-day things alone and I don’t rely on other people to be happy. I’m a social butterfly but I can also be alone, I stopped drinking as much and I went back to therapy. I planned for my future and have decided to continue in education and get my PhD, something I never thought I’d be smart enough to do. 

I dyed my hair, I lost my senses and got rid of the black hair I loved. I went ginger for a while, then had brown with green underneath and now brown with blue underneath. I’ve obviously had a hard time and took it out on my hair. I also began 2020 with 2 piercings and I now have 8. We love that. 

2020 hasn’t been a good year for anyone, I lost friends I expected to have for life. I lost friends over pure nastiness and jealousy- to the guy who told me that I didn’t live near my gran and therefore I shouldn’t be upset, I’m glad you’re out of my life. I lost who I was, somewhere between the hospital visits and having to catch up on months of overdue university work I didn’t bother to do as I truly didn’t want to finish my degree. I got to the final part and thought what the point was anymore, I didn’t have ambition and I really didn’t care. My whole life had been a preparation to the day I had finally succeeded and yet my academic achievement felt like a flop. It wasn’t the real achievement; I still don’t feel like I’ve reached that point. Maybe it’s a good thing, because if I peak too early then what am I moving towards but instead I felt as if something that should’ve been a peak became absolutely useless. Part of me feels obsolete at this and the other part is motivated to carry on and do more till I reach my peak, and whilst I’m almost certain there will be no normality anytime soon, I can truly say I cannot wait for 2021.

So, as I slowly enter 2021 alongside my gorgeous and talented friends, my supportive family and a newly found motivation and strength. I just want to thank you all, I worked my a** off on this blog and the results have been incredible. I never thought I’d have the confidence to write a post explaining why I tried to kill myself or post photos of my fat bare stomach online and yet I have. I’m 21-years-old with an almost lifetime of mental health problems and my journey doesn’t end now, or anytime soon. Thank you all for coming along with me, hopefully I’ll have another post out before the end of the year but if not happy new year. Let’s make the best of what we are given. 

You are all incredible, resilient people. Remember that. Enjoy your Christmases and give me a thought as I am cooking not only a traditional Finnish/Swedish Christmas dinner on the 24th but an English one on the 25th. I’m going to need a lot of prosecco to get me through this. Thank you for everything, you are all keeping me going.

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What is happiness?

Heyyyy

I’ve had a mental time finishing my last essay for block one and then travelling up to Dundee to see the area I am moving to this summer; it’s been a whirlwind and my feet are still in so much pain from all the walking but I’m finally feeling less stressed at my upcoming move. The past few months I’ve been incredibly overwhelmed and slowly sorting things has really helped to ‘de-cloud’ my head and focus on myself. So, as I listen to Taylor Swift’s Evermore chronologically, let me take you through my journey to happiness.

If you’ve been an avid reader of my blog, you’d know that happiness is not an emotion/feeling I’d necessarily associate with, not out of choice but more the cards I’ve been given throughout my long almost twenty-two years on this planet. I feel like it sounded so sad to sit and say that one of my biggest personal dreams used to be to feel complete happiness. However, I grew up. I’m no longer the 18-year-old who naively sashays through life thinking one day it’ll get so much better that all the trauma and problems will be gone. Chances are that’ll never happen, and I don’t know whether I’m proud to call that growth or not, maybe I just became more and more pessimistic. 

I have short bursts of happiness, when I say short it can be anything up to a day. I find those moments in times with my friends, having a laugh and a drink making memories which depending on how many drinks I have I’ll always remember. I find happiness in cuddles with my cat, (pictured below, she’s adorable I know) she’s getting older and the thought of the inevitable is something I’m really struggling with. She’s going senile and most the time can’t remember if her claws are dug in somewhere or if she’s eaten. But she’s my baby, she’s been my only constant through everything and she’s older than my mental health problems which is a miracle considering I feel like I’ve had these problems the entirety of my life.

I find happiness in a katsu curry, in a pornstar martini (or 10). I find happiness in family time, playing games and swearing/threatening my sister when she inevitably beats me. I find happiness in Christmas and watching movies with a glass of prosecco and a tub of quality streets. I find happiness in university, studying topics I feel so strongly about- even if I am terrible at writing the essays for them. I find happiness in the same TV shows I’ve watched a thousand times; the same comedies make me laugh to the point of tears and the final episodes of shows break me down to the point I can’t help flooding tears.

I find happiness now, about to put some pigs in blankets in the oven for my breakfast (‘tis the season) with my cat less than 2m away from me chomping on the food she followed me around the house for. I find happiness in lazy days, wearing pyjamas and slippers all day, not brushing my hair or applying skincare/makeup. I also find happiness in my social days, seeing my friends and the anticipation putting makeup on and sorting my hair out. Doing things that make my life complete, making my life better than what it was before. 

My future might never form this idea of happiness I’ve spent years striving for, I might never have long-term happiness. My life doesn’t revolve around finding something which may not exist, I’m working through trauma which I’ll probably never recover from and as I work through it; I can only imagine more will pile on. My future doesn’t depend on working through my trauma, I’ve made it through almost twenty-two years and I’m still thriving even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. 

I’m sorry this post was delayed, I have so much more planned for this blog over this month and I hope now that this term is over these ideas can become reality. From tomorrow onwards I begin my journey to better health after putting it off because my mental health had deteriorated. I’m also getting ready for Christmas and trying to get prepared for a different celebration to what I’m used to, I’m really not good with change but I’m getting there. I’m trying to keep contact with my friends too especially as we’ve now entered tier three and the chances to see my friends are slowly thinning. I’ll see you all soon, thank you for listening. 

PS: I urge you all over Christmas to make a list of things that make you happy and as we move to 2021 use that list every day to remind yourself how things make you happy and no matter what happens there are still things to be happy about. 

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Things to remember this festive period…

Heyyy guys

I’m in London!!! It’s Christmas holidays and I’m finally back with my family (and cats!!!!) I’m so happy oh my god. By the time this post is out my hair will also have been redone to now be blue underneath instead of green. (I hope it’s good for future me’s sake). 

As Christmas QUICKLY approaches and as our timelines begin to look a lot cheerier and festive, I just wanted to remind you all of things to remember throughout the upcoming weeks. Especially if you are like me and the festive season is your favourite but also makes you feel very overwhelmed. 

  1. Spend time with your loved ones, in an already terrible year it’s going to be different and strange having Christmas the way it will be this year. For me it’ll be strange not heading out on Christmas Eve (my Christmas) with the 10,000 of our family friends for our dinner but I’ll still be making time to see my friends and family in safe environments. You all should too. 
  2. Drink responsibly, last year I was on strong meds and couldn’t drink and I thought it’d ruin my festive season. This year though I won’t be cutting it completely I’ll definitely be drinking less, and I truly can’t wait. Prosecco hangovers are the worse. 
  3. This period of time is hardest on those with body image problems, eating disorders, etc. I know how difficult it’s going to be. Though I’m excited to sit down with my favourite foods I can’t pretend that I haven’t subjected myself to the thought of what my body will look like if I do. Please remember that your body at Christmas does not equate to your worth or self. You are incredible even if the number on the scale does go up over the holidays. 
  4. Remember to be thankful for what you have and get this Christmas. In a year where a lot of families and households will be worse off it’s often uncomfortable to think about those less fortunate than ourselves. If you are in a position to there are some amazing charities who are providing a lot of help to those impacted most. 
  5. Look after yourself. I was about to write look out for your friends but this one is more important. Seasonal depression alongside regular depression alongside pandemic depression is not to be played or joked about. Make sure you take time to sit and reflect, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself and if you need to cry don’t feel pressured by the jolly nature of the holidays to not let your emotions out. Be aware of your triggers and keep yourself safe. 
  6. Look out for your friends and loved ones also, as aforementioned it is difficult with a whole lot of depression around at the moment but it’s in moments of vulnerability, we need to keep together and look after each other. It is now more than ever that we realise who we truly care for, it’s been a terrible year one of which I can count how many times I’ve seen my two best friends on one hand rather than the significant number it was before- this may be the same for you all. So, this festive period make sure you tell the ones you love that you love them, how much you appreciate them- I know I will be.
  7. New Year’s Resolutions – for the past five years my resolutions have been ridiculously unachievable. This year I’m not putting myself through that torture, instead I’ll be entering 2021 with a positive mindset for not changing myself or my bad habits but looking after myself. Writing resolutions like not being hungover more than once a week, or not going to the doctors more than 10 times only make me feel worse when I break them. Promising myself weight loss or stopping takeaways only takes away things that have previously helped me through the rough times. Your resolutions aren’t a way of bettering yourself, you are incredible the way you are. Don’t try and meet societies expectations just because it’s plastered all over social media. 2020 I broke every single resolution in my first month. 2021 there is no expectations, I will work on myself and recover from pain I didn’t realise I had but I don’t expect a miracle- this is a long game journey.
  8. Get ready for 2021. Though our spirits are so high over the talks of a vaccine we must remember that this pandemic doesn’t just go away because the year is over. I would love to say this will all be over, and we’ll be able to see our loved ones and return to clubs etc. but the reality is we are probably years away from that. Be prepared, hopefully things get better, but the truth is there is a very good chance that won’t happen. 

I have more posts coming, I’m just getting my final essay from block one in for next week and then I’ll be ready to put more work in on this. I hope you are all enjoying this December- I’ll see you all soon.

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Body Image: I hate my figure.

Heyyy

TW: anorexia and mention of harm.

Christmas holidays are coming so soon, I can’t wait because even though I have a ridiculous amount of work I’ll be at home and that’ll settle me. It’s also my favourite time of the year, as it leads up to my birthday too. Genuinely can’t wait, I’m just excited to spend some time with my family and cats and see my friends!!! Finally!!!!

In posts about my fitness journey, I’ve mentioned my previous problems with eating, I’ve also mentioned them throughout this journey I’ve been sharing with you all. It only dawned on me today however that I’ve never explained that part of my life fully. This will not be a post directly on that, but on my journey since then. But here is the background on why I still struggle to this day with body image. 

When I was eight years old, I was ridiculously skinny. Most children are really skinny, so it’s nothing that would be often considered dangerous. I did a lot of sports, despite being absolutely trash at them all and I was an active person rather than the lazy one I am now. I got diagnosed with an eating disorder because I was starving myself, I would eat one meal a day and would throw out my lunches. I would barely eat; I was told I was fat, and I took that ridiculously seriously. Someone who I was barely friends with once looked at my thighs and told me I needed to stop eating so much because they were huge. I was 10 and eating the bare minimum as it was, I was not huge. The photos below show me at the age 11 and now.

My eating disorder caused a lot of problems for me down the line, none more so than my body dysmorphia. I look back at photos from when I was in school and I remember crying because I thought I was a whale, I thought I was ridiculously fat, and I can barely recognise the woman in those photos. I had ab lines and genuinely it makes me so emotional to even look back at what I used to look like. I just miss it. 

Throughout my teenage years I was always fixated on my ‘flaws’, for a long time I was so embarrassed about my forehead. It just didn’t make sense; I’d occasionally get a comment about it and it changed how I viewed myself. I went through stages where I’d never take selfies or if I did, I’d cut the top of my head off so you could only see from my eyebrows down. It sounds so stupid now, but back then I was so fixated on how disgusting it was. Then came my chest, when my boobs grew, I was so pleased. I loved them, then they kept growing and growing. They are still growing today, and to the person who told me when I was young, they stop growing at 18 you were wrong, and I hate you. I’ve spoken before about how when my boobs grew my self-confidence was ruined, this is because for years the only thing about me that would get attention is my boobs. So, I grew up feeling like the only way to get attention, to feel wanted was to show them off.

I’ve grown up a lot and I no longer work my outfits or my photos or anything around my flaws. I know my angles and know how to make myself look better; I usually fake tan because I believe it covers my flaws. It hides my paleness, my stretch marks, my burn marks and my acne. It makes me like myself more, but I’ve also not had the motivation to fake tan recently. I’ve been really trying to deal with my body issues recently. I struggle though because I don’t know what I look like. I look in a mirror and I want to cry; a full-length mirror genuinely brings me to tears. I see all of my stretch marks, I see my burn marks, I see the scars and it’s all I see. I can’t look at the positives, and parts of my body which I used to think were alright are now painted with stretch marks. I love my thighs, and yes, they are big, but they are so nice. I love my legs; they are long, and I get terrible friction burn and shaving them is a nightmare because it hurts my back as they are so long. But I love them. 

I’m amazing at telling people to love themselves, to embrace stretch marks or growth. I’m terrible at loving myself. The me I see in photos, is someone completely different to the person I see in the mirror. Since I was 17, I’ve grown and I began using alcohol as a coping mechanism, I gained an alcohol belly and I’ve struggled to get rid of it. Seeing that belly led to comfort eating and in turn I put on a lot of weight, I don’t like looking at the figure on scales because I know I am tall, and I have big boobs that weigh an awful lot. I try to ignore stuff like that but at the same time I’m clouded by the genuine truth is I’m obese according to the BMI chart. A chart that was created in WW2 heightens my depression; I spend a lot of time thinking I know the easiest way to lose weight. 

The past month before I moved up to Scotland I was eating terribly, I barely had one meal a day and I’d snack if I fancied it. I got takeaways often, and I lost all passion and desire for food. I couldn’t sleep and the figure on the scales had plateaued. I lost strength and everything in life was draining. I used to look at myself in the mirror and just point and cry at my fat around me, I was so drained and stressed with everything that the best way to get through was to pick apart at my looks.

My skin has recently flared too, something which I’m not used to. Growing up I had the occasional spots, but I don’t remember a time where I actually had terrible acne other than now. Which is also ridiculously annoying considering I’ve actually bothered to get a skincare routine other than sleeping in my makeup and caking my body in fake tan. I keep thinking it’s the beginning of my period but not yet, we’re 2 months late which is always a good thing. To be honest I’m just hoping it comes soon so I don’t go through the trauma of remembering having to go to A&E last Christmas because of period/UTI problems. I just finished this post and the conclusion, and something triggered this memory, when I was young, I was ridiculed for having red skin, I always get terribly pink not even just when I’m embarrassed but in general. I also had freckles and I remember one of my friends telling me that the best way to cover them up was a high coverage foundation. I was so young that I remember being bewildered about having to cover them up, and yet now it is a trend to paint on freckles???? I also pack the blush on and my skins probably pinker than it is without makeup, things that I was terribly insecure about have now become a standard makeup look for myself. It makes no sense. 

Summer 2019 I made a post on Instagram talking about my body image and how I still struggled with it years after ‘recovering’ from my anorexia. I don’t believe I’ll ever fully recover though I’m definitely not anorexic anymore, I’ll still consider unhealthily losing weight even though I know how much it ruined me. When I posted that, I got a comment from some random bot account calling me fat, and even though it was some anonymous man it broke me. I was beyond upset, how can someone call me fat when they can’t even publicly show who they are, what they look like, but the problem is it doesn’t matter. Once someone has said something your mind can’t help but wander. It can’t help but feel like it’s true and I sometimes find myself scrolling back through these messages I’ve received because to me they only affirm what I already believed. It’s shattering to hate your body the way I do. I can only hope that one day I’m happy with it. But first I think I need to work out what I look like. 

I sometimes feel like when I speak about my weight, about my figure that some people think I’m attention seeking, and this was proved when I received a load of nasty messages saying exactly that. I’m not going to say I’m fat because I’m not, but the truth is I have gotten fatter. It doesn’t matter if you are a size 2 or a size 18 you can still have body image problems, stop judging people like me for not feeling comfortable in my skin. You don’t live in my skin. You don’t wake up to the sight of my bright purple stretch marks on your chest, you don’t go to shower and see my bright pink stretchmarks along my thighs and belly. You don’t have a word to say about my body because you aren’t me. I’m the only person allowed to hate my body, and even then, I’m the only person who can fix that feeling. 

My journey to body love is not short, instead I think it’s lifelong. I don’t feel like I’ll ever be comfortable in my body, there will always be something I can improve and my life sucks till that changes. But to people like me, and my sister who I know needs to hear this, your body is beautiful and everything you consider a flaw is what makes you so special and unique. You aren’t a clone; every curve, every scar or mark, every freckle, every hip dip- all of it is beautiful. To everyone like me who often skips meals, stop. You may not like your body but it still needs food, if not for the simple reason that starving is painful and detrimental but to improve energy and allow you to sleep. 

More blog posts are coming soon, as always my messages are open. m

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November… it gets harder every year

Hiiii loves

I should be more vocal again; it’s the time of the year when my seasonal depression has more than kicked in and though it’s been rough, I’m making my way through the month. Here we go though, here’s my monthly recap with a twist.

Two weeks back I mourned, and I fought with grief, six years later and the pain is yet to leave. I still feel guilty having not stopped or been there, but heaven gained the most amazing angels. I’m so lucky that though my time in their lives were short it was met with such love, laughter and life. Yesterday I was in a pit once again, two years back I made the same mistake again and lost another beautiful soul. Yesterday was also my two-year anniversary of my worst suicide attempt, I’m so grateful it didn’t work. I will never let myself slip like that again. November isn’t just seasonal depression to me, it’s the reminder of the mistakes I’ve made. The mistakes I promised I’d never remake I ended up doing over and over again. 

University – my work is going incredible. I did a presentation last week and then on top of that I finished an essay in 3 days which I didn’t think was possible. I genuinely love my course. I’m beginning the second block on Monday which is insane, the first six weeks flew by and having handed in two assignments pending a third I am currently a sixth way through my masters. I love studying sociology-based modules, it reminded me why I loved my undergraduate. So yesterday I had my first meeting and finalised my PhD thesis topic, I hope that by studying what I’m doing I can make a real difference. I’m not ready to speak about the topic on here yet as I still have some research to do but in the long-term the results could genuinely make a difference. 

Family – When I had my breakdown a week or so back, I rang my mum straight away and within half an hour I was packing to go up to live with my Granny and Auntie in Scotland for basically the rest of lockdown. I’m so lucky that it doesn’t matter how much I break my family is always on my side, backing me. There is nothing more important than that. Also, I’m heading home for Christmas soon so that’ll be some much-needed family time as we haven’t seen all four of us together since September which is ridiculously long for us. It will be nice to just relax over Christmas and play games until my sister physically throws a tantrum. She always does.

Diet – My clothes are baggier than before, don’t know if I’ve lost weight because I haven’t been able to weigh myself plus I haven’t been in a good enough mental state to weigh myself anyway. I’m eating as normal, I’m struggling along and I haven’t done as much working out as wanted but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the chance. 

Friends – my friends are incredible. The way they all rushed to my side when I broke and since have kept well in contact with me, congratulating me on my PhD and move up to Scotland for next year. Keeping me going with laughs whilst I do my essays. When I was younger I always dreamt I’d have the perfect friendships and I truly do, I’m so grateful.

Health – my skin is still flaring, could be stress though. Not worried and trying to come off my skincare routine to see if it’s that. I’ve been having minor reactions to clementine’s again; I know I’m allergic to the pesticides but it’s a Christmas tradition for me to have rashes over my hands because of them. My period also never came in October or November so we’re back to waiting again, loads of fun. I’m sure it’ll rock up on Christmas as I’m cooking Christmas dinner for fun. 

Miscellaneous – I’m starting a volunteering mentorship program with children, helping them which I’m so grateful these types of opportunities are there for me to grab. I just also want to laugh at present me who just read this post and an hour ago wrote that it was nice to have a breakdown without doing something catastrophic like getting a piercing or dyeing my hair yet here I am with two new piercings to mirror my other ear. Sorry mum, I like piercings.

This month has been tough so far, I ended October in high spirits and worked so hard to be the woman I currently am. I worked hard at university and worked out what my future entails. I began searching for new cities to move to and decided Dundee is at least my next six years, I’ll be half an hour from my Granny and Auntie and a lifetime away from London but I’m growing up. I was always terrified that I wanted to leave London so bad that I never would, it’d be something I would regret the older I got. I haven’t lived full-time in London since I was eighteen and I doubt I ever will as I’ll be twenty-eight when I finish my PhD. I fell in love with learning, I found what I was passionate about- social change and sociology gives me that drive to succeed. I’m still growing and learning and after November the last thing I thought I’d be doing is wanting to move to Scotland alone, but I know that this is where my journey begins.

I’m twenty-two in less than two months and I’m proud of the woman I am. I have rough times and they try their hardest to bring me down, but I’m stronger than that and I’ll keep fighting. Thank you for bearing with me this month, I haven’t been as vocal as usual, but I’ve also been working through a lot that I’m yet to speak about, probably never will speak about to be completely honest. 

Thank you, I love you all. I’ll be back to normal soon.

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Sorry I’ve been MIA…

Heyyy 

I should probably explain myself. There is a post coming soon on November and its significance in my life. There’s also many posts needing to make up for time lost recently. I’ve been struggling.

It’s half one on a Thursday afternoon and I’m currently on a train in a National Lockdown escaping the most dangerous thing to me, myself. The past week I noticed I was slowing down, whilst also being productive I was lacking energy and finding even things like Sudoku’s weren’t providing me with its usual joy. 

I spoke to my friends, I watched my usual depression shows, I stopped cooking/started cooking my favourite meals, I stopped cleaning my room, I stopped getting up early and started sleeping at random times. My whole life basically went to sh*t. I worked my a** off to be this woman who can deal with anything life throws at her, I’ve broken many times but this one was indescribable. 

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be in isolation alone; I was seeing my flatmate for less than 10 minutes a day and my only other interactions was through a phone or the till lady at Asda. And I feel useless for it, I moved to Carlisle to see if I could be independent. To see if I was able to survive alone and this past week has been such a setback. 

In normal circumstances I would’ve been fine, I would’ve met people to go out drinking with. I would’ve moved back down to Plymouth and done my masters alongside my friends and continued to club, drink and even work. I would’ve been around people continuously and though I don’t think I would’ve been brilliant I would’ve been okay. But instead I’m trying to live a normal life in a global pandemic. The news makes me depressed, continuously hearing the word coronavirus makes me depressed and the thought of losing my twenties to this virus makes me depressed.

So, I left. I gave myself an hour and a half to pack a suitcase and attempt to clean my room and then I jumped in a taxi and got on my train. I promised I’d start speaking about my feelings more, I wouldn’t live with it all alone, so I posted about it. I haven’t stopped crying since I got on the train, my Instagram and snapchat has been filled with messages of support, love and similar pain. I’m genuinely so thankful for you all. It made a painful moment feel so much better, I am so blessed to have met and to be friends with so many incredible human beings. I have so much love for everyone I know.

And this is what I learnt, by being honest and admitting that I wasn’t coping I realised I wasn’t alone. So many people were messaging me saying they were struggling and that I was the only one validating how they felt. So, I’m here to tell you now, LOCKDOWN F*CKING SUCKS. Isolation f*cking sucks. Living with depression f*cking sucks and this pandemic f*cking sucks a**. Right that’s the most I’m going to swear on this blog I promise, even though I’m censoring it for future purposes. 

I’m 21 years-old and though I love being an individual I also hate my own company. I’m a resilient young woman but I also break and when I do, I struggle to maintain any of the knowledge I’ve learnt. I notice when I’m down but can’t piece it together with knowing I’m breaking; I know I’m loved and yet I still believe I’m unlovable. 

I spent years coping alone and I did what I do best. I go missing, I flee. This time is different, I’m running towards help instead of running away from everything. 

I hope I’m back to writing more posts soon but right now the only happiness I’m getting is from Christmas music, so I really need to work on that and myself for a bit.

Look after yourself kiddos, I’m always here.

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Confidence

Heyyy

I can’t believe I’ve actually managed to do a post a day. I genuinely didn’t think I’d manage it but here we are. I think I’ve spent so much time writing this week that I haven’t felt the usual anxiety about the upcoming month which genuinely is such a shock to the system. It feels good knowing I’m entering the month with a clear mind rather than shadowing grief and regret taking over. 

Today I thought I’d discuss something that I’ve touched on in previous posts but never mentioned in full. I know a lot of people struggle with confidence, much like myself so this could be extremely useful to a lot of people. 

Growing up I was a sheep, I just followed whoever I felt was ‘popular’ and I hated myself. I constantly was bullied for my “five head” (forehead) and my sir name as it phonetically begins with the word ‘cock’. I lost my confidence and here are a few moments I watched it deplete: one time on a non-uniform day I wore my favourite trousers and top in. I was 8. This girl walked in and said my outfit was not pretty enough for guys to ever like me. I was 8. I didn’t care about that, but after that I remembered it every time, I chose outfits for something. Another time we were doing PE on the fields and someone turned to me and told me my thighs were huge. I was anorexic. They were literally stick’s, but I believed them because they were my friend why would they lie?

My body image took a hit before I even turned 11, I remember standing on the scales on weigh in day at primary school and feeling overweight despite being in the underweight category. I didn’t see myself how I was at the time. I always thought I was outspoken and confident, but the honest truth is I was only that if I’d been told to say it, my words were that of my peers and it wasn’t one of my finer moments. I know body image isn’t all there is to confidence but mine was so poor that it didn’t matter about anything else as I was only as good as the weight on the scales. 

When I got to high school things changed, I pretended I was confident and got myself into countless arguments for just generally being an idiot. I didn’t particularly care I just wanted to be liked, unfortunately it wasn’t that simple, and I remember most of my first few years having very little friends. I deserved it though, I was truly terrible to a lot of people. The thing is in the friendships I was in I had to change who I was to be liked, I lost myself in order to have friends which makes absolutely no sense. 

I changed friendship groups an awful lot during school because I never fitted in, I had two stand-alone friends and still have them both. Other than that, I speak to a few individuals who have been part of groups I never really fitted into. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m too intensive as a friend and that’s why it’s easy for my friendships to fall apart quickly. But the continuous changing of friends wrecked the little of my confidence I had left, I never knew who my real friends were and therefore struggled to know who to trust and dealt with a lot of my negative feelings alone which obviously led to a decline in that confidence. 

I was taken for a mug a lot too, mainly by boys, back then there was rarely any respect and it was rough. When my pictures got leaked, I acted like it didn’t bother me but a part of me was drained, I never knew after that if guys were speaking to me because they’d seen it or if they actually wanted to. I watched friends lose respect for me as if they weren’t doing the exact same thing just, they hadn’t been disrespected in the way I had. The problem is, especially in my school, once something like that was out it’d flare continuously. Every few months it’d be news again and it’s draining continuously having your own nudes thrown in your face for a laugh. It wasn’t funny and if you still have those pictures, which I know some of you sickos do, I was underage in those pictures and that is illegal. 

When I got to university my figure was at my best place, I loved what I looked like and was content with how life was. My weight fluctuating over the years, the countless bad experiences and the traumatic experiences led to an almost complete depletion in my confidence and to this day I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. I cringe at compliments because despite thinking almost highly of myself I also don’t see myself as someone who deserves compliments. I think it’s quite off-putting how awkward I become and alongside my other flaws usually ends things quite quickly. I can’t change that though; I just don’t see myself in a positive light. 

So, where am I at? I’m a confident woman when I’m being taken for granted, but otherwise it’s a completely different ballgame. I don’t know what I look like and can’t take compliments about my figure as I believe I’m lying for knowing my angles. In recent times I’ve been on a date and been told I look different in pictures on my profiles and though I never asked I knew what that meant. Picture me to real me is a downgrade and I know that, but is my confidence ever going to recover from being continuously reminded of that. Probably not, no. I can’t give advice on how to be confident because I am not, I’ve learnt to pretend to ignore anything which brings me down, but the truth is it still hits. I’m not as strong as I look, and I continuously drag myself even further down. 

I hope one day I have the confidence to even like myself, but for now I’m just going to keep trying to not have a breakdown everyday over who I am and how I look. 

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What are my proudest achievements?

Heyyy

To me achievement is an obsolete word, it has no meaning if you don’t believe it. I’m twenty-one years of age and despite knowing I have a lot to be proud of I struggle to list them. I spent years struggling to work out who I was, what my talents were and what I was meant to do with myself. I still don’t truly know. I have things that matter a lot to me, but are they achievements? I don’t exactly know.

I previously mentioned I wasn’t a good student; I feel like most people who say that usually mean a B or C student, but I was an E or U student and my A Level results were a testament to that. Academics never mattered to me, I remember telling myself over and over again on results days that I was more than a few letters on a piece of paper. I lied to myself, I had to use my A Level grades applying to my masters and the weeks I waited for a response was some of the worst weeks of my life. I know in ten years after I have both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, I will look back on my A Levels and realise they didn’t mean anything. But they still do now and I’m terrified that they could stop me from getting a career in the future. 

Finishing my degree was supposed to be the biggest achievement of my life so far, instead I submitted my final essay alone with a cup of tea in the middle of lockdown. The day I was supposed to walk the stage graduating fell on the same week as my Grandma’s memorial. I know that I will get another chance to graduate probably in 2021, the same year I will graduate from my postgraduate degree but without the ceremony it doesn’t feel real that I completed university, so I don’t think it is one of my greatest achievements.

Jobs, I’ve worked nine jobs since I was sixteen years old. Without all of that experience I don’t think I’d be half as confident as I am, and I am still very unconfident. Working as much as I have over the years opened my eyes, it showed my patience, my strengths and most importantly my weaknesses. I believe knowing your weaknesses is one of the most valuable things; I know that I have my bad days and on those I can be a bit hard to deal with. I know that I like to do things quickly and efficiently, a job I had a few years back used to test my patience with how long it took some staff to close down a bar. An hour and a half to close a 3-metre bar is RIDICULOUS. My CV is definitely one of my favourite achievements, I do not believe I would be the woman I am had I not gone through every single one of those jobs. Some of my jobs tested my patience, but that’s to be expected as you’re not always around people who don’t have the same work ethic as I do. 

Mental Health, I never thought I’d ever be so open about my mental health journey or even be able to tell my friends let alone write about it continuously and do talks to hundreds of people. I’m receiving continuous messages from people who I never expected to have listened to what I said let alone that it has had an impact on their lives and their growth. It truly stuns me and I’m so grateful every day that I get to speak out and help even by just openly standing up and signing over everything I’ve locked up for so long. I will never ever achieve something that is greater than this, the impact I’ve had on myself is enough to cry let alone on others. 

Off the back I can say those are my main achievements; my education, employment and mental health journey. My education achievements don’t end there and I am currently in the stages of sorting out a thesis proposal for my PhD application and I’m working through my master’s now. I’m also looking into future jobs and making my lists ready for the future, I’m finally ready to make it out in the big world. I’m also certain my mental health journey is nowhere near over, and I hope I continue to speak out even if things get rough again. I hope I’ve learnt better than to keep things bottled in, but time will tell if I have or not. 

I’d say the biggest achievement is quite universal, no matter who you are or your personal journey. The fact that you and I are still alive and living every day is incredible. That is an achievement in itself. Some days I feel like that’s the only thing I have going for me, the fact I am still alive and kicking and after years of battling with myself I can genuinely say that is worth it. No matter how things are going I know that just being alive in itself is a big enough achievement to keep me going. I don’t know how I’ve escaped death the amount of times I have but there is probably something keeping me here and I can’t wait to find that out. 

So, if I had some final words of encouragement. Every day you wake up and no matter how the day goes whether it’s good or bad you have survived it and even if you don’t make it out of bed (because I know I have those days or weeks) the fact you are alive is achievement enough. People often list things they do and finish it with ‘I’ve done all this and what have you done?’- life isn’t a competition to see how productive and motivated you are daily. The simplest of tasks can be so difficult and I think people turn the stupidest of things into a competition. I sometimes find myself on social media in a low moment and seeing people doing so much, getting on with their lives worsens my moods and it takes me a while before I realise that people only post their good moments. Not many people post when they haven’t moved from bed for days as things are tough or when they are having a low/manic moment and I think that’s the biggest con with social media. No one’s life is perfect but the way we act you’d think it was, I think that’s why I spend less and less time on it nowadays. 

Anyway, here I am twenty-one years old with a small list of achievements that I hope grow and grow as the years go on. Hopefully anyone reading this will take time to congratulate themselves on their incredible achievements, and if you feel like you don’t have any just know that’s completely rubbish and being alive is an achievement in itself. 

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Regret

Heyyy

Regret, where would we be without regret. It’s natural to regret things. I’d like to sit and say I don’t have regrets because if things hadn’t happened the way they did I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. The following is a list of my regrets, some are petty, and some are important ones:

  • Starving myself. I messed my body up. I can’t help craving that body back though. 
  • Trying to fit in. Not everyone in life has liked me, there’s actually more people who hate me than like me. I’m okay with that, I am myself and that’s all I can be. 
  • Not checking in on my friends. I was 15. I didn’t know how hard it would hurt. 
  • Staying in relationships even if they were toxic. I wouldn’t have the commitment problems now had I’d just stayed single.
  • Not studying. I don’t exist for some letters on a page but they sure as hell do help my existence.
  • Downloading tinder. My life would’ve been easier had I not been on that terrible app. 
  • Getting fat. I know I’m not fat. But I also know I’m not skinny. I miss my flat stomach but finding the motivation is difficult. 
  • Not answering the phone in November 2018. I will always regret that. 
  • Not following up with medical things out of fear, it got worse. I had to deal with it alone. 
  • Not putting my all into my degree. I would’ve got higher, but I took for granted I’d have time to make up my bad work. 
  • Letting my anxiety heighten, I don’t know how it happened but I’m sure I would’ve been able to slow it had I actually noticed it. 
  • A lot of drunk nights, I regret some of the decisions I made. They are sometimes still difficult to think about; it’s not good. 
  • Letting my problem with alcohol escalate to the level it was at, there were better ways to be dealing with it that I didn’t. 
  • Not spending as much time as possible with my family, making excuses and wasting time with them. 
  • Spending money as if I’m never going to run out, I’ve always been the type to spend as I’d rather make memories than stay in doing nothing, but I should probably slow down on how much I’m spending. 
  • Waiting for so long before getting my second piercings, I love them now and I regret waiting as long as I did. 
  • Staying friends with people, I had a lot of toxic friendships growing up and it was only after isolating myself that I realised the truth and how I was being stalled by them. 

The thing is I can probably muster up another hundred regrets, I have countless of them which is ridiculous in my opinion. But the honest truth is I wouldn’t change these regrets, I doubt if I was in the situations again with no knowledge of the outcome, I’d react any different to how I did. 

We can spend our whole lives conjuring up lists of regret and living in the past and it’ll get us nowhere. Whilst I have regrets I choose not to, I don’t live thinking I could’ve done something differently or I wish it’d turned out a different way because it didn’t and the more you hold on to this fantasy the more consumed you become which does no good to your mental well-being.

Anyway, I’d like to just follow up saying that writing everyday for a week is difficult. I keep forgetting and having to conjure something up last minute also which isn’t helpful but I hope you enjoy this.

Thank youuuu

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Introducing me…again

Heyyy

I’m actually quite excited to put out some consistent content for the week, I’m quite ahead on my university work so this week is perfect to focus on this blog- something I haven’t been able to do for quite a while unfortunately. 

I know when I began almost 4 months ago, I introduced myself, but it was mainly about my mental illnesses, I’ve been meaning to put an introduction up about me in general because as I’ve said before I am more than a diagnosis. 

My name is Emily, it’s quite a basic name and I believe it was either the most or second popular name at the time of my birth. I’m twenty-one years old turning twenty-two in January (which I cannot wait for!!). I’m a Capricorn, and though I don’t completely understand astrology I can 100% relate to all traits of a Capricorn which is insane to me. I have one sister who’s just a bit younger than me and four cats also, so yes, I’m definitely more of a cat person than dog.

Some facts about myself; my favourite colour is pink, and my favourite animal is a killer whale. My favourite place I’ve ever visited is Cape Verde (a place I’d happily get married one day if the laws ever change), and a place I’d love to visit is Bali. I’m half Scottish and half Finnish so despite being born in London I have dual-nationality and a Finnish passport (helps with Brexit).

I cook a lot; I’ve been cooking since I was 11 so I’d say I’m pretty decent in the kitchen. I love cooking roast dinners and will cook my fourth Christmas dinner in a row this year for my family (there’s something about the chaos which makes me love cooking at Christmas- gets me out of sorting out the wrapping paper too); I HATE making pasta bolognese but that’s probably because I’ve made hundreds over the years. I barely eat three meals a day so couldn’t tell you what my favourite mealtime is but as long as it incorporates mayonnaise, I’m happy- I have a slight addiction. My favourite type of food is Greek, but my favourite restaurant is Wagamama’s. I’m basic and get a katsu curry but what would you expect? Despite only having my first beef burger at the age of 14 it is one of my favourite foods also, when I say I was picky growing up I’m actually pretty flexible now but before I wouldn’t even go near mashed potatoes. 

I (used to) drink a lot and these are my favourites for all situations; pornstar martinis for cocktails, malibu and coke for bars/on holiday, vodka coke at the club and koppaberg mixed fruits (gin/cider) during the summer. Despite drinking a lot, I am quite picky and don’t tend to try new drinks especially new cocktails. I don’t do shots, mainly because I can’t hack them but also because I once threw up on my flatmate after two Jägerbombs on the first night of freshers. Most of my favourite university memories are either drunk or hungover and, on a night out you will find me in the room playing R&B, dragged into cheese room or in smokers for some fresh air (I know it’s ironic). I’ve been kicked out of club’s numerous times including once when I fell down a flight of stairs with no shoes on into a bouncer at the bottom. My post-night out food order is cheesy chips with mayo- THERE IS NOTHING MORE ELITE.

I’m not particularly creative or sporty despite having tried every single sport under the sun in my father’s attempt to find what sport actually works for me. I believe had I actually put the effort in I would’ve enjoyed dance/ballet or badminton, but I didn’t bother with it as I was too lazy. I did swim for years, nothing special but I did enjoy it a lot of the time. It led me to my first job however which at the age of 16 I trained as a swimming teacher and I loved that job. The experience was incredible and I’m pretty certain it led me to wanting to work with children now. 

So, working. I’m not going to mention what companies I’ve worked for, but I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’m 21 right now and I’ve worked 9 jobs since the age of 16; Summer 2018 I was working for four companies, that’s how driven I am. I love working, I don’t get how people don’t. Occasionally I don’t want to work but once I’m there I love it; I’m bored without it. I don’t know how someone as unmotivated as I am loves working so much but here we are. I can’t wait to be doing something I’ve always wanted to do every day in my career, it’ll mean all my jobs were worth the stress and pain they put me through. 

I don’t really need to discuss education apart from saying I am smart; I don’t have the book smarts of most of my friends and I can’t study to save my life. I get terribly anxious in exams and find my knowledge slips before I’ve even sat down meaning I don’t even get a fair shot. However, I’m doing a masters. If I wasn’t clever enough then there’s no way, I’d be in this position. School wasn’t my environment and I’ve grown a lot since and learnt a lot which I continue to use in my studies. I’m also currently looking into my PhD, so it’ll be interesting to see if I begin that soon. 

Other weird facts about me, I have very brittle bones so I injure myself quite frequently (I broke my foot walking so you can imagine how uncoordinated I am). My biggest fear is birds, I’m terrified of them and will genuinely go a longer way if it means being away from birds. I have many fears which I will be going into in a post one day. I have really weird allergies, I’m allergic to aloe vera, elderflower, certain pesticides and the sugar coating on certain tablets which is really weird but unfortunately this is where we are. I’m also a big health freak and a massive hypochondriac which means I am a massive regular at the GP.

I’m very big on TV and my favourite thing to do when I’m depressed is watch The Office US, Parks and Recreation and Miranda on repeat. I love love love watching the same episodes again and again because nothing changes. It’s just completely good vibes and nothing makes me happier. Music also, just incredible. I’ve mentioned before how music has kept me alive, how certain singers/bands have influenced my moods and helped me stay alive in hard times. 

I think this is where I’m going to leave this, I don’t really know what else there is to say without ending up talking about my mental health which for once I didn’t want to do. I’m sure I missed things also, but this is me. I’m a very funny person to be around (not because I say funny things just because I’m a mess) and I’d like to say I’m a decent person to be around but then again, I’m not keen on my own company so can’t really tell you. I hope this has given you an incline into who I am.

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October

Heyyyy

It’s a bit later than usual to do my monthly recap but I’ve been busy, so it’s been kind of difficult to piece together my month. Here we go.

Just a quick thank you and I love you to everyone for yesterday’s post, the support was incredible and not only that but the traffic I was receiving from readers so quickly was unmatched. I’m genuinely speechless, it’s been almost 4 months and I couldn’t be more thankful if I tried. 

University obviously began so let me begin there, I’m really struggling. I love the subject I’m doing; I finally feel like I’ve found it and things are clearer. I’m answering questions and I’m not terrified I’ll get things wrong. Our course is so tiny that I feel confident enough to be myself and maybe get some things wrong (though that is yet to happen). Even though I feel like I’m swamped with readings and assignments I’m genuinely loving my course. Not Carlisle but my course, I love that. 

Family – My family continue to go up and beyond daily and I’m beyond grateful for everything they do for me. I’m lucky enough that despite all this tier and lockdown talk my family have insisted if I need to come home I will and so I’ve been lucky enough to go and see them, something I intend on doing in a few weeks again. Last time I spoke about how I’d surprised my Granny and Auntie in Scotland; I’ve been able to do that twice more and again today I’m on route to them as this is published. Living so close has given them the opportunity to meet the real me and genuinely I love spending time with them. I feel complete. To my sister, you may have tried to get rid of me last time I was up visiting you, but I hope you know despite us now living ridiculously close but yet somehow not as in contact as before, I’m so proud of you. 

Diet – There is no point in me repeating how the diet is going. I spoke about it yesterday and if you want to read that then I think it’s just below this post, but quick summary I am no longer on a diet. 

Friends – I don’t speak to my friends as much as I’d love to, but we’re all grown-ups, we have responsibilities and things to do. I hope they all know I love them always, and if they needed me, I’d be there in a heartbeat. 

Boys – pointless to mention. I am focusing on myself, as always. 

Future – I have ideas about who I want to be and what I want to do. I’m genuinely excited for the future. 

Health – My skin has flared (I’m thinking about doing a post about my skincare- think it’d be quite interesting) and despite my original thinking of it being my period I am yet to see it so who knows. Otherwise I’m not in pain which is incredible. I’m so used to having pain across my body so it’s quite nice to be in a position where I am not in pain. 

Miscellaneous – I’ve had numerous offers for jobs, all of which I’ve had to turn down due to lack of hours I can put into a job currently. I’ve been keeping my room clean and tidy which is a miracle if you don’t know me (I am very messy, especially when I am having a down period). I’m ahead of my assignments, and I’ve never felt so academically happy before, like I know I have this down which is insane. Today (I’m writing this in the morning) I am off to the spa for a rescheduled day of relaxation and celebration after my ten years last week. I dyed my hair green and after my first breakdown I went and got two piercings on my ear which I am in love with (though one of them will not stop bleeding).

I am so proud of the woman I am this month, I’ve lived, and I’ve learnt. I’ve taken time to know and adjust to my surroundings, I’m learning to drive again (yes, I finally passed my theory) and I feel complete. I’m getting help, I’m back at counselling and it’s going really well. I’m knocking down the walls I built to stop people from knowing my trauma and I’m being more open than ever. I did another talk to my old school, though virtual and just a video I’m back at my roots- how I began this journey. Hearing from multiple people how far they’ve come and how I’ve helped them has made me cry numerous times- I couldn’t be prouder of who I am. 

I’m genuinely in such a good place and I couldn’t be more thankful for those who’ve helped me get this far. In five days, we begin a hard month for me but for the first time I am ready. November bring it on b*tch I’m ready for the depression you will bring. 

Just a bit of a notice, in the lead up to November I’m going to be writing and putting out a post daily just in case things go downhill in November and I don’t get much done. 

Thank you as always. Love you all xxxx

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Dieting with PCOS: an Updated Version

Heyyyy

I want to first of all say thank you to everyone for the continued support and a big hello to all my viewers I’m getting ACROSS the world. It is incredible to see, I’m so grateful for it all!!

So, onto this week’s topic, plus a quick mention that my (late) October recap is coming tomorrow, I’ve been waiting to update on this one giving myself enough time to adapt. In August I posted about my new diet and workout plan and I was so optimistic for it, despite having food poisoning at the time of writing. Here is the progress.

Working out – at the time I wasn’t working out. I didn’t have the energy to be doing so and wanted to see how my body would react to the diet first, since moving to university despite having been up and down to Scotland and home I’ve been going to the gym about two times to three a week. I’m struggling with feeling secure whilst there as I am terrified people are judging me but I’m slowly coming out of my shell. I’m focusing predominantly on cardio whilst at the gym and starting Monday I will be beginning a workout schedule from home as I am beginning to hit a bump where my schedule is filling with assignments. 

General exercise – I am beginning to walk to more places rather than getting taxis and I enjoy walking much more than I used to before. My short-term goal I’ve set with my counsellor is to do my first initial swim session back, something I am terrified for having been out (apart from holiday swimming) of a pool for years. Not only that but the thought of doing that alone and every scary thought of being too fast/too slow is running through my mind and it is draining me. But I will go back, I’ve promised myself and I genuinely want to so that helps. 

Diet – now my diet was the thing I changed the most and though I don’t doubt that it works for others, it didn’t work for me. I found I was getting more irritable; I was falling asleep about 8pm daily and waking up 6 the next morning. Without carbs in my diet I had no energy and struggled to keep up with conversations and even found stuff like watching TV draining. Having no energy, sleeping at stupid hours therefore missing out on social occasions in evenings was draining me and I felt for the little to no weight loss I was getting it was not worth what I was missing out on and how low my moods had begun to get. Since being at university I have found my diet to be horrific, I’m currently sat in front of a chocolate stash that I bought to get me through the amount of work I have to do this weekend. 

I’ve found that I’m not eating much and in turn not sleeping, last night was my best night of sleep in weeks and I still woke up numerous times and I’m exhausted only 4 hours after waking up (it is 10am). My diet has turned as I’m usually so busy I forget that I need to preserve some energy for cooking and instead am usually too exhausted to string together a meal and order in instead. It is not doing my health any good. I’m attempting to change this and go back to a minimal carb diet, but I don’t see myself going carb-free for the simple fact that I would not be able to complete my masters without the energy I get from my carbs. 

I have lost weight since moving to Carlisle and whilst it’s not a lot, I’m working on it. I’ve noticed I’m going to have to put my all into it to be back to where I want to be by summer so I’m beginning the process now. By summer I want to have lost thirty kilos, which would put me firmly in the healthy category for BMI (yes, I am currently apparently ‘obese’). I will be updating you all along the journey but I’m hoping for a miracle along the way. 

Mentally I know the impact that losing weight will have on me, I don’t fully know what my body looks like because I see myself as someone different to what is photographed. I’m also ridiculously insecure about my figure and struggle to maintain any level of confidence if my body is brought into the conversation. I know I’m not overweight, but I also know I do know my angles and I am able to make myself look much slimmer than I am. With that in mind it is important to me to show you all the truth, this is my journey and I hope within the next 9 months while I finish my degree I can change from these pictures below.

I hope you all know that you are beautiful, no matter your body or anything. I can’t sit here and pretend that I believe that myself but I’m hoping with all of this I will finally feel confident in myself, because I need that DESPERATELY.

Thank you as always. Also, if you struggle with PCOS or weight loss and want to contact me please do. Dieting with PCOS is difficult as hormone levels increase with high intensity training making it almost impossible to lose weight. But with the right amount of research and love, we can do it!! It will eventually get easier and be possible. 

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10 years with Anxiety and Depression

Heyy

Never thought I’d write this one. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’ve hit this insane milestone in something which has genuinely changed my life. Eleven-year-old me was clueless but we’ve come so far, here is a letter to pre-anxious and depressed me. 

Dear me,

You are eleven, you’re still a child and your life has been turned upside down. Big adult doctors have just told you that you have anxiety and depression, you’ve barely recovered from your eating disorder and you are struggling to fit in at your new school. You are terrified, and to answer the biggest question you had on your mind, this doesn’t make you a monster. You are still a child.

Things get tougher as the years go on and your depression plummets numerous times and a few times the bad times don’t disappear they just continue and continue till there is nothing keeping you going. You are still a child. You make incredible friends, many of which you won’t remain friends with. You make incredible memories, all of those you’ll struggle to remember. 

You’ll act like a right brat and it’ll make sense to you but no one else, you’ll get told you are too difficult to be around and that’ll make you cry. You’ll cry every year on your birthday, that won’t ever change, the trauma is still there. You’ll have some people who stick around though, and you’ll forever be grateful for those. You got very lucky and ended up surrounded by people who deserved better than you. Hold on to them and try to remember the memories as you get older. They are beautiful memories. 

You have boyfriends, they give you lifelong commitment problems. It wasn’t worth it. You’ll cry a lot over men, not because of them but more what they say and how they see you and you’ll beg to be different than who you are. When you are younger you change you are for men and then as you get older you do as much as you can to stop getting close to them, you are terrified of commitment. You are terrified of messing things up and people noticing your flaws. 

You tell your family, all of them. You break your parents’ heart when you tell them you’ve tried to kill yourself five times. They’ll never understand why you did it, but they’ll love you anyway. Just make sure you tell them it wasn’t their fault; they couldn’t have done anything different to change what happened. You spend more and more time with your family especially once you go to university, you stop making excuses to get out of family days and plan them. That support system keeps you going, it keeps you thriving. 

You pass almost all your GCSES and you do TERRIBLE at your A Levels, like horrifically terrible. But you still end up at university and after an interesting and draining three years you come out with a degree and you go and do your masters. You aren’t dumb and you are definitely not clever, but you are passionate. That spark never leaves, you will be great and will do great things. You even want your PhD; I know it drastically changes from wanting to leave education to be the biggest hypocrite out there. 

You work and you work, some jobs put you through the ringer and even with being knocked out, punched and spat out you continue to enjoy working. Working two half an hour shifts at sixteen quickly turns to doing six to seven days a week every summer and you feel blessed to have made it this far. You enjoy it though, making money and putting a smile on people’s face. It helps you avoid your depression. 

Now the bad things, it gets rough and you lose four friends. You lose a few more in an attack and you lose yourself mourning. You are emotionally and physically beaten down by life, and despite this you keep your head up. You begin to be more open starting first with your friends then with the whole of senior school, not sure how you managed it to be honest. Then you get diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it gets scary and it feels dark for a very long time. You speak again, and again and again. 

Then you go to university and every doubt you’ve ever had disappears, you are incredible. You hit rock bottom; you can’t have children. The depression spikes and you barely leave your room. You turned to alcohol, you always said you wouldn’t, but you did and for three years through deaths, heartbreak and loss alcohol got you through. Then a global pandemic hit, and you realised you were misusing drink, you stopped, and you kept off it. The pain got harder, but you dealt with it healthily, it felt like you couldn’t breathe, and you continued anyway. 

The pain you felt the 20th of October 2010 is the pain you continue to feel the 20th of October 2020 but it’s different now. You are incredible and you receive messages so often of how you impacted and influenced others. You made a difference and that’s what you promised you’d do when you lived after your last attempt. You began a blog, the same girl who couldn’t get the grips with English Language now writes weekly to a hefty audience, and you continue to shock and learn. 

The woman you are at twenty-one is nothing like you could’ve imagined. She’s got horrific traumatic experiences, but they don’t drag her down, she’s got so many mental health problems that it terrifies others. She is ridiculously insecure and yet still rates herself so highly, and she loves life. She loves her friends and her family; she loves living and learning and spending money (yes Cayley I threw that in for you). You would be proud of who you became, you are incredible. 

Ten years fighting my brain, I’m grateful for what I’ve learnt. Excited for the next ten years, not sure it could get any worse but I’m sure life will show me otherwise. To those around me, I love you and I’m okay there is really no need to be worried. I love living and I’m praying this continues. 

Thank you as always. 

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It’s okay to be afraid to get help but…

Heyyy

I began writing in a depressive state/panic attack yesterday, and I read it back this morning and was horrified. But what I wanted to say was important, I act on here as if I’m cured or in a somewhat better place and though I am feeling much better than ever before I am nowhere near cured. My rough days are worse than ever, I’ve just learnt to cope with them more. I’m a very emotional person, I cry at almost everything but when I’m in a low mood I struggle to convey even the slightest of emotions. I lack everything and that only makes me feel worse.

I’ve been in therapy in and out since I was nine years old. This is the post I’ve wanted to write since the beginning but didn’t have the strength to do so, but here it is. 

When I began therapy at the age of nine, I didn’t think I had a problem, I thought I was fat so hearing the words ‘anorexic’ and ‘eating disorder’ was pointless. I refused to speak for the first few months, I truly don’t know how she put up with me. But she did. She used to speak, tell me about herself and I’d sit and not even react. When I first spoke, she cried, I was so overwhelmed that I burst into tears and I finally felt safe. After that day, as I got older and my trauma exceeded, I never felt as if I was alone again. I was secretly speaking to a therapist, and I was getting help. That’s all that mattered. 

I used to tell her everything, our one hour sessions began my routine and I got so into a pattern with speaking that when I had to cancel due to being scared someone would notice or change days as something had come up I lost that part of me which was organised. I felt lost without it. I’ve never taken medication but those I know who have always struggled with the concept of getting off them, accepting that you’ll survive without them. For me, back then I didn’t believe I’d ever survive without therapy. Not that I expected to survive with it also but that’s getting into a different point. 

Then came GCSE years and I began scheduling the calls less, I missed calls or just turned my phone off. I couldn’t talk, I didn’t want to be alive. Around the same time, I started seeing a second counsellor, I don’t want to go too into this because what happened shouldn’t have happened but when I told her I was going to kill myself she told people who laughed. At the time I thought it was a jaunt, them saying ‘she’s not strong enough to actually do it’, ‘she’s nothing anyway’ but now I think it’s just they were terrible people who would’ve happily watched me die. 

After GCSE results day I turned a new leaf, I began going again but I had a wall up. I didn’t tell her everything and I had no reason to doubt her but the mistakes of another of her kind. But those mistakes cost me a lot of help looking back on it, I was begging for a reason to stay but due to my own trust issues I couldn’t ask for it from the only person who truly knew what was going on. 

I kept going with therapy there onwards, through my diagnosis with bipolar disorder and all the way through to my re-diagnosis with depression. That’s where I drew the line and after ten years, ten incredible years I stopped. I hit my limit and I couldn’t continue with therapy, I needed to work it out and fight it alone. I truly believed that I was at a point where therapy was no longer working for me, I was always ending up in the same place crying as my diagnosis is updated. 

Things got rough in 2019, the roughest year of my life. After a horrific night I made the decision I was no longer doing this alone, but I also needed something different. I signed up for the university counsellors and god bless her she was so cute. She’d listen to me talk and describe my strength, but it felt like nothing was getting through to her. She wasn’t seeing what I wanted her to see, she wasn’t helping me but instead making me help myself. Then she did the thing I regret the most, she told me I was good enough without her. I didn’t need her anymore, I believed her and stopped scheduling appointments. Next time I saw her I’d cut off all my hair, lost my friends and dropped out of the masters I was going to do. 

So, where does this bring me now? I just signed up for my next stretch of therapy and for once I’m genuinely looking forward to it. I don’t have the same mentality as before and I am no longer struggling with the truth. I listed my trauma to this poor woman on her first meeting and was taken a back with her reaction, it was sympathetic. I don’t cope well with sympathy yet suddenly watching her made me feel warm. As if this is it, I’m finally ready to get help. 

I believe therapy should be compulsory, everyone should speak about their problems. Therapy saved my life, having someone who didn’t know me on a day-to-day basis to speak about my life with is the only reason I still cope to this day. Sometimes you just need a different perspective and that’s all it takes to make everything better and easier. Please if you are hurting consider therapy, my therapy story hasn’t been amazing, and I wonder if I would’ve turned out different had I not been terrified for so long but at least I did it. I am forever thankful that I did. 

Thank you for reading, as always my messages are open. 

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World Mental Health Day 2020

Heyyyy

Not long since my last post but a very important day and also anniversary for me. It is four years since I first spoke out about my bipolar disorder today!!!! FOUR YEARS!!!! It feels like it has flown by and in January it’ll be five years of diagnosis which I just think is incredible. How did I make it this far? 

At a time of speaking out I was mentally stressed and to be honest I thought I’d gone through the worst that I’ll ever have to go through. I was wrong, it got worse. 

This year the theme is ‘Mental Health for All’. So, what does this mean to me? I’m very open about most my experiences and to be honest I’ve been open for five years about my problems. I never thought I’d get to a point where I would openly speak to anyone and everyone about what I’ve been through without being terrified they’d run to the hills. Trust me people have; I’ve had countless people leave my life due to my mental health and most of those were the ones who promised they’d always stay no matter what. 

This week I sat in an enrichment session alongside some of my course mates and the conversation was fuelled by education and the effects of education on the youth. For me, education was the pressure that fuelled my depleting mental stability, I also sound like the biggest hypocrite as I have chosen to do not only a degree but now a masters and have plans for a PhD. Despite my hypocrisy it does not take away from the honesty that the pressure from education is the reason my depression got so bad and it definitely led to my bout with self-harm and more importantly a few suicide attempts. 

But for me it was the anxiety of it all, it was the never knowing if I had passed or failed (I had failed, nearly every subject) but then also the anxiety surrounded by the statement “well if you don’t do well in your GCSES/A Levels you’ll never make it”. I am a master’s student who has never had a job look twice at my grades before hiring me. Grades are important for the sole purpose of getting you to the next step and past that it no longer matters, once I have my masters no one is going to look at my D in Latin and be like wow she’s not academic enough for us. 

So, what does ‘Mental Health for All’ mean? It means no matter your race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. everyone deserves mental wellness. Whether that be through provided mental support or a more open environment where talking about your struggles are not frowned upon and judged. I think the environment around you is so important in relation to how your mental health thrives and in an environment of silence and judgement it is so difficult to share your problems and anxieties. 

I don’t want to live in a world like that though, mental health is so important to me and the concept of mental health support not being open to everyone is terrifying but unfortunately it is not far from the reality of life currently. It is almost impossible to get support most the time especially quickly and timing wise that can be the difference between life and death a lot of the time. 

In a time where it is difficult to get help, where it is hard to speak about our feelings and being supportive of mental illnesses is a clout chasing event; it is important to keep going. It is not easy; it’s never going to be easy to be honest. There is always going to be a stigma and it’ll always feel as if the world is going against us but the more, we band together the more we support each other, and the easier life will become. 

So, as I conclude and look back at my past year and how I’ve grown I urge you to do the same. You are still here, and life continues to suck a** daily but you have continued to live. Not every day is easy, and I assume much like me it’s been a very long time since one of the days was easy. But it is worth fighting for. I urge you today to reach out to those you love, give them a hug if you can or just tell them you love them. You never know how much someone is going through, and a simple ‘are you doing good?’ can make all the difference. Remember to be kind, look after yourself and look after the ones you love. Life isn’t guaranteed and it can all disappear in a flash. 

I love you all. Happy World Mental Health Day xxxx

Ps: if you were in that bipolar talk, I did four years ago, I hope you know I literally cried my eyes out after. 

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Hi I’m Emily and I can’t have children…

Heyyyy

Wow, this post has been a long time coming. I’ve been working on a post on PTSD for so long and it is getting nowhere, I don’t know how long that one is going to take me to be honest. I’ve been working hard all week after my first week in my masters began on Monday, the work load is a lot but I’m feeling confident and I signed up to the counselling services (which had the fastest turn around ever, within 24 hours I’d had my first meeting and formed a timetable for help). 

So, let’s talk about the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, for the first time writing this blog I am writing raw. I don’t speak about the impact or implications often because I can’t, but now is the time. This week I posted on Instagram about my mental health history, I posted photos taken the day after my suicide attempts of me dressed up about to go clubbing. Without knowing what had happened you would never have guessed where my brain was at, my journey with PCOS and infertility has been very similar in regard to how I’ve kept it all together on the outside despite falling apart internally. 

My eating disorder ruined my life. It wasn’t my depression, even my suicidal thoughts or my bipolar disorder. It was my anorexia. At such a pivotal age in the growth of a youth to be starving yourself essentially to death because your so-called friends made it clear you were too fat to ever be wanted; it ruined my body. I didn’t go through puberty normally; I was quite a late starter for someone who was having huge growth spurts monthly I got my period when I was 13. This might not seem that late to a lot of people, but I was informed of the consequences of my earlier anorexia and that it could’ve caused problems. I was twelve when I found out my chances of having kids could’ve been significantly lowered thanks to my eating disorder. I battled that alone and didn’t tell anyone for years.

I finally told someone, and I have regrets, I thought I was friends with this girl, but she made the news more public and suddenly quite a few people knew of it. I felt vulnerable, it wasn’t like my anxiety and depression, to be honest telling people about that was nothing compared to that of my infertility. How many twelve-year olds are told that they could potentially have caused their own infertility?

I put it out of my head though, as previously mentioned I fluctuated through weights but remained healthy throughout secondary school. I acted as if it hadn’t affected me, but it had; as I fell in and out of infatuation with several guys, I kept thinking at what point is it normal to bring up you may never have kids. Let me tell you now, what I’ve learnt is there IS NO TIME TO BRING IT UP. Half the guys you meet will see that as a free pass to not use protection (it is not, keep your STDs to yourself) and half will feel too awkward to carry on speaking and you’ll end up wondering if it was your mental stability or your stupid need to be upfront with your flaws from the start which scared them away. 

Then university came. In February 2018 I got diagnosed with PCOS. Now this bit, if you are a man who can’t stand hearing about periods will confuse/irritate you but it’s important. I was getting my period twice to three times a year, it would come for four days and be heavy on day one then light after. I never knew when it’d come but the pain once it was there was horrific. I was fed up of this pattern, I never had even the slightest idea of when my period would come and when it did the first day or so would be so painful that it was almost my luck it’d turn up on important days. 

I finally went and got it checked, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I wanted answers. My blood tests showed irregularities but not in the sense they could do anything about it and I was informed I had PCOS. A common side effect being infertility, I was broken. I still am. Occasionally my Granny forgets that I’m infertile and states how excited she is for me to give her great-grandchildren. Jokingly responding with ‘you’ll have to cope with adopted ones if that’s okay’ gets me choked up every time. What twenty-one-year-old should be having to tell her parents and grandparents they may never have biological grandchildren and greatgrandchildren; now I just want to put this in because it is so important. I’ve always wanted to adopt, along with having biological children, adoption was always in my plan. I have so much love to give and I can’t wait to be able to give it. 

Over the years I’ve had different doctors say different things to me. A doctor last Christmas broke my heart, I’d been in A&E for hours with horrific abdomen pain, the woman insisted I was pregnant due to my lack of period for a few months. I’d taken a pregnancy test literally a week before and knew I wasn’t but a professional telling me that got my hopes up. (If you are sat there trying to work out who would’ve been the father, couldn’t have told you to be completely transparent). I told the doctor I had PCOS and have basically been told there is nothing more than a miniscule of chance I could have children, but she was insisting that this was the only thing. Now that’s the problem, I was broody as hell as a few people I knew had just given birth and thinking wow is there a possibility. I knew there wasn’t. 

I feel like it’s quite easy to talk about my depression or even my failed suicide attempts but speaking about this is a whole different field. I actually began writing this and having had a breakdown had to carry on this morning with the treat of a McDonalds breakfast slowly coming my way. 

I’ve always wanted children, like always wanted them. I always said my biggest dream in life was to have children and to this day it still is but I’m aware more than ever before that dreams don’t always come true. I think it’s important to note at this point though I am prepared for if I never manage to biologically reproduce and have therefore prepared myself for other ways of having children through adoption etc. 

At the age of 21 to be looking into a future where I won’t be having children is hard, like really hard. Most people find out that they can’t have kids when they are trying not many years before, I’ve been given options of freezing my eggs but it’s not an option at such a young age. I have so much I need to achieve before I’m in a mental position to say yes to having children and quite frankly right now is not that time. The problem is by that age I could be in a position where I have no eggs left, the same time that Doctor told me I was apparently pregnant last Christmas she said I could’ve gone into early onset menopause. I was terrified, I’d walked into A&E a 20-year-old in physical pain and left emotionally scarred. I had no words. My period did turn up the day after and the abdomen pain got worse, meaning I ended up back in A&E finding problems elsewhere. 

Since that I got my period in January, then missed February then again in March. After that my period didn’t come till August and even then, the period was two days long with no pain or anything so I’m still not sure it actually was a period. September however, definitely had a period. I was in severe pain for a full week and despite it I’ve never felt so relieved. 

This sounds so stupid but half of my insecurity around my infertility is surrounded by my fear of not being enough, for example though I know this is such an outdated way of looking at things women’s primal reason for life has and probably will always be reproduction. It makes us far superior to men; but I can’t have kids so where does that leave me? Am I less of a woman because of it? I surely do feel like I am sometimes because of it and that’s definitely not right. 

So, where do I conclude this? My PCOS means I have higher chances of infertility, so does my past eating disorder and both of those is terrible to remember and think about. There are other side effects of my PCOS and I’m sure one day I’ll finally make a post on that, but this is already quite long, so yeah this is my story. I’m twenty-one-years-old and I may never have biological children and whilst that is a heart-breaking sentence to write, IT IS OKAY. I will be an amazing mother anyway. 

Thank you for bearing with me, I know this is long-winded, but this was hard to write.

Lots of love as always. 

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September

Heyyyy

Wow look at me actually managing to do more than a post a week, who knew that was going to be possible. I’ve been particularly lazy recently and though I know that university beginning will knock me back into schedule I’m trying to take matters into my own hands before. I’m also running on the shortest sleep I’ve had since I sorted out my sleeping problems and so I’m very wary that I could go off on a tangent and waffle my way through this, but I’ll try not to. 

When I wrote my August post I was in a rough way, I was recovering from food poisoning and adjusting to my new diet which consisted of no carbs, no dairy and no gluten (I will come back to my progress). In times of darkness I’ve found finding achievements in every day and always having something to look forward to so unbelievably helpful, I still believe this. August was a blur; I used every single spare minute to look after myself and do things that would make me happy and yet I still feel like I wasted that time. 

Family – I am forever grateful for everything they have and continue to do for me, from continuously paying for my driver’s theory tests (one day I’ll get it!) to calling me countless times a day to make sure I’m not breaking apart. This week also I was so lucky to be able to travel up and surprise my Granny in Scotland, growing up all I ever wanted was to live close to my family. Most would get to see their families weekly or at least monthly and yet I was lucky to get a yearly visit; now I live 2 and a half hours away. I did cry on the train just thinking at how far I’ve come and how I’m finally making my dreams come true. Seeing her face and having to stand outside for quite a few minutes before she even offered for me to come in confirmed that I’d made the right decision. I moved up here to be closer to family, to start that part of my life and I made the correct decision. I then got to stop off in Edinburgh to see my sister and do a bit of shopping, spending time with her (though I’m sure she found it annoying) made me realise how lucky I am to have such an amazing friendship with her. Luckily, she rarely reads my posts (she’s obviously very supportive) and therefore won’t see this. 

Diet – I struggled, my body didn’t take well to the diet and despite the effort I put in I was gaining weight rather than losing. I wanted to stick to it but my mental wellbeing had to come first and I was beginning to have very low moods and despite sleeping extra hours I was constantly having low moods and feeling drained. Alongside it all I had a load of health things which stressed me, due to a false positive in a blood test I was told something which luckily didn’t actually happen. That didn’t stop me from spiralling and despite being in a really good mental space I spent weeks in a depressive state and I just felt so low. Fortunately for the moment, despite no answers, I’m no longer in pain. My period also returned, I know that I haven’t wrote my post on PCOS yet, but I hadn’t seen a period since mid-March and then it turned up in August which believe me, I’ve never been so happy in my life. Hoping for another one this month! I also have joined the gym, hopefully I can update you all on that next month. 

Friends – As always, my friends are my rocks. I’ve been so fortunate to have gotten to spend some much-needed time with my two best-friend’s in London before we all got on with our next ventures. Sitting having a few drinks in the sunshine I truly couldn’t have pictured a better day if I tried, I’m so grateful for those who are in my life. I hope I get to see the rest of my friends at some point but with the current climate I seriously doubt it. I do love all of my friends though, thank you for being everything and more. 

Boys – There’s literally no point in me typing this but it is the exact same template as before, I am still happily single. I don’t want anything nor am I looking for something or someone. I am focusing on my own growth and self; I urge you all to do the same. 

Future – Still don’t know what I’m going to do, still don’t know who I’m going to be. I got offered a job in Carlisle though and I’m looking forward to adding that to my already quite busy schedule trying to prepare myself for real adulthood. I’ve began looking into jobs, careers, qualifications I’d need and even house prices for the area I intend on moving to. My future is undecided, but it is also full of potential, forever grateful for my potential. 

I still wake up ridiculously early and I still spend my days either crying or happy. I speak to my family and my friends, I browse online shops (I truly need to stop buying stuff), I cook, and I keep my room moderately tidy. I am so thankful to be alive; every day is a blessing to be in this world. 2020 is still terrible but I am also in the best mental state I’ve been in for ten years; I’m pushing myself and understanding my limits. September 2020 you’ve so far taught me how resilient I am, I moved across the country and despite having no friends and no plans the only panic attack I’ve had was at my driver’s theory test. I’ve not cried (apart from visiting my gran and that test), I’ve not began re-watching my depression shows and I haven’t felt myself slipping. I’ve began reading and I’m thriving. For someone who failed an A Level, and left school with 2 grades to be starting my postgraduate degree this week is incredible. I need to start remembering how incredible I am. 

Love you all. Thank you for reading as always. Byeee

(PS: I’m supposed to go to Center Parcs next weekend, as long as no more lockdown rules happen and therefore might not get a post out but I will try !!!)

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Am I thriving on Tinder? How has Dating Apps affected my Mental Health?

Heyyy

I’ve had this in my drafts since the start of August, I’ve been toying with the reality that writing this could cause me more problems than show the benefits. However, as previously mentioned I’ve been single for a very long time and so for me dating apps have been a part of my journey through my mental health and to self-love. I am in no way trying to attack these apps or even the genuine connections some have got through them, this is my story and my journey. 

I’ve been on tinder since before I was actually allowed, I believe I first got it just before I was seventeen. Back then you had to link it to your Facebook, and I remember creating a different tinder so all of those interests from when I was young and stupid wouldn’t show. I rarely used it back then, I was moderately innocent and didn’t think much other than how funny it was. When I got to university, I was so anxious, I’d been around the same people for so long rarely meeting new individuals that the idea of being at a university with no one I knew was utterly terrifying. I began using tinder properly and actively spoke to people on the app, I was quite secure with my figure, less so with my mental state back then, and so I loved the attention tinder gave me. The compliments fuelled my confidence which for so long had been completely flattened. I barely met anyone from the app, at the start it was out of fear and then I think it plateaued into this state of not caring. As mentioned before a lot of effort came from debunking rumours of me sleeping around, I was a virgin. But more importantly I didn’t care, my life didn’t revolve around a social construct and it still doesn’t. 

I tend to quit and delete tinder when I go home to London, I never really wanted to meet someone off it whilst I was at home around my parents. I didn’t feel like I had the levels of confidence to just tell my parents straight out that I was going on a date from tinder. I still wouldn’t say that now. In second year, things changed, in a change of events I drunkenly lost my virginity (I have no regrets about this at all) and then a month later met someone. Now I didn’t want to mention specific stories but considering me and the guy can laugh about it now I feel like this story is important. I have commitment problems the size of a planet, I don’t know if they’ll ever go and a lot of that comes from past relationships and my own mental instability.

November 2018 a guy messaged me, having previously been aired as he’d popped up with the simple sentence ‘nice tits lol’ six months before, I don’t know what made me respond to the message. It was a week after my friend had passed and I was in an emotional state, I began speaking to this guy and to be honest I don’t know what it is and I’m sure it’s not just me but there’s just something so attractive about someone who can be both delicate but still rip the sh*t out of you. Our conversations fuelled by our differing political outlooks, our aspirations and dreams quickly ended up in deep infatuation. My body began reacting to his awake hours and I was more commonly awake at the crack of dawn and asleep by half ten, I broke down my walls for him and revealed things that no one knew. I spoke about my birthday and how important that day was for me, I told him about my diagnoses and how it’d impacted me. He opened my eyes to new things, and I owe him for forcing me to watch Peaky Blinders (Tommy Shelby is utter heart eyes). It turned sour after the new year and on my birthday, he blocked me, he came back admitting he’d fallen in love etc. and then would weave in and out of speaking to me for two months. Some days were good, and I felt like we were on track and some days I’d not stop crying. In March I found out he had a girlfriend; she was travelling, and he was using me to ignore the reality of it all. 

I’m not an expert on heartbreak, that was my first time. I’d never felt like such a mug and I know that it wasn’t my fault but how did I not pick up on those red flags. My depression was bad as it was and this only made it worse, I can’t explain how dark that feeling was but if falling in love leads to that emotion, I don’t want it ever again. That summer I got back in contact with him, at the beginning I’d say it was for closure, but the honest truth was I wanted answers. Why me? Few months down the line I find out it was never his real name, wasn’t even his face that I’d been speaking to. I’d literally been catfished. I mean now I can laugh about it but I couldn’t believe it’d happened to me, me of all people- I literally used to cut off things when I got feelings so it’d save me in the future. 

The thing is with dating apps, you never know if you are getting a real person or even if they are the person they are claiming to be. I’d like to say that I’m getting better at spotting signs but to be honest I’m probably not. I’ve luckily been safe in every situation so far from meeting someone from online, it isn’t always that easy. I never thought I’d openly speak about that situation, I thought it made me look bad but how? I literally put my all into something which was fake, that’s hardly my fault. It has changed me though, I’m more careful and I actively try to debunk things before anything advances. 

Twice more did tinder give me good experiences, those guys will know who they are though I am blocked by one. Both of them taught me my strength, I never would be in a position of acceptance if it hadn’t been for both of them. I no longer expect or even wish for anything more and if something happens it does if not, I’m not longing for it. I decided it was time to get off tinder, though I did enjoy the attention I could feel my insecurities growing as men would comment on my figure and that was all the attention I’d receive. I felt like an object and once after being rejected, having spent our whole date watching the football on the tv at spoons rather than speaking to me, a guy mentioned I’m only useful for that as no one would ever see themselves with me thanks to my sexual history and figure. That hurt. That hurt a lot, I worked so hard on making myself confident and allowing myself to open up to more that that one comment stunned me. 

I downloaded bumble; this wasn’t my first experience on the app, but it became a way of coping with my anxiety. At the start I used to watch the twenty-four-hour timer run out and not care, I couldn’t bare the concept of messaging first but that was my reason for going on it in the first place. I liked the way you could choose what heights you’d see too, considering I’m quite tall this did help narrow things down. Next came hinge, another that I’d previously downloaded but didn’t understand so left it. To be 100% honest I still don’t understand hinge, I just occasionally go on there now. My experience with these two have not impacted me half as much as tinder, there’s been good apples and bad, but that’s ‘dating’ isn’t it. You’re always going to bump into guys who are a bit of yourself and those who aren’t. 

Back to what I began to say in my first draft but have decided I was writing from a negative headspace. On the first of August I redownloaded tinder, I wanted to test how bad my mental health would get and whether tinder had an effect on it. I swiped right on everyone and within a week I had a thousand matches and would get about the same weekly, that genuinely did boost my confidence. I didn’t feel ugly, or unwanted. Then came the nastiness, I obviously was living a life and didn’t respond to messages often etc. I got a lot of hate for that, guys would be saying all this nice stuff and because I didn’t reply they’d message me threats and call me ugly, vile, etc. A few guys would tell me I should die, a sentence which even after a year and a half since my last attempt still triggers me. Others said if they saw me, they’d r*pe me, that I would deserve it, for looking the way I did. Men would pop up calling me fat, grown men over the age of 25 calling a young woman at 21 fat for not replying to the ‘you up’ text. My mental health was scarred, alongside worrying about other stuff I was scared for my safety. Like genuinely terrified. I deleted tinder shortly after five thousand matches, and redownloaded when I was safely in Carlisle to meet people. 

There’s a lot of talk constantly about how you should be careful who you meet, how these apps damage your perception on love etc. Me? I’m terrified. I don’t actively like commitment and at the same time I don’t sleep around (I know big shock). I proved to myself though, these apps have a negative spiralling effect on me. I’m more anxious and I’m certainly more depressed. They are linked to me though; I’ve spent years on these apps without knowing the toll and though I know due to loneliness and boredom I won’t be deleting them off my phone I wish I was able to. Guys and girls who’ve managed to get this far, I urge you to stay safe. It’d be hypocritical of me to say stay off these sites as I know I am still on them but be safe, you never know who someone truly is. Also, if a guy is threatening you, report him. Though it may have impacted you, hopefully you stop him from doing that to the next woman. Men, this is to you, please stop threatening woman just because you are rejected. 

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Suicide Prevention Month

Heyyy

I’m going to stop apologising for my posts being scarcer and accept that I’m becoming busier and whilst I’m under this level of stress finding the time to dedicate to writing and making it good is becoming harder and harder. I have so many drafts of posts I’ve began and then realised I’m waffling, and I don’t want to release half-a** posts for the sake of getting something up. 

September is Suicide Prevention Month. This is your trigger warning, do NOT read if this could trigger you. 

Throughout this blog I’ve explained and spoken about countless painful times in my life, I’ve predominantly explained how my depression and anxiety has led me down the paths it has and how I fight every day to remain somewhat positive (though I believe content is a better word). Now comes the hardest part, and to my family members reading I’m so sorry. I promise you I regret it; I can’t promise I will never get that low again, but I can promise I will never go through with it. I was 14 when I first attempted on my life, I remember vividly wanting the pain to go away. A year later I attempted again, just after three of my friends did. I was a wreck and I sure as hell didn’t want to carry on. My education was falling apart, my social life was non-existent, my ‘relationship’ was draining, and I couldn’t any positives in my life. 

I always pride myself on the fact that I always can envision a future for myself, when I was 16 and attempted, I didn’t see a future. To be honest when results day for GCSES happened I remember thinking I didn’t even think I’d be alive right now and yet I’m collecting my grades today. In the space of learning and studying for my GCSES my depression had fallen to a low, three of my friends had taken their lives and I’d had 3 attempts of my own. So, collecting an A, 7 B’s a C and a D was incredible. Teachers happily told me that I had done terribly without knowing even half of the truth. I was falling apart. I promised myself that after my GCSEs I’d work to give myself a future where I can make a difference. 

I was 19 when another one of my friends took her life. She’d been trying to contact me for a week and because we hadn’t spoken for a few years I wasn’t in a hurry. I missed every single one of the red flags and I regret it to this day. After three years not particularly enjoying life but not actively trying to end it, I finally hit my breaking point, I couldn’t be more grateful it didn’t work. That was the closest I’d ever come and though I’d love to say that scared me enough to not try again 5 months later I broke again. 2019 was the hardest year of my life, I didn’t particularly mourn my friend till 2019 began as I kept myself busy. I put my liver through the ringer those two months till 2019 began trying to cope with what had just happened. 2019 was the worst year of my life; coming to grips with what had happened, coping with my own mental health problems, getting my heartbroken, visiting my gran for what was the last time and even more. 

I was once asked to be in a YouTube documentary/film by an amazing friend of mine in school about mental health and coping, I got asked whether I believed suicide is selfish. I was the only one who said no, when I was at my lowest hearing ‘but how will …. cope’ only egged me on. I wanted to know that I was loved, I had a future, I was going to do incredible things not that I would leave pain behind. Maybe that’s just my way of thinking about it and I am so sorry if my opinion hurts anyone because trust me I know how painful it is to be on both ends and yet I’d like to think that if any of my attempts had followed through my family and friends wouldn’t be sitting around saying I was selfish for ending it all. You can miss someone without blaming them. 

I’d like to say I’m pretty much never going to fall that low again, I’ve been through some heavy stuff in my adolescent years and to still be around and kicking at 21 proves to me there’s a reason why I’m still alive. I’d also like to assume I’d pick up on red flags, but I would’ve said that before and I was wrong. It’s not always easy to see, check in on your mates. Even your happiest of mates can be struggling, life isn’t easy, life drains you and knowing you have people can take you out of even the darkest of places. I’d just like to also say my messages are always open, I literally would be there in a heartbeat for anyone. No one deserves to go through it alone, please just message me or someone you trust. Life is so worth carrying on with, it sucks a** sometimes I KNOW IT DOES but like many I’m just waiting to see if it does ‘get better’. 

Thank you for reading, I’m sorry to my friends and family. I love you all. 

To you four,

I can’t sit and pretend I don’t know why you did it. I can’t sit and blame you for it because I know that you wouldn’t for me. I can’t sit and be sad forever, you wouldn’t have wanted that. I can sit and remember you though, in your prime cry-laughing with me over facetime and sending me countless Stereo Kicks, One Direction and Union J tweets/pictures/videos. I choose to remember the good days, not the days and months I spent unable to comprehend why friends would just up and leave you as if it never meant anything or the years, I spent blaming myself for your own decision to end your life. I find my memory slipping sometimes and I’m so terrified one day I won’t be able to remember your gorgeous faces or your laughs but for now I still can. I hope I never forget them. Always thinking of you. Always wishing you stayed. 

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Packing/Moving on

Heyyy!!

I want to begin by apologising for my lack of posts this week, between stressing about some health problems and stressing about my move up to Carlisle writing a post wasn’t something I was jumping out of the seat to do to be completely honest. I’m currently on a long road trip down from Perth having stopped in both Edinburgh and Carlisle to do the last bit of packing and cleaning before moving up for the year in September, and having my sisters empty suitcase wedged into my side (it is 100% going to have caused a dent in me by the time we are home in London), I believe now is the right time to do an update.

I’m a horrific packer, I’d say it’s probably one of my worst qualities. I have a low attention span and hate feeling bored, so packing is quite tedious. This time packing was probably the worst it’s been over the past four years, I found clothes packing emotional as my size has fluctuated and I couldn’t help but remember my size 10 wardrobe I packed beginning university in 2017. Packing more chill clothes and reaching past night out clothes reminded me of the fact this year is going to be anything but normal; I doubt I’ll be seeing a nightclub and as most know my clubbing clothes are definitely not something, I’d be comfortable wearing day to day. Forcing myself through my wardrobe I felt nostalgia like never before, remembering days and nights which shaped me, traumatized me but predominately those happy memories I hope I never forget. 

Fashion has always been an outlet for me, though my sister and I somewhat agree would say I have a very basic style. I stick to most trends and rarely wear clothes which people will look at despite being in awe of those who have the confidence to do so. I believe that a lot of the reason why my weight gain has hurt me has been down to the fact that clothes I used to love no longer fit how I want. I used to live in crop tops, like literally all of my tops were cropped and mini dresses; both of which now just show my ‘imperfections’ and make me feel even more insecure than I already am. 

I’m getting a bit off topic here to be honest, but as I hope I’ve portrayed packing clothes this week was emotionally draining. In correlation of my hatred of packing I am even worse at unpacking, this meant packing for Carlisle was a matter of just going through the countless bags and boxes still fully packed from moving out of Plymouth. I was drained, I’d ended up having a breakdown almost every day and I couldn’t help but question whether I’d messed up by choosing Carlisle over Plymouth. My friends are all in Plymouth, I know the area and I would’ve had a job waiting for me when I got down. The course was Psychology, a subject I fell in love with 5 years ago and if it hadn’t been so intensive and partly online, I probably would’ve ended up back in Plymouth. 

Carlisle was the course though. It felt right. Finding that course was fate telling me to move on. I want to work with children, adolescents and families; there is nothing I’m more passionate about than making a difference and this course pushes me perfectly into the social sector. I made the right choice and yet I am not ready to leave Plymouth. I took a huge risk when I went down to university 3 years ago, I was a wreck and I missed my friends and life in London so bad that I almost dropped out after a few weeks. Next month I take an even bigger risk, most my friends are graduated and back in London. I will watch them meet up and be together whilst I sit five hours away alone. I won’t get the same opportunities to meet people as university will be online and I’m living in a flat with one other person. I won’t have someone to push me into going to the gym, to stop me from getting take outs every day or even to help me fake tan my back (as I’m sure he won’t fancy doing that). 

Next month I take the first step towards my adult life, my aim is to move straight into my own place after this year and to not move back down to London. My anxiety is on red alert but at the same time I’m all sorts of content; this is what I’ve wanted for years. I worked so hard, so I’d have the future I want and deserve. I want a job where I’m happy, I want to be a homeowner before I’m 30 and I want to be in a mentally stable position leading up to my thirties. My whole life has been living as if I would like a future but don’t expect one, this year is about claiming that future I’ve dreamt about. Nothing is too wild; I’ve made it this far and I never expected that. 

It’s not easy to visualise or expect a future when you spend every day wishing to have no future. I didn’t think I’d be alive past GCSEs, and after that I lived every day like the next day my depression might win even on the good days. Now I look forward to a future, I actively plan my future and have stopped living like tomorrow I’d be gone. I think that’s what you call character growth. I love my life; I miss Plymouth and my friends but I’m doing this for my future. I can’t wait to go on this journey and take you all on it with me. 

As always thank you so much for reading, I’m so grateful for every view every read.

Byeeee!

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August

Heyyyy

I just want to begin thanking you all from the bottom of my heart, I was in such a rough space writing my previous post barely able to move and not eating due to my food poisoning. My depression has also flared recently, which actually for the first time shocked me. I lowkey don’t really understand where I’m at in my life, I’ve been so stressed packing I forgot why I was moving in the first place; this is a fresh start. This is the first time in my life I am choosing against my heart, this is the biggest risk I’ve ever made, and I pray it works out. 

Today marks a series I want to attempt on here, I want to monthly (around the same time) do a recap and a checklist for the remainder of the month. Finding and striving towards goals is ultimately the only thing that will keep me going through what is essentially going to be a life-altering year for me. A journey which I hope you all come along with me on, I expect it’s going to be a wild ride.

I entered August in Vårdo, an area of the Åland Islands off of Finland, around my family and honestly, I don’t think there’s a way to describe/explain how important those weeks away were to me. Coming home was like having my windpipe being suffocated once again, I was claustrophobic again. There is no better telling of what triggers my low moods and depression other than the feeling I have surrounding being back in London. Though my friends and family are all here, my trauma comes from here; and unfortunately, I can’t balance the bad with the good.

I began dieting, I never thought I’d actually manage to go on this diet but though I haven’t been perfectly sticking to it (especially as I had food poisoning the majority of last week) I can already feel the benefits of looking after my health more. I’ve also noticed my tolerance for how much food I can eat in a day has dramatically fallen meaning where I was usually able to eat 4 meals a day it’s turned to 1 maybe 2. I promise I am being healthy despite this, however. I aim to continue the diet and then follow through with beginning to work-out. 

Friends. I am continuously thankful for my friends. I’ve managed to see my two best friends from home and genuinely I didn’t realise how amazing it would feel to just be in their presence again after all these months of facetimes and occasional texts. I miss my friends from Plymouth an awful lot and though I thought it would excite me the concept of looking at possible dates to visit the fact is the world currently isn’t easy to have future plans or endeavours meaning I don’t know when I’m going to see them but it’s been five months and one day which is heartbreakingly long. 

Boys. I am happy. I am single and genuinely do not need a boy in my life. August has been such a blessing, I realised I had feelings for someone who I definitely shouldn’t have and as the month has continued, I’ve distanced saving myself any future stress or heartbreak. I’m also moving across the country in a month, so boys are completely out of question currently. 

Future. I don’t know what I will do after this year. We are currently in a recession, the second of my short twenty-one years of life so looking forward to career hunting is completely out of the picture. I give it till October latest and I will be down to my elbow in applications trying to give myself the best shot of a future. Aside from jobs, I’m sorting my health out slowly. I have looked at areas I am looking at moving to after my postgraduate and am looking forward to a new fresh start in life. 

I wake up every day around seven in the morning, I spend my day crying or beaming with joy, I speak to my friends and spend time with my family. I online shop, I cook and clean. I thank myself daily because I am still alive. 2020 may have been a terrible year but maybe this was the time I needed to learn who I was and find the blessings I deserve in life. August 2020 you have so far been the most anxiety-fuelling month whilst also being the happiest month I have had as far back as I remember. I look forward to writing September just after I have moved into Carlisle.

I am so sorry this post isn’t my usual, but I am drained from packing and also a bit tipsy after having a few drinks at lunch today. I hope to write a proper post soon but as I am in for blood tests tomorrow and sorting things out, I don’t know whether I’ll have time this week.

THANK YOUUUU BYEEE

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Dieting with PCOS

I’m currently writing this from my depression pit which I’ve built up at home for a bit of privacy; I’ve been dealing with a bout of food poisoning which is slowly draining all my energy. I spent the whole of Wednesday in pain crying hardly moving, a real highlight being having to get my sister to pop some paracetamol out of the packet as I was too weak to do so myself. I’ve never had food poisoning before so I’m not sure how to cope and upon realising I could feel like this for up to a week I realised I’m just going to have to firm it and carry on with life.

Anyway, enough with my current issues. I have a condition called PCOS, for those who don’t know what that stands for it is poly-cystic ovary syndrome. There are 3 main features of PCOS; irregular periods, excess male hormones and polycystic ovaries. Some symptoms include but are not limited to; irregular periods, infertility/difficulty to get pregnant, excessive hair growth, weight gain, etc. When I first got diagnosed at 19 my brain fixated on the infertility, I was heartbroken. I didn’t even think about anything else; it wasn’t till this year where I really started noticing things. 

After my bout with anorexia I promised myself I’d remain a healthy weight for the rest of my life. I’ve fluctuated in body image over the years, I’ve been on the verge of a completely flat stomach to where I am now which is definitely the heaviest and biggest, I’ve been. The below images (left to right: May 2016, September 2017 and January 2020) showing the difference between those:

I know that with age comes weight gain, I know that it is normal for someone to gain weight at university and especially with the amount of takeaway and cheesy chips I consumed it was inevitable. It still hurt though; within 10 years I went from being unhealthily underweight to what I can only describe as a beached whale. I stopped being able to fit into a size 14 let alone a size 12 and found myself breaking down when size 16 dresses wouldn’t go over my chest. So yeah, my biggest nightmare finally revealed, I buy between a size 16 and 18 top, dresses and skirts, and 14 long jeans. I’m so embarrassed of that. 

I always aspired to be some size 8 queen, but with my bust size and thigh size that’s impossible. I don’t want to pretend that I still wouldn’t love to be a size 8 but I know it is unattainable. My body wasn’t built for that size, I can pose for pictures in a way which will make me look size 8 but the reality is I’m nowhere near. I don’t like my body and I sure as hell don’t love it. So, in all honesty I can’t spew body positivity about myself because that’s a lie. 

HIIT workouts, running, etc. all of this wasn’t working. I was just exhausted and felt myself at the same weight, still drained with hatred over myself. So, I did my research and worked out I needed to start doing low-weighted, low-impact exercise and so when I move up to Carlisle, I hope that I will go on this journey to body positivity. It’s not all exercise though, I need to make some healthy diet changes. A gluten-free, dairy-free, carb free diet is the best for PCOS; if you know me you will know how much I rely on pasta and chips, so this is going to be draining. 

I began my diet last Friday and apart from a few ice creams (it was so hot; I couldn’t help myself) I was doing amazingly. I would count my calories, something which I thought would trigger my past self, but it hasn’t so far, and be proud of how my meals would come together. Then I got food poisoning. My diet over the last three days has consisted of very small portions of carbs with some fruit to snack on and a ridiculous amount of liquid. I know that this is affecting the hard work I put in but at the same time I’m getting about two hours sleep at the moment due to the pain and I haven’t eaten a full meal yet since Tuesday dinner. When the symptoms relieve themselves, I’ll be back to my basically all vegetable diet, hopefully in time for Sunday as I was going to make a carb-free roast (major sad faces if I can’t). My whole family is on this journey alongside me and despite it being specific to my health the support for all the meals I’ve prepared from them has been incredible. 

My PCOS may affect me from getting pregnant. It may mean I have extra hair growth. But I will not allow it to take control of my body, I will be healthy again and I will be happy with my figure again. I promise myself that. If anyone has any questions about PCOS (I do plan on writing another post soon about it) or dieting post eating disorder, please do message me. I’m obviously not a professional but I have several tips especially for those with PCOS. In the meantime I have begun an Instagram to log my lifestyle, diet and exercise journey it is @emilypcosjourney ; I haven’t posted much as I have been quite ill but I’m hoping I will over time, if you wish to follow you can. I hope to be sorting out another post very soon but next week I’m moving my stuff up north and due to being ill this week packing didn’t happen so next week it is essential to do so. I’ll try and see you guys soon though!!

Thank you!! Byeeee

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To my Best Friends…

I was having a conversation with a mate of mine recently about last year, for both of us it was the worst year of our lives so far. Recalling some pretty dark moments and feelings I noticed things I hadn’t really paid attention to before. My friends were everything to me last year, I was falling apart daily and without them I wouldn’t have gotten through half of what I did. Though I am sure they know all of this, this post is dedicated to you guys.

I’m not a very easy person to get along with, to be friends with or to live with, I am emotionally unstable, and I have a lot of unpacked trauma which I am constantly triggered by. So, to have the friends I have and for some of them to be decade long friendships shows truly how amazing they are. I don’t open up much, and even the base-level are enough to make people leave. I am very sensitive; I get lonely and I feel terrible almost constantly. Whilst being comfortable alone I am a needy person. I do stupid stuff knowing it’s wrong and get upset when it does, I don’t make things easy for people.

My best friend and I have known each other since day one of secondary school, she is the complete opposite of me. Honestly, I can’t believe we are friends most the time, she is the most upbeat loveable person I’ve ever met. She lights up my life, and apart from eating out (she’s a PICKY vegan, it’s a nightmare to find somewhere to eat) she is flawless. We were destined to be friends, we ground each other and there’s no one I would rather go to for a gossip and a glass of wine. Her family became my family and I know they will always welcome me with open arms, no matter how hungover I turn up at the front door. I was blessed the day I met her, and I hope I never lose her, truly my favourite ray of sunshine. (She also set fire to a table in Biology A Level in what I expect was her way of seeing if we were truly death do us part friends- she’s an idiot. I love her but she’s an idiot.)

Another almost 10-year friendship, started a bit different. Met at secondary school and only truly became friends as he ‘was concerned over me getting lunch with a broken foot’. I later found out he wanted early lunch and therefore forced himself into being friends with me. Years later, many breakfasts together and laughs we ended up an hour away from each other for university. I’m a pessimist, so when he used to tell people he knew we’d remain friends after school I used to roll my eyes. I was so wrong, many trips to Exeter and TWO RETURNS TO PLYMOUTH and he was definitely the person I stayed the closest to since school. Though our friendship started as a con I’m sure I’ll get my own back when he finds out I’m only staying friends with him for his cooking/baking.  

I was always sceptical of the ‘you meet your best friends at university’ I was so wrong. I met some incredible people throughout university, many of which I still like to check up on and watch them thrive like they truly deserve. Second year two flashes of light entered my life, there’s so many good memories and so many bad. The two years I spent with those two girls living together are some of my greatest memories and to be honest if I had to redo all the pain of my final two years just to get more time living with them I would. All those drunken memories, all those late-night Mario nights and all those morning-after memories. Andy Bernard from the Office US said ‘I wish there was a way you knew you were in the good old days before you actually left them’; my favourite thing is after reflecting over lockdown I missed out so badly. Those were my good old days and I took for granted they’d always be there and now I’m moving to the other side of England. You both make me so proud on the daily, the love and strength you both have is incredible and no matter where life takes us, I hope we always stay a trio. 

Now a little bit different, I have a lot of friends who I barely speak to, but I know they have my back. I have a lot of friends who are no longer friends that I have a lot of love for. To one of those, she knows who she is- she got me through nine years of my life, and I am eternally grateful for that friendship because I wouldn’t be the strong woman, I am now had she not entered my life. I have so much respect for everyone who entered my life and stuck along as I grew and learnt who I was. I was not an easy person to be friends with, I’m still not. But for those who stuck around I hope that I’m not a regret of yours because you definitely aren’t for me. 

My family means an awful lot to me, but I wasn’t open with my family from the start. My friends however, they took every step of the journey with me. Every single step. I truly cannot explain how important friendship is to me because at some of my lowest points my friends were the only thing that kept me here. I didn’t want to do such a soppy thing but at the same I couldn’t let this blog carry on without mentioning the real magic behind me. They are the reason I am confident enough to do this blog, they are my everything. I promise the next post will be on something less soppy, anyway I’m going to stop writing now as I am crying a bit too much.

Thank you.

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HAPPY ONE MONTH

Heyyyy

I’m finally getting back on track with writing posts and scheduling them, so I’m not constantly stressed. I’m currently writing this on the 8th of August in what is undoubtedly unbearable heat; I am basically melting. 

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read any of my posts, we’re almost at 1000 separate viewers and on an even higher number of views. I’m genuinely so overwhelmed. I lowkey feared that I would begin this blog and get five views and have to embarrassingly stop. I was very fearful that I was going to regret this, it’s turned to be one of my favourite things. I like reliving my journey even if it has triggered numerous breakdowns. 

So, as a special little post I thought I’d just recap the last month (don’t worry there will be a proper post tomorrow). I am currently two weeks off moving all of my belongings up north for what I hope is my last cross-country move, I’m not scared though. Writing my feelings, my journey out has filled me with the confidence that I can truly do anything I put my mind to. That revelation is what makes me so excited for the future, I need a fresh start and to get out of London but I was so anxious that I’d never make friends and I’d be so lonely but I’m finally ready to fully picture a future with a fresh start alone. 

Writing my feelings has taught me how I actually felt, I’m a very sensitive person but I do tend to push down what’s happened to me, so I never deal with those emotions. Reflection has taught me my resilience and my power; I bounce back every time and I am strong. I break sometimes but I will always rise back. 

I am going to end this here but let me just finish with this. If you need an affirmation you should do something, then this is it. Start that YouTube channel. Shoot your shot. Move out. Quit your job that is making you unhappy. Make your life your own because you never know what’ll happen. Do you really want to be miserable? 

ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING I AM STILL IN UTTER SHOCK. 

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Learning to Love Myself enough to not need a Relationship

Hiyaaa

There is more of my life that I have hated myself than loved. That upsets me. I have done so much in my twenty-one years on this planet to look back and think that majority of it I have hated myself is honestly tragic. I went through stages hating my personality, most of my life hating my body and hating my mental health. Hate is a strong word; I feel like I use(d) it too often and freely growing up and I’m not sure if apart from myself I genuinely hated anything. We spend years being forced into this stimulation world where we compete in looks, personalities and attractiveness for what? For self-gratification? Or does it not even matter?

Growing up, I remember every magazine having this truly gorgeous models; flat stomachs, thigh gaps and ribs showing. I spent my teenage years doing crunches on crunches to the point of pain thinking maybe I’d be more attractive if I was slimmer. I remember running home asking my mum if I could get a fringe to cover my forehead, maybe that would make me more attractive. I remember buying fake tans, countless makeup products and push-up bras hoping to get even the slightest bit of attention. (Obviously the last part was before my naturals grew and ruined my self-esteem even more). Buying on-trend clothes, bags and shoes to try and keep up with this STUPID concept of popularity, I changed who I was. I forgot who I was. I was sixteen when pictures were spread of mine, they were private. 

Boys began messaging me, trying to get some and I was so overwhelmed. I was more than two pieces of fat on my chest. I am still more than that. The worst thing was they would message me all night, from leaving school to going to sleep BUT walk past me in school ignoring that they even knew me. Like I was some kind of disgusting secret, that people knowing they would speak to me was vile. You can only imagine what effect that had on my self-confidence. I didn’t report anything, I didn’t do anything. I can’t even begin to comprehend what went through that boys’ brain or his friends who spread it. But you hurt me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that pain. 

The following guy spent his time jumping between me and some other girl who was in most of my classes. She spread a lot of rubbish about me, said I was chasing this guy and that he felt bad for me. It wasn’t till a year later that I told her he’d asked me out the day before he asked her, and I’d said no out of respect. But hearing people chat rubbish about me, that helped my confidence too. I stopped caring about what people thought. Honestly, I stopped with boys. People assumed they knew my business and they didn’t. There were rumours about what I was doing in my free time. None of it was true. 

I went to university for a fresh start, I barely got with a guy the whole of first year and focused on getting myself in a good space. Boys weren’t a priority when I was trying to come to terms with my PCOS and re-diagnosis of depression. It was quite nice and peaceful, genuinely and like I’m not attempting to be mean to boys/men, but I was finally stress-free. I heard a lot of rumours though and to be honest I don’t know where they began let alone what spurred them along. Girls would say because of the clothes I wore out I was making my way around the whole of Plymouth, but then they’d post that girls shouldn’t be judged by their clothes. I was confident in what I wore, and nothing was going to stop that, just would’ve been nicer if people hadn’t spread rumours.

I don’t believe virginity is real, to me the whole idea of it is a way of shaming women into giving up a part of themselves to a man. Losing your virginity isn’t a big deal. Nor is it a loss. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or any more of a person. To me I’m not ashamed I lost mine at 19, I was ready then. I was ready before, but I didn’t force it, everyone kept telling me to just do it and I knew I didn’t want to give in to pressure. Losing my virginity meant nothing to me, I was the same woman after that I was before. 

Not long after I fell in love for the first time. He catfished me. He wasn’t who he said he was. I got played. Before I fell for him, I was heartless, I didn’t get feelings and I was so confident within myself I never let my guard down. But I did and it backfired. The day he told me the truth, that he had a girlfriend and he was using me to forget how insecure his relationship was, I was hungover, and I cried all day. I sat with my friends bawling my eyes out, I was heartbroken. I’m now friends with the ‘real’ guy, and honestly, I know he doesn’t read this, so I feel comfortable saying, he changed me. I let my guard down and yes it backfired, but I also gained a really close friend, a deeper understanding of myself and now I get to be the butt of all ‘how can someone be catfished’ jokes. I don’t regret it at all. 

After him there was two main boys, I’ll call them boys because they were definitely not mature enough to be men. I didn’t let my guard fall and I didn’t fall as quickly as I was scared I would. I’d love to sit here and say there was some success but to be honest I don’t feel like I even learnt much from it. The only thing I learnt is people will take take take and never give. I put so much into my friendships, my relationships and the support I give is 24/7 yet these boys struggled to maintain a conversation about my pain for ten minutes without comparing. I don’t want to be too negative to these guys because to be honest I don’t know if they read this and I don’t want people feeling negative about me.

So where am I now? I’m happy. I like being single, I genuinely don’t know how I’d cope with being in anything more. I’m focused on me and my future. I went from doing everything I can for boys to notice me to ignoring the attention I get. I find myself on ‘dating’ apps for the conversation and get bored as quick as it takes to match someone. I’m still young. I’m not rushing anything. I’ve done my fair share of bad stories; I’ve forced myself through some bad experiences and now I am just letting fate take its course. If I end up single with 10 cats I’ll be just as happy as with a man. I love myself enough to not need someone, and that’s character growth. 

I want to quickly close this apologising to anyone who may be offended or upset by this post, I doubt anyone I speak about reads this but still knowing something is about you isn’t the best feeling. However, this is my story and you are part of my journey. I wish you nothing but the best in the future, no matter how things ended.

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Sacrifice

Heyyyy

I’m so sorry this has taken me so long; between doing some university shopping and getting back into this new state of normality I’ve been having some terrible low moods. This has led to a lack of motivation and I am truly struggling to do much without feeling exhausted, I hope that this feeling is temporary and that I am on my way to better moods, but I can’t guarantee that feeling. 

I actually began writing a post yesterday on regrets, however I found writing about them heightened my sadness and I just found myself moving about so perhaps there’s a better time to speak about that. I find sacrifice is a better way to describe my adolescent years, in a wide overview I sacrificed my youth to mental health. I hope the following explains why I feel that way. 

Family. I didn’t tell my family about any of my problems till I was 19, now I know that the reaction would’ve been so supporting but back then I didn’t. I had such a good growing up because I had a supportive family but still, I found the negatives, my anxiety would double cross me, and I would feel as though I was the disappointment of the family etc. Obviously, I couldn’t help feeling like this, but I can’t help but think what if I’d told the truth. Maybe I would’ve had less pressure on my shoulders, and I wouldn’t have resorted to some of the terrible things I did. I am truly so lucky to have the family I have, and I know some people aren’t as lucky, I truly wish everyone the best of luck and love when it comes to speaking to family about mental health. It can truly make or break you. I don’t actually know if this is a sacrifice, but I feel like I did sacrifice a better relationship with my family. I definitely took for granted the love they gave me, and I wish I could get those years back. 

Love. Those who know me well will know I am a commitment-phobe. I’ve had relationships that have broken me, and that sort of trauma is indescribable. There’s been times when things have been going well and my mental health has become an issue for either me or him. One of the greatest sacrifices of having my mental health is never knowing if someone will stick around. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I know in many cases my mental health has been the cause of deterioration. I am happily single; I truly mean that. I like myself enough that if I am alone for the rest of my life, I accept that. I just wish my mental health hadn’t been the cause of people leaving me. I sacrificed falling in love when I got diagnosed. 

Friendship. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. Even 2 years ago. I have grown, I have lost, and I have changed. Losing friends is the hardest part of my life because I fight for my friendships. My friend was telling me about something the other day; when people begin to lose their relationships, they fight and fight, but they never fight for their friendships. It just becomes lost. Maybe the fact I’m single and have been for several years is why friendships are so important to me, but if I’ve stopped being friends with someone it is for a good reason. I know my mental health is a lot, I never put it on other people. If it feels that way it’s because you’ve taken it on your shoulders, I wouldn’t want anyone to live in my shoes for a day and feel life how I feel it. I sacrificed good friendships for my mental health, to all those people I’m sorry you couldn’t stick around because one day you will regret that. 

When I planned this, I wrote time and my youth to be headings. I think it’s the same to be honest. A 10-year-old shouldn’t be starving. A 14-year-old shouldn’t be suicidal. A 19-year-old shouldn’t have mourned the death of 7 friends. A 21-year-old shouldn’t be mourning the idea of having children being ripped from them. But here I am. I sacrificed my youth & my time to finding the motivation to stay alive. If fate hadn’t played a part, I don’t think I’d be alive right now. I shouldn’t look back on my childhood and be crying my eyes out as I lost it all to mental health. I can’t remember a time I was happy. I can’t remember a time where I loved myself. I sacrificed everything in my life to feel this way.

And yet I am so grateful. I watched some terrible things happen to both me and those around me. I cried and cried. I took my body through hell and back, I took my head through hell and back to get to now. I sacrificed the first 21 and a half years of my life to be happy now. I am so happy I’m alive. I am so happy I am here today. I have rough days. I have rough months. But wow I am so happy to be alive. Sometimes self-reflection forces unwanted feelings to resurface and that’s definitely what happened yesterday, but honestly, I am in the greatest place I could be right now. I am so grateful for being alive. 

The next post will be up very soon I promise. Also, I got my nails done on Monday and they are so long I was really struggling to type on my laptop and had to move to my phone notes so that could really slow the writing of my posts. I hope you are all being safe and living life. 

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Being the Underachieving Child

Heyyyy

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday; I had such a headache from sitting on flights all day with a mask and not hydrating properly that I barely started writing something which I’ve since voided. I also started something else but then decided it was rubbish last minute, I’m a little bit of a mess at the moment trying to lodge into being back home in this new normal which I was excluded from before having been on an island which has had a mere 21 cases since coronavirus began. So, I rebegin writing another post on a completely different topic to the last two with my cat for company and a depression playlist playing in the background.

I think me and my sister have been waiting for me to write this for quite a while. I believe the pressure has gotten to both of us, especially in the past and it has had quite negative effects on me mainly. I think the best way to start is a small introduction on why this topic is so personal, though I do believe it is quite universal. Disclaimer: my parents love us both individually and together, we are very different and though this might not paint the greatest light I know my parents love us equally even if my sister is the outstanding child and I am quite simply alive.

My sister is two years younger than me. She is sporty and excelled in many sports including swimming which she was competitive in, and cross country running which she also used to race in. She excels academically, she had all A*’s apart from one A in GCSES and got A*AB at A Levels and now studies at Edinburgh University. She is creative, she currently studies Fashion at University and she is incredible at illustrations, art and even fashion. I’ll link her Instagram for her art as I’m sure she’d appreciate the shoutout. Though I’m sure my father would disagree, she’s his little princess and they spend their evenings walking 5k’s on top of 5k runs a few times a week. 

Me on the other hand, I can’t run more than 400m’s without getting light-headed. My chest makes it difficult for me to exercise and thanks to my PCOS I barely lose any weight. I got one A in my GCSES and saw an array of B’s and C’s with one D (funnily enough the one A my sister had in Latin was my D) and I got DEU in my A Levels, so definitely not academically gifted. Unlike my sister I didn’t have the privilege of looking at league tables when applying to university and instead chose wherever would have me. I can’t draw, but I am quite a good writer (if I do say so myself). Basically, my sister got all the good genes and I got several mental illnesses. If that was a category, I’d be quite a few up on my sister. 

Before secondary school, I was amazing at school. I guess that’s why I never really learnt how to study, I still don’t really know how to revise. Secondary school tested me; I remember vividly coming home crying because I was stupid. I wasn’t. There was just insane pressure from my school to be the best. My sister was the opposite, her grades were insane. They rarely strayed from an A* and even then, it was just to an A. Whereas my grades were at a C/D level. 

I don’t know exactly when the turning point was, but I remember actively feeling pressured into working myself to death trying to understand subjects which made no sense to live up to my sisters’ expectations. She was two years younger and her grades were ten times better than mine ever were. My parents didn’t really know that I was struggling with actually knowing how to study, to memorize things; it wasn’t that I wasn’t paying attention I just physically couldn’t remember things and my anxiety would flare up during exams and my memory would erase.

If I’d been more honest from the start maybe I would’ve been able to admit why my grades were terrible, that my mental health was deteriorating, and I had very little energy but all of it was being transferred into fighting to stay alive. I acted up a lot, in both school and at home. I thought that if I acted as if I was going nowhere and I was a lost cause, people would believe it. It didn’t work, the pressure got harder and I broke more. I used to tell my parents my grades 20 minutes before parent evenings so they wouldn’t give me two sets of lectures and instead only get mad at me after them. My teachers didn’t help, despite telling me to my face I’d never make it and I was a failure they were all too happy to sit and lie to my parents that I had a lot of wasted potential. 

The thing with pressure is, after a while you give up. I was fifteen, my friends had just died and I sat my mocks for my GCSE’s. The grades were solid C and below and the worst was my Latin grade with a U; I’ve never really admitted this but that grade stung. I’d studied so hard in a subject I despised because I wanted to throw it back in my teachers face. Instead he stood grinning after telling me I got a U and that I should really consider dropping the subject as I was academically inept. That parents evening is the first time my mum stood up for me in front of my teachers, she didn’t take any of his rubbish and for the first time I could feel the pressure lifting. Life was hard that month, my academics was the least of my problems, but my teachers were making me feel as if they should be top priority. 

Then came the age of teacher’s comparing me and my sister, saying we were so different. That meant she was so smart, and I was lost, I understood what they were saying. I became even more insecure about my academics and then did the worst thing I could’ve done. I gave up. I stopped studying and caring, I was working part-time, and I was shattered from dealing with my mental health. I got into fights constantly because I was throwing away my life. I was to be fair, but I deserved it, I had so many unspoken battles and that’s what mattered to me. 

I didn’t know whether the pressure got to my sister, it wasn’t till a year or so ago where we spoke about it. She said she felt so pressured into living up to me and I was flabbergasted. I was a lost cause, I had nothing that she would have to live up to. Then she explained, I spoke out. I wasn’t scared of anything (I was but I don’t think she knew that), I wasn’t quiet. I had acted myself into the greatest scene of made up self-confidence there was, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted but people thought I did know. She didn’t have a clue, she’s very introverted whereas despite my anxiety I excel in social situations.

To this day I’m still shocked my sister felt there was pressure on her shoulders, I guess when you never speak about things it is very easy to not realise what is really going on. Me and my sister are polar opposites, but we are there for each other. It always makes me laugh when people say they wish their sibling relationship was like ours because we fight constantly but it never lasts longer than a few hours. If I could’ve chose a sister, I don’t think I could’ve chosen anyone better, I’ll give her one hour till she annoys me, and I retract that statement. (It’s alright because she doesn’t read my blog despite my constant support on her art account). 

So, what advice can I give? It’s not always plain and simple and it’s not just how you feel. Pressure is horrific and honestly, I wish I could tell all those teachers how badly they affected me. I know how hard the job probably is but placing pressure on students without getting to the root of the problem does nothing. Only one teacher of mine noticed that it was my anxiety that was affecting my memory and the fact I didn’t know how to study, one teacher out of the masses I came across noticed I wasn’t a lost cause. Please don’t sit and struggle, don’t even give up. The pressure almost broke me, and it wasn’t worth it, my sister is incredible yes, but so am I. Also, she is studying fashion so unless she makes it, she’ll be living in my basement.

MY SISTERS ART INSTAGRAM – https://instagram.com/cayleycochrane?igshid=1d77ekejdlca1

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Living with Anxiety

Hey!!

I started writing this 3 weeks ago. It wasn’t the planned post for today, but I noticed that the topic was getting me angry and I didn’t want to write in a place of rage so that post will have to wait. 

My anxiety is the calmest of my mental illnesses, sometimes I physically forget about it because I feel like I’ve made so much progress since I got diagnosed with it when I was eleven. However, my panic attacks are less controlled. Sometimes I come across my triggers and I can’t see, or breathe, or talk and I feel like I’ve got such a heavy weight on my heart and I can’t help myself. In my last year of university, I was having panic attacks most weeks, mainly after tutorial meetings where despite being ahead, I was overwhelmed with feelings of failure and stupidity. After lockdown began, my panic attacks became much more frequent and as the final submission dates crept forwards I couldn’t help regretting thinking I was good enough for university. Sometimes trying to explain that to people was the hardest thing, having ‘made it this far’ ‘why was it so hard to do the last two assignments’; but that’s the thing with my anxiety I can’t control when I’m going to feel useless and though I know it’s somewhat stupid I can’t stop it. 

My triggers come from my past experiences and especially ones surrounding education having grown up in a household of high achievers, it was difficult being the only person who wasn’t educationally bright. This means that in times where I put my brain to the test, I often underestimate myself and flashbacks of being told horrible things from teachers throughout school come back and haunt me. I don’t personally believe that past experience triggers will ever leave, and that’s probably what makes them even harder as if I don’t learn to control them then I will probably spend the rest of my career having panic attacks over the fear that my previous education could impact my chances of job hiring. But despite that I am learning that despite failing my A Levels; I have been accepted to numerous jobs, my undergraduate and postgraduate degree. So as much as I know I can’t just say GCSE and A Level grades don’t matter- I am doing pretty well without them. 

My anxiety is generally tame; I don’t really speak up out of turn, I don’t generally put myself in situations which make me uncomfortable and I usually have to hype myself up before something or I risk having a panic attack if things aren’t in my specific type of order. I’m a very organised person, my friends would always laugh at me because I would organise holidays, day outs, everything basically weeks or even months in advance. I didn’t really understand why I felt the need to do this, until I started to let other people take control or not plan everything and I noticed my anxiety heighten. Though I know I can be flexible if I have to be, I know I can’t push myself too much with that knowledge. I’m not a spontaneous person, I don’t think I ever will be. The most spontaneous I’ve ever been is deciding to go out two hours before, and I’d still be a ball of stress on those nights. 

I have learnt a lot about myself over the years, my insecurities stem from not feeling good enough, feeling used and feeling judged. I never felt that I was enough, I still don’t believe it most the time. I believe I am easily replaced, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing. Yes, I can be replaced, there is billions of other people on Earth and if someone finds something better either in relationships or friendships and I get left behind it happens. It sucks a lot but not everything is forever. I would be lying if I didn’t feel that some of the relationships, friendships or situationships I have ended up in over my 21 years didn’t feel like I was being used and not actually cared about. I recently worked out that I attract people who feel pretty insecure, I take their pain on as I don’t want anyone to feel that way therefore suffocating myself and they walk away with a new sense of freedom. This is toxic. I deserve better than this. But I don’t give myself better than this. Judgement is inevitable, no one is completely judgement free. I’d love to say I don’t judge anyone but of course I do in my head, I try not to act on my judgements though I know I have slipped up in the past but yeah people judging me is nerve-wracking. 

So, how do I deal with it? I am very good at acting confident and going home and crying to myself. If I am really anxious about something, I usually put it off, I’ll sit and cheer myself up instead. I find keeping a tight schedule, not necessarily sticking to it but at least having one and trying to keep to it does keep me in a much more positive place. I find breathing is so important, and that sound so stupid but learning how to control your breathing and grounding yourself. I tend to focus on one thing around me, this stops me from metaphorically floating away and ending up in a larger panic. I do genuinely advocate for crying. I don’t think there is anything that is genuinely more important than getting a good cry out the way, and depression forts. Depression forts are so important, that’s my happy place. In a load of pillows and blankets with Miranda or the Office (US of course) playing with some fruit and chocolate. Nothing I love more.

My anxiety is worse over my health, that’s actually where it hits the roof. I am a bit of a hypochondriac. I think the worst because then if it’s anything better I feel better. Over my three years at Plymouth University I went to almost every GP there was at least once for an appointment, blood test or ultrasound. I basically lived in the GP or hospital. When I’m ill I sometimes feel so out of control and out of place that not only does my head race, but my confidence drops as I feel like something major is wrong with me. I know it’s not true and I am just overreacting but even so I can’t help feeling that way. I know it is annoying to people around me, and I know it is very dramatic to be as cautious as I am, but I’ve left things before and the consequences were difficult. 

I am a woman with a lot of control of her life. I know what I want to do, maybe not specific jobs but at least the field. I know where I want to be, and I know how to get there. My health stops me. I want to be a mum, but I am infertile, the chances are minimal and that hurts me. I want to exercise and lose weight, my PCOS stops me, my chest is too big to exercise comfortably. My health stops me from living quite literally my best life. If my health didn’t get in the way so much maybe my anxiety wouldn’t be as hurtful as it is but I truly can’t help it. 

This is a bit different than where I was expecting this post to go. I’ve rewrote this so many times I forgot what the first draft even consisted of. I have more anxieties, but these are the ones most relevant to me currently. I’d just like to point out I do plan on writing about my PCOS and infertility later on but every time I’ve began I’ve ended up crying so that’ll be a while. I am coming back to London on Saturday after a much-needed trip away and my posts will be more regular than forgetting sometimes, I hope that tomorrow I get my act straight and put something up to post Saturday but can’t guarantee. Anyway, I’ll try and do another post on my anxiety another time going into more judgements and opinions of others. Thank you for reading !!!

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Things to Live For

Heyyy

I had quite a few messages after my last post from people apologising for stuff and honestly that was not my intent and I truly do not want or need any apologies from anyone. This blog is not my way of bashing anyone, it is truly just a way of speaking out about my experience and making a positive out of something which was and is such a negative part about my life. I couldn’t help but feel anxious that some people felt I was in-directing them when that was never my goal. So once again, I do apologise to anyone who felt guilty or any negative feelings after the last post, I didn’t mean it like that, and I mostly write expecting it not to be read so its mad seeing the viewers figures.

I also want to address something, I was going to do a post today about Generation Z and the power we hold through social factors in regard to racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and feminism. I actually spent all day writing that and I was almost at the end when my mother shared some concerns; whilst I do actively read, donate and share as much information as possible I am not a voice to listen to. I do not have personal experiences (apart from being a woman, and even then I am at privilege being white), and though I do believe one of the most important parts about being an ally is sharing and not just partaking in the cause as it is the ‘trend’ but because you truly care about equality throughout; I do not believe my opinion is truly needed at this moment of time. I would love to sit and write a piece on looking at it from my perspective but all in due time, right now is about taking a step back and listening to personal experiences of those. ACTIVELY listening, ACTIVELY reading and ACTIVELY sharing. Black people, Jewish people, Muslim’s, Yemeni People, Transgender people ARE NOT A TREND. They need equality. WE SHOULD ACTIVELY BE TRYING TO GET THEM THAT. (I know that there is more going on in the world and I am trying to better myself by keeping more up to date in world news from outlets other than the UK media as I know how biased they are, I suggest you do too)

Now onto today’s post; after I wrote my letter to 16-year-old me I actually felt so relieved. I don’t think I realised how the last five years had impacted me, like I knew it was hard but the list of things I’d change just kept coming to me. I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘Things to Live For’ jokes and trends on Tiktok and Twitter and I thought I’d share my list that kept me going and continues to keep me going.

  • Children. I don’t know if I’ll ever have my own biological children, but I will love them no matter what.
  • Wedding. I was going to ignore this one, but I know that young me would be slapping me right now, I’ve always envisioned the perfect wedding. I know what type of dress I want; I know what I want. But I also am happily single, it’s not tragic or sad or anything like that. I like being single, so if I don’t get married then I don’t. I am content with that. 
  • Career. I’ve had so many different ideas over the years ranging from hairdresser to lawyer and even to this date I have no idea what I am going to end up doing. I know I want to work with kids, preferably in a youth work or adoptive situation but at the rate my brain works in three months I might have changed my mind. 
  • Charity. I’ve always wanted my own charity in relation to mental health. I know that this is a main life goal of mine and for a very long time this was probably the only thing keeping me going. I want to be able to spread positivity through mental health and I wasn’t going to be able to do that from six feet under. 
  • Pets. Having grown up surrounded by cats, I still have 4 currently and I love them to bits, I’ve always wanted a little dog, so I definitely am holding out to having my own little chihuahua or pug.
  • Moving away. I’ve lived in London my whole life (minus university), it has too many bad memories. I need a fresh start from my trauma, and if moving up north is the only way for that to happen then that’s where I’m off to.  
  • Short-Hair. I always vocally said I’d never cut my hair short having seen horrific photos from being young, this is actually probably one of the only things on this list I’ve already done. Christmas Eve 2019 I left my house telling my family I was going for a trim and came back seven inches lighter. I am growing it back out now, but I’ll never say never again. 
  • Nails. This is probably one of my sillier things to live for, anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED with fake nails. I want to have got every colour possible. I’m quite a basic boring person and I mainly get pink’s or red’s, but I want to be more adventurous with my nails.
  • Travelling. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some truly incredible places at just the age of twenty-one and I think it’s because of that I just want to explore more. Problem is I am a massive snob, especially about hygiene (anyone who knows me knows I constantly have UTI’s from refusing to go to public bathrooms) so until I have a lot of money, I don’t see me travelling that far to be honest. 
  • New Years. For my 21st birthday I was lucky enough with a group of my friends to go to Berlin for New Years. Sitting there counting down to midnight I remember thinking this will be the best year of my life, imagine entering a year in your favourite European city surrounded by friends knowing your 21stbirthday is coming up. Since then I’ve just worked out that New Years is usually so miserable as I end up at home asleep by 10pm, I want to keep visiting places for New Year’s outside of London. Keep the magic alive for longer.
  • Money. For a lot of people (cough my sister cough) money is the number one goal. I wouldn’t even put it in my top 10, obviously I want to be comfortable in life and I don’t want to sit stressing about money but the whole money buys happiness thing isn’t true. I want a life where I am happy no matter what.
  • Friendship. To all my friends, my ex-friends, my future ex-friends I wish them nothing but the best. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up alongside some of the most amazing women and men, and truly they are going to do such incredible things. I wish happiness, resilience and love to EVERYONE who has taken a step alongside me in life. I remember you all, I may be losing my memory, but I remember you all. 
  • Change. I want to live in a world where everyone is equal. I want to live in a world where mental health is normalized and not stigmatized. I want to live in a world where I am not cat-called every time I leave the house. I want to live in a world which is ran by my generation and has the strength and courage of my generation.
  • Cody Simpson. I want to meet Cody Simpson. Enough said. I want to hug Cody Simpson. I want to cry about meeting Cody Simpson.
  • One Direction. I want one direction to come back. Please. PRETTY PLEASE.
  • Parents. I want to live in a world where I can help support my parents, they put me through education, and they continue to support me massively. I want to be able to treat them; they truly deserve it. 
  • Education. I want my PhD. I want to be a doctorate. 
  • Resilience. I want to continue to strengthen myself, I want to continue to be happy and I want to be able to bounce back from whatever the future has for me. 
  • Social Media. I want to be able to see a time where social media isn’t so competitive. Where women don’t drag women, and everyone lives happy lives not caring about how many likes it receives. I also want to quit social media, I’m terrified of being out of the loop, but it negatively affects me, and I want it gone from my life. Someday I’ll be strong enough to get rid of it. 

I think that’s all of my main things to be honest. None of my goals consist of restriction or change to my character or self, because I don’t need to change. The personality I have now is resilient and passionate, a woman who has seen and been through her fair share of trauma but continues to fight all negativity. Be true to yourself. You only get one you, if there is life after death it is probably not as yourself. Manifest your future, shoot your shot and spread happiness. If there is one thing, I wish for everyone it is true happiness. I hope you all receive it one day. 

Promise I’ll plan my next post more, sorry!! Byeeee

Also the following post is a non-guilt tripping list of things to live for, it is probably the most impressive list I’ve seen and I truly am grateful I came across this tweet as I think about it quite often. If you need something to keep you going, read through.

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My Depression Journey

Heyyy

I have been really struggling to write a blog post on anxiety recently, I begin writing and end up in a state of panic which ruins the rest of my day. I didn’t realise how much speaking about this type of stuff would trigger my memory and my ‘flight’ reflex. I have a tendency to run away from my problems, I don’t like facing reality and would rather push my feelings far down than begin to work through them. 

I first got diagnosed with depression when I was 12 years old, and as I said in an earlier post, I didn’t know what depression was and therefore ignored the diagnosis. I’ve always felt negative about myself; I was bullied growing up. The word bullying got so desensitized from the constant ‘anti-bullying’ campaigns the school would put on to make it look to parents that they knew what was going on in our lives when they had no idea, it lost all meaning. Most of my bad memories from high school are fuelled by these bullies, now I look back on it and I know that those people did it as they were insecure. Insecurity is a dangerous game, it makes us act in truly disgusting ways, but I can’t help but feel sorry for those who bullied me as they never won. 

There was a girl, I remember her name so vividly, but she never went to my school. She was a friend of someone who I was friends with, she was the first bully I almost lost to. I was young, I acted confident, but I would cry constantly, I didn’t have many friends especially not at school and I was really struggling with finding myself. This girl didn’t know me, but I was a threat to her, she was jealous of my friendship and she truly did act out of spite. If she remembers me, I’m sure her memories of me are just as negative as mine are of her. She was the first person who told me to kill myself. I was fourteen. That phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’; that phrase is truly bullsh*t. Words almost ended my life and I know others where it did. I genuinely believe I would’ve preferred someone to throw a stick and a stone at me than everything I heard about myself.

Some people reading this will not realize how much their words impacted me. I heard every single joke about my surname, I heard every single joke about my forehead (it is large, got to give you that I guess), I heard every comment on how ugly I was, on how stupid I was, how I would never find someone, etc. I spent years hating myself, picking myself up on every small mistake I would make as I was scared it’d be noticed, and I would be made fun for it. I spent so many years wanting to disappear, I actually wrote my letters to my family and friends. I’m so grateful they never had to find them or read them. 

I worked hard with my depression, I started finding my safe spaces and my happy places. I realised that swimming positively impacted me, I met so many great people through swimming and though I don’t speak to really any of them now I honestly don’t think I would’ve made it this far had it not been for them. So grateful. I started going to concerts, my parents will probably note this phase as the worst phase they watched me go through. I was ADDICTED to concerts, the thrill of it, the excitement, it was everything to me. My first concert was my favourite artist ever, Cody Simpson, I was 14 and it’s definitely in the top ten nights of my life. I had no worries, I was happy. After that all of my money went to gigs, my parents actually didn’t know where I was most the time though I’m sure they sort of knew I was lying about where I was. I made so many incredible friends, they really got me through the darkest stage. 

I got made fun of a lot for being ‘obsessed’ with these singers that didn’t know who I was. I really didn’t care. That was my safe space, if it wasn’t for Cody Simpson, I never would’ve become a ‘fangirl’ and I don’t think I’d actually be around right now. The community I became a part of truly saved me, I thought I was a lost cause. I hope that one day I will finally meet Cody and though I’m sure my anxiety will stop me I will get the chance to tell him that he saved me. My depression was bad, but music was the only thing that kept me going, I was addicted to the serotonin I would get from music.

I first supposedly ‘recovered’ from depression when I was 13. I didn’t really care. I thought that was the end of the word; I was 15 when three of my friends (from different fanbases) took their lives. I spiralled and then came the second diagnosis. Then came the second bout of depression, around this time was the most suicidal I’ve ever been. I failed mocks and started acting up in school because I had given up with myself. I didn’t actually think I would make it to results day. I had given up with wanting the best for myself. 

I was 17 when I got told I was ‘recovered’ again, I didn’t believe that it was true but with the diagnosis of my bipolar disorder it made sense that I always felt depressed even when I wasn’t diagnosed as depressed. The word ‘recovered’ lost its meaning. I was never going to recover from it, I could only hope that I would learn to live with it. 

Sure enough, the depression came back. I was 19. I gave up fighting it, I let into it and let it eat me alive. I physically spoke out about how the re-diagnosis meant nothing because I didn’t have it in me to fight it again. So, I didn’t. I am still depressed; I will probably always be depressed. But I am also happy, I have made it so far. I’m sure I will get told I’m recovered again, and I am sure that I will celebrate despite knowing it’ll come back. Life isn’t about the fight though; it took me years to understand that. My life so far has been such a rocky journey, apart from the deaths in my life there is nothing that I would change. I never gave up, no matter what happened, no matter what life through at me I never gave up.

My depression journey is not simple. Sometimes it eats me, and I can’t do anything. I sit and watch Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine Nine or Miranda for the ten thousandth time; sometimes I can go weeks without a low point but other times I can’t go a day without it being low. I believe there’s a reason why I am still alive, there is something I am meant to do before I can die. I look forward to that, and maybe one day I can be free from my depression but if not then I’ll cope. I am not a depression story; I am a twenty-one-year-old graduate woman with so many amazing qualities. I am more than my depression and I know that.

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Debunking University: Is it really the best years of your life?

Heyyyy,

Before I get into this topic, I just want to say that I am so incredibly grateful for the support this blog is getting. I never ever expected to have so many views so early on, or even ever, and to know that the audience is wider than just in the UK where most the people I know are is incredible.

Now onto the topic, I’d just like to first of all say this is my opinion. I can’t comment on other people’s experiences because I’m my own person but what I can say is my opinion is definitely shared by a lot of students I have met and spoke to. No one ever told me prior to university how it would affect me, or even what university consisted of; as far as I was aware PRIOR TO JOINING university was about the nightlife and the work would be easier. That’s not true. It couldn’t be any more from the truth.

I always wanted to use university as a fresh start, how I saw it was I deserved a fresh start after everything I got put through during school. I was not a good student and receiving my unconditional from Plymouth University was a sign to me, it was finally my shot to move out and on from the past. I had people I knew down in Plymouth already and did ask about the night out scene, I got told it was very rave-y and most the clubs were very drug-fuelled. I don’t do drugs, never have and never will so finding that out terrified me. I knew I’d never be peer-pressured into anything as I am strongly anti-drugs (for myself) but I still didn’t want to risk feeling outcasted before I even got to university. My best advice is don’t just look up what is the best university for your course but look at the city and find out if you will be comfortable there for three years.

I was never a clever person, as I always say my sister has the ‘book smarts’ and I have the ‘life smarts’. I was made for living and I have a lot of common sense, sorry Cayley you really don’t have any. Therefore, choosing a university based on grades or league tables wasn’t even a way of thinking; I applied for five universities which with my predicted grades I could not get into. I received 3 offers and 2 unconditionals off a personal statement which I didn’t write by myself; I truly believe I got into university on a fluke, but I took that and turned it into fate. I was terrified, my school never did Sociology, so I actually had no prior knowledge of the topic. I turned up and I immediately knew I was going to have to work my a** off to compete with the other students. 

Choosing a course was very difficult for me, I knew I wanted to be a psychiatrist and that I didn’t want to go to university. I told my head of sixth form this and he told me to go for Sociology, I didn’t realise that for the exact job I wanted I was doing the wrong degree. It took me a year and 2 months to find out that I was doing the wrong degree, I was broken. But I carried on, I looked at other career routes that would be possible and tried to ignore the fact that my dream job had just been ripped from me. I know that I should’ve done the research myself, I do know it is partly my fault, but I also know I wouldn’t have gone to university had I not been told this was the only way into that job. Please if you read just one thing about my blog, DO YOUR RESEARCH. You do not want to regret it down the line, it’s heart-breaking. 

Lectures. Go to your lectures. I am such a hypocrite but trust me when it got close to the deadlines, I regretted it. I used to not go if my friends weren’t going too, as I would feel too anxious to sit alone, trust me I regret that so bad. I wish I’d done more to help my degree, but I genuinely didn’t take it that seriously. I think I got too hooked up on the fact I was away from home that I forgot about the education part of why I was away from home; that and my extensive list of health problems over the course of university which left me hiding inside a lot. 

Nightlife. Before university I was a huge lightweight, one double vodka lemonade was usually enough for me to be tipsy and I generally avoided clubbing as I was not keen on being in a room with a bunch of sweaty people. University changed that; in my three years I can count the amount of times I missed a night out I was invited to on one hand. I learnt that to enjoy clubbing you need to have a good group around you, all of my friends at university had such good vibes that clubbing was just so much fun. I should really advocate that drinking yourself to oblivion doesn’t solve anything and can be very regretful, but at the same time that would be very hypocritical of me. Just be safe with whatever you do. Also, you don’t need to get drunk every time you get out, I’ve got so many memories of good nights out where I’ve had two drinks maximum. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of my funniest night out memories come from being quite intoxicated, once again just be safe and watch your drinks (there are some really vile people out there who will spike you and it’s so scary please watch out).

They don’t lie when they say you meet your best friends at university. They don’t lie when they say you work out who your true friends are when you go to university. I moved 4 hours away from home and I kept in constant contact with my friends, I was doing weekly check-in’s with majority of them making sure things were definitely good. When I got re-diagnosed with depression, I stopped calling people and I noticed people stopped speaking to me, rarely would I get a message first especially not one asking how I was doing. I realised I had very little true friends and cut off my one-sided friendships, that was hard especially at a time where I felt so lonely and down. I met some amazing people at university and though I don’t expect I will stay friends with them all there are a few who I hope to keep forever. 

The people you meet in freshers rarely end up being your friends 4 weeks down the line, your flatmates don’t always work out but if you are lucky you end up meeting your best friends and making the most incredible memories. Moving so far away from home it wasn’t as simple as if I was feeling lonely, I could go home or visit my mates; they lived pretty far away from me and same with my family. Luckily, I met some incredible people but not everyone gets that lucky. The best advice I could give regarding this is go to a university away from home, get that freedom but don’t make it impossible for you to get home. If things go downhill you will need to get home, I can’t even imagine how much money I spent on last minute train journeys. I luckily could afford it but not everyone is in that position. 

So, all in all, university was the best years of my life but looking at my life that statement doesn’t mean much. I entered university anxious and I left still insecure but so confident; I have the most amazing friends out there and I know for a fact that I cannot shot alcohol. University was the worst years of my life too, I battled with numerous health problems, physio for my knee, two relatives’ deaths, a friend’s death, re-diagnosis of depression and some other things which are very much hidden away. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without these experiences; I wouldn’t be the woman I am if I hadn’t spent countless nights crying to myself or drowning my trauma with vodka (trust me IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA). 

To anyone beginning university, honestly, I wish you the best. I hope you have all the positives of university with none of the negatives. Girls always travel in packs, don’t leave a vulnerable girl behind EVER; watch your drinks also. Unfortunately, disgusting people breed around students whether it be students or not and they take any chance they can. Don’t feel pressurized into anything; drugs, alcohol, sex or anything. If you don’t want to do it. Say no. Get out of the situation. I know it’s hard but look after yourselves. The world isn’t as rosy as schools tend to portray it as when pushing students towards university. 

Anyway, hopefully my next post ends a little bit lighter than this did. I’m trying to keep to a schedule of posting but I’m currently quite busy sorting other things in my life out so I’m trying my best to get things out every other day but can’t promise anything.

Byeeeee

ALSO HAPPY ONE DIRECTION 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY. I’ve been in my Harry Styles top all day listening to them basically hoping for some content which is yet to come. 14 year old me is quaking at the suspense.

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Letter to a 16-Year-Old Me

Dear 16-year-old me,

You make it to 21. This letter actually comes from 21-year-old you. You are alive at 21. 

Some advice for coping with what happens over the next five years:

  1. Live in the moment. Collect the memories. Don’t spend so much time held up in the past or looking at the future. You miss so much. 
  2. Keep swimming. It was the only sport that kept you in shape, it was stupid to quit. You will regret that when you try on a dress for your 21st and you have a breakdown in the changing rooms over your ugly body.
  3. Stop checking in on people who don’t check in on you. It’ll hurt at the start but trust me it’s for the best. Half the people who claimed to be your friends ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. 
  4. Trust your mum when she says someone is bad for you. It may feel like she is controlling you, but she is right. Not everyone wants the best for you, some people want to see you crash and burn. 
  5. Don’t sl*g off plastic surgery. You will end up begging your parents to let you get a breast reduction. You will look like a hypocrite. 
  6. Don’t put off medical things. If you need to go to the doctors, go to the doctors. Don’t listen to your sister who says you go too often. Things do go downhill. Way too quickly. 
  7. Spend as much time as possible with your family, your friends come and go but your family is always there. You will regret it down the line.
  8. Stop putting expectations on your birthday. You will spend every birthday crying to yourself, it becomes a tradition. Get used to it. 
  9. Study more. School grades didn’t matter as much but if you’d worked harder maybe your degree would’ve been a higher classification. Yes. You go to university.
  10. Go on as many nights out as humanly possible. You will miss them when the clubs shut. Hangovers are temporary but memories are forever. PS: don’t drink vodka lemonades in the club, you don’t like the taste of the lemonade and it leads to a lot of throwing up OR JÄGERBOMBS.
  11. You will lose your memory; it’ll suck but it’s a symptom of the depression. Take as many photos as possible, write down the good days. You will thank yourself for that in the future. 
  12.  Get your heart broken once. You officially have feelings. It hurts, it really sucked. But you handle it well and you bounce back. 
  13. Go to as many concerts as you can, they are still your favourite thing 5 years later. They are still your safe space. They are still your happy place. I hope that never changes. PS: Don’t drink before Post Malone. You will not remember a concert you paid £150 for. The guy wasn’t worth not remembering the concert, he wasn’t worth the hangover. 
  14. You might never have kids. Prepare for that. 
  15. Boys will try to use you for your chest. You are more than two balls of fat on your chest, ignore them. Don’t take it to heart, boys are stupid. 
  16. Speak out about your diagnosis. It’s scary but it was worth it. 
  17. Don’t feel pressured into losing your virginity, it happens when you are 19. People will assume and say nasty things, ignore it. Virginity is a stupid concept anyway, nothing changes. 
  18. Accept that you cannot control the future. The sooner you accept that the less you will cry. Hold out hope though, it’ll be worth it. 
  19. Don’t miss your train. You will sit and cry outside the train station and then have to do arguably what is worse than a walk of shame back into your flat kitchen. 
  20. Take coronavirus seriously. You will look like an idiot later on.
  21. Answer the phone to her. Nothing is more important than that phone call. It was not just a catch-up. It was not your fault. 

But even without these tips you are okay. You are 21 (and a half) and you are a university graduate. You are about to begin your postgraduate degree, you are happy. Life is rocky for the following five years, and I expect it will be all the way through for ten years at least. But you are happy. That’s all you ever wanted. You got it. You have your low moments, but you are happy. I promise you it got better. 

This post was a bit different but within all the advice I could give myself, I hope other people find comfort in realising you cannot rewrite your past. I accept and understand that. I know how I would change it; I have twenty-one ways in how I’d change the last five years. But I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for all of those things. They shaped the woman I am right now. I couldn’t be more grateful for that if I tried, and trust me I have tried.

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Coping with Familial Grief and Loss

Heyyy

The plan was never to post two posts in one day but considering the circumstances today was the best day for this post. This was actually the first post I wrote and over the space of three weeks I have literally stripped it bare. Anyone who knows me personally will know I am currently out of the UK visiting my family after the passing of my Grandma in March. I’m not a good person at coping with grief and loss so there isn’t much advice to be given from me, but I hope that in my experience comes some positivity. 

I first lost someone when I was four years old, it was my Grandad. Considering how bad my memory is I can’t believe I can still remember him but the memories I do have are so vivid I genuinely don’t think I will ever forget him. I was angry for so long, I physically hated him for dying; for missing my big moments, my growth and just not even being around. It took me fifteen years to finally let go; I stood in the Remembrance Garden of the crematorium screaming, crying and letting it all out. I don’t remember much of that day apart from screaming “you were supposed to stay, you should’ve seen me grow up and you died. And there’s no happy ending, this f**cking sucks”. The worst bit about being angry about someone is when you know you can’t get over it, my Grandad isn’t magically going to sit in front of me and apologise for leaving or dying. It was swallowing me whole, and I didn’t think I’d be able to breathe ever again. In October it’ll be 17 years since he passed, I will still cry and I will still miss him but I will breathe and I will continue to make him proud because that’s all I can do.

When I was at my lowest points I remember thinking if I am going to grow old, I want it to be quickly. I didn’t want to stay young; I didn’t want to be a child. I wanted freedom. I grew up too quickly, I took advantage of time and I messed up so badly. My Mormor (my Grandma, I’m half Finnish so that’s what I call her) passed in March. She was ill for a while and I was a terrible granddaughter. I had so many opportunities to be a better Granddaughter, but I put money ahead of family; I went through a stage where working was more important to me than taking at least a week out to come visit my Grandparents and other family members. I don’t have many regrets, but this is my biggest one. She was an incredible woman, she truly loved us to the end and fought till her last breath. She was so proud of the fact I was at university and about to graduate, I knew how proud she was of me for it. Although I am glad, she’s no longer in pain, I just wish I would’ve had longer and maybe she would’ve then seen me finish my degree. Coronavirus stopped us coming out for the funeral, so I didn’t really deal with my grief. I still haven’t, though considering tomorrow is the memorial I am sure it’ll hit me like a train.

Luckily my list of familial grief isn’t long. I don’t think I would be able to cope considering how I refuse to deal with my pain. Over the years I have received a lot of advice to deal with grief and honestly the best advice is ‘get out of the angry phase’. Do whatever it takes to stop being angry. It’s okay and NORMAL to be angry but it can physically break you to be SO angry at someone who is dead and can’t respond to your anger can have big consequences. Unfortunately, death is inevitable, but as I grow older, I really hope that I work through my emotions quicker as leaving them to burden my growth only messes things up more. My favourite thing to do now is reminisce on memories that I have unfortunately forgotten, remembering the love I have for them both and my family who is still alive. I’ve always loved the concept that on your death bed your favourite memories snap in front of you, and my life from now onwards is dedicated to filling that concept with as many good and loving experiences as humanly possible. Losing someone is one of the hardest things you have to go through, but just remember you are not alone. Keep your head up and how loved you are, not only by other people but by yourself.

This post genuinely left me having a breakdown throughout, I still have a lot of things to work through myself including at the memorial tomorrow, but I hope that when they look down on me they are proud of the woman I am and am continuing to become. If you are struggling and feel like you don’t have anyone to speak to, my socials are linked to this blog and I am literally free most the time. I will always make time to help. 

To my Grandad and my Mormor who I would love to envision reading this from wherever they are. I miss you so much. I’m sorry I was angry, I’m sorry I took advantage of our time together and I’m sorry you don’t get to live my future alongside me. I’ll do you both proud though. Always.