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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Closure: I’m sorry

Heyy

I wasn’t expecting to write this post. I know what spurred it, but I wasn’t expecting to write it. This isn’t a typical post and it won’t be as long as my usual posts because of it. It also probably won’t be my last post like this one, I feel like I owe several apologies and I want to begin with this one. 

I’m not perfect. I never have been, I’ve also done some pretty terrible things in my life and wow I have paid for it. 

Growing up I was bullied, I used that to excuse my behaviour after. I was bullied into an eating disorder and from the point of realisation my attitude changed. I was disrespectful and rude to a lot of people. I’m sorry. 

Through secondary school I created a personality which was not me, I wanted to act like I was big and tough, and I hurt a lot of people. I know what I did, and though I’m sure the other parties have forgotten if you haven’t, I’m sorry. 

Then came GCSE years and I stopped caring, a lot of things happened, and my mind was elsewhere. I wasn’t particularly nice to people and I stupidly used my mental health as an excuse for acting quite frankly like a little b*tch. I am so sorry.

A Levels came and to be honest I was a different person; I don’t really know who I was, but I was rude, and I was done. I had no consideration for how my actions impacted others because no one had had for me. My pictures had been leaked and then to make matters worse people would re-leak the same photos every few months making me paranoid and insecure. I was broken and it changed me. I’m sorry. 

Now my apology to men. Though I doubt guys I’ve gotten with or spoken to will read this let me apologise, I didn’t want commitment and I also didn’t want to heighten my body count. Therefore, I spoke to you, lead you on, told you things would happen and then bounced. I know what I did, most the time it was because you boosted my ego and I needed it. After I got my heartbroken that changed, maybe that’s all I needed to actually care about your feelings, I’m sorry if you met me pre-heartbreak. I’m sorry if you met me post-heartbreak too, I don’t know what I want or even who I am at this time in my life and I have probably ended up leading on just as many of you. I’m sorry I wish I could change but I can’t. 

Apologising is not something that comes easy to me, I’m strong minded and stubborn. I guess that’s a pretty big flaw of mine to be honest, however I should apologise more. I know I should. I’ve ended a lot of friendships over my stubbornness and reflecting that has made me realise I would’ve been in a completely different place had I accepted my behaviour was wrong and changed. 

I don’t believe you can genuinely forgive without closure, and maybe that’s why I hold grudges for longer. However, everything deserves an apology, there is loads of people I’d love to apologise to right now but it’s impossible and I lost that opportunity a long time ago. Last words hurt and even with a diminishing memory I’m still around thinking about the last words I said to some people and the last words they said to me. Don’t let bitterness stop you from admitting you were wrong, don’t let shoddy excuses stop you from accepting you made a mistake. 

This post was fuelled by something that occurred yesterday for me, I was writing a post on trauma and I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I struggled to work out where it was coming from but then realised, I had some unspoken words to say. I’ve never vented with such honesty before and I was met with a pathetic excuse. As a proud mentally ill person I hope I never use my mental health as an excuse for disgusting and traumatic behaviour, to be in a position of power and to abuse that position because you refuse to admit you messed up all those years ago. It’s disgusting and to be honest I’m so far gone with being annoyed about it, so this is me done. 

I owe a lot of people apologies and to be honest I don’t think I’ll ever actually get around to doing all of those apologies and that’s really sad. To anyone I’ve ever used my mental health to excuse my sh*t behaviour I’m sorry, I really am. I’ve grown up and I’m different now. 

Being a Woman is Exhausting…

Heyyyy

I’m so sorry I didn’t post over the weekend; I was literally packed with things the whole of last week and ended Thursday with finally passing my drivers theory after my third attempt of the month. I then went to Center Parcs with my family over the weekend on what I fear will be the last legal trip I am allowed this term due to current lockdown talks and fears. Spending the weekend with little to no technology and focusing on my book which I have finally finished (the new Twilight book is actually really good, I recommend), I had a lot of time to reflect on where I am right now and especially after a dreaded snapchat memory lookback what has changed in the past year. 

I have a lot of trauma which is unspoken about, for instance what is fuelling this post isn’t something I am willing to or ever will speak about. My mental health is significantly strained in relation to my gender and I find myself in states of panic or fear regularly especially late at night or in areas which are poorly lit. I have never, nor would I ever rate myself, my figure, my attractiveness, etc. but if we go by the common catcalls, beeping, following and threatening upon rejection I’m obviously well liked/enjoyed.

It terrifies me. I was between the age of 12 and 13 when I was first catcalled, I was in school uniform and if you knew me back then you’d know I was lanky with a bit of chubbiness which have in turn formed my curves. I didn’t know how to react and kept walking, 8/9 years later and I still react the same way. I had a stage of my life where I would actively curse at those but after being followed by one around my area three times, I decided that silence was the safest way forward. This was before I even hit puberty, I’ve seen photos of what I looked like and it just didn’t make sense. I once saw and read an article, which unfortunately I can’t find now, which explained that when the fear provoked by a man catcalling a young girl leads to a more submissive and anxious woman therefore leading to more acceptance for abusive behaviours. 

Girls are taught from a young age that boys are mean because they like them, this concept of accepting and allowing males to treat women with zero respect in order to impress a woman is painful. From a young age, girls are taught to conform to a system which overly sexualises parts of a woman’s body, for instance boys were allowed to wear suits/uniforms as tight as they wanted but my sister got uniform checked regularly for skirts just above her knee. On one occasion I remember being told off for wearing a sleeveless turtleneck on a 30 plus degree day, I remember asking our Deputy head what the problems with my shoulders being out were and being told it could be a distraction. Genuinely, if someone is going to be distracted by my shoulders should they be allowed in a capacity of a school? It was the same concept with ankle grazer trousers, I remember being told off for those and arguing as I was 5’11 finding sixth form clothes was draining and if a pair of trousers fit I wasn’t about to change them as my ankles could turn on a middle-aged man. 

The older I got and the further into my jobs the more bad experiences I underwent, in one of my first jobs (I obviously can’t mention who or where these jobs are) I remember being 17 and having a man around my father’s age openly make inappropriate comments towards me. He wasn’t the only one and several men around that job felt the need to jump from woman to woman and openly discuss their sexual experiences with other colleagues in front of us all, attacking and degrading the woman’s appearances, personalities and reputation. It was vile and made worse by managers laughing and allowing these attacks to take place. I once discussed it with a female manager and she proceeded to insinuate it was the girls faults for getting themselves in those situations; after that I quietly carried on working and barely spoke to people out of work for fear that I’d be the next rumour. That same job is partly one of the reasons I am fearful of men, one time I served a man and he sat where he could watch me work. He stayed till the end of the shift and as I walked around the corner to where my father would pick me up, I noticed I was being followed by this man. I quickly rang my best friend and quietly told her I was being followed and would need her on the phone. He tried speaking to me, asking me out and telling me I was beautiful and needed a big strong man like himself, it was half eleven at night and I’ve never been so grateful to see my dad’s car. 

After that the same man turned up at work the same day for a few weeks but I’d hide until he left thinking I was no longer working, he’d come in with several men and I was utterly terrified that I would end up in some horrific place. I worked there for a year and genuinely I probably was cursed at, threatened or insulted by over 250 men who I had just rejected to give my snapchat to. I was eighteen and not interested, nor would I hand out my details to someone at work despite how many of my colleagues would (wrongfully) state his attractiveness. I wasn’t interested like they were; I genuinely feel like that job would’ve been so much less stress had we all focused more on the job than attracting men but unfortunately it worked that way. 

I wish that was my only experience like that but I’m not that lucky, in my nine jobs I’ve probably had a standout bad experience because of my gender in every single job, that’s not a good statistic. This job was not somewhere I stayed long, despite loving the job, I was 19 and this was a quick summer job. There was a middle-aged manager who despite occasionally being lovely was quite creepy, one time I remember begging on the radio for a manager to come help me with a difficult customer and despite my cries for help he sauntered over. By this stage I was being screamed at by multiple customers, it was over thirty degrees and there was no air conditioning where I was, and I was in the midst of my first panic attack in 4 months. I could barely breathe and was struggling to remain composed; this manager kept touching my arm despite my requesting him not to and I finally snapped and told him if he was to touch me again, I would go home. Though this doesn’t seem like much the way I was treated post this incident proved what type of workplace this was, I had many conversations with managers about how uncomfortable I felt and was told that I should treat those in management with more respect. 

This ultimately leads to my main point; I don’t treat anyone with respect unless I believe they deserve it. I don’t care if they are my elders, I won’t be treated with disrespect. Age doesn’t mean respect. The fact in all my jobs it has been women who’ve excused the male’s behaviour proved to me this was not the workplace for me, I don’t want to live/work/be in an environment where women’s safety and comfort is side-tracked by a man’s sexual desires. Touching someone in a workplace whether that be on the hips or on the arms is unacceptable and in the smallest of occasions would I actually accept and understand it happening. The fact that we excuse certain behaviours as men tell us it was innocent shows how easy it is for them to get away with treating women with little to no respect. 

I’d love to live in a world where I could walk down the street no matter the time and not have to be focused on every single sound, rustle, etc. that I can hear. I’d love to not instinctively be gripping my keys as if they are going to hurt a potential attacker. I’d love to say I haven’t rehearsed, and researched safety moves just in case I find myself in a situation which I need to fight my way out of. I’d love to live in a world where I didn’t feel judged or in danger every time, I walked down the road no matter what I am wearing, but especially when in something that shows some skin. I’d love to live in a world where I didn’t have to keep an extra eye on both mine and my friends’ drinks, or send them my location when I go on a date, etc., or get the all clear and all good signal from my mates as they are with someone in the club. 

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world, and because I know some will be thinking yes but women can do stuff to men, I know they can. However, I am a woman and have only ever felt danger from men hence why I can write from that point of view. I don’t mean to offend anyone and though I doubt those men spoke about in this will ever read it I hope if they do they understand that I still remember their actions and if anything the stress caused from those have led to me trusting men even less than my already tiny amount. 

I just want to finish this off saying I’ve been thinking about a post RE coronavirus and how the government is suddenly blaming students however for the sake of not being kicked out of university it is best for me to keep my opinions offline. I just hope that all students who could potentially be told they can’t go home for Christmas keeps safe and makes right decisions based on their mental health because I know for sure despite being quite mentally stable at the moment my mental wellbeing would struggle if I was told at one of the most depressing times of the year I couldn’t spend it surrounded by my family. No thank you. 

Next post will be something a little bit lighter but being a one year ‘I don’t want to remember this night’ anniversary over the weekend this topic was the only thing on my mind. Thank you love you alllllll xxxx

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 !!!)

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. 

Bipolar Disorder

Heyyy

I am officially in Carlisle!! I finally moved up north and it’s so far been so amazing. Despite barely leaving my flat I’ve felt so positive and shockingly haven’t been overwhelmed. I noticed last night that I was becoming messy and my room was already slipping and so I made a list of productive things to do today which included my room. I’m also going up to Scotland tomorrow for a few days to surprise my Granny and Auntie so honestly, I can’t even begin to explain the levels of happiness I’m feeling right now. Life genuinely seems to be working out for me right now and I couldn’t be more grateful, I needed this so bad. 

This post is well overdue, I actually have about six drafts from when I’ve began this post since my blog began two months ago. My bipolar disorder is actually one of the first things I explain about myself to people, I’m not ashamed of it though I do understand and hate the stigma which comes along with it. I haven’t always been like that though; the following is my personal story. I understand that not everyone has the same symptoms or options I have had, and this is why I must stress this is how I have lived with my bipolar disorder since I was 17. 

I didn’t know what bipolar disorder was, the only times I’d ever heard of it was wrongful comments calling women bipolar for rightful mood swings. The word is typically wrongfully used and to be honest I wish that we’d been taught about it; maybe it wouldn’t have been so heart-breaking to me had I known what it was. I’ve always had mixed emotions, most who know me will know I switch between states of mania and depression/anger regularly and rarely show other emotions. Obviously 17-year-old me, despite claiming to be a mental illness expert, WAS CLUELESS. I assumed that the diagnosis just meant I had heightened mood swings to others but with knowing my diagnosis I’d be able to change that. If I’d been told that this is something I may never ‘get rid of’ maybe I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did.

8 months after my diagnosis I got up and did a talk to my school, that’s the first time I admitted I was bipolar. I remember being terrified that people would think I was deranged or a monster because of how my brain worked and to this day I still get a bit terrified that someone will have that reaction. I remember talking to the whole of our senior school in church and just looking out at blank faces, I purposely didn’t wear my glasses because I knew I wouldn’t cope if I looked out and it wasn’t a positive reaction. One of my biggest secrets had been revealed and even now I don’t think I’ve ever rated myself as much as that day, to have the confidence to stand up and openly admit something which I knew half the people in my year frequently used wrongly and nastily. That sort of power is something little unconfident and insecure me can only dream of possessing again. 

So, I was very lucky that whilst my bipolar is not always mild it is significantly milder than some people. This meant it was quite easy to disguise, it obviously helped that I had a b*tch reputation through school and at my job (still don’t understand why, all I ever did was tell the truth) so people would see my blatant disgust and anger as me just having a moment. I actually got called an attention seeker countless times for moments of anger, and though I can happily admit I love a bit of attention trust me it wasn’t on purpose. Having knowingly been diagnosed with depression most of my youth the depression side of my bipolar disorder didn’t bother me, if anything it explained so much. It explained why I never felt like I was ‘recovered’ from depression even when I supposedly was, my depression is something which is inexplainable. I actually wrote about it in a previous post and still I don’t believe I explained it well, I’ve had a lot of trauma over my years and so it’s never obvious if I’m upset as I’ve been triggered or if I’m having a down period. But what I can confirm my depression and down periods are lengthy, my longest one lasted a year and I can genuinely say I maybe was happy for three days that whole year. Fighting my depression on a daily basis is exhausting but it’s a worthwhile fight.

So lastly my period of mania, these are less often and to be honest they are usually spurred on by genuine happiness hence why they are rare. I love my periods of mania, sometimes I can feel them being spurred on by being around my friends and family and I just feel so incredibly happy, nothing compares to that feeling. I wish it happened more often. It does make me a bit unbearable though, I apologise to those who’ve had to cope with me in a manic period. 

When I first got diagnosed, I was terrified that people would look at me differently, that they’d think worse of me for it. Last summer a guy actually used it as a way of rejecting me, after months of talking a quick switch up saying my bipolar disorder was too much for him. Since I’ve heard that three times, mainly from guys who don’t even mean anything to me. But is my bipolar disorder too much? The thing is had it just been boys who’d said it to me I probably would’ve never believed it but unfortunately I’ve had ‘friends’ who’ve said it to me and to be honest I believe it. I believe my bipolar disorder is too much for everyone and that eventually everyone in my life will leave because of it. I get into fights regularly and struggle with calming down once I’m mad- that trait of mine makes me very difficult to be around and I am so sorry to everyone who knows me and puts up with me because I know it’s difficult.

I know a few of my friends will read that and think why is she saying that so let me explain, I’ve struggled with it for five years this January and to be honest it’s not easy for me so I can only imagine how hard it is when you have your own stuff too. I don’t make it easy to love and yet my friends still love me, that’s how you know it’s real. I’m not ashamed of my bipolar disorder, to be honest there is times when I’m proud of it. Not many people can overcome as much as I have and still be positive about a future, I truly have come so far from the day I got diagnosed. 

To finish with I feel like it is important to mention and I have got a lot of drafts of this post but I have never been on medication for any of my mental health problems, I probably should’ve but to be honest I didn’t want to rely on anything but myself to fix things. I knew that if I began, I’d never stop and so I relied heavily on therapy. I will speak more about this in another post but just thought I’d mention it because I do know a lot of people with bipolar disorder go on medication and I’ve so far not had to. 

Thank you for reading! I’m going to start trying to post on weekends, was aiming for Saturday’s but I already messed that up. It just depends on when I have time but there will be at least one post a week I promise!!