Wow, it's been a while. 3 months actually. I feel like I'm dusting off an old book that I forgot was so good and it just got buried underneath the mountain of mess in my room. I guess the blog is "my book" and instead of the mountain of mess in my room, it's the mountain of mess in my head that has made me lose my way and leave the blog behind. One thing that hasn't changed is how much I like to talk so this post is going to be long winded.
The last few months have been bumpy. Or as I like to tell people, it's been like waking up each day and having to climb a great big hill. Some days, I get to the top, other days only half way, some days only a few steps, most days I get about half way up then slowly slide back down to the bottom or not even having the strength to tackle it at all. That is what I tell most of my friends and teachers when they ask what my depression and anxiety is like. An ongoing, daily uphill battle, quite literally.
Everyone is different and every person with a mental illness struggles and copes in different ways. I've struggled since I was 13 and most likely will struggle with it for the rest of my life. To everyone who says that it can be cured, I say "yeah, maybe for some people but that isn't the reality for most". I don't believe any amount of medication or therapy will get rid of my depression for the rest of my life and especially not my anxiety. But rather, it's helping me learn how to live with it and live a normal life, despite it.
I certainly believe that for some people it does go away but for me, I just don't see that happening. I don't ever see myself being able to not think "what if there's a bomb here" every time I go on the underground or thinking someone's upset with me because they haven't replied to my text or thinking "this plane is definitely going to crash" every time there's turbulence. But I have got better at controlling those extremely anxious points and stopping a panic attack before it starts. No, I don't have that perfect control over every situation and yes, there are still times where my body and mind just take over but I am getting better at "ignoring" the anxiety and basically telling it to piss off!!
I've stopped believing that this is going to go away forever. Some may think that's negative thinking but for me, changing my perspective on my mental illness has been the one thing to make a huge difference. For the first time in my life, instead of trying every method to recover quickly, I'm trying methods to learn how to live with these illnesses.
Mental illness is such a struggle without the added guilt and self-hatred that I've finally learnt, it's all OK. It's ok that I have anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It's ok that my brain doesn't work like everyone else's. It's ok that I can't get out of bed some days. It's ok that I struggle to keep up with work. It's ok that I don't follow through with plans. It's ok that I need to be left alone days upon days. It's ok that I avoid anxiety-inducing situations. It's ok that I take the time to heal myself on days that I feel broken. But most importantly, that it's OK to love myself despite the flawed brain chemistry. Learning to love myself despite these problems, only makes it harder for them to overpower me.
I want to be able to share my struggles without any embarrassment or shame because truthfully I have nothing to be ashamed about. I didn't bring this upon myself and I certainly didn't wish for it. It's happened and I have to learn how to get on with it, no matter how many times it makes me want to pack it all in and give up.
So many aspects of depression and anxiety are misinterpreted and judged. There isn't a box for each type of mental illness that all suffers fit in to. Everyone is different. For me, my depression isn't crying all the time and hating my life, living in some sort of negative bubble. In reality, it's not being able to get out of bed or even have the energy to take a shower or overthink things or even watch TV. It's exhaustion times 10. Anxiety isn't freaking out all the time in obvious ways. It's having to count to 10 over and over again in my head so I can calm myself down in public. It's a silent voice in my head that no one else can hear but is screaming at me. It's fighting the urge to panic over situations I can't control. It's believing that everything will be ok despite the 1,000 anxious thoughts swirling around in my mind telling me they won't.
The one thing that I don't think people realise is that it's a chronic illness. This isn't something that develops in a day and get's cured in a day. Before I was fully in the depth of my mental illnesses, I was extremely naive to the impacts it would have physically. The unbelievable exhaustion, headaches, insomnia, muscle aches, dizziness, hot flashes, losing a decent amount of hair, sweats, forgetfulness and many more things. Something that stems from your mind, no longer stays there when it's reached a certain point. For me, exhaustion, headaches, muscle pain and just an insane level of forgetfulness is what affects me most.
At a time when you feel like you're losing your mind, it can be extremely hard to acknowledge the fact that you're being physically beaten up as well. I never realised how it would physically impact me and it's been equally as draining as the mental aspect. Tired is no longer something I feel when I haven't gotten sleep, it's something I consistently feel, like it's a tiredness deep in my bones. Forgetful is no longer something that happens occasionally, but every day and I often feel completely insane when I ask a question for the 5th time or forget something I've just done. Headaches happen almost daily as if it's being fuelled by the anxious thoughts. Little pains that I used to feel, suddenly feel twice as intense as before.
Mental illnesses are relentless, intense, all-consuming and destructive but that's nothing in comparison to the courage, determination and strength it takes to live with one each day. I believe talking about it is the only way to make it better and to help one another. There's a whole world out there with people suffering with all kinds of mental illnesses and they're feeling lost and alone. And to me, that's one of the worst parts of it- the stigma attached to it. I am so sick of the shame we are made to feel. I want to talk about it, openly and freely. I want to get to a stage where I can proudly say I live with anxiety and panic attacks without people thinking I'm a nutcase. I, just like anyone, can go out and have fun, get a job, go to parties, travel, go to school, and be social. The difference is that it can take a lot of courage to do these things and I need coping strategies to do them but that doesn't mean I can't.
I'm talking about my mental health for all the people who are afraid to speak up, who feel ashamed and not good enough. There aren't many positives to having these but one thing I can damn well be sure of, is that I'm going to use my illnesses for the better and to help others.
So no, this won't be the last post on mental health. I'm not sure where my blog content will go from here. But one thing I do know is I'm not going to live a lie and pretend I live this perfect life that bloggers often depict. I live a life where day by day I'm learning what it truly means to live with multiple mental illnesses but not letting it get in the way of having happy, content moments. And right now, this is my life. It's not baking and taking pictures, going on lots of fun outings nor is it thing's I'm loving posts or fun surveys. It's doctors appointments, therapy sessions, endless battles, different medications, trying to make lighthearted jokes about my struggles and the hardest balancing act I've had to do. And maybe, sharing my journey will not only help me cope but help someone else cope too.
So to anyone suffering from a mental illness right now and feeling incredibly alone- you aren't. There is a loving, supportive community at your finger tips. You can make it through this and you can survive this. It may seem impossible in this very second but you have endured this before and can endure it again. Stay strong, for this is a battle you can win nd come out of the other side even stronger xoxo
There's something about writing a blog post and hitting publish, that is so therapeutic. Thoughts I can't even manage to utter to family or friends suddenly come spilling out at a million miles a minute. Everything, to me, makes more sense when I've written it all out. I feel writing something can often times be more powerful than saying something out loud. Writing has and always will have the power to make me feel 10 times better about something.
The last couple months have been incredibly stressful and the last few weeks, especially, have been well utterly crap. New job, increasing schoolwork, my grandma being sick, travelling and many other things. Hence why the blog has become a bit quiet over the last month and I think it's about time I explained why. I was tempted to not explain anything and carry on as normal but that just doesn’t feel right. Although they say stress is a silent killer, I've always believed I thrive on it. I believed that until a few weeks ago. Stress has finally burnt me out and my body is finally slamming the breaks and screaming "slow down!!".
I've suffered from anxiety for years, my mind is always racing a million miles a minute and I'm always worrying about something. It doesn't matter where I am or what time it may be or who I am with, chances are my little brain is overthinking something. But looking at me, you'd probably never notice. It's something I've felt like I could always "manage". But 4 weeks ago, I had 3 big panic attacks at school and they pulled me right out of my fantasy world of thinking I was "handling everything". I'm clearly not. Again, panic attacks are something I've suffered with and again it was something I wholeheartedly believed I was managing. I had never had one at school, therefore I believed I had full control over them. Then that week happened and it felt like all control just dropped out of my hands. And all of a sudden I feel like this perfect act I'd been keeping up had been shattered.
Since that week where I started getting them in public, they’ve been pretty consistent. I had 5 in one night and I had never felt more embarrassed in my life. I was at a huge party and my anxiety just took control, luckily several of my best friends were there and they helped me out. Some days, I know they’re going to happen because I feel extremely anxious and other days they just happen out of nowhere. Panic attacks are scary. For me, it feels like the room I’m in is slowly getting smaller and caving in on me, my heart starts racing, my ears start ringing, I feel unbelievably dizzy and trapped. Then the hyperventilating and panic starts, which can last up to 10 minutes and this is most definitely the scariest part because my lungs feel like they simply don’t have the capacity to take any air in and breathe normally. After that my whole body tingles and feels numb, whilst my head pounds. It usually takes a good 30-40 minutes before my body feels normal again. The first time I got one, I was shit scared because I had no idea what was going on, now I know what they are and that they will pass.
I've always felt this incessant need to be perfect, day in and day out. To wake up, get ready and go to school with a bright big smile on my face, ready to face the day with as many laughs as I can. To be the cheerful, happy person that people will want to be around. And most days, I am that person. Even when I don't want to be. Even when I've had 4 hours of sleep because my mind won't "shut off" and I feel like crap, I still go in a with a smile. I figured that was what people needed to see but I think a long the way, I started to forget about what I needed.
Someone once said to me at prom, that they wanted to be me because I had it all together and I was so perfect and my life was perfect. I said to her, that yes I am a happy, fun person but I most certainly am not perfect and I'm not that happy person 365 days a year and I like everyone else, have difficulties to overcome. I have never forgotten that and I don't think I ever will. After that, I fully believed I had to live up to this "perfect" expectation people had of me. Even though 95% of people I go to school with have no idea about the things I've been through or what goes on behind closed doors. But when someone says something like that, you begin to feel a certain amount of pressure to keep it all together and be that person everyone thinks you are. I know there is no such thing as perfection but it becomes something your mind can fixate on and nothing you do will ever feel quite good enough.
Anxiety makes you question every single thing. And I mean everything. The thing I said to someone 2 months ago, yeah why the hell did I say that?! That answer I gave in class today why on earth would that have been the answer?! Ordering something at a restaurant, oh god what is everyone else having? Will everyone judge what I'm ordering?! Every scenario is played through my mind at lightening speed and often times, I wish I had a mute button to shut down all those racing thoughts. I fully believe that if I’ve thought of the worst possible outcome for every situation then I’ll be prepared for what ever happens. I’ve come up with coping mechanisms along the way, none of which work a 100% of the time but they manage to calm the anxiety down.
For me, depression has been something that’s always tagged along with my anxiety. I think anxiety in itself can cause depression, simply because it makes you so worried and unhappy. However, I’ve always been more ashamed of my depression than my anxiety. I feel like people can understand and grasp why someone suffers from anxiety a lot better than understanding why someone might be depressed. So for the most part, I’ve kept the depression a secret from most family and friends. Depression is a dark and lonely place but lucky for me, I have some incredible friends that are there for me when I’m feeling like that. I know how my depression works and for me, I just have to let myself feel like that until it eventually passes and it always does.
It’s taken me a long time to realise that I deserve to get better and that being on medication is not in any way a failure on my part but rather a huge step in the right direction. I’ve been on medication for a month and I’m not going to lie, it’s been one of the hardest months of my life. It’s been extremely up and down, exhausting and all consuming. I’ve joked to my friends that the only good thing that has happened so far is losing 4kg in less than two weeks. I’ve hesitated for many years to go on anything but I felt like it was finally time to try and see if it works. It definitely gets worse before it gets better and I’m looking forward to it hopefully starting to work soon. But I know things like this take time to figure out, every person is different and therefore it can take months to find something that helps, but for the first time in a long time, I'm willing to take the time to figure it out.
I'm in no way writing this post for sympathy of any sort but because I believe it's so important to talk about mental health issues and stop the stigmatisation of it. I'm SO done being embarrassed about having an anxiety disorder with panic attacks and depression. For too many years I’ve thought that something was wrong with me because I had these issues, but you know what a hell of a lot of people suffer from mental illness and I’m certainly not alone. Our generation is so fearful of talking about mental illness and we impose such shame on those who face it on a daily basis, when all we need to do is listen to their stories and stop mental illness being such a taboo subject. This most likely won't be my only post about it because awareness is key and what's helped me, is reading other people's stories. It's important to never feel like you're battling mental illness alone, because you aren't! Once you find the courage to ask for help, you'll feel less like you're facing everything alone.
Hello hello, I hope you've all had a fabulous weekend and are feeling rested for the week ahead. But first, I can't carry on without acknowledging the horrific attack that happened on Friday. I am forever proud to be from such a beautiful country and my heart aches with everyone there right now. I'm beyond thankful and relieved that all my family and friends over there are safe. My thoughts are going out to everyone affected and all the other countries that have experienced tragic attacks over the last few weeks.
It's going to be a stressful few days, I've got lots going on and I have to work every day this week. I'm just thinking about the extra money I'll have for Christmas shopping in a couple weeks. We're also dog sitting from Wednesday till Monday and I can't wait to have two adorable doggies to snuggle with!!
I've got a new really quick and delicious lunch or dinner. I found this butternut squash spaghetti at Tescos and thought I'd give it a try and I LOVE it. So simple, fry it for 4-6 mintues, add some tomato sauce and cheese and you've got yourself a healthy alternative to pasta. This time I added cauliflower couscous and it was delicious.
Whilst we're on the subject of food, mum and I finally tried Old El Paso's stand and stuff soft tacos and they were super delicious!! Kind of like an open burrito, they actually weren't too hard to eat and I love any type of Mexican food.
I finally let my friend do my eyebrows the other week and she kept saying how proud of me she was. I've had such a fear of someone doing my eyebrows and messing them up but my friend is pretty great. I think they turned out pretty well!
I saw this on a Buzzfeed article (I can't for my life find it again) and I don't think I've read something as true as this in a long time. I think grief can be from many things, not just from the passing of a loved but any painful thing that has happened and this really put things in perspective for me.
I feel like sometimes I blink and she's just bigger. I never truly understood the whole "they grow up so quickly, they'll be 15 before you know it" but my gosh, I definitely understand it now. The last 2 & half years have flashed by and I'm sure it'll go even quicker when it's my own child. Scary stuff.
How disgusting does this sound?! I mean, I'm no wine connoisseur but yuck!! I actually quite like the Echo Falls Rose fruit infusion but orange and chocolate does not sound good at all. But having said that, I'm quite intrigued to see what it taste like.
This is SO me. I take forever to unpack and my mum absolutely hates it. It's just not really exciting to unpack and tidying everything up, so much effort it required. I found the picture on the right on Instagram and I sent it straight to my friend because it just cracked me up. I'm so like this, when I'm in that mood, there's very few people I can deal with.
I'm feeling quite accomplished that I've managed to finish typing this on Sunday night, it's been a while since I've been productive blog wise. I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out is just about to finish and I'm straight off to bed. I hope you all have a fabulous week. I doubt I'll have time to pop back in before Friday, so I'll catch up with you all at the end of the week :)
1) Yikes, I did not realise it had been almost a month since I last blogged, whoops. Life has been manic. It's been one of those months with one thing after the other and my motivation to blog has been slim to none. Many things have been going on behind the scenes and I just haven't felt up to blogging in a while. I'm not perfect and I certainly have no problem admitting that I just didn't feel like it after a long day of school and work. But I'm back and hopefully won't be gone for another month. So todays post will be a catch up and my usual ramblings that go on in my head.
2) Had a week with this babe a couple weeks ago and my heart was whole again<3
We had LOADS of fun and best part was I got to be there for her first "proper" Halloween, we went trick-or-treating and she loved it! The girl is just like her big sis and wanted ALL the candy;) Missing her more than words could describe. 36 more days till I see her again!!
3) OBSESSED with the new Adele song. I think I played it over 30 times on the way over to America and haven't stopped playing it since I got home, it's so damn good. She came back with a bang, that's for sure. And the French version is just as amazing!
4) I came across this post on Facebook yesterday about how young children describe love. There wasn't a source of where it came from but here are a few of my favourites. And little Billy is one intelligent 4 year old, I've never thought of that before but he's so right!
5) I still haven't seen Pitch Perfect 2 and I don't know how I've gone so long without getting the dvd or finding it online! One of the kids at work was very shocked I hadn't seen it and told me I had to go home right away and watch it, I wish buddy I wish ;)
6) Speaking of work, it's going so well and I absolutely love it.... most days ;) Most of the kiddies are soo sweet and of course there are a few that test my patience but 99% of the time I love turning up to work. I get some sort of artwork every week and it really brightens up my day :)
7) I have a uni visit tomorrow in Cambridge (not Cambridge University, certainly not that smart;) and I'm driving to the Park & Ride on a busy Saturday morning, wish me luck. My test is soon so my anxiety when driving is pretty high but I just remind myself I've been driving for a few months now and I am capable.
8) I still have to finish my Christmas list for my mum. I just can't think of much I want this year, I feel pretty content with everything I have, which is a good thing. It's not as exciting as when you're little and you see all the toy adverts and want every. single. one. I wish I could go back in time and still believe in all the magic of Santa ;)
9) I'm currently sat watching Gogglebox with a cup of tea and some biscuits...Perfection. And this quote is what I tell myself almost every day, I'm ever so British!
10) Alright guys, I know it's short and sweet today but I'm easing back in slowly. I hope you all have a great and relaxing weekend :)
Change the world, one act of kindness at a time
A little bit of honesty
Red Velvet Brownies with peanut butter glaze
Broccoli, Cheese and Onion Tart
Changed forever- the power of helping others