Year in review and looking ahead

Hello dear ones, how are we feeling?

I’d like to take a little moment just for you to check how you are feeling, take a deep breath and just settle in for a little read. I’d also like to thank you all, our little community, for all your support this year. I’m so thankful for those of you reading my posts, my thoughts on different topics, it’s been quite the year hasn’t it? Welcome to all the very new people too, you are most welcome here.

This is a bit of a stereotypical post I suppose but I feel like doing it anyway. This year has undoubtedly been hard, at times heart-wrenching, and chaotic, I could easily list and rhyme off countless miseries of the year. But I’m more about hope in this little space. At times it can be more powerful than sadness and fear, which a lot of people can experience at this point. A time when post festive season blues can kick in, or when it can feel daunting that another year is here. People online mocking those thinking 2021 will “magically” be better. But I say, what’s stopping it from being like that?

Now, I’ve pretty much kept you all up to date on what I have been going through but I thought it’d be great to just have a little summary post of things I have enjoyed, little moments, small wins and what I’m so looking forward to now in this new year.

I think one of my all time favourite moments of 2020 was when I was down at my partner’s and we spent a hot, sunny day on the beachfront, sat on a bench and watching innumerous dogs pass by. It was just such a wonderful time, where I felt carefree and I was with my favourite person. We were just sat there for over an hour, and I loved it. Christmas was also so, so wonderful and I got to take plenty of Polaroids to put in a new scrapbook, very retro. Much earlier in the year I got to present and do a bit of motivational speaking for the first time, rather than purely speaking my experiences. It was so much fun!

I am proud of a few accomplishments of 2020 including passing another year of university with flying colours, starting my final year. I have, this festive season, tried two new foods and really enjoyed them. Earlier in 2020 I also found I could watch certain foods cook without being so averse to it. These are huge wins on their own.

I have learned the true value of gratitude and been so appreciative of my aspects of my life. My strength truly has been tested like never before and I’m still coming out winning. As my dissociation got worse, I became so afraid, but with the help of others and through my own self-determination I’m getting back on track. Again, I’m very grateful for this.

So what’s ahead? Well, a lot. This will be the year I finally graduate, I am hoping to do my Master’s Degree if not finding a job in mental health. I will be moving out, across the country. I hope to do more volunteering. I will be continuing this blog. I will get answers about what is causing all my physical pain, I will be trying to get my body stronger. I hope to finally be able to have savings.

It’s definitely sounding like a lot for that. But for now, my goals for the first quarter are to focus on assignments, get a little workout regime sorted and eat a little better, have a small emergency savings fund, focus on deepening my connection to Buddhism and finding a new volunteering placement. Little actions with little steps are the key here. Of course, I will also hopefully create some good content for you here as this section of the internet has been so wonderful for me. I hope that is reciprocated.

I hope you are able to find some wins in 2020, and I hope you all have a magical year ahead filled with such joy, goodness and happiness.

Be gentle with yourself and take care,

L x

A little word on body image…

Good evening my lovely people, How is this Sunday treating you? I have attempted to help cook a lovely soup my family and I had for dinner but I am quite terrible in the kitchen. I have also enjoyed some time away from the screen by reading and planning out an application. Now I am here! I have noticed I have some new followers here, so welcome welcome do make yourselves at home! Please feel free to message or comment, I am hoping to foster a lovely community here. I would just like to quickly let you know that as this blog will now feature posts around mental health and mental illness ,I will be placing a new page on this blog full of useful information and links over the coming weeks which will be added to over time. It by no means replaces professionals and will always encourage you to seek professional help if you are at all worried about yourself. Now, on to today’s topic body image. Self-image encompasses not only our body image but also our views of our personality and our abilities. As much as I would love to delve into the psychology of each one and give an account of my experiences, I will stick with body image today given it is so heavily reported on. I have witnessed firsthand the terror a toxic body image can unleash. This is because I have battled in a long, draining war with my body image for gosh 14 years, since I was 10 years old. Now I will admit, my restrictive eating habits formed as a way of being able to control something, anything. It was the only thing I could control when I was having nearly 5 panic attacks a day. But around 18 months later it morphed into more. I went to secondary school. I was called fat by a group of young girls older than me despite me being underweight at that time. That was when I really started looking in the mirror. From then, I have never felt comfortable in the skin I was in. My episodes bring the worst of that out. I started a lot of unhealthy habits and such negative coping mechanisms that I am struggling to untangle the web. Due to binge eating and many medications I am the highest weight I have ever been. Yet it is now I choose to start a journey of self love. I am tired, so tired, of these unrealistic images perpetuated every single place I look, every corner I turn onto. I am tired of tying my worth to images of what society deems an acceptable body type, of bodies we cannot afford to look like. I have got to learn to love my body as common as that sounds. My body has been through thousands of panic attacks, thousands of mood swings, hundreds of episodes, 11 psychiatric medication changes and so, so much more. Yet I show it very little gratitude most days. I am sick of the rhetoric. I am sick of the hatred I show myself. I have a very long road ahead but I will be damned if I spend another day hating what I see in the mirror. Because that is not who I am. I am a kind person, full of love and passion which I always show to others. It is high time I stop being a hypocrite and start practicing what I preach. L x

I’m back: part 2

When you’re going through hell, keep on going. Winston Churchill
Happy Monday and good morning all! Thanks to recent glorious weather I have just spent a while mopping up mucky paw prints from all over the floors (thank you Raven). I thought I would start off this week with a very apt quote that has stayed with me throughout the years. It serves as a very strong reminder for me that no matter how far I fall, I keep going and keep fighting. It is what feels like a very real and powerful message. Now, the main reason for this post is just to become a bit more open about what has been going on, what I hope to achieve in the coming months and what kind of topics I will be posting about in the future. As I have dedicated this part of the internet a place of positivity for myself, and for you, I will always try to remain hopeful. But there may be times when my honesty is a bit more raw, with those posts I will place a content warning at the beginning. What is currently going on (CW: Mentions diagnoses and current impact e.g. hallucinations) Okay, let’s get the hardest part over first: my health. *Deep breath* I have multiple mental health diagnoses that impact me greatly which I will share more about as time passes. For now I shall just rhyme them off; Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, Recurrent Depressive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia. I also have a food phobia and disordered eating. Gosh, I will be honest, seeing that written down makes me emotional but it’s what I have been given. Now, my agoraphobia is a result of my breakdown in April 2018, I can barely leave the house and haven’t really been able to unless I am with at least one of 4 trusted people, even then I am really distressed inside. My food phobia has come from 14 years of disordered eating. Very long story short, I completed 10 months of intensive therapy last year using a fair few therapeutic models and approaches, I was seemingly well. I got discharged on 24th October. I was well in November. Then 1st December comes and everything crashes. Week by week my motivation goes, my sleep becomes disturbed, my mood goes all over the place as if I was not on my medication. I tried my best in December to go back to basics like I learned. I created goals and tried exercise. But February has come. My paranoia, deep emptiness, loneliness and hallucinations have returned. There is a whole lot more happening but it can get complicated. Despite it all, I am getting on with life. I have to. I still find enjoyment in some things, I am currently on a self–love journey, I still adore my little guinea pigs, I am doing surprisingly well in university (82% on my latest assignment, very pleased). One thing I firmly believe is that I never give up, despite it all, I keep on going. I listen to my body and try my hardest to take care of myself. It also helps I have the most supportive partner and support network to keep me in check. I do feel that the winds will change. So that is what I am going through. I am okay, and will keep on going! So what do I hope to learn, achieve and do? I will admit since therapy and getting further into psychology with university, I do have a different outlook that I am not too sure how to explain. My self-awareness feels a lot more heightened and I know what my brain is physically doing. So it feels like what is going on is sometimes only happening to half of me and the other half is absolutely fine and separate from it all. Either way, it is a complex situation. I know things will improve because they have before. So I have this knowledge. I have my foundations for self-care and well-being. Where do I go from here? Well, I will work with the services to see if I need further treatment or what can be done. I think it’s time to start and finish some projects I had in mind during a mania phase and put my passion out there, give myself positive things to focus on. I feel like this is where I learn my distress tolerance, and learn how to move forward and get through what I am going through. Keep on going. I think for me to grow I need to do a lot of reflection, see what has been going on and how I can react differently next time, how I can act now and for the future. There is always something to learn. What will be featured on this blog in the future? I am very excited about what I have planned for the future posts here at PP! There are going to be plenty of book reviews as I am really enjoying reading right now. In terms of wellness, I hope to look at goals, a bit more in-depth into routines, other aspects of wellness holistically, I will also be sharing my journey of self-love. Things are going to become a lot more personal and I will be sharing my story of mental illness, how my mental health has impacted me, what has changed over the years and what has not. I want to start a real conversation on everything I have experienced and what has come of it. I hope what I speak about in the future resonates with you, inspires you or even maybe helps you to feel a little less alone. Thank you for standing by me. Much happiness to you, L x

I’m back: part 1

Hello to all of you wonderful beings!

First order of business! I absolutely cannot believe it has been two months since I had my first ramble. I really want to apologise to you all for taking so long in coming back. As it will be clear going through my posts, I am someone who has mental illness. I am trying my best to get better though I feel like I am only getting worse right now and as appreciative of the NHS as I am (believe me, I love the NHS), they’re not helping too much at the moment but hey, everyone and everything are doing their best!

There are a few other reasons as to why I have taken so long to post. I wanted to make sure I knew where I was going with this blog for starters. But a big reason why is because I was ashamed. I felt that to talk about wellness and well-being as a whole, I myself have to be some form of enlightened being who had it all sussed out. I felt like I had to have the aesthetic, the perfect being who has it all figured out. Then something happened that usually does with me. I read a book. This book is about the science of self-love (there will be a review, most definitely) and the author felt like me early on in his journey as a speaker, but learned that sometimes, going through the journey can have some very interesting insights and you don’t have to know everything to speak what you are passionate about.

So… I am back.

I hope you are ready to join me in my next evolution (I don’t feel like journey is a word that suits me, personally). Tomorrow I will be going more in-depth about how I am hoping to grow from what is happening to me right now.

Next order of business! I wish to say welcome to all of my new visitors and followers, please know I am so truly happy and grateful to have you here. I hope you find some positivity from reading my posts and thoughts, maybe even learn something new. Also, please feel free to comment or message me in the contact form if you have any questions, comments or just want to chat: I love speaking to new people! i will definitely be more active from now on.

Finally, if you cannot already tell, this blog will be now be used for my process as I try and recover. I will be writing about what I know best, which is mental health and illness, alongside wellness.

Thank you all so so much for reading this, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Much happiness,

L x