#Let’schat

I was browsing through my twitter this morning and Rachel Kelly ((who I have definitely mentioned before, because she is awesome)) shared this article

which I thought I would share with anyone who fancies an interesting read. Basically, it continues that chat about all things mental health related and I think it is so important to address these conversations and I agree that boys, men and generally everyone is worried about the reaction they might get ((I know I was when I first started openly talking about some of my own problems)).

#Let’schat.

xxx

LET’s CHAT…

I mean right now, being able to socialise around food is almost on par with being able to walk again after breaking my leg.

 

It feels like I haven’t blogged or discussed what has been going on in my life aside from all the fun events and strange things I think about. I have had a lot to think about over the past weeks and haven’t really felt like writing and whenever I did write I felt I was being disingenuous and boring. It’s times like this though that I want to share, when I don’t feel tip top or I am dealing with something, because life is like that and it is the truth.

The past 3 weeks have been a big stepping stone in terms of my eating disorder, and I want to give an honest insight to what is going on ((bear with me though, this is quite nerve racking)).

I am now in my 3rd week of relinquishing control over everything relating to food ((apart from being allowed to bake my family their fav brownies and biscuits)). There have been numerous chats with Doctors, Health care professionals and family over ways of managing my eating disorder but nothing was really getting through to me. I kept lying to everyone ((myself included)) that tomorrow I will get better or next week I will get better but nothing changed. I was referred to the eating disorders clinic at my local hospital and was put on a waiting list(?!?!?!) but soon removed because my BMI wasn’t low enough and they were oversubscribed with patients. That phased my family and I quite a lot and we felt quite lost without any guidance, my GP was amazing and did the best that they could.

Few months later and I wish I could say that we found the perfect answer to all our problems or that there was a particular moment where I was suddenly like, ok yes I feel good lets get cracking with recovery. It has definitely been more gradual and as my mood improves the more I want to start living a full life rather than ((what my family call)) a half-life. Currently my body is not in a state where it can live up to the life that I want for myself so now I have to get it to a state which it’s working at its best. I already feel good about feeling like this because it shows to myself how much I am kicking depression in the butt again.

To many people’s surprise or not surprise this has been hard. Handing all of this over has come with ((to state the obvious)) a lot more food, which nicely pairs with a considerable amount of anxiety and some very concerning thoughts, of which need a lot of managing ((I am exhausted.. Ironic huh?))

At the moment, I see food as fuel, like it’s medicine. Similar to a physical illness in order to get better you sometimes need medicines, for me, my medicine is food. I am slowly understanding and learning again what food is all about and I have achieved so much, ((which I am gonna pat myself on the back for)) I went out for lunch…whoop. Even writing that I rolled my eyes ((I am sure you did too)) and I realise how ridiculous that sounds ((another reason to overcome this)) but for anyone going through any illness, usually it’s the little things, the day to day things, that the illness takes from you and you finally get back, you find feel like and often are the most significant achievements. I mean right now, being able to socialise around food is almost on par with being able to walk again after breaking my leg.

Illness can be long-term, short-term, physical or mental, whatever the combination I know there is no quick fix and takes soosososos much time and effort. I have A LOT of amazing events and changes coming up, that I want to be my whole self for so need all the encouragement I can get! This post has been very truthful and I feel like I have revealed a lot ((so be nice)) but I want to provide some insight on a topic that in my eyes is not spoken about enough ((at all)), especially while either someone is suffering or overcoming it, even if some parts aren’t so jazzy.

Xxx

 

 

Hidden Gems

((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam))

Eventually we (my family and I) are getting back into the swing of things again and settling back into our comfy routine ((Hooray!!)). However, after every summer jolliday comes the post holiday blues, with the real world hurtling around the corner and being completely in your face with absolutely no consideration that you had once been totally relaxed ((I think my dog is definitely suffering the most with not being able to run around the perimeter of the boat all day or chasing after something for hours on end)).

Unsurprisingly I found my self flicking through the countless photos that we had all collected from the week… I came across some absolute stunners and some not so worth sharing but 100% never being deleted ((safe to say we aren’t all sleeping beauties)).

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On one the longer walks that we set off on ((that wasn’t to the local grocery shop or to the nearest toilet)) we spotted the most incredible field covered in sunflowers *cue photo opp* After a few thousand cringey yet worthwhile pictures later mum said something along the lines of “isn’t it amazing what you can discover”, she mentioned this to me because we had been talking about being able to cope and manage unplanned events etc and highlighted that good things can happen, even when you don’t control or plan it. It made me think about my previous blog post “CHANGE” and the idea of being a little more spontaneous and changing routine. We hadn’t planned our route, well, Dad had an extremely vague idea of what direction we should be heading in but really we were just walking to be outside and to enjoy our surroundings. For me, even though it was only doing something little and simple, it really emphasised the importance of opening myself up to opportunities because quite literally you have no idea what might be around the corner.. Hey! it might be a field full of sunflowers!! ((sorry for the cliche)). I appreciate that a simple family walk and going down a few footpaths and taking some odd photos may not seem big or as poignant but for me it was something new and different and I really really enjoyed it. ((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam)).

It has made me excited rather than anxious to continue discovering new places and to leave some trips a little more unplanned and add some spontaneity, even if it’s just exploring a few unknown streets around Cambridge with my pups. ((risky business i know, but hopefully worth it!!))

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I would love to hear about any places people have discovered by accident??

xxx

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What the heck is Mindfulness?!

“being present”

According to trusty google being mindful is defined as,

 “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”

Before giving this a search I tried thinking of some definitions myself. A lot of adjectives such as awareness, realization, peacefulness came up but in my opinion the best one and simplest definition was,

“being present”

The second definition google provided was,

“a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”

I mean google definitely went for the lengthier option but I wasn’t far off!

Being mindful has been something I have wanted to benefit from and I have been concentrating a lot on what I want it to mean to me. Suffering with an eating disorder, I am constantly flicking between fearing the future and worrying about the past. I find that some days go by when I have absolutely no idea what I have done because I was off in my head somewhere. So being able to come up with what to me seems like the best summary of being mindful and with google sort of agreeing with me, has put a massive smile on my face.

My most recent holiday on a boat in Norfolk was when the penny dropped in terms of understanding mindfulness properly ((took me back to the good old days in maths when you finally understand how to use an equation)). I can hand on heart say that for the majority of days ((aside from the time I was reading)) I was extremely aware of my thoughts and feelings in the present moment ((usually to prevent anyone from pushing me off the boat nevertheless I was being extremely mindful)).

For ages, I actually thought mindfulness meant being able to zone out. In my head I held this picture ((comically)) of someone meditating to singing dolphins, pretty much the complete opposite of the mindfulness I know. I don’t think I am the only one who thought that’s what being mindful meant, don’t worry it is not a cult. It has opened me up to enjoy and remember so many more experiences, even down to lying in svasana and really feeling the weight of my yoga practice sink into my mat ((truly the best feeling, apart from when you are trying to relax and all you can feel is your super itchy big toe…)). Even my rekindled love of Sudoku I think counts as being mindful, I can literally spend my whole evening solely focused on my book of puzzles ((commitment I know)).

Being able to understand that the chatter in my head, whether it is particularly loud or quiet that day doesn’t have to be silenced or argued with, instead just recognized. That has been such an achievement and a massive step in being able to accept myself… thank you Norfolk broads!!!

xxx

 

 

 

 

CHANGE

“Go with the flow”

So it is coming to the end of official day 3 on the boat.

Let me put that sentence into some context. We decided, what seems like a long time ago now that as a family we would venture to the Norfolk broads for 7 whole days on a cruiser…plus a dog. What an experience this is already turning out to be, for many many reasons, good and bad.

This great idea first came when I was originally only going to have about a month at home in between my first year nursing placement finishing and the start of second year, so in that time I told mum that I would prefer a holiday that everyone could come on including my puppy! This was back when a month at home didn’t seem like a very long time, so time was very precious. Since booking the holiday and actually moving back home in February the idea was starting to sound more and more peculiar. Why on earth would you put a crazy cocker spaniel, a pair of princessey parents, a 13 year old boy and a soon to be married couple… Oh yeah and me(!!!) on a boat for a week. It has come with some serious entertainment alongside some very honest chitter chatter.

Swings and roundabouts though and would you believe it, so far so good. The weather has been ideal thankfully ((mum and sister have even whipped out the shorts))

This made us think what a change this has been for all of us and how good it has been. When I think August summer holiday, as everyone dreams, it consists of a sandy beach somewhere gorgeous with lots and lots of sun with a cool drink to hand. Not, I need to row across a massive river at 7 am so my overly excited/anxious/mad dog can have his long awaited morning wee and poo. As it turns out, that has probably been the highlight of the trip so far. I have never seen such peace and tranquillity, and I really took that moment to appreciate my holiday.

Something about stepping out of our comfort zones and changing things up from what we normally get up to day to day has been so valuable. It has sparked up a few interesting conversations about ourselves like, what we actually really enjoy and who really can adapt the best… ((my brother probably being the first to admit that he really likes routine)).

While routine has been essential for me to get back into the swing of things again, this change even if it’s just been a little change in location or rather the massive change in the way I am living, I have probably learnt more in the past 3 days about my family, myself included ((particularly that my dog can genuinely run all day if there is a ball on the go)) that I would never have discovered if we had kept to the norm or even our usual summer holidays ((when I often don’t even spend any time with my family..))

The idea of change fills me with such excitement, I love the potential of what the future holds and I love planning and being able to set my-self goals ((I love a list, especially a list of goals)). The thing I struggle with is the unexpected change and the unknown future. One thing that this holiday has been successful with, is being able to throw a curve ball when you least expect it. Adapting to an environment I am not used to is challenging but I am now trying hard not fear it and just “go with the flow” instead. I am really enjoying this experience of not knowing what is next and challenging myself. When I do slip nicely back into my routine I will try and leave an element of surprise and see what comes of adding a little bit of change… or maybe I will in the future…who knows…

xxx

HEN PARTY, ANXIETY & SOME HONESTY

WHAT A BLOODY FANTASTIC WEEKEND!!! Never have I laughed, chatted and enjoyed myself for so long in such a long time. I’m going to toot my own horn for a little bit and say that I am proud of myself! I organised a bloody hen party, like how cool is that ((well to me it is anyway)) and to top it all off everyone had fun… including me(!!) I am filled with such a sense of achievement. I managed money, organised activities, bossed people about, socialised and shared food with some amazing girls ((this deserves a place on my CV right?)) I am honestly, still in a bit of shock at how it all happened so smoothly but I’m gonna own it and I can’t stop smiling about it… SososoosooSOoo many achievements WOO.

Taking a tiny step back from all of this euphoria, I have slightly crashed. I am the first person to admit that after a full on weekend of smiling and entertaining, while it was awesome, it is extremely tiring and demanding both physically and mentally, especially if you are not used to it. I have learnt that it is beyond important to make sure that I unwind and have some down time… like seriously important.

So yesterday, still a little bit wired from everything, I thought it would be appropriate to write my “self-care: Part 3” post, sharing some of the really lovely ways I unwind and things that I find particularly useful when it comes to a bit of self-love ((this post will eventually make an appearance at some point I am sure)). I started writing that post and it was really fun and I was enjoying myself lots, but as I re-read my first sentence and had some much needed chats with my mum and sister I realised I was flat out lying. I definitely was not sitting here wearing my favourite lipstick, waiting for my bubble bath to run to read my latest book, after a wholesome nourishing dinner. Truthfully, I have slightly neglected myself over the past couple of days and not put into practice any of the self-care I have spoken or wanted to speak about. As much as I really really wanted to share how balanced I was being and to emphasise the idea that when there are busy times you also need the quiet times, it was just not true at that moment and I was just adding to that cliché ((it is a lot harder than you think)). At the same time, I think I was trying to make myself believe that I had actually done those things and if I wrote it down and let other people read what I had supposedly done then it must have happened?!!? Crazy I know…

Surrounding myself with family and friends means so much to me and I truly loved every second of it, but I did feel a little all over the place after and really put my anxiety to the test. My body was telling me to rest but my head was whizzing around, I was kinda stuck in a lose-lose situation. ((Please say I’m not alone on that one?!)) I now realise, at that point I should have thought “Ok, self-love and care are your best friends today” when in reality I panicked and after a few tears and sitting in child’s pose on my yoga mat did I start to feel a bit calmer ((Ohhhh, the beauty of hindsight)).

It’s Tuesday and I am feeling almost fully recuperated, but still somewhat slack on the self-care front. I have set some self-care tasks for myself today and throughout the week to really make sure I keep myself well. Sorry I haven’t really sugar coated this post but after I realised what I was doing, I wanted to be as honest as possible… just shows what a long old journey this all is… not to forget how far I have come though!!!

xxx

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JOMO

I was just scrolling through Twitter and Rachel Kelly who is a Mental Health Activist/Ambassador for: Rethink, YoungMindsUK Counselling_fdn and CharitySANE, ((definitely recommend following)). She shared this image, Which I thought was the best thing ((even Urban Dictionary confirms that JOMO is now a thing!)) and thought related quite nicely on my previous blog post on FOMO.

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 12.07.38This may take being an introvert to a whole new level but I think everyone should have just a tiny bit of JOMO now and again. I do love listening to a story that I wasn’t present at and seeing the joy it brings to other people!

xxx