I’m Not Ashamed of Periods, But…

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Hey Hey Guys!!

So this is a little left of centre for me, but I’m going to talk about… Periods.

Not like the ones you have in schools (though if you are a high school girl, then those too!). No, I’m talking about the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman.

This is a 100% natural thing, necessary for pro-creation and there is NOTHING to be ashamed of about them. Nothing at all.

But…

I recently read an article in HelloGiggles, a site I am a big fan of for their empowering, female-centric articles. They speak to their reader like a friend, like a sister. They give a platform for women to scream HELL YEAH about woman’s issues and that’s great! BIG fan of female empowerment.

But…

This article… It’s gone viral so you might have seen it. I just can’t agree whole-heartedly with it. I am in no way saying that the writer was wrong in what she was saying, not at all. Just that I personally am just not in agreement. She basically says that she bled through her pad, which is something pretty much all women have done, but she seems pissed off that people offered to help her, or told her that she might want to hide the stain, perhaps until she got home.

And this is where I disagree with her. She seemed annoyed that it was said to her in hushed tones, that she was looked at by people who spotted the stain. But I understand. If I were in her position, I would have tried to cover the mark. I would have accepted the pad from the stranger. I wouldn’t be ashamed of being a woman, not at all it happens to almost all of us. But can you really blame people for trying to help her to cover up blood? If you saw someone with a nosebleed in the street, surely you would offer them a hankie? Is this not a similar situation? It’s a matter of personal care. I’m not exactly the finest dressed of folk, but I do try to take at least a little care, and going out covered in blood seems to be the opposite of that.

That’s not to say that we need to look like we’re off to a ball every day of the week, just that maybe being covered in blood is taking “zero fuck’s given” a little too far.

Men are infinitely immature a lot of the time and those men that were staring aren’t worth dealing with. I admire her for putting it out there, but I do find this whole thing a little aggressive. I would have accepted the help and left it at that.

I want to conclude by saying that the girl totally has my respect and admiration for broadcasting the fact that this does happen, it’s natural and if you care, you are an idiot. I’m just saying that maybe she misinterpreted the offers of a pad as shame, when they were really meant as an aid to modesty and as a kind gesture. Just saying.

SSDD

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My Almost (Now Not) Apartment!

Hey Hey Guys!!

SO much has happened in the past few days!
I… moved out! BUT… I’m moving back home again in a few days. It’s so complicated, let me explain.
OK, so for the past god knows how long, I’ve been talking about moving out. It’s something I’ve just felt like I NEEDED to do, for my own well being. My parents and I have a, shall we say, complicated relationship (*ahem* we con’t get on, they suffocate me, and there are times when I genuinely fear for my sanity *ahem*).
So I found a flat in the city (Glasgow, I’m a Scottish lass, if you didn’t know), I arranged a date, I packed up all my shit and readied for off! But something just didn’t feel right. I had this feeling in my gut like nothing I’d ever experienced before that translated to my head that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I thought, it can’t be because I’m moving out, surely? I’ve done that before! I moved to Barcelona(read about my adventures!!) for godsake and that was fine! I was perfectly confident doing so! But there was something wrong.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the move.I stayed up all night crying, wondering why I felt this terrible about something I had been so excited about, had planned for for so long. I could feel it in my very bones, so strongly, everything inside me telling me I was making a massive mistake.
 
This feeling continued right up to the point where I was literally packing the car and I was still humming and hawing, back and forth, on the verge of emailing the person who owned the flat and saying I wasn’t coming. But I pressed on regardless. I moved. Got all my stuff into the new place and that was that – I was moved in.
 
I stayed up, awake again, all night almost, with that same sick feeling in my gut. And there was no logical reason for it; or so I thought. The flat is perfect. It was as if someone reached into my brain and decorated the flat of my dreams and delivered it to be in a beautiful, cozy dream house, all for me. Studenty, but not too much. Tidy, pretty, relaxing colours rather like my room at home, a short walk or bus right into the very heart of the city – AND IT HAS GUINEA PIGS!! I fecking LOVE guinea pigs!! Perfect!
 
I had an appointment back home so I traveled back the next day and spoke to mum. Together we decided that I would move back as soon as possible. The minute we decided that, I felt this great swell of utter relief, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I felt dizzy from it. I knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t know why, after all this time, all this waiting and saving and hoping for the right place to become available, it was so wrong. It just was.
 
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
  • I only have 2 classes this term.
  • I’m only in 2 mornings and 1 full day, so I really don’t need to be in Glasgow for that.
  • I have other commitments but not so many pressing ones that I need to be living in the city.
  • I would be spending a tonne of money that I could otherwise be saving for… something. Maybe a holiday this summer?
 
But the main thing, the big one, is… that I hate my University course.
I started off loving it, but now, I loathe it. So, by staying in the city, I would essentially be paying a fortune to make it easier to do something I hate. So I paid for the week and now my parents are coming to get me at the weekend and I’m moving back home.
And to add to the shit storm of emotional upheaval, my psychiatrist has put me on anti depressants. On top of my anti anxiety meds, the vitamin supplements, the gut aids, the dietary assistants, the pain killers… I’m becoming something of a toxic cloud!
 
So that has been my crazy week. How was yours? And here are some pictures to show you the place I’ve been living for… well, I suppose it’s my flat for a few days.
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Living room

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Bedroom

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Care package from home

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First coffee and candle!

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Best. Body spray. EVER!

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GUNIEA PIGS!!

SSDD

Why I am Over Comparing Myself To Myself

Hey Hey Guys!

Everyone is guilty of defining their own life’s according to the quality of the lives of those around us. What does that mean?

Basically, we spend way too much time comparing our own lives to those of the people around us. And we have to stop.

I am most guilty of comparing myself to… myself. It’s true what they say, that we are own harshest critic.

I find that I’m forever going over old ground. I’m forever critiquing my own life and comparing the me now to the me then. It’s awful! There are times when I genuinely feel like it’s ripping me apart, like the old me is desperately scraping at the new, gouging great ditches in me as I desperately pull myself away. But I have made a decision. I’m going to stop. Not stop trying to distance myself from my past. More like, stop trying to force myself to not be that person and just content myself with being the me of now.

The me from a few years ago isn’t the same person as the me now. There are vast differences to the point where I barely feel like I am the same person at all.

Be one with nature and one with your soul...

Be one with nature and one with your soul…

Over the past 4 years I’ve been dragged backward through hell by my heart strings and I’ve taken all of the people I love most with me. But I have changed. The experience has changed me. My mind has been through turmoil of a kind I never thought possible and in many ways, I still can’t believe all that has transpired.

I want to be honest. I’ve been a sufferer of a myriad of Mental Health issues since I was about 18. I am now 22. But I will never call myself a victim. Because that implies that I have done nothing about it. And as much as I also hate to admit it, it implies that I am entirely innocent in the continuation of my ordeal.

I have spent the last 4 years fighting for my life. Against myself. I’ve brought pain, anger, sadness and despair upon myself and those around me. It would be easy to blame myself, just as it would be easy to blame other people for my problems.

Mental Health is the same as any other illness. No one asks to become mentally ill, just the same way that no one asks to get cancer. I’ve described it this way to my dad, but he doesn’t really understand. No one wants to be ill, whether that be something visible or invisible.

And that is what Mental Illness is; it’s essentially an invisible illness, but with some very physical symptoms. People with mental illnesses can die, just the same way anyone with a physical illness can. Eating Disorders kill 70% of severe sufferers and I have twice, very almost, become a part of that statistic. I was “saved” with only hours to spare. Had I not gotten the help I did, then I would have certainly either died from mass organ failure or have killed myself. It wasn’t like I hadn’t already tried.

I don’t want to get into all the hairy scary details because honestly, I am trying to leave that part of my past where it is. It will always be a part of me and I will never be ashamed of what has happened to me, but I don’t want to dwell on my pain. Because doing that is no more effective than picking at a scab; it’s ugly, it hurts, it won’t make anything better and while there is a masochistic gratification in scratching at it, you are just making things worse in the long run, instant gratification isn’t everything.

So, here I go; my recovery journey: Round 2.

My new superhero mask for my new super powers of healing!

My new superhero mask for my new super powers of healing!

I hope you will join me on this journey. I would love to have you with me, be that as a sufferer of Anorexia or Depression or Anxiety, or just as someone who’s interested. I want to reduce stigma and show people that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that recovery is a journey we all must make. Join me! 🙂

See you soon!

Also, just for the banter, here’s a pic of me at Halloween! Off to the pub! I mean, to drink responsibly, of course XD

Halloween 2015! I went as... absolutley nothing, a girl at the pub with glitter on her face, that;s who xD

Halloween 2015! I went as… absolutley nothing, a girl at the pub with glitter on her face, that;s who xD

SSDD

Blame It On The Weather. No, Seriously, Blame It On The Weather #depression

Hey Hey Guys!!

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Depression is something that can change like the weather. Think I’m joking?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a genuine illness. Not gonna lie, I’m not an expert, so I’m not sure if you would class it as a mental illness or a mood disorder, but it is classified as a varied form of depression.

So what actually is it. Well, the NHS UK website says this:

Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it’s not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

  • production of the hormone melatonin

  • production of the hormone serotonin

  • body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)

It affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK, commonly affecting people between the ages of 18-30 and, like other forms of depression, is more common in women than in men. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the condition, mainly because it can be difficult to understand how someone can feel depressed simply because of the weather. It’s one thing to say that you change your mind like the wind, another to say that you can’t face getting out of bed because it’s raining.

Symptoms include lethargy, insomnia, poor concentration, negative thoughts and mood, unwillingness to socialise, decreased libido and weight gain.

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This is what 12 million people across Europe are facing. Again, I’m not an expert, but as a sufferer, there are a few words I can impart on the subject.

There are days when the thought of having to choose one pair of socks over another seems like an insurmountable problem. Can you imagine the implications of going outside when it is anything less than radiant out there? As if were not bad enough that the world already seems like one of the blackest corners of hell; what if it’s raining as well!? The fact that the weather reflects damp, cold in your soul, preventing you from feeling the glow of all the good things in around you is just confirmation to the depressed side of your brain that there is nothing good out there to admire. That everything really is as horrible and out to get you as you suspect.

But if the sun is out…

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I’m a total fire baby. I was predisposed, being a Leo (m’on the August-born troops!!) and if it is anything short of swelteringly roasty toasty, then I am inconsolably miserable. I’m talking, in tears, shaking, terrified of even the slightest baby’s breath of a draft. Lemme put this into context for you; I was in Ibiza during a heatwave and wore a cardigan. Yeah. So the fact that I live in BLOODY SCOTLAND, one of the coldest places South of the Arctic, is a hellish situation to be in. I don’t think people realise quite how many layers I wear on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a useful thing that I’m so skinny; all those layers don’t look so thick on a skelatal frame.

The past few days we have been experiencing a random heat wave and I know several people with varying forms of depression and anxiety who have (seemingly inexplicably) seen a lift in their mood. I swear, Blame It On the Weather! Being in the sun can literally feel like bands are being removed from your chest and you can breathe and in hail the sweet scent of real oxygen. Not just tolerate the stale air you’ve tasted recently.

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However you want to call it, Sunny Side Up, Everything’s Better on the Other Side, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Mr Sunshine, Light of My Life, Build Me Up Buttercup, Mr Golden Sun; attribute any cheesy song lyric you like, the summary is still the same – EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN THE GODDAMN SUNSHINE!!!!!

The irritating thing, is that it has not been sunny all day. It comes and goes. The problem with this is that my mood has been going up and down as well. Literally, the sun being out one minute means I’m relatively happy, not too bad, occasionally I’ll giggle. Then it goes behind a cloud. Maybe there is a smattering of rain. And suddenly that cloud burst seems more like hell is spitting like icy shards of glass at me, determined to extinguish that ember of happiness fighting to burn hot enough to light so much as a candle. It’s exhausting.

Here is a link to treatment advice on SAD as well as some lovely handy dandy websites for mental health issues. Seriously, i have used some of them and even the info you can get online these days isn’t half bad.

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Remember though; the sun can be thought of in the same was as those middle aged women/students think of booze – if it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s mid day somewhere else! The sun is always up somewhere, even if it isn’t where you are. If you are a sufferer of depression or SAD, do the daytime version of what Oscar Wilde liked to do; instead of looking at the stars, look to the sky. See the sun, love the light, feel the glow.

Mind.org

NHS treatment of SAD

Samaritans

SSDD

Letting Go… and Holding On

Hey hey guys!!

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So I have majorly let this blog slide. I really shouldn’t have, given how much I love blogging. But you know, life and all…

Actually that is what I was wanting to blog about. That’s what I’ve always wanted to blog about. Life.

It’s something I’ve been having a bit of an issue with, not just now, but for a few years. I can’t decide whether it’s the thing we should all endeavor to protect and cherish the most, or whether it’s something I wish could just be eradicated. Certainly where people are concerned.

I’m not saying all people are evil, or that there are not wonderful things out there, happening every day. Just that, in seemingly greater amounts, there are are truly horrific things happening as well. And when pain outweighs pleasure, it sits badly with me.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people who are deeply affected by the shit storm of life. I’m one of those people, the pessimists, the sceptics. Call it what you like, but I tend to disasterise before I see the silver lining. It’s a curse, but I know I’m not the only one to think like this.

See, to quote Young Guns (a British rock band, look ’em up)

The weight of the world is a burden I can’t bare

The crappy thing is, it’s a burden I tend to try my damnedest to bare, regardless of how difficult it is, no matter how impractical, no matter how insensible. I would rather take everyone I care about’s problems and add them to the pack on my back than watch them do anything other than sail through life.

Yet I’m reaching the end of my ability to do this, it seems. I’m holding on… but only just. It’s time to let go… I just don’t quite know just yet what to let go of.

Life is the sort of concept that is too big for me. I love all the existential, interesting questions hat challenge human behaviour, but as for actually dealing with it myself? Not so much something I’m really great at. As much as I love adventuring, experiencing things I’ve never seen before or done, there are days when even the thought of leaving my bed, let alone my flat or my parents house is a challenge in itself. The thought and effort that it takes to so much as visualise doing anything other than taking my next breath can be staggeringly exhausting and actually making moves to get up can be something so far outside my abilities that it’s not even worth considering!

I’m skirting around the issue here, but if you have half a brain you will understand why all this is. I want to link you to something that will explain this better than I ever will be able to. HERE you go.

“Getting better” isn’t even something I’m all that interested in, most of the time. If the idea of “life” is exhausting, simply opening my eyes and being aware that there is something outside the disembodied sounds in my head, then having an exterior that reflects wellness just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s juxtaposition in the truest sense.

I have little motivation to eat and at present I am eating just enough to keep me round about alive, but not really living. It’s not a long term plan. I went to a family party and some sort of primal instinct kicked in and I ate more in one afternoon that I have collectively in weeks. This actually make me really annoyed. The extra vitamins are going to be reflected in my appearance tomorrow when in reality I am going to be feeling a dreadful as ever, if not more so, owing to the fact that the extra nourishment is one step back from the brink that I’m teetering, tempted, over.

Where I go from here is right now a fluid concept. I am very much in flux. Right now I don’t even have a definitive address. I get up every day because I have more than one illness of the mind. One conflicts with the other and it’s an exhaustive concept and it means I sleep very little, think a lot and worry and feel stressed and sad and hopeless and conflicted and… well, a cocktail of terrible things, most of the time. There is a cacophony of sound in my head, all the god damn time and I hate it, I hate it so so much. I’m in constant pain and i can’t concentrate. University is getting so hard when these voices and sounds get so loud.

Imagine it like this; you’re trying to read something, that is what your goal is. But you are listening to a really angry podcast in headphones in one ear, with someone yelling at you in one of those little in-ear, spy gear things in the other. There is also a conversation happening nearby that you should be paying attention to you, so you are trying really hard to listen in, but it’s hard to hear because there is a conversation between a bunch of people happening in your head as well and there are some really difficult to ignore voices in that conversation. Those voices are the worst because all of them are so angry and saying some truly horrible things. You kind of feel like your bones are being squeezed really hard and that your lungs are half the size they should be. These is also this blackness creeping over you. Even if it’s sunny, you feel cold, desolate, like you are sitting on a block of ice in a dark room.

This might not be the best description but you will have to forgive me; I can’t quite form a reasonable line of thought over all the white noise and voices… I wish they wouldn’t quiet down a little… I’m really, really tired…

Anyway, I thought I would check in. I might post a few more like this, we will see. I’m somehow simultaneously super busy and have nothing to do. Life, eh??

SSDD

New Year: Make GOALS Not RESOLUTIONS!

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Hey Hey Guys!

It’s that time of hear again; everyone is coming out with the “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” bullshit that even they know isn’t true.

By making “resolutions“, we are automatically setting ourselves up for a download (1)fall. “Research“, (though how reliable research into young people failing to give up drinking, go to the gym and save enough to buy are Ferrari, are) suggests that the connotations of the word alone are enough to make our brain pre-emptively expect failure. Essentially, it’s too much pressure.

So DON’T DO IT! Chill out, adopt a better strategy instead.

SET GOALS instead!

Simple. By setting yourself a goal you are creating a context where something is a good idea, but won’t make you feel like you are breaking a promise if you don’t achieve it.

Expectation vs. Reality!

Expectation vs. Reality!

Sounds like common sense, but do your self a favour, make them small goals. Not necessarily unimportant, just, don’t make some bold statement that you’re going to own a flying pony named Beranabus! by the end of the year then act heartbroken when you’re left with nothing but a dead hamster and a broken dream.

More likely pet acquisition...

More likely pet acquisition…

Say you will do something a little more general if you are having trouble, like, take up a sport. That gives you room and time to explore and find something you really want to do, so you are more likely to stick to it. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure f you can’t make a decision right away and don’t make it something like sky-diving. Unless that’s easily accessible to you. In which case totally go for it!

Basically the trick is to keep it simple. Even something as simple as be nice can have a huge impact on your mentality and make you feel better, meaning you will have more motivation to achieve the bigger things that would otherwise have been insurmountable.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew (literally or figuratively!) Start with the little changes. They will add up and you can achieve so much by taking your time. Don’t bother with an obscenely long, ridiculous list.

In my next post I will make some suggestions as to goals you can attempt as well as some of my own 🙂 (HINT: I’m not going to be trying to become a millionaire or be fit enough to run a marathon. Though both of those would be nice. Enough money to buy my own flat. Or run for a bus maybe… 😉 )

Here's an easy one to start you off :)

Here’s an easy one to start you off 🙂

unnamedFollow me on twitter: @gemc200

SSDD

Reconnecting With the People That Matter

Hey Hey Guys!

Travel is exciting. But it has a down side.

my parents and I

my parents and I in Barcelona

It’s been 4 months since I saw one of my best friends. Since I came home just over 2 weeks ago I have tried my best to get back in touch with all the people I’ve missed most since I left, which hasn’t been easy given, you know, people having lives and all that.

And one of my lovely ladies has been particularly elusive given that she works every hour of the day and never takes a break. But today, we had a wee lunch date! As soppy as it might sound, but when i say that 4 foot 10 little lady walking towards me, I really felt happy. I have felt this way another three times since I landed back in Scotland. The first time was when I saw my parents coming towards me as I waited in the airport lounge. Granted, my grin was likely to have been marred somewhat by the frigid air blowing in from outside, but the sentiment was the same.

The second time was when the knock, knock, knocking on my door, a week after I got home, announced the arrival of two of my other best friends. I was dressed in all my glamour, bobbin’ robin pyjama bottoms, no make-up and messy bun, of course. 😉 When you see friends like that, you cannot fake the grin that pastes itself on your face, nor the rosy glow that flushes your cheeks.

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The third was when my best friend at uni and I caught up. The first thing I did was laugh at how much I missed her Northern accent and, other when she broke the news that her radio show was being cut (R.I.P Fred McCauley show!!!!!) I didn’t stop laughing til I realised I wouldn’t be getting another hug from her til after the New year! Noooooooooo!! (Love you Lambie 😛 )

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So when I saw said friend today, it was much the same feeling. I knew she has been working hard, knew her beloved dog had been sick, yet here she was, with me, and it was lovely.

Super thoughtful Christmas present!

Super thoughtful Christmas present!

Ew, whipped cream... dat Carrot Cake though!

Ew, whipped cream… dat Carrot Cake though!

Present exchanges and several hours of gabbing and puppy adoration later (her dog was sick but is back being a bundle of joy again! This coming from someone who hates dogs…) and we both had other places to be. Life is a pain sometimes.

But seeing her today made me realise something. That is me, now. I have seen everyone I care most about since my return home. I have reconnected with the people who have stayed in touch with me, despite the ocean of distance that separated us for so many months. Just in time for the new year.

I hope that this is a sign. I hope that this is a symbol that these are the people I am going to travel into 2015 with, hand in metaphorical hand, no matter whether we bring in the bells on Hogmanay together or apart. I’m not really one for the whole, new year, new me, business, but I’m hoping that it’s going to be a new year, same people to share it with, kind of deal.

I have made so many new friends this past few months and I hope that I will encounter many of them again in the future. But I have also missed the connection I have with those I left at home. I have been with my best friends since I was 5. They are a stirling group of gals and I wouldn’t replace them for the world.

We have seen each other through the elated highs and most proud successes. We have stressed over every exam and bitched about every teacher. We got drunk together for the first time and held back hair when the times that came after went a little too far. Boys had no secrets and every outfit for first dates was a group decision.

They held my hand when I literally thought I was going to die and we have no secrets. I want to share the rest of my life with them because they have saved me and brought me back from the brink when I was on the verge of my sanity. It’s a bigamist marriage, of sorts. Each one of them is a gem and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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Love you ladies.

SSDD