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 😄

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

Radio Show Glasgow Adventure Time

Hey Hey Guys!!

Today has been a good day.

I had my first ever Radio Show, What’s Up With Gem?, on www.radiocaley.com, I got some life changing news and I saw (potentially) the love of my life. Yeah, y’all heard it! I’m making it  more than FBO; I’m taking that s**t to the BLOG!!

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

Just a wierd man playing a violin while walking a tightrope. Standard in Glasgow

So today I have a lot to be thankful for. It all started this morning, early (too early for my student brain to get it’s tiny little temperament around, if I’m honest). My doctor gave me the news I’ve waited 106 days to hear. I literally skipped down the corridor from his office with glee that would make McKinley High School proud.

Then I got an email from Scotcampus (shout out, by the way!! Follow them dudes on twitter!!) saying that they would like to meet me for an interview for an internship! At a magazine! A real one, not just one that is online! I was about this excited last time this happened, with Source Magazine pity that one didn’t quite go as planned…

Then I had my first show on Radio Caley! Well wasn’t that something! Honestly, it was great. I’ve been on the radio before but I have never hosted my own show. Now, I have one every Tuesday! On my way to Uni (where the studio is) I passed by a girl busking. But she wasn’t just busking. Oh no, she was busking my first song!! FLEETWOOD MAC, GO YOUR OWN WAY!! This lovely lady was playing it 🙂

Lovely Busking Lady

Lovely Busking Lady

I saw a man playing a violin while on a tightrope… so that was a thing… (see above) Pretty standard practice on Buchannan Street, to be fair…

I bumped into an old friend on my way to the studio (which was lovely) then I got to present my show with one of my best friends as a guest, which was such a relief! He’s far more technically minded than me and fixed all my little (*ahem* potentially disastrous *ahem)* technical hitches without a thought. Which I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do without him. Because I am so technically challenged it’s legendary. ( The tech guys in uni won’t let me borrow equipment without a tutors’ say… I try, guys, I really do…)

On the show there was a major topic I wanted to discuss. For the past 4 years I’ve been heavily involved in the Mental Health services of Scotland, mainly as a patient, but also as a volunteer. It’s a subject close to my heart because it’s affected not only me, but my family and friends, as an extension. I’ve been going through what my dad describes as “a little blip”, but what my psychiatrist would probably call “the reason he has a job“.

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I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable revealing exactly what I’ve been going through, but I’ve hinted at it in previous posts. My point is, though, that this is Mental Health Awareness Month an I am a survivor. I’ve been through the worst (twice) and now, look. I survived. I’m back at Uni. I’m (hopefully) going to be interning at a magazine. I’m on the radio. There were only 5 listeners but still! That’s 5 people who I hope have been enlightened a little bit, amused, heartened or even just mildly entertained. If one of those 5 got any kind of enjoyment or education from my heartfelt statistics, then I consider that, job done.

What could have, and with my luck might well have, been a catastrophic black hole of a day, was actually something rather wonderful. I’m cherishing this day because there are so few like it for me. There are so few days when things actually go relatively to plan. So often there is something that plagues me, that s**ts all over everything, no matter how hard I try. I neglect self care because if I don’t love myself, then I can’t be disappointed when I receive no love in return.

Keeping it real

Keeping it real

I don’t seek attention, I seek to attend to others. But now, maybe it’s my turn. Maybe I will get the chance to be happy. So I’m going to work hard to make that happen.

SSDD

Wasn’t There Supposed to Be Cake?

Hey Hey Guys!!

Cake is a curious thing.

It’s something that is expected in certain situations, can have strong connotations and memories associated with it, the taste, the texture, the scent, the colour. Where you had a certain piece and how it made you feel.

Then there is cake in a general sense. It appears in certain situations; birthdays, weddings, anniversaries… funerals.

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Have you ever noticed (well, you will have, even if you don’t immediately realise it) that cake is often present to sweeten the pill in horrible situations?

mood cookies

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg...

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg…

Now, I’m going togeneralise here and cast the same net over certain biscuits as well as cakes. In fancy waiting rooms, there is often a sweet “treat”. You might be offered a slice of battenburgh with a beverage, or a very British, Victoria Sponge, if you are particularly fortunate (and so help you god if you mention the fact that you recognise that cheap, dry sponge and overly sweet, grainy filling as the £1 round you get from the co-op when you are absolutely desperate for a favour to take to the neighbours’ BBQ).

homemade cupcakes

homemade cupcakes

**As a wee aside, I actually hate Battenberg cake and am always bitterly disappointed to see it in a selection. Marzipan is the devil. It is always a bad omen.**

I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

I absolutely HATE Battenberg…

The thing is, there are some situations where cake is a terrible omen. Whether you are presented with a stale selection of sponges that might be the same ones you declined from your elderly neighbour, or strike gold with one of those pick ‘n mix boxes of biscuits, the result is always the same and always two-fold; the custard creams, jammy ones, cookies and anything containing chocolate are snapped up as soon as the seal is broken and the Garibaldis’ and those weird little wrinkly edged ones that taste like cardboard and aren’t quite a tea biscuit, nor a shortbread, are always left neglected. And you are in for some serious news. Generally, bad.

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See, these are the sweets and semi-sweets that are broken in places like hospitals, doctors surgeries, lawyers offices. Places where there is a 50/50 chance you were to nervous to have lunch before you went there so just swigged from the open wine bottle in the fridge, put on you best “I’m totally in control” mask and walk in there like you’re heading to the gallows. Those who run these establishments know this and it means all sort of paper work for them if they have a client pass out on them, so they try to gently pump you full of sugar.

But when I got my bad news today, it was over the phone. I was on my way back to my (soon to be vacated) flat. I was outside. So I ask you;

Wasn’t there supposed to be cake?

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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

The World’s Largest Ball of Wool and Getting Crafty

Hey Hey Guys!

I took a little trip this afternoon with a friend of mine, her mum, gran and pup pup (miniature schnowzer, Kiwi; I hate dogs but that little thing is a darling). We just got in the car and said, “So, where do you want to go today?”

The fact that we just took off, drove in a direction with the vague intention of locating a coffee somewhere picturesque was so… freeing.

I’m usually that super uptight cretin that has to know exactly when we are meeting and exactly who will be there and exactly how close a blood relative of yours was dying that meant that you were 6 and a half minutes late… Sorry, friends… But it was a lazy Saturday. Sure it was grey outside but we had 4 wheels and a radio. The country roads of coastal Scotland are a heaven for those with itchy feet but no intention of really going anywhere. One of the things I love about where I live is that you can simply drive to the middle of nowhere, take in the scenery and call it being somewhere.

We ended up in a little pocket of creativity known as West Kilbride; a hub of arts and crafts and apparently Scotlands’s official craft town! Who knew! We’re all knitters and chrocheters, but now we have been inspired to take up peddaling and spinning yarn on looms and… pretending to be Sleeping Beauty or something… I dunno, but it was a lovely place anyway.

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

GIANT BALL OF WOOL!!

There was a gorgeous wool shop in town. We were drawn to it by the MASSIVE BALL OF COLOURED WOOL hanging outside the door. It was just… interesting, and a little bizarre. It tickled my funny bone so I took a pic and inside, was greeted with some of the softest wool I’ve ever felt, made from Alpaca! Can you say luxurious!? Clothing made out of that would be like getting stroked by… well, I’ll let you fill in the blank there 😉

Georgeous Antique clock

Georgeous Antique clock

Eventually we found our coffee and cakes in a cafe in Sea Mill. It seemed to literally pop up at the side of a road with nothing for miles in any direction. It simply seemed to be there and expect people to find it. Which they did. Considering we never passed any houses, the place was a pleasantly bustling little heaven from the biting cold wind blowing off the salty Clyde. Nothing like a crisp breeze and the lure of mediocre coffee to drive you off the road.

Well, that was my Saturday. Til next week! (When I am predicting I’m going to need a serious sleep coz it will be at the end of my first week back at Uni…)

Follow me in Instagram!

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