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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

First coffee and candle!

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

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

I Failed #Stoptober

Hey Hey Guys!

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We’ve all heard the fads; Sober October; give up booze in October; Movember; grow a moustache in November (generally speaking this one is just for men, but I daresay there is the odd woman who might participate!) to name just two.

In October, I participated in #Stoptober, where I attempted to kick the fags. And I am going to tell you why I failed.

I was never a heavy smoker, at most seven or eight a day, so I thought it would be easy to give them up. Turns out I relied on those little white devils more than I thought.

For the first 15 days I was doing pretty well. I had given them up for two months in the summer with absolutely no problem, going cold turkey, not even caring. This summer I was forced to give them up. I had no choice. So with that decision taken entirely out of my hands, it was easy! When there is only one path, you take it.

But this month has been a time of stress and my freedom has been returned, with University work picking up and an internship on the horizon, drama with family and friends and just a lot of general business heading my way. I had not anticipated quite how much I would be craving that little roll-up, those precious stolen moments when I could slip outside for five minutes, take a second to myself and get some (debatably) fresh air.

When my head is abuzz and my life in a perpetual sort of organised chaos, my schedule planned to the minute and all my time devoured by commitments and obligations, I pray for those times in transit, the only times when I am really by myself because it gives me the excuse not to think about anything. It is in those times that I am at my weakest.

We all know when we are at our weakest and most likely to fall off whatever health wagon we are on. For some people it is when you are tired and hungry and the urge to hit up a fast food joint is strong. Often that ever-reliable excuse of “convenience” is brought out, with the justification that you are on the move, you need something quick and easy and oh look, how fortunate, a burger bar, cheap and quick, is right on the corner there. For others it is the “I’ve been at work all day, I don’t need to go to the gym” mantra. For me, it’s the “I’m stressed and tired” excuse, that sees my hand snaking it’s way to my right pocket and my pre-rolled cigs.

My Face When I Am Stressed

My Face When I Am Stressed

That is where I fell down. I got very stressed and very sad one evening towards the end of the month and snapped. I was in a corner shop, frowning in exasperation, having had it with the world and before I knew it, I was asking for tobacco and I walked out of the shop with more than just a bottle of juice.

And do you know what; it was the most relief I have felt in all that long month. Sure, I feel guilty for breaking my vow to keep the air in my lungs clear, but in that moment, it was worth it.

But what really gets me is that it was not really my choice to quit in October. I was set up for failure by attempting to chance a lifestyle habit at a time and in a timeframe that was dictated by others, rather than by me. I wanted to quit but I should have done so in my own time, not because I was jumping on the band waggon. It was as convenient for me to quit in October as it is for me to light up when I am stressed; but that doesn’t mean that either of those things are good for me. We are conditioned to perform all actions in the most convenient way, even if it’s not the best option in the long term. Maybe I should have meditated or something. But that wouldn’t have given me the immediate gratification that I was desperately craving in that moment.

It makes me think about addiction and stress. We all have ways of coping and most of the time, they are not too good for us. As people we are susceptible to destructive behaviour and it’s something that we have struggled with since the dawn of time. We crave things that are not good for us, whether that be alcohol, cigarettes or dates with “bad boys”. But the important thing is to persevere and try to recognise that these things are bad for us and limit the negative effect we allow them to have on us.

I do regret not sticking too my word (not least because my dad promised to match whatever I saved!) but at least not I know that it is my relief mechanism. I need to find a new way to get that same hit of immediate gratification, something healthier. It is possible to give up the things that are not making our lives richer, but perhaps it has to rake something more than will power. It may be that we need to know there is a definite positive outcome. I didn’t factor in a reward system, meaning that I was losing something I enjoyed and getting nothing to replace it with.

So my advice to anyone trying to give up something less than good for you is this; make sure you have a reward in place for all your efforts. Never take something away and have nothing to gain from it, because that selfish, craving part of you will simply implore you to give up.

Read the article HERE!

So, treat yo self! Good luck!

SSDD!

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I Fell Off The #Stoptober Wagon

Hey Hey Guys!

So I have an update to last nights post; I have fallen off the #Stoptober wagon.

In my defence, it was in reaction to being made to go to the place that made me start smoking in the first place. I began my love affair with the humble roll up when I was made to go to an out-patient mental health clinic, a place I swore I would sooner burn down than ever return to.

Yet there I was today, fag in hand, staring nauseated at the thought of  having to go back on my promise to myself, searching every crevice of my will for the strength to walk up those stairs and into that bloody building. I must have stood there for a good few minutes, puffing away slowly, the acrid taste of the tobacco not quite managing to disguise the memory of the clinical burn of health centre-esque cleaning fluid.

I started smoking because I needed a stress reliever that wasn’t the one I was going to the clinic for in the first place. However, in yet another demonstration of poor life choices on my part, I picked up another bad habit; or rather, I picked up a cig.

So forgive me my “sin” for I have smoked. But that will be the last time. I hope. Maybe.

So long as they don’t make me go back to that place again!

SSDD

I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

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?

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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

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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