How is my Mental Health right now?

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As I write this, I realise I haven’t really been writing about myself and mental health, not for a while! We’ve gotten to September already and while we’ve still got 3 months of this year left, it feels like 2017 has just been a bit of battering for me and my old mind. Actually, if I’m honest since my accident in 2015 it’s been a bit of a struggle but in terms of this year, how about a bit of an update?

Back in April, I lost my job as most of my regular readers know. At the time it was the worst thing what could have happened in my mind. My depression became unbearable and after 5 and a half months at the company where I was incredibly unhappy and then being let go out of the blue meant that my confidence was shot to pieces. Even when I had a job offer for temporary work I was in a constant anxious state that I wasn’t good enough, that I’d be let go again and I was just an awful human being.

After applying for job after job while temping and not getting jobs, I decided I’d had enough. I was sleeping better at this point and not doing the long drive, so, mentally I was better than I had been since the year before, yeah that long. In my mind, a job was a job and you didn’t leave no matter how much you hated it (this is the worst thing I could have thought). This time I wanted to work for a company permanently that I enjoyed, in a great atmosphere and not too far a commute. So I did what I needed to do I researched and I called around, which eventually meant getting my current job that I love.

In all of this I felt like, mentally, I was on a tight rope. I needed something to come through, to prove to my ‘Mind Goblin’ wrong, that I wasn’t awful and I wasn’t useless and I could do a good job. I was right, the Mind Goblin was wrong. That was that, everything was going to be great. So I got the job, I went on holiday. I forgot to take my medication in the sunshine and had a drop on holiday, but within a day or so I was back on form.

The last 2 months of my job have been incredible, overwhelming and a boost. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still had anxiety attacks, I’ve still had the usual good days and bad days because that’s a part of my life and a part of my condition. Being more content doesn’t mean it disappears or that the ‘Mind Goblin’ doesn’t appear sometimes trying to take over my mind. I’m not writing this to tell you I’m fine and perfect but I’m taking it day by day. Which is all anyone who lives with a mental health condition can do.

As I write this I’m experiencing my first time as a ‘Tour Wife’ while Ali goes across the country with work. It comes with its own challenges, mostly loneliness and not having anyone to talk to when my Mind Goblin creeps out and I have to fight him away on my own. Or maybe not on my own. I’m lucky to have some wonderful friends, family and a great set of colleagues to chat to and to have for company.

Basically, it’s been good, bad and ugly but I’m getting there.

Book Review: The Wrong Knickers – Bryony Gordon

Have you ever felt like you’ve made a giant mess? That you don’t really know what you’re doing? That you might be turning into a real life Briget Jones or similar? Let me introduce you to Bryony Gordon in her twenties, the decade of chaos that started it all.

This is the second book of Bryony’s that I have read, after reading her second memoir ‘Mad Girl’ about mental illness. This takes place before and, after reading the second book, makes events during this memoir make a lot more sense!

We get to see Bryony grow into the woman she is today and to see the whole transformation is a total relief! From leaving university after realising it wasn’t for her, getting a job that involved her dressing up as a Star Wars character, the dodgy flats, living in London and the men  boys she has dated and slept with. We’re thrown into the whirlwind that is Bryony’s life as she navigates how to grow up in the city, chasing a career and trying to work herself out.

There is a lot of self-deprecating humor in this, along with a lot of honesty. Bryony doesn’t shy away from her mistakes, nor does she act like a victim. She acknowledges, like the majority of us, that we make mistakes in our twenties, that most of us don’t know what the hell we’re doing and get in strange situations. While some have said they couldn’t understand or relate to Bryony I definitely could! While I might not live in London and party, I still understood her feelings as a twenty something!

I really enjoyed reading about all of the antics that Bryony and her friends got up to and the lessons she learned in this time. It also gave me a little bit of hope that the things I’ve been feeling are normal! That it’s ok to feel a little out of control and not feel like you’re ‘where you’re supposed to be’.

I gave The Wrong Knickers 4 stars. It made me laugh a lot, think a lot and value Bryony’s writing. It felt as if I was listening to a friend, that’s a point, I listened to the audio book of this and it made it even better, I would totally recommend audio books for Bryony’s books. I would definitely recommend this memoir! It was a good quick read with a lot of laughs.

 

Using food as a crutch

Hello there lovely readers,

If any of you follow me on Twitter (it’s @chloemetzger if you don’t) you will know that recently I’ve been devouring Melanie Murphey’s Fully Functioning Human (Almost). Melanie is a Youtuber and has recently become an author, I absolutely love her videos and just generally her positivity as well as honesty. I bought the book because I thought it would be good, I didn’t guess it would make me confront myself about my eating habits.

Recently, I found out I have a B12 deficiency, although it’s not through diet it did make me think about how I can increase the vitamin to supplement my treatment. So food was already on my mind. The chapter I was reading happened to come at the right time. I’d had a tough day at work, Ali was away in rehearsals, I’d had injections and I was just down and a bit lonely, I went and got a McDonalds including McFlurry on the way home. You guessed it, I’m an emotional eater.

I’ve never addressed my eating habits on this blog, how my mental health and eating are connected. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a while that my emotions are a big part of what I eat. To put it simply, food makes me feel better. I know that if I’m having a bad day popping into my local supermarket and buying a big bar of chocolate will cheer me up. That said, I overcame these feelings before I graduated! I picked up on what I was doing and cut down.

It’s so easy to make a small treat turn into something really unhealthy. For example, I LOVE Chocolate Eclairs, they’re one of my favourite cakes. When you go to the supermarket a pack of 4 can be as little as £1, whereas buying one from the counter is £1.50. The same goes for sweets, a ‘share pack’ is £1 whereas and individual bag is 70p. So we convince ourselves we’re getting a better deal, then we eat it. It makes it so much harder when you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

I’m about to face a challenge in my life as Ali goes away for 2 months. I also know that in the past year I’ve neglected myself and let unhealthy habits creep back into my day to day as a way of coping with any lows or loneliness. So that I don’t feel down on a Friday night and order a Pizza and Garlic Bread just for myself and then feel gross afterwards. I don’t want to go and buy up all the offers on sweets or biscuits or crisps to fill any sadness.

So, I’m going back to basics like I did when I was first recovering from my broken spine. I’m cutting back and not buying foods I know I will eat in one go but I’m not cutting anything out completely. I’m going back to the gym and trying to get up to two or three times a week. And finally, when I feel the urge to go and stuff my face, I’m going to try and distract myself. I’m going to write or read or call a friend. I’m determined to do this.

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This is me last week, let’s see where we are in 2 months.

Have you ever struggled with using food as a crutch? Let me know in the comments below!

August Favourites!

Let’s jump right in and see what I’ve been loving in August!

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Books 

This month it’s been quite a slow reading month I just really couldn’t get into it. The silver lining though is that I’ve loved the books I have read. I finally got my copy of Our Super American Adventure by Sarah Graley which is absolutely awesome, I’ve met Sarah before and love her artwork and stories about her relationship. I also finished what I think is going to be one of my top books this year, My Shitty Twenties by Emily Morris, an honest account of being a single mother in your twenties and still being badass, you can read my review here. I also kept seeing the Andrew Morton book Diana Her True Story and decided to download it on Audible it’s a tough book and I did think it was interesting but incredibly sad on the 20th anniversary of the princess’s death. And finally Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is just amazing, meant for children but should be read by EVERYONE! My gushing review is here.

 

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Watching 

Is there anything else to talk about this month? Of course, there’s not. Game of Thrones is over for another season and this one was everything I hoped it would be. I’m not going to post spoilers, because that just not cool. All I’ll say is the following for people who have watched the finale, they deserved that and oh lordy what a beautiful sight. Now I have to wait for the next season…my Dad has already tagged me in a countdown timer.

 

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Fashion and Beauty

I did a whooooole post about my little haul this month over here. So head over for all the info you need to know!

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Brighton Pride

I went to my first ever Pride and I can honestly say it was the best party I’ve ever been to. It was fun and flamboyant and there was glitter everywhere! I got to sit in a giant deck chair, dance in an 80s disco and I ended up sponsoring a dog…yep (wine may have been involved). I wrote a whole post about 7 reasons you should go next year!

General

This month started off on a good note with a trip to Pizza Express with my ‘spec squad’, that’s me, Abbie and Sarah to celebrate our new little group. It’s been a month of spending time with people I love. Ali went to Brighton and Scotland this month for work, and bought me home Charlie the Highland Cow from the latter, he’s adorable (the cow I mean, although Ali’s ok I suppose). It’s also had milestones with my little sister getting into college! I also went to see 80s super popstars Bros at the O2 in London, which was actually a brilliant laugh with my Mum, sister and mum’s best friend. I also may have gotten a new cauldron mug from the new Primark collection…maybe. And last but not least I’ve been spending as much time as possible with Ali, including on our 9 year anniversary, before he heads off on tour tomorrow!!

 

My favourite posts 

Feminist Friday with …. Jess Willby 

A new month, a new woman 

Nine years, new adventures 

 

What have your favourites been this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Friday with … Charlotte Selby

Why I Need Feminism

This is a guest post by Charlotte Selby, a YA Writer, Book Blogger and Booktuber. Charlotte has requested the following trigger warnings to be in place; Sexual Abuse, Anxiety, and Depression.

Living alone in my second year of University was a bad idea. I was in my own company a lot and my anxiety was at the highest it had been; I was yet to get a diagnosis. I was struggling to leave my flat to see my therapist, never mind going to classes. I hadn’t established a strong enough relationship with the friends I’d made where I felt I could confide in them about my problems. Then someone came along. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call them Ash.

They got me. They knew when to listen to my problems and when to give advice. I became dependent; messaging them when I thought I might relapse, begging them to come over. When they kissed me, I felt it was a turning point: someone wanted me even though they’d seen how broken I was. My previous partner broke up with me because I wouldn’t sleep with them so I wanted to take my time before losing my virginity. Ash respected that. My friend warned me and our friendship became strained. She didn’t understand. Ash was good for me.

After a bad relapse, Ash came to the rescue and took me to their flat. I didn’t want to be alone for fear of how much further I would go. After I calmed down, Ash kissed me. I said no but they became icy after. Later they tried again and I said no. We had already slept together at this point, but this time was different. This time I didn’t want it. But they were so persistent that, in the end, I let them.

“Come on, it’ll take your mind off things.”

I told them I didn’t want to see them anymore after that (outside of class obligations). When I confided in a friend about what had happened, she had her I did warn you moment and explained the concept of consent to me. I felt foolish.

Flash to final year and it all came out. There were six other girls at the same time as me all with similar stories. We didn’t go to the police. We didn’t tell the university. We all knew we’d be blamed until we dropped it. One day when a society I was part of hosted a bake sale on campus. Ash showed up. The boyfriend of one of the other girls came and attacked Ash. He’d learned his girlfriend was one of the many victims. He screamed “manipulator”, “sexual abuser” and “rapist.” I was called out too. “How dare you stand when they did that to you. You’re just as bad as them. You could have helped people.” In the drama of it all, I don’t think anyone noticed I’d been outed; there were a select few who knew the names of the people involved, he just happened to know mine.

What happened with Ash had a big impact on my next relationship – which started during second year and we’re still together now. One night when we were messing around one night, he jokingly said: “come on you know you want to.” When I worked up the courage to tell him about Ash, I expected a breakup. We didn’t and we’re still together now, but it took a long time to fully trust him. Even now if I’m not in the mood for being intimate I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt, like I’m letting him down in some way.

Ash didn’t go to graduation. They weren’t missed.
I wish I could say I felt free when I cut them out. But I don’t. While I’m in a much better place mentally now but I’m easily shaken. I often think of “what ifs.” What if I’d stood up for myself? What if I’d spoken out sooner?

I need feminism because had there been more support for women, if there had been a safe place we could have gone to report it, if there was less stigma around sexual abuse, maybe Ash wouldn’t be out there right now. Living their life, probably never thinking about what they did to all those girls.

I speak out now. I shut down negative discussions about sexual assault/ abuse and rape. I challenge harmful views. I don’t want people to have to go through what I did and then blame themselves after. I am a feminist.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And by god, I am stronger now.

Thank you so much to Charlotte for this post, it’s such an important yet hard topic to discuss. If YOU want to get involved with Feminist Fridays email chloefmetzer@gmail.com with ‘Feminist Friday’ in the subject line.

 

Book Review: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

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It’s well known that there are a lot of kick ass ladies in history who aren’t taught about or who are looked over. It’s also well known that little girls need people to look up to. So, let me introduce you to a book that covers both of these things. A book that has been raved about online, and I completely understand why.

I just need to say I absolutely adore this book and want to give it to every little girl I know and plan to always have a copy in my home.  Although this is aimed at children I learned so much from it about women I’d never even heard of and I feel like I should have.  There is also great diversity in this book women from across the world with many different achievements, backgrounds, and goals are included.

I did see some complaints online that there wasn’t enough to the stories or they didn’t give that much info but we need to remember that some of these stories didn’t play out so well and this is aimed at children. To me, this was more of a snapshot, I imagine if a little girl, or boy, found someone really cool from this book they might look into them more or ask questions. That’s one of the most beautiful things about this book, it invites thinking and questions and intelligence.

Each woman chosen has their own unique portrait alongside the piece about them and they are stunning. Illustrated in different styles and colours no two looks the same. Additionally, there is a quote from every woman within the illustration to really sum them up as a person, which was a really nice touch.

If you haven’t guessed already, I gave this five stars. I’m in love with it, I would recommend it to absolutely EVERYONE because I honestly think there’s something for everyone to learn from it. There are all these amazing women from all over the world who have done incredible things for humanity, it’s about time they are all celebrated and that’s exactly what this book does.

 

My Boyfriend’s Leaving Me For Two Months?!

You may or may not know that my lovely boyfriend Ali is a Sound Engineer. Last year he graduated with a first in Creative Music Technologies and he’s been working various sound jobs ever since. Over the summer he’s been off all over the country doing live sound from our local Basingstoke Live, to Brighton Pride. Things have been going well, but we thought it would be a little while before he headed off on tour. Not so much.

On Sunday I’ll be waving him off on a tour months as he prepares to tour the UK as an engineer. Living his dream. We’ve been busy the past few weeks getting everything ready, replacing some of his equipment that was stolen and generally just spending time together.

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The weird thing though, people keep asking me if I’m ok. I understand it but I just brush it off. You see Ali and I have been together for nine years, in those nine years the longest time we’ve been apart is 2 weeks. We have our own lives but I like knowing I get to wake up next to him every morning. So the fact I won’t for 2 months is very weird to me.

It’s going to be a new challenge and adventure for us. I do get to visit the tour and see what he’s up to and I have a lot planned, especially on my birthday! I’m excited for him, nervous for me. I’ll be blogging throughout about my long distance love, so let’s see what I get up to…

Any tips for long distance? Let me know in the comments below!