carrying on surviving the past year

Carrying On: Surviving the Past Year

Hello, hello, hello

I know, why am I talking about the past year when it’s April? You see the past year has been tough, really damn tough. It was unexpected and difficult and at times I didn’t really know how I was going to get through it all. I wish that was me being dramatic, I really do.

Career Changes

Aaaaaand this is where it kicked off. In April 2017 I was let go from a Marketing job. To be fair I wasn’t happy in it and now I know it was a good thing, a really good thing. So I did some temp work, some more work which turned out to be temp work before I found my current job. Now I do what I wanted to do when I graduated, I work in Social Media. I love doing extra research, looking at stats and people listen to what I have to say! That said my confidence took a really bad hit for a chunk of the year but I’m back guys!

 

Relationships!

So, Ali is a Sound Engineer and back in April 2017 he hadn’t done much travelling for work. We also hadn’t spent more than 2 weeks apart since we were 13 and 14. Everything changed in that regard this year. Now we’re used to spending time apart from a few nights to two months after a busy summer and his first tour. When it first came around I panicked, I cried and I was petrified of sleeping alone. Now? I miss him but hello, double bed for one? Yes, please.

Personal Challenges

Only a few days after losing my job, I lost my second Dwarf Hamster, Hamski. That was heartbreaking, we knew she was old but the timing just seemed cruel. Because of everything that was going on my mental health took a hit, I became very anxious and depressed, I thought that everything was destined to fail in my life. I was in a lot of pain which, I found out was going to continue to be a constant in my life. I really had to work hard to overcome my personal issues to succeed.

But it wasn’t all bad…

Of course, I’m going to throw in a cliche. It has to rain for flowers to grow. I believe that everything happens for a reason in your life, this year reminded me how resilient I am. I’ve been knocked on my arse and got up again. I’ve got a job that I love, that I feel so passionate about. I have my little Hamster, Wickett. Ali and I are actually closer since he started working away and then coming back. I started to get comfortable with how ‘boring’ I am. I know I can be fully independent if I need to be.

Long story short, it was shit but I got through it and I bet you could too.

 

Sunday 7: Reasons YOU need to vote

Tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote in the UK General Election 2017. But, why should you vote? It’s a difficult time, a snap election has been called and everything feels a bit rushed. I know that a lot of people are irritated and disenfranchised with politics and the government. So, why should you vote?

Because your voice needs to be heard 

We know that there aren’t enough young people in parliament, but that doesn’t mean your voice isn’t heard. Voting means that you can have a voice and be heard.

Because you can make the change you want to see 

Vote in the people you believe will make a difference and change.

Because it helps make the country a better place for you and others like you 

I’ll be voting for what is important for me and the communities that I am a part of. Who will make the country better for your community? If you don’t vote then who else will?

Because every.single.vote.counts. 

There’s no such thing as a wasted vote, your vote could make all the difference.

Because so many sacrificed so that you could 

People died so that you could vote. Don’t forget that.

Because ignoring a problem won’t make it go away

If you have a problem with the way the country is being run, complaining online won’t do anything, actually voting for the person you think is best will.

Because if you don’t, you can’t complain. 

If you don’t vote, you’ve done nothing to try and stop what you want to complain about.

You have until 11.59 on the 22nd May to register, click the link here and make your voice heard. 

Get registering, get voting!

Change is what I needed.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that last month I lost my job and it was horrible. I felt completely devastated and my confidence took a big hit. I won’t go into specifics but I didn’t know it was going to happen, so I had absolutely no backup plan. At the time I remember Ali saying to me that this could be the best thing that ever happened to me, I scoffed at him. How could that be? At the time I panicking over how I was going to make rent and what the hell I was going to do next.

The thing is, and don’t tell him, but he was right. I’ll be honest and say that I was in a job that didn’t make me happy but I stuck at it and tried to make the best of the situation. While it sucked that I got let go, and at the time it seemed like the world was collapsing, it gave me time to think.

While I was looking I was offered a 3-month contract with a local company, good pay and a new experience. I was nervous but took it and it’s completely changed my outlook on my life and myself. After a month of being there, I feel a lot better. I’m not leaving the house at 7.15am and getting stuck in traffic for an age on the way home. I’m not stressed about everything and I have other people around me who have experience in marketing to help and teach me.

While I know I’m on a contract it could go many ways, I’ve already decided to keep an eye on the company notice board so that I can stay in a place where I’m happy. I never thought that losing my job could be a good thing and it wasn’t at the time but getting to the point that I am now? It was worth it.

Of course, I don’t have it worked out. I still have days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and worry about the future, who doesn’t? But it made me realise that I get to work with a smile on my face and leave with one too, I can have a job where I don’t come home and feel stressed until I go to bed. There will be challenges ahead, I know that but right now I have a good feeling and a positive outlook and that’s really what I needed.

Hello August

Hello August

Like the rest of you, I’m scratching my head as to how it got to August so fast. I’m also marvelling at how different this August is going to be. Some things will stay the same, it’s still going to be my anniversary in two weeks (!!), it’s still going to rain a fair bit, my sister is still going to argue with my Mum about new school shoes. Some things though, have really changed. For the first time since I was 4 I’m not preparing to go and buy my new supplies for the new term, get new clothes or uniform. For the first time I’m not lounging around my house or working a part time job. For the first time I go to office meetings while looking at the beautiful views from my window (above).

A lot of people have written these types of post today, I’ve enjoyed looking at a few. I felt a slight sense of unease when I looked at the date today because from this month, things start to slow down. I started to panic, what do I have to look forward to? Did I make the right decision to completely stop studying? Change is necessary, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. So, I have a few things planned a trip up north, my 22nd birthday, comic con. In fact I have something to look forward to every month until the end of the year, but I guess this feeling of unease comes from a break in what has been my routine since I was a little girl, but you know what, I’m kind of looking forward to it.

So hello August, show me what you’ve got.

Taking a Chance

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If I’ve learnt anything in the past year it’s that you can make all the plans you want, life has a way of making sure you do what you need to do. I’m going down a completely different path to the one that I thought I would, because I took a chance.

I’d set up this whole plan of being an academic, staying in Kingston and just seeing what happened. I realise now that that career path was partly due to fear. I thought I would stay in education forever because it was something I was good at, I was the smart girl and there was money to be won, it just seemed like a natural progression. Then this year I just kind of fell out of love with the idea slowly. I got told by my lecturers how they struggled, that they couldn’t get jobs and were in so much debt. That’s one thing I didn’t want. I hate borrowing money and I hate being in debt, I didn’t want to do all of that work and deal with all the stress and then not have a job at the end of it.

Falling into doing Marketing by accident was the best thing I ever did. It had been suggested to me that I look into it before but I thought you had to be a bigshot to do marketing, apparently not. It’s something that I’m good and similarly with my job, I just threw myself in and applied. I just thought, why not? And I got it. I think that’s what I’m going to take from the uni experience, just do things and see what happens. I know I’ve landed myself with a brilliant job, I’m learning, working with some amazing people and hopefully I’ll be travelling for work too, something I never thought I would do.

 

Image from Pinterest

Overwhelmed.

Mental illness doesn’t disappear, even when your life is on the up.  Tomorrow is a big day, tomorrow I put some bags and my hamsters in a car go to my parents and start the next part of my life. I’ll pick up my new car (!!) and then in the morning go to my new job that I’ll hopefully have for a long time to come. Everything is on the up, life’s getting better and better but I still find myself at times suffocated by my anxiety and feeling like I can’t breathe. I’m excited and terrified at the same time but it feels like everything is going so fast and I need to hold on to something. I guess this is normal, it’s a normal thing for someone who’s having this much change happening in their life to feel. I do have a bonus, I’m moving closer to my family and as of next weekend I’ll have Ali back by my side. I know everything will be ok and this is just a phase in my life but either way, my anxiety is kicking up a notch and I’m going to make sure I can live with it and not let it take over my life.

Looking Forward – Hello 2016

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It’s 2016. I look up at this year like a big mountain and I’m going to have to climb to the top.

I’m not going to write about resolutions because I don’t make them. A lot of people with depression will tell you the winter when it’s dark and rainy and just generally shit outside is not the best time to try and change your life. In the past I’ve made changes in the summer when I feel like I have more hours in the day, I feel like I can go outside and look at the sky because it’s clear and that just calms me down.

Instead of setting these huge goals and comparing myself to others I’m going to carry on with what I started in 2015. I’m going to stick to my weekly gym routine, although now I’m signing up to a bigger gym. I’m going to carry on trying to eat right to feel better about myself and lose some of the weight that I put on after the accident.

The biggest challenge, without a doubt, is going to be the changes I’ll face during the summer. I’m not scared of doing or submitting assignments, I’m nervous about graduation. I’m nervous about finding a job and starting my masters. I think, for me, getting through all those changes in my life is going to be enough hard work, so I’m not going to worry about resolutions.

Hopefully this year will be better than the last! Happy 2016 everyone ❤

World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2015

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I didn’t intend to write a post on mental health today, until I realised that World Mental Health Day had snuck up on me and I didn’t have anything planned. I think a lot about how much about mental health I should put onto my blog, am I putting too little in, am I putting too much in, will people just see me as an illness? It’s a big concern I have being so open about my issues and my life.

I’ve lived with issues since I was 11, I’d be extremely unhappy at school due to bullying. I’d say that the really awful depression started at around 15, so 6 years ago now. I’m in a much better place but I’m not ‘cured’ and I’ll probably live with this for the rest of my life, it’s just one part of me. It’s like my asthma or the weak knees I inherited, it’s just something that’s there which can make my life more difficult.

I’m fully aware that not everyone gets the help I now get and isn’t as open, and that’s fine! This is one of the most person illnesses you can have, if you don’t want to talk about it so be it! For a long time after my diagnoses although I felt some relief I couldn’t say it out loud I couldn’t say ‘I have depression’ because I was scared about what people would say, even now I have that and it’s sad. We need more education because at least one quarter of the population lives with a mental illness, so why is it still taboo?

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today, photo from the BBC

Love them (like me) or hate them, the royal family getting involved in mental health work and the fight against stigma can only be a good thing. I understand William’s public self helping with the cause due to his late mother, Princess Diana, who openly admit to struggling with Depression, Self-harm and Bulimia before she died. Catherine also has been strongly involved, particularly when it comes to young people, whether this is for personal reasons or not I cannot fault her. The fact that these young royals are being open and engaging will hopefully send a message to people or hope.

There’s also celebrities opening up more and more, I personally find inspiration in JK Rowling and Stephen Fry. When you see people in the public eye talking or just admitting that they also have a mental illness it makes you feel more normal, like you can achieve like they have and that you have someone to admire. I think it also makes them more human.

I thought a lot before writing this and I didn’t want it to be specifically about me, I just didn’t feel like exposing my emotions right now, partly because I’m in a bit of a werid headspace where my brain can’t work out of I’m on a high or a low…it’s really hard to explain. I did want to mention how interested people were at the open day today about the topic of mental health in my dissertation and going on in my PhD later hopefully. I wanted to mention how I came home and drew something to mark the day and try and get out how I was feeling whilst watching Stephen Fry’s ‘The Life of a Manic Depressive’ because I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. Like most people in his documentary said, my illness can make my life utter hell but at the same time I don’t know if I’d get rid of it.

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My art piece ‘ out of my mind’ 

Milestones

I’ve been thinking lately about milestones. I don’t know what it was exactly but I’m guessing it’s a combination of turning 21 (which I don’t understand why it’s a big deal in the UK), seeing more and more of the people I went to school with having children and getting engaged and a lot of my other friends graduating, starting careers and all that jazz. To put it simply milestones freak me out, I’m sure they do for most people. You’re supposed to do this, do that at a certain age, a certain time. For girls there’s a choice between being a mother and being a career woman, because we’re told we can’t have it all.

In some ways I’m lucky, I found the love of my life when I was 13 years old and we live together. Now we’re more than happy together, we’re both doing degrees we love and have careers that we want, but for everyone else it’s not enough. Everyone asks me when we’ll get married, when we’ll have a baby (never if). I just feel a bit stuck and part of that is because I am a woman. Ali NEVER gets asked when he’ll be a father, he’s asked about his job and what he’s going to do for work, it’s all pretty frustrating. I know that I’m an intelligent woman and I have big aspirations, so why do people ask about these ‘traditional’ things.

I’m in no way saying that people my age shouldn’t be married or have children, most of the women in my family had babies by the time they were my age and they’ve all taught me so much. My best friend became a mother at 17 and she’s one of the most awesome ones I know.The thing is my dream right now is walking across that stage to pick up my degree, being able to treat myself with money I’ve earnt and being happy. I will have children, I’d love to be a mum at some point but I wish people would understand there is so much more to me than the fact I can grow a human. I liked this picture below, it definitely made me smile.

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This isn’t an anti-children post, which is how some will read it, it’s just a frustration that sometimes I’m judged by these milestones when I have other amazing things going on. I hate that I have to think about body clocks and all that crap when I’m trying to plan things out about where I want to be in my life, because I’ve been bombarded with media listing risks and problems. Like I said why am I even thinking about this as a twenty year old!

I appreciate that this post might not make much sense, I don’t even know if it does to me, but I can’t be the only one who feels like this. Who knows how I’ll feel in a month, a year or ten but I just want it to be on my own terms, not because of supposed milestones and other people’s ideas of what happiness is.

What have I done this summer?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the expectations of summer today and for the past few weeks. As we creep closer to September and the evenings start getting darker that little bit earlier summer is scampering away before our very eyes. While I was lying on the bed at my appointment yesterday, as my physio was telling me to slow down and not push the muscles too hard something in me snapped. NO! I wanted to scream in my head, No I’m done, I want a summer do over, I want to go and explore the world and write books and go all over London. Just give me a do over. But I was sat slowly trying to pull my knees towards my chest and having my reflexes checked every week to make sure that I wasn’t getting worse. I was waiting on doctors appointments and adjusting medication levels every few weeks. What the hell was I going to say once I got back to uni?

Almost on queue my anxiety  kicked in today, with a days of depressive thoughts too. What if everyone just ignored me when I couldn’t keep up or go on nights out properly? What if I just sat in the corner while everyone talked about how awesome their summer plans were and how they were glad they spent their last summer before graduating having fun and being young? All I could say was that I fractured my spine, got to go in an ambulance and slept a lot.

So I got sad, got angry, and tried to convince myself getting out of bed and getting dressed was going to be a good move. I threw on some clothes after a while and scraped back my hair, intending to take some pictures of Kingston in the sun. The short story is that it didn’t happen, the long version includes a lot of muscle spasms and swearing. So I moped even more and did housework. Now I bet you’re thinking why do I want to read her moaning about life being sucky, WAIT, this bits almost over, I promise.

I thought the words, what have I done this summer? After waves of negativity I had a lightbulb moment, I managed to get my spine to heal back together. I realised how awesome and amazing my body had been this summer. I might not have done anything that other people I know will have done like a trip to Australia or going to Reading Fest, but my body has managed to piece itself back together and escape never being able to use my legs again.

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I realised that it was pretty awesome that I’ve gone from needing help to get out of bed, to walk even the tiniest bit and helped out of the bath every time (now it’s not as often) to having the independence to go to work and my physio appointments without everyone being anxious about it. I’ve learnt to deal with doctors and have a love for nurses. I’ve learnt that I can handle levels of pain I wouldn’t imagine and that if my determination ever needed testing this would do it. I didn’t back down on going to Athens or performing at Basingstoke Live, as people keep telling me I’ve been pretty bad ass.

I still have a long way to go, more appointments, more physio and having to adjust my plans but your body healing itself is a pretty awesome thing and it even makes me forgive the stretch marks that have caused me so much upset lately. Even with all that and the chance I’ll never be able to ride again/ it will be too much of a risk, the experience has made me grow, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve picked myself up from lows I never thought I’d have and I’ve seen the beauty in the people around me.

So that’s what I’ve done this summer, how about you?