My Year – 2015

It’s been a funny old year for me. I sit down to write this post and I don’t know what to think. My overwhelming feeling is at one end I’ve learnt a lot but at the other I’ve also had to deal with things I wouldn’t have imagined. I feel like next year is going to be a mixed year too, but hopefully not as painful. 2016 has a lot of new challenges lined up and if I’m honest I am scared but I’m also excited. For now, here’s a roundup of 2015!

January

I played my first show in central London

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Back in January the boys and I played our first show just around the corner of Leicester Square! We got a great number of people down and had a great time!

I fell in love with a horse

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At the stables I fell in love with Ruby. In January I started going to the stable at the weekends, grooming and spending hours just playing and stroking her.

I had a tough time, then treated myself

I struggled in January for a few different reasons and so I went and treated myself to some new bits and a hair cut. I started to listen to how I felt and what I needed to stay well.

I got to share horse riding with my sister

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I got to take my little sister horse riding! She loved it and it was great for my Mum and Summer to see me ride.

February 

I celebrated Harry Potter Book Night

Joe and I trekked into London for Harry Potter Book Night. It was so much fun to dress up, hand out with one of my best mates, meet the new illustrator and win a signed copy of Philosopher’s Stone.

I struggled and I swam.

While trying to look after myself I started trying to swim whenever I felt down, a big step for me.

I got told I was a ‘game changer’

I got filmed for a documentary that a third year student was making. I was called a ‘game changer’ which I didn’t believe but was really pleased with all the same ūüôā

March

I couldn’t say goodbye…and broke my heart

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The beautiful Ruby was sold and I never got a chance to say goodbye and it broke my heart. She was such an incredible horse and I had an amazing connection with her.

I won a KU Talent award!

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I was up for two awards this year ‘Second Year of the Year’ and ‘Overcoming Adversity to Achieve’, which I won. I was so shocked because the category was so strong, I had an amazing night with my Mum and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year!

I became a President 

I became President of the Kingston University Horse Riding Society and won most improved rider for the year! It was a true honor and another great part to the month.

I fell in love with Sign Language again

Working with young people who were hearing impaired was a great experience and made me even more determined to work with disabled students at the university.

…I dropped my phone down the toilet.

Oh yeah, that.

April 

I had the best Easter

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I had such a fun family easter! We really had fun all together, my sister doesn’t look happy because for the first time in years I beat her at the egg hunt!

I went back to Durham!

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I was lucky enough to take a trip back up to Durham to see Ali’s grandparents for their anniversary. I absolutely love going up to Durham it’s beautiful and always relaxing.

I got my two babies

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I bought Hamski and Noodle home ‚̧ My two little fur babies came home together and although they were eventually separated they originally loved cuddling together! They also proved to be a much needed distraction in the coming months.

I fell off a horse…

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Yep, a simple fall meant my first ride in an ambulance. I was taken in, left in a hospital in the middle of nowhere and luckily had Laura with me. At first I was told I was fine and got back on a horse 3 days later…

May 

I found out that I had broken my spine

After 2 weeks of feeling really sore and then an MRI scan I found out that I’d broken my spine with further damage to other vertebrate, muscle, soft tissue and nerve damage. The 7 hours wait to find out what had gone wrong was just the start of a very long journey ahead.

I used a wheelchair for the first time

I cried a lot when I had to use the chair because I couldn’t walk. Luckily Amy came to get me so I didn’t miss out on our girls dinner before Alissa went back to the US. I ended up having fun and forgetting about the chair for a little bit.

I was part of a winning society!!

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I wasn’t in any fit state to travel so I had to cancel Prague with Dani and Eleanor. To keep my spirits up Amy and Laura took me to the society awards where our society won 2 awards!!

I got my first Spinal Brace

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My physiotherapist is an angel and made sure I had my brace before I flew to Athens. It was hot, sweaty and uncomfortable but it done the job, I was honestly just relieved to have some support for my spine!

June 

I went on my first international creative trip & my first holiday with just Ali (by accident)

What was supposed to be a solo trip to write became a couples trip when I still couldn’t walk! Ali and I ended up having a great time and I finally felt like a writer!

I got a dream job

I got my job as a Social Media Coordinator, one I applied for but never thought I would get. It’s honestly been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had and it was great having the responsibility!

I got a new tattoo!

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I couldn’t go to Foo Fighters in my wheelchair (it was cancelled in the end anyway) so I used the money to get a tattoo that was particularly meaningful then and still is now.

I bought a lot of books…a lot.

What else is a girl to do when she’s mostly stuck in the house?

July 

I said goodbye to friends again

I said goodbye to Eleanor and Maisha as they jetted off for a year of study in New Zealand! Proud friend moment!

I played Basingstoke Live!

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This was my first show post diagnoses. I had my own box, my brace had been taken off and there was a ramp for me. I don’t know how but I got through and it was a great show!

I got frustrated.

I quickly realised I had put on a fair bit of weight and couldn’t really leave the house, sad times.

I had my sister come to stay ūüôā

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One of the highlights of my summer was having this munchkin stay with me and going to see Paper Towns early!

August 

I met Don Broco

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Acoustically beautiful and some really lovely lads,

I celebrated living with Ali for a year!

We didn’t kill each other even when I couldn’t move without him! He’s been amazing this year!

I went to my first book club

I got out of my comfort zone, met a friend and bought a lot of books!

I went to the Zoo with some little monkeys

Even though I had to use a wheelchair for our family day out and got rained on I had a great day spending time with family ūüôā

I got addicted to comic books

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Damn you Joe, Damn you!

I survived second year!

Despite everything I got through second year with a 2:1 overall…5 marks off of a 1st!

September

I became a third year

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun

I got told I was medically shorter than last year!

If I wasn’t short enough, I was told after my CT scans that I have officially lost height and may never get full feeling back in my left leg. That said I also got told that I was healing nicely!

I went to Amsterdam

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A great 21st birthday trip with Dani and Amy! Amsterdam was so much fun and my back behaved itself which is a first.

I turned 21!

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I had an incredible 21st I was spoilt and just felt so loved. This was the handmade cake that my sister made me, I don’t think I’ve ever been given so much cake in my life!

I had a stall at Fresher’s Fair

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Rounding up new recruits for the society!

I watched Star Wars…finally¬†

Now I’m completely obsessed! This started the countdown to see the new film.

I got recording! 

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We got serious about the EP and I was able to record without a panic attack or doubting myself. A big win for me!

October 

I was mentioned in the New York Times

Just for mentioning the 5p plastic bag charge!

I met Katie Piper

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I met one of my idols, Katie Piper. We had a great chat, photos and talked about Hampshire where we’re both from. It was also amazing to get a message from KAtie written in my book, she really is a lovely woman.

I went to my first Comic-con

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I fell in love with Comic-con and bought a stupid amount of pops, spending the last of my birthday money. It really encouraged me to get creative for the next one in May.

November 

I tried to be classy with Joe

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McDonalds and Galleries…what more could you want.

I was allowed to go to the gym class!

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A big step in my recovery! 6 weeks of gym sessions proved my spine was healing the right way and I loved them.

I left the society

Unfortunately I couldn’t cope running the society. I had to step down immediately and spent a lot of the month after pretty poorly both mentally and physically.

December 

I got to meet Ed!

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I got to meet this adorable little man that now takes over my bed!

I saw Star Wars!

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I fell in love with the new cast and am now even more obsessed. Star Wars is the best.

I went to Olympia!

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Laura finally got to use her 21st birthday present and we went to Olympia Horse Show! Such an amazing day out and we’ll definitely be going again next year.

I had an incredible Christmas 

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No lows, family time, amazing gifts. A great Christmas ‚̧

I decided I wasn’t giving up…

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This year has had some huge challenges and I’ve gotten through them. There’s no doubt I’ve struggled this year a lot and there will be times next year where I’m ready to give up but I won’t.

Happy New Year to all of my lovely readers and thank you so, so much for all your support this year ‚̧

Breaking Out

If you came here looking for something incredible about a spy or whatnot then you are in the wrong place. This post is about me and I think I’d be a pretty useless spy to be fair (I’m far too clumsy!). The sun was shining today, you know that big yellow thing in the sky? Yeah that. It’s like a huge serotonin injection so it can be pretty amazing at kicking depressions butt.

I haven’t been great in the past week, I didn’t realise at the time but now looking back I can see it. I was more going through the motions at times rather than enjoying my week off, I kept busy as I could though. The worst point was definitely having to phone in sick to work on Thursday…that actually hurt because I hate it when my illness stops me doing things, unfortunately sometimes it does.

So yesterday there were ups and downs and I went to bed on a not so positive and angry note. This morning when I woke up though relaxed and better. I actually got up and got straight on with what I needed to do…something that hasn’t happened in a while. It wasn’t until the sun came out that I realised something was different.

We have a big bay window in the flat and blinds that aren’t very good, so the sun comes right through. It was like the outside was pulling me, the sun, the blue skys. My brain wasn’t that into it though, it took me a good hour of tug of war with myself before I put my clothes on to go out and headed out the door (fighting myself a little all the way). I managed and just took a walk through own in the sunshine and I loved the business of Kingston, it wasn’t driving me crazy it was actually kind of comforting. It was like I’d been locked in my own head for too long.

Coming back to the flat I got on again, like a wild thing. I just had so much energy and ideas and everything. This is what happens sometimes and I get a little bit skeptical, either I’m having an insanely good mood or it’s something a little less pleasant. Sometimes I have these massive boosts before I crash…I suppose I’ll wait and see. ¬†I hope it’s the first one because I was damn miserable all week and today just felt like forgetting everything I was upset about…just for a little while.

Then I couldn’t sit still again so off to the pool. It was nice and therapeutic, just counting the laps, helping my brain relax rather than go into overdrive. I got to 20 laps before heading home to work again but I was a little bit calmer.

I’m glad I ‘broke out’ today. Sometimes when I’m low it’s like there are bars on the windows and doors, I can’t get out even if I want to. Little times like this make me smile the most. So now I’m finishing this after a nice shower smelling of lush and hoping more than anything this carries on tomorrow.

Finally: Getting back to myself

After a long few weeks of feeling, low, helpless and not myself I can say that I’m finally pulling through again! It’s been 5 days of solid steadiness and I couldn’t be more pleased, just in time for Christmas! My first realisation, Friday morning, as I was driving back to the flat I’d been awake for an hour where I had just gotten up, dressed and headed out, no anxious thoughts or dread I just, well functioned normally. While Saturday I was slightly off (from a lack of going outside waiting for damn parcels), I carried on and was ok and got on Sunday as well. The last two days I’ve been smiling to myself and humming christmas song and I’m so pleased I could dance around.

I’m not in the mind that I’m completely better, I’m still seeing doctors and mentors more regularly and I’ll carry on without complaining and not rush because when you go through a bad low, like I have been for the past 4/5 weeks it does scare you. I was terrified I’d never get back to this point where I could feel in control and I’d be stuck in sadness for ever, it’s horrible but once you’re starting to get better and have even a little bit of confidence you’re keen to make sure you don’t slip again. It’s a part of my life and I know I will probably slip again but I know I have great people supporting me.

I wanted to write to you all with this sense of amazement and happiness because I want to detail what’s¬†real¬†to live with mental health problems. For me these little victories mean the world, like no anxiety attacks. I’m back to chatting with people at horse riding, texting and seeing my amazing friends (who have also been angels) and being just easier to live with (although I say now I couldn’t have gotten through these last few weeks without Ali) and to top it all off I had band practice today! I just feel so much better after a good ride this morning (on a very tall horse) where I could feel myself becoming a better rider, then a long walk down Kingston Hill which I never done before but just made me feel refreshed.

If any of you are stressed or having a rough time at the moment, just take every day at a time and baby steps when you can. Lows totally suck, but they will go eventually with the right help.

When I write

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Sometimes when I don’t know what else to do, I write. The last few weeks have been incredibly up and down and today things just kind of came to a jolt. I didn’t really want to get up, I didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything and everything was just so overwhelming. I get angry about it, I feel sad about it and it usually ends in me feeling like I don’t like myself that much. So tonight I wrote a song and released everything. I don’t feel much like writing right now, so hopefully I’ll speak to you all soon.¬†

Picking myself up

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Making myself get out of the flat despite feeling rough 

When I woke up this morning I knew leaving the flat wasn’t going to be easy, I managed to get up later than I though but I get felt deflated, miserable. When I feel like this I know it’s normal for me to stay in the flat, hide from people and that makes my mood worse. I made the conscious decision to throw on some clothes and go pick up some breakfast in an attempt to try and bring myself up a little before my driving lesson this afternoon.

I felt awful, paranoid and generally gross. While other girls were walking around in glamorous maxis and flipflops I was in my usual jeans and converses. I started to use the techniques that I had learnt with my mentor and started questioning why I was anxious, why I was nervous and a strange thing happened…they started to work. It’s a real turning point for me. I don’t know if this will stay but I hope it does.

Always some bumps in the road

Today has truly been an up and down day, although despite everything it was definately better than yesterday! Although I’m dying ot tell you all every single detail some are just going to have to wait! It started with actually waking up on time and in a good mood, always a good start today. ¬†After that some great new about No People Club (watch this space!!!) which left my bus ride to uni pretty brilliant. Follow that with a great seminar, a feedback lunch with the uni, some news on the nominations for the student awards and I was happy as pie for the majority of the morning.¬†

This is where the whole, one tiny thing can change my mood, comes in. I then recieved an email with some feedback and results from Creative Writing. The easiest thing to say is that I wasn’t best pleased and it had a pretty bad impact on me. Thankfully my friend Jen listen to me rant for a bit ¬†before I spoke to disability, they’ll be supporting me now. That’s all I can say really, apart from it’s made me 100% sure I am right to leave Creative Writing. Even after I was still pretty low and the disgusting sight from the window of the bus of a man beating a dog in public had me on the verge of tears (If there had been a bus stop nearby I would have got off and gone after him, I would have also said something to the people around at the time!).¬†

I’m lucky that I have such supportive friends, the boys in the band were able to cheer me up within half an hour and we ended up having a night of chicken and band banter. Oh and I got an email to say I have an interview to be a student ambassador, something I’ve wanted since I attended open days myself, I screamed when I got the email. It’s all I needed really and now I’m sat here with Ali, full of chicken and pretty sleepy actually. So as you can see it’s always ups and downs but I’m lucky that today has ended on a very big up!¬†