I survived second year! – 10 best bits

I did it! I’ve reached the end of the second year of my blog and second year of university. As of tomorrow it will be September again and I’ll be heading back to uni at the end of the month to take on my third year!

This year has been pretty special I’ve learnt a lot and changed a lot. I’ve lived with Ali for over a year now, I was finally allowed to join full field English Literature, made more friends than I thought I possibly would, made a good dent in my mental health recovery, been generally happier, played a load of shows with the boys, took up a sport for the first time since I was 9, won a KU Talent Award, got another job that I love, travelled for uni and broken a part of my back. If that isn’t a crazy year I don’t know what is. I’ve absolutely loved second year. I’m not going to say there weren’t point when I really struggled, because I did but the difference is that I had more people to support me through this year than I have in a long time.

I could write so much about every aspect of second year because it’s been one of the greatest, no matter how it ended. I’ve made new friends and stayed in touch with some others and the thought that I’m going into my last year of undergrad is scary! So for you all tonight I’ve put 10 of my best bits of second year and I’ll remember it with warm memories for the rest of my life.

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  1. I finally got my two little adorables this year, Noodle and Hamski. Even if they have had to be separated now I’m so in love with both of them ❤

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2. No People Club played a lot this year. We spent a lot of our weekends loading up my little car and driving to shows in London, Kingston, Basingstoke and Portsmouth. I’m gutted we had to take a break while my spine healed but we’ve got more stuff planned for the next year and it’s going to be awesome. We also have our awesome fan and sticker guy, one of my best friends Joe, who’s stuck around too.

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3. My second tattoo finally happened! When I found out I wouldn’t be going to Foo Fighters because they’d sold out of disabled tickets I was heartbroken so I got this tattoo instead. I’ve been very up and down this year and not as stable as I’d like but I’m assured that most people would have lows after a big break and spinal brace let alone someone with depression.

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4. I got to go to Athens. I was so, so thankful to be given the opportunity to go to Athens and not have to pay the Creative Writing course fee. Although I was supposed to be going on my own initially, Ali got to come with me because I was still using my wheelchair and not able to move as much. A fab first holiday and it got my creative brain going!

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5. I got my KU Talent award for Overcoming Adversity to Achieve, awarded to be by Sir Trevor McDonald who I actually had a great conversation with while we were sitting at the same table. I’m still gobsmacked I won as there were so many amazing people. I’m so proud that I now work for KU Talent and will get to attend this years awards too!

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6. I started Horse Riding! In October I had my first ride and I was hooked. I had a great 6 months before my fall, including meeting this cutie who really stole my heart. Even though I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery and I don’t know if I’ll go back to riding, but I’ve been voted to run the society this year so I’ll be around the horses anyway. I also made an amazing friend in Laura, who’s been with me every step of the way.

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7. I gave a speech about living with mental health for the university’s diversity conference. It was a great way to connect with people and share my experience and if you want to watch you can click here to watch.

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8. I finished second year with a 66% average, a 2:1. I’m slightly bummed out that I dropped a few percent from last year but I surprised myself with some assignments. It’s made me even more determined to get what I need to get a first this year.

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9. I had some absolutely amazing friends by my side through everything. Here’s a picture of me and the girls as Alissa’s birthday meal, my first outing in my wheelchair which they managed to make fun!

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10. I got to live with a boy, and I still kind of like him.

Oh and a sneaky 11, I’m still working and awesome job and I’ve got another one, always fun!

How am I really?

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Hello everyone. I realised reading through my blog that I really haven’t spoken about how I am, mentally I mean. All of my regular readers know about my spine and all that stuff but I did want to write this blog to share my experiences. So how am I really? Well things have been pretty up and down. Even in the last few weeks I’ve been taken hostage by my emotions after a lot of upheavals.

Honestly, I have had my struggles lately. Two of my best friends have moved to New Zealand, I’ve picked up three jobs, going between hospital appointments and just generally learning to cope with the pain of my spine. Not all of these have been necessarily bad or terrible all of the time but as you can imagine it doesn’t make controlling my moods easier. I think the tiredness isn’t easy either.

Living with a mental health condition is just something that I’ve learnt to deal with it. Is it a walk in the park? No. Is it always easy? Definitely not. I am trying to deal with it as best I can though with the help I have and the things I’ve learnt. I still have days where my bed is my best friend and facing the world is what I want to do least but there have been some positives. I’m starting to control the anger and frustration in a healthier way and be able to try and talk to the people around me and just admit when I’m not doing too good and just need some time or some space. I’m getting better at knowing what I need too.

I’m not healed, I might never be, but I’m okay with that. I’ve got through before and no matter how bad it gets, I have some strategies or I know who to talk to because I finally have a good medical team around me. I know right now I’m lucky and when I can pull myself out of that black hole enough to see it, it makes me so happy.

So answering the question, I’m getting through. I’m having more good days than I am bad, which for me is incredible. When I do get sad, anxious or start to develop a panic attack I can look at my tattoo and it reminds me one day at a time, that’s all that matters.

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Beating the lows! Tattoo time and making happiness happen.

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I’ve been writing to you all a lot about how I’ve been feeling and I’ve had overwhelming support from you all, thank you! So I decided to do something about it today after getting yet more bad news this afternoon about the Foo Fighters concert (it’s now been cancelled but this afternoon when I called they told me I couldn’t change me ticket and questioned whether I really need my wheelchair for an event like that. Yes, unfortunately I do. Either way I was feeling a little down and overwhelmed about the whole thing, as well as getting my head around a new job. I mentioned yesterday that I’d be getting my new tattoo at some point and that was today! I hobbled off the bus to go into the two good tattoo places I know about in Kingston. The first, although known for it’s service I just didn’t get the right feelings from, it was too dark and I just felt uncomfortable. So I headed home disappointed, sulked a little and ate a lot of chocolate while trying to make some work plans. After that I thought screw it, I’ll go to the the place across the road. I fell in love with it, the atmosphere, the staff and the tattoo artist. They quoted more but it just felt right this time, more so than I did about my first tattoo.

I wanted something simple, yet meaningful. My first tattoo I got when I failed my driving test the first time (well I didn’t know there would be another 4 times to go until I passed). I wanted to remember that it’s ok to fail, because I’m a perfectionist and I don’t take failure well (ask the poor wall at my parents house that I threw my shoe at). This one was different though, I’ve toyed with a lot of ideas, lyrics, symbols thinking of what I wanted to represent getting through, getting better and to motivate me when times are really hard. I found the idea on Pinterest and fell in love with it instantly and I knew that’s what I wanted. I waited though, to make sure.

I had the words ‘One day at a time’ tattooed on my left wrist. If I ever need help, reminding that I’ve come through before or just some comfort it’s there now forever. I’ve sat here staring at it all afternoon, it just fills me with happiness. Before I get it in the comments, yes it did hurt, no I wont regret it. It’s something so simple but means so much to me.

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Now I wouldn’t recommend that every time someone feels really low they get a tattoo, it would be super expensive but this is something I wanted for a long time and it felt right to do it now.

Yes it has been a rough past few days but now I’m more determined than ever to make the next few great. Tomorrow will be one of my last times seeing Eleanor before she goes off to New Zealand (sob) so I’m making sure there is lots of laughter, going back to band practice, before our acoustic show in Guilford and celebrating Laura’s 21st at the weekend :). And if I need any extra help? I just need to look down.

Sometimes positivity isn’t that easy

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Sometimes trying to be endlessly positive is exhausting, right? There are days where no matter how hard you try you just feel like everything sucks and your best friend is your bed, your phone needs to be switched off so you can ignore EVERYONE and any chocolate that you can get your hands on is yours. Ok, that might sound like a PMS day, it probably is partly to do with hormones and stuff but today ended up like that.

I’ve been feeling down, I had another doctors appointment today and I’m not lowering my depression medication, my doctors not comfortable because of how much stress and pain I’m in, it’s not the right time. On top of that my pain levels have been pretty up and down too. Basically as soon as I left work this afternoon everything just splintered a little. I felt upset and angry about my spine, I noticed people staring at me again in town (you think I’d be used to it by now) and anything that is slightly said to me in the wrong way makes me feel useless. At the same time though I have laughed, I have smiled. Maybe this is what it feels like to go mad, I’m kidding.

When I’m around and talking to the people I love I’m happy. Usually I’ll pick myself up, go for a swim or a walk, go do some food shopping in the car or get on to some promoters about shows. My spines really limited me for the past 2 months and I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I don’t know how to handle it. So as much as I try sometimes I depression gets it’s own was over my positivity.

BUT this isn’t where I want the people I love to worry, after having my freak out I’ve calmed down, accepted things and I’m ok. I’m planning a few things I can do and have decided if I can’t swim I might as well go and get one of the tattoos I wanted as an early birthday present to myself. Just a small one, to remind me to keep smiling and I’ll be ok, all shall be revealed soonish! Sometimes you just need to let out all of the hurt, upset and frustration.

Tomorrow will be a better day, I’m going to make sure of it.

One day at a time

1fbed79e748d263171830d95ab264de7Today is self injury awareness day. It’s something that millions of people live with with every day. It is because of this I wanted to write a positive post, inspired by the above tattoo (thanks Pinterest!).

Everyone has their own trials in life, it’s how we handle them that matters. Sometimes depression means you can’t handle things as you want to, but any little triumph is something to be proud of.

I just wanted to say even the littlest step forward is still a step forward.