Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Harry Potter Tour

After waiting over a month, the day I finally got to go on the Harry Potter Tour arrived today! To be honest, it was perfect timing as I haven't exactly been feeling brilliant lately, so this was definitely something to get excited about.
So, at 5:20 I woke and traveled to Watford (half asleep). We arrived early so grabbed breakfast and a coffee at a local coffee shop before beginning the tour. I went with a very good friend of mine, which actually made the whole day extra special :-)
I don't think I've been this excited about anything for a loooong time. With a huge grin on my face and a spring in my step, I was practically like a child on Christmas day. Everything was just so beautifully detailed and mesmerizing! Each set is handcrafted with such detail and care, every costume designed and made exquisitely - there is so much more to Harry Potter to appreciate than I originally thought. An extraordinary room is one that housed the model of the Hogwarts castle. Words cannot describe how amazing it was.


Hogwarts!
One really enjoyable part of the tour is entering the green room to have a go at 'flying' on a broomstick and in the Weasley's car. I think it definitely adds something to the day by giving the public a chance to experience something totally different. 


But actually, the best part of this day for me, was being able to spend and enjoy my day with a friend with not one sign of a mental illness. Sure we spoke about it but there was no anxiety surrounding food. I ate out, I wasn't thinking or panicking about what I'd have to potentially eat or avoid. I just ENJOYED myself. And that is a memory I shall treasure for a very, very long time.


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Friday, 26 July 2013

Mindfull

Yesterday, I took the train into Birmingham to attend a Mindfull Life Mentor training day. I arrived with my phone ready to guide me to the venue, only to find out that the GPS would work due to the work they are doing on the tunnels so I stood around looking similar to a lost sheep! Fortunately, a lovely policewoman directed me perfectly, and as I'd arrived with an hour to spare I made it on time. Panic over!
For those of you who aren't aware of Mindfull - they are a new charity that launched only 3 weeks ago. Their aim is to talk to young people, aged 11-17, about anything to do with mental health and wellbeing. The only difference being, that it is all on the internet, which I personally think is great as many young people would rather talk via a screen to give them a sense of anonymity and to save any embarrassment that they may feel. Obviously, this charity also aims to reduce the stigma attached to mental health so that more people feel able to talk to someone in real life too.
I went along to train as a mentor, someone who is the first port of call, so to speak. The day was very intense in my opinion, with a lot of information to take on board, but it was great to spend it with people with the same passion and interests as me. We all wanted to be there to help others and use our life experiences in a positive way, which definitely added a little warmth to the room.
I left the training as a Life mentor and now feel quite lucky that I've been given this opportunity to volunteer and help others. Part of me is doing this because I know how it will help with my own future career but a bigger part of me knows that if I can use my own mental history to guide just one person towards a better path or prevent something spiraling into something worse, then my past will have been worth going through.


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Monday, 22 July 2013

Dear Father..

I do not live with my Dad and I'm not particularly close to him, but I feel there is a bond between us that holds us together regardless. Maybe it's because we both suffer from mental illnesses. I think I automatically feel protective over him and want to make sure he's OK. I think it's this protective nature that I'd like to receive in return sometimes - his extra support would mean the world to me.
However, he cannot do this if he doesn't know. I have never told my Dad (or any of my family) about the events of August 2012. The behaviors/feelings, appointments and referrals that I went through. They are all a secret and I'm beginning to think I don't want them to be any longer. I don't want to be hidden from him any longer. 
But, how the hell do you go about bringing something like this up? I know 1:1 is best but I know I'd just break down into tears. There would be no clarity or flow to what I'd want to explain. I have written it down, in a letter to him. This letter has been sitting in the same place for days now and I have no strength to post it. I could never imagine receiving something like that from my own daughter - especially with no warning. I could post it and warn him that he'd be receiving something extremely personal but I still don't know whether that's the right thing to do.
I fear he'd feel guilty for me not being able to turn to him at the time or him not being there for me. Ignorance is bliss, as they say, so what he does not know cannot hurt him. This is the argument that wins every time I think about bringing it up. Maybe I am best leaving the past where it belongs. In the past.
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Friday, 19 July 2013

The Diet Industry

Usually, I can overlook the stupidity and total crap that sprouts from the latest magazine, newspaper article, book or programme produced by the diet industry. I know that ultimately, each diet is simply another money making scheme. However, last night I watched Britain's Favourite Supermarket Foods presented by Cherry Healey and actually became quite infuriated!
Firstly, Cherry Healey is presenting a show on 'fattening foods' including biscuits, nuts and ice cream. All of which she claims to be unable to resist. I know from her instagram/twitter than she rarely touches these foods as they are far too unhealthy for her. So, before it's even begun, the choice of presenter is annoying.
Secondly, what is wrong with a few biscuits?! One section looked at how many biscuits people eat, and Cherry Healey quite clearly judged these people and questioned their feelings afterwards. One lady said she felt great after eating quite a few - good for her! No one has the right to tell her she should feel any different. Ok, packet after packet in one sitting is a bit extreme, but 2 or 3 is perfectly normal and will do nothing to your waste line. It is the same as eating a cereal bar but that isn't frowned upon?
Thirdly, the programme looked at how we can make our lunch fill us up for longer meaning we can last until tea time. I know for a fact that WE ARE MEANT TO SNACK. To avoid dizzy spells, low sugar levels, feeling faint, y'know all those things that happen to your body when you need fuel. From personal experience, that every meal plan or piece of advice has included 3 meals and 3 snacks, and I trust that advice. I trust those professional psychologists with my life - and a healthy life at that.
Finally, why does every single programme look at 'battling the buldge'. Not everyone is fighting themselves. Not everyone is unhappy with the way they look and are trying to lose weight and not everyone needs to. A different part suggested we try adding low fat yogurt to enhance weight loss. To this, my Mum responded 'Oh, that's where I'm going wrong?!' which may by why I am so annoyed by this whole programme. NO - where you are going wrong is that simple fact that you eat too much. Nothing to do with yogurt or any food for that matter. 
Because you know what, you can eat anything. Everything in moderation - that way, you are provided with every nutrient including fat, sugar and carbs! Food isn't the enemy, it's there to provide us with the energy to live. To live, to laugh, to run, to work. 
I am only more motivated to fully recover after watching this, but I do fear for those who are in a more vulnerable position - those who will now not eat biscuits. But, biscuits taste better than skinny feels. Seriously. 
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Something A Bit Different..

This probably isn't your usual reading but something I feel needs documenting. I think there are two occasions in a woman's life in which you may actually want your period. 1) To confirm you aren't pregnant and 2) when you're recovering from anorexia. The latter happened to me last night.
I know this is a very open and honest subject and not something I wouldn't dare talk about in real life, but what I will discuss in real life, is becoming healthy. In essence, this is what this bench mark is: an indicator of health. A sign that my body is now receiving the nutrients it needs and getting the exercise it can tolerate in balance. It also means that I am at an 'ideal' weight. Again, something I'm not entirely sure of any more because I have given my scales away - no more numbers, no more anxiety. It's gone.
And you know what, I am actually incredibly happy about it. I am once again, a healthy fully functioning woman. Something in which I've worried about not becoming again, for the last 13 months. 
It's been another hurdle which has taught me to not take simple things for granted. We (myself included) moan about how inconvenient they can be - mood swings, aches & pains and general annoyance. However, despite being awake all night with the worst back pain I have ever experienced, I won't complain. 
I shall never complain again about being healthy. 
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Monday, 8 July 2013

Are you really happy?

For a very, very long time, I have associated happiness with being thin. I know I'm not the only one, many women (and men) believe that once they reach a certain weight or size, that all their other problems naturally just disappear and you are happy. Wrong.
I think I'd be lying to say I've actually believed this notion, more that I've tried to convince myself that by being and looking a certain way, I'm happy. It's not until I've stopped focusing on a certain number so much, that I'm actually beginning to BELIEVE that happiness doesn't come in any number, shape or size. 
I've been put on medication for 10 days, which effectively temporarily alter your mood in order to make you well. As a result, I do feel a bit rubbish but how is getting on the scales going to make me feel any better? It might for 2 minutes if I'm a few pounds lighter, but that 'happiness' is only masking other emotions.
It's not only numbers though, I am beginning to see that I am in control of my happiness. I asked 3 people for advice last night, and 1 of those responded with 'what do you think?'. A typical therapist response but maybe the one that I needed. She's right - what does it actually matter what she thinks if I don't agree? AND if she is deciding for me, then I'm giving someone else the responsibility of controlling my happiness. 
So, what should bring us happiness?
Watching re-runs of the Inbetweeners with your brother until the early hours of the morning? Treating yourself to your favourite designer perfume because it reminds you of when you sang to hundreds, in front of the Eiffel tower? Indulging in sweet treats and cocktails with your best friend, whilst putting the world to rights?
Those are the things that are more likely to put a smile on my face, and those things are definitely more important than a behaviour designed to feed a mental illness and only cause anxiety. We only have once chance at a happy life, so less wasting and more laughing.
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Thursday, 4 July 2013

First year results

Last night, whilst procrastinating on twitter I saw my personal tutor announcing the release of the 1st/2nd year's results. As I was reading, I quickly booted up my laptop to take a look and was beyond happy with my results. A 1st in every module, giving me an overall 1st with 80%.  I am not writing this post to blow my own trumpet or to be congratulated as such, more as a marker and to reflect on how I have managed to even pass the year, let alone achieve well. I know it doesn't mean anything but it definitely provides me with a good foundation to build on, in the next 2 years.
I never imagined to have done so well this year. I came to Uni barely eating, barely being able to concentrate. I had just declined the offer of treatment, thinking I could do this alone. It may have been the hardest decision I've EVER had to take, and perhaps a stupid one to some, but it is single handedly the best risk I've taken. There was no way that I was going to let a mental illness stop me from living my life and achieving what I want. 
On reflection, perhaps part of this illness were on my side. The stubbornness and perfectionist nature of this eating disorder has meant that I will only produce a piece of work to a standard that is acceptable for me. Arguably, I push myself too hard but when I get results to reflect the work, then that mental torture seems irrelevant and almost worth it. 
But actually, I want to read this post in years to come and remember that even though I was living with a mental illness, I didn't stop living. It doesn't mean I can't do what I want to do, and it shouldn't mean that anyone else has to put their life on hold either.
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Monday, 1 July 2013

Google Reader

This is just a small update to make sure you all know that as of tomorrow, GFC will no longer exist. This means that if you follow me this way, then you will no longer be able to :( However, if you want to keep following my life (which I would obviously love!) then you can on bloglovin'. Hopefully you'll follow me and I'll see you over there!
   
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