Friday, 31 January 2014

January Reads

Another love of mine, is reading. As I became more ill, I turned to books as a form of escape and a coping mechanism really. I did not expect to fall in love with books and to this day, I have never not been reading a book! Now, I read for fun and enjoyment rather than as a distraction - usually before bed or on a train (train reading is definitely the best kind in my opinion). I am not a fast reader by any means but this is what I've read this month!




Bridget Jones - Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding
I work in a famous book/stationary store, so when this came out, I felt like it was a must read. I haven't read the first two Bridget Jones' books, but figured that as I've seen the films, I'd be OK! And, I was right! I really enjoyed this book. Bridget Jones has now grown up (20 years later), with children of her own. It's light-hearted, comical, and talks about the issues that women face in 2014!  It's definitely an easy read. I have never laughed out loud whilst reading before, until this book! If that doesn't make you want to read it, nothing will ;)

Sane New World by Ruby Wax

This book is all about 'Taming the mind' with Mindfulness. It's non-fiction and dabbles into the world of mental health, and all things related. Ruby writes about her own experiences with depression, her time at Oxford and how she now practices and teaches Mindfulness. I enjoyed this book, probably more than others as I'm interested in mental health, but also because it's inspiring to see how far Ruby has come! I guess I learnt some Mindfulness tips along the way too!

How To Fall In Love - Cecelia Ahern

Again, this was a book I wanted to read after seeing it go straight to number one in the hardback chart at work! I've only read one other by Cecelia Ahern, and wanted something more easy going after 'Sane New World', and this was perfect. Surprisingly, it deals with mental health within the story, as the main characters meet on a bridge when one is attempting suicide! This was a bonus for me, but ultimately it is an interesting love story. Again, very enjoyable and intriguing!

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion 

This book is not something I would usually choose, but thanks to 02 priority moments, I had a free Richard and Judy Book Club book, and this is what I chose! It's about an intelligent professor of genetics, Don, who has autism and quest to find a wife - hence the 'project'! It's very interesting, and I think it captures the world of autism in a humorous yet fascinating light. Definitely a pleasant surprise! 

And that it what I've read in January! If anyone has any book suggestions, they are more than welcome :) I'm always on the hunt for a good book!
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Monday, 27 January 2014

Values

Recently, there have been circumstances in where I have been torn to choose between joining in, or excluding myself in order to stand by what I believe to be right; my own values and morals.

On both occasions, I have acted on my values of which include living a healthy life, rather than indulging excessively. When I say 'excessively', I mean over indulging on junk food, more times than not. I know that doing this once or twice a week isn't bad or wrong, and actually very acceptable in our society but more nights than not is not healthy. In fact, it's most probably one reason for the obesity problem we seem to be hearing more and more about in the news. I know what it looks like for those who know me - I can't 'do' unhealthy. Many would argue that for me, it's still a disordered mind set, given my past experiences, but I know that it is most definitely not. If If I really think about it, this is perhaps the first time in which I am choosing to be healthy. Under eating and over eating are just as bad as each other, and ultimately, are both unhealthy. 

However, is choosing good nutrition and moderate exercise over constant junk food a problem when I am choosing not to participate in a social event (or five)? There is something about this, that sits slightly uneasy in my mind. I am missing out because I want to live a healthy lifestyle, but I don't believe being healthy should be a punishment, and yet, that's what it can sometimes feel like. Don't get me wrong, I do join in when I actually want  to. 

Although I constantly doubt and question my actions, I'm glad that I have stood by my values.  I know that many of us participate in things, when we feel uncomfortable and often forced, which is wrong. I know that if I had joined in, I would not have enjoyed myself and felt some what angry with doing something I didn't want to do. I know it is important that we put ourselves first sometimes, and do what makes us happy. But what I don't know, is whether it's OK to miss out and appear anti social, when you are choosing to stick by what you believe is right and important?


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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Little Things #2

Over Christmas, I decided to finally start a scrap book. I've been wanting to for ages but I've been weighing up whether it's for the right reasons or not. I want it really for two reasons; A) to document my life at University and B) so I can look back one day and see how much progress I have made! Part of me wondered whether the second reason would keep me more absorbed in my illness but I actually think I'll look back and only see positive things!

I've done a few pages, sticking down tickets from shows, traveling and pictures from instagram. And, I've cut up Birthday/Christmas cards for letters and cute pictures which decorate the pages nicely :) These pictures are of my favourite pages so far! One is a Christmas spread, and one is of my trip to Manchester and the beautiful illustration that Hannah did for me, from her giveaway last year!



I've really enjoyed starting this and hope I don't give up half way through, leaving it unfinished!! Also, if anyone has ideas of what else I could include, or what you put in your own scrap books (if you keep them?), then your ideas would be very welcome!



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Thursday, 23 January 2014

New Term

As you will probably know, I returned to Uni this week to begin semester two. I have returned to normality (whatever that is) after a ridiculously long Christmas break! As expected, this week I have been briefed with all my assignment details, sending me into a state of panic meaning I will now probably complete them all with weeks to spare before the deadline - then I'll laugh and think 'what was I doing!?'.  Assignments aside, it is also absolutely freezing. I live in a big, old (but modern) house which is difficult to heat, which has made adjusting to the climate a little harder than expected! I am also convinced that the universe is against me, as every time I've step outside it has poured with rain, only to stop again when I enter a building!

However, I would not change it. I have loved being back. I have genuinely missed my friends who I live with. Their mannerisms and jokes really do cheer me up as soon as I get home. It's been lovely to sit around the TV at night with my housemates, laughing and joking. Having someone to ask about their day and actually be interested in their response. Not forgetting how thoughtful they are too - I returned home to chocolate peanut butter poptarts which are one of my favourite things in the whole world. I wouldn't swap my Uni life for anything.

Finally, I began my volunteering placement yesterday. I was thrown into the deep end by starting on a day in which they had a meeting about the mental health services in the area but overall I enjoyed my first day. I am always taken aback by the amount of people who suffer with a mental illness, and not only that, how genuinely lovely they are. I sat with them after the meeting, playing games, talking about anything in which they fancied, and found myself thinking about how these people do not deserve to be battling their own minds each day (or anyone for that matter). I really am hoping that this placement will offer me a new insight into the world of mental health, and I hope I can help them with their journey.

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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Comparisons

“You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

I've begun this post with that quotation, because it is something I am trying to realize more myself. Making comparisons is something that I am constantly doing, and it is not healthy. In fact, it can often be detrimental. Whether it's achievements, fashion style, grades, or more specifically to me, how far someone is running or what is/isn't being eaten.

A hurdle I am trying to jump over at the moment, is comparing what I eat with what others eat and when. I struggle to eat unhealthily when someone I'm with is making a healthy choice and similarly, I struggle eat when no one else is (when with company). It is most definitely an irrational fear of looking greedy and not fitting with what I believe other people really think of me. 

But if I take a step back, then I'm actually (wrongly) rating myself very highly in everybody's life. If I'm eating a snack on the bus, chances are that no one is taking any notice of what I'm doing, yet I'm worrying about how I look. If I need to eat lunch earlier than everyone I'm with, then they probably assume I'm hungry, rather than that I'm greedy. Or, more accurately, they probably don't care at all. If I were advising someone else, then I'd be asking them why they think so much of themselves! I really do need to just do what I want to do rather than constantly worrying about my appearance. I only have one shot at life so if I want to eat chocolate, then I need to just do it.

Comparing my intake with everyone else and what I believe they think of me, can be very exhausting and in reality, it's stupid. There is always going to be someone who eats more or less than me, just like there is always going to be someone who achieves better or worse than me. That's just life! If we all ate the same, looked the same, achieved the same etc then life would be very dull and boring. Therefore, I am going make a real conscious effort to STOP comparing. After all, variety is the spice of life!
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Manchester

As much as I needed a break this Christmas, having too long to relax really is no good for me. There is only so much 'quality' me time I can cope with before I end up becoming deflated, negative and in need of a purpose. Unfortunately, I can feel myself getting to this stage and I don't return to University until the weekend, so I decided to take trip to Manchester, to see one of my best friends from University, which was most definitely needed.

As usual, I took the train to Manchester to meet her and we spent the day shopping, eating and we watched 'Delivery man' at the cinema. I don't know what it is about her, but I feel so comfortable in her company, that food isn't an issue. I don't compare, I don't feel forced and I don't feel at all guilty. And this is what I love about her - her ability to make me feel safe. It is very rare that I can find people like her in the world, and for that I am so grateful that I met her on my first day of Uni.

I left feeling much, much more positive and not really wanting to leave at all. 

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Little Things #1

When I spoke about resolutions this year, I mentioned that an aim of mine was to change (add) more content to this blog. I feel like it's all about having an illness - and for those who read regularly, you probably know more about that than you actually know about me. I've seen this feature running around on a few blogs and believe it's a perfect way for me to introduce things that I actually love.

It's not at all obvious, but I actually started this blog with the intention of basing it all on beauty and fashion. FAIL. I probably follow more beauty bloggers/vloggers than I do mental health related, and that's because I love it. I own more nail varnish than I do pens, I have enough skincare to last me the year, my wardrobe is a combination of chunky knits, statement necklaces and Jack Wills, and if you buy me a dessert type Yankee Candle, I'd marry you instantly - self confessed beauty addict?

Anyway, after seeing this product mentioned sooo many times, I naughtily bought myself my own Christmas present - the Naked Palette 3 from Urban Decay. I absolutely love it.


I am no beauty expert (I couldn't tell you how to correctly apply foundation etc!) but I do know that the colours are so beautiful and perfect for both everyday and night wear. They blend extremely well too which is brilliant when you're rushing in the morning, like me, and want to look like you've made an effort!
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Friday, 10 January 2014

January Diets

January is the time of year most commonly associated with diets. This year, I genuinely believe I have been bombarded with books, adverts, tweets etc about dieting, 'healthy eating' and fitness regimes than ever before! Must admit, although I can tolerate it now without it being destructive, it's getting on my nerves! People I know have starting dieting (again), both family and friends. I don't have an issue with this, they can do as they please but it has turned my thoughts to why these people are always restarting diets, and why they can't stick to them.

Of course, diets don't work. Firstly, they are media/company driven ultimately so that they make money. If the diet worked, then they would not make money! Therefore, they aren't going to actually produce a diet that works. Secondly, these diets aren't sustainable. They cut out major food groups so really, it's not a healthy diet at all. They cut back on a ridiculous amount of food meaning you're starving. Oh, and then you binge because you're starving. This then usually results in GAINING IT ALL BACK AND MORE. It's the cycle of dieting. You know this, I know this and I accept that is how life is for women in the 21st century now.

However, here's my current trail of thought. Why is it that I CAN diet when most people fail? Why is it that people with Anorexia can easily say no to chocolate, cake.. food in general.. when others lack this so called 'will power' that eating disordered people seem to have. (It's most definitely not will power).

I recently based an assignment on the biological factors of Anorexia, and once marked, I'll share more - but after submitting this and thinking more and more about dieting, it is beginning to make total sense to me that actually, there is a biological cause. If both you and I are exposed to the same adverts, magazines and articles about dieting, my biological make up may explain why I once might have easily skipped meals, when you struggle to resist pudding.
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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Exams, Travel & Sun

I think myself and most people assume that the Christmas break is supposed to be just that - a break! However, I had an exam today, so I have spent the entire Christmas period, revising. I probably should have given myself more of a break to relax really but my perfectionism kicked in, and I have been drowned in notes, highlighters and revision cards. However, this morning I think I did quite well so it might have paid off in the long run?


Having to be back at Uni for this exam, meant I had to rely on the train to get me there. I have once again, been reminded why I love train travel. This time, I traveled at night, and simply got lost in my kindle. Before I knew it, I had arrived at my destination feeling completely calmed and free from the world. I find it incredibly strange that travel does this, but like I've said before, it provides that liberating freedom that I don't perhaps get when I am governed my own mind's rigidity. 

Having said that, traveling back today and waiting around for hours (in the pouring down rain) was not such a positive experience! As much as I enjoy seeing the world around me, during the winter I really struggle to venture outside. I am not someone who thrives in winter, more like hibernating to keep warm! I also find it difficult to remain positive when the weather and nature is quite dull itself. Standing at the bus stop, with a thick winter coat, gloves and scarf on has definitely moved my mind towards summer and the sun. I am craving the appearance of the sun and it's rays (and the Vitamin D that comes with it!). The lack of light and fresh air is taking it's toll I believe, so I am glad that I now have just over a week completely to myself, without any Uni work. I am going to take full advantage of this by focusing on myself and being fully refreshed to start the next term!
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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Years Resolution?

This year is the first year I can honestly say, that my new years resolution is not to lose weight, eat healthier or do more exercise. No, this year and from now on, I shall not make one. 

Why not?

Well, because during 2013 I learnt the value of this very moment. The here and now, and the magic of letting things be. That's all that really matters - not yesterday, the day before or what happened 10 years ago, and not tomorrow or next week either. Also, the importance of letting what is currently happening, to just happen, without me constantly fighting myself. If I am unhappy right NOW, then I do not need to wait for a new year to arrive, for me to do something about it. 

Sure, I have things I would like to do this year. I would like to spend evenings with my best friend, getting drunk together and laughing the night away. I would like to rekindle my love for musicals by visiting the theatre, with the people I love. I would like to read as much as possible, challenging my own views and opinions of the world and my own inner monologue. Additionally, I would like this blog to develop a little more. I still want to document my battle with a mental illness, but I think that there comes a time in recovery in which you have to stop talking about it in order to move on. Therefore, I hope to blog more about my University adventure, what I'm currently loving and comment more on what is happening in the world. 

However, if that does not happen then that is also OK. This is why they are not resolutions or goals (or anything else they can be named!), because with that adds extra pressure and automatically sets myself up for failure. 

I don't know what is going to happen this year, nor do I expect it to be 100% positive and happy (Can't say I'd want that anyway!). But, what I do know is this
1) I must not give up
2) Embrace the moment
3) Remember rules 1 and 2!

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