Monday, 30 June 2014

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Today my best friend from Uni came to see me in my home town. Usually I go to her as she lives in Manchester, and there is so much more to do there, but as we have a cinema and a few shops, today it was in my neck of the woods!

Ever since I'd heard that The Fault In Our Stars was being made into a film, I knew it was one I'd have to see. I read the book many years ago, without even realising it was a big YA novel, and instantly fell in love with it so I thought the film would be also amazing. Having heard many great things and watched many vlogs about how great it was, I expected a phenomenal tear jerker.

I must admit, I'm not someone who cries easily - I'm always the one who gets told I have a heart of stone - but I really was disappointed with the movie. In fact, even my best friend wasn't that emotional about it! I don't know, maybe we are just cold but I don't think the film does the book much justice at all. I definitely recommend the book but the film just wasn't to my liking! I'm probably a harsh judge...

However, all was not lost as we enjoyed a delicious meal at my local burger restaurant before she left to go home! I then decided to walk back from town along the canal. I'd forgotten how nice it is to just walk with your headphones in, in the sun. For the first time, in a very long time, I actually felt content. Content with myself and my life. Even though my life isn't perfect and there are areas which could be better, it is days like today that remind me that actually, my life is really rather grand :-)

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Organ Donation

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I'm not entirely sure why I have become passionate enough to write about this topic, but I guess recent events and my recent 'feel the fear and do it anyway' attitude, probably have something to do with it!

A few weeks ago, I actually signed up to be an organ donor. I know this is a controversial topic and many people hold various opinions, but I really do think we should all do this. However, imagine you are unfortunate enough to develop kidney failure - you'd want a new kidney right? You would hope that someone would be a match, and you'd want a kidney transplant. I know I would! So, if I'm willing to accept then really, I should be willing to do the same for someone else. It's the old give and take scenario!

Also, if I am dead, I really don't need my organs. Surely, it would be much better for my organs (if they're healthy enough!) to be put to good use? For example, I don't think she will mind me saying, but one of my favourite bloggers Josie has cystic fibrosis - so if she could have my lungs (that I wouldn't need because I am not alive), then I personally would be much happier knowing that I've given a lovely person a better quality of life!

Some would argue that cutting me up isn't nice for family, but in reality we're either buried or cremated anyway. No one is going to see me and either way, my organs will effectively end up rotting or as ash, which isn't exactly pleasant!

So, I really urge you to go and sign up to be an organ donor. Make it your good deed of today :-)

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Father's Day

Sunday, 15 June 2014

I'm writing this post whilst sipping a Strawberry-lime Rekorderlig, because it really has been a whirlwind of a week, which also coincidentally coincides with Father's day.

A few days ago, my Dad was taken into hospital and remained there until yesterday because he was very unwell. I won't go into details because he is a very private person but he is back at home now and is ok, but faces a few weeks recovery time. I have spent my week mostly at hospital or on the phone to friends, family, bosses and wards. I've organised travel, sorted out belongings and once he'd arrived home, I've food shopped and ran errands. It feels like I've felt every emotion possible, in about 3 days!

But aside from my Dad, this week has taught me so much about myself. My usual daily structure was thrown out of the window. It has been eat what you can, when you can because food hasn't always been accessible. And that hasn't meant I can eat less - it's meant eating more when I can because I have needed it in order to be of any use to my Dad. After all, food is fuel and all that..

And really, food hasn't even been an issue this week. My Dad was my focus, he is more important to me than any calorie. The size of my waist would be completely irrelevant if something bad were to happen to him, and I guess it's times like this where you actually gain some perspective. Life is too short to practise unhealthy behaviours, destroy ourselves and be unhappy.

I am and always will be Daddy's girl, and I would honestly give him my final breath if it meant he could breathe forever. So, Happy Father's Day to a wonderful Dad - I couldn't be prouder to have the Dad that I have.

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City & Company

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Yesterday I went to Manchester, to see my best friend from Uni. I hadn't seen her since coming home so it was definitely so good to see her again, and catch up! 

I absolutely love Manchester, so much so that I will consider living there one day. I love the atmosphere, the shops, the bars/restaurants. Everything just feels so welcoming and relaxed! Anyway, I wanted to take advantage of the shops and get a few bits for Thailand. I mostly needed long skirts and tops that cover me up a little bit, because the culture is obviously a bit stricter. However I really can't stand wearing long skirts, but  I found one for £3 in Primark and adopted the 'that'll do' attitude! My priorities got a little bit mixed up though, as I spent a ridiculous amount of money on American sweets, which I partly ate whilst sitting in the sun in Picadilly Gardens, nattering away! Then in the evening, I was treated to a YoSushi :-)

Whilst I was there, I received an email telling me which school I'll be at, in Thailand. Consequently, I decided to treat myself to a Pandora charm, that I've been thinking about for ages. I bought the ship to remind me of my favourite quote, if I find it difficult when I'm out there.

A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are built for

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To talk or not to talk..

Friday, 6 June 2014

I think I've mentioned this kind of thing on my blog before but I don't think I was recovered enough to really understand it, but it's something I've found myself thinking about a lot recently so I want to address it again.

I wouldn't say recovery has definitive steps in which we all must go through in order to recover, but there are certain stages that I'd say most people should experience if you want a good chance at recovering properly! For example, obvious ones would be gaining weight or eating at a restaurant. I think one of the later stages (for me at least), is to stop talking about recovery.

People may disagree as I know that talking can be wonderful. I have met some amazing people through talking. I have logged onto facebook or twitter at any time of day, and there is always someone who understands there to help me out. A problem shared is a problem halved after all. So, I am not saying don't talk. It is a very healing technique.

I would say that I am more well than I am ill (is that possible? it is now!), so when people talk to me about what they are going through, I often find myself thinking 'that isn't a problem for me now'. Similarly, when people ask me how I am, they often expect me to include a full update of my mental health too. The thing is, most days I am fine. I don't have a daily battle with food any more. If I criticize myself, I am told to 'not let my illness beat me up' - I'm sorry, but when I miss the bus and I call myself an idiot for getting up earlier, it has nothing to do with being ill.

I am beginning to question if I can keep talking to people about my own experiences and their experiences with eating disorders. It may sound like I don't care, which isn't true. I do care about other sufferers - maybe a little bit too much! But, am I talking because it is keeping me attached to this illness? Because I don't want to let go?  Even if it's conversation about how well myself/they are doing, it's still talking about an eating disorder/ But you know what? Normal people don't congratulate people every time we eat a meal. If someone says 'well done' to me now, I sometimes find it quite patronizing. And the same with social media - although it is very normal in the 21st century to post a picture when you eat out or of something that looks amazing, it is not normal to post a picture every time you eat a meal, or every time treat yourself to a high calorie drink or cake (I'm guilty of the latter, I know).

I'm not saying that these things shouldn't be done at all. They are stages in recovery that do help, and I appreciate that everyone is at a different stage at different times. But for me, I think if I keep supporting other people, it keeps that detrimental part of my brain alive - it's still there, churning away, being fed by the conversation.

I do think that I can come back and help in the future but only after a stage of fully focusing on life and 'normalising' everything properly. After that, I guess that supporting people would then be a) easier and b) very different because it would be from a truly recovered perspective - and I'd probably be a much more healthy source of support.

So for now, I think that maybe it's time to stop discussing everything for a while, and move on.

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Charlotte's Helix

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

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Today I did quite a good thing. I proudly rolled up my sleeve for science and donated my DNA to the Charlotte's Helix Project :)

The project has been inspired by Charlotte Bevan, who was a huge eating disorder advocate, but sadly passed away from terminal cancer. The aim is to collect 1000 DNA samples from the UK, which will be added to the AN25K - an international collaboration to source 25,000 DNA samples from Anorexia patients and former Anorexia patients. These samples will then be used to try and understand why some people are predisposed to eating disorders. It is largely suggested that eating disorders are genetic, so this research could help to find out what makes this happen, which will then lead to better insight and treatments.

I went back to my old Eating Disorder Unit to give my blood donation. It felt very weird being back to be honest, and I didn't like it one bit but the blood sample was fine as well. It's a quick, easy procedure where you fill 4 small test tubes, and then you're done. It didn't hurt and I didn't pass out (I was close), which is always a bonus when you're me! 

I the 57th person to donate my DNA to this research, and I am quite proud of this! But, obviously there is still a fair way to go, so if you want to read more about it or think you would want to donate, you can find out more here

After the donation, I then walked into town and treated myself to a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino from Starbucks ;-)

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