Am I generalising?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

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A few weeks back, I shadowed a Nurse Assessor for the day and observed two clinical reviews. This same nurse is a registered mental health nurse (RMN) and honestly wonderful, but also wanted to know more about eating disorders as she was aware of my history. Without any hesitation, I let her ask me anything she so desired because raising awareness and educating others is so important to me.

As I began to answer her questions, I started to say 'individuals with anorexia are very intelligent and manipulative' and yes, I do include myself in that sweeping statement even though being manipulative perhaps isn't the best quality to have.

Anyway, she soon picked up that I do seem to put everyone who has or has had anorexia, into the same basket, and was I right to do that?

And you know? She has a very good point.

I really do make very sweeping generalisations when it comes to personality traits and anorexia but the truth is, I've never met someone with anorexia who doesn't fit that bill. OK, so not everyone of those has been academic but my god, they have been smart and the illness has lead them (and myself) to develop manipulative tendencies.

I asked a good friend of mine what she thought too (who has recovered from anorexia), and she agreed with me. We generally both agreed that those who are perfectionists, over achievers and have extremely high standards are vulnerable to anorexia because that's the nature of the illness. We also became manipulative because the behaviours require you to lie, deceive and hide from so many people. Things you wouldn't even dream of doing to manipulate someone can seem so normal when you are consumed by anorexia.

But this all mean that every single person who suffers, has these personality traits? My guess is no but I've never come across anything different. I would genuinely be interested in hearing any comments on this too because I'd love to know what others think/have experienced!
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V Festival 2016

Monday, 22 August 2016

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I apologise in advance for the shameless selfie's that are included in this post but it's basically a little photo diary for me to remind me of the amazing weekend I had. 

So, I spent the weekend camping at Weston Park's V festival with one of my friends who I met in Sri Lanka. First of all, it was already going to be a great weekend because I'd not seen her since April but of course, festival's are always fun!

I drove to the festival because I don't actually live that far away from it and we camped there for the whole weekend. Not going to lie, by Sunday I was totally over the mud, dirt, rubbish and toilets but I tried to embrace it all in true festival style. Of course,  in true British summer style, it was most burning hot and hammering it down with rain, so I've been both sunburnt and frozen to the bone, soaking wet and shivering! Only in England, eh?!

On Saturday, wish I reckon was my favourite day, we saw Travis, Example, Little Mix, David Guetta and Rihanna on the main stage. Rhianna and Little Mix were both incredible, and the atmosphere was just fab. We also spent a little bit of time in the comedy tent - and the sit down was much appreciated!

Then on Sunday, we saw Foxes, Adam Hill, Jess Glynne, Bastille, Sia and Justin Bieber. I absolutely love Jess Glynne anyway but was completely mesmerised by Sia's performance. Her dancers we just out of this world amazing, and I'm not listening to her album on repeat. I'm not Justin's worlds biggest fan and was a little disappointed by his stupid comments and miming but what can you expect from him!? He performed well and I left the stage happy. Oh and my selfie made the V Festival board so I was buzzing about that haha!

As for the camping element, let's just say I've never had a nicer shower than the one I had as soon as I returned home! And a clean toilet.. it's all about the little things in life, isn't it?!

But in all honesty, it really was a glittery, wet, muddy, funny, enjoyable weekend with some amazing music and amazing company.

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Reflections: A learning curve

Thursday, 18 August 2016

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I've banged on and on about how deflated and uninspired I've been over these summer months. And although I stand by my decision to call this a negative experience, I was sat at my desk today looking at the calendar, and realised that I've actually learn a hell of a lot whilst I've been working for the NHS this summer.

I've learnt a lot about myself, I've learnt a lot about leadership and managerial skills, and obviously the content of the work I've been doing.

I'm considerably younger than most of the people in my office, so naturally I've swayed towards the just 'getting on with the work and then going home' attitude, mostly because it's not always so easy to relate to a group of people who perhaps you wouldn't hang out. Don't get me wrong, everyone has been lovely and extremely accommodating, but it's been a different experience to say the least. And because of this, I've observed an awful lot; sometimes appalled at how people have behaved and sometimes really touched at how lovely people can be.

I've learnt that running from or avoiding a problem isn't going to make you popular with others.

I've learnt that it's vitally important to treat people with dignity and respect, even if they deserve a b*llocking.

I've learnt that it's important to switch off when it's home time.

I've learnt that teams work far better when they are just that, a team. Offering someone 10 minutes of your day to help them clear something up, actually goes a long way.

I've learnt that as leaders, it's important to have a whole host of qualities. Being approachable, caring, firm, fair and always one step ahead of your leader are pretty good ones.

Finally, I've learnt that I shouldn't have to adjust my standard of work or who I am, just so that others can feel better about themselves. If someone is better than me, then I've learnt that accepting and welcoming the help and wisdom they have to offer is far more productive than allowing it to intimidate us.
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London Town

Monday, 15 August 2016

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Every time I go to London, I fall in love with the place a little more. The atmosphere, the sights, the entertainment - I guess it's like any major city, but I really do love that everywhere you turn there is something new to see.

I went again this weekend to see a lovely friend of mine; neither of us live in London but for some reason, even when you live miles apart, London is usually the easiest (and cheapest) place to get to for us both! And we honestly had the best day. We shopped, walked for miles and miles along oxford street, around covent garden and over to the Embankment, and just chatted for HOURS. After what has been an extremely long week, it was exactly what I needed. 

The day also brought home some reflection too - a few years ago, if you had asked me to get on a train, and then conquer the tube alone, I'd have probably cried with anxiety. Not knowing where I'd be going or having a plan set out for the day would have killed me. I'd have longed for a routine to follow, directions to navigate and obviously, I'd have wanted to know exactly where and when I'd be eating, with every. single. detail. 

Turns out that I really am no longer that person because I am beginning to love spontaneity. It's taken me a long time, but going with the flow really is my new life motto. Not having a plan, being flexible and enjoying the moment really is what life is all about.
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Driving Anxiety

Friday, 12 August 2016

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It makes me laugh to even write this now but I've actually become a confident driver. I drove home today and witnessed so many bad drivers (obviously I'm busy swearing at them because my road rage is shocking) but it makes me feel like I've come a long way.

I passed my test first time, when I was 17. However, I then didn't get behind the wheel for another 4 years and I kid you not, getting back in the drivers seat was the most terrifying thing I'd ever done. It was like I'd forgotten how to drive. My clutch control was shocking, my confidence was rock bottom and I was genuinely a shaking wreck every time I'd even think about driving.

A year on though and times have changed, so I do have a few tips to make it easier for those thinking about learning to drive or those who have refrained from driving for a long time!

1. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. It's the hardest thing to do but once you realise that exposure to something is the best way to reduce anxiety, it's half of the job done. Remembering that you control the car rather than the car controlling you is so useful, and just practicing over and over is honestly the best thing you can do. At the same time as I started to drive again, I got a new job as a carer which meant I had to drive from home to home; being thrown into the deep end was definitely the best thing for me because I had no excuse not to drive.

2. Drive with a trustworthy passenger. Whether that's a parent who can offer reassurance or a professional driving instructor. Having someone who knows what they are doing and who can calm your nerves can make a huge difference.

3. Don't re-teach yourself. If I were to go through it all again, I wouldn't have re-taught myself to drive. I remember stalling the car NINE times at the top of a hill once, with a huge line of traffic behind me and it knocked my confidence so much. I would definitely recommend a few refresher lessons with someone like Book Learn Pass, who can help you to learn to drive as well as refreshing your memory, practice theory and helps with booking driving lessons in your local area.

4. P plates. Ok, so I was mortified when my Mum suggested I get P plates but they really did help. I didn't think people would care but I found that other drivers gave me more space on the road, and more time with parking/turning around etc.

5. Enjoy it! Driving can actually be really enjoyable - music blaring on a hot summers day and independently driving to somewhere new is a really great feeling. I know I'd never want to be without my car now!

This post was written in collaboration with Book Learn Pass but all views are my own!
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The Heartbreak Travelling Brings

Thursday, 4 August 2016

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On my final night in Sri Lanka, myself and all of the other volunteers and nationals attended a 'goodbye' party, and the final song that was played was 'I've had the time of my life'. It's safe to say I was an emotional wreck.

This song came on, on my commute to work yesterday morning and I shed a tear. It's weird, because before this year I'd never consider myself as an emotional person. There's absolutely nothing wrong with showing emotion, but I've always been someone who has seen crying, showing panic and anxiety as a weakness - only in myself though; I am a big advocate of allowing yourself to actually feel your feelings, but of course I am world's biggest hypocrite.

The three months in Sri Lanka really have had a huge impact on who I am, and unfortunately, nothing can really prepare you for shock of returning home. 4 months on and the excitement of being home has most definitely worn off; I'm still not over the post travel blues that come with setting foot back onto home turf.

And what makes it harder, is that it's the most difficult thing to explain to someone - that you are heartbroken because you've returned home to your home comforts, to the people you love most and the prospects of doing something exciting with your independent life in the western world? It makes no sense to someone who has never been travelling.

We don't acknowledge that actually, coming home is harder than going because we a grieving what we once had. We've lost that home away from home, the excitement that everyday brings because you're making new discoveries, new friendships and exploring the unknown. The purpose that I had when I'd be going into hospitals, the beach I could walk across to watch the sun go down, the mountain I could climb just because.

Travelling breaks your heart because you're chucked into the deep end and you're left to tread water. You learn to float, and then swim, and once you're getting good at it, it's time to return to the shallow end. You'll never really know how good you could have been but you do wonder and you remember.

You wonder about the people you left behind, if they remember you? You try and relive your morning commute on a hot, rocky bus and the freezing cold shower you had every morning. The tastes of the food and the beauty the came from every. single. damn. thing.

But would I change it? No. Absolutely not. Because one day, I'll move on and and more than likely do it all again. I'd rather experience the world and heart break than compromise on a safe life, half lived.
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