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Anxiety issues

Yesterday I slept for about 16 hours, and during the 8 or so that I was awake I must’ve cried for about 3.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Anxiety and depression have returned with a nasty vengeance.

My anxiety is so bad I kept running out of class to nearly throw up.

I feel like I’m going to burst into tears every 5 minutes.

All I want to do is get in bed and hide under the duvet.

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have control over my thoughts, my emotions, my life.

I feel like every single part of my life is spiralling downwards and I’m doing that fucked up thing where I push everyone away.

Thoughts come back and tell me that I’m worthless, useless, fat, ugly, unloved… and I’ll believe them. Just like I always do.

Someone remind me how to stop?

Where are my emotional breaks?

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health, Personal

Time To Talk – Mental Health Day

February 1st. It’s time to talk.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll probably have seen a few of my posts where I’ve talked about my depression and anxiety, or maybe you’ve seen my Instagram posts.

I no longer feel the need to hide or shy away from my struggles and I no longer feel embarrassed talking about the things I’ve experienced.

NEITHER SHOULD YOU!

I believe that everyone has the right to feel safe and cared for, to feel hope and happiness, love and laughter – especially on their darker days.

I don’t wait until February 1st to talk about this, I try and talk about it at least once a month because although each of us experience things differently, just one shared experience may help one other person in some way. However, February 1st is the big day to talk and it would be ridiculous for me not to be a part of that.


What led to my depression, anxiety and PTSD is nothing out of the ordinary, and in many ways I feel ashamed that it affected me so badly when other women have suffered far worse events that I ever did. Over time I have learned to accept that I was entitled to my suffering, because what I experienced was the worst thing I had, in my life, been faced with. You cannot measure how much suffering someone should endure based on what they are faced with. Some people are able to handle so much worse than others, some people crumble at the slightest thing. THAT IS OKAY. 

One thing you have to learn to do is do not compare your struggle to others’.

Your struggle is yours.

Your pain, your darkest days are not for others to judge or to comment on.

This is one of the toughest parts of dealing with my depression. Was accepting what had happened, accepting that yes, many people have dealt with far worse than I have, but that will not change the pain I felt or take away the experiences I had.


The most important thing about your mental health is not to suffer in silence.

I know what it’s like to pretend it doesn’t exist. Fake a smile. Push yourself into those social situations you’re completely dreading. Get dressed every day and pretend your life is absolutely fine, when all you really want to do is hide under the bed covers and cry for hours and hours.

You do what you need to do. If you need to stay in bed all day, eat pizza and doughnuts and cry, do it. BUT you need to be talking to someone. Whether it’s an online friend, someone on instagram, your mum, your best friend, a partner, a therapist, a doctor, a teacher, a nurse. SOMEONE will listen. Someone will want to support you and help you through this.

The harsh part about mental health is not everyone is equipped to deal with it. Not everyone wants to be around the ‘sad person’ or the ‘party pooper’. But dyou know what we say to them? Fuck it. Fuck it. and Fuck you. If people don’t even try and understand or support you, stay away from them. You do not need that negativity in your life. Believe me.

Anyone who truly cares about you will support you, be there for you, try and get you through your darker moments. Don’t get me wrong, no one can be there for you 24/7, and they won’t be, because everyone has their own life to get on with, but that does not mean that they don’t care. 

I was extremely lucky, after 2 years of battling it out on my own, I admitted defeat and went home to live with my mum again. I stopped working. I saw a counselor. I took time for me. My mum went to work every day, and on her days off she cooked for me, we went shopping, we watched movies. We cried, we cried a lot. I was awful. Miserable. I felt like I was living in hell and all I wanted to do was end it all. Without my mum, I would have done. I would not be alive right now if it wasn’t for my mum’s never ending support.

And I understand that not everyone will have that, and that makes it worse. But, whether you have one person, or 10 people, you will have someone who will help you.

Please, please, please do not go through your dark days alone. Okay?

Promise me. 


I don’t like to say I’ve been ‘cured’ of depression and anxiety, because some days it hits me like a tonne of bricks. However, in the past year I fought with my own self to become a better, stronger and more capable person. I faced my fears of going back to work. I faced my fears of starting something new (a teaching career) and I faced my fears by openly admitting to my depression and anxiety on the days when I needed to care for myself. I learned to put myself first. Before my shame, before my fears.

The results were amazing.

I lost weight for the first time in 3 years (a lot of it).

I made friends.

I started reading again.

(P.S. Reading Bryony Gordon’s ‘Mad Girl’ made me realise I could have a life AND deal with a mental illness at the same time. This woman changed the way I faced my depression. I owe her big time!)

I started working. And I absolutely love my job.

(Although mental health in the work place, in general, is a huge issue. I may blog about this separately because it’s so important.) But I still get the ‘tuts’ and ‘eye rolls’ if I say I need a day off / at home / self-care day. It’s infuriating. 

I found a new enthusiasm for life.

I went on holiday alone.

I found a reason to feel alive again.


It isn’t easy. None of it is. Even without a mental health issue to deal with, everyone has bad days and none of them are pleasant. You’re not alone.

My message from this post is to please, please reach out to someone. Find the people you can trust, find a kind person on instgram (believe me, there are plenty!) and just talk.

If all else fails, I’m also here for anyone that feels like they want to rant, vent, talk to or share their worries – or even their positive vibes!

You are never alone.


#TimeToTalk


NHS advice for if you’re feeling suicidal here

Mind – A fantastic mental health charity that works nation wide to support people with mental health issues.

Personal

Breakupdate

Week 3 Day 1

So I didn’t think I’d actually want to write about this, but it turns out I need to.

This week, I know, it’s only Tuesday, I’m immensely struggling already with poor time management and a huge amount of stress and pressure. Partially because of the China move… but mainly because of loads of little things.

Today, at least 4 people asked me how my boyfriend/fiancé/husband was… if we were excited for our big move… then made a big deal when I told them we’d broken up.

Please stop.

It’s hard enough as it is without people asking a million questions and demanding to know all the details.

I made the right decision but to suddenly lose someone you spent nearly 10 months, every day, with us not that simple.

We had a lot of fun together and I will keep many good memories, but for now I’d like to stop feeling so upset about it all.

Does anyone else understand where I’m coming from? Why is it so hard to leave the past where it is?

I’m not angry or bitter, but I feel like I’m not moving forward.

Help?

health, Personal

Stressed not depressed

Firstly let me apologize for the slightly ‘down in the dumps’ topic, but then I’m being hypocritical really, as I like to remind people as often as I can that it is okay to talk about how you feel. Never apologize for sharing your thoughts. 

I’m stressing.

I’m stressing badly.

I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of things that are racing through my mind every minute of the day. I don’t think I’ve had a decent night’s sleep in nearly 3 weeks and it’s drastically taking it’s toll.

I’m tired, grumpy, snappy and beyond emotional.
I keep welling up over the most stupid things.

This is what lack of sleep does to you.

But, what I have learned in the last year or two is that “one bad day, is not a bad life”. One day of hysterical crying, feeling like it’s the end of the world, doesn’t make it so.

It makes you human.

My depression has not come back. I am not depressed. I will not be depressed.

I am stressed.

And there’s a difference.


If there’s one thing I wish for myself, it’s to never have to experience the pain of depression ever again in my life. That feeling where you’re so low you’re breaking your own heart. I couldn’t experience that again and I truly hope that none of you do either.

However, if you are… REACH OUT AND TALK ABOUT IT. Promise me? Don’t do it alone.


Just lately I’ve been absolutely fine throughout the day, but the minute I get home I turn into an emotional wreck. I don’t want to hear any sounds, talk to anyone, do anything but lie in bed and cry. Or read, then cry.

Is anyone else feeling that way lately? Is it the weather? Am I not managing my time properly? I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong… Maybe it’s my diet? Whatever it is, I need to up my self-care game.



Things that have made me cry this week:

  • People thanking me for my work / help
  • Seeing all 12 of my students read silently for 20 minutes, with no phones or talking at all – their choice! and then ask to keep on reading
  • Finding out one of my students got a 5.5 on his IELTS and accepted into Cardiff (starting to well up now just thinking about it)
  • My students writing an entire page of homework, when 10 weeks ago they could barely write three sentences
  • Books. Always books.

I hope I’m not going crazy, but I really needed to put this out there.

I hope you’re not feeling this way either, but if you are, reach out!

xo

Book Reviews

Book 3 of 2018: Reasons to Stay Alive

Matt Haig, quite possibly an unintended literary genius?

I have tried, numerous times over the past 18 months, to read this book but each time ended up in floods of tears, so much so that I couldn’t read on. The book hit too close to home. I was struggling with my worst stage of depression and I couldn’t possibly read about it on top of the emotions I was dealing with.

IMG_2179

 

Today, about 9 months after I feel I have finally conquered my own depression, I got through this book. I won’t lie, I cried for a good hour and a half whilst reading this. It brought up so many emotions and made them feel so raw. It was heart-breaking to read what Matt went through.

But, and there’s always a ‘but’, he got through it. Matt found things in life that helped him deal, cope and manage with his struggles and he made it. What struck me so strongly was how his, now, wife Andrea stuck by him through this entire time. I cannot even imagine how difficult this must have been for her, or for Matt, but it only signifies how strong true love can be.

Their love, as portrayed through Matt’s words, gives me so much hope.

All I can say is that if you have ever struggled in life, whether it’s with depression, anxiety, mental health issues of any kind, or not, you have to read this book. You will most likely cry, you will be moved beyond explanation, and you will be inspired.

Matt has reminded me that although our demons may always be deep within us, we can win. We can move on from our darkest days, months, even years, and be happy. Our lives will get better and we will find things that are worth living for. Both small things like flowers, universal moments like sunsets, children, love, family, and my personal favourite – books!

I am proud of myself for finally finishing this book, but I am also immensely moved by Matt’s words and cannot thank him enough for sharing his story.

I’ll leave you with the quote I most relate to from his book, about mental illness:

“To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.”
― Matt HaigReasons to Stay Alive

Matt is on twitter at @MattHaig1

and you can buy his books in Waterstones, Amazon, and most bookstores around the world! (I strongly recommend you do so!)

Book Reviews

mad girl – the book everyone needs to read.

Bryony Gordon, what can I say? Well, let me start my saying this woman shook my world up just ever so slightly.

I was having a day out with my mum, wandering around the shops, when naturally we stopped in Waterstones to browse at their latest books, the deals, the ‘big this week’ books. Bear in mind, I was not reading at this point. I was still desperately struggling with depression and only the thought of reading made me feel better, yet I never actually did. On this day I was feeling particularly determined, and started browsing the latest books, where a bright yellow covered looked up at me. I grabbed it and instantly fixed on the back page review – with Bryony’s shocked face staring back at me, I had a feeling I would read this book.

I couldn’t put it down. I read it that afternoon in one sitting, pausing only for a toilet break and a biscuit. I laughed and giggled, I cried, I teared up, I moved. This story struck me in a way I had forgotten that books do.

Growing up, Bryony explored the parts of life that we all do, except she had a few additions. The voices convincing her someone would die if she didn’t say / do something a certain amount of times, bulimia controlling her behavior, battling drug use… these aspects of her life are completely non-existent in mine, so far those parts I couldn’t relate. However, the depression, the bizarre choices we make to encourage a more positive feeling (putting up with shitty men, moving in with shitty men…) I can relate to.

For the next few months, Paul is a dream.

What this book made me realize was that it is perfectly possible to live a functional life, whilst battling with mental health issues. It’s possible to go to work, to have a relationship, to be kind to your friends, to make changes. Whilst she wasn’t always coping well, she carried on.

I AM COMPLETELY MENTAL!

What Bryony has made me realize is that you can get through this. Perhaps we won’t always completely get over our mental health issues, but we can always work through them. We can learn to understand and take care of ourselves in a way that works for us. We can be happy, have families, keep our jobs. Bryony Gordon inspires me on my bad days. She reminds me that things can, and will, get better.

And, as her sub-title suggests “A happy life with a mixed-up mind”.

★★★★★

Go and buy yourself a copy. Now. Go.
More reviews on Goodreads
Follow Bryony on Twitter

Photography, travel

Holiday resumed. Tuesday in Taipei City.

Last night was one of the most solid sleeps I’ve had in 13 days since arriving in Taipei. Five and a half hours of solid, peaceful sleep. Only to be jolted awake with stabbing pains in my stomach, but hey ho! This is the life of (suspected) endo! Anyway, this is not about my pains and what-nots today. This is a positive, happy, vibe-y post about how much I love my life at the moment. Read along!

Stunning morning in TianMu

How should you spend a day in Taipei? Well, I started my day by talking to my favourite person, just as he was going to bed on the other side of the world, and headed off to uni with my sister as she returned her graduation gown and hat – exciting times ahead for the newly graduated! 

Moving out day at NTNU – great memories of my student days!
Beautiful art on the walls outside NTNU

We wanted to grab smoothies from a place called Vegg Out, on ShiDa road, but when we arrived it was completely packed and the queue was to the door. 

Instead, I took my sister to Ooh Cha Cha, one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to, and totally vegan! Located on NanChang Road, just a few minutes walk from Guting MRT station, this small cafe serves plant-based meals from Chickpea Smash on Sourdough, to a range of burgers to salad and hummus bowls. They are absolutely delicious and go perfectly with any of the yummy smoothies they make too, my favourite being the Acai Twist! 

Falafel burger, hummus beet bowl and orange juice

From here my sister and I walked around the corner to catch the 278 bus towards the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in XinYi district (only a 20 minute walk to Taipei 101), and on our way there we stopped at ICE MONSTER for mini ice lollies that cost us NT$30 each. 

Mango and strawberry lollies

They were actually pretty cute and in 36°C and 87% humidity, we needed that cool-down to keep us going! We also had a quick pit-stop at the Hello Kitty shop where we snacked on typical Taiwanese pineapple cakes, and mini waffles!

Hello Kitty, we love you!

The park has some beautiful, quaint little cafes and temple-style shelters scattered around, vending machines and rubbish bins, making it a lovely place to visit as it’s peaceful and extremely clean. 



The Eslite building is fantastic and absolutely not to be missed. With four floors of souvenirs, handmade gifts, stationery, teas, candles, clothing and so much more! You must spend some time here. One of my favourite discoveries of my holiday was made here today. 


A pop-up shop of Cafe Solé serving pour over coffee from Taiwan’s A Li mountain (阿里山) – for NT$130 not only did I receive nearly two cups of coffee, but I watched this amazing barista grind the beans and filter the coffee in front of me, letting me smell the coffee throughout the stages. For a coffee obsessor like me, it was wonderful! And delicious coffee as well. 


After an hour or so of wandering through the individual stalls, we began walking to Taipei 101, stopping st various points along the way to take silly photos, or in most cases, stop at the dreaded traffic lights! 

Meimei 妹妹
Jiejie 姐姐

We ended up at Street Churros, which considering how many issues I have with my stomach, I definitely should not have eaten, they were absolutely amazing! Hot churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce… is there anything better?! 


Followed by a little wander through ATT4Fun mall and looked at all the clothes, trying them on, then putting them back as we certainly couldn’t afford them. 


As my feet blistered and head throbbed from lack of water today, we made our way home on the MRT. (Taking a few photo booth snapshots before we left) 


Oh my god. That cold shower was the best welcome home after being on my feet for 9 hours, and I spent the evening eating rice cakes and watching Shanghai Noon with my little sister. 

Feeling very grateful for having such a wonderful, positive day.

Taipei, I love you.