It can happen to anyone

Hello strangers! I feel as thought I’ve dropped off the wordpress wagon for too long now. I’ve been working so hard in my training as a veterinary nurse that my feet have barely even touched the ground, working 60 hour weeks and barely finding a moment to take care of myself, or even just take time to breathe. During this time, I have been up and down, but on the whole I have remained positive despite being extremely tired and overworked and underpaid!

But I miss blogging, I miss getting a moment to log my thoughts and to just try and make sense of some things. And it is my new month’s resolution to ensure that I do it more!

The title of this post, “it can happen to anyone” is a bit of a jumbled concept in my head. Let me start from the beginning and then I’ll explain why…

A colleague of mine whom I have been working with for the past 6 months, appears to be a very capable, very very intelligent, funny and bright woman. There is no job too big or small for her. She is sensitive and caring and the whole workplace has found her to be a wonderful addition to our team. She is always laughing and joking, with just the right amount of humility. She cares for the animals within the practice, and is a source of answers to many questions and appears to be a fountain of knowledge.

When working with her a few weeks ago, I found out that there was a dark secret she was hiding. She confessed to me that she was really struggling with depression and anxiety, that she hated herself, that she often considered suicide and that her children would be better of without her, but then stops herself because she knows that this is not true. She has to distract her mind constantly from negative thoughts. She hates her body and refuses to attend public events as a result of this. She views herself as a negative person, hates her home life and the only good thing in her life is her children. She is seeing a counsellor and is on medication, yet still feels this low.

I was entirely taken aback at this, wondering what on earth she sees when she looks in the mirror, as it is simply not what is reflected on the outside. She is a bubbly, outgoing, clever woman whom everyone adores. I was saddened to think that she could see herself in this light. And then I remembered. A few years ago, and to a lesser extreme at rare intervals even now, this person was me. I was the one hating myself, wishing I could die, thinking of ways to end it all, wondering if everyone would be better off without me, living a life of anxiety and all of this, in silence. And then I realised how many other people there must be going through exactly this, painting on a face of positivity every day at work, for friends and family.

This is why we must be kind to everyone we meet, even if they give us reason not to. We have no idea what battles they are facing, and just not a clue how close they are to ending it all.

And whilst her story was awful, it made me feel a little better to feel less alone.

So why do I feel a little conflicted about the title of this post? Well, just because depression can rear its ugly head at any moment, in any brain, male or female, adult or child, it is not to say that it is to be viewed as commonplace, or to be taken for granted. Just because depression can strike at any time, does not make it less important to tackle. It does not mean to say it is not important, nor real, nor any less crippling for each and every individual that it gets it’s grubby mitts on. Do not mistake a common illness for a common cold. It cannot be treated with a little rest and a nasal spray. Depression is real. So, my point in titling this post as such, was to reassure each and every individual reading this that struggles with depression, anxiety or any form of mental illness, that there may be others around you that are suffering in silence… do not feel alone, do not feel weak, or silly, or a failure. It can happen to anyone. And it does.

Just be an adult already!! 

Something happened over the past few years. It happened when I wasn’t looking. I was no longer a child, I was no longer bound by the rules of my parents, with nobody to answer to. I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going, what I was doing or what time I would be back. I became an adult. 

What age does this even truly happen? Growing up, we seem to believe we’re “adults” by the time we’re 16, 18, 21. It’s a subjective theory in all honesty, something that is relative to life experience. I definitely remember feeling fairly adult at the age of 12, battling with what I saw to be “grown-up” depressive moods and thoughts, protecting myself from my aggressive step father and dealing with my ongoing internal monologue. That felt fairly adult to me. But in reality, it was a young girl, a very lost one at that, dealing with a world of adults who showcased very negative thoughts, emotions and relayed them onto my vulnerable brain. 

Now, at 23 years of age, I live in my own house with my partner, I’m studying for my degree, I’m learning to be my own person as I expect to do for the entirety of my life. I’m an enthusiast for the world, for travel, for work, for learning and for growth. I love to write. I love to walk. I am an adult. So why do I still feel as if those strings have not been cut from my childhood. I still feel like I need guidance, I still feel as if I need to answer to someone. And I still feel as if I need to cling to my childhood in order to be carefree. 

What I do that counteracts the fact that I’m an adult?

  • Everything I do I seek gratification from someone, somewhere 
  • If I have a sick day from work, I validate the fact that it is ok with a parent, my partner, or family and friends 
  • I explain every decision I make 
  • I justify myself constantly 
  • I live to please others 
  • I still feel unfulfilled, as if being a child allowed me to do more (that ironically I never seemed to take advantage of) and that adulthood results in not being able to really “live”
  • Living in a messy house – expecting someone else to clean it for me 

Why do I do this? 

  • Being an adult was always a negative thing in my younger life – adults were harsh and scary and violent and unpredictable 
  • I care what people think far too much 
  • I seek validation as I am still unsure in my own ability to decision make 
  • I have convinced myself that adult hood means working, paying bills and being unfulfilled 
  • I have a warped view of what being an independent truly means 

How could I step into my adulthood like I mean it? 

  • I need to consistently remind myself that adulthood is just a theory – it’s a concept that simply means I’m older. 
  • Remind myself that adulthood is not scary and it doesn’t mean that I have become a reflection of the adults I knew in my childhood 
  • Remember that it doesn’t change who I am – I’m still a big kid 
  • Don’t allow the concept of being grown up take away my dreams – it doesn’t mean the time frame has gone, it simply means I can choose when, where and why 
  • To learn that whilst pleasing people is ok, it shouldn’t be at the detriment of pleasing myself 
  • Remember that I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m my own person 
  • Believing in any decision that I make 
  • Keeping a tidy house in order to keep a tidy mind. 
  • Helping myself to help myself 
  • Staying in touch with my inner child and allowing myself to play and have fun 
  • Laugh more – laughing and being silly isn’t confined to being a child 
  • Working on my thoughts on what an adult is – not seeing adulthood as boring bill paying, as realistically, it changes nothing. 

I’ve got some great things to work on this summer! 

How do you live authentically in the concept of being an adult? 

3 Days of Demons: Day 1

Happy Tuesday everybody. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks, with 14 days work and university making me feel extremely tired and out of touch with everyone in my life. With things that have been going on, I feel like I’m learning more about myself everyday, and I have decided to do another series of posts, much like my “5 ways” posts a few months ago.
Over the next 3 posts I will be opening up my scrutiny of myself and my behaviours and trying to get to grips with what is going on in my subconscious. In my “3 days of demons” posts, I will be choosing a different behaviour or thought process everyday, as I try and decipher why I behave in certain ways and how I can potentially grow to change them.
It’s, in my experience, vital to be able to accept and understand your subconscious behaviours and thought processes if you stand any chance of changing them and growing. And that’s what I want to do.

I no longer want to be stuck in old patterns and to be confined by the walls of my past. And this is my attempt to do so.
So welcome to my 3 days of demons posts, and welcome inside my brain.

I would love to hear back from you all, and to try and help you understand your demons and thought processes that you would like to change.

3 days of demons day 1: My own worst enemy.

I am my own worst enemy.

How do I know this?

  • I set ridiculously high expectations for myself, and then proceed to beat myself up and punish myself when I don’t reach them. For example, in my current degree, I want to achieve 100% on every piece of work I submit. Now for a degree, with a broad range of subjects covered and assignments that are open to interpretation, this is not always attainable. With every piece of work I submit I do work my hardest, I set aside a lot of time to complete them and I really do strive for the best. In one of my most recent pieces based on the anatomy and physiology of a dog, I got 68%. This is a pass..but not a distinction (It is 2% away in fact). And in my mind I had failed. I felt really disappointed in myself, and like a failure as I had set an expectation that I can be gaining the best of the best all the time.
  • I compare myself to others far too often – why don’t I go on as many holidays as they do? Why don’t I look like that? Why can’t I be good at that? Why can’t I have those clothes? Again, at university recently we had to sit an exam. When I got my results back I was thrilled to gain 94%…until I heard that someone else in the group got 99%. I was really upset with myself. At what stage is it acceptable to be upset with 94%??
  • I get irritable and frustrated and become aware that I need to be alone to wait it out…but I still surround myself with people I love and end up snapping at them.
  • I have far too much belief and hope that others will behave the way I would, and look to myself as the reason why they are not. I punish myself and question my own morals when people let me down. I don’t believe in who I am.
  • I often convince myself I am ugly, unattractive, over weight and that I hate my body – yet I do nothing to fix this.
  • I am often in fear of fear itself. I can be more than confident about going to an event, or doing something with my family etc, until I remember that I’m not a normal person in a normal brain. That negative voice in my head steps to centre stage and reminds me what a panic attack feels like, and I live in fear of having another one.

These are just a few examples of how I am, or can be, my own worst enemy. Particularly the events related to my degree have recently made me question why I beat myself up so often and am so quick to punish myself for not fulfilling the vision of perfection that I seem to want to be.

How can I fix this?

I definitely need to understand why I seek perfection all the time, perhaps due to the fact that I wanted attention from my parents at a younger age and as I was never sporty I needed to gain their acceptance through my grades and being perfectly behaved. I need to remind myself that others cannot be controlled and I am not responsible for their behaviour – if somebody upsets me or acts in a negative way towards me, this does not take away from me as a person, and it doesn’t change that I am a good person. I need to continually appreciate what I have in my own life, instead of looking at the things that others have, and wanting the things that I don’t need or that aren’t good for me, in the face of needing to be this perfect vision again. I need to learn that “stuff” does not define me. What others have does not mean they are happy. I do not need to be like anyone else, I just need to be me!

I need to reassure myself when I look in the mirror that I am beautiful, because I am me. And I shouldn’t need anyone else to tell me that in order for me to believe it. I shouldn’t seek acceptance for the way I look from anyone else other than the mirror. I should be happy that I have a body that works and functions, as many people don’t. I also need to remind myself that 9.5 stone is not overweight. Whilst I am bigger than I’ve ever been before, that is because I am in a good place with my eating disorders and manage to eat in 9.9 out of 10 situations now. My eating habits are better because I am happier and surely thats more important than a few extra pounds around the stomach?! And if I really want to make a change, I need to stop making excuses and get in the gym, get out in the fresh air or on my bike and get that weight off me!!

I need to spend more time reaffirming the positive voice in my head, and being able to quieten the negative one, before she takes her place in the drivers seat. I need to continue to choose to live a life of happiness and not slip back into old habits because they feel like comfortable old clothes, because the thing is they are not beneficial to me, and they lead me to unhappiness.I need to allow myself to be alone, and to take a breath before I snap at those around me who just want to show me love. I need to remember that at the end of the day, there is only me, I am the only person I can truly rely on, and therefore that person should be the best that she can be, not perfect, not a vision of a billboard or a perfectionist society, but the truest form of “me” that I can be, and someone who is truly happy in their own skin. That’s all I need. I need to support myself, congratulate myself on my successes and appreciate that a success is not defined by 100% perfectionism, but instead it is continuing to try, to use resources, to test yourself and to be better than the person I was yesterday.

As of today, I am my own best friend. Goodbye to enemies.

 

Its beginning to look a lot like…the time for social anxiety

Christmas is wonderful. And I genuinely mean that. I love the cosy nights in, the mulled wine, the snuggles under the tree, the shopping, the lights, the laughter, the family time, the wintery walks, the trips to see santa with my god daughter…I just love it all.

What I don’t love, is the social anxiety that comes with the season.

The invites to parties, the work christmas do, the drinks at friends houses, all of the festive outings. It can all get a bit overwhelming. Two days before my first proper work christmas party, I’m starting to get those butterflies that I know are telling me I’m anxious. And I really hope I can overcome it.

I have suffered with social anxiety for years and years. This used to manifest itself so terribly that I was physically ill (vomiting, stomach ache, dizzy etc) and tended to just shut myself behind my bedroom door and miss all the fun, in fear of the fear itself. I used to let down the people that I love the most, unable to get the courage to just push myself that little bit further.

I have grown a lot since then, and I have achieved many things socially that tell me I can do anything I want to do now. So why is that niggling fear still at the back of my brain? And why does it persist even now? Why does social anxiety stick around long after you think you’ve gotten over it?

In my opinion, old habits die hard. I lived 22 years within my 99% anxiety focussed brain. And 1 year outside of that percentage has been wonderful yes, but my habitual brain at times directs me to those old habits, wanting me to fall back into patterns of anxiety and seclusion.

How can I avoid that this year?

  • Remind myself how much I want to socialise – I don’t want to miss out, I want to have fun, I want to laugh with my friends and make memories and form strong bonds with people.
  • Be authentically myself – the real me, the truest presentation of myself, is fun-loving, silly, constantly giggling, confident, funny and happy. And this is the person I need to channel.
  • Be present – I need to stop myself from thinking about what could happen, what used to happen, and what I used to be afraid of.
  • Remember how far I’ve come – I must remember that I am not the person I once was
  • Believe in myself
  • Think about all the great things I have accomplished that were much bigger than a Christmas social occasion – who would have ever thought that little old me would have been on 2 holidays this year! I have been living outside my bubble of anxiety, and living the life I want to, I will not go backwards!
  • Remember that anxiety has no hold over me
  • Enjoy myself – allow myself to just have fun and let my hair down
  • Ignore my unhelpful thoughts – “you can’t do this”, “what if you’re sick”, “what if people notice”…these are all old voices in my head that have no control over me now, and have no place in my new life. I will not succumb to these evils anymore.
  • Remember that in my own company and in my own body I am safe – I have got my own back, I will protect myself
  • Act my age – I am 23 years of age and I should be out having fun, I don’t need to spend anymore of my life locked behind a door in fear of fear itself.
  • Allow myself to be happy

I am determined to make this Christmas season my best and most social yet, and not be bound by the fears of my past. I have written a list of all the things I want to do this Christmas, and that includes lots of socialising, fun and laughs with friends, family and my loved ones.

Wishing you all the best, bravest Christmas season to date x

It’s a balancing act

We’ve all been there…up at the break of dawn to get ready for work, racing out the door with our breakfast in hand, sipping umpteen cups of coffee to try and get started, spending all day racing around working super hard, coming home, walking the dog (insert looking after children if applicable), making dinner, eating dinner, making lunch for the next day, cleaning, having a shower and getting in bed. Sleep, and repeat.

It can all too often feel like we’re racing around at 100mph, only stopping to sleep and eat, and getting nothing out of our lives except just earning enough money to pay the bills for a house we are rarely in. And at the centre of this mad lifestyle? Worry. (Check out my recent post – Why it is so important to worry less for more on this)

I once went to a counsellor, one who really helped me see that the balance in my life was totally off kilter, who gave me some great advice about keeping my life in order, and making time for all the things that are important to me, without feeling overwhelmed. She proposed the life grid. By creating a life grid, inputting all of things that are important to you in your life, and all the things you want to achieve and spend time on, you can see the compartments of your life, and therefore assess which ones you need to spend more time on, which ones consume your life, and week on week you can dedicate your time to making sure one area of your life gets the attention it deserves, switching it up when possible.

This is my current life grid (sorry for the bad quality). It has recently been changed with the introduction of my course, and my new working patterns but it can be so easily changed as things in your life change.

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This week for example, I have been working a lot, and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information that I have taken in, my physical exhaustion and my sensitivity over the more difficult side to my job. As a result, I was going home sad and drained from my working day. This went on for a couple of days: sleep, work, worry, sleep, work, worry. I then decided I wasn’t getting enough ‘good stuff’ from the rest of my life that would undoubtedly put me in a better position to deal with the difficult times at work, and the stresses of daily life. So I decided I needed a day dedicated to walking my dog and enjoying the surroundings. And that’s what I did, and this is what it looked like…

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Pure peace, bliss, beauty and fun.It is so important not to get swept away upon a path of stress, worry and exhaustion because you simply use every spare minute to do something practical like clean or do an extra bit of work for the office. Spend some of your spare time doing things that you love, and doing things that make your life fulfilled. Balance is the key to a happy and fulfilled life.

The blues

Since my “5 ways…” posts, I feel I’ve gone a little quiet – both virally and personally. I’ve been ill again, ended up in the out of hours doctors, picked up another infection and possibly now a virus. So, I have the blues. 

I have been trying to hard to ensure that my physical condition doesn’t affect my mental state and my mood, however as I move into my fourth week of feeling lethargic, unwell, sick, dizzy, achy and general under the weather, I can safely say I’ve had my fill! 

I’m missing out on things. I’m bored of staring at the same four walls, but not quite well enough to go out and live my life as normal. My energy levels fall very quickly, and the pain I am in makes me angry at myself, frustrated and irritable. 

I’m not a person who does well just sat constantly doing nothing. At first, I enjoyed a bit of me time, watching back to back Pretty Little Liars, and eating biscuits. Now however, I’ve had enough. I don’t feel like me. At all. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything that makes me me, anything that I enjoy, I feel frumpy and horrible and lacking in self confidence as a result. I want to leave the house but I don’t want to be seen like this. Catch 22 anyone? 

My life is a constant time warp between when I need to take my medications and when I feel like I need to take them…which is always!

I’m trying very hard to keep my mood high, by catching up with friends on the phone or just inviting them round to see me, taking the dog on short walks, eating nice foods, watching TV, sitting in the sun etc. I’ve tried to remind myself that four weeks post laparoscopy I should be proud of how far I’ve come.

I need to allow myself more time to heal, as that is what my body is asking for. Turns out I’m just not so good at listening! 

5 ways I have taken steps towards eradicating my eating disorders

Welcome to the first of my “5 ways” post.  For the next 5 days, I will be posting about 5 ways in which I have conquered something, changed something, improved something or managed something in my life.  The aim of this is to not only see how I have grown in different areas, but also to prove to anybody reading this that overcoming and changing things is possible, and to hopefully help to give recipes for which to do so.

So, without further ado…

5 ways I have taken steps towards eradicating my eating disorders

If you have kept up to date with my blog, you will know that from a very young age, I have suffered greatly with my relationship with food, and tried to develop ways in which I could change this, often to no avail. I have had anorexia, binge eating disorder and bulimia on and off since I was 8 years old, and still to this day on occasion feel more in control of my body if it is empty. I have battled and fought hard for years to change my disordered eating habits. How have I taken the steps to do so?

1.Doing my research – I have researched into how not eating and controlling your food intake in a negative way affects your body, your organs and your mind.  In doing so, I almost scared myself into making little steps into changing my eating. By researching what could happen to my body if I continued my eating patterns, I saw how dangerous it truly was.  When you skip two meals a day, starve your body, and then overfill it, followed by making yourself violently sick, your body is driven to the extreme. I took for granted how lucky I was to not have any serious problems, but the fear of what could happen to my body if I continued these dangerous habits, definitely did hit me like a tonne of bricks. I needed to make a change!  I would like to share with you the information I found on the National Eating Disorders website:

Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa

In anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation, the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally.  Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in serious medical consequences:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing.  The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
  • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
  • Muscle loss and weakness.
  • Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
  • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
  • Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
  • Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa

The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions.  Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:

  • Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.  Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
  • Potential for gastric rupture during periods of bingeing.
  • Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
  • Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
  • Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels
  • Type II diabetes mellitus
  • Gallbladder disease

2. Listening to my body – In a similar way to the research I had carried out, another way I realised that my eating disorders were dangerous, was in the signs of my own health.  I have always seen myself as a ‘sickly person’, which here means that I picked up every cough, cold and bug that was within 100 miles of my location. I now realise that as a result of having an empty body, not nourishing myself and trying to run my body with no fuel, I left my immune system weak and a target for attack. When I finally realised how much feeling poorly and picking up all of these illnesses was affecting my life, I knew this had to stop. Hand in hand with my anxiety of social situations, and my depression wanting to keep me indoors, I used to miss out on things I wanted to do with my friends, as I simply felt too poorly, or had no energy. I can totally see why! You can’t expect a car to move with no petrol in it! When I realised the effect that this was taking on my body, and the lack of energy I had, alongside always feeling unwell, I began to make a change. I began to listen to my body. Although there are still times where physically my body is hungry and my anxiety implores me not to eat, in the main I do listen to when my body needs food, and when I should stop eating. I listen to my body rather than my mind, and as a result I no longer make myself sick. I have realised that my body needs the food, and to process it to release energy throughout the day. I now put my physical health well up there in my priorities – especially following my recent operation – and this has allowed me to see the importance of regular food intake and encouraged me to listen to what my body needs. In doing so, I have gained the confidence to eat out in public – something that I never thought I could do and used to induce terrible panic attacks. If my body wants it, my body gets it!

3. Forgiveness for myself – one of the most important things I have learned to do is to forgive myself. I forgive myself if I can’t eat lunch that one day, or if I eat too much the next. Because I know what not eating at all felt like, I know how far I have come and how much the uphill struggle has nearly pushed me over the edge, and I am proud of myself. And that deserves forgiveness for the slips, and for the past.

4. Allowing myself to eat what I want, when I want it – I will never be a breakfast eater.  If you call 11am readiness to eat breakfast, then I guess I can do breakfast.  However, upon first waking, I simply couldn’t think of anything worse than eating. I know, I know, they say it is the most important meal of the day. But I still know my own body…I’ve been in it for 22 years! My body simply isn’t ready for food in the morning, and I need a little warming up before I’m ready to eat. But I allow that. And if I want brunch, followed immediately by lunch, I’ll allow that. If I want two lunches, I will. If I want 7 meals a day, I will do that too. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, and I am super lucky to have a fast metabolism that means my eating ups and downs doesn’t really seem to have much effect on my weight at the moment, but it works for me. I feel differently every day, and I eat what I want, when I want.  This particular rule has made me feel more in control of my eating habits, and taken the pressure off myself. I am not the same as everyone else, and neither are you! We do not have to stick to the “norm” and eat 3 meals a day with a few snacks here and there. People who have suffered from eating disorders can eat when the hell they want!! It’s a celebration that we feel comfortable enough to eat, and no longer feel constricted by dangerous habits.

5. No longer listening to the opinions of others – leading on from the idea that we do not have to follow the “norm” of 3 set meals a day, another way that I have taken a step forward into the eradication of my disordered eating, is to stop listening to what others think about my eating habits.  If I had a pound/dollar/insert currency here for every time someone had commented on my not eating being “weird” or been questioned as to “why aren’t you eating?”, I would be a millionaire in all four corners of the world. I used to worry so much about what people thought, that it would make me more anxious, and therefore even less likely to eat.  It was a vicious circle. But why should I let small-minded, sheltered individuals who simply don’t understand dictate my health? I decided that I no longer care for the opinions of people who judge without asking caring questions. They just want to pass judgement, not find out if I am okay. And those are the people we need to ignore. Those are the people that bring us down. Ignore, and be you!

I’ve still got a long journey ahead to be happy with where I am in my little eating bubble, but my progression has exceeded anything I ever expected, and I am truly proud of myself. This was one of my biggest problems, and the improvements have genuinely changed my life for the better. Here’s to more growth, more change, and more food!

A lot can happen in a year! 

One whole year ago today, I started my WordPress blog. 

12 months ago, I decided it was time to grow, and be honest.

52 weeks ago I found somewhere to share my innermost thoughts, and somewhere to escape to. In the process, I have been lucky enough to be in contact with some of the most supportive people I could have ever wished to know. 
365 days ago, The Suitcase Kid came to life. 

  
So what has The Suitcase Kid done for me? Well, what hasn’t this blog space done for me? I’ve realised that in getting my inner most thoughts and confusions off my chest, I can leave them behind, and let them go. In letting my baggage go, I can lessen the weight on my shoulders and give in to just enjoying my life. 

In the past year, in the main without counselling or therapy, I have become a stronger, better person, in ways that I never thought possible. I have become braver, more honest, more independent, less anxious, less sad, more real, more grounded and more human. I can feel now, I can feel what it is to be happy, to be excited and to enjoy. 

In the last year, I have realised that I can do it. I can live a life of happiness, and I no longer need to choose pain and sadness. 

On the anniversary of The Suitcase Kid, I would like to thank you for reading and keeping up with me, for checking in, and for making sure I am ok. I thank you for writing your posts, as reading them have helped me through harder days. 

Here is to our first year Suitcase Kid, and here is to many, many more

Why am I proud of myself today?

Ive had a bit of an emotional day today, and if I’m honest, I’ve probably felt it coming on for the past couple of days. I am still recovering from my operation, and still having good days and bad days, the worst of which include taking very strong painkillers and staying in bed all day. I’ve been overdoing it though. I’ve had my family visiting, and as I don’t get to spend too much time with them, I have pushed my body further than I should have, considering today marks 2 weeks since my operation date. My body is still healing, yet I have been out walking, drinking, out for dinner… 

Too much, too soon. 

My body has obviously been reacting to being pushed too far, and as a result I am laid up in bed today feeling very sorry for myself. There has been tears and frustration today. I’ve felt like a failure. It has almost felt as if I have let myself down by stopping, and for not being able to carry on. My body reacted to being pushed to its limits by making me sick, dizzy and feel all out of sorts. 

I decided it’s important to listen to my body, and to recognise that I need to rest. My body is still in the healing process, and whilst I’ve done some lovely things over the past week, I am not super human! As I’ve been feeling wrongly disappointed in myself today, and a little flat mood-wise, I decided to make a conscious effort to remind myself all that I should be proud of myself for. And once I got writing, as always, I was surprised by how much I had done in the way of success. 

Let me share…

   
 
In case you can’t read my very messy scrawl, I shall share with you: 

Why am I proud of myself today? 

  • I got out of bed, when I really didn’t feel well enough too – I chose not to wallow in my self pity 
  • Today, I truly recognising that I succeeded last night – I ate dinner, in a restaurant, a busy restaurant, with my family. I was ok – and I even had fun! 
  • I ate breakfast today – I tried at least! Even if it did resurface, I recognised that I was not sick because I ate food, but because I was unwell, and they are different! 
  • I went for a walk. 
  • I listened to my body when I knew it needed rest and cancelled plans to do so – I come first! 
  • I allowed myself some alone time because that is exactly what I needed. 
  • I set up a direct debit to my local animal charity, and have sent an application form to become a volunteer – I feel so good about this. 
  • I fought off anxiety 
  • I let myself cry because I needed to! 
  • I forgave myself for being human. 
  • I wrote this list – which allows me to see how much good 24 hours can do! 

Writing this list has made me see that allowing myself to be human, needing to rest, and celebrating my successes is just what I needed today. 

Every negative day must have a positive point, it’s just about seeking it. 

THE SUITCASE KID GOES GLOBAL

Ok so the title of this blog post is perhaps a little hyperbolic. But everyone loves someone who reaches for the stars right?

What am I on about this time you ask…?

I am so beyond excited to share with you that my self-help diary, ‘The Diaries of A Suitcase Kid’, is now available as an e-book! Yes, little old me has an e-book available! I cannot tell you how exciting this project is for me, it has always been an aim of mine, since I was tiny and used to write gobbledegook on the computer, to publish something. How humbling this opportunity is, to have my words accessible to the whole world – much more than my blog, but actual pieces of my soul, on paper, for all to read.

What is it? Well, ‘The Diaries of A Suitcase Kid‘ is just what it says on the tin. An honest diary filled with accounts of the highs and lows of suffering with mental illness. Whilst it is a self-help book of sorts, I like to think of it as taking a whole new twist on the self-help genre. My e-book is here not to preach, and certainly not to patronise, but instead, to say the words you perhaps cannot. It speaks the truth of the ups and the downs, the worst days and the good days. Topics covered include self-harm and suicide, eating disorders, relationships, friends, loss of sexual drive and broken homes, alongside generalised musings re: mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. ‘The Diaries’, is full of honest accounts of what mental illness really feels like, through the medium of ramblings and poetry, with the aim to make you feel less alone. It truly captures the essence of my story and my journey so far, and is hopefully the first chapter in a series of Diaries. I perhaps see this as the worst chapter really but the most important, the chapter of self-awareness – the awareness that everything really was shit and something had to give!

Through this project, I hope to share with you the same kinds of things you can find on my blog, but with a hard copy that you can keep and refer back to. It includes diary entries, some very similar to what you find on here, exclusive content, poetry, and a self help tasks guide at the end of all the things that have helped me. I want you to read and to enjoy. I most of all, want you to never feel alone.

You can now buy the e-book of Diaries of A Suitcase Kid for your kindle, iPhone, iPad and other reading devices.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013JG8HT2 

Follow the above link, or search e-books for your currency version 🙂 

Thank you for your ongoing and unrelenting support as ever. I truly hope you purchase, enjoy, read and reread, highlight, print, share, laugh, cry and most of all relate!!

I am ever so happy to share this journey with my followers, a lot of whom have become genuine friends.

Sending much love.