Tuesday, 5 July 2016

6 Months On...

Back in February I made a post called "Time To Talk". I discussed finally getting help for depression and anxiety after suffering in silence for 8 or 9 years.
I've now been on medication for 6 months so I thought I'd give an honest update of how these 6 months have been for me.

I began my prescription of 20mg Citalopram at the beginning of January. The first day was horrendous. I felt very light headed, unbalanced and nauseous all day and I just spent the day laid on my bed. I did a lot of Googling (as always...) and this seemed to be a thing that happened to others so I just put up with it. I remember being a bit scared to carry on taking them but I did and the feelings from the previous day didn't continue.

However, the first week I got the majority of the common side effects stated in the leaflet. I felt sick constantly. I couldn't eat anything. And my main problem was that I couldn't sleep at all. In January I was still working and that required me getting up at 7am and being in work 8.30-5/5.30 but, I'd still be wide awake come 4am. I would be exhausted all day and my eyes would be dropping but the moment I got into bed, I was wide awake. I ended up sticking Netflix on for hours in the hope it would make me drop off. (I did find out that I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine though and powered through it very quickly. Swings and roundabouts.)
The other side effects of feeling sick and having no appetite went after a couple of weeks but the insomnia was destroying me. I wrote about not being able to sleep too, here.

An odd side effect I have had is that I've lost the ability to cry. I have Googled this but I can't find many others that have had this and other people I know on the medication haven't really experienced it either. It feels like all the emotions I could feel have just been drained out of me. The second week I was on the medication, I went to see The Danish Girl at the cinema. I am a crier. Especially a film crier. This is the kind of film I would have cried at. But I just sat there, and I felt nothing. My friend was sobbing and I knew it was sad but I just didn't feel anything. Since then I've only managed the odd few tears a handful of times. It sounds odd to complain about not being able to cry, when I previously spent so much time crying, but it's frustrating not being able to. Sometimes you just need a good cry!

In February I gave myself the whole month to do whatever I wanted; to be selfish. I let myself wake up whenever I naturally did. It was really nice to not have to be woken by an alarm, even though I wasn't actually getting that much sleep still. I managed to nap for an hour or so a few times during the day, which I never used to do. I just did whatever I wanted, when I wanted and I really needed that time to just feel relaxed and free. I also began my course of CBT. I was doing it online via an app. The app is full of programmes, tools and techniques to control and manage anxiety. My reviewer checked in every two weeks to see how I was getting on and ask me questions. I can send him messages and there is a journal I can put everything that's on my mind in that I find really useful.

In March I began working from home. For the first couple of weeks I left my alarm off and let myself wake up naturally. I put my alarm on from the middle of the month and have it on for the same time every weekday now. I make sure I get changed everyday even if it is just putting on my scruffy jogging bottoms. Just as long as I change out of what I slept in. I really enjoy the work I'm doing now and being able to do it at home in my own time. My bosses have been so supportive to me during all of this.
I could definitely tell I was feeling a lot clearer. My mind didn't wander off to dark places and make me think bad thoughts. I talked to my family a lot more and joined in conversations at tea time. The sleep problem was still bothering me and my doctor prescribed me sleeping pills for 10 days. I mentioned in the sleep post that although the tablets got me to sleep quicker, they didn't make me feel any better and once they ended I had the worst night yet. I decided with my doctor, and also my CBT reviewer, that it would have to be something I have to just let pass and use relaxation techniques etc to help make getting to sleep easier (easier said than done).

I have missed one day of medication and I was okay until later in the day when I didn't feel well at all. Could have been coincidence? There have also been a couple of times when I have taken the pill a few hours later than I usually do and this also makes me feel very sluggish and I don't tend to have good days then.
I have now finished my course of CBT and my results from it show that my anxiety levels have improved from when I started. I found it really useful and doing it online meant I could work through it in my own time. I still get access to the app and materials on it for another year too so I don't feel like I've been thrown into the wilderness to go it alone.
I definitely feel like working from home has helped. I love what I'm doing now but I am getting a bit worried about my financial situation and the future. With working from home though I do need to make sure I go outside most days. I've got really into walking around the park where I live but some days that seems like too much and I end up just walking to Tesco and back!
Also, after 6 very long months... this last couple of weeks I have managed to sleep!! I don't want to jinx this but I haven't struggled getting to sleep. I haven't lay awake wondering when my eyes will close. I haven't been tossing and turning for hours. I'm still going to sleep quite late but I've got into the habit of only going to bed later now, however I ham managing to get 7 or 8 hours in most nights! Hallelujah! Hopefully this isn't a blip and it continues...

And now, this last month or so I have noticed I have had a lot more bad days than I've had since beginning medication. Once I started medication I was just having the odd bad day and then I'd be good to go again the next. Recently it's been constant bad days for about 5 weeks. I was scared that I've got too used to the medication and the effect is wearing off but I did the right thing and went to the doctors before I started feeling worse and back to my old self. I have been prescribed a slightly higher dosage so hopefully this will have a positive effect. And hopefully it doesn't sned my sleeping crazy again..!

Overall I am pleased with my progress in such a short space of time. It makes me even more annoyed at myself that I let myself struggle for so long. I'm so lucky and grateful that I have good people in my life who have been supportive.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Monthly Playlist: June

Another month, another playlist. This month is quite upbeat, which seems necessary right now.

Orange is the New Black was back this month so obviously the theme song is in there. As well as the song from the closing credits of episode 1... I'll see if you can work out which one it is.
New songs from Kaiser Chiefs and Bastille came out and I love them both quite a lot.
Plus a few new finds and a bunch of rediscoveries.


Monday, 20 June 2016

When Twitter Attacks...

I had quite an eventful couple of days on Twitter last week. I have written my full version of the story over on Freudian Sluts so please go read that - LINK.
I did just want to briefly mention it on here though.

So what happened? Gymnast Louis Smith posted an image onto Instagram which sexualised a woman (who was 16 in the photo) and the woman was a member of the same sport as Smith. He was called out on this by others but I shared screenshots and tweets on Twitter after Smith replied to my on Instagram proving he did not understand why people were complaining about the image.

A day or so later I began getting a lot of tweets. A LOT. Curious, I did a twitter search. The Daily Mail used my tweets to make an article about the situation. And then a lot of other national news and viral sites ran the story. I'm sure you can imagine the type of tweets I was getting. I must have got over 300. It became quite the exhausting day with comments ranging from "lol fucking feminist" right through to actual death threats.

It was SO frustrating that neither Smith nor the people tweeting my just DID NOT UNDERSTAND why the whole thing is a problem.
Everything is in the Freudian Sluts article so please please go read that. It has all the details and screenshots and I'd really appreciate if you would have a read of it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

May Favourites

Monthly favourites time. I feel like May lasted AGES and I have a nice little selection of things I have enjoyed this month. HERE WE GO...


OBVIOUSLY it goes without saying that Disneyland was my favourite place everything this month. I have posted some photos already that you can see here. It was so magical and I got to spend it with my best friends. I can't wait til I can go back again.


I decided a bit ago I wanted a denim jacket and I was going to put a load of awesome patches all over it. In my head I saw the perfect jacket - as is always the case - and I managed to find it on ASOS. It was the perfect length and colour and I've hardly taken it off since I bought it. I did have patches on it, however they have fallen off, dammit. Going to have to see if I know how to sew...
The jacket is here but it looks like most sizes have sold out now, sorry!


There's actually a few products to mention here... Firstly, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer. I saw this getting mixed reviews but then I saw a video and it looked like it did a good job so I decided to try it. I'm not a huge fan of how grubby it looks after sticking your finger in a few times BUT the product itself is amazing. It has great coverage, works perfectly under my eyes and on blemishes and it sticks around all day.

Next is the Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor from Revlon. I have the shade Seduction. It feels very comfortable on the lips and doesn't dry them out, like "ultra matte" suggests. I tend to wear the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Pencil in 'Eastend Snob' underneath and the colour of the two of them together is perfection.

My friend bought me a H&M mask for my birthday. This was my first delve into H&M Beauty and I think I am hooked. She got me the Charcoal & Pumice mask with walnut and fig and, is for tired looking skin. It is an exfoliating mask so it contains little gritty bits (scientific name). I put it all over my face for 20-30 minutes then rub it in with a little warm water before taking it off with a flannel. I noticed a difference immediately! My skin looked so bright and felt so soft. I managed to get 2/3 uses out the little pot and I have already bought more. H&M, please can you put this is a big pot!?

When I went to buy more of the mask my eye was drawn to a can of "dry conditioner". Dry shampoo, sure... never heard of dry conditioner. But I was more than intrigued so I bought it. It claims to provide instant softness as well as being lightweight and hydrating. I don't know what witchcraft it possesses but my hair definitely felt softer and it doesn't feel heavy or like I have a lot of product in my hair. I even managed to get away with third day hair as well with this stuff! HURRAY!


I finally jumped on the bandwagon a year after everyone else and read The Girl On The Train and oh boy does it live up to the hype. I have wanted to read it for a while and then with the film coming out later this year I wanted to read it first. I'm not a great book reviewer but the story is great and I was hooked. I kept telling myself I'd just read a couple of chapters and then 2 hours would have passed. If you liked Gone Girl, I'd definitely recommend this. Very much looking forward to the film now.


This month I watched a documentary on Netflix called She's Beautiful When She's Angry. It follows American women during the second wave of feminism in the 60/70s. It talks about gender gaps, abortion, jobs, women of colour, sexuality and so many more feminist issues. It has clips from during the time as well as interviews from the women who where involved in the movement. It is incredibly good and I'd recommend it to anyone. It shows how just how much things haven't changed a lot in 50 years in terms of equality and how important feminism is.


Since Better Call Saul season 2 finished (which was INCREDIBLE!) I decided to rewatch Breaking Bad. Now that I've recently watched BCS, the connections between the two shows are even more obvious and my rewatch has just confirmed that Breaking Bad is probably my favourite TV show ever. The characters are amazing, the cinematography is beautiful and man, that soundtrack!

What have you been loving in May? Any the same as me?

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Monthly Playlist: May

This month's playlist is actually the shortest so far. I was in Disneyland for a few days at the start of the month, and I managed to only put one Disney song on the playlist. That's quite impressive, no?
I did rediscover some old favourites and found some new music this month though. Also... totally obsessed with the new Justin Timberlake song.

I have also listened to Cake By The Ocean literally every single day, numerous times, but it was on February's playlist so I have tried to restrain myself from just making a 90 minute playlist of that song.

Here's May...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I'm A College Drop Out

It's got to that point of the year where students are doing exams in order to get in to college, university or, a job with their degree. They're stressed, the pressure is high and it feels like if you mess up then you will have ruined your life.
So, I wanted to share my story with education...

Without being big-headed, I am intelligent. I was in the top sets at school, I did my Maths GCSE a year earlier and I got straight A's in my exams. In school, our form tutor used to give us all end of year "awards" for things we had done throughout the year. In final year my award was "Most Likely To Succeed".
At school we were all just told the route is GCSEs > A Levels > Degree > Job. That terrified me. I had no idea what I wanted to do (I still don't) and in the back of my head I also knew I didn't want to go to university at all. Nobody in my family has ever been to university so we have all grown up around the idea of going to school and then getting a job... and that's what I wanted to do.

I did my GCSEs, I did incredibly well and I enrolled for A Levels. All my friends did and I didn't know what else to do. From the very first day of college I hated it. I presumed it was just the change I didn't like so I left it to settle and to get used to things. But I hated it more and more every week. In hindsight, I knew that it just wasn't for me. I wasn't doing things I enjoyed and I wasn't getting anything from it.
Whilst I was at college I got my first job in retail. It was just a weekend job and it was a very low wage but it made me feel so good. It made me feel good to be earning money, meeting people, feeling useful and being independent.

As the college year got further on, I struggled more and more and I started skiving a lot of lessons. I live so close to college that I'd just go home and couldn't be bothered going back. I remember going to the doctors at one point because I was feeling constantly sick and I was told that it was stress.
You should not be suffering from stress at 17 because of education.

My mental health suffered badly. I wasn't eating properly, I wasn't motivated to do anything but I didn't know what to do to get out. I felt like I'd be letting down my family, friends, teachers if I quit. They all expected so much from me - "Most Likely To Succeed" was in my head constantly.
Around March/April time I decided to speak to someone. I did Psychology and I loved it. It was the only thing I enjoyed, I loved the tutor too and, felt comfortable around her. I went to find her during break but she wasn't in her room. That tipped me over the edge. I sat on the floor in the middle of the corridor and sobbed. She eventually found me crying outside her room and told me she knew I wasn't okay. She was amazing. She put me in contact with the student councillor, who spoke to all my tutors on my behalf.

I was then able to decide that I knew I had to leave college, for my own health. At this point, I only had a month or so left of the first year and whilst I couldn't bear to be there and I had so much work left to do, I stayed to do my AS exams. I saw the councillor every day and I did my work in a room with her where I could be on my own in the quiet.
I sat my exams and by some kind of miracle I actually did incredibly well. But I knew I couldn't carry on and do it all over again, especially with no intention on going to university. I signed a form to officially say I was leaving and I instantly felt lighter.
I called work and told them what I had done and they immediately gave me full time hours. I have worked and been independent ever since and I'm so proud of myself for that. I've now been working for 7/8 years, earning my own money and buying my own things without relying on anyone else.

I'm not writing this to put anyone off going into further education. If you want to go, that's amazing and I wish you all the luck in the world. This is just my story. I felt pressured into going to college and university when it wasn't what I wanted. I was made to feel that by dropping out, I would have rubbish jobs for the rest of my life. But that's not true.
And I wish I had known that sooner and I wish school hadn't put so much pressure on. Some people don't belong in education and that is okay.

And hey, whilst I don't have a degree... I also don't have a load of debt ;)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Disneyland Paris in Photos

Last week I spent four days in Disneyland Paris. I have been before when I was three but I barely remember anything so I'm taking this time as my first real time in Disneyland.
The weather was amazing, we got to do everything we wanted and just had the best time!
Instead of me rambling too much, here are some photos I took over the few days we were there.

Obligatory castle photo

I already can't wait until I can go back again.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Monthy Playlist: April

I think this month's playlist is my favourite yet. It's a good mix of classics, throwbacks and some new discoveries.
Particular favourites are Gay Pirates by Cosmo Jarvis. The actual story and lyrics are the song are pretty heartbreaking but it is great and important and I've loved it. It was brought to my attention by Becki's Freudian Sluts Playlist.
Cool For Cats by Squeeze is a song I first heard when I was very young and I have always loved it. It recently came on when I was driving and I have very much been enjoying singing along in a cockney accent.
And after seeing the new Jungle Book, of course I had to put a song in the playlist!

I'm actually going to Disneyland on Tuesday (!!) so I'm sure May will have even more Disney in it.

Here is April Playlist in full to put in your ears.

Friday, 29 April 2016

April Favourites

We all love a "Favourites" post... even if they are incredibly enabling. I used to love doing these on my old blog, and I always watch Youtubers Favourites.
So I'm bringing in back but instead of just being beauty, I'm going to basically included everything I have loved this month. Beauty, TV, games etc etc etc. Mainly because my beauty routine is pretty constant right now and there isn't really that much newness to talk about.
Having said that, let's start with beauty...


It was my birthday this month and my friend, Nicola, was an absolute babe and got me one of the Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani lipsticks. The shade is "Ex Girlfriend" which is a beautiful everyday nude. It is quite sheer but can be built up for a more opaque finish. I usually wear it on top of MAC's Soar lip liner. The formula is so creamy and soft! I've never used an UD lipstick before but I am definitely keen to try more now. Also, can we just talk about the Gwen Stefani packaging? -heart eyes-


I tried to pick one but I'm going to cheat and just put this down as "New Disney Films". This month I saw the two newest releases from Disney and I loved them both. First I saw Zootropolis. I talked about that in this post, but I loved it so much. The way it discusses discrimination and prejudice is amazing. It has great characters, a great story and it's very funny.
The second Disney film I saw was the live action remake of The Jungle Book. I wasn't sure what to think of this. In general, I am sick of all the remakes and especially as all the ones so far have, quite frankly, been rubbish. The cast of The Jungle Book looked amazing though and then the reviews started coming out and they were all great so I was a little more excited... It is brilliant! It is exactly what a live action remake should be. It kept the songs!! I genuinely believe this is were other films have gone wrong. The cast was perfect and with them all being just voice cast, it didn't take away from the character they were playing. The boy playing Mowgli was incredible. They did such a good job relating it to the animated version and I absolutely love how it ends with a book closing รก la all the classic Disney films. I'm really looking forward to Beauty and the Beast next year now.


My favourite TV show this month, and probably going to be one of the year's favourites, is Line of Duty. I'd never actually heard of it before but this month the third series started. I saw a lot of hype about it and then noticed series 1 and 2 on Netflix. So I watched it all in a weekend (obviously) so I could watch the current series. It is a police drama focusing on the Anti Corruption Unit who are trying to uncover corrupt police officers within the force. I won't spoil anything but the series 3 finale was on last night and it was an incredibly tense 90 minutes of my life. I was getting angry watching it (because the story and characters are just SO GOOD) and I was fully exhausted by the time it had finished. Highly recommend!


This is a bit of an odd category for me as I'm not a massive game player, so I doubt it will feature every month. But again, I'm cheating by grouping two games together. And again, it has a Disney theme.
First up is Disney's Magic Kingdoms. This is game in which you build your own Disneyland!! You complete tasks to unlock new characters and rides. I am fully addicted.
Second is Disney Crossy Road. When the original Crossy Road came out, I was a bit addicted. Then they brought a Disney version out. Again, you can collect all the characters to play as and literally all you do is cross a road without being hit or falling in the river. It sounds boring but... I can't stop playing.


I have got quite into reading this year (finally!) and my friend, Katie, sent me a few books for my birthday. One was a little book called "We Should All be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is a Nigerian lady and this was originally a TED Talk she gave which she has expanded and published. It is a great little read especially for people wanting to understand feminism more and why it is important. I really enjoyed reading about her experiences when she was living back in Nigeria and how the attitudes of the men there towards women are. The TED Talk is on Youtube too, if you can't get hold of the book. 


Here is April's playlist... 

What are you loving at the moment? Any the same as me?

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

"Why Are You Wearing Makeup?"

Do you have a really kick ass lipstick? Or have you just used your hard earned money to treat yourself to a new eyeshadow palette?
And then, do you leave them on your dressing table wondering when you will get an opportunity to use them?


Wear them to work. Wear them to go on a walk. Wear them to pop to the shop for a bottle of milk. Dammit, wear them to just potter about your home!

And when someone, inevitably, questions why you are wearing red lipstick, and/or rocking a smokey eye, here are a list of responses you can give them...

1. I'm fabulous
2. It's -insert day of the week here-
3. It's sunny/rainy/hot/cold (delete/add as appropriate)
4. I got out of bed today
5. I had a good breakfast/I remembered to have breakfast
6. So I can get shit done
7. Why are you NOT wearing -insert makeup item here-?
9. Because I can
10. Cos I am a strong, confident woman/man/other and I will do what I like!

I remember when I first started reading beauty blogs and noticed that everyone was wearing beautiful lip colours and I wanted  so badly to be able to wear them and wear them confidently. Then I thought... FUCK IT.
I bought a Barry M one (that bright green one that changes colour on the lips), it was quite a bubblegum pink on me. I wore it to work and at first the people I worked with were all "ooh, how come you have lipstick on? You don't usually wear lipstick."
But I carried in wearing it every day. And then slowly started buying more. And more. And even more.
It very quickly turned in to... "WHY HAVE YOU NO LIPSTICK ON?!" on the days when I couldn't be bothered. And my lip product collection is frankly ridiculous. (But that dusky rose lipstick is DEFINITELY a slightly different shade from the other 5 dusky rose lipsticks...)

You look great. You spent your money. Wear it with pride! You ARE confident enough to wear it all the time.
Feel free to comment with additional responses.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Products That Help My Acne

If you haven't read my previous post, you can click HERE. There I talk about the struggle I have had with acne and the process I've been through to get to a point where I am more confident with how my skin looks. I am still struggling, still getting breakouts and I still get bothered by how my skin looks but it is so much better than it has been and it's continuing to improve.

As promised, this is a look at the products I have found that have helped my skin to start to clear up and help it to look so much better.
In the last post I talked about how I have been getting Pumpkin Peels which use glycolic acid. I firmly believe this is the main reason for my skin getting better but these products have definitely helped and I see a difference when I do/don't use them.
Obviously, everybody has different skin and products that work for me may not work for you - hopefully they will! - but I can't promise. Also, I'm not a skincare expert; this is just how I got on with the products.
My skin type is blemish-prone (obv), and ever so slightly oily though not always and not majorly. I don't tend to get dry patches and my skin isn't really sensitive.

First up is a brand I mentioned briefly in the last post... Pixi.

Glow Tonic, Rose Oil Blend, Glow Mud Cleanser, Glow Peel Pads; all Pixi Beauty
 I LOVE Pixi Beauty (also, that packaging! -inserts heart eyes emoji-). The Glow Tonic came to my attention through a load of hype in the beauty blogging world. I'd read up on it, and glycolic acid, and decided to give it a go. Now, I always have at least one bottle as a back up, I've just bought a 500ml bottle (and it has a pump! So excited!) and I honestly can't tell you how many times I have repurchased it. It is only 5% glycolic so it is mild enough to use AM and PM. Acid toners exfoliate the skin without having to use face scrubs, which aren't very good for the skin (or environment). This leaves my skin feeling refreshed and smooth and keeps it from looking dull.
I got the Rose Oil Blend because I always hear people talk about how rose oils are good for acne and I really like this! This is my second bottle and you only need a couple of drops for the whole face. My skin feels hydrated, it sinks in so quickly and in the morning I do notice that the redness has gone down a lot.
The Glow Mud Cleanser is my favourite evening cleanser. I take my makeup off and then use this to clean my skin. It kind of looks like a clay mask so it seems a bit odd that it's a cleanser but it feels so nice. Again, it has 5% glycolic acid and you could also leave it on for a few minutes as a mask. I squeeze a small amount and massage it in to my skin then rinse it off with  flannel and warm water. My skin feels so soft after using this. Also, it last for ages! I thought my last tube was almost gone so I bought a new one ready and it ended up lasting another month.
Finally, the Glow Peel Pads. I bloody love acid pads. I've used the First Aid Beauty ones (that are great) and I've recently bought the Nip + Fab ones (which I'm really enjoying). These are intense and amazing. They are 20% glycolic so they are stronger than the other products so if you aren't used to using acids, maybe don't start with these! They are a bit tingly (a good tingly) but it goes after a minute or so. I would only use these 2, maybe 3, times a week in the evening. I use both sides of the pad (they are soaked in the product) and wipe all over my face. Then after a few minutes I rinse my face with a flannel. I like using these when I have a bad breakout or a nasty looking spot and by the morning, things look much calmer.

You can get Pixi online in loads of places and Marks & Spencer also now sell it too!

Cicaplast Baume B5, Serozinc; both La Roche Posay

Next we have a couple of products from La Roche Posay. I know most people who use this brand, who have acne problems, would probably have the Effaclar Duo in here. I have used that in the past and I have tried it a couple of times but I didn't find it did all that much for me. I am tempted to try again though now my skin is under a little more control.
The Cicaplast Baume B5 was an accidental discovery. I was making an online order and needed to spend an extra couple of quid to get free next day delivery. This was super cheap so I just added it. This is actually a skin soothing and repairing cream for burns and cuts etc. I had a REALLY angry breakout when I got it so I just put a bit on and the next day it calmed right down and was almost gone. I use this now whenever I get stubborn spots. Also, I've had a cold this last week and my nose has got really sore... popped a bit of this around my nostrils and the skin looked and felt so much better the next day!
The next product is another that is always all over the beauty blogging world. The Serozinc spray only came to the UK the other year. This is a toning mist and contains zinc sulphate. A lot of people have linked zinc to having positive effects on acne and I saw so many good reviews for this. I don't use it all the time but it does help me with redness and if I've squeezed a spot (I can't help it) it keeps things under control and calm. It also feels really refreshing, especially in a morning.

Then there's just a few extra products I love too...

Oskia Renaissance Cleasning Gel, Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum, The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum in Oil, Lush Mask of Magnaminty

I saw SO many people raving the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel and I ended up caving and buying it. I tend to use this in the morning to cleanse my skin. It contains pumpkin enzymes and it feels really refreshing in the morning and helps wake me up. It works well along side the Pumpkin Peels. I like the pump that is on the bottle but you never know when it's going to run out with the packaging being opaque and it's so frustrating! 
Now, I don't know if the Vichy serum actually helps my acne BUT it does make my skin feel amazing and I don't like being without it. It really hydrates the skin and I use this every morning; sometimes in the evening too. I find I go through it pretty quickly but it is usually on offer in Boots which softens the blow.
The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil was a recent rediscovery. I bought it a couple years back and I enjoyed using it but then I kind of forgot I had it. I had a clear out and came across and tried it again that night. The next day my skin felt so soft, calm and hydrated. I tend to alternate between this and the Pixi oil in the evening now.
Finally is the Lush Mask of Magnaminty. My friend Katie brought this pot of joy into my life. You can click to the Lush page here for more info on the ingredients and what they do but I use this once or twice a week. It feels really cooling and refreshing and I leave it on for 20-30 minutes. The seeds and beans that are in it can be used for a gentle exfoliation when removing the mask too. I find my skin feels soft, looks clear and glowy pretty much straight away and the next morning my redness has gone down too. You can use this on the body too (if you get acne on your back) but I've not tried this. Who can reach?! The products lasts a good few months too.

I hope that wasn't too rambly and was it helpful. I do spend a bit of money on skincare but none of these products are ridiculously expensive. Plus, I have got to a point where I am willing to spend money on something that will definitely work for me. I don't use all these things every day but I'll generally use them all within a week. 
I'm really happy with my skincare routine at the moment and the products I use but do let me know if you have found anything that really works for you that I may like.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

My Acne Story

I've been wanting to talk about my experience with acne, especially adult acne, for a long time because I feel like people don't take it seriously and don't realise the extent it damages your self esteem and mental health. I've had a massive struggle in clearing up my skin that has taken 10 years so far, so I feel like I'm quite qualified to talk about how acne can affect a person.

Just want to start with a little disclaimer though... everybody's skin is different. Every body is different. Everyone's experience will be different but this is just how things have gone for me and I know that other sufferers can probably relate. Things that work for me may not work for you.
I am posting some photos in this blog to show the progress I have. This is really tough for me to put out there but now I'm in a better place I feel a bit better about doing it. Looking at these photos and talking about all this upsets me a lot.
Also, I'm going to do a second post about products I used that really help me out.


I started getting spots around 12/13. Puberty. It's expected that this will happen. This is what we're told. So whilst it was annoying, I kind of just accepted it. My skin was a bit oily and I got breakouts all the time.
I am now 24. I honestly cannot remember what my skin looks like without spots. I've not had clear skin in around 10 years. And that causes me so much upset.
Whilst we are told to expect to get spots as a teenager, we (I) was also told that a few years later, these huge breakouts would stop happening. I watched as my friends' skin was clearing up and mine seemed to be getting worse.

As I got to my late teens/early twenties, my acne got even worse. I was suffering with cystic acne. My face hurt, constantly. It hurt so much that I could barely touch it, even gently. I was going to bed and sobbing because I was in pain and I hated the way I looked. It made me not want to go outside. I hated meeting new people because I was so conscious that they'd just be staring at my face.
I used makeup as much as I could to cover up, but as you can see from the photos, they were very angry and so very difficult to disguise.

It was around this time that I found out I actually have a medical condition (which I don't want to talk about right now/probably ever) that is related to hormones. It's a common condition in women, but it does upset me to talk about, and one of the symptoms is, unfortunately, acne. Once I was diagnosed and found out that was probably a cause of my acne, I got even more upset because I thought I'd never get my skin to clear up.
I have tried everything. Literally everything. All the well known skincare brands that are targeted at spotty skin, tea tree skin care, all the stuff that says is for clearing skin - I have tried it. It didn't work. I was told about Quinoderm which is quite a strong cream you can get from the chemist that contains Benzoyl Peroxide, which IS known to help acne. It did help a little bit, for a short while, and then it stopped working. This seemed to happen with everything I tried. Products worked and my skin looked like it was improving and then my face would just erupt and the product no longer worked. It was incredibly deflating and demoralising.

At this point I was feeling so low. I just completely hated myself. I hated seeing my reflection and tried to avoid mirrors. I know that acne, and how it made me feel about myself, is one of the reasons that contributes to my depression. I was really struggling so I went to the doctors. I always feel like I'm wasting their time to go to the doctors for spots and I know that's how non-acne sufferers must see it too.

At one of my worst points. August 2014. Been taking antibiotics for a month.

I ended up being prescribed antibiotics (summer 2014). I hated the next 3 months even more. I had to take antibiotics 4 times a day for 3 months AND you had to have them so many hours before and after food. It meant that I ended up obsessively planning my days to the minute. Making sure I was taking the pills and eating at the times I should be to get the maximum success from them. It drove me a little crazy. The acne got so much worse in the first couple of weeks and I was distraught. I carried on with them though and it was around this time I discovered Caroline Hirons.

Caroline is a skincare expert and I spent so long reading everything she had written about acne and skincare routines. I was introduced to acid/exfoliating toners. Some skincare contains acids such as Glycolic and Salicylic which exfoliate the skin without using those awful beady scrubs, and they help to fight acne away. I am going to talk about products in a different post but on Caroline's recommendation I bought the Pixi Glow Tonic which contains 5% Glycolic Acid. I also tried to get a proper skincare routine together for the morning and evening, using the Glow Tonic in them. Since then I started really getting in to skincare and I was always researching things to use that would be suitable.

After 6 or so weeks of antibiotics I started to see a bit of a difference. The spots looked less sore and angry but at this point I wasn't sure if it was because of the medication of my new skincare. I completed the antibiotics after 3 months. I did see a difference by the end but I wasn't thrilled and I wasn't convinced they were the real reason my skin had a bit of improvement.
And then a couple months later I really broke out again. Every time new breakouts came, it just got more and more disheartening. People kept telling me that maybe I should get more antibiotics but I really didn't want to. Taking antibiotics for that long isn't good for you - there's a reason you only get them for up to 2 weeks when you need them.
So I kept on looking in to skincare and looking into investing in my skincare to get a few great products that would help. I tried a lot of stuff and I tried a lot of acid products which did help but then again... another breakout.

I constantly researched acne and ways to get rid of it and then around summer 2015 (a year after antibiotics) I started reading about how people have connected dairy products to acne and there was a lot of positive and successful stories of people who cut out dairy. I went for it. I planned it out for a bit because I knew it'd be hard and, as I did with antibiotics planning, I made sure I'd be as successful as possible by not even having anything with "may contain" and finding out what alternatives I could have. I went round the supermarkets before I started my month of being dairy free and made note of what I could eat. It was hard. Do you know how much stuff "may contain milk"?! A LOT. I switched to almond milk (which you get used to) and I had vegan cheese and butter. Tesco have a Free From range which I tried a lot of, however my local one didn't have much in the Dairy Free section. I was very strict about it and I kept at it. Not having chocolate for a month was a little tough, not going to lie. The results... I did see a bit of an improvement but again not as good as I hoped for. I always expect miracles even though I know I shouldn't. (I eat dairy again now, also.)

Beginning and end of Dairy Free Month

I did notice around this point that my spots weren't all that painful anymore and they also weren't all cystic as they previously had been. But my face just wasn't clearing at the rate I wanted.
Someone I know then told me about Pumkin Peels that she does. She recommends them for anti-ageing as well as to people with acne. She told me about other people she gives them too with acne and how their skin is looking much better so I went for it. (She is licensed and everything, by the way!)
The Pumpkin Peel uses glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids as well as pumpkin pulp to revitalise the skin surface. She cleanses my face thoroughly, puts the peel on for about 15 minutes, then it's cleaned off and she applies a serum and protection. The peel solution warms up once on the skin as it starts to work instantly. It feels like it's burning and is a little uncomfortable the first time but you get used to it. I didn't find it too unbearable but I am used to using glycolic products, too. I had them done in the evenings so that I could go to bed with the treatment products on my skin. After a couple of days I could already see a difference. I was thrilled. And it kept looking better each day. You can have the pumpkin peels every two weeks and she recommended I have 4 sessions and then I can just have them whenever I want. So that is what I did.
The improvement I saw after each one has been amazing. I constantly text her just saying "thank you". I've had 6 treatments since November last year. I had the 4 every two weeks then I had one in February and the 6th just this week. I'm now just going when I do get a breakout which she recommended and told me is the best way.

The peels, along with my skincare routine that I have now got down to something perfect for me and that works, has changed my life. I've had people tell me my skin looks great. I feel much more confident about it. I'm happy to go to the shops without makeup now, which I just couldn't do before. I only let my family and close friends see me without. And I didn't really enjoy doing that.
I still have a bit to go until it completely clears but my scarring and marks are starting to fade so I'm feeling much better about it all.

Left: before getting 6th peel. | Right: 2 days after peel. Skin looks brighter acne patches more "calm"
(Sorry not the greatest photos!)

I know that to people who have never really suffered from acne, that to get upset and so low about it seems ridiculous. But that's my face. That is what people see and that is all I can think about when I meet someone. We live in a society where looks are judged, harshly. Especially as a woman, the media makes us feel like there is one perfect way we should look. I don't look like that and it made me hate myself. It made me want to hide away because I was so ashamed of how I looked. I didn't have an ounce of self esteem.
I still struggle with my appearance and confidence, but now I've found something that works for me, things are looking up. I no longer want to rip my own face off because of how much pain it causes me.
It really makes me sad when I see people struggling with acne and then others dismiss it like "it's just a spot, we all get spots!" Yes, we do. But just getting a couple of spots every so often doesn't cause the amount of self loathing and strain on your mental health as having to deal with acne, especially for such a long time.

If you are reading this and you struggle, just know that there will be something out there that works for you. It may take a while to find. This way worked for me and if you have access to it, hopefully it works for you too. Keep your heads up. You are beautiful and strong and don't listen to the things you brain is telling you.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

I Can't Get No Sleep

I can't remember the last time I felt like I had a decent night sleep. Where I woke up feeling refreshed and energised. I imagine most people probably feel this way too.

This year I spoke out and got help for depression and anxiety after struggling for an incredibly long time. Since January I have been taking 20mg of Citalopram. I spoke to people who I knew had taken it, and other antidepressants, I read the leaflet a million and one times and, I researched a lot about how it helped others and what side effects they had from it. Sleeping difficulty is one of the most common side effects with the drug. My doctor advised that side effects take 2-6 weeks to subside. I had a few others as well but sleep was my biggest problem. It was right from day 1. Usually I would fall asleep between midnight and 1am - about 2-3 hours after trying to go to sleep. Sometimes later.

The first day of medication, I remember getting in to bed, exhausted and drained, and then lying there completely wide awake. I didn't feel tired in the slightest. I was getting so frustrated and pretty soon it was 3am and I was just laid there still waiting to feel tired and able to sleep. I must have dosed off for a couple of hours but then my alarm went off at 7am. I didn't feel tired when I was up. I got dressed and went to work and then it hit me like a freight train come 10am. It's like when your hangover suddenly hits half way through the day. I struggled through until 5pm when I could go home. At night  I went to go to bed and again, wide awake and not tired in the slightest. After a couple of nights I ended up just watching Netflix to try and make me sleepy. I was seeing 3/4am every single night (I powered through Brooklyn Nine Nine pretty quickly though...)

I mentioned this was happening to my doctor when I had a check up and again she advised that side effects can last up to 6 weeks so I should give it that long to see if it subsides. I finished work at the end of January and I thought maybe my sleep would be better then but it lasted through February. It started to get a little better by the end of February and into March - I was falling asleep between 1-2am. I had another doctors appointment towards the end of March. I told her that I was still struggling and even though it has got slightly better, it's still not ideal and I'm stressing about not sleeping. She suggested sleeping pills. She prescribed my 10 days worth, and I was a little scared about them.

Again, I researched a lot and asked people if they'd tried them and if they worked. Most things I had read said that around 20 minutes after taking they felt sleepy enough to go to sleep.
Yeah... not me! I definitely felt sleepier but I was still awake an hour and a half after taking it. BUT I got to sleep before midnight. I had the same experience the following two nights and then the Friday was Good Friday. I had a really good, chilled day and I thought, as it was bank holiday and I had nothing to get up for, that I wouldn't take any pills that night.
I had the most restless night ever.
Usually once I'm asleep, I stay asleep. It's just the getting to sleep I have an issue with. Once I finally got to sleep I woke every hour or so and when I woke up in the morning, it felt like I'd been punched in the face.
So, I took the rest of the pills at 10pm each night. Again, it took me about an hour and a half and I was asleep by midnight each night.

Then I finished the pills. (Side note: You shouldn't take sleeping pills for more than 2 weeks as they can be addictive.)
Last night was my first night without the pills in a week and again, it was pretty restless. I tried to keep the same routine - settling down at 10pm - but I was awake until after 1am. I woke up a few times in the night as well. When my alarm went off I didn't feel as bad as the first time I didn't take one, but I felt pretty exhausted.
I also found with the pills that whilst I was managing to sleep for 8 or so hours, I didn't feel rested at all. So now I feel like I'm back to square one.

I've tried calming/anxiety apps, I listen to music until I feel sleepy, I've read books, had baths... I feel like I've done everything that people suggest to get to sleep but to no avail. So if you have any tips or experience, please let me know.

I'm tired of being tired.

Monday, 4 April 2016

I Went To The Cinema Alone

The cinema is a place we go to sit in a dark room, in silence, with no disruptions (usually) for a couple of hours whilst watching a film on a gigantic screen. When at the cinema we don't like talking, or light, or fumbling or any noise and movement at all. Yet, it is deemed a bit weird to go to the cinema alone.

I've really been wanting to watch Disney's Zootropolis (as it's called in Europe) for a while now. This morning I got up, I had a meeting for work things and then afterwards I just drove to the cinema and bought a single ticket. It felt weird. I bought it from the machine so I didn't have to ask for one ticket to an animated film and I was kind of relieved when there was nobody at the screen entrances checking tickets.

On getting to my seat there was a family of three sat slightly in front and a girl with her grandma slightly behind. A couple more families came in during the trailers, all with at least one child. I noticed some of the kids staring at me, sat on my own. The little girl with her grandma said something, in her oh-so-quiet child voice about why I was on my own and watching a cartoon film. I think she was more confused about why I was choosing to watch an animated film... oh child, if only you knew me... -stares at shelves full of Disney toys in bedroom-
I wasn't bothered by any of this but it just felt a little strange. Usually when waiting for trailers I'd be chatting to whoever I am with, and when trailers come on we do the whole "OOH can we see that?!... Oh, that looks rubbish."

Once the film started I kind of forgot about being on my own. Before it started I thought that maybe if I was watching a different film (ie not an animated one) would I feel less weird that I was there on my own? But I am SO GLAD it was this film I chose. Zootropolis is brilliant and I urge everyone to watch it. It feels like it may even be more suited to adults than children? The underlying message about prejudice and discrimination is really well done and there are some "grown ups" in the world today that can benefit from learning about that. There's great jokes and sass and just a genuinely great script and story. Also, there's a Breaking Bad reference and Shakira is in it so really, what's not to love?

At the end, Shakira's character is performing and the credits start popping up. At this point EVERYBODY started getting up and leaving. I was sat there thinking "IT'S STILL ON. WHAT IF SOMETHING ELSE HAPPENS?"
So I sat and watched until it had finished and the screen went to black. When I stood up to leave, there was just me and a member of staff stood at the back... waiting for me to leave.

I really enjoyed my afternoon. It started off feeling a bit strange and "not right" but  I guess in a way it kind of makes sense going to the cinema alone? Sure there's no after-film discussion - though my friend was ready and awaiting me on Facebook messenger. (Oh, technology)

£8 for one ticket though? On a Monday afternoon? Thank the lord for Meerkat Movies 2 for 1!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Monthly Playlist: March

Until the last couple of days my March playlist had half the number of songs in it than the previous two months. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, at the end of February I went to see Mary Poppins in Manchester. Now, I love musicals and whenever I go to see a musical I end up just constantly listening to musical soundtracks on loop for weeks. So my musical playlist (link here) has had some serious plays this month.
Secondly, one song I discovered this month is an acoustic cover of Teengae Dirtbag by a man called Frank Hamilton. I'm not sure how I found it but ever since that day it has been listened to numerous times. I've actually lost track. Does Spotify tell you how many times you've listened to a song? Answers on a postcard.
I've been listening to some of his other stuff and it is all brilliant but that cover... wow. Please listen to it.

A couple other things that happened this month that inspired the songs on the playlist... I went to London at the start of the month with my friend, Becki. And as always when in London, I get The Jam's Going Underground stuck in my head. Also, The Jam are the first band to feature in two consecutive playlists, hurray! When we were on the tube, Becki said the noise the door makes as it closes sounds like the very first note of Natasha Bedingfield's These Words. I found this very funny. Because it does. Go listen!

And at the moment, I am rewatching Sense8 on Netflix as the second season will be out in a few months. If you haven't watched it then I highly recommend it, it is very well done with a really interesting plot. Anyway, at the end of one of the episodes What's Up by 4 Non Blondes plays and they all sing it. The song is brilliant any way and I love the lyrics and I just love how well it fits in with the scene and what's going on with the characters.

Then there's a few golden oldies from Bowie, The Beatles and Michael Jackson. Some favourites that I'd forgotten exist and some new songs I discovered as well as the new Gwen Stefani song - yesssss!
Let me know what you've been listening to this month.

Ooh, and whilst I have you here... I wrote a little something on eating disorders after B&M decided to sell a product with a pro-eating disorder slogan on it. I'd really love if you could take a read.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

International Day of Happiness

Had I of known that today has been the International Day of Happiness I would have been more prepared with this post and have uploaded it in the morning. However, I only realised when good ol' Snapchat pointed out today's day and at that point I was rushing to go out with my mum. That being said, I was taking her to Liverpool to see Disney on Ice. I got tickets for her for Christmas and as far as Happy Days go... spending it seeing Disney characters dancing on ice is pretty wonderful.

When you spend a lot of time feeling very unhappy, I like to find the tiny, little things that make me feel good. Things that maybe other people see as insignificant things that they wouldn't usually think twice about. So, here is my Happy List...

  1. Lipstick. Especially red lipstick. If you are feeling crappy, lipstick will make you feel like a superhero. Red lipstick will make you feel like a powerful machine and nothing will take you down.
  2. Following on from that... make-up. Just, make-up in general. Some days I just feel rubbish. I try and work but have no motivation. So I shut down, grab my make up and I will spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour painting my face. It makes me feel good. It's therapeutic.
  3. And then the last make-up related thing, I promise... I LOVE taking my make-up off. I love putting it on so much, but getting out my cleansing oil and a flannel when it's been on my face all day is just bliss! I use The Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Oil. I have repurchased it constantly for about two years. It's the bee knees!
  4. Candles and fairy lights. The photo below is what my view in my bedroom currently looks like. I have fairy lights pinned from my ceiling (I got them from Matalan a few years ago and they're amazing.) and I always have a few candles. I love vanilla and also spicy smells, and fruity. I just like candles. It makes everything look and feel relaxed and chilled.

  5. Toy Story. I mean, who doesn't love Toy Story?! But it doesn't matter how many times I see it, I will still laugh at the same jokes every single time. It gives me a great feeling of nostalgia and you just can't be sad whilst watching Woody and Buzz and the gang!
  6. My songs from musicals playlist. Because how can you be sad listening to the Hairspray soundtrack? Here's my musicals Spotify playlist. And if there's any musicals I should add in, please let me know!
    7. New bedding. I forgot how much new bedding was one of life's greatest pleasures but I just changed my bed and now it feels like I'm getting a cuddle of a cloud.

There's just a few things that I find happiness in. Things that I need to remember more often, really.

My friend Becki has done a post of things that make her happy, which you can read here. She sends me weird, wonderful and hilarious things she finds on the Internet (as I do to her) which makes me very happy indeed! -inserts dancing girls emoji-

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Another New Home

I've moved. Virtually, anyway.

I've moved away from Wordpress and I am back to Blogger. Sorry, Blogger. I knew I always loved you best really.

When I set up the blog, I couldn't think of a name. I ended up picking the only thing I could think of that wasn't taken but I never really liked it. I just needed to have something so I could post my "Time To Talk" piece on the correct day.

I've been trying to think of something better since and I thought I wanted something with my name included. Turns out my name doesn't sound right with anything!
Then I was just sat doing some work and Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis popped into my head.
That is my favourite song of all time. My earliest memory is my dad teaching me the lyrics. I'd have been about 4, maybe 5, when that song came out and I remember him putting VH1 on the TV all day just waiting for it to come on to see if I'd learnt it.

"Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don't you know you might find
A better place to play."

"Eye of your mind"... Eye of my mind! It just felt right, and made sense. I'm really happy with it so now hopefully I will get around to posting a lot more. If only for my own sanity.

Friday, 11 March 2016

I Met Caitlin Moran...

... and she was just as incredible as I had hoped.
People say you shouldn't meet your idols/heroes/role models, but Caitlin (being all these things) proved that statement utter bullshit.
On Tuesday 8th March (aka International Women's Day) I got a 3 and a half hour train to London, met up with my friend Becki and we had a little explore of London before heading down to the Southbank Centre in the evening. About a month or so prior, I saw a link on Twitter that Caitlin Moran was doing a talk/book launch for her new book and you could win tickets to go. I entered the competition and sent the link to Becki to do the same. She responded "Can we go anyway?"
Initially when I went on the site it seemed to be that only members could attend but the following day general sale began... HURRAH!
I messaged Becki... "Tickets are £20. Should we?.... I've found a hotel for £18 each and it's only half an hour away... Train tickets are £20 return. SHOULD WE?!" Within 10 minutes everything was booked and we spent the next month EXTREMELY excited.
So we're in London, we get to the Southbank Centre and go to pick up a copy of the new book where I overhear a member of staff saying Caitlin will do a signing after the talk. CUE FANGIRLING.
We get to our AMAZING seats (7th row and end of the aisle) and we are GIDDY. Becki has written an amazing piece about the whole day. READ HERE.
Caitlin came on stage and read passages from her book and talked to Jude Kelly (Founder of the Women of the World - the festival the event was part of) about feminism and the reason behind writing her book. I could have sat and listened to them talk for days. Almost 2 hours was not long enough. But it was insightful, funny and inspiring. You could hear people in the audience all around us muttering "yes!" and clapping at everything she said. I even cried during one of the readings. It was about what we should say to young girls who are struggling and it hit so hard. I'd have loved someone to have said those things to me as a teenager. Hell, I need to hear those things now! I could see Caitlin herself getting choke up as she read. And on an even more personal note, my medication has stopped me being able to cry. I've had the odd tear fall out of my face but nothing more. But I cried and so many emotions were going round in my head. I think at that point: relief, comfort and belonging. So that is only good, right?
The talk was over and with our amazing seats we managed to get out the room pretty quick and ended up about 4th in the signing queue. There was 2500 people in attendance. Pretty impressed with ourselves. There was a table and chair ready for her and then she came out and stood in front of it. She spent time talking to everyone, one on one. Everyone got a hug. She was so lovely to everyone. She was happy to sign copies of the other books and take selfies. There was no security rushing everyone along. It really felt like you was just catching up with an old friend.
I, however, am rubbish when it comes to meeting people I like so I can't actually remember what I did or said. I know she hugged me, she wore an incredible jacket, we had a selfie and she drew a pair of tits in my book. We also shouted "TITS!" in celebration of International Women's Day.
So delighted we made the spontaneous decision to go and we're already planning on going to the Women of the World Festival next year to get involved with other events and talks they do. But for this year, best way to spent International Women's Day I could think of.

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Monthly Playlist: February

End of February already! And I've kept up with creating a playlist throughout the month as I did last month. I kind of still really love my January playlist so I had to try to make myself listen to other things this month so I actually had a playlist to share.
I found a lot of new songs and artists this month by picking random Spotify playlists and sticking them on shuffle whilst I was having breakfast or having a shower. So here is my February playlist. Hope you like it! It has everything from The Spice Girls to The Rolling Stones so what's not to love.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Walk in the Sun

Before I get in to this post I just want to thank everyone for the amazing response to my last post. I am so completely overwhelmed by everyone's support and love and it really chokes me up knowing that people do actually give a damn. I spent so long in silence because I didn't want to be a burden on anyone but the relief I feel now is incredible.
However, this last week or so I haven't been feeling too good. I'm not sure why but anxiety has felt high pretty much constantly and it's made getting up difficult again. At the start of the week I went into town with my mum and whilst I was pretty calm out, by the time I got home I felt pretty drained. The following day was the worst I've had for a few weeks. I couldn't be bothered getting up or eating and just lay in bed all day. So yesterday, whilst it was sunny, I decided to go on a walk. I planned out a route, wrapped up and headed out. I went to put some flowers on my grandparents grave as I'd not been in a while and then headed into the park. I walked through the park and towards a pond that my grandma used to always take us to when we stayed with her. From my memory the area never looked that great and it was always a bit shady and grim. That was probably about 15 years ago. I got there and they've completely opened it up and it looks lovely. There's was a big group of ducks, the sun was shining through the trees and it just felt so peaceful. I stood there for a while just watching and listening and I just felt so chilled and relaxed. I didn't think about anything whilst I was there and it was so calming. I couldn't quite believe a place so nice is where I live!
I then took the longest, quietest way home I could find. I ended up being out for two hours. Usually when I'm out and about I will put headphones in but I didn't. Just listened to everything around me. It was just so lovely.
And the cuppa I had once I got back home was phenomenal!
So I'm going to make more effort to walk and I'm especially keen to go back and chill near the pond. Kind of glad I've found a little escapism place. It's made me feel relieved and calm that I know there's somewhere I can go when things are too much. And hopefully this low patch I'm in will lift up again soon.

Also, this week I read a book by Matt Haig called Reasons To Stay Alive. A friend recommended it to me and I found it in Tesco for £3.85!! I couldn't put it down! It's a very real and honest account of his experience with depression and anxiety. It's incredibly eye opening and inspiring and I would recommend anyone reads it. Whether you have struggles, know someone who does or has completely no experience. I feel everyone can learn something from it and then maybe we can finally end the stigma.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time To Talk...

Today is Time To Talk Day. There is more information here but the idea is to get everyone talking about mental health to finally break down the stigma that is still associated with it.
I mentioned in my first post that I made some changes in my life this year so I'm going to be brave and tell my story (maybe a brief version, I'm not sure how brave I am yet...)
So... hello. I am Louise, I am 23 and 10 months and I have depression and anxiety.
(Okay, this is hard)
Really I have known that I have struggled since I was around 15 at school. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what and I thought I was just being a teenager so I pretended it wasn't there. Then I went to college and it got worse and worse until one day I had a breakdown in the middle of a corridor, on my own. I just sat on the floor, sobbing, until someone found me. I dropped out of college and things started seeming a little bit clearer but I still kept feeling like I was falling back down.
I remember thinking "maybe this is depression" but I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't want people to think I was attention seeking or I was making it up. And I was afraid nobody would care anyway. So I just dealt with it. I paint on my face every morning, leave the house and pretend everything is wonderful. And then I come home, get in to bed and hide from everyone, exhausted, until I have to do it all again the next day.
2015 was really difficult. I don't know why. Nothing happened to make everything worse. In terms of bad things happening, I've had much worse years. But everything just felt like such a struggle all of a sudden. I couldn't get out of bed. I was setting my alarm so early to try to get myself out of bed in time for work and I'd just lie there crying and not wanting to move. I could feel everything getting worse as the year went on and then round September time I had to admit to myself I did have a problem.
My anxiety got so much worse in 2015 too. I started having panic attacks, which was terrifying. I had one in the cinema in summer. My entire body went numb. I couldn't move and I couldn't breathe and I was too afraid to ask for help because I didn't want to ruin the film for everyone else... Good.
Social anxiety is a killer too. I've never really been one for wanting to go on nights out but every time friends suggested going anywhere I get a fear shooting through me. I'd panic from the plans being made, constantly thinking about it and how much I didn't want to go out but how I didn't want to let my friends down. I just end up making excuses to get out of everything rather than say what the problem is because it just seems so much easier.
Once I made myself acknowledge I had a problem I had to work out what I was going to do. I decided that I'd give myself until the end of the year to speak out and do the right thing. I quickly realised I needed to take myself out of work.
On 31st December 2015, I booked an appointment with my doctor. I had my appointment a week later. I sat in her office and sobbed. I anticipated the crying so I had written everything down to give to her and thankfully she was lovely and she made me feel okay.
I handed in my notice at work, which was scary and emotional. Luckily my bosses have been incredibly supportive. I know that others don't have that luck and I was so scared I'd be one of them but they made me feel comfortable and made sure I was okay.
And then I had to tell my friends and family. Again, terrified. I don't know why. I ended up sending them all a message to tell them because as much as I tried, I just can't say the words out loud. Their support and love is overwhelming. I am so lucky to have amazing people around me.
So now, I am taking medication and I am about to start therapy and I am currently taking a few weeks out of work. I am focusing on doing the right thing for me. I'm currently on week 4 of medication and these first few weeks have been tough. I can't sleep or eat properly. And I can't cry which is incredibly frustrating. But I can already feel a bit of a difference now and I'm so glad I finally did this.
8 years of sitting in silence has taking too much of a toll. So if you're reading this and have similar feelings, you're not alone and people care about you. I didn't think they did but they do. Write down everything you want to say, it makes it so much easier. I wrote letters to my doctor and my boss because I struggle too much talking about it out loud and it made things much easier.
It's time to talk.