Sunday, 28 April 2013

Life goals list

As a perfectionist, I so often become obsessed with producing lists. Lists of all varieties, from to-do-lists to shopping lists, from lists of books to read to things that make me smile. It provides me with some sort of weird satisfaction that I cannot describe, something ticks in my organisational mindset and I instantly feel calmer after having produced a list.

The most recent list I wrote was a special one, and I can't remember exactly what prompted me to write it. I made a list of life goals, a bucket list, if you will.
I've made lists such as these ones before and although I have achieved some of my tasks since the last time I wrote one of these lists (eg run the Race for Life, give blood), I realised that some of the tasks I was setting myself didn't fit in with the mindset and frame of mind I wanted to be in. I set myself goals such as achieving an A in a particular subject, as opposed to just passing that subject. I set myself a goal to recover, rather than allowing myself minor slip ups and relapses, realistically, they're going to happen and I need to accept that. That perfectionist aspect of my personality which writes compulsive lists struck again as I set myself goals placing too much pressure on myself and some of which are entirely unrealistic. Matching to my ideal of perfect. Three years on and I've realised I can't be perfect, no matter how much I strive for it, so I need to strive instead for goals and ambitions that I want to do which are achievable and that will make ME happy, not pleasing the ideals of someone else.

I had been thinking for a good two weeks for goals and things to achieve before I processed them into written form. This time, I've simply put 'pass my BA Honours degree in English Literature' as opposed to 'pass my BA Honours degree in English Literature with a first class honours' and that symbolises, for me, how far I've come and how I understand now that not achieving what everyone else has makes me a failure.

I really enjoyed making my list. I wrote down things I had always wanted to do, or learn, or be, no matter how small, stupid or insignificant to anyone else that it seemed. I haven't written things down because they're the norm to write on bucket lists, such as skydiving or skiing in the Alps, just small dreams and ambitions of mine that are perfectly achievable if I put my heart, mind and soul into it.

There can be a danger with these kinds of lists that by focusing too much on the future, you are spending your time not living in the NOW. But by making my list relatively small and achievable, it means I get to place some focus in the present of things that I want to be doing to make my future brighter. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I will be adding to my life goals list as well, life progresses of course, but below are just a few of the ideas I had. It may change through time, but that's okay.
I really urge you all to make some lists of your own. Whether they seem small or insignificant or you feel like you don't have enough on your list, just write it down anyway. It could be anything, from places you want to visit, your dream career, starting a family, things you want to learn/do, anything that you want to do. Look back at that list and if you are struggling with mental health problems, think about how many items on that list you would be unable to achieve whilst battling your depression, or anxiety, or eating disorder, or whatever you struggle with. Writing this list reminded me that life is out there to be lived and I can't waste any more years fighting these beastly illnesses no longer!

Below is my list, you can also access it to the right hand side of the screen on my pages where more frequent updates will be taking place. Enjoy, and PLEASE comment below to tell me some of your life goals and aspirations!

·         Marry Nathan
·         Complete my BA Honours Degree in English Literature
·         Learn to play the guitar (well)
·         Run Thames Valley for Mind
·         Run the London Marathon
·         Have something published (article, novel, journal, etc)
·         Visit – Canada
             Paris
             Walt Disney World
             Dublin
·         Pass my driving test
·         Go camping
·         Learn a martial art
·         Own a dog
·         Inspire somebody
·         Watch a Shakespeare play at The Globe
·         Learn how to ice-skate
·         Write a song
·         Volunteer for as many charities and organisations as possible
·         Make an inspiring speech
·         Start a project
·         Go to a big festival (Glastonbury, V, Reading)
·         Launch a book blog

As I say, I have plenty more to add to this list, but the none of the activities on my list are unachievable as of yet and I want to keep it that way. I want to live life to the best of my potential, and you should all do the same.

Have fun writing your lists, I look forward to hearing them!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Anxiety

I get asked a lot about my anxiety so I thought I'd try and tackle everything in a little blogpost this evening.

I've been working on my anxiety in therapy recently, so now seems like the perfect time to bring it up. Plus I've reached some major obstacles which I am quite excited to share with you all!

Over the past few years, I've worked out that my anxiety in heightened in places which I feel cause me imminent danger. Situations which cause me anxiety the most include public transport, and just being outside on my own in general. This in the past has led to me being house-bound, (luckily not for too long as I have the support of Nathan by my side) back in 2011 when I was off school for 6 months, I didn't go out at all, especially to avoid seeing people who had 'known' about my overdose, for fear of embarrassment.

I have fears and phobias of various things, including enclosed spaces (being on a packed bus/tube frightens me no end), fire, and birds (ironic really, as I own a family bird). Some of these phobias can be easily identified, for example I once witnessed my mother in a fire at the age of about 7, at the shop where she worked at the time. I can barely watch huge fires on television or in films, it just terrifies me (hence why I check everything a million times before I leave my house!)

Some of the phobias, however, I cannot identify. Public transport could possibly be linked back to the 7/7 attacks in London (I remember freaking out at the time due to that, as a London resident myself) but it's not a fear of terrorism so much as it is other people, I demonstrate a complete lack of trust from the general public when I'm out and about. When I get on a bus, I eye everyone with suspicion. I sit on the top deck, at the front, on the right hand side, it's my seat, no-one is behind me, nobody can 'get' me. It's rituals like that that determine a lot in my life, whether I have the courage to meet friends for lunch in Central London or go to volunteering meetings and events. Things that I want to do. But can't.

I've been discussing this with Heather this week, and she believes bullying has played a huge role into why I am so on-edge and wary all the time. Technically speaking, I spent from as long as I can remember to about age 15 worried about who or what was going to taunt or upset me on that particular day. I lived childhood and teenage life apprehensive, and scared as opposed to happy-go-lucky and free. She believes there are huge links between this and my anxiety disorder, and I agree with her to an extent. I find it incredibly hard to wind down after a long stressful day and never once give myself the time to relax, there always has to be something going on/distracting me or that I must be up and worried/stressed about. It constantly feels like I have a permanent knot in my stomach that cannot be untied. 'What if...' is most likely to be my most common saying.

Recently, with my massive improvements in recovery from depression and applying for University, I realised that in order to get to University, I need to travel. On my own. And sitting, thinking it over in my head, I realised how much of my life I've wasted due to saying 'no' too many times because my anxiety was telling me to.
I'm a huge believer in living your life to the best of your potential and ability, and that's part of the reason I made a life goals list (links in the side bar and blog-post coming up about it!). If I keep having these irrational fears about the future and what possibly 'could' happen to me, I won't be making anything happen at all. Then that really is, just a wasted life and goes against everything that I stand for. I'm also a huge believer in fate, what is meant to be is meant to be, if I'm meant to die tomorrow, so be it, but if I do die tomorrow, I don't want to have died regretting the choices I made today.

We can never truly determine what is going to happen to us. And that is terrifying. But instead of fearing the worst and letting your brain focus on the worst, flip it over for a second, focus on the goal in sight. In my case, getting the bus to work on my own means that I'm getting to work on time and not having to fork out lots of money for cab fares. For others, going to have that injection at the doctors following a fear of needles mean you will be immunised from potential threats to your future and your overall health. There ARE positives on the other side of all fears that we have. It's about finding those and reminding ourselves of them every once in a while.

For my last three work shifts now I have taken the bus to work on my own, which sounds so ridiculous and something that isn't an achievement, but really for me it is. It's conquering huge fears and giving anxiety a huge slap in the face. Today was a difficult one, as, although a Saturday, the bus was packed and it was extremely warm. I had to stand, I felt dizzy and weak and everything tightened. I was ready for a full on panic attack but luckily, after a few minutes a few people got off and I was able to sit down in my comfort zone, feeling relieved and much less apprehensive knowing that by this point I was closer to my destination.

And that's exactly my point. By facing your fears, you are closer and closer to reaching your destination. Whatever and wherever that may be. I'm starting to realise that now. And I'll have off days. I'll have days where I'll freak and find it too difficult. But set-backs and relapse are all a part of recovery and as long as I still have that willingness to fight this, I'll get there. I'll be standing in my lecture hall in September knowing that I'll have made it.

I'll be writing a few more blog posts as my recovery from GAD continues in regards to dealing with anxiety as it arises. Until then, feel free to ask me any questions, and we can help each other!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Oh, Samantha Brick...

Once again, Samantha Brick is trending on Twitter after spouting what can only be described as ludicrous bull**** on my television screen this morning.

For those of you who haven't heard of Samantha Brick, she is a supposed 'writer', 'journalist' and Lord only knows what else, and also appears to have a perception that she is, in her words, 'the most beautiful woman in the world'.

Her recent Daily Mail article sparked outrage recently after she claimed that to stay as beautiful as she ever so clearly is, every woman has to diet for the rest of her life, bragging about having been on a diet for 30 years, that being overweight is not attractive, and that her very own husband would divorce her if she gained weight.

She 'debated' (and lost) this issue with BodyGossips very own Natasha Devon on 'This Morning', with Natasha essentially wiping the floor with her speech regarding being confident in our own skin, and it was honestly truly admirable (days like today I am extremely proud to be a part of BodyGossip and to be an ambassador for their charity!)

Every word that came out of Natasha's mouth was poignant and truthful. We are growing and developing into a society where we rely on our image and correlate it towards our self-worth. In Bricks situation, she claims that if she gains weight, her husband will divorce her. Surely, that says more about her husband than it does whether we gain or lose a few extra pounds? Relationships, for me are all about loving that personality you chose to dedicate your time/life to, I love Nathan because he makes me smile, he brightens my day, he is my rock, and keeps my head above water, not once have I ever looked at him and made a judgement on the way that he looks and would never once relate that to my love for him. It's disrespectful,  wrong, and goes against the ideal of true love completely.

I lived with an eating disorder from the age of 12 years old, which lasted throughout my teenage years until I finally began what you could call 'recovery' at the age of 17, being in and out of treatment since. To stand here today, as someone for the most part recovered, and be told that 'dieting will make me beautiful', it in a way makes me laugh.

Many peoples eating disorders begin as 'diets' - often diets which then deepen into something far more complex and psychological than just eating some more fruit and creating an exercise routine. It becomes controlling, dedicative, and possessive, it turns from eating 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, to eating 2, to eating none, to eating nothing. It turns from running a mile, to 5, to 10 miles, to exhaustion. No circulation, no friends, no hair, energy, no life, essentially. Not ALL diets end like this, but a vast majority begin as some sort of means of controlling food intake as a method to lose weight. It can so quickly deepen into something so much worse, so much more damaging, and so much more deadly.

The reason why woman (and men, let's not forget) feel this pressure to diet in the first place is because of women like Samantha Brick. We can look back years and years and attempt to work out where this supposed NEED to be thin has come from, but it is unfortunately here and making more of an impact than ever. And one way that we, as a nation can unite against this is by stopping defining our self worth as not that 'bit of extra flab' or the 'love handles' we so often put ourselves down for, but that true beauty, that shines inside all of us, that ability to make others laugh, to be confident, kind and courteous, to be trustworthy and non-judgemental of others, that part of us that gets the promotion at work or raises money for charity, the part of us that set good examples for those around us, such as Natasha Devon.

Our bodies are designed to be the way that they are. For me, I see beauty in the above traits that I just mentioned. Our bodies are beautiful because we have 'flaws', because we have lumps and bumps in the wrong places, because of our supposed 'thunder thighs' or 'wobbly tummy' - who cares! Diversity and difference is what makes us the people that we are and what allows the inner beauty to shine through. We're wasting so much time, money and energy on achieving perfection that we'll never reach or conforming to ridiculous beauty ideals when we could be using that time to spend being confident within ourselves and quite simply, enjoying life.

I'm almost 21 years old now and never want to have to worry about whether or not I should eat this or work off that. I want to concentrate on what matters, friends, family, campaigning, Nathan, studying, and actually having a life. My life would be incredibly boring if I chose to focus on dieting for the rest of it. Needless to say I'd spend the rest of it one unhappy Amy.

Quite simply put, we need less Samantha Bricks telling us to be skinny morphed versions of humanity and more people like Natasha Devon and Body Gossip telling us to embrace the skin we were born in. After all, you only live once. Let's promote confidence in our bodies, no matter what shape or size, and let's celebrate our inner beauty, because there's a lot of it :)

Interested in BodyGossip?

Find out more by following the link to their website, here!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The little things

Lots of little things have happened in the past week to really just make me stop, appreciate, and smile.

There has been so much awful news within the media this week, what with the horrific bombings in Boston and the recent explosion of a factory in Texas. So much destruction, lives lost, and horror, it can be easy as a viewer of all of this to be sucked into a pit of anxiety and sadness. I felt the same way watching the news on Boston as I felt 7 years ago, as a Londoner watching my own city get bombed back in 2005. I just felt sick.

Sickness accompanied a questioning of why people would stoop to such lows, to destroy lives in this way. To rip the lives of people who had given their lives to support others. I couldn't comprehend, I didn't understand, and it made me disregard and hate humanity for the remainder that evening. I firmly believed the world was a horrible place, went back to my standard negative ways and went to bed tossing and turning in anxiousness.

Inside, I know that there are aspects of life which I should appreciate and today I took the time to do such a thing. Today made me smile, a lot, I went to celebrate a good friend of mines engagement, whilst having plenty of catch-ups and discussions about university, then went for a positive fuelled session with my counsellor, followed by a 3 mile walk watching the sunset with my Mother. Small things, right? But all of which made me smile.


I live about 5 minutes away from this gorgeous view and never take the time to fully appreciate it. I did tonight and it was truly wonderful. Nathan and I's first ever proper encounter was in this very park almost 4 years ago now, so being there always makes me smile.

Whilst having a long discussion with my good friend Lucy at lunch today, I spoke about I couldn't let anything hold me back anymore. I've spent way too much of my life searching for excuses not to go places, to try new things, to see friends who I love, either because I'm too anxious, feel I don't deserve to treat myself/try new things, and vice versa. I need to stop doing that, and get out and embrace the life that I have.

My anxiety stems over situations where I have a lack of control over, for example, travelling on a bus, if I do not know the person having control over the vehicle it makes me anxious. Having strangers, people I don't know surrounding me makes me anxious, people I can't control. I need to stop this irrationality and have more of the days I had today, going on long walks being appreciative of what is there around me. Say yes to more things. Explore. Grow. And quite simply, just live.

This week, I've managed to get into University, gone on a ridiculously expensive shopping trip with a friend, celebrated my best friends engagement over some wine, read some good books, already raised £100 for my Race for Life, watched the sun set, gone on two long and relaxing walks, spent time with my amazing boyfriend of almost four years, and THOSE are the things I need to focus on. We can only control our future to a certain extent, so I'm going to work on living in the present. I could die tomorrow, for all I know. Why not make today count? 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

University

I realise that my last post may have appeared vague for some of you, so I guess I shall use this opportunity to explain.

I have been accepted into University to begin a BA Honours degree in English Literature this September.

It was really hard for me to applaud myself at first. After getting into Kingston University, moving out and after a month moving straight back home again, only to begin a degree with the Open University in Psychology which I hated, you may be wondering, 'why bother'? Clearly nothing was working for me and I should have just given up.

But I didn't, and I guess in that respect, I am proud.

It took me some guts to re-apply, especially as 1) I am turning 21 this September, so am technically three years after the 'expected' age of University applicants and 2) of all the failed attempts I've had before.

As you are aware, I've been seeing a counsellor recently, Heather. She's massively inspired me to reach out for this dream to study English at A university. I've been seeing her for about 2-3 months now and cannot believe how much my life has changed since I've started seeing her.
Studying English Literature has been something that has been ingrained into me since I was a child. I remember being one of the first children in school to learn how to read and write, always excelling at English and analysing texts throughout primary and secondary school. I was always that kid who loved going to the library and picking up 5 books and the next week return demanding more.
I never really realised how much I loved the physical study of English Literature until my A-levels, although achieving an A* at GCSE, I achieved A's throughout my A-levels and 100% in my AS level exam. I loved the discussions and opportunities that I had to discuss works that I never really got to have in the lower school, and I guess studying English Literature at University would also be an opportunity to give something back to the wonderful and inspiring teachers who helped me through the crippling depression I struggled with throughout the three years I was in the Sixth Form.
I don't really understand where I got my love of books from, but even though I have always loved reading, I never really understood how much until I was forced to take 6 months out of education to focus on recovery, and in that time I turned to books, 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath being the first novel that I could truly identify with and helped me to feel less alone in my struggles. My love for books from that moment on was more than just words on a page, they technically, saved my life in a variety of ways and enlightened me.

Throughout the years I've become immersed in the booktube community, subscribing to some wonderful and inspirational YouTubers, most of which are students of Literature. Studying this degree was in my blood and in my soul and Heather allowed me to realise that.

I was prevented by many obstacles along this journey. Something in my gut told me that a degree in Psychology was what I needed to make a life for myself, make a career, due to my history of mental health problems that it was the right decision. The truth is, it never was and yes, Psychology may place my chances of securing a career rather high, but what is to say that English Literature will not? There is too much focus on young people studying the subject that ends in the career rather than studying the subject that ends in happiness. And that's quite sad, really. There is nothing to say that I won't achieve what I want to studying a degree in Literature, at all. It's society that tells me that. If I'm determined, I can do anything.

So I have a lot of planning and hard work to do between now and September. Going to get back into my creative streak again, write poetry, read novels, and take time for myself in between work and counselling sessions. It gives me the chance to work on my anxiety and fears of travelling that have been getting worse recently.

My life will begin afresh in September. I'm sure of it. I'll be 21, and not 18, but it is better late than never and I've learnt so much more about myself in the meantime. If you're thinking about something you want to do and are debating whether or not you should do it - JUST DO IT. Your time is now.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Dreams

Today, if anything, taught me to never give up and never stop believing in your dream. That, if you don't live your life the traditional way, it's okay.

Thank you so much to my amazing counsellor Heather (who without her this would never have been possible), Leena, Jade, Ellis, Samantha, Bethany, Victoria - and those who pushed me. I don't want to fall back from this moment ever again.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Finding strength

There's so much I need to change about my current situation.

But I guess I'm coming to the realisation that I am the only person able to change that.

We can have counsellors, therapists, dieticians, teachers, parents, partners, telling us what we should do and how we should do it - but the actual CHANGE must come from within ourselves. If it doesn't, you are not living your life. You're living a life through the expectations of somebody else. And who want's that? You can't wait for somebody or something else to come along and make you happy. You have to create your own happiness. Respect and love yourself for who you are, despite the flaws. Deprive yourself of the negative people surrounding you, putting you down. Life is short, so make it count now.

'Do you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?'

If your answer is the latter, and I truly well hope it is, then only you have the power to become that pioneer.
And we can all do it - we all have inner strength within ourselves, even I know that I have strength to fight this, despite years of telling myself I had none.
You have to find it from somewhere. And what I mean is that you don't have to go looking for it. Sometimes the strength you've been looking for turns up in unexpected places. A chat with a friend, or even a stranger, can unearth that strength. A life event or something stupid and what you may think as meaningless occurring in your day. And when it does flourish, grab it with open arms and cherish the strength. Because you'll need that to continue the journey.

I'm also a firm believer in that 'everything happens for a reason'. Some of you might be thinking, well what on earth is the reason why I am the only battling depression, eating disorders, etc. The reason, I feel, is to turn you into a stronger person overall.
I can guarantee that I would be an entirely different person with a completely different outlook on life had I not been through the experiences that I have. I may have been ignorant to those struggling. I may have gone to University at 18, and turned into a person which I wasn't. I never would have learnt half of the things I've learnt without my mental health problems. We all make mistakes and do stupid things, but we learn from them and it's exactly the same situation here. Grateful is quite a strong word to describe it, I guess, but sometimes, I am. I wouldn't have half the friends I have, and learnt half the things I have without being at the lowest of the low, first. So if you're in despair right now, struggling, remember that life can only progress into better and brighter things. I saw a fantastic metaphor the other day about arrows, about how arrows can only be shot when you pull them backwards first. But after you've been struggling, being dragged back with difficulties, and and finally let go, it launches you into something great. Keep aiming.

Remember, that it's okay to struggle. Struggling doesn't mean you're weak. Everyone struggles from time to time in varying aspects of their life, it's part of being human and having emotions. But remember what I'm saying, that the strength to get out of those struggles lies within all of us. And whether it takes months or years to find it, with relapses along the path, once you find it you can push forward, just like the arrow.

'A great beginning always occurs at the point you thought would be the end of everything'

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Childhood memories


Sometimes, I look at pictures like this and often think I'm looking at a different person.
I don't ever remember a time where I was that happy and carefree with life. 
I don't remember my 'childhood memories'. Not because they were bad, at all, but because my memory of my childhood is just nothing. I have to look at photos to remind me of what I done because I have no idea. I guess it saddens me, a little. Maybe if I'd known what my life would turn out like I'd have made more effort to remember the precious days of being a happy little girl without a care in the world.

Do you have any childhood memories that really stick out for you? I'd love to hear them in the comments :)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Being 'selfish' and looking after number one

Currently suffering with a case of Post-Sam depression, an illness which occurs in the week following an amazing few days with the gorgeous Samantha (www.ohmissb.blogspot.co.uk) It's been a week now since our fabulous meet-up and I'm reminiscing the memories as I type with many wide grins upon my face. Thank you!

Despite the great few days I spent with Sam, I've had a few dark moments along the way too. I have learnt a few things as well though, as often we learn from our experiences and thoughts, whether we realise them or not. I guess one thing I have learnt in the past week is that I need to learn to be a little bit more selfish.

We hear the word 'selfish' and automatically assume it as something negative. But in the case of mental health recovery, can selfishness ever be negative?
One thing I've realised over the past few weeks is that I've spent the almost 21 years of my life focusing on pleasing others, and this has come in a variety of different forms. I've always been a people-pleaser but always assumed that this only extended to school teachers and the like. Recently I've realised that this people-pleasing has extended to my family, friends, colleagues and managers, university staff as well as those whom I have made friends with through this fantastic online community that we all know and love, for the most part.

I often tell those online and in real-life that I'm 'always there for them' and 'am here anytime'. Which is true, for the most part. But what if I'm not in a position to dish out advice and console those in need? What happens when it all gets a little bit too much? What if, without realising, this ability to be there for everyone is really hindering your own recovery?
I have spent a lifetime consumed around mental health. Eating disorders, depression, anxiety, body image, self-harm, suicide, I live and breathe it all. I talk about it to friends, family, the majority of my friends suffer from the same kinds of illnesses, I am currently a Psychology student (which I wish to change), I go to counselling sessions once a week and discuss mental health, I blog and vlog about mental health, I go to the doctors more often than not to receive medication for my mental health. I work for mental health charities. Quite honestly, mental health dominates the life I live, internally and externally.

People often ask me why I'd want to be so involved in mental health and working alongside mental health having suffered from it for so long. 'Don't you get fed up of it?' they say. The truth is, I do.
I work to raise awareness of mental health not just because I want to and because I've been through it. That, of course is a massive part of it but at the same time that people-pleasing aspect of me feels that I need a life centered around all of this due to my experiences. I NEED to help people, before I've even worked out what I want to do and what I want MY life to be. And that's just part of the person I've always been. I've always put others before myself. I'd much rather buy a present for someone else than spend my monthly wages on myself, I'll sacrifice my health to work a few extra hours at work because I'm afraid of letting them down and I spend my life volunteering, writing blogs and dishing out great advice to those who call me an inspiration where realistically I can't be one. If my life doesn't even have a focus then how can I help others so that they can achieve the same dreams and goals?

The truth is, right now, I need to make decisions that are selfish. If something doesn't feel right and I feel like it's detrimental to my recovery, I need to avoid it. If something is making me unhappy, I need to change it. I'm finally beginning to realise that in order to fully recover you need to not just be happy, but happy within YOURSELF and your life. Right now, I'm not happy. At all. I'm back on medication, back in counselling, back into eating disordered and depressive behaviours and losing focus and direction. But perhaps a reason for that is because I never even think to stop and focus on myself once in a while and spend too much of it worrying about others.

That's not to say I will never be there for anyone and will never be a source of support for others. That's not what I am saying at all. But we all have our own lives to live and it's important that within all the hustle and bustle of day to day life we focus on ourselves. It's time I stopped thinking about what others will think if I do something that's actually right for me. Sometimes, I need to take a little step back from life, the internet, and all its burdens. There's only so long I can talk about mental health until being in this environment does nothing but just 100% trigger me. This is my life, and no-one elses. We all wish sometimes that we can be a different person but realistically we can only be the best version of ourselves that we can be. And a way to start doing so is to treat and look after yourselves once in a while. Be a little bit selfish. It isn't always a bad thing. We'd be complete hypocrites if we promoted positive self-love and care if we didn't do it ourselves wouldn't we? And we all deserve it. Each and every one of us.

Every month after I get paid I try and go on a little trip and buy myself things I wouldn't always buy myself. Mainly because I feel like I don't deserve them or can't justify any reason for buying them other than simply 'wanting them'. But over the last few months Nathan has really helped in encouraging me to start treating myself and indulging in a little bit of 'me' time, now and again.


Here is an example of today's purchases - a short but sweet shopping trip in which I purchased items that I didn't really need, but wanted.
I also went into HobbyCraft today during my travels and picked up a huge plain scrapbook, stickers, and colourful papers in order to make a recovery focused scrapbook. Full of inspiring pictures, quotes, words of wisdom, dreams, places I want to go, pictures of friends and family, I want it to be a reminder of why I need to be here. Why I need to keep fighting. I've never done anything like that for myself before. Better to start late now than never huh?

I guess I've never really thought of myself as someone who 'deserves' recovery before. Someone who deserves to do what they want to do and a life away from mental illness.
But we all do. Each and every one of us. No matter what stage we are at or the mistakes we've made. I've still got such a long way to go, and quite honestly, there is a bigger part of me that has lost hope than has gained it. But I'm confident I'll find it from somewhere. I just need to start appreciating myself for the person I am, take care of myself and my well-being.
Time to start being a little selfish, eh?