Friday, 23 January 2015

Oxford, the paradise of dead philosophers.

Sometimes the best way to get out of a bad mental place is to physically take yourself to a different place, a little like going on holiday. For me at least the change in surroundings seems to trigger a reboot in my head and re sparks a bit of motivation and positivity. Obviously its not always a viable option with work and other responsibilities but as i have neither of those at the moment i've become somewhat of a suitcase kid (Jacqueline Wilson anyone?) and built up a few places in the last few months that i can escape to.

The added bonus is that when i start to feel more motivated i'm able to do the things i love again. Of course being inspired helps which is why Oxford has quickly become a favorite haven to me, the architecture and quaint little quirks have reunited me with my camera. Most of these are from December and aside from instagram were some of the first photos i'd taken in months. It may not seem like a big deal but to me just enjoying things like photography and writing again feels like a huge achievement. Eventually i'm hoping that the things i enjoy will become enough to pull me out of a bad patch without having to relocate every three or four days but for now i'm just grateful that i've found a way to give myself a little bit of happiness.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015, the year of self discovery.

 New year, a time for new beginnings and aspirations. 365 blank pages full of potential waiting to be written on.  At this time of year we make a lot of promises, if we believe what we resolve then we’ll all be seeing in the end of 2015 with our idea jobs, in perfect relationships and size 6 dresses. If only life were that simple, i’ve tried to be that person and guess what; it doesn’t always work. As a result 2014 was bad, quite possibly one of the worst and i can wholeheartedly say i don’t want a repeat thank you very much.

This year i have only one goal and that is the goal of self discovery. I want to carry on writing, reading and taking photographs, i want to travel and make new friends (and meet those who i haven’t yet had the chance to), i want to try new things and figure out what i enjoy and who i am away from the confines of who i’m expected to be and who i thought i was. I don’t want to please anyone else; i don’t want to be responsible for anyone else, heck i don’t even want to think about anyone else. Selfish? Quite possibly yes, but i’m entitled to be selfish, we all are.

We’re given one life and not to sound trite but that life and how we spend it is precious. One thing that i’ve definitely learnt from this year is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve got around you if you can’t see it yourself, i've seen so many of my friends struggling over the last twelve months and the majority of the time those struggles have been a result of internal not external factors. You will never be happy with what you have, what you're doing or where you are if you aren’t happy within yourself, which is why at the end of the day you are all that really matters. Again trite but quite possibly the truest sentiment there is and one to be remembered in 2015.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

It's ok to not be ok at Christmas

Hello m'dears happy Christmas eve, i can't believe it's that time already! Before i turn all Christmassy though i can't ignore the response i had to my last post, the comments and messages i received on here and twitter were so encouraging and uplifting, it definitely made me remember why i love the blogging community so much. Also pre warning, this is a loooong post.

There are a lot of things that I'm still struggling with at the moment and and the festive period can be a difficult time but i tend to be happier when i get to spend a little time in London. There are so many things about Christmas that i can take or leave but the things that i do love are seeing the displays in Harrods and Selfridges and wandering round markets in the dark clutching a cup of mulled wine. So of course Christmas wouldn't be complete without a trip to Hyde Park. 

Over the last couple of weeks i've been splitting my time between oxford and cardiff which means that London has become a bit of a halfway point for me. It's a good arrangement, i've actually ended up at winter wonderland four times. As the 25th has inched closer it's definitely been getting more and more hectic, it's a struggle to manoeuvre  through the crowds and take photos without getting knocked out by a kid with a giant Toblerone. Despite my anxiety I actually like crowds but i don't think I could hack it today.

Not that I'm in London for Christmas eve anyway. As I write this i'm traveling up to my nans to spend Christmas with my dads side of the family, something which i haven't done for about ten years. I'm excited but also hugely apprehensive as this will be the first time i've seen any of them in over a year and although I've spoken to them in the last few weeks its also the first time since i've been in hospital.
Suddenly they all know exactly what i'm going through, whether or not they understand is yet to be seen, but they know and that's scary. I can't help but feel incredibly vulnerable right now, to have every single thing about yourself that you've hidden for so long become open so quickly is difficult to deal with. That on top of the usual pressures of Christmas is rather overwhelming.

I was going to do a separate post dedicated to dealing with mental illness at Christmas but the last week seems to have disappeared into nothing. Luckily a few days ago Anna pretty much summed up everything I've been thinking. Christmas can be difficult for anyone, we put so much pressure on making it perfect, perfect decorations, perfect presents, perfect Christmas lunch, it can make the whole thing seem more stressful than enjoyable like it should be. When you struggle with mental health that pressure is only worsened because it's Christmas, you're meant to be happy. The problem is when you're suffering with depression, anxiety an eating disorder or any other illness it's not always that simple and that expectation to be merry is like a double edged sword because you can easily end up feeling like you're dissapointing other people or failing yourself if you're feeling down when really it's completely out of your control. That's why the message that Anna is emphasising is so important, it's ok not to be ok at Christmas. 

It's definitely something that I'm going to keep in mind for the rest of the Christmas period if I feel like I'm struggling. My medication is being all switched over at the moment so I'm unpredictable, i'm not really sleeping so I'm irritable, the thought of having to deal with food is terrifying me and of course there's the anxiety of seeing my family but all of that is ok, it doesn't have to mean Christmas will be ruined it just means I have a little more to deal with. The main difference this year is that I don't have to keep all those worries to myself which is why I do think it's the right thing to speak out and be open as scary as it feels, there's nothing worse than feeling down and alone at Christmas...and i hope none of you have to face that this year.

Friday, 19 December 2014

The importance of...

Honesty. Friends. Family. Hope. Self esteem. Laughter. Never giving up. Happiness. Life. Until recently I'd forgotten what all of these things mean, how important they all are.

Four weeks ago I attempted suicide. I was tired of living and ready to end it all. Now I realise I'd given up on life a long time before I overdosed. I gave up when I stopped fighting against my anxiety and bulimia, when I started sinking further and further into depression and self harm and couldn't see a way out. I gave up when I started self medicating and acting recklessly almost daring myself to die or get killed so I wouldn't have to do it myself. I was just padding water until the right time came. There was no point asking for help because i had decided that nothing was going to work and besides who would i ask? I had convinced myself that everyone around me; therapists, friends, family, all hated me. Essentially i had decided that fighting was too difficult so i was eliminating any reason that i had to live.

When I woke up in hospital I felt no relief whatsoever, no feeling of regret for doing what I did or happiness to still be alive just fear and sadness at the thought of having to carry on with exactly the same fight that had made me want to die in the first place, and that was the thought that scared me the most.

Today that fear is still with me, but I've also got something that I haven't had in a very long time, hope. After spending four days in hospital I was put into a crisis house, while there i was given the space, time, patience and understanding i needed to gain back a little part of myself. I started talking again, and with that came crying, a lot of crying. I was thinking and feeling again, such simple things that we take for granted but things that i'd somehow lost. Most importantly i started to enjoy things again, reading, writing, drawing, all things that i love but hadn't been able to do in months, things that reminded me that life is worth fighting for. Of course none of this means that everything is suddenly fine, far from it. But at least there's some light where before all i could see was darkness. 

Some of you maybe wondering why i've decided to post about this on the internet, on a fashion blog of all places, and its something that i've been going over in my head for the last couple of weeks. When i started writing again i knew i wanted to come back to blogging but that this time it needed to be different, i don't want to feel like i have to hide anything or appear a certain way. I've been doing that for way too long and evidently it hasn't helped only hindered me. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. I've said it before and i truly believe it and for that reason i'm going to be dedicating a lot of my posts to mental health from now on. I still love fashion and hopefully always will but there's much more to me than that, most of which i'm only just starting to discover myself, and i think my blog is due a revamp to represent that.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Draw a map, find a path. Take a breathe, and run.

 Dress ~ H&M, Top ~ H&M, Jewellery ~ Primark/Rock & Rags, Bag ~ Primark, Shoes ~ Blondie & Blondie 

As i love to be negative i'm going to say out right that i really dislike these photos, which as you can probably tell were taken when i visited Venice back in May, but i do like the dress and i do like the pretty background. It was just unfortunate that i'd spent the past 4 hours on a boiling hot coach and was immensely hungover from the ridiculously cheap wine in Italy. This dress isn't something i would usually go for but it was only £7.99 so incapable of resisting a bargain i picked it up anyway and i've actually had a lot of use out of it. It's perfect for holidays as it takes up barely any room and doesn't crease which is great if you're the kind of person who balls everything up and rams it in a case...which also comes in handy if like me you have more of a floordrobe than a wardrobe.

Having a few months worth of photos and blogging to catch up on might actually work out pretty well as since i said i would start posting again i haven't been feeling too great. If you follow me on instagram you'll have seen that i've still managed to go out for cocktails (surprise surprise) but apart from that it's just been doctors appointments and work. Monday tomorrow though and hopefully the start of a better week.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

'Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.' - Dr Suess

Over the last two months i've sat down to tap out a blog post time and time again only to find myself staring blankly at the screen for a while before giving up. Blogging shouldn't be this hard, and when i started my blog it didn't feel this hard. I didn't used to think about what i wrote, now i question every sentence. Somehow blogging has become a constant analysis of whether anything i post is good enough, if i've revealed too much, if i come across as boring or pretentious....the list is endless and all revolves around appearing a certain way.

When it seems like everyone has a professional design, fancy camera and model looks, it's impossible really not to feel inferior and i'm assuming that nearly every blogger out there can relate to that in someway. For me these feelings are intensified even further by my anxiety and depression, i'm incredibly insecure, negative and self-critical in real life and this continues into the online world. Sometimes i can mask it well but when i'm feeling particuarly low it's difficult to write anything at all, not only am i a lot more harsh on myself but then there's also the pressure of not wanting to break the mask that i've built up. At that stage it becomes easier to neglect my blog completely, even though i don't necessarily want to, than to attempt to keep up the bravado.

'Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you aren't'

Despite all this and as much as i have been contemplating putting my blog to rest for good, i can't quite do it. There's still that niggling voice in my head reminding me how much i love being part of the blogger community and how hugely cathartic and enjoyable writing has been for me in the past and i want that again. So while i know i can't stop myself caring what other people think i figure that if i can at least be a bit more open about the negative parts of my life and try to release some of the pressure of needing to appear a certain way then maybe i won't feel the need to back away when things aren't great. From here on i'm posting what i want with or without explanation, whether it's an outfit post, drunken photos or a rant about mental health and the NHS. I'm reclaiming my blog.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A weekend in Venice.

oh my i know i say it everytime but i really didn't realize how long its been since i last posted. The past few weeks have been busy busy with the usual working, drinking and general living but also a long weekend in Venice, from which i've finally sorted through the 500 photos i took, so hopefully this post isn't too much of an overload.

I have to admit i always imagined that when i visited Venice it would involve romantic gondola rides and candlelit dinners (feel free to gag) but with a total lack of a beau of any sort i had to settle for seeing the city with my brother and mum. Romance or not it didn't matter anyway as i still had an amazing time enjoying the sun, crossing what felt like hundreds of bridges and drinking too much red wine and coffee. I still can't quite get it into my head that people actually live in Venice, it just looks and feels so different from anywhere else i've been.

Looking at these now it feels like i wasn't even there, it only took one day back at work to make the canals seem like a dream. To be honest as much as i really did love seeing Venice the best part was having some time to relax in which i wasn't ridiculously tired or hungover, i even found the time to finish two books which i haven't done in a long long time. Now of course its back to real life and i'm hankering after another holiday more than ever!