2018 has been the year of change for me. Not big changes; I haven’t moved house, got a new job or traveled the world but it’s been the year of subtle changes which ultimately, have changed my outlook and in ways… my life. You don’t need a grand gesture in order to change your life – despite what “gurus” may tell you. Traveling the world isn’t feasible for everyone. Moving to another location isn’t as straight and to the point as some people say it is. Circumstances, mental health, physical health, money and a whole variety of other factors can stop us from making these big changes we’re so often told we need to make in order to change our lives. But it’s bollocks.
In a society where self-care has become such a huge focus in the recent years and months, we’re often told that “these are the things we need to do when we’re feeling down / ill / depressed, in order to improve ourselves” and well, make ourselves feel that little bit better. And whilst that’s great; we all need these coping mechanisms for our down days – we often think only about self care in times of “need”. Boyfriend break up with you? Self care day. Rough day at work? Self care evening. Having a bad time with your mental health? Self bloody care. And again, this is brilliant and we totally should focus on our self care when we’re having a rough time but what about all the other time? You know, all the other days of the year when we’re not having a bad day, our boyfriends haven’t just broken up with us and our mental health is on a pretty good keel. What then?
Anxiety sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It can be overwhelming, entirely consuming and completely life-changing and I’ve certainly experience all 3 of those feelings since I developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder in 2011. I wrote about my experience in more depth here but since then (goodness me, it literally does seem like a lifetime ago), my anxiety has chopped and changed quite dramatically. And it’s no surprise really because things change all the time. There was a point in time where I had to eat sort of, every hour because I was terrified I was going to faint. Which stemmed from an episode of the flu where I almost actually did faint and voila, I have anxiety and I’m terrified of everything. Funny how the brain works isn’t it?
I blog about mental health a lot and I’m totally open about my anxiety and how it affects me. Which is bad. Sometimes. I think during my anxiety journey, I’ve learnt a lot about how to deal with both anxiety and stress. I’ve probably learnt more coping mechanisms with anxiety than I ever would have if I didn’t develop it in the first place. Which, thinking about it, I suppose is one benefit to come out of having my mental health disorder. Of course we all need coping strategies when we’re stressed. Because we all get stressed and we’ll all have periods of more stress than others. You know how it is, everything’s fine for months then 12 problems come along at once. I’ve recently had a bit of a episode like that, which I’m not going to go into but it’s important to reiterate the point that everyone goes through it. It can help to know we’re not alone, if nothing else.
There was a time in my life where I felt like I was looking into a black hole of nothingness. I wasn’t depressed (at least, I don’t think I was) and I certainly wasn’t suicidal. It was a time where my anxiety was at it’s absolute worst. Not too long after it started, when I didn’t know what it was or how to cope with it. Besides, before October 2011, I didn’t even know what a panic attack was. I didn’t know what anxiety was, let alone what it felt like. I was a girl who pranced through life, going out as much as she possibly could, meeting people and literally – literally – didn’t have a care in the world.
The day Louisa and James bring their newborn son home from the hospital marks a new beginning for all of them. To hold their child in their arms, makes all the stress and trauma of fertility treatment worth it. Little Cory is theirs and theirs alone. Or so they think…
After her mother’s suicide when she was a child, Louisa’s life took an even darker turn. But meeting James changed everything. She can trust him to protect her, and to never leave her. Even if deep down, she worries that she has never told him the full truth about her past, or the truth about their baby.
But someone knows all her secrets – and that person is watching and waiting, with a twisted game that will try to take everything Louisa holds dear. Continue reading
Wowzers… April. April. APRIL. Just when we couldn’t believe that it was 2018 already, here we are, 4 months into the year already. I hope you all had a great March, did lots of cool stuff and had a lot of fun. March for me was pretty damn good; I visited my boyfriend’s family in Lincolnshire, went away for the weekend to the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire and saw the start of the new Formula 1 season. So all in all, a good month. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed doing smaller, more achievable monthly goals this year so far. It’s really worked for me, it’s helping me focus and also helping me be more specific about my goals. However, this will be my last public goals list I’ll be posting on my blog – just because I don’t want it to get too samey and don’t want y’all to get bored! I’ll still be noting down my goals privately for the rest of the year (hopefully!) Here’s what I’d like to achieve in April…
I don’t write poetry. I don’t usually “get” poetry and it’s never been one of my favourite creative methods to both write or read. Can I blame it on school? On having that dreaded poetry anthology thrust upon us all in Year 9, in schools all over the country? Possibly. School certainly didn’t make poetry a fun experience; having to dissect every line, every word almost, constant analysis and notations. We were never really allowed to just read it, enjoy it and make of it what we wanted to – if anything.
Format: Hardback, giveaway prize
Links: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goodreads
Blurb: Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.
So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.
To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.
In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are. Continue reading
Self care is something I’ve really tried to embrace and focus on more in 2017. I truly believe that we need to look after ourselves and treat ourselves with the same level of love, care and respect as you would your partner, parents, pet, house plant – whoever. Of course that’s easier said than done and I’m certainly not the only one who repeatedly punishes themselves when they feel shit or have had a bad day by not eating, sleeping too much, not washing or speaking to anyone. These behaviours are damaging – there’s no two ways about it and we need to try harder to embrace positive actions when we feel bad, rather than negative ones.