Friday, 28 September 2018

A Day Off: The Road To Recovery & Thinking About The Future

The only word that I can really use to describe today is 'interesting', and I know (ironically) that that's not the most interesting word to use to describe it, but it's the only one that comes to mind. I can't remember the last time that I managed to cram so much into one of my days off. Objectively, it may not seem like I've done much, but today feels like it's been monumental. This is the first time I've felt like writing in a while, so I'd quite like to document the day that has made such an impact on me.
  • It was an early start for me today since I had to call the doctors' practice at 8am to get an on-the-day appointment to speak to a professional about my mental health. Mum and I sat on our phones, calling and calling and calling until, finally, Mum got through to the receptionist and nabbed us an appointment for 9:40am.
  • Mum managed to dive out of work to come with me to meet with the doctor, and I'm incredibly grateful and glad that she was there to fill in the blanks in my explanations, to lend me a tissue when I got emotional, and to just be a pillar of support for me. Have I ever mentioned how lucky I am to have such a great mum? Because I really am. The doctor was so lovely with me, laying everything out logically and making sense of my feelings without sounding condescending towards the clueless and scared twenty-one-year-old sobbing in front of him, and the session ended with him writing me a prescription.
  • After Mum dropped me off back at home, it was straight back out with Dad for a spot of breakfast and a mooch around the shops, where I bought a bright new jumper (pictured above) and a floral jumpsuit in the New Look sale. He made sure that I was okay after opening up about my feelings that morning. Have I ever mentioned how lucky I am to have such a great dad? Because I really am. 
  • In the afternoon, I took a thirty-minute creative writing club with some kids at the local primary school where my mum works. It's hard to get an awful lot of writing done in half an hour, but the girls were enthusiastic and bursting with some very creative ideas. I've been in to do creative writing with them before, and it turned out just as fun this time as it was last time, despite how nervous I was beforehand. I hope I'll get to go back again soon!
  • Once Mum was home from work, we took another trip into town to chat over coffee. I can't say my folks don't treat me well, can I? I picked up my prescription so that I'll be ready to start on it tomorrow, and then we took another wee look around the shops, picking up a few necessities as well as gathering some more birthday presents for my best friend. Just caught sight of a few things that I hope she'll love!
  • This evening, I've booked a weekend away in Dundee - staying two nights this time instead of one - and I've actually sat down and written this blog post, which these days is a rarity.
So, that's been my day. Interwoven between these events were discussions of what the future holds for me, including the road to recovery which I began today and whether or not I might go into teaching in the future. I have a lot of conflicting views about going into teaching. On the one hand, I can think of dozens of pros including getting to impart words of wisdom upon the children in my care (therefore doing something productive with my life), buying plenty of new stationery, and updating my wardrobe to include more teacher-y items, but the cons keep getting in the way: the pressure of being a reliable role model, the fear that I will fail the kids in my care, the worry that it's not really what I want to do but simply what people have tricked me into believing I should be doing with my English degree. I've still got a lot of thinking to do about where I'm heading, but for now, I just know that I'm feeling more optimistic about the near future. Even the little things that are coming up like next week's haircut, an event at a local art gallery, a taster art class, and my trip to Dundee at the tail end of October are making me look forward to the coming weeks. I could launch into a long rambling speech here about small victories and taking each day as it comes and how I hope the next few weeks will turn out as I try to turn things around, but I've already discussed these things so extensively today with those around me that I'd rather not repeat anything here, at least not just yet.

The usual stuff still stands, though. If you're struggling, speak out. If you need help, seek it. You matter, you are loved, and there is nothing so big that you cannot overcome it. Onwards and upwards from here. Let's see what this next week brings!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A Day Off: Mini Aberdeen Haul

After the week of hard work that I've had, a day off was badly needed. My mum and I had plans to go to Dundee which unfortunately fell through, but we ended up spending the day together in Aberdeen instead, and a wee shopping spree is always appreciated, especially somewhere like Aberdeen where there are four shopping centres within walking distance from one another. I may have exercised some self-restraint while shopping with my mother and not bought as much as I would have done had I been on my own (the last time I went shopping alone, I ended up with an almost shameful amount of stuff), but I still picked up some useful things. In the spirit of writing a little something every day, whether I share it online or not, I thought a summary of my day was in order, so here are the little bits that I picked up in town today.

Beauty-wise, I only actually picked up two items, and if that's not self-restraint then I don't know what is. This Purifying Charcoal Mask by Quick Fix Facials that's pictured below was one that I found in TKMaxx when I ran inside to see what high-end makeup they were giving away for ridiculously cheap prices, and, remembering how good their Anti-Blemish Mud Mask had been when I used it on my breakout-prone skin all those years ago, I thought I would give this one a go. After taking a look at the ingredients list, it seems like I made a good decision: charcoal to deep-clean pores, dragonfruit containing Vitamin C to illuminate skin and make it look healthier, and cinnamon with its antiseptic properties. My current favourite face wash is a charcoal one since it's an ingredient that does such a fantastic job of clearing the skin, and a face mask with charcoal as one of its main ingredients will hopefully also be of use to me and my oily skin. 

I also dragged my mum into Primark today with the intention of looking at their new makeup products (much to her dismay since she wrongly believes that I have too much makeup, and there is no such thing as 'too much makeup'), but I ended up only leaving with one makeup item that I picked up while waiting in the queue at the checkouts. I had meant to check out Primark's new mascaras after watching SophDoesNails' recent Primark makeup haul video in which she tried out two mascaras but only really liked one of them. I couldn't remember for the life of me which one she mentioned that she liked, so I picked this one out as an impulse buy just in case. Mind you, for only £2, I won't exactly lose sleep if the waterproof Aqua Lash mascara that I picked up doesn't perform all that well. 

The reason that I was standing in the queue in Primark in the first place was because I had spotted something delightful in the homewear section. Below is a photo of it looking very bright but also very at home on my bed, and it is of course that lovely Hufflepuff cushion. Pros: it's sunny and colourful, it's a great symbol of house pride for a proud Hufflepuff like myself, and it only cost me £8. Cons: absolutely nothing. It's the sort of home accessory that I would use to decorate my own place if I had one, and I can't wait to see how it fits in with the decor when I finally get a flat of my own. 

Returning to TKMaxx for a moment, I managed to find another item in there that hopefully will benefit me in the next few weeks. I'm going through a bit of an anxious spell as my last week of shifts at work have proven to me, and it wasn't until I saw these aromatherapy oils looking at me from a shelf that I considered that it might be beneficial to experiment with them to see if they help at all. These ones are specifically tailored to calm and ease anxious minds, and the set includes three types of pulse point roller ball oils named 'Pause' (orange and coriander), 'Comfort' (bergamot, orange, ginger lily and ylang ylang) and 'Support' (frankincense, cedar and peppermint). I've given them all a sniff, and they all smell calming and comforting to me, so I'm looking forward to carrying them with me in my bag so I can use them during stressful work shifts or whenever I feel myself getting jittery or panicked. 

But the star of today's show has to be this gorgeous yellow raincoat that I bought in the Marks & Spencer sale. All summer, I've had it in the back of my mind that I should add a bright anorak to my collection, especially since I've seen plenty of people wearing bright yellow coats over the summer. They're eye-catching, cute, and add a touch of colour and sunshine to a rainy day, and so I was delighted to find a raincoat of such good quality at a discounted price. Finally, I can say that I own a bright yellow coat, and hopefully it'll keep me dry and optimistic during the autumn and even the rainy spells during the spring and summer next year. The only downside of this coat? I only realised after I bought it that it looks pretty much exactly the same as the raincoat that appears on the poster for the movie 'It'. I had been wracking my brains trying to remember why I recognised the coat before I went to the checkout, but convinced myself that I was just imagining things. Maybe this means that spooky things will start happening to me whenever I wear it. I can't speak to the accuracy of that since I've never seen the movie or read the book, but I just hope that there are no incidents involving creepy clowns in my future, especially with Halloween approaching. 


Monday, 10 September 2018

World Suicide Prevention Day

This post won't be a long one. I just had to write a little something on the blog today because I've been so stuck for things to write for a long time, but now, I feel like it's time for some feelings to come to the surface. 

I've been finding it so hard to put how I've been feeling into words that I have several unfinished posts in my drafts in which I've tried to explain everything and failed each time. I'll just keep this one short and say that I've been feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and lethargic. I'm in an awkward place where I feel as though I certainly don't want to die, but I also don't really want to live because I'm not satisfied with my life right now, and I don't know where to start with changing things. I'm not sure how to deal with something like that, and I've seen it manifest itself in weird ways over these last few weeks. 

I'm nervous about writing this because I've already been on a bit of a deleting spree after tweeting about my feelings a day or two ago and regretting it, but I'm determined to put this out there because talking about mental health is so important, and I feel that by putting this into words at long last, it'll make me feel a little more sane, and also will remind me that I'm not alone. I shouldn't be afraid to put this out there, because I feel like speaking my truth is more important than how others view me. It's made my heart grow three sizes seeing people tweeting about World Suicide Prevention Day and especially seeing the Instagram poetry community out in full force, writing their messages of encouragement, hope, and affirmation. 

Which brings me to the main point of this post. For a long time now, I've been stuck for subjects for poetry, and I've had no energy or motivation to write, but today, I came across a little challenge on Instagram started by the user @throughrosecoloredeyes. The challenge is to write a poem inspired by the prompt '13 reasons why I stay', encouraging people to write about the ways in which life is worth living and the reasons that they stay alive. Having been swamped with negative thoughts over the last wee while, it was almost cathartic to remember that there is a lot of positivity in this world, and there is plenty to live for, even when I don't think there is.

I'm lucky that I have understanding friends and family as well as a wonderful hypnotherapist who all try to help me out when I'm feeling low and slipping back into a negative mindset. Not everybody has the same luxury, but everybody should remember that they are loved and that they have a place in this world, no matter who they are. It's also more important than ever to be kind towards others because you never truly understand what is going on in someone's head. Somebody could seem perfectly fine on the surface, but could be crushingly depressed on the inside. Mental illness cannot always be seen, it doesn't discriminate, and it should not be such a taboo subject. When people find it difficult to speak out when they are struggling, it often pushes them further into the dark. Talking about these things and bringing them into the light is one of the best things we can do as a society. 

From now on, I'll be making more of an effort to check up on my friends and loved ones, and I encourage everybody reading this to do the same. Even people who seem like they have it all and are doing fine may just be putting on a brave face or pretending because they think that they won't be taken seriously if they speak up. It's okay to say something if you need help. Talk to someone you trust. Call a helpline. Make an appointment with a therapist or a counsellor. Remember that you are an essential part of this world and that you have every reason to be here today, tomorrow, and every day after the fact. There are so many things in this world worth living for. Look for them, and drink them all in.

Below is my '13 reasons why I stay' list poem. The full photos are on my Instagram if the writing is a little difficult to read here. If you're currently in a dark place - especially if you're a creative writer who is feeling stuck and lost because of it - I encourage you to write your own. It's not easy, but it's certainly helped me today. 

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