I have so many drafts of half finished posts at the moment and a notebook I am filling with ideas. And yet here I am, starting another post... But I suppose that's what "lifestyle blogging" is all about. Today I am trying to pick up on the mindfulness practices I started earlier this year during CBT. The Little Book of Mindfulness is so perfect for throwing in your bag and reading on the go as well as pondering over and writing post it notes to leave yourself around the house. As anxiety lives in the future and depression in the past, the present is something I am rarely in and so I am vowing to myself and you reading this, that I will make a more conscious effort to be in the "now" as much as possible. So far, it's quite inspiring and has lead me back to my trusty 642 Things To Write About book.
Have you ever tried to practice mindfulness? What inspires you on a day to day basis?
I saw this on Postsecret this Sunday and it really struck a chord with me:
Anti-depressants have cropped in conversation with a few people in the past few months and it's a debate that is always on going. I know some people see it as an easy way out or something that is unhealthy and not all that useful and that's fair enough if it's your view. I can comprehend that in some cases they may mask the bigger problems and if people aren't willing to tackle things then they may not be the best route forward. However, to me, I see them as the difference between being here and not being here; my therapist referred to them as a safety rope that is there to help me as I deal with things and continue on with my life. My mental state is not stable enough for me to go about my life unmedicated. Even with the tablets I take, I have mood swings and emotions that are frightening in their strength and toxicity and so without them, I would be in no state to deal with them, quite frankly, I would have lost the battle way before now. Going back to the secret above, recently I have been in one of my more pensive frames of mind, overthinking absolutely everything about myself and my life and in doing so, naturally I consider my mental health. As I have said, I am in no position to consider coming off my meds and going about life as usual because I'm incapable, however I occasionally feel like my tablets are numbing me more than I would like, taking away my ability to feel things as deeply as I would like. I have always been an emotional person, I can get so excited and passionate about the smallest, more random things and sometimes I feel like I've lost that. Basically, I feel exactly the same as whoever created this postcard. That in itself is slightly reassuring because one of the huge characteristics of depression is making you feel completely isolated and to know that someone else feels this way is like a bit of a glow in an otherwise dark place. Although it does stir up the mentioned debate of pros and cons of antidepressants. Sorry if this is coming across a bit garbled, it is a huge ongoing debate within my brain and all very dependent on my mood on a certain day and obviously depression itself can cause the numbness and inabilty to live and feel as you sometimes desire, it may not always be linked to medication.
Following on from my last post and mental health awareness, I'd love to hear from any of you, your views on living with mental health issues and taking medication. Let's keep the conversation going...
But I'm back. And I'm vowing to carry on with this little fragment of the internet because despite neglecting it a bit recently; it still means a hell of a lot to me.
Today as you may or may not know is World Mental Health Day. Obviously this means a lot to me; not only because of my own battles but because of those I love who continue to fight and all those affected who feel alone or hopeless or wanting to give up. The stigma that surrounds mental health is a frightening thing; we shun those who we deem "different" from the norm. But can you seriously define to me what "normal" is? We are all humans and we all fight our battles and there is no doubt in my mind that we should all support one another in those battles, no matter what they are. Just because something is strange or scary to you, like mental health seems to be to many, doesn't mean it is wrong or something to be ignored. So many people are affected by depression, anxiety, addiction, self harm, eating disorders and all that comes with them and yet we shun them instead of helping. It takes only the smallest bit of effort to make a difference in someone's life, a little "hey, how you doing?" text; a smile; a hug; let them know they are not alone and you are already taking a step towards ending the stigma.
These past few weeks have been a bit weird for me, I'm back in the mindframe of depression that has me feeling everything in the most extreme ways: I go from ecstatic and laughing to catastrophically anxious and afraid. I can feel so happy for a while and before I know it, I'm back in that dark place where my self worth is non-existant and I don't see the point in my life. When these extremes disappear, I'm left with a crushing numbness that I wouldn't wish on anyone, I yearn to feel anything, even sadness just so that I know I'm still alive. However, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people that support me whether I am irritatingly hyper or infectiously exhausted and I thank my lucky stars for that every day. It breaks my heart to know that there are people suffering in silence because they are afraid of judgement or diagnosis. That shouldn't be the case. This needs to end and if my words can reach even one person, I'll take that because every single thing matters.
So if you do one thing today, make sure it is letting someone you care about know you are there no matter what.
Although I really hate missing people, it is something I am used to because of being blessed with so many wonderful pals. Having your best friends over 300 miles away for the majority of the year does not make friendship easy but somehow we cope and that makes the times we get in summer be really freakin' awesome. Here are some of my favourites and the times we have had this summer...
Although I am usually a simple dresser who sticks with basics and the usual statement piece, I am a firm believer in a few good accessories. Here are my favourites this summer:
My little tan backpack from Italy was such a great find and I haven't used a different bag since, I love it. It's the perfect size and everything. (The Blue Peter badge is my dads.)
Not just a summer time accessory, but most of the time, I have a pair of Vans on my feet. I just love them too much. Here are my current favourites.
And finally jewellery; I am a total magpie and love anything silver, but the necklace I have been reaching for lately is a little different; handmade by the beautiful ladies at Bestow Jewellery, it is the perfect accessory for a summer by the sea.
This is the sort of outfit you can usually find me in; comfy but what I like to hope is stylish. The vest was actually a dress I chopped up and the skort was an ebay steal at about £7 (the zip has since fallen off but nothing a needle and thread can't fix).
Topped off with three things it is rare to see me without; Vans, my trusty Italian backpack and fave leather jacket.
At the end of May, me and mum headed off on our holidays to Sorrento in Italy. It was a well needed break for the two of us and something we were both really looking forward to. The prospect of sunshine and calm waters were obviously a huge lure but as well as that, I was really happy to be able to escape with my favourite human; I am massively aware that I am by no means an easy person to live with: I can be angry, emotional, hyperactive and so many other things I am probably not even aware of. And of course, mum being the incredible person she is, feels guilty when she can't help and then I feel guilty because I hate that I'm hurting her by being such a mess. Don't get me wrong, we have a hoot but sometimes it's nice to escape reality for a while, right? When pondering holiday destinations, I threw Italy out there because we both love it, the culture, the food, the language, the history, basically everything it has to offer. Before we knew it we had booked flights to Naples and were counting the days. Sorrento is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, built into and on the coastal cliffs, there are unimaginable views as far as the eye can see. We actually drove through the little village where pizza was invented!!
I won't go into too much detail because were there for 12 days so I could write far too much. The highlights were definitely wandering/getting lost in Pompeii; I have wanted to go here for so long as I remember studying it in school and being fascinated. Because Pompeii was covered with ash and not lava, everything was really well preserved, including some of the bodies (creepy). We also went to Herculanean which is way smaller but in much better condition. I do love history. The main highlight for both of us was an impulsive decision to go on a eco-friendly 4x4 that looked like something out of Jurassic Park, through Versuvius national park and then walking the last bit up to the crater of the volcano. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The crater is currently blocked up from the last non-explosive erruption in 1944 although there are still some wisps of sulphurous steam wafting around. The views from the top were incredible and well worth the difficult ashy trek to the top.
Other than the historical trips out, we spent most of our time soaking up the sun, swimming, and exploring the maze of backstreets that make up Sorrento and Positano: Oh, and eating copious amounts of Gelato and pizza.
I decided before we went that I wanted to visit Naples for a day by myself and so one hot morning, off I went. The public transport over there is amazing, so so cheap and well organised and what not. So many of my peers are off having adventures around the globe and while I am nowhere financially or mentally prepared for something like that, I was looking forward to my own little adventure. In my typical impulsive and unorganised style, I set off out of the station with no map and no idea resulting in me getting lost in a huge fish market and falling over in front of all the locals. Smooth, I know. Following this, I bought a map and headed for the Museum of Archeology. It was such a rad museum, really airy and spacious yet full of incredible finds from Italy to Egypt. I could have stayed there for hours but after a while I left and wandered down Carbonara Avenue (yes that actually exists) and found myself a slushie and a cronut; doughnut crossed with a croissant; Amazing. My journey back was not so pleasant as a creepy man put his hand up my dress but I was thankfully rescued by a nice American couple.
And I think that pretty much sums up our Italian Adventure!:)