Friday, 20 September 2019

Review: In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree and American Flowers by Micheal A. McLellan

When I was a kid, I read the book Chalk and Cheese by Adele Geras about two sisters who were, unsurprisingly, as different as chalk and cheese. To describe In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree and American Flowers, both by Michael A. McLellan, as being as different as chalk and cheese, would be a bit of an understatement.

The first book I read, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, features freed slave Henry and runaway rich girl Clara as they try to leave their previous lives behind. After losing his girlfriend to a snakebite, Henry narrowly escapes being hanged to go and live with the Cheyenne people, while Clara leaves home to get away from her controlling father who disapproves of the father of her unborn baby.

Through a series of attacks on the Cheyenne people and American soldiers, Henry and Clara reach their destination, only for Clara to have a miscarriage and die next to the father of her baby once they have been reunited. The book itself doesn't so much end in any form of resolution, other than the protagonists getting what they wanted only for it to not end up as they thought it would.

This seems to be a theme within McLellan's work, as the protagonists in American Flowers sure as hell don't end up in the situations they thought they wanted at the end.

Essentially, it's Requiem for a Dream for the 2010's. Starting with Chris, the high school baseball pro turned meth addict, meeting Allie, a runaway teen, in his dealer's house, the two become progressively more and more addicted to meth and end up on the run from the police.

Sliding further into addiction, Chris begins dealing to fund his habit and ends up selling to a 15 year old who dies of a heart attack. Blamed for the teenagers death and suspected of ratting out his dealer to the police, Chris and Allie wind up involved in an armed robbery which leaves four people dead and start their lives on the run from the authorities via motel-room murders, kidnap and a hell of a lot more meth.

Eventually, the two are discovered asleep in the woods and are taken in by a local woman who lets them stay with them while they detox, only to shoot Chris in the head when he refuses to hand himself in and leave Allie to get on with her life. While she didn't get what she wanted, to spend her life with Chris, she got what she needed.

I'd thought of ending this post with a comparison of sorts, but there really isn't room for it here. As with author's I've enjoyed in the past, the style and subject matter of McLellan's two text are such polar opposites that it would be impossible to compare and contrast them without falling into writing a full blown essay. The texts were both incredibly interesting and covered both brand new subject matters and topics that I've read time and time again. American Flowers is not something I"d recommend to anyone upset by portrayals of drug use, but if you are interested in how death and mistreatment can be seen in both a historical and contemporary settings, then McLellan is an author I'd recommend.


Thursday, 29 August 2019

Review - Wild, Dark Times by Austin Case

Magic can get you some wild pussy 

Good to know

I haven’t posted a book review in a while, mainly because the books I’ve been reading either haven’t been that great or I’ve read them so many times that, at this point, reviewing them would be kind of pointless.

On the road anyone?

This one, however, I don’t mind reviewing. Not necessarily because I loved it, there are some paragraphs on my PDF that I’ve written WHAT?? around in the intelligible scrawl only used by doctors, toddlers and the guy I had a thing for that I set next to in year 9 science, but because I loved the language.

Writing about the language of a book instead of the plot isn’t something I’ve read in many reviews. This isn’t an “I’m not like other writers” kind of post, but more a comment on my understanding that, unless you have a particular interest in it, solely reading about the language used by an author might be quite boring. I’m fully aware of my status as an epic writing nerd, but I’m also fully aware that the use of the written language is not something that appeals to everyone else.

Without indulging in my traditional, overdramatic, nature, it is fair to say that the language used by the author is nothing short of beautiful. Descriptive, delicious and invitingly metaphorical, if it hadn’t have been so vibrant I probably wouldn’t have finished the book (and it’s only 96 pages). Whilst they may have had difficulty creating a continuous plot both easy enough for readers to follow and as equally as unique and popular as is needed to attract an audience, it is more than made up for by the words they use in their attempt.

If the idiosyncrasies of language make your nipples hard or if you're looking for a quick read to finish in a day or so, this one's for you.


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Why I'm not Moving Back to England

I don't think I've really discussed politics in great detail in this blog. Other than my destain for the B-word (Brexit), it's not something I really talk about because I often don't feel able to provide an informed perspective. It's also something that I'm somewhat insecure about talking about, so I tend to let it go. In this instance, however, I actually have something to say, so I'm going to give it a go as best I can.

Until very, very, recently if anyone asked me whether or not I was going to stay in Canada after my work visa ran out I, quite literally, laughed in their face. Sweet baby Jesus, no, I think was one response I used when my dad asked the question. But, due to recent proposals by the UK government, I'm starting to change my mind.

Recently, Iain Duncan Smith proposed that the pension age of citizens of the UK should be raised to 75. Meaning that, until the age of 75, individuals would receive no form of pension from the state. The argument behind this is that it would be put in place to support the "fiscal challenge" the country faces in light of the increasing life expectancy of the population.

Eight years ago, on December 21st, we lost my Grandad, he was 74 at the time. In line with Duncan Smith's proposal, he would have had to work until after the day he died in order to receive any form of state pension. Not until a decade before he died, not until a few years, but until after his death. Not only is this physically impossible, but it shows the lack of care and respect that certain people within my country's government have for the general population.

Whether or not this proposal may come to fruition I don't know, my guess is that it's not going to get the go-ahead and, even if it does, the proposal suggests that it won't come into effect for another decade or so. My problem is that even the law isn't imposed, I don't want to live in a country where the government may have wanted my grandad to work until after his death in order to receive any kind of support, after having worked his entire life.

Not necessarily a rational reason to not return home (other than to visit) but one I believe in, and so am going to stick to.


Monday, 19 August 2019

Early noughties teen literature, what even?

Today ladies and gentleman, we are going to be taking a walk down memory lane, particularly the lane that holds my previous taste in literature. To be specific, the teen literature of Meg Cabot.

When I was a teen, I had no desire to be a princess. However, I did have a desire to be loved and therefore enter into a relationship as romantic and adoring as that of Mia Thermopolis and Micheal Moscovitz from The Princess Diaries.

Not only are we not going to address the content of that last paragraph, but we're also going to ignore the fact that I didn't need to google the spelling of Moscovitz. #Thoscovitz for life.

Would that be there ship name? Who knows.

Anyway, I digress.

The title we're going to be addressing in today's episode of "I'm in a rare ass mood" is The Princess Diaries 6: Sixational. For those of you who didn't spend hours on the memo boards of the Meg Cabot website, the book centres around some bullshit that vaguely relates to Mia becoming student body president and the pressure that comes with dating a college student, aka genius boyfriend Michael.

I was totally invested in this as a teen and let's face it, would happily re-read the majority of the series.

So, spoiler alert, in the book Mia throws a bitch fit after finding out that her boyfriend isn't a virgin (what even?) and he throws a bitch fit because she doesn't want to bone.

Hello, mid naughties? 1940 called and they want their neanderthalic opinions back.

Side note, I googled it and neanderthalic is, in fact, a word.

As I discussed in my previously unread post To the guy that drove me home, trying to pressure someone into sex is so many different shades of wrong that E. L. James wants her book titles back. This guy's behaviour was bullshit, but I'm a grown-ass woman (*cough*) and I'm able to tell someone to suck a dick when I need to. As a teenager, I was completely unable to do this. At the age of 16, I was nowhere near secure enough to be able to tell someone I didn't want to sleep with them and, as a result, found myself in situations that I really wasn't happy with. For some reason, Meg Cabot felt it appropriate to not only write an entire novel based on someone feeling pressured into having sex with her boyfriend but, after they break up for reasons that had something vaguely to do with Japan that I can't remember at this point, she deemed it appropriate for her protagonist to not only be happy remaining friends with her ex-boyfriend who told her he "wouldn't wait around forever" to have sex with her, but they also GOT BACK TOGETHER.

Seriously, this was an appropriate message to send to teens in the mid-noughties? I'm not convinced. As I said, I'm in a rare af mood today, but it would be impossible to deny that they may be a connection between being told that it's okay for your boyfriend to try to pressure you into having sex, and people allowing others to treat you like shit. 

I have various opinions on the #metoo movement, but bro, this is not an okay message to send.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what my conclusion to this post is going to be, But, to summaries, it's not okay to use literature to tell people that it's okay for others to pressure into sex, whether your protagonist is the future princess of Genovia or not.


Monday, 29 July 2019

The Dating Game

When I started dating my ex I began writing a blog post about him that I never published. I was convinced that if I posted anything discussing the fact that I liked him I would jinx everything and he wouldn't like me anymore.

TBF I was convinced of this in most situations and spent the entirety of our relationship petrified that he would go off of me, as I have been in almost all of my romantic endeavours. It wasn't the healthiest of couplings.

I'm attempting to rid myself of the automatic assumption that if I'm involved with someone they are guaranteed to "go off" me. Admittedly I doubt I'm rather difficult to forget but, in true BPD style, I associate romantic relationships with feelings of instability and have done for a very long time. I always assume that people will leave not in the physical sense, but in the sense that their feelings for me will disappear.

Fear of abandonment is one of the most prominent symptoms of BPD, and it is often said that those living with the condition will exhibit manipulative behaviours in order to guarantee that people will "stay". Me, I do the opposite and engage in behaviours that I, in all honesty, know will push the person in question away. This isn't an example of "if someone really likes you they'll understand", it's a case of "I know this is going to drive the person anyway, but I just can't stop doing it."

Self-sabotage is also a very prominent symptom of BPD.

I've recently been on a couple of dates with someone that I like and, although I'm not going to divulge any details of the connection on my blog, it makes me nervous to post the words online. Not because I don't want people to read it, let's face it my reader count isn't very high and nobody knows the person in question, but because I don't know how things are going to turn out. I never really know what constitutes "dating" someone, is there a number of dates you have to go on or do you incur points like in videogames? I don't think it would be correct to say that we're dating, but it would also be incorrect to say that his existence is irrelevant to my daily life. It's not something I am fully capable of describing but it's there.

Confusing as hell, but at least I can take comfort in the fact that I can't be the only person who finds dating this difficult, borderline or not.


Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Things that are currently pissing me off

One of the things I don't think there's much chance of me modifying during this oh-so-cliche journey to not letting myself get treated like shit again is my temper. People with BPD are known to have pretty short fuses and mine is no exception. I once shouted "I don't have temper" at someone who suggested that I can be a little, hot-headed, at times but, if I'm quite honest, I really don't mind.

Aside from my all-consuming hatred of Cat Dealey and Jameela mother-cunting-fuck-face Jamil, here's what's pissing me off at the moment.


This one is quite specific to job hunting but, even so, it makes me mad. It's 2019, people use their phones while they're taking a shit, stop being so god damn lazy and respond to what I've sent you. Even if it's with an "I'm a bit busy at the moment but I'll get back to you shortly", I need to at least know my message has been received. Don't be rude, don't be a douche and send me a mother cunting email back.


In a similar vein to the above rant, the root of this one stems from my favourite of all activities, job hunting. About two weeks ago, I went for an interview at a coffee shop about 20-25 minutes from my house. Baring in mind that I not only took about an hour and a half out of my day to travel down there, as well as the $7 I spent on public transport, you would think that the person who interviewed me would feel obligated to show some basic professionalism right? Wrong. Towards the end of the interview, I was met with an "I'll let you know by the end of the week and if you don't hear from me, that's your answer." I'm sorry, are you in the middle of curing cancer? Are you busy running the country whilst simultaneously finding a solution to world hunger? No. You run a mother fucking coffee shop, so don't be a douche, show some manners and actually send an email when you don't want to employ someone. You run a business, surely politeness should have been part of your training?


My Dad is a postman, ironically as my name is Jess and he once had a black and white cat. Obviously, given that he still lives in Basildon, he does not deliver mail in Canada, but I'm guessing that the process is roughly the same.

Assuming this is the case, why the fuck does my post keep getting lost? At the moment I'm on about 6 for 6 in terms of things getting lost, including a birthday card from my best friend and a shit-tonne of planner supplies that I, unsurprisingly, actually kind of wanted. A package my mum sent in January took 4 fucking months to arrive making it's contents, gloves, tights and fuzzy socks, really quite redundant. In the majority of cases I've managed to get a refund on what I've ordered, but this really isn't the point and I shouldn't find myself reluctant to order things because the Canadian post doesn't seem to want me to receive them. It's not a difficult concept, just send me what I've ordered, that's really all it takes.

But, as The King Blues say I'd rather be pissed off than be pissed on.


Wednesday, 19 June 2019


I was in bed last night, casually rolling my past romantic failures around in my head as a single woman in her twenties is want to do every now and again, and I realised that I have a pattern within my dating life that I didn't know about. I care.

Part of the reasoning for my not wanting to let go of my most recent romantic endeavour was an innate need to care for the person in question. Other people's life stories are not mine to tell but suffice to say a part of me wanted to make them feel safe and secure even if I didn't.

Taking hold of this, I looked back and realise that I've done this time and time again. There were boyfriends with eating disorders, boyfriends with dead parents, boyfriends with depression and boyfriends who's lives were just different from mine. Whether they wanted me to or not, and whether I wanted to or not, I felt the need to, metaphorically, take them in my arms and do anything I could to make them feel secure regardless of the effect it had on my own wellbeing. Without realising it, I liked that these people felt able to turn to me for support, even when I was scared to trust them with details of my own condition for fear of them leaving.

Freud could have a wet dream analysing why this thought process is so deeply ingrained in my psyche, and this is coming from someone who was even sent to a psychoanalyst at one point. Growing up both my mum and I suffered from eating disorders and, regardless of my own struggles, my mum's health was always 'worse'. She was thinner, she was able to eat less and she became the illest towards the end of her experience whereas my body flipped a switch and decided, after years of starvation, that it couldn't hack being malnourished anymore and so I developed binge eating disorder. She was 'better' at having an eating disorder than me, and the fact that I couldn't help her get better destroyed me.

Sat at my desk writing this, I'm asking myself if I want her to recover just for her own health or to make myself feel like the more successful sufferer? And, if I'm honest, I don't know the answer to that right now, all I do know is that for a part of my life my soul focus was placed on my mum's eating habits. I couldn't keep her safe from the thing that told her not to eat, and even now I can't quite process how that made me feel.

It would seem however that this desire to help people even if they don't tell me outright that they want or need help is ingrained within me, and I've been putting this above my needs. Part of me thinks that it's my refusal to let people get close enough to have an in-depth knowledge of my condition that makes me take this position. If I'm looking after and being there for someone else, it stands to reason that I can't possibly need someone to take care of me, right?

As with my posts on self-sabotage, I can tell this one is going to take a long time for me to crack and I'm definitely going to have to revisit it in the near future. I know I care, I just don't know to what expense.


Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Don't look back in hunger

Ah, don't you just love that one song that reminds you of your ex? :p

As you can probably tell, I'm spending a lot of my time reflecting on my past relationships at the moment. Not so much in a "woe is me" kind of way, but more in a "what the fuck was I thinking kind of way."

One of the symptoms of my BPD I've touched upon in the past is the amount of guilt I feel. An all-consuming pain that chokes and envelops me on a daily basis, I've discussed in therapy and chipped away at some of it, but the feeling's never really gone away. Of all the symptoms I live with, this is one of my least favourites.

Usually, I can't tell why I feel guilty, I wake up searching for reasons to feel guilty even when there aren't any there, simply because it's how I'm used to feeling. Yesterday it was because I hadn't re-potted my plant Hugh, once I did that it moved onto having spent money on the supplies I needed to do so. It's unrelenting and exhausting and also something I find really hard to explain.

One of the things I felt guilty for a long time for was cheating on my first boyfriend. I was 18 at the time and I contributed it to our breakup even though, to my knowledge, he was unaware of it at the time he broke up with me. Linking back to my previous post about self-sabotage as a form of self-harm, I knew he'd leave me when he found out. As a result of this, I believed I would receive the treatment I deserved and feel the pain I thought I was meant to feel once my actions came to light. I believed that I was cheating on him as a way of hurting myself. It was a ridiculous thought process to have at the time and, even now, I still can't make much sense of it.

The guilt I felt because of cheating on my first boyfriend lasted with me for a long, long time. For years, and even now as I type this, I feel like the reason I have bad luck in relationships is because of how I behaved when I was with him. I believe I deserve to be treated badly.

This random reflection into my first relationship comes as a result of him popping up as someone I might know on my Instagram. I'm not usually one to cyber stalk, but given that he looks exactly the same as he did the last time I saw him I thought I'd have a bit of a nose to see what had changed.  He's moved, he has a new Mrs and that's about as far as I got. I'm a masochist but I'm not stupid, I know going any further wasn't going to do me any good.

I considered following him on Instagram to say hi, but what would be the point. It sounds cliche but I almost don't even recognise pictures of who I was back when I was with him. Although I was still dealing with a lot of the same shit, this was pre-diagnosis, pre-rape, pre-everything. I can honestly say I was a completely different person then to who I am now, and from looking at his picture it seemed as if our relationship hadn't really happened. It was so long ago, and things were so different back then. There are some things I'm going to have to re-visit whilst I work on my relationship with my self, but old boyfriends certainly aren't one of them.



I've been talking to a friend today, one of the only other people I know with BPD, and we've been discussing the idea of self-harm. Not in the traditional way, we're not gabbing about my enjoyment of slashing an arm or two every now and again, but the type of self-harm that doesn't shed any blood. The type that could also be described as self-sabotage.

As I go along the (cliche alert) journey I'm currently working through, I'm realising just how often I've acted in a self-sabotaging way when it comes to my relationships. It seems that all I ever do is get involved with people that I can never 'have', not that you really ever have anyone, but the term works for the sake of argument, which inevitably results in my getting hurt.

Amongst many others, there was Elliot, who once told me mid-way through having sex in the back of my Ford Fiesta that I wasn't allowed to tell my friend we'd hooked up. James who I was in love with for over 6 years, who would pop in and out of my life whenever he wanted, telling me he loved me before getting yet another girlfriend. Dan, who was a shit show from start to finish and Alex.

AKA period blood guy, we all know how that ended.

My point is that, for the most part, all of the relationships I've ever been involved with have been with people that didn't want me. Being a commitmentphobe of epic proportions who refused to get close to someone for fear of them leaving, I always assumed this was a good idea. I thought that their behaviour and actions perfectly suited what I wanted, when in fact anyone they should be shouting from the rooftops that they have me in their lives.

I'm realising more and more that it's not just my razor blades that cause me harm, but my thoughts and actions towards myself as well. By allowing myself to get close to these people, those who don't even have the slightest intention of caring for me, I'm in turn hurting myself because I know I will get hurt in the long run. I know these situations can't last and, if I'm honest, I don't really know how many of them I wanted to work out. Take James for instance, we could never have been together, we just weren't compatible in that way, but that doesn't mean I didn't love him, that I couldn't stand the idea of him not being in my life. Letting go of him was hard, and even now I have days where I miss him, but I know that he wasn't good for me, know that moving on was the right thing to do.

Plus I think Hannah would have bitch slapped me if I left her any more voice notes telling her how much I loved and missed him. She even pulled the best friend card on that one and you know it's serious when that bad boy comes out.

There's so much more I need to work on with this and I know I can't work on everything at one time. But if there's ever something that needs to be dealt with before I even think of being with another person, it's this.


Fucking Pussy

This is my cat Poppy, ain't she cute?

Before we begin, I have to make you aware that the title of this post involves me calling someone a fucking pussy. I'm not talking about fucking pussy.

Not in this post anyway :P

I'm not usually a fan of those cliched "You deserve more girl" memes. Mostly because I find them incredibly patronising but also because they fill up my news/Instagram feed and prevent me from ogling the delicious men on the Men and Coffee Instagram account. We get it, you have a 'Live Life Love' sign in your living room, take a seat.

However, recently my friend has been posting a lot of them and I'm actually finding myself relating. Unsurprisingly, posts talking about loving yourself (in the non-masturbatory sense) are quite poignant to me at the moment, and so I'm not as irritated by them as I usually would be.

Anyway, I saw one this morning that really hit home, mostly because it's incredibly relevant to a situation I found myself in recently where a fucking pussy (see, there's the link) told me that they can't handle how I react to things and that I make them uncomfortable.

He also told me that he can't be relied on for a social life/mental health support, completely ignored me and blocked me on Instagram and text and did the exact thing he told me he wouldn't do. Boy's a cunt, and not in a good way.


What made this post really hit home was that, for as long as I can remember, I've blamed myself for how people react to me. Someone calls me scary? My fault. Someone feels uncomfortable being around me because of my BPD? All on me. It seems that all I've ever believed is that, in order for certain people to be in my life, I should do my best to hide my symptoms to make them happy, which, if we think about it, is total bullshit.

Sure, if I were to go around licking people's faces then I could totally understand them being uncomfortable, but that's not something I would ever do. All I do is feel things, and last time I checked that was pretty standard for the majority of living beings. It's not my fault you don't like my condition, and I'm so done with thinking it is.

I'm not saying that my thoughts are going to change overnight, this mindset is not going to disappear straight away and I know that. What I am saying though is that if you, or anyone else you know, find my BPD strange, scary or intimidating in any way, that's on you, not me. And if you're expecting me to hide a part of me away in order to make you feel better in my presence, you know where the door is.

Fuck tard.


Monday, 17 June 2019

Father's Day

Given that yesterday was Father's I thought that, for today's post, I should take us on a little journey. A trip, a mosey, a jaunt if you will, all the way back to 1996, to the life of a young girl, with a bright smile and a fucking adorable head of hair even if I do say so myself. To the life of little Jess, aged 4, ish. 

When I was about 4, unsurprisingly I'm not overly sure of the date given that it was 23 years ago, my parents split up. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a traumatic tale of how their separation damaged me for all eternity because, quite frankly, I have no memory of them being together or breaking up. I remember my dad leaving, watching him pack his books away and reception-aged me toddling upstairs to give him my own favourite book to take with him, and that's about it. 

I sometimes contribute that to why I'm a writer if I'm honest, but only if my BPD's in an even remotely reflective mood. 

Anyway, not long after this, my mum met her new boyfriend and, not to sugar coat it, I hated him. 


He wasn't too fond of me either. 

In this instance, I really was the typical child of separation. My beloved dad had left and the big scary stranger was taking my mum away from me. Add to this that my dad was never overly nice about him and he wasn't that fond of me because, let's face it, your new girlfriend coming hand-in-hand with a 4-year-old bundle of resentment isn't everyone's idea of fun. I distinctly remember the first thing I ever gave him being chicken pox, and him kicking a hole in my door when we were having a particularly big fight. These things happen, we live and learn. 

Anyway, fast forward to me being a teenager (oh what a joy that was) and my mum became dangerously ill. Like, images burned into my retina thought I was going to lose her dangerously ill, and, being that I was going through my own shit on top of teenage drama and me being, quite frankly, satan, my mum's boyfriend moved back in (they had separated at this point) and took care of her. There's no doubt in my mind that he saved her, doing things I could not have possibly done myself, and thus began the slow journey to us finally getting along. 

Heads up, telling people it took 12 years for you to get on with your mum's partner does not help people going through similar situations, in case you were wondering. 

Anyway, this point of this post isn't to discuss the shit show that was my teenage years because, quite frankly, it wasn't a pretty sight. What the point is is that, despite what started out as a mutual disdain for each other, I became the person I am because of him. I am very much a product of the people who raised me, and this includes everyone involved. 

I was also looked after my nan for a while, for which I contribute a few of my mannerisms as well. 

I've been realising this more and more as I become aware of how I need to alter the relationship I have with myself in order to be in a relationship with anyone else. My mum's boyfriend taught me to be very accepting of other people. Thanks to him I've never understood the point of homophobia, standing up for friends who were given the label GAY in high school, I was bullied myself for having opinions that didn't comply with the social norms of the teenagers at a tiny school in the middle of ass-end nowhere, and I didn't feel the need to 'break the rules' in order to fit in. 

Seriously, it's a fucking top button, is your life really worse off because you have to do it up? 

He taught me to not judge people based on who they are, to not respond to peer pressure and, upon hearing me and my friends refer to someone as "fat xxx", that two wrongs most certainly don't make a right. 

He also helped introduce me into the world of placebo and gave me a kick-ass brother and extended family too. 

The point is that now I'm realising that I'm not the total scum of the earth and I'm finally understanding that I'm actually a good person, I'm also realising more and more that whilst I may not owe him, and the other people in my life, for helping me to become a good person, I am, in fact, incredibly grateful. 

He's still my mum's boyfriend though, after 23 years it really seems kind of pointless to change his title to step-dad. 


Sunday, 16 June 2019

Not gonna lie

I'd considered not writing this post for fear of upsetting people, but there's not a part of me that can be bothered to lie.

About a month or so ago, I started self-harming again. I was in an inexplicable amount of pain and all I wanted to do was cut my arms, so I did. I could say that I'm ashamed of it, embarrassed by the fact that I'd broken my 4-year streak of being cut free, but I'm just not. I wanted to do it and so I did, and it did exactly what I needed it to do. It made me feel better.

I'm not overly sure how many times I've done it since then but I made a pretty deep cut this morning. I'm fine, it's fine and I have plaster of it so there's no chance of me bleeding everywhere. I know my body and so know the worst of it will be healed in a couple of days and eventually it will be nothing more than a distant memory etched on my arm, along with all the other mornings, afternoons, nights and evenings I've ever spent cutting. Just as I'm doing my best to move on in other situations within my life, my arm will do the same.

Although it may not seem like it, to me this is a part of taking care of what I want and need before I can be involved with anyone else. I've been doing this long enough to know how to not really hurt myself and, if I'm honest, I like doing it. Not in a 'doing it just for funsies' kind of way, but in a 'I know what to do to make myself feel better' kind of way. For as long as I can remember I have been plagued with feelings of guilt, to the point that I have no idea what I'm feeling guilty for anymore. I do, however, know that spending money and drinking make me feel guilty, so the usual retail therapy or drowning my sorrows with a bottle of wine is out, and cutting is in.

I also don't have a freezer, so going balls deep in a pint of ice cream isn't an option either.

This isn't to say I'm going to start doing it on the regular again, that's just not the case. What I am doing, however, is just accepting that this is a part of what's going on with me at the moment, and that's good enough for me.


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

AAAAAAND here we go

I told you I would come crashing down, didn't I?

I hurt right now, I hurt a lot. I've been hurt, someone has hurt me and all I can think is what did I do wrong to make them act like that? Rationally I know it's not my fault, but I don't think rationally. I think in ways that blame myself for the pain that I'm feeling, that makes it my fault that everything hurts so god damn much.

All I can think about right now is, what did I do? What could I possibly have done (and when) that means bad things keep happening? I rack my brains over and over and over again and I still don't understand. I do my best to be a good person, I try so hard, but everything still hurts. What is it I need to do to fix things? What can I do to make it all better?

My friend Matt is with me right now. Well, not really, he's dead. I know he's not really there, but it feels like he is. I can hear his voice, feel him next to me and see his beautiful face when I close my eyes. I haven't felt like he was here this much since I was last in Paris and, if anything makes the pain and delusions worth it, it's feeling like he's here with me.

I know tomorrow I will feel differently, hell in an hour or so I'll feel differently. But right now, it hurts. It hurts so much and I would do anything and everything to work out how to fix it.


Sometime's it's worth it

This morning, I received some of the greatest news ever delivered to mankind. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, the show that shaped and influenced my life until it got a little bit shit, is returning for a one-off reunion show. It's impossible to put into words just how I'm feeling about this and I shall be singing along to the musical episode at the top of my lungs even more so than usual.

You will probably notice that, in the vast majority of my mental-health posts, I talk about how shit BPD can be. It's tiring, draining and down-right painful but, today, I'm bouncing off the walls and loving it. I'm buzzing, I'm excited and although it's highly likely that I will come crashing down like a sack of shit in pretty soon, I really don't give a shit. I'm happy.

It's often hard to explain to people the good side of my BPD because for the longest time good patches have been few and far between. Before I was diagnosed, I spent years refusing to take any form of medication because I was willing to put up with the lows in exchange for the highs. Obviously, this mentality only lasted for so long and eventually, I conceded that not only did I need an actual diagnosis, but that I also needed help in controlling my emotions in order to function as a normal human being.

Well, semi-function.

As a result of this, the highs seemed to fizzle out and the lows became far more common. Even as I'm writing this, I can see how it might seem strange that I just accept the lows as part of my everyday life now but, at the expense of not being able to survive, I'm happy to accept it.

Whilst this may seem like another post reiterating the pain I feel on a regular basis as a result of my condition, it really isn't the case. Today I'm happier than I've felt in days and I intend to hold on to that for as long as humanly possible. It may last the morning, the day or the week but right now, I don't give a shit. The mood I'm in is nothing short of euphoric, and I intend to enjoy it for as long as I can.


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

What hurts the most

One of the things I find the hardest to explain to people when it comes to my BPD is how it feels physically. How my body feels when I'm in the middle of a bad patch much like the one I'm in right now. I'm not just talking about when I'm exhausted or hungover after quite literally trying to drink my feelings away or even how my arms feel when I slice them to ribbons, but how I actually feel.

It was only recently that I thought about writing this post after I realised that I'd developed a new symptom. I'm not a fan of new symptoms of my condition cropping up. I can, for the most part, handle the ones I've experienced for years but when I'm thrown a curveball and my brain decides that it's time for something new, I seldom know how to react.

The latest symptom is an actual feeling of my condition taking over. You know the sensation when you've necked 5 Redbulls and then come crashing down like Charlie Sheen at the end of a 2-week bender? That's exactly how I"m feeling, only these peaks and troughs happen within the space of a few minutes. Eventually, I know I'll learn how to get passed this one and soon it'll become part and parcel of my life with BPD, but all I can really do about it now is rest.

Aside from this new whole-body takeover, the place I feel pain most is my chest. It's a heavy, dragging feeling that sits rights above my sternum, and there's nothing I can do to get rid of it. Even I don't know much about the connection between mental illness and physical pain, but I'm at least 99.99% sure that painkillers aren't going to touch it.

I've been experiencing this type of pain a lot recently, which has not been helped by the fact that my immune system decided that working was too mainstream and so shut down last week. Whilst my chest infection is finally clearing and the dizziness and double vision are gone, the BPD pain is very much there.

This bad patch has been pretty rough, not just because of intensity but because of how long it's lasting. I'm doing my best to get out when I can and make use of the times I feel able to make it out the house but, for the most part, I've been spending my time at home in bed. I know that I'm strong and eventually things will be okay, but I"d really like to be done with this one now.

And no, I'm not going to the doctors.


Saturday, 8 June 2019

Self Love Pt 2

In the same way that I introduced my previous post of the same name, please be aware that this post has nothing to do with masturbation.


When I was 17 I made the catastrophic mistake of shitting where I ate and entered into my very first relationship with a guy I worked with. It was great for about 15 months, and then we had a delightful conversation over text one night where he simply told me he didn't want to be with me anymore.

To be fair he'd said it before but then we'd gotten back together, we really should have stayed broken up.

Anyway after a lot of screaming, sobbing and valium (this was pre-diagnosis and therefore pre-medication) I managed to face him again and head to work.

It was fucking brutal.

Finding me sobbing in the toilet, my friend Hollie came in to comfort me and uttered the immortal words, you can't love anyone until you love yourself.

I won't lie, at the time I thought it was bullshit.

To me, nothing else mattered other than getting him back and I relentlessly told myself that it was something wrong with me that made him leave. It took me years to get over him, and I finally found solace after bumping into him on a night out and crying into my friend Craig's arms under a clock in Downham Market.

I also may or may not have hooked up with one of his friends but what are you going to do.

Anyway, fast forward 8 years and I really am feeling the pain again. I can take BPD flare-ups, but this one is lasting a lot longer than usual. I'm doing my best to leave the house, eat and achieve the bare minimum of tasks required to call myself a human, but it's hard.

It wasn't until the other day after I'd spent a good half an hour rocking back and forth sobbing into my pillow that I remembered what Hollie had said. After all these years was I finally getting it? Was I finally realising that I have to change the relationship I have with myself in order to be in a relationship with someone else? Was it finally dawning on me that I need to take care of me first? Finally, it was.

Laying my head down to sleep, I said to myself that I needed to take care of my body, my brain and my heart if I was ever going to move forward, I realised that there's no way of getting out of it this time. I really can't keep going around in self-hating circles in a desperate bid to feel love that will, quite literally, only end in tears.

And, as my amazing friend Jill said to me in the jewellery cupboard of the Kings Lynn Hardwick branch of Argos, "no daughter of mine is ever going to cry over a man."

I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019


My current bank balance, in case you were wondering.

Due to a combination of re-structuring, lies and all-consuming frustration, I have recently found myself to be unemployed. Not great in the long run and, if I'm honest, a tad demoralising.

Yesterday, in an attempt to calm myself the fuck down, I decided to try a yoga session. Unfortunately, this did nothing to soothe my mood and I burst into tears 10 minutes in. Luckily, I was at home, but still, hysterical crying is seldom the reaction expected of an exercise commonly associated with calmness and serenity.

Currently trying to rectify my present financial situation, I'm finding myself becoming more and more obsessive and upset each and every day. All I seem to be able to think about is job hunting, I check my emails at least 12 times an hour and my mind is constantly saturated with anger at the fact that I have to go through this whole fucking process again.

Whether we like it or not, money is a key component of survival in the Western world. We need it for food, we need it for shelter and we need it if we plan on doing a variety of things involved in leaving the house.

It also seems at the moment that 99% of the conversations I have with people seem to revolve around my current employment status. How's the job hunt going? People ask. Are you trying XYZ? Have you applied to this place? Everyone around me has a bizarre obsession with whether or not someone is paying me to do something and, subsequently, the contents of my bank account.

Now I'm not completely void of the ability to understand human emotion, and I know that most of them are doing it out of care and consideration. But, in all honesty, it feels to me as if they only seem to care if I'm employed or not. Regardless of how my insecurities may make me feel at times, I'm more than my bank balance, more than the contents of my resume and cover letter and I'm sure as hell more than my fucking LinkedIn profile.

Don't get me wrong, I would really like a job. I'm bored, frustrated and do not do well with having free time, but I'm slowly realising, for today at least, that whether or not someone is paying me on a regular basis has very little to do with who I am. I'm a writer, plain and simple. Does this mean that I receive a regular wage for doing so? No, but it does mean that I've been lucky enough to find something that I'm not only passionate about but also incredibly good at. How about, instead of asking me how many hours I'm spending trying to convince a complete stranger that I'm the perfect person for each and every individual role, maybe ask what I've been writing about lately. Who knows, you might actually find it interesting.

And no, I don't want to apply for a job in my local pub. I need at least one place I can relax.


Monday, 27 May 2019

Raising awareness and shutting the fuck up

I've started writing many a post on my hatred of the term "raise awareness", but none of them have reached the point of publication. Not really sure why other than maybe I can't quite put across how fucking angry the term makes me. Thankfully, through the glory that is Room 101, I'm finally feeling able to put my words out there for all to read.

When telling presenter Bob Monkhouse why she wanted to throw marathons into the fiery depths of Room 101, Katherine Ryan uses the phrase "We've heard of it, sit down" in response to the eternally repulsive and unrelentingly nauseating phrase raising awareness. Thanks to this glorious and very public exclamation, I really think I've found someone else who gets it.

Now, the phrase raising awareness is often used by self-righteous and small-minded morons who, for some inexplicable reason, don't realise that, as members of the human race, a vast percentage of the population are also aware of the existence of the same certain topics they are. Subjects include cancer, world hunger, global warming and common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

That's right, I said common, bite me.

Now, do what you want in support of these charities. I'm not disputing their importance and I really don't give a shit about what you do in your spare time. Climb Everest, jump out a plane, shave your head - whatever gets you out of bed in the morning, just don't use the overly cliched and completely necessary headline to cover the fact that you want attention. Yes, we get it, you want to visit an underdeveloped country on the other side of the planet to show the world what a kind and considerate person you are but don't expect me to pay for your holiday or rim you in return. Let's just say what it's you're really doing shall we, boosting your ego and raising money. It's 2019,  we should all be grown-up enough to be honest with each other by now.

Obviously, as I am a human being, my anger is powered by a pre-existing personal agenda, in this instance being BPD. When no-one has a fucking clue what something is then, and only then, do we need to raise awareness. I have no problem explaining my condition to people, as I'm fully aware that not a lot of people have heard of it, but the world and his middle-aged nextdoor neighbour knows what hunger is, so stop assuming that I'm a fucking moron for the sake of your inner hardon.

Can you tell I'm not in a great mood today?


Image By Source, Fair use,

Sunday, 26 May 2019

M'lord this is getting old

I can't believe I still have to write about this shit but, here we go.

On Wednesday, I was walking home from the cinema when I bumped into someone I used to work with. Going over to say hi, he actually CROSSED THE STREET TO GET AWAY FROM ME.

Seriously, I didn't know they made pussies that big that walk on two feet.

Now, let me make this clear, I have done nothing NOTHING to this boy. Working in the kitchen, I rarely interacted with him and, par a couple of occasions one of which being the staff Christmas party during which I chugged water for 4 consecutive hours meaning I remember the entire evening, I spent very little time with him outside of work.

Yet, for some reason, he still seems to be afraid of me. Because, you know, there's nothing more terrifying than a 5 foot 7 English writer.

I have said this over and over and over again and it seems to me that I'm going to be saying it until the day I die. My condition does not make me scary and I'm not going to hurt you. I might have a way with words and a limited (read, non-existent) ability to feel empathy but I'm not, as far as I'm concerned, any reason to be afraid. I may want to hurt you, as I discussed in a previous post, but news flash, I'm never going to.

At this point, I'm moving on from being pissed off about repeatedly having to reassure people that I'm not a danger to society and more just over it. I won't lie, it really used to upset me, but if you're really afraid of me and believe I'm someone to fear, then that's on you. I'm kinda over it now.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to jump out at old ladies dressed as a witch to see if I can scare them into having a heart attack, I'll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Feeling Pretty Good

Won't lie there isn't really much point to this blog post other than that, in complete contrast to the majority of days over the past 6 weeks or so, I actually feel pretty good. I woke up on time, downed my meds and am mid-way through a YouTube binge of my new favourite obsession which involves watching cut down sections of House that get to the fucking point.

House baby I love you, but my attention span and shitty wifi won't let me love you as much as I want.

So today I'm just going to give to you a list of a few things that make me happy just in case, you know, I need a refresh every now and again.

Chickpea salad from City Market

As anyone who has known me over the past few years will know I have lived with eating disorders in the past. Going from feeling fine to being convinced the reason I spilt something is that I had breakfast within the time it took my first boyfriend to cum, I'm really not a fan of the whole having-to-eat-to-live process. One of the main things I hate about it is food shopping. It's time-consuming, it's expensive and it always leads to a sense of existential dread when I realise that I could have spent the ridiculously over-large amount of money I've just used to keep myself from dying on a pair of shoes. Regardless, there is one thing I am quite fond of and that's a certain salad from my local supermarket. Is it as overpriced as everything else in the building? Yes. Could I make it myself? Yes. Am I going to carry on buying it regardless? Also yes.

My latest Starbucks order

Fun fact, for the month of October my husband refuses to place my Starbucks order due to my Pumpkin Spice Latte addiction. Yes, it does cause me to enter into a sugar high equal only to that of a four-year-old in Wilko's Pic-n-Mix section, but it's also really really good. My latest order is a venti almond milk iced latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup. Tastes pretty good and allows me a slight moment of eco-smugness when I bring my reusable straw.

The sun

Along with my delicious plethora of mental health issues, I also suffer from severe, SEVERE Seasonal Affective Disorder. Between the months of September and March, I sink into a hole so cliche that leads to an inability to get out of bed, all-consuming exhaustion and unrelenting misery. It's shit, but I always know it's going to end, so I don't mind too much.

Thanks to the Canadian weather gods, there's been a little bit of sunshine over the past few days in Toronto, meaning I actually feel quite good. I mean yes it is punctuated with hours of pouring rain but I'm British, it's the only thing I know.


For anyone excited or intrigued that my love life might be improving, keep your tampon in. Hugh is my plant. I bought him from the hell-hole that is Canadian Tire a few weeks ago and he sits quite happily on my window sill. My housemate was even nice enough to look after him for me while he went away, which just emphasises my theory that she's fucking adorable.

See also the fact that she mooches around the flat singing to herself. So far my favourite has been her jazz phase.

The squirrels that live in my wall

Since I've moved in there's been an unrelenting scratching sound that I've attributed to a squirrel. Whilst it may be annoying, I'm assuming it's been there longer than I have and therefore technically I'm living in their room.

Lately, they seem to have found a friend. I've named them Henry and Jacque, and given them a little back story. So far Henry doesn't do much, but Jacque is a financial advisor from Nice who moved here with his Mexican wife Murial and they have two children named Clementine and Paul.

Because, why not?

The album Confessions by Usher

This one's kind of an old one, but it still holds true.

As a kid, ever so inappropriately, Usher's Confessions was one of my favourite albums. Inappropriate because it's mostly about boning and I was about 11 at the time but after finding it on Spotify and giving it another go, I've realised that it's really quite spectacular.

Why do I love it so I hear you ask? Because not only is it full of epic tunes such as Yeah and Burn, but he managed to make an entire album about knocking up his side chick and, I'm sorry, in my eyes that deserves a high five.

Heads up, if you sign up to Spotify Premium you can get 3 months for on 99 cents. Not at all sponsored and I don't get anything if you do sign up, it's just a fact.

Cherry blossoms

They're everywhere in Toronto at the moment, easy and relaxing to draw and, let's face it, just so god damn pretty.



Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sweet Home Alabama

Unless you have miraculously avoided the internet over the past 7 days, which I'd say is pretty impossible, you will know that last Tuesday lawmakers in Alabama voted to introduce the strictest abortion laws in America. The devastating decision means that all women would be forced to carry a pregnancy to term regardless of age, incest or rape, once the fetus surpassed 6 weeks old.

The Heartbeat Bill, as it is often known, does nothing to support the women of Alabama, placing the focus on the heap of cells that she is carrying rather than her own safety. It's a massive punch in the cunt for women and healthcare professionals across the state, who could be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison if they are found to have performed the procedure.

Interestingly, there will be no repercussions for men who choose to leave their partners as a result of unwanted pregnancy, but that's for another day.

Obviously, I'm pro-choice and have about as much respect for anti-abortionists as I do anti-vaxxers. You're a twat, to put it likely, and anyone's mother who bore a child that grew to be as ignorantly repulsive as you should really have swallowed. You're an oxygen thief but, sadly, the lives of the stupid are seen as being equally valuable as a lump of cells and we're not allowed to get rid of them.

As a result of the ban, many people are using #YouKnowMe to tell their stories about having had abortions themselves, including Busy Philips (who I love) and Jameela Jamil (who I am fast starting to hate almost as much as I hate Cat Dealey).

I myself, have never had an abortion, but I did have a miscarriage when I was 19. Having not known I was pregnant, it really wasn't much of an issue as regardless of whether or not I had done so I would have had an abortion. At the time I was self-harming, drinking, had an eating disorder and was indulging in all manner of self-destructive behaviours that would not only have lead to the child suffering were I to carry it to term, but also to it to experience health implications as a result of my actions during pregnancy. This is on top of the fact that I was incredibly mentally ill, unmedicated and a flat broke student with no desire to reproduce at all during my lifetime. Would I have wanted to carry the pregnancy to term? No. Would I have been forced to under the new Alabama laws? Yes.

My problem with the new laws in Alabama is that not only does it discount the life of the woman, but also the actual life of the child. Why would you force a child to be born with severe health issues, or to be born directly into foster care in what is already an overstretched system? If you actively have the choice to prevent an unwanted child from being born, I have no understanding of why anyone would want to prevent you from doing so.

Were I, through horrible accident, to fall pregnant again, there is no doubt that I would have an abortion. Not only because I have no desire to reproduce but also, despite what the world may think, I'm not a completely selfish bitch and therefore see no value in bringing a child into the world that is quite simply, not wanted.

But then that's just me.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Fakery, Fuckery and Jeremy Kyle

As any self-respecting British person will have become aware of over the past two days, the iconic Jeremy Kyle show has been taken off the air after over a decade. A cornerstone of anyone's daytime TV schedule, the show has been cancelled after the death of a guest that failed a lie detector test.

So far there has been little to no reports on how he died but, as far as I can see, only one UK platform has suggested that the person in question took his own life.

The publication I refer to is the Metro, so don't get too excited.

Discussing the incident with a friend last night, what I didn't realise was that prior to appearing on television programmes such as Jeremy Kyle, guests are often given psychiatric evaluations, in an attempt to ensure their health will not be affected by appearing on the show. Ignoring how I feel about free and informed medical care being given to people whose main concern in life is proving to their ex that they didn't shag their sister, it's important to realise how easy it is to manipulate the results of these tests.

Whilst some people will always believe that people experiencing mental health issues are "faking" and that their problems don't really exist, I can vouch first hand for how easy it is to convince people, even medical professionals, that your health is improving. It's also important to remember that money is, and will always be, a contributing factor towards people's behaviour, and when a large sum of money comes your way, it can be difficult to resist.

What is often glossed over in discussions about mental health problems, is how boring they can be. Yes I know I need to rest and that certain things aren't within my capacity at the moment, but that doesn't mean I don't wish I was able to go out and live a "normal" life. When we're in a desperate situation and want to hold on to normality as much as we can, it's easy to pretend that we're doing okay. I don't mean this in a "Dave hasn't been to the pub this week give him a visit" kind of lie, I mean the kind of lie that allows us to progress through life in ways that we wish we could.

The issue with programmes such as The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, which was suggested to contribute towards the suicide of contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, is that if you want something badly enough, be it fame, money or success, it's very easy to act as if nothing's wrong. It may be difficult for doctors and psychologists to pick up on cues that might tell them this, particularly due to limited time and resources, but people need to be aware that it happens. 

We're humans, if it's one thing we do better than the rest of the food chain, it's lie. 


Friday, 26 April 2019

New's Flash, I'm Not Going To Hurt You

I may want to, but I promise I won't. 

I've just had someone, let's call him Andy, tell me my BPD made him feel uncomfortable and that he essentially couldn't "deal" with it and it hurts like hell. I cried a lot (specifically on the shoulder of the lovely woman at O'Grady's bar who I will take flowers to at some point) I was angry and, in all honesty, would have done anything to change his mind. But you know, you can't change people. 

BPD makes you angry, really REALLY angry, and having someone tell you that essentially they can't deal with something you have no control over is painful. As well as being told I make people feel uncomfortable I have, on more than one occasion, had people tell me they're scared of me. These words hurt, it's one thing experiencing the different components of BPD, but being told someone is scared of you or that you make them uncomfortable can be soul destroying. But trust me, TRUST ME, I'm really not going to hurt you. 

Sitting in bed thinking about it today, it's occurring to me that, as with so many things, the words scared or uncomfortable are really synonyms for ignorance or a lack of understanding. BPD is a serious but relatively unknown condition, and even I can't blame people for being apprehensive about something they don't know anything about, especially when you see my gnarly ass scars. One ex of mine, who I affectionately refer to as the weasel due to the many times I allowed him to weasel his way back into my life, referred to my self harming as "teenage emo shit" instead of the only way I could find to deal with how I was feeling. 

How I let that one go on for as long as I did I'll never know. 

Normally in these situations, people would be encouraged to educate themselves about what they don't understand, but with BPD it's different. A lot of the research and content online doesn't paint people who live with BPD in a positive light. When I first started researching my condition, the majority of the content I found was about "recovering" from being in a relationship with someone who has BPD. If you feel such articles are for you, then have at it, but they're not going to help anyone with BPD in the long run. 

Not only is the information kind of vague, but there also isn't a great deal of it, relatively speaking. To compare Google search for other mental health conditions, depression brings up 796 million search results, anxiety 367 million and eating disorders 217 million. BPD only brings up 56 million. Still a lot, but nowhere near enough. 

What it all boils down to is this; if you don't know, ask. There is no cure for what I have, only treatment, and the only way people are going to stop feeling scared or uncomfortable around someone with BPD is if they learn.  

This is my reality and I live with it every single day. 


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

What to do when you can't do anything

As someone who's mental state is about as stable as a 3-legged Ikea chair, I'm well experienced in not feeling able to do anything. To being stuck, unable to move, in bed for days on end being periodically visited by family members to check that I'm still, in fact, breathing. On these days the world is dark and painful, and it's nothing short of an understatement to say that living moment to moment is the only way of making it through.

When I feel like this which, thankfully, I haven't felt in a while, there are very few things that I feel able to do. Through my experience, however, I've put together a list of actions that I'd recommend you try. If you don't manage them, who cares, this is just what I've put together. Take care of you, and do whatever it is you feel able to.

Open the window

When in the midst of a BPD attack the last thing I want is sunlight. Remember that scene in Sex in the City where Carrie walks straight into the Mexican resort, lies down on the bed and instructs her friends to close the shutters? That's me. I become sensitive to light and the darkness is both comforting and easy to handle.

What's not comforting, however, is the headache that I get when stuck in a stuffy room for too long. When I've had attacks in the past I've, luckily, been at my mum's, where I was relegated to the box room after leaving for university when my brother took over my room.

The size of the room meant that it got very stuffy very quickly, and so opening a window, even if only for half an hour, was incredibly beneficial in clearing the air and preventing me from getting a headache. When you're feeling mental pain, the last thing you want is added physical pain as well. If you can't manage it yourself, as a friend or family member to do it for you. It's a simple action, but one that can really freshen your room.

Drink a glass of water

This is another one geared towards avoiding headaches, although keeping hydrated never hurt anyone.

When feeling low, different people have different attitudes towards food. Some people find themselves able to eat, some people find themselves overeating and some people find themselves unable to eat at all. However your body and stomach are feeling, trying to get at least one glass of water into your system is a bonus. Not only will it help ease any stuffy-headedness, but it'll also help you stay hydrated while your brain and body take the rest it wants to take. Can't manage a whole glass? Sip as much as you can throughout the day or place a cup of ice chips in a cup next to your bed to place in your mouth when you feel able to, anything to get some fluids into your body.

Get out of bed, straighten your bed, get back in your bed

When we spend days on end under the covers, things can get a little messy. Crumbs, tissues, stray hairs, our beds can start to feel a little uncomfortable, but changing your bed sheets can often feel like too much of a challenge. If this is the case, but you still want to feel more comfortable, simply get out of bed, wipe the crumbs from your sheet and straighten your pillow, and get back in again. It may seem small, but even the accomplishment of managing something so easy can make the world of difference.

Rinse with mouthwash

This is a personal one for me, but the thought of not brushing my teeth can leave me feeling on edge. My mum is a dental hygienist, and I will forever be scarred by the image of a puss-engorged gum she showed me when I was eight. My teeth don't always take front row in my priorities when I'm feeling low, but it's important to me to do my best.

Sometimes, however, brushing your teeth can just feel too much. When you're only making it out of bed to use the bathroom, standing for two minutes plus to keep your teeth clean can seem like the least appealing thing in the world. If this is the case, and you want to add some minty freshness to your day, try simply rinsing with mouth wash. Or, if that feels too daunting, try flossing from your bed. It's important to take baby steps and do only what you feel you can manage, without pushing yourself before you feel ready.

Change your pyjamas

In the same category as straightening out your bed, it's easy to feel a tad icky when you've been in the same pyjamas for days on end. If you don't feel up to showering and freshening up entirely, there are few things as comforting as a fresh set of pjs, or even a clean T-shirt if that's all you feel up to. When you're feeling on the edge of a black hole, it's not so much about what you feel able to do, it's about what you can manage without pushing yourself too far.


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Minimalism, Pt 1.

One of the things I've discovered since I started travelling is that I don't like "stuff". I can't stand clutter and I'm finding a lot of comfort at the moment through knowing that I want everything that I have.

This isn't anything to do with the KonMari method, although I have read her book and attempted and failed to watch her Netflix show, it's more a case of feeling weighed down by the negative connotations associated with having my life filled with things that don't benefit me. Clothes I don't wear, half used bottles of shampoo, earrings to which I've lost the matching pair and will never wear again. It becomes very stressful at times and I needed to find a way of streamlining what I had in order to feel relaxed, and so I've decided to put together a little series of posts on how I'm reintroducing minimalism into my life.

I first discovered minimalism through Conor McMillen and Brittany Taylor. Inspired by their oh-so-covetable life of living a nomadic lifestyle, I realised that I needed to feel more free in order to feel content, which was the exact opposite of what was happening when I looked at my possessions.

That isn't to say I'm particularly good at de-cluttering. My husband always says that my major clear-outs often lead to me chucking things I need and then replacing them days later. In the heat of the moment I become ruthless, but still have a hard time letting go of things that I really don't use or need.

My shoes, you will never get me out of my shoes.

Attempting to find a balance between the two is difficult, and has become more and more apparent since I've settled down in Toronto. I know that I want to reach a middle ground with finding what I need and what I want, but it's going to be a slightly longer process than I hoped.

That's why I'm revisiting my minimalist journey. Lately I've found myself buying things I don't need or use and so I need to address not only what I'm buying, but why I'm buying it. I've also been procrastinating a lot lately, and I'm hoping that finding clarity with the things and thoughts that are clogging my head will help me push through what's stopping me from sitting down and writing and allow me to find relaxation in putting fingers to keyboard again.

Here's hoping.


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Excuses excuses

I've been making a lot of excuses not to write lately. I could bore you with them, I'm even making them in my head now, but they all boil down to a recently discovered terrible problem with procrastinating and a feeling that in order to actually be a writer again, I need to be employed as a writer.

It would seem that the logic of actually writing something was lost on me.

This morning I'm lying in bed, having recently moved from the strange chair/table hybrid I've been using as a desk where I was opening tab after tab after tab of job applications that I have no desire to apply for. I even wrote myself a list of why I struggle yesterday, with the main points being my lazy ass is fed up of sending out job applications. Job hunting and dating are feeling very similar at the moment, completely pointless.

A lot of my problem at the moment is that I'm scared. What if I never get the have the career I crave so badly? All, and I mean all, I want to do is write. Once I start and really get into it it's like my fingers no longer need me, and they simply tap away producing all the words, phrases and sentences that need to be said. I'd like to think that I don't need the validation of employment to be proud of what I do, but right now I'm really not so sure.

Another issue I have with job searching is that doing what you love in a capacity that you don't like quite as much, be it in a new format, for a different platform or working the dreaded 9-5 that I'm sorry I've tried and I find soul destroying, is that it has the tendency to replace your enjoyment with feelings of obligation. When you've spent all day doing what you love for someone else, doing it for yourself becomes difficult.

As always, what I need to do is stop thinking. To let the words just come and not pressure myself into applying for things that fill me with nerves and nausea. I'm going to New York next week, fingers crossed getting out the city will help.