An Explanation

As some of you might have noticed, I completely failed the A-Z Blogging Challenge this year.
Part of me wishes I hadn’t signed up because hate failing, giving up or quitting. But maybe that exact reason is why it’s so important that I did it.

I am currently sitting my AS Level examinations, the first year/ part of the two-year A level course in the UK. It’s hardly surprising that I found writing a blog post each day and revising 4 subjects, going to school, practicing the flute for my grade 7 exam, climbing and horse riding too much.

My mother often says I stretch myself too thin. And maybe she’s right, but at the same time I don’t know how else to be. This is me, I am that person who is always doing ten things at once; who’s life is a precarious juggling act that only she can control.

I love writing blog posts, I enjoy it and it gives me a sense of purpose. It makes me sad that I have to prioritise exams, which I need to do in order to get to the university I want and to get to where I want to be in life. I think it’s crazy how much pressure is put on 16-18 years olds. These exams essentially decide the rest of our lives. That’s ridiculous! No one needs that sort of pressure. No wonder so many young people and teenagers get mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
At our school we’re taught from a young age that in order to succeed in life you must get a degree and go to a good university. That’s just not true.

I’m on half term now and have done 5 out of 8 exams. 3 more the week after half term then I’m done! I shall be writing more blog posts and posting at least a few times a week, and you never know I might have time to socialise and enjoy myself too!

Thank you for reading and I’ll be posting again soon.

P for Positivity

Positivity is important. No one can feel positive all the time, and in recovery it can be rare, so when the moment comes we need to try our best to remember what that felt like.

On Thursday I had my birthday party (I turned 17 on Monday), and it was after my party I had a rare moment of absolute satisfaction and positivity.

So I recorded it , I jotted it down like I was speaking excitedly to a friend. And that’s what I thought I’d share with you today. Sheer, genuine, in the moment positivity and appreciation for life and recovery.

“I had such a fab time at my party! Felt a bit ill towards the end of it but never mind.
And do you know what? I ate loads, like loads to a normal person not just to me. I had crepes, a milkshake, pizza, a slice of birthday cake.. And do you know what? I’m still alive, I’m still ok, I haven’t exploded! My stomach is round and content with food. It’s full. And full is good, full means my body can get to work on any repairs it has to do! Full means my body can learn that I’m not going to starve it any longer. More importantly, today taught me that there is more to life than an eating disorder, there really is. Laughing and chatting with friends, being loud and eating in front of people and actually, you know what?, not caring. Because I couldn’t have had such a good time without food, if I hadn’t eaten it would have been awkward for them and for me. And what’s better than watching a film with a bunch of friends and a pizza on a paper plate? What’s better than laughing at charades with your friends? Yes it was quite loud and challenging for anxiety etc, and I received some absolutely amazing presents and I love them so so much, but it’s hard for me to get presents so that was a challenge to. But I did it, and I’m ok with that.
I don’t know, I just feel so positive right now. Like maybe I do have a place, maybe I can recover and live a full life. I want every day to be like today, challenging but full of purpose and fun.
Only recovery can get you here, only recovery can allow you these opportunities. I couldn’t be gladder that I’ve stuck with recovery, even through darker times where I’ve nearly lost hope. Please remember that, there is always hope. And where there is hope, there is determination, and with determination you will get there.”

I really recommend jotting down moments of inspiration like this, because reading back on it can be so helpful and inspiring and can help pull you up from dark and difficult moments.

Today I am not feeling particularly great, so I’m reading that and trying to remember how it felt. I’ve learnt to live for these moments. They may be few for now, but you never know, one day my life could be full of them. I just have to get there.

Thanks for reading.

Pets and mental health

Pets are a wonderful way of helping us keep in good mental health, or for those of us who aren’t so lucky with keeping well, a great way to aid our recovery into a healthy mindset.

Pets are great for all sorts of reasons, as is shown by the fact billions of people across the world have them!

They are a wonderful distraction. Having a bad day? Why not snuggle up with your dog/cat/rabbit/guinea pig/hamster or whatever other pet you may have.

You learn their likes and dislikes, their personality, and how to get on best with your pet. You feed them, pet them, give them water and shelter. They rely on you. For those of us feeling useless in day to day life, they give you a purpose and something we know depends purely on us.

They add structure to your day. You know when you must feed them, water them, let them out, clean them out, walk them if it’s a pet that requires it. All of these things giving you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

They can be rewarding; having a cuddle with your pet after a long hard day can be all you need to melt today’s stresses away.

Essentially, the amount you give to your pet in terms of not only food and supplies, but also love and affection, is given back to you by your pet in forms of hugs and routine.

Of course human interaction is very important and it is so so important to talk to people and share so that you do not feel alone, but unfortunately people cannot always be there; pets can. If you’re having a rough night and are fighting self harm urges or some horrid thoughts etc., you can always turn to your pet.

Even stroking them and holding them can ground us. They are a physical thing, they remind you that you are here and you are not in the past or future, but in the now. This can be especially helpful with disassociation or similar experiences, as it helps you feel part of your body rather than separate from it.

Reasons such as these are why animal therapy exists and is so successful in helping patients. It is particularly helpful for children with ADHD, and patients struggling from PTSD and/or depression.
I found an interesting article about animal therapies in The SCAS Journal from the Autumn of 2010, I definitely recommend the read.

I have a rabbit (lionhead, male, 9 months, and the fluffiest thing you’ll ever meet) and he means the absolute world to me. Some people might think it’s weird how much pets mean to them, but to m it makes sense. Pets have emotions and we learn to read them, just as we do with humans.


Last but not least, you can draw parallels between your pet and life. You learn your pets needs, do more of what he/she likes, less of what they don’t, you look after them and give them space if they need it; all things you would do for a human.

My therapist once said “treat yourself like you treat your rabbit”. I laughed at first, but since I’ve realised she’s right.

We need to look after ourselves like we look after our pets, we need to love ourselves and nourish our bodies, we need to do more of what we enjoy and we need to be able to take time out when we need it.

Pets are wonderful things. They teach us things about ourselves that we may not have known before.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with pets and mental health in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.