August Project Lifestyle

Project Lifestyle Purple Cover

This month has taken a different turn that planned for Project Lifestyle. I’ve been feeling good overall and that has made me rethink my approach to things a bit more.

I feel I have struck a balance with aspects of the project that are working well for me – specifically with Social, Mental Health, and Career – I would have added Fitness in there too, but since I got the kittens and the temperature increase I’ve been slacking big time on that front too. So Fitness and Nutrition is where I need to focus my time. I need to find a lifestyle that works for me and that is maintainable for life. The other aspects I can keep going and provide focus when required at the right time.

So this month I’m not doing the individual posts. I am taking the time to really think about what I want and how I can get there. The journey is more important than the destination.

I’m getting in my own way and making things more complicated than they need to be. Therefore I need to take a step back and have another look at what this all means to me and why it’s important to make these changes. Otherwise I will keep resisting them and cause myself suffering along the way.

So Project Lifestyle is still bubbling away, but it’s not going to be as prominent at the moment. I want to see it through until the end of my goal, but I also know it is not currently working in its current format, so it needs a rethink.  Some things just aren’t as important as I thought and I don’t want to waste any of my life stressing over something I can change with the right action and attitude.

Adventures in Books… Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures Book Cover

“Is falling in love the beginning . . . Or the end?

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets.

There is a girl.

Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse.

On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.”

I watched the movie for this before reading the book, which is something I don’t normally do. But this time it worked in my favour as I still really wanted to read the book after as I really enjoyed the story. Also it was nice to read it with the voices in my head, rather than the southern accents in the movie (I just found them distracting).

The book is similar, but not the same as the movie, which is great. I love it when they treat them as separate entities as what works in a book does not always work on screen and think in this case that is definitely true.

I really enjoyed the book. I loved the character development and how the story developed around them. I liked how the story unveiled magic as Ethan found out about it as it made it believable that the people of the town would not notice or ignore magical occurrences without realising. I liked the premise behind the book of whether you are claimed to be light or dark and not knowing until your birthday.

I found the book a bit slow to begin with as I knew the outline of the story from the film, but I wanted to read the series from the start. The pace picked up as we got to know the characters and we got closer to Lena 16th birthday. More and more interesting characters came into the story and it changed from the film enough to keep me guessing what could happen. The overall premise is the same, but they take two different routes there.

The end has left me in suspense of where the series is going and I’ve already ordered the next book from the library  :)

Making Time

I spent the weekend doing a lot of thinking. This last week has made me realise that life is too short and I want to make sure the people I care about know that I do.

I’m not the most social person. I don’t force myself to go to things that really aren’t my style. I appreciate the joy of missing out.

But that has caused me to lose touch with people who were a big part of my life in the past.

I know as we grow older we grow apart from people. It made me sad this weekend to know this has happened with some people I never thought it would. My depression caused some of it, but I know it was not only me. Every relationship takes effort from both sides.

I can’t build every bridge back, but I want to make more of an effort in my own way to keep in touch.

So this week I plan on writing some letters and sending some cards. This for me is my way of saying I’m thinking about you even if we don’t see each other very often.

I know I love getting random postcards from Ingrid and she does back. They don’t say much other than saw this and thought of you – but that is what matters to me and makes me smile. I want to do that for others as well.

So I am making time to do what I keep setting as a goal – to write letters. Not to complete the goal, but because it is something I know how to do and I want to share that with the people I care about.

Depression is Different for Everyone

I didn’t realise this for quite a while after I was diagnosed. It is not as simple as other disease where there is a pill to take and it will go away. It’s complicated and takes everyone a different amount of time and a different type of approach to fight it.

For me it was a complete sense of hopelessness and lost in a maze with no exit.

I felt useless and as though I could do nothing right. I constantly told myself I was a failure at life.

I felt alone, even when surrounded by people. I wanted to be on my own, yet needed to know there were people out there thinking about me. I was a complete contradiction at times.

I didn’t know why I was living my life. It felt like a waste of time.

I struggle with all-or-nothing thinking and depression makes this a lot worse. I am a perfectionist in my own way. I like to do the best job I can do at anything I set out to try. So anything less than that feels like failure. I don’t know what caused it. I think it was a combination of a lot of things that culminated in a tipping point that I couldn’t come back from on my own.

I’ve had to work hard to tackle this way of thinking head on. I’ve been on medication. I’ve take therapy, including a year of CBT. I’ve completed homework. I’ve read books. I’ve read lots of online stories. I used lots of free online resources. It takes work every day. I just signed up to an online course for the next 6 weeks. I’ve added a list of resources to the bottom of this post that I recommend for anyone struggling with any kind of mental health struggle.

The hardest thing for me though is other people – my family included. No one understands really unless they have also been through something similar. It’s hard to talk about with anyone who doesn’t really understand. I’ve been lucky and had two people I can talk to without hesitation, but it took me a long time to open up and be okay with that. Therapy really helped as I could talk about how other people made me feel without worrying I was going to offend anyone while working through my reactions and the causes of them. I was then better able to articulate what I meant outside of therapy and stopped worrying about other people so much.

I still find comparison thoughts tricky to deal with. In order to combat this I had to give up Facebook for an extended period. I decided I didn’t need to know what my friends or old friends were doing every day and I would prefer to hear from them personally. I now only view it when something from running club needs a reply. I also purged my Twitter and Instagram feeds to get rid of anything negative or unhelpful – otherwise these resources have been fantastic. Blogging has also been a way for me to sort out my thoughts. I don’t tell people about my blog in person; I let people find it on their own as I don’t want anyone to feel as though they have to read it because I’ve told them about it. I want anyone who reads it to find it interesting and useful because they like the same things.

What I want to get across from this post is that everyone has difference experiences of depression. Don’t let anyone tell you how you feel is not worth the help and support you need. Don’t let anyone put you down or depression down as something to get over. It’s real and it’s life threatening. You are worth fighting for.

Resources I’ve found useful:

You Can Come Out of a Dark Place

Sometimes the news hits harder than ever. The world can be a dark place.

I don’t watch the news. I only read the stories I want to in papers. I’m ignorant of many happenings in the world. But it works for me. It keeps me feeling okay and that is the point.

This week I’ve been drawn to checking the news regularly to read about depression and Robin Williams. I want to share the helpful resources I find with people through social media. It feels like the right thing for me to do to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health.

Depression is horrible. It’s a dark and lonely place to be. Thankfully I never reached the point of thinking about taking my own life. But I definitely had long periods of wishing I could just sleep until it went away.  I wanted to be saved, but needed to save myself. I wanted to be left alone, but also wanted people to want to be with me. I had to let a lot of things and people go in order to recover. It’s hard work every day and maybe I’ll never be recovered fully, but I appreciate everything it has taught me about myself. I am in a good place right now and making the most of it. I am not beating myself up daily, but there are definitely behaviours that do not help with depression and vice versa – binge eating I’m looking at you.

The news of a fantastically talented individual taking their own life is beyond sad. It is a reminder that depression can affect anyone and we should not take someone’s situation in life for granted. We should also not be afraid to ask for help and pursue it. It takes internal strength when you have nothing left to give to take each tiny step forward. I won’t say it’s easy, but it is also not impossible.

Back in 2011 I thought I had everything I wanted, and yet I was not happy or motivated. I wasn’t sad either, but more life defeated and didn’t see the point in anything anymore.  I was constantly comparing myself to others and letting my thoughts be fact about everything in my life. I looked for ways to change myself and my situation, without knowing what was wrong or what I wanted. It’s taken 3 years to get to where I am now and it also took going further into dark places to climb back out.  I’ve taken leaps in this time also – news jobs and homes – and learning when I make mistakes to be kind to myself even if I’m on my own.

This week has highlighted how shocking mental health still is to people because we don’t talk about it. If anything comes from this week’s news I hope that it gives someone the courage to ask for help. There have been lots of tributes that have been wonderful reminders of what a talent we have lost, but we also mustn’t forget the families who are affected so much.

My blog has gone beyond sharing my travel adventures into somewhere I hope I can help other people if they stumble across it. Some days the thing that can light up my whole day is a simple retweet of something I’ve shared on Twitter.

I retweeted the Academy’s tribute this week and now have mixed feelings about it. It was touching and poignant, but also could be mis-interpreted. I don’t want anyone to think taking your own life is the answer to anything. There is someone out there who can help you even in your darkest times.

Please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 if you have any suicidal thoughts or just need someone to talk to.

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