Soooo… this is awkward. I haven’t blogged since Christmas, and we are already in March. I am the absolute worst for regular content. I definitely have an excuse, or at least a reason, so I thought I would explain. You’ll have to excuse the iPhone pictures, but I just wanted to share a brief snapshot of what I’ve been up to because this mayyyy be a bit of a wall of text. Feel free to just look at the pictures and move on.
So in my Christmas Gift Guide, which was the last thing I posted, I briefly touched upon the fact that I was going through some personal stuff, but I haven’t really felt like elaborating until now.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve undergone something of a transformation. It’s pretty standard ‘part of growing up’ stuff that everybody goes through, but it was coupled with a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or ME). I had mild depression for quite a few years and struggled to find the motivation to do literally anything, as well as having no energy whatsoever, muscle aches, brain fog, and memory problems because of the CFS. I had debt problems which were spiraling out of control. I had pretty horrible anxiety, to the point where I couldn’t eat for days at a time because I would just throw up if I tried to stomach anything. I definitely did get by, but I couldn’t really be bothered with anything, from not making my bed in the morning to actually giving up absolutely all of my hobbies. I also felt like I couldn’t be bothered to express myself, and I am not really sure how I have any friends because I feel like my entire personality was internalised for years and I got by on basic interactions. But I do. Hey. You guys are cool.
I have come so so far since I was at that point. If I told a couple of years ago me that I would feel the way I do now I wouldn’t have believed it. I still have anxiety, but it definitely doesn’t control me anymore, and I just try to avoid situations I know will bring it on. I can quite proudly say that everything else is under control, and life is really great.
I’ve been seeing an occupational therapist for the past couple of months, as part of my CFS diagnosis, and it has been a really great experience for me because it has given me confirmation that I have my head screwed on, and I’m on the right path. We have been going through things that a CFS sufferer experiences, and things which can or should be done in order to recover, and basically saying “oh… well you’ve definitely been there, but you already have done/are doing the things necessary to overcome that particular hurdle” and we have pretty much established that I have recovered alone, by instinct, as it took literally years between diagnosis and actually seeing somebody, and I pretty much gave my lifestyle a complete overhaul in that time. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say that, because CFS is a block in the road that some people can never move around. It’s fantastic to be told by a professional that you are teaching her a lot of things that she can pass on to other people who are struggling.
It’s the cheesiest thing in the world to say, but the biggest part of it has been self love and a positive mental attitude. And quite a lot of time management. I didn’t really have any of those things before, but once you become a person you really like, life just becomes so much easier. If you can believe in yourself, enjoy your own company, and know that you are a good person, things like low self confidence, loneliness and seeking approval from others become, for the most part, a thing of the past. It frees you up to concentrate on what you want from life, and the steps you need to take to get there. Looking for the positives in everything and not wasting any energy on negativity, as well as accepting the things we don’t have the power to change saves an incredible amount of energy and unnecessary stress. I’m pretty easy to please, but I can’t really remember the last time I had a bad day, because I usually just accept whatever is bothering me or not going right, and make a conscious decision that I’m going to do something that makes me happy instead. For me this can literally be anything from listening to Taylor Swift and having a good (depending on your definition of good) sing along, to going for a walk and seeing the sea, or just reading my book. And then I can move on and continue spending my time productively.
I feel like that’s not anything particularly extraordinary, and I think that most people learn this as a natural part of growing up. The only real difference is that CFS means I have to be reeeeally conscious of how I spend my time. I have to make sure I don’t overdo it and wear myself out to the point where I am no use to the world for a week. This used to frustarate me a lot because I wanted to be constantly doing things, and I was in a constant boom and bust cycle which was quite hard to accept. But these days I really don’t mind chilling out and taking things slow at all, and I like my lifestyle and don’t consider it a negative.
My huge breaks from blogging have been for two reasons, first of all the whole boom and bust thing – there was a phase where I was endevouring to blog every single day, and hold down a full time job, a long term relationship and a social life at the same time, which – enormous kudos – a lot of people do quite successfully, but is literally impossible for me. I was basically making myself really ill. Obviously my blog had to be the thing out of all of that which took a back seat, and so I did for many months.
Secondly, while going through this process, I feel like I grew up very fast in quite a short space of time, and I started to come out of my shell and express myself and the things I cared about more. I wanted to do more and be more. I realised that the relationship I was in wasn’t really for me anymore, and that neither of us were benefiting from being together. Like any relationship, it had had it’s ups and downs, but ultimately been worth it – but I had suddenly changed into a completely different person, and he hadn’t really gone through that process. We definitely grew apart, which was hard to accept for a long time, but ultimately I did accept it and ended the relationship. I think we both learned a lot, and I have a lot of happy memories, and it was nice to have shared the journey with someone. I genuinely feel like I understand how to relationships now. And it’s hard to understand how to relationships. And I also know how to do alone, and that it’s pretty cool to do alone for a bit, and you don’t really need to relationships if you have yet to meet your partner in crime.
It was obviously very sad, no break up is easy, and on top of that I had to learn how to be on my own after nearly 5 years. Blogging definitely wasn’t a priority. I still feel like I have a lot more adjusting to do, it’s really weird to go from having a person you spend all your time with to, well, not. You notice things like the fact that you and all your other coupled up friends were kinda in nest mode, but now that you’re outside of that the dynamic is different. You maybe regress to your 18 year old self a bit and get drunk far too often because you don’t know how else to socialise. You try the dating game and discover that it is, in fact, a ridiculous convoluted game, and that you have no time for that whatsoever. You get really, really, REALLY into burgers instead. You go to the gym almost every day for a month, and then go back to just drinking wine and doing some squats every once in a while. You go for walks, you eat great food, and you start spending 80% of your time in the bath. You get embarassingly excited on the one snow day of winter. And so on.
Basically I have been having a really nice time, with a couple of ‘wtf’ moments thrown in for good measure, but all in all I am happy and excited because I’m in a really good place, and I can really see and believe in all I have become, and all I’ve yet to be.
Aaaaand that’s quite enough ‘Dear Diary’ for today. A normal schedule of posts about standard lifestyle and beauty stuff will be resuming shortly. Well I say schedule. There will be posts, but I can’t promise you a schedule just yet, until I get into the swing of things again. But I’ve finally bought a nifty fifty, and I am obsesssed with taking pictures of everything, so I will have a lot to share! Watch this space!
If you’ve made it this far you deserve a medal *presents medal*