The first few months of 2017 felt so manic thinking about it now seems like a distant memory. Here was always where I was headed. I have found my partner in (
The person I always hoped was round the corner, but never dared to dream…
And we’re cooking some amazing food together! We love talking about food, cooking food and eating food. He’s embraced the vegan lifestyle with an open mind and an enthusiasm that matches my own.
We eat big meals and have a balanced, nutritional diet but lately we’ve been feeling like we’re just not eating enough. My body mass index has just slipped to ‘underweight’, which is something I’m keen to address and need to gain around a stone. We’re planning more protein smoothies, less skipping lunch (which happens way too often in our household) and more cake.
26 is according to some the year you reach and have formed much of your personality, but for me I also feel I’m noticing aging physically also. Nothing too drastic, it’s just I had a wild early 20’s (yeah right)…
I’m posting as on a study break till October, therefore can sit and type something that isn’t an essay without giving myself a hard time. But I also do feel that this is a particularly important time for me in terms of personal development. Looking forward to beginning my next module, just as much as I am to finishing it in April!
My ‘current’ interest lies in social research. Education and Healthcare mainly; more specifically in the fields of Sexualities and Gender, but I’m also just sat here wondering if there are any Vegan groups that educate school-age children about the meat and dairy industry? Doubt there would be time on the curriculum for that..
The changing of the seasons can be very difficult, and basically very annoying for people who love the outdoors but dislike the dark and the cold. It makes you want to stay in bed more, sleep more, eat more.
However, sitting in your garden to meditate fully kitted out for the crisp and sometimes breathtakingly cold sea air is certainly refreshing!
Cooking and baking and yoga are things I’m hoping will help me get through the next few months of dark, cold evenings. So far we’ve enjoyed hummus, falafel, lemon cake and lentil curry. (Not all at once!) Currently looking for more vegan recipes and bakes to add to my list!
As part of World Mental Health Day (10th October) the project I volunteer for, along with the NHS kickstarted a campaign to break down mental health stigma, and encourage young people (and those who come into contact with young people) to be more aware of mental health issues and to feel more comfortable talking about them. It was commissioned by the CCG in response to poor statistics regarding mental health awareness and the feeling of being stigmatized that young people were experiencing.
The tagline #iamwhole champions the fact that no matter what your mental health status, or how much support you may need, you are still a whole individual.
As someone who has always found it near impossible, who still finds it pretty difficult to open up about how their feeling and accept support, this campaign is one I would have benefited from at a school age. Learnt behaviours like ignoring the problem; not being honest with yourself about how you’re feeling take their toll and are challenging habits to break. I had a mentor a few years ago who’s favourite saying (that I shall re-appropriate) was ‘Be kind to yourself.’
It’s good to remember on days when the nights drawing in are getting to you; that it will pass, it’s okay to not feel your best and to BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
What things do you do to keep you going through winter?
It certainly seems like I have come a long way since my last post. Almost a year. My exam for the end of my first module at the OU is in 10 days. Revision is going well.
What I have learnt academically is nothing compared to what I have learnt personally. I have learnt that no amount of therapy, medication, self-help books or yoga/meditation is conducive to a healthy body and mind, if that body and mind do not want to make positive changes. I didn’t want to make these changes for a long time.
Not long after my last post, I started volunteering for a project called Right Here. The project supports young people to develop resilience to all that life throws at them, creates awareness campaigns about mental health issues and conducts research into free and paid support networks. The people I’ve volunteered with during my time with the project have been wonderful and engaged and I feel we have made a small but vital impact within our community. It was also immensely helpful to have an external project on which to focus on whilst so much else around me was uncertain.
I’m also now vegan. It took me a while to get ‘there’ but I am sure with all my heart that I will never look back. Veganism and the concept of healthy, sustainable, cruelty-free living are working their way more and more into my consciousness, an incredibly welcome lifestyle and attitude adjustment. Tomorrow I will be attending my first ever Vegan festival and I could not be more excited!
Working hard, studying hard and volunteering hard have kept me deliciously busy. It’s good to be busy. Everyone in their 20’s should be busy! Meditation and yoga have assisted me to keep a healthy routine of self care, one I hope I stick with. Progress photos of some of the more challenging (for me!) yoga poses helps me to challenge and push myself physically. I have serious backbend envy at the moment, and so saving for a Dharma Yoga Wheel…
Turns out, this adult thing just takes a bit of getting used to.
So after dropping out of University after two years (one lecture in 3rd year does not count) I have recently made the decision to study for my last year with the Open University. Spending the last few years in jobs that have depressed me further have helped me come to the realisation that a degree that took me longer to get than originally planned is a degree nonetheless.
Just looking at the different modules the OU has to offer is making me very excited to start studying again! After clearing out all my old college and school papers earlier this year and seeing how studious I was before I stopped caring about my future and started relying too much on alcohol.. I know I’m making the right decision to finish what I started. My confidence in my abilities however are not what they once were. It’s amazing the confidence and arrogance that alcohol and drugs give you. A sober me is a naturally self-deprecating individual and at the moment I am trying to believe that I am capable of finishing 3rd year.
There’s only so much time you can spend on Instagram and Twitter, watching Youtube videos and wishing you were someone else. My therapist recently recommended a book to me called ‘Managing Intense Emotions and Overcoming Self-Destructive Behaviour.’ by Lorraine Bell. It’s not in my local library networks and the cheapest I have found it for is £23 online. Trying to save money at the moment so that I can move out of the hostel I am currently living in, so think I’ll be waiting a bit longer before I actually buy it, but it does sound like the author saw me coming..
This is how my life and my decision making feels at the moment. It’s from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”