‘There are people so poor that the only thing they have is money.’

Hello!

Today, I’m going to be writing about money. I’m no financial expert, I don’t know if anything in this post will be useful, but it’s what I fancy writing about.

Money is the most important thing to many of us. We may not even realise it, but at the end of the day, we need it to live in western societies. We absolutely, 100% rely on it. I hate that. Money controls us every single day. Money is the reason most of us work. We need a career to be successful and buy a house, car, etc.

Money is something I constantly say I don’t have – ‘I can’t do this, I’ve got no money,’ ‘No, I can’t afford that!,’ ‘I don’t want to go to town, I’ll spend money I don’t have!’

At the same time, I am constantly spending money. Yesterday, I bought some chocolate and lady products. The day before, I spent a small amount for a game. The day before that, car insurance and rabbit food. Before that, MacDonald’s. I’m not sure when I last went an entire week without spending money.

I have no income. Despite all my spending, I have no job, no hobby I’m making money from, nothing. Through student finance and my previous job, I’ve saved up enough that I’ve been able to spend all summer, despite constantly claiming I have no money. When I look at what I’ve spent though, I’m pretty horrified.

Why do I choose to spend money on Macdonalds, and then tell my friends I can’t go for a drink? The money I spent on the game is enough for a coffee, or parking for an hour or two. Chocolate bars are so expensive these days I could have bought a house (joking, obviously, but it could have been 70p in my piggy bank). I simultaneously spoil myself whilst living frugally, and the stuff I buy gives me no long-term satisfaction whatsoever. I said 4 years ago I was going to save up for a macro lens for my camera. Do I have a macro lens? Nope! Have I been able to afford one since saying I’d get one? You bet! I spent two years of that time working full time. I could have my macro lens, another zoom lens, a decent car, or even just tyres (literally avoid driving my car when it’s raining because my tyres are so bad, I’ve skidded out about 4 times). I could have the money to go back to Africa sat in my account. I could have gone on one or two beach holidays.

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if I’d chosen to stay in full time work instead of studying. I could have the deposit for a house by now, easily. There’s a high chance that I would have been promoted (I had already been promoted twice, neither time I asked or pushed for it, I got on with my manager well and worked hard). But I’d be bored. Working in a coffee shop for my whole life is not for me. I am too passionate about animals to stick to just having pets. I always want more. I always push for me, whilst simultaneously holding myself back, e.g. by spending the entire summer jobless.

Working with animals and wildlife conservation is not going to make me rich. I am fully aware that until I’ve got 50 years of experience and a PHD, giving me the opportunity to be head of department at some university, I will likely only ever earn a below average wage. I could have been a vet if I wanted money, but a vets job, to me, seems boring. I don’t mean any offense of course, I have enjoyed learning about animal health, but there’s no bigger picture or purpose. You vaccinate and treat animals, you save some lives, but for what? So that a domestically bred and raised animal can hopefully live a happy life. That is great, but also not natural. I’m a complete hypocrite because I’ve had pets all my life, and I currently have two beautiful rabbits, and of course I’m incredibly grateful that vets can protect them against all kinds of diseases and health issues…But it isn’t natural. My poor bunnies serve no purpose other than to line the pockets of the breeders and give me a personal level of satisfaction.

Working with wildlife and conservation is more than that. It means I’m contributing to an entire planet. If I can educate people about ecosystems and animals, help people understand the damage we do and how we can turn that around to aid ecosystems instead, to stop mindlessly destroying habitats and decimating other species – that, right there, is a purpose.

I have gone completely off track but maybe the point to this post isn’t really about money, but about ourselves. Money is a necessity, yes, but don’t let it rule your life. I am not a happy person, but I am probably more deeply satisfied with what I’m doing than those who have settled for money, those you don’t allow themselves time to live because they’re working too hard and those that are trapped in menial jobs or careers that they don’t enjoy, just because it was a better financial option. I know that when my degree is over and I find a job, it’ll be a job I love. Sure, it’ll have bad days and good days, let’s be realistic! But I will be satisfied.

Where is Home?

Hello!

I’ve been away for a few days. My lovely other half took me to Southampton to meet a couple of guys he lived with when he spent some time in the Falklands, and the following day we stayed in Windsor. It was a lovely weekend, and we also went to Thorpe Park where I was persuaded to go on some of the bigger roller coasters, including the SAW ride, which is actually pretty cool.

I loved walking around Windsor, and the ground of the posh estate hotel we stayed at. I saw buzzards, cows, wild parakeets (I had no idea they were a thing, it’s a feral growing population that was started when people released some into the wild in certain areas), rabbits, geese, swans, and even a red kite!

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Forgive the poor quality image, my phone is awful.

It was a lovely weekend, but I’m very aware that I’m not happy. I am trying, but I just can’t seem to get there. I think I’m bored. I’ve been jobless through choice since May, I’ve had no university to keep me going and I haven’t really done much apart from stress myself out this holiday. I went to Poland and had this weekend in Windsor, but as I’ve been pretty disconnected, Poland never sunk in and there was a few things that made that event stressful, although in general it was pretty good.

I want to start job hunting, but I don’t ‘feel’ ready. It’s awkward. I’m aware that I’m getting low on money and I’m about to move again and have car insurance, but I feel like I’m stuck until I move. I feel like that’s the moment I’ll be able to be me again – when I’m out of this shithole my parents call a home.

I’ve really, really struggled with UK life since I got back from Africa. I think, in a way, I’ve always felt homeless. If anyone has experienced real homelessness, please don’t think I’m trying to belittle your situation, past or present, by saying this. I’ve always physically had a roof over my head, and to compare it to real homelessness would be insulting to those who are suffering without, I’m aware that this is an emotion that’s probably limited to those who physically live ‘comfortably.’ I’m talking about an emotional homelessness. I’ve never lived anywhere where I felt I could be 100% myself, bar when I had a flat with my ex but he was never home (we’d broken up) and I was living by myself. That felt like home. Africa also felt like home.

I detest UK life. It’s boring and mundane and full of little bullshit issues that don’t make a damn bit of difference to anything on a larger scale. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but there is no passion. Most of us end up in mediocre jobs that we are just doing to get by. We don’t want to do that job for the rest of our lives, it doesn’t give us any satisfaction, but we plod along, living to work and working to live a life we don’t have time for. We all go around with these big dreams in our heads of being rich, owning holiday homes or boats or flashy cars. I know that to complain about such a life would be deemed as being petty or spoilt, but it really is bullshit. We have lost ourselves.

We are so detached from nature by work and government and society and medicine that our lives have become meaningless. We have stripped the land bare for farmland and buildings and energy plants. Our wildlife is nothing. We went from having wolves, boar, beavers, lynx…to what? Sheep and cows, basically. The forests that once covered the land are gone. The UK is an empty place to live. You know you’ll survive, because we have the means to keep everything alive, but for what? Without being born into money or having great social skill, and knowing how to play society, you are left to trundle along, earning money for the big bosses, for the ones who know how to play the game, to ease their way up the financial and social ladders.

Maybe my issue is that I am too passionate. I’ve been through emotional trauma as a child and seen things kids shouldn’t see, only to come out the other side for this life to be waiting for me. This life with no challenges because we live in a western society, where we don’t need to fight to survive. We just survive.

Saying all this, because I never had to face off to physically dangerous situations, never had to hunt, never had to keep warm (bar a couple of winters with no heating), never really had to physically test myself, I am probably far from physically capable of doing such things now. At 26, my body shape is what it is. I do relatively little exercise, my muscles are weak, I’m not even a great cook because I don’t need to be. The chances are that moving into a community that’s anything other than the one I’ve known all my life would make me seriously ill, AND I’m terrible with languages.

So where is home? Where can I challenge myself without damaging myself? Where can I find satisfaction?

The search continues.

Confidence Diary: Day 3.

Hello!

I haven’t done one of these properly for a few days because either side of doing nothing, I’ve been doing everything. Last weekend, I went to a wedding event with my partner. I knew absolutely nobody there, and I still enjoyed it! Whey!

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know by now that I am no social butterfly. In fact, this very week I have reduced my number of female friends down from 2 to 1. I shy away from new situations because they’re scary. For a lil while last year, I was very good at socialising. I taught myself to see new social interactions as opportunities  – the good kind, not opportunities to make an ass out of myself, which is my current mind set. I live in hope that one day, new social interactions might excite me again, but for now, I just can’t do that.

Despite that, I had fun! I wasn’t left out despite knowing nobody, my partner was excellent and included me in everything. I feel like he made a real effort for me, but I’m really proud of myself for making the effort too.

I managed to make my rabbits a larger run with panels and string. This sounds ridiculous but it’s been playing on my mind that my bunnies currently have a crappy tiny run. I was supposed to build them a huge one, but I’m actually moving in like two weeks and the crappy weather has delayed the building of the proper run. Now, I may as well put it all up at the new place instead of building it to fit my parents garden. The new garden is smaller, but having a look today, I think I can still make it the same size as I’d planned, which means building can commence, aside from the weather. One of my rabbits, Rafiki, has seemed particularly unhappy recently. He started chewing at the rubbish run every time he was in it, and out of fear he’d cause permanent damage to his teeth, I stopped letting him in the run, so the only times he’s out is either on my single bed or on a harness. This is not ideal and he has not been having the exercise he needs. He’s less than a year old and is a ball of energy. I haven’t known what to do about it because I’ve been in such a funk, until yesterday. I finally had enough of having a depressed bunny and did something about it. I’m quite proud of the makeshift run – it’s not perfect by a long shot, but there’s room for me to sit in there with them, and more room for them to hop about, yay!

I’ve also driven for the first time in a week or so. Generally, low confidence = an aversion to driving. My car is 16 years old, the air con leaks, it makes a funny noise that sounds like creaky metal, I’ve had all kinds of welding done on it and it is in DESPERATE need of new tires. I have skidded out more than once on a wet road, as has my sister. I promise you it’s not my driving! I have never skidded in another car and nor has she. I’ve also never crashed, beyond very very very gently bumping a wall when I hadn’t driven for a year (pulling forward into a parking space…) and curbing the car when I very first passed my test because my bag fell from the passenger seat. I don’t put it on the passenger seat anymore…Back to the point, I drove! And it was all fine! Yay!

What else? I’m meeting some people that my other half lived with in the Falklands for a year or so. I’m excited about this! He was in the Falklands before we were an item. I had a huge crush on him before he went, but we both ended up in other relationships. He kept in touch more than I did, and would send me incredibly penguin photos he’d taken, pictures of a horse in a boat they were ferrying from a nearby tiny island, and other ridiculous things. I’ve heard so, so many stories about these two guys, both of which sound lovely, so I’m looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s it for today I think! It’s had it’s moments, but it’s been a pretty good week!

Behind the Cage

Let’s talk about zoos for a moment.

This post is for anyone, regardless of whether you agree with disagree with zoos. My view point will become obvious very quickly, but please hang with me even if your view is conflicting. This is a post based on fact and may provide a new way of thinking that people haven’t considered. If I mention anything that isn’t true, please feel free to comment to let me know, but if you can also provide evidence against what I’ve said (for the purposes of learning, not because I think my word is law), that would be great!

Whether or not zoos are good or bad depends on who you ask. There are many conflicting views out there, particularly among people who think they’re campaigning for animal welfare. I will explain why I’ve used the phrase ‘…who think…’ later on in this article.

I can completely understand being against zoos. These are ‘wild’ animals being kept in cages or behind perspex glass, the space they have is very limited, they’re being kept in countries with climate that does not match what they’re adapted to and, in some cases, it appears that the purpose of zoos is just to allow the public to get a good look at animals they wouldn’t see in the wild.

Zoos in some countries are diabolical. With tiny, dirty enclosures, incorrect diets leading to malnutrition and health needs not met, I do not agree with those zoos. They are awful and it upsets me greatly to see animals kept in such a way. For some, the intention is good, they genuinely feel as though they want to help the animals, but the lack of education surrounding the needs of the animals lets them down. For others, it’s probably to do with power and money. They want to profit off the animals backs, and ignore the needs of the animals. This type of zoo tends to be in poorer countries – I’m from the UK and it’s unlikely you’d see such an image that I’ve described over here.

That does not mean all zoos in the UK or Europe or other richer parts of the world are ‘good’ though. I’ve visited a few zoos in the UK, Salzburg zoo in Austria and Berlin Zoo in Germany. Two of the worst zoos I’ve personally seen are here in the UK. One of the best is also here in the UK, and another is Salzburg zoo.

So so conservationists tend to support and work with zoos?

For a start, zoos have come a very long way, particularly in some richer countries. Once barren enclosures that were designed to be convenient to clean are now full of enrichment designed for the animal it houses. Expansion is constantly taking place in some zoos, and the research surrounding the animals in their care is vital to endangered species. It gives scientists and behaviorists a chance to examine to physiological and psychological aspects of animals that they simply wouldn’t be able to do in the wild. Research that can be done in the wild is often compared to the same research done in zoos in order to measure the captive animals welfare, but also to allow successful breeding programs in captivity. Once successful breeding in captivity is achieved, they can move on to successful breeding on reserves and such, which will ultimately contribute to the wild population (hopefully).

In the UK, it’s a legal requirement that zoos make some effort to contribute to conservation, whether that be by donations or physically owning a reserve. Colchester Zoo is the biggest zoo near where I live. I have been there many times and although some areas could do with much improvement, some are huge and filled with natural enrichment. Colchester Zoo ‘owns’ (I’m not sure if it’s complete ownership or a partnership or another arrangement, but the reserve gets a LOT of support from the zoo) a reserve in South Africa, called the Umphafa Reserve.

DSC_2024 copyWM.jpgMale Lion at Colchester Zoo. The lion enclosure is one that I feel needs improving. They have enrichment, but more space would be much better.

Many people think that the animals in zoos should simply be released, but this is unrealistic and dangerous. I would love to support this idea, but here are some of the factors rendering it impossible.
1. Most of the animals in captivity today were bred in captivity, particularly in richer countries. Although some smaller, more exotic zoos may still illegally take from the wild, and all animals will be descendants from some that were caught from the wild, this is likely to be a good few generations ago. This means that most of the predators would struggle to hunt and most prey animals would struggle to recognise true danger. I’m not saying this is true for all animals, but to ‘re-wild’ most of the animals would be incredibly costly and time consuming, and detrimental to the animals involved.
2. Most animals in captivity will survive longer than they would in the wild. Animals that have the proper care, nutrition and environment will lead a long and relatively relaxed life. A rhino in the wild has a much higher chance of getting poached, being preyed upon or fighting with other wild rhino/animals. I’m not saying zoo animals have a higher life expectancy, but say 1 in every 4 rhino was poached in the wild. The remaining rhino could have a lifespan beyond that of 4 captive rhino, but there’s a much higher chance of all 4 captive rhino surviving to a decent age than the wild ones. This is a key point to zoos – protection. It angers me that animals are safer in this environment over their natural environment, but it’s undeniable.
3. Lack of habitat. One of the main forces behind the decline of many species is a dwindling habitat and human encroachment. We are constantly building over animal habitat for houses and farmland and power-plants etc, and we’ve reached a point where habitats aren’t sustaining the animals. There is just not enough left. Often, what is left is in ‘pockets,’ and whereas animals like tigers used to roam a huge range, providing regular mating’s with tigers they haven’t encountered before, they are now restricted to their ‘pocket,’ which is causing a loss of genetic diversity due to only a very small population of mating tigers being available to them. This is causing inbreeding, and this doesn’t just affect the tiger. Without the habitat to sustain current wild populations, releasing all the tigers from all the zoos would quickly cause a huge decline in overall numbers. Assuming that the tigers can survive and they can hunt etc, this would mean food resources will dwindle even quicker than before, and the tigers that are surviving will quickly die off.

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Baby White Rhino at Salzburg Zoo. This zoo was overall very good, with large and natural enclosures for most of the animals.

In nature, it’s completely normal for an abundance of prey to cause an abundance of predator, which leads to less prey and therefore less predators, until the prey populations recover again, and the predators follow suit. This is a natural cycle in sustained populations, but many populations have suffered so ferociously at human intervention that this cycle simply stops. We take both predators and prey, we cull antelope and take up land for livestock, and then we kill the predator for taking the livestock, even though the chances are that the land that holds the livestock used to hold natural prey.

We are stripping nature and destroying animals at a rate that is only comparable to previous mass extinctions. As it explains here (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/), extinction is a natural process, just as climate change is, but the rate that it is currently happening is not natural. I can’t say if this next sentence is 100% fact because I can’t find the source for it, but I have read that our current rate of extinction is fast than even that of the dinosaurs. Mass extinctions are usually long, drawn out processes. What is currently happening is happening incredibly quickly in comparison.

Anyway, that is why, currently, we need zoos. Not all zoos, but good zoos. Zoos that support conservation as well as the animals they are housing, zoos that provide research and protection, and zoos that encourage the public to care about wildlife.

DSC_6562 copy WM.jpgRed Panda taken at Banham Zoo. This is not a great zoo in my opinion, enclosures are small and although they clearly try to include enrichment, I strongly believe all of the animals could do with more space, particular their large cats, which include cheetahs and snow leopards. One thing that upset me greatly at this zoo was seeing vultures display abnormal behaviour.

*Featured Image taken at Colchester Zoo. The tiger enclosure is a reasonable enclosure, they have a lot of space and a lot of foliage.

Back to Life

Hey!

So I took a couple of days to myself to do almost absolutely nothing. I think the emotional strain of the last week caught up to me a bit and I really, REALLY didn’t feel myself. I wasn’t just disconnected, I felt ill – like you know when you have the flu and your brain just flicks between random thoughts that have no connection to each other?

I was also completely physically exhausted. No matter what I ate, I had no energy afterwards. Just laying in bed, holding my phone above my face made my arms ache. I could have fought it, and got some things done anyway, but I figured that was my body telling me I needed a minute to sit down and process. I napped during the day yesterday and the day before, and I generally dislike napping if I haven’t actually done anything to wear myself out. Both times, I had insanely vivid dreams where I was aggressive to other people. I have no explanation for this, one of the dreams involved my sister who I have no anger towards, she has been so lovely to me recently while I’ve been going through everything, she’s driven me places and bought me food, she’s listened to me go on about myself and my problems and offered advice. She’s basically been a really good sister.

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit better today. I slept a LOT yesterday and still managed a good nights sleep. I still don’t feel 100%, but I feel more stable and connected, which is what I need.

So that’s where I’m at today. Later, I shall be making a post about the pros and cons of Zoos as a tool for conservation.

Thought of the day – Tattoos.

This is a little off topic but today’s post is about tattoos.
I like tattoos, and don’t see any harm in them because our skin is just skin. it still performs it’s function with a tattoo on it.

Saying that, it does depend on the tattoo. I’m not a fan of face tattoos but some smaller ones can look nice on the right person. I’m not a fan of blatantly obvious swear words in tattoos, but can’t really justify this – I swear all the time. I guess it just comes off as a big aggressive. I’m fine with swear words in small text tattoos, especially in a soft font.

I’m not a fan of crap tattoos, but can’t criticize people who’ve had their mates do it, because I am one such person.

I have 4 tattoos in total – one is 3 hearts on my ankle. This is the one my friend did, I was 17, they were practicing to become a tattoo artist (I don’t think they ever did in the end), nothing went wrong, they sterilised everything properly, but it was a bit crap. A proper tattoo artist has since neatened it up, but it’s still my least favourite tattoo. I’m happy I got it done though, it was an interesting experience and it’s by far not the worst tattoo I’ve seen.
The second tattoo I got was a much bigger tattoo of vines and flowers, that incorporates the hearts. I got this done mostly to distract from the hearts. It’s colourful too, although fading a bit now.
The third tattoo is a huge hip tattoo. It’s black, and it’s silhouettes of butterflies stemming from my actual hip bone to near the center of my back. That was my most painful tattoo to date – I’m bony as hell, so I could really feel it on the hip and as it approached my spine. I really like this tattoo.
The fourth tattoo I had done was hand-poked. It’s an owl on my upper back, and took about 4 hours due to being hand-poked. This was a great experience! When the tattoo artist started, I genuinely didn’t even realise, it’s that soft. For a small tattoo, especially for a first timer, I’d strongly recommend finding an artist who can hand-poke. This one is also relatively big though (hence the time), and it does start to burn after a while…like really burn!

I’d never planned on getting small tattoos. I like them, but would never know what to get. I like big ones. I’m an all or nothing type of person!

So here’s where I’m at now. Over a year ago, when I broke up with my ex, I decided to get a big lion face on one thigh, and a big bear on the other. At the time, the idea was that they’d represent strength and bravery. He was the first person I’d lived with other than my family, and it was a very messy break up. Saying that, the relationship was over long before we actually broke up. My tattoo artist is always booked up for months in advance, and then I had to re-book thanks to work, so I don’t have the tattoos yet – they’re booked for late August this year. I was supposed to go in at some point and just remind the artist of what I wanted, but I’ve been putting it off.

I think the reason I’ve been putting it off is I don’t really want these tattoos anymore. For a start, they’re going to cost me well over £200. I’m about to move to somewhere that’ll cost more to live at, need money for furniture, have car insurance in the next two weeks and haven’t had a job since April. I have student loan coming in September, but all these other costs are this month. I can’t afford it, even with my savings.

Secondly, I have the opportunity to go to Wales for 4 days, which is directly in between the two dates I have set for these tattoos. If I got the tattoos, I wouldn’t be able to go swimming, showering will be difficult and I’ll be in some pain. This isn’t a massive issue, they’re more my partners friends than mine – in fact, some of them I’ve never met – but I’ve never been on a holiday with friends, and it’s not costing anything, and I love Wales and swimming.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve moved on from the section of my life where I felt like I needed to prove how strong and brave I was. I did well at the time, sure, but I feel I’ve done more in the last week for myself than I did back then. I’ve already put a deposit down, so if I cancel, I do lose that, but I was thinking instead that I could keep the appointment after the Wales trip, cancel the first one and get a much smaller, more meaningful tattoo for myself. This will probably be something that represents South Africa because it was life changing and maybe that can be the reminder of my strength and bravery. I did not ever see myself going to South Africa, but not only did I do it, I thrived while I was out there. I was so happy there, so touched by the people I met and the things I saw, I experienced things I’m unlikely to ever experience again.

So yeah, just fancied sharing my thoughts on tattoos for a minute. I think regardless, I won’t be getting the bear and the lion, purely for the sake of cost. It’s a shame but at the same time, no big deal. I hadn’t realised how much this was playing on my mind until…well, today.

Apologies for the boring post! I realise this isn’t in the same style as my other posts, but this is a post for me! 🙂

Confidence boosting

This is a quick little post on confidence in general. I’m feeling pretty good this morning, I had a nice night last night with a couple of friends. I was upset by one of my friends not turning up and not even letting me know she wasn’t coming. If you’ve been reading my other posts, you’ll know it’s been a tough week, I felt like I really needed people there for me, and she wasn’t. I’m okay despite that though. I had a little rant about it, and now I’m going to let it go because it’s not healthy to hang onto it.

There’s a few things that have helped me regain a little confidence. One is the confidence diary, for sure – it really helps to concentrate on the positives not just about yourself, but in any situation. Another is being assertive. I’m not an overly assertive person because I can struggle with decisions and doing what is best for me. Often, I put other people first but not always in a good way. When you are constantly trying not to hurt someone else, you can end up hurting yourself, and then you do what you think is best for the other person but you’re in such a funk that you can’t actually see the situation clearly, and it becomes damaging to your relationship – whether it’s a friend, partner or family member. You need to identify what you need for yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t put others first sometimes, but you need to put yourself first too sometimes.
It can be hard to figure out what it is that we want for ourselves, so allow yourself thinking time, but don’t shut off from the people around you to do so. It’s a tricky balance but it is achievable.

I also tried on a dress today that I haven’t worn in a while. You can’t feel real body confidence until you feel some mental confidence, but feeling good about yourself physically can boost your mental confidence too. You need to find both to be happy in both, kind of thing. That sounds complex, but again, it’s achievable. I liked the dress when I wore it before, I felt good about myself in that time so putting it on today brought back some of that feeling. I’ve been a bit of a slob recently – pjs, baggy clothes, lots of black.

Wear something nice today and achieve something you’ve been putting off, whether it’s something like washing up, cooking a nice meal, going shopping or something like doing a big of writing, going for a walk, reading about something you’re interested in. It all helps!

Confidence Diary day 2.

Hey followers!

I won’t be using the template this time because I figured I can just keep that bit personal instead of going overload on the detail here. It’s been a rough old week but there’s also been lots of positives mixed in there.

One of the negative states of mind I’ve experienced this week is the feeling of emotional numbness. This isn’t a new feeling to me but it’s not something I have felt in a while. This feeling is actually a coping mechanism that’s sparked by your brain. Different things can cause it for different people, e.g. it could be a certain traumatic event such as losing a loved one, or it could be as simply as going through a period of prolonged stress.

Switching off and feeling numb for a little while is a way for our brain to process a situation(s) without flooding our body with hormones, which is what it usually does under stress, kinda like how sleeping helps our physical body (but obviously, different too!)
It becomes a problem, however, if we choose to wallow in it. There are a few things you can do to break this mind set when you’re ready to do so. One is talking to writing about everything that you feel has caused the dissociation. Another is to touch physical objects around you. This can help to re-connect us to reality again – it can help for things like panic attacks too, although it doesn’t always work and it takes some mental effort as well as the physical activity. Sometimes, it just takes time.

Anyway, back to the positives!
1. I have made strong decisions this week to change myself, and now I’ve made that choice, I’m recognising more situations where I could modify my behaviour to induce a positive outcome instead of a negative outcome.
This took such a massive effort on my part, and doing this can also help long term depression, although it’s even harder to do when you’re depressed. Very easily, we fall into thinking patterns, and we get very comfortable in them. To be able to change your way of perceiving normal, every day situations is very difficult, but to do it in whole areas of your life is tough. I don’t feel I’ve made much of a change yet because this will be a very much ongoing goal. It will take weeks at the least, more likely months or a couple of years.
2. I reached out to friends. I guess this is part of the thing above. I’m not great with friendships because I’m not very open about how I feel – I’ve spent my entire life dealing with things on my own and I often feel that when I open up, people don’t fully understand. This is a situation that will seem familiar to anyone who doesn’t feel they’ve had a ‘normal’ life. It’s like the second you open up, you feel vulnerable and you immediately push people away by telling yourself they’ve misunderstood the situation. This makes most friendships feel very shallow and I don’t feel them on so much a personal level as other people do. I have about two people in my life at any one time that I trust fully, and even that’s on good days. Reaching out and re-connecting with a friend who I’ve rarely seen recently, and opening up to my ‘closer’ (the people I see more often – the relationship is by no means stronger) friends, I’ve made a step towards being real with them and being myself with them.
3. I’m being treated by my other half. This ties in with the situation I’ve been in in the last week. I don’t want to go into detail too much because I know he wouldn’t appreciate it but as my identity isn’t stated here and nor is his, I shall continue. In short, we hit a rough patch which resulted in him asking something of me which I found incredibly difficult – in my eyes, I had to give something up to achieve it, and it was a struggle to let that happen. At the same time, I had no choice if I want to be as happy as I was a few months ago. I didn’t consider this at the time and believed that giving up this thing ultimately meant giving up on happiness to an extent. There was no guarantee that giving up this thing would result in my happiness – in fact, of course, there’s tonnes of factors to happiness and this only concerned a minor one. One of the most predominant thoughts in my head was the fact that I was doing all the giving, and he wasn’t sacrificing or promising anything. Now that these have calmed down and we’ve worked out a few things, he’s taking me on a relatively spontaneous trip (something I’ve wanted for ages, we had many when we first started dating but of course, life changes and we haven’t had the money or the time), and I believe this is his way of giving something back to me for what I had to give up. I realise this probably sounds a little manipulative but keep in mind there’s many, many details I’ve left out here. It was a hard situation, but now it is on the mend.
4. Beer! Yup. I get beer tonight! I rarely drink and I often pass up the opportunity to go out with friends, even for a quiet night at the pub. It’s been a tough week so I’ve got a few beers ready, I’m having dinner at a friends and then we’re meeting others for a drink.
5. Bunnies. My bunnies are awesome. I know some of you will think they’re ‘just rabbits,’ but rabbits are closer to cats and dogs then you’d think – so are all small animals, really. I’ve had hamsters and rats too and they all have their own personalities. Rats are brilliant pets because you can strike up a very deep bond with them because they’re smart animals. I haven’t quite got to that level yet with my bunnies, but they’re so lovely. I have Whiskey and Rafiki, and Rafiki is an arsehole! Not like agressive or anything, just like ‘oh hey I’m in a grump so I’m going to poop all over your bed even though I’m litter trained and when you tell me off I’m going to flop right next to you because I’m ADORABLE!’
Whiskey is a lot calmer, she’s about a year older than he is. Funnily enough, at the minute, he’s neutered and she isn’t spayed yet. I would have thought the energy levels would be the other way round! She tends to just turn into a loaf when she gets nose rubs and her ‘thing’ is to have really dirty paws from digging where she shouldn’t be. They make me smile a lot 🙂
6. Everything is going to be okay.
I feel like I’m much more resilient than I used to be because everything crap about this week doesn’t even feel  too bad anymore. Writing this has definitely helped, but even before this, I wasn’t too down. I know that I can achieve anything I want to. It takes hard work but sometimes making the decision is the hardest thing. I’ve been through worse situations and come out the other side, so I fully believe in myself. I’m finding that I feel a bit mentally lighter than I have done in ages. Sometimes, drama is a really good kick up the arse. Again, we get super comfortable in our thought patterns. Sometimes we don’t even realise there’s anything ‘wrong’ with the way we’re doing things (by ‘wrong’, I mean we’re not doing the best thing for ourselves. We might be ignoring huge issues or creating situations that ultimately leave us unhappy, or hurt the people we love, which could contribute to the unhappiness).

So there we go. Those are some of the things I feel positive about from the last few days. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem.

‘Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it’

There I was, wanting to write a post all about zoos, the pros and cons and get people thinking about a huge and controversial part of our lives – who doesn’t have an opinion on zoos? – yet here I am, writing another post on me.
I have had three of the most challenging days of my life. Not the hardest days, not the toughest days, but the most challenging.

I wrote a post about trying to change and break out of negative behaviour patterns (I think…I’ll check and if not, maybe include one at some point!) and last night, I had to force myself to do just that.

There is a particular situation I’m in that I don’t want to publicize, but at the same time, need to get off my chest. I don’t know if anyone will find this post relatable because it’s likely to be a bit jumbled.

Yesterday, I was confronted by something huge, something I did not like one bit. There was two real options from the confrontation, and neither are what I wanted. Either I give up something that made me happy long term or I give up something that I thought would help keep that happiness while it’s struggling. I mean really, what kind of choice is that?

My usual reaction in that situation is to force it to go my way. to make a third option that says ‘do what I want.’ That didn’t happen this time. There was no compromise, no middle ground. It was lose one thing or the other.

I, somehow, held onto my anger. It was crushing but I forced myself to stay as calm as I could and to just sit through my feelings. This is something I have never ever done before on this scale. I’ve never kept control and ridden it out. I’ve always reacted immediately, and usually defensively. This reaction, although good for standing up for yourself, when you’re fully aware that someone is trying to take advantage, is not healthy when you’re not sure what is right, or when you know you’re in the wrong, but this was my reaction to everything the second I felt threatened by any kind of situation. It’s like my brain was a tiger, happy to live alongside side someone until they move too close, or too far away, and then I hit out. This time, it’s like my food source was ripped away from me, but instead of hitting out, I waited.

I waited for all the usual thoughts and feelings to wash over me. The feelings of hurt, anger, devastation, more anger, upset, resolution, more anger, resolution again, etc. to wash over while I sat there quietly, hardly saying a thing. Anyone who looked at me could have physically seen the struggle across my face, from a silent tear to a frown, to probably going red, and then another tear and sadness.

This is such a huge, huge step for me. I’m still dealing with the situation that sparked it, and I did get to a point where I had to spill a little to get through the darker feelings that flooded me later on, but I still did it in the calmest way, no accusations or anger, just being open about how it all felt and why.

I don’t know if I have the strength to stick to my current decision or whether emotions will take over at some point and It’ll be too much, but the fact I was able to make that decision without reacting in my normal way gives me so much hope, and makes me so proud of myself. I’ve proven myself to myself in the last couple of days. I feel vulnerable as hell, but stronger than ever at the same time.

Confidence Diary: Day 1.

So things have spiraled in my personal life and I’m not going to talk about it all on here because I don’t feel like I need to, but my friend sent me a ‘confidence diary’ template to help me feel better about myself. I was wondering if I’d actually bother doing it every day as I can lose interest quickly, but I thought, you know what? I want to keep on with this blog, and I want to do it every day, so why don’t I combine it?

The concept is that you just write about the positive things in your day, what you want to achieve in the day and whether or not you achieved or started it. It’s so simple, but with life’s distractions, it’s incredibly difficult sometimes just to take the time to reflect, and we get stuck in negative ways of thinking. ‘Ergh, just another day at work!’ or ‘Great, more bills to pay!’ or ‘That other driver was so rude!’ or ‘Why is it so difficult for other people to just wash up?’

Having the odd negative thought in itself isn’t an issue, but it’s when the negative components of the day begin to rule the day that it’s an issue. For example, maybe you saw or achieved something cool today, but then a driver cuts in front of you on your way home and you had to hit the brakes unexpectedly. For me personally, the driver is then likely to be the first thing I mention when I get through the door, rather than how good the rest of the day was. So here goes. I’m leaving stuff out as I mentioned at the top because it’s not something I want on here, but have done a separate one regarding those things on Word.

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Day 1:

Today I’m excited about: Spending time with my sister and rabbits, lunch with my sister, Writing a blog post, Talking to friends.

Exercises: Some walking with my sister.

Meals: Gammon Steak with egg and chips (I’ve decided to go veggie slowly, but I am a picky eater and don’t like many restaurant veggie choices!), one meal replacement shake, The rest are unplanned.

Main focus: Improving my own mental health and finding a way to get confidence, + eating healthily to gain weight.

Schedule: *I’m leaving this in as an example, but I will write out my own schedule separately. Nobody needs to read what I plan on doing every hour of the day!

8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast and shower
9:00 – 12:00 Chores
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 Long walk
14:00 – 16:00 Hobby time
16:00 – 22:00 Dinner and tomorrow’s food prep, hobby time

Goals for the day:

Have 3 meals + 1 shake/ 2 meals, 2 shakes.  **This bit would be to mark off if the goal was achieved
Give my rabbits lots of time to run.  
Tell yourself something positive about yourself.  
Cut hair  
Recognise a negative thought and squash it  
Smile  

Notes: Went to doctors, went to the harvester with Jenny, Gave the buns a better run than last few days – better weather! Replaced one cup of normal tea with a green tea.

Good things about today: Feeling more determined and positive, bunny’s are happier, learnt what a frugivore is. Started confidence journal.

What I’m grateful for: My sister, for taking me to lunch. Cal, for sending me this template. Sherman, for being my best friend.

What I hope for tomorrow: To continue to feel more positive, to stick to this journal, to generally have a positive day.

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So there we go. It’s not going to fix all of my problems, but making if I can begin to make myself happy again, the other problems won’t seem unmanageable. I made some huge decisions last night and this is day 1 of making those choices, and the goals I set for myself in those moments, achievable. I have no idea if this will work long term, but it’s worth a shot and I can see why just taking a minute or two to look for the positive throughout each and every day can make a difference!