Vegetarian, waste-free movements

Hello everyone!

So I’m clearly useless at blogging, but it’s been a very strange and busy period for me – as it always is over Christmas. I had a very good Christmas with my partner and his family, with some lovely gifts and lots of laughter. I then had another good Christmas with my own family, as my sister was working Christmas Eve night and Christmas night, so we celebrated on boxing day.

 

I’ve finally started doing university work again, although with just two days left until my statistics exam, I have done nowhere near enough and am positive I’m going to ruin my streak of firsts, if I even manage to pass at all. I’m partially okay with this – being so anxious I couldn’t go to a job interview and then trying new pills is a lot to take on whilst maintaining university grades. Plus, the stress of money, car etc has all been a bit much.

My relationship is really good, I’m very happy. I can finally show my other half how much I appreciate him instead of laying into him because I’m stressed about something else and can’t think rationally. He seems a lot happier too – he’s been so so supportive of me, he’s been proud of all the little steps I’ve made to be a better person, he’s proud when I manage to do uni work. I couldn’t love him any more right now. I feel like I had a future with this guy, then sabotaged it, and now it’s been brought back from the brink, so prozac = thumbs up from me. I will continue to take it until any effects wear off and hopefully, by that point, I’ve re-programmed my brain enough that I won’t immediately become angry or irrational.

I’ve been obsessed with listening to ‘Serial Killers’ podcast recently. They delve into some psychology of serial killers, examine cases – most of which where the killer is caught, but some of which they aren’t. It’s a little bit graphic but I’ve never been too squirmish so that’s okay for me.

I’ve been incredibly ill the last few days. I have no idea of the cause as I didn’t want to go to the doctors until after my exam (yeah, not the healthiest approach but I figured the illness would pass anyway, and I am feeling a bit better today!) Basically, I’ve had this weird skin thing. My whole body feels over sensitive, so when my housemate or boyfriend touched me on the back, it’d leave me squirming. I couldn’t stand to be touched, and a warm (NOT hot, deliberately put in twice as much cold water as usual) felt like it was burning. My feet and hands felt like they were being pricked by pins, and my muscles have been stiff/randomly painful. So that was an interesting few days! Last night was the worst night yet, but I’m hoping it’s on it’s way out.

So, onto the title of this post. I’ve more-or-less gone vegetarian! Yay! This is an ethical thing for me – I’ve done two years of animal science and welfare and am now doing Wildlife and Conservation. I’m not writing this blog to persuade others to be veggie, I’m writing it because for years, people have assumed I’m vegetarian because I really care for animals. Every time I said ‘no,’ I felt bad morally. Further to that, I believe that meat farming isn’t healthy for the environment due to the amount of resources used for it, that could directly be used to feed more people than it does cattle. My bf and his family (and the rest of my family) are all heavy meat eaters, and whilst I wish they weren’t, I respect that that’s their choice. To ease myself into it, I will eat meat (but not fish) if I go round other peoples for dinner – I don’t want to force this on anyone. I gave up sea food a long time ago. I haven’t liked things like haddock or cod since I ate some bad fish as a kid and spent the night being sick. I LOVED prawn and tuna though. I watched ‘Mission Blue,’ with Sylvia Earle, and that’s what pushed me to give up all seafood. I Do have some vegetarian essential oil supplements, but I usually forget to take them. As far as I can see, I’ve had no negative benefits to giving up fish.

Waste-free is definitely harder than going veggie. The idea is to cut down consumer products that contain an abundance of packaging, making or buying reusable items such as using a flannel instead of face wipes and generally cutting down your waste by a tonne. Obviously, studying wildlife and conservation, I am fully behind this idea, but there are problems. The first is packaging is EVERYWHERE – you cannot buy many veggies and fruits in a supermarket without them being wrapped in plastic. If you can, it’s more expensive – I bought 3 loose apples from Aldi the other day which cost nearly the same as 6 packaged ones. Here’s a small list of the things I’ve done so far to keep me motivated, and maybe motivate some of you too (again, I don’t want to force anyone, but if you like the idea, this may help! I have not done a lot yet, I’ll explain this in a mo.)

  1. Charity shop clothes: This one I’ve been doing long before I made a conscious decision to cut down waste. I was looking for a nice dress about 6 years ago, but couldn’t find one in high street stores. I was desperate for a new nice dress, so I hit the charity shops with a ‘Well, it’s unlikely, but I guess there’s no harm looking’ attitude. I walked into one shop and – there it was. The dress that was to become my favourite for years to come! I don’t support all the charities whose shops I shop in, but the idea is to cut down on production of cheap, disposable clothing.
  2. Wear things until they wear out: Again, something I’ve done since late teenage hood. This works for me because I’m naturally kinda scruffy – I never look too groomed because I’m just too disorganised. This will be more difficult for those of you who are perfectionists or worry about the way you look, but it can still be done, particularly if you’re good at sewing/crafting. There’s (probably) lots of blogs on how to jazz up old clothes. I’m too lazy for that, however, so I wear things until they have holes in, and then keep wearing them. I’ve recently thrown out a pair of pants (knickers) that was finally getting holes in that I bought at least 10 years ago. I have two pairs of jeans with ripped knees – they weren’t ripped when I bought them. The favourite dress I mentioned from a charity shop has a small rip in the lace in the shoulder – so I wear a cardigan over it. I haven’t bought a new bag in years, ago my current one is getting a big embarrassingly worn and broken!
  3. Cleaning products and cosmetics: So this one can be difficult. Lots of people make their own cleaning products, but I don’t have the time for that right now, although it’s something I’d like to try in the future. Instead, I’ve been buying white vinegar in a large glass jar. White vinegar is just about the ONLY thing that gets rid of rabbit pee stains on litter trays, which is how I know it works. It’s obviously a little smelly (I hate vinegar), but I’m sure there’s ways to freshen up the smell of your home if you choose to use it. It’s good for cleaning sinks and baths, stained cups or dishes, getting labels off pasta/sauce jars to re-use (especially with baking soda, although I haven’t found one that isn’t plastic packaged yet) and good for de-limescaling.  I haven’t bought any kitchen or bathroom cleaning spray for a good few months!
  4. Bulk buy: Bulk buying is usually both cheaper and creates less waste. Things like washing up liquid (again, you can make your own instead), pasta and rice, dried foods such as lentils, hand soap if you feel you can’t do with out it (bigger bottles) can all help to reduce waste. Ages ago, I bought a 30l bottle of pet cleaner. Before that, I bought a single spray bottle of the same pet cleaner. I used to get through a bottle every month or two, but thanks to saving some money, I’ve had one 30L bottle last two years. Admittedly I strongly believe that it’s stressful for animals to have their scent continually washed off their home, so I only use it when things start to get smelly (although with a rabbit who has decided she doesn’t want to pee in the litter tray, I guess I use a fair amount now!) and I tend to spot clean/do half clean outs rather than full clean outs too. I must have saved at least 15 plastic spray bottles by doing this though.
  5. Re-usable coffee cups, cutlery etc: Take your own cutlery and coffee cup to work. I am almost an obsessive tea drinker, and was getting through 3-4 Styrofoam cups a day when I started university. I’m sorry to say that this practice lasted until September last year, but not anymore! I’ve got my own travel mug which I take in now. Some coffee shops even offer a slight discount if you use a re-usable cup rather than needing one of their take-away cups. Water is another good example. My partner is TERRIBLE for buying bottles of water, so for Christmas I got him a decent quality sporty water bottle. He’s very happy with it and says that because he’s always got it on him, he’s been drinking more water so feels a little healthier, which is good.

I’m going to stop there because this blog is becoming VERY long and statistics is calling ( 😥 ) but I hope some of you find this blog helpful. If you’re trying to go veggie or want to start a zero-waste journey, there’s lots of resources on the internet and groups on social media like Facebook. Start small though – zero-waste can feel particularly overwhelming sometimes, because there’s usually SO MUCH we could do with out, but we’re in the habit of just picking it up as we go around for our shop. Last week, I bought two big bottles of flavoured water without thinking about it. Don’t feel bad for doing it – just try to make a conscious effort not to do it next time! 🙂

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Day 16 I think…

Hello! This is day 16 and this is what’s been going on.

Firstly I’ve been back to the docs. There was a note on my bloodtests saying one of them was abnormal and to make an appointment, so I did, only to find that my bloodtests are completely normal. On the one hand, yay, I’m healthy! And I got an extra months worth of brain pills (apologies to anyone who finds that phrase offensive, that’s how I seal with things). On the downside, that means the weight loss, headaches, random symptoms I’ve been having are all down to me. It also meant a trip to the doctors I didn’t particularly want, but at least I don’t have to go just before Christmas.

I’ve apparently been super lovey dovey to my bf. Just little things like telling him I love him a lot, kissing him more and maybe verging on clingy, but I don’t feel clingy (trust me, I’ve been clingy!) I do feel like I want to see him more often and I feel like I take more pleasure in his company when he is here, which is very good.

I am, however, feeling crap every morning – very shaky and not quite nauseous but not right either. I’ve been a little headachey the last couple of days too. I went to uni today for the first time in ages, and driving home was scary – I was aware that I wasn’t really with it. Everyone who pulled out felt like they were too close, oncoming cars seemed to be too far over my side and it was too easy to speed on the duel carriageway. I made it though,  I made it through a day of university and I made it home. I’ve cleaned out the rabbits and sorted out some washing, which I haven’t done for nearly two weeks. I’ve just gotta eat, wash up and head out for my friends birthday.

I’m looking forward to her birthday, she’s a very, very good friend and I haven’t seen much of her the last 6 months but I’m also incredibly tired. The plan was to drink and skip uni tomorrow but there’s certain things I need to do at uni tomorrow which can’t wait, or deadlines will be missed, so I guess I’ll stay sober.

Anxiety is creeping back a little. Not panic attacks, just worrying a bit. On the one hand, bad – I still need to find myself a job and overcome the anxiety. On the other, good – I NEED to get on with uni work or I’m going to fail.

So that’s me right now. I’m gonna give it another couple of weeks before I really assess the pills because I just don’t know if this spaced out feeling is going to go or not. All I want to do is stick netflix on and relax in bed!

Day 14 prozac

So the trick to not becoming a zombie is apparently having people around you who want to do things! This weekend, I’ve been functioning. On Saturday, me and my partner went to London to see his Aunt, which was lovely. I really like his Aunt, she’s an awesome lady! We got home, made a few bits for a fundraiser today and then went to our friends house for a few drinks – it’s really great to see friends twice in a week!

Sunday, we popped to his as his lovely Mum had also made a bunch of things for me to sell at the fundraiser, then I realised I’d forgotten my pill so he ran me home, where I cracked on with making bits and he went to help his Mum and grab some materials for bits he was making. I ended up with 10 notebooks, a load of Christmas decorations, some cards, gift bags and some photography bits I found to sell.

Today, I drove for the first time in about 3 weeks. I wouldn’t have gone if it had just been me but thankfully a friend from uni was also fundraising and we had a stall together. My stuff wasn’t very popular and I made a grand total of £9.50 (she made about £60!!) but I’m very, very glad I got out. It was good to drive again and do something without relying on my other half, even if I’m not totally self-reliant right now. I think it’s time to take the next step and get back into uni!

The down side is along with actually functioning again, it turns out that I can still feel anxious, just not to the extent I did before. I was shaking like a leaf about driving, although I didn’t really feel mentally panicky at all. It’s odd. I think my sleep is starting to go downhill again as well. I’m a TERRIBLE sleeper, probably because of anxiety. Since being on these pills,  I’ve been sleeping pretty well, even though one of the most common side effects is insomnia. We’ll see how I do tonight!Last night was a bit crap, but tbf I had my window open and the bikers opposite were revving at 6am, my bunnies woke me up by drinking very loudly and I woke up needing a wee – so I may have woken up every time anyway.

We shall see.

Prozac day 11…I think.

I took my 11th pill today, but I’m still suffering from being completely switched off. Still no sign of uni work. Yesterday, I managed to get out of bed around 1, have a bath and then logged on my uni laptop and did absolutely nothing.

I’m supposed to be doing a fundraiser on monday to raise money for a trip to South Africa with the uni. I went last year and it was incredible – I’m so lucky to be able to go again but right now, I can’t afford it. I really need to go to that fundraiser but that means working on things to sell to raise funds, and that’s something else I haven’t done and can’t seem to do.

I’m like a robot right now. The only thing that matters is laying in bed.

Things are not so great but I’m hoping it’ll pass. I’ve heard that two weeks is usually when things start feeling more ‘normal’ again, so fingers crossed huh? I also think that most people start on 10mg, whereas I was put on 20mg straight away. We will see.

Prozac day 9

Hello

So I’ve just taken my 9th prozac pill. The sleeping problems have started – insomnia is a common side affect. I’m not really experiencing insomnia (I used to have severe insomnia as a kid and have always struggled with sleep) but I am getting a disturbed sleep. I’m waking up at silly times for no reason but most of the time, I’m drifting off again fairly easily. Another common side affect is intense and strange dreams. Because my sleep pattern has always been weird, so have my dreams, but at the minute I’m waking up with fragments of memory that I’m not sure are real. It would seem that my dreams are very realistic – things to do with my car, relationship or pets, mostly. I can’t give an example because I forget them as quickly as I remember, but last night it was definitely about my rabbits.

The haze seems to be clearing slightly, but with that comes the vague sense that there’s a lot of pressure on me. I’m aware that there’s lots of uni work I need to do, especially as I’ve done nothing for the last week. I’m aware that I’m doing a fundraiser soon, but I haven’t got much for it. I’m aware that I need to clean out the gerbils, sort out my car (front headlight out), and a load of other bits and pieces, but I just really want to avoid them for a little longer. Maybe in my head I associate productivity with anxiety.

I need proper counselling  but I can’t remember when my next phone call is. I think there’s a chance I have Borderline Personality Disorder, but I need to have a proper assessment, which is something that nobody has offered me so far beyond measuring depression and anxiety (scored top points for anxiety, go me!…:( )

Yesterday, I cried for the first time since I’ve been on these pills. It lasted all of 10 minutes, and the reason was the hot water ran out before I could even run half a bath. I usually wash every other day. Sometimes, I’ll leave it an extra day if I’m feeling down or lazy. If I’ve left it an extra day though, I won’t leave the house until I’ve washed because by that point I’ve usually spent two days in the same pajamas and don’t smell too fresh. I tried boiling the kettle for some extra hot water, but the kettle is old and takes ages. By the time It had boiled, the water in the bath had cooled. I did eventually add some water from the kettle and from a pan at the same time and had a semi-reasonable bath, but it took me about 45 minutes to get to that point. It wasn’t great but it did the job.

I then went to see the women’s England football team play with my sister. Women’s football is a particular interest of hers, partly because she plays. She paid for the tickets and sorted dinner and transport for me so I went. The game was very one sided, our team is very good. Whilst there, I was mostly concentrating on keeping warm.

Oh one more thing – I do keep getting waves of emotion that I haven’t felt for a long time properly, such as overwhelming love for my other half. We’re still together after I basically pushed him away as hard as I could last week, and now I remember why I fell in love with him. He’s such a kind person with such a huge heart. He’s ambitious and intelligent and gorgeous. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am truly loved by him, I no longer feel that he’s just putting up with me or anything – something I didn’t even realise I felt. For the first time in a long time, I am 100% certain that that man loves me as much as I love him. So that’s quite nice.

So that’s me for now. I need to get back into uni work very soon – but maybe after I’ve watched a bit more on Netflix…

Prozac day 7.

So it’s been 7 days now. I had a lovely few days of calm, and now it’s changing a lil. I had a great weekend, me and my other half sorted things out, we went out on a Friday, I got very drunk and enjoyed myself – something that anxiety has stopped me doing for a long time.

But now, I’m just in a daze. The calm affect is wearing off slightly but the hazy affect isn’t, which means there’s things I know I need to get on with but I just wanna lay in bed. I’m not so keen on this feeling. I also feel very tired, like I could just sleep. I really need to tidy my room so I can let the rabbits out for a good old run but that seems unmanageable right now. Hopefully there’ll be some balance soon, where I’m calm and not hazy, so I can crack on with life.

I still think I needed to go on the pills though. I think I got more crazy and out of control than I realised. When I think that I could have lost my other half, and it’s crossed my mind to give up uni. Everything that I’ve worked hard to be stable enough to do. I really did lose it for a while there.

That’s all I’ve got the energy for right now.

Calm without a Storm

Hello again! Two posts in two days? Look at me go!

So yesterday I spent the entire day in bed and I’ve pretty much done the same again today, but my mind feels different – quieter, less angry, a little switched off and calm. I’m hoping that means these antidepressants won’t fuck me up as much as the others did. I’ve always hated antidepressants. My Mum has been on them for years and they don’t appear to have done her much good. When I mentioned which ones I was on, she replied “I think they’re the ones that made me crazy!” By this, I think she meant the time when she was displaying bipolar symptoms the worst (or manic depression, as it was back in those days). I asked what she meant by crazy and she said she felt like she could drink like a fish all day with no ill affects (she’s an alcoholic). Throughout this time, she broke her leg on the way home from the pub. She had to have her leg in traction as it had broken in two places. Two days after she came home and got the cast off, she broke her leg again – she was drunk again. I remember that night. Our relationship had deteriorated to the point that I refused to call her an ambulance. That sounds rough when it’s your own mum, but replace ‘alcoholic’ with ‘drug abuser’ or ‘physically abusive.’ It’s not quite the same but it’s not far off. With the emotional trauma and neglect she’d put me through at this point, I no longer considered her a ‘Mum.’

Anyway, yay for me, I’m not an alcoholic!

I’m not sure what’s happening with my relationship though. I suspect we will split up. I can’t really feel how serious our argument about housing was the other day, but I do realise I have been unfair on him. He’s a good guy who just wants some financial security and that’s okay. He’s a very good boyfriend – talks to me all the time, doesn’t neglect me at all, is kind and generous, enthusiastic and motivated. More than that, he’s a good friend. He is the one person I want to reign the crazy in for, other than myself. He’s had to stand by and watch his girlfriends mental health deteriorate for no single obvious reason, aside from not being happy where I live. He’s had to hear about his girlfriend having panic attacks nearly every day for the last month. At this point, I think I pushed it too far with the housing thing and although we’re talking fine at the moment, I suspect we will break up as I believe it might be the best thing for both of us. I need to re-learn how to be independent all over again and not rely on him to get my out of situations I’ve pretty much trapped myself in, and he deserves to be happy in himself, without worrying about my mental health and dealing with me taking it out on him. That is a cycle and thought pattern I have clearly not yet learned to break.

So yeah. That’s day 3 of my pills. As a quick confidence boost to myself, I managed to clean out the rabbits today, do a tiny bit of washing up and feed myself. That’s two more things than yesterday!

Inside a Broken Mind

Hello. It’s been a little while again, huh?

This post is all about me, my recent struggles and where I’m at now.

I am broken. At least, that’s how I feel. I’ve pushed away all my friends, I don’t feel comfortable in my own home and I may or may not have broken up with my partner. For the last two months, I’ve been having severe and regular panic attacks. These attacks have been almost daily, sometimes more than once a day. Financially, I have nothing, but I’ve been unable to attend interviews thanks to these attacks. I’ve been offered at least 7, maybe 10 interviews and I’ve managed to go to one. I did well and got a job trial, but I couldn’t go to the trial.

Part of the reason is down to the fact that I don’t want any of these jobs. I’ve spent two years studying animal science and am now doing a wildlife top up, but there isn’t any relevant jobs in this field that I’m qualified for, so the jobs I’ve been applying to are things like barista and kitchen assistant. This feels demeaning. It shouldn’t – a job is a job and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs. I’ve been a barista full time for 2 years and a further 2 years of part time. I’m not above those jobs, but I want to be doing something that makes me feel like I’m contributing to the field I’ve been studying in. I can’t do that while I’m throwing away waste food and plastic coffee lids.

Another part of it is I feel like I’ve got nothing to work for. The ingenious plan of moving in with a friend who I can trust has gone to shit. He forced a situation on me which I made clear I didn’t want – to do with my ex, who is one of his best friends. I couldn’t handle it right now, and well – the fact I’m not at university right now is testament to that. I’ve been disrespected and disregarded in this situation and I can’t forgive him for it. I haven’t had any form of apology from either of them for the situation. My housemate even compared me saying I didn’t want the situation (that directly affected me) to me keeping my rabbits in my bedroom. I pay half the rent, but he has two rooms as he has a daughter. It feels like an absolute invasion of privacy for him to even suggest he has a say over whether or not my rabbits are kept in my room. It feels like he’s announced that he is entitled to have a say in my room. Why work to pay rent in a house I don’t want to live in? When I first moved in, he took ages to give me freezer space. More recently, we argued about the furniture. Most of the furniture in this house I originally bought when I lived with my ex. My ex then moved into this house with the friend when we broke up. He left the furniture behind when he moved and charged me for some of it – that’s completely fair. What isn’t fair is my housemate claiming rights to it and telling me to buy my own furniture. That did get resolved, but not without double checking with my ex who he’d left the furniture to. I don’t want to live in a house where I feel entitled to nothing.

Last night, he told me I owed a certain amount on the phone bill. That’s fair, I use the phone, so I asked to see the bill. He sent me a screenshot as it was online. He then told me there was an extra 76p to pay. I asked why? He said it was charges between the last bill which will come on the next one. I asked why he wanted it now? He has a go at me. over 76p. He implied I was arguing with him and accusing him, simply for asking to see the bill. This, coming from a person who asked for the last months rent 3 weeks in advance, and who asked me several more times to pay it before I did – it wasn’t due until 2 days ago. I’ve never not paid.

My relationship is a tricky one because I can’t tell if I’m in the right or not. Living here is destroying me, I have no control over anything and I think that is partly what is causing my panic attacks. My other half has the money to share a flat with me, but refuses to move until he’s more ‘financially stable.’ He has a decent income and will have enough savings for a deposit to buy a house when his saving scheme pays out. I know for a fact he could afford it because I’ve done it on much less. If it were the other way round, I’m pretty certain I’d move now to help him out. I wanted to live with him by now regardless of what’s going on elsewhere in my life – I want our relationship to move forward – but he won’t, and it hurts me so deeply that he’d choose money over me and us. I do not have the financial means to move out by myself. One bedroom flats in this area are around £500 a month, not including bills. I can’t get a job right now, I’m mentally unfit to work. I can’t even make it to interviews, for gods sake. Trust me, this isn’t me being lazy – I want a job, I want to have control over my life again and feel independent. Anyway, a shared one bedroom flat would cost about £350 a month including bills – less if we’re careful with water and electricity and stuff. I can afford that.

His refusal to move out leaves me fucked, essentially. I can’t afford my own place. I can’t go back to my parents – I won’t give up my bunnies and there’s no room for them indoors. Putting them back outside in winter when they’ve not got winter coats could kill them. Plus my mum has taken my old room so there’s literally no room for myself. So I’m stuck in a house that has caused so much anxiety that I’m unable to get a job. I don’t know if I can forgive him for that, or myself for getting into a situation where I’m dependent on someone else.

I am trying to get better – yesterday, I started antidepressants again (prozac). I’ve tried antidepressants twice and neither times were good experiences. I swore to never go on them again after last time, but that’s how bad things are. I want to feel the numbness I felt last time. I have no cares anymore about being a functioning human being – something that has caused me great stress in the last few weeks. I’ve been so down about not being able to do interviews, and hating myself because I know I need to. I don’t want to feel anything anymore.

Confidence diary resumed.

Why hello again! Once again, it’s been a while, I literally break all of my own rules.

 

So, I’m back! Obviously I never finished the lake district post which was silly. I’ll try and do it soon. I’m back because I am crashing and need to start this up again. Avoiding crashing was one of the reasons I started this blog (And to help others who need tips for a boost).

I’ve been having SEVERE anxiety for the last two weeks or so, but not like I’ve had it before. I was a bit down, then I had a few days of up, and then suddenly, in the middle of one day, CRASH. Since then, I’ve been a yoyo. I’ll have ups and downs at least 3 times a day – one moment, I’m congratulating myself on how productive I’ve been and the next, I want to quit uni and die. I’m used to having general anxiety with random triggers, and I’m used to going through cycles. I am used to good days and bad days, but I am not used to every day being both.

It’s weird because in one respect, I’m doing really well – I drove to a rescue center that I’ve never been to the other day, all by myself. Driving and social situations are two massive things I have issues with. I’ve applied to volunteer at a zoo, I’ve been applying to jobs I wouldn’t usually bother with and I’m determined to go to the interviews (I’m so broke and am fully aware that money is one cause of my anxiety right now. I HAVE to get a job). It’s like I’ve reached that point where you’re 100% focused and determined.

On the flip side, I’m REALLY struggling with uni work, plus I’ve blown off two actual interviews (admittedly, I didn’t feel as determined as I have done since blowing them off). Uni work is usually no issue for me, but my research proposal is due in a week and I’ve gotten nowhere with it. Academics is usually my thing, my comfort zone, but it seems to be this that’s setting off anxiety. I’m constantly asking my peers things because I’ve just been forgetting – ‘when’s this due?’ ‘What do we need for this?’ ‘Oh, we have something else due? I’d forgotten!’ it must be annoying.

I think part of the reason is that, funnily enough, Wildlife and Conservation is quite different to Animal Science. I did a foundation degree in animal science, and I’m now doing a top-up in Wildlife etc. That means that whilst my peers have done ecology and all about breeding programs and things like that, small mammal surveys – I have none of that and haven’t dedicated the time to do the extra reading. My own fault, but also a product of my failing mental health. Earlier, I tried to sort out a survey. I’d spent FAR too long doing it, only to give up. I had an idea, and went to put it into place, but realised I hadn’t copied the thing I needed to before closing the document without saving. Boom, full on tears and sobbing, unable to catch my breath, shakes, all of it. Within  about 3 seconds flat.

Thankfully my sister is amazing. She has suffered with anxiety issues before and even without me mentioning a panic attach, she could tell by my messages something was up. She rang me, calmed me down, talked through my work with me and helped me break it down.

Now, not everyone has that support – I usually don’t, me and my sister usually just get on with our own thing. We love each other of course, but for various reasons, our relationship is fairly distant. We talk regularly, but not usually about our own issues and when we do, it’s almost in a clinical way – cold hard facts,  no crying to each other and stuff like that.

Anyway, here’s the main thing I wanted to say. For gods sake if you’re having a shitty day, WRITE DOWN SOMETHING YOU HAVE ACHIEVED THAT WEEK. It’s difficult – sometimes you feel as though you have achieved nothing. I am currently feeling that, even though I KNOW that I’ve done things I would usually avoid. Just write something down. Made the bed? Put some washing up? Did some washing up? Write it down. It just makes it feel a little more real. My list for today includes getting my rabbits out (I do that every day but when I’m like this, it feels like a chore, even though it’s a requirement and I’ll continue to do it every day) and actually eating breakfast.

Obviously, you should include any ‘bigger’ (I don’t want to belittle things like washing up though, these are still achievements, especially if you don’t want to move from bed) things. I’ve also got some replies on the survey I mentioned earlier, and yesterdays includes driving to the rescue. It didn’t feel like anything until I wrote it down.

We need to know that we have achieved things, we need to give ourselves a sense of satisfaction, even if it’s for something that ‘seems’ minor. You still did it and that makes you awesome. Did you get dressed today? Yay!

Remember it’s also okay to do absolutely sweet nothing all day something too. Everyone needs a break, especially when you’re under heavy mental strain. Don’t let that become a rut though. Fancy a day off today? That’s okay, the washing up will still be there tomorrow – but make sure you do it tomorrow, even if you’re crying the whole time or don’t quite get it all done. Then, write it down.

Instead of confidence diary, I think I’ll start calling it my achievement diary from now on. And now I can add making this long, confusing post to my achievement list, because I have written and published this post, yay!

 

Land of Lakes

Hello!

Finally, here is the promised post on the Lake District.

So here’s a little run down of what I did. Me and my partner went there this year for a week. It was my first time going, and we decided to camp. We stayed 3 nights at one campsite (Kestral Lodge), 2 nights at another campsite (Gill Head Farm) and out final two nights at a third campsite (Harbour Lights). The idea was to do a mini tour, but the first two campsites were North as we couldn’t get anything near Windermere or the center of the Lake District when we booked. Harbour Lights is South West – I’m not sure if it’s technically IN the Lake District but it’s near enough, either way.

We went at the end of August to the beginning of September. I’ve been camping many times before, but at festivals. We were NOT prepared for ‘proper’ camping! We’d borrowed a 4 man tent off a friend (I thought I had a 4 man, but two days before realised it was a 2 man, which I had the sense to know wouldn’t be big enough!) a 4 man without a porch is NOT big enough for ‘proper’ camping.

Let me just say here that by ‘proper’ camping, I mean with our own stove, plates, pans etc. A table was very useful too. All of this stuff we’d borrowed off my sister to save money. When you have two people in a tent, a blow up bed, bags of clothes (taking up more space than usual because we camped for cold weather – we got cold weather!), a crate full of cooking and eating utensils and another crate of food, a 4 man tent without a porch is not big enough. I’d say we over-packed, but I don’t feel like we did. We got through most of the food, I certainly got through all the clothes I took and it’s nice to have a little bit of room to move. So yeah, unless you’re one of those insanely camping-savvy people who have learnt how to pack a weeks worth of clothes, food and cooking stuff into one giant back pack, get a bigger tent! We ended up buying a bigger one on our second day with a porch, and we are SO glad we did. It would have been miserable otherwise, particularly because the first tent was very cheap and not 100% waterproof! You can wing it at a festival, there’s usually a friend you can crash with if it all goes tits up. You can’t do that with ‘proper’ camping!

We got to Kestral Lodge, and the area was beautiful. I forget all of the names of the places we went so I’m gonna add in some map shots. The drive up there was wonderful and refreshing, and even the 24 hour rain didn’t stop us going on a local walk through a lovely forest.

Kestral Lodge

After a long drive and setting up, we were quite tired, so that was it for day 1. On day 2, We grabbed that new tent, set it up and then went off to Dodd Wood. It’s not too far form the campsite, we weren’t really sure what to expect but it was fantastic. It was a great little visitor center and we ended up going all the way to the summit. There’s several different routes, some easier than others. Our trek was quite tough, but so worth it! It took about 2 hours to get to the top – it was a lot quicker coming down, but we stopped at an Osprey viewing point. We saw an Osprey! Anyway, here’s some photos showing it’s beauty. It really was an incredible walk, and a great unexpected way to kick off the holiday!

On the second day, we went to the Lake District Wildlife Park, and then for what should have been a relatively short walk from the campsite down to Bassenthwaite Lake. The Wildife Park was good, much bigger than we were expecting. Not all enclosures were as big as I’d like to see, but a great morning out nonetheless. The walk to the lake was fantastic, though! We got lost, and walked down tiny little paths next to rivers, through fields, over huge areas of puddle (we’d worked out my shoes weren’t waterproof so there was lots of jumping and lifting), and eventually found an incredibly peaceful, secluded and beautiful spot on the lake. The sun had come out for us, and it was bliss to sit there for half an hour. If we’d gotten there earlier (as we should have done), we would have stayed longer, but we were concerned we’d get lost again and the sun was setting. Well worth it anyway!

 

On the third day, we moved over to Gill Head Farm. We didn’t realise how close Gill Head was to Kestral Lodge until we set the sat nav up, but we went for a wonderful detour on the way there.

I’m going to have to make this a two-parter because I’m cutting into Uni work time now. I have a research proposal due this month in preparation for my dissertation, which I’ll be doing on Rewilding, but I have nowhere near enough research to focus on one area yet! It’s a huge subject with lots of things to consider. It’s also a relatively new subject, which is nice!

Enjoy the images, there’s more to come! 😀