Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What's In My Bag? Travelling With Anxiety

Just before Christmas, I went to visit my bestie for the day which involved a train journey or two. Now, having anxiety and emetophobia (phobia of vomiting) makes travelling a teeny bit (a lot) of a nightmare but I'd not seen my friend for some time so I was determined to get on the train and go on an adventure!

Travelling with anxiety can be tough but it can be done with a few little tricks in your bag or pocket. Here's a little post to show you what I used on the train journey to settle my nerves and keep anxiety sat beside me rather than on top of me! I really hope this helps and gives you some of ideas of what you might be able to use to help ease your travel anxiety.

Emetophobia is the main source of my anxiety, the fear of vomiting, catching viruses from others etc..can send my head in a spin and panic attacks at the ready. Whether my trusty little bottle of hand sanitiser actually works is debatable but knowing it's there and using it when I need settles my mind and eases my nerves. Travelling on public transport is way out of comfort zone, it makes me feel awkward and even less confident than usual so wrapping myself up in a scarf and adding a pair of oversized sunglasses to my outfit genuinely helps. It makes me feel safer, like I'm in my own little bubble where nothing can get to me. Another thing that helps is gum! Chewing eases my anxiety quite quickly so I'm never without a pack of gum.

Distractions are key to battling anxiety short term. Though it doesn't cure anxiety, it does relieve the symptoms and allows you to carry on and avoid panic attacks. A good book is a good way of distraction. 'Wasted' is my favourite book (an odd choice if you know the contents) by my all time favourite author. I must've read this book about 10 times already but the familiarity of it is really comforting. If anxiety is too much and my head is just too full, I'll flick through a magazine instead. It's still a distraction but doesn't need your full attention.

This is probably the most useful tool in my bag. My music. Music is something that helps me a lot, when I'm stressed, anxious, scared, whatever the emotion, music is a huge help and a comfort. Before I took this trip to see my friend, I pulled together a special playlist called 'My Happy Place', full of the songs that I love or songs that hold special memories for me. Being wrapped in my scarf, headphones in, music on loud, you can pretend that you're in your own little world, safe from anxiety, comforted by music where nothing is going to hurt you and everything is ok! If there's one tip I hope that you take away from this post, it's the power of music!

Other little tips for travelling with anxiety are:

  • scents: scents can be a really powerful way to calm your nerves. If you have a favourite scent, try to have it with you. For me, it's the smell of vanilla so I spray myself with a vanilla body spray or spray my scarf. 
  • reservations: if you're travelling by train, try to reserve a seat. It's so much less hassle when you know that you can just get on the train and have a seat. A step further, is to book a first class seat. This means that you get a super quiet carriage. 
  • travel at off-peak times. If you can, travel between 10am and 4pm then after 7pm. These are all much quieter times to travel than say 9am. 
  • Take care of yourself: I'm usually the one that is saying 'face your fear' but sometimes when you're on your own, it's just not possible. In these cases, you need to look after yourself. Whether it's moving to a different seat to make yourself feel more comfortable or taking breaks from the crowds when needed, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, you should be proud of yourself for getting there in the first place!
I really hope that this post helps with some travel anxiety and that you can find at least one of these little tricks helpful. In March, I will be travelling to Japan, so I will try to put together a new travel anxiety post for long haul flights.

I'm so sorry that my blog has been neglected for some time. Student life is hard work but I hope to post at least one blog a week...*fingers crossed*. If there's anything, in terms of Anxiety, Emetophobia or Eating Disorder information/posts/advice you'd like me to cover, please let me know and I'll do my very best to help!

Take care everyone and travel safely. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year, Same Me (with some slight tweaks)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone. I haven't blogged in forever but I hope that everyone had a jolly Christmas time, got everything you wanted, spent time with those you love and treated yourself to whatever you liked.

The new year is upon us and to be quite honest, it's a very triggering time for me. For most (I'm generalising so please forgive me) people who suffer from Eating Disorders, Christmas is the triggering event. Surrounded with food, pressure from family and friends to be 'normal', the fear of "do you want 2nds?" and the kind yet not so kind comments of "you're looking well" can all play a part in not making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. However, having had this bitch on my back for over 10 years now, it's not Christmas that makes me feel her cold touch, it's New Years Eve. Don't get me wrong, Christmas certainly gets the ball rolling but it's the whole New Year, New Me that makes me shudder.

Twitter feeds and tv ads shouting that "you can lose a stone in just 10 days",  "try our (bullshit) cleanses" and so on is not something I need to see. I don't need the encouragement to abuse my body with such shit from the diet industry and to be honest it saddens me that so many wonderful people feel the need to believe this, waste their money and harm their bodies. Apart from the obvious triggering dieting content, New Years is always a time of reflection and that's where things get..muddy. 2014 was a weird year, it had a lot downs at the beginning of the year but it picked up towards the end and I guess that's why my head was left in a spin. Let's break it down:

  • my psychologist left. the psychologist that pulled me out of a hospital admission (TWICE), the psychologist that acknowledged me as a person rather than a statistic. the psychologist that truly believed that full recovery from an Eating Disorder was a real thing..left. and that left me: empty. 
  • my new psychologist left. yes that's right, she left too. and with that, I left treatment. 
  • I was diagnosed with Osteopenia.
  • We got a puppy called Bilbo. 
  • We moved house.
  • I started university, studying Psychology. 
So, those were the main events, none of which I had planned to happen, none of which I really saw coming which leads me onto say, New Year New Me..I don't really see the point. Plans don't mesh well with me so making New Years Resolutions seems silly. 2015 is another year, another year where I have no idea what will happen, who I'll meet or what I'll do so rather than having plans..I've come up with a general idea instead:

  • complete my first year and module of university
  • go to Japan
  • read more 
  • begin work 
  • blog more
Loose? yes! But these resolutions scare me a lot less because things that are set in stone freak.me.out! I guess with all this rambling what I'm trying to say is, the 1st of January is just another day. No pressure to suddenly reinvent yourself, no expectations to achieve everything all at once and be the best..you just need to be you. Just you and that's perfect in itself.

I really hope that everyone had a great holiday and I hope to blog more and more this year. Mental Health campaigning is something that is truly important to me, being honest about the illness, the day to day life and trying to squish the stigma and myths is something I'd really like to concentrate on. I hope that you can join me on this journey. 

Thank you for reading and if you made it to the end, you deserve a medal!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Blogs That Inspire Me

The blogosphere is growing ever more popular and it doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon. With so much content out there, to me, blogs can read a little 'same old, same old'. To keep up to date with my favourite reads, I use Bloglovin' but get constantly frustrated by the side bar titled "blogs you might like". It's just filled with the most popular blogs, using the same content as each other using slightly different wording and it just frustrates me because there are tonnes of wonderful blogs out there, creating beautiful and interesting content who don't get these promotions!

SO, with all that in mind, I really wanted to share 4 of my favourite blogs and the lovely people who write them. In no particular order, let's start:

1. WorshipBlues

This blog is run by a lovely husband and wife team, both write, take photographs and come up with unique and fascinating content. Travelling across the globe, these bloggers take you with them on their many adventures, soaking you in culture, art, crafts and photography. I adore this blog and every time I read it, I learn something new.

2. The Dainty Dolls House

This colourful and magical blog is a mixture of fashion, art and lifestyle. The blogger behind the posts is a wonderful and lovely doll that creates unique content daily. Her quirky personal style leaves me feeling inspired and her blog never fails to cheer me up!

3. Laughter Silvered Winged 

The writer behind this blog is a wonderful and inspiring young woman called Meghan. This blog is her journal through life with a mental illness. Documenting everything from therapy to relapse, her campaign work and general day to day life. She is also a talented artist, frequently displaying her latest work in her online portfolio. Her writing, often taking on quite gritty topics, is still witty and never fails to make me smile and cry at the same time. She's an inspiration and definitely deserves a read.

4. Et-cetera and other things

This gorgeous blogger shows us her chic style in lovely outfit posts along with beautiful photography. She also shares some yummy vegan and veggie friendly recipes and she does all this whilst keeping up to date with her studies! 

I really hope that you like this little post. All the bloggers here are not only talented and interesting but they are also just good, lovely people! If you have any blogs that you love, let me know in the comments below!

Thank You For Reading

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dear Meghan Trainor...

The "all about that bass' singer, Meghan Trainor recently made one of the most stupid and misinformed comments and I'm here to talk about it! The singer has already sparked controversy with her skinny shaming song about the outdated idea that you have to be a 'curvy woman' to be a real one..please..stop. However now, she's chatting about Eating Disorders and it's not pretty! In a recent interview this is what she said:

"I wasn't strong enough to have an Eating Disorder" she said. "I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours.  I ate ice and celery, but that's not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, 'Ma, can you make me a sandwich. Like immediately""

Isn't she just delightful?

There are THREE main problems I have with what she said: 

Number one is the fact that she has some kind of warped idea that those suffering from anorexia just wake up one day and think "I'm going to be anorexic!". 

No. Anorexia is a serious mental disorder, with the highest mortality rate of any other mental disorders, you do not choose to have it, in the same way you do not choose to have depression or choose to have cancer. 

Number two is the idea that she thinks 'eating ice and celery' is not anorexic? This implies that she thinks those suffering (or not suffering apparently because they obviously chose to have this serious disease like she did for those 3 hours >< *and breathe*) do not eat at all. WRONG! Saying that those with anorexia do not eat is one of the biggest misconceptions of the illness. Anorexics DO eat! Every person with anorexia have their own symptoms and ways around what they eat and when. Some will restrict their intake, others will calorie count, some will over exercise, some may starve, some may juice..honestly, it's endless and painful and there is no clear answer to it. 

Number three..and this is the one that really got to me. Believing that you have to be strong to have anorexia is one of the most ridiculous, insensitive, uneducated and unfortunately common things to say about the illness. Having anorexia does NOT make you strong, in fact it's quite the opposite. It weakens you, both mentally and physically. Many a time I have drawn anorexia out in my sketch book, she has a face, she has a voice, she follows me everywhere and she controls me like a puppet. 

This is not a sign strength, this is a sign of fear, a fear of the eating disorder and a essentially a fear of your own mind. Anorexia controls everything you eat and eventually if untreated, everything you do, everyone you see and everyone who tries to help you. Mentally, you will feel exhausted (though my goodness, you will NEVER admit it!), you will have things taken away from you, opportunities will disappear and friends and family will distance themselves. Physically, you will become weak. Your body will slow down, you bones will hurt, your heart will dull and your eyes will lose their twinkle. I'm not saying this off the top of my head, I'm saying this because it's what happened to me and continues to happen though I'm fighting hard against it. 

To have an eating disorder is not strong. To fight against it..now that's strength. To fight against anorexias cold voice, to shake yourself away from her grasp, to love yourself like those around you love you, to face your eating disorder head on and say "FUCK YOU"..now that's strength.

So Meghan Trainor, before you shout out about Eating Disorders, think. Eating Disorders are a serious mental illness, they are not to be used to further your career, to gain popularity by controversy and stupidity. 

Oh and FYI Meghan, it's not all about that bass! 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

MyM Magazine: Shironuri Art Spread

Last year, I was working on an art project, a tribute to one of my favourite artists Minori. The project took months of work, from making all of the costume pieces, finding the perfect location and collaborating with my dearest and nearest friend Lynsey (who happens to be a mega talented MUA). The project used Japanese Shironuri art as a base and I drew inspiration from the super talented and beautiful Minori to create the finished piece.

I wrote a little blog about it at the time (which you can read here if you like:)) but a few months ago I got contacted by a magazine called MyM, telling me they were going to publish my work in that months issue! I almost fell off my chair when I read the email, I just couldn't believe it! MyM Magazine is a UK based Japanese popular culture magazine, filled with articles about the latest anime, manga, games and fashion. I've bought copies of the magazine before so was just thrilled that they wanted to feature my artwork. I was also super nervous about the release because I know just how protective certain fans can be over particular aspects of Japanese pop culture..

 I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to blog about this..I guess it's always a fear of looking like a 'show off' or something but I just really wanted to share this. Please go check out my friends Instagram, she's so talented and helped me a lot on this project!

Lynsey McKenzie

MyM Magazine


Thank You For Reading

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

And It's Time To Step Outside Your Bubble

It's been almost a month since I last posted on here and I've missed it so much! Life has really taken over recently and I've barely had the time to sit down but now thing's are slowly starting to settle into place and so I thought I'd do a little update. Firstly though, how are you?? I know I speak to most of you guys on Twitter and Instagram but I miss you and hope that you're all ok.

Ok, so where do I begin. I guess the biggest news and the one that's taken up most of my time recently, is that I've moved house! Me, Deccy, Dusty (kitty), Bilbo (puppy) and Mr Jangles (hamster) are now living in a new house, a new area and trying to get adjusted to our new lives. We're so happy to have moved and feel really settled but moving house is so stressful and I don't handle change very well. We have a super cute garden now which is perfect for Bilbo and we even have some squirrels and wood pigeons coming to play every morning. It's so cute! We're still moving things around and fitting furniture but this house feels calmer, it feels like a proper home.

Hello Kitty placement is extremely important to the balance of your home ;) 

Bilbo enjoying my new walking boots!

Finally I have a separate and beautiful bath to fill with Lush bubble bars and bombs

I guess the next bit of news is that I've started my degree! It's a degree in Psychology (I'm such a cliche, I know) but I'm so excited to finally be doing this. I've wanted to do this degree since I was 17 but at the time I was told I was "too stupid" to take Psychology but now, with bigger balls and more support, I'm finally saying "fuck you" to those who doubted me and following my dreams to become a Clinical Psychologist. The course is intense which hasn't left me much time for anything else but I'm hoping to get a good routine going soon so I can keep blogging too!

with a degree, comes cute stationary and relaxing candles 

it also comes with a headache! 

Health is probably the next major, time consuming thing and I think I'll probably post a separate blog explaining what's happened/happening. In a nutshell though, I am now discharged from my Eating Disorder Clinic but still having to meet with my doctor for physical checks every three weeks. It was my decision to leave the clinic. There were some complications which I will explain later and I needed some space away from food plans, feelings and fuck ups. I'm not recovered, I'm not in recovery so I guess in a way (and as controversial as it may sound) I am a functioning anorexic. I will post more details about this soon but basically I'm ok. Along with that, I'm currently on a waiting list to see a psychologist about treatment for my anxiety disorder and emetophobia and I'm definitely wanting to post a little more about that just incase anyone else is suffering with anxiety and wanting to know more about the treatment side of it, waiting lists, process etc..

So, I guess that's my little (essay kind of) update. If you've made it to here, thank you so much for reading! There are a few more little things that I'm also doing at the moment like learning to drive and also co-ordinating a conference for Eating Disorders which I'll post another blog about soon! I really hope that you're all doing ok and that you had an AWESOME HALLOWEEN! It's my favourite holiday and I'm so gutted I missed it this year but next, oh my gosh, I'm going ALL OUT!!! 

Take care everyone and have an amazing week! 
Thank You For Reading

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Kat Von D: Studded Kiss and Chrysalis

A few weeks ago, my wonderful better half Deccy treated me to some beautiful new makeup by Kat Von D. I'm in no way a Beauty Blogger or a makeup artist, I just love pretty makeup and thought some of you beauty junkies might like to see these new treats.

Ever since I first watched Kat Von D on Miami Ink many moons ago, I pretty much loved her. I thought she was 'rad', so pretty with an awesome sense of style so ever since she first released her makeup collection with Sephora, I've wanted to try it! Kat Von D has always had such pretty makeup, bold and very striking and not shy of colour or trying out different styles and looks. I think because of her amazing artistic skills, she's naturally awesome with a liquid eyeliner. Deccy asked me to create a little wishlist of the Kat Von D makeup that I liked and here's what he surprised me with:


Chrysalis Eyeshadow Palette 

Studded Kiss Lipstick: Bachelorette 

Tattoo Liner: Trooper - ink black

I have very little real knowledge about makeup but I do know that I am absolutely in LOVE with these products and they are absolutely the prettiest products I own. Let's start with the palette. 

This palette consists of 3 Base Shadows and 9 accent shadows to create a multitude of different looks and styles. There is a mix of both matte and sparkle. You can create the most perfect smokey eye, a very dark gothic eye, a natural eye or something more unusual using the bolder shades for pops of colour. This palette is so much fun and the shadows are super easy to work with. They feel so smooth on your skin and are really easy to blend together. The pigmentation is excellent, meaning a little really does go a long way! I absolutely adore this set of colours so much and is now my everyday, 'go to' eyeshadow palette. 

The next product I didn't photograph mainly because I couldn't think of an interesting way to do it however, it's one of the best products I've used! The Tattoo Eyeliner is an absolute dream to work with. I've loved black liquid liner ever since I was a teen. Drawing thick black lines on my lids was a must before I left the house and to be honest, not much has changed. This liner is really easy to use, with a super fine tip that gives you both thick and thin lines. The liquid stays put all day but it's pretty easy to remove at night with a good makeup remover. The colour is definitely my favourite part though. It's sometimes really hard to come across a black liner that is actually black but this one is definitely black. It's super dark, perfect for any kind of style whether it's gothic or a simple cat flick. 

Lipstick is something I'm trying to get myself into. I love seeing lipstick and how other people wear it, blend it, line it but I'm always forgetting to put it on myself. I also love reds and blacks but have so little self confidence that I just don't wear it however this lipstick is my key to wearing colour more often! Studded Kiss Lipstick is beautiful and really easy to wear. It's creamy and soft but not so much so that it bleeds and fades. I blended this with a black lip liner and it created a super pretty gothic lip look. The packaging is awesome too! This colour is not super red, it's more of a pinky red so it's kind of like a baby step towards vampy red lips! 

Overall, I'm so, so happy with all of these products and honestly couldn't recommend them enough to anyone. Whether you are a Kat Von D fan or not, these products are gorgeous, easy to wear, easy to use and just so pretty. The packaging is elegant and you can really tell that Kat has poured a lot of herself into these products. Please do head over (link below) to the Sephora Website and check out the full range there. There's so much to choose from and I'm definitely going to be adding some to my Christmas Wishlist. 

Check out the full range HERE

Thank You For Reading