Day 5- Dyslexia

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post

Day 5- Dyslexia

There are quite a few disorders, disabilities, and diagnosis’s that you would tend to be diagnosed with when your young rather than in adulthood .For example, asthma, type1 diabetes, ADHD, ASD, and Dyslexia.

However, in some cases, these things aren’t diagnosed when you’re young and you find out about them in adulthood. For me that was the case.

Last year, when I had started my philosophy course up in Liverpool, I had an assessment. This assessment was just to see what DSA could provide me with to help me study with my mental health issues.

However, during this assessment, the lady asked my read some things, and asked my to explain to her how I saw things.

She advised me to get an assessment for Dyslexia, I did, and now I’ve been told that I have it.

This came as shock to me, as I just thought that Dyslexia was something that you get diagnosed with young and that was it.

But when I actually thought about it didn’t seem that shocking.

I was quite bright in primary school but I was slow at reading, it was only when I realised that my twin sister was going to move onto harder books that I worked really hard to try and progress.

In secondary school, however, I was quite mediocre, I worked really hard, but I just couldn’t quite hit what I wanted and a lot of the time what I was predicted.

But, no one thought there was anything wrong. Not long after I got diagnosed with Dyslexia, I spoke to one of my old teachers and told him about it.

He seemed to think that because I wasn’t so far behind and because I was still achieving something, that people didn’t realise.

Although looking back he can kind of see how I am.

I always worked hard on my spellings, as I found it kind of embarrassing to be spelling things wrong. But I do still really struggle, and if I can’t spell something I will just find another word. Which can make my academic writing quite formal.

But the thing I find most difficult is reading, if I try and read things quite often I can focus as I can’t get passed words, or it just all becomes blurry after a while, or I skip things and jump lines.

This was quite a big issue that I had in secondary school with reading texts, it was harder in sixth form, and a massive issue for university.

I didn’t get extra time in any of GCSE or A-level exams because no one knew I needed it. For things like English and philosophy, this would have been helpful as I had texts to read but I just couldn’t read them properly.

I had a great English teacher for GCSE (Mr White if you ever see this then thank you) ,who put me in his top set class even though I was predicted a D. And he helped me to come out with a B at the end of it.

One of the things I enjoyed in school was music, and the practical side was the bit I excelled in. But having to write essays regarding things, again fell foul to not having a good enough vocabulary due to spelling.

I now have help though through technology.

I have programmes on my laptop that can help read academic texts to me. I also have something in there that can help me out with homophones (which is something I really do struggle with, even though I’m determined to always get my there, they’re , and theirs right).

I also know that if I think I require it I can have extra time in the exams, however, I’m used to not having this so I may not need it.

I would really suggest that if anyone is worried or thinks they might have Dyslexia or thinks their child might have it then definitely push to try and get an assessment in school speak to the SENco at the school.

If you’re at uni you can arrange for one at the university, it may cost you money, but it’s worth it.

Love

Abbie xx

Day 4- Fairy Lights, Fluffy Socks, and Face Masks

 

Day 4- Fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face masks

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

This post is one that I wrote a while ago, didn’t post it, lost it, so I’m re-writing it.

I first started using a certain social media site when I was around 13, up until I was about 15 it was pretty harmless. Then I started using it to help fuel my negative thoughts, and anxieties. I stopped using it for a while when I realised that it wasn’t helping my mental health. I went back on it when I was about 18 for help, as I thought it might have things like self-help tips and self-care tips.

It had self-care tips. But it was very much filled with “fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks” kind of self- care. So this post is going to be about what I really needed, and what others need to, when it comes to self-care.

1-            Personal Hygiene

When I’m in a pit of darkness, the first thing to go out of the window Is my personal hygiene. I have been known on numerous occasions not to have brushed/washed my hair for over a month. I have also been known not to brush my teeth for over fortnight or have a bath for weeks. This isn’t pleasant. Some people may wonder how I could have been like that, but when you feel so awful these things are the last of your worries.

So when I’ve eventually realised what’s going on and how I’m feeling, this is the first thing I try and tackle, whether this is just a thing of “I’m going to brush my teeth today” or “I’ll brush my hair”, it’s a start. I will, when I’ve almost climbed out this pit, get to a point where I get back into a routine of doing these things.

The biggest problem with this symptom, and not tackling it, is that it becomes a vicious cycle. You don’t do these things, and they make you feel worse, and then you feel worse, so you don’t do it.

2- Environment

Once I’ve started keeping myself clean, is normally when I realise that the environment that I am staying in really isn’t clean. I mean who has time to clean their bedroom when they’re busy being depressed?

It’s a horrible feeling, getting into dirty, smelly sheets when you’ve actually made an effort to have a wash. It’s also horrible not having any clean clothes to wear. So, I tend to use the idea of being able to go to bed in clean sheets a reward for having a bath, as it really is one of the best feelings in the world.

Also when you’re feeling depressed or stressed and you’ve got out of bed, only to trip over some dirty plates, slip on some bits of paper, and stub your toe on a pile of books. So I try my best to at least clear up what’s on my floor. To be in a tidy environment makes my mind feel less cluttered and makes myself feel a lot calmer.

 

 

 

3-            Food

When my mental health gets bad my diet also gets bad. This is one of those things, again, that can turn into a vicious cycle. Mine tends to turn into something more resembling the magic round-a-bout in Swindon- it’s a mess.

It could consist of overeating, undereating, only eating certain things, to anything in-between. When my mood goes and things get bad, my eating disorder gets worse.

Once I’ve realised what’s going on is when I try to regulate my eating a bit better. However, this doesn’t always happen. Yet I do know that if I do eat a nice cooked meal, it does make me feel better.

5-            Speak- Doctors/Professionals/Family/Friends

Although these things can help you gradually to feel better, if you are struggling with your mental health then there are professionals or doctors who can help you. If you already have a therapist, psychologist, CPN etc. then I recommend booking an appointment with them. If not, then try and get into your GP.

Also, try your family and friends if you can, try and speak to them. They can try and support you. I tend to isolate myself when I feel like this, so it’s really important to me.

6-            Fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks

Finally, when all the practical stuff has been done. I can use the fairy lights, fluffy socks, and face-masks!

 

This isn’t to say you can’t use the things mentioned in point 6 first. It’s just that I find these unhelpful when it comes to self-care as I need to be doing the practical stuff first.

Right, I’m off to wash my hair and change my sheets.

Look after yourself,

Love Abbie xx

Day 3- How anxiety affects me

Day3- How anxiety affects me

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

I have had a few diagnosis’s over the last 5 years or so, one of these being generalised anxiety disorder.

Anxiety affects me in many ways. Sometimes It’s manageable, and sometimes it’s not.

Everybody will feel anxious at some point in their lives, it’s natural.

As we’ve evolved we haven’t managed to get rid of our stress response. So when you are sitting an exam and feel nervous your body effectively sees the exam as a bear. So you’ll get the response for siting an exam that you would if you were being hunted by a bear.

It’s when you experience anxiety often and find it unmanageable that it becomes a problem and then a disorder.

Although I was only diagnosed at 16, I’m sure I’ve had GAD for much longer. I remember always being a very anxious child.

My mum would drive us all round her friends house and I remember the feeling I’d get before I went it, I wouldn’t want to go in. I’d sit in the car feeling sick and shaking, and that was my anxiety.

But the thing I couldn’t understand was why I was feeling that way. Nothing bad would happen when I’d go in that house, I had met that friend so many times, yet every time I’d feel the same way.

I use to get the same feeling walk to school, sitting exams, going on to the shop, asking for something, and quite often just generally.

It was when I was 16 that I started experiencing panic attacks. These are so intense that the first time I experienced one I thought I was going to die.

During sixth form my anxiety was getting so bad that I would try and just spend time outside, as sitting in the sixth form building would just make me panic.

I have gradually found ways that I can manage my anxiety. But not entirely.

For me anxiety tends to be worse in the evening where I will just feel so sick and dizzy from intense feelings of anxiety.

One of the things I’ve found best for anxiety is talking to someone and telling them I feel anxious, and getting reassurance, especially if it’s a thought that is causing me anxiety.

I can find myself feeling anxious from thinking that someone thinks a certain way about me, so the way I would deal with that is by asking the person if this is true. Normally the thought I have isn’t true.

The harder times to deal with it are when I’m not sure what’s causing my anxiety or when there is something that I have to do and is unavoidable.

The only way I can deal with the unavoidable situations is by reassuring myself that it’s not forever and will be over soon.

I’m not saying I can completely cope with it now, because I really can’t. But I do find it slightly easier that I used to.

Some days are easier than others. Some days the bear is a big and some days it’s small.

Love Abbie xx

Day 2- “Why I was vegan and why I’m not now”

 

Hi, I’m aware I haven’t blogged in a while so I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

 

 

Day 2- “Why I was vegan and why I’m not now.”

Last year someone I work with said their daughter was going to a vegan festival, so I thought it would be cool to go along. I had a really nice day and decided that I’d try out the vegan thing, as I didn’t really have a reason not to do it.

For about 7 months I was enjoying a normal, healthy, vegan diet. I ate things like vegan pizza, vegan pasta dishes, and just generally healthy and delicious meals (I will make a separate post with these in).

I started being vegan for the other animals, I knew and understood what kind of cruelty they are subjected to for our enjoyment and I couldn’t bare it. But after 7 months it stopped being about this and became more about obsession.

I became obsessed with cutting out certain foods, as many as I possible could and being as rigid with this as possible.

In the end there were very few things I would although myself to eat, and I used the excuse of it being because they weren’t really vegan, but this wasn’t true. Eventually I realised what I was doing and made the hard decision to not be vegan anymore and just be vegetarian. This was decision that I didn’t come to lightly but it had to be done.

I now want to go back to being vegan for the reasons I did in the first place. But I will do this with caution and I will do this gradually.

I want next year for myself to know longer be eating or using products from other animals.

So hopefully I’ll be having a cruelty free new year.

Love

Abbie xx

Blogging Advent- Day 1- “Maybe I’m not very well”

 

Hi, I’m aware I haven’t blogged in a while so I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

 

The first one is going to be an update on my life at the moment. This contains a TRIGGER WARNING.

 

Day 1- “Maybe I’m not very well”

The times when I start spiralling normally end with this phrase, “Maybe I’m not very well”. This usually crops up in my head when I can snap myself out of a vicious cycle of thoughts that I’ve had whilst being in a potentially dangerous situation.

It happened to me today once I had got on the train. I had spent my time waiting for the train, stood past the line, staring at the tracks. I know deep down I wouldn’t do it, but I couldn’t help but think that that was what I wanted.

I haven’t self-harmed now in 7 months. I stopped when I found out I had a place on my nursing degree, and although at times I have desperately craved it, I still haven’t done it.

I feel bad being a nursing student and talking about this stuff. You are kind of expected not to talk about it, if it’s about yourself. You’re told to listen to patients talk about it, just not talk about your own experiences. They should remain private, between you and your GP.

A lot of things have been piling up for me since I started my course in September.

I’ve kept a lot of secrets. My friends on my course don’t know how bad my mental health was, they don’t know my diagnosis, they don’t know I was threatened with being sectioned at one point. I don’t want them to think any less of me, in my opinion in order to do this job you have to present yourself as, and seem “normal”.

This goes for sexuality as well, none of them know I’m gay. I haven’t told them. As someone who is more open about this than my mental health, it’s shocked me that I haven’t said anything. But it has just never felt like the right time. I just join in and talk about boys with them.

It’s really hard, I feel like I’ve taken 5 leaps backwards.

I know, that it’s my choice on whether I tell people these things. But, with my mental health it feels like it isn’t my choice. I just can’t mention it, if I do I am risking everything I worked so hard for. So, if I can’t speak to them I need to get help.

This is easier said than done at the moment. Getting an appointment at my doctors is nearing impossible. I live in a town where there is a high percentage of elderly people. These people are guaranteed the appointments, leaving the rest of us with no Dr for months.

What’s most irritating for me is that when I was up in Liverpool I was offered it all.  I had an appointment at the eating disorder clinic, I was on the list for DBT, I could have a doctor’s appointment everyday if I wanted to.  I felt so supported, but here there’s nothing and it terrifies me.

It’s really hard work to keep going, it’s exhausting in every way. But I will keep going and carry on. I know that I’m really not very well at the moment, but I have to keep going as I do believe it will get better.

Abbie xx