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excessive daytime sleepiness is a pain but I need to work better with it

So this post is hopefully going to come across a lot more personal and open than any other posts I’ve done in the past where I’ve tried to put on a professional ‘blogger’ persona and give out advice and tips. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of bloggers and that kind of online persona is definitely what get’s people into the professional blogging industry. But lately, for the most part of the past year, I’ve been really bad with my blog and unfortunately good at neglecting it which I am mad at myself for.

Now I could write a list of 100 reasons why I’ve been terrible at writing over the past year but nobody wants to read a list of excuses for not doing something because it doesn’t pass on any inspiration or reason to relate, which is the kind of vibes I wanted to give out when I started this blog. I’m only human and I’m not perfect or good at keeping to a schedule or plan, but I’ve always wanted to be an approachable person, I want to start conversations and make people think outside the box or look deeper into themselves. Which is one of the many reasons I started this blog and is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it.

As you know, I started my first year of University in September last year, and I have pretty much finished my first year at this point! I’ve received all my marks from my coursework and classes ended a while back. It was a roller coaster of a first year for me personally because it was such a change to my life that I thought I could handle, but had no idea how it would work with my mental health or my social comfort zone. I struggled with many things over the year personally and tried to keep it mostly to myself so that I could try to learn how to overcome things and survive the next two years of University. But one thing that really came to my attention in University, because it affected it in a way, was my body’s capability and strength. Or to put it in a more blunt, laughable way – I am so easily fatigued, it is hilarious and scary.

I have missed a lot of University this year due to sleeping in or feeling so tired and weak that I actually feel physically unwell. I have fallen asleep in lectures and in the library. Embarrassingly enough, I actually had a little corner in my University’s library for a while that I used to go and nap if I felt too tired. I was pretty sad when exam time came and people actually used that area of the library. If I didn’t get enough sleep at night I would feel sick the next day. My eyes would drop without warning and my legs would ache as if I had attached extremely heavy weights to them. Sometimes I’d get nauseous, other times I’d get headaches. I was feeling a lot weaker this year, and it definitely took a toll on my mental health and stress too. I am so lucky and amazed that I managed to pass this year. But what does this have to do with my blog writing and me now?

Well I think the fatigue or excessive daytime tiredness isn’t something that was just sitting dormant until class-time was around because, boy am I still tired. I have a lot of free time now aside my jobs, to do something with myself and yet I put off writing so much. I’ve actually forgotten to write a concluding post about my JustGiving donations (which are all fully donated by the by! Thank you so much if you did donate!) because I’ve been spending so much free time feeling too tired and putting off opening WordPress and writing! But I don’t want this to be an excuse post or a post trying to give me a reason to not feel bad about neglecting my blog, I want it to be a confession post almost – a post where I’m putting down my main problem on the table so I can think about it, and try to figure out a way to work round it.

Trying to find stuff to write about can be hard, especially trying to find things that people may enjoy reading. But I believe, like most creative processes, doing it again and again is good practice and helps you improve and that’s why I don’t want to neglect writing for too long. If anybody has any advice or ideas on what I could write about that would be great!

But as well as that, if anybody has any ideas of working/writing whilst struggling with fatigue that would be amazing. Feel free to comment or message me.

Thanks for reading my little ramble, have a glorious week –

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Admitting something’s wrong

So I’ll never declare I’m good with helping people, or talking about problems, or dealing with mental health – I’m DEFINITELY terrible at that. But sometimes I do find it therapeutic to write about what’s on my mind, especially on my blog. Of course, writing on my blog could be a temporary solution or not a good solution for someone else. I think that’s a key understanding whenever you want to help someone with something – is realising not everyone’s the same.

My initial idea for this blogpost was to write up a few short ideas to help people who struggle with talking about their problems or asking for help but I don’t want to generalize. I know how tiring it is to seek help or advice and think ‘been there, done that’. So instead I thought I’d just try and talk about how important it is to realise there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re not ok.

  1. Get rid of the idea that your problem or struggle ‘is overreacting’.

I do this all the time and sometimes keeping up this habit can be a problem in the long run. I’ve had things I’ve kept to myself before because I thought I was worrying over nothing and then when I’ve told a friend months after it’s happened, they’ve showed concern and told me I should of told them. Of course, you will get times where you confide in someone you trust and they might tell you something along the lines of ‘you’re working yourself up’ and honestly I’ve come to realise in my many years of struggling with anxiety, people say that because it can come to be true. Anxiety and similar mental health can make you feel like a problem is way  scarier than it actually is. Don’t let this stop you from confiding in people though. It’s better to talk about what’s worrying you and figure out later that you worried too much, than to bottle it up and find out later you could of done something to help your feelings at the time.

2. Remember you’re not weak for struggling.

This one is super important. Sometimes I want to shout it to the world to get people to remember. 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health problem this week. You are not alone at all. I know it can feel that way and sometimes the world won’t help – you’ll go on social media and see everyone having fun, looking attractive and having a good time and it can feel like you’re the only one struggling but that’s not true at all. People won’t admit the amount of times they’ve put up old photos on instagram alluding that they’re having the best time but they’re actually lying in bed watching TV and eating junk food – neither of these behaviours are bad. You are not weak if you need time alone or to rest. You are not alone if you have struggles. Struggling does not make you a weak person.

3. Any attempt at getting the problem off your chest will do more good than nothing.

Even if you write it down on paper, or write on a blog post, tell your friend, tell your mum, tell your dog – these are all beneficial to relieving stress. You don’t realise it when you do it and sometimes the feeling of relief won’t be there instantly but it does help. Imagine it as taking the problem/struggle from a book in a bookshelf, ripping up each part of the ‘book’ bit by bit and tossing them away into the wind.

4. People do slip up.

Sometimes people suck. Sometimes you’ll confide in someone and it’ll seem like they don’t give a crap. It’s absolutely rubbish – but sometimes even we do it without realising. Try and think of a time you basically mugged off a friend. They may have reached out to you in passing and you didn’t even realise. You may have been sat chatting and they’ve slipped in that things aren’t so good and you may have chuckled back and gone ‘same’. It’s so easy to focus on ourselves and our own problems, that we don’t see when someone is occupied because they’re worrying about something themselves. They’ll be focusing on their problem, we’ll try and talk to them and they’ll seem like they’re not listening and we’ll take it personally when we don’t see the bigger picture of it. I do it all the time and it’s useful to remember that people can’t be perfect listeners all the time. Of course, if a ‘friend”s behaviour or response to you confiding in them is hurtful or plain demeaning – then you can question it. But if someone doesn’t reply to your message right away or admits they don’t know how to help and apologises – do try to not take it personally. It’s still good that you tried to confide with them.

5. Admitting you’re not ok is a step in a good direction.

I’ll repeat – you’re not weak for struggling. Despite what some shoddy instagram post or that idiot on your Facebook feed who ‘doesn’t believe in mental health problems’ may tell you. Relapsing doesn’t make you weak. Having to take medicine doesn’t make you weak. Having to see a therapist doesn’t make you weak. Having a mental health problem doesn’t make you weak. Admitting something is up and asking for help never means you are weak. It is a step in a good direction to ask for help. You may find what you need to overcome your problem or feel better emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on things you may think are small because there will always be ways that you can get help.

You’re not a bad person if you’re struggling. Please don’t let anyone tell you different.

Thanks for reading,

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Period Survey Update

Hello guys, sorry it’s been a bit of a delay from my last post where I spoke about looking into the recent reveal of young people not being able to access sanitary products in the UK. In good news I read about how Bodyform are planning to donate 200,000 free sanitary products to people who are unable to access them by 2020. The products will be donated to ‘various charities who support women and girls affected by homelessness, poverty, disabilities, illness and domestic violence’. I read that story not long after I made my post talking about it so it makes me happy to know it is being taken as a serious problem. You can read the article about Bodyform’s plan here!

This’ll be a quick post where I lay out the statistics and data I got from my small survey, which got 62 responses! I’m so happy that people filled it in and wasn’t expecting that many responses so thank you to people who filled it in and took the time.

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So for example the first two questions where I asked how many tampons do people go through in one period and how many pads and I noticed a majority of people in the 62 responses don’t actually use tampons and when it comes to pads, majority use 11+ sanitary pads in one period. But still even in the tampons question a good 22.58% of people use 11+ tampons. I feel this starting data proves why not being able to access sanitary products is a bigger problem for young people than others may think. Most basic packs of sanitary pads have around 14 pads in them, so a lot of people would need at least 1 or 2 packs of pads a month.

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The next question is looking at the average of how long periods last to put it into perspective why people need 11+ tampons or pads in one period. Only 3.23% of 62 people have very short periods. So this starting data is all very basic but if I was to go through with an idea of donating products to a charity or saving up for some it gives everyone a brief idea of how many products each person may want for one period.

Other data we look at is putting into perspective how real the problem is, even when you are luckier than most. Out of 62 people only 1 person has never had the ordeal of having to make shift something to replicate a pad when bleeding. A lot of the open answers discussed having to use toilet paper or making a ‘pad’ out of toilet paper when they couldn’t get a pad or tampon. I feel this data shows us maybe making pads/tampons accessible in toilets, schools and work a lot easier when people are not carrying the products or have the time/money to go and buy some.

Another depressing statistic is that 16.13% of my responses said they have had to skip school because of lack of sanitary products. Majority of respondents felt like their school didn’t do enough to provide sanitary products.

From reading all the respondent’s answers to each question (again, very grateful to everyone who took time out to answer), I feel it opens up the reality of the situation and what it’s like growing up and requiring sanitary products. I’ve been a bit busy the past week but hopefully this week, using this data and having a look at what suitable charities and donation boxes there are in my area I will then type up what my plan is to try and do my own contribution! I’m thinking of maybe setting up a small donation/sponsors page so I can get sponsors if I was to make period packs or buy bulk sanitary products to donate to charities!

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you updated!

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So the problem with high street’s ‘NYPD’ jumpers isn’t that it’s unoriginal..

I’ve never been good at writing or analyzing fashion. I hated textiles in college and couldn’t sew for the life of me, however I can spot a flaw in clothing trends as easily as the next person and recently I’ve seen tops, crop tops and jumpers in high street stores such as Primark and Topshop popping up with the ‘NYPD’ initials written on them. I remember my first thought was confusion as I saw one in Primark near the women’s clothing that normally has pop culture references on. I was scanning the tops with Disney on, the Harry Potter tops and came across one t-shirt with NYPD. I remember stalling for a bit and trying to figure out if this was a reference to a tv show or movie but all I could think of was just that it stood for New York Police Department. ‘That’ll never catch on’ I thought to myself, but I was wrong.

In my cinema job I noticed those t-shirts in different varieties picking up as a trend and even now I spotted a jumper with the initals on in Topshop, going at a hefty price of £35. Now it seems the jumper is very in trend with a lot of young girls buying it, but my main worry is do they know what the name stands for? Do they know the history of the NYPD and what these t-shirts and comfy jumpers endorse?

I stand by the activist movement of #BlackLivesMatter. I realise as a white ally I can’t speak for them and can only listen, but I personally feel people should have a think about what the NYPD has history for and listen to what happens and not buy these jumpers. There’s, hopefully, no money donated to them or such when these jumpers are purchased but the normalisation of the name still stands the more and more these jumpers are bought. People might buy them with the afterthought that they’re supporting officers who protect the people but that’s far from the truth. A main story to start with is the cruel death of Eric Garner. If you were not paying attention when this happened; basically on July 17th of 2014 police officers of NYPD approached Garner accusing him of selling loose cigarettes without tax stamps. Garner pulled his arms away briefly when the officer tried to pull his wrists behind his back to which Daniel Pantaleo (the officer and murderer) took Garner to the ground by his neck and pushed his face into the ground. It was recorded and seen by witnesses that Garner cried out that he couldn’t breathe repeatedly. Eric Garner then lost consciousness and the officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing but did not give him CPR or help. They left him there until ambulances arrived and Eric Garner was pronounced dead around one hour later. Autopsies concluded Eric Garner’s death was via a chokehold from Daniel Pantaleo and was ruled as a homicide. The NYPC policy prohibits the use of chokeholds. In December 2014 it was decided by Richmond County grand jury that scumbag Pantaleo would not be punished for killing Eric Garner. This stirred many rightful protests and to this day is still an important story regarding the uprise of #BlackLivesMatter activists and protests.

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This isn’t and won’t be the only innocent black man, woman, youth or child killed by NYPD or police officers. I probably couldn’t even fit every victim from 2016 on this page let alone previous years. Research Mike Brown, Research Ferguson, Research Tamir Rice, Research Sandra Bland, Research Mya Hall, Bettie Jones, Philando Castile. In 2015 black young men were 9 times more likely to be killed by police officers than any other American. So here we are, at my main point – do you want to spend £35 on a jumper endorsing and putting the name of one of the many racist police departments in America?

NYPD also has a vast Wikipedia database of their previous misconducts including officers raping women when responding to 9/11 calls, drunk driving and hitting a pregnant woman and not helping, punishing someone for speaking their own language on the job.

They do not deserve to have their names out there on trend. This is an exploitation of young girls to use them unknowingly as an endorsement and should be treated as such. It extremely upsets me that I’m only seeing these jumpers on young girls too. We need to talk about the problem of the gross misconduct, murder and oppression police officers in America are committing. Plus I would judge if my daughter or friend spent a whole £35 on a jumper endorsing such a thing. There is better independent fashion creators and clothing you could put your money too and endorse.

 

Or even better, save some cash and purchase a pin or patch to help raise awareness. This is the kind of thing that needs to be promoted on clothing. Not the initials of a police department.

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Thanks for reading guys, please spread this message about if you know anybody who loves shopping in high streets or the latest trend.

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Bee Talks About Anxiety: Part 1 (?)

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Invisible illnesses and disorders are very hard to notice and can be really well concealed. A lot of which are spoken about more now but they’re not things you can tell when first meeting someone. To some people with invisible illnesses, it doesn’t feel well hidden. You don’t trust yourself to hide your anxiety and it feels like your body has been painted with sweat and blush that truly expose the anxiety; when really that’s not how it seems to the person you’ve just met. It’s really bizarre but even when you know truly that it works like that, it’s still the same nervousness and adrenaline that peaks inside you when meeting a stranger.

Anxiety is a broad term as well. People will describe their emotions as anxious, generally when something goes wrong or might go wrong, when they feel scared or unsure of what could happen. It’s the emotion you tend to feel before an exam or before telling someone a big secret or before going on stage. However this is normally quite a human emotion that people only feel for a small amount of time. An anxiety disorder however is much different. Psychologists normally separate anxiety-based disorders into 6 common types – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety/Phobia, Specific Anxiety/Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/OCD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD and Panic Disorder. I also believe that a lot of other anxiety, panic and stress related disorders can fall onto the spectrum or that symptoms in other ‘mental health disorders’ can be anxiety-related. For example, it’s extremely common for people to suffer from both generalized anxiety disorder and moderate-severe depression. It is the most common mental disorder in Great Britain with 9% of people meeting symptoms and criteria.

I cannot talk for all of these disorders, all of the symptoms or all of the emotions that are involved with all of these. I have never had PTSD as far as I am aware, much like some people can have OCD or panic disorder but never really feel the effects of a social anxiety disorder. But I can share the perceptions of generalized anxiety disorder. Most websites, including the NHS, will list generalized anxiety disorder symptoms as:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling ‘On Edge’
  • A Constant Sense of Dread
  • Concentration Problems
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feeling Like Everyone’s ‘Against You’
  • Trouble Sleeping/Insomnia
  • Easily Fatigued/Feeling ‘Drained’ After Big Tasks
  • Muscle Tension

All of these can be very overwhelming and almost emotionally painful to someone who deals with generalized anxiety on a day to day basis. Of course there are some people diagnosed who will only have some of these symptoms in certain scenarios or once in a blue moon. But a lot of these symptoms can be stressful and since anxiety is hardly an obvious illness; I’d like to shed a light on what it can be like. Like most mental disorders, you don’t get the obvious, ‘oh-no-something-is-wrong!’ symptoms like a physical disorder or illness. It can be aggravating when your anxiety is giving you a rough time and people respond to your symptoms like you do them on purpose.

“You only got 2 hours sleep?! That’s your own fault.”

“I’m not mad at you!! Stop apologizing, you’re getting on my nerves!”

“Your head hurts? Just take a paracetamol, you’re overreacting”

It can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders throughout the day because sometimes the anxiety becomes more and more prominent as you do stuff throughout your day. My main example is when I have anxiety at work. I can go to work feeling like a Disney princess ready to sing with nature and smile at everyone, and come home feeling like everyone hates me, that I’m going to get fired because I missed a spot cleaning up, feeling on the verge of tears and feeling like I haven’t slept for at least a day. Sometimes you don’t even see it coming, sometimes it’s there when you wake up. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s like a little monster that follows you around. I am definitely trying to learn to love my little anxiety monster because it’s a part of me, and I am happy when I go through days with it being calm and content. I am proud of myself on those days. I feel in control and feel like I have made progress.

I try to avoid calling myself strong when my anxiety doesn’t hit me, because lately I have learnt that it’s not a switch I can turn off at my demand. When I wake up on a random day with the dizziness and shakey hands and the feeling that everybody’s staring at me. I definitely can’t just switch it off, although I’d like to. But that shouldn’t make me weak.

I hope this sheds some ideas and light onto emotions you may be feeling, if you haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety, you think you may have it or you’ve just been diagnosed. I remember when I first got diagnosed I thought it was me being a massive baby, but it was very heart-warming to realise it was a thing other people my age deal with. My anxiety monster doesn’t make me weak, if anything I am strong for carrying my anxiety monster around with me everywhere, trying to get it used to life. Those times I’ve taken it with me into shops I’ve never been in before, or the first time I went to a gym alone, or the first time I phoned someone important/of authority before instead of getting my mum to do it, my first tattoo, applying for university etc., I’ve had to literally drag the monster as it grips to the floor screaming to go back to my comfort zone and I’m glad I did it. It’s calmed the monster down little by little and I think even the smallest achievements with anxiety monsters are things to be proud of.

How do you picture your anxiety? Do you have any memories of being proud of something you’ve done that you wouldn’t expect your anxiety monster to let you do?

Let’s start a conversation

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Should I write more about my ‘struggles’?

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Define struggles.

Obviously struggles comes with the negative connotation that I don’t want to talk about it, hear about it or acknowledge it; but some of my personal stuff I do like talking about. I like raising awareness to the topics because I know other people could be waiting for that push to be more settled with what they deal with on a day to day basis. Believe it or not, people with mental health problems or disabilities can be on ‘ok terms’ with what they have. I like to picture it as having a creature that follows you around, the creature can be designed or have the appearance of whatever you think suited, and some days it overreacts and can get the better of you – but other times you can just accept its company and try and positively calm it down if it feels agitated. I guess this mostly works for anxiety, depression etc. and sometimes not work at all! Everyone is different and goes through different things.

I ‘struggle’ with anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia disorder (another form of anxiety); as well as obviously my hearing impairement which I have discussed in past blogposts. I also have to wear glasses since I am slightly short-sighted but I have learnt to adjust to that a lot easier than the other stuff. This isn’t going to be a long pitiful post talking about each of my struggles in detail, because frankly the internet does not deserve to have all of that on it as it is personal to me and even after deep detail, a lot of people would not understand because they do not share the same things as me. Not even people with depression or hearing loss share the exact same experiences. There are people deafer than me or whom have not been able to hear since birth. I would never know what it’s like to live like them.

This post is mainly a question – should I discuss things like mental health, hearing loss/impairments, wearing hearing aids, dealing with anxiety etc. more? I never have put a label to my blog – it’s always been what I want to write, I will write and of course it will stay that way! I just wonder if anybody out there would like to see more content focused on this. You don’t have to have any of these things to want to read about it and if you do but you don’t like talking about it, don’t be shy! Growing up it took me a while to find voices and people I could relate to. It’s only in recent, young adult years I’ve felt a twinge in my heart and my eyes well up when a book or a TV show or art has portrayed exactly something I have felt. It’s not a bad feeling but almost comforting. Comforting to know you’re not weird or abnormal or broken. Comforting to know you are not in the wrong for the things you can’t control.

So that’s my question – feel free to answer it.

Want to see me write more about topics like that?

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5 Accidentally Vegan Items and 5 I wish were

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One of my favourite Instagram account findings since I took upon myself to go vegetarian and incorporate more vegan/cruelty-free stuff has been an account named AccidentallyVeganUK. They post and collect products found in the UK that are accidentally vegan – hence the name. So somehow these products don’t include any meat, gelatine, milk, cream, eggs – no animal product to be found! A lot of the finds on this page are also treats, cheap snacks; which makes it great for vegans/vegetarians/people with dairy allergies who are on a budget. I decided to share with you today some items I am so happy and surprised are vegan and 5 items I love snacking on/having in the cupboard that I wish were vegan. I hope this list is useful for anybody vegan, vegetarian or omnivore!

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1 – Parma Violets
2 – Double Stuffed Oreos
3 – Propercorn Sweet & Salty
4 – Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot
5 – Nik Naks Nice N Spicy
6 – Pringles Paprika

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1 – BN Chocolate Biscuits
2 – Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli
3 – Super Noodles Curry Flavour
4 – Thorntons Fabulous Vanilla Fudge
5 – Maynards Wine Gums

I’d be so happy and greedy if these junk items were vegan. It’d be great to eat sweets like Wine Gums or Haribo without the worry of gelatine. Have you guys got any stuff you wish was cruelty free at all or are you surprised some of your favourite stuff is accidentally vegan?

Thanks for reading,

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