Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 2015 Beauty Favourites

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit (Light To Medium)
Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge (SC-3)
Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (Medium)
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

(LEFT: theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer RIGHT: Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge SC-3)

Origins Out of Trouble Mask 
Garnier Pure Active Matte Control Moisturiser
Elizabeth Arden Original Eight Hour Cream

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Lancome Hypnose Mascara
E.l.f. Expert Liquid Liner
Maybelline Brow Drama (Dark Brown)
NYX Tame & Frame (03 Brunette)

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick (03 Patina)
MAC Creme In Your Coffee Creemsheen Lipstick
Mac Brick-O-La Amplified Lipstick
Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick (03)

(TOP TO BOTTOM: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Patina, MAC Creme In Your Coffee, Rimmel Kate Moss 03, MAC Brick-O-La)

What were your favourite products of the year? See you in 2016!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Things To Do Before 2016

2016 sounds terrifying doesn't it? It feels like I only got used to writing 2015 in this past month. Anywho, I'm determined to make 2016 a positive and motivational year for me. A lot is going to change. So I thought I would share with you the things I plan to do before this rollercoaster of a year is over.

Have a good clear out
After Christmas, my room always seems to be overflowing with junk and unnecessary packaging. In my Monica Geller state of mind, there's nothing better than filling black sacks with rubbish and stuff to sell/donate. Clean bedding, clean surfaces and a good hoover will guarantee I enter 2016 with a fresh outlook.

Do the work I'm supposed to do
And there's a lot of it. I have training for my job, two essays to re-draft, two books to read, a mock essay and thorough research to complete. Realistically, I won't have finished much of it before the new year but it's a nice thought.

Have one last shopping spree
I've spent a lot. My December pay check was a lot more than usual because of Christmas overtime (January's should be even better). I've purchased a lot of things for my bedroom, a new bed and a few makeup bits I've wanted but have been patiently waiting for (hey, I just cleared a lot of it out give me a break parents!). I'm also heading to Westfield London on Wednesday to re-purchase empties and general things I need. The list is extensive to say the least. 2016 is all about saving money so it might be a purely drugstore makeup year. BUT FIRST, I NEED A FOUNDATION THAT MATCHES MY CURRENT SKINTONE UGH.

Plan plan plan
To be deeply honest, 2015 was not a great year for me. I'm so determined to change everything in 2016. If I plan I will be able to reach my goals (more on that soon) and will be a better time keeper. Weekly schedules also help me so much. I need to know what I'm eating and when, who's at work, when my assignments are due... I need to plan the whole of 2016 actually.

Open my memory jar
Whenever something has made me happy this year, I've written it on a sticky-note and put it in my jar. I plan to open it on New Years Eve. Not only will it give me positivity for the new year, I will have a good cringe at things that aren't relevant anymore and enjoy looking back on my memories for the year.

What do you need to do before 2015 is over? What are your goals for 2016? 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

'Bold If True' Challenge

This is the 'Bold If True' challenge, which I found on tumblr. I decided to give it a go while I try to reintroduce myself to blogging as I've been so unproductive and negative. I'll try to be honest because 'I must not tell lies'.

you are smaller than most of your friends
your feet are small
you tan easily
you have dimples
your forehead is big
you wear contacts/glasses
you hate shaving
your hair is naturally curly
you have had a manicure/pedicure
you shape your own eyebrows
you have no tattoos
you straighten your hair occasionally
you have worn a dress in the last 3 days
you wear makeup almost everyday
you own four or more pairs of jeans
you are a brunette
you are taller than your mum
you are taller than your dad
you have your eyebrow pierced

you are a morning person
you are a night owl
you are a Pisces
you are an Aquarius
you are a Leo
you think before you speak
you are a control freak
you are organised
you like your name
you are confident
you are a Gryffindor
you are a Slytherin
you are a Ravenclaw
you are a Hufflepuff
you know someone with the same birthday as you

you have a good parent
your parents are still married
you have step-siblings
you are the eldest child
you are adopted (only according to my brother)

you have friends on facebook that you never met in real life
you have a tumblr best friend
you live within 20 minutes of your best friend
you don’t have a best friend
your best friend is older than you
you have friends who have never seen you without makeup
you keep a lot of secrets from people
you don’t think people would accept you if they really got to know you
you don’t trust people easily
you have lost a friend you never thought you would

you live within 20 minutes of the last person you kissed
you live within 20 minutes of your ex
you have dated a blonde
you have dated 3 or more people just this year
you regret kissing the last person you kissed
you are usually make the first move in an intimate situation
you have kissed the last person you called/texted
you have cheated on someone
you wouldn't date a smoker
you would forgive someone who cheated on you
you are thinking of someone right now
you are single
you aren't over your ex
you are friends with an ex
you have gone after someone you knew was bad for you
you have let someone use you

you have worked on Christmas Eve
you have worked on Christmas
you have been hit on at work
you work in retail
you have been a waiter/waitress
work is stressing you out
you currently have less than £200 in the bank
you have to work tomorrow
you work at the weekends

you have had to get stitches on your face
you know your blood type
you have been on a diet
you have acne
you have had an MRI
you are self-conscious about your body
you have been in surgery
you are diagnosed with an illness
you regularly visit a hospital

you bite your nails
you are pessimistic by nature
you have a bad temper
you burp when you drink fizzy drinks
you are afraid of the dark
you swear
you snore

you are a good speller
you are punctual
you know sign language
you have taken karate
you have nice handwriting
you can draw
you can sing
you can play an instrument

you have been on a cruise ship
you have camped out in your own backyard
you have been a designated driver
you have broken merchandise and not paid for it
you have never been out of the country
you live somewhere that gets snow
you have visited somewhere said to be ‘haunted’
you have been clubbing
you have had a song written for you
you have had a picture drawn of you
you have skipped school just because you didn’t feel like going
you have had a hangover
you have a pet fish
you know someone who died of cancer
you know a someone who died in a car crash

you are Catholic
you are atheist
you believe in aliens
you believe in God
you believe in angels
you believe in life after death
you celebrate Hanukkah
you have been to church
you wish on shooting stars
you wish at 11:11

your favourite season is Autumn
your favourite color is orange
your favourite icecream flavour is vanilla
your favourite animal is a dolphin
your favourite pizza is hawaiian
your favourite book has a black cover

you last rode in a car with a relative
you last rode in a car with a girl/woman
you last rode in a car with someone you've dated
your last drink was water
you have cut your hair in the last week
you went to the cinema this week

you are wearing a necklace right now
you are wearing something red
you are wearing something blue
you are wearing something purple
you are currently listening to music
you are waiting for something
you are wearing something that doesn’t belong to you
you are wearing a watch
you are watching tv

you want to get married
you want to write a book
you would adopt a child
you would start a band
you would go on an audition for a show
you have big plans for next weekend
you want more than two children

you always tell the truth

Friday, 27 November 2015

Dusty Pink Bedroom Aesthetic

 I change interior ideas far too much but if I had unlimited money and time to do it, this is how I would decorate my bedroom. I love the grown up yet girly aesthetic of this little collage. Anyone wanna help a girl out?

Friday, 30 October 2015

Something There | Short Film

This short film was something that only came together because I had some interesting footage from a shoot, a pretty vague idea and a beautiful piece of soundtrack by Ludovico Einaudi. Take what you want from it but, despite the repetitiveness, I'm quite proud of this one.

What My 18th Birthday Means To Me

18 is an achievement. 
18 is well done. 
18 is a celebration. 
18 is proving myself wrong. 
18 is a pat on the back. 
18 is a milestone. 
18 is pride. 
18 is still not giving up.
18 is coming this far.
18 is a hug on a cold day. 
18 is freedom. 
18 is escape. 
18 is 157680 hours.
18 is 6570 days.
18 is 18% of a century.
18 is love.
18 is forgetting.
18 is trying.
18 is waking up.
18 is goodbye.
18 is responsibility.
18 is to the future.
18 is still learning.
18 is fear. 
18 is being thrown into life. 
18 is being lost. 
18 is breathing. 
18 is the beginning. 
18 is the end.
18 is sunrise.
18 in sunset.
18 is survival.
18 is suffering.
18 is taking the leap.
18 is now.
18 is for living.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Where Do I Start With You? | Poetry Sundays

I don’t know how to write poetry about you
I like to write about the rawness of my feelings
everything about you is too messy to form into art
I write about fire and the past

I write about kisses

but I cannot bare to think about how lips would feel

or what yours would say
I write about the sun and the grass and the earth

I can’t compare you to nature
you watched me wilt

I can’t write about you

I won’t write about you anymore

I don’t have the words to begin with

and you honestly just don’t deserve it


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Sunday Afternoon Escape | Dungeness

This is just a quick video I threw together over the weekend. We spontaneously decided to head for the sea so I could get some nice shots of the sunset for the short film I'm making. However, the clouds took over so we never saw the sun go down but I got lots of aesthetically pleasing shots nonetheless.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Picasso Masterpiece | Poetry Sundays

Your love disfigured me

I put all the pieces back in a rush

now everything is in the wrong place

like a Picasso masterpiece

I am your distorted jigsaw

healing shouldn’t take this long

healing shouldn’t hurt like this

I should be breathing fine

my lungs don’t know how to be lungs

the air whistles through the cracks

my spine arches before it’s time

my head is in place of my heart

my heart is in place of my head

my blood is flowing backwards

I can’t remember where I kept my strength

everything is in the wrong place


Sunday, 27 September 2015

You Could Be A Poet | Poetry Sundays

You could be a poet 

you told me this sometime after you left
and I think that was the biggest heart break 

realising I had never told you
never shared my love of poems and how much of me is poetry
I had never let you inside
never showed you the lines that I hide between 

never let you see the sentences I form in the dark
never showed you what my mind could do when it was drowning 

because you could not handle that 

but it’s a part of me
words flow out of me like blood 
flowing from an open wound 

if I ripped my skin open 

I’m sure all you would find 

is a stack of metaphors 

words I long to put on the page
and an endless list of quotes


I heal with words 

I learn with words
I suffer through words 

words put me together and words rip me apart
the only word you knew how to use was sorry
you can’t make something beautiful with one word
but you sure as hell can ruin it 


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Favourite Films Ever: Part 2

Part 2
Mary Poppins - Robert Stevenson (1964)
A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker's unhappy family.

Why I love it: It's my favourite Disney film ever. Julie Andrews is one of my greatest inspirations in life. I love the warmth in this film and of course Dick Van Dyke. When Mary and Bert walked past me in Disneyland I nearly cried. Every scene in this film is magical and the story is just so simple. I loved Saving Mr. Banks (2013) too.

Favourite quote: 'As I expected. "Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way."'


This Is England - Shane Meadows (2006)

A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends even like family. Based on experiences of director Shane Meadows.

Why I love it: I studied this film in class originally and it really moved me. (I'm aware that I'm on the edge of sounding pretentious). I couldn't find a scene I liked on the internet mostly because this film is explicit and portrays a lot of racism in the 80's. it's so real. It's definitely graphic and hard-hitting. Despite never thinking I would, I fell in love with the characters especially the relationship between Woody and Lol. I followed the film through to the equally amazing television series. It's just a stunning piece of work from Meadows which has such a powerful story behind it. I am so excited for the third and final series to start on Sunday the 13th of September. This is also where I first fell madly in love with the incredible Joe Gilgun.

Favourite quote:
'Listen to me. He's a young lad. He's had a f*****g bad week. So we bring him in wi' us to show him a bloody good time and you've just friggin back handed him roun' head. I'M DISAPPOINTED MATE!'


Easy A - Will Gluck (2010)

A clean-cut high school student relies on the school's rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.

Why I love it: It's genius. It's hilarious. Emma Stone and Lisa Kudrow are in it. It pretty much addresses slut shaming in a whole new way. It's honestly just so much more realistic than most teen movies which sounds ridiculous but it's true. I never ever get bored of this film.

Favourite quote: 'Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80's movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.'


Titanic - James Cameron (1997)

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

Why I love it: Sorry but I had to. It's not the story in particular or even how cute baby Leo is or the tears I shed when watching in 3D. It's the grand scale of the film and how wonderfully it was made. It's an epic one. The film is both visually stunning and so clever. The sets, the water, the costume, the soundtrack and the way it was created just amazes me. 

Favourite quote: 'Well, yes, ma'am, I do... I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what's gonna happen or, who I'm gonna meet, where I'm gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count.'


The Princess Diaries - Garry Marshall (2001)

Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her 16th year.

Why I love it: I think this film and the two movies together were my childhood. More Julie Andrews, Chris Pine in number 2 and princesses? What's not to love. Both films are wonderful. This film is just genuinely lovely with a simple message and can still make me smile even to this day. I have to watch it whenever it's on. And both with killer soundtracks. (I chose that clip purely for the accidental fall which made it to the final cut but every scene in both films is great.)
Favourite quote: 'Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.'


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Favourite Films Ever: Part 1

Part 1
Cemetery Junction - Ricky Gervais (2010)
A 1970s-set comedy centered on three young working class friends in a dreary suburb of Reading.

Why I love it: It's arguably my favourite film ever. I've only known two other people who've seen this film besides my parents and one of them was my best friend who I forced to watch it (she wasn't too keen in the end). I think it's just so real and gritty. It's true without being cheesy. It's about closeted rebellion and being young. The cast work so well together. You just fall in love with the characters. It's beautifully made and I just love this film incredibly.

Favourite quote: 'There's this ancient Arabic proverb, it says...' 

'Woah, there's this ancient Arabic proverb? You've changed!'

'Listen, it's sweet. It says, throw your heart out in front of you and run ahead to catch it... whatever you desire, imagine it's in front of you and grab it.'


About Time - Richard Curtis (2013)

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

Why I love it: I was so unexpectedly pleased by this when I saw it in the cinema. It made me cry quite a bit. It's one of those movies that manages to cover so many issues in such a short space of time. Family, illness, children, dating, death, birth... The cast was pretty impressive and all connected brilliantly on screen. One of the few time travel movies I can bare. The message I take away from this film is just to live for the moment and time. Again, it was cleverly filmed, some scenes are just shot so well and it was equally hilarious and moving.

Favourite quote:
'We're all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.'


Dirty Dancing - Emile Ardolino (1987)

Spending the summer in a holiday camp with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor Johnny Castle.

Why I love it: I've been trying to avoid all the clichés but this one was impossible to miss off my list. The soundtrack is actually so good, I'm not just talking about the final number. The on-screen chemistry, especially in this scene is pretty unbeatable. It's just a classic and has given me unrealistic holiday expectations for a few years now.

Favourite quote: 'Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you.'


What's Your Number? - Mark Mylod (2011)

A woman looks back at the past nineteen men she's had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her one true love.

Why I love it: It makes me both cringe and genuinely laugh out loud even though it's classified as trashy. Think of every Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston film you've seen and add some more life to it. It's really not an amazing life-changing movie but I love it because it's fun and I can actually re-watch this one. Plus, shirtless, guitar playing, singing Captain America.
Favourite quote: 'I…um, I’m happiest when I’m being myself, and myself when I’m with you. That was it. I guess, I was just so afraid that you were another asshole that I became the biggest asshole of all.'


10 Things I Hate About You - Gil Junger (1999)

A new kid must find a guy to date the meanest girl in school, the older sister of the girl he has a crush on, who cannot date until her older sister does.

Why I love it: I watched this a lot as an early teen. I adore Heath Ledger and still believe he was one of the most talented actors of his generation. This film turned Shakespeare into accessible, funny teenage drama for me and I think the character of Kat is just brilliant. We need more Katrina's in this world.
Favourite quote: 'Just 'cause you're beautiful, that doesn't mean that you can treat people like they don't matter.'


Monday, 7 September 2015

Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose

I think one of the best compliments to receive, is being told you smell nice. Better yet, being told you smell amazingI have been lusting over this fragrance for so long so it only felt right to pick it up at the airport this year. This perfume is so gorgeous and I have been given so many compliments on it that it has automatically become my favourite scent. Even my best friend tells me every Saturday that she knows I've walked into work without having to look up because she knows I'll be wearing this. I've never really found a perfume I can say is 'my signature scent', but this is it. This is like my holy grail fragrance (big statement, right?). 

To begin with, the packaging is so pretty it's hard to fault. It just looks so elegant on my dressing table. The bottle is clear and purple and has a little ribbon rose around the top. Although carrying any perfume bottle is difficult, I think this is manageable to put in a bag. It's described as 'radiant'.

'Inspired by the most romantic hour, just before midnight, when magic tints the sky a violet hue. It is the moment when anything is possible.'
Fragrance Note
Top notes: raspberry rose absolute
Heart: jasmine, peony, currant buds, pink pepper

Base: Virginian cedar, musk and vanilla
The scents I pick up on most are the raspberry rose, jasmine and vanilla which together make this perfume incredibly feminine, light and sweet. It's such a divine, sugary scent. It's warm but not overpowering and it seems to genuinely last for a majority of the day. I'd describe it as uplifting and musky at the same time. Alluring, romantic and floral, this perfume is just gorgeous and I will 100% be repurchasing once I inevitably run out of it.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Nothing But Honesty.

Okay. Breathe. Okay. Just write something!

Well hello! As I sit here typing, I'm terribly terrified of what will happen after I press the publish button on this post. Mostly because I don't know quite where I'm going with the whole thing but also because it could be quite hard to get through. I just want to clear a few things up and be really honest to not only you but myself about certain things in my life. This is not a sob story, a cry for help or anything of the sort. What I hope to gain from writing this is some sort of release but, I also hope that somehow this could help someone who is dealing with a similar situation.

I would just like to ask those of you who know me not to take too much from this. For those of you who know a vast majority of this, it's likely you support me daily and are genuinely wonderful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who don't, this should explain a few things but it doesn't change anything. And last and least, I'm not a spiteful person but for those of you who know and have made things worse, I hope this is a wake-up call for you. Kindness is free.

There is no rule book on how to talk about these kinds of things, but I want to. There's such a stigma for associating yourself with the words mental illness. The words attention seeking and drama queen get tossed around a lot when people bring up mental illness. It's because of this, that I have been so afraid of talking about this openly. It's come to the point where I both need and want to.

I am unhappy. I have been pretty unhappy for a couple of years now and this is an obvious problem. I do not love myself the way I should. Trying to love yourself is not easy. Some people have positivity poured into them when they are created so much that it brings out the same trait in others. I wish I was like this. Instead, negativity is my best friend. I am not in a place to either moan or sugar coat but living in a constant battle with yourself is hell. Mental illness is a fight to be happy. Nobody should have to fight to be happy.

I should start somewhere. I wish I could pinpoint the moment that it began. Midway through writing this I went to look back through things I have kept in a memory box to find some reason for feeling the way I do, but I just got sentimental. The date that I kind of realised something was seriously wrong is pretty clear in my mind though so I'll start there.

On Christmas Eve 2011, I was sitting on the living room floor surrounded by my family. My Mother (who I love very much but if you cry whilst reading this you're an idiot) was plaiting my hair as I had just come out of the shower. My brother points to my head and says, 'what's that bald patch on your head?'. Me, being a 14-year-old girl who was incredibly insecure anyway, freaked out asked someone to take a picture for me. There, on the left of my head was a small bald patch, no larger than a 2p coin. I went to bed with a heavy heart even though I was told not to panic. This was probably the worst Christmas gift I have ever received.

In primary school, I was confident and full of energy. I was the child who wanted to be a part of everything and was such a natural leader. I was also quite healthy in terms of my weight. At the end of year 6 and into secondary school I began putting on weight and it didn't stop. I can laugh at pictures now (and do quite frequently with a friend) because being a carefree child, I just honestly did not notice the weight I was putting on. By the age of 14, I was larger than most. My face was round and chubby, my whole body was out of proportion and I just didn't know what to do. My self-esteem was at an all-time low because secondary school made me compare myself to everyone around me. It's been almost 4 years since then and never at any point have I been able to say I love my body. My weight is now at a figure I will not share with you (or anyone really) and although I can angle a camera to look slimmer and have lost a little here and there, I am in medical terms, overweight. This is, unfortunately, my biggest insecurity. I hate my arms, my thighs, my stomach, my back, my bum, my legs, my chest... There was, before the age of 14, very little explanation for it. I exercised regularly until this point and I ate sufficiently healthily but that wasn't enough anymore and I lost control. I also broke out badly and have dealt with acne ever since. I think that's why I fell in love with makeup so much. (I could go on about this for hours and that's not the main focus of the post so you can read about my acne here.) As a result of my overall appearance, I was unhappy. Really unhappy.

By Christmas Eve 2011, I had lost the buzz and enthusiasm I used to have. I lost myself. I remember sitting in the doctors with my Mum as she told my GP 'I just want my happy little girl back'. Finding that bald patch offered up some answers.

Shortly after Christmas, I went to the doctor and he diagnosed me firstly with alopecia areata. Very few people know about this because I chose not to talk about it. It's an autoimmune disease, with hair loss usually from the scalp as the body destroys its own tissue as if it were an invader. It affects 0.1-0.2% of humans and has many forms. If it's not too severe (and I am so fortunate for this) it grows back partially or wholly. I was given some ointment to stimulate the regrowth. Naturally, I panicked every time I showered as I watched the hair gather in the drain. I think I had 4 bald patches at one time, but they were mostly covered by my hair. It was worrying for me as my hair is one of the few things I love about myself. I cannot pull off a hat at all, hahaha. Although sometimes alopecia is hereditary, my hair loss was connected to stress. I am so lucky that my hair grew back. Every now and then, a small patch can appear on my head but it always clears up. Nethertheless, once they found the alopecia, things got worse. My doctor told me not to panic (why are people always telling me not to panic? I hate it!) but they wanted to run a few tests just to check for further problems.

Alopecia can certainly cause psychological stress. Those affected tend to have a slightly higher incidence of problems related to the immune system, including the next stop on my list of conditions, hypothyroidism. Having that first blood test was horrifying. I made the stupid mistake of watching my blood fill the little tube and nearly passed out.  The second time, they couldn't find my veins so the nurse stuck the needle in about three times like I was Frankenstein. After that, I kinda got used to the vampire treatment and I just look the other way and breathe deeply. Within a few weeks, the results came back to show my thyroid hormone levels were low. I panicked (again) and was told not to panic (again).

Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the endocrine system. It occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. There are many symptoms, the list seemed endless when I first googled the disorder. The list includes: fatigue, dry skin, feeling cold, depression, poor memory and concentration, hair loss, weight gain with poor appetite, slow pulse rate, shortness of breath and other various swellings and changes in body shape. I now had an explanation for the way I had been feeling. Symptoms like fatigue, depression, hair loss and weight gain were the most significant for me. Clearly my alopecia was linked to this as well as the gradual but substantial weight gain over the past year. My doctor started me off on 25mg of levothyroxine, a medicine which would act as a replacement for the lack of thyroxine I was producing.

After a few months of trial and another blood test, the dose was increased to 50. Then gradually over the past 4 years, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200. Every time there were more and more blood tests. During this time, we discovered I'm also slightly anemic, probably because I steer clear of red meats. I started taking iron supplements too. 200mg of levothyroxine was pushing into the higher end of the bracket so I was dropped back to 175. At first I felt ashamed to be taking medication which sounds ridiculous to me now. It's there for a reason, to make me feel better. I pictured myself an old lady, popping several pills a day and smelling like old cabbage. In reality, lifetime medication just becomes a part of the routine and you barely stop to think about it. I have never experienced any side effects from this medication, however, if I forget to take it for a day or two, my emotional crash will come pretty badly around 3 days later. The emotional side of things affects me the most. Having both depression and anxiety is certainly damaging.

My first panic attack was honestly one of the worst experiences of my life. I was out with my family at a county show in a field, Summer 2012. My Mum and I decided to go to the toilet and the queues were long. Standing in line, I was exhausted and it was extremely hot. I first noticed that I felt sweaty and I began shaking. My breathing became very irregular as if I almost forgot to do it naturally and was forcing the air in and out of my lungs. Then, my eye sight went fuzzy and dark, I could barely hear and all I could think was 'I'm going to die, I'm actually dying'. It was horrible, to watch my Mum come in and out of focus asking if I was okay and what was wrong and all I could do was cry. Feeling dizzy, almost collapsing and feeling for sure that I was going to be sick, many people in the line gave up their space for me to move past them. I remember struggling to find the steps, locking myself in on the toilet and sobbing. It took 10 minutes to even get out of the cubicle. Mum dragged me to some shade, told me to sit down and I kept telling her that I thought I was dying. My Dad bought me a chocolate crepe for the sugar content and a big bottle of water and I sat on the grass feeling defeated. In all honesty, I did not fully understand what had just happened to me. It took a while for me to be completely okay after that as it was such a shock. I spent the whole of the next day in bed, scared to move and feeling very drained.

The thing is, panic attacks are always different. Most last from 5 to 20 minutes. Symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes. Some people say that they deal with attacks lasting for an hour, but this is more likely consistent attacks or a high anxiety level after the actual attack. If I have a panic attack, it will usual last for 15-20 minutes but it can be hours until I finally feel calm and the anxiety has reached a level I can deal with.

After that, anxiety became part of my everyday life. My second panic attack was on a bus and since then I've only used a bus once (this was a few months ago. I was supported and not made to feel like an idiot so shoutout to that person). I had one at my first real party but was too ashamed to tell anyone (I am now pretty calm at parties as long as I am with someone who understands should anything go wrong). I've had a handful at school and couldn't even go into one of my classrooms for a few weeks without reaching the door and panicking. In the past few months, I had one at work when it was a particularly stressful weekend with lots of extremely rude customers. It lasted for around 3 hours of consecutive panic but I was too worried to ask to step away and calm down (thank you to my work best friend for doing the right thing and acting calmly and sensibly for me). I've had them in my bed in the middle of the night. In restaurants, whilst shopping. Going out for a few drinks but being stood alone whilst someone goes to get them has set me off. I've had panic attacks in the car too which is so dangerous. I failed my first driving test because of a panic attack. They can happen anywhere, without warning.

In the moment, it is truly terrifying. But once all the anxiety has settled, I just need time to recover. After a while, I just came to terms with the illness. I hate saying the phrase 'mental illness', I really do. The attacks used to be more frequent at around three a week but since then it has calmed down. I know how to calm myself down. I rely heavily on something called rescue remedy which is especially helpful when you find yourself in traumatic situations. I take long deep breaths. I get some air. I go outside. I lie down. I wash my hands (I don't know why this helps, but it usually does). I listen to calm music or find complete silence depending on the severity of the panic. If I am capable, I talk to a friend about things I am passionate about. I know what works for me. This is also why I don't drink excessively. I know my limits and drink until I feel merry but feeling like I have no control usually sets me off. Is this how I want to be? No. But it is how I was built and I have accepted that. It's easy to blame yourself. I am supposed to be happy! Why can't I enjoy the things my friends do? Why do I have to bring down everyone around me? Even now, I don't think all of my friends fully understand or accept it. I guess I never really explain things well either. I used to be invited out a lot, but I think people just assumed I'd say no for the fear of having an attack. Despite this, I have really pushed myself recently and I'm proud of that. I've stopped feeling like such a burden to everyone and I know I will cross that bridge when I come to it should I panic (as I said, they are less frequent now unless it's a particularly stressful time).

You would not ignore a physical stab wound. Why should you ignore an emotional stab wound? But, the idea of having to get help was at first so alien to me. I do not need it anymore or at least I don't think I do. I have learned to live with it. Unless you can deal with it yourself, you should get professional help. Whilst I had counselling for a few months at school, I felt unappreciated and generally it made things a whole lot worse. But I took one thing away from it. My counsellor told me that the way I feel has its perks. I know, a terrible thing to say. But now looking back I understand her completely. Feeling this way does have its perks. I am compassionate and I can empathise. I'm a good listener, I want to make others feel better. I am capable of loving people with everything I have. I can channel what I feel into what I create. I understand emotion.

But despite knowing I am a good person, I always seem to think that people judge me. Maybe they talk about how weird I am. Maybe they see me as wingy and pathetic. I always think people assume I'm making it up, using it as an excuse or looking for attention. That's the thing about mental illness, there's such a stigma. As more and more people are suffering, it's more difficult to understand. It makes me sick that people, young teens especially, think it's 'beautiful' or 'cool' or 'interesting' to have some sort of mental illness. It's none of those things. Take mine if you want them, it's not something you want. Even writing this post, I'm worried that people will see it as a desperate cry for attention when it's really not. Having a mental illness is not something to brush aside or to laugh at but at the same time I don't want to be treated any differently for it. Although it sucks having a panic attack or feeling depressed, I am fully aware that it's not a nice experience for those around you. I am at a stage where people respect me despite everything and if worst came to worst they would help me without a second thought. My close friends know what to do, the right things to say. They understand how my brain works and I am not too much for them to handle. If they did feel this way I know they would tell me and I would step back. It works both ways, I support my friends no matter how big or small their problems. Of course, at the same time, there are unsupportive people too. Unsupportive people who are still part of my life. Not everyone can understand. I've certainly pushed people away because of everything and I've lost others all together. I am so thankful to have the people who do care in my life. They know who they are.

Weight loss is such a touchy subject for me. Hypothyroidism frankly drains me. I'd say this is 75% the reason I don't exercise enough. The remaining percentage is 10% lack of knowledge, 10% laziness and 5% shame. Since I first noticed the weight gain, I have lost 3 dress sizes and now I look healthy just not thin. It's not much at all, I'm still hugely embarrassed by myself, but it's something. I haven't done anything, in particular, some of it has fallen off as my body matured and the rest is short-lived attempts at healthiness. I'm exercising more, I'm eating better. I'm not expecting crazy change, but I don't need it. As long as I learn to accept myself and I am as healthy as possible, why should it matter what others think? The opinions of the people who love me are the only opinions I care about. The same can be said for my acne which is worse than ever. At least I'm smart. At least I'm caring.

Being depressed is a part of my life. It's made me who I am. It doesn't get much easier and it can't be ignored, but it's always there so the best you can do is fight it. And I am fighting.  I'm doing well, really. Just because you are unhappy doesn't mean you can't laugh at funny things. It doesn't mean you can't marvel at wonderful things. You can enjoy happy moments and feel pride. You can smile. I am passionate about so many things. I find joy in little things every day. I love people. I love beautiful things. But I am still dealing with depression and anxiety every day. I am still ill and ashamed of my appearance. I cry too much. I feel too much. I overthink. Some days are worse than others. Some weeks you barely think about it because you're on a constant sugar rush feeling that you hope will last a little longer. Some nights everything hits you. But I am so happy despite being unhappy. I'm strong and I know it. I have a few supportive close friends and wonderful family. I'm lucky. I have had so much opportunity in my life and I know that I need to push myself to find the happy moments and enjoy them as they come and go. I'm filling my life with positivity and positive people. In the wise words of Ronan Keating, 'life is a rollercoaster I just gotta ride it'. And I am happy even though I'm unhappy.

That's all from me, I could ramble for hours but I think I've covered everything I set out to and you'll probably fall asleep. I promise the next post won't be so dramatic, haha. Keep comments friendly please. No matter what you're feeling, you will not be alone. If you know me or not, I'd be happy to talk to you about anything you need help with. P.S. no matter how many times I read this, re-wrote it and hesitated about posting it, I still wasn't happy with it so it took a lot to press publish. Love to you all.