Step into my shoes: Growing up with chronic illness

Imagine being eight, going through a phase of constantly spraining your ankles in PE, your teachers not believing your in pain when you ask to sit out half way through for the 3rd week in a row. That started it, the belief that no one believes you, everyone thinks your a fraud. There can’t be something that wrong because if there was people would believe you.

Being nine and spraining more ankles and a wrist. Being told you can’t go horse-riding because you have an injury, albeit minor. That started the feeling that you should hide the pain because you didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Horse-riding was a passion at the time and the pain wasn’t that bad. For pain that wasn’t always going to be there when you rode it was worth pushing through.

Imagine being 11, running around in the playground getting a pain in your lower right abdomen. A pain that unknown to you at the time would plague the rest of your life. You’re scared, but feel unable to open up to your parents about it. You reach 12 and it gets worse. Your dad somehow reads your texts and says your telling your friends you feel unwell for attention. You ask to sit out of PE because the pain is beyond excruciating your scared you’ll die. The teacher doesn’t believe you. You try to play basketball despite, standing out hand on your lower right abdomen, leaning against the wall whenever possible. Because that teacher didn’t believe you, you don’t go to the medical room in the next class. You think they to won’t believe you. You internalise it even more. Hide the symptoms from parents and teachers even more.

More and more goes wrong with your body. Dizziness. Going from once being fit to struggling to walk up the stairs to your English class without feeling like you’ll pass out. Your knees hurt and you stop horse-riding. Between the abdominal pain and the knee pain from having feet in the stirrups it’s just too much.

At 14 you take ibuprofen into school, taking it every three hours instead of every four. Even then the abdominal pain rarely eases up.

The teachers think you don’t try hard enough. You should be getting better grades. But how from the ages of 11-16 do you pay attention in class when you are scared for your health but feel you have no where to turn. When the nausea and abdominal pain is distracting at best and excruciating at worst. When you are depressed, self harming and develop anorexia because you feel like no one understands you. No one is there for you and no one listens to you.

Doing your best isn’t killing yourself. It’s not pushing yourself unreasonably. It’s simply doing your best.

Maybe I should have been getting straight A’s but my circumstances meant I didn’t.

At 16 you develop ME, but it comes on so subtly. You start getting worse at climbing, cycling two minutes down the road makes your legs feel heavy and weak when previously you could easily do the entire paper round. The sore throat comes on and it never leaves, you feel tired and start falling asleep at 2pm over the summer holidays or fall asleep at 8pm in the middle of watching criminal minds. You’ve been busy. It’s nothing. You start college, the nausea gets worse, you feel tired but everyone’s tired. It’s nothing. That is until the dizziness and heart palpitations start, the fatigue hitting you like a ton of bricks at the beginning of second year. (Although not as bad as I am now). The doctors don’t know what’s wrong. They record a sitting heart rate of 135bpm but say you are just underweight. Hilariously you then relapse into anorexia, fall into an exercise addiction and push through injuries. You feel the PEM (albeit mild compared to todays PEM it was significant at the time). The what is now known as ME gets better but your abdomen and all those organs decide not to be okay. You lose weight after gaining back to a healthy weight. In pain. Nauseous. Bloated The doctor says It’s just stress.

That’s just a snapshot of life with chronic illness. We really need to start believing our young people. Really making our young people aware that we are there to listen and help. Not just stick to the standard “faking it, growing pains, stress, weight” reasons for symptoms out of the ordinary. I know had I been believed and had I felt loved and able to speak about my symptoms from the outset I would be a more confident person now. I wouldn’t have spent so much time so scared, thinking about what could be wrong with me and maybe I then would have got better grades.

The problem with “real recovery”

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And we’re back with an eating disorder recovery related post and that is the issue of real recovery. I’ve been in the community on YouTube and the gram for many many years now and yes as a young influential gen z I did #realrecovery in my posts. But now I’m older and wiser and believe the message of real recovery is slightly problematic.

Back in the day it was associated with a minnie maud style, 3000+ calories a day, no exercise recovery. Yes that is probably the most ideal recovery when it comes to putting weight on fast in recovery from anorexia and maybe even for your mental state. Now I find it associated with going “all in”.

But other than the fact that “going all in” isn’t appropriate for all eating disorders or all eating disorder patients as it may cause refeeding syndrome or increasing urges to binge the term real recovery is problematic as it insinuates to many eating disorder patients that there recovery is only worth it if they’re never giving into thoughts, eating to their cravings and hunger ques and not using compensatory behaviours. Considering how perfectionistic anorexia sufferers in particular are this is even more problematic as they are likely to want the perfect recovery and the eating disorder may convince them that it’s all or nothing.

If you give into a behaviour your a failure. Your recovery isn’t real and so why should you bother.

The reality is every recovery is real recovery. Even if you do slip, you do act on thoughts and use behaviours. It’s still recovery, as long as you recognise what your doing and make a real effort to try and change it.

Of course the ideal of recovery is to never use behaviours, but that’s not realistic.

Recovery has ups and downs and often a lifelong process. Often when you recover from an eating disorder the thoughts will become less and less but they’ll always be there in the back of your mind and you’ll always have to keep check on them.

Sometimes you’ll be doing great, sometimes you slip.

Slipping or not making as much progress as other people in the community doesn’t mean your recovery is less real!

Recovery is not linear, not the same for everyone and does not have to be all positive!

You are sick enough for help: Mental Health Awareness week

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It’s the end of mental health awareness week and honestly we shouldn’t need one but there we go, we still do. Although we have come a long way there is still a significant amount of stigma out there.

Today I want to talk about, well write about how we all have mental health and there is never a point where you are not sick enough for help. Be that therapy, counselling or medication or even just that little bit of extra support from family, friends and collegues.

Mental health is just like physical health. Sometimes it can be good, sometimes it can be bad, sometimes it can be somewhere inbetween and just like physical health we shouldn’t ignore it if we start to feel it going because if we do ignore it, it will likely get worse and have a knock on effect on other aspects of our life. If it gets worse, it’s harder to then get back under control.

Just like physical pain, it’s better to take action when the pains a 3/10 because once it gets out of control more and more needs to be done.

Ignoring your mental health and sacrificing it above all else in life isn’t a badge of honour, it isn’t a way to show how brilliant you are or how hard you try. Your not being pathetic if you take time out, get therapy, take medication that’s okay. You are valid. You are worthy. You are not wasting the time of healthcare professionals. Even if you live in the UK and are reliant on the NHS. If you think you are having enough of an issue with your mental health that simple self care isn’t helping and only you know that you are worthy of help. See your GP, self refer to therapy.

I know living in the UK it can be hard, especially as a teenager because CAHMS often only help you in a timely manner if your on your death bed and even then…. I won’t waste words ranting about CAHMS though.

Many trusts now offer self referral to therapy, although limited in their use for people like me with currently mild/moderate anxiety and depression this can be really helpful  I have a lot more anxiety than depression though! I’ve been really quite anxious these past few days just because my family don’t understand ME but the second I try to explain they start spewing abelist language on me. That’s an anxiety that’s hard to overcome, when the people who are meant to support you most don’t see nor understand your illness but it’s kind of your fault because have you really tried but the issue is your too anxious to try.

That was a tangent…

Although there’s still waiting lists it’s not the 6 months to many years that can be found with other forms of mental health treatment on the NHS.

You are sick enough, you are worthy and you are deserving. Remember it’s better to prevent these issues arising at all, through rest, be selfish once in a while. Self care is important, you shouldn’t burn yourself out trying to be everything for everyone.

The problem with Illness Bingos

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These bingos have been floating around Instagram for years, they’ve only recently popped back up into the stories of those whom I follow. Maybe due to pandemic caused boredom.

I find these bingos problematic, on many counts. Both the physical health ones and the mental health ones. This isn’t an attack on anyone I’ve seen doing them or anyone creating them because I’m sure many people don’t realise the issues with them. It’s just a harmless piece of fun right? Maybe… to you. But there are some real issues associated with them that I’d like to discuss.

With both the physical and mental health bingos create some sort of sick competition as to whose the sickest. Who can score the most with symptoms, treatments and comorbidities. There has been this toxic competition going round certain parts of the spoonie community before and it’s simply not okay. A place that many come to for support and a sense of community. A place that many people come to in order to feel less alone. It’s supposed to be a safe space and not a source of ones own illness imposter syndrome.

This can be even more damaging with the mental health bingos. It’s already common with mental illnesses for people to believe they’re not sick enough for treatment. These bingos make that worse.

Mental health bingos can also be hugely triggering, especially eating disorder bingos which often give ideas for behaviours that can be used or use numbers.

It hurts my heart to see these in the recovery community, where someone’s followers are often highly vulnerable.

The thing with Instagram and especially stories is that it’s hard to avoid taking in this information. Unless someone puts a trigger warning on before doing the bingo and you can then choose to click off of the story.

I know how hard that is when we have limited energy and when we may not realise the trigger as it doesn’t trigger us. But if you want to engage in these bingos I believe it’s the safest way to do so.

 

It’s okay to gain weight in isolation

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I’ve seen many a meme about weight gain in isolation. Which although funny and I relate really isn’t okay. Why?

Because these memes make it seem as though weight gain is something undesirable during this time and can be triggering for people recovering from eating disorders such as myself. We’re already in an unprecedented situation which is quite stressful for many people, this in itself can make it much harder for people in recovery from eating disorders to maintain that recovery. Memes, jokes and TikToks about the weight we’re all going to gain in this time simply isn’t helpful and may be enough to tip someone over the edge.

So I thought I’d pop in here and say that it is okay to gain weight during this time. Partly to reassure myself but also to reassure others.

We are going through a collective trauma. It’s only natural to eat more. Eat more “junk food” I hate that term, all food is good food in moderation. And we may be unable to eat as much fresh food as we would like. So yes, when combined with a reduced activity level due to gyms being closed and a lack of motivation/energy because we’re going through a collective trauma we may gain weight during this time.

But that’s okay. We are not defined by our weight. When was the last time you chose your friends based on their weight?

Hopefully never. We are worth so much more than our outward appearance.

From a health perspective yes being obese can give rise to health complications. But our bodies all have a set point, and you are unlikely to go much above that during this time. Furthermore, any weight you have gained is likely to naturally come off once this is all over.

From a health perspective, giving into restrictive eating disorder tendencies is going to be more damaging. Studies have consistently shown that being underweight is more damaging than being slightly overweight and coping mechanisms such as purging can actually be really dangerous and affect your electrolyte levels as well as risk damaging your esophegous and teeth.

It is okay to gain weight. It is okay to stick to your meal plan even if you think your less active and don’t need it. It is okay to eat what you want. There is nothing wrong with that chocolate, those biscuits or those crisps.

All food is good food and you deserve to eat it. Be kind to yourself. Just getting through the day is enough.

 

Eating disorders are more than the stereotype often reinforced during this week.

It’s eating disorder awareness week,  and having suffered from an eating disorder myself I always like to acknowledge it in some way.  To be honest this year inspiration is running thin. What with my current job destroying my mental health and meaning those eating disordered thoughts are creeping back in and this ME flare up which is relentless could god forbid I could just phone up and call in sick when I’m still climbing. That internalised guilt is real as well as internalised ableism.

Anywho on with the post!

I’ve been in the eating disorder recovery community for years, own recovery My own recovery starting in the summer/autumn of 2013. I’ve been through many a EDAW and had to deal with those before and after pictures. Before I knew better, I may have even participated in this trend myself.

But I feel as though these pictures, this type of awareness misses the point. It caters to the middle class white skeletal female version of what an eating disorder is. It caters to and perpetuates the stereotype which is not at all relatable or a representative depiction of eating disorders  as a whole.

This image and reinforcement ignores the fact that anorexia isn’t the only eating disorder, as well as that anyone can get an eating disorder. Anyone of any race, size, socio-economic background.

Most dangerously these pictures continue the misconception that an eating disorder is just about weight. This is damaging on all counts but most importantly on the likelihood of and the success of treatment for the disorder. I know myself, only a tiny part of my eating disorder journey was spent underweight and less of that was spent emaciated. I did have anorexia and further through my recovery compulsive exercise and orthorexia but this isn’t the case for the majority of eating disorder sufferers. Many more have bulimia, binge eating disorder or OSFED who may never become underweight or may be overweight. This misconception is also damaging for those who are underweight or who will in the future end up under weight. It can make everyone think they’re recovered when ED recovery is about so much more than weight restoration. An eating disorder is a mental illness, thus to recover the mind needs to recover and this can often take years.

Instead of posting images that focus on weight I believe we should take weight out of the equation and think about warning signs and symptoms of an eating disorder instead.

These can include:

  • Being preoccupied with weight/shape
  • Being preoccupied with food
  • Denying themselves food
  • Secrecy
  • Going to the bathroom straight after a meal
  • Constantly making excuses as to why they’re not eating
  • Not eating in public
  • Hiding food
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Wearing different clothing than usual – i.e more baggy
  • Overexercising or exercising with the wrong motivations in mind.
  • Hoarding food
  • Taking laxatives/diuretics

There are many others, but these are just a few from the top of my head.  I personally use a traffic light system to maintain my own recovery. Green – alls good. Amber – I’m showing a few personal warning signs but not really acting on them. Red – I’m acting on my disordered thoughts. I find this really helps me keep check on myself.

I hope this helps raise some awareness and explain some of the issues with focusing on just one aspect of a very complex set of mental illnesses!

When I say I’m tired…

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This is a difficult one to write but an important one in order to raise awareness for fatigue causing chronic and mental illnesses as your average muggle just does not understand what we mean when we say that we’re tired.

Let’s just start by getting our understanding of tiredness correct. Tiredness can be relived by sleep, rest or even a coffee. Tiredness may even be relieved by a cold shower in the morning or a nice morning run (or climb).

When I say I’m tired that’s not what I mean.

I mean I’m dizzy. My brain is just not doing anything for me, and I struggle to understand the simplest of things.

I mean that I’m getting an intense pressure in the back of my head and neck and that is making me dizzy. I am struggling to stay sitting up. Let alone using my brain and working or engaging in a conversation.

I mean I have a debilitating headache or I’m just getting sensory overload for no apparent reason so please shut the fuck up.

I mean that I am in so much pain that no amount of distraction is helping. I need to either go for a climb or just lay in bed with whatever heat/ice combination and some reruns of greys anatomy.

I’m not just tired I’m exhausted. My muscles feel week and heavy. I’m struggling to coordinate myself, I can’t feel my legs. I’m having random muscle twitches and seizure like shakes.

When I say I’m tired, I mean I’m so tired that even if I lie down I feel like I’m about to fall. I can’t tolerate using a pillow. I can be completely flat and still feel like I need to be laying down more.

I don’t just mean I’m tired.

I mean my body is done and it needs a break.

What do you mean when you say your tired?

Feeling useless

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Do you ever feel so useless that the slightest critique gets to you?
Do you ever have such low self esteem that everything feels like a personal attack?

Or is it just me?

I don’t know why but I have no self-esteem. I constantly feel like I am of no value, a burden… useless…

I get over it at times. I feel great. But it’s still underlying and lingering in the background.

I feel unaccepted in the things I do.

The decisions I make.

I feel trapped – like a bird – desperate to fly but not given the space to do anything.

Maybe that’s why I just booked a holiday to Berlin even though my life’s so uncertain right now…

So I can fly. So I feel less useless.

So I can explore, be independent and grow. To escape from the toxic environment I am in.

Recovering from low self esteem is a long winding road. It’s certainly not linear.  But it is possible if your given the right space and time to heal.

Sometimes it won’t feel possible. If you’re going through a vulnerable patch but it is! And if your experiencing this, you need to keep going. Keep pushing yourself and putting yourself out there and it will get better!

 

Growing up with emotional abuse

Some people may ask why I’m writing this blog post. It’s a very difficult, painful topic to write about. Some people may even accuse me of lying. Trying to get attention. Trying to get my mum into trouble. Trying to tear my family apart. Some people may say it is less emotional abuse and more emotional neglect. But I want to tell my story. Share my experience. In the hopes that other people may be able to identify themselves in this awful position and do something about it before the damage is too great.

Emotional abuse covers a wide variety of behaviours. It involves the abuser making out that they are the victim in any situation where you try and stand up for yourself or get help for the abuse you have faced and the impact of that abuse on your emotional wellbeing.

This is something I have experienced a lot of in the past. Through secondary school I had a lot of CAMHS referrals and being a catholic school, a lot of chaplaincy meetings. Ya know, as if god was going to cure me. And my mum, manipulative as she is convinced everyone that she was a lovely woman. That I was a problem that needed to be fixed and I was the one abusing her. Which as you can imagine was great for my already low self esteem.

There’s the outright, making someone feel bad about themselves element of emotional abuse. I have vivid memories of my parents going on about how I’m borderline autistic but they didn’t want to get me officially diagnosed for my benefit and that it was somehow my fault.

It was something they used against me, something that was used in a way to make me feel bad about being me. If I had a meltdown and broke something in the house they would be all. “If we got you diagnosed we could get money back from that but we love you too much to do that.” Only now as an adult, and as someone with chronic and mental health conditions, some diagnosed, some not, do I realise how stupid that it. With a diagnosis I could access support to help me. Access the support needed to become a more functional human being. Accomodations could be made at uni and in future, the work place.  To make my life that little bit easier. To allow me to succeed and thrive. Now it weighs on me so much. I’m scared people can see my autism. Even though I’m not necessarily autistic.

Life shouldn’t be this hard ya know. No one should have to lack compassion from the people who should love them most. No one should have to have never really felt secure in a friendship. No one should have to feel the need to hide and put up with a chronic health condition that causes severe pain for 9 years of their life, all throughout adolescence because no one belives you and everyone thinks your a burden. And a whole life of other crap that makes my life more difficult than it should be.

There’s the severe lack of compassion. Lack of caring. This can manifest in different ways. The disproving statements, or looks. When you do something that your abuser is not okay with. That trying to control your life. For me, that was with youtube. Even as an adult my mum wouldn’t allow me to film youtube videos. Even in the comfort of my own room. And if she caught at. I would be yelled at, given a whole lecture. And this is one of the main reasons why I havn’t been able to grow a channel. Because I’ve never come across natural, It’s always come across awkward because I was worried about my mum finding out. I’ve never invested in decant camera’s etc because although there have been times in my life where I could have invested in such things, or atleast saved up to do so but I havn’t because what would my parents think?

It can also translate into your parents not liking your friends, and trying to control who you can spend your time with. Either in a way that makes you feel like you need to cut ties or in an outright ban in seeing x,y or z. It seemed every friend I had as a teenager. My mum always had something bad to say. It’s trying to control your outfit choices, trying to control where you go to university and what you study at university.

It’s never having the time for you or your needs but the second your abuser needs you, you need to be there and provide full attention. Countless things I’ve needed my mum for in my life she’s never been there.

From things as simple as never being taught how to shave, but being made aware that it’s something you need to do or never being really supported in the world of periods. To bigger things. When I’ve needed my mum to help me with something, she’s never been there. When I could have done with her to book me a dr’s appointment or come to a big appointment with me. She never would. I’d ask when I was younger and I reached 16 and she was like “your too old, they won’t let me.” Which I have since learnt is an outright lie, seeing as my dad booked a GP appointment for me at 18.

Never being able to talk to her about my illness because although she’ll be like “I’m your mum I want to know.” She never had the time for it. She never cares and she’s never compassionate. It’s feeling like I have to go along with her plans exactly. When I ask her to walk slower because her pace is too fatiguing and causes too much pain and I literally can’t keep up. She’ll tell me I can. Making me feel small. Like I’m just being weak and pathetic and not trying hard enough.

Actually any time I try and explain my health issues to her. It’s a lot of making me feel weak and pathetic, making me feel selfish, lazy. Or making me feel guilty for not pushing to extreme lengths by telling me “I just have to do it.” Which great sentiment until your in severe pain every day of your life. Next time you have a thumb dislocate at the end of an exam, fingers so painful that you can barely hold your pen I’ll tell you the same and see how you feel.

It’s never remembering the last time your abuser hugged you. Really, properly, lovingly hugged you.

And every time you try to bring that issue up. That you just need to feel loved it’s “We buy you birthday and Christmas presents, we feed you etc.” That’s not making me feel loved. That’s what you need to do to look like a good parent to the outside world. Then being made to feel guilty, because your clearly just selfish.

It’s treating your siblings differently, treating them with compassion. Hugging them, listening to their problems, having proper conversations with them. But you never get that same treatment. You get none of that. It’s when it gets to such an extent that unknowingly your siblings tap into this abuse and start calling you a selfish brat for making totally reasonable demands. They start calling you mean, horrible, lazy. And although you know that deep down they love you. They don’t know how to show it because their whole life my mum especially has done a terrible job of providing me with what I need.

It’s shouting at you even if you’ve done nothing wrong, leaving you out things, generally saying things or behaving in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself.

And the worst part, other than how difficult it is to identify. It’s that it keeps on causing you to question yourself question the situation. It’s like a vicious cycle. You get to a point where you convince yourself it’s not abuse. That it’s getting better. And then it hits you again like a ton of bricks. The cycle continues like that. Which makes it nearly impossible to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship.

And long term emotional abuse has a really damaging effect on your mental health, and your ability to function as a normal adult. For me, it’s caused an inability to advocate for myself. Which means if I have a job and I don’t get paid I really struggle to do anything about it, because I feel like it’s my fault. Even if I know it’s not. It means I cannot deal with doctors and receptionists and pharmacists for the life of me. I’m getting better but it’s still such a struggle and causes a huge amount of anxiety. This means I’m now possible going to the other side of the world without pain medication which even with, I’m still in severe daily pain. It means I cancelled my wheelchair assistance at the airport because although I know I need it. I don’t feel validated in it and in person I wouldn’t be able to advocate for myself when needed to ensure I get on the right plane, can buy water before etc.

It causes difficulty’s both personally and professionally. You struggle to keep and maintain friendships because you feel so worthless as a person. You can’t approach your lecturers to send past paper answers because you feel like your being annoying, or wasting their time. It’s an experience that can become hugely impactful in every aspect of your life.

That’s why as soon as you identify yourself in such a situation you need the courage to get out of it. So it doesn’t manifest into such a hugely impactful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a mental health break

So, it’s the summer holidays. I should be getting myself out there, gaining valuable work experience and what not. But am I? No. And not that I haven’t tried. Despite not wanting to be a Lawyer, I have kidded myself enough times that I do and periodically applied for vacations schemes throughout the year. I have scrolled through job sites to try and find summer jobs that I can realistically get to without a car from home home, because I’m not interested in paying for summer halls and then having to work x amount of hours just to break even.

And there is just nothing, that I stand a chance of being physically capable of doing, that meets all of the above criteria and will allow for a 2 week holiday, give or take a few days for me to go to Columbia with my university at the end of July/beginning of August.

But that’s okay. Yes I could do with the money. But it’s okay to be doing nothing with my summer.

As some people might see it, or maybe that’s my perfectionistic over-achieving mindset seeing it like that and actually, no one really cares that I materially lack work experience. Because A) It’s not like I’ve never been employed and B) I have reasons for lacking work experience compared to some of my peers.

So, to make myself feel less bad about this 3 and a half months of rest. I’m calling it a mental health break.

The reality is, even i can push through my physical health issues enough to be reliable and do a good job, the need to be reliable and do a good job and constantly not feeling like I’m good enough would be detrimental to my mental health. It has been in previous employment situations.

The reality is, even if I only worked 16-20 hours a week, I would be worried of doing much outside work incase it made me too ill to do my job. Which would mean neglecting friends, family and the wonderful summer sun. Which would aggravate my depression. I’ve learnt this from doing my degree this year. I had to take EVERYTHING else out of my life and I ended up suicidal, self harming again, falling into a pit of despair, disappointing my family and losing two of my closest friends. I don’t want to be in that position again.

Not only that but I want to be physically strong enough to manage doing everything timetabled for Columbia. Which okay, even with pushing myself to the max, could be an unrealistic goal. But the best chance of me attaining this is to spend the next two months resting and trying to build up my muscle mass through gentle exercise so walking upstairs doesn’t make my legs feel weak anymore. So I can pack more than two items of clothing before my arms start to feel weak. I want to make the most of this wonderful opportunity that I’ve worked hard to get. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if I do feel my dad is looking down on me for “wasting money” on going on a trip abroad rather than doing some more useful work experience with my time.

Further along the line, I need to be mentally and physically strong enough to finish my degree. Third year is the toughest and most intense year of a degree there is. The perk, if I get my module requests in on time and have passed my exams, I’ll get to do 4 really exciting modules which I’m really enthusiastic about and looking forward to.

I’m going to admit. I haven’t really been physically or mentally strong enough this year. I’ve had to study from my bed most of the time and I’ve missed more lectures and seminars than I would like to admit. I’ve pushed myself to go in a state in which I know I shouldn’t be attending even more times.

At the end of the day. I’m giving myself my best chances of getting my degree. And okay, maybe in the long term this won’t fare well but that’s okay.

This most recent academic year I haven’t really had a chance to do what I really want to do. And I haven’t really had a chance to relax. Lesson 1, forced rest and relaxation are not the same.  I haven’t had a chance to write fanfiction, use this blog as much as I would like. Indulge in TV, especially new series of things that require following. I haven’t read a book, just for the fun of it since last summer. And not because I’ve been off having the time of my life, I haven’t even been that social this year, because my health has prevented me.

Purely because my foggy brain and fatigue means I need to put way more time into my degree with way less energy to do the degree with. Which is also okay, because I love my degree, if I didn’t love my degree I wouldn’t still be doing it, I definitely wouldn’t have preserved through the past year of it.

So actually, I think I need this time. To just enjoy summer. To find myself again, to think about what I’m doing after my degree. Am I going to run off and do a psychology conversion, followed my a masters in forensic psychology? Am I going to go for the NHS policy and strategy grad scheme? Am I going to go into social work by doing one of the  grad schemes available? Or maybe I’ll try and get my hands on some volunteering with vulnerable people and become a probation officer?

Or maybe neither of these are the path I will take, but that’s okay too. It’s okay to take time out. It’s okay to not know what I’m doing with my life and it’s okay to study law when I don’t want to be a lawyer or become an academic. This is my path in life and eventually, I’ll figure out where this is all going, where it’s all taking me.

Until then it’s time to ride the wave, remember it’s okay for me to be taking such an extended break from life. Because that’s what I need right now. A break. I need no pressure, and time to heal, both mentally and physically.