wishes for 2019

I’m not a fan of resolutions for the New Year, so instead this year I’m putting out my best wishes for myself out into the universe!

2018 was a bit of a wild ride and I was all over the place. I will always remember 2018 as the year that I lost myself but discovered a happier version of myself which I need to bring into 2019 to work on some more, as I’ve really only scratched the surface.


Continue on my road to recovery…

Completing my treatment for my eating disorder was one of the highlights of my 2018. Accepting and reaching out for help was something that I put off for ten years, so accomplishing something that I was so scared of is truly miraculous for me!

Just because I have completed my treatment doesn’t mean that I am recovered. Recovery is something that I will have to choose every single day for the rest of my life. So for 2019 I want to take it one day at a time, having the strength to choose recovery every new day.

Recovery is so much more than me printing off my relapse prevention plan and sticking it to every wall in my apartment. Recovery is a full mindset, and it requires strength and faith to get through. This is going to be one of my biggest challenges, of course, but I really want to be able to look back and say “I am so proud of what I have chose”.


Eradicate bad habits…

They are so easy to form, so easy to quit, then so easy to run back to on a bad day. I have one too many bad habits to list, but acknowledging that they exist in my life and that they negatively impact me is the start of saying goodbye to them!

For the first time in my life I am actually ready to give them all away. I am excited for a life that doesn’t revolve around my bad habits, and for existence that is positively impacted by new, good habits.


Get strong…

I spent the last month of 2018 focusing of strengthening my mental wellbeing, but in 2019 I want to focus more on my physical strength.

I loved going to the gym last year but had to stop due to weight loss, so this time around I’m going to focus more on my strength in the gym, rather than how long I can run on the treadmill for before feeling like I’m going to pass out.

My eating disorder took all of my physical strength, and through recovery I have been given a taste of what my strength could be. I have so much more energy now and I want to do something with it!


Finish my degree…

This one is a big one for me. I spent my whole first term weighing on the thought that I should’ve deferred my final year to have been able to fully focus on my recovery. I ultimately decided against this though, and threw myself into my final year of study – which I regret so much!

But I chose to stay on this path for a reason, so now I have accepted that, I am going to place all my faith in myself and get this degree!


Stick to my routines…

I recently realised how important it is to have routine, so I created both a morning and evening routine to follow each day. It is super simple and nothing too crazy so that I know I will be able to follow it daily no issues, but it will drastically improve my quality of life!


Read more…

I have a reading list of 11 books, although I’m tempted to bring it up to 12 so that it equates to one book a month. My current read is Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein and I am officially hooked. The other books on my list follow similar suit; self-discovery, spirituality, miracles and personal freedom.


Be grateful…

This is something that I have never struggled with, I am an over-grateful person if anything! But sometimes it is hard to see the good in every day, especially when your thoughts are plagued with bad ones. Daily gratitude lists and weekly reflections will be my way forward this year!


Be happy and positive…

Through all of these things, I should be happy by default really! It sounds so simple but that is because it is. After years of battling depression, addictive thoughts and trying to shut down an eating disorder, I have finally come to the realisation that my happiness comes from within, so that is really what I will be working on this year.

Here is to 2019; the year of miracles, self love, choosing recovery and moving forward in my happiness!


Do you have any wishes for your year ahead? I’d love to hear them!

Lots of love,

Maddie x

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how to do Christmas with an eating disorder

Oh Christmas…being marketed as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ really is just ironic, isn’t it?!

Don’t get me wrong, Christmas can be magical especially as a kid, but the older you get it’s more like stress central, family feuds fuelled by one too many mulled wines, leaving the shopping til 3 days before Christmas, having hours of awkward, intrusive, personal conversations with people you only see once a year, and for me the big one has to be all those pesky social eating situations!


Recovering from an eating disorder, social eating was a massive hurdle for me, and I’m really thankful that after months of hard work I’ve pretty much smashed it out the park. However that doesn’t really prepare you for the Christmas season. For me it’s coming home for 3 weeks and anxiously checking my calendar that seems to have some sort of social interaction on every damn day, and most of them revolving around food!
Christmas is so focussed on food, and I spend at least 4 months in the run up to the day stressing over hypothetical situations and letting my mind run a million miles a minute overthinking things that will actually probably never even happen.
This is my first Christmas in active recovery, and that is built up as a BIG deal, I even had a whole appointment with my doctor to talk over Christmas and how to deal with it.
To cut a very long blog post short, I’m going to get to the point. I’m taking Christmas into my own hands this year, and I’m determined to get through it like any other damn day! Here is a list that I have complied in order to make Christmas as smooth running as possible…

  1. Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean that meal plans should go out the window! In the run up to the big day, when scheduling in seeing friends, if they do involve eating then make sure it fits in with your schedule! I have specific eating times that I’ve had since I began treatment and they don’t need to get lost amongst the Christmas mayhem. Christmas day shouldn’t be any different, if I can hit my meal plan every day of the year why should this day be any different?!
  2. What are you eating on Christmas day…do you know? I don’t. I made the decision this year to not find out in advance what was being served at dinner, purely because if I knew, I’d spend days trying to talk myself around it. Sometimes going in blind to these things are the best way to deal with the situation, and that is exactly what I’ll be doing! It minimises pre-Christmas anxiety and allows me to tackle a potential fear food on the spot without the overthinking in advance.
  3. Walk away. Sometimes Christmas brings people out of the woodwork that you’ve not seen in a long time, who come armed with a series of intrusive personal questions. Not only is this rude AF but can also be super triggering or just a really crappy, and you are well within your rights to turn around and be like, nope sorry not up for discussion! Trust your gut and make it easier for yourself.
  4. See it like every other day. That is my plan this year at least! Christmas comes with a side order pressure every year and this year I’m not wanting that extra unwanted fuss thanks! Stick to what you know, incorporate your daily life into it and it really doesn’t need to be seen as anything special at all.
  5. Cut down that alcohol intake. It’s so easy for the fizz to go to your head at Christmas time which can really spike anxious and paranoid thoughts, and lead to overthinking and other nasties! This Christmas I’m going to be minimising my alcohol intake to keep my head as clear and logical as possible.
  6. I have a dog and you best believe I will spend as much as the lead up to the day with her as possible! Dogs are such a natural stress reliever and my greyhound is an actual angel in dog form.
  7. Don’t worry if you slip up. It happens! In the lead up to Christmas I’m reading over my relapse prevention plan to make sure I’m all clued up on how to deal with any set backs to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand!
  8. Reclaim the notion of Christmas and make it your own. It’s not for everyone, especially for those of us with eating disorders, so make sure the day is as normal as possible, just with a little extra sparkle!

If you are struggling then let someone you trust know so they can keep an extra eye out for you on Christmas, and if you know anyone struggling then please check in with them and just let them know you’re there for them!

Wishing everyone a very normal day, like every other day, which just happens to be on December 25th,

love,

Maddie x

World Mental Health Day 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day, in case you missed the thousands of social media posts filling up your feed today!

Part of me wanted to just silently nod toward it and move on, however I have now found myself sat in the study room with a big bottle of water, my laptop and a promise to myself to just let it all out.

I tend to say something every year about this day in particular, “look out for your friends” or “speak out”, but this year I’m going full unfiltered, uncensored ramble, because I’ve recently figured that exactly that works best for me. (sorry in advance ūüėõ)


I have had quite the battle with my mental health over the past ten years I’d say. I remember clearly the day I was diagnosed with depression, which came a number of years after I started to feel “not quite myself”,¬†and everyone close to me disbelieved it, with comments like “what do you have to be depressed about?!” being flung at me left, right and centre. But truly, what¬†did¬†I have to be depressed about? At the time I was in college, I’d found my people, studying a course I was passionate about, working with an amazing bunch of staff and I had a great social life. I think that was the moment when I realised that even if everything is seemingly ‘perfect’, you could still struggle.

That was 7 years ago, and I have been on and off medication since. Upon reflection, I’m not surprised that I wasn’t in a good place – I was in debilitating pain almost daily (thanks to undiagnosed chronic illnesses), and I was struggling with my eating (maccies fries and a large diet coke every single day for lunch for two years is not¬†normal eating, despite me truly believing that all was fine at the time). Oh, isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?!

Fast forward to right now, and I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve wrote about mental health with a clear head. In fact, this is the first time in 7 years that I have had a clear head, even if it still fogs up some times.

Which actually seems crazy, pardon the pun.


The past 7 months have been the most challenging for me mentally. 7 months ago, I broke down to my parents and told them about my eating disorder, and how hopeless I had been feeling. A month prior, I had gone to my GP (who was so bloody wonderful by the way) and had a very similar conversation which resulted in an eating disorder clinic referral…of which that resulted in a two year wait.¬†I remember so clearly feeling distraught, I had just, what felt like, told the world my deepest darkest secrets, the world promised me help, and then within a week it was taken from me as fast as I’d got it, which ultimately ended in me sobbing to my parents over a Chinese take-a-way a month later saying “I just don’t¬†like¬†food” (current me would be sooooo mad at past me for wasting Chinese food).

My parents, I adore them and I know that they love me and would literally do anything for me, even if they have a funny way of showing it – I think it’s just a parent thing!

My mom immediately researched where I could see somebody privately, and before I knew it I was in for an assessment at an eating disorder clinic, where I was accepted onto the program.

And, as they say, the rest is history.


The past 7 months have been the hardest of my life. I ditched everyone I cared about and loved and had to be 110% selfish and put myself first, and that was so fucking difficult. I am, however, very lucky to have the most incredibly supportive friends who allowed me to fly the nest, with a space promised for me upon my return.

I have had to dig up some real shitty things, relive the lowest of low moments in my life; face and fight my destructive coping mechanisms (still working on this one, I must admit), open up about my biggest regrets, the moments I am most shameful of and the shambles my life has been since my bad brain moved in and set up camp in my head, taking away sassy, sarcastic, bubbly, irresponsible, kind, loving and ballsy brain that was once there before. I like to think I am pretty close to getting her back though.


Facing your past demons, working through them and letting them go, is the most freeing thing a person can do, I believe. It is so fucking hard but the rewards way out-weight the feeling of guilt, regret and shame of the former you.

I am not the whole way there yet, but I am being realistic and taking each day as it comes. I have worked my ass off in therapy and in clinic with doctors and professionals teaching me how to free myself of my eating disorder and move into a new life.

For the first time in the longest time, I am truly, honestly, hand-on-heart so fucking proud of myself.


Having an off-whack mental health condition is not something to be ashamed of. I am thankful of all of my shame, guilt and past decisions, and I say that with all sincerity. I have learned so much from the person I used to be, and it will all be so valuable for the rest of my life.

I actually think that for the first time in my life, I am looking forward to living, which may sound utterly bizarre, but I have spent however long living in the shadow of the woman that I really am.

Poor mental health does not make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you any less of a deserving human being. When you are ready, put you whole heart and soul into recovery because speaking from experience, it is so damn worth it.


Now, in my case, I have a bit of work to do. I am currently within touching distance of being discharged from the clinic and I refuse to let it all be for nothing. I’m moving on with the things I have learned and I am adapting them to my every day life.

I am being realistic. I will still have wobbles, panics and set backs, but what I have learned over the past 7 months have best equipped me to move forward and deal with my demons.


Never be ashamed, wear your insecurities like a badge of honour and freaking own it. Reach out for help, demand help, don’t just ask. Remind yourself that you are¬†worth it and you¬†do deserve guidance and help.

I 100% owe my life to the medical professionals, family, friends, boyfriend, lecturers, strangers and other patients at the clinic who share a nod and a smile, who have seen me through the worst year of my life but more importantly, into what is becoming the best life that I can and will live in for the remainder of my days.

Speak up, speak out and never, ever be ashamed.


*I would also like to add that if you are struggling, eating disorder specific here, I could not recommend Beat enough. They were there for me to turn to when I felt like I couldn’t speak with anyone else, and have amazing support in the form of recovery information sheets, friendly staff on their helplines (which specialise in general, youth and student), their online web chats and all the information a family member or friend could need regarding what eating disorders actually are (I know this one came in handy for those around me who didn’t quite understand).*


Happy World Mental Health Day 2018, 

See you soon, 

Journaling Maddie 

xxxxx

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

Yesterday I turned 23 years young and other than playing Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” on repeat, I have had a big long reflect on turning 23 and everything that comes along with it.

Typically, most people my age graduated from university a couple of years ago and are in big boy jobs seemingly smashing life, settling down with a partner, getting engaged and having kids. Honestly, I have no problem with what other people do with their lives, but in the same respect, I don’t see it as a guideline for life.

As a kid when adults asked what I wanted to “be” when I was older instead of the generic ‘doctor’, ‘lawyer’, ‘firefighter’ responses, I nonchalantly answered “work in Poundland”…and no, my parents have never let me forget it.

Whilst I am yet to achieve my childhood dream of working in Poundland, I think 5 year old me was on to something with that sweeping statement of all my lifelong dreams being attached to being a shop worker.


 

Growing up, I had little to no expectations of myself. Not in like a totally self deprecating way but more so in the sense of “what will be will be”.

I was never really academic, I struggled but in the best part I just knew that I didn’t want to be involved in academia. I wasn’t dim or bad at school, I did okay in my GCSE’s, even if I did struggle to choose four topics, when all I wanted to do was music technology and music I ended up taking child development which wasn’t all that bad because I learned a lot about being an adult but I did have to take one of those screaming baby dolls home for 24 hours that has scarred me for life.

I left school at 16 and went to college to fulfil my passion of music technology which was by far the best two years of my life. All of my school friends were stuck in their uniforms still at the school’s sixth form attending 5 days a week where as I was in college 2 or 3 days a week in the middle of Birmingham wearing what I wanted, day drinking, meeting new people, going out and socialising whilst holding down my first ever job at a kid’s play area – that child development GCSE coming in handy!

After college I took a couple of years to work at pubs, my uncles sporting company and for music promoters in Birmingham. I had fun and worked hard but all my friends were at uni and I can’t lie, all of their social media posting gave me a serious case of FOMO.

But two years later I landed on my feet in Manchester, studying Events Management at a uni that specialises in music, and holy heck do I love it here.


 

Moving to Manchester always will be the best decision I made, it allowed me to be the independent little soul that I always was fighting to be, I met some incredible people and I fell in love with the city immediately.

2018-09-24 21:12:48.960

Taking time to do my degree and getting here a couple of years later than everyone else really doesn’t bother me any more. Getting to 23 you realise that everyone truly is at different times in their lives. I have friends with children, friends in full time employment in some really impressive jobs, some friends making it in the music industry giving me a glimmer of hope that in time, I will be there too!

Getting older doesn’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, a set back at all. Growing older has just taught me that people work at different paces and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to reach your goal, one day you will get there and the journey will be the most important and fun part!

So here is to living more in the moment, being mindful and present in the moment, taking time to be alone, because I’ve definitely learnt that me time is just as important as socialising, picking up old hobbies and discovering new ones!

Your 20’s truly are your golden years, everyone around you is at different stages and not one of them is winning this made up race at all. Take time, take chances and take risks because now is the time to be doing it.


 

My goals for myself in this next year are:

  • to be unapologetically selfish
  • look out for others
  • bring kindness wherever I go
  • have fun
  • network my way into a badass graduate job
  • make the most of my final year at uni, it’s the last chance I get to risk-free experiment, explore and find myself for the foreseeable future!

Let’s work on embracing ageing and all that comes with it, rather than cower away from it!

P.S: people do still like you when you’re 23, Blink-182 lied, I have the most wonderful bunch of friends who made my birthday very special:

2018-09-25 20:16:16.0232018-09-25 20:16:14.9882018-09-24 16:30:04.505

 

All my love, 

a slightly older, 

Journaling Maddie 

xxx

23before23 #11: Getting a Job

Finding a job to match up with my Summer plans was never going to be easy, to be honest, I thought it would be impossible.

10

Although I’m not jetting off here, there and everywhere (a girl can dream though),¬†my other half is still up North working hard who I want to see as much as possible, and I’ve had a couple of other things planned which has stopped me from getting a full time Summer job. That, and trying to find someone who will only employ you for 3 months is bloody tricky!

 

Luckily for me, the firm that my mom works for has a lot of archiving that needs doing before November time and they employed me to basically spend my day in a room alone filing tens of thousands of pieces of paper.

 

I’m not going to pretend that it’s my dream Summer job, or that it is even remotely enjoyable (although working alone definitely has it’s perks), but it has definitely got me into the right mind set for finding work when living back in Manchester in September. That and I’m currently saving for some place to live, which may seem a bit crazy planning a whole year in advance but all of the money I’m earning from this Summer job is going straight in the moving out piggy bank, which is actually super exciting because it means that I will definitely be on my feet firmly to have somewhere to live and being financially secure in a years time¬†(oh adulthood, how I adore thee).¬†

 

Although I would love to be seeing more of my friends, and to be going to more festivals, I’m just focusing on how this job will benefit me in the long run and I’m very excited for future me!!

 

Journaling Maddie 

xxx

23before23 #10 Dying My Hair

When I was 12 I got dared by my sister’s best mate to dye my hair ginger…I did, I loved it, and the hair dye addiction begun.

 

I started to dye my own hair when I was sixteen, I remember so clearly having my last day at school, walking out, getting my nose pierced and colouring my hair purple to match my new nose stud. It is safe to say that I haven’t looked back since.

 

My hair has been every colour that I could have imagined since then, pink, purple, green, blue, black, grey, blonde, brunette, and every colour in between.

 

Honestly, I don’t think I ever want to give up colouring my hair, it’s always been a way of showcasing my personality and speaking for me without me having to open my mouth.

 

Recently my wonderful hairdresser Angela offered me a hair modelling job! She got some absolutely beautiful metallic colours in from the new milk_shake range and needed to try them out on someone and she said I’d be the perfect candidate. I of course said yes, who says no to a free day in the salon knowing that you’re going to leave with fresh hair?!

 

We opted for two colours to run through my hair, the metallic violet and metallic pink. The colours are beautiful and really add a shimmering metallic undertone, especially when out in this beautiful sunshine we are having!

 

I also want to add that the smell is something else, and I mean that in a really really good way!! The sweet scent is subtle but much more pleasant than the classic hair dye chemical smell.

I am so excited for a summer of experimenting with my hair!

Journaling Maddie 

xxx

 

1 Year of Journaling Maddie

Just over a year ago the reality of a summer alone in Manchester with a whole lot of nothing to do hit me, and with the sunshine fuelling my creativity, I began to plan out Journaling Maddie.


Growing up, I had several blogs over several years, and whilst my heart was always in the right place, I really wasn’t committed, long term.

Journaling Maddie however has been everything I ever wanted out of a creative space. I have loved every piece of content that I have produced and I am really excited about the future of it too!


So cheers to one year, and here’s to many more!


Journaling Maddie 

xxx