23before23 #8: Raising money for a good cause

Earlier this year I asked for donations to Endometriosis UK, but if you missed that, I basically did a mini series all about educating people who were clueless about the disease, and if you want to, you can have a lil read right here!

However, last week I walked with a great bunch of people in order to raise awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis. When I first started talking to my friend Amy we were discussing our chronic illnesses (casual, as you do), and she opened up to me about her ulcerative colitis, something that I had never heard of before! She opened my eyes to something new and seemingly terrifying, I got told what to do if she went into flare up and all the likes of that, however she wore it like a badge with such power, and I really admired that about her!

Last year a small group of us did the walk and it was great fun despite the rain (it was in Manchester though so what did we expect!), and we raised some money and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

This year the team grew and we all pulled together and travelled to Manchester for the day to walk 5K in order to raise some awareness and money!

The money already raised is mind blowing, but there is never enough or a cap on these things, so if you wish to, any last minute sponsors and donations will always be greatly appreciated, and can be made via this link right here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ibd-warriors-walk-it-manchester-2018

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Journaling Maddie x

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23before23 #7 Going veggie

As I entered recovery for a long standing eating disorder, I made the decision to become vegetarian. Whilst to some this may seem counter productive, for me honestly I just wanted to rule out foods that I was particularly uncomfortable with before meal plans created by a clinician were thrusted at me.

I’ve never been big on meat, it’s just not for me, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to say hello to vegetarianism (again, I failed myself before with a drunken kebab, tragic I know).

It has been around a month and a half since I committed to being vegetarian and I can’t see the promise of a drunken kebab swaying me again!

The inevitable question I constantly get now though is, “so when are you planning on going vegan?!”. It’s a tough one, don’t get me wrong, I get the whole spiel, I’ve heard it way too many times and I am in agreement, veganism is an incredible step to take however for me right now it is not the right move! Going through eating disorder recovery means that I have to be as open as possible and restricting too much would cause an uproar that I’m not willing to deal with on top of the emotional distress of recovery itself.

I’ve been super lucky to have Max be so open to my transition to becoming vegetarian, he cooks and eats vegetarian meals with me too which has been a massive help!

Our fave meals to cook at the moment are stuffed peppers/mushrooms, vegetarian chilli and Mexican style salads with halloumi.

Can anyone point me in the direction of some different vegetarian meal options that we might not have heard of?! I want to keep things new and exciting!

Much love,

Journaling Maddie 

x

23before23 #6: Catching up

After detoxing myself from TV for a long time during deadlines, I’ve spent the past few weeks catching up big time on some TV shows that I’ve been missing out on. This might seem super lame, but TV is my down time so allowing myself a couple weeks to catch up really does feel rewarding!

My fave shows that I’ve been catching up on so far, and would totally recommend, are as follows:

  1. Hollyoaks. I’ve not missed an episode of this in the past four years! Since being at uni, I’ve saved up the daily episodes to binge watch at the weekend and I’ve been loving the story lines they’ve been showcasing this year. Of course, there’s always going to be the far fetched murder lines and cheesy school teenage romances, but they have covered in fine detail three really important, real and relevant storylines, one about youth homelessness, another about domestic abuse and another tackling mental health.
  2. Love Island 2018 has not long started and I am deep in all the goss and drama, each year I’m convinced I won’t get as hooked, yet, here I am, sat in front of the TV every night at 9pm ready and raring to find out what’s happening next!
  3. Netflix has been curbing my need for crap TV that’s super easy to binge watch! The Next Step and Lost & Found Music Studios (it’s rubbish, so judge me) are so easy to binge! I’ve recently finished Netflix original Love which I would recommend to absolutely anyone who loves a light hearted rom-com series.

There’s so much that I need to catch up on though still!

My mom has an obsession with Emmerdale and Coronation Street, so I am secretly looking forward to going home and watching some of that with her too. I’m ages behind on my original Netflix bae Orange is the New Black and at some point I am ready to jump back on that band wagon!

 

Do you have any TV recommendations?!

 

Journaling Maddie

x

23before23 #5: Catching some Zzz’s

Going to uni has totally butchered my sleeping pattern.

I take sleep for granted then I hit exam season and it’s like ooooo I could sleep all day and all night and avoid all responsibility or I could actually get a solid night’s sleep and not feel horrendous. However I seem to naturally be drawn to over sleeping, under sleeping and ruining my mentality totally.

Over the past month or so I have tried to really work on being more strict with myself, and my goodness the difference it has made is just incredible.

I’m definitely going to put into practice a strict, but doable, sleeping schedule this summer while I have time to experiment with what times are agreeing with my body etc. etc.

Getting a good nights sleep honestly changes the way I function, this time last year I would be up til 3am, just working, reading, watching TV or YouTube, now I struggle to get past 10pm hahaha (old person alert).

Looking back at my habits before, I was so grouchy, impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I think a lot of it was depression taking over, but I feel as I’ve got a better control over those feelings, sorting my sleeping pattern was a hell of a lot easier to tackle!

What worked for me was changing my habits that I was doing directly before bed time. So now I eat earlier, get all the TV out of the way earlier on in the day, go for a little walk to get some fresh air, do 15 minutes of anything like a quick cleaning frenzy, then cuddle up into bed with a book and a hot water bottle and my eyes are struggling to stay open for much longer than half an hour!

Do not fight those eyes closing!! If they are closing and heavy they are telling you that you are tired and need to sleep, listen to them! If you fight it you will just be overtired and consequently struggle to sleep when you try to. (Trust me, take it from someone who would stay up in to the early hours to chat to friends, or just binge-watching YouTubers then wondered why I felt completely ruined the next day).

I want to try meditation, and exercise a lot more over the following months, so hopefully it will all piece together like one giant puzzle.

Any good sleep tips?

Journaling Maddie x

May 2018

May has been the most scarily intense month I’ve experienced in a long while. It has been a super bumpy rollercoaster of emotions and I am definitely ready to give myself a bit of a time out from everything.

So, May has been my second year deadline month. Every week of the month I have had hand ins. It was stressful, but I gave it my all, I put so much hard work into these assignments so I have everything crossed for my results! Honestly, I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I have finished my second year at uni, and this time year I will be handing in my dissertation getting ready to graduate!

At the start of the month I went home for a clinic appointment. I have been putting off getting help with my eating for the longest of times, so I’ve settled with a lovely clinic back at home in Birmingham meaning that I can be there over Summer!

Within 24 hours I was back up North and in Huddersfield ready to spend the weekend recording a band in the studios for In Session. This was a super busy two days and before I knew it I was on the train to Selby to meet Amy & Trav. I’ve mentioned before about Amy and her kick-ass promotions company “GirlBoss”, and she did a home-town gig in York so I wanted to go along to support her. It was an incredible night, the venue was so different to anything I’d ever seen before and so many people came down! I spent the night at Amy’s then we spent the Monday celebrating her birthday with her family which was the sweetest thing! It was so nice to turn off all worries for the day about deadlines and just have a nice relax in the sunshine. Amy drove us back to Manchester later that day and had the most epic sing a long of sing a longs.

The 10th was Amy’s 22nd birthday and we had so much fun! We spent her actual birthday smashing out games of beer pong at Bunny Jacksons (the coolest venue/bar I’ve ever come across, and so close to where we live too), then the night after we went for food and drinks with some amazing people to celebrate her birthday! As always, we ended up dancing the night away in Holdfast!

The rest of that weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, and I was starting to feel very stressed about deadlines, so I went back to Huddersfield for a few days to literally lock myself away and focus on uni. Come Thursday, I had to go back to Manchester to do a presentation, but I hopped back on a train that evening to Huddersfield to surprise Max at his gig, which was so much fun! I’m really glad I went, all of Max’s hard work paid off and it was so rewarding to watch it all unfold after months of planning.

Straight back to Manchester the following day for another one of Amy’s gigs, which was insane to see so much acoustic talent! We headed straight off to Chris’ gay icons birthday party. We spent so long trying to think of costumes, I just ended up going as Britney Spears haha.

The next day I’m pretty sure I was still drunk, before the most horrific hungover kicked in. Max and I somehow managed to peel ourselves out of bed and into town for a breakfast to try make us feel some what not like zombies. We totally missed the Royal Wedding, which was a shame but it was nice to watch some clips afterwards to see what all the fuss was about.

22nd of May came around super fast, and it was a difficult day. It marked one year from the arena attacks in Manchester, and honestly, I can’t believe how quick that year has gone. I don’t want to talk about this for too long, but all I will say is that I took a stroll through town and all of the memorials were absolutely stunning, so fitting and moving. I feel so lucky to be based in such a beautifully kind hearted city, the sense of community is so amazing to witness.

Fast forward a couple of days, my last deadlines were handed in, my parents were in Manchester to move me out, and I was ready (physically, by no means emotionally) to go home for Summer. My last night in Manchester was spent at Dot to Dot festival and I am so glad that I went, it felt like a real party, just time for me to let my hair down and enjoy my last day in Manchester for a few months.

I hopped on a train to Huddersfield to see Max for a while before I went home properly. The bank holiday weekend was super fun, the weather was gorgeous so naturally, we had a BBQ and even the cutie pie that is John came for a visit (John is the cat that just loves Max’s house for some reason, but I won’t complain) although I’m pretty sure John is actually female but that’s cool, the name has stuck now after us calling her John for a year so whatever haha.

Album / Playlist: All The 1975 tracks, I’ve been listening in anticipation for the new release soon!

Song: John Mayer – New Light

TV / Movie: I totally blanked out on TV the past month with all those deadlines, but I’m very much looking forward to catching up on any TV shows that I can find haha

Place: Manchester, gonna miss it so much over the next few months!

Memory: way too many to whittle it down to one!

Accomplishment: completing my second year at uni!

Journaling Maddie x

23before23 #4: Keeping a Food Diary

Okay, *big breath* I am going to be talking about my personal eating habits, and eating disorders mainly focusing on EDNOS / atypical eating, and although this won’t go into any graphic detail, I just wanted to give a heads up before anyone who could potentially be triggered or affected continued reading.

Ok cool let’s go!

Having struggled with my eating, and continuing to do so, I’ve always been told and felt conflicting things about food diaries. Around Christmas time I was asked by a doctor to keep a food diary, and I did! In fact, I have kept it every day since.

Keeping a food diary, particularly for someone with an eating disorder can be a really difficult step to take. Personally for me, every time I logged in any food I would get an instant pang of guilt, if anything, keeping a food diary made me feel like the pages were almost judging me, and I felt as though I needed to alter what I was eating to feel okay when I wrote down what I had consumed.

I totally understand that everyone is different, and every eating disorder is different too! Some people keep food diaries to make meal plans, as a way of altering their diet for the better which I think is so cool! However for myself, a person with an atypical eating disorder, I found (at first) keeping a food diary quite triggering and distressing.

Don’t get me wrong, over time it just became second nature to write down my intake, but in all honesty I don’t think it ever got easier, just felt like ‘one of those things’ that I just got on with!

I am in the very early, confusing and delicate days of recovery, if you are familiar with atypical eating disorders, I am sure you understand the emotional and mental rollercoaster that comes along with recovery.

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have an eating disorder, speaking with my therapist we have whittled it down to a few sources that could have caused it to spike and present itself over the past thirteen years, but I do believe that it is something consumed my brain for my whole life.

Trying to go into the next few months of therapy with an open mind, I am also being more open to the dreaded food diary! I’ve been given a much clearer way of wording it rather than writing literally “i ate x y z today”. Now I am encouraged to write down every sip of water, a piece of chewing gum, a meal, or whatever it may be, and how each of those make me feel. I found this pretty intense an idea at first, but in reality, it is exactly what I needed. If I feel guilty, I can write it down and let it out, rather than letting it consume my brain.

Whilst I am sure the future for me in my recovery will be challenging, I am feeling positive, at least for now. With recovery, there are a million ups and downs, being pulled back to shoot forward, to taking several steps back, and running leaps and bounds in the direction of recovery.

It is super scary, I’m honestly terrified, however, I have managed to keep a food diary for over 6 months nearly and that in itself is a massive achievement for me and my eating disorder!! My ultimate goal is to not focus on controlling myself emotionally over food, but to have control over my disordered eating.

Writing about this is a very freeing, if not horrifying experience. I definitely do want to write more about atypical eating disorders in the future, but maybe in a few months time when hopefully I will have a clearer understanding of it myself, particularly my own eating disorder that has controlled me for over such a long time.

All the best,

Journaling Maddie xxxxx