Self-Help, Miracles, Addiction and Freedom – My 2019 Reading List

Something that I really got into towards the end of last year was reading. Reading used to be a form of escapism for me as a child, I’d read and read and read until I ran out of books then it would be back to the library for more! As the story goes, I grew older and social media became much more prevalent, and although my love for reading never died, it sort of took a bit of a time out.

Fast forward to the end of last year, I ordered “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein off a recommendation from a friend, and as soon as I picked it up it reignited that flame of passion for reading all over again.

When I was younger I loved story books: the imagination it brought out in me, the twists and turns, the deep emotional connect I felt to certain characters and feeling like I could turn a page and be transported into a whole new world.

Reading has become a form of escapism again, but not so much in an ‘away with the fairies’ sense, more of reading about spirituality, healing and connect – allowing me to envision a better life and strengthening a new mindset for myself.

“Overcoming Binge Eating” Christopher Fairburn

Before reading “Spirit Junkie”, I actually read “Overcoming Binge Eating” by Christopher Fairburn and although I don’t have a binge eating disorder, it was recommended by my eating disorder psychologist so I read it and found a lot of my recovery to be based around what was written in that book. I also got a lot of coping mechanisms from it, as well as it being the most logical way of understanding your own individual eating disorder and recovery.


“Add More -Ing To Your Life”, “May Cause Miracles”, “Miracles Now”, “Judgement Detox” and “The Universe Has Your Back” Gabrielle Bernstein

On my reading list I have of course got the rest of Gabrielle Bernstein’s publications! I find her style of writing super relatable and easy going. She tackles massive issues and tricky life changes but makes it all sound so easy (because it is)! I would definitely recommend her for those starting out on a new spiritual journey to happiness and miracles!


“The Untethered Soul” and “The Surrender Experiment” Michael A Singer

Searching to find out who you really are? In “The Untethered Soul” – which I am very excited to read – expect to reach into your inner depths, focussing on meditation, energies flowing and gaining confidence in yourself. These two books are on my list for that exact reason. Once I have found more about inner peace, I want to learn how to practice it, how to engage myself and open my life up more for positive change and ultimate inner freedom and happiness.


“The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle

Eckart Tolle…wow, just simply wow! If you are yet to come across any of his work I’d firmly recommend watching his interviews on YouTube and just listen to him speak. This book covers how to truly live in the moment, something that I have partially learned already thanks to watching some of his work online.

It was in fact Eckhart Tolle’s work that gave me the initial kick up the bum to surrender myself and to reach in for inner, true happiness and contentment.

I couldn’t recommend a spiritual teacher enough, so I am really excited to get my teeth stuck in to this book!


“The Atlas of Happiness” Helen Russell

I came across this book by chance it it just looks super sweet! Little pockets of happiness from all over the world to help you learn inner happiness in a fun and spontaneous way. Learn how different cultures and countries in a light-hearted and uplifting manner! I’ll definitely be ordering this one next as it seems like the perfect bite-sized early morning/late night/waiting for your coffee to brew kind of read.


“Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions” Russell Brand

Again, recommended by a friend, I am excited to get sunk into this one! Having an eating disorder, for me, came with a whole host of bad habits that formed into addictions in what felt like a blink of an eye. Now that I’m working so hard not only on my recovery but on my spiritual freedom, these addictions now feel out of place but I can’t just pick them up and put them in the bin (if only!).

I absolutely adore Russell Brand and I find his journey to sobriety really inspiring, so this is up at the top of my list too!

His next book “Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped” is out at the end of this month too so I’m very curious as to how the two link together.


“Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and Making Miracles” Marianne Williamson

I’ve wanted to read some of Marianne’s work since discovering Gabrielle Bernstein, as I know a lot of her work is inspired by Williamson’s. I think that this book will be my perfect companion on my spiritual journey.


“Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) Scarlett Curtis

First of all, I absolutely adore Scarlett Curtis. This book has been on my reading list since it came out! Scarlett curated this book with writings from 52 inspirational women who were posed with the question “what does the F word mean to you?” in order to gauge exactly what being a woman means to them. I’m intrigued to see the results but mostly to open my eyes to different women’s stances on feminism. A friend said the book was hilarious and hard hitting all in one go, so I am super interested! Again, another early morning book I think, with snippets to easily draw in to.


If I’m totally honest, I can only see this list getting longer, so I better get reading pretty sharpish if I want to get through these initial ones! I’d originally said a book a month but I’m going to be running out of months soon…

However, on that note, any book recommendations?!

I am living for self-help books at the moment in case that wasn’t obvious, but anything light-hearted, funny and empowering is also appreciated!

What books are you reading at the moment?

All my love,

Maddie x

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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

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

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