THINGS PARENTS ASK – What can I do about my Child’s gaming obsession?

Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized, Writing

Here is the link to a blog I have written for my work concerning gaming addiction in young people and what parents can do to combat it.

THINGS PARENTS ASK – What can I do about my child’s gaming obsession?

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And so it begins…

chronic ilness, Drugs and medication, Lifestyle

Decluttering has commenced.

I started reading Spark Joy and it has inspired me to work towards the house and lifestyle that I want to have. The way she writes makes it sound so simple and cleansing – I genuinely couldn’t wait to start. It’s frustrating that I am so busy and unable to do it very quickly but I’m hoping that I can really make some headway with it during the Christmas break.

I started by bringing all my clothes and underwear into one place and going through them – removing anything that didn’t spark joy when I looked at it and touched it. To begin with it felt strange but after a while you definitely start to realise what gives you joy and what doesn’t. I have so many items of clothing and I am so sick of everything not being able to be packed away in a neat, organised way that is easy to see and make outfits from. I have been getting rid of clothes ALL YEAR! Still I have not achieved my goal!

I managed to chuck away a big bag of old clothes that wouldn’t be suitable to give to charity and a huge bin bag full of stuff to give to charity. But I still feel like I can get rid of more – I need to get everything together again and start comparing things to each other, to see what really makes me happy (whether it is for functional reasons or because I just love it) and stream line my collection even more.

It isn’t going to be a quick process but I can honestly say that, for the first time, I want to streamline my material possessions and keep it that way. Creating a less cluttered, more relaxing environment.

i have to say, though, this would never have been able to happen without the introduction of the prescription drug, Modafinil (Provigil is the brand name). Since having MS my fatigue has been such a huge battle. I have only had enough energy to do essential stuff (often not even that) and now this drug has boosted my energy enough to be able to consider getting other stuff done.

Before anyone thinks ‘there are other, natural, to things you can do to help your energy levels without prescription drugs’, I already do those things. I don’t eat refined sugar, I don’t eat gluten or much in the way of processed food. I eat regular healthy meals. I do yoga (when my body allows) and cycle (ditto) – and they have made a huge difference – but I was still unable to function to the level I needed. All I can say is that I understand people don’t want to have to take lots of drugs but some people really do need to. If you can find natural solutions that work for all 7 of my medications then I am all ears!! 😀👍🏻

Oh if you are interested – the film ‘Limitless’ is thought to be based on Modafinil. 

So, the decluttering will continue (energy and time permitting) and I’m hoping it will continue to give me the buzz! 

Spark Joy?

Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized

So I have decided to embark on a mission to get more organised, declutter and try to achieve some different goals for myself.

I have reached a point where my illness seems to be more manageable and I want to take this opportunity to grab life and do the things I want to do. I have several things I would like to achieve in my personal and professional life and I’m going to create a bullet journal as a creative and visual way to help me.

Has anyone else read ‘Spark Joy’? The book about tidying and decluttering that has prompted so many people to refine their material possessions. I’m hoping it will help me as I’m terrible for holding on to all sorts of nonsense. Have you had any experiences with it? Any advice?

Im going to try and record how it goes – that will be part of my goals… 😊

Interrupted

Challenging Situations, chronic ilness, Drugs and medication, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

It’s funny… the minute my life began to gain momentum – I started to dream about all the possibilities and the good things I could do for others – was the moment I was interrupted. 

And not in that brief way that you get interrupted by a car horn or a low flying bird, a gradual interruption that demands to be noticed. 

It happened in two ways. Two ways that are so different from each other that it seems unbelievable that they could have a similar effect. Both have helped me and one has hindered me and I don’t know what I would be without them. 

To me, they are both male, but one is beautiful and easy and steady and the other is tumultuous and demands to be attended to in every way. 

They are both constant and cannot be escaped – one I would like to and the other I would never dream of it. 

They both inspire me to be a better person, in more ways than one. But one does that in spite of its constant need for attention, adjustment, discipline and correction. 

One takes me away from toxic substances and one inextricably links me to them. 

One I have chosen to be with forever and both have chosen that of me. 

Sometimes I wonder if I could have had one without the other, whether I would still be wishing I could do more in life if your limitations had never been placed on me. And if they suddenly disappeared would I actually achieve it all. Maybe one day we will find out. 🙂 

One interruption was perfect and rebuilds me every day and the other slowly continues to chip away – I just hope we can keep up 🙂 

Volunteering and why it’s awesome!

Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized, Writing

This is a great blog post by my partner talking about all the great positive things he gets out of volunteering. Well worth a read – follow the link below! 🙂 
By definition a volunteer is “a person who freely offers their time to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task”, now take a moment , read it again, let it sink in and now forget about it because it’s wrong. And the reason that it is wrong is because of the use of […]

https://learningblocksblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/volunteering-and-why-its-awesome/

A suspected relapse? 

Challenging Situations, chronic ilness, Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized

I always thought when I had a relapse of my ms it would be so clear and obvious that there would be no question around it. But I have realised that isn’t the case – for me at least. 

When I was diagnosed I had it in my head that things would die down to a low, manageable level and then stay there until some large event of pain or numbness etc. would signify that I’d had a relapse and needed to look at reviewing my medication. The thing is, with regards to symptoms, I have found them to be pretty much ongoing. I have just found ways of managing them and managing my life around them. They do fluctuate, week by week, day by day, but they don’t seem to really ‘get better’. Not yet anyway. Obviously it’s only been 7 months since I was diagnosed so this could all change. 

So relapse (at the moment) for me is about new pain or symptoms that last more than 48hrs. Over the weekend and the beginning of this week I had new pain and loud noises in my head and some pretty heavy duty fatigue – this has been considered, by my ms team, as a suspected relapse. It certainly felt like one.

Another thing that puts a question mark over it is the fact that if you have even the slightest sign of infection in your body or you have a big change in hormones it can cause unbelievable havoc with ms symptoms. If something causes your immune system to increase its activity, even slightly, it increases the number of those troublesome cells that attack the nervous system – causing the increase of problems. For example if my bowel disease acts up I can almost guarantee I’m going to have a tricky time with me. 

I am learning all of the time about my ms and the way it affects me day to day – and mainly how changeable it is! I am endlessly fascinated by my mind and body’s ability to heal and bounce back from all the stuff it has to deal with. 

Will I ever have a week with no fatigue or pain again? Who knows – I think it’s far too early to tell. I know I’m doing everything I can to help it so just got to try and keep the positive thought processes going and allow myself time and space to feel all the emotions that go with it. Always trying to be kind to myself and shrug off the highly ignorant judgement of others! 

Would love to hear if anyone else has experiences with chronic illness they would like to share and please get in touch if you need someone to talk to about stuff – I know it can be difficult to share with the people you love. 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Is this a good place to start?

Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized, Writing

I am playing about with some writing at the moment. I want to intertwine the stories of 4 young women and include an element of mental health. Aimed at anyone really, but leaning towards a young adult audience. I started writing and have put together a passage of about 1000 words and thought I would post it on here to see if anyone has any feedback or comments. I know it’s not much to go on but it shoul give an idea of my writing style and the type of content. Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Ivy

Have you ever felt like you could be an outsider in your own life? Like a guest in someone else’s home, too uncomfortable to make yourself a drink or help yourself to a sandwich?  That was how it started.

There wasn’t some big event that kicked it all off – no defining moment of grief or melodrama – it just seemed to seep into the cracks of my personality and wash over me, with very little warning.

The loneliness didn’t help. That year it felt like I was always alone, just me and MTV and a confusing phone relationship with a boy who seemed to be as interested in getting to know me as he was avoiding any kind of communication with me in public.

Don’t get me wrong, there were parties and beach visits with friends, the usual social stuff that centred around the people that I managed to hide just enough of my personality to be associated with. Everything was the same but completely different somehow.

I don’t feel like I’m explaining myself very well.

All I can say is that I don’t remember where one version of me ended and the other began, but I do know that I started to feel different, like I had lost control over my life and was just a helpless bystander in it – hoping that someone else in the crowd was better qualified to deal with situation that was unfolding.

One of the main things I remember about my childhood was people telling me how pretty I was. People would often say to my mum, ‘Oh isn’t Ivy such a pretty girl’ or ‘She will be a heartbreaker when she grows up.’ These are, in fact, some of my earliest memories. I remember how proud mum would look as she bent down to stroke my shiny blonde curls, ‘You’re my beautiful girl, aren’t you?’ I would always smile and feel slightly awkward; I was terrible at receiving praise even then.

The more I heard it, the more it became part of the list of qualities that I learnt to attribute to myself as time went by. In my pre-teens, that list also included qualities like ‘clever’ and ‘talented’, but these swiftly faded and were replaced by ‘lazy’ and ‘overweight’ by the time I was about 12. And suddenly ‘pretty’ was all I cared about. It was like I felt it was the only one left so I better work really hard at it. I used to spend ages fantasising about being the most beautiful girl in the world, like a modern day Frankenstein’s monster, body parts of various popular culture goddesses sewn together and coated with a perfectly airbrushed finish. But, at some point, a ‘harmless’ yet constant  stream of daydreams started to take their toll – around that time, the bingeing began, and I started to panic.

Ella

As I scanned the room, I realised I had been stood there on my own for, what felt like, at least half an hour. If you multiplied that by how much of an idiot I looked and then a bit more for the awkwardness of it all, I had probably been standing here for about 7 days straight.  I had also become incredibly aware of how short and uncomfortable my dress was and the fact that my cheap, knock off ‘Spanx’ kept rolling in all the wrong directions, every time I moved – even if that was just to move from one foot to the other to stop the excruciating pain from my ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.

I checked my phone again. I have no idea why as I only had one bar of signal that kept fluctuating up and down, so it was unlikely to be of any use to me. Looking around I could see the problem. Apart from where the staircase came down in the middle, the room was completely enclosed and had no windows, due to it being situated a few meters underneath street level.

I looked over to the direction he had walked in – hoping to see him walking back towards me with two drinks in his hand and an apologetic look on his face. But all I saw were men in blue jeans with white shirts talking to pretty women with orange skin, with varying degrees of success.

It must have been about 20 minutes now. I stood on one foot like a flamingo and rotated my ankle. I didn’t know whether to stay put or go and have a look for him. Maybe he was in trouble or had been chucked out? As I released my foot back down and took a step forward, I felt my phone vibrate. It was a text from Ryan.

‘Where are you going?’

OK, I thought, trying to be funny and pull a prank on me. I looked around in a circle from where I was stood, but still couldn’t see him. I wasn’t amused, but I wouldn’t let on, I didn’t want him to think I was as boring as all of his previous girlfriends.

‘Haha you got me! Where are you?xx ’ It took a few attempts to send, but when it did I still wasn’t sure, as I didn’t get a reply. It was really starting to piss me off now. I walked over to a nearby sofa and sat down on the cold leather, avoiding the hole where the Gaffer tape had been vandalised, leaving the sticky side exposed and grubby.

As I sat and rubbed my calves, I remembered that we had sat here the first time I had come up to visit Ryan. We had spent the night drinking way too much vodka and laughing until we cried. I smiled as I remembered the way we danced and shouted to each other over the invasive thud, thud, thud of the bass. The way his gaze was permanently blinkered in my direction – I had the reigns and I knew it.

Another text.

Airbrushing & Mental Health

Beauty, Lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized

So let’s talk about airbrushing and photo editing. I think by now most people know that photo editing is EVERYWHERE. From the Amaro filter on your Instagram selfie to the photo shop experts giving people face lifts from the comfort of their office chairs.

And why is this? First and foremost these images are always selling something. Whether it’s a product, a person or a concept they are always trying to make us buy into it. And by choosing not to use real images of real people they are telling us that real people are not good enobeyonce-leaked-unretouched-photos_2015-02-18_23-33-44ugh to sell their products. They are selling an unrealistic and unobtainable image of perfection.

Editors can change images until the subject is completely unrecognisable. It starts with deleting a blemish or two and finishes with elongating the limbs and changing the colour of someone’s skin.

The recent ‘scandal’ was the leaking of some photos of Beyoncé – before they had gone through the digital ‘perfecting’ process.

I really don’t see what all the fuss is about. ‘Oh my god! Beyoncé is a real person with normal skin!’. This is the kind of species we have become. We build human beings up to God like proportions and then we dig away at them until we can bare their imperfections. But the media has made us this way. Before we were constantly bombarded by an incessant stream of millions of these so called ‘perfect’ images of beauty, there were only a few of these big stars and their beauty was considered to be out of the ordinary, special. You can liken it to exams at school. Before the media took over our lives a select few people were achieving an A* in the physical beauty stakes. But now, due to editing, everyone is expected to achieve an A* at all times. Even the so called ‘real people’ in magazines are airbrushed. But now, people want to walk around as a photoshop version of themselves, bathed in photographic spotlight and blurred with a subtle but noticeable filter.

We are consistently told that we are not good enough. But they do this to make us want the products they are peddling. The beauty industry, in particular, wouldn’t survive without an unhealthy dollop of human self-loathing.

“You have terrible skin so you need to cover it up with our new foundation!”

“You’re thighs are far too big, we will slim them down with Photoshop!”

“your face has too many wrinkles, buy these poisonous injections to get rid of them!”

“The model in this advert is beautiful, you will look like her if you buy this!”

I am happy to admit that I love make up and Instagram filters. I enjoy the whole process from purchase to application to selfie. But do I really enjoy it or is the brainwashing so deeply embedded into me that it has become a part of who I am?

Extreme use of image editing makes the world a very confusing place, especially when you are growing up. I remember ploughing through endless glossy magazines and comparing my weight and looks to each one. I knew they had all been edited but it didn’t seem to matter. I would spend entire days looking up what the weight and height of celebrities are and then comparing myself to images I could find of them on the internet. I would vow that in 6 months time I would look like them – but that is not physically possible.

I find this subject really interesting and I could write for hours about it, but I just wanted to get this out there, in case there are girls and boys reading this that are taking drastic measures to look like the images they see in magazines. They are basically just artistic portrayals of what the editor has been brainwashed to think is a beautiful human.

Would love to hear what your comments are on this subject below

The thing about huskies is…

Animals & Pets, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

…they are amazing animals. For anyone who thinks that they are just another breed of dog, this just isn’t true.

I know we all think our dogs are special. For most people, they become just as much a part of your family as your siblings or parents, and who can forget the loss of their first pet? If we are lucky, it is our first taste of grief and loss, and it is all the more difficult because our pets love us unconditionally and they don’t (usually!) argue back.

I have had other breeds of dog through my childhood, but it wasn’t until I moved in with a pack of huskies that I realised that they were the breed for me.

First of all, I would like to say, this doesn’t mean that I’m saying everyone should get a husky for a pet. In fact, I’m saying that only particular types of people can cope with the demands that these little beauties have.

So… what makes them different? 1382930_10153301677400302_1701292655_n

  • They are part wild and still retain many wolf instincts. This means that many of them still have a prey drive and will chase and kill small furries like cats and rabbits.
  • They need to stay on the lead. People say that they let their huskies off the lead – and that’s fine for them, they can do what they like, but I won’t be doing it. 9 times out of 10 they probably will come back to you, but that 1 time in 10 their prey drive could kick in and they will just keep running and running (they love to run) and either kill an animal or end up under the wheels of a car – or just plain lost. To me that just isn’t worth the risk.
  • They are escape artists. They will try and dig or climb or squeeze through the smallest of gaps just to escape and then run like mad. It’s just in their nature. They can also jump up to 6ft from standing so anywhere they are left unattended has to be very secure with very high fneces/walls. 941570_10153729949380302_1396387664_n
  • The above also means you have to be very careful when entering and leaving the house – any vigilant husky will spot a gap and go for it!
  • Now, lets talk about the fur situation. They don’t just shed, it comes out in handfuls of dense fluffly undercoat. They have 2 major sheds per year, but if we have weird changeable weather it can just be coming out and regrowing non stop! If you want to own one, make sure you have a good hoover and lots of lint rollers for your clothes. In the height of them shedding you may need to hoover twice a day. The struggle is real.
  • I love them because they are so intelligent and full of personality, but that also means that they can be tricky to train. One day they might pick it up and do it very well and then suddennly they just decide they don’t want to do it anymore. One of my boys, Yoshi, is so stubborn that sometimes we have to actually push him along the carpet to put him out for a wee at night! Other days he moves straight away – I really feel that they are very mood driven.
  • They are incredibly loving, but, they see everyone as a new friend so often don’t make very good guard dogs!
  • They are often very difficult to train to walk nicely on the lead. If you get them from very young and work hard with them I have seen it done, but it is no easy task. They were originally bred to pull sleds very quickly, so they have an innate instict to run and pull. There are different types of lead and head gear you can use to combat this – but NEVER use a choke collar or anything that will hurt them. This is barbaric and cruel, only gentle products should be used like Halti’s or Gental Leaders.
  • They tend to be much happier in a pack or with companionship – it is thought that huskies should really live in at least pairs to be truly content in their surroundings. It is very common for them to experience separation anxiety and stress, bear that in mind when thinking about your work schedule and how much time someone will be at home with them. 12662670_10153347731772765_1211464806935643095_n

If all of those details haven’t put you off then I also have more advice for you. Do plenty of research and please try to adopt from a rescue organisation. There are so many unwanted dogs in the world and the unlicensed breeders are just profiting from this culture of neglect that society has created. If you are considering any pet, please try to consider the impact that will have on your lives and whether or not you can keep a safe and loving home for them for the next 10-15 years. If you can’t then please don’t get one.

Help a neighbour by walking and spending time with their dog. Go to an animal shelter and volunteer your time to help with the animals. But don’t start a life of possible cruelty and neglect for an animal, just because you didn’t take the choice to own an animal seriously enough.

I adopted both of my boys and it was one of the best things I ever did! I adopted Yoshi when he was 10 months old (the white one) he is now 6. Then I adopted Cooper when he was 3 and he is now also 6. They are both crazy fools but I love them so much and can’t imagine life without them.

5426_10153347744397765_9023552981007034799_n

Please let me know if you would like to hear more about or see more of my dogs (althugh I won’t tell Yoshi as he is already very big headed) or hear more about huskies in general. Please feel free to leave me any comments. Oh and if you could like, share and follow I would be most grateful – it would be lovely to think that this may help somebody somewhere in the world!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time 🙂