Mental health · Rambling · Uncategorized

Getting my sh*t together


These past few months have been rough. I’ve struggled A LOT.
Fortunately, I am currently in the best place (mentally) I have been in a long time. Since April, my outlook has totally changed. I’ve truly been living my best life. However, I am still finding ~life~ challenging. The year is over half-way done, and still only half-way there in terms of getting my act together again!
My previous posts have sung the praises of my medication, but I have actually stopped taking meds for my mental illness. Whilst this has had positive implications (I’m able to cope with life, woo) it’s unfortunately made my insomnia a lot worse.

I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t do it all. I’ve felt crushed to learn to respect my ‘spoonie’ life, to realise I have to stop ‘biting off more than I can chew’, and that there’s some things I simply cannot do.
I am so lucky in that I have received a lot of support from the staff at my university. My subject director held an intervention with me to discuss how best they can support me, and highlighted to me that I “need to ask for help”.
I’ve been making a martyr of myself in an attempt to ‘do it all by myself’. She showed me there’s no reason I shouldn’t ask for help, and that by striving to be ‘independent’, I’ve caused myself difficulties I did not need to.

In light of this, I am applying for PIP, to try ease the pressures I face. This is a very scary reality for me, regardless of the outcome. I will either qualify for PIP, and because of the stupid stigma my stupid pride will take a knock, or I won’t, and I will keep struggling on, physically, emotionally, and financially, (which is unfortunately where a lot of the health problems I face stem from in the first place!).

She also highlighted to me that the rather difficult situations I have found myself in late 2017/early 2018 take a lot to recover from. Many things in my life have been put on a “backburner” whilst I prioritised recovery. Some days getting out of the flat and down to the local shop to get some food was a huge feat. And that’s okay! Some horrible things happened that ripped me down to my absolute rock bottom but it’s meant I have had to rebuild myself. I’m stronger and better than I’ve ever been before, but instead of trying to ‘do it all’ I’ve been gentle with myself. I’ve taken things ‘one at a time’ to avoid getting overwhelmed. Each new thing I pick up needs to be carefully added into my life, instead of me running around, spinning too many ‘plates’ until they all crash and fall because I burn out (basically what happened for me to end up at ‘rock bottom’). Someone very dear to me who has come into my life recently has shown me I can “do more by doing less”, by committing myself more fully to one or two things, instead of spreading myself thin by trying to do it all. They encourage me to listen to my heart and follow my dreams, and I am very grateful to have them in my life.

I was granted a three week extension on my university deadlines, and was able to utilise that to finish my first year. Admittedly, I did not get ‘good’ grades, but I passed and I am working with my tutors to develop a support system and ‘plan of action’ to ensure I can tackle Year 2 without the problems I have faced in Year 1.

I feel that a weight has been lifted now I no longer have to tackle looming assessment deadlines. I have not allowed myself to despair over my somewhat disappointing grades, but instead, I’ve celebrated the relief the year is over and that I have actually passed! I have a beautiful summer stretched ahead of me; I am taking this time to set down the paving stones that will help me better access university when I return in September.

I have also learnt to ‘make time for myself’, so over summer, I will be attempting to practice better self-care habits to avoid future burnouts/breakdowns/bad situations.
I am also currently luxuriating in my free time, spending it with new friends and old. One of my favourite things about currently rebuilding myself is the opportunities it has presented me to begin fostering new friendships, and to spend time with old friends. I haven’t had the time to spend with friends prior to finishing university (expect for those who attend university with me, who I could see during my ‘breaks’ from studying). I feel very lucky now to have the opportunity to see friends over summer, but also very lucky I have friends who have understood that I have needed to ‘disappear’. In the past few weeks, I have been able to see 2 of my best friends who I haven’t seen since January. This has done me a world of good, and I am so so grateful to Euan and Liv for understanding that I quite literally haven’t had the time to see them. I’m so grateful too that they can understand that merely ‘keeping going’ can suck up so much time that trying to ‘make an effort’ is a mammoth task.

I have dragged myself out of hell over the past few months. I have had some horrible things happen to me (which I won’t detail on my blog) but they have shown me my strength, and to have self-respect.  I have learnt to re-prioritise my life, but that doesn’t happen overnight. Slowly, I have been “getting my sh*t together”, and I’m very hopeful about how the future looks.

Recovery is bloody hard, but I’m made of tough stuff.


On my way back to the light ❤
-Amari x


My day – November 2nd 2017!

Hi guys! I’ve had a super busy day today and I thought I should write about it! (Even though I have uni work I promised myself I would do – whoops!)
I woke up early this morning as i had a meeting with my academic tutor, Gary. I’ve missed some of my lectures due to stress and illness, so he wanted to check in and see how I was doing. One of the things I love about studying at York St John is that the pastoral care system is great! With the support I’m accessing, I’m sure I’ll overcome the challenges I’ve recently been presented with.
After my meeting with Gary, I picked up my fluoxetine from the nearby pharmacy and walked into town. I stopped by the Vodafone shop to buy an SD card, and ended up having a really lovely chat with a technophobic old man and the salesman. They were both exceptionally lovely, and laughed at my inability to navigate technology despite being merely 18.

After that, I headed to ARGOS to pick up a new phone charger and laptop mouse. I wandered around town, trying to find a veggie-suitable but budget-friendly sandwich for lunch. I also made the mistake of going shopping when hungry, resulting in me buying £6 hot chocolate from Whittards. I suppose the fact I eventually sourced a cheese and onion pasty from Poundland for my lunch somewhat makes up for that haha. Despite the chill in the air, the sun was shining and the weather had a brisk, autumnal feel. It was really beautiful walking through York.

I headed back to my uni, and had time to kill, so went to Coffea, my hiding-spot nestled in the shops near the university. The cafe was way busier than when I’m usually in; the owner, Katerina’s friends had come over to visit her at work, plus other lunchtime patrons. I settled down to people-watch with cup of tea and teacake, when a customer came into the busy cafe. He commented on how busy it was and Katerina pointed out the free seat next to me (knowing I wouldn’t mind). He was insisting he’d get his coffee and sandwich to go when I called over “Don’t be silly! This seat is free and I don’t smell funny!”. I introduced myself, and we got chatting. I found out his name was Mike and he teaches at a local Quaker school. He told me about his job, I told him about uni. He showed me photos of his incredibly cute dog Rosie. We had a deep chat about the ‘state of the world’ but all the positives and freedoms we have that people fail to appreciate; in Britain now, I can safely be out as bisexual, whereas when Mike was my age, that just couldn’t have happened. I’m very lucky to live openly. We also fangirled over the massively underrated film Mr Nobody and I told him about my obsession with John Wyndham and the love of sci-fi I share with Benjamin. It was really fabulous to have someone to “geek out” with over obscure science fiction haha. When he finished his meal, he paid for my tea too, refuting my objections because “the student loan system is a shambles”. I was taken aback, and very grateful, for his generosity.

I still had time to kill when he left, so I remained seating, scrolling through instagram, when the lady opposite piped up “I overheard you say you’re studying Counselling.” She divulged she was studying a PhD in counselling psychology and we chatted about that for a good while until I needed to leave. It was really interesting talking to her about her experiences, and her thoughts on the various counselling practices and theories.

After leaving Coffea, I went across to student finance to find out more about how YSJ can support my fundraising for China. I felt horrendous when the woman I spoke to started crying, but also very moved, as she told me her friend had recently been admitted to St Gemma’s (the hospice I’m fundraising for). It was striking to see the very real impact the charity has on people outside my immediate family, and reassured me that the money I’m raising will make a real difference. St Gemma’s is a phenomenal charity.

I decided to pop into the Students Union on my way home, and luckily, managed to corner all three of the Presidents to have an impromptu meeting. They were so receptive of my fundraising ideas, and really keen to support me. I started the ball rolling on some fundraising events for China, but also was able to promote a scheme they are going to get involved with with York Nurturing Community. I felt very positive and empowered after the meeting.

My friend Aneesa was fundraising in the SU again, but she looked dog-tired so her friends and I persuaded her to come home instead of continuing with Isoc. They had enough manpower to handle it, and would have been packing up soon. She begrudgingly agreed to come to mine for a cup of tea, which turned into a 3 hour heart-to-heart. Aneesa is a lovely person and I’m so glad I have met her.

She’s gone to do some work now, and although I should also be doing uni work, I’m sat here with my (totally worth it but expensive) hot chocolate and I’m going to make myself some food.

Today has been a really good day, full of interesting and lovely people. It’s been one of those days I’ve felt truly happy and grateful to be alive.

I’m glad November is going to a positive start!

-A x


My day – October 10th 2017

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind so I thought I would make a post about what I’ve been up to.

I woke up early this morning and called my boyfriend for a little bit of a chat, as he had a 9am lecture and was in university most of the day so i knew we wouldn’t be able to chat much throughout the day. After Benj left to go to his uni, I made myself some porridge, got dressed and checked my emails.
Finding I still hadn’t received an email I was supposed to receive on Friday, I rang up the Recruitment team at my university, and was informed I “probably hadn’t” got the Student Ambassador role I was interviewed for last week. I was absolutely gutted, and rang my mum to have a bit of a moan, as I felt the interview had gone really well, and was so disappointed I didn’t get the job.

Benj and I had decided to get a pet Giant African Land Snail if I got the job to have income to support myself and our pet snail. Grudgingly, I informed the lady we had reserved a snail with that we were not in a position to care for them. (She was completely understanding and wished me luck on my job hunt – I found her through a facebook group I would highly recommend joining if you’re a fan of GALS/considering one as a pet!)

At 11am, I made my way into uni for a seminar. The first half was delivered by two representatives of ‘York Virtual School’ who were hoping to recruit a few students to undertake a work placement with them. The opportunity to mentor a young person is a really exciting one and I’m definitely going to aim to get a placement through their ‘Inspire Project’. Their talk about the hardships faced by children in care was extremely moving and made me appreciate how lucky I am.

The second half of my seminar consisted of a fun team-building exercise (building a tower out of plastic straws) and reflective practice. After the seminar, I arranged a meeting with my academic tutor as I was feeling a lot of stress about not being able to find a job and finances. I will be meeting with him tomorrow to hopefully find some solutions 🙂

After my lecture, I went to meet some friends as we were helping the LGBT Society raise money for via a bake sale. The fundraising was very apt as today was World Mental Health Awareness Day so consider this a gentle reminder to look after your mental health folks ❤

Whilst I was helping out at the bake sale, I received a phone call telling me I had been misinformed this morning, and I was actually recruited for the Student Ambassador role. I was absolutely elated, and rushed home to get the relevant documents so I could come back into uni and complete the paperwork they needed me to do. (Don’t worry, it was only twenty minutes before I was down to leave anyways, and sales were quite quiet when I left the bake sale!) I was so, so happy that I had the job, it took a weight off as I’m under a lot of financial stress at the minute. My rent is due next week, and as my student loan doesn’t cover my accommodation costs, I will end up in overdraft, which is far from ideal. I also need money to ‘live on’ and unforeseen events like needing new shoes and having to buy household items has screwed up my budget a little bit. (Despite working two jobs over summer, the money i had saved worked out at roughly £20 a week to live on. When you have to fork out for £7 for coathangers and pillowcases, £2.20 per laundry cycle, £50 for some new shoes, the budget soon isn’t feasible).

This morning, due to the financial strain I’m under, I got in contact with York Nurturing Community about their ‘Pay-As-You-Feel’ scheme in the hopes I would be able to work a shift at their pop-up-cafe in exchange for some food. Although I am probably not going to have to rely on a food bank to access food now that I have secured a job, i will still be meeting with the manager on Thursday to discuss how I can help out with the YNC cafe and how they can help me when I’m struggling to afford food.

After completing my paperwork for the Student Ambassador role, I headed home. I had a fiddle on my ukulele and my flatmate, Jules, kindly cooked me pizza for tea. (I normally do the cooking, so it made a nice change). After tea, I headed out. I was planning on attending a recruitment evening at the local LUSH store, but anxiety got the better of me, and I ended up only making it to the Porter’s Lodge on campus where we send our post. I’d received an email earlier that day telling me a package had arrived for me. I assumed it was the birthday present I had ordered for my friend. I found out it was actually a care-package from my lovely friend Euan, containing vegan chocolate, earbuds, a sack (yes a SACK) of tea and a can of febreeze. I actually teared up when I opened it up and read the thoughtful messages attached to each item. I’m so lucky to have such cute and generous people in my life ❤

This evening I mainly played Puppy Luv (i have no shame in admitting the kids’ game is a source of comfort for me) and also read ‘first steps in Counselling’ by Ursula O’Farrell to compliment my studies.

I will be calling Benji to say nanight soon so I better end this here.

Today has been an emotional rollercoaster, but served as a reminder to look after my own mental health, and stressed how important access to support networks is!
I hope you’re all okay, and i’m here if you need a sympathetic ear ❤

-A x

Rambling · Uncategorized

Hello October! – 2017

Today marks the first day of October 2017!
Next week I will have been at university a whole month, which is very exciting.

I will hopefully be travelling home at the end of the month to celebrate Halloween with my family. Halloween is my favourite holiday and I am super excited!
Let me know if you have anything cool planned for this spooky celebration!
I’ve been fascinated with Halloween since I was a kid, as according to some, it’s a time when the veil between the living and the spirit worlds is at its thinnest ~ooooh~

Death is something we as a culture seem to have a very complicated relationship with. One of my goals this month is to apply myself more to my fundraising for my Great Wall of China trek for St Gemma’s Hospice, where my grandad John sadly passed away in 2015. October is also Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, which is a rather taboo subject that needs to be discussed more. That said, I have little experience with this deeply emotional and saddening topic, so would suggest SomethingRosier or OneDayofWinter who have much more meaningful contributions when it comes to infant loss. It’s a horrible, heartbreaking thing, but it does happen and it NEEDS to be talked about.

My additional goals for October include continuing to work hard towards my degree, and making the most of the beautiful Autumnal weather going on currently. I aim to continue exploring my faith and identity, and to reach out to people more. I’ve been struggling to ‘put myself out there’ due to my anxiety. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Benj as he’s my rock and I feel comfortable with him. But this means I haven’t been pushing myself to try make friends. Last night, I went to the Student Union with some members of the LGBT society, who were all super lovely, so I am hoping to build a connection with them and start attending the LGBT society regularly as I’ve been ‘chickening out’ of going to meetings.

October is such a beautiful time of year, and I’ve very excited for the opportunities and adventures it has in store for me.

-A x

Rambling · Uncategorized

Moving to uni!

On September 9th I moved to York to start my university-career and I have been busy as heck since then!
That faithful Saturday was spent unpacking, and I had a sleepover with my friend Jas at her accommodation as none of my flatmates had moved in and I went too nervous to spend the night alone. I’m glad Jas took pity on me and let me stay with them haha.

On the 10th, my flatmates moved in and I spent some time socialising with them. They all seem really nice, which is relieving seeing as i’m living with them for the next year!
On the 11th, I went to my first lecture, which was very chilled out and mainly just ice-breaking activities and an introduction to the course.
I went for lunch with some of the girls after the lecture, and met one of them, Melissa, for drinks on the Wednesday evening of that week. I also attended my first Quaker meeting in York on Wednesday the 13th which was really lovely. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly!
On the Thursday 14th, Benjamin came to stay. I treated him to cupcakes at Crumbs Bakery for breakfast on Friday and we bought each other promise rings to celebrate our anniversary ❤ I had a short lecture at lunchtime, and afterwards, Benj and I joined my course peers and tutors at the pub as a ‘getting-to-know-you’ activity.

I spent the weekend with Benj. A text from Melissa triggered a spontaneous night out in Hull at Spiders nightclub. It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to have Mel to travel back to York with on the Sunday. Our bus was snazzy as heck, it had free wifi and a table. (Yes I’m very impressed by a bus!)
Monday the 18th brought with it a lecture, and a boatload of homework. I felt somewhat overwhelmed by how much work we had to do already, but I cracked on with it and got it all completed on Wednesday, before nipping across the Coffea (a cute cafe near my uni) for a brew and a chat with the lovely lady who runs it.

So far I am loving uni, even though it’s a bit chaotic. My course seems to be the perfect course for me, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m still finding my feet, but I’m settling in nicely.

Rambling · Uncategorized

What I’ve done this month – August 2017

Despite my best intentions to be more regular in updating my blog, I’ve been super busy this past month. So I thought I would post about what I’ve been up to since my last update.
As my last post shows, I spent the first weekend of August hanging out with Benjamin, my boyfriend. My month has consisted mainly of hanging out with Benj, working, and getting prepped for uni.
Highlights of August have included:

August 11th – I was given the day off work so I spent the day with Benj for his birthday <3. We hung out with his mum, gran and sister, visited a cute cafe and had a chippy tea. It was a very cute day celebrating my love turning 19 and he was super happy with his present: cereal, an umbrella and the new Cribs record. I had planned to keep the vinyl a surprise but being the Cribs Superfan he is, Benj was about to buy it when I decided to tell him I’d bought it haha.

August 15th – I spent the day at Harewood House with Benj and his family. As part of his birthday present, I bought him a penguin feeding experience. It was amazing to feed the cute lil penguins with him and spend time strolling through the historic house and gardens!

August 17th – August 17th was the dreaded A level results day! I’m really proud of myself for achieving B, B, C in my A levels! To celebrate, I went to Spoons with Benj and a few friends, before we all headed back to mine for tea and fig rolls B) It ended up being really quiet – of the twenty people invited, there was just me, Liv, her boyfriend, Liv’s friend Hannah, Isaac and Benj. But it was really nice to hang out with them, listen to music and chill. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to celebrate the end of A levels.

August 19th – I slept over at my lovely friend Katya’s. We watched crazy Russian movies, drank and had a good laugh. Miss her lots.

August 22nd – I spent the day in York with Benj, as I had two job interviews there. (Unfortunately I didn’t get the jobs!) But we had a lot of fun. We scouted out some great cafes, and Benj was given a free coffee by the owner of a small cute cafe near the YSJ campus so it’s now a firm favourite.

We set off early in the morning in order to be there on time. We snooped around lots of shops and I bought a cute new jumper for uni. After spending the day in York, I was worn out so we got the train to Leeds at about 5. Due to a ten minute delay, we missed the train home, so Benj treated me to sushi whilst we waited for the next one. He’s an angel and I’m lucky to have him.

August 24th – I went out for a meal with my family to celebrate my brother’s awesome G.C.S.E results.

August 25th – I went on my first proper “night out”. We had prinks at Benj’s mate Arran’s house, before heading into Leeds. By 1am, I was tired and ready for my bed haha. Turns out I am not a big club person!

My month has been a lot of fun, and a lot of prep for uni next month. My August days have been filled with packing, working my butt off, and making the most of the summer. Next month brings with it university, independent living and I’m sure, the opportunity to create many more fantastic memories. All I can say is BRING ON SEPTEMBER!
A x

Rambling · Uncategorized

My weekend – August 4th-7th 2017

As a result of working full time and being uber busy getting ready for university, my blog has been neglected a little bit recently. So I thought I would write a post about what I’ve been up to this past weekend as a little update!
I had the day off work in Friday so I met my lovely friend Tom for lunch after waving goodbye to my parents. (They went away on a romantic break to Barcelona this weekend). It was really nice to catch up with him! We also did a spot of shopping and I got some bits for uni and part of Benj’s birthday present.

After a few hours with Tom, he walked me home and I picked up my bag as I was going to a party Benj was hosting. We got the train together and chatted about friendships and how special it is to have someone who understands you deeply. He headed home and I got the bus to the city centre. As I suffer with anxiety, house parties full of strangers are not my idea of a good time! It was my first time meeting a lot of Benj’s friends and they were drinking (something which generally puts me a little on edge). Luckily, they were all super friendly! And perhaps more luckily, when I panic-induced-texted my friend Liv, she was free and offered to come to the party with me. (I thought she was in London so hadn’t invited her). I am so grateful to have that lil bean by my side. She’s always there when I need a rant, and was super supportive of me on Friday.

As I said, Ben’s friends were all really nice so we stayed up late mingling. I was super tired at work the next day but it was definitely worth it. After work, I came home to a letter from my friend Katya! She included a bracelet from Sheffield Pride as I wasn’t able to attend with her. A sweet present from such a sweet friend! Ben arrived at mine for about six and watched TV whilst enchiladas cooked in the oven and I finished up my work from an online course I’m doing. (I’ll be blogging about it later when I complete the course!) Looking over at him watching Rick & Morty as I typed made me reflect on how lucky I am to have someone so laid back, supportive and loving by my side.

We ate our enchiladas and watched Kiss The Girls. It’s a really good film! It was weird seeing a “young” Morgan Freeman though. Afterwards, we curled up in bed, a lil’ freaked out because of the nature of the film, and chatted til we fell asleep.

I had work on Sunday and sold lots of pretty flowers! My mama picked me up after work and we had a catch-up. I ate tea at hers and discussed gender and the future with my brothers. I got the bus over to Benj’s and we snuggled. We watched the Blues Brothers whilst cuddling the cat. So many people have recommended the film to me and I can see why! It was a feel-good film with lots of great music. The absolute babe Carrie Fisher also features which makes it a win with me. The plot of the film and the nonchalant attitude of the protagonists made me reflect a lot on my own attitudes and spiritual beliefs. I’ve been researching Quakerism recently and feel drawn to it. A lot of the beliefs held by Quakers align with my own. It’s been amazing finding something structured that helps me. I’m hoping to attend a meeting when I go to university as I’m currently too busy with working to attend 😦

I stayed over at Benj’s Sunday night. We woke up, had cuddles and breakfast, followed by a quick shower. We had been wanting to go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a while and I was so excited we finally getting to go together that I actually turned down Ben’s offer to make me a cup of tea. (Anyone who knows me well knows this is a testimony to how giddy I was!) We set off, grabbing a picnic from Sainsbury’s between buses.

YSP was so pretty! Benj and I strolled around hand in hand, encountering lots of sheep and fancy art. To make the day even more perfect, I petted two extremely cute doggos and we saw a cat chilling in the woods. We had a cute picnic and took lots of photos. #HipsterCoupleGoals

We bought some postcards to send to my Aunty in America, and in reply to Katya’s cute letter. I felt super sad saying goodbye to Benji even though I will see him soon as the past few days had been so perfect. (Forgetting to take my meds Sunday morning probably didn’t help – whoops!)
I was rather grumpy and tired when I got home but Benj persuaded me to go to a yoga class and I’m so glad I did. Because I’ve been so busy recently, my yoga practice has also been impacted and I haven’t managed to get to a class in a few weeks which has definitely affected my mood. My normal practice is Ashtanga but I felt a bit daunted by that, so I went to a Hatha class to ease myself back into yoga. I felt so much better for going! The class pushed me but I was also super proud of myself for a) going when I felt so down in the dumps, and b) achieving some quite tricky poses even though my practice has gotten rusty. I’m hoping to get myself to a Yin class tonight 🙂

I better get off to write my postcards! I hope you are all well and please get in contact if you feel so inclined! I will be attempting to update my blog more regularly. – A x