Check, check, then check again!

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For my first proper post of 2017 I was going to post some cute pictures I took of puppies playing in the snow, but stupidly stressful things happened which I decided to talk about instead because it’s all I think to talk about right now.

On Wednesday I was in the shower, doing the usual washing of the hair etc and I did what every person should do and that is the monthly breast check for any oddities. Well, I found an oddity. This oddity was a solid lump in my left breast.

So I carried on showering, and it was only when I was shaving my legs (“possibly” for the first time in a month) did the panic set in. As any person who shaves knows, shaving is a dangerous business, and it’s even more so when your hands are shaking with anxiety driven adrenaline. I carried on like everything was normal, with a few extra cuts than before, and then I told my mum what I had found.

Now in 2013 my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and, while she was incredibly lucky in the fact that she’s cancer-free now and everything is fine, the paranoia that it might happen again is strong in both of us. So when I told her it was off to see me doctor later the same day.

The doctor wasn’t my usual one so it was a bit awkward getting my boobs out for her, but you do what you’ve got to do when you’re a hypochondriac with a long family history of cancer. In that appointment I also found out that the lump was actually quite sore. I think I was too numb from shock to realise that before.

The doctor told me that while it’s probably due to hormones, as my period had only ended a couple days beforehand, but because of my family history I should go and get an ultrasound of the area. I got an appointment for the ultrasound for Friday, so I had a day of tense waiting to do.

I was thinking of this situation like Schrödinger’s cat: I didn’t know whether the cat in the box with the poison was dead or alive, so it was both dead and alive before I looked inside the box. Meaning, since I didn’t know whether the lump in my breast was the evil demon of cancer, or just something benign, I thought of it as both harmless and deadly until I was told otherwise by professionals.

On Friday the ultrasound came around and I was freaking the f**k out! It was made a lot worse due to the fact that this was the exact same thing my mum went through with her cancer and when she went to get her scans done  and she ended up getting a surprise biopsy while they were at it. I didn’t want that! I’m bloody petrified of needles!

It turns out I had nothing to worry about at all. All that happened was the doctor put cold gel on my breasts, scanned them, and found absolutely nothing. Nothing. At all.

I had two responses to this, the first one being sweet, beautiful relief. And the second, irritation. I panicked, cried, and nervous ate for that! The doctor said it was probably hormonal, so that means I went through all that merde for nothing!

That night I consumed chocolate and Baileys, lactose intolerance be damned!

So, you may be wondering if there’s a moral to this story, and there is:

Check your breasts regularly, but, if you find something, don’t panic! There’s a 90% chance it’s something relatively harmless. Just get it checked out by a doctor, and only start panicking when you actually know there is something seriously wrong.

Also have some sort of support system to go through the trauma with you, because it helps to know you’re not the only one spending three days stuck on the verge of a panic attack (which is something I’ve got to thank them for, so thank you parents, Joe, Jess, and Jamie!).

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Makeup or Mask?

MAKEUP IS SIMPLY AN EXTENSION OF THE PERSONALITY AND COLORS, CLOTHING, MAKEUP ALL EXPRESS SOMETHING.When I started Sixth Form it was at a completely new school where I knew nobody at all. I used this to my advantage and remade myself. I turned up wearing thick foundation and concealer; my skin looked almost clear. No one knew that beneath the caked layers I had bright red blemishes and ugly purple acne scars.

This use of makeup continued. I never went to school without wearing makeup, even when I had a cold and my nose ran more than Usain Bolt. Even when I woke up with only half an hour to make it school because I slept through my alarm. Even when I my anxiety got so bad there was a 50/50 chance it was going to be cried off. I continued to hide beneath my makeup.

It took well over a year for the friends I made at that school to see me without makeup, and when they did I couldn’t stop apologising. I don’t know why though. It’s my skin and they don’t have to deal with it. They probably didn’t even care.

I realise now how much I hid behind that makeup. It gave me this sense of confidence that I never have with my bare skin, but also this sense of fear of people’s reactions if they saw the ‘real me’. There’s a fine line between when makeup is a way to enhance your features and when it’s just a mask. I think I crossed it.

After I left Sixth Form I stopped wearing makeup completely for a while. It wasn’t fun anymore; it was just a chore. I only saw my friends and family and I didn’t need to impress them. In a strange way this did help me feel more confident. I grew to accept my poor, blotchy skin and didn’t care as much about what people thought of it.

Over the past few months the condition of my skin has improved dramatically, to the point where I don’t really need to wear makeup. But now I want to. And I think that’s what makeup is supposed to be.

You should be able to feel comfortable enough to go in public without makeup and not care about what other people think. If you do wear makeup it should be a choice, something you actually want to do. It’s a form of creativity, a way to boost your confidence, not something to hide behind.

So here is me…

WITHOUT MAKEUP

What you see above is me both with and without makeup. A year ago I would have never have done this, but now I don’t mind. Both of them are me.

What’s your opinion on makeup?

Thursday 14th January 2016

 January 14th, 2016 was a tiring and emotional day for me. Many things happened that day, and I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while so I didn’t have to think about them too deeply. But I know I need to write this, for me more than anyone else.

I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

This was the day I had my first therapy session. I had been anticipating this day for a couple weeks and I had been panicking about it the entire time, so when the day came you could say I was a tad bit anxious.

Before my appointment my friend messaged me and told me Alan Rickman had died at the age of 69. Alan Rickman was one of those actors I had always wanted to meet, and not just because he played one of my favourite characters in Harry Potter. I wanted to meet him because of what I had heard about this personality. He seemed like an amazing person with a hilarious personality. So when I found out he had died I admit I did start to cry. I also thought of this quote from him I had heard ages ago, and that didn’t help…

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Unfortunately, not long after I found out about that, a different friend messaged me and told me they just had a panic attack, so of course I had to help them with that. So I was pretty much giving my friend tips with what to do after a panic attack (and there are actually ways to help after a panic attack) while I was crying on and off.

Then it came time for my therapy appointment.

I was a big mess of emotions when it got around to it, so much so that I almost had a panic attack on the way to the appointment. Luckily I calmed down quite a lot by the time it got to the session, otherwise it would have have been a lot more draining.

My therapist is lovely and very straight to the point, which I definitely appreciate. We went through practically my entire life story, and I do admit I did cry at some points. She gave me hope that I can do things in the future I stopped believing were possible, such as go to university. In one session she helped me a lot.

Afterwards I was unbelievably drained in every possible way. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone because I just didn’t know what to say. My mind felt as if it was both entirely blank and yet filled with millions of thoughts. I was sad about the loss of a great actor. I was worried about my friend. I was hopeful about my future. I was tired beyond belief. I was scared because I have so far to go. Shutting down my brain wasn’t easy that night.

My next therapy session is tomorrow and I just pray I don’t cry again.

New Years Resolutions for 2016

2016 ResolutionsI’m usually one of those people who scoffs at the idea of New Years Resolutions, as not only are they normally the typical sort of things such as losing weight or quitting smoking, but they never really work. If I knew at this time last year I would have my own resolutions I would have thought I had been brainwashed. I haven’t. I’m more desperate than anything else. Desperate for change that is.

Here are my resolutions will hopefully lead me to the change I need:

TRY THERAPY – This is at the top of my list, which shows how important I view this. I have clinical depression and anxiety, both of which I am fully medicated for, but all I have had to deal with it is medication and the support of my friends, family, and boyfriend. But over the past six months I have been slowly considering going to therapy. While before I didn’t really think it would help me, now I think it’s necessary to at least try it.

BE POSITIVE – With depression my thoughts become clouded and dark quite often, sometimes due to the chemical imbalance which is screwing with my brain, other times because my brain is just stuck thinking that way. I want to reduce this darkness a lot so I can be happier.

GO OUT MORE – I have very little drive to do anything. In fact I’m forcing myself to write this so I can actually get these thoughts out of my head. So, as you can imagine, getting myself to go out is a challenge, especially when you add anxiety into the mix. But I want to try and go out more, just so I can say, “I did something today that didn’t involve binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.”

START STUDYING – Over the past two years I have failed at making it to my AS-Level exams twice, due to, again, mental health. This year I want to try again, and succeed at getting to where I want to be.

COMMUNICATE MORE – I’ve always been one of those people who is incredibly lazy when it comes to talking to people and replying to messages. This is even more important since pretty much all my friends are in England and messaging each other is one of the few ways to keep up our friendships. This year I want to at least try and speak to people more.

BECOME MORE ORGANISED – I am a messy person by nature, even though I hate when things are disorganised. It actually makes my anxiety worse too because I like being able to see tidiness and know where everything is. That’s why I need to try and be more organised.

BECOME HEALTHIER – I may be a vegetarian, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I’m healthy. I tend to skip meals and each a lot of junk food, especially chocolate, and with just having Christmas you can imagine how much chocolate I have leftover. Chocolate is my nemesis as I am lactose intolerant, meaning it makes me feel sick and makes my skin break out in horrible spots. So being healthier is needed. I might even exercise too! (I just snorted loudly at that).

BLOG MORE – I enjoy blogging a lot. I love the community, being creative every time I make a post, having something that shows all my handwork. So I want to blog more this year. Or at least blog more than I have been blogging in the last few months.

STOP PROCRASTINATING – I procrastinate pretty much everything, from eating to getting out of bed, and I think that needs to stop. I want to get things done! I don’t want to spend my days doing nothing!

So those are my New Years Resolutions. Some of them are quite serious, but that’s why I created this blog, so I can be brutally honest about my life in hope that writing my thoughts down will help me deal with them.

I want to know if you have any resolutions this year, or at least what your opinions of them are.

I hope you had a great 2015 and have an even better 2016!