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I Finished My Degree!

Hi guys!

I’ve gotten the urge to write a bit on my blog again and first thing’s first – I FINALLY finished my degree!

I know there’s only like 100 odd people who follow my little blog, and most of yous haven’t been here since my first posts, but I began this blog back in the winter of 2014, while on a foundation year for a degree in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex. In total, I’ve been in further and higher education for the past 7 years – yes, SEVEN! At 19 years old, I jumped back on the education bandwagon after dropping out of school when I was 14, and am now 26 years old and have finally completed my degree. If you think about it, it actually ended up taking the expected amount of time – 2 years for GCSE’s, 2 for A levels and then 3 for a degree is the norm – and it took me 7 years too. I went a bit of a different route though – starting with a year doing intensive GCSE’s in Mathematics and English alongside an Access course to Higher Education in Biological Sciences, followed by a year spent on the foundation year of the Physics & Astronomy degree at the University of Sussex, followed by a year spent studying A level Physics & Mathematics from home, followed by a year spent on the foundation year of a degree in Physical Sciences at North Hertfordshire College, and then finally 3 years on a degree in Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire.

It’s been a very long journey, and I didn’t expect it to be such a long-winded, twisty path, but I think every step was necessary to allow me to be in the position I am now.

I’m hoping for a 2:1 – my possible degree classification grade range is from 56.5% – 74.9% based on my degree classification safety net and based on the 6 pieces of work I have left to receive a mark for. I was so dead-set on getting 70% (a 1:1, highest possible grade classification for a degree) for the entire time I’ve been back in education, but I’ve done my very best and I’d genuinely be happy with a 2:1 (60-70%). I think I’d feel pretty upset if I got a 2:2, not going to lie about that, and feel insanely happy if I somehow managed a 1:1 (EXTREMELY unlikely given the amount of questions I couldn’t answer in the 3 exams and that I’d need something like 90% or more in them to get a 1:1 overall at this point), but I feel comfortable with a 2:1, knowing that it was the best I could reasonably do without losing my mind in the process!

I can honestly say that I’m really, really flipping proud of myself aswell. For many different reasons.

1. I may be lucky to not have any extreme disabilities or any incredibly disruptive situations at home that would greatly impact my degree, but I have had a lot of mental health problems for this duration that have definitely affected my learning. I’ve also not had any friends or family nearby (actually, I don’t have any super close friends altogether) so my support system hasn’t always been the most in place. I’ve also experienced a lot of hurt in my last relationship for these past 7 years, including several break-ups, and a year ago our engagement was broken off. It wasn’t the path I wanted for the relationship, which has meant it has been EXTREMELY difficult to focus on my degree for this final year. Coronavirus has also impacted my exams and the majority of my second semester pieces of coursework.

2. I could have worked harder than I did during my degree, but I still worked harder than I thought a human would be capable of in the same circumstances I have been in honestly, and looking back, how good some of my grades are is actually shocking considering how extensively my mental health and personal life was impacting my life at the time, and I think it would have been entirely normal to have deferred the second half of this past year of my degree altogether.

3. Some of the grades I have received this past academic year include 100% in all 3 of my particle physics assignments (2 problem sets and a presentation), 96% in my condensed states of matter assignment ( a problem set), 95% in my space dynamics interim workbook submission, 92% in my computational physics star formation report, 92% in my quantum mechanics coursework problems, 90% in my quantum mechanics presentation and 90% in my cosmology practical.

4. My grade average for second year was 53% (I really struggled mentally last year and had to defer a lot of work – this also means this grade average doesn’t include the module Quantum Mechanics that I deferred to do that this year instead). My grade average this year (including the Quantum Mechanics module and its weighting, and not including any marks I haven’t gotten back yet) is 69%. I have raised my grade average in final year, the most challenging year of a degree and whilst struggling with mental health problems and a failed 6 year relationship, by 16%. I am so incredibly proud of that!

It’s been an insane journey – astronomy never ceases to fascinate me, and I’ve learnt about so many different interesting topics.

I’ve learnt what topics in astrophysics I really, really do not want to pursue unless it’s in my free time and is entirely non-obligatory, and the topics that really amaze me, and that I yearn to delve deeper in and explore further than I have done. It’s given me a bit of sense of direction, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I’ve learnt that I sort of really do not enjoy being obliged to study pure physics topics, and would much prefer to learn and read about those topics in my free time. I’ve also learnt that I really enjoy (and am quite good at) data sciences, and aswell as still enjoying astronomy in general and astrobiology, I also really find cosmology fascinating.

I’ve learnt how important ecology is to me and the need for me to somehow integrate that into my life in order for me to feel fulfilled.

I’ve learnt that I am absolutely rubbish at exams and exam based,ย  face-to-face, taught, conventional education – and that that’s absolutely okay!

I’ve learnt I’m really, really good at coursework and research, and that I learn better with having just a few face-to-face taught interactions, and most of the time learn better and produce better work when I work fairly independently – at least for astronomy.

I’ve learnt that although I am capable, I’m not mentally well, and so I am less capable than a healthy person is and will therefore struggle more with the same work, and am likely to do worse in some pieces of work due to this despite working harder, and that that is also okay.

I’ve learnt that full time education is a bit of a pressure cooker situation for me due to my mental health, and leaves me with absolutely no time whatsoever to focus on any hobbies at all. I haven’t read a non-university related book in around 6 years. I haven’t played a computer game in maybe 4 years. I haven’t watched Star Trek – my favourite TV series of all time, in maybe 3 years. I’ve learnt only 10 seconds or so of a song on my guitar that I’ve had for 4 years, etc, etc, etc.

I’ve learnt the impact of my mental health on every aspect of my life, and that it absolutely must come first if I’d like to soon be capable of having enjoyable, fulfilling days.

I’ve learnt that I absolutely WILL stick to and complete anything I really want to, but that it will take a lot of time and work.

I’ve learnt that just because I am fully capable of commitment, not everybody else wants the same things as I do, and that I shouldn’t base my decisions on a life with somebody who thinks it’s wrong to prioritise love.

I’ve learnt that I am beautiful, inside and out, and that I only require myself to believe in that for me to feel it.

I’ve grown, and my life has changed a lot, but in other ways, it and me are exactly the same. Before I started my education journey, I was single, and am single again. I started it out without friends around, and again, don’t have any friends around me. I started my journey out homeless and again, I’m without a home. I started my journey off independent, determined and strong, and again, I am independent, and hopefully the determination and strength will come with a bit more time.

So, that’s first thing first!

TLDR; I finished my degree, it took me FOREVER, it was difficult because I have bad mental health and my relationship failed, but I’m hoping to get a 2:1 and am proud of myself.

– Storm

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10 Biggest Relationship Mistakes People Make

Hey guys!

I’ve been in a long term relationship for a while now, so I thought I’d use my small bit of wisdom on the topic to help you all avoid or remedy the 10 biggest relationship mistakes that people make.

I hope it helps some of you out!


  1. They expect their partner, or a potential partner, to be what they are not.I’ve spent a MASSIVE chunk of my sort-of current relationship completely putting my partner up on a pedestal – thinking he was a prince and that I was his princess and that everything would turn out perfectly like a literal Disney movie. Well, that was very wrong. He has his flaws. He has A LOT of flaws in fact, and they aren’t going to ever change or go anywhere. They are a part of who he is, and aspects of him that I “put up with for now” are in reality things that I will have to put up with for as long as I am in a committed relationship with him.

    We have to be careful to avoid black and white thinking too though. He’s also not a terrible person! He is kind and sweet, and it is all too easy to demonise someone when you realise that they aren’t this idealised version of them that you’ve created in your mind.

    This mistake has cost me a whole lot of time, energy and joy. If there are parts of a person that you don’t like right now – whether that’s their hair style, the way they like to spend a lot of time by themselves or the fact that they really hate commitment, you have to realise that these things might genuinely never change, because maybe that person LIKES those things about themselves!

    Nobody is going to change something about themselves if they like or value or don’t have an issue with said thing. Not even for YOU! They are who they are because that is exactly who they want to be at that given time, and you have to respect them enough to truly believe that.

  2. They develop a case of “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. 

    When you’ve become so accustomed to the things like the home you live in, having a best friend who you live with, being able to travel because of the fact that they work, the fact that they make and bring you dinner everyday etc, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “Well, maybe somebody else could provide / satisfy ______ that my current partner isn’t”.The truth is though that finding somebody you’re compatible with isn’t very easy. Yes, there are billions of people in the world, but that large number narrows very quickly when you take into consideration the fact that a lot of those people are already taken, a lot of those people won’t be your preferred sex/gender, many of them won’t be within a reasonable distance of your current location, many won’t be within your preferred age range – and that’s BEFORE weeding out the ones who you aren’t physically attracted to, the ones your personality doesn’t mesh well with and the ones who you just don’t enjoy the personality of. And then there’s being compatible in other ways – dietary, religious beliefs, your love languages.

    My point is, the grass often ISN’T greener on the other side. Yes, sometimes it is, but it often isn’t, and I think this pattern of thought is destructive and leads to being only half committed to your relationship because of the idea that there might be someone better for you out there.

  3. Being dishonest with each other and themselves. 

    I am a very very big advocate for 100% honesty in a relationship, and frequently express my feelings and opinions to my partner, and also do a lot of self-reflecting by myself.My partner on the other hand… Although it isn’t his intention, he doesn’t find it very easy to be 100% transparent and honest with himself or with me, which causes massive bouldering problems down the line that may have become almost impossible to resolve anymore because of how entangled the issue is with everything.

    It just is really really bad to not be 100% obvious with your partner. They can’t read minds and only know what you feel or think about something from you telling them that you think or feel that way! Delaying or avoiding communication with your partner just causes a lot of hurt down the road.

  4. Not focussing on yourself & self development enough when in a relationship. 

    I am SO guilty of this! I’ve spent the majority of my relationship so obsessed about the relationship itself and about things that my partner weren’t doing or were doing that were upsetting me, that I just sort of neglected to actually save enough energy to grow as a person much myself.That’s not to say I haven’t grown much in terms of my views or anything like that – I purely mean things like gaining new skills, making new friends, visiting family frequently, joining clubs, volunteering, getting jobs, learning to cook new recipes, learning new instruments etc…

    Fretting and obsessing over a relationship is extremely isolating, and you will GREATLY regret getting so wrapped up in it all. That’s not to say that enjoying the fact that you’re in a relationship, are in love etc is an issue. Enjoy it! Just make sure you keep the amount of time you’re thinking about your relationship to not the entire day – not even half the day! Try to limit your relationship stuff to maybe a MAXIMUM of 4 hours of your day, so you get AT LEAST a whole 75% to yourself, your friends or whatever else you want or have or should have in your life that ISN’T relationship related! Honestly, closer to 3 hours is probably better.

    What I mean by this is 3 hours of your THINKING TIME! You have 16 hours a day not just to DO things, but you also spend that time thinking – and it is that thinking that can become very very draining and obsessive.

    Another way this can become an issue is if you’re spending all of those 3 hours thinking about said person, without actually being present with them. That’s also very unhealthy and leads to a very warped and unreal view of the relationship because the majority of it is just fantasised and thought about in your head! Keep the thinking whilst NOT present with your partner to an hour or so a day. This is very difficult to control but it’s important enough to really give it a good try!

  5. Allowing your relationship to “peak” too early. 

    I think one of the biggest secrets to a successful, happy relationship is keeping a steady pace. Yes, you want it to be exciting at the start, but that doesn’t mean you want to be spending every moment together only to feel a bit down when 5 years later you realise your partner hardly ever chooses to spend their time with you at all!I think it’s best to be on an incline. You should always be growing together and have new, exciting ideas on the horizon. You shouldn’t be making really good andย exciting steps forward (like spending a good amount of time together), only to then take those same, progressive steps back later down the line.
    Don’t get lazy! Your relationship should be worth MORE down the line, and therefore be worthy of MORE achievements together and MORE enjoyment when time is spent together, as opposed to less.

  6. Not learning about love languages. 

    It’s easy to feel hurt when your partner isn’t really showing they care about you in the same way that you show them that you care about them, but it shouldn’t be too hurtful. Maybe it comes less naturally for them to show you love in that way. Maybe they are showing you love in other ways that you find less meaningful, but that hold the most meaning to them.Partners should learn about each other’s love language and how they work right near the beginning of their relationship together to avoid hurt feelings down the line! It’s also easier to adapt your behaviours at the start of a relationship than it is to unlearn / learn new patterns of how you show love when you’ve been having the same patterns for years!

  7. They say they’ll do something, and then they don’t. 

    This could be something small, like “I’ll send that letter after work!”, or something big, like “I’ll be happy for us to get married in a year’s time!”The only thing that happens when you don’t follow through with what you say is that you end up damaging the trust your partner has in you. It may only seem like a small thing at the time, but little by little, you’re creating cracks in the foundation of your relationship.

    If you say you’ll do something, that you believe something, feel something, think something – make sure you really mean and follow through with those things. Don’t endlessly disappoint and hurt your partner. If you’re not 100% sure that you really do think or feel a certain way or that you will do said task, don’t voice those things at all! It’s far kinder to not say the things that you think your partner wants to hear, when you don’t really mean them, than it is to just not say anything at all. It will also keep their trust for you growing throughout the relationship, rather than declining!

    Also, being untrustworthy is quite frankly annoying for your partner and wastes their time. Be respectful toward them!

  8. They get into a relationship without working on mental health problems. 

    This is a difficult one, and I’m sure isn’t the most popular of opinions. This comes from my own experience. Neither me nor my partner are very mentally healthy, and would definitely have benefitted from working on our own mental health before getting into a relationship with each other.Having mental health issues warps your entire perspective of everything that’s going on in a relationship. Now, I know that a lot of mental health conditions can’t be fully “cured” or might take a very long time to improve, and I’m not saying that mentally ill people don’t deserve to be in a loving relationship.

    What I am saying is that if working on your mental health / them working on their mental health / both of you working on your mental health is something that you realistically could do before getting into a relationship, it’s something you probably should do. Because, once you’re in a relationship, it’s MUCH harder to find that sort of quality time to invest in improving your mental health.

  9. When they don’t appreciate how special their partner is.This is similar to some of the past mistakes in this list, although it isn’t quite the same as getting “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome, and isn’t quite the same as getting lazy in the relationship. This mistake is directly related to what you see in your partner.

    Let’s put this another way. If you currently have a partner, and truly imagine them really enjoying being happy and in love in a relationship with somebody else, how does that make you feel?

    When you imagine those sorts of situations, the things you adore about your partner and find special about them and the things that make you feel so proud that they’re your partner, suddenly become much clearer. The same thing should happen when your partner imagines the scenario where you are in a very happy, loving, successful relationship with somebody else that adores everything about you.

    It’s important to realise that you chose your partner for a reason and you have stuck with them for a reason. They are special, unique, beautiful on the outside and inside, understand you, took care of you when nobody else did.

    Again, that’s not to say that this is the case for everyone, but in a lot of cases, I think people lose sight of the sparkling diamond that their partner is, and take advantage of how precious they are.

  10. When both members of the relationship give up the fight, and stop trying. 

    It can be very difficult to pick a relationship up when it feels really battered and damaged, when you’ve lost hope and faith and trust, when you no longer feel that child-like excitement about what comes next, when you’ve settled into the rut of just maintaining the status-quo.It is hard, and quite frankly, when you’re feeling so down about your relationship, it can feel pointless to get up and try again. Sometimes it just feels like a one-sided, losing battle.

    And you know what? It shouldn’t be that hard. Nobody is wrong in thinking “Perhaps it’s time to give up and call it a day” when a relationship gets to this point. You’re all right in thinking that it should be simpler than this.

    But the fact is, it doesn’t always go according to plan.

    Just because maintaining a health relationship would be simple in an ideal world, that doesn’t change the fact that in reality, keeping your current relationship healthy and happy at this moment in time is difficult.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is wrong. Maybe you were young when you got together – not really knowing what you’re doing can lead to the foundations of your relationship to have been laid poorly, causing ruts like this down the line.

    Or, maybe you and your partner are just quite different to each other, and think quite differently to each other. If you still think each other are special and if you still have a tiny spark of hope left, then this isn’t a reason to give up. Sure, you’ll have to work harder than other couples who just seem to “fit” perfectly together, but not meshing perfectly with your partner doesn’t mean that they aren’t the perfect partner for you.

    If you stop trying, the rut you’re in will only get deeper, darker, more oppressive. You have to bring some life and joy into your relationship. You HAVE to give your relationship the time it deserves. You need to spend time really thinking about how you can build this back up again, and you need to spend the time and energy to actually follow through with your ideas. Don’t give up!


Storm

 

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After Day 6 Of Working On Me.

Hey guys!

Yesterday I managed to achieve 10 things toward developing myself into a healthy version of me!

 

 


 

1.) I took my weight! This has literally just become routing by this point ๐Ÿ™‚

2.) Made myself a proper, good breakfast consisting of cereal, a coffee and a bottle of water.

3.) I drank a bottle of water! Again, standard routine by this point!

4.) I put a load of laundry on in the washing machine.

5.) I hung up lots of wet laundry to dry.

6.) THIS is the exciting one of the day guys. I always seem to have one thing that I’m pretty chuffed about and excited about. So basically, I had been watching the Kon Mari method on Netflix and so I decided to try it myself. I washed all of me and my partner’s clothes and piled them all into separate piles on the bed, and proceeded to alternate picking one item to go into the keep pile, one to go into the discard pile (depending on whether the item truly sparked joy or not). Our aim was a 50% reduction in our clothes, so this method worked really nicely! At the end, we allowed our imperfect selves to grab anything we REALLY wanted from the discard pile, so I think we probably got rid of around 40% of our clothes at the end. After doing this, me and my fiancรฉ ended up putting away SOME of my clothes using the Kon Mari way (so that we could fit as many clothes into our storage areas as possible etc), but I basically ended up with a massive pile of clothes on top of my dressing table ever since that Kon Mari session that never ended up being put away. Finally, yesterday me and my partner put ALL MY CLOTHES AWAY IN THE KON MARI FASHION! I mean, I’m so happy I could legit cry about this achievement. I sat there for probably 4 hours straight folding and putting away my clothes. The photo is just a sample which is the drawer with all my tops inside and a few jumpers.

7.) I drank another bottle of water.

8.) I uploaded another picture onto Instagram. This time it was just a screen shot of my phone’s background, because I think one’s phone background really showcases a lot about an individual! It also allowed me to give a moment to express my appreciation about my fiancรฉ buying me the phone ๐Ÿ™‚

9.) I drank another bottle of water.

10.) I drank my final bottle of water (adding up to 2.4 litres in total for the day).


 

Thank you so much for reading!

Today I hope that I will do some studying, henna my ends, take a bath, upload another picture on Instagram, clean my mirrors and windows and any hard surfaces and that’s about it.

For Instagram, I think I might start aiming to upload photos of myself actually DOING things, rather than just selfies or photos that don’t have me in them at all… I think photos of people actually doing things kinda shows a little window into that person’s life and are really personally expressive!

I will update you all tomorrow to show you what I got up to doing today ๐Ÿ™‚

Storm

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After Day 5 Of Working On Me

Hey guys!

Yesterday I achieved just 7 things toward developing myself as a type 4 on the Enneagram.

Here are the things I achieved:

 

 


 

1.) I weighed myself.

2.) I drank a bottle of water.

3.) I picked up my new glasses! So excited about this one. My new glasses are absolutely perfect for me – they are the perfect shape on my face and make my face look lifted and cute and interesting (a cat eye sort of shape), and they are a gorgeous warm green colour (which brings out the colour of my eyes beautifully. They also have an anti-glare coating on them to help me see a bit better when light reflects off of things in the room. I also managed to get them for under ยฃ50 (which is the price of the cheapest glasses that Boots Opticians do) which I was happy about because I changed from Boots to Specsavers to save myself some money. They’re a really beautiful subtle frame and don’t overwhelm my soft facial features and tones at all. They just absolutely couldn’t be more perfect, and I’m so happy with them!

4.) I drank a bottle of water.

5.) I drank another bottle of water…

6.) I used a Lush face mask! First I washed my hands super thoroughly, and I then scrubbed my face using a pair of exfoliating gloves and the Bouncy Bunny Shower Jelly from Lush for 90 seconds. I rinsed my face thoroughly and then applied the Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask from Lush thickly enough for there to be SOME opaque areas (particularly on problem areas like my nose). I left the mask on for 12 minutes and 30 seconds, and then rinsed it off thoroughly. This mask was really brightening and helps to clean the face and soften out any discolouration, but was also very drying.ย  Anyway, I really enjoyed pampering myself and using some of my Lush!

7.) I drank another final bottle of water.


 

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I had hoped it to be because, well, I think picking up my glasses took a lot of energy and time out of my day honestly. Today should be a bit different I hope ๐Ÿ™‚ We will see.

Thanks,

Storm

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After Day 4 Of Working On Me.

Hey guys!

Here’s your update on how I did yesterday in terms of developing myself…

Yesterday I accomplished 9 things toward trying to make me be myself at my best!

 

 


 

1.) I weighed myself in the morning.

2.) I ate a nice, satisfying, low calorie breakfast.

3.) I drank a full bottle of water.

4.) I uploaded a photo to Instagram! This one is exciting because I have accumulated SO many photos in my life but haven’t really done anything much with them – even on my Instagram I only have 20 photos uploaded! It is a photo of my kitten Kepler ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this is definitely a step toward expressing my personal self and little things like this will help me develop into a healthy version of me for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

5.) Drank another bottle of water.

6.) Drank ANOTHER bottle of water.

7.) Put a load of laundry in the washing machine and switched it on.

8.) Hung up a SH*T load of laundry! I had 4 shopping bags FULL of laundry needing to be hung up – with another being washed and that finished being washed before I had finished hanging up the laundry… I just really let this pile up due to my mental health, so this was definitely a challenge.

9.) Drank another bottle of water (totalling 2.4 litres). I know this one is boring to you guys but I’m really proud that I haven’t slipped yet with keeping my water intake as 1.8 litres or more each day, since the first day I started working on myself. I used to despise water so even though it’s such a basic thing, I’m proud of myself for trying this hard!


 

That’s all! I have no idea how today is going to go because today my fiancรฉ is home, and when my mental health is bad I always find it much, much more difficult to do anything at all when he is at home. I think maybe it takes more energy to do things when someone else is watching or hearing you doing it? Well, I think that’s definitely the case for me at least!

Regardless, my hopes are that I achieve drinking my 4 bottles of water today, taking my weight today, having a calorie controlled breakfast, having a calorie controlled lunch, have a calorie controlled dinner, take a bath, do a face mask, henna my ends, hang up another load of laundry, pick up my new glasses, starting on and making very good progress on my Differential Equations assignment, buy some protective accessories for my new phone, post another Instagram picture, and quite frankly that sounds like an awful lot for the day!

I know for some people it would be super basic, but man, I’m not well! I wish I could easily do more than that, but just the thought of doing all of those things today is bringing on a headache, genuinely.

Maybe I could also put my pile of clothes away into my drawers, because that’s also been really bothering me.

So, those will be my focuses for today. Wish me luck! I will update you all tomorrow as per usual ๐Ÿ™‚

Storm

 

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After Day 3 Of Working On Me

Hey guys!

Here’s my daily update of how working on me went yesterday…

Yesterday I only achieved a measly 6 things toward me developing myself – and 4 of them were just drinking water! Super boring, so I’ll just go over what I did quickly so I can keep my momentum up for today:


1.) I weighed myself in the morning! This daily habit I feel has kept me really motivated and has kept me feeling a bit more put-together. It’s the little things that help!

2.) I drank a full 600ml bottle of water. Again, this is one habit that I’ve kept all of these days and it’s something I’m actually pretty proud of. Some people find it hard to drink water, but not me!

3.) I put on a load of laundry in the washing machine. This has always been “my” job, and is something I’ve fallen really behind on recently because of my poor brain being unwell. It hasn’t had a massive impact on me really because I mostly stay at home in pyjamas anyway, but my partner has really been needing some clothes! Doing this really helped me feel useful.

4.) Drank another bottle of water (600ml).

5.) Drank another bottle of water (600ml).

6.) Drank another bottle of water (600ml).


 

Super boring yesterday – sorry! I’m trying my best though which is what matters, so if my best was to just drink a bunch of water then so be it! That’s a bunch of water more than someone not trying would have had!

Hopefully today I’ll to better – I was out of bed today 4 hours earlier than I was yesterday, and also started writing this blog post around 4 hours earlier.

Here’s to hoping that the day brings lots of enjoyment, excitement, productivity, fun, happiness and health.

Storm

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After Day 2 Of Working On Me

Hey guys!

Yesterday I did 10 things that I feel kept me moving forward in terms of self development.

Again, please don’t judge me guys! I know that for some of you, some of these things are super basic but please understand that for some people, like me, these things are BIG achievements and are steps toward us becoming us at our best.

 

 


 

1.) Again, I weighed myself first thing in the morning. This is a step toward staying disciplined and having some sort of a routine, and is also a step toward caring about my health.

2.) I thoroughly washed our my kitten Kepler’s food bowl and gave him a nice meal, and also gave him lots of dry food and his cat treats. This was a step toward being more compassionate and putting others before myself (this was the second thing I did in my day) which can be really hard to do when you’re so absorbed in your own bad mental health.

3.) I drank one of my 600ml bottles of water! Sticking to this routine is another step toward improving my self-discipline and having any sort of routine is very healthy for us fours.

4.) I had a mahoosive, delicious plate of heated up leftover spaghetti bolognese for breakfast. Now I know that for some of you, you’ll be like, how is that an achievement though? Isn’t that a BAD thing? Again, for people with crap mental health, just HAVING breakfast routinely is an achievement – let alone a nutritious, tasty breakfast that they heated up and ate hot.

5.) I cut my fringe! I’m super excited and happy about this one. All throughout the day I found myself getting very, very angry at constantly having hair in my face, so I thought “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” I pulled all my hair back into a nice high ponytail to be sure that I wouldn’t cut any of my long hair that I’m trying to grow, and then I sort of put my hand on my hair and pushed forward toward my face, to get all of that irritating loose hair in my face so I could clearly see what I was dealing with. Once I thoroughly did that, I put any longer hair that I wanted to grow out of the way and behind my ears, and then separated the section which I knew I actually wanted to be part of my fringe. I got myself a good mirror and just started cutting away. I just cut it until it was pretty short honestly, but still sort of long… I can’t explain but you’ll be able to see in the picture. I’m SO happy about this!

6.) I got myself ready to go out and went into Uni. A super big deal for me, this one was really difficult!

7.) At Uni I went to a wearable electronics optional workshop, wear I made a little circuit with 3 LED’s that respond to vibration! My idea was to put the circuit in some sort of chunky bracelet or wristband, and that the LED’s would light up in response to a musician moving their wrist to play an instrument. Although I was really rushed to make the circuit, I’m proud that I made it. It was originally to have 5 LED’s but I just didn’t have the time to solder the last 2 on, and also didn’t have time to actually program the circuit to light up in any sort of sequence so it doesn’t really work as it is, but it does work, if that makes sense?

8.) I drank another bottle of water! Yay for health! Yay for routine! Yay for self-discipline!

9.) I plucked my brows. Another thing I’m really chuffed about. It had been a while since I had last plucked my brows and they are so much prettier now!

10.) I drank another bottle of water! So same as yesterday, I had 3 bottles altogether making 1.8 litres. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to keep up this little routine so far because it is really difficult for me.


 

That’s it for yesterday! I know for some of you it will be hard to see but I have achieved a lot in the past two days. I went from someone that felt disgusting, fed up of life, extremely depressed, having low self-worth and low self-esteem to someone that actually feels pretty, and feels like they deserve to be pretty and look decent enough to go out into the world, and deserve to have their health cared for… I feel much less depressed already although I still have a super long way to go to climb up the levels of self-development that four’s on the Enneagram have.

Tomorrow I will update you all on what I achieved today. I don’t expect much though because it is already 13:11 and I haven’t done anything yet! I will do my best though ๐Ÿ™‚

Storm

1

It’s Time For My Tryptophan!

And I’m scared.

Not scared of the pill itself, I’m just…

Scared of this journey.

I’m scared that it will actually work, that self-medicating myself with Tryptophan will actually make me feel better.

WHY DOES THAT SCARE ME?!?

I’m scared of losing this massive part of me.

I’m scared of not being ill enough to have my struggles diagnosed…

It feels like I’ve been through SO MUCH, and that pretty much NOBODY has helped me, nobody has listened to me, nobody has given me the support I’ve needed (besides my partner) – I didn’t even reach the point of being brave enough to have a Student Need’s Assessment so that I could have more time for exams or some leniency with deadlines (I don’t think I’ve ever finished an exam paper due to time constraints and my mental health problems.)

I’m disappointed in myself for not having sought out more help than I have done while struggling, but at the same time, I’m disappointed for all the times I’ve sought out help and HAVEN’T been helped.

I don’t know, it just feels really scary and like…

It’s like I haven’t been able to function as a normal human being – my partner does everything for me, I’ve never had a job and I’m 25 years old, I’ve had to take FOUR DIFFERENT LEVEL 3 COURSES (Access to Higher Education Diploma, two University Foundation Years and Intensive A-Levels,) to FINALLY get onto the first year of a degree.

It’s just been so dysfunctional and abnormal – but that’s become my normal.

I think I’d find it hard to live up to the expectations of being a healthy, intelligent, high functioning adult with the world as their oyster.

I know this all probably sounds ridiculous and at my worst I do wish that it would just go away, but now that that might become a reality, it just feels very odd.

I’ve lost all my friends over this, I’ve lost all my hobbies to this, I’ve lost SO MUCH TO THIS.

What if just taking Tryptophan solves it all? Would I feel like all I’ve lost to mental health problems was just… For no reason at all?

Bearing in mind aswell that this is a depressed person speaking and depression, for some reason, kinda wants you to spiral downwards, to make the choices that exacerbate the situation etc. It’s self defeating. It WANTS to win.

The idea of just simply being happy, healthy, capable, sounds…. Uncomfortable.

I’m literally trying to convince myself and talk myself into trying to treat my mental health problems. How stupid am I?

It sounds so petty, doesn’t it?

It probably won’t change anything by taking this pill anyways, and this is what I’ve wanted for years so what the hell am I hesitating for?

It’s the right choice, so I’ll just do it.

Here’s to hoping my dodgy brain actually sees some improvement over the next few weeks.

I’ll update you all tomorrow, maybe, if I feel like it ๐Ÿ™‚

I know, I’ll up the ante.

If I see improvement, I can treat myself to something I really want, like… I don’t even know… Something I’d actually be able to enjoy if I weren’t mentally ill – like a good book or something! Been years since I finished a book. Kinda impossible to focus with my racing, anxious, overbearing, over-thinking, repetitive, stressful thoughts!

Storm

 

0

Taking Tryptophan For Mental Health.

Okay, so first thing’s first.

I’M NOT A DOCTOR.

I am not the most intelligent, infallible human in the world or even anywhere close.

I don’t know the legitimacy of Tryptophan.

I’m aware that the sources I have found my information from have advertisements on the page trying to sell nutritional supplements.

I’m aware of all the different articles that have found Tryptophan to be dangerous, or ineffective.

I’m aware that it isn’t supposed to be taken without your doctor’s advise.

I’m aware that you can receive Tryptophan through diet and that most people receive much more Tryptophan daily than I would since I’m on a plant based diet.

I’m aware that it shouldn’t be taken with other forms of medication.

I’m aware of the side affects of Tryptophan and of serotonin syndrome.

Bottom line: I do not really know about Tryptophan on a professional level at all, and you definitely should do your own research before blindly following what some random human online says they think is a good idea for them.

I haven’t even been diagnosed with any mental health problems.

Seriously guys, take what I say with a pinch of salt.ย 

Okay, so I think I literally can’t express the illegitimacy of my post more than this, so let’s move on to some more more positive statements about my opinions on Tryptophan ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 


 

 

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed to synthesise serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the “happy molecule”.

Serotonin pathway:

5-htp-pathways

You cannot increase your serotonin directly as serotonin molecules themselves are too large to enter the brain, apparently, so smaller molecules must first enter the brain and THEN be converted into serotonin.

One of those smaller molecules that you can take is Tryptohan!

Now for a lot of people, low levels of Tryptophan intake isn’t a problem – and don’t try to fix what isn’t causing you issues!

BUT.

Depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues HAVE BEEN CORRELATED TO LOW LEVELS OF TRYPTOPHAN.

Studies have shown Tryptophan to be as effective for depression as antidepressant drugs, but is a completely natural molecule found in food.

It has also been found useful for reducing anxiety, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, ADHD, PMS, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, eating disorders and Insomnia, mood, sleep, appetite control and memory.

So, if this molecule is so awesome and the benefits of it over using SSRIs is that it can be received through diet, then why not just eat the right foods rather than taking supplements for it?

Firstly, the best sources of Tryptophan are animal products – which makes it an especially difficult amino acid for people on plant-based diets to come across naturally.

Secondly, as the main source of Tryptophan is from animal products – those foods will also tend to be very high in protein and unfortunately serotonin and Tryptophan levels DROP after eating meals containing protein because protein blocks the synthesis of Tryptophan into serotonin.

Some foods that contain high levels of Tryptophan – such as dairy products, poultry, tuna, oatmeal, spinach and other leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, soybeans, asparagus, cauliflower, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, DO actually result in the synthesis of serotonin when consumed.

However…

Tryptophan is the least common of all amino acids in your body, yet it is one of the most necessary to be a healthily functioning human.

Things such as stress, insulin resistance, magnesium deficiency, artificial sweeteners and becoming older affect your brain’s ability to turn Tryptophan into serotonin.

 

Main point to remember:

Even if you eat a LOT of Tryptophan rich foods, LESS THAN 1% is available for serotonin synthesis in the brain. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know why – read my disclaimer above. This is just all taken from a source that I’ll link at the bottom of this post.

For these reasons, taking a Tryptophan supplement often works much better than trying to obtain Tryptophan from food alone.

Dosage:

There is no official dosage and recommendations on dosage vary WIDELY, but as little as 250mg was found to increase quality of sleep.

Mayo Clinic however recommends 8 to 12 grams PER DAY for depression.

Tryptophan comes in the form of capsules (500mg capsules are what I use) or in powder form (which is recommended if one is taking large dosages of Tryptophan.)

Most supplement manufacturers recommend 1,000 – 1,500 mg per day.

If you’re not sure where to begin, the source I’m getting this information from recommends starting from 500mg per day and then working up to a higher dosage.

Safety:

Although once upon a time Tryptophan supplements were deemed unsafe, Tryptophan is now not considered unsafe at all in and of itself.

HOWEVER…

There are potential SIDE EFFECTS of taking such supplements – perhaps for some reason your brain already has plenty of Tryptophan and taking supplements will mean essentially “overdosing” on the amino acid.

Maybe somebody doesn’t take the supplement correctly, safely or doesn’t increase their dosage gradually, and also end up with essentially a Tryptophan “overdose”.

Maybe there’s just some other reason why taking the supplement doesn’t agree with you.

Possible side effects include digestive upset, loss of appetite, headache and drowsiness.

The safety of taking Tryptophan while nursing has also not been established.

One of the biggest problems with taking the supplement that I’ve read is when people already are taking SSRIs or have recently stopped taking SSRIs and then begin taking Tryptophan.

SSRIs stay in your system for a bit of time, and the effects of these pharmaceuticals won’t just be entirely depleted from one’s system as soon as one stops taking them.

Now SSRI’s also increase your serotonin levels in the brain, so essentially, by taking Tryptophan (or another precursor to serotonin potentially, such as 5-HTP or even highly increasing your levels of B vitamins also involved in the synthesis of serotonin etc), you could very well end up having an overdose of serotonin.

THIS CAN BE VERY,, VERY BAD, and can lead to serotonin syndrome (something unpleasant that I personally experienced a while ago.)

This can cause the shakes, feeling nauseous and I even read somewhere that in super serious cases IT CAN CAUSE YOU TO GO INTO A COMA!!!

SO PEOPLE.

DO NOT TAKE TRYPTOPHAN ALONGSIDE SSRIs – PLEASE.

Cool.

Now, why should you take Tryptophan instead of the more well-known 5-HTP – also a precursor to serotonin?

Tryptophan more readily enters the brain directly than 5-HTP, and once in the brain it can then be turned into 5-HTP, and then serotonin.

Also, for some reason, 5-HTP has not been conclusively proven to help depression, and further, 5-HTP is not recommended for long term use, because it as it increases serotonin in the brain, it simultaneously depletes other neurotransmitters.

(I’m aware that Tryptophan gets converted into 5-HTP so this point needs expanding on but again, I’m just getting this from the source I’m using – if you want more detail then it shouldn’t be too difficult to do a quick search and find the information you need.)

This is why 5-HTP works for some people and then suddenly stops working – and why some people even end up feeling worse after taking 5-HTP for a while.

 

 


 

How this is relevant to me personally:

Well, I’m struggling guys.

I mean I’m really struggling, and if what is the most fundamental, physical and mental cause of the feeling of happiness is a chemical called serotonin, and a natural, safe way to gain more serotonin is to take Tryptophan supplements… Well, I’m all over that.

The thing about depression and mental health problems – or even how the brain works in general, is it’s all down to how our brain is perceiving things. Yes, sometimes really bad things actually do happen and the natural response to those things is to feel despair, but even then, there are many people who experience a host of negative experiences and never become depressed or feel anywhere near as terrible as those of us suffering from mental health issues.

It’s all down to how our brain is working.

I’d never want to be, like, unhealthily happy… I just don’t want to be finding things abnormally difficult in proportion to what the problems in my life are.

I want to be able to handle things that life throws at me well, and for little things that occur daily that are currently massive struggles for me, to not even cross my mind – like how they don’t cross most healthy people’s minds.

I just want to be happy, y’know?

I just want to be normal, happy and healthy – and to perceive everything in my life through THAT lens, rather than the lens my brain is currently seeing through.

I think how your brain perceives things is literally the most important thing in life. It dictates whether you live, thrive, are successful and happy, or whether you die… Problems with how the brain is perceiving things is the reason why people commit suicide – and suicide is a massive problem.

Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in under 45 year olds?

Did you know that over 80% of those suicides are caused by males, and that that percentage is growing?

I’m a woman by the way – just thought that this was an important factoid to throw in there.

Anyways, to literally go against the fundamental purpose of life itself, and to commit suicide – and for the cause of that to be mental health problems – and for the brain chemical that causes happiness and mental stability (serotonin) to have a 100% necessary precursor called Tryptophan that is VERY difficult to obtain through diet, and for a deficiency in this amino acid to be directly linked to a massive array of mental health problems and where studies have shown it to improve such problems…

I mean, this is really important stuff.

Like, life changing stuff.

I’m not saying taking Tryptophan supplements will make somebody who is suicidal suddenly not suicidal. I’m not even saying that Tryptophan will definitely help because again, read my disclaimer above. I don’t really know enough about this stuff to outright tell anybody that.

What I am saying is that this is just really, really important and valuable stuff to look into.

It’s really important, people.

So, I started taking Tryptophan supplements around a year ago and stopped for one reason or another. I probably just got lazy, which was very stupid of me.

I’ve been really struggling recently and did some research on different foods you should consume more of / less of to help anxiety, and bam, there it was, Tryptophan – my old friend.

I still have a ton of leftover supplements – in the form of 500mg capsules, and am going to start taking them again. I don’t know when but probably soon, and probably starting with how they recommend – just taking one 500mg pill a day at first, and then upping that to 2, 3, 4 etc, until I start to feel SLIGHT negative side effects (drowsiness was one I noticed when I took them a year ago), and then I can decrease my dosage, etc, until I find my sweet spot.

Anyway, my source is: bebrainfit.com/tryptophan-serotonin-mental-health/

It just has pretty much the exact same information on that page as what I’ve posted here but maybe you’d like to investigate the site more or something.

It was last updated yesterday (13th December 2018), and was written by a woman called Deane Alban who holds a bachelor degree in Biology, and there’s more information on her on the site aswell.

Again, I don’t really know anything – I’m definitely not a legitimate source.

I’m just trying to be the healthiest me that I can be.

Storm

 

6

Waking Up At A Good Hour

Today I woke up at around 07:10 AM.

For most people, that’s a fairly normal time to wake up – or even a bit late!

For me though, it’s super, super close to my ideal time to wake up (07:00) and I’M SO MUCH HAPPIER TO HAVE WOKEN UP AT THIS TIME THAN TO HAVE WOKEN UP WHEN I NORMALLY WOULD!!!

It’s absolute bliss to watch the sun rise above the horizon.

It’s absolute bliss to have the low, bright, warm, morning sunshine beaming through the window onto my face.

It’s absolute bliss to wake up and see the Sainsbury’s car park out the window being absolutely empty, and slowly watch it become more and more busy as people wake up and begin their day.

It’s absolute bliss to feel NORMAL.

To not feel behind everybody else.

To feel like I have a lot of options with what to do with my time today.

GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY! ๐Ÿ™‚

Storm