3

Depression Triggers

Following on from my last post…

I also have depression. Yay!

And I get depressed a lot.

Sometimes this can be worsened or brought on by a “trigger”.

I’m going to list some of my triggers – maybe the list will help some of you know what sort of things to AVOID if you have someone in your life who is also suffering from depression, or maybe it can be something you can relate to if you have depression, or something that can educate you, or entertain you?

I dunno guys, use it however you will.


 

1.) My relationship with my partner not being exactly how I want it to be. Maybe I overthink the situation when he doesn’t give me enough attention, which leads to me feeling really un-special, unattractive, plummets my self confidence, makes me really dislike myself and my life and wish my relationship was more than it is and ugh… Leads to depression. Guys, just to clarify, my partner is amazing. I’m just a person who needs a certain amount of attention from their partner to actually feel like I’m wanted so when he isn’t feeling very affectionate towards me, it brings on my depression haaaaaard.

2.) Not waking up at a good time. You know how nice and, well, NORMAL it feels for most people to simply wake up at like 07:00? On a full 7-8 hours of deep, undisturbed sleep? Yeah, that doesn’t happen to me. This is the earliest I’ve been awake in a while – and it’s around 10:15. I go to sleep at maybe 03:00 at night. My sleep is disturbed because I always go to sleep super anxious, and watch maybe 3 hours of TV in bed before sleeping. Before bed is usually when I discuss problems I had in my day with my partner, so I also normally go to sleep really down and ugh… It’s just proper screwed up and disorganised and it’s really really difficult to wake up happy after sleeps like I have!!! I should be in bed at 23:00, without any electronics or anything, after having taken a bath and after having a GOOD evening with my partner and a really productive day, and then just actually fall asleep easily for a good 7-8 hours. That’s all I need. It really sucks starting every single day late. Caused by depression and induces depression, a beautiful cycle. This also leads to me sleeping during the day and having an even less productive day and leads to even more depression and leads to my night sleep causing me to actually be over-rested, so I also always wake up with a headache and feeling unwell. Amazing.

3.) Not doing well on my degree. I’ve been missing SO many lectures recently because of my lack of energy and my weird sleeping pattern. I’ve been hardly working, and earlier this week I received the first grade that I’ve been very unhappy with this Semester. It’s okay, I’ve come to terms with it and have thought of a way to level out my grade to bring it back up, but it’s just upsetting. I have an assignment I wanted to hand in tomorrow that I haven’t even started. It’s just never-ending work which is just almost impossible for somebody with mental health problems to actually succeed with. I just feel lazy and really disappointed in myself for not doing better, and I know everybody else just views me as lazy and unreliable as well. It’s easy to judge what you don’t know or don’t care to understand.

4.) Not having a great support network. I don’t have any close friends whatsoever. I have my partner, my mother, my little sister, my little brother, my older brother, my older sister and my father. That’s every single human being that I feel I can turn to. I also have my niece and nephew but y’know, they’re kids. I plan to get married next Summer or possibly the Summer after, and those are all the people (minus my little sister who’s in America, and my partner who will obviously attend) who I will invite. With me having full power to invite whoever I wish, 7 people, at maximum, will attend my side of my wedding. I mean, it could be worse, I could have a small immediate family. The problem is though, that as I said before, my little sister lives in America and well, the rest of my family all live in Glasgow (I live in London), so they’re not exactly super close. I hardly see them. I hardly speak to them. It sucks.

5.) The fact that my anxiety is kinda taking over every aspect of my life. I’ve bought bags and bags of beautiful new clothes, that have just remained in their bags for literally 2 years, all because of my anxiety. No, clothes do not scare me. The decision to just wear them when I had planned to do haul blog posts with them scare me. The prospect of all the steps it takes to create a haul blog post scares me. This is the exact same problem I have with using bath bombs I bought like, 3 years ago. Nothing in my life is simple anymore because my anxiety over-complicates EVERYTHING. Which leads to depression.

6.) Winter. I hate worrying about having the heating on all the time. I hate feeling cold. I hate the static in my hair. I hate the silence and stillness. I hate how ugly it looks outside, how dark and glum it is. I just despise it. I get seasonal depression every single year without fail, meaning that although I have general depression year round, my depression gets more severe during the winter months. Which is just lovely when everybody else is so excited about finishing up work / education for the winter and about Christmas.

7.) Just not being who I want myself to be. I feel like if it wasn’t for my anxiety and depression, I’d be who I actually want to be and feel like I AM, on the outside. I’d be able to live my life in a way that reflects my actual wants, likes, beliefs. I’d have hobbies, a good routine, friends. I’d have all the tattoos and piercings I’ve wanted to have for years, would wear the clothes I love, would go out and just be happy and enjoy myself. Instead I’m just quiet, isolated, unhappy, anxious.


 

The only ways I find relief from my depression is when things actually go right, which is kinda rare?

It’s not that I’m ungrateful – I am SO grateful for what I have. I do feel that it’s difficult for me to get things right and how I want them to be though.

I’m very critical, and am a perfectionist at heart, so unless I feel like something is basically done exactly how I want it to be done, I won’t be happy. I know that it’s bad, and is something I’ll work on.

If there’s somebody you care about who is suffering with depression, keep this perspective in mind. Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, so it’s likely that similar things will “stimulate” their depression.

My advice would be to just help. Help make things in their life easier. Help make things actually go RIGHT in their lives – whether that’s getting out of bed at the time they wish they would, or going to bed at the time they wish they would, or getting them to shower before bed so that it’s one less thing they’ll have to worry about in the morning. Whether it’s through being the support that you are and taking them out, bringing some fun and excitement into their life. Showing you care about them by making them a card, giving them cuddles, complimenting them.

Helping them get their to-do list done!!!

I think that’s genuinely the biggest way to help somebody with their depression. Go onto trello.com, create a ‘To do’ list, a ‘Doing’ list and a ‘Done’ list, and ask them every single thing in their mind that they would like to get done, big or small. Fill up the to-do list, and update it every few days with new things that they’d like to do. Help them get items moved to the ‘Doing’ list and ultimately, the ‘Done’ list. Trust me, this will help them SO much!

Storm

0

I’m Determined To Enjoy Autumn!

Hey guys!

So as you lot may or may not know, I hate the cold. I mean I really, really hate it. As in it’s 21 degrees today outside and I genuinely feel cold.

So, it doesn’t take much to make the jump from I hate the cold to I hate the colder seasons – including Autumn. It’s not that there aren’t things about Autumn that I like, rather that there are so many things about Autumn that I dislike.

So, this blog post is me trying to get myself to enjoy Autumn this year, basically.

My plan is to do something EVERYDAY that would be perfect for the season, to help me to enjoy it more.

So, here’s my first week!


ENJOY THE SEASON – AUTUMN

Saturday September 1st – Go for a parkland walk. This is something that is just SO Autumnal. I mean, walking along parkland walks is something fun to do in any season, but I just can’t imagine it being any more appropriate than when it’s all colourful outside.

Sunday September 2nd – Go to the local pub for drinks, board games and a meal with my partner. This is again, something great to do all year around, but I do find it a cosier thing to do in Autumn more so than any other time of the year!

Monday September 3rd – Meet my partner after work and go to Lush Oxford Street together to buy some cosy products to use in the bath. Obviously, again, baths are great year around – but they’re just the absolute BEST in Autumn – as are using Lush products in general. Summer is too hot to indulge in Lush as much, Spring is just a tad too warm too, in Winter the air is too cold to want to take baths but Autumn? Absolute perfection.

Tuesday September 4th – Cosy night in with red wine, popcorn, pies, face masks, baths, movies and cuddles! I love indulging and snuggling in Autumn!

Wednesday September 5th – Get myself down to the Poundland in Camden to pick up some well deserved Uni supplies! Obviously the best time to prepare for Uni is in Autumn before term time begins, and is something that always helps me to be excited for the year to come.

Thursday September 6th – Have a cosy night in to brush up on my Astrophysics course before the term begins. I’m sure this sounds really, really not fun for a lot of people but I promise, the best time to do this is in couple of weeks of Autumn you have before your course starts up again. It’s a time you’re able to actually be indoors and have the time to focus on brushing up on what YOU want to brush up on.

Friday September 7th – This would be a fantastic day to have some ciders and a takeaway while my partner teaches me some programming. I just really enjoy having cider in Autumn, and obviously you can’t beat having takeaways during this season! I also, as I said before, love studying during Autumn before term time begins, and my partner teaching me what he knows will help me to get ahead in my programming module before it’s even begun!


 

There you have it! How I’m going to enjoy my first week of Autumn. I hope I gave you Summer lovers some ideas on how you can help yourself to enjoy Autumn this year too 🙂

– Storm

1

How To Keep On Top Of Your Laundry!

Hey guys! 😀

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog post – sorry! I recently finished up at University for the year, and have since been catching up with a whole ton of chores that I let get on top of me during the academic year.

I live away from home in a cute little flat with my partner, and doing the laundry for the household is my chore. Studying for an Astrophysics degree is, well, basically rocket science right? So it’s pretty damn difficult, and has taken up almost my entire attention since the end of September / beginning of October last year. This meant that I fell behind TERRIBLY on the laundry front (and honestly, basically every front in my life, I just decided to tackle the laundry first!)

Finally, a billion full loads in the washing machine later, and I have actually managed to get all of the laundry done… As in, to fill up the washing machine right now I’d have to wash the bed sheets on my bed or something, which really don’t need to be washed right now as we changed them quite recently!

Now, you guys, you have no idea how bad the pile of dirty laundry got. It got pretty bad. So, I’ve come up with a strategy that will make doing the laundry easy, and prevent it from getting this bad ever again!:


  1. img_01681Don’t put dirty laundry onto the floor, into a laundry bag or basket or anywhere else. Do put dirty laundry STRAIGHT into the washing machine, and let it act as your laundry basket.
  2. Don’t wait to add fabric softener and laundry detergent into the washing machine for when you actually need to turn the washing machine on (if your household contains 2+ people.) Do put in the fabric softener and laundry detergent as soon as one load is finished (using a generic fabric softener and detergent suitable to wash most clothing items,) so that when you do need to turn the washing machine on, the job will be done that much faster.

  3. img_01751Don’t be super picky with the temperature, speed and setting that you wash clothes on apart from for clothes where it ACTUALLY makes a difference. Do find a general speed, temperature and setting that works for the majority of your clothes and put your machine on those settings, so that you can get a load of laundry washed that bit faster when you next need to.
  4.  

    Don’t leave clean, wet laundry in the washing machine when you have noticed it has finished its cycle. Do take out the clean laundry and hang it out to dry straight away.

  5. img_01781img_01771Don’t leave laundry out to dry for days and days and days. Do check everyday to see what pieces of laundry are dry, and bring in, fold up and put away any items that are STRAIGHT AWAY!
  6. Don’t wait until more than one full load of laundry is dirty before using the washing machine. Do check to see how full the washing machine is whenever you add in new items and when it is full, take out any odd items that won’t be suitable being washed with the rest of the items, turn on the washing machine and start a cycle.

And there they are – my pro tips to keep your laundry under control!

I don’t think leaving fabric softener etc in the machine will be a problem because we somehow come up with dirty laundry in our home pretty quickly, and I can sometimes even find myself needing to do a full load of laundry every other day! Even if some of the tips don’t look appealing to you, maybe some could be adapted a little so that they help make your laundry easier to do too!

– Storm x

2

Depression Tip #4

Depression Tip #4:

If you’re not on any medication for your depression, you should be taking supplements! I personally decided to not opt for medication when my doctor offered – SSRIs just really don’t agree with me at all. Instead, after a lot of research, I decided to begin taking Tryptophan supplements. Tryptophan is a natural amino acid that your brain needs to produce serotonin – an important brain chemical that helps regulate mood, sleeping patterns, focus, appetite, energy levels etc. The purpose of prescribed SSRI medication is to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain – taking Tryptophan supplements effectively do the same thing!

You should always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements – particularly if you are already on medication. Do NOT take Tryptophan if you are already on prescribed medication related to your mental health – too much serotonin in your system can do a lot more harm than good! 

There are other healthy ways to self-medicate from home – such as taking vitamin D supplements, taking vitamin B complex supplements, using a SAD light or using SAD alarm clock.

Taking supplements really helps me. Just knowing that you’re actively doing something to help yourself feel better feels really good!

– Storm

0

Depression Tip #3

Depression Tip #3:

Take a really thorough, long, hot shower. Bathing is something that can become very difficult for those of us with depression – but being unclean just makes us feel even worse! If you’re feeling down and haven’t showered in a while, or even if you have showered recently, almost nothing serves as a better pick-me-up than being clean (at least for me.)

Take the time to give your hair a really good wash and condition. Thoroughly wash your body. Exfoliate and cleanse that beautiful face of yours. When we’re clean, everything feels a bit simpler and easier.

Follow by drying yourself off thoroughly, applying anti-antiperspirant (if you’re like me and anxiety makes you perspire like crazy,) and putting on a clean, warm set of clothes. I personally love to leave a set of clean pyjamas, underwear and socks on the radiator while I shower, so they’re super cosy when it’s time for me to put them on!

– Storm

3

Depression Tip #1

Depression tip #1:

Brush your teeth! I know this first one is going to seem overly simple, but it’s something that definitely makes me feel a bit better. If you’ve ever been so down that even brushing your teeth feels like climbing a mountain then trust me, you’re not alone. You’re not disgusting. It’s not your fault. It’s none of anybody else’s business, and it is something you do for yourself.

It’s very easy to get into the thought cycle of “I don’t deserve to take care of my body, why would I take care of myself when I don’t even like myself? Why would I take care of myself when I don’t even care about anything at all in life right now?” I know, it can be really, really difficult.

My first tip is to brush your teeth, because it’s something that will be over and done with REALLY quickly, and is honestly something that will always make you feel a little bit better. Clean your entire mouth – you’re tongue too, and the sensation of having a clean mouth will just make everything feel a little bit less crap.

– Storm

0

Health and Maintaining Weight Loss

Hey guys!

Just wanted to write a post to update you all on how maintaining my weight loss has been going, and how I’m going to proceed from here in terms of health goals.

If any of you didn’t know, last year I began my own little weight loss journey, and completed it a few months ago. I say little weight loss journey because I only wanted to lose 15 lbs (from 142.8 to 127.8 lbs,) so the visual transformation in my body isn’t super noticeable! Regardless, I feel much happier and healthier now 🙂

I have successfully kept the weight off (exactly 127.8 lbs when I weighed myself this morning!) Below I will give 5 tips on how to lose weight based on how I managed it (I’m not a health professional by any means,) and then 5 tips on how to maintain weight.

Here are some quick before and after photos. All the before ones will be on the left and are from August 30th – September 6th 2016. All the after pictures will be on the right and are from June 17th – September 6th 2017. (Sorry they’re not clear, I can’t be bothered to edit them right now…)

I at least can see the changes! Before I looked a lot less happy and my body looked disproportionately large in comparison to my head! After I look more happy, much more shapely, healthier, everything looks proportionate and I look a hell of a lot younger in my opinion!


Tips on how to lose weight through diet:

  • Try to only eat until you feel content, do your BEST to not eat until you feel FULL!
  • Drink plenty of water – 2-3 litres a day. This is a perfectly healthy amount to drink in a day, and doing so really helps with weight loss. When we are dehydrated, we easily put on water weight because our body is scared to let any water go! Also, often when we feel hungry we are actually just thirsty or bored. Drinking water gives you something to do without causing you to gain weight, and keeps you hydrated. You’ll also feel a lot more hungry if you’re not drinking enough because your stomach will be more empty than it should be. On top of all of that, water helps a LOT with digestion, which in turn helps with weight loss and bloating. Water helps you to feel more energetic. Having the energy to move around helps with weight loss! Basically, water is amazing. Drink lots of it!
  • Try to avoid unhealthy, carby foods with low nutrient-density. Try to limit your intake of sweets, cakes, chocolate, crisps, noodles, pasta, bread, biscuits etc, and find lower calorie options where able to. Since I began my diet, I only drank unsweetened almond milk because of how low in calories it is, and now that’s the only milk I actually enjoy drinking! This change reduced my calories from 39 per 100ml of milk to 13 per 100ml of milk – that’s a third of the calories! I also really try to go for healthier options when I eat, and tend to steer toward vegetable based meals with tons of greens like kale in them. Use low calorie carbohydrates like couscous and cereal. The more nutrient dense your food is, the more satisfying and filling it will be.
  • DON’T GIVE UP! It took me a REALLY long time to lose 15lbs, and I became disheartened a lot during the process. It’s really easy to give up, but just pick yourself back up and keep going. You’ll get there in the end and trust me, it will be 100% worth it once you do 🙂
  • This might be a really obvious one, but count your calories! This is real stressful but, honestly, if you REALLY want to lose that weight then the most direct route to doing that is by counting your calories. Use a calorie calculator to see how many calories you should be eating a day to lose a maximum of 2lbs a week and do your best to stick to your chosen amount of calories everyday. This is how I lost weight and the only times I didn’t lose weight consistently was when I got lazy with my calorie counting. This method isn’t fun, but it does work!

Tips on how to maintain weight through diet:

  • Don’t go absolutely nuts with junk food just because you reached your weight loss goal! It’s really easy to feel like you are allowed to reward yourself with a good old binge on your favourite snacks and food items, but really, don’t. I mean, it’s okay to overeat every now and then but you just have to remember that for every day you over-eat during the week, a day will need to be spend under-eating in order to balance your calorie intake and outake and to maintain your weight. It’s all about balance guys!
  • Don’t get lazy and stop drinking so much water when you finish your weight loss journey. Just because you feel more full because you’re able to eat more food now, it doesn’t mean water becomes any less important! You’ll gain weight pretty quickly if you slack on your water intake!
  • Don’t change the good, nutrient dense food that you’re eating. I still eat loads of kale, tomatoes, broccoli etc, it’s just that I’m more able to also eat other foods like carby noodles, rice and bread with my meals too now. If you switch over to less healthy foods once your diet ends then again, you’ll gain the weight back very quickly.
  • Don’t stop checking your weight! It’s scary how quickly you can gain / lose weight when you’re not keeping an eye on it. I’d make sure to quickly weigh myself at least every 2 weeks or so (preferably once a day) just to keep an eye on the direction that things are going. It’s much easier to nip a weight gain of 2lbs in the bud than it is to have to lose 7lbs all over again!
  • If you do notice you’ve gained a little weight, don’t feel disheartened – weight fluctuations are normal! 1-2 lbs of weight gain will only take 1-7 days of drinking lots of water and eating nutrient dense, low calorie meals for your weight to spring back to normal.

Now that i weigh a healthy amount, it’s time to move onto a different health goal. Being the best weight you can be for your height does generally improve your health, but it definitely isn’t the only important aspect of being healthy! I’m still incredibly unfit, have a high fat to muscle ratio, have pretty poor waist to height measurements, still eat somewhat crappy foods, still don’t drink enough water and so on and so fourth. There’s an infinite amount of ways that you can improve your health, and it’s something I intend to keep trying to do until I can’t any longer.

I chose becoming my ideal weight (ideal BMI of 21.75)  to be my first health goal because I was just so sick of not being a healthy weight. Absolutely everything about it made me miserable, and it was a no-brainer for it to be the first health goal I try to achieve.

I’m going to make my second health goal to be to bring my water intake up to my ideal amount everyday. Hopefully this should be a very quick health goal to complete, and is fairly crucial in order for me to achieve other future health goals (such as fitness!) I’ll begin working on this tomorrow! The idea is to put my full focus into whatever health goal I’m currently working on, meaning I won’t be putting any focus on maintaining my weight while I try to get my water intake up. Instead, I’ll make sure that my weight has been maintained once I have finished my current goal, and if it hasn’t then I’ll quickly sort it out! I find it much easier to work on one thing at a time!

You can work out how much water you should be drinking based on your weight. A good guide for a healthy adult is 35ml of water per kg of weight, which is around 2 litres for me (2028.91868ml apparently,) or around 680ml (24oz) of water with every meal. With water, it is important to remember that too much isn’t healthy – it’s important to be getting in the right amount of fluids for your body and your levels of fitness!

That’s all from me for today 🙂

Love you all!

– Storm x