Month: October 2013

Shaken, Not Stirred.

Shake me and I rattle.

Yesterday morning I was off to the doctor’s to try to sort out my every worsening health. Of course, an appointment at 10.10am quickly became an appointment at 10.45, which was followed by a mad dash to the chemists to pick up new prescriptions before cycling at breakneck speed back to my house to pick my books up, and then whipping off to uni. By the end of the morning I was already shattered!

But it was actually an incredibly productive appointment. (Even if I did almost get a bit tearful.)

The result of this visit to the doctor’s is that I now feel a little like a cocktail of drugs.

Shake me and I rattle.

But although I’m not a huge fan of being on lots of medication,  it has gotten to that point where I just want to find something that works. It has been almost 7 years now since I first started experiencing pain. That is a long time in the lifetime of a 20-year old. It has been 7 years since I could walk around in the day and feel absolutely no pain, I honestly cannot remember what it feels like to not have, at best, a slight aching pain in the base of my spine. And it has been almost 3 years since I had a really good night’s sleep, since I woke up feeling like I had the energy to face the day.

So if this cocktail manages to dull the pain and gives me decent nights and smoother mornings, then sign me up forever!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

So I’ve not been feeling very well, as my last post suggested, and I’ve struggled towards the end of this week to keep my chin up and carry on with life. It is difficult to put into words how much being in pain, in such pain as this, can affect your mind and body. It is all-encompassing. It is all-consuming. My body aches and throbs all over and my mind is dulled. It is so hard to stay positive when my future feels so uncertain, will my exciting plans ever been realised? It is hard when you know that being poorly makes you less interesting as a friend, less appealing as a partner, less able as a student…

But I won’t let it pull me under completely so in an attempt to (at least metaphorically) pick myself up a little I thought of 7 happy things from this week. Enjoy!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from sacramentostreet}

1. As the picture suggests, it is most definitely hot drink weather. I don’t like tea and I rarely drink coffee but the minute the cold weather strikes I turn to one of my favourite treats – hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about a lovely chocolatey hot drink to warm you up. Of course I don’t just drink ordinary hot chocolates, oh no, I go all out! Hot chocolate just isn’t the same without whipped cream and marshmallows, and if possible chocolate sprinkles. I’m not fussy. Promise.

2. I was doing some blog reading this morning and stumbled upon this post from This Book is Reserved. How beautiful are those covers? I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz because the former is one of my favourite childhood stories and the later is so wonderfully colourful.

3. Getting the volunteering position I wanted! I had an informal interview on Thursday at a fantastic centre run by a charitable organisation and got the place so I’m over the moon about that. I’m going to be working for an after-school club run there for young people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism. It’s such a brilliant programme as it gives the young people a safe environment, it’s a place where they can just be themselves and relax. I’m so excited to start volunteering, I’ll be there once a week for two and half hours, working with a group of boys aged 13 to 17. It’s a completely new challenge for me but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning all I can!

4. Going food shopping with my mother (who was lovely and drove over to give me a lift to the supermarket so that I didn’t have to walk!) and having a fully stocked fridge again. I have a fridge full of delicious healthy foods to inspire me and get me back on my feet. Plus a couple of little treats because who can resist After Eight yoghurts?

5. Hearing the best news about my dissertation. When we were first assigned supervisors my heart sank slightly, I’d been given a lecturer who I like as a person but find really difficult to work with. I’ve been emailing her over the summer but I was really struggling to get anywhere. It’s been worrying me for ages as one of the most important things in a dissertation is who you work with so I was ecstatic when my absolutely lovely personal tutor offered to supervise me instead.

6. Having little Clive from two doors down pop in for a cuddle. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@sophiejuliette_mh) then you won’t know that Clive is the adorable little cat who comes round to say hello and hang out when her (I know, Clive is a girl) owners are out.

7. Pleasant interludes in my student life – this week it was going for coffee, or hot chocolate in my case, with my mother on Friday. I met her before my seminar and it was really nice to have a little chat as we are very close. This coming week I’m going for lunch with my friend Aimee and the following week I’m going out for dinner with the lovely Ellie as a late birthday celebration for her 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sophie x

Thoughts at 1.28am.

It’s 28 minutes past 1 in the morning.

Although my head hurts with the ache of tiredness there is no sleep to be had, my back throbs with too much intensity for my body to rest.

It’s times like this that I have to just admit defeat. Tomorrow morning will invariably be a write-off.

Such is life.

With endless reading to get through, piles of dissertation research on the go, a PGCE application in the process I guess it is really no surprise that I find myself here on a Friday night. My health is taking a turn for the worse. Again. I’m starting to wonder whether the cold weather that these months bring with them that is having the biggest impact on me. Or is it the amount of work and stress I am under at the moment. Or if it is being busy and living alone? I don’t have the answers.

My pain levels have spiked and I can’t pretend I am not concerned. So it is back to the doctor’s surgery. Maybe back to the hospital, who knows…

I’m not going to let it get the better of me though.

I have wonderful people in my life who will help me through. My lovely friends who text me to check whether I’m okay. My lovely friends who offer to get my shopping or who just pop round to check I’m okay. My lovely family who always have time for me.

You know you’ve got good friends when you have a lengthy Skype session and they don’t get tired of the fact that your brain is slow and sluggish and you probably weren’t very lucid (or interesting) to talk to!

So here we go again, it could be another long path. But I know I’m not alone, so thank you to everyone who looks out for me, thank you to everyone for being so understanding and caring, you mean the world to me 🙂

Sophie x

7 Happy Things

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Ninbra tumblr}

1. It’s my gorgeous friend Ellie’s 21st today! Happy birthday Ellie, I hope you’ve had a lovely lovely day!

2. Watching Sunday night TV with my lovely housemates. Downton Abbey, followed by Homeland, followed by Was It Something I Said, makes for some seriously good viewing.

3. Going home to help my sister write her personal statement and getting to have a lovely dinner with my family. (And getting to take the leftovers back with me!) Despite being in twenties now and in my final year of uni I still love being home, I think I will always be somewhat of a home-bird.

4. Brilliant lectures which remind me why I am reading English at uni, sitting in a two-hour seminar on Jane Eyre made me remember why I fell in love with words and with reading. The magic of certain books will just never be eclipsed.

5. Getting excited about Halloween and costumes and pumpkins. I’m rubbish at carving pumpkins but my sister is really good at it and we always had beautiful pumpkins at home. We’re planning on throwing a Halloween party here at my uni house before going out afterwards so I will definitely be getting dressed up!

6. My wonderful Fireside Treats scented candle from Yankee Candle which makes my entire bedroom smell like delicious fire toasted marshmallows.

7. Feeling a strange mixture of both terrified and excited to receive my letter from NHS Blood and Transplant saying that my appointment to give blood is set for next Monday! I absolutely loathe having my blood taken but I feel like giving blood is something really important that everyone who is able should do so I just decided to bite the bullet and sign up…

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic weekend and enjoy the week ahead!

Sophie x

Friendship.

I read a quotation once which resonated deeply within me, it felt like it had been written just then, especially for me to learn from.

‘Do not chase people. Be you, do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come to you and stay.’

It’s such a powerful message, particularly for someone like me who has always cared more about what others think than I should. The statement isn’t suggesting that you shouldn’t make an effort with people, of course you should. But you shouldn’t put yourself out there so much that you lose some of yourself. Sometimes we must open ourselves to rejection, we have to be brave and take a chance, because often what people regret the most in the end is the chances they didn’t take, rather than mistakes they made. However you shouldn’t open yourself up for someone else to hack away at your soul. The people who choose to hurt you simply don’t deserve you.

True friendship is a gift. There are those who will only ever be fair weather friends and then there are those that will always be there for you. They are the special ones.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that you should ‘never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.’ I think this is important for any relationship. Relationships are hard work, work for them. But never let them work away at you. You are the most important character in your own life story.

When my health was at its worst in my first year of university there were certain people who always had time to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. When I feel like I’m being sucked into a never-ending whirlpool of work stress there are always people here to pull me back out. When my self-esteem takes a beating I know I have people to turn to. When I am just feeling a bit low, there is always someone. I know I am lucky.

So if you are the eternal people-pleaser, afraid to say anything or fight back, always trying to have everyone like you, just remember that, as Dr Seuss so aptly put it: ‘be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.’

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I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, I’m off to cry my eyes out watching Romeo and Juliet in the cinema!

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

7 has always been my favourite number. It is a magic number. It also the number of books in the Harry Potter series.

Everyone who knows me will know how much I love to find ways to be more positive. Now this term is going to be incredibly stressful for me… I have three texts to read a week (usually at least two are full novels), I have my dissertation to research and write, I have three assignments due in at Christmas, I have my PGCE application to put in at the beginning of November (which means writing another personal statement), then if I’m successful I will have tests and interviews… And breathe.

So in an attempt to not find myself snowed under and in a permanent state of panic by the end of the term I am going to start a new series of posts which will go up every Sunday titled ‘7 Happy Things’ where I shall list 7 things that have made me happy during the week. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from coffeeinthemountains tumblr}

1. Wrapping up warm in autumn clothes including lots of woolly jumpers and snoods. Although I don’t much like cold weather I have a weakness for knitwear and I have a drawer full of cozy snoods to bundle myself up in. I love nothing better than coming in from the chilly weather outside and changing into my ridiculously comfy yoga trackies and my furry slippers.

2.  Getting back to the gym after some time off for freshers! Freshers week is enough to make even the fittest person feel sluggish and it felt so good to be working out again and clearing out the toxins (we all know where they come from!). My skin is clearing up again thanks to a diet heavy on the vegetables, plenty of water and a bit more activity.

3. Starting lectures again and getting back into the swing of uni. Although I have a hellish term ahead of me I am really excited to get stuck into it all, I’m doing brilliant modules which I already know I will love. Children’s literature in particular is lovely, I can’t wait to get to read some of my old favourites for it.

4. Going for cycles in the countryside under the changing colours of the autumn leaves, and stopping for a drink in a country pub with friends. There is something wonderful about the crisp air blowing against your face, turning your cheeks pink with cold and then warming up in the comforting surrounds of an English pub.

5. So many brilliant TV programmes are returning to our screens – Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off, Homeland, The Vampire Diaries… It’s perfect for those evenings when you just want to stay tucked up in bed or curled up on the sofa in a blanket watching TV.

6. Chatting with friends. Modern technology can sometimes be a pain but I have to say that I am so grateful for mobile phones, getting to send a quick text to friends that I miss and getting to hear their voices to chat always lifts my mood.

7. Being home for the weekend, getting to spend time with my lovely family whilst eating steak and chips, roast dinner, and apple crumble until I’m slightly too full. Also stealing extra cuddles with Poppy to make up for the ones missed!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying the autumn!

Sophie x