2017 – A year of ups and downs.

So if you’ve read my most recent posts, you’ll know that life has been a bit mental this year. I was made redundant from a job, someone I respected passed away, my gran became really ill. More recently I found out I was being made redundant again and my gran passed away this weekend. All in all this year has been a bit of a shitter.

However many downs there have been I think it’s also important to remember the ups too. Good things have happened this year and whether they’re big or small, I think they’re worth mentioning. So after four days away seeing some amazing people in Newcastle, I’m trying to refocus and re-evaluate life. Before I start spilling my brain all over this blog though, here are some of the big and little things that I’m grateful for.

The Big Stuff:

My Friends

The fact that I know I could go to Newcastle and stay with two amazing people any time I need to is amazing. The fact that so many of my friends have been checking in with me and have been kind enough to offer me beer, food, a comforting ear, a day of singing and music or a conversation to take my mind off life is massively appreciated. One of my friends is even spending Christmas with me this year and will be flying over from Australia. Most importantly though, none of my friends have made me feel bad about skipping out on social things to take time for my brain and my family.

My Family

No one likes their family 100% of the time but I really think most people genuinely love their families. I really do love my family. I don’t always show it and I definitely could do more for my family. But if this year has shown me anything, it’s that my family is great (not that I didn’t know it before). Whether it’s the family a few doors down or family from across the world this year has made my family even tighter than before. I appreciate my family a lot.

My Job

Okay so I’m being made redundant but one thing I’m really grateful for is how flexible they’ve been with me. I’ve been allowed to work from home whenever I need it and leave at 5pm and finish the day at home. My colleagues have been amazingly understanding and I’m really grateful that I ended up in such a good team.

The Little Things:

Video Games

So the little things might seem trivial but I’m going to start with video games. I love video games. I play with people I’ve never met online and I play games that friends have recommended me and I talk to them about the game constantly. It might seem silly for a lot of people but for me, especially this year, videogames have been a fantastic escape for me into a fantasy world or twelve.

Internet

Okay so I’m not talking about social media or YouTube or anything. I’m talking about broadband and WiFi. I was paying a silly amount of money for internet that was barely working. But I changed WiFi provider and I now have super fast super reliable internet. So yeah it allows me to enjoy things like Netflix and YouTube which is another great escape.

My Camera

I’m not the most active on YouTube any more and I’m not the greatest film maker or photographer in the world but fuck me, taking the camera out for a day of shooting video or doing a photography tour is absolutely amazing fun.

Sidenote: If you’d like to come along on a photography tour of London with me for the amazing Project Parent come along to the event page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/181144485778845/

So as I mentioned at the start, 2017 has been a bit of a shitter, but it’s not all been bad. Thanks to everyone who’s made my 2017 slightly more bearable and occasionally a whole lot of fun. Still though, fuck 2017.

A Short Update!

First things first, a really important update. Work on the Invisible Illness Human Library has officially got underway! I’ve started meeting with people who are interested in getting involved and have contacted my first potential venue. It’s not a massive start but it’s a start. It’s super exciting to be dipping my toes back into running events!

I’m currently also trying to recruit a little team to work with me on this project. First and foremost, the people with the stories!

For anyone who wants to be one of our “books” the main things we’re exploring about your stories are:
– Diagnosis
– Symptoms
– Highs and lows
– Organisations that have supported you
– Tips for people to support others with an invisible illness.

We’re looking for each person’s story to last between 5 and 10 minutes.

We’ll be doing a physical event (the human library bit) but I would also love to record your stories and upload them so that we can show that it’s okay to talk about invisible illnesses.

 

Next up, a little life update. It’s been a really tough couple of weeks recently. I’ve found myself feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Luckily, I’ve had lots of people very kindly making sure that I don’t lock myself away and wallow in my own mad mind! I also received the nicest, most thoughtful gift of all time. I was taken to see Eliza and the Bear which was absolutely amazing and then I was given an incredible, heartfelt card and this beautiful wooden Success in Selflessness guitar pick. It’s really hard to stress how important it is to have amazing friends around you. Try your best not to shut yourself away, even if you’re feeling extremely anxious or your depression is hitting hard. Even send a text to say hi to someone. It will help. I promise. 20161128_231753.jpg

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3 Things I Appreciated This Past Week

Every day is not good, but there is something good in every day.

In turbulent times like these it’s really important that we learn to appreciate the people and the things in our lives that we’ve really appreciated. It’s often the little things that we overlook easily. I find it really useful to seek out these little things to make ourselves remain positive and to prevent us from becoming cynical and angry at the world.

While it may feel like hate has taken over the world, love still exists and it’s still a powerful thing. The quote above is a powerful one for me and I try to find that something good in every day. Here are some of the good things that I have experienced this week.

1. Reconnecting with an old friend and with music

Years ago, I met a girl at school and we chatted rarely and sang together once in the music room at school. We pretty much never hung out and never really spoke much but we recently reconnected after 8 long years and being thousands of miles apart. I knew very little about her when we were in school but the person she’s become is wonderful. Kind, fun, accepting, really flippin smart and also very talented. We got together and chatted, listened to music like the old days (like where you’d buy a few new CD’s and bring them round and listen to them together) and also sang together. This is the product of our re-connection! Mara, thank you for being you!

2. The kindness of strangers

So as you know, I’ve recently started making videos for this blog as well. If you don’t, check out the channel, watch some videos, subscribe (shameless plug, I know, video below). What I really appreciated though, was someone who was established as a YouTuber and someone who’s videos I watch every week, took the time out to watch some of my videos and give me feedback. She’s undoubtedly really busy and she still helped me out! She was in the last blog post and she remains one of the loveliest people online. So, thanks, Ana Marta!

3. My job

Tonight is my first night home for 3 days. I spent two days in St Helens and one day in Leicester. Leicester is the day I want to talk about though. I got to see where one of my young people had got to after knowing her for three years. She’d organised an event for 500 students to encourage them to get into STEM. She was confident, calm and assertive throughout the day. It was so wonderful to see what she’s achieved and how successful her project has become. I’m proud to do what I do and I’m so proud of her for supporting other young people who have been told they’re not good enough to get into STEM. They can and will and they’re going to pioneer innovative new ways to make the world a better place. 🙂