Extremely Anxious

Last week, an amazing opportunity presented itself to me. I am moving to China for 3 months, and I am excited about that. My first therapist told me that your gut instinct is usually right, and I have found that the decisions I make based on that vague feeling of being “right” are the best decisions I make.

However, this feeling of excitement and “rightness” doesn’t forego my anxiety. I have been feeling physically sick with anxiety at various points during this past week. The day I handed in my notice I had a splitting headache and nausea immediately afterwards, a direct response from a stressful situation. I wanted to cry during the visa application process, and again felt sick. I haven’t been sleeping, and as I write this I feel nauseous, and my IBS is playing up.  Even though it was my birthday yesterday, and I spent a nice (albeit noisy) day with family, at the end of the day I was holding back tears thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

I think I am most anxious about the living situation. One of the first blog posts I wrote was about how I was being bullied in my last shared flat when I was at university. I am legitimately terrified that the same thing will happen again, and I will revert back to not being able to leave my room. I am scared that at work I will panic and not be able to do what I am going out there to do, and that I will let down the company and the children I am going to be working with. What if I arrive and I can’t stop crying, or can’t leave my room to go to work? I’m more than a 2 hour car journey away, and although I could always go home, it won’t be as easy.

Is it too late to do anything about this? I know I won’t be able to get therapy between now and leaving, and so I am considering going to the doctors, which for me is a pretty extreme resort. I have an appointment with the nurse next week, and if it is the nice one, I hope I will be able to talk to her about my anxiety and get some advice, and she may recommend me speaking with my GP.

But what if I need help in China? Last time I was in a similar situation at university, I was able to arrange a counselling session within a week of me reaching out. I know that is not going to be possible in this situation.

In spite of all of this, I know that I need to do this. I feel like I need to prove to myself I can do this, and that I won’t let my mental health stop me from experiencing amazing things. I can’t let it get in the way, because that would mean that I wouldn’t be living my life how I wanted. I don’t want this to control me, and so I need to keep going.

Project 365: Days 276-285

276: Beautiful sky as seen from my garden.


277: Squirrel working hard. I wonder if it was the same squirrel from last time.


278: I made this crane tree thing as a centre piece for my mum over a year ago, and she still has it in the dining room.


279: I know I’ve talked a bit about how much I love yoga in the past, but I wanted to document my progress visually. I can now do a free standing headstand (almost all of the time). I’ve still got a long way to go with my flexibility, but this is promising, and fun to be able to do!


280: Shifty looking pigeon. As a side note, there was an actual gang of pigeons outside my window yesterday. I know they’re not the most popular bird, but I don’t mind them.


281: Amazing sunset in Portugal. My mum and I walked down to the sea front in the hopes of catching it, and got there literally just as the sun was dipping below the horizon. Five minutes later and we would have missed it.


282: I don’t take a lot of photos of people, mostly because I don’t know many people who wouldn’t mind being photographed, but when I saw this person fishing, I instantly wanted to capture it. I felt I was far enough away that they wouldn’t be able to see me taking it, and therefore it wouldn’t be creepy (I hope?) Anyway, the waves were pretty big that day, so it was a brave place to be fishing.


283: The unset as seen from an aeroplane. We took of just as the sun was setting, and I was kicking myself that I didn’t have my proper camera with me. This was taken on my phone, so while it may not be the clearest image, the colours are captured very well.


284: My unidentified plant has finally flowered. I think I will have to ask my grandma if she knows it.


285: First glance of autumn, next week there will be lots more autumnal photos!


The Leaves are Changing

For whatever reason, in the last few years, the majority of my big life events have happened in autumn. It appears to be  time of change for me, a time for introspection and for discovery. This year is no exception.

I have a number of theories why it’s autumn that brings these changes. Maybe it’s the idea that is ingrained in us from our school days, that September brings the start of a new year, and a new structure. Maybe it’s because I love going outside in the autumn, and my long walks lead to an increase in self reflection. And perhaps it is simply a self fulfilling prophecy. I’ve come to expect big changes in the autumn, and so without realising, I might be making them happen myself.

The first big, exciting change is that I am moving to China! I am beyond ecstatic about this, and I have strangely not felt that anxious. Every now and then, I will feel a physical tug in my chest, and anxious thoughts and tears will bubble up, but it is overridden by all the other emotions. I am handing in my notice today, I am preparing visas and vaccinations. I feel focused and finally, I feel like I have something to look forward to, and something that will develop me as a person. It will certainly challenge me, not only because I will be sharing a flat with people I don’t know (last time I did that it didn’t go so well), but I am excited to face those challenges. Also, it is a great excuse to finally cross off one of the things on my life time list: see pandas (giant and red) in China!

There is another change that I feel is underway in my life. Change might not be the right word, but it is certainly a realisation. Well, even that doesn’t really cover it. It’s something that I have realised and repressed many times over, but I’m at a point now where I can no longer ignore it. For various reasons, I don’t feel ready to talk about it openly, even though I am well on the way to accepting it myself. I think this thing that I have realised may be the cause of a lot of my problems that I had when I was growing up, and at the root of a lot of the trauma I experienced.

I will definitely update you as more of my plans unfold, and I can’t wait to share my experience in China with you. Rest assured, I am going to keep blogging wherever I am in the world, and whatever other changes happen. I hope you are all well.

Why Do I Think Like This?

It sometimes takes a bit of hindsight to see just how damaging certain thought patterns are. I am aware that I tend to over think social interactions, and this leads to a lot of anxiety for me. Most recently is the interview situation I talked about last week.

When I wrote that blog post, I was exaggerating slightly for comic effect, but it honestly did upset me. As soon as I realised my mistake, embarrassment, guilt and self loathing washed over me, and I burst into tears. A hundred possible consequences ran through my mind, and I thought about it for the next couple of days, even when the interview was rescheduled with no issue. When I did have the interview, my mistake wasn’t mentioned, and all my anxiety felt pointless and, quite frankly, stupid.

Later in the week, I was faced with another anxiety provoking situation. This one made me feel even more stupid. There was a sale of wool on at a small local shop, and I was excited at the possibility of fuelling my crochet addiction. I actually ended up going back two days in a row, but the second day, I was so worried, I almost didn’t go back. I know only a few people work there, and I didn’t want to be judged for going in there two days in a row.

The woman who served me did actually make a comment, something like “you haven’t used all that wool up yet, have you?” but it was meant in a lighthearted way. I know from personal experience that cashiers literally do not care what you are buying, and don’t remember from one customer to the next what you have bought (unless it’s really weird), and this woman probably forgot about me as soon as I left the shop. So why do I care about what she thinks?

I realise this is not a normal thought process, and I really had to push myself to go at all. When I think about it logically, I know it was fine. I use wool for my Etsy shop, and buying it cheaply is a good idea. But I am still over thinking it. It was just some wool! It is ridiculous, as I know no one else is paying attention to these tiny details.

I realise this is a legitimate problem, but in the grand scheme of things, it sometimes can look trivial to me. While I acknowledge that anxiety is a part of me, I am also looking to better myself, and be more confident and spontaneous. I think the best way to do this is not beat myself up when I overreact, and push myself in uncomfortable situations to take control of my worries.

Project 365: Days 266-275

Less that 100 photos to go!

I thought I’d give a little bit of an update after my last post: I was able to reschedule the interview, and I think it actually went alright. My mood has kind of dipped through the second half of the week though, and I’m not feeling too great now. I’m in the kind of mood where I’d rather just not exist. But anyway, here are some pretty photos.

266: Some of the stuff I’ve been working on for my Etsy shoprecently. I haven’t listed these yet, but I have just put up a load of crocheted scarves, if you would like to have a look.


267: Followed this cutie around the garden for a bit to practise “wildlife” photography.


268: Some steps on a walk I went on.


269: I woke up early one Sunday for work, and was greeted with this sight from my window.


270: Ambitious squirrel.


271: Practising some black and white photography on this dahlia.


272: I set up this nice display for all my stones which is now sitting on my bookshelf. I think it looks nice, and it adds a bit of colour to my room.


273: We have a huge horse chestnut tree in our garden, and the grass is littered with conkers. I love this time of year.


274: Sleepy grump-cat.


275: Another natural delight of autumn.


I hope you are all well, and have a lovely weekend.

Kind of Funny/Kind of a Disaster

I was hoping to make this really inspirational post about facing my fears, and taking risks and finding happiness. But hey, why make a really lovely, heartwarming post when you can instead make mistakes and squander opportunities? I certainly can’t think of any reasons.

Today, I was supposed to have an interview. I am by no means miserable in my current job, but I do have to deal with a lot of unpleasant people and put up with a lot of crap from management, all the while earning only minimum wage. I am not unhappy, but I am not fulfilled, which is why I want to try something completely different.

Aside from looking for better paid jobs, I had been toying with the idea of working/volunteering abroad for a bit. Again, I was planning to make a special reveal blog post about this, about taking risks and forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, but life isn’t always perfect.

I found this cool organisation which operated in China. It is different and scary, and looked kind of fun. I enjoyed travelling in Asia, but never went to China, so this seemed to be a good opportunity to do so. I applied, and for some reason they offered me an interview, and even sent through a website that would convert your time to their time zone in China. Easy, right? Idiot proof, you say? Evidently not!

I sat down this afternoon, having prepared for the interview for perhaps the first time in my life, which just goes to show how excited I was about this prospect. I then thought, I’ll just check the time in China to make sure I don’t miss the interview. I was worried about being an hour or so out because I wasn’t too sure about daylight savings. I remembered from Singapore that it changed the time difference from 7 to 8 hours. Anyway, I checked just to make sure.

The time in China was 10:30 pm. My interview was at 9:30 am. I had missed it by over 12 hours.

Consequently, I’ve been doing a hysterical half laugh half cry while writing this. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s probably because I’m used living in Asia and converting back to UK time, but honestly I think it was just an oversight. It’s also funny because I am so anal about timings, because I get really anxious if I am late, or if there’s not enough time to do something. Being 12 hours late, especially for an interview, definitely falls into the category of an anxiety provoking amount of time.

At least this was an amusing post? Hopefully? I have tried sending a grovelling email to see if I can get another interview slot, and I’m relying on the assumption that with the time difference, people missing their interviews must be quite common. Even a tiny bit common. At least not a isolated experience specific to me.

I can’t be too hard on myself. Life is chucking a lot of crap at me at the moment, and maybe I have just had too much on my mind. Fingers crossed that the next that you hear about this was my planned “I’m moving to China!!” post.


The Vegan Minefield

I have recently been trying to reconcile with the minefield that is vegan diets. So much of vegan, or plant based vloggers and bloggers promote fad diets that are not based on scientific nutrition. The internet is full of different sources telling us different and contradictory things, and for new vegans, maybe more so for younger vegans, it is easy to be led astray.

I’ve said before, and this is an opinion I stand by, veganism is not an extreme diet. You do not have to deny yourself lots of foods, it is pretty accessible to a lot of people, and if done right, it is highly nutritional. Eating only raw foods, ignoring protein, vitamin and mineral consumption, or only eating potatoes is an example of veganism done incorrectly, and not a good idea. Also, it’s alienating to the non vegan population. Even as a vegan, I think people eating 30 bananas a day is ridiculous and baffling. These bloggers have no nutritional training or education, so are no better qualified to give dietary recommendations than I am.

But what is the best way to eat?

I have said before that veganism helped my disordered eating, and while I stand by that, I think there are ways in which it hasn’t helped. I am very susceptible to extreme or harmful ways of thinking about food, even though rationally I can see that they are harmful.

I have in the past inadvertently been using some of my disordered eating behaviours without even realising. I used to be very obsessive about fat content in foods, because I figured that if I didn’t want to be fat, I just had to avoid fat. This idea of a low fat diet is very prevalent amongst vegans, and unintentionally I found myself adhering to it.

Another trap that I found myself falling into is the appeal natural fallacy. Of course, it’s an appealing thought to only eat whole foods that come from rich soil, grown using the Earth’s own resources. Even I like to dream about owning some land, growing my own veggies and being at one with nature. But that doesn’t mean that unnatural things are bad. In fact, some unnatural foods are good for us. Take fortified milk and bread. These are GM foods, and can help vegans get some of the essential nutrients that may otherwise be hard to include in our diets, for example B12, and are a cheap and easy way of ensuring we have a balanced diet.

I really hope that things I have said in the past have not been promoting these false ideals. As I have been doing more reading and research, I’ve been wondering whether I’ve been an effective advocate, a good vegan. There are so many vegan advocates who are so extreme and alienating, and I don’t want to be one of those people.

There are some subjects I’ve written about in the past that I wasn’t the most educated on. Since then, I have developed my understanding of those topics and even changed my opinions about them. It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of trying to be the perfect vegan, and there is no such thing. There are so many ways to live compassionately and reduce the amount of suffering you cause, and you and I might chose vastly different methods, from having meat free Mondays, to being pescatarian, vegetarian, weekend vegan, flexitarian, whatever. In that example, our cruelty free, or cruelty reducing, lifestyles and opinions might look vastly different, but all are valid.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that a vegan diet is not necessary superior to any other diet. It is very easy to be unhealthy on a vegan diet, just as it is on any other diet. Being vegan doesn’t automatically mean you are healthier than everyone else. Vegans aren’t necessarily nutritionally superior, and it’s important to make sure your vegan diet is balanced and healthy.

I have been making small changes to my diet recently in order to make sure I am eating a nutritionally rich diet, and I think I’m going to make a separate blog post on that.  I want to keep writing about veganism, but I want to do it in a more educated way.