20s · ramble · twenties

Driving test

This morning i woke up nearly chundering from the nerves of it all.
Alas, my driving test was only several hours and i had visions of crashing or just losing it completely!

Laura (my instructor/friend/soon to be sister-in-law) picked me up and we had 30-40 minutes driving around the block, in which i slightly ballsed up every manoeuvre we practised. I topped this off by completely messing up my reverse bay park by being too far left and failing to get it into reverse properly – cue a loud crunch.
Shook this off and refused to make eye contact with the 5 or so people watching, and headed inside.
A quick pre-drive pee and my examiner came in to get me! He was nicer than i expected, explained everything fully with details and chatted to me briefly while we walked. He also asked me the easiest ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions (fault with ABS and demisting the windscreens) and chose one of the easiest manoeuvres (turn in the road).

The actual driving was pretty normal! There were a few moments where i was unsure of the speed, especially as the roads felt like they should’ve been slower or faster than 30, but i didn’t get marked down for speeding so my assumptions were correct!
I received 4 minors. One for failing to signal at the correct time coming up to a roundabout (i moved over to the right fairly late and it just completely slipped my mind until i had already pulled out), one for positioning (i chose to pull up next to someone’s drive, but in my defence the entire road was full of drives!), one for mirrors (i expected a lot more for this so i’m chuffed with that) and one for forward planning (failed to pull into the right lane to turn off because there were loads of cars in that lane and i didn’t think anyone would let me in, so i didn’t even try).

So yeah, the good news is – i passed!!!! Laura and i jumped and squealed and hugged each other when he told us and then celebrated with lunch!

For someone who said they would never drive, i’m chuffed i managed to do it within 10 months of starting driving lessons, especially as i haven’t had regular weekly lessons since April!
Unfortunately it’s unlikely i’ll be able to insure my car until i get paid at the end of the month, but that’s only just over 2 weeks away!

Here’s my serious “nice” photo, and the silly one we took first when i thought Laura was taking the picture from the back of the car (okay, i’m a div sometimes).

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L x

ramble · twenties · wedding

I’m engaged!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or have me as a friend on Facebook then you’ll already know the big news.
But for those of you who don’t – and haven’t guessed from the very subtle title of this post – i’m engaged!!!!

Tom and i were in Majorca and had been for dinner in a restaurant near to Magaluf’s strip when we decided to go for a few drinks at a bar we’d found the previous night before we headed to the strip. On our way, Tom kept stopping to look at the lights around the bay and i kept trying to pull him along, insisting that the bar was definitely towards the right, not the left. I eventually realised he wanted to stop so i told him we could stop and have “a moment”, which he laughed at.
He continued pointing out how pretty the lights were, and i was getting a bit frustrated at this point because i couldn’t actually see them very well thanks to the beach umbrellas, so i suggested we walk down to the water itself to get a better view.
I got my phone out to take a panoramic photo but was disappointed that my iPhone’s camera couldn’t pick out the lights as well as i’d like, so i apologised to Tom and put it away and said again “okay, let’s have a moment then”.
We chatted about the views and he asked me “what do you want to do for our one year anniversary tomorrow?”
I said i wasn’t sure, and when he suggested a nice restaurant, i agreed.
Tom then turned towards me and said “well what if i don’t want to celebrate our one year tomorrow?”, to which i replied “are you dumping me?”
He laughed, crouched down a little to fiddle with his pocket, got down on one knee and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him.
In my true dorky fashion i said “are you asking me for real??” hahaha!
And then obviously i said yes!
We both had a little cry and a big hug and kiss and headed to the bar to celebrate with a bottle of prosecco and to let our family and friends know (plus it meant i could get a better look at the ring!).

That’s pretty much it for the engagement story! We couldn’t stop grinning all night and were chuffed with the amount of congrat’s we received on Facebook and Instagram.

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Soooo…onto the ring!
It’s a round cut, solitaire, VS2 0.25ct diamond ring on 18k white gold. It’s from a store in Mayfair, London called Vashi. It’s also the most expensive thing i’ve ever owned and i’m a tiny bit terrified i’ll lose it (i think Tom would actually murder me)!
I’ve also realised that i seem unable to take selfies without somehow sneaking my ring in the photo….

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As for anyone interested in when we’re getting married – we’re not sure! We can definitely say it won’t be next year, partly we need longer than that to save up but also because my cousin is getting married next year anyway. We’ve briefly spoken about aiming for 2019 but nothing’s definite yet (apart from the fact that it will happen…eventually..).
I’ll keep everyone updated and there’s definitely going to be some wedding-themed blog posts for you to look forward to so watch this space!

L x

ramble · reflecting

Family

They’re weird. It doesn’t matter if you have the “traditional” set of parents – married in their 20’s, never had an affair or gotten a divorce, or maybe your ‘rents never got married and split 3 years after you were born (eh em..). I’ve seen immeasurable versions of what family means to people and they’re all completely unique.

Each one has those quirks, those in jokes that only those involved would understand. For example, my cousin (actually my Mum’s best friend’s daughter) always takes the ribbon off the Christmas crackers and puts it on my fingers, where it stays until it starts cutting off my circulation a few hours later. She’s not a relation to me by blood or marriage but she’s my best friend, cousin and sister rolled into one. I actually only have 3 sets of cousins officially related to me, but i still refer to my Mum’s other best friend’s children as family members.
Looking at my Dad’s side, i’m not hugely clued up on his blood relatives, but my Stepmum’s parents are quite involved. Not to mention, i count some of my ex’s family members as part of my own, which is the thing people find weirdest about my family. Even i admit it’s unusual! I think it’s a combination of me not being great socially and spending huge amounts of time with these 2 people over nearly 2 years. I’ve never been great at clicking with others so i’m reluctant to let go when it does happen, especially as the thought of losing them was the reason i stayed in that relationship longer than i should’ve.

I think the biggest contrast to my family is Tom’s. His parents are together, his sister is married and all his brother-in-law’s family are in long term relationships or married. They’ve merged two complete family units together into one big one and it’s nice, if a bit of a shock for me! I know for a fact the feeling is mutual for him and my family. I love spending time with his family and it’s great to see the dynamics in the room. Obviously everyone is centred around Ashleigh – Laura and Chris’s 2 year old daughter – and she knows it! I’m very much the newcomer at the minute and i’m pretty quiet in large groups but i don’t feel hugely anxious with them.

There’s always going to be those who don’t fit quite in with the family norms, and Tom and i are definitely those people. I suppose it’s less obvious with my family – who very rarely all get together as not everybody gets on, plus there’s far too many of us!
Neither of us could be described as people that like other people, despite both choosing jobs that involve interaction with others, not to mention Tom works a hell of a lot and doesn’t have much spare time. I guess that makes us the black sheep? I mean i know i am! I am the emo cousin everybody has, the crazy one who dropped out of university and spent years unemployed and miserable, bouncing from horrible relationship to horrible relationship and dabbling in illegal things that i probably shouldn’t speak about on a platform that my family members read! The only “normal” thing i’ve done was moving out in my early 20’s and supporting myself financially (most of the time…i’m not perfect).

Putting our unreliability to one side, i’m confident that we’ll find our way when we start our own family. Whether or not that means we get more involved with our larger family groups, or we just stick close to our immediate family…i’m not sure! All i know is that i’m unbelievably grateful to have another group of wonderful people i can think of as family and i hope that will never change.

L x

depression · ramble · self harm

Why i quit my job

This is an awkward topic of conversation, and one that i’ve been forced to have with several people over the past couple of weeks.
As anyone who follows my blog or social media knows, i recently left my job at Sainsbos for another Supervisor position at a different company. It was slightly better pay, slightly better hours and as i’d had trouble with one of my managers at Sainsbos, a new start.

My first week started off a bit wobbly – i wasn’t given much notice of my shifts and they got changed a couple of times and people turned out to be on holiday blah blah. It also turned out to be an entirely different job than i expected. I knew it was a 44 hour contract, meaning 9 hour days, but other staff in my role were doing 14 hour shifts 4 or 5 days a week! Every single colleague i met mentioned how hard management work and how many hours they put in (i add – for no overtime, as the role was salaried). With it being a much larger store than my previous one, i expected a larger management team. Shockingly, there were only 3 senior management (Store Manager, Assistant Manager and Supervisor) and 2 or 3 lower level managers (Lead Sales) with usually only 2 managers on overlapping shifts leading a team of 10-20 staff, compared to 1-2 managers leading a team of 1-5 at Sainsbos. Not to mention the staff did not seem to be allowed to do anything without authorization from a manager, not even till voids. It was a mentally and physically hard job that i thought i would cope with.

My second week, i injured my left foot. I eventually went to the walk in centre and then the minor injuries unit about it to find out that it was my poor choice of footwear that had led me to suffer from a strained arch that would heal with orthotic shoes or insoles.
Unfortunately i suffer from a severe case of “ahh it’ll be orate”, so i had most of my second week off work before seeing a professional about it.
A couple of days into my second week and the pain was still there, so i was forced to take more time off. Tom had booked this week off work to try and de-stress and was instead forced to endure my miserable company.
The next day i had a breakdown. Tom had been trying to get me to go into work that day, telling me what impact my actions would have if i continued to refuse (i could technically walk but it caused me a lot of pain and that job involved 8+ hours of constant walking). It escalated and the only other part i remember clearly is when he threatened to phone an ambulance because i refused to move and he thought i might’ve taken something.
One of my symptoms of whatever my problem is (i’ve suspected Borderline Personality Disorder for several months and Tom agrees) is that i have memory loss around situations where i feel a lot of emotion, especially ones where i am angry or upset. Unfortunately this means i can’t really give much more of an insight of what was said that night but i know it was the worst state i’d gotten myself into in a long time.

I’m not sure what week it was or if i went back in again after that – as i said, memory loss problems – but it got to a day where i was due in the next morning. I was sat thinking of reasons and excuses not to go in when i started to seriously consider “doing something”.
Vague, i know. It’s another difficult thing to talk about, despite me trying to be so open about mental health, but i’ve just always found it uncomfortable to say outloud that i was considering harming myself seriously enough to warrant medical attention.
This option had other benefits for me – i knew i needed to get professional help with my emotional issues and even though they would probably view it as the attention seeking behaviour it was, surely that would push things along a little quicker? Sure it would be taking a risk; they might not take it seriously or they could take it too seriously and try to section me, but that risk would’ve been worth it.

The fact that i was even considering this…just made me stop in my tracks.
I had two options at hand: do something potentially dangerous and serious in order to get out of work and grab the attention of the mental health services but in doing so possibly risk my life and hurt those around me, or quit my job and see a Doctor in the proper way.

Thankfully, “normal me” was in control at that moment and made the safer decision to leave of my own accord – which i was more than entitled to do as i had no notice period.
Everybody i’ve tried to explain it to, i’ve emphasised that i didn’t have another choice and that it wasn’t an actual decision. This is true in some respects. “Normal me” fortunately has enough self preservation left to realise that the other option wasn’t really an option at all, and that the effects of choosing that path would have been much worse than struggling with money for a month or two until i found another job that was less stressful and not a management role.
I don’t enjoy being unemployed. It’s boring and mildly depressing, but i have the years of experience, training and qualifications that i didn’t have last time i was unemployed, so i’m remaining positive that i’ll be able to find something fairly soon.

In the meantime, it’s giving me the freedom to try and chase the Doctor for a diagnosis and referral, as well as making it easier to get interviews for new jobs thanks to all my spare time.

I’m hoping i’m right in thinking i’ve made the right decision and that this proves to be exactly what i needed. So far i’ve felt less depressed and more focused on getting to a stable place in both work and mind. Fingers crossed this positivity continues!

L x

ramble

Doctors, work and mental health

Today i registered at the local Doctor. I have my initial assessment with the nurse next Tuesday to get weighed and my blood pressure taken etc.
I also couldn’t face work again, thanks to a mix of my foot giving me grief and my brain hating me.
I went to the minor injuries unit yesterday about my foot. It turns out my poor choice in footwear has damaged the arch and that’s why it’s causing me pain. I’m expecting my orthotic insoles to arrive today and hopefully solve that problem.

As for my brain, joining a GP in Sheffield is a step in the right direction. It’s likely to be a long, unpleasant journey and one that will be hard to walk.
For the past few months i’ve felt like i’ve only just been keeping a lid on everything. I’ve been desperately grasping at the normality in my life, trying to stop it from slipping between my fingers, but now it all seems to be getting away from me.

It’s hard to talk about it here. Well, anywhere really.
It’s even harder thinking of how to explain it to people who have never experienced it or known anyone who has. I think it’s easy for a lot of people to confuse the word ‘can’t’ with ‘won’t’.¬†Mental health is still brushed under the carpet a lot, or romanticised for being ‘beautifully tragic’ but as soon as it manifests in a way that stops someone from doing “what they’re supposed to do”, it suddenly “doesn’t exist” or that person is told to get over it/man up/toughen up. I very much wish i was making mine up, but it’s as real as anything.

To an outsider looking in, i was doing pretty well. I’d been a manager for a year and a half in 4 different stores (Sainsbos liked to move you around a lot). I was having a few issues mentally but when have i ever not? I don’t know what the catalyst was; maybe it was all the pressure from family and work and myself to succeed.

Somebody asked me recently if i was afraid of failure.
I told them possibly…everyone has some fear of failing, that’s only natural, but i don’t think my fear is more intense than anyone else’s.
They then asked if i was afraid of success.
I wasn’t sure how to answer that one.
Maybe i am afraid of success. There haven’t been many occasions where i’ve actually succeeded at things. Maybe i’m just incredibly good at self sabotaging (i think we know already that one’s true). Maybe it’s just time for me to go in a different direction with work and not beat myself up about it.

What i do know is that i need help, and another job.

L x

depression · obsessive compulsive disorder · ocd · ramble · rats · reflecting · self harm · twenties

Things i’m most afraid of

All of my life i’ve been afraid of something.
Mostly irrational fears, like being scared of the dark until i was around 19 and still feeling claustrophobic about it even now.
When i was between 10 and 12 my cousin played an online video game that i believe was in a room escape style while i watched out of the corner of my eye. I remember feeling anxious even though i wasn’t playing or watching properly. In the game, he passed an open door with a mirror angled slightly towards the character’s POV. A dark hooded figure swept past the mirror’s reflection and thus began my fear of mirrors for around 8-10 years.
My OCD happily latched onto this image, which is probably the reason it became such an intense phobia for me, and i used to have rituals if i needed to interact with a mirror in any way.

I’ve sort of grown out of some of my fears as i’ve gotten older. I say ‘sort of’ because i still feel some level of anxiety around them but nowhere near the extreme they used to be.
My fears and worries nowadays tend to be just as irrational for being unfounded but more appropriate for my life, desires and happiness.

A fear of being infertile/having fertility problems 

This one has plagued me for approx 3 years now. I guess it started with myself and a past partner being stupid with contraception. It certainly wasn’t ever a plan to have a baby that early in our relationship but my period still hadn’t returned since stopping the Depo-Provera injection a year previous, so i made an assumption that “it would all be okay”. I know that tends to be the famous last words for a large amount of people but oddly it wasn’t for us. Even after my period returned and we were still sloppy and irresponsible, we never had so much of a scare and my periods kept coming like clockwork. Fast forward to now and i’ve had one scare when it came a day late. I’m hoping i’m just really good at my method of natural birth control by closely tracking my fertile periods, but i’m stuck between not wanting a baby right now and being happy that i’ve not accidentally gotten pregnant, and being terrified that i can’t get pregnant in the first place.

A fear of my partner dying

I suppose this is one that most people have, although my fears easily turn into obsessions that take over my brain. Tom works away a lot and he always drives, so my main worry is that he gets in an accident. This is probably fueled by my experiences of being in 3 car accidents before i turned 16. Logically i know he’s a great driver and has a ton of experience but that does very little to soothe me. I can’t imagine how parents must feel about their children if this is the level of anxiety i can achieve from my healthy, grown up, highly-capable-of-surviving partner dying.

A fear of my mental health deteriorating or never improving

It’s becoming clear that i’ve reached the end of my ability to deal with my mental health alone. I haven’t visited a Dr about it since 2011 and my dealings with them were less than useful. Those close to me keep telling me to speak to a professional about things and it is something i know i need to do, but i’m still a little hesitant. It scares me to think that i might always be this way or worse. It has an effect on every aspect of my life including work and relationships with others. It already stops me from doing certain things and causes other people pain. I can’t remember how long exactly i’ve felt this way but i know it’s a really long time, at least 4 years. Obviously i’m not a Dr or any kind of healthcare professional, but i have my suspicions on what the diagnosis could be. That’s part of the reason i’m still debating whether to seek help or not – i don’t want to be diagnosed and immediately put on medication. Sadly the only way i’m able to get the treatment i want (DBT) is by going through the motions, starting with my GP…

A fear of being emotionally unavailable to my future children

This one is related to the above paragraph. When i have strong emotions or reactions to events, i enter a “zombie state” where i am unavailable, uncooperative and generally a bit of a bitch. I can also deteriorate into this state by either accidentally or purposefully isolating myself from others for a prolonged period of time (aka having a day off work with no plans when Tom is working or away). I feel very sorry that Tom has to deal with this version of me and he’s said before that it’s heartbreaking. It can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 hours and i find it nearly impossible to ‘snap out of it’ without external help (aka someone intervening).
We aren’t planning on starting a family just yet, as Tom keeps saying: “house first!”, but as it’s something in the not so distant future, it’s a creeping worry for me that i will still be emotionally unavailable. I’m sure lots of parents will tell me not to fret and that nothing could crush your love for your children etc. I wish i could fully believe them but you hear horrible stories of neglectful mothers and i know how horrible my brain can be sometimes. Take the rats for example: i love those sweet little puddings so much. They’re fantastic and playing with them always makes me feel better, especially when they give me kisses and run up to the cage to greet me. But i can’t always get that far. Some days i can’t even bear to look at them because having something that loves me try to get affection from me feels like glass through my heart. Then comes the guilt of not getting them out to play and the disgust at myself and self pity and it can easily spiral from there. I guess i can’t really compare my pet rats to a child, but it’s the only similar relationship i have to work from.

All in all, it’s fucking terrifying being an adult.

L x

ramble

Spring

It’s the first day of Spring and i nearly lost all the mail out of our mailbox when i prised it open with a screwdriver thanks to the gale-force winds.
Fortunately i caught them just in time and was able to collect my New Look parcel from Flat 3 (i lost my trust for those two when it took 2 weeks for them to give me a package i ordered last Christmas and now i feel like i need proof of delivery whenever they’ve accepted my mail).

It’s been a crazy couple of days rat-wise. Tom and i travelled to Surrey on Sunday to pick up a Double Critter Nation he bought on Ebay. 6 hours travelling in an uncomfortable van – i can think of better ways to spend a day off..
But the rats are happy and i have a cage that will last a lifetime and is a million times easier to clean!

We also think Arya is pregnant, thanks to Ned flinging himself out my arms to hump her 11 days ago. The problem is, she’s always been fat so it’s hard to tell if it’s babies or yogies.

And the worrying news is that i found two lumps on Astrid under one of her nipples. I phoned the Vets this afternoon and i’ve got a consultation tomorrow at 4.20pm, so i think i’m going to take Brienne along for the ride to keep her company. Those two are best friends and Bri is the least scared of new environments.

It’s 2 weeks until i start my new job and it’s actually quite a scary prospect. I’m very used to moving shops and having to introduce myself to new people, and i suppose this will be easier because everyone will be new (seeing as the store isn’t actually built yet!), but getting a new job means taking a bit of a risk. I have a 6 month probation, whereas at Sainsbos it only lasted 3 months, and i think i’ll be feeling the pressure until that half a year is over.

I booked my theory test today! Hurrah!! I can’t wait to be able to drive by myself. I love my driving lessons with Laura but we haven’t learnt anything new in a while and it gets a bit boring sometimes.

Tom and i are going to Cyprus this September with his family. Very exciting! I’ve never been to Cyprus before and everyone’s warned me that it’s very hot.

I’m off to watch ThatcherJoe’s latest GTA video and possibly play SimCity.

L x