Living With Eating Disorders

A person who is an alcoholic, or a drug addict, can stay sober for 30 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re cured. They can’t just casually have a drink with everyone else, they can relapse at any moment in time, even though they’re sober and have been for a long time. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it illustrates the point.

Easter is coming up. Not yet, but soon. We do shopping once a week, and I was told to pick out which Easter Egg I want, it’ll be here tomorrow along with food for the next week. I have a hard time believing I’ll be able to leave it until Easter… Maybe that’s not a big deal to some, some people probably get a lot of eggs while they’re in shops and eats them like other sweets. But when I was young, we had a week off school, starting Friday before Good Friday, lasting through Easter Monday, and my brother and I wouldn’t usually get our Easter Eggs until the following weekend, because that’s when it really is Easter, not just Easter holiday from school. So I was brought up to enjoy my Easter egg during actual Easter, and I only got a small/medium sized one too.

You might think I’m overthinking this. That’s it’s not a big deal if I eat my egg before Easter, or that I can just leave it until Easter to eat it. I wish it were that simple.

I have super self-control when walking through a shop looking at all the good things. I have no issues walking down the candy aisle and smell all the chocolate in the air, I can just walk through and buy my things and leave, no biggie. But the moment I buy something, I have a really hard time not eating it once I get home. I’m just not wired to have a “snack drawer” or shelf or cupboard or whatever. It was fine when I was a child and my parents were in charge of handing out sweets to us (Saturday nights with TV, birthdays, Christmas, and Easter). But when I was, maybe around 10, my Mum started working away from home, that’s when the problems started.

I was fully aware of where to find cookies, sweets, and the chocolate spreads. And I was struggling in school, not with the material but with the social aspect. I’d come home and make myself two slices of bread with chocolate spread, a glass of chocolate milk, and a few pieces of chocolate, and watch 7th Heaven on TV while home alone. I was comfort eating. It made me feel better. This went on for several years.

The summer before I turned 15, I stopped eating meat. That’s a story for another time, if I haven’t already talked about it before, I actually don’t remember. My grandmother made a comment that I was gonna become skinny because of it. The same grandmother had earlier made comments on me being on the bigger side and asked whether I was the only one in my year in school who was. It stayed in my head. I’d already started working out a couple of years earlier, because my MP3 player broke, and my dad said he’d buy me a new one if I kept up my grades for summer term and started to exercise (he got me the 2nd generation iPod Nano, 2GB, which was a lot back then!). At some point, I started to notice the weight loss, and it drove me to keep going. I ate less and less. I exercised more and more. At the worst, I was down to one tiny bowl of cereal for breakfast, and a small portion of dinner that I couldn’t always finish, and I had dance class on Monday, PE on Tuesday and Thursday, aerobics on Wednesday, and I’d go running and biking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did strength exercises too, every evening before bed, which was what I’d started doing back when I wanted my MP3 player replaced (I still remember the first time: 10 push-ups, and 10 crunches, and I was aching a lot the next day. By the end I had a full hour’s worth of different exercises for my core, legs, and arms). I wasn’t healthy. I had headaches every day. I drank only water, and juice with dinner when the others had soda. I never ate sweets or crisps.

But here’s the thing. I never looked like someone with eating disorders. There weren’t any teachers or classmates who were worried about me. One teacher made a remark once, he’d seen me out running after school, said something about me being into jogging, when I rejected a Twist (which are like Celebrations) he offered me once (nothing creepy, I had to stop by school for a signature on something I’d forgotten, and he was in the teacher’s room). I never saw a doctor, I was never hospitalised or treated in any way. My parents knew something wasn’t right, I think, but we’ve never actually talked about it. Once when I’d been out jogging around mid-day on a weekend, and came home, I told my mum I wanted to go for a bike ride and she said absolutely not. And for several years after I got better, whenever I’d talk to my dad on the phone (when I’d just started uni), he’d ask me what I’ve eaten today. At this point, I was able to tell him the truth. A few years earlier (my first year of high school/upper secondary), I’d make up something about using my pocket money to buy something from the school cafeteria. That happened maybe twice during the year (other than ice coffee before science tests, which became a sort of ritual for me and a friend). So my parents were worried. But no one else had any reason to be. One girl made a comment on me becoming fit when high school started, but we were 15-16, a lot of people’s bodies changed over summer, she asked if I’d been working out and I said yes, but asked nothing further. I didn’t look like someone with eating disorders. But I had them. First one way, then the other.

eating disorder
noun
plural noun: eating disorders
  1. any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits

I’m well now. Mostly. I’ve been mostly well for several years. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, most days. Sometimes I skip lunch, if I have a late breakfast and don’t want to have a late dinner. I don’t like eating late at night. I don’t like snacking, much. I try to eat mostly healthy. I still haven’t eaten meat since I stopped in the summer of 2007. The thing is, I know how easy it would be for me to relapse. With being unemployed, and away from my family and friends, with being located to mainly just one room in a small house, my mental health isn’t always doing so good. And a lot of the time I want to eat things I know I shouldn’t. Like yesterday, we had takeout pizza. We’re having Easter eggs being delivered tomorrow. And I’ve been craving sweets for hours, mainly due to talking about them with someone on twitter (really lovely conversation though!). I am able to not eat anything because I don’t have anything. I don’t even have cereal. But food is being delivered tomorrow, and I might go make tea in a bit, my hands are quite cold and I have a sleepy time tea. Sleep is another tool I use to control cravings and overeating; in writing moment it’s nearly 10pm and like I said earlier, I don’t like eating late, so I will have some water and/or some tea, and go to sleep, and breakfast will taste all the much better in the morning.

So you see which way I’m leaning at the moment. I want all the things I know I shouldn’t have. But then some days, I don’t want anything. Or I’ll be really healthy, those are the best days. But sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all, especially following a time of me eating things I know I shouldn’t. And I know I need to eat, and I do, and I have people around me who care about me and want me to stay healthy and well, who make sure I do, or at least that I don’t skip meals multiple days in a row, that’s really the danger I am in sometimes.

I’ve been mainly well for about 9 years now. Or at least 7, maybe 8. I started to get better around 9 years ago, but that too was a process that took some time. It took me more than 2 years to get back into eating lunch on a regular basis. And it’s always a process, it’s always going to be a process, it’s never going to end, I don’t think. And that’s really the point I wanted to get across here. I may never have been in any physical danger, or maybe I would have been if things hadn’t happened to change the course I was on, I don’t know. But I was never hospitalised or in danger of dying, and I never developed diabetes due to how I was living and eating. But even though I’m, for the most part, stable, for now, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still spin one way or the other, it doesn’t mean I won’t relapse into comfort-eating or not eating at all. Every day, I work at making sure it doesn’t happen, by eating my meals, and getting the nutrients my body needs, but there are times when I feel bad and I eat a whole pack of Jaffa cakes, and there are days when I feel so bad about my weight or the shape of my body that I want to go on a water diet for a week, there’s no denying that. But for now, I’m fine, for the most part. Let’s hope this stupid Easter egg (that I cannot wait to eat, I got a Cadbury mini eggs one!!) doesn’t ruin any of that…

If you’ve made it this far, this is the end! Thank you so much for reading, I know this was a long piece; this is something that’s really personal to me, and that I haven’t really opened up about in the past. Please feel free to talk to me in the comments – but if you’re gonna be nasty, I’ll just delete you, so let’s keep it civil okay 🙂

Xoxo

Julie

Human BEINGs

We are called “human beings”. Not “human doings”. This has been pointed out in at least one movie/TV show I’ve watched, although I cannot remember which, as well as on those kind of accounts on instagram that post inspirational quotes and tell you not to be so hard on yourself, etc etc. It can be kind of annoying, and kind of cliché. But it’s also kind of true.

Who we are is more important than what we do. And that’s easy to forget in a society where, when you meet new people, one of the first questions asked are “so what do you do (for a living)?” This question being asked early in conversation, makes us feel like this is of huge importance. Our answer to this question forms the person’s opinion of us. How stupid is that? People literally form opinions about us based on our answer to the question “what do you do for a living?”. They needn’t know much about us at all, perhaps you were just introduced, you say hi, your name, and they ask “so, what is it you do?” and that can colour their opinion of you forever.

Many people have impressive things to say. I’m a surgeon. I’m a lawyer. I’m working on my PhD in __. Many more people have answers such as hair dresses, mail man, I work in a food shop. These are professions that are essential to society, but they rarely make people go “wow, impressive!” in a conversation. And then there are people like me. I haven’t had to answer that question recently, but for the past six months, I would have had to say nothing. I don’t do anything. I don’t have a job. I’m unemployed. And that doesn’t feel so great.

Just over two years ago, I wrote this post, about how I felt like I’d done nothing all day, and that I needed to give myself more credit for the things I did do, and not beat myself up about all the things I didn’t do. I’m still struggling with this. Since the start of the year, I’ve started to write down almost everything I do in my bullet journal, just so that I don’t feel like I’ve done nothing all day. There’s a huge focus in our world about doing things. My mum will always ask “so what have you been doing today then?” when we talk on the phone. My friends ask it in group chats. They mean nothing bad about it, it’s never anyone’s attention to make me feel bad about not doing anything. But that’s often the focus, the starting point of a conversation, what have we been up to.

But we are called human beings. The first question should therefore be “how are you today?” or “how have you been?”. I try to ask this first, especially when I talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. But “what have you been doing?” or “done anything fun lately?” or questions along those lines quickly follow. It can’t be helped. But as much as I can, I try to focus on the being part over the doing part, because who we are is ultimately so much more important than what we do, for a living or otherwise.

The things I do don’t reflect who I am as a person. What do I do? To mention a few, I read books, I binge watch TV shows, I play video games, I go for walks, I play with makeup. These say very little about who I am as a person – as a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, cousin, god-mother, acquaintance, colleague… I am not the things I do to entertain myself. I am not the thing I do to make money, even though that’s nothing at the moment, and I am not that either.

Maybe we should all try to focus a little bit less on everything we’re supposed to be doing, and a little more and just being, in the world, existing, and enjoying it. Maybe we should stop and smell flowers, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the crispness of it that is so typical for this time of year. Maybe we should focus on what we can be, who we can be, and who we can be there for, rather than all the things we think we ought to be doing?

xoxo

Julie

Fields

A few weeks ago, actually it was over two months ago now, I wrote a blog post about passion where I mentioned photography being one of mine. In that entry, I also mentioned that I wanted to post some pictures on this blog, something I then never got around to doing. Until today. Today is the day! Bit dramatic, aren’t I…

My hometown consists of a large portion of fields. There is the actual town with a street of shops and a shopping centre and the schools and the church, and there is the air force base, but there are also a lot of fields. Before the air force  base, fishing and farming was what people did where I’m from. Of course, that was decades before my time. I’ve only ever known the time of the air force base being a corner stone in our community. My father is a major in the RNoAF, which I’ve also mentioned before. The fields was my playground as a child though. We had some very close to my house, not ones that grew grain, although there were those too, but the ones in which we played hide and seek and made imaginary houses, those were mainly just grass and straw and weeds. I can’t imagine moving back there to live full time. I love my family, and the place has grown on me after moving away from it and just being back in the summers and for weekends and such. It is quite lovely, actually. Just not where I want to live. You know? You can love a place but not imagine living there.

One day last summer, I felt really bad. I was not in a good place mentally or emotionally, I felt like I was really close to having a breakdown, I didn’t want to around my parents, and it was a lovely evening with what looked like it would be a beautiful sunset. I told my mum I’m going for a walk, I took my camera and phone and headphones, and I listened to music, and I took pictures until my memory card ran out. That was my bad, for not bringing another or using a bigger one, which I have, but that’s okay. I got some really nice shots. Pictures are worth more than words, and I’ve written many. Now I just want to leave you with some shots from my hometown and hope you like them. Let me know below if you like posts like this, I can do many more, I have lots of pictures!

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Thank you for reading my 100th post on this blog! Hope to see you soon,

xoxo

Julie

Related posts: Regarding Passion // Photography Category Here

Be harmless, not helpful

When I was younger, say about 11-15/16, school was always finished at 2.15pm, and I’d always race home to put on 7th Heaven on the TV, and if I was fortunate, I’d only miss the few minutes that were before the intro music. That’s where I first came across this phrase, the title of today’s entry – I don’t remember exactly how it was phrased, I think it was used multiple times, but the gist of it was that it is better to be harmless than to try to be helpful. I think there are a few different ways to look at this and interpret this phrase that we need to talk about.

Firstly, I think we have all been on the receiving end of advice that didn’t go as planned; that made things worse instead of better. To be honest, we’ve probably all given such advice as well – the intent was good, we were trying to help, but the end result did not reflect our intentions. Sometimes trying to help can do more harm than good, and thus backing up the statement that you should be harmless instead of helpful.

Now, what do we mean about being harmless, exactly? I think this is something we should talk about, because a lot of people will say something that seems or sounds harmless to them, but it most definitely is not. Take for example people with any kind of anxiety disorder, or that are struggling with depression – many seemingly harmless statements can actually be hurtful to hear if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. One of the most well discussed things, going off of my own experience and that of friends and family, and what I see on Twitter for example, is to be told to “just calm down”, “cheer up”, or “just breathe”, or that you’re overreacting. Taking an example from my own life recently, I know, rationally, that I am in fact overreacting, but that doesn’t stop the tightening feeling in my throat, the hyperventilating, or the tears, and I most certainly do not need anyone to tell me to calm down or that I’m overreacting. I know that I’m overreacting, that there is no physical threat to me being sat in front of a computer screen looking at a programme I don’t understand, but if it was so easy as to just breathe or “calm down” don’t you think I would do it? (PS: no one was telling me anything of the sort at the time, this is just me stating what would not have been harmless in the moment). Most of the time, I just need a minute, a little while to let my body catch up to what my brain already knows; that I am fine and in no danger at all. But if someone were to tell me things like the ones above, it might have been intended as good, but cause me harm, because it’ll make me feel worthless, like what I am experiencing isn’t valid, and it might make me feel afraid, and lead to me not being able to be myself around them, it might lead to me wanting and doing everything I can to be invisible, to not make them feel uncomfortable because of what is happening to me.

So you see, phrases that are often intended to be helpful, and perceived as harmless by the person uttering them, can sometimes do more harm than they do good. There is a difference, in my opinion, between being harmless, and saying something you think is harmless. And the above things would fall into the latter category. Being harmless, I think, is a much more passive thing, or it can be – we’ll get to other less passive things in a bit. Being harmless, in some cases, doesn’t require the saying of things. It requires being there for the person who needs it. You should be a safe place for people in your life, a place where they know they won’t be judged or told things like “you don’t look like you have (insert mental state)”, a place where they can just be themselves, where they can rant and scream and cry if that’s what they need. Being harmless, to me, means that people can talk to you, that they can cry on your shoulder, that they can lay with you being held and feeling safe, sit next to you, have their hand held or their back stroked, knowing that no physical harm can come to them in that moment, so they do whatever they need to do, while being with someone who will ensure their safety in the process.

But being harmless can also mean other things. Sometimes, it means being the distraction someone sorely needs, the one who makes them laugh, who takes them places to look at weird stuff or walks  around the city or the country side people-watching or cloud-watching, to be the person that takes their mind off of things. This is a slightly less passive form of harmlessness, I think, where you actively try to be what the person needs, regardless of what that actually is. But I also think it’s important to make sure that this is what the person needs at the time, because they might require other things, such as what I wrote in the previous paragraph, or what I’m about to write about in the next paragraph.

Sometimes, being harmless means letting people go. It might not be forever, it might just be for a  few hours or a few days. Being there for someone, being a harmless place, means giving them what they need, and sometimes what people need is space. It might be time off from social media, it might mean them going away for a while, it might mean that you being in their life is causing them harm, and therefore giving them space is the most harmless thing you can do. This is the one that is hardest to do, this is the one that hurts the most. I can openly say that I have been the person causing harm to someone else simply by being a part of their life, and us trying to stay in each others’ lives ended up causing us both harm. Which sucked. This was a person I cared about a lot, and who cared a lot about me too, but in the end we were no good for each other and went our separate ways. It has been years, and I know this was the kind of letting go that meant forever, even if I didn’t want it at the time. I recently looked them up on social media, without them knowing about it, and discovered that, from what they have been posting, things definitely seem better in their life now, and seeing this made me really happy. It made me realise that we did the most harmless thing we could do, which was remove ourselves from each other, and that made things better, for both of us. And now I am at peace, knowing things are good for them, and I am okay with the fact that what they needed was to not have me in their life, because not all people are good for each other.

This, of course, need not always be the case. I have other people in my life in present time where we’ve taken breaks from each other, time to heal, and have ended up reconnecting after a few weeks or months, and at present time we are no longer causing each other harm. And that’s a wonderful thing. We were causing each other harm, we took a break from each other, which at least for me was hard and painful, but reconnecting and looking back on it in retrospect made me glad we did it because we are positive presences in each others’ lives now. Letting go is not always bad. It might hurt at the time, but the most important thing is that people are safe and not in a harmful place, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. If someone is causing you pain, would you want to keep them in your life? If you’re causing someone harm by being a presence in their life, do you really want to stay, knowing that you’re hurting them? The selfish answer is, I like having them in my life and losing them will cause me pain so I will do everything I can to keep them in my life. The altruistic answer is, I am causing them pain, I need to remove myself from this situation/their life so that I am no longer causing pain to another human being. I completely understand the logic of the first, no one wants to do anything that will cause themselves harm, but I also think it’s important to consider the harm we might be inflicting on others, and make sure we do as little of that as possible – that we need to focus a little bit more on being harmless.

This entry took a very dark turn, but I think it’s important to talk about it. Dark and painful and difficult topics might be the ones that need talking about the most. But it’s important to remember that being harmless can mean many different things, and people require different things from other people around them. On the internet, where I spend a lot of my time, I see people being so mean to other people, and I always see people talking about how they hate other people, and how animals are better because they are never cruel. As humans, we are the only ones who can change how humans behave, starting with ourselves. If I start by being kinder to you and providing you with a harmless space, you can be kinder and a safe space to the next person, who can then do the same to their next person, and so on. It might be a dream scenario in an imaginary world, but piece by piece the castle gets built, you just have to start somewhere (I don’t know if that is an actual metaphor, I may have just made that up…).

What I wanted to say, above anything else in this entry, and if you didn’t read anything else and just skipped to the end for the TL;DR portion, this is it: People cannot cure other people, you just have to be there for them.

I will end this entry with one of my all-time favourite quotes, which I’ve had written on whiteboards and pieces of paper stuck to the wall and book covers and also really wanted to by a jumper with it on, which is from an organisation called To Write Love On Her Arms, and it is this:

twloha

Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll talk down below!

Xoxo

Julie

 

Related entries: Mission First, People Always

 

You can laugh, but I don’t care.

People think I don’t know when they’re making fun of me. But I know. I just no longer care.

I know I’m a bit weird. Quirky. Odd. Strange. I don’t always pick up on irony and sarcasm, I too often take things too seriously and believe stuff that’s not true. I’m book smart, theoretical, and don’t always understand right away how some of the things that are obvious to a lot of people work. With a lot of things, I’m a bit slow, and I need things spelled out to me.

But I know when I’m being made fun of, laughed at behind my back… I know it. I’m aware that it happens.

But here’s the thing. The thing is, I don’t care about it. If people have nothing better to do than make fun of me, then I feel sorry for them. If that’s what they want to spend their time on, then that’s their time being wasted, their life. I’m not gonna waste my time caring about it, because I lose so much precious time that way. Life may be long, but it might be short. We never know how much time we’re gonna get and I don’t want to waste mine. I want to focus on doing things that are good for me, that bring joy to my soul. I don’t want to care about people who have negative opinions about me.

And I want to share a poem with you. It’s one of my favourite pieces of writing, I’ve copied it down so many times, and I might have shared it on my blog before, but I wanted to share it again:

I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day. I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

—Rachel C. Lewis, Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

Xoxo

Julie

Summer Freedom

There’s just two weeks left of my summer job and I’m only just now starting to feel like the time I’m not at work is MY time to do whatever I want. I’ve not had uni to deal with since my last exam on June 5th, why has it taken me so long to feel free? My summer job lasts 8 weeks, meaning it’s taken me 6 weeks to get to this point. This really baffles me. What have I been doing for so long? I honestly have no idea.

I think the feelings of freedom started when my parents went away on holiday. The first time I really felt free this summer was a day where I was on nobody’s time but my own. My parents had gone away for the day and were eating dinner out, my brother had plans to go on a hiking trip, and the weather was lovely so instead of going home after work I went on a forest walk by myself, just listening to happy music and playing Pokémon GO and enjoying life, because no one was waiting for me with food or anything like that. It was a lovely feeling.

Whenever I’ve been home for a weekend or even longer, during the past 6 years of living in the city and going to university, I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents. I’ve sat in the living room watching whatever they’re watching on TV, I’ve hung out with them, going for walks, going with them to shops etc. I’ve spent very little time to myself, next to no time in my room except for to sleep. The reason for this, is that I’ve sometimes not known when would be the next time I’d get to come home – it might be weeks or months until the next time, and therefore I’ve felt that I need to spend all the time with them.

Now that they’ve been on holiday, I’ve been entirely on my own. Taking care of the house, cooking for myself, spending time doing whatever I’ve wanted to do. I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve only read, I’ve had a few days where I’ve needed to do a lot of chores but it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve spent two mornings and an evening editing pictures for a friend, watched a movie, played a lot of Mario Kart on my laptop… I’ve taken back my time, even though no one has demanded that I do anything else anyway, it’s been liberating.

I’m moving, in 16 days from today. I’ll need to start packing soon, to prepare for the move as I’ve no idea when I’ll be back to pick up more stuff, and I can only bring a suitcase and my carry-on. But even so, I don’t feel the pressure that I’ve felt before, that I need to spend as much of my waking time with my family as possible. Because it’s not necessary to be around someone 100% of the time or to talk to them all the time to know and show that you love them, care about them, like them… It’s perfectly fine to take time to yourself, be by yourself, do things for yourself. Because YOU are the only one who has to be around you 100% of the time, and it’s important to do things that make YOU happy, that make YOU able to live with the person you are.

xoxo

Julie

13 Reasons Why: My Honest Opinion

Hello, beautiful readers! I know it’s been a while… I was unable to finish a post a day for April, but I don’t care too much. My blog is still here, and I know I can write whenever I want to. And there’s no point in forcing oneself to post every day, or on a schedule, if one does not feel like writing. If you don’t feel like writing, anything you write will more than likely turn out like crap, so it’s better to wait until you feel like writing to write, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I watched all 13 episodes of the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why. It’s very likely that anything written after this sentence will contain spoilers, so you should stop reading now, if you don’t want any spoilers whatsoever (although, with the Internet being what it is, you’ve probably seen some already anyway).

I watched 13 Reasons Why in one sitting. I started it sometime in the afternoon, and I finished at 1.30am. Naturally, I had breaks to make food and get myself hot drinks and use the bathroom, but I didn’t watch anything else from the moment I started episode 1 until the moment I finished episode 13. I wanted to watch it because I’d seen people tweeting about it, how deep it is, how they couldn’t stop crying at the end of it… So I thought I’d give it a try. Now, you might think that, because I watched it all in one go and didn’t take breaks other than to make food, that I found the show to be so incredibly good.

I did not. I have mixed feelings about the show, actually. I thought it was well made; I kept watching because I needed to know what happened next, whose tape would come up next, why Clay was on the list, when it seemed like he was such a good friend to Hannah, or at least tried to be. He didn’t humiliate her by sending her picture to everyone at school, or publish her writing without her consent, or steal her compliments from her paper bag for revenge. I was glad he didn’t deserve to be on the tapes though. I said I have mixed feelings about the show – I’m not entirely sure I liked it. I don’t think I’ll be rewatching it, at least not anytime soon.

The other students kept saying that Hannah lied, that what she said isn’t what happened. Toni had a good point – she was telling her truth. Because two people can witness a situation and experience it and what is the truth in two completely different ways. That’s why eye witness’ testimonies can be unreliable, right? Every person is different, every person’s mind works in a unique way, making their experiences unique to that person. And everything that happens affects everyone differently. One of the guys, I don’t remember who, said that nothing happened to Hannah that didn’t happen to every other girl in high school, inferring that the people on the tapes can’t be responsible for Hannah killing herself. But Hannah wasn’t every other girl, Hannah was Hannah, and how she experienced these things were different from how other girls did.

I read somewhere that when people kill themselves, it’s not because of one big thing. It’s all the little things, that add up until it becomes unbearable. I know that feeling. You cry, and people ask you what’s wrong, and you say you don’t know because it’s not just this one thing that you can say, it’s many little things, it’s everything. But how people handle it varies from person to person. Clay took a really long time to listen to the tapes, longer than any of the others. Alex listened through all of them in one night, the first time he listened to them. Clay had anxiety. Skye was a cutter. Hannah slit her wrists in the bathtub and died. Alex shot himself in the head but is in critical care. And was it just me, or did Tyler have a gun in his room, at the bottom of that trunk or whatever it was? I remember thinking, “he’s gonna shoot up the school”.

Maybe, to some, this show is deep. I didn’t find it deep. I found it exploratory, in the way that it explored the different ways the mind works. But it wasn’t earth shattering-oh my god this is so deep-deep, not to me anyway. I didn’t cry at the end. I felt sick, watching the suicide scene, but I didn’t cry. The show didn’t make me realize a lot of things. I read a review posted on a Norwegian website, where the author wrote that, at its worst, the show is awkward and full of cliches, but at its best, it is truly heartbreaking. Furthermore, the author wrote that the show is more important than it is good. A little more humor would have been nice, because even at its worst, high school isn’t entirely without it. And the show deals with important topics, such as peer pressure, drinking, sex, sexuality, bullying, and, of course, suicide. But I felt that Hannah was a bit unfair. She says all these people contributed to her taking her own life, that they broke hear heart and spirit and soul. But she couldn’t have thought about what kind of damage she would be inflicting on them by making and sending out these tapes, making each and every one of them listen to them and hear not only what they did but what 12 other people did (well, 11, because Justin had two tapes), threatening that they are being watched and that all tapes will be released to the public if any one of them fails to do what she tells them to. Not her problem, right? Because she’s dead. And you can’t blame a dead girl, can you?

Anyway. I’ve probably rambled on for long enough, so I’ll stop here. Anyone else watched 13 Reasons Why? What did you think? Let’s discuss in the comments!

~ Julie

Personal Update

I wanted to write an entry a day for all of April. I’ve been using the schedule system for that, writing when I have something to write about, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I’ve lost the will to do things. And that goes for everything, not just blogging. I feel like I’ve gone numb.

Yesterday a friend asked me to come with her to one of our uni campuses to sit and work from around noon, and I didn’t answer her because just the thought of working on my thesis made me feel tight chested and brought tears to my eyes. I feel bad for not working, but the thought of working sends me into panic, so what am I supposed to do? For now, I’m just avoiding it. When it came down to fight or flight, I fled. And I’m not proud of that. But I don’t know what to do.

I spent a lot of Easter watching Grey’s Anatomy and going on trips with my parents, visiting my grandparents and my great-grandmother, taking our car to a service shop, driving to a place in the middle of nowhere where someone’s made an American Diner where people come from far away to eat and see. And sleeping. A lot of sleeping. 8-10 hours a night of sleeping.

Since I got back to the city I’ve been hiding in my room, when I’m not out shopping. Yesterday I went and bought some stuff and walked around town for a while. After I’m done writing this entry I’m going to do that all over again.

I’m working this weekend, at the museum. And I’ve got two weekends in May, since a girl quit. I might as well sell tickets and glasses and books, and make some money, since I’m incapable of working on my thesis, right?

My heart hurts, and I don’t know why. My parents, uncle, and grandfather put my grandmother’s urn in the ground earlier this week. That might be a contributing factor…

How are you all doing, dear readers?

~ Julie

How to Take Care of Yourself (After Crying)

I wanted to write an entry on how to take care of yourself if you’ve had the kind of day I’ve been having a few of lately – days that include a lot of crying, no appetite, no willpower to do anything. So let’s just jump into it.

Firstly, if you’ve been crying for a while, or hours, or on and off the whole day, it’s very important to hydrate. Try to fill up a bottle of water and drink that, not all at once, just focus on getting the water down. And then fill it up again so that you have it on hand for when you get thirsty. I can usually feel that my mouth is dry, which I guess is related to having to breathe through my mouth because my nose is all blocked off. Green tea is also a good way to hydrate, if/when you get tired of water. Adding essential oils to your water is also good, especially citrus oils.

Secondly, wash your face. My face gets stiff and sticky from tears, and I like to wash it, remove any makeup that might be left on my face, and apply moisturizer. It helps me feel a little more human.

Thirdly, your nose is probably sore from having to blow it a lot. I like to apply a cream called Mentholatum, it contains menthol which is cooling on the skin, and it helps relieve pain and soreness from all the harsh paper – I am the kind of person that no matter what kind of tissue I use my nose will get sore so I don’t bother spending money on expensive tissue because it doesn’t work for me. The menthol also helps open up the nose; mine tends to be blocked for a long time after I’ve stopped crying.

Brush your hair. Get all those tangles out, and feel a little more alive. The goal here is for us to move forward, yes? And feeling a bit better about yourself, regardless of the situation, helps. I also like to put on a bit of makeup – some concealer, powder, and mascara. It covers up redness without looking overdone, and makes me feel like I look a little bit less of a mess, if nothing else.

Get some fresh air. It feels cooling on the skin – I always feel I get a bit warm when crying. Open your window, or go for a walk, or do both. Moving around can help. If you have a favorite park, go for a walk. Or go visit some shops in town, buy a new book or something else that you want. Buy yourself some flowers and put them in a room – not only do they look (and potentially smell) nice; plants also help with oxygen and stuff.

It’s also important to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs. You need to eat proper food. That is not to say that comfort food can’t be proper food – earlier this week I ate avocado and tomato on toast for dinner because I didn’t feel like eating but I know that’s something I enjoy and that’s also good for my body. That being said, I did go to the store and bought pick n mix not long after. But, as they say, everything in moderation.

Lastly, I’d like to say that there is no shame in just taking an ibuprofen and going to bed. I often get headaches after crying, and I try not to overdo it on the medication side of things, but my doctor told me there’s no need to be as careful as I’ve been, because it won’t hurt me short term. Sometimes, a painkiller is just what I need to get my body to relax enough to get me a good night’s sleep. Which should not be underestimated! A good night’s sleep is important when it comes to every aspect of life, and factors like the temperature in the room, light noise, scents etc all affect these. It’s still pretty cold in Norway, so I open the vent instead of the window and leave the heating on low, and close my blinds. There’s not much noise around me so I don’t do anything to affect that, except if I’m feeling extremely bad, then I’ll put on Harry Potter on audiobook on my phone and fall asleep to that (I recommend using an app that let’s you set a sleep timer, otherwise it’ll probably wake you up at some point, which isn’t what we want here). As for scents, I like to apply lavender essential oil on my wrists and neck; it’s calming and it smells wonderful. I also have a small tin can of broken up Yankee Candle wax melts in lemon-lavender that I open up and leave on my bedside table before bed (I like to put the lid on whenever I’m not ‘using’ this, otherwise I can’t smell it as much, because I’m smelling it all the time).

So those were my tips for making yourself feel better and taking care of yourself after a round of crying. I hope this is able to help some people, somewhere in the world. If you have any additional tips, please leave them in a comment, I would love to hear!

~ Julie

Julie Advises

Today’s entry is not a very long or interesting one, but I wanted to give you some advice.

Do you ever have those days where you feel bad because you don’t feel like you’ve done anything? I do. All the time. Especially since having this huge project hanging over me, making me feel guilty every time I do something else. But if, like me, you have something so big like a master’s or doctoral thesis, or something else huge that’s constantly hanging over you, it’s important to take time to focus on yourself.

Today has been one of those days for me. I feel like I’ve not done much, but I’ve done some things.

  • I drank coffee
  • I made and ate breakfast with a 2nd cup of coffee
  • I wrote and scheduled several blog posts
  • I ate lunch
  • I took the bus to town and I walked around playing Pokemon GO for a couple of hours
  • I made tea
  • I took a shower
  • I ate dinner
  • I colored my eyebrows
  • I wore a moisturizing sheet mask for 20 minutes
  • I talked to my mom on the phone for over an hour
  • I told my mom about my mental issues and anxiety I’m experiencing, making it harder for me to work on my thesis than it should be
  • I cut trimmed all of my roses and put them in fresh water
  • I painted my nails
  • And most of these things I did while watching a whole 9 (!) episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop

So my tip to you is, if you feel like you’ve had an unproductive day and you feel guilty about it, write down everything you’ve done. Sort of like a reversed check-list. Chances are, you feel like you’ve done nothing all day, but you’ve probably done more than you realize.

Until next time,

~ Julie